By Gail K. Ripans

Gail K. Ripans

Gail K. Ripans

Israelis are under siege from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, Hamas in Gaza and on the West Bank, and Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in Syria, Ron Brummer, Israel’s deputy consul general to the Southeast, told 130 attendees of the class I teach at Senior University at Mercer on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

The latest round of brutal stabbings and other barbaric attacks on innocent Israeli civilians by Palestinians as young as 13 is being fueled by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas, often through social media.

Based on false claims that Israel is planning to alter the status of the Temple Mount, the nature of the conflict is turning into a religious war pitting Israel against the entire Arab and Muslim worlds. Israel clearly is the underdog.

Noting that the Palestinians portray themselves as victims to gain support and cast Israel as the aggressor, when the reverse is the case, Brummer said Israel stands in the forefront of the struggle with radical Islam, both Sunni and Shia. These fundamentalists are in a clash with Western civilization.

Ultimately, Brummer said, a separation into Jewish and Palestinian states is the best outcome. But because the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state, such a two-state solution is unlikely to happen any time soon.

The United States can best serve as a mediator, but proposals negotiated by Ehud Barak with President Bill Clinton and by Ehud Olmert with President George W. Bush were rejected by Arafat and Abu Mazen (Abbas), respectively.

Nonetheless, Israel continues to call for direct, face-to-face negotiations with the Palestinians and recognition as a Jewish state. The Palestinian Authority, still in control of the West Bank, needs to be strengthened, as Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel.

Noting that as a result of the international agreement reached with Iran regarding its nuclear program, tens of billions of dollars will be available to Iran, Brummer said some of the funds will be used for more weapons for Hamas and Hezbollah, sworn enemies of Israel. Iran is on a quest to dominate the Middle East. American support of Israel is essential.

During the question-and-answer period, the influx of refugees to Europe was discussed, and Brummer noted how countries surrounding Israel, including Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, are imploding.

The very nature of Europe is changing because Muslims tend to have a much higher birthrate than other Europeans and are from a different civilization, and it is not the goal of most to assimilate. Also of concern is the possibility of infiltration by terrorists joining the immigrants. Such infiltration could happen here as well.

Listening to this grim scenario, I believe we need to join together regardless of political affiliation or religious observance to help Israel. We can visit, send money, stay in closer touch with Israelis, protest unfair media coverage, lobby our elected officials, and pray, especially Psalms 20, 23, 91, 121 and 130.

Having entered into the covenant at Mount Sinai and then reached the Promised Land, we are an eternal people with a mission to fulfill as the first monotheists. Our very existence is miraculous. We need to continue the journey as one people upholding the Ten Commandments and serving as a light unto the nations.

I am confident we will prevail, and ultimately our enemies will realize Israel is here to stay.

Gail K. Ripans writes and lectures about international relations, specializing in the Middle East.