Israel Resource Review 11th October, 2002


Funds for Arab Terror From Israel
Following US Pressure on Israel, Israel Ministry of Finance Provides Frozen Funds to the PA
Guy Bechor
Arab Affairs Analyst, Yediot Ahronot

Israel this week transferred NIS 70 million to the Palestinian Authority to cover an outstanding debt, thereby supplying the PA with the possibility of re-equipping and regrouping for a new round of battles that is likely to develop after the current respite. The above-cited sum was transferred even though Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayed said that it would be used to pay the salaries of 50,000 Palestinian security officials.

Appendix 1 of the interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority from September 1995 stipulates that all branches of the Palestinian police force will not exceed 30,000 troops -- 12,000 in Judea and Samaria and 18,000 in the Gaza Strip. In the Cairo agreement, which was signed 18 months before, there was mention of only 9,000 combatants. Now there apparently are over 100,000 security officials, policemen and combatants from the various organizations in the territories. If the Palestinians have established a complete army, in utter contradiction to the logic of Oslo, why should Israel honor its commitments and continue to build that army?

The NIS 70 million that Israel recently transferred to the Palestinian Authority will be distributed among the various factions and organizations of Fatah, Tanzim, fronts, police and intelligence services, whose principal raison d'etre at present is to fight against us. The distribution will be decided on the way Arafat has always done things: according to the little black book in which he records who committed which terror attacks. It is not inconceivable that some of this money will be siphoned out to Arafat loyalists in the refugee camps in Lebanon, as occurred in the past.

Moreover, Israel gave the PA this so very critical sum of money for the continuation of the Intifada even though its demand for transparency had not been met. Contrary to the stipulations in the interim agreements-and not part of the "reforms" that are spoken about so much now-the PA never gave Israel a list of the people who receive the payments. The money is distributed in cash and disappears immediately. And if that were not enough, the Palestinian finance minister admitted, as Barnea reported, that he works for Arafat. The source of Arafat's power over all these years has been principally budgetary, and along comes Israel and rehabilitates his status after the fiasco in the mukataa.

And naturally, just like most of the American aid to Egypt is allocated immediately for military armament, the American pressure on Israel to transfer the funds will produce the mass militarization of the Palestinian territories, which is the very same disease that brought Arafat here in the middle of the 1990s. Now, when there is talk about "reforms" in the Palestinian Authority, it would make sense to transfer some of the recipients of public salaries to the civilian field. But who even dreams that that is going to happen? Instead of being allocated to rehabilitate the Palestinian civilian infrastructure, health, education for children or new infrastructures, the money will be used to continue to build the Palestinian military capabilities. The civilian society that was beginning to become established in the territories was wiped out for the sake of armament and salaries for soldiers. Capital is used for the past, and not for building a future.

Thus large sums of money flow from Israel to Arafat's junta, while the Palestinian civilians, and certainly the refugees, will continue to enjoy only the crumbs. This way, Arafat's industry of defiance will continue to poison the atmosphere and will cause Israel to be hated by the future generations, who will continue to undergo a process of militarization, as if nothing has been learned from the past two years. How absurd and how sad.

This piece ran on October 10, 2002 in Yediot Ahronot

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

UNICEF: Thousands of Palestinian Children Denied Access to Schools
With Questions to UNICEF

[In response to the "serious concern" expressed below by Pierre Poupard, UNICEF Special Representative to the Palestinian Authority, over the number of Palestinian children being prevented from attending school by Israel-imposed restrictions, the following points might be relevant:

  1. The restrictions imposed by the IDF in the territories are the direct result of continued Palestinian Authority sponsored terrorism. If the Palestinian Authority (PA) were to rein in terrorists and to ensure civil order, there would be no need for the restrictions.

