By Ron Jager
Legend has it that Napoleon visited a synagogue in Russia on Tishah B’Av. Noticing the lamentations and expressions of mourning of the Jews, Napoleon asked his advisers, “What’s up with the Jews? Why are they weeping?” It was explained to Napoleon that they were mourning the destruction of their Temple. Napoleon asked when this Temple was destroyed. Informed that the destruction had occurred 1,700 years earlier, Napoleon remarked that a people so attached to their history will indeed be restored to their land and rebuild their Temple.
What Napoleon understood at a glance about the Jewish nation, the Palestinian Arabs will never be willing or able to comprehend. For the past three-quarters-of-a-century since the Peel Commission, which recommended the partition of the land between the Jews and the Arabs, the Arabs have consistently rejected any possibility of compromise or willingness to live alongside a nascent Jewish state.
At the conclusion of Israel’s War of Independence, instigated by a coordinated and massive four-front attack on Israel, the Arabs lost the Negev and the Galilee regions. The 1967 Six Day War, also instigated by a coordinated Arab declaration of war, ended with the Arabs losing all of Judea and Samaria, the Ramat HaGolan, and East Jerusalem. The first and second intifadas, instigated by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority after the Oslo Accords, concluded with Israel regaining control of most of the land given over to Palestinian Arab sovereignty.
During the past months, Jerusalem has been at the center of a renewed Palestinian Arab terror campaign against Jews, with stone-throwing, Molotov cocktails, stabbings, and recently a series of hit-and-run terror attacks on pedestrians. Learning nothing from their own historical experience, and repeating the same destructive expression of hatred and rejection of anything Jewish, the Palestinian Arabs will lose all Arab rights to Jerusalem—similar to their losing control of lands designated for them in the past.
Despite the horrors of radical Islam, it is Israel exclusively that lives under the microscope, with the events in Jerusalem scrutinized by the nations of the world. Russia invades Crimea, Nigeria enslaves, China oppresses, Pakistan rapes, Iraq slaughters, North Korea starves, Iran nuclearizes, Syria massacres, Afghanistan tortures, Sudan annihilates, ISIS beheads, and yet Israel remains the sole pariah state, put under the microscope by the morally bankrupt world. What the nations of the world fail to note is that the Palestinian Authority and the rival Hamas terror organization are actively supporting a third terror campaign starting in Jerusalem.
For this same reason thousands of missiles rained down on Israeli cities this past summer even though it created more destruction for Arabs in Gaza. Their goal is to keep the Palestinians focused on “resistance”—a synonym for endless war that won’t be solved by Israeli territorial concessions or even greater sensitivity for Muslim desire to deny Jewish rights in Jerusalem. The point about the current violence in Jerusalem is that nothing Israelis are doing has altered or subverted the current status quo between Jew and Arabs; it simply does not matter to them and it will never sink in.
For countless centuries, our ancestors have been praying to return home to Zion. For those of us born in the generation that did in fact return home to Israel, we can only cherish and uphold the immense blessing that we feel as part of this amazing period. In 1947, Israel accepted the “two-state solution” declared by the United Nations, focusing her efforts on moving ahead, never looking back. Since then, Israel has made a desert bloom. We have built roads, schools, hospitals, universities, and great cities.
Despite the many wars Israel has had to fight, we, the people of Israel, have never stopped looking forward. Israel has shown time and time again its willingness to make painful sacrifices for the sake of genuine and enduring peace with its Arab neighbors. Israeli Arabs have infinitely more human rights in Israel than Jews ever had in any Arab nation, more than Arabs have in any Muslim nation in the Middle East; not surprisingly, these fundamental democratic freedoms seem to be always overlooked by the very Arabs who benefit from these democratic rights. Despite this being the case, the hearts and minds of the Palestinian Arabs continue to be overwhelmingly “occupied” with Jew-hatred. This is the true narrative of the “occupation.”
Once again, a new generation of Palestinians is taking up gasoline bombs and even using cars as weapons in order to kill or injure Jews to further that same futile aim in the name of this ancient hatred. Though many of Israel’s enemies promote the notion that the violence is caused by Jewish actions, the latest terror campaign, if it happens, will be very much like every other episode in the Palestinian Arabs’ hundred years of war against Zionism. Those who wish them well should urge them to try to shake off this rejectionist mindset lest they waste another century in pointless conflict. Should they continue ramming the shore, very much like the great whales do until they die, they will, in the very near future, lose it all.
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic adviser to the chief foreign envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ronjager.com.