The regime is staying but can’t retake the country. Sunni needs are unmet, leading to the IS problem and a de facto Sunni pseudo-state forming. Will Syria end up partitioned between rebels & regime?
[Landis Commentary] Rami Khouri makes a convincing case for why punishing the Palestinians will only
bring Israel greater pain in the future. The Palestinians will not be clubbed into submission; rather, they will regroup and become better at killing Israelis. So long as there is not light at the end of the tunnel for Palestinians, they have little choice but to strike back in whatever manner they can, even if the pain and suffering this brings on themselves is disproportionate.
The lesson for the US, is that it cannot escape the Palestinian problem. Many analysts are telling Obama that he should stay far away from the Arab-Israeli conflict because it has no solution. Many Israelis are happy with the status quo – or at least, they don’t see an alternative that they would be happier with and is likely to bring success. It is hard to argue against those who insist that Obama should not spend precious political capital butting up against the thankless realities of the Middle East. After all, several past presidents seriously tried to stop the growth of settlements in vain. One must ask what chance Obama realistically has now that the number of settlers has reached one half million or one out of every 12 Israeli Jews. Prime Minister Begin’s old quip that he would create enough facts on the ground to make it impossible for any future Prime Minister to part with the occupied West Bank seems to have materialized.
But America’s reputation and position in the region will only suffer further the longer it closes its eyes to the injustices that it has done so much to enable and defend. Just when it seems that the US might make advances against those countries and organizations that promote resistance to America’s stated goals in the region, the Palestinian problem flairs up and public support rallies to those powers willing to stand against America. Leaders like Obama and Bush, who defend Israel’s violent behavior when they they offer no promise that the steady dispossession of the Palestinians will stop if only the people of the West Bank act peacefully. So long as Palestinians remain losers no mater which attitude they take, Arabs will cheer on their useless defiance and “martyrdom” because it seems dignified to go down with a struggle in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the Geronimo effect, something Americans are only too familiar with.
Punishing Gaza in Vain
by Rami G. Khouri
BEIRUT — God punished the arrogance and hubris of the Hebrews in the Old Testament by making them wander the wilderness for 40 years before allowing a later, more humble, generation to enter Canaan. The current generation of Israeli Jews is not as proficient at learning these 40-year lessons, it seems, to judge from Israel’s current ferocious attack on Gaza.
It was exactly 40 years ago to the day — December 28, 1968 — that Israeli commandos raided Beirut airport and destroyed 13 Lebanese civilian aircraft, in retaliation for a Palestinian attack against an Israeli airliner in Athens. Israel aimed to inflict a revenge punishment so severe that it would shock the Arabs into preventing the Palestinians from fighting Israel.
Today, 40 years and countless attacks and wars later, Israel again uses massive retaliatory and punitive force to pummel the Palestinians of Gaza into submission. Hundreds of Palestinians have died in the first 24 hours of the Israeli attack, and several thousand might die by the time the operation ends. For what purpose, one wonders?
The past 40 years offer a credible guide, if anyone in Israel or Washington cares to grasp the historical record instead of merely wallowing in a cruel world of political lies and deceptions. Israel’s use of its clear military superiority against Palestinians, Lebanese and other Arabs has consistently led to five parallel, linked, and very predictable results:
1. Israeli power has momentarily shattered Palestinian and Arab military and civilian infrastructure, only to see the bludgeoned Arabs regroup and return a few years later — with much greater technical proficiency and political will to fight back. This happened when the Palestinians, who were driven out of Jordan in 1970, eventually re-established more lethal bases in Lebanon; or when Israel destroyed Fateh’s police facilities in the West Bank and Gaza a few years ago, and soon found themselves fighting Hamas’ capabilities instead.
2. Israel’s combination of military ferocity, insincerity in peace negotiations, and continued colonization has seen “moderate” groups and peace-making partners like Fateh slowly self-destruct, to be challenged or even replaced by tougher foes. Fateh has given way to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and to militant spin-offs from within Fateh like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Hizbullah emerged in Lebanon after Israel invaded and occupied south Lebanon in 1982.
3. Israel’s insistence on militarily dominating the entire Middle East has seen it generate new enemies in lands where it once had strategic allies — like Lebanon and Iran. Israel once worked closely with some predominantly Christian groups in Lebanon, and had deep security links with the Shah of Iran. Today — the figurative 40 years later — Israel sees its most serious, even existential, threats emanating from Hizbullah in Lebanon and the radical ruling regime in Iran.
