Maybe it’s time to quit supporting Israel (the unjust home demolishing)

November 19, 2014

After just reading a story about Israeli forces demolishing a Palestinian apartment, and damaging others, destroying the home of an accused Palestinian terrorist, thus reviving a long-standing policy of home demolitions of those suspected of terrorism, I have to ask the question: should the United States quit sending aid to Israel, and should we strongly condemn their actions, and really should we not totally rethink our attitude toward that state?

No, I am not anti-Jewish and I am not pro-Palestinian. On that I am neutral.

But the policy of destroying homes violates all civilized norms. We’re not talking some kind of war operation where the army advances into enemy territory and in the process civilian homes are destroyed. We are talking about a government demolishing homes of its own citizens. There is no trial, simply what amounts to “collective punishment”. I mean in the process of demolishing apartment buildings, whole families, most or many of whom may have nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist acts, other than they might be of the same ethnicity of the terrorists, are left homeless and may be killed or injured in the process.

I don’t think the United States can resolve the decades-old Israeli/Palestinian dispute (it began about the time I was born and continues today 65 years and change later). I do think the United States should consider washing its hands of the whole mess.

If we feel we are somehow responsible in that we helped create the modern state of Israel — helped make it possible — then perhaps we should simply demand that Israel recognize fully a separate Palestinian state as a condition of any continued backing.

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Both sides wrong, but free Palestine now…

July 28, 2014

I’m not big on the UN but if there ever was a place for it I would say it is in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel killing thousands of of women and children and others is just plain wrong. And so is Hamas firing rockets into Israel. Both the Israeli and Hamas leadership are wrong. And the Palestinian people themselves seem to be following the wrong leadership or maybe they have no choice.

So far more than a thousand Palestinians have been reported killed (and of course there are the wounded) and less than a hundred Israelis.

The current flare-up in the decades-long conflict is blamed on Israeli soldiers killing a couple of Palestinian youths and then a seeming reprisal with the kidnap and murder of several Israeli youths — and the true circumstances  of any of all this is of course only known to those involved and still alive.

But whatever the case, the UN should step in full force. And the United States should use whatever influence it has and demand once and for all that Palestine become a free state separate from Israel.

Hamas probably does not represent the best interests of the Palestinian people. Any organization that would do things that they know will only lead to the death of their own people and on such a large scale is evil.

Israel is definitely caught in a bind. It does have to defend itself. But somehow killing women and children, even as they lie in hospitals (even if Hamas essentially uses the as shields by placing missile launchers in adjacent areas), cannot be moral or right.

Why Palestine cannot be a free state is beyond me.

The United States should demand Israel come to terms with the Palestinians once and for all or it should wash its hands of the problem and Israel.


Israel should hear the cry of ‘let my people go’

November 19, 2012

If we could create the modern state of Israel then why cannot we create a full-fledged state of Palestine, not just a Palestinian Authority?

It would seem to me that this is the only way to resolve the ongoing feud between Israel and the Palestinians.

At this point I do not care who is right and who is wrong in all of this or who shot first.

The modern state of Israel began at about the time of my own birth and fighting between the Jews and the Palestinians has been going on ever since, with some major flare-ups, and some full-fledged wars, and at this time they are into a major flare-up headed to possible full-fledged war.

With the other complications in the region, such as the Arab Spring and the Syrian insurgency or whatever you might call that, the instability being experienced in the region right now threatens to throw the whole area into war, and because of oil and other trade, geography, cultural and religious heritage, and so on, it makes trouble for nearly the whole world.

The United States serves as Israel’s main protector and so bears a lot of responsibility for what goes on, like it or not.

I’m thinking it might not have been such a good idea to just up and create a new nation as was done by the Western powers, feeling sorry, and a little guilty for what happened to the Jews during World War II and centuries before that — the persecution, the murder. But what was done is done (creating modern Israel, that is).

I think the United States ought to work with the Arab nations that give support to the Palestinians, at least in the political sense, and create the new nation of Palestine with definite borders. Israel may well have to give up some territory and it will have to give up controlling the lives of Palestinians.

