Tag Archives: Gaza Strip

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO PARISHED

BLOG 519

May 31, 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.

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO PARISHED

On this Memorial Day weekend, Americans remember those dear ones who have passed on. The same is true in the Middle East, but for their own particular reasons. The Palestinians lost at the least 200 people while Israel death were small. The question for diplomats is where do we go from here.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that in the wake of the recent conflict in Gaza and unrest in Jerusalem, the United States plans to focus on addressing “the underlying causes” that could spark yet another round of violence, Tuesday evening. Blinken indicated that the Biden administration will be actively involved in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, echoing comments he made earlier in the day during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Blinken met with top Israeli officials including Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz  before heading to Ramallah for high-level meetings with Palestinian Authority leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Blinken also stressed the “critical role” played by Egypt in brokering the Gaza ceasefire, and called Jordan “a voice for peace and stability in the region.”

In contrast, Hamas had its own objectives. The terrorist organization was able to hijack protests in Jerusalem and use the last week of Ramadan for their own purposes.  Moreover, Hamas firing rockets into the city on “Jerusalem Day” made them appear to be a credible  resistance force. This action aimed at making PA President Mahoud  Abbas look incompetent.  In fact, Abbas completely failed to  cash in on the tensions that had developed in East Jersualsm over the housing question. Hamas has now placed itself on center stage. To create a ceasefire, Egypt had to talk with Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas stopped short of urging a Palestinian revolt against Abbas for fear of being directly responsible for a Palestinian civil war. Moreover, they would not have done well with the PA soldiers on one front and the Israeli on the other.

It now appears America’s goal is to “give the Palestinian people, including those in Gaza, a renewed sense of confidence, of optimism, of real opportunity,” Blinken said. “If we are able to do that together, then Hamas’s foothold in Gaza will slip. We know that, and I think Hamas knows that.”

We don’t need another war in the Middle East. Let’s hope this Memorial Day will be a reminder of the grief that always comes with such a conflict.

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)

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Filed under Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East

OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: EXPLOSIONS!

BLOG 514

April 26, 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.

OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: EXPLOSIONS!

Rocket salvos fired following the Hamas call for attacks on Israel spread worry over Jerusalem. Barrages by terror groups, marked the worst assault from the Gaza Strip in many months. Thirty-six rockets were fired toward Israel from Gaza overnight with six projectiles intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, The Israel Defense Forces reported the assaults Saturday morning.

In response, the Israeli military struck multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday morning, including rocket launchers and underground infrastructures. Some fell in communities while others landed in open areas..  In response to several salvos of rockets fired into Israel overnight, the Israeli Army struck back. Sirens sounded in numerous Israeli communities near the Strip overnight, including Ashkelon and the Eshkol, Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon regional councils.

The Iron Dome is programmed not to deploy when rockets are projected to hit non-populated areas.  It was unclear why it had not activated to intercept the projectiles that landed in the border towns.

A spokesperson for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade said “We will burn the occupation’s settlements for you, O Jerusalem. The greatest has yet to come.” In addition, Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanou said “The Palestinian resistance is ready to respond to aggression, even the score with the occupation and prevent its violations against our people.” Two terror groups in Gaza took responsibility for the rocket fire — Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades. Israel has stressed in the past it holds the ruling Hamas terror group responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza.

The UN special envoy for the Middle East process, Tor Wennesland, said Saturday that he was “alarmed” by the escalation in violence in Jerusalem and around the Strip. The provocative acts across Jerusalem must cease. The indiscriminate launching of rockets towards Israeli population centers violates international law and must stop immediately,” Wennesland responded in a statement.

The rocket attack followed days of tensions and clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank that involved Palestinian and Israeli civilians as well as Israeli security forces. Before the morning strikes, the military had not responded to the rockets throughout the night, except for a single tank strike after the first volley, that targeted a Hamas post.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command initially instructed residents in the areas under threat to remain close to shelters, ordered the closure of Zikim beach, banned outside gatherings and agricultural work near the security fence and limited groups to under 100 people indoors. However, it later removed the restrictions. Additionally, the Sdot Negev Regional Council recommended residents avoided going to synagogue on Saturday morning.