4. The massive suffering Israel inflicts on ordinary Palestinians transforms a largely docile population into a recruiting pool for militants, resistance fighters, suicide bombers, terrorists, and other warriors. After decades of Israeli policies of mass imprisonment, starvation, strangulation, colonization, assassination, assault and terror tactics against Palestinians, the Palestinians eventually react to their own dehumanization by turning around and using the same kind of cruel methods to kill Israeli soldiers and civilians.
5. Israeli policies over decades have been a major — but not the only — reason for the transformation of the wider political environment in the Arab world into a hotbed of Islamism confronting more stringent Arab police states. The Islamists who politically dominate the Arab region — whether Shiite Hizbullah, or Sunni Hamas or anything else in between — are the only Arabs since the birth of Israel in 1948 who have proved both willing and able to fight back against Zionism.
All these trends can be seen in action during the current Israeli attack against Gaza: Palestinian and Arab radicalization, Islamist responses amidst pan-Arab lassitude, the continued discrediting of President Mahmoud Abbas’ government, and regional populist agitation against Israel, its U.S. protector, and most Arab governments. None of this is new. And that is precisely why it is so significant today, as Israel’s war on Gaza paves the way for a repetition of the five trends above that have plagued Israelis and Arabs alike.
The biblical 40-year time span between Israel’s attack on Beirut airport on December 28, 1968 and its war on Gaza on December 27, 2008 is eerily relevant. It is time enough for frightened and arrogant Israelis to learn that in all these years their weapons have promoted neither quiescence among neighboring Arabs, nor security along Israel’s borders. The exact opposite has happened, and it will happen again now.
Here’s something to ponder as the next 40-year period starts ticking down: The only thing that ever did bring Israelis and Arabs genuine peace was equitable, negotiated peace accords — with Egypt and Jordan — that treated Arabs and Israel as people who must enjoy equal rights to security and stable statehood.
Rami G. Khouri is Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon.
As long as Israel can not defeat the Arabs once and for all and occupy their lands and as long as the Palestinians do not give away their rights , It is only a matter of time for Israel to be defeated , The Crusades stayed for 200 years only to leave so is Israel , It will stay for a while but as long as the Palestinians do not give their rights , they will eventually win.
Time is not on the side of Israel , Unfortunately , Today only Shai understands that.
December 29th, 2008, 9:32 pm
Good article, only it will fall on deaf ears on the Israeli side. The Israelis do not want to give up any of the spoils that their war machine has won them over the last sixty years. In a way, they have become enslaved to that machine, and to the mentality of shedding Arab blood before each and every Israeli election.
As long as they can do it at a low cost, they will continue to do it. When the facts on the ground change enough so that they cannot commit such massacres unchecked, only then will things start to change. Meanwhile, they consider the mere loss of that ability (to inflict one-sided destruction) a strategic and existional threat. They simply can’t imagine life without the numbing thought that they can wipe out everyone around them at will. That very ability to kill is precisely what defines them and gives them the (false) feeling of identity, pride, and security, it seems. It is what defines them as a people and without it, they do not see themselves to be the same people. The current operation in Gaza is a true manifestation of who these people really are, and what can be expected from them.
Peace negotiations under those circumstances is a waste of time. Every Arab and Muslim knows this very well.
December 29th, 2008, 10:29 pm
The US should take the initiative and call for immediate cease fire from both sides and the lifting of all the blockades and the starvation of the Palestinians by Israel.That is a cease fire that can last.
December 29th, 2008, 10:52 pm
The saddest thing about this is what it means for the peace process: This will further divide Abbas from Hamas and therefore make it difficult to enforce any agreement. On the Israeli side, it will further convince Israelis that concessions run the risk of emboldening these groups (i.e. Hezbollah’s “divine victory”). Many Israelis will go forward linking the rocket attacks to their pull-out from Gaza much like the Katyushas coming from southern Lebanon after 2000 have been linked to the pullout from Lebanon. All of this doesn’t bode well for any longterm settlement.
December 29th, 2008, 11:17 pm
I hope rather the opposite will happen. When this massacre is finally over, I hope Abbas will be wise enough to participate in negotiations between Israel and Hamas and, that he will demand of Israel (as precondition to a lasting ceasefire) the immediate lifting of our blockade of Gaza.
December 29th, 2008, 11:34 pm
I hope so too.
Do you think that if the U.S. calls for a ceasefire by both sides that HAMAS will stop firing Qassams and its long-range missiles at Israel? Something tells me that it would take more than a request from the US to stop HAMAS.
