The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Gaza: A Prelude to what's next?

Imagine the following headline: "Israelis move into Jerusalem, burning Mosque." How do you think that would go over?

Well, the New York Times had an interesting article under a similar headline today:
"Palestinians Move Into Gaza, Burning Synagogue." As the first paragraph read, "KISSUFIM CROSSING, Gaza Strip, Sept. 12 - Palestinians moved into the former settlement of Neve Dakalim today after Israel ended its 38-year presence in the Gaza Strip, setting fire to the main synagogue and ripping out aluminum window frames and metal ceiling fixtures. The Palestinian flag and the flag of the militant group Hamas flew from the synagogue roof."

This seems to cap off the ungraceful manner in which Palestinians and Palestinian leadership have treated the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. With no concessions from Palestinian leadership in terms of combatting terror before hand, Israel's unilateral pull out could have been an amazing opportunity for Palestinians and Palestinian leadership to demonstrate attitudes of cooperation and tolerance.

Instead, Palestinians have demanded more withdrawals without offering anything in return. And in the meantime, they revel in burning and looting synagogues left behind.

Of course, the good part in the story (if there can be said to be a "good part") is that there were no Jews in the synagogue at the time. Being Judenrein as Gaza now is, at least burning a synogague will not bring harm to congregants. After all, this is not the first time synagogues have been destroyed by Palestinians under their rule. Before even the end of British rule, for instance, Palestinian massacres in Hebron had made that city -- whose name relates to "Hebrew" and which had, until then, been inhabited by native Jewish residents continuously for thousands of years -- Judenrein and Synagogue free as well. And in 1948, Jordanians and Palestinians destroyed all of the synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem -- most of them dating back centuries.

Israel, for its part, not only does not attack Mosques within its territory, but even protects them from extremists on the Israeli right who might try to harm them.

What I find incredible is that in this day and age, more than 60 years after Hitler's defeat, any group of people can insist upon -- and receive international backing for!!! -- an "ethnically pure" state. That is not to say I don't support a Palestinian state alongside Israel; I do. Yet, for all those on the left that label Israel an "Apartheid state," how many have spoken out about how Palestinians treat religious or ethnic minorities within their territories. In the Palestinian territories, for instance, Jews cannot be citizens by law; muslim residents in Israel proper, by contrast, have full citizenship and political rights. Who is the Apartheid state again?

I'm usually an optimist, but anyone who thinks that any future Palestinian state will be a tolerant one is simply ignoring the facts. Instead, Palestinians will insist that their state is Judenrein, and the international community will have no problem with that at all. (Conversely, can you imagine the uproar if Israel would even suggest expelling Muslims within ITS territory?) In case you ever needed another reason to be cynical of the international community and its dedication to human rights regardless of race or religion...


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