Saturday, April 30, 2011

Israel: Revolution Or Referendum - 1990


One hardly knows what to say:  A man is given a gun and a job to protect a bus and presumably Jewish lives on it.  Most presumable his own. He has the weapon.  How does he allow Arabs to get that close so as to endanger his life?  How does he allow Arabs to reach him and injure him and not shoot?  How, when he feels that his life is in imminent danger, does he uncock his gun because his friend is “coming to help him?”

The answer is that Rafi Levi was afraid to shoot an Arab because he feared that he would be arrested, tried and jailed.  Madness?  Worse, it brings to mind the incident at the Cave of the Machpela in Hebron in which an Arab woman suddenly attacked a soldier from behind.  Holding a knife she proceeded to attempt to cut his throat.  Another soldier, standing nearby fired two shots.  The first was in the air.  Why does a soldier seeing another soldier in the process of having his throat-cut, first shoot in the air?  Those are orders.

The madness and impotency of the authorities have led to a breakdown and an understandable one, in confidence in the government on the part of more and more Jews.  And more and more of them have decided to ignore the insanity and use force against Arabs in order to save their own lives and, in the end, save the Jewish state.  And, of course, the reaction of the authorities to that has been to punish Jews.

On August 11, 1968, Pinchas Wallerstein, chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council, was charged with manslaughter.  Wallerstein was driving near the Samarian Arab village of Beitin when his car was stopped by a burning tire, a method used to force Jews to halt and then be pelted with stones.  Wallerstein leaped out of his car and, with gun drawn, chased two youths.  He shot them both and killed one.  The authorities decided to place him on trial. 

On September 30, 1988, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, one of the leaders of Gush Emunim and the man who spearheaded the original settlement drive in Kiryat Arba, was driving with his family in the Avraham Avini compound in Hebron, where he lives.  Suddenly a rock came crashing through the window, narrowly missing a grandchild.  At an army roadblock in Faisal Street, Levinger asked the soldiers to summon a patrol.  They stood waiting when suddenly stones began to fly.  Levinger dashed into the Arab marketplace, firing, and shooting an Arab who later died.

On April 2, 1989 Rabbi Levinger was indicted and ordered to stand trial for the death of the Arab. 

On April 11, 1989, following the deadly attack on Jews at the Western Wall by thousands of rock-throwing Arabs, four Arabs were shot outside the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jaffa gate.  One was killed.

On May 3, 1989, Jews from Kiryat Arba and Hebron, after years of Arab attacks on their buses, vehicles and bodies, met and decided that from now on they would shoot any Arab who threw stones at them.  They declared that stones being deadly weapons, they were justified in shooting.  In response, in an interview on Israel radio, that day, General Amram Mitzna, said:  “Anything that is forbidden, illegal or disturbs the security forces in their activities, we have to deal with.  The heads of the settlements know very well what is allowed and what is not.”

On May 4, angry Jews from Kiryat Arba in reaction to another attack by Arabs poured into the streets of Hebron smashing Arab cars and houses.  The newspaper Yediot Acharonot (May 5) describes more Jewish reaction and the resultant government one:

  “The police plan to deal more strictly with Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria who take the law into their own hands and commit acts of vengeance against the Arabs.”
On May 30, a group of religious Jews went up to pray at what is traditionally believed to the graves of the Biblical figures, Joshua, his father Nun and Caleb.  The graves are located in the Arab village of Kifl Harith and the Jews who had come to pray were attacked by rock-throwing Arabs.  The Jews fired at the attackers and one of them, a girl, was shot and killed.
That day, the rabbi of the Yeshiva Od Yosef Chai, in Shchem was attacked as he and 30 other Jews were on a hike in the area.  At the village of Sanjil, the rabbi was struck in the head by a rock.  It was not the attack on the rabbi nor all the countless attacks on Jews that now caused rave and rage on the part of the Jewish Left.  It was not the fact that that day, it was reported that some 12,000 (!) cases of Arab violations of the law had been already processed by the courts in the 18 months of the intifada. In response to the shooting of the girl, by Jews acting in self-defense and in an effort to teach the Arabs that they would not drive Jews out of the land, the newspaper Hadashot (May 31, 1989) in a news item wrote:
“The actions of the settlers aroused sever reaction against Israel in world public opinion. The spokesman for the State Department, Richard Butcher, condemned the illegal violent acts of (Jewish) citizens in the territories.”

