Obama Trapped in Bush’s Lebanon War

Obama spoke out about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon today as a new phase has started. The proceedings of the STL are now in the hands of an international group of professional judges. The role of regional politics is presumably over, but of course the political implications will only grow. Purported leaks about those indicted again remind us how political it is. Some reports are indicating that the indictments will accuse Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei of ordering the assassination and that it was carried out in cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah. Paul Salem says that if this is the case, it will mean war.

Paul Salem writes from Lebanon:

If the indictments indeed go in this direction, the crisis will engulf the country and the region. Iran and Syria will effectively interpret this as a declaration of war, in which case they would abandon any talk of a unity government in Lebanon and urge Hezbollah to launch a full takeover of state institutions.

If the indictments prove to be more limited, however, there would be a better chance of hammering out an agreement and putting together a coalition government.

In this crisis where issues of justice, stability and security coincide, and where a complex knot of sectarian, political, regional and international interests intersect, there is a strong chance the situation will get worse before it gets better. A solution appears a long ways away.

Judge Daniel Fransen of Belgium, who receives the indictments will take six to ten weeks to decide how to proceed before making them public. In the meantime we can expect more leaks and rising tensions.

When the neoconservatives of the Bush administration established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2005, a number of them argued that it would serve as a ticking time bomb that would go off in the distant future and would ensure that whatever administration came after Bush would be forced to continue fighting his war. They were right. The STL means Obama must fight Bush’s war in Lebanon, despite his attempt to bury it in the name of dialogue with Syria and Iran and settling the Arab-Israeli conflict.

President Bush is partially to blame for Hariri’s assassination and the present round of endemic civil strife in Lebanon. When he decided to ripe up the agreement on Lebanon that his father had hammered out in 1990 with Syria, he blew oxygen on the embers of the long Civil War that had never been settled but only dampened. When George W Bush proclaimed that the Syrian military was an “occupation force” and not a “positive presence” in Lebanon, the battle lines were drawn. The US had declared war on Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran.  When Bush teamed up with French President Chirac to convince Rafiq Hariri to choose sides in their battle and to back UN resolutions demanding Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, Hariri could no longer play the man in the middle. He became a combatant in a war that he did not chose and could not win.  He became its most famous victim.

The STL is tasked with bringing his killers to justice. They can indict and accuse, but of course, they cannot bring his killers to justice. The investigators first accused Syria of the crime, then they jettisoned their claims against Syria as the story of the “false witnesses” and trumped up evidence was revealed; it then turned to accusing Hizbullah. Now it seems, Iran will be placed in the cross-hairs. It is not clear how this drama will play out. The Tribunal has been badly damaged by the false witnesses, Hariri tape, and unprofessional behavior all around. All the same, much of the world remains convinced that Syria, Iran, and Hizbullah are the authors of the crime. Will Turkey and Saudi Arabia side with the United States? Will the United States become isolated on the issue as Middle Eastern countries tire of endless conflict, which the US has neither the military power or diplomatic authority to resolve?

The Lebanon crisis has always been a hostage to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now that the US has abandoned any realistic attempt to push through a two-state solution and will support Israel as it dislodges what remains of Palestinian authority in Jerusalem and the West Bank, much of the Muslim World will not side with America on Lebanon. Those who do, will be seen to be siding with Israel. This is the Saudi and Egyptian dilemma.

If the Tunisian uprising brings increasing democracy to the Middle East, it will not be good for America’s brand of justice or American policies in the region. Just as Turkey has moved away from the US and Israel in response to popular will, so will other Middle Eastern regimes should they become more responsive to their people. In the meantime, President Obama finds himself trapped in a Lebanese civil war that President Bush reignited and that he cannot win. The Lebanese state will remain inoperative. Obama will have to spend his time shoring up “moderate” Arab regimes to fight against the “radical” ones that support “resistance” and the Palestinian struggle. This is not where US policy should be – especially as Israel turns ever more to the radical right, violating international law in its rollback of Palestinian rights.

