Thursday, July 13, 2006

All-Out War in the Middle East

I am reluctant to give any political view on the present Middle East conflict as I am not that educated about the historical detail or political implications for Israel or Palestine or the Middle East in general. As a progressive Jew, up to now I have mostly resisted taking sides and If there has been a side to take I have empathized with the plight of the Palestinians, although with some reservations and concerns that when push comes to shove I realize the Arab world in general would not be at all unhappy if the State of Israel disappeared off the face of the earth.

Keeping the above in mind, I pose the question Has Ehud Olmert gone too far this time? Perhaps, Ohlmert has something to gain from trying to take out the insurgent forces of both Hamas and Hezbollah, although it is doubtful that simply killing some of them will accomplish this. On the other hand, I am very disappointed to know that after Israel in good faith pulled out of Gaza and earlier Lebanon that both places have become the site for militants to send missiles into Israel. I am particularly disturbed that after Israel pulled settlements out of Gaza that instead of the Palestinians replacing the settlements with their own housing they instead allowed Hamas insurgents to set up military type installations so these missiles could be lobbed into Israel causing many casualties and much destruction.

It is obvious that the U.S. has made a major blunder by not even attempting to control the situation. It is possible that the US strategy will be to support Israel from a distance and try to put the brakes on only when the powers that be see danger for our economic or strategic interests ahead. The US's military resources are obviously stretched thin by the Iraq War and also distracted by the Korean "nuclear" missile crises. But there is no excuse really for the shortsightedness involved in the US policy toward the Middle East which leads me to believe that it is not shortsighted but purposeful meaning the US would like to see Israel strengthen its defenses and power in the Middle East. The problem is the opposite may very well happen and things are already spinning way out of control or so it seems. It is a sad day for all concerned. I can only wish and hope for the safety of everyone including my own young relatives who live in Israel knowing full well that innocents will die and be maimed because the first instinct on both sides is revenge and destruction. It is a sad time.

Sharon Raphael