I have never been to Israel or the so-called Palestinian territories. I am no expert on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have a general idea of the claims of both sides in this conflict. I assume the Palestinians have valid points to their narrative of why the land we call Israel is rightfully theirs. I see this as a conflict between two peoples with claims on the same land. So why not negotiate the border and move on, right? Not so fast. Having gotten myself in the middle of the pro-Palestinian/pro-Israel conflict on the University of California at Irvine campus where I taught part-time for 18 years, I have come to the conclusion that the Palestinians want it all-from the river to the sea as the English-language chant goes. That experience and the Palestinian use of violence and terror as a tactic for the past 50 years has turned me solidly against the Palestinians.
I guess my first recollection of the conflict would be the Six Day War in 1967. That was followed by the campaign of terror against the Jewish state, a series of skyjackings and terrorist attacks that shocked the conscience of the world. At the risk of overlooking a few, I vividly recall the 1972 Olympic massacre in Munich, the Entebbe skyjacking and rescue by the Israelis. I also vividly recall the Achille Lauro takeover and the savage murder of Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly Jewish American man who was thrown overboard in a wheelchair. I recall the same day attacks at Rome and Vienna airports in the 1980s, During the above three attacks, I was living in Italy, so it hit fairly close to home. When I took a business trip to Turkey, my wife refused to go with me and leave the kids with a caregiver because she was afraid of what would happen to them if we both died in a sky-jacking.
Now we have attacks by Palestinians across the border into Israel proper. Who can forget the bus bombings, and the savage murders of (almost all ) the Fogel family in their home in Itimar? An infant sleeping in its crib had its throat slashed. Who could commit such crimes?
Moreover, who could cheer and celebrate such barbarity? The Palestinians did. They came out onto the streets, cheered, and passed out sweets in the traditional Arab manner of celebration.
They also did that on 9-11. The Palestinians are no friend of Americans.
Whatever valid points the Palestinians may have in this old conflict with Israel, I cannot support them. I cannot support those who resort to killing innocent civilians in the name of their cause. We are not talking about loose cannons who cross the line and are condemned by the greater population or their leaders. Hamas in Gaza openly cheers them. The Palestinian Authority gives lip service to condemning acts of terror, but they raise their children to be haters of Jews.
It is also clear to me that this is really not about land and who it rightfully belongs to. This is about religion. The Arabs will never accept a Jewish state in the Middle East. Currently, some states like Saudi Arabia are seriously considering some sort of informal working relationship with Israel for strategic reasons. It would never be permanent, however.
Unfortunately, the Palestinians with their excellent propaganda campaign and organizing ability, have spread their Jew hatred to the US. The pro-Palestinian lobby in academia fervently claims that they have nothing against Jews ( a claim contradicted regularly in the Koran), but that they only oppose the policies of Israel. Yet, if Israel and the Palestinian leaders (the PA) negotiated a peace treaty with a set border, the anti-Israel forces in the West will continue the struggle. Ultimately, they want it all-with the Jews gone-a Judenrein Palestine.
When you consider the world-wide resurgence in anti-semitism, in the US, the focal point is on our college campuses. That I have seen with my own two eyes. In my opinion, it is the Palestinians, people like University of California Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, the Nablus-born creator of the brown shirt Students for Justice in Palestine, who have brought this to our shores. (Bazian, of course, denies being motivated by anti-semitism.) They have been joined by other Muslims who have jumped on the support-the-Arab bandwagon, the radical left, and even some misguided American Jews who see the issue as just another part of the liberal mind-set.
In short, I have seen too much, either on the news or with my own eyes. Until the Palestinians renounce violence and stop poisoning our campuses, they will not get any sympathy from me.