Autonomy of Intifada

In 1989, there began a series of riots and strikes in Arab villages and cities in the West Bank. The Israeli government responded with equivocation. Instead of using controlled and directed force to stop the protests, it allowed the Arabs to continue violent and provocative activity. Cars of Jewish motorists passing through the West Bank were stoned by the thousand. The government’s response: Buy shatterproof windshields.

As the unrest in the West Bank was allowed to fester, there was an increase in international demands that Palestinian rights be respected. At this time, a cycle began which has continued until the present day. Unrest and violent activity on the West Bank is used to create international pressure on Israel to make concessions; these concessions, in turn, spur greater unrest and violent activity, which evoke even greater concessions.

Matters reached the point at which, in an attempt to save face, the Israelis would simply not report terrorist activities, unless and until they were forced to do so by the prior publicity of Western media. To this day, nowhere in the Western media – or for that matter in the Israeli media – is the danger that exists for Israeli cars traveling in Judea and Samaria properly documented.

The same is true of the precarious security predicament of Jewish settlers even now, when the autonomy extends to only a limited number of regions in the West bank. As the autonomy expands, the Jewish settlements within its territory are becoming vulnerable islands surrounded on all sides by hostile armed forces. In a sudden mass attack (which in Eastern Europe used to be called a pogrom) just before Purim, 1996, in the yeshivah building at the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem (Nablus), fifteen soldiers were killed and sixty other Jews were wounded – by arms which Israel had handed to the Palestinian Autonomy’s “police force” as part of the “peace process”….

Several times during the Intifada, the Rebbe made public and private statements citing the counter-productive effects of the Israeli policy. Speaking with obvious pain, the Rebbe stated clearly that concessions would increase terrorist activity, rather than discourage it. “The concessions convince the Arabs of Israeli weakness,” he emphasized. “They make it clear that terrorism is effective in achieving results. Even mere talk of possible concessions is harmful because it encourages terrorist activity.””You understand Arabic,” the Rebbe told one of the Israeli cabinet ministers who visited him. “Ask the Arab in the street. See what he thinks will be the end result of the peace process.”

On the same occasion, im 1992, after the Rebbe had exerted the full weight of his influence to bring about the election of Shamir, he declared that he would oppose Shamir’s regime with equal vigor – because in the meantime Shamir had changed his tune, resuming where Begin had left off.

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