[End Landis analysis]

Obama’s Misguided Lebanon Policy: While in Lebanon or Tunisia, Iraq or Egypt, President Obama‘s policies have deepened the suffering of the people there, notes Abbas J. Ali.


President Barack Obama welcomed Monday’s indictment for the 2005 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri as key to ending an “era of impunity” but urged calm amid rising tensions. “I welcome the announcement by the Office of the Prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon today that he has filed an indictment relating to the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others,” Obama said in a statement. “This action represents an important step toward ending the era of impunity for murder in Lebanon, and achieving justice for the Lebanese people.

This is the judge who will decide if the indictments handed in today are sufficient to start calling in suspects and witnesses. 6-10 weeks he needs to make that decision Judge Daniel Fransen (Belgium), Pre-Trial Judge

Judge Daniel Fransen (Belgium), Pre-Trial Judge After working as a defence lawyer at the Brussels Bar from 1989 to 1993 and subsequently as a lawyer in the public service at the Société Régionale du Port de Bruxelles (1994 to 1995), Judge Fransen entered the judiciary, where he served as an investigating judge at the Brussels District Court for more than ten years. He dealt with serious and organised financial and economic crime before specialising in international humanitarian law and terrorism cases. Until his appointment as Pre-Trial Judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Judge Fransen was also the dean of the investigating judges specialised in terrorism in Belgium (2006 to 2009). He has also participated in many international conferences and written several publications on terrorism.

According to the Statute, proceedings in absentia may be instituted under three sets of circumstances, namely, when the accused: i) has expressly and in writing waived his right to be present; ii) has not been handed over to the Tribunal by the State authorities concerned; or iii) has absconded or cannot be found.

If, after “reasonable attempts” the accused cannot be located and served with an indictment, the President of the Tribunal can, after consulting the Pre-Trial Judge, decide to advertise the indictment, in part or in its entirety, in an effort to inform the accused of the need to appear before the Tribunal [Rule 76(E)]. The advertisement shall invite any person with information as to the whereabouts of the accused to communicate that information to the Tribunal [Rule 76bis].

there will not be “A” local judge. Once the pre trial judge accepts the validity of the indictments, the actual trial chamber will take over (three judges: one Lebanese and two international, plus two alternate judges, one Lebanese and one international).

Judge Antonio Cassese (Italy), President of the chamber Judge Ralph Riachy (Lebanon), Vice-President of the chamber
Thirty calendar days following such an advertisement, the Tribunal can proceed to conduct a trial in absentia, i.e. with the accused absent. In such a case, a lawyer would be assigned to represent the interests of the accused [Rule 105bis]. Also, if a trial does take place in absentia but an accused is located afterwards, that person would be entitled to a new trial [Rule 109].

[Erdogan and Assad] meeting in Damascus

“affirmed their care to find a solution to this crisis based on the … Syrian-Saudi efforts to achieve harmony between the Lebanese,” an official Syrian statement said after Monday’s talks, referring to earlier failed efforts by Saudi Arabia and Syria to forge a deal. Erdogan also said Iran’s foreign minister would visit Turkey on Monday after the Turkish prime minister discussed the issue at the weekend with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nasrallah said on Sunday that Hezbollah would fight efforts to tarnish its image. “We will not allow our reputation and our honor to be touched.” He said leaders from several countries had intervened to demand Hariri be picked again to form the next government, but defended the decision to bring down the last one…”

Iran Cuts Subsidies, as Syria has only begun to Do

The subsidy cuts, which the International Monetary Fund says have amounted to  $4,000 a year for the average Iranian family, began in earnest last month when the rationed  price of gasoline jumped to about $1.44 a gallon from just 38 cents.  With a ration of only 16 gallons a month at the subsidized rate, most  motorists buy the bulk of their fuel now at the even higher market rate  of $2.64 per gallon, significantly more than the $1.80 that people pay  in nearby Dubai.

