"EHUD BARAK'S RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION: When Prime Minister Ehud Barak got up to speak at the Knesset podium, no one could have predicted what he would say. Many expected him to announce his plans to resign as prime minister and declare new elections. [On Decamber 9, 2000 Barak said he will resign, triggering an emergency election within 60 days.] Barak, however, had a surprise up his sleeve. He announced the religious revolution he planned to bring about in the State of Israel.
"And this is what Barak said: 'Mr. Speaker, distinguished Knesset: Following profound deliberation, consultation with friends and the team work of my staff, I have decided to come to the Knesset and present my religious revolution.
"'Israel is first and foremost a Jewish state, and this fact should be reflected in our public lives, not only in our religious institutions. We would like to see studies in all schools begin with a moment of silence. The religious schools may of course continue their daily morning prayers as before. It is, however, unthinkable for nonobservant children to grow up without knowing before whom they stand and before whom they must account for their actions.
"'I have no intention of forcing this religious revolution on secular Jews. People of faith must assure the secular public that 'Our faith is compatible with their freedoms and that our revolution is not an expression of a lack of tolerance, but rather an expression of love.
"'There is nothing in the religious revolution that will in any way interfere with the lives of Israeli citizens of other religions,' said Barak. 'But we must tear down the barriers that separate the members of different faiths, so that we can praise the name of God together.'
"Barak punctuated his speech with quotes from the Bible. ‘It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put one's confidence in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes,' and so on and so forth.
"Barak maintained that Israel's secular legal system and the plan to establish a secular constitution is causing Israel to 'lose its moral message.' He added that 'The laws of human freedom and protection of freedom of religion have come to mean freedom from religion, and this should be changed.'
"In his concluding remarks, Barak said, 'I hope that my plan for a religious revolution will make it possible for every Israeli citizen to speak about his or her faith and religion and I hope that it will bolster the feeling that beats so strongly in my Heart - that there must be a place for faith in public life. We will put God back in our public life.'
"Barak's remarks had an explosive effect. Initially the members of Knesset were stunned. The first to respond was Tommy Lapid, declaring, 'You have again capitulated to Shas 's primitive clericals. ' Yossi Sarid declared that he would vote for any no confidence motion in the government saying, 'He is worse than Netanyahu.'
"The religious parties praised Barak's speech, but stated that they feared that this was merely another election gimmick.
"When Barak was given the floor to respond, he said, 'I don’t know what you want from me. The words I have just said are an exact quote from Joe Lieberman, the Democratic candidate for vice president of the United States. He called for the return of God to public life. If it's good for America, why isn't it good for Israel?"
(From Makor Rishon, September B, 2000)
"PA TO CONFISCATE HOMES OF ARABS WHO REQUEST ISRAELI CITIZENSHIP: Faisal Husseini, who holds the Palestinian Authority's (PA)Jerusalem portfolio, was quoted in an interview in the Al Ayyam newspaper stating that Arabs living in Jerusalem who request Israeli citizenship would have their homes confiscated by the PA.
"Husseini stated that residents of the eastern portions of Jerusalem seeking to obtain Israeli citizenship 'would lose their place among the Palestinian people.’
"The PA continues to operate in the capital illegally and in contradiction to the Oslo agreements, while the government turns a blind eye. Husseini, hailed as the PA's Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, continues to run Orient House in eastern Jerusalem, the PA's official embassy, which among other duties oversees PA interests in the capital and hosts visiting foreign dignitaries.
"In a related matter, Israel Police confirm that several Israeli Arab citizens have over the past few weeks been kidnapped by PA security agents, and the government will do everything possible to ensure their safe return home. The latest victim is a Lod resident who was visiting family near the autonomous city of Ramallah when grabbed by PA security agents." (From Israel Wire Service, September 4, 2000)
QUOTE, UNQUOTE: "'I opened my brother's coffin and saw what they did to him. Only animals could do what they did, they are the sons of Satan, and with the sons of Satan its impossible to make peace ... But don't stoop to their level, don't carry out lynches.' (Michael Norzhich, at the funeral of his brother, Vadim, 33, an army reservist lynched in Ramallah on October 12.)"
"'Show no mercy to the Jews, anywhere. Kill them wherever you can catch them. And kill those who are like them - the Americans, who stand with them.' (From the Sermon of an imam at a Gaza mosque, broadcast on Israel TV on October 13.)"
