Monday, March 21, 2016

Reading Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Recently I took a look at this book, Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict: What the Headlines Haven't Told You by Michael Rydelnik (2004, 2007). It is about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here I am reading the 2007 reissue of this book. Let's take a look at what he has to say.


Chapters 1-4 discusses events from the start of the Second Intifada in 2000 to the the time of publication as of 2007 (pp. 17-65).
The Oslo Accords are dead today as are multitudes of Israelis and Palestinians. (p. 18.)
About 1010 Israelis and 3354 Palestinians were killed in the terrible violence of the Second Intifada. The Second Intifada was over 230% more deadly for Palestinians compared to the death toll suffered by Israelis. While the sudden loss of a loved one is as painful and terrible as that experienced anywhere else the fact that so many more Palestinians got killed compared to the Israeli death toll shows that Palestinians tend to be more vulnerable to deadly violence than are the Israelis.
The reason: Palestinians viewed his commitment to peace as a weakening of Israeli resolve which could be exploited. (p. 21.)
In other words Palestinians are not to be trusted. What a way to make peace with a suspicious attitude such as that.

Muhammad al-Dura is mentioned. The author states that there is doubt about who killed him. (p. 28.) At least it is mentioned that he died. Some Israelis and various pro-Israel people like to believe that he survived and that the whole shooting was cunningly staged in some fantastical conspiracy by Palestinians. PCG's Phillip Nice is one of those people.

Mentions the justly infamous lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah on October 12, 2000. No mention is made that 27 Palestinians were injured in reprisal air bombardment. (p. 29.)
While the media consistently described the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories as a cycle of violence, thereby maintaining equivalence between the parties, the actions were not necessarily equal. ... the Palestinians engaging in terrorism and Israelis in military reprisals. (p. 30.)
These "military reprisals" killed about 3168 Palestinians, a death toll over 230% higher than that endured by Israelis.
Yet the most horrific turn of events was the advent of a new terror technique: suicide bombing. (p. 30.)
It was not new. Some Palestinians had started using suicide bombing as early as 1993.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, created both empathy among Israelis ... and understanding among Americans of terrorism's terrible toll upon individuals. (p. 33.) 
And what about the Palestinians? They suffered a far higher death toll then Israelis did during the second intifada. They had over 230% more fatalities than the Israelis. Each one of those fatalities had mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends. The 230% higher death toll Palestinians endured reveals that they are much more vulnerable to violence than are Israelis.

Furthermore many Palestinians were horrified by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and condemned them.
However if Israel would allow millions of Palestinian refugees to come to Israel proper, it would result in the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, and the creation of one new state of Palestine consisting of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel proper. Therefore Arafat and the PA have the same goal as the other groups, the end of the state of Israel. (p. 42.)
Meaning "the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state" is equated with Israeli Jews becoming a minority in comparison with the Palestinians. The current Jewish majority within the State of Israel can only be maintained by refusing to let the Palestinians who were expelled in the 1947-9 Israeli War of Independence and the 1967 Six Day War from returning to their ancestral lands. Of necessity this forces other nations and the United Nations to maintain and aid the Palestinians. Naturally the neighboring nations were most unimpressed that they had to maintain these refugees who were kicked out by the State of Israel.
Although he claimed that Hamas or Islamic Jihad were beyond his control (unlikely since PA funds go to these groups as well).... (p. 47.)
It is insinuated that Yasser Arafat had Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad somehow under his control to at least a certain degree.
After four and one-half years of violence and some five thousand dead on both sides, the Palestinians and Israelis had agreed to a lasting cease-fire. (p. 53.)
The Palestinians endured over 230% more fatalities than Israelis during the Second Intifada. Although it this book's favor it is mentioned elsewhere that Palestinians in fact endured more fatalities but the implications of that fact tend to be for the most part ignored.

Yasser Arafat is referred to as "a corrupt dictator and the father of modern terrorism." (p. 56.) This ignores the many other instances of terrorism that can be mentioned elsewhere.

Human Rights Watch is denigrated as "an organization frequently noted for its anti-Israel bias". (p. 61.)

On page 63 the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit is mentioned. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in that raid.
In response, Israel launched Operation Summer Rains, a military action taken to free Shalit. ... Israel bombed some of Gaza's various bridges, roads, and its only power station. (p. 63.)
It is left unmentioned that 402 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli bombardment. This included 117 Palestinian civilians who were killed by the Israeli bombardment which is here presented as an attempt to free Shalit. What must those Palestinians in Gaza must have felt during the bombardment of Operation Summer Rains in 2006? Also how could those bombarding Gaza at that time be sure they would not kill Gilad Shalit?

