“Ecological Peace between Syria and Israel?” by Saleem H. Ali

Ecological Peace between Syria and Israel?
By Saleem H. Ali
for Syria Comment, 26 January 2010

Fountain of Peace | Nagasaki Peace Park

Fountain of Peace | Nagasaki Peace Park

On January 7, 2010, Tel Aviv University hosted a unique conference on the role of ecological factors in peace-building between Syria and Israel. This was a bold initiative at a time when relations between the two countries have been strained by the Israeli government’s call for a referendum law on relinquishing any portion of the Golan and other annexed territories after the 1967 war. However, despite the cynicism of many on both sides of the border, the Porter Institute of Environmental Studies, under the initiative of an enterprising postgraduate student Shahar Sadeh, managed to convene a meeting to discuss the prospect. Even though Syrian participation at the meeting was not possible due to a prohibition of professional contact between the two sides, it was perhaps constructive to have Israelis discussing the issue independently since they are the occupying force in the region and would have to first resolve internal political differences on the issue.

I was asked to attend as the keynote speaker, given my previous research on such efforts worldwide and my background as a Pakistani-American who has explored such issues in the context of regional peace-building in South Asia. Some “Realists” might roll their eyes on such a prospect but the concept of “peace parks” is more than an idealist’s ramblings and has shown promise in resolving territorial disputes. Warring parties can be made to realize quite pragmatically that joint conservation is economically beneficial and also a politically viable exit strategy from a conflict. The US used such a strategy in the mid 1990s to resolve a decades-old armed conflict between Ecuador and Peru in the Cordillera del Condor region. The Obama administration’s deputy envoy to the Middle East, Fred Hof, has proposed the Golan peace park effort as a means of a peace-building with Syria as well in a formal paper written for the US Institute of Peace in 2008. In Hof’s plan, water guarantees to Israel which currently gets 30% of its water from the region) could be exchanged for return of sovereignty to Israel. So the idea is one which policy-makers are considering seriously and there are even detailed maps and plans that have been prepared to consider such a solution. Syrian-American negotiator Ibrahim Suleiman and former director-general of Israel’s foreign ministry Alon Liel discussed this prospect in 2007 when they met with the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Relations and Defense Committee to develop a plan to establish a jointly administered peace park between Syria and Israel in the Golan.

Interestingly, the original Druze inhabitants of the region see themselves as distinct from Israelis and Palestinians since their religious group has its own culture and ethnic identity. The Golan Heights has a population of about 38,900, of which 19,300 are Druze, 16,500 are recently settled Jewish immigrants, and about 2,100 are Muslim. Golan is also an environmentally sensitive region with a cool and moderately wet climate that has allowed fruit orchards to flourish. Underscoring the unique environmental conditions of this area, Israel has allowed Druze farmers to export some 11,000 tons of apples to Syria each year since 2005.

This confluence of interests makes the region an ideal case for implementing a novel dispute-resolution strategy known as environmental peace-building. The strategy involves transforming disputed border areas into transboundary conservation zones with flexible governance arrangements. Such territorial arrangements are increasingly called peace parks. To some realist commentators this term may suggest idealistic or naive notions of conflict resolution, but it is championed even by military officers, such as retired Indian Air Marshal K. C. “Nanda” Cariappa, a former POW who has called for such a strategy to resolve India and Pakistan’s dispute over the Siachen glacier.

The proposal was initially motivated by Robin Twite’s work at the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information during the 1990s. Now the strategic plan for the effort has been laid out in detail and the momentum is there to move forward on this solution, which is feasible in the Golan given the demographics of the region. According to one plan, Syria would be the sovereign in all of the Golan, but Israelis could visit the park freely, without visas. In addition, territory on both sides of the border would be demilitarized along a 4:1 ratio in Israel’s favor.

