“Hillary is Wrong About Settlements,” Elliott Abrams & Saudi Arabia

Hillary Is Wrong About the Settlements
The U.S. and Israel reached a clear understanding about natural growth.
By ELLIOTT ABRAMS in WSJ

Despite fervent denials by Obama administration officials, there were indeed agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the growth of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. As the Obama administration has made the settlements issue a major bone of contention between Israel and the U.S., it is necessary that we review the recent history.

In the spring of 2003, U.S. officials (including me) held wide-ranging discussions with then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem. The “Roadmap for Peace” between Israel and the Palestinians had been written. President George W. Bush had endorsed Palestinian statehood, but only if the Palestinians eliminated terror. He had broken with Yasser Arafat, but Arafat still ruled in the Palestinian territories. Israel had defeated the intifada, so what was next?

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Jordan’s King Abdullah, June 4, 2003.

We asked Mr. Sharon about freezing the West Bank settlements. I recall him asking, by way of reply, what did that mean for the settlers? They live there, he said, they serve in elite army units, and they marry. Should he tell them to have no more children, or move?

We discussed some approaches: Could he agree there would be no additional settlements? New construction only inside settlements, without expanding them physically? Could he agree there would be no additional land taken for settlements?

As we talked several principles emerged. The father of the settlements now agreed that limits must be placed on the settlements; more fundamentally, the old foe of the Palestinians could — under certain conditions — now agree to Palestinian statehood.

In June 2003, Mr. Sharon stood alongside Mr. Bush, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas at Aqaba, Jordan, and endorsed Palestinian statehood publicly: “It is in Israel’s interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state.” At the end of that year he announced his intention to pull out of the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. government supported all this, but asked Mr. Sharon for two more things. First, that he remove some West Bank settlements; we wanted Israel to show that removing them was not impossible. Second, we wanted him to pull out of Gaza totally — including every single settlement and the “Philadelphi Strip” separating Gaza from Egypt, even though holding on to this strip would have prevented the smuggling of weapons to Hamas that was feared and has now come to pass. Mr. Sharon agreed on both counts.

These decisions were political dynamite, as Mr. Sharon had long predicted to us. In May 2004, his Likud Party rejected his plan in a referendum, handing him a resounding political defeat. In June, the Cabinet approved the withdrawal from Gaza, but only after Mr. Sharon fired two ministers and allowed two others to resign. His majority in the Knesset was now shaky.

After completing the Gaza withdrawal in August 2005, he called in November for a dissolution of the Knesset and for early elections. He also said he would leave Likud to form a new centrist party. The political and personal strain was very great. Four weeks later he suffered the first of two strokes that have left him in a coma.

Throughout, the Bush administration gave Mr. Sharon full support for his actions against terror and on final status issues. On April 14, 2004, Mr. Bush handed Mr. Sharon a letter saying that there would be no “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. Instead, the president said, “a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.”

On the major settlement blocs, Mr. Bush said, “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” Several previous administrations had declared all Israeli settlements beyond the “1967 borders” to be illegal. Here Mr. Bush dropped such language, referring to the 1967 borders — correctly — as merely the lines where the fighting stopped in 1949, and saying that in any realistic peace agreement Israel would be able to negotiate keeping those major settlements.

On settlements we also agreed on principles that would permit some continuing growth. Mr. Sharon stated these clearly in a major policy speech in December 2003: “Israel will meet all its obligations with regard to construction in the settlements. There will be no construction beyond the existing construction line, no expropriation of land for construction, no special economic incentives and no construction of new settlements.”

Ariel Sharon did not invent those four principles. They emerged from discussions with American officials and were discussed by Messrs. Sharon and Bush at their Aqaba meeting in June 2003.

They were not secret, either. Four days after the president’s letter, Mr. Sharon’s Chief of Staff Dov Weissglas wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that “I wish to reconfirm the following understanding, which had been reached between us: 1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria.”

Stories in the press also made it clear that there were indeed “agreed principles.” On Aug. 21, 2004 the New York Times reported that “the Bush administration . . . now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward.”

In recent weeks, American officials have denied that any agreement on settlements existed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on June 17 that “in looking at the history of the Bush administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements. That has been verified by the official record of the administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility.”

These statements are incorrect. Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them in undertaking a wrenching political reorientation — the dissolution of his government, the removal of every single Israeli citizen, settlement and military position in Gaza, and the removal of four small settlements in the West Bank. This was the first time Israel had ever removed settlements outside the context of a peace treaty, and it was a major step.

It is true that there was no U.S.-Israel “memorandum of understanding,” which is presumably what Mrs. Clinton means when she suggests that the “official record of the administration” contains none. But she would do well to consult documents like the Weissglas letter, or the notes of the Aqaba meeting, before suggesting that there was no meeting of the minds.

Mrs. Clinton also said there were no “enforceable” agreements. This is a strange phrase. How exactly would Israel enforce any agreement against an American decision to renege on it? Take it to the International Court in The Hague?

Regardless of what Mrs. Clinton has said, there was a bargained-for exchange. Mr. Sharon was determined to break the deadlock, withdraw from Gaza, remove settlements — and confront his former allies on Israel’s right by abandoning the “Greater Israel” position to endorse Palestinian statehood and limits on settlement growth. He asked for our support and got it, including the agreement that we would not demand a total settlement freeze.

For reasons that remain unclear, the Obama administration has decided to abandon the understandings about settlements reached by the previous administration with the Israeli government. We may be abandoning the deal now, but we cannot rewrite history and make believe it did not exist.

Mr. Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A15

Deconstructing the Popular Vote by Qifa Nabki

Lebanon’s parliament Thursday elected Nabih Berri as speaker for the coming four years, extending his 17-year leadership of the chamber in a vote that underlined improved ties between rival politicians….

Hariri, 39, is a frontrunner to head the new government. His decision to back Berri is seen as supportive of Lebanon’s stability and a further sign of improved ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia, whose rivalry was viewed as a major cause of the country’s crises in recent years.

Obama on the road to Damascus” by Sami Moubayed

….The Syrians like Obama, and this raises the chances of a successful Syrian-US summit. They don’t want him to fail in the Middle East, in sharp contrast to what they wanted for Bush. In late May, Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem best put it when he said, “We approve of President Obama, a lot.”…

The Syrians want Obama to pressure the Israeli Prime Minister to change course, then chair an international conference, bringing all parties to roundtable peace talks with Israel. Obama needs to prove to the Arabs that he can put the words of June 4 – mainly on Israeli settlements and rights of the Palestinians – into action…..

