Category Archives: Israel

Death Takes No Holiday

There are moments when one longs for an old fashioned war that has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with power or wealth or prestige. Adolf Hitler sought power, and the Allies combined to defeat his armies, conquer Germany, and assist Germans to renew their lives in peace and prosperity. Heck, the US and England defeated Japan in a war that led to millions of deaths, the war concluded, Japan signed on the dotted line, they were occupied, and since then Japan has known only prosperity and peace. But, wars in the Middle East are intertwined with religion. Sunni vs Shiite, or Jew vs. Muslim. You can also throw in Christians in either of those equations. Muslim Hamas decided to send rockets into Israel or if it was not Hamas, then the honor of this stupidity belongs to any of an assortment of local Gaza terrorists. Three innocent Jewish boys were murdered which resulted in the murder of an innocent Palestinian Muslim boy, and from that point on, the race to see which side could murder more innocent people began.

I understand that Hamas and its affiliates have been sending rockets into Israel. It is clear that Israelis can not accept a world in which rockets zoom over their skies. BUT, it is also clear that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been seeking an excuse to invade Gaza, and blast away. Does one evil equal the other? Who cares? Palestinians have been seeking for years to get Israel to halt West Bank settlements. If President Abbas had been empowered to create an independent Palestinian state, the current war in Gaza may or may not have been. Certainly halting West Bank settlements is not the end of the world for Israel. The people of Israel-Jews and Muslims and Christians have been engaged in war for half a century.

The latest count is 700 dead Gazans including children murdered while in a UN school. 29 Jewish soldiers are dead. Peace and the end of violence not only impacts Jews in Israel, it also impacts Muslims in Gaza or the West Bank. It is now time for peace.

Step One: End further West Bank settlements and get down to the issue of how other issues can be resolved.

Israel -Hamas Redeux

During the past few weeks a few million words have been written regarding the current crisis in the Middle East. There are times when words are a weapon of war, unfortunately at this moment, actual weapons of war are in action. The entire issue of conflict between Israel and Middle Eastern nation has been on the world’s agenda for over sixty years. Yes, there have been a few examples of peace such as the agreement between Egypt and Israel or the agreement between Israel and Jordan, but the winds of war continue to blow. There IS a Palestinian government led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and he DOES desire peace between Palestinians and Israel. If we take a step back from the current slaughter of people in Gaza and ask: how did this war get started,? we are left with a degree of uncertainty. Or, are we left with a sense that both Hamas and Israel literally needs a conflict?

Let me make clear there are no innocent parties in this conflict. Hamas leaders are besides themselves with joy as thousands of Gazans are wounded and hundreds are killed. The more innocent people die in Gaza, the more Hamas leaders can seek more money, more support, and more arms from outside groups. The leaders of Hamas are trapped in a vicious cycle of war and death. They lack any political plan for the future of Palestinians other than war and death. If war halted tomorrow in Gaza, what would Hamas leaders do? The answer is simple-build new tunnels!

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also lacks a plan for the future other than build new settlements in the West Bank. Reality check: What if the Palestinian Authority unilaterally disbanded and told Israel that it is now in charge of all Palestinians? That would result in an Israel in which at least 30% of the population was Muslim or Christian. Since these groups have a higher birth rate it means by 2050, Jews are the minority in Israel. This IS REALITY. So, what is the response of Netanyahu-invade, kill, destroy tunnels. One Israel bomb hit a family of 25, at least 18 children died.

Eventually, fighting will cease. Death will take a temporary holiday. Eventually, hundreds of children will die. But, Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to refuse accepting reality. The ONLY hope for a peaceful Israel is negotiating with President Abbas. Negotiating requires COMPROMISE. And, in Israel that means desires of the state of Israel take precedence over the desires of West Bank settlers.

No Fly, No War?

