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msquared
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Just got this article e-mailed to me from my uncle in Isreal.

This is the olive harvest season. Palestinians all over the West Bank are having great difficulty in harvesting their olives--the most important crop in the country, both for home use and for sale. The folloiwng article gives just a glimpse of it. Rabbis for Human Rights and other Israeli and international volunteers like Sister Mary K Milne have been attempting to help, but what they can do is merely a drop in the bucket. Loss of the crop will add even more financial misery to a people, most of whom have been reduced to poverty below the UN standard because of the conflicts of the past two years, but above all because of the closures and curfews by the army and the brutal intimidation by the settlers.




from Israeli paper HaAretz
Friday, October 25, 2002 Cheshvan 19, 5763
Israel Time: 16:32 (GMT+2)

It's the pits

Humiliated farmers, angry landowners, human rights activists and army
personnel: A confrontation in an olive grove

By Amira Hass
[daugher of Holocaust survivors--chm]

Four frightened farmers emerged from the
old Renault that screeched to a halt in the
center of the path. "The settlers didn't let us
get to our grove," they told their fellow
villagers of Akrabeh, who were picking
olives along the sides of the path. It was
Monday afternoon, four days after the
majority of the residents of the neighboring
village of Yanun deserted their homes,
unable to bear the harassment of the
settlers any longer.

The car's passengers turned down the proposal to join two television crews,
one foreign and one Israeli, and return to the site where, they said, "an armed
settler in an off-road vehicle and another three" people had threatened them
with their rifles and taken their car key - returning it only after ordering them to
leave.

The reporters continued driving on the path, which winds its way toward Nablus
between fields and hills planted with olive and almond trees. In the middle of
the path was an off-road vehicle with an Israeli license plate (number
01-478-69), and astride it was a young bearded Israeli wearing a khaki hat and
with a rifle slung over his shoulder. In the field next to the path, another young
man sat on a tractor (Israeli license plate 57-000-37) that was hitched to a plow.
Two young men, both wearing large skullcaps and one of them armed with a
rifle, walked alongside this vehicle.

"No photographs," one of the drivers snapped. "I say no pictures. This is my
private land and you will not photograph my house." He refused to say whether it
was he who had blocked the Akrabeh residents from getting to their olive grove.
"I don't answer you. I don't talk to you," he said. "This field is mine all my life - no,
for 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 years. Since Hashem [God] created the world." He and
his armed friend produced wireless radios and began talking into them.

In short order, activists of the Ta'ayush Arab Jewish Partnership group, Rabbis
for Human Rights, foreign nationals in the Solidarity movement, and a few of the
grove owners in the area arrived. They stopped their convoy of cars opposite the
off-road vehicle and its armed driver. The activists and the farmers began to
speak about the right of the tillers of the land to harvest their crops. The driver of
the off-road vehicle listened and then told the Palestinians: "You are dead
people."

In the meantime, another off-road vehicle (Israeli license plate 12-452-76) and
another few Israelis wearing skullcaps arrived in the field. An Israel Defense
Forces jeep also pulled up, parking across the width of the path, and an officer
with the rank of captain emerged from it. He huddled with the driver of the
off-road vehicle, and spoke with representatives of the Ta'ayush group and of
the Palestinian fellahin, who complained that they were unable to get to their
olive groves.

"Why is he plowing my land and you say nothing to him, but you do not let me
harvest olives?" one of the Akrabeh group - the father of a youngster who was
wounded by gunfire on October 6 - said bitterly. On October 6, a few young
people had gone to their grove to pick olives. A group of armed Israeli civilians
showed up and, from a distance, opened fire; one of the Palestinians, Hani Beni
Maniyeh, 24, was killed. The police are investigating allegations that Israelis
murdered him.

Awaiting the verdict

The field that was being worked by the Israeli tractor is owned by the Bushnak
family, from Nablus. It has leased the field for decades to residents of Akrabeh
and Yanun. In the past two years, the farmers say, Israelis have prevented them
from planting wheat in this plot, as they have traditionally done.