When I visited the Golan after the conference, it also occurred to me that another possible solution was also to find a way to make the spectacular Mount Hermon area a particular conservation and recreation zone where Israelis and Syrians could visit without visas but when exiting from this special zone visas would be required. Israel already has a major ski resort on one side and Syria is planning to build a resort on its side of the divide. The summit of Mount Hermon is still under Syrian sovereignty and including this in the proposed peace territory would give Israelis an incentive to also come to the negotiating table since it would give them friendly access to a unique ecological region. This would be similar to the status of the eastern Sinai under the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty or also similar to the status of Hong Kong and Macau in China whereby there are separate entrance concessions for these areas as compared to mainland China.

When one examines the status quo between Israel and Syria over the Golan Heights it is clear that neither side is willing, at present, to relinquish its claim to this vital region. Syria has a legitimate claim on the basis of recent history, while Israel has a claim based on the ruins of 29 ancient synagogues, and perhaps more consequentially as a security buffer. As argued by Rabbi Michael Cohen of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, “one way to break through this stalemate of legitimacy is to phrase the dynamic in a different way. That is to say, it is not so much that Israel wants to keep the Golan Heights, but that they don’t trust giving the Heights back to Syria.”

This understanding of the dynamic opens up possibilities for a new scenario whereby a third party is involved. In addition to the peace park proposal, it is also possible to set up a Druze Autonomous Area that is neither Israeli nor Syrian but jointly administered by a commission. Similar proposals have also been initiated by Friends of the Earth Middle East along the Jordan River, where there is already a “peace island” where Israelis and Jordanians can visit without visas and where the original peace treaty between the two countries was signed and which is currently under deliberations for expansion. This case is particularly intriguing since under the treaty there is an Israeli kibbutz which is allowed to grow crops on Jordanian sovereign territory. A Yale University architecture class has already been working on the design of the expanded park in collaboration with neighboring Jordanian and Israeli communities. There is also a marine peace park agreement between Jordan, Israel, and Egypt in the Gulf of Aqaba (which was established as part of the first round of Oslo negotiations). The Golan proposal is geographically much more significant in terms of its joint-management potential and also as a means for instrumental conflict resolution between two states that currently do not recognize each other.

The conference showed that the fractures are still quite acute. On the one hand there was a speaker from  the “settlers association of the Golan” who fervently opposed any land for peace. While on the other hand, there was also a resident farmer and academic scholar from the Golan Heights, Yigal Kipnis, who expressed a willingness to relocate if peace involved giving land back to Syria in exchange for security and joint environmental monitoring. Academics were also highly polarized in their approach to the issue with some resurrecting ancient narratives of Judaic habitation in the area while others acknowledging that under international law the territory was definitely “occupied.”

As the Obama administration considers its legacy in the Middle East, it should give priority to the Golan conflict and creative approaches to conflict resolution.  Using the environment in this context is very promising but we must also be cautious and appreciate that conservation has also been used historically as a means of land appropriation. Arabs are highly suspicious of conservation efforts in this context just as Native Americans have been suspicious of the US. National Park system, whose establishment often excluded them from their land. Thus any peace park must be one where access and economic development are concurrent with conservation.  At the same time, the resolution of the Golan conflict cannot be considered in isolation from the Palestinian issue for too long. Ultimately, to cement lasting peace the Palestinian issue will also need to be resolved. Otherwise, the peace between Israel and Syria might end up being just as cold as the one between Egypt and Israel has become of late.

Ultimately, ecology defies political borders and the governments of the Middle East will need to become aware of this natural reality. Many countries in the region are signatories to international environmental agreements as well such as the Convention on Biodiversity and the Convention on Desertification. Perhaps these agreements will provide another avenue to pursue ecological cooperation as well. At the end of the day, as erstwhile adversaries realize that they are inherently confined by their ecologies, the chances of cooperation are likely to rise. Even when there is a scarce and distributive resource such as water at stake, cooperation is possible if conservation goals are articulated in terms of the quality of the ecosystem. The Holy Land, and particularly the Golan, presents a diverse array of topographies, climatic zones and biodiversity which has the most potent potential for using ecology as an instrumental tool for conflict resolution.

