But the conflict in the Middle East is not about terror or violence. That
is the unhappy outcome, not the cause. And Israel is not "fighting terror."
She is fighting for her life and for her right to exist, as a Jewish State,
in her ancient, historical, universally recognized, never abandoned, homeland.
The currently favored remedy in our eternal march towards "Peace" is the
Road Map, the latest in a long line of plans to divide, weaken, dismember
or otherwise incapacitate the Jewish State.
Since the Balfour Declaration in 1917, we have seen a constant parade of
proposals and activities, partition plans, borders drawn and redrawn, military
clashes, full fledged wars, cease fires, armistice lines, resolutions, unending
conferences and now the "hudna" (we'll see how long that lasts...). All were
contrived to reach the ultimate Middle East Peace. There was the pre-state
Peel Commission; the U.N. partition plans; Resolutions 181, 194 and 242;
the Rogers Plan; the Geneva and Madrid conferences and the touted Oslo accords.
Shaaram El Sheik, Wye, Camp David, Taaba have all hosted peace and problem
solving assemblies. Kissinger, Reagen, Shultz, Baker, Ross, Clinton, Tenet,
Zinni, the Saudis, and now President Bush have all contributed their combined
wisdom, alas, to no avail.
The one thing in common with each and every one of these plans, suggestions,
partitions and agreements is that each and every one necessitated additional
Israeli withdrawals, restrictions and capitulation, compensated, of course,
by inviolable international guarantees and promises of future support. The
Arabs accepted or signed a good many of these agreements and then promptly
proceeded to violate, break, trample upon and make a mockery of every single
As in the present hudna, Arab agreements with the enemy are a temporary,
tactical ploy. Talk of a "two-state solution" is a step towards a Judenrein
Middle East. Their war against the Jews is not a political situation capable
of compromise and solution; it is a war of victory or death, an honorable
and historical Arab way of life.
When Jewish settlement to Palestine began to increase 200 years before
the establishment of the Jewish State, when Palestine was a far-flung province
of the Ottoman Empire and the Arab population of Palestine (which then included
Transjordan) was very small and scattered, the Arabs still attacked, waged
war, terrorized, slaughtered, stole and did their utmost to destroy any sign
of new Jewish settlement. Yet this settlement is what transformed a poverty
stricken, forlorn, empty area into a land of flowing milk and honey.
By the outbreak of World War II, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill
described a process of massive Arab immigration to Palestine.
Where did they come from all of these immigrants, and why did they suddenly
appear? They came from surrounding countries because the Jewish settlement
in Palestine had created a new and vibrant economic environment.
At the same time, the more the new Arab immigrants arrived, the more they
protested the Jewish presence. Their unending warfare was called "attacks"
or "pogroms" in those pre-state, "pre-terror" (!) days and their wanton killing
and destruction has continued uninterruptedly except when we interrupted
them ever since. They killed and destroyed before Jewish independence, before
there was a "refugee problem", before the extended 1967 borders, before the
unification of Jerusalem and before there were any settlements or outposts
dotting the empty, windblown landscape in Judea and Samaria.
The Arabs, by the way, are the only people in the world whose "refugee problem"
has persisted for fifty-five years, over three or four generations. They
are the world's only refugees who never die, are never removed from the U.N.
refugee lists, and the only ones who have not been absorbed in other countries
despite the existence of a vast "motherland" of Arabia with its twenty-two
states, three hundred million people (almost all of whom share the same culture,
language, religion), unending stretches of vacant land and untold wealth
and resources. On UNRWA posters the Arab "refugees" were depicted as "Survivors".
Indeed they are.
Israel is not dealing with just a group or groups of isolated
terrorists. It is dealing with an entire culture of violence, hatred, blood
feuds, thievery and evasion of all responsibility, all of which are endemic
in Moslem lands and culture. Even more "modern" Arab states such as Egypt
or Jordan are in constant danger of backsliding into social chaos and the
bloody mindset of Islamic warfare. It was, and still is, brutal.
The Arabs went to war against the Jews before there was any thought of an
Arab Palestinian nation or state. The Palestinians were the Jews of Palestine;
the Arabs were simply Arabs; part of the great Arab pan-Arabia; one
big, contiguous Arab nation stretching across the Middle East and encompassing
the entire, highly homogeneous Arab lands and peoples. And although small
numbers of Jews and Christilans might live on Arab soil in a state of dhimmitude
(a state of semi-servitude as proscribed in the Koran for non- Moslems),
on the whole, infidels (i.e. all non-Moslems) were unwelcome. In their holy
war against the Jews, the Arabs recognize no innocents, no non-combatants,
no women, no children. All are the Enemy; all of Palestine is holy, "Arab"
soil, and this soil must be Judenrein.