I am not trying to paint a picture of the Palestinians as innocent and blameless in all of this strife. There is plenty of blame to go around. But until there is an unambiguously free Palestine, I can’t see how there can ever be a hope for peace.

The United States needs to put the pressure on Israel to let the Palestinian people go, as in “let my people go”.

All that does not mean the Palestinians or terrorists who work among them would then resolve to live peacefully with their neighbor Israel and quit trying to destroy it. But once the Palestinians have what they claim to want, their own nation, then they have nothing legitimate to complain of and can be dealt with accordingly. Let my people go.

P.s.

I am neither Palestinian nor Jewish. I mean “let my people go” as a, how do we say? literary allusion.


Let’s recognize a free Palestine and look homeward America…

May 19, 2011

For my part, I would be pleased if our president concentrated more on domestic issues, such as how to pay off the national debt and to eliminate deficit spending, and of course to get the work force back to work. But since he seems interested in foreign relations at the moment, I applaud his call in a speech on the Middle East today for the creation once and for all of an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders.

I’m not as up on the history as I should be, but I am certainly well aware of the Six-Day War back in 1967. I was a senior in high school then, and it being in June, I was just about out of school. I don’t think many of my classmates were interested in this sort of thing, but I recall at least one of my social studies teachers was. He was obviously pro-Israeli (I think he was Jewish), and I think based on the comments he made and the tone of the news reports I heard, the Israelis were the good guys and those dirty nasty Arabs were the bad guys. Well, in reality there is/was probably plenty of blame to go around. My quick internet research tells me that both sides were expecting war and troops from each side, the (Israelis and the Arabs) were massing on the borders. Both sides initially claimed the other side attacked first, but in the end, Israel admitted it made a pre-emptive air attack.

The Arabs had wanted (and still do) to eliminate the modern state of Israel, created in 1949 with the support of the United States and Western European governments over guilt and/or sympathy over the Holocaust (the murder of some 6 million Jews — along with assorted Gypsies and others, by the Nazis of Germany). But in the end, instead of being eliminated, Israel took over some new territory as the result of its pre-emptive attack and subsequent victory in the Six-Day War.

Well right there, that should not have been allowed. Israel should have been pressured by the western powers, upon whom it depends ultimately for survival in a hostile land, to cede back the overtaken territories. I wish after all these years the western powers, to include the United States, most notably, would simply demand that Israel recognize a fully-independent state of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders, and at the same time let the Arabs know that Israel will continue to be a reality, so get used to it.

On a related subject, while I think the Libya intervention (remember that?) was a mistake, now that we are in it (by our support), let’s get Gaddafi and then let the Libyans do what they will with their own country, even if they have to fight among themselves to sort it out. Bin Laden is gone, and he was not in Afghanistan (surprise, surprise), and most or all of Al Qaeda is said to be out of that nation and the Taliban there are not as hot on Al Qaeda as they once were some experts say (they don‘t want to go the way of Bin Laden). So let’s hand that nation back to the people there and let them take care of things as they have for centuries in their tribal fashion.

Let’s say good riddance to out false friend Pakistan. No more money to them. (And really, if I understand it right, most of the so-called aid that goes to them is military and is really just a boon for the armaments industry.)

And let’s ignore Iran already. We should (this is something I always assert and will not stop now) secretly send Iran a message that we will stay out of its affairs but we will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. Same with Pakistan and North Korea. These nations cannot be trusted. And, in fact, the world does not need any new members of the nuclear weapons club.

I wish all the best in the so-called Arab Spring democracy movement. But that is their business and who is to say their version of democracy will be like ours? It’s not as sexy or glamorous, but the United States would do better to refurbish its relations with the nations of its own hemisphere. I’m not aware of any particular problems with Canada, but I do know that Mexico, a major commercial trading partner, is in the throes of a catastrophic drug war that threatens civil society there and here as well and that the U.S. is partly responsible in that the drugs come north because of the market here and contraband weapons from the U.S. go south .

And we would do well to strengthen relations with the nations of Central and South America.

Look homeward America!


Instead of the Jews moving out of Israel as Helen Thomas suggested, why not move Israel?

