ANOTHER TACK: Puddle-ducks of a feather
By Sarah Honig
(April 14) Most people selectively filter out what belies their
They would rather not see what unsettles them, much like the ostrich with
its head in the sand.
Ostrich-like, we downplay the ample warnings that Palestinians - on both
sides of the Green Line - systematically serve up. Yasser Arafat, for
instance, pulls no punches and disguises no intentions. He couldn't have
outlined his strategy more candidly than in his address to 40 Arab diplomats
at Stockholm's Grand Hotel on January 30, 1996 (several years after Oslo).
Thus spake Arafat: "We Palestinians will take over everything including
all of Jerusalem ... The compensated rich Jews will all journey to America
... We of the PLO will now concentrate on splitting Israel psychologically
... We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely
Palestinian state ... I have no use for Jews: they are and remain Jews."
Official Israel preferred not to take Arafat at his word because his word
embarrassed it. So while we bury our collective head, Arafat busily goes
about keeping his promises.
His impressive track record cannot be underestimated. Its signs are all
over the place. Palestinian flags fly at full mast in Arab school graduation
ceremonies within Green-Line Israel. Most gatherings in Israeli Arab towns
open with the Palestinian anthem.
PA auspices are conferred upon a whole host of mundane events inside
Israel - educational, athletic, religious, etc. The bottom line is
inescapable: Even those Arabs encumbered with Israeli rule, owe their
allegiance to Palestine.
They openly identify with the state's enemies. They praise the Hizbullah
but refuse refuge to South Lebanese Army soldiers. MK Hashem Mahameed
exhorted Land Day protesters to "learn from Hizbullah. As it kicked Israel
out, so we will protect our land."
In Umm el-Fahm they stand at attention in memory of suicide bombers.
They vote as the PA instructs. They consider themselves Arafat's subjects
and do his bidding. This is what allowed Arafat to boast recently that
without his help, Barak wouldn't have been elected. The more Israel appeases
its Arabs, the more Arafat succeeds in pulling them away.
A recent opinion poll showed that 67% of Israel's Arab citizens define
themselves as Palestinians rather than Israelis, as compared to only 27% a
mere five years ago. MK Abdul-Malik Dahamshe speaks of "this country,
currently called Israel."
Presumably he envisions a time when the name would be different.
This coincides with the now-overt demand in the Arab sector for autonomy
in the Galilee, Negev and Triangle. The only debate is whether to start with
mere cultural separation or go for full territorial self-rule right off.
Eventually these areas are to be annexed to the burgeoning Palestinian state.
Increasingly, Israel's Arabs imply they sense the beginning of the end of
the Jewish state. Judea and Samaria are already being wrested from it, and
sizable chunks of Israel proper will be next.
ISRAELI ostriches would rather not see such unpleasantness. But without
this background they cannot put into context recent Land Day marches and the
corollary Haifa and Hebrew University riots. Instead they heaved a sigh of
relief that things weren't worse and that another Land Day elapsed without
But feeble responses invite escalation. Propagandists don't crave quiet.
They gleefully harped on the death of 72-year-old Sheiha Abu-Sallah of
Sakhnin and attributed it to Israeli tear gas. The fact that their claim
held as much water as Suha Arafat's well-poisoning speech mattered little.
The old lady's name was ceremoniously inscribed on a monument for Land Day
martyrs and her kin proclaimed pride in her sacrifice for the cause.
It was to decry her "murder" that Arab students rioted at Haifa U. a few
days later. They boisterously sang the Palestinian anthem, hoisted the
Palestinian flag, yelled "death to the Jews" and wielded brass knuckles and
knives. Those Israelis who dared counter with defiant renditions of
"Hatikva" (a near-illegitimate provocation in the Jewish state) were
brutally beaten up. It was patently clear who was in control of the campus
and who was on the defensive.
The next day, when four cops attempted to detain the ringleader, the Arab
students rioted again, roughed up the officers and then menacingly trapped
them in their squad car. The police was plainly humiliated and the lawmen
were eventually whisked out by Hadash MK Issam Mahoul, a past student rioter
His agitation and violence obviously paid off. Virulent anti-Israel
rowdyism is considered heroic in his milieu, while the risks of Israeli
retribution are laughable.
Unintimidated rioters entertained no doubt about what righteous wrath
would be rained upon Jewish students had they dared rampage like their Arab
counterparts, with the same whooping war cries and incitement to homicide.
All the outspoken spokesmen for all politically correct causes would clamor
for their immediate expulsion. They would be driven off campus as vile
No one would for a minute condone mollycoddling them.
Only vis-a-vis Arabs do Jews turn into ostriches. But zoology students
would probably protest the comparison; it's unfair to ostriches. Persistent
myth notwithstanding, they don't bury their heads when cornered, but put up
a fierce fight.
A more valid analogy would be to another birdbrain - Jemima Puddle-duck.
With her eyes wide open she took up with no less than a fox. She should have
known that the intentions of the wily predator towards her were far from
But Jemima wouldn't let facts interfere with her grand conception. So she
gullibly accepted his dinner invitation, and even brought the herbs and
onions for his roast.
She recklessly ignored all danger signs, such as the feathers strewn all
over the floor of his ramshackle shed.
The difference between Jemima and the Jews is that Beatrix Potter took
care of her and sent a pack of dogs to rescue the fool at the very last
minute. But our peril, alas, isn't the figment of a benign author's charming
She cannot devise the happy ending to save us from our stupidity.
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