Jewish Awareness Ministries takes no official position on the suggestions made by Ruth Matar in this letter. As with all the articles in this section it is provided as a service to our website visitors who are interested in Israel and Middle East issues.
Letter from Ruth Matar (Women in Green) Jerusalem
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Dear Friends of Israel,
Why is President George W. Bush so hell-bent on the upcoming regional "Peace Conference" in Annapolis, Maryland, dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli issue? ("Hell-bent" seems an excellent choice of words!)
Of course, he is anxious to bring all his Arab friends together under one happy roof, with the objective of dealing with the thorny problem of the existence of the State of Israel. Subsequently, other like-minded world leaders are to be invited as well.
The United States planned a massive aid package for the region. Even Saudi Arabia was included, even though the Saudis aren’t exactly doing the United States’s bidding in Iraq. The U.S. feels that it badly needs friends in the region to cement a new alliance of U.S. regional buddies.
The following is an excerpt from Herb Keinon’s article: "Diplomacy: Dangerous Liaisons?" published in the Jerusalem Post on August 10, 2007.
"On July 16, when Bush gave birth to the idea of a regional conference, he kept everything intentionally vague. "The world can do more to build the conditions for peace," he said. "So I will call together an international meeting this fall of representatives from nations that support a TWO-STATE SOLUTION, reject violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and commit to all previous agreements between the parties. The key participants in this meeting will be the Israelis, the Palestinians, and their neighbors in the region. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will chair the meeting. She and her counterparts will review the progress that has been made toward building Palestinian institutions. They will look for innovative and effective ways to support further reform. And they will provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations, so that we can move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state." …
The problem with the conference, said Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, who led a group of 19 congressmen during talks with top-tier Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week, is with all the noise it is already generating. "I’m very concerned about the expectations surrounding such a conference," he said in an interview. "I believe that it is wise for us to stick to the sequential nature of the original Road Map, and the vision of our president in insisting that any Palestinian state wait for the Palestinians to denounce terrorist violence, to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to recognize all former agreements entered into by the PA. For me, calling for a regional conference at this point, without demonstrable evidence that those prerequisites are taking place, may cause an elevation of expectations that could be damaging."
The idea that Israel could be dealt with to the satisfaction of the Arab states in the Middle East has grown ever since President Bush’s speech on June 24, 2002. At that time he spoke about his idea of two states; a Jewish one, and an Arab state carved out of Jewish land. He further said:
"It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and OCCUPATION."
"In the situation the Palestinian people will grow more and more miserable. MY VISION IS TWO STATES, LIVING SIDE BY SIDE IN PEACE AND SECURITY." (The entire speech by President Bush is attached at the end of this Letter.)
Dear Friends, let’s stop right here! President Bush’s "vision" is based on a faulty premise: Bush labors under the assumption that ISRAEL is occupying ARAB territory. He, as many others, is deceived by the Arab "big-lie" technique!
Women in Green had sponsored an ad in the Jerusalem Post on April 19, 2002 approximately 2 months before Bush’s fateful speech on June 24 of that year, entitled: "ISRAEL IS OCCUPIED TERRITORY OCCUPIED BY THE ARABS!"
The Arab claim that the country was theirs and was taken away from them by the Jews is completely false and lacks any historic basis.
This history as published in the ad:
"Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., i.e. 2,000 years BEFORE the rise of Islam, and long before there was any Arab nation. Israel (Palestine) has been the homeland of the Jewish People since biblical times. It was subsequently "occupied" more than 15 times. Among its occupiers were the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Ottoman Turks. The longest occupiers of the Holy Land who ruled on and off for 400 yearsbetween 1517-1917were the Ottoman Turks. They were followed by the British who ruled under a Mandate of the League of Nations (later the U.N.) to renew a homeland for the Jewish People.
Jews had dominion over the land of Israel over 1,300 years before their expulsion by the conquering Roman Empire. Moreover, Jews have had a continuous presence in this land for over 3,300 years."
How sad that nobody was able to rectify Bush’s misconception on who is occupying whom, on that fateful day of his June 24, 2002 speech. Now, five years later, is it too late to change Bush’s mind on this crucial issue?
Those who strive to be "politically correct" about the Jewish-Arab conflict want to deny Jews to build communities on their own land. This is in spite of the fact that the commandment of settling Eretz Yisrael is equivalent in its importance to all the commandments of the Torah.
