Understanding Israel: Necessary Step in Solving Middle East Violence?

The best participants in the international scene understand the individual sensitivities and nuances in the minds of others.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is one of those international players that “gets it.”

He recently told Charlie Rose on PBS a story about understaning Russia and Russians.

Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev, Gates said, was embarrassed in Geneva in 1955 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s plane was bigger than his.

“I mean, this is pretty deep-seated stuff, and so trying to avoid touching on one of Russia’s insecurities is almost impossible,” Gates concluded.

So it is with Israel.

Maybe the Holocaust left a lasting impression upon all Israelis that life, even in a seemingly secure world, can change in a moment.

And maybe the fact that Israel is surrounded by a hostile Arab community  plays heavily upon the Israeli psyche.

In Iran, President Ahmadinejad doesn’t even believe the Holocaust really happened, has spoken about wiping Israel away, is working on a nuclear program and he doesn’t even recognize the Israel as a state, calling it “the Zionist regime.”

So, when outsiders hustle into Israel to offer cease-fires, peace and security, there might be a tad of doubt.

So it was today when French President Sarkozy tried to convince Israel’s prime Minister Olmert that a cease-fire demanded by the United States would ge a really good thing.

Sarkozoy thought a U.S. Cease fire might be peachy.

Olmert: not.

Today Olmert reminded Sarkozy that “Sometimes the need to find a compromise in the UN comes at Israel’s expense.”

What Olmert was thinking we do not know.  But you can figure he was thinking: “We here in Israel are surrounded by people who want us all dead, and you Europeans and even the U.N has never been much of a help.”

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends a weekly cabinet ... 
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has some understandable doubt that the EU, UN and others will do the right thing for Israel…..REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool (JERUSALEM)

Related:
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around
.
 Gaza: France’s Sarkozy Not Helping

Gates on Russians:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2009/01/04/AR2009010401503.html

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