For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
It is always the same theme: Palestinians are the victims of Israel. They want an end to the “occupation,” which in a real sense has not existed for 15 years, and are desperate for a state of their own. Help us! Help us! Help us!
But the funny thing is that it doesn’t turn out that the Palestinian political leaders behave as if they actually believe this stuff. Between 1948 and 1988, the Palestinian leadership explicitly rejected negotiations with Israel, rejected any two-state solution, and openly sought total victory. This was true for two decades after Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Indeed, in 1979, for example, when local Palestinian notables indicated an interest in negotiating with Israel for a state (in the framework of the Egypt-Israel Camp David agreement), PLO leader Yasir Arafat told them they’d be traitors and die if they did any such thing.
In 1988, the PLO said it wanted a state of its own but did so with such double-talk language that it was all too clear this was intended only as a springboard for a second round in which Israel would be destroyed. Then the PLO opened a dialogue with the United States based on its agreement to stop terrorism. Though the United States bent over backwards to ignore terrorist attacks (it’s only a specific member group in the PLO attacking so it doesn’t count, said the State Department), Arafat so blatantly broke his promise that the dialogue was broken off.
Then Arafat supported Saddam Hussein of Iraq in his invasion of Kuwait and the Palestinian leader expressed the hope that Iraq would defeat the United States.
What followed at the PLO’s moment of weakness—Saddam defeated; the angry Kuwaitis and Saudis cut off his money—was an act of what they hoped would be enlightened generosity by Israel and America: now that the PLO was so defeated, they reasoned, it would see that victory was impossible and make peace. The result, the Oslo peace process, proved the Palestinian leadership didn’t want a stable peace with a two-state solution. Arafat repeatedly broke his commitments.
And when the moment of truth came, both at Camp David and in the Clinton plan during 2000, the Palestinian leadership (now the Palestinian Authority, PA) turned down offers of a state. Instead, Arafat launched an armed terrorist assault on Israel that went on for five years until the Palestinians were defeated.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"