It seems Summer Lee is enthralled by the “woke” dictum that Israel and Israelis are irredeemably evil and to be ostracized by all “good” people. (THE POTENTIAL FALL OF REP. SUMMER LEE, THE SQUAD MEMBER FROM PITTSBURGH boulderjewishnews.org August 25, 2023.) Thus, she refused to attend the talk given by Israel’s President Herzog. I doubt that she is aware that Israeli governments, from all portions of the political spectrum, have been calling for judicial reform for many years and that many Israelis nevertheless object strongly to the reforms proposed by the current government. She also probably doesn’t know that Pres. Herzog has been trying to be the peacemaker, working to bring various factions together to reach a reform program more acceptable to all concerned. I doubt, as well, that Rep. Lee knows much about the history of Zionism or of the roots of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Arabs of Palestine could have gotten a state, alongside Israel, in the 1940’s. But, instead of helping those Arabs prepare for independence, Arab states went to war, trying to prevent the emergence of a modern Jewish state in the Jews’ ancestral homeland. The Zionists prevailed and the State of Israel declared independence, but lost control of certain areas (Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, dubbing those areas “The West Bank.”) During these occupations, Jews were ethnically cleansed from land that is of religious and historic significance to them; Jewish holy sites were destroyed and Jewish graves were desecrated. The occupations continued until 1967, when Jordan allied with Egypt and Syria in a war instigated with the open intent of destroying Israel and annihilating her people. Israel’s offer to exchange newly liberated land for recognition and peace was refused by the Arab League in September 1967.
Nonetheless, Israel has offered to share land with the Palestinians, signing the Oslo Accords so that Palestinians in designated areas could live under the administration of leaders of their own choosing. Sadly, Palestinian leaders subsequently rejected several Israeli and US proposals that should have led to the establishment of the first-ever-to-exist Arab State of Palestine. (Ehud Barak, 2000; Ehud Olmert, 2008; Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel, 2009; the Trump Administration’s Peace to Prosperity plan, 2020).
Oslo envisioned Final Status talks being completed by 2000, producing agreement on secure and recognized borders. Little progress has been made, with Palestinian leaders generally having been unwilling to negotiate. Rather than working to build a Palestinian state, Palestinian leaders have enriched themselves on monies donated for their peoples’ benefit and diverted humanitarian aid to wage war against Israel and Israelis.
Anyone who wants to see the lives of Palestinians improve should be urging Palestinian leaders to begin building the infrastructure needed by a viable state and to prepare the people living under their administration for life in a state co-existing with the nation-state of the Jews.
Toby F. Block