(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jews are a blessed people. In the land of Moab, Moses presented the terms of God’s covenant. In exchange for obeying him and his Word, Israel had the opportunity to choose life and blessing, not death and curses for themselves, the foreigners among them, and their future descendants. Since then, despite human deviations and detours, Israel’s worldview – in governance, military, society, education, etc. – is seated on this decision to choose and nurture life.
Not every nation enjoys this privilege.
Trees are known by their fruit and, unfortunately for the Palestinian people, the birth of their nationalist aspirations was sown, rooted and fruited in bitterness, hatred and death. Zvi Elpeleg, a Polish-born academic, author, researcher and IDF colonel who also received an ambassadorial appointment observed that from the 1920s to the 1940s, “the Palestinian national movement was founded and led by Hajj Amin al-Husseini, an ideological collaborator with Adolf Hitler.”
Dr. Joel Fishman, an historian and fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, wrote that Husseini “shaped the Palestinian national character in the image of his pathological hatred of the Jews. Rather than providing the Palestinian Arabs with a positive vision of a future state that would safeguard and cultivate them as a distinct Arab nation, he shaped Palestinian society as a wholly negative phenomenon. In short, Husseini’s goal was not to form a Palestinian state, but to prevent the establishment of a Jewish one through terror and political warfare. It wasn’t a matter of seeing the Palestinians succeed, but of seeing Israel fail.”
How can a people build a viable state on such a foundation? To this end, the Palestinian government pays salaries to terrorists, lauds and rewards terrorists and their families and incites hatred in media, on the streets and in schools, and international forums. Violent narrative in schoolbooks incites children as young as first-graders to murder Israelis and sacrifice themselves as martyrs for the “cause” of statehood. In a Hamas video of a school play, 10-year-olds in terrorist garb plunge fake knives into pupils dressed as Jews, to the delight of the audience. “Moderate” Palestinian Authority leaders praise teens and young adults who put what they’ve learned into practice with real daggers on the streets of Jerusalem. When a Palestinian terrorist kills Jews, the people parade in the streets, hand out candy to children and name parks or other public places after the terrorist, enshrining him as a hero. Tragically, for everyone in the region, an entire generation of Palestinian children and youth are being sacrificed to a culture that values death more than life. As King Solomon observed: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Unlike the Palestinian mindset, Jews don’t fight with the goal of inflicting harm or death – but to preserve and protect life, though Israel exercises the right of self-defense in wars or terrorist attacks. All life is precious to the Jews.
Jewish emergency-room doctors treat Jews, Druse, Palestinians and Christians alike. Soldiers and military leaders don’t look for glory or victory parades. When the battle is over, soldiers quietly return home to their families. There are no monuments in Israel depicting mighty warriors or conquests – rather, memorials commemorate those who lost their lives fighting to prolong life for Israel and her people.
As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel labors to protect quality of life and freedom. Could that be why more than half of east Jerusalem’s Arab residents prefer to be citizens of Israel with equal rights rather than citizens of a Palestinian state? Isn’t it puzzling that the United States and Western democracies who push for a Palestinian state do not seem concerned for Palestinian life, let alone their liberty or happiness? If one has genuine compassion for the Palestinian people – apart from politics – we must, like Israel, choose life.
The author served in senior-level positions with four US presidents and is currently an international Christian broadcaster and journalist whose articles appear in major magazines and newspapers and whose pro-Israel daily television and radio commentaries are aired around the world.