Inconvenient truths about the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Recent discussions about Israel and the Palestinians often lack critical information and provide a one-sided view that fails to give the reader a proper view of the conflict.

The stress of Palestinian authors that they support peace is far from reality. From 1936- 1939, the Arab uprising killed over 400 Jewish civilians. The First Intifada (1987-1993) killed 100 Israeli citizens and wounded 1,400 Israeli civilians. The Second Intifada, (2000- 2005) with Palestinian suicide bombings, killed 1,100 Israeli civilians.

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From 1948 to 1997 alone, Arab soldiers and Palestinian fighters killed over 20,000 Israeli soldiers, wounded another 75,000 and disabled almost 100,000 of them.

In the last two decades the Palestinians have turned down several Israeli offers to give them over 90% of the disputed territory. Hamas in Gaza continues to send suicide bombers towards Israel and calls for destruction of Israel. In the 2017 words of the Hamas Charter, Hamas “rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Sea.” From 2006 to 2018 Hamas has launched more than 11,200 rockets and mortars at Israel.

Religion is not as significant as the pro-BDS writers believe. The considerable majority of Israelis are not religious.

Furthermore, Israelis live peaceably with 1.7 million Arabs within its borders. A recent poll of Israeli Arabs shows that Israel has actually treated its 1.7 million Israeli Arabs quite well, so much so, that over 60% of them said that Israel is the best country which to live in the Middle East.

The Palestinian observers claim that the situation is complicated by the fact that many Palestinians have been expelled, robbed, imprisoned or occupied. However, nothing but the complete and utter annihilation of Israel will satisfy many Palestinians.

Gaza is in the hands of the radical Hamas.

The West Bank, on the other hand, is calmer due to the willingness of the Palestinian Authority to work with Israeli security forces every night to maintain order in the area.

The Israelis have voluntarily withdrawn from the Sinai (1982), Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005).

There are key variables that BDS supporters downplay. They ignores the fact that Israel is one of only two of over 100 new nations (the other being India) to be a democratic country from its beginning (in 1948) to today. The Palestinian authors mention nothing about the fact that the Arabs have over 10% of the deputies in the Israeli Knesset. There is almost nothing about Israel’s respect for the rule of law which has sent a President and Prime Minister to jail. By contrast, the Palestinians have never developed a democratic regime.

Nowhere is there any mention that Israel has a powerful capitalist economy which has skyrocketed from less than $3,000 GDP/ capita in 1948 to over $39,000 (the level of Japan) today. Israel exports over $100 billion a year. Nor is there any mention that Israel has a top-5 high tech industry which is the envy of the world.

ISRAEL’S HISTORY is largely ignored by BDS enthusiasts. Yet, Jewish Kings Solomon and David ruled the land 3,000 years ago and a Jewish state ruled the region for almost 1,000 years (save for a 50 years interim after 586 BCE) until the year 70 saw its final destruction.

A recent study showed that today there should be 100 million Jews in the world, but instead there are only 14 million Jews on earth. This is due to many factors: the Holocaust that killed six million Jews, European pogroms, forced conversions, frequent expulsion from European countries and recurrent punishment by the ruling classes.

Nor do BDS supporters mention Sephardi Jews who lived as second class citizens in the Middle East for hundreds of years until the creation of the State of Israel.

After 1948 and especially in the 1950s, 70% of them chose to move to Israel – often as a result of government repression. Nor do they cite modern polls, such as the latest one that showed 74% of Americans favor Israel and only 23% favor the Palestinian cause.

Furthermore, the 1947 UN resolution creating two states, one Israeli and one Arab, was accepted by Israel and rejected by the Arabs who sent five armies to attempt the annihilation of the new Jewish state. In 1948, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, declared that, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like Mongolian Massacres.”

Just before the 1967 War, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser said, “This is our chance, Arabs, to deal Israel a mortal blow of annihilation, to blot out its entire presence in our holy land.”

In short, there is much that is missing in depictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and much that needs to be added for a fair understanding of what is going on. Only then can we truly understand this conflict.

The author is a full professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.