That makes me wonder: what does HAMAS hope to achieve by firing these rockets? They certainly won’t destroy Israel with Qassams. Often times violence is used to achieve concessions, but HAMAS has made it clear that it does not want peace with Israel. So, it makes me wonder what it is trying to achieve by launching these attacks.
December 29th, 2008, 11:40 pm
When this massacre is finally over, I hope Abbas will be wise enough to participate in negotiations between Israel and Hamas and, that he will demand of Israel (as precondition to a lasting ceasefire) the immediate lifting of our blockade of Gaza.
Do you Shai seriously think that Israel will speak with Hamas after this massacre? Or is Hamas willing to speak with Israel. If Israel speaks with Hamas after this “show” it looses completely its face because it has constantly in the past refused to talk with Hamas.
Israel is in reality in “deep shit” now. If it only bombs Gaza for a week or two Hamas will emerge as the winner, because it will not stop the rockets. If Israel goes inside Gaza it will be the Stalingrad for Israel. In street fights the military advantage Israel has on long range killing vanishes. Only by using heavy artillery and aerial bombardments in style of Fallujah Israel can avoid heavy own causalities. But after the tens of thousands of dead Palestinians the cost of that will be that there is only USA left who wants to speak with Israel. Israel will finally be a pariah among nations. Even a total destruction of Hamas leadership and buildings will not erase Hamas. It only makes political Islam’s influence bigger and it more attractive for the masses. Martyrs have enormous political influence.
Israeli politicians are now repeating in interviews that the moderate forces of Arab nations support us. Surely the regimes of those “Israel’s supporters” will fast have to take an uncompromising attitude towards Israel or their necks are in danger.
Shai the problem is that soon there are no moderates left on the Arab side. The Palestinian “moderates” (capo Abbas and his merry fellows) have nothing to show that the negotiation strategy leads to results. The “extremist” can sow results at least in pissing off the Jewish nation and forcing Israel in a stream of political miscalculations and a more brutal occupation which in the end will lead to the end the occupation.
December 30th, 2008, 12:50 am
That is my son’s name,
What Hamas wants is a real cease fire and peace , one that will lift the blockade , open the border let them control their lives , their airspace and their shore line like any other dignified people and feed their people without Israel attacking them every other day from the air and killing Hamas members,
Hamas is sending the Rockets to force Israel into a real cease fire and to lift the blocked that is starving the Palestinians ,
And Yes Hamas will abide by the cease fire if guaranteed by the US with lifting the sanctions and the blockade and stopping the frequent incursions and the killing of the Palestinians.
Israel will not accept that as Hamas will prove that it can take care of their people better than the corrupt Abbas and the Palestinian authority ,
If Israel treats the Palestinians like human being and let them control their lives , then and only then they can hold Hamas for any violation of the cease fire .
the mistake that Israel made by going out of south Lebanon and Gaza is not the deed itself but the lack of coordination with Syria in the case of south Lebanon and with Hamas in the case of Gaza ,
Israel can not do anything unilaterally it has to coordinate with the other concerned parties , until then they will not live in peace.
December 30th, 2008, 1:08 am
Please read to all concerned,
The Huffington PostDecember 29, 2008
Mustafa BarghouthiSecretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative
Posted December 29, 2008 | 12:06 PM (EST)
Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
This is a guest post written by Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative. These comments and views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Huffington Post. Barghouti is a former secular candidate for President of Palestine and has been a strong advocate of non-violent responses to Israeli occupation. Barghouti is thought by many to be a leading contender in the next Palestinian presidential election. Perspectives have also been solicited from various national leaders and incumbent Knesset leaders in Israel.
Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
The Israeli campaign of ‘death from above’ began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words.
The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the War of 1967 is far from over following on Israel’s promised that this is ‘only the beginning’ of their campaign of state terror. At least 290 people have been murdered thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, previous victims succumb to their wounds and new casualties are created by the minute.
What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.
Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.
1. Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.
While Israel has indeed removed the settlements from the tiny coastal Strip, they have in no way ended the occupation. They remained in control of the borders, the airspace and the waterways of Gaza, and have carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since the disengagement.
Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip. For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications. This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe which has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.
2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.
Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank. In the last two months, the ceasefire broke down with Israelis killing several Palestinians and resulting in the response of Hamas. In other words, Hamas has not carried out an unprovoked attack throughout the period of the cease-fire.
