Tag Archives: The Middle East

ICE CREAM IN ISRAEL: REALLY?

BLOG 527

July 25, 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.

ICE CREAM IN ISRAEL: REALLY?

There’s always a brew-ha-ha going on in Israel. But over ice cream?  Believe it or not, that’s what popped up this week. Ben & Jerry’s announcement that the company will stop selling its products in Judea and Samaria by the end of 2022 has produced an unprecedented wave of reactions in Israel and in the USA. Reports even indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called the CEO of Unilever (the parent company of B&J) to protest the boycott. With all due respect to PM Bennett, we are only talking here about ice cream. One must hope that PM Bennett has more important priorities than to complain to an executive about milk and sugar.

Let’s take a look at the facts and keep things in proportion: Ben & Jerry’s (USA), having been under pressure from its board of directors, announced that they will not renew their franchise agreement with B&J Israel at the end of its term in 2022. They also further announced that they plan to continue to sell B&J in Israel only (excluding Judea & Samaria), through other channels following the franchise replacement. This strategy has no chance to succeed since B&J will ultimately lose the Israeli market. Under Israeli law, you can’t select where you want to sell, Judea and Samaria being part of Israel.  Also, Israelis have a good memory for these types of boycotts. Just consider the ramifications 50 years after the Arab League boycott of the 1960s and ’70s.  Take a look at Coca Cola’s market dominance in Israel today compared to Pepsi. Israelis remember very well how Cola stood by little Israel (population of 3 million at the time) despite the pressure from the combined Arab countries (population 200 million). Pepsi is still “punished” by Israelis today for shamefully caving into the Arab League boycott of the ’60s and ’70s. Israel is the only country in the world where Pepsi is the third largest cbrand, after Coke and RC. Right — RC Cola is bigger in Israel than Pepsi. Israelis have a good memory.

For a brand, singling out Israel from among the approximately 100 territorial disputes around the globe, may turn out to be a very dangerous strategy — one that can backfire like a boomerang. German Nazis started their anti-Semitic campaigns before World War II with the moto, “kauft nich bei Juden” (don’t buy from Jews). Today’s B&J strategy seems to be: “verkauft nicht zu Juden” (don’t sell to Jews). The most sensitive answer to B&J by Israel and its friends all over the world should be: “B&J, we don’t need you.”  As PM Bennett appropriately said, “There are many ice creams, but there is only one Israel.” So, friends, let’s chill. It’s only ice cream and it’s nothing to get too excited about. The problem is Ben & Jerry are mixing politics  and business.  Let it melt and let’s move on to the important stuff.

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 Israel, Jews, The Middle East

UPDATE ON JORDAN  

BLOG 525

July 11, 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.

UPDATE ON JORDAN  

I first visited Jordan in 1968. The country was struggling and many conditions were the same as they had been in 1200 A.D., but the people were warm and friendly. Little did I know that two of my sons would someday teach at the University of Aman and I would have a Jordanian daughter-in-law. Consequently, I have had a concern and interest in the Hashemite Kingdom during all of these following decades. During this period, Yashar Arafat attempted to move the Palestinians into Jordan while he had visions of taking over the country. It took the Jordanian Army to finally drive the Palestinians out. Native Jordanians have remained a proud people.  However, lately there have been a number of struggles.

This past week both Israel and the United States made major gestures to Jordan and its ruler King Abdullah II, a sign that they share serious concerns over the kingdom’s stability. On Tuesday, the US administration announced that  King Abdullah will travel to the US later this month and will be the first Middle East leader to visit the Biden White House.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed Jordan’s role as “a key security partner and ally of the United States,” and said the visit would “showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

A number of difficult issues have been confronting Jordan. Water shortage, tensions in the royal family as well as economic woes have pushed a nervous America and Israel to show support for king, fearing fall of a key ally could have disastrous effects on the entire region . In April, rare Palace intrigue spilled into the open, as King Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamzah was placed under house arrest. The dramatic and very public episode shone a spotlight on fissures that have the potential to cause the entire edifice of the Hashemite regime to crumble, with delirious effects for Israel and its security.

Frustration in Jordan has simmered for years against the background of economic troubles, political repression and doubts about Abdullah’s legitimacy. In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated many of the public’s grievances, albeit mostly within the confines of the monarchy’s tight control of free expression.

Jordan’s strict lockdown was initially effective in slowing the spread of the virus, but it wreaked havoc on the economy. Unemployment reached nearly 25% by the end of 2020, as the economy suffered its worst contraction in decades.

This certainly is a good time for America to help.

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 America, Israel, Palestinians

SAME SONG: SECOND VERSE 

BLOG 524

July 4, 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.

