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A Number of Real and Important Truths About Israel

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I read “The Gathering Storm” by Andrew Napolitano in the Sunday, Oct. 22 issue of the News-Register.

He begins with the age-old canard about Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, that Zionist militias forced 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes, villages, and ancient homeland. When in fact Arab leaders, not wanting to harm their own, told Arabs to leave the area and, after they won the war, those displaced could return to have their choice of any Jewish home they wanted. It is estimated some 650,000 Arabs left voluntarily and some 100,000 or so were displaced due to the war. He omitted that some 850,000 Jews around the Middle East in Arab countries were forced from their homes, had to leave without their wealth, and were never allowed to return.

Napolitano then goes on to tell another “fib,” Palestinians were confined to the “West Bank and Gaza” by Israel. In addition, that an “apartheid” was created to prevent them from taking part in a democratic society. The “West Bank” is the name Jordan gave the area when it occupied the land from 1948 to 1967. Its historic names are Judea and Samaria. This is where many biblical acts took place. In addition, this is where the Jewish people got their name, Judea — Jews. Gaza was occupied by Egypt after 1948 and Israel gained control in 1967.

During their occupation, Jordan built refugee camps in the “West Bank” and the Egyptians built refugee camps in Gaza. Some of the camps in the “West Bank” are somewhat like modern cities with apartment buildings four and five stories in height. The Jordanians and Egyptians restricted the movement of people who lived there.

From the time the Roman Empire collapsed until 1948, many peoples have had control over the land of Israel, but none formally made it as part of their own country or established a capital in it. During that time, there has always been a continuous Jewish population. That and the fact that Israel took possession of additional territory in the 1948 and 1967 defensive wars give Israel the best title to the land under international law and the Geneva Convention. Yes, Israel did encourage and fund construction of Israeli communities in those areas, because it was part of Israel’s homeland and needed for the defense of Israel, which is one fifth the size of West Virginia.

In the 1990s, as part of the Oslo Accords, Israel relinquished control of parts of the “West Bank.” Promises under Oslo, Oslo II and subsequent agreements made by the Palestinians were made, but not one has been fulfilled.

Contrary to what Napolitano stated, Israel does not operate an apartheid state and does integrate Palestinians into its society. Today there are Israeli Arabs who are doctors, lawyers, nurses, members of the Army, etc. There are judges, Supreme Court justices and there are Arab parties that hold seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

Recently a young Black man from South Africa, who landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, needed to use a restroom and asked a security guard, “where are the Black restrooms?” The security guard answered, “we don’t have Black restrooms. We have one set of restrooms for everyone.” That same young man later wrote numerous articles stating everything he had been taught about Israel being an apartheid state was wrong.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in a confidence building measure for peace, yielded all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Prior to that Israel removed numerous Jewish communities containing more than 8,000 citizens from Gaza, some even forcefully. It was a difficult process that included not only buying homes but moving cemeteries as well. The Palestinian Authority did not want the houses. It asked Israel to knock down the homes and leave the rubble. There were numerous Israeli farmers, some with enormous greenhouses. At one time Israel exported more tulips than Holland. People in Israel and the United States did not want to displace the Palestinians who worked there. They raised funds to purchase greenhouses from the growers. Even Condoleezza Rice was involved. Israel also left numerous buildings for municipal, school, or other uses. Within 24 hours after Israel’s pullout, the Gazans had destroyed all the buildings and greenhouses!

In 2006 the Palestinian Authority held free elections and the Gazans voted it out and replaced it with Hamas. Once again Napolitano made a ridiculous statement. He said that Hamas was the “brainchild” of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. It gets funding from them and a few other countries including Iran.

Hamas’ leadership lives a life of luxury and safety in Quatar.

Napolitano then goes into a diatribe of U.S. aid, U.S. debt, and other smoke and mirrors to insinuate that U.S. aid to Israel has contributed to financial problems here in the United States.

I am happy and proud to say that Israel is a direct beneficiary of $3.3 billion of direct military aid.

By contract 99% of those funds must be spent in the United States. Again, almost 100% is spent in the United States! That puts a lot of Americans to work. Currently, Israel is purchasing F-35 fighter jets with those funds. That guarantees additional employment of Americans from the future purchase of munitions, parts, and services.

From time to time the U.S. invests funds with Israel to develop other types of military hardware. The most famous is Israel’s Iron Dome which shoots down incoming missiles. The United States had purchased two Iron Dome Batteries which are currently stationed in the U.S. for our protection.

Trade between the two countries reached $50.6 billion in 2022.

In “The Gathering Storm,” I stopped counting Napolitano’s lies when I reached 15! How this piece of fiction was published must have been purely accidental. There is so much I could share with the News-Register’s readers about Israel’s developments in science and technology, in computers, medicine, and more, many of which we all use in everyday life, but I am bringing this writing to a close.

One last thing I ask readers to keep in mind, no American troops have every fought to defend Israel and not one American life has been lost defending Israel.

Stuart V. Pavilack is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh.


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