June 7, 2010

Couldn’t we just move Israel to Arizona or New Mexico or Nevada, or why not Utah? The Mormons would love that.

I know Helen Thomas lost her job over negative remarks she made about Israel, saying that the Jews should go back to Germany and Poland or go to the U.S. I think maybe she had one too many cocktails or maybe the Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia was kicking in.  And at 89, it was probably time for her to retire from the White House press corps anyway.

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ADD 1: And then again, maybe she was just saying what was on her mind — tell us how you really feel Helen. Ironically, even reporters these days can get caught off guard when they might think they are having a private or casual conversation. 

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But really, it seems as though it may have been a major mistake to re-establish a homeland for the chosen people after all, especially since they lost it a long time ago and other people established themselves there in the meantime.

Now I don’t buy the idea that everything done in the name of displaced Palestinians is done for legitimate reasons anymore than I believe that everything the Israelis do is virtuous.

But modern-day Israel depended upon the good will of the west for its establishment and depends most notably on the United States for its continuing existence.

The existence of the Jewish state surrounded by predominantly Muslim states who make no secret they’d just as soon see Israel go poof in a cloud of dust has given Arabs and Persians and Turks and terrorists way too much propaganda and excuse to incite the masses for their own ends.

So what if Israel was moved? Then what would that rabble have to complain about?

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ADD 2: Was Helen just being ironic or sarcastic? I think it was something like Jewish recognition day or something when she made her remarks to a questioner. Some people just don’t understand sarcasm.


U.S. should back off a little and become more neutral in Israel-Palestinian issue…

March 13, 2010

ISN’T IT ABOUT TIME THE U.S. WEANED ITSELF OFF OF ISRAEL IN FOREIGN POLICY AND TAKE AN ESSENTIALLY NEUTRAL stance between the Palestinians and the Israelis?

Sure after World War II and the Holocaust everyone felt sorry for the Jews — and rightfully so — and the U.S. supported the creation of a new Jewish state in their ancient biblical homeland — never mind there were Arabs already living there, to include Christians and Muslims. For their part, supporters of the Jewish state had engaged in acts of terrorism to get their way.

And to be fair, they have suffered from terrorism against themselves ever since.

But the Jewish state of Israel has been around about the same time as I have, some 60 years or so.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian issue, what to do with or for all those displaced Palestinians, from what was called Palestine, and their descendants has never been completely resolved.

Other Arab states have given much lip service to their concern for the displaced and put upon Palestinians, but have done little for them. Really it is just a convenient issue to use against the West for political purposes in their own homelands and for blackmail against the West, particularly the U.S.

But the United States’ unwavering support for Israel, even as they continue to push the Palestinians around, making new settlements in their lands right up to the present, has caused it one heck of a lot of trouble. It gives tremendous ammunition to the likes of Al Qaeda and other groups who like to use hatred of the big bad U.S. and the Jews to whip up political support in the name of Islam or Arab culture or whatever.

While the modern state of Israel may have been the home of God’s original chosen people, a lot of things have happened since that time. The tribes of Israel have spread out all over the world and have managed to irk whomever they lived among. They are survivors for sure. Jews have been discriminated against so much that they as a people have had to become quite clever.

In Germany at one time they were barred from the normal trades, so they became adept in money changing and forms business — at least that is the way I heard or read it.

And the modern state of Israel is a force to be reckoned with. The Arab states have tried to attack it more than once and all they got for it was lost territory.

Years ago when some Jewish hostages where taken down in Africa, the Jewish military made a daring raid and rescued them. Contrast that to the U.S.’s bungled attempt to rescue its hostages in Iran (mishaps do happen) under the Carter administration.

And Israel did not sit around and wring its hands when it looked like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein might be working on becoming a nuclear power, it bombed his reactor. And more recently they made a raid in Syria, allegedly to nip a nuclear program in the bud. And no doubt they have contingency plans to do the same to Iran.

While on the one hand we have to be proud of the way Israel seems to be able to take care of itself, the fact is it could not be so cocky without the backup of the U.S. and its pledge to stand by it.

As long as the non-Jewish world in the Middle East sees this one-sided approach there will be no peace there and the U.S. will always face trouble there.

