May 24, 2021
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.
THE DAY AFTER
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has spilled over into America. A Jewish man was badly beaten by a pro-Palestinian mob in New York City on Thursday. Joseph Borgen thought he was “going to die” during the attack. He was assaulted while wearing a kippa (prayer cap) on his way to a pro-Israel rally. “I would never think I’d ever have to worry about my religion or ethnicity being a problem in NYC.” Jewish people in America are facing such an event with increasing personal concern.
In the Middle-East, Egyptian mediators held talks Saturday to firm up an Israel-Hamas ceasefire. Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip have begun to assess the damage from 11 days of intense fighting. Saturday marked the first full day of a truce that ended the fourth Israel-Hamas war in just over a decade. In the fighting, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes against terrorist targets in Gaza. Hamas fired more than 4,300 rockets toward Israel. More than 250 Palestinians were killed,. Israel asserts some 200 were terror operatives.
Gaza City’s busiest commercial area, Omar al-Mukhtar Street, was covered in debris, smashed cars, and twisted metal after a 13-floor building in its center was flattened in an Israeli airstrike. Merchandise was covered in soot and strewn inside smashed stores and on the pavement. Municipal workers removed broken glass and twisted metal from streets and sidewalks.
Both Israel and Hamas claimed victory. While there was a widespread expectation that the ceasefire might stick, another round of fighting at some point seems inevitable. Underlying issues remain unresolved, including the Israeli-Egyptian border blockade. In its 14th year, the barricade is choking Gaza’s more than 2 million residents because the Hamas terrorist organization won’t disarm. Israel says the blockade is necessary to limit access to weapons by Hamas. Israel is sworn to its destruction.
The war further sidelined Hamas’s main political rival, the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority. The P.A. oversees autonomous areas of the West Bank. Hamas has increasingly positioned itself to appear to be a defender of Jerusalem in order to sway Palestinian public opinion. On Friday, hours after the ceasefire took effect, thousands of Palestinians on the Temple Mount chanted against PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his government. “Dogs of the Palestinian Authority, out, out,” they shouted, and “The people want the president to leave.” It was an unprecedented display of anger against Abbas.
The conflict also brought to the surface deep frustration among Arbs, whether in the West Bank, Gaza or within Israel, over the status quowith the Israeli-Palestinian peace process all but abandoned for years.
What’s ahead? No one can say or whether the ceasefire will hold. The number of Palestinians killed means nothing to Hamas as they have previously used their own people as human shields. They believe martyrs help their cause. Whatever they lost to Israel, they have gained in further diminishing Fatah and President Abbas. A strange logic prevails in their terrorist attacks. Loss of human lives doesn’t appear to matter. However, if they fire more rockets, Israel will continue to eradicate their positions.
Sound like a hot summer ahead? Undoubtedly!
My latest books:
I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II
Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!
by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)
You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.
82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!
You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.
by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)