Israel Resource Review 25th July, 2005


An Israeli government working against the interests of the Jewish People?
David Bedein

A colleague who researches anti-Semitism has recently objected to those who describe current Israeli government policies as reminiscent of anti-Semitic regimes of the past. The goal in writing about these issues is to inform, alert, and arouse to action those who care about Israel. It is most certainly not my intention to provoke those who at heart do understand the matters that are of such critical concern.

Thus, I will reframe the discussion here. Then perhaps the matters at hand will be more readily understood. The picture, in any event, is not a pretty one. It is, in fact, sufficiently distressing so as to defy belief. But what I will say here is so. I invite queries and further investigation.

Please consider the following ways in which the government of Israel has behaved or intends to behave, all of which put Jewish lives at risk:

1. In spite of the fact that the PLO has fired 6,000 mortars into Gush Katif and the Negev, no major operation to stop these attacks has been conducted. A government interested in protecting its population would do so.

2. In fact, while the government is fully cognizant of the fact that there are areas of Israel where the PLO has issued death sentences for Jews, it fails to react to this.

3. What is more, for political reasons, the government releases from prison Arabs who have been convicted of attempted murder and first degree murder to be freed from prison. This has been done despite the fact that hundreds of convicts previously freed resumed murder activity after their release.

4. In a particularly bewildering and perverse decision, the government has allowed the Palestinian Authority curriculum -- which runs the first school system since the Third Reich to inculcate war specifically against Jews -- to be integrated into the Israeli Arab school and even provides funds for that curriculum.

5. The government additionally lends to the Palestinian Authority public air waves that the P.A. uses for its TV and radio to convey an anti-Semitic invective -- endorsing the cold blooded murder of Jews.

6. As part of the so-called "disengagement" the government is preparing to provide high ground strategic locations to the PLO in Samaria -- locations that overlook all of the coastal plain of Israel -- even though the PLO remains at war with the state of Israel and there is evidence of increased stockpiling of weapons.

7. The government, in line with that same "disengagement," is also preparing to permit development of a sea port and airport for the PLO, even though it remains at war with the state of Israel.

8. Coordination with the P.A. for the "disengagement" is being handled from the Palestinian side by Muhammad Dahlan. Israeli Minister of Defense has sat with him. Yet Dahlan, in years past, was clearly identified as being responsible for coordinating terrorist attacks, including a bombing of a school bus.

9. In addition to all of this, there is another factor at play that certainly smacks of an "anti-Jewish" tone, even if that is not what the government specifically and deliberately intended. Because both the residents of Gush Katif and the dissenters to the "disengagement" are primarily religious Jews, religious Jews have been demonized by their government. They are represented as working against the best interests of Israel -- as being a violent threat to Israel, and their rights have been curtailed. The tone of the government and the actions of the government in this regard have been deplorable.

10. The government has wantonly cancelled fundamental private property rights of home owners and farm owners, and decided that Jews in certain locations will simply not benefit from basic human rights and civil liberties.

11. The government has decided to train its army to evict its own citizens.

12. The government has established special squads to blow up synagogues andYeshivas.

13. The government has ordered mass arrests of demonstrators, hundreds of whom are under 14, and kept them in prison as "ideological criminals," while not applying the same standards to those who organize the same kind of protests for other causes.

14. The government ordered the arrest of 320 bus drivers to stop them from driving demonstrators en route to a prayer vigil against government policy.

15. The government has made rules that people wearing kippot cannot attend a public event where the Prime Minister is speaking.

The government of Ariel Sharon is anti-Semitic.

However, this government has (for whatever perverse or distorted reasons) taken actions and formulated policies that are not in the best interests of the Jewish population of Israel -- that work quite clearly AGAINST Jews.

Acting in the best interests of the Jews of Israel is precisely what the government should be doing.

Something is seriously amiss. So seriously that we should all be screaming about it.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Update from July 24th PBC Media Following Murder of Rachel and Dov Kol:
Abbas Condemns Attack and PBC Media Continue to Praise their Murder
Dr. Michael Widlanski

14:00 p.m. Statement by Abbas on PBC Radio

Voice of Palestine radio opened its afternoon newsreel show Sunday with a "statement from the office of the president" of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that condemned last night's shooting murder of two Israelis as being against Palestinian interests, saying such actions would give Israel excuses not to withdraw from Gaza.

The somewhat bland statement came more than 14 hours after the attack.

As has become typical of such seemingly pro-forma statements from the PA, Dr. Abbas himself did not appear personally or speak personally about the shooting incident, nor did he call it an act of terror [irhaab in Arabic], as the PA called the Saturday attacks in Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt.

