I have many issues with the University's chapter of Palestine Children's Relief Fund's "A Celebration of Palestinian Heritage & Its Legacy of Resilience" event's presentation on the Palestinian "suffering" on Sunday at the Busch Campus Center. First of all, Professor Hamid Abdeljaber mentioned "the excessive use of force of Israel in Gaza." I find it disturbing because he fails to take into account Israel's suffering. He also failed to mention that Gaza is run by Hamas, which has been declared a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and many other nations.
Currently, Hamas controls all of Gaza, and it has declared time and time again that its main goal is to wipe Israel off the map. To prove their point, Hamas has been launching rockets into Israel for at least eight years, which at the very least irked many Israelis living near the Gaza Strip as well as all Jewish citizens of Israel. Israel, while tolerating these attacks, has finally had enough. Israel launched a massive air offensive into the Gaza Strip in December 2008, known as Operation Cast Lead. After the air strikes were over, the war of accusations started to go into full swing. Israelis blamed the Palestinians, Palestinians blamed Israelis, United Nations blamed Hamas some of the time and blamed Israel most of the time — apparently for the use of excessive force and disregard for human life and dignity.
Like Abdeljaber, the U.N. failed to notice the Israeli side of the conflict. The U.N. objected to settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria and other parts of the land that were given to the Jews by God. Furthermore, the U.N. consistently wants East Jerusalem to become the capital of the Palestinian territories. It also wants to give the Golan Heights to Syria. I am against surrendering all territories to the Palestinians, because if we give them Gaza, West Bank or the Golan Heights, they will demand all of Israel.
The main reason why Israel was created was because, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, there was an urgent need for a sovereign Jewish state where Jews would be safe from persecution. Theodor Herzl, who started the Zionist movement, really set the dream of the Jewish state in motion in the late 19th century. But it took an unspeakable tragedy — in which six million Jews were brutally slaughtered just because they were Jews — for this dream to become a reality. After much deliberation by the newly formed U.N., the new state of Israel was born on May 14, 1948.
Not everybody was happy with the Jewish state's creation. The next day, May 15, five major Arab armies attacked Israel: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. After many days of fighting and heavy casualties on both sides, Israel was declared a winner and the U.N. Resolution 194 passed, declaring that Arabs who fled the fighting may return as long as they live in peace with their neighbors, the Jews.
Since that time, though, there has been no peace. Many terrorist attacks, including those of Fatah — which leaders of many countries declare to be a "moderate" organization — have occurred on Israeli soil with thousands of Israelis killed or wounded. I am not one of these average American citizens that consider Fatah to be "moderate." All leaders of Fatah, including Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, were directly responsible for terrorist attacks in Israel.
And today, when much of the world seems to be sympathizing with the Palestinians, Israel and the Jewish people are being threatened in their Biblical homeland. The United States supports divestment from Israeli companies, supported the Gaza flotilla, which was supposed to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, and continues to raise money for the Palestinians through shady pro-Palestinian charities.
My final fault with Abdeljaber's presentation is that his main job is "to present information from both sides." From what I read, he has not presented the Israeli side of the issue or the troubles Israel has gone through during its 62-year existence. Abdeljaber is just one of the many people delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Michael Shulman is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior majoring in environmental sciences.