The Best on Gaza

Robert Fisk: Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony
December 30, 2008, THE INDEPENDENT

How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.

That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.

But watching the news shows, you’d think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.

Both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres said back in the 1990s that they wished Gaza would just go away, drop into the sea, and you can see why. The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago, when tidal waves of refugees had washed over Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War and when a bunch of Arabs kicked out of their property didn’t worry the world.

Well, the world should worry now. Crammed into the most overpopulated few square miles in the whole world are a dispossessed people who have been living in refuse and sewage and, for the past six months, in hunger and darkness, and who have been sanctioned by us, the West. Gaza was always an insurrectionary place. It took two years for Ariel Sharon’s bloody “pacification”, starting in 1971, to be completed, and Gaza is not going to be tamed now. …

Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling. Independent, Monday, 29 December 2008

…There will now be a war over the story of this war. The Israeli government says, “We withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and in return we got Hamas and Qassam rockets being rained on our cities. Sixteen civilians have been murdered. How many more are we supposed to sacrifice?” It is a plausible narrative, and there are shards of truth in it, but it is also filled with holes. If we want to understand the reality and really stop the rockets, we need to rewind a few years and view the run-up to this war dispassionately.

The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”

Ordinary Palestinians were horrified by this, and by the fetid corruption of their own Fatah leaders, so they voted for Hamas. It certainly wouldn’t have been my choice – an Islamist party is antithetical to all my convictions – but we have to be honest. It was a free and democratic election, and it was not a rejection of a two-state solution. The most detailed polling of Palestinians, by the University of Maryland, found that 72 per cent want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, while fewer than 20 per cent want to reclaim the whole of historic Palestine. So, partly in response to this pressure, Hamas offered Israel a long, long ceasefire and a de facto acceptance of two states, if only Israel would return to its legal borders.

Rather than seize this opportunity and test Hamas’s sincerity, the Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population. It announced that it was blockading the Gaza Strip in order to “pressure” its people to reverse the democratic process. The Israelis surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival. Weisglass quipped that the Gazans were being “put on a diet”. According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza last month to feed 1.5 million people….

The dire cost of domestic rivalries
Neve Gordon
guardian, 29 December 2008

Israel seems more concerned with electoral politics and restoring its military reputation than stopping the Qassam rockets…

Although Olmert did not say as much, the “mission” includes four distinct objectives. The first is the destruction of Hamas, a totally unrealistic goal…. The second objective has to do with Israel’s coming elections…. The third objective involves the Israeli military. After its notable humiliation in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the IDF has been looking for opportunities to re-establish its global standing…. Finally, Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached an agreement regarding how to proceed when Mahmoud Abbas ends his official term as president of the Palestinian National Authority on January 9. One of the outcomes of this assault is that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer since Hamas will be unable to mobilise its supporters in order to force him to resign.

What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel’s southern towns. Unlike the objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government officials, this one is presented by the government as the operation’s primary objective. Yet, the government is actively misleading the public…

Nir Rosen in the Guardian, here

“…The international community is directly guilty for this latest massacre. Will it remain immune from the wrath of a desperate people? …

Counterinsurgency, now popular again among in the Pentagon, is another way of saying the suppression of national liberation struggles. Terror and intimidation are as essential to it as is winning hearts and minds.

Normative rules are determined by power relations. Those with power determine what is legal and illegal. They besiege the weak in legal prohibitions to prevent the weak from resisting. For the weak to resist is illegal by definition. Concepts like terrorism are invented and used normatively as if a neutral court had produced them, instead of the oppressors. The danger in this excessive use of legality actually undermines legality, diminishing the credibility of international institutions such as the United Nations. It becomes apparent that the powerful, those who make the rules, insist on legality merely to preserve the power relations that serve them or to maintain their occupation and colonialism.

Attacking civilians is the last, most desperate and basic method of resistance when confronting overwhelming odds and imminent eradication. The Palestinians do not attack Israeli civilians with the expectation that they will destroy Israel. The land of Palestine is being stolen day after day; the Palestinian people is being eradicated day after day. As a result, they respond in whatever way they can to apply pressure on Israel. Colonial powers use civilians strategically, settling them to claim land and dispossess the native population, be they Indians in North America or Palestinians in what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories. When the native population sees that there is an irreversible dynamic that is taking away their land and identity with the support of an overwhelming power, then they are forced to resort to whatever methods of resistance they can.

…Yet the US has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes on populated areas. When you drop bombs on populated areas knowing there will be some “collateral” civilian damage, but accepting it as worth it, then it is deliberate. When you impose sanctions, as the US did on Saddam era Iraq, that kill hundreds of thousands, and then say their deaths were worth it, as secretary of state Albright did, then you are deliberately killing people for a political goal. When you seek to “shock and awe”, as president Bush did, when he bombed Iraq, you are engaging in terrorism.

Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people. It is not that, qua Palestinians, they have the right to use any means necessary, it is because they are weak.

From the ashes of Gaza
Tarik Ali, THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday 30 December 2008

In the face of Israel’s latest onslaught, the only option for Palestinian nationalism is to embrace a one-state solution.

The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.

Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy’s chilling essay in the London Review of Books) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had “provoked” Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt and Nato’s favourite Islamists in Ankara failed to register even a symbolic protest by recalling their ambassadors from Israel. China and Russia did not convene a meeting of the UN security council to discuss the crisis.

As result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the “war against terror”.

The bloodshed in Gaza raises broader strategic questions for both sides, issues related to recent history. One fact that needs to be recognised is that there is no Palestinian Authority. There never was one. The Oslo Accords were an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinians, creating a set of disconnected and shrivelled Palestinian ghettoes under the permanent watch of a brutal enforcer. The PLO, once the repository of Palestinian hope, became little more than a supplicant for EU money.

Western enthusiasm for democracy stops when those opposed to its policies are elected to office. The west and Israel tried everything to secure a Fatah victory: Palestinian voters rebuffed the concerted threats and bribes of the “international community” in a campaign that saw Hamas members and other oppositionists routinely detained or assaulted by the IDF, their posters confiscated or destroyed, US and EU funds channelled into the Fatah campaign, and US congressmen announcing that Hamas should not be allowed to run.

Even the timing of the election was set by the determination to rig the outcome. Scheduled for the summer of 2005, it was delayed till January 2006 to give Abbas time to distribute assets in Gaza – in the words of an Egyptian intelligence officer, “the public will then support the Authority against Hamas.”

Popular desire for a clean broom after ten years of corruption, bullying and bluster under Fatah proved stronger than all of this. Hamas’s electoral triumph was treated as an ominous sign of rising fundamentalism, and a fearsome blow to the prospects of peace with Israel, by rulers and journalists across the Atlantic world. Immediate financial and diplomatic pressures were applied to force Hamas to adopt the same policies as those of the party it had defeated at the polls. Uncompromised by the Palestinian Authority’s combination of greed and dependency, the self-enrichment of its servile spokesmen and policemen, and their acquiescence in a “peace process” that has brought only further expropriation and misery to the population under them, Hamas offered the alternative of a simple example. Without any of the resources of its rival, it set up clinics, schools, hospitals, vocational training and welfare programmes for the poor. Its leaders and cadres lived frugally, within reach of ordinary people.

It is this response to everyday needs that has won Hamas the broad base of its support, not daily recitation of verses from the Koran. How far its conduct in the second Intifada has given it an additional degree of credibility is less clear. Its armed attacks on Israel, like those of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or Islamic Jihad, have been retaliations against an occupation far more deadly than any actions it has ever undertaken. Measured on the scale of IDF killings, Palestinian strikes have been few and far between. The asymmetry was starkly exposed during Hamas’s unilateral ceasefire, begun in June 2003, and maintained throughout the summer, despite the Israeli campaign of raids and mass arrests that followed, in which some 300 Hamas cadres were seized from the West Bank.

On August 19 2003, a self-proclaimed “Hamas” cell from Hebron, disowned and denounced by the official leadership, blew up a bus in west Jerusalem, upon which Israel promptly assassinated the Hamas ceasefire’s negotiator, Ismail Abu Shanab. Hamas, in turn, responded. In return, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states cut funding to its charities and, in September 2003, the EU declared the whole Hamas movement to be a terrorist organization – a longstanding demand of Tel Aviv.

What has actually distinguished Hamas in a hopelessly unequal combat is not dispatch of suicide bombers, to which a range of competing groups resorted, but its superior discipline – demonstrated by its ability to enforce a self-declared ceasefire against Israel over the past year. All civilian deaths are to be condemned, but since Israel is their principal practitioner, Euro-American cant serves only to expose those who utter it. Overwhelmingly, the boot of murder is on the other foot, ruthlessly stamped into Palestine by a modern army equipped with jets, tanks and missiles in the longest-armed oppression of modern history.

“Nobody can reject or condemn the revolt of a people that has been suffering under military occupation for 45 years against occupation force,” said General Shlomo Gazit, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, in 1993. The real grievance of the EU and US against Hamas is that it refused to accept the capitulation of the Oslo Accords, and has rejected every subsequent effort, from Taba to Geneva, to pass off their calamities on the Palestinians. ….

Israel Recussitates Hamas, By Daoud Kuttab in Washinton Post

Thanks to Israeli bombs, the Islamic movement has been saved from political death.

