By Alan Dershowitz
Yasser Arafat was the godfather of international terrorism who dashed his people's hope for statehood, stole billions of dollars intended for the relief of their suffering, and indoctrinated their children with so much hatred that they willingly turned themselves into human bombs.
He did manage to leapfrog the Palestinian cause over equally or more deserving causes - such as Tibetan freedom, Kurdish independence, and Basque statehood - by wielding three immoral weapons: first, international terrorism on a scale previously unknown to the world; second, an alliance with oil-rich states willing to extort support for his cause by energy blackmail; and third, exploitation of international anti-Semitism against the Jewish state.
Arafat was personally responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent Israelis, hundreds of innocent Americans, and countless others. Like other ethnically motivated butchers before him, he delighted in killing Jewish children, as he did in several well-planned attacks on Israeli schools and nurseries. He also personally ordered the murder of hundreds of his own people who disagreed with him or collaborated with Israel. Never a man to tolerate dissent, he employed bullets rather than arguments to respond to his critics.
Arafat was the inspiration for Osama Bin Laden, because he proved to his eager student that terrorism works and that terrorists can be praised and rewarded by a craven world, as Arafat was by so many for so long.
Arafat was not one of those leaders who could, a la Nelson Mandela, make the transition from terrorist to peacemaker. He never learned how to take "yes" for an answer and he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
According to former president Bill Clinton and his chief adviser, Dennis Ross, Arafat was personally responsible for the failure at Camp David and Taba to produce statehood for the Palestinians in 2000-2001. Instead of now celebrating their third anniversary of statehood, the Palestinians have suffered thousands of casualties and years of self-inflicted pain, while inflicting death and suffering on the Israelis as well.
Arafat's legacy is one of bloodshed and war, yet tears are being shed over his peaceful passing, not only by Palestinians but by many Europeans as well. Had Arafat accepted the offer of statehood, his body could have been buried in the part of Jerusalem that would have been the capital of the Palestinian state instead of in the rubble of Ramallah.
The world made a terrible mistake by not treating Arafat as a criminal. He should have been indicted for ordering the murder of American diplomats, Israeli athletes, and international travelers instead of being praised for his "courage". It takes no courage to kill the helpless and much courage to risk one's own life in pursuit of peace. It was such courage that Arafat lacked.
The Nobel Peace Prize was cheapened by being awarded to this hater of peace. The Vatican was tarnished by its frequent welcoming of a man who violated every teaching of the Church. The United Nations was trivialized by its lionization of this coward. And terrorism was encouraged by the rewards Arafat received for his murders.
In the end, Arafat was a lucky man, lucky because his perceived enemy was the Jewish state. Had his enemy been a Christian or Muslim or communist state, he would never have received a pass for his mass murder. He understood the world's lingering anti-Semitism better than most, and he exploited it for all it was worth. Those grandchildren of Europeans who supported or welcomed Hitler and who willingly allowed their lingering bigotry to be exploited were complicit in his evil.
Eventually, the Palestinians will have their state, when they finally reject the legacy of their failed leader Yasser Arafat. When Palestinian statehood is declared, Arafat will posthumously receive much of the credit. He will not deserve it. A more farsighted leader would have done more for his people, less for his own pocketbook, and better for the world than did Hitler's failed successor and Bin Laden's successful predecessor - Yasser Arafat.
Alan Dershowitz is Harvard Law School professor and renown defense lawyer.
Opportunity Begins at the End of the Year
The holiday season is a special time to express our appreciation to God and our love to one another. It's also the time to prayerfully consider your year-end giving opportunities. A year-end gift that blesses Maoz Israel Ministries can also reduce your income taxes. (The amount of the savings depends on your tax bracket.) If your income in 2004 appears to be higher than you expect it to be in 2005, a large year-end gift may be a good tax planning tool. The deduction will be worth more in the year you have the highest taxable income.
Charitable contributions and year-end giving to Maoz Israel can be made in the form of gifts of cash, stock, real estate, life insurance, or a gift annuity (including a charitable remainder trust). Each of these gifts offers specific benefits; however, all gifts must be made by December 31, 2004. We would be pleased to provide assistance to you, your accountant, or tax advisor regarding year-end giving. Please call our Development Office at 800-856-7060 or visit our website at www.maozisrael.org.
A perspective from Israel:
IS PEACE COMING TO THE MIDDLE EAST?
by Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
For the last 10 years, the majority of Israelis have resigned themselves to a Palestinian state. Because of one of the highest birthrates in the world, the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza has grown to over 3.4 million persons. The democratic state of Israel, with five million Jews and one million Israeli Arabs, cannot continue to rule over an additional 3.4 Palestinians Muslims without giving them citizenship.
