Assad Interview on al-Manar – 24 March 2010

In this interview with Hizbullah’s TV station (copied below), President Assad invokes his speech of November 10 2005 given at the University of Damascus, in which he argued that Syria and the region had only two choices: resistance or chaos. “Resistance is the least costly option,” he explained. At the time, the Mehlis investigation into the Hariri murder was at its climax and President Bush and the UN security council were pressuring Damascus to make Syrian officials available to Mehlis’ unrestricted interrogation. Syria refused.

Ultimately, the UN and Syria struck a deal to send five officials – none from the president’s family – to Vienna for interviews. The sensational accusations of Syrian culpability in the murder made by Mehlis quickly fell apart when his main witnesses recanted; they claimed to have been pressured or paid to provide false testimony to Mehlis. The mishandling of the investigation led to Mehlis’ replacement by more sober and less adventurous investigators. The four Lebanese generals and security officials that Mehlis arrested have all been released. No charges were ever brought against them.

Today Syria faces none of the pressure it did in 2005. Obama’s policies have been good for Syria – not because engagement has been warm or because Obama’s promises to end the Arab-Israeli conflict have been fulfilled – they have not; Syria has thrived because the US has largely ignored it — a big improvement over the Bush administration, which wrongly believed that Assad was weak and could be brow beaten into complying with American’s pro-Israel policies. Syria is no longer depicted as the “low hanging fruit,” of the region, rather, it is referred to as a “central player.” Assad receives weekly visits from Western dignitaries and leading statesmen.

All the same, the great expectations that Obama inspired as a candidate have not been fulfilled. The newly designated Ambassador to Syria gave uninspiring testimony to congress last week in which he underlined the many policy differences separating Syria and the US, the biggest of which was Hizbullah and Syria’s support for groups that resist Israel’s illegal occupation of Arab land. He argued that “the United States wants a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East,” but Syria is positioned to “play the spoiler” because it continues to support terrorists. Much of his testimony was boilerplate and probably necessary for the confirmation process in the face of a very pro-Israel congress. All the same, it underlines how little US policy has changed under Obama. After watching Obama’s capitulation to Israel and hearing congress’ fawning support for Netanyahu’s building campaign in East Jerusalem, no one in the Middle East believe that Washington is genuinely interested in “a just and comprehensive peace.” To reiterate these tired and righteous phrases is simply to grand stand in front a world population that has grown inured to hypocrisy and empty rhetoric.

The context that is most important for understanding Assad’s speech is the state of US-Israeli relations. The Biden visit and  AIPAC meeting in Washington this week revealed a triumphant and expansionist Netanyahu who is unchastened by Obama’s tentative efforts to show disapproval of Israel’s building campaign in East Jerusalem or the West Bank. Netanyahu proved that he has the US congress on his side. The peace process is going no where. Assad simply recognized this. He was polite about both the Obama administration and the ambassador designate. His statement that resistance is being forced on Syria is simply an expression of basic reality.

Syria had hoped that the US would be able to bring Israel to the negotiating table and exert some pressure on it to disgorge the Golan. Assad has given every assurance that Syria is willing to make generous security and water guarantees to Israel in exchange for its land. Israel is not interested. The status quo has been working fine for Israelis, and the US is unable or unwilling to alter that status quo.

Indeed, Israel has successfully diverted America’s and the world’s attention from the Arab-Israeli conflict, where it should be, to Iran. For some largely inexplicable reason, Washington has decided that Iran is its greatest foreign policy challenge and a risk to world peace that must be stopped. While the fear of Iran is being ginned up, the Arab-Israeli conflict, a problem that the US can actually do something about, will be set aside and ignored.

With this speech, Assad is recognizing this state of affairs. It means that his country will likely be pushed into greater conflict with Israel and the US. In a showdown, he will stand with Iran. The Arab League will be discussing the withdrawal of the Arab Peace Initiative during its meeting in Libya this weekend. What else can the Arabs do? The vast majority of Arabs are glad that Syria is keeping the pilot light of Arab resistance lit.

