Fred Maroun
Fred Maroun

We are all Israelis

Picture that I took in Israel while on vacation 3 years ago, in May 2018.

On September 12, 2001, the day after the terrorist attack on the United States, Jean-Marie Colombani, who was at the time the editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Le Monde, a left-leaning French publication, wrote “We are all Americans!”. Many of us felt the same way.

But today, it is Israel that is suffering terrorist attacks. Not one day, but day after day. Not the first time either. From Gaza alone, Hamas and other terrorists have engaged in these attacks several times since Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005.

So where are the world’s intellectuals, leaders, and politicians who are declaring “We are all Israeli now”?

There has been some support for Israel’s right to defend itself, which is like saying that some people have recognized that water is a liquid.

But for cries of “We are all Israelis”, one has to go back to March 2012 when Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott declared, “When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances.” Or one has to go back to September 2014 when Spanish politician Pilar Rahola declared, “In the fight for liberty, we are all Israeli, in the fight for security, we are all Israeli, and also in the fight for human values, we are all Israeli.”

This time, nothing.

I’m not Israeli, I don’t always agree with Israeli policies, I am certainly no fan of the Israeli government, but when Israel has its cities attacked by terrorists, I am Israeli. Every decent person in the world should be. Every decent person should be shouting it from the rooftops.

No country should have to accept this. No decent person should expect Israel to tolerate this. But what is any of us doing to prevent these attacks from occurring again and again and again?

Nothing.

We know that the only way that Gaza terrorist attacks will stop is if Gaza is no longer controlled by terrorists, but nobody, no country, no organization, has presented a plan on how to remove the cancer within Gaza that controls the lives of Palestinians and that rains rockets on Israeli cities whenever they choose to do so and with no end in sight.

I lived through ten years of civil war in Lebanon, so I know what it means to live under the constant threat of rockets coming down from the sky and maiming and killing at random. Nobody should have to live like this. Yet Israelis have been living under terrorist threat since before Israel declared its independence. The threat from rockets launched from Gaza, alone, is now 16 years old.

So, when the terrorists attack Israel, I don’t want to hear about Israeli settlements in the West Bank or unfair policies towards Palestinians in East Jerusalem. I don’t want to hear about Palestinian grievances against the Israeli occupation. I don’t want to hear that Israel has a right-wing government. Right now, I don’t care about any of those grievances.

I want to hear how the terrorist nightmare that Israelis are forced to endure will end and end permanently.

There are many ways to address grievances, but terrorism is not one of them. If Palestinian leaders want self-determination so that they and their people don’t have their lives controlled by Israel, they must start by extending a hand in peace and be ready to negotiate a peace agreement. But most of all, they need to recognize that Israel is here to stay, and that terrorism is absolutely unacceptable.

They should have done it long ago. Until they do, no one should listen to their grievances.

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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