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May 11, 2003

Missing: One Arab Altalena

By Gerald A. Honigman

It was early May 1948....just about at the exact moment of my own birth. Surrounding Arab countries had invaded a reborn Israel and had long pledged a blood bath to nip it in the bud. The Jews had no choice but to immediately emerge out of the shock of the Holocaust in order to deal with yet another harsh reality.

David Ben-Gurion, leader of the new state, would be forced to make countless historic decisions. One particularly painful one involved the ship Altalena--a pen name for his Labor Zionist Party's rival, the late Ze'ev Vladimir Jabotinsky.

Jabotinsky's heirs were determined to repay the Arab slaughter of Jews in kind and to hasten the end of British rule and anti-Israel policies by any means necessary.. Among other things, they had purchased an American ship and landed it near Marseilles, France. It was expected that the vessel would be making repeat trips between France and Israel carrying arms and new recruits gathered from the survivors of Europe's nightmare and the frightened mellahs of kelbi yahudi--Jew Dog--Jewish existence in Arab North Africa and the Middle East.

Israel desperately needed the arms and manpower aboard the Altalena. But Ben-Gurion insisted that there would be but one unified command in the fledgling nation. On June 20th Ben-Gurion made a heart-wrenching decision to resist the Irgun's challenge to the authority of the government concerning the ship's precious human and material cargo. In the ensuing tragic battle, scores of Jews were killed by Jews for the sake of shaping the infant state's future and character.

Holocaust denying author, Mahmoud Abbas, has recently been appointed Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. He has talked about the need to end attacks on Israelis--for whatever his reasons. He specifically doesn't like the bad press that comes along with suicide bombings. Arafat has long been exposed as saying one thing to Western ears and quite another to his own people in these regards.

Both Abbas and his security chief, Mohammad Dahlan, have proven past ties to terrorist activities themselves. Dahlan has been caught on tape issuing orders for suicide bombings. Yet the hope now is that that was yesterday's news and that there was now hope for a new, better tomorrow.

But there will be no better tomorrow unless the folks in the new would-be 23rd Arab state--and second Arab one within the original 1920 borders of Palestine--make the decisions a stateless and millennially persecuted people and its leaders, at the end of their collective rope, made fifty-five years ago. Merely chatting with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa, etc. won't solve the problem...and this is all Abbas says he's willing to do. The Oslo days of the good cop/bad cop game Arafat's boys and Hamas played with Israel are over. The more Israel gave, the more it bled. Despite Arab visions of the much touted "roadmap" to the contrary, there will be no Oslo II.

Until the Arabs make clear their intention to live peacefully alongside a secure Israel with concrete measures that are actually taken to stop the murder of Jews, promotion of hatred and violence in Arab schools, mosques, media, etc., then Israel should not be expected to become a party to its own further suffering by caving into Arab demands and those of the hypocrites elsewhere who support them. No other country would demand less under the circumstances Israel has been faced with. Indeed, most of those European and Russian sponsors of the roadmap would have leveled Gaza a long time ago if they had been subjected to what they expect Jews to continuously tolerate.

What's missing is the Arabs' own Altalena.