When the genie was let out of the bottle on September 13, 1993, on the South Lawn of the White House, a loud cry was heard throughout the Jewish World. When Yasser Arafat, who had spent his entire life killing and butchering Jews, was made into a diplomat by President Bill Clinton and the Israeli Left at the start of the Oslo Accords, the world became a very unsafe place. When Mahmoud Abbas took over in 2004, the world had not gotten any more secure.
I remember well the times, before the Oslo Accords were signed on that fateful September day. Yes, terrorism existed, but not nearly to the extent and degree that occurred after that day of infamy. Yes, I lost a dear friend and future physician colleague, Reuven (Richard) Fishman, to a bus bombing in Israel on June 2, 1978. But, I have lost many more friends since the Oslo Accords, which supposedly were created to bring peace, and have brought tragedy instead. On May 13, 1996, David Boim, at the age of 17, was killed in a drive-by shooting. His brother and father-in-law pray with me in the same synagogue. On October 2, 2000, Rabbi Hillel Lieberman was murdered as he ran to save the Torah scrolls at the Tomb of Joseph. I had gone to Israel with his father in 1993 to protest the Oslo Accords. We met with Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. We tried to prevent the tragedy that unfolded. On May 29, 2001, my dear friend, and partner at American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, Sara Blaustein, was shot to death on her way home from having visited the Western Wall. On September 9, 2003, my friend and colleague, Dr. David Applebaum, was blown up by a suicide bomber with his daughter, Nava, who was to be married the next day at the Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem’s German Colony. I had sat next to Dr. Applebaum at Gaon Rabbi Ahron Soloveitchik’s 80th birthday celebration in 1997. On September 16, 2018, I lost another friend, Ari Fuld, whom I spent quite a bit of time with, along with Mike Huckabee, a month before he was knifed to death. Enough of these murders. It is time to put an end to these incidents.
Only President Trump has stood up to Mahmoud Abbas. Bill Clinton said that Arafat had made him a “colossal failure.” Abbas did the same to Barack Obama, who tried helping him declare a state in the United Nations. Resolution 2334 was a prelude, and created to jumpstart future UN resolutions to declare statehood to Mahmoud Abbas. President Trump will veto any of these resolutions. It is unclear if future American presidents will be so bold and courageous. No doubt Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are waiting it out, hoping that 2020 brings them a president like Barack Obama. If for no other reason that President Trump needs to win in 2020, it is this.
The kidnapping and jailing of Issam Akel is a case in point. Issam Akel is an Arab who is an American citizen. I know his case has reached the highest levels of the US administration. He was sentenced by Mahmoud Abbas this past week to life in prison with hard labor for allegedly helping Jews buy a property in Jerusalem. There are reports he may be extradited to the United States.
If anyone did not think Mahmoud Abbas was a dictator before this, then he or she should think twice. He is acting like all the other Arab dictators around the world. Issam Akel is a political prisoner. He is being used by Mahmoud Abbas to extract as much as possible from the Trump administration. It is a warning for the future. There is no peace with the likes of Mahmoud Abbas. Declaring a PA state will be the worst mistake anyone can make. Truthfully, the whole Oslo enterprise should be discarded. President Trump would do well to free himself from dictator Abbas’ stranglehold. The Issam Akel case should make this abundantly clear.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.