Khalid Michal Interview by Paul McGeough

Khalid Michal Interview
By Paul McGEOUGH, exclusive 3hr meeting at his Damascus headquarters

McGeough is the author the new book – Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the rise of Hamas [New Press. 477 pp. $26.95]

Kill Khalid is the dramatic account of a botched Mossad assassination attempt in 1997 – and the improbable events that followed. Riveting drama combines with the accuracy of the investigative reporter as McGeough opens on this transformative moment in the history of Hamas, to chart the rise of the Palestinian Islamist movement against a series of bizarre miscalculations by Israel and the West.

[Landis: “I have read the book and it is excellent.”]

The Interview:

DAMASCUS: The tea-cup stops short of his lip, as Khalid Mishal pauses to consider the ironies of trench warfare in the Middle East – a lurch to the political right has anointed as Israel’s next prime minister the man who, 11 years ago, sent Mossad agents on a bizarre mission to assassinate Mishal.

It is late Wednesday evening – March 18 – and Mishal sits deep in a plump armchair, in a second-floor reception room. “Netanyahu…,” he asks, returning to his cup of tea. “Its fate, God’s destiny, but we can’t set policy on the basis of personal grudges.”

The Palestinian resistance leader, whose suicide bombers and assassins have taken their own toll on Israeli life over the years, then declares his would-be-killer to be a man of straw. “We’ve already experienced Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel, so Palestinians are not afraid of him second time round,” Mishal vouches.

“After the battle of Gaza [in December-January] and the steadfastness of our people in the face of the Zionist war machine, do you expect a single Palestinian to be scared of this man? It doesn’t matter if he tries again to kill me, because he’s already killed my people.”

At the time of the 1997 attempt on his life, Mishal was an unlikely target – a mid-level Hamas operative, based in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

These days he is the supreme leader of Hamas, hunkering in a bunker set against a scrabbly hillside in the southern suburbs of the Syrian capital, deep inside a secure enclave which is reserved for high officials of the Damascus regime, foreign diplomats and the staff of foreign NGOs.

It is an unmarked, nondescript apartment block that doubles as jihad headquarters and as Mishal’s family home, where his teenage children are just as likely to wander in, taking a seat for the most intense discussions on Hamas operations.

Festooned with swivelling security cameras, the building also is watched over by an outer ring of leather-jacketed security men who juggle firearms and walkie-talkies as they prowl the pavement.

A Hamas car collects select visitors from city hotels – only by prior arrangement. When discretion is needed, one of a fleet of heavy black Mercedes Benz sedans is wheeled out – black curtains are drawn behind the tinted glass.

When greater discretion is required, the Hamas driver jumps the car on to the pavement, easing to a halt under an outstretched awning that hangs from the perimeter wall of the Hamas HQ. The house guards, moving with practised precision, then seize the loose ends of two bunched canvas flaps suspended from the awning, and draw them quickly out to the edge of the pavement, enveloping vehicles as they arrive, before some of Mishal’s more mysterious callers dare to alight.

The arrival of an outsider is an emergency event for Mishal’s suit-and-tied inner security ring. These men frequently speak into microphones concealed in the cuff of their jacket sleeve. Their thoroughness reveals an understanding that their boss is a constant target for a determined enemy.

Beyond an airport-like, walk-through security scanner and up a set of stairs with a dog-legged turn, a heavy, double-bolted door leads into a hallway, from which a visitor is escorted through a set of big double doors into Mishal’s diwan, or meeting place.

Armchairs line the long walls and the décor is various shades of Hamas green. But upon entering, it is a wall of mostly gaunt faces that locks the attention of a visitor – arranged in a honeycomb pattern; they are 20 Hamas leaders, fighters and bomb-makers, all victims of Israel’s campaign of targeted assassination. It is a sobering achievement in life that Mishal has reached age 53 without his visage being added to this wall of death.

The Hamas leader holds forth expansively, negotiating the tripwires of the diplomatic and political minefields that he inhabits daily, with certainty and a confidence that verges on bombast, as he lectures a fast-changing world on how it should respond to his movement – not than the reverse.

This is the first interview in which Mishal, designated a terrorist by Washington and Europe, makes his first detailed response to the outcome of transformative elections in the US and Israel; the Gaza war; and the imminent return to power in Israel of his would-be assassin – Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mishal starts, on what he genuinely seems to believe is a conciliatory note. However, in the corridors of power in Washington and the other capitals of the Middle East Quartet, they likely will be heard as a challenge.

“We’re willing to open a new page with the US and Europe,” he says through an interpreter, daring President Barak Obama to chart a radical change of course in the Middle East as an acknowledgement of decades of failed US policy in the region. “He’ll continue to repeat the mistakes of those who went before him, unless there is a marked change.”

But as Mishal expanded on his ‘new page’ theme, it soon emerges that what he really means to say is that Hamas requires the US and the European Union to open a new page with the Palestinian Islamist movement.

“I don’t mean that Hamas will take a new [policy] position. I’m talking about a readiness on our part to deal with Washington and Europe. But they have to be serious about dealing with us on Palestinian rights.”

Arguing that Washington and its European allied need to abandon their policy of isolating Hamas until the movement folds to conditions set by the Middle East Quarter, Mishal lectures: “They’ve been trying the wrong way and the wrong approach.”

Then he takes apart what he sees as early signs that nothing has changed in Washington since George W. Bush departed the White House in January.

There is little value, Mishal says, in appointing the experienced Northern Irish peace-broker George Mitchell as a US envoy to the Middle East, if he is not authorised to talk to Hamas. “Would he have succeeded in Belfast if he was ordered to ignore the IRA?”

Mishal is derisory of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ready acceptance of the Bush Administrations’ insistence that Hamas accede to Quartet demands that the Islamists renounce violence, recognise the state of Israel and abide by all previous undertakings on behalf of the Palestinian people.

He belittles Clinton’s warning that international donations for the reconstruction of Gaza had to be kept out of the “wrong hands.” And he ridiculed the seeming contradiction in her invitation to Iran to attend a regional conference on the future of Afghanistan, at the same time as she shunned Hamas on the grounds that not only was it a terrorist group, but “increasingly it was a client of Iran.”

“So despite a new presidency, it’s the same attitude in Washington,” Mishal says. “We expected real change from Obama – not just talk about change.

“They refused to accept the results of the Palestinian election because Hamas won – that failed. They resorted to imposing a siege on the Gaza Strip – that failed. Then they went to war against the Palestinians – and that failed.

“Despite all this, Hamas has advanced and grown, [so] within the logic of real politick, it is Washington that must reconsider its position if they want to achieve an outcome that is not failure.

“The US and Europe have become accustomed to insisting, that the change they demand of the Arabs will be that which is demanded by Israel, [but] the Israeli vision of peace creates only war and chaos.”

The bulk of the Hamas leader’s critique is aimed at Washington’s conduct of what Mishal calls the Palestinian file. And he denies there can be any reason for concern in Hamas at the Obama Administrations dramatic departure from the other policies of its predecessor in the region – its efforts to engage Tehran and Damascus, which could expose Hamas to uncertainties about its future.

Washington is seeking a thaw in its relations with Syria. At the same time it has asked Russia to intervene with Iran, hoping Moscow middlemen might persuade the Iranian regime to back away from its nuclear program. But Syria and Iran are Hamas’ principal sponsors in the region.

