by Gilad Skolnick, November 6, 2003
Such a feat had never been done before.  A people separated thousands of years ago come together from all over the world and
create a thriving democracy.  Holocaust survivors from Auschwitz, together with Jews escaping oppression in Yemen, came
together to build a nation.

Oppressed Jews have been escaping persecution and returning to their homeland from the 1800s to today in a movement known
as Zionism.  From those escaping Nazi's to the 900,000 Jews expelled from North African and Arab countries in the 1950s, Jews
from every country and every continent returned.  Since the beginning, peace has been a main goal... and still is to this day.  This
has been quite the challenging task. 

A Hamas spokesman recently said,
"We will not hesitate to spill Jewish blood on the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheba
and Haifa."

I may not be a history major, but this seems a bit on the racist side.

As Mark Twain personally observed, what is now Israel in the 19th century was
"a desolate country whose soil is rich enough,
but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse... a desolation."

The Jewish immigrants built factories and farms that caused the economy to bustle.  The sudden availability of jobs employed
the small local Arab population and encouraged the Arab migrant workers from other areas to move into modern day Israel for

The Romans named this land Palestine in their effort to erase the Jewish connection to the land.  After crushing the Jewish
attempt to gain independence in 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed their Temple in Jerusalem, massacred thousands upon thou-
sands of Jews and expelled the rest.  The land of Judea, Samaria and the Galilee were renamed Palestine after Israel's ancient foe,
a Phoenicial tribe called the Philistines.  Jewish cities such as Shechem were renamed Roman names, such as Nablus, and all Jews were banned from entering Jerusalem.  Despite this, Jews have had a continuous presence in this land for almost four millennia. 

The first time Arabs living in "Palestine" identified with the term was in 1964 when the Palestinian Liberation Organization was
founded by Yasser Arafat and aimed at committing terrorism to destroy the State of Israel.  The PLO's express purpose, in the
words of its own leaders, was to "push the Jews into the sea."

There was no aim to have the West Bank or Gaza become a Palestinian state;  they simply wanted to turn Israel into a Palestinian
state.  In the following years, Israel acquired the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in a war with Jordan and Egypt.  The fact remains
that there has never ever been any attempt to have an independent country named "Palestine"  until a decade ago, and not one
Palestinian official has ever even made a declaration of statehood.  In fact, the term "Palestine" is incorrect - unless one is referring
to what Israel was called before 1948 by the British - as over the past million years of human existence there has never been an
independent nation of "Palestine."

Negotiations for an eventual peace began in 1993.  Despite decades of Palestinian terrorism and countless suicide bombings,
Israel offered over 95 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for peace to Arafat, who not only rejected it in 2000, but also
didn't even offer a counteroffer. 

Now the question arises, what should Israel do?  While the Palestinian Authority refuses to even negotiate for peace and works
together with terrorists organizations aiming to "spill Jewish blood," it cannot be a partner for peace.  In the meantime, a fence
is being erected in an attempt to stop the infiltration of terrorists seeking to cause more death and destruction.

The Palestinian Authority has even admitted they started the current wave of violence known as the "Intifada."

"Whoever thinks the Intifada broke off  because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong.... This Intifada
was planned in advance, ever since president Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations,"
admitted Palestinian Communications Minister 'Imad Al-Faluji ("Al-Safir," March  3, 2001, trans. MEMRI).

Nazi Germany had a term for an area cleaned of Jews known as
"Judenrein." Thus, it's a bit on the ironic side that one of the
Palestinian's main complaints against Israel is the existence of Jewish villages in Judea and Samaria or West Bank, which are often
referred to as
"settlements." They demand that these Jewish villages be uprooted, or in other words, that this territory be
emptied of Jews.  Fifty years after the Third Reich is defeated, there is another people whose goal is to make a certain piece of
land Jew-free.  Ethnic cleansing?

Today, Israel is surrounded by terrorists who aim to eliminate it, and by countries that don't recognize its existence.  It's hard to
believe, but there are even people in the United States or on this very campus who are against Zionism, the Jewish National
Liberation Movement of their homeland.  As Martin Luther King himself said at a speech in Harvard,
"When people criticize
Zionists, they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism."

Thanks to its ability to defend itself and U.S. support, Israel has been able to stave off attempts by its neighbors to annihilate
it time and time again, and has been able to prevent another Holocaust from occuring.  There is one country and only one country
in the world whose neighbors have sought to annihilate it and its people for over 50 years:  Israel.

Information from,, and was used in this editorial.

Gilad Skolnick is a Collegian columnist
Return to Archives Page