About jamesrwhiatt

I am James R.W. Hiatt. I like to keep it classy, as my friends can attest to. I have aspirations of being the most interesting man in the world. In real life. I do, indeed, have a checklist. I can use semi-colons appropriately; I do so whenever I can. I hope my random musings are of some interest to you - and if nothing else - give you pause and provide a provocative and productive thought trail for your own contemplations.

On manliness and leadership

By way of a quick explanation: I wrote the following post for a friend’s son’s 16th birthday. All of the principles here in apply to both men and women equally. However, the audience was a soon-to-be 16-year-old boy and the gender pronouns are chosen with that in mind.

Reflections on Leadership and Manliness
One of the key attributes of manliness is leadership. Great men are always leaders among men. 

While there are many elements that comprise manliness, the nature of leadership is the most defining characteristic. To define leadership is to define manliness. The best way to define leadership to talk about the qualities that comprise it. I will be using one of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s essays on leadership as a general topical roadmap with a few notable additions, supplemented with my own thoughts on a variety of topics and quotations from many of the great minds and leaders in history. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive all encompassing definition or discussion of leadership or manliness. I am merely highlighting key points and parts from which further self-discovery and enlightenment can develop.

First, as a prerequisite and almost assumed set of axioms, Leadership requires a team to lead, and a cause or goal that the leader is guiding that team towards. 

1. Leadership is selfless dedication. A leader must be single-minded toward the task at hand, and value the cause and the team above one’s self. The leader is absolutely responsible for his team and should place their safety, and general well-being above his own. A Leader’s goal is always what is best for his team in spite of his own personal preferences, wants, or even needs. A leader is focused on his cause or goal and gives everything he has to accomplish it and to lead his team toward success. Doing ones best is the bare minimum allowed. Most leaders have a fair amount of pride, self-confidence, and ego yet a great leader realizes that those are secondary to the needs of the team and the cause. A great leader does not allow personal preference to color his judgment: he puts others needs first. A good leader remembers that while he is leading, he is not A person: he is a function. Therefore he does not take attacks or losses personally. He is able to respond calmly and De-escalate most situations. This is known a servant leadership. A great leader listens to his team and to his advisers and strongly considers what they are saying.

2. Leadership Requires courage and conviction in the value of the task at hand. These are derived from a clear and focused vision for the future based on reflection. They are derived from reflection on the best course of action and strategy. This clarity of vision combined with effective strategy creates a basis of intellectual authority and reason. This helps create a strong basis for your conviction. Courage is being brave in the face of fear and opposition. It is doing what’s right when no one else is looking and especially when everyone else is looking. Leadership is most effective when it sets an example of excellence. Courage flows from conviction. Courage and conviction provide certainty. Meditation and reflection on ethics and principles are the surest way to program ones instincts and native natural responses. If you know why something is right or wrong and you have already done that homework it is much easier to make quick defective decisions that are usually correct. The “what” is secondary to the “Why.”

3. Leadership requires fortitude of spirit: force of will. A man Who is convinced that he is doing the right thing must be willing to stand strong against opposition, and stay strong through reverses of fortune. He must be willing to rise from defeat and do battle again and again. He must never give up, for he knows that truth, beauty, and goodness are always worth fighting for. A leader knows that he must never compromise on principles, but compromise as much as is needed on methodologies and styles. A wise leader knows how to strike that delicate balance has the insight to tell the difference. A leader must be willing to learn from his mistakes, publicly admit when he was wrong, and then grow, discover, and explore anew. He must be willing to get back on his feet armed with this new enlightenment, and begin to fight again. Dare greatly so that if you succeed, you know the triumph of high achievement, and at worst if you fail, you failed boldly so that your place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Ignore critics, yet pay attention to counsel. Be anti-fragile: Refuse to be crushed; Refuse to accept failure. And never make excuses. Benjamin Franklin once said that, “he who is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

4. A Leader must be humble. He knows his worth and is proud of his accomplishments. However he also knows that he is but a man, equal to all other men. He knows that he is not God. He is willing to listen to the wise counsel of the team he has constructed around him. He places others before himself and knows their value. He treats people as ends in and of themselves, as all people are infinitely valuable. He sees his place in the universe and in society and in the organization. He sees that his responsibility as a leader is a sacred trust, not to be donned lightly. He knows that he is responsible for everything and everyone that happens in and around his purview. And he is grateful for the trust and responsibility given to him. A good leader always says thank you. A good leader takes responsibility for the mistakes and errors that he commits as well as for those of his subordinates. And he is Quick to give away the credit to his team. A good leader knows that a team’s performance reflects directly upon the leader. He knows that the reward of a thing is to have done it. He does not seek the limelight for himself except as necessary for the good of the team and the project or cause. A leader is generally gracious and polite because he values other people as equals. A leader is respectful, honest, fair, and just. A leader knows that reputation is really all that he has. And that reputation is built upon character. Honesty is the cornerstone of character. Honesty and character holds a man together in the worst of storms. Without his integrity he collapses. A Man is absolutely trustworthy. He inspires and is loyal himself. He is helpful to his colleagues, friends, betters, and subordinates. A man must be friendly and warm and open. A man must be courteous to all. Especially when it is difficult to do so. The most important quality any man or woman could possess is kindness. Kindness must be authentic and is based on empathy and a genuine care for other people. Niceness is easily forged and is inherently superficial and manipulative. Be kind. A leader knows how to follow and how to be obedient to his masters. His own obedience establishes a hierarchy of authority and a chain of command by example. Of course a leader also knows when and how to challenge his superiors when necessary. This, of course, is dictated by his principles and ethics in which he has already done much reflection. A leader sets the tone through his attitude: therefore cheerfulness is usually recommended. A good attitude covers a host of ills. A good leader is thrifty with his resources and manages his resources (both people and physical) strategically and well. He is not wasteful. A leader is also brave and reverent (respectful and humble) all of which we have already talked about at length. A leader is also clean: both physically and in integrity. He should be above reproach and without fault. If one can lead through example, one will find that the course ahead is much easier. 

5. A leader does thorough homework. He knows that knowledge is power: knowledge give him an edge and lends authority. A leader embraces lifelong learning and is curious about everything that he does not yet know. A Leader is well-rounded and commands a basic knowledge of many topics and, ideally, in depth knowledge on a few. A leader is constantly pushing himself to be better educated and engages in much self-study. You will have observed that As a Child, everyone focuses on teaching the child: Knowledge and information is handed directly to the child. However, as a man, people rarely teach or hand information and knowledge directly to the man. He is required to teach himself and to be intentional about growing his “mind-garden.”

6. A good leader attempts to persuade and enlist help whenever possible. He attempts to convince and use reason to diplomatically achieve his goals. He orders only when necessary. People work harder, give more of themselves, and feel better when they believe in a cause or in a man. morale depends upon your team’s good will and generosity. Persuasion generates these much more effectively. Leadership by persuasion and acceptance of team decisions to the contrary are the basis of democracy. A good leader asks and requests. A bad leader bosses.

7. A Good leader has a sound heart, a sound mind, a sound body, and a sound spirit. The heart is the emotions and creative self. It cares for the delicate and for others: it fights for beauty. A sound mind is the intellect and rational self. It cares and fights for ideas and truth. A sound body is the physical self: needs. The body looks out for itself and its own well-being. It provides for the physical and physiological needs and protects the rest. The spirit is one’s will: vision and courage. The will fights for goodness. The will also drives the mind, body, and soul. It is the charioteer guiding those three horses of self along the narrow Rocky Clifftop road of life. The will keeps the body mind and soul on the right track. General Patton said, “If you are going to win any battle you must do one thing: you must make the mind (will) run the body; never let the body tell the mind (will) what to do. The body is never tired unless the mind (will) is tired.”

A great leader knows that he is what he regularly does. Actions make the man. Aristotle builds upon this idea by saying that, “excellence then therefore is not an act but a habit.” Make excellence your habit. Right action and right feeling flows from right thought. If you change the thoughts you change the man. However, as artists, we know that if we change the feelings we can change the thoughts. Therefore “you must hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.” (Henry Ward Beecher). “Resolve to perform what you ought, perform without fail what you resolve.” Benjamin Franklin

8. Great leaders delegate. General Patton said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you.” Surround yourself with brilliant and talented teams of people who have many conflicting ideas: make sure they are a well-rounded and diverse group. They will provide thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and reasons that you would never think of on your own and will provide the fodder you need to rise the highest possible level. Never be afraid to be the dumbest, least talented, least connected, least wealthy, least interesting person in a room, For what an incredible room that is! Iron sharpens iron. Seek out excellence, and you will inadvertently begin to emulate the qualities that make them excellent. Excise and discard all mediocrity. Mediocrity only serves to act as an anchor and drag you down to its own level. Never tolerate mediocrity. Only settle for your best, and the best of your team. Perfection and miracles are the bare minimum. A Leader is only as good as his team: the better one’s team, the better one leads. 

9. Inspirational quotes

The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. – Eisenhower

A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of it. – MLK

The price of greatness is responsibility. – Churchill 

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being. -Goethe

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply: With greater vision; with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. And you impoverish yourself if you forget that. – Woodrow Wilson

We will either find a way or make one. – Hannibal

Victory belongs to the most persevering. -Napoleon

In Every battle there comes a time in both sides consider themselves beaten. Then he who continues the attack wins. – Grant

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. – Churchill

The Chief cause of failure in life is sacrificing what you want the most for what you want at the moment.

Discipline is the denial of self for future gain. – Peter Kerr
10. The secret to happiness

The secret to happiness is to ignore it entirely. Do not pursue happiness: the surest way to be miserable is to seek happiness. Happiness was never intended to be an objective. Happiness is a symptom: it is the byproduct of a well-lived life. It is the result of living a good life. Living a good life is not necessarily easy, it is not necessarily full of wealth, nor is it necessarily particular successful. Here is how one lives a good life: be kind to others and yourself. Seek and fight for truth, beauty, and goodness with excellence. Don’t strive for merely being good: be excellent. Seek perfection. Truth is honesty. It is fact. Truth is integrity. Truth is not feeling or opinion. Beauty is life, art, song, love, elegance. It is delicate, and fragile. Goodness is kind, humble, and loyal. Truth, Beauty, goodness require protection. They require men to lead the defense of them. As you seek truth, beauty, and goodness you will realize how intertwined and interconnected they are. You will begin to see them as three facets of the same universal reality: each distinct yet the same. Live your life in excellence: Grow! Strive for perfection. Live in Purity of mind, and deed. 
Vincit qui se Vincit: he conquers, who conquers himself. 
11. There are also a couple of other specific things you can do to grow as a man, as a leader, and to assist you in living a good life. You Must do these in some form every day.

There are 8. things that I attempt to do every day: 

1. Create something: paint, whistle, doodle, play an instrument. It doesn’t have to be good. Just create something that never existed before. 

2. Consume information, art, science, politics, tv, film, and anything else that strikes your fancy. 

3. Experience everything that you can. Adventure.

4. Schedule unstructured Play. 

5. Dream and Meditate or Pray, preferably in nature. Reflect. 

 6. Enjoy good food and drink, or other pleasurable non-destructive vices. 

 7. Have great conversations: connect to at least one person in a meaningful way. 

8. Exercise your body. 

9. Do something intentionally productive. Achieve something. Winning begets winning.

-JRWH, 3/16/16
 

The Purpose and Function of Government

What is the purpose and function of Government?

The first obvious function is to help create an environment in which people can create and live a good life.

Government’s responsibility is to provide a framework and ecosystem that supports its citizens living a good life.

This necessitates a few things.

First, we must understand Human Nature to first understand what is a good life for a human.

So, what are humans? We are a being comprised of Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit.

{I have written extensively on my theory of the Quadripartite nature of humanity before, but as a quick refresher:
1. Body – The physical and biochemical processes of matter and energy dictated by physics and biology.
2. Mind – The rational conscious thinking part of ourselves.
3. Soul – the creative and emotional part of ourselves. (Not a religious/eternal soul). Part of the subconscious.
4. Spirit – Will, desires, inner power, character, instinct. Part of the subconscious.}

(I am Not going to argue for that breakdown here, as I have done it many times before. It is here merely as a reference to my building blocks and foundation of thought.)

We are beings in relationship to the Universe: We relate to the physical world around us, to nature. We relate to the people around us: to society and our community. We relate to ourselves. We relate to our concept of the divine, be that God, the Muses, Enlightenment, etc. Our individual Relationships constitute the essential truth of ourselves. How we behave and desire to behave toward all of those elements is at the core essence of who we are.

We are Free Will beings of matter and energy living in a physical world that we impact through our choices. We be, while we become. We have physical biochemical needs that keep us alive. We have emotional/creative/psychological/intellectual needs that give us quality of life. We feel a need to have some overarching purpose. We experience time linearly and thus create narratives of our lives. We constantly develop this narrative and accept or reject pieces and parts based on how they fit. Some pieces we have forced into our narratives, and we then must adjust our story to accommodate it. We are social beings. We thrive in a society, and while we can survive completely on our own, we are much more efficient and are better able to meet our needs in a community of our choosing.

We are beings that start with some limited processing power that grow and develop through time in response to stimuli. Our early years are quite formative. Our environment (socio-economic, actual climate, rural/city, country, intellectual, worldview, memes, etc) and relationships all impact the stories we tell ourselves.
Events happen to us, and we process them, creating narratives around them, which are informed by our past experiences, and how others teach us to react to them.

We are creatures that seek pleasure, and tend to avoid pain. We seek fulfillment. We tend to be creatures of habit. We Create and build. We also destroy and ruin. We desire. We crave and need love, and to feel and be empowered in our lives. We seek happiness. We seek to live a good life, by whatever standard we have constructed/been taught. We seek to do good actions, and be good people. We usually seek to live lives of character and integrity, for a variety of reasons. Humans have traditionally been religious beings seeking answers to large questions of meaning, purpose, and living well, outside the physical universe in the realm of the metaphysical and Theological. Due to biology, the normal basic family unit consists of a father and a mother and a child. This, of course expands, and permutates in infinite complexity. Humans tend to bond and feel most strongly about those closest to them in appearance and DNA. Next, they bond through shared experience and taste. Thirdly, they bond through affiliation with tribes, clubs, teams, etc without real prior personal contact.

