Demo in Damascus: Assad Explains Syria Stand

Hundreds of thousands rally in Syria to protest Gaza attack. The Government sponsored demonstation attracted a very large crowd that expressed its anger against Israel and Egypt and support for Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas. Sana claims that a million gathered but AP quotes others saying less; all the same, Syrians did not need encouragement to express their anger and frustration over events in Gaza.

Demonstration in Damascus

Demonstration in Damascus

 

President Assad’s interview on CNN

Comments (244)


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201. Shai said:

Joe M.,

I’m also a bit tired of arguing, so allow me to make a short comment, and let’s save it for another day.

I agree with you, please know this, about the clear advantages of a one-state solution. A re-definition can certainly be done (in theory, forced upon Israel). But practically speaking, I am as close to knowing that it’s an impossibility today as one can be. I’ll spell out the so-called “fear” of Israelis in as plain terms as I can:

If there is one state, where there are more non-Jews than Jews, and if this state is a democracy, then the following morning, the non-Jews could have a majority rule. As such, they could (in theory) enact various laws that endanger Jews in Israel (as they see it). For instance, let’s hypothetically assume that a non-Jewish PM, with a majority non-Jewish government, could decide to destroy Israel’s nuclear capabilities. And let’s assume for a moment that only Israel’s nukes are stopping the Arab world from attempting to destroy Jewish-Israel completely. 1973 isn’t a good counter-example, because both Syria and Egypt claimed they never intended to go beyond retrieval of their lost territory.

So you see where this is going, and of course I used an extreme case, but one which most Israelis would not dismiss, when considering their “fear” of a non-Jewish majority in Israel. One could say, that perhaps Israel should not be a democracy, but rather something similar to some of the regimes around us. That way, we could have a single state, with a majority non-Jewish population, but with continuous Jewish majority rule. But few in Israel want that. They still like their “democracy”. And again, I know this has been an exhaustive excuse, but fact remains that in the psyche of most Israelis still exists the Holocaust, and the need to have a safe home for the Jews. Israel, as it is today, considers itself such a place. This is the only place on earth, where Jews are in a majority (not including the Occupied territories of course). So very few Jews in Israel are ready to become a minority again.

This fear-factor, which justifiably annoys many Arabs when they hear it (and me, to be honest) is very real, even if irrational. I think peace can change that. We started heading in that direction 30 years ago, but found it too easy not to give up on the rest of the territory that wasn’t ours. Had we withdrawn from the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan, in the early 80’s, you and I would not be talking about the same topics today. I truly believe that those 20 years could have made us different human beings today. It will take the same 20 years, if not more, to shed the innate distrust and hatred we still harbor today.

But a one-state solution is just not possible at the moment, no matter how unjust any other solution will be.

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January 10th, 2009, 8:25 pm

 

202. majedkhaldoun said:

This aggresion by Israel has taken long time, I believe that Syria must open the way for volunteers to increase the resistance in Iraq,help the resistance in west bank,Israel must suffer casualties.
Hopefully,Egypt will change their leader

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January 10th, 2009, 8:26 pm

 

203. Joe M. said:

Chris,
A refugee is someone who, “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

That applies to the Palestinians from 47 and 67 as well as their children (since Israel is why they don’t have a nationality).

And Palestinians could be refugees for infinite generations, so long as they are not able to return, and Israel does not allow them to return.

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January 10th, 2009, 8:29 pm

 

204. Chris said:

majedkhaldoun,
You wrote:
“I believe that Syria must open the way for volunteers to increase the resistance in Iraq”

Are you telling us that you want more suicide bombers in Iraq? I am curious, which suicidal martyrdom worshipping organization do you support in Iraq, the Sadrists? Al Qaida in Iraq? What do you think opening the way to “increase the resistance in Iraq” will accomplish? Do you want the U.S. to stay longer in Iraq?

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January 10th, 2009, 8:37 pm

 

205. Joe M. said:

Chris,
Why not support a simple redefinition of Israel away from a racist and theocratic state, into a secular and open state that includes all Palestinians as equals? That could be accomplished in a stroke of a pen, and is far more pragmatic than what you suggest?

Why are you invested in racism and radical zionism?

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January 10th, 2009, 8:42 pm

 

206. chris said:

I’m not a racist nor a radical zionist. I don’t know what i could have written to have given you that idea.

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January 10th, 2009, 8:53 pm

 

207. EHSANI2 said:

Offended,

Thank you for agreeing with me per comment 149. It must be our Aleppo connection.

JOE M,

All Palestinians and Arab States must unite behind a one-state solution.

When the UNSCOP recommended that Palestine be divided into an Arab
state and a Jewish State in November 29, 1947, the support of Harry Truman came after intense Zionist lobbying amid domestic political considerations. The revelations of Nazi atrocities had already convinced Truman two years earlier to support the Zionist project when he said:

“Today, not tomorrow, we must do all that is humanly possible to provide a haven for all those who can be grasped from the hands of Nazi butchers. Free lands must be opened to them.”

The Jews accepted the UN partition plan while the Arabs rejected it. The land of the two states was approximately equal but the borders were complicated and zigzag. At the time there were 600,000 Jews and 1.2 million Arabs approximately. Jerusalem was to be internationalized. However, close to 100,000 Jews lived in the city which meant that they were now cut off from the Jewish State. The Arabs owned the long corridor that separated Jerusalem from the Jewish State.

The UNSCOP plan never worked of course. Mutual antagonism would make it impossible for either community to tolerate the other. The UN was unwilling and unable to force implementation of the internationalization of Jerusalem. Clashes between Israeli underground groups and Arab irregulars became a regular occurrence. The Palestinians had the advantage till the events I alluded to earlier during my reply to AIG in comment 48 way back now.

I thought that it was important to recite the above events because they explain what happened when a two state solution was envisioned last.

Sixty years later, the Israeli side is significantly stronger militarily. It is not credible to suggest that they would concede an inch towards creating a viable Palestinian State today.
The answer lies in a one state solution where neither the Bible nor the Quran is politicized. Just as the Jews invoke the Bible to invoke their right to the land, the Arabs are steadily turning to Islam and the Quran following years of defeat, humiliation and powerlessness.

This cycle must stop.

The world must stand behind a single secular and democratic state for Jews and Palestinians.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:06 pm

 

208. Joe M. said:

EHSANI2,
I am really glad to see that you are so firmly a one-state advocate now. I don’t remember you having this position in the past.

Chris,
You are either extremely naive, or purposely obfuscating your views. Because, while you might not personally be explicitly racist or zionist, you support zionism and racism by supporting Israel as you do. Either you simply don’t understand the realities, or you are flatly lying.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:11 pm

 

209. EHSANI2 said:

JOE M,

Your memory is accurate. I must confess to not having done enough reading on the subject in the past. Once I did, I became convinced that doing otherwise will not work and will end up extending this conflict for another 1000 years.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:14 pm

 

210. Joe M. said:

EHSANI2,
Mabruk habibi, I am glad you are on board. We are a (re)growing movement, and proud to have you.

That so many people are coming to this view is all the more evidence that zionism is on its death bed. No wonder the zionists have to fight so brutally to maintain the status quo of their disgusting state. But that, too, simply weakens them more…

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January 10th, 2009, 9:17 pm

 

211. Shai said:

Ehsani,

I fully agree with you. I just don’t believe it’s possible. Please recall, that while 70% of Israelis are against withdrawal from the Golan, even in return for peace with Syria, a good majority of Israelis were FOR withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. So I humbly disagree with you about the impossibility of a two-state solution. Israelis will still go for that, far sooner than they will a one-state solution.

