May 31, 2021
Letters to the Editor
Boulder Jewish News
Ed Kass’s ‘A Conversation we do not have, but need to’ (Column: Saving Israel from Herself, May 27, 2021) betrayed a shockingly low understanding of the constant existential threats Israel faces.
In his blinkered views, Palestinians lack any agency whatsoever. Oh, “Hamas wants to destroy Israel”; “So does Hezbollah”; “Abbas and the current Palestinian leadership … refuse to make any compromises”. But, so what.
Kass deeply imbibes malicious Palestinian propaganda, ranting about eastern Jerusalem Sheik Jarrah “evictions”. The heirs to those Jewish owned properties, from late 19th Century, were entitled to their return. Instead, in a 1982 Solomonic decision, an Israeli court allowed squatters to stay, on condition of paying rent, something the evictees have evaded for decades.
Kass energetically joins the constant bashing of “settlers”. Of course, for Palestinians, that includes all Israelis. Most “settlers” live in the major blocs, tracking the “Green” Armistice Line from Israel’s War of Independence. There are also recognized, and unrecognized settlements, elsewhere. Virtually all “settlers” are peaceful and try to get along with nearby Arab villages, who are, not so often, peacefully inclined. Blanket accusations of gratuitously “destroying olive trees, stoning children, and damaging property”, etc. are wildly off the mark.
Kass’s naivete is most clearly illustrated in his belief that “cooperation between the PA security forces and Israel has shown that both sides can work together”. That happens only because they’re fighting a common enemy. Even though he occasionally feints at stopping such cooperation, Abbas knows his physical survival completely depends on it. “Constant raids at night” facilitate capture of terrorists, while minimizing the possibility of shootouts, endangering other residents.
That “Israeli actions have brought continual strife and warfare” is a contemptible lie. Kass himself acknowledges the vicious views of its enemies, though he neglects to mention Iran. What if, he wondered, “Hezbollah launche[d] its rockets along with Hamas”? Well, it seems that Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Hamas maintained, during the 4th Gaza War, a Beirut war room, coordinating with Gaza City.
Iran supplied many of the rockets, and facilitated other local manufacture, improved with advanced Iranian technology. He ignored, as well. the pivotal role played by toxic internal Palestinian politics in sparking that war. After his highly unpopular cancellation of Palestinian legislative elections, that Hamas would likely have won overwhelmingly, Abbas badly needed a major diversion, and so he went for the jugular: Jerusalem.
Magnifying a series of minor squabbles, reframing Israeli police responding to a Temple Mount riot as a religious outrage, and repeating the century old Grand Mufti of Jerusalem lie “Al Aqsa is in danger’, he provided a huge opening for Hamas. It responded with a barrage of rockets aimed at major Israeli urban areas, Its totally cynical ploy, “When Jerusalem calls, Gaza answers”, electrified the Arab street.
Israel needs no lectures from abroad as to its “Jewish moral and ethical compass”. It is among the first to respond to humanitarian crises, worldwide. Its border medical stations treated victims of the Syrian Civil War; its hospitals treat seriously ill Palestinian leaders and their families. It provides jobs for 130,000 Palestinian daily commuting workers, at much better pay, and under far better working conditions available on the West Bank. It has demonstrably done more for Palestinians than their decrepit, despotic, kleptocratic leaders. Despite all the pain and suffering they have inflicted on their own people, they still intransigently refuse, not just “compromises”, but the very legitimacy of a sovereign Mideast Jewish State. Yet, Israel’s hand remains outstretched for peace and reconciliation,, waiting for a new Palestinian leadership to emerge, to clasp it.
Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, New York