Category Archives: Israel

Road To Hell And Hate Grows Longer

The only news from the Middle East is that there is no new news to report. It is the same old story of each side insisting the other side believes in murder of the innocent. Each side offers evidence that the other side has engaged in wanton murder and destruction in its hateful assault on the innocent. The latest episode arose when a group of Palestinians, their names are still not known, murdered in cold blood three innocent Jewish teen agers. Sorry, regardless of how one hates the Israel government, there is never an excuse to use powerful emotions as justification for murder of the innocent. Or course, since the other side murdered Jews, a group of six Israel Jews murdered an innocent Palestinian boy–including burning his body. You kill one of ours, we kill one of yours is the Middle Eastern mantra of hate. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used the murder of three Jews to justify the murder of dozens of Palestinians, including 23 children in the Gaza Strip. When confronted by criticism, Netanyahu responded with anger: “No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power.” So, the drones and the bombs will continue dropping.

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights summed up the current situation. “Israel, Hamas, and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have been down this road before, and it has led only to death, destruction and distrust.” Israel emphasizes that over 800 rockets from Gaza have hit its citizens. The current box score of death and destruction:

Palestinians:

Dead 23
Injured: 670

Israel Jews

9 civilians injured.

The only certainty is these figures will grow in size. And, at the end, as if there will be an end, will peace reign?

The “Other” Is Always To Blame!

I have devote a half century studying and teaching about the Middle East. In particular, my courses have focused on the Palestinian and Israel conflict which dates back over a hundred years. This conflict witnesses several stages:

1. A period in which either or both sides have groups that conduct low level violent operations against the enemy.

2. A period in which both sides claim the other is responsible for any violence and demand the outside world do something about it.

3. A period in which an incident or series of incidents leads the other side to insist its resort to violence is in response to what the other side has been doing.

4. The incidents increase in ferocity and size resulting in escalation of rhetoric by one side.

5. A period in which both sides escalate the rhetoric of violence.

6. A period in which talk shifts to actual use of violent means against the other side.

7. Eventually, Israel forces gain the upper hand, and crush, for the moment, violent Arab groups.”

8. A period of seeming quiet. In reality, Palestinians are preparing some form of violence.

9. An act of violence by a small group of Palestinians sets in motion a fierce outburst of action on the part of Israel.

10. Our present stage in which the death of three innocent children has set in motion violence that has cost the lives of dozens of innocent Palestinians.

There have to be other ways to handle this conflict, don’t you think?

The Fire This Time Leaves Aftermath–Always!

On September 11, 2001 a group of nineteen men initiated horrible events that resulted in the death of nearly three thousand innocent Americans. These men worked for an organization–al-Qaeda–that numbered, at best, about two thousand members. Today, the process initiated back in 2001 has resulted in al-Qaeda now having over 20,000 members, and, instead of being confined to Afghanistan, is now in Syria, Iraq, Algeria and dozens of other places of war. Our then President Bush insisted that his response to 9/11 would result in destruction of al-Qaeda and killing of Osama bin Laden. Yes, Osama is dead, killed by orders of a different president, but al-Qaeda remains a force of death and destruction. Today in Israel, the sounds of war, of revenge are powerful, and demand death and destruction. No one knows who were the cowardly murderers who selected three innocent young boys for their revenge. Three children died because of hate created by their elders- Israelis, Palestinians, and you name them. As always, the innocent die and the guilty live on to murder and murder the innocent.

Thousands of Israel troops are now on the border of Gaza.Israeli planes are pounding the Gaza Strip even as rockets are fired from it into Israel territory. The IDF has announced the beginning of “OPeration Protective Eagle.” There is a strong likelihood that thousands of Israel soldiers will blast their way into Gaza. There is a strong likelihood that innocent Arab children will die. Again, the innocent die because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The IDF told the world: “We are entering into a long operation. We are preparing further steps and a gradual expansion of our order of battle.”

