Manfred and Anne Lehmann Foundation

Bosnia: Dress Rehearsal for Israel?

"No troops -- No peace" was the headline of a New York Times op-ed page piece by Warren Christopher, the secretary of state. No, he was not referring to U.S. troops on the Golan Heights -- not yet. He was talking about U.S. troops for Bosnia. But the whole approach of the Clinton administration officials to the Bosnian situation gives us an instantaneous insight into the method they will be using to steam-roll an agreement through between Israel and Syria.

President Clinton signed the "peace" agreement with Bosnia without consulting Congress. He committed 20,000 U.S. combat troops for peace keeping duty in Bosnia. After the fact, he went on television to lobby with the U.S. public. Then, he went to Congress to lobby for sending troops. Congressman after congressman now say that they have serious reservations about sending U.S. troops into harm’s way, but they do not wish to "undermine the commander in chief."

The crux of the Bosnian troop deployment into Bosnia is that they will only stay there for one year! And their main job is to see to it that refugees can return to Sarajevo. Nothing is said about keeping things under control once the U.S. troops leave. This "peace" agreement was criticized by Henry Kissinger when Charlie Rose interviewed him on his TV program. He called it just a piece of paper that cannot be reliably implemented.

We see here the pattern that will be followed in the case of Israel. The strong opposition against U. S. Troops on the Golan Heights will be circumvented, as in the case of Bosnia, by place a fait accompli before the public, including the commitment of U.S. troops. Debate will follow after the fact. And if the troops only stay for one year, the Syrians would have a free hand to attack Israel after that year. Remember 1967 when U Thant, the secretary general of the United Nations at the time, withdrew U.N. troops immediately when Nasser demanded their withdrawal, which resulted in the Arabs launching war against Israel. Is that the kind of "security" arrangement Clinton has in mind for America’s best friend, Israel? This was the devious tactic that State Department Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross followed when he told the Israeli public that a referendum on the Golan Heights, which the majority of Israelis have demanded, will only take place after the fact. After a "peace" with Syria has been signed.

A telltale sign of things to come appeared last week when a prominent Peace Now leader, Gail Pressberg, said in a Jewish weekly that a debate about U.S. troops on the Golan is "premature and should be postponed until we know what the peace with Syria will entail." In other words, no open discussion now, wait until you have the accomplished fact of a presidential commitment, which is more difficult to override.

It was also Washington’s pressure that caused Rabin to sign the disastrous Oslo II agreement with all the fanfare of a White House ceremony, before the agreement had either been studied or debated by the Knesset. That debate followed after the fact. Even then it only squeaked through by one vote. These are detestable, strong-arm methods not expected from friends!

Sarajevo is becoming a test case for Jerusalem. The United States wants to force on the Serbs a pro-Moslem solution that will nullify all gains made by the Christians in that city. Refugees are to be brought back! It is the element of force and imposition that is so frightening. Although President Clinton has told me and others that the United States has never imposed any solution on Israel and is not pressuring Israel, the fact is that diplomats like Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk have done nothing but push and pull Israel into positions that are disastrous. Imagine the danger to Israel if she is forced, like Bosnia, to take back refugees!

That was so under the late Prime Minister Rabin, who had a strong Zionist inclination. But how will Peres, Beilin and Savir react to the brutal American pressure?

Assassination, Earthquake, Heavy Snow -- and Now Maccabean Voices. Are we Listening to the Message?

The unusual events of recent weeks makes one tremble. For hundreds of years there has been no earthquake such as that one that shook Israel two weeks ago. The Tenach speaks of huge earthquakes in the days of Judean King Uziah, as prophets Amos (1:1) and Zacharia (14:5) reported. In fact, it may be the earthquake that prophet Jonah threatened Niniveh with, because it happened in the days of Israel’s King Jerobeam II, Jonah’s king. Niniveh took serious note of the threat, and the earthquake was averted. The Jewish land, which evidently took no note of the warning, was seriously hit by that disaster.

An earthquake, then, is the kind of event that sends a message to us, even today.

Another event that shook us all was the sudden discovery of the first contemporary remains of the Maccabbees -- those heroic, staunch Jewish fighters who, against all odds, defeated the Syrian-Greek world power and purified the Temple and Judaism from Hellenistic influence. Near Modlin, the birthplace of Mattityahu and his five sons, a large number of graves were found in the form of sarcophagi -- large stone cases that hold the bones of the deceased -- bearing the names Eliezer, Shimon, Sara, and the family name Hashmonai (with just a few letters missing). The discovery is the first archaeological proof of this outstanding dynasty! It comes at such a critical period in our history, when we, too, are facing a deadly enemy -- both from without and from within the Jewish people. This can only be interpreted as a providential event from which we must draw inspiration, faith and courage.

A similar archaeological discovery, with providential implications as to timing, took place in November 1947. Just as the United Nations voted to establish a Jewish State and just before the deadly attacks by the Arab aggressors started, the first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and delivered to Professor E. Sukenik, who had to disguise himself as an Arab to enter the Old City and take delivery of the scrolls from the Syrian Archbishop Mar Anathasius Yeshue Shemuel. (I met the archbishop some years later and he related to me the dramatic circumstances of the encounter with Sukenik.)

The Scrolls, too, were a tremendous source of encouragement to the outnumbered Jews who had to brave the onslaught of the overpowering Arab armies. Especially inspiring was the so called War Scroll, which described the victorious Jewish fighters in a messianic time, which give us, if we listen closely, a message of hope for the ultimate victory of the forces of genuine, staunch Judaism over the forces of defeatism and secularization.

Stealth and Deception at Work Again Against Jerusalem?

The Peres government has issued an official policy guideline, which in Article 3 says, "Jerusalem -- United Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel -- will remain united and totally under Israel sovereignty." Excellent, right? The trouble is the Cabinet minister Yossi Beilin, placed in charge of "peace" negotiations by Peres, has already brought back the team of amateurs and extreme Marxists who engineered the Oslo I agreement under total stealth: Danish-born socialist Pundik and Austrian-born Hirschfield.

They are, together with Feisal Husseini, working on a number of alternatives for dismantling the Jewish majority in Jerusalem and eliminating Jewish sovereignty over the capital. In talking these steps, they are following the infamous Whitbeck Plan, which Teddy Kollek promoted secretly and which has the blessing of Americans for Peace Now and the Meretz Party. Although this unbelievable development was meant to be held secret, it was widely publicized in the Israeli press a few days ago.




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