In Iraq, a Different Struggle for Power – Anthony Shadid in the Post argues that Maliki is emerging as a strong man, building a network of patronage and security forces similar to the regimes elsewhere in the Middle East. “Maliki’s Message on January Election Is Clear: Cooperate or Risk His Wrath.” A friend of mine in Centcom argues that Maliki cannot consolidate power as a dictator “so long as US troops are sitting on him.” What happens in the long term is not clear.

“US, Syria, Iran, Hamas” via FLC
Helena Cobban at JWN

” ….As the mullahs’ grip on power weakens, there are new opportunities to peel away some of their allies. The United States is moving quickly to normalize relations with Syria, and there’s talk of working with the Saudis to draw elements of the radical Palestinian group Hamas away from its Iranian patrons, toward a coalition government that would be prepared to negotiate with Israel. Observes a White House official: “Iran’s allies in the region have to be wondering, ‘Why should we hitch our wagon to their starship?’ ”

…It has, of course, long been a dream of some Israelis and allies of Israel that they could “flip” Syria away from its sturdy, 30-year alliance with Iran. “Peeling them away” is a less crude and possibly more nuanced version of the same idea.
Ignatius links the administration’s current overture toward Syria, and its consideration of an overture toward Hamas, centrally to its desire to take maximum advantage of the current political problems in Tehran. I would note, however, that these moves have been under active consideration in the administration since considerably before the hotly disputed June 12 election in Iran.

Relations syro-irakiennes : Augmentation de 58% du quota de l’Irak en eau de l’Euphrate
Dans le but d’aider l’Irak à surmontehttp://joshualandis.com/blog/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=3415&message=4r la sécheresse dont il souffre actuellement, la Syrie a décidé d’augmenter de 58% le quota de ce pays [dans leur partage] des eaux de l’Euphrate suite

Syria: Economy Easing
Oxford Business Group, 24 June 2009

Indicating Syria’s economy may not be as immune to the global downturn as initially thought, the IMF lowered its assessment for growth, while exogenous factors are affecting output in the vital agriculture sector, putting an extra strain on the budget.

In mid-May, the IMF revised its growth predictions for Syria, for both this year and the next. In its latest projections, the organisation said that Syria’s GDP should rise by a still very respectable 3% in 2009, higher than the regional average of 2.6%, but lower than its previous estimates of 5.2% made late last year and 3.9% in early April.

Along with more modest growth, the IMF also predicted a slight rise in national debt, from 30.8% of GDP as of the end of 2008, to 32.6% by the close of this year. The rise in debt can be attributed to a number of factors, including increased spending on imported foods to make up shortfalls, having to import oil as local reserves can no longer meet domestic demand and the state raising expenditure to fund economic stimulation.

On a more positive note, the report said that inflation should drop significantly to almost half its 2008 level of 14.5%, to 7.5%, easing the burden on the general public of any economic slowdown.

While the IMF is revisiting its initial estimates, Damascus still expects robust growth ahead. The government foresees GDP growing by 6% this year and a further fall in inflation, which according to a report issued at the end of May by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) was 5.4% in 2008.

Although the government is looking confidently forward to growth across the board, the CBS did highlight the perilous state of Syrian agriculture, with the sector recording a 22.5% decline in its contribution to GDP and the farming industry’s input dropping to just 14.7% of the national total.

Much of this dramatic fall was due to drought conditions that have blighted the sector since 2006 and look set to continue in 2009. On June 8, officials announced emergency measures were being taken in some drought-stricken regions in the north-east of the country, including the distribution of food aid in some of the worst-affected areas. It appears that, for the second year running, Syria will be forced to import wheat, with the harvest expected to fall short of the 4m tonnes required to meet domestic requirements.

Total wheat production will be about 3.2m tonnes instead of the planned yield of 4.7m tonnes, Hassan Katana, the head of the Syrian Agriculture Ministry’s Statistics and Planning Division, told Reuters in late May.

Not only does it seem likely that Syria will have to resort to the international market to bridge its wheat gap, but it may also have to dip into the state coffers to provide support to the rural community, deepening the $5.3bn deficit forecast by the government in this year’s budget.

While no longer the driving force of the Syrian economy, having been supplanted decades ago by oil production, agriculture has remained an economic pillar, both through its contribution to GDP and to employment, with some 30% of the national workforce, and another 20% indirectly dependent on the sector.

Improved trade relations may help offset the agricultural slowdown, following signs that one long-standing hurdle for the Syrian economy, the trade sanctions imposed by Washington in 2004 during the George Bush administration, may be removed in the near future. While the main topic of discussions during a visit to Damascus in mid-June by President Barack Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, was reinvigorating the stalled peace process, US-Syrian relations were also canvassed.

Though few details of the talks were made public, Mitchell said he had held what he called “substantive discussions” with President Bashar Al Assad. The envoy also said that the US was looking establish a relationship based on mutual respect and interests.

Though there is little that the Syrian government can do to reverse the effects of the drought, its continuing rapprochement with the US could see the sanctions lifted in the near future, which could serve as a spring for other sectors of the economy and further strengthen its growth rate.

The Mountebanks & The Apostates
by Fawaz A. Gerges, 06.23.2009
From the July/August 2009 issue of The National Interest.

Reza Aslan, How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror (New York: Random House, 2009), 256 pp., $26.00.

Juan Cole, Engaging the Muslim World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 288 pp., $26.95.

Emile Nakhleh, A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 184 pp., $26.95.

AMERICA’S BLOODY encounter with Islam is a failure. At heart there is an inability to understand the context and dynamics of Arab and Muslim politics; the conceptual differences and boundaries between moderate Islamists, nonviolent radical activists, local jihadists and global jihadists like al-Qaeda. For eight years, the dominant U.S. narrative blurred the lines between “Islamist,” “radical,” “militant,” “extremist,” “jihadist” and “terrorist.” The United States equated Islamists’ offensive speech with jihadists’ violent action. But there are stark differences between locally and regionally based political groups like Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah and borderless, transnational and globalized jihadist groups like al-Qaeda that have been waging war against the United States and its close allies since the mid-1990s.

Scholars of the Greater Middle East like Georgetown’s John Esposito and Michael Hudson, Harvard’s Roger Owen, Richard Norton at Boston University, Richard Bulliet and Rashid Khalidi at Columbia, along with Mohammed Ayoob of Michigan State and many others were systematically marginalized from decision making, replaced by a motley gang of irresponsible ideologues, security types and other mountebanks.

Terrorism experts and crusading commentators—including Rohan Gunaratna, best-selling author of Inside Al Qaeda; counterterrorism consultant Evan F. Kohlmann; investigative journalist Steven Emerson; academic Daniel Pipes and others—are partly to blame. Instead of adopting a more constructive approach—one that draws distinctions between the many faces of political Islam—they took the easier, reductionist approach of lumping all Islamists together. They looked backward and pigeonholed mainstream and militant Islamists through the prism of al-Qaeda. These observers, wittingly or unwittingly, endorsed the official agenda by portraying Islamism not just as jihadism, a borderless, transnational violent fringe, but also as a mortal threat to the West, an aggressive and totalitarian ideology dedicated to random destruction and global subjugation. Still others advocated an all-out war against any manifestations of political Islam.