The Middle East is from where much of our precious oil supply comes from and it is an important trade route and center, as well as the home of the world‘s three major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Israel with its major lobby which showers millions of dollars on U.S. lawmakers year after year has managed to buy the unflinching support of the U.S. lo these many decades.

Maybe the new Jewish state should have been created somewhere else, like out in the middle of the southwestern desert of the U.S. or in the Catskills of New York (just kidding on that one), but what was done was done.

Modern Israel is a fact of life and it seems quite capable of supporting and defending itself, although it needs the backup of the U.S.

While the U.S. will probably always feel that it has to come to the defense of Israel if need be, it should let Israel know that it is really up to that nation to make peace with its neighbors.

From what I understand, the Jewish government is or plans to allow more Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem in an area of disputed claim between Israel and the Palestinians.

Right now there is no actual separate Palestinian state, but instead something called the Palestinian Authority. But the Palestinians would like to make part of Jerusalem their capital. At the same time, from what I have read, the hard-line Jews say no way to giving up any of their sacred city.

Well there needs to be a compromise and the Israeli government needs to be told once and for all that it needs to get things settled or the U.S. may not be there for them one day.

The U.S. has enough trouble taking care of its own internal affairs.


Aside from us being blackmailed for billions, I like Obama approach to Muslim world…

June 5, 2009

At the end of my last blog I wrote something to the effect that I would like to go back over any details of President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world to see if there was anything I might have missed or that I would disagree with and that I would be interested in world reaction.

After reading the official White House transcript, complete with notations of applause and someone blurting out “Barack Obama we love you!” and the president saying “thank you”, I concluded that I had indeed heard the speech in its entirety and I did not find anything particularly objectionable, save his promise to provide billions of dollars for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but in even that I can accept the concept, just don’t see how we can afford it.

So, my plan here is to go down through the transcript, paragraph by paragraph, and make some comments. Before that, I note that as of this time it seems overall world reaction, particularly among the target audience, the Muslims, seems to have been quite receptive and quite good. And, as I expected, his biggest detractors were the American far right (you know, those folks who love to hate and love torture) and some Muslim extremists (you know, those folks who love to hate and love to torture).

And now the paragraph by paragraph analysis of the transcript of his speech:

The president greeted his audience at the Cario (Egypt) University and noted that for a thousand years it has been a “beacon of learning”, and he said he carried with him a greeting from Islamic communities in the U.S.: “Assalaamu alaykum” (Peace be upon you), to which he received enthusiastic applause.

Later on a talk show someone commented that it is good that he spoke at a university and there were a lot of young people in the audience, and it was said that it is a mis-perception that terrorists come out of only the poverty-stricken class. In fact, many, including the 9/11 terrorists, are highly educated.

And I realize now that commenting on each paragraph or each line is too tedious, but I am going to arrange my commentary in descending order of the transcript paragraphs.

He noted that there are great tensions between the Muslim world and the U.S. (And the whole Western world) and he acknowledged the role colonialism played in all of this and the fact that the best interests of the inhabitants were not looked after and that in the Cold War Muslim country’s were treated as proxies in the struggle between the West and the communist block nations (although he did not actually mention the communist nations or the former Soviet Union). But anyone who has any grasp of recent history knows that it was all about the competition between primarily the U.S. and the Soviet Union for influence in the Middle East and other areas of the world. The president also said that Islamic traditions were not always respected. And I think that the fact that President Obama recognized Islamic traditions and even used some Islamic phrases and quotations from the Koran is a major deal. You do not have to adopt someone’s religion to respect it. And this recognition, a show of respect, plays big in the Muslim world.

And the president said that he had come to Cairo to “seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”. And that “new beginning” phrase I note was used in headlines around the world – pretty powerful stuff.

