Sideglances
by SARAH GREENE
sgreene@etex.net
Nov 22, 2012 | 789 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print


MUCH DISCUSSED by print and electronic media these last few days days has been the latest Mideast crisis, which finds rockets flying back and forth between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

For those like myself who follow news from this part of the world with less than professional standing, this conflict can be confusing.

According to a report in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News, compiled from three different news services, Hamas is directing a barrage of rockets against Israel.

Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic political party that has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories since 2007.

Israel’s Iron Dome, a futuristic-sounding missile defense system, has been shooting down the incoming Hamas rockets. (It reportedly can even intercept bullets.)

Hamas counts Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey and Qatar among its supporters and was meeting with their representatives.

MEANWHILE, a spokesman for our government reiterated its support for Israel and blamed the rocket fire from Gaza for starting the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case to leaders in Germany, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic, according to The News’ story.

Besides the U.S., the European Union, Canada and Japan classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, but Arab nations, Russia and Turkey do not.

What any mention of the name Gaza brings to my mind is the title of a best-selling novel by Aldous Huxley, first published in 1936. I refer to Eyeless in Gaza, words which originate from a phrase in John Milton’s poem Samson Agonistes. It reads in part:

... Promise was that I

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;

Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him

Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves ...

THE TITLE of the book, like Milton’s poem, recalls the biblical story of Samson, who was captured by the Philistines, his eyes burned out, and taken to Gaza, where he was forced to work grinding grain in a mill.

The novel focuses on the life of Anthony Beavis, with flashbacks into different moments of his life, as he discovers pacifism and then mysticism.

Daily Kos is an Internet website that posts comments from all sides of the day’s news, and I checked it for reactions to the Gaza-Israel conflict.

ONE PERSON recommended prayer as a nice tool for orienting oneself and suggested Luke 19:41-44, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. as being instructive:

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,

42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side

44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

This person went on to say, “Perhaps in our policies, we might orient ourselves to see the good people in Israel, and the good people in Palestine, and the good people throughout the Arab world — who are praying for peace and working for justice — and try to support them. That’s seems like a good policy, and one that varies a bit from simply seeing movements, peoples, and nations in the Middle East as pawns in our own self-interested games.”
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