News Round Up (18 October 2009)

Syria is having second thoughts about signing the European Economic Agreement. Evidently,  Syrians worry that it will compromise their economic sovereignty.See the following article on “Syria Steps.”

قرروا إخضاعها لمزيد من الدراسة
السوريون لن يوقعوا الشراكة مع أوروبا يوم 26 الشهر الحالي

Turkey-Israel Row Could Signal Geopolitical Change In Region By Ron Synovitz, RFE/RL

“….Indeed, after Turkey announced Israel’s exclusion from this week’s NATO exercises, Syria said it would conduct military exercises with Turkey. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem welcomed Turkey’s decision, saying it “reflects the way Turkey regards the Israeli attack in Gaza.”

Israel dismissed the Turkish-Syrian announcement. Israeli cabinet minister Benny Begin says Turkish-Syrian exercises are part of Syria’s desire to create a new bloc of countries in the Middle East that would include Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq.

But Joffe says it is not yet clear whether there has been a complete breakdown of the Turkish-Israeli alliance. “It is perhaps the Gaza incident that has persuaded the Turkish government that it can’t afford to maintain too close a relationship with Israel. And therefore, it is trying to distance itself little by little,” he says.

“Whether that will mean a breach and the complete transformation in relations is not yet clear. But it is quite clear that there is some fundamental change taking place, and I think that mirrors the internal changes in Turkey in terms of the relationship between the government and the army command.”

Joffe says the declining influence of the Turkish military on Ankara’s decisions would be a cause of concern for Israel…..”

Netanyahu: Turkey can’t be ‘honest broker’ in Syria
2009-10-18, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want Ankara serving as mediator in any future diplomatic negotiations with Syria, in view of the crisis in relations between Israel and Turkey. On Friday, Israel’s ambassador in Ankara, Gabi Levy, …

For Iraqis, prison in Britain is probably better than living in Syria,” Mr. Sultan, Iraqi minister of displacement and migration, said.
NYTimes…”Iraq Sends 41 of 50 Deported Refugees Back to Britain”

The National Security Advisor, General James L. Jones,

reiterated the Administration’s commitment to establishing a Palestinian state and determination to move forward with peace talks, At the Fourth Annual Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP).

“We are clear, unambiguous and consistent,” said Gen. Jones, “The time has come to relaunch negotiations without preconditions to reach a final status agreement on two states.” The National Security Advisor emphasized that, “President Obama’s dedication to achieve these goals is unshaken, is committed, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of achieving these.” He said that ending the conflict and the occupation is essential because what is at stake is “nothing less than the dignity and the security of all human beings.” “We must move beyond talking about talks and get to the hard work of addressing the core issues that separate Israelis and Palestinians,” Jones said.

Egypt: Fatah-Hamas deal deferred due to ‘inappropriate conditions’
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Gaza, Fatah, Israel News

Egypt announced on Saturday the latest postponement of a reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah was due to “inappropriate conditions.”

The announcement came after Fatah unilaterally signed the pact in Cairo on Thursday without reservations. Hamas, however, said it needed another few days to consider the document, and that the Islamist group had reservations about it.

Egypt, which has been attempting to broker the deal, had initially planned for the sides to sign the accord on Thursday. The country has yet to set a new date for a signing ceremony.
Advertisement

Hamas’ deputy political leader, Abu Marzouk, said: “Today the Hamas leadership will relay to Egypt a document containing the necessary reservations and amendments for the Egyptian document.”

According to the Damascus-based official, one of the reservations is about the U.S. demand that the unity deal follow the conditions of the Quartet, which include recognition of the State of Israel, acknowledging earlier agreements and renouncing terrorism.

UN: Most Iraqi refugees in program go to US (AP)

GENEVA — The U.N. refugee agency says more than 30,000 Iraqis have moved to the United States under a resettlement program that began in 2007.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says much smaller numbers have gone to more than a dozen other countries.

UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic says the agency has recommended the resettlement of 82,500 people.

But Mahecic says that so far only 33,000 have been accepted by their proposed host countries.

UNHCR urges nations to expedite the resettlement of the Iraqi refugees particularly at risk.

The agency says most of the 2 million Iraqi refugees are still living without permanent homes in neighboring Syria and Jordan.

“Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat

received advice to advance the date of his visit to Syria so that it precedes the visit of PM-designate Saad Hariri to Damascus after the cabinet’s formation.  According to information circulated in tight circles, Jumblat is seriously studying the possibility of visiting Syria in a few days on the occasion of a ceremony held in Syria to commemorate Sultan Basha al-Atrash.

Naharnet also learned that the occasion will turn into a major popular ceremony where the Druze sect followers will participate largely in it.

The sources added that Jumblat’s participation will regain his status as the first Druze leader after ex-Minister Wiam Wahab managed to penetrate the Syrian Druze community backed by the Syrian leadership due to the divergence between Jumblat and the Syrian officials in the previous period.”

Despite promises to Obama, construction continues in dozens of W. Bank settlements
By Akiva Eldar and Chaim Levinson

UN Human Rights Council PASSES Goldstone Report on Gaza War Crimes ++ Israel Latest Settlement Spree

By M.J. Rosenberg – October 16, 2009,

Haytham al-Maleh, 78, prominent lawyer and rights activist, disappeared on October 14, 2009. Three Syrian human rights activists told Human Rights Watch that they believe that Political Security is detaining him. Two said they believe that the reason for his arrest is a phone interview that aired on October 12 on an opposition television station, Barada TV, in which he criticized the Syrian authorities for their ongoing repression of freedom of expression.

The Syrian embassy announces:

“The Syrian government welcomes the release of two of its citizens, Bisher Suleiman Ahmad Maqt and Assem Mahmoud Ahmed Wali after spending 25 unjust and grueling years in Israeli prisons where they faced different forms of gruesome torture.”

Comments (21)


1. Sasa said:

“For Iraqis, prison in Britain is probably better than living in Syria,” Mr. Sultan, Iraqi minister of displacement and migration, said.

Oh that’s just fantastic isn’t it. I sincerely hope that ungrateful dog Abdul Samad Sultan sees the inside of a British prison one day – for the start of a long jail sentence.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 18th, 2009, 2:38 pm

 

2. offended said:

Not sure if it was posted here before:

Israeli drive to prevent Jewish girls dating Arabs

Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent

Last Updated: September 25. 2009 1:57PM UAE / September 25. 2009 9:57AM GMT

NAZARETH // A local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a special team of youth counsellors and psychologists whose job it will be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and “rescue” them.

The move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a city close to Tel Aviv, is the latest in a series of separate – and little discussed – initiatives from official bodies, rabbis, private organisations and groups of Israeli residents to try to prevent interracial dating and marriage.

In a related development, the Israeli media reported this month that residents of Pisgat Zeev, a large Jewish settlement in the midst of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, had formed a vigilante-style patrol to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.

Hostility to intimate relationships developing across Israel’s ethnic divide is shared by many Israeli Jews, who regard such behaviour as a threat to the state’s Jewishness. One of the few polls on the subject, in 2007, found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage should be equated with “national treason”.

Since the state’s founding in 1948, analysts have noted, a series of legal and administrative measures have been taken by Israel to limit the possibilities of close links developing between Jewish and Arab citizens, the latter comprising a fifth of the population.

Largely segregated communities and separate education systems mean that there are few opportunities for young Arabs and Jews to become familiarised with each other. Even in the handful of “mixed cities”, Arab residents are usually confined to separate neighbourhoods.

In addition, civil marriage is banned in Israel, meaning that in the small number of cases where Jews and Arabs want to wed, they can do so only by leaving the country for a ceremony abroad. The marriage is recognised on the couple’s return.

Dr Yuval Yonay, a sociologist at Haifa University, said the number of interracial marriages was “too small to be studied”. “Separation between Jews and Arabs is so ingrained in Israeli society, it is surprising that anyone manages to escape these central controls.”

The team in Petah Tikva, a Jewish city of 200,000 residents, was created in direct response to news that two Jewish girls, aged 17 and 19, were accompanying a group of young Arab men when they allegedly beat a Jewish man, Leonard Karp, to death last month on a Tel Aviv beach. The older girl was from Petah Tikva.

The girls’ involvement with the Arab youths has revived general concern that a once-firm taboo against interracial dating is beginning to erode among some young people.

In sentiments widely shared, Mr Hakak, a spokesman for Petah Tikva municipality, said “Russian girls”, young Jewish women whose parents arrived in Israel over the past two decades, since the former Soviet Union collapsed, were particularly vulnerable to the attention of Arab men.

Dr Yonay said Russian women were less closed to the idea of relationships with Arab men because they “did not undergo the religious and Zionist education” to which more established Israeli Jews were subject.

Mr Hakak said the municipality had created a hotline that parents and friends of the Jewish women could use to inform on them.

“We can’t tell the girls what to do but we can send a psychologist to their home to offer them and their parents advice,” he said.

Motti Zaft, the deputy mayor, told the Ynet website that the municipality was also cracking down on city homeowners who illegally subdivide apartments to rent them cheaply to single Arab men looking for work in the Tel Aviv area. He estimated that several hundred Arab men had moved into the city as a result.

Petah Tikva’s hostility to Arab men mixing with local Jewish women is shared by other communities.

