Tag Archives: Gaza

How Not To Win Friends For Israel!

The Israel decision to invade Gaza in a massive operation that wound up killing 1,300 people has been hailed by many Israelis as a demonstration of using force to get peace. The results of the recent election indicate Israelis voted for those who want to be “tough” and stand up to Hamas regardless of cost. For decades, Israel has been close to Turkey and the military of both nations have worked together. But, the Gaza invasion now plays out in damaging relations between the two countries. The Turkish Foreign Ministry and military leaders are furious at remarks made by General Avi Mizrahi who told Prime Minister Erdogan to look in the mirror and then went on about the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman empire. General Mizrahi undoubtedly is enjoying that wonderful feeling one gets at putting down another person or nation, but what about the real issue of Turkish-Israel friendship?

A good diplomat looks at the world through the lens of his opponents in order to avoid disaster. Israel is so caught up in its own desire for self justification that it has now ignored the only friend it has in the Middle East. Was the manner in which bombing was carried out in Gaza worth loss of Turkish friendship? There is a streak of self destruction among Israelis in which over focus on the self has resulted in loss of connection to the rest of the world. ISRAEL NEEDS FRIENDS, NOT MORE ENEMIES!

What Is Egypt’s Role In Gaza?

The world has focused on the actions of Israel in Gaza, but less attention has been placed on where Egypt stands in the situation. There is considerable concern over the inability of Gazans to receive shipments of goods through crossing sites, but the world appears less interested in the position of Egypt on this issue. The Mubarak government is a thinly disguised authoritarian entity which brooks no criticism of its power and actions. Egyptian police have been halting demonstrations in support of Gaza and they are rounding up individuals who use Facebook or MySpace in order to send information or organize protests about Egyptian actions in the area. A German blogger and student activist, Philip Rizik was recently arrested and taken to a secret location for questioning. His parents are not able to obtain information concerning his fate.

Egypt plays a key role in any discussions regarding the future of Gaza. Mubarak does not want a radical Muslim group like Hamas on his border given his concern about the Muslim Brotherhood in his own country. Individuals like Rizik will be kept quiet because demonstrations, unless organized by the police, are not tolerated in Mubarak’s little world of power and control.

Anti-Semitism Rises In Sweden

Many people in Sweden are opposed to Israel policies towards Palestinians and justifiably express concerns regarding the brutal attack on Gaza which resulted in the death of over a thousand Gazans. But,, Swedish politicians have resorted to far fetched comparisons between what is happening in Gaza and the Holocaust including making comparisons between the situation facing Palestinians and what the lives of Jews in Europe under Nazi domination. THERE IS NO HOLOCAUST IN GAZA. There is no Israel government plan to kill each and every Palestinian–the Nazi plan aimed at killing every single Jew, no exceptions.

Europeans forget that Israel EVACUATED Gaza and left it under Palestinian control. The government of President Abbas took control of the area and supplies were allowed to enter. Hamas took over Gaza and CANCELLED all agreements with Israel and vowed to exterminate Israel. Since gaining control Hamas has launched thousands of rockets into Israel and fortunately most have not resulted in death to anyone. I hate to tell Swedish or European opponents of Israel, but Jews in Europe lacked any arms to fight Germans.

I oppose Israel policy toward Palestinians and toward Gaza. I oppose them because as one who has worked in Holocaust education for over thirty years, the study of the Holocaust compels me to oppose any form of oppression. Israel is NOT Nazi Germany. Israel is led by those who resort to fear and hysteria for political reasons and, in many cases, due to bigotry and hatred toward Palestinians. But, I also understand, Palestinians have turned down every effort of Israel peace advocates for a resolution of the conflict. Arafat was an incompetent, corrupt bumbler.

Perhaps, Swedish and Europeans who are infuriated at Israel and protest and demand sanctions can explain why they never protest the death of FIVE MILLION PEOPLE IN THE CONGO?? Why no protests about the death of 200,000 in DARFUR! The bottom line is that most Europeans who protest exhibit latent anti-semitism. When Hamas stole goods from UN warehouses there was silence on the protest market.

I want restoration of the West Bank to Palestinians. I want equal rights for all Israeli Arabs and an end to discrimination. I also want Arab nations to recognize the existence of Israel and work together with Jews to ensure peace and prosperity to the region. Israel has committed many blunders and the fact that Palestinians have also blundered DOES NOT EXCUSE ISRAEL ACTIONS IN GAZA, BUT IT EXPLAINS THEM.

