By Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem Newswire - November 5, 2005
It was with dismay – though perhaps with less surprise than there would have been, say, a year or two ago – that many in Israel heard of their government’s decision last Wednesday to approve a plan whereby the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt – a border the Sharon government earlier insisted would remain closed unless Israel was able to control who entered and left the area – could now be opened under the supervision of the European Union.
Doubtless the EU, which has long pushed hard for a participating role in efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, was delighted at this new development. Apparently they will waste no time in sending out a team to inspect the situation on the ground pursuant to taking up their posts at the crossing.
“Ah-ha!” I can hear them exulting in Brussels. “At last we have our foot in the door.”
It’s something foreign groups have been trying to achieve – with some success – for quite some time.
Living just off the main road that runs from Jerusalem through Bethlehem to Hebron, I often see the official vehicles of alien organizations driving backwards and forwards between Israel’s capital and Judea, the ancient heartland of the Jewish people.
I’m not talking about the CC cars – vehicles carrying foreign consular staff around the city (although there are also far too many of those, and the way they ignore Israeli traffic regulations and apparently believe themselves deserving of VIP treatment can be irritating too.)
It’s the other vehicles. They’re marked clearly, these shiny vans, trucks and four-by-fours, their insignia often emblazoned on both sides and splashed across the broad expanse of their hoods. Some have pennants, even flags, flapping from their antennae.
Weaving through the locals who are making their daily way to school and work, everything about these vehicles seems to be saying: “We’re here, Israel. We’re watching you. Don’t you forget it!”
These watchers-on-wheels belong to the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Red Cross.
There is also the TIPH – the Temporary International Presence in Hebron – which, despite its promisingly provisional-sounding name, has been anything but transitory. With staff from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, the TIPH has enjoyed the run of the land for nearly 12 years.
Without exception, those being conveyed hither and thither, all of them guests of the Israeli government, represent organizations and countries committed to wresting half of this millennia-old Jewish homeland out of Israel’s hands’ and placing it, decisively and irrevocably, into the hands of the Arabs. (Interestingly, a great many of the staff driving and/or being ferried around in these vehicles are Arab themselves.)
Talk about a global conspiracy!
They would protest any such charge – many of these, hopefully, well-meaning folk. The Jews and Arabs have a long-standing quarrel, they would say. For the sake of regional and world peace we simply wish to try and referee an end to the conflict.
And blessed, as everybody knows, are the peacemakers. Amen?
It is, however, a matter of some importance that a referee on a football field or in a boxing ring should be welcomed by both sides and trusted to be impartial, neutral, unprejudiced, even-handed, fair and just.
What happens instead?
Given voice by the world’s overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian press, the Arab side cries, wails, pleads for, then demands international intervention to save them from “their oppressors.”
The Jewish side doggedly resists the call – citing prejudiced precedents, biased bodies, the need to preserve its sovereignty, and so on.
Pained by what it sees in its newspapers and on TV, the international community presses one of Israel’s most sensitive nerves – its fear of gentile rejection and concomitant hunger for a global embrace. Rhetorically, the world wonders aloud whether the Jewish state does not have something to hide after all.
Urging Israel to soften its stance they ask to come in, just to “observe.”
Once here, these visitors observe alright. But they are watching from the Arab corner of the ring. They monitor, they comment, they report. And without exception, the reports sent back to Geneva, Brussels and New York are saturated with sympathy for the Arab side; loaded heavily with negativity towards Israel.
These foreigners are here, quite unashamedly, to defend the underdog. Dishonestly, though, they will not come out and actually say that they are on “Palestinian” side. Furthermore, they have misidentified who the underdog is.
For them, Israel is Goliath – the mighty, established state with powerful tanks, missiles, F-16s, and a record of exceptional military prowess.
The Palestinian Arabs are David – small, armed only with simple weapons, they are taking on the mighty Jewish giant, even willing to sacrifice themselves (although of course these “observers” do not approve of the use of suicide bombs, even though the willingness to resort to such “desperate” measures is “understandable.”)
This perception turns reality on its head.
Israel is a small nation, the remnant of a once mighty people that were robbed of their land and condemned to nearly two millennia of global wandering, encountering rejection and hatred on every side.
They endured numerous efforts – some more passive, most violent in the extreme – to do away with them as a nation. Against all the “odds” they survived, finally returning to their longed-for home just a few decades ago, but only after fully one-third of those whose descendants made it through the centuries of exile were swallowed up in the Holocaust.
Whereas but for the success of anti-Semitism they would have been, in number, one of the greatest nations alive today, there are a mere 15 million or so Jews left in the world. Their homeland is tiny – not much more than 10,000 square miles in size. It has virtually no natural resources. Its citizens, re-gathered from over 100 different countries, have had to be absorbed and integrated into one people again. Since their return from the late 1800s, the challenges facing them on every level have been staggering.
It is important to remember that while there are many Arab states, there is only one Arab nation. It hails originally from Arabia, and is enormous, numbering some 320 million people in 22 countries that stretch from Morocco and Algeria in the West to Yemen and Oman in the east.
Underneath many of these lands lies the black gold that has at once fueled the international campaign against Israel while paying for enormous quantities of state-of-the-art western weaponry and being spent lavishly on American and other politicians susceptible to its lure.
Represented in the United Nations by 22 delegates as opposed to Israel’s one, with numerous other (non-Arab) countries on their side, the Arabs are in no way threatened by Israel. Meanwhile, they have infiltrated their message of hate into university campuses across the United States. Europe is already well on the way to becoming Islamicized. Projections are that Great Britain and France will be Muslim states within 10 to 15 years.
While millions of Arabs across the region hate Israel and believe they should be contributing to her demise, the Jews of Israel direct no such venom or design against the Arab states. The Jewish state’s only desire is to live together with the Arabs in a peace that will bring enormous growth and prosperity to all the peoples of the Middle East.
These truths are not held as reality by the world. Israel is the Goliath. The Palestinians are the underdog, a peasant people struggling to throw off the yoke of imperial occupation and oppression.
Virtually every international presence in Israel subscribes to this same perspective, which from their point of view justifies the actions of the TIPH, the UN or the EU in having sympathy for the Arab side.
And it is precisely this misplaced sympathy that has seen these foreign “observers” become, from the start, foreign bodies detrimental to Israel’s wellbeing; they should be expelled, not invited in.
Only Israel should be responsible for Israel’s security. Abdicating that responsibility in a very real way risks a high cost in Jewish lives and the erosion of Israel’s position on its minimum security needs.
Let the European Union stay at home.