An Open Letter to Mahmoud Abbas
Earlier last month, hundreds of your citizens chanted a death call against all Jews, nearly half of whom live in Israel. The chant of “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,” said too commonly around the world, was tossed at us, from our holiest site in Israel, from where you (and Jordan), as guardians of it, courtesy of Israel’s previous leaderships, already prohibit us and any non-Muslims from praying. I understand it was a spontaneous outburst, but such outbursts and violence do result from the steady stream of hatred your government-controlled media, education system and terrorist funding, inflict on your people.
So, the threats made on the Temple Mount, warning us that, “ . . . the army of Muhammad is returning,” are effective. Precedent has been set. It would be unwise for Israel to offer more land with less control.
Yet, less than two weeks after the Israelis had to hear this chant, from above the ruins of our ancient Temple, they stood by U.S. President Trump as he made his proposal to you, which includes land and a plan to invest tens of billions of dollars into your people and into what could become your new, never before had, country.
It’s unfortunate that Palestinian homelessness has become a lucrative enterprise. UNWRA functions to keep your people in a homeless, unproductive and unsatisfying state. How unjust that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees helps to settle all, all, refugees of the world, except the Arabs who lived in what is now Israel, from just 1946 -1948, and uniquely, their descendants.
No other descendants in the world, except for yours, legally inherit the burden of refugee status of the generations before. That “gift” of being perpetual outcasts whether a Palestinian has lived the past 72 years in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan, often being deprived the opportunity to buy land and have certain jobs, is the combined present from the UN and/or the host countries, the countries in which many of your people have roots, the countries that brought on the war that triggered your displacement.
UNWRA has enabled you to be a hostile neighbor. And yet, the Israelis’ desire for peace with you, and empathy for your people, their ancestral cousins, is so great, that they’ve already demonstrated willingness to take a risk, when no other citizens of the world have given up land for you to start a country. When Jordan violently overtook Judea and Samaria in 1948, they forced out all the Jews and destroyed more than 50 synagogues (some centuries old) in an attempt to wipe away ancient Jewish history. And yet they never gave that land (now commonly called West Bank) to you to form a country. They also occupied East Jerusalem and prevented Jews from even approaching the holiest sites. Not only did they not set aside East Jerusalem for your capital (or theirs for that matter), they didn’t even put it aside to give to you as the start of a Palestinian state. The Egyptians didn’t give up Gaza to form the beginning of a country called Palestine, either. The only people of the Middle East who demonstrated a willingness to (cautiously) give up some of their land for you to make a new, never before existing country, are the people you show the most animosity to, the people who’ve worked hard to build a thriving democracy on less than two tenths of 1% of the entire Middle East. The Israelis have been willing to share all along – but want none of the hatred and violence that created your circumstances in the first place. They seem very willing to give President Trump’s proposal a try. It would be unwise for them to offer much more.
Even if they did, how much land would Israel need to gift you to then stop paying people to kill? Or to stop inserting lies into textbooks and math problems that celebrate murdering Jews? Or to stop poisoning your children with hate, lies and the desire for a celebrated death?
I hope you accept President Trump’s proposal or make a reasonable counteroffer before too much time passes. Because until you dispel the thick fog of hateful indoctrination, not limited to the devices of television and books, each generation will miss out on a life of freedom and happiness.
I’m cheering on the Palestinians during this potential turning point of history – rooting for them to demand that their leaders take steps that give them all a better life, with academic honesty in their schools and freedom in their media while living in peace and prosperity with their Jewish neighbors and with one another.
Wishing for the Best,
Faith Quintero is the author of Loaded Blessings, a family saga that alternates between Inquisition era Spain and modern-day Israel. It is among the Federalist’s top books of 2019 list.