Mishal concedes that these indeed are significant events unfolding around his movement. But he prefers to cast them as Obama’s admission of the errors of the Bush II era, or as he puts it, “Washington having to deal with parties that have proved themselves on the ground.”

There’s more lecturing on this theme before he will address the question – which is about the risk that Hamas might become a sacrificial small-fry in any big-picture horse-trading between Washington and Damascus and or Tehran. Mishal inches up to the issue, warning that the U.S. should not seek to “isolate certain parties at the expense of other parties.”

Finally he bites in terms of the position of Hamas. “We’re not worried,” he says. “Hamas is not a card in anyone’s hand. We play an effective role, even in times of dramatic change. Nothing is going to happen in this region until the Palestinian issue is properly addressed – and many countries in the region, including Iran and Syria, hold a principled commitment to the Palestinian cause.”

As much as Mishal criticises Washington, he also pitches a quick plea that it not accept an argument in some quarters that perhaps the U.S. should seek achievable goals elsewhere, while leaving the Palestine-Israel diplomacy to regional players – like Cairo and an increasingly assertive Istanbul. “Israel doesn’t listen to the regional players. The only party that has the power to pressure Israel and to dictate terms to it is Washington.”

Does Khalid Mishal have any regrets about the extent of the damage Israeli forces inflicted on Gaza in December-January – about 1300 Palestinians dead, thousands injured and thousands of homes and other buildings damaged and destroyed? The assault came after Hamas refused to renegotiate a truce, on the grounds that Israel had consistently violated what Hamas understood to be the terms of the six-month ceasefire.

Reminded that the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had publicly acknowledged that had he known the ferocity of the Israeli retaliation when it invaded Lebanon after the abduction of three Israeli soldiers in 2006, he would not have taken the soldiers, Mishal insists that Gaza and Hamas are different cases.

“The 2006 captures were an option, a choice for Hezbollah; so they are entitled to assess the validity of what they did in terms of the consequences for Lebanon. But for the Palestinians, Gaza wasn’t a question of choice.

“Israel was supposed to end the siege and open the border-crossings in return for a halt to the rockets – the rockets stopped, but the siege remained and the crossings stayed closed. It’s unfair to ask Palestinians if they want to die slowly under siege, or quickly under fire.”

Hamas senses a thaw in its isolation. Mishal’s visitors on the day he is interviewed, include parliamentary delegations from Greece and Italy. A few days previously, they came from the British and European parliaments.

These MPs come in a wave of publicity, challenging their governments to engage Hamas. But the trail-blazers came earlier – analysts from American and European think-tanks who decided the time had come to make discrete efforts to understand the Hamas mindset.

These are small, non-government delegations. But they are signs of different times for Hamas, of feelers being extended from corners of the world that till now have gone along with the US-led campaign to keep Hamas snap-frozen. And they are in marked contrast to the cold shoulder Israel is feeling around the world in the aftermath of its ferocious assault on Gaza, a chill that is billed in Israel as the country’s worst diplomatic crisis in two decades.

As Israel increases its PR spend in a bid to arrest its plummeting stocks internationally in the aftermath of Gaza, Hamas is buoyed by confirmation from Britain that, notwithstanding consternation in Washington, it is moving to ease its isolation of Hezbollah, Hamas’ counterpart in Lebanon, by agreeing to talk to its political wing.

London says the move is justified because Hezbollah joined a government of national unity. Given that national unity talks are on foot in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, an argument is being formulated in Hamas that it should be granted the same dispensation by London.

France too has intimated a willingness to open dialogue with Hamas and a growing army of former government officials and international peace negotiators is urging that Hamas be given a seat at the table. Led by former US president Jimmy Carter, who has visited Mishal in Damascus, it includes the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Bair and the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki Bin Faisal.

Despite, or perhaps because of the carnage in Gaza, the mood in the Hamas bunker is upbeat – support for the Islamist movement among Palestinians rose markedly after the January hostility, just as it fell for the US-backed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his enfeebled Fatah faction, whose writ is confined to the West Bank.

“More and more, the US and Israel and others in their camp understand that they cannot implement their agenda against us – because of the strength that we have acquired,” Mishal says. “Netanyahu destroyed the peace process the last time he was prime minister and his plan now for Palestinians to be limited to some kind of economic independence will fail too.”

Pressed on what policy changes Hamas might make as a gesture to a new regional order, Mishal offers little, arguing: “Hamas has already changed – we accepted the national accords for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and we took part in the 2006 Palestinian elections. Where is the response by Washington and the others? All we got was hostility and negativity.”

In particular, Mishal refuses to entertain rewriting Hamas’ offensive charter, despite the chance that such a move could alter perceptions of the movement at the same time as it might serve to protect the movement’s underbelly from sniping by its critics.

In 2005, the Hamas had appointed a committee to review its controversial 1988 Charter – with its offensive language, its anti Semitism, its incitement to battle and is calls for the elimination f the state of Israel. In a costly fit of pique over being consigned to the sinbin by the US and others after its election win, Hamas shelved the review.

Policy changes by Hamas have rendered much of the document redundant. But the continued inclusion of the call for the destruction of Israel has exposes Hamas to regular atacks.

Revealing that the pique of 2006 is just as potent today, Mishal says: “They didn’t give us a chance after we won the election, irrespective of what we might have done.” Will the charter be rewritten – “not a chance.”

“The message to us from the world was absolute rejection of the election outcome, because the result was not acceptable to the US and to corrupt elements of the Palestinian community [read Fatah].

“Our approach is not by means of changing the charter, a document written in 1988, but by virtue of our policy program today. Judge us by what we do today – not by what was written more than 20 years ago.

“Hamas has declared it’s acceptance of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories; we have joined the political process; we have entered short-term truces with Israel – this is the reality that the world needs to deal with. You say people use the Charter as a weapon against us – well, let them.”

For now, at least, Mishal’s public face is that Hamas is prepared to engage the world – but on his terms.

He becomes irritable when questioned about a letter from Hamas to President Obama, which reportedly was passed to US Senator John Kerry during a recent visit to Israel and Gaza.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he says. Pressed, he claims that the letter was on behalf of an individual – not the movement.

“If Hamas wishes to communicate with the US Administration, it will do so in a different way – at the right time; in the appropriate manner. Up to now, the Americans have rejected any communication with us. Hamas knows itself well and those who reject it today will find themselves compelled to deal with it tomorrow,” he says.

“In the meantime, Hamas will communicate with Washington through its actions on the ground – I’m talking about all our activities; about our weight and effectiveness; our social welfare and our resistance.”

If that’s how he feels about talking to Washington, what about direct talks with Israel?

Neither side likes to admit it, but Israel and Hamas have demonstrated that they actually can negotiate and in some circumstances, achieve outcomes that are acceptable to each other.

For all the squabbling over how the Gaza truce was breached and by which party, they did agree to a six-month ceasefire last summer – which Hamas held to, despite its view that Israel did not stick to its side of the deal.

There was no agreed text. This was an indirect understanding, arrived at through talks by negotiators for Hamas and Israel who met separately with Egyptian middlemen.

Israel believed that Hamas had agreed to stop the rain of rockets fired from Gaza into nearby Israeli communities. Hoping to breathe some life back into the strip’s comatose economy, Hamas understood that in exchange, Israel would end its year-long siege of Gaza.

