By Jack Saltzberg
A friend recently asked me, “why don’t you trade places with the Palestinians for a while, to get a truer feeling for their position?” It was an interesting proposition, but I needed more clarity. Which Palestinians should I trade places with?
The Palestinians who, in 1948, fled their homes to neighboring countries when the Arab world attacked Israel and told the Palestinians they can return after Israel is destroyed?
Or the Palestinians who lived in the West Bank under Jordanian (then Transjordan) occupation and annexation when Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and lost both the war and the West Bank to Israel?
Or the Palestinians who, while living in Jordan in the 1970s, envisioned Jordan becoming their Palestinian state and started a civil war where King Hussein ultimately killed thousands of Palestinians and forcibly removed many from of his country, making them refugees?
Or the Palestinians who entered the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, and murdered 11 Israeli athletes?
Or the Palestinians who infiltrated a high school in Ma’alot, Israel, took 102 students hostage, injured 50 and murdered 22?
Or the Palestinians who, among others, hijacked an Air France jetliner to Entebbe, Uganda, and held hostage more than 100 Israelis?
Or the Palestinians who were exiled from Jordan to a peaceful Lebanon and started a civil war that cost more than 120,000 lives and created more refugees, with many exiled from Lebanon?
Or the Palestinians who hijacked the Achille Lauro ocean liner and shot, murdered and threw overboard Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish American paraplegic in a wheelchair?
Or the Palestinians in the Abu Nidal Organization who murdered an estimated 600 Palestinians from rival factions?
Or the Palestinians who wrote and live by the Hamas Charter that states, among other things, “… Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors”?
Or the Palestinians who enticed young and susceptible Palestinians to become suicide bombers with the promise that when they murder Israelis, they’ll receive rich rewards in the afterlife and financial security for their families?
Or the thousands of Palestinians in Ramallah who cheered as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers were thrown from a second story window after they were tortured and hacked to death?
Or the Palestinians who honored a suicide bomber with a military funeral for murdering 15 people (including seven children and five from one family) at the Sbarro pizza café in Jerusalem?
Or the thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza captured on video cheering as two airliners purposely crashed into the Twin Towers on 9/11?
Or the Palestinian families who received $25,000 from Saddam Hussein for their children’s “successful” suicide bombings?
Or a Palestinian like Yasser Arafat (although he was Egyptian born), who became a billionaire by stealing money from other Palestinians as they lived in squalor?
Or the Qatari born and Egyptian-raised Omar Barghouti (who refers to himself as a Palestinian), who co-founded the boycott, divestment, and [including educational] sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel while getting his doctorate at an Israeli university?
Or the Palestinians from Hamas (a group the U.S. and other countries label a terrorist organization) who, when they took control of Gaza, shot several hundred Fatah Palestinians in the legs, purposely crippling them for life?
Or the more than 100 Palestinians from Fatah crippled by Palestinians from Hamas who, at the confidential request from Mahmoud Abbas to Shimon Peres, received new legs and rehabilitation at a medical center in Israel (that I witnessed)?
Or the two Palestinians who proudly confessed to the knife attack and murder of five members of the Fogel family, including the father, mother, and three of their six children, ages 11, 4 and 3 months?
Or the Palestinian mother, Raida Abu-Mustaffa, whose baby’s life was saved through funding and a rare heart operation by a Jewish doctor at an Israeli hospital, yet the mother dreamed that her daughter would one day become a martyr?
Or the gay Palestinian man who, while living in Tel Aviv (considered one of the gay-friendliest cities in the world), pleaded with Israel’s high court not to be deported to the West Bank because it would lead to persecution by his family and his detention, torture and death by Palestinian security forces?
Or the Palestinians in the West Bank who, in 2013, committed 27 honor killings against their wives, sisters and daughters?
Or the Palestinians who, since childhood, have been educated by books and newspapers that claim Jews are sub-human, satanic and animals, and that Israel is the root of all of their problems?
Or the Palestinians who grew up in refugee camps while Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait and Brunei became some of the wealthiest countries in world, gave virtually nothing to help the Palestinians and have purposely kept them in refugee camps as political tools since 1948?
Or the Palestinians who, for decades, promoted terrorism against Israel forcing Israel to build a security wall (that virtually ended all suicide bombings) and now call it the Apartheid Wall?
Or the Palestinians who, after Israel voluntarily withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, giving the Palestinians land and self-determination, have fired more than 11,000 rockets at Israel, killing Israelis and causing thousands of injuries?
Or the Palestinians who, since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, have committed thousands of terrorist acts (not including rocket attacks from Gaza), murdering 1,472 Israelis?
Or the Palestinians from Hamas who kidnapped and murdered three Jewish teenage yeshiva (Torah study) students?
Or the Palestinians who denounced Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas because he condemned the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish teens?
Or the Palestinian mother of Abu Aysha (one of the suspected murderers of the three Israeli teens) who said if he truly did it … “I’ll be proud of him till my final day. … I raised my children on the knees of the [Islamic] religion … their goal is to bring the victory of Islam”?
Or the Palestinian father of 17-year-old Mohammed Khdair, apparently murdered in retaliation for the three yeshiva boys, who said, “Whether Jew or Arab, who would accept that his son or daughter would be kidnapped and killed? I call on both sides to stop the bloodshed”?
From exactly which Palestinians should I get a truer feeling?
Jack Saltzberg is the founder and executive director of The Israel Group, an organization dedicated to protecting Israel in universities by educating and preparing high school students today. Saltzberg served in combat in an anti-terrorist unit inside the Israeli paratroopers.