“Merchant of Death” and “Flash Back” by Steven Barbar

This post included two short essays written by Steven Barbar. I have edited them slightly. Here is the email note Mr. Barbar included with his stories.

Dr. Jishwa Landis

It was a pleasure talking to you over the phone the other day. In reference to our conversation, Pls find attached few of my writing, feelings and impressions after 40 years of absence from my home town Damascus. I stayed all that period in USA. Now, I am half American, half Syrian and lost between these two halves. My dream is to bridge the gap between the ordinary people both in America and Syria.

Best Regards,
Steven Barbar

Merchant of Death
by Steven Barbar
Syria Comment, Saturday 29 August 2009

Abu Samer is a middle aged, well to do business man who trawls the lower depths of Damascus’ less fortunate neighborhoods. He looks for young men and women who are facing hard times. There is money to be made from misfortune.

Damascus, although it seems isolated from the neighboring turmoil, is not. Dark undercurrents connect it to the violence in Iraq and Lebanon. These undercurrents are veins of gold for Abu Samer, who mines them for a fast buck.

Everywhere you look, you see dark faces shrouded with pain. Often they conceal hearts that are aimless and confused. They belong to people in need, but who often do not know what they are looking for or that they may end up as chopped meat in a car bomb that explodes near a sidewalk café.

Two years ago I met one such unfortunate sole. His name was Mohammed, he made a fast five thousand USD, paid his family’s debt, and provided them airfare to Australia. He went to Iraq and blew himself up, killing several Americans along with himself. Now he is a martyr and lives in heaven with seventy virgins.

It all began in my neighborhood barber shop; Mohammed was the handyman and apprentice. He swept up the hair from under the chairs, carried tea, and did what he was told. Ahmed was cutting my hair. Abu Samer was in a very heavy conversation with Mohammed about job opportunities in Syria.
Mohammed was a newcomer to Damascus. He had come from southern Lebanon. It was only shortly following the showdown between Israel and Hezbollah, which had left his region in ruins. Everything he heard from Abu Samer sounded like sugar and spice to him.

At the end of their conversation, they shook hands. Abu Samer got up, pushed a bill into Mohammed’s hand after paying for his haircut, and left. Mohammed was on cloud nine. He told me that he would be working on the trucking line between Damascus and Baghdad; supplying humanitarian items to the many victims of the American invasion.

Abu Samer gave him the business card of a real estate office in the neighborhood; it was run by a man called Abu Shaker whom I knew very well. I asked him if I could come along, he said it was OK.
A few days later Abu Shaker came back from an out of town trip. We met at his office. It was a huge store front with big chairs lined up against the walls.

A young boy was serving tea. A couple of girls were talking to him and on the other side some young men were involved in a heavy conversation about how to run the aggressors out of Iraq.
Abu Shaker waved to us, “I will be a couple of minutes.” he said. Bidding goodbye to the girls, he gave them a small paper with an address and a word of recommendation. “Ask for Um Hassan. She will take good care of you,” He told them.

Later on, I found out she was the biggest madam in town.

I admit, sometimes I stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. For instance how do you explain the big foreign cars that park and double park in front of the office every day? Better yet his own car is an oversize, late model BMW, with a Saudi license plate. It is fit for a king.

Finally he joined us. Sipping tea, and smoking non-filter cigarettes, he flashed his brown teeth when he smiled.

“Abu Samer told me everything I need to know. I want you to meet a very good friend of mine. He owns a big trucking company. He will take good care of you. There is plenty of money so you won’t be poor again.” Abu Shaker told Mohammed, “You will be travelling to Beirut, Amman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, you name it, so be ready for a life full of adventure.”

He turned to me asking if I needed to work. I made sure that he didn’t know about me being an American; it would have created a lot of problems for me, Mohammed and Ahmed the barber. I thanked Abu Shaker and told him that I would be back some time soon.

The following day Mohammed went to Amman, he became a porter and a handyman on a big rig. His family facing the hardship of the recent showdown with Israel decided to move away from it all, all the way to Australia.

A month later I went back home to the US. One day I received a letter from my nephew with a newspaper clipping in it that mourned the death of the martyr Mohammed who was blown up along with six American marines and their Humvee.

Seven distraught families will thank you Abu Samer and Abu Shaker.

It is common sense and supply and demand. When the decision was made that Saddam Hussein had to be removed to keep the world safe, Mr. Bush opened a can of worms.

While the Americans advanced on Baghdad, Saddam’s armies were running in the other direction with loads of arms and weapons. They all crossed the borders towards Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
They are now finding their way back to Iraq, igniting all kinds of ethnic strife. It provides a booming business for Abu Shaker and his ilk, who can fulfill the dreams of some and nightmares of others. There is money to be made from misfortune. The death of six marines paid for a new life for Mohammed’s family. Perhaps President Bush was correct when he insisted that the US military could drain the swamp of Middle Eastern misery?

Flash Back

A New York City morning is one of the darkest and coldest of all the world city mornings.

It was about seven. A lot of people were rushing to work; they were not completely awake.

I was scheduled to have an MRI test that morning to determine the advance of my lymphoma and to plan a treatment that could make it or break it.

The statue of Liberty stood on the other side of the Harbor greeting new comers. The state island is freely crossing the icy waters of the east river. A coffee vendor was brewing his potion to help people overcome the hardship of the day.

I was standing right there in the middle of it watching life all around me wondering what I will come of my own.

I was diagnosed with CNS Lymphoma (Central Nerves System) which could be quiet deadly. It looks like I got from my own mother. She died when I was only twelve with the same disease.

I was on the ninth floor in the Dazian building of New York Beth Israel Hospital. They call it “Death Pavilion” because it is assigned for the terminally ill cancer patients.

Nurse Jane showed up. She just started her shift.

“Good morning how was your night? I hope you feel better,” she said while tucking me in.

“Sorry, no coffee for you this morning because you have a big test and I have orders , no food or drink until all is over” .

I smiled at he but I was still disappointed. I really needed a good cup of coffee that morning.

She checked all my vital signs . She wrote some notes on my chart. She smiled “I will be back ” she said taping my cheeks gently .

A short while after, a team of doctors came in and asked me how I felt. They looked at my chart and wished me luck with the MRI.

One of them was a medical student from my home town , Damascus -Syria . He joked with me in Arabic in order to shock them. I laid back, frustrated, angry, and desperate. I really did not want to die

“Ready old man?” Nurse Jane proclaimed cheerfully as she walked in. “I have decided to wheel you in there myself” She said with a big assuring smile on her face.

The transport team plopped me into a wheelchair, and she pushed me down the hallway. She greeted everybody with her nice personality as we proceeded down the hallway, which I admired very much.

