THANKS, AND LET ME INTRODUCE BRIAN DOUGLAS
It is high time I thanked all you inquisitive minds out there who flatter this old codger by reading his articles and giving him the incentive to keep exploring the mysteries of Life and Human Behaviour. It has also been quite emotional for me to find, via the blog site, the children, grandchildren, and relatives of friends, now deceased, that I flew with or was a POW with. So, on the current affairs side, may I share with you recent thoughts from Brian Douglas, a Toronto friend. You might think that Toronto has sufficient attractions within easy driving distance, but Brian likes to roam further. Right now he is communing with millions of Mexican free-tailed bats known as the Bridge Bats in Austin, Texas.
His strong interest in the Middle East has prompted three visits there. Here is one of his e-mails to me:
“ I attended a talk, March 24, 2015, in Toronto, by Gideon Levy, a left wing Israeli journalist and activist who has worked with Haaretz in Israel for many years...writing mainly on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Although I feel I have a pretty good take on the situation in Israel for both Israelis and Palestinians, it wasn't until a couple of days before the recent election that Israelis publicly revealed their true colours by giving Netanyahu a huge last-minute push into victory. Whether Netanyahu later apologized for his comments or not...does not matter, for in my opinion, he is evil incarnate and should be taking a trip to the Hague.
Through what I have read and experienced, from three visits to Israel and Palestine, I think I can say with reasonable confidence, that a significant number of Israelis and a significant number of Palestinians would like to see the other obliterated. Until the last few days, when Netanyahu stated that there would never be a Palestinian state while he was in office, and then the next day saying, "Israeli Arabs were turning out in droves", I had held out the hope that perhaps only a relatively small number of Israelis truly wanted to see the total destruction of the Palestinian people. Clearly, my hopes were dashed when Netanyahu's vile comments motivated, what appeared to be, the average Israeli to run out and cast a vote for him. After hearing Gideon Levy say that Israelis are being brainwashed...I realized that so much of what happens in Israel and Palestine is often due to a knee-jerk reaction, which sadly produces more violence and killing. I realize there are a very large number of Israeli hardliners...and many with high level government or religious status. I've often wondered, "how many Israelis would prefer a peaceful solution to this never ending conflict?” And, how many Palestinians would prefer a peaceful solution to this conflict? I wonder if I got one side of my question answered when Israelis convincingly gave Netanyahu the nod?
Gideon Levy spoke for one hour and then took questions. Sadly, after the defeat a few days earlier in Israel of more moderate politicians, Gideon was clearly depressed. He said that he now believed that a two state solution may no longer be a possibility and furthermore, only a miracle would get Palestinians out of the jail (Gaza) they're currently trapped in. I tried to get into Gaza in August 2014 by hiring a taxi while in Ashkelon, Israel, arriving at the Erez crossing only to be told it was too late in the afternoon but the gates would reopen at 0800, so I returned. They took my Canadian passport, returning some time later to inform me I was denied access.
During his Toronto talk, Gideon Levy ran out of time before he could answer my question “ "Do you think Israel is going to make a preemptive strike on Iran?”
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts particularly with your combat and POW experience and our mutual disdain for violence and hopes for universal peace.
Although I have a strong pro-Palestinian bias, it's not because I think Israelis are bad, it's because I think the bullies (high level government officials...and religious zealots) are very bad! I have met some very nice Israelis. I've met some very nice Palestinians. However, when, in my opinion, each side wants the other side dead (obliterated) where does one find light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?
Moreover, with the general populous seemingly concerned only when CNN or Al Jazeera is televising women and children being blown up, and when the excitement is over, forgetting about the carnage left behind...where lies the hope?
I had pretty much lost hope prior to listening to Gideon Levy. Gideon confirmed my worst fears. Recently, King Abdullah II of Jordan, said that without a peace deal between Israel and Palestine, ISIS would continue to thrive and there wouldn't be peace in the Middle East. Is Israel its own worst enemy? Is it not setting itself up for a nuclear, or conventional, holocaust...which they won't survive?
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