Dec 2000 Journal

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Israel under fire

I arrived in Israel a few days after Ariel Sharon’s fateful visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to reports in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz his visit had been agreed with the Palestinian authorities, but whatever the original motivation of either Mr Sharon or Mr Arafat, the latter chose to use the visit to exploit the Western media.

Though initially I empathised with the plight of the Palestinian and Israeli Arabs, after reading the press and discussion with locals, I appreciated the extent to which Arafat controls his people. Knowing very well that a death – particularly that of a child –captures the headlines of Western newscasts, he has chosen to sacrifice the lives of young men and boys in his desire to do so. His intention is to generate world-wide sympathy for the Palestinian cause aimed at placing an international army into Judea and Samaria, as happened in Kosovo. He also wants to involve the Arab world in a Jihad against Israel.

I firmly believe what Arafat is continually telling us: that his ultimate intention is not only to occupy the whole of the Palestinian area agreed at Camp David, with the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, but that this is but the first step towards occupation of the territory that is Israel and, by a Jihad, effect a genocide of the Israeli Jewish population. The Palestinian authorities, through their TV and radio newscasts and in the mosques, are inciting their people to riot. Stoning is the traditional means of putting people to death in the Middle East and is still used in some Arab states. Arms given to the Palestinian authorities to keep order are being fired at the Israel Defence Forces from amongst the stone-throwers. The fire returned by the IDF cannot be targeted. As sad as the injuries and deaths are in Western eyes, Arab families are quite willing to put their youngsters on the streets and make them into, as they put it, martyrs.

A report in the Jerusalem Post referred to the fact that the Palestinian authorities appear to be making payments to their people of between $200 for minor injuries up to $2,000 for fatalities. These may be either payments for incitement to riot, or compensation, but they have the same effect. I spoke with two non-Jewish families, the men being employed by a European company providing technical services in Gaza, who had been evacuated out of Gaza the previous evening as things had got too ‘hot’. During the riots they had witnessed men standing on street corners with wads of 100 shekel notes handing money out to Palestinian rioters.

The barbarity of the lynching of two Territorials in Ramallah should leave no one under any illusion as to the fate of Jewish Israelis should the Arab nations ever mobilise the Jihad. The strength of the IDF is the only guarentee for the Jews in Israel. From polls taken in Israel during the riots, it appears that over two thirds of ordinary Israelis still want the peace negotiations to succeed, as does much of the Western world. The main question is whether Arafat does too.
Simon Alexander

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