The origins of the Bushnak families that live in Palestine are in Bosnia. They
were Muslim soldiers who were brought here to reinforce the Turkish army at
the end of the 19th century and settled in various places in the country, including
Yanun. Although they were not originally from one family, they adopted a
common surname that attests to their extraction. When they moved to Nablus
from Yanun, they leased their land to the residents of Akrabeh, who gradually
began to leave their village and settle in the wadi, the plateau and the hill of
Yanun. Payment for leasing the land could be made in the form of wheat, olive
oil or cash. About three-quarters of Yanun's 16,000 dunams (4,000 acres) of
land is leased.

"We have a law that a leaser is forbidden to remove the tiller of the land," says a
Yanun resident, who on Monday was one of those awaiting the verdict as to
whether they would be able to harvest the olive crop.

The army captain explained to Ha'aretz: "There are places where they can
harvest the crop and places where they cannot. Those are army orders - not
demands of settlers - in order to prevent them from approaching a settlement
and perpetrating a terrorist attack."

The settlement of Itamar is northwest of Akrabeh and Yanun. Over the years, its
residents expanded their homes onto hilltops in the area. A few mobile homes
on each of these hills, along with observation towers and water reservoirs,
surround Yanun from the east, the north and the west. The groves of Akrabeh
and Yanun abut on the settlement's ever-expanding boundaries.

The captain related that his soldiers had told the olive harvesters that they were
prohibited from working the groves "on the left" (that is, the many hundreds of
trees on the north side of the path). Those "on the right" can be harvested. "We
are letting them harvest in most places," the captain continued, explaining the
policy. "That is also in the army's interest. There is a great deal of humanity
here. You can ask. They are even guarded." And what about the Israelis on the
off-read vehicle and the tractor, who blocked the Palestinians from getting to the
right of the path? "That is a different matter, a matter for the police," the captain
said.

In the meantime, another jeep arrived, bringing a major, who wanted to talk to
the Palestinians and their supporters. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, from Rabbis for
Human Rights, was sent to negotiate with him. He returned with a proposal: "If
we work on the south side, they will separate between us and the settlers," he
said. "Their duty is to protect us if we work on this side." And one more
condition: The "boundary" demarcated by the off-road vehicle can be crossed
only on foot.

`Softened version'

The villagers decided to take advantage of the presence of the Ta'ayush group
and harvest their crops, even though they thought the terms were humiliating
and discriminatory. The closure is causing economic bankruptcy and these
days, every liter of oil than can be extracted from the olives is worth its weight in
gold. "The only reason the army is letting us work is that you are here,"
someone remarked. "If you weren't here, the army would tell us to call the police
and in the end, it does what the settlers want."

"You were witnesses to a softened version of what we have been going through
for the past five years," Abd al-Latif Bani Jaber, the head of the Yanun village
council, said afterward. He sat at the entrance of one of the homes whose
owners left, walked past the abandoned houses on the deserted streets with
the Ta'ayush activists - who had come to stay over - and related the history of the
abandonment of the small village, which consists of three groups of buildings
on the plain and the Yanun hill.

"In the past few months, some of the residents left the village and moved to
Akrabeh. They couldn't take the fear anymore. We were 150 residents, which
gradually decreased to 100, then 87. Last Friday, only eight families were still
here." The occupants of the homes closest to the hills and the mobile homes
were the first to leave. At first Bani Jaber and other villagers filed complaints to
the police about assaults (at the Civil Administration base in Hawarah).
"Causing damage to private land, uprooting trees" is recorded under
"confirmation of the filing of a complaint" in February 1998; "building a road on
land owned by you," the police wrote in July 1998. However, in time, "we saw
that there was no point to complaining. No one came to our aid," Bani Jaber
says.

Armed Israelis showed up outside houses in the village, preventing the
residents from getting to their crops and intimidating them. Sheep sometimes
disappeared. One Saturday last June, Bani Jaber was sitting with his wife and
children at the entrance to their home. "Those who attacked us in the past are
used to us locking ourselves in our houses. That day they came down from the
hill and told me to get inside. I said I will sit here wherever I want." He and a few
neighbors threw stones at the Israelis in order to scare them off. More Israelis
showed up and some of them fired in the air, he said.

