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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

I have not had the opportunity to read The Nation as much as I would like. I had a little time today and read the article by Laila Al-Arian. Something struck me when I read: "My grandfather was sitting in a cafe with a group of friends in the coastal city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia when he heard that Israel captured Gaza in the June 1967 war. His face went pale and he fainted from the shock. The Israeli Army's occupation meant Gaza was lost."

If I am not mistaken, Israel was the one attacked and an act of war perpetrated on it in the 1967 war--or is there a different history? Perhaps if the Arab Nations would stop their constant attacks on Israel since 1948, there might be a chance for peace.

I also note that Israel, without a peace treaty with the "Palestinians," left Gaza and forced its citizenry out. It left behind a wonderful infrastructure including greenhouses and water irrigation systems--an economy that had supplied a good part of the world with flowers. What did Hamas do with that infrastructure? Certainly, if they had been determined to work peacefully and support their people, they could have built on what was left behind by the Israelis. Instead, they determined to destroy a good part of the system. As such, they did in their own people.

I also wonder whether Ms. Al-Arian has ever read the Hamas covenant. It is quite lengthy and hate-filled. Take a look at Article Eleven: "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.... Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.... This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law)."

Do you really believe that there is a negotiating position in the Hamas thought process?

It gets better: In Article 13, they declare that international conferences seeking peaceful solutions are "only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers? 'But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah.' (The Cow - verse 120). There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with."

I am surprised that no reporter I have seen or heard reports on the terms of the Hamas Covenant 1988 nor attempts to deal with it. You can read all of the strange content, including the Hamas charges that Lions and Rotary clubs and the Freemasons are all secret Zionist societies in the covenant, published on the Yale Law site. I suggest that all of the fair and objective reporters take a look and see what Israel is up against.

As to war, it is hell. I think no one who cares wants to see innocents (including Jews and Israelis) killed or wounded. Although not very well reported in the USA, schools in Israeli towns were destroyed by rockets--luckily, the Israelis protect their children. They do not put them in harm's way by secreting rockets and ammunition in schools, mosques, homes and hospitals as does Hamas.

However, when a country has had its civilian population targeted with rockets and stood by for years with remarkable restraint, it must act to protect its people. Would one expect anything less--for example, if a city in the USA were attacked by rockets, what do you think the response of the USA would be? Do you think that for one minute, the USA or any other country would not immediately act to defend its people? Israel should not be held to a different standard.

If you are able to find a partner for peace in the Hamas movement, please let Israel know. Israel will only be too happy to sit and negotiate a peaceful two-state solution--- but, unfortunately for the Palestinans that do not agree with Hamas or Hezbollah, there appears no compromise. We all wish it would be otherwise.

Leonard S. Miller

Fair Lawn , NJ

Jan 8 2009 - 6:01pm

Web Letter

"Delilah therefore took new ropes and bound him therewith and said unto him, 'The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.'" [Judges 16:12] It was a lie, but so what? She only pretended to love him, then used both him and the Philistines to enrich herself. Not caring that he be humiliated in the world. Not caring that the Philistines be destroyed. Not caring how much of his blood would be shed, even unto his blindness and death, as long as she got what she wanted.

If our country, these United States of America, is a Samson in the world, then our own Republican Party has in July 2006 proclaimed its love for our very own Delilah. She has changed her name to "neocon" and she speaks in the four forked tongues of men like Wolfowitz and Perle, Kristol and Krauthammer. These are men of the "New American Century," who believe that nothing matters more than Israel's territorial ambitions. Not our good name in the world. Not the blood of our brave men and women.

