‘It’s a complicated situation, isn’t it?’

The experience of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II cannot compare to a Palestinian resistance

WILMINGTON — Nicole Awwad, in her Viewpoint, calls for peace and justice, and who can fault such lofty aspirations?

Thankfully, we here can exercise those beliefs at the ballot box - unlike her father, who could not when he left Lebanon those so many years ago.

Did Ms. Awwad learn that the ballot box is a phantom when she returned to Lebanon three years ago? She says she now knows that country's history and still asks, “I began to wonder: Where would I have stood?”

I find that a strange question. But this is what I do know.

I agree with her outrage over the bombings in Syria. And who here in Brattleboro could ever imagine a Buddhist raping and pillaging in Myanmar, or a slaughter taking place in Yemen? It is so hard to imagine. But this is all taking place now.

And yet, I do have to ask Ms. Awwad to get some facts straight when she says Israel invaded southern Lebanon. Just Google it.

However, I find it stranger still that she keeps referencing the Holocaust for her arguments. For example, there is this curious linkage Ms. Awwad makes when she states, “Since the Holocaust, investment in weaponry has flourished.” I begin to question her real agenda. Dare I ask: Is she subliminally Israel/Jew bashing?

It is apples and oranges when she talks about existence and resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto and compares it to a Palestinian resistance. Gaza is no Warsaw Ghetto.

* * *

Indeed, we do need a little history here. Israel, in its attempt to jumpstart the two-state solution with the Oslo Accords in 1995, gave up the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians, as represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The agreements with the PLO were in response to several wars launched by Arab nations dedicated to destroying Israel. That didn't happen.

So Israel left Gaza intact with profit-producing greenhouses, with profit-producing farms, and with an infrastructure for governing. They left it with two open borders. Why, Israel even allowed for free and open elections, although fearing what the outcome would be.

History shows us the vote by the Palestinians who supported Hamas was a vote in favor of terrorism and chaos. The PLO was put out of business.

* * *

It has taken us some time to understand how terrorism works to undermine legitimacy in government. Infrastructure was destroyed absolutely by the new governing body. Hamas, the new government, preached the “right to return” to a defeated, disheartened, abandoned people.

Can you compare this sort of propagandizing to telling the Jewish people in the United Nations displacement camps after World War II to return - to go back to Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, Paris - and claim what belonged to you before the war?

Fortunately, after some legislation by the U.S. Congress, refugees (meaning Jews and other populations who suffered and survived in the concentration camps, mentioned by Ms. Awwad) arrived in our country from those displacement camps. Refugees also dispersed to other European countries, and the Jewish remainder left for Israel when it was established as a nation. And, thus the camps were closed.

* * *

I ask: why now are there still displacement camps in the Middle East?

During so many bitter years of war, Palestinians were told by their brethren in Arab nations wanting Israel's destruction to flee their homeland.

They said that after their victory over Israel they, the Palestinians, could return.

Return to what? Except for Jordan, to my knowledge none of the Arab nations have offered any refuge or help or hope to their Palestinian brethren. And why has Egypt closed its borders to Gaza?

* * *

It's a complicated situation, isn't it?

How apt indeed is the Maya Angelou quote at the end of Ms. Awwad's piece: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived but if faced with courage need not be lived again.”

Courage is most assuredly called for when the fate of a people is entrusted to a leader. How can I not forget that the Palestinians and Israelis once had a chance for peace, but a leader, Yasser Arafat, failed his people?

I would ask Ms. Awwad what kind of leadership is there now - leadership that sends the children, the men, and the women to death.

It is a heart-wrenching question we have to deal with.

My only hope is that history will stop repeating itself.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates