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Who Said God Is Dead?

jpost.com

Not me, though I was never much of a believer in his—her/its—existence to begin with. But the closer Netanyahu is getting to the end of his reign, most probably in disgrace, the more I’m tempted to believe that someone up there still cares about Israel’s future. I doubt it will make me a believer, but for a naïve, idealistic-minded person such as myself, a renewed belief in the possibility of solving the eternal Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as opposed to just ‘managing’ it, and with it securing Israel’s future as a Jewish democratic state, is a big step forward.

Of course, we have a long way to go before both things—Netanyahu’s demise and a peaceful, secure resolution of the conflict—can become a reality, and can produce a real chance for success. Still, one can always hope. One can hope that Netanyahu’s hold on power, his Mafiosi-style, take-no-prisoners’ attitude to staying in power, the belief—both in large segment of the Israeli population, and in some quarters of the American Jewish population as well—that he’s the new “King David of Jerusalem” is coming to an end soon.

What’s my beef with Netanyahu, you ask? I’ll tell you what. But before I do that, something else that suddenly hits me. It is this: The most ardent, fanatic supporters of Netanyahu happened to be also the most fanatic supporters—hooligans, actually, is a better word to describe them; I know, I’ve seen them in action—of the Holy City’s soccer club ‘Beitar Jerusalem.’ It’s a known phenomenon in Israel, at least at the time when I was following Israel’s soccer games more closely, that whenever their beloved team scored a goal, their loudest, most unifying chant was “Yesh Elohim!” “There’s God!”

Go figure. I thought they are all believers, anyhow, goal or no goal. I suppose even such extreme fans need a ‘solid’ proof occasionally. But enough of that. Now to my beef with Netanyahu, who (supposedly) worked so hard for Israel’s security and prosperity. As for security, there are many things not to like about his long—longer than anybody else in modern Israel’s history, other than Ben Gurion—stay in power, but I will concentrate on three. First, for me, is his culpability in the assassination of the late prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. His guilt in one of the three, or four most momentous events in Israel’s short history is, of course, by association only. Nonetheless, the atmosphere he fostered and inflamed; the speeches he gave in a Jerusalem’s square from a hotel balcony—remind you of any other dictators?—calling Rabin a traitor, and not silencing the crowd and their thirst for blood, will never be forgotten. It brought upon the country a tragic, major moment of crisis.

And, if you want proof for his guilt, I give you this: Netanyahu was, still is—together with the settlement movement—the main beneficiary of that political assassination. As result of that, here comes the second argument against him: His grab of power by any, and all means. It is said that all politicians are corrupted this way, but I beg to differ. Some lose a battle and continue on to other fields, to other arenas. Just look at a case here in America, with Al Gore, who should’ve been the president but lost anyhow (to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision), and continued to serve us all with his fight against global warming. But not Netanyahu. He vanquished all opposition, disposed of all previous allies and friends, and made deals with anybody who will keep him in power.

Power that became the main reason to stay in power. As opposed to the real, important reasons to be in charge, and usher positive, desirable changes. Which brings me to the third reason: His ‘do nothing,’ at all costs—other than continuing, and solidifying the occupation—in regard to the conflict with the Palestinians. He is gutless. He is coward—despite what all his followers and worshipers in Israel and in America would like you to believe. The ‘magician,’ as they like to call him, used all the tricks in his arsenal to run away from peace at any opportunity he’s had, or created, in order to just ‘manage’ the situation. And we are left to pay—for many years, I’m afraid, and who knows at what costs—for his mistakes.

As for prosperity, in a word, it seems—judging by what we know about the cases against him being investigated currently by the police, but not only from that—that he was mainly interested in his own family’s prosperity (like all dictators). But, no mistake here, I’m not so delusional as to believe that all the problems, even just the most crucial ones facing Israel, we’ll be solved with ‘King Bibi’s’ exit. Far from it. The occupation is here to stay. The heart of the dispute with the Palestinians will continue to beat. And there’s no guarantee whatsoever that those elected to replace him we’ll do a better job. The harm that has been done is cutting too deep and is too everlasting to disappear magically. But… there will be a chance for change again. There will be a chance for peace again. How to go about it will be up to the people of Israel. Stay tune.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue

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Who is a Terrorist?

thebrokenelbow.com

A week ago or so, in Jerusalem, an Israeli Border-Police office was stabbed to death by three Palestinian assailants in broad day light. She was a young woman of 23, her whole life ahead of her, whom relatives described as a “real-life Wonder Woman.” In my book, she is most certainly worthier of that title than the Israeli woman playing that Comic Book hero in cinema theaters, with all the fakery and shield-deflecting bullets. May she rest in peace, Hadas Malka, and may the memory of her bravery and dedication to defending her country be of blessing.

