The growing debate about Hamas’s October 7th breakout from Gaza and attack on Israeli settlements has degenerated into sophistry.
Who is right and who is wrong? Will there ever be a justification for all the lives lost? Will there ever be a justification for the enormous price the Palestinians are paying for this attack, in terms of the tens of thousands killed, maimed, and wounded? And for the destruction of Gazan homes, hospitals, schools, infrastructure, and all other semblances of civil society and sources of livelihood, rendering Gaza unlivable and precluding its people, who fled the indiscriminate bombing, from returning? Was Hamas tricked or goaded into reacting on October 7th and thus, inadvertently, deliver to Israel a new territory of “Land without people”?
All the above is open for debate and will consume endless hours of brain energy with no satisfactory outcome or consensus, as it has done for the past eight tragic decades.
One impartial way of clarifying what is really happening in Gaza and Palestine is to bare the facts and examine the historical trend as reflected by the Palestinian calamity. A good definition of ‘trend’ is that it is a “presentation of event occurrences over time on a chart. It allows you to check the results of events you track and predict their direction. Having this knowledge, you can undertake the appropriate activities.”
This means that the past is an indication of the future, and a trend reflects this accurately, regardless of the circumstantial intermittent actions emanating from any source―a trend overrides all actions unless they are of significant magnitude and persistence to break the trend and change its direction.
The accompanying graph plots the Land lost by the Palestinians since the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and onwards. A discerning eye could have predicted, as early as 1936 or 1947, the trendline’s (red dots) consistent direction and its likely outcome: a total 100% annexation of Palestine, which actually did occur.
As for the much-discussed West Bank and Gaza Strip, they represent a mere 22% of the original land and are not Palestinian, but Israeli-occupied―they are technically ‘reservations’ to enclose the Palestinians in! And by way of paying lip service to the Oslo Accords, they were begrudgingly granted flawed and incomplete self-rule, with Israel retaining full control, especially regarding security, administration, building permits, people movement and settlement. Consequently, this 22% artificial enclave continues to dwindle with continuous illegal encroachment by new Israeli settlers, whose numbers now exceed 688,000 and are still growing.
Additionally, in the absence of any indications of a trend reversal, it becomes reasonable to expect that the bogus 22% self-rule ‘reservations’ would be next in line for cleansing and full absorption into Israel. Such a likelihood not only kills all Palestinian hope but is topped with the “last straw” in the form of the Abraham Accords which integrate Israel into the region, totally disregarding the Palestinians. Hence it is not surprising that such a dismal outlook of spending another century living impoverished, landlocked, and in tents would be construed by the Palestinians as a “fate worse than death”―ergo, October 7th? ―is this a 21st-century version of Masada but carried out by non-Jews fighting for their freedom?
At the regional level, this land-grab trend can be extrapolated beyond Palestine. The neighboring Arabs may not have yet digested the meaning of the century-old trendline, which may put their lands at risk. The “Eretz Israel” dream of historic Israel from the river to the sea (or to the other river), is not only hibernating in most Israeli hearts but is being talked aloud most blatantly as a realistic goal. This is especially disturbing as its initial steps were made as far back as 1967 when Israel annexed the oil-rich Golan Heights from Syria and the Shabaa Farms from Lebanon.
Can the Arabs feel safe and secure while an unfettered Israel, which disregards all agreements and all UN Security Council resolutions, roams freely in their midst? A 100-year-old persistent trendline speaks very loudly, even the deaf can hear it.
True peace requires mutual trust in that no party harbors any pernicious intentions towards the other and is confirmed by consistent transparent actions and policies. As for dislike, it is not pernicious if it is not acted upon and consequently, is not a deterrent to peace. Dislike is a personal feeling that dissipates with time, especially with kind and generous actions. The historical factual trend in Palestine and the Middle East has reflected perniciousness, and mutual dislike is the natural result. Remove the first, and the second will assuredly fade away as it had for millennia in the region.
The Non Sequitur
The two marketed narratives were that “Israel was the underdog and had the right to exist and defend itself. It is the overwhelming neighboring Arab hordes who threaten Israel, not vice versa.” The other narrative was the Arab masses’ rallying cries against Israeli occupation construed as an unequivocal threat to Israel. Both these two narratives are dated and were marketed in the 1950s and the 1960s: the first one by the Israelis seeking to garner worldwide sympathy and support, with ample evidence indicating that the opposite is true; and the second one by Arab leaders of the time, with their empty rallying cries intended to placate the masses and divert their attention from the mediocre management of their affairs. However, both narratives dovetailed into each other, and one fed off the other.
Since then, the facts of life have sunk into the Arab minds, and they have come to realize that Israel cannot be brought down with conventional warfare, nor do they seek to erase it.
Terrorism is not de rigueur for Palestinians, nor is it inherent in their mentality; they react to threats and pernicious acts with whatever they have available, unreservedly putting their own lives on the line―as evidenced by the casualty ratio figures in every previous incident or clash, which have always, by far, favored the Israelis at the expense of the Palestinians.
Even President Biden has insinuated as much in his recent statement, indicating the absence of a “destroy Israel” intent in Hamas’s actions. He believes that the October 7th attack was triggered by his strong and persistent encouragement of normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and its rapid progress greatly dismayed the Palestinians, especially Hamas, who must have concluded that they and their long-anticipated sovereign state have been totally forgotten, or worse, consigned to the dustbin. Hence, they erupted on October 7th as a last-ditch Hail Mary―a Kamikaze strike.
The 1917 Balfour Declaration envisioned a tiny “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, but over the last century it has metastasized to take over total Palestine. This firm and consistent trend can now threaten other Arab countries, and unless the Palestinian Tragedy is seriously addressed by the international community, the region and the world are open to another century of misery and wars.
There is no evidence that the Palestinians are actively seeking, or are able, to destroy Israel. This narrative has long been put to sleep and is not valid. The Palestinians are resisting the loss of their homes and what they seek is what has been promised them throughout the past century. They want their own free and sovereign land. Give it to them quickly, save innocent lives, and keep the world safe… Break “The Trend” now!