BY ROBERT MORALES
This week we are confronted with a multitude of crises around the world: The new fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, the downing of a Malaysian Airlines jet and continued influx of undocumented Central Americans entering the country.
First, the Israeli-Palestinian matter. Although it may seem to be a world away, and one could argue that why should we care what happens in Israel and the Palestinian territories, it is worth discussing because of the enormous loss of life that is taking place.
We can go down the list of U.S. presidents who have failed to achieve a longlasting peace between these perennial foes. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama.
There was a real opportunity for a real peace treaty when President Mahmoud Abbas was in charge of negotiations for the Palestinian Authority. Unfortunately, the known terrorist group, Hamas, won control of the 132-member parliament in 2006. Itâ€™s been downhill ever since.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been growing, and now it has evolved into a full-scale war between the two. Unlike Mr. Abbas, who was willing to work toward a two-state solution, Hamas refuses to acknowledge the existence of Israel, and that leaves zero negotiating power between the two.
The Gaza Strip, where about 1.7 million Palestinians live, is indeed a very tiny strip of land. To put it in perspective, Gaza is 139 square miles, or about twice the size of Washington, D.C. Other analysts say it is roughly the size of Las Vegas.
Without going into the details about how and why Gaza exists today, itâ€™s important to note that Palestinians living in Gaza cannot travel freely into Israel. For all intents and purposes, Palestinians are landlocked. They are impoverished because Israel does not allow the exportation of any goods into Israel or other countries. The unemployment rate, although difficult to calculate, is said to hover between 70 and 80 percent.
Israel, on the other hand, is a thriving country with a thriving economy. Tel Aviv, the second-largest city (and the only international airport in the country) is renowned for its beautiful Mediterranean beaches and its stature as the primary Israeli business hub.
Israel is also known for having a world class military, known as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). It buys most of its military equipment from the U.S. In comparison, the Palestinians use weapons supplied to them from rogue countries such as Syria and Iran.
While Hamas remains the ruling party for Palestinians, a myth or a misconception exists that all Palestinians support the terrorist group. This is simply not true. However, until Hamas is voted out of power, more bloodshed is very likely to be the norm instead of the exception.
Israelâ€™s leaders have said that they are focused only on demolishing all tunnels in Gaza built by Hamas to terrorize Israel, and certainly the IDF has done a good job of eradicating many of those tunnels — but at a very high cost to Palestinian civilians. To date almost 600 innocent Palestinians have died in this latest war, and about 40 Israelis have met the same fate.
As for the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 carrying 298 persons, Vladimir Putinâ€™s fingerprints are all over this despicable act of terrorism. It is reminiscent of the downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983 when the former Soviet Union shot down the civilian airliner.
As we said a few months ago, Mr. Putin wants to return to what he considers the glory days of the former socialist Soviet Union. No other Russian leader in recent history has amassed the power that Mr. Putin has been able to achieve, not to mention his massive wealth that is said to be in the billions.
Mr. Putin is a dangerous man. In an instant, he successfully devoured a former Soviet territory, Crimea, back to Russia. Now, he is like lions lying in wait for their prey, anxious and eager to capture Ukraine. Mr. Putin is very good at what he does. He was trained well at the KGB (the former Soviet secret police), and he is demonstrating that he has little or no fear of the West.
However, he must be stopped. Mr. Putinâ€™s Russia is a far cry from a democracy. He runs the country like a dictator. His government is filled with his hand-picked cronies. There is no freedom of expression. There is no freedom of the press, and he has exploited the media for his brand of Soviet-style propaganda (nationalism).
Finally, we learned this week that Gov. Perry is dispatching about 1,000 national guard troops to the border to address the flood of undocumented Central American fleeing Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador into the United States.Itâ€™s nothing more than a political stunt for his 2016 presidential run.
It appears that the majority of these undocumented aliens are children that have been sent by their parents because drug lords or coyotes (traffickers) have told these people that they will receive amnesty upon arrival in the U.S.