The recent New York Times Op-Ed piece, “Shimon Peres: The Peacemaker Who Wasn’t” - was filled with the paper's usual distortions, generalizations, and misleading statements. I write the word “usual” as the Times has consistently done its best to trash talk Israel. Once I saw who the author was, Hanan Ashrawi, it all made sense – in a very nonsensical way, of course. She’s long been a leading apologist for the Palestinians, and in her eyes, they can do no wrong no matter the atrocity committed.
While she placed the blame for the failure of the peace process solely on the Israeli government, Ashrawi barely makes mention of the Palestinian’s terrorist behaviors, that have ranged from kidnappings to stabbings of civilians – including seniors and pregnant women, to shooting rockets at Israeli communities. Let’s not forget all that international aid poring into Gaza not for hospitals or schools or water treatment facilities or other important infrastructure, but for crucial items like terror tunnels!
And then, of course, there’s that slight issue that may come into play here. I’m referring to the notion that the Palestinian Authority official policy is still not recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Just to keep things interesting, the Muslim so-called religious leaders fan the flames of racism by referring to Israelis and Jews as descendants from pigs & monkeys. Their brainwashed youth have been fed a steady diet of hatred that even young children express the desire to become suicide bombers and “martyrs.” Ashrawi has one sentence in her ranting that states simply that the “Palestinians certainly made mistakes.”
Furthermore, Ashrawi has about 20 references in her piece referring to the Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian Arab lands. Pretty much every honest historian will acknowledge that Jews have been living in this small piece of real estate for a long, long time. In fact, there’s been a serious Jewish presence there long before Islam came onto the scene. So the very notion of “illegal occupation” is at best up for discussion and at worst a total fraud!
If there was such a country as Palestine for the Palestinian Arab people, why is there absolutely no mention of this country throughout history? And no, we’re not talking about the biblical Philistines here. They disappeared 2000 years ago without a trace. Why is there no pre 1948 Palestinian capital city? And what of a unique Palestinian language? These are questions that need to be addressed in order to bring about some clarity. But regardless of these issues, which are more political in nature, nonetheless, it has been Israel almost exclusively that has passed around the peace pipe.
Hanan is correct in that there is no peace as of yet between Israel and the Palestinians. But quite frankly, the Palestinians have proven themselves to be pretty lousy neighbors. Rockets continue to fall from Gaza. Their terror tunnels are still being built. But I don’t blame the Palestinian people, who for the most part want to live peaceful and productive lives.
The fault clearly lies with their so-called “leaders.” A more accurate term for them, Ashrawi included, would be the “misleaders.”
Leaders are those willing to put their necks on the line for the sake of true progress and development for the people. Misleaders hide behind the masses and always say what’s perceived as popular. They lack the courage to rock the status quo. And so Ashrawi and the vast majority of these “misleaders,” become echo machines, mere tape recorders, always preaching what’s expected to be heard. From the get-go, they’re obsolete, never leading but following. Whether from fear or a desire to be accepted, Ashrawi continues to mislead her own people. Her one-sided views only serve to perpetuate the lack of peace, and to continue a dismal state of affairs for the Palestinian people.
True leaders seek ways to uplift their communities and encourage their populace, especially the youth, to lead healthy and productive lives. Misleaders use wacko propaganda to inflame the populace to violence. Misleaders justify and celebrate suicide bombers and terrorists, passing out candies when members of the “other side” are hurt or killed. Like my grandmother used to say - with friends like these, who needs enemies?
Unlike Hanan, Peres was indeed a leader who pursued a dream of peace. Sometimes the harshest criticism of Peres came from his fellow Israelis. And yet, he was not afraid to pursue his dream, naive as it was. With this latest ranting of utter nonsense, Ashrawi continues as an apologist and thus, lets her own people down. Despite my own personal feelings towards the man, it was a bold move on Abbas’s part to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral. It wasn’t well received amongst the Palestinian media. Here Ashrawi had an opportunity to defend Abbas and at least attempt to lead her people further along a path of reconciliation. Rather she took a very predictable step. Don’t rock the boat. Keep the hatred alive and strong. Condemn not just the Israelis but especially Shimon Peres.
It will take courage and true leadership for peace to finally come to the Middle East. This means having leaders from both sides who preach and practice a peaceful solution. Ashrawi has become just one of the many trash talkers, bringing nothing fresh or positive to the table.
It takes two to tango. Contrary to Ashrawi’s complete whitewashing of Palestinian Authority violations of human rights and its pursuit of an apartheid regime, only Israel has showed up at the dance.