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Israel has never been forgiven for its existence. This has been the case since it was consummated, in 1948, when the Arab countries protested against the United Nations’ agreement to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into two States: one for the Jews, who claimed their natural and historical right to inhabit those lands; and one for the Arabs living in the area and who adhered to the notion of Palestine.
In reality, there was never such a thing as a Palestinian state, other than the attempt to detach the Jews from Judea. Instead, there was the tradition and affection for Israel on the part of the Jews. The memory of what was there. Of what at some point destroyed Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon; and then the Romans, under the orders of Titus. So the United Nations agreement, in November 1947, to determine what to do with the British territory, meant the vindication of a centuries-long effort on the part of the Jewish people.
33 countries voted yes and 13 opposed: the cities with the largest Hebrew populations under Israeli control, the cities with the largest Arab populations under Palestinian control, and Jerusalem and Bethlehem under international control of the United Nations.
Although the Jewish people did not quite understand the arbitrariness of dividing such a volatile territory into three, accepted and celebrated. The Arabs protested and determined, from that November 1947, to obstinately seek the elimination of the State of Israel.
The reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be explained in a single sentence: one side wants to destroy the other. Although from the beginning Israel conceived the right of Palestine to exist as a state, the Arab nations have not thought the same, and at every provocation, they take the opportunity to advance their will to kill innocent Jews.
Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia sought to destroy Israel in 1948 and failed. Then in 1967, now with the support of the Soviet Union. The Arabs failed and again sought to destroy Israel in 1973, in a conflict that began after a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day for Judaism. At that time, the Soviet Union also backed the Arabs. But they did not succeed either.
Israel emerged stronger from each conflict and its military superiority, which surprised the Arabs, portrayed the Jewish State as the aggressor, although this was never the case. Israel took advantage of the attacks to seize territories that it later offered in exchange for a lasting peace. A proposal that the Arabs never took because they were never open to it. Their cause, unique and unalterable, is the destruction of Israel. They simply need the detonator.
Public opinion has never been particularly favorable to Israel, although during its first years of existence almost the entire Western world, even moderates on the state, looked favorably on the Jewish State. The Israeli government’s intention to defend its population against any aggression and to respond with more power has always bothered the hypocritical, goody-goody press. And today, although we are witnessing one of the greatest aggressions ever suffered by Jewish cities, once again the world is cheering and accompanying the artillery of the victimizer.
The trigger was an alleged eviction. The decision resulting from a legitimate court process, where each party was represented, apparently generated a bloody war: the Arab inhabitants of a Jewish neighborhood within Sheik Jarrah, an Arab district in Jerusalem, who had taken over some houses decades ago that did not belong to them and who could not prove the acquisition or transfer of the property, were to be evicted by the beginning of May. Of course they had to, because those properties were taken from the Jews in 1948, after the first war, when the Arab League took over part of Jerusalem and exterminated and expelled the Hebrew inhabitants of the small neighborhood inside Sheik Jarrah.
The process was taken to the Courts and the Arabs were even able to appeal. The State of Israel was always clear that a Jew could claim his property if and only if he could prove that it belonged to him, that he had title and if the Arab inhabitant could not prove transfer or purchase. So it was. The Arabs denounced, for their part, an attempt by Israel to expel them. This is a lie, because Sheik Jarrah remains largely Arab and they live in full harmony.
The Court’s decision (which was appealed and is still pending), provoked riots in Jerusalem. And in the midst of the riots, the most unimaginable horror: hundreds of rockets launched from Gaza rained down on Israel. From May 10 to 11, almost a thousand. The Hamas terrorist group, the official authority in Gaza and, in part, also in the rest of Palestine, launched its most violent attack in decades. For the first time, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Lod came under a hail of missiles.
Imagine being free. Living in a prosperous, cosmopolitan country, and from one day to the next it starts raining missiles. Imagine it happening in London, in Paris, in New York or in Madrid. It happened in Tel Aviv. It happened in Jerusalem. Millions of Jews, entire families, had to run underground. And they are still there today, as rockets hit homes and streets.
The terrorist group Hamas has killed several civilians, among them children and elderly people. And what did the world expect, what did the Palestinians expect? That the Netanyahu government would accept the siege as part of Hamas’s Right-to-Kill-Jews. Well, no: Israel responded. And it responded as Israel has always done: with force, and a lot of it. Because the murder of a single civilian, of a single Jewish child, already justifies the biggest and most lethal reaction, even if the offended press shrieks.
Of course Israel has the military power to make crumbs out of any structure in Gaza. This is especially known to the terrorists who rule the Strip, who launch and launch missiles costing thousands of dollars while the Palestinians starve and live in misery. And if we have to say that the Palestinians must be liberated, then by all means: but from Hamas.
An eviction does not cause a war. If missiles rain down on Tel Aviv or Lod today, it is simply because Israel has never been forgiven for its existence. And it could have been a court decision or a country legitimately deciding to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Any wink is an excuse to spread fire in the Middle East.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.