For two years, the Islamic Resistance Movement (known by its Arabic acronym, Hamas) has been losing support internally and externally. This wasn’t the case in the days after the party came to power democratically in early 2006; despite being unjustly ostracized by the international community for its anti-Israeli stance, Hamas enjoyed the backing of Palestinians and other Arabs. Having won a decisive parliamentary majority on an anti-corruption platform promising change and reform, Hamas worked hard to govern better than had Fatah, its rival and predecessor.

Things began to sour when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza, but even then, Hamas enjoyed considerable domestic support — and much goodwill externally. Then the movement turned down every legitimate offer from its nationalist PLO rivals and Egyptian mediators to pursue reconciliation, and support for it began to slip.

Things got worse in November when a carefully planned national unity effort from the Egyptians failed because, at the very last minute, Hamas’s leaders refused to show up in Cairo. Failure to accept this roundtable invitation greatly upset the Egyptians, and they and other Arab leaders scolded Hamas publicly. ….

The disproportionate and heavy-handed Israeli attacks on Gaza have been a bonanza for Hamas. The movement has renewed its standing in the Arab world, secured international favor further afield and succeeded in scuttling indirect Israeli-Syrian talks and direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has also greatly embarrassed Israel’s strongest Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan….

Why Israel Feels Threatened By BENNY MORRIS in NY Times

Iran’s nuclear threat, the rise of Hamas and Hezbollah and Israeli Arabs’ growing disaffection with the state offer challenges that Israel’s leaders and public find difficult to counter….

…. But the attack will not solve the basic problem posed by a Gaza Strip populated by 1.5 million impoverished, desperate Palestinians who are ruled by a fanatic regime and are tightly hemmed in by fences and by border crossings controlled by Israel and Egypt.

An enormous Israeli ground operation aimed at conquering the Gaza Strip and destroying Hamas would probably bog down in the alleyways of refugee camps before achieving its goal. (And even if these goals were somehow achieved, renewed and indefinite Israeli rule over Gaza would prove unpalatable to all concerned.)

More likely are small, limited armored incursions, intended to curtail missile launches and kill Hamas fighters. But these are also unlikely to bring the organization to heel — though they may exercise sufficient pressure eventually to achieve, with the mediation of Turkey or Egypt, a renewed temporary truce. That seems to be the most that can be hoped for, though a renewal of rocket attacks on southern Israel, once Hamas recovers, is as certain as day follows night.

The fourth immediate threat to Israel’s existence is internal. It is posed by the country’s Arab minority. Over the past two decades, Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens have been radicalized, with many openly avowing a Palestinian identity and embracing Palestinian national aims. Their spokesmen say that their loyalty lies with their people rather than with their state, Israel. Many of the community’s leaders, who benefit from Israeli democracy, more or less publicly supported Hezbollah in 2006 and continue to call for “autonomy” (of one sort or another) and for the dissolution of the Jewish state.

Demography, if not Arab victory in battle, offers the recipe for such a dissolution. The birth rates for Israeli Arabs are among the highest in the world, with 4 or 5 children per family (as opposed to the 2 or 3 children per family among Israeli Jews).

If present trends persist, Arabs could constitute the majority of Israel’s citizens by 2040 or 2050. Already, within five to 10 years, Palestinians (Israeli Arabs coupled with those who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) will form the majority population of Palestine (the land lying between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean).

Friction between Israeli Arabs and Jews is already a cogent political factor. In 2000, at the start of the second intifada, thousands of Arab youngsters, in sympathy with their brethren in the territories, rioted along Israel’s major highways and in Israel’s ethnically mixed cities.

The past fortnight has seen a recurrence, albeit on a smaller scale, of such rioting. Down the road, Israel’s Jews fear more violence and terrorism by Israeli Arabs. Most Jews see the Arab minority as a potential fifth column.

What is common to these specific threats is their unconventionality. Between 1948 and 1982 Israel coped relatively well with the threat from conventional Arab armies. Indeed, it repeatedly trounced them. But Iran’s nuclear threat, the rise of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that operate from across international borders and from the midst of dense civilian populations, and Israeli Arabs’ growing disaffection with the state and their identification with its enemies, offer a completely different set of challenges. And they are challenges that Israel’s leaders and public, bound by Western democratic and liberal norms of behavior, appear to find particularly difficult to counter.

Israel’s sense of the walls closing in on it has this past week led to one violent reaction. Given the new realities, it would not be surprising if more powerful explosions were to follow.

Specter carries message from Israel to Syria, December 30, 2008

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter carried a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Specter (R-Pa.) met Sunday with Olmert in Israel, where he said he “got a review of the Syrian negotiations” from the Israeli prime minister, the Jerusalem Post reported. He left Israel Monday, and refused to discuss the details of the message he was carrying.
,
“I believe the efforts to isolate Syria have not been successful,” Specter told the paper. “We ought to try to change things. President [Bill] Clinton tried to do a good job in 1995 and 2000, and I think it ought to be pursued.”

Comments (214)


1. offended said:

Nir Rosen’s article is a great pleasure to read. Who would have thought that he’s of a Jewish descent? Nir is one of the people why I still have faith in homo sapiens.

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December 30th, 2008, 7:49 pm

 

2. Idit said:

Offended said

“Nir Rosen’s article is a great pleasure to read. Who would have thought that he’s of a Jewish descent?”

Such a racist remark.

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December 30th, 2008, 8:19 pm

 

3. Chris said:

“Nir Rosen’s article is a great pleasure to read. Who would have thought that he’s of a Jewish descent?”

Really?!?!? There aren’t many great writers out there who are a pleasure to read and who are also of Jewish descent? I’m surprised anybody would actually write such a racist thing! Shame on you!

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December 30th, 2008, 8:41 pm

 

4. offended said:

^^ to the two ****** above: no, there aren’t many Jewish writers (who are great pleasures to read) who also speak with such accuracy and well-rounded understanding against the long list of Zionists’ persecutions of the Palestinians people…

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December 30th, 2008, 9:10 pm

 

5. Chris said:

Isn’t there a moderator that is supposed to screen for comments like that?

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December 30th, 2008, 9:24 pm

 

6. Cédric said:

Wow! Robert Fisk (1st article) is still young, dynamic and accurate as I can see!

To “Offended”: What would you think about someone sayin': “He is a clever guy though from Muslim descent”? The same things you saif for Jewish. In Europe, theres a lot of good and critical writers from jewish descent: Roni Brauman, Dominique Vidal, Alain Gresh, to name but a few. So please try to avoid sayin’ racist statements when you ignore a reality…

A site review about Gza bombing in my blog: http://10joursabeyrouth.blogspirit.com/archive/2008/12/29/attaque-sur-gaza-revue-de-sites-d-information.html

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December 30th, 2008, 9:43 pm

 

7. norman said:

To all,

Does anybody thinks that Hamas should accept the cease fire if it does not include the lifting of the blockade .

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December 30th, 2008, 9:43 pm

 

8. Shai said:

Chris, Idit,

As the token Israeli and Jew here, I didn’t read any racist remark in Offended’s comment whatsoever. I understood exactly what he meant. If anything, he gave Nir Rosen a compliment by essentially saying that if Jews can speak so clearly against what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, then he (Offended) still has faith in us humans.

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December 30th, 2008, 9:46 pm

 

9. Alex said:

Offended,

I edited the “i” word.

I know you are anything but a racist, but please explain to Chris what you really meant.

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December 30th, 2008, 9:48 pm

 

10. norman said:

Chris,Idit,

Offended is not racist, we are just frustrated from the Lack of jewish outrage about what is going on in Gaza,

The more Jews start opposing the racist policies of Israel the more people will separate what Israel does from the Jewish people , Unfortunately , until then antisemitism will increase as the world associate the Israeli actions with the Jewish people.

More anti Israeli policies spearheaded by caring Jews is needed to let the world know that the Jews are innocent of the Palestinian blood.

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December 30th, 2008, 9:53 pm

 

11. norman said:

It is interesting how Shai, Alex and i can write the same thing without seeing each other note,

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December 30th, 2008, 10:00 pm

 

12. Akabar Palace said:

The poor innocent Gazans attend Gilad Shalit “Opera” 2 weeks ago:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f19_1229265127

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December 30th, 2008, 10:24 pm

 

13. majid said:

Norman, I’m only responding to your number 7 comment.
Common sense says yes.

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December 30th, 2008, 11:07 pm

 

14. norman said:

Majid,

I disagree, The dead Palestinians would have died in vain, but then I am not under fire.

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December 30th, 2008, 11:45 pm

 

15. majid said:

Norman,
Is this your final answer?
Or are you considering putting yourself under fire and then finalize your answer?

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December 30th, 2008, 11:54 pm

 

16. norman said:

there are good people,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Israel does not speak for all Jews
“Members of Iran’s small Jewish community staged a demonstration outside of the United Nations’ office in Tehran, to protest the Israel Defense Forces’ operation in the Gaza Strip.”
Posted by As’ad at 11:51 AM

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December 30th, 2008, 11:55 pm

 

17. qunfuz said:

Mondoweiss is a great Jewish anti-zionist blog. Joshua has a link to it above.

