Tag Archives: Palestine

“Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Friday posted a short video, embedded below, that I think well states what the real obstacle to peace is in the Middle East. And it certainly isn’t the presence of Israelis in the West Bank.

Not surprisingly, his blunt but honest words have caused many on the left and in Arab communities to express outrage. I must note however that, as I have documented, the only governments in the Middle East that forbid the presence of people solely due to their race or religion are the Arab ones, including Palestine.

What the Middle East conflict looks like from inside Israel

As I am in Israel this week visiting family, I have had an opportunity to get a feel for the political and cultural atmosphere of the Middle East. Granted, this “feel” is very superficial and subjective, but it is nonetheless instructive, as I am viewing the situation not as a resident but as an outsider who always favors freedom and justice in any political conflict.

Anyway, my sense of the situation here comes from two immediate sources, one cultural and the second personal. First the cultural.
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“International press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.”

Guess who that “familiar villain” happens to be. It shouldn’t surprise you, though it horrifies me that this is happening again, in the west, in civilized society, and among the so-called intellectual elites of the U.S. and Europe.

If you are really serious about understanding what has been going on in the Middle East these past few months, make sure you read the entire article, carefully, and slowly. The conclusion will tell you a great deal about what is going to happen in the coming years. The fact that most intellectuals in the West will be caught with their pants down when it does happen can best be summed up by how that conclusion begins:

Because a gap has opened here between the way things are and the way they are described, opinions are wrong and policies are wrong, and observers are regularly blindsided by events. Such things have happened before. In the years leading to the breakdown of Soviet Communism in 1991, as the Russia expert Leon Aron wrote in a 2011 essay for Foreign Policy, “virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union.” The empire had been rotting for years and the signs were there, but the people who were supposed to be seeing and reporting them failed and when the superpower imploded everyone was surprised.

In searching for three kidnapped teenagers, Israel has uncovered dozens of tunnels, weapons caches, and explosive labs hidden throughout the Palestinian-controlled Hebron region of the West Bank.

In searching for three kidnapped teenagers, Israel has uncovered dozens of tunnels, weapons caches, and explosive labs hidden throughout the Palestinian-controlled Hebron region of the West Bank.

Some of the tunnels were found by soldiers inside the homes of Palestinians, under large pieces of furniture and laundry machines. Using their specialized equipment, Yahalom (diamond in Hebrew) forces participated in dozens of raids on the homes of Palestinian activists across the West Bank, confiscating caches of weapons and explosives. The unit’s forces discovered some 20 laboratories for manufacturing improvised explosives devices (IEDs) hidden in homes they searched. “We would arrive at a suspicious home and find a family living on the first floor and a laboratory with explosives on the third floor,” said a senior officer in the unit. We also discovered underground spaces in the Hebron area which we had not known about previously,” he added.

The important take-away from this is that Hebron has been under Palestinian control since the early 1990s as per the Oslo accords. Instead of using that control to build a prosperous and independent state that would be a peaceful neighbor to Israel, the evidence once again shows that — like Gaza — the Palestinian leadership and population used the opportunity to instead wage war and to kill and kidnap Israelis.

Off to Israel

Posting for the rest of February will be spotty. I am heading to New York to give a lecture the Long Island section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics on Thursday night, then on to Israel for 10 days to visit family.

For an idea of what it was like to visit Israel last February, check out my earlier posts below, listed in chronological order. In each case, I think you will get a more accurate portrayal of the reality on the ground, in contrast to the political antisemitism of today’s modern intellectual culture.

Building a real Peace Forest in Israel

Dedication to the Peace Forest
One of the plaques inside the Peace Forest

Just after the 1967 war, a strip of land in Jerusalem that had been part of no man’s land after the city was divided following the 1948 war was turned into a Peace Forest to symbolize “the hope for peace and serenity between all Jerusalem’s residents.” Located on a hillside that overlooks the city, the Jewish National Fund sponsored a campaign to have the site landscaped elegantly, with a promenade and a series of architectural observation points, each designed differently as if their architects were competing with each other for the most creative structure.

In 2003 my oldest nephew was married from the highest point on this hillside, just above the Peace Forest, with the entire city of Jerusalem as the backdrop. At the time there was a catering hall at this location, and it seemed to them to be a perfect place to tie the knot.
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Staying in the West Bank

This is my second visit to Israel and the second time I have stayed in a residence in the West Bank. Both times the experience has been quite different than what anyone who reads the modern press would expect. It is nothing like what you think.

Also, I have been delving into the background of both settlements, from this visit as well as my last visit back in 2003. Not surprisingly, the facts have little to do with what the press generally reports. And even when they do report honestly, they simply do not provide the important information that would provide some proper context. I myself have been astonished today with some of what I learned, as it was completely unexpected. For example, do you know that many of the land records for here in the West Bank are still kept in Istanbul, Turkey?

As I mentioned previously, however, it is difficult to post here in Israel. Though the internet service is fine, my laptop is beginning to show its age and to function too slowly for this work. Also, I want to include pictures, and I won’t be able to add them easily probably until I get home.

So stay tuned. It will be worthwhile reading.

Gilad Shalit released for 1000 Palestinians

Gilad Shalit has been released for 1000 Palestinians convicted prisoners. And who were these Palestinians? Some examples:

They include the perpetrators of some of the most ghastly terrorist attacks of recent years: Brutal killers like Abd al-Aziz Salehi, who gleefully displayed his blood-soaked hands to a cheering Ramallah crowd in 2000 after lynching two Israelis and mutilating their bodies. Like Ibrahim Yunis, mastermind of a 2003 cafe bombing that left seven innocents dead, including an American-born doctor and his 20-year-old daughter on the eve of her wedding. Like Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian television personality who boasts of her role in organizing the 2001 bombing of a pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem, in which 15 people were killed, seven of them children.

The disconnect between Israelis and elites

This long and fascinating interview about the Israeli-Arab conflict is quite eye-opening. Key quote:

Most Israelis are here because they fled from Muslim and European countries. They don’t feel that either of those blocs have the right to lecture them about anything. Why should a country where your parents were expelled or killed have the right to tell you how to conduct yourself in a war against people who are trying to kill you today? This is something hardly any non-Israelis understand. They don’t understand how galling we find this.

Israelis are often accused of being arrogant, but they find it extremely arrogant for Europeans and Arabs to lecture them about morals, especially during a war. What has Israel ever done that is as brutal as what Europe did to the Jews, or what Arabs routinely do to even each other during armed conflicts?

Read it all.