Monday, June 30, 2003

Happy Hudna

Happy Hudna
June 30, 2003

Well folks, peace is at hand. According to some accounts, there are even pessimists who are optimistic. The new-found love between Israeli officers and their palestinian ‘counterparts’ is so apparently visible in the newspaper pictures published today, especially the front page photo of an Israel officer resting his hand on the arm of a uniformed Arab, grinning happily. It’s almost scenic. You can just picture them sitting together, smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee, chatting about the wife and kids – and then, as the two of them shake hands, about to part, a PA terrorist-soldier quietly sneaks up behind the Israeli, and getting the nod from his boss, puts a 9mm bullet in his head.

The palestinian officer, wiping his hand on his slacks comments to the soldier, “Come on, let’s go get the next sucker.”

Last night was a case in point. Just to whet your appetite – part of this morning’s wake-up beeper contained the following message: During the night: an anti-tank missile was shot at an IDF outpost adjacent to Neve Dekalim; a number of mortars were seen fired at Gush Katif communities; an army jeep crashed into another vehicle after a barrel was hurled at him; near Kedumim a firebomb was hurled at an IDF patrol, rock-throwers were apprehended near Migdal Oz, etc. And of course last night’s main attraction was in Kiryat Arba, when terrorists shot at a soldier guarding the entrance to the Givat HaAvot neighborhood just before ten o’clock. A bullet struck the soldier’s helmet, but miraculously did not penetrate, leaving him only slightly shaken up.

You know, Arabic may soon be mandatory in all high schools, around the world. Otherwise current events will be incomprehensible to the common person. First we had to deal with an ‘intifada.’ Now we in the age of the “Hudna.”

What is a ‘hudna?’ It is a cease-fire. Is an end to warfare? No. Is it a declaration of intentions leading to peace? No. It is simply a temporary cessation of fighting. In this case, our enemies have stated clearly and concisely: for three months. However, this hudna has strings attached: Israel must open the siege which has kept Arafat caged-up in Ramallah for over a year now. Israel must stop assaults on the Al-Asqa mosque, i.e. Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. Israel is forbidden to arrest terrorists, not to mention, assassinate them. And finally, Israel must release all Arab terrorist prisoners. If we don’t meet these requirements, which have not been negotiated, rather they are unilateral demands, the cease-fire is off.

Why are the Arabs willing to supposedly ‘stop the shooting?’ According to an AFP article published today, “The three-month truce announced by Palestinian factions on Sunday appears to be a tactical move rather than a change of ideology in hard-line movements.” These tactical moves have been determined, quite simply, because the enemy realized he was losing the war. Not only losing the war, but in danger of being wiped out. It is not coincidence that Hamas agreed to a cease-fire following the attempted assassination of arch-terrorist Rantisi, several weeks ago. At that point Hamas leader Sheik Yassin and other terror leaders realized that Israeli weapons were pointed in their direction. So what better way to disarm the enemy by declaring a one-sided truce. What choice will he have then, but to halt his so-called ‘aggression.’

This cease-fire is nothing more than a ploy, giving the terrorists some breathing room. And not a little breath room. A lot. Israel is pulling out of Gaza and reopening almost all roads to palestinian traffic, thereby endangering the lives of all the Jews living in or visiting the Jewish communities in Gush Katif. Today Israel sat with Dahlan and talking about transferring Bethlehem back to the terrorists. We’ve been at this movie before and the results have been harrowing: killing, killing and more killing. Last night Israel radio quoted sources as saying that Abu Mazen wants Ramallah next but Israel is considering Hebron. The last time Israel pulled its forces out of 80% of Hebron the result was a massive terror attack leaving 12 men dead, including Hebron military commander Col. Dror Weinberg HY”D. Since then another 15 people have been killed in and around Hebron. But not least, Hebron terrorists have been responsible for murdering Jews all over Israel in the past few months, blowing themselves up again and again.