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December 31st, 2008, 12:39 am

 

18. SimoHurtta said:

A cease fire would be now a huge victory for Hamas and a total defeat for Israel. So much has Israeli leaders and military bullied about destroying Hamas. Israel’s leaders have basically no options than continue. The ruling coalition would loose the elections because for the second time they could not serve what they promised.

As an occupied area Gaza (and West Bank) holds so many different militant groups that new missiles would go to Israel in hours after the cease fire. Hamas certainly has no capability or now even the will to stop that. Neither has PLO. Hamas could say when after the first missile that come-on we do not have any more the police stations and the necessary administrative infrastructure to control the events. And that is true, not an excuse. Israel took away from Hamas its ability to govern but can’t take away its fighting capacity.

Rational people as leaders (which Israel seems not to have) should finally understand that Israel has to make up its mind fast about the peace and two state solution. Surely the “solution” is not have a cease fire and leave everything as it was and build again, heaven knows the number of times, the administrative buildings to Gaza with EU money to be destroyed by Israel after a couple of years.

It would be interesting to know how much is the Israeli economy’s share of this Palestinian aid in form of domestic production (for example cement and steal) and share of products bought from Israeli importers. I have unsuccessfully tried to find data and estimates about it. Anyway Israel gets a healthy share of this constant rebuilding. It is an perpetual motion machine. Israel destroys, we stupid Europeans, Americans and Arabs pay, and Israeli businessmen provide the goods to rebuild. Well “stupid” Americans have even to pay for the bombs and planes.

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December 31st, 2008, 12:40 am

 

19. Rumyal said:

Simo,

We have our differences but I have to say this is an insightful comment and an angle I haven’t seen addressed a lot before: fiscal accountability as a means for European people to pressure their governments against such attacks. We all remember the power station that was donated by the EU and bombed into smithereens a couple of years back, and now this attack. There is no reason the European taxpayer should pay for that.

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December 31st, 2008, 1:51 am

 

20. majid said:

Simohurtta said’ “we stupid Europeans, Americans and Arabs pay”.
What are you options as a European, Simo?
Nejjad wants Europe to cough up a piece of land somewhere around Austria, Germany or Poland, most likely close to where you live, and make it home for the Jews. So it is either pay up or pack up.
I’m sure if you choose the latter Nejjad will not leave you alone to face your predicament and he will offer you many advices similar to your recent comment regarding how to define victory and defeat when you start firing your own version of Qassams.

Norman, have you made up your mind?

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December 31st, 2008, 2:12 am

 

21. Rumyal said:

Dear Norman,

The Geronimo analogue from Joshua was adequate—martyrdom (and fighting F-16 with steel tubing can’t be anything else) is a great way to get remembered but not so much for achieving national goals. The original Izz ad-Din al-Qassam died exactly like that, fighting the then-mighty British with Ottoman-era rifles. His successors will not do any better, least of all to themselves. The dead *have* died in vain and there is no need to add more. Non-violence is the best path for the Palestinians both tactically and strategically.

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December 31st, 2008, 2:18 am

 

22. norman said:

Rumyal,

What Israel did in the last few days made very clear that they do not value Palestinian lives and blood, cease fire will only delay the problem and make it again a chronic disease , the only way to solve the problems in the Mideast is to make them acute so leaders will have to deal with them , If Israel succeed in destroying Hamas which i doubt , It can start fresh and show the Palestinians that it cares about them and if it fails which is more likely will have to talk to Hamas and solve their problems together , no more attacks from Gaza and no more blockades ,assacinations and control of Palestinian airspace and seashores and borders , The Israeli public will not be so arrogant thinking that they can force their well on others , Cease fire will solve nothing without a clear lifting of the blockade and the starvation of the Palestinians and giving them the chance to rule themselves and be responsible to their people,

Majid,

you got my answer,

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December 31st, 2008, 2:32 am

 

23. Rumyal said:

Norman,

I may be naïve, but how about something like this. Stop firing rockets for 24 hours. Then arrange a mass demonstration (hundred thousand people or more) of children, women, man and march peacefully to the border crossings with Israel. Tell the media in advance that this is what you are going to do. Bring thousands of video cameras and stream everything on the Internet for the world to see. Israel will not dare do anything against this crowd, if the crowd remains peaceful. After a few days, public opinion will be totally flipped, and the blockade will be lifted for good. It has been done before and it will be more effective today in the Internet age with the information immediately available throughout the world.

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December 31st, 2008, 2:43 am

 

24. majid said:

Norman,
How would you or, Hamas to be accurate, force Israel to lift the blockade and cease control of Gaza airspace and waters? That is if ceasefire is not declared and accepted by both sides with the status quo.

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December 31st, 2008, 2:47 am

 

25. Nour said:

Rumyal,

Hamas did stop firing rockets, not for 24 hours, but for a period of months. “Israel” continued to attack Gaza and impose a blockade on it. The Ceasefire was repeatedly broken by “Israel,” but no one gave a damn. However, once Hamas decided to finally respond to “Israel”‘s repeated atacks against Gaza, the media began to scream that the ceasefire was broken.

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December 31st, 2008, 3:04 am

 

26. Rumyal said:

Nour,

I agree with you on the facts, but this has never been a struggle about the true facts. Israel depends on international recognition and therefore the most important struggle has been for both Israel and the Palestinians a battle of PR especially in the Western world (upon which Israel depends). The Gazans haven’t been able to register themselves in the Western public opinion as the victims in this struggle, whereas others have succeeded (Tibet, SA, etc.). So, if I were in their place I would recognize that this is the case and ask what needs to be done differently. I’m not an expert on PR by a long shot but I have a very strong feeling that a gigantic peaceful vigil with children and women will do the trick. Now is a good time too, because this region is in the forefront of the news and the peaceful-yet-non-compromising reaction would be juxtaposed against the carnage caused by Israel. I don’t deny that Western public opinion is by default tilted against Arabs, after years of vilification in the media, movies etc. so it’s not going to be a walk in the park. On the other hand it does seem to have a better chance, both tactically and strategically, than the current death ritual.

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December 31st, 2008, 3:50 am

 

27. swerv21 said:

hi Josh, all:

I think you might want to check out Zvi Bar’el’s analysis at Haaretz. It is here: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1051356.html.

He’s fairly insightful as usual.

For one thing, I think he is one commentator on the Israeli side who is hearing echoes of the ‘second Lebanese war’ in this offensive. His outline of Hamas’ diplomatic victory is as follows:

“Hamas can rack up its first victory for its methods as several European countries are already talking about a “humanitarian” cease-fire, and Egypt has been fixed in the public eye as a collaborator with Israel. This will make it hard for Egypt to act as a mediator between Hamas and Israel, and the war in Gaza will require international involvement and certainly active Syrian involvement to end the hostilities.

In that way Gaza goes from being a local dispute between Israel and Hamas to the status of half a state with the same status as Israel, so hopes Hamas.

Such a step could never have come off through regular diplomatic channels, where Hamas would have appealed to Egypt or some other mediator, but only by enlisting the masses in the region and by bypassing the Palestinian Authority, which is not functioning during this crisis.

Mubarak’s efforts in his speech on Tuesday to relink the West Bank and Gaza and place Gaza again under the PA’s authority says something about the diplomatic battlefield. A separate cease-fire with Gaza under Arab and international pressure may be interpreted as a recognition of the separation between Gaza and the West Bank – and recognition of the Hamas government. This will place Gaza under the diplomatic auspices of Iran and Syria, on the border with Egypt.”

It is kind of painful to consider strategy when so many are suffering, but if Egypt has truly lost its credibility as a broker between the Isreali’s and Hamas, and if the operation is ineffective in its stated goal of removing Hamas from power- then that means only broker left is Syria.

This makes Syria the winner of the latest conflict.

Has Syria’s new found leverage been telegraphed by the arrival of Arlen Specter in Damascus?

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December 31st, 2008, 4:20 am

 

28. Qifa Nabki said:

Ho hum, another Syrian victory by remote control? Sounds a bit premature.

Here’s a very funny Egyptian’s take on the situation.

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December 31st, 2008, 4:49 am

 

29. Shai said:

Nour,

I agree with Rumyal. The battle for PR is far more important. And on that realm, the Palestinians have almost always lost. I also think it’s not a battle they must lose – in fact, there are quite a few ways to win it, even against Israel’s “rich and educated” spokespeople.

When I was in the army, just as the first Intifada began, I heard a lecture about possible scenarios in Gaza. One of them was quite interesting. It entailed the planned gathering of thousands of women, children, and the elderly, all marching peacefully towards Kfar Darom (which was dismantled a few years ago, when Sharon withdrew from Gaza). And this gathering was not to stop before the settlement, but rather continue marching straight into it. The few soldiers guarding Kfar Darom would not be able to handle this mass, and after a few useless shots in the air, would quickly withdraw. The residents, though some armed, would fear the Palestinians even more, and would also have to vacate the place quickly.

So the scenario drew out, essentially, the civil takeover of an Israeli settlement by the Palestinians, peacefully, without a single person killed. And from what I recall, the army had NO ANSWER to this scenario! It could not possibly reinforce every settlement in Gaza with a couple hundred soldiers. And it couldn’t mobilize a few thousand quickly, to stand against such a march once it took place (unless knowing of it in advance). And no one around the world could say “those terrorists” about unarmed women, children, and elderly.

