News Round Up (9 July 2009)

I just did a Radio NPR talk show with Mona Yacoubian for the Washington DC area: Kojo Nnamdi Show (July 9, 2009) Democracy Building & Consensus in Lebanon

Guests:
Joshua Landis, Co-Director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma; Author of SyriaComment.com blog

Mona Yacoubian, Director, Lebanon Working Group, U.S. Institute of Peace

In recent elections, Lebanese voters sent a pro-Western majority to parliament, denying a challenge from the militant Hezbollah. We look at the challenges ahead for the newly-named Prime Minister Saad Hariri — son of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri — and look at the foreign powers like Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. are likely to play. Windows Media

Daily Star (Via FLC)

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday that Syrian president Bashar Assad “kept the commitments” that he had promised France concerning Lebanon. Sarkozy was speaking to reporters in L’Aquilla, Italy at the opening of the G8 Summit. Following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, French-Syrian ties deteriorated considerably. However, in 2008 ties were revived following a visit by Sarkozy, newly elected at the time, to Syria …”

Maya Bengal in Ma’ariv: Obama Lets Settlements grow (Via Pulse and FLC)

The Americans have agreed to allow Israel to construct some 2,500 housing units in the settlements. This is in complete contrast to statements relayed to Israel in recent months, since the new administration took office.

The agreement was secured after Defense Minister Ehud Barak was able to convince the Americans to allow Israel to continue and build those units whose construction had already started. In other words, the Americans gave their consent to letting the construction continue of some 700 buildings, which amount to some 2,500 housing units.

Upon his return to Israel, the defense minister reported to the forum of six – which includes, besides himself, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and ministers Avigdor Lieberman, Dan Meridor, Benny Begin, Moshe (Bugi) Yaalon – on the results of the meeting.

In addition, an understanding was reached between Mitchell and Barak that if it was indeed decided to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, this would occur only in the framework of regional negotiations – in which both Syria and Lebanon would also take part.

The Americans have adopted the position that Israel should not be required to halt settlement construction as a precondition, but rather only when the peace process with the Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority gets on track.

A week from now, special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will arrive once again in Israel and is expected to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Incidentally, sources close to the defense minister are now saying that the level of tension between Washington and Jerusalem has abated.

According to them, the Americans have worked to accommodate Israel and the atmosphere in now more constructive.

Syrian Souvenirs for Steinmeier
By Yassin Musharbash in Damascus, Syria

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sees Syria and its president, Bashar Assad, as an important regional player, a key to Mideast peace. In Damascus, Assad did all he could to accomodate this leap of faith, showing a willingness to find a middle ground even on hot-button issues.

Steinmeier stressed in Syria, as he had done in Israel on Monday, that the current opportunity may be short-lived. He believes Obama provided impetus by indicating he’s ready to take a tougher line with Israel. Now the players in the region have to position themselves. Negotiations have to start very quickly, Steinmeier said in Damascus. “The chances we have must be seized this year, otherwise the window will close,” he said.

He wants Palestinians and Israelis to start final status negotiations this autumn to replace a “peace process” that has been torpedoed and watered down all too often. That’s the position shared by the United States and Steinmeier. It’s worth a try after the failure of previous attempts, they believe.

The Syrians, who until now have given the impression that time is the least of their concerns, were surprisingly clear on Tuesday in agreeing that time was now of the essence. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem hinted that Syria’s ties with Iran — a sticking point with the international community — may no longer be a taboo issue.

Asked by a journalist what he thought of the US demand that Syria divorce itself from Tehran in exchange for a return of the Golan Heights occupied by Israel, he said no one could predict what would happen to the relationship once the Golan Heights were returned to Syria.

The minister also reaffirmed at a joint news conference with Steinmeier that his country remained ready to negotiate with Israel. But he added that he would prefer the talks initially to be held indirectly via Turkish mediation. Israel is currently signalling that it would prefer to negotiate directly with Damascus. So the issue here is not whether but how — a further tentative sign of rapprochement. …

بقرار من الرئيس الأسد، تسريح اللواء الدكتور شاليش!

السفير السوري في واشنطن: سوريا “صعقت” لتجديد العقوبات الأميـركية

في تقرير بريطاني: سورية ثالث أسعد دولة عربية والـ 38 عالمياً!

الرئيس السوري يصدر أمراً بخصوص المخابرات, يؤكد مصداقية (كلنا شركاء)!

القناة الفضائية نينار “رامي مخلوف” قريباً على الشاشة

The Syian and Iranian relationship:

Ray Takeyh’s new book, Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of Ayatollahs, has an interesting section on the Syrian-Iranian relationship. Here it is posted to the Oxford University Press Blog. Tayekh, a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes about the relationship between Iran and Syria, beginning with the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Syria alliance that followed.

Al Jazeera English signs first major US TV deal

Mossad chief Dagan stirs the pot
2009-07-07 16:28:05.10 GMT

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 7 (UPI) — Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to extend the tenure of former army Gen. Meir Dagan as head of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, by a year has got the nation wondering what clandestine missions the man the liberal daily Haaretz calls “the angel of destruction” will think up next……

Dagan “is said to have returned the agency to its glory days,” says the Jerusalem Post.
He has notched what his peers see as several major successes. Most of these remain shrouded in mystery, but there have been reports that key scientists in Iran’s nuclear program died in mysterious circumstances.

More in the public domain, however, was the discovery of what Israel says was a North Korean-built nuclear reactor in western Syria and its subsequent destruction by the Israeli air force in September 2007 and long-range air strikes in Sudan against alleged shipments of Iranian arms being smuggled to Hamas in Gaza in January and February 2009.

But possibly the most spectacular operation widely attributed to Dagan’s Mossad was the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah’s legendary operations chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.

Controversial Bestseller Shakes the Foundation of the Israeli State
By Joshua Holland

What if the Palestinian Arabs who have lived for decades under the heel of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same “children of Israel” described in the Old Testament? And what if most modern Israelis aren’t descended from the ancient Israelites at all, but are actually a mix of Europeans, North Africans and others who didn’t “return” to the scrap of land we now call Israel and establish a new state following the attempt to exterminate them during World War II, but came in and forcefully displaced people whose ancestors had lived there for millennia?

What if the entire tale of the Jewish Diaspora — the story recounted at Passover tables by Jews around the world every year detailing the ancient Jews’ exile from Judea, the years spent wandering through the desert, their escape from the Pharaoh’s clutches — is all wrong?

