Over the last 48 years the State of Israel has unnecessary taken ownership over what’s been dubbed “the Palestinian problem” and in that has been occupying some 3 million people. But the situation is not Israel’s responsibility to resolve. It is the Palestinians’ struggle for independence, and we should stay clear away from it.
The security argument most commonly used says that Israel has ‘narrow hips’ and that allowing for the formation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza would put most of Israel’s population and the economic-cultural center of the country under constant threat of missile and rocket attacks, and by that – pose a threat to the survival of the Jewish people.
But here’s the unspoken truth — it’s not very effective.
In this new millennium, there have been four prolonged armed conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians — the Second Intifada 2000-2005, Cast Lead (oferet yezuka) 2008-2009, Pillar of Defense (amud anan) 2011 and Protective Edge (tzuk eitan) 2014.
On a different front — there has been only one conflict with Hezbollah – the Second Lebanon war in 2006.
Each of the operations against the Palestinians ended with an international enquiry into allegations of alleged war crimes committed by IDF during fighting. Not with Hezbollah, though (there was an incident in the village of Qana, but that didn’t result in an international enquiry). And that’s where the new security argument comes into play.
What makes Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah different to the one with Hamas and Palestinians organizations is that Israel doesn’t occupy and control the daily lives of 3 million Lebanese citizens.
And there’s no need for it. The rules of the game are clear – Israel won’t tolerate any game changing anti-aircraft missiles to be in the hands of Hezbollah, and will do anything necessary to prevent it. Hezbollah has missiles covering the vast majority of Israel’s territory, and we are able to accept that.
Why are the Palestinians treated differently? Israel has committed attacks in Sudan and the Red Sea to stop the delivery of game changing missiles to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Why is everyday control of every single aspect of their lives necessary?
Beyond the moral and direct financial burden, taking control of the Palestinians stains Israel’s image in the world, and abroad Israel is often defined by the occupation alone.
Starting with political boycott, through financial one on imports and exports, to academic and cultural ones, Israel is losing so much because it insists that controlling the lives of 3 million people is crucial for its security needs.
Let them have their own state. Let them have an airport, a seaport, power plants, factories, anything they want. But if and when they attack us, we’ll have the international community’s backing to retaliate accordingly. Let it be a conflict between nations, because right now it’s an uprising, and as facts show, history isn’t on our side.
No country was established without a struggle. Even the state of Israel, that (together with a Palestinian state) was approved by a majority of the international community, had to engage in a six-month war before founding the state, and then battle five Arab armies for another year.
And that is the point — there’s no force in the world that would forever stop a determined people from living in their own country, if so they wish. The same argument that applies to Jews also applies to every other ethnic group.
We see it happening all across Europe – Catalans, Kosovonians, Flems and Walloons, and even Scots to an extent. There’s no reason to believe that the Palestinians aren’t going to follow.
And if we’re not leading and directing it, the decisions will be made over our heads, and Israel will forever be seen as an apartheid state, an occupier, an adversary to western liberal values. And that cost will be too great to bare.