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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Israel and the Middle East

U.S., Politics, Quality of Life

The conflict in the Gaza Strip appears to be unending.  The United States thinks, apparently, that it can simply bequeath an end to these kinds of things by the force of its will; that has proved time and again to not be the case.  Our diplomatic efforts prove to be short-lived no matter the political party in power.

Since United Nations Resolution 181 was passed in 1948, this ‘truce’ has, at best, been uneasy.  This is a stand-off as it now exists and the stand-off is one between the Muslim faith and the Jewish faith.  That resolution was not approved by the ten countries at that time where the Muslim faith was dominant.  In essence the resolution was forced upon the region, and its countries, predominantly Muslim, provide money and weaponry to Palestine in spite of the resolution.  Not all of that weaponry is interdicted by Israel as is apparent when thousands of rockets can be fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.  (We of course buy much oil from these countries so we have to pussy foot a bit to avoid killing that Golden Goose.)

This struggle would appear to have been one that has already lasted for centuries without material change in the positions of those opposed to each other.  We seem to think that we, as a powerful government, can dictate that this will all be forgotten.  We force our allies, Israel in this instance, to bend to our will even as this causes their people to suffer.  We decry Israel’s incursions into the Gaza Strip while we do little or nothing to prevent the launch of rockets and missiles into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Every so often Israel determines that it simply has to mount a military effort to tamp down the attacks on its homeland.  It is very capable of taking care of itself even as the U.S. threatens to stop providing weapons, etc.  Israel has shown its mettle.  The neighboring Muslim countries still bear the scars of ill-thought attempts to overpower Israel.

Imagine for a bit how we would react if Mexico were to begin dropping rockets into San Diego, CA or Brownsville, TX every day or two for months on end.  Would we respond to defend and protect our citizenry or would we permit the United Nations to tell us how we would and wouldn’t respond?  Even under the current government, I cannot imagine that we wouldn’t respond especially if this incursion had happened every few years for the past several decades.

If that is the case, and I believe that it is, how then do we square our response to a similar threat while telling an ally that it can’t follow a similar course to handle its own defense?  Our country has various political forces within its government and those have differing ideas about the use of force.  Both our political parties have histories of condoning the use of force to protect our interests and yet we expect that Israel will not lift a finger in its own defense.

There is something decidedly wrong with this picture in my mind.  We, through the UN, have helped, if not driven, the creation of this situation.  Israel was on that land for centuries leading up to modern times.  It was provided access to that land through the UN resolution but now the forces that decreed that have lost their will and their nerve.  Our poor efforts at diplomacy have borne virtually no fruit.  There is nothing peaceful about that region as is plain to see with these kinds of situations boiling over on a regular basis.

The Middle East is a classic powder keg and there will, I have very little doubt, come a time when Israel will unleash its military might and strike out at any number of its neighboring Muslim countries.  I will have a difficult time thinking of Israel as having been in the wrong when this happens.  I will, instead, think of Israel as defending itself from forces that have its total and absolute destruction as a major part of their national philosophy.

I just hope that Israel will take the necessary action even if it has to pooh-pooh our leaders at the time.  After all, it is one thing to be within easy reach of nuclear-tipped missiles and an entirely different thing to be offering pious opinions from the other side of the globe out of harm’s way.

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