The Answer to Arafat

Newspaper: Jewish Herald
posted on:
10 In feb 1976
Jewish Heritage - Anti-Semitism, Holocaust. Individuals - Anwar Sadat, Gunnar Jarring, Henry Kissinger, Levi Eshkol, Yasser Arafat, Yitzchak Rabin. Ideologies - Communism. States - Germany, Soviet Union (Russia). Government , Interim Agreements , Foreign Policy - Israel-U.S. Relationship, UN. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Palestinians, PLO. Peace , Greater Land of Israel - Settlements, Sinai Peninsula
Begin expresses his concern with the Government and other countries finding it necessary to grant Palestinians national self-determination. He believes that the Palestinian identity is successful propaganda and he equates it to Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia during World War II. Believing that the Sudeten Germans needed a right to national self-determination destroyed Czechoslovakia and gravely affected its neighboring nations. With this in mind, he talks about how the Government is making a mistake by reacting to the propaganda. These reactions include finding it crucial to accept UN Resolution 242, signing an interim agreement, and wanting the Geneva conference to reconvene. By such actions, Begin sees that Israel is losing its credibility, which could lead to collapse. In his conclusion he argues that if the PLO is successful, it will not only destroy Israel, it will harm the free world because there will be a "multidirectional Soviet base in the Middle East."
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"The Answer to Arafat"



THERE IS NO denying that "Palestinianism" is in fashion in various parts of the world—as Sweden recently demonstrated again in the Security Council.

Traditionally, Sweden is neutral.  But is has its own interpretation of that concept.  During the First World War, people used to say in Stockholm: "It's important to be neutral—but it's even more important to know on which side to be neutral!"

Sweden, today, is "neutral"—on the side of our enemies.

That is also the case with many other States, even in the free West.

Faced with this development, Mr. Rabin's Government reacts with gradual psychological surrender.  All its spokesmen already acknowledge the existence of the problem of "the Palestine entity or identity"—but they have different solutions for it.  Some say it can be solved in conjunction with Hussein; other say—without him.  Both, in effect, confess the justice of our enemies' claim.

Such is the power of successful propaganda.

Have we already forgotten how Goebbels used this very method to destroy Czechoslovakia?  Then, it was on the basis of the Sudeten "entity" or "identity".  Month after month, step by step, Goebbels overcame the initial European rejection of his thesis by driving home the thought that Germany had a "case".

After all—Europe was made to ask—why should the Czechs rule three million Germans?  The Sudeten Germans, Europe came to accept, regarded themselves as part of the German nation—so why shouldn't they be allowed to unite with the Reich?  Why should Germans living in the Sudetenland be denied the right to national self-determination?

Such questions were soon being posed in the columns of the august Times in London—and the Big Nazi Lie began making inroads into Westminster and the Quai d'Orsay and elsewhere, until the Great Powers of those days, Britain and France, surrendered to it.  The Sudeten Germans were "reunited" with the Reich.

What that western surrender to shrewd Nazi propaganda was to cost Czechoslovakia.  Europe and the whole world were to realise only later.

At this moment let us also recall that the poison of Nazi anti-Semitism—which we are now sensing again—penetrated to every corner of Europe and other continents, and, beginning in September 1939, paved the way for the Nazi tanks smashing eastward, westward, north and south.  Every nation suffered from the success of that Goebbelsian propaganda.

The world that now hears Farouk Kadoumi repeating those same words in the Security Council should cast its mind back.

The question must be asked: Should one, in view of all this, react to lying propaganda, which seems to be succeeding, by surrendering to it also—or by refuting it?

The answer should be obvious.  But not to Mr. Rabin's Government.

Its reactions to other matters, too, indicate nervousness and inability to stand firm.  It changes its mind to such an extent that the stage is reached when it accepts as "excellent" something which is once rejected as bad; what was once dangerous suddenly becomes most acceptable.

From 1967 to 1970, Israel accepted Levi Eshkol's ruling that there could be no acceptance of security Council Resolution No. 242 which states specifically, in regard to Israel's victory over the aggressors, "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war."

Later, during the period of Dr. Jarring's mediation attempts, the Government of Mrs. Meir requested the American Administration to ensure that there should be no linking of any proposed "interim agreement" with that Resolution 242.

After the Yom Kippur War, members of the Government insisted that the basis for discussions for a disengagement of forces was the new Resolution No. 338—and not 242.  That was an absurd dissimulation—since 338 included 242.

Today there is not even any dissimulation.  The Government of Mr. Rabin insists that Resolution 242 must be the basis for any discussions.