The Palestinians who killed her were shot and killed too by Israeli forces. They were declared by the Israeli Government and Media as terrorists. Indeed, Netanyahu demanded of Abbas to declare and denounce them as such, which Abba refused to do. The reason he refused to do so, whether stated or not, is that for the Palestinians these were not terrorists, but rather freedom fighters. They were part of the resistance, from Hamas and the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.’ Which, together with other such forces, had been fighting and resisting—though without much success—what they consider to be the occupation and colonialization of their land for the last 50 years.

This difference of view regarding the assailants’ motives and actions, reflects a larger issue of disagreement as to the nature of not only the Palestinian struggle for independence, but also of terrorism at large. Since Israel and its army control their territory, control their every-day life, and keep building settlements on what they regard as their future-state; and yes, sometimes terrorizing them too—think Israeli settlers uprooting their olive trees and slaughtering their sheep—what are they to do? Peace, you say? But Israel’s interest in peace comes second to solidify their control over the occupied territories. It is why, when Netanyahu had demand that Abbas would stop the financial support for the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli, who are confined there on charges of murder and terrorism, Abbas had refused to do so. He reacted likewise even when President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson had demand the same of him. You see: Abbas would lose whatever little credit and respect he still has with his people, who regard those prisoners as martyrs and freedom fighters.

Just a week prior to that, it so happened that four Arab Gulf States severed diplomatic ties, and boycotted a fifth state, Qatar, for supporting terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including objections to Qatar’s close ties with Turkey and Iran. Qatar reputed these accusations, pointing to its constant fight against terrorism. This effort and boycott is being led by Saudi Arabia, which just received a most generous promise of American weaponry from President Trump, in return for many sacks of gold. Yes, that Saudi Arabia, from where Bin Laden came, and most of the other terrorists who blew up the planes and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, murdering close to 3000 innocent people. Killing citizens—and citizens only!—indiscriminately in the streets of peace-loving cities, that’s terrorism.

You might be surprised to learn that Nelson Mandela, one of the most revered politicians ever, whose funereal was the largest gathering of international diplomats, including the then American President Barack Obama, was labeled and regarded as a terrorist. First by the British, second by the racist South African white regime, and third by the Americans. As far as 2008, after he’d been already the liberator and president of South Africa—yes, after receiving the Nobel prize for peace, too—he was still on the American terror list. Imagine that!

And imagine also this: Both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir—who later would become Israel’s Prime Ministers—were labeled and regraded as terrorists. Not only for blowing up the King David Hotel (see picture above) in Jerusalem, killing scores of innocent people from different nationalities, including Jewish victims, together with British Army personnel, but for other acts of murder and atrocities. Even Ben-Gurion, and his Haganah military commanders, who fought so hard for Israel’s independence, had called them, and regarded them as terrorists. And so did the Zionist Congress and Jewish Agency. You can try to justify it by saying that they also fought for Israel’s independence, only sometimes using terrorism means. Just as the Palestinians are doing now. And anyhow, that’s always the case, isn’t it, when fighting for liberation and independence?

And so it goes. One way of looking at it is to say—and principally believe—that terrorism is when you attack and kill indiscriminately innocent people. Young and old, male and female, of all gender and races, who did you no wrong whatsoever, and who are not fighting against you (even if their governments are doing so). They are not occupying your land, your home, your people. Of course, does it really make a difference for this categorization, when your government, on the other hand, indiscriminately blowing up buildings, bombing civilians, ripping them to pieces, killing scores of them, as the Americans still do in Syria and Afghanistan, and as Israel did in Lebanon and Gaza?

Go figure. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” And ‘terror’ as “a state of intense fear;” and also as “violence (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands.” Reign of terror is defined as “a state or a period of time marked by violence often committed by those in power that produces widespread terror.” So there you have it, my friends, no need to spell it out for you. At the end of the day, and argument, it seems clear that ‘who is a terrorist,’ may well be just in the eye of the beholder.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

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