We’ll keep it brief this evening, especially since tonight’s subject is one with which I’m not nearly as familiar as I should be. In fact, I should probably just pass this one by.
But I won’t…
Since it was reformed as an independent state in 1948, the nation of Israel has existed on a razor’s edge. Whether one likes the country, dislikes the country, or is indifferent, that is the simple truth. Israel has become the most volatile flashpoint on the planet. Maybe I’m generalizing based on what I see on the television, but it looks like any given day in Israel is chock full of danger, protests, the threat of bombs and missiles, and destruction.
Those that support Israel say the Jewish nation has been placed in a completely untenable position. She is surrounded on all sides by sworn enemies, committed to her annihilation. She is forced to defend herself aggressively against not only terrorist organizations, but against nation-states. Some of those nations have publicly voiced their desire to see Israel removed from the map, and those that haven’t have discussed peace with Israel behind the blunt end of a gun.
Those that take a more pro-Arab position contend that Israel has used its admittedly difficult position as a cover for all kinds of aggressive and inhumane actions against the Palestinians, who simply want a country of their own. She acts as a belligerent while simultaneously talking about wanting peace with the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states. Her refusal to come clean about nuclear weapons has put nearly every country in the region on the defensive, forcing them to act aggressively as well.
And there has been constant fighting over territory. No set of territorial boundaries is more disputed than Israel’s. And within the last couple of weeks, President Obama has called for Israel to give up territory it won in the Six-Day War.
Begun on June 5, 1967, the Six-Day War was, from the Israeli perspective, essentially a kill-or-be-killed series of preemptive strikes against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Israelis contended that these countries had gathered nearly a quarter of a million troops and many hundreds of tanks and aircraft, placing them near their respective borders with Israel. An attack looked imminent.
Outnumbered by better than 2-to-1, Israel took the action she deemed gave her the best chance for success…take the fight to the enemy. In the space of six days, she devastated the military might of those nations around her. She captured the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and all of Sinai (which I believe was given back to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty).
Of course, many of these place-names are well known to us (even if we don’t know exactly where they are), as we hear about them every day. Most are still disputed, and the President, as I mentioned, has suggested that they be returned to their original owners as a way to possibly achieve peace. To this point, Prime Minister Netanyahu has steadfastly refused to do so.
Will our President convince Israel’s Prime Minister that conceding land is the answer? Will Netanyahu continue his steadfast refusal to bend to pressure? Will Jerusalem be divided?
I’m pretty sure we’ll eventually know, and it will probably involve guns, rockets, fighting, bloodshed, and death.