A great worldwide controversy has been reignited as Israel and Palestinians relentlessly attack each other with missiles and rockets. Israel claims that its onslaught is directed only at Hamas and other violent terrorists, while Hamas viciously launches missiles into civilian areas. Both combatants have killed innocent women and children, which in itself is a reason for an immediate cease fire. Note: On Thursday the sides agreed to cease hostilities.
There are greater, more existential issues at stake in this terrible and extended conflict between Israel and Palestine. For Jews, there are over 6,000,000 reasons why they need to pursue their right to call Israel their home. Granted, Palestinians have suffered difficult times and their death toll is great. But those who say that their losses are comparable to the Jewish community are misguided.
During World War II, no nation seemed particularly interested in what was happening in Germany and surrounding countries at concentration camps. Most of the world was too busy fighting Nazis in Europe and the Japanese in Asia. I asked my mother, why didn’t the US come to the rescue of Jews? She said no one knew of the brutality and murderous activities. It was not reported in the press or by government officials at the time, I was told.
When the war ended, sympathetic nations sanctioned the establishment of the State of Israel. It was to serve as a place for persecuted Jews to immigrate to and find a better life. Most thought that Jews had suffered enough, and many still needed protection.
Arabs were not enthusiastic about Jews immigrating into their region. Rightly so, they felt persecuted and abandoned. Over the years, Palestinians responded with violence led by a number of terrorist groups that were funded by neighboring Arab countries. The loss of land and religious sites infuriated Palestinians and their supporters, and unfortunately, it led them to increasing violence over time.
Along the way, Israel considered how to deal with Palestinians in both one state in two states scenarios. Agreement was elusive as Arab terrorists failed to keep promises and to guarantee Israel’s security.
The past is important to Israel for many reasons. Young Jews, who don’t have a vivid perspective of what happened to their ancestors during World War II, have not been looking over their shoulders, even as anti-Semitism still pervades the world. No Jew is ever totally safe, even in this day and age. The plight of the group is far greater than any other minority group in history. And yet, there is little empathy among many younger people and other oppressed groups.
Jews have struggled to survive for thousands of years. The least the US can do is to be supportive of Israel’s right to exist. Of course, this can only be done successfully if Israel is empathetic towards the needs of the Palestinian people.
There is absolutely no reason to think that the conflict between Israel and Palestine will not continue into the foreseeable future. There is great support brewing throughout the world regarding the plight of Palestinians and the treatment they are receiving from the Israeli government.
It’s ironic that Israel’s alliance with the US works against it to a certain extent as we have many enemies. It will take great minds and noble men and women to ultimately figure out how these two groups can live together in peace. But, US support of the State of Israel should not wane in the meantime.