Society teaches us that there are two sides to every story. From the first day of school in kindergarten, students are taught that it is important to hear the opposing side of an argument, and to understand that issues can’t be neatly divided into right or wrong. In the eyes of many, failing to see this “area of gray” is tantamount to bias or ignorance, but especially to those around the world that consider themselves “peaceful” or “worldly”. These scholars and moral arbiters fail to see that demanding respect be given to both sides is itself an acting bias. There are not two sides to every issue: some problems are beyond moral equivalency and in these exceptional cases, it should be patently obvious to any objective observer that one side is right and the other is wrong.
A lot can be made from a nation’s declaration of independence and an organization’s founding charter. These official documents reflect the passions and ideologies of the group’s founders, and they represent the nation’s most fundamental beliefs and goals for the future. The democratic state of Israel, the natural homeland of the Jewish people, established in 1948, includes as part of their Declaration of Independence, “In the midst of wanton aggression, we yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions – provisional or permanent.
Hamas, the terrorist organization bombing Israeli civilians and calling for the destruction of Jews worldwide, from the beginning, has emphasized a far different vision for the Middle East. The Hamas charter Article 7 reads, “The Prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him.” In Article 8: The Slogan of the Hamas, it is written, “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qu’ran its constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.” Obviously these passages are merely excerpts, but I implore you to read each documents in its entirely, for you will realize that these are accurate portrayals of the overall tone and message of Israel and Hamas respectively.
Over much of the past 2 weeks, the fight between Israel and Hamas has become front-page news once again, with stories circulating around the world. Despite the conflict’s pervasiveness in the media, the facts of the situation and the historical context of the fighting seem to be sidetracked, if not downright ignored by those doing the reporting. With the world manipulating facts to undermine Israel and to propagate the foolish notion that this conflict is a matter of perspective, it’s necessary for the truth to be spoken. I do this with incredulity however, because I can’t understand how people can watch Israel reluctantly enter a fight to save its citizens from deadly rockets, then look at Hamas’ genocidal rhetoric and perpetration of massive terrorist attacks, and try to equate them on any level.
Since 2000, Hamas has fired over 13,000 rockets into Southern Israel. In the last year, 760 rockets have been fired into Israel and in the last week alone over 300 rockets have been launched. Over 3,500,000 people live in range of these missiles, and 1,000,000 of those people have spent days living in bomb shelters. Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv were fired last Friday, and Tuesday, the cities of Ashkleon, Beersheba, and Ashdod were targeted with over 160 rockets. Wednesday morning a terrorist attack blew up a bus in Tel Aviv, injuring 21, to the celebration of Hamas and the residents of Gaza. Before moving on, try to grasp how terrifying and untenable life for these Israelis must be. It is inconceivable that the world could expect Israel to tolerate such evil, and yet most of the world responds by telling Israel to show “restraint,” as if the bombing of civilians and cities were an accidental one-time gunfire gone awry. Could you imagine having 300 rockets a year launched into your state? How would you live your life if even 1 rocket were launched in the direction of your family? How much restraint would you expect or want your government to show? Israel has suffered this particular injustice for over 12 years, and terrorism in general on all fronts since the 1920’s. The fact that anybody could blame the Israelis for their response against terrorism highlights the absurd double standard that exists in today’s society towards Israel.
Without going on too much of a tangent, this double standard exists with regard to Israel in a multitude of ways, and has throughout their history. The Arab refugee problem, for example, came about because of a war of aggression initiated by 8 Arab armies and has continued because of the Arab leaders’ refusal to accept these people into their countries. Following the war, Israel allowed Palestinian refugees to return to Israel so long as they pledged allegiance to the state (150,000 took advantage of this) and Israel seamlessly absorbed an additional 800,000 Jewish Refugees from Arab nations following their persecution across the Middle East. From 1950 until 2005 (when Israel realized it was being manipulated to allow terrorists to become citizens) Israel let in thousands of Palestinian refugees for family reunification purposes. The Arab Nations, on the other hand, the countries responsible for the war, kept the refugees in horrible living conditions and refused to properly take them in for fear of losing their main political weapon in the fight to destroy Israel. If Palestinian refugees were assimilated into Arab countries, (or even received enough help to live outside of refugee camps) there would be no desperate group for Arab leaders to take advantage of in order to demonize Israel and gain world sympathy for the “Palestinian Cause.”
Egypt kept the refugees locked up in Gaza for decades, Lebanon bans them from over 70 professions and from owning land, and Syria continues to massacre the Palestinians. Jordan is the only Arab state that even allows these refugees to become citizens. These states cry crocodile tears for the Palestinians while rejecting any of their humanitarian concerns to live a better life. If these nations simply accepted Israel’s right to exist and accepted Israel’s offer of statehood (in either 1948, 1949, 1967, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2008) there would be a Palestinian state and there would be no more refugees. Comparatively, there are countries truly responsible for a much larger number of refugees (there were over 130 million Refugees in the 20th century), actual refugees and not political ones, that were resettled elsewhere, and these nations don’t get 1/10 the negative publicity that Israel does. Those refugees also never had a Human Rights denomination separate from the rest of the world’s refugees, like the Palestinians do. Why?
It’s fascinating how Gaza, Judea, and Samaria became “occupied Palestinian land” in 1967 once Israel came to control these areas (after winning them reluctantly in a defensive war of survival) but for the 19 years that Egypt and Jordan occupied these territories, not a word was mentioned about Palestinian nationalism. In fact the idea of a separate Palestinian nation was never even thought of prior to1964, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization was created with the sole intention of eradicating the state of Israel (check their charter). Calling Judea and Samaria (The West Bank) occupied land is tantamount to giving legal standing to Jordan and Egypt’s military conquest and subsequent annexation of the land in 1948. In an appropriate analogy, David Horowitz, of the Freedom Center, writes, “How many Germans did they pull out of East Prussia and resettle when the Allies gave East Prussia? Twelve million. Twelve million Germans were uprooted from places they had inhabited since the Middle Ages. And nobody complained. If the Jews had acted the way other nations act, they would have annexed the West Bank in 1967 and they would have moved all the Arabs into Jordan, which is a majority Palestinian state. But they didn’t do that.” Instead, Israel tried to find a peace partner, in the hopes that an Arab nation or the PLO would recognize peace with Israel and take back the West Bank. It never happened, and so Israel was forced to hold onto the territory. Giving back the West Bank unilaterally would have been a recipe for disaster, as terrorists would have been able to easily infiltrate the region and attack the heartland of Israel from an impossibly close distance (Sound familiar?) As Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban has surmised, ““This is the first war in history which has ended with the victors suing for peace and the vanquished calling for unconditional surrender.” My point in rehashing these arguments is to show that blaming Israel by distorting history has been a world pastime for decades, and this week is just another episode in a large cycle of Anti-Israel revisionism.