One of the oft repeated laments from many world leaders when speaking about the long festering Arab-Israeli conflict is regarding sacrifices.
How many times did former US Secretary of State John Kerry, or former President Obama, or other leaders talk about the need for both sides to make sacrifices for peace? We heard it repeatedly. Yet the truth of the matter is only one side has made sacrifices, while the other side has not made any. One side has continuously demonstrated its desire for peace, while the other side has continuously demonstrated it wants the other destroyed.
The Middle East consists of 22 Arab nations with a combined population of almost 400 million, compared to a little over 8 million in Israel (6.5 million Jews, and 1.5 million Arabs). Size wise Israel is roughly 8,000 square miles, compared to over 7 million square miles for the Arab nations. The Arab population makes up over 98% of the Middle East, while geographically covers over 99% of the land compared to the size of Israel. These facts are merely to provide some perspective. Yet in spite of the overwhelming advantage the Arab world enjoys, the tiny Jewish nation of Israel is considered intolerable by many.
Let’s see if criticism of Israel is justified, by providing proof of what sacrifices have already been made.
List of Jewish Sacrifices
- In the 1947 UN partition of the land west of the Jordan River the Jews were to receive roughly 5,500 square miles of land, while the Arabs were to receive roughly 4,500 square miles. This would have created the 23rd Arab nation in the Middle East. Jerusalem, which has been the ancestral capital of Jewish life for well over 3,000 years was designated as an international city and cut off from a contiguous connection with the Jewish state.
In spite of seeing the creation of yet another Arab state, and not having a physical connection to Jerusalem, the Jews, while furious, made the sacrifice and agreed to the partition plan. However, it was the Arab world which rejected the vote of the UN and attacked Israel in May 1948 one day after its independence. After a protracted war which lasted over a year, Israel was able to secure additional land, including Jerusalem, bringing its size to roughly 8,000 square miles. On Dec. 13, 1949 Prime Minister David Ben Gurion announced Jerusalem would be the official capital of the Jewish state of Israel.
- In June 1967 Israel was forced to defend itself against Syria, Jordan and Egypt in the Six Day War. During this decisive Israeli victory the Holy Old City of Jerusalem was captured from the Jordanians, who had been in control of it since the Independence war ended in 1949. The victory reunited the Jewish people with Temple Mount and the Western Wall of the Second Temple compound. Israeli flags flew over their holiest site for the first time in modern history.
At the conclusion of the war Defense Minister Moshe Dayan made a highly controversial decision. Against the advice of the religious and conservative Jews, he made a huge sacrifice in the interest of peace by awarding administrative control of Temple Mount to the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic Trust). He ordered Israeli flags removed and he banned Jews from praying on Temple Mount. This remains in effect today.
In the same war Israel captured the Gaza Strip and virtually all of the Sinai Desert.
- On Yom Kippur 1973, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Israel was attacked on two fronts from Egypt and Syria. Caught by surprise many Israeli lives were lost before they were able to turn the tide. After Israel successfully crossed the Suez Canal and had tanks in route to Cairo Egypt summoned the US to broker a cease fire. Six years later in an historic agreement, Israel signed its first formal peace treaty with a sovereign Arab nation. The Camp David Accord was brokered by President Jimmy Carter and signed by Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin on the White House Lawn in March 1979.
In their effort to secure peace Israel gave up the entire Sinai Desert. Later that year Israel also turned over control of the Alma oil field, which had $100 billion in untapped reserves. Anwar Sadat later lamented “poor Menahcim, I got back the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachim got? A piece of paper.”
- Since Israel’s independence is 1948 ongoing terror attacks had taken hundreds of Israeli lives. In an effort to secure peace with the ‘Palestinians’ in 1993 Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin signed the first of several agreements with Yasser Arafat founder of the PLO terrorist group. This was known as the Oslo Accords. Once again the US played the key role and the formal signing took place at the White House. Just under 1,600 Israeli’s had been murdered between ’48 and ’93. Over this 53 year period that is a sustained average of one murdered every other week.
