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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘withdrawal’

Caring For Our Seniors And Holocaust Survivors: A Conference (Part 2)

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

          Last week I talked about the conference I attended that was designed for non-Jewish caregivers of our elderly and Holocaust survivors. I mentioned how much of the information would be valuable to the young and mature alike in our community as we enhance our relationship with this group among us. With the permission of Ahavas Chesed of Montreal, I am reprinting the section on “triggers.”

 

           Below is a listing of the triggers that could possibly cause an emotional reaction, why that is so and what emotional reaction to look for. I hope this information will be a refresher for those of us who may have forgotten the extent to which these “normal” behaviors can trigger negative feelings and will provide a learning experience for our youth, in order for all of us to better our relationship with our seniors through understanding.

 

 





































































        TRIGGER


REASON


REACTION


Shots or needles


Many Holocaust survivors have tattoos on their arms. In some concentration camps, people were no longer referred to by their name but only by their number. Tattoos were made by pricking the skin with needles and inserting a permanent dye. This was of particular humiliation to Orthodox Jews since, according to Jewish law, one is not permitted to have tattoos on one’s body. Nonetheless, the physical pain of the experience and degradation were true for everyone.


Anger, refusal, fear.


Doctors


Nazi “doctors” and guards wearing white uniforms performed inhuman medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. For some elderly survivors, these experiences are as alive today as they were 65 years ago.


Fear, anxiety, refusal to cooperate, anger, withdrawal.


Hospitalization, medical procedures, therapies


If a person became ill in the concentration camps, one of three things may have happened to them: a) he was immediately killed because they were no longer able to work and therefore were of no use, b) he was admitted to the concentration camp “hospital” where they were left to die, or c) he was in danger of being subjected to horrible medical experiments. The more fortunate ones were cared for by friends in their barracks until they recuperated.


Fear, anxiety, withdrawal.


The sound of people crying or screaming


People in concentration camps and ghettos lived through unspeakable horrors. Many cried or screamed from either emotional or physical pain. Hearing someone else cry or scream may trigger the memory of being in a ghetto or concentration camp.


Fear, similar behaviors.


Dogs


In the ghetto, dogs were used to “round up” people who were hiding from the Gestapo (German police). When people arrived at the concentration camps, they were met by SS (Nazi security) guards with large dogs. Some dogs were trained to attack and were actually used to kill people who tried to escape.


Unusual fear, revulsion.


Directions such as “Go to the right, go to the left”


Jews were often subject to “selections.” “Go to the right” or “go to the left” might have meant who was to go to the gas chambers and die or who would go to work detail.


Moving away quickly, fear, anxiety.


White lab coats or uniforms


So-called “doctors” who performed medical experiments wore white lab coats as did their assistants. The guards who mistreated Jews horribly wore uniforms. Today, even a maintenance uniform could trigger a bad memory.


Fear, anger, anxiety.


Restraints, locked doors, gates


Holocaust survivors were forced to do many things and were restrained for any number of reasons. Being restrained today may trigger the memory of being locked in the ghetto, or surrounded by the barbed wire that enclosed the entire camp.


Frantic “trying to escape” feeling, panic.


Being shaved


The heads of both male and female prisoners were often shaven when they entered the concentration camps. This was another form of humiliation and dehumanization.


Refusal, anxiety re baldness, anger.


Smell of feces or urine


On the long rides to concentration camps, many hundreds of people were crowded into boxcars. Because there was no room to sit, people had to stand for hours. There was no food, bathrooms or air. Often people died during the trip and others were unable to hold their bowel movements or urine. The smell of waste may easily trigger the memory of those train rides. Sanitary conditions in the camps were terrible. If a man or a woman wasn’t allowed to go to the barracks for toilet facilities, they may have had to soil themselves.


Refusal to use washrooms, incontinence or withholding, anxiety.


Crowds, small spaces, elevators


Conditions for Holocaust survivors were often overcrowded. When Jews were rounded up and made to live in ghettos, they were crowded together. Several families were often made to share quarters in apartments or homes meant for one family. In the barracks of the concentration camps, four to six people often shared one “koya” or sleeping shelf.


Anxiety, withdrawal.


Hiding or hoarding food, eating too quickly


Whether in the ghettoes or in concentration camps, food was scarce. When food became available, people sometimes rationed themselves so there would be something left over in case they would not receive food again for a while. Some people stole food so they could bring it to their family members too weak to stand in the rationing lines. If someone was extremely hungry, he would have eaten the food he received very quickly.


Hoarding or hiding food, eating quickly.


Darkness


Frightening things happened in the dark. An inmate of a concentration camp or someone in hiding was also terrorized by the dark.


Anxiety, panic.


Request for personal or financial information


Survivors were robbed of all their assets and had to start over. They were also desperately secretive about personal information for fear of incrimination that would mean certain imprisonment or death for oneself or a family member.


