Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

 Israel Caught in the Clash of Civilizations

 December  2011 

On September 23, 2011, one day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke from the same podium. He began by reminding his audience that since the founding of Israel 63 years ago it has extended its hand of friendship and peace to all its surrounding nations and to the world, including the Palestinian people.  But Israel has often been denounced and judged by a double standard in the halls and deliberations of the UN. 

Netanyahu said that he did not come to win applause, but to speak the truth in a place that has often been “a place of darkness for my country.”  The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, “but the Palestinians want a state without peace.” He reviewed the history of Islamic–inspired violence, and warned that if Iran is not prevented from developing nuclear weapons, the world will be faced with the tragedy of nuclear terrorism.

Israel is repeatedly advised that it must make concessions.  But each time it has done so, as when it withdrew from Gaza and Lebanon, the attacks did not slow down. On the contrary, they increased in ferocity, including thousands of rockets, supplied by Iran, which rained on Israeli cities and villages. All the while, even the so-called peace partner, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, refuses to negotiate.  

Let there be peace

Netanyahu has pleaded with President Mahmoud Abbas to start negotiations without preconditions. He did so in his address at the UN, as follows:  “President Abbas, you`ve dedicated your life to advancing the Palestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations, or will we enable our children and grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how we found a way to end it? That`s what we should aim for, and that`s what I believe we can achieve ….Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah….’The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.’  Let that light be the light of peace.`` 

Netanyahu’s speech was a stirring appeal for Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. Here is this tiny country where the Jewish people literally made the desert bloom and built a thriving civilization that even took in one million Arabs – in contrast to the surrounding Arab countries that expelled its Jewish population because they wanted to be Judenrein. 

 Since its founding in 1948, Israel was forced to fight five major wars and countless terrorist attacks on defenceless men, women and children Here is my attempt to summarize Israel’s precarious position.

1.Israel is continually placed on the defensive by the demands that it must be flexible and willing to negotiate away its territory. Meanwhile the Western authorities, including the Obama White House, are unwilling to insist that the Palestinians stop their attacks on Israel. The heart of the conflict is not about territory, but about the very existence of the state of Israel. That became very clear when Yasser Arafat refused to accept the Camp David offer in 2000  despite the fact that  he had obtained  nearly every one of the  Palestinian demands. 

2. The many`` roadmaps`` of Israel- Palestine negotiations were bound to lead nowhere   because Israel’s  major enemies are constitutionally bound to the destruction of Israel.  The countless number of mostly American-driven efforts to negotiate a peace agreement was a game of smoke and mirrors. It  was all make-belief in pursuit of a mirage that has had the perverse effect of glorifying the ”oppressed” Palestinians and demonizing Israel! 

3. Netanyahu’s speech was a moving appeal on behalf of a small, historically much-persecuted people, who are now surrounded by enemies who have sworn its destruction. This is the time for all people with a sense of justice to stand with Israel. If all freedom-loving countries would openly take a stand and declare that they consider an attack on Israel an attack on the entire free world that would be a tremendous act of solidarity and protection.

4. Nobody should imagine that what happens to Israel is insignificant and will not affect us very much. The truth is that Israel is -again- in the frontlines of the clash between two civilizations that are polar opposites. If we stand by and do not lift a finger to prevent the destruction of Israel, the only democratic and vibrant civilization in that part of the world, we signal to those who have declared war on us that we will hoist the white flag of surrender. I pray that will not happen.

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