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Clarity Of Vision

Discussion in 'Random Discussion' started by JewisHeritage, Dec 15, 2001.

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  1. JewisHeritage

    JewisHeritage Thread Starter

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    Once again, I am sorry to post the entire article but the source remains free only for 5 more days. It relates directly to the first post on this page. Thanx, JH.


    It's Time To Face The Facts:


    Here's the dilemma for peace in the Middle East. If Yasser Arafat can't control the Palestinian militants, it isn't worth talking to him–plain and simple. And if he does control them, it's also not worth talking to him. Avi Boaz, a 71-year-old architect from Brooklyn, was one of the latest victims of the charade that passes for the peace process. This is the first killing since Arafat renounced violence on December 16, so apologists will say it was not his fault. But four Palestinian police officers were present when Boaz was kidnapped and later shot to death. When Arafat extended that olive branch with one hand back in December, in other words, his other concealed a bomb–literally, 50 tons of weapons that would escalate the guerrilla war into a wider, more explosive conflict.



    Among the arms seized from the vessel Karine A–captured by the Israelis en route to Gaza from Iran–was 3,000 pounds of C-4 explosives that would dramatically increase the killing power of future suicide bomb attacks and Katyusha rockets with a range to threaten all Israeli population centers. This was no random purchase. The Karine A demonstrates how vulnerable Israel would be if there were a sovereign Palestinian state to receive and accumulate weapons that could threaten both Israelis and the State of Israel. It also raises major questions about the whole concept of a demilitarized Palestinian state, side by side with Israel.


    Double talk. The timing of the Karine A is so revealing. The operation continued through 9/11, when Arafat publicly condemned terrorism, and through that December 16 declaration condemning Hamas and Islamic Jihad and ordering an end to terrorism and bombings. Even the ship's Palestinian captain expressed surprise that the mission wasn't aborted. Of course, Arafat denies any involvement, an audacity born of the many years of double talk with which he has been allowed to get away. But such a complex operation could never have gotten off the ground without Arafat. It required planning and money, and involved key Arafat colleagues–including the major general in charge of all military procurement, Fuad Shubaki, one of Arafat's closest friends and a man who doesn't make a move without Arafat's knowledge. It is impossible to believe that a man who retains tight control over all details of the Palestinian Authority–from the promotion of officers to the adoption of babies to the disbursement of funds–wouldn't have a clue about an arms buy of millions of dollars.



    All roads lead to Arafat and the people close to him. No wonder the Palestinians couldn't explain their roles. First they denied any connection. Later, they said, "We'll look into it." Then, comically, they called for an investigation. Finally, they said they were arresting three people, including Shubaki. The only problem? Shubaki was free in Ramallah, a second man was abroad, and the third was only talked to–not arrested. Arafat doesn't arrest people, he hosts them.


    And now Iran is unmasked as the principal weapons supplier, and the terrorist group Hezbollah as an intermediary. This indicates Arafat is willing to tie Palestinian fortunes to Iran's declared Middle East agenda–an agenda that includes the destruction of Israel. The Karine A thus not only shows Arafat's hand; it reveals a change in the strategic alliances in his war against Israel.


    Washington has tried virtually everything with Arafat. The first President Bush at one point refused to talk to him. President Clinton embraced him, coddled him, and invited him to the White House more than any foreign leader, only to have Arafat lie and betray him. The State Department, unable to contemplate any alternative to Arafat, never imposed any punishment for his bad conduct. For too long, State practiced diplomatic "evenhandedness," criticizing Israeli military responses with virtually the same moral fervor with which it condemned Palestinian terror, equating the arsonist with the firefighter. Arafat knew that when he was under pressure, he did not have to put out the flames, only lower them a little.


    This Bush administration first believed that favorable statements might elicit a better response, so officials described their "vision" of a Palestinian state while Colin Powell demanded a halt to Israeli settlements and an end to "occupation." Powell dispatched a special representative, Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni. To what end? An escalation of the violence and more humiliation for the American role. Even now the State Department treats Arafat as if he had credibility. It took the department five days to acknowledge his complicity in the Karine A. It is time, finally, to face the reality that Arafat can no longer be propped up as a peacemaker.


    September 11 changed the attitude of America forever toward terrorism. Now the Bush team will have to consider putting its relationship with Arafat on the line if he goes on practicing war while talking peace. Everyone, even the Europeans, senses that Arafat's days are numbered. The time has come to end the charade and admit the truth: Arafat is not, and cannot be, a partner for peace with anyone.