Figures quoted by The New York Times, indicate that the rocket-rate was reduced by as much as 80-90 per cent as Hamas curbed its own fire and that of the lesser militia groups in Gaza.

But in comparison, the number of trucks entering Gaza increased only marginally. By closing its border crossings into Gaza, Israel can stop the movement of goods, fuel and people, often allowing a trickle of movement that imposes a level of hardship that amounts to total economic collapse.

Under the June deal, the daily rate of trucks entering Gaza did increase – but only from about 70 a day to about 90 which, according to the figures quoted in The New York Times – well short of a pre-siege delivery-rate of 500-600 trucks a day.

In light of that experience, would Hamas negotiate directly with Israel, to produce documented deals that might allow third parties to more accurately verify compliance or violations?

“Direct or indirect is not the point,” Mishal says. “What really matters is will Israel be truly ready to recognise Palestinian rights and to end the occupation? When Israel is ready to accept this,” he goes on, “we will decide what to do … but we’ll not give them a platform for useless negotiation, for trying to improve their image internationally [because] they always try to buy time and to create new facts on the ground.”

When the shooting stopped in Gaza earlier this year, there were more indirect talks. But Hamas refuses to buckle to Israel’s terms and as Mishal describes it, rather cumbersomely, “the situation is not war like it was in January … and it’s not a state of calm.”

At this point, the Hamas leader stubbornly refuses to acknowledge a more colourful description of events on the ground by one of his colleagues, who told reporters in February, “the [smuggling] tunnels are still operating and rockets are still being fired.”

Mishal refuses to take the question. Pressed to explain, he says: “I am a leader. From my position as leader, I describe and express myself in a manner which I deem to be best when I speak about the situation.”

“But the tunnels are open and rockets are firing, aren’t they?” he is asked. At this point, Mishal becomes Delphic: “You know my way of talking. There is an Arab proverb -‘every situation has its way of being expressed’!”

Mishal insists that it is the Israelis who must explain why the latest truce negotiations collapsed – including their failure to agree terms for the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But in what Israel will read as a threat, he warns there is a risk that more Israeli troops will captured by Hamas – to increase the pressure for Israel to agree to Hamas’ demand for the release of as many as 1400 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Asked about reports the accuracy of reports that Hamas is seeking freedom for 1400 prisoners, Mishal explains the calculus of the negotiations – from Hamas’ perspective.

In the most celebrated exchanged in the past, three Israeli soldiers were swapped, in 1985, for 1150 Palestinians – almost 400 Palestinians for each Israeli.

Asked how Hamas now could demand more than three times that many Palestinians in return for Shalit’s freedom, he says: “Israel’s prisoner numbers were relatively low in ’85 – 1150 would have been most of those they held. The number we are seeking for Shalit is only one-tenth of today’s number of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

“The Israelis just don’t learn. When they refuse to release Palestinians, it forces the Palestinians to resort to other means to gain their release – and inevitable this incudes the capture of more Israeli soldiers.”

In the March 18 interview in Damascus, Mishal recommits Hamas to the electoral process in the Occupied Territories – despite Israel rounding up and jailing more than 30 of Hamas’ West Bank MPs in the aftermath of the 2006 election. And in the days after the interview, taking in 10 senior Hamas figures in the West Bank, including four MPs, who Israel described as ‘terror operatives’ – reportedly in a bid to pressure Hamas to accept Israel’s terms in the haggling over Shalit.

Underlying Mishal’s analysis is Hamas’ determination to avoid what it sees as the pitfalls, for the Palestinian side, of the years that followed the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, the Fatah movement and the PLO renounced violence as a weapon and recognised the state of Israel, but achieved little in endless rounds of so-called peace talks as Israel continued to carve up the Occupied Territories to suit its own needs. Since Arafat’s death at the end of 2004, his successor Mahmoud Abbas has made no headway either.

Finishing up, Mishal lays out the pieces of the geopolitical puzzle and he laughs. Despite Islam’s prohibition on gambling, he concludes: “If the Palestinian people were gamblers, they would bet on Hamas.”

  • Paul McGEOUGH is Chief Correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

Comments (42)


1. Nour said:

This was a good overall interview, but Mr. McGeough could have done without the belittling and demeaning of Khaled Meshaal’s responses. I’m sure if he conducted an interview with, say, Winston Churchill during WWII, many of Churchill’s responses would have been the same. But Churchill would have been regarded by the likes of McGeough as heroes and representatives of freedom and liberty. Yet, his basic approach to Mr. Meshaal is that he is an outcast, and a bombastic propagandist at best, insinuating and implying that it is Hamas’s duty to accept western conditions “renounce violence” and “recognize Israel”.

Of course no such demands are made of “Israel” and western journalists and correspondents, for the most part, don’t see a need for such demands to be made. In other words, the Palestinians, whose rights have been violated and whose land has been occupied by a force that doesn’t recognize their basic humanity, are required to recognize that usurping entity as a legitimate state without getting anything in return. This is the justice that western states have been advertizing. Unfortunately, with such attitudes, we will continue to see a prolonging of the war and the rise of more resistance groups who see no other way to defend their rights and restore their freedom and independence.

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March 25th, 2009, 9:46 pm

 

2. Akbar Palace said:

But Churchill would have been regarded by the likes of McGeough as heroes and representatives of freedom and liberty.

Nour,

Of course, because Churchill and the Brits never wired suicide vests to their soliers with the hopes of killing as many civilians as possible.

OTOH, the Brits were much less careful than the Israelis in Gaza when it came time to defend themselves. I’d love to see how the BBC would cover WW2 today…

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March 26th, 2009, 12:37 am

 

3. Shai said:

Akbar Palace,

Are you suggesting Nazi Germany’s abilities are somewhat comparable to those of Hamas? I just want to understand… ;-)

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March 26th, 2009, 5:44 am

 

4. Nour said:

AP,

Britain did not need to have people strap suicide vests as they had a modern military arsenal which they used to bombard Germany on a daily basis. In fact, your second point contradicts your first. You say Britain was not as “careful” as “Israel” in fighting Germany, well Britain also killed exponentially more germans than Palestinians have “Israelis.”

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March 26th, 2009, 10:24 am

 

5. Enlightened said:

Paul McGEOUGH has worked for The Sydney Morning Herald for a very long time. I always enjoy his reports and analysis. In true Australian style, “he tells it as it is”.

Most if not all his writings are devoid of bias. He is not in the league of Pro Israeli writers who back the state through all its adventures. He is a very strong critic of the settlements and the plight of the Palestinians in the territories.

Nour, Pauls approach to Meshaal is very Australian-they distrust and have little respect for politicians or those in authority, and despise them utterly. Maybe Pauls approach to Meshaal is warranted, given that he has seen and covered the conflict for so many years, and can see the utter helplessnes of those that suffer under his (Meshaal’s)leadership.

“Of course no such demands are made of “Israel” and western journalists and correspondents, for the most part, don’t see a need for such demands to be made. In other words, the Palestinians, whose rights have been violated and whose land has been occupied by a force that doesn’t recognize their basic humanity, are required to recognize that usurping entity as a legitimate state without getting anything in return. This is the justice that western states have been advertizing. Unfortunately, with such attitudes, we will continue to see a prolonging of the war and the rise of more resistance groups who see no other way to defend their rights and restore their freedom and independence.”

