Hof in Israel; Britain and Arms

Britain is behaving responsibly by cutting arms contracts with Israel to indicate its disapproval of the brutal Gaza campaign. Even if it is a symbolic act, it is important. Had the US objected to Israel’s bombing campaign — even mildly – the Obama administration might not be dealing with Netanyahu today. pusillanimous behavior during the Gaza campaign – his approval of Israel’s onslaught – doubtlessly convinced many Israelis to vote to the right. After all, if it is so easy and cost free to kill one’s opponents rather than make concessions, why not? The US, the only country that Israel depends on, voiced no disapproval. On the contrary, Obama voiced his contentment with the bombing, when he defended Israel’s behavior, explaining that Israel had the right to defend itself and that he would do the same thing. He voiced not a word of caution or restrain. If the US faces an intransigent and right wing Israel today, it is largely its own fault. Bravo Britain; better late than never.

Uri Misgav in Yedioth Ahronoth: Via Pulse, FLC

“Frederick Hoff, President Barack Obama’s man for negotiations between Israel and Syria, began an intensive three-day visit to Israel yesterday.

It remains unknown what messages Hoff, a diplomat who specializes in resolving international conflicts, will take with him to Damascus. What is known is the outline that Hoff presented to the Israeli leadership…………

Hoff shows a rare sensitivity to the two sides’ psychological situations, including a particularly impressive in-depth analysis of the water issue and the Sea of Galilee. That element is particularly important, because at the focal point of the document is the idea of creating a “nature reserve” (or a park) that is geared first and foremost to overcome the psychological problems that have prevented the two sides from reaching an agreement to date.

It is important to understand and to bear in mind that in all the talks that have been held between Israel and Syria ever since the “deposit” that Rabin left with secretary of state Warren Christopher (including during the first Netanyahu government), the parties reached nearly complete agreement on a series of pressing issues: withdrawal and the evacuation of the settlements, security arrangements and early warning stations, demilitarizing the Golan Heights and the use of the water sources. The obstacle that stood in the way of a signed agreement was the inability of the two sides to agree on the final border that would demarcate Syrian sovereignty on the Golan Heights. The Americans’ intention to renew the talks is based on their faith in their ability to resolve that old problem.
What precisely does the “nature reserve” proposal involve?

As noted above, it is geared to provide what is mainly a psychological solution that will allow the two parties to reach an agreement and to feel that their psychological needs have been met. A variety of versions of this agreement have been circulating for the past 13 years already. Hoff mentioned it in a document ten years ago and itemized it in a detailed position paper he wrote in 2001.The ground-breaking idea is to separate sovereignty from control. In other words, not to have the line of sovereignty necessarily convey the line up until which use can be made of the area. Simply put, to reach an agreement about a certain area in the southern Golan Heights and the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee that will formally be placed under Syrian sovereignty, but in practice will be accessible to the two parties-without them having to present passports and pass through border control.

Hoff and others suggest that a variety of civilian uses can be made of those nature reserves: hiking, touring, and perhaps even academic and agricultural activity.

One of the important things about the current Hoff document is what is absent from it. The document does not specify precisely the boundaries of the nature reserve. Officials who were in touch with Hoff in previous years said that he had taken into account comments that were presented to him after the publication of his previous document in 2001, at which point he appended an explicit and precise map of the desired nature reserve. This time he has refrained from repeating that course of action. Refraining from appending a map would seem to indicate that the Americans have concluded that it would be best to leave that issue completely open to negotiation.”

Britain Cuts Some Arms Exports To Israel Over Conduct in Gaza
(By Howard Schneider, The Washington Post) JERUSALEM, July 13

Britain has revoked five licenses for arms exports to Israel after reviewing how British-provided equipment was used during Israel’s three-week war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, officials from both nations said Monday. ….It marks the only such action to date by a foreign government against Israel over the country’s incursion into Gaza in December and January. Israeli officials said the license revocation would have no effect on the country’s military and noted that 177 British arms-export licenses remain intact.

CIA’s secret program: Paramilitary teams targeting Al Qaeda
By Greg Miller
The agency had a plan after Sept. 11 for paramilitary forces to take out Al Qaeda figures overseas. Congress was never told. ….

[Was the US attack on Syria last fall that killed eight and supposedly took down a mujahidiin facilitator connected to this CIA operation? It would explain the secrecy surrounding the operation. It would also explain why the US military never showed us photos of the dead and captured facilitator who was taken away in US helicopters. Syria claimed that the US killed only innocent farmers, women and children. The US never showed us evidence of their kill. They could have put an end to accusations that they Key Stone cops and calloused ones to boot. Perhaps the reason was that the CIA did not want to bring attention to this paramilitary team that congress knew nothing about? Who knows? Secrets stoke wild theories.]

Obama meets with Jewish leaders on Israel, Iran
Associated Press – YNET
Published: 07.14.09, 07:30 / Israel News

US president seeks to allay concern of Jewish leaders regarding US’ revamped strategy on Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ‘No one could leave that meeting with any doubt about Obama’s commitment to Israel,’ says executive director of National Jewish Democratic Council

US President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders Monday that eight years of US-Israeli unison in demanding Palestinian concessions has produced no results and asked leaders to give him time to try his tactics for a Middle East peace.

Obama assured 16 Jewish leaders that the United States remained steadfast in its commitment to Israel’s security. But during a private hour-long White House meeting, the president told guests that he was asking Israel and the Palestinians alike to take concrete steps toward restarting peace talks — and that would require sacrifices from both sides.

Obama met with the leaders, who have fretted that he is being too critical of longtime ally Israel and too lenient toward Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. They privately complained that Obama delivered a speech to the Muslim world during a trip to Cairo but skipped a stop in Jerusalem.

“I think people were very direct with the president in expressing their views. … I think the president was very candid in responding,” said Alan Solow, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations…..


In the NYTimes
, here

“… Participants said some of the toughest questioning of Mr. Obama came from Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Two said that Mr. Hoenlein told the president that diplomatic progress in the Middle East has traditionally occurred when there is “no light” between the positions of the United States and Israel. But Mr. Obama pushed back, citing the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

“He said, ‘I disagree,’ ‘’ said Marla Gilson, director of the Washington action office of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization. “He said, ‘For eight years, there was no light between the United States and Israel, and nothing got accomplished.’

Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director of J Street (E-Mail)

I just left an extraordinary meeting with President Barack Obama, which he called to meet with the leadership of the American Jewish community. A dozen organizations – including J Street – were at the table.
It was made clear to the President and his team the strong support that exists among American Jews and the broader public for a strong push to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for a two-state solution, and for a regional and comprehensive approach to the peace process.

The President said such a resolution was in Israel’s interests. In the interests of the Palestinian people. And clearly in the interests of the United States.

The President expressed his gratitude, as did many of his aides, afterward for our attendance.
You should feel great. After little more than a year – and through your online advocacy and donations – J Street has arrived. We are your political voice when it comes to Israel and the Middle East – representing you in Washington and in the national political debate.

In recent days, much has been made in Jewish media of supposed concerns and reservations in the Jewish community about President Obama and his approach to the Middle East.

And today I had the opportunity to take our message of support directly to the White House – that there’s a big difference between the views expressed by a vocal minority on behalf of the Jewish community – and what that community really thinks and supports.
We’ll be in touch, Jeremy

Can Syria end the Arab cold war?
Chris Phillips, guardian, Tuesday 14 July 2009

The gradual return of international diplomats to Damascus signals a thaw in Syria’s intractable feud with Saudi Arabia.

Malcolm Kerr described the 1950s and 1960s in the Middle East as an “Arab cold war” pitting Nasser’s Egypt and allies against conservative Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Though the actors and ideologies have changed, some form of cold war in the Arab world has remained ever since, whether Cairo’s temporary exclusion after making peace with Israel in 1979, or Syrian-Saudi-Egyptian collusion with the US against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991. Its latest embodiment is well known: Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, under the patronage of Iran, face allies of the US in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

So why is Saudi, arguably the bitterest of Syria’s Arab rivals, extending a hand to end this cold conflict now? Riyadh has three priorities that promote reconciliation with Damascus….

So will these measures win over Syria and end the latest Arab cold war? Ostensibly Damascus is weak and in need of allies: Hezbollah is still reeling from electoral defeat and Iran is subdued domestically and isolated internationally. Moreover, US sanctions are starting to have an impact on the Syrian economy, and Obama’s support is crucial if the long-occupied Golan Heights are to be recovered. Surely ditching Iran and embracing the Arab moderates is the best way to ensure the dual goals of economic development and returning territory?

Yet from a position of seeming weakness Assad is proving to be increasingly shrewd in foreign relations. He has turned the Lebanese defeat to his advantage by emphasising Syria’s lack of interference – something that has won plaudits from the French president Nicolas Sarkozy among others. Similarly, a recent interview on western television has helped his British-born wife Asma present a more positive view of the country. Yet, at the same time as promoting western and Arab rapprochement, Assad has shored up the Iranian alliance by being the first leader to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election.

Contrary to American and Saudi wishful thinking, it is the Iranian alliance that has given Syria its regional importance and allowed it to confront the moderate Arab states despite military and economic weakness. ……..

Comments (32)


1. Shai said:

“After all, if it is so easy and cost free to kill one’s opponents rather than make concessions, why not?”

“If the US faces an intransigent and right wing Israel today, it is largely its own fault.”

Alright, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here (somebody has to, right?)

I believe sanctions are an important tool, and should be used in certain circumstances. However, their potential is not only to improve a situation, but as we’ve seen in certain cases (North Korea, Iran, Syria), also to force a very different reality, than one we, the International Community, were hoping for. Hence what matters no less with sanctions, is how they’re used, and WHEN they’re used.

The first quote above has been true for all Israeli governments. But never more true than for governments of the LEFT! While yours truly certainly places himself more in the liberal-camp than in the conservative one, I am also very aware of the fact that the Left in Israel has caused far worse damage to my nation, than the Right. And, from an Arab perspective, the Israeli Left has killed far more Arabs, than did the Right. These are facts, and the recent Center-Left government of Ehud Olmert did little to change them. In fact, it did a lot, to support them (Lebanon 2006, Gaza 2009).

And it is also fact, that the Israeli Right seems to have a far more pragmatic record and, if you will, a “liberal” one, than the Left. Who has forced out more Jewish settlers over the years? (Sinai, Gaza, West Bank) Who withdrew from more territory? Who gave back control to the Arabs (Palestinians, Egyptians)? As absurd as it may be, fact is in Israel it is precisely the party that swears against concessions that ends up delivering them, and the one that speaks of them endlessly, never does.

Now if I had any influence over Egyptian election results, getting either Mubarak, or the Muslim Brotherhood, and I was told the following:

a. The extremist, “fanatic” Muslim Brotherhood will continue the suffering of Israelis. It may make certain concessions. It may kill Israelis.

b. The moderate, pragmatic Mubarak regime will continue the suffering of Israelis. It is unlikely to make concessions (though it will speak of them all the time). It is quite likely to kill ten times as many Israelis as the MB would.

Who would I choose? I could choose neither, but that doesn’t help me much. Sadly, I may have to opt for the first (MB), because their record is still better than the latter’s.

And finally I get to my point. It is good that Washington did not threaten sanctions during Olmert’s reign in power, because today Tzipi Livni would be our Prime Minister, and we would have another 4 years of Lebanon/Gaza operations, ongoing Occupation, and “talks” with Abu Mazen. Not that I’m so convinced we won’t have the same with the Netanyahu government, but at least based on history, a government of the Left is probably far worse. As I have said time and again, if there IS a chance for withdrawal from the West Bank and the Golan, in today’s political reality in Israel, only Bibi can achieve it. That is our political absurdity.

A threat of sanctions NOW (or soon), may well achieve far more than 6 or 8 months ago, when the Likud had only 13 seats out of 120 in the Israeli Knesset.

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July 15th, 2009, 8:57 am

 

2. Shai said:

(Correction to my last sentence above: “… when the Likud had only 12 seats out of 120 in the Israeli Knesset.”)

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July 15th, 2009, 9:19 am

 

3. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

“…pusillanimous behavior during the Gaza campaign – his approval of Israel’s onslaught – doubtlessly convinced many Israelis to vote to the right”.