  2. In the areas where relative calm has been restored, IDF restrictions have been totally or partially lifted, thereby permitting Palestinian students to attend school. As the UNICEF official himself acknowledges, while some 226,000 Palestinian children and their teachers are presently affected by IDF closures, primarily in the flash points of Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Hebron, the vast majority of the close to 1 million Palestinian children of school age are not affected by the closures.

  3. Under the PA, Palestinian schools throughout the territories have been transformed into terrorist laboratories. As the policy analyst Justus Weiner notes in the Jerusalem Post ("Child abuse in the Palestinian Authority,˛ October 2, 2002), "Even in the PAšs public schools, incitement to violence plays a major role while interest in reconciliation with Israel is notably absent. The PAšs deputy minister of education, Naim Abu Humus, called on school administrators to dedicate the first class to praying for the souls of those killed during the intifada, saying, "Today we glorify Al-Aksa and Palestine, and remember the Palestinian martyrs"

  4. "Signs on the walls of kindergartens", Weiner continues, "proclaim their students as the 'shaheeds' [martyrs] of tomorrow", and elementary school teachers and principals commend their young students for wanting to 'tear their Zionist bodies into little pieces and cause them more pain than they will ever know'š . . . ". Sheikh Hassan Yosef, a leading Hamas member, summarized this process of incitement by saying, "we like to grow them from kindergarten through college" , Weiner adds.

  5. UNICEF's Pierre Poupard cites Israelšs obligation, according to the 4th Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensure education is accessible to every Palestinian child. What Mr. Poupard fails to note, however, is the extent to which the Rights of the Child are routinely and systematically violated by Yasser Arafatšs Palestinian Authority. These violations include encouraging children to become suicide bombers, placing children in the front-lines of armed demonstrations against Israeli soldiers, and delivering busloads of Palestinian school children to demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Through its hate-filled school curriculum, the PA denies Palestinian children the fundamental right to peaceful, modern education.

  6. The UNICEF statement ignores the significant steps taken by Israel since June 1967 to establish a modern educational system for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, even in the absence of peace.]

[Reached at the UNICEF office in Jerusalem, Mr. Poupard denied any knowledge of the PA schools being used as a place of terror training or incitement of youth to war against Israel. Mr. Poupard also said that he has not seen the evaluation of the Palestinian Authority school system that was provided by the CMIP at]

JERUSALEM, 2 October 2002 - A month into the Palestinian school year, the UNICEF Special Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Pierre Poupard, today expressed serious concern over the number of Palestinian children being prevented from attending school by Israel-imposed restrictions. "Right now the Israeli military is preventing thousands of Palestinian children and teachers from attending school," Mr Poupard said. "A generation of Palestinian children is being denied their right to an education."

While UNICEF noted that most Palestinian children have either returned to school or are receiving alternative schooling, it said that more than 226,000 children and over 9,300 teachers are unable to reach their regular classrooms and at least 580 schools have been closed due to Israeli military curfews, closures and home confinement.

UNICEF said Israel has an obligation to ensure education is accessible to every Palestinian child, in accordance with the 4th Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As an absolute minimum, mobility restrictions on Palestinian civilians must be lifted throughout the OPT during school hours.

There are almost 1 million Palestinian children of school age. Children living in the districts of Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Hebron are most affected. The mobility restrictions in these areas have necessitated the creation of a substitute schooling system. Many Palestinian school children are now being home-schooled by their parents, or gathering in makeshift classrooms such as mosques, basements, and alleyways.

"Alternative schooling initiatives are an indication of the extent to which the regular lives of Palestinian children are being devastated by this conflict," said Mr Poupard.

UNICEF cautioned that the quality of home education can not be assessed or assured. UNICEF emphasized that the organizers and teachers of alternative schooling have a responsibility to ensure their actions are in the best interests of children at all times.

UNICEF is currently implementing a 'back to school' campaign to help ensure that the poorest Palestinian children can afford to stay in school.

The campaign includes the provision of school uniforms and school bags - expenses that often keep poor children out of the classroom. The campaign is supporting over 14,000 children. "This year, with the economy on the verge of collapse, many Palestinian parents are unable to afford to send their children to school.