As a matter of a fact, I really had a crash on her. She was short and fat, but she was beautiful both on the inside and out. We Middle Eastern men are accustomed to look at American women as sex objects. But after being with them for a while, you come to realize that they just as human beings, as you are, trying to get by .

We went to the radiation section on the third floor. A team of doctors and technicians were waiting for me. I was undressed covered with sheets. I was put on a stretcher and pushed into the MIR room.

Everybody was very pleasant. They knew what to do which boosted my spirits in a way. One of the doctors was my Syrian Friend. He shook my hand and told me he was praying for me, I held his and thanked him for taking care of me and his concern.

Finally, it was time to fix me up for the test. They laid me outand took the necessary measurements to push in and out with light beams marking my body’s objects of interest. Then it was rock and roll.

Everybody left the room. lights were dimed. A big cylinder started to rotate on top of me. I was sliding in a tube that felt like being in a coffin. It was very noisy and loud. Suddenly there was a strong vibration and a termer that felt like explosions. Lights flashed from all directions accompanied with violent shakes. It was very hot and humid. I started to sweat , then , I was somewhere else back in time and place .

On a very early day of June some 40 years ago, I was stationed on top of a hill overlooking the Golan Heights and the occupied Palestine when we were caught with our pants down.

The Israeli forces surprised us. They went up in the air. They took over the skies and the rest was history. We lost that battle. It was part of a never ending story that goes on for millenniums.

As suddenly as it started, I came back to reality. Everything came to a sudden stop. I was wet, trembling, and terrified. They pulled me out and comforted me. “Are you Ok? They asked. “I am OK,” I reassured them. I just had a flash back of something from my past. I told them about how I had served in the Six Day War and that it sometimes had a psycho effect on me when I would have flashbacks. They listened in amazement.

They were all like clay statues. Then one of them stepped forward and said: “I am Dr. Bernstein, chief oncologist. Can you tell me exactly where you were during the war? I told him that I was on foot hills of Mount Harmon near a town called Banias.

He smiled and said:” Do you mean that you were on “Tal 63″. To my surprise, it was the secret military code name of my location. I asked what his unit was since he knew mine. I assumed that he was one of us.

“I was not there. But I was there.” He answered pointing his finger upward to the sky.

Suddenly it dawned on me that he was an Israeli.

I stood up hot, wet and naked in front of everyone and rammed my hand toward him,” you son of bitch. You were shooting at me,” I exclaimed.

“Obviously, I wasn’t aiming too well.” he answered.

In a state of shock, I opened my arms; we hugged for a long time.

Everybody around up clapped their hands with tears of relief in their eyes. Since then, we have become fast friends. What a strange world …

The End

Comments (100)


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51. Shai said:

Dear Alex,

I hail your patience, and your tremendous drive to calmly, thoughtfully communicate also with people that are clearly extremist in their views. It is almost shocking to read some of those comments on the WSJ article.

Look at the absurd – as parents, we wouldn’t let our child utter 1/10th of the ignorant, hateful language some of those adult commentators used and yet, as leaders or as members of society, we let such things go by daily, without saying a word. We sin, as a society, when we remain silent not only to physical belligerency, but also to the verbal one. At times, the latter is far more powerful. It recruits quietly, more convincingly, especially when no counter-arguments are given.

More of us should be there alongside you, Alex.

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September 2nd, 2009, 6:51 am

 

52. Shami said:

Dear Jad,

What can i do ? Hassoun the mufti of Bashar,used to attack the christians and jews in the most stupid manner in his mosque in Aleppo.

Trustquest,many thanks for the link.

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September 2nd, 2009, 11:10 am

 

53. Akbar Palace said:

Congratulations to Rima Salha and Al Arabiya. This is the type of “change” much needed in the Middle East:

The show is called “Death Making” in Arabic, hardly the way Al Qaeda probably wants itself described.

But that is how the powerful pan-Arabic satellite channel Al Arabiya casts the terror organization and its foot soldiers in its popular television program.

Hosted by female correspondent Rima Salha, the Dubai-based show is heading into its third year on Al Arabiya and aims to influence how the Arab world views Al Qaeda.

Video: Click here for more on “Death Making.”

“As we know, there are lots of Muslims who are brainwashed so they believe in terrorism but there are also big sections of Muslims who sympathize with terrorists,” says Salha. “We are targeting those people and trying to explain to them that terrorism is not a good thing.”

It is a unique program that lets jihadists tell their stories, and then shows the results of their actions.

“It’s not enough to tell you that Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization. You have to understand why, what it means, how everything works, and what the end goal is for them,” Al Arabia’s general manager Abdul Rahman al-Rashed explains.

For her work, Salha, who is Lebanese, gets death threats, including when Osama bin Laden’s number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, singled the show and Al Arabiya out, by weaving video of both into one of his multi-media diatribes against mass media.

Al Rashed said that the video made “a lot of problems for Al Qaeda,” because “they have different factions within Al Qaeda.”

“There are a lot of programs debating the issue of terrorism, a lot of debating,” says al Rashed. “But this is the only program with field trips, with special footage, with a lot of revelations in it.”

Despite the threats, Salah is undeterred. She goes to the jihadists, where they are: in refugee camps off limits even to security forces and to Iraq. She and her team convince subjects to talk to them. It’s not easy, but some of these militants apparently think they stand to benefit from a bit of publicity.

She’s interviewed the family of the late leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musab al Zarqawi and Kamal Habib who was one of the organizers of the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Habib has since renounced violence and went on Salha’s show critical of his old associate al Zawahiri’s continued use of violence.

The topic of terrorism is so hot that Salha gets attacked from all sides.

“They accuse me of fighting jihad, they accuse me of destroying the image of Islam. This is not true. We are not distorting the image of Islam,” says Salha. “The program is just trying to show some facts about terrorism and these so-called jihadists. Of course I receive threats on a regular basis, but that does not prevent me from doing my mission.”

Peter Neumann, Author of “Old and New Terrorism” and the director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College says the fact that “Death Making” airs on an Arab television station is significant.

“From that point of view this is a very positive development which is likely to have an impact and further undermine the credibility and legitimacy of organizations like Al Qaeda,” says Neuman.

“We also, n the show, highlighted victims of terrorism, and when I say victims, I also include the terrorists themselves and their family because they are also victims of brainwashing and radical views,” says Salha.

She says though the name of the program is “Death Making,” she hopes its effect is ultimately the opposite.

“We also target youngsters and the aim of the program, and I said, is to help try to get these poor people get over these radical views.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,545403,00.html?test=latestnews#

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September 2nd, 2009, 11:56 am

 

54. Shai said:

Akbar,

While it is certainly encouraging to see Arabs working within, trying to persuade youngsters not to blow themselves up, I can’t help but feel a slight sense of hypocrisy emanating from your comment above. The call for reform should come, but shouldn’t you first encourage the same amongst “your own”? For instance, don’t you think there are too many Settler youth who are growing violent (towards the Palestinians in the Territories), and someone should address them, as Rima Salha addresses potentially violent Arabs?