I think the main reason why the International community isn’t forcing Israel to accept either one right now, is because it too believes that the Palestinians cannot deliver right now, while Fatah and Hamas are at odds with each other. That, I think, is the key. If this image changes, and if there is a single address for the Palestinian people, the world should finally force Israel to withdraw through agreement, and to end this horrible chapter of the 40-year long Occupation.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:21 pm

 

212. Chris said:

Joe,

So either someone agrees with you, or they are a zionist, if they don’t confess to being a zionist (in your view a racist) then they are either obfuscating, naive or lying… You know Joe one can support the two-state solution and negotiation without being a racist, i.e. your definition of a zionist. I fully support a two-state solution. I’m with Sari Nusseibeh.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:25 pm

 

213. Joe M. said:

Chris,
First, Sari is for a one-state solution, and in the past he did not advocate it because he did not believe it was pragmatic (like you). But last i heard, he was moving towards accepting the one-state solution as both pragmatic and idealistic.

Second, let\’s use the example of Nazis (as it is the extreme example) to express my view on those who indirectly advocate an ideology. If it were 1940, and you argued that we must accept the practicalities of the Nazis, even though you despised them (which, to my knowledge, you have no distanced yourself from Zionism, and you continue to present zionist arguments), as we must work with them as they constitute the current legitimate German government… would this not support Nazism? You tell me the distinction between saying that concentration camps are a practical reality, and outright supporting them?

In many ways, injustice is a zero-sum game. Because, as Martin Luther King said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, it can also be true that (as he said again) “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Sari, at least, condemns the injustice, even as he often justifies its existence on practical grounds. His justifying its existence does make him, for all practical purposes, a zionist. But I don’t even hear you condemning Israel or zionism, in stead, you pretend there is balance and talk about “both sides”. There are not two sides in this conflict, just as the jews were not responsible for what the Germans did to them (despite german claims otherwise).

And yes, zionism is racism. If this were not true, Israel would have no problem converting itself into an open and secular state. But it kills so violently in order to maintain itself as an exclusive, theocratic state. That says enough.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:47 pm

 

214. Majedkhaldoun said:

Chris;
you are zionist,and you are racist,denying this will not change nothing.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:54 pm

 

215. SimoHurtta said:

Chris lets make a Zionist test for you:

You see the original refugees of Palestine as the only Palestinian to have a “legal” claim for the their lost land.

Well then how do you then see the Jews “right of return”? Aren’t they the offspring of the alleged original Jews in the approximately 80th generation. What gives them the right to be Israelis if a first or second generation refugee (who is most probably as near the original Jews as the present days Jews) has no “rights” in Israel/Palestine.

—-
Isn’t it so that Palestinian refugees in a camp have UN refugee passport, not the passport of the country where their refugee camp is.

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January 10th, 2009, 9:55 pm

 

216. EHSANI2 said:

In a remarkable display on the pages of the paper’s opinion section today, the Wall Street Journal of all papers has published an article by George Bisharat entitled “Israel is committing war crimes”. The Wall Street Journal? well, well.

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January 10th, 2009, 10:07 pm

 

217. Chris said:

Simo,

I support a two-state solution that is agreed to by both parties, that would likely mean some type of compensation for the refugees. I have a hard time seeing a person is the 3rd generation descendant of a refugee as a refugee. That person is likely from, as they are likely born in, the country they are living in.

You asked:
Well then how do you then see the Jews “right of return”?

The right of return does not come from international law or international refugee law. It comes from Israeli immmigration law. I don’t have any strong feelings about it either way.

As Hillel Halkin notes:
Other countries favoring immigrants who are
ethnic compatriots of the majority are Germany,
Finland, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia,
the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, and
Armenia. The German Federal Republic, for example,
has laws extending automatic citizenship to
all Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe
and the ex-Soviet Union), even though many
of them, as Yakobson and Rubinstein write, “lived
in those areas for hundreds of years, without any
civic or geographic connection with the modern
German state.”

How about what Sari Nusseibeh thinks:

Excerpts from an interview with Dan Perry (and Sari Nusseibeh), “Palestinians’ Jerusalem envoy: insisting
on right of return was a key error,” Associated Press (23 October 2001)
(c) “Yasser Arafat’s new point man in Jerusalem says the Palestinians erred in appearing to insist
on the right of millions of refugees to return to Israel – a demand that was a key reason peace talks
fell apart.
(d) In an interview with The Associated Press in his commodious, cluttered office, philosophy
professor Sari Nusseibeh said Monday the refugees should be resettled in a future Palestinian
state, ‘not in a way that would undermine the existence of the state of Israel as a predominantly
Jewish state.’
(e) ’Otherwise what does a two-state solution mean?’ he asked. ‘Maybe there wasn’t enough work
done at the level of public opinion … with the Palestinian community, to try to articulate exactly
what this really means.’
http://www.badil.org/Publications/Monographs/Remarks.Nusseibeh.pdf

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January 10th, 2009, 10:26 pm

 

218. Off the Wall said:

AP
You Said

Hamas wanted martyrs and Israel obliged them. Who are you to deny Hamas what they wanted? You could at least help them get more missiles…

How dare you.
And you claim you are not racist. Don’t you and your likes stop for a moment and think before utteing such stupid racist, contemptuous and contimptible comment, don’t you think for a moment that such would have been exactly the kind of crap nazi soldiers and officers would smirk and be smart asses and say “the Jews or warsaw wanted heros and we obliged them”. Have you no shame. Your language speaks volumes of the vile hate in your heart. Others on this site may tollerate this in the interest of dialogue. BUt you are not interested in dialogue, you are here to rob our noses with the blod of your victims. What you said is despicable and unacceptable and I know it is a standard language among your thugish friends in Israel. How dare you laugh at misery and murder, how dare you.

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January 10th, 2009, 10:33 pm

 

219. Chris said:

majedkhaldoun,
You wrote:
“I believe that Syria must open the way for volunteers to increase the resistance in Iraq”

Are you telling us that you want more suicide bombers in Iraq? I am curious, which suicidal martyrdom (you know the word, “shaheed”) worshipping organization do you support in Iraq, the Sadrists? Al Qaida in Iraq? What do you think opening the way to “increase the resistance in Iraq” will accomplish? Do you want the U.S. to stay longer in Iraq?

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January 10th, 2009, 10:40 pm

 

220. SimoHurtta said:

Well Chris as the maker of the my Zionist test I give you the grade Zionist. Not a Zionist with honour mentions but anyway.

Explanation for my evaluation is your complete incapability to explain the core of the question, what gave Jews the right in the first place to invade Palestine before the Israeli immigration law or Israel existed. God or international law?

Let us remember that also Nazi Germany operated by expelling Jews under the German law that time. What that right? If not is Israeli immigration law right?

By the way do you see have the offspring of Jewish victims have the right to claim compensation for lost property and suffering in Germany and else in Europe? Haven’t Palestinians the same right with their suffering and property. If you can explain this contradiction you get the grade Zionist with honours.

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January 10th, 2009, 10:49 pm

 

221. Chris said:

Simo,

Again, I merely want a two-state solution. I want one that both sides will agree to. That means, I want something that both the Palestinians and the Israelis will see as in their interest. I think that that is possible. The key is showing the Palestinians that the Israelis are serious while allaying Israel’s security, and demographic concerns.

Israel came into existence over 60 years ago, that’s a fact. Now we ought to try to find peace. Delegitimizing Israel by saying that people who are from there have no right to be there will not bring anyone closer to peace.

The property disputes to which you are referring were negotiated by the parties in question, Germany, the Swiss Banks, Jewish organizations, etc. I hope that the refugee issue will be negotiated upon and will also come to a mutually agreeable situation.

I’m with the former PLO representative in Jerusalem Dr. Sari Nusseibeh.

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January 10th, 2009, 11:00 pm

 

222. Israel is not the enemy said:

Here we go again! Another 2 years have passed and we have our bi-annual contest between the good vs. bad with another Israel-Arab round of “games”.
We get our coverage of the games from the “Jewish controlled media” but for some reason they forgot to cover all the previous matches. Not that they were a “match” in the traditional sense of the word, rather just a warm up by team Hamas. Team Hamas had just 15,000 shots on goal as 15,000 rockets were shot at Israel since they gained their sovereignty in 2005 and have long been not answered. “OK”, Israel said; “you challenged me to a game, so we’ll have our bi-annual match and play the game you invented.” The only game the Radical Muslim Arabs have invented since the Middle Ages is the game of War against non-Muslims. When Israel comes to the field, it should not play by the same rules of the game the Muslims invented and played in Sudan, Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Chechnya, Iran and Lebanon. No, Israel should play by different rules; play the game according to Western humanitarian rules while the other side still plays with the old familiar Middle East street rules.
Well, it also doesn’t help Israel that the referee is an organization created after a Jewish catastrophe: the holocaust, and is totally disregarding the mandate he was created for. The ref is supposed to be preventing atrocities and promoting human rights. This referee, in fact has a majority of Muslim nations watching over human rights abuse. Have you heard of the expression letting the cat watch the milk? Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iran all managed to escape with not even so much as a whistle blow from the human rights observer, but guess who did not?
Its round two in the series and the players are getting on the field. Now all the analysts come on to the field and start analyzing the game. They call the game Israel vs. Hamas or Israel vs. Palestine, but they are missing the entire picture. Even the name of the match is wrong; it should be Israel vs. The Arab world at the least or better known as The Free World who embraces Western values vs. Radical Islamic Jihad. By western values; I mean human rights, humanitarian efforts, freedom and democracy – you know, all the ones that the predominantly Muslim UN referee stands for. Some analysts of the game, mostly in the American channels, started calling the game by its real name. They know that once this game is over, the winning Muslims will go to the next playoffs phase, Europe then America and then the trophy and the championship ring… world domination with the extermination of the non-Muslim infidels.
So, the game is now being played with Israel playing according to the Major league rules of proportionality while the Arabs play with street rules. The analysts start asking why is this game even played? After all, there is the Annapolis two state solution agreement already. In Camp David, the Arabs were already offered 95% of the Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem (where the Jewish quarter is) as their capital. Also they are confused about the ‘Free Gaza’ signs the fans are holding in the stands. Wasn’t Gaza freed? Didn’t the Israelis pull out of this formerly Egyptian territory? Israel controlled Gaza unfortunately, after they won another Arab game – the Six Days War.
Now the statistics start pouring in and the Europeans can’t have enough of it. The Eurovision is quite boring, there are two more years till the next Euro soccer championship. They’re just eating these cheese and crackers on their sofas while watching the best show in the world; a barbarian Middle Eastern fight while they scream to the TV and trying to direct the players on the field. They add their own commentary and analysis. The cameras however, are only focusing on the offence of one team and wow they are beating them big time! The cameras don’t show the defense of team Israel and they start analyzing the statistic and reach the conclusion that Israel is playing the Middle Eastern game better, meaning they are the bad side. Jews are Middle Eastern after all, that’s what the guy with the mustache said 60 years ago when he called for their annihilation. That’s what every country in Europe said when they persecuted the Jewish people for millennia until we got the hint and did what they asked us to, and went back to our home court to play in our league. After 2000 seasons in the Euroleague we brought something back to our not welcoming new league, we brought back Jewish and Western values of compassion and humanitarianism to a league that had not played by these rules for years.
American audience is watching it and knows that Israel plays by these rules and knows we are not baby killers. Statistically, 80% of American Jews are liberal and/or active in human rights group. Jews started the Negro Advancement Group and were lynched in Mississippi while marching for African American human rights. The European audience is still not convinced though.
Much like American football, Europeans can’t understand this game either. They realize a team needs to score touchdowns and enjoy watching ESPN best plays, but don’t bother explaining to them about how many tries you have to pass how many yards, they know who the better team is from the statistic of a game they don’t even understand. So, they get the statistics, the latest talk about 700 Palestinian deaths, out of them 200 are civilians and on the other team 13 Israelis. They reach the ‘expert’ opinion that Israel wins the Arab war game and hence is the bad side. I got to admit we play defense pretty well and even though the other side had 15,000 shots on goal in three years, and about double that in the past 8 years, compared to our 100 bombs. Since Israel started its offence 12 days ago, they managed to keep their net relatively cleaner. They are winning the Arab game. Some feel like they need to win more convincingly, since after the last game with Hezbollah when Israel got some of their political objectives, Hezbollah claimed victory because Israel was pressured to stop the game in the middle. As long as Israel is pressured by the international community to stop defending itself they declare victory for the ‘resistance’ that doest really resist anything but logic and peace. When the Muslims feel confident they can take us in their own game they continue to play again and again until they win their long waited championship game: the annihilation of the state of Israel.

