The Israeli Wall And The Settlers On The Other Side
There’s still a lot of hot and heavy debate about the wall Israel is building between themselves and the Palestinians. Predictably, many people oppose the wall, but let’s face it, for most of them, it’s knee jerk opposition since Israel can do no right in their eyes.
But, there are even a sizable number of Israeli supporters who’re opposed to the move because they see it as a capitulation in the war on terrorism and also because Israeli settlers are being forced give up their homes. The latest column by Jeff Jacoby, who’s a superb columnist by the way, is a good example of this school of thought:
“And yet there is no getting around the fact that Israel is about to become the first modern, Western nation in more than 60 years to forcibly uproot a whole population — men, women, children, babies — solely because they are Jews. There is no getting around the fact that the forthcoming expulsions are rooted in the belief that any future Palestinian state must be Judenrein — emptied of its Jews. And while it goes without saying that Sharon and every member of his government abominate the Nazis and all they stood for, there is no getting around the fact that disengagement is meant to appease an enemy that has always regarded the genocidal hatred of Jews in a very different light.
Long before there were “occupied territories,” Haj Amin El-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of Palestine’s Arabs, urged Hitler to “solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries . . . by the same method that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.” When five Arab armies invaded the newborn Israel in 1948, the secretary-general of the Arab League vowed to wage “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”
More than half a century later, how much has changed? The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is the author of a book denying the Holocaust and claiming that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis against the Jews of Europe. Palestinian Authority TV broadcasts poisonous diatribes, like one Friday sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris. “The Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers,” he preached. “The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature and have been throughout history.”
…The abandonment of Gaza and northern Samaria plays directly into the hands of the haters. The sight of Jewish troops expelling Jewish families from their homes and schools will do nothing to promote Arab-Israeli peace. It will reinforce instead the notion that any Jewish presence is intolerable on land the Arabs claim for themselves. And if that is an argument against Jewish life in Gaza, it is also an argument against Jewish life in Israel.”
You know, I’m not even going to disagree with any of that. But, what I will say is that Israel doesn’t have any fantastic options here. They’re dealing with a bunch of fanatical, completely irrational savages.
The Israelis have tried reasoning with them, as if they were civilized people, for more than a decade and they’ve gotten absolutely nowhere. So to continue along that path is nothing more than masochism.
Now ideally, the Israelis could simply drive all the Palestinians out of their homes at gunpoint, take their land, and bomb any of the neighboring states that make too much of a fuss about it. But, the Israelis don’t have the political will to do that and the United States wouldn’t back their play at this point, so a transfer is out.
On the other hand, the Israelis could go in the opposite direction and let the Palestinians have a State. But, even setting aside the fact the Palestinians insist on the Right of Return, which would bring in millions more Palestinians and lead to demographic suicide for Israel, nothing would be gained by giving the Pals what they want.
Groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad openly say that their goal is the destruction of Israel, not a State. Furthermore, whether you’re talking about Arafat or whether you’re talking about Abbas, very little of consequence has been done to curtail the activities of the terrorist groups in the territories and there’s no reason to think that would change if the Palestinians had their own nation. So even if the Israelis were inclined to trade “land for peace,” the Palestinians aren’t putting peace on the table.
Which brings us to Sharon’s plan: walling off the Palestinians. Granted, you may occasionally have a suicide bomber slip through and the Pals can still fire rockets over the wall, but the number of casualties produced by terrorist attacks has been and will continue to be dramatically reduced by walling off the terrorists and their supporters. Furthermore, the wall will reduce the strain on the Israeli military and it’ll make life better for many Palestinians who’ll no longer have to go through checkpoint after checkpoint under the eyes of lethal and understandably nervous Israeli troops.
On top of that, look at the demographics in Gaza: there are “1.3 million Arabs (and) 9,000 Jews.” Now how much sense would it make to build a wall and then take a big chunk of your army and put it on the other side to defend 9,000 settlers who are outnumbered nearly 150 to 1 by bloodthirsty Palestinians? That just wouldn’t make any sense.
So, despite the fact that it’s going to be tough on those settlers, they’re going to have to leave their homes. I’m sure Sharon doesn’t like making them move, but he, and the rest of the Israeli people, have got to make the best of a bad situation — and building this wall is doing exactly that.