Dozens of young people from Akrabeh rushed to the neighboring village to help.
The army and the Civil Administration were also summoned. The IDF
Spokesman confirmed at the time that there had been an "incident" and that the
security forces had separated the "combatants."

In the middle of the night on April 17, someone set fire to the building that
housed the village's power generator. The United Nations Development
Program financed the installation of a generator to supply electricity to the village
and to pump water from the local well into two large tanks that were placed on a
cliff at the edge of the village, from which pipes were laid to the houses.

The repair will cost $17,000, but a new generator has not yet arrived. According
to one of the residents, it was made clear to the villagers that the new generator
would also be torched. The upshot is that since April, the village has had neither
electricity nor running water. At the end of July, a group of Israelis toppled the
tanks, which in any event were empty.

Since April, the villagers have been going down to the spring and filling jerricans
with water, which they store in a concrete reservoir that they built. Nine days ago,
two days before the abandonment of the village, they were astounded to
discover three Israelis swimming in their drinking water. In the past few weeks,
Israelis have harassed fellahin from Akrabeh and from the villages north of
Itamar.

"It is known in the village that the assailants operate on Saturdays, in a different
place each week," Bani Jaber said. "`When does Saturday come?,' our children
ask their parents in fright. People thought that we were next on the list, so last
Friday those who were still here decided to leave."

The Nimr family - the father, who is a teacher, his wife and their eight children -
left their home together with most of the village residents that Friday, taking their
sheep. Two days later, the mother returned with three of her children - her
grown-up son and daughter and a three-year-old boy. "We came back when we
heard that people came to protect us," she said. "We felt a bit of security." The
mother, Umm Nizar, had to reassure the little boy that the Hebrew speakers
around him "are not settlers." He watched with frightened eyes and wouldn't say
anything.

Umm Nizar said that four Israelis, two of them armed, had surrounded the
house a few days before the family left, had fired in the air and demanded that
she open the door. "It is a continuing saga. They come over and over," she said.
"Whenever there is noise outside, the boy says `the settlers came.'" He doesn't
say "Jew," which is the word used for the army. "The army is normal, we are not
afraid of them," she said.

Two brothers, Faiq and Ralub Bani Jaber, both around 70, live in a stone house
that was built during the period of Jordanian rule. They and their children,
totaling about 25 people, refused to leave. Ralub Bani Jaber summed up:
"When I saw my neighbors leaving, I felt death."


msquared


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Baldar
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This is the sad part about the conflict. Many Palestinians are peaceful and just want to be left alone to do there work, but the punishment is collective and hence hurts the good with the bad. As a matter of fact terrorists often use peaceful Palestinians as "camoflage" to hide their actions. The result is those who are peaceful are pushed to an extreme by Jewish extremists or Palestinian extremists. I see the Jewish settlers as being just a notch below German Nazi's. Both advocate the same thing.
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Everard
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One thing to keep in mind is that the jews in israel are pretty much reacting to stated threats to kill every jew in israel...
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Baldar
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I agree, there is nothing like a death threat to polarize a community. Even in the US we have only lightly been hit by terrorism (relative to Israel) and we certainly are much more suspicious of certain groups and we are not even surrounded by people who want to kill us.
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KenBean
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Hi M 2

This is one drop of puss from a bleeding wound. Sad. Sad.

Baldar ought to be at least slightly ashamed calling "Settlers" a notch above Nazis.

OK Baldar, whip it out and get up your dukes
up!

(the only reason I read your post is that it was SHORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Israel has the population of a mid size American city. Every death due to terrorists is a REAL PERSONAL DEATH!

The beltway sniper here killed less than a dozen people...and in the process freaked out several million people and cost millions to arrest. Our country will spend several million additional dollars putting him in prison.

Israelis can't afford it.

Go chat with some of those "Settlers", in your spare time. They are there in Israel because they are not welcome anywhere else in the earth...they believe. Their background and history, (usually Russian), does not lend them to nit-picking.

Obviously, Baldar, you have never been personally "in a killin' fight".

...I hope you never are.

Those settlers are, and the tradgedies (sp?)
just keep on going down...on both sides and in the middle.