If we win the Arab game, they definitely win ours, the Public relations game. All the bright Wall Street Jewish strategy planners and all the Jewish genius that created Hollywood to win hearts and minds don’t help us. The monopoly of the victimized people have transferred from the people who suffered the holocaust to the poor ‘freedom fighters’ who gained their freedom but for some reason are still fighters. The Arab Muslims realized that Israel and the West are compassionate societies like the Arab world will probably never be, so they play by ‘our rules’. When Hamas and Hezbollah, who target civilians were answered by Israel who targeted militants and by error hit a school and killed innocent women and children the entire world opinion and Israeli public opinion was shocked and appalled, rightfully so. Then came the second most important invention of Islam since the war game, the ‘let’s win the Zionists and crusaders in their own turf PR game’. Simple, they know how sacred life is in Israel that they will defend themselves when they get shot at; they also know how sensitive world opinion is to civilian casualties. The Arabs think to themselves “Brilliant! Now, let’s brainwash our kids to die as martyrs and take them or force them to come to a school and then shoot from this school. Now when Israel retaliates we’ll have 100 dead kids, the entire world pressure and public opinion will force Israel to stop their preemptive offence, and we’ll declare victory again (and who counts the kids of course, much like the Israelis they are irrelevant too).” This pattern has worked in Lebanon in the games played in 1993, 1996, 2000 and 2006. The strategy is so good that Hamas has hired Hezbollah’s coach. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0wJXf2nt4Y)
The West feels so bad for the Palestinians who are getting exploited by Hamas (rightfully so) that it donates more money for humanitarian causes in Gaza than to the entire continent of Africa. It is needless to say that the petro-rich Arab brothers from Qatar and the Emirates are far less generous than the US, Europe or even hold your breath, archenemy Israel. The problem is that Hamas is receiving this humanitarian aid and instead of feeding its people, it’s buying weapons to ‘liberate’ the already liberated Gaza strip. Hamas has mastered the PR game so well, that Europeans are so eager to cease fire. It is so good to tell the players on the field what to do, when you sit at your nice comfortable sofa in the Alps without worrying about the consequences. I agree we should cease fire, but when the UN feels safe enough to move its security council to Sderot or the French foreign ministry that pushes aggressively for ceasefire feels safe enough to relocate to Israel’s fourth largest city, Beer Sheva, than we should definitely ceasefire.
This game can’t go on anymore, and not just for the sake of Israel, but because the real trophy is Europe, America and eventually the World. There is only one way to let this game end. This game wasn’t created by the Palestinians fighting for freedom or the occupying Jewish state. Long before there was a Jewish state, Arabs killed Jews in 1921,1929 and 1936 and each time they managed to convince the British that they killed the Jews for a reason. This stopped a Jewish return to their homeland, from the chambers of Auschwitz. In 1937 the Phil committee decided to divide the land to Israel (22% of the land) and Palestine (78%). Who agreed and who wanted to keep playing games? Then 1947 came, and the UN decided to part Israel to an Arab state and a Jewish state and again who agreed and who kept playing? Then 1956, 1967, and 1973 etc… All these games were not played by the weaker and poor Palestinian side (There was no notion of a Palestinian at the time; they were just general Arabs living in Jordan and Egypt without a unique identity and national ambitions). These games were all played by the Arab world with a population of 325 million and size of 12.9 million square kilometers (All of Europe is 10 million square kilometers.) backed by 1.2 Billion Muslims vs. a tiny Jewish state of Six million (One million of them Arabs that gladly stay there and enjoy political freedoms they can never have in the Arab world.) and 20,770 sq. kil. (Half the size of Switzerland). Only when the Arabs saw they can’t win the conventional game, they started playing the PR game and pretend they are freedom fighters for poor occupied Palestine. The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was actually started in 1964, while ‘Palestine’ was occupied after the Arabs lost the Six Days War. A war they started in 1967.
The Arabs managed to master the PR game to play on European guilt over colonialism and intolerance and let them believe that the Jews who suffered from all these intolerances built an ‘apartheid nation’. They also played on European anti-Semitism. Europeans always say that you can be critical of Israel without being an anti-Semite, well if you are critical of a country defending itself from people who want it to have the same fate as Hitler did, you are! If you criticize Israel for proportionality when it defends itself, it means you want it to fight with one hand behind its back so you don’t care about how many people in Israel die. When you criticize Israel for sending ground troops to a sovereign nation that launches missiles against it to halt it, while you wouldn’t have asked that from your European neighbor you are. If the IRA would attack the UK from Ireland, France wouldn’t say that England’s reaction was unproportionate. If missiles from Morocco fall on Spain and it will decide to invade Morocco to eliminate the threat, no European nation would ever question Spain’s motives.
To stop these games, the referee needs to delegitimize the offender and not punish and put pressure on the one who plays by the rules. Only when the Gazans would see themselves that Hamas gets them to nowhere and the international community doesn’t believe their PR games and knows that they brought it on themselves, they would understand it’s not serving their purpose to support Hamas, and maybe there will be a chance for peace. The US has realized that a long time ago, it’s about time the rest of the world will too! Also, please I don’t want to hear about the Jewish lobby controlling American foreign policy, we all know that in a democracy 2% of the population and still declining can’t control the entire country’s decision making. While the ‘Protocols of Zion’ are a best seller in the Arab world along with ‘Mein Kempf’ an advanced Western society can’t believe such nonsense. Let’s start cheering for the right side so these games will maybe finish some day.
If you think that I am observing this game from the Israeli gate and can’t get a full- court vision of it, here is the view from rational fans that managed to survive the Arab gate:
http://multimedia.heritage.org/content/wm/Lehrman-092706a.wvx

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January 10th, 2009, 11:51 pm

 

223. J Thomas said:

“I merely want a two-state solution. I want one that both sides will agree to. That means, I want something that both the Palestinians and the Israelis will see as in their interest. I think that that is possible. The key is showing the Palestinians that the Israelis are serious while allaying Israel’s security, and demographic concerns.”

That might very well be possible. So lets look at israel’s security concerns. How about this — israel has the strongest military in the region, and israel is the only nuclear power in the middle east. Those are a powerful unguent for israel’s security concerns. Now how about palestine’s security concerns? Should israel agree not to violate palestine’s airspace? Should israel agree not to send assassination squads into palestine to kill palestinian citizens? Should israel agree that palestine has a right to an army and weapons for that army?

If israel agrees to assuage palestine’s legitimate security concerns then it might become harder to invade palestine later if they have disagreements. Israel might take more casualties in the next incursion.

I’m real unclear what palestine should to to handle israel’s demographic concerns. I think you’re talking about the problem of the israeli-arab citizens, whose birthrate is so high compared to israeli-jewish citizens. Despite their poverty and lack of sanitation and inferior healthcare etc, israeli-arabs are increasing at a rate that will eventually result in a nonjewish majority in israel even if the entire world jewish population moves to israel. What should a palestinian nation do about that?

My natural thought about that is that if it’s a national concern for israel, they might offer israeli-arabs money to emigrate to palestine or elsewhere. Pay whatever money that will persuade enough israeli-arabs to leave. $30,000? $50,000? It would be wrong to expel their own citizens involuntarily, but if the reward is great enough then many of them would go. I personally would be willing to permanently emigrate from the USA to canada for a mere US$900,000. And I think it would be appropriate for palestine to promise to accept foreign palestinians provided they have enough money, say $40,000 each.

Suppose that palestinians agreed to these terms. Secure borders with israel, open borders with other nations primarily, plus freedom from israeli attack. Do you think that palestinians would continue to attack israel to the point that israelis would feel the need to invade and occupy again?

Suppose they tried it, and israel was forced to invade palestine. Israel would lose causalties and armor fighting armed palestinians instead of taking essentially no losses while slaughtering mostly-unarmed palestinians, to get back to the status quo. Is the chance of real peace worth that possibility?

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January 10th, 2009, 11:53 pm

 

224. Joe M. said:

Chris,
First, your interview with Sari is almost 10 years old, and his views have changed since, in light of Israel’s “facts on the ground”. But even aside that, in this particular interview, Sari is explicitly zionist.

But more importantly, in terms of you specifically, I asked this before, and you failed to respond, so I will ask it again. WHy do you support a two-state solution, when it is racist, theocratic and clearly undermining the POSSIBILITY of even the most rudimentary Palestinian state? Wouldn’t it be epically more pragmatic for the zionists to simply abandon their nationalist(zionism) aspirations and change the legal structure of the state such that all the people, Jews and non-Jews have equal rights under the same state? There would not have to be any other change. No forced population transfers, no elaborate negotiations on borders, “land for peace” formulas. And even, the law of return could be universally implemented for both Jews and Palestinians (which, by the way, the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Jews to promote their own “law of return” while denying the Palestinian “right of return” is hard to believe. Again, showing how Zionism is racism). With the stroke of a pen, the Jews could end the conflict once and for all. And do it with dignity.

This can not happen with a two-state agreement because it does not and can not address any of the issues that created and perpetuate the conflict.

So the question to you is, why are you invested in a racist, Jewish state that by its very nature is the cause of most of the conflict? Why are Jewish nationalist aspirations (which is just an imagined concept) more important than real, material needs of Palestinians? That you support this logic, that maintaining one group’s nationalist aspirations is more important than another groups rights to their very livelihood and existence is enough to show that you are a zionist.