Saleem H. Ali is associate professor of environmental planning at the University of Vermont and the author of Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future  (Yale University Press, 2009) and the editor of Peace Parks; conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, 2007).

——————————————–
Saleem H. Ali, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Environmental Planning and Asian Studies
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
University of Vermont,
153 S. Prospect St.
Burlington VT 05401, USA
——————————————–
Email: saleem@alum.mit.edu
Ph: 802-656-0173
Fx: 802-656-8015

Comments (25)


1. Milli Schmidt said:

Unfortunately I do not have time to elaborate, but I wish to add a couple of points to the ‘economics’ discussion that have not been mentioned, but are important:

– as ehsani points out, in the medium term, ‘liberalisation’ of the economy will lead to greater income disparity and poverty. It is likely that more people will seek to express their frustration publicly, this is of course one of the reasons the government is reluctant. More importantly however, in the Syrian context, the almost ‘default’ option for Syrians to express their frustration with the elite state and the way spoils are divided among elites (of all religions) is to fall back on their sectarian identity. This is incredibly dangerous. It is likely that growing popular frustration in Syria would lead to sectarian violence as this is the way people express discontent of all kinds (including economic discontent). Blame is nearly always placed on another group and confidence drawn from the fact that one belongs to the ‘right’ and good group. Ussama Makdisi in fact has provided a convincing analysis that class/economic discontent was a major reason for the militia politics of the Lebanese war (see his articles in MERIP) and I believe that a similar analysis can be made for Syria – ten, fifteen years down the line, when Jarama has indeed become a slum, not a poor suburb. There is no national dialogue going in whatsoever about how to deal with the effects of economic ‘liberalisation’, there is no transparency, no explanation to the wider public about why the government is doing what, no calls even that everybody has to ‘tighten belts’ etc to improve the economy in the long term. In fact sectarian thinking is as strong as ever.

– The education sector remains a disaster with no real signs that the government is making it a priority to improve access to good, public, affordable education. The private unis have changed nothing about this. Positively, french and english are now being taught at primary level. The government faces a paradox here as it needs well educated, analytical minds – but people with minds like these can hardly thrive in the stifling, politicised working environment in Syria and even very patriotic people who possess such minds and education want to leave. The scramble for European/US visas also remains as strong as ever, perhaps more so than five years ago.

– the investment environment remains very unattractive for foreign investors, and there is no sign fo a concerted effort at all levels to change this. A friend of mine working at a JV between the Syrian gov and another Arab state confirmed that the non-Syria partners are getting very frustrated and are ready to pull the plug on the project, as, despite high level political support everything takes far too long. Foreigners cannot buy land in Syria, even long term leases are incredibly difficult to obtain. The government can intervene at any moment in surprising fashion: last month, all foreign banks, most of them are Lebanese, were informed that all employees, including the most senior management, have to be Syrian! all foreigners have to be replaced within nine months.there was no preview about it, no discussion, it was simply announced as a populist move. Disaster for the banks, and very bad sign for any other foreign bank wanting to invest in Syria.

– In conclusion, I believe that addressing the above are more important and should be tackled FIRST before lifting subsidies. Attract private investment first by strengthening judiciary, binding hands of ministries trying to interfere, gradually closing government factories, start cutting back interference potentional/power of economic players close to the president. Then start cutting subsidies, or start, but very slowly. Otherwise the negative effects of liberalisation (unequal distribution of the increase in wealth, more corruption and displays of ostentious wealth plus public discontent) will be much worse.

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January 26th, 2010, 7:50 am

 

2. Nour said:

Sorry, but this is nonsensical fluff, that actually demeans and belittles those who have struggled against the racist, cancerous entity occupying Palestine. No peace parks and no empty, fluffy rhetoric will change the reality that the existence of a racist, exclusively Jewish entity on Syrian land is a violation of Syria’s national rights, which will never disappear with the passage of time, and runs contrary to basic human values and humanitarian principles. Every inch of our land is to return to the full sovereignty and control of our people, and ONLY our people. This is a concept followed in every other nation in the world, and we sure are not going to be an exception. The only peace that we understand is that our enemies recognize our full right over all our land.

