Are you surprised by the title of this article? Don’t you hear and read all the time that the Jewish settlers are the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East? Have you ever heard someone defend Jewish settlers? Then take a few minutes and read this article by Gerd Buurmann. And if you become aware of some points that you haven’t considered, then share this article every time you read that Jewish settlers are a problem.
Settlements are not a hindrance to peace. Jews are not a problem because Jews have the right to build homes along with any other human being!
In every Israeli settlement Israeli law applies. Thus, every Israeli settlement in the Middle East is a place where people are not persecuted no matter what religion they belong to, which gender they are or may love, and whatever opinion they may express. I am in favor of Israel, not because I believe somebody long ago was first to put his foot on some piece of land, or a god invited a bearded man for a coffee to discuss dividing up the world, but because Israel is the only country in the Middle East where women and men have equal rights, homosexuality is recognized by the state; where there’s freedom of expression, art and science, no religion is discriminated against, and where Jews are classified neither better nor worse than all other people. Each square meter in the Middle East which emulates Israel is a win.
Why should I criticize those settlement towns where I could live as I wish? Nevertheless, a clear majority in Germany and in the United Nations strongly reject Israel’s settlement policy and declare: „The Jewish settlers are the greatest obstacle to peace.“ Can the whole world be wrong? Yes, it can! Concerning Jews, the whole world has already been wrong!
Whoever thinks that Jewish settlements are the greatest obstacle to peace in the Middle East should simply replace the word „Jewish“ with „Muslim“, „Christian“ or „Arabic“, then ask why of all the settlers in Judea and Samaria only the Jewish settlers should represent a problem.
Jews had settled Judea and Samaria long before Christians and Muslims even existed. The name Judea is quite clear in origin. That’s why those who think Jews are illegal there say West Bank instead. Independent of the territory’s name, at present, the area doesn’t belong to any national state. The area once belonged to Jordan, a country which now comprises over 80 per cent of Palestine and, unlike Israel, does not offer full citizenship to Palestinians. Prior to that, the territory was administered by the League of Nations. Before that, the area belonged to the Ottoman Empire and before that to the Roman Empire and originally to a Jewish empire, as the name “Judea” proves. The Jewish people are the oldest people still existing in the Middle East.
Although the territories of Judea and Samaria do not belong to any state today, people live there. Some live in houses, others in tents. There are Arab, Jewish, stateless and many other kinds of settlers, who all live in an area which remains controversial because there is no state structure governing it. But only the Jewish settlers are called „illegal“! The problem these accusers have with just these settlers is the fact of them being Jewish!
The radical Hamas declares the annihilation of all Jews as the duty of all Muslims! Fatah is likewise convinced of this duty. On the 47th anniversary of Fatah, Mufti Muhammad Hussein, who was personally appointed by Mahmud Abbas as the „spiritual leader of Palestinian autonomy,“ reaffirmed the idea that peace can only be attained when all Jews are exterminated. Whoever demands Jews must be annihilated can never conclude peace with them. Whoever shouts „Jews, get out of my country, my city, my neighborhood“ doesn’t want peace with Jews, but to be free of them. There are two forms of peace in the Middle East: one peace is a peace with Jews. The other peace is a peace without them.
The desire for a peace without Jews is omnipresent in the Arab world. When the Gaza Strip was handed over to the Palestinian administration in 2005, all Jews were expelled from Gaza within a few days. On the morning of September 12, when the last Jews left the area at the Kissufim border crossing, Arabs celebrated frenetically with gun shots in the air and motorcades. Abandoned synagogues were torched. It was a real “Gaza Kristallnacht“. Gaza signed for a peace without Jews, not with Jews. During the following years, Hamas fired countless rockets at Israel with murderous intent. A Hamas minister summed up his position in 2010 with the following words:
“They (Jews) want to present themselves to the world as if they have rights, but, in fact, they are foreign bacteria – a microbe unparalleled in the world. It’s not me who says this. The Koran itself says that they have no parallel: ‘You shall find the strongest men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews.’ May He annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them, whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion, no conscience, and no moral values.”
With such words, it’s no coincidence that Hezbollah and Hamas greet each other with the Hitler salute. Jewish settlers are a problem for such a Jew-haters. However, for those who want to make peace with Jews, a Jewish settlement is not a problem, but the solution to a problem, because only the acceptance of Jewish settlements will lead to the simple realization that Jews can be neighbors and fellow citizens.
Jews who settle and build houses are not the problem! They’re not a problem in Israel, in America and in Europe. They shouldn’t be a problem in the Middle East. Everywhere in the world, there are Jewish settlements and neighborhoods in various countries. In Germany, there are Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities. They are understood as cultural enrichment and as evidence of peaceful coexistence, by promoting diversity, tolerance and acceptance. In Cologne, Germany there is the predominantly Muslim Keupstraße neighborhood and in Paris the Marais in the third and fourth arrondissements, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. In Israel there are many Muslim neighborhoods and settlements. Nearly twenty percent of all Israelis are Muslims. For Israel, Muslim settlements inside and outside the country are not a hindrance to peace, but livable democracy.
Jewish settlers are no better or worse than Muslim or Arab settlers. The Arab governments in the Middle East should therefore respect Jews as citizens with all the rights and obligations as any other citizen, or they will never be able to conclude peace with Jews. However, Fatah and Hamas have declared that peace will not come „as long as we have not destroyed the Jews.“ They mean it seriously. Hamas has succeeded where Hitler had failed: the Gaza Strip has been „judenrein“ since 2005.
There are over 8 million citizens living in Israel, of which 1.6 million are Muslim Arabs. According to a current study, 77 percent of these Arabs don’t want to live anywhere else than in Israel! Israel is even preferred over Germany. Whoever criticizes Israel should take a look at how Muslims live in Germany. Wherever a mosque is planned, thousands of Germans turn up and protest. In Germany, many Muslims live in undesirable areas and are often subject to discrimination. In German cities such as Dresden and Leipzig tens of thousands of Germans demonstrate against Muslims. In the German Parliament, Muslims are underrepresented.
In Israel, however, Muslims account for 20 per cent of the population. Muezzins sing from minarets. There are mosques on every corner. There are lively and livable Muslim neighborhoods. Muslims are represented in the Israeli parliament. Even in the Supreme Court of Israel there are Muslim judges. I would bet that a majority of Muslims would prefer Israel over Germany. I would even say that a majority of Jewish settlers have a better opinion about Muslims than a majority of Germans!
In the Declaration of Independence of Israel one can read the following:
„WE EXTEND our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.“
On the day on which this statement was made public, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria unified in a war of extermination against the small country of Israel. Just as Germans once proclaimed that Jews could not be Germans, today’s Palestinians include only Arabs and exclude Jews. On the contrary! The former Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir, once said: „I am a Palestinian.“
In the 1960s, however, the PLO decided that Jews are not Palestinians, just as the NSDAP had decided a few decades earlier that Jews are not Germans. Only within the dominant PLO concept of Palestine can Jewish settlers be defined as illegal.
The destruction of Israel and the expulsion of Jews cannot be the basis of debate. I wouldn’t negotiate with a person who wishes to exclude – or even kill – me or my family! A two-state solution isn’t possible with any party calling for the destruction and expulsion of Jews! We need people for whom Jewish settlers are not more or less a problem than any other settlers.