Clearly someone identified as a “liberal” or “Leftist” can’t do it. He/she would not be welcomed in any Settler forum. But someone like you, might. Can you see yourself participating in such a mission? When it comes to the same “Jihadists” and their feelings towards Israel, certainly one of the main things that fuels their anger and hatred is what they hear and see happening by Settlers against their brethren. Shouldn’t we do something about that?

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September 2nd, 2009, 12:18 pm

 

55. Akbar Palace said:

…there are too many Settler youth who are growing violent (towards the Palestinians in the Territories), and someone should address them, as Rima Salha addresses potentially violent Arabs?

Shai,

Do you have any statistics showing there are “too many Settler youth who are growing violent”? I’m certain there have been violent incidents againsts Arabs in Israel, and that is very unfortunate. I don’t know at this point how many Arabs have been injured or killed by Israelis. I also don’t know how many Israelis have been hurt by Arabs. But yes, reducing violence by addressing the phenomenon in the classroom, for example, is a great idea.

Clearly someone identified as a “liberal” or “Leftist” can’t do it. He/she would not be welcomed in any Settler forum. But someone like you, might.

I agree. A “liberal/Leftist” is know to turn a blind eye toward Arab violence. Therefore, they are usually mistrusted.

Can you see yourself participating in such a mission?

Yes. If I had the time and money, I would enjoy speaking to Arab and Jewish youth about the evils of violence.

When it comes to the same “Jihadists” and their feelings towards Israel, certainly one of the main things that fuels their anger and hatred is what they hear and see happening by Settlers against their brethren.

This is a myth Shai, but you can try to sell it for all its worth, especially here on Syria Comment.

Actually, the Palestinians in the West Bank have curbed violence against Israel over the past few years. I think part of that is the wall and part of that is Abbas. I wish there was a way to congratulate him and the PA. That is why I hope talks can continue soon between the PA and Israel. There are no settlers in Gaza, yet this is the source of most of the violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Secondly, a few Arab-Israelis have been arrested by aiding terrorist organizations. Though this is not violent, it has the potential of placing Israelis in danger. I think educating Arabs against treason is also in short order.

Shouldn’t we do something about that?

We should do something about all these issues, not just the one you’re focused on.

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September 2nd, 2009, 12:59 pm

 

56. trustquest said:

Akbar Palace

Another Merchant Death Story!
The pursuit of education: http://thestory.org/archive/
Hear the story above and look at Mike’s business: http://www.notawear.com/
Here is Mike photo work: http://www.muslimselfportrait.info/?p=349

What you think?, do you think there is a change in attitude in some Palestinians circles towards Israel, if yes when do you think will see Israelis realize that pain is a common dominator between both?

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September 2nd, 2009, 1:57 pm

 

57. Akbar Palace said:

What you think?, do you think there is a change in attitude in some Palestinians circles towards Israel, if yes when do you think will see Israelis realize that pain is a common dominator between both?

Truthquest,

I can appreciate a moderate Arab’s concern and frustration about being labelled a “terrorist” because of his accent, his appearance and perhaps his last name. Especially in Israel and the United States. These are difficult times, and people are suspicious. Arabs were so suspicious of (and violent against) Jews, Jews had to leave Arab countries permanantly after living hundreds of years with Arabs.

Similarly, Jews have been labelled as outsiders in other countries throughout the ages. We know how you feel.

I met a Syrian-American who (I think) over-compensated for this by wearing Tee-Shirts with American flags and bringing deserts to work for the employees. I suggest that if anyone is concerned about their heritage and the labels they may inflict, they do their best to interact with their peers and actually explain how they aren’t a threat to the country they are living in. A little patriotism wouldn’t hurt either. I think this is all we can do.

Supporting terrorists, like many do on this website, probably doesn’t help.

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September 2nd, 2009, 3:05 pm

 

58. Shai said:

Akbar,

“We should do something about all these issues, not just the one you’re focused on.”

But that’s exactly the point. We CAN’T do something about all these issues, we can only do something (hopefully more than something) about issues that are closer to us. Just as Rima Salha can’t go talk to Settlers in Efrat, you also cannot go talk to potential suicide-bombers in refugee camps throughout our region.

So each side needs to do what it can, to eradicate violence, to denounce it as a legitimate means of communication or of struggle. Given that you accept that we “liberal Leftists” are mistrusted by your Settler friends (you said it, not me), are you willing to engage in changing the violent nature of our (your) side? Regardless of numbers of instances (though clearly we’re not talking about “isolated incidences”, and I think you know that), certainly most cases occur by “your side” (supporters of the Occupation) than by “my side”. What are you willing to do to help end it?

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September 2nd, 2009, 3:12 pm

 

59. jad said:

Shami,
From what you wrote (if that is true of Moufti Hassoun used to curse Christians and Jews)we should be very thankful and praise the president for changing this man to what he is right now and what he represent, since he is widely seen as a balance, open minded and well spoken Moufti for the Syrians’ unity and Syrians’ equality.
In that case you should be happy and support the president effort in changing the hate mindset of some clergy we have since you always write that you are with such movement (although I’m not convinced that you are, Sorry!).
See you in Sednaya resort ;)

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September 2nd, 2009, 3:38 pm

 

60. Akbar Palace said:

Just as Rima Salha can’t go talk to Settlers in Efrat, you also cannot go talk to potential suicide-bombers in refugee camps throughout our region.

Shai,

True. I was thinking about what Israelis can do about Israelis. There are many Jewish Israelis and there are many Arab Israelis, and both should attend some sort of “sensitivity training” while in school. Whether that’s in Tel Aviv, Efrat, Umm-al-Fahem, or Ashdod.

I also think all Israeli citizens should participate in required national service (including dosim and aravim).

At this point, I’m only prepared to voice my opinions;)

Shai,

FYI I found this. Perhaps there is something similar in Syria or Lebanon:

http://www.rabincenter.org.il/English/EducationalActivities/EducationalPrograms/Pages/SensitivityTrainingforSecurityForces.aspx

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September 2nd, 2009, 4:10 pm

 

61. Shami said:

Jad,it’s true and it was not long time ago,few months before he became mufti,he is a comedian and very hypocrit ,as you know ,in this system all people are comedians and at the level that they even lie to themselves.
Hassoun still insults the jews(not only the zionists) and then some days after go to Europe for meeting with the great Rabbi of bani sahyun.

I respect Patriach Hazim more than any of these Shyoukh.

