Words for Israel to live (and prosper) by, from Moshe Sharon

See the link below for Moshe Sharon’s perspective:                http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=1202

I think that Mr. Sharon has spelled out my viewpoint better than I can do so.

Israel has been in the grip of trying to please the world, not offend the Arabs, and survive, for over 60 years.

Unfortunately, there’s not really anyone there on the other side, or at least no one willing or able to negotiate in good faith for “Peace”.

As I’ve said before, the word itself has very different meanings to the different parties.

Israel wants to live in harmony with her neighbors, being mutually supportive, have economic and social interactions, and work together for the benefit of all the residents of the region.

The Arab world’s (and, it seems, much of the rest of the world) view of peace is simply to pound Israel into the ground until there is nothing left.

Unfortunately, nothing Israel does will change this.

Correctly, Israel has made sure they are the strongest kid on the block, and must continue to do so.  Anything less is an invitation to a lynching, and it’s not one Israel should attend, since they would be the “lynchee”.

It takes two sides to negotiate, but even the lack of direct (or even indirect) talks should be seen as a form of negotiation, and Israel is certainly not winning.

Somehow, the Palestinians have convinced the world that down is up, the sky is not blue, left is right, Israel is an apartheid state, misogynistic, racist, and a colonial force with only the worst intentions possible, while at the same time convincing the world that they are simply victims of a bully (Israel).

It is simply astonishing to me that the Left, which prides itself on being in favor of Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, the Rights of Minorities, Equality, etc. would fall for this, especially since the Arab world does nothing to hide their true nature, even avidly proclaiming it to the world while crying crocodile tears for their Palestinian “Brethren” who for years have been at best a political football used as a tool to bludgeon Israel and the West.

I do wonder what will happen to the influence of the Arab and Muslim countries as alternative fuels become more common, and the influence of those with vast oceans of oil lessens.  Will opinion revert to something more based on logic?

What on Earth indicates the Palestinians want “Peace”?

It’s ironic that the US and the rest of the world keep pressuring Israel to give more and more concessions in the name of “peace”.

First, I don’t think there’s a common definition of what “peace” really means.  Does it simply mean a cessation of hostilities?  No more rockets from Gaza, or terrorist attacks by Arabs coming from the West Bank?

Or, does it mean two (or even three) states, with recognized borders, living in relative harmony?

Secondly, and more importantly, though, I have to wonder why anyone thinks that the Palestinians want “peace”.  What do they really want?

There have been numerous times when they could have had a state on over 97% of the land beyond the 1967 borders (and even including some land on the Israeli side of those borders to make up for the land on the West Bank side).

Each time, the Palestinians have said “NO!!!”.

Each time Israel wants to sit down and negotiate in good faith, the Palestinians come up with some new reason not to do so.

The number of preconditions to even negotiating, which in and of itself is a great negotiating tactic, is staggering.  No building in the West Bank.  No building in Jerusalem.  Agreement that EVERYTHING will be on the table, including the right of return for Palestinian “refugees”, status of Jerusalem, borders, separation of forces, economy, etc.

And, when Israel says “OK, we’ll talk about anything you want to discuss”, they’re told “NO, it’s not enough”.

The latest excuse (ooops, I mean “reason”) is that the Israelis had the audacity to announce plans to build housing for Jews in a totally Jewish neighborhood in North Jerusalem, where Arabs have never lived.  Oooh, those bad Israelis!  How dare they?

The fact that NO Israeli government has EVER agreed not to build in Jerusalem is of no importance.  Those damned, insufferable Jews should know better, right?

The reality is that NO Israeli government COULD ever agree to these terms – the government would fall faster than you could say “Palestinian Insincerity”.

Of course, the Palestinians have complied with all the conditions of Oslo and other agreements, right?  Wait, they haven’t?  How is that possible?  If it were, the world would certainly mention it to them, wouldn’t they?

I guess that incitement to racism and virulent anti-Semitism throughout the West Bank and Gaza, not to mention the rest of the Muslim world, doesn’t count.  If you teach your children that Jews are descended from apes and pigs, that they steal organs to make matzoh, that they run the world, that the holocaust never happened, and in general make it impossible for the next couple of generations to accept any kind of peace, one might suppose that the people doing that don’t really want peace.

One might ask the Palestinians why the Christian population of the West Bank has declined so significantly, or what they are willing to give up for peace.

Are they willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist?

Are they willing to forgo anti-Semitic education in their schools?

Are they willing to forge economic bonds with a Jewish state?