Humans need Food, Shelter, Protective clothing (personal and portable shelter), oxygen, water, excretion, and general homeostasis in order to merely survive. Sex is important to create and build family units, and propagate the species. These things in proper balance provide health. Proper shelter usually turns into property. The tools by which you gain these basic needs are the most important possessions toward self determination. Shelter grants physical safety for both you and your family. Security of employment means that you can have the means to secure the aforementioned needs. Being able to protect your self and your family means that you have the ability to continue to survive. When your physiological and emotional needs and security are covered, we can have a stable family life, and develop friendships and intimacy with our family and community. This in turn creates confidence and respect for ourselves and others. It allows us the ability to succeed and achieve, if we are so inclined. At this point, our lives are functioning so well, we can create and appreciate creation. We can enjoy leisure, and be spontaneous. We can see possibilities, not just actualities. We can philosophize. In short we can attain our highest personal potential. In rare cases, some people short circuit these, and go out of order, but throughout history, the vast majority of people function this way.

Speaking of Sexuality, humans generally are either male or female, and generally sexually desire the opposite. Now, there obviously are genetic aberrations and socialized differences. Humans, though we tend to be, are not only sexually binary. There are scores of other variations upon the theme. However, the binary propagation model tends to be the normal standard. There is no right or wrong here. It merely is.

We are much more than this. We explore, we discover, we go new places and seek new things. We are curious about the unknown. We also fear it. We are brave. We are courageous. We are timid. We are loyal to our groups, and fiercely protective of them. We can yet transcend our identities and our groups, though. We can see generals, and infer specifics, and vice versa. We can learn and grow. We seek to change and grow in as much as we seek stability and comfort, and to remain the same.

We are spontaneous, impulsive, and creatures of habit and routine. We are logical, based on known quantities and we are erratic and insane. We see the world as we have been taught to see it, and we can see it as we want it to be. We have vast imaginations that create new possibilities and impossibilities.

We want everything, and nothing.

We destroy. we seek conquest, power, and glory.

We seek immortality, and devise a myriad of ways to achieve it. We fear death, and the idea that there is nothing beyond what we see and feel. We are faced with our own mortality, and insignificance.

We seek to glorify ourselves. We seek to propagate our name through works or through children. We seek to provide for our future immortality lineage.

We take what doesn’t belong to us for them. We think that we deserve rewards for goodness. We do evil things. We think that the world works in certain ways, and we delight and fear the surprises that expectation brings.

Humans are complicated. We think. We feel. We act. Or not. We destroy ourselves and enjoy the destruction. We build ourselves, and love the work. Or we hate all of those things.

What are humans? What are we? We are all of these things and much more.

So, what is the purpose of Government?

Proper and healthy Government is supposed to create an environment in which we can become fully human and reach our fullest human potential, by regulating each other to prevent the unjust exploitation of each other through a system of checks and balances, and watched watchers that answers to the people, is created by the people and is comprised of the people in order to best care for each other and protect each other from each other, in a global community. It is ideal to create a government that allows maximum personal freedom to self-determine our own individual purpose and fulfillment and allow us each the freedom of self-discovery and maximum personal development and growth. This personal realization of potential is great for everyone, for it helps foster an environment of success. Our greatest potential can only be realized in a community. Our greatest potential helps the maximum amount of people in the world. Everyone has a different potential.

Thus the true purpose of Government is to help us each discover our highest potential, and to create an environment in which everyone can potentially discover their highest potential. Our highest potential might be called living “the good life.”

Our highest potential is that which helps the most people in the greatest manner, while providing a sense of fulfillment, and purpose. How can we best positively impact all of our relationships (Divine, IntraPersonal, Societal, environmental, and cosmological)?

How can we most fully create the best possible version of ourselves?

It starts by being people of our word. All character flows from commitment to honesty, and doing what we say we will do, every time. Being trustworthy is the foundation to all other character traits. Foundational in that honesty is a respect of the human dignity and the view of absolute human equality. We respect our equals. We value those equal to us, and thus honor them with our honesty. If all men and women are equal, then we must unequivocally be honest and deal with them as equals. We treat others as we want to be treated because they are equal to us. We help our equals and are kind in the way we want to be helped and have kindnesses done to us. Loyalty, friendliness, conscientiousness, patience, gentleness, discipline, courteousness, cheerfulness, bravery, cleanliness, etc all stems from treating others as equals: the way that we want to be treated. These are the basis of integrity and character. All proper morality and ethics must stem from this basis of human nature and equality. It is more than just a trite truism, it is a foundational truth that underpins all Law, Ethics, Morality, Social Contracts, and social dealings.

So, with these foundational truths as a basis, What is the purpose of Government? How does it look?

Government originated through tribal nomads. The family unit was the original basis of government. Families and small groups were able to diversify their talents and secure the basic necessities. Because strength secured the ability to breathe, get food, build shelter, choose better choices, and maximize freedom, strength was originally most prized. Strength allowed the ability to have freedom. Strength also gave the ability to take freedom away from others, and to take their resources. Wisdom quickly developed as an alternative, and soon whomever held both wisdom and strength ruled the tribe of families, and later cites, then city-states, then kingdoms, and empires. Wisdom alone is not enough to rule. Strength must necessarily be a part of it. Wisdom also governed Strength’s targets, timing, tactics, and reasons for attacking. It also countered other Strength’s attacks. Thus Government was born to lead people to safety and security, as well as to protect against outside uses of strength. It is very difficult for one man to grow food, build shelter, and care for all of his needs with any long term stability. More people meant that more tasks could be outsourced to others who were better and more productive at certain tasks. At first, all was held in common, and the Patriarch ensured that all received what they needed or at least received a fair share. As groups grew larger, it became increasingly difficult for one person to arbitrate and to ensure universal dispersion of resources to the needy. Trading the fruits of the labors became currency. Hard work creating desired resources necessary to the survival of the tribe became important. And with the burgeoning trades came people who helped the suppliers get their goods to the demanders. And relative value currency was created to help arbitrarily evaluate the relative value of one good to another, or one service to a good. Government helped ensure that this ran smoothly, and took a tax as payment for creating a safe environment in which to trade, without fear of robbery, cheating, or other hazards to livelihood. It also became necessary to create arbitration and means of recourse for wrong doing. Thus courts were born, and legal standards that were held as equal for all men. No men were above the law, not even kings or government. It created a standard of punishments as deterrents and a system of justice. Also, in primitive societies, Kings had counselors who gave recommendations to the ruler on how they thought society was best run, or on matters of immediate policy or danger. In early societies, this was a counsel of elders elected by the people to speak for them, and represent their interests around the counsel fire as matters of grave import were discussed and decided on. The king could either reject or accept their counsel, but often found that his rule was easier if he listened to the popular votes of his counselors. He found that they became his careful allies and helped convince people of long term strategy and of what was truly in the tribe’s best interest.

Thus, the basis of a democratic republic has its foundations in the earliest forms of human government. Our three branch system has existed in one form or another, with varying degrees of balance since the earliest tribal nomadic days of human history.

The King casts a vision for his people, and makes decisions with much input from the popular representatives and counselors, while a court system arbitrates disputes, and ensures that the King and Counselor’s decisions are based on precedent, and law, and are in the best interests of the country.

In the earliest tribes, people all lived as one. They all either starved, or feasted. When there was plenty, everyone succeeded. When there was famine, everyone starved. Everyone lived and died as a unit. They cared for each other, and made sure that everyone was cared for. If someone didn’t have enough, or have what they needed, their contribution was significantly diminished, so it was in everyone’s best interests to make sure that everyone was properly taken care of. As the support net has grown, the individual impact of successes and failures has diminished. It is spread out over a much larger area. It has become easy to ignore the devastation of others’ lives. It has become easy to ignore those who are starving, who are naked, who have no water, or who have no shelter or home. They have no means of contributing to society, for they are often ostracized.

What a job really is is a means to contribute to the success of the whole. Can you hunt? Can you cook? Can you farm? Can you create art? Do you build fire? Do you craft tools? DO you watch children? etc. How do you contribute? If a stranger wanders in out of the cold, and is naked, without food, and is sick, get him warm. Feed him, heal him, then figure out how he can contribute to the whole.

All that democratic socialism proposes is to help the people who cannot feed themselves, who are sick, and can’t heal themselves, and who have no homes, and cannot build one do these things. Once you care for the body, you can care for the spirit and mind and will. When these things are cared for, we can help them become a productive and contributing member to society. This is the central and core tenant. Help people survive long enough and raise themselves up to no longer worry about the basic essentials of life. Then habilitate them toward meaningful productivity and contribution.

The purpose of Government is to help people live the good life. Other people create the environment in which you live. If you help others, or empower others to help others, all of those others will help you create a better environment in which you can grow and live a good life. When the tide rises, so do all of the little boats.

Streamlining Immigration is about helping people become good citizens that can contribute to the overall well being – combining the other tribes resources into our own. Universal Healthcare is about the developing a populace that doesn’t need to fear disease and be destroyed by it. Welfare, the same purpose. Foreign Policy should be about how best to help the whole world live the good life, for that helps us life a good life.

Government is merely the extension of ourselves to help us live a good life, and to help others live a good life, and that requires that we contribute to the betterment of the government and society. It means that the way to best maximize our personal freedom and benefit is to force each other to pull our own weight and the weight of the cart. The role of government is to help get everyone off of the cart, and get everyone running toward a better tomorrow, without leaving anyone behind.

Let us help each other reach our maximum potential. We really don’t have a choice, if we want to truly be free.

On first principles to guide all else: a beginners guide to effective decision-making

If you are ever at a loss what to do, always return to the basic and most important principles of life. Build a logical case from them, and you will soon know the answer.

The first and most important axiom must be this:

1.Love people, and be kind.

All other principles flow from this.

The next principle is thus:

2. Be a man/woman of your word.

2A. Always make sure you give your word in accordance with principle #1. Be Trustworthy.

2B. Reward Trustworthy people with loyalty. This is positive reinforcement of the love principle.

2C. Your word, and your reputation is all that you have. Everything else around you flows from that. Your reputation flows from your integrity and your character.

2C1. Words have power. What you communicate and how you communicate it to others can either create or destroy whole worlds and civilizations.

2C2. Learn to speak and communicate well. Then make sure you choose the appropriate words and concepts in your communication that are most effective for communicating with your audience.

2C3. This is the foundation for high standards of educational excellence. No one will be able to communicate well if they have nothing to communicate about. Thus we must teach as many important concepts and information The high standard to everyone. A good foundation education universally held, would create an incredible, powerful, and wonderful world Full of creators shaping the universe.

3. Be helpful. People who love, and are kind will be naturally helpful.

3A. Helpful and loving people do their works with Friendly courtesy. Manners matter. One must be polite.

3A1. Proper manners and care for others means respecting authority and the hierarchy in place. People have risen to where they are thru much hard work and discipline.

3A1a. It would follow that courtesy would dictate honoring their achievements and feelings about those achievements.

3A1b. Honor your mother and father.

3A1c. Cheerful obedience to your superiors is then the right course of action and proper attitude in which to do it.

3B. People are ends in and of themselves, not merely means to an end. Respect others, and be reverent toward their beliefs and ideas.

3B1. Bravery means putting others first, above yourself, in spite of fear. This follows from love. This places an extreme value on the other person. When everyone is brave for everyone else, miracles happen, and the insurmountable obstacle becomes an ant hill.

3B2. Being wise financially cares for your family, or future family, and honors the society that crafted you and gave you the opportunity to become what you are. Being thrifty shows respect for yourself, your office, your peers, and your community.

3B2a. Proper Resource stewardship is essential for thriving and prospering. Benjamin Franklin said “Waste not, want not”. This applies to individuals, families, society, and humanity. Do universe operates in cycles. Some periods of plenty, some of lean. Stewardship allows you to always care for your responsibilities and needs.

3B2b. Proper stewardship of your own resources also instills trust in others that if they give you resources of their own to manage that you will care for them equally well. This ensures future prosperity for you or people will always need others to help them care for their own things.

3B2c. Be grateful for everything that you have, and every resource an opportunity that you can take advantage of. Approach all things with an attitude of Grace, thanks, dignity, and appropriate humility.

3C. Be clean. Take care of yourself and those around you by practicing good hygiene. It also keeps society safe from disease, and generally creates a more pleasant experience for all.

4. Part of loving others is Wanting the best for others.

4A. Hold everyone around you to a high standard.

4A1. Integrity and character matter. They are the foundation of a good relationship with yourself, others and society.

4A2. The best way to maintain integrity is through interpersonal Accountability. Others watch us and hold us to our greatness, and we must do the same for others.

5. Relationships constitute essential truth.

5A. Our first relationship is with ourself.

5A1. Our first relationship is to our conscious mind and perception of self. Maintain a healthy conception of self: proper self-worth and esteem are essential. Let them be neither too large or too small. Know your place in the world. Know your capabilities and your authentic self. Love yourself. Be self aware. Challenge and grow your intellect. A happy mind is an active mind.

5A2. Next is our subconscious mind and creativity. Make sure to stimulate your subconcious with interesting thoughts snd ideas. Meditate, enjoy and create art and music. No that what you see and experience resonates in rebounds and resounds inside you long after the experience itself fades away. Cultivate a healthy unconscious by caring for the content you consume. What goes in to your subconscious will always find its way and express itself in the conscious.

5A3. Finally, care for your sense of right and wrong. Care for your ambitions. Take care of your dreams and your ethics. This is the source of your will which in turn is what allows you to accomplish anything. This is the home to your integrity from which every other aspect of yourself flows. Mind your garden.

5A4. Next we must care for our body. You must exercise appropriately. Eat healthily. Only use drugs tobacco and alcohol in moderation. Have Quality beautiful sex as often as you ethically can. Care for your health. For your health is a slave to time, and they are your only true resources of much value.

5B. Our second relationship is with others.

