The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
August 30th, 2006: "ENOUGH TO HUMILIATION"
In the aftermath of Israel’s worst military defeat since the beginning of the creation of the modern Jewish state, we stand humiliated and denigrated in the eyes of the world. On the home front, their are calls for commissions of inquiry into the mismanagement of the war.
The media, reservists, the left wing and right wing are demanding the resignation of the Olmert government. The defense ministry is under attack as is the foreign ministry.
There is no question that Israel gained nothing and lost much in this recent military conflict in Lebanon. Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian sponsors are basking in glory as is the entire Arab world. As they celebrate their victory and the defeat of the “invincible” Israeli army, the global criticism and condemnations of Israel’s actions in Lebanon keep mounting at a furious pace.
The threats of a nuclear attack on Israel from Iranian President Ahmadinejad are very real, as he defies world pressure and vows to continue developing the country’s uranium enrichment program.
If this kind of humiliation were not enough, we have just learned that Rev. Jesse Jackson is engaged in shuttle diplomacy to seek the release of the three Israeli soldiers still held hostage by Hamas and Hizbollah. According to Arutz Sheva news service, (8/29/06) "Jackson met with the Damascus-based leader of the Hamas terror organization (Khaled Meshaal) as well as with Syrian President Bashar Assad before leaving for Lebanon, the second stop in his regional diplomacy tour.
The American cleric is expected to meet with Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Jackson said he is also hoping to meet with Hizbullah chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah to discuss a prisoner exchange deal to free Goldwasser and Regev. Jackson is slated to visit Israel after talks in Lebanon."
Rev. Jackson’s track record is far from stellar when it comes to negotiating on behalf of Jews. Jackson’s record of embracing terrorists of all stripes is legendary. He embraced Yassir Arafat, praised him as "urbane, educated and reasonable" and was a vocal supporter of his philosophies and actions. In 1984, Jackson ran for the presidency of the United States, garnering 3.5 million votes, enough to make him a kingmaker, a power broker in the Democratic party. His candidacy was riddled with viciously anti-semitic statements, as he referred to Jews as "Hymies" and New York City as "Hymietown". Jesse Jackson was known as an anti-Semite long before Hymietown. He had a record of making disgusting and vicious remarks about Jews, including calling Zionism the poisoned weed of Judaism and saying that he’s sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust.
It is also noteworthy to mention that Rev. Jackson may be flagrantly violating United States laws by negotiating with organizations and leaders that are currently on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. These organizations include Hamas and Hezbollah.
It is clear that Israel should have demanded the release of the three soliders as a pre-condition to any agreement of a cease fire, however due to the ineptitude of the leadership of the government of Israel, this was not included in the deal. And so, we now have Jesse Jackson brokering a prisoner exchange deal that will surely require Israel to release thousands of Arab terrorists, thereby ensuring future kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, and even more pronounced acts of terrorism directed at Israel.
According to an article entitled, View from Haifa: The September 10th Syndrome by Steven Plaut (Jewish Press, 7/19/06), he gives a concise chronology of the effects of Israeli prisoner exchanges. It is as follows:
- In 1985, the Likud-led government of Yitzhak Shamir carried out a prisoner exchange with the "Jibril" terrorists. Israel agreed to release more than a thousand Arabs incarcerated for terrorist activities in exchange for three Israeli soldiers. Just three days after the trade, one of those released Arabs was brought into an Israeli hospital. He had accidentally blown himself up while preparing a bomb intended for Israeli shoppers. Others among the released terrorists would, in the months and years to come, participate in a number of attacks and murders.
- On October 16, 1986, while on a mission over southern Lebanon, Israeli air force navigator Lieutenant Colonel Ron Arad and his pilot were forced by a technical problem to parachute out of their plane. The pilot was rescued by an Israeli chopper, but Arad fell captive to terrorists belonging to the Lebanese Shi’ite Amal militia. All trace of Arad was lost. Since 1986, Israel has engaged in feeble and pointless attempts at "quiet diplomacy" in order to win the release of Arad or at least learn of his fate. The efforts have produced nothing.