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September 2nd, 2009, 4:32 pm

 

62. jad said:

“A little patriotism wouldn’t hurt either. I think this is all we can do.”
I’m not a patriot if I don’t ware a T Shirt with the American flag on or an underwear with the face of Bush printed on the butt or eat ‘Freedom Fries”..
That is the funniest thing I read after Palin especially from someone who puts Israel’s interest before his own!? Hypocrite.

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September 2nd, 2009, 4:33 pm

 

63. Shami said:

See you in Sednaya resort ;)

ok avec plaisir ,but how would i recognize you ?

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September 2nd, 2009, 4:45 pm

 

64. jad said:

Shami,
What you wrote lead us to the conclusion that in fact the President by appointing Moufti Hassoun, he actually changed the man from the hatred person you wrote he was to a good Muslim figure that all Syrians can appreciate his tolerance message (fake or not) needed to unit Syrians instead of having someone with the same language you use sometimes that divide us into sects and tribes of believers and infidels.
Our society needs those people, we have lots and lots of radicals and sectarians that even ‘hypocrites’ as you described them are very important to exist since they will make some balance in the society.

(ok avec plaisir ,but how would i recognize you ?) I’ll be the sfour one! :)

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September 2nd, 2009, 4:58 pm

 

65. Shami said:

I disagree Jad ,the syrians used to live together in the same street for centuries and it’s only now after more than 40 years of baath regime that you fear the sectarians and radicals ,in fact your people ?.radicals and sectarians are a mini minority in Syria.

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September 2nd, 2009, 5:16 pm

 

66. jad said:

Radicals were and are and will always be in the society with or without Baath and they didn’t come after 40 years they were in from the beginning of humanity so don’t write me your usual lecture about this issue its SO BORING and fruitless especially in your case, we have plenty of experience and proves allover SC, cut it out.
My point was about the religious teaching on public TV that spreads HATE and INTOLERANCE and you came back with ‘what to do?’ answer and start a personal attack on one of the very few balanced and tolerated Islamic figures in Syria, even in the Arab world as being hypocrite and comedian. Mr. Hassoun guilt is that the President choose him nothing more nothing less, so this whole charred is just out of personal issues against the president not the Moufti and it wasn’t out of principles was it?

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September 2nd, 2009, 5:50 pm

 

67. Shami said:

Comedian,Hypocrit and also corrupt.i forgot it.

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September 2nd, 2009, 6:18 pm

 

68. Shami said:

anyway jad ,mabrouk for this friendship at least in Saydnaya ,thank to this you will have a better fate than me,if you go in the same category than norman and alex,we risk to miss each other.

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September 2nd, 2009, 6:27 pm

 

69. Jad said:

LOL, don’t worry, I won’t be better than you are, maybe worse, it all depends on the cell we will be thrown in.

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September 2nd, 2009, 6:51 pm

 

70. Shami said:

i see ,it seems that you prefer palmyra resort.

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September 2nd, 2009, 7:24 pm

 

71. jad said:

Shami,
I know that you LOVE Al Bouti, get this:
He thinks that Polygamy is part of the solution for the high numbers of women not getting married??
“وهي جزء من الحل لكثرة العنوسة في الزمن الحالي منتقدا بعض الاصوات التي تنادي بأن التعدد هو ظلم للزوجة وهو نوع من انواع هضم حق المرأة في الاسلام متساءلا ان كان هذا هضم لحق المرأة فلماذا ترضى به ولماذا تكون في اغلب الاحيان سعيدة به؟؟”
How good this advise is in a time where we already hit the wall and we will be 90millions in a decade or two?
For god sake tell your friends not to mix religion rules with everything it destroy it.
http://all4syria.info/content/view/13549/64/

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September 2nd, 2009, 10:38 pm

 

72. norman said:

Hi alex,

I read what you wrote in the WSJ , I admire you cool head and focused debate , you are one of the best that Syria has , (( did not want others to get upset if i said that you are the best ))

And I am not exaggerating.

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September 3rd, 2009, 3:21 am

 

73. Off the Wall said:

Alex
Me too. I second Norman’s. In fact these scoundrels are basically hurting the cause of democracy not only in Syria, but everywhere where democratic reforms are much needed. There utter misunderstanding of what the word means and clueless parroting of jingoistic slogans is but a testimony to how far the right has sunk and how far it is sinking the intellectual rigor of my beloved US.

I was tempted to jump in and give them a piece of my mind but they were only saved by the bell as I had a meeting with a student.

Notwithstanding whether I agree, partially, fully, or not at all, with the Syrian posters on that exchange, the empty heads should have been told how privileged they were to have two outstanding Syrians even give them an iota of time. With your patience, I gather Syria now has its Ghandi, where is Shai? he would be happy :)

One thing though, I was happy to realize, after being absent from blogs other than SC for a while, that the majority of our interlocutors on SC, such as AP and Amir, have much more true intellectual depth than the empty cans you had to deal with on WSJ. This is good, SC is home where opinionated people come for clash of opinions and ideas, but with true commitment to debating. You have a lot to do with that. Thank you.

AP
I also think all Israeli citizens should participate in required national service (including dosim and aravim).

This is huge, I have one question though, which one would be easier, the dosim or the aravim ;)

Also, I truly hope you do not subscribe to this idea of service:

http://www.ynet.co.il/Ext/App/TalkBack/CdaViewOpenTalkBack/1,11382,L-692848-3,00.html

For if such an idea was even mentioned here in the states, you would be the first one to fight against it. By the way, I do not doubt the sincerity of the author, for the article’s sincerity is clear. But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intention.

Norman
He is the best

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September 3rd, 2009, 5:19 am

 

74. Off the Wall said:

Dear room-mate Jad, and neighbor Shami
Monogamy or Polygamy, there are no conjugal visits in the resort.

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September 3rd, 2009, 5:26 am

 

75. alex said:

Norman, off the wall, Shai

Thank you all, you are so kind. as OTW said, practically anyone from SC can outshine the whole group of commentators on the WSJ.

What is sad is that these highly opinionated, yet clearly uninformed people are representative of large numbers of American voters… voters who can potentially elect another George Bush who has no clue how to lead the world.

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September 3rd, 2009, 6:18 am

 

76. Shai said:

Dear OTW,

If Alex is ready to be Gandhi, I’ll be his first follower!

Yeah, I also thought it was a bit “funny” to give a soldier’s voice greater representation in the Israel Knesset, based solely on the fact that he served in an army.

My eldest has just started 1st grade, and a few weeks beforehand a Psychologist came to see all the kids who were finishing kindergarten. Some parents asked about discipline in school, how it will be different from kindergarten. The Psychologist stressed that it will be very different, because “afterwards” (12 years from now), they’ll all be expected to receive orders in the army. Ya’ani, if we didn’t have the army (mandatory service), then like in a normal society our kids may be able to grow up with slightly “less obedience”. But since we’re a nation-at-war, for over 60 years now, we have to adjust accordingly.