In Pisgat Zeev, a settlement of 40,000 Jews, some 35 Jewish men are reported to belong to a patrol known as “Fire for Judaism” that tries to stop interracial dating.

Unusually for a settlement, Pisgat Zeev has attracted a tiny but growing population of Arab families, both from East Jerusalem and from inside Israel. Because Pisgat Zeev sits within Jerusalem’s municipal borders, Arabs with Israeli residency rights can live there as long as Jewish settlers are willing to rent to them.

One member, who identified himself as Moshe to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, said: “Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they’re getting themselves into. In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Zeev have gone into [Palestinian] villages [in the West Bank]. And most of them aren’t heard from after that.”

He denied that violence or threats were used against Arab men.
Last year, the municipality of Kiryat Gat, a town of 50,000 Jews in southern Israel, launched a programme in schools to warn Jewish girls of the dangers of dating local Bedouin men. The girls were shown a video titled Sleeping with the Enemy, which describes mixed couples as an “unnatural phenomenon”.

Haim Shalom, head of the municipality’s welfare department, is filmed saying: “The girls, in their innocence, go with the exploitative Arab.”

In 2004, posters sprang up all over the northern town of Safed warning Jewish women that dating Arab men would lead to “beatings, hard drugs, prostitution and crime”.
Safed’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, told a local newspaper that the “seducing” of Jewish girls was “another form of war” by Arab men.

Both Kiryat Gat and Safed’s campaigns were supported by a religious organisation called Yad L’achim, which runs an anti-assimilation team publicly dedicated to “saving” Jewish women.

According to its website, the organisation receives more than 100 calls a month about Jewish women living with Arab men, both in Israel and the West Bank. It launches “military-like rescues [of the women] from hostile Arab villages” in co-ordination with the police and army.

“The Jewish soul is a precious, all-too-rare resource, and we are not prepared to give up on even a single one,” says the website.

http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090925/FOREIGN/709249932/1002

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 18th, 2009, 2:46 pm

 

3. Badr said:

Syria is having second thoughts about signing the European Economic Agreement. Evidently, Syrians worry that it will compromise their economic sovereignty.

This reminds me of the “Sour grapes” expression originating from the Aesop Fable “The Fox and the Grapes”.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 18th, 2009, 3:02 pm

 

4. Samer said:

Syria is having second thoughts about signing the European Economic Agreement??? ya khaio, sha77ad u msheret

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 3:47 am

 

5. Steve said:

http://www.majalla.com/en/ideas/article8779.ece

Interesting. Mentions Landis’ view….

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 5:21 am

 

6. Akbar Palace said:

Offended:

Are you offended?

“I would never ask any of my friends or acquaintances about their religion or sect,” Zaina, a 27-year-old from Damascus, said. “Their sectarian background doesn’t make a difference to me.”

But when Zaina, who comes from a conservative Muslim family, found out her boyfriend was Christian, it suddenly did become important.

“My first reaction was shock,” she said. “I immediately considered breaking off the relationship because I knew it would be impossible for us to get married.”

Civil marriages granting couples of different faiths legal recognition of their unions are not available in Syria or any Middle Eastern country. Although Syria is ruled by the secular Ba’ath party, both the Christian and Muslim communities continue to adhere to strict religious and social norms. While Syrian Muslims and Christians are famous for living in harmony together, when a relationship develops to the stage of marriage attitudes freeze over.

http://www.syria-today.com/index.php/march-2009/73-society/496-faith-and-marriage

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 6:52 am

 

7. why-discuss said:

AP

Yes, there is no civil marriage in any of the Arab countries, including supposedly liberal Lebanon. While there is an uneasiness in the communities about the matter, a fear of the complications of the future life and of having to travel to Turkey or Cyprus to get married, I never heard about any organization campaigning against it through ‘psychological’ advisors. The trend of mixed marriage is growing and many in Lebanon are advocating the necessity of instauring the civil marriage. In Lebanon civil marriage done abroad is recognized. I don’t know about Syria.
In Lebanon or Syria, it maybe frown at by conservative families and the religious people but in the long term, it can only have beneficial consequences for these countries,
In the case of Israel, it may be seen by Israelis as a very dangerous threat as it may pollute the ‘jewishness’ of the state your governement is trying to guarantee. It may also be seen by the Arabs as a positive sign of the eventual dilution of the zionism for the better of the region.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 10:11 am

 

8. Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

In Israel Jews and Muslim and Christians and Shinto can, and do, intermarry. That there are movements to change is a matter of concern, obviously. I personally know a few Jewish Israelis who married Arab Israelis. A great photographer female friend of mine is married to a Muslim Arab Israeli, they live on a Kibbutz in the middle of the country, surrounded by 99.9% Jewish families, and they raise their children speaking Arabic and Hebrew. On the weekends, the father’s parents take the children to their Arab villages, to experience as much of the Arab culture as they can. It’s not 50-50, but it’s close.

