Letter to the editor,
Calling Out the Elephant in the Room: Atlanta Jewish Times November 7, 2023
There was more than one elephant in the room at the recent meeting of Islamic Speakers Bureau. And the one that really wasn’t addressed was the “occupation,” described as the cause of the “cycle of violence,” which Dr. Nabile Safdar claimed leads to disproportionate response that amount to war crimes and genocide. Dr. Safdar was using these terms to describe IDF responses to attacks on Israelis, indicating his acceptance of the Palestinian victimhood narrative often invoked by Palestinian leaders who claim they have no choice but to resist the “Occupation” with violence. It is a false narrative.
Israel is not occupying Palestinian territory. The disputed territory is land of religious and historic importance to Jews, land that was liberated from illegal Egyptian and Jordanian occupation during a war that has been instigated with the open intention of destroying the Jewish state and annihilating her people.
What followed was a quarter century of wars, Intifadas, and terrorist attacks. The signing of the Oslo Accords (1993/5) was supposed to bring peace. It was hoped that Final Status talks would be completed by the year 2000, with secure and recognized borders established for Two States for Two Peoples, a Palestinian state co-existing with the Jewish state, with members of minority groups having full civil rights in their country of residence. Another quarter century has passed and essentially no progress has been made. Palestinian leaders turned down proposals for the establishment of the first-ever-to-exist Arab State of Palestine made by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
The Palestinian Authority incited people living under its administration to attack and kill Jews, honoring and rewarding those who answered the call. Hamas fired missiles at Israeli population centers, floated incendiary bombs into Israel to set crops and nature reserves ablaze, and, most recently, committed atrocities against Israeli civilians. In a show of utter disregard for the needs of the people of Gaza,
Hamas used water pipes donated by the European Union to build the rockets, took helium from MRI units in Gaza’s hospitals to float the bombs, and forced Gazans who’d been granted Israeli work permits to supply information on the sites of the October 7 attacks.
Leaders who refuse to settle disputes via diplomacy have no right to resort to violence. Israeli troops wouldn’t have to respond if Israel wasn’t being attacked. Bottom line: Any Palestinian state must co-exist, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews.
Toby F. Block, Atlanta