Shine the light of history upon the Middle East

How can anyone not sympathize with the Palestinian people? They’re second class citizens in Israel. They’re denied even a rudimentary infrastructure in the land on the West Bank of the Jordan that has been promised them, and they languish in refugee camps in Arab states from one side of the Middle East to the other. They’re deprived of basic amenities, political self-determination, and basic human dignity, so that one cannot look upon their plight without sharing their indignation. According to Jimmy Carter, they’re victims of Apartheid.

In today’s culture of feelings, most people look for nothing more before rendering judgment. The Palestinian people are clearly victims, and we love nothing so much as we love a victim. So much, in fact, that it often matters little whether we point the finger in the right direction so long as we can point it in some direction. The fallacy, of course, is that in doing so we ourselves become part of the problem, adding to the sum total of injustice in the world while doing nothing to alleviate the plight of the victims whose condition has ignited our wrath.

Before all else we should look to history. And so, before condemning the Israeli people and government as oppressors, will you not make the effort to know and understand the road both peoples have traveled to reach this point? Incline your ear, and listen to the instructive lessons of history.

Do you know that in 1937 the British Peel Commission devised the first plan for the partition of Palestine? Although its terms would have granted Israel much less than its 1948 borders, the Jews accepted its terms. Arabs leaders rejected it out of hand.

Do you know that in 1939 the British White Paper limited Jewish immigration to Palestine to 15,000 per year and that, after 5 years, granted absolute autonomy over the region to Arab authority? The Jews, albeit under protest, accepted its terms. Arab leaders rejected it out of hand.

Do you know that in 1947, when the United Nations recognized the formation of the modern State of Israel, the Jews begged their Arab neighbors to remain in the country and live along side them as friends? The Mufti of Jerusalem, who had allied himself closely with Hitler during the Second World War, urged all Israeli Arabs to flee the country so that the Arab countries would be unhindered in their campaign to drive the Jews into the sea. More than two-thirds of Arab “refugees” fled Israel without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

Do you know that those same displaced Arabs, and their children and grandchildren, continue to live as refugees scattered among the Arab nations, the only displaced people ever to be denied repatriation by countries of their own ethnicity? In 1960, King Hussein of Jordan remarked that “Arab leaders have approached the Palestine problem in an irresponsible manner…. they have used the Palestine people for selfish political purposes. This is ridiculous and, I could say, even criminal.”

Do you know how many Arab leaders have never renounced their objective to destroy the Jewish nation? That the PLO formed in 1964, when Jordan still controlled the entire West Bank, as a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel? That before 1947 Arabs threw garbage down upon the heads of Jews praying at the Western Wall? That between 1947 and 1967 the Jordanians refused Jews access to their most holy site?

Do you know that Arab textbooks contain no reference at all to the State of Israel? That they deny that the Holocaust ever happened? That they repeat the blood libels dating back to the Crusades, claiming that Jews murder gentile children and use their blood to make matzah and wine?

Do you know that billions of dollars sent from around the world to Yasser Arafat to develop infrastructure in the Palestinian Authority never made it past the pockets of Arafat and his lieutenants, who have fattened their private bank accounts abroad while their people live in squalor? Do you remember when Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s offer to return of 97% of the occupied territories and recognize a Palestinian state?

And do you know that, while debate continues to rage in Israel between the hawks who demand open warfare and doves who promote unilateral contrition, every voice of peace and every suggestion of compromise among the Arabs is silenced by Arab assassins?

It may be true that Israel has not always been guiltless in its dealings with the Palestinian people, but how many options does Israel have in dealing with an enemy who refuses peace in any form, who has no desire except the annihilation of its neighbor? What hope for peace is there with a people who send out the own children to massacre innocents?

History should be our teacher in this, as in all things. Repeated acts of appeasement emboldened Hitler, as they emboldened Arafat, as they embolden Hamas today. It remains difficult to comprehend how the world’s indifference once allowed the attempted genocide of the Jewish people. It is with uncomprehending eyes that today’s Jews witness the world’s moral equivalency and wonder if the same thing could happen again.

Adapted from an article that originally appeared in the St. Louis Jewish Light in May 2002.

  1. #1 by Robert Goldman on February 17, 2009 - 1:27 am

    Great post of pure fact!

  2. #2 by SOLDIER OF THE MAHDI on August 1, 2013 - 6:30 am

    extremely narrow overview! Have a better look at history and you’ll realize that nobody has the right to partition a country or share one that doesn’t belong to them! That’s why Palestine will NEVER GIVE UP! Because its their land and their right and NOBODY ELSE’S!! If jews suffered it does not give them the green light to steal another land and make another people suffer!! WE WILL NEVER RECOGNIZE ISRAEL!

  3. #3 by Elon Ishhahrim on January 1, 2014 - 5:34 am

    Soldier of the Mahdi, as I remember it, the land was Turkish Land. it didnt belong to the Arabs living there. There was no offical country, it was a province occupied by both Jews and Arabs, and while the Arabs have for centuries had this penchant for thinking if they say something is theirs then that makes it so, Arabs think that since they came and occupied and colonized the Mideast that this is still the 7th century.. Since specially the Mufti kept staging massacres in Hebron, Safed, Jerusalem and Tiberias. We had had enough. We want the same deal as the Muslims got in India. a part of Hindu land that Ghandi gave away as though it was his place to do so. We wanted a piece of land where we had always lived and not even a fair equitable division either,

    And if we wanted our brothers from Europe to come live there in our state, that is none of yours nor the worlds business. You give restitution to our brothers from the Arab states that left more property then a million Arabs earn in a year and were greater in numbers then those that fled, then you can talk about justice. We have Israeli Armies that take in the brave Arabs who werent stupid enough to run away, since they already were living next door and no Jews were burning their crops or shooting at them, they now are starting along with Bedouin and Druze to join the IDF which means their rifles are trained on the surrounding enemy and Iran who has no business seeing as they are Indo-Aryans and nothing in their historical literature counts Israel as of any consequence. Yes, Arabs are finally saying to other Arabs, Stay out of my land, and they are sitting in high positions that if they wish they could compromise Israels security. But they are trusted and that, unlike your Egyptian and Syrian refugees who came at the same time as the Jews dont understand. These Israeli Arabs somehow past the hate relearned the code of the Middle East and that is honor, honor in what you say and what you do. So we give them honor by trusting them with the safety of the land that they share together with Jews

    You don’t know any of the facts on the ground. And right now we are busy saving Christians as well from your evil behavior.

  4. #4 by google plus apple on July 3, 2014 - 3:21 am

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now
    on every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.

    Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  5. #5 by torahideals on July 3, 2014 - 12:36 pm

    Wish I was more familiar with the software to help. Try going on and clicking the support links.

    Thanks for your readership, and good luck.

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