The road to the Geneva Conference is paved with the same reactions.  After having said a decisive "No" to Dr. Kissinger in March 1974, Mr. Rabin agreed in August 1974 that Israel would after all retreat again in Sinai, and give up the strategic passes—in order to avoid the reconvening of the Geneva Conference, where Israel's isolation would be demonstrated, and where even the Americans would submit unpalatable proposals.

So Israel signed what was called another "interim agreement", abandoned strategic outposts and oilfields—and four or five months later Israel, itself, is urging the reconvening of the Geneva conference!  What was once a trap is now, suddenly, a last resort. 

All these paradoxes in the policy of Israel's Government stem from its surrender, stage by stage, to pressure or to "successful" hostile propaganda.  It thereby destroys the whole basis for a healthy national policy: its credibility. 

That must be the reaction, even today to this Government's strong statements.  Experience has taught the world that its firmness is followed by a softening up process, an erosion—and a collapse.

If the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister says that there can be no peace in the middle East without a solution to the problem of the "entity" or the "identity' of the "Palestinians", why shouldn’t the Swedes or the French agree that a "Palestinian State" must be set up in Judaea and Samaria to solve that problem?

Why, they ask, your opposition to a third State in the region—as long as it solves the problem which, as you yourself say, must be solved to ensure peace?

There are already Israelis who agree that there must be negotiations with the terrorists of the "P.L.O."

  • "Haven't the "Palestinians" the right to national self-determination?" they ask, aping that pre-World War II propaganda line.
  • "How can you rule over a million and al half Arabs? Why don't you recognise the "P.L.O."?  After all, France negotiated with the F.N.L. in Algeria and Portugal with the M.P.L.A."

The small, vital difference was that the Arabs in Algeria and the Africans in Angola fought against regimes whose centres were over the seas.  They did not threaten Paris or Lisbon.  No one even gave a thought to asking them please to recognise the right of France or Portugal to exist—because they themselves never doubted that right.

But we are being asked to recognise those who wish to annihilate us and wipe us off the map—we are asked to recognise them in return for their "recognition" of us.

There is no political parallel to this demand anywhere in history.  Our good friend, like Dr. Kissinger's Mr. Saunders, sees nothing insulting in their suggestion that letters of mutual recognition be exchanged between us and those who aim to liquidate us.

Judaism does not recognise fatalism.  There is no inevitability that the problem called "Palestinian" need be a source of weakness to us.  On the contrary, by firm action we can turn it into a factor reinforcing our stand.

Everyone acknowledges that the Arabs erred on the eve of the Six Day War by trumpeting their frenzied demands for Israel's liquidation.  The world reacted negatively to that stance.  There was no wish to support the slogans of Hitler and Himmler again.

Sadat and his advisers learned the lesson of those days.  They now base their case on an expressed wish for peace—just as long as Israel withdraws to the lines of June 4, 1967 and permits Arafat to establish a State in Judaea and Samaria and Gaza.  This hides their true aims, which are no different from those of Farouk Kadoumi, who once again demands the total extinction of "this Jewish ghetto called Israel".

If we demanded that the world took the new threats of genocide, uttered by Kadoumi in the Security Council itself, seriously our words would not fall on deaf ears.

The Arafat terrorists are not the minority fighting against the majority.  WE are the minority, by far, fighting for our lives and our freedom.

That is the true political and military meaning of Palestinianism.

If that is the state of affairs, and we launch into a vigorous campaign to explain it, we will soon have public opinion in the free world on our side, justifying our firm stand against the enemy torrent surrounding us.

If we do that, Arafat, Kadoumi and Jabril will no longer be the ones exciting world pity, the persecuted representatives of simply, dispossessed people.

They will be what they really are: aggressive protagonists of another genocide, servants of Communist imperialism using hatred of Israel as an instrument for expansion in the Middle East.

There is no justification for fatalistic surrender—something completely foreign to our people.  The position can be fundamentally altered.  Our enemies' propaganda will then no longer be a reason for our weakness but a source for strength. 

To achieve that, Israel must launch a propaganda counter-attack world-wide.

If Mr. Rabin' Government were wise, Kadoumi's threats would be known throughout the free world.  They would be accompanied by a reasoned statement on our rights to Eretz Israel and the mutual interests of Israel and the free world in preventing the establishment of a multidirectional Soviet base in the Middle East.  And the results would soon be apparent.

The situation can be changed.  It must be changed.  We can change it.

(Translated from the Hebrew by Joe Kuttner).