"'Arafat sends children to the front line because their deaths in front of the cameras serve his political purposes. As long as the West supports him, he will continue this.' (Ex-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu)"
(The Jerusalem Report, November 6, 2000)
"'We don't want peace with you. We want to banish you from our lands, the place where you stand. That land belongs to us. That is Palestinian land and not Israeli land. We will continue fighting you until we reach Jerusalem.' A Hizballah man said, speaking to an Israeli reporter across the Lebanese border following the withdrawal.
(The Jerusalem Report, June 19, 2000)
"MINORITY STUDIES: Jerusalem's Hebrew University has established what is believed to be the first Christian study center at an Israeli university. "Research at the Center for the Study of Christianity - established with a grant from a Belgian Christian family -will emphasize the role of Christianity in the Holy Land and the historic relationship between Christianity and Torah Judaism." (World Jewrey, May 2000)
"ISRAEL: PIECEMEAL DESTRUCTION: The latest of many upheavals in and bordering on Israel was planned by Yasser Arafat and his friends in the Arab world. That is what Palestinian political analyst Khalil Shikaki told the October 4 Jordan Times as he observed the Palestine Liberation Organization's Fatah participation in the violence.
"How many more examples of intransigence are necessary before apologists in Israel and enablers in Washington understand that the enemies of Israel want nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish state?
"This has been a piecemeal process and not one that will lead to peace. Israel has given up land it seized for its own protection after wars started by its enemies. Still, Arabists in the State Department and leftists in Israel proceed with the fiction that peace can be achieved between peoples whose outlooks are irreconcilable.
"It was a mistake to give up land without reciprocity. It was a mistake to release terrorists from Israeli prisons so they could rejoin their armed comrades. It was a mistake to allow for the creation of a Palestinian 'police force,' which has been turned into an army. The vandalizing of Joseph's Tomb on the eve of Yom Kippur, while the 'police' did nothing, is proof that the 'police' won't control a mob determined to carry out Arafat's orders. And the abandonment of that tomb can only encourage Israel’s enemies that the Jewish people's strong resolve may be crumbling .
"Rioting for the benefit of world television cameras has long been an Arafat ploy. He has orchestrated terrorism and unrest to force concessions out of Israeli leaders that could not be won through war. The visit of Ariel Sharon to the Western Wall was merely a convenient excuse for the rioting to begin. It had been preceded with roadside bombs that killed an Israeli soldier guarding a civilian convoy. Later a Palestinian policeman (terrorist?) killed his Israeli partner in cold blood while they were on a joint patrol. Arafat explained that the Palestinian was 'unstable.'
"There's more violence coming. Iraq has taken a ferocious stand against Israel, unmatched by any state in the region. Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhammad al-Sahhaf referred to Israel as a 'midget entity, a usurper and a claw of colonialism...Iraq does not, and will not recognize this usurper entity.'
"On October 3, Iraqi TV broadcast remarks by Saddam Hussein: 'An end must be put to Zionism. If they cannot, then Iraq alone is able to do so. Let them give us a small adjacent piece of land and let them support us from afar only. They will see how we put an end to Zionism in a short time.'
"What piece of land might he have in mind? Some analysts say that Hussein has his eye on Jordan.
"Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Congress has appropriated $900 million in foreign aid for the PLO. The speaker of the Palestine National Council says the United States has promised $30 billion to help resettle Palestinian 'refugees,' meaning that they'll be settled in Israel from which, as we are seeing, they will be used by Arafat to undermine the Israeli government.
"There is no evidence that Israel’ s enemies wish to live at peace. Anti-Jewish incitement in PLO school textbooks continues. The PW Teacher's Guides read: 'The student should learn [that] racist superiority is the heart of Zionism, Fascism and Nazism.’ Among ,the 'important values' that follow is: 'Wrath unto the alien thief [Israel] who dispersed its people.'
"New leadership is needed in Israel, as is a new policy by both Israel and the United States. The current one is an obvious failure. If war comes, Israel had better win this one, too, grabbing as much land as it can and never again letting go of it. There will be no peace between Israel and her enemies. The best she can hope for is to maintain order." (By Cal Thomas, L.A. Times Syndicate, November 2000)
"MYTHS OF THE MIDDLE EAST: I've been quiet since Israel erupted in fighting spurred by disputes over the Temple Mount. Until now, I haven't even bothered to say, 'See, I told you so.’ But I can't resist any longer. I feel compelled to remind you of the column I wrote just a couple weeks before the latest uprising.
"Yeah, folks, I predicted it. That's OK. Hold your applause. After all, I wish I had been wrong. More than 80 people [350 on December 26, 2000] have been killed since the current fighting in and around Jerusalem began. And for what?