At least in this sense (right to marry), there is more freedom of religion than perhaps elsewhere in the region.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 10:22 am

 

9. Akbar Palace said:

In the case of Israel, it may be seen by Israelis as a very dangerous threat as it may pollute the ‘jewishness’ of the state your governement is trying to guarantee. It may also be seen by the Arabs as a positive sign of the eventual dilution of the zionism for the better of the region.

WD,

I could tell from Offended’s post and your admission above, that the issue of intermarriage in Israel was used as a “weapon”, to again, attack Israel. You use language such as “dangerous threat”, “pollute” and “dilution”, yet, in Israel, intermarriage is legal and in arab countries it is not. Why don’t you use the same language against your Arab societies?

You guys clearly hate Israel and you need a way to attack Israel. And you continue to do it (this time regarding intermarriage), without ever contemplating the same issue in Arab countries.

I concur 100% with Shai’s assessment in his post above.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 10:46 am

 

10. Observer said:

This is a nice editorial and from the horse’s mouth.
Two other items that need to be discussed in the news round up include the listening devices installed by Israel in Lebanon in 06 and the apparent collusion of UNIFIL in knowing about them and leave them in place.
I am not sure about the veracity of all of these claims.
Here is the op-ed
Rattling the Cage: Our exclusive right to self-defense

Oct. 7, 2009
Larry Derfner , THE JERUSALEM POST

Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza. We’ve honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s performance at the UN, we’re delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:

How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!

Very nice. Puts everyone else on the defensive. The right to self-defense is up there with motherhood and apple pie – who’s going to come out against it, especially for us, for Israel, for the Jews, for the people of the Holocaust?

The right to self-defense – perfect.

But I’d like to ask: Do the Palestinians also have the right to self-defense?

We probably wouldn’t admit it out loud, but in our heads we would say – again, in one voice – “No!”

This is the Israeli notion of a fair deal: We’re entitled to do whatever the hell we want to the Palestinians because, by definition, whatever we do to them is self-defense. They, however, are not entitled to lift a finger against us because, by definition, whatever they do to us is terrorism.

That’s the way it’s always been, that’s the way it was in Operation Cast Lead.

And there are no limits on our right to self-defense. There is no such thing as “disproportionate.” We can blockade Gaza, we can answer Kassams with F-16s and Apaches, we can take 100 eyes for an eye.

We can deliberately destroy thousands of Gazan homes, the Gazan parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, courthouses, the only Gazan flour plant, the main poultry farm, a sewage treatment plant, water wells and God knows what else.

Deliberately.

After all, we’re acting in self-defense. By definition.

And what right do the Palestinians have to defend themselves against this?

None.

Why? Because we’re better than them. Because we’re a democracy and they’re a bunch of Islamo-fascists. Because ours is a culture of life and theirs is a culture of death. Because they’re out to destroy us and all we are saying is give peace a chance.

One look at the ruins of Gaza ought to make that plain enough.

Here is our idea of the “laws of war”: When Israeli bulldozers rolled across the border into Gazan villages and flattened house after house so Hamas wouldn’t have them for cover after the IDF pulled out, that was self-defense. But if a Palestinian boy who’d lived in one of those houses threw a stone at one of the bulldozers, that was terrorism.

The Goldstones of the world call this hypocrisy, a double standard. How dare they! Around here, we call it moral clarity.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid54861893834&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Copyright 1995- 2009 The Jerusalem Post – http://www.jpost.com/

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 12:16 pm

 

11. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

OBSERVER,

You don’t get it.
Israel had no intention to be gentle, or to obey the Goldstones.

The operation in Gaza was:

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

Simply.

Just like Sennacherib used to do 2800 years ago. Human nature doesn’t change.
They want to drag us all back to the 7th century AD, why not drag them
to the 7th century (BC) ?
.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 1:36 pm

 

12. Akbar Palace said:

This is a nice editorial and from the horse’s mouth.

Observer,

Of course it is a “nice editorial”, it discounts Israel’s actions in Gaza.

So, thank you for showing that Shai isn’t the only yefeh nefesh Israeli, and that the Israeli media is free and independent (showing all points-of-view).

Here are my responses to Mr. Derfner:

Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza.

Except for your voice?

We’ve honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s performance at the UN, we’re delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:

How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!

Right. How dare Israel tolerate 8000 missiles flying into her territory over 7-8 years despite repeated warnings not to.

Very nice. Puts everyone else on the defensive.

Except you?

