Today, while America opened its embassy in Jerusalem, the riots on the Israel-Gaza border, which have been going on for weeks, continued and escalated. Ira Stoll corrects those who have misread the former event as the cause of the latter, and draws some more significant conclusions:
Arab or Islamist violence has been remarkably consistent for nearly a century. Nearly 70 Jews were killed in the 1929 Hebron riots. Palestinian terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Another 25 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists in the Ma’alot massacre in 1974. The 1990s and 2000s saw a series of Palestinian suicide attacks on Israeli passenger buses, at the Dolphinarium disco, at the Sbarro restaurant.
These attacks happen when Washington sides with Israel, as it has during the Trump administration, and when it tries to pressure Israel or mediate more even-handedly, as it did in other administrations. The attacks target America, as they did on September 11, 2001, and they target European capitals with foreign policies that are more tilted toward the Arabs. More than 190 were killed in the Madrid train bombings of 2004, more than 50 in the 2005 London transit bombings, hundreds more in the attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016. America’s embassy in Iran was seized in 1979 and Pan Am Flight 103 was downed in 1988. . . .
The Gaza violence is sad. Press coverage of it often notes that no Israelis have been killed in the clashes, as if it would somehow be better if the deaths were more evenly distributed. Yet if the choice is between deaths of Palestinian rioters in Gaza or civilians in New York, London, Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv, electorates and foreign-policy hands alike aren’t going to spend a lot of time agonizing. [And the] Gaza riots . . . make it clear that the primary Palestinian complaint isn’t about Israeli settlers or occupation—Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza in 2005—but about Israel’s existence.