Under intense pressure from the United States, the European community, Russia and the United Nations —— the so—called "Quartet" of world powers —— Israel is pursuing a suicidal course that may well cause the state to collapse, and place its five—million—plus Jewish inhabitants at the mercy of Arab enemies who mean them no good. To put the matter bluntly, a second Jewish Holocaust, only sixty to seventy years after Holocaust I, may be in the offing in the not—too—distant future. American Jews, and the American public as a whole, are completely oblivious to these horrific developments. Worst of all, the majority of the Israeli public seems to be acquiescing in the suicidal policies of their own government, without realizing the tragic fate that awaits them if these policies are allowed to continue.
The Israeli cabinet has now given formal approval to the insane "disengagement" scheme of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which calls for the destruction of twenty—two Jewish communities in Gaza and Samaria, the expulsion of the ten—thousand—plus Jewish inhabitants of these communities, abandonment by the Israel Defense Forces of vital military positions in Gaza, and the release of a minimum of nine hundred* Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons, including many with "blood on their hands" —— all in return for absolutely nothing at all from the Arab side.
That's right. Israel is retreating unilaterally, and expelling thousands of its own people from their homes, without even receiving a promise from the Palestinian Authority to put a stop to terrorism and violence against Israel. The most that the PA's 'new' leader, Mahmoud Abbas ("Abu Mazen"), has promised to do is to jaw—bone Palestinian terrorists into suspending their attacks for a time. Friday's bombing reveals his lack of such influence. But he has also made a public commitment not to use force to restrain the terrorists or disarm them. But surely Abbas knows —— and both Israel and American officials should know —— that verbal exhortations to terrorists to exercise restraint are completely ineffective and worthless. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two of the most vicious of the terrorist organizations, have publicly promised to continue their reign of terror despite Abbas' pro forma jaw—boning. Abbas' response has been to announce that six hundred Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists will be inducted in the Palestinian Authority's "police force." And Abbas freely admits that his primary motive for this decision is to protect the terrorists from possible arrest and retaliation by Israel.
The much—ballyhooed "summit" between Sharon and Abbas in Sharm—el—Sheikh earlier this month broke up without a joint declaration, a joint press conference —— or a promise from Abbas to do anything at all to stop terrorist aggression
Despite claims by some Israeli officials that Abbas has toned down anti—Israel and anti—Jewish incitement in the Palestinian Authority—funded—and—controlled media, a study published by the authoritative Israeli website Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reveals only superficial improvements in the Palestinian media's war and hate propaganda. For example: the number of songs broadcast daily of PA television urging children to become shaheeds ("martyrs" or suicide bombers) in the war against Israel has declined from thirty a day to "only" about four a day! However, sermons by Muslim preachers urging war with Israel and the "liberation" of all "Palestine' —— including every acre of Israel, even Tel Aviv—— continue to be broadcast regularly by the government—owned television station. For example, in a recent broadcast the chief Muslim clergyman in Gaza, whose salary, like all Muslim ministers, is paid by the PA, explained to television viewers that any settlement with Israel, even one that forced Israel back to its pre—1967 borders, would only be a temporary stage on the way to the liberation of all of "Palestine.'
Israel has not even demanded that alleged Israeli agents sentenced to death by the PA and held in Palestinian prisons be exchanged for the five hundred terrorists that Israel has already released, or the four hundred more that it planned to release shortly. Instead, Abbas has affirmed the death sentences on these brave Palestinian Arabs, the true resistance fighters of the Palestinian territories, who have put their lives on the line to protect Israelis from terror, without so much as a whimper of protest from Israel! This betrayal of Israel's loyal and courageous friends among the Palestinian people, whose lives could easily have been saved by insisting on their release along with the accused terrorists, is perhaps the most shocking, but also the least publicized aspect of the Sharon government's appeasement policy.
Meanwhile, the expulsion order against the Jewish inhabitants of Gaza and Samaria is straining Israel internally to the breaking point. Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum speculate openly about the possibility of "civil war." According to numerous leaks of government documents published in the Israeli press, the government is planning to set up detention camps to hold thousands of Gaza and Samaria Jews, and their children, if they offer any resistance, even non—violent, to the expulsion order. The camps will also be built to accommodate thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of protestors against the expulsion.
Government cabinet ministers have been talking for months in public about detaining opponents of the expulsion, without any criminal charges or evidence of crimes committed by them, in order to ensure that the withdrawal and expulsions proceed smoothly. Senior officials of the government have labeled any public opposition to the expulsion order as "incitement," which under Israeli law is grounds for imprisonment, and they have suggested that anyone who speaks out against the policy should be arrested. One government minister said that it was "incitement" for anyone to oppose the expulsion "as an organized group," or even for members of parliament to "threaten" not to vote for the government if it goes ahead with the expulsion. All of this talk carries with it an ominous threat to carry out the harshest and most massive political repression in Israel's history, one that would transform the country from a democracy, however flawed, into a dictatorship. And all this to placate and appease terrorists who have made it plain over and over again, by word and by deed, that they are implacable and unappeasable.
Nor will we have seen the last of the unilateral withdrawals and expulsion of Jews from their homes once the eviction of the ten thousand Gazan and Samarian Jews from the twenty—five villages ("settlements") now on the chopping block is completed. Minister of Trade and Industry Ehud Olmert, a close advisor and confidant of Sharon, says that the present disengagement plan is only a preliminary for "Disengagement Plan # 2," which will be a "massive" withdrawal and forced evacuation of Jews from Judea and Samaria. Sharon's office issued an immediate denial that this was government policy. But Sharon has disassociated himself from Olmert's "trial balloons" in the past, only to announce his decision to carry them out a few months later. Over the past four years, since becoming Prime Minister, Sharon has reversed himself on nearly every policy and principle that he advocated, and practiced, throughout his adult life. Why should it be any different with Olmert's latest "trial balloon"? The patriotic warrior Ariel Sharon that the Israeli public had come to love and respect seems no longer to exist. It is almost as if an alien spirit, a dybbuk or golem, had taken over the old soldier's body and mind.