What was Hamas' response? Did the deadly bombardment work?
Still, the Hamas leadership, based in Syria, refused to surrender Shalit. (p. 63.)
Well, no wonder Hamas would not release him. After losing so much for holding him why would Hamas release him after losing so much? Shalit was still held hostage when this book was printed in 2007. He was later released in 2011 in exchange for over a thousand prisoners.
Lebanese casualties were an estimated one thousand, many of them Hezbollah terrorists. (p. 63.)
And how many of them were civilians?
...when ground operations did begin, the IDF was surprised by the stiff resistance of Hezbollah fighters. (p. 64.)
Why on Earth were they surprised? To advance is often more dangerous and deadly than to defend. Furthermore Hezbollah fighters were fighting on their home turf, their homes were being bombarded and Israeli soldiers were advancing onto their turf. So of course they were highly motivated to fight.

If I was in the IDF or had a son, daughter, family relations or friend in the IDF in that war I would be furious beyond words that they were surprised. The surprise itself is a failure. It is mentioned on page 63 that 119 Israeli soldiers died in that war. It is frightening to imagine that some of them could still be with us if their leaders had more properly assessed the situation and anticipated that Hezbollah would be most determined to fight.


Chapters 5-8 discuss what has happened before, the rise of the Zionist movement in Europe in the 19th Century, migration to the Holy Land, the coming of British rule after World War I, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, up to the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 (pp. 67-124).

Chapter 5 (pp. 67-74) is filled with references to Joan Peters' book From Time Immemorial. That book was utterly discredited as a misleading fraud that even contained plagiarism. That discredited book is cited eight times in that chapter as noted in the footnotes on pages 238-9. The problems with that book are alluded to on footnote 25 of Chapter 13 but another man is quoted to insist that its assertion that many Palestinians were recent migrants can still be trusted despite the book's credibility problems. (p. 245).

It is stated that Palestine was "barren," "depopulated" and "had few people" (p. 72). Previously it was said that the Holy Land was, "A land without people, a people without land." Clearly this slogan was factually wrong but a trace of this idea is clearly still in circulation. It is insisted that the non-Jewish population were but recent immigrants and of mixed ethnicities.

On pages 78-9 two 19th Century Rabbis in Europe are mentioned as advocating for Jews to migrate to Palestine in order to hasten the coming of the Messiah.
Since it appeared in Scripture that Messiah would come to the Jews in Zion, by logical extension [Judah] Alkalai argued that Jews must be present in Zion when Messiah came. ...

[Zvi Hirsch Kalischer's] point was that the Messiah would not bring a Jewish return to the land of Israel; rather a Jewish return would precipitate the coming of the Messiah. (p. 78.)
So migrating to Palestine was justified as saying it would make the Messiah come to Earth?

It is mentioned that Theodore Herzl wrote, "In Basel, I founded the Jewish state!" (p. 81.)

Orde Wingate is mentioned. He was a British officer who helped to arm the Jews in Palestine in the 1930s. He later masterminded British operations against Japan in Burma (modern Myanmar). (pp. 88-89.)
In 1938, 486 Arab civilians, 292 Jews, and sixty-nine British were killed in the escalating conflict. (p. 89.)
Thus we see that it was Palestinian Arabs who endured the most severe losses during the revolt in 1938.

The Deir Yassin massacre of April 9, 1948 is mentioned as though it was merely an accusation.
There were claims and counterclaims of atrocities. The Irgun and the Stern Gang were charged with horrific atrocities in the Arab village of Deir Yassin; Arab murdered a convoy of Jewish medical personnel on the road to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. (p. 97.) 
Whatever actually happened there has been lost to myth. (p. 246.)
The massacre at Deir Yassin is presented as though it was merely a rumor. The murder by Jewish medical personnel is unambiguously stated to have occurred.
... the right wing Revisionist movement movement opposed statehood because they wanted a state in all of Palestine and not part of it. (p. 99.)
And so it is mentioned that some of the leaders of the State of Israel yearned to gain control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank regardless of the details of the partition proposed by the United Nations in 1947. The Revisionist movement was the predecessor of the present day Likud led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Altalena incident is mentioned in which 14 Irgun militants and 3 IDF soldiers were killed in a battle over a jurisdictional dispute over a shipment of armaments. (p. 103.)
On June 5, Israel launched a preemptive strike. (p. 113.)
And so it is mentioned that the attack in 1967 was initiated by the State of Israel. No mention of the U.S.S. Liberty is made while discussing the Six Day War.
The Israeli victory [in the Six Day War] was so lopsided that it led to a tragic humiliation of the Arab nations and a dangerous overconfidence in Israel. (p. 114.) 
More on that topic later.

