Monday, December 23, 2002


Dear Friends,

I send you an important piece by the well known columnist Carl Alpert which explains why misguided peace movements in Israel are not just a harmless expression of delusional, unfounded optimism; to the Arabs, they are a sign of weakness and an encouragement to keep those bombs coming. Those Jews abroad who fund Peace Now, Rabbis for Human Rights, Yesh G'vul, Meretz, the Labor Party, Women in Black, etc. etc. are not forging ahead towards a peace settlement; they are encouraging the extremist elements now in control of the Palestinians, their dream of destroying the State of Israel and the ongoing violence against the Jewish people.

Please read and pass on.



by Carl Alpert

Haifa - There is no lack of news, almost daily, on events in the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, but certain fundamental aspects of that struggle have received little attention. It is time the spotlight should be turned on them.

Statements by Palestinian leaders, sermons in mosques, and articles and editorials repeated in their press all lead to expression of a general opinion that the Arabs are winning in the ongoing battle with Israel. The few Arab personalities who raise timorous voices, pointing to the resultant desperate economic situation of their people, and the overpowering strength of Israel, are at once hushed up by the prophets of victory, and even threatened with harm. The masses follow the lead of their war-mongers.

On what do they base their optimism? On two factors: on the visible physical results of their violence, and on what they regard as a spirit of defeatism which appears to them to be sweeping over Israel.

With regard to the first: Gideon Levi, a pro-Palestinian columnist in the daily paper Haaretz, has for some time been serving as a mouthpiece for their point of view. On the subject of the alleged success of the terrorism, he has noted that ever since the Yom Kippur War, almost 30 years ago, everything that the Arabs have gained has come about as a result of their use of force. They point to the Yom Kippur War itself, Egypt's surprise attack, which ended with the surrender of the entire Sinai, even the last of Israel's holdings, Yamit.

The first Intifada gained for them the Oslo agreement, the safe ensconcing of Arafat in the West Bank, the establishment and arming (by Israel) of the Palestine Authority, and the withdrawal of Israel from major West Bank cities and most of Gaza.

It was the repeated violence of the Hizbullah that brought about Israel's hasty withdrawal from Lebanon.

More recently, Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader, observed that the bloody and painful terrorist attack on a bus in Jerusalem was what motivated Amram Mitzna, head of the Labor Party, to declare thereafter that he is prepared to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip. In other words, it appears to them that everything they have gained, and Israel's capitulation, has always come about after intense terrorist violence. The obvious moral, therefore, is to continue with the violence until Israel is brought to its knees, and then eliminated entirely.

The second factor contributing to their optimism, and hence encouraging them in their determination to continue with the terror, is the reaction of certain elements in Israel and among liberal-minded Jews in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The peace movements in Israel, though they represent only a very small fraction of public opinion, are regarded by the Palestinians as an indication of a growing spirit of defeatism here. Jewish street demonstrations and public meetings attacking government policy are looked upon by most Israelis only as an expression of a naive and misguided group exercising their freedom in a democracy. But to the Arabs, who do not understand democracy, such actions are taken very seriously and are regarded as indications of a significant split in Israeli public opinion.

The Palestinians derive encouragement as a result. Jews in other parts of the world as well, who endorse the so-called peace movements here, are in effect bolstering the Palestinians in their determination to increase their apparently successful terrorism. After all, they feel that they have help from unwitting collaborators within the Israeli ranks.

Further, the publicity given to the relatively few Israelis who have refused to serve in the army in the West Bank adds substantially to the belief that Israeli morale is disintegrating. Unwittingly, the idealistic but short-sighted Jewish humanitarians, are playing into the hands of Israel's foes, and are in large part responsible for continuation and extension of the terror.

The Arabs also compare the reaction at funerals of the victims on both sides, as shown here on television. Arab funerals are marked by excited fury, fist-waving and incitement. Jewish funerals are distinguished by the tears and subdued grief of the mourners. This, too, is regarded as a sign of growing Israeli weakness and imminent collapse, in contrast to Arab fervor and determination.

But after all this is said, it must be noted that the vast majority of Israelis remain confident and determined. They would prefer to reach a peaceful agreement with the Palestinians, but if the latter persist in resorting to violence, Israel has no alternative but to respond with force. A change may come when a new, sane, responsible leadership emerges on the other side, prepared to teach their people that good neighborliness is preferable to hostility. When that time comes, Israel will not be found wanting.

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Naomi Ragen
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