I won’t share everything I told this Psychologist (who also had good intentions I’m sure), but my first statement was: “Are you suggesting we should look at our 6 year olds as soldiers already now?”… Yep.

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September 3rd, 2009, 6:21 am

 

77. Shai said:

Alex,

Not potentially, they DID elect GWB. Twice!…

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September 3rd, 2009, 6:22 am

 

78. Off the Wall said:

Dear Alex
I beg to differ with you, I would have ridiculed each and every one on that site and told them that their ideas are not worth the band width and the disk space they consume. But then, you are the Gandhi, and Shai and I are ready to follow.

Dear Shai
It has been a while since I had the opportunity to direct any of my comments your way. The story you told is both sad and encouraging. Sad in the sense that no matter where you look, the first victims of any war are the children. If not robbed their lives, or their loved ones, they are robbed of their right to grow up without fear and hate. The story is encouraging for there was someone to confront the Psychologist. Thank you for standing for the rights of children and for childhood.

That said, Some of my friends and colleagues have served in various capacities in the Israeli army. A colleague of mine was a high ranking officer in the Israeli air force. Having talked to them, some at length and some briefly, I have come to a conclusion that Israel’s birth as a communal nation has had a tremendous impact on her relationship with her army. Like any communal community, the concept of citizen-soldier was rather strong and it may remain strong even after peace with all of your neighbors has been achieved. Much of the national pride hangs on the strength of the army, or on the image of invincibility, and much of the state’s own policies are based on the reliance on the perception of the asymmetric deterrence capacity of that army. These are addictive thoughts and feelings, and I doubt that citizens or politicians will be willing to forgo the sense of security such notions provide. An added complexity is that the army, structured more on the National Guard model than on the regular army model in the US is also an integral component of the country’s economy and has been the incubator of much of the recent techonological revolution the country has witnessed in term of military industry, and the subsequent proliferation into civilian domain. Is it possible that even after peace, and after the communal birth is long gone and the socialist flavor of the nation is replaced by a capitalist economy, child psychologists will continue to prepare children to become soldiers first, and whatever they wish, second for a while. I really think that being a nation at war for 60 years is not the only reason for that elementary school conversation.

Once more, my conclusion are based on a very small sample, and on reading about the early stages of immigration and of Israel’s establishment. Much of it was either overly demonized on one side, or overly romanticized on the other. In brief, there is a high probability of me being wrong.

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September 3rd, 2009, 8:29 am

 

79. Shai said:

Dear OTW,

You are more right than you know. Indeed almost everything in Israel is interlinked with the Army experience. It is true that much of our national pride stems from having served our nation. We grow up learning about how difficult it was for Jews to establish a state of their own, but it is only when you finally put on uniform, and put aside 3 years of your life, that you begin to understand what some of those difficulties were. For many, myself included, the service and the subsequent (many years) of reserve duty have also taught us how our freedom has come at someone else’s expense.

I have no doubt that my army service helped make me more patriotic. But while I came intimately close with some of our struggles, and took part in them, I also became angry at the way in which my nation is using our military and its manpower to protect itself. I was fortunate enough never to participate in “Operations” such as Lebanon 2006 or Gaza 2008/9, but in my army service I did experience day-to-day life of Palestinians in their Territories, from Gaza to Tulkarm, to Nablus and Jenin. I’ve seen the faces of these poor people, and their living conditions. I’ve felt what it is like to be a soldier in a conquering army, and I also knew that I was stopping no hatred towards Israel by controlling the Palestinian peoples’ fate in my hands. Instead, I was creating it.

Can the Army serve conflicting roles in shaping an Israeli’s view of his nation? Of course. I am proud of my country, and very angry at the same time. I hail the military achievements of some of our leaders, that at various points in our history protected us from potential annihilation, and I condemn other “achievements” that have brought pain and suffering upon 4 million people that have never deserved it. Many conservative-minded Jews, especially in the U.S. but also in Israel, cannot understand how an Israeli can be patriotic and so critical of his nation at the same time. For me, I cannot understand how anyone can care about their nation, and remain so blind, or so silent, for so long.

But with everything that the Israeli Army has brought us, I still long for the day that my children will not understand what it is that we had to do. Only then will I know that their future is safe.

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September 3rd, 2009, 10:45 am

 

80. Akbar Palace said:

What is sad is that these highly opinionated, yet clearly uninformed people are representative of large numbers of American voters… voters who can potentially elect another George Bush who has no clue how to lead the world.

Alex,

I contend that Americans (in general) are more informed than Syrians.

Considering the availability of the internet and the free media, I don’t think there is any question about it.

Americans have elected the likes of GWB, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They are all quite different and they represent the what Americans thought was best at the time.

I consider myself extremely informed, and I voted for GWB twice;)

OTW,

I didn’t quite understand the point of your last comment to me or the link you pointed to. I don’t see any problem with demographics as long as Israel maintains the rule of law. Both Arabs and Jews must be treated equally no matter who is in the majority. That most Israeli Arabs want to stay in Israel instead of being given to the PA already speaks volumes. Israel is the better government. Period.

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September 3rd, 2009, 11:21 am

 

81. Shai said:

Akbar,

The fact that Israeli-Arabs prefer to stay in Israel than to be “given to the PA” does not necessarily say anything about their treatment within Israel. It says they want to stay in their homes, not to be transferred against their will elsewhere. The fact that someone has even brought up the horrific notion of transferring Arabs out of their homes is bad enough, but think of the legitimacy you’re giving this illegal and racist idea by even discussing it.

If you had asked black Americans in Alabama in the 1950′s if they would prefer “being given” to Liberia, I imagine most would have chosen to stay. But does that in any way whatsoever allude to their treatment by white Americans in those days?

We must be careful in the way we deduce things.

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September 3rd, 2009, 11:48 am

 

82. SimoHurtta said:

The Psychologist stressed that it will be very different, because “afterwards” (12 years from now), they’ll all be expected to receive orders in the army. Ya’ani, if we didn’t have the army (mandatory service), then like in a normal society our kids may be able to grow up with slightly “less obedience”. But since we’re a nation-at-war, for over 60 years now, we have to adjust accordingly.

Shai if Israel develops in the way it has developed during the last years soon your children will have “Lieberman Youth” and “Schutzstaffel of Zion”.

‘Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies’

Statement from the Beit Din of the Sanhedrin to the People of Israel and to the Seventy Nations
AFTER THE SPEECHES

The Land of Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile cannot contain nations or groups, nor even individuals, who openly oppose the exclusivity of the Land of Israel as promised to the people of Israel, and those who do not accept the Noachide laws, which means to set up proper courts of law, to abstain from murder and theft, to instill proper moral beliefs, and to observe the laws of sexual propriety.

We believe and know that very soon as a result of the struggle over Jerusalem, the land will contain tens of millions of Jews, if not more: “Who can count the dust of Jacob”, all of those Jews who had been dispersed throughout the world, all descendants of the Jewish people, remainders of the Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin and Levi.

The world anticipates the imminent return of the lost tribes of Israel, returning to the faith of their fathers and the everlasting peace between Efraim and Judea and the establishment of the House of David. The Jewish descendants will find their place within the promised borders.

Nations or states who demand or maintain a false sovereignty in the area designated for the Jewish people live there unlawfully, in a land that is not theirs, and will be ultimately forced to relinquish their hold, either voluntarily or under duress.

The “mental climate” in Israel is becomming more and more worrisam.

—–

Akbar are you a “missing person” and a “strategic national threat” (= ‘abducted’ by intermarriage)?
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1111929.html

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September 3rd, 2009, 12:38 pm

 

83. Shai said:

Simo,

I agree with you – the future of our children is indeed unclear. Our real battle isn’t with enemies outside, it is within. Aside from racism towards Arabs, and a society that was formed on feelings of paranoia (which later translated into fear, suspicion, and hatred), there exists a great rift between people who are pro-Occupation, and those against it.

I’ve used the example in the past, saying the Occupation is Israel’s Slavery, and it seems we’re headed straight for 1861. I hope I’m wrong.

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September 3rd, 2009, 2:51 pm

 

84. Akbar Palace said:

We must be careful in the way we deduce things.

Shai,

We must also be careful not to exaggerate and present misleading information.

Therefore, when you state:

It says they want to stay in their homes, not to be transferred against their will elsewhere. The fact that someone has even brought up the horrific notion of transferring Arabs out of their homes is bad enough, but think of the legitimacy you’re giving this illegal and racist idea by even discussing it.

You ought to pinch yourself. I have not heard ANYTHING abot “transfer” nor have I heard anything about being thrown out of “their homes”.

The only thing I’ve heard is that the Israeli border would be re-drawn to exclude Arab villages and that these villages would be incorporated into Palestine.

Isn’t that what the Palestinians want? More land?

The fact that you interpret this as the big bad racist Israeli government throwing poor Arabs out of their homes is contrafactual and offensive (though this is your standard MO as you compare this to Alabama and Liberia, as if there is a correlation).

The issue is 2 states. One Arab and One Jewish and what the borders will be.

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September 3rd, 2009, 4:12 pm

 

85. Yossi said:

OTW, (Shai),

The army is intertwined with civilian life in Israel in many and diverse ways, but I want to talk about the point OTW was raising, that of a communal society. Israel indeed started as a very cohesive society of Ashkenazi Jews who shared the same vision and had to work together to achieve it, in the face of great perils. There was very little room for individualism, and many were ideologically socialist or communist. Over time, especially with the immigration of Mizrahi and then Russian Jews, and with privatization and globalization of the economy, and the removal of most existential threats, the society became much less cohesive but the notion of “serving” the country is still very much ingrained in the country’s DNA. Moreover, the state as an entity has a level of trust and adoration that is not common in other countries, and people are looking to the state to solve their problems (“why isn’t the government doing this? Why isn’t the government doing that?”) instead of getting off the butts and doing stuff themselves, as is common in the US which has a very strong individualistic tradition. Another aspect of that is that local government is extremely weak. We all know that most Israelis also view the termination of the state as implying immediately the termination of their lives, or their lives in Israel/Palestine.

So, less about volunteering to the military per se, the concept of serving the country is extremely appreciated and this can be seen in all of the loyalty proposals from Lieberman et al. Indeed, many of them are straight Arab haters, but most Israelis are genuinely looking for the Arabs (and the Orthodox) to join the collective by serving, not necessarily in the army, but for example in their own communities. A soldier-teacher (a soldier whose “army job” is to teach kids in remote towns) is not considered any less patriotic than an army fighter. The Arabs’ political leaders refusal to participate in national service is proof, for most Israelis, that they do not accept the legitimacy of the state they live in.

Another example of the struggle to keep the communal ideal is in the call for the recruitment of the Orthodox. Again, everybody will be just happy for them to do some sort of national service.

I imagine that if (inshallah) peace comes, there is going to be some increased tension around the idea of serving your country for three long years. There wouldn’t be much debate about shortening it from three years to one or two, but there may even be further rise of individualistic ideas which will call for making the army completely professional and abandoning the national service idea altogether. It will be interesting to see what happens. I know some countries in Europe have national service, I don’t think it’s such a bad idea.

Thinking about my own experience, I was engaged through school and boy scouts with mandatory community service and para-military activities starting from junior high. That was more than 20 years ago, I’m not sure how it works today. But I had the option of either going to be a group leader in the boy scout, or work in a hospital, or in an elderly home, something like a couple of hours every week. We also had trips to help the army out. I remember they once brought us to the Lebanon border to fill sand bags. They took us slightly beyond the border into Lebanon (that was when we held the “security buffer” in the South), and I questioned the teachers whether they have received authority from our parents to let us work outside of Israel. I was summarily sent to bum around in the army camp with a couple of other lefties/trouble makers, while the rest of the students continued working there. I guess some things never change :-)

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September 3rd, 2009, 4:39 pm

 

86. Yossi said:

Akbar, Shai,

Giving Palestine more land is I think a very important lever that the two sides should learn how to use. For example, if Israel continues to refuse to receive the Palestinian refugees and their decsendents, then perhaps it can offer more land to Palestine instead, both as a general compensation currency and specifically in order to settle refugees there. Obviously, since we don’t have any abundance of vacant land in Israel/Palestine, it’s a very good question to ask what happens to the Israeli citizens who live on such lands, be them Jewish or Arab. Finding a formula that would work is tricky since it needs to take into account five constraints, which I consider universal:

1) In no way whatsoever may a person’s citizenship be taken from him (unless he has committed high treason AND received another citizenship).
2) No person living in the *recognized international borders* of his country will be forced to leave his home (49 borders—so this means that you could evacuate settlers, but not Arab citizens of Israel).
3) Wherever the borders are drawn non-citizens of the country they end up at will receive full residency rights (i.e., citizenship minus the ability vote and be elected for government positions).
4) Satisfaction of the interests of Israel.
5) Satisfaction of the interests of Palestine.

Given these constraints, it may be difficult to find a formula that works, but however difficult, I think that if *approached with care*this can be an important tool for the final resolution of the conflict.