"If you believe what you read in most news sources, Palestinians want a homeland and Muslims want control over sites they consider holy. Simple, right?
"Well, as an Arab-American journalist who has spent some time in the Middle East dodging more than my share of rocks and mortar shells, I've got to tell you that these are just phony excuses for the rioting, trouble-making and land-grabbing.
"Isn't it interesting that prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, there was no serious movement for a Palestinian homeland?
"'Well, Farah,' you might say, 'that was before the Israelis seized the West Bank, and Old Jerusalem.' That's true. In the Six-Day War, Israel captured Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. But they didn't capture these territories from Yasser Arafat. They captured them from Jordan's King Hussein. I can't help but wonder why all these Palestinians suddenly discovered their national identity after Israel won the war.
"The truth is that Palestine is no more real than Never-Never Land. The first time the name was used was in 70 A.D. when the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised it would be known as Palestine.
"The name was derived from the Phillistines, a Goliathian peop 1e conquered by the Jews centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying power.
"Palestine has never existed - before or since - as an autonomous entity, It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland.
"There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.
"Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of Middle East lands, Israel represents one-tenth of 1 percent of the land mass. But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today. Greed. Pride. Envy. Covetousness. No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough.
"What about Islam's holy sites? There are none in Jerusalem. Shocked? You should be. I don't expect you will ever hear this brutal truth from anyone else in the international media. It's just not politically correct.
I know what you're going to say: 'Farah, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third most holy sites.' Not true. In fact, the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammad ever visited Jerusalem.
"So how did Jerusalem become the third holiest site of Islam? Muslims today cite a vague passage in Koran, the seventeenth Sura, entitled 'The Night Journey.' It relates that in a dream or a vision Mohammed was carried by night 'from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs ...' In the seventh century, some Muslims identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem.
"And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets - myth, fantasy, wishful thinking. Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham.
"The latest round of violence in Israel erupted when Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon tried to visit the Temple Mount, the foundation of the Temple built by Solomon. It is the holiest site for Jews. Sharon and his entourage were met with stones and threats. I know what it's like. I've been there. Can you imagine what it is like for Jews to be threatened, stoned and physically kept out of the holiest site in Judaism?
"So what's the solution to the Middle East mayhem? Well, frankly, I don't think there is a man-made solution to the violence. But, if there is one, it needs to begin with truth. Pretending will only lead to more chaos. Treating a 5,000-year-old birthright backed by overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence equally with illegitimate claims, wishes and wants gives diplomacy and peacekeeping a bad name." (By Joseph Farah, World Net Daily, October 21, 2000
"ISRAEL ADRIFT: Even as Arab hordes rioted, threw rocks, desecrated shrines, and murdered and maimed innocents, Israel's legislators met and declared that there is no alternative to the continuation of 'negotiations.' What mindset insists on attempting anything but a tough and resolute response to rioting by declared, implacable enemies?
"And so the usual suspects - Barak, Clinton and Arafat- met in Egypt on October 16th, 2000, with Egypt the sullen, hostile host. The choice of Egypt in itself was a craven capitulation, given that nation's virulent anti-Israel rhetoric, and its own history of having violated the Camp David Accords. (The meeting itself was at Sharm el Sheikh, a reminder to Israel of its earlier futile Camp David experiment in 'territories for peace.') There has been no normalization, no cultural exchange, no economic cooperation, and no cessation of the anti-Semitic, racist incitements against Israel emanating from the government controlled media. Even Judith Miller, an admirer of Egypt, wrote in the New York Times of October 15th, that Egypt's government, media, and populace have returned to the virulent anti-Israel rhetoric of the Nasser years.
What bizarre thinking can expect to reconstitute 'negotiations' with Arafat? What is left to discuss? Is it the timetable for withdrawal from Haifa? Is it a newly discovered link between Islam and Tel-Aviv? Is Beersheva to be known as the fourth holiest Moslem city? Is Barak to turn over to Arafat Nazareth and the Galilee? Israel's government reminds one of lifeguards who can't swim but still urge everyone into the water." (Excerpts By Ruth King, Outpost, November 2000)
"ITALIAN TV APOLOGIZES: As Israeli economist Steven Plaut points out, all the foreign news teams have agreements with the PLO not to embarrass it. Italian TV broke the rules when its film crew filmed shots of the Palestinian mob gouging out the eyes, murdering and mutilating the two IDF reservists and then dipping hands in the blood of the murdered men and waving their bloody hands in triumph. The PLO was furious when the film went round the world.
