By JENNIFER SCHNEIDER
“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.” This famous quote, by current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sums up the Israeli-Arab conflict from the Jewish perspective, and it is seems to be true, as evidenced by recent attacks on Israel from Palestinians and a new surge of antisemitism worldwide, both of which are, for the most part, being ignored by the international media.
On Nov. 3, 2018, the United Nations approved six blatantly anti-Israeli resolutions, two of which deny outrightly the ties between Judaism and the Temple Mount, also known as Beit HaMikdash, where the remains of Second Temple of the Jewish people can be found. In turn, these resolutions deny all ties between Christianity, which is rooted in Judaism, and the Temple Mount. By denying all evidence of the historical Jewish presence in Jerusalem, such as the Arch of Titus in Rome, for example, the UN contradicts the Jews’ inherent right to nation of their own, a right which the United Nations previously recognized in the 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine.
In general terms, this plan divided the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine into three parts. Of that territory, 53 percent of the land was earmarked for the Jewish people, who had already expressed their intention to create a country of their own, while 47 percent of the territory was given to the Arab population. Even on paper, Jerusalem was located inside Arab territory, despite being a separate legal entity. The plan was later approved by the UN and, soon after, rejected by the Arab League. Even so, Israel proclaimed its independence, sparking the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.
Since then, the Palestinian attacks towards Israel haven’t ceased, and, at the same time, the media keeps blaming Jews for the incidents. Israel has been deemed a terrorist state by some media outlets. Other claims, erroreously, that more Palestinians than Israeli civilians have been killed. The political figures and media platforms that churn out reports of these inacuracies tend to ignore some basic facts: Israel is the main source of humanitarian aid towards Gaza. Water, electricity, medicines and tons of food are just some of the supplies sent to the Gaza Strip by Israel on a weekly basis. Simultaneously, the only reason for the limited number of Israeli civilian casualties is the Iron Dome, an air defense system designed to intercept missiles.
Indeed, now is a difficult time to be a Jew. (Nothing new there.) A recent CNN poll regarding antisemitism in Europe supported this claim. The numbers are alarming: 28 percent of adults polled said that Jewish people have too much influence in business, 44 percent said that antisemitism is a growing problem in their respective countries, 40 percent said that Jews are at a risk of racist violence, and only 54 percent said that Israel has a right to exist. In contrast, 56 percent of those polled said that they were not aware of ever having socialized with a Jewish person.
As alarming as these numbers may be for a Jewish individual living in the Diaspora, they are not nearly as surprising as the UN neglect of a resolution in Dec. 6, 2018, which was meant to condemn Hamas and other militant groups for terrorist activities in Gaza, including the development of tunnels that connected Gaza and Israel, which were being employed to transport missiles. Hence, Israel has deemed the use of military force as necessary, not only to protect the country from attacks from near its border, but also to be protected from future attacks by enemy countries in other parts of the Middle East.
On Jan. 13, Israel finally ended its ambiguity regarding its participation in the Syrian conflict, admitting that it had attacked Damascus International Airport to prevent Iran’s military buildup in Syria. The international response to the attack proved to be controversial, prompting Netanyahu to issue a statement saying: “Everyone understands that a serious threat has been removed here. Hezbollah’s operational plan was to use the tunnel weapon to infiltrate many fighters, between 1,000 and 2,000 terrorists, into the Galilee, to occupy communities here. Everyone understands what this war would have looked like with Hezbollah battalions inside the Galilee, and with the Iranian Army facing the Golan Heights. We prevented this – and we will continue to prevent this.”
The negative backlash response to Netanyahu’s declaration is understandable. However, it is important to remember Iran’s continuous threats to destroy Israel within the next 25 years with its nuclear arsenal.
With all the new evidence presented about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the increment of attacks on Jewish institutions, a question surely must arise: Why is there so much hatred towards Jews? Perhaps some individual unbiased introspection could render an answer.
Putting aside inherent prejudices and historic bigotries, I invite the reader to take a fresh look at the Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Seeing the situation from a fresh perspective, a perspective often ignored by the media, might help to dispel some common misconceptions regarding Israel and the Jewish people.
In order to form a well-founded opinion, it is relevant to know both sides of a conflict; and the Jewish side is not often showed in the international press. In the words of the Israeli peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin: “We must think differently, look at things in a different way. Peace requires a world of new concepts, new definitions.”
Jennifer Schneider is an 18-year-old high school student at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.