So for example suppose that in recognition of their mostly Palestinian makeup we find it desirable to give this land to Palestine, and they want the land too, but they don’t want to force a decision on the residents of this area, what deal could work?

1) Those who choose to stay there will be offered to either keep their Israeli citizenship and get Palestinian resident status, or vice versa, become Palestinian citizens and forfeit their Israeli citizenship (maybe the forfeiture is not necessary, but Israel would want this to happen).

2) Those who choose to leave their homes and move “back” into Israeli territory will be offered compensation for their forfeited homes.

The general idea is that we can’t duck this type of deals, if we really want to give the two-state solution a chance, and given the inflexibility of Israel around the refugee question.

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September 3rd, 2009, 5:01 pm

 

87. jad said:

Alex,
Last night I finally got my Malek Jandali CD, It’s BEAUTIFULL, ENCHANTED and very very well done.
I had a conversation with my family while listening to it and we were amazed of the fine piano playing and how smart was this attempt in mixing Oriental Arabic music culture with a very European classical rhythms and we agree that Mr. Jandali did a very good job.
We also talked about our Syrian kids and how we as Syrian families always choose science over literature, art, Music and Sport and unfortunately how our education system doesn’t really support or at least encourage these important fields.
If the education system in Syria can upgrade its views and make it wider than the usual subjects it concentrate on we may have new fields that will eventually support the economy as a whole and have a Cultural/Artistic/Sport renaissance age since we failed on doing any achievement in anything else until now, I think that we have the potential but we don’t have the vision nor the will to go there.

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September 3rd, 2009, 6:12 pm

 

88. Akbar Palace said:

No person living in the *recognized international borders* of his country will be forced to leave his home (49 borders—so this means that you could evacuate settlers, but not Arab citizens of Israel).

Yossi,

Of course. Only “settlers” can be “evacuated”. Just like those that lived for hundreds of years in Hebron and Jerusalem.

I get it. Thanks for the important caveat.

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September 3rd, 2009, 6:18 pm

 

89. Yossi said:

Akbar,

This might be a weak point in what I’ve laid out as principles. You can potentially go with “No person will have to evacuate. Period”. The problem with that is that it doesn’t account for the imbalance in opportunities to establish one-sided facts since the 67 occupation (you can call it liberation if you’d like). So it seems reasonable to me that there will be a cutoff date beyond which settlers in the West bank will be considered too recent to have the ability to claim any rights in that territory. It could be that this date in June 67, and it could be August 08, this is negotiable.

We should also not forget that many of these settlement were erected on expropriated private land. That’s another reason to wish to undo them.

Finally, I’m not sure how many settlers will actually utilize the opportunity to be residents or citizens of Palestine, so the “cutoff” date for eligibility may be a concern only for an exceedingly small population.

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September 3rd, 2009, 8:48 pm

 

90. Ghat Albird said:

Sweet talkin don’t cost nuttin.

What the Palestenians should demand “on principle and legal/ethical bases” ” is a complete and unadulturated reversal to reclaim what Ariel Sharon et al have taken as a result of his orders in 1998.

Quote: “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours . . . Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” — Ariel Sharon, 1998

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September 4th, 2009, 1:05 am

 

91. Akbar Palace said:

The problem with that is that it doesn’t account for the imbalance in opportunities to establish one-sided facts since the 67 occupation (you can call it liberation if you’d like).

Yossi,

You can call settling your own land as a one-sided fact, and you can call the increase of the Arab population as a one-sided fact.

Making up stories like Shai about “transfer” and throwing Arabs out of “their homes” is no fact at all.

Therefore, each side has a large motivation for doing nothing, and a large motivation for doing something. I figure at some point, the two sides will opt to do something, simultaneously, and agree to peace talks.

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September 4th, 2009, 1:07 am

 

92. Shai said:

“Making up stories like Shai about “transfer””

Making stories up? Did you know, dear Akbar, that a very highly respected Israeli politician, head-of-party, by the name of Rehevam Zeevi chose the letter T (tet) to represent his party name? And can you possibly guess what that T stood for? No, Akbar, it isn’t Shai that “made up” the story of Transfer, it is respectable Israelis and their supporters that did. The idea of transferring, or forcing a reality upon Arabs that will cause them to “willingly” self-transfer, has been borne years ago, and is still very much alive.

Those in Israel who, like you, use the terminology “to be given to the PA”, aren’t of course thinking of a “Transfer”, are they? No, they’re thinking of the peaceful mutual exchange of land, and the people who happened to live on that land, right? As if there is a chance that any of those people would agree to “be given” to another nation. A nation can decide to give up Land, not People.

Do not reconstruct history for your audience, by suggesting Transfer is a concept invented by liberals. You can fool but a very few out there. Certainly no Israeli would buy it. We’ve heard those Tet-campaigns a bit too many times to either forget, or dismiss them.

Tell us Akbar, in all honesty, is there anything said about Israel that you find NOT-invented, exaggerated, fabricated, anti-Zionist, or anti-Semitic?

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September 4th, 2009, 7:27 am

 

93. Shai said:

Ghat,

Three points to consider:

1. The same Ariel Sharon was later the first Likud and Kadima leader elected specifically for withdrawing from both the West Bank and Gaza. Had he not fallen ill, there is a good chance he would have continued withdrawing from the WB.

2. Regardless of rhetoric, it was Sharon who ordered his troops to forcibly remove Jewish settlers from Yamit in the Sinai, and from Gaza.

3. From the Palestinians’ point of view, isn’t a One-State solution more likely the more Jews settle in the West Bank? I’m not suggesting I condone it in any fashion whatsoever (the opposite, I vehemently condemn Jewish Occupation), but practically-speaking, the less viable we make a separate Palestinian state possible, the more likely a One-State solution will be forced upon Israel. Putting aside Justice and emotions, don’t you agree?

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September 4th, 2009, 7:35 am

 

94. Akbar Palace said:

Blind as a Bat

Shai,

You know as well as I that there is CURRENTLY no serious plan to “transfer” Arabs out of “their homes” in Israel. Actually, there has NEVER been a serious plan to do so, and the subject has only been broached by a few right-wing politicians like Zehavi.

…and is still very much alive.

OK Shai, please provide a link showing:

1.) Any vote or proposal in the Knesset on the transfer of Israeli Arabs out of Israel.

2.) Any Israeli political party platform calling for the transfer of Arabs.

As an MK, Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has NEVER suggested Israeli Arabs be transferred and has only talked about drawing the borders around certain Arab villages.

No one loses or gets kicked out of their home as you have suggested.

And lastly Shai, I find it par for the course that you overly exaggerate this perceived “transfer” that almost no one is talking about, but you have haven’t mentioned at all the several Arab MK’s statements about the destruction of Israel and their meetings with Israel’s sworn enemies.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130704

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September 4th, 2009, 10:56 am

 

95. Ghat Albird said:

Ghat said:

SHAI

I tend to agree with your logical premises.

