By Rowan Polovin, Chairman SAZF Cape Council
Critics of Israel are often quick to find cause and justification for Palestinian behaviour, whether it be Palestinian intransigence at the negotiation table or the murder of a Jewish family celebrating Shabbat in their home in Judea and Samaria.
This gruesome act of terror has been explained away as a result of Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the entrances of the al-Aqsa Mosque. This justification is so perverse and morally repugnant that it needs to be rejected and fought at every opportunity. Moreover, it represents the kind of cognitive dissonance held by Israel’s enemies, in which cause and effect related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reversed, and history is revised to suit purpose and not fact. Israel’s actions (more specifically actions by Israel’s Jews) are always the cause, and the Palestinians’ reactions are always the effect. It is an effective and simple strategy that dilutes Palestinian moral agency and concentrates fault upon the Jews. Palestinians are simply reduced to subjects reacting to their Jewish agitators, and the entire conflict is thus explained away.
Inconvenient facts that place the current cause and effect cycle into their correct context become discarded. In this instance, the metal detectors were installed as a result of the murder of two Israeli border police officers in the compound. These officers were slain by terrorists with a smuggled pistol and homemade machine guns. The terrorist act is the cause, and the metal detectors are the effect. And yet, for those applying their bizarro logic to this situation, the metal detectors installed by Israel become the very reason and moral justification for any Palestinian reaction. Other contextual relevancies, such as major religious sites around the world that have strenuous security measures for worshippers, including Mecca and the Vatican, are discounted as irrelevant. That Israel is the only place in the Middle East where anyone of any religion can worship freely anywhere they wish, including those who preach against religion itself, is quickly ignored. Indeed, this cause-effect cycle only applies when Jews are involved.
Once a cause-effect revision has been accomplished and explained away, the detractors then retrace their steps to a previous incident for further historical revisionism. The reason why the murder of Israeli policemen or some other terrorist incident took place, it will be claimed, is because of Jewish presence in purportedly Palestinian land. They ignore that violence against Jews existed long before Israel as a modern Jewish State existed, such as the Hebron and Safed massacres of 1929. Terrorism is the cause, not the result, of Israel’s security measures. However, the revisionists will argue that Israel’s attempts to protect herself from Palestinian violence is the cause of instability, while it is indeed the effect of it. The security barrier they say is a cause of violence, but not the effect of suicide bombings, and so on.
This revisionist cycle can continue ad nauseam but ultimately goes back to one simple truth: the existence of Jews living freely alongside others in a Jewish state, albeit one taking up one-sixth of one-percent of the entire Middle East, is unbearable and unthinkable to the Palestinians and their Arab neighbours. The prime cause of conflict is fundamentally the inability of the Palestinians, and their apologists, to come to terms with the fact that the Jewish State exists, persists and prospers.