“The world rests on three things: truth, fair judgment, and peace.” (Pirkei Avot 1:18)
I desperately want peace for Israel and her neighbors.
I cannot, however, call for peace at the expense of truth and fair judgment.
There is currently a myth flaming across Europe and much of the world.
This myth holds that 60 years ago a bunch of rich, white Jews stole a large country from poor, brown "Palestinians," and kept it by relentlessly oppressing the poor brown people. Therefore, if everyone around the world would just protest loudly enough, the rich white oppressors will leave the poor brown people alone, and peace will prevail.
Here are the facts:
Jews have lived in the land of Israel for 3,300 years.
Israel was renamed Palestina by Rome after a Jewish revolt against the emperor in the the second century CE. For almost 2,000 years, the word "Palestinian" meant "Jew."
Many empires ruled the area over the intervening centuries, including the Ottoman caliphate, and finally the British crown.
In 1948, Israel declared itself a modern nation, and 500,000 Arab refugees left. A few were thrown out of their towns, but far more left by choice, expecting to return after five large Arab armies - Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan - defeated a vastly outnumbered, ragtag Jewish army supported primarily by Zionist grit and American aid.
160,000 Arabs chose to stay in Israel. Today they have become the 1,250,000 Israeli Arabs who enjoy FULL rights of citizenship including voting, lifestyle choices, free press, office in the Israeli Parliament, and command postions in the Israeli army.
In 1948, there were also 850,000 Jewish refugees who were thrown out of the surrounding Arab countries. These Jews were tossed out of ancient Jewish communities that predated Islam. They were stripped of their citizenship and their property was confiscated. None have been invited to return.
Today there are no Jews serving in Arab governments, nor enjoying free press, nor any other freedoms associated with modern democracy. In fact, no one is enjoying those freedoms in the Arab world.
Palestinian Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed nor integrated into surrounding Arab countries, despite the vast Arab territory, because it was politically useful for Arab leaders to keep them out.
The original "two-state solution" was Israel and Jordan. Palestinian Arabs and Jordanians are the same people. Is it conceivable that hundreds of thousands of Jews would linger in refugee camps bordering on a Jewish country for 60 years, as the Palestinian Arabs have lingered alongside Jordan?
Jordan, by the way, is four times larger than Israel.
In fact, Israel has absorbed all Jewish refugees from every country in the world that has thrown them out or persecuted them, and Israel is about the size of New Jersey. The Arab lands surrounding it are exponentially bigger, yet they don't have room for their Arab "brothers and sisters."
Of the 100,000,000 refugees worldwide since World War II, Palestinian Arabs are the ONLY refugee group that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands.
If Arab countries would assimilate and care for the Palestinian Arab refugees, as Israel did for Jewish refugees, there would be no refugee problem.
Instead these countries use the refugees as political pawns in their fight against Israel.
This is why the Palestinian Arabs are oppressed and humiliated. Not only are they poor and disenfranchised, but their leaders are exceedingly wealthy because they receive billions of dollars in aid which never reaches the people.
Yasser Arafat died with a personal net worth of $1 billion (http://www.cbsnews.com/
These same leaders hide in bunkers while ordering children to shield the rocket launchers which have hurled THOUSANDS of rockets into Israel this year alone.
Would any nation on earth tolerate thousands of rockets hurled at its civilians on a continual basis?
Before Israel seeks to destroy these rocket launchers, however, it warns Palestinian Arab civilians that an attack is coming. No other country has ever done that. How do the Palestinian Arab leaders respond? By sending more children into harm's way and teaching them that dying to protect those rocket launchers is a holy and glorious act.
My pals, that is not heroism. It is child sacrifice - the most abominable act in the history of man.
In our quest for peace, we simply cannot ignore truth.