This is shameful and amateurish analysis, and it shows that the writer
of this, has no clue about the Israeli voter.
.

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July 15th, 2009, 10:58 am

 

4. Akbar Palace said:

Britain Cuts Some Arms Exports To Israel Over Conduct in Gaza

All Benjamin Netanyahu has to do is ask the British how many civilians they’ve killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Then, after the British provide an answer (which is a number much greater than the number of civilians Israel killed in Gaza), Israel can then ask the British how many missiles and mortars did the government of these civilians lob into British population centers.

Yes folks, when it comes to Israel, hypocrisy is just around the corner*.

*the Newsweek “secret manual” was not referenced in this reply.

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July 15th, 2009, 11:02 am

 

5. Shai said:

Amir,

You must admit that most Israelis were fed up with Kadima-Labor, who brought Israel neither peace nor security. And, Bibi’s famous prophetic words after losing horribly in the previous elections were: “You’ll see, soon the Qassams will be hitting Ashkelon and Ashdod…” It seems not only the average voter agreed with him (certainly in retrospect), but so did Hamas!

What I wrote earlier suggests that had sanctions, or threat of sanctions, been made during Olmert’s reign, that would have only strengthened him and his party, and there’s a good chance Bibi would have never received 27 seats.

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July 15th, 2009, 12:27 pm

 

6. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

SHAI,

What I meant is that Likud was much stronger BEFORE the Gaza operation.
In polls before the war, Likud got 37-43 seat, while Kadima was
in a downfall. One of the reasons of Barak+Olmert, from their POV
was to stop this trend of Likud going stronger, Kadima+labor weakening.

Saying that someone’s behavior convinced many Israelis to vote to the right, during or after the war, is the opposite of actually had happened.
.

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July 15th, 2009, 12:48 pm

 

7. Joshua said:

Shai, I take your point, which is that Israel’s right is better for America than Israel’s left.

First, I don’t buy this. But let’s put aside micro politics for a bit. I am talking about simple balance of power. The greater the imbalance of power, the less likely Israel is to make meaningful concessions that will satisfy the majority of Arabs, bring sustainable peace and end America’s difficulties on that front.

Kissinger, a good friend of Israel, believed this. He thought that Israel’s confidence bought by its easy win in 1967 was an enemy of peace. Consequently in 1973, he sought to restrain Israel as it rolled back Egyptian gains, crossed the Suez, and surrounded Egypt’s military. He recognized that balance of power is the friend of reconciliation.

The exceptionalism of Jews is anther frequently heard argument for abandoning the basic rules of balance of power in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Because of the holocaust, this argument goes, Israelis must be treated differently than other people. They must be able to defeat their enemies with ease in order to pacify deep seated fears built up by thousands of years of persecution. Israelis will be more inclined to abandon a “Masada Complex” and make concessions if they have overwhelming superiority of arms. This has been the argument of American policy makers as they have helped build up Israel’s military superiority and sanction all Arabs who resist Israeli expansion as terrorists.

This policy has led to continued Israeli expansion and has undermined the two state solution. It needs to be reversed no mater which party is in power in Israel.

My argument perhaps should not be whether one party of Israelis is more likely to make peace, but that both parties are more likely to negotiate in practical terms if they believe the military option is not an option or a risky option.

I don’t believe Olmert and Sharon’s party is “left.” Had the US stood firm on the illegality of settlements, etc. over the years, I believe Israel and the Palestinians would not be in the impossible position they are in today. Palestinian leadership would not be decimated and illegitimate. Israeli settlers would not be as numerous and have the political sway today that makes the Arab Peace Plan impracticable.

Playing Devil’s advocate is good. Shai, I respect your arguments and debate.

Best, Joshua

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July 15th, 2009, 1:45 pm

 

8. Shai said:

Joshua,

I agree with you that Israel is likely to make concessions only when it feels the balance of power has changed dramatically, and not in her favor. However, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. In 1977, Menachem Begin realized Israel could not sustain another 5 wars with the Arabs, certainly not with Egypt. Not that our existence was at stake (though it had always been presented that way), because apparently by that time we had already acquired nuclear capabilities. But to lose a few thousand soldiers in each war was too much even for the strongest military power in the region. So Begin, head of the Likud party, former head of the Irgun (considered terrorist-organization by some at the time), made the largest concession Israel had ever made, and has ever made since.

Though one can claim that Iran is on its way to taking over Egypt’s role in the region, it is not a nation bordering Israel, and with whom Israel has any territorial conflicts. Israel needs to make no concessions towards Iran. The other neighbors, however, still do not, and likely will not achieve a true balance of power with Israel. While “annoyed” at the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance, Israel still does not fear Syria alone as it once did. And while HA has certainly proven its ability to “more than annoy” Israel and its citizens in the North, it is still not considered a formidable rival, in the classical sense of the word. Same goes for Hamas in the South.

Going back to the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance, one can ask whether indeed the balance of power in the region is changing (it is indeed, in my mind), but more importantly what kind of effect that may have on Israel’s readiness to make concessions, and specifically towards those to whom it can make concessions. At the moment, the only party out of those four, is Syria. But with the exception of Ehud Olmert (I agree with you, Kadima was and is not really “the Left”), neither Sharon nor Bibi signalled any readiness to withdraw from the Golan, despite the changing balance of power. If his rhetoric can allude to his real outlook on things, if anything, Bibi is likely to harden against Syria, nor soften towards her. His advisers are certainly recommending doing so, while more-than-suggesting that her chief ally, Iran, will also have to be punished.

If sanctions are to work, I still claim they’re better used against a government of the Right, which is the only one capable of reversing its policies and remaining in power. If the Left begins talking of freezing settlements, the entire Right stands against it, and normally at least one of its coalition members threatens to dissolve the government. But if the Right does it, the entire Left stands behind it in support. Its government, therefore, cannot fall.

It’s a little difficult explaining to non-Israelis why Golan residents fear Bibi far more than they do Barak, but this is the reality. And, based on that rationale, Bibi can have no better supporter than me… :-) If indeed he is the only man today in Israel who can make the necessary concessions, and deliver peace, then I’m still happy the U.S. did not impose sanctions during Olmert’s reign.

Now is indeed the time for the Obama administration to begin pressuring Israel over the entire Settlements issue (also on the Golan), like they haven’t in nearly two decades.