Are they willing to have Jews living in an Arab, Palestinian state?  And if not, why not?  Isn’t that racism?  How about Apartheid?

Are they willing to modify the charter of Fatah to eliminate the goal of conquering ALL of what is now Israel?

If they’re not willing to even discuss these things, what chance does anyone in that region have to live in “Peace”?  And what does it even mean?

And people say that the Israelis are intransigent….

Mamma mia…..

More on Jerusalem, Concessions, Peace, etc.

In the last few days, there continues to be significant uproar, blame cast on Israel for somehow endangering American lives, finger-pointing at Israel for somehow blocking the noble goal of a two-state “solution”, and much more.

I would like to point out that the “two state solution” was historically intended as a means of obtaining peace between Israel and the Palestinians, never as an end in itself.

As an isolated goal, it certainly has no benefit to Israel one way or another.  The only ones who benefit directly from it are the Palestinians, unless, of course, having their own state somehow lessens their apparent inclinations to perpetuate blood libels against Jews all over the world and their stated aims of one day conquering all of what is today Israel.

It’s astounding to me that the same US government officials who castigate Israel and demand “concessions” from them are apparently struck dumb and blind when it comes to the Arab and Muslim world’s inability to even acknowledging the existence (and right to exist) of a Jewish country.

Their blathering about “Apartheid” is ridiculous in every sense of the word, given the lack of freedoms given to minorities in ANY Arab country.

The Jews are discriminatory?

Hmmmm.  In Israel, Arabs are citizens of the state, with full rights and responsibilities of all citizens (with the exception of military service).  There are Arab political parties with Arab representatives in the Knesset, Arabs can live anywhere in the country without restriction, can buy and sell property anywhere they like, can work for any company they like, go to university at the country’s schools, and generally do anything a Jew can do in Israel.

Is there discrimination on a personal level?  Yes, there is.  I’m not blind nor am I stupid.  But, it is not condoned or tolerated on any official level, and is similar to the situation here in the United States with respect to tolerance for minorities.  We’re not where we’d like to be – should we expect the Israelis to be better?

Why is it acceptable to the world that Jews should not be able to live on land in a new Palestinian state should they choose to be citizens of that state?

How many Jews live in the Arab world?  Not many.  Why not?

The answer is pretty simple – mainly because they are either not allowed to, or they left 50-60 years ago in fear for their lives.

There are certainly areas within what was the West Bank that were unoccupied by any residents, and now have Jews living on them in “settlements”.  In some cases, this land was purchased legally from its owners.

In some cases, it may not have been purchased.

But, by the same token that Arab Palestinians want to live in Israel, if Jewish people want to live in and contribute to a country called Palestine, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do so?  Isn’t that discrimination that we, in the US, would never tolerate?  We got rid of that kind of discrimination here in the 1960’s.  Shouldn’t the recipients of our negotiating might (the Palestinians) be held to a similar standard?

In Jerusalem, the Israelis have NEVER agreed to halt building.  Jerusalem has been sacred ground to Jews for over 3000 years, and no Israeli government would survive for long if they gave up the right to Jerusalem.

It is Israel’s capitol, a fact formally acknowledged by the USA for many years, even though we have never moved our embassy there.

The US and the world are demanding that Israel give up concession after concession to further a “two state solution”, but so far, there is no indication that anyone is demanding anything from the Palestinians.

They are not being told to come and sit down at the table to discuss a rational solution, whatever form that might take.

They are not being taken to task for lionizing suicide bombers and terrorists who without doubt target innocent civilians with no cloak of war to claim that the casualties were “collateral damage” (which IS part of warfare).

They are not being taken to task for refusing the several offers of a state that have been made over the years, including offers that would have given them 97% of the West Bank and Gaza, as it was before the 1967 war.

The bottom line is that Israel captured the West Bank after Jordan, which held it since 1948, attacked it during the 1967 war at the urging of Egypt and the rest of the Arab world.

There was no outcry by the Palestinians for their “legitimate national rights”, simply because no one had ever conceived of such a concept.  There has never been a state/country called Palestine, ever.    It was territory occupied (illegally) by Jordan, which was allocated by the UN in 1947 to be part of a country called Palestine.

Is the outcry now only because the occupiers are Jews?

If it was still occupied by Jordan, would anyone give a crap?

I suspect not.

My personal recommendation to Israel is to unilaterally declare defensible borders including the large settlements around Jerusalem and just over the “Green Line”, pull out all Jews beyond those borders who are willing to leave, and close the borders.  If the Palestinians wish to declare a state, let them.

If even one rocket comes over the border, consider it an act of war from a neighboring state and strike back with all due ferocity.

