Six Facts About Israelis, and One About Palestinians, That the Media Ignores
Here are six basic facts about Israelis, and one about Palestinians, that are hardly mentioned in the media or at universities. This refusal to report on the truth causes a major gap in Western understanding of the conflict.
Israelis desperately want peace and to be accepted as a normal nation in the Middle East. This is an understatement. Israelis have made serious sacrifices for peace with Egypt and the Palestinians. But their yearning for peace is not at the expense of the security of Israelis. Security of the citizens is the overarching desire of every conceivable Israeli government, and is more important than any peace plan that does not fully guarantee security.
No one in Israel wants to rule over Palestinians. As much as is possible, Israel has tried to avoid that — by withdrawing from Gaza and allowing Palestinian autonomy in Area A, and to some extent Area B. But the alternative of fully withdrawing from the territories is generally considered to be worse — and Gaza shows the worst case scenario of unilateral withdrawal.
Almost no one in Israel wants to go back to the 1967 lines. It is obvious that the human cost of doing so is unacceptable. Pretty much everyone agrees that some territories will always remain under Israeli rule, perhaps with land swaps. Framing the question as whether Israelis are “against the occupation” or “for the occupation” is deceptive, since the vast majority are against fully controlling 100 percent of the territories, and a vast majority are also against dismantling the homes of half a million people. Spinning either position as “pro” or “anti” occupation is simply not to report the truth.
Israelis deserve human rights as much as Palestinians do. Israel wants to provide as many human rights for Palestinians as possible without compromising on the security of Israeli citizens — who also deserve human rights. The line between the two is tied. When threats are reduced, restrictions are (or should be) reduced as well. All of Israel’s security measures that upset people (like the separation barrier) have been put in place to save lives. “Human rights” advocates who ignore Israeli lives are not interested in human rights.
Racism exists in Israel, but it is no worse than the racism in other Western countries. Arguably, Israel is far more tolerant than most Western nations towards Muslims. The Palestinian issue is not a race issue at all from Israel’s perspective; it is a security issue.
Israel can do better. Israelis admit that. In general, Israel strives to do better, even in the face of vicious world opinion, and even when no one will notice. Western armies study Israeli methods of warfare that minimize casualties of civilians and Hamas human shields. No one in Israel wants innocent Arabs to die.
Palestinians have had 25 years since Oslo to teach their children peace, but they have done the exact opposite. Violence has been reduced not for any moral reason, but because terror is seen as counterproductive at this time. Palestinians still teach their people that violence is a legitimate, moral option, and that terrorists are heroes. They glorify (and pay) all terrorists who murder innocent Jews — even those who kill innocent Jewish children.
People who ignore these facts are not interested in peace. People who ascribe the lack of peace to a lack of will on the part of Israelis for peace are pretty much accusing Jews of being evil.
But if the West would report on these basic facts, then the number of people who are susceptible to antisemitic arguments would fall dramatically.
The gap between the truth and what is being reported is a major impediment to peace.
Elder of Ziyon has been blogging about Israel and the Arab world for a really long time now. He also controls the world, but deep down, you already knew that.