On 29 January 2002 George W, Bush divided the world into two parts, the axis of evil, which was Iran and North Korea, and the rest of the world. B. Hussein Obama has also divided the world into two camps, the torturer-oppressors and the oppressed victims. Israel has been placed in the first group. This new deal is extremely dangerous for the Jewish state, and opens the doors to every sort of aggression, starting with a deliberate act of racism: the requirement to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, announced in Cairo in no uncertain terms, “The time has come to put an end to these settlements”. We should recall in this connection that one of the pillars of South African apartheid had in fact been the prohibition on the free choice of where to live for some of the citizens of that country. The Obama administration seeks to apply this policy to Israeli Jews, in the very heart of their own country. Apart from being a racist policy, it also has an anti-Semitic connotation. The American President’s approach may be surprising when he went specially to Ghana to affirm his blackness, but can be explained when analyzing his Cairo speech in which he affirmed for one and all his affinity for the world of Islam.
At the same time as stigmatizing Israel, Obama is playing the card of openness and appeasement towards Iran. Far from accepting his offers, the regime there openly mocks them, is brutalizing its own population and is continuing to build up its missile and space program with enormous success. Despite international sanctions, Iran has succeeded in acquiring all the required infrastructure – both scientific experts and equipment – to now have Kadr missiles, with a range of 2,000 km, and the Sejil, with a longer range, that threatens both Europe and the entire Middle East. Iran has transformed its ballistic missiles into satellite launchers that will let it fire nuclear weapons into the atmosphere. The Israeli missiles expert, Uzi Rubin, estimates that Iran today has the ability to develop a solid fuel missile with a range of 3,600 km!
Two questions arise from the foregoing. Firstly, what can Israel do to block Iranian progress? When the powers that be in Israel determine that the Jewish state is truly under direct threat from Iran, they will take whatever steps are needed. Israel has never left its survival or defense to anyone else, nor will it act differently in the face of danger from Iran. Secondly, what can and should Israel do when faced with the dangerous policy of the Obama administration, generally supported by the Europeans? A whole series of answers were provided in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic speech on 14 June 2009. The world only paid attention to the part that pleased it, namely “the acceptance of a Palestinian state by an Israeli Prime Minister from the nationalist camp”. However, before mentioning this eventuality (was it really necessary?), Benjamin Netanyahu listed a number of requirements, of which the most important was the public, categorical acceptance of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. In plain terms this means the total and unconditional surrender of the Arabs of Palestine and of the entire Arab world. In a nutshell, this entails the abandonment of all the political doctrines promoted by all Arab states since 1948, expressed in violence and trickery, and the acceptance of an independent, Jewish political entity on land considered to be Arab. In a word, the end of the conflict.
For Benjamin Netanyahu, as for every Jew, it is evident that Jerusalem is not negotiable, even if it does not please the western chancelleries.
It was only after having stated his minimal conditions that the Prime Minister spoke of a possible independent Palestinian entity. To avoid the establishment of an Islamist base in the heart of Israel, this state must be demilitarized and its airspace must be under the sole control of Israel.
There remains the big question of the growth of Jewish life in Judea and Samaria. Here too the Prime Minister’s ideas were clear. We must let the inhabitants of these places lead a normal life, let the mothers and fathers bring up their children like everywhere else. They are enemies of neither the people nor of peace. On the contrary, they are an integral part of our population…” Accordingly there is no question concerning the permanent existence of the Jewish places established on the West Bank, nor will there be territorial continuity between the areas controlled by the PLO. There will be no further expulsions of Jews, and the natural development of life will not be stifled. In brief, the Israeli government categorically refuses to carry out a policy of apartheid against the Jews of Israel, whatever the pressure from the Americans.
Today we need to know whether the Netanyahu government will have the courage to carry out its declarations. In point of fact, the prime minister has put himself into a dangerous balancing act. By dangerously mentioning the taboo term, “Palestinian state”, he has alienated a part of his electorate, even from his government majority; by refusing to implement a racist policy against Jews who wish to live in Judea and Samaria, he has put up the backs of the American administration, which curiously and arbitrarily has turned this issue into its warhorse for bringing an end to the conflict in the Middle East. The prime minister is said to be seeking a compromise. In fact, he is playing for time.
Just over 20 years ago the first edition of SHALOM came out. Over 50 editions we have published in several languages about 1,500 exclusive articles, illustrated by almost 5,000 sublime photos, edited and corrected almost 20 million characters for print! It is not a matter of a historical look back at those years, but a comment that must be made: in view of the world situation (the gradual Islamization of Europe, the rise of anti-semitism, an unstable economic situation etc), Jews the world over finally see Israel as their sole last hope. The Israel of twenty years ago and that of today are very different, even though certain basic problems remain. In 2009 the Jewish state is both ultra-modern and increasingly turned towards its Jewish roots. Even in “secular” Tel-Aviv it has become “in” to eat kosher and mark the Sabbath and the festivals in one way or another.
Israel has everything for winning: a great population, an army that is stronger than ever, a flourishing economy, and an excellent, strong and determined government that is not prepared to make compromises in order to continue to maintain the illusions of 16 years through a policy of weakness that lead to the deadly Oslo Accords and the expulsion of the Jews from their homes in Gaza. It is our responsibility to help it succeed. To do that, we are inspired by the words of Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom should I fear? The Lord is the support of my life. Whom should I dread?” And it ends with the words, “Your heart should be strong, with hope in the Lord”.
It is in this spirit that the entire team of Shalom wishes you a wonderful New Year.
Roland S. Süssmann
Editor in Chief