After Israel yet again retreats from Shechem, Ramallah, Tul-Karem, Jenin, etc. etc. the terrorists will have time to regroup, rebuilding their murderous infrastructure, getting ready for the next round. And Israel is falling straight through the trap door. We know it, but we’re letting them do it. And it’s not the first time. Way back when, 1991, 1992, when the so-called first intifada had just about died – the Arabs had lost, Israel brought them back to life – the resuscitation equipment was called Oslo. And before that, in Lebanon, in the 1980s, we had the PLO down for the count, Israel had Arafat in its sites, but allowed him to escape Now, we’re doing it again. The terror organizations are on their last legs – finally Israel realized the necessity to wipe them out – but no, let’s give them another chance. Will Abu-Mazen dare try to dismantle such terror organizations as Hamas or the Jihad, or even his own Fatah. Come on, who are we kidding? Despite his ‘roadmap obligations’ Muhammad Dahlan will never turn his guns against his own people.

Just to keep the illusions under control, as if we needed to be reminded, this afternoon another person, a foreign worker, was killed in a terrorist ambush in the northern Shomron.

And let’s not forget who is waiting in the shadows. DEBKAfile reported today that “one of US presidential adviser Rice’s missions in Jerusalem Sunday was to set in motion a Sharon government reshuffle, co-opting Labor in place of right-wing ministers. Sylvan Shalom was asked to step down as foreign minister in favor of Shimon Peres.”

Friends, it’s looking better and better.

Happy Hudna!

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

Monday, June 23, 2003

Increasing Attention Spans

Increasing Attention Spans
June 23, 2003


Last week I spent a few days in Washington D.C., participating in the annual Zionist Organization of American Mission to the U.S. capital.

The events included both the expected and the unexpected. The expected: a presentation by State Department official, Dr. David Wurmser, dealing primarily with issues concerning weapons of mass destruction. Of course, questions dealing with the current Middle East situation and State Department policy were asked, but not answered, due to the fact that they are not Dr. Wurmser’s speciality.

Ditto, the Israeli embassy spokesman Mark Regev. Regev spoke for almost half an hour, not about Hamas, not about terror, rather about media. This is not an unimportant subject, but Regev presented example after example of the same idea, rather than diversify his speech or relate to current events. At one point when he mentioned the Arab use of the word ‘occupation’ someone in the audience called out, “so did Sharon.’ Regev paused, said, ‘that is very complicated,’ continued talking, and did not relate to the subject again. Following his talk, Mark Regev refused to answer any questions and left immediately.

What was unexpected was the unbelievably warm reception we received on the Hill and the resounding words of support spoken by Senators and Congressmen. For example, Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania said, “there are strains of fundamental Islam which are barbaric and uncivilized.” He demanded zero level terror and espoused support for the “Koby Mandell Act” legislation calling for Arab murderers of American citizens to be extradited to the United States to face trial for their terrorist crimes.  Spector said that these terrorists should be convicted and face the death penalty.

During a Congressional luncheon a number of representatives spoke with over 350 people who participated in the mission from around the United States.  Some quotes:
Elliot Engle from New York: “Stop the hypocrisy coming out of the State department. Israel must combat terror. If the United States has the right to take out top terrorist leaders, so does Israel.”
Shelley Berkley from Nevada: “Israel cannot negotiate with people who don’t recognize its right to exist.”
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  of Florida told the audience  that Israel has no better ally than the United States and that the United States has no better ally than Israel. She added that their cannot be any negotiations before there is an end to terror and that the ‘roadmap’ cannot be a repetition of Oslo.
Anthony Weiner of New York, opposing the roadmap said, “diplomacy leads to more violence when the timing is wrong.” He compared negotiations with Hamas for a ceasefire with the United States negotiating with El Queda for a cease fire.
Pat Toomy from Pennsylvania said, “Statehood does not assure an end to terror.”
Joseph Crawly from New York related to “genocide bombers” as opposed to suicide bombers.
Rob Andrews from New Jersey said that Oslo is similar to the Chamberlain accords and added that present US policy is a challenge to the credibility of the United States. “The United States should be on the side of Israel, against terrorism, not trying to broker between the sides…We have traveled this road before, through Aushwitz and Treblinka. We will never travel it again.”

I was particularly impressed with Eric Cantor from Virginia who spoke of the strong Republican support for Israel, describing ‘fanatical support’ in the House of Representatives. Saying that U.S. support for Israel cannot be based on a ‘double standard,’ he also mentioned the weekly Torah portion dealing with spies sent from the desert to examine the Land of Israel, and eventually slandering the Land. Speaking of the ‘Biblical roots of desire for our homeland’ and Cantor said that we must appreciate Eretz Yisrael and have Faith in G-d. 

The eighteen Congressmen who spoke were only a handful of the support in the Senate and House of Representatives, and it was quite a refreshing change from the usual Israel-bashing we are usually treated to.

Another very important speaker was former Presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, who was also a domestic policy advisor to President Ronald Regan. He has become one of Israel’s staunchest Christian supporters in the United States. He spoke of the dangers of the roadmap and of Israel’s G-d-given right to Eretz Yisrael.

I was also asked to speak, and my talk concluded the day’s events. I asked the 350 ZOA representatives to continue their efforts on behalf of Israel, stressing the importance of their presence in Washington. The significance is not only in hearing words of support from American political leaders. Rather the real impact can be measured with the impression made on those representatives who see hundreds of people from as far away as California, investing two days time and money for Israel and the Jewish people.  I know for a fact that 350 ZOAers wandering around Capitol Hill left an indelible mark.

That being said, I am obligated to express my personal appreciation for the continued efforts of Mort Klein, president of the ZOA, Robert Jancu, the organization’s executive director, Sarah Stern, the permanent ZOA lobbyist in Washington, and others, who are doing so much for Israel. The ZOA is one of the few organizations, and certainly the largest of them, actively opposing the “roadmap.” They initiated the previously mentioned “Koby Mandell Act” and also the “Syrian Accountability Act, holding Syria responsible for serious international security problems it has created in the Middle East. In addition, they pressed Congressional leaders to form a ‘roadmap accountability forum,’ keeping track of the daily, numerous PA violations of  the roadmap framework.

These activities are essential, and I would recommend that anyone interested in actively supporting Israel contact your closest ZOA representative, or contact their office in New York.

It was only a few days ago that another American-born Israeli, Tzvi Goldstein, was murdered by Arafat security forces while on the way to his son’s post-wedding celebration in Jerusalem. Goldstein’s parents, both Long Island residents, were seriously wounded. The next day Israel eliminated Abdallah Kawasme, a master terrorist responsible for the deaths of at least 35 Israelis and the wounding of hundreds.  The roadmap Quartet deplored the killing of Kawasme, but said nothing about Goldstein’s murder. Secretary of State Colin Powell called Kawasme’s killing ‘an impediment to peace.’ The ZOA is in a position to keep Congress on its toes, and hopefully, one way or another, influence the administration’s present foreign policy concerning Israel and the terrorists.  If nothing else, they act as a constant reminder: Don’t forget Israel.

As one very savvy political aide told me, ‘Americans don’t have an attention span long enough to hold a grudge.’ We can’t let them forget, Eretz Yisrael belongs to Am Yisrael  and terror is terror is terror.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder 

Monday, June 2, 2003

Uncle George

Uncle George
June 2, 2003


As this is being aired, I am sitting outside my home, Beit Hadassah, in Hebron, doing my monthly stint of guard duty. All of us take turns, for six hours, thereby assisting in the efforts to keep Hebron’s citizens safe. Opposite me are a number of Arab apartment buildings, including a large villa, perched on the top of a small hill. Behind it are other Arab homes, some lived in, some empty. To my right are Arab shops and Jewish homes, facing each other. And of course, behind Beit Hadassah, to the north, are the Harat a-Shech hills, one of the sources of massive shooting attacks against us for over two years. My own apartment was shot into twice. One afternoon, in a nearby apartment, a woman washing dishes stopped to answer the phone. As she picked up the receiver, a few feet away from the sink, a bullet flew through her window, penetrating exactly where she had been standing only moments before.