The terrorist attacks are basically financed by Iran. Finances and rockets are smuggled in to the Gaza Strip. Because Iran blames Israel for the recent successful sabotage of one of their nuclear facilities, these current attacks may be a form of “pay back” Even if eschewed, there is usually some logic behind these outbursts.


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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, The Middle East, Violence

COMING EVENTS!

BLOG  491

October 26,  2020

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.

COMING EVENTS!

Here’s two stories you’re not likely to hear about locally … but worth knowing.

NUMBER ONE!  

The Tel Aviv university has just launched the only graduate program in the world to focus on Ethiopian Jewish scriptures. Called “Orit Guardians,” it entails an interdisciplinary study of the Ethiopian Jewish scripture and its ancient liturgical language, Ge’ez, combined with the scientific study of biblical translation and interpretation, with the goal of recording the biblical scriptures that have been orally transmitted to the Beta Israel community in their own common tongues, Amharic or Tigrinya, for the past several hundred years at least.  “Bible departments all over the world are working on ancient translations and there has not been any development of a study of the Ethiopian Jewish tradition. No one has recorded the translation and interpretations,” Prof. Dalit Rom-Shiloni  said. “The reason, she asserted, “is mostly because until now, no one has had both the scholarly know-how and the language and cultural proficiency to speak with the kes, or priestly class, who, until the community’s mass immigration to Israel, led communal worship. We are trying to do is focus on the biblical side of the text and the translations and interpretive tradition, and we’re suggesting we can do it by using a set of professional tools.”

NUMBER TWO!

In previous blogs, I’ve warned there is smoke on the horizon. Here’s a recent development. The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday morning launched a large-scale exercise simulating war against the Hezbollah terrorist group, aimed at improving the military’s offensive capability. The multi-day drill — dubbed “Deadly Arrow” — will predominantly focus on how various headquarters and command centers work together and communicate in wartime, the military said. It was also set to include physical maneuvers by ground forces, naval vessels and aircraft.

The military explained the exercise would simulate a “multi-front scenario focused on the northern arena.”

The IDF believes that any future war against the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group would not only be waged in southern Lebanon, but would also include attacks from Syria and potentially the Gaza Strip as well.

Israel knows it can not close it’s eyes for a moment to the fact that terrorists never quit until they are dead. From the point of view of the Israel military, the Hezbollah situation remains tense.

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 487

September 28,  2020

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.

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

This year in my recent trip to Israel, I observed the bitter feelings that exists between Israelis and Palestinians and vice versa. Hostilities are everywhere.  In recent blogs, I’ve celebrated the diplomatic breakthroughs achieved between Israel and Arab countries. Such is an important achievement. However, those accomplishments only mask a fierce reality waiting below the surface.

The Jerusalem Post suggested that Hezbollah had stored massive amounts of weaponry in Lebanon that were part of the terrible explosion in Beirut. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said,  “Iran has taken Lebanon hostage through Hezbollah.”   Moreover, in August Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Hamas (who controls the Gaza Strip) that Israel would respond forcefully if the terrorist group did not stop launching incendiary and explosive balloons into Israel.  

What is currently happening inside Gaza? Hamas military prosecutors on Thursday charged three Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip with “weakening revolutionary spirit” — a charge that could lead to years in prison — for holding a video conference with Israelis.

Rami Aman, a 38-year-old peace activist and Gaza resident, was detained in early April after holding a public “Skype With Your Enemy” video call in which Israelis participated. He has said his organization seeks to empower young Palestinians and that many in Gaza share his view that speaking to Israelis should not be forbidden.

“If I were to go into the streets and tell people ‘let’s talk with an Israeli,’ thousands of people would be here,” Aman said during a videoconference, (Facebook)

Authorities in Gaza view “normalizing” with Israelis as a criminal offense. While Hamas does permit merchants and those seeking humanitarian assistance inside Israel to communicate with Israeli authorities, it has cracked down on those who have sought to establish person-to-person ties with Israelis. “Holding any activity or communication with the Israeli occupation, under any cover, is a crime punishable by law; it is a betrayal of our people and its sacrifices,” Interior Minister Iyad al-Bozm wrote in a Facebook post in April.

