Archive for July, 2014
We are living in extraordinary times. There isn’t anyone I know who does not feel the profound upheaval and changes we are experiencing both globally and personally. One of the awakenings taking place is the realization that we are free to see, and therefore create, a world of our choosing. We need not be enslaved any longer to someone else’s reality or to the perspective fed us daily by a variety of media outlets and politicians.
Which leads me to write about “compassionate war.” I realize the phrase itself seems like an oxymoron. How can you have something as violent and destructive as war and see it in terms of compassion? The answer lies in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.
My focus is not the politics of the conflict nor is it the terrorist designation of Hamas. It’s about Israel and the manner in which it has chosen to prepare for and proceed with this inevitable clash.
In two weeks of fighting, Israel has agreed unilaterally to 4 separate halts in the armed fighting. Two of those were humanitarian requests, one by Hamas itself, which Israel honored and Hamas did not. Israel literally built a hospital at one of the border-crossing check-points to treat any wounded Palestinians who would need treatment. No one has showed up. Israel offered and readied millions of shekels, (Israeli currency is 3.5 :1 as against the US dollar) so at least one million dollars, of medical supplies and equipment to deliver to Gaza but the Palestinian Authority rejected the offer.
Israel has spent millions of dollars building bomb shelters throughout Israel and in these past two weeks, 75% of its population has had to use them. In Gaza, tens of thousands of tons of cement and building supplies intended for schools, office buildings and homes were diverted by Hamas over the past five years to burrow and build elaborate tunnels underground from Gaza to Israel to be used in a mass terror attack scheduled for this coming September 25th, the first night of the Jewish New Year.
Perhaps most astonishingly, Israel has done what no other nation in the history of the world has done. It gives advance warning to Gaza’s citizens where and when they will strike. By way of leaflets dropped by the Israeli Air Force, cell phone text messages and twitter postings, Israel gives the Palestinians every opportunity to flee a known missile launch site before striking. Hamas has deliberately positioned those sites in homes, schools, graveyards, and mosques while ordering Palestinian men, women and children to remain where they are despite certainty of injury or death.
Just today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any lasting truce will require 1) the “demilitarization of Gaza and social and economic relief for the Palestinian people there.” Even in the midst of war, the Israeli’s are looking out for the well-being of their adversary.
All civilized people who revere life want a world without war. However, as long as there remain uncivilized people who glorify violence and death there will be a need for defensive action.
In the Torah, the Old Testament, it talks about the nation of Israel being a “light unto the Nations.” I think it is fair to say that in a defensive war thrust upon it, Israel has and continues to act in ways that exemplify how even in the darkest of times, honorable men and women can shine a light upon their humanity and reflect for the world our connectedness to one another.
Compassion and reality are not mutually exclusive. Although, when examining the U.S. government’s response to the current invasion by illegal aliens and the world’s response to the current war between Israel and Hamas one can only wonder.
As a lawyer, there’s a saying I’ve always liked: “Facts are pesky things.” They demand acknowledgement and, in the absence of opposing facts, stand as legal truth. We have some border facts confronting us so let’s give them their due:
1. The U.S. Border is the line of demarcation for identifying those legally residing within its parameters (U.S. citizens) and those living outside those parameters (foreigners).
2. The Constitution of the United States leaves room for interpretation as to who is obligated to enforce the U.S. borders (the Executive branch or the States) but it’s undisputed that it’s one, the other, or both.
3. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) sets forth the legal requirement and process for entering the United States and subsequently obtaining citizenship.
4. With limited and narrowly defined exceptions, people entering the country in violation of the INA commit a crime.
5. The Presidential Oath of Office is explicitly clear that it is the obligation of the President of the United States to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
6. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 created two territories: a homeland for the Jewish People (Israel) and Palestine.
7. Every Arab nation rejected the establishment of the Arab state and refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli state.
8. In 1948, following war between the Arabs and the Jews, the State of Israel formally came into existence
9. Arab nations and Islamic terror groups have been the aggressors and waged repeated wars and terrorist attacks on Israel and its citizens since 1948.
10. In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel was attacked by surprise by 6 Arab nations, prevailed in that war, and subsequently returned to Egypt over 26,000 square miles of territory Israel captured in return for peace with Egypt.
11. Israel subsequently relinquished all sovereignty over the Gaza strip to Palestinians.
12. Arabs and Islamic terrorists have been continuously attacking Israel on a daily basis from both the Sinai and Gaza.
13. Children do not wage war of their own accord nor do they willingly violate borders and should not be used as pawns to further a political agenda.
Let’s temporarily feed, clothe and provide emergency medical attention to the tens of thousands of illegal foreign children crossing the U.S. border. Then as quickly as possibly send them back to their countries of origin.
Israel has a right to defend itself while protecting and maintaining its legal borders. In 1967, then Israeli Prime Minister Gold Meir said, “There will be peace in the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”
Compassion and reality are not mutually exclusive.