Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hogwash history

From an opinion piece by Michael Freund, THE JERUSALEM POST, Jun. 12, 2007 ...

...Israel's irresponsible critics are busy turning up the heat. Deploying a potent mix of selective amnesia combined with some good ol' fashioned obfuscation, these "amnesiacs," as I call them, would have us all believe that nothing good ever came from the 1967 Six Day War. Seizing upon this month's 40th anniversary of that heroic triumph, they are trying to rewrite the historical narrative....

Occupation, occupation, occupation - that is all the "amnesiacs" seem capable of talking about. How bad it is, how damaging it has been, and how we must bring it all to an end. What a bunch of hogwash.....The truth of the matter is that the core of the Middle East conflict is not the Israeli "occupation" of territory, but the Palestinian "preoccupation" with destroying the Jewish state. It is that, and that alone, which has fueled this conflict since the start.

As the late Golda Meir once put it, "When Arab statesmen insist that Israel withdraw to the pre-June 1967 lines, one can only ask: if those lines are so sacred to the Arabs, why was the Six Day War launched to destroy them?"

Israel's survival was a miracle, and the Six Day War was a blessing from Heaven. Its outcome made this country safer, stronger and more secure, and we should be celebrating it effusively with each passing year.... just about every field imaginable, from economics to immigration to a national sense of purpose, the Six Day War yielded tremendous benefits for the Jewish state.

In the five years following the conflict, Israel's per capita GDP soared by more than 50 percent, exports nearly tripled, unemployment fell and the economy emerged from the painful recession of the mid-1960s. We surged past our neighbors, and Israel now finds itself on a par economically with various European countries.

The 1967 war also sparked a renewed wave of aliya from both East and West, igniting the Soviet Jewry movement and bringing a massive influx of Russian Jews to Israel.

As former refusenik Natan Sharansky wrote in his autobiography, Fear No Evil, "the Six Day War had made an indelible impression on me as it did on most Soviet Jews, for, in addition to fighting for her life, Israel was defending our dignity." This, he said, sparked Russian Jewry to embrace the "basic, eternal truth" that personal freedom "wasn't something you could achieve through assimilation. It was available only by reclaiming your historical roots." As a result, over 1 million Jews from the former Soviet Union have moved to Israel in the past four decades since the war, jump-starting the economy and fueling unprecedented growth in areas such as computer science and biotechnology.

The war inspired many thousands of Western Jews to make aliya too, with the number of North American migrants soaring from just 739 in 1967 to more than 8,000 in 1971. Israel's defeat of its foes also brought a renewed sense of pride to Jews everywhere, as they watched the tiny, vulnerable state emerge triumphant against its enemies.

And for the first time in 1,900 years, thanks to the Six Day War, we were once again able to caress the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and bathe them in our tears, as a free and sovereign people in our own land.

If that's not something to celebrate, then what is?

So to those who continue to carp on incessantly about the "disastrous results of the war" and the need to "end the occupation," all I can say is: Spare us your faulty hindsight. If you really want to end the dispute with our neighbors, then tackle the Palestinian preoccupation with destroying Israel, and peace may just eventually come to pass.

Two state "solution"

From an analysis by Khaled Abu Toameh, THE JERUSALEM POST, Jun. 12, 2007 ....

...As of today, the Palestinians can boast that they have two entities - one in the Gaza Strip run by Muslim fundamentalists and another one in the West Bank under the control of secular Fatah leaders.

"The two-state solution has finally worked," a Palestinian journalist in the Gaza Strip commented sarcastically. "Today, all our enemies have good reason to celebrate."


FromTHE JERUSALEM POST, Jun. 12, 2007, by Khaled Abu Toameh......

... thousands of Hamas militiamen launched a full-scale attack on Fatah figures and institutions in most parts of the Gaza Strip. Hamas fighters captured the headquarters of the Fatah-backed security forces in the northern part of the Strip.

.... this battle...involved hundreds of fighters from both sides... [casualties included] some senior members of Hamas and Fatah....The death toll from two days of fighting reached 37.

The Fatah central committee, meeting in emergency session in Ramallah Tuesday night, decided to suspend participation in the national unity government until the fighting stopped.
"The hospitals are full of bodies," said Ahraf Abu Baker, a nurse at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. "We are running short of blood and we have appealed for donations. We have wounded people arriving every minute."

PA officials here told The Jerusalem Post that the Hamas offensive was the biggest one by the group in the Gaza Strip thus far. "Hamas has declared war on Fatah and the Palestinian Authority," said one official. "The rules of the game have changed and we will have to act in accordance with the new threat." Another PA official expressed deep concern over Hamas's success in taking control of several Palestinian security installations. He revealed that Hamas managed to lay its hands on large amounts of weapons belonging to the Fatah-controlled security forces in many parts of the Gaza Strip. "They have seized thousands of rifles, large amounts of ammunition and dozens of vehicles, including armored jeeps," he said. "This is really bad news for all."

Abbas told Fatah leaders during an emergency meeting in Ramallah that "political and security" leaders of Hamas were determined to take control of the Gaza Strip by force. "Hamas is mistaken if it thinks that it can take control of the Gaza Strip through violent means," he said. "We are witnessing the first signs of a cruel civil war." Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Fatah operative in the West Bank, urged Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and call early elections.

....Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel said his movement was determined to win the battle against Fatah. "We have decided to fight to the end," he stressed. "We are determined to eliminate those elements in Fatah that have been killing and torturing our men."
Bardaweel described Fatah as a Lahad Army, referring to the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army under Antoine Lahad. "We have decided to clean the country from these ferocious dogs who have long been serving their Israeli masters," he said. "This is a final decision and we won't backtrack."

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, dismissed allegations that his movement was trying to stage a coup against Abbas as "lies." "Hamas won the parliamentary elections and formed a legitimate government," he said. "Fatah is the one that is conspiring against the legitimate government with the help of the US, which is providing them with weapons and millions of dollars."

Fatah officials admitted that Hamas was now in control of the entire northern part of the Gaza Strip following a series of attacks on Fatah figures and PA security installations over the past three days. Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, declared the northern Gaza Strip a "closed military zone" and warned PA security personnel against entering the area. Hamas militiamen also stepped up their attacks on the homes of Fatah leaders in different parts of the Gaza Strip...

...."The streets of the Gaza Strip are full of hundreds of gunmen belonging to Fatah and Hamas," said Ayman Abu Sharkh, a lawyer from Gaza City. "People are afraid to leave their homes, because this is a real war and they are killing each other mercilessly. We never imagined that the day would come when we would see Palestinians slaughtering each other in the streets."