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May 23, 2003 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-23

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GALE from page 34

the "armed struggle" to liberate all of
Palestine. Even now, in recent days,
Arafat has been quoted as saying Israel
is "a Zionist colonialist conspiracy."
Now Abbas has taken on the leader-
ship of the Palestinian people. Will he
truly be independent of Arafat, a
leader of whom historians may write,
"he betrayed Israel and his own peo-
ple"? Will he have the will and capaci-
ty to follow through on his words and
disarm all the terrorist groups, includ-
ing those within his own Fatah move-
ment such as the Al Aqsa Martyrs'

Abbas' Way

Abbas' challenge is enormous.
Realistically, it will take some time for
himjo consolidate authority and
achieve the international status that.
will enable him to carry out this mis-
sion. But we should know — and
more importantly the Israeli people
will know in fairly short order —
whether Abbas is closer to being an
Arafat or a Sadat. And this time,
Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia can-
not sit on the sideline. They must use
their influence to strengthen Abbas
and the moderates in the Palestinian
leadership, who will have their hands
full combatting the radicals in their
Israel has a role to play as well, in
terms of offering political and human-
itarian incentives to reinforce positive
steps on the Palestinian side. It is up
to Abbas, however, to regain the trust

SPIELMAN from page 35
The decision was made to start the
beginning of Israel's Independence
Day at the immediate end of
Memorial Day for good reason. The
pain of remembering the fallen is so
great that it can only be followed by
an affirmation of life; otherwise we
would whither away in our despair.
This is not a new concept for the
Jewish people; as a matter of fact, it is
at least as old as one of our oldest
prayers, Kaddish. This, the first prayer
said on behalf of the deceased, never
mentions death, only the reaffirma-
tion of creation and life.

Soothing Calm

As I look at the people gathered
around me smiling and celebrating
Israel's independence, I feel at peace

of the Israeli people through his words
and deeds. Sharon has expressed a
readiness to make "painful compro-
mises" — including giving up areas
central to Jewish history like
Bethlehem, Shilo and Beth El — to
reach a permanent peace agreement
with the Palestinians, but, justifiably,
he refuses to do so looking down the
barrel of a gun. The U.S. and other
allies in the war against terrorism must
support Israel's demand for Palestinian
"performance" before Israeli conces-
sions. Without that sequence, the
process will look like a reward for the
violence and terrorism of the past 2'/2
On his recent visit to the region,
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
pressed the Palestinian prime minister,
who had previously made some
encouraging remarks denouncing ter-
rorism, to translate those words into
clear and decisive actions. Abbas will
have to go farther than temporarily
quelling terrorist activity — he will
need to dismantle the terrorist infra-
structure in order to create the condi-
tions for a lasting peace.
If Abbas fails to move his people in
a new direction, the road map will be
irrelevant. However, if his actions mir-
ror the words he spoke before the
Palestinian Legislative Council, that
Palestinian aspirations must be imple-
mented by negotiations and not by
armed struggle, and that "the unau-
thorized possession of firearms ... will
be relentlessly addressed," Palestinians
will find a ready partner in Israel with
which to resume negotiations.

for the first time since that morning.
I finally understand how a people
that has endured thousands of years of
exile and pain, only to return to its
homeland and again endure constant
war and death, continues enduring at
It is, I think, in our unique con-
cept of joy. Our joy is the joy that
elevates the sorrow. As such, we do
not even allow a day to pass after
remembering our dead. We immedi-
ately take to the streets; we celebrate
our freedom, our right to self-deter-
mination; it comes from a place not
of callousness but of honor.
For the greatest honor we can do
to those who have died in our place
is to elevate the joy of the first inde-
pendent Jewish nation in Israel in
2,000 years to the very heavens
where they are resting. ❑

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