However, if she were to integrate them into Israel's population, the state of Israel, as a Jewish state, would cease to exist. Giving a vote to 3.4 Muslims would turn Israel almost immediately into a Muslim country. Because there is seemingly no other solution acceptable to the world (like resettling the Palestinians in any number of Arab states), Israel, though reluctantly, has been willing to negotiate with the Palestinians to give them part of the Biblical land of Israel. However, one man stopped this process. Throughout his lifetime, Yasser Arafat did not allow such negotiations to succeed because his goal was not primarily a Palestinian state. His goal, first and foremost, was the destruction of Israel.
Israel's dilemma has been, then, how to negotiate with the Palestinians to give them self-rule and their own state, and at the same time protect her own citizens against a violent society that has as its goal Israel’s destruction?
The world, the UN, the oil-rich Muslim states and their allies, including most Europeans, all loath the Jewish state. They constantly call for Israel to (1) pull back to the 1948 cease fire lines (which would give the Arabs most of Galilee and other parts of Israel proper), (2) give the old city of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount to the Palestinians, (3) halt "excessive military force against the poor Palestinian insurgents fighting to get their land back," [read, stop protecting Israel's citizens from suicide bombings, etc.] (4) and permit some 7,000,000 descendents of "Palestinian refugees" to "return" to live in Israel proper. Only the United States' president, congress and citizens have actively and steadfastly stood against Israel's destruction, but not without bouts of intense pressure for Israel to "make peace" with her neighbor.
ANXIETY IN ISRAEL
And so it was with much trepidation that Israel awaited the new Middle East initiatives of the re-elected President George W. Bush (who no longer has to concern himself with currying Jewish votes). The anxiety heightened when Prime Minister Tony Blair, although friendly to Israel, announced that his number one agenda was to "revive the quest for Arab-Israeli peace." Indeed, for weeks, Blair had been talking about the need to speed up the Middle East peace process, and for greater U.S. involvement.
Such talk "even by a friendly European leader - is inevitably greeted in Israel by concerns that the other shoe is about to drop, that Israel will now face excruciating pressure to make concessions," without the Palestinians reciprocating by bringing to an end their attacks on Israelis. (Jerusalem Post, Nov 14, 04) In fact, without exception, every time Israel has been forced to make concessions to the Palestinians, the terrorist elements within the Palestinian domain have been emboldened to rack up their attacks, resulting in many Israeli lives lost. Until now, European leaders have never seen the connection.
THREE MAIN POINTS
So when Bush and Blair stood together in a joint press conference in Washington D.C., on November 12, the Israeli government and people waited anxiously to hear what Bush would say. As they spoke, Bush and Blair's proposals were met with tremendous relief in Israel. In summary, this is what the two heads of state outlined.
1. A Palestinian state must be democratic. First of all, Bush seemed to place the main burden on the Palestinians, which with past presidents has often not been the case: President Bush stated,
"I believe the responsibility for peace is going to rest with the Palestinian people's desire to build a dem-ocracy and Israel's willingness to help them build a democracy," he said.
Bush indicated that while he feels this is a new opportunity (after Arafat's death) to make progress towards a "lasting peace", unless the Palestinians choose democracy, he would not help them.
"We are going to develop a strategy, so that once the [Palestinian] elections are over, we'll be able to say, 'Here's how we will help you…If you want to be helped, here's what we're willing to do. If you choose not to be helped, if you decide you don't want a free, democratic society, there's nothing we can do.'"
Blair agreed and added:
"What we're really saying this morning is that a viable [Palestinian] state has to be a democratic state."
The U.S. and Britain would then help mobilize international assistance to revive the Palestinian economy and help rebuild Palestinian security forces as the Palestinians plan elections.
2. No withdrawal from all of West Bank. Another key concept that greatly encouraged Israelis: Bush stated he would help the Israelis and Palestinians coordinate an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strips and parts of the West Bank. By saying "parts," this negates the dream of the Palestinians taking over all of the West Bank and dismantling all the Jewish cities and communities in Judea and Samaria.
3. Israel to remain a Jewish state. Bush said that he was for Israel continuing to be a Jewish state - another critical and fundamental element for Israel's very existence. Translation: Bush will not force Israel to accept millions of Arab "refugees" who demand to move into Israel. (Remember, Israel had almost exactly the same number of Jewish refugees that fled the Arab nations in the 1940's-50's as did the Arabs fleeing Israel - around 800,000 each. Israel absorbed her refugees while the oil-rich Muslim nations deliberately refused to absorb the Arab refugees, seeing them as a weapon to destroy Israel.)