— the speech follows —

Al-Manar’s Interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad
24/03/2010 Al-Manar’s Interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad
Interview conducted by Amr Nassif

Introduction: … Mr. President welcome to Al-Manar Television.

AL-ASSAD Welcome to Syria.

Q: To start with Mr. President, Syria went through lots of crises during the last few years by adopting a policy of challenge and steadfastness, knowing that such policy could have caused Syria to pay heavy prices. I wanted to ask you about the margin of “adventure” in the Syrian decision to face the challenge.

AL-ASSAD There are two kinds of adventures; one that is imposed and another that is by choice. As Syrians, we’re not adventurers but we live in the Middle East which is historically a complicated region. This region in particular has been a coveted spot for thousands of years, because it’s the center of the world where strategic interests underlie. Whether you wanted to make a policy or a war, in either case it’s an adventure. But as I have just said, it’s an imposed adventure. However, we have to differentiate between adventure and gambling. When we assume that the best and easiest solution is to put our future and capabilities in the hands of the big powers with the belief that they will resolve our problems, this is gambling. From our previous experience, the big powers always complicate the problems for various reasons that are in most cases out of evil intent. But even if we assume good intentions, problems will get complicated because they do not belong to this region. We didn’t accept to be part of a gamble that would put Syria, its policies, and its interests in a foreign scheme. This is what happened recently when the project of the New Middle East was raised. This project included Iraq and Lebanon, and Syria was supposed to be part of it. They sought to lure it into this project, but it turned it down. Thus, Syria had to pay a price. This is consistent with a speech I made in 2005, when I said that the price of resistance was less than the price of chaos, and that gambling will lead to chaos and therefore to the ultimate price. Between the high price and the ultimate price, we will choose the first, especially when there is no such thing as a low price or no price at all.

Q: Mr. President, you stressed on several occasions that Syria was against the policy bargains and deals. The problem is that the other side, and I mean the United States, is a regime that only believes in pressure and deals. Yet, the relation between the US and Syria is ameliorating. How did you reach this equation of committing not make deals with a party that only acknowledges deals?

AL-ASSAD At the end, they failed. I’m not only talking about the United States but all the supporters of the previous scheme, supposing that the creator of this scheme was (US former President George W.) Bush. We don’t want to combine between the former and current US administrations. Of course, there are differences. Therefore, when we talk about the United States, some think that the same project is still ongoing. This is not true. At that time, the former United States administration, Israel alongside some European states including France, the UK, and other allies in Europe, the world, and the region, they all worked to complete this project. But they failed and they had to start searching for a new way to deal with the realities on the ground. Personally, I think they have started to learn lessons but they haven’t necessarily learned the lessons. Even if they have learned the lessons, nothing necessitates that the lesson they have learned still remains, because when new people come to power, they might not read the history and therefore, make the same mistakes. That’s why this mistake is made continuously.

But, of course, we’re committed to specific principles that represent our interests and convictions and we won’t abandon them. The way we deal with this is by explaining facts and realities, but at a certain stage, they adopted a policy of terminology such as terrorism, democracy, good and evil. They created a whole world for us, and unfortunately, or maybe out of good luck, they fell in their own trap and lived in a world of illusion. However, our approach was more realistic. So now, they want to join this world regardless of whether there are difference in our points of views or not.

Q: When you distinguished between the Bush administration and Obama’s, was it because you don’t want to burden Obama’s shoulders with Bush’s mistakes, or you really believe they are different?

AL-ASSAD No, there are clear differences, first in the proposals reflected in their speeches and second, we don’t hear dictations anymore. We have different viewpoints, this is normal, but we don’t hear dictations anymore. We can’t say yet that there exist results of an American policy, but there are some institutions in the US that don’t want President Obama to succeed for one reason or another. That’s why we have to differentiate between the two men in order for us to be objective.

