Tag Archives: Obama

HAMAS WON. REALLY?

The media flashed pictures of Palestinians surging into the streets, firing weapons in the air, and proclaiming they had won. From the television coverage, I witnessed, it appeared that Hamas had gained a major victory over Israel.

I was reminded of the day that Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Egypt had just been knocked upside down and defeated. Of course, that loss called for a military parade celebrating their victory. The badly defeated Egyptian army marched into the field before the review stand. Suddenly the soldiers turned on Sadat and the military leaders, firing their weapons indiscriminately. Egyptians defeat was compounded by tragedy.

The Palestinians characteristically don’t read the handwriting on the wall. Israel had killed their major military leader, other agents, reduced all Hamas headquarter buildings to rubble, terrified the civilian population, and caused multiple deaths. The Israeli army stood amassed on their border with the capacity to reduce Gaza City to rubble. The major reasons that Israel did not press forward were that major military objectives had been accomplished and the pressure from President Barack Obama called for them to stand down. Of course, at least half of the population of Israel did not want Prime Minister Netanyahu to invade. With elections in the near future, this factor more than any other gave Netanyahu a good reason to stop.

Did Hamas win? Win what? A reprieve from having their houses destroyed? Having more Hamas leaders killed? Not having to commit suicide by continuing the war? Doesn’t sound like a victory to me.

Several interesting twists appeared out of this war. The Iron Dome system that Israel built and America funded proved successful. Not only were 90% of the incoming rockets destroyed, the system demonstrated the capacity select which projectiles to intercept and which ones to let go. Amazing capacity, indeed. Of course, the rockets came from Iran as Hamas acknowledged. The Iranians now have a reading on what their missiles can not do and must be taking a long, hard, second look at the results. Iran could now be more ready to negotiate because they must recognize their own limitations.

The second surprise was Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s actions immediately after the cease fire. Recognized as playing a key role in negotiations, Morse went home and gave himself dictatorial powers. He unilaterally neutralized the judicial system by barring the courts from challenging his decisions. This move gave protection to the Islamist dominated assembly writing a new constitution because the court held the possibility of a dissolution of the Assembly.

Morsi supporters in the Moslem Brotherhood immediately clashed with liberals who feared the rise of a new dictatorship. In Alexandria, anti-Morsi opponents attacked the Brotherhood and the protests are far from over. And where is the military in this upheaval? Nothing has been heard from the generals who were demoted as Morsi rose in power. If the tanks and troops came back on the streets, Morsi would be in big trouble. The issue is far from settled.

So, did Hamas win something or the other? I don’t thinks so. They are luck to be alive!

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Filed under Egypt, Israel, Palestinians, War

MAKING SENSE OUT OF ISRAEL TODAY

MAKING SENSE OUT OF ISRAEL TODAY

            Recently, a friend who follows this blog ask me to evaluate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As I explained how different and complicated the Israel political system is, I remembered a statement the the Prime Minister once made to President Bill Clinton. “Mr. President, you know that Israel has very few friends, and these Evangelical Christian leaders are the best friends that Israel has in all the world.”

No matter what else one says about the Prime Minister, he certainly knows who he can count on.

Often identifying themselves as “Christian Zionists,” this large and significant group support Israel with financial, political, and spiritual influence. When any attack comes, these Evangelicals are ready to respond … and will!

In the present political environment, disillusionment with the current American administration may have a significant effect on how these Evangelicals vote in the fall. Obama is not a popular figure in Israel and is currently blamed for failure to act decisively. Christian Zionists attacked Secretary of State Clinton for having a Moslem aide, Huma Abedin. They fear the administration may have ties to the Moselm Brotherhood and display a lack of balance toward Israel in the United Nations. While the opposition would oppose many of these accusations, they may still effect Evangelical voters as the fall approaches. Regardless of who is elected, Evangelical Christians argue they will remain the most valuable asset Israel has in America.

Netanyahu understands this fact and will not be shy about using their influence.