Refusal to cooperate, anxiety.


Lack of privacy

Whether in a ghetto, in hiding or in a concentration camp, there was no privacy at all. At any given moment, there were people, soldiers, or surprise assaults ready to invade someone’s space.


Withdrawal, secrecy.


 


 


         Using this information may help us all-relatives, friends and professionals-better understand the anxiety displayed by our aging survivor population. Being with a person who reacts with great trepidation to any of these every day “triggers” should be a signal to us to realize that they are reacting to a past experience. Their fear is as real as if they are once again faced with the horrors they experienced in the war. It is up to us to help them and that first begins with understanding where this fear and their reaction are coming from.

 

         For more information on the workshop or the booklet and printouts you can contact Carol Polter at cpolter@ahavaschesed.ca

 

         You can contact me at annnovick@hotmail.com

Terrorists and U.S. Presidential Politics

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007


If this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will,” pledged Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in a televised Democratic debate broadcast nationally and around the world.


“The first day, I would get us out of Iraq by diplomacy,” said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, on the debate stage with seven other Democratic presidential hopefuls.


“We are one signature away from ending this war,” declared Illinois Senator Barack Obama, adding that if Bush won’t change his mind about vetoing a bill requiring troop withdrawal, Democrats need to work on rounding up enough Republican votes to override him.


Former North Carolina senator John Edwards, who together with Clinton and some other Democrats voted to authorize the Iraq war, apologized for his earlier support and said he wanted to see a withdrawal.


The debate, held in April, was followed closely in the Middle East, where it was covered by Arabic news outlets and partially broadcast on major Arab satellite networks. Among those watching were Palestinian terrorist leaders.


There is a tendency to think of terrorists as living like barbarians in caves. Actually, a lot of terrorists, certainly those in Gaza and the West Bank, reside in well-decorated apartments with all the trappings of a modern production company. They have some of the most advanced communications equipment in the world and are quite Internet-savvy.


While terrorists spend much of their time in the field carrying out or planning attacks or undergoing or leading military training, they also find the time to follow the news media closely. Many of the terror leaders I’ve spoken with understand some English, although they pretend not to and almost always demand we speak with the aid of an Arabic interpreter.


I know they understand my English because during in-person talks they have responded at times to my statements with gestures or laughter or disagreement before my words were translated for them into Arabic. Some Palestinian terrorists actually speak fluent Hebrew, from time spent in Israeli jails.


I was stunned by how closely some terrorists follow U.S. developments – how familiar they are with our political system and a lot of the top players. The day after the April Democratic debate, I happened to call Abu Jihad, one of the leaders of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror organization, for an article I was writing about Palestinian rocket capabilities. Out of the blue during our interview, without any prompting on my part, Abu Jihad commented on how thrilled he was with the Democrat debate.


“We see Hillary [Clinton] and other candidates are competing on who will withdraw from Iraq and who is guilty of supporting the Iraqi invasion. This is a moment of glory for the revolutionary movements in the Arab world in general and for the Iraqi resistance movement specifically,” said Abu Jihad. “I think Democrats will do good if they will withdraw as soon as they are in power.”


Wow, I thought. A terrorist sounding off about an American political debate. I quickly called one of Abu Jihad’s bosses, Nasser Abu Aziz, the deputy commander of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank. He, too, paid attention to the Democrat debate.


Aziz said the debate proved “the invasion of Iraq was judged by Allah to be a failure. America needs to stop letting its foreign policy be dictated by the Zionists and the Zionist lobby. The Democrats understand this point and want to prevent this scenario.” He declared it is “very good” there are “voices like Hillary and others who are now attacking the Iraq invasion.”


“I think the more Americans receive the bodies of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the more the conservatives in the U.S. will be sentenced to be thrown in the garbage,” he said.


Rooting for the Democrats


With America heading toward 2008 presidential elections, I talked with the terrorists about which parties they favor and who specifically they want to see in the White House.


Overwhelmingly they told me they hope Americans sweep the Democrats into power, in part because of the party’s position on withdrawing from Iraq – a move, as they see it, that ensures victory for the worldwide Islamic resistance.


“Of course Americans should vote Democrat,” said Jihad Jaara, an exiled member of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and the leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.


“This is why American Muslims will support the Democrats, because there is an atmosphere in America that encourages those who want to withdraw from Iraq. It is time that the American people support those who want to take them out of this Iraqi mud,” said Jaara, who talked to me from exile in Ireland, where he was sent as part of a deal that ended the church siege.


I asked the terrorists what they thought of statements from people like Senator Barbara Boxer and Representatives Barbara Lee and John Murtha that the U.S. must immediately withdraw from Iraq. What do they think when they hear prominent politicians comparing Iraq to Vietnam?