In recent weeks, subsidies have also been reduced on flour, water and  diesel. But the spike in prices has not provoked the angry protests that followed the introduction of fuel rationing in 2007. The price of bread has tripled, on average, the government says; water, which used to be  practically free, now costs between 10 cents and 85 cents per cubic  meter, based on a sliding scale under which consumers pay a higher rate  the more they use.
The government says these are just the first steps in what it calls an  “economic transformation plan” that will also include banking reform,  sweeping changes in Iran’s tax and customs system, and ever more  privatization of state-owned industries.

Syria Announces USD 575 million in New Social Support Measures

In the last 4 days, the Syrian Government has announced in two separate measures that it was disbursing a total of SYP 27 billion in additional funding to help its civil servants and the neediest parts of its population, while the Ministry of Electricity has announced that it had no plans to raise the heavily subsidized electricity prices.

Ehsani Writes: “The Welfare payments are not a response to Tunisia.

600,000 families will visit local post offices. They will qualify to receive: 1- syp 3500 ($75.3) a month. 2- syp 2500 ($53.7) a month 3- syp 1000 ($21.5) a month. 4- syp 500 ($10.75) a month The total allocation for this program can reach up to syp 12 billion ($258 million). The Hasake region is expected to see the largest families who qualify. The money will be paid every four months. This way the family will get 4 months of the above allocation upfront 3 times a year. Presumably, the 600,000 is what the government considers to live below the poverty line where the head of the family is largely unemployed. While many will view this as a response to the Tunisia situation, I can confirm that the welfare payment was already in the planning stage several months ago. It has to be viewed as part of the government’s attempt to continue to lift the extremely expensive energy subsidies with more announcements to come in April. We are likely to see a 53% increase in the price of fuel oil. I would have personally thought that the program should have been announced at the same time as the government communicates its substantial fuel price increase. The latter will hit industry (and especially textiles) very hard while the welfare program covers only 12% of the population or (600,00 families) (Sent to me by email)

Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution has been keenly watched in Syria,
by Ian Black – The Guardian

Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution has been keenly watched in Syria, one of the most repressive of the Arab regimes, though the chances of a re-run of Tunis in Damascus are slim. Syria’s benchmark experience for dealing with serious unrest remains the Hama events of 1982, when the security forces killed thousands in crushing an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood. Syrian Islamists are largely behind bars or in exile, and liberal and democratic activists neutralised by surveillance and repression.

The Syrian military and security services are dominated by the ruling Alawite minority, which would see a sectarian or clan interest in defending the presidency and the state against the Sunni majority, especially after the lessons of Iraq’s internecine struggle and communal fissures in Lebanon next door. “The fear of civil war based on religious affiliation is the greatest legitimiser or bulwark of authoritarianism in Syria,” commented Syria watcher Joshua Landis. It is relatively easy for the state to change direction, since critical comment is unlikely. On Sunday the government raised a heating oil subsidy it had previously cut – an apparent response to economically-driven unrest in neighbouring Jordan, Tunisia and elsewhere. On Monday the government announced a plan to help 420,000 impoverished families. Official Syrian comment has been confined to lecturing Tunisia sternly on the perils of relying on fair-weather foreign allies. Events there, said the pro-government daily al-Watan, were “a lesson that no Arab regime should ignore, especially those following Tunisia’s political approach of relying on ‘friends’ to protect them.” Ian Black

First US ambassador to Syria in 5 years arrives to take up post …
The Canadian Press

“Intelligence sharing is the most promising overlap in US-Syrian relations,” said Joshua Landis, an American professor and Syria expert. …

US Ambassador to Lebanon Summoned Amid Tension

Beirut (AP) — An official in Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry says the U.S. ambassador has been summoned over accusations that she is interfering with the ountry’s political process. The official said Monday that the foreign minister asked Ambassador Maura Connelly to clarify the circumstances behind her visit this weekend with lawmaker Nicolas Fattouch.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly. Connelly did not take questions as she left the Foreign Ministry on Monday.

