Arafat's War of Attrition
by Staff Writer
We will never forget this day: Thursday, October 13, 2000, when a Palestinian mob in the city of Ramallah murdered Yoseph Abrahami, 38, and Vadim Norzits, 35, two Israeli soldiers (Reserve). The mob tortured these victims and openly mutilated their bodies. The mob expressed its enjoyment and took pride in this inhuman expression of Palestinian cannibalism.
This event, which was described as a lynching that shocked Israel, was also the murder of hope or 'Tikvah,' hope for peace and co-existence in the Middle-East. This barbarianism caused many Israeli left-oriented people to confess that peace does not have a chance in this region. Even Prime Minister Ehud Barak confessed that the 'peace process' is dead. How can we have peace with cannibals?
This murder exposed the depth of the Palestinian hate to Israel. The Palestinians openly express their long wish to destroy Israel. The Jewish Post in the last year presented time and again the warning of Israel's famous leader and 'founding father', Israel's senior politician and statesman, Yitzhak Shamir: "Do not push yourself into the abyss of history" (summer 2000).
In his new book Conversation with Yitzhak Shamir, (with Dr. Haim Misgav and translator David Eisner, Talpiot 2000), he said: "The PLO's objective is to purify all of Palestine of the Zionist entity. The Arabs plan, plain and simple, is to expel the Jewish people from their land and to liquidate Jewish sovereignty in Eretz-Yisrael." Shamir time and again has called Israel to dismantle the 'Oslo Accords' and its terrible ramifications. Shamir even came out publicly against Bibi Netanyahu who did not dismantle the Oslo agreements once and for all. Today, even peace advocates such as Shimon Peres and others such as the popular Labor leader Uzi Baram, confess to their mistakes. They believe that the Palestinians are looking to destroy Israel. They believe that Chairman Arafat, the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA), is a liar and an unbalanced leader. They came to these conclusions perhaps too late. They were victims of wishful thinking. Their assessments of the Palestinian policies were wrong. They were victims of their hope. Today we do not have any illusions. We must be united and establish one front, one national consensus. Perhaps we should believe in miracles. A. The New Intifada - Before the coming of Rosh Hashana, Ariel Sharon, leader of the Likud, coordinated a personal visit to Temple Mount. In response, Arafat ordered his PLO staff and his para-military organization, or the Tanzim, to launch a new well coordinated and unprecedented 'New Intifada.' For more than two weeks during the Jewish holidays we had to face the outbreak of violence in the West Bank and Gaza strip. Arafat launched a terrible explosion in the main cities such as Nablus or Ramallah. His people, his security forces, and his Palestinian policemen joined the masses who demonstrated with stones and fire, then later with guns and rifles.
In Tul Karem which is located only one mile from Netania, a town under the control of the PA, a Palestinian soldier killed his Israeli co-partner! The revolt was also coordinated by the PA radio stations as well. The violence started days before the visit of Ariel Sharon in the Temple Mount. For example: the killing of an Israeli soldier in Netzarim which is located inside the Gaza strip.
It should be noted that many tend to blame Sharon for the outbreak of this 'New Intifada.' Of course, Arafat used the visit as an excellent momentum to give his green light to this explosion. Sharon probably did not figure out this kind of response.
As a result of this 'new Intifada' around 100 Palestinians were killed. It should be noted that Barak used a policy of restrain (Havlaga) and prevented the death of much more Palestinians. Around 3,000 were only injured. In the last days of this 'new Intifada' Barak had to use tanks, combat helicopters and missiles in order to bring law and order. Arafat then started to calm the 'new Intifada' and ordered the mob to stay home.
It is not clear why Arafat, as a response to the crisis in Camp David and President Clinton's good will, decided to use violence. Even his admirers in the West are frustrated by his behavior. It is terrible to think that way but the feeling is that Arafat believes that he is able, step by step, to destroy Israel. He has a pathological illusion. This illusion has been nourished perhaps by his assessment of what took place inside the Israeli society political anarchy, a Prime Minister without a solid coalition, the confrontation between religious and secular Israelis, the confrontation between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Israelis, the non-stop great scandals and ugly affairs, Israel's various criminal political affairs. Remember the headline in the Israeli press: "A State Under Investigation?"