Abbas and the PA also did not condemn the Islamic Jihad organization which has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 56-year-old Dov Kol, a public relations consultant, and 51-year-old Rahel Kol, his wife, from Jerusalem.

Underlining the pro-forma nature of the "condemnation" of the attack on the Israelis was the fact that immediately after the statement from Abbas's office, V.O.P. radio announcers again profiled the terrorists as "heroic martyrs," giving thumbnail biographic sketches of their lives.

"Such operations, coming at the moment of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza do not serve our national interest," the statement said.

5 p.m., July 24th:

Abbas's own TV station ignores Abbas's condemnation, continues to treat terrorist gunmen as heroes

Mahmoud Abbas's own Palestinian state television today ignored Abbas's pro-forma condemnation of the murder of two Israelis, and it continued to treat the two Palestinian terrorists as heroes.

PBC television described the two dead attackers as heroes, calling them "pure," "citizens," "men of sacrifice," and "heroic martyrs" at the start of its 3 p.m. afternoon news round-up show Sunday afternoon.

"Dr. Muawiyya Hasseinein of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza said that the Occupation forces opened fire on the two of them in the Kissufim Settlement Corridor and several bullets pierced their two pure bodies," declared the PBC anchorman as Palestinian television ran pictures of one of the attackers shrouded in white hospital sheets.

Earlier in the day, Voice of Palestine radio issued a pro-forma statement from Abbas criticizing the attack, saying such actions would give Israel excuses not to withdraw from Gaza.

"Such operations, coming at the moment of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza do not serve our national interest," the statement said.

As has become typical of such seemingly pro-forma statements from the PA, Dr. Abbas himself did not appear personally or speak personally about the shooting incident, nor did he call it an act of terror [irhaab in Arabic], as the PA called the Saturday attacks in Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt.

Abbas and the PA also did not condemn the Islamic Jihad organization which has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 56-year-old Dov Kol, a public relations consultant, and 51-year-old Rahel Kol, his wife, from Jerusalem.

Underlining the pro-forma nature of the "condemnation" of the attack on the Israelis was the fact that immediately after the statement from Abbas's office, V.O.P. radio announcers again profiled the terrorists as "heroic martyrs," giving thumbnail biographic sketches of their lives.

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution and The Jerusalem Post

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Is "Disengagement" the Answer?

That Jews need to be "disengaged" from the Arabs is not a new idea. In July 1937 the British issued the Palestine Royal Peel Commission that concluded: "An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. There is no common ground between them. Their national aspirations are incompatible. The Arabs desire to revive the traditions of the Arab golden age. The Jews desire to show what they can achieve when restored to the land in which the Jewish nation was born. Neither of the two national ideals permits of combination in the service of a single State."

Expelling Jews from their homes in any part of Israel or in the disputed territories will not solve the Arab/Israeli conflict. How do we know? The Arabs have been quite explicit in explaining why the conflict persists. PLO spokesman Bassam-Abu-Sharif and other leaders claim, "The struggle with the Zionist enemy is not a matter of borders, but touches on the very existence of the Zionist entity." In other words, it does not matter whether Israel retreats to her 1967 borders, those mandated by the UN in 1948 or the 1949 cease fire lines. As long as the Jewish State exists, the Arabs are determined to bring about her demise.

Deporting Jews from their homes is also illegal. Writing in The New Republic on October 21, 1991, Professor Eugene V. Rostow made this clear when he declared, "[UN] Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until 'a just and lasting peace in the Middle East' is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces 'from territories' it occupied during the Six-Day War--not from 'the' territories nor from 'all' the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip."

In another essay in which he investigates the Arab claim for self-determination based on law, Professor Rostow concludes, "the [British] mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self- determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent 'natural law' claim to the area."

"Neither customary international law nor the United Nations Charter acknowledges that every group of people claiming to be a nation has the right to a state of its own. International law rests on the altogether different principle."

In the absence of a peace agreement, how can one legally or morally justify forcing Jews to leave their homes? What did the Jews do to warrant this treatment? They were encouraged by Israeli administrations to establish residences and business in the area. Isn't expulsion penalizing the victim, while rewarding the aggressor? And when peace negotiations do begin, wouldn't it be better to have a presence in the area as a bargaining chip?

Another concern must be that expulsion clearly demonstrates that the Arab Intifada was not fought in vain. If the Israelis retreat under fire as they did in south Lebanon, the Arabs will once again see that terrorism is the most effective means to ensure acknowledgment for themselves, their goals, and to achieve their objectives. According to a joint Israeli-Palestinian Public Opinion Poll in June 2005 conducted by The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 45% of the Israelis and 72% of the Palestinians believe that Ariel Sharon's decision to remove Israeli settlements from Gaza is a triumph for the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel, compared to 52% among Israelis and 26% among Palestinians.

