Now that there is a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Israel needs to be tactically smart with Hamas. Israel ought to undercut Hamas by assisting the secular Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas. It’s in Israel’s best interest to show the world and Palestinians in Gaza that if you co-operate with Israel, you can have a much better life than if you provoke Israel into violent action to protect its citizens. It’s a matter of appealing to the Palestinians’ best interests. Unfortunately, this strategy has not been used by the current Israeli government, which is short-sighted. There is no military solution that can achieve a meaningful peace in the Middle East.
People tend to behave in their own best interests. In Gaza, the majority of the population is under the age of 20. As they grow older, they will not want to have bombs falling from the sky or see protests in the streets, especially if they see their brothers and sisters living peaceful middle-class lives in the West Bank.
* * *
Hopes peace will hold
Last Wednesday, I listened to a broadcast announcing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. It was a pleasure to listen to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He spoke sincerely, diplomatically and firmly as he thanked all the parties involved. We in North America and the Israelis should very proud of Netanyahu as well as Israel Defence Forces’ spokesperson Mark Regev. Let’s hope the peace will hold until they all come to the final peace agreement. However, Hamas and the rest of the Arab world must change their thinking. Israel will not disappear and must be recognized by the Palestinians eventually.
* * *
‘Surgical strikes’ a fantasy
Regarding the recent Hamas/Israel conflict, Syria and Iran were desperate to haul Israel into the centre of world opinion, if only to detract from their own dire problems. They knew that if they could pick, pick, pick away at Israel, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, with an election imminent, couldn’t resist unleashing a massive response. The inconvenient truth about Gaza is that its extremely high population density makes “surgical strikes” a fantasy – it’s hard to knock out a building or a car without unintentionally tearing through some innocent bystander’s aorta. Everyone knew that when Hamas talked about “unleashing the hounds of hell,” it was code for renewed attacks on Israel’s public transit, most likely its favourite targets, the highly accessible buses.
* * *
Hamas fires missiles at Jerusalem
One part of the editorial “Israel must prevail” (Nov. 22) resonated deeply with me – that of Hamas firing missiles at Jerusalem. David Horowitz, editor of The Times of Israel, was quoted, in part: “In firing missiles toward Jerusalem… [Hamas leaders] showed utter indifference… Those rockets could have slammed into places holy to Jews, to Christians, and to Muslims.”
That brought to mind the biblical story of King Solomon and the two women who both claimed to be the birth mother of the same infant. As Solomon raised his sword to sever the child in two, the true mother cried out to spare the child even as the false mother stood ready to see it destroyed.
So it is with the Arabs/Hamas who on the one hand declare their passionate “paternity” over Jerusalem, which they declare they will defend to the death, and on the other, they hurl deadly missiles at the defenceless ancient capital, echoing the biblical imposter: “Better no one possess her than the true owner!”
* * *
Women and the Wall
In her column, “Let’s make space at the Wall for everyone” (Nov. 15), Sara R. Horowitz erroneously states that the head of Women at the Wall was arrested for saying Shema at the Western Wall, when it was for wearing a tallit in the main Orthodox plaza rather than in the non-Orthodox section. The secular authorities designated these two areas as a compromise to avoid these embarrassing scenes of conflict, and it is a pity that while the Orthodox have always respected this agreement, the Women of the Wall have not.
* * *
Church has evolved
The article “Goldbloom knighted by Pope for interfaith work,” (Oct. 18), on the investing of Dr. Victor Goldbloom, shows to what extent the Roman Catholic Church has become tolerant and understanding of other faiths.
The ceremony took place in a synagogue, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom of Montreal, which is Goldbloom’s shul as well as my own. I grew up in Maurice Duplessis’ Quebec. To have a proud Quebec Jew receive a knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI in a synagogue is an expression of hope for all and a tribute to all those who worked so hard to establish this interfaith dialogue and understanding over the years. In addition, the Church maintains a positive and balanced attitude toward Israel that is more helpful in searching for peace than the misguided policy of the United Church of Canada. Perhaps mainstream Protestant churches are the ones that now need their own Reformation.