# 256 – Letter from Germany by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 256 – Letter from Germany

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

July 9, 2014

So, what would you do? I’m at a conference in southern Germany. While the Middle East (which part? you ask) is again sinking into the bloody quagmire, I’m having dinner with an international group of dental dignitaries. Some have been to Israel, so that much of the  subject is that ‘wonderful country’. But the rumblings on the news bring up worried comments and questions. And I contribute ‘my opinion’.


Then, as 10.00 pm approaches, we gulp down our wonderful deserts and we men shift our seats to the large screen showing the Germany-Brazil semi-final. Enough said about that story.

Afterwards, I have reports to write. I needed to have long call with the US office. Another very late night. I don;t set the alarm. My morning is free; I can sleep it off.


But I do wake up at 6. Only 3 hours’ sleep. I have trouble closing my eyes again. Aviva calls me at 7. One of the rockets from Gaza last night, stopped by the Iron Dome system, would have fallen on Yehud, just 1 km from where one of my daughters lives.


While we are talking, the air raid siren goes off (there, not here), and Aviva has to move to the shelter. Later, on CNN, I am told that 2 rockets aimed at Tel Aviv were again stopped by the Iron Dome.

I call my daughters. Life there is ‘disrupted’.


I watch CNN (no other English-language news in this hotel. I should watch German channel – get another perspective). Ben Wiedemann is reporting from Gaza. (I am aware that he was slightly injured recently by the fighting). His report shows the damage. He tells of the home which received a warning to run. They didn’t. They went up on the roof as a defiant gesture, and 7 were killed. 2 children.


Later, CNN interviewed 1 from each side. The Palestinian concentrated on the fact that Israel has the 5th strongest army in the World, that the Palestinians are weak, throw stones, a couple of random rockets. Women and children killed. It’s not fair….


Am I the only one to see a pattern here? I am at least thankful that my family are, under these terrible conditions, as safe and protected as possible. We, with the 5th strongest army in the World, also make sure our defences are as tight as possible. We are not interested in using our families’ fatalities as statistics.

I am trying to hard to feel for them. When the victims are identified, when we see their burials, we feel.




Subject #1 – Those settlements. Again I had to defend last night. If/when Israel is criticised, the focus is usually the ‘illegal occupation’ and the settlements. Are you ready?….



In this day and age, when you start a war, and another, and another, against a fellow UN-member, defying a UN resolution clearly defining a state for either side, then it is YOUR ACTION which is illegal. And if you happen to lose those illegal and immoral wars, then you have to accept the consequences.


It was only after the 3rd war that Israel decided enough was enough, and settlements started.  Many had always felt that the ‘West Bank and Gaza’ were part of the ‘Land of Israel’, right from the beginning. But, dumb Jews, we accepted the UN decision to partition the land. And, for the umpteenth time mentioning, where were the criticisms when those same lands were occupied by Egypt and Jordan?


Where were the criticisms when, during those 19 years, there was NO religious freedom and there was real Apartheid. (Have you recently counted the number of Jews in Jordan, or interviewed members of the Jewish community on Egypt).

Gosh, how blind is the international community…..



The current World Cup illustrates how battles should be fought – as gentlemanly as possible. Same playing field, same rules, 4 respected officials, trying to speak the same language with the players. Even then, there are fouls, warnings, yellow cards and, occasionally, red cards. And there are bad decisions. Germany has still not forgotten the goal that wasn’t against England in 1966.


Yet the World insists we must find a way to make peace with the Palestinians. (Btw, I notice that most references to the current conflict diplomatically call it Israel vs Gaza or Israel vs Hamas..).



You may not like what I am saying/writing, but until the 2 antagonists (I’m being diplomatic – of course I mean the Palestinians) are on the same playing field, playing the same sport, with the same rules, there will not be peace.

Let’s start with the value of a life. When we agree on that, perhaps we can start talking.


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