The VigilanceVoice
Saturday -- April 6, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 207

The 0.1% Vigilance Factor

A Grain Of Vigilance On A Beach Of Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, April 6--Vigilance comes sometimes in very small packages.   Historically, it can survive and prosper even though it is surrounded by a mass of Terrorism which encompasses 99.9% of the available mass surrounding it.         
        Israel is a such a grain of Vigilance prospering on a Beach of Terrorism. 
        Since the Jewish State was inserted into the heart of Islam in 1948, there has been both spoken and unspoken vows by its neighbors to destroy its presence.   These threats manifested themselves in various forms of conflicts ranging from major wars to suicide bombers attacking and attempting to cripple the resolve of the people of Israel to exit their land and return the region to a pure Islamic stronghold.   The 0.1% of the total Middle East real estate Israel commands has been like a cancer cell to the region.   Eliminating it has been, and still is, the avowed concern of the leaders of Arab nations that surround Israel and its principles of democracy.
         Israel's fight against the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency of Terrorism is a lesson for the world in sustaining Vigilance in the face of Terrorism.  It is a template of Hope for all those who think the Pledge of Vigilance is too onerous a task to maintain.  And, it is an example of a nation subscribing to being Parents, Grandparents, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Uncles and Aunts and Loved Ones of Vigilance.
         I am not Jewish and know little of the history of the Jewish faith.  But in my search for examples of Vigilance, and because of the countless Terrorism attacks on Israeli citizens by suicide bombers, I thrust myself into trying to understand the history and sources of the Terrorism that exist in the region.   My journey led me to realize how ignorant I was of Middle East history and mores, and how a small fraction of people can symbolize the power of Vigilance when it is trapped in a sea of Terrorism.  It begins with real estate, or what we call here in the United States as Homefront Security.
         Real estate ownership equals power.  It always has and always will.  Most wars, regardless of other intentions or philosophies, are sparked by the desire of one group to gain control of the real estate and establish the rules under which one lives upon that real estate..  
         Some nations believe 100% ownership is absolute power.  Giving up even a half of tenth of a single percent taints the absolute--threatens the whole.  It becomes a "rotten apple" in a barrel, threatening to spoil all the other apples.
         That's the fact I stumbled on in my recent search for the history of the name Palestine.  Yesterday, I wrote a story about Joe's take on the recent Middle-East crisis and President Bush's statement "Enough is enough!" Joe is a former Israeli intelligence officer who is now a U.S. citizen.  We meet frequently to talk about his point of view on the Middle East.  He is my "deep throat" who helps me understand the complexities of Middle East interaction that only those who have lived in such a culture can comprehend
        I don't take his information blindly.   Years ago I had another friend  who was Palestinian.  His name was Andre.  He told me about the time the Jews shoved machine guns in his family's faces and forced them to move off land they had lived on for generations.   So I take whatever Joe says and verify it as best I can, just to insure I am confident that what he tells me is not slanted to only one side of the story.
         To help me better know the inner workings of the Israeli mindset, Joe gave me the web address for current intelligence reports on activities in Israel.   It is called the Debka File and can be found at   I dialed it up and read the reports on the current issues.  Then I went to to search the history of the name Palestine and found that Joe's information was fundamentally accurate.   For balance, I went to a series of Palestinian web sites and read the history presented there, noting little difference between the two versions.
         The ongoing battle in the Middle East comes down to a fight over the legitimacy of Israel's claim to the 0.1% of land it controls.    Both the Arabs and Jews cite historic precedence for their claim to the real estate.  In 1967 Egypt and Syria attacked Israel and Nassar, Egypt's leader at the time, vowed: "...the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel."           
          Neither the Arabs nor Israelis will surrender their passion for soil, especially the Jews who have developed, nurtured, and turned a wasteland into a prosperous, thriving state of democracy in a land surrounded by ancient systems of feudal rule.  The following quote summarizes the issue.

 Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today . . . No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough. — from "Myths of the Middle East", Joseph Farah, Arab-American editor and journalist, WorldNetDaily, 11 October 2000.

        To gain perspective on the right of one nation to exist in the presence of another, I looked at my own country for guidance.   America was built on taking the land hostage from its owners at the time--the Indians and Hispanics.   It also displaced citizen of another land, the African Americans, and forced them to live and work here under rules of slavery. 
        Part of the reparation of America's taking the land from the native Americans included issuing them sovereign rights to rule themselves and land on which to live within their customs and culture.  These "reservations" are separate and distinct "Indian Nations" existing within the framework of the United States.   There is an estimated 5.5 million acres of federally recognized reservation land dedicated to Indians within the U.S. This represents a total of 8,600 square miles.  The United States' total size is 3.7 million square miles, leaving the Indians command of 0.002% of the land they once ruled.    The Hispanics received no land.   
        I had some homeland perspective for looking at Israel's right to command control 1% of the Middle East land.
        My search to find the answer to why Terrorism was the force used to rid the Middle East of the Jewish state led me to pages of scripture.
       I found that both the Jewish people and Arabs claim they are the Chosen People with scriptural rights to the ownership of the Holy Land.  To acknowledge Israel as a nation-state, requires that Arabs recognizes its religious claim as the Chosen People.  Such an admission undermines the authority of Islam.
       In a historical report written by Elwood McQuaid, the author cites the following:

Conflict between Muslims and Jews often arises over the identification of just who the Chosen People are: the rightful heirs to the covenant promises delineated in Scripture.

And God said, Sarah, thy wife, shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year (Gen. 17:19-21).

