Two decades ago, it seemed huge steps were made toward peace, when the IDF pulled out of the Gaza Strip and Palestinian-populated parts of the West Bank. The Palestinians received their legitimate right to handle their affairs and practiced their independence.
At first, tensions in the Arab-Israel conflict seemed to reduce. A few terrorists still launched attacks but Israel invested in border defenses, barriers and the Iron Dome missile defense system.
We thought that a new generation who grew free of military occupation would accept the two-state solution, Israelis would return to their lawful borders and achieve their ever-longing security while Palestinians prosper.
Instead, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas taught their children a mindset of denying any right of Jews to live by their side. Even in educated informative coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, crucial facts were omitted and facts twisted so the reader would believe that the Israeli side was completely in the wrong.
Interviews with Palestinian youngsters today reveal a uniform opinion that ignores the complex truth and recognizes only one justice: to throw out all Jews “from the river to the sea”. Unfortunately, also Pro-Palestinians in the world call to free Palestine without having an idea of what that means.
I would just ask supporters of “free Palestine” to explain what exactly they are calling for. Palestinian youngsters do not only ask for the private land of their grandparents; they want the entire land, with people already living there lawfully exactly like Americans in America.
People who support this cause should consider their responsibility for a possible near future that would see Jews thrown out of their homes, killed or exiled to America, Europe and Asia. Jews would become refugees as they had been numerous times throughout history. Those who favor this would learn too late that justice would not be restored to anyone in this land.
The pain of Palestinian refugees is evident. The trauma of exile sends out huge waves of destruction and injustice. Let me demonstrate what I mean with a small family story. My grandfather was a Polish student at the Sorbonne University when World War II broke out. He was conscripted into the Polish army, which was quickly defeated by the Nazis. He escaped with his wife to Uzbekistan just before his entire family was captured and killed.
They were refugees for almost 10 years with nowhere to stay safely. They immigrated to Israel and lived in tents at first. I think the painting of my grandmother Salka below explains what it really means to be a refugee. The family moved from tents to a deserted Arab house in Ramla, and eventually moved on with their life and settled into an apartment of their own.
Many Arabs fled Ramla after the 1948 war, even though the Israeli leadership allowed those who were not involved in the fighting against the newly established state to remain. Only a small part of those who fled were allowed to return. Today Ramla is mostly populated by Arabs who are citizens of Israel, part of the 2.1 million members of Israel's Arab sector who live in coexistence with the Jewish population.
They know too well that they would not be spared by those that call for jihad and to “free Palestine”. It means losing their property, and losing rights for Arab women and for Christians as well. Private farms and houses were always possessed by Jews and other people in this land, but the ruling authority changed hands between the realm of Judea-Israel, Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans, British and Israelis.
Under every authority, the Jews most often settled legally. I live in a town called Mazkeret Batya; the name recalls the mother of Edmond de Rothschild who bought this land in 1883 from a nearby Arab village. Back then and over many years, Jews respected the local Arabs and Arabs lived in good neighborliness with Jews.
However, some leaders of Arab groups spread hatred and false rumors to harm the trust between our people. The riots of August 1929 in which 133 unarmed Jews were killed was organized by Amin al-Husseini as part of his competition with another Muslim leader. Similar incitement happens today for the same reason by other Arab leaders.
Our Declaration of Independence which we hold dear was written just before the 1948 war, and it says Israel will ensure complete equality irrespective of religion, race or sex. The 1948 war was inflicted upon us by the joined Arab countries and hostile Arab villages and ended in the Palestinian Nakba.
57% of the Arab population left the country, urged by false warnings from their own Arab radio stations that they must escape. Jews suffered from humiliations, pogroms and forced conversion in Arab countries and about 650,000 of them immigrated to Israel, mostly after its establishment.