Just my opinion…..

Random thoughts on immigration

I’ve given a lot of thought recently to immigration and what it means to us as a country.

In general, I am strongly in favor of immigration, as I believe that the contributions made by immigrants and their descendants are a major source of strength to us (the USA) as a nation.  It is not accident that we used to be referred to, with great pride, as a “Melting Pot”.

The contributions made by immigrants are legion, and don’t require a listing here.

However, I do have a problem with the way immigration works today, and especially have a problem with the huge number of illegal immigrants and the problems that this presents us as a nation.

A few thoughts:

  1. Immigrants here illegally should be deported ASAP.
  2. The legal process to become an immigrant should not be as tortuous as it is – it needs to be easier.
  3. Our immigration “quotas” are probably too low
  4. We need to find a way to be more “merciful” to those trying to escape significant oppression in their home countries
  5. Illegal immigrants should not benefit from the birth of a child on US soil, thereby claiming citizenship.  If you are here illegally, you should not be able to claim citizenship for a child born here.
  6. Immigrants must not be a drain on the economy (health care, welfare, etc.) and must pay taxes.
  7. The laws on the books need to be enforced.

I feel great sympathy for the waves of immigrants from countries where it is either difficult to make a living, or where people are persecuted.

However, I do not believe that coming from those places entitles people to ignore or violate our legal processes.

If you come from a “bad” place, I would probably welcome you to our shores, but not if you come illegally.  Go through the process, however arduous and painful it might be.  If you come here illegally, however badly I might feel for you personally, I would deport you in a moment.

I don’t have any problem with local law enforcement being able to check for immigration status of people they stop for any reason.  Any immigrant should have his or her green card or other legal identification on his or her person at all times.  If in doubt, law enforcement should refer the case to the immigration authorities.

In summary – let more immigrants in, we can use new blood.  But, do it legally.  Do not accept illegal immigration, and do whatever it takes to stop it.

What Have The Palestinians Conceded?

I’m confused.

In all the articles I see, the world is up in arms over Israel declaring that they are going to build additional housing units in a religious neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The US and the world are demanding concession after concession from Israel, so that the Palestinians can be enticed to come to “Indirect Talks” – note that that’s “Indirect”, not even face to face.

Israel has frozen new settlement activity in the West Bank, pulled out of Gaza, pulled out of Sinai (giving it up to Egypt), conceded control of the towns and cities in the West Bank to Palestinian government (keeping security and roads under their security wing), and is being pilloried for defending themselves in the South against rocket fire from Gaza.

What have the Palestinians conceded?  What are their concessions?

Yes, they’re the underdog.  So what?

The Israelis have said for many, many years that they will sit down face to face with the Palestinians (or any Arab government) with an open agenda.

They have not demanded “pre-conditions” to negotiation.

By what cockeyed scale is a negotiation for peace only the responsibility of Israel?  At what point does the world recognize that the Palestinians have not conceded anything, and are simply sitting back, waiting for the rest of the world to bully Israel into deeper and deeper concessions?

Within the Palestinian territories, anti-semitism (anti-Jew) reigns supreme.  Terrorists are deified, squares are named after them, and frankly, there doesn’t seem to be any real desire for peace with Israel.  Hell, the Palestinians refuse to even recognize that Israel exists.

So, my question is, what are the Palestinians prepared to do to gain peace?

For an interesting summary of the situation, go to:

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=171110

A Few Ramblings about Health Care “Reform”

Over the past months, we have been subjected to our politicians’ ranting and raving for and against health care reform.

The Democrats appear to want to pass “A” bill, regardless of whether it will actually do anything to reform our system of health care, and the Republicans object to passing the current legislation, ostensibly because it won’t fix the system (which it won’t), but really, since they had 8 years to do something about it and didn’t, because they are playing politics.

The reality is that BOTH sides are playing politics while we, the American people, are paying the piper.

If they don’t sit down and start with an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the current system, including a detailed breakdown of the costs of healthcare, how on Earth can they expect to make health care affordable?

A couple of years ago, while on a business trip to Germany, I had occasion to visit the emergency room of a hospital near Stuttgart.

After waiting at least 20 minutes to see a doctor (yes, that was irony), I spent over 2 hours being poked, prodded, scanned, examined, and tested.  The doctor spent at least an hour with me.

The total cost for this?  118 Euros, which at the time was somewhere around $150.

What do you suppose the cost of this visit would have been at an emergency room here in the USA?

Based on my own experiences with emergency rooms, I will guess that it would have been several thousand dollars, of which I would have paid $50, since I had medical insurance.

