Dear Human Rights Watch: Would it Kill You to Pick up a History Book?

by Phil Schneider
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The issues between Arabs and Jews did not start in 1967. They did not even start in 1948. They didn’t even start during the early resettlement of the Jewish people at the end of the 19th century. Arabs treated Jews horribly for centuries while hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in their midst. This is not a new issue, and it is so much more than a land dispute. This is a religious dispute that goes back many centuries, and it is not at all about this or that parcel of land.

There has never been a leader of Arabs in the Land of Israel who has declared that he wants to make peace with the Jewish people and has lived for more than a few years afterwards. But truth be told, nearly every Arab leader in the Middle East has not stood up to make peace, but declares openly that they are continuing the jihad – Holy War – against Israel.

Here’s the history of the land of Israel in a real nutshell. The land was 95% empty for nearly 2,00 years. This followed more than 800 years of Jewish kingdoms in the Land of Israel. Yes, Judea was filled with Jews, until the Babylonians and then the Romans forcefully kicked the Jews out. Then the Land sat empty except for a few pockets that had some Christian crusaders, Jews, and a few Muslims. Tens of thousands – not more than that – lived in what is now the land that is called the State of Israel. Then, the constant trickle of Jews returning to their homeland suddenly began to be more than a trickle, but a small stream. And then that small stream, at the very beginning of the 20th century, began to be a large stream. Much of this had to do with the pogroms across Czarist Russia. Most Jews who immigrated ended up in Ellis Island. But a few serious idealists dreamt of a new world wherein the Jewish people would have their own sovereignty. They dried up the swamps and braved impossible odds to survive and plant roots. Due to supporters from Europe, the Land of Israel began to come back to life. Within a decade or two, instead of the entire Land of Israel having tens of thousands of Jews, tens of thousands of Arabs, and a few thousand Christians, the populations began to grow. Jobs in the early Jewish towns and fields attracted Arabs from what is today called Syria and up from Egypt. There was relative tranquility between Jews and Arabs, but this did not last very long. By 1929, small riots exploded into major pogroms across the Land of Israel. In 1935, these riots and mob attempts at killing Jews would continue for a few years. It has never stopped since.

Will there ever be an end? Yes, when the Arabs know that they have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, they will think twice. When more and more Arabs decide that they don’t want to pick up weapons, but want to raise families and prosper, there will be less violence. The UAE, Bahrain, and perhaps Saudi Arabia, have crossed the line from being aggressors to peacemakers. But, it will take a while till more and more countries make the big step and dreams of this sort become a reality.

New Israeli Prime Minister
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