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Renewing Israel's Initial Promise

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Renewing Israel's Bright Future

A recent article posted to OpEdNews attempts to make the case that "[T]he entire body of the Jewish people in grave danger." (Rachel Neuwirth, On the Present Danger Facing Israel And All Jews) Ms. Neuwirth identifies an external siege (foreign groups attacking Israel) and an internal threat from Jewish "self-doubt" and "demoralization" as twin threats to Israel's survival.

Ms. Neuwirth outlines an argument, albeit deeply flawed, that Israel is at great disadvantage today against foreign military, diplomatic and "propaganda" forces which she describes in the old, tiresome crisis language we have heard since the 1950s. For example, she cites 1,800 Israelis killed in the past 14-1/2 years, but neglects to recognize the many thousands of Palestinians killed by the IDF in the same period. She bemoans Katusha rocket attacks on Israeli border towns like Sderot "nearly every day," and again fails to acknowledge frequent IDF attacks on civilian buildings and villages occupied by Palestinians.

Yes, it is terrible when Palestinian suicide-bombers kill innocent civilians in a public market or send a Katusha rocket into a border town. Two, three or even 4 or 5 Israelis may be killed, and others wounded, when this happens.

Look, then, at the retributive violence of the IDF after each Palestinian attack. Usually it will be a rocket attack against a civilian housing complex. Now count the Palestinian casualties, which always exceed 3 times the number of Israelis killed. This 3:1 pattern has been consistent for over 4 decades of my observations. Any wonder that Palestinians seem so frustrated?

Compare the scale of destruction. Palestinians have stones, bottle rockets, crude Katusha rockets, and suicide vests which use ball bearings and nails, projected by simple explosives or even by plastic explosives. In short, Palestinians have pathetically few resources and almost no options to protest the clear and continuing international crimes committed by Israel, e.g., occupying large areas of territory never granted Israel by its 1948 UN Charter. Yet we can still agree that these attacks by Palestinians are terrible and vicious means used to punish innocent Israelis.

Now look at the IDF's armamentarium: F-16 fighter planes with rockets many times more powerful (and more accurate) than Katushas; helicopter gunships that can-and do-hover alongside occupied Palestinian apartment buildings and blast through walls and windows or follow civilian auto convoys and rocket the occupants-civilian as well as militants; tanks which roll over civilians, cars, fences and orchards; and huge Caterpillar bulldozers specifically manufactured to wreck Palestinian homes and buildings. Any question why the Palestinians are so frustrated?

If Palestinians had similar weapons they would no doubt use them, but for now Israel must only worry about Katushas and occasional suicide bombers-both comparatively minor threats I suspect the Palestinians would gladly exchange for their daily terrors and humiliations at the hands of the IDF. Anybody still wonder why the Palestinians seem so frustrated?

Look also at the arguments used. Israelis and Palestinians each claim "They did it first" but "they" no longer has meaning. Arabs have attacked Israel and Israel has attacked Palestinians and Arabs intermittently since 1949. (That's almost 60 years.) Each side bears full responsibility for unspeakable civilian carnage; the major difference is that Israel has enjoyed full US backing, now over $$6 billion in annual aid-most of it military, and the luxury of using overwhelming force at will. This has systematically resulted in far more violence by Israel against the Palestinians than the Palestinians have ever marshaled against the Israelis.

Ms. Neuwirth, on her website ( [sic]) explains why Israel has the right to exterminate Palestinians: because Israel previously "owned" the territory 4,000 years ago. One is reminded of the trite Christian song "Jesus loves me." Instead, Ms. Neuwirth's song would seem to be "Israel owns the Holy Lands, 'Cause the Bible tells me so."

Or, as she states on her website: "The Jewish People have legitimate land claims. The Hebrew bible is the historical record of the Jewish People from the time of Abraham, some 4,000 years ago. The Israelites led by Moses formally became a Jewish nation at Mount Sinai thirty-three centuries ago when they received the divine Law of the holy Torah, including the Ten Commandments."

Seems Ms. Neuwirth forgot that before that event there were historical "owners" of that land and again afterwards, for 4,000 years, other groups also "owned" that land. The Ottoman Empire "owned" it for the most recent 400 years. Hmmm...I guess only Israel's claim to the land is valid because...? And whose bible are we talking about? The King James? The Douay? The Torah?

By the way, according to Neuwirth's website there never were Palestinians nor a Palestinian state. As Neuwirth's website claims: "To speak of Palestine as a real country and of Palestinians as a distinct people is to perpetuate a giant falsehood...." (Anyone ever hear the term Philistine used in both Christian and Hebrew bibles? Think about it.) This quaint thesis is copied (as I recall) from a propaganda piece published by Bibi Netanyahu maybe ten years ago. It was a popular bar room argument in Israel for a while until everyone tired of hearing the obvious bu**sh** and moved on.

Neuwirth moves on to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which "recently struck again with rockets at kibbutz Shlomi." Decrying Hezbollah missiles "that can reach every inch of Israeli territory," Neuwirth completely neglects to mention that IDF bombs and rockets routinely reach every inch of Palestinian territory. Israel argues that its recent scorched-earth incursion into Lebanon was justified because militants were holding half a dozen IDF soldiers and sending rockets from inside Lebanon. Consequently thousands of civilian casualties occurred and overwhelming damage was wreaked on the civilian infrastructure by days of relentless Israeli air and land-based attacks. And a UN outpost, marked with blue UN symbols, occupied by UN Observers, and mapped for 40 years was "accidentally" blown up by an IDF attack. "Oops--Sorry, my bad!"

Now check inside Israel's many prisons, where between 12,000 and 14,000 Palestinian men and boys, some as young as 12 years old, have been held for years. Hmmm....6 IDF soldiers vs. 12,000 Palestinian men and boys. Who can guess why Palestinians seem so frustrated?

The Greater Israel movement makes no secret of its goal to drive Palestinians out of Jerusalem and out of the territories formerly known as the British and the French Mandates, despite the clear historical position of the UN in chartering Israel in 1948-in a specific, hourglass shaped space which has been, and remains, the only valid border for Israel-with Jerusalem as a divided city under international jurisdiction. David Ben-Gurion griped bitterly that he wanted more land, threatening to walk away from the whole deal. The UN consistently said, "No, this is all you get; take it or leave it." Israel has reneged on that promise for decades. Any doubt why Palestinians are still frustrated?

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I am a progressive activist. After 28 years in health care management I left in disgust at the mess that commercial health insurance companies have created. I must work to live (self-employed) and enjoy performing with several classical & jazz (more...)
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