A Tale of Two Rallies

On Sunday, January 30th, two rallies took place in Jerusalem, both of which reflected the tragedy of Israel's policies towards the PLO.

David Bedein

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credit David Michael Cohen
On Sunday, January 30th, two rallies took place in Jerusalem, both of which reflected the tragedy of Israel's policies towards the PLO.

The first was held at 3:00pm on Gaza Road in Rehavia, where eleven families witnessed a quiet ceremony as a plaque was placed on the spot where bus no. 19 was blown up by an Arab terrorist, exactly one year ago. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski remarked that the Arab terrorist was not aiming to murder the eleven people on that bus, he was intending to murder any and all Jews.

The Arab terrorist who blew up bus no. 19 was an armed and licensed member of the Palestinian security services, an entity of the PLO permitted by Israel to bear arms under the agreements that Prime Ministers Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and now Ariel Sharon reached with the PLO. How timely was that ceremony, marking those murders on Gaza road in Jerusalem on the day that Prime Minister Sharon formally once again allowed armed Palestinian Security Services to be deployed, in accordance with clause five of what has been described as a "disengagement plan".

No one was there to comfort the families of the eleven people murdered on that bus except for the eleven families themselves. I was one of two reporters on the scene. The other one worked for the Jerusalem municipality cable TV network. It would seem that the people of Israel had forgotten the people murdered on bus no. 19, and that the murderer was licensed by Israel to bear arms.

Only five hours later, across the Valley of the Cross, in between the Knesset and the Israel Museum, I covered the "Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) rally", with tens of thousands of people who came to protest Sharon's plan. Media was all over the rally.

At least twenty people addressed the crowd. They all spoke about their opposition to the withdrawal from Katif and the Shomron. Not one spokesman at the rally mentioned one word about how the Sharon Plan threatens all of the people of Israel. Clause five of the plan provides "advice, assistance and training" to "the Palestinian security forces... by American, British, Egyptian, Jordanian or other experts, as agreed with Israel."

Not one spokesperson at the Yesha rally mentioned how the Sharon Plan ignores the fact that Israel's military training of the PLO was abused to conduct a terror campaign against Israel in every part of the country for the past four years ? resulting in more than 1,000 people being murdered in cold blood.

Not one spokesperson at the Yesha rally mentioned Israel's failed experiment with the security assistance that Israel facilitated for the PLO.

It was as if the people at the "Yesha rally" were telling the people at the bus no. 19 memorial that if Sharon decides to cancel the planned withdrawal from the Jewish communities in Gaza, Samaria and Judea, then, well, they will accept the other clauses of the Sharon Plan. That would allow for the PLO security forces to be fully deployed in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, from where they will undoubtedly stage attacks against Jews everywhere in the land of Israel.

After the rallies, I asked the spokespeople for the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council why, if they were campaigning so hard to defeat the Sharon Plan, they were not making a systematic effort to stop the implementation of the clause mandating deployment of the very same armed PLO forces that remain at war with the state of Israel. No answer was received from the Council

I also asked the Yesha Council why they would not invite the ten families from Sderot whose loved ones had been murdered over the past few months to come up to the podium to address the crowd, so that the Yesha rally could express its solidarity with the people of Sderot at this time. No answer was received from the Yesha Council.

So, there you have it. Those who suffered on bus no. 19 or in Sderot are not to be comforted by the Yesha Council, whose consistent message is that people must "identify with the people of Katif and the Shomron", as if this is the only issue in the Sharon Plan.

Some of the people whose loved ones were murdered on bus 19, and some of those whose loved ones were murdered in Sderot, have wondered aloud whether the people of the Yesha Council will ever stress that the PLO represents a threat to all of the people of Israel - and not only to Judea, Samaria and Katif.