Nonviolent civil disobedience is, in my mind, the Palestinians’ best weapon against the Occupation and against our F-16s. We “know” (ya’ani) how to deal with weapons labs, missile launchers, and even underground tunnels. We don’t know how to handle a peaceful crowd (and I’m not talking a few hundred people). These marches, protests, should take place in Gaza and the West Bank, nonstop, by tens and hundreds of thousands. They should be orchestrated well, and aimed directly at the court of world opinion. I trust the Palestinians are plenty talented at figuring out how to do it. It’s a little difficult for soldiers to shoot at 100,000 peaceful marchers. Even for “Israeli” soldiers…

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December 31st, 2008, 5:00 am

 

30. offended said:

Shai, Alex, Norman.

Thank you guys!

I was too jaded yesterday to explain.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:12 am

 

31. majid said:

Great link QN. I bet you this Zvi Bar’el has never been to Egypt. And if he did he never ventured beyond Taba.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:19 am

 

32. offended said:

A silent sit-in protest in Dubai Yesterday evening. Offended was among the crowd, although he’s nowhere to be seen in this photo.

http://tinyurl.com/8lzmm5

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December 31st, 2008, 5:22 am

 

33. Alex said:

31. majid said:

Great link QN. I bet you this Zvi Bar’el has never been to Egypt. And if he did he never ventured beyond Taba.

Majid,

Zvi Bar’el has been to Egypt many times .. he reported once on the Cairo book fair for example … he interviews regular Egyptians and Egyptian officials … he speaks classical Arabic better than I can.

And … He is finishing his Ph.D. in Islamic studies.

He spent a long time in Iraq, in many other Arab countries.

Qifa Nabki,

Remember a year ago you were even more suspicious of many things that already proved you wrong.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:06 am

 

34. majid said:

OK, Alex. The guy has a Ph.D.
But he still doesn’t know anything about Egypt.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:17 am

 

35. Alex said:

Majid,

If you liked Sandmonkey, you obviously will not like Zvi Bar’el.

Rumyal,

Excellent suggestion … it really bothers me that while Palestinians are clearly courageous enough to die in the many ways Israel can kill, but they are not convinced to try the non violent approach in large numbers … why can’t 500,000 Palestinians march towards the border with Israel? … in Lebanon when they reached a point of wanting the Syrian army to get the hell out of their country, up to a million Lebanese demonstrated in the street … next to the supposedly scary Syrian army … that army did not fire a bullet at them .. a few months later the army was out.

Why can’t the Palestinians try that? … why don’t they produce an enlightened leader (as opposed to the passionate Hamas types and the crooks in Fatah)?

The first intifada (with rocks, no arms) was close … and it was useful for them. The second intifada which was more violent, was a disaster …

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December 31st, 2008, 6:28 am

 

36. Alex said:

a good piece on Gaza by Tony Karon from Tie Magazine

http://tonykaron.com/2008/12/31/understanding-gaza/

Now, when it comes to understanding and responding to the crisis, we have the comments made by President-elect Barack Obama last July in Sderot, which were widely quote in response to teh weekend’s strikes:
“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

I suppose the question I’d like to ask Obama, in the very Jewish tradition of asking how I would experience that which I was about to do to another, is what he would do if someone had moved his grandparents out of their home and forced them into a refugee camp, where he and his daughters lived, caged in, and were now being slowly choked of any meaningful livelihood, denied access to medicines, elecricity, even basic foodstuffs sometimes. What, I wonder would he do then? (He needs to have a meaningful answer to that question if he’s to be anything other than an obstacle to progress in the Middle East, like Bush has been. He may want to take a lesson from “Mr. Zig-Zag” here: On the election campaign trail in 1999, Ehud Barak was asked what he’d have done if he’d been born Palestinian, and answered without hesitation, “Joined a fighting organization.” A moment of rare honesty, that.)

It will be up to Obama, more than any other world leader, to change the morbid dynamic between Israel and the Palestinians — because it is a U.S.-authored conceptual approach that undergirds the current travesty in Gaza.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:35 am

 

37. Shai said:

Alex,

Have any Palestinian intellectuals written about this need? Why, in fact, isn’t there a Palestinian Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela? It seems if ever a situation called for it, it is now. Such a leader can unite the Palestinian people, the various factions, and force Israeli and the world to deal with the real issues at hand, namely the legitimate national aspirations of a people who deserve nothing more than the basic rights of every human being on this planet (but also nothing less), and their suffering for the past 60 years. Hamas’s Qassams, and Israel’s F-16s, are a smokescreen for this, and cause the world to focus in the wrong direction. At this rate, we’ll be blogging about this in another 60 years as well.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:44 am

 

38. majid said:

Alex,
I didn’t say I liked SandMonkey. I found it funny. I am sure many Egyptians are finding in ridicule and sarcasm an opportunity to laugh off ridiculous attempts to draw their country into something they know full well is against their interests. If you lived in Egypt you should know how quick witted an Egyptian can be.
But now that you said it (sandMonkey), I’d say Zvi Bar’el could have learned something from it before prematurely making his predictions.
I agree with QN. It is too early to predict. Let’s wait at least until the Arab Summit convenes in Cairo – if enough leaders show up. You know they could have other schedules, especially that this meeting was called up in haste.
I don’t know what happened a year ago between the two of you. But history doesn’t always repeat itself.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:46 am

 

39. Rumyal said:

Alex, Shai,

Did anybody say Sari Nusseibeh?

http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Country-Palestinian-Life/dp/0312427107/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230707497&sr=8-1

The guy owes me a share of the royalties by now with all of my promotion… but it’s an absolute *must read*.

Unfortunately, he isn’t MLK in terms of charisma and ambition, but he is the “true North” in terms of charting the right way… for both of our peoples…

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December 31st, 2008, 7:17 am

 

40. Alex said:

Shai,

There are some Palestinian intellectuals, but they are not leaders. There are many Palestinian leaders, but they keep proposing the same old approaches.

Majid,

I agree it is indeed too early. But I estimate there is a 70% chance I will be right though. we’ll see.

And I heard from many Egyptian friends about their disappointment with Nasrallah’s specific targeting of their country. I think Nasrallah over did it.

Read what Mona Eltahawy wrote here, you will like it:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081229.wcogaza30/BNStory/specialComment/home

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December 31st, 2008, 7:26 am

 

41. offended said:

Shai,
Martin Luther King, although a legendary personality, was operating in a system that allowed his voice to be heard and his protests to proceed. Martin Luther King would quote Benjamin Franklin to remind white Americans of their own values and how they are breached.

The situation in Palestine is different, it’s a head-on collision between an occupying force that build partition walls and place people under siege, and a helpless population who had been betrayed by most of its leaders and let down by most of its Arab brethren.

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December 31st, 2008, 7:38 am

 

42. Sprinkle said:

Offended did not write anything offensive. He/She simply noted how unusual it is to hear a Jew stand against Israeli policy, and how refreshing such a thing is.

What I find offensive is how quick so many insecure people are to accuse others of being racist and anti-semitic when the truth hurts.

These authors should to a circuit of the megachurches and teach Christian Zionists a thing or two about how their donations are spent!

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December 31st, 2008, 7:57 am

 

43. majid said:

OK Alex,
Good to be optimist.

I read that article early today. I was planning to provide a link here but I forgot. Thanks for bringing it up.

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December 31st, 2008, 8:01 am

 

44. Majid said:

According to Associated Press, Israeli Government rejected a 48-hour ceasefire requested by EU.

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December 31st, 2008, 8:43 am

 

45. Murphy said:

Alex, I can’t believe how naive you are being.

“Why can’t the Palestinians try that? …”

But Alex they have!!!!! Many, many times, both in the West Bank and in Gaza. There have been countless demonstrations against the wall and the blockade, among other things. They have achieved nothing.

“that army did not fire a bullet at them .. a few months later the army was out.”

Public opinion means that the Syrian army would find it difficult to fire into a crowd of unarmed fellow Arabs. The Israeli army operates under no such restraints, as it has shown time and again.

“The first intifada (with rocks, no arms) was close … and it was useful for them”

Two points: one, it is true the first intifadah started out as a non-violent protest, but Israel – as you surely must know – responded with extreme violence. You don’t remember ‘peacenik’ Rabin and his ‘break their bones’ command? Secondly, what exactly did the first intifada achieve?

Dont’ get me wrong – I often despair at the lack of imagination and intelligence of successive Palestinian ‘leaderships’. But to act as though non-violent protest had not been tried, and that it would somehow impress Israel is, as I’ve said, shockingly naive.

majid,

“to draw their country into something they know full well is against their interests”

Sorry, but its way too late for that. By coluding with Israel’s attack on Gaza – just the latest example of decades long collusion with Israel – Egypt lost the right to complain about being ‘drawn into’ a tragedy partly of its own making.

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December 31st, 2008, 8:53 am

 

46. qunfuz said:

Alex – Israel’s policy at the start of the second intifada was to use massive force. Dozens of Palestinians were shot before the intifada was militarised. There are and have been hundreds of non-violent protests at checkpoints, against the wall, etc, which are met with Israeli violence. If the western media was watching and not framing the story as one of poor Jewish democrats against terrorist Arabs, non-violence might have a hope.