Why is Israel's government behaving in this craven and self—destructive fashion? Why is it appeasing terrorists while oppressing its own people? As an American, I am ashamed to admit the truth: one reason is relentless pressure on Israel from the United States government, from our own President, George W. Bush and his assistants and advisors, to do exactly what Israel's government are now doing. In November and December of 2004 President Bush's White House advisor for Middle Eastern Affairs, Elliot Abrams, told closed meetings of American Jewish leaders that the administration expects Israel to dismantle all of the Israeli "settlements" that will be outside the "security fence" that Israel is now building.
Some sources suggest that Abrams did not specify the precise route of Israel's future border fence. But the usually well—informed Debka internet newspaper says that it must exclude all "settlements" to the east of the segment of the security fence that Israel has already built, along its narrow, ten—mile—wide "waist." This would place Israel's border literally a stone's throw from its major metropolitan area, Tel Aviv and the neighboring towns and suburbs along Israel's central coast. If Debka's information is correct, nearly all Israeli towns and villages ("settlements") outside of Israel's 1949 armistice lines would have to be abandoned under the Bush plan, and their inhabitants expelled and resettled —— well over 400,000 people in all, including some 200,000 within the city limits of Jerusalem. Among the communities that would have to be "dismantled," according to Debka, are Ariel (18,000 inhabitants), Maale Adummim (30,000), Efrat (7,300), Kiryat Arba (7,500) and their nearby villages. Debka also asserts that Abrams will soon be appointed America's new ambassador to Israel with the mission of "ascertain [ing] that these Jewish sites are removed from the West Bank."
According to the Jerusalem Post's columnist Caroline Glick, a position paper written jointly by a team consisting of officials of the U.S. State Department, the Egyptian government, the Palestinian Authority, Canada, and the World Bank, joined by representatives of Israel's leftist opposition —— but without any input solicited from the Israeli government —— lays out the Bush plan in greater detail. The chief architect of the document is George Bush the First's former Secretary of State, James Baker, who is still a major player behind the scenes in the administration of George the Second. The present Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, relies on this document for guidance, according to Glick.
The Baker "street map to the Road Map," as one U.S. diplomat calls it, makes it explicit that all 400,000—plus Jews living outside Israel's pre—1967 borders must be expelled to make way for a "contiguous" and ethnically pure Palestinian Arab state. The document doesn't even mention the word "terrorism," and does not require the Palestinian Authority to crack down on terrorism or dismantle terrorist organizations. An international force will patrol the frontier between the Palestinian state and what is left of Israel, thus making it impossible for Israel to strike back at the terrorists if there are more attacks. Israel will be required to facilitate the training, arming and operation of the Palestinian "security forces," without interfering with them in any way. Political "reforms" will be instituted in the Palestinian state with the objective of "consolidating Fatah [a terrorist organization dedicated in its Constitution to the destruction of Israel] as the main political player in Palestinian society." And enforcement of the settlement will be controlled by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, thus depriving the State of Israel of sovereignty even within its truncated borders. Egyptian military forces will play a more important role in implementing the "agreement" than the IDF.
Apparently Israel's Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, has been informed of these American dictates and has acquiesced in them. When asked by a reporter about the future of Israeli settlements outside the pre—1967 lines, he said that U.S. has never accepted the idea of settlements in the territories, and that the consent of the Palestinians would be needed for their long—term survival. Needless to say, that consent will not be given.
It was the late Foreign Minister Abba Eban who first called the pre—1967 Israeli borders, to which the Bush Administration demands that Israel retreat, the "Auschwitz borders." No nation in today's high—tech world could survive within such frontiers against an enemy armed with superior numbers, state—of the—art weapons, and the training and will to use them effectively. And if history is any guide, the impact of repeated retreats and forced evacuations displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, all without any real letup in Arab terrorist attacks and hostility, will be to so demoralize and divide the Israeli people that they will lose the will and psychological stamina to defend themselves. Signs of this demoralization, war—weariness and deep internal divisions are already all too evident in Israel.
Under similar external pressure from "friends" as well as enemies, Czechoslovakia withdrew from the predominately German—speaking areas of their own country in 1938. Czech refugees streamed out of the areas seized by Nazi Germany under the terms of the Munich "peace process." Within five months, the Czechs had surrendered their country without a fight. In 1975, following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam and cutbacks in American aid, President Nguyen Van Thieu decided on a strategic withdrawal of South Vietnamese troops from the Central Highlands region, then under attack by the North Vietnamese forces, to what he thought would be more defensible positions near the coast. But the mass flight of soldiers and civilian refugees demoralized the army and the whole nation. Within seven weeks, North Vietnamese tanks were in Saigon. Czech and Vietnamese societies couldn't hold up under the pressure of withdrawals and mass evacuations before an advancing foe. Can we assume that things will be any different for Israel?
The Jewish people in America and throughout the Diaspora must shake themselves out of their comfortable lethargy, ignorance and indifference to what is going on before it is too late. They must raise the alarm, and cry out "No" to the Bush—Baker—Sharon plan from the rooftops, with all their heart and soul. Only then, perhaps will Israelis be roused from their world—weariness and demoralization, and their slavish obedience to U.S.
government pressure. There is no time to lose; in a few months it may be too late to prevent Holocaust II.
John Landue contributed research and reporting to this article.
*The terror bombing in front of a Tel Aviv nightclub Friday has put at least a temporary halt to the release of further prisoners.