Cease anti-semitism and work with those in Israel who seek peace.

Bombing – Rockets- Bombing – Rockets And So On!

Israel launched the invasion of Gaza in order to destroy the capability of Hamas once and for all to cease firing rockets into southern regions of their nation. After three weeks of bloody shelling and air attacks, 1,300 Gazans are dead along with 13 Israelis, but rockets continue to come from Gaza. The Israel air force struck back with bombings of tunnels which carry goods in and out of Gaza. There is no question, the IDF has the power to completely wipe out Hamas although it would come at a cost of dead Israelis. Ironically, the belief that military power is the answer to problems in the region is one held by both Israel and Hamas. So far, there is no evidence this view has led to any other result than war and death.

Israel sources indicate the Olmert government would be willing to allow up to 75% of needed goods into Gaza in exchange for the release of the Israeli soldier held by Hamas. In on sense, the invasion of Gaza was as much about his life as the rocket attacks. This raises an intriguing moral issue– is the life of a single human allowed to decide whether or not hundreds die in the process of dealing with the issue? Each human life is precious, but there is no evidence the Israeli soldier has been killed. Diplomacy will eventually result in his freedom, but in the meantime his life can not be held up as justification for killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians.

Sri Lanka Civil War Draws To An End

The civil war which has raged for over a quarter of a century in Sri Lanka appears drawing to a close as government troops pound the last remaining areas under the control of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). As the insurgents are forced into a narrow area of the island, thousands of innocent civilians are trapped in between shelling from both sides. Artillery fire blasted the last remaining hospital in the area, PTK, causing the death of nine and wounding of twenty as shells hit the children’s ward. UN staff which it trying to protect civilians claim “the hospital is the last remaining refuge for people in the area. It is overflowing with kids and women.” The government blames the LTTE for the artillery attacks, but since it will not allow the media into the disputed area, it is impossible to verify their claims to innocence.

During the civil war over 70,000 have died and, as far as this reporter knows, there have not been demonstrations in European cities and certainly no calls from United Kingdom professors to boycott Sri Lanka universities although they believe Israeli colleges should be boycotted. The hypocrisy of the West and the Muslim world over the deaths of 70,000 Asians raises questions concerning morality.

This author has protested deaths caused by the Israel army as well as the brutality of Sri Lanka forces and the rebel Tamil Tigers. One day the world will be horrified by all acts of violence including Hamas in Gaza.

Will Israel Lose A Close Friend?

Israel has been diplomatically isolated from other nations in the Middle East except for its friendship with Turkey, but recent actions such as the Gaza invasion now cast doubt if Israel will be able to maintain that relationship. An Israel official recently indicated his nation was re-evaluating military relationships with Israel and may not sell their military advanced military equipment. As Turkey moves away from Israel due to its anger, the Israelis will most probably ensure its close friend moves away because when it comes to blunders and ineptness few can compare to the Israel leadership. Common sense would suggest if one is down to only one ally it pays to be sensitive to that friendship and avoid angering Turkish leadership. But, Israel political leaders believe in the righteousness of their cause.

The trade between Israel and Turkey is about $2.6 billion and military equipment accounts for a high percent of that trade. If Israel refused to sell military equipment there is always someone else in the world wiling to do so. Perhaps, it is wise for Israel to involve Turkey in helping it maintain peace and security in the Gaza region.

Fruit Of Gaza Invasion–Diplomatic Isolation!

During the past half century while Israel was being isolated by Arab nations, the Muslim nation of Turkey maintained close working relations and the military forces of both countries even worked on joint exercises. Israel last month decided to invade Gaza and end rocket attacks regardless of the diplomatic cost of such an operation. At the Davos conference, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Edogan clashed with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Gaza invasion. The Israeli leader defended the invasion on ground it was done to halt rocket attacks. “What would you do, ” he asked Erdogan, “if you were to have in Istanbul every night a hundred rockets?” This incited within the Turkish leader an angry reaction, “I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches.”

The end result of the Gaza operation was to further isolate Israel from the world. It has become the greatest public relations disasters in the history of Israel. The issue is not so much about halting rocket attacks, but the METHOD USED TO END ROCKET ATTACKS. Firing heavy artillery into areas containing many civilians on ground that Israeli soldiers must be protected is a violation of international law which requires caution in such operations. To argue the life of one Israeli soldier is worth the death of ten children is not a morally defensible view.