In the name of the Lord who commands us (Deuteronomy 1:8): "Go, take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them."
However, President Bush insists on being completely "biblically not correct" on this matter. He demands that Israel evacuates all its settlements built since 2001, and that they not build any new communities whatsoever. In effect, he dares to challenge the very authority of the Master of the Universe!
On this topic of settlement, you will be interested to read an essay by Joseph Farah, an Arab American who is the head of WorldNetDaily, entitled: "THE ‘SETTLEMENTS’ ISSUE". You will find his full article at the end of this Letter.
For those of us who love the Holy Land, it is important not to fall into the trap of striving to be "politically correct". On the contrary, as bible believers, it behooves us to be NOT "politically correct", but sincerely "biblically correct". This means that we firmly believe the word of G-d that the Holy Land is an everlasting inheritance of the Jewish People.
Unfortunately, Ehud Olmert, our current Prime Minister, as well as Ariel Sharon, the previous Prime Minister of Israel, is not at all concerned with being "biblically correct". Those two, together, expelled ten thousand Jews from their homes in Gaza and Northern Shomron. They thereafter permitted the Arabs to take over this Jewish Land.
Ehud Olmert and his Foreign Minister, Tzippi Livni, are eager to give up Judea and Samaria, and even part of Jerusalem, to the Arabs, for promises of "peace".
It has been said by many analysts that Ariel Sharon, who was considered to be the "father of Jewish settlement", made a 180 degree political turnaround in order to avert attention from his legal difficulties, i.e. the "Greek Island Affair". Similarly, Ehud Olmert is currently being questioned by the Israeli Police under caution, regarding his questionable real estate dealings.
These facts are more than worrisome, since Olmert deems himself to be entitled to treat Israel as his private real estate.
With this background, the thought of the November International Peace Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, is most frightening.
We don’t even know, as yet, how many nations have been invited, but certainly there will be a preponderance of Arab nations. Israel has been invited as well, and Olmert has foolishly accepted the invitation to be the sacrificial lamb.
This whole development brings to mind the prophecy of Joel:
"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I will bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all of the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat and I will contend with them there concerning My people and My possession, Israel, that they dispersed among the nations, and they divided up my land."
(Joel 4:1-3 the Stone Edition of the Tanach)
This prophecy bears an uncanny resemblance to what is being planned by the nations of the world against the Jewish People at this point in time.
What are we to do to show our love and loyalty towards Israel?
We certainly cannot afford to sit back and rely on G-d’s immediate intervention. We must first show that we are worthy of his help!
In the final analysis, as long as we do our utmost to foil these evil plans, we count on G-d’s fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy!
So what can we do, in practical terms?
1. Organize a giant demonstration in Annapolis, Maryland, where this politically correct, anti-Israel "Peace Conference" is scheduled to be held.
2. Organize our own parallel, simultaneous, "biblically correct" conference, at a near-by venue, inviting all bible believing Jews and Christians from all over the world to participate.
President Bush has not yet set a final date for the conference. We will keep you updated so that we can make plans together.
In conclusion, I would like to quote Oklahoma Senator Inhofe’s Senate Floor Statement of March 4, 2002, entitled "SEVEN REASONS WHY ISRAEL IS ENTITLED TO THE LAND":
"Number 7: I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: BECAUSE G-D SAID SO."
With Blessings and Love for Israel,
P.S. Thank G-d for the two G’s: my research assistant, Gila, and Google! We were able to obtain both President Bush’s entire June 24, 2002 speech and Joseph Farah’s article "The ‘Settlements’ Issue".
President Bush Calls for New Palestinian Leadership
June 24, 2002
The Rose Garden
THE PRESIDENT: For too long, the citizens of the Middle East have lived in the midst of death and fear. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many hostage. The forces of extremism and terror are attempting to kill progress and peace by killing the innocent. And this casts a dark shadow over an entire region. For the sake of all humanity, things must change in the Middle East.
It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve. Israeli citizens will continue to be victimized by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself.
In the situation the Palestinian people will grow more and more miserable. My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security. There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror. Yet, at this critical moment, if all parties will break with the past and set out on a new path, we can overcome the darkness with the light of hope. Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born.
I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.
And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East.
In the work ahead, we all have responsibilities. The Palestinian people are gifted and capable, and I am confident they can achieve a new birth for their nation. A Palestinian state will never be created by terror — it will be built through reform. And reform must be more than cosmetic change, or veiled attempt to preserve the status quo. True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions, based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism.