Fattouch is seen as a key “undecided” lawmaker as Lebanon’s rival political factions scramble to form a new government.

Roger Cohen: The Arab Gdansk 2011-01-17

Last month, after a visit to Beirut, I wrote a column called “The captive Arab mind” about the psychological cost of repression in the region: the reflex of blaming others, the perception of conspiracies everywhere and the paralyzing fear of acting or thinking for oneself. Tunis can be Act One in the liberation of the Arab mind.

That will also require the West to cast aside tired thinking. You can’t be a little bit democratic any more than you can be a little bit pregnant. Holding free elections in Tunisia requires the lifting of the ban on Islamist parties. Dealing with the Middle East as it is — rather than indulging in the “Green Zone politics” of imaginary worlds — demands recognition that facile terrorist designations for broad movements like Hezbollah are self-defeating and inadequate. Peace in Northern Ireland would have been impossible if Sinn Fein’s links to violent resistance had proved an impassable barrier to negotiations with it. Western double-standards in the supposed interest of Arab stability have proved a recipe for radicalization. The West should honor Tunisian bravery with some of its own. Dynasties rusting on their thrones are not the answer to Arab disquiet. Nor is democracy a one-way street. It is about give-and-take, not irreversible power grabs. Political Islam betrayed its liberating banner in Tehran by replacing secular repression — the shah’s — with theocratic. Iran has proved more dynamic than its Arab neighbors because the Islamic Republic has at times felt obliged to reflect the “republic” in its name — but only under an unelected supreme leader. Islamist parties must commit to democracy rather than exploit democracy for despotic ends.

Nine years separated Walentynowicz’s firing from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bouazizi’s suicide proclaimed that the shelf life of Arab despots can be no longer than that. Little Tunisia is a clarion call for a regional awakening.

Comments (83)

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51. Shai said:


Abu Mazen and his team bought into Israel’s so-called “Left” (Barak’s interests) who told them what to say, probably employed our best PR-firms to write the script for them. The Obama Administration bought into it the same way. And most also believe Abu Mazen represents the Palestinian people, and can deliver.

The Palestinian track was over the minute Israel and the U.S. rejected the election results of Jan. 2006.

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January 24th, 2011, 4:40 pm


52. Alex said:

I agree Shai … I think they need a new intifada with ZERO violence … They need a new PR adviser … Gandhi

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January 24th, 2011, 7:57 pm


53. Akbar Palace said:

Still Trapped in Professor Josh’s Syria’s Lebanon War


I agree, they need a new PR adviser. I nominate Shai!

BTW – Do you think Post 48 “how jews have fun” may have broken “SC Rules”?

I’d like to know because I was planning a few similar posts as well.

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January 24th, 2011, 8:30 pm


54. Norman said:


It is clear from these papers and from history that the more the Arabs and the Palestinians give Israel and it’s leaders the more they want , after the 1967 war Golda Meier was claiming that Israel only wants peace and be accepted and step by step it looks like the Arabs and the Palestinians gave Israel everything only for Israel to move the goal post, the only way peace can be achieved is by forcing Israel as the Lebanese and the Palestinians of Gaza did ,

The Israeli leaders have no reason to give , nobody is forcing their hand , peace is only an illusion when one side is so much more powerful than the other.

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January 24th, 2011, 10:45 pm


55. Alex said:

Thanks Akbar.

That sentence you referred to was surely offensive and I just removed it. The post deals with facts, doesn’t it?

I did not read the whole post, if there are any generalizations in it please let me know and I will remove.

Everyone, please stick to “Israel, Israeli extremists, the Israeli army, the settlers, …” … leave “the Jews” out of those depressing articles.


I disagree with you … a few months of widespread peaceful protests will do wonders. Much wiser than war.

