Thursday, May 10, 2018

Who Can I Believe?

A Follow-up to my post of April 26th

It’s amazing how differently various journalists view the situation on the Gaza border. Some proclaim Israel is using disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators. Others declare that there is nothing peaceful about the weekly rioters who try to storm the fence, hurl rocks, send incendiary kites, and use children as human shields. I have not been at the border. Nor do I plan to visit there in the near future. Therefore I cannot unequivocally state that the second group is correct and the first is using skewered reporting. However, my sympathies lean more to the second group. Is it just because I like their platform that I want to believe them?
courtesy of Ynet news

I hope I’m not that simple-minded. No, I don’t quite trust the first group due to various other statements they’ve made in the past. Statements, which from personal experiences, I know are false. One of the biggest is that Israel is an apartheid state. I’ve shared seats with Arabs on public transportation and sat next to Arabs in numerous waiting rooms. I’ve had Arabs give me ultrasounds, take my blood, and examine my bones. I’ve seen Arabs graduating in caps and gowns alongside my children in Ariel University in the heart of the Shomron.

Now the first group of reporters will refer to Ariel as a city in occupied Palestinian territory. I wasn’t in Israel in 1967 but I do remember from my school days that there never has been an independent country called Palestine. The land Ariel was built on was controlled by Jordan until the Six Day War when, according to my viewpoint, it was liberated by the Israeli army.  

Viewpoint is a big factor here. There are those who criticize Israel for being a Jewish state claiming there is no place for Muslims or Christians here. Somehow, though, I don’t hear them complaining about England having the Anglican Church as their state religion. Nor do I read criticisms of some of the South American countries which are officially Roman Catholic. And how many Muslim countries are there? How do they treat their non-Muslim population? Perhaps there’s a double standard here? Of course, there’s a double standard. Almost all of us want true peace so some grasp at pop solutions thinking those solutions can make it happen.

Here’s a quote from Benjamin Pogrund’s book Drawing Fire:  Checkpoints, separate roads, the exploitation of water and other resource are… the consequence of occupation and resistance to it. End the occupation and they will end.

I have to admit I didn’t read the book, just a short article about it. This one quote bothers me, though. I know that I (or anyone else whether Jew, Christian or Muslim) can usually travel from Elkana in the Shomron to Maale Adumim, a distance of over eighty kilometers without passing one check-point. The exception is, of course, following a terror attack or warnings of upcoming violence. As for separate roads, I wish that was true. Israelis have a reputation for being poor drivers but that standing fades next to the Arabs. It is not at all unusual for them to treat a two-lane road as if it was a four-lane highway passing multiple cars at once, tailgating those going the speed limit, and driving on the shoulders when the traffic is too slow.

Sometimes we have electrical outages in my community and there are lights in the neighboring Arab villages. Other times we have electricity and they don’t. Usually, thankfully, we all have power. I was not yet living in Shilo when the water pipes were laid but I was told, by people I trust, that at the same time they were installed for Shilo nearby Arab villages benefitted from the new service.

Benjamin Pogrund seems to be sincere in his desire for peace and tries to be even handed in what I read. Still, I have to wonder how much time he has spent in and around the settlements.

One of the leading lies of today is that we would have peace in the Middle East if it wasn’t for those settlements located in the territory liberated/captured (depending on your viewpoint) in the Six Day War. The problem with this premise is that the PLO, also known as Fatah, dedicated to the destruction of Israel, began on May 28, 1964. The Six Day War began on June 6, 1967, three years later. What is the true goal of the PLO and other terror organizations? Obviously to annihilate all of Israel.

So, I do not trust those whose track record states Israel is an apartheid country, that we’re living on occupied territory, fault us for being a Jewish state, or accuse us of stealing resources. Even with the Israeli supporters I weigh their words very, very carefully. Experience has shown me not to totally believe any mortal man. In the end, I trust only HaShem.

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