War and More War

By Lloyd Graff

Rubble in Gaza City, 7.26.2014

I met up with a Jewish acquaintance a few days ago. I asked him what was new, and he said his son was having an interview the next day to volunteer for the Israeli Army.

Why would an American kid who was not subject to the U.S. draft volunteer to fight? I can’t speak for him, but I think I understand the pull. I feel it myself, vicariously.

Israel has been attacked once again by a hailstorm of rockets and vicious killers infiltrating the country through underground tunnels. The Palestinian leadership in Gaza has had decades to make a logical settlement with Israel’s government, but continues to commit itself to Israel’s destruction and doom the Palestinians to misery and containment. I am not an ardent fan of Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line stance, but there is a consensus in Israel for a two-state solution. Unfortunately, hard-line Palestinians have walked away from good deals that have been offered through the years.

Israel continues to get stronger both militarily and economically. The Palestinians are falling farther behind Israel and are even losing support in the wider Arab world. American leaders may not like the prickly Netanyahu, but both political parties find it useful to align with the American Jewish community that supports their campaigns generously.

I sympathize with the desperate folks in Gaza, who are victims of a cynical hateful leadership that has sacrificed its people to its ideology of Israel hatred.

I think the young guy who wants to join the fight thinks he can help end the endlessly painful struggle. It’s a romantic thought, though a dubious one.

I think the 2014 war will end soon. Perhaps it will buy 2 or 3 years of relative quiet in Israel. Maybe some peace will come from exhaustion and mourning. Maybe the Hamas leadership will flee in disgrace. I can hope.

I would hate to see this idealistic boy from Chicago caught up in a 2016 Gaza War. But I’m glad there are kids with the courage and idealism to put it all on the line for something they truly believe in – the one and only Jewish state.

Question: Can there ever be peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

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30 thoughts on “War and More War

  1. Seth Emerson

    Although there is no current draft in America. Selective Service registration is still required, as I recall, and age groups are still subject to the draft if it is re-instituted.

  2. Misterchipster

    When the basis for your religious and political beliefs is hatred, subjugation, and annihilation there is no room for “peace” with anyone, many times even with those who share your beliefs.

  3. Kelly

    Unfortunately no. This will go on forever or as long as one of the sides keeps preaching annihilation of the other. God help the just.

  4. allen

    There already is peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Just not in the Mideast.

    Here in the U.S. we get along pretty much as everybody else does – some hate the other’s guts and some hardly think about the other from month to month.

    That difference points to the source of the problems in the Mideast and that’s that the Arabs, especially the Palestinians but also the Syrians and Iranians are overseen by unelected thugs. To those guy’s war is just another way to hold down popular unrest at their corrupt, incompetent rule – aim the common man at an external enemy and he’s much less likely to notice that the boot on his neck belongs to someone who looks just like him.

    In fact, the nearest we came to peace in the Mideast was under Dubya who ignored Yassar Arafat to death.

    When Dubya made it clear that he thought Arafat was personally responsible for the violence between Israel and the Palestinians he simply made it clear that the U.S. wouldn’t be involved in any peace negotiations while Arafat was.

    Suddenly Arafat wasn’t part of the political equation and it wasn’t long after that he was out of power.

    Had the U.S. just stayed the course and simply made it clear to all those dedicated to the destruction of Israel that they couldn’t expect anything – not aid, not diplomatic pressure, not anything – until they renounced violence Gaza would be a lot more like the West Bank which is conspicuous by its absence in the past year or two of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

  5. Albert cervera

    NO, there will never be peace in the Middle East. Since before David & Goliath they have been trying to get rid of the Jews and they are still here. Just maybe ” they are GOD’S chosen people” and if they are, do you really want to mess with what belongs to GOD. Can you be that stupid? Every people that tried are no longer here. What does that tell you? Only a foul will do the same thing over and over in hope of change.

    That is my two cents!

    1. Josh

      The bible is not a historical reference and should not be used as an explanation of this conflict. It’s 2014. There are 75 years of recent history that explain what is going on in the region. Let’s keep this discussion rational.

