On Sunday, January 30th, two rallies took place in Jerusalem, both of which reflected the tragedy of Israel’s policies towards the PLO.

The first was held at 3:00 p.m. on Gaza Road in Rehavia, where eleven families witnessed a quiet ceremony as a plaque was placed on the spot where bus no. 19 was blown up by an Arab terrorist, exactly one year ago. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski remarked that the Arab terrorist was not aiming to murder the eleven people on that bus, he was intending to murder any and all Jews.

The Arab terrorist who blew up bus no. 19 was an armed and licensed member of the Palestinian security services, an entity of the PLO permitted by Israel to bear arms under the agreements that Prime Ministers Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and now Ariel Sharon reached with the PLO. How timely was that ceremony, marking those murders on Gaza road in Jerusalem on the day that Prime Minister Sharon formally once again allowed armed Palestinian Security Services to be deployed, in accordance with clause five of what has been described as a “disengagement plan”.

No one was there to comfort the families of the eleven people murdered on that bus except for the eleven families themselves. I was one of two reporters on the scene. The other one worked for the Jerusalem municipality cable TV network. It would seem that the people of Israel had forgotten the people murdered on bus no. 19, and that the murderer was licensed by Israel to bear arms.

Only five hours later, across the Valley of the Cross, in between the Knesset and the Israel Museum, I covered the “Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) rally”, with tens of thousands of people who came to protest Sharon’s plan. Media was all over the rally.

At least twenty people addressed the crowd. They all spoke about their opposition to the withdrawal from Katif and the Shomron. Not one spokesman at the rally mentioned one word about how the Sharon Plan threatens all of the people of Israel. Clause five of the plan provides “advice, assistance and training” to “the Palestinian security forces… by American, British, Egyptian, Jordanian or other experts, as agreed with Israel.”

Not one spokesperson at the Yesha rally mentioned how the Sharon Plan ignores the fact that Israel’s military training of the PLO was abused to conduct a terror campaign against Israel in every part of the country for the past four years – resulting in more than 1,000 people being murdered in cold blood.

Not one spokesperson at the Yesha rally mentioned Israel’s failed experiment with the security assistance that Israel facilitated for the PLO.

It was as if the people at the “Yesha rally” were telling the people at the bus no. 19 memorial that if Sharon decides to cancel the planned withdrawal from the Jewish communities in Gaza, Samaria and Judea, then, well, they will accept the other clauses of the Sharon Plan. That would allow for the PLO security forces to be fully deployed in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, from where they will undoubtedly stage attacks against Jews everywhere in the land of Israel.

After the rallies, I asked the spokespeople for the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council why, if they were campaigning so hard to defeat the Sharon Plan, they were not making a systematic effort to stop the implementation of the clause mandating deployment of the very same armed PLO forces that remain at war with the state of Israel. No answer was received from the Council

I also asked the Yesha Council why they would not invite the ten families from Sderot whose loved ones had been murdered over the past few months to come up to the podium to address the crowd, so that the Yesha rally could express its solidarity with the people of Sderot at this time. No answer was received from the Yesha Council.

So, there you have it. Those who suffered on bus no. 19 or in Sderot are not to be comforted by the Yesha Council, whose consistent message is that people must “identify with the people of Katif and the Shomron”, as if this is the only issue in the Sharon Plan.

Some of the people whose loved ones were murdered on bus 19, and some of those whose loved ones were murdered in Sderot, have wondered aloud whether the people of the Yesha Council will ever stress that the PLO represents a threat to all of the people of Israel – and not only to Judea, Samaria and Katif.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.