Israel in the News Nov/Dec 2005
Arabs Burn Synagogues; Israel Blamed
ARUTZ-7—As the Israeli flag was being lowered over Gaza to mark the end of Israel’s 38-year-presence in the area, teenaged Arabs threw rocks at Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops near the demolished Neveh Dekalim community. During the midnight hours, mobs began swarming onto several formerly Jewish areas even before the last Israeli soldiers had left.
They poured into Neveh Dekalim, Morag, Kfar Darom, and Netzarim, setting out for the synagogues and trying to burn them down. The buildings are mainly concrete and therefore did not catch fire, but black smoke darkened the skies above the former Jewish towns. The IDF had hung orange signs on the 21 synagogues in Gush Katif, declaring them a “holy place.”
The United States, which takes credit for disseminating the concepts of freedom of religion and respect for religious sites, condemned Israel for its decision not to destroy Jewish places of worship in Gaza. “The decision places the Palestinian Authority in a no-win situation,” said a State Department spokesman.
Former Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg warned that the PA’s enabling of the burning of the synagogues gives an “appearance of legitimacy for any Jew to strike out against Moslem holy sites, including the [mosques on the] Temple Mount.”
Many justified the government decision not to blow up the synagogues, and many were not surprised at the Arabs’ violent response. Yesha Rabbis Council: “This proves it’s a religious war.” Defense Minister Sha’ul Mofaz said that despite the Arabs’ violent behavior towards the synagogues, the decision to leave the buildings standing was the correct one.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said, “The desecration of the synagogues is a barbaric act by people who have no respect for holy sites.”
Knesset Member Gila Finkelstein: “The Palestinians had an unusual opportunity to show their change by displaying their good will—but they preferred destruction. More than they want a state, they want to destroy every Jewish trace.”
Israel to Supply Gaza’s Water
Although Israel has left Gaza to the Arabs, it still plans to supply water for Arab agriculture and will allow thousands of Arab workers to enter mainland Israel.
Arutz-7 reported that the beautiful greenhouses built by the Jews of Gush Katif will need water if they are to continue to produce fruits and vegetables. Some of them still had fresh plants inside when Israel handed them to the Palestinians. The prized greenhouses supplied annual export income of $100 million for Israel.
Arutz-7’s Hillel Fendel wrote, “In accordance with Shimon Peres’ vision that well-off Arabs want only peace with Israel, the government is hoping that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be able to operate the hot-houses. For this purpose, however, water is needed, and in great amounts. The PA cannot supply it, because its wells have become very saline following the 11 years of unsupervised pumping since the Arabs took over the area under the terms of the Oslo Accords. The solution is, therefore, that Israel will continue to supply water to Gaza even after the withdrawal is completed.”
In addition to supplying water, Arutz-7 reported that Israel will also let some 10,000 Arab workers from Gaza cross over daily into Israel. This, despite the claim by many pro-disengagement elements that Israel must separate itself from Gaza, along the lines of, “We’re here and they’re there.”
Gov’t Leaves Much Behind
When Israel left Gaza, it left behind hundreds of millions of shekels’ worth of property that terrorists can use or sell. Arutz-7 reported that Israel transferred to them “infrastructures and equipment worth many tens of millions of dollars, which they will be able to sell and then use the money. This includes fences of all types, including electric and warning fences, concrete blocks that can be used to protect their headquarters against Israel Defense Forces attacks, antennas, hundreds of kilometers of metal cables, waterpiping, pumps, irrigation systems, sewage systems, and electrical equipment, including substations, transformers, and cables, and more.”
One thing the government tried not to leave behind was garbage. It made some 1,500 Israeli soldiers clean the area of trash.
Gaza Terrorists Now Turn to Sinai
ARUTZ-7—More than 15,000 Arabs from Gaza have moved into the Sinai Peninsula, and many plan to infiltrate the 200-kilometer (124-mile-) long Egyptian-Israeli border. Israel may build a new security system, at a cost of $900 million.
The massive unregulated entry to the Sinai came immediately after Israel surrendered the Gaza region to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Intelligence officials have warned Israelis not to travel to Sinai because of concrete evidence of terrorists in the region.
Infiltration from Sinai, where the lengthy border is not hermetically sealed, would give terrorists free access to urban centers without having to pass border checkpoints. Security officials also have reported an increase in cooperation between terrorists and Negev Bedouin. The Bedouin, many of whom served in the IDF, have in the past limited most of their smuggling to drugs but recently have turned to weapons and ammunition. Several Bedouin were arrested in the past few months for planning attacks against Israeli targets.
All Arab TV All the Time Comes to America
The al-Jazeera Arab television network, a favorite of people like Osama bin Laden, has made itself at home in Washington, D.C.
It has comfortably ensconced itself in new $7 million digs, taking over four floors of an office building on prestigious K Street, home to lobbyists and lawyers.
Al-Jazeera is the network whose coverage in Iraq U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described as “vicious, inaccurate, and inexcusable.” In a June article in The American Enterprise, titled “Lights! Camera! Al-Jazeera!” reporter Justin Torres, whose office is in the same building, wrote that a sign tacked up in the newsroom reads, “Israel=Murder.”
The most popular TV network in the Arab world, al-Jazeera is headquartered in Qatar and reaches an estimated 40 million people with programs such as these: a videotaped speech by al-Qaida deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called the July bombings in London “blessed,…like its glorious predecessors in New York, Washington, and Madrid”; a weekly talk show that in May 2001 discussed, “Is Zionism worse than Nazism?” and said the “roots of the Nazis can be found in the Book of Joshua.” The program was hosted by Dr. Hayat al-Hwayek, a “researcher of Zionism” and follower of Holocaust denier Roger Garaudi.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri) reported that the program listened via telephone hookup to the editor of the anti-Semitic Web site The Free Arab Voice, who claimed the entire Holocaust was a hoax. Then “the show’s production team brought French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson on the line,” Memri reported. Faurisson told al-Jazeera television viewers, “Nazism was not a disaster, the Jews simply invented a massacre that never happened, and invented gas chambers that exist only in their imagination.”
Al-Jazeera broadcasts 24 hours a day at a cost of $120 million per year.