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July 15th, 2009, 4:39 pm

 

9. Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh,

Thank you for joining into our discussion (on YOUR website) to offer us an educated, Middle East expert POV. I would like to tackle some of your points if you don’t mind (w/o the use of The Israel Project’s “secret manual” to boot):

I am talking about simple balance of power. The greater the imbalance of power, the less likely Israel is to make meaningful concessions that will satisfy the majority of Arabs, bring sustainable peace and end America’s difficulties on that front.

Professor Josh,

This a silly proposition. The US government considers Syria a “supporter of terrorism”. If that were the case, the US would increase arm sales to North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Sudan.

Kissinger, a good friend of Israel, believed this. He thought that Israel’s confidence bought by its easy win in 1967 was an enemy of peace.

You have just supported the notion that Israeli confidence (even after decisive military gains) is dangerous.

The exceptionalism of Jews is anther frequently heard argument for abandoning the basic rules of balance of power in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Because of the holocaust, this argument goes, Israelis must be treated differently than other people.

Actually I do NOT hear much about Jewish “exceptionalism”, except that Israel’s predicament manages to evoke sympathy among many worldwide (sans the ME neighborhood).

They must be able to defeat their enemies with ease in order to pacify deep seated fears built up by thousands of years of persecution.

I wouldn’t word it that way. How about “They must be able to defend themselves”? Not every Israeli battle was a ’67 “cake-walk”. Also, these “deep seated fears” have only been exacerbated by Middle Eastern depots and government-paid clerics who have threatened Israel’s existence.

Israelis will be more inclined to abandon a “Masada Complex” and make concessions if they have overwhelming superiority of arms.

Is this the “Masada Complex” which accepted the UN Partition plan in 1947? Is this the “Masada Complex” which withdrew from the Sinai, Lebanon, and Gaza? I think you put too much emphasis on a “complex” which you’ve heard about, but doesn’t actually apply. Meanwhile, Israel has not gotten any closer to “peace” with Lebanon, the Palestinians and Syria. Is it always Israel’s fault Professor Josh?

This has been the argument of American policy makers as they have helped build up Israel’s military superiority and sanction all Arabs who resist Israeli expansion as terrorists.

The argument is “Land for Peace”. Please tell the readership here what Peace Syria, Lebanon and the PA will provide and for what piece of land?

I think this is something the 4 governments need to determine on their own, and frankly, outside pressure has never helped.

This policy has led to continued Israeli expansion and has undermined the two state solution. It needs to be reversed no mater which party is in power in Israel.

How is leaving the Sinai, Lebanon, and Gaza “expansion”?

My argument perhaps should not be whether one party of Israelis is more likely to make peace, but that both parties are more likely to negotiate in practical terms if they believe the military option is not an option or a risky option.

By leaving Gaza and parts of the West Bank, Israel knows there is no military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, Israel still would prefer peace treaties and a permanent solution. I’m afraid the status quo is nothing more than the preferred option for those who are still at war with Israel.

I don’t believe Olmert and Sharon’s party is “left.”

True. The Arabs still at war with Israel will never find a “preferred Israeli government” for peace, simply because these Arab governments do not want peace with the State of Israel.

Had the US stood firm on the illegality of settlements, etc. over the years, I believe Israel and the Palestinians would not be in the impossible position they are in today.

That comment falls on its face when we turn the clock back to 1966.

And anyway, that’s what Sadat used to say about the Sinai.

Palestinian leadership would not be decimated and illegitimate.

It’s difficult blaming the Palestinians for anything, isn’t it?

Israeli settlers would not be as numerous and have the political sway today that makes the Arab Peace Plan impracticable.

Too bad for the Arabs. You know, their lack of peace overtures is half the equation.

Playing Devil’s advocate is good. Shai, I respect your arguments and debate.

I enjoy Shai’s comments and yours Professor Josh. I hope you don’t mind if I humbly disagree with you.

AP

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July 15th, 2009, 4:48 pm

 

10. Shai said:

A comment about “They must be able to defeat their enemies with ease in order to pacify deep seated fears built up by thousands of years of persecution.”

Israel’s military doctrine explains this point as follows: Since Israel is a small nation (population-wise), it cannot sustain long wars (months, years). It also cannot win by conquering any of its neighboring nations, as it simply would not be able to supply enough soldiers for the task. Since Israel is also geographically a small nation (and has a particularly vulnerable shape – long and narrow), it also cannot afford to fight battles deep within its own territory. Therefore a few conclusions are reached:

1. Israel must fight short wars (days, weeks), and cannot lose even once.

2. Israel must fight its battles on its rival’s territory, not on her own (contrary, for instance, to China’s military doctrine).

3. Since Israel cannot win any war (in the classical sense), if it wishes to still achieve a strong element of deterrence, it must punish its rival severely, and in a highly disproportionate manner. This can most recently be seen in Lebanon 2006, and Gaza 2009.

4. (A corollary of 3) Since Israel cannot impose its will upon any rival, and assuming that wars are inevitable (i.e. peace is not a realistic option), each war should have as its main goal the longest possible delay until the next war. That can only be achieved through attaining the greatest possible deterrence.

These are the main reasons, from Israel’s point of view, for defeating our rivals “with ease”. I think that from our allies’ point of view, it is a far more practical (and worrisome) issue – our nuclear capabilities. I am sure our envoys have done their job convincing various administrations over the years that Israel cannot lose even a single war. And that, if we should ever come close to losing, Israel would have no alternative but to use its ultimate weapon. Fearing the consequences of such a possibility, certainly during the Cold War, our main allies (U.S., Britain, France, Germany) likely developed their own policies of ensuring Israel always had the qualitative, but also quantitative edge over our rivals.

I don’t think any of our allies truly wished for a balance-of-power in the region. At least not between Israel and nations that were not “true friends” of the U.S. I think Kissinger recognized that Israeli arrogance was indeed our greatest enemy, and that precisely in order to bring us back to our senses, a limited war might be necessary. At that time, in 1973, wars in our region could be seen as “limited”. But in this day and age, when nations without shared borders can fight wars using thousands of missiles and, possibly, make use of various WMD’s, counting on a “limited” confrontation may be far riskier than 36 years ago. The situation is of course much more complex, now that Israel’s rivals are four very different (yet capable) adversaries.

