My Word: Stop trying to save Israel

By
June 1, 2017 21:05

The anniversary is less of a wake-up call than a reminder of the alarming threats that existed before June 1967.




Tel Aviv City Hall lights up in solidarity with Egypt following Friday's terror attack that claimed

Tel Aviv City Hall lights up in solidarity with Egypt following Friday's terror attack that claimed the lives of at least 29 Coptic Chrisitians outside of Cairo. . (photo credit:TAMARA ZIEVE)

Here we go again. That was my first thought when I read the report by The Jerusalem Post’s Tamara Zieve on May 29 that a new group has been formed to tell Israelis how bad their situation is.

According to the report, the organization – another organization – is called SISO (“Save Israel, Stop the Occupation”) and “is appealing to Jews both in Israel and around the world to join their call for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

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It doesn’t appeal to me; it’s a matter of taste.

SISO has two focuses which it considers fresh, although my Facebook feed is full of this stuff all the time. The old-new emphasis is on, according to Zieve’s report, “the social and economic cost of Israel’s continued rule over the disputed areas and an attempt to quash the view of the conflict as intractable by shining a light on other prolonged conflicts that were resolved despite seeming ‘hopeless.’” Its Facebook page claims that “SISO unites Jewish progressive forces in the Diaspora with Israeli initiatives for coordinated action and collective impact to end the occupation.

“We are acting out of a love for Israel and a commitment to its future well-being. We know that the occupation is harmful both for Israelis and Palestinians. And we know that there is an alternative. The occupation is destined to end. We support a two-state solution, but if this is not imminent, Israel must grant full rights to Palestinians for as long as they are under Israeli control.”

I’d be surprised to find that full political rights are expected to be accompanied by paying taxes and serving in the army, however.

SISO was founded last year as a “wake-up call,” ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.

The anniversary is less of a wake-up call than a reminder of the alarming threats that existed before June 1967.

The triumph of narrative over history is that Israel deliberately “conquered” the West Bank, “east” Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Gaza and Sinai in 1967. “So sorry we won,” as satirist Ephraim Kishon put it in a book by that name.

I believe that had Israel lost in 1967 (as the Arab world expected), it would indeed have prevented the 1973 Yom Kippur War – there would have been no Israel left to fight.

Fifty years down the line, it’s hard to imagine a single NGO in a Muslim country being formed to try and ease the conditions of the Jews “under occupation” (let alone a cluster of 50-plus groups like those that apparently back SISO). It’s not easy to imagine a significant Jewish population in Israel being left alive. Today, the country’s population numbers some 8.7 million, nearly 75 percent of whom are Jewish.

Similarly, had Israel lost the Yom Kippur War it would have been the end of the Jewish state. This was obviously the intention of the neighboring Arab states when once again ignoring pleas not to attack (and ignoring a spectacularly bad record at beating Israel), they launched their multi-pronged mass offensive.

At least the Israeli victory of 1973 seems to have paved the way for Egypt and later Jordan to realize that war was not going to succeed and peace treaties – albeit cold – were created.

The Palestinians, too, could have had peace by now had they made it their goal.

Are there 50 organizations out there willing to put pressure on the Palestinians to make peace with Israel? 30? 20? Anyone with a creative, moral idea to save the Palestinians from themselves? I don’t need the NGO industry to tell me that all is not well, neither for Israelis nor for Palestinians – although considering that for the past 20 years or so they have been basically governing themselves in both the West Bank and Gaza and it hasn’t actually created the model of democracy, I don’t think Israel is entirely to blame.

I’m old enough to remember “the bad old days,” before peace talks, when people knew the word “salaam,” but not “intifada.” Terrorism wasn’t the result of walls and roadblocks. Fences and checkpoints went up to deal with the terrorism.

On Jerusalem Day last week, marking the reunification of the capital half a century ago, some friends celebrated with the traditional Dance of Flags in the Old City. Others took a less in-your-face approach and distributed flowers and a message of peace to local Arab residents.

Rallies and protests come in different forms, but one thing’s for sure: No good is going to come out of something called a “day of rage,” of the type frequently held by the Palestinians.

IT’S HARD to find figures on how many people attended the rally in Tel Aviv on May 27 led by Peace Now together with other left-wing organizations of the type to which SISO is reaching out. Reports mention a fuzzy “thousands.”

I have friends who went. I have many more who didn’t. Yet all my friends – Left, Right and Center – want peace.

Many Americans used Memorial Day this week as an excuse for shopping and barbecues. In Israel, Remembrance Day is somber. Too many people have a name and face they recall on that day and indeed throughout the year.

Israelis need no preaching about the benefits of peace.

Late in the night on May 27, the Tel Aviv City Hall was lit up with the Egyptian flag out of solidarity with the victims of the latest attack on Coptic Christians in which 29 were killed.

On May 24, the municipal offices’ lights formed the Union Jack to demonstrate sympathy for the 22 victims of the jihadist terror attack in Manchester.

The world paid less attention to the Christian Filipino victims of the Islamist onslaught on the southern city of Marawi. The three policemen killed in a double bombing, apparently by an ISIS-affiliated group, in Jakarta on May 24 also slipped under the radar, but a line can be drawn between all these atrocities.

“The occupation” is not the problem. Israel is not the problem; it’s part of the solution.

At the Tel Aviv rally, a letter from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was read, stating: “The time has come for the State of Israel to end the occupation and recognize our country.”

It’s what passes for a statement of peace from Abbas.

The continued funding of incitement and payments to the families of terrorists and “martyrs” gives a different message.

Calling for pressure on Israel – and Israel alone – to “take risks for peace” is not going to go down well with the vast majority of us here in Israel who have to live with, or try to live with, the consequences of those risks.

According to an al-Jazeera report, 137 UN member states recognize “Palestine,” yet the Palestinians zealously protect their UN-granted “perpetual refugee” status.

They have their own parliament, but don’t hold elections; their own laws, prisons and education system.

International aid is being lost to corruption or spent furthering the cult of martyrdom and victimhood.

Those truly concerned about peace and democracy don’t need to SISO: They need to STOP – Stop The Oppression of Palestinians – by the Palestinian leadership.

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