UNICEF appeals to the donor community for further support," Mr Poupard said. Some 317,000 Palestinian school children are now in desperate need of assistance due to financial hardship.

Last school year, UNICEF supported a community-based education program in Hebron and Khan Younis assisting over 12,250 Palestinian children whose education was disrupted as a result of the crisis. This year, UNICEF is expanding the program by supporting officially-endorsed home schooling initiatives.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

"Between Palestine and Hamastine"
Roni Shaked
Intelligence Correspondnent, Yediot Ahronot

"Our situation is firm, we are expecting an upheaval." This was the closing sentence of the latest report sent from Hamas headquarters in the territories to the headquarters in Syria. The strengthening of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has brought the leadership of the organization to the decision to accelerate the battle over the future of the Palestinian Authority, the battle between "Palestine," the future democratic and secular state, and "Hamastine," the Islamic Palestinian state to which Hamas aspires.

The first shot was fired on Sunday morning. Hamas headquarters dispatched a cell headed by Imad Akel from the Nusseirat refugee camp to kill Col. Rajah Abu Lehiya in a targeted operation. Abu Lehiya was the commander of the special intervention force, the elite unit of the Palestinian police. The operation was planned similarly to the manner in which IDF undercover units operate: the necessary intelligence material was gathered, all the moves were planned, and after the plan was authorized by the senior leadership of the organization, Akel and his men were sent on their mission.

On the previous day, Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the number two man in Hamas, had given incitement speeches condemning all those who call to return to the negotiating table with Israel, and demanded that they be treated as traitors. Rantisi spoke in a threatening, arrogant and provocative tone. The day afterwards, Akel and his men put on uniforms of the Palestinian police and waited at a roadblock on the main road in Gaza. When Col. Abu Lehiya's car approached the roadblock, they ordered it to stop. Within seconds, they overpowered the commander of the elite unit and his five bodyguards. The wheel of the car was taken by a Hamas man who drove quickly to the Nusseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza. Abu Lehiya was killed, his bodyguards sent away shamefacedly, and the car torched. Hamas announced this joyfully through a system of deafening loudspeakers posted over the city's mosques.

The assassination was carried out on the day when 14 Palestinians were killed during the IDF operation in the El-Amal neighborhood of Khan Yunis. Despite the disaster, the Hamas commanders did not consider the possibility of delaying the planned mission.

"If the commander of the police elite unit cannot defend himself, who can defend the Palestinian police?" people asked in Gaza.

Arafat was among the first to receive the news of the killing. He was furious. From his office in the demolished mukataa he cursed Hamas, poured out his fury on Sheikh Yassin and ordered his men to arrest the murderers and put them on trial at the state security court, which is empowered to issue the death sentence.

The Palestinian policemen who arrived at the Nusseirat refugee camp encountered fierce resistance on the part of Hamas. During the failed attempts to break into the camp, five Hamas members were killed. The next day, street demonstrations broke out against the Palestinian police, and Gaza seethed and boiled.

Mohammed Dahlan, the strong man in Gaza, said that this time he could not make a concession to Hamas. This was the murder of a senior officer in broad daylight, he announced, and demanded that Hamas turn over the murderers. Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi announced that his organization is interested in the rule of law, but added that the law should be applied to policemen as well as civilians, and the policemen who killed Hamas men should also be put on trial. The Borno family, one of whose sons was killed by the gunfire of the Palestinian policemen, published an advertisement in the East Jerusalem Al-Kuds daily, stating that they do not intend to begin mourning as long as the son's murderers have not been arrested.

The Red Line

There has been great tension in Gaza ever since the colonel's murder. Despite the mediation attempts between the Palestinian leadership and Hamas, the dispute has not been settled. "The situation will not calm down until the colonel's murderers are turned over," announced Fatah. But Hamas is refusing to turn them over.