The majority of Jews in Arab countries were essentially exiled while leaving all their property behind. My mother came from Tunisia after her family’s leather factory was confiscated by the Nazis and after suffering from assaults and forced labor. Pro-Palestinians insult us by calling Israel “a white colonialist apartheid state” without ever bothering to learn the truth.
Israelis are mixed in origin and skin color but everyone has the same rights, including Muslims and Christians. Jews who immigrated to Israel were the most miserable refugees, suffering from harsh life and many threats, but they dreamed of Jerusalem. A century ago, our fault was being non-Aryans, today our fault is being white-skinned, whatever works for the antisemitic agenda.
I do not support Jewish settlers who provocatively live in controversial territories. Some of them say it is unacceptable to leave the land of our ancestors. Only a small minority commit hate crimes, which get headlines in the news. In truth, we Israelis just seek a safe home. My parents once moved (without me) to build their affordable dream house in a settlement in northern Gaza near the border.
Yet, in 2005 their town, Nitzanit, was forcefully evacuated by the Israeli Defense Force. This act by the Israeli government had one intention - to allow Gazans and Israelis to live peacefully on each side of the border. You cannot imagine how devastated my parents were after the evacuation.
Today, they live in Ashkelon and suffer from continuous barrages of thousands of rockets from Gaza. My parents never attacked anyone, and never pretended to serve God; they only sought opportunities. Now they are on the verge of becoming refugees for the third time in their lives. Gaza was completely released from our military presence except for times of clashes, and still anti-Israelis repeat their mantra that we are blamed for occupation.
Can you understand how such events shape Israeli public opinion? I apologize for children dying in Gaza during the war, and this should be prevented at all costs. What Hamas did to our babies and families on October 7 is on an entirely different level of cruelty, and was deliberate. I feel pity for any family that loses their loved ones, and you should feel sympathy for Israeli families too. How can anyone justify mutilating babies or using them as hostages?
Hamas leaders would have been considered criminals in any healthy society, and more of them unfortunately sit in Israeli prisons. The world should not allow the release of dangerous terrorists and accept their methods. Even Gazans are suppressed cruelly by these fanatic groups, who exterminate their political opposition, store weapons in children’s beds and fight deliberately in the presence of children, thus being responsible for their unjustified deaths.
Yet, after seeing the fanatic opinion of many Palestinian youngsters I cannot believe anymore that the problem is contained within a certain fanatic group. The autonomy that Palestinians received was abused, creating a monster of false education for an entire generation. This extreme brainwashing combined with false defamation and demonization of Israel could end in a disaster for all.
The madness of the crowds is so deep that the worst terrorist of all time, Osama Bin Laden, is recited for considering the existence of Israel the worst crime ever, and some Americans accept that. Innocent youngsters are turned into angry mobs by incitement in their schools and by irresponsible media and social networks. The Western world and moderate Arab countries must stop this practice of abusing children with false education to achieve political goals.
We also watch UNRWA participate in hate education, and UN representatives adopt double standards and use terms like "genocide" to describe the unjustified casualties of war. As Israelis, we hold ourselves through gritted teeth in ignoring the evil march of the crowd against us.
I acknowledge we also deserve criticism, but there is no hope of settling the issues with a new generation that denies the complex truth and chooses to hate us based on an alternative reality. I come to the conclusion that a two-state solution is possible only if these states are Israel and Jordan in pre-1967 borders.
The Arab mobs that live in Gaza and the West Bank are not able to establish a civilized state in the near future. The entire concept of “Palestinians” is complete nonsense, and this is why the concept has failed. The people that call themselves Palestinians have no heritage of any kind, no great historical figures (excluding one despised terrorist who somehow won a Nobel prize, and his Holocaust-denying successor), no common origin, no decent aims and no uniqueness that demands separation from the state of Jordan.
They also do not have a basis for using the Roman name of ancient Israel as their own. For this reason, every historical report on behalf of Palestinians is twisted in an attempt to rewrite history. The independent-minded should not fall to their false narrative, which already denies the barbaric attacks on Israel.