Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wanton Destruction in Gaza Bodes Ill for the Future

The torching of synagogues and the looting and destruction of greenhouses in Gaza doesn't bode well for a future Palestinian state if one is to ever exist. Indeed, the destruction of those synagogues makes it far more unlikely that Israel will concede areas with important Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria. The greenhouses, donated to the Palestinian people by wealthy American Jews who bought them from the former settlers, used to provide Israel with $60 to $100 million in agricultural exports annually. They could have provided ample food for Palestinians now dependent on international food aid and jobs for thousands of the largely unemployed Palestinian population in Gaza. Instead the people of Gaza will remain poor and destitute.

Of course, as my previous post pointed out, the press is bending over backwards not to portray it this way. We will undoubtedly hear over and over again, as we have for the past five years, how Palestinian terrorism is due to the “hopelessness” of their situation and that, in turn, will be blamed on Israel. Why can't the blame be put where it belongs: on the Palestinian leadership which made excuses for this behavior rather than trying to prevent it? The Palestinians themselves destroyed what would have given them the means to feed themselves and would have given them an income and the beginnings of a sustainable economy. Instead American and European taxpayers will continue to subsidize “hopelessness” and “despair”, corruption, graft, thuggery, and terrorism.

The destruction of the synagogues, which could have become community centers for the Palestinian people, is even more serious. If the Palestinians continue to disrespect, defile, and even destroy Jewish and Christian holy sites, as they did at Joseph's Tomb, the Church of the Nativity, and most recently in Gaza, how can they be entrusted with some of the most important sites in Judaism, such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron? The sad fact is that they cannot. Israel must now consider extending the security fence to take in the Jewish sector of Hebron and the settlements in the Hebron hills, much as a finger of territory was walled off to protect Ariel in western Samaria. This, too, will cause much international condemnation, but what choice does Israel have?

Certainly Israel cannot turn over part of Jerusalem. which is the holiest place in all of Judaism. For millennia Jews have prayed “next year in Jerusalem”. Despite the insistence by the Palestinians and most recently by the Jordanians that the Jewish people have no historical or religious claim to Jerusalem, this flies in the face of Jewish and Christian belief and three thousand years of history. As I have pointed out in the past, throughout the five centuries of Ottoman rule Muslims were a minority in Jerusalem while Jews and Christians were the solid majority. During most of that time the Jewish people alone were a majority in the city.

So long as the Arabs as a whole and the Palestinians in particular deny Jewish and Christian history they cannot be entrusted to preserve or respect it. That, in turn, means that significant parts of the West Bank cannot be turned over to them. That, in turn, makes an independent state truly unlikely.

One last question: since when is the torching of Jewish holy sites OK with the press? Why the uproar over American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay allegedly mishandling a Koran if destroying synagogues is OK? As Jack Englehard pointed out in the piece I quoted and linked last week it seems only Muslim holy sites are considered holy by the press anymore, This double standard, like all the double standards in Middle East reporting, disgusts me. Why must every media outlet claim to be unbiased, fair, balanced, or even handed when, in fact, they promote a specific agenda even when the facts simply cannot support their position?

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