"Richard Cristiano, the representative of Italian state television, accordingly wrote a letter of apology to the Palestinian Authority (his letter was published on October 16 in Al Hayat al Jedida). He said he worked under the PA's rules for journalists, blames his competitors in the Italian media for broadcasting the pictures and promises never again to film events liable to cast a negative light on the PA. To underscore the point, Italian TV put large ads in all the West Bank papers apologizing for inadvertently putting the PA in a bad light.
"Israel's government press office temporality suspended Christiano's card in protest. Given that all the foreign press works under the same PA rules (ever wonder why CNN and BBC coverage is so ludicrously one-sided?), if Israel were serious, it should be suspending all foreign journalistic credentials. An added twist to the story: Barak himself, while wanting the foreign press to see the film, did his best to bar it from Israeli TV; his attempted ban was circumvented when an Israeli TV station simply copied the video from a foreign channel)." (From the Editor, Outpost, November 2000)
WHEN THE U.S. SENATE SOUGHT THE INDICTMENT OF ARAFAT FOR MURDER: The following letter, published in a recent issue of "Outpost," the official publication of "Americans For Safe Israel," was sent by 47 U.S. Senators, including Al Gore, to the Department of Justice in 1986, The letter - dated February 12, 1986, and addressed to then Attorney General Edwin Meese III - is of special interest to the UN and speaks for itself:
"Dear Attorney General: We understand that the Department of Justice has received information linking PLO leader Yasir Arafat to the brutal 1973 slaying of Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d'Affaires C. Curtis Moore in Khartoum, Sudan.
"The material is reported to include various State Department cables that may confirm Arafat's role in the murders. It is also reported to include an assertion that the U.S. government has a tape recording of an intercepted message in which Arafat allegedly ordered the assassination of Ambassador Noel and Charge d'Affaires Moore, who were taken hostage when Palestinian terrorist seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum on March 2, 1973.
"As you know, press reports indicate that the eight terrorists involved in the incident identified themselves as members of Black September. They demanded the release from prison of Sirhan Sirhan, the Baader-Meinhof gang, and a group of Fatah members held in Jordan.
"Press reports indicate that when their demands were not met, the terrorists selected the three Westerners among the hostages - U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, Charge d'Affaires C. Curtis Moore, and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid - and machine-gunned them after first allowing them to write farewell notes to their families and then beating them. A day later, the terrorists surrendered to Sudanese authorities after a lengthy round of trans oceanic communications involving, among others, Arafat and the Vice President of Sudan.
"Press reports indicate that Sudanese President Gaafar Mohammed Nimeiri went public at once with evidence showing that the operation had been run out of the Khartoum office of Fatah. One month after the slayings, the Washington Post reported that according to western intelligence sources, Arafat was in the Black September radio command center in Beirut when the message to execute three Western diplomats was sent out. The Post also reported that Arafat's voice was monitored and recorded. Although according to the Post's sources, it was unclear if Arafat himself or his deputy gave the order to carry out the executions, Arafat reportedly was present in the operations center when the message was sent and personally congratulated the guerrillas after the execution.
"These allegations, if substantiated, leave little doubt that a warrant for Arafat's arrest should be issued, and a criminal indictment filed against him. To allow other factors to enter into this decision is to make a mockery of our laws and our stated commitment to eradicate terrorism. As President Reagan told an American Bar Association convention this July, 'We will seek the indictment of Yasir Arafat if the evidence so warrants. We would also ask that you keep us advised of the progress of your investigation. "Sincerely, Signed by 47 U.S. Senators, including Albert Gore, Democrat of Tenn." (By David Horowitz, The Jewish Press, November 10, 2000)
"HARD TIMES, HARD MAN: Ariel Sharon Built a reputation as one of Israel's canniest generals and gutsiest soldiers. Now, an inside look at his latest daring grab for political power. The heavy scents of bougainvillaea and manure mingle in the hot afternoon air at Shikmim Farm. Ariel Sharon pulls down the brim of his black Australian bush hat - a Jewish Crocodile Dundee. On his thick fingers, he is counting off the names his political enemies hurl at him: 'Hardliner. Extremist. Rightist. War criminal.' His 1,500 acres on the edge of the Negev Desert is one of the few private farms in Israel and a refuge from the controversy that has followed him through 55 years in the military and in polities. Sharon, 72, the leader of Israel's right-wing Likud Party, leans his portly frame against a metal pen, and two dozen startled Awassi sheep suddenly flee across the straw. Laughing, Sharon says, 'Even the sheep are afraid of me.'