Everyone seems to be focused on the high cost of insurance, the greed of the insurance companies, insuring those with no coverage, and a variety of other things that are symptoms of a broken system.

But, the underlying question in all of this should be “Why does health care in this country cost as much as it does?”.

What are the cost drivers of health care?

There are many.   Some of them include salaries, malpractice insurances, excessive testing, excessive profit margins across the board (drug companies, insurance companies, doctors, etc.), systemic waste, and many more.  These are only the ones that spring to mind at the moment.

So, how will the proposed legislations address any of these concerns?  As far as I can tell, they won’t.

Even non-profit insurers, such as Blue Cross-Blue Shield, are prohibitively expensive.  They cannot control the costs that force them to raise their prices.

At what point will we, as a nation, address why our doctors are arguably the most highly paid doctors in the world (with certain exceptions, like general practitioners, who are not very highly paid)?  Why is a medical license seen as a guaranteed path to riches?  Look at the doctors’ parking lots and count the number of Mercedes, BMW’s, and other luxury cars.  That is a quick indication of one element of cost.

Another is the intrusion of the legal profession into medicine.  Our litigious society is an integral component of health care costs.

Any “solutions” or “reform” that do not address tort reform will simply not be able to affect costs significantly.

Another area affecting health care costs is illegal immigration.  Throughout the Southwestern USA, there are hospitals drowning in costs to cover care for illegal immigrants.  It is an issue throughout the country, but is especially acute in that region because of the high concentrations of illegals from Mexico.  In many cases, people receive long term care at no cost, since there is no one to bill.  The government does not pay for this, nor do they seem particularly interested in deporting illegal patients when hospitals call to request assistance.  If the hospitals don’t get reimbursed for these costs, it shows up in the form of higher, direct medical costs (and overhead).

I am not an advocate of turning away anyone who needs acute medical aid, but in the event of longer term, ongoing care, I think illegals should be deported to let their own countries deal with their health care issues.

Based on my experiences as a patient and as a consultant who has done some work within the health care industry, my perspective is that there is a horrendous amount of waste within the industry.

One relatively simple measure that would save millions of dollars (or more) every year would be to have congress require that insurance coding be standardized.  This would eliminate the mass confusion that results in every insurance company using its own codes.  The costs resulting from this practice are myriad, including cost due to coding errors (staff time to correct, patient time, time at the insurance companies, etc.), software costs (imagine how much it costs to spend the time gathering and coding all the different codes into every medical software package!), time looking up codes, etc.  Eliminate this confusion – the benefits are almost immediate and the cost to do it is very low (comparatively).

Like most people, I would love to see the cost of healthcare held to a reasonable level.  I would love to see all citizens and legal residents covered, BUT, I have a significant problem with spending money we don’t have to do it.

Some estimates are that waste comprises about 50% of our healthcare costs. We should be working to require cost savings within the industry FIRST, then worry about expanding coverages.

If costs are lower, insurance premiums can be lowered, making insurance more affordable.

If we aren’t spending $2.2 Trillion per year on health care, our financial health improves, as well.

In summary, I believe that we need to be working to ascertain the true cost drivers of health care in this country, then address them logically rather than mount a witch hunt against the insurance industry, regardless of how much that industry needs reform.  There is plenty of “low hanging fruit” to be picked, reducing the costs of health care immediately.

The current reform measures do NOT address the majority of issues affecting health care cost, or do anything to make it affordable.  In fact, it is likely to increase our costs.

I don’t know about you, but I think we already pay enough taxes without piling on more to implement legislation that won’t do what needs to be done.

A few “truisms” about my gun views….

The following, although they may appear trite, and “cliche-ish”, describe in a nutshell how I feel about gun control, second amendment rights, and a private citizen’s right to protect him or herself and his or her family.

  • When seconds count, don’t worry, the police are only minutes away!
  • I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
  • Gun control is like trying to stop drunk driving by making it more difficult for sober drivers to buy cars.
  • Self-Defense – A Basic Human Right
  • If You Outlaw Guns Only Outlaws Will Have Them
  • Crooks Don’t Register Their Guns
  • Criminals Love Gun Control – It Gives Them A Safe Work Environment
  • Cities With The Most Gun Control (e.g. Washington D.C.) have the  Highest Crime Rates
  • A Gun in the Hand is Better than a Cop on the Phone
  • Better to Have a Gun and Not Need it, than to Need a Gun and Not Have it
  • I’m a Burglar’s Worst Nightmare – An Armed Citizen