Hamas routinely arrests and tortures critics and dissidents within the coastal enclave. Aman himself had already faced harassment by security forces for his activism. In July 2019, Hamas detained him for two weeks after organizing a joint bike ride with Israelis: Gazans biked side by side with Israelis, with only the security fence dividing them. On another occasion, Aman was detained for three days after he publicly criticized the alleged beating of a young man by officers from the Hamas-run interior ministry, according to Human Rights Watch. Although both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International immediately called for the activists’ release, Hamas authorities have held the detainees for five months without trial.

Get the picture? Hostilities could  explode at any time.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

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A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

BLOG 483
August 16, 2020

palestine flag

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.

A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

Israel has agreed to suspend West Bank annexation plans in exchange for the normalization of ties with the United Arab Emirates, according to a joint statement from Israel, the UAE and the US released by US President Donald Trump. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayad confirms in a tweet that Israel has agreed to suspend annexation plans, but says that the countries have only agreed to work toward the normalization of relations. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.

While this is big news this week, it not actually new. Israel and the UAF have been doing business under the table for a considerable amount of time. The driving force behind this mutual public recognition is animosity toward Iran. The Arabs are particularly hostile and the world knows Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons. In this agreement, Israelis is the big winner and Iran the loser.

Israel had already put annexation on hold because of Washington’s preoccupation with their own problems. Trump continues to lag in the polls and the White House struggles with those worries. Reactions across the region have been predicable.

The mayor of the Beit El settlement Shai Alon accused Netanyahu of selling out his movement. “They pulled a fast one on the settlers. Our future is in Judea and Samaria and in courageous decisions which our leaders will make. Notagreements that we sign today and are not worth the paper they are written on tomorrow.” But Oded Revivi, mayor of the Efrat settlement says suspending the annexation bid is a “proper price,” for normalizing ties, while predicting a change in how settlements are perceived.

Of course, Palestinian officials were not happy. Hanan Ashrawi said, “Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” She also said the UAE has come forward with its “secret dealings/normalization with Israel.”

Arab countries are recognizing the reality of Israel’s endurance and economic wellbeing. Israel’s are the major military power in the Middle East. It makes more sense to play ball with them than to stand outside the stadium.

Undoubtedly more normalization will come.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Arabs, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

BLOG 475
June 15, 2020

palestine-gaza-strip

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.

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

The idea of annexing part of Palestinian land has been pushed off the front page by concerns about the virus and the protests over the death of George Floyd. Not so in Israel! Taking advantage of urging by President Donald Trump, Netanyahu continues to pursue the idea. However, the response in Israel has been tense.

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to begin annexing parts of the West Bank next month. Some called his idea a war crime. Police initially sought to block the rally but backtracked Friday after meeting with organizers, who urged participants to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Dozens of officers were securing the demonstration after police said attendance would be capped at 2,000, though the Haaretz Daily put the turnout at 6,000 people in what appeared to be the largest protest in the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, the Palestinians are not happy. Announced at the end of January in Washington, US President Donald Trump’s peace plan provides for the annexation by Israel of 30 percent of the West Bank — covering all the settlements and the Jordan Valley — with conditional provisions for a Palestinian state in the rest of the territory, including some areas on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. The Palestinians have rejected the US plan in its entirety.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex the 132 settlements, home to some 450,000 Israelis, next month, and the rest of the territory allocated to Israel soon after, subject to American approval.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the Palestinians were hoping that Netanyahu would not go ahead with his annexation plan. He called annexation an “existential threat” that would mark the “total erosion of our national aspirations.” The PA’ has submitted a counter plan that calls for the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarized” with “minor modifications of borders where necessary.” The Palestinian text foresaw possible land swaps between the two future states on a like-for-like basis, he said at a press conference. Shtayyeh declined to provide further details about the the 4 1/2-page proposal but said the Palestinian position on major issues is well-known.

