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Thursday, January 23, 2014



I grew up watching Gomer Pyle USMC. It was very funny, filled with many “Gomerisms,” none more popular than “Surprise, surprise, surprise.” The audience understood it was a comedy sitcom and not intended to be the best example of the United States Marine Corp. We knew better than to take its content seriously.

I wish the same could be said of the current negotiations initiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Palestinian and Israeli leaders and simultaneously, the United Nations negotiations with Syrian rebel factions and the Syrian Government. Unfortunately, if worldwide media reports are to be believed, the audience has been taking all these negotiations seriously. What is even more disturbing is that either Secretary Kerry takes them seriously or these negotiations were nothing but a charade from the start. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Secretary Kerry is ostensibly trying to make peace in the Middle East. That is an admirable cause, but these renewed efforts seem to ignore the insincerity of the Islamic radicals pulling the strings from behind.

In meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry laid out his framework for a peace deal that would establish an independent Palestinian state and end a conflict dating to Israel’s 1948 creation as a nation.

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News stated: “Talks set to begin Tuesday were already beset by problems, including the United Nations reneging on an invitation to Iran, new evidence Bashar Assad systematically tortured thousands, embarrassing flight delays in Greece and a suicide bomber attack in Iran.”

Meanwhile, over the time period of these most recent negotiations rockets are being fired into Gaza, sniper fire has killed Israeli border workers and just yesterday, an al Qaeda influenced plot was foiled in Israel. On Wednesday, Israeli officials said it arrested three Palestinians that it alleged were part of al Qaeda-linked group plotting a suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, along with a simultaneous bombing of the principle Convention Center in Jerusalem.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported: “The plot marks the most ambitious attack an al Qaeda-inspired group has planned against Israel since the early 2000s, said a former head of the Israeli military-intelligence unit that tracks al Qaeda, and underscores concern here that jihadist groups who have gathered in Syria during the civil war could sow instability in Israel as well.”

Those of us who follow more closely the situation in the Middle East are not surprised. Follow the dots: Iran-Syria, Iran-Beirut, Iran-Gaza, Iran-al Qaeda (though their connection has been rocky at times, there is growing evidence of recent cooperation on various levels), al Qaeda-Tel Aviv/Jerusalem.

So don’t be surprised. Stay informed, pay attention and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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