Clifford Rieders

The war against Israel

The war of the terrorist groups Hamas and Fatah emanating from the Gaza strip has exploded anew.  No one should be surprised by this.  Under the Trump Administration, the terrorists knew that the United States had Israel’s back.  Now, with the cop off the beat, anything goes.

What many people probably do not fully appreciate is that the Islamic extremist terrorist groups are suicidal.  They launch their rockets and missiles from densely populated urban areas near schools, mosques and hospitals in the hope that their civilians will be killed.  The terrorists understand the current Western mentality better than we do.  When so-called civilians die in the Gaza Strip, Israel will be blamed for it regardless of the fact that the deaths have occurred because of the actions of the terrorists, not because of the response by a viable, vibrant democracy.  Israel, as the Administration likes to say, has a right to defend its citizens.  The terrorists in Hamas, of course, target Israeli civilians, fully realizing the death of Israelis will not bring recrimination from the world while the death of the population living among the terrorists will cause approbation against Israel in the UN and the world community at large.  How does such absurdity happen?

The Arab countries which control the third world block at the UN, and the third world block can easily get a majority together, are not Western democracies and do not share our values or views.  They are nations where there is no such thing as human rights, where women are chattel and where neither Christian nor Jew belong.  The West, hungry for oil and desperate for peace, finds the presence of Israel’s democracy in the Middle East to be an irritant, like a cinder in the eye.

When President Trump was in the White House, he gave no quarter to those who sought the destruction of Israel and opposed the existence of a Jewish State in the Middle East.  The rules have changed.  We are now back to rewarding the criminals with power, diplomatic viability, and promises of more money if the bad guys would just behave themselves.

The Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank and is also adverse to democratic elections, has recently been given something like $235 million by America.  Those funds are directly in violation of American law: the Taylor Force Act.  When America gives that kind of money to a totalitarian regime in the Middle East, money is freed up to pay terrorists.  That is exactly what the Palestinian Authority is doing.

When America promises the lifting of sanctions and aid for Iran, that nation understands that it no longer has anything to fear from the production of nuclear weapons and the export of terrorism throughout the world. Rewarding criminals has never reduced the crime rate.  It does not work in America, and it does not work in the international community.

Many Americans so hated Donald Trump, that they are unable to acknowledge any good policy of his, whether it was the incredibly rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the attempts to address Chinese subversion, or opposing relentless efforts to seek the destruction of the State of Israel.  Not everything about Donald Trump was bad and not everything about Joe Biden is good.  Each of these politicians have their own agenda, and it is unlikely that we will ever be governed by the perfect politician.

Hundreds of missiles and rockets are raining down on Israel every day.  Bill Clinton, in 1996, put his arm around my shoulder in Philadelphia and said to me: “Now, Cliff, we are going to stop those Hezbollah rockets from raining down on Northern Israel.”  It took Israel to create a buffer in Lebanon and push back against the Hezbollah terrorists.  That is still a powder keg situation, where terrorists from Iran, Iraq and Syria control the puppet state of Lebanon.  In the meantime, America’s fumbling the ball close to the goalpost has given renewed life to the terrorists on the West Bank of the Jordan River, as well as in Gaza. What Israel needs from the United States now is unqualified support to protect its civilians from indiscriminate rocket attacks.

Israel is not responsible for the destruction which its enemies seek because of a housing dispute involving four families in Jerusalem.  Israel is not attempting to control the mosque that sits above the Temple Mount in that same city.  Israel is seeking to live, exist, and be at peace with its neighbors.  A significant percentage of the Israeli population is Muslim, and for the most part live in peace and harmony with Israelis.  Israel is at war with the terrorists who control Gaza, and who have made serious inroads into the Palestinian Authority that the world community chose at Oslo to govern the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Hazy, lazy and untruthful statements from the current administration that “both sides” should tone down the violence in the Middle East is a green light to the terrorists.  They understand very well that if the United States will not stand up to terrorism, they are de facto encouraging it.  The current situation could best be understood by the following analogy: if criminals are rampaging through the neighborhood, breaking car windows, entering homes without right or privilege, and shooting occupants of the neighborhood, will they stop this if everyone opens their doors, unlocks their cars and invites the criminals into their homes?  Will it reduce crime by sending IRS checks to the criminals and by lessening the punishment for those who kill others?  Is there anybody in their right mind who would suggest that criminality in America could be reduced or eliminated by giving the murderers whatever they want?  Nobody would agree to that, and no politician in this country would ever win an election that suggests such absurdities.  It is for that reason that those who want to defund the police and provide benefits to the undeserving without any concomitant good behavior are headed for defeat at the ballot box.

Yes, Israel does have a right to defend itself and to kill before being killed.  The violence in the Middle East will stop when the West, particularly America, truly lives by its words that Israel has a right to exist and to defend its own citizens within the borders provided as the Jewish national homeland from the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, right up through the League of Nations and thereafter.  The continual efforts by the West to carve up the Jewish national homeland into smaller and smaller bits, while enabling the terrorists, will only have the effect of encouraging bad behavior while endangering the lives of the diverse population of Israel.  Such absurdities need to stop once and for all.

About the Author
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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