Israel, however, did not live up to any of its obligations of ending the siege and allowing vital humanitarian aid to resume in Gaza. Rather than the average of 450 trucks per day being allowed across the border, on the best days, only eighty have been allowed in – with the border remaining hermetically sealed 70% of the time. Throughout the supposed ‘cease-fire’ Gazans have been forced to live like animals, with a total of 262 dying due to the inaccessibility of proper medical care.
Now after hundreds dead and counting, it is Israel who refuses to re-enter talks over a cease-fire. They are not intent on securing peace as they claim; it is more and more clear that they are seeking regime change – whatever the cost.
3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with ‘peaceful Palestinians’.
Before the on-going massacre in the Gaza Strip, and throughout the entirety of the Annapolis Peace Process, Israel has continued and even intensified its occupation of the West Bank. In 2008, settlement expansion increased by a factor of 38, a further 4,950 Palestinians were arrested – mostly from the West Bank, and checkpoints rose from 521 to 699.
Furthermore, since the onset of the peace talks, Israel has killed 546 Palestinians, among them 76 children. These gruesome statistics are set to rise dramatically now, but previous Israeli transgressions should not be forgotten amidst this most recent horror.
Only this morning, Israel shot and killed a young peaceful protester in the West Bank village of Nihlin, and has injured dozens more over the last few hours. It is certain that they will continue to employ deadly force at non-violent demonstrations and we expect a sizable body count in the West Bank as a result. If Israel is in fact pursuing peace with ‘good Palestinians’, who are they talking about?
4. Israel is acting in self-defense.
It is difficult to claim self defense in a confrontation which they themselves have sparked, but they are doing it anyway. Self-defense is reactionary, while the actions of Israel over the last two days have been clearly premeditated. Not only did the Israeli press widely report the ongoing public relations campaign being undertaken by Israel to prepare Israeli and international public opinion for the attack, but Israel has also reportedly tried to convince the Palestinians that an attack was not coming by briefly opening crossings and reporting future meetings on the topic. They did so to insure that casualties would be maximized and that the citizens of Gaza would be unprepared for their impending slaughter.
It is also misleading to claim self-defense in a conflict with such an overwhelming asymmetry of power. Israel is the largest military force in the region, and the fifth largest in the world. Furthermore, they are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States. In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its super power ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death.
5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.
Even while image after image of dead and mutilated women and children flash across our televisions, Israel brazenly claims that their munitions expertly struck only military installations. We know this to be false as many other civilian sites have been hit by airstrikes including a hospital and mosque.
In the most densely populated area on the planet, tons upon tons of explosives have been dropped. The first estimates of injured are in the thousands. Israel will claim that these are merely ‘collateral damage’ or accidental deaths. The sheer ridiculousness and inhumanity of such a claim should sicken the world community.
6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.
First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying public ally, is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas – whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and grieving.
The targets of the strike, police and not Hamas militants, give us some clue as to Israel’s mistaken intention. They are hoping to create anarchy in the Strip by removing the pillar of law and order.
7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.
Let us be clear and unequivocal. The occupation of Palestine since the War of 1967 has been and remains the root of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Violence can be ended with the occupation and the granting of Palestine’s national and human rights. Hamas does not control the West Bank and yet we remain occupied, our rights violated and our children killed.
With these myths understood, let us ponder the real reasons behind these airstrikes; what we find may be even more disgusting than the act itself.
The leaders Israel are holding press conferences, dressed in black, with sleeves rolled up.
‘It’s time to fight’, they say, ‘but it won’t be easy.’
To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barak did not even wear make-up to the press conference, and Barak has ended his presidential campaign to focus on the Gaza campaign. What heroes…what leaders…
We all know the truth: the suspension of the electioneering is exactly that – electioneering.
Like John McCain’s suspension of his presidential campaign to return to Washington to ‘deal with’ the financial crisis, this act is little more than a publicity stunt.
The candidates have to appear ‘tough enough to lead’, and there is seemingly no better way of doing that than bathing in Palestinian blood.
‘Look at me,’ Livni says in her black suit and unkempt hair, ‘I am a warrior. I am strong enough to pull the trigger. Don’t you feel more confident about voting for me, now that you know I am as ruthless as Bibi Netanyahu?’
I do not know which is more disturbing, her and Barak, or the constituency they are trying to please.
In the end, this will in no way improve the security of the average Israeli; in fact it can be expected to get much worse in the coming days as the massacre could presumably provoke a new generation of suicide bombers.