      1. Rod

        Josh – It becomes clearer why you do not understand some of the things you mention in your previous comment when you reject the Bible as an historical document. I can understand that you might reject the Bible as the Word of God, but to ignore the historical value seems a bit close minded.

        Not trying to start a war here; I’m just saying.

      2. Josh

        The bible is rife with historical inaccuracy, and cannot be used as a primary source or explanation for something that the last 75 years has had far more impact on. It’s a pretty bad source for arguing land ownership.

  6. Josh

    I understand this is a passionate issue for many so I’ll say this as tactfully as possible. It is nearly impossible for people in these discussions to remain objective but I shall try.

    As a younger person, I don’t understand the US support for Israel. I don’t support Hamas either, but I do not see why we value this one country in the region over all others, and one group of people over all others. I suspect it has to do with the long gone threat of communism.

    I do not understand supporting a government that embraces ethnic and religious divisions. US support of Israel seemingly harms the US relationship with the entire region (re Why terrorists “hate” the US, it’s not because of our freedoms). From what I’ve seen, neither side of this conflict appears innocent. I can’t determine a good guy and a bad guy, just two grey sides fighting for what they believe is their home both doing horrible things to each other. There are human rights violations taking place on both sides. And yet the US supports this conflict while ignoring problems elsewhere in the world, and ignoring our own problems within. I just don’t get it.

    I’m not Christian, Jewish or Muslim. I personally don’t have a dog in this fight, I don’t have a reason to support Israel or Hamas. It’s just another middle eastern conflict far away that makes the US more enemies when we get involved and sends more of our money down the drain. If you feel the need to respond, please do so with more reasoning than “hurr durr but Muslims is terrorists and terrorists is bad!”

    1. Don

      It’s easy to understand the US support for Israel, Lloyd pretty much nailed it: “both political parties find it useful to align with the American Jewish community that supports their campaigns generously. ” If it weren’t in the financial interest of their re-election campaigns Israel probably wouldn’t have such a strong support from our politicians. It’s sad that our country is so easily led by the purses of those we elect.

  7. Eric

    Read the bible. It will never end. The Koran calls for the elimination of any other belief system. Two different religious groups figting for the same territory.

  8. Bob

    During the Yugoslavian breakup and war, I had asked a Serbian Muslim who worked for me to explain to me what the problem was over there. He looked at me and said “Boss, how old is this country, 215 years old? How could you Americans ever understand what is happening over there, we have been fighting each other for over a thousand years and WE do not even know why we are fighting, just that the elders say we have to”. Perhaps we as Americans are a bit arrogant to think we understand what the problem is over there.

  9. Big Al

    I thought this was just the Palestinians way of starting urban renewal. Seems to be working.

    1. Josh

      That’s a pretty disgusting and insensitive remark to all those who have died on both sides.

  10. Mahen

    I personally agree with Josh / Eric comments.Until 1947 there was a Palestinian state.The West created the state of Israel out of moral guilt of the Jewish holocaust during the second world war.Since then the Palestinians have been condemned to live a shabby life and Jewish settlements have been sprawling all over the Israeli occupied land thanks to $ 11 Million US taxpayers every day. Soon there would be no land left for the Palestinian State!!

    1. Josh

      My thanks for your agreement, and I definitely understand where you’re coming from with the latter half of your comment. I do believe that you explanation of how modern Israel came about is a bit reductive of the situation. There wasn’t an official Palestinian state before 1947. I believe the area was under British governance at the time, but yes was populated heavily with Arabs. Like I said before, I do not believe either the Palestinians or the Jews are solely to blame for the situation there. They’ve both committed heinous acts. I don’t approve of how the Israeli government treats the Palestinians and I don’t approve the tactics used by some of the Palestinian rebel forces either.