The accords were designed to provide self-rule for the Palestinians. Israel was willing to give up control over specified areas on the condition the Palestinians stop the terror attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. This was an effort to build trust between the two sides. The longer the Palestinians refrained from terror, the more land Israel would turn over to them. Ultimately if the Palestinians showed good will and stopped the terror, the end game of the Oslo Accords could have given them much of the land they demanded for statehood. All they were asked to do is stop murdering Jews.
However, they did not stop. In 1994 Palestinian terrorists murdered 65 Israelis and another 29 in 1995. Then tragedy struck in 1995 when Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated .
Subsequent to this the terror continued. Between 1996 and 2000 Palestinians murdered another 165 Israelis. The Oslo Accords had all but collapsed because the Palestinians refused to honor their commitment to cease their terror against the Jews.
The Israeli government went into crisis mode and had to come up with something to protect Jewish civilians from being murdered. A highly controversial decision was made to construct a security barrier. The Palestinians and Israel’s critics called it a land grab. However, this reluctant decision had to be made for one simple reason- to protect Jewish civilians from being murdered. It was never intended to be a land grab.
Throughout the first phase of the barrier’s construction the Palestinians not only did not stop the terror, they increased it significantly. During that four year period they murdered 984 Israelis or an average of just under 5 per week!
The sacrifice Israel made by turning over land to the Palestinians was a total bust. Responsibility for its failure rests with the Palestinians.
- Now we come to one of the most gut wrenching sacrifices Israel made in an effort to secure peace. In 2005 after a 38 year presence in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to pull almost 8,000 Jews out of the coast enclave. Heart breaking images of Israeli soldiers physically dragging screaming families from their homes brought the country to its knees. The tiny Jewish nation came to the brink of civil war. Yet the task was completed and the Gaza Strip was turned over to the Palestinians to establish self- rule.
After Israel vacated the Strip the Palestinian held elections in 2006. They voted the terrorist group Hamas into power. Since then Hamas has fired over 15,000 rockets and mortars into Israel. There havebeen three wars between them. To this day Hamas has been relentless in its effort to deny Israel any peace. It constructs underground tunnels made from supplies designed for humanitarian purposes, while continuing their hateful campaign of Israel’s destruction.
Once again a huge sacrifice by Israel for peace backfired.
Then there is Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Most world leaders consider Abbas a moderate. Since October 2015 the so-called ‘knife intifada’ has been going on. This has been a series of premeditated attacks by Palestinians who have carried out dozens of stabbings and vehicle ramming’s against Israeli soldiers and civilians. At least 44 Israelis have been brutally murdered. Abbas reacts by praising the murderers, saying “we bless every drop of blood.” In addition he demonstrates his complete disdain for Jewish lives by meeting with the families of Palestinian terrorists.
He also has said on numerous occasions he will never accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas says Israel is the obstacle to peace because of its ‘settlement’ construction. Sorry Mr. Abbas, if anyone is responsible for lack of progress on the peace front it is you who bless murderers and categorially deny Israel the right to exist as a Jewish state.
Once again world leaders and organizations are pressuring Israel to consider yet another sacrifice for peace by giving up land the Palestinians demand for a state, which Abbas demands must be 100% Jew free. They offer nothing in return, not altering their charters calling for Israel’s destruction, not renouncing terror, not even recognition.
Let There Be No Doubt
It should be exceedingly clear by now who has made the sacrifices for peace. It is Israel. Both land an lives have been sacrificed. What has been asked of the Palestinians? Simple, stop the murder of civilians, and accept Israel as a Jewish state. They offer neither. Yet, in spite of not making a single compromise for peace the Palestinians are not penalized and continue to receive hundreds of millions in aid. Plus, they continue to pay salaries to terrorist who murdered Jews.
How are the Palestinian people ever going to desire peace if not a single one of the leaders speaks about necessary sacrifices it requires? When the Palestinian people hear and see their political and religious leaders is glorify murderers by naming schools and summer camps after them, these become their role models. This makes peace impossible. It’s not to say there aren’t Palestinians who want peace. There are. However, they are in the minority and afraid to speak out because they get threatened by the fundamentalists. I am still waiting to see the first peace demonstration in the streets of any Palestinian city. For peace to have any chance this has to change.
Here’s the list of Palestinian sacrifices: Zero
That says it all.
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