I agree with SimoHurtta, and I agree you do not get the honors degree, because you clearly have not thought hard enough about what zionism is or means, you simply accept it as the status quo.

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January 10th, 2009, 11:54 pm

 

225. norman said:

Joe M, Ehsani, Shai,

The case against one state solution, The Jews needed a state of their own as a sanctuary in case of another Holocaust , no matter how doubtful that is ,
The West need a place that can tell the Jews among them to go to in the case of rising resentment to Jewish behavior , right or wrong,

Another case against one state solution is that the Palestinians will never accept to live with the people who are murdering them and claiming to give them martyrdom as per their request according to AP,

The case for one state solution and against what Shai is worry about , IE, losing control, Shai, Look at the US , the Jews are about 3% of the population but apparently they are about 30% of the people in congress and had one ( Lieberman ) who almost became VP,while Muslims are about 5_ 10 % of the population but have only one in congress,
So if i were you i would not be loosing sleep over loosing control.

Chris,

The Palestinians have the same right of return after only 60 years that the Hebrews have after 2000 year , I just do not thing that the people who claim to be the Hebrews are what they claim,

You should also remember that GOD banned the Hebrews from the promise land and many orthodox Jews do not believe that they belong their until the Masai comes back.

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January 10th, 2009, 11:57 pm

 

226. Joe M. said:

Also Chris,
just to add, if it is not obvious, Sari has approximately 0% support among Palestinians. Even the “Geneva” Plan has almost no support among Palestinians because it gives up too many of our rights. Sari’s popularity is in Israel. The Geneva plan’s popularity is in Europe. Also, Sari is smart, but he is not principled. When those like Gandhi or MLK faced repression, they responded with steadfastness. Sari bends with every breeze. Sari thinks any solution, regardless of how compromised or empty, is an advantage. Those like Gandhi were right to reject many offers of partial independence that the british threw at him, and they were right to continue their struggles in the face of great odds. And this is true pragmatically (because a partial solution will not hold in the longer-term) and theoretically (because justice is a good in itself).

Norman,
The zionists can come up with a new and even more empty excuse tomorrow for all I care. Their idiotic arguments are the problem, and should not be given face value. What needs to be solved is based on the facts, not some wild zionist fantasy. And, clearly, all their efforts have backfired if they think Israel is a safe place for the Jews. It has done more to make Jews unsafe than anything else in their history. (And, of course, I know you were not supporting their views, and just reporting them)

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January 11th, 2009, 12:12 am

 

227. Sami D said:

I just don’t believe [the one-state solution is] possible. Please recall, that while 70% of Israelis are against withdrawal from the Golan, even in return for peace with Syria, a good majority of Israelis were FOR withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. So I humbly disagree with you about the impossibility of a two-state solution. Israelis will still go for that, far sooner than they will a one-state solution.

An interesting meaning for the word “pragmatic” or “possible” emerges from the paragraph above, which indeed reflects common perception. In reference to the One-State solution “not pragmatic” or “not possible” really means “Israel has a monopoly on violence” and thus can largely dictate outcome. The implication of this, one notes, can extend further to accepting that we also leave most colonies on the West Bank, since it is “not pragmatic” that Israel dismantles the cities and civilian infrastructure it has built, and removes half a million of its colonists or accept giving Palestinians back their water. Hence, the Palestinians better grab what they can, while it is “pragmatic” and “possible” for them to do so.

In addition, as I mentioned before, the Israeli public opinion, which opposes greatly the one-state solution, can be molded easily by Israeli leaders who use fear and propaganda to rally people behind anything it does. The common perception by many on these SC pages is for Arabs to try to convince the Israeli public that they –the Arabs– are docile enough and sincerely seek peace, to win Israelis on the side of ending the occupation. This is a false perception.

If the majority of Israelis supported ending the occupation, and I am an Israeli leader seeking to change that, I can do so easily. For example, I will starve Gaza, shoot some Gazans and provoke Hamas enough until they shoot. Then, I will declare that “Hamas has backed us into the corner,” and continues to threaten our civilians in its ever anti-Semitic desire to kill Jews. Thus, we engage, reluctantly as our benevolence necessitates (bokhim ve-yorim as Avi Shlaim recently reminded us), in “righteous self-defense”, where Israelis will smoothly rally behind the flag, and who will, in one blow, shift to believing the Arabs want Jews thrown in the sea. Support for ending the occupation, meanwhile, will fall faster than the US bubble market. It works like a charm. Even Imad Mustapha responded to questioners here that convincing the Israeli public of Arab meekness doesn’t do much; that the issue is mainly for Israeli leaders to convince their public.

Now if I we’re to stick to the actual meaning of the word pragmatism, then a look at the map reveals that the one-state solution is really the most pragmatic one. Every Israeli community has Palestinian communities living on all its sides (with some exceptions, thanks to Israeli ethnic cleansing). And likewise, every Palestinian community has Israeli communities living on all its sides, (again achieved via Israeli violence). In addition, both people hold the whole land as dear.

Why try to disentangle such a messed up map, uproot communities and deny Palestinians 78% of Palestine, Israelis 22%, when the easier solution is to just keep everything as is, but give everyone there their rights as EQUAL? A simple yet quite fair solution, with least pain if Israeli muscles are not an issue. Israelis will have to forget about the exclusivity of the land for those the rabbi determines that their mother is “Jewish”. Palestinians will accept the millions of Jews as their co-nationalists, in a secular state. The latter should be no problem, as Palestinians would love to live anywhere on their promised land, and get treated like human beings too. This will be total luxury, compared to the slave status they endured for 6 decades. Certainly much better than living in Bantustans that Israel will kindly let them call a “state”, or even the 1967-lines-based state which, assuming Israel is forced to accept, Israel will end up anyway dominating. I haven’t seen a Palestinians who rejects the one-state solution; any objection usually boils down to “I wish, but Israelis won’t accept”. Now I don’t mean to imply that this is in anyway easy to sell to the powerful, especially with Israel’s power and a US that desires an aggressive Israel to keep Arab nationalism at bay. But so far as minimal justice, fairness – and pragmatism— are concerned it is the best one.

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January 11th, 2009, 1:40 am

 

228. Akbar Palace said:

AP
You Said

Hamas wanted martyrs and Israel obliged them. Who are you to deny Hamas what they wanted? You could at least help them get more missiles…

How dare you.

Off the Wall,

I think the question should be “How dare Hamas?”.

After seeing the MEMRI video that Chris presented to the forum, I say how dare we allow a suicidal, fanatical government stay in power?

But if you disagree with me, then by all means, send a check to the brave resistance fighters (which would be illegal in the US) who hide among civilians.

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January 11th, 2009, 1:56 am

 

229. norman said:

Sami D,

Israel is not able to give the Israeli Christians and Muslims their equal rights , I do not believe they will give that right to rest of the people , May be if threaten that the Jews around the world will be treated the way Israel treats it’s minorities,

Joe M ,

The more i look at the conflict the more i feel that the only solution is a long term war that will force the Israelis to leave to the West , apparently they do not have the foresight to preempt the future wars that will destroy Israel.

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January 11th, 2009, 2:21 am

 

230. Alex said:

There is a new Syria Comment poll (left column on main page). Vote please.

This time you can vote for all the options you agree with.

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January 11th, 2009, 2:57 am

 

231. Akbar Palace said:

198. Shai said:

Akbar,

8 years of Qassams = 3 dead. 15 days of IDF = 800 dead, 3000 injured.