The central theme that dominated Bush and Blair's presentation is that a democratic, Palestinian state is the only kind of state that would receive their assistance. Bottom line: the U.S. and Britain would not back a terrorist regime to be established on Israel's doorstep. Although a call for Palestinian democracy was made some months ago by Bush, this is the first time that such a concept has become an integral part of U.S. and British policy.
But what about the future? Will leaders arise among the Palestinian people who will choose peace with Israel? Will they be able to dismantle the terrorist networks? Can they change the direction of several generations of all-consuming hatred for the Jewish people created by Arafat and Muslim radicals?
Indeed there are many Israeli opinion makers that find it extremely difficult to believe that the Palestinian leadership - whoever that might be - can pull off a democratic, Palestinian, Muslim state. One commentator said, "The Palestinians comprise a population with an unprecedented high proportion of violence-prone young men, and parents who have surrendered any hope of controlling them." (Ibid., Nov 15, 04) Just recall the funeral demonstration in Ramallah, when the top Palestinian leaders fled the scene after disembarking from the helicopter carrying Arafat's body.
If these leaders cannot control a chaotic but unorganized mob like this, how can they control the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, to name a few, who are at this moment calling on the Palestinians to escalate the struggle against Israel in order to fulfill the dream of Arafat? These young men have been taught from the cradle that the greatest destiny life can grant them is to die a martyr while killing Jews.
Some Israeli opinion makers fear that the Palestinians could hold superficially democratic elections only to elect a violent tyrant who will continue to play games as did Arafat - making promises long enough to garner world opinion to pressure Israel into concessions and then reneging on his part of the bargain. "Such an armed independent state would constitute a great danger to Israel, to the surrounding Arab world and to the stability of the Middle East and the world as a whole." (Ibid., Nov 15, 04)
IS THIS GOD'S BEST?
If Israel does end up giving part of her land to the Palestinians, is this God's best? Will this bring Israel lasting peace? Of course not. Through the warnings of her prophets and the historical accounts of Israel in the Bible, we can understand why Israel has not been able to overcome her enemies and is in danger of losing part of her God-given land. The Israeli people, having fallen away from a personal relationship with the God of Israel centuries ago, have not accepted His ways or His Messiah. Therefore, her enemies have overtaken her. Yet God, in His love, cannot and will not let her be destroyed. He promised Abraham and his descendents that Israel would never cease being a nation. (Jeremiah 31:36)
Nevertheless, Israel is tormented on every side, and her enemy continues to covet her land and kill her people. Will God let some of her God-given land be taken away from her? It has certainly happened in the past - in fact, many times. When Israel strayed from God, He Himself let her enemies partition off her land. The Bible faithfully records that only when God's people, Israel, returned to Him did He deliver them from the hand of their enemies. God does not change. Today, He awaits His people to return to Him.
If the Palestinians do actually choose to create a democratic Palestinian state, there is no doubt that Israel and the world will create that state out of the Biblical lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. But we believe that even in such a turn of events, God will fulfill His purposes in the Middle East. For example, let us suppose that "two democratic nations side by side," did somehow materialize. This could mean that in a time of peace there would be more freedom in Israel and especially in a Palestinian state to reach both Jew and Arab with the Gospel. The Lord tells us to pray for rulers so that "we can lead a tranquil and quiet life…this is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Certainly, the Arabs must hear the Good News, currently extremely difficult under the tyranny of Islamic terrorism. Today, there are Christian Arabs in the Palestinian areas that are risking their lives for the Messiah. Some have been shot at, jailed, their houses burned down and their children attacked. A democratic Palestinian state would have to give its citizens more freedom of religion, or it wouldn't be a democracy.
CHRISTIAN SUPPORT IS CHANGING ISRAEL'S THINKING
Secondly, George Bush's faith as a born-again Christian and as a supporter of Israel has helped to create an openness to the New Testament and the Gospel in Israel, as never before. Also Blair is seen as a sincere Christian and friendly to Israel. Israel’s thinking is changing.
If and when there would be a temporary peace in the Middle East, many more Christian tourists would visit this land, again exposing more and more Israelis to the life-changing power of the God of Israel. Peace would bring increased prosperity to the land, making it possible for Israeli believers to give more of their time and resources to building the Kingdom of God.
Instead of believers throughout Israel meeting in rundown facilities that are too small and inadequate, we would be able to use our assets for more evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. Instead of the majority of believers being deeply in debt because of impossible low wages or unemployment, more of our members would, for example, be able to buy automobiles to visit the sick, help the poor, host small groups and volunteer for the many aspects of the Gospel.
