Israel and the Arabs

I was going to post the following even before yesterday’s horrific attack by an Arab on two children in a community adjacent to where my own grandchildren live, killing one and fracturing the skull of the other. But now more than ever, I need to talk about how wrong-headed the advocates for Arab “rights” to the land of Israel are.

In 1978, we visited Israel with our 5 children. We walked through the Arab shuk in the Old City of Jerusalem. We talked to the shopkeepers who were friendly and welcoming. One invited my husband for some coffee and they sat and talked about the things that one would talk about with friends. We went to the city of Hebron, visited the cave of the Patriarchs, walked through the Arab market there, and felt accepted and safe. When we spoke to the Arabs there, they said life was good.

Left alone, the Arabs living in Israel would have become happy, productive members of society. The Arab community and the Jewish community were interacting on the basis of equality and mutual respect. But then Arafat and his minions reared their ugly heads and began to radicalize their population. Suddenly the Arabs in Israel and in Judea and Samaria were being taught to see their goal in life as “driving the Jews into the sea,” as eradicating the Jewish presence from the land of Israel.

Where has this gotten the average Arab? Not very far. The leaders have taken away their incentives to work and be productive. The land they have could be farmed in the same way the land we Jews have is. We export produce throughout the world. They complain that they have nothing. Their leaders have taken the substantial fund granted through the United Nations, the US, and other nations and have built themselves beautiful homes and large bank accounts. In cities where the Arabs have complete autonomy, the roads are pitted, the sidewalks broken, and the garbage lies in the streets. Their leaders have robbed them of self-respect and of hope for the future. No wonder they are willing to go out in a “blaze of glory” by murdering innocent children.

This article, from Haaretz, a fairly left-wing Israeli newspaper shows more clearly than most why our chances for peace with the Arabs in the near future are dim. Wafa Younis is an Israeli Arab.

PA expels founder of Jenin youth orchestra to Israel
By Yoav Stern

Wafa Younis, a musician from northern Israel who founded a youth orchestra in the Jenin refugee camp, was arrested there on Tuesday by Fatah militants and sent back to Israel from the West Bank. Last week the orchestra played for Holocaust survivors and elderly Arabs in Holon, news that ignited passions in Jenin.

On Tuesday, Younis had been meeting with students’ mothers when about four armed men in civilian clothing surrounded her. The militants were led by Zakariya Zubeidi, head of Fatah in the camp, who demanded that Younis go with him in his car to the camp’s police station.

“The police chief, who is familiar with my activities, said he would prefer that I leave because those are the instructions regarding anyone with an Israeli identification card,” Younis told Haaretz Thursday.

“Zubeidi offered a hudna, where we would suspend our activities for a time, and I agreed. I’ll return to Jenin at the right moment because the children are waiting for me, because the community is waiting for me. And if I can’t teach them in their classroom I’ll teach them in the center I founded in A’ara [where she lives].”

Younis’ work in the camp has made her a household name there. After teaching more than a dozen schoolchildren to play the violin, oud, drums and other instruments, she arranged performances in Israel for the orchestra, Strings of Freedom. A year ago it played in A’ara for the families of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Israeli soldiers who were abducted to Lebanon, and of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

On Thursday PA officials said they and Fatah were under heavy pressure from Hamas members in the camp as a result.

“On the Internet there are pictures of the children under photos of the Israeli prisoners, and they performed for Holocaust survivors,” one Fatah official said. “Hamas accused us of normalization activities, of identifying with the enemy, so we were forced to expel Younis. The subject is now closed.”

Younis, who was interviewed by Arab and foreign news outlets Thursday, told Haaretz that she would appeal directly to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “I’ll ask him to appoint a genuine commission of inquiry that will hear the children and their parents, too,” she said. “I will wait until the issue is thrashed out because I cannot continue my work with these interruptions.”