They have co-opted the once proud party of Lincoln and neoconned it into believing in an "Axis of Evil"; that this "Axis of Evil" helped Al Qaeda bring down the Twin Towers; that it bought yellow cake uranium from Niger; that it had weapons of mass destruction aimed at the United States. But when we look past these lies and ask, "What is this Axis of Evil?," we see Iraq, which supported Hamas against Israel; Iran, which supported Hezbolah against Israel; and North Korea, which supplied weapons used against Israel. None of this "Axis of Evil" has ever been any more of a threat to the United States than Pakistan or China. Yet we are to believe the "Axis of Evil" must be destroyed at all costs, now, before they destroy us? Where does this paranoia come from? I believe these neocons generate it for their own ends. I believe that, to the neocons, "US" means "Israel." Like Delilah, these neocons only pretend to care for US.

After Israel attacked Lebanon, because Hamas and Hezbolah kidnapped three soldiers, because Israel kidnapped two civilians in Gaza a few days before that, Ken Mehlman, head of the Republican National Committee, said, "Today we are all Israelis!"

Really?

Because, personally, I've always considered myself an American. And I would expect any citizen of this country to be an American. Sure, we should support our allies, but not when they act like spoiled children.

If two children are fighting, what do you do? An adult would sit them both down and ask, "What's this about?" If one says, "He took my soldiers!" and the other one says, "He stole my civilians first!" an adult would try to get them to immediately stop fighting and talk through a solution. If they just can't stop hitting each other, the adult would stand up and say to both of them, "The next one to throw a punch is going to answer to me!" and mean it. That would end the fighting real quick.

But adults seem to have been in short supply in the Bush White House. Instead, they acted like big kids themselves, taking sides, and handing one kid a club to beat up the other kid, only jumping in to stop the fight when it looked like their kid might lose. This behavior would not have been allowed in the '90s.

Israel has a right to defend its people, but not to drag the United States into its every paranoid fantasy. Every time it bullies the Palestinians and takes their land, it creates more enemies in the Muslim world. That's why it's attacked. As we stand by and let Israel act out, it creates more hatred for US, more suicide bombers willing to attack US. There was a time when we were not so hated.

After radical Arabs responded to the first Gulf War by bombing the WTC in '93, Clinton countered by engaging Arab public opinion. Through the Mideast peace process, Clinton's America was generally seen by the Arab world as an honest peace broker, listening to both sides. This respect for the United States by ordinary Arabs allowed moderate Arab leaders to keep the religious radicals marginalized. The radicals soon realized they could attack us in Muslim countries, where most Arabs thought we didn't belong, but not in our homeland, not without being betrayed. It didn't matter that we didn't get a peace accord. For the rest of Clinton's presidency, for those seven years, our homeland was not attacked again, and our children were not living in fear of another attack. Things were also better for average Israelis.

As he took office, Bush declared disengagement from the peace process, then sided with Sharon as he pushed Palestinians out of their West Bank homes. The result of this policy? The moderate Arabs were disgraced in their communities for trusting us, and the religious radicals were handed authority politically to attack us at home militarily. And so Al Qaeda, not the "Axis of Evil," attacked on 9/11/01, with a plan experts say it had harbored for years, just waiting for Washington to give an excuse to use it.

This war with terror is not like other wars. It will not be won on the battlefield. It will be won in the hearts and minds of moderate Muslims. Let's remember that it was a tip from someone in the Muslim community to a British policeman in 2005 that led to the investigation and arrest of the plane-bomb plotters in August, 2006. Not NSA spying. Not Gitmo torture. But a relationship of trust and respect between a Muslim citizen and a Christian policeman.

Jesus said, "Love your enemies, bless those that curse you" [Mathew 5:44]. He didn't say this because He was weak but because He was wise. He understood that the first step toward peace is to love just enough to listen so as to understand other peoples and so gain their respect, then their trust. But thanks to the neocons whispering in Bush's ear, the United States didn't talk with Syria or Iran or Korea or Palestine, it talked at them, with sound bites designed to demonize them on the evening news. So how then can we possibly do as Jesus taught, and have real peace?

Now I don't expect these neocons to understand Jesus; it's not in their culture. But I do expect Americans to understand Him. Certainly those Americans we've sent to Washington.

GARY ANDREWS

Easton, PA

Jan 4 2009 - 10:46pm

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