On November 30, 1947, one day after the League of Nations (precursor to the UN) announced the end of the British Mandate in Palestine and the establishment of two states—one for the Arabs and one for the Jews—Palestinian Arabs began to attack Israeli settlements. That was the beginning of Israel’s War of Independence. On May 14, 1948, when the British officially left Palestine, David Ben Gurion announced the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, namely the State of Israel. The very next day, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt (joined by Saudi and Sudanese forces), and Lebanon, declared war on the fledgling state and their armies invaded the country. On July 20, 1949, the final armistice was signed (with Syria), and the war was over. Israel was now a fact. The only country that never signed an armistice with Israel is Iraq.
The War of Independence was not the end of wars for Israel. Nevertheless, following many years of frequent clashes, all the countries, including even hostile Syria, are now in an official state of peace, or at least an armistice with Israel, if not complete normalization of relations. There is no love lost between Israel and its neighbors, as much as Israel would like there to be. However, there has also not been a state of active war with any of them for several decades.
Iraq, however, remains the one exception. To his day, it is in an official state of war with Israel. Recently, it underscored that point when Iraqi lawmakers have passed a bill criminalizing any relations with Israel, including business ties. According to the legislation, violation of this law is punishable by death or life imprisonment. A parliament statement also said the legislation is “a true reflection of the will of the people.”
Israel has no border with Iraq, no conflict of interest over water, oil, or waterways, and no religious conflict as Iraq is not particularly fanatical about its Islam. Iraq’s policy toward Israel is driven by one and only motive: hate. It simply hates the fact that Israel exists, and this is all the reasoning it needs.
Hate is a very powerful engine. With hate, you can keep a nation united. Every politician knows it, and Iraq is no exception. Its hatred of Israel keeps it together.
However, we can change Iraq’s attitude toward us if we choose to. We may not know it, but Israel holds the key to the world’s attitude toward it. If we change how we feel about each other, Iraq, and in fact all the countries that hate us, will also change how they feel about us for the better.
Israel is always at the center of attention. Just look at the latest report by the UN Human Rights Council. Other countries may commit the worst atrocities, but only Israel has a mandatory agenda item aimed at condemning Israel in every single commit of the council.
Because we are constantly at the center of attention, the hatred between us makes the world detest and despise us. This is how the world is built, and there is nothing we can do to change it.
Therefore, if we want the world’s attitude toward us to improve, we must improve our attitude toward each other. This is how it has always worked, and it will never change.
Moreover, when we fight among ourselves, the world accuses us of inciting wars throughout the world. When we make peace with one another, the world thinks of us as peacemakers. Until we accept this fact and act accordingly, nothing will improve in the world’s relation toward Israel.