Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ghandi and Gaza???

I recently read an article that said something to the effect that the Palestinian Arabs are beginning to adopt a Ghandi like style of non-violent civil disobedience in confronting Israel, and that the Gaza flotilla was an example which showed how this type of confrontation was successful in winning International sympathy for their cause. The flaw in this assessment of the Gaza Flotilla is that it was not non-violent or Ghandiesque. Ghandi would not have attacked the Israeli sailors who landed on his boat with clubs and knives. Ghandi would not have shot rockets into Israel. Also, it is not the International Community that the Palestinians need to win over if they are really serious, but rather the Israeli people. Israel unilaterally removed the settlements in the Gaza Strip and withdrew as a first step in what was hoped to be the beginning of a separation that would allow the beginning of an independant Palestinian state. But the test failed. The Gazans elected a government (Hamas) that plainly states that it is committed to the destruction of Israel (the Jews) and backs up that statement with frequent rocket attacks across the border into Israel. Under those circumstances, how can anyone expect Israel not to react? Ehud Barak offered Arafat a peace plan that would have dismantled the settlements, given the Palestinian government a presence in Jerusalem, and was not so different than the Saudi Plan. But Arafat rejected it and instead reacted with the Intafada. Most of the Israeli public crave peace and security, but have elected a hard line government because the soft line hasn't worked so far. They would love to deal with a Ghandi, but Hamas would have to change drastically before it could qualify as a Ghandi. Remember, Israel really is a republic elected by its citizens. Show them a reason and a way to reach a settlement and a Palestine that is seriously willing and able to make such a settlement. Then the Israeli people will elect a government that will do it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Israel's Existence

The recent remarks by the news commentator, Helen Thomas, that the Jews should leave "Palestine" illustrate why the people who hate Israel and Jews have prevented peace in the Middle East. In their view Israel has no right to exist. They might grudgingly accept Israel's presence as an anomaly because it is impossible to remove the Jews, but only with strict limitations and always with the understanding that Jewish sovereignty should be regarded as temporary. That is why in their view it is OK for Gaza to fire rockets into Israel, but it is evil for Israel to react. That is why the flotilla to break Israel's blockade of a country that makes war on Israel is regarded as a "humanitarian flotilla."
When Ms. Thomas was asked where the Jews of Israel should go, she said "back" to Europe. Back to Europe? Most Israeli Jews have never lived in Europe and are native born Israelis and/or descendants of refugees from Middle Eastern and African countries. And do you really think that those European, Middle Eastern, and African countries are ready to accept the Israeli Jews with open arms?
Israel has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to live side by side with an independant Palestinian Arab neighbor state. But the Clinton/Barak plan was rejected by Arafat and answered with a violent intifada. Israel's unilateral dismantling of the Gaza strip settlements and withdrawal from the Gaza strip was answered with the election of Hamas which has been firing rockets over the border into Israel. No wonder Israel has elected a right wing government. A decade ago the West Bank settlements were unpopular with most Israelis who would gladly have gotten rid of them to make peace. Now there seems to be no reason to get rid of them.
Israel's right to exist as a sovereign nation with a Jewish majority willing to accept as immigrants whomever they choose to accept and reject whomever they choose to reject is not because of the existence of a Jewish state there 2000 years ago or because of some biblical promise. It is because Israel exists now with a Jewish majority and a commitment to the Zionist promise of a country that will accept Jews from anywhere who choose to live there and has existed as such for 62 years since 1948. It is because the people of Israel have nowhere else to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One Can Envy the Young

One can envy the young,
Their futures before them,
Unfolding, uncertain, incomplete.
Let them envy the old,
Our ventures behind us,
Safe, secure, and replete.