Sorry, this statement is very similar to that made by President Bush preceding the invasion of Iraq. Colin Powell, US Secretary of State in 2001, but a former general, warned President Bush that if you go into the pottery shop and break china pieces, you are responsible for the damage. He was attempting to warn the president there are consequences when one initiates war. Invade Gaza, round up hundreds, put them in jail. Then what??

I can guarantee there will be dozens, perhaps, hundreds of missiles coming from Hamas centers in Lebanon and headed for Israel cities. What then? Invade Lebanon? Send Israel soldiers into Syria? When does it end??

Hate Leads To Death-Always!

I was never a supporter of President George Bush, but must admit his shinning moment was in the days following 9/11. He refused to give in to voices of anger and hate toward those of the Muslim faith. Bush urged calm and endeavored to tone down cries for vengeance. In the moments following the horrible kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu behaved in the exact opposite manner as did Bush. Netanyahu promised revenge, he promised those who committed the act would be dealt with in strong ways. At no point did he differentiate between those who murdered and the 99.9% of Arabs who did not murder anyone. Netanyahu unleashed the dogs of war and hate. Crowds of Israel Jews crowded the streets shouting death to Arabs. Innocent Arabs were beaten, their cars set afire, and homes were vandalized by mobs set free to take revenge on ALL Muslims. Once hate is set free to roam the streets it was simply a matter of time before some Israelis became so excited and filled with hate that they found an opportunity to exact it upon an innocent Palestinian. A group of Israelis seized teenage Mohammed Abu Khdeir as he walked to prayers. We do not know what was said, but we now know what was done. The assaulted the boy, hit him with stones, and then set afire his body.

Mohammed is dead. So are three Israeli Jewish boys. Why? To his credit, President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority urged calmness and peace. It was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who inflamed minds with his demands for revenge. There is no question those who kill must be brought to justice. But, lynch mobs are never the answer,all they do is to further anger. Lynch mobs consist of cowards who fear allowing justice to proceed. Benjamin Netanyahu has never recognized that he is prime minister of the state of Israel which contains over a million people who are Muslim or Christian. He is also THEIR PRIME MINISTER.

Death Of The Innocent

There is nothing new to report concerning conditions in Israel or the Palestinian Authority or from Gaza Strip which is under control of Hamas. Leaders of Middle Eastern nations have but one thought in their minds–how to ensure their followers recognize they hate “the enemy.” Hamas leaders hail the death of three innocent Israel teenagers even as West Bank Jewish settlers hail the death of a Palestinian Muslim child. The only thing that can bring leaders of Israel or Palestinians is the cause of death. Each will spread hate and revenge. In their minds, the only alternative to stalemate is to create a new crisis, and, by what better method than killing someone. Unfortunately, in cases of REVENGE the innocent, more likely than the guilty, are the ones who die. For over sixty years the cause of REVENGE has guided leaders in the Middle East. The tragedy of the Middle East is failure of a leader with the mindset of Nelson Mandela to appear.

New reports indicate the Israel police have arrested 3 to 6 men who may be responsible for the tragedy. Not only did they beat the boy, but they burned his body while Abu was still alive! Burning Bodies! Oh, my God, this is what the Nazis did to Jews and now Jews do it to others!!

Nelson Mandela had ample reason to preach the doctrine of REVENGE, but he preferred the doctrine of FORGIVENESS. In turning his back upon REVENGE he enabled the people of South Africa to avoid further violence and death of the innocent. Jewish mobs, Muslim mobs, heck, Christian mobs, surge through the streets oF Israel or Gaza Strip or Palestine, and this evening mothers and fathers will mourn their dead children. REVENGE only gives birth to one child: DEATH. Some will rejoice that a child from ‘THE OTHER GROUP” died. Unfortunately,the only death is the death of peace and the end of Death.

