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Friday, July 6, 2007


The greatest hope for peace in Israel and indeed in the Middle East may in fact depend on the example and precedent that HAMAS now has the opportunity to establish. Indeed HAMAS has already established a precedent and set an example by freeing BBC Reporter Alan Johnston. If this leads as hoped to the freeing of Gilad Shalit, 'Palestinian' prisoners, and perhaps even to the freeing of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev by HEZBOLLAH; if as well the launching of Qassam rockets are stopped from within Gaza by HAMAS; then fertile ground should exist for a real peace deal with Israel.


Rather than lauding the lowest common denominator, which would be nothing more than a sustained state of ceasefire, there is an optimal possibility that can have profound influence worldwide in terms of relations between the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian worlds.

As a Jew, this writer is accutely aware of his "second class" status in both the Christian and Muslim worlds. In the Christian world the Jew is ambivalently regarded as having lost the favor of the Lord, as responsible for the Death of the Messiah, and is paradoxically to be scurged in exile and yet to be coddled as His Chosen People; and so there is the ignominious history of Jewish ghetto life, which still exists in loose form in today's world, even where the majority of Jews were annihilated during World War 2 and in Soviet Russia. In the Muslim world the Jew is classified as "Dhimmi" - as indeed also is the Christian - the taxed and oppressed second class in the world of Islam (see the adjacent LINK).

It is highly symbolic, according to social and political interpretation, that the Dome of the Rock mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is located high above any synagogue or church. By Dhimmi Law no synagogue or church may be larger or higher or more impressive than the nearest mosque or most mosques in the same town. Denied statehood and the right to own land for millenia, only in the last sixty years has Israel re-established itelf in it's own homeland as a Jewish political (and in this era, democratic) State. So Christians and Moslems in today's democratic Israel have equal status, at least in the sense that there is no law defining the Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel as "second class", nor are there any laws of the modern State requiring the destruction or modification of the churches and mosques to be "lesser" than the synagogues.

After millenia of subjugation, Israel has not subjugated Muslim or Christian, although by psychological projection based on the Hammurabi interpretation of the "eye for an eye" biblical injunction, the Muslim may (incorrectly) only think in the literal interpretation, contemplating destruction to be their "inevitable" destiny under Israeli hegemony. Hence again Muslim devotion to the destruction of Israel, even amongst the 1.2-million strong Muslim citizenry of Israel proper, who vote in Israeli elections, yet celebrate "Al Naqba" (The Catastrophe [of the existence of a Jewish State]).

Yet, herein lies the fulcrum of hope for peace in the Middle East, as the conflict is essentially a Jewish v. Muslim conflict: if the religious definition of the Jew as Dhimmi, only and always, can be surmounted, even as the Catholic Church (officialy) no longer holds Jews and Judaism damnable for the "Messiah's Death", that is to say: if as a matter of doctrine, Muslims can accept Jews (and Christians) as equals and not as definitively subservient, then an entirely new mentality can exist in the world between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Jews and Christians, vastly outnumbered in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, East Asia, and Indonesia, could look upon the Dome of the Rock and not feel oppressed; and Muslims should no longer feel irrationally threatened that at any moment the Dome of the Rock will inevitably be blown up. Indeed Israel has permitted expansion of the Islamic religious facilities on the Temple Mount (a new and larger subterranean mosque is being constructed as we speak under the Al Aqsa mosque, which is the second mosque on the Temple Mount), and at great and unintended cost to Jewish arhaeological heritage (yes, there is a deliberate and conscious and active effort to destroy as much Jewish archaelogical heritage by the Muslims as possible in order to deny Jewish rights and claims to the Temple Mount).

If HAMMAS, which is a Muslim organization, can find a way to establish that Jews need not eternally be regarded as definitively subservient and definitively undeserving, if HAMMAS can find it's way on such a basis to accept the existential right of a Jewish State, if HAMMAS can accept the existing State of Israel today, then a peace precedent can ripple profoundly throughout the Muslim world, and terrorism take a holiday.


On the heels of the still fresh release of BBC Reporter Alan Johnston from captivity in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are busy at the work of establishing a one-kilometre buffer zone in northern Gaza, which (hopefully) means the re-establishment of a small portion of the one-kilometre "Oslo Security Perimeter". This may be much better than the 300-metre buffer zone of military speculation, spoken of earlier in the week, unless it should be merely a tiny strip one-kilometre in length and 300-metres deep; but, is it enough of a buffer zone to put the Qassam rockets out of range of Israel?

One hopes that simultaneous to this necessary Israeli action in northern Gaza, it will still be possible for Israel to secure the release of Gilad Shalit. HAMAS has spoken to the world, that it hopes to succeed the release of Alan Johnston by releasing Gilad Shalit in a deal with Israel. One hopes as well that HAMAS will dramatically reverse it's policy of denial of the right of Israel to exist. The existential right of Gilad Shalit and the existential right of Israel and one and the same. If there is a window of opportunity to have a sincere bargaining partner in HAMAS, Israel should seize that opportunity and run with it.

Precedent and policy go against HAMAS as a possible partner. Yet, we are in the season of potential for the birth of MASHIACH. Let us be sensitive to the spiritual possibility of TESHUVAH, even from HAMAS. (Not blind, not stupid - just, if there is a sea-change in HAMAS's air, may Israel remain open to the possibility.)