The killings continue in Gaza as the Israel army continues its campaign to wipe out launching facilities that send rockets into Israel. A new twist on this story concerns decisions by most major airlines to cease any flights in or out of Israel. After all, if rockets are in the air, the last thing desired is to have planes up in the sky. One suspects this ban was never anticipated by those planing the invasion of Gaza. Then again, has the Israel government a plan to end death for its citizens that goes beyond the present moment in time? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflects the feelings of many nations in demanding that Israel halt its current attacks in Gaza. Each minute, each hour, each day, the number of deaths grows higher and higher.

Let me make clear, that every nation in the world has a right to respond to military attacks upon its soil. No nation has to sit idly by while rockets descend upon its people. The right to employ force against violence is NOT the issue. The issue, and it will continue to be the issue is: what is the future of Israel as a society? Is the goal seizure of the entire West Bank and removal of Palestinians from the area? Is so, then the current invasion of Gaza makes some sort of sense. BUT, if the issue is: how does the Israel government develop a policy which enables Palestinians to have their own government, then the invasion makes scant sense. Why? Because after the guns grow silent in Gaza, thousands of young Palestinians have only one dream– to revenge the deaths of family and friends. Perhaps, it takes a year, perhaps two years, but in the future there will be other rockets.

What then? Another invasion?

3 Equals 550

Initially let me make clear the following analysis of events unfolding in Gaza and Israel and Palestine is not an attack on the presence of an independent6 state of Israel in the Middle East. Just about any criticism of Israeli policies results in cries they represent ANTI-SEMITISM! Those who care for the state of Israel believe its survival as a DEMOCRATIC nation depends upon its ability to forge meaningful relations with nations of the Middle East. Asa professor who has taught about the Middle East and mong the founders of a Holocaust Museum, it is clear that survival of Israel as a beacon of democracy depends upon its demonstration of leadership in the Middle East. At this moment, at leat 550 Palestinians are dead because initally three innocent Jewsih children were murdered. The numbver of Palestinian wounded has past the 3000 figure. There simply is no rational way of arguing that the murder of 3 requires the murder of 550 in order to demonstrate something.

OOps, there are now 25 dead Israeli soldiers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argues, “all civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas.” An intersting equation. In fairness, Bibi is right, Hamas thrives on the killing of Palestinians by Israel. It furnishes them a new set of martyrs who must be avenged. The result is that thousands of Palstinian youth flock to the banner of Deat. Reality check: Israel has prevously launched invasions of Gaza. In each sorty, the Israel government promised the Jewish people of Israel(20% are Muslim or Christian) that THIS invasion was the FINAL INVASION. Each time the promise of finality, but each time the end result is growth in the number of Palestinians wiling to becme martyrs for revenge. Sorry, THIS TIME is NOT the last time.

Death in Gaza, destruction of homes simply ensures a new generation of those willing to murder Israelis. Frankly, they don’t care if the Israeli is Jewish or Muslim, Death alone serves their cause.

At some point Israel MUST

1. Agree that 90% of the West Bank belongs to Palestinians.

Once that is accepted, the road to peace can become a reality.

P.S. Isn’t it time for Death To take a holiday from the Middle East???

Words Of Wisdom From Chairman Chris

I was aware that Governor Chris Christie was an expert on traffic conditions on bridges, and when it comes to the issue of ensuring his wealthy friends get tax breaks, the good governor of New Jersey leads the nation. So, it was surprising to discover that Chris is an expert on the Middle East. However, to be honest, he is an expert on what Sheldon Adelson desires in life. A few months ago, Chris dashed to Las Vegas and kissed the hand of Sheldon as well as falling to his knees pleading forgiveness. He referred to the West Bank as “occupied land.” Sheldon does not give money or blessings to anyone who doubts the entire Middle East belongs to Jews–God promised them the region. Anyway, Chris decided to really prove to Sheldon that he loves Israel above all, particularly the truth. He gave a speech and explained to Americans why there are problems in the Middle East. Take one guess: BARACK OBAMA!

According to Chris, “Israel is not sure that they have American full support like they used to, and that is the failure of then presidency now.” He went on to emphasize, “that what you see in the Middle East is caused, not completely, but in some measure by the fact that the president has not acted in a decisive, consistent way.”