Martin Luther King had Malcolm X behind him. Ghandi had a burgeoning armed resistance behind him. I don’t mean Martin or Ghandi wanted Malcolm or armed resistance, but white America and the British empire saw their choice: either deal with the nice guy or be forced to deal with the angrier ones.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t great scope for further, better organised non-violent confrontation.

It is essential and urgent for a new PLO to be reconstituted to represent ALL Palestinians, in Gaza, the Bank, 1948 lands, the diaspora, Islamist and secular. All palestinians should agitate for this TODAY. The ‘peace process’ farce needs to be officially rejected. It has only harmed the Palestinians and served the occupier. Then a Palestinian discussion – and referendum – needs to be held to determine the movement’s aims (I suggest abandoning the two-state solution, which is no longer viable, thoroughly unjust, and will perpetuate the Palestinian’s economic status as a servant class: it’s time for the Palestinians to demand Israeli passports and rights). It is of course an impossible task to organise a new PLO, but a necessary one. Why impossible: most of the elected representatives of the Palestinians from the West Bank are in Israeli prisons. Would Arab regimes allow their Palestinian refugees to organise and vote?

I’m aware that I’m particularly emotional about the tragedy before us. Having said that, I do wonder if peace will ever be possible with Israeli Jews, at least before they meet a large defeat. Finkelstein said it, Israel has to be defeated; then it will produce leaders who will make peace. But at the moment we have a large scale massacre like this every couple of years. Then there is the casual barbarism of occupation and siege. The vast majority of these people do not believe we are human. I think our focus should be on fighting them. If only we could deal with one or two of our client regimes, we could actually get somewhere.

Writer John Berger’s statement:

“We are now spectators of the latest – and perhaps penultimate – chapter of the 60 year old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. About the complexities of this tragic conflict billions of words have been pronounced, defending one side or the other.

Today, in face of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the essential calculation, which was always covertly there, behind this conflict, has been blatantly revealed. The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives.

This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less – with marginal questioning – mindlessly repeat. And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist. That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it – is one of history’s ironic jokes. There’s no laughter anywhere. We can, however, refute it, more and more vocally.

Let’s do so.”

John Berger
27 December 2008

I don’t think we can make peace with a viscerally racist enemy, not until it has reason to change its ideas. To those who say ‘we’re weak; we have no choice,’ I say that peace isn’t on the agenda, only colonial submission.

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December 31st, 2008, 11:04 am

 

47. why-discuss said:

With all their military genius, nuclear weapons, walls built etc.. how Israeli have not find a way to build an anti-defense system against old fashioned rockets?
What kind of morals the Israelis have when they support brutality when dialog and concessions should and are the only way out. After all these lands were stolen from the palestinians and their loss should be compensated not bloodily punished. Any way with this war and the disgust and hatred it inspires, Israel is going backward decades in getting sympathy from arabs.
Israelis may think they can leave in a fake peace but they may end up
been always surrounded by suspicion and hatred not because of their religion but because of their cruel and selfish acts.

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December 31st, 2008, 11:27 am

 

48. qunfuz said:

I found this on Informed Comment: http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:Rh1317yWBVcJ:www.luiss.it/shur/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/shurwp04-081.pdf+%22SHUR%22+Working+Paper&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

the SHUR working paper on Israel, Palestine and democratic possibilities. Here are the report’s policy recommendations:

‘ The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status;
•Any system of government must be founded on the principle of equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities;

•There must be just redress for the devastating effects of decades of Zionist colonization in the pre- and post-state period, including the abrogation of all laws, and ending all policies, practices and systems of military and civil control that oppress and discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion or national origin;

• The recognition of the diverse character of the society, encompassing distinct religious, linguistic and cultural traditions, and national experiences;

• The creation of a non-sectarian state that does not privilege the rights of one ethnic or religious group over another and that respects the separation of state from all organized religion;

• The implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194 is a fundamental requirement for justice, and a benchmark of the respect for equality;

• The creation of a transparent and nondiscriminatory immigration policy;

• The recognition of the historic connections between the diverse communities inside the new, democratic state and their respective fellow communities outside;

• In articulating the specific contours of such a solution, those who have been historically excluded from decision-making — especially the Palestinian Diaspora and its refugees, and Palestinians inside Israel — must play a central role;

• The establishment of legal and institutional frameworks for justice and reconciliation’

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December 31st, 2008, 11:33 am

 

49. Shai said:

Qunfuz,

“It is essential and urgent for a new PLO to be reconstituted to represent ALL Palestinians, in Gaza, the Bank, 1948 lands, the diaspora, Islamist and secular. “

I absolutely agree. The Palestinians must get rid of any opportunity for Israel to claim we have “no partner to talk to”. They must unite now under a single, authoritative and governing body.

Btw, I too am starting to sense that perhaps my people and my nation need to once again feel what it is like to be defeated, and what the real alternatives to peace are. 1977 was made possible, not only because of Sadat, but indeed because of 1973, just 4 years earlier. It would be a terrible thing, if once again our region would have its all-out conflict, and many more thousands and tens of thousands would die, than back in the 70’s and 80’s.

I still pray we don’t have to get there, but certainly at the rate we’re going, and with the “policy” we seem to be adopting, it’s almost inevitable. How sad it is that we already know what the price is, in fact for all sides of our conflict, and yet it’s like a terrible movie that must be watched in its entirety.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a Happy New Year. May this year bring us sanity, and an end to the terrible suffering of so many people in our region, who deserve a peaceful life no less than any of us.

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December 31st, 2008, 12:45 pm

 

50. qunfuz said:

Happy New Year to you, Shai.

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December 31st, 2008, 1:34 pm

 

51. yaser said:

here is a thought ..
I believe that this war resembles in more than one aspect the second Lebanon war , a war between a conventional army who is trying to protect its population by destroying a militant orgnization which in turn has nothing to lose and willing to have all kind of destruction and death wreaked upon it and its countymen . I believe the end will be the same with Israel failing to achieve what it set out to do which is destroying Hamas due to mounting pressure because of the increasing number of casualities which will lead to reinforcing of the crazy rhetoric of Hizbullah and co.
NOW,
the only way we will have the desired consequence aka the new middle east were israel defeats the terrorists and a renewed drive for peace is initiated is when the people under the control of such terrorists orgnizations or who identify with them (the arabs )start to question those terrorists acts and hold them accountable ,we know that this didn’t happen in the Lebanese case where all the different factions united together in solidarity with Hizbullah and no one really did hold them accountable for what they did .I see this is not the case anymore ,people across the Arab world has realized the inhuman and stupid nature of such orgnizations such as Hamas and begining to reason in a rational way discovering the cruelty and craziness of this situation ,I believe there is hope , I am seeing the light at the end of tunnel , do you ??

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December 31st, 2008, 2:27 pm

 

52. SimoHurtta said:

I absolutely agree. The Palestinians must get rid of any opportunity for Israel to claim we have “no partner to talk to”. They must unite now under a single, authoritative and governing body.

Well that would be interesting to see how an occupied nation unites. Are there examples in history? Surely Palestinians are united with the wish of a own country and rights, but there ends the unity. There will always be different rival political groups with different strategies. The demand of unity is so as absurd as Palestinians would demand same kind of unity from Israel.

What Palestinians need is not to allow to been played in different camps with the core demands. PLO should refuse to negotiate with Israel so long Israel excludes the other major forces. PLO is most guilty about failed Palestinian unity by the degeneration to a quisling organization. Israel has not delivered anything concrete to PLO and Palestinians during this quisling period. The walls, checkpoints and settlements only increase.

This Israeli mantra “there is no partner to talk to” is basically absurd. Israel destroys every 5 years Palestinians governmental infrastructure and though demands Palestinians act like they would be an independent state. Palestinians could with much better reasons say there is no partner to talk to among the Israeli system which wants and could deliver real results.

Shai your demand of an single, authoritarian, governing body is impossible. Two first demands would be easy if Palestinians would have an army. They do not have. The third would be “easy” if Palestinians had something to govern. Even in the hypothetical situation that there would be a single, authoritarian, governing body it is 100 percent certain that Israel would say that it is not the right “partner” because it is authoritarian not democratic elected.

Shai the problem is not the Palestinians and their unity, it is the unity you Israelis have in not wanting to give Palestinians and Arabs what they deserve. The 1967 borders.

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December 31st, 2008, 2:50 pm

 

53. Jad/2 said:

- MIDEAST: Gaza Becomes a Chessboard for Israeli Leaders
Analysis by Mel Frykberg Dec 30 (IPS) http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45258 :

(..)

” But Israel would not have taken on Gaza without the support of neighbouring Arab regimes. Shortly before the aerial assault, Livni visited Cairo and explained to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the need for the forthcoming attack.

” Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt all regard Hamas as an ally of Iran, and fear that the spread of Iranian influence in the region could topple their unpopular regimes, which are engaged in battles with their own Islamists.

” Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stymied efforts by the Arab League to convene a meeting on Gaza to take appropriate action. Both countries appear happy for Hamas to be weakened before further negotiations.

