Saturday, March 05, 2005
Thursday, February 03, 2005
By Naomi Ragen
Caught in a bind of misconception and delusion, the government of Israel signed agreements that resulted in the death of a thousand civilians, and injuries to thousands more.
In the beginning, when the bombings first started, we were told that we would proceed anyway, and not let the terrorists acts interrupt this "historic opportunity" for peace. Again and again, we were told Arafat wasn't behind these acts, so it was okay to honor agreements with him even as our children died in the streets.
Each time there was a terrorist attack, I asked myself: have they had enough yet? Enough self-delusion? And when nothing was changed, I knew the answer was no. They needed more convincing. More dead.
And here we are, after everything we've been through, and it seems the answer to "have they had enough yet" is still no.
Mr. Sharon is now planning a giant "good-will gesture" to the new government of Abu Mazen, who demands that the jails let out the terrorists caught and jailed at so much risk to our soldiers lives. And Mr. Sharon has agreed to release 900. He's agreed to open the checkpoints. He's agreed to give over five West Bank cities to the Palestinian Authority, Jericho first. All this in anticipation of the "historic opportunity" of a meeting with Mubarak, King Abdullah and Abu Mazen next week.
All of these things have been tried. Cities turned over to the Palestinian Authority became bomb factories, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in Jenin alone trying to undo this "good will gesture." We tried opening the jails, and the prisoners, freed, went back to the only life they knew, killing Israelis. We tried opening checkpoints, and what we got were suicide bombers in our pizza parlors.
Today, a 15 year-old Palestinian was caught near Nablus with a four-kilo suicide belt. Grenades were thrown in Gaza at a military patrol, injuring two IDF soldiers. The rocket attacks continue unabated at Gush Katif. Nothing has changed in the Palestinian Authority. And apparently nothing has changed in the self-delusion of our new coalition government.
As a citizen of Israel who voted with the majority of Israelis to remove Mr. Peres and his Oslo junkies from power, it is with a sense of deep betrayal and bitterness that I see my government preparing us for the next round of slaughter, preparing once again to "experiment" with "historic opportunities" to get another thousand Jews murdered.
What my government should be doing now is demanding all illegal weapons be handed over, as was demanded by the British government of the IRA, and the Americans in Fallujah. It should be dismantling terror networks and demanding good will gestures from the Palestinians to convince Israelis they can now be trusted. One of these gestures could be the shutting down of the hate-filled television and radio stations. Removing the hate-filled textbooks from the classrooms. Demanding the turning over of all Hamas operatives. Instead, it does none of these things, because once again we are in a fake peace process that consists of one-sided Israeli concessions in exchange for more lame, baseless generalities about cease-fires.
Yes, a historic opportunity indeed to make the same fatal mistakes again. And when, I ask myself, will it finally be enough?
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
This article is posted by participants of the January 27, 2005, BlogBurst (see list at end of article), to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.
On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.
Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that '45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz' (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004).
The Holocaust, symbolized by Auschwitz, the worst of the death camps, occurred in the wake of consistent, systematic, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda campaign. As a result, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how.
As Germany expanded its domination and occupation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland, parts of the USSR, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy and others countries, the way was open for Hitler to realize his well-publicized plan of destroying the Jewish people.
After experimentation, the use of Zyklon B on unsuspecting victim was adopted by the Nazis as the means of choice, and Auschwitz was selected as the main factory of death (more accurately, one should refer to the “Auschwitz-Birkenau complex”). The green light for mass annihilation was given at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942, and the mass gassings took place in Auschwitz between 1942 and the end of 1944, when the Nazis retreated before the advancing Red Army. Jews were transported to Auschwitz from all over Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe and most were slaughtered in Auschwitz upon arrival, sometimes as many as 12,000 in one day. Some victims were selected for slave labour or “medical” experimentation. All were subject to brutal treatment.
In all, between three and four million people, mostly Jews, but also Poles and Red Army POWs, were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone (though some authors put the number at 1.3 million). Other death camps were located at Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec (Belzek), Majdanek and Treblinka.
Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, sixty years ago, after most of the prisoners were forced into a Death March westwards. The Red Army found in Auschwitz about 7,600 survivors, but not all could be saved.
For a long time, the Allies were well aware of the mass murder, but deliberately refused to bomb the camp or the railways leading to it. Ironically, during the Polish uprising, the Allies had no hesitation in flying aid to Warsaw, sometimes flying right over Auschwitz.
There are troubling parallels between the systematic vilification of Jews before the Holocaust and the current vilification of the Jewish people and Israel. Suffice it to note the annual flood of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN; or the public opinion polls taken in Europe, which single out Israel as a danger to world peace; or the divestment campaigns being waged in the US against Israel; or the attempts to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. The complicity of the Allies in WW II is mirrored by the support the PLO has been receiving from Europe, China and Russia to this very day.
