To best understand the unfolding events in the Middle East, one should go back to a statement made by Osama bin Laden shorty after 9/11. He stated that what Americans and those in the West don’t understand is that while they cherish life, we in the East cherish death. That statement pretty well hits the nail squarely on the head and is key to understanding the roots of the latest Israeli-Palestinian crises currently on-going. As well as the on-going events of death, destruction and misery among various Arab factions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere.
Some years back, one of our news outlets made a documentary about about a Palestinian family living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This family had a large number of children, perhaps 11 or 12, if memory serves me correctly. The oldest child was a boy about 17 years of age. But what makes the story unique was that this son was already being prepared to die as a suicide bomber, all with his mother’s blessing. While the mother professed great love for her son, she stated that her greatest joy would be for the boy to achieve martyrdom by strapping on a belt bomb loaded with explosives. He would then slip his way into a crowded marketplace in, say, Tel-Aviv, and detonate the bomb. Of course the boy would die instantly, but if he could destroy the lives of a dozen or so Jews with that act, there would be huge celebration in the Palestinian territories. The son would instantly be recognized as a martyr and hero to the Palestinian people. He would bring a sense of huge gratitude and honor to his family from Palestinian authorities. The fact that he sacrificed his young life for an act of murder and terrorism would be of no consequence. Is there any mother in the West that could possibly even consider thinking along those lines. Yet, this type of motherly “love” is not uncommon among among the Palestinian people. It takes place when the vilest form of hatred and quest for vengeance triumphs over the natural instinct of paternal love for one’s children.
It’s this type of mentality that explains the latest violence going on (with no end in site) between Israel and the Hamas controlled Gaza strip. It started back in 2006 when Israel withdrew all its troops and settlements from Gaza and turned it all over to the Palestinians. Gaza is a relatively small strip of land with a high density, crowded population of about a million and a half Arabs. Being in complete control, the people of Gaza had great opportunity to develop the region into a peaceful, economic powerhouse. They could have built dozens of seaside hotels and resorts which could have attracted thousands of tourists willing and eager to spend their money, and enhance the Gaza economy. They could have made clear that foreign investment would be more than welcome, as well as the development of new factories and plants. They could have worked economically with Israel to the mutual benefit of both sides. Such actions would have been a boon to the Gaza economy and could have lifted its inhabitants out of the miserable poverty they’re so deeply mired in. But instead, Gaza chose a different path.
The people of Gaza chose to turn the reigns of power over to a terrorist organization called Hamas, which has only 2 professed objectives- the killing of Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel. No consideration was given to potential economic development, as people in Gaza were basically left to rot in their own poverty. Instead Hamas put it’s priorities in acquiring missiles and rockets and other weapons that could be fired into civilian populations in Israel. So for the third time now, Hamas has started a campaign of firing rockets into Israel with the hope of killing as many Jews as possible. And as in the previous 2 times, Israel has responded by pounding suspected terrorist sites and homes with aerial bombardment. I guess some things never change. Hamas has deliberately placed most of its rocket and missile launchers in civilian homes and mosques. Thus, when Israel bombs these sites, there’s sure to be significant civilian casualties. According to the Hamas party line, this is a good thing. To their thinking, the more civilians that are killed by Israeli bombs, the more world powers will condemn Israel for such atrocities. After all, isn’t it death that’s to be worshipped rather than life.
The sad thing is that amidst all the death and destruction going on in Gaza, amidst all the rubble and carnage, the people in Gaza still appear to strongly support Hamas’s launching of about hundred missiles a day into Israel. Amidst the vastly disproportionate death tolls and wounded that Gaza is experiencing, Palestinians are still cheering for this conflict to continue indefinitely. Such is the power that hatred and lust for revenge can have on the human mind. The propensity to despise is like a bottomless pit.
And it’s not just hatred of Israel that’s driving the forces of death and destruction in the Middle-East. As I mentioned earlier, Arabs and Moslems are killing each by the thousands in places such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and are currently threatening Jordan. New terrorist groups such as ISIS are now calling older terrorists such as Al-Qaida too timid in the amount of killings and destruction they achieve. These are the new barbarians at the gates. Similar to the barbarians such as the Huns, Visigoths and Vandals that eventually brought the mighty Roman Empire to its knees, and ushered in centuries of dark ages; these new barbarians, or terrorists as we call them today have pretty much the same goals. Destroy all vestiges of Western civilization, and bring in a new version of the dark ages where Islamic fanaticism rules every facet of life. Even if it takes hundreds of years to achieve. Never underestimate the power of pure, distilled hatred.