Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity

Only the truth will set the Palestinians free

Children demonstrate military exercises at a kindergarten graduation ceremony in Gaza City in May 2012 (Wikimedia Commons / The Israel Project).

It’s normal to feel sorry for the Palestinians, not only in the ongoing Gaza war, but even before that. Feeling sorry for them, however, does not help them. Only telling them and everyone else the truth will help resolve the conflict and therefore help both Israelis and Palestinians.

But the whole truth is rarely said, especially by those who present themselves as supporters of the Palestinians, but even by others. The truth is painful, as truth often is, and it is often revealed only generations later than it should have been, if it is revealed at all.

Yet, despite being painful to admit, the core truth of this conflict is not complicated.

The conflict was born from antisemitism. This includes Arab antisemitism which rejected the very idea of Jewish self-determination in the Middle East. It also includes the world’s antisemitism which helped convince the Jews that they must regroup on the land that has been theirs for over three millennia (i.e., the Zionist movement).

The conflict between Israel and Arabs ironically comes down to a conflict between two forms of antisemitism. One form is the world’s antisemitism which pushed the Jews back to where they came from. The other form is Arab antisemitism which could not accept Jews going from being subservient to and dependent on Arabs to having their own Jewish-majority state, no matter how small.

Arabs say that the West supports Israel because it feels guilty about its own antisemitism and that they, the Arabs, are therefore paying the price for the West’s antisemitism. There is a kernel of truth in this claim, i.e., that the West feels guilty about its own antisemitism, and so it should. But Arabs are not innocent victims, and the West’s support for Israel is weak and shaky.

The Arabs chose to reject the 1947 UN partition plan which would have provided peace and a Palestinian state. The Arabs chose to deny that Jewish history in the Middle East made a Jewish state not only a reasonable outcome but even a fair outcome. The Arabs continued to reject two-state solutions for decades after that, and most Arabs continue to this day to deny Jewish history in the Middle East.

But the rest of the world is far from innocent. While Palestinian terrorism has been a growing problem, the world, including the West, has put the onus on Israel to deal with the issue while at the same time putting obstacles on Israel’s path. It has done so by allowing aid funds to be stolen by terrorists while looking the other way. It has done so by encouraging and feeding the Palestinian refugee problem instead of relocating Palestinians as in all other refugee crises, including the crisis of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. It has done so by allowing generations of Palestinians to be taught hatred before they are taught anything else. It has done so by continuously condemning Israel while ignoring or even encouraging terrorism and hatred against Israel.

Today, the world demands that civilians be protected in Gaza while at the same time demanding that Israel wrap up the war quickly, without ever acknowledging how contradictory these two goals are. But expecting the impossible from Israel is not new, and it is easy to do when one does not recognize the truth of the conflict.

While Israel has been fighting this war that it was forced to fight, there has been much talk of a Palestinian state as the only viable solution to the conflict. Maybe it is a solution, but only if the Palestinians finally accept to live at peace next to Israel, which they never have and still do not. They still support Hamas who categorically refuses to accept the existence of Israel, even as Hamas has brought disaster upon them.

The world proposes absurd solutions because they refuse to face the truth, which is that hatred of the Jews overrides everything else. They refuse to acknowledge that hatred of the Jews makes any solution impossible.

They refuse to acknowledge that if not for hatred of the Jews, any solution would be possible: two states, one state, a federation, or any other solution that one could imagine. But as long as hatred of the Jews remains strong among Arabs, nothing will work.

The truth that the Palestinians need to hear is that their situation will not improve until they accept the reality of a Jewish state, until they face the lies and antisemitism that they have been fed for generations. Of course, the middle of a war during which Palestinians are being killed and displaced is not the ideal time to tell them the truth, but it’s still the truth, and it is cowardly to pretend otherwise.

At this moment, Palestinians and Israelis (who are also being killed and displaced, on top of being blamed by everyone) are paying the price of the world’s decades-long refusal to tell the truth. Palestinians and Israelis are suffering the consequences of the world’s antisemitism combined with the world’s cowardice.

Israel will hopefully take control of Gaza away from Hamas, but that by itself will not solve the conflict. Until the root of the conflict – hatred of the Jews – is resolved, war and death will come back, one way or another. Whether this cycle keeps repeating itself or not will depend on whether the world starts telling Palestinians the truth.

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 to defend itself. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities co-exist in peace with each other, 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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