A new war between Israel, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas could potentially destabilize the region for a very long time (Ephraim Halevy once called it “for a hundred years”…) and, therefore, I’m not sure either the U.S. or Europe is truly ready to enable a balance-of-power in the Middle East. Israel will have to be forced into peace in other ways.

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July 15th, 2009, 6:47 pm

 

11. Alex said:

in the mid seventies three things convinced Israeli prime minister Begin to give the Sinai back to Egypt:

1) It was a good deal: Taking Egypt out was enough to make sure Israel will never be attacked by its Arab neighbors… it was better than plan B: giving both Egypt and Syria their occupied lands.

Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, 2 years after the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt was signed. Peace with Egypt was sufficient to end the threat of an organized Arab attack.

2) The Carter administration was relatively neutral when mediating between Israel and Egypt. The President did indeed apply serious pressure on Prime minister Begin when he tried to not give Egypt back 100% of its occupied lands… without this pressure, Israel would have been probably trying to get out of having to give back the full Sinai … and no peace with Egypt would have been possible.

3) Israelis were not excessively confident (like they are today). They just came out of the 1973 war that at some point was not going well at all… The Soviet Union was solidly on the side of the Arabs, and the United States was not spoiling Israel as much as it is these days.

To have peace between Syria and Israel similar conditions are needed … Russia must be encouraged to arm Syria with the best defensive weapons and sign an agreement to supply Syria with anything necessary to defend itself in the case of an Israeli attack in the future … Europe and the United States will need to demonstrate more visibly their neutrality, and Syria must be strengthened economically and Syria’s influential role in the region must be obvious to the Israeli people.

If the above is too much .. then let’s go through another cycle of “let’s pretend we are talking peace” for a year or two and let’s have a war in Lebanon and Gaza after those talks fail.

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July 15th, 2009, 9:00 pm

 

12. Nour said:

If anyone is suggesting that Syria should sign a peace treaty with “Israel” on the model of the “Israeli”-Egyptian agreement, then thanks but no thanks. Syria would basically lose sovereignty over its own land and it would become a pawn in the hands of the US/”Israel”.

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July 15th, 2009, 9:04 pm

 

13. Alex said:

I am not surprised, but it is useful to hear these stories confirmed by Israeli soldiers who destroyed Gaza few months ago:

Here are the full testimonies

Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack

Troops’ testimonies disclose loose rules of engagement and use of civilians as human shields. Palestinian houses were systematically destroyed by ‘insane artillery firepower’

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Israeli troops were repeatedly encouraged by officers to prioritise their own safety over that of Palestinian civilians when they embarked on the ground invasion of Gaza in January, according to the first direct testimonies of soldiers who served in the operation.

The picture that emerges from the testimonies, which have been seen by The Independent, is one of massive fire power to cover advances and rules of engagement that were calculated to ensure, in the words attributed to one battalion commander, that “not a hair will fall of a soldier of mine. I am not willing to allow a soldier of mine to risk himself by hesitating. If you are not sure, shoot.”

The first eye-witness accounts of the war by serving Israeli reservists and conscripts describes the Israeli use of Palestinian civilians as “human shields”. They detail the killing of at least two civilians, the vandalism, looting and wholesale destruction of Palestinian houses, the use of deadly white phosphorus, bellicose religious advice from army rabbis and what another battalion commander described to his troops as “insane firepower with artillery and air force”. The reports amount to the most formidable challenge by Israelis since the Gaza war to the military’s own considered view that it conducted the operation according to international law and made “an enormous effort to focus its fire only against the terrorists whilst doing the utmost to avoid harming uninvolved civilians”.
Related articles

* Britain punishes Israel for Gaza naval bombardment

They are contained in testimonies from about 30 soldiers that were collected by Breaking the Silence, an army veterans organisation that seeks to “expose the Israeli public to the routine situations of everyday life in the occupied territories”. Although the organisation has collected hundreds of testimonies from ex-soldiers before, this is the first time that it has done so from serving soldiers so soon after the events they describe.

They tell how:

* Unprecedentedly loose rules of engagement were put in place to protect Israeli troops. One soldier said his brigade commander and other officers made it clear that “any movement must entail gunfire”. He added: “I don’t remember if the brigade commander said this or someone else. I’ m not sure. No one is supposed to be there. If you see any signs of movement at all, you shoot. These, essentially, were the rules of engagement. Shoot if you like if you are afraid or you see someone, shoot.” Another soldier said his battalion commander had said the operation was not “a limited confrontation such as in Hebron, and not to hesitate if we suspected someone nor feel bad about destruction because it is all done for the safety of our own soldiers… if we see something suspect and shoot, better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy”. One soldier said the “awareness of each soldier going in is simply… a light finger on the trigger. You see something and you’re not quite sure? You shoot”.

* Houses were systematically demolished. Despite official accounts that homes were only destroyed for strictly “operational” reasons, one reservist, a veteran of the conflict in Gaza since before 2005, said “I never knew such fire power” used by tanks and helicopters for the “constant destruction” of houses. The soldier said that some houses had been destroyed for normal operational reasons, such as because they had been booby trapped or used by militants to fire from, or had contained tunnel openings. But he said others were destroyed for the “day after” – to make a “very large” area “sterile”, to allow better “firing capacity, good visibility and control” once the operation was over. This meant, demolishing houses “not implicated in any way, whose single sin is that it is situated on a hill in the Gaza strip” .

* A civilian man between 50 and 60 who was unarmed but carrying a torch was shot dead after the unit’s commander ordered his soldiers not to fire warning shots but to hold their fire until he was 50m away. The soldier said the company commander announced over the radio after the incident: “Here’s an opener for tonight”. The soldier said that the commander was challenged over why he had not authorised deterrent fire when the man was further away: “He didn’t agree and couldn’t give a damn, and finally the guys felt that even if they could take this up with the higher echelons it wouldn’t be effective.” Another soldier said his unit commander shot dead an old man hiding with his family under the stairs of a house. While the soldier said that the killing of the man was a mistake, it had happened as the unit entered the house using live fire.

