Following the success of Israel’s incursion into Gaza and the elimination of Hamas terrorists responsible for firing thousands of rockets on Israeli soil, the media has been relatively quiet over the Middle East peace process. Yet, despite the tentative silence surrounding Israel, the tense negotiations between Israel and Gaza remain a powder keg. Hamas recently test-fired a new rocket that could reach more Israeli cities from Gaza, and Israel, following chilly talks between Netanyahu and Obama, continues to expand its controversial settlements into the West Bank. Little has changed since the Gaza crisis, but the burden of responsibility for lack of progress falls squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian government.
Israel has gone to great lengths to achieve peace with its Arab neighbors. In 1967, Israel was attacked by Arab nations on all sides. Responding defensively, they captured the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the entire Sinai Peninsula. Immediately seeking peace with their aggressors, Israel gave Sinai back to Egypt, and Egypt responded with a sneak attack during the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Israel then gave Gaza to the Palestinians, and Hamas responded with over 2,000 rockets aimed at Israeli civilians. Israel worked tirelessly for a two-state solution, offering the Palestinians their own country in Gaza, and 94 percent of the West Bank — along with Yasser Arafat — flatly rejected the offer. Israel has been one step short of begging for a lasting peace, yet despite its best efforts, 21 Arab nations refuse to even recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Israel is the only successful liberal democracy in the region, the freest nation in the Middle East and the envy of its neighbors in terms of economic and industrial progress. Yet we continue to lend credence to its enemies by treating an exemplar of liberty like a tyrannical aggressor. President Obama stated that the U.S. will not accept continued Israeli settlements, but what about continued Palestinian terrorism? Is greater instability caused by civilians building houses next door or rogue governments endorsing and conducting terrorist attacks?
Political commentator Mark Steyn challenged the leftist moral equivalency between Israeli settlements and Palestinian terrorism when he remarked, “All nation states in that neck of the woods date back a mere 60 or 70 years. … The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it.” While Israel has been growing in freedom and prosperity, the West Bank and Gaza have been ruled by oppressive, hostile regimes. When the Palestinian people voted Hamas into power, their government transformed into an unrepentant state terrorist organization. For years the Palestinians have had the means with which to produce a working and robust nation, yet they have proven more interested in destroying the Jewish state than increasing the welfare of their own citizens. Israel is not against giving the Palestinians the land they need to live; they are against that land being used as a staging ground for guerilla war. Peace will come the day the Palestinians renounce terrorism and finally embrace responsible governance.