The right to self-defense is up there with motherhood and apple pie – who’s going to come out against it, especially for us, for Israel, for the Jews, for the people of the Holocaust?

I know of no one who attributed Israel’s response to Gaza’s missile firings on “motherhood”, “apple-pie” or “the Holcaust”. I believe this is something you made up out of your imagination.

But I’d like to ask: Do the Palestinians also have the right to self-defense?

Mr. Derfner, every country in the world has the right to self-defense. However, the right of self-defence takes into account “war crimes”. Mr. Goldstone has stated, as I recall, that BOTH the Palestinians (Hamas) and Israel committed war crimes. Certainly, firing missiles indiscriminantly into villages and population centers is a war crime. Everyone is due their day in court. I welcome both Hamas and the GOI to plead their case.

We probably wouldn’t admit it out loud, but in our heads we would say – again, in one voice – “No!”

Speak for yourself.

This is the Israeli notion of a fair deal: We’re entitled to do whatever the hell we want to the Palestinians because, by definition, whatever we do to them is self-defense.

Mr. Derfner, please quote the individual who said that.

They, however, are not entitled to lift a finger against us because, by definition, whatever they do to us is terrorism.

Terrorism is terrorism. That is why some Palestinians, in the past, have refrained from killing civilians.

That’s the way it’s always been, that’s the way it was in Operation Cast Lead.

Let’s see if Hamas can account for actions half as well as the IDF:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+and+Islamic+Fundamentalism-/Operation_in_Gaza-Factual_and_Legal_Aspects.htm

And there are no limits on our right to self-defense. There is no such thing as “disproportionate.”

Says who? Who say that Mr. Derfner?

We can blockade Gaza, we can answer Kassams with F-16s and Apaches, we can take 100 eyes for an eye.

We can blockade Gaza as long as they continue to amass weapons and use them against the State of Israel.

We can deliberately destroy thousands of Gazan homes, the Gazan parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, courthouses, the only Gazan flour plant, the main poultry farm, a sewage treatment plant, water wells and God knows what else.

Deliberately.

Yes, deliberately. We can destroy all government buildings that are at war with us. We can destroy Gazan homes if they are used to fire on Israel or it soldiers. I’ll let the ICC determine if this was unlawful.

After all, we’re acting in self-defense. By definition.

I can’t think of a better definition.

And what right do the Palestinians have to defend themselves against this?

They have every right to defend themselves and fire back at the IDF. But if they fire from a building, expect the building to be destroyed within international law.

Why? Because we’re better than them.

No, because the Palestinian fundamentalists would rather fight a losing war with Israel rather than to build their nation.

Because we’re a democracy and they’re a bunch of Islamo-fascists.

That’s obvious.

Because ours is a culture of life and theirs is a culture of death.

What gave you that idea?

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/pictures/PalestinianChildAbuse/

Because they’re out to destroy us and all we are saying is give peace a chance.

Actually, we’re saying “give war a chance”.

But if a Palestinian boy who’d lived in one of those houses threw a stone at one of the bulldozers, that was terrorism.

Who said that?

Around here, we call it moral clarity.

Moral clarity doesn’t seem to be your strong point Mr. Derfner.

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1736

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1254861893834

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 1:37 pm

 

13. MONTAGNARD said:

OBSERVER,

Thanks for posting the article from the Jerusalem Post. It is a reminder that there are some Israelis with concsience and sanity when it comes to dealing with Arabs and are not necessarily blinded by the uglyness of the conflict.

I wish that the Goldstone report makes it to the International Court, as I would like to hear a legal debate about the violation of Laws of War, Crimes against Humanity and Human Rights Violations. In such forum, not only evidence will be submitted, but mitigating and instigating factors will be heard, by Judges that are neither Arabs nor Israelis, and in accordence of International Laws and not some kakamene laws.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 2:32 pm

 

14. MONTAGNARD said:

Signing of the EU Economical Agreement.

I am glad that Syria is taking the time needed to study all the effects of the Agreement on the Syrian economy and its sectors.
Syria has limited experience in such agreements and it is learning about open markets. It would be easy to take advantage of the lack of experience if Syria’s eagerness to sign distracts it from the due diligence of studying the dynamics of implementing the Agreement.
I am sure that the EU, with its vast experience and analytical assets, did its homework and proposed a language that protects the sectors that might be vulnerable when the Agreement is implemented.
Syria would be well advised to analyse the outcome of similar agreements the EU had with other countries.
The Syrian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture. Trade Associations and Unions should also have their input prior to signing the Agreement.
Believe me no country or the EU is going to give Syria an advantage. Syria must ask for whatever it is intitled to and be very smart in its negotiations, and not just sign an agreement for the sake of signing an agreement.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 19th, 2009, 3:28 pm