In Pauls defence he is no friend Of Israel, neither is he her enemy, he is a very good journalist who calls a spade a spade! Or in colloqiual australian a wanker a wanker!

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March 26th, 2009, 10:34 am

 

6. Enlightened said:

Shai:

Yes the V Rocket has very similar performance parameters as the Qassams! As a former military man, I am surprised that you failed to see the difference!

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March 26th, 2009, 10:38 am

 

7. Akbar Palace said:

Are you suggesting Nazi Germany’s abilities…

Shai,

Er, no. Nowhere in my post did I say anything about Nazis or even Germany. I was responding to Nour’s comparison between Khaled Meshaal and Winston Churchill.

A bit like comparing apples to oranges.

Shai,

I’m noticing you are very sensitive about what pro-Israelis like my self write here on this blog (of course when a clear anti-semite writes crap here you “mostly agree” with them).

Nour writes:

Britain did not need to have people strap suicide vests as they had a modern military arsenal which they used to bombard Germany on a daily basis. In fact, your second point contradicts your first. You say Britain was not as “careful” as “Israel” in fighting Germany, well Britain also killed exponentially more germans than Palestinians have “Israelis.”

Nour,

Points taken. However, going back to your orignal “complaint”, you seem to be wondering why Churchill “would have been regarded by the likes of McGeough as heroes and representative of freedom and liberty”:

This was a good overall interview, but Mr. McGeough could have done without the belittling and demeaning of Khaled Meshaal’s responses. I’m sure if he conducted an interview with, say, Winston Churchill during WWII, many of Churchill’s responses would have been the same. But Churchill would have been regarded by the likes of McGeough as heroes and representatives of freedom and liberty.

My point is that those regarded (by history) as “heroes and representatives of freedom and liberty” depend on how they fight their enemy.

For example, blacks in the US fought using “civil disobedience”. Britain fought by engaging Nazi aircraft and bombing Germany in retaliation for the horrible Nazi “Blitz”. 43,000 civilians died.

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

This is why I think few would put Churchill, Dr. King and Meshaal in the same category.

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March 26th, 2009, 11:20 am

 

8. Nour said:

AP,

Blacks, during the civil rights movement and during the slave revolts, also fought using violence. Nelson Mandela used violence in fighting Apartheid South Africa. Great Britain used extreme violence in fighting Germany. Let’s not forget the entire fire-bombing of Dresden in the last stages of the war which killed about 200,000 German civilians. But this is all justified in the eyes of westerners, but for our people to resort to arms in defending their rights and their land is always viewed with condemnation. This is why they demand of us to “renounce violence” in our struggle against “Israel.” No one ever demanded of Mandela and the ANC to “renounce violence.” No one ever demanded of the French Resistance to “renounce violence.” And no one especially demanded of the allies to “renounce violence” in their war against Nazi Germany.

Churchill is viewed as a hero by westerners because he is from them and of them; nothing more nothing less. Many of Churchill’s writings and statements carry blatant racist connotations, yet no one minds because it is directed at “inferior peoples”. Churchill is the one who stated, when referring to the Palestinians and connecting them to the displacement of natives in America and Australia: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” He also declared, with respect to Iraq,”I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.”

This is the “hero” that westerners are so proud of and who is regarded as a true statesman among the “civilized” peoples.

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March 26th, 2009, 12:17 pm

 

9. SimoHurtta said:

Churchill condemned Irgun as a terrorist organization. When Churchill was on the peak of his power it were the Jews who were using “suicide belts” and trying to kill as many civilians as possible. Throwing bombs on market places, attacking civilian villages, exploding trains and hotels, killing polices, murdering foreign diplomats and Jewish opponents etc. Akbar you have obviously forgotten that part of your “proud” history.

One could say that “sadly” Churchill and his follower did not use enough force against terrorists in Palestine.

I see it rather strange to desperately trying to find from history events which could give a justification for what Israel is doing. Isn’t it so that if Jews have the right to isolate millions in ghettos and bantustans that others have/had the same right even with the Jews. So we could say that “Zionists” consider Warsaw ghetto and South African bantustans were justified. Same with taking land by force or with torture and humiliation. Can we then condemn if Palestinians after one hundred years put the Israeli Jews in slave camps and offer them “economical peace”? I suppose in that case Akbar’s offspring would fiercely condemn the situation which their grandfather hailed as normal historical behaviour when his tribe was on the stronger side.

By the way Akbar Churchill suggested in 1944 creating a Greater Syria to avoid the creation of the Jewish state.
https://www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/spages/950373.html

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March 26th, 2009, 1:49 pm

 

10. Akbar Palace said:

“Peace Process” NewZ:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5980794.ece

We will definately need the help of our resident Phds and Professor to make sense of all this…

Responding to Nour:

Nelson Mandela used violence in fighting Apartheid South Africa.

Nelson Mandela was mostly in jail, and the ANC’s use of violence detracted from their goal to end Apartheid, which could have ended much sooner if they employeed civil disobediance instead of violence. I think violence and terrorism hurt their campaign.

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu criticized the ANC for its willingness to resort to violence, arguing that tactics of non-violent resistance, such as civil disobedience were more productive.”

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

Great Britain used extreme violence in fighting Germany. Let’s not forget the entire fire-bombing of Dresden in the last stages of the war which killed about 200,000 German civilians.

That’s right Nour. But like I showed, the Nazi blitz of London killed 43,000 British citizens.

The point is, history has shown that the British response was justified, and their approach was justified. I think we both agree that Churchill is considered a “hero”, not a terrorist. I’m just trying to explain to you why that’s so.

The Arab-Israeli conflict really pales in comparison to the events and the carnage of WW2, but that doesn’t stop the MSM from covering these two conflicts “disproportionately”.

But this is all justified in the eyes of westerners, but for our people to resort to arms in defending their rights and their land is always viewed with condemnation.

Nour,

But here’s your fallacy and here’s the reason for the “condemnation”:

1.) Gaza is considered Palestinian land and Israel removed herself from the area. Most observers expected at least calm due to their removal.

2.) What you consider “resort to arms”, most people consider “resort to terrorism”. The missiles and mortars have been fired with great frequency, in great number, and totally random.

It is considered by you and others on this forum as being a “right”. Most consider it unconstructive at best and, more likely, terrorism.

This is why they demand of us to “renounce violence” in our struggle against “Israel.”

Because Israel left Gaza, most expected quiet, hoped for peace talks and a renunciation of violence. But because Hamas continues to consider Israel an illegitimate state and still has a charter condemning all Jews to violence, you can also add this as reason 3.) why most people condemn Hamas and Meshaal.

The ANC eventually made peace with the whites and vice-versa.

No one ever demanded of Mandela and the ANC to “renounce violence.”

No one demanded it perhaps because Mandela was againt violence. In his address after winning the Nobel Prize Mr. Mandela said:

The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race, will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise.

Thus shall we live, because we will have created a society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance.

The ANC struggle was equal rights to her citizenry. The Arab-Israeli struggle is a border dispute.

No one ever demanded of the French Resistance to “renounce violence.”

I’m not saying they had to. I’m just explaining why some “resistors” are given medals and why some aren’t.

And no one especially demanded of the allies to “renounce violence” in their war against Nazi Germany.

Of course.

Churchill is viewed as a hero by westerners because he is from them and of them; nothing more nothing less.

I don’t think so.

