When the Likud returned to power in June of this year, the people of Ariel and the surrounding communities breathed a collective sigh of relief. For four years, not a single new house could be built in Ariel. New businesses could not open and factories could not expand. The previous Labor government had literally "dried out" the communities of Judea and Samaria. And so, the return of the Likud government brought with it the promise of renewed growth and development.
Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that the people of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are no longer viewed as second class citizens. The former government had embraced a policy of "divide and conquer", provoking conflict between various sectors of the Israeli public. By delegitimizing the pioneering families in communities like Ariel, treating them as "obstacles to peace", the government justified the withdrawal of funding for these areas and the massive flow of funds to their own historic strongholds, the kibbutz settlements and the Histadrut.
The "settlement freeze" was not a byproduct of the Oslo Accords. It stemmed from a domestic political desire to create a "new order" of national priorities. The government announced its draconian measures to freeze growth and development in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in November 1992, nearly a year before the signing of these Accords. It was the late Yitzhak Rabin who differentiated between "political settlements" and "security settlements", continuing to build and develop only the communities surrounding Jerusalem, despite the fact that to Arafat, these areas are no less in the "West Bank" than the others.
The Likud government, however, is truly a national government and Benjamin Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of all Israelis. He has pledged to heal the rifts among our people while respecting the differences among us. The new government will define its own national priorities and decide where there will be building and expansion. The Oslo process depended upon continuing territorial concessions until the final status agreements. Netanyahu received a mandate from the Israeli electorate to change the direction of the process.
The first step must be to halt the concessionary policy and to ensure that Israel retains vital security assets. Arafat has put forward three basic demands: the right of return for millions of Arab refugees, the creation of a Palestinian State and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of that state. Prime Minister Netanyahu, in negotiating with Arafat, will seek to prevent him from attaining these goals.
I feel certain that without rapid economic development in the areas under the Palestinian Authority, the peace process is doomed to failure. Netanyahu will prioritize economic issues but will require the co-operation of moderate Arab nations in the region.
If Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would respond to the needs of their Arab brothers and invest in industrial development in Arab areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, we would see greater chances for peace. These two countries, so rich in petro-dollars, owe a major debt to the United States and other western nations - their only defense against the dangers emanating from Iraq.
There is no excuse for the fact that donor nations in the western world have contributed to the new Palestinian Authority while Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have done nothing.
Northern Sinai would be an ideal location for industrial development funded by these Arab countries. In nearby Egyptian territory, Gaza Arabs could find gainful employment and would no longer need to work in Israel. This kind of Arab investment in development [would bring] real peace. If Saudi Arabia and Kuwait each invested $10 billion over a ten year period, we would see greater stability in the entire region.
The most important element, however, in fostering a peace while safeguarding security is the continued growth and development of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Recently, the Israeli government revoked the construction freeze imposed by the former Labor government. It is imperative now that Ariel take advantage of this new opportunity. Only a massive Jewish presence in the center of Israel will prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. There is no question that such a state would already have been created had there not been 150,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
We must ensure that Ariel grows rapidly. Only a city that provides a full range of social, medical, religious and community services will succeed in attracting new immigrants and young families.
I ask you, our loyal friends, to support us as we embark upon one of our most ambitious undertakings to date. In the next four years, our goal must be to double the population of Ariel. The government will enable us to build the necessary housing but simply does not have the funds to provide our people with the services they deserve.
With your help, Ariel can continue to provide quality education for our children, cultural and recreational activities for young families, the very best absorption facilities for new immigrants, vital religious services and life-saving medical equipment for a growing population. We need you to be our partners in building a dynamic city in the heart of Israel.
|Autumn 1996 Table of Contents|
|Message from the Mayor||A Word from our Chairman|
|Ariel "Adopted" by Bible Believers||Discrimination Continues|
|Faithful Friends||Ariel Ambassadors in America|
|Ariel's 18th Birthday||About Town|
|Ariel Residents Speak Out||Editor's Note|
|Front Cover||Back Cover|