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By Ben Cohen a “legendary master of the left field.” -BRP!

“Unintentionally misunderstood since 1975.” –Anonymous

“A big f@#k you, to the audience.” -B. Pendarvis

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gaza: A responce

I wrote this way to long response to a relative who had responded to my original piece on Gaza. They are very well informed and have a different opinion on much. While I am not sharing their response (they can do that on their own.) I thought I would share my second take because it clarifies and adds some more of my opinion....

I know the majority of Israeli troops are very honorable men and women. I have no doubt that most tried to be conscious of the innocent. I do not debate that Hamas, Hezbollah, Alkita and much of the Arab world (not all) have embraced a ideology that reflect the intentions of Hitler. As you say this is fact. Today in Germany you will not find a propaganda machine more anti-Hitler outside of Israel. Is there no potential for Arabs to have the same change of hart? It was war that brought this, but it seems such a stretch for the type of war America and Israel have fought in the Middle East could be successful. America has had their fare share of culpable manipulation with CIA interferences and our sometimes counter productive approaches to was in the middle east like water boarding. One option is both immoral and impossible…a destruction of the Arabs on the scale the “some” Arabs want of America and Jews. I do believe that Israel has tried almost everything, perhaps not at the right moments or for long enough, but I do not pretend to have answers, just a perspective. I also would like to state that Jimmy Carter is at least has the guts to try, even if he at times has been lead to the wrong conclusions. It should be acceptable for the well intentioned to have errors in judgment…they do not deserve contempt.

Until Israeli Arabs have full rights, like a full seat in the Cineset (sp?) then the point is not equal. I maybe wrong, but it is my understanding there are limits on their role in government. I will grant you they seem to have more rights then in Arab nations. I think much of the fault or solution does fall in the laps of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. They have not only attacked Israel, but even worse they have not made a home for their own people, even treating them worse then Israel.

If the surrounding Arab states are not willing to take responsibility for the well-being of the Palestinian people then, I am for a two state solution, but there has to be system that can be emplace to allow for safe exchange of goods and services, as well as, safe passage for employees. It is the human contact on the local level, individual to individual that creates this, not government to government through check points. When you can communicate on a personal level much of these issues can be managed, reduced or even be resolved. The other approach contributes to one solution war until annihilation.

I did not make this point in the piece I wrote, but I did a cartoon a few years ago when the wall was being put up in the West Bank, comparing it to Japanese Internment Camp Fences, The Berlin Wall, The fence on the Mexican/American Boarder and the Warsaw ghetto Wall. I see these sorts of barriers as actual barriers to civil progress and I am surprised that Jews have chosen this approach given our experiences as a people. I find these actions, and the isolationism of Palestinians to evoke the memory of the build up to Hitler's final solution. I am beginning to wonder if what we have learned from the Holocaust is not tolerance, but instead lesson on how to behave with a superiority complex. I realize these are dangerous ideas to express, but they are what comes to mind and I am surprised if it does not come to other Jews. I also have heard that Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defense minister said "The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves." I along with many Jews at his use of the term Shoah in this context, but even more to the point, why are we threatening Holocaust's on another people?

You said, "very careful about not targetting civilans (of whom there are not so many in Gaza)." I agree that there is likely the intention of not targeting civilian, but the reality is that they have fired upon a UN school with children in it, there are reports of a great number of children and women being killed. The reality is that as in Iraq this is a despicable tactic , but Hamas's only available tactic; to bring the fighting into urban areas, to diminish the effectiveness of Israel’s overwhelming fire power, but even more to your point, to use their own people as a shield of collateral damage. This is where we clearly agree and I can appreciate you sincere emotions on the issue, Hamas, Hezbollah and Alkita are savage enemies that use tactics that clearly make them behave of war criminals and have disregard for their own people's well being.

I think they come to this place through three thought process, one it effectively makes Israel look like monsters if the take the bate, two: they are so ineffective as a fighting force and desperate as a people (or political entity) that their backs are up against a wall, and three: It is their interpretation of their religion that has created a morality that allows for this behavior...and from secular point of view and from a Jewish point of view...I find this to be mass insanity. I just worry that we are going in the same direction. Certainly the Arab states could help solve this issue, and perhaps that is were the international pressure should be. If western countries were not so dependent on oil I think this may be where the pressure will be…more reason to convert to alternative energies and try and save the planet for our children.

My understanding is that it is both Israel and Hamas that are not abiding by humanitarian efforts. Again it was Israel that ok'ed the UN to enter Gaza on a humanitarian effort and then killed the UN driver they had otherwise to enter. It may have been an accident, but it has not helped their case.

Obviously you have better information on the conditions in Israel, but I would caution all to take into consideration that the Palestinian’s have similar takes from their perspectives on the hardship of daily life. I would also suggest that those who are left in Palestine are mostly so poor that they cannot leave. I do not think they are all or even mostly members of Hamas...but I am certain that today more of those boys are members of Hamas or future members of Hamas, because of Israel’s reaction to the clearly despicable tactics on Hamas’s side. This is not to say that the four people killed on Israel’s side did not weren’t some response or effort toward resolution, but now that 900 Palestinians have been killed I am sure more then four are innocent. If we start going through history this conflict has so long a history (virtually, our entire history as a people). When does it end...or are we satisfied with the answer being the end of days. Proving that we are human's could not evolve beyond base instincts.

The issue of majority rule does apply to Jerusalem. But outside of Jerusalem there is much debate. I am less and less convinced on how British or even Turkish rule can determine if the land is Arab is Israeli. I do think that the Holy land should be shared and I would love to see a solution that embraces the protection of all three cultures that lay claim to it. Clearly Arab perspectives hurt this, but I fear the Jewish and Christian perspectives are returning to a ideology that matches this road to obliteration. This fear is supported by the conflict in Gaza today and incidence like the 1982 Lebanon War where Christian Lebanese militants murdered thousands of Arabs under the occupied protection of Israel in Lebanon.

On Jews being in Israel a couple of thoughts. I think it is despicable that America did not open our boarders and allow more Jews to immigrate after the Holocaust. I agree there has been a consistent Jewish present in Palestine and we have the right to live there along with Muslims and Christians. I also think however that what did we expect immigrating in such numbers to Israel. While there are many benefits and clearly Israel has redeveloped into a bountiful land because of the work of the Jews. I cannot defend the lack of effort and responsibility taken by the Palestinians. They have been manipulated and let down by their leaders. I do not think it is indicative of the people, but I do think if they succeed in their goals, it will do nothing to solve their day-to-day issues. The do have the will of the international community and the ability to create for themselves a place as the Jews have. I suppose they are blinded by fear and anger…clearly wrongly pointed at Jews, not their own leaders and their own responsibilities. This above any is why Carters efforts have been undermined. I still ask the question how does Israel’s reaction now or any reactive envision into established Arab territory help create an environment that will end with a solution for both sides?

As for the hypothetical of an attack on Vermont or California. I do see the potential in reality. After 9/11 for me it changed every thing and give the current environment here in the US I have had fantasies of being forced out of my home and having to flee. I would prefer to stay. No, I am not so attached to a place that I would stay beyond reason the survival of my daughter is far more important. With these instincts many Jews survived the Holocaust. I do have attachments to the Bay Area, Savannah, GA and Vermont…but I realized that you always grow attached and then long for the previous place. It is part of the human condition and memories. However, you make more and/or you move on. My responsibility now is for my daughter. If it came to that I would find a way Erin, Savannah and myself to survive…or die trying. Not die trying to save a piece of property. But I have the luxury of resources and history of traveling and survival in my family. I know it can be done. Some do not. Or they are paralyzed by, lack of education, ideology, self-righteousness, lack of inner strength or lack of leadership.

We both made the point earlier that some cannot leave, because of poverty. I would suggest two things, this is a reality in all cultures for some or many. Also I think much of what I said above is the only answer…but if you are isolated, trapped as many Palestinian may feel and I would guess some Israelis feel then I would not say “tough,” but I would say I don’t know either. Not being in those shoes. Perhaps being closer in proximity you know the answer.

I do not believe there is justification in force. But I conceded that it is a road that can lead to a end that is acceptable and tolerable if not ideal for future generations, provided they have the ability to forgive. This is not justice.

I am not surprised, but glad to hear you speak of moral responsibility to the Palestinian, I wish as do you the Arab states were more committed to their moral reasonability.

As for the horrific tactics of suicide booms…this I cannot fully wrap my mind around. It is part of the mass insanity I referred to. I just will never get how someone can “believe” in something to the point were they throw their lives and the lives of their enemies away. It is simply crazy. I guess this is why I have no real answers…how do you negotiate with that? But again, why would you perpetuate it with actions that erode your moral position. And why would you cut off communication between communities that could lead to a neighborly environment and could erode the anger and mistrust that fuels this insanity.

Thank you so much for your impassioned response. I have learned some…even if it does not come out in my argumentative tone.

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