By David Samel
Israeli leaders have condemned the nascent Palestinian reconciliation, considering the possible participation of Hamas members in any government to be unacceptable because of the party’s history of terrorism. To the great surprise of no one, American politicians have been competing for press attention to parrot the same line. What if Palestinian leaders, and our own Congress, did likewise, and demanded that Israel bar from elective office any member of a political party with a history of engaging in or supporting terrorism?
Of course, a full recital of Israeli attacks on civilians would fill a multi-volume treatise, but let’s content ourselves with a thumbnail sketch. First, consider Labor, the most liberal/left of Israel’s major parties. Anyone who supported the great peacemaker and Nobel laureate Yitzhak Rabin would be barred.
Rabin proudly boasted that as a young army officer in July, 1948, he executed Ben-Gurion’s order to ethnically cleanse the villages of Lydda and Ramle, forcing tens of thousands to march many miles in stifling summer heat to areas Israel did not (yet) claim as its own territory. A significant number did not survive. In 1987-88, as Defense Minister, Rabin ordered his troops to break the bones of children caught hurling stones toward well-protected soldiers who were defending Israel’s “right” to violate international law. In 1993, as Prime Minister, Rabin launched Operation Accountability, indiscriminately bombing civilians in southern Lebanon with the intent of killing enough of them to cause hundreds of thousands to flee northward in panic to send a signal to the Lebanese government.
Co-Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, as Prime Minister in 1996, implemented a very similar operation, Grapes of Wrath. As long time leaders of the Labor Party, Rabin and Peres’s history of attacking civilians disqualifies all of their supporters from public office.
What about Kadima? The party was founded by Ariel Sharon, who commanded the 1953 massacre of scores of innocent civilians in the Jordanian village of Qibya (on the orders of the god-like Ben-Gurion). In 1982, Sharon, as Defense Minister, personally commanded Israeli troops on their rampage through Lebanon, slaughtering up to 20,000 civilians, apparently setting the Israeli record for personal responsibility for mass murder. His role in smiling benignly on the Sabra/Shattila massacres was merely bloody icing on his blood-soaked cake.
Then there’s Likud, whose founding members included Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, unapologetic and unashamed practitioners of terrorism for many decades, rewarded for their efforts with election to the highest office in the land.
How long must we wait before we hear Gary Ackerman or Ileana Ros-Lehtinen articulate their actual position, which is that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East that is free to elect terrorists? If Israel were to implement the same standards of disqualification-for-terrorism on its own politicians that it demands of the Palestinians, there would be virtually no one left to run the government.
Wait a minute, what about MK’s Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zouabi?