Whereas Israel has spent its time creating successful Covid-19 vaccinations, Palestine would seem to have been developing missiles, helped in part by Joe Biden’s administration restoring $200 million in US aid.
Predictably, a resurgence in conflict has now ensued, with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine firing 3,100 rockets at Israel in the space of just seven days – the highest daily rate of rocket fire that Israel has faced in its history.
And, equally predictably, local pro-Palestine campaigners have now taken to the streets of St Helier, with all the usual suspects waving their ‘Free Palestine’ placards and denouncing Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ (a truly repugnant slur, given the history of the Jewish people) and just generally yelling and pulling pained expressions in the deeply misguided belief that this endears people to their cause.
I’ll come to them shortly, but first let’s clarify the precise reason why Palestine – and, indeed, all Middle Eastern countries – hates Israel, and that reason is religious ideology.
Religion, not settlements, is the reason why Palestinians despise Israel. Religion is the reason why children in Palestine and across the Middle East are taught from birth to detest Jews for no reason other than they’re Jewish.
There could be peace between Israel and Palestine tomorrow, but there never will be because Hamas doesn’t want peace with Jews: it wants Israel – the only democracy in the entirety of the Middle East – exterminated. More than that, it wants all Jews on the face of the planet exterminated. This is the true end-goal, as Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar and others have readily admitted.
And for those who claim Hamas doesn’t represent the Palestinian people, it is worth noting that – according to the non-partisan Pew Research group – the Sunni-Islamic terrorist organisation is supported by over 40% of Palestinians.
The reality of the current situation is that Hamas wanted a war with Israel, and they got one. They knew that their own population would suffer but, as always, they didn’t care. This, after all, is an organisation with a track record for using children as human shields.
As former British Army commander Richard Kemp put it: ‘I believe Hamas to be the first “army” in history that has used the deaths of its own civilian population as primary weapons of combat. Hamas’s entire strategy is built around trying to lure the Israel Defence Force to kill its own people in Gaza. Breathtaking immorality and betrayal.’
To clarify, then, we’re not discussing a political conflict because it’s not about politics, it’s about religious hatred, and this is blatantly obvious to anyone who isn’t wilfully naive about the ferocity of anti-Semitism in the Middle East.
Which brings me back to our local pro-Palestine campaigners, for whom I have some questions.
nWhy don’t Palestine supporters in the West mention Temple Mount?
It is simply fact that, historically, the Holy Land belongs to the Jews, but some still dispute this. To them I ask, how was the Al Aqsa mosque built on top of Temple Mount? After all, if the Jews weren’t there first, then how on earth did they manage to build their most sacred holy temple underneath the Muslim one?
The truth is that Israel is the only country in the world that bears the same name, holds the same faith, speaks the same language and inhabits the same land as it did 3,000 years ago. When the Israelis built Jeruslam, Islam didn’t even exist.
nWhy don't Palestine supporters in the West mention Jordan?
As anyone with knowledge of the region knows, Jordan has a history of having taken land from the Palestinians. Yet has Hamas ever declared war on Jordan? Of course not, and the reason why is obvious: Hamas is rabidly anti-Semitic and only seeks war with Jews.
But what is the excuse of Palestine supporters in the West for overlooking the actions of Jordan? Why do they focus exclusively on Israel? I, for one, have never seen any local pro-Palestine campaigners standing in King Street and angrily denouncing Jordan as an occupying nation.
You could also ask why, if occupation is the issue, do we never hear campaigners denouncing Pakistan? After all, Pakistan was formed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War – a formation which resulted in huge swathes of Kashmir being occupied and many Kashmiris being displaced or killed.
nWhy don't Palestine supporters in the West mention Russia or China?
In recent years, Muslims have been murdered in their hundreds of thousands in Russia, while China has been rounding up Uigher Muslims into concentration camps – or ‘Xinjiang internment camps’, as they’re known. This is all happening, right now, today, here in 2021, and yet it seems most campaigners only ever bother taking to the streets when Muslims are being harmed by Israel.
Not a single word about China torturing and murdering Muslims in literal death camps, but Israel retaliates to having missiles fired at it and the homemade placards can’t come out fast enough.
nWhy don't Palestine supporters in the West mention the human-rights abuses of other Middle Eastern countries?
In Iraq, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and many others (but not Israel), women are still regularly stoned to death for crimes that in a civilised country would barely warrant a slap on the wrist.
In Iran, a gay man was beheaded by his own family last week in what was labelled an ‘honour killing’.
In Saudi Arabia, child prisoners – yes, children who are in jail – are routinely sentenced to death and murdered, often without the family being informed beforehand.
Hideous crimes, I’m sure you’ll agree, and yet rarely do we see local campaigners out on the streets protesting against any of this.
Once again, it seems it is only the actions of Israel – a state that constitutes a mere 22,145 square-kilometres of the Middle East’s 3,500,000 square-miles – that causes some to ruffle their feathers and raise their voices.
Now, an amusingly predictable thing that many Palestine supporters do when faced with difficult questions is to point out that they have Jewish friends or acquaintances who share their pro-Palestine views, as if this somehow renders any accusations of anti-Semitism null and void. It doesn’t.
In truth, it is as shaky an example of self-justification as when a person attempts to deflect accusations of racism by saying: ‘I can’t be racist because I have black friends.’
Are there Jewish people who support the rights of Palestine over Israel? Sure. But there are also LGBT groups that support Palestine over Israel, despite the fact that Israel is pro-gay rights while being gay in Palestine is punishable by imprisonment or even death.
Have you ever seen footage of dead gay Palestinians having their naked corpses dragged by motorcycle around the streets? I have and, trust me, it isn’t pleasant viewing. There is a reason why many gay and lesbian Palestinians flee to Israel for safety.
My point is, there are a lot of useful idiots in the world.
In summary, then, do I think any criticism of Israel is automatically anti-Semitic? No, of course not. Like all countries, Israel is far from faultless.
I do, however, think it is dubious indeed when an individual claims to care about the suffering of Palestinians and Muslims, yet only ever speaks out when the perpetrators of that suffering are Jewish.