In early September, in my capacity as the head of the Sderot Media Center, I was invited to take part in a press conference in the Norwegian capitol of Oslo, together with the Israeli ambassador of Oslo, members of the Norwegian media and members of the Norwegian Parliament. The title of the press conference was “Iran: at Sderot’s back door.” It was at that Oslo press conference that the “rocket reality” was presented before Norwegians for the first time, showing Sderot as the only town and the Western Negev region as the only place in the Western world where rockets and missiles are fired at their citizens on almost a daily basis, with 97 percent of these attacks launched by Palestinian militias from the convenient cover of the civilian homes in Gaza.
These weapons come directly from Iran, with their delivery facilitated by Syria and Egypt, to Gaza, and this is how Hamas became Tehran’s ‘third arm’ after Hezbollah in Lebanon.While Norwegian Parliament members did show sympathy and said that they more clearly understood in Sderot and Gaza, these members of the Norwegian parliament rationalized the Gaza rocket reality with the commonly held illusion that, “If the West Bank was re-occupied, and if the Palestinians would be able to have their own independent state – in the West Bank and Gaza, this would bring peace and security to both sides and the firing on Israel would stop.” In other words – firing missiles toward Israel is justified because of a lack of a Palestinian state, since the West Bank is still “occupied.”
From an Israeli perspective, then, promoting the “two-state solution” plays into their hands and gives an excuse for Europeans and for their parliamentarians to justify on going rocket fire toward Israel. This also gives nations around the world to use this reason to justify their reasons to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority, which now receives the largest proportionate aid to any people with a population its size. Indeed, the Norwegian government provided $100 million to the Palestinian Authority over the past year, even after when it was been proven that much of this budget reaches the hands of Hamas, who openly use these allocations of money to finance terrorism.
When public relation firms that represent the Israeli government’s policy approach the international media with the claim that Israel must support the “two-state solution,” this policy gives Hamas and all the Palestinian terror networks the legitimacy that they need to continue their operations against Israeli civilians. In other words, supporting the two-state solution support finance of terror. Therefore, when PR firms advocate this Israeli government policy, it works against the interests of Israeli society and certainly against the people of Sderot and Western Negev. In fact, the “two-state solution” is mistakenly used by Israel’s advocates to justify Israel’s approach for peace – even under fire or as a political solution.
When Israel’s advocates supporting a two-state solution while Sderot and the Western Negev remain under constant missile threat – especially after Israel pulled out all Jewish communities and Israeli army bases from Gaza Strip in August 2005 – they simply ignore the fact that 7,000 missiles have been fired toward Israel from the de facto Palestinian state that has been spawned in Gaza over the past three years.That is what a two-state solution means – giving Israel’s enemies a convenient base from where they can terrorize Israel’s civilian population, in defiance of international law, since Sderot and the Western Negev remain an integral part of the sovereign state of Israel. Yet while the Western world’s media and even the Israeli media refer to the West Bank and the Gaza strip, taken by Israel in 1967 – as the territories that are in dispute, Hamas and all of the other Palestinian terror groups and the Palestinian Authority itself define Sderot and the Western Negev as “occupied territory,” since they do not recognize the territory that Israel acquired in 1948.
In the words of the press statement that issued by Hamas on November 26 2006, the day before the last “cease-fire” commenced (during that cease-fire, which lasted for six months, more than 300 missiles were fired toward Israel):”We will not stop firing the Zionist settlement Sderot, until the last citizen of Sderot leaves.” Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority’s “Palestine Map,” that can be purchased in any PA office, where Sderot is replaced with pre-1948 Najd, Ashkelon is replaced by Al-Majdal, and Ashdod is replaced by Isdod.
Just look at the PA Web site at
http://www.palestineremembered.com/Gaza/Najd”Najd-(Sderot) Ethnically cleansed 24,649 days ago.”
The fact is, that when Israel was established, and war was forced upon it – territories were taken by Israel in the Israel War of Independence, and the Palestinian “Right of return” refers to the return of the Palestinian refugees to the territories of 1948. Meanwhile, the PA schools books show no rights for Jews living in the land of Israel, no mention of the history of Jews in land of Israel. These are the basics of the conflict, that need to be dealt with, the questions need to be raised followed by the answers;
These are the basics that need to be taught, first of all to the Israeli society, foreign press, Parliament members, government officials and the world public opinion. By what right was the State of Israel established? What were the historical and legal rights of the Jewish people to the land of Israel?
And why has the Palestinians refugee problem persisted, like no other in the world?
It is the responsibility of anyone who speaks for Israel to emphasize that during the late 1940s, more than 40 million refuges around the world were resettled, except for one people who remain defined as refugees – wallowing 60 years later in 59 UNRWA refugee camps, financed by $400 million contributed by nations of the world to nurture the premise of the right of return to Arab neighborhoods and Arab villages from 1948 that no longer exist.
This Palestinian propaganda line of their “inalienable” right of return remains unaddressed and for the most part recognized by every nation state of the world who blindly vote for annual U.N. resolutions that support this specious premise. While millions of dollars are spent to find the best way to “please” the American public with matters of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the basics of the conflicts are not being questioned. No nation in the world would tolerate even one rocket being launched toward their territory – yet that Israel is what Israel is asked to accept as an existential part of its existence, since the supposed root of the problem is that the Palestinian Arab people do not have a state of their own. If Israel’s advocates were to make things more understood, we would be able to tell the world that the Arab League and its Palestinian terror clients continue the war to obliterate Israel that they declared in 1948.The current “cease-fire” with the Palestinian state regime in Gaza is scheduled to end on December 19.
After that, everyone expects the Palestinians to resume their attacks – to “liberate” the rest of Palestine, not to facilitate a two-state solution.Noam Bedein is the director of the Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev.