Tag Archives: Gaza

Something Happened

Charlie Jones attended a party of friends and acquaintances in one of the trendy studio apartments near Washington Square on the lower east side of Manhattan. Charlie brought some beer, one of the girls brought wine. Someone brought some hash and someone else brought some acid to get high on the music. One of the guys rolled a mixture of Cherry Blend pipe tobacco and hashish into a clumsy fat cigarette held together by spit, and passed it around during the good part of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Yeah. Wow. Cool. Awesome. Did you hear that? Yeah. Wow. Cool.

This wasn’t Charlie’s first time. When the girl sitting next to him passed him the joint, he took a drag deep into his lungs so that they were filled almost to the bursting point, and let it out slowly without coughing. Then he handed the joint to the guy sitting on the other side of him.

Charlie was beginning to feel pretty mellow when he saw the air in front of him waver. No, it was more like shimmer, and then a small dark point appeared in the middle of the shimmering. Another point appeared and then another point. At first Charlie thought they might have been flies or gnats or mosquitos or something like that, but they seemed to be locked into their positions, in the middle of the air, unmoving. It was the strangest thing he’d ever seen. One of the points started to grow into a small ball, like a balloon inflating. The poles were dark violet and the surface went through a rainbow progression, with a bright yellow line around the equator, and then deepening back to dark violet at the opposite pole. Other points were doing the same thing at the same time seemingly in complete synch with each other. The balls formed a straight line in the air that quickly rotated 45 degrees back and forth, like a pendulum or maybe like watching just one leg walking. The round balls joined each other becoming an oblong object in the air. Then it became a thin line suddenly, blinked into a vertical shimmering, and then disappeared.

Charlie asked the girl sitting next to him whether she had seen that. Seen what? she asked. Charlie turned to the guy on the other side of him and asked whether he’d seen it. The guy looked blankly at Charlie, who tried to describe what he had seen, but it wasn’t like anything he’d ever seen before. The guy said like wow … cool … man. You been droppin’ acid or somethin’? Charlie said no, he didn’t think so, but maybe the hash had been laced with something. Yeah, wow, awesome, cool, the girl sitting next to him said. She took his hand. They stood up unsteadily and walked to the bedroom.

***

Adam Yerushalmi sat in the reception area of Professor Freindlischer’s office. Professor Freindlischer was a hypnotist who specialized in helping people quit smoking. He had a fairly good success rate, or so they said, and seemed well thought of in the Tel Aviv area. In Israel, in spite of the fact that socialized medicine was considered pretty high up the scale compared to other countries around the world, even America, everybody who could afford it only went to the professors and heads of medical departments, instead of going to younger doctors and inexperienced interns.

The professor called Adam into his consulting room. He looked over Adam’s paperwork mainly making sure that all the waiver clauses were signed. Adam was skeptical of this whole hypnosis thing. He’d tried a number of different treatments but none of them ever made a dent in his nicotine habit. He doubted he was suggestible (or gullible) enough to be hypnotized. He was his own man.

The professor came around from behind his desk to sit down in a chair next to Adam. He told Adam to relax. While the professor was talking to him, Adam could see the professor indistinctly out of the corner of his eye but he was mostly conscious of the professor’s voice. The voice slowly faded into the background of Adam’s consciousness which remained crystal clear. The last thing Adam remembered being conscious of was wondering when this hypnotic trance state was supposed to kick in.

A siren started to sound, building up like a pianist stubbing all the keys with his thumb nail from the bass notes of the left side of the keyboard all the way up to the highest notes of the right side. The receptionist turned up the radio full volume and opened the door to the professor’s consulting room, which was something she had been explicitly instructed never to do under any circumstances. The siren continued its insistent blaring.

The professor hurriedly attempted to snap Adam out of his trance state. “I will count backwards, from three to one, and when I say one you will wake up … Three, two, one. Wake up, man!” he implored but Adam had not responded. The professor slapped Adam on the back of his shoulder and shouted, “Wake up, damn you!” The receptionist stood nervously in the doorway and shouted at the professor, “Carl, for God’s sake! We’ve got to get to the shelter!”

Adam seemed to snap out of his trance state but he didn’t seem to know what was going on around him. The professor shouted at him to listen to the siren, there were incoming missiles from Gaza, and they all had to go down to the bomb shelter as quickly as possible.

They rushed out of the office without bothering to lock the doors and ran down two flights of stairs to the bomb shelter in the basement of the building. Just as the professor pushed Adam into the reinforced concrete shelter, a surface-to-air missile defense missile intercepted the incoming rocket high above the office building exploding less than ten meters away from the rocket. Twisted shards and grapefruit sized pieces of metal picked up speed in their fall to earth causing minor damage to some rooftops and the outer walls of buildings in the vicinity.

Adam thought he heard a heavy silence a few meters away from him as though all the sound had been sucked out of the space. Then he heard a small high-pitched “tink” noise, followed by a deeply rolling discordant blat that seemed to widen until he felt it viscerally buzz-saw through his mid-section. Just as quickly the sound contracted, becoming more harmonic, soft, and plucky like the short strings of a harp. Again he heard the “tink” noise and then silence.

Adam asked the professor and the receptionist whether they had also heard the strange noises he had heard. They both looked at Adam oddly. Adam tried to tell the professor what he had heard but he had no words in Hebrew or in English to describe the shapes of the sounds, let alone the sounds themselves. The professor thought Adam might have suffered some sort of post-traumatic stress from the indelicate way the professor had had to wake Adam out of his trance. He’d seen it before in the Army. He suggested to Adam that he visit a doctor. Professor Freindlischer thanked God Adam had signed all the waiver clauses. The Hamas missile attack did not qualify as an act of God, but at least nobody could claim the professor had been negligent.

Adam went to see his family doctor and tried to explain to him what he had heard that day, still fumbling for words. Adam asked the doctor for a pen and piece of paper, and proceeded to draw pictures of the sounds. The doctor typed in “synesthesia” in the symptoms box of Adam’s Patient’s Record and printed out a referral for an MRI.

Adam’s MRI appointment was scheduled three months later for 3:00 in the morning. The technician was courteous and rather attractive, to tell the truth. He had to wait an hour for the resident doctor to review the results and type up her professional opinion: no indications of pathology in any of the layers of the patient’s brain that were imaged. No findings. Adam was instructed to return to the referring doctor for an interpretation of the results of the MRI scan.

Adam understood the MRI results and he knew what he heard.

***

Ibrahim bin Amin heard the roar of rockets launched from the open lot between his building and the neighboring building. He dropped the newspaper he’d been reading on the carpet and yelled to his wife, Jamilah, to grab their little daughter, Dalal, to run down the stairs to the tunnel entry the Hamas had recently built under their building. Dalal insisted they take her teddy bear, Kasim, too. Ibrahim scooped up Kasim in his hand and they rushed out of their apartment. Jamilah held Dalal in one arm and the hem of her chador with her other hand so as not to trip going down the stairs.

When they reached the ground floor Ibrahim tried to lift the heavy iron door covering the entrance to the tunnel but it didn’t budge a millimeter. Ibrahim grabbed Jamilah’s arm and ran with her and Dalal frantically to the next building hoping there might be an open entrance to a tunnel.

There was but it was guarded by a hooded Hamas freedom fighter pointing his Kalashnikov at them. They froze in the entrance to the building. The freedom fighter pulled off his face mask and told Ibrahim it’s him, Abdul bin Ali, they were at madras together when they were kids. Abdul opened the heavy iron door and motioned Ibrahim and his wife and daughter over to the ladder going down into the tunnel. Ibrahim hugged Abdul gratefully and helped Jamilah find her footing on the top rung of the ladder. When she reached the tunnel floor below Ibrahim handed down Dalal into Jamilah’s extended arms.

High above Gaza, hidden in the clouds, an Israeli jet pilot released a missile and guided it through his crosshairs and the precise coordinates his onboard system had received from the Central Command’s integrated defense system calculated from the trajectory of one of the incoming Gazan rockets. The men who had launched the rocket were long gone but the cumbersome rocket launcher was still there in the pilot’s sights. A yellow-red light suddenly filled the pilot’s grid display and then cleared to reveal a crater where the rocket launcher had stood and two hills of rubble where the buildings had been.

There was a deafening blast that Ibrahim had felt before he heard it. He heard Jamilah and Dalal screaming below and saw Abdul’s bare feet under a section of an upper floor that had collapsed on them. Then he lost consciousness.

Jamilah and Dalal were able to escape through another part of the tunnel. When she came outside, she ran back to the building where Ibrahim was buried under the rubble. Jamilah and Dalal screamed and keened for Allah or someone to help them. Finally some men came to try to dig through the rubble of the collapsed building to find Ibrahim and Abdul.

After several hours, it was late afternoon already, Jamilah remembered the muezzin’s call to Asr prayer, the men found Abdul and Ibrahim. Abdul was pronounced dead, a shahid. Ibrahim was bleeding profusely from a nasty gash on the side of his head but he was still breathing. They lifted him onto a door from the mound of rubble and carried him to a pickup truck they had flagged down, and rushed him, along with Jamilah and Dalal, to a UN field hospital nearby.

Two days later, when Ibrahim regained consciousness, Jamilah and Dalal were by his side praising Allah for his greatness and his mercy.

The day after Ibrahim came to, while one of the NGO nurses was entertaining Dalal, Ibrahim whispered to Jamilah that something strange had happed to him during the time he had been buried under the rubble. Jamilah leaned close to hear his words. “I felt something protect me,” he said softly.

“Allah be praised,” Jamilah answered.

“No,” Ibrahim said, “not Allah. Something else. I don’t know what but I felt it. It was like a large hand holding up a section of the roof that had fallen on me.”

“Ibrahim, my beloved, that must have been the hand of Allah,” Jamilah smiled at her husband.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said, “but who knows? Anyway there was something else. The doctors told me my heart had stopped.”

Jamilah turned pale.

Ibrahim took her hand and pressed it to his heart. He said, “I felt a young hand reach into my chest, without cutting it open, and take hold of my heart, squeezing it and releasing it, squeezing it and releasing it, until it began to pump my blood on its own.”

“Allah be praised. Inshallah,” Jamilah whispered.

***

Tink Blat sat on a bench in the park near his home watching his brother Zic play grzbll. The ptchr threw a slow bll toward a coordinate a meter above the plt next to Zic’s feet. Zic slammed the bll with his bt with such power that it stood still in midair but the sky expanded outward by a factor of 10,000 and everyone could see the stars winking in the night sky although it was the middle of the day.

Tink was eleven years old. He was in sixth grade. His older brother Zic was fourteen. He was in high school already and studying to be a mathematician.

Tink took his tesseract out of his pocket and expanded it so he could see the spheroid screen floating inside it. He loved watching it because there were an infinite (I josh you not) number of channels. Tink was supposed to be doing his homework on one of the educational channels, but he preferred to watch the hyposphere channels instead. His mother and father limited him to watching his favorite channels just two hours a day and only after completing his homework assignments. Besides, they didn’t like the amount of violence Tink was watching. What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

He was watching the flattened characters running down some stairs before a bomb fell on them.

“Hey Tink,” Zic said sneaking up on Tink from inside. “You’re supposed to be doing your homework. I wonder what Mom and Dad would say if they knew what channel you’re watching.”

Tink changed to his homework channel. “Don’t you dare tell on me,” he threatened, “or I’ll tell them about the window you broke playing grzbll last week.”

Tink looked at his assignment for today. Let’s see. The sum of the interior angles of any triangle on a plane surface is … 180 degrees, he said out loud. The sum of the interior angles of a triangle on a spherical surface is … 180 x (1 + 4f) … anything between 180 and 540 degrees. The sum of the interior angles of any tetrahedron on a plane surface is … between 180 and 720 degrees. The sum of the interior angles of any hypertetrahedron or pentatope is … 180 to 3600 degrees.

Tink looked around for his brother Zic to see whether he was watching him. Zic had gone back to play grzbll.

Tink flipped back to the hyposphere channel he’d been watching. One of the characters he had been interested in was buried in a building that had collapsed. Tink’s eyes began to fill with tears when he saw that the character’s heart had stopped beating. Tink couldn’t bear it and reached into the spheroid screen with his hand. His arm appeared to him to become elongated and small. His arm became longer and thinner until he touched the character’s dead heart, wrapped his fingers around it, squeezed it, and relaxed … squeezed it and relaxed.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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23,320

Next week we will commemorate our fallen soldiers and civilians who were killed in wars and acts of terrorism since the inception or the conception of the state of Israel. We do this immediately following the commemoration of the six million Jews who were killed in Europe. We prepare ourselves all week long by listening to stories on the radio and watching video clips of handsome young soldiers and beautiful young girlfriends, poems and letters, twisted metal and smoke plumes, blood, oil, and tears. Then we seem to shrug our shoulders of those unbearable weights and celebrate our Independence Day the very next day with such abandon and insane frivolity as though we received our country on a silver platter for free.

Obviously there is a linkage between those events, the holocaust, the wars and the terror, and the establishment of Israel. Israelis don’t like to dwell on that linkage. Jews went all too gently into the night of the holocaust. Israeli will not go so gently into that night.

23,320 is the number of our soldiers and civilians who have been killed in the current Promised Land. Last year at this time, I wrote another blog post entitled 23,169. This year we had Protective Edge in Gaza. 67 of our soldiers were killed. The rest were killed in incidents that have no names. The incidents seem endless. Sometimes they morph into wars and sometimes wars peter out into incidents. We come to expect these wars and incidents. They make us bitter, but there is no limit to our capacity for bitterness. We really don’t expect our sworn enemies to love us or to recognize us. We don’t expect anyone to beat their swords into plowshares. Neither do we expect to be able to do so ourselves.

We don’t expect to have any friends either. Even if our friends recognize us, they won’t love us. And if we do have a friend who likes us, we are surprised and we wonder whether they really know what we are and how long the friendship will last.

In the end, we depend only on our soldiers, our children. There is no number that can express their loss, only names.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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The Roots of the Gazan Conflict on One Foot

As a guide to the perplexed, I have compiled a summary of the root causes of the current conflict between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza. I have tried to be as rational and objective as possible, adding only a bit of personal coloring where appropriate while making it clear which parts are objective and which are subjective. I believe this analysis may also prove useful in understanding the other conflicts involving Israel in the Middle East, such as the Lebanese-Hezbollah conflict, the Syrian conflict, and the Iranian-Ayatollah conflict. Without further ado, the Cliff Notes version. If you wish, you may read only the sixteen section titles.

Sixteen. Massive destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties in Gaza

Much of Gaza’s electricity, water, sewage, and other infrastructure have been devastated. Close to 2000 Gazans have been killed and many more wounded. Nobody besides Hamas really knows how many of the casualties are combatants (Hamas) and how many are non-combatants, although it may be safely assumed that old people, women, and children should be considered as non-combatants.

Subjective note: In a “normal” war, the number of combatant casualties should be significantly larger than the number of civilian casualties, which is the case on the Israeli side, 64:3. If, as Hamas claims, almost all the casualties are civilian, that would imply that Hamas hid underground in the safety of their tunnels and bunkers, while they left the civilians above ground to fend for themselves.

Fifteen. Massive rocket attack on Southern and Central regions of Israel and building a massive infrastructure of offensive tunnels rendering Israel’s border with Gaza ineffectual

Since 2001 Gaza has fired over 15,200 rockets into Israel. In 2014, 450 rockets were fired into Israel preceding Israel’s military response. Up to now, over 1000 rockets have been fired at Israel since the start of 2014.

After Hamas terrorists were seen coming out of piers on the Israeli side from tunnels extending underground from Gazan towns, Israel sought out and destroyed 32 separate attack tunnels with entrances underneath residential buildings, mosques, schools, and hospitals.

Fourteen. Naval, land, and air blockade of Gaza

Israel blocks all imports to and exports from Gaza, whether by land, sea, or air. Israel confiscates any military or dual-use (military-civilian) materials, letting through only items that only have civilian use (food, medicine, clothes, etc).

Subjective note: I agree with Hamas that a blockage constitutes a casus belli (an act of war), but following the Hamas declaration that they would destroy Israel and their apparent actions to do so, Israel believed that a blockade was not only justified, it was required.

Thirteen. Hamas charter calling for the destruction of Israel and massive armament and buildup of offensive military capacity to carry out the charter

Article 7 of the Hamas Charter, written in 1988, ends thus: “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).” Read the whole charter in English at http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html?chocaid=397.

Twelve. Massive number of Palestinians displaced to refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank from their homes in Israel

The War for the Independence of Israel in 1948 was a monumental catastrophe for the 700,000 Palestinians living in the newly declared state of Israel. The Arab nations surrounding Israel responded to the unanimous decision of the UN for partition of Palestine into the independent states of Jordan and Israel by immediately declaring war on Israel. The Arabs believed the Jews, still weak from barely surviving the Holocaust would be easy prey and called to Palestinians via radio broadcasts to leave their homes, cross the borders into the safety of the surrounding Arab countries, and after a quick and easy victory, they would return to live in the homes of the vanquished Jews. Unfortunately for the Palestinians, Israel somehow managed to survive against all odds and all military logic. In every ensuing conflict in the coming years, Israel grew stronger and the displaced Palestinians gazed longingly at their lost homeland from the refugee camps across the borders until today.

To be fair, Palestinians claim that they were forcibly expelled from their homes by Israelis or hoodwinked into leaving their homes by Israelis, rather than the Israeli version of history as I wrote that Arabs had broadcast over radio that they should leave and later return after an Arab victory.

Eleven. 5 Arab countries declare war on Israel and Israel fights for its existence

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War.

Ten. The UN calls for the creation of the states of Jordan and Israel from former British Palestinian mandate

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_Partition_Plan.

Nine. Jews who survived the Holocaust seek refuge in Palestine under British UN mandate

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Exodus.

Eight. German Nazis embark on the Final Solution to exterminate European Jews

See http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/timeline.html.

Seven. Rampant unbridled antisemitism, pogroms, and persecution of Jews by Christians and Moslems throughout the Christian and Moslem world

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_antisemitism and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world.

Six. Eight Crusades and extensive persecution of Moslems by Christians throughout the Christian and Moslem world

See http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/the_crusades.htm and  http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/christian-persecution-against-muslims/.

Five. Mohammed preaches a new religion based on Christianity and Judaism but calling into question the right of non-believers (Infidels) not to believe.

The Holy Quran (Koran) 9:29 states “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

Quran 9:30 states “The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the son of Allah’; and the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the son of Allah.’ That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

For the whole book see http://quran.com/.

Four. Suspected Jewish involvement in the Roman crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_deicide.

 

Three. Jesus preaches a new religion based on Judaism but calling into question the legitimacy and authority of the Orthodox Jewish theology

See http://www.truegospel.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/basics.tour/ID/2/What-Did-Jesus-Preach.htm.

Two. God promised the Jews the land of Canaan from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Israel.

One. Abraham preaches monotheism and engenders the Jewish people

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism.