- In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin launched his "peace plan" of legitimizing and recognizing the PLO and at the same time ordered the expulsion of 400 Hamas terrorists from the West Bank and Gaza to Lebanon. The expulsion had near- universal support in Israel. Shortly thereafter, however, Israel permitted almost all the expelled terrorists return to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they resumed their leadership roles in terror organizations. It was a yet another goodwill gesture for which Israel got nothing in exchange. Not even information on Ron Arad.
- In 1994, in the middle of Rabin’s "peace initiative," Palestinian terrorists kidnapped Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman. The kidnappers held him hostage in the West Bank village of Bir Naballah, which had long been a hotbed of terror.
On October 7, 1994, villagers violently attacked Israeli soldiers who were trying to storm the Bir Naballah home in which Wachsman was being held. The terrorists had enough time to murder Wachsman before his would-be rescuers got into the house. Israel did not bulldoze the village in retaliation, just as it has not bulldozed other West Bank villages in which soldiers and civilians have been murdered.
These days, Israeli leftists are busy assisting the residents of Bir Naballah in sabotaging the security wall Israel is constructing, because it offends the sensitivities of the Arab villagers.
- In July 2003 the Israeli cabinet decided in a 14-9 vote to buy Ariel Sharon a Kodak moment in Washington by releasing more than 500 Palestinian prisoners, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah terrorists, again as a "goodwill gesture." Few of the released terrorists took up quilting.
It is clear that Jackson’s motive is to curry favor in Arab world. It is also clear the the Israeli public has a right to demand that the government of Israel secure the release of the three Israeli soldiers. We cannot, however, allow a Jew hater of the likes of Jesse Jackson to pressure Israel into a prisoner exchange agreement that would endanger future Jewish lives.
- In January 2004, Israel agreed to an exchange with Hizbullah. More than 400 Arab prisoners, many accused of killing civilians, were released in return for a single Israeli civilian hostage and the bodies of the three soldiers who had been murdered in cold blood by Hizbullah.
The prisoner exchange was widely opposed in Israel, and passed the Israeli cabinet by a single vote. Afterward, Israel never avenged the three soldiers murdered by Hizbullah. A suicide bombing that killed 10 Israelis took place the very day of the prisoners’ release, but Israel went ahead with it anyway.
Two of those set free had been high-ranking Lebanese terrorists, directly involved in the kidnapping, torture, and reported "sale" of Ron Arad to Iran. Israel did not even demand information on the whereabouts of Arad in exchange, just an empty promise of some information in the future, which, needless to say, has never materialized.
At the time, the Arab media crowed in smug satisfaction at Israel’s humiliation in the prisoner release. Al-Ahram called it a "new notch in Hizbullah’s belt!" In Israel it was seen as a debacle. Even Yoel Marcus at Israel’s far-left daily Haaretz called it a "License to Kidnap."
The nation of Israel must loudly proclaim, "Enough Humiliation". It is not realistic to believe that the government of Israel will not entertain the notion of a prisoner exchange. It has already indicated that it would consider such a plan. If the government of Israel wishes to be a pawn in Jackson’s nefarious scheme, and to facilitate a scenario that would elevate him to a hero status around the world, then it is incumbent on Jews worldwide to express their outrage and indignation at a government that seeks to invite even further humiliation to a country that has endured more than its share.
At this precarious time, we must seek Divine help and assistance. We must appeal to the Almighty G-d of Israel through the power of prayer. We must storm the gates of Heaven with our supplications. Let us remember the words of King David (Psalm 70) - "Shamed and disgraced be those who seek my soul. Repulsed and humiliated be those who desire my harm. Let them be turned back in consequence of their shaming me, those who say, Aha!, Aha!. Let rejoice and be glad in You all who seek You, and let them say always, may G-d be exalted, those who love Your salvation".