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December 30th, 2008
04:32 PM ET

Why Israel feels threatened

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/29/gaza.humanitarian/art.gaza.fire.afp.gi.jpg caption="Firefighters work to control a blaze in Gaza City on Monday after an Israeli airstrike."]

Benny Morris
The New York Times

Many Israelis feel that the walls — and history — are closing in on their 60-year-old state, much as they felt in early June 1967, just before Israel launched the Six-Day War and destroyed the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies in Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

More than 40 years ago, the Egyptians had driven a United Nations peacekeeping force from the Sinai-Israel border, had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and air traffic and had deployed the equivalent of seven armored and infantry divisions on Israel’s doorstep. Egypt had signed a series of military pacts with Syria and Jordan and placed troops in the West Bank. Arab radio stations blared messages about the coming destruction of Israel.

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Filed under: Israel • Palestine
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Janet

    I don't think anyone can fully understand the history of this war from the outside. I am glad I am not a palestinian..I am glad I would not have to endure their fate just because I was born one.

    Not allowing humanitarian aid to the innocent children is pure evil..no wonder the young grow up hating and fighting..What else would a cornered living thing do?..Seems like there is no end to the hate, and no plan for peace by NOBODY in the world..

    Why don't the isrealites build schools and help the children? Call on the people to come over to israel for aid and refuge, be the better...the kinder. They could win some hearts and minds if they would show examples of having a heart or mind ..not an eye for eye or jewel.
    There is a better way than what they are doing. And what "We" are doing in the ME.

    December 30, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  2. hugh ~ california

    It is so easy for all the Israel bashers to be so vehemently anti-Israel and be sympathetic to the the Palestinians. If the US was Palestines neighbor they would be bombing and killing us without mercy. Try living in Israel for awhile, but don't let anyone know you're American. You'll be a target for kidnapping, or maybe they'll just behead you for not believing like they do. Get real, I'm fed up with the one-sided humanitarian feelings. Israel has a right to retaliate when Hamas fires rockets on civilians, doing nothing means surrender. Would you just let them kill your friends and neighbors and do nothing?

    December 30, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  3. Dennis Delengowski

    the recent ramming of boat by Israel saying that they were on a humanitarian relief....

    Let us think about just a little while ago when India was ambushed by a boat that let terrorist onto it's shore.

    does that not ring a bell?

    December 30, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  4. Sam

    Let's not lose focus. In Gaza the state of Israel is actually waging a proxy war with the Islamic Republic of Iran AND a driect war with Hamas at the same time. It is a well known fact that the Hamas "political regime" is on the Iranian payroll and is a break away faction of the Palestinian government altogether. Hamas overthrew the Fatah representatives that were managing the territory and that depended on the West bank Palestinian Administration (Mahmoud Abbas – a moderate). Hamas was financed and trained by the Iranian mullahs to achieve that goal. The Islamic Republic of Iran instructed Hamas not to negotiate any further with Israel at the end of the 6-month cease fire and not heed the warnings coming from Egypt, the Fatah organization and the Europen Union about the consequences of such action. The Iranian regime was looking, through this confrontation between Israel and Hamas, to deflect the world's attention from the nuclear issue, create a situation of chaos to prop up the price of oil since its coffers are now empty and also project power to the incoming US Administration signalling that any engagement with the Iranian regime for direct talks (as anounced by Barack Obama) will come with multiple strings attached. All of these objectives were to be met at the expense of the Gaza civilian population who are truly taken hostage by multiple forces (Hamas, the Iranian regime, and now the terrible war). Something has to give and it will be the Iranian regime in the next 12 months (money is what has fuelled the Iranian regime's arrogance so far and now it has dried up abruptly). Social strife, inflation out of control nearing 50%, joblessness and a disanchanted youth under UN sanctions are all the elements that will blow away that Iranian regime like a sand castle. In 2009 change is also coming to Iran! And the world will be a better place.