Building on this consensus of uninformed pundits and social engineers, President Bush ratcheted up the rhetoric, grouping all mainstream and militant Islamists together under the phrase “Islamofascists.” He called on Americans to be prepared for a global war on terror, the “inescapable calling of our generation.”…….

Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists
BY: ERIC LICHTBLAU | THE NEW YORK TIMES

Saudis Tried to Pin Khobar Bombing on Iran (Via t_desco)
by Gareth Porter, June 23, 2009

Immediately after the blast, more than 125 agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were ordered to the site to sift for clues and begin the investigation of who was responsible. But when two U.S. embassy officers arrived at the scene of the devastation early the next morning, they found a bulldozer beginning to dig up the entire crime scene. (…)

U.S. intelligence then intercepted communications from the highest levels of the Saudi government, including interior minister Prince Nayef, to the governor and other officials of Eastern Province instructing them to go through the motions of cooperating with U.S. officials on their investigation but to obstruct it at every turn.

That was the beginning of what interviews with more than a dozen sources familiar with the investigation and other information now available reveal was a systematic effort by the Saudis to obstruct any U.S. investigation of the bombing and to deceive the United States about who was responsible for the bombing.

The Saudi regime steered the FBI investigation toward Iran and its Saudi Shi’ite allies with the apparent intention of keeping U.S. officials away from a trail of evidence that would have led to Osama bin Laden and a complex set of ties between the regime and the Saudi terrorist organizer. (…)
(Inter Press Service, June 23, 2009)

PART 2: Saudi Account of Khobar Bore Telltale Signs of Fraud By Gareth Porter*
(…)

Further undermining the Shi’a explosives smuggling and bomb plot story is the fact that the Saudis had secretly detained and tortured a number of veteran Sunni jihadists with ties to Osama bin Laden after the bombing.

The Sunni detainees over Khobar included Yusuf al-Uyayri, who was later revealed to have been the actual head of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. In 2003, al-Uyayri confirmed in al Qaeda’s regular publication that he had been arrested and tortured after the Khobar bombing.

A report published in mid-August 1996 by the London-based Palestinian newspaper Al Qods al-Arabi, based on sources with ties to the jihadi movement in Saudi Arabia, said that six Sunni veterans of the Afghan war had confessed to the Khobar bombing under torture. That was followed two days later by a report in the New York Times that the Saudi officials now believed that Afghan war veterans had carried out the Khobar bombing.

A few weeks later, however, the Saudi regime apparently made a firm decision to blame the bombing on the Saudi Shi’a.

According to a Norwegian specialist on the Saudi jihadi movement, Thomas Hegghammer, in 2003 – shortly before al-Uyayri was killed in a shoot-out in Riyadh in late May 2003 – an article by the al Qaeda leader in the al Qaeda periodical blamed Shi’a for the Khobar bombing.

In a paper for the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Hegghammer cites that statement as evidence that al Qaeda wasn’t involved in Khobar. But one of al-Uyayri’s main objectives at that point would have been to stay out of prison, so his endorsement of the Saudi regime’s position is hardly surprising.

Al-Uyayri had been released from prison in mid-1998, by his own account. But he was arrested again in late 2002 or early 2003, by which time the CIA had come to believe that he was a very important figure in al Qaeda, even though it didn’t know he was the leader of al Qaeda in the peninsula, according to Ron Suskind’s book “The One Percent Doctrine”. (…) IPS

Both Yusef al-Ayer and his successor, Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, would fall into the category of “martyrs who were killed by security forces of the Saudi regime in the land of the two holy mosques” (Nicholas Blanford, Killing Mr Lebanon, London, Tauris 2006, p. 141). Once again, a transcript of the statement read (?) by Ahmed Abu Adas would be most useful.

PART 5: Freeh Became “Defence Lawyer” for Saudis on Khobar
By Gareth Porter

… Highly credible evidence soon showed, however, that the Mabahith, the Saudi secret police, did indeed use torture and coercion to get detainees to tell the stories demanded by the Saudi regime – even in front of foreign observers – and that they did so to protect al Qaeda from investigation by the United States. (…)

The Saudis even coached Sampson on what to say when he was visited by Canadian embassy personnel, threatening him with further torture if he told the embassy officials the truth. When the embassy personnel came to talk with him, Sampson’s two torturers were present for the entire interview, just as they were presumably present at the questioning of the Shi’a detainees observed by the FBI team.

The other foreigners told similar stories of coerced confessions under torture. Sampson and the five foreigners were released only after a May 2003 suicide bombing by al Qaeda on a Riyadh compound housing 900 expatriates forced Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef to acknowledge al Qaeda as a terrorist threat in Saudi Arabia. (…)
IPS

Morningstar: UN Lebanon Tribunal Sets Up Secure Website For Tip
2009-06-25

A U.N. court investigating the 2005 assassination of Rafiq Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon, launched a secure Web site Thursday for people to supply information on the case. The page was specifically for people ‘who have valuable …

Travel Bans Imposed on Syrian Dissidents
2009-06-26 10:36:44.786 GMT

Syrian authorities are introducing restrictions as a form of pressure, say activists, IWPR reports. By IWPR staff in Damascus for IWPR Mazen Darwish is not exactly a political prisoner. But for more than two years, this human rights activist has …

Obama State Dept. intervenes to block Free Gaza aid voyage
By Free Gaza Team
June 25, 2009

LARNACA – This is not the statement we in the Free Gaza Movement
intended to release today. We had hoped to announce that our two ships, the Free Gaza and the Spirit of Humanity, departed from Larnaca Port on a 30-hour voyage to besieged Gaza, carrying human rights activists who have travelled to Cyprus from all across the world for this journey, 3 tons of medical supplies, and 15 tons of badly needed concrete and reconstruction supplies. […]

The American consulate in Nicosia warned us not to go to Gaza…

Comments (58)


offended said:

Mr. Sharon agreed on both counts.

I have a feeling that this neocon clown is lying to his teeth, I’d like to know what settlements did Israel remove from the west bank and where and when.

an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria.”

Wow… using such demagogic language in diplomatic correspondences. And Abrams wants people to take it seriously. How impressive.

Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them in undertaking a wrenching political reorientation

I guess this is the part where tears are supposed to be welling up in my eyes?

and confront his former allies on Israel’s right by abandoning the “Greater Israel” position to endorse Palestinian statehood and limits on settlement growth.

What a disgusting strawman; portraying Sharon like an angel who’s fighting for a Palestinian state. while it’s obvious that all he cares about is political expediency; i.e. getting rid of the Palestinian demographic bomb.

