Israel, The Good Enemy
Israel’s relationship to the Palestinians has always been globally approached
with standardized heavy criticism of Israel. The main charges waved in Israel’s face have always been “the
Disapropriate use of force” and “discrimination”.
Israel’s critics, either willingly or out of ignorance, choose to overlook
the way many Arab countries mistreat Palestinians. Some Arab countries are almost never blamed for what they have been doing
to the Palestinians for decades. Such selective recognition of facts by Israel’s critics is bizarre when weighed
by truth instead of myths.
In December of 2008, Israel launched operation “cast lead” against
Hamas which was launching rockets on Southern Israel on a daily basis. This operation has resulted in the death of more
than 1,400 Palestinians, many said to be civilians; an absolute tragedy, nonetheless, those criticizing Israel fail to recognize
that the number of causalities is small comparing to Gaza’s population of 1.5 million, considering the high density
of Gaza’s population per square kilometre, the number suggests the Israeli forces were very cautious in carrying out
their attacks, despite the fact that they were chasing a moving target, Hamas militants. If Israeli forces were targeting
Palestinian civilians, the number of the dead would have reached tens of thousands.
By comparison; in 1976, Lebanese militiamen butchered 2,000 Palestinians; almost
wiping out the entire population of Tell al-Zaatar refugee camp within days. This was revisited again in 1982 in Sabra
and Shatelah massacre; where, in less than four days, Lebanese militiamen killed thousands of women and children who posed
no threat as most Palestinian fighters had left then to Tunisia. Two years ago, al-Jazeera satellite network aired rare footage
of Palestinians running to Israeli soldiers for refuge from the massacre.
Furthermore, most Arab atrocities against Palestinians have included documented
rape cases, even of children, while not a single rape case has been reported against Israeli forces in more than sixty years
Arab governments’ oppression of the Palestinians does not stop at bloodshed
and wholesale slaughters, in fact the more troubling aspects of the way they treat Palestinians is in the systematic
long-range exclusion and discrimination. In Arab countries where Palestinians make up a good percentage of the
population; they are deprived of all basic necessities, starting with education, down to basic healthcare. Even at countries
that have granted the Palestinians citizenships; the Palestinians stand helpless and banned from every potential to improve
Israel, on the other hand, has always allowed Palestinians to work there and to
get paid in Western standards, and even had allowed them generous access to healthcare. In fact, Israel has also welcomed
Palestinians as visitors, patients and even as investors, this generosity was only limited when Hamas started bombing Israeli
civilians with no signs of an end in sight.
The complexity Israel has with Palestinians revolves around security rather than
ideological issues; Israel does not have an aim to enslave the Palestinians for life or purposely degrade their humanity.
While many Arab countries have designed their systems to discriminate and humiliate the Palestinians, squeezing them into
illiteracy and poverty while milking them for tax money.
This has become most visible recently with calls in some Arab countries to revoke
citizenships of all Palestinians there and actually to force them to seek local guarantors to obtain residency, thus enslaving
them for life.
This comes as a deeper shock for Palestinians when they see Israeli Arabs, with
many of them describing themselves as “Palestinians in Israel”; those are full citizens of Israel with access
to all privileges. Israeli Arabs are fully represented inside the Knesset while Palestinians, in their Arab homeland,
are allowed only symbolic presence in parliaments, even at countries where they are the majority. And while some Arab
countries selectively withdraw citizenships from Palestinians, many Arab Knesset members do not hesitate to speak against
Israel with no fear of losing their citizenships or entitlements.
Still, while the world is most vocal about Israeli military operations, it fails
to recognize that Israel has been dealing with non-stop unrest on its soil since the breakout of the Intifada in 1987.
Has that Intifada taken place in any Arab country; it would have ended within the first couple of weeks with an Arab army
killing more than ten thousands Palestinians, most being civilians. Examples of this are countless and in all Arab countries
hosting Palestinians; yet the world seems to think this reality is too overrated to recognize.
Today, with peace negotiations up and running, some Arab governments seem to want
to butcher the Palestinians again on the altar of dictatorship by worsening their living conditions and making their lives
more miserable, just to secure a better negotiating position or merely a seat at the negotiations table. Not to mention
that many of those actually would rather see the negotiations fail in order to keep more international aid money flowing to
them for “hosting” the Palestinians.
Quoting a commentator on one of my articles; “the Palestinians, do obviously
need a break from their sworn Arab friends”, and perhaps they can reconnect to them when they have learned a lesson
or two from their Israeli “enemies”.
Meanwhile, the world will remain silent about the Palestinians’ suffering
at the hands of some of their “brothers”, as it’s too occupied with Israel.
Mudar Zahran, Jordanian of a Palestinian heritage, is an academic who resides in the UK. Read his full bio.