Best Place for Arabs in the Middle East
No, Mr. President, Israel is not committing genocide.
Standing in front of European Parliament last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas once again accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians, this time claiming that Palestinians were suffering mass-murder on a scale “the likes of which have never been seen or heard of ever by the international community.”
Abbas falsely accused Israeli rabbis of poisoning Palestinian water supplies, harkening back to a medieval anti-Semitic libel. During the 14th century, as the “Black Plague” spread across Europe, false accusations that Jews were responsible for the disease led to the massacre of entire Jewish communities.
Of course Israel is not committing genocide against the Palestinians, by any stretch of the imagination. If it was, it surely is doing a lousy job of it.
In Gaza, for example, the population increased 127 percent from 1994 to 2011, one of the highest growth rates in the world. The total Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza was 1,006,000 in 1950 and grew to 3,736,210 in 2011.
Unless Webster changed the definition of “genocide,” the claim that Israel is engaged in “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs makes as much sense as asserting that ISIS beheadings are actually haircuts that went too far.
Israel has one of the most powerful militaries in the world. If it wanted to annihilate the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors, it could. But as Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes points out, an estimated 11 million Middle Eastern Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000 or 0.3 percent of the Muslim population died from attacking Israel.
Not only are Arabs tolerated in Israeli society, but Israel is undoubtedly the best place in the Middle East for Arabs to thrive as well as practice their religion freely. You read that right. Being an Arab in Israel is awesome compared to living anywhere else in that part of the world.
Islam has also thrived in Israel since its independence. The Jewish state has over 400 mosques, a fivefold increase since 1988. Approximately 300 imams and muezzins receive their salaries from the Israeli government, which also provides funding for Islamic schools and colleges within the country.
In Jerusalem, only Muslims are permitted by Israeli law to pray on the Temple Mount in order not to offend Islamic sensibilities. Despite it being Judaism’s holiest place, an Islamic religious committee (waqf) manages the site.
Contrast this astonishingly supportive atmosphere to Saudi Arabia, where Islam is hardly respected in such a manner in what is the most Islamic country in the world. According to the U.K.-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, over 98 percent of the country’s historical and religious sites have been destroyed since 1985. A Hilton hotel now stands on the site of the house of Islam’s first caliph, while the house of Muhammad’s first wife has made way for public toilets.
Despite Saudi Arabia being one of the five wealthiest Muslim countries in the world, it stands idly by while the blood of fellow Muslims is being shed in Syria. The death toll of the Syrian civil war is estimated to be nearing 500,000. Between 10 and 12 million Syrians have been displaced. Yet Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have refused asylum to a single refugee.
In contrast, Israel has unconditionally admitted over 2,000 Syrians to Israeli hospitals for medical care during the ongoing civil war, even though Syria doesn’t even recognize Israel’s existence and is a puppet of Iran, Israel’s staunchest enemy.
While Muslims thrive and prosper in Israel, Christians also find the Jewish state the only nation in the region that permits religious freedom and opportunities for a better life. Persecution has resulted in the rapid decline of Christianity throughout the Middle East. Overall, the percentage of Middle Eastern Christians has plunged from 14 percent in 1910 to 4 percent today. In the Palestinian territories, Christians have dropped from 15 percent of the Arab population to less than 2 percent today. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, once home to a strong Christian majority, is now almost completely devoid of Christians.
Israeli Arabs occupy important and prominent positions throughout Israeli politics and society. Among them is Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab Supreme Court judge. During Israel’s last national election, Joubran served as the Chairman of the Central Election Committee. Joubran was in charge of registering lists of those running for Israel’s parliament, campaign financing, election logistics, tallying results, and dealing with challenges to the results. This is a lot of power and authority for someone who is supposedly being annihilated by Israel.
At this point, it is clear that Abbas’ accusations are just too absurd to be considered plausible. Abbas is a liar and his vilification of Israel must be challenged. Despite the anti-Semitic slander he levels against Israel, the truth is that he has failed to even come close to replicating for Palestinians the high standard of living currently being enjoyed by Arabs in the world’s only Jewish state.
He has also confirmed the fact that Israel has no partner for peace.