|ARAFAT'S TERRORISM THREATENS CHRISTIANS AND
CHRISTIAN SITES ... NOT JUST ISRAEL
by Dr. Jerry Falwell
|Beit Jalla is a small Christian Arab Village on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. It sits across a handsome valley from the
Jewish suburb of Gilo. The Christian residents of Beit Jalla and their Jewish neighbors in Gilo have been a model for Arab-Israeli cooperation ever since all of the biblical land of Israel was reunited under Israeli control in the Six Day War of 1967.
For the first time in the ancient history of this small village Beit Jalla was booming. Commerce between the hard working Christians and their new partners in Israel brought a measure of wealth, opportunity and freedom these people had never had before. By the middle of the 1990's, Beit Jalla was one of the wealthiest Arab towns and the envy of the Palestinians everywhere.
It isn't anymore. Today, Beit Jalla is in shambles. Most of its fancy homes have been destroyed. Its best people have been
forced to flee, and its long cultivated commercial and cultural relations with Israel have been completely devastated.
Well, in a word, Yasir Arafat. Even if most of the world long ago decided to turn a deaf ear to it, everyone knows about the PLO terrorist leader's war against the Jews and Israel. But very few people know about his war against Christians and Christianity.
In one of the most synical ploys in Arafat's long and nefarious career he has transformed Beit Jalla from a once peaceful and prosperous village into a nest of terrorist gangs whose sole purpose is to provoke a massacre of that town's Christian residents.
After he concluded that Bill Clinton's so called "Peace Process" had given him all the unilateral Israeli concessions he could extract, Yasir Arafat decided to throw off the ill fitting cloak of respectability and return to the open terrorism at which he so excells. Using last September's visit of Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon's visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, as his pretext, Arafat launched his long plan war against Israel and the western values it represents.
That the Christian residents of Beit Jalla are among this war's foremost victims is anything but an accident. Rather it is an integral part of Arafat's campaign to get the United Nations to send an international force to impose a solution to the conflict that Arafat was unable to win at the negotiating table. Because, as he likes to put it, "Palestinian blood is cheap," Arafat, as he has demonstra-ted time and again over his 40 year terrorist career, will gladly sacrifice even his peoples' own children if it can score him a point in the battle for world opinion.
Arafat knows that in order to persuade the international community to deploy a military force to fight the Israelis, he has to win
the world's sympathy. To this end, he has shown himself all too willing to provoke the killing of hundreds of his own people, the younger the better. To encourage the death of still more children, the Palestinian Authority that Arafat controls and Bill Clinton has funded with American tax dollars, has been offering $2000 to each family whose child becomes a "martyr for Jerusalem." Since virtually none of mostly pro-Palestinian journalists who have converged to cover Arafat's war understand the constant Arabic language appeals for "martyrs" on PLO radio and TV, almost no one knows that Yasir Arafat uses American money, and lots of it, to encourage parents to allow their children to be killed.
There has never been any military purpose of getting Palestinian children to attack Israeli positions located on the far outskirts of Palestinian towns with rocks, guns, and firebombs. Their only purpose has been to provoke besieged Israeli soldiers to shoot the Palestinian children who are assaulting for the benefit of television viewers.
Ever since he created the PLO in 1964, three years before there were any "occupied territories," Yasir Arafat's greatest tactical strength has been his ability to turn Israel's democratic institutions into Palestinian asssets. His latest war is no exception. In its early days, the televised pictures of dead Palestinian children whipped the Islamic world into a frenzy against Israel and the west. While Arafat was also able to win great sympathy in Western Europe and from the liberal elite that controls the mainstream American press, he wasn't able to get United Nations to dispatch a force to fight Israel. Naturally, such a force would have to include at least some American troops.
Arafat thought that if he could find a way to market Israel as a "killer of Christians" as effectively as he sold the lie that Israelis were "killing children," Israel would find itself completely isolated. In such a climate, Israel would have no choice, Arafat thought, but to agree to the establishment of a PLO state along the indefensible border of June 4, 1967.
Arafat surmised that they would have no choice but to re-divide their capital city of Jerusalem, agree to let Arafat himself become custodian of all Jerusalem's Christian Holy sites and even offer up their holy Temple Mount to Muslim control.
From this position, Arafat could use his 40,000 - man terrorist army to escalate his 37-year war to destroy what would surely be
a devastated and demoralized State of Israel.
While it hasn't quite worked yet, it isn't for Arafat's lack of trying. His devilish scheme has no shortage of victims. The most conspicuous being the innocent Christians of Beit Jalla. Almost every afternoon for the past three months, members of Yasir Arafat's heavily armed Muslim militant (illegal according to the Oslo Accords) storm into the town from territory they control
and commandeer the homes closest to living rooms and kitchens of the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo. Most of the time, the terrorists refuse to let anyone already inside leave, preferring instead to take them hostage.
Soon thereafter, the gunmen start shooting their heavy machine guns into the exposed houses of Gilo's southern edge. Naturally, once the shooting starts, Israeli army sharpshooters calibrate their tracing equipment to hone in on the source of fire as exactly as they can to avoid civilian casualties and start to shoot back. The battle rages inclusively until the military men run out of ammunition and go home. To date, at least the PLO terrorists haven't been able to get any of their Christian hostages killed by Israeli return fire. But almost every Israeli I know, and I know alot, think that as long as the government allows itself to be manipulated by Arafat, the greater the likelihood that, sooner or later, Arafat is going to get his "massacre." One day, one sharp-shooter is going to miss. It is bound to happen.
Since almost everyone in Israel agrees that the Israeli army could permanently end the firing on Gilo and liberate the Christians of Beit Jalla by simply retaking the town, many want to know why Prime Minister Ehud Barak continues to allow himself to be
used as Arafat's pawn. That question, according to almost all the Israelis I met on my recent tour to Israel, can be answered in
two words: Bill Clinton.
Barak, a decorated soldier, and by all accounts a very decent and honorable man, is a political novice and no match for the wily Clinton. Plus, he all but owes his job to Clinton, who, in an unprecedented interference in the domestic affairs of Israel, pulled
out all the stops including sending James Carville and his cohorts to Israel, to get him elected in 1999.
Clinton, these Israelis believed put the screws to Barak to refrain from doing anything that would upset Arafat and hurt Clinton's chances of cinching a peace deal and winning the Nobel Prize before he left office.
Arafat knows that his terrorism is working. Never before in the glorious history of the State of Israel has the Jewish State ever appeared desperate in the eyes of its enemies. Today, sadly, many think that it does. If the events of the past several months prove anything, it is that Yasir Arafat remains what he has always been; an insatiably dangerous terrorist.
One can only hope and pray that the new American administration of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will see Arafat for what he truly is and act to stand by Israel and to stand up for the besieged Christians.