June 26th, 2009, 7:18 pm

 

Kamal said:

The myth about M8 “winning the popular vote” is getting really tiresome. Here are some points to consider.

1. As Qifa Nabki points out, the reason M8 got more votes is because the Shi’a overwhelmingly voted for Hizballah/Amal in uncontested districts, while M14 candidates won close votes in the heavily contested Christian areas

2. M14 did not attempt to compete in those districts. The smart (and ultimately successful) strategy of M14 was to focus on the contested districts. If the way to win the election is to win the popular vote, M14 would have used a different strategy

3. Since Hizballah is an armed gang, it is impossible to hold truly fair elections in Hizballah-ruled areas (that are off-limits to the Lebanese State)

4. The current system, where Shi’a voters are grouped together in massive districts, actually works in favor of the dominant party, Hezbollah. If Shi’a districts were chopped up into smaller districts, as they are in Christian areas, this would create more room for smaller Shi’a parties to emerge

5. The current electoral system was imposed by Hizballah and its allies after their murderous rampage through Beirut in May 2008

June 26th, 2009, 9:55 pm

 

Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Offended,

There were four “illegal” settlements (I mean, illegal even according to Israeli law) that got evicted as part of Sharon’s disengagement plan: Kadim, Ganim, Sa-Nour and Homesh. Around the same time, there were also 9 structures in the Amona settlement that the government decided to destroy. To do that, they had to bring 10,000 policemen and border patrol guards, there were about 200 injured, some of them right wing MKs. The settlers have been returning to Sa-Nour all the time. A couple of weeks ago I saw on TV that they built new homes amidst the rubble of the old ones.

As you probably know the army is becoming more and more dominated by the settlers. If 10,000 troops were necessary to evict 9 homes you can extrapolate what would be necessary for tens of thousands of homes. It’s not going to happen. There doesn’t exist a force within Israel that can tell the settlers what to do, nor is there appetite for confrontation anyway.

Bibi and the rest of the right are now working (successfully) to gain control over the supreme court, which was the only body that somehow protected Palestinian rights. Both the Likud and Kadima new designated members of the committee for the selection of judges are settlers, as well as some of the frontrunners for the bench. There has never been a settler supreme judge, when they’ll get to the supreme court, you can expect a great escalation in expropriation and settlement activity.

June 27th, 2009, 1:20 am

 

norman said:

President bush and the US do not own the land to give or the rights of the Palestinians people to give away, only the Palestinian people have that right , Arab and Muslim countries should just support the Palestinians in their demands for their human rights.and the implementation of the united nation resolutions .

And the Western people wonder why the Muslims and Arabs hate them ,Isn’t it obvious ?

June 27th, 2009, 1:20 am

 

majid said:

Very good points as usual Norman.

That is why Arabs and Muslims should never normalize with these zionists, as I said recently, before these zionists earn a certificate of good conduct and abandon this evil ideology which may take 50 or may be 100 years or more. In the meanetime they should be treated as aliens exactly as the US treats rhe many aliens that cross its borders. They should be kept at the fringe and isolated until they either assimilate or find another place.

June 27th, 2009, 1:28 am

 

norman said:

Majid,

Thank you,

June 27th, 2009, 2:05 am

 

avi said:

As an indegenous israeli jew, descendant of the late hebrews i have one thing to say if peace means Majid to treat as like animals then we will fight to survive and to the death like animals, if peace means to treat us like brothers that we are to the arabs, and not “colonizers” like you so conviniently say as a perfect excuse to liquidate the jewish state and the jewish people and ofcoarse there liberation movement called zionism ,then peace is possible.Also as brothers and not outsiders we know also when you will be ready,as for us we wre ready in 1948 but your people prefered us liquidated.As for the story we are still waiting in 2009 for our brother to cease wanting our liquidition!We are also very patient but we are also ready for war 24h/24h.Peace will come eventually i believe but in a thousand years when arabs cease to want the extintion of the jewish peoples rights!And to live in maaleh adoumim or gilo or jerusalem is one of these rights!Its a right to cities that jews built that jews defended for eternity!

June 27th, 2009, 1:08 pm

 

avi said:

And yeah for the little story israel did not depend on the UN in 1948 it did not depend on the UN in 1967 or in 1982 or in 1996 or in 2002 or in 2006 or in 2008 or in 2009!Peace will only come when you accept the fact that you have jews as neighboors not animals or cockroaches or pigs but human jews that have never left this land as a historic fact!

June 27th, 2009, 1:12 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

To do that, they had to bring 10,000 policemen and border patrol guards, there were about 200 injured, some of them right wing MKs.

Yossi,

Every time the Israeli government has had to evict settlers, they did it. That is the only important fact one needs to know. How many policemen were used and how many people suffered cuts and bruises not very important except to provide colorful stories.

In my opinion, the tiny little settlements you described are a joke. The larger settlements are the issue. Judging from past agreements and past peace proposals, Israel isn’t going to withdraw from Gush Etzion, East Jerusalem or Ariel, and land inside Israel will be offered in return. The rest is hot air.

However, I am not convinced both parties are actually interested in moving forward on the peace process, and no one has shown me a Palestinian proposal outside of the “Arab Peace Plan” whereby Israel must move to the holy “Green Line”.

Obama and his administration know that they just can’t pressure Israel, that no matter how you package it, it takes Two to Tango.

June 27th, 2009, 1:14 pm

 

Avi said:

Akbar jews are not moving anyware anytime soon get used to it that most israelis don’t trust land for peace and trust only if you try to liquidate us the israelis we will fight to survive all the rest is preassure that most israelis are simply not scared of!even if we had no bread we will not leave our homes anywhere they may be!Our rights are not for negociation!

June 27th, 2009, 1:19 pm

 

Avi said:

So i prefer to tell you now if you think that the new policies of israel is just to colonize but actually it is allredy understood in advance that you will go to war against israel nobody is blind in israel everybody sees hamas hezbollah syria iran and everybody sees their tv’s and their children’s education so we have to taken a desicion in israel ,and the disicion is to survive!

June 27th, 2009, 1:34 pm

 

norman said:

AP,

See what happens when try to talk sense in the Mideast , you get yelled at by all sides.

June 27th, 2009, 2:46 pm

 

Avi said:

Norman ,does it make sense to want to liquidate the jewish state???Does it not make the sense that from an israeli point of view the answer is no way!we want to survive !we want to resist !!does it not make sense to want your country to survive a war that the “enemy” is waging on us!to resist an occupation which is actually what we in israel call israel!!

June 27th, 2009, 3:08 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

See what happens when try to talk sense in the Mideast , you get yelled at by all sides.

