Lessons That Last a Lifetime

What Palestinian 10-year-olds did this summer.

What do you say to a special friend who has to carry around a “security blanket” for just such times as happened this past Monday morning when, on her way to work at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, the sirens went off and with no time to run for cover she did the next best thing - spread the blanket out on the ground and lied down on it.

I don’t know about you, but this scene jolted me and has been playing out in mind as I wonder – what next?  One hundred missiles in less than a week have landed in southern Israel and, to add insult to injury, the story has been avoided by the mainstream press.  This, on the heels of multi-staged attacks in Eilat last week that targeted a bus, civilians in cars and members of the IDF and left eight dead and more than 30 wounded.

And, Israel’s “peace partners” – those whom the world’s experts are encouraging Israel to sit down with and negotiate a peace agreement that will result in “two states for two people” living “side by side in peace” - where are they?  Where are their statements of denunciation?  Where are their apologies? For that matter where is the United Nations and/or The International Court of Justice?

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which claimed responsibility for the Eilat attacks, is according to an IDF spokesperson, “an independent terrorist organization in Gaza that is supported, subsidized and trained by the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Hamas, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union and recently reconciled with Fatah with the intention of forming a unity government, would then be part of that group that Israel would negotiate with.  Are we sliding from the ridiculous to the sublime?  And then there is Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas, the man we are told is a moderate.  Here is what he has to say, “We will not ask Hamas to recognize Israel.”

So, do we proceed as if nothing has happened and accept the chanting from the world’s chorus that Israel “return to the negotiating table?”  With whom will Israel be negotiating?  Have you read the PLO Covenant?  Let me share an article from the Covenant – one of thirty-three – which, despite protestations to the contrary, has never been changed.

Article #9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not tactics.  The Palestinian Arab people affirm its absolute resolution and abiding determination to pursue the armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution, to liberate its homeland…

Maps used in children’s textbooks, official documents, etc. show the boundaries of their homeland as all of Israel.  Have you heard the chant – From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free?  Hint: The river is the Jordan, the sea is the Mediterranean. Israel then is missing!

And, have you read the Hamas Charter?  For starters the preamble includes, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”  And, Articles 11 and 13 state, “The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day…” “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…” “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

Where is the outrage from decent people?  Is this how it happened before in history? Where people close their doors, try to close their minds, live within the confines of their world and hope that the madness doesn’t reach them.  And, when that approach fails, well, as history has shown us, there’s always the road to acquiescence.  We know where that road led the free world – into a hell that left millions killed, Europe overrun and the very foundation of civilization and sanity hanging on by threads.

Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth Prime Minister and its first and only female head of state, was born in Kiev and, in her autobiography My Life, she vividly recalled the memory of her father having had only a piece of wood to barricade his family and “protect” them against the pogrom inspired marauders.  This left a deep impression on her and, regardless of how much easier life in Milwaukee was for her and her family, Golda knew her place was in the Land of Israel, then under mandatory control by the British.  She was determined to do all she could to insure that Jews were able to reestablish their place in the land of their forbearers.  Her hope was that a Jewish state would protect the Jews who, for many generations past, had been barely tolerated as “guests in other countries.”

Years ago at a CAMERA conference Prof. Alan Dershowitz spoke of the “Shah Shtil”/ “Don’t rock the boat” mentality of many Jews.  He exhorted the audience to stand proud reminding them that “We Jews have given, more than we have taken!”  He was speaking about the role of Jews in America but his words could easily be applied to Israel as well.  Israel’s contributions in myriad fields are world renowned – agriculture, medicine, literature, music, humanitarian assistance – to name a few.  So why do Jews in the diaspora and Israel forget this and allow the “red line” of acceptable behavior to constantly be moved?  Why have Jews allowed themselves to fall prey to intimidation?

Possibly they aren’t on the same mailing lists I’m on and/or they are allowing their senses to be dulled, and are just “going along to get along.”

Those concerned with peace, beyond lip-service, would have somehow learned about the recent report from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center that details how Palestinian children spent this summer, as summers past.  Tens of thousands of young Palestinian children attended Hamas run “summer camps” where the lessons of martyrdom – like those in their school textbooks and the messages heard everywhere in their towns and on television - were reaffirmed.  Likewise, the precepts of the PLO Covenant and the Hamas Charter were reiterated.

The camps, for all intents and purposes, are incubators for future generations of Jihadis. And so the question that begs to be asked is how can these children – heirs to any peace agreement that may be signed - who have been raised to hate and are dedicated to killing themselves and others, implement any peace agreement when they have been prepared for anything but peace.

Lest all the onus be placed at Hamas’ doorstep, a 2004 story posted by Emma Hurd of Sky News shows children who attended a training camp sanctioned by the Palestinian Authority and run by, none other, than the Popular Resistance Committees – the same group that orchestrated the Eilat attacks.  If you look at the photo gallery you will see the faces of 10 year-old boys who, as 17 year olds today, could very well have been recruited by the PRC for these last attacks.

The words of the Irish statesman and political theorist, Edmund Burke, are as true today as when he wrote them in the 18th century, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Many of those who perpetrated the recent attacks and who are issuing the orders for the barrage of missiles are “summer camp graduates.” The only way my girlfriend can get up off the road and put away her “security blanket” is if we have the facts in hand and are prepared to stand up and speak the truth.  Her future, Israel’s future and ours depend on it.

Ferne Hassan is a New Jersey-based concerned citizen.