Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It's not Israel who's oppressing the Palestinian Arabs

I wrote this in response to a misguided letter, written by an obviously ignorant woman, which was published in the New Haven Register and Middletown Press:

Thanks to the seven hour time difference, I read Susan Klein's letter, "Why I support BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)" shortly after the start of one of the saddest days of the year here in Israel, Yom HaZikaron or Memorial Day. On this day, we remember those who have been killed during all the wars that have been forced on us, along with those who have been murdered in the countless Arab terror attacks we have suffered. To read a letter from a Jewish woman who is obviously so grossly misinformed added to the sadness of the day.

Contrary to what Ms. Klein wrote, although many of those who recently started calling themselves Palestinians are being oppressed, Israel is not one of their oppressors.

The Arabs living in Israel have the same legal rights as all other Israeli citizens. There is really only one significant difference under the law: Arabs aren't forced to risk their lives by serving in the army. That hardly constitutes "oppression."

Of the Arabs living in the disputed territories:

The Arabs in Gaza are governed by Hamas. We send them food, fuel, electric power, water, medical supplies and building materials. Our hospitals treat many of their patients. They send us their rockets.

Of the Arabs in what Jordan renamed the "West Bank" after capturing it in 1948, approximately 95 percent live under their own government, the Palestinian Authority. Only a relative handful, perhaps 150,000, live in territory administered by Israel. Tellingly, the Arab population in the territory administered by Israel has skyrocketed during the nearly quarter century since the Palestinian Authority was established, strongly implying the Arabs know life under Israeli administration is far better than life under their own government.

No, we Israelis aren't oppressing the Palestinian Arabs; we have no interest in oppressing them. We would be perfectly happy had they not spurned the many opportunities given them to establish there own state, including 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000, 2001 and 2008, or during the period from 1948-1967 when all the currently disputed territory was ruled by Egypt and Jordan.

As I write this letter the evening of May 1, the solemnity of Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day, has been transformed into the joy of Yom Ha'atzma'ut, Independence Day. We would like nothing better if neither we nor the Palestinian Arabs had more lost lives to mourn on future Memorial Days. Unfortunately, the choice isn't ours; it's theirs.

Theodore Herzl, the prophet of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of our Jewish people, said "if you will it, it's not a dream."

When the Palestinian Arabs stop trying to destroy our dream, and finally will it, they too can celebrate their own Independence Day.