This issue looks at recent disasters that have spawned unexpected hope for Israel.
SINCE YOU ASKED
Two recent events, each a disaster in its own right, have given Israel some unexpected reasons to be hopeful. In response to the recent fires near Haifa (disaster #1), aid has come from some unexpected places, notably Turkey. As I reported last week, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are talking for the fist time since Netanyahu took office. The relationship between the two countries had been deteriorating as a new Turkish-Iranian tie was beginning. The Gaza Flotilla episode didn’t help matters. Firefighting equipment was also immediately sent from Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, and Jordan.
Disaster #2 is the recent release 250,000 diplomatic cables by Wikileaks. Some of the documents revealed some interesting “behind the scenes” dialoging between Israel and some of her neighbors (all of whom, diplomatically, are considered unfriendly to Israel). It appears that some positive relationships have been developing between Israeli leaders and leaders in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. For example, one of the leaked cables revealed that the ruler of the Arab state of Qatar had stated in a meeting with U.S. Senator John Kerry on February 23 that “Israelis can’t be blamed for mistrusting Arabs. The Israeli leaders need to represent the people of Israel, who themselves do not trust Arabs. This is understandable,” the Emir said, “and we can’t blame them because the Israelis have been under threat for a long time.”
According to the leaked document, the Emir also told Kerry that the time was ripe for an Israeli-Arab peace – and that in his [Emir] opinion, the best way to achieve this was for Israel to reopen negotiations with Syria via Turkish mediation. “In Qatar”s view, now is the time to reach out to Damascus. The Syrian Government can help Arab extremists make tough choices, but only if the U.S., whose involvement is essential, demonstrates to Syria a willingness to address the return of the Golan Heights and supports Turkey’s mediation efforts between Israel and Syria,” the classified cable said.
AS I SEE IT
Since Israel did not have the equipment to deal with an enormous fire, any help was welcome. Receiving it from Arab neighbors was an unexpected surprise. For certain, Netanyahu will seize the opportunity to strengthen relations with every nation that helped. Nothing else has worked. Perhaps a devastating fire is what it took to awaken a sense of humanitarianism and neighborly concern. Considering Israel’s reputation as a premier first responder to worldwide catastrophes, it is fitting that other nations should come to her aid. Time will tell if there will be any positive long-lasting residual effect. Part of the story that is not being told is that the forty who died in the trapped bus were on their way to rescue prisoners (anti-Israeli terrorists etc.) from the advancing flames. Will the world ever understand how differently the Israelis and their enemies value human life, even the lives of their enemies?
Palestinians, however, are outraged that Egypt and Jordan helped. They are celebrating the fire and are rejoicing in “Allah’s punishment” of the Jews. Here are some of their statements taken from Arab media websites:
May Allah punish all Arabs who helped put down the fire. We pray to Allah that the fire will grow and spread to oil wells in the Arab world.”
“O Allah, burn [the Jews] before the Day of Judgement. O Allah, destroy them and all the enemies of Islam.”
“May Allah take revenge against them and displace them together with our corrupt [Arab] governments.”
“Allahu Akbar! This is an effective weapon. We call on our Palestinian brothers to set fire to all forests.”
These are the people that the world expects to live next to Israel in blissful harmony after Israel turns over a sizable portion of her land to them. I also expect that over time, Israel will discover that the aid they received from her Arab neighbors came with strings attached.
Regarding the Wikileaks revelations, not many nations have emerged unscathed. Reaction from the Middle-East supports what I have been saying all along-most of Israel’s so-called enemies fear Iran far more than Israel.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
The economy is so bad that Motel 6 won’t leave the light on anymore.