It will not undermine Hamas either, and it will not result in the three fools, Barak, Livni and Olmert, looking ‘tough’. Their misguided political venture will likely blow up in their faces as did the brutally similar 2006 invasion of Lebanon.
In closing, there is another reason – beyond the internal politics of Israel – why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.
Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.
‘The evil only exists because the good remain silent’
From Occupied Palestine. . .
— Dr. Mustafa Baghouthi
December 30th, 2008, 1:53 am
‘Virginity Pledges’ Are Ineffective!!!
Thank you Norman for that information!
December 30th, 2008, 1:58 am
Simo, Joe M, Shai, All…
The Israeli ambassador to the UN said (according to YNet) that the operation will continue until “Hamas collapses”. The three stooges are still vague about this. Let’s hope the ambassador doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
December 30th, 2008, 2:21 am
Just for you for being so interested,
December 30th, 2008, 2:37 am
December 30th, 2008, 3:19 am
“Israeli politicians are now repeating in interviews that the moderate forces of Arab nations support us…. Shai the problem is that soon there are no moderates left on the Arab side.”
I couldn’t agree with you more. I wish my government could one day understand this simple consequence of our disproportionate and idiotic operations.
We don’t need to hope the ambassador doesn’t know what she’s talking about – she doesn’t. I hope Tzipi Livni, now co-signatory to the Gaza operation, will realize quickly enough that Israel has one buffoon for a representative in the U.N. right now. I actually prefer her there at the moment, as it increases the chances the world will awaken faster from its usual comatose state when it comes to the Middle East.
What does this “ambassador” know about our region, its people, its history? She was a Rector at Ono University (a small college in Israel), and a “world renowned expert at contracts-law”. She’s good for arranging the best rental agreement with her Washington apartment’s landlord, not for conducting peaceful diplomacy. On that realm, I’m afraid, she’s good for nothing.
December 30th, 2008, 5:12 am
Thank you, Norman. Especially for that nice picture of B. Spears.
Livnis greatest success is the negotiation about the new “virtual” EU-membership from April 2009. Very impressive and very good for Israels future. [You can not use words like EU in the current election campaign…] Livni could be a very good European leader. And she is quite creative. But a leader of Israel in war-times? With all that Olmerts and Baraks? Thats not what she is born for. Her interviews always give me the impression of agony when its about Hamas, or Iran. She hates that. Can you remember [I think 2003] that she called for a dialogue with Arafat, when everybody else ignored him? She lost that style and her try to be a goooood zionist and warlord is horrible.
December 30th, 2008, 5:42 am
About moderates vs. extremists. We tend to think of extremists as such in terms of the means that they use, not necessarily the goals that they seek to achieve. Of course, it is possible to be a totally non-violent person (moderate in the means) and uncompromising in your goals. Nelson Mandela and Muhandes Gandi are fine examples of such a combination. On the Palestinian side, people like Mustafa Barghouti and Sai Nousseibeh command my admiration for their principled non-violent stance. If only the Palestinians followed their example in a principled manner, they would have been successful at exposing Israel 30 years ago. Alas, the violent lot with the $10 steel tubing fire crackers provide Israel with all the excuses it needs to pummel them and cram them into ever shrinking Bantustans.
December 30th, 2008, 5:45 am
Please stop it—talking about all Israeli officials as bumbling incompetents. Even if she was a buffoon, are you sure she’s expressing her own opinion, and not something that she overheard in the corridors of government? We’ll just have to wait and see. One thing is for sure—the operation will end before Hamas collapses because that is not doable. Still I’m sure the plans are on the table.
December 30th, 2008, 5:55 am
Your reference to firecrackers in $10 tubing being used as excuses by Israel to pummel people in Gaza reminds me of something I heard earlier today on NPR. A spokesman for HAMAS’ Haniyeh was on NPR giving his version of events and when asked about the rocket fire that was launched into Israel, he stated that Hamas didn’t fire any rockets during the ceasefire and that many of the rockets were fired by collaborators, people Israel had sent to fire the rockets so that it would have an excuse to launch this raid. He elaborated with a question, and said something like “we were not firing rockets. If we were not firing who was?” So, there you have it folks on nationwide radio Hamas says that not only was it not firing rockets at Israel during the ceasefire, but Israel was firing rockets from Gaza into its own cities… Hamas needs some better PR people. Mark Regev really prepared for his presentations, the Hamas guy was stammering in poor English and spouting conspiracy theoris.