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January 26th, 2010, 5:59 pm

 

3. Alex said:

“When one examines the status quo between Israel and Syria over the Golan Heights it is clear that neither side is willing, at present, to relinquish its claim to this vital region. Syria has a legitimate claim on the basis of recent history, while Israel has a claim based on the ruins of 29 ancient synagogues, and perhaps more consequentially as a security buffer.”

1) Excellent point. Please don’t forget all the synagogues all over Syria and Iraq too!

2) When you take into account the new Ayranian threat, the Golan is too small a security buffer for Israel … again, I would expand it to include Damascus at least.

Dr. Ali … The Golan is Syrian. UN resolution 497 says Israel’s annexation of the Golan is “null and void”. If we followed your creative conflict resolution strategy, Saddam would have been enjoying his stay at his large palace in his Kuwait peace park.

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January 26th, 2010, 7:09 pm

 

4. just asking said:

Why is UN resolution 497 even relevant?
If tomorrow the UN security council passes a resolution that accepts Israel’s annexation of the Golan, would Syria stop trying to get it back? Would it accept Israel’s claim that it now legally holds the Golan? Not likely. So why is this non-binding* UN resolution relevant at all? The issue is not legal and will not be solved in a court of law. The issue is what the people of each country consider fair and just. The two countries much reach a compromise.

* UN resolutions are worth anything only if they are under chapter VII and someone is willing to enforce them. 497 is not under chapter VII

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January 26th, 2010, 7:46 pm

 

5. Saleem Ali said:

I gave examples of why this is not “fluff” since it has worked elsewhere. If you have better ideas other than fighting another war let me know. The most likely version of the peace park plan follows the UN resolutions in terms of giving sovereignty back to Syria for the area — we are just trying to find some creative solutions.

If there is peace between Syria and Israel — that would be the best buffer — Israel historically had diplomatic relations with Iran and many of the water and santations systems of the 1960s in Iran were built with Israeli partnerships and so there is no reason to believe that there is to be forever war between Israel and Iran either.

One has to be pragmatic and realistic rather than going on with the same bellicose sardonic rhetoric.

However, you are right that the initiative for peace must come from Israel as the occupying power and there is enough blame to go around on that front.

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January 26th, 2010, 8:19 pm

 

6. Alex said:

Dear “just Asking”/AIG

When you asked me to remove you from moderation (your comment is checked before it is released) you promised you will stick to one comment per day.

Joshua is the one banning you, but let me explain to you why he is doing so. It is obvious from your experimental participation here (as “just asking”) that you did not learn from your past mistakes that got you in daily confrontations with a large number of other contributors.

In the last comment of yours that I released (above) you are trying to claim that UN security council resolutions are not to be taken seriously!

Let me remind you of your comments and the comments of your Likudnik friends here who advocated punishing Syria for its alleged (Israel could never prove it) lack of respect for UN resolution 1701

Here is your defense minister for example
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g4ka_f-Yo1Hz7nzvIGCJ_EN5bcvw

“I think the Security Council has to act and see how the resolution is applied and enforced,” the former army chief of staff and premier said.”

And let me remind you of how serious you are about respecting the law:

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=1895&cp=all#comment-223596

38. AIG said:

Alex,
The difference between us is simple. I respect the rule of law. You don’t, you believe that your values are above the law. I would never presume so much.

It is your lack of ability to know where to stop that makes you not compatible with the rest of them here.

I don’t want to be stuck the whole day to Syria Comment only to watch what other “Alex you believe your values are above the law” kind of statements you left in my absence.

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January 26th, 2010, 8:36 pm

 

7. jo6pac said:

Thanks Alex, I alway stop this site to see what I can learn and yes just ban him period.

