Sderot damage 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
In early September, I was invited to take part in a press conference in Oslo, along with the Israeli ambassador to Norway, members of the Norwegian media and members of the Norwegian parliament. The title of the press conference was "Iran: At Sderot's Back Door."
It was at that press conference that "rocket reality" was presented before Norwegians for the first time, showing the Western Negev as the only place in the Western world where rockets and missiles are fired at citizens on almost a daily basis. Of these attacks, 97 percent are launched by Palestinian militias from the convenient cover of civilian homes in Gaza. Their weapons come directly from Iran, with their delivery to Gaza facilitated by Syria and Egypt. This is how Hamas became Teheran's "third arm," after Hizbullah in Lebanon.
While Norwegian parliament members showed sympathy and said that they more clearly understood Sderot and Gaza, they also rationalized the Gaza rocket reality with the commonly held illusion that "if the Palestinians would be able to have their own independent state - in the West Bank and Gaza - this would bring peace and security to both sides and the firing on Israel would stop." In other words, firing missiles at Israel is justified because of the lack of a Palestinian state, since the West Bank is still "occupied."
From an Israeli perspective, then, promoting the "two-state solution" gives Europeans and their parliamentarians a way to justify ongoing rocket fire. This also gives nations around the world a justification to continue to aid the Palestinian Authority, which now receives the largest proportionate aid compared with any people of a similar sized population.
Indeed, the Norwegian government provided $100 million to the PA over the past year, even after it was proven that much of this budget reaches the hands of Hamas, which openly uses these allocations to finance terrorism.
The two-state solution is mistakenly used by Israel's advocates to justify Israel's approach to peace - pursued even under fire as a political solution. But when Israel's advocates support a two-state solution while Sderot and the Western Negev remain under constant missile threat - especially after Israel pulled out all Jewish communities and IDF bases from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 - they are simply ignoring the fact that 7,000 missiles have been fired at Israel from the de facto Palestinian state spawned in Gaza over the past three years.
THAT IS what a two-state solution means - giving the country's enemies a convenient base from which they can terrorize the civilian population, in defiance of international law. The Western world's media, and even the Israeli media, refer to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, taken in 1967, as the territories that are in dispute, while Hamas, all of the other Palestinian terror groups and the PA itself define Sderot and the Western Negev as "occupied territory." They do not recognize the territory that Israel acquired in 1948, an integral part of the sovereign state of Israel.
In the words of the press statement that Hamas issued on November 26, 2006, the day before the last cease-fire commenced (a six-month cease-fire in which more than 300 missiles were fired at Israel): "We will not stop firing on the Zionist settlement Sderot until the last citizen of Sderot leaves." Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority's "Palestine Map," which can be purchased in any PA office, replaces Sderot with pre-1948 Najd; Ashkelon is replaced by al-Majdal and Ashdod by Isdod.
The Palestinian "right of return" refers to the return of Palestinian refugees to all of Israel. Meanwhile, the PA schools books show no rights for Jews living in the land of Israel, no mention of the history of the Jews in the land of Israel.
By what right was the State of Israel established? What were the historical and legal rights of the Jewish people to the land of Israel? And why has the Palestinian refugee problem persisted, like no other in the world? It is the responsibility of anyone who speaks for Israel to emphasize that during the late 1940s, more than 40 million refuges around the world were resettled, except for one people. They remain defined as refugees, wallowing 60 years later in 59 UNRWA refugee camps, financed by $400 million contributed annually by nations of the world to nurture the promise of the "right of return" to Arab neighborhoods and Arab villages from 1948 that no longer exist.
No nation would tolerate even one rocket being launched toward its territory; but that is what Israel is asked to accept as an integral part of its existence, since the supposed root of the problem is that the Palestinian Arab people do not have a state of their own.
Yet the regime in Gaza let the ceasefire lapse and resumed its rocket attacks - provoking the current Israeli military operation - not to facilitate a two-state solution, but to "liberate" the rest of Palestine.
The writer is the head of the Sderot Media Center.