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November 23, 2012

“Eyeless in Gaza”

Roy Meachum

Aldous Huxley’s book title “Eyeless in Gaza” accurately describes the United States’ position in the nine-days-old conflict. Some 150 Palestinians lost their lives compared to only five Israelis. The announced cause was rockets coming out of the strip.


It’s an American dilemma.


Following Jerusalem’s lead, Washington labeled Hamas “a terrorist organization,” but that was shortly before the group seized government in Gaza. The seizure was easily explained: ruling out of the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestine Authority had no interest in the sandy strip ceded back by Israel; conquered and occupied in the 1967 war. Yasser Arafat’s old PLO also was known for corruption.


Not always known as terroristic, Hamas gained support by educating children, opening hospitals and handing out food; it derived from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun), which was also outlawed until last year (2011).


The “eyeless” label applies to Washington that has no links to the governing party of Gaza; therefore, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Jerusalem and Cairo, going nowhere in the strip. In essence, the world superpower was helpless, when it came to arranging a peace.


It all started in 1948, when the Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion first named Israel, after laborious preparations with Harry S Truman. The president chose to recognize the new Jewish nation, going it alone from allies France and England that supported the Berlin Airlift later in the year when the Army stationed me in the besieged city.


The Kansas City Pendergast Machine-product came to rely more on his former partner Eddie Jacobson in their failed haberdashery store than Secretary of State George Marshall. He ignored the Muslim countries and Palestinians, which was then easy to do in segregated America. Most Arabs were looked down on, having darker skins, especially in light of the media’s pro-Israel propaganda, which included big time Hollywood. The same year Mr. Truman integrated the armed forces.


As former subjects of the Ottoman Empire, the immigrants were known for rug-peddling in neighborhoods. In the 1930s, petroleum was exploited in the Arabian Peninsula – after World War II rapidly becoming the staple of this hurriedly industrialized nation; that was pre-1948. We paid for our Israeli support in 1973 during the Ramadan-Yom Kippur war by rapidly exploding gas prices.


The American Jewish political influence always counts; the rabid Israeli backers, including evangelistic Christians, are few but disproportionately powerful – again the media. Most men and women have no interest in what’s happening at the eastern end of the Mediterranean – especially in forlornly sandy Gaza. Furthermore they don’t care where Hillary Clinton visits abroad.


As for President Barack Obama, a substantial part of the electorate thinks he must be Muslim because of his names. They consider it okay to be blind outside this country. Isolation is normal, which is why Washington spends billions annually in the Middle East.


By the way, novelist Huxley filched the title, “Eyeless in Gaza,” from great poet John Milton’s “Samson Agonistes:”


“…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 Biblical Samson was blinded by Philistines, so that he might be easily controlled, so is my beloved country now.



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