Arafat felt that the Israeli society became weak and a victim of a psychological crisis. This assessment of a sick society has been also nourished by Arafat's feeling that the Israeli army suffers from new problems such as the motivation of the will to fight. The source of Arafat's false belief was the way that Israel evacuated south-Lebanon. Prime Minister Barak viewed the evacuation as a victory and achievement but the Arabs viewed it as a sign of weakness. The Hezbollah's fighters became the new heroes of the Arab world and of the Palestinians! They came to the conclusion that Israel lost its military superiority. Arafat also is a satanic statesman. He is a sophisticated international fox. He knows how to manipulate the public opinion and the entire international community and the U.N.
For years he has worked hard to isolate Israel. His Palestinian delegation in the U.N., for example, has never changed its rhetoric or propaganda as if a 'peace process' has never existed. And the event demonstrated that their tactics paid off: The U.N. rushed to condemn Israel as if Israel has launched the riots. In the security council even the U.S. made a mistake and betrayed Israel by only an 'abstain' vote! What a shame for the Clinton administration.
Arafat believes that the international community will always condemn Israel. Today he asks for investigation committees and then he might ask to treat Barak as a war criminal. In Israel, some journalists remarked that Arafat would like Israel to massacre thousands of Palestinians so that he will be able to accuse Israel of committing genocide (Kossuvo). Arafat would like to get more support from the Arab countries and the entire Muslim world. Today he is waiting for a new Arab-Muslim summit in Egypt.
On Nightline recently PLO's professional American educated spokeswoman, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, shocked many by her extremist rhetoric and by remarking that the Palestinian Nation in 1948, out of its generous will, gave a present to the Jews, namely, those territories on which the state of Israel is built! Her message was clear: Palestine belongs to us. And we will let you live, as a favor, inside a small Jewish ghetto on a narrow coastal line, near the sea. Of course, the territories should be populated by the millions of Palestinian refugees who will come back to their home. A new Palestinian state will be established on the ruins of Israel as a Jewish state.
B. The Trojan Horse - "I cannot drive to Tel-Aviv as usual because we are being attacked by a mob. So I go on a special road. They still shoot at us," a friend from Ariel told me. "They still control many roads inside Israel as well. I cannot drive to Afula. There is a problem in Vadi Ara," said another friend who called me in New York to express his shock from what happened in Ramallah. With tears in his eyes he described the picture of the mob which mutilated the bodies of two soldiers they killed: "Barak is not doing enough to punish these barbarian murderers."
I described the Intifada as a 'new Intifada.' Why? Because, for the first time in Israel's history, its Arab citizens decided to coordinate their protest and uprising with the PLO's. It was the first time that Arafat's agents organized the Israeli Arab's intifada! Arabs all over Israel went to the streets. They crossed the red line between civil disobedience and revolt. They also used guns. These events shocked the Israelis who for many years have behaved like the ostrich, ignoring the reality.
In September of 1999, the Jewish Post said in an article: "Are Israeli Arabs a Trojan Horse?" which has alerted Jews and Israelis alike to the fact that the Arabs in Israel view themselves as Palestinians, potential citizens of the impending Palestinian state, as proud members of the emerging Palestinian nation. Israeli Arabs in many towns such as Umel Fachem managed to control roads and even cut the Galilee from the center of Israel! At least 13 Israeli Arabs were killed in the clashes with the Israeli police who, like the Israelis, were surprised by the militant unprecedented response of the Israeli Arabs. They only expressed their solidarity with their counterparts but again they described themselves as victims of discrimination. But their timing was a clear expression of their new decision, to obey the orders of the PLO & Arafat!
The Israeli Hamas used the situation to show off their power! Arabs attacked Israelis in many towns such as Akra or upper Nazareth. But the shock of many Israelis was the fact that in Jaffa, Arabs attacked Israeli stores, cars and blocked Yeffet Street and the road from Tel-Aviv to Bat Yam! Arabs in many town burned post offices and banks and destroyed many traffic lights. Arabs became soldiers of the PLO, they listened to the 'Voice of Palestine', the radio which told them what to do and coordinated their subversive activities with their brothers in the West Bank and Gaza. This station even managed, in Hebrew, a psychological war calling the Israeli soldiers and security forces not to commit what they defined as war crimes. The Hezbollah's radio did the same.