“These Democrat leaders are starting to ask the right questions: what are we doing in Iraq after we got rid from Saddam Hussein?” stated Jaara. “You succeeded in killing him and in establishing a new regime but why are you still there? And this is what these Democrats are asking. They understand that the American occupation causes the resistance and we are glad the resistance is succeeding to beat the Americans.”


(I must stop Jaara here and point out his deceptive rhetoric. When it suits them, terrorists claim the American occupation of Iraq is the reason for their attacks. But terrorists have been waging their war for Islamic domination far before the U.S. deposed Saddam Hussein. 9-11 occurred before the Iraq war. Jihadists constantly struggle to find new U.S. policies to blame for their terrorism.)


Regarding the Democrat debate, Ala Senakreh, chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank, said making statements is not enough, but Democratic policies make him hopeful.


“It is not enough to compare Iraq to Vietnam. There must be a big campaign to start this withdrawal. What is happening now in the Congress is encouraging, it gives hope for a change, but I am afraid that it will still take time. As for us, this proves that the resistance always succeeds by the end of the day.”


I read to the terrorists an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in which then-House Minority Leader and now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stated, “The jihadists [are] in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean we stay there. They’ll stay there as long as we’re there.”


Muhammad Saadi, a leader of the Islamic Jihad terror group in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, laughed. “There is no chance that the resistance will stop,” he said.


An American withdrawal from Iraq, Saadi explained, would “show the resistance is the most important tool and that this tool works. The victory of the Iraqi revolution will mark an important step in the history of the region and in the attitude regarding the United States.”


Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, said he is “emboldened” by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.


“[The mujahedeen fighters] brought the Americans to speak for the first time seriously and sincerely that Iraq is becoming a new Vietnam and that they should fix a schedule for their withdrawal from Iraq,” he boasted.


The exiled Al Aksa member Jihad Jaara said an American withdrawal would “mark the beginning of the collapse of this tyrant empire [America].” He added that America’s vacating Iraq would also “reinforce Palestinian resistance organizations, especially from the moral point of view. But we also learn from these [insurgency] movements militarily. We look and learn from them.”


Hamas’s Abu Abdullah argued that a withdrawal from Iraq would “convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance.”


The terror leaders each independently urged American citizens to vote for Democratic candidates. I never once came across a single terrorist who supported any Republican. And why would they? The Democrats largely want to withdraw from Iraq. They want dialogue with Syria and Iran. The terrorists share those same goals, because they believe it will lead to the downfall of the American empire and the spread of Islam.


It was under a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, that PLO leader Yasir Arafat returned from exile in Tunis, established a fiefdom in the West Bank and Gaza and was built up as a legitimate leader, becoming the most frequent foreign dignitary to visit the White House.


The terrorists love that. They believe the Democrats are their ticket to victory and they are hopeful a Democrat will soon sit in the Oval Office.


Hillary’s the One


I asked them about particular presidential candidates. Overwhelmingly, they favored Hillary Clinton in 2008.


Brigades chief Ala Senakreh, who planned and orchestrated multiple suicide bombings and has himself carried out at least a dozen shooting attacks against Israelis, told me he “hope[s] Hillary is elected in order to have the occasion to carry out all the promises she is giving regarding Iraq.


“I hope also she will maintain her husband’s policies regarding Palestine and even develop that policy. President Clinton wanted to give the Palestinians 98 percent of the West Bank territories. I hope Hillary will move a step forward and will give the Palestinians all their rights.”


Abu Hamed, leader of the Al Aksa Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, said that Hillary’s antiwar position “proves that important leaders are understanding the situation differently and are understanding the price and the consequences of the American policy in Iraq and in the world.


“The Iraqi resistance is succeeding. Hillary and the Democrats call for withdrawal. Her [Clinton's] popularity shows that the resistance is winning and that the occupation is losing. We just hope that she will go until the end and change the American policy, which is based on oppressing poor and innocent people.”


Ramadan Adassi, leader of the Al Aksa Brigades in the Anskar refugee camp in the northern West Bank, said he also backs Hillary. With a straight face, Adassi said he was worried that if Hillary defies Israel she will be brought down like her husband, claiming White House intern Monica Lewinsky was an Israeli implant sent to lure Bill Clinton into a sex scandal after he pressured the Jewish state to evacuate territory to the Palestinians.


“If Hillary goes too much against the Zionist interests she will face the same conspiracy like her husband who fell into the trap of Lewinsky,” said Adassi. “I have no doubt [Lewinsky] was planted by the Zionists, who wanted to send a message to all future American presidents – do not go against the Israeli policy. Bill Clinton made the Oslo agreement and promoted peace but the Israelis did not give him a chance.”


The notion of Lewinsky as an Israeli agent is commonly believed in the terror community. It came up many times in my conversations and interviews with Palestinian terrorists.