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January 26th, 2010, 8:52 pm

 

8. Alex said:

Dear Dr. Ali

Sinai was returned to Egypt without turning it into a peace park.

I have two questions for you

1) Should all countries respect international law? should they respect UNSC resolutions?

2) What is your estimate of a maximum length of a period beyond which those whose lands have been occupied by a strong enemy should stop resisting the occupation and should start accepting the powerful occupier’s terms instead of their legitimate rights?

In other words … when should one turn “pragmatic and realistic rather than going on with the same bellicose sardonic rhetoric”

I can assure you that the people of Syria are all sticking to the same bellicose rhetoric.

Incidentally … I like the peace park idea … but my peace park includes the whole thing .. all of Israel and all of Syria and Turkey and Lebanon and Palestine …

First, Israel has to do what is right … do a 180 degree turn and start respecting international law, THEN all the borders will gradually fade out between the people of all the countries in the region.

Until then, there can be no peace with a country that wants to set its terms through the threat of its nuclear weapons and its advanced American supplied air force. The United States lost in Vietnam, it can not “win” in Iraq, and Israel could not defeat 4000 Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon in 2006.

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January 26th, 2010, 9:00 pm

 

9. jad said:

That is a new low for AIG, not that he was any high before.
Weren’t ‘it’ satisfied in occupying Qifa Nabki site for the last year and half?
I wonder how Qifa is feeling about his terrible ‘LOST’ of this ‘valuable’ customer?

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January 26th, 2010, 9:01 pm

 

10. jad said:

Nour,
I agree with you about this peace park idea and getting back our land, Jolan is our land, it is an occupied land that is recognized as a SYRIAN land by the whole world and we want every inch of it back to Syria, then it’s up to us to decide if we want to build a peace park on part of it or not.

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January 26th, 2010, 9:09 pm

 

11. Shai said:

Dr. Ali,

While I certainly have great distaste to Nour’s depictions of Israel as “a cancerous entity” (in my mind quite a Racist comment in and of itself), I do however understand him. I don’t believe it is fair to place some Israelis’ (few, in relative terms) biblical attachment to the Golan or its ruined synagogues, to ALL Syrians’ physical and historical attachment to the land that was taken from them 42.5 years ago. Though Israel annexed the Golan, few Israelis ever moved there. More than 20 times as many moved and now occupy a territory that has never been annexed by Israel, namely the West Bank.

Nor can the “security buffer” be taken too seriously nowadays, when the real existential threats (or, as I claim, the perceived existential threats) are defined through rocket and missile-capable nations and organizations, which of course fly great distances, making the Golan a non-barrier of any effective sort. The days of classical-war, of tank-vs-tank, are probably long behind us. Last time Israel and Syria fought such a war was more than a quarter century ago. By the way, most Israel generals also agree that the Golan isn’t really necessary for strategic-defensive purposes. One main exception is that MK of an ex-armored general, Yossi Peled. I hope he was a better general of tanks, than he was TV commentator-of-war, during the Summer 2006 war in Lebanon.

Having said this, I do agree that something must break the deadlock. And if it’s to be called a “Peace Park”, whereby Israelis could visit 1/3 of the Golan (for instance) without visas, and possibly even continue to own certain businesses (but pay taxes in Syria), maybe that could work, for a while. But there is no doubt that Syria must eventually receive their entire territory back. Few Israelis would argue that the Golan isn’t Syrian territory. In return for Peace, an overwhelming majority of Israelis were willing to give back this territory, less than two decades ago. I don’t think ancient synagogues or security threats from across the Syrian border changed their minds since then.

The real formula that should be sought, I believe, is one that demonstrates to Israelis that Syria is serious about Peace, while demonstrating to Syrians that Israel recognizes their full and legitimate rights over the entire Golan.

