Standing With Israel

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It is nothing short of astonishing to note the agenda-driven politics of our day. It gives lip service to grand ideals, papers over the truth in order to distort reality, and in the end amounts to betrayal. This is the picture that is unfolding before our eyes concerning Israel and her battle for survival. Even her long-accepted historical narrative is being denied in order to achieve certain global goals.

Caught in this web of intrigue, the tiny nation of Israel twists and bends so as to somehow appease its allies, who have now decided that a "two-state solution" is the only way forward for her. This in spite of the following:

1. The Road to Oblivion

Israel is now expected to make peace with a Palestinian polity that is presently at war with itself and that does not accept Israel's right to exist! This is not just true of Hamas in Gaza, but also of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. A Jerusalem Post report on the 1st of June noted that in an interview with Arab journalists, Abbas reaffirmed his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; his hard-line approach on refugees and Jerusalem; and of course his demand that Israel, at last, withdraw to the pre-1967 armistice lines.

In Gaza, Hamas is less sophisticated in its demands and openly struts its destructive plans! Hamas has not only butchered Fatah loyalists but also has effectively turned Gaza into a militant Islamist enclave dedicated to destroying Israel. Moreover, like its northern cousin Hizbullah, it is funded and armed by Iran. In reality, Israel has fought two proxy wars with Iran in the last three years. Now she is expected to open negotiations with her enemies in the expectation of ultimately handing over Jerusalem to them!

What right thinking Western nation would do this, and where in history is there a precedent for this nonsense? The allies did this for a brief moment in 1939 when Hitler took over the Rhineland, Austria and the Sudetenland. They realized in the end that their policy of appeasement had encouraged destruction and war when it became Poland's turn. Five years later, with tens of millions of lives lost, they counted the cost of "toying with evil" and turning a blind eye.

It is unthinkable that the West, including professing friends of Israel, would now insist on pushing her into the arms of terrorists who desire nothing less than her total removal from the regional map. This is the road to oblivion.

2. The Road to Democracy

Where in the Middle East region, apart from Israel and Lebanon, is there an example of democracy? Israel is the stronger of these two and indeed is a shining light of freedom, tolerance, advancement and opportunity for all. As a consequence, her contribution to the wider world in all fields of endeavor is great and indeed disproportionate to her size. By contrast, the Arab/Muslim nations of the region are largely totalitarian; tolerant of Islam only; suppressing when it comes to women's and minority rights; and illiterate by world standards!

The same privileges their expatriates enjoy in Western nations concerning freedom of religion and expression, they deny to others in their countries. Christians cannot practice their faith openly, build churches or propagate their message! Bibles are in many cases banned, but the "Protocols of Zion" are sold openly on streets from Damascus to Tehran. From their religious and political podiums one only hears incitement to hatred and calls for Israel's destruction. Their school textbooks pursue the same dark schemes.

In short, there is no road to democracy, as it all but ends at the borders of Israel. The question is: Should the West impose democracy on the region? The answer is no! However, it should strongly stand behind Israel and, when engaging the non-democratic regimes of the region, adopt policies that do not reward dictatorships.

3. The Road to Agreement

Where Israel has been able to find a genuine peace partner, agreement has been reached and peace has resulted. Both Egypt and Jordan are examples of this. These agreements were reached because the parties were exhausted by their wars. They genuinely wanted peace.

This cannot be said of the Palestinians. Guided by irresponsible leaderships, they have embarked on one destructive adventure after another. Even their so-called peace initiatives were pursued with deceit and dishonesty. Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI have more than proved this by demonstrating time and time again that what was said to Western politicians was openly repudiated when speaking to the Muslim world in their native Arabic. Even Yasser Arafat, addressing a gathering in Johannesburg in 1994, stated that his real intention through the Oslo peace agreements was the destruction of Israel. Faced with this fact, Western politicians turned a blind eye and dismissed it as mere rhetoric!

And what of Gaza? Israel pulled out with good intentions and was rewarded with hostility. We all saw it coming except the enlightened politicians of the world and, sadly, of Israel - who knew better. It begs the question, why does the intellectual elite not see the obvious? More important still, why is Israel being pushed into the arms of Hamas? What other nation would do so in similar circumstances?

The road to agreement must begin with the cessation of violence, the recognition of Israel's right to exist and a genuine desire for peace. Anything short of this is madness, but alas that very madness persists!

4. The Road to Peace

Israel has fully demonstrated her desire for peace and willingness to reconcile with partners truly committed to the same goals. It is almost unbelievable that after 61 years of statehood, Israel is yet to be recognized as an existing Jewish state by the Palestinian leadership. Both charters that is of Hamas and the PLO continue to call for her destruction. Moreover, both are engaged in a violent power struggle over who will dictate how the campaign to eliminate Israel is waged.

Further, when Israel makes concessions she is rewarded with violence. This happened in September of 2000 and after the Gaza pullout of 2005. In addition, behind the conflict is a radical Islamic theology that denies that Israel can exist on what was once the Dar al-Salaam (House of Islamic Peace).

Until these realities are firmly dealt with by the international community, Israel should not be shoved down the road to peace. A two state solution is currently unthinkable, as it will result in more of the same. That is, more violence and renewed assaults against the Jewish state. Houses with weak foundations always collapse, leading to unnecessary loss of life. Gaza proved this, as did the negotiations under Oslo. They failed because the foundations that should lead to true peace were not firmly put in place first. In fact, they were knowingly ignored. When this happens once, it can be excused; but when it happens repeatedly, it amounts to stupidity! Or, is there another agenda behind this apparent stupidity?

All this is not to say that there should be no road to peace. There should, but it must be properly built. Israel has time and again stated that she has no desire to rule over the Palestinians. Her actions have, I believe, proved this. However, if your perceived peace partner continuously denies your existence and calls for your destruction, then the equation must change. To move forward under these circumstances is a road to national suicide - a fate that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would no doubt welcome!

Finally, it must be noted that Israel's existence today is not because of the Holocaust. The Holocaust only proved what Theodor Herzl posited - that the Jews would not be safe unless they had a state of their own. His movement to found a Jewish State in the Land of Israel began in the late 19th century, nearly five decades before the Holocaust. The early 20th century saw the resettlement of what was then Palestine by waves of returning Jews. Their right to re-settle the Land of Israel was based on a 4,000-year historical claim and connection dating back to the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. This claim was already recognized by the League of Nations in the British Mandate of 1922. The Holocaust just reinforced the urgency of the need for an independent Jewish nation in their ancient homeland, as well as its moral underpinnings.

The existence of the Jewish nation and people are remarkable, their achievements amazing and their book, the Bible, is enlightening. This book warns the nations against dividing the land (Joel 3:1-3), probably because underlying such endeavors was hostility with destruction in mind, and not sincerity. Has anything changed?

Malcolm Hedding is the executive director of International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (icej.org).

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