Furthermore, 51% of the Israelis and 66% of the Palestinians believe that the Intifada and armed confrontation has helped Palestinians achieve national and political objectives that negotiations could not have achieved. Israeli settlers share these perceptions with the Palestinians. 72% of the settlers think the disengagement is a victory for the Palestinians and 77% believe the Intifada has helped them achieve political goals.

As to the long term possibility for a political solution to the Israel/ Palestinian conflict, 46% of the Palestinians and 36% of the Israelis believe that there never will be a political settlement, 29% of the Palestinians and 31% of the Israelis think that this goal can only be realized either in future generations or in the next generation, 19% of the Palestinians and 27% of the Israelis expect it will be achieved in the next decade or within the next few years.

In a recent interview, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who presided over the retreat from south Lebanon and the failed Camp David 2000 Summit, said that Sharon surrendered to terror after realizing that his attempts to curb the violence had failed. Barak believes that the disengagement policy is flawed because even after the Israelis evacuate their armed forces and civilians from Gaza, international law dictates that Israel will be held accountable for everything that occurs there.

Barak further claims that president George Bush did not promise Sharon that Israelis will be allowed to remain in Gush Etzion, Givat Zev, Ariel, and Maaleh Adumim. Israel will not be allowed to remain in this as a reward for leaving Gaza. Behind closed doors, Barak says, Americans will tell you that this in not true. "The public is being deceived," he asserts. Why? Because "Sharon is not strong enough to tell the Israeli public the truth." Sharon and Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz have replaced the former Mossad chief, the head of the security service, IDF Chief of Staff, and the National Security Advisor, and appointed people who support disengagement.

Sharon is not being honest about the security fence either, according to Barak. The communities behind the fence will be abandoned. Several areas of the fence have been left open allowing terrorists access to Hadera, Afula, Be'er Sheva and Tel Aviv. Sharon has also lost the city of Ariel, and soon Maaleh Adumim.

Equally disturbing is the admission by Moshe Ya'alon, former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff that the IDF did not participate in most of the discussions that formulated the expulsion plan. Only after the Americans and Egyptians were informed of the arrangement did he learn about it.

After his recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Sharon once again called upon the Arabs to adhere to their agreement to stop the terrorism, violence and provocation, dismantle the terrorist organizations, collect their weapons and carry out organizational changes as a prerequisite to resuming the diplomatic process. Unless the threats are backed up with action, the Arabs will be even more encouraged to continue flaunting their agreements, if there are no consequences.

Another problem not openly discussed is that once Jews have been transferred out of the area, other Jewish communities will be exposed to Qassam rocket fire and terrorist infiltration. In January of this year, Colonel Uzi Buchbinder, head of the Home Front Command's civil defense department, warned that 46 western Negev communities would be within range of enemy rockets and terrorist attacks after the retreat.

That the Arabs will not be swayed in any way by Israeli withdrawal should not come as a surprise. As political scientist Shlomo Avineri observes, the Arabs see themselves as the only "legitimate repository of national self-determination" in the region. They do not accept that national groups in the Middle East have the same right to self-determination that they have properly demanded for themselves. This exclusivity "borders on political racism," and should not be tolerated in the Middle East any more than it is Europe."

A few examples he points out will illustrate the problems Arabs have with minorities. The Kurds have a different language, culture and customs than the Arabs, and the Iraqi and Syrian governments (and the non-Arab Muslims in Turkey and the Persians in Iran) have oppressed them for decades. Yet no Arabs have ever asked that the Kurds be given the right to self-determination. In 2005, when the international community supports the establishment of a state for the Palestinian people, no Arab moderate or academic has requested comparable rights for the Kurds.

The Berbers in Algeria and the Christian Maronites in Lebanon are similar situations, he continues. The Darfur region of Sudan can be added to this group. Arab militias, with the support of the Arab dominated government in Khartoum, have committed what UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called "ethnic cleansing" against the indigenous black population.

The refusal by the Sharon government to explain adequately the reasons for giving up land and transferring Jews in response to repeated terror attacks against its citizens, the failure to engage the Israeli public and politicians in an open dialogue about the implications of this policy, and its unfortunate success at fomenting distrust, alienation and hatred among various segments of the population does immeasurable damage to the Jewish people and weakens the Israeli and the American war on terrorism.