But hey, it’s only Arabs. Don’t lose any sleep over it, that might make you feel human again… and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Sleep well, Akbar, you done good today!

Shai,

Why do you always underplay Hamas atrocities??

No normal country would allow one missile to land inside their country from a neighboring hostile country without a serious response.

3278 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza just in 2008! I don’t care if no one died from the rocket fire, this is a justified response that was looooong and coming.

BTW – Your numbers were wrong, apparently 18 Israelis died from missile fire, not 3. But, hey, it’s only Israelis…

http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e007.pdf

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January 11th, 2009, 4:28 am

 

232. offended said:

Alex,

I can think of two other possible reasons why Israel is attacking gaza:

1-Israel wants to terrorize the residents of Gaza and drive them toward mass immigration, since Gaza has always been a demographic nightmare for it.

2-While Israel is not serious about peace, it wants to preempt the prospect of stronger Hamas or other resistance movements in Gaza.

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January 11th, 2009, 5:14 am

 

233. norman said:

Offended,

Israel might be trying to convince it’s people that war and militery superiority can not achieve Israel’s goals of peace.and peace through strength.

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January 11th, 2009, 5:24 am

 

234. Shai said:

Akbar,

I rechecked myself, and indeed more than 3 Israelis have died as a result of Qassam missiles over the past 8 years. But even if 30 had died, that’s a little less than 250 in a single day, compliments of our mighty IAF. And, since that miserable Saturday, so far, a total of 800 have died, and another 3,000 have been injured. Can you imagine how many innocent women and children belong to that? Can you bother yourself for a minute to consider this? Does it bother you at all? When you look at the burnt bodies of 5 Palestinian kids, an entire family destroyed forever, is the most you are capable of feeling is “I’m so sorry, but you brought upon yourself…”? No sense of responsibility, no sense of having committed the worst of crimes? Nah, that would be asking too much of you. You’re focusing on the (now 18) Israelis. What’s 800 compared to 18? What’s 15 days, compared with 2,400? What’s the use of comparing things – these are Arabs, and these are Jews.

By the way, don’t forget to add 7 Israeli cows that were killed by a single mighty Qassam, way back in 2007!

I agree with OTW, your smart ass comments are racist, contemptuous and contemptible.

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January 11th, 2009, 5:24 am

 

235. Shai said:

Offended,

There is a fantasy in Israel, that says that if we punish the Palestinians enough, they’ll rise against the Hamas. That’s the reason for the suffocation of Gaza, and that’s the reason for this horrific military operation. No Israeli thinks 1.5 million citizens will get up and leave Gaza. If that was the goal, we’d have killed many more people by now. My nation (and its idiot supporters worldwide) foolishly believes that by punishing a population, they’ll be more likely to blame Hamas than Israel! Indeed you do have to have a twisted mind to reach this conclusion. There are some, like AP, who also think Israel will win the respect of many nations after this is over, and that antisemitism will be REDUCED! God is he pathetic, or what? (I can see the line of antisemitism shrinking day by day… don’t you?)

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January 11th, 2009, 6:37 am

 

236. Shai said:

Sami D.,

Like with Joe M., I respect you very much, but I disagree with you on what is possible now, and what isn’t. You are right – what is “pragmatic” and “possible” is indeed being dictated by the powerful, and not by the weak. But let’s be honest with ourselves, since when have these been defined otherwise? The strong always make these definitions, they’re the ones dictating the conditions during peacetime, and during war. The strong compromise less (if at all), and the weak pay the price. And since when have ordinary people, the electorate, made decisions not based on emotions, as irrational as they may be? I am able to sit here, hear many a commentators bash Zionism to high heaven, speak clearly of a fight to the bitter end, and yet I don’t innately fear Arabs – I believe Jewish blood is the same as Arab blood, and that you deserve every bit the same as I do, no less, no more.

But most in my country, the overwhelming majority, don’t see it that way. They DO fear you, and distrust you. Is it justified? In my opinion, no. What I realize, and I believe most Israelis do not, is that we have created this self-fulfilling prophecy ourselves. Since 1967, we have been telling our people that the Arabs are intent on destroying us (throwing us to the sea). We justified any and all offensive action, including the horrific Occupation, as mere self-defense. And of course by doing so, we created the very hatred against us we “sold” our people all along. And now, it’s easy to point to Hamas and say “look at their charter – it speaks clearly of our destruction, so we can and must fight Hamas…” And most people, again, buy it. And most Israelis are fearful of Arabs who hate them, and this time, they’re right. That it was their own doing doesn’t play part in their equation – who wants to look into themselves and admit such a thing? Easier to just hate, and fear, and fight. That keeps the conflict outside of yourself, continues to perpetuate and reinforce your own claims, and we’re always “justified” in defending ourselves, right?

That is why, Sami, I can’t see a one-state solution right now. Maybe in 20 years time. Your last sentence was: “But so far as minimal justice, fairness – and pragmatism— are concerned it is the best one.” And I completely agree with you (and with Joe) about this. But again, it’s just not possible, no matter how badly you or I may want it, or how much it makes sense.

By the way, I’ve said in the past that the Palestinians should go even further. They should now raise all the white flags they can. 4 million white flags – surrender! Come up to the generals of the IDF, Hamas combatants and all, give in your weapons, and say “Uncle!” Tell Israel that you give up, that you recognize you’ve lost the battle, and that you now wish to be under Israeli rule forever. No more “occupied” territories – ask Israel to annex them, to turn them into full-fledged, internationally recognized part of Great Israel. Proclaim the end to the Palestinian struggle. Ask the Arab World to end its conflict with Israel. And then, remind Israel that it calls itself a democracy. And show up at our Ministry of Interior, demanding your Israeli ID cards, your passport, and your voting cards! Believe me, that would lead to a one-state, or two-state solution faster than any Qassam will…

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January 11th, 2009, 7:09 am

 

237. AIG said:

Shai,

You have gone completely crazy. Israel is absolutely not responsible for ANY civillian casualties in Gaza, no matter their numbers. The Hamas has decided on the rules of battle and if they are holding the population hostage that is their problem. I would not endanger the life of ONE Israeli soldier by allowing Hamas to manipulate the battle field.

The Arab street and most of the voices here are just hypocritical. They only care about Arab blood if an Israeli kills him. What is hurting is their dignity and not the suffering of the Palestinian population. Frankly, I don’t care at all what the Arabs think. In 67 they all thought we should be in the sea. I do not see how they could like us less than they already did in 67. All the talk about Arabs liking us less is BS. They just hate our guts and that is it. Nothing we will do will change anything. The Arabs will accept peace on our terms or they won’t. If they don’t we will continue fighting them. If you do not like this plan, you have many options.

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January 11th, 2009, 7:24 am

 

238. Joe M. said:

Norman,
I am split in thirds on this. One third of the time i think they will go back to europe, one third of the time i think they will accept a one-state solution, the other third i think that their desire to live by the sword will totally backfire on them. We will just have to wait and see. But they are clearly digging their own grave deeper every day.

Shai,
the most naive part of your argument is that we have already been through 60 years of worthless negotiations for two separate states, and it has only become less likely. And yet you want us to believe that now it is necessary, so it will happen… please! Israel has missed its chance for two-states, i have no doubt. If they couldn’t come to an agreement with a puppet like abu mazin, under these conditions, and could not even remove their own “illegal outposts”, why do you naively believe that there is a chance for a two-state now? Really, it’s over. There is no two-state option now. Even if an agreement was signed, there would be too much resistance, it has been too completely discredited. And we know it will take time for the one-state to be formed, but we have the clear advantage, and it will come. the question is just how it will happen, and whether there will be jews in that one-state or not.