But during Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, only two or three thousand west bank Palestinians demonstrated. If they want to force the world (the west) to pay attention … tens of thousands will need to demonstrate every day and to make it impossible for the occupation army to handle them.

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January 25th, 2011, 12:12 am


56. Shai said:


I don’t think you can “win” by resisting violently. The two Intifadas produced nothing for the Palestinians. Maybe Alex’s idea of a Gandhi Intifada is better.

However, there’s another way to play ball here, and that’s with Israel’s own rules. Imagine the Palestinians said “You know what, Israelis, it is clear you want more and more territory. So we’ll give it to you. All of it! We don’t want a state of our own. We want our equal rights under your nation, the nation of Israel, from the River to the Sea…”

I can’t imagine a worse nightmare for Lieberman and his like. No Palestinian State, not now, not in the future. Only Israel, over 11 million people, 55% of whom are Arab.

The Palestinians can force us to choose between a democratic 11 million people nation, and a true Apartheid regime. Why negotiate for 20 years over bread crumbs, when you can have it all?!?

Believe me Norman, Lieberman will stand in line on the outskirts of Ramallah, ready to give back Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim, just to have the Palestinians reconsider. Forget armed-resistance (pride) and very bloody wars. The Palestinians can achieve their freedom without a single bullet shot. I’m sure of it.

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January 25th, 2011, 12:44 am


57. Shai said:


Au contraire. I think your policy of settlements, occupation, and containment serve the Palestinians far better than any of my PR could. Your way brings them to a single-state much faster than anything I can conjure. Funny isn’t it. That was their dream all along, and it’s the Liebermans that are going to make it happen.

I guess they haven’t heard of Foresight in Moldova…

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January 25th, 2011, 12:55 am


58. Shai said:


This one’s for you: Thinking about your nomination of (me) as PR man for the Palestinians, I couldn’t resist it. A new phrase, which the Palestinians should start to demand, in place of “Right of Return”…

“Right of Stay”.

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January 25th, 2011, 12:58 am


59. Akbar Palace said:


Thanks. I really appreciate your fairness and tone. But I feel like if I didn’t bring these “little things” up, they wouldn’t get done.


The Palestinian-Israeli peace process has come a long way, especially on the West Bank. I would prefer if it was formalized. If it was formalized, I think it would be better for all concerned.

I think most people realize that the situation in Lebanon is really the main focus in the Arab-Israeli conflict. I think we’re seeing the growing pains of democracy throughout the Arab world. This is good for Israel in the long run.

BTW – I was in Chandler, AZ this past weekend. I was able to see “Golda’s Balcony” at a theatre there. Have you ever seen it?


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January 25th, 2011, 8:12 am


60. norman said:

Alex, Shai,
I hope that you both are right , But i doubt it ,

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January 25th, 2011, 9:19 am


61. 5 dancing shlomos said:

the mavi marmara was peaceful. 99% of the palestinians shot are peaceful. those using “violence” are defending their countrymen, themselves.

if terrorist, violent israelis arent jews, what are they?

when a jew becomes an israeli, that new israeli is still a jew and is a terrorist by definition.

the number of jews in the world not supporting israeli jews and their takings and violence (if done politely) is approx .000001%.


best thing for jews to do to be considered human is to leave palestine and take their walls with them.

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January 25th, 2011, 11:40 am


62. 5 dancing shlomos said:

there is no limit to the ugly israeli:

Israelis target Macy Gray with racist diatribes AFTER she agrees to play Tel Aviv (and who are the “assholes?”)
01.22.11, By Max Blumenthal


more(from above comment section):

“Three weeks after the publication of a petition calling on Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to take action against racism spreading within schools and the general public, teachers told Ynet about the harsh reality they are forced to face daily.
In one case, a 12th grade student of a northern Israeli school wrote “Death to the Arabs” on a test in civics class. In another case, a high school student from Tel Aviv stood up during class, and to the horror of his teacher declared that his dream is to volunteer for the Border Guard, “so that I can spray Arabs to death.” His friends welcomed the announcement with applause.
Moreover, civics teachers around the country have been finding graffiti on the walls of their classrooms, bearing slogans ranging from “Kahane was right” to “A good Arab is a dead Arab.” Other statements incite against the ultra-Orthodox sector and against refugees… “

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January 25th, 2011, 12:06 pm


63. Shai said:


No, I haven’t seen “Golda’s Balcony”. During my childhood, I used to think of Golda as one of our heroes. One of our founding mothers.

