On Friday night, as Israelis enjoyed a restful Sabbath, Arab terrorists entered a Jewish home and murdered five family members (parents and three children, including a four-month-old baby) in their beds. (Two other young children sleeping in another part of the house survived, and a 12-year-old daughter came home late from Bnei Akiva and found her family slaughtered.) As I scanned through a few of the hundreds of thousands of comments following the online articles, I repeatedly came across good people who questioned what kind of person does such a thing.
Sometimes, especially in the cases of lone killers, these questions are nearly impossible to answer. But not this time. There is an answer, and it’s been staring everyone in the face for decades, if only people had had their eyes open.
The Arabs have never accepted the legitimacy of Jews in this part of the world. Since its imperial conquest by Arabs in the years following the invention of Islam, Arabs have considered Palestine (not called that at the time, mind) Arab land, disregarding any prior Jewish claim to the land, or indeed any other power’s control (Ottoman, British) over it. Jewish immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, adding to the small but very established Jewish population that was here and had never left, was considered illegal, although by purchasing the land they planned to live and farm on, these Jews were its legal owners. Arabs alternately courted and threatened British diplomats and military attaches during the Mandatory Period into supporting them and reneging on their promises to support the creation of a Jewish State. When the British finally retreated with their tails between their legs in 1948, the Arabs combined forces in an attempt to uproot the fledgling Jewish State and (in their own words) complete the Holocaust that Hitler failed to carry out to its genocidal end. While the Jews remained standing at the end of the war, Egypt and Jordan annexed newly-conquered territory (Gaza and the West Bank), creating the refugee problem that extends into every surrounding Arab country and to this day has not been solved, either by the UN or the Arabs themselves.
Fast forward to 1967. Arabs tried on several subsequent occasions (cross-border raids and terror attacks, Egypt’s attempt at invasion through the Sinai in 1956) to destroy Israel. Their joint venture again failed, but this time, they were the territorial losers. Israel was left at the end of the war with Gaza, Yehuda and Shomron, and the Golan Heights, and all of the refugee camps contained therein.
At this point, Israel had two options, and this is where the recent murder becomes relevant.
1) Israel could have annexed the new territories. (It did the Golan, but that’s not relevant to this discussion.) If it had, it would have had to incorporate hundreds of thousands of new hostile Arab voters into its midst, and courted eventual and highly likely demographic suicide. The upside would have been that the territories and Israel proper, being all Israel proper, would have lived under one law: Israel’s. The government’s tolerance for Arab harassment and attacks on Jews would have been dramatically less than it is now. The struggle for ownership of territory that we witness in Gush Etzion and throughout the West Bank would have been at an end. Instead of being left to antiquated Jordanian textbooks (which show one Arab state in place of all the land Israel now controls) and clerics and teachers whose job is to incite hatred and violence against Jews, education of Arab children would have been upgraded to include math, science, languages, history—in other words, a real education. There would have been one generation having grown up in exile instead of three or four, and every refugee camp would have been dismantled and the refugees resettled. Quality of life for Arabs (many of whom rued the day they left their villages in 1948 with the empty Arab promise of a glorious return) would undoubtedly have improved after such a decision on Israel’s part. (It should be noted here that deportation of the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza was discussed, but given the Jews’ own experience of deportations in Europe 25 years prior, no one had the stomach to carry out such an operation.)
2) Israel could do what it did, which is to hold on to the territories in the hope of exchanging them for peace. Despite the fact that the first land for peace attempt in 1948 had failed miserably, the Jews hoped that this time, the Arabs would come around to accepting them, take back the Arab-filled territory, and let bygones be bygones. That’s not what happened. The Arabs refused to come out of their refugee camps to live in apartments built for them by Israel. They refused to end their decades-long program of incitement against the Jewish State. They refused to create their own economy by means of joint ventures with Israeli industry. They refused to accept the existence of an Israel in the Middle East or any of Israel’s concrete offers of peace and land for a state of their own. They have clung to their dreams, illusions, and revenge fantasies rather than move on, find solutions to their problems, and make a new life for themselves.
And the continued feeding of those obsessive delusions leads to the current plight of the Arabs, who keep themselves ignorant and poor, alternately envy and loathe the opportunity and prosperity of the West, blame others for their problems rather than take responsibility and solve them, view terrorism as an honorable way to kill and die, and see every Jewish man, woman, and child as an enemy combatant to be fought and killed.
This is how we got to yet another family of Jewish orphans, and yet more Arabs with blood on their hands.
And the world blames the Jews for the failure of the peace process.