Saturday, January 16, 2010

War & Peace at the Car Wash

I was waiting for the crew at my local car wash to finish drying my car when a young man approached and asked where he could get the US Army decal that I display on the rear window.

“The Army gives them to people who have served, veterans, and I assume to active duty members as well,” I told him.

“You were in the Army?” he asked. Oh yes, a very long time ago before you were born, I replied, noticing a distinct accent.

He was joined by another young man. “Did you fight in the Middle East?” No, I said, but there has never been an absence of wars for America. We have never been free to ignore the rest of the world even if we wanted to.

In a similar fashion, as much as Israel may yearn for peace, they have never been permitted to function as a normal nation. From the hour that Israeli sovereignty was proclaimed, the nation was attacked by its “neighbors” and has, for all intents and purposes, been on a war footing ever since.

The two young men talking with me said they were Palestinians. Both came to America to find peace.

I think that tells you everything you need to know about the reality of Israeli-Palestinian relations—--if one can call the one-sided determination of the Palestinian leadership to “drive the Israelis into the sea.” Or the Iranian pledge to “wipe Israel off the map.” Or the Hezbollah forces in Lebanon being re-armed by the Iranians for whom they are a proxy army against Israel.

In the course of our chat, they said they were both from Gaza and I was reminded that the Israelis, in their futile quest for peace, had forced out their own people from the Gaza strip and turned the area over to Fatah, also known as the Palestinian Liberation Authority.

What they got in return was an endless cascade of rockets from Gaza, not just for a few weeks, but for months and years. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Hamas forced Fatah to retreat to the West Bank where they could have the protection of the Israelis who continue to desperately look for anyone with whom to negotiate a real peace.

In January of last year, the Israelis initiated Operation Cast lead in which their military targeted the sources of the Gaza rockets and looked for Hamas leaders who cravenly hid in the midst the population. The rocketing has largely stopped since then, though ugly individual attacks on Israelis have continued.

The Israeli solution has been to build a very high wall between them and the Palestinians and to maintain tight control over who passes through it. To do otherwise would be to subject their people to suicide bombers and other killers.

“Would you accept peace with Israel?” I asked. I was greeted with broad smiles. Yes, Palestinians want peace I was told, but “Hamas will not permit it.”

So, there you are. It has nothing to do with Washington’s foreign policy with regard to Israel and it has everything to do with the bad intentions of those who continue to use the Palestinian people as pawns of resistance to any Western presence in what they regard as their sacred lands.

The Islamic jihad knows no boundaries, killing Jews, Christians, Hindus and even Muslims with abandon. It took President Obama a year to say out loud that the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda. It took three days to say anything about the Christmas bomber.

Israel was sacred to the Jews for two thousand years before there ever was an Islamic religion. It was sacred to Christians for a thousand years before Islam existed. Jerusalem is never mentioned even once in the Koran, but, for reasons known only to Israel’s “neighbors”, they cannot find any reason to make peace with them.

The two young Palestinians were very happy to be living and working in America. They treated me with the greatest of respect and with good will. That’s the way it should be.
Alan Caruba

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