March 21, 2007

How Arabs have repaid us in spades

The failure of all Israel’s peace initiatives from Oslo to Gaza – along with all the Jewish lives lost or shattered in the wake of these concessions can be blamed on one central fallacy.

That is the expectation that, given the right conditions, the Arabs can become good neighbours, civilised people just like us – committed to peaceful coexistence in the interest of promoting education, welfare and employment as free people.

It is based on this expectation that the Americans and Europeans have lavished huge grants on Arafat and Abbas. And what the world has given in cash, Israel has given in land and trust – by withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza, and closing checkpoints all over the country even as bomb belts were still being intercepted. Perhaps the most dangerous concession has been to give up the Philadelphi corridor by which control of arms smuggling into newly liberated Gaza has been entrusted to Egypt in what was supposed to be a demilitarised Sinai.

But the undeniable truth is that the Arabs are not like us and never will be like us. The unchanged living standards of the average Gazan family prove beyond doubt that virtually all the financial aid has been siphoned off in fraud or diverted to terror organisations. The concessions of Oslo were repaid with the indiscriminate bombing of our civilians in a merciless intifada. Instead of building homes and schools in liberated South Lebanon, the Arabs built bunkers and missile silos. And in Gaza they replaced our lush farmlands with Kassam missile sites and turned our irrigation channels into new smuggling tunnels through which they captured Gilad Shalit.

Wishful thinking American Jewish philanthropists stomped-up $14,000,000 to save the Katif greenhouses and keep the 3,500 Arab employees in their productive jobs. But Hamas had other plans and the greenhouses were quickly destroyed and looted.

It utterly sickens me to think how quickly that money was raised – and wasted – by American Jews and what miracles could have been performed in the poorest suburbs of Israel with those fourteen million dollars.

So what prompts me to pen these lines today?

As usual, it’s a news report.

This time it’s a statement by Avigdor Lieberman, the ultra-right winger who wants Arabs moved to the other side of the fence etc etc.

It would be hard to think of a more unlikely member of Olmert’s supposedly left-of-center coalition. But this was never about principles or beliefs. It had more to do with personal needs; Olmert needed to stay in power at all costs and Lieberman clearly loves the limelight and perks of office.

Lieberman has been irritated since the appointment of Ghaleb Majadle as the very first Arab minister to serve in the government of Israel. He was put in charge of Science, Culture, and Sports. (However barmy this may seem, one must not forget Kadima’s appointment of another Arab to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs committee!).

Anyway, today’s news story is about Lieberman protesting that Majadle will not sing the Hatikva. Apparently he does stand up for it but does not sing it. Perhaps he can’t pronounce the words. Perhaps he might even choke on them. Be that as it may, it just seemed to me like some sort of black comedy.

Here is a nation which has paid an incredible price in death and misery on the totally bankrupt notion that Arabs can someday be like us. And someone like Lieberman – whose right wing beliefs must have discredited that notion a thousand times over – expects our first Arab minister to sing the Hatikva like a kibbutznik !

Whether it is in concessions, humanitarian aid or just by filling up our fuel tanks every week, the undeniable truth is that whatever we and the rest of the world have given to the Arabs they have always repaid in spades.

Spades to bury our dead.

In Israel, New York, Washington, Madrid, London, Bali, Buenos Aires, Nairobi, Aden … the list goes on.

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