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What really is going on in the Middle East?

by Yaakov (Jacob) Lichter

August 4, 2014 | 2:45 pm

A bomb shelter in Sderot, decorated by neighborhood children. Image courtesy of Yaakov Lichter

Look at a map of the countries in the general vicinity of Israel. You will see Morocco, Algiria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. And if you look on the same map in a north-south direction you will see Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. Even before considering a Palestinian state we are talking about 22 Muslim countries and one Jewish state – Israel, with an area of 0.166% of the area of all those Arab countries and a population of 1.1% of the total population there.

So, the actual reasons for the Arab-Israeli dispute can't be territorial. The real problems are a result of Israel's being the one and only true western vibrant democracy in these parts of the world. Fundamentalist Islam (FI) cannot accept that, and as long as FI exists as such it will never accept it. The FI, financed by countries such as Iran or Qatar, heavily infiltrated into the Palestinian organizations, especially into HAMAS, whom I'll try to introduce to you shortly. HAMAS rules in Gaza. The FI in general and HAMAS in particular are based on strict extremist Islam, in its most hostile and violent version. There is a deep cultural normative abyss, which makes it impossible for most western free people to understand HAMAS, let alone negotiate or rationally reason with them. As you will see in the following, they are in an explicitly declared 'holy war' (alas to this inhumane expression!), as Islam calls it, against anything they think is even slightly different from them, especially the western free world. Israel is the probe or test-case, which they use, as well as the first dish in their planned "dinner". That, in a nutshell, is the true story.

I am Yaakov (Jacob) Lichter; I am retired, and live in the Galilee, Israel, in a nice village called Yuvallim, inhabited by 308 families, mainly professionals, and organized as a community. It is located about 18 miles northeast of Haifa (and just over 100 miles southwest of Damascus). My educational background is in physics, business administration and philosophy of science. My spouse and I have five children, and one sweet granddaughter. She will be one year old in August 2014.

I am amazed, even confused, to hear some of the responses made by world leaders or commentators regarding Israel's response to a terror attack that has been ongoing against Israel since its establishment in 1948, and for the last 10 years has dramatically intensified from Gaza by terrorists infiltrating Israel to kill civilians and by Gazans firing about 10 thousand rockets, in addition to a similar number of mortar shells and who knows how many bullets.

Israel was established by a UN resolution in 1948. The whole free world recognized the Jewish deep-rooted historical ownership of the land of Israel. The whole world knows 'Eretz Israel' [Hebrew: The Land of Israel] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world. Our deed of ownership is the Jewish Bible, which is the source not only of Judaism, but later on also of Christianity and even later – of Islam as well.

The Jewish nation returned to its original homeland with an unstoppable energy of deep belief, pertinence and belonging, following a forced exile of exactly 1878 years. We came back home, and use our 5,000 years old original language – Hebrew. And we are here to stay, because there is no other place on the globe where we feel organically relevant and rooted.

During this long exile, there was no independent state that was founded in The Land of Israel. Sure, it was conquered by various empires as a territorial asset, but in retrospect it seems as if the land waited for almost 2,000 years for its original children to return, and this is exactly what happened when the state of Israel emerged. Read Mark Twain's testimony – in his 'Innocents Abroad' - about his trip to Israel, 81 years before its foundation as a Jewish state: he described a desolate country – devoid of both vegetation and human population. Don't believe the blunt intentional and dishonest lies telling you about a Palestinian old land that existed here. Instead, please study history.

A key to understanding our situation is to understand that the War of Independence that 7 Arab states forced upon us in 1948 is practically still going on, in the form of 5 – 6 wars that were waged against Israel since it was established. One of these wars was 'The Six-Days War' in which Israel conquered the Sinai desert, which was three times larger than its tiny territory and relatively rich in oil, gas and other significant minerals. However, when Egypt decided to recognize Israel and make peace (even though it is a "cold peace") about 10 years later, we handed back the Sinai desert – despite its richness and relatively large territory - and it has been Egyptian demilitarized territory, by agreement with Israel, for more than 30 years now. So, you can see that a secured peace and a rational negotiation is what stands as the basis of Israeli policy, and not a desire for more and more territories. Negotiating must be a rational process and therefore is about rational issues, such as territory, quarried substances, demilitarization, borders, commerce, transportation, technologies, coordination and the like. But dealing with HAMAS - whose declared charter, as you will see, is rooted in hallucinatory mystical beliefs and atrocious plans to totally annihilate Israel and the Jews – cannot be based on anything rational or sustainable.

