The Israeli-Palestinian problem goes much deeper than a couple of small tracts of real estate, which is why bartering land for peace is not the solution.
There is simply too much history to the contrary, much of it very recent, for us to believe that the Palestinians will be mollified, much less satisfied by an Israeli withdrawal from the so-called "occupied territories." Rightly or wrongly, the Palestinians have never accepted the notion of a Jewish state in Palestine.
On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to approve a plan to partition Palestine into two separate states. The Jews accepted the plan, and the Palestinians rejected it. Even while the U.N. was deliberating prior to adopting the partition plan, the Arabs made clear that they rejected the idea of partition and would resist it. On Nov. 30, the Arabs made good on their threat and began to carry out raids and arson in Jewish neighborhoods in certain towns. By March 1948, 1,200 Jews had been killed, half of which were civilians.
On Friday, May 14, 1948, Israel announced its independence,
establishing the modern State of Israel. That same day, the Arab League’s secretary-general, Azzam Pasha, declared a holy war via radio: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre."
The very next day, five Arab armies attacked Israel. After Israel handily defeated the united Arab forces, armistice talks began on Jan. 12, 1949. Over the next half year, Israel signed separate pacts with each of those Arab nations (Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, Syria), except Iraq. The peace was inevitably fleeting because, among whatever other reasons, the Arab states refused to be reconciled to the existence of the Israeli state.
Following the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, a number of other wars ensued, in 1956, 1967 and 1973, during which Israel retained her land and acquired more -- including the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank.
Despite her defensive, wartime acquisitions of these lands, Israel agreed in 2000 to relinquish some 97 percent of them to the Palestinians. In order to understand the magnitude of this concession, you must realize that these lands are vital to Israel’s defense. Indeed, Israel’s relinquishment of them may well invite future attacks.
Nevertheless, Yasser Arafat not only rejected Israel’s offer, he launched a new wave of terror against Israel. This should not surprise anyone familiar with the Palestinians’ persistent practices of speaking peace in English while spitting war in Arabic and of teaching their children that Israel does not exist on the maps of the region.
This week on "Hannity and Colmes," Sarah Eltantawi of the Muslim Public Affairs Council gave us a glimpse of the extent of Arab intransigence. When pressed by Sean Hannity to renounce the bombings, she responded, "there’s no way to justify suicide bombings, and I believe that if Israel cared about its security, if the Israeli government was really serious about creating peace for its own people, it would pull out of the occupied territories now."
Did you get that? The Palestinian acts of terror are wrong -- but they are Israel’s fault, just as surely if Israelis themselves had detonated the bombs.
This exchange reminded me of a poignant scene from the movie "Remember the Titans" (based on actual events), which I coincidentally watched the same night. Certain white high school boys, outraged that a black man (Boone) had replaced a white man (Yost) as head football coach, threw a brick through the window of Boone’s home one night while Yost’s daughter was there visiting.
The next morning, Coach Boone defiantly announced to the press that he would not be intimidated by violence. Coach Yost told Boone, "I think it’s time you stopped antagonizing everybody and learned a little humility."
After a double take, Boone asked incredulously, "So you’re blaming me for what happened last night?" Yost replied, "No ... If you want to carry your sinful pride with you to your grave, that’s your business, but when your sins endanger my little girl, it becomes mine."
Boone responded, "My sins? You think my sins had something to do with what happened last night? I’m sorry about what happened to your daughter, but maybe you got a small taste of what my girls go through. Welcome to my life, Yost."
While the Palestinians protest that this Passover War is strictly over the occupied territories (Israel’s sins), their track record testifies otherwise. The Palestinian Authority simply can’t abide the state of Israel. So it appears that it will continue underwriting the suicide/murder bombings until it is forced to stop or Israel ceases to exist.
Welcome to Israel’s life.