It was later in life that I learned of the useless, arrogant leader she was. Two thousand Israelis might have been alive today, and many thousands more might not have been handicapped, if it wasn’t for her arrogance and dismissal of the Arabs. The same goes for Moshe Dayan.

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January 25th, 2011, 1:19 pm


64. norman said:

Hey Shai,

You seem to hate the left and blame for all the wars that Israel had,like the Right and think that Netanyahu can make a diffrence ,

Can you please, please, please go and see him and tell him what you write here and shake him up before it is too late .

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January 25th, 2011, 2:04 pm


65. Shai said:

Dear Norman,

I never claimed to be a “Leftist”. Only Akbar seems to think I’m one… 🙂

I don’t hate the Left or the Right. I dislike particular leaders and impotent or corrupt politicians which, unfortunately, there are more than a few such people in Israel’s politics. They exist throughout the political spectrum.

Netanyahu doesn’t need a “shakeup”. He needs courage. And if he doesn’t have it, no one can force it into him. For his sake, and for the sake of Israel and the region, I hope he isn’t as “heroic” as Golda once seemed (arrogant and useless). Because if he is, then indeed another catastrophic war may be brought upon us.

I was hoping Netanyahu would seize the opportunity, and do what no other Israeli PM was capable of doing until now – ending the entire Arab-Israeli conflict. I still think Netanyahu was/is best positioned to do so. But it requires courage I’m not sure he has.

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January 25th, 2011, 3:32 pm


66. Alex said:

Dear Akbar,

I have not been reading every comment here recently, please email Joshua or email me if you feel there is any comment that is racist or violent.

5 dancing shlomos

If Israel is attacked, I agree that probably 99% of Jews around the world would support Israel. But in normal “peace” time, the number of supporters (in the absolute sense) is much lower. For example, 70% of American Jews were against the Iraq war even though Likud led Israel at the time was very much for that war.

AIPAC, the largest and most powerful Jewish lobby in the US is blindly supporting Israeli right wing policies. You can also include them among the bad guys and you are welcome to find and post any article that sheds light on AIPACs often dangerous role.. But Please stay away from targeting “the Jews”.

Norman, Shai,

Look at Egypt today … mass protests work. If a peaceful intifada started in the occupied territories tomorrow, it will be the darling of international media, I don’t believe many media outlets which are “controlled by Israel” can be too biased when they cover non-violent demonstrations. They can ignore a small demonstration, but daily large ones will force everyone to pay attention and to hopefully take action.

Abbasand and Barghouti, not angry Hamas types, have to call for those demonstrations, or any other similar protest.

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January 25th, 2011, 4:31 pm


67. Ghat Albird said:

The solution of a slave descendant on where Palestenians should move to.

Condoleeza Rice on being nice to AIPAC OR being a true red, white and blue American.


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January 25th, 2011, 4:55 pm


68. Off the Wall said:

you can never be repulsed, angered, and disgusted with condalisa rice as much as I am. But the use of phrases like the one you used is totally unacceptable. I do not care how criminal and dishonest she is, but insulting every single African American is something SC should not take lightly.

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January 25th, 2011, 7:41 pm


69. Akbar Palace said:

Two thousand Israelis might have been alive today, and many thousands more might not have been handicapped, if it wasn’t for her arrogance and dismissal of the Arabs.


I’ll agree with you there. “Dismissal of the arabs” can prove lethal.