Hating Rudy


The terrorists weren’t familiar with the particulars of some of the other presidential hopefuls, but they all knew of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. He is quite famous in terror circles for the time in 1995 when he booted Yasir Arafat from an invitation-only concert at New York’s Lincoln Center celebrating the UN’s fiftieth anniversary. Arafat attempted to crash the event. When Giuliani saw the PLO leader and his entourage making their way to a private box seat near the stage, the mayor immediately ordered Arafat off the premises.


The incident occurred at the height of Oslo euphoria, when Arafat was being promoted as some sort of statesman and even most mainstream Jewish groups disgracefully embraced the murdering terrorist.


“Giuliani doesn’t deserve to live or even to be mentioned,” said Brigades leader Ala Senakreh. “He wants war and he will most probably receive war. He hates Palestinians and we hate him. He hates Arafat and I tell him that it is Arafat who brought us to be very close to our independent state after decades during which Israel and your government did everything in order to prevent us from having our state.”


Ramadan Adassi threatened Giulani: “If I had the occasion to meet him, I would hurt him. For the sake of the American people Giuliani shouldn’t be elected. He is a disgusting guy and I think Americans must think very hard about their future and their soldiers who will be killed when they come to elect their leaders.”


While the terror leaders each independently urged American citizens to vote for Democratic candidates, not all believed the Democrats would actually carry out a withdrawal from Iraq. They believe most American politicians are controlled by Israel.


“Unfortunately,” said Islamic Jihad’s Saadi, “I think those who are speaking about a withdrawal will not do so when they are in power and these promises will remain electoral slogans. It is not enough to withdraw from Iraq. They must withdraw from Afghanistan and from every Arab and Muslim land they occupy or have bases.”


He called both Democrats and Republicans “agents of the Zionist lobby in the U.S.”

 


Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com and a weekly columnist for The Jewish Press. This essay is adapted from his new book, “Schmoozing With Terrorists,” available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and other major booksellers.

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Money Better Spent

As people prepare to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manot on Purim, may I remind them that the mitzvah involves sending a gift of two (2) different food items to one (1) friend. I do not believe the mitzvah is to send extravagant $300 baskets to everyone living within a three-mile-radius of one’s home. Wouldn’t that money be better spent by sending it to a worthy organization, such as Tomchei Shabbos or Hatzolah?

By sending money to Tomchei Shabbos, you ensure that needy observant families have the necessary items for a beautiful Shabbos – challah, wine, gefilte fish, and other traditional Shabbos foods. By sending a donation to Hatzolah, you ensure that your friend or neighbor will have immediate medical attention in case of any life-threatening emergency.

Now isn’t that money better spent than sending an overpriced basket containing a small bottle of grape juice, some jelly rings, some cookies, some imported chocolate, and other things that people really do not need in their home four weeks before Pesach?

Barry Koppel
Kew Gardens Hills, NY



Workable Shidduch System

Chananya Weissman in his op-ed article “The Shidduch Crisis – The Case For Natural Meetings” (March 18) asks for any evidence that forbids mixed settings.

The Mishna in Sukkah 5:2, speaks clearly of the “tikkun gadol,” the great improvement, which refers to the balcony made in the Beis Hamikdosh, designed to keep men and women from mingling.

I think the shidduch scene in the U.S. is problematic primarily because it seems to be acceptable for a boy to date more than one girl at a time. Nevertheless, the answer surely is not to disband the system but to make it workable – as it is elsewhere in the world.

Rabbi B. Katz
London, England



C-SPAN Unfiltered

Jason Maoz hit it right on the head with his characterization of how the hosts of C-SPAN’s “Morning Journal” allow the most outrageously anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments from callers to go unchallenged (“C-SPAN Falls Over the Edge,” Media Monitor, March 18).

The argument that the public is intelligent enough to sort out fact from fiction is a demonstrably weak one in light of years of studies and surveys showing that a sizeable percentage of the public is blissfully ignorant of history and current events. By allowing misinformation to routinely be transmitted under its auspices, C-SPAN is guilty of poisoning the public discourse in a far more egregious manner than any of the radio talk shows that liberals love to hate.

Marion Arnold
New York, NY



Columbia’s Moment Of Truth

Columbia University is approaching a decision that will test its civilized thought and rigorous scholarship. The issue is whether the university will continue to welcome as a professor a man who espouses deeply offensive views about Jews.

Joseph Massad is an assistant professor in Columbia’s Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, where students have charged that some instructors enforced anti-Israel views through classroom intimidation. Massad is among those teachers. Citing a “witch hunt,” he has denied the charges, which are being probed by a university committee. He declined an interview.

This is not scholarship. It is an expression of belief that Jews are all but programmed to victimize others; that they are flawed to their essence. The idea has no place at Columbia. Or anywhere else.