As a person of the Jewish faith who helped found a Holocaust center, in my mind are words told me at Yad Vashem. Let me pass them on. As one enters the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center in Jerusalem, one encounters the Forest of Righteous Gentiles which contains trees planted in memory of Christians who save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. As one leaves, again there are the trees. I asked the head of education at Yad Vashem why one on entering and leaving is confronted with acts by Christians. He replied in words to this effect: He said, “once in the museum an individual is confronted by incredible hate and horror. If one leaves with such feelings, then Hitler won.” I fear all too many Jewish Israelis have forgotten the lesson of the Holocaust. Jews can not murder the innocent in the name of revenge!

Revenge Not Sweet, Just Revenge

I am a citizen of the United States of America so it is normal in my society for people with anger to murder the innocent. Each year hundreds die due to someone whipping out a gun and blasting away at someone else because he feels justified in engaging in the act of murder. Three Jewish boys were murdered in Israel,and their bodies placed in shallow graves. Murder is a horrible act, the murder of children even more so. No one can comfort a parent whose child was killed by those who have hate in their hearts and lack any sense of compassion. Since the kidnapping occurred, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been engaged in raising the level of hate in his country by promises of revenge. He has made quite clear that revenge against the killers must occur. Unfortunately, at this moment, no one knows for certainty exactly who are the murderers. Netanyahu blames members of Hamas. There is a high probability his guess is correct. Hamas contains thousands of young men whose goal in life is to murder innocent Jews. However, at this moment, there is no evidence that Hamas leaders ordered or sanctioned the murders.

Two nights ago hundreds of Israelis roamed the streets of Jerusalem chanting, “death to Arabs.” Seventeen year old Mohammad Abu Khdar was on his way to prayers. Suddenly, a dark colored car drove up to him, three men got out and shoved him into the car. About an hour later his dead body was found in another part of Jerusalem. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkakt made clear, “this is a horrible barbarous act which I strongly condemn.” Netanyahu termed it a “reprehensible murder.” However, for days he has charged that Palestinian President Abbas is somehow responsible for the behavior of men seeking revenge against Jews. I wonder if we can now hold Prime Minister Netanyahu responsible for the death of this innocent child?

Of course not, Benjamin Netanyahu did not kill Mohammad Abu Khdar. People incited by cries of “revenge” decided to commit an act of what they termed to be, “revenge.” As usually occurs, when people are driven by “revenge,” the innocent die. Always the innocent!

Three Children Died–Dozens More Also Will Die

Three sweet innocent young boys were found dead in Israel or Palestine or whatever one seeks to term a piece of land in what is known as the Middle East. These boys simply wanted to live a life filled with learning and prayer hoping in this process to become closer to God. Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, Naftal Fraenkel were Jews, they were teenagers, they were innocent of any injustice or hatred, but they are dead. Even as I write these words, Israel bombers are blasting the Gaza Strip in the anger and fury that ordinarily follows when a loved one is murdered in the Middle East. A few innocent Muslim boys are already dead, and there is scant doubt that others will follow. As so often is the case in what we term, the Middle East, the death of one must be avenged by the death of a dozen. ALL sides in this conflict are determined that Death must be the answer to any hurt committed to one of their own. For ALL sides in this conflict, God urges them to take revenge, at least that is their interpretation of God.

Israel claims that Hamas was behind the murders. Hamas claims they had nothing to do with the murders. There is no doubt we most probably will not discover who did the killings, or whether or not Hamas ordered these killings. Israel insists the murderers are Murwan Kawasmme and Abu Ayshe. Most probably the Israel secret police are correct, I simply do not know, but must accept those who devote their lives to killing have knowledge. Bombs are falling in the Gaza Strip as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises -REVENGE AND JUSTICE. He blames Palestinian President Abbas for the murders even though the Palestinian leader denounced these killings and offered assistance to uncover the culprits.

Perhaps, if those in charge in the Middle East would halt for a moment in their anger, in their desire for revenge and seek a true revenge for these deaths. Perhaps, these boys would best be remembered if in their deaths, both sides abandoned revenge for a moment and worked out a peaceful approach to their conflicts. If their deaths led to peace, and the end of revenge, then their deaths were not in vain.