December 30th, 2008, 6:11 am
Hamas needs some better PR people. Mark Regev really prepared for his presentations, the Hamas guy was stammering in poor English and spouting conspiracy theoris.”!!!!!!!!
Are you high on something or playing dump? I say the later without playing…
You are comparing a rich educated occupier to an uneducated man under the worst occupation of our times.
Spare me from your prejudice comments and observations…
GOD WILLING you loose more than 370 countrymen and thousands of injuries in one day then write your crap about your president telling us in his broken Arabic about some conspiracy theories…
December 30th, 2008, 8:03 am
There is no plan to destroy Hamas, because Hamas cannot be destroyed. Even Olmert, Livni, and Barak, know this. They’re not saying “destroy”, because they, unlike Prof. Shalev our dear ambassador to the UN, are not buffoons. They believe, still foolishly I think, that Hamas will be deterred from lobbing Qassam missiles in the future, when they see hundreds if not thousands of dead Palestinians. I think, exactly the opposite will happen – they’ll seek to punish us far more than before. They may invent other ways, they may go back to suicide bombers, but they will only be encouraged and strengthened by this action, not the opposite.
Even if in theory our COGS Gabi Ashkenazi, our Defense Minister Barak, and our PM Olmert, did have some secret plan to “destroy” Hamas (entailing at the very least re-conquering Gaza, and re-occupying it with a huge military presence, and civil governing bodies like we had in the West Bank), there is no way on earth Prof. Shalev would be privy to that information. I doubt more than a handful would be. What is happening now is tension-release, political maneuvering, and false hopes for successful deterrence. There is no “plan” to destroy Hamas. And Shalev has no understanding whatsoever of what could possibly happen as a result of this operation. She speaks nonsense from her Washington base, the kind no politician in Israel has even dared to utter.
December 30th, 2008, 8:28 am
There is nothing “dump” about what I wrote. Hamas’ Haniyeh sent someone to speak with the U.S. media, in this case NPR, about the ongoing violence. The person he sent not only spouted off a strange conspiracy theory, but couldn’t speak great English and didn’t do much preparation. My point is only that Hamas needs a better PR person than this, for starters one who can speak English well. He’s not very effective at delivering a positive message for HAMAS.
You are right JAD this guy was not well educated. And you’re also right that Mark Regev is well educated. This is exactly my point: in my view, he shouldn’t have been sent on the radio.
“The worst occupation of our times” If Israel left in 2005, wouldn’t it be a reach to call this the worst occupation of our times? I mean, wouldn’t “the worst occupation of our times” have to be an occupation where the occupying power actually maintained a presence. Like oh say the Turks in Turkish Kurdistan during the 80s or the Soviets in the Ukraine in the 40s and 50s or China in Tibet.
December 30th, 2008, 8:58 am
“Spare me from your prejudice comments…”
I was expecting the HAMAS representative to be just as capable as the Israeli representative. In my humble opinion, that is not indicative of prejudice, while you JAD, wrote that I shouldn’t be “comparing a rich educated occupier to an uneducated man under … occupation” implying that I shouldn’t expect a representative of a Palestinian movement to have rhetorical skills, speak English well, and know that conspiracy theories don’t play well in the U.S. media.
Well, I’ve been to the West Bank and I’m not prejudiced against Palestinians and you should know JAD that there are many Palestinians who speak English and who could deal with the U.S. media much better than the person I described above. The fact that you would imply that it is difficult to find a well educated Palestinian who could speak could English is quite frankly, offensive, and a bit prejudiced.
December 30th, 2008, 9:14 am
Yossi Verter: “Who knows, maybe even Barak’s performance in Eretz Nehederet (“A Wonderful Country”) was part of the disinformation effort. Hamas might have thought that if the Israeli minister of defense has enough spare time for making a fool out of himself, then an attack can’t be too close.”
[Ok… Hamas watching Eretz Nehederet? Hm.]
Psychology of war:
“Talk of very much to receive your goal.”
“Talk shit and act wise.”
December 30th, 2008, 1:02 pm
I think that Israel is waiting for Hizballah to make the first move! Israel will wait to finish its agression in Gaza before it will turn to Lebanon. At that time, Israel will create the excuse to hit HA.
HA is not ready to fight Israel and I doubt that it will ever fight Israel. Do you recall what Nasrallah said after the Summer 2006 war: “If I knew…”
HA does not have the support of Lebanese: Some Shiite had enough of wars, Sunni did not forget the invasion of Beirut by HA and the treatment they got from HA and its allies last May , and Druze and Christians will not open its houses and churches to Shiite anymore!