5B1. Our first relationship is with our family. They are the most important relationships and the only ones bound by blood. Your bloodline matters. Your genetic connection matters. You are the result of millions of years of chance and circumstance and love. You bear your ancestors history inside of you. You carry the hopes and dreams and ambitions and achievements of thousands of people inside of you. Care for your family. Families are the basic societal unit. No one will care for you more deeply, irrationally, or more personally than your family. Your closest friends are the family that you choose. This also goes for husbands and wives. They are adopted family members which is no less significant. Sexual partners become a part of you and you become a part of them through the exchange of genetic material. Similarly so: blood pact brothers.

5B2. The next round of relationships is your connection to your immediate community. This could be virtual and online, or could be more traditional such as Townhall, or interest groups, or hobbyists. These relationships create a well-rounded and safe society.

5B3. Next, we have society as a whole. Society can do things for you that your family cannot. However it is a two Way Street: you are expected to do things for society that might not personally benefit you or your family. This ensures a longevity of the species.

5C. Finally we have a relationship to nature and the universe. It is our home. It is the future home of our children. We must care for the environment for it’s direct impact in our own lives and the lives of our children and the lives of our family friends and community society and species. Just also care for the universe as a whole as it allows us to see our true nature and true place. When we stare into the depths of the universe from the dock of our own planet, we really look at a mirror and discover our sense of the sublime. We see who we truly are.

6. The way things are is not necessarily the way things ought to be.

6A. Vision is required to dream of and see a better world that no one else can see.

6B. Leadership is required to cast that vision in front of others and capture their imagination and ensure their willingness to assist in the realization of that vision.

6B1. Leadership requires a community.

6B1A. Power is always given or granted by the community being lead. It is never self generated.

6B1B. It can be coerced or manipulated to be gotten, but if it is seized that way, as soon as the veil is lifted, the power vanishes.

6B2. Love and Integrity must be at the core of all leadership.

6C. If you are not a person of vision or leadership, do not despair. Your contribution is absolutely essential. You assist in the realization of those visions buy those men of leadership. We all play a part, and we each have a role.

7. Balance thought and action. We must of course give great thought and analysis to all matters great and small, but we must find the balance between that analysis paralysis that could result and actually achieving and accomplishing.

7A. Your instincts flow from your subconscious. If you have cared for your subconscious mind properly, when it is time to act, if you have done your basic analysis and thought, you will know what to do.

7B. Virgil said that Fortune favors the bold. What he meant by this is that we must be people of action. No one ever did anything or achieved anything nearly by merely thinking about it. However no one ever did anything Or achieved anything worth doing without thinking about it first.

7B1. When you make a decision, let the decision be final. Do not agonize over it. Be bold and adventurous with that decision. Take responsibility for every decision that you make, and every action that you take. The world around you is the way that it is because of you.

7B2. Do not cease analyzing after you act, however. Every action will cause reactions. Those reactions must be analyzed and considered. Sometimes those reactions will necessitate a course correction. Sometimes it is better to stay the course and let things work themselves out. If you are unsure which is the correct course of action, let me advise you to consider your first principles from which you were acting and put your intuition and powers of analysis and integrity to bear on this solution.

Epilogue:
I could continue expanding and unpacking these and other principles into various other permutations and applications, but I believe this is a fairly solid initial foray into a functional foundation for decision-making. It is a rather solid basis for anyone’s immediate growth. Most of these concepts are very basic, and you could write many books on each topic. But as an overview, I believe that it is fairly comprehensive.

May you have the best of luck in all your future endeavors.

Continuity of Self: Or Connect-the-Dot Causal Probability String in Our Cloud of Potential Being

alicedali12Rebecca Goldstein asks: “Personal identity: What is it that makes a person the very person that she is, herself alone and not another, an integrity of identity that persists over time, undergoing changes and yet still continuing to be — until she does not continue any longer, at least not unproblematically?”

Are we the same person that we were 10 years ago? I am going to make the slightly ridiculous case that you are not you. What is human identity? If you replace every element of a car, is it still the same car? Should your ownership title still apply?

1. Every 7 years, every cell in your body has been replaced.
2. Your taste, aesthetics, preferences, beliefs, etc have all changed, either subtly, or dramatically. Your movies, music, palate, etc are all different.
3. Your memories are not your own, alicedali3or even necessarily accurate, and your memories change as well. Every time after the first time you remember something, you are remembering a memory of an event, and not the event. Many studies have shown how memories are easy to change, and still believe that they are valid.
4. The way that you perceive the universe and the world changes.
5. The way you perceive yourself has changed.
6. Your relationships with the divine, with nature, the surrounding world, and your friends and family has dramatically changed.
7. Your possessions have changed.
8. Your place in space and time has obviously and cosmically changed.

What gives us any continuity of being? Nothing. There is not a single thing about you, that gives any real continuity to your being.

The only thing you can argue for is the connectedness of all of these elements through time, but if time is like gravity, and merely exists without any flow, and it is only our limited perceptions that interpret these sensations and observations as time, then we exist in an alicedali8eternal now, like Schrödinger’s cat, where all of these elements are a cloud of probability, and depending on which date in the cloud you randomly pick, determines which accidental causal cluster of truths about an individual exist at that probability point. Every moment of your life corresponds to an infinite point in the infinite probability cluster which is your life: each of the above 8 variables in every permutation and possible configuration, all existing around a hole in the nexus that is you. Effectively, if time is the eternal now, we become like the electron cloud model. The electrons effectively exist in all and none of the points at the various energy levels above the atom. Imagine each facet of your life as its own “shell”. Then you exist in every possible and impossible configuration of every moment of your life.

You have no continuity of existence,alicedali5 only probability and a seemingly causal link between the various points, like a giant cosmic connect the dots.

Thus you like spinach and hate spinach. You love blue, and hate plus. You are dead, and you are alive. You are all that you have been and all that you will be right now. For there is only the eternal now. The trick is to decide which probability dot strand you wish to create and then actualize it through your will. Most is unconscious and is the product of random chance, or pre-existing causal conditions that tilt the probability toward certain states of being. However, the human will is the only force in the universe that can correct for probability and bend the possible universes and possible states of being into the probable universe and state of being. Every little choice we make and every course correction we make adjusts the connect-the-dot causal probability string in our cloud of potential being and determines our fate and destiny.

alicedali2The only people who are controlled by destiny/fate/stars/crystals/demons/gods/etc are those who unconsciously or consciously allow themselves to be controlled and have their connect-the-dot causal probability string determined entirely by forces outside of themselves. Don’t merely be a droplet in the ocean: be a quantum entangled droplet.

On the continuity of self? There is none. We merely .

alicedali13

Nonsense: an exercise

I want the stars on my insides.

Deeperin is furtherout.

Tarpaulin and feathers: comfy cocoon or barbaric execution

The squirrel is on the ax

Carpet on the ceiling

How much does the world weigh?

Lava sqeeging between my toes!

Doors keep people out and let them in.

The tree stole my pie

Round and round and down it goes where it stops noon hat

Using just war theory would make our foreign policy so much better

“According to just war theory, wars may be undertaken only for just causes like the protection of innocent human life. War must be undertaken as a last resort. It must be waged by a legitimate public authority. There must be a reasonable probability of success. And war cannot unleash greater evils than inaction.”

What was the last truly justified war? Operation Desert Storm? Certainly WWII is, but after that?

The History of Israel and Palestine from 1200 AD-Present

In order to have a legitimate opinion on the Israel Palestine problem, you should first brush up on the history of Israel and Palestine. A cursory Old Testament/Diaspora understanding is sufficient to get you up to the History of Israel starting in about 1200AD when the Turks initially wrest control away from the Egyptians.

“In the middle of the thirteenth century the power of the Turkish Mamluks in Cairo was supreme and a new regime emerged, the Mamluk Sultanate, which ruled Egypt and Syria until 1517. In 1260, after a period of confusion following the death of the last Ayyubid, a Qipchaq Turk called Baybars became Sultan. His career in many ways forms an interesting parallel with that of Saladin. He united Muslim Syria/Palestine and Egypt into a single state, this time more permanently. He defeated the external enemies of that state, repulsing Mongol invaders from the east and crushing all but the last remnants of the Crusaders in Syria.”Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History p. 169-170 Oxford University Press, 1993

“Palestine was divided mainly between two of the six provinces of Syria, the province of Damascus and that of Safed. Mameluk officers, appointed as governors, were independent of each other and directly responsible to the sultan, in Cairo… No details exist of the size and composition of Palestine’s population under the mameluks.” Moshe Sharon, “Palestine under the Mameluks and the Ottoman Empire (1291-1918),” The History of Israel and the Holy Land p. 278, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001

“In the 15th century, instability plagued Mamluk rule: internal corruption, the continued Mongol threat, Bedouin incusions, and bad economic policies all combined to deliver a blow to the Mamluk economy and military, from which they were not able to recover.” Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History p. 172 Oxford University Press, 1993

“In a short, sharp war in 1516-1517, the Ottomans overthrew the tottering Mamluk sultanate which had dominated Egypt, Syria, and western Arabia for two and a half centuries and brought these lands under their rule.” Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 114 Scribner paperback, 1995

“In 1517 the Ottomans won their final victory over the Mamluks, and for four hundred years Syria and Egypt formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Soon the Barbary States [Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli] as far as the frontiers of Morocco accepted Ottoman suzerainty [overlord-ship], and with the Ottoman conquest of Iraq from Iran in 1534, almost the whole Arabic-speaking world was under Ottoman rule.” Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History p. 167 Oxford University Press, 1993

“Soon after the conquest, the Ottomans joined Palestine to the province of Syria, whose capital was Damascus. Palestine itself was divided into five districts, or Sanjaks, each named after its capital; the Sanjak of Gaza, which was the southernmost one, and to the north of it the Sanjaks of Jerusalem, Nablus, Lajjun, and Safed. A Turkish officer was placed at the head of each Sanjak, with the title of Sanjak Bey or Sanjak Beg. The Sanjak Beg of Gaza was the highest-ranking governor in Palestine…All the five Sanjak Begs of Palestine were subordinate to the Beilerbeg, the ‘Beg of Begs’, of Damascus.” Moshe Sharon, “Palestine under the mameluks and the Ottoman Empire (1291-1918),” A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 283,286, Contunuum Publishing Group, 2001

“The Jewish population of Jerusalem increased from around 5,000 in 1839 to about 10,000 by the late 1850s.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 21, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“Under Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1876-1909, important changes took place in Palestine. Abdul-Hamid encouraged modernization in communications, education, and the military in order to strengthen his control. When he began his rule, Palestine had no railroad, hardly any carriage roads, and no developed port. There were few medical services, and disease and illiteracy were widespread. Within a few years of Abdul-Hamid’s accession, new roads were opened, and European companies completed a railroad between Jerusalem and Jaffa in 1892 and another between Haifa and Deraa, Transjordan, in 1905. In reorganizing the Ottoman Empire and attempting to strengthen central control by using European engineers and investors, the sultans, paradoxically, encouraged the very European penetration of Palestine they were seeking to prevent.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 19, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The first small group of the new movement, known as Chibbat — or Chovenei-Zion (Lovers of Zion) — numbering fourteen and including one woman, landed at Jaffa on July 7, 1882.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 26, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The French philanthropist Baron Edmond de Rothschild bought land from the Arab effendis (landowners), now and then using bribes to do so, and drove the fellahin (peasants) off the land. They were then replaced by Jewish settlers. By 1900 he had subsidized over 350 families and 19 Jewish settlements.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 26, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The second wave of Jewish immigration, which began in 1904, was made up of many young Russian pioneers who were committed to a return to the land. The new pioneers were strongly influenced by socialist ideas, and many belonged to the Poalei-Zion (Socialist or Labor Zionist) party that was formed between 1903 and 1906. Among the leaders of this group were David Ben-Gurion and Izhak Ben-Zvi.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 26, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“By 1914, there were about forty Jewish settlements in Palestine, owning about 100,000 acres. According to Justin McCarthy, in his study of the population of Palestine, the total population at that time was approximately 722,000, of whom approximately 60,000 were Jews.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 27, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The Ottoman Empire entered WWI in November 1914 on the side of Germany and Austria, and against England, France and Russia.” Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 315, Warner Books Inc, 1991

In 1916 Husayn, the sharif of Mecca of the Hashimite family, came out in revolt against the Ottoman sultan, and an Arab force, recruited partly from beduin of western Arabia and partly from prisoners or deserters from the Ottoman army, fought alongside the allied forces in the occupation of Palestine and Syria. This movement had followed correspondence between the British and Hysayn, acting in contact with Arab nationalist groups, in which the British had encouraged Arab hopes of independence (the McMahon-Husayn correspondence, 1915-1916).” Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 316, Warner Books Inc, 1991

“An Anglo-French agreement of 1916, while accepting the principle of Arab independence laid down in the correspondence with the sharif Husayn, divided the area into zones of permanent influence (the Sykes-Picot Agreement, May 1916); and a British document of 1917, the Balfour Declaration, stated that the government viewed with favor the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, provided this did not prejudice the civil and religious rights of the other inhabitants of the country.” Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 318, Warner Books Inc, 1991

“On 28 June 1917, General Allenby was appointed commander of the British Army in the Middle East, and he mounted an attack aimed at breaking the Turkish lines in Palestine and Syria and arriving at the rear of the Turks in Anatolia. On 31 October 1917, he captured Beersheba and moved northwards, whilst the Germans and Turks were attempting to create a line of defence around Jerusalem. Allenby quickly pressed forward towards the north in two columns passing through the Judaean desert. He engaged the joint Turkish-German army in a fierce battle which took place to the west of Jerusalem on 8 and 9 December 1917 and, having defeated them, he approached Jerusalem, dismounted from his horse and entered the Holy City on foot, to be welcomed by its inhabitants. In September 1918 the other parts of Palestine were occupied. A new era then began in Palestine. Taken out of Ottoman hands, it entered into the British Mandate period, which continued for the next thirty years.” Moshe Sharon, “Palestine under the Mameluks and the Ottoman Empire (1291-1918),” A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 322, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001