What’s next? Sounds like Netanyahu is plowing ahead. Regardless.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, COVID-19, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

ISRAELI MISSILES!

BLOG 469
April 27, 2020

wmd

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.

ISRAELI MISSILES!

Let’s take a break from Israeli political turmoil and another report on the corona virus (as if we needed ANOTHER discussion of that) and look at a new discovery just released to the public. As you already know, for some time Hezbollah has been camped in Lebanon with rockets ready to fire at Israel. At the south, the Gaza strip has constantly shot rockets at southern Israeli communities. While Iran is a greater distance away, they have made no bones about wanting to drop the Big Bomb on Israel.

Guided missiles have also played a part in the Syrian civil war. While America has been backing out of Syria, the Russians have been forging ahead with dreams of turning Syria into a type of satellite country. Russia has not hesitated to add to the stockpile of weapons. How can Israel protect itself?

The Israeli Defense Ministry (IDF) has made a breakthrough in using lasers to intercept rocket and anti-tank guided missiles. Defense Minister Natali Bennett said recently, “we will add a laser sword when dealing with threats from the North or the South.”

For ten years, the IDF has been working on this weapon with a capacity to wipe out a number of types of weapons, including mortars, drones, anti-tank missiles as well as the bombardment from the sky. The system is based on high-energy electric lasers rather than chemical laser technology and is far more effective. However, this new weapon will be used along with the current “Iron Drome” defensive system that has proved highly effective in stopping attacks on Tel Aviv. While the old system costs thousands of dollars for a single shot, the new laser system only costs a few for the same.

Like something from a James Bond movie, the new system cannot be heard or seen. Quite a step forward!

With threats from neighboring countries always being a problem, Israel has zoomed ahead in the production of armaments that has made them the predominant country in the Middle East. When one considers the size of Israelbeing so much smaller than any of the surrounding countries, the new anti-missile system marks another amazing accomplishment.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Gaza, Israel, The Middle East

THE SITUATION IN GAZA

BLOG 431
June 10, 2019

gaza

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 SITUATION IN GAZA

I’m sure you are aware of the recent intense three-day exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Four Israelis were killed as well as 25 Palestinians. Through the assistance of an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire, the encounter came to a halt. However, the pause is only momentary. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Auhri said, “Our message is that this round is over, but the conflict will not end until we regain our rights.” Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah predicted the fight could begin again as early as this summer.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Benjamin, Netanyahu said Israel was already preparing for the next encounter. The Iron Dome system for rocket intervention proved 85% successful in intercepting Hamas rockets. Almost 700 rockets were fired during a 48-hour period, sending many residents to bomb shelters. In turn, Israel knocked out six high-rise Gaza head-quarters for intelligence gathering as well as five apartment buildings where military commanders lived. Israel also killed a money-changer involved in the transfer of funds from Iran.

Abba Ebon once said, “the Arabs never miss the chance to miss the chance.” Why can’t Hamas give up on firing rockets when it is always so costly for them? Missing the change is only part of the problem. There’s more to the story than the West usually recognizes. For the past 12-years, Israel and Egypt have enforced a land and maritime siege on Gaza. From the point of view of Israel, the embargo is necessary to keep armaments and weapons out of terrorist hands. However, Gaza sees this as a violation of their rights and a serious clamp on their economy. While they consistently lose, they despair enough to feel they have nothing to lose. Desperate opponents make for frightening enemies!

So Gaza remains a political problem Israel must face. Until the two million residents can see a better economic future, they will not stop shooting.

Hang on! There’s more to come!

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Filed under Bible Lands, Gaza, middle east, War

UPHEAVAL BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS Part II

BLOG 404 October 1, 2018

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST ~ Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, 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.

Last week we noted:

On August 24, American President Donald Trump ordered the State Department to redirect the funding for programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to unspecified projects elsewhere. The Palestinians screamed!

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat denounced the loss of funds as “disgraceful” and accused the USA of meddling in the internal affairs of the West Bank and attempting to impact their national options. Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi accused America of “cheap blackmail as a political tool.” He said further, “there is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

Here’s what followed.