 

15. why-discuss said:

Shai, AP

I am glad to know that, contrary to arab countries, Israel performs official civil marriages for people from different faith.
I still doubt the communities accept that easily.
In Israel, do they keep the right to practice their respective religion and more important, in which faith are the children brought up?
This is a very difficult issue in inter religion marriage and a source of many conflicts in Arab countries. So I am curious to know how it is dealt with in Israel.
Another point I am curious to know. I think a Jew is recognized as such when his mother is Jewish, right? Then what happens to children born from a Jewish father and Christian or Moslem mother? Are they considered as Jew or they are outcasts? What do you observe around you, Shai?
AP, I will not deny that I dislike Israel because of how it was created and how it grew by depriving the right of the palestinians with violence. I only hate arrogance, agressivity and injustice wherever I see it.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 12:29 am

 

16. norman said:

This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the “Reprints” tool that appears next to any article. Visit http://www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now.

——————————————————————————–

October 20, 2009
News Analysis
Painful Mideast Truth: Force Trumps Diplomacy
By ETHAN BRONNER
JERUSALEM — As the Obama administration tries to broker a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a dark truth lurking: force has produced clearer results in this dispute than talk.

The results of the violence may prove short-lived — and possibly counterproductive; condemnation of Israel and Hamas is likely to grow after the United Nations Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a report detailing evidence of war crimes in Gaza.

But the reality that war can work is playing a crucial role in the region’s festering conflicts. Some Palestinians are talking again about armed struggle. And Israeli officials, who say their censured military operations have been highly successful, are keeping track of a series of ticking clocks as they ponder still another military endeavor — against Iran.

The payoff from the use of force in the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is evident. It was only after the first Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s that Israel recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization and started to consider a two-state solution, and after the second — and very bloody — uprising that it left Gaza in 2005.

Meanwhile for many Israelis, the past decade looks like a model of the primacy of military action over diplomacy.

Through relentless commando operations and numerous checkpoints, the Israeli Army ended suicide bombings and other terrorist acts from the West Bank; since its 2006 war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, widely dismissed as a failure at the time, the group has not fired one rocket at Israel; and Israel’s operation against Gaza last December has greatly curtailed years of Hamas rocket fire, returning a semblance of normality to the Israeli south.

Two years ago, Israeli fighter planes destroyed what Israel and the United States say was a budding Syrian nuclear reactor; and last year in Syria, Israeli agents assassinated Imad Mugniyah, the top military operative for Hezbollah and a crucial link to its Iranian sponsors, a severe blow to both Hezbollah and Iran.

Diplomatic efforts, whether the Oslo peace talks of the 1990s or the Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria last year have, by contrast, produced little. Every Israeli military operation of recent years — including the December invasion of Gaza that was condemned Friday by the United Nations Human Rights Council by a vote of 25 to 6 and referred to the Security Council following a report by a committee led by Richard Goldstone — has come under international censure.

Today all are viewed here as having been judged prematurely and unfairly but having delivered the goods — keeping Israel safe through deterrence.

Of course the military successes may be of limited value — a battle won but a war lost. The Palestinians may have driven Israel out of Gaza, but they ended up living in a vast network of barriers and military outposts of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and under harsh siege in Gaza.

And for Israel, while the country is safer today, quieter and more prosperous than ever, it is facing a severe diplomatic crisis. As the storm over the United Nations report on Israel’s attack on Gaza shows, not only are the country’s tactics under assault but so is its very legitimacy as calls for boycott and criminal prosecution grow. Its important relationship with Turkey, a moderate Muslim country, is under threat.

Ari Shavit, a columnist for the liberal newspaper Haaretz, wrote on Thursday that both Britain in 1917 and the United Nations in 1947 recognized the Jewish people’s right to establish a Jewish state. Yet “as Israel gets stronger, its legitimacy is melting away,” he wrote. “A national movement that began as ‘legitimacy without an entity’ is becoming ‘an entity without legitimacy’ before our very eyes.”

Many Israelis respond that their self-preservation comes ahead of their reputation, that the swiftness and harshness with which their actions are condemned show that the world judges them by a double standard. Others say the isolation looks worse abroad than here.

Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who leads Israel’s northern command, said in an interview that the border with Lebanon was “more peaceful than it has been since the 1960s.” Still, Israel’s enemies “want us gone, so they have pursued a two-part strategy — terror and delegitimization.”

He added that Hezbollah had more than 30,000 rockets in dozens of villages in southern Lebanon being held in reserve for retaliation against Israel should it attack Iran.

Israeli officials say no decision to attack Iran has been made, and they hope Iran’s nuclear program will be stopped by other means, like international sanctions.