“The League of Nations divided the territory [formerly under Ottoman rule] into new entities, called mandates. The mandates would be administered like trusts by the British and French, under supervision of the League, until such time as the inhabitants were believed by League members to be ready for independence and self-government… The mandate territories were Syria and Lebanon, awarded to France; Iraq, awarded to Britian; and a new entity called Palestine, which was also placed under British control. Palestine, as defined for the first time in modern history…included the land on both sides of the Jordan River and encompassed the present-day countries of Israel and Jordan.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 43-44, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“Out of the broad region known as Palestine, Britian carved two political entities in 1921. One entity consisted of the rea of Palestine east of the Jordan River; it was named the ‘Emirate of Transjordan,’ and later simply ‘Jordan’… In the western half of Palestine, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews wrestled for control under the British umbrella.” Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 14, Anchor Books, 1995

[Note: The League of Nations ratified the Mandate on July 24, 1922]

“On February 14, 1947, the British cabinet decided, in effect, to wash its hands of Palestine and dump the problem in the lap of the United Nations.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 180, Vintage Books, 2001

“On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted 33 to 13 with 10 abstentions to partition western Palestine into two states — one for the Jews, which would consist of the Negev Desert, the coastal plain between Tel Aviv and Haifa, and parts of the northern Galilee, and the other for the Palestinian Arabs, which would consist primarily of the West Bank of the Jordan, the Gaza District, Jaffa, and the Arav sectors of the Galilee. Jerusalem, cherished by both Muslims and Jews as a holy city, was to become an international enclave under U.N. trusteeship. The Zionist, then led by David Ben-Gurion, accepted this partition plan, even though they had always dreamed of controlling all of western Palestine and Jerusalem. The Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding Arab states rejected the partition proposal. They felt that Palestine was all theirs, that the Jews were a foreign implant foisted upon them, and that they had the strength to drive them out.” Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 14, Anchor Books, 1995

“On 14 May the Jewish community declared its independence as the state of Israel, and this was immediately recognized by the United States and Russia; and Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese forces moved into the mainly Arab parts of the country. In a situation where there were no fixed frontiers or clear divisions of population, fighting took place between the new Israeli army and those of the Arab states, and in four campaigns interrupted by cease-fires Israel was able to occupy the greater part of the country.” Albert Hourani A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 359-360, Warner Books Edition, 1991

“In the course of that war, the Zionists not only managed to hold all the areas assigned to them by the United Nations [in 1947] but to seize part of the land designated for the Palestinian state as well. The other areas designated for the Palestinians by the United Nations were taken by Jordan and Egypt; Jordan annexed the West Bank, while Egypt assumed control of the Gaza District.” Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 15, Anchor Books, 1995

“The armistice agreements were not peace treaties and did not provide for many of the features that normally govern the relations between neighboring states at peace with each other, such as diplomatic and trade ties. During the following years Arab leaders made abundantly clear their uniform view that the armistice accords were merely elaborate cease-fire agreements, implicitly temporary and qualitatively different from and well short of full peace treaties.”   Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 252, Vintage Books, 2001

“At the end of hostilities early in 1949, the United Nations estimated that there were 726,000 Arab refugees from Israeli-controlled territories, about 70 percent of the Arab population of Palestine. The exact number is difficult to determine because it is impossible to know the true number of Arab illegals living in Palestine when the war broke out and the number of Bedouin who had become refugees. A fugure of about 600,000 to 760,000 is probably more accurate.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 104, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The essential reality of Israeli-Arab relations during 1949-1956 was…unremitting, if generally low-key, conflict. Leaders and news media on both sides regularly voiced propaganda and traded threats, and the Arab world closed ranks in waging massive political warfare against Israel, regarding it as a pariah state and attempting to persuade the rest of the world to follow suit. The Arabs refused to recognize Israel’s existence or right to exist — leaders and writers avoided using the word ‘Israel’; maps left its area blank or called it Palestine… A comprehensive Arab economic boycott was imposed, including the closure by Egypt of the Suez Canal [July 26, 1956] and the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and to specific goods (such as oil) bound for Israel, carried on third-country vessels, and a ban on deals with companies doing business with Israel. The most grinding and visible expressions of animosity were border clashes. Most of the tension along the frontiers resulted from Arab infiltration. The daily trespassing and shooting incidents, the occasional murder of Israelis, and the retaliations generated fresh hostility which gradually built up to a crescendo in the second Arab-Israeli war of 1956.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 269, Vintage Books Edition, 2001

“In October [29-30, 1956] Israeli forces invaded Egypt and moved towards the Suez Canal. In accordance with their previous agreement, Britain and France sent an ultimatum to both Israel and Egypt to withdraw from the Canal Zone, and [Egyptian President] ‘Abd al-Nasir’s refusal gave a pretext for British and French forces to attack and occupy part of the zone… Under American and Soviet pressure, and faced with worldwide hostility and the danger of financial collapse, the three forces [Britain, France and Israel] withdrew.” Albert Hourani A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 367-368, Warner Books Edition, 1991

“The U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF), which was to supervise the truce, began arriving on 4 December [1956]. Britain and France completed their withdrawal by 23 December, handing over their positions to UNEF. Though Israel agreed to withdraw on 8 November it did not actually do so until 8 March 1957 — and then only after the United States committed itself to standing by Israel’s right of passage through the Gulf of Aqaba, ensuring that Gaza was not used again for launching guerrilla attacks against it. On Israel’s insistence UNEF troops were posted exclusively in Gaza and the Gulf of Aqaba region to safeguard Israeli shipping. Egypt was allowed to return to Gaza to administer it.” Dilip Hiro, The Essential Middle East, p. 498, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003

“The political outcome of the war was a clear and substantial radicalization of the conflict. Nasser and other Arab leaders began to speak openly of the need for a ‘third round’ [after 1948 & 1956], in which Israel would be destroyed. In a letter to Hussein [King of Jordan] on March 13, 1961, Nasser wrote: ‘On…Israel, we believe that the evil introduced into the heart of the Arab world must be uprooted.'” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 300-301, Vintage Books, 2001

“[Egyptian President] Gamel Abdul Nasser asked the United Nations to withdraw the forces which had been stationed on the frontier with Israel since the Suez war of 1956, and when this was done he closed the straits of Aqaba to Israeli shipping… As tension mounted, Jordan and Syria made military agreements with Egypt.” Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 413, Warner Books Inc, 1991

“In June 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, after Nasser had declared his intention to annihilate the Jewish state and forged military alliances with Syria and Jordan for that purpose, building up troop concentrations along his border with Israel and blockading shipping to the Israeli port of Eilat. The six-day war that followed Israel’s surprise attack ended with the Israeli army occupying Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Syria’s Golan Heights, and Jordan’s West Bank.” Thomas Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 15-16, Anchor Books Edition, 1995

“The most significant international pronouncement on the Arab-Israeli dispute after the Six-Day War was U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. The preamble to the resolution emphasized the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and the need to work for a just and lasting peace.” Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 259-260, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001

“An Arab summit conference was held in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, between 28 August and 2 September [1967]. It was the first meeting of the Arab leaders since their defeat in the June War. Israel’s leaders watched with keen anticipation to see what conclusions the Arab leaders would draw from their military defeat. The conference ended with the adoption of the famous three noes of Khartoum: no recognition, no negotiation, and no peace with Israel.” Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 259-260, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001

“In March 1969, Nasser announced that the cease-fire of June 1967 was null and void, and the ‘War of Attrition’ was officially launched. Nasser believed that he could inflict such a heavy toll [given the wide disparity in the populations of Israel and Egypt, Israel could not afford as many casualties as the Egyptians] that the Israelis would retreat back into the Sinai, and/or that they would become more amenable to a political solution on Egypt’s terms…In August 1970, a cease fire along the canal came into effect.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 168-169, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“In Jordan the Palestinian guerrilla organizations created a state within a state that posed a challenge to the rule of King Hussein. The king ordered his army to disarm and break the power of these organizations. In the ensuing civil war thousands of Palestinians were killed, and many more left the country. At the height of the crisis, Syrian forces invaded Jordan in what looked like a bid to help the Palestinians overthrow the monarchy…Jordan’s army went into action against the Syrian invaders. The crisis ended with a Palestinian defeat, a Syrian retreat, and King Hussein sitting firmly on his throne in Amman.” Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 298-299, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001

“Following the showdown with Jordan’s King Hussein in 1970 and 1971, and their expulsion from Jordan, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) leaders and many PLO fighters, eventually numbering 15,000, moved to Lebanon.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 213, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

On October 6, 1973 the Egyptian Army “launched a sudden attack upon the Israeli forces on the east bank of the Suez Canal; at the same moment, and by agreement, the Syrian army attacks the Israelis from the Golan Heights. In the first rush of fighting, the Egyptian army succeeded in crossing the canal and establishing a bridgehead, and the Syrians occupied part of the Golan Heights; weapons supplied by the Russians enabled them to neutralize the Israeli air force, which had won the victory of 1967. In the next few days, however, the military tide turned. Israeli forces crossed the canal and established their own bridgehead on the west bank [of the Suez Canal] and drove the Syrians back towards Damascus.” Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 418, Warner Books Inc, 1991

“A Soviet-American cease-fire proposal was approved by the United Nations on October 22, but violations by both sides resulted in the continuation of hostilites and in the surrounding and trapping of the Egyptian Third Army in the western Sinai. After Soviet threats to intercede, and an American military alert — just short of a nuclear alert — a second cease-fire was accepted by both parties on October 24, with Israel the obvious military victor.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 175, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“Henry Kissinger [U.S. Secretary of State] persuaded Egypt and Israel to sign a disengagement accord, whereby Israel withdrew from the western bank of the Suez Canal, to about twenty miles from the east bank of the canal. Egypt agreed to a major reduction of troops east of Suez, the establishemtn of a U.N.-patrolled buffer zone, defensive missile emplacemetns only west of Suez, and the allowing of nonmilitary Israeli shipping through the canal (though not in Israeli vessels).” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 185, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“Henry Kissinger achieved a disengagement accord between Israel and Syria regarding the Golan Heights. Israel agreed to withdraw from some occupied territory in the Heights in return for the establishment of a U.N. buffer zone and defensive Arab missile placements. President Hafez al-Assad of Syria also agreed in a private memorandum to prevent any Palestinian terrorist groups from launching attacks from Syria. In return, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with Syria.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 185, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The Arab League, meeting at Rabat in 1974, recognized the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] as the ‘sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,’ undermining the role of King Hussein and his ability to speak for the Palestinians as envisaged by U.N. resolutions. King Hussein agreed to honor the PLO’s claim to negotiate for the Palestinians (and was rewarded with an annual $300-million grant for four years from the Arab League). He further stated that it was ‘totally inconceivable’ that Jordan and a Palestinian entity could form a federation — a suggestion he had floated earlier. Perhaps the real significance of the Rabat summit was that this decision meant that Hussein was forced to acknowledge Palestinian rights to what he had lost physically to the Israelis in 1967. It was a diplomatic triumph for the PLO that repaid the defeat of Black September in 1970. The Rabat decision also weakened the American position. Kissinger agreed with the Israelis that it was preferable to negotiate with Hussein rather than with the PLO.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 176, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“In the early 1970s, tension along the Israel-Lebanon border increased, especially after the relocation of Palestinian armed elements from Jordan to Lebanon. Palestinian commando operations against Israel and Israeli reprisals against Palestinian bases in Lebanon intensified. On 11 March 1978, a commando attack in Israel resulted in many dead and wounded among the Israeli population; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) claimed responsibility for that raid. In response, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on the night of 14/15 March [1978], and in a few days occupied the entire southern part of the country except for the city of Tyre and its surrounding area.   On 15 March 1978, the Lebanese Government submitted a strong protest to the [U.N.] Security Council against the Israeli invasion, stating that it had no connection with the Palestinian commando operation. On 19 March [1978], the Council adopted resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), in which it called upon Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory. It also decided on the immediate establishment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978.” UNIFIL, “Background,” online, 2003   “The Sinai Peninsula remained in Israeli hands until, in 1979, a peace agreement was signed between Israel and Egypt — the first with any Arab country — under the terms of which peace and normal diplomatic relations were established between the two states, and Israeli forces withdrew in agreed stages to the old, international frontier between mandatary Palestine and the Kingdom of Egypt.” Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 365, Scribner, 1995

“With Egypt sidelined by the provisions of its treaty with Israel, the Begin government [Israel] was able to plan a major assault against the PLO in Lebanon relatively untroubled by the risk of an escalation into general war [with the surrounding Arab countries].” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims p. 494, Vintage Books, 2001

“Israel invaded Lebanon in June [6,] 1982. The invasion culminated in a long siege of the western part of Beirut, mainly inhabited by Muslims and dominated by the PLO. The siege ended with an agreement, negotiated through the U.S. government, by which the PLO would evacuate west Beirut.” Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples p. 431, Warner Books Edition, 1991

“The PLO military infrastructure in southern Lebanon was destroyed, and the organization was driven out of Beirut [September 2, 1982]. Many PLO fighters were killed, and it lost most of its heavy equipment and ammunition stockpiles. Its headquarters was reestablished in faraway Tunisia, and its military units were dispersed in camps around the Middle East and North Africa, no longer posing a threat along or near Israel’s borders. The PLO and Arafat emerged from the fray considerably weakened.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims p. 558, Vintage Books, 2001

“On 17 May 1983 Israel and Lebanon signed an agreement that formally terminated the state of war and recognized the international border between them as inviolable. The parties undertook to prevent the use of one country’s territory for terrorist activity against the other country. Israel was to withdraw its forces to a distance of forty to forty-five kilometers from the international border to an area defined as a ‘security zone.’ The area north of the security zone was to be under the control of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL]…There was one inherent flaw in the agreement: it was conditional on Syria’s withdrawing its forces from Lebanon, and Syria did not oblige… The withdrawal from Lebanon was carried out in stages between February and June [1985]. The bulk of the troops returned to their bases inside Israel. Small forces remained in the security zone and coordinated their activities with the SLA [South Lebanon Army].” Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall p. 427, W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2001

