Rashida Tlaib was in tears over the conditions in which her grandmother lives in the West Bank, and furious that her mother, an American citizen, was forced to go through a “check point” from Israel once in order to visit her. “As a young girl, visiting Palestine to see my grandparents, I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints — even though she was a United States citizen and proud American.” She was so sad. Teary. Emotional. Distraught.
In light of that …
Is it insensitive to point out that international Arab wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, terror wars (so-called intifadas) in 1989 and 2001, and rocket wars in 2006, 2009, and 2014 have all been started by Arab states or Palestinian leaders against the state of Israel with the intention of destroying it?
It is, perhaps, rude to point out that in the 1949 war of annihilation he declared on Israel, the King of Jordan scooped up the territory that had been allocated for a Palestinian-Arab state. It’s probably uncharitable to mention that he annexed the Palestinian-allotted territory in a move recognized only by Great Britain and Pakistan, but no one was moved to do anything about it. And pitiless to mention that Tlaib’s grandmother was thus illegally occupied from 1949 – 1967. By Jordan. And thick-skinned, perhaps, to point out that Israel only entered the Palestinian picture when the Jordanian king — in a mind-bogglingly stupid moment — entered 1967’s Six Day War on the fourth day and managed to lose all of his illegally held possessions.
And given what Ms. Tlaib considers to be her grandmother’s suffering, it seems hardhearted to point out that there were no checkpoints during the Jordanian occupation because no Israeli person — no Jewish person — ever passed from Israel into Jordanian-held Jerusalem at all between 1949 and 1967. No Jewish person could pray at the holiest of Jewish sites and 58 synagogues on the eastern side of the city were dynamited and destroyed. And no Jordanian or Palestinian person was permitted by Jordan to pass from Jordan into Israel during that period for work, medical care, or school.
It really is harsh to point out that after Israel acquired the West Bank territory and, in the course, defending itself from the king’s weak-mindedness, Palestinian workers were permitted to travel to and work in Israel — and still are. Some 100,000 – 110,000 Palestinians currently work in Israel and another 30,000 work in West Bank communities. Is it callous to note that those checkpoints were the result of Palestinian terrorism that ended any hope of free or casual passage?
No. It is not.
It thus seems fair to note that while not one Jordanian was killed by a terrorist Palestinian to liberate “Palestine” from the Jordanian government in the 19 years of occupation, 2,143 Israelis have been killed and nearly 10,000 wounded by Palestinians in deliberate attacks. It seems fair also to emphasize the word “deliberate.” Dead Jews were the goal. Fair, too, to remind her that 19 of the dead and 172 of the wounded were victims of a massacre during a Passover Seder; Nava Applebaum and her father David were murdered sitting in a café the night before her wedding; Kobi Mandell and Yosef Ishran, two 13-year-old boys, had their heads smashed against rocks; 3-month-old Hadas, 4-year-old Elad, 11-year-old Yoav, and parents Ruth and Udi Fogel were murdered in their beds. Eighteen people, including Americans Malki Roth and Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, were killed in a Sbarro pizza parlor (their killers received an estimated $910,823 in “salary” from the Palestinian Authority).
There are 2,132 others to be named and remembered.
Israelis live not only with checkpoints, but with intrusive security in airports, schools, shopping centers, concert halls, and other places because all have been attacked by people — Palestinians, not Costa Ricans or Laotians or Nepalese — intent on killing them.
And yet, Israel is here, strong, vibrant, growing, democratic, and tolerant of everyone except those openly dedicated to its destruction.
If that further upsets Ms. Tlaib, so be it.
Shoshana Bryen is senior director of The Jewish Policy Center in Washington, D.C.