Saturday -- April 6, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 207
A Grain Of Vigilance On A Beach Of Terrorism
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
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
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
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
dialed it up and read the reports on the current issues. Then
I went to Google.com
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.
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:
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.
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
"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"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
To April 5--The Sheriff Of Vigilance--George W. Bush
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