“The intifada erupted on 9 December 1987, seventy years to the day from Allenby’s [British Commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force WWI] entry into Jerusalem. Triggered by an incident in Gaza, the uprising was the product of an accumulation of Palestinian tensions and grievances… In mid-January the intifada broke out in the heart of Arab Jerusalem itself, as Israeli security forces used tear gas around the two especially sacred mosques in the Haram al-Sharif, trying to disperse Palestinian demonstrators. Accustomed to thinking of Jerusalem and its Arab population as an integral part of Israel, Israelis were shocked by the solidariy with the intifada being demonstrated in East Jerusalem.” Michael C. Hudson “The Transformation of Jerusalem 1917-1987,” Jerusalem in History, 2000

“The Intifada ended in a stalemate, with the Palestinians unable to eject the Israelis from the territories and the Israelis unable to stop the violence. That made the occupation increasigly uncomfortable. As a result, both sides soon fundamentally revised their policies: Within months the P.L.O. agreed to recognize and make peace with Israel, and to establish a self-governing entity in a small part of Palestine. And Israel, some months later, agreed to recognize the P.L.O. and to evacuate much if not most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In addition, the United States was to recognize the P.L.O. and reopen its dialogue with it, and Jordan finally severed all administrative links with the West Bank. Ultimately, the result of the Intifada was a basic restructuring of geopolitical realities in the region, one of which was the start of the emergence of a Palestinian state.” Benny Morris, Richteous Victims, 2001

“On July 31, 1988, evidently despairing of success in setting up an international conference, perhaps seeing in the Intifada a threat to his own kingdom, and realizing that, indeed, the Palestinians, especially the younger generation, would never accept him as their spokesperson, King Hussein of Jordan renounced his claim to the West Bank, which in effect reversed the annexation decision made in 1950.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 227, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“In a somber broadcast, King Hussein announced that Jordan was severing its ‘administrative and judicial’ links with the West Bank, ‘in deference to the will of the PLO’ — Jordan was washing its hands of the future of the territory and its inhabitants.” Benny Morris, Richteous Victims, p. 605, Vintage Books, 2001

“On November 15, 1988, at the nineteenth meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), considered by the PLO to be its parliament in exile, the PNC proclaimed — by a vote of 253 to 46 with 10 abstentions — the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 229, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“As the world watched in wonder, on Thursday, September 9, Norwegian foreign minister Johan Joergan Holst carried a letter from Arafat to Rabin recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and pledging support for repeal of clauses objectionable to Israel in the PLO charter. Rabin, for his part, signed a letter recognizing the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and accepting the PLO as a negotiating partner. On Monday, September 13, 1993, in a stunning event on the White House lawn in Washington, the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government for the Palestinians (henceforth referred to as the Israel — PLO peace accord) was signed by Foreign Minister [Shimon] Peres and PLO representative Mahmoud Abbas, with Warren Christopher and Russian foreign minister Andrei Kosyrev adding their signatures as witnesses, while President Clinton, Arafat, and Rabin looked on.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 263-264, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“The Paris Protocol is the framework establishing the interim-period economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Protocol was signed in April 1994 and is part of Oslo 1, which was signed a few days later. The model established in the Protocol is known as a ‘customs union,’ the primary characteristic of which is the absence of economic borders between members of the union. The practical effect of selecting this model was preservation of the economic relations that had existed until then…” B’Tselem, “The Paris Protocol,” accessed on the B’Tselem Website, 7/6/07

“The ‘Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area’ (usually referred to as ‘the Cairo agreement’) was finally signed in the Egyptian capital by [Israeli Prime Minister] Rabin and Arafat, with American, Soviet, and Egyptian representatives as witnesses, on May 4, 1994… The agreement effectively transferred control over the bulk of the Gaza Strip and a sixty-five-square-kilometer area encompassing Jericho and its environs to PA [Palestinian Authority] control, with Israel remaining in control of the borders between these now-autonomous areas and the outside world and of the Jewish settlements in the Strip.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 624-625, Vintage Books, 2001

“Signed on October 26, 1994. An international boundary will be delimited within 9 months. Each party will refrain from threats or use of force against the other and from joining alliances hostile to the other and will remove restrictions from normal economic relations and terminate economic boycotts. Problems of displaced persons (from 1967) will be resolved with Egypt and the Palestinians and of refugees (from 1948) in the multilateral framework. Israel respects Jordan’s role in the mosques in Jerusalem and will give it high priority in permanent status negotiations. Annexes called for Jordan to lease one sq. mi. to Israelis for a renewable 25-year period and for Israel to provide Yarmuk River water and desalinized water to Jordan; dams will be built on the Yarmuk and Jordan Rivers to yield more water.” The United States Congressional Research Service (CRS), “The Middle East Peace Talks,” Issue Brief for Congress, 9/8/03

“On 28 Sept 1995 the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was signed in Washington by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in the presence of Bill Clinton, Hosni Mubarak, and King Hussein of Jordan. It became known populary as Oslo II… Under the terms of this agreement, Israel yielded to the Palestinians civilian control over nearly a third of the West Bank. Four percent of the West Bank (including the towns of Jenin, Nablus, Kalkilya, Tulkarem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron) was turned over to exclusive Palestinian control and another 25 percent to administrative-civilian control. In the Gaza Strip Israel retained control over 35 percent of the land, containing the Jewish settlements and the roads leading to them, and the rest was turned over to the Palestinian Authority.” Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 528, W.W. Norton & Co. 2001

“This agreement, signed on 15 January 1997, divided the city of Hebron into two parts: H1 and H2. Israel retained full security control over the Israeli settlement enclaves in downtown Hebron (H2), over another settlement (Kiryat Arba) just outside the city, and, in order to facilitate movement by the settlers and the IDF, over the surrounding area. The agreement gave the PA security responsibility for the rest of Hebron (H1), although this responsibility remained closely monitored by Israeli authorities.” Geoffrey Aronson, “Recapitulating the Redeployments: The Israel-PLO ‘Interim Agreements’,” article posted on the website of the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, 4/27/2000

“On November 20 [1998], Israel withdrew from two percent of the West Bank included in Area C, which then became part of Area B, while 7.1 percent in Area B now joined Area A. Most of the areas evacuated were around Jenin, in northern Samaria [the northern part of the West Bank].” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 648, Vintage Books, 2001

“The Sharm al-Sheikh agreement [signed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat on October 4, 1999] set out a timetable for a permanent peace settlement. A declaration of principles on final status issues was to be reached by February 13, 2000 and a permanent settlement reached by September 13, 2000. Israel accepted the remaining 11 percent redeployment agreed upon at Wye [October 3, 1998], and Arafat compromised by accepting the release of 350 prisoners, rather than the 400 the Palestinians had requested.” Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002

“On the night of May 23-24, in a well-orchestrated operation, backed by columns of heavy Merkava tanks and helicopter gunships, the last Israeli troops pulled out [of Lebanon] under sporadic Hizbullah fire.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 656, Vintage Books, 2001

“On July 5, 2000, President Clinton had announced that Barak and Arafat would meet at Camp David, starting on July 11, for the ‘make or break’ summit. During July 11-26, Barak and Arafat, with Clinton (assisted by Albright) playing a crucial mediating role, tackled the major issues dividing Israel and the Palestinians: The refugees, Jerusalem, the borders between a future Palestinian state and Israel, the Israeli settlements, and the problem of water supplies and pollution.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 656, Vintage Books, 2001

“Years of accumulated mistrust and loss of faith in the peace process, political circumstances in Israel and among the Palestinians, the history of prior agreements, perceptions of the United States’ role, the relationship (or lack thereof) between [Ehud] Barak and Arafat, the mechanics of the negotiations—all these contributed to a situation in which each side’s actions were interpreted by the other in the most damaging way.” Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, “Camp David: An Exchange,” New York Times, Review, 09/20/01

“The spark to what began as a spontaneous, ground-up rebellion was provided by a visit on September 28, 2000 to the Temple Mount compound by Knesset member Ariel Sharon, who had succeeded [Benjamin] Netanyahu as Likud Party chairman in May 1999. Though a few days before Arafat had cautioned Barak against allowing the visit, his head of the security service in the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, had promised-predicted that the visit would pass quietly; so had Israel’s internal security service, the G.S.S. [General Security Service]. Besides, there was no legal bar to the M.K. [Member of the Knesset] visiting the Temple Mount, so long as he did not act or speak provocatively. So Barak had given the visit the green light. Sharon, accompanied by many dozens of policemen, smiling broadly, spent 24 minutes strolling about the compound, then left; he did not approach or enter either of the mosques [Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa].”   Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, 2001

“From the perspective of the PLO, Israel responded to the disturbances with excessive and illegal use of deadly force against demonstrators; behavior which, in the PLO’s view, reflected Israel’s contempt for the lives and safety of Palestinians. For Palestinians, the widely seen images of the killing of 12-year-old Muhammad al Durra in Gaza on September 30, shot as he huddled behind his father, reinforced that perception.   From the perspective of the GOI [Government of Israel], the demonstrations were organized and directed by the Palestinian leadership to create sympathy for their cause around the world by provoking Israeli security forces to fire upon demonstrators, especially young people. For Israelis, the lynching of two military reservists, First Sgt. Vadim Novesche and First Cpl. Yosef Avrahami, in Ramallah on October 12, reflected a deep-seated Palestinian hatred of Israel and Jews.” George Mitchell, “Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee ‘Mitchell Report’, 5/20/01

“The Taba negotiation began on Sunday evening, January 21, and ended on Saturday afternoon, January 27. At the closing press conference, the parties issued this joint statement: ‘The sides declare that they have never been closer to reaching an agreement and it is thus our shared belief that the remaining gaps could be bridged with the resumption of negotiations following the Israeli election…’   …As Taba ended, there was general talk about further steps. One proposal was a meeting of Barak and Arafat, before the election, to achieve an undefined breakthrough or to agree on a framework. Another suggested reconvening the negotiators after the election, with the goal of reaching agreement by April 30.” David Matz, “Trying to Understand the Taba Talks (Part I),” Palestine-Israel Journal, 2003

“In a special election held February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister, decisively defeating Ehud Barak. He presented his government to the Knesset on March 7, 2001. He pursued an uncompromising line against Palestinian terror groups and Yasser Arafat, and insisted that Arafat was an obstacle to peace and personally responsible for much of the violence of the Intifada.” Ami Isseroff, “Biography of Ariel Sharon,” MidEast Web For Coexistence website, 2005

“Former Senator George Mitchell headed an international commission that assessed the causes of the [al-Aqsa] Intifada and made a series of recommendations for transforming the situation. The findings were privately conveyed to the administration on April 30, 2001, and released to the public on May 21. They specified steps that both Palestinians and Israelis needed to take: the Palestinians on security, including specific action against the groups and the infrastructure responsible for terror; and Israelis on restoring normal life to Palestinians, including the removal of barriers to Palestinian movement of people and goods and a freeze on settlement activity.” Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace, 2004

“Following the failure of the Mitchell Plan to end the Palestinian-Israeli violence begun in September, 2000, US CIA Director George Tenet worked out a detailed plan for ending the violence and resuming negotiations, with the consent of the parties. The plan went into effect June 13, 2001, but resumption of negotiations was conditional on there being a single week free of violence. No such week occurred. By March 2002, Israeli PM Sharon said he would be willing to forego the week of quiet. However, Israeli forces had invaded Palestinian areas by this time, and Palestinians refused to negotiate until Israel withdrew its forces.” Ami Isseroff, “The Tenet Plan,” MidEast Web For Coexistence website, 2002

“The leader of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has been killed in an Israeli attack. Palestinian sources say Abu Ali Mustafa died when at least two missiles struck his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah, not far from the offices of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Israeli military forces confirmed that they had carried out the attack, saying the missiles were fired by a helicopter gunship. Mustafa is the highest-ranking Palestinian official to be assassinated by the Israelis since the start of the 11-month Palestinian uprising.” BBC, “Israel Kills Key Palestinian Leader,” Aug. 27, 2001

“A rightwing Israeli minister was shot dead in a Jerusalem hotel today [October 17, 2001] by a suspected Palestinian gunman… The Syria-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine immediately claimed responsibility for murder of the far-right tourism minister, Rehavam Ze’evi. Mr Ze’evi was shot three times in the head and neck at close range in the Hyatt Hotel, which is close to Palestinian areas in east Jerusalem, police said… In statements to Arab television stations, the group said the shooting was in retaliation for the death of the PFLP leader, Mustafa Zibri, who died in an Israeli rocket attack on August 27.” Guardian Unlimited, “Israeli Minister Assassinated,” Oct. 17, 2001

“The Israeli Army said today [Jan. 5, 2002] that it had seized a ship carrying 50 tons of rockets, mines, antitank missiles and other munitions meant for Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, even as the Bush administration’s envoy met with Mr. Arafat in the hope of strengthening his declared cease-fire with Israel. Palestinian officials denied any link to the ship, the Karine A, and dismissed the announcement a day after the seizure as propaganda timed to undermine Mr. Arafat. But Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, chief of staff of the Israeli Army, said that the Karine A was owned by the Palestinian Authority, which governs Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and that its captain and several of its officers were members of the Palestinian naval police… Most of the military equipment found aboard the ship was from Iran, General Mofaz said.” New York Times, “Israel Seizes Ship It Says Was Arming Palestinians,” Jan. 5, 2002

“The United States ended years of resistance to Security Council action on the Middle East conflict late tonight [Mar. 13, 2002] when it sponsored and helped pass a resolution formally endorsing the concept of a Palestinian state and calling for ‘the immediate cessation of all acts of violence.’ The American resolution, which passed by a vote of 14 to 0 with Syria abstaining, affirmed ‘a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.’ It also called on the Palestinians and Israelis to restart negotiations on a political settlement.” Washington Post, “U.N. Council Backs A Palestinian State; U.S.-Sponsored Resolution Calls for Truce,” Mar. 13, 2002

