I've just returned from another inspirational Americans For a Safe Israel/Zionist Organization of America Solidarity mission to Israel (May 30-June 7, 2005), and I have difficulty in writing this report. On the one hand, once again, we were privileged to visit with and meet the bravest, truest, kindest, wisest heroes in Israel today. Some of the places they live in are Gush Katif, Homesh, Sanur, Hebron, the Shomron, the Judean desert and in Yerushalayim. I'll tell you about them in a follow-up report. This one must concentrate on the bad news regarding what is happening in Israel today.
Helen FreedmanHelen Freedman is the former National Executive Director of Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI).
The country is not sovereign, nor is it a democracy. It has begun a process of imploding, wherein once again, the Jews are in a subjugated position; however this time, it is a self-imposed dhimmi status. Wherever we traveled, we discovered absurd rulings and situations created by the Israeli government designed to empower the enemy and endanger Israelis.
In Kfar Darom, a community in Gush Katif, a United Nations school sits adjacent to the community. It is used as a staging ground for firing on the residents of Kfar Darom. Although this has been documented, nothing is being done about it. The school remains in place.
In Netzarim, another community slated to be Judenrein on August 16, the government just completed building a new high school, but all the school rooms must be built like concrete bunkers because of the constant barrage of mortar shells, about which the government does nothing. Gaza City, a sprawling, growing city, with high rises and spacious homes, encircles Netzarim. The road used by Jews for travel has new Arab buildings encroaching upon it. The Israeli government does nothing to prevent this dangerous situation from growing worse.
When driving down the main, two-lane road to Gush Katif, coming from the Kissufim junction, once again, threatening Arab homes line the road. The Israeli Supreme Court will not allow their destruction. Instead, fences are erected. A huge, 50-foot-high concrete wall separates the Gush Katif industrial zone from Khan Yunis, a terrorist-infested Arab city from which mortars are constantly launched at the Gush Katif communities. The Israeli government does nothing about the life-threatening situation.
Driving to the northern Shomron to visit Homesh, another town on the expulsion list, we pass through Burya, another huge Arab village with palatial homes. We keep looking for the Arab slums that are so prevalent on CNN and the major TV news broadcasts. We have never seen one, only affluent Arab villages spread out in the sunshine, with their minarets proclaiming their presence.
In Homesh, we learn that the Shomron area, which will become totally Arab if the four communities in the northern Shomron expulsion plan are evacuated, is almost three times the size of Gush Katif. Homesh has endured 1,450 terrorist attacks since 2000. The attackers come from Tulkarm, Shechem and Jenin and use hilltops that were scheduled to be part of Homesh as their staging grounds. There is no retaliation from the Israeli government. Instead, retreat and concessions will create a contiguous Area A that will unite the three Arab terror cities, once Homesh, Sanur, Ganim and Kadim are made Judenrein.
We are reminded that the JNF was created to buy land and build settlements. Today, Israel's Attorney General has decreed that the land must be sold to Arabs, also. This is a violation of the trust placed in the JNF by all those Jews who saved their pennies for the pushkas of the JNF - so that Jews could live in the Promised Land.
We drive past Ramallah, a huge, sprawling and wealthy Arab stronghold. It extends on all sides of Israel's Route 60. Ugly quarries tear up the land, dug by the Arabs of Ramallah. The communities of Migron and Kochav Yaakov are smothered by Ramallah's sprawl, as Arab buildings come right to the fences of the Jewish neighborhoods. P'sagot, once a lovely suburb of Jerusalem, overlooking Ramallah, now needs protection from a military compound, along with high walls, to stop the sniper shooting. Shu'afat, a part of Ramallah, has spread so that it approaches the French Hill bus stop in Jerusalem, which has been the scene of many homicide bombers attacking school and commuter buses. The Israeli government does nothing to stop the sprawl.
At the grave of Mother Rachel in Bethlehem, only fifteen hundred feet from the border of Jerusalem, a fortress has been created to protect the holy site. One can only approach in a bullet-proof vehicle, with a military escort. The ugly, very high concrete wall that cuts through Jerusalem extends to the grave, enclosing Kever Rachel on the "good" side of the "fence". The task of the Arab snipers will be made a bit more difficult now, but the mortification of the Jewish worshippers as they slip into the fortress must give the terrorists cause for great rejoicing.
The spiritual struggle to eradicate Jewish history is encapsulated in the pitiful, shameful, humiliating posture of the Jew as he attempts to connect with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the holiest place for Jews in the entire world. In 1967, at the time of the reunification of Jerusalem, when the Temple Mount was in our hands, it was Moshe Dayan, at the urging of Teddy Kollek, the mayor of Jerusalem who was interested in holding onto Arab votes, who gave the keys to the Mount to the Arab Waqf. This was a desecration of the worst kind, and today, the dhimmi Jews must visit the Temple Mount only on the conditions set down by the Waqf and the mufti of Jerusalem. The Israeli police work with the Waqf to prohibit Jewish prayer books and Jewish prayer on the Mount. Our group was told that in preparation for ascending the Mount, we had to remove all Jewish identification. A Muslim guard followed us on our walk around the Mount to make sure we weren't praying or bending our knees at any time. Stopping to tie shoe laces was a suspicious act, calling for quick surveillance on the part of the guard.
Hundreds of thousands of tons of debris from the First and Second Temple have been excavated from the Mount in order to build a huge underground mosque, in Solomon's Stables, the skylights of which we could see on the plateau level. This uncontrolled digging has caused a bulge in the southern wall and has served to eradicate Jewish history on the Temple Mount. To rub salt into the insulting wound, we saw Arab prayer platforms everywhere, along with a platform on the northern side containing a pedestal with an inscription calling for the destruction of Israel. Is there any self-respecting government anywhere in the world that would aid and abet an enemy within its midst, an enemy dedicated to that country's destruction, as Israel does?
Shame and humiliation abound.
In Hebron, where more endless Arab building is seen, the Jews are forced to live in a few enclaves, threatened always by snipers and infiltrators. A large Israeli army presence is required in order for Jews to walk safely to the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Ma'arat HaMachpela, in order to visit our patriarchs and matriarchs. Admot Yishai, a new building at Tel Rumeida, famous for its caravans on the hill in which Jews lived for many years, has now been completed. It sits above the archeological dig proving the existence of King David in the holy city. It, too, must be heavily guarded by the army.
The College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, slated to become an accredited university, was one of our big disappointments, illustrating that even a trusted friend can desert you when his personal welfare is involved. Apparently, politically correct postures must be assumed to demonstrate that it is an "inclusive" institution, which therefore bans groups supporting Judea, Samaria and Gaza. While we were visiting with Professor Hanokoglu, listening to the story of his arrest and cruel interrogation at the hands of the Israeli police for the crime of handing out stickers supporting Gush Katif, we learned of a shameful situation. Ta Katom (Orange Cell), a national organization that exists at many universities, including Haifa and Hebrew Universities, was banned from the student council, and Lior Kohen, a member of the group, was being called up on disciplinary charges. We joined the Ta Katom members in protesting this action and were told to "get off the campus." We have subsequently learned of other disgraceful actions on the part of President Don Mayerstein in his effort to woo Arabs and turn against the Jews of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in order to gain the credentials he seeks for the college.
Israel has placed itself in a dhimmi position in regard to its Arab population. The entire action is a threat to Israel's very existence. Continued appeasement and withdrawal under threat of terror will only encourage the Arab enemy in his drive to dominate the world under the rule of global Islam. Israel must reassert its rights as a sovereign nation, and stop the flow of Jewish blood and the giveaway of the Jewish homeland immediately. Anything less is suicidal.