I can?t say I am completely mystified about what Israel is doing right now? I?m pretty sure I can see some political plan to their current military behavior. But no matter what ?sense? I can make of what they are doing?it has become necessary for me to say that I am completely disgusted by their indiscriminate use of violence on innocent civilians.
Well, there?s nothing startling or revolutionary about saying that?the whole world is, and should be, disgusted by what Israel doing right now. (It?s so bad that even the New York Daily News, the most blindly pro-Israel newspaper in the country, featured a huge headline and article about the massacre Israeli jets just perpetrated in Lebanon yesterday. Usually The News finds a way to ignore, downplay or justify anything violent done by the Israelis to anyone else).

So, no big deal to say I am repelled by Israel?s current behavior. I just felt the need to say it out loud?
And most Jews will understand what I mean when I also say that Israel?s current murder and destruction spree makes me ashamed?.
No matter how much you consider yourself, and in fact are, an American?if you?re Jewish (and especially if you?re older and watched a lot of Israel?s history as it unfolded) you feel a special connection to Israel. What Israel does as a nation, inside and out, draws at you in a way that is inescapable, no matter how much you might attempt to be objective or legitimately disassociate yourself from the actions of what is otherwise be just another foreign country.

Obviously, to whatever extent that their recent military activities have been planned in advance and could be said to have a political and military objective, they are attempting to draw the rest of the world (i.e., NATO-the UN) into inserting themselves between Israel and Lebanon and, perhaps, eventually around every one of Israel?s final borders with the Palestinians.
For decades the Israelis have refused to have a really large, strong UN force sitting on its borders?no doubt based, in part, on the historical realities of the larger world?s treatment of Jews? Its a kind of righteous paranoia the Israelis have.
But I think they have finally given up out of sheer exhaustion and now see that they are at the end of their rope?They can no longer maintain their military at the level they have all these decades. The majority of Israelis are clearly fed up once and for all with being eternal soldiers and taxing their economy to the breaking point just to survive.
After all, it was a peace party that they elected in their last general election. And a peace party that seemed (with the withdrawal in Gaza and the planned withdrawal in The West Bank) to be doing exactly that: Finally making peace and participating in the attempt to create a two state solution and get out of the business of being an occupying imperial force.
I looked forward to seeing the lunatic Israeli settlers in the West Bank made to withdraw behind the borders of Israel.

All of this progress was being made?and the fringe Palestinian elements in Gaza (whether part of Hamas or not) shooting the occasional weak rocket across the border were not presenting a serious threat to the greater efforts being made toward peace.
Easy for me to talk, or course? I don?t live there and am not threatened by these rockets. But as an outsider, contemplating all of this from a larger, wider angle, I thought that even the kidnapping of one soldier and the killing of another was still not a reason to stop the peace plan dead in its tracks?let alone provoke Israel to destroy half of Gaza and practically starve everyone there to death?not to mention blowing up Hamas?s buildings and kidnapping (?arresting?) several members of the ruling Hamas party.

Hamas was/is a terrorist organization?as far as the Israelis are concerned? And despite the fact that they were elected by a majority of Palestinians to control their new Government, they haven?t renounced their long stated policy of refusing to recognize Israel?s right to resist.

But I believe there was some progress being made.
Hamas was in the strange position of (not to be condescending) a child who had finally?and inevitably?been placed in the position of an adult, with adult responsibilities. They were elected as legitimate officials of an actual independent state?right alongside the rest of the world?s independent states.
It seems to me that the Israelis had a moral responsibility and also that it was just good common-sense politics, to treat Hamas as equals in the bargaining process between states.
There will be?providing World War 3 hasn?t finally erupted in the area?two independent states there; Palestine and Israel?And Hamas, whether the Israelis like it or not, was elected in a more or less democratic election to be a major part of the legitimate government of the Palestinian state.

In the end, I believe, Hamas would have (could still) assume a new identity and see that peaceful negotiation is the only way they are ever going to give their own people a peaceful thriving independent state.
And the same goes for Israel. They must?no matter how much it galls them?negotiate in good faith with people who have been their worst enemies for decades? They have no choice if they want to continue to exist.

