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“The Rolling Drums of War”
by Jerusalem Watchman - Stan Goodenough   
November 22nd, 2009

It’s never quiet in the Middle East, but sometimes the drums are muted. They roll like faraway thunder. You hear them, you know they are out there, but they’re not pressing in on your consciousness, not demanding your attention or causing you to act. Your life - our life - continues as normal.

This is both a blessing and a pity. It’s a blessing because no-one can live constantly hyped on the edge of expectation for an imminent conflict explosion.

On the downside, there’s the tendency to switch off - the danger of losing one’s own edge.

That airforce jet patrolling high over Jerusalem for the third time this morning is just another plane on patrol - never mind that we haven’t heard them this frequently for some time. The interview given by jailed venerated “Palestinian” leader - Marwan Barghouti - last week was just another interview and not a coded message to both the Fatah and Hamas terrorist cells to unleash a “Third Intifada” against Israel.  The latest rash of scary headlines? They’re just that - the latest rash.

And the drum rolls on.

In Ha’aretz this morning I read, “Iran set to hold ‘huge’ war games.”

My laptop is shouting the latest threat from Iran’s religious leaders: “We’ll hit the heart of Tel Aviv.”

They can: IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned just 12 days ago that Tehran’s proxy army, the Lebanese Hizb’allah - now has rockets that can hit all of Israel’s major cities, including Jerusalem. And Iran has test-fired missiles from its own territory with the range to reach Israel’s heart.

That we’re well into the countdown towards a major war with Iran seems a given. Few Israelis believe this issue - a nuclear-armed Iran - will simply go away; or be diplomatically defused.

Despite this, there is little sense of nervousness on the street. Like us, everyone else seems to be living life as usual.

In fact, it seems on some days as if Israel’s friends “out there” in the wider world - and notably in the United States - are far more concerned about the threat hovering over us than we are.

When it happens? What then? When Israel hits Iran, what will happen in Haifa; what will happen in Tel Aviv; what will happen in Jerusalem?

That’s the first question. No-one seems to have the answer to it so no-one is even talking about it.

The second question? How will the Israeli strikes be reported abroad? When IAF fighters bomb Natanz and the other nuclear facilities, what will Israel be accused of in the court of world opinion?

And when - may God not let it happen - Iranian warheads start dropping on Dizengoff Street and Jaffa Road, on the Haifa Bay area and on the Old City, what will you hear, and how will you respond?

Hopefully you will hear something about it here on Jerusalem Newswire and the Jerusalem Watchman. Unless our Internet access is knocked out we’ll do what we can to keep you in our part of the loop.

But brace yourselves: Israel - already painted a war criminal by Judge Goldstone - is going to be blamed for the fallout of the inevitable strike. And that fallout could reach us all.

Earlier this year, during Operation Cast Lead, we saw the power of the media to turn people who were staunchly for Israel against the Jewish state.

With Iran it will be much bigger. Huge. What will you do? It’s probably worth asking yourself that question now, before it happens.

If hitting Iran brings American interests under attack - propelling the price of gas through the roof and crashing the precarious economy to the ground; when the world as you know it is collapsing around you, you will need to guard your heart.

It’s not too early to prepare for this now. It may nearly be too late.

We’d better get ready - on our knees

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