Norman,

Yes. But I’ve mostly been “yelled at” by rejectionist Arabs and Israeli Leftists. Being yelled at by Israelis is a bit new.

Avi,

As a conservative Jewish-American, believe me, I wouldn’t support a peace treaty like Oslo that is built on a deck of cards, false promises, and hope. That being said, the Arab-Israeli dispute has to be solved with each side getting a defined homeland. One for the Palestinians and one for the Jewish people.

What do you think? Do you think the Arab-Israeli dispute can be solved? How would you solve it?

June 27th, 2009, 3:19 pm

 

Avi said:

Does it not make sense for me to resist the words of majid that arabs will never talk to the “zionists”? which is another word for cockroaches in the arab world that simply does not recognize us!Does it not make sense in this situation for an average israeli like me to say ok then next time they attack we will defend ourselves and we will not cede territory to people that use these territories to liquidate Israel.Oh i forgot israel does not exist the hebrews never existed the jews don’t exist they do not have a language they do not have their foods they do not have their cultures!they simply don’t exist!

June 27th, 2009, 3:23 pm

 

Avi said:

Sorry you must be misinformed i am israeli i live in tel aviv and in tel aviv we learn also english not how to become a shahid!ana bidak salaam what did you think!

June 27th, 2009, 3:30 pm

 

jad said:

Avi:
The West Bank and Gaza is not Israel it’s an occupied land.
The Golan heights is not Israel it’s an occupied land.
Shabaa farm is not Israel it’s an occupied land.
Why don’t you stay inside the original land you stole before asking people not to resist and ask for their freedom from the only occupation on earth that is called Israel.
Why it is acceptable for you to kill, steal, destroy, and humiliate Palestinians on their own land that called PALESTINE and build couple of containers call them houses on their land and they have no right to fight back for what is belong to them? and you want to resist for something you stole, that is a rude joke. You sound too stupid to consider replying to what you wrote so I’ll end my comments with this:
Is that you and your family in this youtube? from what you wrote I bet it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhodhOiamYs

June 27th, 2009, 3:37 pm

 

Avi said:

lol so now i don’t exist i was not born or my parents were not born or tel aviv does not exist or jews have never lived in jaffo!(in arabic jaffa) which is actually the old town of tel aviv where i actaully happen to live and i was born in my parents also….but probably it is easier to talk to an american jew for i the israeli do not exist!you people are a joke but fish mushkl i do exist because i am typing on this keyboard of mine that also exists!

June 27th, 2009, 3:39 pm

 

Avi said:

We sole land really is not more like we took over land that used to try and liquidate us is not more like this land was taken in wars that were waged against us !of i forgot 1948 or 1967 or 1982 or whatever the arabs never attacked us you are perfect victims and we are the great occupiers and by the way we have never ceded occupied land to arab countries that took risks to have peace with us oh and i forgot we don’t exist!

June 27th, 2009, 3:43 pm

 

norman said:

Avi,

Cool down please , I agree with you that the Hebrew have the same right to return and live as equal to the people who never left but changed their religion to Christianity and Islam , they have the same right that i would like my children to have if they want to return to Syria one day and live as equal, It is funny that the Arabs and the Palestinians believe that you treat them as cockroaches too,

The question is how we can build a future for all people , I believe it will happen if the Palestinians recognize the right of the Hebrew to return and live there and for the Hebrew to recognize that right of the Palestinian Arabs to live as equal , I believe a two state is essential to unite the area in one country with all people living as equal with decentralization so every town will govern itself with a Mayer and a city council and revenue will be collected from real estate with central government equalizing the pot so people will not feel as second class citizens .

No body should try to liquidate anybody and Israel should talk to everybody who wants to talk even Hamas , the future of the Hebrews is for peace to be achieved that secure Israel and the future of it’s people.

And that is my take ,

Avi ,
by the way keep writing and your English will get better as did mine (( Some people disagree with me )), use also google spell check .

June 27th, 2009, 3:52 pm

 

Avi said:

Don’t you see we are also resisting or are we just foreign occupiers colnizers that will never cede the land in return for peace!yes my friends it is really easier to judge from a distance and it is much harder to judge from within the war zone that i hope you understood i actually so dearly love that i am ready to occupy foreign lands to attain this goal of ours,the existence of israel that you so dearly want to destroy!yes one day land will be ceded but for this to happen there must be a garantee from the arabs and not from usa or china or i don’t know from whom but from the arabs to israel and israel to the arabs what i am saying that peace we will make between ourselves and this will take 1000 years !!this is the reality i live in!

June 27th, 2009, 3:56 pm

 

Avi said:

Maybe jad in my stupidity i am just being honest and not a hypocrit and yes jad if israel had to take over beirut it would have done so to survive!

June 27th, 2009, 4:06 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Does it not make sense for me to resist the words of majid that arabs will never talk to the “zionists”?

Avi,

Majid is one person with a point-of-view. Nothing more, nothing less. I asked you a few simple questions. If you answer them, we can proceed with our dialogue.

June 27th, 2009, 4:14 pm

 

Avi said:

And yes jad the occupation of foreign lands is not a normal situation that is morally good!but it is better than liquidation!and yes majid is not only person he is the majority in the arab world, and they are the ones israelis have to make peace with!whether i like it or not if there was meant to peace here one day

June 27th, 2009, 4:14 pm

 

Avi said:

i hope i am clear and realistic enough for you akbar and yes i do represent the average israeli! i hope i have answered all questions also please ask for further information in the war zone

June 27th, 2009, 4:21 pm

 

Avi said:

i wonder if there are any lebanese people here at all?

June 27th, 2009, 4:39 pm

 

jad said:

“if israel had to take over beirut it would have done so to survive!”
I didn’t know that Israelis and settlers are not human, are you saying that Israelis are some kind of blood thirsty vampires to survive they have to kill, destroy and occupy other humanbeing lands?
In that case and out of your aggressive language and total ignorance you actually justify the word that Jews can’t survive without taking over the whole world..WOW where you Hitler’s example he used to justify all the terrible things he did against your own people?
How shameful!

June 27th, 2009, 4:46 pm

 

Jad said:

exactly jad you answer is totally of point what i am saying is the israeli people would do what is nessecary to survive and if hitlers regime were still here and israel of today would have existed maybe we would have beaten him roo and not because we are blood thirsty people but we are people that really want to survive and have understood that most arabs have the exact opposite in mind or maybe you do not want us to survive!

June 27th, 2009, 5:01 pm

 

Avi said:

I know one thing take any Lebanese normal young person from 17 to 40 lets say make him visit tel aviv and he will be in love with the city that’s the only thing i know!but keep the border closed and the dragging to war on israel on and on.lebanon will simply never really be lebanon and israel will never be israel!