  11. jd

    As long as religion is a driving force in any society, wars will never end. Oddly enough, that is exactly the opposite of many of the supposed belief systems, (remember, love thy neighbor). It’s the result of low IQ “leaders” and an even a lower IQ populace.. Should we ever meet intelligent life from another planet, we will be terribly embarrassed.

  12. Erik

    Josh- The reason we choose a side is actually more straightforward than that, and more of a moral choice. The stated goal of Hamas and other Muslim-Specific terrorist groups is the destruction of Israel. It’s not “we don’t like those guys”. It’s “we want genocide”.

    I don’t profess to understand how an entire group of people can get to that point, and I know American Jews and Muslims who work together, and who are friends, so I know it’s possible for the two to get along, but for some reason there is a large faction of Middle Eastern Muslims who see Israel in a different light, and they want to destroy it.

    It’s easy to say the Israeli’s are also culpable, and perhaps they are, but picture this scenario. Mexico decides it’s time for us to die. They hate us for our immigration policies, and feel we are oppressing them. They think we are sub-human. So they start shooting missiles into San Diego and Brownsville into residential neighborhoods.

    What would we do if we were in those shoes? Mexico would be a smoking crater 15 minutes later. Well that’s the reality in Israel. I have software from a Tel Aviv based company. During a tech support call, I hear an alarm and the agent on the line tells me “Gotta go, missile siren. I’ll call back when I can”. That’s an eye opener, eh?

    I think the Israelis actually are demonstrating more restraint than we would. And I think the Point of View shared by these terrorist organizations is reprehensible and incomprehensible. I also have no dog in this fight from a religious standpoint. I think Organized Religion has caused a lot of war and pain. But I still support Israel’s right to defend itself. We would, and we would do it with a much higher lethality rate.

  13. Robb Weinstein

    Per Golda Meir. “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

  14. Michael

    Mahen – you should check your facts. There was NEVER a Palestinian state before 1947, just people that were living in what was then call Palestine, both Jews and Arabs. The Jews have been living in that area since Moses led them out of Egypt, so they’re not new to the neighborhood.

    Erik has the right idea. Read below Netanyahu’s speech to the Palestinians. Hamas WANTS their woman and children to be killed, for world sympathy and they hide their guns, fighters and weapons behind women’s skirts. Read Netanyahu’s second paragraph carefully:

    To Ismail Haniya, and the leaders and operatives of Hamas:

    We, the people of Israel, owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have succeeded where we have failed. Because never before, in the history of the modern State of Israel, has the Jewish people been so united, like one person with one heart. You stole three of our most precious children, and slaughtered them in cold blood. But before we could discover the horrible truth, we had 18 days of pain and anxiety while we searched for them, during which our nation united as never before, in prayer, in hopes, in mutual support.

    And now, as you continue to launch deadly missiles indiscriminately, intended to maim and murder as many civilians as possible, while you take cowardly refuge behind your own civilians – you continue to inspire us to hold strongly onto our newly discovered unity. Whatever disputes we Jews may have with each other, we now know that we have one common goal: we will defeat you.

    But we are offering you now one last chance. Within 24 hours, all rocket fire – and I mean all rocket fire – will cease. Completely. Forever.

    I give you formal notice that our tanks are massed at the Gaza border, with artillery and air support at the ready. We have already dropped leaflets over the northern parts of the Gaza strip, warning civilians of our impending arrival, and that they should evacuate southward, forthwith. If you fail to meet our ultimatum, we are coming in, and, with God’s help, this time we will not leave. Every centimeter of land that we conquer will be annexed to Israel, so that there will never be another attack launched at our civilians from there.

    Even so, we will continue to keep the door open to allow you to surrender gracefully. The moment you announce that you are laying down arms, we will halt our advance, and there we will draw our new borders. If you continue to attack our citizens, we will continue to roll southwards, driving you out of territory that you will never again contaminate with your evil presence.

    It pains me deeply that your civilians will be made homeless. But we did not choose this war; you did. And if our choice is between allowing our citizens to be targeted mercilessly by your genocidal savagery, versus turning your civilians into refugees, I regret that we must choose the latter. If only you loved your people as much as you hate ours, this war would never have happened.

