For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Petra Marquardt-Bigman The Warped Mirror/JPost 04 April '10
A few weeks ago, Mark Perry, author of the book Talking to Terrorists and a former Arafat advisor, claimed that General Petraeus had come to the conclusion that US interests and security in the Middle East were gravely endangered by "Israeli intransigence". While few knowledgeable analysts bought Perry's story, there were plenty of pundits and bloggers who were all too happy to present it as the revelation of a long-hidden truth. The fact that General Petraeus himself soon rejected all the spin and set the record straight will probably dampen the enthusiasm of the "Blame-Israel" brigades only marginally.
Those who believed Perry's story seem to have a rather low opinion of General Petraeus, because they apparently assume that if he gets to hear complaints about "Israeli intransigence" from some Arab rulers, he will immediately conclude that America would be wildly popular in the Middle East if Arabs saw no reason to blame the US for "Israeli intransigence". But it is safe to assume that General Petraeus remembers very well that 9/11 happened - and was celebrated widely in the Middle East - not long after an American president and an Israeli prime minister had tried very hard to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, the proposals for a Palestinian state presented in Taba in January 2001 were so far-reaching that Yasser Arafat eventually regretted his failure to accept them.
But for those who find it too taxing to recall some major events that happened barely ten years ago, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan recently offered a reminder of the kind of intransigence that led to 9/11 - and that has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. As The New York Times reported, Karzai decided to retaliate for a cancelled invitation to the White House by inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Afghanistan and allowing him to deliver one of his anti-American tirades from the presidential palace in Kabul.
Karzai also reportedly believes that "the Americans are in Afghanistan because they want to dominate his country and the region, and that they pose an obstacle to striking a peace deal with the Taliban." Needless to say - at least for anyone who knows the Middle East - Karzai presents himself as the courageous and clever leader who works hard to frustrate America's supposed ambitions.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"