J Thomas and Sami D,
good posts.

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January 11th, 2009, 10:52 am

 

239. Shai said:

Joe M.,

I know some people on my side who speak just like you, about the Arabs.

Maybe I am naive, and you’re not. Maybe you understand reality better (both sides of it, not only yours), and can truly lead your people to a better future, whenever that may come. So go ahead, lead away.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to naively believe that shut doors can still be broken through. And I’ll continue to naively work towards a different solution – a far more peaceful one.

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January 11th, 2009, 1:24 pm

 

240. Sami D said:

Shai Wrote:

But let’s be honest with ourselves, since when have these been defined otherwise? The strong always make these definitions, they’re the ones dictating the conditions during peacetime, and during war. The strong compromise less (if at all), and the weak pay the price.

Hello Shai

Everything you say above, about the impossibility of creating a one-state because the strong don’t want it, could easily apply to any unjust situation in the past, be it slavery or Nazism – or even a 1967-borders-based solution. Should people have said let’s accept Nazi rule to be “pragmatic” – that the Nazis are too powerful to defeat? Again, like ending slavery, the one-state solution may not be achievable soon, I agree; but it nonetheless ought be the ultimate goal, however idealistic. Otherwise, like I said above, we can invoke the “not pragmatic/not possible” in regard to returning East Jerusalem and the West Bank and dismantling Israeli cities.

See, in 1948 it would have been ideal for Israel to have been born in an obscure place away from headlines, or perhaps in a different time like 200 years before where it could exterminate the natives. If I am an honest Zionist leader I would prefer that solution. But the damn circumstances, like rising from the ashes of the holocaust, the rise of international law post WWII, the high visibility of the “promised land” project, etc, made this solution out-of-the-question for Israel. Now, however, the natives are living with you, around you, or rather under you, scattered at your borders in squalid refugee camps.

Shai Wrote::

They DO fear you, and distrust you. Is it justified? In my opinion, no. What I realize, and I believe most Israelis do not, is that we have created this self-fulfilling prophecy ourselves. Since 1967, we have been telling our people that the Arabs are intent on destroying us (throwing us to the sea). We justified any and all offensive action, including the horrific Occupation, as mere self-defense.

I think here, Shai, you are confusing Israeli people with Israeli leadership! This is fundamental. Israeli leadership does NOT fear the Arabs and KNOW their real strength. Israeli public on the other hand, do fear the Arabs. This irrational emotion is deliberately produced, nurtured and strengthened by Israeli leaders to manipulate the public. In western-style democracies, which, to a limited extent Israel is, you don’t have the bludgeon to drag people to wars of aggression and land-/resource-grab. You use propaganda and fear. And it works wonders.

The goal is to take more land and resources, like the symbolic Jerusalem, West Bank or the fertile Golan. But how to do it without appearing an aggressor and a conqueror? If I am an Israeli leader, I would first strive to maintain an aggressive atmosphere to ensure the conflict remains in the dimension where I reign supreme – violence. If, say, a Palestinian attacks an Israeli somewhere, I would go and destroy a village, drop bombs, destroy homes, kill a lot of people. This would ensure many more angry Palestinians chanting death to Israel, than you started with. Now my task is easier.

Israel prefers extremists than moderates (real moderates that is, not puppets), because it wants to grab somebody else’s land and because it has a lot of muscles. “Look at those hateful Arabs who don’t want peace, who don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and who want to throw us in the sea. Check the PLO and Hamas’ charters. We need to defend ourselves against them”. And if a Palestinian didn’t provide me with pretext to begin with, then I will provoke one, like “sending a tractor into the demilitarized zone” in the Golan “until the Syrians shoot”.

Now my goal is easier to achieve. By helping destroy all Arab leaders who display “pragmatism” like accepting a1967-based settlements, I pushed Arabs/Palestinians into more extremism which I can now use to take more land citing security. From Nasser to Sadat, to Syria, to PLO, to Hamas, anytime the “threat of peace” loomed on the horizon, Israel acted swiftly to nip it in the bud. Fighting extremism makes the Zionist project easier to market to the outside world, much easier than “I want Palestine without the Palestinians.” And this, in a nutshell, has been the history of Israel-Arab relations.

Joe M., Thanks! I like your posts too. Keep it up.

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January 11th, 2009, 4:18 pm

 

241. Shai said:

Dear Sami,

I agree, the one-state solution should NOT be forgotten. It should indeed be the goal. I just think it’s not possible, right now, or in the near future. As I’ve said before, perhaps in 15-20 years it can happen. But just not now. In the interim period, I think a two-state solution is more likely to happen, and is still better than a no-state solution.

I think you give Israeli leaders too much credit. Indeed they can and do manipulate the population often (as other leaders do in other nations). But I actually believe there have been a few PMs that did want peace, but precisely because the population was so much against it, felt they couldn’t make it happen on their own. Some rare cases (perhaps, I’m not even sure of that) are Begin and Rabin. I don’t accept the generalization that Israel has always rejected peace. How did peace with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 happen, then, and why? It was certainly beneficial for Israel to keep the Sinai, so why did we give it back? There was no issue of demographics there, we could have held on to it for eons. I’m not suggesting we suddenly became peace-loving people. But we had interests for peace, and they were met.

As much as I respect the opinions of most people here on SC, I do believe that most do not fully understand the complexity of Israeli society, and the relationship between the leadership and their constituents. As a general note, I am not too receptive to generalizations, no matter what they try to depict. I do admit, however, that action does speak louder than words, and in recent days, it is indeed difficult to argue that (anyone) in Israel is interested in peace. While this catastrophe is indeed horrific, I believe time will tell whether it will be the birth of another era of violence and bloodshed, or of an opportunity to at last reach a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. I know and understand that from the Palestinians’ point of view, such a notion right now seems absurd, and yet another form of capitulation.

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January 11th, 2009, 4:38 pm

 

242. Sami D said:

Shai Wrote:

I don’t accept the generalization that Israel has always rejected peace. How did peace with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 happen, then, and why? It was certainly beneficial for Israel to keep the Sinai, so why did we give it back? There was no issue of demographics there, we could have held on to it for eons. I’m not suggesting we suddenly became peace-loving people. But we had interests for peace, and they were met.

The record on this is not a secret. It’s part of the Israeli myth that “its hand was always extended in peace”. In reality it was terrified of Arab peace offers, because it doesn’t a return to the 1967 borders, and that is why it moved to destroy the PLO in 1982. Sadat made a “better” (from Israel’s perspective) offer of peace to Israel in 1971 than the latter one, with security guarantees and all. Israel’s reaction? “panic” in the words of Amos Elon, before it was .. rejected. That rejection produced the 1973 war, which saw Egypt emerge as a trouble-maker, inducing the US and Israel to act to remove Egypt from the conflict, especially with Sadat offering to become a US client.

THAT is why Israel withdrew from the Sinai. Israel saw that here peace is in its interests, as you say, because the Arabs became trouble-makers and that it could thus gain by bribing Egypt out of the conflict. Removing Egypt further freed Israel to act more brutally, in the occupied territories, in Lebanon and elsewhere, making the 1982 barbarism against Lebanon to destroy the PLO, much easier to carry on with the largest Arab force taken out of the conflict. Not only did it reject that overture, Israel, under a peace-loving Labor government, reacted by announcing new settlements — surely reluctantly, with tears in their eyes perhaps.

