Eyewitness News

On the brink

Monday, November 19, 2012
Bill Ritters daily take on the news.

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

Remember the old Star Trek episode where half a planet's population is black on the right side of their bodies and white on the left, and the other half is the opposite? And they hate each other?

Capt. Kirk found it puzzling why the people were at war with each other, since they looked and acted identical - except for the flip-flopped placement of black and white on half their bodies.

I think of that episode just about every time the Middle East gets ready to explode. And it's ready. So I'm thinking about Star Trek Episode 70 titled, "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

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And if you saw the front page of The New York Times today, it will also remind you of the Star Trek show. The top picture showed a group of Palestinians, all men, gathered around the body of the Hamas military commanded, killed in a targeted Israeli attack. The bottom picture, sized exactly the same, and with a group of Israelis, all men, gathered around the body of a woman killed by a Hamas rocket.

They were each sorrowful. But together, the sorrow was exponential. And what also struck me was the similarity between the two groups of men. Switch their clothes, and they could have been the same. In fact, really, aren't Israelis and Palestinians much more alike than different, despite the years of hatred and violence between them? I think they are. These two peoples, plunked down in the same region, neighbors, who have wasted so many years and so many lives.

I know, I know, vicious and angry postings will follow this blog - with advocates from both sides, blaming the other. Yes, Hamas is an evil group that sends rockets into civilian areas - including areas where Palestinians live. Today they fired rockets into Jerusalem; some of them landed in the West Bank. And yes, Israelis are aggressive in their defense of their land, and many wish they'd send money instead of missiles to Gaza. Get people jobs and something to live for. After all, no revolution was ever fought on a full stomach.

But the hard truth is the lack of peace reflects badly on both sides - and on the U.S. and on the rest of the Arab world.

And until there is a real peace - with respect from both sides and with each side helping the other to exist and thrive - then this will remain a region always on the verge of war.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll have the latest from the Middle East tonight at 11 - as both sides appear to be ready for a prolonged period of stepped-up violence.

Also at 11, he was a real-life kind of Rocky - a boxer who rose up from humble beginnings to become a world champion. But now, a year after his tragic death at too-young-an-age, his hometown friends - just 90 minutes outside New York City - are fighting a battle of their own. They're trying to get a statue of the late super lightweight champ Billy Costello. They needed help - and so they signaled to the corner for some coaching advice from Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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