HAMAS is officially recognized in almost all free democratic societies as a dangerous terror organization.  It took over control of Gaza, does not accept any Palestinian that is not a HAMAS member, including the Palestinian elected president, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is not accepted by HAMAS because he is not as extreme as they think he should be against Israel. They officially call him a traitor. Mahmoud Abbas cannot even visit Gaza – he is simply afraid he would be assassinated by HAMAS rulers if he did. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established with the help and support of Israel. Ever since its establishment, Israel has been supporting it administratively, financially, logistically (e.g., medical care, electric supply, water), and infrastructure-wise. What we got back in return were terror attacks. Nine years ago Israel undertook a huge risk in order to test the thesis of complete withdrawal, and totally withdrew from Gaza. What we received back from Gaza, in addition to terror attacks, was firing of thousands of rockets into Israeli towns and villages, and Death-Tunnels that were dug to enable terrorist infiltration into peaceful towns and tranquil villages in Israel. The walls of these tunnels were reinforced with cement that Israel supplied to Gaza for building homes, factories, and hospitals. Israel defends people using rockets; HAMAS defends rockets using people. 

That is how the danger that Israel undertook in discussing a "Two States for Two Peoples" solution is turning into a "Two States for the Palestinians and No State for the Jews" situation, because HAMAS is firm in its explicitly declared desire to kill all the Jews and wipe out the state of Israel, while Israel was trying "to play it fair". Would anybody in England, France, the US, Sweden, Argentina or Egypt agree to such a situation? If Cuba would fire 10,000 rockets on the US wouldn't the US wipe it out? Didn't Great Britain completely crash Nazi Germany for wanting to conquer Britain and for firing V-2 rockets on London and bombing Coventry?

Furthermore, while the Nazi's sent pilots and fought with troops, HAMAS deliberately forces Palestinian women, children and elderly citizens to surround them and stand in front of while shooting and firing rockets against Israel. They do it, because of two reasons. First, they rely on hypocritical politicians and reporters who will show a picture of an Israeli tank standing in front of a Palestinian child, without saying what the reason is for that. They will report about the end-result, not about the intentions. They won't usually say anything about the almost super-human efforts of the Israeli army to protect Palestinian civilians and about the fact that many Israeli soldiers were killed because of that. The second reason why HAMAS hides behind Palestinian civilians is plainly because it is a criminal terror organization and those civilians are hostages held by it.

Please remember that Hitler's rise to power was completely constitutional, so don't act like the ostrich who buried its head in the ground to avoid seeing. Please don't  illusion yourself with the empty slogan that HAMAS came to power through elections. Rogue organizations cynically take advantage of democracy and freedom, to eventually annihilate them after achieving their initial goal of control through democratic processes.

Winston Churchill was, at that time, one of the very few who understood the essence of totalitarian thinking, based on the belief that "anybody who is different from me should be enslaved and then eliminated". He was rock-confident that this view cannot be accepted, that it must strictly be forbidden, excluded and decisively defeated, the sooner the better. Unfortunately, we do not see a 'Churchill of our times'. I am sure he would have said, as well as done, something regarding those short-sighted and hypocritical politicians and commentators.

People have intentions, and their acts should not be judged only by results or outcomes, but also, and especially, by their intentions! It is not hard to know what the intentions of each side are. Listen to the moderate tones and the matter-of-fact contents of speech of the Israeli leaders, based on compromise and rational attitudes as opposed to the harsh hatred and tempestuous boastful screams of both the Islamic extremist leaders and especially of HAMAS. Their tones cannot but remind us the worst of human history, and to me – as a Jew – they are horrifying on the one hand, and on the other hand, as an Israeli, make me decisive in understanding that we should defend ourselves for the sake of Israel and the future of the democratic world. But don't stop there –read them in the foundational written declarations of each side. Specifically, read the Declaration of Independence and constitutional laws of Israel and review the HAMAS-Charter. Please read all of it. It will teach you an unforgettable horrifying lesson, believe me, and remind you of regimes such as the Nazi regime that almost destroyed democratic culture no more than 70 – 80 years ago. Here are some quotes from HAMAS-Charter and a few notes by me (ll quotes from HAMAS-Charter are in Italics, underlined and put between parentheses).

The title of the HAMAS-Charter stresses, with very bold capital letters, that this is "THE CHARTER OF ALLAH: THE PLATFORM OF THE ISLAMIC RESISTANCE MOVEMENT". That is the base, which makes it so threatening, irrational and dangerous. Those people assumed the role of Allah (God, in Arabic), and they take over the interpretation of Islam. They are sure that they – and only they – know what God wants. An introductory sentence is then addressed to the believers of Allah: "You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind". This is an additional parallel to the Nazi ideology, which was explicitly based on the superiority of the Arian race and the domination of the world by Germany. To bring this point home, the charter immediately adds: "if the People of the Scripture had believed, it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-doers". Now, be careful in reading this: usually, we understand that the scriptures include the Bible Old Testament (Judaism), the New Testament (Christianity), and the Qur'an (Islam). But the meaning here restricts it to the Qur'an only, and classifies the non-believers in the Qur'an as "evil-doers". According to the charter, the evil-doers are most of mankind. That includes me, and most probably you, the reader, no matter whether you are a Christian, a Jew or – very likely – a non-extremist Muslim.