* Palestinian human shields – or “johnnies” as they were termed by soldiers on the ground – were suborned to enter surrounded houses ahead of troops, including houses known to contain armed militants. One account corroborates the story of one such human shield that was exposed in The Independent, that of Majdi Abed Rabbo in Jabalya in northern Gaza, who was ordered three times to enter a house to report on the condition of three armed Hamas militants inside.

* Military rabbis prepared troops for battle. One soldier said an army rabbi had “aimed at inspiring the men with courage, cruelty aggressiveness, expressions as ‘no pity. God protects you. Everything you do is sanctified’… there were specific scenarios discussed… but from the context it was pretty obvious he came to tell us how aggressive and determined we need to be, that we must win because this is a holy war”. Leaflets distributed at military synagogues had stated that “the Palestinians are like the Philistines of old, newcomers who do not belong in the land, aliens planted on the soil which should clearly return to us”.

* Mortars – rarely if ever used in Gaza before – were widely deployed. They included 120mm mortars of the sort that killed up to 40 civilians outside the UN el-Fakhoura school in Jabalya which was being used as a shelter, and in a nearby house. One soldier explained that while “with light arms you’ve got an 80 per cent chance of hitting the target with your first shot, with mortars it is much less”. Another said: “I finally understood. We were firing at launcher crews in open spaces. But it didn’t take much to aim at schools, hospitals and such. So I see I’m firing literally into a built-up area. I don’t know to what degree it was still inhabited because the army made considerable attempts to get people to leave. But I understand that… [tails off].”

The testimonies appear to reinforce evidence from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and journalists who visited battle zones just after the war in January that white phosphorus was used for purposes other than “marking”, “range-finding” and “smoke screening”. Those purposes included to ignite homes suspected of being booby trapped.

Houses that troops occupied were vandalised. One testimony stated: “One of the soldiers… opened the child’s bag… he took out notebooks and ripped them. One guy smashed cupboards for kicks out of boredom. There were guys arguing with the platoon commander before we left the house why he wouldn’t let them smash the picture hanging there…” A reservist soldier said that there was a “big difference between the way we treated the contents of the house and the way the regulars did. The regulars wouldn’t take care even of the most basic sanitary stuff like going to the toilet, basic hygiene. I mean you could see that they had defecated anywhere and left the stuff lying round”.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovitz, sought to challenge the motives and credibility of the report. She said “more than a dozen” military police investigations were under way into incidents that took place during Operation Cast Lead. While the IDF continued to operate according to “uncompromising ethical values”, it was ready to investigate allegations of misconduct but not on the basis of anonymous testimonies which she could not be sure were from soldiers.

The Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard said the report showed that the Gaza operation violated the “number one principle in international laws of war”: that of distinguishing between the civilian population and combatants.

Yehuda Shaul, a founder of Breaking the Silence, said the group had names and details for all the testimonies – all of which had been taped – and that anonymity was to protect the testifiers from any disciplinary or criminal proceedings. The army already knew the name of at least one, he said.

Gaza invasion: Witnesses on the front line

On military briefings ahead of the invasion

“We talked about practical matters… but the basic approach to war was very brutal, that was my impression… He said something along the lines of ‘don’t let morality become an issue. That will come up later’. He had this strange language: ‘Leave the nightmares and horrors that will come up for later, now just shoot’… The basic approach was that there were no chances taken. If you face an area that is hidden by a building, you take down the building. Questions such as ‘who lives in the building?’ are not asked.”

On problems with identifying targets for bombing

“It got to the point where we would try to report to field intelligence about a figure sticking out its head or a rocket being launched, and the girl [at field intelligence] would ask, ‘Is it near this or that house?’ We’d look at the aerial photo and say, ‘Yes, but the house is no longer there’. ‘Wait, is it facing a square?’ ‘No more square.’… Later I went in to the look-out war-room and asked how things worked, and the girl-soldiers there, the look-outs, resented the fact that they had no way to direct the planes, because all their reference points were razed… It’s highly possible that now the pilot will bomb the wrong house.”

On the rules of engagement

“[The Brigade commander] went so far as to say this was war and in war, no consideration of civilians was to be taken. You shoot anyone you see. I’m paraphrasing here, not literally quoting, but the gist of the matter was very clear.”

On the rabbinate’s role in the conflict

“The rabbi said we are actually conducting the war of ‘the sons of light’ against ‘the sons of darkness’. This is in fact a statement with highly messianic language… It turns the other side as a generality into ‘sons of darkness’ while we become ‘sons of light’. There is no differentiation which we would expect to find between civilians and others. Here is one people fighting another people, with all the messianic implications. But that’s the point: this is also religious propaganda. In other words, the army is not a revival meeting. They do not put on a uniform in order to be Judaized.”

On soldiers’ responsibility

“Anything we did there, we’d answer ourselves: there’s no other choice, but this is how we shirk our responsibility. You bring yourself to this kind of deterministic situation, a moment that I have not chosen, where I no longer have any responsibility for my own actions. Even if your choice is the right one, you must admit you chose it. You have to admit you chose to go into Gaza. As soon as you did, you’ve brought people into a moral twilight zone, you’ve forced them to handle dilemmas and part of that confrontation failed. As soon as you say ‘there is no other choice’, you’re shirking your responsibility. Then you don’t need to investigate, to look into things.”

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July 15th, 2009, 9:11 pm

 

14. Akbar Palace said:

Peace Management

To have peace between Syria and Israel similar conditions are needed … Russia must be encouraged to arm Syria with the best defensive weapons and sign an agreement to supply Syria with anything necessary to defend itself in the case of an Israeli attack in the future … Europe and the United States will need to demonstrate more visibly their neutrality, and Syria must be strengthened economically and Syria’s influential role in the region must be obvious to the Israeli people.

Alex,

You forgot to add:

- And the correct planet alignment as in “2001 A Space Odyssey”

- A leader like Anwar Sadat who has a vision of peace not only with Israel, but also with the West.

Russia must be encouraged to arm Syria with the best defensive weapons and sign an agreement to supply Syria with anything necessary to defend itself in the case of an Israeli attack

Alex,

Does Syrian paranoia come from hanging out with Jews on ME-interest websites from a prolonged period of time, or is it just the “Damascus Complex”?