That’s the explosive thesis of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, a book by Tel Aviv University scholar Shlomo Zand (or Sand) that sent shockwaves across Israeli society when it was published last year. After 19 weeks on the Israeli best-seller list, the book is being translated into a dozen languages and will be published in the United States this year by Verso…..

Inventing a People?

Zand’s central argument is that the Romans didn’t expel whole nations from their territories. Zand estimates that perhaps 10,000 ancient Judeans were vanquished during the Roman wars, and the remaining inhabitants of ancient Judea remained, converting to Islam and assimilating with their conquerors when Arabs subjugated the area. They became the progenitors of today’s Palestinian Arabs, many of whom now live as refugees who were exiled from their homeland during the 20th century.

As Israeli journalist Tom Segev summarized, in a review of the book in Ha’aretz:

There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened — hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua.

But this begs the question: if the ancient people of Judea weren’t expelled en masse, then how did it come to pass that Jewish people are scattered across the world? According to Zand, who offers detailed histories of several groups within what is conventionally known as the Jewish Diaspora, some were Jews who emigrated of their own volition, and many more (90%) were later converts to Judaism. Contrary to popular belief, Zand argues that Judaism was an evangelical religion that actively sought out new adherents during its formative period.

This narrative has huge significance in terms of Israel’s national identity. If Judaism is a religion, rather than “a people” descended from a dispersed nation, then it brings into question the central justification for the state of Israel remaining a “Jewish state.”…..

Sexy Brit bringing Syria in from the cold
By OLIVER HARVEY
Chief Feature Writer for The SUN – what else

Born in the west London suburb of Acton, she speaks with a cut-glass English accent and her childhood friends called her Emma.

She is Asma al Assad – First Lady of Syria – and she is certainly not the average Arab dictator’s wife.

She likes to show off her willowy form in figure-hugging jeans and her mousy brown hair is cut in a stylish flicked bob. ….

The Muslim Challenge to Nationalism
July 6, 2009, By James Brazier, London Correspondent

There is plenty of evidence that the world’s Muslims do not take the nation-state for granted. WorldPublicOpinion.org, supported by the University of Maryland, has run two sets of surveys in Muslim-majority countries to gauge public opinion of geopolitical affairs. The most recent poll, “Public Opinion in the Islamic World on Terrorism, al Qaeda, and U.S. Policies”, published in February 2009, produced much the same results as the first one two years earlier.

Both surveys showed majority support for a new Caliphate in some large Muslim countries. According to the latest survey, 70 percent of Egyptians believe Egypt should be erased in favour of a superstate. Sixty-nine percent of Pakistanis agreed that their country should be dissolved in a similar fashion while, according to the 2006 survey, 67 percent of Moroccans felt likewise. Indonesians, far-flung from the centre of Islamic geography and never a party to historical Caliphates, mostly rejected the idea (although 35 percent did not).

Respondents tended to view the system of nation-states as a foreign conspiracy designed to weaken and divide Muslims. Large majorities in every country polled (Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Palestine, Iran, and Azerbaijan) cited “weaken and divide” as the main policy goal of the United States in the Muslim world. There was even greater unanimity as to why the U.S. sought this weakness and division: control over oil. This belief was “so widespread as to be consensual,” according to the report’s authors.

Few respondents believed that the U.S. genuinely supports democracy. Large majorities concluded either that the U.S. actively opposes free elections in their countries (especially respondents in Jordan and Egypt), or that the U.S. seeks democracy only when it is likely to result in a cooperative government.

Risking Israel’s ire, US takes 1,350 Palestinian refugees
By Patrik Jonsson | The Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 200

The State Department confirmed today that as many as 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians – once the well-treated guests of Saddam Hussein and now at outs with much of Iraqi society – will be resettled in the US, mostly in southern California, starting this fall.

It will be the largest-ever resettlement of Palestinian refugees into the US – and welcome news to the Palestinians who fled to Iraq after 1948 but who have had a tough time since Mr. Hussein was deposed in 2003. Targeted by Iraqi Shiites, the mostly-Sunni Palestinians have spent recent years in one of the region’s roughest refugee camps, Al Waleed, near Iraq’s border with Syria.

“Really for the first time, the United States is recognizing a Palestinian refugee population that could be admitted to the US as part of a resettlement program,” says Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch in Washington.

Given the US’s past reluctance to resettle Palestinians – it accepted just seven Palestinians in 2007 and nine in 2008 – the effort could ruffle some diplomatic feathers.

For many in the State Department and international community, the resettlement is part of a moral imperative the US has to clean up the refugee crisis created by invading Iraq. The US has already stepped up resettlement of Iraqis, some who have struggled to adjust to life in America.

The resettlement of Iraqi Palestinians is “an important gesture for the United States to demonstrate that we’re not heartless,” says Alon Ben-Meir, a professor of international relations and Middle Eastern studies at New York University.

But some critics say the State Department is sloughing off its problems onto American cities, especially since in this case the Palestinians were sympathizers of Hussein, who was deposed by the US.

“This is politically a real hot potato,” says Mark Krikorian, director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, adding, “[A]merica has become a dumping ground for the State Department’s problems – they’re tossing their problems over their head into Harrisburg, Pa., or Omaha, Neb.”

SADDAM’S GUESTS
Palestinian refugees came to Iraq in successive waves over several decades, first in 1948, then in 1967, and in 1991. They were treated well under Hussein but were also used to attack Israeli policies, and their presence was resented by many Iraqis.

After Hussein was deposed in 2003, many of these Palestinians were driven out of their homes and now live “at the mercy of the weather” in rough camps along the Syrian and Jordanian border, says Mr. Ben-Meir. The number of Palestinians in Iraq has fallen from around 34,000 to an estimated 15,000, with about 2,773 living in camps, according to the State Department.

The US, which takes in about 80,000 refugees annually, hopes to bring 17,000 Iraqi refugees this year.

CATEGORIZED AS IRAQI REFUGEES
While the US generally doesn’t accept Palestinians, Todd Pierce, a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, says that the Iraqi population of Palestinians falls under a different category from those in Gaza and the West Bank. Each applicant will be carefully scrutinized for terrorist ties, he adds.