If the reader has not yet understood where the charter is going, the next sentence clarifies it very explicitly: "Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors". This is the poison of limitless hatred poured directly from Ahmad Yasin, the founder of HAMAS and the formulator of this terrifying charter. One thing to think about is the fact that he might have used a computer when formulating this charter, and if so, then it is most likely (actually certain) that he used some software tools or some processors that had been invented in Israel, certainly not by a Palestinian enterprise.

The next section is a rather pompous and boring introduction, glorifying the immortal heroes of the HAMAS, who "joined its hands with those of all Jihad fighters for the purpose of liberating Palestine". We, in Israel, know very well, starting when we are small children, what the horrifying meaning of Islamic Jihad is: it means a holy war, decreed by Allah, against those who do not believe in Allah, of course. It is a religious duty for a Muslim to participate in Jihad and the term is mentioned in no less than 23 Qur'anic verses. So, the way to achieve the HAMAS goals is by war only, a holy war. Not only against Israel; it's the one and only way for all heretics of Islam, such as Christians, moderate Muslims, Buddhists and all. Israel is just the first dish. And therefore the following crescendo immediately follows: "For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah's victory prevails". Can you, my friend reader, feel the hopelessness of trying to negotiate with these people?

Lets proceed: "The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine". What is incomprehensible to me is that the current western leaders considered the Muslim Brothers in Egypt a harbinger of what was naively called "The Arab Spring", which turned out to be a violent bloody outrage of unresolved frustration. Those leaders must have known that the Islamic Brotherhood are the supporters and patrons – along with other fundamentalist Islamic movements - of HAMAS, who is officially and legally declared as a terrorist organization in the US and Europe. Or maybe they were not aware of this link? If so, 'it is a grievous fault', as said by Antony in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". I mean to say that if the leaders of the free countries are not informed about such critical political linkages – or, God forbid, ignore them - then I really begin to be very concerned about their capability to lead the free world. My concern is magnified further because the HAMAS-Charter is so kind as to elaborate and explain immediately with the next sentence that "The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization" [the emphasis in bold fonts is mine – YL]. I like and cherish the US and Europe, but I personally feel that some crucial things may not be coordinated or understood in this administration. This is a genuine concern, because believe me that it is quite frightening to see on HAMAS TV their spokesman, masked with a red scarf, and hear his hysterical screams "Slaughter the Jews". My late parents told me how they heard the same screams in Europe 70 - 80 years ago, and did not believe it could be serious. Their families were burnt in Auschwitz and other Nazi death-industry camps. That is why I completely believe those screams.

At this stage the HAMAS-Charter arrives to a distorted hysterical climax combining an eruption of anti-Semitic hatred and violent megalomania and declare, in emphasized letters: "The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!" Sounds hallucinatory or imaginary to you? – Please read the full HAMAS-Charter.

HAMAS's ultimate goal is not a democratic, rational, secular Palestinian state. The goal is expressed in the following quote: "Strategy of Hamas: Palestine is an Islamic Waqf". Waqf means a dedication, or allocation, of assets for religious Islamic purposes. So they are talking about a Fundamentalist Islamic state as a part of the World Extremist Islamic Empire. Immediately after that, the charter says: "Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement ". And following that: "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility. The Palestinian people are too noble to have their future, their right and their destiny submitted to a vain game." My friends in the free world, you may initiate as many peace conferences and fire-stop negotiations as you like with organizations such as HAMAS: it may make your day interesting, and Israel will always try to be optimistic, but for HAMAS it is just another way to manipulate all of us. Their basic stance is contrary to our values` their position is rigid, religious, unbreakable and irrational. This is their essence and very nature. You just can't negotiate with a poisonous snake and convince it to become a butterfly.

I won't go into more detail (such as the assertion that the obliging destination of the Islamic woman is to "manufacture men" to fight the heretics, obey the men - father, husband, brother - or go and kill Jews, even without the their permission), as I think that the point is made. Now you know against whom we, Israelis, have to stand, thus defending us as well as you.

Responsibility

It so turned out that Israel is nowadays carrying the yoke of responsibility for this defensive-war against the belligerence, hostility and violence of the Fundamentalist-Islam movement. This war has continued since Israel was established as a state 66 years ago. This war continues now.

Responsibility means the ability to respond, and the ability to respond means the very existence of the strength to respond and act. Israel is determined to live and continue to contribute to mankind as much as it can, but its political clout and military might is limited – remember that the size of Israel is less than the size of New-Jersey and we are 8 million citizens only. So, the cooperation of all freedom loving and life-desiring nations is essential.

Please give us your support morally, as well as politically and physically.

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