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January 26th, 2010, 9:21 pm

 

12. OFF THE WALL said:

Shai
If you want to find out one reason why I try to understand, just read you own comments. Your ability to empathize taught me and others a lot, and we are all richer for that. Thank you.

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January 26th, 2010, 9:56 pm

 

13. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The Golan is a peace park already. I don’t see a reason to change it.
Good night.
.

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January 26th, 2010, 10:58 pm

 

14. Nour said:

Dr. Ali:

With all due respect, the examples you gave do not involve the presence of a racist entity attempting to remove an entire population from a given land in order to create a state exclusively for a particular kind of people. The struggle between “Israel” and the Syrian Arab Republic (as well as the rest of the Syrian nation) does not merely involve a border dispute, but is rather an existential struggle the outcome of which can only be either life or death. The problem with “Israel” is not merely that it is entangled in a mere misunderstanding and tussle over legitimate interests with its neighbors. The problem with “Israel” is that it is an unnatural racist, cancerous entity the very nature of which leads to mass oppression and persecution of an entire population. Therefore, building a peace park will result in exactly nothing in terms of changing the sources of the woes and miseries of the region.

You want to call this “bellicose sardonic rhetoric” that is your prerogative. But we see sovereignty over every inch of our land as an indisputable, absolute national right that no one has the right to erase or deny.

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January 26th, 2010, 11:00 pm

 

15. Yossi said:

Amir,

Good Night, and Good Luck.

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January 27th, 2010, 1:39 am

 

16. norman said:

I do not know why would anybody think that Syria is a country that looks at the deals that Jordon and Egypt signed with Israel as something to follow , they do not know how Arabic Syria is , the other thing i seriously doubt that Syria will leave the Palestinians to fend for themselves ,

It looks from above that Dr Ali wants Syria to have the Golan in name while Israel control the Golan and the Syrian sovereignty without telling the Syrian people , something close to what happened between Israel on one side and Jordon and Egypt on the other side , i think , Syria is better off prepare to get it’s land by force , that is the only language Israel seems to understand ,
If Israel wants peace and that is noble and can be achieved by leaving the Golan , with full Syrian sovereignty over it , the Israelis who living there can stay and be residents in Syria paying taxes to Syria and their businesses are Israeli investments in Syria , about having no visa requirements for Israelis to visit the Golan , that can be negotiated and can be reciprocated by allowing the Syrians to visit Nazareth and other Israeli/Palestinian cities especially by Syrian residents of Palestinian origin who would like to visit their homes that were taken from them ,

I see no chance of peace and getting the Golan back without war ,
Syria should prepare for that and have the will to fight a long war ,

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January 27th, 2010, 3:21 am

 

17. Murhaf Jouejati said:

Regarding the validity of UN Security Council Resolutions, it is worth recalling that the preamble of UNSCR 242 in particular refers to the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war…” as stipulated in Article 2 of the UN Charter.

As Israel occupied the Golan in June 1967 entirely through war, international law considers that occupation, let alone the annexation of the Golan in 1981, as “inadmissible.”

In sum, those who claim that Israel is under no obligation to withdraw from the Golan need to reread the text of UNSCR 242 — the foundation over which any Syria-Israel peace talks stand.

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January 27th, 2010, 4:25 am

 

18. Alex said:

Thank Murhaf, but you are forgetting that UN resolutions apply to normal countries. Israel is NOT a normal country.

For example, Israel has the right to select which UN resolution (there is one only) it considers binding and worth “enforcing”. Here is their defense minister today again citing UNSC resolution 1701:

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/46070/DM+Barak+on+Syrian+&+Lebanese+Threats.html

“Addressing Lebanon, Barak cited the failures of the government of Lebanon to implement the Second Lebanon War ceasefire agreement, namely United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.”

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January 27th, 2010, 5:25 am

 

19. Akbar Palace said:

Just Asking/AIG,

Apparently, the owners here are only allowing you either 1 post/day or 0 posts/day depending whether or not they can “stomach” your opinion.