The US reluctance to accept Palestinians is because it “doesn’t want the refugee program to become an issue in its relationship with Israel,” says a diplomat in the region, who requested anonymity because he is not cleared to talk to the press. But these Palestinians, he says, will be processed as refugees from Iraq.

Mr. Krikorian says the US should be the last refuge for those fleeing persecution. Only Jordan of all the Arab countries routinely grants citizenship to Palestinian refugees, he notes. More recently, says Mr. Frelick, Jordan has also shut its borders to Palestinians coming from Iraq.

Frelick, who has visited a camp on the Jordanian border, said the Iraqi Palestinians are “apolitical,” and “basically desperate, scared, miserable, and ready to just get out of Iraq.”

Resettlement agencies urge an overhaul of America’s 30-year-old refugee policy.

Many Iraqi refugees in US now in dire straits

By Patrik Jonsson and Kristen Chick
The Christian Science Monitor
June 18, 2009

Atlanta; and Lynn, Mass. – It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the thousands of Iraqi refugees entering America’s resettlement program. Only 11 percent are finding work this year, compared with 80 percent two years ago. Many are frustrated as benefits dwindle, cash runs out, and eviction notices pile up.

With such findings in hand, nonprofit resettlement agencies like the International Rescue Committee (IRC) are urging this week an overhaul of America’s three-decade-old refugee policy.

Reforms should include more cash assistance from the US government to the refugees, the IRC says. The government should also offer a uniform and more substantial package of benefits, the IRC says.

Refugees “never imagined that they would be struggling to survive here in America,” says Alaa Naji, a refugee from Baghdad who now works in Atlanta for the IRC. “They expected more from a country that was involved in the violence that destroyed our land, homes, and loved ones.”

Complaints about the handling of refugees have risen as the United States has tried to welcome more Iraqi refugees. Until 2006, only 202 Iraqis had come to the US, partly because of security concerns. In the past three years, 25,659 Iraqi refugees have arrived.

Some argue that US officials have oversold refugees’ prospects. “You’ll see there’s a universal theme to [Iraqis’] complaints, which is that they were told they were going to have a great life, and they’re completely shocked when they’re given jobs like washing cars,” says Ann Corcoran, a Washington County, Md., farmer who runs a critical blog, Refugee Resettlement Watch.

It’s often hard for people to reconcile themselves to the reality of life as a refugee, says Kay Bellor, IRC’s vice president for US programs. Many refugees are highly educated, and they find it difficult to work in menial jobs and give up their earlier lifestyle, she says.

This spring, as a stopgap measure, the State Department released $5 million in emergency rent stipends to help refugees on the verge of eviction. …..

Costa Rica is world’s greenest, happiest country

Latin American nation tops index ranking countries by ecological footprint and happiness of their citizens
(page 63 of 64 in the above pdf file)
syria is number 38
usa is number 114
uae is number 123
saudi is number 13
egypt is number 12
israel is number 67
lebanon is number 111

Egyptians cry racism in woman’s slaying in Germany
By MAGGIE MICHAEL

CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of Egyptian mourners marched behind the coffin of the “martyr of the head scarf” on Monday — a pregnant Muslim woman who was stabbed to death in a German courtroom as her young son watched.

Many in her homeland were outraged by the attack and saw the low key response in Germany as an example of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Her husband was critically wounded in the attack Wednesday in Dresden when he tried to intervene and was stabbed by the attacker and accidentally shot by court security.

“There is no god but God and the Germans are the enemies of God,” chanted the mourners for 32-year-old Marwa al-Sherbini in her hometown of Alexandria, where her body was buried after being flown back from Germany.

“We will avenge her killing,” her brother Tarek el-Sherbini told The Associated Press by telephone from the mosque where prayers were being recited in front of his sister’s coffin. “In the West, they don’t recognize us. There is racism.”

Al-Sherbini, who was about four months pregnant and wore the Islamic head scarf, was involved in a court case against her neighbor for calling her a terrorist and was set to testify against him when he stabbed her 18 times inside the courtroom in front of her 3-year-old son.

Her husband, who was in Germany on a research fellowship, came to her aid and was also stabbed by the neighbor and shot in the leg by a security guard who initially mistook him for the attacker, German prosecutors said. He is now in critical condition in a German hospital, according to al-Sherbini’s brother.

“The guards thought that as long as he wasn’t blond, he must be the attacker so they shot him,” al-Sherbini told an Egyptian television station…..

Comments (89)


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. jad said:

Shai, that is a great news for Christians, Hindu and Sikh, they can be as racist as they want 😉

BTW, how have you been?

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July 10th, 2009, 9:40 pm

 

52. offended said:

Oh my! Lots of drama on SC today. I sadly missed it.

Or maybe not.

While I believe that the flaws and ‘racism’ (now, allow me to call it as such for the time being) in Zionism are substantial components of this continuing conflict, I refuse to level this criticism on all Israelis. Clearly, apart from being racist or bigoted, such an attempt would be impractical and futile. So the Israelis are all bunch of racist parasites. Great. What are you going to do about it? fight them all forever?

And it’s possible to live in Israel and not believe in zionism or be a zionist fanatic. As it’s possible to live in Saudi Arabia and Iran and not believe in total theocracy or suffocating monarchic wahhabism.

To suggest that there is something inherently wrong with Israelis is perpetuating the conflict. We have evidence on this forum of Israelis who are friendly toward Arabs, open-minded, understanding, peace-seeking..etc.. (I definitely don’t mean AIG, Avi, or AP) we may not agree with them 100%, but we can talk to them and work with them.

In fact, it’s much easier to have a dialog with them than to have dialog with many abhorrently sectarian arabs. (like the so called Majid)

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July 10th, 2009, 9:41 pm

 

53. t_desco said:

And then there is yet another possibility: 4.

LOL

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July 10th, 2009, 9:57 pm

 

54. Akbar Palace said:

While I believe that the flaws and ‘racism’ (now, allow me to call it as such for the time being) in Zionism are substantial components of this continuing conflict, I refuse to level this criticism on all Israelis.

Offended,

Personally, don’t have a problem with people who claim Israelis or Zionists are racist. I don’t mind simply because there are so many examples available to dispute that. I find many Arabs like to paint that brushstroke.

Calling a people “parasites” or wishing they were nuked “to the moon” or considering them a “non-entity”, is altogether something different.

In my case, I label some Arabs “jihadists”. I admit it. I will explain to you why I use that term.