“The Arab League adopted… the first ‘pan-Arab initiative’ for peace in the Middle East, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa announced. The plan, offered by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, was adopted in a closed session following hours of wrangling over its final language.   The plan, in its broadest terms, offers Israel security and ‘normal relations’ in exchange for a withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, creation of an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds al-Shareef (East Jerusalem) as its capital, and the ‘return of refugees…’ Asked how ‘normal relations’ are defined, Prince Saud al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said, ‘We envision a relationship between the Arab countries and Israel that is exactly like the relationship between the Arab countries and any other state…'” CNN, “Arab Summit Adopts Saudi Peace,” Mar. 28, 2002

“In late March 2002, as the Saudi ‘peace plan’ made headway among the Americans, Europeans and UN delegates (in the form of resolution 1397), and the Arab League adopted it at the Beirut summit, Sharon was once again momentarily cornered. Almost immediately, the revenge attack long expected from the ‘camps war’ of early March came on March 27, in the form of a Hamas suicide bombing in Netanya in which 29 Israelis were killed at Passover celebrations. The pretext for Operation Defensive Shield, the last but probably not the final round of Sharon’s campaign against the PA, was now in place.   In the largest call-up of Israeli reservists since 1967, from March 28 to April 4 all of the major West Bank towns except Hebron and Jericho, as well as a score of villages, were invaded and reoccupied. The ferocity and scale of the invasion was without precedent. But what was also different about Defensive Shield was the different nature of its targets. Three main towns, Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin, suffered the greatest devastation. The latter two had experienced the wrath of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in early March and once again the target was the resistance forces based in their refugee camps. But in Ramallah, the target was openly the infrastructure of the PA.   Prior to Defensive Shield, Israeli destruction of PA institutions had remained limited to security installations, as well as infrastructure that had the trappings of future sovereignty such as the Gaza airport and [sea] port. Now, for the first time, the PA’s civilian infrastructure was targeted. From the second week onward, the invasion saw daily rounds of blasting entrances followed by ransacking, aimed at everything from the Legislative Council offices to the Ministries of Education, Finance, Agriculture, Trade and Industry to municipal buildings and Chambers of Commerce. In some cases, the attacks included “expert teams” brought in to find incriminating material — some of it likely destined for the vaunted “Arafat dossier” Sharon took to his meeting with Bush in Washington in early May…   By April 21, Israeli tanks had pulled out of the cities they had occupied save for two critical sites of standoff: Arafat’s compound in Ramallah and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where roughly 30 fighters had taken refuge along with scores of town residents. The siege on Arafat, for the umpteenth time, was a symbol of Sharon’s power to impose house arrest on him in full view of the international community… Ostensibly, Sharon’s siege on Arafat aimed to compel him to turn over six fugitives being held inside: four men implicated in the assassination of former Minister of Tourism Rehavam Zeevi, plus Ahmad Saadat, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Fuad Shobaki, the alleged paymaster for the Karine A weapons ship intercepted by Israel in January [2002].” Middle East Report (U.K.), “Interregnum: Palestine After Operation Defensive Shield,” Summer, 2002

“Israeli F-16 warplanes bombed the house of the military commander of Hamas in Gaza City last night, burying him and at least 11 other Palestinians, including seven children, beneath the rubble of a four-storey block of flats, and wounding 120 others. Last night’s assassination of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh is the most serious blow to the military wing of Hamas since the start of the Palestinian uprising nearly two years ago.” Guardian Unlimited, “12 Dead in Attack on Hamas: Seven Children Killed as Israelis Assassinate Military Chief,” July 23, 2002

“The United Nations has released its long-awaited report on Israeli- Palestinian fighting in the Jenin refugee camp last spring. The report rejects Palestinian claims of a massacre, but blames both sides for endangering civilians.” National Public Radio (NPR), “Analysis: UN Releases Long-awaited Report on Israeli-Palestinian Fighting in Jenin Refugee Camp Last Spring,” Aug. 1, 2002 “Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has officially asked his moderate deputy, Mahmud Abbas, to share power with him. His elevation to Prime Minister comes a day after Parliament approved the creation of the post.Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to be the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “Arafat Asks Deputy to Assume PM’s Role,” Mar. 19, 2003

“The United States yesterday [Apr. 30, 2003] released the long-awaited ‘road map’ towards a Middle East peace settlement with the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state by 2005. The move came hours after a new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, popularly known as Abu Mazen, was sworn in and made a public commitment to curb attacks on Israeli civilians.” Guardian Unlimited, “US Releases ‘Road Map’ Amid Underlying Tensions,” May 1, 2003

“At a Mideast peace summit [Aqaba, Jordan] convened by President Bush, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers promised Wednesday [June 4, 2003] to take real, if limited, steps toward ending their bloody conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon promised to immediately begin dismantling unauthorized Jewish outposts on the West Bank, while Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmod Abbas explicitly asserted that the ‘armed intefadeh must end,’ referring to the Palestinians’ 32-month uprising against Israel.” CBS News, “On The Road To Mideast Peace?,” June 4, 2003

“[T]he Israelis have started building a fence that eventually will continue for more than 200 miles — roughly coinciding with Israel’s 1967 border with the West Bank. But there are several major detours to ensure that Ariel, Immanuel and other major Jewish settlement communities on the West Bank are on the Israeli side of the fence. Surveyed from the air, it’s a massive project. It’s eventual cost: an estimated $220 million.” CNN, “Israel Begins Construction of Fence on West Bank Border,” June 19, 2003

“… Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas, with Egyptian help, has succeeded in getting Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah to agree to a ceasefire, or in Arabic, ‘Hudna’, in order to facilitate implementing the Roadmap peace plan. In response, Israel overnight withdrew forces from an area of the Northern Gaza strip they had been controlling, and handed it over to Palestinian security forces.” Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), “Ceasefire and Withdrawal in Gaza,” June 30, 2003

“A senior Hamas official declared a cease-fire dead on Thursday [Aug. 21, 2003] shortly after Israeli helicopter missiles killed Ismail Abu Shanab, a leader of the militant Islamic group.” Esam Shashaa, “History Timeline – 2003,” PalestineHistory.com, Aug. 21, 2003

“A group of prominent Israeli and Palestinian politicians, working outside official channels, have written a symbolic peace agreement that they hope could be a foundation for future negotiations… The proposal, dubbed the Geneva Accords, will be formally signed at a ceremony planned for next month in that Swiss city. The Israeli delegation was led by Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister. The most prominent Palestinian was Yasir Abed Rabbo, a former information minister. Under the proposal, a Palestinian state would be created that would include the entire Gaza Strip and almost all of the West Bank. The capital would be in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.” New York Times, “Israelis and Palestinians Join in Peace Draft,” Oct. 14, 2003

“The European Union is to formally condemn Israel’s controversial ‘security fence’ in the occupied West Bank. With relations strained anew by alleged anti-semitism in Europe, the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, yesterday demanded a ‘more balanced’ EU stance on the Middle East conflict. Meeting EU foreign ministers in Brussels, he insisted the fence was intended to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers and would be dismantled in the event of a peace settlement. But in a strongly worded statement to be issued today [Nov. 18, 2003], the EU says the fence could prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. It recognises Israel’s right to protect itself from terrorist attacks, but urges it to avoid civilian casualties and to end extra-judicial killings.” 
Guardian Unlimited, “EU Hits Out at Israeli Fence,” Nov. 18, 2003

“At the Herzliya Conference [Dec. 16, 2003], Sharon announces his ‘disengagement plan,’ which he says will include ‘the redeployment of IDF forces along new security lines and a change in the deployment of settlements … In the framework of a future agreement, Israel will not remain in all the places where it is today.'” Ha’aretz, “Disengagement Timeline,” (accessed online Sep. 17, 2007)

“The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, told his dismayed Likud Party today [Feb. 2, 2004] that he plans to dismantle the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, his most direct commitment yet on unilateral steps if peace talks fail, participants in the meeting said. Mr Sharon spoke to his fellow party members just hours after telling the Ha’aretz daily he had ‘given an order to plan for the evacuation’ of the 17 Gaza settlements, which are home to about 7,500 Israelis. ‘I don’t know if it will be done in one go, or gradually, but over the course of time, it will not be right to continue Jewish settlement in Gaza,’ a Likud official quoted him as telling the meeting. Mr Sharon referred to the Jewish settlements in Gaza as ‘a security burden and a source of continuous friction,’ said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. He had earlier told Ha’aretz that he envisaged a future where there would be ‘no Jews in Gaza’, but warned that the extraction of so many communities could prove to be a long process.” Guardian Unlimited, “Sharon Orders Relocation of Gaza Settlements,” Feb. 2, 2004

“Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli airstrike Monday morning [Mar. 22, 2004] as he was leaving a Gaza City mosque. Seven others were killed in the strike, Palestinian officials said. Sixteen people were wounded in the attack, including two of Yassin’s sons; seven of the wounded were in critical condition, hospital spokesmen said. Palestinian security sources told CNN that Yassin’s car and vehicles carrying his bodyguards were hit by three rockets as he was leaving a mosque after morning prayers.” CNN, “Hamas Founder Killed in Israeli Airstrike,” Mar. 22, 2004

“The head of the Hamas militant Islamic movement in Gaza, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, has been killed in a targeted Israeli missile strike on his car [Apr. 17, 2004]… Two other people in Rantissi’s car died and several passers-by were hurt.” BBC, “Hamas Chief Killed in Air Strike,” Apr. 18, 2004

“The International Court of Justice ruled Friday [July 9, 2004] in The Hague that the separation fence being built by Israel in the West Bank was in breach of international law, and called on Israel to tear it down and compensate Palestinians harmed by its construction. The court’s non-binding advisory on the legality of the fence called on the United Nations Security Council to consider ‘further action’ to stop the construction of the barrier.” Ha’aretz, “ICJ: West Bank Fence is Illegal, Israel Must Tear It Down,” July 10, 2004

“Israel’s parliament voted Tuesday night [Oct. 26, 2004] to close all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, evacuate their 8,100 residents and withdraw thousands of Israeli troops that protect them, handing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a major political victory on an issue that has created a deep rupture in Israeli politics and society. Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan was approved by a 67 to 45 vote in the 120-member parliament, or Knesset, even though almost half the members of his Likud Party and most of his traditional allies in ultranationalist and religious parties abandoned him. Sharon was supported instead by longtime opponents in more dovish parties who historically have viewed him as their archenemy.” Washington Post, “Sharon Wins Vote for Gaza Pullout; Israeli Parliament Is Bitterly Divided; Likud Ministers Demand Referendum,” Oct. 27, 2004

“For the last several years of his [Yasser Arafat] life he was in failing health and rumored to have Parkinson’s Disease. His conditioned worsened in October 2004. Israel agreed to allow him to be transferred to a hospital in Paris on October 29 where his wife stayed by his side. He died November 11, 2004, at age 75… After his death, Arafat’s body was flown from Paris to Cairo, where a ceremony was held in his honor attended by numerous foreign dignitaries. Arafat’s remains were then flown to Ramallah where he was interred in a grave near his headquarters.” Jewish Virtual Library, “International News,” Nov. 4, 2004

Mahmoud Abbas was elected Palestinian Authority president by a landslide, results showed Monday, giving the pragmatist a mandate to resume peace talks with Israel – but also leaving him with the tough task of reining in powerful armed groups. Israeli leaders welcomed Abbas’ victory, but said they will watch closely how hard he tries to subdue militants… Abbas said the Palestinians were ‘ready for peace’ with Israel, and he was eager to resume talks based on the internationally backed ‘road map’ peace plan.” Associated Press, “Abbas Wins Palestinian Vote in Landslide,” Jan. 10, 2005

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to suspend attacks on Israel in order to give the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, time to secure international guarantees for a comprehensive ceasefire that would end more than four years of intifada. Mr. Abbas told Palestinian television yesterday that it was ‘essential’ that Israel reciprocate by ending its targeting of armed Islamist groups. He said he had made ‘significant’ progress in talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and expected to reach a comprehensive agreement with them soon on an array of political and security issues that would effectively end their war on Israel.” Guardian Unlimited, “Islamists Halt Attacks on Israel: Abbas Seeks Pledge from Sharon to Win Lasting Ceasefire,” Jan. 24, 2005

“Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel, held summit talks at this Egyptian resort on Tuesday — the highest-level meeting between the sides in four years — and declared a truce in hostilities. Mr. Abbas said he and Mr. Sharon ‘have jointly agreed to cease all acts of violence against Israelis and Palestinians everywhere,’ while Mr. Sharon said they ‘agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and in parallel, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere.’ Officials said Israel would also pull back its troops from five West Bank cities — Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Qalqilya — in the next three weeks and stop the arrests and assassinations of top militants if they agree to put down their weapons.” New York Times, “Urging New Path, Sharon and Abbas Declare Truce,” Feb. 8, 2005

“In March of 2005, Talia Sasson prepared a report at the request of the Prime Minister’s Office, which identified 24 outposts established after March 2001, 71 established before that date, and ten outposts established at an uncertain date. The report created a sensation by documenting the fact that outposts had been creating [sic] in contravention of the laws, often on land of dubious ownership, both before and after the March 2001 cutoff date. Most of the facts have been known for a long time, but this was the first time they had been admitted in an official report. Sasson’s report did not discuss the legality of settlements, though some have tried to claim that the report showed that all settlements are illegal according to Israeli law. Prime Minister Sharon vowed to dismantle the outposts. However, a cabinet meeting, a ministerial committee was appointed to study the report, and no action was taken to evacuate settlements. Sasson prepared a summary of the report, which is the only version made public as of March 18. The translation of the summary that is below is the version posted at the Web site of the Prime Minister’s office.” Ami Isseroff, “The Sasson Report about Illegal Outposts,” Mar. 2005

Israeli soldiers removed the last Jewish settlers and protesters from the Gaza Strip August 22 and have moved on to the final stages of the withdrawal: clearing out four small settlements in the West Bank. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Likud Party-led government proceeded with the unilateral withdrawal throughout a week of emotional protests and mostly nonviolent confrontations between settlers and soldiers. Israel has controlled the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since it won the territory during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War. Some parts of Gaza and the West Bank were under Palestinian control before the withdrawal; after the Israelis leave, the area formerly occupied by the settlements will fall under Palestinian control.” Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), “MIDDLE EAST: The Gaza Withdrawal,” CFR website (accessed Oct. 18, 2007)

