Tag Archives: Hamas

What happened to Middle East peace?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This thought just kicked in.

Didn’t the most recent ex-POTUS task his son-in-law to come up with a comprehensive peace agreement?

Jared Kushner got the assignment from Donald Trump. He went here and there during Trump’s term in office. The administration announced deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and with Bahrain, right?

But what about Hamas, the terrorists who run the West Bank and Gaza? They launched rockets into Israel; the Israelis fought back.

Then the Joe Biden administration turned up the heat on the Israelis and on Hamas to get a cease-fire deal done … as in right now!

They did.

However, I am just wondering why Jared Kushner’s alleged diplomatic “genius” failed to produce an agreement.

‘Quiet diplomacy’ might need more volume

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden is committed to working through “quiet diplomacy” to end the fighting between Israel and the terrorists who govern the Gaza Strip and who have been launching rockets into Israeli cities.

Allow me this caveat: The quiet diplomacy that Biden prefers might need to get a bit louder if matters don’t settle down soon in the region.

Biden keeps to ‘quiet diplomacy’ as calls for Israel-Hamas cease-fire ramp up (msn.com)

The Israelis have hit back hard at Hamas, which governs Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas has dedicated itself to the destruction of Israel and has launched the rockets to protest Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

It has targeted civilians. Hamas has been indiscriminate in killing innocent people.

President Biden should be able to use his formidable contacts with leaders in the region to seek to broker some sort of peace agreement. He is working the phones. He is talking through back channels. I wish him — and those in the region — all the very best to search for peace.

Quiet diplomacy, though, might not be enough. I hope the president is prepared to turn up the volume when the moment presents itself.

Stay the course on Israel, Mr. POTUS

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden needs to resist the pressure coming from the left wing of the Democratic Party regarding the exploding tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel is striking back hard at Hamas terrorists who have been launching missiles into Israeli neighborhoods, targeting civilians in their attempt to get Israel to change its settlement policy in Palestinian territory.

Joe Biden has long held during his half-century in public life that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East, yet the far-left within the Democratic Party are pressuring him to look more kindly on the terrorists who are demanding social justice.

I get their concern. I want Israel and the Palestinians to live in peace as much as anyone. I also believe the Israelis have shown sufficient patience at terrorists — such as Hamas — keep threatening the lives of Israeli civilians.

As the New York Times reported: Less than 24 hours later, on Friday, nearly 150 prominent liberal advocacy organizations issued a joint statement calling for “solidarity with the Palestinian residents” and condemning “Israeli state violence” and “supremacy” in Jerusalem.

Tensions Among Democrats Grow Over Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (msn.com)

Biden’s instincts are correct. He needs no lecture from those on the fringes of his party on how to deal with the Palestinians. Does he want a two-state solution? Yes. Does he want to stand in “solidarity” with Palestinians? That’s a dicey proposition, given this nation’s long-standing “solidarity” with Israel.

We should stand strongly with Israel while seeking a permanent peace in the region that knows unbearable heartache.

Where is outrage at Hamas?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Allow me this brief rejoinder to the criticism that’s being leveled at Israel over its airstrikes against the terrorists who have been launching rockets into civilian neighborhoods.

The Israeli air force has been hitting Hamas strongholds in reaction to the rockets that have flown into Bethlehem, into Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Askelon.

Critics have blasted the Israelis because some of their strikes have killed civilians. Make no mistake that I am horrified, too, that civilians have died in these strikes against Hamas. I detest the loss of innocent life in these military exchanges.

But where in the hell has been the outrage aimed at Hamas … which aims its rockets deliberately at civilian targets?

I had the high honor of touring Israel a dozen years ago and I saw up close the building requirements that Israeli homeowners must face. Those requirement mandate reinforced bomb shelters in every home, given that the nation sits a spitting distance away from forces bent on the destruction of their country.

The latest exchange in Israel must come to an end and I pray that it will. Israel, to my way of thinking, has shown incredible restraint in dealing with Hamas and other terrorists who take direct aim at women and children in their effort to destroy their country.

Heart bursts with conflicting emotion

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Twelve years ago this week I had the honor of beginning a marvelous journey through one of the world’s holiest — and deadliest — regions.

I accompanied four young West Texans to Israel on a Rotary International Group Study Exchange; once we arrived, we hooked up with another team of GSE members from The Netherlands. Today we are sharing our heartache at the video we all are watching from our homes as Israelis launch air strikes in retaliation of the rockets launched into sacred places by the terrorist group Hamas that governs Gaza.