Indeed, much of the Middle East is already cleared of Jews. 850,000 left
or were systematically forced out of Arab lands in 1948 and the rest immigrated
soon after. In the place of large, thriving and ancient communities, only
tiny remnants remain in a few countries like Morocco, Iran or Egypt (all
of whom are nervous, compliant, careful and scared). What Hitler did not
accomplish in Europe, Islam has accomplished in the Middle East.
Hitler had his Final Solution; Jihad will purify the lands of Islam from
Southeast Asia, across the Fertile Crescent, Africa, up to the Straits of
Gibraltar; from Egypt and Sinai in the south to Turkey, southern Russia and
the Balkans in the north.
Sound crazy? Arab leaders of all stripes declare and declaim it daily on
their radio, television, in their press, in their school books, in their
speeches. They say it publicly, loud and clear, in all languages, but primarily
in Arabic. Their English pronouncements are more muted, taking western
sensibilities into acount. But read a few newspapers in Arabic; listen to
a few sermons in the mosques across the world; sit in the madrassas now spread
across the western world where millions of Arab children study Islam.
Or just spend a few weeks in Israel and count the mortar shells on
quiet civilian centers, the shooting of unsuspecting innocents on the highways,
and the suicide bombers wherever they can get in.
In a recent article in the Jerusalem Post (June 27, 2003), Ori Golan interviewed
Anjem Choudary, the United Kingdom leader of Al Muhajiroun (an Islamist group).
Mr. Choudary publicly and unabashedly proclaimed: In Israel there are
no civilians. You have to remember that they are occupying Muslim land
[ed: He is referring to the entire country of Israel, not just to lands occupied
Including babies and old women??...Those people in the land are occupiers
and aggresors and are part of the atrocities which, as far as we're concerned,
are as bad, if not worse, as in Nazi Germany..... Is Islam a peaceful
religion? No, we can't say that because the roots of the word Islam is
not peace but submission - to have complete submission to the Creator....
What about the Briton who carried out the suicide attack in Tel Aviv? One
must be happy for fellow Muslims when they fulfill their obligations. It
is a very noble thing....he will get to Paradise."
Although these things were said publicly in England, and published, the west
still finds it difficult (if not impossible) to think in these terms. But
if ever there was one, this is a Holy War. As such, it must be fought not
only with steel, but with faith. The Arabs believe this. That's why their
suicide bombers are anxious to blow themselves up. They are sure that Allah
is waiting to greet them at the Gates to Paradise. And those who are not
exploding are on the sidelines applauding. The rest of the world talks about
fighting terrorism, promoting peace, drawing borders, signing agreements.
The West tends to think that everything can be neatly controlled, fixed,
and rationally put into place. But that is delusion. Force must be met with
force; fire must be fought with fire, Evil confronted by Good, and warped,
murderous faith must be met with Truth.
America woke up after 9-11 but proceeded to develop tunnel vision. Although
finely sensitized to potential danger to American welfare, President Bush
seems to think that dangers to Israel pose less of a problem.
Yet Israel's very existence is the reason and the excuse for Arab hatred
and violence. Even the world's good and well meaning people will not long
agree to living on constant alert and the brink of war because of one miniscule
sliver of a country. There are so many rational, good reasons to abandon
the Jewish State. The price for Israel's existance might be deemed too high.
Nations will ask themselves what is more important, placating three hundred
million Moslems, or protecting three or four or five million Jews whose homeland
happens to be in the wrong neighborhood? And the result will be to force
the Jewish state to capitulate once again for the sake of "peace". Israel
is, after all, the eternal sacrificial lamb. If the alternative is potential
global war, a tiny Jewish State is expendable.
What, then, is to be done? Is there a solution to the unending Arab hatred
Yes. If this is Jihad, a Holy War, we must fight it with holy weapons. If
the Jewish People return to their own basic truths, to their Torah and to
their Land; if they understand who they are, why they are here, the significance
of the Land of Israel; if they unite, come home and fulfill their historic
role and mission, a basic shift will take place in the cosmic configuration
and on the international political scene. There is a G-d, and He too has
something to say about men's affairs. But He waits for Man to start the ball
Meanwhile, it is incumbent upon us all, and upon the Jewish People in particular,
to raise the standard of truth and justice in a world rife with falsehood,
and to do battle with Evil. Hitler was not a fairytale. The horror he engendered
existed and had to be defeated.
Someday, our swords will indeed turn into ploughshares. War will cease and
true peace, not the unjust, forced capitulation of an innocent nation, will
reign supreme. Until then, we will keep trying and praying.
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Ganz is the award-winning author of more than forty Jewish juvenile titles
including the two-volume teen history "Sand and Stars --- A Jewish Journey
Through Time" and the popular Savta Simcha Series. You may contact her by