    ***EDIT: I sent a PM to Mafud inviting him to please join this thread again & comment.
     
  2. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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  3. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    February 3, 2002
    The Palestinian Vision of Peace

    By YASIR ARAFAT

    RAMALLAH — For the past 16 months, Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a catastrophic cycle of violence, a cycle which only promises more bloodshed and fear. The cycle has led many to conclude that peace is impossible, a myth borne out of ignorance of the Palestinian position. Now is the time for the Palestinians to state clearly, and for the world to hear clearly, the Palestinian vision.

    But first, let me be very clear. I condemn the attacks carried out by terrorist groups against Israeli civilians. These groups do not represent the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for freedom. They are terrorist organizations, and I am determined to put an end to their activities.

    The Palestinian vision of peace is an independent and viable Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, living as an equal neighbor alongside Israel with peace and security for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. In 1988, the Palestine National Council adopted a historic resolution calling for the implementation of applicable United Nations resolutions, particularly, Resolutions 242 and 338. The Palestinians recognized Israel's right to exist on 78 percent of historical Palestine with the understanding that we would be allowed to live in freedom on the remaining 22 percent, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967. Our commitment to that two-state solution remains unchanged, but unfortunately, also remains unreciprocated.

    We seek true independence and full sovereignty: the right to control our own airspace, water resources and borders; to develop our own economy, to have normal commercial relations with our neighbors, and to travel freely. In short, we seek only what the free world now enjoys and only what Israel insists on for itself: the right to control our own destiny and to take our place among free nations.

    In addition, we seek a fair and just solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees who for 54 years have not been permitted to return to their homes. We understand Israel's demographic concerns and understand that the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a right guaranteed under international law and United Nations Resolution 194, must be implemented in a way that takes into account such concerns. However, just as we Palestinians must be realistic with respect to Israel's demographic desires, Israelis too must be realistic in understanding that there can be no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the legitimate rights of these innocent civilians continue to be ignored. Left unresolved, the refugee issue has the potential to undermine any permanent peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. How is a Palestinian refugee to understand that his or her right of return will not be honored but those of Kosovar Albanians, Afghans and East Timorese have been?

    There are those who claim that I am not a partner in peace. In response, I say Israel's peace partner is, and always has been, the Palestinian people. Peace is not a signed agreement between individuals — it is reconciliation between peoples. Two peoples cannot reconcile when one demands control over the other, when one refuses to treat the other as a partner in peace, when one uses the logic of power rather than the power of logic. Israel has yet to understand that it cannot have peace while denying justice. As long as the occupation of Palestinian lands continues, as long as Palestinians are denied freedom, then the path to the "peace of the brave" that I embarked upon with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin, will be littered with obstacles.

    The Palestinian people have been denied their freedom for far too long and are the only people in the world still living under foreign occupation. How is it possible that the entire world can tolerate this oppression, discrimination and humiliation? The 1993 Oslo Accord, signed on the White House lawn, promised the Palestinians freedom by May 1999. Instead, since 1993, the Palestinian people have endured a doubling of Israeli settlers, expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and increased restrictions on freedom of movement. How do I convince my people that Israel is serious about peace while over the past decade Israel intensified the colonization of Palestinian land from which it was ostensibly negotiating a withdrawal?

    But no degree of oppression and no level of desperation can ever justify the killing of innocent civilians. I condemn terrorism. I condemn the killing of innocent civilians, whether they are Israeli, American or Palestinian; whether they are killed by Palestinian extremists, Israeli settlers, or by the Israeli government. But condemnations do not stop terrorism. To stop terrorism, we must understand that terrorism is simply the symptom, not the disease.

    The personal attacks on me currently in vogue may be highly effective in giving Israelis an excuse to ignore their own role in creating the current situation. But these attacks do little to move the peace process forward and, in fact, are not designed to. Many believe that Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, given his opposition to every peace treaty Israel has ever signed, is fanning the flames of unrest in an effort to delay indefinitely a return to negotiations. Regrettably, he has done little to prove them wrong. Israeli government practices of settlement construction, home demolitions, political assassinations, closures and shameful silence in the face of Israeli settler violence and other daily humiliations are clearly not aimed at calming the situation.

    The Palestinians have a vision of peace: it is a peace based on the complete end of the occupation and a return to Israel's 1967 borders, the sharing of all Jerusalem as one open city and as the capital of two states, Palestine and Israel. It is a warm peace between two equals enjoying mutually beneficial economic and social cooperation. Despite the brutal repression of Palestinians over the last four decades, I believe when Israel sees Palestinians as equals, and not as a subjugated people upon whom it can impose its will, such a vision can come true. Indeed it must.