Many of Churchill’s writings and statements carry blatant racist connotations, yet no one minds because it is directed at “inferior peoples”. Churchill is the one who stated, when referring to the Palestinians and connecting them to the displacement of natives in America and Australia: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

If Churchill said that, it is unfortunate. But he still will be remembered as a great man, who led his country to victory against a very evil power. Mind you, Churchill wasn’t always kind to Jews:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/11/news/winston.php

This is the “hero” that westerners are so proud of and who is regarded as a true statesman among the “civilized” peoples.

Yup.

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March 26th, 2009, 2:06 pm

 

11. Nour said:

AP,

Your response contains many logical and analytical fallacies, as well as factual errors.

First, Nelson Mandela was actually the first to argue for the establishment of a military wing to the ANC back in 1960, which led to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) which was classified by the South African Apartheid government as a “terrorist” organization. Nelson Mandela was very much in support of the use of violence to retrieve the rights of his people on their land.

Second, yes the Nazi blitz of London killed 43,000 British citizens, and the terror attacks of Zionist militias in 1948 resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinian civilians, the destruction of up to 418 Palestinian villages, and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians. Moreover, “Israel” has killed tens of thousands of additional civilians over the years, including its attack on Lebanon in 1982 killed over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, it’s attack on Lebanon in 2006 that killed over 1200 Lebanese civilians and the latest Gaza campaign that killed over 1400 Palestinian civilians. Therefore, the response of the Palestinians, as well as others in the region, has been quite mild in comparison to what the Europeans did to Germany.

Third, the “removal” of “Israeli” soldiers from Gaza does not mean that “Israel” no longer retained control over the strip. In fact, the removal of those soldiers made it easier for “Israel” to seal the Gaza strip and turn it into an actual prison camp, where the starving population was dying a slow death. The refusal of “Israel” to lift their siege and allow the Palestinians access to the basic necessities of life, as well as its continuous killing of Palestinians, is what led to the confrontations. Palestinians have a right to use all means at their disposal to attempt to lift the siege being imposed on them.

Finally, it says a lot that you categorize Churchill’s blatantly racist and hateful comments as merely “unfortunate.” I can only imagine what your position would be if similar statements were made by Meshaal or Nasrallah.

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March 26th, 2009, 3:16 pm

 

12. Akbar Palace said:

Nour,

Your response contains many logical and analytical fallacies, as well as factual errors.

Not sure where the errors are. Can you spell them out? Most of my comments were opinion.

Both Nelson Mandela and Yassir Arafat employed terrorism to further their causes. Both won Nobel Peace Prizes.

IMHO, both have a history/legacy that is marred by some degree because of their use of terrorism. Could any of them have achieved their goals w/o the use of terrorism?? I’m not sure.

Second, yes the Nazi blitz of London killed 43,000 British citizens, and the terror attacks of Zionist militias in 1948 resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinian civilians, the destruction of up to 418 Palestinian villages, and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians.

Yes, however, if Israel WASN’T attacked by 5 invading armies, if the Arabs ACCEPTED the Partition Plan, and if Israel DIDN’T also lose 1% of her population defending themselves, perhaps Israel would not have gained any world sympathy.

Moreover, “Israel” has killed tens of thousands of additional civilians over the years, including its attack on Lebanon in 1982 killed over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, it’s attack on Lebanon in 2006 that killed over 1200 Lebanese civilians and the latest Gaza campaign that killed over 1400 Palestinian civilians.

The Israelis LOST world sympathy for the war in Lebanon because Israel went too far beyond her borders, the war lingered on too long, the massacre of the Sabra/Shatilla refugee camps, and the increasing death toll took its toll internally at home.

The 2006 war, IMHO, was much more justified even though Israel “lost” (this is debatable).

Therefore, the response of the Palestinians, as well as others in the region, has been quite mild in comparison to what the Europeans did to Germany.

No question about it.

Third, the “removal” of “Israeli” soldiers from Gaza does not mean that “Israel” no longer retained control over the strip. In fact, the removal of those soldiers made it easier for “Israel” to seal the Gaza strip and turn it into an actual prison camp, where the starving population was dying a slow death.

Noted. This is where we are today. The Palestinians control the land, the Israelis control access. And this is where I will offer advice.

Israel has to control the borders of Gaza as the past 8 years of missiles firings prove. The bottom line is, what does Hamas think it is going to affect by continuing this war:

1.) Sympathy for their cause?
2.) Increase their borders beyond Gaza?

They’re still fighting with their rivals in Fatah. And they’re still putting all Jews in Israel into their cross-hairs. All this while Israel allows hundreds of trucks to enter Gaza to keep Gazans fed and healthy.

If Hamas really wanted to help the Palestinian people, they would:

1.) alter their charter
2.) come to an agreement with Fatah
3.) comply with whatever ceasefire they plan with Israel and stop firing rockets into Israel

The refusal of “Israel” to lift their siege and allow the Palestinians access to the basic necessities of life, as well as its continuous killing of Palestinians, is what led to the confrontations.

You mean allow the Palestinians to rearm with rockets and missiles. No country expects the Israelis to commit suicide, not even the US.

Palestinians have a right to use all means at their disposal to attempt to lift the siege being imposed on them.

OK. But this isn’t (by far) the best method to “lift the seige”, or better the lives of the Palestinians. The opposite.

Finally, it says a lot that you categorize Churchill’s blatantly racist and hateful comments as merely “unfortunate.”

Nour,

I try not to label thinks “black” or “white”, and, of course, it is easier for me to do that when it isn’t part of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Churchill’s record was, by far, influenced by how he led Britain through WW2. For this is was held in high esteem.

I can only imagine what your position would be if similar statements were made by Meshaal or Nasrallah.

Sorry, I can’t put these 2 “knuckleheads” in the same category as Churchill.

Nour,

Thank you for the civilized exchange.

AP

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March 26th, 2009, 4:20 pm

 

13. Observer said:

I fear that AP and AIG have essentially hijacked this site to talk about one thing and one thing only: the pure good and endless victims who just came to the land to live in peace and tranquility and the rest of the world in general and the resistance groups who do not share in this world view in particular and wish harm out of pure unreasoned hatred of the little Davids in their ancestral lands.

Pathetic really to respond to such self delusion and outright denial.

On a more interesting note it seems that Time magazine had a piece about Abdullah of the Saud family and it seems that he is trying to reform the kingdom.

The article to which I am sorry to say I do not have a link to truly shows that since the death of King Faisal there has been complete abdication of the kindgom’s policies to Washington and complete reliance on those policies.

Now that Obama is reciting Hafez and courting Iran they are in a panic as to what to do.

I wrote before that they have produced two types of cadres: extreme Wahabis and dumb clerics. No middle ground no strategy no coherence. Their allies are Mubarak La Vache qui Rit, the pygmy King of Jordan, the stupid Playboy Hariri, and the stooge Abbas.

The clerics are issuing fatwas declaring that a woman can fraternize with men if she breast feeds them five times hence they become her sons by gavage.

The other group are straight recruits for the Jihad front.