Thanks again. Good points in 66 as well.


Include me as a “slave descendant”. I think the Palestinians should be afforded citizenship wherever they’re living.

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January 25th, 2011, 8:33 pm


70. Norman said:


Was there a time that Israel left Arab land without force or fear of force in the case of Egypt?, NO

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January 25th, 2011, 9:21 pm


71. Alex said:


Was there a time that the Palestinians tried what Gandhi tried so successfully in India? NO

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January 26th, 2011, 12:44 am


72. WHY said:

Palestinians are fed up with both Fatah and Hamas. They need someone like Mustafa Bargouthi to lead them. Nonviolence in your face resistance movement. This is what we should try. Not passive doing nothing approach of Abbas and neither the paper rockets of Hamas. Syria needs to back up Bargouthi as a replacement for the Palestinian leadership. A charismatic figure who is respected by the whole world.

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January 26th, 2011, 2:25 am


73. Shai said:

Alex, WHY, Norman,

Absolutely. A non-violent resistance will have a far greater audience than a violent one. I think the fact that almost all of Latin America has recognized Palestine, Ireland has upped the status to Embassy, U.K., France, etc., are all testament to this. Public support for the Palestinians looked very different during the First Intifada, and even the second one.

Interestingly enough the Second Intifada, while a violent one, did have an effect in changing public opinion amongst the Jewish Community, especially in the United States.

But a “Palestinian Gandhi” can do far more for the Palestinian people than Izadeen Al-Qassam.

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January 26th, 2011, 4:49 am


74. Akbar Palace said:

Was there a time that Israel left Arab land without force or fear of force in the case of Egypt?


Sure. From 1948 to 1967, Israel occupied no “Arab land”, yet she was at war with every neighboring Arab country.

Maybe you’re not asking the right question. I think a better question is what is prompting Arab countries to slowly recognize the State of Israel?

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January 26th, 2011, 7:28 am


75. Norman said:


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January 26th, 2011, 7:50 am


76. Norman said:

Shai, Alex,

Israel killed 1400 Palestinians in 2008_2009 war 1200 of them are civilians ,

I did not see the any outrage from the world, i do not expect it from a hard crack down on any protest in the West bank .


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January 26th, 2011, 7:53 am


77. Shai said:


That’s exactly the point – the world (initially) bought into Israel’s “right of self defense” to attack Gaza in 2008/9, as a response to ongoing Qassam rocket firing against Israeli towns in the South. Massive non-violent protesting, organized in the West Bank, cannot be “cracked down” on with the support of World nations.

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January 26th, 2011, 8:06 am


78. norman said:

Food supply to Gaza was and Israel got away with it, NO ?

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January 26th, 2011, 8:13 am


79. Alex said:


They have to do it right.

Gaza = Hamas

The “international community” decided a few years ago that they will never allow Hamas’ leadership to succeed in governing. They turned a blind eye to Israel’s abuses of human rights whenever they could …

The war on Gaza could not be sustained for more than three weeks … pressure was mounting on those governments to do something to stop Israel from continuing to kill civilians every day.

Same for mass protests … the “world community” and even the Israeli people and the IDF soldiers trying to handle the crowds … they will all be faced with a situation that is not tolerable… especially if it is perfectly non violent and if it is led by someone like Moustapha Barghouti who is respected by members of the same “international community” .. NOT by Hamas leaders … Very few western media journalists or producers want Hamas to win … They already have Hizbollah being seen as a winner, they don’t want Hamas to turn into another “radical Islamist” success story and they will resist helping a Hamas led intifada, even if peaceful.

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January 26th, 2011, 11:28 am


80. norman said:


Hmas got Gaza , all of Gaza, what did Abbas get , yes , nothing with all his cooperation as seen in the release documents .

