First Published: Morning Freiheit, January 22, 1984.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The following Statement on Israel and the Middle East was adopted at the end of December by the National Board of the United Jewish People’s Order in Canada. The Statement associates the UJPO with Israel’s ’Peace Now,’ New Jewish Agenda in the USA and the hundreds of U.S. rabbis and academics who call for a broad Israeli peace initiative, including the granting to the Palestinian people the right to establish a homeland on the West Bank and Gaza. The UJPO statement follows:
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Some eighteen months ago, determined to annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and believing that this will be facilitated by the destruction of the P.L.O., the Likud Government of Israel unleashed the invasion of the sovereign state of Lebanon.
Israeli people were told that this operation, ironically named “Peace for Galilea,” will, in 3-4 days, establish a safety zone of some 40 kilometres in Southern Lebanon and thus “forever free from threats of violence” the Northern settlements of Israel.
Soon the true plans of Begin and Sharon became clear. Soon the Israeli Army was besieging Beirut and the world witnessed the unprecedented cruelty of the massive bombardments in August of 1982.
This culminated in the massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila perpetrated by the cut-throats of Gemael’s Falange.
The Special Israeli Commission found Sharon and his friends, at least in part, responsible for not preventing the massacre. The commission earned the respect I and gratitude of freedom loving people everywhere.
Today after the loss of some 550 sons of Israel, after suffering some 3,000 wounded and maimed; after causing the death of many thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese, most of them innocent of P.L.O. crimes; after spending more than two billion dollars and deepening the economic crisis in Israel; thirty thousand Israeli soldiers are bogged down in southern Lebanon without much prospect of being able to return home in the near future.
The Likud government dedicated to its dream of “A Greater Israel,” has consistently refused to recognize the true source of terrorism. While justly denouncing it as murderous, the Likud refuses to learn from the past world history which provides ample lessons showing that oppression of dispossessed people results in the kind of frustration and hopelessness that engenders suicidal terrorism.
Recently terrible events have demonstrated how hollow was the Likud claims, made soon after the Lebanon invasions, that “the defeat of the P.L.O. marks the end of terrorism.”
On November 4th, seventeen months after the June 6th invasion, a suicidal terrorist drove a truck-bomb into the Israeli military compound in Lebanon’s occupied city of Tyre. Twenty-nine Israelis and 33 Lebanese died. On December 6th, a bomb exploded on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem, killing four and injuring another 46. Only those who insist on not facing reality will fail to see that repeated “retaliation” by the Israeli air force or gun boats will not halt and prevent future terrorist attacks, launched by desperate people, who are convinced that they have nothing to lose.
Unable to face the quagmire he led Israel into, Begin resigned. Shamir who replaced him, seconded by the super-hawk Moshe Arens are continuing the disastrous policies.
On November 30th, President Reagan, following a two day meeting with Shamir and Arens, announced the formation of what is in fact a military alliance between Israel and the United States. Supplies of military hardware are to be accumulated in Israel, we are told, to be used by Israel or by Israel and the United States. Joint military maneuvers are to take place and a special joint military committee to be set up. Israel is to receive close to three billion dollars, the largest part of this in a free gift of military hardware, including the infamous cluster bombs.
Thus Israel has in fact become a U.S. military base. Instead of pursuing the, often most difficult, course of establishing Israel as a constructive part of the Middle East, it is to become instead a military enclave and a perpetual threat to all its Arab neighbors.
The promise engendered by the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, now just a shell of what it could have been, is now completely jeopardized with, even the “moderate” Arab states opposing the new Israel-United States relation. Ostensibly the new agreement, the world is told, is directed against Syria and the U.S.S.R.
Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens oppose the policy of, the Shamir Government, not only the Peace Now Movement, but masses of unaffiliated Israelis demand an end to the disastrous policy.
Today, with thousands of P.L.O. combatants evacuated to many Arab countries, some four thousand more will go from Tripoli. This will not solve the problems of the Middle East.
The basic solution to the threat of anti-Israel terrorism lies in the finding of a just solution to the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The annexation of the Golan Heights, the invasion of Lebanon, the Likud deals with the Falangists, none of these actions brought one inch closer the ardent desire of the Israeli people to live in peace in the Middle East.
The United Jewish People’s Order, joins its voice to that of the Israel’s Peace Now movement, to that of the New Agenda movement in the United States, to that of hundreds of U.S. rabbis and academics, who call for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from Lebanon, for a halt to the building of new settlements on the West Bank, and for a broad Israeli peace initiative, including the granting to the Palestinian people the right to establish a homeland on the West Bank and Gaza, this will, in spite of the many difficulties, prove to be the only road to a peaceful and secure future for Israel and the Middle East.