Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stand By Israel! by Ken Joseph Jr.

Stand By Israel!

I will never forget driving by "The Wall" bordering Israel. Outside of Israel it is painted as a much hated and despised division of land that is unacceptable to the region.

As we passed the wall I asked the Palestinian taxi driver what he thought of it.

I of course expected a tirade of hate and venom directed at the hated symbol of Israeli occupation. I was shocked, when he said "My friend, we thank God for it every day! Before the wall we had trouble all the time!

They would come and steal, because trouble and we were always having problems. Now, since the wall there is peace!

I was stunned! Here was a Palestinian, driving by the wall and praising it! What was going on here?

Getting into Israel I was shocked to see an Arab language newspaper with a large picture of the Prime Minister.

What does it say?

I asked someone standing by.

"It says the Prime Minister is a fool."

As I looked at it, I realized the significance.

The only place in the Middle East where an Arab Language Newspaper can say the Prime minister of the country is a fool is . . . in Israel!

Amazing, when you think about it!

Then I remembered where I had just come from. Jordan. Walking into a Palestinian Refugee Camp I was shocked at the squalor and filth, but also the permanence of it.

"How long has this refugee camp been here?"

I asked. "Nearly 50 years" was the response.

One thinks of refugee camps as always temporary.

Having been to many, they are generally months or years - but not generally for decades. As I began to speak with the Palestinian in the refugee camp in Jordan I discovered something truly amazing.

Most of those living in the refugee camps did not have legal papers to enable them to travel, live and work.

They were in essence second-class citizens in a majority Palestinian country. In spite of having been born and raised in the country, the Palestinians amazingly did not have Passports and status.

I was shocked to hear what they said ”We are treated like animals by the Arabs! They say they are defending our rights but with the exception of Iraq under Saddam Hussein all the Arab countries treat us as second class citizens." Now, I was really confused!

In Israel the Palestinians have Passport and live just like everybody else. The reality? For all its problems, Israel is the only "normal" country in the Middle East and ironically the only one that treats the Palestinians under their jurisdiction as citizens.

The reality on the ground is very easy to see.

For whatever its religions merits may be, Islam is a total and complete failure as a political system.

Wherever it dominates under whatever name it may take it destroys the economy, abuses women, takes away hope and initiative and ethnically cleanses.

All you have to do is cross the border from any contiguous border into Israel. The same weather, the same sand, the same opportunity.

On the Arab side it is dry, dusty, failed and hopeless. When you cross the border into Israel suddenly it becomes green, full of life, organized and "normal".

The battle that Israel is fighting for all its mistakes and failures is a battle that the whole civilized world must stand behind.

It is a battle for the rule of law, democracy, equal rights and all that freedom-loving peoples hold dear.

Political islam is frustrated because wherever it lays its hat it brings one consistent result - failure.

As Ronald Reagan said a generation ago at a time when the world community was saying that Communism needed to be "coexisted with", "contained", "respected" and the classic "the philosophy is right - it just that some places don’t practice it correctly", "No, Communism is evil and it must be destroyed."

Days after the fall of Baghdad I had a very enlightening conversation with an Iraqi woman. "Now that Saddam is gone I am not afraid!

They have beaten us and abused us, now we can finally speak." she said. "Nobody will tell the truth, but now we finally can" she continued.

"I am a direct descendant of the prophet. But I will tell you the truth. The real problem is political Islam. It is evil and it must be destroyed."

She was a Moslem, a direct descendant of the prophet.

Somehow on that hot, dusty afternoon in Baghdad she sounded like Ronald Reagan!

Ken Joseph Jr. is completing a book about his time in Iraq and directs Assyrianchristians.com