Deep sorrow for what’s happening now


When I first heard the news on Saturday about the devastating terror attack unleashed on Israel, I was appalled but not completely surprised.

That’s because, in my 71 years, the deep-seated and never-ending hatred between the Arab world, including the Palestinians, and Jews has been going on for thousands of years – and almost non-stop since the modern-day nation of Israel was founded 75 years ago, just three years after the end of World War II and the end of the Nazis’ Holocaust.

Moreover, thanks to the extremists on all sides, I’m confident in saying that the term “Mideast peace” will forever remain an oxymoron.

But despite not being surprised that a new and more frightening war had broken out as a result of Hamas’ stunning cold-blooded sneak attack 50 years and one day to the date, Oct. 6, 1973, of the start of the Yom Kippur War, I was shaken up by the latest news.

The carnage, kidnappings, rapes and killings that have taken place since the invasion by Hamas – and that will continue to mount in the days and weeks ahead as the war no doubt expands – are and will continue to be both frightening and mind-boggling.

Similar to how I felt in 1967 (during the Six-Day War) and in 1973, and so often after that whenever violence in the Mideast boiled over into conflict and war, I was and am sickened over how many leaders prefer their hardline views, with no possibility of compromise. Those views over the years have led to policies that have made it harder to achieve any semblance of peace – and that instead have led to devastating wars.

Two notable exceptions to leaders clinging to their destructive, extreme views took place 15 years apart, in 1978 and 1993.

In 1978, it became so much better for all parties in the Mideast when courageous leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made peace at Camp David.

Fifteen years later, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin gave us hope for peace when, in a historic meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat, a framework for peace was forged.

Unfortunately, Rabin was gunned down in 1995 by a fanatical Israeli opposed to his peace efforts.

Since Rabin’s assassination, attempts to make peace have sputtered and fallen victim to extremists on both sides of the conversation. Things have festered and occasionally broken out in wars and smaller conflicts.

Now, the failures of the leaders of Israel, the Palestinians and Arab nations to make genuine peace offerings have emboldened the Hamas terrorists to launch a sweeping attack against civilians in Israel.

As a result, in these early days of this newest Middle East war, there are only two sure bets:

  1. A terrible toll will be extracted on both sides, with thousands and thousands of deaths and widespread destruction of infrastructure, homes and businesses. It will not only be a total waste of resources and human beings, but it will also take a terrible toll on the economies of both Israel and the Palestinians. Instead of both peoples enjoying the fruits of economic cooperation, they will have put their people in a terrible economic position.
  2. Antisemitism worldwide, and especially in the United States by the previously emboldened white supremacists and haters of the Jewish people, will increase dramatically above and beyond the recent increases – and that will be as unfair as it will be frightening.

That’s why tears of sorrow filled my eyes as I wrote this.

LARRY KESSLER (larrythek65@gmail.com) is a freelance writer based in North Attleboro. He blogs at larrytheklineup.blogspot.com.

Opinion, Larry Kessler, Israel