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The large fraction of Israelis that once sought rapprochement with Palestinians at almost any price has diminished materially

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Although the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993 and implemented by Israel, the Palestinian Authority has never ratified it or undertaken the work of building an infrastructure for a state (Photo gpo.gov)

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When the Hebrew refugees from Egypt crossed the Jordan to begin their conquest of “the promised land”, they did not question their right to dispossess the peoples in their path. The land had been promised to Abraham by their Deity, hadn’t it? They had wandered forty years in the desert shedding their slave mentality and getting up their nerve. They had come to realize that promise. Anyway, those inhabitants were idol worshippers who made live sacrifices, weren’t they. It was easy to dehumanize them. Would that stuff bear scrutiny under our current values?

When the Jews launched their Zionist project in the 1800s after wandering for nearly two thousand years, bearing the tender mercies of populations in the lands where they resided, they appreciated that they had in their turn been the live sacrifices. After centuries of prayer, some individuals and groups began an effort to reclaim the “promised land” from which their nation had been expelled. They did not question their right to a re-possession. Indeed, other nations recognized that right and in two international conclaves that acceded to that promise. Nobody consulted the inhabitants of the sparsely populated territory.

Zionists were on the ground in small numbers, joining a Jewish minority, long in residence, many years before these conclave grants. Indeed, their energy fostered an economic resurgence in a moribund region, attracting a large number of Arabs from surrounding territories. The Jews remained a minority in the territory even as greater numbers of them streamed in to escape the harsh environments they were experiencing.

At the announcement of statehood in 1948, the Arabs who were soon to be labelled Palestinians, (the name of the territory was a Roman invention,) were in the majority, only one or two generations longer in residence than the newly replanted Jews.

In the early days of Statehood, an important fraction of the Jewish population in Israel believed that an accommodation could be reached with the Arab population. This was in spite of communal violence that dated back to 1921, and the hostile actions of some elements, internal and external, to which some Jews responded in kind. Incitement from abroad played a part.

During the War which followed the Declaration of Statehood, many local Arabs took up arms to join invading Arab armies, and many Arabs fled at the urging of Arab leaders, and for fear of reprisals from Israelis. Several wars were fought, with Israel achieving increased Jewish dominance and control of territories.

Continuing communal violence led ultimately, with the assistance of the U.S., to the Oslo Accords, an agreement to seek a two-state solution to the impasse. Although the Accords were signed in September 1993 and implemented by the Israeli side, they were never ratified by the Palestinian side. Seeking peace, the Israelis, nevertheless, established a Palestinian Authority, territory was outlined, joint jurisdictions defined, and territories surrendered, honoured by Israel under the Accords.

The Palestinian Authority has never undertaken the work of building an infrastructure for a state. Aid monies have disappeared into politician’s pockets rather than being spent on improving the lives of the general population. Resources have been spent on arms for terrorism, blaming Israel for economic challenges, and continued incitement from the Palestinian side.

Every attempt to resolve differences has been rejected by their leadership, their position being that the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state is the problem that must be eliminated.

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Government has reacted by taking increasingly stronger and more rapid action against acts of violence directed against their citizens. When Israel withdrew totally from Gaza in 2000, it was taken over by the terrorist organization Hamas, ejecting the Palestinian Authority. Installations that had been left behind to offer a base for economic viability, were destroyed.

Attacks on Israel and its citizens have continued unabated. The Palestinian Authority rewards individuals and their families financially for acts of terrorism against Israel. P.A. schools educate the children that Israelis should be killed, and their media are full of incitement. Israelis know that their security control over their territory is their only safeguard.

The recent US attempt to infuse the Palestinian economy with billions in investment funds, as a basis for a peace agreement with Israel, was rejected. The US reacted by closing the P.A.’s US office and reducing funding which it provides.

More recently, some Arab countries have begun to appreciate the benefits for their populations which could be derived from more normal relations with Israel, and have signed agreements with the State. Many others do so unofficially. The Arab League, which is an association of Arab countries, rejected P.A. protests and condemned their criticisms of member countries.

Peace deals brokered by the United States have opened relations between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel (Photo Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Among Israelis, attitudes have changed markedly. The large fraction that once sought rapprochement with Palestinians at almost any price, has diminished materially. The original recognition of, and empathy for, Palestinians’ lost sovereignty to the Jewish state, has faded with the continuing denial by Palestinians’ of Israel’s right to even exist.

Impatience with efforts to be fair to Palestinians has flourished with each act of terror, each anti-Israel initiative of their elected representatives in the Israel Parliament. Harsh measures against terrorists are applauded by the man in the street, after the long history of murderous attempts on the lives of innocents that occur daily in the territory.

Israelis, and Jews, generally, understand the immorality of the strong exercising their strength against the weak, just because they are strong. Jewish history recounts this experience. This concept, akin to justice, is bred into the Jew’s sense of morality. We must always be prepared to admit our sins. But when it becomes a question of the Jews’ right to exist, which is at the heart of the Palestinian Authority’s posture, (and Hamas’, Hezbollah’s, you name it, position) there is little room for any further constructive discussion.

We need people with whom we disagree, said Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, but we must be able to share with them, a common morality.

Max Roytenberg is an author, poet and blogger, with many published articles in Jewish periodicals in Dublin, New York, Winnipeg and Vancouver. After a career as an Economist and Executive in the Food Industry, in Canada and abroad, he writes, and lives with his Bride, in Vancouver. He has children and grandchildren in the US, Canada, China and Israel. His last book, “Hero In My Own Eyes”, is available through major booksellers and on Amazon.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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Happy reading!

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