THE HISTORY OF the Middle East is marked by dates, memorialized anniversaries that commemorate milestones that symbolize the sorrow and failed promise of a region beset by terror. November is one of those landmarks of time that forever personify the tragic choices made by the Palestinians in their never-ending war against the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
In November 1947 the question of the Jewish homeland was put before the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations. In the post-war reality of the Holocaust, the Zionist dream became an imperative. But rather than accept compromise and have two nations share the small strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, the Arabs threatened to push the nascent Jewish state into the sea. The Arab world and their Palestinian patsies used the unshakable reality of the declaration of the modern State of Israel as a pretext for an all-out call to arms. The war to annihilate the Jews did not go as planned for the Arab armies, though. The Arab defeat relegated hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as stateless refugees rather than a people sharing a small strip of land with a new Jewish state that craved coexistence and partnership.
November also marks another anniversary of infamy. In November 1974, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat addressed a packed session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Arafat was a man who engineered hijackings and letter bombs, the shooting up of children, and the slaughter of innocent victims. Only two years before he triumphantly walked to the lectern at the UN, wearing a pistol on his hip in a body dedicated to world peace, Arafat’s Black September had perpetrated the Munich Olympic Massacre—the 9/11 of its day. Ambassadors and diplomats from the Arab world, the communist bloc, and the non-aligned movement greeted the keffiyeh-draped terrorist as if he were a conquering hero. They were, though, cheering for a murderer. Arafat had wiped the dripping blood off his hands just long enough to come to New York City and offer the world a choice: the gun in one hand or the olive branch in the other.
Of course, Arafat’s olive branch was the same peace offering that an extortionist offers his victim: do what I say or prepare to suffer. Arafat’s presence at the United Nations was nothing more than the legitimizing of international terror and the murder of Jews. A year after Arafat’s address, the United Nations decreed that Zionism was racism. The international body never recovered its moral compass after the General Assembly showered a cold-blooded killer with adoration. The world has never been the same.
The Palestinians have never recovered from their November moments of miscues and miscarriages. The State of Israel endured years of war and terror to persevere as the Middle East’s only democracy and a nation that truly became a homeland for the Jewish people. It has become an economic and moral powerhouse rivaling the standard of living and surpassing the creative forces of Western Europe. Israel has become a multiethnic mosaic. Jews, Christians, and Muslims live side-by-side, serving alongside one another in hospitals, industry, higher learning, the police, and the military.
The Palestinians never did push the Jews into the sea after they rejected the partition vote of November 1947. And all they got after Arafat’s November 1974 speech was Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian Authority rife with corruption and oppression, and misery.