Today, the elected Palestinian legislature has no authority, and power is concentrated in the hands of an unaccountable few. A Palestinian state can only serve its citizens with a new constitution which separates the powers of government. The Palestinian parliament should have the full authority of a legislative body. Local officials and government ministers need authority of their own and the independence to govern effectively.
The United States, along with the European Union and Arab states, will work with Palestinian leaders to create a new constitutional framework, and a working democracy for the Palestinian people. And the United States, along with others in the international community will help the Palestinians organize and monitor fair, multi-party local elections by the end of the year, with national elections to follow.
Today, the Palestinian people live in economic stagnation, made worse by official corruption. A Palestinian state will require a vibrant economy, where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest government. The United States, the international donor community and the World Bank stand ready to work with Palestinians on a major project of economic reform and development. The United States, the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund are willing to oversee reforms in Palestinian finances, encouraging transparency and independent auditing.
And the United States, along with our partners in the developed world, will increase our humanitarian assistance to relieve Palestinian suffering. Today, the Palestinian people lack effective courts of law and have no means to defend and vindicate their rights. A Palestinian state will require a system of reliable justice to punish those who prey on the innocent. The United States and members of the international community stand ready to work with Palestinian leaders to establish finance — establish finance and monitor a truly independent judiciary.
Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. This will require an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services. The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command.
America is pursuing this reform along with key regional states. The world is prepared to help, yet ultimately these steps toward statehood depend on the Palestinian people and their leaders. If they energetically take the path of reform, the rewards can come quickly. If Palestinians embrace democracy, confront corruption and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a provisional state of Palestine.
With a dedicated effort, this state could rise rapidly, as it comes to terms with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on practical issues, such as security. The final borders, the capital and other aspects of this state’s sovereignty will be negotiated between the parties, as part of a final settlement. Arab states have offered their help in this process, and their help is needed.
I’ve said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel — including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations.
Leaders who want to be included in the peace process must show by their deeds an undivided support for peace. And as we move toward a peaceful solution, Arab states will be expected to build closer ties of diplomacy and commerce with Israel, leading to full normalization of relations between Israel and the entire Arab world.
Israel also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine. Permanent occupation threatens Israel’s identity and democracy. A stable, peaceful Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for. So I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state.
As we make progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.
The Palestinian economy must be allowed to develop. As violence subsides, freedom of movement should be restored, permitting innocent Palestinians to resume work and normal life. Palestinian legislators and officials, humanitarian and international workers, must be allowed to go about the business of building a better future. And Israel should release frozen Palestinian revenues into honest, accountable hands.
I’ve asked Secretary Powell to work intensively with Middle Eastern and international leaders to realize the vision of a Palestinian state, focusing them on a comprehensive plan to support Palestinian reform and institution-building.
Ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians must address the core issues that divide them if there is to be a real peace, resolving all claims and ending the conflict between them. This means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties, based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognize borders.
We must also resolve questions concerning Jerusalem, the plight and future of Palestinian refugees, and a final peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror.
All who are familiar with the history of the Middle East realize that there may be setbacks in this process. Trained and determined killers, as we have seen, want to stop it. Yet the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties with Israel remind us that with determined and responsible leadership progress can come quickly.
As new Palestinian institutions and new leaders emerge, demonstrating real performance on security and reform, I expect Israel to respond and work toward a final status agreement. With intensive effort by all, this agreement could be reached within three years from now. And I and my country will actively lead toward that goal.
I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people. You’ve lived too long with fear and funerals, having to avoid markets and public transportation, and forced to put armed guards in kindergarten classrooms. The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security.
I can understand the deep anger and despair of the Palestinian people. For decades you’ve been treated as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Your interests have been held hostage to a comprehensive peace agreement that never seems to come, as your lives get worse year by year. You deserve democracy and the rule of law. You deserve an open society and a thriving economy. You deserve a life of hope for your children. An end to occupation and a peaceful democratic Palestinian state may seem distant, but America and our partners throughout the world stand ready to help, help you make them possible as soon as possible.
If liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe who are equally weary of poverty and oppression, equally entitled to the benefits of democratic government.
