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the August 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No.
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Time to Act
Michael Freund, Arutz
Sheva (right-wing online publication and radio station), Israel,
June 6, 2001
Sitting on the couch in front of the television,
full of anger and frustration, I clench my fists and consider whether
pounding on the screen will somehow bring this madness to an end.
I am sick and tired of watching Jews die nearly every evening on
The events of recent weeks have left us all breathless and bewildered.
One shocking terror attack is followed abruptly by another, which
is then quickly forgotten as the next incident flashes on our screens
a few hours later. Despite occasional respites, such as the present
cease-fire, the macabre dance of death continues to haunt us, threatening
to reignite at any moment.
For over eight months, the Palestinian Authority has been committing
atrocity after atrocity, lynching our soldiers, burning down our
holy sites, and blowing up Jewish children. We know who the perpetrators
are, we know where they live, and yet we seem powerless to stop
them. According to the Israel Defense Forces, there have been a
total of 4,823 shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians
since the start of the second Intifada last September, an average
of nearly one attack every hour over an eight-month period. If this
is not a war, then why are we calling the current hiatus a cease-fire?
And if it is a war, then why arent we fighting it?
It is hard to believe this is the same country that vanquished its
enemies in just six days back in 1967, or rescued Jewish hostages
at an isolated Ugandan airport called Entebbe in 1976. Where have
all our heroes gone? What has happened to the Jewish pride and the
Zionist values that enabled Israel to withstand the most difficult
It is as if we have learned nothing from history, not one thing.
After 2,000 years of exile and persecution, the Jewish people did
not hang on just to create another Diaspora-like outpost of fear
on the shores of the Mediterranean. Through our passivity, we have
tragically begun to turn the State of Israel into the Shtetl of
Israel, as we hide under our beds waiting helplessly for the next
The cold, hard truth is staring us all in the face. Everyone knows
we are at war, everyone feels we are in a battle for the countrys
survival, yet we continue to delude ourselves, refusing to acknowledge
what we know to be the truth: Yasser Arafat has declared war on
the Jewish people. It is time that he be treated accordingly.
No other country would tolerate ongoing terrorist incursions into
the heart of its territory. The Palestinian Authority has become
a threat to the safety and well-being of Israels citizens,
and it is a threat that must be overcome. The United States spares
no effort to track down and punish Osama bin Laden, going to the
ends of the Earth if necessary to protect its citizens. There is
no reason why Israel should refrain from doing the same.
The Oslo process is dead because Arafat killed it. Former Prime
Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinian leader far more than
he could ever have hoped to receive from an Israeli leader. Rather
than responding with a counteroffer, Arafat reached for his pistol.
He drew first blood, and now it is time for him to pay.
The Jewish people must regain their composure and raise their heads
with pride and determination. This is a people that survived the
ovens of Europe and the prisons of Siberia. We overcame Nassers
armies, Assads air force, and King Husseins artillery.
The Jewish people do not have to apologize for winning nor must
we excuse ourselves for surviving.
At this difficult hour, Israel needs a fireside chat.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a man of integrity, and the country
needs to hear from him, to be reassured by him, just as President
Franklin Delano Roosevelts candid addresses bolstered the
morale of the American people during World War II. Sharons
message should be straight and to the point: This is a war. We didnt
ask for it, and we didnt start it. But we will end it.
No one knows better than Prime Minister Sharon what needs to be
done. That is why he was chosen by an overwhelming majority of the
electorate. If there is a war to be won, he is the man to do the
Yes, the Security Council will convene, the Europeans will be hopping
mad, and the Syrians will make threatening gestures. Israel will
pay a heavy diplomatic price for defending itself, but it is a price
that pales in comparison with the innocent lives that are being
lost to terror every day.
It is not a pretty picture, nor even a particularly desirable one.
But we have no choice. This cannot continue. Your time is up, Arafat.
The Jewish people have had enough.
The writer was deputy
director of communications and policy planning under Prime Minister