Lessons From History
For those who currently think that the leaders of organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah can't or won't negotiate or pursue peace, let me remind you of a little relevant history:
"On 22 July 22 1946, one of the most dastardly and cowardly crimes in recorded history took place. We refer to the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Ninety-two persons lost their lives in that stealthy attack, 45 were injured, among whom there were many high officials, junior officers and office personnel, both men and women. The King David Hotel was used as an office housing the Secretariat of the Palestine Government and British Army Headquarters. The attack was made on 22 July at about 12 o'clock noon when offices are usually in full swing. The attackers, disguised as Arabs, carried the explosives in milk containers, placed them in the basement of the Hotel and ran away."
"As head of the Secretariat, the majority of the dead and wounded were my own staff, many of whom I have known personally for eleven years. They are more than official colleagues. British, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, senior officers, police, my orderly, my chauffeur, messengers, guards, men and women - young and old - they were my friends." - Sir John Shaw, Chief Secretary of the Government of Palestine
On July 22, 1946, the King David Hotel was blown up by Jewish terrorists killing 91 and injuring 45 - mostly British and Arabs. The attack was ordered by the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary terrorist organization which was the precursor to the IDF. The actual attack was caried out by the group Irgun under the leadership of Menachem Begin, later the Prime Minister of Isreal.
60 years ago, a group fighting for its people committed horrific atrocities against the British "occupier" and the Arab community in Palestine. These people, many considered heros in Isreal and around the world, acted exactly as the leadership of Fatah, Hamas and even Hezbollah are acting today. Yet it was this very leader, Menachem Begin, that signed the first peace deal with an Arab state in 1979 and started the first real efforts to bring peace to the region.
Had the British acted in 1946 as the Isrealis are acting today, there would be no Isreal, only a history of more bloodshed and death. Yet the British continued with efforts to secure the peace, rather than sink into more violence.
The lesson is that today's terrorist can be tomorrow's statesman if given the opportunity and a fair shake. Peace cannot happen otherwise.
**Note: It is another bitter irony that many right-wing Isrealis blame the British for the deaths in the bombing, claiming that they didn't evacuate the hotel when warned. The British, after denying they received a warning, stated they did not receive it in time. Regardless of any warning, 91 people died because of a terrorist attack and the terrorist should not be excused of their culpability because of issuing a warning. The more things change, the mre the reman the same, sadly.