The confrontation is serious, and could definitely snowball. But it is early to speak of civil war. Hamas knows where the red line runs that they will not cross. Fitna, a civil war, is the red line for them, and they will be careful not to let the events deteriorate to such a war.

The leaders of Hamas know that the Palestinian Authority's force will determine the matter eventually, but this does not stop them from provoking the PA. In fact, the goal of the confrontation, initiated by Hamas, is to test the balance of power between Hamas and the PA, in view of the ongoing decrease in Arafat's power, the collapse of the Palestinian government institutions and the helplessness of the residents of the territories in recent months.

The Palestinian police reacted with great determination to the Hamas offensive, proving that when an internal struggle arises over the question of who is in charge, Arafat does not hesitate to send his men and exert his full force. Conversely, when Israel demands that he act against Hamas, he demonstrates ineffectuality, weakness and complete inaction. In such cases he treats Hamas as an ally.

The latest surveys held in the territories indicate an impressive rise in the support for Hamas: Between 20 and 29 percent of the residents of the territories support Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's organization, and this is a great deal. "The tanks created a vacuum, which gave Hamas oxygen," explains Sufiyan Abu Zeida, one of the heads of Fatah in Gaza.

Last week Hamas opened a large clinic in Khan Yunis, another institution of the Daawa, Hamas' developing aid and welfare system. The Daawa activity has expanded greatly during the Intifada. The citizens' distress was utilized well to expand the circles of support. Food and money were provided to families in need, clinics were built, a supplementary education system was created, new mosques and youth clubs were established, and day camps were held for children during the summer. The elaborate Hamas ceremonies draw crowds of tens of thousands of people, and at funerals and demonstrations the green flag is prevalent-the flag of Islam.

Through a well oiled fund-raising system in Europe, the United States and Arab countries, Hamas has succeeded in giving sponsorship to all the spheres that the PA has relinquished due to financial distress. The senior PA officials stand by helplessly and grind their teeth. The weaker the PA becomes, the stronger the anti-Israel stream grows and the greater the support for Hamas becomes, not only as a religious movement but also due to its path in battling Israel.

Main Opposition to Fatah

In three weeks the month of Ramadan will begin, and Hamas has already begun its preparations. Hamas intends to dedicate this month not only to strengthening religious faith and returning many people to the fold, but also to encourage fulfillment of the precept of jihad. The meaning: Encouraging acts of terror.

The Intifada has greatly strengthened religion in Palestinian society. Arafat and his men have also used religious symbols and Koran verses to enthuse the people and add as many as possible to the circle of violence against Israel. As the distress increased, many Palestinians found sanctuary in the mosques, with Allah. Arafat has not fought Hamas, nor did he have any intention of fighting it. He regards it not as an enemy but as a partner who has deviated from the path. Arafat has also used Hamas for his own purposes, and the criticism it voiced towards him is meant to preserve Palestinian interests.

After the blowup of the Palestinian national dialogue, which attempted to limit the terror attacks to the West Bank territories alone, the members of Hamas began to take an independent line that deepened even further the gap between them and the PA and Fatah. Hamas also proposed to the other rejectionist organizations to establish joint headquarters, which would serve as an alternative. At the beginning of the week, the political bureau of the PFLP and the DFLP announced the acceptance of the Fatah formula for limiting acts of terror to the territories. Hamas was the only organization that did not join these understandings, and thus remained the main opposition to Fatah.

Arafat and the Fatah leaders fear the rise in Hamas' power. The PA recently tried to create a division between the overseas branch of Hamas and the domestic branch of Hamas, and isolate Sheikh Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the more extreme leader of the organization. The attempt was unsuccessful: Rantisi grew stronger, and is now the most notable voice in the leadership of Hamas.