Like Hamas, which was moving to recognize a 1967-based settlement with Israel, and observing a 6-months cease fire, the PLO almost 30 years earlier had undergone the same path, “threatening” Israel with real peace and observing an 11-months cease-fire, which is why Israel couldn’t handle this “threat” and moved to destroy the PLO then, as it is doing to Hamas now.

Even before Sadat’s 1971 offer, Nasser stated that peace between Israel would be possible, to which no one reacted in Israel. In 1976, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the PLO backed a resolution agreeing to the two-state solution and 1967 borders. Israel… rejected that one too. There were many plans and resolutions after that, like the Saudi Fahd Plan or Fez resolution, which were based on two-states, 1967 borders and Israeli security. Even Saddam Hussein offered to accept Israel, in 1983. Israel rejected them all, often reacting by increasing its colonization and repression of the Palestinians.

While Israel often explained that the reason for its rejection of such generous peace offers is that it won’t negotiate with terrorist PLO, honorable and noble moralist state that it is, “prince of peace” Rabin was more clear: If Israel negotiates with “any Palestinian element” this will provide “a basis of a possibility of creating a third state between Israel and the Jordan” which Israel won’t allow. “I repeat firmly, clearly, categorically: It will not be created.” But all of these rejections are just line with the Labor-adopted Allon plan, which called for keeping part of the occupied territories as part of Israel, i.e. ensuring that no viable Palestinian state would emerge – hence, no peace.

The same Israeli rejectionism met Nasser’s 1950s overtures or Syria’s 1949 ones. Israel reacted by .. bombing and raids. To make sure people get the message, Israel often reacted to calls of stopping its conquest by … deepening it. Rabin and Peres and Barak presided, during the “peace” process, over increasing the settlements which saw the number of colonists double in the 1990s – years of peace. As for Jordan’s peace with Israel in 1994, it was a mere formalization of the on-going good Jordanian relations with Israel; no land concession by Israel was required too, so why wouldn’t Israel take such a freebie?

In short, Israel wants land not peace. You are wasting your time, Shai, trying to convince Israelis (or recruit Arabs to help you do so) to accept withdrawal to the 1967 borders. It will never happen. Israel won’t withdraw from the settlements, relinquish the West Bank water aquifers, or return East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. The only possible reason Israel might consider some withdrawal is if the Palestinians got strong enough to cause trouble that can’t be subdued by violence.

Israel wants to try to suffocate the Palestinians out of existence, reducing them at best to obedient puppets who would rejoice at the sight of breadcrumbs from the master’s table. This is, as I have always said, only the expected outcome of Zionism, Israel’s state ideology. To Zionism, Palestinians are a nuisance, “cockroaches in a jar”, “two-legged beasts”, “dogs”, “terrorists” and, more politely, a “demographic threat”. That is why if we’re to discuss true peace, the term “Zionism” has to be re-introduced into the conversation. “Negotiations” and “Peace Process” and “Talks” are a camouflage to endless Palestinian bondage and enablers of Zionism. While Zionism, in the eyes of many Jews, was a movement to liberate them from anti-Semitism and turn them into a (religio-) nationality; it spelled, predictably, the ethnic cleansing, dispossession, endless repression and humiliation for the Palestinians. Thus, Zionism is also apartheid and racism. Hell, even its limited goal of ending anti-Semitism is not achieved; the opposite is in fact what’s taken place: Zionism is helping increase anti-Semitism around the world. Some irony! Time for Jews of Israel to relinquish Zionism in favor of peace .. true peace: living with the natives as EQUALS.

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January 13th, 2009, 12:06 pm

 

243. Shai said:

Sami,

For racism, hatred, distrust, and violence to end, we must first be separated, physically. There must be a border between Israel and Palestine. Any thoughts of a one-state solution in the near future are sheer fantasy, and incessantly clinging on to this notion (and rejecting a two-state solution first) will not further the Palestinian legitimate rights and freedom.

I never claimed, by the way, that Israel has always sought peace. I agree with you, for most of our history, we opted for the opposite. But we did have interests in peace with Egypt, and Jordan, and we can find interests in peace with others in the future, including the Palestinian people. I don’t think Egyptians suddenly fell in love with us either, when they signed the peace treaty in 1979.

Most Israelis still believe we should withdraw from the majority of the West Bank (probably close to 97% of it, and the rest exchanged for land in Israel), and therefore it is still possible. I don’t recall the last time an Israeli PM said we are unwilling to withdraw – I do recall at least 5 PMs that said the opposite. Not only our settlement activity is criminal – our entire Occupation of Palestine is criminal. If the settlements are an indication that we’re not going to leave, then so is the entire Occupation. But we also occupied the Sinai and Gaza, and yet one day removed by force all Jewish settlers from there. I don’t see why it can’t happen again. You could have said the same (that it won’t happen) also about the Sinai back in 1979.

I keep reiterating that Israel will not opt for peace because of good heartedness, or because our population suddenly becomes Arab-lovers. Of course we will make peace, when we understand that the alternative is far worse. And that, unfortunately, might only happen after the Arabs (Palestinians included) become strong enough to give Israel quite a bit of trouble. I hope it doesn’t lead to another horrible regional war, but it may very well. It saddens me that my people can’t think ahead to see that the result is inevitable, and that instead we again have to traverse this terrible path of violence. Perhaps we Israelis are indeed “drunk” from our power.

Lastly, I never heard of Zionism having a goal of “ending antisemitism”. Personally, I agree that the way Zionism has been carried out, if anything it only achieved the opposite, in Israel, in our region, and worldwide.

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January 13th, 2009, 12:57 pm

 

244. Sami D said:

Indeed Shai, Zionism was not created to end anti-semitism, but to serve as refuge for Jews from anti-Semitism. My mistake. The irony is not affected however: The place where Jews are likely to be targetted for attack BECUASE they are Jews is, of all places, the refuge Zionism created: Israel. Saying that this is due to “the way Zionism has been carried out”, which is true only to a degree, is basically saying that Zionism’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians could’ve been carried out more gently! Nor do I have illusions about the one-state solution materializing anytime soon, as I repeatedly stated. Only that it is the ONLY minimally fair and pragmatic solution to the problem, WHENEVER it can be achieved. The separation you envision is almost impossible, with the 1/5 of Israelis being Palestinians, 1/2 million colonists planted inside the W. Bank, and E. Jerusalem surrounded by Israeli colonies. And Israel will continue to cite security to control the future Palestinian “state”. Palestinians will have to be forever slaves so that Israelis feel secure. 97% of the West Bank that Israelis agree to sounds generous, but it actually leaves the water resources in Israel’s hands, as well as the majority of its colonists and East Jerusalem, along with few slivers that will dig deep into the crumbs left of Palestinian land. Prison inmates control 97% of prison space, but the remaining 3% determines whether the inmates are free or not. No Israeli leader has agreed to withdraw to the 1967 lines or withdraw all the half million settlers. The only state Israel will allow to emerge, and Arafat almost agreed to, as Abu Mazen is ready to do, is a stunted state, with borders, airspace, underground water, settlements, etc in Israel’s hands. This is the ninety-whatever percent solution Israeli leaders agree too.
Thanks for all your contribution, Shai. This is my last post under this thread.

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January 14th, 2009, 3:54 pm

 

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