Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Surge

In the works is the trip to Germany next summer, in the summer of 2009. Our exchange school in Schwetzingen has decided to remain in partnership with us, despite our inability to muster a trip their town near Heidelberg this summer. So the tentative plan is to welcome them over in the Spring of 2009 and then reciprocate that summer, late June to early July. We hope to get an email/Inter exchange set up with our classes before then to prepare the groundwork for the visits. Peter Fuchs, the teacher at Hebel Gymnasium in Schwetzingen is keen on the idea. Click the picture to the left for a a view of their school. And of course the link above to see their very interesting website.

Other things occupying my headspace include President Jimmy Carter's trip to meet Hamas leaders in Syria. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but he did it, that grande homme of peace and justice. Pity his efforts to communicate with enemies, well, Israel's enemy really, are being ridiculed by American politicos. Secretary of State Rice says she fails to see any benefit to meeting with Khaled Meshal, while an Israeli minister passes along a message for Carter to the Hamas leadership concerning mutual issues. This is a tacit agreement that Israel is open to negotiating with the intransigent Palestinian group, while America squwaks endlessly our failed policy of isolating Hamas and forcing it to her knees by intense diplomatic and financial pressure. I can't think of any other example in recent human history of how an occupied, impoverished people who voted fairly for their leaders are subjected to the horrifying sanctions spearheaded by American chickenhawks in their zeal to support Israel. The United Nations is impotent, the EU is disinterested, the Arab Gulf States have other priorities, namely earning oil revenues and keeping their monarchies intact, and Palestinians in Gaza suffer, and the ones in the West Bank are forgotten in a fog of weak-willed "peace negotiations."

Another pity is that on the day of Carter's meeting with Hamas, Gaza erupted in border violence, starting with Hamas operations to infiltrate the Israel-Gaza border and kill and maim, and the typical hyperviolent Israeli response resulting in chaos and death. You'd think that if Hamas wanted to attain some respectability in the formalized world of international diplomacy, it would exercise restraint. But then again, I don't live under the rules of the Gaza-Israeli dispute, which is comprised of low-level Palestinian actions and heavy Israeli reprisals, or ulta-violent Israeli operations and low-level Palestinian reprisals. After the dust briefly settles, people are pointing fingers at one another, with the Arabs spending way more time burying their dead.

Let's hope that President Carter can coax Hamas into accepting a unilateral ceasefire and more flexibility. If he fails, we return to the status quo. A lazy world seems satisfied with that.

My wife says I should stop listening to the news because it makes my cynical and on edge. She's probably correct.

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