August 27, 2010
Synagogues BurningBy Eileen F. Toplansky
On November 9, 1938, nearly two hundred synagogues were set afire throughout Germany under the direction of Josef Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister. Known as the "Night of Broken Glass" or "Kristallnacht," it was a time of horror, as thousand-year-old Jewish houses of worship were destroyed and vicious planned acts of violence against Jews ensued.
I was reminded of this period of horror when five years ago this week, the synagogue of the former Jewish community of Netzarim in Gaza was burned by Palestinians after Israel handed over the Gaza Strip in hopes that the Palestinians would form a peaceful country of their own.
Repeatedly, the Israelis have tried to negotiate peace with the Palestinians, and all to no avail. And again there is talk of a two-state solution. It cannot work.
Between the winter and spring of 1982, the settlements in the Sinai Peninsula were evacuated as part of the peace treaty with Egypt. Eighteen settlements consisting of about six thousand inhabitants were evacuated during those months. The climax was the evacuation of Yamit in April 1982, just prior to transferring the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt as part of the agreement. Before that, three settlements were evacuated: the cooperative settlements (moshavim) of Di Zahav and Neviyot on the Red Sea coast, and the city of Ophira in the south of the peninsula. Hopefully, Israelis thought, this would help lessen tensions. It was not to be.
In 1994, in what was known as the Cairo Agreement, Israel and the Palestinians outlined Israel's initial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho, as well as the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Israel removed all of its forces from these areas. What resulted was an increase in Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad incitement against Israelis.
In July 2000, Arafat rejected an offer that would have given 95% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. It was a stunning offer, but no counteroffers were made by arch-terrorist Arafat. Instead, after the famous handshake, Arafat's PLO Intifada II launched a terror war that killed a thousand Israelis.
In 2002 and 2003, Israelis withdrew from Gaza and dismantled Israeli settlements. This resulted in terrorists launching a terror war which sent rockets and bombs to Israeli cities, particularly Sderot, a town inhabited by many Ethiopian Jews who had been airlifted to safety by the Israeli government in Operation Solomon. Yet only twenty days ago, on August 1, 2010, Sderot suffered more bombings! Still no world humanitarian outcry was heard.
From August 15-23, 2005 Israel unilaterally pulled all of its citizens out of the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank. No Jews are present in the Gaza Strip any longer. The echoes of Hitler's judenrein can be heard. Yet seven thousand rockets were fired at Israeli citizens.
In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert made another generous peace proposal to Abbas, who dismissed the proposal without even engaging in a dialogue.
Thus, the Palestinians refuse to make peace. They have only one goal, and that is to annihilate Israel and remove every single Jew from the area. There cannot be a two-state solution if one of the parties is intent on destroying the other. The Palestinians refuse to abandon violence. Thus, "every Israeli effort at self-defense is treated as aggression" by the world. Every endeavor to build a bridge of peace is spat upon by the Palestinian leadership, and more Katyusha rockets are launched at Israelis. Distressingly, "the multiple injustices of these years, compounded by the abysmal performance of the media in separating truth from propaganda, have produced a political transformation in Israel that the administration of President Obama has accelerated. Israelis have lost trust in the possibility of peaceful coexistence." Can anyone blame them?
And now Iran has made the neighborhood even more dangerous. The Damocles sword hangs above every Israeli man, woman, and child, and the world still ignores the imminent danger. At the United Nations, Syria's First Secretary Rania Al Rifaiy rants that "Israel is a state that is built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority. Hatred is widespread, taught to even small children, who are taught to use weapons." In reality, it is the Palestinian children who are taught to hate, but self-reflection is unknown in the Arab Middle East. Did the international community cry out against this obvious lie? Not a peep.
Until the world acknowledges that the Jewish presence is an anathema to the Arab world, and then works indefatigably to change the hearts and minds of that same world, there can be no peace. As long as the United Nations is run by the villains and terrorists of the world, there can be no peace.
Twenty percent of Israel's population, or 1.5 million, Arabs live in Israel. They are not asked to leave. Why can't Jews live in a land that might become part of a future Palestinian state? Why is the notion of any Jewish presence in Palestinian territory a point of contention? Isn't that apartheid?
As George Will has so eloquently written, "the creation of Israel did not involve the destruction of a Palestinian state, there having been no such state since the Romans arrived."
Ponder the factual statement that "in the 62 years since this [Jewish] homeland was founded on one-sixth of one percent of the land of what is carelessly and inaccurately called 'the Arab world,' Israelis have never known an hour of real peace. Patronizing American lectures on the reality of risks and the desirableness of peace, which once were merely fatuous, are now obscene." When the alleged partner on the other side of the table demands your extinction, it is pointless to sit down and negotiate.
From synagogue to synagogue, the Jewish people only wish to survive and live in peace.
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.