June 27th, 2009, 6:26 pm

 

t_desco said:

Very worrying:

Hariri Tribunal

Behind the scenes, and in utmost secrecy, something is going on with the Hariri tribunal investigation. I can report to you form the most reliable sources that the Hariri tribunal has officially moved away from accusing or suspecting the Syrian regime. Quietly, in the last few months, the tribunal’s investigation, has been focusing on Lebanese pro-Syrian organizations and parties, including Hizbullah. The investigator has been requesting interviews with middle level military and political cadres of the organizations in questions. This can only mean one thing: more turmoil, tensions, conflict, mayhem, and clashes in Lebanon.
As’ad AbuKhalil

June 27th, 2009, 6:34 pm

 

Naseer Ahmad said:

Was this single-issue neo-con ever apppointed as Sec State or President?
Then he has no right to make policy or ‘understandings’ with a foreign power.
Nor is the current administartion bound by whatever..

June 27th, 2009, 6:43 pm

 

Avi said:

Every Israeli i know says that it is hezbollah (the kh’ara)that killed Harriri since day one of his death!!

June 27th, 2009, 6:53 pm

 

majid said:

“i wonder if there are any lebanese people here at all?”

From what I know Lebanon, or actually few Lebanese organizations which would represent something less than 0.01% of the Arab World, was the only Arab State to inflict a clear defeat on the zionist entity. How many criminal zionists were slain during 1983-1985 before the remnants of Sharon’s thugs ran out like dogs from South Lebanon? If I recall correctly more than 5000 found their way to their final place in lowest hell. How about Begin? Did he enjoy the spectacle? Did he get a peace deal from Lebanon? What about Sharon? Is he still in coma? Do not forget 2000 and 2006.

“Maybe jad in my stupidity i am just being honest and not a hypocrit and yes jad if israel had to take over beirut it would have done so to survive!”

So you’re ready for an encore? Be my guest? Beirut is your grave?

“I know one thing take any Lebanese normal young person from 17 to 40 lets say make him visit tel aviv and he will be in love with the city that’s the only thing i know!”

I am sure now you’re suffering from a severe case of delusion – typical reaction of a hallucinating zionist.

“And yes jad the occupation of foreign lands is not a normal situation that is morally good!but it is better than liquidation!and yes majid is not only person he is the majority in the arab world,

And I thought for a while that a zionist can never see the light. You have some hope. You are right on this one. I am a typical Arab, and 99% of the Arabs are like me. You’ll never be accepted, never in 100 years, never in 1000 years – that is if you have the lasting power to survive the next 30 years. That’s the most you got. The clock is ticking. You either assimilate or find where you really belong.

June 27th, 2009, 6:59 pm

 

offended said:

please ask for further information in the war zone

Avi

It’s worrying that you’d know too much about the war zone but not necessarily enough about the peace department (or what it takes to achieve peace).

Sad.

June 27th, 2009, 7:58 pm

 

Avi said:

Well offended,don’t be cause that’s where i live the war zone and i wish at least it could be different!And majid this time south beirut maybe your grave if you are looking for a grave and yes ofcoarse we are aready to fight for our freedom against hezbollah it is an honour; and assimilate or die well i think we have allready assimilated since we are not scared of your hezbollah!

June 27th, 2009, 9:40 pm

 

Avi said:

We will fight like lions till the people like Majid treat us like equals and not like cockroaches we will make people like Majid understand that in 30 years or in 100 years or in 1000 years israel will survive .i told we are not scared of your hezbollah or your clickclock timing actually time only plays into our hands cause the more you make war on israel the more all of us become loosers!But one thing is for sure we will never loose Israel cause we are the people of Israel and Majid you still haven’t understood that ,but like i said time is playing into our hands and hate or hezbollah or armies will not make us disappear.And i guess the same thing can be said about your people my poor friend Majid.But for you jew is just a curse or a cancer right for me it is my country so i will give you time to think how many we are and how much we want to live;so with my stupid simplicity i say you will never suceed in doing your little genocide sorry no way!

June 27th, 2009, 9:58 pm

 

Avi said:

Your hezbollah in Lebanon is so rasist that they won’t let gad el maleh in lebanon!you guys are so pathetic in hezbollah and should be sent to a psyco hospital with other nuts!Well so much for the argument hezbollah doesn’t hate jews!

June 27th, 2009, 11:01 pm

 

Nur al-Cubicle said:

Who are you going to believe, Elliott “The Sith” Abrams or Tony Judt?

June 27th, 2009, 11:05 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Avi isn’t Judaism a religion and the real Hebrew 2000 year old connection (= genetic link) for many Jews rather difficult if not impossible to prove. Is an Afro American who just converted to Judaism really one of the ancient Hebrew tribes? Why aren’t those Jews who converted to Christianity some generations ago not any more descendant of the ancient Hebrew tribes? Your Jewish national identity is in reality the religion’s traditions plus a considerable amount of own historical “propaganda”.

“The right of return” is simply based on the what your holy texts say even secular Jews find it difficult to admit. The real right of return was created by military force and ethnic cleansing. Surely some Jews lived for the whole time in the present Israel but that surely doesn’t give a well argument reason for all Jews to “return”. Equally we Christians could say that as followers of a religion founded by a Jew we are also Jews. It is only a question of creative propaganda writing and time to affirm the our population of that new “view”. Israel will be a really crowded place if “we” all return.

We Finno-ugric people once did inhabit most of European Russia. What if we Finns, Estonians and Hungarians had then written a holy text that Gods promised us much of present Russia, Ukraine and Belarus? Would it give us the “moral” right to kick out and enslave the present population (includes many Jews)?

Let us hope that the followers of Scientology, Mormon and the numerous other religious groups do not “invent” a own home country “theory”.

Well Israel is now a reality, but do Israeli Jews in reality honestly believe that they can hold that small piece of land with their present attitude and policy? You and those like can bully so much you want, but in the end numbers and resources (= real economical and political influence) count. The more violently Israel behaves the more certain a sad outcome will be. Like you the opposite side has a long memory and the more injustice is done the harder it is to forget and forgive.

We sole land really is not more like we took over land that used to try and liquidate us is not more like this land was taken in wars that were waged against us !of i forgot 1948 or 1967 or 1982 or whatever the arabs never attacked ….

It is amusing how you Israelis always do forget from your year list 1956. Why, some thing to hide?

June 27th, 2009, 11:08 pm

 

majid said:

“Your hezbollah in Lebanon is so rasist that they won’t let gad el maleh in lebanon!you guys are so pathetic in hezbollah and should be sent to a psyco hospital with other nuts!Well so much for the argument hezbollah doesn’t hate jews!”

You continue to amaze me at how much hope you still have as a deluded zionist!!!

