Today is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the modern state of Israel. I know it’s not politically correct to support Israel these days, but I do. There was a time when I was quite critical of the way it responded to terrorist attacks, as it was reported in the mainstream media, but the more I learn about the history of Israel, and about its enemies, the more I wonder at Israel’s forbearance.
Though I am strongly against solving problems with violence, it is hard for me not to feel that Israel has a right to defend itself, a right to merely exist. It is surrounded by hundreds of millions of people who would like nothing better than to finish what the Nazi’s started, and have in fact tried it several times in the last 60 years. How can we, who recoil at images of the Holocaust, criticize Israel for trying to prevent another Holocaust?
The fact that Israel still exists is something of a miracle, and I wonder how long the miracle will last. As we have seen recently with Rwanda and Darfur, the world is not in the habit of doing anything to stop genocide, and has a pretty lousy track record when it comes to protecting Jews in particular. The UN has been very critical of Israel’s actions, and I worry that if (or when) Israel’s neighbours start another war, Israel will be on its own. I don’t even want to think about what would happen if Israel lost.
Israel has a right to exist. That land has been occupied continuously by Jews for thousands of years. History has also shown that Jews are never safe as a minority; they must have their own country. The Palestinians cannot return; there are too many of them now. They need to resolve their internal differences, form their own country, and start building for the future. Living in the past and being consumed by vengeance is only keeping them in misery. I think that if they ever decided to move on with their lives they wouldn’t find a better friend than Israel. Israeli Jews have a long history of helping their Arab neighbours to develop, and I’m sure they would do the same again. The Palestinians just have to say the word; they just have to say shalom.