Tag Archives: Hamas or Hezbollah


BLOG 416 January 7, 2019

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.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here we are with the first blog of 2019! Can you believe it? What shall we say?

The year ended with the worst stock market drop since the Great Depression. The president has shut down the government and no one knows when it will open. The president’s closest legal advisers are off to jail and the scandal over payments over his affairs with two women is cooking while Congress waits for Robert Mueller’s Investigative Report. In the Middle East, the police are for the third time calling for the prosecution of Prime Minister Netanyahu for corruption. At the same time, Israeli discovered that Hezbollah tried to dig tunnels under the border in the Galilee area to be used for an attack on them.

What can we say as a new year begins?

Let’s set the scandals and disagreements aside and start this year on an entirely different basis. Thomas Merton in his essay The Root of War is Fear has some important insight for us. At the root of all war is fear, not so much the fear people have of one another as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another: they do not even trust themselves. If they are not sure when someone else may turn around and kill them, they are still less sure when they may turn around and kill themselves … It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves that is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves … Only love – which means humility- can can exorcise the fear that is at the root of war.

Every time we turn on the television or follow news reports, we are swimming in a sea of anxiety. Violence, bombings, school shootings, terrorist reports, fear of environmental collapse, the Stock Market falling, on and on the sources of fear are constantly at our doorstep.

Thomas Merton has important instruction for us. Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to push aside fear and decide to walk in the pathway marked love. Let’s decide to follow the headlines without being swallowed by anxiety. Let’s allow love to remain supreme in 2019.

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BLOG 353 June 19, 2017

            Fifty years ago, the Six-Day War was fought, won by Israel, Jerusalem united, new boundaries set, and the Holy Land has not been the same since. After 2,000 years, the Jews were in control of their homeland. For the Arab world, the time is remembered as an absolute disaster.

The war began on June 5, 1967 and the cease fire was proclaimed on June 11, 1967.

Since that June so long ago, the contention between the Palestinians and Israelis has continued to deteriorate. Yasser Arafat could have received an excellent settlement for the Palestinians, but walked out at the last moment because his ultimate objective was the annihilation of all Israelis – and that goal has not changed since. In recent decades, world opinion has shifted somewhat and now the Israelis are considered “occupiers.” They have such firm control of the Palestinians that about all that is left for confrontations is knife assaults by random terrorists sneaking into Israel.

The hate continues to boil!

As the next era begins, what can we expect?

Despite all the campaign rhetoric, the Trump Administration declined to take a position on the status of east Jerusalem during Trump’s visit in May 22. National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster was quick to say that Trump’s visit to the Western Wall was neither “religious nor political.” What in the world does that mean?

The bottom line is that everything is staying the same – regardless of the rhetoric.

Why? Three main reasons; Palestinian weakness, Israeli indifference, and American backing for the status quo.

Nathan Thrall, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, recently wrote in The New York Times that Israel prefers the current option of continued occupation without consequences. He noted that Israel now receives more military assistance from the United States that the rest of the world combined gets from America. Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank began, American has given more than $120 billion dollars to Israel. After all the hand-wringing and political screaming, the truth is that the United States has continually backed Israel over the Palestinians. Thrall’s implied point is why should they do anything different from what they are currently doing.

The fact is that the United States talks about ending the Israeli occupation, but will not apply the pressure to steer Israel toward other options. The PLO remains too weak and divided along with continued conflicts with terrorists groups to force any changes. After the dust settles, the issue of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem remains problematic. US Ambassador David Friedman is ready for the move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but there are no moving vans in sight. Recent months have made it clear that predicting Trump is a hopeless task.

What’s ahead? Probably little change. Maybe another clash with Hamas or Hezbollah.

Eventually Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will go, but will his replacement make a difference? Not unless the goal of eradicating Israel is given up.

What’s ahead? Probably more of the same.

Stay tuned.

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Filed under Bible Lands, Israel, middle east, Palestinians