1 - Belfast like Jerusalem
2 - Government of Northern Ireland has lost control Aug01
3 - The Shame of Belfast Sept 01
4 - Let there be Peace Oct 28, 2001
5 - IRA/ol-Qeedo Link? - Nov01 




1 - Belfast like Jerusalem 
While we are strongly and understandably involved in our current matzav (situation), many of us may have ignored the renewal of another matzav in a different part of- the world - in the midst of civilized Europe. In fact, this "matzav" is part of that most self-righteously civilized society, the United Kingdom, the home of the BBC. 

Rioting broke out in Belfast, the main city of Northern Ireland. The British police took very stern measures to stop the wanton throwing of stones and firebombs between the Catholics and Protestants "who are destined to share this small piece of land." 

It is also becoming pretty obvious that the "Good Friday Agreement" between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland, brokered by George Mitchell, is unraveling rapidly and violently. David Trimble, the moderate and truly peace-searching leader of the Protestant majority in Northern Ireland, having suffered a serious electoral reverse in the recent elections held there, has threatened to resign by the end of June if the IRA does not finally fulfill its obligations under the "Good Friday Agreement." 

He stated that he has had enough of the lack of reciprocity between the parties in regards to the conflict and the blatant refusal of the IRA to honor its written word. The likelihood of the IRA now suddenly fulfilling its part of the bargain after getting away with years of violations, sporadic violence, refusal to decommission its arms and armed gangs, and of obfuscating all of this with a very successful public relations effort, appears to me to be pretty unlikely. 

Thus, the "Oslo Accords" of Belfast are apparently coming to the same dismal failure as those of Jerusalem. 

There are startling resemblances between our "matzav" and the one in Northern Ireland. The English Protestant majority has been in the country for over 350 years. Yet, the IRA treats them as "settlers." 

The IRA demands that the area of Northern Ireland must be united with the overwhelmingly Catholic country of Ireland itself, an act of national suicide to which the Protestant Ulstermen refuse to accede. 

There is little love lost between the English and the Irish peoples even today, 80 years after the Republic of Ireland separated itself from the British Empire and became independent. Old hurts, grudges, fanatical religious divisions and a heritage of violence and selfpity, compounded by economic stagnation and bad government, have made the dispute almost intractable. 

But the "Good Friday Agreement" was a bold attempt to end this centuries-old conflict and break the cycle of violence that has engulfed Northern Ireland and sometimes even England itself for the past 30 years: 

The "Good Friday Agreement" was predicated on two assumptions. 

The first one was the old liberal, naive, almost innocent proposition that the terrorist fox can be convinced to guard the hen house if the political and economic gains given to the fox are sufficient. 

Thus the IRA was given free reign to police itself and restrain its "uncontrollable elements" from committing acts of violence. The IRA, therefore, naturally split into a number of IRA organizations - The Real IRA, the Republican IRA, etc. The IRA's political wing, represented by its superb spokesman, Gerry Adams, claimed that it could not control these extremist elements and was not responsible for their, actions. 

The main IRA itself refused to disarm and cooperate in any meaningful fashion to form a climate of reconciliation in Belfast or Northern Ireland. The climate of hate and demonization continued to intensify. 

How could anyone, therefore, be surprised by the recently renewed violence? 

The tactic of drawing everything possible from one's adversary by negotiation and then resorting to violence when negotiation will not produce the ultimate extreme capitulation of that adversary is an old one. 

The original demands for political improvement and power-sharing by the Catholics of Northern Ireland have long ago been met. The contest now is whether the entire Protestant community of Ulster has a "right" to continue to rule at all in Northern Ireland. 

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? 

The tragedy of the failing "Good Friday Agreement," as is the tragedy of the failed Oslo Accords in the Middle East, is mainly due to the second assumption that ruled the practical implementation of those agreements. That assumption was that the goodwill of the "stronger" party to the dispute is enough to obviate the necessity for halting the peace process because of noncompliance by the second "weaker" party. 

Thus it became a matter of the blind leading the blind into a situation far worse and more intractable than was the original situation which the agreement was supposed to ameliorate. 

I had thought that the Northern Ireland peace situation could serve as an example for us as to how long time disputes could be settled without a crushing defeat being inflicted on one of the parties. But apparently the IRA has taken a page out of Arafat's notebook, and a second "matzav" has been created in the world. Belfast and Jerusalem are intertwined. 

This is all in addition to the "matzav" in the Balkans and in parts of Africa, where old standing feuds have not been settled peaceably yet. I hope that all of these matters can and will somehow be settled at the negotiating table. But history and my suspicious instincts are not too optimistic 





2 - Government of Northern Ireland has lost control 
The Tory spokesman for Northern Ireland, Lord Glentoran told the British House of Lords on July 23 that the British government had "lost control" of the political situation in Northern Ireland. 

Of particular concern to observers of the volatile Northern Ireland political scene is the startlingly accelerated draw-down of troop levels and the closure of British military bases in the country since the Good Friday "peace" agreement was concluded in April 1998. Troop levels are at their lowest for 30 years, with 25 army bases closed or demolished since the agreement was signed. 

The reduction of security in Northern Ireland is also being aggravated by the unseemly loss of nearly 1000 police officers over the first half of this year due to so-called police reforms. These reductions are just playing into the hands of the antagonists on both sides of the Irish dispute. 

As a weak, inept government in London sticks its head in the sand, the gunrunners and drug peddlers run rampant, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) regroups and deploys its murderous personnel in key locations, ready to mount their historic carnage at the first indication that England's leadership will not bow to their will. 

No guns have been handed over in Northern Ireland. 

There is simply no basis for enduring peace between the Catholics and Protestants in this country. 