Althought I never saw you engage in personal attacks, it seems like our Syrian interlocutors have learned that stifling free speech is effective.

Oh well, you can see why peace isn’t a main objective of President Assad.

Alex,

I had the time to see the Youtube of the people wanting to see Sarah Palin. What are you concerned about?

The Golan is a peace park already. I don’t see a reason to change it.

Amir,

I believe Israel should give the Golan back to Syria for REAL peace. Another Oslo-type facade would be a bad idea.

Saleem Ali,

Enjoyed reading your post. You have the right attitude. You should participate more here since the number of posters here who recognize Israel is dwindling.

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January 27th, 2010, 12:54 pm

 

20. Saleem Ali said:

Thanks for the feisty commentary. there is clearly a lot of pain and hurt in this conflict and that comes through in the polarization of comments.

The Golan is different from the Sinai situation because Israel has far more at stake (30% of the water of the country comes from there). Hence any settlement will need to involve some creative environmental solutions, particularly around water.

It is naive to think that just by making loud and acrimonious claims — either side will get what it wants. Israel is the dominant power and needs to show responsibility with such power rather than just wishing away the issue.

Indeed, I was very disappointed by some of the comments by Israelis as well about Syria which are equally hate-filled and in some cases bordering on racist (even by academics). I will be writing a separate article on that . However, we need to move beyond the conversation of who is worse and instead focus on problem-solving.

The big issue at stake for the United States is that the lack of progress on Middle-east peace is fueling Al-Qaeda and radicalism. Most American jews sadly refuse to accept this connection but it is blatantly obvious to me in my study of madrassas in Pakistan.

Here is another article which I wrote that may be of interest to many of you about Gaza:

http://saleemali.newsvine.com/_news/2010/01/25/3809558-gaza-and-al-qaeda

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January 27th, 2010, 1:28 pm

 

21. Ghat Albird said:

MURHAF JOUEJATI said:

Regarding the validity of UN Security Council Resolutions, it is worth recalling that the preamble of UNSCR 242 in particular refers to the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.

MJ. Its time for all concerned to accept the facts espoused by Ariel Sharon that:

“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted on BBC News.

IMO no one else can make that kind of claim unless he/she has the US by the
entrails.

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January 27th, 2010, 1:42 pm

 

22. Akbar Palace said:

The big issue at stake for the United States is that the lack of progress on Middle-east peace is fueling Al-Qaeda and radicalism. Most American jews sadly refuse to accept this connection but it is blatantly obvious to me in my study of madrassas in Pakistan.

Professor Saleem Ali,

If you ever want the title, “Co-Director of Peace Studies”, let me know. I know a professor who may not mind handing this title to you for safe-keeping;)

I don’t agree with your conclusion above. The 9-11 attackers were busy planning and studying how to fly commercial airliners before GWB came into office. In fact, they were planning their attack while Arafat was attending the Camp David and Taba talks. This was the closest the Arab-Israeli peace process came to fruition. The 9-11 attack occurred without any US troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Prior to that was the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn. From that time, 1993, to Camp David 2000, terrorism in Israel was substantially on the increase.

The grievances of al-Queda and other terror organizations are continuous. They cannot be negotiated with and can only be contained by addressing the countries that provide them safe-haven, funding, arms, and training.

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January 27th, 2010, 2:40 pm

 

23. Ghat Albird said:

AKBAR PALACE said:

Professor Saleem Ali,

“If you ever want the title, “Co-Director of Peace Studies”, let me know. I know a professor who may not mind handing this title to you for safe-keeping

Professor Saleem Ali,

“if you ever need the title, “Director of Taurine Studies” you need to look into
whose doing the real work and copy their themes.

The Painful Truth: The Haiti Disaster is Good for the Jews

As sorry as we are about the horror in Haiti, the current positive attitude to Israel – thanks to the IDF delegation – shows that the country must engage in proactive as well as reactive HASBARA.