SAME SONG: SECOND VERSE    

July 4th is back in all its glory. Fireworks and all!  While we are celebrating in America, the Middle East is still settling into the new situation with the change of government and Naftali Bennett replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. However, the Israeli position on self-defense remains the same. You’ve heard this song before.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday vowed Israel will never be slack in striking its enemies in self-defense. “The State of Israel will always defend itself against any external threat and will not hold itself back from ensuring our security,” Bennett’s remarks came in  a ceremony in Jerusalem marking the anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

Bennett added: “We will act firmly, creatively and consistently against threats both near and far.”  He did not refer to any specific threat but his remarks came as the United States holds talks on rejoining the international accord restricting Iran’s nuclear program, a move Israel supports.

The new Prime Minister last week singled out Iran when vowing not to allow any “existential threat” against Israel. He also hinted at Israeli involvement in a recent attack at an Iranian nuclear site. The alleged drone assault on an Iranian centrifuge production facility landed outside Tehran which reportedly damaged the site.

In his speech Wednesday, Bennett also commented on the formation of his power-sharing government with Lapid earlier this month,  when he replaced Netanyahu as prime minister.

“This government was not obvious. It is a beautiful mosaic government,” he said, referring to the broad range of parties in the coalition. “This is a government that I confess, was formed out of political constraints, but every day that passes teaches me that it was a worthy government from the start, A government with disagreements, deliberations, a government that knows how to disagree.”

Bennett said the government was seeking to handle internal divides “quietly, calmly, respectfully and attentively. We not only talk, we also listen to the opposing side.”

Get the picture? Israel may not celebrate July 4th, but they are still capable of a real fireworks show!

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 Elections, Israel, The Middle East

MORE CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

BLOG 523

June 28, 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.

MORE CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

Last week I described the possibilities of violent change in the Palestinian controlled areas with a revolt against the P.A. (Palestinian Authority) leader Abbas. Of course, charges of abuse  constantly go back and forth. People in the West often struggle to make sense out of what is happening. However, here’s an immediate event that will help you have a more defined sense of why the struggles continue and no progress is made.

After Abbas canceled planned Palestinian elections in April, Banat, himself a legislative candidate on an independent list, gave an interview harshly critical of the PA president to a Hamas-linked television channel. A few days later, unidentified gunmen fired at his home in Dura, near Hebron. Banat fled to a hideout in an Israeli-controlled part of Hebron. The West Bank city has been divided since the 1997 Hebron Protocol, which split the city into Palestinian and Israel-administered areas.

On Thursday morning, members of the PA security services raided the house where he was staying. According to his family, the officers stripped Banat, sprayed pepper gas in his eyes, before “viciously beating him” and dragging him away. Two hours later, his family learned that Banat was dead.

The PA has said it will conduct a full investigation with representatives from the family and human rights groups.

His death sparked widespread outrage among Palestinians, causing protests to break out in Ramallah on Thursday. Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets, calling for the end of Abbas’s 16-year rule. They were met by police wielding batons and firing tear gas canisters. On Friday, during the funeral procession for Banat in Hebron, protesters chanted “get out, get out, Abbas. This is the vote of all the people.” Invoking one of the best-known slogans of the 2011 Arab revolutions, demonstrators called out during the funeral: “The people want to topple the regime!”

“Out, out, out, get the dogs of the PA out,” others shouted.

A crowd of Palestinians appearing to number in the dozens also gathered following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to chant anti-Abbas and pro-Hamas slogans. The site is the third holiest in Islam and it lies on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Get the picture? Nothing new here. It’s an old story. However, the scene will help you understand why turmoil appears to never end.

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 Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

BLOG 522

June 21, 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.

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

Here’s a couple of indicators that real change is occurring in the Middle-East. A new poll released Tuesday finds a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas following last month’s Gaza conflict, with around three-quarters of the Palestinian population viewing the Islamist terrorists as victors in a battle against Israel to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites.The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research also found plummeting support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was sidelined by the fighting but is seen internationally as a partner for reviving the long-defunct peace process. The poll found that 53% of Palestinians believe Hamas is “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,” while only 14% prefer Abbas’ secular Fatah party.

Abbas has delayed elections for years and was supposedly set for an immediate election. These numbers do not spell success for him.

On the Israeli side, there is new hope. Israel’s 36th government is a coalition of the courageous. Each leader who has led his or her party into this strange and unwieldy government has taken a risk. Among the leaders of this coalition, none has been more self-sacrificing than Yair Lapid. Though Lapid was the senior politician within the anti-Netanyahu coalition and head of its largest party, he deferred to Benny Gantz, who seemed the more likely to defeat Netanyahu. And now he has deferred to Naftali Bennett, leader of one of the coalition’s smallest factions. In so doing, Lapid has embodied the meaning of leadership and love for Israel, restoring to our politics its lost nobility. 

Two Israels were on display at the Knesset swearing-in ceremony for the new government. There was the Israel of desecration, MKs (Members of Knesset) shouting, faces contorted with hate, trampling on the dignity of the state as they refused to allow the prime minister-designate to speak at his own inauguration. And there was the Israel of Naftali Bennet and Yair Lapid, speaking with passion and reason and self-control as they presented their coalition of healing.