The world agrees that Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. Perhaps, the Gaza operation should have been focused on destroying tunnels being used to smuggle goods. Perhaps, the Israel government could have worked to have Turkish soldiers assume control of Gaza crossings in exchange for a guarantee that rocket attacks would end. There were many options and failure of Israel to utilize them has resulted in diplomatic isolation.

Obama And The Middle East-Anything New?

Barack Obama inherited what might generously be considered to be a “mess” in dealing with conflicts within the Middle East. In an interview with al-Arabiya, the Saudi based rival to al-Jazeera, President Obama insisted his nation was not an enemy of the Muslim people and he promised to adhere to a “language of respect” in dealing with issues of concern to the Muslim people. He admitted mistakes had been made but did not delve into how Bush had fouled up the situation in the region. Many viewers were disappointed that he once again reaffirmed his nation’s support of Israel, but made no mention of the invasion of Gaza and the death of hundreds of civilians.

It is time for an American president to state openly and honestly that his nation has committed mistakes in the Middle East, and that peace between Israel and Palestinians requires concessions on the part of both parties. He must, at some point, tell the people of Israel they can not remain on the West Bank, but must return it to the Palestinian people and Israel must agree that east Jerusalem is the capital of the new Palestinian state. In return, Obama must make clear to Palestinians they can not lob rockets into Israel, and they must recognize its existence and end all forms of discrimination against Israel.

Jimmy Carter Makes Sense On Israel-Palestinian Conflict

I know many Jews who regard former president Jimmy Carter as an enemy of Israel and insist that George Bush has done more for Jews than any prior president. Carter has been appearing on several talk shows such as Jon Stewart and Larry King in order to hype his new book: ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” His message is simple, but right on target. If Israel continues its present policies at some point it will be faced with the demographic nightmare that a one Israel solution eventually will result in a majority of the population being Muslim. Is it possible to have a “Jewish state” in which a majority are of the Muslim faith? Anyone familiar with Israeli politics knows it is virtually impossible to get Jews to agree on a single candidate, let alone a single program. The result would be Arab bloc voting, Arabs taking over the government, and then civil war and conflict.

Jimmy Carter’s solution is rather simple. Israel returns to the 1967 border although he believes it would be possible to arrange some modifications of borders by a swap of land. Arab nations would have to recognize Israel and trade and commerce could flourish between the nations. Carter argues there could be a financial arrangement to deal with the refugee problem. Carter also suggests a corridor– under supervision of the IDF– that would link Gaza with other Palestinians.

Jimmy Carter, unlike George Bush who brought violence and terrorism to the Middle East, is the ONLY AMERICAN PRESIDENT WHO EVER NEGOTIATED PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND AN ARAB NATION. He helped negotiate a cease fire between Hamas and Israel last June, but Israel refused to end its blockade of goods going into Gaza and the rest is history.

For some reason, many Jews intensely dislike Jimmy Carter despite his accomplishments in aiding peace for Israel. I have heard cries that he wants to destroy Israel. Nothing in his actions nor in his words are directed towards any other end than peace for Israel. One may disagree with his suggestions, but to term Carter an enemy of Israel is a view without any foundation in reality.

Hopefully, some day, future Israelis will remember this brave and decent man with the respect he is due.

Egypt Claims Arms Smuggled Into Gaza From Israel!

In a surprising claim from Egyptian sources, its government charges that the majority of weapons being smuggled into Gaza comes from Israeli sources. Mukhis Qutb, of the Egyptian Council for Human Rights, told a newspaper that he has proof many of the weapons being smuggled into Gaza came from individuals who had Israel citizenship. He also alleged some members of the Israel Defense Force were involved in smuggling operations. However, he failed to provide any such evidence to support the claims. These charges undoubtedly are an attempt to prove that Israel actions in Gaza lacked any basis of validity. The overwhelming evidence is that rockets came from Arab sources and were part of the Iranian effort to supply Hamas.

After weeks of pounding Hamas tunnels, there is evidence many are back in operation. One wonders if Israel government officials have ever reconsidered their decision to impose an economic blockade on Gaza. What if no such blockade had ever been put into operation? Would Hamas have place such energy into constructing tunnels?

Once again, Prime Minister Olmert insists there may be more bombing of tunnels. Is his expectation that bombing of tunnels will go on and on forever? How about refocusing on peace and compromise?