And in an editorial, the paper said: “Madness.  There is no other world that better describes the voyage of vengeance in the Arab village Kifl Harith…”

Police arrested eight Jews, and the head of the Civil Administration in Judea-Samaria. Major General Sheika Erez, went to the Arab village to “calm the atmosphere.”  He promised them that the army would prevent any violation of law and attacks on a “peaceful population.” (Hadashot, May 31, 1989)

On June 13, 1989, it was announced that the police had searched 34 houses of settlers in the settlements of Yitzhar, Tel Haim and Ma’ale Lvona in a search for weapons of those suspected of being at Kifl Harith.  They also arrested and asked for a remand of two yeshiva students from the Shchem Yeshiva who admitted on radio that they had been at the village and were attacked by Arabs.

On May 31, 1989, two days before Jerusalem Day, commemorating the liberation of the Old City in 1967, the Jerusalem police announced that no rallies could be held in the Old City, no groups larger than 50 people would be allowed to enter, and no Israeli flags could be flown.  This insanity was immediately challenged by Kach, which announced that it would demonstrate in the Old City on the holiday.

The same day, (May 31) the chief-of-staff Dan Shomron issued a warning to Jewish settlers: “there is a small group of settlers that takes the law into its own hands and needlessly attacks Arab residents of the territories.  This kind of activity will boomerang against the settlers….”

Meanwhile proof that the frustration of the Jews had reached a new peak was seen in a leaflet signed by a group called Dov.   Aimed at the troops, it said:

“You must not be cogs in a leftist treacherous steamroller which exists in the IDF.  You must refuse any order that degrades you as soldiers and the IDF and the Jewish army.”

The Israeli cauldron was heating up dramatically as the natural law of state and citizens went into effect:  A government cannot play with the safety and lives of citizens and expect them to forever sit quietly.

And then came the funeral of Frederick Rosenfeld of Ariel.  Here is the way The Jerusalem Post described it (June 21, 1989)”

   Barkan, Samaria – Hundreds of West Bank settlers who yesterday surrounded the open grave of their slain neighbor, Frederick Rosenfeld booed Prime Minister Shamir and called him a traitor.   Scores then drove to the Morasha junction near Petach Tikva and blocked traffic at the major intersection…

“You promised to eradicate the intifada, one settler shouted.  Another held up a picture of Rami Chaba, who was killed near Eilon Moreh before the intifada.  You should look at him.  At him, the demonstrator shouted at Shamir.  Another man, who was filling Rosenfeld’s grave, suddenly stood up and offered Shamir the shovel, reportedly suggesting that the Prime Minister fill the grave himself so’ that. maybe you’ll have a little compassion.’

   “Ariel local council chairman Ron Nahman asked the demonstrators to show due respect for the dead, but he, too, was booed…

 “Shamir said last night that the demonstration at the funeral was a ‘difficult experience’ for him.  Speaking to a group of Likud activists in his Jerusalem office, Shamir accused Meir Kahane’s Kach movement of organizing the disturbances.

  “Several people behaved disgracefully, but I am immune to such things, ‘he remarks.  ‘It is regrettable that the Jewish people suffers from the malady of internal dissention and senseless hatred.’ He claimed that the event only served the Arab cause.

  “The Prime Minister’s bodyguards, police officers and a police unit specially trained to handle riots circled him during, the ceremony and later pushed the crowd aside as they led him to his car.  They were surrounded by angry demonstrators who shouted in unison “Traitor!” “Traitor!”

  “After the funeral, some 80 settlers and supporters set out for the Morasha junction near Petach Tikva.  The windshields of at least two cars were smashed along their route.  One driver was cut on the forehead, chest and hands.  Another, Yaakub Ashur of Bidya, told the Jerusalem Post that a stone was flung at his car from a passing car.  ‘We were nearly killed,’ he said.  The stone hit one of the passengers in the stomach.

  “The rioters blocked the entire Morasha junction, sat on the road, chanted ‘Death to the Arabs,’ and stoned a third car injuring two more passengers.

   “Police pushed the rioters off the road.  When the police tired to arrest one rioter, other settlers grabbed the man out of their hands.”
In the above can be seen all the elements of the consequences of the failure of the Israeli authorities.  Their incompetence or their deliberate refusal to take the steps necessary to protect Jewish lives, leads to justified attacks on the government, to angry Jewish action in spite of the government and to the terrible possibility of a revolution, the blame for which will be solely that of the government.

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