Focusing most of America’s diplomatic resources on the Israel-Palestinian issue while the rest of the Middle East is wrought with war and mass death is not only absurd, its immoral. Since taking office a year ago, Secretary of State, John Kerry, has inexplicably been to Israel more than ten times—not as a friend showing solidarity with the only country in the world constantly threatened with annihilation—but urging it to make one-sided concession to the intransigent Palestinian Arabs. This, while in Syria, 200,000 people have been slaughtered and Palestinian Arabs are starving to death; In Iraq, Al Qaeda is resurgent, and the country is descending into civil war with terrorist attacks skyrocketing and 8,000 civilians killed in 2013; in Egypt, the army and Muslim Brotherhood are at each others throats, as the Christian minority is persecuted. Libya is falling apart; Iran is marching towards a nuclear weapon, yet the U.S. is more focused on Israel than all these other issues combined.
And its not as if solving the Israel-Palestinian Arab issue will help any of the bloodshed mentioned above, which have their own causes, independent of Israel’s actions.
This obsession would perhaps be defensible if the Obama administration were actually dealing with the roots of the “conflict,” which are the refusal of the Palestinian Arabs to accept a Jewish State, and the culture of hatred and anti-Semitism which permeates much of Palestinian Arab society. However, this is not what the Obama administration is focused on. Instead, as has been the case for the last 20 years, Israeli concessions and outlawing the construction of Jewish homes are the focal point.
Israel is in the process of releasing 104 Palestinian Arab murderers from prison; an extremely traumatic process for the family members of those who were murdered in cold blood. These murderers are now welcomed home as heroes by Abbas and Fatah, the supposed moderates. Palestinian Arab streets, sports teams and events are named for Jew-killing terrorists. Palestinian children are taught in school that martyrdom—engaging in suicide terrorist attacks against Jews—is the most honorable action, and the surest way to heaven. They are taught to hate Jews from an early age by Palestinian Arab cartoons. How can peace be made with such an entity? Is there any hope that this next generation of Palestinian Arabs will accept a Jewish State and live in peace with its neighbor?
Even if Kerry and Obama get everything they want from Israel–a pullback to roughly the 1949 armistice line, a split of Jerusalem, major evacuation of Israeli settlements, and a significant number of Palestinian Arabs being allowed into Israel—this would solve nothing, because the underlying cause of the “conflict” would remain unresolved. The great majority of Palestinian Arabs would still hate Israel because they have been indoctrinated to do so. They would still look at martyrdom against Jews as a pathway to heaven; they would still look down to Jews as inferior beings; terrorism against the Jewish State would continue because Palestinian Arabs have been taught that all of Israel is occupied land, including Haifa and Tel Aviv.
The notion that the settlements are the cause of the conflict, and therefore an undoing of them will lead to peace, is clearly untrue. The first Israeli settlement was built after the 1967 war. What caused the Arab massacre of 67 Jews in Hebron in 1929? What caused the Arab revolt in the late 1930s which left 400 Jews dead? What caused the surrounding Arab States to launch a genocidal war against the nascent Jewish State in 1948? These violent actions were not the result of settlements, which came decades later.
We have seen Israel give up territory, only for terrorists to move in and make war. In 2000, Israel vacated all of Southern Lebanon, making way for Hezbollah–the Shia terrorist group aligned with Iran—to take control of the territory. They have amassed tens of thousands of rockets, which are pointed at Israel. In 2005, Israel vacated Gaza, only for it to be captured by Hamas, the terrorist group committed to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide.
President Abbas has even stated that a Palestinians State would not end the “conflict,” but would “internationalize the conflict as a legal matter… paving the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the UN, human rights treaty bodies, and the International Court of Justice.”
If Obama and Kerry truly want to solve the “Arab-Israel conflict” they should stop demanding Israel make one-sided concessions and instead focus on reforming Palestinian Arab society. At least then they wouldn’t be wasting everyone’s time.
By: Sam Levine
Executive Director of Western Region for ZOA