Allen Slater
(Via E-Mail)



‘Solomon Plan’ For Social Security

We need to set aside a portion of the Social Security tax and place it in special accounts to benefit our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. That way, the more offspring one has, the greater his/her nest egg will be.

The majority of the Social Security tax revenue collected will, as it currently does, continue paying through the general fund to all who are qualified for its benefits, regardless of whether or not they have children. But let’s allocate a small portion of our Social Security to those who gave us life. Those who have offspring who work and pay taxes will reap additional benefits from the “Fifth Clause” (as in the Fifth Commandment), which will grant them the additional funds.

President Bush, a devout Christian, is pro-life and obviously would recognize that under this plan people would think twice before aborting their innocent babies. This new “Solomon Plan” would create a healthy cycle of more children being born, and after eighteen short years those children’s tax dollars would begin paying for their parents’ retirement cost of living.

As one of the most loyal fans of our brave president, I pray that he continue adhering to the very sound advice that his faithful advisers, men and women of faith, provide him by the grace of God. May Hashem always bless him, his family, and the noble work he is doing for all mankind.

Joseph Lieberman
Brooklyn, NY





Right Wing And Pragmatic? Readers Respond

Refreshing Change

The Jewish Press is to be commended for publishing Joseph Schick’s well-reasoned op-ed “Can One Be Right Wing And Pragmatic?” (March 18). His article represents a refreshing change from the “Israel is about to be destroyed” scenario constantly posited by so many right-wingers here and in Israel.

One can be an unreconstructed hawk on Israel and still be realistic enough to realize that it’s ludicrous at this point in time to be talking about “expelling all the Arabs” or insisting that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people” (historically speaking, that’s correct, but we lost that public relations battle years ago).

I admire Mr. Schick for his courage in stating convictions that no doubt will invite derision from extremists, and I thank The Jewish Press for providing a forum for views with which many of its readers undoubtedly disagree.

Yitzchak Cates
New York, NY



Benefits Of Absolutist Opposition

Although I always appreciate reading Joseph Schick’s thoughtful views on the Middle East, he falls prey to his own arguments in his March 18 op-ed. Schick says he disagrees with Prime Minister Sharon’s “disengagement” plan because he thinks it is a faulty strategy to bring about his (Sharon’s) goals “to retain all of Jerusalem’s Old City, part of the Jordan Valley, and more than the four percent of Judea and Samaria that Israel was left with under the Clinton Plan.”

But he is sharply critical of those opposed to any territorial concessions and who lack a “recognition that Israel will have to give up territory but must fight hard to keep whatever it can.”

“There is no understanding,” he says, “that both Oslo and Barak’s concessions greatly damaged Israel’s negotiating position, and that Sharon’s motivation is to preserve more than the four percent Israel would have kept had Arafat accepted the Clinton Plan.”

Why does Schick think that absolutist opposition at home does not strengthen Sharon’s hand internationally and tend to lead to fewer Israeli concessions over time? Isn’t that the flip side of Schick’s acknowledgment that Oslo and Barak’s unilateral concessions undermined Israel’s negotiating position?

And why does he not explore the consequences of a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in terms of it representing a reward for terror, resulting in a boost for Hamas and an undermining of Mahmoud Abbas?

Moreover, doesn’t an uncompromising biblically-based Jewish claim, especially to East Jerusalem, add crucial weight to Israel’s position in the light of the Palestinian rationale of not only nationalism but also religious imperative?

Finally, to me it is not very seemly to criticize as politically naive those who unashamedly take the Five Books of Moses seriously. One man’s naivete is another’s faith. Schick may disagree with their interpretation of Scripture, but the religious Right really does have a point.

Glenn Friedman
New York, NY



Defeatist Attitude?

Joseph Schick seems to suffer from the same defeatist attitude that afflicts many in the Jewish community. No one respects someone who does not stand up for principle. When Arafat rejected the so-called Clinton Plan, it was only because he thought it was a gift so easy to come by that an even better deal was just around the corner. For good reason, he saw Oslo as a ground floor for future negotiations.

Nor has President Bush gone as far as he has because of Israel’s rolling over. Bush’s support is as strong as it is because of Israel’s willingness to take on terror and its refusal to knuckle under to the UN and the Europeans.

Barak’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon made heroes of Hizbullah and did more than anything else to glorify terrorism in the Arab world and encourage Palestinian recalcitrance. How can anyone think that Gaza will be any different? The problem is not that people don’t think that Sharon has a plan to keep as much as possible, but that he does not seem to have learned from recent history.

Leslie Millstein
(Via E-Mail)


Joseph Schick replies:

Yitzchak Cates’s kind words are appreciated. Glenn Friedman asks why I don’t explore the consequences of a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. In fact, I have analyzed – in detail – Sharon’s plan in previous Jewish Press columns, and expressed my opposition to the withdrawal based upon such analysis. Those columns are available on the Jewish Press website.

