By Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry, US Army, Ret.
To the victor go the spoils of war, except when your country is named Israel. At least that is what the White House and State Department would like us to believe.
At the end of WWII Russia was not forced to give back the parts of Poland and Eastern Europe that it had confiscated as part of its spoils of war, and no one today refers to those territories as being “occupied” by the Russians, or suggests that Tibet is being occupied by China.
The “Right of Return” seems only to apply to Israel, the Jews and their conquests in Gaza and the West bank. Israel got these territories when the Arabs lost the wars which they had started. No other nation on earth has been asked by the UN to give back territory it has won on the battlefield.
In 1947 the UN proposed that the land of Israel be divided into two autonomous, self-governing regions, one was given to the Palestinians. The other was declared the sovereign state of Israel and became the historic homeland for the Jews. Had the Palestinians accepted that UN proposal, we wouldn’t be worrying over Gaza and the West Bank today. Though Hamas and the Palestinians are losing the military war, they are winning the public relations war.
No matter what is negotiated or promised by Israel to the Palestinians and Hamas, it can never be enough to satisfy them. Many times in the past Israel has offered to stop firing rockets and launching armed incursions into Palestinian territory provided the Palestinians agree to stop firing rockets into Israel. Then Israel has ceased all hostilities only to find out that the Palestinians have abrogated the agreements and keep firing rockets into Israel. The UN strongly admonishes Israel for returning the rocket fire of the Palestinians, but only half heartedly admonishes the Palestinians.
Unfortunately wars are sometimes necessary and must be resorted to when arbitration and negotiation fail. The war with Nazi Germany was not ended by mediation or arbitration, nor was the war with Imperial Japan ended through negotiation. Genuine peace comes only when one side is victorious on the battlefield.
The Muslim States of the Middle East are treating Israel the same way Hitler treated German Jews in the 1930s. No matter what they agree to or negotiate it will never be enough because the goal is not to settle historic problems, but to totally annihilate the entire Jewish people and State.
As a result the Arabs and the Palestinians have made the existence of Israel non-negotiable. They say that no peace agreement that gives Israel the right to exist is acceptable. Perhaps Israel should follow their lead and declare that no agreement that gives the Palestinians parts of Gaza and the West Bank is acceptable.
If one of Hamas’ rockets lands and explodes in a Jewish residential area killing innocent civilians, Israel should fire back targeting a prominent terrorist or terrorist facility in an Arab residential area, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Israel shouldn’t try to be fair and balanced; rather it should try to be right. Israel should tell the world that if Hamas shoots new rockets into Israel, Israel will shoot new rockets back into Gaza. If Hamas stops their rocket firing, Israel will stop its rocket firing. The initiative is with the Palestinians. It is their finger that is on the rocket firing trigger.
If a Hamas rocket lands and explodes in a Jewish civilian area, the Israelis should fire on a Palestinian civilian area of the same size that is positively known to be a hiding place for Hamas weapons and munitions. Anyone who uses their own children and their children’s schools and hospitals as human shields is a war criminal and a coward of the worst sort.
To live at peace and security with their Arab and Palestinian neighbors is the Jewish dream, but it is a dream that seems destined to remain unfulfilled, at least for now. Israel cannot successfully negotiate with someone whose starting point in the negotiations is the annihilation of all Jews.
If Germany wants to try making up to Israel and to the civilized world for some of what it lost in the 1930s under Hitler, it could militarily come to Israel’s aid. The German people may never have such an opportunity to again express their good feelings and intentions toward the Jews and Israel.
May the next presidential election bring to the White House an American leader who fears nothing and no one, a leader who refuses to be intimidated and confused, one who is determined to remain faithful to our friends and to Israel.
For now, Israel has no choice. Its citizens must hang on. Yes, the cavalry is late, but history tells us that eventually it will arrive.
Jerry Curry is a retired Army Major General, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Carter administration; Acting Press Secretary to the Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration; and Administrator of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in the Bush Sr. administration.