While most Americans have strongly condemned Hamas for its recent grotesque, unconscionable massacre of innocent civilians in Israel, others have passionately taken their side and hold Israel to blame. As philosopher Ayn Rand observed, when a difference of opinion is so stark and irreconcilable, the parties should “check their premises.” So, let’s start by fact-checking the false narrative that “the Palestinians in Gaza are victims of oppression by Israel who are occupying their rightful Palestinian homeland.”
The claim of a biblical-era historical nation of Palestinian people is a myth. About 3,200 years ago, the 12 tribes of Israel united in Canaan under King Saul and later split into the Jewish kingdoms of Judah and Isarel. In 134 AD, the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land formerly called Judea (meaning land of the Jews). But it was the name of a region, not a nation. The land has changed hands many times under various conquerors. From the dawn of history, national borders have been redrawn under “the right of conquest.”
Fast forwarding to the early 1920s, Palestine and a much larger contiguous territory known as Transjordan was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. On the verge of its collapse, it ceded the land to the League of Nations, newly formed after World War I. In 1922, the League placed administrative control under a mandate to Britain, with an instruction to create a “national home for the Jewish people.” The Brits promptly gave three-quarters of the land to the Arabs, creating Jordan. But Britain’s “Mandate for Palestine” still included a national home for the Jews, reconfirming the commitment of the Balfour Declaration issued by the British government in 1917.
Many Jews fleeing from Nazi extermination before and during World War II, and others who emigrated to Palestine, thereafter, were denied entry to the Jewish territory by the British commanders and confined in refugee camps. In 1948, the United Nations officially voted to “partition” the Palestinian Mandate into separate Jewish and Arab states, finally creating the independent nation of Israel. Immediately after the vote, Israel was attacked by Arab forces vowing to obliterate it. (Arab nations had instructed Palestinians to abandon Israel, promising that after Israel’s defeat they could come back, reclaim their property and take whatever they wanted of what had belonged to the Jews.) Against all odds, Israel survived. The Palestinians had picked the wrong side. Under international law, they have never had a so-called “right to return,” nor do they now, other than at the discretion of the sovereign state of Israel.
From its birth, Israel has fought for its existence. In the Six-Day War of 1967, it again prevailed and took back Gaza from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria, all of which had been taken in the 1948 war. It would be suicidal of Israel to give up those militarily essential strategic positions while still in the midst of enemies who would destroy it. In 2005, as a peace offering to the Palestinians, Israel agreed to grant them self-governance of Gaza. That backfired in 2007, when the Palestinians first elected Hamas, inalterably dedicated to Israel’s extermination, and governing with an iron fist ever since. Israel has never started a war against an Arab state but has successfully defended itself from relentless Arab attacks. Israelis live peacefully with its Arab citizens who vote in its elections, serve in its Parliament, and even its military.
Ever since the Nazi Holocaust, Israel has pledged that this will “Never again” happen. If it succeeds in wiping out Hamas in Gaza, it would be doing Palestinians a favor. Should they have the good sense to accept Israel’s existence in the aftermath they can live peacefully and prosper with Israel’s help in reforming their dysfunctional government and economy.
Any negotiation, compromise, or peace agreement with Hamas would be futile. It’s a terrorist, jihadist arm of radical Islam intent on submission or death to all infidels. It wants nothing less than the annihilation of Jews anywhere and everywhere along with the destruction of their Jewish state. Article 7 of Hamas’s founding Charter in 1988 proclaims the very words of the prophet Muhammad: “The Day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews. When the Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say, ‘Oh Muslims. Oh Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ ” Hamas’s General Principles and Policies issued in 2017 reiterate that “no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded” and that there is no “legitimacy of the Zionist entity.” (Israel) For Hamas, the “land of Palestine” wipes Israel from the map.
That leaves no room for a two-state peaceful solution, which Hamas rejects, anyway, as incompatible with its goal of exterminating the Jews.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.
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