A cursory search for the definition of jihadist:

jihad – a holy war waged by Muslims against infidels
jihad – a holy struggle or striving by a Muslim for a moral or spiritual or political goal

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:jihadist&ei=qb9XSrWiA6Cvtwf9kIXeCg&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

Do you agree with that definition?

To my mind, Hamas and Hezbollah are jihadists organizations. They not only believe Israel is illegal, they believe killing Jews indiscriminately is warranted and within their right, based on their interpretation of Islam. To my mind these two organizations are “jihadist”.

Do you agree?

Therefore, I believe any supporter of Hamas or Hezbollah is a jihadist.

QED

Now, do I believe Abbas and the PA are jihadist? NO. By virtue of Abbas’ willingness to negotiate with the GOI, they are NOT jihadists.

(I definitely don’t mean AIG, Avi, or AP) we may not agree with them 100%, but we can talk to them and work with them.

We can only do our best. Thanks.

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July 10th, 2009, 10:38 pm

 

55. Avi said:

I also do not like being labeled so I will do my auto critic….I am too paranoid and i can’t stand racist remarks and its stronger than me…but when i hear that Zionism is racism i feel like I am the one stigmatized ,for this is the history of a nation….Racism can really hurt and I guess there is sufficient reason for me to excuse myself if I offended people but I see the safety of Israel as something very dear to my eyes. And as a fresh starter I will try and stick to the subject,and not responding to haters and then entering into the hate spiral,the famous circle of violence.

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July 10th, 2009, 11:36 pm

 

56. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Majid gets too much attention than he deserves.

A children psychologist once told me, that when you rebuke a child’s
bad behavior, you only encourage him to do so more, in order to get
atention…LOL.

Seriously, I can get insulted only when someone I value, tells me a painful truth.

No way I get hurt by someone who tries desperately to insult me.
( YOSSI, that was for you ).
.

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July 11th, 2009, 1:16 am

 

57. norman said:

This should be interesting to all of you.

Arab World » Comment

Syria: Israel’s most valuable partner for peace
By Jamal Bittar
Friday, 07.10.2009, 05:17pm

The recent gesture by the Obama administration to re-open the U.S. embassy in Damascus and renew talks with the Syrian government was meant to lay the groundwork for a resumption of Israeli-Syrian talks under American auspices. There is indeed a window of opportunity for Israel to make peace with another Arab country, which if achieved, would ultimately bring peace to the whole region.

Many hardliners in Israel feel the U.S. has managed to find and support the only nation in the region that is actively anti-peace, and who will return absolutely nothing for peace. They say “this idea that Syria can produce peace is an old liberal idea.” But so was the idea that Egypt could produce peace, and it did. It still does. No more war, no more bloodshed on the Israel-Egypt border for over 30 years. How many young Israelis and Egyptians owe their lives to this “old liberal idea?”

Syria indeed has more to offer Israel than any other country in the region. The Syrians have the Golan Heights issue, in which it is supported by the international community. Syria borders Iraq and could have a significant impact on Iraq’s future. Syria has major influence in Lebanese politics, to Israel’s dismay. They carry the Hamas and Hizbullah cards in their hand and enjoy the alliance with Iran, which annoys and disturbs Israel. Therefore, Syria is the nearest and strongest enemy of Israel; you cannot rule them out. Syria can offer everything and nothing. It has a lot of support in the Arab world. Without a genuine peace with Syria, Israel will never have peace with the Palestinians; there will always be bloodshed.

By making a true friend of Syria, the U.S. can put all of these things on the table and perhaps negate them. All it would take is the return of the Golan Heights and a few billion dollars a year in aid. For Obama, this is the bargain of the century. The current investment in Israel has returned only thirty years of settlement expansion and failed peace efforts. It has raised a generation of Israelis who feel entitled to American aid and who balk at American influence.

If the U.S. had continued to alienate the Syrian regime, that could have increased the likelihood of an emergence of domestic tensions, notably among the Kurds and the Muslim Brotherhood. We have all seen the effects of such domestic tensions in Iraq. The U.S. cannot find a substitute for Bashar Assad’s regime. Unlike the case with Iraq, it is difficult to identify a prominent Syrian opponent to the Syrian leader, inside or outside of the country.

The new Assad has proven himself to be a man of principle making the best of a difficult agenda. His approach to negotiations with Israel is correct. Assad’s argument all along has been that the only way you can really get a systematic peace process going now is bringing in America to broker it. And the American role would be very important. It’s a tremendous challenge for the Obama administration diplomatically: nurse an agreement over the Golan Heights, which everybody seems to want, and use that to start talking about regional peace.

And that would mean bringing Iran into the process while holding off the Israelis. The Israelis are interested in a Golan Heights settlement because they see a settlement with Syria over the Golan Heights as an issue that would isolate the Iranians from the Syrians and, therefore, give the Israelis more leverage to go after Iran, if they choose to do so, if they view Iran as a strategic threat. They don’t view the Palestinian issue, whether Hamas or Fatah, as a strategic issue. The Israelis see it as a tactical issue. The problem for Israel is that the Syrians have a different motive for dealing with it. They’re not interested in walking away from the Iranian agreement.

If the Obama administration can get into a possible settlement of the Golan Heights dispute, land for peace, we can get a regional peace process going. And then the United States would have to also accept the idea that Iran should participate. Richard Holbrooke recently talked about the inevitability of having Iran involved, because for the United States, you have to look at the idea of having Syria, Turkey and Iran all together, all border countries playing an enormous role in making sure that the Iraqis — as we walk out of Iraq, and making sure that that happens safely— have a lot to say about what’s going to happen inside Iraq. They can be moderating influences. Therefore, we can see the potential for an enormous sort of a change in the paradigm.

President Obama is looking for partners for peace in the Middle East. It takes brilliant and courageous leaders to make bold and decisive decisions; Israel has lacked those leaders due to corruption and a total disregard for the safety and peaceful existence of the Jewish state.

For decades, Israel has been able to indulge their greed for Arab land and their greed for American support at the same time. Now the time has arrived in which they will have to choose one and let go of the other. It still seems a good deal. Better be careful not to lose both.

The writer is professor of interdisciplinary studies at the University of Toledo.

