Opinion |

Let’s Go Already, Intifada

Palestinians didn't live up to the expectations when their leadership called for intifada following Trump's Jerusalem decision. Disappointed? Israeli media was

Israel Harel
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People hold Palestinian flags as they protest after Friday prayers at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, December 15, 2017.
People hold Palestinian flags as they protest after Friday prayers at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, December 15, 2017.Credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters
Israel Harel

From the moment Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, an atmosphere of deep mourning descended on many Israelis. Some expressed their rage out loud. Others, who were under the dictate of political correctness to show restraint, hid their feelings by expressing a fear of imminent bloodshed, which seemed, even to ears that aren’t particularly sensitive, to be an invitation.

Also heard was the sincere concern that the declaration was liable to undo the strategic ties that had been forming with Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia. After all, Jerusalem is in the soul of the entire Arab nation, certainly in that of a devout Muslim country like Saudi Arabia. And it will never accept Jewish sovereignty over the Arab nation’s eternal city.

This only deepened the disappointment that the Palestinians didn’t live up to expectations and committed only a fraction of the terror attacks called for by Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah. Especially disappointed was the Israeli media, which steadily promoted the advent of horrific scenes, and, expecting that its forecasts would come true, pushed to the top of the news every incident, even those that wouldn’t be reported in “routine” times. Here it comes, here it comes, the inevitable intifada is starting!

It wasn’t only the Iranians who heaped contempt on the collaborators; so did the rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries, who refrain from lashing out at Trump the way Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah do. Israeli commentators also saw their moderation as a kind of “betrayal of the Arab issue.” The day is not far off, said the learned analysts, when their people will rise up and overthrow them. For this time we are talking about Jerusalem, which every Arab eye yearns to behold and every heart bewails its theft from the Arab nation and its delivery unto the enemies of the Prophet.

Then the compulsive tweeter landed another series of blows on the pates of Israelis grieving over America’s recognition of Jerusalem: “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.” And if that wasn’t enough, he sent another cruel tweet their way: “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

Aryeh Golan, the popular broadcaster, reported for duty on behalf of these agonizing Israelis. He compared Trump’s tweet to a letter sent by the anti-Semitic British general, Evelyn Barker, to his troops in Palestine, in which he called for “punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them.” The comparison is very interesting. Along with deep stirrings of the soul, it expresses knowledge and judgment. Indeed, it was to make just such comparisons that he’s been handed the microphone for decades.

No less symptomatic is the opposition of these Israelis to the American intention to stop funding UNRWA. According to any logic, the way to rehabilitate the refugees is to take them out of the camps where they have been petrifying for five generations. As long as the UN continues maintaining the camps, as long as its denizens are educated to await the coming of the messiah, in other words implementation of the right of return, there will be no rehabilitation, and no peace for them or for us.

It would seem that the first to welcome the end of funding and beginning of rehabilitation (as the Americans presumably would continue funding the refugees’ rehabilitation, and even increase such aid) would be the peace camp. Not so, it turns out. More than a few Israelis have an interest, just like the Palestinians do, in perpetuating the refugee camps, so that they will continue to be a permanent reminder of the sin, and a hothouse for terror, hatred and revenge – against Israel.