Here God is speaking to Abraham regarding the future of his sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Arabs trace their lineage back to Ishmael, the Jewish people to Isaac. Notice that the covenant promise was bestowed to Isaac and his heirs, not to Ishmael. This is important, but it is not in any sense—as is sometimes stated—an act of discrimination. Ishmael was given sweeping promises, great lands, and the assurance of kingdoms. A look at a map of the Middle East today confirms that the land mass controlled by Arab and Muslim countries far exceeds that held by Israel.

         Jewish beliefs also use scripture to promote their claim to the Holy Land.  McQuaid offers this to support the Jewish argument.

"In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the [little] river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates"
(Gen. 15:18).

An important element in establishing the possession of the land by ancient Israel is Jerusalem. After David had ruled from Hebron for seven and a half years, he moved the capital city of the Jewish state to Jerusalem. A key factor in the move was his purchase of the Temple Mount from one Araunah, the Jebusite. Incidentally, Israel and the Jewish people have never since offered that sacred site for sale. Although it is claimed by the Muslims today, it must still be regarded as an area titled to Israel from a time well before Islam came into existence.

        Looking at both sides of the coin, it is difficult to pick which one is right, since both fervently claim rightful ownership flowing from scripture thousands of years old.   But what does make sense is that the ownership of one tenth of a percent is not an onerous or threatening claim by the Jews--unless, that is, you believe in Absolute Power.
        The United States faced this issue with the Indians.   They rule themselves, with some exceptions.   The United States recognizes the American Indians' right of ownership and their right of legacy to the land of their heritage.
         So why would a nation of people--the Middle East--refuse a tenth of a percent to Israel?  Why would suicide bombers attack innocent people to drive them away from the land?  Why would a bounty of $25,000 be offered by Arabs to any family of a suicide bomber?
         From my viewpoint, it is all about Vigilance.
        I see the 0.1% that Israel ownership represents in the heart of the Middle East as an injection of chemotherapy against the cancer of Terrorism.
         Terrorism, by its nature, dictates Fear, promotes Intimidation, and forces a people into a state of Complacency--shadowing them with a sense they will always be destined to live the way they have lived for thousands of years.  Whether such Terrorism exists in a war-torn Middle Eastern country, or in the mind of a child in prosperity-riddled America, the result is the same.  Some children grow up in America believing they cannot achieve what others have achieved, that they aren't worthy, that they are destined to be a "low life," a "loser" until they die.   Their dreams curl up and die a slow deadly death as they evolve into nothing, scrabbling their entire lives to make ends meet.   They live in a constant shadow of self-imposed Terrorism, fearful of the world, intimidated by others, and resigned to a state of Complacency where they can do nothing but exist in a daily, rutted routine of survival.
         Vigilance, whether the choice of a nation surrounded by others who want them eliminated, or injected into a child's will to grow and evolve, opposes Terrorism.  In the Middle East it says to those who have been denied the rights of industrialization and democracy that they too can enjoy a life where they have rights that supercede their princes, their rulers, even their religion.   These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to move about without restraint, and, the right of equality--to rise up from the lowest levels of social and economic bottoms to the top of the world--if they wish.  
          This is a trembling threat to a society which adheres to "rule from above."   The democratization of any monarchy, or any centrally controlled political force, threatens those at the top.   When a people's Voice becomes more powerful than its leaders, the Absolute Power such leaders wield disintegrates.  
           I can understand why Vigilance--even one tenth of one percent--is viewed by the Arab League as a monstrous threat to the current political system  ruled by seventy princes who manage massive natural resources such as oil and gas, and retain power by keeping their people from rising up to replace them.
           Recently, my wife and I viewed the HBO production of the mini-series, Castro.   At first, Castro's revolutionary ideas were embraced by the population as a form of liberation from oppression by capitalism and corrupt leadership.   But, when he took command and held the power in his hands to offer each citizen an equal and just Voice in the election of leadership, Castro denied the people that right.  Power was absolute in his mind.   Liberation was just another tool to continue the legacy of Terrorism where Fear, Intimidation and Complacency ruled over Courage and Conviction and Action.
           The Jewish Vigilance Formula--0.1% of Vigilance over 99.9% of Terrorism--is a lesson for all the world to study.
           If each Parent of Vigilance were to incorporate in his or her life 0.1% of a commitment toward honoring the Pledge of Vigilance, perhaps Terrorism within a child could be held at bay--as Israel has held off the attacks to destroy its State of Vigilance from the onslaught of the Arab world over the past half century.
           Regardless of one's prejudice toward or against the Jewish religion, or one's historical belief in the legitimacy of the presence of Israel in the Middle East, one must admire and respect Israel's Vigilance in the face of Terrorism.
           How many times have the Jewish people been threatened, intimidated, their children maimed and killed by Terrorists attacking their homes, and still stand strong for their beliefs?
           One is forced to offer them kudos as Sentinels of Vigilance even if one disagrees with their policies or their belief systems.   Israeli's fight for their children's lives--for their children and their children's children to be free from Terrorism are symbols of Vigilance from which many can glean inspiration.
            If these grains of Vigilance dwarfed on a beach of Terrorism qualifies the Israeli's to be the Chosen People, then I support them.  
           If nothing else they are the Chosen Sentinels of Vigilance. But they are not more Chosen than any Parent, or any Loved One of Vigilance.   They stand as examples of protecting the rights of the children's safety to live without Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--even though they are attacked constantly by these forces.
           Perhaps, when the dust settles in the Middle East, their message of Vigilance will find its way through the bullets and blood of conflict to baptize us all as equally concerned, committed and courageous Sentinels of Vigilance.
           I hope so.

       Semper Vigilantes.

 Go To April 5--The Sheriff Of Vigilance--George W. Bush

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