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July 11th, 2009, 2:50 am

 

58. SimoHurtta said:

Interesting writing rules how Avi, Amir in Tel Aviv, AIG, Akbar etc should write and many rules of how Shai and Yossi write:

The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary

NOTE the text on every page
Property of The Israel Project. Not for distribution or publication. 2009.
Full report

Some points of that hilarious 116 page long “secret” report.

Rules
10) Draw direct parallels between Israel and America—including the need to defend against terrorism.
The language of Israel is the language of America: “democracy,” “freedom,” “security,” and “peace.”
12) No matter what you are asked, bridge to a productive pro-Israel message. When asked a direct question, you don’t have to answer it directly. You are in control of what you say and how you say it.
13) Talk about the future, not the past.
14) Hope.
15) Use rhetorical questions. Avoid head on attacks of your opponents. Use a soft tone. Show regret that the Palestinians have been led so poorly.
17) K.I.S.S. and tell and tell again and again. A key rule of successful communications is “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. Successful communications is not about being able to recite every fact from the long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is about pointing out a few core principles of shared values—such as democracy and freedom—and repeating them over and over again.
18) Avoid “analysis paralysis” and be pro-active.
22) Never, never, NEVER speak in declarative statements. Never.

• “Living together, side by side. This is the best way to describe the ultimate vision of a two-state solution without using the phrase.

Chapter 3
HOW TO TALK ABOUT PALESTINIAN SELF GOVERNMENT & PROSPERITY

That said, it is important to note that there are effective ways to uphold the ultimate goal of a Palestinian self-government while legitimately questioning how soon the solution can be reached. This is the rhetorical area in which you need to operate.

5) The fight is over IDEOLOGY – not land; terror, not territory. Thus, you must avoid using Israel’s religious claims to land as a reason why Israel should not give up land. Such claims only make Israel look extremist to people who are not religious Christians or Jews.

CHAPTER 5:
THE LANGUAGE TACKLING A NUCLEAR IRAN

Note also the use of Arab nations to marginalize Iran. Just as we recommend in the chapter about Hamas, there is immense value in isolating Iran’s leadership as being out of step with Arab neighbors. Many Americans would be surprised to know that these nations are afraid of Iran, just like Israel. By surprising them, you open their minds to the rest of your message.

CHAPTER 8:
SETTLEMENTS

1) Talk about “a willingness to negotiate” and “Camp David” in the same sentence.
4) The settlements are necessary for the security of Israel.

ETC

A simply spectacular propaganda writing manual constructed by Dr. Frank Luntz. Worth reading.

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July 11th, 2009, 7:40 am

 

59. majid said:

“Some points of that hilarious 116 page long “secret” report.”

What do you mean exactly by “secret” report, SH?

Is there something these guys want to hide? Is this something shameful? Thus it needs to be hidden? Thus it needs to be kept “secret”?

I’m inclined to answer myself with the affirmative to these questions? Do you concur?

It also looks like some sort of protocol to me – but for real this time.
uhhhh a thief is caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

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July 11th, 2009, 8:55 am

 

60. SimoHurtta said:

What do you mean exactly by “secret” report, SH?

Well if in the report is the text “Not for distribution or publication” I suppose it means that it is intended only for a selected audience and should be kept secret from others. Also Newsweek’s article mentions that the report was leaked. 🙂

One can only imagine the fury in the Israeli / US media if an equal Palestinian or Arab propaganda handbook would be “leaked”. So in that aspect I see Dr. Luntz’s handbook as “shameful”. Surely it has been long known how organized, methodical and well financed the pro-Israeli (= pro Zionist) circles are, but still this propaganda writing handbook’s level is rather “admirable” (Göbbels could only dream of such manuals and only Soviet communists had equal “War is peace” manuals).

Other Luntz’s famous works
“Israeli Communications Priorities 2003” outlined how American Jewish leaders should incorporate the war in Iraq into their public comments about Israel
“Communicating the Principles of Prevention and Protection in the War on Terror” apparently prepared for the Bush Administration, full of guidance on specific words, phrases, and context to use when talking about the policy of pre-emption and the war in Iraq.

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July 11th, 2009, 10:04 am

 

61. Shai said:

Norman,

Very good article you posted.

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July 11th, 2009, 11:12 am

 

62. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

SIMOHURTTA,

KISS is a public relations technique usually used in crisis management.
Google “KISS” with “public relations”; I studied it in a very interesting
course in PR during the Business Management studies.

Nothing secretive about it, or conspiratorial.
It is absolutely reasonable to use a variety of methods and means in a
political campaign, in order to maximize the efficiency of the message deliverance.

It is called “benchmarking” in business .. 🙂
.

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July 11th, 2009, 11:13 am

 

63. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Sorry…

“Delivery” – it shoud be.
.

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July 11th, 2009, 11:19 am

 

64. Avi said:

Majid of coarse Palestine was not a country without a people ,I agree with you but at the same time when Salahadin liberated Jerusalem this city was also not a city without a people ….For me this land is a country that has been conquered and then reconquered over centuries even before this land was called ‘Palestine’ or ‘Israel’ but the thing is also that at the the end you have 2 peoples that are left….both have the human right to be free…both!That’s where I caution you to be careful…because when you see Zionism as something evil you are actually abolishing my human rights you are negating my language my culture and my history….. And what really frightens me is that you think you are politically correct and then when people like myself defend ourselves on this blog they censor us but not you?I fail to understand …..’Assimilation’ ,Majid, in the way you see it, is just another way for you to abolish my freedom,which this type of language is completely out of reality and of coarse dangerous.

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July 11th, 2009, 11:35 am

 

65. Avi said:

I hope one day that you will accept my identity and my right to this land because the only thing you are doing Majid is perpetuating from generation to generation a lie that is historically false.This land is not exclusively Palestine….and it is so obvious…and it would be nice if you stop this competition of the ‘natives’!A way of making sure that the circle of violence continues.

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July 11th, 2009, 11:44 am

 

66. Shai said:

Avi,

Hamas has already accepted a Palestine with 1967 borders (Khaled Mashaal repeated this on two separate occasions in the past 6 months). I don’t see what more of a recognition you require.

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July 11th, 2009, 12:03 pm

 

67. SimoHurtta said:

SIMOHURTTA,

KISS is a public relations technique usually used in crisis management. Google “KISS” with “public relations”; I studied it in a very interesting course in PR during the Business Management studies.