Palestinian Authority And Peace

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unleashed a massive program whose goal is return of the kidnapped teens. The only issue in this matter is: safe return of three teenagers who were kidnapped while hitchhiking on the West Bank. The Israel government insists that Hamas was behind the kidnapping. Most probably, this organization may have played a role. But, even in Gaza there are other terrorist Islamic groups which have refused to cooperate with Hamas on issues of not firing into Israel. Thus, the “possibility” exists that one of these groups is behind the kidnapping. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly expressed his :deep obligation to search for the abducted boys and bring them home peacefully.” In other words, he is offering cooperation, not interfering in the search.

During the search innocent Palestinians have been killed. Naturally, we employ the word, “killed” rather than murdered. Abbas IS cooperating. Instead of building upon this cooperation, Prime Minister Netanyahu is using the lives of children to pursue his foreign policy goals. He wants an end to the unity government. Let me offer arguments in support of a unity government:

1.Once a part of the Palestinian government, Hamas is now bound to uphold any agreement made by that entity.
2. Once IN the government, it is more difficult to stand apart from the government.
3. If Hamas now engages in violence, it, in effect, ends the unity government.

Focus on the children, not on politics.

America’s Middle Eastern Policy

A president of the United States is once again confronted with what to do in what we term, the Middle East. Actually, the expression, “Middle East” was invented at the turn of the 20th century by American Admiral Alfred Mahan. He was discussing the conduct of American military policy, and cited the importance of that area in our trade relations. A major problem confronting President Obama is: what exactly should be the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East? Let me offer some suggestions:

1. It is critically important for Israel to build positive relations with Arab nations. Both Israel and Arab leaders share a joint concern about terrorist groups in the region. First step on the part of America is insisting that the Israel government cease its settlement building, and work with President Abbas to create an independent Palestinian state. That action would open doors for Israel to establish diplomatic relations with most Muslim nations in the region.
2. Iraq requires a coalition government including both Sunni and Shiite leaders. Either Prime Minister Maliki agrees to this basic concept or he is on his own. Fighting guerrilla groups depends upon winning the support of local people.
3. The situation in Syria has deteriorated to such an extent that moderate forces no longer have any power. Whatever such groups are still existing need moderate military support.
4. An agreement must be reached with Iran that includes their right to pursue nuclear development for peaceful purposes.
5. Nations such as Tunisia should be provided economic assistance since leaders in that nation have come together to work for peace and stability.
6. Egypt is now beyond our influence. It is simply too late to support moderate groups seeking to develop a democratic society. Just wait and listen.

Children Are Victims Of Adult Anger

Three frightened anxious teenagers are somewhere in the Middle East and they just want to go home. They decided to hitch hike in the night, something anyone who has ever hitched hiked knows is dangerous.(I hitch hiked across America and never once did it in the evening). They made a mistake, but a teenage mistake is no reason that children should be placed in harm’s way. The Israel government insists the kidnappers were from Hamas. This is an assumption. It might be accurate or it might not. The ONLY important issue is the safe return of these kids. Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered the arrest of 240 Palestinians, including 50 who were released in exchange for a captured Israel soldier. Netanyahu insists these arrests “send an important message” to Hamas. It is clear that he intends to destroy Hamas.

Ironically, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority is very upset at this kidnapping. He has offered his government’s support in the search because he realizes that Prime Minister Netanyahu is using these children for his political purposes. He wants to end the Hamas -Fatah desire to end their conflict. Netanyahu WANTS Hamas to return to violence, this allows his government to build and build and build on the West Bank in the name of-SECURITY.

How about:

1. Enlisting the support of President Abbas in finding the missing children?
2. Asking Abbas to work with Hamas leaders in order to find the children?

Bibi, the children are the issue, not your political aims!