Fenced In at the Hague
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague recently began hearings on the legality of the security fence Israel is building to protect its citizens from Palestinian terrorism. The hearings perversely question Israel’s right to protect its citizens from guns and bombs because the proposed fence may disrupt Palestinian movement. Israel has boycotted the proceedings in protest, rejecting the court’s jurisdiction. Israelis do not object to the concept of Justice, but rather the selective and politicized justice the ICJ practices. This is not the first time international courts have singled Israel and Israelis out for prosecution for political reasons. Two years ago, a Belgium court decided to try Ariel Sharon for allegations that were then twenty years old, resurfacing the charges as soon as Sharon became the Israeli Prime Minister. The ICJ’s choice to hear the case of the Israeli security fence today comes at the recommendation of a political body—the United Nations General Assembly—whose member representatives from countries around the world consistently vote to hold Israel to unreasonable double standards. In fact, neither the General Assembly nor the ICJ have criticized a fence created by India to stop Pakistani terrorists infiltrating through Kashmir even though the two cases are nearly identical. The Indian fence—which will be completed this summer—serves the same purpose as the Israeli fence and is just as contentious. Pakistani officials argue that India is using the fence to grab land in the disputed region. Yet the media, the United Nations and now the ICJ have all chosen to focus their attention on the Israeli fence. (For more information about the security fence, turn to Israel-at-a-Glance, pg. 37).
Rewriting History: Who Started the Six-Day War?
Historians have recently opened a new chapter in the historiography of the Six-Day War. Evidence uncovered last September by Dr. Stefan Meining suggests for the first time that Soviet leaders including Leonid Brehznev deliberately instigated the war between Israel and its neighbors. In that war, Israel responded to Egyptian warmongering by launching a surprise attack that ultimately led to quick and decisive victory against four of Israel’s Arab neighbors. Historians had previously thought that the Soviets had mismanaged the situation and stumbled into a war it did not want to fight. A speech uncovered by Meining from the archives of the East German State Security indicates that the Soviets deliberately misinformed Egyptians about an Israeli build up along the Syrian to provoke confrontation. Dr. Isabella Ginor of the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published the findings last fall in a paper called “The Cold War’s Longest Cover-Up: How and Why the USSR Instigated the 1967 War.” These findings provide add further evidence illustrating that the Six Day War was a direct result of Arab and Soviet aggression.
Justice Delayed, Finally Supplied
In 1996, Yaron and Efrat Ungar were murdered by Hamas terrorists while driving home from a wedding near Beit Shemesh. Last year the Ungar family was awarded damages from Hamas under US law protecting relatives of victims of terrorism committed abroad. However, there was little chance that the Ungars would see compensation. That is, until now. Israeli intelligence and security forces recently raided Palestinian financial institutions and seized the assets of known terrorist financiers and organizations and Israeli courts have ordered that some of the assets seized be set aside for the Ungar family. In the past Israel has sent lists bank accounts holding money known to be used for terrorist financing in the hopes that the PA would freeze the accounts themselves. Tired of years of PA recalcitrance, Israel decided to act on its own despite calls from the U.S. State Department to continue this “coordination” with Palestinian officials. This new tactic undoubtedly disrupted terrorist planning and represents a significant victory in Israel’s war on terrorism. While the bulk of the money will be used to further humanitarian goals in Palestinian communities, some of it has already been set aside to compensate the victims of terrorism. The raid undoubtedly disrupted terrorist planning and the seized assets will provide a modicom of justice to victims’ families.
Combative Malaysian PM Lashes Out at Israel
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, known for combative rhetoric against American and Israeli policy but also regarded as a modernizer, left office in October amid controversy over his anti-Semitic remarks at the Organization of the Islamic Conference fifteen days earlier. His remarks evoke the venomous libels and stereotypes that have been directed against Jews for centuries across the globe and that have gained particular popularity in the Islamic world in recent years. Before an assembly of Islamic national leaders, Mohamad asserted: “the Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.” He later alleged that Jews “invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong.” While the West responded with unified condemnation—President Bush called the remarks “divisive and unnecessary”; the European Union explained that it “deplores the comments”—the remarks have been viewed with praise in the Islamic world. The Iranian president Mohamad Khatami dubbed the speech “brilliant” and “very logical.” That these hateful ideas still find expression from the highest level of governments around the world does not bode well for the global fight to eradicate anti-Semitism.
On September 8, 2003, New York University sponsored a major conference to discuss New York City’s emergency preparedness two years after the attacks of September 11. Just days after the conference, one of the speakers at the conference Dr. David Applebaum was killed with his daughter, Nava, the night before her wedding, in a terror attack at a Jerusalem Café. Applebaum had lived in Israel for more than two decades and had significant experience treating victims of terror. He was the director of the Emergency Room at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, a hospital that has treated hundreds of victims of terror attacks in recent years. He was said to be especially devoted to reducing the amount of time that patients had to wait to be treated. Always concerned for both his patients and colleagues, he introduced computer-based systems for checking on patient treatment and progress. He founded the innovative Terem Immediate Care Center to aid in ensuring the highest quality of immediate care to both more severely and more moderately ill emergency room patients. Long affiliated with the Magen David Adom ambulance service, Dr. Applebaum was also an ordained Rabbi, and was known throughout Jerusalem for always arriving first at the scene of terror attacks to aid victims. In 1986 he was specially recognized by the Knesset for his devotion to terror victims after he risked his own safety to begin treating victims of an attack while firing continued. Applebaum is survived by his wife Debra and his five remaining children. His daughter, Nava, had worked with children suffering from cancer as part of her national service and was set to marry Chanan Sand on September 10. Applebaum rushed back from the conference on emergency preparedness in New York to be at his daughter’s wedding, and took his daughter to the Hillel Café to talk about her upcoming marriage on the night of September 9. That night a suicide bomber killed 7 people, including Applebaum and his daughter. Dr. Applebaum lives on in the memory of family, friends, and the many people that he helped.