ST. PAUL, MN. (Trey Blanton) Commentary- On August 19, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib made a tearful speech on the psychological effects the walls seperating Israeli’s from Palestinians in the West Bank can have.
Tlaib’s experiences, as a young girl visiting Palestinian relatives from Detroit, where she was born in July 1976 and raised had an impact on her she remembers to this day.
Tlaib quotes the expression, “History repeats itself.”, and claims, “Walls are destructive, not productive.”
Understanding history is important to consider when questioning policies by American politicians for foreign policy, and the security of the United States.
The modern-day state of Israel was recognized by the United States on May 14, 1948. Prior to this date, the Palestinian state had been under the control of Great Britain after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War 1.
Arab nations refused to recognize the Jewish state because it had been in their possession on-again, off-again since their invasion, and capture of the city of Jerusalem around 638 AD.
Jerusalem is considered a holy site to the Muslims because of the Al-Aqsa Mosque “the Farthest Mosque” begun as a small house of prayer around 638 AD after removing the rubble where the Temple of Solomon had stood, and completed in 705 AD.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered sacred by Muslims because their Prophet Muhammad is said to have visited the mosque on his night journey from Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia to “the Farthest Mosque” allegedly in Jerusalem.
From the Sura 17:1, “Glory to “Allah” Who did take His Servant for a journey by night, from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque.” This was prior to his death in 632 AD, when there was only rubble on the site, and the Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 636 states,
“I said, ” ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Which mosque was built first?'” He replied, “‘Al-Masjid-ul Haram.'” I asked, “‘Which next?'” He replied, “‘Al-Masjid-ul-Aqs-a.”
After Israel became recognized as a Jewish state in 1948, they faced numerous insurrections from the Muslim populace, and multiple wars from Arab nations.
The Six-Day war saw a coaltion of Muslim forces from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria organized and build up along their borders to invade the Jewish state. Israel launched a pre-emptive air strike before the invasion could begin on June 5, 1967, and concluded on June 10, 1967. With the Israeli victory, they gained territory from the Arab aggresors including the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and the West Bank.
By 1973, Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat was in the middle of a murky political climate. Neither Egypt’s Soviet allies, nor the United States wanted war in the Middle East. Sadat wanted the return of the strategically important Sinai Peninsula, and had offered recognition of Israel for the complete withdrawal of Israel from the region.
Israel refused to return the ground it had gained, and Sadat began plans for war, expelling Soviet forces from Egypt to prevent details from getting out
The other Arab nations, in the region, were hesitant to get involved in another war with Israel. Sadat reached out to Yasser Arafat, of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and pledged control of the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO had been involved in a civil war for power in Jordan, whose King Hussein was striving for peace with Israel. Syria had backed the PLO during their civil war, leading to further divide in the Arab nations.
On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. Israel’s holy day coincided with the Muslim Ramadan, a time for prayer, fasting, and performing charitable deeds.
The Arab coalition had early success, but by the conclusion of the Yom Kippur War on October 25, 1973, Israel had regained the initiative, and not only retaken lost land, but made further advances into the attacking countries. During the peace negotiations, Israel was implicitly recognized by Sadat, and conquered territory was given by Israel for peaceful relations.
Muslim terrorist organizations, such as the PLO, continued to attack Israel. Starting from Tlaib’s birth year in 1976 to August 23. 2019 there have been one thousand, nine-hundred and sixty-nine deaths from Palestinian terrorist attacks. This number does not include injuries, or violence committed against fellow Muslims suspected of being sympathetic to Israel.
“If it (the wall) did not exist, the situation would be completely different,” said Ramadan Shalah, Head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in November 2006.
Such comments from leadership within Muslim states and organizations, serves to emphasize the need for border security, including walls and checkpoint which serve a defensive role in preserving life.
According to the U.S. Army Field Manual 17-98 on Stability and Support Operations:
Checkpoints are manned locations used to accomplish the following:
Control movement along specific routes.
Maintain continuous monitoring of road movement.
Prevent smuggling of controlled items.
Prevent infiltration of unauthorized civilians or military forces into or through a controlled area.
Check vehicles and personnel for weapons, ammunition, and explosives.
Ensure proper use of routes by civilian and military traffic.
On August 23, 2019, the checkpoints designated to protect Israel from terrorist violence was not enough to stop a dedicated attack in the city of Lod.
Seventeen year old Rina Shnerb was killed by an improvised explosive device while visiting a popular natural spring. Shnerb’s father, and brother were wounded in the attack. The explosive was remotely triggered as the victims in the attack were gathering around the recreational site.
As a result of the attack, Israeli Defense Services conducted a search for the terrorist(s) involved.
How will a defensive response to responding to a criminal incident be viewed by Palestinians in the West Bank or by those who think walls are not productive?
What is the objective of those who claim the United States should not have a wall protecting it’s southern border from illegal immigration?