Q: Allow me to describe the speech of the US Ambassador to Syria Steven Ford before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on March 16, 2010 as very severe. He said that he was not a prize for Syria and that Syria hasn’t changed as it remains a source of concern for Washington. He also spoke about the necessity to exert direct pressure on your political decisions and talked about some mistakes in Syria’s calculations with Hezbollah. Perhaps the most dangerous thing he talked about was the danger of Syria being dragged into a confrontation with Israel, even unintentionally. How do you describe these words?

AL-ASSAD He said so in Congress and before becoming Ambassador. When he comes to Syria to present his credentials and become Ambassador, we can deal with all these words through our known stances. I don’t have to explain these stances because they are announced. But at the same time, I can say that any Ambassador represents his country’s policy. A fine Ambassador with a bad policy is worthless. The result will not be good.

However, a good policy could impose upon a bad Ambassador to achieve good results for the best interests of both countries. Government policies determine policies and their outcome, not an Ambassador and certainly not his speeches. Still, I’m not in a position to comment on an Ambassador’s speech. When he arrives, we will comment on any stance he takes in the framework of his new mission here. With regards to conviction, he has the right to convince and so do we.

Q: Let’s look at the issue of bargaining from another perspective. Perhaps, there are no deals but some talk about prices. Can we say that one of the prices that Syria paid to ameliorate its relations with the West and the Arabs was accepting diplomatic relations with Lebanon and opening embassies especially that some Lebanese sides actually thanked France for the role it played in this issue. Is this a price?

AL-ASSAD Some sides insist they have achieved some of their policies in the past five years. In fact, they haven’t achieved anything. They only entered Lebanon into mazes. I’m not specifying these sides, I’m talking in general. Now, these powers want to convince others that they have achieved something, anything even an embassy. I actually proposed the embassy in 2005. It was not a Lebanese proposal. None of our former or future allies had suggested it before I did. I raised the issue in a meeting for the higher Lebanese-Syrian joint committee in the presence of Speaker Nabih Berri, then President Emil Lahoud and then PM Omar Karameh. But when the circumstances in Lebanon took a negative turn, we decided to disregard the issue. But I can say that the embassy proposal was Syrian. In all cases, if there was no Syrian conviction, the embassies couldn’t have been established. Everyone knows that when we feel a move is imposed on us or is the result of an attempt of interference, we would immediately reject it. The proof for these forces claiming that their policies, or foreign pressure, have established the embassy, we say that there is a much more important example.

Few countries have raised the issue of the embassies, but a lot of states are now raising the issue of demarcating borders. Our response has always been a clear no. This is a Lebanese-Syrian matter that should be resolved between the two countries. But when a request is made from outside these two countries, we do not act. Now, with the visit of PM Saad Hariri to Syria, we’ve started discussing the issue again. Before that, it was closed since there were no relations between the Syrian and the Lebanese governments. Today we are building these ties. But I’m talking about the principle. If they succeed in imposing the demarcation of the border through foreign pressure, they would be right. But if they fail, the world ought not to believe them.

Q: There’s another issue that some Lebanese always raise when talking about the Lebanese-Syrian relations. It’s the Syrian refusal to provide Lebanon with an official document stating that the Shebaa Farms is Lebanese. They wonder why this Syrian “obstinacy?”

AL-ASSAD It’s simply because you can’t give a document that you don’t have. There are some measures that should be adopted to obtain such document. I mean legal and judicial measures that specify the ownership of properties, which country was given these properties before and after Independence, Lebanon or Syria? When these measures are finalized, we start demarcating the border. But giving this document for political reasons doesn’t seem to be rational.

More to follow…

Comments (17)


1. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

A dictator who doesn’t like to be dictated, but likes to dictate to others.
.

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March 25th, 2010, 5:10 pm

 

2. Ghat Albird said:

A socalled “only democratic state” in the ME whose foreign minister used to be a bar “bouncer” and some also claim used to be a bordello manager.

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March 25th, 2010, 5:53 pm

 

3. Majhool said:

I thought it was a good interview. I appreciated the pragmatic tone. I am happy with the delivery and I think he is maturing as a head of state. Needless to say, the lack of political reforms in Syria continues to disturb me. I am afraid that while his confidence level is going up his interest in reform is going down. I say this because his interviews no longer touch on the subject. How can we get out of the stagnant situation? The country is infested with poverty, collapsing infrastructure, repression, and corruption. I still don’t know how the government is planning to tackle these issue strategically and in a long a sustainable fashion.

