Tuesday, April 05, 2016

05-Apr-16: 96 years of Arab-on-Jew terror and lessons still not learned

Hebron 1929: A Jewish survivor of the Arab massacre
mourns. Even today, voices seek to deny the terror
and absurdly connect it to 'occupation' [Wikipedia]
Much of the hostile commentary ripping into Israel in its conflict with the Arabs comes from people with an exceedingly thin grasp of history. This is a problem for those of us open to dialogue because an incredible proportion of the haters of Israel are often as dumb as a boot about how we got to where we are today.

Moshe Arens, a veteran of Israel's political scene now in his nineties who was raised in the United States, has an essay in yesterday's Haaretz under the title "The Changing Face of Palestinian Terror". Reflecting on his decades of exceptionally-well-informed, insider experience (minister of defence in three governments, a term as foreign minister, a professor of aeronautics, and Israel's ambassador to Washington in the eighties), he refers back to how things were in the very early days:
From the attack by Arab mobs wielding hatchets and knives on the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem in 1920 to recent attempts by Arab youngsters to knife individual Jews, we have witnessed 96 years of terror acts waged by Palestinian Arabs against the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel.
The riots of 1920 were followed a year later by attacks on Jews in Jaffa, and culminated in the attacks by Arab mobs on Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed in 1929. The reaction by British police forces was inadequate, and the Jewish community was as yet not organized to deal with these outbursts of violence. They caused considerable loss of life, but did not succeed in halting the Zionist enterprise.
The major Arab effort to reverse the course of events in the Land of Israel was the Arab revolt of 1936-39, in which gangs of armed Arabs attacked Jewish and British targets. It was suppressed by the use of drastic measures taken by the British forces. Thousands of Arabs were killed, and over 100 were hanged.
The Jewish community was consumed by a debate on how to respond to this wave of violence. The official line taken by the Jewish Agency and its military wing, the Haganah, was to practice restraint and not retaliate in kind, despite the loss of life.
The contrary line was taken by the Revisionist Movement’s armed wing, the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (led by David Raziel), which believed that Arab terror against Jews should be answered by terror attacks against Arabs. Actually, members of the Haganah participated in the Special Night Squads led by Orde Wingate, which practiced collective punishment against Arab villages. The Arab Revolt was suppressed but, nevertheless, succeeded in bringing about a change in British policy in Palestine. This resulted in the White Paper of May 1939, limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine and preventing the escape of many Jews from Europe to Palestine.
It's worth observing that all the Arab-on-Jew terror he mentions up to this point happened when the sum total of "illegal", "occupied" "settlements" was precisely zero. That specious rationalization for Jihad - which is certainly what the Arab viciousness was about - came much later,

Prof, Arens continues:
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, we have seen “spectacular” acts of Palestinian terror, like the hijacking of commercial aircraft and the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Measures taken by the Israeli security services have been effective in preventing additional acts. The first intifada lasted for over three years. A large number of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip participated in demonstrations, strikes and rock-throwing at passing vehicles. It was a situation I inherited when I took over the Defense Ministry from Yitzhak Rabin in 1990. A concentrated effort by the Israel Defense Forces and the security services, targeting those throwing rocks at cars, brought the intifada to an end within a year. During the second intifada, which spanned the years 2000-2005, suicide bombers were the terrorists’ weapon of choice. Over 1,000 Israelis lost their lives, leading to the entry of IDF troops into West Bank cities during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002... ["The Changing Face of Palestinian Terror", Haaretz, Moshe Arens, April 4, 2016]
The 1929 Arab massacre of Jews in Hebron, a community whose Jewish population had been living there for centuries, is mostly forgotten and often ignored. Sixty-nine Jews including 46 yeshiva students and teachers were murdered in a single day of Arab rioting and savagery, August 24, 1929 right under the noses of the British mandate police. Dozens more were seriously injured and maimed; Jewish homes were pillaged; numerous synagogues were ransacked and destroyed.

The rioters and murderers were incited to violence by rumors that Jews were planning to seize control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (Sound familiar?) That was more than eighty years ago but progress on the Arab side is demonstrably slow in coming. Old patterns of malevolence and racist hatred are not easily shifted.

Salah explaining the role of vomit, Jews and filth to Islamist worshipers,
March 25, 2016 [Source]
Illustrating how this works, one of the current crop of Israel-based Arab leaders, Raed Salah, speaking ten days ago from an Islamist pulpit in Jatt, a town in northern Israel with an Arab majority and zero Jews, promised his congregation
that “the Israeli occupation” will vanish just like the Roman and Persian empires and British and French colonialism... [T]he land will “vomit” the Israeli occupation “just like the sea vomits its filth.” [Video and transcript]
We could easily fill this blog with ongoing ugliness of that sort from Islamist preachers and their secular counterparts but what would be achieved?

Absorbing the experiences collected by Israel's Jews for 96 years so far, Prof. Arens observes that there are significant differences between the terror attacks we are seeing today against the Jewish presence in Israel and those that went before:
The present wave of Palestinian terror differs from all the others. Terror acts are being committed by individuals or pairs, using knives, guns or ramming pedestrians in the street. It makes for one-on-one encounters where the victim, civilian or soldier – if he is alert and, better yet, armed – can frequently stop the threat. Seemingly on the wane at the moment, the terror wave has only harmed the Palestinian cause – as was the case with both intifadas... [Arens]
He goes on to address some of the ethical issues that arise when terror is brought into the car parks and supermarkets of a busy, thriving society. These are of course not simple - at least not for our side. For the side with the knives and the axes and the weaponized children, they could hardly be simpler. Driven by a spectrum of passions, respect for ethical principles is certainly not one of them.

Notice, if you visit the Haaretz page, that several of the comments, presumably from some of those dumb-as-a-boot "activists" we mentioned above, dismiss Arens' observations on the usual nonsense argument that
Your history of the area from the 1920s to the present day and not one mention of the occupation. - Liz
Sadly, that's an actual quote. The idea of Jewish "occupation" of Arab holdings is what holds it all together for them, giving their lethal bigotry a useful fig-leaf.

We say that no fig-leaf, not even one as widely-spouted as "never forget the occupation", can adequately conceal the moral nakedness of critics for whom the thought of a national dimension to Jewish peoplehood is literally unbearable. Or the vile, racist bigotry of religious leaders like Salah for whom the Jewish neighbours around them are "filth" that needs to be "vomited".

[This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("96 lat terroru arabskiego wobec Żydów") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.]

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