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Monday, November 19, 2012

Pillar of Defense Musings

My thoughts will never be published by Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times. My views are not leftist, and I have no political ax to grind.

Moreover, I will not be scheduling paid speaking appointments in the United States, given that I hope to spend most of my free time digging in my garden. Somehow, I recently found the time to plant two Ettinger avocado trees, and I look forward to seeing the literal fruits of my labor in 2013.

How do I view the renewed fighting between Israel and Hamas? If I had to choose a word to describe my feelings, I suppose it would be "anguish."

My oldest son, a paratrooper, has not yet been called up by his reserve unit, and I am embarrassed to admit my relief. During Operation Cast Lead, his officer died only a few meters away from where he stood, and I believe there is a limit to the trauma that any person can withstand over the course of a lifetime. I know that I have been left with a very short fuse. Nevertheless, Michael wants very much to again be in the thick of things.

I was in Tel Aviv two days ago when the sirens sounded, announcing an incoming Fajr-5 missile, supplied to Hamas by Iran. Having lived through Iraqi Scud attacks during the First Gulf War, which regularly shook our sixth floor apartment when Michael was just an infant, I couldn't get excited.

Earlier this evening, I stopped by our local grocery store and purchased meat from our Palestinian butcher, who occasionally hitches rides from me back to his neighboring village. He knows that I am a reservist, yet today, like every day, there were only smiles and no signs of enmity.

What will be the future of this conflagration? I don't know, because I don't decide policy.

Yet, I view with horror the demands from Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal that Israel initiate a ceasefire. Is it all just a matter of pride? Doesn't human life mean anything to him? Inasmuch as he heads an organization whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews, perhaps we shouldn't be expecting too much.

The EU is acknowledging Israel's right to defend itself, but is also asking that Israel's response to Hamas and Islamic Jihad missiles be "proportional." In addition, the EU is telling Israel's political leadership that under no circumstances should Israel dare send its ground forces into Gaza.

Fortunately for me, I do not need to make the decision whether to send infantry and tanks into Gaza. However, I would be very curious how European capitals would respond if their civilian centers were, over the course of a week, subjected to a barrage of a thousand rockets and missiles.

Meanwhile, in Antwerp leftists and rightists today staged a protest against Israel and chanted, "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to gas." I find it interesting that only anti-Semitism can bring these two extremes together.

And in the US, although "57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas," only 40% of Democrats agrees with Israel's efforts to defend itself (see: I wonder what these Democrats would say if New Jersey, which is the same size as Israel, were to come under missile attack.

Hamas rockets today landed on three schools in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, but fortunately classes have been canceled since November 14. I suppose many of these Democrats, including many Jews among them, would prefer that Israel just lay down and die.

Me? I'm not ready to pass on just yet. I'm too busy working to ensure the success of my life science companies, and I can't wait to taste that first avocado from our new trees.


  1. Oh Jeffrey.
    I live in New York, but I spend a lot of time on the phone ... when I (or rather the other side) can. Three days ago, my conversation was short, stopped rudely by my sister-in-low who just chose to respond to an alarm the same way she did 10 times during the previous night.
    Her son-in-low, a reservist, is already drafted.
    We already know that there is far right/weir left/Islamist fusion. Yes, we know what unites them.
    Thank you for reminding me. I already changed my registration, or I thought I did. I sent my preferences (Independent) after the charming display of bigotry in the Congress.
    So far, no confirmation. It looks like I'll have to send it again, certified.

  2. I don't know whether the Muslim Brotherhood's State Department liaison, Huma Abedinwill will accompany her this time, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel on Tuesday night and will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday morning. The purpose of her visit is to pressure the Israeli government not to wipe out the Hamas terror organization.

    Rumor has it that as soon as she arrives, she'll be meeting with Ismail Haniyeh aboard the USS Iwo Jima , now anchored somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    The script will go something like this:

    Hillary: "Hello Mr. Haniyeh. My president has sent me here to broker a peace deal between you and the Jews. He would have come himself but he's having such a great time at the moment in Thailand. Besides, he didn't want to deal with Bibi. Now that we won the election, to be totally honest with you, we don't give a flying flat tire about Israel anymore. Actually, we would like to have you and your organization on board with us - just like we arranged for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. So, here's the deal: You stop firing rockets at Israel - just for a few days is good enough. Then I go to Mad-Dog-Bibi and tell him that any further escalation on the part of the Israelis will jeopardize our 'special relationship with Israel' including cutting them off from military aid. You in turn will get an open border with Egypt, an end of the blockade and as an extra bonus, we'll take you off that nasty list of terrorist organizations.
    The new boggyman will be the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades - but we know you have no affiliation with that organization, wink, wink!
    Do I have your attention Mr. Haniya?"

    Ismail: "I still can't believe US let women have role in politics! In my country we have a pen outside for the animals and womens! Now I understand problem that the woman have a smaller brain than a man. Even Borat and Dr. Yamuka has proved it is size of squirrel. Please, on your way back to Tel-Aviv, don't let
    my people see you drive car. Woman drive a car is like to let a monkey fly a plane, very dangerous. Now, back to business... tell me what can you do to sweeten the deal? How about some tanks and planes - you know, as you say in your country, 'even the playing field'?"

    Hillary: "I'm already on it. I can always spot a reformer when I see one! Now, I have some paperwork - a few minor details such as a signature or thumbprint for that offshore account."

    Ismail: "Wonderful! It is pleasure to do business with US! Say salam aleikum to my friend Barack Hussein and Thomas Friedman when you see them".

    Hillary: "No problem. Have a nice War!"