Monkeys can outrun and outclimb a man every time, and they both know it. Yet, the monk often finds himself caught in the man's net. The man knows he could never catch a monk by trying to outrun him. So, he weaves a basket, places a coconut inside and makes the neck just open enough for the monkey to get his hand in but not get the coconut out. Along comes the monk. He thinks, smells like a coconut. Reaches his hand in. It is a coconut. Not only that, it is his coconut. God must have meant for him to have it. But, the man is coming, which does not bother the monk. He can outrun the man anytime. All he has to do is get his coconut out of that basket tied to the tree. Suddenly he is tangled up in a net.
I think that is the story of
Israel. Like the monk, Israel can let go of the occupied territories at
any time and have peace, but Israel
refuses to turn loose the coconut. And now, Israel is beginning to feel the net.
Netanyahu had claimed that “ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.” Alan Dershowitz,
American Defense Attorney, brought it
even closer by declaring, “ ISIS is America’s Hamas.”
ISIS is an extremist Islamist organization that doesn’t play by the rules, has prepared to behead Americans, smuggle Americans and Europeans into
America with evil intentions on
their mind. The only difference is, ISIS is much further away from the United States than Hamas is from Israel,
but they use the same tactics.
Really? Hamas is an elected body of government and finds support in many foreign governments. Its goal is to get
off of the Palestinian neck and has offered peace in exchange for freedom on
many occasions. Nathan Thrall pointed out in the August 1 issue of the London Review of Books:
It was only after
Israel arrested hundreds of Hamas members in the
West Bank in early July, and Israeli airstrikes killed seven Hamas members,
that Hamas began firing rockets into Israel.
The most frequently repeated myth especially in full pro-Israeli newspaper ads, is that Hamas’ main objective is the destruction of
Israel. It is a charge that was
once true but has since been modified by pragmatic Hamas leaders, who ever
since the late 1990s have offered Israel
a long term truce in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967
borders. In 1997 King Hussein of Jordan
conveyed to Israel
a letter from Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal offering a 30-year truce on
those terms. Israel’s response was an
unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Meshal.
In 2002, Hamas supported the Arab peace initiative offering
Israel full recognition and normal relations if Israel withdrew from the occupied territories,
an offer Israel
ignored. In 2006 Gaza’s
former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh sent a letter to George W. Bush offering a
truce “for many years” on the same terms. That letter was also ignored. Finally
in 2010 Hamas announced it would honor any peace plan approved by a majority of
Palestinians in a referendum
Gershon Baskin, an Israeli peace activist, recounts that in November 2012 he and Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari had completed a draft agreement containing mechanisms for maintaining a permanent truce, with Jabari agreeing to end all military attacks on
aborted the agreement by assassinating Jabari.
On the other hand,
a pure salafist ideology which holds no loyalty to any state and has few, if
any friends in the political world. Hamas’ main demand in cease-fire talks is
to end the occupation of the Gaza Strip. It has no stated plan to invade
Dershowitz asks, “If we had tunnels coming into the
U.S. from Mexico
there is no doubt we would put boots on the ground to destroy those tunnels.”
This is amazing coming from a famed lawyer. Can he make a case only by denying context and history. We have not imprisoned the Mexicans for the past 66 years and we have not bombed
Canada into devastation. And Dershowitz
knows it. He just hopes the US
media will not point it out and the average American will not care.
Last week, Netanyahu announced that he was coming before the UN, (Pretty courageous, I thought, since
Israel is the most blantent violator
of the UN General Assembly’s resolutions) to refute “the lies of Mahmoud Abbas,” who
Forget about the Palestinians continuing to meet and discuss while
Israel continues to construct
settlements and ignore even the simple commitments it agreed to, such as the
release of prisoners… The Palestinians will not return to any negotiations that
do not take as a starting point the final objective of a Palestinian state alongside Israel,
based on the ’67 borders, and a binding timetable for its establishment.
Abbas used such words as “colonial occupation,” “racism,” a war of genocide,” “massacres,” and a nation above the law.” But has he lied?
not been an occupying force in Palestine
since 1967? Is a Jewish state with rights and privileges for Jews only not
racism? As for a war of “genocide,” has
this not been the stated goal and practice of Israel since 1948? And as for “massacres and a nation above the
law,” even Americans saw the bombing and destruction in Gaza last summer: more than 2,000 people
killed and 11,000 injured, 3,000 of them children, 1000 permanently
disabled with 1,800 orphaned. As much as
Netanyahu tries to deflect criticism of Israel as “lies.” the nets of world
opinion are closing in on him. Netanyahu’s
strategy of we will keep on killing your people, assassinating your leaders and
blowing up your children until you stop hating us, is clearly not working. Palestinians are determined to hang on.
“But Hamas used their children as human shields,” is often proclaimed. For the sake of discussion, let’s pretend for the moment that a Palestinian mother did come to the door with her child held out in front of her to protect the terrorist behind her. I have watched a lot of TV cop shows and never once when the robber came out of the bank holding a hostage in front of him have I seen the police shoot down the hostage to kill the bad guy. Yet,
Israel excuses the death of over
500 children by claiming that they were shields. Now, stop pretending. There is not one shred
of evidence reported by the world’s press of Palestinians using children or anyone as shields. Because
Netanyahu says it ad nauseam does not
make it true. It is simply his desperate effort to cover up the senseless
killing of civilians including children. I understand his panic.
He is being closed in by his own “refuseniks,” those military personnel who, at risk of their own freedom, refuse to serve the goals of “the most moral army on the globe:” because of its ruthless attack on an unarmed and cornered people.
Another concern of Netanyahu is the threat of Abbas to go to the International Criminal Court with charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes against
Israel. The ICC has already declared settlements illegal. Obama has referred to settlements as, “unsustainable,”
while Marc Ellis, Jewish scholar and prolific writer asks, “When does
“unsustainable” become “unconscionable?”
I would guess when it is brought before the ICC.
And then comes BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. People of conscience all over the globe , from main line churches to the dock workers in
California, use BDS as a means to get the
attention of Israel. It is a movement of moral non-violent
resistance which cannot be stopped by Netanyahu’s military might or AIPAC’s
money. BDS is unstoppable and is
growing. It worked in South Africa and it is putting the squeeze on Israel.
And then there is Jewish Voice for Peace, which is a small but rapidly growing Jewish community which seeks to take their historical faith seriously. They oppose Zionist Israel because of the high moral and compassionate standards of the Prophets.
Add all of this together and unless
Israel finds a way to pull its fist out of Palestine and let go of its agenda to become a Jewish only
state from the Jordan to the
the net is inevitably closing in. At least, I hope so.
October 3, 2014