Mr. Friedman believes that “absolutist opposition” will “lead to fewer Israeli concessions over time.” But history suggests the opposite. Prime Minister Shamir’s government was brought down by the far right following Israel’s participation in the 1991 Madrid Conference. Shamir was replaced by Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the Oslo Accords and revived the PLO. The National Religious Party caused the collapse of the Netanyahu government following the 1998 Wye River Agreement to transfer 13 percent of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority. When Ehud Barak defeated Netanyahu in the ensuing election, the NRP was the first to join Barak’s new coalition. Barak’s concessions at Camp David and Taba dwarfed anything Netanyahu ever contemplated.

This does not mean that right-wing opposition to Sharon is always inappropriate or ineffective. As I wrote, my views are similar to those of Uzi Landau, who leads the Likud opposition to Sharon. Landau recognizes that territorial compromise will be necessary for real peace, but rejects the Sharon plan. Coherent opposition based upon pragmatic goals is distinct from “absolutist opposition.”

As for the Five Books of Moses, I too take them seriously – along with the rest of Tanach and the Talmud. Religiously, historically and morally, Israel has a right to all of Judea and Samaria. But a strategy that ignores the serious challenges Israel faces will not succeed in retaining disputed territory.

Leslie Millstein calls my attitude “defeatist” but his letter has little to do with my column. The column and previous ones clearly stated my view that Oslo, Ehud Barak’s acceptance of the Clinton Plan and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza were and are mistakes. Mr. Millstein’s failure to distinguish between my political views and goals and those of Barak are a good illustration of my column’s assertion that many on the extreme right have no ability to recognize nuance. Not everyone to the left of Kach is a leftist. Mr. Millstein’s apparent belief that President Bush’s vision for a permanent settlement differs greatly from Clinton’s ignores Bush’s frequent comments that indicate the contrary.

Why Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon Is Wrong About Surrendering The Golan

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

Speaking recently to Yediot Aharonot, an Israeli newspaper, Israel’s Chief of General Staff commented that withdrawal from the Golan Heights would not endanger Israel’s security. According to Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) could defend the country’s borders even if a political decision were taken to leave the 620-square mile strategic plateau. Israel formally annexed the Golan in 1981 after defeating Syrian aggression earlier, in 1967. Long very important in Jewish history, the Golan area’s population of about 35,000 is divided evenly between Israelis and Druse Arabs. Notwithstanding General Yaalon’s assurances, an Israeli Golan withdrawal, from an area less the 1 percent of Syria’s total size, could leave the northern region of Israel open to Syrian or even Iranian invasion through the Jordan Valley. (History records that more than 60 assaults on the Land of Israel west of the Jordan were launched from or through the Golan.) Such a withdrawal could also destroy and uproot 32 Golan Jewish communities and threaten fully a third of Israel’s water supply.

Yaalon’s rationale is almost certainly based on the following presumption: Without an Israel-Syria peace agreement (there is still, at Syria’s sole insistence, an official state of war between the two countries), a major war could result at any time from confrontation with Hizbullah terrorists on Israel’s northern border. And any Israeli plan to prevent such a war with Syria, which backs these terrorists in Lebanon, would require a demilitarized Golan Heights. The problem here, is that Syrian demilitarization of the Golan, which is roughly the size of New York City’s borough of Queens, would never work.

Unlike the concept of Palestinian demilitarization, which is often discussed with reference to creating a “safe” Palestinian state, the key issue here has nothing to do with “legal personality.” Rather, in the matter of Golan demilitarization, the issue concerns more traditional international obligations of “good faith” and various associated difficulties of enforcement. In essence, the problem of Golan demilitarization stems from the undeniable shortcomings of legal guarantees in a world where the very idea of an “international community” has now become self-parody.

A Golan agreement with Syria would surely permit Israel to operate its own early-warning stations, but these facilities could not be an adequate substitute for effective defense. In order to get such permission, Syria might be offered certain reciprocal ground station oppotunities. Indeed, in July 1995 then-Prime Minister Rabin even offered the Syrians stations within pre-1967 Israel as compensation.

For real security, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) must retain its positions on the Golan for constant surveillance of the Syrian army. Pre-1967 warning stations do not have a clear line of sight deep into Syrian territory. Not surprisingly, a large number of former Israeli intelligence officers, regardless of party affiliation, continue to oppose any Israeli dependence upon third parties for information concerned with national survival decisions. Even a demilitarized Golan with early warning based upon an expanded American role and on the most technologically advanced satellite systems would not be enough. In the event of a warning failure, which is always possible (e.g., the case of the Yom Kippur War in 1973), Syrian tanks could conceivably penetrate into Israel.