M squared, that e mail saddened me no end, but I been there a lot. "Polarization" my rear end! These folks are locked in a death struggle. All bets are off.

When a human being goes into "survival mode", ie. kill or be killed, all bets are off..............survive........or take him with you.

Baldar's computer was paid for with the blood of amerinds. Duh!

(so was mine, but I acknowledge it.)

If we Americans had stood by our Ally, in the "Six Day War" none of this would be happening. The Yom Kippur war would not have happened.

So what is best?

ten killed today.............or ten thousand killed over the next umpteen years?

Darned if I know.

We Texans will STILL sell the big bend to the Israelis. Let the Philistines have the dirt and the scrawney olives.

Best regards
KenBean


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msquared
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Ken,

I am not sure if you know the reason for my post. Other here know, I have an uncle who is a priest and has been traveling to the Holy Land for the past 30 years. He basically leads graduate level students through the Holy Land. For the past 3-4 years he has actually lived in Isreal working for a relief organisation run by the Catholic Church. I am not saying that I agree with my uncle about how he views it, but his point of view, being fairly pro-palestinian, is rare in our press. My uncle is very educated and very well travelled. I would bet he has even more frequent flyer miles than you do.

Again I just post his e-mails for perspective.

msquared


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KenBean
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Hi back Msquared

Oh I do understand your reasoning, and appreciate the posts from him. The perspective change IS needed here.

Is your Uncle from here in the US?

You know, the only thing I can't quite get my hands around is the attitude SEEMINGLY prevalent in the European community.

One would think they would be a little more supportive of the jewish folks' desire for a home of their own...where they can practice that nasty ole' "Nationalism" like the rest of us do. (especially when their parents allowed them to be nearly extinguished as a people there.)

I'm sorry, Msquared, I just can't seem to believe that hatred of jews as a people has passed into history there. We here were pretty rough on our amerind population component in years past, but in these present days we really have made a sincere effort to allow them to participate in a decent life on their own terms, or within ours. They have a lot more land per capita than the jewish folks, and there are few "Indian haters" still around.

I've always wondered how the arabic-moslem-palestinian groups have been able to pull the robes of "abused underdog" around themselves so effectively, when the facts seem to differ so radically, and their message has found such a home in Europe, as opposed the more balanced view from here.

My goodness, they outnumber the Israelis a bunch. Their wealth as a culture, in land, and natural resources beggars the imagination, and they have been sponsored by our mutual former enemy (USSR) And ourselves for such a long time.

Yeah, I hear "its all about oil" stuff from various ignorant people, but if that were really true, we would have simply annexed Saudi Arabia et al. a long time ago.
Instead, we chose to help them develop their resources for their own profit, and negotiated the best deal we could/can.

One last thought niggles around in the back of my mind. Just like we put a big "sin tax" on tobacco here...and have become dependent upon it...the european governments have put a big "sin-tax" upon middle east oil to support their top heavy entitlement programs. They buy gasoline for about the same price we do...but it costs a bundle with the taxes they put on it. To me, it is one more facet of their enduring "class structure" problem. It seems that in their minds, (the elite there), it sorta' IS a sin for the lower classes to have the freedom of personal travel.

So...they don't "need" the oil for the same reasons we do, it seems, but for a tax source.

(And I assure you, I am not sure I understand all I know about that.

Best regards
KenBean


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msquared
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My uncle, heck my whole Dad's family, was raised in a little town in south east Kansas. His Dad, my grandfather, was the only surgeon for 100 miles around. As was fairly typical of Irish families, the oldest son became a priest. He eventually joined the Marianist order and has been educated around the world. He has several doctorates and speaks somewhere on the range of 11 languages, 6 of which are dead.

msquared


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LetterRip
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quote:
speaks somewhere on the range of 11 languages, 6 of which are dead.

How do you know he just isn't making them up as he goes along? <grin>.

He sounds like a fascinating individual, I'm always greatly appreciative of the perspectives that he is willing to share with us.

LetterRip


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vulture
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Ken Bean wrote:

quote:
You know, the only thing I can't quite get my hands around is the attitude SEEMINGLY prevalent in the European community.

