Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Rav Riskin is one of the most important Jewish religious leaders of our time, not because of his thought, which is interesting but not revelatory, but because of his life. He is the spiritual leader of the Efrat community in the Etzion bloc. He has been a leader in promoting a centrist religious Zionism. He has been a leader in promoting the important notion within Judaism that the Jewish people have a global mission, that Jewish nationalism serves a larger cause of doing God's work on earth, and that the Jewish people - individually and collectively - are charged with being a blessing to all humanity. Specifically, he has been a leader in promoting good on-the-ground relations between Jews and Arabs in his community. This article, which I think was originally published elsewhere but which I read about on Arutz Sheva, should make it clear - does it need to be clearer? - what Arafat is fighting for, and against. He is not fighting to help the Palestinian people; he is fighting to hurt them. He is most eager to kill those Jews who are most eager to live in peace. Efrat, after the most recent bombing, had to impose restrictions on the presence of Arab laborers in the town. This was not a decision they enjoyed making, as it flew in the face of the vision that Efrat is meant to embody. Arafat wants to make Israeli rule as oppressive as possible, wants to make war as terrible as possible, because that is what gives him his power and stature. He does not want to rule a Palestinian state. He wants to be the man who, even surrounded by Israeli tanks and deprived of electricity, can shake the Arab world and even the American Presidency.
The Palestinian people deserve an end to Israeli military rule, and deserve to manage their own affairs and control their own lives. For that very reason, the terrorist state that was foisted upon them by Oslo must be destroyed, utterly, and Arafat's rule ended. There can be no peace - indeed, there can be no respite or cease-fire - so long as Arafat is in the region, because Arafat's entire purpose for being is to prevent peace and murder innocents.
DEBKA has been reporting that one purpose of Sharon's incursion has been to collect materials proving that Arafat had personal involvement in a number of murders of Israeli civilians, in order that such material can be placed at the disposal of the Bush Administration to justify the expulsion of Arafat to the rest of the Arab world. We'll see. Removing Arafat will not solve the Palestinian problem. But it is a pre-requisite to doing so. After he is removed, and his terrorist brigades disarmed, arrested or killed (as appropriate), Israel will, I'm sure, be open to suggestions for how the Palestinian people should be governed, including the possibility of a U.S.-led international presence in the territories. I believe Sharon when he says he is willing to make sacrifices for peace, and I believe the Israeli people as a whole agree. But only one side in this conflict has declared a willingness to commit suicide.