You got that right again!!! That is two in a row!!! We, Arabs, have found that the nuts among us are the best to fight you nuts. So what you saw in Lebanon since 1983 was just an audition. The real full blown Arab nuts are yet to come. When they arrive on the scene, I advise you to run back to the forest and become a real lion, i.e. the creature which walks on four legs. Right now your fighting skills do not even match those of a dog.

June 28th, 2009, 12:06 am

 

Shai said:

Avi,

I haven’t had the “privilege” to read all your comments, but from the few I have, it is clear to me that you are one paranoid and delusional Israeli. In fact, your only real achievements here on this forum (if you have any goals, that is), are to further alienate Arabs from Israelis, and to provide plenty of “meat” for that zionist-starved commentator called “Majid”.

Do you honestly expect anyone here to believe that you want peace, when the most moderate things coming out of your mouth are:

“… i actually so dearly love that i am ready to occupy foreign lands to attain this goal of ours, the existence of israel

“if israel had to take over beirut it would have done so to survive!

“occupation of foreign lands is not a normal situation that is morally good! but it is better than liquidation!

Since it is quite obvious that your psychosis does not enable you to consider and understand another people’s suffering without feeling threatened, why don’t you go visit some Settlers-Blog, where surely you’ll feel more secure.

If all you can do is to justify all the suffering which Israel has inflicted, and continues to inflict upon millions of people without freedom or rights, on Israel’s near-liquidation state, then don’t you think your time could be better spent building underground shelters? Because who knows, maybe while you’re typing away on Syria Comment, an Iranian nuke is headed our way? Or maybe a Syrian tank, or a Jordanian infantryman? Clearly Israel’s hundreds of nukes are no match against Kuwait’s border-patrol, Saudi’s naval boats, and Hamas’s $10 Qassam rockets.

You’re right – we must be ready! Hell, if we have to, let’s bring down the whole damn house, just to make sure we “survive”. And Avi, some survival you’re offering us. I can’t think of better days living in Israel than now. The calm, the security, the optimism, the love-in-the-air. Ach… what a life! Too bad the 1.5 million starving Gazans can’t feel it. Oh well…

Avi, get a life!

June 28th, 2009, 2:24 am

 

majid said:

Wow, a littlte zionits so-called peacenik wants to show his prowess and display his nukes in order to feel typically invincible delusional zionist delivering veiled threats:

” Clearly Israel’s hundreds of nukes are no match against Kuwait’s border-patrol, Saudi’s naval boats, and Hamas’s $10 Qassam rockets”

Do not count much on your 1 cent nukes. You’ll be nuked before you get a chance to reach that button.

June 28th, 2009, 2:33 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

In Arabic, does “Majid” also mean “He who has diarrhea of the mouth”? 😉

June 28th, 2009, 2:54 am

 

majid said:

Yeah Norman, help this ignorant hypocrite who is more in need of the same advice he ‘mouths’ to others.

Typical delusional zionist with the urgent need to feel invincible.

Is there any difference between a so-called peacenik and the naive avi’s among them? They all want to feel the same feeling! It is bread and butter for them. They cannot survive without it. But they also call it a feeling of insecurity when they need to conduct a quasi-cvil discussion, in which case all mankind has to be responsible for it.

They are the greatest shame on the human race.

June 28th, 2009, 3:15 am

 

offended said:

They are the greatest shame on the human race.

Majid, you can make your point without sounding like a wee shit, you know…

June 28th, 2009, 6:24 am

 

majid said:

“Majid, you can make your point without sounding like a wee shit, you know”

Are you trying to say in an ambiguous manner that I should try to be ‘politically correct’?

If that is what I should understand from your ‘shitty’ expression, then please give me one very good reason why I should.

But remember “I am a dictator” according to one of your recent comments. So, I may choose to disregard your last comment as well as any reasons you may come up with in answering my question. Because that’s what dictators usually do, right???…. Unless your reasons turn out to be less shitty than the shitty expression of your last comment and logically compelling, in which case I may choose to carry out a discussion with you by trying to reign in my ‘dictatorial’ tendencies.

June 28th, 2009, 7:29 am

 

offended said:

huh? where did I say you’re a dictator?

and btw, I said what I said for your own benefit. want to continue your crusade, fine. please go ahead.

June 28th, 2009, 7:56 am

 

Avi said:

most jews just like my family left spain 500 years ago after the inquisition which by the way it also hurt the muslims!these jews lett south to the maghreb or north to poland and yes spaniard jews have a clear connection to hebrews, and black jews have clear connection to the queen of sheba and yes yemeni jews also have the same connection to israel this is the true connection to the hebrews so too bad for majid and his propaganda and too bad for those who clame israelis or israel don’t exist!And yes most israelis that feel now the situation is quiet and peaceful don’t forget that lots of majids live in the north and south of our country so excuse us of keeping our guard high. and yes most israelis do feel that they are actually right to defend themselves and yes jews do believe that they have a right to a country in their forfathers land and yes majid we are equals to palestinians or any arab and we have the same human rights the right to a country the right to our culture and the settler movement ???well i come from tel aviv so i guess for majid we are all settlers so in that case bring it on,kill all israelis and you will just be once again like in 1956 or in 2006 big loosers!i told you the perfect victim status of the arabs does not work on me for sure because i am israeli and i am really looking for peace the one with the garantees to our right to exist also just like the arabs and my throat is not blood thirsty but i will not let the majids kill us all!Never!

June 28th, 2009, 11:13 am

 

majid said:

“and btw, I said what I said for your own benefit”

Hmmm, I wonder how? But thanks. I am not going to say it is too presumptuous on your part.

June 28th, 2009, 1:05 pm

 

Avi said:

And shai this is how you talk to someone who wants to liquidate israel ;in life the respect you give is the respect you earn!Remember ahmadinajad and the clown that wheant Rasist rasist well majid i guess the same thing goes to half of lebanon!Stop your rasism and stop your lies on the jewish people or you shall simply get the the same respect back!you should tell nasrallah to be carefull to what he wishes you rasist fools!

June 28th, 2009, 3:10 pm

 

Avi said:

And for the people who talk about how agressive and how much ethnic cleansing israel has done or is doing!!well just maybe i have thought of the pain that the arabs have suffered but what about arab jews 60 percent of israel! and how they were treated! no 2 wrongs don’t make a right so israel has a right too exist!!and if you don’t like that or tolerate that bring it on and we will just logically defend ourselves!And we will see who looses at the end let me guess both sides!anyways i am fed up of complaining about muslim rasists so if they want to attack i stress again that we will defend ourselves just like the caged animals that we are!

June 28th, 2009, 3:27 pm

 

Shai said:

Avi, thanks for the “clarifications”.

You and Majid most certainly deserve one another. It’s shocking just how similar you are. Two faces of the same schizophrenia.

Offended,

Thanks for trying. You didn’t really expect it to work, did you?

