Every so often, there is a Palestinian uprising of some sorts sometimes leading to bloody “wars.” Most recently, Palestinians have taken to stabbing innocent Israeli victims. The narrative on the Left is that Israel’s crackdown is a violation of human rights and goes way beyond the pale when it comes to the use of deadly force. That narrative, in turn, is the continued effort on the Left to demonize Israel and they place at the root cause of the violence Israeli occupation of the West Bank and “increased” Israeli settlements. Further, there are accusations that Israel is attempting to block Palestinian/Muslim access to sacred sites it Jerusalem, primarily the Temple Mount that holds religious significance for three major religions.
Let us take this latter charge first. In 2014, over 3.5 million Muslims visited the Temple Mount under the watchful eye of Israeli security forces. Considerably fewer non-Muslims visit it annually. Only in the mind of the Left can this be construed as anyone limiting access to a religious site. Non-Muslims are permitted to engage in prayer at the site only at specific times while there are no such specifications for Muslims who can pray at any time. While recent violence instigated by Palestinians may have led to restrictions, the fact is that absent that violence the status quo under Israeli security clearly favors the Muslims and Palestinians. If anyone is trying to deny anyone access to the Temple Mount, it is the Palestinians.
Part of this stems from the rumor that Israel wishes to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque. This is the third holiest site in Islam and has been the rumors of Jewish intentions to destroy it since at least 1929. Then, these same rumors led to the deaths of 67 Jews in Hebron and 18 more in Safed. Since reuniting Jerusalem in 1967, the IDF has protected the holy sites of all faiths, including al-Aqsa mosque. Compare this with what ISIS is doing to non-Islamic shrines elsewhere in the Middle East. Therefore, some voices are calling for the international control of this area. Why when the Israeli forces are doing a more than admirable job? Does anyone expect a UN peace keeping force to do any better?
A second line of attack on Israel is that they use disproportionate force in dealing with Palestinian violence. Whether the terrorist wields a knife, an ax, a gun, or a suicide vest makes no difference. Using force against them is legitimate self-defense. In fact, the Israeli police and military have strict rules governing the use of deadly force- certainly more rules than your average Palestinian terrorist.
Failing this argument, they then portray Benjamin Netanyahu as intransigent and the source of trouble and tension. This leads to the asertion that Palestinian Authority President Abbas is somehow the rational actor and voice of moderation. This from a man who said he welcomes “every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This from a man who has failed to condemn over 30 attacks on Israeli citizens. This from a man who falsely spread the rumor that Israel “executed” Ahmed Mansara (he was the Palestinian who stabbed a 13-year-old Jew on a bicycle). Mansara has been released from a hospital after recovering while his victim lies in the same Israeli hospital fighting for his life. This is the voice of moderation?
Then there is the old stand-by argument against Israel- their West Bank settlements. There is no surge in settlements. Consider the following facts:
- under Prime Minister Barak- 5,000 units
- under Prime Minister Sharon- 1,881 units
- under Prime Minister Olmert- 1,774 units
- under Prime Minister Netanyahu- 1,554 units
This is a surge? More accurately, this is a considerable decrease since 2003.
But, the Palestinian apologists will tell us that even if settlements ceased altogether, there would still be frustration since the Palestinians do not have their own state. This has led to periodic outbursts of violence fueled by that frustration and stagnation of the peace process. However, when peace talks were actually occurring, Israel faced some of their worst bouts of terrorism. The presence or lack of a peace process has nothing to do with acts of terrorism by Palestinians; they do not need an excuse, just a rationale and that is the destruction of Israel.
Furthermore, the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to accept a nation for themselves if it means having a Jewish state alongside it. History is the proof. In 1937, they rejected the Peel Commission Report under British rule and repeated that rejection in 1947 when the UN suggested the same. At Camp David in 2000, Yassir Arafat torpedoed the idea and it happened again in 2008. Whether Israel existed or not and no matter who controlled the West Bank, the official Palestinian position is to reject the legitimacy of Israel. If they really want the peace process to advance, they would recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The future is not bright in this area. Palestinian hatred of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East is the core of the problem. When they had the opportunity to have their own state, they resorted to violence and terrorism. Their leaders have repeatedly been intransigent. When Israel withdrew from Gaza leaving control of the area to the Palestinians, the result has been abject poverty and rocket barrages directed at Israel. They have proven they are incapable of self-government. And Israel is correct to not engage the Palestinian Authority until such time they prove themselves to the world.
No one denies the situation is not complicated. Besides borders, there are water rights, the fate of Jerusalem, the right-of-return of Palestinians, etc. But as long as terrorism is the result of incitement, a culture of hatred will persist. The only “frustration” in this process is the fact that Israel still exists.
Yet our leaders call for restraint and deplore Israel’s reactions to acts of terrorism. John Kerry is dispatched to “restore calm.” As long as the Palestinian Authority speaks for the people and is infiltrated by Hamas- an Iranian-backed terrorist organization- these periodic outbursts of violence and reaction will occur. This administration is naive to turn its back on and chide Israel. As their sad attempt in Gaza has proven, the Palestinians have proven they are a people not ready for nor worthy of their own state. Until such time they prove the opposite, the United States would be well-advised to support the one true democracy and ally in this region.