CAMERA Fellow Abraham Mercado‘s Letter to the Editor was recently published in FAU’s University Press on October 14th 2013. Read it below:

Dear Editor:

Owls for Israel and the Zionist population on campus strongly condemn the letter to the editor titled “Build Bridges Not Apartheid Walls” by suspended SJP President Nadine Aly, published on Friday, October 4th, 2013.

Aly’s one-sided view of the conflict and bias in her letter are inexplicable. She referred to the International Court of Justice and its bias against Israel. Being under the umbrella of the United abrahammercadoNations, criticizing Israel is not anything new for them. They have condemned Israel more than weekly human rights violators Iran, North Korea, Syria, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and many more combined. According to UN Watch, “The anti-Israel apparatus within the UN, therefore, is of considerable magnitude, and cripples the functioning of the organization. The overt bias practiced against one state undermines the UN’s credibility and integrity.” Quoting from such a biased organization is like asking Yasser Arafat what he thinks of the conflict.

The author’s apathy for the security of Israel’s civilian population is not surprising, a characteristic that is prominent in much of the Arab world and its supporters.

Aly’s lack of realism is troubling because of her concern for only Palestinians, while completely ignoring the fact that the security barrier, built by Israel, has dramatically reduced terrorist attacks, like suicide bombings in pizzerias, coffee shops, and other venues full of unarmed men, women and children. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1,236 Israeli citizens have been killed by Palestinian terrorist attacks since 2000. From 2001 to 2007, 8,342 Israelis were wounded in terrorist attacks. This includes Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze, and other affiliated Israelis.

Still, according to Aly, the security barrier is not necessary for Israel’s security. The security barrier is composed of less than 5% concrete, with the remainder simply a fence according to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. The reason for the significant decrease in terrorist attacks is not because the Palestinians have decided to stop committing terrorist attacks, but rather because of the Israel’s obvious decision to build this barrier. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, over 60% of Palestinian Muslims support suicide bombings.

The security barrier is not only necessary for Israel’s security, but Israel is obligated to have it to protect its citizens. A number of other countries in the world, including the United States, have security barriers for similar reasons. In addition, Israeli checkpoints also exist to protect the citizens of Israel. The United States has checkpoints at the border as well. Is it fair to criticize Israel for not allowing terrorists to walk into Israel, as was common in the past, to kill unarmed civilians?

Students advocating for the removal of the security barrier think that when it comes down, Palestinians will run inside of Israel with open arms. This view of the conflict and lack of realism does not help the Palestinian people and the Israeli people achieve peace.

You do not have to look further than the Palestinian National Charter to understand what exactly it is they want. Article Nine of the Palestinian National Charter states, “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.”  With leadership as such, their refusal to accept Israel’s existence, and the continued incitement in Palestinian children’s schools, it will continue to be very difficult to make peace between the Palestinians and Israel. Regardless, Israel is committed to the peace process in direct talks and negotiations with Palestinian Leadership. In fact, just to begin negotiations earlier this fall, Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinian terrorists who have taken part in the murdering of men, women, and children. The Palestinian majority received these prisoners as heroes for killing unarmed Israelis. The Palestinian issue with Israel is not of treatment of Palestinians or Palestinian land but of the right of the State of Israel to exist.

So, to answer Aly’s request of building bridges instead of ‘Apartheid walls’, when the Palestinian leadership stops teaching hatred of Jews and Israel, perhaps a bridge will be built. When Palestinians stop honoring and idolizing terrorists that have killed unarmed men, women, and children, perhaps a bridge will be built. When the Palestinians show the world that they want peace, prove it with their actions, and accept Israel’s right to exist as its neighbor, then finally will a bridge be built.

Abraham Mercado is the Vice President of Programming for Owls for Israel, A Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA) Fellow for FAU, A GenZ Ambassador and a Senior Majoring in Film and Jewish Studies. 

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