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Key facts In The Mideast Conflict

Key facts In The Mideast Conflict

Nearly every dispatch from the Middle East lacks basic context. Here are some of the facts to keep in mind when reading these flawed reports.


Imagine for a moment that all reporting about the U.S. war on terrorism was presented without reference to September 11. American attacks from the air using B-52s and F-16s against fighters armed with smaller weapons would seem quite disproportionate. Our stated intention to kill as many members of al Qaeda as possible might be condemned, by our own State Department as "excessive" and "contributing to the cycle of violence."

But U.S. actions are never presented that way, because everyone acknowledges that we have the perfect right to defend ourselves against those who have done us grave harm. Nor are we asked to sit by and wait for our enemies to do us even more catastrophic damage if they get the chance.

But when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the context is removed. Bleeding Israel is daily exhorted to stop contributing the cycle of violence. Her teenagers are blown to bits at discotheques. Her babies are approached outside a synagogue by a suicide bomber who waits until he is next to the strollers before blowing himself apart. Her adolescent boys who wander off in the desert and get lost are torn to pieces. And all this is applauded and celebrated by Yasser Arafat and most of the Arab governments in the region.

Alone among nations apparently, Israel is not permitted to engage in simple self-defense.

Some Arabs (those among the minority who acknowledge that Arabs are responsible) condemned the bombing of the World Trade Center. But not a single Islamic scholar or cleric has condemned the systematic policy of blowing up Israeli civilians. Israelis are demoralized and terrified. Restaurants and shops are nearly empty. And alone among nations apparently, Israel is not permitted to engage in simple self-defense.

Nearly every dispatch from the Middle East lacks basic context. Here are some of the facts to keep in mind when reading these flawed reports.

The Palestine Liberation Organization was not formed in order to secure a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. It was created in 1964, when both territories were under Arab sovereignty. Jordan and Egypt did not create a state for the Palestinians because they preferred to keep the refugees angry and homeless.

It is not "Palestinian land." There has never been an independent Palestinian state on the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. The area -- which always contained Arabs and Jews -- was under Ottoman control for several hundred years until World War I, then British control under the League of Nations Mandate and finally under United Nations control.

Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza only because she was attacked again by five Arab armies in 1967.

The United Nations approved a partition plan in 1947 that would have created two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted this arrangement. The Arabs refused. Five Arab armies invaded the new state of Israel. In the ensuing war, thousands of refugees fled. Jews fled Arab nations for Israel, and Arabs fled Israel for Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. The Jewish refugees became full citizens of Israel. The Palestinian refugees became pawns. Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza only because she was attacked again by five Arab armies in 1967.

If the Palestinians are fighting for a state on the West Bank and Gaza, why do their maps show Palestine as filling the entire territory that is now Israel? Why do they marinate their people in Hitlerian anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism? Further, why -- when Ehud Barak offered just such a state, or 95 percent of it -- did Mr. Arafat walk away and start this latest round of violence? Palestinian spokesmen say it wasn't everything they wanted. But if they truly want a separate state on so-called "occupied territory," why did Mr. Barak's offer not form the basis for further talks?

The Palestinians are said to be chafing under the "occupation." But in obedience to the Oslo process, Israel has given administrative authority over 98 percent of the Palestinians in the disputed territories to Mr. Arafat. Israel has further permitted the Palestinian Authority to arm 40,000 "police."

If the Saudi "peace plan" were serious -- and not an attempt to divert attention from the Saudi role in September 11 and its sponsorship of Islamic extremism worldwide -- why didn't Saudi Arabia offer it before?

Why is it impossible for the Palestinian Authority to give Israel what Mr. Sharon has demanded -- just three days of respite from terror attacks?

March 23, 2002

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 13

(13) Thom Mcann, July 31, 2014 11:51 PM

Whose to blame?

This is not about Israel.

The continuing source of Hamas intransigence despite losing was expressed by a Palestinian leader during the Lebanon war.

George Habash, a Greek Orthodox Christian, was known as "the godfather" of Middle East terrorism.

Habash's group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East terror tactic and triggered the Black September civil war between Jordan's Hashemite monarchy and Palestinian guerrillas.

When told that many of the Palestinians were disproportionately being killed in that war, he responded that he didn't care because no matter how few, "we are killing Jews!"

The war is not about borders, settlements, ports, fishing, etc.,

The Palestinian leadership—both Hamas and Fatah as well as its people—are mesmerized by what Thomas Mann's friend (who lived in Nazi Germany) called the "sorcery of violence."

Those in Nazi Germany lost their souls.

The same thing is happening in Gaza and the West Bank?

(12) Shira Levin, April 8, 2002 12:00 AM

The True Context of the Conflict

It seems the world practices a double standard. While another nation can defend itself when attacked and not told to exercise restraint Israel is expected to be different. What truly underlines the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is that it is a spiritual war. The God of Islam verses the G-d of Israel. Mr. Jules has the right perspective regarding the conflict. The place to look for His guidance is in His word, the Bible.

(11) Allen Miller, April 5, 2002 12:00 AM

Perpetual Patrimony

Mona Charen is a media force for good, whose recent reduced schedule, while wholly understandable, makes her sorely missed.
Regretfully, I admit to not being a particularly religious person. However, were I, the cause for the chronic lack of progress in the "peace process" would be readily apparent: The "land" being haggled over is nothing less than precisely that homeland given by G-d, in trust, to the descendents of Abraham in perpetuity. Therefore, several Israeli governments have been attempting to give away what they do not own. Perhaps some means for peace could be ascertained, were the wise-guy politicians to consult the Owner.

(10) Oren Varnai, April 5, 2002 12:00 AM

It's all about oil

I whole heartedly believe that the US position on the situation in Israel is a direct result of the fear of an oil embargo by OPEC. If the US were not so heavily dependant on arab oil we would not see this drastic shift in US policy towards terrorism. As a rescuer in the World Trade Center I cannot harmonize the two positions taken by President Bush, namely, that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms, except when we are dealing with the Palestinian Authority.

(9) Anonymous, April 3, 2002 12:00 AM

agree with writers facts, and reasoning.

i agree with the Facts that Mrs Charen mentions in this article. The Arab countries did refuse a U.N.partition plan in 1947, which would have given them a seperate state. Israel has given administrative authority, over 98 percent of the disputed territories, to Mr Arafat. So then why do so many palestinians complain about the way that Israel treats them? I think that its part of an effort, by members of Palestinian terrorist groups, to discredit Israel.

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