By the way Amir in Tel Aviv we have in Finland an event with the name KISS MY METAL. It is no PR strategy education event, it is a rock concert.

Well Amir I have studied business management and strategies as my major subject in the university. One of my teacher in Soviet block trade course was a Finish guy who had studied for some time in a Communist Political University in DDR. He had interesting stories how they taught how to educate the public that “black is white” and “creative” usage of statistics and charts. One of the main lessons was that never believe the official version and always use your own brains. The other lesson was those who have most to hide have to use most propaganda. Now I could add with more life experience that when you have extra much to hide you use much PR strategies and hire more writers.

Sure there is no conspiracy behind that leaked manual (only in the leaking – smile). It has been long known that such coordinated strategies and “behaviour” on the pro-Israeli side exist. What makes it humiliating for “the Israel Project” (meaning in larger scale than this US non-profit organization) that these instructions become public.

It is called “benchmarking” in business

Actually benchmarking in business means comparing companies (or countries) with measurable items/topics like R&D costs, profitability, indebtness etc. Comparing, in the way Luntz does it, occupants and occupied people is hardly a benchmark.

PS
Amir belonging to topic of funny acronyms, do you know what means S.H.I.T list? Well it is Self-Hating and/or Israel-Threatening List.
http://www.masada2000.org/shit-list.html

Do not criticize Israel or you end to that list. By the way asthonishing well educated people on that “benchmarking” list.

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July 11th, 2009, 12:51 pm

 

68. Avi said:

I was not talking about hamas Shai, but i was talking to Majid…but your point is valid since my ideas also apply to people like hamas….and hamas never said they were for a peace accord…so please pay attention to what Khaled Maashal is really saying it may be of some concern of yours also.And I did not know that negociation is open between Israel and Maashal I still don’t see Gilad free and I still don’t see an end to the armement for the great destruction of Israel stopping…please enlighten me if I am wrong…but htis is reality

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July 11th, 2009, 2:23 pm

 

69. Akbar Palace said:

Hamas has already accepted a Palestine with 1967 borders (Khaled Mashaal repeated this on two separate occasions in the past 6 months). I don’t see what more of a recognition you require.

Shai,

You statement is exactly why I don’t respect liberal Israeli dogma.

You believe the anti-semitic terror organization Hamas, but no one else in the world does.

http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm

http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/Hudna_With_Hamas.asp

Lastly, Israel will never accept a peace agreement that does not take into account the Old City of Jerusalem. As you recall, the Western Wall is located “illegally” within the holy “Green Line”.

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July 11th, 2009, 2:50 pm

 

70. offended said:

And why should Hamas or anybody recognize Israel when Israel doesn’t recognize a viable Palestinian state?

I am yet to find a convincing answer to the above question.

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July 11th, 2009, 4:39 pm

 

71. Shai said:

Akbar,

Thank you for clarifying the point, of why you don’t “respect liberal Israeli dogma”. And then you explain that with “You believe the anti-semitic terror organization Hamas, but no one else in the world does.”

First, we so-called “liberal Israelis” aren’t looking for your respect, so don’t feel so bad that you can’t find any for us. Second, it seems that FOX-education was well worth the money, because you’re still using ridiculous labels to try to prove some point, any point. “I believe the anti-semitic Hamas…” and “no one else does…” Let’s even assume that was true (which it isn’t of course), so what? What if no one on earth believed Sinn Fein, except for a particular party that came to power in Britain? Does that mean Sinn Fein can’t be recognized, or negotiated with? And what does it mean “not to believe”? So when Hamas says it’ll capture more Israeli soldiers if it can, you certainly believe them. When Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel, you more than certainly believe them. But when Khaled Mashaal accepts the 1967 borders, for the first time EVER, and does so publicly from his safe haven in Damascus, you suddenly DON’T believe him! I guess that’s called “selective-believing”, isn’t it?

Third, and this may come as a super-shock for you, but smart people actually don’t rule out ideas because the majority think one way or another about them. In fact, few discoveries, and quite likely few breakthroughs (in any field, including politics) would be possible, if scientists and leaders followed “the majority”. So to suggest that “everyone else” doesn’t believe Hamas (again, but they do believe it sometimes, don’t they?) and therefore to suggest that rational people (unlike the liberal dogma) should ALSO not believe Hamas, ever, is pretty closed-minded in my mind.

Because after all, if you think about it, FOX actually has you guys believing that liberals out there, who are ready to give away everything (their country, their principles, their lives), are selective-believers. They only choose to believe what they want to believe. But in reality, isn’t it precisely YOU that does that?

So here’s how THIS particular liberal Israeli sees things with regards to Hamas: Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Hamas has for the longest time clearly said they’ll accept no peace, no recognition of Israel, only a 9000 year Hudna (joke). And then suddenly Khaled Mashaal says, twice already, that Hamas accepts a Palestine with 1967 borders. And he also says very clearly that “Hamas will be part of the solution.” Now if I take Hamas seriously (and I do), I have to ask myself how do all these declarations go together. Don’t they contradict in some ways? And, unlike you, instead of choosing to believe one and not the other, I decide the only reasonable thing to do is… to ask Hamas! That is, to engage it, and to ask it to clarify what it means.

FOX-ed probably encourages you to make peace only with friends. Or with enemies that capitulate and say “uncle” in whatever local language they happen to speak. FOX-ed suggests that cruel enemies that kill innocent humans (like 30 of them in 9 years, with horrifying Qassam rockets) should neither be believed, engaged, recognized, or dealt with in any way other than through the telescope atop your automatic rifle. FOX-ed prefers you not label “cruel enemy” any regional “democracy” that upholds Republican interests, and occasionally kills 1,300 innocent humans in 22 days, and 1,500 in 34 days. No, such nations act in self-defense and, therefore, you should support them. If you don’t, you’re a liberal leftist, and should be dismissed or shunned.

Well, let me say this Akbar. If the super-Democratic Finland tomorrow morning began a campaign of bombarding my towns and cities, and killed 1,300 of my fellow citizens, I promise you that I would neither find comfort in watching FOX rationalize this act, nor would I be spending my time writing you this response on Syria Comment. No, I’d be training late at night to go kill some Finnish SOB’s. And if that makes me a “terrorist”, or an “anti-Finn”, or an “extremist”, or someone “not to be believed”, then that’s fine with me.