"It is not only the sheep who are unnerved. In the eyes of many, it was Sharon who touched off the Holy Land's latest crisis when he visited the Temple Mount – Arabs call it Haram al-Sharif - in September, infuriating Palestinians and triggering a new intifadeh. The visit set off speculation: Did Sharon know what would happen in reaction to the visit? Did he plan the trip as a way to begin a push for power? Does the old cowboy feel any remorse about what happened in the violent weeks after his stroll? If he does, he hasn't been showing it.
"What he has been showing is his famous attraction to center stage. Amid the latest violence, Israel's opposition Shas Party gave Prime Minister Ehud Barak a one-month 'umbrella' of political support, a temporary reprieve from domestic political pressure. But next week that umbrella is set to close, and Barak must figure out how to hold his government together. He has two choices: cut a deal with the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party or swallow hard and hold hands with Sharon. It will very probably be Sharon's last bid for power - the final attempt of a legendary general to grab his country's highest office. If his sheep are scared, they have reason. Sharon has shown a willingness to sacrifice to get what he wants.
"It is worth stopping for a moment to look at Sharon as more than just the onedimensional stereotype he has become: the hard-line former Defense Minister who led Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and still refuses to shake Yasser Arafat's hand. For starters, no one calls him Ariel, Hebrew for lion. He is known universally in Israel by his nickname, Arik. And though he packs a lot of weight on his shortish frame these days, he was once a slightly bearish but, in some circles, sexy military hero. A photo of him from the 1973 October War shows him standing next to Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, both with the satisfied grins of men doing what they were made to do. And something else; Sharon's head is bandaged, a nice counterpoint to Dayan's patched eye and a reminder that here were two men ready to bleed for their young country. In private, he is a fan of violin music, known as a generous host with a quick wit. But in the end, to most Israelis, Sharon is a hard man, a man for hard times.
"It is that reputation that has shaped how he is operating in the chaos of Israel's current political disequilibrium. In the blink of an eye, Israel has gone from a land pregnant with hope for peace to a place where proponents of the peace process have been all but discredited. Sharon maintains he is in favor of peace talks, but mildly says his version would continue 'down a different line from all those leftists who never saw the horrors of real war like I did. ' In practice, that would mean pressing Arafat much harder - particularly on the issue of controlling extremists such as Hamas - before agreeing to any deal. But a deal, Sharon insists, would still be part of his plan.
"The peaceniks don't buy it. To them, Sharon embodies the old expansionist Israel of settlements and the Lebanon war. For Palestinians, he's a symbol of the slaughter that befell them at the hands of Israel's Lebanese Christian militia allies in the Sabra and Shatila refugee area near Beirut. The official government report found that Sharon as Defense Minister had 'indirect responsibility' for the massacres, and that event remains an essential part of the Arab vision of him. 'For us,' says Ziad Abu Amr, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from Gaza, 'he could' never be anything except a murderer and criminal. '
"But though Palestinians on the street scream abuse against Sharon, their leaders know he's not their problem - yet. At a recent meeting with European visitors in Gaza, aides say Arafat mockingly proclaimed himself unfazed by the prospect of Sharon's sitting across the negotiating table; 'Sharon frightens Barak a lot more than he frightens me.' Sharon, Arafat says, could deliver what little he promises, unlike Barak, who in the eyes of many Palestinians seems to overreach at times.
"Barak - a former general himself and commander of Israel's special forces - has been willing to confront Sharon head on. For two weeks last month, Sharon and Barak haggled over the idea of an emergency coalition between left and right - something Israelis call a national-unity government. Barak wanted Sharon included to bolster his minority government. But Sharon set out to exact a high price, demanding a veto over peace-process issues. Barak's team wavered. Two weeks ago, Sharon's chief negotiator, Likud legislator Meir Sheetrit, demanded a decision. 'Let's cut the bulls ----'' he remembers saying. 'I want to do a deal on the veto item. ' Barak wasn't playing. The next day the Prime Minister moved to cut the ground out from under Sharon, appearing on television to deny that he'd given Sharon a veto. And in a one-two punch, the Prime Minister blindsided Sharon by striking a deal with Shas.
