Surrealism vs. Reality
The events of this week, which opened with eight Israeli terror victims being buried at the same time as Israel was placed on trial at The Hague for trying to defend itself from terror, have about as much in common with reality as a painting by Salvador Dali.
There is something surreal in the spectacle of thousands of Israelis and our supporters marching through the streets of a Dutch city holding pictures of our terror victims as Israel is libeled in a show trial produced and directed by our murderers.
There is something surreal about the picture of gowned judges marching into a courtroom to hear arguments about how a law is broken when Israel attempts to prevent more of its citizens from being murdered by terrorist armies.
There is something surreal about the televised footage of Avi Ohayon – whose two small sons Ohad and Matan and ex-wife Revital were gunned down in their home by a Fatah terrorist – begging cameramen to take his picture with their photographs.
And there is something grotesque about the fact that the British and Swedish governments are paying the salaries of the Palestinian "lawyers" who stand before a kangaroo court and claim that Israel is breaking a law, any law, in trying to prevent more children and mothers from sharing this fate.
Given the surrealism of the show at The Hague, it is difficult to take the proceedings seriously. How can we be expected to believe that such an evil, crude and disgusting lie can actually have any impact on our lives? But of course it does impact us.
The International Court of Justice will no doubt soon hand down an opinion saying that Israel is wrong to defend itself against the wanton murder of its citizens, killed for the crime of being Jews.
In the aftermath of the ICJ's expected opinion, Israel will come under ever-increasing international pressure to allow in foreign troops who will be tasked with protecting our murderers from our defenders.
How have we arrived at this point? How is it that after three and a half years of absorbing massacre after massacre that Israel now finds itself on trial?
The answer to this question is found in part in the latest State Department Human Rights Report.
Released Wednesday, the report finds both Israel and the Palestinian Authority guilty of countless human rights abuses. Of course, it is balanced.
Of course, it duly notes that the PA security services have themselves conducted terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Yet aside from condemning every action Israel has taken to combat terrorism and thereby equating actions aimed at protecting Israeli citizens with terrorism, the report does something even more offensive.
The report very sensitively gives the names of a dozen or so Palestinian children who died during Israeli assaults against Palestinian terrorists who used these children for cover.
Yet, grotesquely, while the names of Palestinian children are listed, the report provides not one name of any Israeli victim of Palestinian terrorism. Not the Ohayon children, not 14-year-old Abigail Litle -- an American citizen -- who was murdered on a bus on her way home from school and not the names of hundreds of other Israeli men, women and children who were murdered last year.
By naming Palestinian victims while not giving names of Israeli victims, the State Department report follows in the path of the general climate that has gripped us for the past 40 months. This general climate is characterized by the dehumanization of Israelis and Jews by the international community.
This dehumanization prevents anyone from ever seeing the victimization of Israelis. By balancing condemnations of Palestinian terrorism with condemnations of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, our critics, even those among us, are cheapening the value of our lives.
By arguing that Israel abuses human rights when it defends itself against an enemy which has declared its aim as genocide, the State Department, like the UN, the EU, the foreign media and international human rights organizations, is creating a false reality where Israel is not fighting a war against an enemy bent on its physical destruction. Rather, Israel is simply being mean.
As if the perfidy of its human rights report wasn't enough of a jolt for us, the next day the State Department also saw fit to criticize the IDF operation Wednesday in Ramallah where our forces seized some NIS 40 million in terror funds. Dali himself would have been impressed with State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher when he claimed that the operations were "destabilizing to the Palestinian banking system" given the fact that the PA itself uses its banking system to transfer funds to terrorists.
Unfortunately, the surrealism of our current plight doesn't end at The Hague or at the State Department. And it doesn't begin there either. It begins here, in Israel.
As the terror victims marched in front of the Hague to defend Israel's right to build the security fence, Shin Bet director Avi Dichter was at the Knesset explaining that the fence we care so deeply about will not long protect us. Dichter said on Tuesday that the Palestinians are now seeking to upgrade their arsenals in order to carry out attacks that will render the fence irrelevant. Both the PA security forces and the terrorist cells, Dichter said, are improving their artillery capabilities in order to launch shells over the fence. In addition, they are seeking to attain chemical weapons.
And then there is the terror financing. Our forces went to the banks in Ramallah on Wednesday to dry up terrorist bank accounts and this is all for the good. But our government is the main financier of the terrorists.
Israel transfers some NIS 130 million to the PA in tax revenues every month arguing that the money isn't going to terrorists. Yet we know that PA budgetary funds finance terror. Dichter himself acknowledged that ten percent of the PA budget is transferred to Arafat's office. And Arafat, he said, is directly involved in financing terrorism.
And the surrealism doesn't end here either. Last week Ma'ariv reported that to date, security forces have prevented nine attempts by Palestinians to take down jetliners taking off or landing at Ben Gurion Airport. Israel has argued strenuously before the Bush Administration that to protect the flights from rocket and missile attacks it is necessary to construct the security fence far enough away from the airport to keep it out of rocket and artillery range. This involves extending the fence several kilometers north and east of the 1949 armistice lines. It seems to make sense. And yet, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "appears ready to abandon a proposed second fence around Ben-Gurion Airport."
Then there is Sharon's newest emissary to Washington – not Dov Weisglass or Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom – but Labor head MK Shimon Peres. At the beginning of the week, Peres, fresh from a political powwow with Sharon, turned up in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
Addressing a gathering of Washington peaceniks later, Peres said Monday that Israel has no moral right to Judea and Samaria. In his words, transferring one hundred percent of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Palestinians, "is not a political decision, it is a moral decision."
So here then we have it from none other than the head of the loyal opposition and the man who Sharon apparently now sees as a possible coalition partner if the National Union and the NRP bolt his government. In the analysis of Peres, all of Israel's detractors are right. It is immoral for us to be defending ourselves. It is immoral for us to stake our claim to territory against the Palestinian claims. It is immoral for us to refuse to finance a PA that is so immersed in terror there is no way to give it money it without contributing to the finance of our own murder.
It isn't the security fence that stood for trial this week at the Hague. It is Israel's very legitimacy that now stands before an international tribunal. So at the end of the day it doesn't matter that the fence will not defend us. It doesn't matter that we get criticized for seizing terrorist funds that we ourselves are providing.
What matters is that we ourselves contribute through our apologetics for our need to defend ourselves to the dehumanization of our people and the cheapening of our lives.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.