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Jewish World Review June 5, 2000 / 2 Sivan, 5760

Cal Thomas

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Has Israel lost the will to live? --
THOSE SOUTHERN LEBANON militants celebrating the end of Israel's "occupation'' were not partying over a tiny piece of land. Their rhetoric and the Katyusha rockets they pointed at Israeli territory showed their true objectives: the ultimate occupation of all Israel and the elimination of the Jewish state and the Jewish people from the land.

Israel -- in deep denial -- has lost the will to live. Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government is giving its enemies everything they want and receiving nothing Israel needs, least of all peaceful coexistence. Tired of wars and the resolve it takes to win or prevent them, Barak is playing to the polls instead of stiffening his people's backbone.

In a 1992 speech to the Staff and Command School, then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who started his nation down the road to a phony peace, observed: "One of our painful problems has a name. It is the combination of two words -- 'Yihyeh B'seder,' which means, 'It will be OK.' Behind these words is generally hidden everything which is not OK. The arrogance and self-confidence, strength and power which (have) no place.'' His point was that Israelis have long believed, no matter what happens, they could always defend themselves and turn any situation to their advantage. Even Rabin admitted this attitude "is devouring us.''

Barak used the same rhetoric following the retreat from Lebanon (or "redeployment,'' as some spinners are calling it). He said he believes things will be OK and that the situation "will settle down.'' Barak said Israel's withdrawal will bring peace and security and a normal daily routine.

The State Department's top Middle East negotiator, Dennis Ross, joins the castrati chorus when he repeats the fiction that the source of all conflict in the region is the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Things will be OK now, echoed Ross at a recent meeting of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, because in the Oslo peace agreement "Israel and the PLO recognized each other.''

These assertions about phony agreements do not change the goal of Israel's annihilation by her enemies. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, North Korea has supplied new long-range Scud ballistic missiles to Syria and is negotiating to sell similar weapons to Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel. Syrian missiles can now reach virtually any target in Israel. North Korea has built a Scud-production facility in Syria, according to Ha'aretz. Stocking up on weapons is not the behavior of people whose ultimate objective is peaceful coexistence with Israel. It is planning for Armageddon.

As Barak releases more terrorists, and Palestinian "refugees'' -- many with violent records -- are allowed inside Israel, the stage will be set for a war in which Israel's enemies will attack from without and within. The State Department will wring its hands and issue statements saying if only Israel had given up more land earlier its demise could have been avoided. And then, like Pilate, our government will wash its hands of the whole affair, claiming to be innocent of the blood of the Jewish nation.

Middle East commentator Emanuel A. Winston takes the long view, which Israel's enemies also take. Winston writes in his Internet newsletter: "The present government of the Jews has become enslaved to the evil desires of other nations. They have made common cause with enemies who want to destroy the Jewish state and then go on to install Islam globally.''

Tiny Israel's existence is measured in yards, not miles. With the abandonment of the southern Lebanon security zone, Hezbollah terrorists can easily shell the Haifa oil refineries, located only 17 miles away. It doesn't take a prophet to predict that the shelling of northern Israeli towns from the former security zone will soon begin. When Israeli planes retaliate, pictures of bloodied "civilians'' will be shown, and Israel again will be condemned and forced into more suicidal concessions.

Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat has led a war of attrition. He knew that his forces were not strong enough to overcome Israeli firepower. So he is beating them at psychological warfare. Too many people are jockeying for legacies and the Nobel peace prize.

Too few Israelis remain strong and vigilant.

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