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The erroneous basis of European hostility to Israel ^ | Saturday, February 1, 2003 | By Dr. Yoav J. Tenembaum

Posted on 02/01/2003 6:17:26 AM PST by JohnHuang2

There is a seemingly widespread hostile attitude toward Israel among European decision and opinion makers.

Beyond the ingrained anti-Jewish feelings that may motivate some of them, many others argue their stand on the erroneous basis that Israeli occupation breeds Palestinian violence.

This view is founded, to a large extent, on the collective colonial experience of some European countries. The violence perpetrated, so they would contend, against colonial power came to an end with the termination of colonial rule.

Maybe. But this is hardly the case so far as Israel is concerned.

To begin with, this latest campaign of Palestinian terrorism began when there was not any Israeli soldier in any Palestinian town either in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Ninety-seven percent of the Palestinian population in those areas was ruled by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Furthermore, Israel's then prime minister, Ehud Barak, had just offered the Palestinians a sovereign state of their own in almost all of the territories.

The current Israeli military presence in the West Bank is a result of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians – not the cause of it.

Following a daily spate of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, and not before the Israelis proved reluctant to enter Palestinian towns, did the Israeli government decide selectively to send its security forces into populated areas of the West Bank.

Indeed, every time the Israeli government decided to evacuate a Palestinian town, a terrorist attack emanating from the same Palestinian town against Israeli civilians ensued.

To draw a comparison with colonialism is also incorrect as the national liberation movements fighting for their respective freedom from the yoke of colonial rule had a limited objective in mind and did not even dream of demanding the destruction of the colonial country itself.

The Palestinian national liberation movement has traditionally demanded the elimination of the state of Israel as a sovereign entity. Following the Oslo Accord, there was hope among many Israelis that a change had occurred and Israel's destruction was no longer the objective of the Palestinians.

The fact that, even in the aftermath of the Oslo Accord, Israel was only a figment of the imagination in official publications of the Palestinian Authority, let alone among more radical groups, only reinforced the skepticism harbored by many in Israel.

The current terrorist campaign did precious little to convince Israelis that the Palestinians seek a fair compromise rather than a gradual and bloody elimination of the only Jewish state on earth.

Further, the margin of error the European colonial powers could afford was much greater than Israel's. Thousands of miles separated most colonial territories and the colonial countries themselves.

The West Bank and Gaza surround Israel's main cities.

Never in modern history has a democratic country been subjected to a terrorist campaign such as Israel has been. Hundreds of civilians have been murdered by a national liberation movement, which is willing to transform its own people into walking bombs.

The ratio of Israelis killed in the last two years would be comparable to tens of thousands of people in the main European countries.

Such a scenario, in such a short period of time, has never been seen by any European country exercising colonial rule.

Could one imagine how these same Europeans would have reacted had thousands and thousands of civilians been bombed out of existence in their main cities, on a daily basis, by groups finding refuge in a territory adjacent to them?

The belief that violence can be extinguished if only the motive for its existence is put away may be true. But one should be careful to ascertain what is actually the motive behind such violence.

Many people thought that the threat of violence by Nazi Germany could be dealt with by addressing German grievances. The problem, though, was that the motive for such a threat was not related to any grievances the Germans may have had, but rather to the very nature of Nazi Germany and its unlimited goals.

It may be convenient for the Europeans to believe that if only Israel would end its occupation (which came in the wake of Palestinian terrorism) violence would cease.

The argument should be advanced the other way around: If the Palestinians were to end their unprecedented campaign of terror and embrace a political culture that accepts the norms of civilized societies, the Israelis would have no reason to be present in Palestinian cities to try and defend the lives of their own citizens.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: israel
Saturday, February 1, 2003

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1 posted on 02/01/2003 6:17:26 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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