What can Israel hope to achieve from a so- called peace agreement with Syria? Talks between the two countries have effectively been stalled since 2000 because of Syrian intransigence. As Yaalon himself noted, Syria already has “missiles that put all of Israel in range, and chemical capabilties.” An Israeli departure from the Golan would do nothing to change this primary strategic situation. Nor would it likely reduce the prospect of an escalation to all-out war on the Lebanese front or reduce the influence of certain Palestinian terrorist factions still based securely in Damascus.

What about American troops on a demilitarized Golan, an idea still fashionable in some circles associating an Israeli withdrawal with a Syrian “peace.” Stationed in a very small area, such deployment would surely place these troops in grave danger from well-armed terrorists and from proxies of hostile regimes. More than likely, American forces would be drawn into both inter-Arab and Arab-Israeli disputes.

Further, Israel’s military dependence upon the United States could grow to unmanageable levels; and Syria might even come to see the American presence as an affront to its own sovereignty. In that event, Syria’s President could be expected to push for prompt removal of the U.S. force, a demand similar to Egypt’s 1967 demand for U.N. withdrawal from Sinai. Ironically, that demand led to the Six- Day War, which gave rise to Syria’s Golan loss in the first place.

For all these reasons a demilitarized Golan could not assure Israel’s basic security. According to an informed statement several years back by four Israeli (res.) generals (Y. Sagui; M. Ram; D. Hagoel; and A. Levran): “Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights constitutes the optimal strategic balance with Syria and insurance against a massive Syrian attack. The IDF’s proximity to Damascus is also a guarantee against a Syrian missile launch into Israel’s rear. Any change in this balance would lessen Israel’s deterrent against potential Syrian aggression and jeopardize the quiet and stability that have characterized the Golan since 1974.” As for the use of American troops: “Involving American troops on the Golan Heights, whether as ‘monitors’ or ‘peacekeepers’ or in some other role, would be a blunder.”

The Golan, which ranges up to a height of 2300 feet, dominates the Jordan Valley, the lowest point on Earth. On this strategic plateau, there are only two natural terrain bottlenecks. These choke points are defensible. But with the Golan in Syrian hands, however “demilitarized,” thousands of enemy tanks, backed up by missiles and aircraft, could still penetrate Israel.

Demilitarization of the Golan Heights can never be consistent with Israel’s security. From the standpoint of international law, such proposed Syrian demilitarization would cause great strategic and diplomatic difficulties for Israel. Recognizing this, it is now up to the government of Israel to ensure that the Golan remain firmly in Israeli hands and that Gen. Yaalon’s ill-advised recommendation be rejected.

(c) Copyright The Jewish Press, 2004. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on international law.

The ‘Lebanon Model’ And The Left’s Palkal Mindset

Friday, February 28th, 2003

There’s a joke that used to be funny before September 11 ruined it. A man jumps off the
roof of the World Trade Center in Manhattan and as he passes someone sticking his head out the 20th floor window he yells, “So far so good.” In other words – “See, all those people who told me it was dangerous to jump off the roof of the tower were wrong!”

I suppose the updated version of this is Palkal Thinking. Palkal was the flawed construction design method responsible for the collapse of the floor of a wedding hall in Jerusalem two years back. No doubt, two days before the floor caved in and the dancing guests were killed, there were many people ready to swear that Palkal was a proven method because, after all, to date no buildings built with it had collapsed.

There are other fine examples of Palkal Thinking. Just days before the Argentinean peso
collapsed, government officials there were peacocking about, bragging about how time had
proven how successful their economic policy had been; it had, after all, been years since the peso depreciated against the dollar. And it should not be hard to find cases of American
officials claiming on September 9, 2001 or thereabouts that Bin Laden was all bluff, all talk -
no danger at all.

Now I mention all of these because at the moment the foremost case of the Palkal Mentality involves the sudden obsession of the Israeli Left with the “Lebanon Model” as precedent for what it thinks Israel needs to do with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As you recall, Ehud Barak “resolved” the bloodshed in southern Lebanon with a unilateral capitulation to
Hizbullah and its Syrian puppet-masters. He just ordered Israeli troops to race out, with their tails between their legs, in a parody of Dunkirk.

Ever since, Israel’s Lunatic Left has been hailing the capitulation in Lebanon as a great
success. Yes, the body count dropped significantly after the surrender. There has been no massive saturation shelling of northern Israel. Tranquility of a sort has prevailed. And in Op-Ed after Op-Ed the Left screams, “You see? Just like Doubting Thomases predicted that the capitulation to Hizbullah would produce a bloodbath but has not, so the same nay-sayers are trying now to scare Israelis away from the idea of a similar unilateral capitulation and withdrawal from the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. Just like Barak’s withdrawal calmed the northern border, so a similar unilateral withdrawal will calm relations with the Palestinians and produce peace in our time.” Simple, huh?

