I have returned from my Negev adventures. I hiked up Metzada yesterday too. Pictures will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, I was asked in a comment on a previous post whether I agree with Samson Blinded's post, "We need a respite from peace." (click on the link to read the full text.)
My answer would be: mostly. The one quote I disagree with would be: "Peace process is highly unusual. Every other nation destroyed whatever aborigines happened to live on the land that nation chose to build a state."
This would seem to imply that the Arabs are indigenous to the Eretz Yisrael, which they are not. Quite the contrary, Israel builds its legitimacy on the fact that Jews have deeper historical roots here than any other people. It was the Arabs who invaded in the seventh century, and brought with them the Arab language, religion, and culture, none of which are indigenous to the region. They claim that Jerusalem is their third holiest city due to the Al Aksa Mosque, never mind that the very word Al Aksa, a cognate of the hebrew "Ktze" (edge, outer extreme) means "The Farthest," as in the farthest mosque from the Arab homeland of Arabia, hundreds of miles southeast of here.
Furthermore I would not advocate destroying them, except those who would destroy us. I would cut off all free aid, cease the flow of free electricity, water, and natural gas with which Israel provides them, make it a punishable offence to hire them at sub-standard wages, and give every encouragement to leave. Israel's situation is not so dire as to require the indiscriminate physical destruction of its enemies. More Israelis are killed every year by automobiles than Arab terrorists.
Most of all, I'm just tired of whining about the peace process. Everyone knows on some level of consciousness that there is not room in this tiny country for two national groups with diametrically opposed cultures and values. The struggle between these two peoples will continue ad infinitum, or at least until there is a major change in thinking among Israelis. All of these proclamations and photo opps appear more and more to be a rear-guard stalling action by the Europhillic upper crust that rules this country, giving them enough time to get themselves and their families out. I look at Olmert, Barak, and Bibi, and don't see a future for their descendants here.