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March 25th, 2010, 6:21 pm

 

4. Ghat Albird said:

HAARETZ’S TAKE ON BIBI. March 25, 2010.

Netanyahu leaves U.S. disgraced, isolated and weaker

By Aluf Benn

Details emerging from Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington remain incomplete, but the conclusion may nonetheless be drawn that the prime minister erred in choosing to fly to the United States this week. The visit – touted as a fence-mending effort, a bid to strengthen the tenuous ties between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama – only highlighted the deep rift between the American and Israeli administrations.

The prime minister leaves America disgraced, isolated, and altogether weaker than when he came.

Instead of setting the diplomatic agenda, Netanyahu surrendered control over it. Instead of leaving the Palestinian issue aside and focusing on Iran, as he would like, Netanyahu now finds himself fighting for the legitimacy of Israeli control over East Jerusalem.

The most sensitive and insoluble core issues – those which when raised a decade ago led to the dissolution of the peace process and explosion of the second intifada – are now being served as a mere appetizer.

At the start of his visit, Netanyahu was tempted to bask in the warm welcome he received at the AIPAC conference, at which he gave his emotional address on Jerusalem.

Taking a page from Menachem Begin, he spoke not on behalf of the State of Israel, but in the name of the Jewish people itself and its millennia of history.

His speech was not radical rightist rhetoric. Reading between the lines, one could spot a certain willingness to relinquish West Bank settlements as long as Israel maintains a security buffer in the Jordan Valley.

But at the White House, the prime minister’s speech to thousands of pro-Israel activists and hundreds of cheering congressmen looked like an obvious attempt to raise political capital against the American president.

Knowing Netanyahu would be reenergized by his speech at the lobby, Obama and his staff set him a honey trap. Over the weekend they sought to quell the row that flared up during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s trip here two weeks ago, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Netanyahu’s response to the ultimatums Washington presented to him as “useful.”

Special envoy George Mitchell made a televised visit to the prime minister’s bureau Sunday to invite Netanyahu to the White House. Washington, it seemed, was trying to make nice.

Far from it. Just when Netanyahu thought he had resolved the crisis by apologizing to Biden, Clinton called him up for a dressing down.

This time as well, Netanyahu almost believed the crisis had passed, that he had survived by offering partial, noncommittal answers to the Americans’ questions. Shortly before meeting with Obama, Netanyahu even warned the Palestinians that should they continue to demand a freeze on construction, he would postpone peace talks by a year.

His arrogant tone underscored the fact that Netanyahu believed that on the strength of his AIPAC speech, he could call the next few steps of the diplomatic dance.

But then calamity struck. At their White House meeting, Obama made clear to his guest that the letter Netanyahu had sent was insufficient and returned it for further corrections. Instead of a reception as a guest of honor, Netanyahu was treated as a problem child, an army private ordered to do laps around the base for slipping up at roll call.

The revolution in the Americans’ behavior is clear to all. On Sunday morning Obama was still anxiously looking ahead to the House of Representatives vote on health care – the last thing he wanted was a last-minute disagreement with congressmen over ties with Israel.

The moment the bill was passed, however, a victorious Obama was free to deal with his unruly guest.

The Americans made every effort to downplay the visit. As during his last visit in November, Netanyahu was invited to the White House at a late hour, without media coverage or a press conference. If that were not enough, the White House spokesman challenged Netanyahu’s observation at AIPAC that “Jerusalem is not a settlement.”

The Americans didn’t even wait for him to leave Washington to make their disagreement known. It was not the behavior Washington shows an ally, but the kind it shows an annoyance.

The approval of construction at the Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, announced before his meeting with Obama, again caught Netanyahu unawares. Apparently the special panel appointed after the Ramat Shlomo debacle to prevent such surprises failed its first test.