The caving-in by socialist do-gooder "leaders" to the whims of Sinn Fein-IRA leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, neither of them having ever renounced their terrorist leanings, has now produced an untenable situation in this strifetorn patch of the emerald isle. 

Conservative Upper House member Lord Tebbit was scathing in his condemnation of the Blair government's collusion with Sinn Fein-IRA to oust Britain from Northern Ireland. In a government debate on the Northern Ireland situation, he declared of Blair's government, "Their objective is precisely the same as that of Sinn Fein-IRA, it is a united Ireland under the rule of Dublin by what is grandly called consent. Consent of a people left without an adequate police force at the mercy of a terrorist army which has not been required to give up a single one of its weapons" (Press Association, July 24). 

THE Philadelphia TRUMPET AUGUST 2001 

3 - The Shame of Belfast
A sign inside the front door of Holy Cross primary school in north Belfast reads, "If we'd been born where they were born and taught what they were taught, we would believe what they believe." 

Before they could get inside to read the sign last week, pupils of Holy Cross-Roman Catholic girls as young as four, none older than 11 got a brutal lesson in belief. To get to school, they had to run a gauntlet of abuse from their Protestant neighbors that began with insults and spit and within days escalated to bricks and blast bombs...... Chris Thornton Time Magazine September 2001 

Hebrew Alliance Commentary 
The Roman Catholic sign says it all. It simply accuses the Protestants of teaching Hate of Roman Catholics. The children of course, without being told, the sign says it all, understand that the Protestants are their enemy and therefore will Hate them forever. This sign is really a Hate sign without question. It must have been approved before posting by the RCO and probably is posted in other Catholic Schools. Obviously, the children will therefore support the IRA terrorists and killers The sign does nothing but teach Hate and Hate once taught is never forgotten. Teaching hate of others is a basic dogma of the RCO. 

4 - Let there be peace 

The seemingly impossible has become possible with the Irish Republican Army's historic announcement that it will disarm to save the tortured peace process in Northern Ireland. The momentousness of the IRA actually deep-sixing its sacrosanct guns and bombs - acknowledging that civilized politics, not violence, should rule the region's future - cannot be underestimated. 

Neither can the influence of Sept. 11. 

Quite simply, the climate changed that day, and with it America's - and Britain's - frayed tolerance for IRA games. The White House was already furious over the arrests of three IRA associates accused of training anti-American, drug-selling Colombian rebels. U.S. Special Envoy Richard Haas had warned Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, that it would face political isolation if the charges were true. 

Then came last month's attacks on the U.S., and the diplomatic pressure intensified: In America's war on terror, there is no room for an armed IRA. Of such circumstances is history made. Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness urged their IRA buddies to destroy the weapons, and the next day, this actually started to happen. Much credit for this goes to Haas. 

Skepticism about IRA intentions, or even its ability to proceed toward peace, is understandable. It has always been fractionalized. And three decades of violence have placed the IRA firmly in the annals of terror. Not that its opposite Protestant numbers sport haloes. 

But old hatreds die hard, on both sides. 

Since the Troubles began, 3,600 people have been killed. The latest riots - the worst unrest in 20 years - have left Belfast littered with torched cars and broken glass. Still, in Northern Ireland, the time finally may be ripe for peace. 

Last week, the IRA said it had begun to render its hidden caches of guns and explosives inoperable - a development confirmed by independent monitors. 

Destroy the weapons, seal them with concrete, beat them into plowshares. This time, don't end up destroying hope. NY Daily News Oct 28, 2001 

5 - IRA/ol-Qeedo Link? - NOVEMBER 2001 

TOUGH MILITANT Catholicism and militant Islam may seem to make odd, if not impossible, bedfellows, it seems that the common hatred that each holds against the Anglo-American establishment is far stronger than the opposing philosophies of their religions. Reports have surfaced which indicate that the Real Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network are in collusion. 

The prime facilitator in this relationship appears to be the Basque terrorist group ETA. Both the Real IRA and al-Qaeda have strong connections with ETA. 

The common currency that links these terror groups is drugs. A Scottish newspaper recently wrote, "Bin Laden's terrorist organization is known to control massive quantities of opium and raw heroin, while the Real IRA is suspected of being heavily involved in drugs trafficking" (The Scotsman, Oct. 17). 

The Spanish El Mundo newspaper reported that the Real IRA are involved in laundering cash for al-Qaeda. It is rumored that bin Laden's bagman for Europe recently set up house in Dublin, Northern Ireland. 

All of this bodes ill for the U.S. and its coalition against terrorism. It is only time before Britain is targeted by militant Islam for its support of the U.S. war against terrorism. With the Real IRA in a position to give Islamic terrorists intelligence on Britain's soft-spots, the anti-terrorist coalition could soon see the efforts of its leading lights, America and Britain, diverted from their common cause as they are distracted into fighting the war on terror on their home turf. 

With three Protestant paramilitary forces ending their spasmodic seven-year ceasefire last month, attacks on Britain's soil from extremists such as the Real IRA could be lent extra and more deadly weight by involvement and support from groups such as al-Qaeda. 

"If the Real IRA had formed an alliance with al-Qaeda, it would have been in an exemplary position to provide the fanatics with many:- details the home addresses of British ministers and politicians, sensitive military sites, potential targets and possibly the use of IRA safe houses in mainland Britain" (ibid.). 

Already understaffed and spread thinly on the ground, if Britain is forced into deploying troops in Ireland in addition to strengthening security on the mainland, plus continuing its contribution to peace enforcement in the Balkans, this may well detract from its efforts to support the U.S. in any expansion of the coalition efforts to thwart Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and Eurasia. 


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