At the same time, other voices fear that Israel may be faced with the specter of a “fading democracy.” Former speaker of the Knesset and the chairman of Molad, the Center for Renewnal of Democracy recently expressed such fears in the August 5, 2012 edition of The New York Times.  Burg deplored recent comments in Israel by the Republican presidential candidate urging Israel to strike Iran. Burg perceives such talk as reflective of a shift in both countries, moving away from mutually positive values toward a new set of interests in bombs, fear, and war. Brug worries Netayahu is bending toward the pressure applied by a fundamentalist coalition within Israel.

Israel began as a secular democratic country framing its hopes by the example of Western European democracies. Avraham Burg believes this motivation has shifted because the most extreme Orthodox groups lean hard on the government. Any observer can see that the country has become less secular and is now defined far more in religious terms, The country is also less modern. He writes, “the winds of isolation and narrowness are blowing through Israel.”

How the nation of Israel deals with the creation of a Palestinian state will possible provide the answer for which way Israel is going. Coercion and indifference toward other people’s right could radically derail the country. Israel is standing at an extremely important crossroads. All of which brings us back to Benjamin Netanyahu and the caliber of job he is doing.

The real answer lies in the decisions he makes about Israel’s destiny. The issue is much larger than simply bombing Iran.  Does Iran have it coming if they start building a bomb? Of course. But the fate of the nation is much more complex than Mitt Romney understands. It’s time for genuine soul searching in the Prime Minister’s office. (585 words)

Question: What can be done to keep the exteme Orthodox from turning Israel into a Jewish expression  of the same factors than control a country like Iran?

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Filed under Christians, Faith, Forgivness, Judism, Meditation, middle east, Prayer, Stories, Syria, World

READING THE TOP DOGS CORRECTLY

Two significant men are key factors in much of what is currently happening in the Middle East. While it is not always easy to get a definite reading on either man, I believe it is important to access them as clearly as possible. We’re talking about Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an election year, anything said about President Obama ends up in a political context with the assumption that I’m either promoting or denigrating the candidate. Hopefully, you’ll recognize the tendency and side step the temptation to interpret me in that light. What follows is a candid attempt at an evaluation of the man. While President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize within months of his election, many observers believed the award to be questionable. In fact, Obama’s record has not been what would normally expect of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
A brief reading of the historic record reveals the following: More military aggression than most presidents have displayed in decades. Not only was Osama Ben Laden taken out, but Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated. Drone attacks in Pakistan have not won friends in that government, but have made it clear that Obama isn’t backing down. Effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia along with a three-fold increase in American troops in Afghanistan made it evident that the president had no problem in waging war. Obama was the first American president to authorize the assassination of a citizen when Anwar Al-Awlaki (born in New Mexico) was hit by a drone attack in Yemen.
Liberals who worked to elect Obama probably don’t rejoice in this record. Nevertheless, when Obama accepted the Nobel Peace prize, he articulated his position on war and made it clear that he was not a pacificist. He said, “For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”
In a similar fashion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offers surprises. Politics in Israel can be wilder than what unfolds in America. On May 8, Netanyahu demonstrated what a clever and innovative politician he really is. Former political battles had been with Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni. Certainly Livni is a woman of significant capacity and drive. However, she had been forced from party leadership after failing to join the Netanyahu coalition following the last election. On May 8, the prime minister made a public appearance to announce that Shaul Mofaz, the current head of Kadima, had joined his government, creating a new coalition.
No one in Israel anticipated this engagement that signaled what a significant politician Netanyahu is. The prime minister’s surprise move brought enduring stability to his government, guaranteeing survival until the next scheduled election in October, 2013. Not only is perseverance and continuity guaranteed, Netanyahu has the firm grip to persue any policy he wishes sue. Say, for example, — bombing Iran. (Which Ehud Barak is itching to do!)
The point? Both men do not back away from conflict. Neither is afraid to strike and both are capable of recognizing the expedient military path. Political opponents should be weary of pushing either leader into a corner. Obama and Netanyahu now stand ready to take any road that best serves their country and their purposes without worrying about internal opposition stopping them.
Don’t let the American election environment with bizarre charges misguide you. Both men are capable, ready, and willing.

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Filed under Faith, Forgivness, History, middle east, Peace, Shrouded in Silence