One would think they would be a little more supportive of the jewish folks' desire for a home of their own...where they can practice that nasty ole' "Nationalism" like the rest of us do. (especially when their parents allowed them to be nearly extinguished as a people there.)


I don't know exactly what the average American view of European attitudes towards Israel is, but from this, you seem to be under the impression that Europeans generally are somewhat anti-Israel. I really don't see any evidence of this. Pick a random European and ask their opinion, and (unless you get one of the lunatic fringe you can find in any country in the world) I suspect they'll be entirely in favour of Israel as a Jewish homeland, and will have no problem with the idea that Israel is allowed to defend itself. What you won't find is many people thinking that support for Israel means support for Israel regardless of what Israel does. To take an extreme, a crime against humanity is a crime against humanity regardless of whether a Palestinian or an Israeli commits it. No-one with an ounce of humanity supports the suicide bombers, but no-one supports the actions of the more extreme Israelis either (granted, the number of Israelis who support attacks aimed at the Palestinian civilian population is lower than the corresponding faction amongst the Palestinians).

It's hard not to have sympathy to some extent with the Palestinians, who don't have their own homeland, don't have anything resembling security (national or otherwise), are losing territory to the Israeli settlers, who are at the moment unable to travel, or in some towns even to leave the house (or have all the 24 hour curfews been lifted now), and so on. That doesn't translate to uncritical support of Palestinians though. I hope you'll forgive the crass generalisation, but I sometimes get the impression that in America you are slightly more inclined to see such conflicts as a battle between right and wrong, and that once one side is identified as the 'good guys', the other side must be the 'bad guys', and the 'good guys' can do no wrong. As I said, a generalisation, and probably an overtstatement to boot, but I'd guess that the attitude of "Well they're all as bad as each other" is less prevalent in the US. If you think I'm wrong, please feel free to explain why.

You seem to lump the Palestinians in with the rest of the Arab world, which is only partially true. The rest of the Arab world doesn't want to help them, because they would be nothing but a drain on any other country that took them in. As has been said before in other places, other countries in the region have something to gain by letting the Palestinians suffer to stoke up anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment.

Actually, it is true that the average person in the street in Europe is slightly more sympathetic to the Palestinians than the Israelis (although I'd take some convincing that it is anywhere as unbalanced as opinion in the US seems to imply) - my personal guess is that this is due to the apparently unconditional support of the US for Israel (I don't think Europeans ever really do unconditional support), which is enough support for anyone - the feeling is that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is unbalanced enough even without US support. The Israeli-Arab conflict is another question entirely of course, although it does have some effect.

quote:

One last thought niggles around in the back of my mind. Just like we put a big "sin tax" on tobacco here...and have become dependent upon it...the european governments have put a big "sin-tax" upon middle east oil to support their top heavy entitlement programs. They buy gasoline for about the same price we do...but it costs a bundle with the taxes they put on it. To me, it is one more facet of their enduring "class structure" problem. It seems that in their minds, (the elite there), it sorta' IS a sin for the lower classes to have the freedom of personal travel.

I think you're showing your biases here. It is nothing to do with class structures (I think you'd be amazed how many things in Europe have nothing to do with class structures ). It has everything to do with trying to reduce private car use. If you ever live in a country with the population density of the UK you'd probably view things differently. Space is very much at a premium here. Towns tend to be small, parking space is pretty minimal, roads are comparatively narrow, and there is no space to build many more or to widen existing ones. The UK is essentially in the process of coming to a snarling halt due to the density of traffic on the roads. The government needs to do something to reduce the traffic density. Building more roads really isn't viable, and it costs money of course. Taxing petrol (translation: gas) goes some way to reducing traffic density and generates revenue for the government (in Germany, a lot of this money goes to subsidising public transport for example, and in Heidelberg, where I live, there is really no need for most people to have cars for day to day use, although everyone does have them). Higher petrol taxes also serve to try and placate environmentalists who want fewer cars on the roads with no more roads being built. As you may have noticed, environmental paranoia is also more popular in Europe.


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Locus
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"It has everything to do with trying to reduce private car use. If you ever live in a country with the population density of the UK you'd probably view things differently."

