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   OCTOBER 2000 -  Issue #128    


Barak Cuts the Ties That Bind

Herbert Zweibon

Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount did not "provoke" the latest waves of Palestinian violence--which began with the terrorist killings of Israeli soldiers in Gaza and Kalkilya days before Sharon's visit--but it served an important educational purpose. It exposed the extremism of the Palestinians, their unwillingness to make peace with the Jewish State, and their willingness to engage in brutal violence for their political purposes. They used the carefully-orchestrated Jerusalem tunnel riots of 1996 to bring about Israeli surrender of Hebron. Even the U.S. State Department conceded, in 1997, that Yasser Arafat had given a "green light" to terrorists to use violence to advance Palestinian political goals.

Israel can win a military clash in or around Jerusalem. Fortunately, it still has the ability to crush Palestinian mobs, if it so chooses. But the bigger, long-term battle for Jerusalem and the entire Land of Israel is being lost, because the Barak government seems determined to lose it.

Almost eighty years ago, the British government and the entire League of Nations acknowledged "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" -- a simple and easily demonstrable historical fact buttressed by a plethora of evidence, including, among other things, the thousands of years of continuous Jewish habitation of Eretz Yisrael, the prominence of the Land of Israel in Jewish liturgy and rituals, and of course the text of the Bible. How could the nations not recognize the connection between the Jews and their land?

Yet what the nations recognized, Ehud Barak seeks to undo. Yes, Yitzhak Rabin gave up Jericho, Bethlehem, and all of Nablus except for the Tomb of Joseph building; yes, Benjamin Netanyahu gave the PA control over 80% of Hebron.

But it is also undeniably true that Barak is going further, much further. His vision of a "final status" agreement with Arafat will include, according to media reports he has not denied, surrender of the rest of Hebron (and expulsion of its Jewish community) and the Tomb of Joseph -- not to an "autonomy" regime over which Israel would have some security control, but to a sovereign Palestinian state.

Today, Jerusalem is on the table. The final link in the connection between the Jews and Eretz Yisrael is on the verge of being severed. Barak and his ultra-secular lieutenants, such as Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, have no interest in Jewish religious sites -- although they tremble with respect and understanding every time Muslim extremists make some impassioned demand regarding one of their religious sites. Barak really does not care whether the Jewish state rules the birthplace of King David, or the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or the site of the Temples. He never articulates any sense of personal or national connection to those sites, or to any bond between the Jews and Eretz Yisrael. All of his positions concerning territorial issues are based on "security" arguments, which he and his aides then overrule on the grounds that "peace" is Israel's "true security."

It is not only the Jewish connection to the Holy Land that is threatened, but the Christian connection as well. Under PA control, the former Christian majority in Bethlehem has been replaced by a militant Muslim majority. In Nazareth, the Muslim construction of a mosque adjacent to a church is a clear attempt to usurp Christian authority. How will Christian religious sites in Jerusalem fare if they are placed under Arafat's rule? Probably not much better than they did under Jordanian rule before 1967.

On a summer day in 1922, the nations of the world affirmed the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. How ironic and tragic that, less than eighty years later, it is the prime minister of the Jewish state who is in the process of burying that connection forever.

Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.


From Camp David to Camp David ...3

Pan Am 103: The Betrayal ...8

October 2000               - 1 -               Outpost


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