” The hapless President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas, a bitter foe of Gaza’s Hamas, despite the requisite appearances of grief on TV, has placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas.

” Issues of proportionality, the suffering of the civilian population, and the fact that the cycle of violence actually started a month ago when Israel carried out a cross-border incursion into Gaza, have not registered.

” Should Israel carry out a threatened ground incursion into Gaza, Israel’s politicos-on-the-make could face a different scenario, as Hamas may inflict significant casualties.

“Israeli commentator Akiva Elder wrote in Haaretz, “Israeli planes and tanks cannot replace any Arab government. The only way to kick Hamas out of Gaza is to put the enclave under IDF martial law and a civil administration. In other words, to disengage from the disengagement.”

– MIDEAST:
Israeli Attack Seen as Complicating Obama’s Plans By Jim Lobe Dec 30 (IPS) http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=1916

– MIDEAST: Peace Process Blown to Bits
Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani (IPS)
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45272

– “MIDEAST: Jewish Organisations Call For End to Gaza Bombings”
By Ali Gharib (IPS) http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45267

“WASHINGTON – With a fresh outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine, a battle of a different sort is being waged in Washington between various interests in Mid- East policy circles.”

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December 31st, 2008, 2:51 pm

 

54. Shai said:

Simo,

I’m sorry, I disagree with you. In 2006, the Hamas won the free democratic elections, and formed the Palestinian government. Had Fatah not bought into Israel and America’s pressure to try to delegitimize Hamas, today the Palestinians would have a single governing authoritative body. You don’t need an army to have that – as you know, The Republic of Iceland, a member of NATO, has no standing army. And so do many other small nations. Hamas actually has very good control, in Gaza, without an army. The decision not to accept Hamas was Fatah’s first and foremost. This can be changed – it is up to the Palestinians to decide whether they are represented by a single body, or not.

Of course the “no partner to talk to” is an Israeli invention. But when Abu Mazen can’t deliver, and when Fatah and Hamas aren’t talking, nations around the world believe our invention. The Palestinians can make sure we can’t say that anymore.

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December 31st, 2008, 3:49 pm

 

55. offended said:

Shai, happy new year to you and your family.

May God bless your little girls!

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December 31st, 2008, 4:32 pm

 

56. idaf said:

Shai,

In response to your comment#29. Unfortunately, the peaceful demonstrations will not work for the Palestinians (they already have been tried and tested as Qunfuz said).

Even if the Palestinian women, children and elderly were disciplined enough to not even throw a stone in a series of meticulously organized demonstrations, you know what the IDF solution would be, don’t you? Easy… smuggle a couple of IDFs wearing civilian cloths or a bunch of “collaborator” among the crowd and let one of them shoot in the air or something. The biased media will do the rest to make sure that those 20 IDF soldiers and their commander who killed 56 demonstrators were “defending themselves”.

Israel and Arab regimes have used this method for years to claim that demonstrations were violent and not peaceful, hence having the excuse to swiftly and violently finish off the demonstrations off.

Remember how the Israeli Arabs peacefully demonstrated in the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000? At least twelve “Israelis” were killed by the IDF back then to squash that series of demonstrations by Israeli Arabs.

So, the bottom-line Shai is that unfortunately it won’t work. Not with all the biased media coverage out there. As long as Israel remains non-accountable even in terms of media coverage in the west as is the case right now (not to mention the security council), not even the most peaceful and civilized methods of demonstration against the occupation will have the slightest of positive impact for the Palestinians.

But I agree with you. It will take another Israeli sense of defeat among the public in Israel (coupled with brave leaders in Israel.. that do not get killed by the extremist right or discredited by corruption) to make an informed cost-benefit analysis for their children’s future to realize that they NEED to have a just solution and compromise.

Meanwhile, the Israeli politicians will continue to enjoy this electioneering blood-feast and the hysteric euphoria among the public. It will take some sane heads who are not high with this false sense of invincibility to realize that there is nothing macho about shooting starved fish in a barrel to feel impotent again.

Happy new year to you and your family. On the Arab side, it is the saddest beginning of the year that I can remember.

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December 31st, 2008, 4:40 pm

 

57. qunfuz said:

I agree with Shai about Fatah. Simohurta – the new PLO should be democratic, not authoritarian. It should certainly include representatives from the Bank and Gaza, but also from the 48 lands and outside. The elcted representatives should debate and then vote on a programme – one state or two state, 22% or 50% – and a strategy which should then be binding on all Palestinians. The high leadership should probably meet outside Palestine until there is a just peace, so that they can’t be pressured/ killed/ bought off.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:01 pm

 

58. Friend in America said:

In the years of watching this site, this thread is one of the most discouraging I have ever read. The selected articles aroused old hatreds. The commenters took the bait. They reverted back to the attitudes of the old century. This visceral hatred is obliterating the entire past 9 months of peace efforts and friendship making. I wish to express my alarm and dismay. Is there anyone else here who is alarmed by the distruction of peace here?

This thread has ignited once again the old blame game, the finger pointing , the comparative sinning (the other guy is more wicked than I am), the wrenching anger over civilian casualties in Hamas government facilities but no sympathy for the victems of a rocket explosion at a bus stop in Israel. This is the old century tactic – rousing public support for violence by igniting hatred. Hatred, my friends, fails to create a solution.

In the past year the world witnessed serious efforts by governments and individuals in the ME to lay the groundwork for a lasting solution that all can live with: Syria seeking a peace settlement, Turkey accepting the role of intermediator, other Arab countries offering again the 2002 proposal as the basis for negotiating a comprehensive peace agreement, Syria normalizing relations with lebanon, a 6 month cease fire in Gaza, people of good will on both sides of the borders offering hands of friendship in the blogs and in person. The sun was beginning to shine. All of this is being thrown away. Please go back to Shai’s account of 6 weeks ago of his visit to the Golan. Isn’t his emotional peace the way we would all like to live? Pointing the finger of blame is a luxury we can no longer afford.

The most this line of hate can achieve is to lock in the stalmate for another decade. What do you think Obama can do if you won’t do it yourself?

Now is the time to reach out to Shai, AIG and others who tried so hard in 2008 to start a new path across borders and affirm your commitment to friendship with them. This is the time to support, no, to demand, new century attitudes and politics.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:18 pm

 

59. Ghat Albird said:

Most criminal law systems recognize the necessity of imprisoning violent continual recidivists on the basis that they are simply too dangerous to be left free to commit the crimes we know they will commit.

Israel is, without any shadow of a doubt, an habitual offender. The world needs to be able to stop states which won’t stop offending.

The only relatively humane way to destroy a modern nation state is to make it an outlaw, and institute 100% boycotts of it on all levels – no trade, no communications, no status in international law, no recognition of its citizens (after the bombing of a university in Gaza one need never expect to hear complaints about the boycotting of Israeli academics).

People will start to leave almost immediately – the world will face another Jewish refugee problem – and the entire country will be destroyed within a year.

One is forced to conclude, that the world really has no choice. Israel is like a psychopath, one who is ‘escalating’. Each outrage is worse than the last, and the Gaza attacks may be the worst war crime yet. Self-defense means that Israel has to be named the world’s first habitual offender, and forfeit its right to statehood.

The UN Asembly must address this issue asap. Israel must be informed that no if ands or buts, comply with original UN Resolutions of 1948 or face a 100% boyccott by the wntire world community.

The Times of London reported that university students in Tehran have stormed a British compound just north of the British embassy in Tehran and torching British and US flags while demanding government approbvl that they be supported in allowing Iranian volunteers to go to Gaza.

The daily killings of Paletenians in Gaza as means of proving to the Israeli voter whose got more balls Nethanyahu or Livni or Olmert reflects the perversion.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:20 pm

 

60. majid said:

Yaser,
I totally agree with your comment 49 and its thoughtful insight. As you mentioned, ordinary Arabs have begun to question the relevance and the methods of such organizations like so-called Hezbollah, Hamas, Jihad etc…
Unfortunately, it is still a meek beginning. Thanks to Nasrallah himself who displayed such fatal misjudgments since at least 2006 which served as a wake up call to many misguided Arabs. Again, unfortunately, that came at a very huge cost to Lebanon and its people. We are witnessing the same misjudgment now taking place in Gaza with the resulting wasted lives and properties in an absurd confrontation which is not meant by any measure to advance the well being of the people, and I mean here on both sides. In fact, the confrontation serves only the politicians in their struggles to maintain a political status quo in the case of Hamas or in a quest for election/re-election in the case of Israel. So on this front both Hamas and Israel are actually united. One of Hamas leaders even went on to say that his rockets will continue to be fired even if all of Gaza were to be destroyed!!!
The Arabs are in urgent need to reform themselves both on the individual level as well as in government. Unfortunately, the Arabs have not yet reached this level. The funniest article I read today in some Arab media had the title: Olmert will go but Hamas will Remain. Of course the writer considers the power of Hamas to remain after Olmert is gone as some sort of metaphysical proof endowing the movement with some infallible glorification as Hassan and his Iranian masters would like to propagate.
It is also unfortunate that you find apologists for such ‘infallible’ men even among so-called Arabs who have some Western education. I have read not long ago to some such educated Arab who admitted Hassan’s misjudgment yet the same educated Arab fails to question Hassan’s adherence to the false belief in the infallibility of the Imam.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:29 pm

 

61. qunfuz said:

friend in america – I disagree entirely with your rose-tinted picture of recent months. Also, I don’t expect Obama to do anything at all. Also, I have never had a commitment of friendship with AIG or people like him. Also, you are not a friend. Calling ‘hey, why don’t we love each other’ doesn’t help at all, not when war crimes are, yet again, being committed. That bus stop in Israel, by the way, is on land that was inhabited by the people who are now in Gaza. They were ethnically cleansed from it in 48, and have been killed and besieged ever since. I wish them well in their resistance.