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July 15th, 2009, 9:14 pm

 

15. Alex said:

Akbar,

There is no Syrian paranoia … Syria is good at estimating regional risks. For example, Syria decided few years ago to stand up to the Bush administration and all its regional allies who supported the Iraq war. No paranoia there.

And during the time Israel invaded Lebanon, there was no Syrian paranoia… check interviews by President Assad. Syria was too busy providing housing and food for over 200,000 Lebanese refugees of the Israeli invasion of 2006.

The conditions I listed, arming Syria with defensive weapons are meant to convince the Israeli people and Israel’s supporters in the United States who do not care for full withdrawal from the Golan Heights type of peace partly, because they are convinced that Israel can “teach Syria a painful lesson” anytime and therefore it should not be pushed around by Syrian negotiators who want every last inch of the Golan back.

I assure you the Syrians are not paranoid about Israel even though Israel is in practice the most aggressive country in the region (Lebanon war I, Lebanon war II, Gaza …)

And if you are concluding that Syria is paranoid because I suggested that Russia should sell Syria defensive weapons .. then let us use the same logic to make similar conclusions about Israel which is asking the United States for tens of Billions of dollars of weapons … offensive and defensive.

Nour, Syria will not sign a treaty that will take away its sovereignty … that deal won’t be signed.

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July 15th, 2009, 9:28 pm

 

16. Ghat Albird said:

Dr, Ian S. Lustick, Chair of the Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Writing for the Middle East Institute Journal made the following observations relative to the future existance of Israel in its present form in the MIddle East.

” admitting that he doesn’t know the full range of Arab attitudes, he ruthlessly explores the spiritual sickness in Israeli society, the resort to horrifying violence (wanting to turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years), the lack of faith in Zionism, and the desertion of Israel by as many as 1 million of its citizens who would prefer to live in Europe or the U.S. ”

He concludes by saying that the moment is truly desperate and the key is to reimagine Israeli existence, to reach some actual modus vivendi with the Palestinians through some real acknowledgement of Palestinian humanity and rights. He fully articulates, ” that the Israelis want nothing to do with the Arabs, though they live in the Arab world, and 500 miles east of Istanbul.

One can safely presume that as the saying goes, “what it is, is what it has always been”. Or Israel can only get the peace it wants by wars and the Palestenians (Arabs) can only get the peace they want by the same means.

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July 15th, 2009, 9:28 pm

 

17. Shai said:

Akbar,

Amazing. Not even a nanosecond of self-introspection. We’re starting to hear the truth about what went on inside Gaza, and you think the Arabs are paranoid? Was it Syrian planes that penetrated Israeli airspace recently, destroying a large building in the Eastern desert of Israel? Was it Lebanese planes that regularly cross into Israel? Was it Syrian intelligence that assassinated an Israeli Operations general in the heart of Tel-Aviv? Was it the Lebanese Army that killed 1,500 innocent Israelis 3 summers ago?

Maybe we’ve got the facts all wrong, Akbar. Please remind us.

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July 15th, 2009, 9:33 pm

 

18. Alex said:

No Shai, let me answer on behalf of Akbar:

We’ve got the facts mostly right, but we are robots .. we help Israel online by following some PR guidelines we were trained to use. We don’t need to make sense .. American readers can be easily fooled by us … the Middle East is too complex for them .. our guidelines were designed to fool American readers.

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July 15th, 2009, 9:51 pm

 

19. Akbar Palace said:

We’ve got the facts mostly right, but we are robots .. we help Israel online by following some PR guidelines we were trained to use.

Right Alex I’m a robot and you’re a normal human being.

I “help Israel online by following some PR guidelines” and you don’t.

Don’t you think a cogent, intelligent and insightful argument would better than calling some a robot or making up a PR guideline I have no use for?

American readers can be easily fooled by us … the Middle East is too complex for them .. our guidelines were designed to fool American readers.

Alex,

If you want to discuss the way overblown “secret manual”, I am prepared to do so. I find it amusing this is so important to you and Professor Josh. Yes, most American Jews have never lived in Israel, don’t speak hevbrew and aren’t quite familiar with the latest political machinations. I’m sure not all Arab-Americans are fully abreast of the issues as well.

We’re starting to hear the truth about what went on inside Gaza, and you think the Arabs are paranoid?

Shai,

Yes, I do think they are paranoid. Why wouldn’t Gazans (or Lebanese for that matter) NOT expect a massive response after thousands of rockets and mortars are fired into Israeli population centers?

And Syria? When is the last time Israel fired missiles into Syrian population centers? The safest place on Earth is a Syrian bus in Damascus.

Was it Syrian planes that penetrated Israeli airspace recently, destroying a large building in the Eastern desert of Israel?

Which was no where near any population center.

Was it Lebanese planes that regularly cross into Israel?

Was it Israeli planes that broke UNSC Resolution 1701 by bringing arms into Southern Lebanon?

Was it Syrian intelligence that assassinated an Israeli Operations general in the heart of Tel-Aviv?

Tel Aviv has seen plenty of assassinations from terrorist that Damascus aides and supports. Operations General? Are you referring to the murderer Kuntar?

Was it the Lebanese Army that killed 1,500 innocent Israelis 3 summers ago?

Shai,

How many of those “1,500 innocent Israelis” were members of Hezbollah?

I find it interesting (but not surprising) that we have an Israeli here who can’t fathom his own country protecting herself from fanatics with heavy weaponry. Oh well, we’ll (Israelis and pro-Israel American) have to agree to disagree*. Fortunately, all recent US administrations have understood Israel’s right to self-defence. Let’s see if clever Bashar can take that away from the Zionist Entity.

*no “secret manual” or “robot” was used in this response

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July 16th, 2009, 12:01 am

 

20. Akbar Palace said:

Associated Press Published: 07.15.09, 22:24 / Israel News

The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon said Wednesday ammunition which had exploded in a southern village was a “serious violation” of the UN-brokered ceasefire that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3747327,00.html

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July 16th, 2009, 12:31 am

 

21. Akbar Palace said:

Post-Zionism with a Twist

Some Israeli Arabs are more pro-Israel than Jewish Israelis:

Hoping to be a real journalist, he began working with foreign reporters covering Israel. Eventually, he produced TV documentaries and wrote for Britain’s Sunday Times and other papers. For the last eight years, he’s been the Jerusalem Post’s specialist in Arab affairs. “I am an Arab Muslim and the only place I can write honestly is in a Jewish newspaper,” he says. Other Arab journalists envy his freedom.

