Rely on facts, not feelings

Could we please rely on facts, not uninformed feelings, when we talk about Israel? Israel does not face any military danger. It has one of the 10 strongest armies in the world. All of Israel’s neighbors are weaker militarily. The Palestinians have no army at all. Israel is not “protecting itself,” because it faces no threat to its existence, as its own Defense Minister recently said.

There are no “radical” governments ruling in any of Israel’s neighboring countries. Both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza have moderated their views after coming to power (as most political parties do). Hamas and Fatah leaders have been saying for years that they are prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, living in peace alongside Israel. A majority of Palestinians share that view. They recognize Israel as a nation that will continue to exist, because no one seriously threatens its existence.

Yes, Palestinians are angry. We would be angry too if another nation’s soldiers ruled our streets and our lives. Yes, there are some radicals and anti-Semites among Arab people, just as there are some among Americans and in most other nations. But anyone who takes that minority to represent all Arab people merely helps to prevent what most Arabs and Israelis want: peace. It’s the false stereotypes, like “Israel is protecting itself against radicals and anti-Semites” that block the path to peace.

The real danger to Israel (as many Israelis will tell you) is diplomatic isolation. Countries around the world reject Israel because its right-wing government betrays Israel’s democratic ideals to expand settlements in the West Bank and perpetuate military occupation there, rather than respond to the Palestinians’ compromises for the sake of peace.

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