Despite decades of conflict intended to annihilate the Jewish State, Memorial Day ceremonies honoring the 25,470 soldiers, service personnel, and victims of terror who died in Israel’s name began Tuesday and will continue into Wednesday evening in preparation for Israel’s 64th Independence Day celebration on Thursday.
Following its founding, Israel’s steps to negotiate concessions with its neighbors that denied its basic right to exist were discarded by Arab leaders who rejected the 1947 Partition Plan, and then lead and lost wars that produced critical territorial gains in Israel’s favor. Now, as the authorization of three Israeli settlement posts located in the West Bank is confirmed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusations that Israel’s settlement expansion killed the possibility for a two-state solution are arising despite Palestinian leadership policies that thwart progress and discourage trust.
An Israeli soldier holds a flag and flowers to be placed on the graves of fallen soldiers at the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel on Tuesday. (Photo: AP)
Hindering progress toward negotiations, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which recently instructed Internet providers to block news websites running articles critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, upholds anti-Semitic laws, such as the one that makes property sales to Jewish people a crime punishable by death. Most recently affected by this law is former Palestinian intelligence official Muhammad Abu Shahala, who was reportedly tortured and sentenced to death for selling a Hebron home to Jews.
Similarly, Hamas recently released the results for secret elections held two weeks ago in which members chose leaders in Gaza’s political bureau. Prisoners released in the controversial swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit — including the soldier’s abductor — secured posts in the new politburo. The election, in which Hamas’s “moderate” party members failed to gain seats, follows last week’s statement by Hamas’s second-highest-ranking official Abu Marzook, professing that Hamas will never recognize Israel as a state regardless of any future agreement made with the PA.
Israel deserves applause for 64 years of its status as a stable, prosperous, multicultural state in a region where citizens still fight for their most basic human rights — even as critical threats to its sovereignty endure and its “partner in peace” maintains an untrustworthy and anti-Jewish foundation.