“Ariel Sharon caused the biggest upheaval in Israeli politics in nearly three decades by resigning as leader of the ruling Likud party yesterday [Nov. 21, 2005], saying that it was unfit to run the country. The prime minister announced the launch of a new party, National Responsibility [Kadima], to compete in the general election in March. Opinion polls suggest it will drive the once dominant Likud to the margins of Israeli politics, because of infighting in the ruling party over the removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip, and compete with the Labour party for power.” Guardian Unlimited, “Sharon Alters Political Landscape by Leaving Likud,” Nov. 22, 2007

“Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was in ‘serious’ condition and was expected to undergo several more hours of brain surgery after suffering a major stroke, a hospital official said Thursday [Jan. 5, 2006] morning…   With Sharon in surgery, under anesthesia and on a respirator, his powers were transferred to Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a key ally who followed Sharon in bolting from the Likud bloc to form a new centrist party and shake up Israeli politics. Sharon’s stroke plunged the country into political uncertainty less than three months before a pivotal election.” CNN, “Sharon Fights for Life After Stroke,” Jan. 5, 2006 [Editors Note: As of Dec. 26, 2007, Ariel Sharon remains in a coma from this incident]

“The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday [Jan. 26, 2006], trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world. In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.” Washington Post, “Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast,” Jan. 27, 2006

“Israelis voted Tuesday [Mar. 28, 2006] to bring to power a new centrist party, Kadima, which is committed to a further pullout from the occupied West Bank. Kadima’s leader, Ehud Olmert, will become prime minister, but his support proved tepid and he will find it harder than expected to impose his agenda on a larger coalition. Kadima, founded in November by Ariel Sharon when he broke with the Likud Party, won the most seats in the 120-member Knesset, or Parliament. But with 99.7 percent of the vote counted Wednesday morning, Kadima is expected to win only 28 seats, fewer than voter polls had suggested. At the same time, Israelis turned away from the right, and Mr. Olmert should be able to carry out his plan for another withdrawal, unilaterally if necessary, from the West Bank to reduce the costs of the continuing occupation.” New York Times, “Israeli Voters, by Thin Margin, Support Parties Vowing Pullout,” Mar. 29, 2006

July 12, 2006Hezbollah fires a pair of rockets into northern Israel from southern Lebanon, and guerrillas capture two Israeli soldiers during an attack along the Lebanese border between the Israeli towns of Zar’it and Shtula. Eight Israeli soldiers also die in fighting that day. In response, Israeli ground, air and naval forces attack at least eight Hezbollah bases and five bridges in southern Lebanon.”

July 22, 2006 “Israeli ground forces enter southern Lebanon and take control of Maroun Al-Ras… Hezbollah rockets fall in Haifa, Safed, Nahariya, Carmiel and the area around Avivim.”

Aug 14, 2006 “A cease-fire takes effect at 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET). Israeli forces kill four Hezbollah fighters during four clashes, one in Farun and another near Hadata, the Israeli military says. About 10 rockets are fired inside Lebanon, but land in Lebanese territory. Thousands of displaced residents of southern Lebanon begin returning to their homes, jamming roads and bridges with traffic, despite Israeli military warnings that the region is not safe. More than 908 Lebanese and 159 Israelis have been killed since fighting began July 12, officials say. The IDF says about 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel during 34 days of fighting.” CNN, “Special Report: Crisis in the Middle East (‘Background: Mideast Conflict Timeline’),” (accessed Oct. 23, 2007)

“An uneasy calm has returned to the Gaza Strip where Hamas is in full control following a series of attacks on key strongholds of its rival, Fatah. Hamas militants seized the presidential compound in Gaza City overnight after a week of factional fighting, which has left more than 100 people dead. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sacked the Hamas-led government on Thursday [June 14, 2007] and declared an emergency.” BBC, “Hamas Takes Full Control of Gaza,” June 15, 2007 “The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, swore in an emergency government Sunday, reasserting his authority over the West Bank days after the rival group Hamas routed his forces in Gaza and seized power there… Under the circumstances, the Palestinian swearing-in ceremony in Ramallah was a somber affair. Salam Fayyad, an internationally respected economist, will serve as prime minister, finance minister and foreign minister in the 12-member cabinet… Hamas has dismissed the emergency government as illegitimate, insisting that the Hamas-dominated unity government, which Abbas dissolved, is still in charge.” International Herald Tribune, “Abbas Names New Cabinet in Bid to Restore Order,” June 17, 2007

“President Bush today announced an agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work toward a peace pact by the end of 2008. Flanked by the two leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Bush congratulated them for agreeing to follow a ‘road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…’   The gathering at the United States Naval Academy included delegations representing 49 countries and international organizations, and it brought about the highest-level official contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have diplomatic relations.” New York Times, “Framework for Mideast Peace Talks Set at Conference,” Nov. 27, 2007

“The start of a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, took effect as scheduled on the Gaza border at 6 a.m. Thursday… If it holds, Israel hopes the cease-fire will halt the recurrent rocket and mortar fire from Gaza that has killed four Israeli civilians this year and caused widespread trauma and disruption of life in Israeli towns and villages close to the Gaza border. For its part, Hamas wants to end the frequent Israeli military strikes and incursions into Gaza. It also wants an easing of the economic blockade that Israel has imposed since Hamas took over the area a year ago.” New York Times, “Gaza Cease-Fire Takes Hold,” June 19, 2008

“Five Lebanese prisoners have been handed over to the Hezbollah movement by Israel, as part of a swap for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. The freed men arrived to a heroes’ welcome at the Naqoura border crossing on Wednesday, just hours after Israel received coffins containing the remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli army reservists captured in 2006. The prisoners released were Samir Kuntar, who was jailed for three murders in Israel in 1979, and four men captured during the 34-day war sparked by the capture of Goldwasser and Regev… Hezbollah also received the bodies of almost 200 people, including the body of Dalal al-Maghrebi, a female fighter with the Palestinian Fatah movement…” Al Jazeera, “Israel Returns Lebanese Prisoners,” July 16, 2008

“[A]fter seven days of aerial bombardment [that started Dec. 27, 2008]… Following an artillery barrage aimed at detonating buried explosives and mines, Israeli armored columns began moving into Gaza in an apparent attempt to take control of areas used by Palestinian militants to fire rockets into southern Israel. Israeli officials stressed that the objective was to deal further punishing blows to Hamas in the hope of deterring further rocket fire… Although the eight-day air campaign in Gaza has claimed some 450 Palestinian victims, and continues to inflict damage on Hamas fighters — as well as, inevitably, nearby civilians — the attacks have not kept Hamas from launching more missiles. At least 15 rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel on Saturday… [Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud] Barak and [Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert have made clear that their objective is not to wipe out Hamas, but instead to force the radical group to accept a durable cease-fire on Israel’s terms. While they hope to weaken Hamas, Israel’s leaders are aware that a military campaign is unlikely to destroy the organization that remains the most popular political force in Gaza. Any attempt to do so would require not only a massive invasion of all of Gaza, but also an open-ended reoccupation of a hostile population, a trap Olmert and Barak want to avoid at all costs.” CNN, “Israel Invades Gaza, Hoping to Pummel Hamas into a Truce,” Jan. 3, 2009

“The Israeli army says it has completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, following a three-week assault against militants from the Hamas group… Earlier, the UN urged Israel to fully open all of Gaza’s borders to allow reconstruction work to begin… A temporary ceasefire between Israeli troops and Hamas came into effect on Sunday – but it does not include any agreement on the opening of crossings, which are tightly controlled by Israel…   Overall, Palestinian medical sources in Gaza say at least 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the three-week conflict, which began on 27 December. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed, the Israeli army says. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and the territory’s infrastructure has been badly damaged.” BBC, “Last Israeli Troops ‘Leave Gaza’,” Jan. 21, 2009

“Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-leaning Likud party, became Israel’s prime minister on March 31, 2009 following unusual parliamentary election results that saw the centrist Kadima party [led by Tzipi Livni] win the most seats but not enough to forge a coalition government.   Netanyahu, however, was able to form a coalition of about 70 seats in the 120-member Knesset and, in the process, created the largest Cabinet in Israel’s history when he increased the number of ministers to 30 in order to satisfy his coalition partners’ competing demands.” PBS, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Apr. 16, 2009

“In his long-anticipated Cairo address to the Muslim world, U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed Washington’s strong backing for a Palestinian state, using the term ‘Palestine’ numerous times to highlight his administration’s commitment to follow through on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While reaffirming Washington’s ‘unbreakable bond’ with Israel, Obama said that there can be no denying of the right of ‘Palestine’ to exist, and that he would ‘personally pursue’ the realization of a Palestinian state ‘with all the patience that the task requires.’   ”Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s,’ Obama said. The president also issued a blunt repudiation of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank, an issue that has strained Washington’s ties with Jerusalem. Ha’aretz, “Obama in Cairo: Israelis Can’t Deny Palestine’s Right to Exist,” June 4, 2009

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed a Palestinian state beside Israel for the first time on Sunday, reversing himself under U.S. pressure but attaching conditions such as having no army that the Palestinians swiftly rejected. A week after President Barack Obama’s address to the Muslim world, Netanyahu said the Palestinian state would also have to recognize Israel as the Jewish state – essentially saying Palestinian refugees must give up the goal of returning to Israel. With those conditions, he said, he could accept ‘a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.’” Huffington Post, “Netanyahu Peace Speech: Israeli Prime Minister Appeals to Arab Leaders for Peace,” June 14, 2009

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought to reinvigorate his Fatah movement Tuesday, launching the party’s first congress in 20 years — and its first ever in the West Bank. More than 2,000 delegates from around the world have gathered here to choose a new party platform and hold elections for Fatah institutions. ‘Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law,’ Abbas told the delegates in an animated two-hour speech. The Palestinian leader made it clear that by ‘resistance,’ he meant nonviolent protests rather than armed confrontation, praising peaceful weekly demonstrations against a controversial barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank. Abbas also said that Palestinians remain committed to the goal of establishing an independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital.” Washington Post, “Abbas’s Party Holds Convention,” Aug. 5, 2009

“The government of Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority issued a detailed plan to establish a de-facto Palestinian state within two years, outside the framework of the Roadmap and of the Oslo Interim Agreement. The Palestinian Authority had rejected a proviso of the roadmap that would allow them to declare a state within the framework of the second stage of the roadmap. The state program would bring them into direct conflict with Israel, especially since the borders of the state are declared as including all of the land occupied by Israel in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, objected. The European Union expressed support for the plan, but Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel would prevent unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.” Ami Isseroff, “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State,” MidEast Web, Aug. 31, 2009

“At least nine people died, and 30 were wounded, when Israeli troops boarded a flotilla of ships carrying aid for Gaza on Monday, 31 May 2010. It was the ninth attempt since 2008 to break an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip by sea, but the first that has resulted in bloodshed. The six ships were boarded in international waters, about 80 miles from the Israeli coast. Commandos landed on the largest ship, the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, by descending on ropes from helicopters. They were attacked by the activists on board and opened fire….   The activists say the commandos started shooting as soon as they hit the deck. Israeli officials say the commandos fired in self-defence… There has been widespread condemnation of the violence. The UN Security Council has issued a statement calling for a ‘prompt, impartial, credible and transparent’ inquiry into the raid.” BBC, “Q&A: Israeli Deadly Raid on Aid Flotilla,” June 6, 2010

On Jan. 23, 2011, Al Jazeera television began leaking hundreds of pages of documents belonging to the Palestinian negotiating team. “For one thing, the documents show that Palestinian leaders appeared to be far more willing to cut a peace deal than most Israelis, and even many Palestinians, believed.   In contrast with Israelis’ portrayal of Palestinian leaders as rejectionists, the Palestinians come across in the papers as the side better-prepared, with maps, charts and compromises, even broaching controversial trade-offs that went beyond what their own people were probably ready to accept.   Though publicly Palestinians have insisted on a full right of return for refugees, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged in March 2009 that deep concessions would have to be made. ‘It is illogical to ask Israel to take 5 million [refugees] or, indeed, 1 million,’ Abbas is quoted as telling his team…   As well, the Palestinians offered in 2008 to allow Israel to annex most of the large Jewish housing developments built around Jerusalem on land seized during the 1967 Middle East War. As part of the offer, Israel would have had to give up comparable land around Jerusalem and agree to evacuate several large West Bank settlements.” Los Angeles Times, “Leaked Documents Show Palestinians Ready to Deal,” Jan. 26, 2011

“The rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have signed a landmark reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift.   A ceremony marking the deal, which was mediated by Egypt, took place on Wednesday [May 4, 2011] at the Egyptian intelligence headquarters in Cairo…   The pact provides for the creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government before national elections next year…   The deal calls for the formation of an interim government to run the occupied West Bank, where Abbas is based, and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections within a year.   Palestinians see this reconciliation as crucial for their drive to establish an independent state in the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.” Guardian Unlimited, “Palestinian Rivals Hamas and Fatah Sign Reconciliation Deal,” May 4, 2011

In a May 19, 2011 speech at the US State Department, President Obama “pressed Israel, in unusually frank terms, to reach a final peace agreement with the Palestinians, citing the boundaries in place on the eve of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War as the starting point for negotiation about borders.   The formulation goes beyond principles outlined by President George W. Bush, who stated during his first term that ‘it is unrealistic to expect’ Israel to pull back to the 1967 boundaries, which were based on cease-fire lines established in 1949. Obama said the negotiations about final borders, which he indicated may include land swaps to accommodate Israel’s large settlement blocs, should result in ‘a viable Palestine, a secure Israel.’   The president said a ‘full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces’ from the West Bank should be carried out in coordination with Palestinian security forces. He described a future Palestinian state as ‘nonmilitarized,’ a key Israeli demand.” Washington Post, “Obama Prods Mideast Allies to Embrace Reform, Make Peace,” May 19, 2011