But they say they believe that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the region will grow far more dangerous for Israel, spurring an arms race and offering immunity to Hezbollah and Hamas. And for Israel, whose unofficial motto is “Never Again,” denial of the Nazi Holocaust by Iran’s leaders and their rejection of Israel’s right to exist add up to an existential risk.

Israel is trying to determine the moment beyond which an attack on Iran would be ineffective. It knows an attack cannot end Iran’s nuclear program, only delay it by several years. And if Washington opposes taking military action, it will be very hard to do.

The first ticking clock Israel is watching is Iran’s enrichment of uranium. Although the process creates low-enriched uranium for electricity but not for weapons, the more low-enriched uranium Iran produces, the less time it will need to turn it into enough high-enriched uranium for a weapon. Israeli analysts say that if Iran were to decide to build a bomb, it would need about 10 months. But after another year of low enrichment, it would need half that time, and after a third year, even less.

Israel is also watching several other indicators of how long it can delay action. That list includes whether Iran bolsters its ability to withstand an attack by building and acquiring antiaircraft systems and whether Israel’s own scientists can design a missile defense system that could shield the country from retaliation in the form of Hezbollah and Hamas rockets.

The other ticking clocks focus on internal Iranian politics — whether antigovernment sentiment after June’s election will lead to a slowing or an end to the nuclear program — and on the American-led diplomatic process aimed at getting Iran to abandon the program. Those talks resumed on Monday.

How fast any of the clocks are ticking is a matter of intense study here. If Iran’s program is stopped, Israel says, it will be far easier for it to make concessions that would lead to a Palestinian state on its border.

But many of its leaders add something else — over the long term, only the Israeli military’s presence on its borders can ensure the country’s survival. Diplomacy, they say, can go only so far, and the Palestinian state will have to submit to severe restrictions on its military activities and pacts with foreign states.

For their part, the Palestinians reject such restrictions but have similar sentiments about the importance of force. Armed struggle remains central to Hamas doctrine; the rival Fatah movement says it remains an important option.

Home
World U.S. N.Y. / Region Business Technology Science Health Sports Opinion Arts Style Travel Jobs Real Estate Automobiles Back to Top
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
Privacy Policy Terms of Service Search Corrections RSS First Look Help Contact Us Work for Us Site Map

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 3:29 am

 

17. Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

I should clarify a few things. First, civil marriage in Israel is still not possible for a Jewish couple. They still have to do so via the Rabbinate Office. Those Jews not interested in any of the religious ceremony, are free to get married outside of Israel (many do so in Cyprus due to its proximity), and our Interior Ministry recognizes them fully in such a case. Any marriage (Jewish or not) outside of Israel is fully recognized.

For non-Jews it is even easier. A Christian marrying a Muslim can do so in a civil marriage, religious, combined, whatever, and it is recognized by the State. The question whether non-Jewish couples are accepted by all or certain communities varies throughout the country. In some communities, where most are not-religious, I imagine tolerance is very high. In the particular Kibbutz my friend lives in, as far as I know she, her husband and her children are not treated differently. But of course in more conservative neighborhoods, certainly religious ones, I imagine a “mixed-couple” would face intolerance.

In Israel one may practice any religion he/she chooses. Children are brought up differently, depending on the area they live in. Christians and Muslims, for instance, find it easier raising their children in Jaffa, in Haifa, Nazareth, etc. Less so in mostly-Jewish communities. The only way for a child to be considered Jewish is if they were born to a Jewish mother (father’s religion doesn’t matter), or if they voluntarily converted to Judaism (long and difficult process). A child born to a Christian woman and a Muslim father will not be considered Jewish.

There isn’t much opportunity for non-Jews to feel as “outcasts” in Israel, simply because most do not live amongst heavily-Jewish neighborhoods, towns or villages. Those who do, such as in Jaffa or Haifa, or elsewhere, are surrounded by less Jews (i.e. they are not surrounded by 99.9% Jews, but maybe by 80%, or 50%, etc.)

Having said all of these great things, and ones I am very proud of, there is still a good bit of Racism in Israel. A Muslim male still cannot feel safe going out into town everywhere in Israel. I have Arab friends who were regularly mistreated in Tel-Aviv and Netanya, enough that they decided to stop visiting these cities. Instead, they stick to smaller Jewish towns, or simply stay in mostly-Arab areas. This was not always the case in Israel. While growing up in the 70’s, I clearly remember Arabs traveling throughout Israel, in almost every city and town. But I think ever since the first Intifada, things have changed for the worse. Most Israelis are afraid of Arabs, suspect and distrust them, and often this comes out in very unhealthy ways.