Netanyahu is having his most difficult week since returning to office, beginning with the unfortunate decision to relocate the planned emergency room at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center and lasting through his humiliating jaunt through Washington.

Returning to Israel today, Netanyahu will need to work hard to rehabilitate his image, knowing full well that Obama will not relent, but instead demand that he stop zigzagging and decide, once and for all, whether he stands with America or with the settlers.

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March 25th, 2010, 8:13 pm

 

5. norman said:

How stupid they can be , they expect Syria to forgive and forget ,

Najjar criticizes Assad while Hezbollah praises him
March 25, 2010 ⋅ 6:54 pm ⋅ Email This Article ⋅ Post a comment
Filed Under Assad, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Wahab

Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar told Voice of Lebanon on Thursday that Syria did not change its policy toward Lebanon or any of its parties.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was clearly biased toward the Resistance during his Wednesday interview with Al-Manar television, said Najjar, adding, “Syria’s regional and strategic choice, similar to Iran’s, is to back the Resistance.”

Najjar also said that Assad was keen to reassure the Lebanese public that his relations with President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri remain solid and are unaffected by harsh statements, in a possible reference to former minister Wiam Wahhab’s recent attack against Suleiman.

Wahab a staunch ally of Syria attacked President Michel Suleiman last week and called on him to resign for allegedly failing to govern the country.

Following talks with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun in Rabiyeh, Wahab said the president should resign “because after two years of rule we feel like we are in the last days of the presidency.”

On the other hand Hezbollah issued a statement on Thursday praising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s statements during his Wednesday interview on Al-Manar television.

Assad told Al-Manar he and Prime Minister Saad Hariri are trying to build their personal relations as a way to push institutional ties between their two countries and reiterated his support for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah said that Assad gave an accurate description of the latest developments in Lebanon and the Middle East and was clear on the future of Lebanese-Syrian relations.

The party also expressed gratitude for Assad’s support for Palestine as well as his vision on the Arab-Israeli conflict, referring to Assad’s statement that Syria coordinates with Lebanon on the issue of Arab-Israeli negotiations because Damascus and Beirut do not benefit on their own.

Hezbollah also said it has complete trust in Assad’s stances and commitment to the Arab and Muslim causes, the statement added.

It also commended Assad’s support for the resistance forces in the region.

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March 25th, 2010, 8:22 pm

 

6. majedkhaldoun said:

اظهر استطلاع للرأي اجراه معهد زغبي الامريكي ان 81 في المئة من الامريكيين يعتقدون ان الصراع الاسرائيلي الفلسطيني يضر بمصالح الولايات المتح.
81% of american believe Arab Israeli conflict hurt USA

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March 25th, 2010, 9:28 pm

 

7. almasri said:

Ghat,
Can you find a link to an article that may have appeared yesterday (March 24) in the Washington Post by Jackson Leeds?
I couldn’t find it but was referenced somewhere else in Arabic media which I may not fully trust. It is reported that Ibn Neten was treated like an undesirable outlawed ruler of a third world country by Obama and team (that is why I’m referring to him by his nickname as Ibn Neten). He was further presented with 13 demands that he must agree upon without expecting any reciprocal moves from the Arab side. Among these demands are settlement freeze beyond september and especially in Jerusalem, withdrawal from West Bank areas captured from PA after intifida 2000 and release of 1000 Palestinian prisoners. It is further mentioned that Obama led Ibn Neten into the trap by allowing him to parade in Washington as if he is the actual President of the USA until Obama got the health bill passed and then took the neten guy behind closed doors for proper dressing down to size with a rebuke reminiscent of the Israeli treatment of the Turkish ambassador not long ago.

If any one can find the link it would be you Ghat.

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March 26th, 2010, 1:34 am

 

8. Akbar Palace said:

Fair & Balanced

Ha’aretz’s political agenda:

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=55&x_article=1826

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March 26th, 2010, 11:11 am

 

9. almasri said:

This is what seems to have gone on behind closed doors at the White House with quotes to the story this time from the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times and the Times

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/532EA0A6-3C17-4B53-A634-0FEA77C1BCD4.htm

It looks much much worse than the saga of the Turkish ambassador.