IN THE END WAR WILL COME
Ultimately, we know there will be a breakdown in any temporary peace that might evolve in the Middle East, as, again, her enemies rise up to destroy her. The prophet Zechariah, as do many other prophets, foretell that the nations of the world will come against Israel; so great will be her danger that it will appear as if her end is near. Then God, Himself will come and destroy those nations that have brought their armies against her. (Chapters 12-14)
But first the Gospel must be preached in Israel and all the Middle East. If the terrorists can be restrained for a time, and democracy, of sorts, comes to some of the Muslim nations such as Iraq - and even a Palestinian state - then we pray that God would use that time to pour out His Spirit on the Middle East.
If the Palestinians choose to continue their existance as a violent, bloodthirsty society, then Israel will continue to be attacked by suicide bombers and terrorists. She will continue to see her citizens murdered and continue to see such bodies as the UN contend for her demise. Either way, the message of salvation through the Son of God must come to Israel and the whole Middle East. "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come." (Matthew 24:14)
There is nothing, no nothing, more important than giving the Israeli people and the surrounding Arabs the opportunity to choose Eternal Life. Not land. Not even Biblically promised land.
Dear Maoz Partner,
What a year 2004 has been! Bush's re-election has brought the words, "faith" and "family values" to the lips of an astonished world. Arafat and his life mission of destroying Israel are in the grave.
The Presbyterian Church has met with Hezbollah leaders and has begun a process of sanctions against companies who do business with Israel. The Episcopal Church is considering similar action.
The number of Arab Christians and Messianic Jews in Israel is growing at an ever quickening pace. Israeli hearts are opening to God's way to salvation.
The West, really the world, is dividing into two distinctive camps. Those who take the Bible literally and seek to make God (Who calls Himself the God of Israel) the center of their universe, and those who are creating their own laws, standards and goals.
In the middle of it all is Israel! The people of Israel, so accustomed to having Christians hate them and liberal, leftist, humanistic groups defend them, are bewildered at the loss of their erstwhile defenders and astonished at the growing number of their new friends of faith who are standing solidly with them.
It is no accident that at this very time God has raised up through you a fund, istandwithisrael.com, to help many of Israel's believers get on their feet financially. Because of the intifada and an economy that is perpetually in war, the cost of living in Israel is on a par with other Western nations, but the salaries are often minimum wage $700 - $800 per month.
It is impossible for a family with children to live on this kind of salary, even if both parents are working. For example, an apartment of three tiny rooms in Tel Aviv costs at least $650 per month. Then there are taxes and utilities…bus transportation costs, school expenses for children, not to speak of food and clothing.
The Israeli people are a people in debt. Yet as new believers come into the Kingdom, pastors work hard to disciple them both in spiritual and practical matters. These new believers are taught to work and pray for a life that gives God glory - that they may prosper and be in health even as their soul prospers.
This is where istandwithisrael.com does its work. It has distributed more than $620,000 to help believing Israeli families and individuals get out of hopeless debt that keeps on growing because of enormous interest rates. It has helped many of these families throughout the land then acquire new skills where they can move out of minimum wage jobs or unemployment into professions that give them a chance for a better life. The fund has helped many Russian immigrants have the possibility to study Hebrew, a must for obtaining a good job.
We have watched the changes in the lives of those helped. They are grateful people, determined to make their lives count for God.
In Israel, every soldier counts! We have mounted a war against the prince of darkness and together we will see a revolution take place - God's Kingdom is coming to this land!
We need every believer on board. istandwithisrael.com is making a significant impact in the land of Israel. We wish you could ask the recipients!
Last, but not least, victims of terrorism are feeling the love of Israel's Messiah through istandwithisrael.com
At this season, we invite you to remember the Israeli believers, both Jew and Arab, and the victims of terrorism and share with them the good things with which God has blessed you!
For the Salvation of Israel,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
To: I Stand With Israel
We, Shlomi & Iris Chazan thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your assistance and contribution to us.
We thank you and the many other people of faith for bringing us to the knowledge of the Lord Yeshua. And we thank God, who has used you as a helping tool for us.
You have helped us with a legal challenge over Value Added Tax which had been going on for over three (3) years and your assistance has saved us from a jail sentence.
Our thanks and prayers to the Lord are that He might use us to help other believers in any way and to do our part in the congregation.
"I give thanks to Him who gives me strength, to our Lord Yeshua the Messiah who has considered me trustworthy and has appointed me to serve Him.
The grace of our Lord has been abounded upon me with the faith and love which are in the Messiah Yeshua."
Iris and Shlomi Chazan