Jerusalem – Yom Kippur will be observed this Saturday.
It is not hard to explain the concept of Yom Kippur to the secular Jew or to the non-Jew. It is a day of moral reckoning.
The personal message of Yom Kippur: Ask tough questions of yourself, especially if you discover a moral indiscretion in your behavior.
The communal message of Yom Kippur: Ask tough questions of your community and your government, especially if you discover a moral indiscretion in the policies that your government has undertaken.
A case in point: Over the past year, both the U.S. and the Israeli governments, in their quest for peace, have skirted around one the great moral issues of the day – the fact that they are dealing with the Fatah (Arabic for “conquest”) organization, as if Fatah is dedicated to peace and reconciliation with Israel.
On July 15, The Bulletin placed four questions of moral consequence to the governments of the United States and Israel:
1. The Israeli Ministry of Justice defined the Fatah organization as an illegal terrorist organization in 1980. The U.S. Department of Justice made that same determination in 2002. Since the U.S. and Israel now deal directly with Fatah, why have neither country changed the legal status of Fatah? Shouldn’t Fatah’s legal status as a terrorist organization be amended before the U.S. and Israel proceed with recognition and negotiation with Fatah?
2. In September 1993, on the White House lawn, Fatah leader Yasser Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles of the Oslo accords (for recognition of Israel and against terrorism). However, in October 1993, Fatah would not ratify these accords. Shouldn’t Fatah be asked to finally ratify the 1993 “Declaration of Principles” against terror and violence?
3. As an integral part of the Oslo accords, Fatah promised to cancel its covenant that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. The Palestine National Council convened in 1996 and 1998 to discuss that covenant yet have never cancelled it. Shouldn’t the U.S. and Israel insist that Fatah cancel its covenant?
4. Fatah’s most recent Palestinian Authority schoolbooks, authored by Noa Meridor (see www.intelligence.org.il) and by Dr. Arnon Groiss (see www.edume.org), demonize Israeli Jews and prepare Palestinian children for war. Shouldn’t the U.S. and Israel insist that the Fatah cancel its curriculum?
Neither the American or the Israeli governments will answer these questions. Spokespeople of both governments say, unofficially, that they wish that that The Bulletin would not ask such questions.
Hardly anyone asked these questions of Fatah at the outset of the current peace process. As a result, the Fatah got away with murder – literally.
This past July 26, The Bulletin published a list of 328 men, women and children who were murdered by Fatah over the past seven years. And over the past year, Fatah took credit for the vast majority of the rockets fired from Gaza into Sderot and the Western Negev region of Israel. Fatah took credit for the bombardment of Sderot on the day before the Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year last week.
What remains clear is that the American and Israeli governments have cut corners, acting as if Fatah is something other than what it is.
Yom Kippur should be a time of reckoning for both governments.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007