Saturday, March 26

Return of Terror or Moving Forward?

Bashar and Asma al-Assad, President and first-...Image via Wikipedia

The past week has been a week of terrorist scenarios in Israel. The old extremist Islamist groups perpetuate terror whenever they get a chance. It began with the tragic murder of the Fogel family in Itamar on the West Bank, followed by the launching of Grad and Qassam missiles by Hamas-affiliated splinter terror groups resulting in severe damage and injuries against an innocent population in Israel. Naturally, Israel's Defense Forces retaliate and the cycle of bloodshed begins with the loss of Palestinian lives and more tragedy for both sides. What does Hamas hope to gain by this? Israel will not disappear. In fact, according to reports, Hamas does not wish to heat up the situation. It is possible that Hamas is losing control in Gaza to more extremist groups. The provocations in Gaza seems to be coming from Iran. These missiles reached as far afield as Beersheba, Ashdod and Rishon l'tsiyon. The terrible bomb in a suitcase placed near a phone booth and kiosk in Jerusalem was part of an obvious terror campaign against Israel. The bomb exploded, killing an innocent British tourist and injuring numerous Israelis.

The missile terror coming from Gaza and the increase of Islamist terrorist violence must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Those responsible must be brought to justice, and if not, at least, pinpoint attacks against the leadership responsible are a matter of urgency. Every country has a right to protect itself against this threat on its citizens and this includes Israel.

Who hopes to gain by the escalation of this cruel violence against innocent Israelis? The Palestinian Authority has come out straight against the violence. There are a number of factors responsible for heating up the situation. It could be an attempt by Iran to take the heat off human rights and democracy issues in the Middle East and concentrate on uniting the Islamic world against Israel if it retaliates.

The Arab world is embroiled in uprisings against their autocratic, despotic rulers. These uprisings are spreading across the Middle East with a speed that boggles the imagination. The courage of the youth at the forefront is remarkable and they deserve the support of liberal democrats all over the world, including Israel. We must make a distinction between those fighters for human freedom in the Arab world and the Islamist terrorist groups whose purpose is to kill and maim innocent people. The latter is part of the old order, whose patron is the evil Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinajad and the ruling Ayatollahs.

Syria is now showing signs of unrest and the people are taking to the streets in Damascus and demonstrating against the Alawi sect under Bashar Assad who has ruled his people with an iron hand. The disturbances began in Dara'a in a poverty stricken region that had faced discrimination for many years. Four demonstrators were killed there in a mosque. This started the unrest in Syria which is now spreading. It looks as though President Bashar Assad is losing control. The opposition is in the hands of Sunnis, Druze and Alouites. A question remains whether Syrian youth will be able to influence the revolution as their counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia. The Syrian Authorities have reacted aggressively and killed many Syrian demonstrators.

The Syrian people do not want Iran's proxy - the evil Hezbollah influencing their country. They have made this perfectly clear. Iran seems to be heating up the situation in Gaza by supporting Hamas and various terrorist groups as a digression to unite Islamist extremists against Israel. They do this through Hezbollah by smuggling weapons and missiles into Gaza for the purpose of manipulating the Palestinians and taking the heat off the traditional despots. It is their plan to colonize the Arab world under a bizarre form of Iranian Shiite rule. Iran's record of human rights and democracy is dismal. They wish to fill the vacuum caused by the threatened despots whose power is falling and their way of doing this is to strengthen Hamas in order to increase their influence in the Palestinian world by exploiting Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation in order to dominate Palestine.

Hamas is affiliated to Iran through Hezbollah. The latter also influences Lebanon and it is certain that the Lebanese people do not want to be proxies of Iran or Iranian backed Syria under the Alawi Assad regime any more than the Syrians did. The evil, shrewd secretary-general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, who hides in his bunker underground and spews out hatred for his opponents with aggressive rhetoric, is losing support. Not only will he remain in his bunker because of his fear and hate for Israel, he will rot there for his love of the despotic Iranian regime which has killed many Iranians fighting for human rights.

We in Israel are not blameless either for the increase in terrorism against Israelis. There is nothing more dangerous than apathy and no movement towards a settlement with the Palestinians. It is essential that negotiations with the Palestinian Authority begin in earnest to end the occupation and that serious steps be taken for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel in secure, well defined and agreed borders. Freezing of settlements prior to negotiations could go a long way to building confidence and trust between the two sides.

The situation is more complicated now because of the uprisings in the Arab world. The direction it will take is still unclear. In Libya, the terrible torture of Kaddafi’s opponents is becoming known. The coalition of Britain, France and the US against the Kaddafi slaughter of his people still goes on and, for the moment, they seem to be getting support from the Libyan people as well as saving many Libyan lives.

It is hoped that the Palestinian people will be influenced by the uprisings and they will revolt against the brutal Hamas regime and their terrorist allies. The Palestinians deserve better in Gaza than the evil Hamas regime which ruthlessly destroys the Palestinian's right for a true democratic state upholding human rights and dignity, justice and decent living conditions. The mantra of the Israeli occupation in the Hamas mind is not an excuse to oppress Palestinians and deny them basic human rights.

Arise! Palestinian brothers, rise up against Hamas! Join your brethren in the Middle East in their just fight for freedom, democracy and human dignity. The occupation serves Hamas interests no less than that of Israel's right wing regime.

It is unfortunate that the right wing Israeli government has been involved in passing anti democratic laws against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

These laws - the Naqba Bill and the Acceptance Committees Bill were voted into law recently. During the last six months from Sukkoth to Pesach about a dozen bills were introduced that are distinguished by how they sanction violations of fundamental human rights and civil liberties. It is obvious that the targets of some of these bills are Israel's Arab citizens. The bills also have wider ramifications or goals - deligitimization, weakening and silencing those who do not conform to the majority's expectations. The lack of sensitivity towards the Palestinian narrative only serves to widen differences between Israelis and Palestinians rather than using it as a starting point to understand each side better through positive dialogue to reach an understanding and empathy for both sides' historical narrative. History can never be changed, but both sides can learn the lessons of the past to build a better future of understanding and cooperation.

At the helm of these racist laws are Avigdor Lieberman and his ilk of the Israel Beitenu Party. There is no doubt that the present Israeli Government is the most racist government in Israel's history. The Middle East is changing, despots are falling and Israel must adapt to the new situation. Hopefully there will be new democracies arising from the desire of the Arab people. Can we afford to retrogress in our inability to take up the challenges positively?

Israelis and Palestinians need peace. The leadership on both sides is not up to the challenge but we, the people, with our common desire for peace can do it. We are the means that can facilitate our leaders in that direction we all need so desperately.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The picture of the King at the top really struck me. And maybe that is why you put that picture there. He has the face of evil. His wife looks normal.