Category Archives: Israel

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.

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!