"The Sausage Theater"

In conjunction with the firm opposition stance presented by Hamas, harsh criticism of Arafat has also been voiced over the past few months within Fatah, the chairman's own organization, as well as in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the media and among Palestinian intellectuals. This criticism has led to the establishment of three new parties, which can be termed the Palestinian left wing: Bassam Abu Sheriff, who served as Arafat's spokesman for many years, established the Palestinian Democratic Party in Gaza; Mustafa Barghouti established the Reform Party in Ramallah; and Nabil Amer, member of the PLC, who is leading the group of reforms, has also announced the establishment of a new party.

New parties have been established; the question is when the elections will be held. Arafat has announced that they will be held at the beginning of January 2003, that is, in another three and a half months. This week, however, a delegation from the American organization helping prepare the elections visited Arafat's office in Ramallah, and announced that the preparations for the elections would last for at least half a year. Arafat voiced no objection. Arafat is doing everything to defer the elections, for fear of an increase in the power of Hamas and the new left wing parties. He also wants to see what the developments will be in Iraq. After the war, he hopes, a new "Madrid Conference" will be held to establish a new order in the region, with effective US intervention.

Meanwhile, Arafat is flourishing anew, among other factors due to the siege that Israel imposed on him and the demolition of the mukataa. When the siege was removed, Arafat came out strengthened, and returned to center stage. His status in the Palestinian street was bolstered, and the criticism against him subsided. On Wednesday there was a pilgrimage to his office by diplomats from around the world, and all the senior PA officials arrived in the evening. Arafat's increase in strength has greatly softened his opponents. Nabil Amer, for instance, has already announced that he is withdrawing his demand to appoint a prime minister, the Palestinian Legislative Council has given Arafat another month to establish the new government, and the reforms have also been shelved for the present.

Following the siege and the demolition of the mukataa, Israel absorbed criticism from the reform advocates and those who wished to move Arafat aside and curtail his powers. In off-the-record conversations, they refer to the Israeli siege as Masrahiyat al-mortodela, or the sausage theater. "You supplied Arafat with a lot of humus, beans and sausage," they say, "and detergents and underwear. You pampered him. You helped him leave there with the upper hand."

Despite the criticism, Arafat remains the undisputed Palestinian leader, and no one dares challenge his leadership, not even the Hamas men, who are occupied with internal wars in Gaza. As soon as Hamas sends another suicide bomber to Tel Aviv, Arafat may pay the price. And let there be no mistake: the internal wars in the PA do not come instead of the struggle against Israel. This cycle of violence has not yet ended.

This article ran in Yediot Ahronot on October 11, 2002

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Rabin's Last Notes Discovered: Revelations of US Dictated Withdrawal from the Golan
Ben Caspit
Senior Political Correspondent, Ma'ariv

Even now, two years after her death and seven years after he was assassinated, the apartment of Yitzhak and Leah Rabin still exists, preserved, kept up, furnished and appointed as though nothing had happened. Dalia Rabin Pelossof, their daughter, visits once a week.

A cleaning woman comes to keep things in order. Yitzhak's clothes hang ready in the closet. The same goes for Leah's wardrobe. The dishes in the kitchen are washed, the carpets vacuumed, the curtains aired. It is a beautiful apartment, well appointed, so full of life, so empty of life. It is stuck in a distant, other reality, that froze somewhere out there. If a stranger were to go in for a moment, he would think to himself that the person who lives there is going to come home from work, make something to drink, light a cigarette, and turn on the television to watch the news or a soccer game. His wife will show up in a moment, give him a kiss and mince off to the bedroom, filling the house with her laughter and the scent of her light perfume.

But they won't be coming home anymore. Outside there is a different country from the one they knew. A new reality reigns. Evil winds blow. Leah and Yitzhak Rabin are gone. The apartment stands empty, mute, silent.

Not long ago, Dalia Rabin went into her deceased parents' bedroom. For the first time since her father's assassination, she opened the drawer of the night-table near his bed and peeked inside. As far as anyone knew, the only one who had opened those drawers after the assassination was Leah Rabin herself. Now that she was gone, it was her daughter's turn.