HA is now a strong militia (it is the only openly armed one) which will use its power to intimidate Lebanese and the elected government. Also, will continue to be the arm of Iran to be ready to retaliate in case Israel decided to bomb Iran.
Instead of Nasrallah asking the Egyptian Army to rise, should ask the Syrian Army to go help Hamas and liberate the Syrian occupied land (Golan Heights).
Is Syria as usual only talk?
Where are the “full-men”? Playing on his playstation?
Did Syria sell out Hamas and later Hizballah? For what? Golan Heights, Lebanon, International tribunal, financial aid, or to get out of isolation? Which one?
Where is Iran and its Shihab 1, 2 , 3, …?
December 30th, 2008, 1:13 pm
The rockets which were found in south Lebanon on timers ready to hit Israel were meant to stirr that front , It might not be Israel but i would not be surprised if done by Saudi agents ,
December 30th, 2008, 1:54 pm
This war on Gaza will raise antisemitism for years to come unless Jews around the world rise up to condemn the Israeli government ,
That is doubtful to happen.
December 30th, 2008, 2:11 pm
What the palestinians must do urgently: build a new PLO, as elected as possible, to represent both Islamist and secular Palestinians in the lands stolen in 48, the lands stolen in 67, and outside. The PA should be abolished; and the Oslo/Road Map farce officially abandoned. Then Palestinians have to decide what their aims and strategies will be.
Personally, I’ve gone off the two state solution even as an interim step. If there are to be two states, 50% of Palestine seems like the minimum to be sought. But I really do wonder if we can ever live with these people, these invaders, who think that one of them is worth 300 of us.
I hope Syria’s peace talks will not resume. Israel aims for Syrian surrender, and to dictate Syria’s foreign policy and alliances. This is completely unacceptable. All the Syrians I talk to find it unacceptable.
And the Arabs: it’s easy for me to talk big from my workstation in the UK, but it’s a fact that nothing is going to improve for the Palestinians until the more disgusting client regimes are shaken. If there were a regime like Syria’s in Egypt (surely not much to ask) Hamas would have support, as Hizbullah did. What has Mubarak’s gangster-capitalism client state done for anyone, in terms of economy, public health and education, culture, rights, or anything else?
December 30th, 2008, 3:21 pm
When you analyze the situation in the Mideast, you need to take off your biased shades and approach matters more objectively.
1. Hizballah is a resistance, not a conventional army. As such, it can only resist foreign attacks, and cannot invade enemy territory. Hizballah will be ready if and when “Israel” attacks Lebanon and will be more than capable of defending Lebanese land.
2. Hizballah still enjoys widepsread support as a resistance movement. The Sunnis that are opposed to HA are those on the Hariri/Saudi payroll, and the Druze and the Christians who will not open their doors to “Shiites” are the same ones who refused to open their doors to their fellow Lebanese citizens in 2006 because they are driven by hatred instilled in them by their sectarian chieftains.
3. HA did not mistreat anyone in May of this year. HA and the rest of the opposition merely disarmed the groups who were shooting at civilian demonstrators and collaborating against their own people. All those captured were turned over to the Lebanese Army along with their weapons. The whole thing was over in a few days and everything was back to normal with minimal casualties. However, the Hariri/Saudi media wanted to exaggerate the matter so that they can incite and mobilize their viewers against the resistance.
4. Nobody is asking Egypt to fight “Israel”. The only request made was that Egypt open the Rafah crossing so that Palestinians can receive much needed aid. Egypt, however, is participating in starving and killing Palestinians. In other words, Egypt is fighting on the side of “Israel”. Syria, on the other hand, opened its doors to Lebanese citizens when “Israel” was attacking Lebanon in 2006. Further, Syria continued to aid the Resistance in Lebanon against “Israel” and was the only Arab country to do so. It does the same in Palestine, but Gaza is not on its border for it to effectively do so. If Syria was in Egypt’s position, it would have opened the borders and refused to partake in a genocidal embargo against the Palestinian people.
December 30th, 2008, 3:33 pm
Do not let your hatred of Shiites and Syrians take you too far, and do not get too high watching Al-Arabiya and Al-Mustaqbal. The Israelis are only too happy to have people think the way you do, and trust me on this, they could not care less about you. Nasrallah did not ask for the intervention of the late Egyptian army, he just asked for the unlocking of the blockade. This is a blockade that has caused children to starve ya Ghassan.