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July 11th, 2009, 6:13 pm

 

72. Shai said:

Avi,

I sometimes don’t know if you’re serious or not. Don’t you see how you’re saying exactly the things our rival would be saying right now, to make sure no progress was ever made? What if the Avi-equivalent said the following to the Shai-equivalent in Hamas: “I still don’t see the (thousands of our brothers and sisters held in Israeli jails) free and I still don’t see an end to the armement for the great destruction of (Palestine) stopping…please enlighten me if I am wrong…but this is reality.”

We can’t move forward, if we are incapable of empathizing (not sympathizing) with our enemy. If we can’t put ourselves in his shoes, look through his eyes at ourselves, and begin to understand the rationale for his actions against us. If we can’t do this, we’d better find someone that can.

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July 11th, 2009, 6:30 pm

 

73. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

A commercial, that I’m sure you will all like
now running on Israeli channels by Cellcom.
Advertising FUN-MEDIA via Cellular.

Presenting: IDF soldiers playing with (*genie* ???) on the other
side of the “separation-wall”.

The presenter says (to us, the viewers):
“…What do we want life to be? ..Just a little bit of fun”.

Watch

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July 11th, 2009, 7:35 pm

 

74. Akbar Palace said:

And why should Hamas or anybody recognize Israel when Israel doesn’t recognize a viable Palestinian state?

Offended,

Define a “viable Palestinian state”, and then explain to me and the rest of the forum where the GOI is lacking in this regard.

Apparently, the PA disagrees with you, because there are neogtiations and lines of communication between Abbas and the GOI.

However, there is absolutely no international pressure on Israel to negotiate with Hamas and their representatives due to Hamas’s anti-semitic charter and their fanatical leadership.

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July 11th, 2009, 7:43 pm

 

75. Shai said:

Amir,

Why do you think Cellcom didn’t show who or what exists on “the other side”? My guess is because it wouldn’t be a very pretty picture, would it? If this commercial had Israeli soldiers kicking a ball across a REAL security-fence (not a Berlin Wall), such as the Syrian border, to Syrian soldiers, then I’d say the commercial had some positive message. It had peace and equality in mind. It didn’t present an Occupier as the strong side, and hide the Occupied as the (obvious) weaker side.

If I was to show you a German commercial of Wermacht uniformed-soldiers kicking a ball across the Warsaw Ghetto wall, would you also find it “amusing”? Or, as the commercial says: “After all, what does everybody want?… to have some fun!” I’m sure the Palestinians on the other side just want to “have some fun”. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.

The more I think about it, the more I see how demeaning and disgusting that commercial was. It uses the Wall, and brings in the soldiers in combative mood (waving guns around, looking for the source of trouble), insinuating that the Wall is justified, because there are “problems” on the other side. But Cellcom probably thought “Hey, we’re not going to depict the Palestinian side as evil-terrorists, that would be wrong. So instead, let’s just NOT SHOW the other side. But we’ll represent the Palestinian side with just a ball being returned. So by that, we’ll try to send a ya’ani positive message.

In reality, Amir, it’s just the same cowardliness of not showing Jewish faces or the inside of a Ghetto, created by some German soldiers. Bravo.

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July 11th, 2009, 8:06 pm

 

76. Alex said:

Exactly what I was thinking Shai.

I am sure that those who designed that commercial believe they were friendly enough …

It is similar to when I hear some rich Arabs talk about how well they treat their Asian maids “She eats the same food we eat”

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July 11th, 2009, 9:37 pm

 

77. majedkhaldoun said:

Palastine ,is part of Syria,which should never get divided,and there is no place for racists in it,and should never accept the return of part of the Golan to syria,all palastine belong to Syria,and Alex;I will never accept to make peace with the zionist entity till they provide justice to the palastinian Arab people,accept to return them to their land ,the palastinian should live free also.

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July 11th, 2009, 10:26 pm

 

78. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I agree with you, SHAI.
This commercial is tasteless, not to say vulgar.

Only in Israel, can army-soldiers-Jeeps-separation-wall be associated
with FUN-MEDIA.

I cannot imagine a similar commercial on American TV, featuring
marines soldiers playing football with the Taliban .. for FUN.

Could it be that we are a Fascistic society..? 🙂
.

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July 11th, 2009, 11:03 pm

 

79. Akbar Palace said:

Shai,

Here’s a Fox News report for you. Let me know what you don’t like about it.

http://www.breitbart.tv/fox-news-reporter-endures-tear-gas-and-water-cannons-in-gaza-strip/

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July 11th, 2009, 11:05 pm

 

80. Majhool said:

Dr. Landis,

I fully understand your point. And again, I tell you “it not important and not even relevant”

Many Christian’s seats are controlled by Muslims. For example Ba’labak Maronite seat is controlled by Shi’as ..you got my point.

Bottom line is, the Sunnis and Shi’as are well represented in power already.

Pushing the logic of Shia’s are more populous hence they need to control Lebanon and when put in context is only a mean to destabilize lebanon or delegitimize the constitution.

Anything short of a bloody shi’a dictatorship will not change this situation.

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July 12th, 2009, 2:10 am

 

81. Shai said:

Akbar,

You’re so funny… So Neocon-like to respond to an argument with a short clip, or “No, you’re just wrong,” instead of a more intelligent answer.

But even you can’t notice just how pro-Israel that clip was. It says the Israeli army was using tear gas to “try and control the situation”. That sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Almost the “responsible thing to do,” I’d say. And then, the reporter says “The wall has been a HUGE SUCCESS HERE IN ISRAEL…” in stopping suicide bombers. Really? I’d say the International Space Station had just as much contribution to stopping suicide bombers as the “Fence” (Wall) that covers less than 50% of what it was supposed to cover once (which means, in case you’re not sure, that a would-be bomber can just kind of walk around it, to the other 50% that’s open…)

FOX-Fact: “Since the International Space Station has been in full functioning order, less suicide bombing incidents in Israel!” – therefore…

FOX-ed says “We report, You decide…” Too bad they didn’t say “We report, You think.”