    Palestinians are ready to end the conflict. We are ready to sit down now with any Israeli leader, regardless of his history, to negotiate freedom for the Palestinians, a complete end of the occupation, security for Israel and creative solutions to the plight of the refugees while respecting Israel's demographic concerns. But we will only sit down as equals, not as supplicants; as partners, not as subjects; as seekers of a just and peaceful solution, not as a defeated nation grateful for whatever scraps are thrown our way. For despite Israel's overwhelming military advantage, we possess something even greater: the power of justice.

    Yasir Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996 and is also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
     
  4. JewisHeritage

    JewisHeritage Thread Starter

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    Bruce: Just got here .... Haven't had a chance to read your posts yet ... but couldn't help noticing this .....


    Why do I get the feeling that was chosen with me in my mind?;)
     
  5. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    It never ocurred to me. I just liked the quote, and thought it would make a nice signature. I certainly don't consider you that kind of cynic. I can think of only one at this point who's screename starts with M:)
     
  6. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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  7. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    February 6, 2002
    Dear Arab League

    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    Memo to: President Hosni Mubarak, Crown Prince Abdullah, King Abdullah, President Bashar al-Assad and the rest of the Arab League

    From: President Bush

    Dear Friends: You've all warned me privately about the foul wind of anti-Americanism that is now blowing through your region, fed by the perception that I've bowed out of Mideast diplomacy and given a blank check to prime minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. So let me explain to you exactly my position: I believe your problems with us grow from a misreading of Arab-Israeli history. You think somehow that if we just squeezed the Israelis they would roll over and do whatever the Palestinians demanded. You're wrong.

    The relevant balance of power is not between us and Israel, but between you and Israel. All the peace breakthroughs happened not when we threatened Israelis, but when you enticed them. That is, when Arab leaders — Anwar el-Sadat, King Hussein and even Yasir Arafat in Oslo — made clear to the Israeli silent majority that they were interested in real peace in return for real Israeli withdrawal, they got exactly what they wanted from Israel.

    Remember, some Israeli rightists resisted giving back all of the Sinai to Sadat, some even resisted the land swaps with Jordan, and many, as you know, resisted Oslo I and II. But when you, the Arab leaders, persuaded mainstream Israelis that you were offering real peace for real withdrawal, you shifted them to your side of the bargaining table, and the Israeli rejectionists were defeated. That's the only balance of power that matters.

    We're just bystanders. You're the ones with the power to really reshape the diplomacy, not me. And here is my advice for how to do it. You have an Arab League summit set for March in Lebanon. I suggest your summit issue one simple resolution: "The 22 members of the Arab League say to Israel that in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967, lines — in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and on the Golan Heights — we offer full recognition of Israel, diplomatic relations, normalized trade and security guarantees. Full peace with all 22 Arab states for full withdrawal."

    Since you've all told me privately that this is your position, why not make it public and get the benefit? This is how to bury Osama bin Laden and define for the world who the Arabs really are. If you can't take that risk, why should I?

    You need to face up to something: Ehud Barak gave us an Israeli peace plan, however rough. Bill Clinton then followed up with an American peace plan. Now is the time for an Arab peace plan. No more you guys sitting back complaining about everyone else's peace plans. It's time for you to put on the table not only what you want from Israel — an end to occupation — but what you collectively are ready to give in return. Arafat can't do it alone.

    You know what bugs me, guys? You want to pretend that Sharon just reappeared from outer space and that's when all the trouble started, and I'm just supporting him for no reason. That's not what happened. Sharon was unelectable in Israeli politics. What allowed him to re-emerge was Arafat's rejection of the Barak plan and the Clinton plan, and then his launching of an intifada with suicide bombings of Israeli pizza parlors. Did Sharon provoke the Palestinians by going to the Temple Mount? You bet. But he wasn't prime minister at the time. Barak was. How could you let Sharon provoke you and lose the best opportunity ever for a Palestinian state?

    Some of you have asked me privately: If we do this, can you guarantee Israel will respond positively? No, I can't guarantee it, but every ounce of history tells me Israel's silent majority will insist that its leader respond positively to you, and if he doesn't, Israelis will vote him out, and I will back them.