When it comes to Hezbollah the rest of the world?the part that cares at all about human life, or whose greedy or crooked political/military interest doesn?t dictate otherwise (like Iran, Russia and even the USA)?needs to step up and more or less force itself (through the UN) into the area.
There needs to be, and it has to be a commitment of at least a couple of years, a force of ten to twenty thousand modern, heavily armed troops from NATO countries, occupying/patrolling the Lebanese-Israeli border?complete with an air force and ships.
This force, paid for by the UN (every country in the UN) would be, in effect, the cops who keep Hezbollah down in their holes or locked up (or, if completely incorrigible, dealt with as uncontrollable outlaws?specifically: killed).
This force would also stand as a deterrent against Israel doing once again what it did in 1983 and what it is doing now.

Hezbollah, when its not running southern Lebanon and southern Beirut in the same way a drug gang runs parts of some American cities, is also part of the Lebanese government and, as such, must be dealt with by other sovereign states.
The political arm of Hezbollah has to be recognized by Israel and the rest of the world. But the military wing, funded by Iran, needs to be suppressed, eliminated, or allowed to drift into history?
It is somewhat similar to the long haul that went on with the political and military wings of the IRA in Ireland.

Putin and the greedy oil men who run Russia couldn?t care less if the whole area (providing it stays contained in that area) is a mess?It just increases the price of their crude oil? It also weakens the United States government which is committed to providing massive munitions to Israel and makes the USA (deservedly) look like the callous and amoral gun dealer who supplies the weapons that murder innocent people.
And maybe its time for the USA to tell Israel it won?t continue to be their weapons source indefinitely. If Israel had to get its planes and rockets and depleted uranium shells from another source it would certainly affect the way they conduct themselves. But that?s a dangerous concept. If the USA did stop supplying Israel with weapons and arms, who and what would prevent the Arabic nations surrounding them from murdering every last Jew in Israel. An issue with great complexity attached to it.

Bush is a certifiable religious lunatic who believes the last days (as prophesied in Revelations?the greatest sick/violent acid trip ever published) are upon us?and is doing his best to hurry the rapture up? So he doesn?t care if the whole area goes up in flames?it just means his personal savior will
come sooner and airlift him and his family and pals straight to a Christian heaven?which will probably, in what passes for his mind?look like his ranch in Texas?just with angels instead of secret service agents guarding the perimeter.
Cheney and the other oil billionaires and arms manufacturers who own and run the USA don?t care how many Lebanese, Palestinian and Israeli children get murdered and dismembered? Their concern for human life is nil and the disturbance in Lebanon serves their purpose by keeping the catastrophic calamity of our war in Iraq off the front pages.

Iran is run by Bush mirror-image religious lunatics and a similar group of oil crooks?and having their puppet Hezbollah deliberately provoke this Israeli murder rampage is only in their ?interest??It also keeps their loony and dangerous behavior off the radar screen for a while.

And let us not forget?in the face of the Israelis killing hundreds of innocent people? The rest of the world has never lifted a finger to keep Jews from being killed or otherwise tortured in every manner possible. If the Israelis are going through hell with Hezbollah keeping the fires stoked, well that?s what the Christ-killing, Infidel spurners of The Prophet deserve?right?

Even worse than rejecting God (whichever children?s fantasy of God we?re talking about here) these grubby Hebrews don?t even have any stinking oil!
And neither do the Palestinians or the Lebanese.

?Interesting when you consider that. No major European force is racing to invade or ?rescue? or ?liberate? any area of the Middle East that has no fluid to offer them save for orange juice or olive oil.
I wonder if the Israelis and the Lebanese and the Palestinians would be left so long to bake in their own sand if there was oil beneath it.

It seems to me that this last, violent spasm of military behavior is the Israeli?s attempt to say: That?s it: We give up?we can?t fight everybody all at once forever. We?re going to do it this one last time and threaten to do it again but what we really need is help from the rest of the world.
Help in this case would be accepting that a truly effective (for once) and very strong international peace-keeping force be settled on the strip of land that comprises their border with Lebanon and that this force be given the responsibility of dealing effectively with Hezbollah? Ultimately, this force would be possibly be posted on all of Israel?s borders.

There is, obviously, so much more to be said. And, as always, I have resorted to the usual over-generalized arguments and opinions?but that?s enough for now.
The question is: Is it just about oil or some form of fantasy God or is it, finally, about the sacredness of human life?

– Mike Feder (New York City – July 31, 2006)

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