A numerical analysis of the root causes above shows that the first seven causes (1 – 7) are founded in religion, to be specific monotheism. This “trialectic religionism” (to coin a phrase) is probably responsible for this civilization destroying whirlwind of hatred.

In the last eight causes (9 – 16), Muslims are only capable of seeing the even-numbered events as sufficient causes, while Jews are only capable of seeing the odd-numbered events as sufficient causes. See my explanation for this interesting phenomenon in https://uncollectedworks.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/hypothetically-speaking/.

Event number eight is the only event that doesn’t fit the numerical analysis. The Holocaust was a black hole, a singleton that only Jews are capable of seeing as sufficient cause for everything that followed. Many Muslims believe the Holocaust was a fiction invented by the Jews for their gain (for example the state of Israel). Some Muslims call Israel Nazis in their treatment of Muslims (even though they don’t believe the Nazis did anything untoward to the Jews – subjective note: this demonstrates an inconsistency in their thought processes). Some Muslims say that if there were a Holocaust for the Jews, they (the Muslims) would show the world how it should be done.

Oh and one final explanation: why “on one foot”? A heathen asked Rabbi Hillel to teach him the entire Torah while he stands on one foot. Hillel answered him “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah while the rest is commentary.” I’m just saying that the roots of the Gazan conflict would fill volumes of books, supporting one side or another, while I thought it might be beneficial to some to see the pattern of causes and effects that seemed to have baffled most scholars and well-intentioned diplomats, and rendered the conflict intractable.

From my point of view I would first advise everybody to renounce religion, to look inward for their spirituality, if that is their predilection. Secondly, I would advise everyone to renounce history, in favor of their future. People who are guided only by their history will never escape it. If you want to study history, study your enemy’s history and you will see the limits of his capacity to act.

To free yourself of history, turn to the future.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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The Third Scenario

The Hamas are a group of terrorists. They are not a government of any sort. Not like Israel, not like Egypt or Jordan, and not like the US or the UK. They only know how to create terror. They don’t know how to do anything else. If they were somehow to find themselves at peace, they wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it. They are as much a terror to their own people in Gaza as they are to their neighbors, Egypt and Israel. The people of Gaza deserve better, even though Gazans freely voted Hamas into power. One of the weaknesses of democracy is that you can vote to end your democracy.

However, this blog post is not about the current war between Israel and Hamas, or the events leading up to the war, but about the future immediately following the war.

Either one of two scenarios will play out: either Israel will remain in Gaza until she has destroyed the last tunnel, the last missile launcher, and captured or killed the last Hamas commander, or a consortium of world powers will force Israel to stop and save Hamas so that they can fight again another day, in a year or two or ten.

There is a third scenario, rendering the first scenario unnecessary from the standpoint of Israel and the second scenario improbable for the Hamas. It is simply this: the oil rich Arab states, Muslim countries around the world, European countries, Australia and New Zealand, South America, Canada and the USA, whose collective hearts justifiably go out to the dead and wounded Gazans – the same day they force Israel to roll back from Gaza, the world puts its money where its mouth is. On that day, the world enters Gaza, clears away the wreckage, buries the dead, cares for the injured, builds hospitals, homes, madrassas (schools), mosques, roads, traffic lights, basic infrastructure, banks, government, police, judges, hotels, tourist infrastructure, more hotels, a sea port, an airport, taller hotels – you get the idea. You give the Gazans (and the rest of the world) something to lose, so that they are fully invested in peace. You don’t ask Hamas for permission to do this. You don’t give Hamas a cent of the money, not even baksheesh (bribery) or protection money. You make sure you protect your investment and Gaza blooms until hatred, revenge, and war are forgotten.

I can guarantee you that Israel would be in there, rolling up its sleeves, rebuilding, and investing in Gaza with the rest of the world, as soon as the Gazans let them, because that is our nature.

