There are times, admittedly few and far between, when the Monitor is rendered speechless. Such a time came seven years ago this week, with the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.
Though the violence initially was blamed on the September 28, 2000, visit to the Temple Mount by then-Likud leader Ariel Sharon and a large security entourage, Palestinian leaders would later admit that planning for the outbreak had in fact begun in July, after Yasir Arafat stormed out of Bill Clinton’s Camp David confab.
The sight of Palestinian mobs pillaging and killing, in a bloodthirsty frenzy reminiscent of the Arab riots of the 1920’s and 30’s, was still not enough to cure certain Jews of their chronic need to interpret events through the eyes of their enemies.
On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the death of the Oslo peace sham, this week’s soapbox is yielded to those whose stomach-turning bleating in the weeks immediately following the launch of Intifada II should have been a death blow to the illusion of Jewish intellectual superiority. The Palestinians should only be this stunningly stupid – not to mention breathtakingly craven:
● Obviously, the fuse [for the Palestinian uprising] was lit by the notorious Ariel Sharon … a man whose entire military and political career consisted of fighting Palestinians and killing them…. It is a tragic feature of what is going on now that at Camp David, Barak in principle agreed to give up many of the positions which are at present being ferociously fought over…. He agreed to give them up – but only at a stiff price of Palestinian [concessions], some of them very unpalatable and others completely unacceptable to the Palestinian side. Will he now soften those positions, at least to some degree? Having gone so far already at Camp David, can he not simply get out of the occupied territories? – Israeli “peace activists” Adam Keller and Beate Zilversmidt.● It is not the acceptable thing to say, but this truth must be stated: Only through force have the Arabs achieved what they have achieved, throughout the Arab-Israeli conflict, and certainly in the last 30 years. From Yom Kippur of 5734 (1973) to Rosh Hashana of 5761 (2000), not only has violence paid off for the Arabs, but we have also shown them that violence is the only way open to them…. It certainly cannot be said that [Israeli Arabs] did not first try nonviolent means. Twenty-five years of exemplary, almost exaggerated loyalty … to the state whose wars are not their wars, whose national anthem is not their anthem, whose language is not their language, whose holidays are not their holidays – and for all this [Israel] treats them the way it does. – Gideon Levy, columnist, Haaretz.
● The massacre of Palestinians in recent days will be with us for many years…. The IDF did not defend Israel. Israel was not in danger…. It is permissible to kill a child in the arms of his father and to afterward deny that killing “because he had no reason to be there.” It is permissible to shoot rockets at demonstrators…. It is permissible to use violence to make others surrender. And as usual, in summing up the entire event, human life is important only when the human is not Arab. – Yitzhak Laor, columnist, Haaretz.
● Those [in Israel] who declare that there is no partner for peace are in effect proclaiming that they are in the middle of a war…. And that is how a few hundred Palestinians armed with MK-17 assault rifles have led a strong nation – one with a nuclear option and a powerful army – to adopt the mood that it is now waging a “war of survival.” In the meantime, the leaders of this strong nation are fueling the paranoia… – Meron Benvinisti, columnist, Haaretz.
● Israelis should atone for their inability to see themselves as the major military power of the region and for their constant use of disproportionate force to repress an essentially unarmed population. Israelis should atone for not being able to recognize as the superior force with the greater responsibility to compromise and respect the needs of the less powerful. – Michael Lerner, Tikkun magazine.
● The horrible deaths of the two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah should serve as a lesson to Israel that the violence it has shown to the Palestinians and Arab Israelis in the past only serves to further the Middle East conflict…. In the wake of the recent clashes, Israel needs to re-evaluate its policy toward the Arabs. Prime Minister Ehud Barak should not react with further violence….
– Goldie Fleischman, Baltimore (letter to The New York Times, Oct. 14, 2000).