Nice people will say things like, “why can’t we just all get along” or “why can’t we just live in peace?” As if the sentiment alone will fix the problem, as if people would “just wake up” and “give peace a chance.”
Unfortunately, there are monsters out there. A serial killer is not interested in your pleasant sentiments. The members of the drug cartels in Mexico and other places south who kill people with regularity, cut off heads, and do other horrific crimes are not going to be swayed by us holding hands and learning to sing in “perfect harmony.” Hashtags #givepeaceachance or #endviolence repeated on Twitter, pretty memes reposted and “liked” on Facebook will not change the behavior of the evil. Putting a flower in the barrel of a thug’s gun will not slow down his bullets in the slightest.
When it comes to the situation in the Middle East, there are fundamental things to understand about the conflict, the first being that the Israelis are not the ones standing in the way of peace. The Israelis are not the problem. Blaming Israel is like blaming a rape victim.
So who is to blame? Bottom line: Israel’s enemies: those who shoot rockets indescrimately into Israel, those who kidnap children and murder them, those who walk into markets and detonate bombs, those who board busses and machinegun the passengers, those who compare Jews to pigs and apes, those who believe that Jews kill gentile children so they can drain their blood and use it as an ingredient in Passover matzas. Those who teach their children to hate Jews, whose textbooks and teachers teach the children that Jews are an infection on the world that needs to be eradicated, parroting the same language the Nazis used in the 1930s. Those who publish newspapers, print books, broadcast on radio and television the daily instruction, the calls for the destruction of Israel from its politicians and religious leaders, who cry for jihad and the murder of Jews. Few who blame Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East care to think about inconvenient little details like Mein Kampf remaining a perennial best seller in the Palestinian territories, together with the infamous forgery called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is accepted as true by most Palestinians. Or when the wide-spread anti-Semitism is mentioned, it is explained away using language remarkably similar to someone trying to blame the rape victim because of how she was dressed: they brought it on themselves.
It is not only Jews who suffer. Our feckless journalists and pundits ignore the decline in the number of Christians in the Palestinian territories. Since the PLO took over, the percentage of Christians in Bethlehem, as an example, has gone from 90 per cent of the population down to 15 per cent, with the numbers continuing to drop. When I was in Bethlehem back in the summers of 1976 and 1977, ten years into the Israeli occupation, it was a thriving tourist mecca. Today, it is a ghost town. What changed? The Palestinian National Authority took over in 1994.
Many seem to forget how the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and Golan Heights happened to come into Israel’s possession in the first place. Hint: several nations attacked Israel in 1967 but lost the war with them. Oddly, although the Arab states had controlled those regions from 1948 to 1967, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), formed in 1964 never attacked Jordan, Egypt or Syria. They only threatened Israel. No Arab state ever suggested, between 1948 and 1967, that Jordan, Egypt or Syria establish a Palestinian state, despite the fact that the original UN mandate that had created Israel as a Jewish state in 1948 had also created a Palestinian Arab state that Jordan, Egypt and Syria merely annexed for themselves in 1948.
Hamas’ attitude toward Israel and their thoughts about finding a peaceful solution to their problems are discussed in Article 13 of its charter, published in 1988 and easily available in translation in several places online:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement….
Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question….
…the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?….
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with….
Obviously, such sentiments as Hamas expresses would seem to make the achievement of peace difficult.
The Israeli prime minister from 1969-1974, Golda Meir, wrote “When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.” (Press conference in London (1969), as quoted in A Land of Our Own : An Oral Autobiography (1973) edited by Marie Syrkin, p. 242)