Before Israel "disengages," there should be legal and moral justifications for uprooting Jews who have not violated any Israeli or international statue. When the Arabs are willing to accept the existence of the Jewish State and live in peace with her, then negotiations about future borders should be discussed. As long the Arabs want to destroy Israel, concessions only convince them that terrorism, rather than negotiation, is the best method to achieve their goal.

It appears that we have not progressed much since 1994, when Aharon Megged, the respected writer and supporter of the Labor Party, complained: "Since the Six Day War, and at an increasing pace, we have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history: an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation." He also saw a trend by them "to regard religious, cultural, and emotional affinity to the land . . . with sheer contempt." "You make peace with your enemies," they incessantly proclaim, yet as Professor Edward Alexander observed, "it is clear that they can far sooner make peace with enemies wearing keffiyehs than with enemies wearing yarmulkes and tefillin."

Dr. Grobman's most recent book is Battling for Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post War Europe [KTAV]. He is also co-author of Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened? (University of California Press, 2000) His next book Zionism=Racism: The New War Against The Jews will be published in 2005.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Israeli Troops Being Trained to Fire on Settlers
Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv
Correspondent, Sunday Times of London

ISRAELI special forces are prepared to shoot to kill Jewish settlers if they come under fire during next month's evacuation of 22 settlements in the Gaza Strip.

Members of Israel's feared Duvdevan (Cherry) commando unit, who have concentrated on hunting Palestinian militants on the West Bank, are training for the evacuation at a dummy settlement in a remote desert location.

The commandos, who have killed hundreds of Palestinian militants over the years, are now being told to be ready to open fire on Israelis - but only in response to an attack on fellow soldiers.

"First our commanders asked if any of us thought he could not take part in the disengagement of Gaza," one of the members of the unit said last week. "Obviously nobody refused as we are volunteers, but I must admit that while we were happy to kill the bastards in the West Bank, we hope to be unemployed in August."

Under plans for the pull-out, details of which have been obtained by The Sunday Times, every house in the 22 settlements marked for evacuation will be approached by a team of army and police officers. A warrant will be presented to its inhabitants, who will then be asked to evacuate the building immediately.

"We strongly believe that the majority of the families will obey the warrant and leave their houses at once," said one security source. "Those who refuse to do so will be removed forcibly by the police to a nearby bus to take them out of Gaza."

Although the overwhelming majority of the settlers are expected to comply, security sources believe that a hard core of about 200 could attempt serious violence, requiring the intervention of the commandos.

"The main job will be to look out for snipers and that's what we have been training for," said one member of the unit.

"Here the rules of the game are very different from what we are used to in the West Bank. There, we shoot to kill the moment we spot the bad guy. In Gaza, if we spot an armed settler about to open fire we must aim at his hand and only when there is no other choice shoot to kill."

Dressed in plain clothes and sporting the beards and skullcaps favoured by the settlers, the commandos will try to identify troublemakers and pull them out of the crowd.

Since last week a massive operation has been under way to eavesdrop on the settlers' communications. It is expected that during the evacuation the security forces will jam mobile telephone communications apart from their own.

Further intelligence will come from the giant unmanned aerial vehicle normally used to watch Palestinian militants, which will transmit data to nearby army headquarters.

Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, has pushed ahead with the pull-out despite fierce opposition not just from the settlers but also from within his own Likud party. Polls show that most Israelis support him, even though right-wing critics oppose ceding any land captured during the 1967 six day war.

Washington hopes that the withdrawal will spur renewed peace moves. During a visit to Israel and the West Bank this weekend, Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, urged both Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to work more closely together on the pull-out and ensure that Gaza would be linked to the West Bank afterwards. She urged both men to resist any efforts by terrorists to destroy "this moment of hope".

Israel is insisting that Abbas's security forces keep militants under control during the evacuation. The Palestinian leader has said he will co-operate, but he has only a tenuous grip on the militias.

As if to demonstrate Abbas's impotence, last night Palestinian gunmen ambushed a vehicle on one of the main roads out of Gaza. Two Israelis died and four were wounded in the attack, jointly claimed by Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Israel retaliated by firing a missile at the Khan Younis refugee camp.

But for Sharon the nightmare is the spilling of Israeli blood by Israeli hands. If even one of the zealots opens fire and a soldier or settler dies, the Israeli public may never forgive him.

"We were told that our mission is no less important than our fight against the Palestinians," said one of the commandos. "With the Palestinians we succeeded. I'm not so sure about this operation. We were trained to kill militants. I don't know how good we are at doing the same to our own brothers."

This appeared on the Sunday Times of London on July 24th, 2005

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on