Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls this year on Saturday and on Sunday. Jews traditionally engage in reflection, prayer and in communal religious introspection during this holiday.
One year ago this week, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, President George W. Bush exuded a clear, unequivocal appreciation of and commitment to Israel. On that same occasion, President Bush called for a democratic state of Palestine to be created alongside Israel, as a way to foster peace in the Middle East.
Four months after that speech a parliamentary election supervised by the United States government took place in the Palestinian Authority. That election was decisively won by Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian entity which leads the fight to exterminate Israel.
Ever since the election, Hamas and Fatah, the other major party represented in the Palestinian parliament which is led by Fatah member and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have been jockeying for power to determine who will run the Palestinian Arab state, should one come to pass.
Neither Fatah nor Hamas promise any kind of peace or reconciliation with Israel.
Abbas is frequently held out as a moderate, one with whom Israel is encouraged to negotiate. Yet Abbas’s constitution for a future Palestinian state, obtained from sources in the Vatican, contains no clause that would allow for recognition of the Jewish state of Israel.
An official of the Vatican explained to a U.S. congressional delegation visiting Israel last year that Abbas’s constitution for a future Palestinian state does not allow for any juridical status for Judaism, Christianity or for any religion other than Islam. At least as significantly, the envisioned borders of the future Palestinian state encompasses the entire area of historic Palestine, with no room for the state of Israel. In other words, in accordance with the 1974 amendment to the Palestine Liberation Organization covenant, any area ceded by Israel to the Palestinian Arab entity will be used to stage attacks to “liberate” the rest of Palestine.
That is, of course, what has occurred in Gaza.
After Israel ceded all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, forcibly destroying all Israeli Jewish communities there, armed Fatah and Hamas factions have conducted nearly a thousand missile attacks from there into Israel’s western Negev region. This region appears in Abbas’s new Palestinian Authority textbooks as an integral part of the future Palestinian State, even though the Negev is not part of either Gaza or Judea and Samaria in the west bank.
To put it bluntly, President Bush’s vision for a “democratic state of Palestine”, a vision which he replayed this week in his meeting at the United Nations with PA President Abbas, remains a lethal threat to the state and people of Israel.
Given this reality, Palestinian Arab sovereignty will mean an armed entity at war with Israel, with one purpose – the extermination of Israel.
Yet it is now clear that almost all nations of the world support the “democratic vision” for a Palestinian Arab state, including the U.S.
American democratic principles operate with clear constraints that protect human rights, civil liberties and religious minorities.
Someone is going to have to brief George W. Bush that this is not what Palestinian democracy is based on.
This Rosh Hashanah, the new Jewish year, gives ample time to reflect on recent history and for Jews to remind themselves and to remind the world that Adolf Hitler also came to power as a violent coalition partner in a democratically elected government that nullified human rights, civil liberties and minority rights.
The message of the Jewish New Year is that any democracy which operates without constraints cannot be trusted.
©The Bulletin 2006