Syria is not a superpower, yet it has never closed its doors in the faces of refugees, from Armenians in the early 20th century, to the Lebanese and Iraqis of the early 21st.
We see conflicting signals from the “moderate” side. Some are asking Nasrallah to show manhood and intervene instead of asking the Egyptian officers to talk to their president, yet when HA moved to free Lebanese prisoners, those same moderates blamed him for the Israeli madness that followed. You have to make up your mind. This type of hypocrisy is just too plain obvious.
I invite you to challenge your hate toward Syria and HA, and try, just try, to remember that Israel looks for our differences with a microscope when those differences serve her, but its killer bombs make no difference between us at all, at the end of the day.
Challenge your hatred and overcome it, and you will see things differently.
December 30th, 2008, 3:55 pm
“Syria is not a superpower, yet it has never closed its doors in the faces of refugees, from Armenians in the early 20th century, to the Lebanese and Iraqis of the early 21st.”
Your statement above is not true. There several hundred Palestinians on the Iraqi-Syrian border are not allowed into Syria.
HA, Iran and Syria talk about helping the Palestinians, but WHERE are they now? What they have done to help them?
I think that Syria have sold out Hamas and later will sell Hizballah! It dragged Hamas to a war it is not ready for. Remember 1967 and how Syria got Egypt into the war!
December 30th, 2008, 7:56 pm
I second Qunfuz’s motion…
December 30th, 2008, 9:00 pm
100,000+ Armenians in 1915-1925
Hundreds of thousands of Kurds 1960+
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967
Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese in 1976-1977
Tens of thousands of Iraqis in 1991
250,000 Lebanese in 2006
up to 1.8 million Iraqis 2003-2008
And all you chose to see were the “hundreds” of Palestinians Syria did not allow.
Why is it that the so called “democracy advocates” are so similar to Likudniks? … They kill 1600 Lebanese people when they lose two soldiers in south Lebanon, and they kill 350 Palestinians because they lost a few Israelis.
Both of you have a problem with math and logic … you seem to miss the meaning of a few additional zeros when you compare numbers.
I am one of those who would not have been alive if Syria did not save my grand parents from being savagely killed, like 1.5 million others like them were killed by one of Syria’s neighbors.
Despite all the corruption and authoritarian rule problems of today, still … THANK GOD FOR SYRIA.
December 30th, 2008, 10:31 pm
Don’t count on Syria selling out any of its allies. Syrians are quite different from Jumblat.
Please consider my invitation with a cool head, and maybe you will begin to see things differently.
December 30th, 2008, 10:54 pm
There several hundred Palestinians on the Iraqi-Syrian border are not allowed into Syria.
Of course everybody understands, including the Palestinians on the border, that they were stopped on the border for convenient political reasons. A clever move from Syria’s side. USA (Bush) had just promised the two state solution and as the occupying force USA was responsible of the people in the area of Iraq. Israel as the occupier of Palestine could also have solved the problem by letting those people to Palestine. Let’s remember the refugees are Palestinians.
So everybody, Syria, Europe and Arab countries did leave, undoubtedly with silent similes, the problem for USA to be solved. It did not.
Blame Ghassan USA for not shifting the Palestinians to live in one of Saddam’s palaces. Seems that US forces love luxury as Saddam did more than taking care of the occupied nations people.
December 31st, 2008, 1:10 am
I get real tired of this “XXX cannot be destroyed” bit. Of course it can, but it requires the sufficient and correct application of force to do so. The Union defeated the Confederacy’s will to fight not by defeating its armies but by cutting its soft underbelly, making it clear that it didn’t need to defeat armies to destroy the slave-system. The Germans will to fight was sapped by two disastrous wars, lost territory, and a forty-year division of the nation.
And before, or even as, the Confederacy and Nazism fell its propagandists were making noise about how they could “never be defeated”.
In my opinion, there is no way that Israel could be so successful at air strikes unless it had inside information from the Arabs of Gaza themselves. Many of them detest the Jewish State, but they despise Hamas as an oppressor, and have made their alliances accordingly. If these committed discontents can have the opportunity to arm and organize themselves in the wake of the Israeli offensive, what kind of chance does Hamas have of survival?
December 31st, 2008, 3:52 pm
Brig-Gen Avraham Ben-David confirms that the latest Hamas-rocket that hit BeerSheva was manufactured in China.
This man deserves my respect. He tells us the truth about the origin of the weapon[s].
December 31st, 2008, 4:31 pm
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Matthew Barber - University of Chicago
Ehsani - Syrian-American Banker
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