On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a very important speech at the Begin-Sadat Center of Bar Ilan University. In a similar speech 4 years ago Netanyahu made the dramatic statement that he recognizes the principal of two states for two peoples, causing a political earthquake in the Israeli political establishment. At the time he was roundly criticized on the right and praised on the left.
This time his speech had a different timbre. Of course Netanyahu roundly condemned the Iranian regime and their nuclear aspirations, clearly explaining why they are not to be trusted and how dangerous are their ambitions.
Most importantly though, while not renouncing his acceptance of the two-state solution, he declared, correctly in my opinion, that the root cause of the Middle East conflict is the refusal of the Muslim Middle East to accept Israel as a Jewish state. This does not mean that the Arab states don’t recognize Israel – many of them obviously do, even with reluctance. And they may also claim that they understand that Israel is a Jewish state. But from that point to fully accepting that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people is a frog too big to swallow for them.
We see this rejection of the Jewish state in the constant antisemitism broadcast in the Arab media (even our “peace partners“) and in the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli incitement brainwashed into the minds of their children in their educational systems.
The salient point of Netanyahu’s speech is this:
In my opinion, if one must choose a process by which the conflict started in actual fact, I would set the date at 1921 on the day on which the Palestinian Arabs attacked the immigration hostel in Jaffa.
Many Jews were killed in this attack, including the well-known writer Y.H. Brenner. This attack was directed against Jewish immigration. My grandfather arrived in Jaffa, at that same hostel, the year before, as did many others. Clearly this attack was not about territory or settlements; it was against Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. Later there were more attacks: In 1929, the ancient Jewish community in Hebron was brutally slaughtered. It had existed there nearly uninterrupted for close to 4,000 years. After that, there were attacks in ’36, in ’39 – what they called unrest. These were repeated and methodical attacks against the Jewish community in Israel. Later on there was the Partition Plan of 1947, wherein it was proposed that there be an Arab state – they didn’t say Palestinian state, but rather Arab state – and a Jewish state. The Jews agreed, the Arabs refused. Because the matter was not at that time, nor is it today, the question of a Palestinian state, but rather was and remains, unfortunately, the Jewish state.
And even before 1967, for 19 years, they had us in a chokehold; there was a stranglehold around us with the sole goal of uprooting us, of extinguishing our lives. What was that about? There were no territories then either. There was no occupation, unless Tel Aviv is occupied and Jaffa is occupied. There were no settlements for 46 years, from 1921 to 1967, nearly half a century. We were excoriated by the Arab public unrelated to settlements, unrelated to what is presented as the historic heart of the struggle. I say these things because I can – well, so it ended there, but later everything changed. Later on, events developed as they developed. We withdrew from Gaza, every last centimeter. We uprooted communities and the attacks against us continued – approximately 10,000 missiles were fired at us from Gazan territory, from territories from which we withdrew. And when we ask those who launch the missiles and those who stand behind them: why do you fire at Jews? They say: in order to free Palestine. And what is Palestine? Judea and Samaria? No. Of course, they are part of it, but they say: Beer Sheva and Ashkelon, Majdal and Acre and Jaffa. Fine, those who say such things belong to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but the more moderate elements in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority – it is true that they do not engage in terror and this is an important distinction. They do not engage in terror, but when they are asked to say: Well, do you recognize? Not in Judea and Samaria, not in the West Bank, but are you ready finally to recognize the Jewish state? They answer: We are prepared to recognize the Israeli people; we are ready to recognize Israel. I say, that is not the question I am asking: are you prepared to recognize the Jewish state, the nation state of the Jewish people? And the answer so far has been no. Why not?
1. Muslims believe that the religion of Judaism was cancelled out when Christianity arose, and the same happened to Christianity when Islam arrived. And if Judaism is null and void, then how can the Jews come and say that they have a holy land all for themselves?
2. For the Arabs, the Jews are not a nation but a religious community assembled from various ethnicities and countries where Jews have lived for hundreds of years. So if they are not a nation why do they need Israel?
3. According to the Quran, the land of Israel is an Islamic holy land, therefore no Muslim authority will recognize a Jewish state in Israel.
4. Jerusalem is the eye of the storm: According to Islam, there cannot be Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, because such an event would signify that Judaism has risen from the grave after Islam had abolished it.
Indeed we saw such a rejection of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel just this week when the Palestinians had conniptions at the thought of the Czech Republic moving its embassy to Jerusalem:
Czech President Milos Zeman’s proposal to move the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prompted Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator in the peace talks with Israel, to send a letter of protest to Prague stating that such a move would undermine the peace process.
Zeman publicly voiced his views on the subject at the opening of the annual Days for Israel forum in Hradec Kralove in East Bohemia last week.
According to the Czech news agency CTK, Erekat has asked the Arab League and other Arab organizations to call extraordinary meetings at the ministerial level to support the Palestinian stance.
The Czech Republic is going to early elections later this month, and Zeman said that he will try to persuade the new prime minister and foreign minister to consider moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
We see more of this Arab repudiation of the Jewish right to Jerusalem in their utter rejection of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, not to mention their destruction of priceless artefacts in their quest to deny any Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem or Israel. All of these go to confirm Netanyahu’s words.
Here is the full text of Netanyahu’s speech.
Will the world sit up and take notice or will they continue pressuring Israel to make concessions and let the Arabs continue to reject Israel’s historical Jewish rights to Israel? Don’t hold your breath while you wait for an answer.