Testimony of a Drama

Pieces of the prime minister's life, which was cut off overnight, lay inside: two cigarette lighters, reading glasses, and a watch that had stopped. There was also a small notebook, a Kohinoor writing pad, the kind that fits in a rear trouser pocket or a front jacket pocket. A nice little notebook that Rabin scribbled in with a Pilot pen, no different than the kind he used to sign the Oslo Accords.

Dalia Rabin leafed through it, her hand trembling a little. Her father had written brief lists in his orderly, legible handwriting. He did not know that it was his last notebook. There were telephone numbers, a few comments, and three consecutive pages that aroused curiosity under the heading "Meeting with the Secretary of State."

Dalia Rabin realized almost immediately that she was looking at a historical document: a detailed witness in the prime minister's handwriting, from inside the room, of the drama that was going on behind the scenes in the contacts that Yitzhak Rabin held with Hafez Assad via the American administration. Contacts that were halfway hidden until today. Promises were made, messages passed on, versions heard. No one, until today, could point to the real story. Now here it was, completely told, in lists that Rabin wrote for himself before his last meeting with the mediator, the American Secretary of State.

A reminder: the American Secretary of State was then Warren Christopher. A dry lawyer, taciturn, punctilious and boring. He carried on a Sisyphean, endless campaign of dialogue between Damascus and Jerusalem in an effort to bridge the gap between Israel and Syria and come to a comprehensive, full agreement between the two countries. After Rabin's death, there were claims of a "deposit" that the prime minister supposedly left with the American Secretary of State, about a promise of a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights that was not kept. Shimon Peres, who took Rabin's place as prime minister, opened the safe and discovered an explicit promise by Rabin to withdraw from the entire Golan. Peres jumped at the bargain: he would keep the promise, and (the late) Rabin would bear the responsibility. The problem was that none of these promises were set down in writing. Everything was buried in the memories of those involved, a good many of them no longer among us today.

The Syrians continue to claim, till today, that they received an explicit promise from Rabin of total withdrawal from the Golan. Rabin's confidantes deny it. The Americans are keeping quiet. They don't confirm or deny. Three pages of a tiny Kohinoor notepad tell the entire story. Rabin is preparing himself for a meeting with Christopher. Rabin is furious with Christopher because he found out that the Syrians expect a complete, quick and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Rabin discovers that the Syrians heard it from the Americans and he understands that they've tricked him. They misquoted his statements. They did not present them accurately. It is told that in that meeting with Christopher, which Rabin writes about in his notepad, the prime minister's voice was so loud it could be heard outside the room.

Here is what is written there:

The heading, as stated, is: "Meeting with the Secretary of State." First of all, manners: "Expressing thanks," and straight to the matter at hand: "The Syrian subject." Here, as we noted, the trouble begins. Rabin begins with the good: "I appreciated the Syrian President's attitude." And then, he gets down to the nitty-gritty:

"What was agreed between us:

  1. Willingness for full withdrawal in exchange for full peace with all its components.
  2. Duration of the withdrawal and its stages.
  3. The combination of carrying out full peace before completing the entire pullout with a preliminary pullout.
  4. Security arrangements."

Commentary: This is conclusive proof, in Rabin's own hand, that he told the Syrians he was willing to agree to full withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for full peace. Still, he had conditions, which are detailed under No. 4. Rabin demanded of the Syrians withdrawal in stages, with most of the demand being to carry out what he called "full peace" even at the beginning of the process, after "a preliminary withdrawal." Only after that, said Rabin, would Israel carry out the rest of the withdrawal from the Golan Heights. In other words, we are ready to come down from the Golan Heights on condition that we get a full peace that is sealed and carried out in the first stages of the pullout, along with appropriate security arrangements.