“President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. chief on Monday he would seek full membership for a Palestinian state at the United Nations, a move the United States and Israel warn could dash hopes of resuming peace talks.   Abbas told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon he would press ahead with plans to ask for a Security Council vote on Friday on Palestinian membership. Washington has threatened to veto any such move. Ban told Abbas he would send any application submitted to the Security Council and called for the Israelis and the Palestinians to resume talks ‘within a legitimate and balanced framework,’ U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said…   The White House underscored its threat to veto any Palestinian move at the Security Council and said it would focus on trying to nudge the two sides back to negotiations. ‘We’ve made our position clear, which is that we oppose actions to achieve a Palestinian state through the United Nations,’ Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters…” Reuters, “Abbas Presses Palestinian UN Bid, Despite Warnings,” Sep. 20, 2011

“Palestine became the 195th full member of Unesco on Monday, as the United Nations organization defied a mandated cutoff of American funds under federal legislation from the 1990s. The vote of Unesco’s full membership was 107 to 14, with 52 abstentions.   The step will cost the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization one-quarter of its yearly budget — the 22 percent contributed by the United States (about $70 million) plus another 3 percent contributed by Israel. Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman, said that American contributions to Unesco, including $60 million scheduled for this month, would not be paid.   Cheers filled the hall at Unesco’s headquarters here after the vote, with one delegate shouting, ‘Long live Palestine!’ in French. The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, praised the organization, saying that ‘this vote will help erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people’ and that it would help protect world heritage sites in Israeli-occupied territory. In a long speech, Mr. Malki said that ‘this membership will be the best step toward peace and stability,’ insisting that the Palestinian request for membership in Unesco was ‘linked in no way to our request to join the United Nations.” New York Times, “Unesco Accepts Palestinians as Full Members,” Oct. 31, 2011

“The Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations was effectively stalled Friday after the Security Council approved a report stating its inability ‘to make a unanimous recommendation.’   ‘We knew from the beginning … that we might not be able to succeed in the Security Council because there is a powerful country that has the veto power,’ said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations. He said that he believed the report was ‘objective.’ The United States has been vocal about its intention to veto any Palestinian bid for statehood. Last week, France and the United Kingdom said they would abstain from the vote. Those three nations, along with China and Russia, have veto power in the Security Council…   Were a council resolution to pass, the membership bid would be forwarded to the General Assembly, where passage is all but assured. A vote in the near term does not seem likely. But should it take place, diplomats say that the Palestinians are unlikely to get even the nine votes necessary for a resolution to pass, because of a large number of abstentions. The U.S. veto would effectively be moot…   The next step for the Palestinians remains unclear. They could sidestep the Security Council and go straight to the General Assembly, where they would get an upgraded observer status, matching that of the Vatican, but not full membership. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, has said that they will not pursue that option.” CNN, “With Security Council Report, Palestinian Statehood Bid Stalled at UN,” Nov. 11, 2011

“The Palestinian Authority president has said the exploratory talks with Israel on resuming full peace negotiations have concluded, without any progress…   Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met five times in recent weeks in the Jordanian capital for what were termed ‘exploratory talks.’… The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators – the US, UN, EU and Russia – said last autumn that they expected both sides to submit detailed proposals on borders and security arrangements, in the hope that the dialogue would encourage the resumption of direct peace talks…   Palestinian negotiators insist that building settlements on occupied land must stop before they agree to reopen talks. Israel says there can be no preconditions to talks and it continues to build in the settlements.” BBC, “Israel-Palestinian Exploratory Talks ‘Over,'” Jan. 25, 2012

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the centrist opposition party Kadima formed a surprise unity government Tuesday, extinguishing plans for early elections and cementing Netanyahu’s position as the strongest Israeli leader in years.   The deal gives the governing coalition a vast parliamentary majority, fortifying Netanyahu’s mandate as he presses for possible military action against Iran’s nuclear sites, an idea that has faced growing domestic criticism. It could also shift the hawkish coalition toward the center, granting Netanyahu room to weather threats of revolt by right-wing factions and perhaps leeway to offer concessions to the Palestinian…   The unity deal also included a pledge to ‘renew the political process with the Palestinian Authority.’… New Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday that he had drawn up an interim peace agreement based on borders and security. But he said he would need to discuss it further with Netanyahu, who reiterated his long-held stance that Israel is open to discussions without preconditions, such as a freeze on settlements.” Washington Post, “In Israel, Surprise Unity Government Consolidates Netanyahu’s Strength,” May 7, 2012

On Nov. 12, 2012, “the Palestinians distributed a draft resolution to 193 [United Nations] member states in the first practical step of the campaign for international recognition of a future state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. They also seek to upgrade their status to that of a nonmember observer state in the United Nations system…   Israel’s Foreign Ministry has warned foreign governments that a successful Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations this month could lead Israel to cancel the Oslo peace accords and, possibly, to oust President Mahmoud Abbas and dismantle his Palestinian Authority, according to official documents made available to reporters on Wednesday.   The threats reflect the last-minute brinkmanship under way as the Palestinians forge ahead with plans for a vote on Nov. 29 in the United Nations General Assembly, having rejected a personal plea to hold off from President Obama as they and the Israelis focus their final lobbying efforts on a divided Europe.” New York Times, “Israel Heightens Warnings Over Palestinians’ UN Bid,” nytimes.com, Nov. 14, 2012

“Israel launched its military offensive against Gaza on 14 November, marking the latest eruption in a conflict with Palestinian militants which has raged between the two sides for years. The latest violence has left dozens of people dead, many of them civilians, and shows no sign of ending soon.   Israel’s offensive on Gaza began with an air strike that killed the commander of Hamas’s military wing, Ahmed Jabari, whom it accused of responsibility for ‘all terrorist activities against Israel from Gaza’ over the past decade. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) subsequently announced the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, which it said was intended to protect Israeli civilians from rockets and mortars fired by militants in Gaza, as well as cripple Hamas’s capability to launch attacks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation was launched because he could no longer ‘accept a situation in which Israeli citizens are threatened by the terror of rockets…’ Although Jabari’s killing signaled the start of Israel’s offensive, it was preceded by spates of deadly cross-border violence which saw Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas’s Qassam Brigades, firing hundreds of rockets into southern Israel and the Israeli military shelling Gaza and carrying out air strikes… Mr. Netanyahu has insisted that he is not seeking to topple Hamas.   On 18 November, the prime minister announced that the IDF had attacked more than 1,350 ‘terrorist targets’ and had achieved ‘significant hits on weapons aimed at Israeli citizens, as well as on those who use the weapons and those who dispatch them.’ Israel has said it is doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, although more than half of those killed in Gaza have been women and children, according to Hamas officials. The Israeli government has approved the calling up of 75,000 army reservists in apparent preparation for a ground offensive. Some 31,000 have already been summoned…   Since the conflict began, 1128 rockets have been fired towards Israel, the IDF says, with 324 intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Before the recent offensive, Israel had repeatedly carried out air strikes on Gaza as Palestinian militants fired rockets across the border. But the aerial and naval bombardment is its most intense assault on the territory since Israel launched a full-scale invasion four years ago. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a decisive victory in general elections. Israel withdrew from the strip in 2005 but maintains a blockade around it. Israel, as well as the United States and the European Union, regards Hamas as a terrorist organization.” BBC News, “Q&A: Israel-Gaza Violence,” bbc.co.uk, Nov.19, 2012

“Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume peace talks [in Washington, DC] on Monday night, the State Department said in a statement on Sunday afternoon. It will be the first time that the two have held direct talks since 2010. Clearing the last obstacle to resuming peace talks, the Israeli cabinet voted Sunday to approve the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners, an unpopular move with many Israelis. Secretary of State John Kerry then spoke with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to formally invite them to send their negotiating teams to Washington…   The goal of the negotiations will be to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel with agreed-upon borders and security arrangements. Officials said that talks are initially expected to focus on procedural issues, like the location, schedule and format of negotiating sessions, before moving on to tackle the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli side will be represented by Israel’s justice minister, Tzipi Livni, and Isaac Molho, Mr. Netanyahu’s special envoy. On the Palestinian side will be Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator, and Mohammed Shtayyeh, a close adviser to Mr. Abbas. The Monday evening session will be a working dinner at the State Department, hosted by Mr. Kerry, who has made an intensive effort to revive the moribund talks. The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are to meet again on Tuesday before heading home. The next round of talks would be held in the Middle East. Martin Indyk, the former United States ambassador to Israel, whom Mr. Kerry is expected to name on Monday to manage the talks for the United States, would attend that round.” New York Times, “Israel and Palestinians Set to Resume Peace Talks, US Announces,” nytimes.com, July 28, 2013

“The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday agreed to form a unity government and hold new elections, making a new attempt to overcome a seven-year split that has left them divided between two governments.   While the announcement was greeted with smiles and celebrations, it remained unclear how the plan would succeed where previous attempts at unity have failed. It also added new complications to U.S. efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians…   Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of sabotaging peace efforts by seeking rapprochement with Hamas…   He said the sides planned to form an interim government within five weeks. Presidential and parliamentary elections should be held on the same date, ‘at the earliest six months after forming the government.'” National Public Radio, “Abbas, Rival Hamas Give Reconciliation Another Try,” npr.org, Apr. 23, 2014

“Israel launched a major air assault on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing hundreds of targets in what Israeli officials said was a bid to halt escalating cross-border attacks from Palestinian militants… who fired a new a salvo of more than 150 rockets toward major Israeli cities…   The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes against more than 150 sites in Gaza, killing five alleged members of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the enclave. Ashraf al-Qidrah, a spokesman for Gaza’s Health Ministry, said early Wednesday that 24 Palestinians had been killed in the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip and 152 wounded…   The Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza… came against a backdrop of weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank — which Israel has blamed on Hamas — and the suspected revenge killing of an Arab youth in East Jerusalem…   In a sign that the cross-border conflict could widen, Israel said Tuesday that it had called up 1,500 reservists and was mobilizing two infantry brigades, artillery, combat bulldozers and tanks along the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion. The Israeli cabinet subsequently approved the call-up of an additional 40,000 army reservists, according to the Defense Ministry…   Hours after Israel launched what it called ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the army to ‘take their gloves off’ against Hamas and increase attacks on Gaza…” Washington Post, “Israel Presses Air Assault as Hamas Fires Salvo of Cross-Border Rockets,” washingtonpost.com, July 8, 2014

And that brings us roughly up to date.

Mostly stolen from: http://israelipalestinian.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000635

On the Sublime

Loneliness…

lonely

And the fear of it.

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This is the facet of humanity that has dictated and changed the course of individual human lives and the whole course of human history. In the Garden of Eden Myth, why did Adam eat the apple? Fear of being alone and losing his love.

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What were Alexander Graham Bell’s first words on his telephone? “Mr. Watson, come here! I want you.”

Why do we romanticize love and hold love as our highest ideal? Because Love is the antithesis to loneliness. Love means that your soul must never be alone.

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We humans live in the sublime. I define “Sublime” classically: not excellence, but the terror and recognition of our own insignificance in the face of the awe-inspiring vast and brobdingnagian universe. We feel the cold grip of our own mortality: the winds of insignificance whip at our consciousness, tattering our sanity in the biting realization that we are alone. We are born alone, and we die alone.

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We so acutely feel this pain and we run as far away as fast as we can. We stuff it down in our awareness and turn the agony into a dull throb. We stay busy, buy pets, take up hobbies, joke about awful experiences dating, or commiserate over bad online dating websites. Our holidays are the worst, because we are confronted with images of friends and families surrounding a christmas tree, or thanksgiving dinner, or on romantic dates in February. Our news feeds are congested with images of weddings, and babies, and new families growing and moving together.

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Even when you find a brief respite from the drum beat, things end, friendships decay, loved ones are snatched into the endless abyss. We commemorate graduations, and funerals, wrap parties, and weddings the same: we celebrate the times we had together, while mourning the loss of the immediacy of our close friends and new families as their life paths merrily carry them away like crisp leaves floating downstream in the gutters. All gutters lead to the dark sewers, and sewers lead to the sea.

We dance while we can, with a fervent desperation, knowing that the dance cannot help but end, and our partner will age into dust, or leave us for the next bright bobbing body.

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And so time goes on. And so we go on. We stare above into the eternal night, watching the silent flaming watchers watch us, as they stand as sentinels marking the passage of time, like a massive watch. It is a watch wound up at the dawn of time, each hand ticking away until everything dissolves into cold dissolution. Dissipation. All heat and energy expended until even the atoms and molecules no longer hold together and become a thinly eternal cloud protons and neutrons and electrons. Even they will become quarks and muons and neutrinos. And they will eventually dissolve into quanta spread so far apart and cease moving. In the end, even the fabric of the universe will be alone, without so much as a single atom fining itself bound to any other.

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We are the consciousness of the universe. That is our function in this vast body. And we are aware of our own individual insignificance. The universe is aware of its own death and demise. And it is lonely too.

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“GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he ‘s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he ‘s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.”

Robert Herrick. 1591–1674

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Excelsior!

The constant evolution burning bright,
As changes waft – carrying the night:
forever stranded on the weary sea,
never achieving, only consistently
moving forward as tides to shore
or soldiers marching off to war.
The sands slide on, the bells chime hours
as cosmic forces expend their powers.
We react, we grow – our burdens shift.
The Sisyphean ordeal, our experiences sift
and compel the reckoning of our souls
with ages past and specters and ghouls
of choices gone and decisions past.
Those who remain learn and change,
and explore (discover!) over such a range
that humanity, brilliant & crafted from stars
extends his reach through time and space (au revoir!)
and touches the face of god.

-JRWH, 07/05/14

For my brother, NJCH on his 23rd Birthday.

Thorns of the Rose

shattered lines and broken spheres:
the fractured worlds collide
a jumbled heap,
and tossed to keep
in attics of the world.

A pawn shop’s heart,
a junk yards soul
used refuse for profit.
Clean the gunk off of it:
each item once loved
and treasured dearly
forgotten in the dust.

One mans trash
is another man’s treasure
or so the saying goes:
the thorns of the rose
is that which gives meaning
whether ’tis young or old.

-JRWH, 07/06/14