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Last week all of Israel once again made the incredible transition from deep mourning to bounding joy. They first marked the nation's Remembrance Day in honor of all the nation's fallen soldiers, and then moved immediately into the joyful celebration of their 62nd Independence Day.

The rest of the nations of the world never experience the deep emotion the Israelis feel on these two back-to-back holidays. No other nation has experienced what Israel has gone through to become the free and prosperous nation that it is today.

Nearly every Israeli has lost a family member or a friend in the five wars that have been fought and won for Israel to even be in existence today. So for every Israeli, Remembrance Day is a deeply heartfelt and solemn time.

But at sunset, when the next day begins, those same Israelis burst into celebration over what the sacrifices of the lives of their loved ones has produced - a safe and secure Jewish homeland, after thousands of years of exile and persecution.

As could be expected, the current Israeli leaders, as well as some of their antagonists, made significant comments for the occasion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded his people that they must remember that "Israel can only truly rely on itself."

Quoting the respected Zionist leader of 100 years ago, Theodore Hertzl, Netanyahu said, "Don't rely on help from strangers, don't trust the charitable, and don't wish for stones to grow soft." He added, "A nation that wishes to stand tall must place all its trust in itself only."

And interesting to us Christians, Israeli Army Chief, Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi stated that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) view the Bible as the number one influence on its conduct and mission.

"The IDF sees the Bible as our Guide, in the deep and practical sense of the word," he stated. "It is no accident that the IDF swears in its soldiers with a weapon in one hand and a Bible in the other, a custom that reflects the uniqueness of the IDF and the deep bond of the Jewish people to the Book of Books."

Of course, Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas had to add his offensive word. He called on the United States to impose a unilateral peace deal on Israel, indicating that the Palestinians have a growing frustration with what they think is Washtington's failure to get concessions from Israel's hard-line government.

Abbas was quoted as saying, "If President Obama believes Palestinian statehood if a vital U.S. interest, then the American leaders must take forceful steps to bring it about." He added, "Don't tell me it's a vital strategic American interest, and then not do anything about it."

Then one more voice also turned up. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again urged Israel and the Palestinians to re-start peace talks, but then she laid the blame for the fact that the peace process has not advanced on the Jewish state.

Clinton seemed to directly blame Israel for the fact that Palestinians have increasingly turned away from the more moderate Fatah leaders to the more militant Hamas leaders. She declared that Israel needed to make more concessions to Fatah leader Abbas, in order to improve his image and support.

"We encourage Israel to build momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity, and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza," she said.

Obviously, Clinton again failed to acknowledge that the Palestinians have had many years to demonstrate their ability to effectively govern and to promote an atmosphere of peace and co-existence, but they have failed to do so.

Anyone with any understanding knows that the Palestinians are the true obstacles to peace, not the Israelis.

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Dr. Al Snyder is a former professor of Communications at Liberty University in Virginia and North Greenville University. He has done extensive missionary work in Israel and Africa.

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