The 3 way “inevitable” solutions are:

Eretz Israel aint never gonna come into existance.

Original UN Resolutions are gradually implemented.

One state solution emerges over time.

Time marches on.

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September 4th, 2009, 12:42 pm

 

96. Shai said:

Akbar,

Nice try. Of course no law has ever been passed in Knesset calling for the transfer of Palestinians out of their homes. No nation on earth would have it. Just recently, however, a few tens of Palestinians were forced out of their E. Jerusalem homes, despite the fact that they lived there for decades. I guess that’s not transfer, is it?

I didn’t suggest any Israeli-Arabs would be transferred by being taken out of their homes. I suggested quite the opposite – that those who propose to “redraw the lines” (such as Lieberman’s party), are hoping to transfer land AND people, together! The perfect transfer – no one leaves their homes! If you have difficulties defining this as “Transfer”, I’m willing to call it anything else you like, even “The Who’s Your Daddy Plan”.

The Moledet Party, a small right-wing political party, is part of the National Union Party. They still support “voluntary transfer”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moledet

The Yisrael Beitenu Party, headed by Lieberman, calls for “… the exchange of largely Arab-inhabited parts of Israel for largely Jewish-inhabited parts of the West Bank” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yisrael_Beiteinu

But of course, “the exchange of largely inhabited parts” is not Transfer. It’s “The Who’s Your Daddy Plan”.

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September 4th, 2009, 2:18 pm

 

97. Akbar Palace said:

Shai’s Transfer Nightmare (Con’t)

I suggested quite the opposite – that those who propose to “redraw the lines” (such as Lieberman’s party), are hoping to transfer land AND people, together! The perfect transfer – no one leaves their homes!

Shai,

Thank you for the clarification. I think that is what the PA wants, more land and more people. I’m glad you added the fact that “no one leaves their homes”. This is certainly in contradiction to your statement:

The fact that someone has even brought up the horrific notion of transferring Arabs out of their homes is bad enough, but think of the legitimacy you’re giving this illegal and racist idea by even discussing it.

Again, nothing is “illegal” or “racist” about ceding land to the Palestinians which, if I’m not mistaken, is exactly what all Palestinian groups, terrorist or otherwise have been fighting for.

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September 4th, 2009, 5:47 pm

 

98. Akbar Palace said:

Another myth (promoted many times by Shai) is debunked:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090905/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_changing_jerusalem_1

PS – My reply (post 96) still “awaiting moderation”…

Lost reply (Post #69) to Post #95:

Shai\’s Transfer Nightmare (Con\’t)

I suggested quite the opposite – that those who propose to “redraw the lines” (such as Lieberman’s party), are hoping to transfer land AND people, together! The perfect transfer – no one leaves their homes!

Shai,

Thank you for the clarification. I think that is what the PA wants, more land and more people. I\’m glad you added the fact that “no one leaves their homes”. This is certainly in contradiction to your statement:

The fact that someone has even brought up the horrific notion of transferring Arabs out of their homes is bad enough, but think of the legitimacy you’re giving this illegal and racist idea by even discussing it.

Again, nothing is “illegal” or “racist” about ceding land to the Palestinians which, if I\’m not mistaken, is exactly what all Palestinian groups, terrorist or otherwise have been fighting for.

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September 5th, 2009, 12:21 pm

 

99. Shai said:

Akbar,

“Another myth (promoted many times by Shai) is debunked…”

That you attempt to insult the intelligence of most here on regular basis is one thing, but I won’t let you off your attempt on mine. What myth has your Yahoo-news debunked? That tens of Palestinians were kicked out of their E. Jerusalem homes a few weeks ago? Do you again need “links”, or have you actually read the news yourself (I’m sure you have, but occasionally you like to play the “never heard of it” role). I’m sure you’re hoping people who read this article think “Wow, Israel is EVEN letting Palestinians live inside Israel! How can anyone claim Racism exists in Israel, if that is taking place?” But again, only people who watch FOX on regular basis might buy into that.

Btw, your article mentions that this particular Palestinian living in Pisgat Zeev finds some neighbors “warming up to him”, while others are thinking of either moving out, or refusing to rent or sell to Arabs. I guess you wouldn’t call that Racism would you?

Akbar,

To put the Transfer issue away once and for all (I hope), let me make it abundantly clear to your otherwise-confused mind that when I’ve mentioned Transfer in the past, I spoke of ANY type of transfer. Israelis dream of transferring Arabs by force, not by force (“voluntary transfer” as the Moledet political party agenda mentions), out of their homes without the land, or in their homes with the land. To make it EVEN more clear, let me define Transfer, as I see it. It means the following:

“Moving someone (Arab-Israelis), something (Land), or someone+something (Arab-Israelis+Their Land), to another domain (Palestine), willingly or unwillingly.”

Moledet wants the Arab-Israelis to leave Israel “voluntarily”. Yisrael Beitenu (3rd largest party) wants to trade Arab-Israeli land PLUS ITS INHABITANTS for Jewish Settlers and the land they currently occupy.

And to really drive in clarity, I’ll go as far as suggesting to you that when an Arab-Israeli is saying “I don’t want to leave my home”, he is not only talking about a case where he is taken out of his HOUSE, but also where ISRAEL is no longer his home! Capiche?

Now for the record, let’s hear you once again suggest that “Transfer” is a myth invented by Liberals (or Shai). I want to hear it just one more time… :-)

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September 5th, 2009, 2:14 pm

 

100. NB said:

SHAI said:

To make it EVEN more clear, let me define Transfer, as I see it. It means the following:

“Moving someone (Arab-Israelis), something (Land), or someone+something (Arab-Israelis+Their Land), to another domain (Palestine), willingly or unwillingly.”

Moledet wants the Arab-Israelis to leave Israel “voluntarily”. Yisrael Beitenu (3rd largest party) wants to trade Arab-Israeli land PLUS ITS INHABITANTS for Jewish Settlers and the land they currently occupy.

And to really drive in clarity, I’ll go as far as suggesting to you that when an Arab-Israeli is saying “I don’t want to leave my home”, he is not only talking about a case where he is taken out of his HOUSE, but also where ISRAEL is no longer his home! Capiche?

Well. This is nonsense. Just as minorities have the right to self determination and can unilaterally separate from a majority state, majorities have the same right and can redraw their borders if they don’t want to stay in one state with a certain minority. This is no transfer. Let alone when a majority knows that the only reason a minority insists on maintaining a single state is because this minority got addicted to leeching the joined state’s welfare system which is the case of Israeli Arabs.

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September 11th, 2009, 2:07 am

 

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+ nine = 15