    December 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  5. Serene

    I am a 13 year old girl who has been to Jerusalem. I am an American Palestinan who wakes up everyday knowing that Palestinians have to endure subhuman conditions that no one should have to experience, especially in Gaza. Every day we hear about what the Palestinans do to Israelis but not once have we ever heard how the Israelis torture Palestinan children,women, and men. We have never heard that the Israelis are in control of all the crossroads into Gaza. They have closed all the cross roads and by doing so have denied the Palestinans food, medical supplies, fuel, all basic necessities. Israel is in control of the electricity and water supplies and is constantly torturing Palestinians by cutting off these essentials and so there has been sewer problems and an epedemic of different diseases due to these shortages. No HUMAN-BEING should be allowed to live like this!!!!!! Hospitals can't even function because the generators don't have fuel to work when electricity is cut off. We don't hear how more than 375 people living in Gaza have been killed and over 1750 have been injured. Children have been killed in fact 5 sisters were killed all at once, today 2 sisters were killed. You can not compare mediocre and primitive rockets to the sophisticated might of the Israeli military. Lets stop being YES PEOPLE TO ISRAEL AND GO BACK TO HAVING A CONSCIENCE!!!!!!

    December 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    At the time of the formation and recognition of the state of Israel, the Arabs have for the most part sworn to push every last Israeli into the sea and destroy not only their nation but their race as well. After the creation and recognition by the UN and the US of the state of Israel, the Israeli nation has had to fight a war of survival with the Arab states who immediately invaded the new nation in 1948. Israel won the wars started by the Arabs against the creation of the state of Israel. In later years, the 6 day war began with the Arabs again attacking and the Israelis won decisive victories again as they fought for their right to exist in their own nation.

    Despite attempts at diplomatic solution of their differences, Israel remains a nation surrounded by countries who would like nothing better for the Israelis to disappear into the ocean. Hamas is just one of the most recent group with this objective. It is difficult to negotiate with an enemy who only wants you dead yet Israel has tried again and again to do this. At some point, however, when Hamas and others lob rockets into Israeli cities killing and injuring innocent civilians, you have to step up and defend yourself.

    Israel has been a steadfast ally of the US in a region where the US is not generally liked or welcomed; we in turn have been their ally and I hope will continue to be their ally. Does Israel need to be willing to meet at the peace tables and negotiate with the Arabs; yes, but the Arabs need to be willing as well and they need to be willing to accept something less than the complete eradication of the state of Israel.

    December 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  7. mike trzcinski

    why are palestinians allowed to even exist in the west bank or gaza–wasn't jordan created as a homeland for these people when the modern state of Israel was created back in the late '40's? send in the bulldozers.

    December 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  8. philip morris

    It is not in the interest of the USA to support Israel, founded as a racist state and engaged in creeping ethnic cleansing. Israel reaps what it sows. We, the USA, undermine our founding principals every time we unquestioningly support Israel, diminishihg our moral standing in the world.

    December 30, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  9. Maria

    • It is hard to mix water with oil and that may represent Israel surrounded by 4 Arab States in addition to Gaza strip and West Bank. Isolating the whole nation within a wall is none sense, it is true it reduce the suicide attack significantly, equate the other side adapt alternative weapon. Egypt in 1979 made a remarkable peace treaty with Israel and the Egyptian president Anwar ElSadat paid his life for this achievement. In contrast, the Arab world denounced Egypt and minimized their relation for couple of years. In the main time, all of the Arab world, without exception kept fueling that Israel is the Arab enemy in media, press, mosque prayers etc. so the majority of the 2 generations born after 1948 feel till today Israel is enemy, while the same regimes are trying to start up new chapter with Israel, their own people are not fully ready and this is a consequence of the education they received. It is important to mention that Sadam Husain regime played a crucial role in unifying the majority of the Arab world against Iran and Hezbollah as well. However, after the falling down of Sadam regime, Iran and Hezbollah really felt relief. The bottom line, to achieve peace in Middle East, it will require massive efforts from not only Israel and Palestine people, but also from the far neighbors whom also have conflicts between themselves

    December 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  10. Amanda Bachus

    Why Americans are not saying STOP THE CARNAGE!!!!

    Why are we silent. Why do we support Israel with weapons of mass destruction and billions of dollars in aid and we cannot provide a humanitarian support to people abandoned by us in a small piece of territory as is Gaza. They are treated like caged animals and now are being destroyed!

    God have merci on the Jews!

    Amanda Bachus

    December 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  11. Angela

    Did I hear Israel is ocuppying at the rate of 45% of whatever? The fact is, they are continuing to occupy. How is this leaving Palestine alone?

    If somebody (stronger/bolder/richer with good political hold) occupy your home and also play the victim. What would you do while such a guest(occupier/intruder) sleep or such a guest occupy/intrude your home while your kids sleep?

    For those who have Israel friends should also make some Palestine friends, look both sides of the coin, so much for the humanity and religion.

    December 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm |