Colonialist mentality in the Israel-Arab conflict

Co-authored by Fred Maroun and Bassem Eid

We are often baffled that many otherwise sensible people seem to be totally off the mark in their analysis of the Israel / Arab conflict.  They say nothing about all the Arab crimes committed against Israel or even against Palestinians, but they are always eager to call Israel a criminal state as soon as she takes any action to defend her security.

Are these people unable to understand the history of the conflict?  People who view the conflict in this way do not understand the Middle East.  They still have the old colonialist mentality of Western nations occupying territory and “civilizing the savages”, and they feel guilty about it.  They project those guilt feelings on Israel, repeating to themselves that the only reason that Israel settles land is to colonize the Arab world.

They are missing two important pieces in their reasoning:  First, unlike old colonies of Europe, Israel is not the colony of any Western country; she is a nation that has existed for over three millennia, long before modern European countries.  Second, Israel has never had any interest in settling lands that were not part of the traditional Land of Israel; Israel is not in any way interested in taking over the Arab world, and anyone who can read a map can see that Israel is a tiny dot surrounded by a giant Arab world.

We support the concept of a two-state solution, and we do not support Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but that is not because we see them as a colonialist enterprise.  It is simply because we see a two-state solution as the only viable answer to the conflict, and we see settlements as an excuse used very effectively by Palestinian leaders to refuse peace with Israel.

Those who view the conflict from a colonialist prism are hurting the Palestinians because they make them out to be helpless and uneducated savages who have no control over their future.  The reality is that the reason the conflict has not been resolved is because too many Arabs and particularly Palestinians believe that Israel is a foreign entity that will inevitably disappear just as France left Lebanon and Syria, and just as Britain left Mandatory Palestine.

Because of the irrational and extremist approach taken by groups like Hamas, and often by Fatah, Israel feels no obligation to give up on what she sees as her historical right to the Land of Israel.  After all, Israel left Gaza, and see what happened!  The only way to reach an agreement with Israel that will achieve dignity and provide a state to the Palestinians is to use peaceful diplomacy and not violence, but because of guilt-ridden Westerners encouraging them, Palestinians do not feel the need to compromise.  Hamas sees violence as achieving the destruction of Israel, and Fatah sees delays and deception as achieving the same goal.

Israelis have no intention of going away, and they have nowhere to return to.  Jews see themselves as the most ancient native people of the Middle East, and they have the means to defend themselves.  If Palestinians cannot accept a peaceful resolution of the conflict, Israelis will fight tooth and nail for a very long time.  No one really knows what the future will hold if Palestinians continue to refuse peace, but they should realize that their future would not be bright anytime soon, and the very concept of a Palestinian nation could disappear.

If Palestinian leaders were wise, they would tell those in “aid” ships headed to Gaza to turn around and go drink through their guilt somewhere else.  They would also dismantle all terrorist organizations, and they would work for the goal of a Palestinian state using the only means that work: negotiation and diplomacy.  But they are not likely to do these things because Palestinian leaders have for 67 years consistently made every bad decision possible, and they have growing legions of guilt-ridden Westerners encouraging them to continue on the same destructive path.


Note: For writings by Fred Maroun, see The Jerusalem Post.  For writings by Bassem Eid, see