June 28th, 2009, 5:58 pm

 

Avi said:

Shai i guess you are right but it is my instinct to react to jew haters i apologize if i went to far but it is really the reality the way i see it and the way i live it!

June 28th, 2009, 6:01 pm

 

Shai said:

Avi,

We must overcome these innate fears that are based more on myth and brainwashing (that both of us grew up on) than on reality. Since the creation of our state, fear and the “existential threat” have always been the number one excuse for everything. Half the annual budget for eduction gone? We HAD to go to war with Hezbollah and kill 1,500 Lebanese, because otherwise we would have been thrown to the sea. A 1/3 of our taxes go to developing anti-Qassam systems and futuristic tanks that’ll never fight in a 20th century battlefield? Never mind, the leaders tell us it’s the “responsible thing”, demanded by nothing else but our basic existence. Iran is an existential threat? Sure, what else could it possibly do with its first nuclear weapon (or 10), other than throw it atop Tel-Aviv apartment buildings?

If we are to ever be able to live peacefully in this region, we must put aside our natural paranoia and fear of a 2nd, 3rd, or 15th Holocaust, and look ourselves in the mirror just long enough to realize who truly IS the neighborhood bully, and who truly IS the belligerent party to the conflict. Is it the organization of a few thousand, that lobs thousands of $10 rockets as its last means of pressure and preservation of its most basic dignity, or is it the military super-power that, at the push of a button, kills thousands and maims even more? Is it the regime whose only means of reminding Israelis that if the Golan is not returned peacefully, neither will be our northern border with Lebanon, or is it the state that illegally annexed such territory, and has occupied others’ lands for over 40 years? Is it the authoritarian regime that still holds a number of political prisoners, or the democratic one that withholds the most basic of rights from over 4 million residents under its rule?

At some point, Avi, we must shed that mask of fear that has been blinding us for so long. It’s time to exhibit no less courage in self-criticism and change, than in the outward one we’ve been giving others without end. Enough blaming others, enough answers that begin with “yes but…”, enough indulging in endless self-pity. Let us finally define ourselves as neither victim, nor predator. Let us finally achieve our long deserved freedom, by first returning it to those from whom we have withheld it.

June 28th, 2009, 7:13 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

We HAD to go to war with Hezbollah and kill 1,500 Lebanese, because otherwise we would have been thrown to the sea.

Shai,

If that was a question, the answer is YES.

Not because Israel would be “thrown to the sea” (and I don’t know who made that claim), but because Israel’s North would become like Israel’s South. IOW, Hezbollah would get away with kidnapping and lobbing missles into population centers on a daily basis and Israelis would have to “get used to it”.

It is clear this type of situation is acceptable to you Shai. You’ve said so. But is isn’t acceptable to most Israelis and it wouldn’t be acceptable to any other normal nation. Both the war against Lebanon and the war against Gaza has prevented the type of daily shelling that Israel was growing accustomed to.

OTOH, judging from Avi’s posts, I don’t sense what Avi would be prepared to do for peace; perhaps he isn’t prepared to do anything.
Avi has yet to detail for us his vision of peace. Of course, the Palestinians have yet to enlighten us on their vision for peace except to stand behind the Saudi Peace Initiative. I know Israel is not going to relinquish her claims to the Old City and certain areas of the West Bank.

So right now, I would say Avi is just as intransigent as the PA.

June 29th, 2009, 2:09 am

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

“Both the war against Lebanon and the war against Gaza has prevented the type of daily shelling that Israel was growing accustomed to.”

So does that mean they were justified? I bet if we had dropped two nuclear bombs atop Beirut and Gaza, that too would have prevented things from happening. So why not do that?

I’ve never said “I accepted” daily Qassam missiles atop Sderot, or the kidnapping of Israelis soldiers by Hezbollah – please do not put words in my mouth because you happen to interpret them as such. Of course I do NOT accept any violence, by any side. But there are other alternatives to killing 1,500 Lebanese and 1,300 Gazans, don’t you think?

Look at it from the other side for a moment. Israel not only occupies their land, suppresses and suffocates their people, but every few years, we ALSO come in with our fancy F-15i’s and 122 mm artillery shells, and kill hundreds and thousands of their men, women, and children. Can we honestly try to compare the 7-8 year long effects of Qassam missiles (99.9% of which land in empty fields far outside “population centers”) to 40 year-long Occupation? Is it easier to be terrified of $10 useless rockets, than it is to detest and reject the ongoing suffering we are bringing upon the Palestinian people? Is there any comparison whatsoever between the two? Is their pain justified in ANY way whatsoever? Can you not see how it is WE who are controlling their fate, not the other way around?

Akbar, we can’t continue to say “yes, but what other nation…” We are NOT any other nation. We are a nation that is exercising an Apartheid rule over millions of people. There aren’t many other nations like this. And no one guarantees that to fight an Apartheid, the subjugated must choose non-violence. Would YOU have done so? If you were in Gaza, would you not have joined Hamas by now?

If we do not accept the situation, it doesn’t mean we can go killing people. There are alternatives. And if we can’t find them, we better find someone that can.

June 29th, 2009, 3:00 am

 

Avi said:

To what extent am i willing to put up with this???i have wanted peace ever since i was born !And ever since i was born hamas and hezbollah have been saying that they will throw me to the see!i ask nothing better than to stop attacking people!and shai your 10 dollar quassam or your kidnappings help for nothing a part from the fact that once again we defend ourselves?and apartheid…well i guess boycotting jews and teaching hatred about jews for 8 year old children is not apartheid against jews no we are the one with the power to survive so we are doing apartheid right?and peace well shai….firstly ask the arabs to accept us as human beings and to stop oppressing us, to accept our jewish nation!so that we can let our guard down just a little,so that we can move a little foward to peace!how about that for a first move for peace made by the arabs themselves, or are you all just to used to spitting on israel all day???The arabs must make the first move because they are the agressors even if they are also their own victims from their own aggression shai!All israel shai or whom ever you are are waiting for the arabs to make this move!any opposite move just shows how much the arabs reject us boycot us and want to liquidate us!this old retoric is not good for peace and it doesn’t build trust!i hope i have been clear enough for you israel will not give into to violence but if the arabs make a move and a real move to stop their madness then israel will allways make concessions for peace!just look at all the arab countris that took a risk to make peace,do you see them complaining!

June 29th, 2009, 5:36 am

 

Friend in America said:

I concur that Syria will not (probably should not) relax its ties with Iran in the short term future. The outcome is too uncertain and the speculation on how the unrest might alter negotiations with Israel is idle conjecture. It is time to take a deep breath and just wait. The situation in Iran is still at the tipping point. The outcome is not predictable at present.

June 30th, 2009, 3:12 pm

 

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