I have a hope for the people of Muslim countries. Your commitments to morality, and learning, and tolerance led to great historical achievements. And those values are alive in the Islamic world today. You have a rich culture, and you share the aspirations of men and women in every culture. Prosperity and freedom and dignity are not just American hopes, or Western hopes. They are universal, human hopes. And even in the violence and turmoil of the Middle East, America believes those hopes have the power to transform lives and nations.
This moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East: an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace; a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, "I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life." The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life.
Thank you very much.
THE ‘SETTLEMENTS’ ISSUE
By Joseph Farah
WorldNetDaily, December 12, 2002
Once again, we’re hearing that awful word again in the context of the Middle East debate.
That’s what the conflict is all about, we’re being told. That’s why the Arabs are mad at the Israelis. That’s the root of the violence, the terrorism, the hatred.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer raised the ugly specter of "settlement" recently in a speech last week. Kurtzer, the former ambassador to Egypt and one of the architects of the failed peace process, once again blamed Israel as an obstacle to peace.
"Israeli settlement activity cripples chances for real peace," he said. He also underlined with emphasis and a pregnant pause this conclusion: "Settlement activity must stop."
What about these "settlements"? What are they? Why are they bad? Why should they be stopped?
I think most Americans and most non-Israelis draw certain mental pictures when they hear this term. I know I did before I began visiting "settlements" in Israel. I discovered they were not armed camps. They were not frontier outposts in alien territory. They were not fortresses built to grab more land for Jews. No. Much to my surprise, I found these "settlements" to be nothing more than communities – peaceful Jewish communities that don’t interfere with nor abrogate anyone else’s rights. They reminded me of suburban developments in Southern California more than threats to peace.
The word "settlement" itself is loaded. Who is a "settler" in the Mideast? According to the Arabs, only Jews are "settlers." But that simply is not the case.
Arafat himself was born in Egypt. He later moved to Jerusalem. If, at the moment, he is living in the West Bank, he is a "settler" there, not a native. Indeed, most of the Arabs living within the borders of Israel today have come from some other Arab country at some time in their life. They are all "settlers."
For instance, just since the beginning of the Oslo Accords, hundreds of thousands of Arabs have entered the West Bank or Gaza – and never left. They have come from Jordan, Egypt and, indirectly, from every other Arab country you can name – and many non-Arab countries as well. These surely aren’t "Palestinians."
Since 1967, the Arabs have built 261 settlements in the West Bank. We don’t hear much about those settlements. We hear instead about the number of Jewish settlements that have been created. We hear how destabilizing they are – how provocative they are. Yet, by comparison, only 144 Jewish settlements have been built since 1967 – including those surrounding Jerusalem, in the West Bank and in Gaza. Why is it that only Jewish construction is destabilizing?
The Arab "settlement" activity is not new. This has always been the case. Arabs have been flocking to Israel ever since it was created – and even before, coinciding with the wave of Jewish immigration into Palestine prior to 1948.
And that raises a question I never hear anyone ask: If Israel’s policies make life so intolerable for Arabs, why do they continue to flock to the Jewish state? Why aren’t they leaving in droves if conditions are as bad as they say?
The truth? There is more freedom under Israeli rule than there is in any Arab country. If you’re a headstrong Arab, bent on protest, this is the place to be. Don’t try throwing stones at Syrian police. You won’t live long. Don’t try publishing anti-kingdom newspapers in Saudi Arabia. You won’t live long. Don’t try fomenting revolutionary jihadism in Egypt. You won’t live long.
So, sooner or later, those who are determined to protest, the professional agitators, the future Arafats of the Arab world all come to Israel. The Arab world is happy to be rid of them. This exodus serves two purposes – limiting the threat to Arab regimes and fanning the uniting flames of anti-Israel hatred. It’s a population safety valve the totalitarian Arab world just loves.
Prior to 1900, the entire region was a barren wasteland with low populations of Jews, Muslims and Christians. No one had much interest in the Holy Land, as Mark Twain pointed out in his own travels to the area – until the Jews began to return.
Then the economic activity began. The jobs were created. The opportunities appeared. And then the Arabs came.
The "settlement" issue is a canard. It’s a propaganda ploy to suggest that only Jews are newcomers to the region. The truth is there are lots of "settlers" and would-be "settlers" in the area – including Arafat and his friends.
By the way, under the Oslo Accords, there are no restrictions whatsoever on Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch. These "settlements" are perfectly legal. And I, for one, can see no legitimate reason for them to stop.
Women For Israel’s Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380