Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Sixty Year War


Back in the summer of 1967, I was enjoying a 17 year old's dream. Fresh from High School, I jetted away to Europe for over three months. The use of the word "Jet" is actually incorrect. The plane we took was the largest prop plane I had ever seen. The economy airline of the time was Icelandic, which stopped in Reykjavik before it landed in Luxemburg. So like Sarah Palin, I too can claim Iceland as a country where I have had diplomatic relations.

I spent much of my time in Germany because my mother's cousin was stationed in Heidelberg. From there, my brother and I made our way to London, Paris, Rome, and all the stops in between. We bought a little red Volkswagon for four hundred fifty dollars and sold it 6,000 Kilometers laters for four.

One afternoon, early in our adventure, we were in Munich. I think the night before we had been in the Hofbrau House viewing where Hitler had made his speeches during his rise to power. It was also during this trip that we visited the detention camps and I actually saw the showers and the ovens that were used during the horribleness of the last War with numerals.

Munich at the time was very much in repair, after all, it was just 22 years since the war in Europe had ended. As we walked down the street, we noticed a lot of pedestrians gathering around one of those circular news stands. And they were disturbed about something. As I peaked over the crowd and tried to read the German newspapers posted there, I saw pictures of tanks and words like Panzer.

The Six Day War in the Middle East had begun.

"In May 1967, Egypt's president Nasser expelled the United Nations Emergency Force from the Sinai Peninsula. The peacekeeping force had been stationed there since 1957, following a British-French-Israeli invasion which was launched during the Suez Crisis.

Egypt amassed 1,000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Israeli border[7] and closed the Straits of Tiran to all ships flying Israeli flags or carrying strategic materials, receiving strong support from other Arab countries.

On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack against Egypt's airforce. Jordan, which had signed a mutual defence treaty with Egypt on May 30, then attacked western Jerusalem and Netanya."

We called our mother's cousin, and he told us to get the hell back to Heidelberg that second. When we did, the American army base there was a buzz. Tanks were being painted white, security was elevated. My Lt. Colonel cousin had a grave look on his face. He sat us down at the dining room table. My brother would join him in the army. I would drive his young family to the Southwest of France where we would board a freighter for the United States.

He put an army pistol on the table. "And you take this", he said.

Fortunately, in a matter of hours, the war took a decisive turn. and in a few days, Israel had gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

Israel still holds or controls most of these lands today.

Six years later as a college senior, (I was slow) I was seeing an Israeli woman. I called and her voice was tense. It was October sixth. A coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria had just attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.

The Yom Kippur War had begun. And even though the Israelis were taken by surprise, they recovered after initial Syrian and Egyptian advances.

During these years, I saw Israel as a brave and resiliant country, one that any civilized person would support. There is no way that you can see the chambers that were used to exterminate a segment of their people and not feel support for their new state.

But as the years have rolled by, my heart as changed. The oppressed have now become the oppressers.

We have two cultures here who have both been wronged terribly. Millions of Jews are killed in a European war, and so the Europeans and their American cousins give them Arab land. Why not Bavaria? Why not New Jersey?

Both cultures still believe in a eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

And now both are blind, both are starved.

Yes, it's true.

Obama's designate Chief of Staff was a volunteer in the Israeli Army in 1991.

And in 2006, when MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell referred to Rahm Emanuel as someone who served in the Israeli army in an interview, Emanuel did not dispute the claim

And Rahm's father was a Jewish terrorist in 1948,(Irgun)

and he says some pretty weird stuff.

And his Father says that Rahm spends most of his summers in Tel Aviv.

And Emanuel is known for his "take-no-prisoners attitude. He actually did mail a rotten fish to a former co-worker after the two parted ways.

But, Emanuel is also a ballet dancer.

And what we need now is Grace and Beauty,

and understanding,

And Healing between these two cultures.

Rahm means "high or lofty" in Hebrew.

And Now is his time to be exactly that,
.
And help Obama heal The Sixty Year War.

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"The Art of War" courtesy of Kelly Ann Thomas

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3 Comments:

Blogger SB said...

Here's something I wrote yesterday on a local list for poets to talk about the Invasion of Gaza.


Palestine was a relatively quiet place until after WWII when the world powers decided to "give" their land to survivors of the holocaust -- people so disorientated and abject they went where they were sent -- I think one has to remember that if one looks for a "starting point" to explain today's violence.

A dumber, sadder solution to atrocity has never seen daylight.

I can't accept the argument that Israel is defending itself -- unless one also says -- they are defending themselves against people whose homes and lands they occupy, against people who they have herded into miserable, crowded tent and concrete block slums, against people in a place they have blockaded -- keeping out medical supplies, killing jobs, restricting movement, food, infrastructure, against the victims of their own expansion.

Gaza is basically inhabitable and yet a million and a half people live there in the most crowded and abysmal conditions imaginable. That is why Hamas is fighting, and will keep fighting. Unjust conditions that are also life threatening for a people will always erupt.

No one wins except industrialists who have created a war economy everywhere on the planet, and the ones who provide the energy these economies need to continue eating up the earth. In the process, Israel has become it's own worst nightmare -- a pawn in this game, again. And Palestinian victims have become terrorists -- victims become perpetrators ad infinitum. Israel can't win. Palestine cannot win. Wars are not won. They are failure. And in this case they are all being duped.

Negotiation is the only path that doesn't automatically lead to death.

When Israel blames Hamas, or Hezbolla, or Iran -- what is really going on -- in my view, is a mad, last ditch rush to squeeze the last drop of oil out of the Middle East. The world economy is swirling down a black hole -- let's create the biggest war the world has ever know, to fix it. Israel/Gaza. Pakistan/India. Iran/Israel.

This is a very dangerous time, these last days of the Bush Administration -- escalation is rife at every turn. I for one am not going to go for simple answers --

This invasion, this bombing by Israel of Gaza is an obscene atrocity.

11:06 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

agreed.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

The long time ago guys changed the name from Palestine to Judea. The hate between the various tribes there is long standing. It dates to before the Bible.

The Romans solution was to smash the enemy and then grind all the buildings into rubble, then dust and pour salt on the remains.

I hear the excuse of if some guys in Round Rock were shooting rockets at Austin, then Austin would have an excuse to shoot back. I agreed that self protection is necessary. But the idea that the guys in Austin will say, "We are trained not to kill collaterally no civilians will be killed unless they get in the line of fire and besides the badguys in Round Rock we are after hide behind babies so we have to do what we do to get them."

Never mind the Round Rock bottle rockets do little real damage. The Austin bombs and airplanes will level the place and turn it to dust.

There actually may be no solution to this until all the Jews and all the Palestinians are buried. And then someone else will get greedy and go after that Temple mount place.

8:04 AM  

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