The Palestinians have more in common with the Jews than just the small patch of land they both occupy. I remember when I took an evening course on modern Israeli culture at Ohio State University when Assaf was only three years old, a couple of years before we immigrated to Israel. There was a Jordanian army officer in the same class with me. He came up to me one evening and told me he was Bedouin, like the rest of the elite in the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. Then he spoke deprecatingly of the Palestinians. He said the Arab countries shunned them. He called them “the Jews of the Arabs”. He also said the Palestinians were smarter and more educated than the rest of the Arabs.

So you see, we do have something else in common besides the land.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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Response to Ban Ki Moon

As Gary L. Bauer posted on FaceBook:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon released a statement that read, in part, “Too many Palestinian civilians have been killed, and any Israeli ground offensive will undoubtedly increase the death toll and exacerbate civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip.”

Your Excellency Mr. Moon (or however one should address the head bean pusher of the “steamed” United Nations), I just want to understand the rules that would make us ok in the eyes of your organization. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to go something like this:

  1. It’s ok for anyone to take a thousand or so pot shots at us with short, medium, and long-range missiles, as long as most of them don’t cause much damage or many deaths on our side, whether that’s due to our missile defense systems or to the inaccuracies of their missiles;
  2. It’s ok for us to respond by bombing the sources of those missile attacks as long as our death toll equals the attacking side’s death toll.

Is this a general rule or just for us? Please forgive me, but it sounds like you’re making this stuff up as you go along. Morality shouldn’t be made up as you go along. Emmanuel Kant’s Moral Imperative was to ask what would happen to our society if everybody did what you’re thinking of doing. If society would fall apart then it’s probably wrong. If society would continue to survive then it’s probably not wrong. That makes more sense to me.

I understand that a lot of people don’t really have time to check out the facts before going off to their pro-Palestinian/anti-Israeli rally and, besides, the Palestinians are so loud in their persuasiveness, but here are some uncontested, albeit unremembered, facts related to the current situation in Gaza:

  1. Israel unilaterally disengaged itself from Gaza in September of 2005. I remember many of us had visions of Gaza attracting international investment and building hotels, beach resorts, and hi-tech industries.
  2. The Gazans democratically elected Hamas in January 2006. It became clear to us at the time that the Hamas effectively scotched any possibility of investment and normalcy with their bribery, extortion, and religious coercion. I don’t think the Gazans have had another election since then. One of the ironies of democracy is the possibility of democratically electing an individual or a group of people who could destroy any possibility of democracy for the future. I think there are many Gazans that in their heart of hearts regret their electoral choice back in 2006. All they really want to do is make an honest day’s living for themselves and their families and maybe enjoy smoking a nargila with their neighbors and friends.
  3. Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2008 in an attempt to prevent the Hamas from importing weapons and materials to build tunnels into Israel and Egypt. Israel allows food and non-military materials into Gaza. Apparently Israel’s blockade is not effective enough though, considering the number of missiles they’ve fired at us.

I understand that wars should involve only combatants. Hamas has only targeted civilians, not our soldiers and not our military bases. We’d certainly prefer to attack those who are launching the missiles at us, than old people, women, and children, and not just because that would be more effective but also because of the morality we were raised on. We’ve scoured the fields, the streets, and the buildings looking for Hamas combatants but couldn’t find them. After launching their missiles they withdraw into their underground bunkers and tunnels, or they trigger their remote controls without having to leave the safety of their bunkers. We are forced to follow the trajectories of the missiles fired at us back to their sources and destroy the launchers.

Now that we have entered Gaza with our tanks, tractors, and soldiers to uncover the warren of Củ Chi tunnels built by Hamas with cement that should have been used for building hotels and, yes, bomb shelters for their non-combatants, we will find the combatants and engage them.

I don’t mean to imply that the Hamas are cowards, hiding behind innocent civilians. Hamas terrorists are brave and cunning fighters, but they are also cruel and coldly calculating with respect to Gazan civilians in achieving their objective to draw our soldiers into their killing fields.

So Mr. Moon, don’t be so quick to judge us until you’ve walked a kilometer in our sandals.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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