Jerusalem Magazine
July 25, 2006 War in Israel day 14
A sixty-seven year old Israeli man died of a heart attack today rushing from his Haifa apartment into the building’s bomb shelter. A fifteen-year old girl from Kfar Marar near Tiberias was killed in a katyusha rocket attack. Death and destruction all around the north. Twenty Israeli residents injured when nearly 100 rockets rained down from Lebanon. Some of the rockets were the 220 mm rockets supplied by Syria. Funerals are taking place every day, burying those soldiers and civilians killed by bullets, bombs, or rockets.
The Israeli army’s getting hit hard. An Apache Longbow helicopter crashed killing the pilot and co-pilot. Two Israeli tanks were hit, one by a roadside bomb, the other by an anti-tank missile, killing two soldiers, including a Lt. Colonel. Friendly fire injured five soldiers.
Yoram Kanuk, a famous Israeli author who fought with the Palmach during Israeli’s 1948 War of Independence, said on Israel Television yesterday that war was defined by death, wounded, and destruction. He recalled that 5,000 men died in the ’48 war, ten percent of the population of about 500,000 at the time the State was founded. “People were dying like mosquitoes,” he said. “This is what you have to go through if you want a State.”
But of course that’s not so easy if one of your family, or friends, gets killed. Pundits believe that as Hezbollah is pushed further and further into a corner they’re going to try drastic measures, like bombing Tel Aviv, or using dirty bombs. Meanwhile the news reports that Hezbollah is trying to drag the Syrians into the war. The Syrian Army is reportedly on its highest level of readiness. The Saudis warn that a regional war could break out and spread throughout the Middle East.
I doubt it. The Saudis are probably worried that the war might spread to their country, and separate them from their oil. The Saudis have come up with a Peace Plan of their own, and are probably being dramatic to get the US and Israel to pay attention to their propositions. The Saudi’s are Wahabis, a radical branch of Suni Islam. Hamas in Gaza is Sunni, and probably gets financial aid from the Saudis. Hezbollah are Shiite, and aligned with the Iranian Shiites. Normally the two sects would be fighting, as they did in the Iran-Iraq war in the 80’s. Now they’re content to fight Israel. The Saudis have never been supporters or friends of Israel.
The Saudis and the Egyptians are probably being pressured by the US to get some kind of diplomatic move going. Egypt gets $2 billion a year in aid from the US. The Saudi leaders are protected on their throne by US troops. Revolutionary groups, including those who want to depose the King and the princes, have often tried to overthrow the leaders, to get closer to that oil money. So far they’ve not been successful. The CIA and reportedly also Israel’s Mossad has helped them stay in power.
So I guess we have to ignore that the Wahabi branch of Islam is one of those, sponsored by Saudi Imams, that are spreading anti-Western hatred through out the world, using Mosques from New Jersey to Indonesia, paid for by the Saudis, to do their work. It was no accident that most of the Twin Tower bombers were Saudi. Or that Bin Laden is a Saudi. But let’s give them a chance. Diplomacy may work. Can you imagine a multi-national Peace Keeping Force made up of Arabs, separating the Jews and Hezbollah? Who do you think they’d defend? Believe it or not this sort of force is one of the ideas being proposed.
Today, riding around Jerusalem was tough. Condi Rice was in town. Jerusalem isn’t a large city, about seven miles from one end to the other. In Chicago terms, from Howard Street to about Belmont, the lake to Western. In New York Manhattan terms, maybe from 125th street to about 72nd Street, the East River to Lexington Avenue. Small by any measure. The “Kryiah” or government complex, sits on the Western edge of the city. That’s where the Supreme Court building is, the three buildings that make up the government offices, the Knesset and the new Foreign Ministry complex. When a big shot like Rice is in the city the roads are closed ten minutes before the long convoy of motorcycles, bulletproof limousines and armored SUVs leave one place for another. When that happens its like coming to the railroad tracks when a train’s passing by, except this train is carrying an arsenal with dead-eyed gunmen ready to shoot an impatient driver.
Condi gave Israel a few more days to reach some sort of positive result in Lebanon. The press reported that she was at odds with US President Bush, who wanted to give Israel all the help and time they needed to finish off Hezbollah. Bush reportedly thinks, correctly in my opinion, that Hezbollah are the shock troops of the Iranians. If Hezbollah is beaten, Iran may think twice about going any further with their plans to control the Middle East.
The State Department, as is their nature, wants a cease-fire, and talks around a table, as quickly as possible. Lots of folks who can’t stomach the fact that wars lead to negotiations, but as Israel’s late Prime Minister Yizchak Rabin once said, “You don’t make peace with your friends.”
Our erstwhile masseuse Gil has started his peach picking in the Golan Heights. He was joined in the fields by his wife, Rina.  She said that she hears explosions all the time, but nothing falling near them. Even with Gil and Rina my brother-in-law Danny was still short-handed, so my son was drafted into the work crew. He took my mother-in-law Jackie up to the Golan, ending her peaceful Jerusalem sojourn. If the Golan Heights becomes a target for these longer-range rockets, we might wind up with people sleeping in the garden of our Jerusalem town-house. But my son and mother-in-law showed good sense. Jackie wanted to stop in Haifa, check her apartment, empty the fridge, get some clothing, go to the post-office for her mail, on the way to the Golan Heights. She was talked out of it by her son Danny, who said that the Army closed the roads to the Golan in the afternoon. So they skipped Haifa. I wish Hezbollah would start doing the same thing.
Jerusalem Magazine is edited by Larry Price, a veteran filmmaker and journalist based in Jerusalem
Jul 25, 2006
July 25, 2006 War in Israel Day 14