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March 26th, 2010, 2:27 pm

 

10. Ghat Albird said:

AL-MASRI.

The author’s name is jackson Diehl and the link is

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/03/obama_and_netanyahu_pointless.html

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March 26th, 2010, 4:07 pm

 

11. norman said:

Israel to continue building in east Jerusalem
By AMY TEIBEL (AP) – 49 minutes ago

JERUSALEM — Israel insisted Friday it would continue building in contested east Jerusalem, taking an uncompromising stance against U.S. pressure following a tense visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington.

The refusal to change long-standing Israeli policy signaled that a high-profile rift between the U.S. and Israel remained wide, with stalled Mideast peace talks caught in the middle.

“The prime minister’s position is that there is no change in Israeli policy on Jerusalem,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. Shortly after, he convened a previously scheduled meeting of key ministers to frame a response to Washington’s demands for Israeli peace gestures.

The meeting concluded after nearly five hours without any official comment. Israel Radio said no decisions were taken and that Israel likely wouldn’t deliver its reply to the U.S. before the Jewish Passover holiday ends April 5.

Israeli soldiers, meanwhile, clashed Friday with militants inside the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in some of the fiercest fighting there since the January 2009 Gaza war.

Security officials with Gaza’s Hamas-run Interior Ministry reported fire from Israeli artillery, tanks and a helicopter gunship in a sparsely populated border area near the southern city of Khan Younis. Militants responded with mortar fire, they said.

Local medical officials reported that five civilians were injured in the fighting. Footage broadcast on Al-Arabiya television showed residents crowding around ambulances that were unable to reach the scene of the fighting because of the gunfire.

The Israeli military provided no information on the clashes.

The Hamas military wing’s Web site said its gunmen were involved — a departure from the Islamic militant group’s tendency over the past year to avoid confrontation with Israeli forces.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida told Hamas radio that Israeli forces “fell into an ambush” set by Hamas militants east of Khan Younis. He did not elaborate.

The outbreak of violence highlighted the region’s volatility as the U.S. pushes to get Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking back on track.

The newly announced Israeli construction in east Jerusalem derailed U.S.-mediated negotiations that Palestinians and Israelis had agreed to launch just before the diplomatic feud erupted.

The Palestinians want the eastern sector of the holy city for a future capital and view the expanding Jewish presence there as a challenge to their claim.

Netanyahu’s meetings with President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials did not appear to quell U.S. anger over a major east Jerusalem construction project whose announcement in the middle of a visit by Vice President Joe Biden touched off the worst diplomatic row between the two countries in decades.

The disclosure Wednesday that 20 new Jewish homes would be built in the heart of an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem only increased the friction.

In the Syrian capital of Damascus, tens of thousands of Syrians and Palestinians gathered Friday for a government-orchestrated “march of anger” against Israeli construction in Jerusalem’s eastern sector.

Protesters waved Syrian and Palestinian flags and pictures of Hamas leaders as they shouted anti-Israel slogans, and senior Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal condemned what he called Israel’s “brutal aggression” on holy sites.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem immediately after capturing it from Jordan during the 1967 Mideast war and does not consider Jewish construction there to be settlement activity. The international community does not recognize the annexation and equates the Jewish construction there with West Bank settlements.

Should Netanyahu decide at any point to bend on east Jerusalem, he would likely do so at the expense of watching his hardline government splinter. He could, however, replace his hawkish coalition partners with the moderate Kadima Party, whose leader, Tzipi Livni, is open to sharing the holy city.

Israel’s unyielding stance earned Netanyahu a chilly reception this week at the White House. In what was widely regarded as a snub, the news media were not allowed into any part of the two meetings between Obama and Netanyahu. No joint news conference was held afterward, no statements were issued about what happened, and the White House did not even release a photograph.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also rebuked the visiting Israeli leader, saying expansionist Israeli housing policies erode trust and compromise Washington’s position as an honest broker.

