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Eyes for Eyes and Babies for Babies

Gadfly | October 21st, 2023

By Ed Raymond

How many centuries have religions been fighting each other in the Middle East?

In the early foggy, frosty morning of December 25, 1914, before cannons roared and bullets whizzed, songs of Christmas were heard by German troops in the trenches on the Western Front. It was “all quiet on the front.” The music came from English troops in trenches a few hundred yards across No Man’s Land.

As the singing continued, troops left trenches without weapons and greeted enemies. Most were married men far from home and family. They exchanged gifts of rum, tobacco, and cigars, and even exchanged helmets. A few soccer matches broke out during the spontaneous truce and music was heard much of the day. On December 26, 1914, cannons roared and bullets whizzed.

But there is no truce in the Middle East. Three major world religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have been fighting wars and killing each other for more than 2,000 years.

Perhaps in a future century a task force of historians will figure out how many days “religious” Homo sapiens have not been fighting wars or killing each other over the last 5,000 years.

Northern Egypt was conquered in the Early Dynasty Period in 5150 BC to 2613 BC. It was the first recorded war--so far. The first recorded wars in Mesopotamia occurred in 2334-2279 BC. The wars between the city-states of Greece in 1,382-336 BC have been covered well in Greek history.

Prussian military analyst Carl Von Clausewitz in the 19th Century defined war in his book “On War” : “War is the continuation of politics carried on by other means. War is waged by political enemies, nations or, earlier, city-states in order to resolve political or territorial disputes, and are carried out on the battlefield by armies comprised of soldiers of the contending nations or by mercenaries paid by a government to wage battle.”

The Prussian did not mention another important element of what causes wars. Man has been creating 28,000 gods with thousands of “religions” over the last 300,000 years. Gods probably cause more wars than politics.

There’s an old Soviet joke that has a great deal of truth in it: “The future is always the same, but the past is always changing.”

Hamas just buried UN Resolution 181 Partition Plan for Palestine forever

And the Muslim organization did it by committing war crimes after war crimes in the first two weeks of an old religious war. Hamas will most likely be defeated by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) committing war crimes after war crimes.

It’s ironic that Israel was created because a religious Christian Germany committed war crimes after war crimes to eliminate Judaism and Zionism from Homo sapiens on earth.

Jews had Leviticus and the 612 rules in the Torah to follow. Hamas has elements of the Taliban, Shia, Sunni, Al Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS), and other Muslim religious groups to follow. (Remember what ISIS did to Yazidis, particularly women and children?)

In the last two weeks millions of words have been written and thousands of pictures broadcast over all kinds of media. I’m going to add a few more words just to give a little background to a decision I made about 20 years ago.

Seventy-six years ago, in 1947, the United Nations passed Resolution 181 which recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states (Often called the “Two-State Solution” by many countries!) in Palestine.

Great Britain wanted to give up the “Mandate” it used to rule its former colony. Great Britain had received the Mandate of Palestine in 1923 after the partitioning of countries after World War I. The resolution also called for a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem because it was the center of at least three major religions.

Because Hitler killed only six million of the 12 million Jews in Europe, the UN wanted to find a place for survivors of the Holocaust and create a country for future Jews.

The main problem was that Resolution 181 placed thousands of Jews in the middle of millions of Arabs in surrounding countries. In 1948, Arabs outnumbered Jews 70% to 30% in Palestine. In 1918 a British census recorded 700,000 Arabs and only 56,000 Jews in Palestine. From the beginning it would have taken a miracle for both Jews and Muslims to agree to have adjoining countries of Israel and Palestine—and live by each other.

Today, Israel governs the whole area of Israel-Palestine. It has created the biggest jail in history, Gaza, and denies Palestinians the most basic human rights in apartheid conditions. The endless cycle of violence against Jews in European countries is continuing under Israeli rule.

The art of politics does not include miracles

Jews and Arabs have had 76 years to compromise and work out the details that would eventually create a two-state solution. I was 16 when the UN came up with this deal, so, being a news junkie all my adult life, I have followed “Mission Impossible.” The solution always self-destructed before either party could comprehend it.

After reading millions of words about numerous wars, assassinations, killings, beatings, 30-foot concrete walls between Gaza and Israel, hundreds of military checkpoints, and 34 times Jews built settlements on prime Palestine land whenever there was the remote possibility of a deal, I decided about 20 years ago to write: “A plague on both Jews and Palestinians.”

