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March 9, 2008: Our Arab Problem

March 9, 2008

It’s been staring us in the face for a long time, and yet has not, until now, begun to be seriously addressed:

Living inside of Israel there are Arabs who are not loyal to the State, but to our enemies.

Some of these are fully Israeli citizens.

Some possess Jerusalem residency cards , which give them open access to everywhere in the country and provide all of the (much coveted) social service benefits of citizenship such as health care, but not enfranchisement in national elections.

Some of them — which I’ve certainly written about here — are members of our Knesset. As ostensible "leaders" of their community, they bear particular responsibility for their reprehensible statements and incitement.

In certain quarters it’s considered not politically correct to address this problem, which singles out one group. It’s "racist." But the facts are the facts, and must be stated clearly, for the sake of the security of the Jews living in this land. It took the murder of eight yeshiva students by an Arab with a Jerusalem identity card to make many realize this — or at least to feel free to talk about it.


I am not remotely suggesting that every Arab in Israel is part of a fifth column. I am certain that many want only to live quietly as citizens or residents of Israel. But neither is the problem limited, as has been suggested, to a mere handful of trouble-makers.

Just a week ago, there were several violent incidents in eastern Jerusalem. Several hundred Arab teens threw rocks at passersby in support of the people of Gaza. Incredibly, in the worse incident, two municipal inspectors felt they were in danger of being lynched when their car was blocked by burning garbage cans and they were surrounded by angry Arab teens, one of whom beat on their window with a metal bar.

Last Tuesday, several thousands Arabs — citizens, including some MKs — marched in Umm al-Fahm, in the north of the country, in protest against "Israel crimes and the massacre," carrying Palestinian flags. At one point an Israeli flag was reportedly burned.

After the terrorist attack Thursday night , there were several Hamas flags seen in eastern Jerusalem, in support of what had happened.

And yesterday there were several incidents of rock throwing by Arabs in the north of Israel, which caused damage to cars: 10 people were arrested.

And then there is the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee , which defines itself as the leadership body of Israeli Arab citizens; it calls for the "right of return," which would destroy Israel as a Jewish state.


So now the question is being grappled with seriously: What do we do about this?

As a beginning, I rather like what MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) had to say:

Arab leaders here should "pick which side they’re on. They should publicly condemn the rock throwing terror and prove they stand by Israel’s side.

"The State of Israel cannot afford an enemy from within. I demand any citizen – Jewish or Arab – to show loyalty to the soldiers, citizens and casualties of the country. It is a basic requirement that we must demand now, before it is too late."

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, who says that at least 20% of terrorist attacks have involved Israeli Arabs, favors drafting of legislation that permits expelling of terrorists and their families, even if they have full citizenship.

Suggestions — at this point not very specific — are also being made regarding finding ways to restrict the mobility within Israel of those with "blue cards" — Jerusalem residency IDs.


Then there are those are promoting this situation as "proof" of the fact that Jerusalem must be divided. Key among these is MK Dani Yatom. But this remains fallacious thinking.

The problems that were present when the suggestion was made that Jerusalem be divided for political reasons haven’t gone away — problems such as the fact that the Arab and Jewish neighborhoods are intertwined, and that Jewish religious areas, such as the Temple Mount, would be defined as "Arab." What is more, were we to have no supervision at all over the population in these Arab areas, the potential for terrorism emanating from them would increase — checkpoints and fences or not.


Returning to issues surrounding terrorist Alaa Abu Dheim…

Who may or may not have worked with him seems at the moment to depend on the time of day and the source being accessed. That is, there are several theories and many rumors, but nothing absolutely definitive yet.

Haaretz says that Abu Dheim had himself chosen the location and the time of the attack. To that end, he did considerable reconnaissance work at the yeshiva in advance of the shooting. (Seems he was a taxi driver, and was not actually ever in the employ of the yeshiva, but had familiarity with it.)

He also stockpiled weapons , not all of which he actually brought with him. Information is being sought on how he acquired his assault rifle. Abu Dheim’s father, two of his brothers, and two of his cousins are among those being detained by police.

According to Haaretz, Palestinian sources (sources?) say the attack was coordinated by West Bank Hamas people taking orders from Hamas leadership in Damascus that was coordinating with Hezbollah. And, indeed, there are reports of our security forces investigating Hezbollah involvement.


All of this neatly avoids possible Fatah (PA) support for or complicity in what happened. Such support or complicity, of course, runs contrary to Olmert’s goals for negotiating "peace" with Abbas.

But the evidence stares us in the face.

Palestinian Media Watch has just exposed the fact that the PA-supported daily Al Hayat al Jadida has put a picture of Abu Dheim on its front page, conferring upon him the status of shahid — holy Islamic martyr.

While Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily has reported that Al Aksa Brigades, which is Fatah, has released an official pamphlet that praises the "heroic operation in Jerusalem." "We bless the martyr [who carried out the shootings] with all the blood of the heroes of the resistance and with the soil of our land."

The pamphlet goes on to say that "resistance" is the only strategy that "will take back our rights and release all of the soil of Palestine to our hands."


According to other Palestinian "sources," this time in Gaza, an agreement between Hamas and Israel that will lead to a ceasefire has already been put into place. As evidence they cite the fact that launching of rockets has almost stopped.

Olmert’s office claims to have no knowledge of any such agreement: "The policy has remained unchanged, as decided by the cabinet and as the prime minister said: ‘If they don’t shoot, we won’t shoot.’ We do not wake up in the morning and think about ways to attack them."

This is truly disgusting. It’s Olmert’s policy, not what the Security Cabinet said at all. If you remember, they said that:

"The State of Israel will act continuously and systematically in order to achieve… "

And the goals listed included: "Reducing the strength of Hamas," and "Strik
ing at the Hamas regime in Gaza."

What is more, it said that "action for achieving these goals may include… Action against Hamas institutions in Gaza."

Seems to me that this requires waking up in the morning and thinking about ways to do it. And certainly, simply not shooting at them if they don’t shoot will never achieve those goals. Rather than reducing Hamas strength, it gives them the latitude to increase it.

But then, we cannot bother ourselves with this detail. For, if there’s quiet on the Gaza front, Abbas will be happy and will come to the table with Olmert, and that’s what’s important. And, yes, Rice and Bush will also be happy.


A Hamas commander has told The Sunday Times (UK) that for the last two years Hamas has been sending people to train with the Revolutionary Guards in Iran. They enter via Syria, without having their passports stamped. Some remain in Syria for more basic training, under trainers who learned in Iran. Those who are of the highest quality as gunmen remain for extra training in Iran and then return to Gaza to train others. Training lasts between 45 days and six months. At present there are there are 62 being trained in Syria, which has already trained 650, and 150 in Iran.

So, can anyone tell me, how can Olmert sleep at night, knowing this, and yet deeming it sufficient to "stop shooting at Hamas if they don’t shoot"? And he has the gall to talk about how he helps establish our deterrence.




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