Back to the notepad: "What will actually happen," Rabin writes on the second page, and continues: "The Syrians have the promise of a more complete withdrawal than any other Arab country dared to request. In exchange there is no agreement to a single one of the components that is a condition-as a package deal or table with four legs. A process of negotiations when the Syrians expect that the Americans will sell Israel out in writing. They're stopping negotiations and making their resumption conditional on practical Israeli concessions."

Here is all the drama on one small notepad page: in other words, how they tricked Yitzhak Rabin. The Syrians got the promise of a withdrawal that was "more complete than any other Arab country dared to request." The fiasco here belongs, evidently, to the Americans. The Syrians did not agree to give in exchange what Rabin asked for, did not understand that it was a package deal, and ignored what Rabin called, in those days, "the four legs of the table," without which there would be no agreement. At this stage, when it became clear to the Syrians that Israel had demands of its own, they stopped negotiations and made their resumption a bargaining chip to pressure Israel into making more concessions, and they tried to get an Israeli deposit in writing from the United States. The Syrians, it turns out, insisted on an American document that would include the Israeli deposit, a deposit that the Americans gave them with stark negligence: without emphasizing all the circumstances, the stages and Israel's conditions. That is how the Syrians took the map by force and tried to convince the Americans to sell Israel out. Yitzhak Rabin, a straightforward and upright man, did not like being sold out. He boiled with anger. Netanyahu Activates, Barak Erred

Here is the third page:

"What happens now?" Rabin asks in his notepad, and answers: "Emphasize to the Syrians that the territorial subject is not in their pocket as something that stands by itself. It is conditional on their response to the other Israeli demands. Continue, after this clarification, on the subject of security arrangements. We will not give up on a change in the security arrangements in the territorial differences in light of the geographic situation and precedent of the separation-of-forces agreement."

Everything is almost clear here. Rabin is asking the Americans to fix what they broke. To make the situation clear to the Syrians. To tell them that the Golan Heights are not in their pocket from the beginning, nor for free. In the end, to insist on security arrangements, too: Israel asked for Syrian demilitarization not only on the Golan Heights, but also in broad sections of territory deep within Syria, but refused to demilitarize parallel territory one to one because of what Rabin called "the geographic situation and the precedent of a separation-of-forces agreement." In other words: Israeli depth is far smaller than Syrian strategic depth, and therefore Israel would have to make do with a smaller demilitarization, symbolic, along its new border.

All the rest is written in the history books. Rabin's meeting with Christopher took place in Tel Aviv in June 1995, less than five months before he was assassinated. Dennis Ross came to Israel a few more times, tried to fix something, but didn't manage it. After that came Shimon Peres, who took over the controversial deposit and did not manage to translate it into an agreement. A wave of terror attacks began in Israel, and Peres called early elections and was defeated by Binyamin Netanyahu. He, for his part, got Ronald Lauder going, who shuttled between Damascus and Jerusalem and passed on his own deposits. These are certainly described in other notepads. After Netanyahu came Barak, who learned the material from Lauder, and tried to understand from the Americans where we stopped and where we went wrong, which didn't prevent him from making more mistakes. No agreement with the Syrians came from all of this. Rabin was assassinated, Assad died, and we were left with the notepad.

Recently, Dalia Rabin spoke with Professor Ya'akov Ne'eman, who is a lawyer. "I want to tell you something," Ne'eman told her, "something about the dollar account your mother had in America." His story was fantastic. Ne'eman told her that the story could have ended differently. Rabin says he told her that many years ago he discovered a yellowing, forgotten internal regulation in the Finance Ministry's archives. This regulation stipulated that a member of the Foreign Ministry who completed his term abroad was permitted to hold a dollar account for three more years. Ne'eman said that following the discovery, he contacted Professor Aharon Barak, who was the state attorney at the time, and decided to press criminal charges against Leah Rabin after Dan Margalit exposed the dollar account story in Ha'aretz. "Did you know about it?" Ne'eman asked him. "No one brought it to my attention," Barak said. Today he is the president of the Supreme Court. So much for the Rabin Pelossof version of the Ne'eman story.