Neither had any plans to give up territory. Gaza is at the center of Middle East poverty because of Israel’s rules. Almost half of Gaza’s population is 18 years of age or younger. It is estimated that 90% of the children have never been out of Gaza. Unemployment is around 80%, so Gaza depends on Arab countries for support.

Gaza has often been referred to as the largest prison on earth. Living conditions in Gaza are not good because 95% of the population do not have clean water and electric power is erratic. Israeli security forces hold about 5,000 prisoners in inhumane conditions which include torture, and has 1,200 Palestinians called administrative detainees who have not been charged yet.

In another attempt to solve the Palestinian-Jewish conflicts, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 with many suggestions for a framework implementing the two-state solution. But since that resolution in 1967, 56 years ago, Israel has constantly violated the resolution by scattering illegal settlements throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem—and on the best land.

By 2018, there were 611,000 Israeli settlers living in 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank, all in contravention of international law. In the settlements, Israelis have established 128 police and military outposts. Forty-two percent of West Bank land is controlled by settlements. Some settlements are made up of middle-class townhouses constructed in fortified compounds, while others are single-family homes constructed of concrete with limestone cladding and red-tiled roofs.

Christians and Muslims have been unable to stay on tracks laid by leaders

Bruce Wilkinson of Bloomberg News has a terrific short paragraph about depravity in the world: “We become depraved by degrees. Germans did not become Jew killers in a day. It took years of conditioning, via propaganda, and then steady practice, via party and state brutality, to shed their humanity and become a nation of functional sociopaths. The Hamas terrorists who murdered babies in their cribs last week weren’t stamped with pathological hatred at birth. It was an acquired habit, the result of a process of moral dulling and rage sharpening. No doubt some foes of Hamas will now rejoice at the sight of Palestinian babies blown to smithereens in retaliation. It’s not a terribly long distance from eye for an eye to baby for baby.”

Speaking of being depraved and violent, American Nazis, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Christian White supremacists, Boogaloos, and most state militias with their AR-15s and camo tactical gear or Hawaiian shirts have moved to the Trumplican far-right.

These “fine people” will probably like this story: God asks George Bush: “What do you believe in?” Bush: “I believe in the free market and the strong American nation!” God: “Come, sit on my right.” Next, God asks Obama: “What do you believe in?” Obama: “I believe in the power of democracy and equal rights for all.” God: “Come, sit on my left.” Last, God asks Trump: “What do you believe in?” Trump: “I believe you’re sitting in my chair!”

I wish Taliban Muslims who have read the Koran would tell us how long it takes to make a ten-year-old girl or boy a suicide bomber. What does it take for an ISIS “warrior” to behead a reporter and put the tape on Twitter (X)? Ask the Sunni brother if it was difficult to “honor kill” his younger sister. Is chopping off a hand the right Sharia treatment for the crime of theft?

Muslims say the Koran states men and women are equal. That’s funny—so does our Declaration of Independence—except that it’s worded differently: “All men are created equal.” Hey boys, you forgot women! Another point: one-fifth of Israel’s citizens are Palestinians. Why haven’t we heard from them?

What should Israelis do with Bibi Netanyahu?

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv, raised in Jerusalem, and spent his high school and college years in the U.S.  And got his diploma from MIT, majoring in Architecture and Business Management.

He then served as a military officer in the Israel Defense Force as a special operations officer in an elite unit for five years. He took part in several operations, including the rescue of hostages in a hijacked Sabena plane in 1972.

He spent six years in private business before becoming Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1988 he became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and continued in various government posts. In 1996 he was elected prime minister for the first time. He has been in government except for three years in 1999-2002, when he served as a private consultant to several high-tech companies.

There is little doubt Bibi has been opposed to the two-state solution recommended by the United Nations. He made his point by creating settlements in Palestine territories whenever the two parties got close to making a two-state deal and then sabotaging it. In the meantime, he still gets $3.6 billion each year in military hardware from us!

Townhouses in gated communities and concrete family homes with safe rooms were built by the hundreds. Neither Jews nor Arabs wanted to split or share. It seemed to be all or nothing—and that’s what it has come to.

And when Bibi is trying to solve his “corruption” problems by weakening the courts, he has blown up his own government. It will take a miracle for him to recover and regain power, but miracles have been in very short supply for centuries in the Middle East.

A friend sent me an e-mail containing a rather puzzling quote by Golda Meir who was prime minister of Israel in 1969-74: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.



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