Travels with Abe: Peace in the Middle East, Part 2 – And how about the Palestinians?
Posted by thebosun on August 29, 2007
Forwarded to me from a good friend in Israel, “Abe.” This is part two of the series. Please come back, you will be seeing much more of Abe. Enjoy.
And how about the Palestinians?
I’m glad you asked me that question. This calls for a story: Once upon a time in 1968, I was in a car driven by a reserve infantry officer. I was at the time a tank driver and the third occupant of the car was a fellow tanker, a gunner, from my company. We were on our way to our camp at the Mitle Pass. We were passing through Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, when the driver realized we were low on gas. We drove through the town looking for a gas station. We finally asked a local who told us there was one near the market. We drove to the open-air market and, indeed, there was a gas station. Manning the pump, we looked around. We were surrounded by Arabs, all jabbering and trying to get close to us. We had an interesting conversation while filling gas. We were at their mercy, having two Uzis and a pistol between us. The crowd could have disarmed us and torn us to pieces in seconds. Instead, we enjoyed friendly banter and a loud, “Go in Peace,” when we were done.
Later, I became very friendly with the workers at my sister’s farm. My sister and brother-in-law operate a farm just three km from the Gaza Strip border near Rafah. The workers would come every day and were like family. They demonstrated a willingness to support their families and live in peace. The last thing they wanted was to blow themselves up and take my brother-in-law with them.
All this, of course, means nothing when the terror organizations come into play. The “silent majority” of the population will not lift a finger against Hamas in Gaza. They are terrified of them and just bow their heads waiting for the storm to pass. In the meantime, Hamas fires rockets at Israel (including my sister’s village) and Israel holds back because of the innocent people in Gaza. Israel retaliates when Israelis get killed. There is a bit of quiet, and the story begins again within days.
Peace in the Middle East? It can only come about when a common enemy unites the moderates. I remember in 1969 (I think) General Shlomo Goren landed with a helicopter in the middle of our tank park. The battalion was parked in two rows with a large empty area of desert in the middle. The Bell Huey landed in the center sending a whirlwind of sand down our throats. The Chief Chaplain of the IDF General Rabbi Shlomo Goren stepped out and began to speak. He was a great speaker and we were mesmerized. One thing remains stuck in my head from that speech: “The lord doesn’t rely on the Jews. He knows we can’t be relied upon. Rather, he relies on our enemies. He knows that they will not lay down their arms until we have attained everything he intends us to.”
Maybe, just maybe, the extremists are doing just that…forcing the moderates to co-operate. The less extreme Arab countries are beginning to realize what the monster is capable of, and they see that Israel is a solid force to rally behind. Many problems can be solved under the threatening shadow of Muslim extremism.
But then again, maybe I’m just a naïve Israeli…
Tzeth’a Leshalom VeShuvh’a Leshalom