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Shlomo Engel
Disengaging from reality
Western Wall Tunnel riots reminder of dangerous belief in false peace messiah

The 11th anniversary marking the opening of the Western Wall Tunnel has just passed without anyone noticing it. Eleven years of a burning religious and messianic belief in peace which is seemingly at our doorstep, while completely ignoring the reality of war facing us from every direction. Only the foolish faithful who believe in the eternal life of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who died 13 years ago, can compete with the believers of peace, which died 11 years ago, if not long before that.


Despite the years that have gone by, the Tunnel events are very relevant at this time. These events serve as a litmus test for all the
moves, lies, false beliefs, and manipulations undertaken by Israeli peace pilgrims, who are increasingly disengaging from reality with the passage of time. It is important that we present the needed conclusions from the Tunnel events, particularly in light of Ehud Olmert's moves and his speech at the opening of the Knesset's winter session; the prime minister continues to mutter peace slogans as if nothing has happened.


First, we must recall the facts related to the Tunnel events: The Western Wall Tunnel is an underground tunnel that runs parallel to the Western Wall (on the exterior of Temple Mount.) The Tunnel is a tourism site that has been active since the end of the 1980s. On September 24, 1996, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the opening of the Tunnel's northern end, thus making it easier for tourists to exit the Tunnel. Against this backdrop, Yasser Arafat dispatched his soldiers to fight IDF troops. A total of 17 IDF soldiers were killed, and the war ended in three days.


The Tunnel events openly revealed for the first time that Nobel Prize laureate Yasser Arafat and his troops prefer war against Israel even over an insignificant matter such as the opening of a tunnel's wall. It was clear there was no connection between the Tunnel and its entrance to Temple Mount mosques, and still, with a mere hand gesture, the Palestinian promise of peace was replaced by war. Such metamorphosis did not take place in the mind of some crazed Muslim zealot, but rather, it was the Palestinian president, who signed the Oslo Accord which he was seemingly committed to.


The Israeli media identified the ultimate guilty party for the riots – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – for daring to open the Tunnel, even though this was coordinated with and approved by the Shin Bet and by the Waqf. Even this approval was concealed (and not by coincidence) in order to allow for the attack on Netanyahu, even though then-Shin Bet Chief Ami Ayalon admitted he approved the move as part of the Solomon's Stables compromise.


World of dreams

In the wake of the Tunnel events, IDF officials (as opposed to the incomprehension of the political leadership) realized that the Palestinians are no friend, but rather, a potential foe, and therefore developed combat doctrines and means to counter this. This activity, which was planned thoroughly, bore impressive fruit at the outset of the intifada, which the Palestinians renewed but were unable to harm soldiers, who were properly prepared.


Immediately after the battles broke out, Yossi Beilin was quick to demand the Tunnel be closed down. This demand constitutes yet another expression of the intellectual fixation of peace pursuers, who ignore at any price the war and the reasons for it and are quick to accept the enemy's position. Needless to say, closing the Tunnel could have constituted yet another Palestinian victory against Israel, which also sustained many casualties.


Indeed, Netanyahu did not listen to Beilin's advice and left the Tunnel open. Today, after long years of relative quiet during which thousands of visitors visited the Tunnel and left through its northern end without incident, we can clearly say that Netanyahu's insistence was appropriate and necessary.


It is important to note that the regular Palestinian threat that should Israel dare to act in contradiction to the Palestinian position, it would lead to severe violence (on the Palestinian side of course), is unworthy of attention. Faisal Husseini threatened that construction in Har Homa will set the entire Mideast on fire, and as we know today the neighborhood is already built and flourishes without any substantial Palestinian resistance. This also happened with Temple Mount visits, which were renewed despite Palestinian threats, and this is what happened with any other required activity.


If this is the case, then why does Olmert waste his precious time on peace conferences and useless meetings with Mahmoud Abbas that may even be dangerous for the country? The answer for this apparently cannot be found in the world of simple facts, which Olmert abandoned a while ago – rather, it can be found in the world of dreams and belief in the secular false messiah that is no less dangerous than Shabtai Tzvi or any other false messiah.


The writer is a high-tech professional who resides in Shoham


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