From BillSutter’s Desk
The world is filled with travesties of justice, and among the worst is the demonization of Israel. Yet Israel
wants peace, and almost all its neighbors
want Israel’s destruction.
Our recent Up to Jerusalem experience
included a visit to Metulla on Israel’s
Lebanon border. From 1978 to 2000, goods
and workers flowed freely between Israel
and the Lebanese Christians who populated southern Lebanon. The border, popularly known then as the Good Fence, reflected
the mutually beneficial interaction and
genuine friendship that once existed.
Today, with Hezbollah controlling vast
areas on the Lebanese side, the Good Fence
is but a memory.
From nearby Kibbutz Misgav Am, we
were briefed on the security situation in the
North by Ariyeh Bar-Yaakov, a leader responsible for kibbutz security. Looking out over
the Hezbollah-controlled communities of
southern Lebanon, we were struck by the
extreme hatred of Israel spawned by a terrorist
organization that casts itself as the “Party of
God” while calling for Israel’s destruction.
Not lost on our trip participants was the cruel
irony of nearby UN “peace-keeping” troops
that came primarily from Indonesia, a
Muslim country with no diplomatic relations
Ariyeh Bar-Yaakov’s parting words to
us were a fitting testimony to God’s mar-
velous, even miraculous, preservation of
Israel and the Jewish people. “Do come
back,” he told us. “We’ll be here.”
Later that day we visited Israel’s northeast-
ern perimeter where, across the border, we
could see a Syrian flag flying. Another hostile
neighbor. And another UN installation, this
one in Syria, representing meaningless “mon-
itoring” in the midst of a state-sponsored mil-
itary buildup. In fact, Iranian rockets were
being placed strategically throughout Syria.
Looking to the north, our excellent
Israeli guide, Miriam Feinberg Vamosh,
pointed to an area known as Majdal Shams
near the slopes of Mount Hermon. There
Metulla, Israel (Hanan Isachar/Hanan Isachar Photography).
Syrian “Day of Rage” activists in 2011 tried
to penetrate Israel’s border to deflect attention from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s
brutal oppression of his own people.
Traveling farther south, we viewed the
mountains of Israel’s eastern neighbor,
Jordan, thankful for the peace and reasonable
level of neighborliness that exists between
these two Middle Eastern countries.
Although we did not visit Israel’s long border with Egypt in the south, we were briefed
on the deteriorating situation in Egypt where
violent Islamists, encouraged by the Muslim
Brotherhood, are slaughtering Coptic Christians and causing them to flee in record
numbers. The terrorists are working hard to
destabilize Egypt’s vast Sinai Peninsula, while
consolidating their positions and initiating
terror attacks into Israel from the border.
Israelis with whom we spoke oppose unilateral Palestinian statehood. They understand that creating a Palestinian state in the
heart of the Jewish state, without the
Palestinians making real peace with Israel,
will guarantee another Middle Eastern terrorist entity. All too fresh in their minds are
the lessons of Hamas’s takeover of Gaza,
which resulted in more rocket attacks
against Israel’s southern communities.
Israelis everywhere expressed their great
appreciation for our support as Americans
and Canadians. This appreciation, however,
did not extend to President Barack Obama,
whom most Israelis view as unsympathetic
toward their security and overly sympathetic
toward their enemies. Likewise, we heard
concerns about the U.S. State Department
equating Israel’s attempts to defend itself
with the violence of its enemies.
William E. Sutter is the executive director
of The Friends of Israel.
4 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012