    To the rest of the world: Israel has tired of your ceaseless chidings that we should “show restraint”. When you have your entire population under constant missile fire from an implacable enemy whose stated goal is the of murder every man, woman and child in your land, then you may come and talk to us about “restraint”. Until then, we respectfully suggest that you keep your double standards to yourselves. This time, Hamas has gone too far, and we will do whatever we have to in order to protect our population.

    Hamas, once again, I thank you for bringing our people together with such clarity of mind and unity of purpose. The people of Israel do not fear the long road ahead. Am Yisrael Chai.

    1. Josh

      Unfortunately there is no evidence linking hamas to those missing children. This entire conflict is orchestrated for naught.

      I certainly understand that the moral objective of Hamas is in no way acceptable, but there is a reason they feel the way that they do and it stems from their treatment since the creation of Israel. Like I said before, I don’t see innocence on either side of this conflict.

      I don’t think it’s a really great comparison with Mexico. Had the battle for Texas been 70 years ago and had we constantly been expanding into Mexico since then it may be a better comparison but that is not the case.

      Actually, the US fear of illegal immigrants is a better comparison. Say that Mexican immigrants flood into the US and claim that everything west of Texas is now the new country of Mexico and they displace the US population that was there. Then they confine the US population to ghettos and continue their expansion into the US taking more and more land. You don’t think the US would get upset to the point they’d want to wipe the Mexicans from our territory? Hell, we had 2 buildings fall down and we bombed the shit out of 2 countries. If someone just created a new state in the US and flooded with immigrants we’d go insane.

      1. Erik

        I am not drawing parallels between our relationship with Mexico and the relationship between Hamas and Israel. You miss the point entirely.

        My point is, when you fire rockets at a well armed neighbor, you should expect them to tear you a new one. If any country did that to the US, ANY country, we’d flatten them in a minute. Israel has shown restraint in the size of their retaliation. They are more than capable of wiping out the west bank. Although it looks like that restraint is waning, and I seriously can’t blame them.

        I don’t profess to understand the mentality on either side. It’s driven by religious conflict, something that should not spur war between modern, civilized societies. But there it is.

        A solid argument for the separation of Church and State. Like we used to have in this country….

      2. Rod

        Josh’s quote: “If someone created a new state in the US and flooded with immigrants we’d go insane”.
        We may not have created a new state yet but we certainly are flooding the US with immigrants. Now, where do we put them seems to be the big question. I’m feeling a bit insane even as we speak.

  15. Jeff Davis

    Israel has full control over the obvious solution, real Democracy in a single state that they bought when the won the war. Sure people hate each other, but fair elections, fair judiciary, fair law enforcement of the entire area will eventually handle those ‘hate crimes’ and jail those offenders. Why doesn’t Israel tear down the wall, open up the elections, open up the economy and let Democracy work for those of all religions? A Two-State solution will only continue to breed the same state sponsored discrimination that continues to indoctrinate the hate we have seen for decades. So as long as you have these 2 religious states, you will have fighting.

  16. Chris G

    Yasser Arafat made some nice money off the plight of the Palestinians. Kinda’ like the race hustling poverty pimping preachers and “community organizers’ that permeate Chicago streets. Funny, he died worth some $1 billion. He was “for profit.”

  17. Mark Ellenberger

    Billions of dollars have been poured into the Palestinians, enough to make all of them Million-ares. Some have taken the money and ran to England, France, or the US. Wherever they go they will always hate everyone, and it is biblical in nature just read Genesis 16:12 (He will be as free and wild as an untamed donkey. He will fight with everyone, and everyone will fight with him. He will have conflicts with all his relatives). I’d say that sums it up. There will never be peace in the middle east even if they kill all the Jews because they would still have to kill us next then each other. You have to respect the tenacity of the People of Israel and South Korea to not only survive but also thrive in very midst of overwhelming odds. That’s what being a Machinist is “Resourceful”.


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