An Appeal to History

Ignore rhetoric. This time, let’s stick to the facts. I want to appeal to your brains, not your emotions. If this piece offends you in any way, take it up with history now. Israel has come under fire lately, both literally and figuratively, for their retaliatory attacks on Gaza. The Strip was Israeli land that Israel voluntary gave to the Palestinian people to govern. I cannot say it any better than Israeli President Shimon Peres: “Israel left Gaza completely, no occupation. We took out all of our soldiers from Gaza, all of our civilians…Not only that, we participated in investing money in Gaza, to develop an agriculture…By the way, Israel is the supplier of water daily to Gaza…the only thing we didn’t permit to bring in was rockets from Iran.” While still in control of Gaza, Egypt had the opportunity to make the Palestinians citizens. Yet, it did not. The Palestinians own “brothers” would not help them. And finally, Israel tried to help the Palestinians by giving them Gaza. For the first time in fifty years, the Palestinian people received a glorious opportunity when Israel ceded Gaza in 2005. Now, the Palestinian people had the chance to govern themselves on their own land with millions of dollars of Israeli investment supporting them. The Palestinians then smashed the greenhouses Israel left behind. They elected a terrorist organization, Hamas, to govern them. Rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel increased by 500 percent. So Israel built a border wall. Rocket attacks decreased by 98 percent. Yet the world still blames Israel for the plight of the Palestinians. 68 percent of General Assembly resolutions at the United Nations regarding human rights violations focused on Israel in 2008. Neither Russia, Sudan, China nor Saudi Arabia received any citations. Notice Sudan. The country that has been plastered all over high schools in the United States for the genocide in Darfur. Perhaps you also missed the fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that is claiming 45,000 lives every month? Or the civil war in Sri Lanka that has taken 70,000 lives so far? No, instead of dealing with these issues, the UN chooses to focus on a democratic country where the people just want to live in peace. The next time you want to blame Israel for the situation in Gaza, remember this. Instead of attacking Israel, the Arabs could have accepted a two-state solution in 1948. Egypt had the opportunity to give the Palestinians their own country, and Gamal Abdel Nasser, former President of Egypt, would not do it. Israel voluntarily and unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2005, only to suffer heavier rocket attacks. Now the trickiest part: finding a solution. It is easy to talk and inflame people’s spirits, but action is an entirely different story. I think the key to peace lies in history books, all the way back to November 4, 1979. This was the day when a mob of angry students stormed the US embassy in Tehran. The fragmenting Islamist government, lead by radical hardliner Ruhollah Khomeini, endorsed the event in order to radicalize the Iranian public. Suddenly, Iranians stopped fighting among themselves and turned to a new enemy: the United States of America. The same thing is happening today. If Iran were to make peace with Israel, there would be no more scapegoat for Iran’s plights. Iranians might realize that their 30 percent inflation and 10 percent unemployment rate were not actually the result of a greater Zionist agenda but rather of their own president’s ill-advised economic policy. If the Muslim countries actually cared about the Palestinians, they would treat the Palestinians as citizens instead of refugees. The whole conflict is nothing but a ploy to push responsibility onto someone else. I am not saying Israel is always in the right. What I am saying is that they have never broken a cease-fire and have tried to make measured steps towards peace, only to be rejected time and time again. In order for peace to come to the region, the UN and Muslim countries need to stop deferring responsibility. Israel is ready when you are. Kenny Gould is a new Senior from Matthews, NC.