Serge Schmemann notes (NY Times, 8/23/96) that the Arabs are considering Mr. Netanyahu's actions in withdrawing from Hebron as "a central test of Mr. Netanyahu's intentions" in dealing with the Palestinian Arabs. Somehow, while focusing on this, no one, including Schmemann, is simultaneously focusing Palestinian Arab actions as "a central test of their intentions."
Were Schmemann and others to do so, they would be asking what the Arab actions listed below might be indicating. Surely these are "central tests" of Arab intentions and perhaps are a clue to how a wise government of Israel reacts to the issue of self-defense:
After all, the whole plan for creating Arab self-governing areas was predicated that it would lead to peaceful relations. Were one to seriously examine Arab dreadful behavior in word and deed, it becomes evident that expectation has not materialized. The rationale for ceding Hebron has evaporated and has become one more of the reasons that THIS HISTORIC CENTER OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE should not be ceded to enemies of the nation.
So by all means, let us look for clues to intentions through actions. I do hope that the result will be the revelation that Mr. Netanyahu has examined the central tests of Arab intentions and concluded that it would be unwise to continue the abandonment of sacred Jewish sites and the empowering of his nation's dangerous enemies.
CORRECTING HEBRON DISTORTIONS
I am suspicious of reformed "right wing" Jewish extremists who come forward to testify on their past errors. I remember that there was another such, who turned out to be a phony baloney. He had been a plant from the very beginning with a propaganda mission to discredit Israel -- to feed myths to the gullible U.S. Jewish leftists and urge them to turn against an Israel that was not knuckling under to U.S. policy. Remember, it happens to be U.S. policy to appease the savage Arab allies who wish to roll back and destroy Israel. (The continued imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard who tried to mitigate the U.S. betrayal of Israel is just another sign of this.)
Anyway, in this weekend's Times magazine there is an article ("The Hebron Hurdle") discussing this city by a "reformed rightist extremist," Yossi Klein Halevy. If past is prologue, he could well be not at all "a reformed rightist extremist," but rather from the very first an extremist LEFTIST and perhaps even worse.
Yossi's article is unusual in that there is actually real substantive information on the viciously anti-Jewish mentality of the Arabs of Hebron, who are strong Hamas supporters, who dream, in effect, "now Hebron, tomorrow all of Israel." Nor does Yossi pull his punches telling of the myths of the Arabs, that the Bible's Abraham, who bought what is now the Sepulcher of the Patriarchs and who lived upwards of 2,600 years before the advent of Mohammed, was a Muslim. This demonstrates the lengths to which the Arabs are willing to go to manufacture a rationale for usurping the rights of the Jewish people not only in Hebron but to all of Israel.
Yossi's Times article also includes the history of how the Jewish community of Hebron, viable for hundreds of years, was destroyed and its properties robbed by the Arabs in a pogrom in 1929, with the murder of 59 Jews. That was how the city came to be in more recent years what Yossi now calls "an Arab city." As of today, the stolen property in Hebron has not been returned to the Jewish people. Hebron, bearing its Hebrew biblical name and steeped in Jewish history and religious significance, comes to be understandable as a Jewish city that Jews would want to retain it as part of a Jewish state.
On the downside of Yossi's article are some myths which are rattled off that should be corrected. For example, Yossi insists that the 400 Jews living in Hebron are followers of the "racist" policies of Rabbi Meir Kahane. I doubt this since many of these Jews are quite willing to live side by side with the peaceful Arabs.
But note, Rabbi Kahane wanted to expel the Arabs from Israel because he believed that they are unwilling to live in peace and want to destroy the Jewish state. The evidence of the Arabs of Hebron itself as well as the Arab terrorist bases that the other Arab autonomy areas have become indicate that Rabbi Kahane had a point -- if not a practical solution. Rabbi Kahane advocated expulsion of Arabs, NOT AS A RACIST DOCTRINE, but as a program to deal with the actual Arab threat, a reality which the Arabs have done nothing to dispel.