    There is one thing I can guarantee, though. If you don't make this offer, nothing will change, the Israeli silent majority will continue following Sharon into a dead end, and the Arab League will fall further and further behind the rest of the world. Guys, you know that the peace process was about so much more than just Israelis and Palestinians. It was also a cover and an engine for all the progressive forces in the Arab world, that want to integrate, trade and modernize. Without the peace process, all those forces are now on the run. That's why you all need this as much as Israelis and Palestinians do. The future is in your hands — not mine. Good luck. W.
     
  8. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    February 10, 2002

    Blunt Question, Blunt Answer

    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    LONDON — We were just finishing a lunch hosted by a U.S. diplomat for Arab editors in London when one of the editors turned to me and said: "I hope you will not be insulted, but I have to ask you this question because it's around: Are Jews in the media behind the campaign to smear Saudi Arabia and Islam?"

    Wow. It is not a question I often get over coffee, but it was asked sincerely, by a serious Arab journalist who wanted a serious answer. I said that I was not insulted and that I knew this question was everywhere — everywhere — in the Arab-Muslim world today, so let me take a stab at it.

    My first instinct was to ask a question back: When Jewish reporters in Beirut and Israel were at the forefront in covering such stories as the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians, why did no one in the Arab world ask whether they were part of a Jewish conspiracy? When Jewish congressmen and commentators led the campaign for U.S. intervention to save the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo and to roll back the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf war, why did no one in the Muslim world complain about a Jewish conspiracy?

    The truth is that Jewish commentators and lawmakers have probably been more outspoken in support of using American force to rescue Muslims in the last 15 years than any other group — including American Muslims.

    So, to begin with, maybe — just maybe — there is no Jewish conspiracy against Muslims or Saudi Arabia at work here. Maybe, just maybe, many Americans are upset because 15 Saudis took part in the Sept. 11 attacks, private Saudi charities financed Osama bin Laden and hundreds of Saudis fought with Al Qaeda against America in Afghanistan. And these hard facts have hardened U.S. opinion against them.

    It will be a tragedy if Arabs and Muslims adopt the position that there is no conceivable reason why Americans might be upset with them today and that any criticism they face in the U.S. media is entirely the result of some Jewish campaign of vilification.

    Why a tragedy? First, because it will reinforce all the reasons why the Arab-Muslim world has fallen behind in economic development, education, science and democratization. Because whenever a people reduces all its problems to a conspiracy by someone else, it absolves itself and its leaders of any responsibility for its predicament — and any need for self-examination. No civilization has ever prospered with that approach. (And several courageous Arab journalists have started to point that out.)

    Blaming someone else is not a substitute for analyzing or coping. (That also applies to Israelis who say Yasir Arafat, alone, is the source of all their problems.) Only in a society that embraces self-criticism can the political process produce real facts to cope with real problems. Look at the excruciating process of analysis, self-criticism and accountability that America went through after Vietnam. Few Arab-Muslim countries have ever done anything like that after a war, let alone after 9/11. Until they do, their conclusion that America or the Jews are behind all their problems is escapism, not analysis.

    Second, persisting in this will only widen the gulf between America and the Muslim world because such conspiracy theories are based on a total misunderstanding of America. The standard view of America in the Arab-Muslim world is that America is rich and powerful because it is crass and materialistic. And since America is just about material interests — not values — why can't it understand that its real material interests are with the Arabs, not with Israel? The Jews must be manipulating things.

    The truth is exactly the opposite. America is successful and wealthy because of its values, not despite them. It is prosperous because of the way it respects freedom, individualism and women's rights and the way it nurtures creativity and experimentation. Those values are our inexhaustible oil wells. Americans naturally gravitate toward societies that share those same values, and they recoil from those that don't.

    There are two kinds of blame: one that is a result of self-analysis and self-criticism, and one that is an attempt to avoid self-analysis and self- criticism. We have all known people who endlessly blame their mothers or fathers for all their shortcomings, never themselves. Some eventually grow out of it and thrive. Some never do — and they go through life angry, miserable and never achieving their full potential.
     
  9. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    Apparently there is a growing resistance on the part of officers and soldiers of the Israeli Army to serve in the Occupied Territories. It started with 50, and has grown to over 250 so far. Here is a link to their web site:


    http://www.seruv.org.il/


    They have signed the following statement:


    We, reserve combat officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who were raised upon the principles of Zionism, sacrifice and giving to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, who have always served in the front lines, and who were the first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, in order to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it. • We, combat officers and soldiers who have served the State of Israel for long weeks every year, in spite of the dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people. We, whose eyes have seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides. • We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories, destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country. • We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF’s human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society. • We, who know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end. • We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements. • We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. • We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense. • The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose – and we shall take no part in them.

    A powerful statement:



     
  10. JewisHeritage

    JewisHeritage Thread Starter

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    I can't urge you enough to read this article from the Washington Post .... all the way to the end .... because you will find it is NOT a political posting ... but rather a HUMAN posting ....& if you recall how you felt on 911 ... you will understand this article .... It DOESN'T take POLITICAL sides!

    No Place To Go:
    My Generation Never Had Innocence To Lose

    By Ilan Goren
    Sunday, March 17, 2002


    TEL AVIV--Last Saturday night was as ordinary as any other Saturday night in the past few months. Three of us -- my girlfriend, another good friend and myself -- were watching television. The news announcer was telling about a shooting in Netanya, a beach town just north of here. He explained how terrorists opened fire near the boardwalk, killing two people. We watched the live broadcast for an hour or two, until we couldn't any more. We were tired of the routine: reporters and severe-looking politicians and ex-generals explaining the unexplainable, telling us that this is the time to unite and be strong. How many evenings can you spend watching that strange ritual reenacted on the screen?

    So we went out to the video store and got the dumbest film we could lay our hands on. It was called "BASEketball" -- a silly 1998 American comedy that didn't make us laugh but created a much-needed distraction. And then the phone rang: A colleague who works with me for a Jerusalem paper was on the other end of the line, gasping for air. "Have you heard?" he shouted, "Cafe Moment just exploded!" Ask any Jerusalem resident what "Moment" is and you will understand why I shouted "What?" and started to call everyone I know. It's the sort of a place where people of "our kind" -- secular Israeli yuppies -- hang around. So there I was, panicking, thinking about my younger sister who likes to go out for a drink on Saturday night. I reached her; she was fine. She had decided to stay home that night. Then I called all the people I love, just to make sure they were not leaning, burnt and bleeding, on what used to be a bar. Finally I checked in with people I was close to long ago but now just phone once in a while -- when there's a holiday, a birthday or a terrorist attack, which is most common of all these days.

    Sunday morning had a strange grayish, dirty pallor. Using the weather as a metaphormay be a very uncool thing to do, a cliche. But it was uncannily appropriate that whoever is in charge of the clouds spread them like a thin blanket over the sun that morning. These are our dark days, after all. They are not black, for black is a distinct color that allows you to be certain of right and wrong. Gray is a more suitable color to describe what we're going through: confusion, loss of belief, a quiet despair born of the realization that we kill themand they kill us and nobody isany better off.

    Can I explain the feeling I had when I saw in the daily newspaperthe pictures of the 11 people who had died at the Moment the night before? "Hey, I know her," I said to myself. We used to work together as students at a part-time job. Now she's gone, and I'm still here, and it might be a matter of karma, or luck or God. Frankly, I don't care who and what is responsible for it all.

    As I waited in line at a falafel stand last week, the faces of people around me looked worn out, like rags squeezed a hundred times. I only saw signs of life when this guy came, all sweaty and panting, into the snack bar. He seemed anxious, and he was wearing a coat on a mild day. Suddenly everybody's eyes (including mine) fixed on him, trying to figure out whether he was carrying a dynamite belt under his clothes. My heart pounded madly for a second, then rested again: All this man wanted was to eat. All I wanted at that moment was to live in another place and time.

    And yet, I remain in this cursed and scarred motherland, where I was born shortly after the 1973 war. I love it, although when everything blends together into a hazy cloud, it's harder to talk about a "motherland." What motherland would allow its sons and daughters to go through such agonies on a daily basis: All those "special editions" that shout at me from newsstands with red and black headlines like "The Horror and the Pain." The uncontrollable need to turn the radio on every half an hour and listen to news flashes. The habit of keeping a distance from buses while sitting in a traffic jam, in case they will be suddenly torn to pieces. The necessity of walking through electronic gates that detect metal when you enter a mall, theater or museum. The way you keep alert when you're inside a club, a place that is supposed to be a refuge from the daily routine. The promise I make every morning to my girlfriend that I won't hang around in crowded places. Sometimes I wonder if there is any place in the world as surreal as this piece of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River where we live. How shall I get away from it all? "We'll just drink until we don't feel anything," one of my mates is fond of saying.