On September 11th  the Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization offices in Washington. This was the next step in President Trump’s policy of putting pressure on the Palestinians to come to the bargaining table. The move was applauded in Israel and deplored in the West Bank.

The person behind this move was National Security Adviser John Bolton, usually recognized as an aggressive right-wing advocate of military action.  Bolton also warned the ICC (International Criminal Court) against taking any actions against Israel and/or the United States. Established in 2002, the ICC has stood as an attempt to bring justice in the international arena. However, Bolton said the ICC “has been ineffective, unaccountable, and … outright dangerous.”

Palestinian officials reacted angrily. Diplomat Saeb Erekat charged that the US actions were an attempt to protect Israeli war crimes. Erekat’s contempt for Trumps actions were reflected in his statement. “I don’t think these people can be part of any peace process or sit in any negotiations. They are really part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

However, Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren noted that in the Oslo Accords Palestinians were forbidden to press their pursuit of statehood outside negotiations with Israel. Obviously, they have gotten away with violations of Accords they signed off on. Currently the Trump Administration is forcing them to pay a price for these violations and they don’t like it.

As we observed last week, how one views this depends on the perspective they bring to the issue. However, it is becoming clearer by the month that the Trump Administration is mounting extreme pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate.

What no one seems to recognize is that the Palestinians have one supreme goal to annihilate the entire country of Israel. The rest of the Arab world has basically realized this is not going to happen. When will the Palestinians join the party?

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Filed under Israel, middle east, Palestinians

TAKING A LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE

BLOG 337 February 14, 2017

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            A young Arab boy was waiting at an intersection in Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem. Having sunk down behind the steering wheel of a beat-up sedan, he could barely see over the steering wheel. The boy stuck his arm out the window and signaled like an adult driver before zooming through. He could not have been more than 12-years old.

Unusual? Not in East Jerusalem where virtually no one cares. You can get away with almost anything you want. The struggle has become just that bad.

Westerners are more concerned with Israel and the Old City of Jerusalem and generally give little thought to the Palestinians on the other side, called East Jerusalem. Americans certainly know about the suicide bombers and terrorists who kill children. Those stories have been all over the media. However, there is another more human side to the Palestinian story and we should occasionally visit the deeply personal struggles of everyday citizens who live there and are not terrorist.

Of the 850,00 people living in Jerusalem, around 310,000 are Arabs, living in East Jerusalem with permanent residency but not citizenship in Israel. Apart from Arabs with Israeli citizenship or Arabs in the West Bank, life is far more complicated because they reside in a fragmented and politically tumultuous society. Most of these residents live in poverty and hopelessness. They endure daily discrimination everyday and poor public services across their part of the city. Currently, the rate of divorce and domestic violence against women and children is rising in East Jerusalem.

Hannah Hochner reported in Ma’ariv  that of this vastly Muslim population, 46% are under the age of 18, 37% unemployed, and 51% live below the poverty line. With such upheaval, these Arabs often feel they have nothing to lose in attacking Israelis. They now have a sense of deadlock following the election of Donald Trump with his talk of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian citizens are caught in a vice. If they make efforts to cooperate with Jerusalem, they would be recognizing and accepting what they call Israeli occupation. The West Bank would see them as collaborators and traitors. On the other hand, when they follow the local mukhtas, who have virtually no leadership capacities, they get nothing.

It’s ease to blame Israel for this dilemma, but that is far from realistic. Israel certainly has their share of responsibility. However, here’s another example of why conditions continue to deteriorate in East Jerusalem. When Yasser Arafat died, he left behind three billion dollars he had pocketed that belonged to the Palestinians. The current PA leadership of Mahmoud Abbas has not proven better as he lost all control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas. While the Arab leadership twiddled their thumbs, the Israelis have built their country into a showcase of the Middle East.

At this point, no one seems to know what will come next.  And that’s the problem!

For more information the Holy Land
get a copy of Robert Wise’s latest
BIBLE LANDS: An Illustrated Guide to scriptural places

 

 

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