It should be noted: the Rabins' dollar accounts in the United States were exposed by Dan Margalit in Ha'aretz in 1977, a little more than three years after Rabin completed his term as ambassador in Washington. That means that the administrative regulation did not apply to the incident (since the dispensation to have the account lasted for only three years).

On the other hand, the existence of this regulation changes the situation significantly. If the state attorney or the court had known of this regulation, the whole way it was dealt with might have been completely different.

In an instance like this, Professor Barak could have concluded that there was no felony here, but rather a procedural deviation of a few months. The probability that Barak would have pressed criminal charges in such a case is low. The entire process would have become a disciplinary, procedural, technical one and would have ended with a fine or a warning. It could be that the reason for pressing criminal charges, which ended in a conviction, after which Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had to resign, might never have existed (Professor Aharon Barak refused to comment on this story).

Would there be peace today if Rabin had not been assassinated? Would there have been a war? No one can answer that question. When the suicide attacks began, during his term, Rabin considered (on the IDF's advice) stopping the process and making it clear to Arafat that he had to destroy Hamas if he wanted to continue on the peace path. Rabin considered, hesitated and decided to keep going. His character as a pursuer of security, suspicious, insistent on detail, would have caused him almost certainly to stop much before it was actually stopped. The confrontation might have broken out a long time ago. Maybe not. Maybe Binyamin Netanyahu would not have defeated Rabin in the elections (Bibi enjoyed a slight advantage in the polls before Rabin was assassinated). No one can know where the turbulent political reality would have led us in this mad place. So it is impossible to determine anything regarding peace or war. What we can certainly determine is that if Rabin had not been assassinated, he would be among us now. And for anyone who knew him, that is enough.

This article appreared on October 11, 2002 in Maariv

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

2002 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jimmy Carter's Role in Imposing a Totalitarian Dictatorship on the Palestinian Arab People
Carter: the Father of Palestinian Autocracy
David Bedein

The announcement from the Nobel Peace Prize Committee on October 11, 2002 that Jimmy Carter would receive this year's 2002 Nobel Peace Prize will be received with great enthusiasm by Yassir Arafat's Palestinian Authority dictatorship and received with equal dissapointment by human rights circles among the Palestinian Arab people.

Carter was the US observer and facilitator of the Januray 1996 elections that catapulted Arafat to be the "democratically elected" leader of the Palestinian Arab people.

Our news agency worked with a Palestinian Arab TV crew to cover those elections.

However, Arafat manipulated these elections with rules that forbid anyone from running against him without his express approval, as reported by the UN election observer team.

Indeed Dr. Haider Abdul Shefi, who had led the PLO delegation at the Madrid negotiations in 1991, offered his candidacy, only to be rejected by Arafat.

When Dr. Shefi said that he was going to run anyway, a bomb explosion in Dr. Shefi's home convinced him otherwise.

More discrepancies in Arafat's "democratic" elections were docmented by Mr. Daniel Polisar, the head of the PEACE WATCH observer team to the PA elections, in his article, "How Arafat Rigged the 1996 PA Elections" republished on the June 28th 2002 issue of Israel Resource Review,

Jummy Carter, who purports to symbolize a commitment to peace and justice, had nothing to say in criticism of the lack of "democracy" in the PA elections.

Instead, Carter takes credit for the "democratic" nature of the PA elections, in numerous articles that Carter has written and numerous speeches that Carter has given.

When I asked Carter immediately after the PA elections about the fact that Arafat had rigged the elections, Carter responded with a chuckle and said that "We have problems like that in Chicago too".

Jimmy Carter now shares the notoriety of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize with Yassir Arafat.

You might call Carter the father of Palestinian Autocracy.

[Satirist Tom Lehrer once remarked that he left the field of satire when US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize at the height of the Vietnam War. Lehrer said that "now there is nothing more to satirize".]

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