If remembering Auschwitz should teach us anything, it is that we must all support Israel and the Jewish people against the vilification and the complicity we are witnessing, knowing where it inevitably leads.
The meeting at Wannsee established the mechanism for "the final solution" -- shipment of Jews to eastern labor and death camps -- as the official policy of the Third Reich. Ever efficient and unashamed, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office.
The conference addressed every aspect of Nazi genocide in chillingly ordinary logic and language, e.g., " Europe will be combed through from West to East," "forcing the Jews out of the various spheres of life of the German people." Ever efficient, the participants foresaw that, "[i]n the course of the final solution and under appropriate direction, the Jews are to be utilized for work in the East in a suitable manner. In large labor columns and separated by sexes, Jews capable of working will be dispatched to these regions to build roads, and in the process a large number of them will undoubtedly drop out by way of natural attrition."
The minutes reflect an intention to dispose of "roughly eleven million Jews." This figure was derived after a horrifyingly detailed discussion of those with only partial Jewish ancestry, sparing some only a quarter Jewish, and magnanimously exempting others from evacuation only if "sterilized in order to prevent any progeny . . . Sterilization will be voluntary, but it is the precondition for remaining in the Reich."
Many conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. The conference, and the bureaucratic sounding murderous minutes, provide a prototypical example of Hannah Arendt's Banality of Evil.
To see a list of sites participating in this commemorative blogburst, click here.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
“Israel must help Mahmoud Abbas improve his standing among Palestinians to facilitate the peace process.”
The death of Yasser Arafat, who remained unwilling to make peace with Israel until the end of his life, has stimulated hope that a new Palestinian leader will emerge with the courage and vision of Anwar Sadat and King Hussein, who is prepared to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state that will live in peace beside Israel.
The Palestinians have chosen Mahmoud Abbas to lead them, and now the Israelis are waiting to see if he is prepared to take the necessary steps to advance the peace process. Abbas is someone who is well-known to the Israelis, because he was involved in past negotiations. They have welcomed his election and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon immediately announced his desire to meet with Abbas.
No one should have any illusions about Abbas. He was the number two person in the PLO and a co-founder of the Fatah terrorist organization [with Arafat].
It is possible to find many irredentist statements made in the past by the new President, some of which were uttered during his recent campaign. His uncompromising position on the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, for example, bodes ill for negotiations. On the other hand, he also demonstrated the courage to publicly criticize the intifada, has said that violence has not helped the Palestinian cause, and declared a readiness to make peace with Israel.
Some suggestions are being made that Israel must make gestures to Abbas to help him consolidate his power; however, Israel owes him nothing. It is Abbas who must show that he has both the will and ability to reform the Palestinian Authority (PA), to dismantle the terrorist networks, and to end the violence. Words are insufficient; he must take action. The agreements signed by the Palestinians are unequivocal about what is required of them; they cannot evade their responsibilities with conciliatory statements to the press in English or cease-fires with groups such as Hamas that remain committed to Israel’s destruction.
The terrorists’ identities and locations are known. The PA has an estimated 40,000 policemen and multiple security services. Abbas must use the resources at his command to disarm and arrest anyone who illegally possesses weapons and threatens or engages in violence.
Though it has no obligation to do so, Israel has taken steps to show its goodwill, including facilitating the Palestinian elections (which international observers reported were unfettered by Israel [Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2005]), releasing prisoners, and withdrawing troops from parts of the territories. Israel has also said it is prepared to negotiate the disengagement rather than act unilaterally. A unity government was formed in January 2005 that now includes the Labor Party, which increases the flexibility Sharon will have to negotiate in the future.
The immediate hope for a negotiated settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians now rests on the shoulders of Abbas. The early days of his regime were not encouraging, as two terrorist attacks were perpetrated (one of which killed six Israeli civilians, two of whom were Arabs) in what either were direct challenges to his leadership or an indication that he has not abandoned the two-track policy of Arafat; namely, to talk about peace with the Western media while calling for jihad in Arabic and orchestrating a terror campaign against Israel.
Coexistence is impossible unless Palestinian violence stops. There can be no attacks on Jews anywhere, no mortars or rockets fired into Israel, and no incitement to violence. This is not a case of giving extremists a veto over negotiations; Israel has not said that Abbas must stop 100 percent of the incidents before it will talk, but Israel does insist that he demonstrate a 100 percent effort to stop them.
This article can be found at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mf22.html#mmm
Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, http://www.JewishVirtualLibrary.org. To order a copy of the paperback edition of Myths and Facts, click HERE. Myths & Facts is also available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, and Swedish.