Now the moderate countries in the world and I call them moderate because they have accepted the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign and secure future are Bolivia, Venezual, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Qatar, Sudan and others. I am baffled by the intransigence and the fanaticism that the EU and particularly France and Germany are showing the Palestinian people and their collusion in the massacres of Gaza. Can someone explain to me why this is happening?
Can someone explain to me how a cartoon by Pat Oliphant can produce such outrage when we were told that the emotional Muslims do not understand freedom of speech and should accept degrading cartoons? Can someone tell me why is it that Sarko le premier vetoed the deployment in Chad of 20 000 UN troops in the border with Darfur as it undermined the two French bases located there and would have allowed for Chad to chart an independent foreign policy course? How is it that the ICC does not take him to task as it did Bashir even though the Sudan is not a signatory to the ICC protocol? How come the use of white phosphorus and the deliberate killing of civilians ordered to leave their homes at point blank range by snipers is considered part of the war action of the most “moral” of all forces in the world?
How is it that the world continues to tolerate this double standard and how is it the West cannot understand that its double talk and double standard generate endless hate and contempt?

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March 26th, 2009, 6:21 pm

 

14. Shai said:

Enlightened,

As a former military man, I believe I would rather have Qassam rockets rain down over my head than Nazi V-2 missiles. From Wikipedia, one learns that some very slight differences exist between the two. For one, the Qassam rocket weighs between 5-90 kgs (depending on the version), while the V-2 weighed a mere 12,500 kgs. Second, the Qassam carries an explosive payload of between 0.5-10 kgs, while the V-2 warhead consisted of 980 kgs. In the single year that the V-2 was fired at Britain, some 7,250 civilians and military personnel were killed. In 8 years of Qassam rockets, a little less than 30 Israelis were killed.

Yeah, I think I’ll take the Qassam. It has a somewhat smaller existential-threat coefficient than the V-2 did… ‘Course, I’m not sure AIPAC would agree.

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March 26th, 2009, 6:45 pm

 

15. Shai said:

AP,

As a self-hating Semite and Israeli, I find myself agreeing “with most” of what anti-Semites have to say… It’s a bug I can’t get rid of.

Btw, have you considered that even an anti-Semite could have certain legitimate claims against Israel?

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March 26th, 2009, 6:51 pm

 

16. Akbar Palace said:

I fear that AP and AIG have essentially hijacked this site to talk about one thing and one thing only: the pure good and endless victims who just came to the land to live in peace and tranquility and the rest of the world in general and the resistance groups who do not share in this world view in particular and wish harm out of pure unreasoned hatred of the little Davids in their ancestral lands.

Observer,

Are you saying Arab armies didn’t invade Palestine in 1948? Are you also saying the Arabs accepted the Partition of Palestine?

Shai states:

As a self-hating Semite and Israeli, I find myself agreeing “with most” of what anti-Semites have to say… It’s a bug I can’t get rid of.

Shai,

“Whatever floats your boat”

Btw, have you considered that even an anti-Semite could have certain legitimate claims against Israel?

I consider a lot of things:

1.) legitimate claims

2.) illegitimate claims

3.) bias

4.) objectivity

5.) word usage

6.) ability take opposing point-of-view

7.) family of origin issues

8.) bloodtype

9.) criminal background

10.) IQ

11.) political leanings

12.) graduate degree level

13.) Syrian political party affiliation

14.) frequent flyer airline of choice

15.) madrassa affiliation

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March 26th, 2009, 7:45 pm

 

17. majid said:

OBSERVER,

I looked in the entire archive of Time for that article and I couldn’t find it. It’ll be very helpful next time to be thorough and provide a link or a copy of such articles. Considering the tone of your comment, my take would be either you are reading your own wishful thinking into an article that may or may not exist or you may have misunderstood the article. Egypt under Mubarak (without your slur) is the leading State of the region. It is not Iran nor Syria and they will never hope to attain such status. KSA and Jordan are also much more important (particularly KSA) than your backward Syria and equally backward Iran – these two countries have much more social and economic problems to deal with before they can be taken seriously by any US administration.

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March 26th, 2009, 7:59 pm

 

18. Nour said:

AP,

Yes, both Nelson Mandela and Yasser Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, but no one in the world places these two figures in the same class (nor should they, in my opinion, but for different reasons than the ones you would use). But Yasser Arafat was required to “renounce violence” and “recognize Israel” before he was rewarded with petty and meaningless recognitions. Mandela on the other hand was never required to recognize Apartheid South Africa, but was nevertheless recognized as a freedom fighter and admired across the globe.

In the case of 1948 Palestine, the attack on Palestinians began long before then, when the Zionist plan of transfering Jews to Palestine and establishing a state exclusively for them on land inhabited by others was put into effect. It was only natural that the Palestinians and the rest of the peoples of the region would reject such a plan. Moreover, the United Nations had no authority under its charter to grant a piece of someone’s land for someone else. The inception of the state of “Israel” was completely illegal and illegitimate. All other peoples of the world would have rejected a similar situation on their land. Zionist terror groups then used the natural opposition of Arab countries to this plan as justification to massacre civilians and expel an entire population from their land in order to annex it to their ever-expansive Jewish state. The crimes committed by these Zionist hoodlums were crimes against humanity of the worst kind but were allowed to happen by the western world because they fit nicely with their plans for the region.

Regarding Gaza, Hamas tried everything in its power to have the siege lifted, but to no avail. The pleadings and cries of Palestinians fell on deaf ears as the western world didn’t care to act so long as “Israel” was safe, even if Palestinians were dying a slow death, as Palestinian lives are not worth very much to them. Hamas agreed to a truce agreement with “Israel” and kept its end of the bargain by effectively curtailing rocket attacks. On the other hand, “Israel” refused to be held to its obligations under the agreement by opening border crossings in Gaza. Hamas repeatedly pleaded with everyone to help lift the siege on Gaza and even offered, on several occasions, a long term truce with “Israel.” “Israel”, however, continually refused, as it did not wish to improve the lives of Palestinians, and it knew exactly where its behavior and policies would lead. The rocket attacks were a desperate, last resort for Hamas who saw no other way than to use some method to shake the world into action. When the world refuses to act against a clear aggressor, sometimes the victims are forced to take desperate measures, which include violence.

As pertaining to Winston Churchill, I know that his legacy is largely shaped by his role in WWII, and therein lies the double-standard. While Churchill is viewed by the western world as a brilliant statesmen and a stalwart in defense of his country against Nazi attacks, those leaders of resistance against “Israeli” aggression are not viewed by westerners with the same perspective. And it is with this “inferior” viewpoint that you consider the likes of Nasrallah as “knuckleheads” in comparison to Churchill, when in fact Nasrallah is a much more able and effective speaker, and a more brilliant strategist, given his conditions, than Churchill was.

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March 26th, 2009, 8:41 pm

 

19. Akbar Palace said:

The inception of the state of “Israel” was completely illegal and illegitimate.

Nour,

Perhaps according to you, but certainly not according to international law. The State of Israel is a 60 year old fact.

Nevertheless, thank you for showing this website’s owner, Professor Josh, Co-director, Center for Peace Studies, University of Oklahoma, how most of the participants here are rejectionists.

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March 27th, 2009, 11:07 am

 

20. Shai said:

Nour,

The reason why AP will never see a Churchill in Nasrallah, and why you continue to call it “Israel”, is because we see each other as belonging to different civilizations. We both view one another as backwards and uncivilized. We both want the other side to go away, to evaporate. And we are ready to delegitimize each other to achieve that.

We must fight this tendency, before we lose the last remaining shreds of humanity still left in us.

