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Friday, August 8, 2014

ON May 15, 1948, upon the recommendation by the United Nations General Assembly of the partition plan of Mandatory Palestine, present-day Israel was established as an independent state. The next day, five Arab neighbors, in support of Palestinian Arabs, pursued a war against the young nation.

But the early Zionist settlers fought back and, in many instances, defeated its enemies, some of which made peace, especially Egypt and much later the once-terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) of Yasser Arafat.

God’s Promised Land, given to the Israelites after Moses led them out of Egypt, has been occupied, if not ruled by different peoples including the Egyptians, Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arab Caliphates, Crusaders, Ottomans and finally the British from 1923–1948.


It was thought that the Israel-Palestine peace accord signed by Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO foreign policy official Mahmoud Abbas (the current president of Palestine) on Sept. 13, 1993 would finally end the animosity of the two enemies.

Israel willingly allowed the Palestinians to establish a government in a defined territory that included Biblical towns such as Jericho and Bethlehem. In 2005, Israel gave full control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. In 2012, with UN approval raising Palestine's status to that of observer state, Abbas decreed the use of the name, “State of Palestine.”

I am of the belief that the people of Israel have come to the acceptance of the State of Palestine that would exist for the attainment of peace in the region. But Abbas could not contain the Hamas, a terrorist group that has no love for Israel, with a declaration that "Hamas will not recognize Israel...this is a red line that cannot be crossed."

With Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip and having initiated recent attacks on the civilian population of Israel, the Jewish state retaliated with intent to destroy the enemy. The result: more than 1,800 Palestinians dead and 2,502 injured and 67 Israelis killed. Some $6 billion worth of properties were destroyed.

It is said that the Gaza Strip, with a land area of 365 square kilometers, has a population of 1.82 million people (mostly Sunni Muslims) and is one of the most densely populated parts of the world. Hamas has embedded itself in the area like a ticking bomb strapped to Israel.

The act of Israel is one of self-preservation, as it had done so from the time of its establishment in 1948. Hamas and its supporters have blood in their hands, and the world must condemn not just their acts, but the very purpose of the group.

Israel has a right to exist. Its people didn’t cower in the past. They won’t cower now, not in the future.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 09, 2014.


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