Israel is the topic for discussion today, dear readers. Israel.
Big Red Car here on an 84F Texas winter day. Brrrrr! On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!
So, Israel has been in the news of late and it has me a little irritated. Let me share a few thoughts with you.
Israel v Palestinians? Who are they, Big Red Car?
First, the Palestinians and the Israelis are not equals.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East while the Palestinians (Arabs) are a stateless people who have had as a common bond the propagation of hate against the Jewish state and a desire to annihilate them or to drive them into the sea.
This is not Duke v the Tarheels in the NCAA Final Four. This is a blood lust which has spawned several wars.
The current Palestinian Authority is the successor to the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) of Yasser Arafat. The PLO was the sponsor of Black September which was the terrorist group which murdered eleven Israeli Olympic athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.
Yasser Arafat (an Egyptian named Mohammed Yassser Abdel Rahman Raour Arafat al-Qudwa, Chairman of the PLO 1969-2003) approved the murders.
Israel and Wars
Israel has been involved in a number of wars to ensure its survival and existence. Take a second to consider how you might feel if, say, Staten Island had attacked Manhattan? Israel was almost killed in the cradle. They had to fight for their existence for the entirety of their existence. It is hard to be Israel.
1. Israeli War of Independence — 1947 – 1949 — Israel fought against Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria to literally be created. The war ended with the 1949 Armistice Agreements and boundaries known as the Green Line. This war was an Arab attempt to destroy Israel after its declaration of independence at the end of the British Mandate of Palestine.
2. Reprisals — 1950s to 1960s — Israel fought against determined fedayeen infiltrations from Syria, Egypt, and Jordan in reprisal for unprovoked attacks against Israeli civilians.
3. Suez Crisis — 1956 — When the French and Britain withdrew an offer to Egypt to fund the construction of the Answan Dam, Egypt threatened to nationalize the Suez Canal thereby controlling commercial movement in that part of the world. France, Britain, and Israel attacked Egypt with Israel capturing the Sinai Desert which France and Britain subsequently forced it to return to Egyptian control.
4. The Six Day War or the 1967 War — 1967 — Israel fought against Egypt, Jordan, Syria and troops from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Algeria. The Israelis won and captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem (both from Jordan), the Golan Heights (Syria), and Gaza (Egypt). This war lead to the Purple Line which included these captured lands as part of Israeli territory.
It is important to note that the ease of mounting future attacks from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan was significantly diminished because Israel now had what it called “defensible” borders. The reference to the “West Bank” is the west bank of the Jordan River which allowed the Israelis to defend their homeland behind a natural barrier — every soldier’s dream to force the enemy to cross such a significant natural barrier under fire.
5. The War of Attrition — 1967 – 1970 — Israel fought Egypt, the USSR, Jordan, Syria, and the PLO in limited engagements over control of the Sinai which was captured by the Israelis during the 1967 War. Egypt initiated this conflict to retake its formerly owned Sinai. In the end, no boundaries were changed.
6. The Yom Kippur War — 1973 — Egypt and Syria attacked Israel with Russian advice, equipment, and support. The Syrians almost turned the trick and overran Israel attacking through the Golan Heights. The fight became so desperate that Prime Minister Golda Meir authorized Defense Minister Moshe Dyan to position and arm Israel’s nuclear rockets with an eye toward a devastating attack on Damascus. In a very close fight, the Israelis, with American assistance in the form of tank replacements for combat losses and ammunition, prevailed.
This was America’s finest hour proving to the world that an alliance with America was an alliance which would ensure the survival of your country. This is the country we should be — wherein an alliance with America is a promise of survival in the face of any form of aggression.
It was after the Yom Kippur War that Henry Kissinger was successful in prying the Egyptians out of the hands of the Russians, who had been advising and instigating Egypt and Syria in the unprovoked attack. Until the Russians recently cozied up to the modern Basher al-Assad Syrians, Russian influence in the Middle East was negligible. The Obama administration reversed this defeat. It is meaningful to note that Jordan — which would have had to cross the Jordan River under fire — sat this one out.
Jordan did not want to try to cross the Jordan River under Israel defense thereby proving the wisdom of defensible borders and the military necessity of defending something that could be defended.
It was the presence of the post-1967 War boundaries (which the recent UN resolution calls upon Israel to abandon) which allowed Israel to fight a winning defensive war. This was a very, very close call and Israel almost ceased to exist.
7. South Lebanon, Palestinian Insurgency — 1971-1982 — The PLO (predecessor to the modern day Palestinian Authority) was forced to relocate from Jordan to South Lebanon and from there staged vicious attacks resulting in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon (Operation Litani) to destroy the PLO and to stop the ceaseless rocket attacks and raids. This continuing series of actions ultimately escalated into the 1982 Lebanon War. How would you feel if a rocket made its way into your 4th of July barbecue?
8. 1982 Lebanon War — 1982 — After the escalations of the Palestinian Insurgency, the Israelis invaded South Lebanon to drive out the PLO and in retaliation for the assassination attempt by the Abu Nidal Organization (headquartered in Lebanon) to kill Israeli’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom. This war resulted in driving the PLO out and the creation of a South Lebanon Security Zone.
9. South Lebanon Security Zone War — 1982 – 2000 — For the next twenty years, the Israelis (and some of the Lebanese Christian militias) fought against Muslim guerrillas including the Iranian backed Hezbollah. This was the first unmasking of the evil intentions of the Iranians against Israel.
10. First Intifada — 1987 – 1993 — A large scale uprising by the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) against the Israelis. This was a terrorist activity in which many Israeli citizens were killed.
11. Second Intifada — 2000 – 2005 — A second uprising against the Israelis in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).
12. 2006 Lebanon War — 2006 — Israel fought Hezbollah which greatly damaged the Iranian backed terrorists and which involved a naval blockade of Lebanon. The United Nations brokered a ceasefire.
13. Gaza War — 2008 – 2009 — This fighting was between Israel and Hamas and lasted for three weeks which was provoked by Hamas rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip which killed Israeli civilians. The rockets were provided by Iran. Israel responded with a military invasion and a devastating air campaign. After the three week conflict, Israel withdrew from Gaza. Iranian funding and military support was an important element in the fight with Hamas.
14. Operation Pillar of Defense — 2012 — Another Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip provoked by a re-invigorated Hamas and more rocket attacks.
15. Operation Protective Edge — 2014 — A third Israeli military offensive into the Gaza Strip provoked by more Hamas rocket attacks on the heels of the collapse of American sponsored peace talks and the failed attempt by rival Palestinian factions to form a coalition government. Three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian teenager were kidnapped and murdered.
I have laid out this framework of war to assist you in understanding with whom Israel is being asked to negotiate a “two state” solution. This not a negotiation between Canada and the US over fishing rights. This is sixty years of bloodshed in which Israel has been the victim and the Palestinians or their Arab allies have been the aggressors.
Israel Occupied Lands
The United Nations considers the territory captured and currently being controlled by Israel as nothing more than “occupied lands” subject to return to their original owners. Huh? The original owners used these territories to attack Israel, to stage raids into Israel, to send rockets into Israel, to dig tunnels into Israel to be able to slaughter soldiers and civilians. Israel requires these territories — such as the natural barrier of the Jordan River — to be able to adequately defend itself against Palestinian and Arab aggression.
In evaluating what should happen between Israel and the Palestinians consider the necessity for Israel to possess defensible borders. To do otherwise is to encourage the next attack on Israel and the next war in the Middle East.