Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor;

An Open Letter to the Nobel Committee

We know that it is unprecedented for the Nobel Prize authorities to revoke an award. But the continued complicity in acts of barbaric slaughter by the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize surely warrants an unprecedented sanction. In the name of peace -- true and enduring peace for all peoples of the Middle East -- we call upon the Nobel Prize Committee to reconsider its decision to award the Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat. Without rectification of this profound error, the search for peace in the Middle Eat will be doomed to failure.

The initial decision to award Arafat with the coveted Nobel Prize was apparently based on the belief that Arafat had renounced acts of terror and had become a sincere participant in a true peace process. No doubt the Nobel authorities were assured of this by none other than Israeli leaders such as Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin. Yet, in the months following the award, a mounting wave of compelling evidence -- so graphic and shocking that none can ignore it -- showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Arafat's pledge to renounce terrorism and devote himself to peace was an utter falsehood. The continued empowerment of an international criminal such as Arafat by the prestigious Nobel Prize Award is itself a significant obstacle to true peace in the Middle East and an intolerable perversion of the ideals and goals of those devoted to peace.

Arafat's frequent public endorsements in front of Arabic-speaking audiences of bloodshed and the slaughter of innocents are also well- documented. In July, 1996, at a rally in Gaza, he extolled known terrorists: "We are committed to all martyrs who died for the cause of Jerusalem starting with Ahmed Musa until the last martyr Yihye Ayyash." Musa was the first member of Fatah to be killed in 1965, and Ayyash, "The Engineer" was the mastermind behind numerous Hamas suicide bombings targeting Jewish men, women and children. At Al-Azar University in Gaza, Arafat stated: "The commitment still stands and the oath is still value: that we will continue this long jihad, this difficult jihad...via deaths, via sacrifices..." In May, Arafat stated in an interview with a Russian newspaper that Hamas is "one of many patriotic movements...even its military wing." This past week, a front page New York Times photograph showed Arafat embracing the leader of Hamas.

The Nobel Prize authorities will meet to decide upon next year's award. The urgency of this matter would justify convening a special meeting of the Peace Prize Committee. We hereby urgently implore the committee to take the step -- unprecedented though it be -- of formally and publicly revoking the Peace Prize awarded to Yasser Arafat. In furtherance of this objective, we are traveling to Oslo to formally present our written request to the Nobel Prize authorities.

The eyes of the world -- hundreds of millions of Christians, Jews, Moslems and people of all creeds and nations -- follow with close attention the decisions of the Nobel Prize Committee. The award of the Peace Prize stands for something of great importance. To brazenly traduce the commitment its recipient implicitly makes to true peace, as Yasser Arafat so manifestly has done, is itself an atrocity against the hopes and dreams of the world community. If the award to Arafat is not revoked, the Nobel Prize process will forever -- in the eyes of history -- be defiled.

Arafat remains committed to the total destruction of Israel and the use of terror to accomplish his goal. In the name of peace, and in the name of truth and justice, the Nobel Prize award to Arafat must be revoked.

Beth Gilinsky
Jewish Action Alliance

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