Friday, October 27, 2006

Noah and the Ark

Israel is under siege, yet again, but this time it’s difficult to determine from which direction: from without or within.

Iran has declared that it is ready to begin a second stage Uranium cascade. What does this mean? Nothing good for Israel or the world. David Horowitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, wrote a Friday editorial imploring the world to deal with Iran sooner than later, since later may be too late.

Right-wing politician Avigdor Leiberman claims to have the solution to problems with Iran. In a recent meeting with Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, Lieberman outlined his plan. After the meeting Solana said he didn’t agree with one word Leiberman said, but believed in listening to all sides.

Solana also said that he believed that Hamas does indeed want to make peace with Israel. This statement caused many analysts to wonder if Solana was reading the same newspapers as the rest of the world.

The Labor party is still split over what to do about Israel’s PM Olmert’s move to bring Leiberman into the Knesset. Olmert is already under pressure by the Comptroller of Israel, who has recommended that Olmert be investigated for his involvement in the attempted take-over of Bank Leumi, claiming that Olmert was guilty of a conflict of interests.

Other reports in the press of of Olmert’s wife receiving 240,000 shekels in salary over an 11-month period from Amdocs founder Boaz Dotan. The road safety organization Or Yarok is Dotan’s brainchild, begun after his son was killed in a road accident. According to media reports Or Yarok received over 100 million shekels from the Israeli government at the time Aleza Olmert was employed by Amdocs. The press speculation is that Olmert’s wife received the salary in payment for Olmert supporting the government providing funding to Or Yarok.

Discussions are still on-going between Israel and Hamas over the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shavit. The latest reports say that Hamas is demanding a simultaneous release of Hamas prisoners held by Israel and Shalit. Hamas strong man Mashal, based in Damascus, is reportedly making the decisions how Hamas conducts the negotiations. Meanwhile no progress has been reported on the two IDF soldiers still held by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The IDF has been waging a daily campaign against the Hamas arms build-up in Gaza. Hundreds of tunnels have been discovered, dozens destroyed. Israel is searching for the weapons smuggled into Gaza from Egypt. Kassam rockets continue falling on the south of Israel, causing mayhem, injuries, and death. One can only wonder what Hamas, Hezbolallah and Iran will do when weapons of mass destruction can be delivered against Israel.

Reading Live Leibovitz’s book “Aliya” (St. Martin’s Press 2006) one is struck by the reports of bombing in Jerusalem, especially against the Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post) and on Ben Yehuda street in 1947 and 1948. Then, as now, blind hatred drives Arab fanatics to kill Jews. The reminders are more striking when one considers the threat of the Iranian nuclear rockets raining on Israel.

Hatred against the Jewish communities around the world is not new. According to historians Israel now provides a central focus for that hatred, making it simply easier for bigots to strike at one central target.

A group of diplomats from Mediterranean countries meeting in Spain have stated that the Road Map, a three-phased implementation of U.S. President George W. Bush's June 24, 2002 speech, designed to calm the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, create a provisional Palestinian state and allow for negotiations of a final status agreement, is no longer a viable option.

The "road map" calls for : that would make possible Israel and Palestinians "living side by side in peace and security." However, the roadmap does not specify the final borders of Palestine and Israel or any other details of the solution.”

Top diplomats from 11 countries bordering the Mediterranean will produce a new batch of proposals for reviving the Middle East peace process at a two-day meeting in Spain beginning Friday, a leading Spanish diplomat said.

This move comes in contravention to an initiative by U.S. Sec of State Rice, who is still trying to revive President Bush’s Road Map plan. Most Israeli political analysts have dismissed the Road Map as impossible to implement and have long ago advised new avenues, if possible.

Many, however, now question if there is a chance of a Middle East peace before another violent explosion. Israelis are uneasy about the future. The Hamas rockets continue to fall. Hezbollah has not been disarmed in Lebanon. UNIFIL II is reportedly not confronting Hezbollah, nor proving more than an inconvenience to Hezbollah’s plans. For now Hezbollah is content to rebuild and rearm. But Israeli pundits believe another attack is only a matter of time.

A few observers see this as a period that can be compared to Europe in the 1930’s, just before the Nazis launched their assault on Poland. The radical Islamic states are consolidating their power, planning their strategies, readying for their big assault. With so many Moslems now living in Europe, a fifth column is a distinct possibility. Israel is not their only target.

Many analysts see only hard times ahead. The US policy in Iraq is also a concern. Some have said that if the US pulls out of Iraq it will destabilize the entire Middle East, allowing radical Islamists to arm, train, and then spread their violence to other countries, much as they did in Afghanistan.

The western world seems at a crossroads, either confront the enemy out to destroy it, as hard as that is, or be ultimately attacked and perhaps over run.

Since this is the week that the Jews read the biblical portion of Noah, his construction of the Ark and the great flood, perhaps it’s time for Joe Smith in the Suburbs to start buying wood and making sure his garage can hold a big boat, because from the looks of it, a big flood is surely coming.