Letter to the editor,
“’It’s a War Crime’: Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv Against Netanyahu Annexation Bid,” Atlanta Jewish Times (online), June 8.
People certainly have the right to make their views known in public. But I must disagree with the claim that Israel is committing a war crime by extending Israeli civil governance to Jewish communities on land of religious and historic importance to Jews, land of strategic importance to Israel, land that was liberated from an illegal occupier (Jordan) in a defensive war.
When I think of war crimes, I think of Hamas firing missiles at Israeli population centers from Gazan population centers! I think of Hamas building tunnels to facilitate the abduction and murder of Israelis, using Israeli-supplied cement intended for the repair of Gazan houses damaged when Israel was forced to respond to Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians. I think of terrorists using helium taken from Gazan hospitals to float incendiary devices into Israel, sometimes attaching balloons and ribbons in the hopes of attracting Israeli children to exploding objects.
When I think of war crimes, I think of the Palestinian Authority inciting its people to attack Israelis and giving handsome stipends to murderers (and/or their families) when the murderers answer the call for violence. I think of the BDS movement, acknowledged by one of its founders (Omar Barghouti) to be an effort to “euthanize Israel.” And I see BDS not as a response to Jews’ building on land that the Oslo Accords designated for eventual Israeli control, but as an attempt to shut down businesses employing both Israelis and Palestinians and serving both Israeli and Palestinian consumers. What BDS truly opposes is the idea that Israelis and Palestinians might get to know each other and (horrors!) actually begin working to achieve Two States for Two Peoples, meaning a Palestinian state (the first ever!) co-existing with the nation-state of the Jews.
The organizers of the Tel Aviv rally oppose Israel’s attempt to move unilaterally on what was to be part of a negotiated process. But what could be more unilateral than insisting that everything must be settled via negotiation and then refusing to negotiate? Viewed in this light, Palestinian leaders are the prime exemplars of unilateralism. Palestinian leaders need to stop trying to destroy Israel and begin building the infrastructure needed by a viable state, one in which the Palestinians (including those claiming descent from Arabs who fled or were displaced by Arab-initiated violence decades ago) can become productive citizens.
Toby F. Block, Atlanta