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March 27th, 2009, 11:32 am

 

21. Nour said:

Shai,

You’re making assumptions about my position. I don’t view anyone as backwards and uncivilized, and that’s not why I do not recognize “Israel.” I hold that position because I am opposed, on principle, to the idea of an exclusive state for a particular group of people, especially when that state is created on land inhabited by others. A recognition of “Israel” would, in my opinion, set a precedent in recognizing the right of other people to take chunks of our land and make it their own.

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March 27th, 2009, 11:55 am

 

22. Nour said:

AP,

Actually, even according to international law, the inception of the state of “israel” was illegal. But international law is only used to enforce regulations on the weak while the strong are allowed to violate it regularly and without any accountability.

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March 27th, 2009, 11:57 am

 

23. Akbar Palace said:

We both want the other side to go away, to evaporate. And we are ready to delegitimize each other to achieve that.

Shai,

Again, please speak for yourself. Your continued use of the word “we” is clearly patronizing.

Clarifying MY position, I have always accepted Palestinian statehood and their right to self-determination, and I have no desire to see anyone “go away”, including the State of Israel.

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March 27th, 2009, 11:57 am

 

24. Shai said:

Nour, AP,

It’s funny how both of you reacted to my “assumptions”, and yet, how perhaps many out there (myself included) could easily be fooled by both of you, into making the exact same assumptions.

Nour, as much as you may be right (and you know my views on Israel and Palestine by now), there is no “precedence” to set. Israel is already a fact. I also don’t like the fact that the “Jewish State” requirement makes us a Racist state (and, therefore, a Racist people). But to change that, I have to do so with a real Israel, not with the unrecognized “Israel”. By not recognizing Israel you are, in an unintended way I’m sure, also not recognizing those of us who do want to change. And it is crucial, I believe, that your side recognize us, so that we CAN change.

AP,

What good is it to have “always recognized” Palestinian rights, when you’re perfectly accepting of the Occupation?

From everything you write here on SC, one can easily be fooled into thinking that you certainly DO believe Arabs are backwards and uncivilized.

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March 27th, 2009, 12:44 pm

 

25. Akbar Palace said:

What good is it to have “always recognized” Palestinian rights, when you’re perfectly accepting of the Occupation?

Shai,

I recognize that Palestinian, Israeli and everyone’s rights fall under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html#a1

So, more specifically, I recognize the Palestinian’s right to self-determination and statehood. I recognize the Palestinian Authority as the Palestinian government.

The Occupation is something I accept under the circumstances of the current State of War that exists between the two peoples/governments. I would prefer that there was no Occupation, however, as yet, no settlement of this issue has come to fruition.

From everything you write here on SC, one can easily be fooled into thinking that you certainly DO believe Arabs are backwards and uncivilized.

I believe there are MANY reasonable Arabs who accept the State of Israel. Those arabs who cannot come to terms with the State of Israel, I believe, are backward and uncivilized. I hope that clarifies things for you. I do not know what percetages of the Arab people this “divider” represents, nor do I care. Moreover, and if it matters, any ISRAELI or JEW who cannot come to terms with the State of Israel (like Norman Finklestein, Neturei Karta, etc) is also “backward and uncivilized”.

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March 27th, 2009, 1:41 pm

 

26. Shai said:

AP,

Let’s take your exact words, and replace “Israel” with “Palestine”, and “Occupation” with “Resistance”. Let’s see what we get:

“So, more specifically, I recognize the (Israelis’) right to self-determination and statehood… The (Resistance) is something I accept under the circumstances of the current State of War that exists between the two peoples/governments. I would prefer that there was no (Resistance), however, as yet, no settlement of this issue has come to fruition.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yet the consequences of the Occupation is something you’re willing to accept, but those of the Resistance (Terrorism) you’re not.

Tell me, what do you think Bibi should do now, with regards to Syria? Should he give back the Golan, in return for peace? Can we have peace with Syria, without her “flipping”? What “settlement of this issue” do you think should come to fruition, without making Syria seem like she is capitulating? Now that Likud and the Right has come to power, I’m interested to know what your advice to them would be.

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March 27th, 2009, 5:57 pm

 

27. Akbar Palace said:

Let’s take your exact words, and replace “Israel” with “Palestine”, and “Occupation” with “Resistance”.

Shai,

Let’s take apple and replace it with orange.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

No, because Israel isn’t occupying Gaza any longer. Didn’t we discuss this before?

For example, there are no missiles flying into Israel from the West Bank, and that’s where Israel remains an occupying power.

Conclusions:

1.) Occupation, resistance, and voltage are not related.
2.) Ending an occupation does not necessarily translate to “good will” as the liberals and “yafeh nefesh” were promising
3.) It will take a negotiated settlement to achieve peace.
4.) Only Abbas and the PA are ready to negotiate with Israel
5.) The status quo remains if no agreement arises, which, BTW, hurts both peoples.

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March 27th, 2009, 9:51 pm

 

28. Shai said:

AP concludes: “Occupation, resistance, and voltage are not related.”

I think you’re right, Palestinian Resistance rose out of Anti-Inflation sentiments, not out of a 40-year long Occupation.

That your skewed-mind think the Qassams after our withdrawal from Gaza have nothing to do with the Occupation of the rest of Palestine, or the subjugation and suffocation of millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the W. Bank is one thing, but then how do you explain the years of ongoing Qassams before we withdrew from Gaza? Was that also not-resistance?

AP says: “Let’s take apple and replace it with orange.”

Was that the kind of response you’d give a Prof in college, when you didn’t understand or agree with what he/she said? Is that why you’re so “sensitive” when it comes to Academia?

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March 28th, 2009, 6:04 am

 

29. Nour said:

Shai,

What is a fact is that our land is occupied. What is a fact is that there is a racist, unnatural, illegitimate entity on part of our land that is a state exclusively for Jews. These are the facts and I never pretended they don’t exist. However, I will not recognize the right of a group of people to take part of our land and make it exclusively theirs. This is a matter of principle. So if you’re looking for me to recognize “Israel” then you’re wasting your time. And if you want to do something to help the Palestinians retrieve their land and restore their rights, I don’t believe my refusing to recognize a racist, exclusive entity on our land would stop you from doing so. I am not refusing to recognize you as a human being, but I am refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the creation of such a cancerous entity on our land.

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March 28th, 2009, 4:08 pm

 

30. Akbar Palace said:

What is a fact is that there is a racist, unnatural, illegitimate entity on part of our land that is a state exclusively for Jews.

Nour,

Please prove the “fact” that Israel is “unnatural” and “illegitimate”.

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March 28th, 2009, 6:52 pm

 

31. Nour said:

“Israel” was built by, and is based on, transplanting a group of people from all over the world to a land that is inhabited by others in order to create a state exclusively for that group. This is unnatural, as the “Israeli” society is not based on a natural historical presence on a piece of land with which they have been interacting for any period of time. It is also illegitimate because there is no authority, whether international law or other, that sanctions, condones, or permits the inception of such an unnatural entity on someone else’s land.

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March 28th, 2009, 7:33 pm

 
 

33. Akbar Palace said:

March 29th, 2009, 3:06 pm

 

34. Off the Wall said:

Observer

Excellent observation. These two, now complemented by other less prolific come equiped with only few statements that are repeated constantly. It is amazing that no matter what the discussion is they never fail to try and squeez in the same tired cracked record. It is not polite, not neighbourly, or civil.

