Sunday, November 13, 2011

Post #71 - Holy Land, Unholy Conflict

Battle of Jericho
"Know that the Lord will no more destroy these nations from before you; but they shall be to you snares and stumbling blocks, and nails in your heels, and darts in your eyes..." (Joshua 23:13)

The reason I am devoting significant attention, in this blog that is principally about Iran, to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, is that it is, de facto, the backdrop or part of the subtext to every confrontation that takes place in the region. I should say here that I am a member of a local group called "Yes, We Can: Middle East Peace" or YesMEP. I also serve on the board of a national group, Churches for Middle East Peace. My interest is in helping Israelis and Palestinians, Americans and Iranians seek and secure peace. Peace can, under the right circumstances, "spill over" into neighboring areas, just as war often can.

Some allege that Israeli interests have been the engine behind America's march to war on Iran; certainly every discussion of a possible direct attack to impede the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities involves both the United States and Israel. The long-established American publication The Jewish Daily Forward reported one perspective on this nexus of interests and alliances:

"In the new book [published in 2007], called Target Iran, Scott Ritter...argues that the United States is readying for military action against Iran, using its nuclear program as a pretext for pursuing regime change in Tehran. 'The Bush administration, with the able help of the Israeli government and the pro-Israel Lobby, has succeeded,' Ritter writes, 'in exploiting the ignorance of the American people about nuclear technology and nuclear weapons so as to engender enough fear that the American public has more or less been pre-programmed to accept the notion of the need to militarily confront a nuclear armed Iran.'
Later in the book, Ritter adds: 'Let there be no doubt: If there is an American war with Iran, it is a war that was made in Israel and nowhere else.'
"[Ritter] accused the United States of trying to use the U.N. inspection force for spying purposes and claimed that Iraq was deliberately held to higher standards than other countries in order to justify a military invasion.
"In early 2004, Ritter charged in an interview on the Web site Ynet, operated by the daily Yediot Aharonot, that Israeli intelligence had deliberately overstated what it knew to be a minimal threat from Iraq in an effort to push America and Britain to launch a war. Ritter’s accusations were roundly rejected across the Israeli political spectrum. Security officials interviewed by the Forward insisted that no branch of the military could or would deliberately skew the findings in that way, but they also said that Israeli intelligence tended to exaggerate threats because it was operating under flawed assumptions.
Now Ritter is arguing that a similar effort is under way to produce an attack against Iran."

The next few posts will deal, then, with the Middle East: Israel/Palestine and the ramifications of that conflict, including impacts on US-Iran relations.

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