From the Editor
When he was in the opposition, and incident after incident of terrorism followed Oslo, Benjamin Netanyahu assailed the Labor government, repeating with each atrocity: "It is ridiculous to expect that Yasir Arafat will be your subcontractor to fight terror." It was Netanyahu's most persistent and telling single criticism of Labor policy.
Now Benjamin Netanyahu heads the government, and what is his policy? It is, of course, to make Yasir Arafat Israel's subcontractor to eliminate terror. After the murders in the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, he assails Arafat for not doing the job. He tells him sternly that he had warned him to take action yet "Just the opposite happened.
You encouraged violence and incitement; you did not arrest Hamas and Jihad operatives and you did not battle against the terror infrastructure. Even worse, senior members of the Palestinian police are themselves involved in terror attacks. I demand that you immediately take firm action against the terror organizations."
What is Arafat's response? Why it is exactly what
Netanyahu-the-opposition-leader would have predicted. He makes a few of the right noises to outsiders, but when it comes to his own public, it's another story. The official
Palestinian Authority radio station reported the murders in the market in Jerusalem as a "military operation" and played victory music and military marches to celebrate the "operation." And Arafat? To his own public, he breathed not a word of condemnation for the terrorist act.
On the contrary. In a speech to Fatah loyalists broadcast on Palestinian Authority television and published in the PA controlled newspaper a day later, he declared: "No one can harm the Palestinian revolution, for it will persist and struggle, struggle, struggle. It is important that we
organize our homes and our movements in order to endure the coming battle, which we shall begin....The whole world stands by us, while they are alone...The Palestinian people is faithful to its oath, the one which we swore upon the first day when the initial shot was fired and the first of our martyrs fell.
I must say these things so that you will know where, how and in what direction our movement is heading. We are marching together with the blessing of Allah, my brothers, we are marching together to Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem."
So what is the difference between Netanyahu and
Peres-Rabin? True, the latter would simply have brushed the victims under the rug as casualties of peace. But apart from the rhetoric, what is different? Labor too would have sealed off Judea, Samaria and Gaza -- then a week or two later allowed the Arabs back, precisely the pattern
Netanyahu follows. Incredibly, even as Netanyahu talked
tough about the latest terror blasts, General Security Services head Ami Ayalon met with Palestinian Authority
Colonel Tawfiq Tarawi even though an Israeli arrest
order was out for him for his part in the murder of Arab real estate agents. No wonder Likud Member of the Knesset Benny Begin accused the government of "chaos" and "closing its eyes" to Arafat-promoted terror.
The bottom line is that Labor would have continued the suicidal "peace process" after a brief interval to bury the dead, precisely what Netanyahu will do. As long as Netanyahu professes himself committed to the "peace process," he is trapped into following the path of his predecessors. The Oslo bargain was territories for terror.
Israel would give up territories and the PLO would give up terror. In fact, of course, Israel gives up territories and the PLO accelerates terror to pressure Israel to give up territory faster. But Netanyahu is unwilling to say "Oslo was still-born. The very idea of the bargain was an absurdity.
It was something the PLO, with its record of deceit and commitment to Israel's destruction, should never have been expected to honor." And as long as he will not or cannot discard the "peace with the PLO" delusion, the voice may be the voice of Netanyahu, but the deeds will be the deeds of Peres.
In the meantime, while the Netanyahu government makes empty protestations about the "eternal" unity of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, the city is in fact divided. For this there is no less an authority than David Bar Illan, Netanyahu's Director of Planning and Communications. He announced: "Eastern Jerusalem is not in our hands. Put more accurately, we are about to lose that part of the city."
The government talks big, and acts small. After the Cabinet met to discuss Ras al-Amud (the property in the Mount of Olives area owned by Irving Moskowitz), Netanyahu announced: "We are acting to confirm our sovereignty throughout the city, and are strengthening our security presence in the city. No one should delude
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