“It’s about the settlements.” This is the constant refrain from Israel’s critics. Even friendly ones like the US. If only the settlement activity would stop, there would be peace on earth (or at least in the Middle East).
Last night in Tel Aviv, two Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank sat down in an open air restaurant and, after finishing their dessert, they got up, took out their pistols and opened fire on the Jewish patrons eating there, killing four and wounding numerous others.
I’m sure that someone somewhere among our ‘friends’ will be commenting on this by expressing sympathy for the victims and their families and somewhere along the way will imply that it’s Israel’s fault for being an oppressive occupier of Palestinians on the West Bank. And that the only way to solve this problem will be to implement a two-state solution as soon as possible. They might embellish those thoughts by saying that the fact that there has been no progress along those lines is what causes these young frustrated Palestinians to act out in such vicious and cruel ways. In my book, that’s called blaming the victim.
This is not to say that I am in favor of settlement expansion. Most people who read this blog often enough will know that I am opposed to it. But what they may not realize is that I do not believe for a minute that settlement activity or even occupying the West Bank is the real source of the problem. The real source is decades of indoctrinating young Arabs — all across the Middle East — to hate the Jewish people. A hatred exacerbated by promoting as truth anti Semitic books like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Not long ago, Egypt ran a miniseries based on that book. It was widely watched, and no doubt believed. In fact Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, has become a popular read in Middle Eastern countries.
I have said all this before. Jews (not Israelis or Zionists — but Jews) are portrayed as evil people much the way Hitler portrayed them prior to — and during the Holocaust. One can see political cartoons about Jews that are reminiscent of the ones Nazi Germany used to sell to their masses the idea of how evil the Jews truly are! Even some of their children’s programming is anti-Semitic. Arab political leaders, schools, madrases, and media of all kinds — all across the Middle East have often portrayed the Jews as a blood-sucking evil cabal out to take over the world by all means necessary. I have even seen Arab political commentators on air resurrecting the old European blood libel about Jews killing Christians for their blood to be used ritually in our Matzos.
This is what motivates terrorists. For them, there is no such thing as an innocent Jew. So killing a few of us while we sit peacefully in a restaurant is perfectly ethical. That some of Arab Muslims are willing to die in that cause is just their way of serving God. For them it is a mitzvah. One is rewarded in heaven for dying in the cause of killing Jewish (or any) infidels. Especially if they are members of an evil cabal that have usurped their land. Land which of course includes even pre-67 Israel. Tel Aviv is no different to them than the West Bank. We are all settlers, no matter where we live.
Those terrorists yesterday that stood up and shot a few Jews were not some thrill killers with no conscience. These were not sociopaths. They were soldiers of God in the fight against the Jews (which they misleadingly call Zionists for public consumption so that the world will not think they are antisemitic).
And how does the world feel about all this?
Just a few days ago in a Forward interview with Susan Rice (who I consider a friend of Israel that had defended it many times when she was the US ambassador to the UN) she mentioned US opposition to the settlements and the deterioration of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Adding that the US considers the two state solution to be the only realistic one and blaming both sides for the impasse and the violence. Which implies a sort of moral equivalency. And as the occupying power on the West Bank, the additional implication is that Israel has a greater share of the blame. Not a word about the above-mentioned real source of the problem.
And as reported in the Jerusalem Post — the world media doesn’t help matters. Especially those with a pro Palestinian bias. Like CNN, the BBC, the Telegraph and the Guardian . Not once did they mention terrorism. They simply reported it as a shooting.
CNN later apologized and modified it by using the word ‘terrorists’ but the put it in quotes. Which as we all know means they aren’t really terrorists at all. They are a people with legitimate grievances. And acts like these are those of desperate people carrying out a mission to make themselves heard as the victims of the ‘brutal’ and illegal Israeli occupation — in the only way they know how. By murdering innocent people.
That is the subliminal message of those quotation marks. They are not really terrorists. They are an aggrieved people. And just like Susan Rice — not a word about the real problem: Rampant decades long indoctrinated Palestinian anti-Semitism! (At least one journalist got it right, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News told it like it is on her Facebook account. Not sure why she didn’t say so on her program.)
Yes, I am opposed to settlement activity, But not because I believe it to be the cause of terrorism like the one in Tel Aviv today. I am opposed because it exacerbates the problem and upsets our allies, including the US. And there is nothing gained by it other than to assert our authority.
I am also quite aware that West Bank Palestinians do not have it easy. I am aware that they are treated by a different standard that Israelis are. A much harsher one. Which makes life very difficult for them. But the reason Israel treats them this way is not because they hate Arabs. It’s because this is the best way they know how to provide security for their people. It is from Palestinian ranks that most terrorists come.
In theory, I am in favor of a two state solution — if it would end Palestinian hostilities once and for all. Land for peace. But I am more convinced than ever that a two state solution cannot come about until the Arabs stop teaching their children to hate us. That has not happened yet. And it will take a least a generation to change that paradigm — even if they were to commit to it.
There is no evidence that they will do that any time soon. So the status quo must continue. And unfortunately so too will the violence. Which is sad for everyone. But at least Israel will continue to exist and thrive as it continues to do what’s necessary to defend itself.