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Behind The Israeli Assault On Palestinians

 By James Donahue

Once again warfare rages in Palestine with the Muslim people taking the brunt of the fire from sophisticated weaponry, much of it supplied by the United States. Thus the Bush peace initiative, like those of American presidents who preceded him, has gone down in flames.

What is going on in Israel/Palestine? Why can’t those people who share the same historical origins but have religious differences learn to get along?

This time the fighting threatens to draw in neighboring Muslim countries and without restraint . . . and perhaps some immediate intervention by the United Nations, it could escalate. But the United States, a staunch ally to Israel, on Sunday vetoed an anti-war resolution sought by the UN Security Council. President George W. Bush says he will not give up his latest "vacation" to deal with the fighting, and President-elect Barack Obama, not yet in office, is powerless to act. Thus the timing is suspicious.

In spite of world sentiment swinging toward the Palestinians, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon declared all-out war. He said the objective of the campaign in Gaza is to topple the Hamas government. Apparently Israel is doing this with the blessings of the Bush Administration.

The issues in that fiery spot in the world are complex, making the conflict extremely difficult to defuse. But defuse it we must, lest it escalates into a larger conflict and possibly a world war.

To get a feel for this conflict, notice that the Jews in Iran have joined the Iranian government in a general condemnation of Israel for the assault on Hamas.

In a statement signed by leaders of Jewish societies of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kermanshah and Yazd, the Iranian Jewish faction condemned the “inhuman behavior of the Zionist regime” because it contradicts with the teachings of the Prophet Moses. Consequently, the Iranian Jews are expressing solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza.

Why would the Jews in Iran, said to be one of the largest block of Jewish people living in any nation outside of Israel, speak out against the Israeli Zionists? That is because there is a distinct difference between Judaism and Zionism.

Zionism is an international political movement that began in the Nineteenth Century. It is based on a belief by certain Jewish factions that Palestine was God’s gift to the Hebrew people. When the Zionists first came to Palestine they settled among the Muslim Arabian people without conflict. But as more and more arrived, they grew in strength and numbers. By 1948 they had literally seized the land for themselves and created the state of Israel.

The Zionists have been taking more and more of the territory through force ever since. Christians see this as Bible prophecy coming true which accounts for America’s ongoing support for Israeli aggression. But this has not made it right.

A primary, but generally unspoken reason for Israel’s aggression and the Palestinian resistance has been an ongoing struggle over the shortage of water. This is an arid land, with most of the water being shared by Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon from the Jordan River and its source tributaries. Israel also pumps water from the Sea of Galilee for irrigating crops. There are also deep water reservoirs, mostly under the West Bank, which has been a constant bone of contention between the Zionists and the Palestinians.

What we have going on in Palestine has been a seizure of Palestinian lands by the Zionists, who believed it was their god-given right to do so. Israeli leaders refer to Hamas as a terrorist organization. Like the Hezbollah in Lebanon, who battled against Israel in 2006, Hamas had its origins as a group of armed resistance fighters, but then entered the political arena and through elections came to elected power among the Palestinians. Thus we have two small nations crammed into the same territory fighting with force for land and water rights.

Israel’s fierce assault against Hamas this week has taken the world by surprise, however. Two writers who have been studying the politics of the area offered opinions as to why this has happened.

Ethan Bronner of the New York Times believes Israel is not only trying to stop the Hamas rocket attacks, but to stop its military build-up. He also believes Israel is attempting to re-establish Israeli deterrence in the area following its flawed war against Hezbollah.

Meir Javedanfar of the Jerusalem Post agrees. He writes that Israel want to stop Hamas from turning into another Hezbollah.