As regular readers of Listen Up will be aware, I have been out of the country for the past month taking a break from my articles on Doppler. It almost worked! Readers will also know that I made an exception a couple of weeks ago when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel.
I did so because I was mortified not only by the brutality that occurred in Israel but also because of the antisemitic demonstrations that quickly broke out in many parts of the world including, sadly, Canada. Seldom had I felt so strongly that those who have the ability to speak out, no matter how limited their capacity, should do so. After several weeks of reflection, I still feel that way.
Let me start first with the reaction of some readers to the picture that was posted at the top of my October 15th article. It showed a picture of a young Israeli woman only partially clothed, taken hostage, and being paraded in the back of a vehicle by Hamas terrorists. We thought hard about posting this picture knowing that it was already in the public domain. We also were aware of how upsetting this picture would be to some people, especially those who had their own experience with sexual assault.
But it was a picture taken in real-time. It spoke a thousand words about the reality of sexual assault and the terror perpetrated on Israelis by Hamas. That picture spoke the stark truth about what was happening, and we believed it important not to hide the truth but rather expose it, fully realizing that sometimes the truth hurts.
In responding to one individual who wrote to us opposing the picture that was posted, we replied in part as follows. “Let’s be clear, these atrocities (by Hamas) are what started this war. It is the responsibility of a news organization to tell the truth and not avoid it. Otherwise, perpetrators of these atrocities go unpunished, or the truth never gets out. In our view, there is too much of that lately.” We stand by that statement.
Shortly after writing my previous article, I noted to a friend that I thought it would not be long before public sympathy turned away from Israel and toward the Palestinians. That this is happening in some measure now, is not a surprise to me.
There is of course a long history of tension and strife between Israelis and Palestinians. Neither side has anything to boast about in relation to the turmoil that has infected that part of the Middle East for decades.
As well, the media is now flooded with pictures of innocent Palestinians suffering terribly, as a result of the war between Israel and Hamas. It would take a very hard heart not to feel huge concern and sympathy for these individuals.
Consequently, there is a loud cry for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, including a resolution from the United Nations. How good it would be if it were that simple.
One of the complicating factors here is that Hamas is not just a recognized terrorist organization, it also politically controls the government in Palestinian territories. So, it is not just a terrorist organization that is at war with Israel, it is the Palestinian government as well. They are allowing strikes on Israel from their territory, and they are protecting Hamas terrorists.
Hamas makes no bones about how far they will go to destroy Israel. Their mantra is that every Jew must die. They will use their own people as shields to accomplish this. They want Palestinian people to suffer, and they want the world to feel sorry for them.
Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh has said this. “We need the blood of women/children and the elderly of Gaza so as to wake up our revolutionary spirit.” How much clearer can he be than that?
This morning, I saw online a church notice board that said this. “The world is asking Israel to show mercy. When will the world ask/demand the same from Hamas?” Good question!
Sadly, however, there can be no answer. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will never show mercy as long as Israel exists. Israel, on the other hand, will fight to the finish to maintain its sovereignty.
That being said, how would a truce or a ceasefire work? It is hard for me to come to grips with that. Would we simply return to the status quo and wait for the next attack? Would terrorists go unpunished? What would be the outcome of a ceasefire?
Certainly, a pause in hostilities from both sides is necessary to bring badly needed supplies to innocent Palestinians. The challenge, however, will be to get those supplies directly into the hands of those who need them and not have them hijacked by Islamic terrorists for their own purposes.
There is nothing good that can be said about war. It often has a conclusion but never, to my knowledge, a truly happy ending. History will also tell us that smaller wars will often lead to bigger wars. The potential for this in relation to the Middle East conflict is growing, with Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey lining up on one side and the United States, Britain, Canada, and other Western countries lining up on the other.
A non-military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be a diplomatic nightmare, but somehow, it must be accomplished. There can be no doubt about who started this most recent war. The challenge now, however, is to find a way to stop it in a manner that protects the sovereignty and security of Israel before the entire conflict gets globally out of hand.
Surely, there are people that can accomplish that. Otherwise, we risk all hell breaking loose.
Hugh Mackenzie has held elected office as a trustee on the Muskoka Board of Education, a Huntsville councillor, a District councillor, and mayor of Huntsville. He has also served as chairman of the District of Muskoka and as chief of staff to former premier of Ontario, Frank Miller.
Hugh has also served on a number of provincial, federal and local boards, including chair of the Ontario Health Disciplines Board, vice-chair of the Ontario Family Health Network, vice-chair of the Ontario Election Finance Commission, and board member of Roy Thomson Hall, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Locally, he has served as president of the Huntsville Rotary Club, chair of Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, chair of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, president of Huntsville Festival of the Arts, and board member of Community Living Huntsville.
In business, Hugh Mackenzie has a background in radio and newspaper publishing. He was also a founding partner and CEO of Enterprise Canada, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm established in 1986.
Currently, Hugh is president of C3 Digital Media Inc., the parent company of Doppler Online, and he enjoys writing commentary for Huntsville Doppler.
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