Oh, as I recall, a president invaded Iraq seeking weapons of mass destruction that never existed. The best friend of Israel is John Kerry who has worked to achieve peace with Palestinians. If not for the US, the Security Council would be passing resolutions blasting current Israel policy in Gaza. Chris, focus on bridges, that is your expertise!

What Comes Next??

It becomes increasingly clear that regardless of who is president of the United States of America our foreign policy will not reflect long term thinking. Both George Bush and Barack Obama are more similar than different in their approach to confronting issues in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry has been the only one in our government who thinks in long-term approaches, who seeks to assist in establishing the basis for permanent peace in the Middle East. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is riding the crest of a popular desire by many Israelis for an end to terror. His approach is to “out-terror” any Islamic terrorist. If they kill three Israelis, then he will kill a hundred. If they wound three Israelis, then he will wound 1200 Palestinians. For the short term, this approach might succeed in reducing rockets, but it is not a long term solution. At no point has Netanyahu offered a sensible compromise to the conflict with Palestine leaders other than to insist there will be more and more housing in the West Bank. Is there an end point to these settlements or do they proceed until no Palestinian is left on the West Bank?

Even the American government is now becoming frightened at the aggressive assault on Gaza. It is warning Israel not to send in ground forces. The UN is urging and urging Israel to reduce the assault and once again seek peace through negotiations. Naturally, Israel leaders insist prior efforts have only failed. Naturally, they blame President Abbas. This is the moment for Netanyahu to make a dramatic offer that can not be turned down. What might that be?

1. A promise that no further housing will be built on the West Bank.

2. An economic solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. The Israel economy can certainly handle one billion a year for the coming two decades.

3. A promise that Israel will initially request the UN to establish a commission that will investigate any Israel complaint prior to massive assault on Palestinians. The commission could not prevent action,but it might slow down the process.

Finally, the time has come for a UN sponsored negotiator who would be charged with proposing the basis of compromise between Israel and Palestinians. Both sides would have to respond to the proposal. The Palestinian delegation would have to include a representative from Hamas if Hamas is still part of the coalition. The Israel delegation would have to include representatives from at least two other Israel political parties. We propose John Kerry as the UN negotiator. This means he would have to resign as US Secretary of State.

Iran’s Seven Year Itch For Peace

There is some good news coming from Iran, or at least any sensible person would interpret new Iranian proposals as constituting good news. Then again, when US Secretary of State John Kerry has to conduct foreign policy negotiation with one eye focused on Congress, is it at all possible that he can succeed in anything related to the Middle East, Asia, Europe or Africa? Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif offered a deal. Iran would freeze its current nuclear program for seven years on condition that after that moment, it would be free to conduct the same nuclear programs as found in other nations. At this point, Kerry and his allies in negotiation have been demanding a ten year freeze. In simple, clear English, both sides ARE close to an agreement. So, let us propose a compromise:

1. Iran freezes its nuclear program for eight years!

2. Israel agrees to reduce by a factor of 20% the number of atomic bombs in its facilities.

3. Israel and Iranian leaders agree to establish a joint commission which meets on a regular basis to discuss issues between the nations.

4. America returns to Iran money that was frozen after the Shah was overthrown in 1979.

Believe it or not, peace IS possible in the Middle East!

Sort Of Cease Fire

Every so often in the Middle East there arrives a moment, just a moment, when one is capable of considering the possibility that some sort of quiet might reign in the region. In Libya, they are firing rockets into cities, in Egypt, missiles are being fired by Islamists who hate the Islamist government of General Sisi which has imprisoned members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, under President Morsi, the Brotherhood imprisoned Islamists who did not agree with the other Islamists. Anyway, the Egyptian government persuaded the Israel government to hold off on further bombings that have left hundreds dead or wounded. The Arab League accepted the cease fire, Egypt supported the cease fire, Israel said OK to the cease fire, but Hamas continues to insist that firing rockets which result in the deaths of hundreds somehow, in some way, furthers the cause of Palestinian independence. Hamas leaders think something like this:

“If we can get Israel to kill a few thousand people in Gaza or in other parts of Palestine, the people will reject President Abbas and come running to us. Who else but we can guarantee that people die? The more who die, the more families that become radicalized, and the more followers flock to us. So, please Israelis, continue to kill and kill and help us recruit more fanatics filled with hatred. We of Hamas believe the road to heaven is filled with bodies of the dead. Just heap up the bodies and we can climb on them in order to reach Heaven.”

