Benjamin Sendrow, Watching and reading some of the media coverage of the fighting between Israel and Hamas I am reminded of the libretto from Les Miserables, when Javert says, “The law is inside out. The world is upside down.” The world certainly is upside down, with Israel, the only open, liberal democracy in the Middle East being portrayed as the aggressor, while Hamas, an infamous terrorist organization, plays the victim.
As of this writing, there is a ceasefire, and I am grateful that it is holding for the time being. But Hamas will eventually go back to trying to make good its goal of destroying the State of Israel and killing Jews around the world. Why? Because that is what the Hamas Covenant calls for, and because Israel continues to do the one thing Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorists cannot abide. Israel continues to exist. Anti-Israel hatred is rooted in antisemitism, and antisemitism has always called for the destruction of the Jewish people.
What has Israel done to provoke such hostility? Again, the answer is simply that Israel exists. When statehood was declared in 1948, Israel was attacked by five Arab armies attempting to destroy it. The vast majority of today’s so-called refugees are the descendants of those told to evacuate their homes by the Arab nations attacking Israel, thinking that Israel would be quickly destroyed and then they would return. Israel was victorious in the War of Independence, so that is not how things happened.
Today, the United Nations has two definitions of refugee. One, that applies only to the Palestinians, allows the status of refugee to be passed from one generation to the next. For the rest of the world, a refugee really has to be a refugee.
In 1967, Nassar of Egypt pledged to wipe Israel off the map, and under international law, started the Six-Day War by establishing a naval blockade. Israel captured territory during the Six-Day War but then did something unprecedented. Israel offered to withdraw from the captured territories, in return for peace treaties. The Arab response was the infamous three “no’s.” No peace treaties, no negotiation, and no recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist.
Since then, the Palestinians have refused their own state numerous times, even refusing offers that included a state with its capitol in Jerusalem. Why would they refuse to accept what they claim to want? Because a Palestinian state is not what they want. They want the destruction of Israel.
Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005. In the ensuing sixteen years, has Hamas built a school, a hospital, or even a road? Instead, they have concentrated on firing rockets into Israel. They figured out a way to attach firebombs to kites. Gazans continue to live in squalor while Hamas focuses on ways to kill Jews.
It is inexplicable how Hamas is portrayed as the victim and Israel is the oppressive aggressor. It is nothing short of a lie. The simple truth is that the Israel-Palestinian conflict may be extremely difficult to solve, but it is very easy to explain. One side wants the other dead. Until that changes, if it ever does, conflict will remain the status quo in the Middle East for a long time to come.