Israeli reader Michal suggested that I start a new topic on the Saudi “peace proposal” instead of continuing that thought on the comments of the history piece from earlier this week. Sounds like a good idea to me.
*Warning* This started out as a dispassionate statement, but it has turned into a rant. Proceed at your own risk.
As I had mentioned earlier, the governments of the Arab world do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, except for Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt. This might be one of the reasons that the Israelis don’t listen to them—why should they listen to people who don’t acknowledge their legitimacy? Diplomatic recognition comes before negotiation. (This does not mean that they have to exchange ambassadors or pretend to like each other; this is a fundamental recognition of Israel as a state.)
Another issue is the repeated assertion that Israel is “illegally occupying” the territories it captured during the 1967 conflict. Okay—this means that Italy and Romania are going to return Trieste and Transylvania, respectively, back to the Austro-Hungarians, Russia is going to give Kaliningrad (nee Konigsberg) back to the Germans, and China is going to return Lushun (nee Port Arthur) to the Russians? These areas were all captured as the result of wars (started by the losers, for the most part), and they are all recognized as legitimate. Why is it that Israel’s capture of the disputed territories is different? And the point can also be made that Israel was filled with Jews for 2000 years before Mohammad was even born, so it certainly has a historical claim to the old city of Jerusalem (which, BTW, is in “East Jerusalem”) and the Judea and Samaria regions adjacent to the Jordan River (AKA the West Bank). The fact is that these regions were captured from the Jews during wars from centuries past.
Some say that the Palestinians are waging a war for self-determination. OK, do they support the ETA (in Spain and France), the Kurdistan People’s Party (in Turkey), the Chechens (in Russia), the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka? All of these groups are separatist groups that carry out terrorist attacks in the name of self-rule. Or is it only groups waging war against Israel that warrant recognition?
I am not one of those who equates anti-Israeli sentiments with Anti-Semitism, but I cannot help but note that Europe has both a higher number of Anti-Semitic crimes and a general disdain for Israel, whereas here in the US, the equation is reversed. We have our share of Anti-Semites, but they are nowhere near as prominent and dangerous as those in France or Britain. Austria and Germany have also seen significant numbers of hate crimes, and their role in the Nazi movement cannot be dismissed out of hand.
Most of the bashers of Israel condemn the oppressive role the Israeli military plays in keeping Palestinians out of Israel, but forget the era before the intifada when unemployment in the West Bank was lower than that of much of Europe, when tens of thousands of Palestinians crossed into Israel every day to work. It was only when the massive waves of violence began that Israel closed the travel routes between Gaza and the West Bank, bulldozed the runway at the international airport in Gaza, and stopped the influx of Palestinian workers into its borders. Israel has no safety now, as nobody wants to accept the Palestinians, and the Palestinians have made it clear that they do not want Israel. Somebody has to give, and it’s not going to be the Israelis.
Many point to the disparity in the death figures between the Palestinians and the Israelis a proof that the Israelis are brutal. Well, gee, if I was an Israeli soldier, ARMED WITH A GUN, and four Palestinians started throwing rocks at me, you bet your sweet ass I’d shoot back. If I lived, that would be four Palestinians dead, and no Israelis. Don’t tell me that stones are not as lethal as bullets; stoning is a form of the death penalty still carried out in Islamic countries. BTW, the Palestinian Authority authorizes the death penalty as a form of punishment for ordinary crimes; Israel authorizes the death penalty only for military crimes.
“What about destruction of homes and property by the Israelis?” one may ask. May I remind those people that all demolition activities by the Israelis have occurred after the structure was used in an attack upon Israelis citizens or property. An end to the attacks would bring about an end to the destruction.
posted on April 03, 2002 12:57 PM