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July 12th, 2009, 5:21 am

 

82. Avi said:

Shai I did not know you made an equivalence between Israel and Hamas…I also did not know that Israelis in their majority do not accept a Palestinian state; while Hamas half of Palestine really does not accept us !! …and its about time you listen to what Hamas leaders say for internal consumption and of coarse these statements differ from external consumption,in my opinion you are being tricked and you are not listening or maybe you are refusing reality.And i think i can not be more clear or be more seious than this.It is easy for Meshaal to have these statements while the jihad(‘destruction of zionist entity’) has not stopped obviously

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July 12th, 2009, 1:32 pm

 

83. Avi said:

Or maybe Shai you are trying to convince us that hamas wants peace ,is ready for peace ,has stopped the armement, has stopped the rocket fire, has stopped planning suicide bombings in Israel ,or planning to take over Palestinian West bank.My question is simple Shai who do you think you are fooling?Who do you think the Egyptian police just arrested not so long ago for example…..I hope you understand my point…and the funniest thing is you talk about empathy….Shai understand and do not underestimate your enemy for this will never lead Israel to peace.Shai is it reasonnable to say that our enemy has planned our own demise??…

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July 12th, 2009, 1:45 pm

 

84. Avi said:

and that Shai against such a tricky enemy we must be united to live another day???and you are trying to convince me that Hamas wants peace???Man get back to reality even if the reality sucks and we wish for a new one.But don’t forget the reality because if you forget it will just blow up in your face with your whole country!

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July 12th, 2009, 1:54 pm

 

85. Shai said:

Avi,

First, take a deep breath. Second, if you’re continuing the same comment along the same lines, it’s really better if you could put it all into one comment, or two max. Three comments in a row, to the same person, is exhausting…

Third, I think you’re interpreting something I never said. In fact, I very clearly stated: “Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Hamas has for the longest time clearly said they’ll accept no peace, no recognition of Israel, only a 9000 year Hudna (joke). And then suddenly Khaled Mashaal says, twice already, that Hamas accepts a Palestine with 1967 borders. And he also says very clearly that “Hamas will be part of the solution.””

Then I suggested the following: “Now if I take Hamas seriously (and I do), I have to ask myself how do all these declarations go together. Don’t they contradict in some ways? And, unlike you, instead of choosing to believe one and not the other, I decide the only reasonable thing to do is… to ask Hamas! That is, to engage it, and to ask it to clarify what it means.”

Which means that I do listen to EVERYTHING Hamas says (things I like to hear, and things I don’t). But unlike most (perhaps you included), I believe we need to engage Hamas, to better understand it, to come to recognize the party that won the only free and democratic elections in the Middle East, and the party with whom Israel will undoubtedly have to (also) make peace.

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July 12th, 2009, 3:12 pm

 

86. Ghat Albird said:

its being reported that “demands by the only democracy in the Middle East” is delaying the formation of the Hariri Government in Lebanon.

The delay is due to the fact that Mr. Hariri has agreed to include a member of Hezbullah in his cabinet and that true to form the Israelis, who are against accepting the inclusion of Hamas as representing Palestenians, are also against having the Hezbullah included in the Hariri Cabinet.

A clearer picture of what Israel deems necessary as a “modus vivendi” as starting
a dialogue and eventual peace may be summarized as the 6 Points.

1. That it has the right to increase its nuclear arsenal.

2. That it be allowed to obliterate as much of Iran as it deems necessary.

3. Continued expansion and development of settlements.

4. That it alone decides on “how big a part of the Golan Heights it returns to
Syria”

5. Veto power on who is permited to be represented in the governments of
neighboring states.

6. Full and complete recognition by all the nations in the world as a “Jewish Only’
state.

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July 12th, 2009, 3:57 pm

 

87. Avi said:

Shai after taking a deep breath ….i will explain,i interpreted the reality on the ground not what Khaled Mashaal sais (because there has never been any use in listening to him a part from his death threats because when it is violence he never lies) and as for peace with Hamas and that we Israel have to engage them…dream on Shai!it does not seem in their interest…Remember the reality Shai and stop trying to ignore it!I wonder if you are serious at all or just a day dreamer.

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July 12th, 2009, 5:47 pm

 

88. Shai said:

Avi,

I don’t want to bore our fellow readers and commentators, so let’s try to end this “just a day dreamer” discussion. I think that if you allow yourself to believe that correct interpretation of “reality on the ground” resides purely with you, and may not in fact be open to a multitude of subjective interpretations, each of which may be perfectly sound, depending on the angle from which they are made, then you are setting yourself up for continued disappointments. If you cannot accept that your rival’s rationale for using $10 rockets may differ from your interpretation (the gradual destruction of the state of Israel), then you’re closing all possible doors for a future settlement.

But really what bugs me most about what I consider to be closed-minded yet very opinionated people, is that they don’t seem to truly understand or accept that peace you make with an enemy, not with a friend. And that enemies come in all shapes and sizes, and normally do terrible things to one another, until they are no longer enemies. In fact, enemies may even swear to destroy one another, and attempt to do so, continuously. For that matter, I don’t think Hamas hates you and me any more than we hate them. And it “fantasizes” on our evaporation no less than we do on theirs. And yet, Hamas is our enemy, as is Syria, Iran, and a whole slew of other nations. It is with them that we must make peace, not with Finland or Micronesia.

Btw, for the record, since you continuously bring up this issue of “destruction of Israel”, there was no greater “terrorist” than Anwar Sadat himself. He was responsible for the killing of more Israelis than any other so-called “terrorist”. More Israeli mothers and fathers had to bury their dear ones, because of his orders. And yet, we made peace with him. So I know Ismayel Hanniyeh looks less glamorous, and doesn’t speak English as well as Sadat did. But Hamas has killed far less Israelis, and if we were in his shoes, we would have probably done far worse. Read the last paragraph in comment 71 above. It summarizes pretty well my “empathy” towards the Palestinian people (and Lebanese). Empathy is the ability to understand another people. And it’s high time more of us understood the rationale of the so-called “other side”. It does differ substantially from the way you and I were raised interpreting it.

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July 12th, 2009, 6:16 pm

 

89. Avi said:

I do really think Shai that you want to look at the hamas problem from a perspective that simply does not exist and is not realistic,and plus how do you compare Sadat a leader of a major regional player even though once an enemy to Hamas a jihadist movement,an offshoot of the Muslim brotherhood,a movement that has allways and at all times have done their best to disrupt peace accords with us and our neighboors.Are you sure that this is not reality and this is the only major perspective which means that the Hamas movement’s raison d’etre is to disrupt peace!why try and deny that Hamas is the opposite of peace that hamas means war!

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July 12th, 2009, 9:02 pm

 

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