Even though the holiday of Sukkoth is the time of our happiness and joy, with the streets of Jerusalem filled with visitors and tourists, the events that took place during the holiday week saddened all of us. A young father and mother, descendants of a famed rabbinic family of leaders and educators were brutally murdered by Arab terrorists. Their four small children somehow survived the attack, though they are now tragically orphaned.
Two days earlier Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, made a speech at the United Nations – which he termed a “bombshell.” He said that the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by the agreement entered into with Israel in Oslo twenty years ago. This “bombshell” turned out to be pretty much of a dud. It was ignored by most of the world and ridiculed here in Israel. And his cohorts that rule the Palestinians with a corrupt iron fist began to reinterpret his words rather than backtrack from the plain meaning of what he said.
The problem is, as Israelis are well aware of and I suspect the rest of the world also knows but won't admit to, that from day one the Palestinian Authority has had no intention of living up to the demands of the Oslo agreement.
The Palestinian Authority has conducted intifadas, wars, incitement and terrorism against Israel for the past twenty years. The intent of Israel when entering into the Oslo agreements was to create a stable peace between the Jewish state and a nascent Arab state that would arise as its neighbor. The intent of the Palestinian Authority was that the Oslo agreements would allow it to pursue its oft-stated goal of eliminating the Jewish state of Israel and supplanting it with an Arab state “from the river to the sea.”
Knowing this truth, and having basically wisened up on the naïveté of Oslo, Abbas’ newest gambit provoked very little attention or serious discussion here in Israel. However, the continuing Arab violence, rock throwing and incessant hateful propaganda and incitement have certainly gained our attention. How to combat this is currently a matter of discussion here in Israel but, as everyone agrees, it must be addressed and eventually diminished.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke at the United Nations just a few hours before the terrorist murderers killed two innocent people. Netanyahu is a good speaker and he made his points cogently understandable. He spoke about the negative effects of the Iranian nuclear agreement, the prejudice of the United Nations and the world generally against Israel, and he publicly asked Abbas to stop posturing and to negotiate seriously with Israel to bring about a peaceful solution to their conflict.
He clearly stated that any progress between Israel is naturally conditioned on the acceptance by the Palestinians of the rightful existence and sovereignty of the Jewish state. This has always been the sticking point in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians – the elephant in the room, unspoken but omnipresent. But as long as the glorification of terrorism and the incitement to murder Jews remains part of the Palestinian curriculum and stated goal then unfortunately not much progress towards resolving this century old conflict will be made in the near future.
We all know that hypocrisy is the name of the game when it comes to diplomacy and international relations. So we should not be surprised in the least by the Russian invasion of Syria and certainly not be soothed by the sweet-talking of the United States, the United Nations and the European Union regarding the enforcement of the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Netanyahu explicitly emphasized that Israel will do “everything” necessary to defend itself and its people from Iran and its constantly repeated threats of annihilating the Jewish state. Naturally, he did not detail what “everything” actually means. However, I have no doubt that we should take him at his word and that Israel will not sit idly by while Iran acquires the means to destroy millions of people at its whim.
The Jewish people have a long history of accepting rhetoric directed against them at face value and not just shrugging it off as bluff and hyperbole. Under the current administration, the United States has, pretty much, been reduced to being a paper tiger. Certainly Putin and much of the Arab world view the United States in that light, but I believe that the world takes Israel more seriously and as such, perhaps it will pay some attention to Netanyahu’s speech. I certainly hope so.