Meanwhile the Arabs openly declare that they want the Jews expelled from the land and they expelled them from Arab lands, though the Jews were not the threat to those nations that Arabs are to Israel. Here then is real racism -- ARAB RACISM -- which Yossi does not label.
Another bit of misinformation was that Dr. Boruch Goldstein just upped and murdered 29 Arabs at prayer, an alleged Jewish fundamentalist hate in action. Were Yossi the genuine article, that is having been a real member of an observant Jewish community, he would know that such things do not just happen in a vacuum. Even I, sitting in Connecticut, know that, just before the incident, Dr. Goldstein was approached by the Israeli army to alert him to an expected Arab terrorist attack on the Jews of Hebron. The Arabs, who are described as in prayer, were in fact chanting, "Kill the Jews! Kill the Jews!"
Here was an Israeli army powerless to stop what they believe was an immanent Arab terrorist attack on the Jews of Hebron and Dr. Goldstein was alerted to this. Perhaps Dr. Goldstein was concerned that his own family was in danger as he walked in among the Arab chanters. He might have snapped and thought it made more sense not to wait for the murderers to come at their convenience and initiative but to arise and strike first. I don't know if this was exactly the way it happened and that he actually warned them first and responded to their aggressive move. In any case, this incident included much participatory and provocative Arab action that made it happen that it becomes a defensive move, far different than the Arab pogrom of 1929 from the Arab beasts, which came without provocation.
While I welcome what balance there was in the Times Magazine article, the Times still has some distance to go before we find fair and accurate reporting.
Ze'ev Maoz -- a big wheel at the unthinking think-center of the Jaffee Center -- does not believe that strength deters. Otherwise, why would he say with assurance that ONLY Israel's holding of the Golan is what will bring war with Syria? Can that shallow thinker not see that GIVING UP THE GOLAN could also directly cause war?
By weakening Israel, the temptation for Syria "to finish the job" of destroying Israel will be at a maximum. The plain fact is that, with or without the Golan, war with Syria is possible. But does one have to be a Jaffee Center expert to recognize that such a war, if it comes, is better fought with the Golan in Israel's hands than the opposite?
So how is it that the Jaffee "experts" cannot visualize the reality of an Arab enemy determined to destroy Israel? It is after all a nationalistic and a religious abomination to the Muslim-Arabs that there is an Israel at all -- an abomination to them that they believe cannot be salved with half-way measures. See how the Muslim mentality expresses itself in bus bombings in Israel and in Algeria where 63 civilian "enemies of Islam" are slaughtered, 19 having been murdered in another incident earlier. This is the true face of determined Islam that Israel and opponents of Islam are up against. It should be squarely recognized and not wished away.
Surely one would expect that Israeli security "experts" would make it their business to know the nature of the enemy, rather than imagining him as just like an Israeli, but one who goes to worship on Friday (unlike most Israelis who don't go worship on Saturday.) Not since U.S. Defense Secretary Robert MacNamara admitted to misunderstanding the nature and striving of the Vietnamese enemy has there been a greater misperception of an enemy. It was a misperception that brought North Vietnam victory over the U.S. and which could do the same for the Arabs over Israel.
Looking at p'shat, the obvious situation on the ground, an Israel with its strategic Golan intact -- an area to which Israel has full rights to possession and which overlooks Damascus -- is an Israel in better shape than one without it. But somehow Maoz thinks that Israel does not have the right to determine what is her best defensive line against the Syrian enemy. That enemy, having attacked Israel from the Golan which was then in Syrian possession, was foiled by Israel and the Golan taken away as a means of neutralizing that dangerous enemy.
Who but DAFFY JAFFEE unthinkers would return the gun, the tool of aggression, to the failed murderer? Clearly, for Syria, the loss of the Golan "gun" was not the true source of the Syrian enmity of Israel, which predated the loss of the Golan.
Nor does Maoz take seriously the fact that, despite an expressed willingness by the crazy, self-destructive Rabin-Peres-Beilin bunch to give away Israel's Golan, Syria nevertheless continued to maintain a state of war and let its Hizbollah proxies attack northern Israel. This demonstrates conclusively the nature of the Syrian beast and that Israel already holds her true borders and cannot cede strategic lands if she wishes to insure her long term future -- not to mention the blow to the morale of a Jewish people that sees its historic lands -- owned by Israel in ancient days -- lopped off by her vicious declared enemies.