"Sharon isn't just taking fire from the left. Inside his own party, he is stalked by ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Cleared of corruption charges, Netanyahu is the favorite to unseat Sharon as Likud leader and perhaps to topple Barak. Leading Barak in all the polls, Netanyahu would prefer to see the Prime Minister fall, which would prompt new elections. So Sharon needs to move fast; his ideal play would be to cut a deal with Barak that would lever him into power and keep Netanyahu out of the picture. Sharon would stick around just long enough to establish himself firmly as Israel's conservative leader in-waiting. Then he'd pull the plug and seek vindication at the polls.
"In the kitchen of his farmhouse, he pets a bouncy German shepherd named Schwartz and reminisces about his parents. Samuil and Vera farmed avocados. When the Zionist movement split in the 1930s, they were ostracized for joining the right wing. Their resentment still boils within Sharon, as does their determination. 'My parents never surrendered,' he says. Neither will he. Barak's chief political negotiator, Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, talked to Sharon each day last week and thinks he can still make a deal. 'I'm very happy with what I heard,' he says. Sharon was just happy to hear the talking at all. It's the music of a man marching closer to power every day. For the old soldier, halting the march is never an option." (By Matt Rees, Time, November 27, 2000)
SHARON STATES HIS TEMPLE MOUNT CASE TO ALBRIGHT: In a sharp and detailed letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Arik Sharon made it clear and understandable why, as a Jew and an Israeli, he was justified to tread the sacred Temple Mount of his forefathers.
In a recent communication from Robert Barrington, a non-Jewish friend, the full text of Sharon's communication to Albright was enclosed. Entitled "When Will The World Listen To The Truth," it is worth taking note of: "Dear Secretary Albright: I deeply regret, and I find it totally unacceptable, that your spokesman was quick to make a false statement that my visit to The Temple Mount 'may have caused tension,' insinuating that it ignited the riots and disturbances in Jerusalem that spread to Judea, Samaria and Gaza and later, to the rest of Israel.
"I find it most regrettable and disturbing that your spokesman has been swayed by slanderous propaganda on the part of the Palestinian leaders and media, intended to put pressure on Israel and the U.S. to make additional concessions in the negotiations, under threat of violence if their demands are not met.
"I have expressed my concern and regret at the widespread violence and the senseless loss of lives· and injuries on both sides. But it must be clearly understood that it wasn't my visit to The Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews and under full Israeli sovereignty - that ignited the current outbreak of violence.
"Israel's Security Establishment has publicly presented its conclusions that the violent riots and armed confrontations are part of a premeditated and organized campaign initiated by the Palestinian Authority (PA). This campaign began over ten days ago in the Netzarim area in Gaza, starting with stone throwing and escalating to the use of firearms and explosives against Israeli soldiers and civilians traveling there.
"These riots have spread out through the deliberate incitement (prior to the visit) by the Tanzim (the armed militia of Chairman Arafat's Fatah organization). Last Friday, Arafat instructed the Tanzim to escalate the riots. Moreover, Palestinian Security Chiefs have been directly involved in inciting the violence and in ordering Palestinian Police to open fire on Israeli soldiers, police and civilians.
"Arab Members of the Knesset have contributed to and joined this violent campaign by repeated incitement, calling Arab Israelis as well as Palestinians to resort to violence prior, during and after my visit to The Temple Mount.
"This is not the first time I'm visiting the Temple Mount. The Inspector General of the police has explained that the large forces which the police deployed to safeguard the visit, were required due to Palestinian threats prior to the visit to resort to large scale violence in order to take control of the Western Wall area below the Temple Mount.
"I wish to emphasize, Mrs. Secretary, that Prime Minister Barak has already stated very clearly that every Israeli citizen, be he Arab or Jew, has a right to visit any place which is under Israeli sovereignty.
"The united city of Jerusalem, which you are all very familiar with, as well as The Temple Mount, are under full Israeli sovereignty. Neither I, nor any Israeli citizen need to seek permission from the PA or from any foreign entity to visit there or any other site which is sovereign territory of the State of Israel.
"As for myself", I wish to assure you that despite the recent violent events, I remain fully committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians.
"I believe we can reach peace, but it must be durable and real peace based first and foremost on complete negation of violence.
"Furthermore, it requires Arab Palestinian recognition and acceptance of the historical inherent rights that Jews have on their land in their undivided capital of Jerusalem, and particularly sovereign rights and free access to our most sacred site on The Temple Mount. This right is granted and has been safeguarded to every Israeli citizen as well as visitors, regardless of race, creed or religion since Israel united the city in 1967. "Sincerely Yours, Ariel Sharon."
(By David Horowitz, The Jewish Press, November 24, 2000)
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