To show his sincerity, Obama noted that although he is a self-professed Christian, he has Islamic roots in his family and lived in a Muslim country (Indonesia) and heard the morning and evening prayer calls (he did not say, but I think it is correct that he attended a Muslim-run school for a time). He also said that he worked among Muslims in Chicago neighborhoods. I don’t know if he meant members of the “Black Muslim” sect or just Muslims in general. But it does demonstrate his unique ability to connect with Muslims. And it shows that he is an adept politician in that he downplayed (had to ) his Muslim roots and connections during his presidential campaign (does anyone think that in this day and age anyone who even hinted he might be a Muslim could be elected president of the U.S.?). I think it is a de facto requirement at present in the U.S. that one be a Christian or profess to be in order to get elected president (that might change some day – stranger things have happened, like the election of Obama).

He noted how the whole world is interconnected and thus has mutual interests. In the global economy all nations suffer at a downturn. Disease threatens all. Nuclear weapons threaten all.

And I’ll jump in here and note that just going chronologically doesn’t work here either. So I will jump to the fact that he said that Iran has a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but that developing nuclear weapons, no. And that is the great irony we have come to and these are my words. The U.S. was the first to develop nuclear weapons and the only nation to ever use them. They are so terrible we are stuck with the quite necessary and difficult task of doing everything we can to make sure no one else who has not already got hold of nuclear weapons does.

President Obama assured his audience that the U.S. in not at war with Islam. I note here that even George W. Bush said the same (but the overall tone from his administration and those who so adamantly supported his policies made it seem otherwise).

In probably one of the most important parts of the speech as far as U.S. policy and justification for it, Obama made it clear that the U.S. was and is justified in going after Al Qaeda (and other extremists) in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the result of the 9/11. He noted with some force and even anguish in his voice that nearly 3,000 innocent people in the U.S. were killed on 9/11.

And then he turned around and said that on the other hand, while we felt compelled to invade Afghanistan (because the 9/11 extremists were based there), our government (then headed by Bush) chose to go into Iraq and that there was much controversy within the U.S. at the time over that. Obama, who had been on record as against the Iraq invasion, implied in his speech that the U.S. made a mistake in doing so and had learned a costly lesson. I think that he essentially admitted that the U.S. had over reached in its rightful authority in Iraq (and I realize that arguments could be made either way on all of this, but in the end, the Iraq invasion does seem to have been a blunder – and even if it all works out, that does not make it right).

The president also proclaimed that the U.S. seeks no permanent military presence in either Iraq or Afghanistan. And I think that is a major policy statement.

President Obama said that he has unequivocally made his position clear that the U.S. will no longer use torture (so I do not know what Dick Cheney meant when he claimed recently in his own defense that even Obama had reserved the right to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” — the right wing nut euphemism for torture). That is a powerful statement that hopefully puts the U.S. back on the high ground of humanity (if we become as ruthless as the terrorists, what do we have left worth saving?).

One part that bothered me was that he pledged several billions of dollars to build schools and hospitals and infrastructure and in economic support for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now probably that is a good idea in that folks with a better standard of living and a better standard thanks to us might be less inclined to become terrorists against us. But it also seems that we are being blackmailed here and there is a question in my mind: who needs this money more? folks over there or folks here at home? (Does not charity begin at home?) But that is the great quandary we always find ourselves in as the world superpower (and one wonders how long at this rate we can hold on to that claim).

And maybe the biggest thing president Obama proclaimed in U.S. foreign policy was his insistence on a two-state solution for the 61-years-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his insistence that Israel quit expanding its settlements into Palestinian territory. And I say, what other solution is there to all that and why have we not insisted on that all along?

He said he supported women’s rights and the right of women to education, which is significant in that conservative Muslims often deny such rights to women (but I note that conservative Christians in this country often put down the idea of women’s rights and seem to promote the idea that women must be subservient to men – it’s all biblical, you know).

President Obama also said that although the U.S. prefers democracy and the rule of law it would only promote its form of government rather than force it upon other nations. But I have to note that wouldn’t it be heck if after all of this that Iraq or Afghanistan, for instance, would wind up with hardline Islamic governments ruled by religious leaders without regard to human rights?

I probably missed some things to comment upon after all, but I’ve probably already gone on too long.

Personally, even though a cable news commentator said his speech contained no real policy statements, I think it was the strongest and most reasonable foreign policy speech I have ever heard from a U.S. president (and even though I was young at the time, my memory goes back to hearing Dwight David Eisenhower).