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 Tribune.com, 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