Girl with magnifier

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Mid east watch

I have always had Palestinian friends, both in Israel and in Fallbrook. If anything, in the past, they have been more pro Israel than I am. I have always had mixed and conflicted feelings about Israel, the land of my father and grandfather and have always tried to remain objective. I try to treat human beings like human beings, regardless of their clan or creed.

Ironically, my Palestinian friends had better and more positive feelings about the country than I do. Until now.

I met a Palestinian friend the other night and was a little taken aback. For the first time, I felt his sorrow and some condemnation of Israel. Another one of our friends had lost fifty family members in Gaza. What a terrible tragedy. I feel very sad for them. These are good people.

I can not and will not vilify the Israelis for going into Gaza. They are going to do what they have to do in order to root out the Hamas tunnel system and stop the existential threat to their survival. And I think we can establish some truisms here. It is impossible to process a war against guerrilla fighters who hide among a civilian population in a clean way that will not cost lots of innocent lives. And that too is a tragedy, the collateral damage will be horrible. You can't kill with clinical precision.

But if Israel had done nothing after the kibbutz murders, if they allowed the tunnel threat to fester, the massacres would only happen again and again. The talk of a cease fire would only help Hamas attain their goals. They have no plans of stopping. I do not blame Netanyahu for saying no cease fire talk until the hostages are returned alive.

Good for him.


My Palestinian friend told me that we are not getting a lot of straight news from Israel, where jew and arab are marching together in the streets pleading for a cessation to the conflict. His family is from the West Bank and they happen to view the Gaza fighters with intense derision.

He also rightly points out that Hamas was a creation of the Israeli right who felt that they would destabilize the PLO. It would be hard to argue with that. He thinks that there should be one state, where Jews and Arabs live together. It is also hard to argue with that too except for the fact that it is a numbers game and ultimately the jews could be supplanted by an arab majority that could try to instill Sharia law. Sort of like Dearborn. I  actually find the concept of a Jewish state as oppressive as a Christian state or a Muslim state but that is just me.

I don't know what the good answer is I really don't. I do know that the right wing push into Judea and Samaria has been an absolute disaster for any hopes of a future peace and two state solution.

arab red - then and now...

A friend on the right sent me this old Prager video on Israel and asked for my comment. Was it true? In my opinion, yes, unfortunately it is true. And incomplete. The local arab population was offered statehood repeatedly and they chose to fight for everything instead, to deny the jews a right to exist in a land where they had roots for over five thousand years. 

The Muslims built the Mosque of Omar right on top of our second temple, as squatters and conquerors tend to do. And what they could not win on the battlefield in the years since Israeli independence, they have tried to win through playing the poor victim card and by engaging in acts of terrorism, from Munich to the Achille Lauro to 9-11.


I lived a half mile from the border in 1976, on a kibbutz between Lebanon and Nahariya. Although not technically in a war, it could get pretty intense.

One night a volley or powerful Russian Katyusha rockets came down on our kibbutz. If you have never been in a rocket attack, it is incredibly frightening, the sound and screech of the missiles. One landed not a hundred yards from my home and a large piece of shrapnel came right through the wall. I touched it and burned my hand.

My roommate was from Australia. A big guy, he was on the next plane out of the country, completely freaked out.

I was working as an electrician back then, building new multi story apartments at the guest house. With a bunch of Palestinian guys, pouring the poured in place 18" thick concrete walls. And I said something stupid. "Wow, that was close last night."

The workers gave me a weird glance but later I caught hell from my boss. He told me that they were trying to calibrate their targets to hit Nahariya and any information I gave would help them lock in.

Probably the first time I realized that I was in a life or death drama and I had better keep my mouth shut. This was for real. We had ammonium nitrate stored on the farm that could be used for bombs, the soldiers would grade the perimeter with tractors every night in order to find footprints of infiltrating attackers in our orange groves. They found three the year I was there. The hostility never stopped.

We had three tanks installed on the kibbutz, everybody was in a constant state of alert. I went back for the entirety of Desert Storm, it was even worse. Numerous Scud attacks, slept in a sealed room with a gas mask. Story for another day.


Obama gave his normal, both sides have blood on their hands speech today. 

“What Hamas did was horrific, and there’s no justification for it,” former President Barack Obama said on Friday. “And what is also true is that the occupation and what’s happening to Palestinians is unbearable.” 

We need to take in the whole truth, he says. Sen. Tim Scott said something interesting today. 

“From Obama to Biden, Democrats have a problem: supporting Israel always has an asterisk,” the South Carolina senator and presidential contender said in a statement to POLITICO.

I don't think it is really fair to take a shot at Biden here but I think Scott is fairly correct on Obama. There always is an asterisk. Jewish blood was always very cheap to him. His whole Iran rapprochement was calculated to leave Israel helpless in the face of the most horrible jihadists and he really didn't care. He can try to hide it but it comes through.

He liked to priggishly lecture jews on proper moral choices because it gave him a sense of moral superiority. And if he was wrong about re-arming the Iranian? Oh well. Bibi was never very nice to him, too bad. I know most liberals love him but to me Obama's mideast approach was an unmitigated disaster, always a finger on the scale, showing favoritism to the arabs and divulging secret Israeli intelligence to their adversaries.

Obama likes to talk about genuine security for Israel as part of a two state solution but there is nothing genuine about his talk. Unfortunately it has always been lip service. I will never forget Obama Spokesman Jen Psaki refusing to label the Hamas supporter throwing molotov cocktails at Israeli citizens a terrorist. I forgot, he was a freedom fighter.

I have long said that if the progressives ever take the reins of power in the Democratic party that I am gone. I don't know where I will go, I will certainly not be a Republican. But it could be happening faster than I ever expected. Today I saw a Gallup poll that said that Democrats now have greater sympathy for the Palestinians than the Israelis.

So let's get this straight. We support the the people who paraglide into rock concerts and kill unarmed kids, slaughter babies in their cribs and old people in their wheelchairs and vow to repeat the actions until they have rid the country of the vile usurpers from the "River to the Sea."

Why in the heck can't the Israelis make a deal with such fine people?



Blue Heron said...


Jon Harwood said...

I think this episode is incredibly serious. Hamas replicated the pogroms that are deep in Jewish history and consciousness and it elicited a proper Israeli response. What scares me is that there is a far right government in Israel that is not responding to US attempts at putting reasonable limits on civilian damage. I can't be too harsh on Israel for this because of the horrific nature of the initial attack. What I am fearful of is that Israel has expanded a proper response vastly and this will expend their military resources and weaken the state, something that Hezbollah and Iran are happy to watch as they wait for an advantageous opportunity to escalate. The Gaza operation is also trashing what good will remains in the world toward Israel. I really hope that this operation does not turn into a phyrric victory for Israel but long term, it really could. I have to restrain my bloviation because I have no idea what it is like to be an Israeli or a Palestinian civilian. right now.

Blue Heron said...


Finest said...

No Labels...just sayin'.