Tamir Haas 21/1/2010, Maariv-NRG

At a time when our country is under media attack on the basis of harsh and anti-Semitic reports, and we are forced to contend with terrorists who have assumed the winning image of victims of war, one could say that the Haiti disaster is the best thing that could have happened to us.

So why are blood, destruction, poverty, hunger and orphans good for the Jewish State?

First of all because global attention has been drawn elsewhere and the international media have a more interesting story to cover.

Second, because every disaster-area needs a hero, and right now we are it. I must admit that I would not be surprised if the image aspect of setting up a hospital in Haiti, as well as the IDF rescue efforts, was given wide media coverage.

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January 27th, 2010, 3:10 pm

 

24. Alex said:

Akbar said

The 9-11 attackers were busy planning and studying how to fly commercial airliners before GWB came into office. In fact, they were planning their attack while Arafat was attending the Camp David and Taba talks. This was the closest the Arab-Israeli peace process came to fruition. The 9-11 attack occurred without any US troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Prior to that was the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn. From that time, 1993, to Camp David 2000, terrorism in Israel was substantially on the increase.

The grievances of al-Queda and other terror organizations are continuous. They cannot be negotiated with and can only be contained by addressing the countries that provide them safe-haven, funding, arms, and training.

I rarely agree with you Akbar, but this time I do. Al-Qaeda’s terror is more global, more about being able to topple secular or pro-west leaders of Saudi Arabia and about kicking US troops out of Arabia. I don’t think they are very sincere when they tie it to the suffering of the Palestinians.

But the popularity of al-Qaeda and the support it gets in the Islamic world … among regular people, is highly related to the United States’ unlimited support to Israeli violence and injustice.

I have no doubt in my mind that ending the Arab Israeli conflict is the best and most effective way to fight Al-Qaeda. Negotiating to end the conflict (like in 1999/2000) is not enough. Israel has been negotiating since 1991, but avoiding a comprehensive solution. Nothing but a comprehensive solution will lead to real peace, rather than another failed Oslo, or a unilateral Gaza withdrawal.

And frankly Akbar, Al-Qaeda’s violence is nowhere nearly as effective as Israeli violence … since the horrific 9/11, they did not succeed in killing a fraction of innocent people that the IDF killed (Lebanon and Gaza) … the images out of Gaza surely motivated a large number of frustrated and angry young men in places as far as Pakistan to move to extremism, and perhaps believe in violence.

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January 27th, 2010, 5:57 pm

 

25. Akbar Palace said:

Alex first said:

I don’t think they are very sincere when they tie it to the suffering of the Palestinians.

Then Alex added:

I have no doubt in my mind that ending the Arab Israeli conflict is the best and most effective way to fight Al-Qaeda.

Alex,

I think all Arabs and Muslims want to see peace, dignity, and statehood come to the Palestinians. I have no reason to suspect al-Queda and the fundamentalists to believe otherwise – they say so.

The problem is, al-Queda and the other scores of terror organizations are getting aide and support from state sponsors. Iran is the new bully on the block, and their focus is more destroying Israel than building a viable Palestinian state. That’s the problem.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9DG89G80&show_article=1

Al-Qaeda’s violence is nowhere nearly as effective as Israeli violence … since the horrific 9/11, they did not succeed in killing a fraction of innocent people that the IDF killed (Lebanon and Gaza)

The IDF killed innocent people because, unfortuantely, they are hostage to a “resistance movement” that felt it was necessary to disrupt Israeli life for the past 7 years by firing missiles into Israeli population centers. Again, terrorism targets civilian population centers, whereas, loss of innocent life in a just war is not a crime. If the war against Lebanon and Gaza were conducted without the preceeding missile fire, I would agree with your assessment about Israeli “crimes”.

Lastly, al-Queda and their ilk (muslim insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan including Saddam and Assad) have killed orders of magnitude more innocent muslims and Arabs. Any venom left for you to speak about this?

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January 27th, 2010, 6:56 pm

 

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