Netanyahu received a warm public reception from Congress, however, an indication that the administration might be limited in how much pressure it can apply. American Jewish backers of Israel are traditionally reliable supporters of the Democratic Party.

The fate of Jerusalem is the most explosive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and immediately annexed the area — a move that has never been recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a state that includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Over the years, Israel has built a ring of Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem to cement its control over the area. About 180,000 Israelis live in these neighborhoods and about 2,000 more live in Palestinian neighborhoods.

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March 26th, 2010, 5:24 pm

 

12. almasri said:

Thanks Ghat. There is no explicit mention of 13 demands in this WP story. However, aljazeera story I linked confirms these demands based on quotes from the FP, the DT and the Times. It also provides details similar to what i mentioned in 7 based on these same sources.
But we know now ibn neten still believes he’s the boss.

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March 26th, 2010, 5:38 pm

 

13. Ghat Albird said:

P U L S E
“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

Israel and the lobby against the US:

A perfect storm is brewing in Washington

. Gen. Petraeus has given many mainstream commentators cover with his comments about Israel’s actions endangering US lives around the world. Everyone from Joe Klein (Time), Roger Cohen (New York Times), Glenn Greenwald (Salon), Andrew Bacevich (Salon), Col. Pat Lang, John Mearsheimer (LRB), Jim Lobe (IPS), Stephen Walt (CNN), to Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) is talking about it.

Juan Cole has also abandoned his overly cautious approach take on the Israel lobby’s chief media doberman: Cpl. Jeffrey Goldberg. Meanwhile, the left is once again proving its irrelevance. Instead of covering the issue seriously Democracy Now! for example focused on the obligatory diplomatic niceties to dismiss the whole issue. (You can picture DN covering Caesar’s assassination and dimissing all of Mark Antony’s concerns because he called Brutus and the conspirators ‘honourable men’).

But here is the true indicator of the changing winds in Washington: even CNN is talking about it! (To be fair to Rick Sanchez, he did some courageous reporting even during the Gaza conflict, giving platform to our friend Diana Buttu to debunk Zionist hasbara).

http://pulsemedia.org/2010/03/18/israel-and-the-lobby-against-the-us-a-perfect-storm-in-washington/

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March 26th, 2010, 8:21 pm

 

14. Ghat Albird said:

Its been reported on a european website that israeli troops entered Gaza on Friday 3/26/2010 and in an exchange of fire between the IDF and locals two Israeli soldiers were killed.

The website also suggested that the Middle Eastt is boilingly dangerous.

Sorry cannot provide link.

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March 26th, 2010, 8:55 pm

 

15. almasri said:

Arab media is only reporting skirmishes south of Gazza between Qassam Brigade fighters and Israeli soldiers. Two Israeli soldiers, one of them a colonel, were killed. Israel admits it was costly.

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March 26th, 2010, 10:06 pm

 

16. majedkhaldoun said:

Obama has his own peace plan, and he wants to accomplish it within two years.

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March 27th, 2010, 1:16 am

 

17. Angelis said:

I’d take a well intentioned dictator over an evil democracy any day of the week. For a leader, I’d also take a good natured simpleton over an evil genius.

Thankfully for the Syrians and the general Middle-Eastern population, President Bashar Al-Assad is by no measure a simpleton. On top of this, his very lifestyle shows that power, money and women are not a corrupting influence on him – a rare thing in a human being, let alone the leader of a nation.

The easiest thing that Dr. Bashar Al-Assad could have done over the years would have been to bow to the will of the U.S, or at the least offer far less resistance. In that event, they would have supported him like they support other dictatorial regimes, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc., or at the very least left him alone. I believe that if he did not honestly want what was best for his country and for the region, or if all that he cared about was maintaining his position and power, he would not be taking the stance that he has been all these years.

It really does strike me as bizarre when people focus more on terminology than on meaning. President Bashar Al-Assad is a Dictator, Dictator must equal Bad, and so the President is Bad.
As if the governments who have labelled themselves a democracy are doing right by their own countries. Silly.

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March 30th, 2010, 2:08 am

 

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