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March 01, 1991 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

HARDER LINE

Many Israeli
Jews are now
afraid of
Arabs and
want nothing
to do with
them.

Soldiers guard
the body of a
yeshiva student,
stabbed to death
by unknown Arab
assailants near
the Zion gate of
Jerusalem's Old
City.

survey taken in December by the Hanoch
Smith polling firm found that 49 percent
of Israeli Jews favor expelling Palestinians
from the occupied West Bank and Gaza
Strip if a near-term solution can not be
found to the Arab-Israeli dispute.
Such findings are difficult to ignore.
They make it clear that the simple truth
of life in Israel today is that a society
whose own history as a people is replete
with examples of their being cast out, is
moving toward the sad conclusion that
co-existence with Palestinians is an un-
workable dream in the Middle East pres-
sure cooker.
For many โ€” including the mainstream
of Israeli society, people who dismissed
the late Rabbi Meir Kahane as a racist
and fascist for advocating what they are
now beginning to think out loud โ€”
"getting rid of the Palestinians," as one
man put it โ€” has become the pat answer
to Israel's internal security problems.
This amounts, it should be carefully
noted, to nothing less than a radical
restructuring of the Jewish state's past
hopes and standards.
Simply put, "Israelis have lost pa-
tience," a top-level government official in
Jerusalem noted recently.
Officially, Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir has said that he will not even al-
low the idea of "transfer," as the mass
expulsion of Palestinians is euphemisti-

cally termed in Israel, to be discussed in
his government. If nothing else, it would
give rise to messy international repercus-
sions, not to mention the uproar it would
cause among the Palestinians.
However, Mr. Shamir has also brought
into his Cabinet retired Gen. Rehavim
Zeevi, leader of the Moledet party, who
does advocate the expulsion of all Pales-
tinians from the territories.
But there is more than one way to skin
a cat, and forcible transfer is not the only
way to reduce the Palestinian presence,
the top-level official hinted. They can also
be "squeezed out" economically, he said,
while insisting on anonymity to distance
his blunt remarks from any hint of official
approval.
(By Likud government standards, how-
ever, this official is considered a moder-
ate, leading one to wonder what his more
strident colleagues are thinking privately
about the situation.)
The overwhelming majority of Palesti-
nians, the official explained, depend for
their livelihood on jobs within the Green
Line. For the most part, the jobs they
hold are low-paying, menial tasks that are
shunned by the average Israeli.
However, the massive influx of Soviet
Jews into Israel has altered that equa-
tion.
The Soviets are, on the average, rela-
tively well-educated and white-collar ori-

ented. But jobs of any kind are scarce in
the overburdened Israeli economy, and
the Soviets are hungry for work.
The result is that large numbers of Pal-
estinians might soon find themselves
forced out of work, according to this offi-
cial.
"In two or three years time," said the
official, "we will have a million new im-
migrants from the Soviet Union. They
may not take the jobs of, say, 100,000
Arabs, but they could take 40,000.
"The realities will make it happen.
More and more Russians, less and less
need for other people. The pace of events
is going to be more active, more dramat-
ic," he warned. "It's going to be very
tough.
"There is now a radicalization of at-
titudes on both sides. This will breed rad-
ical solutions and it will telescope the
timetable of events."

'0 Saddam,
The Beloved'

Superficially, Israelis appear to have
reacted to the intifada with an almost
surreal calm these past three years. This
volatile, impatient people has absorbed
the body-blow of the Palestinian uprising
and carried on with life as usual.
To that extent, the Palestinians have
failed in one of the intifada's primary
goals; to make life intolerable for the
Jews and, thus, to compel them to dis-
gorge the occupied territories.
It may be unpleasant, but Jewish Isra-
el can probably withstand the intifada
indefinitely.
But the outpouring of Palestinian sup-
port for Saddam Hussein has been quite
another thing.
The sight and sound of armed and
masked Palestinians marching through
their towns and villages in the West
Bank and Gaza chanting, "0 Saddam,
the beloved, please bomb Tel Aviv. 0
Saddam, the brave, bomb it with chemi-
cal weapons," has sobered up even the
most optimistic of Israelis who held out
hope for a settlement of Israel's internal
Arab problem through territorial com-
promise.
Equally disturbing has been the explo-
sion of Islamic fundamentalism among
the Palestinians, as exemplified by the
spectacular growth of Hamas, the ex-
tremist Muslim group that scorns the
PLO notion of a "secular, democratic
state" and rejects any settlement based
on territorial compromise with Israel.
Indeed, the Hamas charter does not
mention Israel. Its opposition is directed
not at the Jewish state in particular, but
ยง at Jews in general.
cf, "Hamas is committed to Holy War for
Palestine against the Jews until the vic-
tory of Allah is achieved," is the first

_2

24

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 1991

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