You see, our journey through Israel took us to the doorstep of Gaza. We visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem. We toured all the quarters of the Old City. We walked along the Via Dolorosa where Jesus Christ strode 2,000 years ago, and we prayed on the Mount of Olives.

Now the region is being threatened once again by the horrifying terror that falls from the sky. Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. That is a fact. I will not argue the point in this brief blog post about why Hamas has decided to launch rockets into Israel.

I am going to express worry about the men and women we met along our marvelous journey. Are they safe? Have they been caught in the crossfire?

My friends with whom I traveled for those four weeks in Israel know of the love I have for them. I also have much love for the many people we met along our way through that holy place. We shared meals with them, we toasted them, we danced with them, we shared our life stories with them.

I am praying for their safety and for an end to the violence that keeps erupting in that holy and sacred land.

Time of My Life, Part 33: Hoping it would hit the fan

My career as a print journalist allowed me to do many remarkable things, and to see many remarkable places.

Two of those career elements came together a decade ago. I now will explain.

About two or three weeks after I reported for work at the Amarillo Globe-News, my boss — publisher Garet von Netzer — informed me that someone from the Rotary Club of Amarillo would call me and invite me to join that Rotary club. “We need to have someone in that club,” von Netzer said. Thus, I was slated to join the Rotary Club of Amarillo. When Garet von Netzer said I would join, well, I had no choice.

I got the invitation from the late Basil Walker. I joined and then settled into my membership. I made a lot of new friends. More than that, though, I developed many valuable sources for potential issues I might cover as editorial page editor of the Globe-News.

Some years later, in 2008, I applied for — and received — an appointment to lead a team of young professionals to Israel as part of Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange.

That journey illustrated how my career allowed me to travel abroad. I was able to travel twice to Southeast Asia; I traveled three times to southeastern Europe; as president of the Rotary club, I was allowed to travel to Denmark and Sweden to attend Rotary International’s annual convention in 2006.

Then came this Israel adventure.

I was torn while training with my team members for this event. In late 2008 and early 2009, violence erupted in Gaza. Hamas terrorists lobbed rockets on Israeli communities. The Israelis responded with brute force, inflicting considerable damage at quite a cost in human life.

If the Israeli counteroffensive were to continue, our trip might be canceled. My Rotary mentor — with whom I was working to prepare for the trip –told me that RI was working closely with the State Department monitoring the situation in early 2009.

Israel’s potent armed forces took control. They put down the Hamas uprising. Order — if not peace — eventually was restored.

Our trip commenced in May 2009. We would spend four weeks in Israel. We stood on the doorstep of the Gaza Strip. We looked down onto the valley below the Golan Heights. We stood below a fortified fence along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where another terror outfit, Hezbollah, was capable of doing damage.

For the entire four weeks, I harbored a wish; it wasn’t exactly a secret, although I don’t recall sharing it with our Israeli hosts. I wanted all hell to break loose while we were there.

No, I did not want to put our team in danger. I would have hoped we could get them on the next plane out and headed for home.

However, the reporter in me wanted to be able to cover events unfolding in real time.

It didn’t happen. Our journey was spectacular, even in the absence of violence and mayhem.

Don’t misunderstand me on this. I have never, ever harbored an instant of regret over the peace and tranquility we enjoyed while traveling through one of the world’s most thrilling nations.

If it had gone the other way, though . . . I was ready.

Hey, what about Bannon and the NSC?

It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the stories that pass through the light of intense publicity only to disappear into the darkness … as it relates to Donald John Trump’s administration.

Remember the story about Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart.com executive, alleged white nationalist, political adviser becoming a member of the principals committee on the National Security Council?

Bannon is still on the NSC. He’s still getting the regular briefings, sitting in a chair that should be filled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and the director of national intelligence. Trump demoted those two military and intelligence leaders in favor of partisan political animals such as Bannon.

He’s a political hack who serves on one of the most ostensibly non-political bodies in our massive federal government.

Why is this guy still there? Why is the new national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster sitting or standing still for this travesty?