    This advocate of alcohol as an escape also favors dark humor as a salve. He told me how he had woken up the other night after hearing loud cracks, which turned out to be gunshots aimed at a nearby seafood restaurant. "These guys have no mercy," he said to me a few hours later. "They even shoot at shrimps and lobsters." Another friend tends to look at me lately with a crooked smile and say, "Let's go to the coffee shop, it'll be a blast." "Sure," I reply, "but you have to clean up after I'm finished over there." Cynicism has turned into a comfortable substitute for tears, or madness. Fear, as opposed to pain, is something that is a bit harder to bury under piles of morbid humor. It has a tendency to jump out of hiding without warning, even if it was only a kid's balloon I just heard exploding outside my window.

    I should be angry with the Arab kids I played with 20 years ago in the fields between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Some of them have probably grown up to be terrorists -- or "resistance fighters" or "martyrs," if you ask them. I understand their grievances, yet every guy who blows himself up and kills civilians is hailed as a saint. I have a problem with that. But I don't expect much from their side; events have washed away their agreements with us. They irritate me less than the pompous Israeli ministers and parliament members. Our so-called leaders declare that "Israel will not give back an inch of the Holy Land" and they travel in their shining armored cars from one interview to another. We, on the other hand, sit on the bus, wondering whether an explosion is about to launch us right into prime-time television as, to borrow a phrase government officials often use at funerals, "victims of vicious terror acts committed by the cruel enemy."

    Those of us, especially in secular Tel Aviv, who occasionally indulge ourselves in life's little pleasures -- acting normally in a situation that is definitely not normal -- often earn the scorn of our political leaders. "People in Tel Aviv eat cheese and drink wine while others get killed all over the country," said the Israeli minister of internal security a few months ago. Well, I've done more than my three years of mandatory military service and I do my 20 days a year of reserve duty. And with all undue respect, I believe that His Highness the minister missed the point. This is a time in which clubbers and cappuccino drinkers are endangered species. Why should eating ripe Camembert cheese be considered an unpatriotic act while guarding a West Bank settlement is considered patriotic? They are both part of our lives here. Which one contributes to a healthy society and which one is weakening us? In a strange way, both define us as a country and as a people.

    Sorry, minister, neither you nor any other politician are going to get my vote at the next election. And I will not be the only one disgusted to the point of saying "no more." Why should I, or anyone else, trust these people? They all, left- and right-wing, excel in throwing hollow slogans at us from the TV talk shows. Can anyone in the government see that wrecking Palestinian houses, invading homes, killing hundreds and degrading another nation is not only an inefficient way to fight terror, but also is immoral? Perhaps my generation -- the one that has rarely known anything other than haggling, bombings, rock throwing and Army duty on the West Bank -- should look elsewhere for answers. Our political system has turned into a carousel that spins too fast: We want to get off, yet we're too nauseated to move.

    Political analysts say that right-wing parties will probably win the majority of parliamentary seats in the next election. I'm willing to bet that their triumph will not be a glorious one. After the public saw the last three monarchs (oops, I meant prime ministers) -- Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon -- promising us heaven and giving us hell, just getting through the next 24 hours seems like a realistic goal.

    Ilan Goren, based in Tel Aviv, covers arts and entertainment for the Jerusalem weekly newspaper Kol Ha'ir.


    © 2002 The Washington Post Company
     
  11. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    Thanks, great article with real world insights. Clearly, this person feels disinfranchised, not represented by any kind of common sense, just rhetoric up to his chin. If people are expressing themselves this way, perhaps there is still hope.
     
  12. JewisHeritage

    JewisHeritage Thread Starter

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    Bruce: I think I saw a bit of "someone" in that article ....;)



    could it be the thread starter? :confused:
     
  13. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    Frankly, I think it could be a lot of us. You and me included.
     
  14. artweave

    artweave

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    Well Bruce,
    we have established in the past few months that this situtation is tainted by the greed for oil, and
    earlier on in this thread you mentioned something that I sure have not been as brave to discuss, but it is important to say it again and again :
    THE VIOLENCE MUST END
    <P>
    Paulette
     
  15. eggplant43

    eggplant43 A True Heart and Soul - Gone But Never Forgotten

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    Yes, it must. It's just too awful, and there's plenty of blame to go around in my opinion. I don't think it can be resolved externally, as much as I wish that were possible. I believe that only when those that are living this decide to end it, it will end. Not before that, and not from any external influence, they've proven that time and again.

    I'm thinking of something from within in the nature of, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela. Obviously, I could be wrong, but that is what it feels like to me.
     
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