Being pro-peace means supporting Israel’s right to exist

As an Arab who supports Israel’s right to exist, I am accused of not standing in solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters.  My answer is that I support the Palestinians, and I do so by supporting Israel’s right to exist.

I have denounced Arabs for rejecting the 1947 UN partition plan which Jews had accepted and which would have given the Palestinians a state as far back as 1948.  So-called “pro-Palestinian” activists find excuses for that indefensible Arab mistake, refusing to accept that it was driven by anti-Semitism.

I have denounced Arabs for not declaring a Palestinian state between 1948 and 1967 when Israel had no presence in the West Bank and Gaza.  So-called “pro-Palestinian” activists overlook that failure which was due to the Arab refusal to accept the defeat of 1948 while ignoring the need of Palestinians for a state of their own.

I have denounced the Arab aggression that caused the Six-Day War of 1967 and that allowed Israel to capture the West Bank and Gaza.  So-called “pro-Palestinian” activists condemn Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Israel’s blockade of Gaza, but they irrationally refuse to denounce the Arab anti-Semitic frenzy that led to them.

I have denounced the Arab states for keeping Palestinians in camps with limited rights for almost seven decades so far.  Palestinians continue to be used as pawns by the Arab regimes, yet so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists encourage that abuse.

I have denounced terrorists such as Hamas who invite counter-attacks by Israel resulting in destruction and death for Palestinians, and who cause Israelis to be apprehensive of Palestinian statehood.  Terrorist violence, which is either supported or ignored by “pro-Palestinian” activists, is not only immoral but also ineffective and counter-productive.

I have denounced the Palestinian leader who routinely lies, stubbornly refuses to discuss peace with Israel, and even incites violence.  He stupidly demands a freeze in settlements as a pre-condition for negotiating when it is obvious that the lack of a peace deal results in more settlements.  So-called “pro-Palestinian” activists portray Abbas as a moderate who just wants peace.

The so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists claim to want an end to Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state, but they work tirelessly against these very goals, and their efforts are succeeding.  Every day, the possibility of a Palestinian state is more remote.  Their hate towards the Jewish state blinds them to the absurdity of their tactics.

I am expected to demonstrate my support of Palestinians by engaging in hateful rhetoric against Israel.  I am expected to denounce Israel as an apartheid state and to accuse Israel’s government of being opposed to peace and a Palestinian state.  I will do no such things because those claims are lies.  Israel is a thriving democracy for both Jews and Arabs, and she has been ready for peace since independence in 1948.  All that Israel has received in return is violence and hate.  She should be respected for this, not demonized, and I will have no part in that demonization.

As an Arab, I proudly support Israel’s right to exist, and I believe that it is the duty of every fair-minded person to do so as well.  I have tremendous respect for the Jewish culture, and I believe in the right of Jews to be independent on a land where they have had continuous presence for longer than any other group.  I also proudly support the goal of a democratic and peaceful Palestinian state.

Not only is there no contradiction between these two goals, but just as I believe that Israel would benefit from the existence of a peaceful Palestinian state (see “The one-state delusion”), I know that the creation of such a state hinges on Palestinians fully accepting the existence of the Jewish state.

Some Arabs and even some Palestinians understand this.  Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid wrote, “Despite what we tell ourselves, Israel is here to stay. What’s more, it has a right to exist. It is the nation of the Jews but also a nation for Israeli Arabs who have better lives than Arabs anywhere in Arab countries. We must accept these facts and move on. The anti-Semitism promoted by Hamas, Fatah, and the BDS movement is not the answer for us Palestinians.”  Sadly Arabs such as Eid are few.

Palestinian thugs who are currently engaged in attacks against Jews in Israel are not building a Palestinian state.  They are the product of a Palestinian hate culture, and their actions entrench that hate culture even more, further pushing away the dream of Palestinian statehood.

To achieve peace and eventually dignity and statehood for the Palestinians, there is one path and one path only, and it is to denounce terrorism and unequivocally support Israel’s right to exist.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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