The “Lebanon as Role Model” doctrine was the nucleus of the campaign by Amram
Mitzna. It is repeated at every opportunity by leftist politicians. It was the theme of an Op-Ed
piece by Amiram Goldblum, titled “The Withdrawal from Lebanon as Model,” that appeared in Ha’aretz on Dec. 3. (You may recall that Goldblum, a professor at Hebrew University and a
leader in Peace Now, recently demanded that Israel prevent Christian evangelicals from visiting Israel because they are too pro-Israel, and because some of their leaders denounce Islamist terror.)

So, what are we to make of all this?

Let us first note that the only tranquility that has prevailed along Israel’s border with
Lebanon since Barak’s capitulation is in the imaginations of leftists, slouching in their jacuzzis in
the yuppie suburbs of Tel Aviv. Hardly a day goes by without Hizbullah firing at passing Israeli
planes, shelling the “Mount Dov” area, or otherwise attacking Israel, while Israel plays possum
and pretends that all is tranquil. Since Barak’s capitulation, Hizbullah has murdered Israelis,
including children, along the border. It is holding four Israelis it has kidnaped and may have
murdered them. Hizbullah has been involved with the PLO and Hamas in launching suicide
bombings in Israel, and is training Palestinian terrorists. It has provided explosives and other war materials to the Palestinians. And it is diverting water flowing into Israel – an act of war under international law. The only “tranquility” along the northern border is the absence of any Israeli response to the daily acts of war by the Lebanese.

If Hizbullah has as yet not pushed the button for an all-out attack, it has nothing to do with any relaxation of tensions, but with the strategic calculations of Syria. Especially since September 11, Syria does not want to find itself too clearly a focal point in the sights of an enraged post 9-11 U.S. hunting down Islamist terrorists.

The wonderful tranquility in Lebanon will end in an all-out saturation shelling of northern
Israel. Hizbullah now has thousands of rockets aimed at all of northern Israel. There is no
question what will happen, only when. It is likely to occur when the U.S. attack on Iraq
commences, but could occur almost any time. No doubt Mitzna, Goldblum, and their ilk will all be shouting, “How could we have been so wrong? Things were going so well, all the way down to the 20th floor!”

More than anything else, the “Lebanon Model” is proof of the abysmal stupidity of the Israeli Left and its indifference to seeing Israel destroyed. Every single “withdrawal” and concession by Israel to the Palestinians in the past has produced an escalation of terror and increased numbers of atrocities.

A unilateral withdrawal by Israel to its 1967 “Green Line” borders in a Barak-style
capitulation will only be the signal for the opening of the next all-out Arab-Israeli War.
“Palestine” will be the base for the coming attack on Israel, and will host armies and tanks from the rest of the Arab/Muslim world.

In the war that will result from any application of the “Lebanon Model” to the West Bank
and Gaza, the Arabs will attempt to exploit Israel’s vulnerable, indefensible position to annihilate the Jews of the Middle East. Europe will support them by imposing a total embargo on the Israeli ‘aggressors,’ and the U.S. State Department will use extortion to prevent Israel from defending itself and preventing its own destruction.

Like the Jewish leaders in Europe who insisted that Hitler was all bluff, all talk, so Israel’s
abysmally stupid leftists threaten the very survival of the Jewish state with their insistence on
flouting the laws of gravity. As they sail past the 20th floor, they’re more convinced than ever
that the country can make it down from the top of the tower unscathed.

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Haifa University. His
book ?The Scout? is available through Amazon.com. He can be contacted at
steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Durban

Friday, October 5th, 2001

President Bush and his Secretary of State are certainly deserving of all the praise that will be heaped on them in the Anglo-Jewish media over the United States' withdrawal from the Durban Conference. The proposed anti-Israel resolution was an outrage and it was entirely correct for our government to say that this sort of thing would not be dignified by being the subject of debate or negotiations by us. It was also an important message to the Arab world that the United States has no intention of being part of any gang-up on Israel no matter how popular it is, and that we plan to act on principle.

But we think that there is another important dimension that will soon emerge. To be sure, this was a signal example of the United States standing with Israel. But it was also an example of the United States standing up for its own interests. Make no mistake about it, the Durban Conference was as much a challenge to America and the West as it was to Israel. Israel is viewed by the Third World as a remnant of European colonialism, and the United States as the principal impediment to the ascendancy of the Third World. The effort to delegitimatize the State of Israel, which, after all, was in some respects the political creation of the West and the United States, is also an anti-Western and anti-United States phenomenon. Jesse Jackson hinted at some of this thinking when he said that the U.S. withdrawal had as much to do with America seeking to avoid discussing reparations for slavery as it did for any concern for Israel.

In the last analysis, those comic opera pretenders to statesmanship at Durban will not amount to very much. What does count is that it should now be very apparent that America and Israel share vital interests. And that is a very important development.

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