This is a large part opinion and idealism.

Your car related taxes.. between fuel, sales tax, and environmental tax are absolutely staggering to a "normal person". They're no real big deal to the wealthy. (Staggering for the Americans in the audience ..how would you like to pay ~$55000 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee ..just to get it off the showroom floor ...then ~$100 every time you filled it up? Of course...then there would be nowhere to park it ..)

I remember one of my professors once expressed that he wasn't a big fan of flat taxes because they have a tendency to punish the poor. You've taken that to the extreme in Europe with your fuel taxes. There are plenty of regions in Europe where you still need a car to get to work and their is no refuge in your tax structure for them.

I strikes me a bit odd that you'd be willing to dig a pit in the ground large enough to drop an entire city into (wrecking the water table well into Belgium) but you're not willing to ease the gridlock on cars ..when over half the fuel tax is going to subsidize public transit systems.

Much of the gridlock in Europe is due to one thing. You absolutely refuse to incorporate cars into your designs.

A development project comes to mind where they are constructing a new community of approximately 40,000 new homes. All of these houses don't get ANY new roads for them aside from the small streets leading between them. What's more the houses won't even include driveways. People will just continue to park on the street.

When you set out to exclude cars from your design INTENTIONALLY, it's no wonder you have such hideous traffic problems.

People drive cars ...they will continue to drive carlike vehicles well into the future. May as well start getting used to the idea.


I'm sorry for mixing and matching different countries policies in this post ..as you should realize it's a complete headache to deal with ..and getting worse with all the EU adjustments being made.

I think I'll go to bed now before I meet myself waking up.

P.S. Just to say something on topic ..that and so many other personal tradgedies (on both sides) are so sad...

[This message has been edited by Locus (edited October 28, 2002).]


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KenBean
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Hi Vulture

(We call ya'll "buzzards" around here.)

I've spent a lot of time in and around Europe, the continent and the UK.

I do understand the various government policies concerning getting cars off the road. They try lots of things.

I do understand the population density also.
Unbelievable to a guy like me from Texas to even think about living cooped up like that, though I know there are compensations.

I love to flyfish, and hike in the wilderness and stuff...but I also like to people-watch. For the later entertainment, Europe is the coolest place

EUROPE VS. JEWS

Yeah, we Americans DO tend to pick good guys and bad guys in any given fight.
It is a very conscious thing, I think. We are not so naive as to think the good guys are angels and the bad guys are devils though. Truly.

In every conflict, there are a million shades of grey. WE also are aware that to our knowledge, jewish type folks haven't blown up our buildings, and ships, and killed a bunch of our citizens.

We are also aware that the Saudis deported a whole poop-pot full of Palestinians after Desert Storm. Seems those Palestinians were rooting for the Iraqui invasion. (velly intelesting, but stupid.) ((name that character, folks))

I mentioned the following some time ago, but it bears repeating. ...visiting with a Saudi Prince quite connected to the King one time. "The Israeli issue" came up and he had a quite interesting observation:

"But Fuslia, (Bean in Arabic), Of course the Jews need their own land. Germany hurt them worst. Give them half of Germany...No more problem!"

You know, Vulture, if one squints a little and cocks their head at a certain angle, he made a lot of sense.

Of course, in those days when he made the remark, half of Germany was communist.

Bottom line, in this conflict, the arab/palestinian leadership ARE the bad guys in my opinion....by a score of 4 to 1. (which interestingly enough was the score in the winning world Series game of baseball

I read a book a while back where the Palestinians were going to demonstrate in front of the wailing wall...the IDF swarmed in...and the young Palestinians sat down and began to sing. An Israeli shot one of them, and an American said. "Israel just lost the war."

Well, it won't be that easy, but there was a lot of truth there.

If somehow, a Palestinian leader could arise, (and survive), and say "STOP THE TERROR, NOW, THIS DAY!...and somehow make it stick.........the eventual partnership of Jew and Palestinian peoples would become a major International power, economically, and morally.

It could happen. It happened here.

The defining issue of good and bad guys for Americans, right or wrong, is the purposeful targeting of women and children. We will never respect that, or forgive it.

Best regards
KenBean


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