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December 31st, 2008, 5:30 pm

 

62. Antidote to the Iraeli revisionism of history - Middeno « Newsbytes said:

[…] December, 2008 by zentor Joshua Landis at Syriacomment gives an overview of – and links to – a series of excellent recent articles on Gaza by such clearheaded and […]

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December 31st, 2008, 5:40 pm

 

63. nafdik said:

Simo, Shai,

You are both right.

There is no unity on either side.

In fact on both side there is a majority that wants to reach a solution. But the situation is hijacked by the maximalists who use any excuse to sabotage any hope of a settlment.

What is required is not unity between Palestinians, but unity of Palestinian and Israeli moderates to finally counter the racists, fascists and those who think their God prefers real estate to the life of their children.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:02 pm

 

64. Off the Wall said:

Dear All
I wish all of you a happy new year. Hopefully, 2009 would be better than 2008.
I have been very busy to comment, and occasionally, too busy to even read. However, I have been reading a lot of posts for the past three days. As I continue to watch the news, and see a caravan of Israeli propagandists on American media and continue to hear meaningless lies and occasional racism (such as the case with the smooth but ugly bibi), my blood boils, and I am incapable of making a coherent comment without diverging into anger, righteous or not.
Shai, Rumyal, and many Israeli commentators on Haaretz pages continue to give me hope. But today at least, I am finding it very hard for myself to ask people in Gaza to do what Rumyal has suggested while they are being bombarded and murdered one after another and after being driven into hunger and desperations in manners reminiscent of dark-ages siege of cities, Gaza is the new Metzada, and Hamas may be the new Zealots of the land, but at the end, Israel is acting as the Romans did, and perhaps, if you are a believer, you can imagine the Jerusalemites of two millennia past looking in anger and shock, and asking whether their descendants have learned anything from their own history .
Sorry Rumyal, Shai, Alex, and others, but asking the people of Gaza to adopt non-violent resistance may sound a little disingenuous. After all, Israel has made sure that by simply living and breathing, the Palestinians of today are in fact practicing the most fundamental form of non-violent resistance. They are doing it, and yet they die. For the average Palestinian, the mere living without becoming a suicide bomber is the most courageous thing to do, and the majority of them are doing just that. So IMHO, they are and have been practicing non-violent resistance for decades to no avail. What we have been asking them is the theatrics of non-violence. I can not now ask the hungry people, especially when they are being murdered for theatrics. It is us who can afford these theatrics, not them. Why don’t we ask those living in Sderot (which is probably where many gazzan’s lived before 1948. Or Ashdod, built in 1956 over the ashes of the homes of many Palestinian, who were driven to Gaza by ethnic cleansing) to march peacefully to the crossing points with flowers instead of their continuing and rabid push for revenge and mayhem in Gaza. I hope you can see my delima. I think we should put the onus where it should be, not on the shoulder of the powerless. I hope that you can understand why I have not written on this topic lately. Today, I have no peace loving contribution to make while I am in my state of anger. And I better not contribute until I cool down. I am not sure I will be given the opportunity to cool down anytime soon. Thanks to peace loving Israel. I gave you the benefit of doubt, I have invested countless hours learning to hope that you can become a peaceful neighbor, but as a society, and with a few exceptions, you are an unashamed complicit in genocide, no ifs, not buts. Arabs may be backward, but for barbarism and criminality as a country, whose citizens not only bury their heads in the sands, but cheer for murder, you take the cake. I tried to even create and enjoy my own illusion of what can you become, and you have failed me, you broke my heart.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:03 pm

 

65. Akbar Palace said:

Yaser said:

I see this is not the case anymore ,people across the Arab world has realized the inhuman and stupid nature of such orgnizations such as Hamas and begining to reason in a rational way discovering the cruelty and craziness of this situation ,I believe there is hope , I am seeing the light at the end of tunnel , do you ??

Yaser,

I am sensing there is a change going on in this direction. Unfortuantely, it is not being initiated from within, but being initiated by us, “the enemy”. It doesn’t seem as though this change could ever be initiated from within, with the current governments in power now.

I wonder if the current war in Gaza will end with Fatah and Abbas “retaking” control in Gaza. I wonder if this is even an improvement? If there is no violence, I would say it would be an improvement.

Eventually, my hope is that Gazans, Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Iranians, Turks, Israelis, Saudis, etc, can all work together to get the Middle East to point where they can compete with the rest of the world in all aspects of life.

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December 31st, 2008, 6:08 pm

 

66. norman said:

OTW,

Wellcome back and well said,

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December 31st, 2008, 7:12 pm

 

67. norman said:

From what is coming out of the meeting for the Arab forign minsters , especially from Egypt and KSA , restoring and bringing back Abbas and Dahlan to Gaza seems part of the objectives of this Israeli operation.

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December 31st, 2008, 7:24 pm

 

68. Rumyal said:

OTW,

Your words tear a hole in my heart, it’s very difficult to read, and I know it is absolutely “well earned”. I have always admired your positions and saw great hope in our dialog. I feel that my country has robed us of something that we were building together for a while here, which I was initially skeptic about but came to believe in and place great hope in. With my country’s last actions I feel the outrage that you feel, a sense of great loss and mostly deep shame and disgust. It is hard to focus my thoughts and write cogently, especially that I’m aware of the tension towards me here as an Israeli. When I proposed the non-violent measures I knew this could be seen as disingenuous, what can I do about it? This is where my intellect and heart tells me a relief is to be found. I can either offer that or shut up, so I’ll continue “peddling” my opinion as long as I think it is helpful. My interests at this point are mostly at addressing the situation on the ground, and in this respect getting up and marching is something that the Gazans can do right now that will actually ensure their safety. This is indeed about theatrics and I can imagine that the poor people there are in a state of shock and confusion that will not allow them to think about theatrics… Somebody needs to lead them…

The Israelis in the south, and anywhere, are a lost case, at this time. You cannot expect anything meaningful from them. No compassion, no reciprocity, no empathy. I say that in utter disappointment and shame. When I talk about non-violence, I don’t expect this to be reciprocated in the Israeli side, quite the contrary, but still, it could be effective, by cornering Israel in the international arena—if the theatrics are done professionally. The Gazans need a sleaze-balls like Bibi to tell them what to wear, what to say, etc. This is totally disgusting—I know, to have to play this game when you know that you have been dealt with huge injustice and are struggling for the basics of survival.

I don’t have the audacity to ask for your forgiveness at this time.

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December 31st, 2008, 8:21 pm

 

69. Shai said:

OTW,

After reading your words, my anger, sadness, and shame are beyond description. Indeed we have failed you, as we have so many others. I hope we’ll find the way to change that, though today I am far less optimistic than I was just a week ago. Please know that despite my disgust with those “proud” Israelis, they are my people, and I will stay here and fight to change them (us). I owe that to my ancestors, and to my children.

Shai.

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December 31st, 2008, 8:27 pm

 

70. majid said:

OTW, Shai, Rumyal and other ‘humanity loving-hating’ orchestra,

When would you realize that such emotional outbreaks would only serve to add fuel to the fire?
What kind of objectives such irrational outbursts serve:
“I lost my faith in you, in Jews, in Arabs, in human race in homo-sapiens etc….”?

Norman, do you really care about the suffering of the Gazans or would you condone such nonsense as keep firing rockets even if all of Gaza is destroyed?

Have you considered putting yourself under fire yet?

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December 31st, 2008, 8:45 pm

 

71. Shai said:

Offended,

Thank you for your kind wishes. I wish the same upon you and your family.

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December 31st, 2008, 9:17 pm

 

72. norman said:

Shai, Rumyal,

We do not blame you or the Jews , we blame the Israeli government.

Few hundreds Israeli can come to the border with Gaza and stand between the Israeli army and the Palestinians , That will show the Palestinians that there is a difference between The Jews and the Israeli government , that is a safer way to stop the carnage.

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December 31st, 2008, 9:30 pm

 

73. Shai said:

Norman,

A large anti-war campaign will begin in Israel in a few days with the slogan “Enough Already! Stop, Cease Fire, and Reconsider!” It will have many activities, including some down South. A number of buses will head down there this Friday. I’m sure you’ll see it on TV soon.

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December 31st, 2008, 9:44 pm

 

74. norman said:

Shai, Rumyal,

This is a frame work for a setlment , What do you think.?

I think it will be accepted by the Arab side if supported by financial , Economic , educational and political help.

