How often have you heard (or even said so yourself): “Israel doesn’t really want peace” or “Netanyahu is stalling over the peace process” or even “If only Israel would agree to sit down and negotiate with the Palestinians ….”. Perhaps you’ve nodded your head in agreement to: “The settlements are the major obstacle to peace; Israel should stop building”, and “The Arabs want to live in peace side-by-side with Israel”.
This week Khaled Mashaal, the Palestinian Hamas political leader visited Gaza for the first time, in celebration of 25 years since Hamas’ establishment. His speech was a slap in the face of, or more like spitting on, every Israeli (or Western government official) who has ever called for Israel to negotiate with Hamas. In his address to the adoring crowds he reiterated (in Arabic) the Hamas intention not to “ … give up one inch of the land of Palestine.” He added: “Palestine from the river [Jordan river – JD] to the sea, from the north to the south, is our land and we will never give up one inch or any part of it.” The crowd roared its approval, with the message that next time, Hamas should fire more rockets into Israel. Mashaal told the rowdy crowd: “Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa.” .… “Jihad and armed resistance are the right and real way to liberate Palestine and restore our rights.”
The Hamas Charter explicitly calls for the annihilation of Israel. As does the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (established in 1964 by Yasser Arafat), not to mention the charters of assorted smaller but similar Arab terrorist groups. When next you hear someone explain that the “settlements” are the obstacle to peace, do remember that the PLO was founded at least 3 years BEFORE the 1967 6-Day war (when Egypt, Syria and Jordan attacked Israel in unison), and several years before there were any so-called “settlements”. It is clear from Mashaal’s words then, that Tel Aviv and Netanya (and Jerusalem for that matter) are also “Illegal settlements” that Hamas sees as part of the legitimate “judenfrei” Palestinian homeland.
Jerusalem, capital of Israel, was established over 3000 years ago and has had a continuous (if sometimes tenuous) Jewish presence ever since. There has never been a country called Palestine, although until World War 1 there was an overseas province of the Ottoman Empire called Palestine – a backwater desert, populated by nomadic tribes and the small Jewish and Christian communities of “the Holy Land”, all struggling to eke out a living as well.
But the genie is out of the bottle and it can never go back. For peace in the region there has to be a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Israel recognizes that. But it will only happen when the world recognizes that Israel has the right to exist in peace and security. Nothing less. Nothing more.
Until the world’s thirst for stable energy supplies (read: Arab oil) is slaked, world leaders will continue trying to appease the rich Arab nations. Appeasement didn’t work on Hitler, and it won’t work on the Arabs. Extremists (including Jewish religious extremists) make the equation even more complicated.
So what can you do?
1 Stay abreast of the true facts concerning the Arab-Israel conflict.
2 “Silence is the voice of consent”. Don’t let others get away with lies (and half-truths).
3 Know thy enemy.
4 If you are an Israeli, don’t vote for any hard-headed right-wing party.
5 When someone spits (or urinates) on you, don’t pretend it’s just rain.