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September 12, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 PAGE 15A Sharkansky From page 4A and casualties to deter Hamas long into the future? Wisdom demands that judgments expressed by those of us lacking some of the in- formation be limited to a gen- eral standard of what appears reasonable. Micro-criticism of this or that is beyond the ca- pacity of the ordinary citizen, or even journalists who claim access to high places. The re- cords ofofficialinquiries, typi- cally based upon full access to documents and lengthy interviews with participants, have generally left some is- sues unresolved, or subject to dispute among those charged with the inquiry. Indicative of the support for the Gaza operation is what Israel novelistAmos Oz, an iconic ad- vocate of greater accommoda- tion with the Palestinians, said to a German radio audience. "What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery? What would you do if your neigh- bor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?" Given the strength and unity of Israelis, against the po- litical flabbiness of Europe and the U.S., One should wonder who should worry the most. The Middle East has long been a confusing place for westerners inclined to judge others on the basis of their own experiences. Currently the chaos and fluidity taxes even those with long experi- ence, knowledge of the lan- guages and cultures. There are numerous groups fighting under the umbrella of Islam, with who knows what motives leading to warfare among those claiming the common purposes of opposing the government forces of Syria or Iraq, loyalty to Islam, or loyalty to the traditions of Sunni or Shia. While Israel has the strength and the intelligence to take care of itself, there are several issues demanding an early response from other civilized countries. How strong are Daish and other Islamic barbarians, and how threatening to western interests in the Middle East? How to deal with the side effects or blow back of those movements, among the Mus- lim populations of Western Europe and the United States? Both questions require tough judgments, against backgrounds of clumsy western efforts that arguably caused more harm than benefits over the most recent decades in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The Obama- Kerry team has apoor record for its judgment of things Middle Eastern, andwill not find it easy to assemble the wide coalition that it now says is necessary for dealing with Daish. The blow back at home is no less dicey. Thousands of Europeans and at least a few Americans have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight with the most extreme, and some of those surviving will return home inspired to apply the lessons learned. Whether they try for mini- or maxi-equivalents of what happened at Ft Hood, the Boston Marathon, or 9-11, only time will tell. Recent attacks against Jews by European Muslims have produced upticks in migration to Israel, and worries among Europeans about violence directed more widely than against Jews. Dealing with the pos- sibilities come up against laws and policies touching the sensitive issues of civil rights, ethnic profiling, and the discriminatory actions of individuals charged with security. Ferguson, Missouri provides a reminder of the tinder waiting to be ignited. Israel is better off with sim- pler problems and acceptable solutions. Israeli Muslims who have gone over the border to fight with the Islamists have been arrested for consorting with the enemy. The police and security services gather intelligence among Israeli Arabs as well as the Palestin- ians of the West Bank and Gaza. Ethnic profiling has occasionally been an issue at the screening points in the airport or by police doing document checks. There are efforts to improve training and minimize frictions likely to be counterproductive, along with wide recognition of focusing security on the most appropriate populations Whether they like it or not, Europe and the U.S. have become part of what is roiling the Middle East. It is time for them to begin thinking like Middle Easterners. Ira Sharkansky is a profes- sor (Emeritus) of the Depart- ment of Political Science, He- brew University of Jerusalem. From page 10A The Americans just don't get it. The Middle East is burning. Islamic terrorists are on the march everywhere from Iraq and Syria to Libya. Hamas is Israel's ISIS, and for Israel the threat is immediate and con- stant. What nation should tol- erate the firing of thousands of missiles on its citizens by a radical Islamic terrorist group on its doorstep? But Israel is held to an impossible standard when it comes to its fight against these radical Islamists, and Hamas is treated as an equal party rather than the terrorist organization that it is. One of the main reasons the casualty count in Opera- tion Protective Edge was so lopsided is because Israel spent its money on a missile defense system and building bomb shelters while Gaza's rulers spent the Palestinians' money on terror tunnels and rockets. Moreover, Hamas is to blame for the Palestinians' civilian casualties. Hamas hid behind civilians not just to make it more difficult for Is- rael to target Hamas fighters, but because every Palestinian civilian death bolsters the in- ternational isolation of Israel. As for specific errant strikes in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces cannot provide details that might reveal sensitive operational affairs or expose Is- raeli soldiers to prosecution by international bodies known to have an axe to grind with Israel. The Gaza conflict drove home two more salient points for the Israeli government. One, it would be foolhardy to withdraw from the West Bank the way Ariel Sharon withdrew from Gaza, lest the same terrible outcome of Hamas conquest, rockets and terrorism occur in the West Bank, which is much closer to Israel's major population centers. This is why in any fi- nal settlement the Palestinian state must be demilitarized and Israel must maintain the strategically vital Jordan Valley. Two, the worldwide reac- tion to the conflict under- scores more than ever the need for Israeli self-reliance. Hamas, a radical Islamic group that oppresses its own people, publicly executing al- leged collaborators and with a history of suicide bombings against civilians, seemed to come under less public criti- cism than Israel, a democratic state with an army that does more than any military in the world to avoid civilian casualties. The anti-Semitic surge in Europe and widespread con- demnation of Israel show that criticism of Israel has more to do with logic-defying hatred of the Jews and Israel than anything else. Even Israel's best friend and closest ally, the United States, cannot be relied upon. The Obama administration took the highly unusual step in July of halting a weapons shipment to Israel - in the midst ofawar, no less. In May, U.S. officials blamed Israel for the breakdown of Israeli- Palestinian talks when it was the PalestinianAuthority that had just signed a unity agree- ment with Hamas, a terrorist organization. And the United States continues to make what Netanyahu called a "historic mistake" by pursuing talks with Iran while the Islamic Republic continues its clan- destine march toward nuclear weapons. (As far as the spat over the leaked Kerry cease-fire document in July, it's not clear whether Israeli officials deliberately misrepresented the document so they could prolong the campaign against Hamas, leaked the document to take a swipe at Kerry or genuinely believed the United States was floatingacease-fire that backed Hamas demands.) As for Sunday's land ap- propriation, it's in an area of the West Bank near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, which Israel plans on keeping as part of any final deal with the Pal- estinians. And after the trau- matic kidnapping and killing in June of three Israeli teens in that same West Bank area, there's a message here to the Palestinians: Violence against Israel will be punished, not rewarded. Finally, and this is no small point: If the world is going to condemn Israel no mat- ter what it does, then Israel should do what it believes is in its best interests, interna- tional opinion be damned. bie [y of open and OUT 00OOT00. available for a Congregation and ;ntary atiori,of $1-80. of other }004gogues00 Junior Congregation 1 10:00am-12:30pm / Kol Nidre Start to finish Rosh Ha mr- lOOOam-12!OOpm member?