Anyone viewing the media photos from the conflict in the Gaza
Strip can't help but notice the stark contrast between the Jewish
areas and the Arab areas. In the Jewish areas, there are modern
homes, businesses, shopping centers, and recreational sites. In
the Arab areas there are primitive homes, unsanitary food markets,
children herding goats, and "squalid refugee camps." The
accompanying news articles from Associated Press, NY Times, and
Reuters, will emphasize the ‚€deplorable humanitarian
conditions in the squalid refugee camps." The articles will
lament how the Palestinians are suffering from the lengthy, harsh
Israeli military occupation. The turbulence in the Middle East is
attributed to a handful of young, idealistic Jewish families living
in "settlements" around Jerusalem and the Gaza coast.
If only these settlements were dismantled, everlasting peace would
Readers may conclude that the modern cities in Israel, as well
as the "settlements," are supported by the rich Jews in
America who control the banks, the corporations, and the entire
US Congress. Yet the poor downtrodden Palestinian Arabs can‚€t
get jobs and have no one to turn to. If they only had a little piece
of land to call their own, they would be happy and peaceful. However,
if the reader took the trouble to read other articles from the same
newspapers he would learn that American Jews make up less than 2%
of the American population. These Jews are widely dispersed and
fragmented in their beliefs. That‚€s an unlikely
position for controlling American wealth and politics. On the other
hand, the Palestinians Arabs are surrounded by over 20 oil-rich,
Arab states with a combined population over 300 million. The oil-rich
royal families are among the wealthiest people in the world. What
have these states done for their Palestinian brothers besides encourage
violence, train terrorists, and provide explosives? In addition,
over the last 30 years, the Palestinian Arabs have been the largest
recipients of funds from UNRWA, UNICEF, IMF, and EU.
Instead of attributing Middle East turbulence to "Israeli
occupation," "humiliating checkpoints," and "Jewish
settlements on occupied Arab lands," news reporters should
be asking the following questions?
1. What happened to all of the billions of dollars that the Palestinians
received in foreign aid over the last ten years?
2. Where are all the homes, schools, businesses, and hospitals
that the PA was supposed to build with the aid they received from
the EU and UN?
3. What was the purpose for all of the "offices" and
"security" buildings that the PA built in Ramallah,
Gaza, and Hebron? Why did the PA need a complex of buildings that
was almost the size of the Pentagon, but the people didn‚€t
have decent housing?
4. Why are there so many "metals factories" in Gaza
but we don‚€t see one item that says "Made
5. Where are Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups
getting their military equipment from?
6. Where was the "Israeli occupation" in September,
2000 when 98% of the Palestinian Arab population was under control
of the PA?
7. Why did the PA respond to Barak‚€s generous
offer of a Palestinian state with a call for "intifada,"
"jihad," and "liberation of Palestine."
8. Why does the PA insist on "right of return" of 4
million descendents of the 1948 refugees but Jews have no right
to live in Arab lands where they have lived for hundreds of years?
9. What ever happened to the renunciation of terrorism and security
arrangements that were agreed to in the Oslo accords?
10. Why do Palestinian schools teach their children hatred and
intolerance towards Jews while glorifying violent suicide bombers
in their "struggle for the liberation of Palestine?"
Palestine is defined in the Arab texts as the borders of the British
Mandate as it existed in 1947.
11.Why is it permissible for Christian missionaries and foreign
workers to live in the "occupied terrioties" but the
young, Jewish "settlers" may not?
12. Why are people who plan, support, finance, and condone mass
homicide against Jewish civilians referred to as "political
leaders struggling for an independent state?"
13. Why is there no talk among the Arabs of "peaceful coexistence,
mutual cooperation, tolerance, acceptance, and negotiated compromise?"
14. Who is supporting all of the hundreds of pro-Palestinian websites
and student organizations that are portraying the Palestinians
as the innocent victims of a "harsh, Israeli, military occupation?"
In contrast, the peaceful Jewish settlers are portrayed as armed,
militant occupiers of Palestinian lands.
There is one answer to all of the above questions: The main reason
for the strife, suffering, and turmoil in the
Middle East is the absolute refusal of the Arab population to
accept the existence of the Jewish State of Israel and their struggle
to replace it with another fundamentalist Islamic state modeled
after Iran. They teach their children that hatred, violence, intolerance,
suicide, and mass homicide are all acceptable methods in the "struggle
to liberate Palestine." The strife, violence, suffering, and
turbulence will cease only when the Arabs realize that they will
not benefit from violence, but will benefit from peaceful harmony
and cooperation with the State of Israel.
Peaceful cooperation between Arabs and Jews could turn the sand
and limestone of the Judean Hills into gold and jewels. Tourists
would flock to a land that offers warm weather with sunny, blue
skies for 8 months of the year. There are modern hotels, beaches,
and recreational areas. Modern amenities are only a few kilometers
from ancient, historical, and religious sites. If there was peace,
tourism and commerce would flourish to the benefit of both Arabs
Instead of blaming "settlements" and "occupation,"
the civilized peoples of the world, should be condemning hatred,
violence, intolerance, and mass homicide. Only when the Arabs and
Islamic fundamentalists realize that this type of behavior is not
acceptable in civilized society will they realize that peaceful
coexistence is a better alternative. Their leaders should not be
legitimized by being invited to diplomatic conferences with promises
of an independent state. That only encourages their violence and
intransigence. Only when there are responsible Arab leaders who
are sincere in promoting true peaceful coexistence , and abandon
their hateful rhetoric, should there be talk of establishing Palestinian
autonomy. Then there wouldn‚€t be any issue of
"Jewish settlements" or "IDF operations in occupied
territories," or "squalid refugee camps." Arabs,
and Jews would live together in peace, harmony, security, and prosperity.
(c) 2004, I. Zwick, NYC
Israel Zwick is a commentator on the Middle East based in New York.