Bannon doesn’t belong on the principals committee. He now serves as chief political adviser for the president. He fulfills an entirely different role, vastly separate from anything that the National Security Council does. The NSC’s role is to provide the president with keen, sharp and non-political analysis of national security threats. The national security adviser essentially is the chief administrative official of the NSC. From all that I’ve read and heard about Lt. Gen. McMaster, he appears to be a scholar with a superb military mind.

Bannon status as political hack in chief ought to disqualify him from such his posting as a member of the principals committee.

Yet this story stays hidden in the background.

What kind of advice does Bannon give the president when, say, a Middle East nation moves on another one? What kind of advice does he offer when North Korea lobs a missile into Seoul, South Korea? Or when Hamas starts firing ordnance from Gaza into neighborhoods in southern Israel?

Bannon offers no national security credibility. There he is, though. He’s perched among the other “principals” offering advice to the president of the United States.

This guy frightens the crap out of me.

How does a ‘one-state solution’ work?

Let’s revisit for a moment Donald J. Trump’s statement that backs away from a decades-old U.S. policy in support of a two-state solution for lasting peace in the Middle East.

The president, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he could support a “one-state solution” if both sides agree to it.

Hmmm. How would that work?

One side would be the Israelis. The Palestinians are on the other side. A one-state solution, I am going to presume, suggests that Israel would be the sovereign state that would operate under a peace agreement. How do you suppose the Palestinians — who say they want an independent sovereign state — would react to that? My take is that they wouldn’t stand for it.

This is why previous presidents of both parties have supported a two-state solution that would allow Israel and the Palestinians to live side by side.

Yes, there remains a huge hurdle to clear: The Palestinians must accept Israel’s right to exist and they must cease the terrorist attacks — launched by groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah — against Israeli citizens.

If there can be an accord reached, it appears that the only option is for a two-state solution.

Why, then, did the president back away from what all of his predecessors have sought for the embattled Middle East?

Trump: Who needs a ‘two-state solution’?

Donald J. Trump has performed yet another amazing diplomatic deed.

While visiting today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump managed to pull back from the United States’ traditional support for a “two-state solution” in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump now all but indicated he’d support a “one-state solution” that doesn’t allow a Palestinian state that could live peacefully with Israel.


I’ve long sought to give Netanyahu support in his fight against terrorists who keep bringing violence to Israel. I believe the Israelis deserve to protect themselves using any means necessary to defeat the forces of evil that seek to destroy their nation.

However, U.S. presidents of both political parties have been correct for decades in seeking a peace agreement that sets up an independent Palestinian state that would function alongside Israel.

I understand fully the difficulty facing Israel and the Palestinians in achieving a full-fledged peace. Terrorist groups operating in Gaza, which is run by the Palestinians, keep launching rockets and other ordnance against Israel. West Bank operatives keep bringing havoc as well.

However, to deny the Palestinians an opportunity to have their own state is an utterly insane strategy. It is counterproductive in the extreme. It would inflame the terrorists and it would result in continued violence, death, mayhem and heartache.

How do the two sides reach a “two-state accord”? I have no idea. Neither do the principals. However, they must continue the effort.

For the president of the United States — as the premier broker in seeking a lasting peace agreement — to forgo the search for such an agreement is irresponsible to a maximum degree.

As if it could get any crazier in the Middle East


So … you might be asking: How complicated can it get in the Middle East?

Here’s a thought: Al-Qaeda could become something of an “ally” of ours if the terror organization decides to train its guns on another terror organization.

You remember those guys, right? They flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and launched the current Global War on Terror. We hunted down Osama bin Laden and killed his sorry backside in Pakistan. We’ve been fighting al-Qaeda ever since.

Now we have the Islamic State to contend with. We’ve been taking those monstrous terrorists as well.

Now comes word that al-Qaeda might decide to go after the Islamic State in Syria.

Which of these terror cabals poses the greatest threat to the United States and our allies? Do we take sides?


Here’s a thought. Maybe we ought to just let al-Qaeda do what reports indicate it intends to do. The Shiite terror group might have determined that ISIL — the Sunni monsters — pose a grave threat to them.

The report attached to this blog post suggests al-Qaeda might seek to “compete” with ISIL for supremacy in the dark world of Middle East terrorists. What about, oh, Hezbollah and Hamas? Why not “compete” against them as well?

Of course we’re not going to take sides. Nor should we.

My own hope is that “compete” actually means to “fight,” which means one terror group is going to kill members of the other terror group.

If that’s what transpires, then let ’em fight.