It is about time that Israel announced that the borders under her current control are her final ones and regarded any attempt of Arabs to change these by military means as acts of war. The logic for this is clear and can be summarized in a few points:
1. National defense dictates that a nation in a dangerous environment must
maintain defensible borders that provide the maximum of assurance against enemy
2. Vulnerable borders invite attack from enemies already dedicated to its eradication.
3. The conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors is rooted in their Muslim-Arab culture and cannot be solved through ordinary compromise since the Arabs are incapable of willingly moderating their maximalist aims of annulling Israel, nor does Islam give the Muslim sanction to do so. It is false to think that peace will come through empowering the enemy by appeasements that weaken Israel.
Only FORCING THE ARABS TO LIVE IN PEACE can bring peace to Israel, a situation in which attempts to destroy Israel will result in overwhelmingly disastrous consequences to the Arabs themselves -- consequences far more costly than that inflicted on Israel. The level of those consequences must be harshly punitive indeed, prescribed by Israel and not by academic theorizers of the "proportionality" they is valid.
UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, ISLAM ITSELF DOES SANCTION PEACE. This is what happened in Spain -- also "occupied Islamic land," having once been held by Arab rulers. Compulsion by Israel is the true solution to gain peace for Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. Only THE UNTHINKING AND THE WAR MONGERS COULD BE AGAINST THE ONLY EFFECTIVE WAY TO PEACE.
4. The historical and religious rootedness in land strengthen the national and religious culture of a nation, enabling its citizens to bond with and take pride in the very soil of their nation and to develop a life enhancing willingness to defend it against its enemies. One would expect a national security think-tank to appreciate the full dimensions of such a resource, but this does not happen at the incompetent, one-dimensional Jaffee Center, which had recommended giving in to the Arab "phased plan" as the way to get peace, rather than REDUCING ISRAELI VULNERABILITY TO ARAB DESIGNS -- the latter THE TRUE ROAD TO PEACE. Another Arab state established smack in the heart of Israel is opposite to the interest of peace and would merely advance Arab war aims.
It is these realities of nation building and defense that should be uppermost in the minds of those who plan for Israel's long term future and preserving the nation. Yet this is not what the Jaffee Center is about, applying Western solutions to Eastern problems. Does this make sense at all? Maybe it does to the DAFFY JAFFEE Center theorists whose goals seem to be other-worldly, half-baked, moralistic, universalistic notions, indifferent to the nation it supposedly serves. Who needs them?
Instead of dealing with realities, the leftist Israelis, obsessed by their secular religion which puts utopian ideals ahead of facts of life, react in irrational and self-destructive ways to fulfill half-baked universalistic moralistic notions, many of which notions the enemies of Israel, including the CIA front groups like Pieces Now, have formulated to the disadvantage of Israel as a form of Jew-Jitsu, using Israeli obsessions as a club to pound themselves against themselves.
Such "secular" religious Israelis are fanatically obsessed with denying the validity of Jewish religious expression as part of the reasons for maintaining the integrity of their land, an expression which strengthens national purpose and the morale of Israel's people. Quixotically, the unthinking "secular" obsessed Israelis find nothing wrong in the Muslim world making a religious case for the Muslim view and support for its demands and would even go a long way -- too long a way -- to attempt to reconcile what is unreconcilable with these Muslims, something these Israelis and leftists would not dream of doing for the Jewish people -- a blatant double standard that likely expresses the anti-Jewish attitudes behind them.
Does such a mental attitude of the leftist Israelis make sense at all? Maybe it does to the DAFFY JAFFEE Center theorists, but not to anyone whose goal is to PRESERVE HIS NATION, and not to actualize some other-worldly, half-baked, moralistic, universalistic notion that turns out to be indifferent to the nation it supposedly serves.
David Basch is a city planer and architect in New York.