The Father of a Victim of Terror Speaks Out
By: Stephen M. Flatow
West Orange, NJ
As a father whose daughter was a victim of Middle East terrorism since Oslo, I have more than a passing interest in the outcome of the meetings between President Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Chairman Arafat scheduled for the week of January 19th.
I write this article neither to quash all hopes for an eventual settlement nor to urge a rapid settlement of all differences between Israelis and Palestinians. I write it because I am concerned about history repeating itself; that we are ignoring warning signs of things to come.
Today, Israel sits, much like Czechoslovakia in the 1930's, in the center of the public eye as if the fate of the peace of the entire world was dependent on the location of its boundaries. We have one government, the United States, being encouraged daily to bring the Israelis into line -- read here is concede territory. The Israelis respond that concrete actions by the Palestinian Authority to comply with its obligations under Oslo and the Hebron agreements such as to combat terrorism and clearly revoke portions of the charter, will advance the Oslo process.
We are again being reminded by some that actions speak louder than words and that, therefore, some of the words emanating from one of the sides -- the Palestinian Authority -- should be ignored.
If the future final settlement between Israel and the PA is to have worth, why are the following statements -- taken from the Israel Government Press Office publication "A Compendium of Hate: Palestinian Authority - Anti-Semitism Since Hebron -- from the PA's side going unchallenged.
Anti-Semetic Stereotypes: "There is a need to formulate a clear information plan... In order for us to oppose the Zionist media, which dominates more than half of the media in the world - newspapers, radio and television."
"Netanyahu's Plan completely matches the foundations of the greater Zionist plan which is organized according to specific stages that were determined when the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were composed..."
How about words from religious leaders such as PA Mufti Ikrama Sabri in an interview reported by The New York Times on May 18, 1997:
"The Zionist entity exists on seized land. The Jews remain enemies because they expropriate lands, build settlements and pay high sums to buy properties. They are the greater enemies of us Muslims."
And this excerpt from the weekly Friday prayer sermon at Al-Aqsa mosque broadcast on the official PA radio station the Voice of Palestine on October 24, 1997:
"The Jews always set a trap for the community of Muslims. The Koran repeatedly warns against the traps of plots of the 'people of the book'. They relentlessly scheme in all times and places and that is what they do today and tomorrow against the Muslim camp."
Yasir Arafat hasnot been above the fray. He has never renounced the PLO's 1974 declaration, "Strategy of Phrases," for the destruction of Israel step-by-step. His penchant for glorifying killers, such as Yechi Ayyash by declaring them martyrs, sends chills down my spine. His words bring pain to the victims of murderers like Ayyash and should give pause to those he attempts to sway with his talk of PA compliance with Oslo.
America's president prides himself on his understanding of history. Let us all hope that he remembers the not-too-long ago history of this century and the lessons caused by a world too willing to turn a blind eye to the truth. Let's not be forced to one day say the warning signs were there but we didn't think they were real.
Stephen Flatow is the father of Alisa Flatow, a 20 year old American student murdered in Israel in April, 1995.
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