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 U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, former president Obama, or other leaders talk about the need for both sides to make sacrifices for peace? We’ve heard it repeatedly. Yet the truth of the matter is that 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 Arab population makes up over 98% of the Middle East, while geographically covers more than 99% of the land compared to the size of Israel. These facts are merely to provide some perspective. Yet despite of the overwhelming advantage the Arab world enjoys, the tiny Jewish nation of Israel is considered intolerable by many.
List of Jewish Sacrifices
1. 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.
Yet, at the conclusion of the war, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan 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 spite of Israel’s sacrifice Temple Mount remains a flashpoint issue and numerous riots have taken place at Al Aqsa mosque.
In the same war Israel captured the Gaza Strip and virtually all of the Sinai Desert.
2. 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 U.S. to broker a ceasefire. 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 the interest of peace, Israel gave up the entire Sinai. Later that year Israel also turned over control of the Alma oil field, which had an estimated $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.”
3. Since Israel’s independence in 1948, repeated terror attacks had taken hundreds of Israeli lives. In an effort to secure peace with the ‘Palestinians’ in 1993 Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, founder of the PLO terrorist group signed the Oslo Accords. Once again the U.S. played the key role and the formal signing took place at the White House. Just under 1,600 Israelishad been murdered between ’48 and ’93, an average of one murder every other week for this 53-year period.
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 stopped terror attacks against 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. All they were asked to do is stop murdering Jews. This agreement led to Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat being awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. Yet the murders 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.
The terror continued. Between 1996 and 2000 Palestinians murdered another 165 Israelis. The Oslo Accords all but collapsed because the Palestinians refused to honor their commitment to stop murdering Jews.
The Israeli government 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.
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 — an average of just under five a week.
The sacrifice Israel made by turning over land to the Palestinians was a total bust. Responsibility for its failure rests with the Palestinians.
4. Now we come to one of the most gut-wrenching sacrifices Israel made in their desire for peace. In 2005, after a 38-year presence in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to pull all 8,000 Jews out of the coastal enclave. Heartbreaking 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 mortar rounds and Israel has been forced into three wars with them. To this day, Hamas has been relentless in its effort to deny Israel peace. It constructs underground terror tunnels made from supplies designed for humanitarian purposes while continuing a hateful campaign of Israel’s destruction.
Once again Israel’s huge sacrifice 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 stabbings and vehicle rammings by Palestinians 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 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. But if anyone is responsible for lack of progress on the peace front it is Mahmoud Abbas.
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 says 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 clear by now who has made the sacrifices for peace — Israel. Both land and lives have been sacrificed. What has been asked of the Palestinians? Stop the murder of civilians and accept Israel as a Jewish state. They offer neither. Yet, despite not making a single compromise for peace, the Palestinians are not penalized and keep receiving hundreds of millions in aid. Plus, they continue to pay salaries to terrorist who murder Jews.
When the Palestinian people hear and see their political and religious leaders 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 due to threats by the fundamentalists. I am still waiting to see the first peace demonstration in the streets of any Palestinian city. When the response to terror is viewed as less acceptable than terror itself, something is terribly wrong.
List of Palestinian sacrifices: Zero
That says it all.
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