Editor's note: On August 5, 1997, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations placed a full page ad in the New York Times. It was an open letter to "Chairman" Yasir Arafat pleading that he take "swift and decisive action" to end violence and terrorism.
It lists the various violations of the "Oslo Accords, the Hebron Agreement, and the "Notes for the Record" signed with the U.S." And it ends with the usual plea for resumption of negotiations, and wishes the "Chairman" Shalom. To our mind, the letter is not merely useless, but demeaning. The following is a letter AFSI believes self-respecting Jewish leaders would have sent.
An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Prime Minister:
We are appalled by the continuation of violence and terrorism directed against the Jewish citizens of Israel, and we pledge our support to you on whatever methods and acts your government deems necessary to bring security to your nation. We recognize that only your government --not the Palestinian authority, and not President Clinton, not the UN, not Western leaders-- but only your government, can be responsible for the security of your citizens.
Arafat's complicity, incitement, and approval of terrorism have rendered the Oslo Accords null and void. The peace process is at a dead end. Appeasement and concessions are only interpreted as weakness. It is time to tell the Arabs that all negotiations are off. Furthermore, we will support you in reasserting Israeli control of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Golan.
We will support you in unfettered building of Jewish homes in all of Eretz Israel. We will support the harshest measures against those who harass and stone Jewish citizens wherever they live- in Haifa, Hebron, Eli, Ariel, Gaza, etc. We will support any ultimatum that you give the Arab citizens. It is time for them to sober up and reevaluate which path will bring them maximum self-expression and peaceful coexistence.
It is time for them to reevaluate their leadership and the ruinous path they have chosen. It is time for them to understand that Eretz Israel will never be destroyed, will never be abandoned, will never be anything but a land of Jews, controlled by Jews, defended by Jews, and supported by Jews throughout the world. Be not afraid, Mr. Prime Minister. We stand with you and for you and the people of Israel. We wish you Shalom and strength.