We have much to improve on, also in this regard. In a way, we’re back in the U.S. of the 1950’s and 60’s, with the treatment of African-Americans. I’m sure the paranoid neocons would disagree, saying “But Blacks never threatened to destroy America…” But there are many civil rights movements in Israel, and they are working hard to bring an end to these terrible currents.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 12:33 pm

 

18. why-discuss said:

Shai

Thanks for the clarification. Yet you did not deal with the case of a Jewish man marrying a moslem or christian woman, which is the difficult issue. That would be a civil marriage, I guess as in Islam a moslem woman cannot marry a non-moslem unless he converts to islam. Is is the case? In which religion would the children be brought up especially that the children are not considered as jewish? Would they go to Synagogue, church or mosque to pray?
Also the case of a moslem or christian man marrying a jewish women.
Is it through a civil marriage, a jewish marriage, a moslem marriage, a christian marriage? While the children are considered as jews, in what religion are they brought up? Could be confusing.
Yet on important issue is that if a jewish man marries a non-jew women the jewish community looses the next generation to christianity or islam. So i guess, the ‘advisor teams” should concentrate on discouraging jewish men to marry moslem women.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 3:40 pm

 

19. norman said:

W D,
In the US , when a Jewish Man marry a non Jewish woman , she either converts so the Children are raised as Jewish or she does not and the Children are raised with the woman’s religion , The Jewish AFTHER IN THIS CASE IS NOT RELIGOUS ,

from God point of view , It does not matter as long as they follow the ten commandments

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 4:00 pm

 

20. Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

Sorry, I thought I spoke about that option when I gave the description of my photographer friend and her family. But let me clarify the Jewish-non-Jewish case. Indeed a Jew wishing to marry a non-Jew cannot do so in the Rabbinate. As a result, the couple can only get married abroad (Cyprus, etc.) As I mentioned previously, when they get married abroad, their marriage is recognized by the State. If the mother is Jewish, her child will be Jewish. If only the father is Jewish, the child will not be considered Jewish unless he/she converts one day (or the mother converts). But there is no problem marrying someone from another faith. In fact, in the Jewish religion a Jew always remains a Jew regardless of whom he/she marries.

If the child is born to a “half-Jewish” family (one parent Jewish, other not), then it depends where the family raises this child. If they raise him/her in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, chances are this child will receive a “more-Jewish” education. I.e., they’ll go to a typical Israeli school, where certain subjects are geared more towards the study of Judaism than, say, Christianity. If the family resides in a Christian or Muslim neighborhood, town, village, etc, then chances are the child will be educated in a school that stresses those religions more (ya’ani, an “Arab School”). This is really up to the parents, not the State.

As for where the child would pray, that depends completely on the child or his/her parents, and on whether he/she is even religious. I imagine most “half-Jewish” families in Israel are not religious, and their children do not pray anywhere. But if they chose to pray, they could pray wherever they like.

Your last comment (losing out the next generation) is actually of greatest concern to Jews everywhere. In the U.S., there is a very high rate of intermarriage, and I believe I heard somewhere that the Jewish Community is actually shrinking. In Israel that is not the case obviously (because most are still Jewish), but I imagine that in the future, especially after Peace in the region, many more will intermarry. The system is already in place which allows intermarriage. If I wanted to marry a Christian woman, I could do so easily (assuming my wife would let me… 🙂 ) Obviously for me to marry a Muslim woman, a lot of other issues come into play, but especially on her side not mine (would she be allowed to do so, by her parents, by her community, by her religion…)

While I certainly do not condone the existence or acts of these “advisory teams” (I don’t believe religion should be shoved down anyone’s throat), I do understand why they do what they do. They really are paranoid that the Jewish population of the world (barely 18 million) is shrinking. Imagine the entire Muslim world was 18 million people, spread all over the earth. Pretty shocking and, to some, very scary.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 7:45 pm

 

21. why-discuss said:

Shai

Thanks for the information. Let me point out the case where a moslem girl want to marry a christian or jew. If the parents of the girl are religious or proeminent in their moslem society then the man must convert to islam and the marriage is done by the moslem authorities. I know many cases like this. i wonder if this the case in israel or if they usually go to cyprus or turkey for a civil marriage.
The other way around is different: a moslem man can marry a christian/jewish girl in the mosque and it is all legal.

In both cases the children are not supposed to be baptised and should be educated as moslems, but there is no contract or control over that. Often the children are not baptised and do not follow any religion.
i do understand the fear. I guess all religions hate to loose their followers.”Pure” Islam(i.e wahhabism) condemns to death any moslem converting to another religion. Religions can easily be used to hamper tolerance and the break the legs of multi cultural peaceful societies.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

October 20th, 2009, 9:31 pm

 

Post a comment