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October 17, 2003 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-17

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would take his place upon his death.
There was never any doubt that
Arafat would never willingly relin-
quish power to anyone as long as he
lives. This fact has been reiterated
over the years in the politics of
Palestinian command and control.
Leaders of the groups who answer
to Arafat have jockeyed over the
years to be close to him, to be seen
with him and to be seen by the Arab
world, in the Arab press and the
world to be agreeing with him.
Allegiance to Arafat is repaid with
leadership positions. Terrorists from
Arafat's loyal organizations have
been placed in high-ranking posi-
tions throughout the Palestinian
hierarchy. Many of those people are
now high-ranking officials in the
Palestinian Authority (P.A.).
Yasser Arafat is now 72 years old.

His loyal lieutenants are, expectantly,
once again jockeying, this time for
the position of successor.
My guess is that there will be a
clear and distinct vacuum of a cen-
tral leadership when Arafat dies. His
authority is absolute. Command and
control resides with him.
The Palestinian Authority has
authority only because Arafat gives it
authority. He is solely responsible
and has complete control over the
nearly $5 billion in international aid
that has flowed into the P.A. since
According to a Forbes article in
early 2003, Arafat "appears to have
overseen virtually all disbursements,
from $600 payments to alleged ter-
rorists and $1,500 in 'tuition' for
security officers, to $10 million,
reportedly paid by a company con-

trolled by friends of Arafat, for a 50-
ton shipment of weapons from
With a personal fortune estimated
at anywhere between $500 million
to $1.3 billion, it should not sur-
prise anyone that Arafat is not will-
ing to relinquish control over any
aspect of the P.A. for fear of losing
his wealth, his nest egg, his rainy day

Standing Firm

President Bush stated at the United
Nations on Sept. 23, 2003, "The
Palestinian cause is betrayed by lead-
ers who cling to power by feeding
old hatreds and destroying the good
work of others."
He argued that in order for the
Palestinian entity to become a mem-

ber of the world of peaceful nations,
the people must embrace "new lead-
ers committed to reform, to fighting
terror and to building peace."
Yasser Arafat has been the address
of the Palestinian entity for more
than 30 years, with no clear succes-
sor. His shoes will be difficult to fill.
Unfortunately, all the possible vol-
unteers who want his shoes and
might wear his shoes are the same
people that have been loyally follow-
ing his orders, wearing that same
patch, sending out the same young-
sters to blow themselves up and
espousing the same message of over-
Eliminate Arafat or not, the shoes
remain, and those wearing them will
be equally, if not more, terrible. ❑

Asking Difficult Questions

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Eyal
Yerberbaum, a 27-year old yeshivah
s protecting Ahmed more
important than the life of my
student, and Shaked Avraham, a seven-
month baby girl, were murdered by an
son?" That's what Sgt. Avihu
Keinon's father asked after his
Arab terrorist who had been released
son was killed in a raid against terror-
from prison along with hundreds of
ists in Nablus. Was the IDF at fault for
others only two months ago as a good-
not using its full firepower?
will gesture. Is the Israeli gov-
ernment partially responsible
It's a very deep and painful
question — and a very Jewish
for the murders?
The same question may be
one. Can Jewish lives be put
at risk if, in the process of
asked about Israeli leaders who,
arresting terrorists, innocent
more than a decade ago,
allowed 400 Hamas terrorist
people may be injured?
Jewish law, Halachah,
leaders who had been expelled
to Lebanon to re-enter Israel
reveres life. Even taking the
life of an animal for food
and continue their monstrous
requires a prayer for forgive-
ness. When attacked, however,
And what about those who
Spec ial
are responsible for the Oslo
the law and reason clearly
Comm entary
obligate one to defend oneself
reements which brought
by any means necessary. It is
back Arafat and his PLO army
also forbidden to endanger one's life,
from around the world, supplied them
with weapons, gave them the infra-
especially in time of war, to worry
about the enemy, including those who
structure of a state and promised them
aid and protect them.
full statehood, and allowed them to
turn "Palestinian" society into a vast
Can one contemplate not killing a
terrorist organization.
Nazi soldier because civilians might be
hurt? But Israel's war against terrorism
Are these Israeli leaders partially
is restricted by its adherence to a high
responsible for the murder of over a
thousand and maiming of tens of
moral standard which puts its own
thousands of their countrymen?
population at risk. All life is precious.
From the other side, a different ques-
tion: "Is killing a Jew worth giving my
Moshe Dann is a writer and journalist
life and that of my children?" Most
living in Jerusalem. He can be reached
Palestinians and many Arabs would
at moshedan@netvision.net.il
answer, "Yes."


An Israeli border police officer in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

It is a message preached in every
school and mosque and by the media
throughout the Arab world. Among
Palestinian Arabs, it has been trans-
formed into a cult of death.
This question and its answer define
the chasm between Israel and its ene-
mies, the limits of any negotiated set-
tlement, and the future of war and
peace in the Middle East.
It's no longer a question of what can
be negotiated and what we would like,

but what we must do in order to sur-
What then are the limits in such a
war? If eliminating terrorists from our
midst means the injury and/or death of
civilians, is it regrettable, but accept-
able? Is there a Jewish moral impera-
"If I am not for my son, who will
be? If I am only for my son, what am
I? If our enemies want war, what
choice do we have?" ❑

;t7 N




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