15 Things I Don’t Understand About the Middle East Peace Process
Rabbi Ephraim Shore, the Israel Director for HonestReporting.com and the Hasbara Fellowships for campus Israel activism, asks the questions that need to be asked.
1. If Palestinians want to live side-by-side with Israel, then why do all government logos and websites show Palestine encompassing all of Israel, with Israel nonexistent?
2. If a primary point of the road map is “confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure,” then why do the Palestinians demand that Israel release thousands of terrorists from prison, an item not even included in the road map? Instead, shouldn’t the Palestinians be arresting terrorists themselves? And shouldn’t we be outraged that the two suicide bombers who murdered 15 Israelis on Sept. 9, 2003 (Hillel Cafe and Tzrifin bus stop) were among a group of Palestinian prisoners released by Israel this year? (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12, 2003)
3. If Israel is supposedly allowed to “take all necessary steps to defend its citizens,” then why is Israel condemned for building bypass roads so drivers can avoid ambushes, condemned for building a fence to keep suicide bombers out, condemned for targeted killings of terrorist leaders, condemned for operating road blocks to screen for suicide bombers, condemned for clearing areas used for launching rockets, and condemned for keeping terrorists in jail? How exactly is Israel expected to defend itself?
4. When the PLO first demanded a state in 1964, it wanted every part of Israel except the West Bank and Gaza (which were then in the hands of Jordan and Egypt). Is it reasonable to assume that they now want only the West Bank and Gaza, or is that more likely a Trojan Horse – as Palestinian leader Faisal al-Husseini described it in 2001 as a first step to destroy Israel.
5. Why is the targeted killing of terrorists and their supporters lauded when done by the United States in Iraq, but not when done by Israel whose civilians face a daily threat of terror attacks?
6. Why has the United Nations passed far more condemnations against Israel than any other country – including Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Liberia, North Korea, and China combined – while millions were massacred in these other places? And then how does the UN expect Israel to accept it as an impartial mediator?
7. Why – if the Palestinian Authority has little freedom of speech and freedom of the press, little religious tolerance, is oppressive of Christians and other minorities, is corrupt at all levels of government, and is rife with vigilantism – is the creation of a Palestinian state a favorite “liberal” cause?
8. Why – after Yasser Arafat has proven for 40 years to be one of history’s most incorrigible terrorists, while loyally backing dictators like Saddam Hussein – does the European Union still strongly support Arafat’s leadership?
9. Why does the media call it “terror” when Al Qaeda strikes at Western targets, but not when Hamas strikes at Israelis (or even American citizens in Israel)?
10. If the Palestinians truly want peace, why do their school textbooks vilify Israel and glorify suicide bombers? Why does the government-controlled TV station broadcast virulent anti-Semitic messages? Why do mosques regularly incite followers to jihad? Why are (UN supported) children’s paramilitary training camps – masquerading as summer camps – named in honor of the most “successful” Palestinian terrorists (an indoctrination process that has resulted in 60-80% support for suicide bombings)?
11. Why does the world call the West Bank “occupied” if it never belonged to the Palestinians? [Jordan controlled the West Bank for 19 years after conquering it in a war of aggression. It previously belonged to the Mamelukes, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks, and then Britain.]
12. What other country would give control of its holiest spot (the Temple Mount) to another religion (which arrived 1,500 years later), and then permit them to systematically destroy ancient remains (to eliminate evidence of a 3,000-year-old Jewish presence) and allow that religious body to prohibit access to non-Muslims for three years?
13. Why does anyone doubt Israel’s sincerity for peace, after offering 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza in the Taba Talks 2001, and having given back the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt – a territory three times the size of Israel constituting 91 percent of the territory Israel took control of in the 1967 war?
14. Why does the world demand the uprooting of Jewish settlements – effectively making those areas “Judenrein” (empty of Jews)? Would anyone tolerate a similar form of ethnic cleansing whereby Israel does not allow Arabs to live in areas under Israeli control?
15. If, during Oslo, Israel gave tens of thousands of machine guns and 40% of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians (giving them control over 97% of their population), in return for the promise that “all future disputes would be handled without violence,” and instead Israel got 18,000 terrorist attacks that killed 845 and wounded 4,898 people, a collapsed economy, intolerable daily life for its citizens, and its holy sites desecrated, why is Israel again being asked to negotiate with that same Palestinian leadership, trust their future promises, and place its security in their hands?