The other night, our siren went off, indicating that there were incoming rockets to Netanya, where we live. My first response, on my way to the kids’ room, was an expletive. The rockets, this time, were coming in from Gaza, a good 98 kilometers south of here (or almost 61 miles). It’s approximately the same distance from Detroit to Toledo, Ohio, if that helps at all. Not far, if you think about it, but far enough if you want a rocket to land.
In Netanya (covered by the red sites above), we’re actually pretty far from Gaza, comparatively. Tel Aviv gets more rockets than we do, and Ashdod and Ashkelon get even more. All in all, my family and I are relatively safe. That being said, however, I don’t feel any better about rushing my kids to the safe room after they’re all sleeping, nor does it make me feel any more secure about the entire situation. Nor does it make me happy about the fact that there’s now no school, no parks, no gatherings, and no beaches. Nothing. Via the rocket attacks and terror, we are officially being shut into our homes.
It’s scary to leave the house and wonder if you’ll be close enough to a public shelter. It’s hard to sleep at night when you’re thinking about the five year old in Sderot who was killed while hiding in his safe room. It’s sad when you have to explain to your 5yo and 7yo that they won’t have their Shavuot parties with their friends because the ganim and schools simply cannot accommodate protection of all the children.
So why the ‘sudden’ rise in violence from Arabs (not Israeli Arabs, mind you)? I’m referring to the Palestinian Arabs, the ones stuck in Gaza, living under the wonderful (I use that term ironically) auspices of the affirmed terrorist group, Hamas, and, more officially, the ‘do-nothing-but-steal’ Palestinian Authority (who had five separate offers for a Palestinian state – all of which they rejected outright).
There is a reason for the violence against innocent Israeli civilians. There’s always a “claimed” reason… this time, that there are Arab families allegedly being illegally evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah by allegedly racist Jews.
The short version of the truth is that it’s basically a landlord-tenant case, something I’m very familiar with as an attorney who handled that very issue. In the present case, the Arabs, who had been long-time tenants of Jewish landlords, were either illegally squatting or overstaying as tenants (unlawfully remaining in the property past the end of their lease term) and the Jewish landlords had decided they wanted the tenants out. The Jews took the Arab tenants to court to get their rights enforced and won at every level. Period. That’s it. No drama necessary. In most “normal” countries, this would have been the end of it. But in Israel, when something provides an excuse for violence, many times, Hamas and the Palestinian Arabs will take it.
Let’s start from the beginning of this case. In the beautiful city of Jerusalem, the capital of the legitimate and recognized country of Israel, there’s an upscale Arab neighborhood named Sheikh Jarrah, about a mile north of the Old City of Jerusalem. And before you get all excited that Sheikh Jarrah is in some broken down area where Arabs live in squalor amongst the rats, here’s a nice description of the area:
A quiet, affluent district, Alshaykh Jarah is known for the American Colony, a stately Ottoman palace turned hotel with lush gardens and shops selling books and antiques. The area is also home to consulates, the late-19th-century St. George’s Cathedral, and archaeological sites including the Tomb of Simeon the Just, said to hold the remains of the priest. Upscale bars and Middle Eastern eateries dot the neighborhood.
Some of the land and property is owned by Jews (it is an Israeli country) and legally, the rights of the owners and the tenants was determined both centuries and decades ago, respectively. We’re talking 19th century (1800s, to be clear) and the 1950s, before many of us were born….
Why is it an issue now? Honestly? Because the Palestinian Arabs are frustrated and angry. To be honest, this is what oftentimes happens in landlord-tenant disputes. I suppose I can’t blame them for being upset that their tenancy is over, but it happens. The landlord doesn’t renew the lease because you’re a lousy tenant or because he wants more money or because he doesn’t approve of your behavior or because he wants to renovate or who cares. It’s his/her legal right. In the present case, some Arab leases naturally expired, some leases were violated by the tenants, and others are just illegal squatters with no legal rights whatsoever.
Regardless, just as I’ve told countless former clients, being pissed off doesn’t give you any legal rights.
That being said, let’s exhaust all possible arguments. Let’s play Devil’s Advocate. What if the judicial system of the Ottoman Empire and British Mandate law and Israeli law were all wrong? What if the Arab tenants have the right to continue to live in Jerusalem? Does that give Hamas and all the anti-Israel crowd the right to establish headquarters in their own hospitals and schools, and fire hundreds and thousands of rockets into a neighboring country against innocent civilians who had nothing to do with a landlord-tenant issue in a distant city and who have likely never even heard of this neighborhood? Does that give pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel people the right to proactively threaten, “in support,” to attack and murder Jewish people in New York simply because they’re Jewish (yes, this is happening)? And what about those Palestinian Arabs who are injured by the rockets (since hundreds of failed rockets also fall inside Gaza)?
The truth is, hatred and murder of Jews is the most important thing – more important than anything, even the life of their own people.
By the way, in case someone makes a claim that this is a violation of international law, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
- Fact: International law does not forbid Jews to live in areas of Israel that the media likes to refer to as the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
- Fact: International law does not forbid individual Jews from owning property in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
- Fact: International law does not require, much less permit, ethnically based denial of the legal rights of property owners.
In other words, Israel, the country, cannot deny individual Jewish landowners their legal rights, even if other Israeli laws are wrong. This has nothing, zero, zilch, bagel to do with any allegedly illegal settlement activity.
So now you know why they’re firing rockets at us.
It’s an excuse. Nothing but an excuse to murder Jewish men, women, and children.