On the eve of Passover and during Ramadan, Israel is facing both a war with Palestinian terror and an all-out propaganda war in some of our elite colleges and universities.
In one recent lecture at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, “Performing Legality in Service of Colonialism: ‘Anti-Antisemitism’ as Censorship,” guest lecturer Lena Salaymeh implied that Jews are colonial usurpers in Israel – and, therefore, the argument of apartheid follows logically.
Of course, this is not true. Historically, the Palestinians’ existence in the area of Israel dates back only to the end of the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish presence in the land of their forebears, which goes all the way back to Abraham, the first patriarch, is 3,800 years old.
The Palestinians like the Quran, but not our Bible. The Quran does mention Abraham, but sees him as a Muslim, which is not the case in our Scriptures.
Palestinian propaganda is ruthless. Among their falsehoods is calling the Jewish return to the Holy Land of Israel a colonial affront to what the Palestinians say is their land, all of it, “from the river to the sea.”
Before the defensive war of June 1967, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, and Gaza by the Egyptians. After the 1967 war, Israel took over Gaza, the West Bank and the entire city of Jerusalem (they captured East Jerusalem and unified the city).
In 2005, Israel took its settlers and military out of Gaza, which is now controlled by Hamas. The West Bank is under legal (under international law) military rule by Israel, subject to the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted a degree of autonomy to the Palestinians who live there.
The Palestinian populations in their territories lack a clear legal definition of their status. The United States has promoted a two-state solution, so far without success. Palestinian hostility to Israel and their own lack of democracy are the reasons for the failure of negotiations between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Israel.
Hamas’ creed is totalitarian Islam; they are the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization. Hamas has declared that Israel must be annihilated. Hamas envisions a theocratic Islamic state of Palestine.
In spite of U.S. requests not to internationalize the conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, has made efforts in the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court to harm Israel’s legitimacy and make it a pariah state.
Palestinian terror activities, which today amount almost to a third intifada, particularly in the Jenin and Nablus areas, present a serious threat to Israel’s security. Hamas, with Iranian rockets and money, has again threatened violence in support of their co-terrorists in the West Bank.
In this cauldron of violence, the road to peace between Israel and the Palestinians seems very difficult, especially when one considers that Jerusalem, the holy capital of Israel, is sought as a capital by the Palestinians as well.
For peace negotiations to work, President Abbas must forthrightly recognize the sovereignty of the Jewish state of Israel on its land. The truth of the historical presence of Jewish settlement in Israel must be acknowledged. False statements must end, such as previous Palestinian National Authority President Yassar Arafat saying during the Camp David peace talks, in July 2000, that Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple never existed.
In return, Israel must be cognizant of Palestinian landed rights, and recognize a new legal formula for enhanced, structured, Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians would have weighted representation in Israel’s Knesset, including their autonomous status in East Jerusalem.
Jerusalem would still, however, be the holy capital of Israel. Security would be handled by Israel, but Palestinian police and Palestinian institutions would govern their lawful autonomous areas. Economic relations between Israelis and Palestinians would blossom. The effects on peace in the world would be incalculable.
MOSES MORDECAI TWERSKY of Providence has a master’s degree in American history from Providence College. His novel “Love Story in Greenwich Village: New York Iranian Adventure,” was published in January 2021 by Omniscriptum and is available from Amazon and other booksellers.