To the other side of Beit Hadassah, other Jewish apartment buildings. In one of them, one night, a teenager, in her room, bent down to pick up something from the floor. A terrorist’s bullet blew through her window, hitting the clothes closet in front of her. Had she been standing up, rather than bending down, she probably would have been killed.
The stories are endless.

Why repeat them today? It’s always important never to forget, but presently the problem isn’t the past, rather it’s the immediate future. We are on the verge of a repeat performance.

This morning when I walked into the office and glanced at the computer screen I couldn’t help but laugh. You know, there are situations when you either laugh or cry. This time, I probably should have started screaming. I’m subscribed to a special Debka news service, whereby interesting news events appear automatically on the screen. I’d like to quote a few of today’s fresh items:

This one is really good: “Majority of Palestinian factions willing to halt “routine” actions. Abu Mazen will report to Bush their consent to stop shooting, mortar and explosives attacks on Israelis and confine themselves “only” to major suicide strikes, keeping them spaced out.”

This is also cute: Next generation of martyrs?. Marking Palestinian Children’s Day, Arafat tells small children come to Ramallah to greet him: Each martyr in Jerusalem is worth 40 martyrs elsewhere – that is Allah’s mercy.”

But this last one is where I’d like to focus tonight: “US hands Sharon outpost list.

Washington demands immediate evacuation of 102 settlement outposts set up on West bank from 2001 after Palestinians launched armed confrontation against Israel, hands Sharon list on eve of Bush-Sharon-Abbas summit.

The absurdity of this last demand is two-fold – the stipulation itself, and the fact that Ariel Sharon is about to implement it.

Let me take a moment to backtrack, just so that you understand where the United States is coming from. A few months ago a minister in the Israeli government visited the U.S. During the course of his visit he was invited to the home of very important American public figure who, it is said, never invites guests to his private residence, preferring to meet them in the office. Not so with our Israeli visitor. After a half hour of coffee and small talk the host said bluntly, ‘you are probably curious as to why I asked you here,’ and continued, asking, ‘tell me, what are the Jews doing in Kiryat Arba? What is that new settlement they are building? Why are their new caravans there?’

I also know that a major Israeli figure, frequently involved in very high-level discussions in the United States was quoted as saying that we live in a ‘banana republic,’ that the Americans, via satellite photographs, can identify each and every ‘new’ house or caravan, anywhere in Israel, at any given time. When Israeli officials visit Washington, a top American diplomat pulls out a map, points at a particular site and, like a teacher questioning a student who just snapped a rubber band, queries, ‘what is this?’

Last week a report was published by the World, explaining that the reason for Ariel Sharon’s swift change of heart were American threatened sanctions against Israel, should Israel refuse to immediately accept and implement the Road Map. The sanctions mentioned included withholding money and limitation of Israeli use of American-made weapons in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

But the most frightening lines in that article stated that "The White House doesn't regard the roadmap merely as foreign policy. It sees the roadmap as a major element toward the reelection of the president."

In other words, George W. Junior, following in the footsteps of his old man, George Senior, who squeezed Israel to the core following the first Gulf War, George W. has decided to act identically. However, now the stakes have changed. Saddam, though still alive, is out of power. America, for all intensive purposes, won the war. George W. is sitting on the top of the world and fully believes that he should benevolently rule over the entire globe, having proven that force pays. Here, he is fully synchronized with the PA – they too have proven that killing works, that terrorism pays off. And now is the payoff. George W. has taken upon himself reorganization of the world – implementation of his father’s “new world order.” In order to ensure four more years, to accomplish his sacred goal, Bush is willing to offer up Israel on the international alter, sacrificing the Jews for a higher, loftier goal.

George W. fooled us. We thought he was our best friend. To the contrary. He may be the most dangerous anti-Jewish world leader in recent history.

We have a message for him: There were those who tried hard to eradicate us; sixty years ago a world leader wiped over six million of us off the map. Two thousand years ago an empire expelled us from our land. But they did not succeed in destroying us. We are still here. Despite evictions, despite ovens, we came home, to our land. You too, Uncle George, will not succeed. You may make our lives difficult, but we will remain here in Israel, in all of Eretz Yisrael, long after you are long gone.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder