During my travels around the world, I’ve encountered many people who tell me they sympathize with Sderot and Western Negev residents. Too often these well-intentioned people go on, without a pause, to repeat a commonly-held illusion: “but if the Palestinians would be able to have their own independent state – in the West Bank and Gaza – this would bring peace and security to both sides and the firing on Israel would stop.” In other words, firing missiles at Israel is justified because of the lack of a Palestinian state, since the West Bank is still “occupied.”
The absence of a “Two-State Solution” has been accepted as the reason for ongoing rocket fire (each incident technically an act of attempted murder). It also gives nations around the world justification for continuing to pour money into the Palestinian Authority, which now receives the largest amount of aid per capita like no other population in history.
In one of my travels abroad, I learned that the Norwegian government provided $100 million to the PA, even after it was proven that much of this budget reaches the hands of Hamas, which openly uses these funds to finance terrorism.
The “Two-State Solution” is mistakenly used by Israel’s advocates to justify Israel’s accommodating approach to peace – pursued even under fire – as a political solution. But when Israel’s advocates support a two-state solution while Sderot and the Western Negev remain under constant missile threat they ignore the fact that more than 8,000 missiles have been fired at Israel from the de facto Palestinian State spawned in Gaza after Israel withdrew all Jewish communities and IDF bases from the Gaza Strip in August 2005
What took place in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal is really what a “Two-State Solution” means – giving Israel’s enemies a convenient base from which they can terrorize the civilian population, in defiance of international law.
The Western world’s media, and many in the Israeli media, refer to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, taken in 1967, as “territories that are in dispute”. Picking up on this idea and extending it, Hamas, all the other Palestinian terror groups, and the PA itself define Sderot and the Western Negev as “occupied territory.” They do not recognize any of the territory that Israel was forced, against its will, to fight for in 1948 as an integral part of the sovereign State of Israel. For them, there can never be a justification for accepting Israel.
It’s important to remember that, on November 26, 2006, the day before a “cease-fire” commenced in which more than 300 missiles were fired at Israel, Hamas issued a press statement saying: “We will not stop firing on the Zionist settlement Sderot until the last citizen of Sderot leaves.”
Even today, the Palestinian Authority’s Palestine Map, which can be purchased in any PA office, replaces Sderot with pre-1948 Najd; Ashkelon is replaced by al-Majdal, and Ashdod by Isdod.
The Palestinian “right of return” refers to the return of Palestinian refugees to all of Israel. Meanwhile, PA school books deny any rights for Jews living in the land of Israel, and make no mention of the history of Jews in the land of Israel.
There are several important questions that are at the core of the issues facing us today. They seem to have been erased from the agenda of public discourse, but they remain at the top of the list for everyone who truly believes in the rule of law and the binding nature of treaties and international agreements. Here are the ones that I think are most important:
By what right was the State of Israel established?
What were the historical and legal rights of the Jewish people to the land of Israel?
Why has the Palestinian refugee problem persisted, like no other in the world?
The answers to these questions are easily available on the Internet and in almost any modern library. Anyone who needs help locating Internet references can write me and I’ll be happy to respond.
Regarding the question about the Palestinian refugee problem, an often overlooked fact is worth mentioning here. During the late 1940s, more than 40 million refuges around the world were resettled, except for one people. They remain defined as refugees, wallowing 62 years later in 59 UNRWA refugee camps, financed by $400 million contributed annually by nations of the world to nurture the promise of the “right of return” to Arab neighborhoods and Arab villages from 1948 that no longer exist.
Returning to the problem of rocket attacks from Gaza, I am certain that no nation would tolerate even one rocket being launched toward its territory. In many places around the world, such as Russia and Turkey, such hostile acts are not tolerated. Yet, this is what Israel is asked to accept as an integral part of its existence, since the supposed root of the problem is that the Palestinian Arab people do not have a state of their own.
As it has done so many times in the past, the Hamas regime in Gaza has recently violated the ceasefire and resumed its rocket attacks – provoking limited Israeli military operations. True to the ideology expressed so clearly in their Charter, they do not intend to facilitate a Two-State solution, but to “liberate” the rest of Palestine.
As we enter a solemn day of reckoning, of accounting for our past mistakes and intentional misdeeds, may we and our leaders acknowledge, to ourselves and to our neighbors, that the first step towards genuine peace is to accept that we have a legitimate right to live as Jews and Israelis here in Israel.