Tag Archives: israeli-palestinian conflict

More Thoughts on Gaza

The ground offensive in Gaza commenced this past weekend.

I feel pretty torn. Sometimes I feel supportive, and sometimes I am reserved and concerned about the operation.

At this moment in time I am worried about the long-term effects of the incursion. The humanitarian problems plaguing Gaza are disturbing to me. And the inevitable civilian casualty loss is rising.

Moreover, I am worried these attacks will only weaken any peace process (if there were even a chance of having one before this started). I don’t think the attacks will ‘teach Hamas a lesson’ or obliterate this terror organization. If nothing else, they will use the attacks to justify more attacks against Israelis. Palestinians in general will use the attacks to justify resistance–as opposed to nonviolent protests. I fear, moreover, that the more Israel attacks Hamas, the more sympathy they will get from Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank–which is a problem for Fatah. Its as if Hamas wanted these attacks to take place so they could justify continued armed struggle and strengthen their political base. Israeli actions will only entrench Palestinian tendency toward self-destructive ideology and actions. Cycle of violence anyone?

But what are the alternatives? If we live and let live would Hamas continue arming itself with rockets that reached farther and farther distances? I am all for opening the passages, but I fear Hamas will only take advantage of any literal and figurative openings that Israel offers to smuggle in more weapons and strengthen their base. We’re not fighting the Palestinian civilians. We’re fighting a terror organization that wants to destroy the state of Israel and doesn’t care how much violence it takes to achieve its goal. Perhaps that is just simplistic and painting things in black and white–feel free to offer more nuanced ideas.

So as far as I can see Israelis find themselves in the unenviable position of ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’ I don’t see any endgame in sight.

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Gaza Strike

I went online after Shabbat this evening to find that Israel went ahead with an airstrike on Gaza. I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. On the one hand, these types of military escalations can backfire and just make the Palestinians angrier. Do they really end up helping things in the long run, I wonder. Also civilian casualties, even when minimized, do result in these operations. The opposition uses these attacks as yet another propaganda weapon to show the oppressiveness and unjustness of the Occupation regime.

On the other hand, Israel has a right to protect its civilians who have been subjected to a continuing barrage of rocket fire. Some–particularly the right-wing–have been critical for its slow response to the Qassams as opposed to its aggressiveness towards the Palestinians. Also I can’t deny that I have misgivings about Hamas’ trustworthiness given its ideological bent and seeming efforts to take advantage of any openings on the Israeli side to inflict pain.

Surely the Gaza blockade and the military strikes create suffering for the Palestinians, but what are the options in terms of preventing the other side from augmenting its instruments of terror? If you allow everything to go into Gaza and if you don’t have incursions, how do you prevent weapons from being smuggled in. How do you know that the other side is just building up its resources until it can launch an even bigger attack?

And yet, how do you protect civilians without sabotaging efforts to create a lasting peace? Is it possible to reach a compromise or will each side find just one more thing, one more justification for continuing its actions? Will each side demand just one more thing in order to gain the upper hand?

If anyone happens to stumble upon this blog, I welcome comments. But please no rants. I am actually looking for observant, insightful and thoughtful comments which actually have evidence to back them up. Otherwise I just won’t post them.

The Holiday Season

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come and gone here, but we are still in the midst of the holiday season, with Sukkot starting Tuesday night. It’s hard to get anything done during this time of year–you’re always getting ready for the next chag plus shabbat too. So there’s a lot of time spent food shopping and cooking if you end up hosting all of the meals (which I didn’t). Even if you don’t host each meal, it’s a very busy time.

Luckily for Rosh Hashana, we were invited for almost every meal by people of Ner Kedoshim, the orthodox shul that we’ve been frequenting here. By the time the chag was over, I was ready to go on a diet! Continue reading

Presentense, FOE

Good afternoon to you. Now I’m trying to shift my blog writting from once-a-week, lengthy articles, to small spurts several times a week. Good luck with that! As time progresses I get busier and busier, adding more activities like extrcurricular writing projects, and hebrew studies. When am I going to find the time to go to school? Truth is, it’s just going to get busier once we have a family. I guess the only solution is not sleeping.

Recently, I published an article for a magazine called Presentense, which is run out of the Presentense Group. http://issuu.com/presentense/docs/pt6 Continue reading

Current Events

The entire world seems to have fallen apart since I last wrote this blog. The stock market plummeted and the American financial giants have gone under–or at least most of them. The irony of this situation is killing me. These guys have argued for unfettered freedom to do as they please because one of the arguments is that the market will correct itself, but meanwhile our government is saving them from total ruin. Continue reading

Rosh Yeshiva of Pardes Goes to Amman

Hi,

I got this in a Pardes email and thought it was really interesting. The Rosh Yeshiva of Pardes went to a trialogue conference in Amman, Jordan recently and wrote about his experiences. A few months ago, Landes also was part of a panel discussion about religious responses to the Rav Kook tragedy.

I have a lot of respect for Rabbi Landes on many levels. Not only is he a smart guy but also he has the ability to connect with people whether they are students or Pardes donors. I also know that without his traipsing about the U.S., Pardes wouldn’t be as well supported as it is.

Enjoy the article…

Sunday, May 25th

After a wonderful Shabbat, I saw my son Isaac off very early Sunday morning as he returned to his combat unit that surrounds Nablus, a seething hotbed of Islamic radical fundamentalism, to guard four Jewish settlements (several of which have their own brand of fundamentalism). It usually takes me a few hours to fully get a grip on myself, but I was off on my own “mission” – to participate in the International Scholars’ Abrahamic Trialogue, this year held in Jordan. The thrust of the conference would touch on peace. So whatever my own personal politics (as most of the Israeli electorate, it tends to veer; now keeping my son’s unit safe seems to exert a great force – again like most of Israel), we always have to work the peace side. That much I know from my study of Judaism.

Instead of flying, a group of us drove. In the van was my old friend R. Abe Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who arranged for my participation, the distinguished thinkers R. Yitz and Blu Greenberg (Yitz had a significant impact upon Abe and me when we studied as undergraduates with him at Yeshiva) and a wise and witty religious Israeli businessman from the neighborhood who spends a lot of time in Arab countries and is best left unnamed. The trip up was a good idea – going through the dry and dusty Beit She’an Valley provided a transition, until we arrived at the bridge that crosses over. The normal bureaucracy was complicated by the fact that we had entered Jordan through the wrong bridge – our visas at the van on that side were not waiting. However, frowns were soon enough (some delay) smoothed over with smiles, chuckles and the application of the universal lubricant for getting the wheels moving.  Continue reading

International Fund for Palestinian-Israeli Peace

Hello all,

You know how much of a proponent I am of resolving the conflict here and for the creation of a Palestinian state. But you don’t have to be a left-winger to see the logic in creating a fund that fosters people to people grassroots initiatives and dialogue efforts.

I think negotiations on the political track have to continue, but I have become even more convinced that they have to be accompanied by on-the-ground efforts. How else are we supposed to overcome the massive ignorance and hatred if it is not accompanied by concerted education and dialogue efforts?

Organizations like ICCI are doing great work, but to be honest, it’s just a drop in the bucket. Especially compared to the massive amounts of propaganda in the Palestinian sphere, and the biased news that most Israelis consume. So much more could be done.

There is a petition circulating that calls for the creation of an international peace fund. But there’s not much time because the donor community is convening in May. Please click on this link to sign it NOW.