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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Fault lies not in our stars.......


I got a comment to the blog entry about Sheryl Crow's song that I felt the need to address. It's not that this comment (which was submitted anonymously) surprised me. It's not that this comment is unusual. It's just because it is so common and so often expressed and it shows a total lack of understanding of the situation that I felt I needed to comment on it.

Imagine you're in 5th grade. You're a small boy but you've been learning karate since you were 5 and you're pretty good at it. While you're not exactly a black belt, you are certainly capable of defending yourself. A larger boy comes over to you and tells you that you have to do his homework for him or he'll "beat you up". You know you can defend yourself against him, but you were taught that peace is more important, so you do his homework for him.

After a month of doing your own homework and his homework as well, he comes over to you again and tells you that if you don't give him your lunch money, in addition to doing his homework, he and his friends (who are standing in the background watching this exchange) will "beat you up". You decide that you don't want to start a fight, so you give him your lunch money.

After about a month of doing his homework and giving him your lunch money, he comes over and tells you that he's going to "beat you up" anyway. So he starts to hit you. You block his shots. He keeps trying to hit you, you keep blocking his shots. Finally, you decide that if you land one good shot maybe he will stop trying to hit you, stop taking your lunch money and stop having you do his homework. So you land one good karate kick.

Suddenly, you are surrounded by his friends, several teachers who were watching the entire scene and other students, all yelling at you and calling you the aggressor. All you did was defend yourself, but you are the one being blamed. You did everything you could to avoid the fight. But every time you gave in, the bully wanted more. And you're being blamed.

This is what Israel goes through every day. We've been helping the Palestinians in every way possible (giving them jobs, medical care, food, humanitarian aid, etc.) and yet, they don't want peace with us. You can't make someone want peace. And the Palestinian Authority is currently getting everything it wants without having to live in peace, without making even the smallest concession. Why would they want to negotiate? Why would they want to live in peace?

I would also like to ask the anonymous comment maker this: Do you have the slightest idea how small Israel is in comparison the Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, just to mention a few? Do you have any idea what the population density is in Israel vs. the above mentioned countries? And, by the way, do you also happen to know that in Israel, people of all ethnicities, religions, national origins and sexual orientations live together (Haifa, Israel is the center of the Baha'i faith, for one thing) -- this is not true of Arab/Muslim countries (and, in order for the Palestinians to move into Gaza, all Jews were forced to leave -- no Arabs were forced to leave Israel -- the ones who left in 1948 did so voluntarily)?

When one side has made all the concessions (and is still willing to make more concessions) while the other side has made no concessions are is unwilling to make any in the future it is really difficult to say that there is equal culpability in the hostilities. When one side continues to attack the civilians on the other side while the other side goes out of its way to avoid civilian casualties it is unfair to say that there is equal culpability in the hostilities. Israel has been more than forthcoming and more than willing to make peace. The Palestinians have not. It may take two to tango but it takes only one to attack. The Christian concept of "turning the other cheek" may occasionally work on a personal basis, but Israel's run out of "cheeks". It is clear from their behavior which side wants peace and which side only wants the other in pieces.

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