Conclusion ,,,,,,

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January 26th, 2011, 12:03 pm


81. Alex said:


\”Resistance\” also works …Israelis gave back Gaza and South Lebanon after they faced too much \”resistance\” but if you want to get back the lands that are more valuable to right wing Israelis (Jerusalem, West) it takes much more resistance than what Hamas can produce.


It takes what I suggested … And it has nothing to do with what Mahmood Abbas was doing.

I spoke to Moustapha Barghooti last year here in Montreal about it … He agreed that non violent resistance works but only if persistent and widespread across all the occupied territories.

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January 27th, 2011, 12:42 am


82. Shai said:


I agree with you that History does demonstrate that use of force has worked in different circumstances. However, each case has to be looked at carefully, and does not necessarily indicate that force will always work, or that force is always worth the price you pay.

While it is easy to look back at 1973 and claim that it was the October War that caused Israel to withdraw from the Sinai, don’t forget that it was really Sadat + 1973, in 1977 + Menachem Begin, that led to the eventual withdrawal. Had Sadat not come to Jerusalem on the surprise visit, I’m not sure the 1973 war would have been enough. Had another leader been in place in Israel, other than Begin, I’m not sure he could have passed the withdrawal resolution in Knesset. In short, Egypt and Israel may have still been enemies today, and Israel might have had 100,000 settlers living throughout the Sinai.

The withdrawal from Lebanon is also different. Israel, under Barak, withdrew after 18 years of Occupation, and quite a few years of guerilla warfare. By withdrawing, Barak did not endanger Israeli lives more than they were during those 18 years. The withdrawal, in the eyes of some Israelis, enabled a “legitimacy” to respond to attacks by HA in ways we couldn’t possibly imagine during those 18 years. The Lebanon War in 2006 demonstrates this.

The withdrawal from Gaza, by Sharon, was more due to his recognition (at some point) that the demographic battle is lost. That Israel cannot remain a democratic nation while ruling over another 4 million people. He spoke of this clearly, twice in two elections, and was elected precisely over the agenda to withdraw from Gaza AND the West Bank. He succeeded in completing only the first, not the latter, before falling ill. I have no doubt that if he were still functioning today, the West Bank would have already looked very different. It wasn’t the armed resistance that broke Sharon, it was the Demographic Map that showed, for the first time, that more non-Jews lived under Israeli control than Jews. We could no longer call ourselves “The Jewish Nation”.

But the withdrawal from the West Bank will be very different from Sinai, Lebanon, and Gaza. No Israeli PM, not even Sharon, could withdraw without agreement by other side. Most of the towns and villages in the West Bank are within a few kilometers of Central Israel. If Qassams launched from Gaza threaten 20,000 residents of Sderot, a tiny Southern town in Israel, the same Qassams in the West Bank would threaten 2 or 3 million Israelis. No Israeli leader would take that risk, unless he/she knew that someone on the other side is in control, and can guarantee the safety of Central Israel. It is therefore very different from other withdrawals we’ve made, under agreement, and without.

The battle of the Palestinians is over Rights. Their right to Independence and self determination. Their right to freedom. And it is in this battleground that they must operate. Only there do they have a real chance. I think what we see today with Latin America, Ireland, France, U.K., etc. all prove this point.

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January 27th, 2011, 4:43 am


83. 5 dancing shlomos said:

alex at 66:

“For example, 70% of American Jews were against the Iraq war even though Likud led Israel at the time was very much for that war.”

i have yet to meet one. i think that survey was a fraud, an in-joke.

the summer leading up to the ’03 aggression against iraq i was visiting friends in south fl. a condo area with approx 1100 residents of which 80% NE jews(ny, nj, ct, mass). probably most of rest NE cath italians.

i mixed with as many as possible at pool, rec area, tennis, cards, social evenings. not one was against the war. all though saddam h. had to go and that this would be very good for israel. young (students, professionals), middle age business, old and nazi refugees – all were for the war.

my survey is more accurate/honest than that 70% many trot out to show how decent the jews are.

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January 27th, 2011, 11:19 am


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