The Lessons of the Ramallah Lynching, Twenty Years On

Oct. 14 2020

Last Monday marked the twentieth anniversary of the gruesome murder of two Israeli soldiers who took a fateful wrong turn and found themselves in the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Thanks to the presence of an Italian television crew at the scene, the incident was captured on video, and the image of one of the perpetrators victoriously displaying his bloodstained hands to a cheering crowd is, as Nave Dromi puts it, “seared into the minds of all Israelis over thirty years old.” In Dromi’s evaluation, the killings—which came two weeks after the riots that began the second intifada—convinced a great number of his countrymen that, for many Palestinians, the “lust for Israeli blood was greater than [their] desire for statehood.”

When foreign commentators attempt to understand why Israelis have become consistently more hawkish in the years since, few understand the role of that image, and others, like the Passover massacre of 30 Israelis enjoying a holiday meal in a Netanya hotel in 2002, on our psyche. We were told that Palestinians, like us, want and desire peace. . . . If we just offered enough then there would be peace and an end to the conflict.

These are all myths that were cruelly shattered that day. . . . Even those who decided to make concessions in the future, like Ariel Sharon, would no longer predicate them on a belief that there is a partner for peace.

You cannot reason with people who delight in the shedding of your blood. The candies offered after every deadly suicide attack, and the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing obsession by the PA in incentivizing the shedding of Israeli blood through its “pay-for-slay” program, repeat this lesson in case we dare forget it.

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Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Second Intifada

 

Europe-Israel Relations Have Been Transformed

On Monday, Israel and the EU held their first “association council” meeting since 2012, resuming what was once an annual event, equivalent to the meetings Brussels conducts with many other countries. Although the summit didn’t produce any major agreements or diplomatic breakthroughs, writes Shany Mor, it is a sign of a dramatic change that has occurred over the past decade. The very fact that the discussion focused on energy, counterterrorism, military technology, and the situation in Ukraine—rather than on the Israel-Palestinian conflict—is evidence of this change:

Israel is no longer the isolated and boycotted outpost in the Middle East that it was for most of its history. It has peace treaties with six Arab states now, four of which were signed since the last association council meeting. There are direct flights from Tel Aviv to major cities in the region and a burgeoning trade between Israel and Gulf monarchies, including those without official relations.

It is a player in the regional alliance systems of both the Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean, just as it has also become a net energy exporter due to the discovery of large gas deposits of its shoreline. None of this was the case at the last council meeting in 2012. [Moreover], Israel has cultivated deep ties with a number of new member states in the EU from Central and Eastern Europe, whose presence in Brussels bridges cultural ideological gaps that were once much wider.

Beyond the diplomatic shifts, however, is an even larger change that has happened in European-Israeli relations. The tiny Israel defined by its conflict with the Arabs that Europeans once knew is no more. When the first Cooperation Agreement [between Israel and the EU’s precursor] was signed in 1975, Israel, with its three million people, was smaller than all the European member states save Luxembourg. Sometime in the next two years, the Israeli population will cross the 10 million mark, making it significantly larger than Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and Austria (among others), and roughly equal in population to Greece, Portugal, and Sweden.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israeli gas