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/07/11/robert-fulford-a-palestinian-struggle-between-bad-guys-and-bad-guys.aspx

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July 16th, 2009, 11:24 am

 

22. Ghat Albird said:

Twisted zionism!

Some Jewish Americans like Norman Finkelstein are not only denied to enter Israel but are also victimized by certain zionist jews.

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July 16th, 2009, 3:47 pm

 

23. Akbar Palace said:

Victims & Cretins

Some Jewish Americans like Norman Finkelstein are not only denied to enter Israel but are also victimized by certain zionist jews.

Ghat Albird,

Being denied entry into a country you don’t recognize is almost as strange as the KKK member they found in south Tel Aviv running from the FBI.

I don’t know why, but Israel attracts some very weird people.

Also, you forgot to add that Norman Finkelstein was also “victimized” by DePaul University.

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July 16th, 2009, 6:46 pm

 

24. Shai said:

Akbar,

I never understood what you AIPAC-supporters mean by “recognize Israel”. Do you mean:

1. Take a pledge of allegiance?
2. Tell all your non-Jewish buddies that it’s “the greatest nation on earth”?
3. Serve in its army?
4. Support its policies no matter what?
5. Sign up for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs newsletter?

I mean, how does one “recognize” a nation? How did YOU recognize the UAE, for instance? (I remember you saying once that you’ve been to Dubai).

Isn’t the fact that a person, or an organization, or a state (even existing enemy) is willing to engage Israel or Israelis, enough of a “recognition”? And, to be honest, why do we even NEED someone’s recognition at all?

And even if someone agreed to “recognize Israel” (I still don’t know how someone actually does that), would it mean he/she loves Israel? Is no longer bent on “destroying us”? What if they change their minds the minute after? What if in reality they hate us, and they STILL recognize us?

All these things are very confusing… Clarify for us, what you mean by “recognize Israel”, please. And one goes about doing so.

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July 17th, 2009, 5:08 am

 

25. Akbar Palace said:

I never understood what you AIPAC-supporters mean by “recognize Israel”.

Shai,

That’s because you’re a self-hating Israeli.

Recognition is a pretty simple concept to understand, and over half the posters on this website do not recognize your state.

But we need you Shai, to help us understand the “typical” Israeli Zionist.

Looks like one Arab country isn’t afraid of bolstering their relations with Israel. Kudos to the Egyptian government for working with Israel against Iran…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/5842963/Israeli-warships-rehearse-for-Iran-attack-in-Red-Sea.html

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July 17th, 2009, 10:38 am

 

26. norman said:

Shai,

Abba Eb an once asked if Israel is going to survive on CNN , he answered , It is not the question if Israel is going to survive , The question is , what kind of Israel is going to survive and looking at Israel today , It is good he is dead otherwise he would have been disappointed ,

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July 17th, 2009, 12:03 pm

 

27. Avi said:

Shai while you are busy hating your country others are busy protecting it from permanent Arab aggresion!Aggression meant to destroy the nation and send us back to where we came from,but shai we came from here and we have no where to go so what’s your problem with israelis defending themselves against all this madness.What is this talk of abba eban and other great men that helped build and protect your country???are you really israeli??,

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July 17th, 2009, 3:29 pm

 

28. Shai said:

Avi,

This is a blog, not a battlefield. No one here is practicing “aggression meant to destroy Israel and send (you) back to where (you) came from…” So please calm down.

Second, I didn’t say anything about Aba Eban, Norman did. If you were a little calmer, you’d notice that.

Third, I have shocking news for you and for Akbar, if I hated my country, I wouldn’t be living in it, raising a family and two daughters in. I wouldn’t have served in the army. I would be in the U.S. right now, with some of my family, where I grew up as a child, where I was educated. It’d be extremely easy for me to live in the U.S., to work there, and to write comments on SC from the comfort of my American home. But instead, I choose to live here! So with all due respect to you and to Akbar, and to any other right-wing neocon who uses meaningless and idiotic terms like “self-hating”, don’t preach to me about my “hatred” or your presumed “patriotism”. I’ve done for my country no less than you, I assure you of that.

Lastly, you go on busying yourself with “protecting (Israel) from permanent Arab aggression”. I’ll continue doing what I believe in.

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July 17th, 2009, 5:23 pm

 

29. norman said:

Shai, Avi,

What was wrong with i said about Abba Eban , i actually liked the man,

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July 17th, 2009, 6:44 pm

 

30. Shai said:

Dear Norman,

Absolutely nothing wrong (I also liked him). Ask Avi what ticked him off… Maybe Aba Eban was a “self-hating Israeli”.

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July 17th, 2009, 6:56 pm

 

31. Akbar Palace said:

Absolutely nothing wrong (I also liked him).

Shai,

I liked him too. Unlike you, he RARELY blamed Israel for the major wars she fought, and he’s actually credited with the remark that the “Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

If you really do like Abba Eban, perhaps you could try to emulate him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abba_Eban

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July 17th, 2009, 7:31 pm

 

32. Shai said:

Akbar,

I doubt you know much about Abba Eban. While holding a position at the UN, representing the State of Israel, one is not expected to publicly blame Israel for anything. In fact, his job is to do quite the opposite.

But as soon as he got back to Israel, and from that moment on, Abba Eban was very critical of many policies (and non-policies). Amongst others, he was AGAINST the Occupation. He helped draft Resolutions 242 and 338. And he was terribly concerned about where Israel was going. He was a Mapainik (what you’d call a “Liberal Leftist”), was dovish, and certainly believed in peace far more than you, or some of your buddies in AIPAC do.

Any other words of wisdom tonight? In typical FOX-fashion, you didn’t bother to actually DEFINE what it means to “recognize a nation”, and instead responded with “Shai, That’s because you’re a self-hating Israeli. Recognition is a pretty simple concept to understand…”

So please, Akbar, if it’s “a pretty simple concept to understand”, do us the honor of defining it, will you?

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July 17th, 2009, 7:53 pm

 

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