Leave it to Hamas and no one will be left to live in Palestine.

Bombs Away Bombs Away Peace

There is no question that the history of negotiations between Israel and Arab leaders reveals a story of missed opportunities, incompetent Palestinian leadership, and roads that were never explored. Yasser Arafat in 2001 refused the Clinton plan which gave Palestinians about 95% of what they desired, he wanted, 100%! Such has been the past. But, today, there is another Palestinian leader, President Abbas, who seeks a genuine solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Yes, there is the presence of Hammas. We can assume Israel’s claim that Hammas had something to do with the death of 3 innocent Jewish children. The response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bombings,words of hate and violence, will have consequences. Israel claims its bombings have destroyed missiles, weapon bases, militants, and, of course, a few dozen innocent Muslim children. A mosque has been hit, a center for disabled people has been hit, schools have been hit, all in retaliation for the death of 3 innocent children.

Death of a Jewish child is painful, so is death for a Muslim child, painful, as well as the child of an atheist or Christian. As I recall, there have been previous bombing campaigns with the promise that THIS time bad people will be killed, and there will be no more bombings or deaths of Israelis. Frankly, one has lost track as to how many bombing campaigns were launched that were the last bombing campaign. American colonists fought for seven years against the most powerful nation in the world, they lost 90% of the battles, but finally won the last one. Of course, the “end” only arrived when both sides sat down to negotiate peace. THAT is the only hope for peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s heroes are warriors. Perhaps, it is time to model another hero-Nelson Mandela who did not allow the deaths of innocent black South African children to get in the way of peace–even with those who had brutally killed the innocent!

War Knows No Respite In Gaza

The latest example of Middle Eastern madness began when some thugs murdered three innocent Jewish boys who lived on the West Bank. Their deaths on the West Bank is symbolic of what has happened between Israel and Palestinians. The West Bank was won from Jordan in the famous Six Day War in 1967. Israel leaders at that time wanted to return the West Bank in exchange for peace with their Arab leaders. If there is one thing that has rarely changed in the Middle East is the reality no Nelson Mandela or his equivalent can be found in the Middle East. The subsequent half century have witnessed an ever growing anger and failure to compromise over the issue of the West Bank. Three Jewish boys died. The latest count of Israel’s murderous bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip is that 156 Palestinians are dead and over 1,000 thousand wounded. Certainly, this has gone beyond an eye for an eye. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never been guilty of the crime of softness in the face of danger. He has shouted for revenge, and he has gotten revenge. Of course, the revenge began with three Israel Jews murdering an innocent Palestinian boy and it has escalated and escalated from that moment.

The problem with bombing revenge is that this is a TACTIC, this is not a plan nor a solution. I assume Israel can bomb and bomb and bomb. At some point in time, the bombing must cease. Then, what? PM Netanyahu has not presented any idea for a long term solution that would end the murders and bombings in the region. The UN has called for a cease fire. Netanyahu rejects it because more bombing must ensue. As I recall, Israel decades ago bombed, and Jewish Israelis(20% of Israelis are Muslim or Christian) were promised peace would result. Actually, since the bombings began Hamas and other groups have received thousands of more missiles. There is no evidence that bombings will bring peace.

Uman Omar,a Gaza woman summed up the problem of bombing when she saw her home destroyed by bombs. “Am I a terrorist? Do I make rockets and artillery in my home?”” Of course not, but to cease bombing such homes would get in the way of bombing.