After years of officially inspired campaigns of hatred and divisiveness, contrived to serve one man’s political needs, we have the most diverse government in the country’s history. After the worst violence between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews since 1948, we have the nation’s first Jewish-Arab coalition.  

If the new coalition achieves nothing more than liberating Israel from those who have tried to unravel the delicate balance between nationalism and democracy, decency and power – dayenu, it is sufficient. If the new coalition achieves nothing more than offering a counter-vision of an Israel that strives to respect and manage its essential differences and place the country above sectarian needs – dayenu.  

Can this coalition last? Given its bare majority and inner contradictions, the odds aren’t brilliant. And yet even if it doesn’t survive its term, it has already won.   

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, Palestinians, The Middle East

ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING

BLOG 521

June 14, 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.

ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING

Netanyahu is out.

One of the factors in the recent war with Hamas was that after three failed elections with a fourth planned, Israel was perceived as weakened. Netanyahu’s  problem with legal charges of corruption was also a factor. Naftali Bennet with other parties saw the necessity for change … regardless!

Despite the bad blood between them, Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett reportedly plans to use his speech at Sunday’s swearing-in of the new government to praise outgoing premier Benjamin Netanyahu and thank him for his service to the country. While Netanyahu has spent the past several weeks disparaging Bennett for forming a “dangerous” government that will replace him as premier after 12 years, the prime minister-designate will not criticize the Likud leader and will adopt a conciliatory approach.

Bennett will also seek to reassure the public that the new, eight-party government will work for all sectors, including those that have not supported his decision to build a coalition with Yesh Atid  Chairman Yair Lapid and more left-leaning parties as well as Islamist Ra’am.

Meanwhile Lapid will serve as foreign minister for the initial period of the next government. He plans to travel to the US as soon as this month in order to iron out relations with the Biden administration. The White House has worked with Netanyahu and avoided public quarrels over the past several months, but will likely not be shedding a tear over the Likud leader’s replacement, given how radioactive Netanyahu has become in the Democratic Party.

The new government is expected to be equally opposed to the Biden administration’s plan to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. However, all parties have spoken about keeping disagreements with the US behind closed doors and will represent an overwhelming majority at the cabinet table.  New sources also reported that Netanyahu’s family — his wife, Sara and sons Yair and Avner — will continue to have their own personal security guards for at least a year at the taxpayer’s expense.

Get ready for change. It’s going to be a new day in Israel!

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 Elections, Israel, The Middle East

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East

THE DAY AFTER

BLOG 518

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

TRAGEDY IN ISRAEL: AGAIN!

BLOG 516

May 10, 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.

TRAGEDY IN ISRAEL: AGAIN!

Last week we had the disturbing loss of life in the Lag B’Omer incident near Safed in Northern Israel. This week the Temple Mount exploded in rioting.  Seventeen policemen and 200 Palestinians were hurt. Here’s the full story you won’t hear on the evening news this week.  Israeli police burst into the Temple Mount compound on Friday evening after Palestinians threw rocks and bottles at officers, as widespread clashes in Jerusalem spread to the holy site following prayers held there on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that at least 205 Palestinians were wounded in clashes throughout Jerusalem, mostly around the Temple Mount and by the Damascus Gate. Eighty-eight Palestinians were hospitalized, mostly for injuries with rubber-coated steel bullets. Demonstrators had called for more people to try and reach the compound, but police blocked roads leading to the site. Footage on social media appeared to show police officers on the roof of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem has long been one of the main flashpoints of Israeli-Palestinian friction. The holiest place in Judaism, it is the site of the two biblical temples, the Muslim holy sites of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Dome of the Rock.

After capturing East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, Israel continued to grant the Waqf, which is funded and controlled by the Jordanian government, near-complete control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque area. However, Israeli security forces are present on the Mount and work in coordination with the Waqf. Jews are allowed to visit the site, but unlike Muslims they are strictly prohibited from praying on the grounds.

By midnight some of the worst violence in Jerusalem for years, seemed to have subsided, with most protesters dispersing. Police said Friday evening that force was used including “riot dispersal means following violent disturbances on the Temple Mount, during which hundreds of suspects began throwing stone, bottles and objects at police officers.”  Video from the scene showed pitched battles, with Palestinians throwing chairs, shoes, rocks and bottles, and shooting fireworks, and police responding with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.  Protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great.” Several wounded demonstrators could be seen being carried away on stretchers.  

There are growing fears that the confrontations in Jerusalem could intensify still further ahead of and on Sunday night, May 9. Sunday night is “Laylat al-Qadr” or the “Night of Destiny,” the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Worshipers will gather for intense evening prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sunday night is also the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates the unification of Jerusalem when Israel captured the eastern half of the city, including the Old City, from the Jordanians in the 1967 war and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city.

There is nothing new about such a violent outburst. I was once on the Temple Mount when I was accosted by a Muslim demanding that I leave. I made a minor objection and thought I was about to get attacked. I left.

However, something like this weekend’s confrontation always has the potential to explode into a major nation-wide war. Let’s hope not.   

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 Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, War

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.


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