Ralph Peters is a regular columnist with the New
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Towns Of War
to the war from Tel Aviv, the traffic thins gradually - until
you realize abruptly that your car is the only one left on
towns beyond the range of most of the rockets carry on as normally
as possible. As far north as Nazareth, it feels - almost -
But as you
climb the hills of Galilee, you meet ever fewer vehicles on
the roads. A short convoy of Humvees heads toward the fighting,
followed by a pair of old Willys jeeps painted olive drab -
the Israeli Defense Forces don't all have state-of-the-art
gear, but make do with many leftovers from past wars.
Ralph Peters - Contributor
Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books,
as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both
under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist
for the New York Post and other publications. [go to Peters Index]
A military flatbed loaded with 155mm artillery shells labors
up a curling mountain road. In a sheltered pass, a last, defiant
gas station remains open.
Then, suddenly, you're alone among the ghost towns. The city
of Safed is empty, a scene from a 1950s science-fiction film.
A few residents remain, but I did not see a single one. Just
a lonesome dog.
In town after town, it's as if a plague has struck. And one
has: the plague of terrorist rockets, whose only purpose is to
ANOTHER sort of plague hasn't hit: There is no looting. The
empty houses of the refugees are safe. Israel pulls together,
and no police patrols are needed to protect these businesses
Remaining behind in the north, emergency personnel do what must
be done. Hospital staffs work underground in bunkers and bomb
shelters, treating military casualties and victims of the terror
rockets. Utilities function. The water runs.
But hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been driven away
from their homes. You don't hear much about that. Journalists
love to think of themselves as bold individualists - but the
truth is that they're herd animals.
And the herd has decided that the big story of this war is the
suffering of Lebanese civilians - misery exaggerated skillfully
by Hezbollah's propagandists. They work the complicit international
media like veteran hookers playing a pack of drunk conventioneers
(Sure I love ya, sure you're the best . . .).
Dead or displaced Jews? Who cares? That's yesterday's news.
Today's hot fashion statement is to champion Israel's genocidal
enemies. And every ambitious journalist wants to be in style.
If the year were 1939, our media would be trumpeting every note
provided by Joseph Goebbels.
And then there are the chickens. Not cowards. Real chickens.
Thousands and thousands of them, cackling away. Still in their
coops. Untended, they'd die quickly. So farmers stay on the front,
putting out feed between Katyusha barrages. One of the oddest
images I'll carry away from this war is of tanks positioned to
fight on either end of a long, noisy chicken barn: The Chicken-Coop
Vineyards need tending, but grow unkempt. Summer crops rot.
Terror rockets burn the fields and set fire to painstakingly
reforested hillsides. (Where's Greenpeace when you need them?)
It's as if Israel's enemies are jealous even of this reborn earth.
ON another "patrol," I passed through
more deserted towns - and was startled by the sight of two
old women in headscarves.
Often, it's the old who refuse to leave their homes and the only
lives they know.
Kibbutzniks stay at the front, as well. The spirit of the founding
generation lives on - despite Israel's phenomenal progress and
Villagers from the hills hang on, too, protective of their animals.
And those villages suffering under the rain of rockets are not
only Jewish, but Muslim, Christian and Druze. Of course, Hezbollah
rockets killing Muslims wouldn't make a politically correct story.
So you don't hear about that, either.
Driving south to file this series of columns, I gave a lift
to a naval officer-candidate - even in the most-desolate spots,
you see military hitchhikers. The IDF moves largely by private
vehicles, buses and the thumb. The young man in the carefully
pressed uniform told me that he'd been permitted a quick trip
home because 35 Katyushas had slammed into his little village.
The media didn't report that, either. They were posing on hotel
terraces in Haifa, wearing flak jackets for the camera, 50 miles
from the war.
NO innocents should die on ei ther side. But they do. That's
war. Yet the one-sided coverage of this conflict is disgraceful.
The truth is that all of the dead or wounded, on both sides of
the border, are Hezbollah's victims.
Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors. Can anyone
honestly claim that for Israel's enemies?
Where is humanity's fellow-feeling for Israel? Where is the
sense of justice?
The sorry answer is that a bigoted world couldn't care less.
Nobody gives a damn.
Except you, my fellow Americans. Except you. CRO
latest book is Never
Quit The Fight.
piece first appeared in the New York Post
copyright 2006 - NY Post