An open letter to “a Senior US Official”June 22, 1997
The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday June 22, 1997 that you stated, last Friday, that it is “quite
possible that the violence in Hebron is “a plausible safety valve” allowing the Palestinians “to
vent their anger.” You continued that “there is aggressive action the Palestinian Police could be
taking in certain circumstances which they are not, because it (the current situation) is not
Mr. Senior US Official, please define the framework of legitimate “venting of anger.” What is the
boundary of licit violence? In view of the actions you sanction the perimeter no doubt includes
attempted murder: hurling rocks and slinging ignited firebombs has been known to cause death. A good
sized, sharp rock in the head can easily be fatal. A blazing bottle filled with petrol can envelop a
person in flames, causing serious burns and death.
What is the limit? For instance, Abraham happens to be standing next to Jacob, who is legitimately
burned to death by an exploding firebomb. Abraham, seeing the legitimate perpetrator, Muhammad,
decides to attempt to save himself from the same fiery hell by illegitimately shooting him.
Mohammad’s legitimate colleague, Mustafa, seeing his friend shot to death, responds by
legitimately tossing an explosive device into a crowd of people, thereby reliving the frustration
of seeing his friend Muhammad killed.
Mr. Senior US Official, does your tolerance encompass all sides of the conflict, or does it just
excuse Arab brutality? Perhaps you would also see fit to exonerate any “Israeli agitation?” How
would you react if some of the 540 Jews living in the City of the Patriarchs began throwing
firebombs at Palestinian police, who not too long ago were leading terrorist attacks against them.
Am I to be entirely assured that you understand their physical and psychological disconcertion and
trepidation following the injuries and deaths of so many Israelis by Palestinian terrorists over the
past few years, since the advent of Oslo.
Mr. Senior US Official, how would you react, for instance, if an Israeli diplomat in the US were to
assert that racial violence is nothing more than a `release of steam, discharging frustration, and
is, therefore, to be pardoned!?’ Mr. Official, how would you react if the New York City police sat
by and watched while a group of people spent a week heaving Molatov Cocktails at their police
counterparts? Would the police restrict themselves to, every once in a while, shooting at the
Mr. Senior US Official, why do you justify violence? Why do you defend Palestinian police inaction?
Mr. Senior US Official, I think I know the answer to these questions. Your remarks stink of bias
and partiality. Your tone is one of contempt and disdain for the Jews living in Hebron. You don’t
care one iota if Jews die in Hebron. Your remarks signal continued US policy, rejecting all Jewish
presence in Judea, Samaria and Gazza. This policy persists in supporting Arafat, as indicated by
your opinion that Arafat is not responsible for spurring the violence.
Mr. Senior US Official, the United States was supposed to be playing the role of an impartial
broker, assisting negotiations between Israel and Arafat. However, you know, as well as I do, that
the United States cannot be, has not been, and will never be, impartial. Your remarks mirror US
policy, bolstering Arab claims to Israeli land, including Jerusalem. This may best be observed by
President Bill Clinton’s veto of the bill demanding that the US embassy be moved to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Israeli people, and of the Israeli State. You refuse to
accept this, and, to the contrary, justify continued Arab terrorism, as has continued in Hebron for
the past week.
Mr. Senior US Official, your loathing is not limited to the Jews of Hebron – it encompasses all of
Jewish existence in the Land of Israel. There is no other possible explanation for your
justification of Arab use of firebombs against Israelis. Your life would be much easier if “those
troublesome Jews” weren’t continually stirring up trouble in the Middle East. You know, as well as I
do, that `peace’ is not achieved using firebombs. The only thing gained is bloodshed, which doesn’t
seem to bother you.
But, Mr. Senior US Official, I have news for you. We were here long before you existed, and we will
continue to be here long after you are gone – both in Hebron and in all of Eretz Yisrael. Contrary
to your assumption, we despise all violence – our ideal is peace – true peace, where all live and
let live. We will eventually reach that goal, here in Israel, despite your attempts to justify our
demise. Our stamina is not 200 years old – rather it is embedded in faith dating back 3,700 years.
For 2,000 years the Jewish password was “next year in Jerusalem.” Jews died because they dared utter
these words. Forty nine years age we began to fulfill a 2,000 year-old dream – we came back to
Israel. Thirty years ago we continued to implement this dream – we united Jerusalem, we returned to
Hebron. Mr. Senior US Official, you can do whatever you want, but I can assure you – we will never