The Israeli Arab members of the Knesset joined the intifada (they of course have immunity and enjoy the best of the Israeli democracy). Instead of controlling the masses and mob they attacked Israel and blamed the I.D.F. (the Israeli Army) and Gen. Shaul Mofaz, Israel's Chief of Staff, for what they described as 'war crimes against children.' During the Nightline interview (ABC) a 'town meeting' which was aired from Jerusalem, MK Bishara was sitting with the PLO participants in the debate. (Dr. Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erbet). Of course he blamed Israel for everything and called Israel an 'Apartheid State.'
The irony of history is the fact that no government in Israel's history has done so much for the Israeli Arabs. Yossi Beilin was a champion of Arab rights and well-being in Israel. Barak said that the will invest a billion dollars in the Arab section. It is clear that Arabs betrayed him. Why? Because they still entertain their dream to destroy Israel, at least as a Jewish state! Israel will have to draw the right conclusion in the future. The Israeli police were busy because Israeli protestors in cities such as Jaffa tried to attack Arabs.
In the settlements, many tried to attack Arabs and retaliate the Arab attacks on Israeli citizens but the police and Army managed to stop this tendency and some rabbis called on Jews not to harm Arabs. Many were motivated by the destruction, by Palestinian mobs, of Joseph's Tomb and the murder of Rabbi Hillel Lieberman, who was born in Brooklyn. The Hezbollah took advantage of the situation and by highly sophisticated assault managed to kidnap three soldiers: Adi Avidan, Omar Soad, and Benjamin Abraham. They are wounded and they wait to see if the U.N. will release them. The conclusion is very sad: Barak viewed the evacuation of south-Lebanon as a great achievement.
Today we see that Israel made a mistake. We were too myopic. Hezbollah only temporarily froze its activities. They are closer to Haifa or Metula. Their positions are better than in 1999. And they have linkages to Syria and Iran! Indeed they are a card in the hands of Arafat, the same as the Israeli Arabs!
C. The Israeli Shame: Hasbara- In this century, we are being brainwashed by the media, electronic media. We live in the 'Age of Information.' We live in a 'Global Village.' We live in a world of images, public relationships, propaganda, battle of the minds. In Hebrew we use the term 'Hasbara' (explanation). In the two weeks of the Palestinian 'new Intifada' we were frustrated because the Palestinians control the media. Especially CNN. It was a terrible omission. We did not hear even the Israeli ambassador in this country.
Israel was surprised by the Palestinian propaganda. Its spokesperson, such as Saeb Erket, lied and distorted the truth. The omission demonstrated our lack of 'Americana' in Israel: The needy resources of people who are expert in Americana. Only recently has the situation been improved by the good performance of Ehud Barak himself. We do not say that it is easy to organize the Hasbara campaign but we must be on the alert and see the dynamic in the field.
We have to face a new legitimate anti-Israel, well-organized 'lobby.' I mean the Arab-American community. They have built their lobby quietly. They are American citizens. Some were born here. Their 'roar' is to be found in the Mosques, all over America. They mobilized every Muslim in America. Their leaders such as Dr. John Zogby are well educated and sophisticated Americans. They already became popular guests in the media. They helped the PLO or the Hamas propaganda machine in America. But they also used the streets. They organized two successful rallies. One in Times Square on a Friday during rush hour. And on Oct. 14, 2000, they organized a rally near the U.N., with 15,000 demonstrators. American Jews expressed their solidarity with Israel. Many pro-peace or left-oriented Jews expressed their 'mea culpa' or 'Arafat betrayed us. He does not look for peace but for war.' It was a period of shame to the advocates of the 'peace lobby' in America.
The major pro-Israel rally took place on Oct. 12, 2000. 30,000 people from greater New York demonstrated near the office of the Israeli Consulate in New York. Among the speakers who joined the crowd were: Governor Pataki, Mayor Giuliani, First Lady Hillary Clinton, Congressman Rick Lazio, Malcolm Hoenlein, Yuly Tamir, Mayor Ehud Olmert, Elie Wiesel, Shmuel Sisso and many others. Many participants condemned Arafat and his violence and the fact that the UN should 'abstain' in the security council.
Others expressed their shock from the lynching of the two soldiers in Ramallah. When Hillary Clinton began to speak she was 'booed' by the demonstrators but she went on and said: "The person who is accountable today for the violence and desecration of holy sites is Yasir Arafat." It should be noted that pro-Israel rallies took place in 60 cities all over the U.S. The conclusion is: Israel must develop a strong national unity, a new solid national consensus because its survival is at stake. Israel must mobilize its national energies and resources.
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