The media is blamed for making IDF soldiers look bad during the first intifada that started in December 1987.
TV cameras only recorded IDF troops responding with force (when their safety was at risk), suggesting military brutality. (p. 123.)
So apparently this is the media's fault according to the author.


According to this author the Holocaust was part of God's plan to compel Jews to move to the Holy Land.
In the past hundred years, God has used czarist pogroms, Polish economic discrimination, Nazi genocide, Arab hatred, and Soviet repression to drive Jewish people back to their homeland. Economic success and religious freedom in the Diaspora keep Jewish people complacent about returning, so God uses "fishermen" and "hunters" to drive them back to the Promised Land. (p. 133.) 
"God has used ... Nazi genocide ... to drive Jewish people back to their homeland." I am sure a lot of people would be, to put it mildly, most unimpressed with such words. John Hagee got in trouble in 2008 for saying something similar to that.

It is speculated that the 144,000 are Jews who will convert to Christianity after the rapture and before Christ's return (p. 136).
The Terror War introduced a new form of terrorism: the suicide bomber (p. 144).
It was not new during the Second Intifada. It first started to be used within Palestine in 1993.

Arutz Sheva is cited on footnote 8 of Chapter 10 citing a February 27, 1996 article that portrayed Yasser Arafat as insincere about making peace (pp. 145, 241). 
Palestinians make an economic case for the land by rejecting fully the Zionist depictions of nineteenth-century Palestine as barren, swamp-laden, and underpopulated. (p. 180.)
Denigrating the condition of the land under the Palestinians is a continuation of the slogan "A land without people, a people without land." No wonder the Palestinians oppose such a denigration of how they managed the land back then.
Israelis perceive the Palestinian insistence on a "right of return" for the refugees and their descendants not as a means of  making peace but an attempt to destroy the Jewish state via demographics instead of war. (p. 185.)
In other words they are not scared that the return of Palestinian refugees would incite some sort of violent genocide but instead they fear becoming a minority and losing political power to the Palestinians. They fear no longer maintaining a Jewish demographic minority.
Regarding their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the Israelis believe their presence is legal and certainly not the source of the current conflict. (p. 185.)
Well if Israel left those areas there would be no clashes between settlers. The settlers would no longer enjoy the disproportionate amount of resources in the West Bank. The Palestinians would no longer fear being arrested, attacked or even killed by Israeli personnel.
With respect to the Israeli law of return, calling it racist is a reflection of an unfair double standard. Many nations have similar laws, including Russia, Germany, and Jordan. (p. 186.)
But Russia, Germany and Jordan did not expel 750,000 from the land they ruled and then refused to let them return. But Israel expelled about 750,000 Palestinians during the Israeli War of Independence and to this day refuses to let them return. Of course there are differing estimates caused by the fog of war.
Statistics for refugee figures have been as high as 935,573 according to UNRWA registrations, to as low as 530,000 according to some Israeli sources. The British Foreign Office estimated the total number of refugees to be 810,000 in February 1949 and then issued a revised estimate of 600,000. The UNCCP Technical Office gave a figure of 760,000. The US government estimated a total refugee population of 875,000 as of 1953. [It states elsewhere that the consensus figure is now about 750,000.] (Beyond Occupation, 2011, p. 292.)
To this day the State of Israel refuses to let those refugees return even though the State of Israel's law of return allows any Jew from all over the world to easily migrate there. It is a false equivalence to claim that Russia, Germany and Jordan's laws are similar when those governments did not do acts like that.

It is speculated that Babylon in Iraq is fated to become a great city which will help fund the Antichrist (pp. 200-2).

It is mentioned that President Sadat offered peace to Israel in exchange for getting back the Sinai Peninsula in February 1971 shortly after ascending to power. But the Israeli government ignored his diplomatic proposal. Seeing that diplomacy got nothing from the Israeli government he went to war in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. It is frightening to imagine that so many people died in battle because the Israeli government ignored a peaceful diplomatic proposal from Egypt in February 1971. (pp. 210-1.)

Unilateral separation is mentioned on pages 217-8. Unilateral moves such as Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005 have no chance of making peace since such moves are decided and made without consulting the other side. To make peace one needs to talk to the other side.

May peace soon come to the Holy Land.

No comments:

Post a Comment