However, for this website, as long as they are not violating the rules, I guess we have to contend with that. But I will always remember Zenobia’s comment, just ignore their posts. They have said all what they have probably in their first couple of posts and from then on, it is a game of trying to be creative in repeating the same argument, while trying to sound smart and responsive to discussions. The norm has become very predictable, and they have been successful only because we allowed them to do so. I understand that we do not want lies and snide remarks to go unchallanged, but constantly forcing a change of topic speeks of lack of politness, it reeks of arrogance, but also of insecurity.

Many of us have varying reasons for maintaining anonymity. We, however, can propose more focused issues oriented discussions, and stricter rules, such as removing or re-directing any post that veers from the topic at hand (example, my post about syrian musicians three weeks a go). And even banning those who constantly do so. As user of many public domain softwares I constantly rely on online help and discussin boards, and i constantly see the moderator telling someon, ” i removed your post to such and such forum because it does not belong on this discussion thread”. Such would require more time and efforts than available to volunteer moderators. One way we can do that by assigning topic moderators. If AP and AIG or anyone else want to have a topic in which they post the same comment, said differently every day or every hour, so be it, they can moderate that thread. And we can focus on real productive discussion elsewhere.

General Topical areas that serve as parking spaces can also be created, where an off topic post, could simply be re-posted on these areas. As long as we do not exclude anyone from saying what’s on their mind, even if it is rubbish. Every house has a trash can, don’t they?.

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March 29th, 2009, 8:08 pm

 

35. Off the Wall said:

Observer
As long we we tolerate the double standards, the world will.
I invite you to recall the way Arab travelers are treated in US and European airports and the way American/European travelers are treated in arab airports.

Think of Brazil. On the day finger printing test program took effect on US borders few years back and Brazilian travelers had to submit to it, Brazil enacted identical measures against, and guess what, only American travelers. The answer from Brazilian diplomats was, friendship is reciprocal.

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March 29th, 2009, 9:15 pm

 

36. Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Nour,

>>> I am opposed, on principle, to the idea of an exclusive state for a particular group of people, especially when that state is created on land inhabited by others.

Me too. This is why I was very pleased to see Arab and Jewish students attending the Oholo college in the Golan together, when Shai and I visited there a few days ago, and this is why I was pleased to have an Arab family next to mine at the pool-side today in Eilat and this is also why I was pleased when my toddler played with an Palestinian one in the Eilat underwater sea park today. Israeli Arabs are more mixed and integrated into all walks of life than ever before. If the Palestinians stopped this silly “resistance” mentality and moved to a civil-right movement we’ll be living in one democratic state soon, and this is something that AP acknowledged after his last visit to Israel, so he’s not as rigid as I thought before. “Resistance” (i.e., violence) radicalizes both the Jews and the Arabs and fractures our societies.

Also regarding “artificiality”—fine. How many generations before it wears off?

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March 29th, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

37. Off the Wall said:

Yossi
Glad to read your comment. It is precisely why I have been advocating a one state solution, which in my oppinion is the only fair solution to all parties involved.

NOUR
You said “in comparison to Churchill, when in fact Nasrallah is a much more able and effective speaker, and a more brilliant strategist, given his conditions, than Churchill was.

may add “and by all means, much more sober, than Churchil was” :)

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March 29th, 2009, 11:31 pm

 

38. Chris said:

As long as Khaled Mashaal is around there won’t be peace. He and his ilk want victory. Not peace. He and his cohort in Damascus have the ability to torpedo any peace process. I can only hope that, insha’allah, the voices of reason will reign supreme and convince the Assad family regime that supporting Hamas and other terror groups will not be in their interest, but rather peace and reconciliation will produce a peace dividend that will serve everyone in the region well.

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March 29th, 2009, 11:46 pm

 

39. jad said:

This is an off topic, but I didn’t know where to post it:

Did anybody watch the movie ‘I love you man’? if not, go, it’s a funny movie.

I didn’t hear the egyptian defending their ‘Hero’ Anwar Alsadat the way they ware screeming at Iran when the iranins dare to talk about him.
Anyway, in the movie the guy names his dog ‘Anwar Alsadat’ and he explain about the subject saying that his dog looks like Anwar and he show his friend the picture to compare.
Are we going to see Egyptians in the streets defensing their hero soon or is Iran was the reason not the movie.

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March 30th, 2009, 2:38 am

 

40. Shai said:

Yossi,

Glad to hear you’re “suffering” in Eilat… :-)

One of the major obstacles to getting a chance at any transformation of the “resistance” is the deep rift between Hamas and Fatah. I agree with you that this latest operation may have sealed the fate of Gaza, at least for a while. This is not good news for the Palestinians, because no Fatah leader can deliver while Hamas keeps lobbing rockets. They must mend their differences, and unite.

Otherwise the whole world will, for purposes of practicality, give up on a Palestinian state that includes Gaza, and instead push Israel to close a deal with Fatah. There will de facto be two Palestines, but one will remain under Israeli rule.

In this current state of limbo, the only winners are Netanyahu, Lieberman, and the Settlers. A major change in paradigm is required.

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March 30th, 2009, 6:10 am

 

41. Akbar Palace said:

If the Palestinians stopped this silly “resistance” mentality and moved to a civil-right movement we’ll be living in one democratic state soon, and this is something that AP acknowledged after his last visit to Israel, so he’s not as rigid as I thought before.

Yossi,

Thanks for saying I’m “not as rigid as [you] thought before”. I tend to believe that. There are Israelis much more to the RIGHT of my political leanings, and there are Israelis much more to the LEFT. I tend to believe my POV is about “in the middle”.

Also, I agree with your statement about the “resistance mentality”, and frankly, I think your buddy Shai just as “rigid” in his anti-Israel views as the “resistance mentality”.

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March 30th, 2009, 11:58 am

 

42. Frigga said:

Well, I did not have the courage to read all the comments, but it was striking that a honest resistance fighter for justice and peace has been compared to Churchill, a cynic western and colonial man in power, who never had risked his life for anybody. he was for anglo-american supremacy and did not hesitate to kill millions of people just to win the horrible game “Worldwar II” As the late Soviet Union ask to stop the war in 1943 he said that it would be good that the Communists and the Germans kill each other and was against the end of war in 1943 (have a look to the released documents of the Kremlin) There would have been millions of people saved! He has to be compared with the cynic israeli players. The real terrorists sit in comfortable fauteuils drink champaign and smoke cigars on the expenses of the people and hide themselves behind the master devil Hitler. Did you realise that each person in power, which does not join the gang of the superconspirators is immediately stigmatized as Hitler? Those children of Hitler need the father to hide succesful behind him. The real war on terror should be made by the civil society to end the reign of the unscrupulous western leaders who kill millions of innocent people just to remain in power and to steal land and property to the rest of the world. Why should we accept such a barbarity, such inhuman power? The civilised world is not the Occident but the rest of the world. As a western human being I am ashamed of the neverending crimes of our civilsation. We are the most morally corrupt people in the world with the biggest power of strike ! It seems that the only field in which we excel is aggression against weaker adversaries. At first we weaken the adversaries with harsh sanctions and then we strike. A very noble game! And Israel is seeing itself as a western civilisation. especially the leaders. our leaders are not only brutal but also coward!
Since centuries we destroy other civilisations in order to dominate and exploit them. we have never stopped killing and stealing. This must come to an end!

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August 1st, 2009, 4:40 pm

 

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