It’s important to keep the present Israeli-Palestinian battle in perspective.
Since 1993, when the Oslo peace accords were concluded between Yassar Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel, the Palestinians have been unable to keep that or any other peace agreements.
Terrorists, hiding among the homes of civilians, have continued to launch attacks on Israel, and the Israelis have defended themselves with force and skill. In each of these cases, when the Palestinians have had enough, cease fires are worked out. Later, the Palestinians break the peace again by launching new fusilades of rocketry or sending people to blow themselves up in suicide bombings.
In October of 2004, with the death of Yassar Arafat, new hope sprang that acts of terrorism would cease and a permanent truce, if not a permanent peace, would be the result, but that hasn’t been the case.
Now, we see the Palestianians up to their old tricks, even though they know how their efforts will end. Israel will do what it has to do to defend itself, even to the point of occupying part of the West Bank to maintain order.
For the Palestinians, this is a self-defeating strategy, and it does nothing to prove to the world that they aren’t at least temporarily insane.
The Palestinians feel that war and peace talks have left them with no nation of their own, living as second-class citizens under the Israeli thumb. For their part, the Israelis have pushed the Palestinians in ways that seem unfair, such as Israel’s building housing developments on the West Bank, encroaching on land to which the Palestinians feel they have a righteous claim.
Nobody said peace would be easy between the two peoples. Their animosity stretches back thousands of years. When Israel was declared an independent country in 1948, most observers knew the population of Muslims, Jews and Christians never would live comfortably together.
The Israelis knew that to survive, they would have to build a powerful military, and they did. They also found a friend — the U.S. with its influential Jewish population largely sympathetic to the Jewish cause.
To help their own cause, the Palestinians will have to work smarter, and eschew trying to defeat the formidable, determined, well- governed and now well established state that Israel has become.