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Share Print CommentsIn order to get beyond the stunningly superficial analyses of the Israeli-Hamas conflict one might find on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, I called up Zbigniew Brzezinski — former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Obama supporter and eminence gris of American geostrategic thinkers — to offer him a serious opportunity to talk about the challenges to Obama in facing this Middle East mess. We also talked about Obama’s other immediate test: the mounting tensions between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks. Finally, in light of these conflicts, we assessed the “clash of civilizations” thesis propounded by Havard’s Sam Huntington, who died last week.

Here are excerpts of the interview:

Nathan Gardels: As President-elect Obama prepares to enter the geopolitical fray, he faces two looming crises — the war between Israel and Hamas, and the mounting tension between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks. First, Israel and Hamas.

How can there ever be a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians with an armed, hostile and rejectionist Hamas in Gaza?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: There will never be a deal unless there is on the table a comprehensive outline of a solution that is attractive to the majority of the Israelis and Palestinians, particularly if such proposed solutions stand in clear contrast to the consequences of the failure of either side to accept such an agreement — in other words, the relentless cycle of violence we are witnessing yet again today in Gaza.

By now it should be quite evident that the two parties to the conflict will never reach an agreement on their own. The Palestinians are divided, which complicates their ability to negotiate effectively. The Israelis are reluctant to move forward with a compromise deal because some feel comfortable with the status quo while others aRE quietly using the stalemate to expand settlements in the West Bank.

The only way, therefore, to move forward is for the international community, led by the United States, to put on the table the framework of an eventual agreement. This agreement should be based on four fundamental points:

— No right of return for the Palestinian refugees. This is a very bitter pill for the Palestinians to swallow, though it can be sweetened by an international acknowledgment of their suffering.

— Jerusalem has to be equitably shared as the capital of two states, Israeli and Palestinian. Admittedly, this is a bitter pill for the Israelis. But the fact of the matter is that no peace will be viewed as equitable without this.

— An equitable territorial arrangement based on the 1967 lines, with some changes permitting the incorporation into Israel of some heavily urbanized communities beyond the 67 lines. In return, the Palestinians would be compensated with other territory, perhaps in Galilee and the Negev.

— A demilitarized Palestinian state with the deployment of American troops along the Jordan River, thereby insuring Israeli security XXX by providing “strategic depth.”

Such an agreement would, in my view, be supported by the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, and would isolate the extremists on both sides, both THE settlers and the right wing of Likud in Israel as well as Hamas.

Gardels: Khaled Mishaal, the Hamas leader, has often said that while Hamas won’t accept the existence of Israel, they will accept a “long term truce” — he told me 20 years in one interview. Must Hamas recognize Israel’s existence as a condition for the US to talk with them, or, pragmatically, can the truce idea lead somewhere?

Brzezinski: I doubt a truce is sufficient. After all, If there is to be a peaceful settlement based on territorial arrangements, I don’t see how those arrangements can be conditional, as they would be in such a truce. The notion of a truce precludes some of the elements of a comprehensive agreement. A truce, as such, would only preserve the status quo, which is untenable.

Gardels: During the Bush administration, there has been very little daylight between the US and Israel. If Obama is to leverage his “soft power” in the Arab and Muslim world to regain American presitige, musn’t he put some daylight between the US and Israel?

Brzezinski: Doing it in this fashion would not be productive. It would create great insecurity in the American Jewish community and in Israel itself. What is needed, is a serious and determined engagement in the peace process. That in itself makes the US a constructive mediator instead a passive participant — as the US has become during the Bush years.

Gardels: India has said they have the right in self-defense to strike militant sanctuaries in Pakistan if Pakistan can’t, or is unwilling, to do the job. This is what Bush has done; it is what Obama has promised to do. Why should India not do the same?

Brzezinski: Theoretically, from a debater’s point of view, the argument you have laid out is correct. However, any sane person has to ask “what has the US gained” by attacking these sanctuaries other than inflaming Pakistani public opinion? Have we destroyed the Islamist networks? Why would India be able to do any better?

The real risk of any Indian attack on Pakistani territory, which otherwise might be morally or internationally justified, is that it could lead to a major war between nuclear powers. Any major war between the two–even if Pakistan is defeated — could unleash tremendous internal turmoil in India, with its large Muslim population that is increasingly resentful and restless. That would threaten the very integrity of the Indian state.

So, yes, India would have the right to attack the sanctuaries. But, so what?

Gardels: In other words, it wouldn’t be wrong, but stupid.

Brzezinski: Precisely.

Gardels: Last week, Harvard political scientist Sam Huntington died. He was most noted for his controversial thesis of “the clash of civilizations.” The conflicts we have been discussing — Israel vs. Hamas; Hindu India vs. Muslim Pakistan — run along civilizational lines. Was Huntington right in the end?

Brzezinski: He was more right than wrong. He was certainly more right than his critics. He clearly put his finger on something. I had reservations in the beginning, even though he was one of my closest friends. Huntington’s analysis made the clash of civilizations seem inevitable, but I think it was avoidable. I fear that historians will think that the US, Bush particularly, made a very substantial contribution to proving Huntington right.

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December 31st, 2008, 9:46 pm

 

75. AIG said:

Norman,
This is a framewrok I can accept and a very large majority of Israelis. It is people like Qunfuz who cannot accept it. Just ask him. To him, this kind of peace is some form of colonialism.

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December 31st, 2008, 9:54 pm

 

76. offended said:

The ‘Arab League’. The most buffoonish, useless and ridicule-worthy organization on the face of the earth. They request the Security Council to convene and discuss Gaza. The Security Council has a long list of resolutions which has never been implemented by Israel. So what else are they going to do?

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December 31st, 2008, 10:17 pm

 

77. offended said:

Although I think it’s futile for the Palestinians to try it. The idea of peaceful demonstrations can very much be utilized by the Egyptians.

They may try to march from Al Areesh to Rafah and get the damn border crossing opened. Actually for them it’s doubly productive, because they’d also be protesting Mubarak and his dictatorial submission to Israel.

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December 31st, 2008, 10:28 pm

 

78. offended said:

Majid asks:

What kind of objectives such irrational outbursts serve:

Distinguish between the sensitive and the blunt? between the caring and the apathetic?

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December 31st, 2008, 10:33 pm

 

79. Friend in America said:

I have and continue to believe the most enduring resolution is the one state solution. I recognize this requires too deep a sacrifice to be politically viable at this time or in the near future. The next best resolution is the two state (three state?) solution.
It will not be easy. There must be security to Israel, there must be an end of the insults and the degrading treatment the Palestinian people have had to endure, there must be an enforceable bill of rights for minorities and there must be effective economic relationships that will improve the lives of the Palestianian people in both enclaves. These things can be accomplished by working for a better tomorrow. Seeking revenge for the past only continues the past. This is not to say there were no wrongs in 1948. It only says continued sporatic warfare with its killings will result in even more killings. It will not improve the lives of our children or children’s children.

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December 31st, 2008, 10:36 pm

 

80. offended said:

And Majid, it’s probably time for a little reminder?
Remember the comment I made last friday, the night before the airstrikes on Gaza began?

Am I missing something here? all we’ve been hearing about for the last couple of weeks is ‘good news’, ‘good news’, ‘good news’ …. just what are those good news? the continuous siege of gaza? the impending military invasion of Gaza? the shameless Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli collusion to undermine Gaza and enforce the siege? (which is nothing new…. but time doesn’t make it look less sick than it really is)

Let’s hope those with the big guns will possess enough sense to match their military might, because an Israeli invasion of Gaza now will probably blow the chances of peace in the middle east for at least 20 years.

You’ve been warned.
http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=1816#comment-222892

To wish you’ve replied:
I’m really concerned about peace prospects in the Middle East. So is Assad of Syria I believe! And, so is OFFENDED it seems!
You know what they say: the seeds you sow are the fruits you harvest.
Simply speaking. What seeds Assad has sown in the last few years viz-a-viz hamas and other groups? If you know the answer, then you can easily predict what will happen to peace in the next 20 years.
You don’t need to blame it on “shameless Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli collusion” to advance or retard peace prospects in the Middle East, OFFENDED!

Do you now realize that things have turned out exactly as I’ve feared and predicted, in less than five bloody days?

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December 31st, 2008, 10:47 pm

 

81. offended said:

And one more thing Majid, the Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli collusion, which I’ve talked about in the aofresaid comment, is becoming clearer by the day isn’t it?

Even the Israeli media is suggesting that it is highly likely; look at this article by the JPost:
It is likely that Hamas’s accusations against Egypt – to the effect that Cairo was aware of an impending Israeli operation and took part in the deception preceding it – are largely correct.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456537121&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

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December 31st, 2008, 10:55 pm

 

82. majid said:

OFFENDED (Reply to 76, 78, 79),
Why didn’t you also refer to the question in which you asked me to put politics aside and reply to your question with regards to my concerns about the people of Gaza? And what was my answer?
Why are you bringing politics again? Isn’t politics in this case concerned with hypothesizing about a victor and a defeated out of the suffering of the innocents, women, children, the elderly etc…?
Isn’t that the most shameful of behavior rather than being blunt and seemingly insensitive? Look at some of the comments that appeared just in less than a day? A new comment Swerv2 appears from the cloud and jumps in with a post of flawed analysis – an obvious attempt to put the issue of winner and loser on the front burner. Never mind few more days or weeks of continued bombardment and few hundreds of innocents killed while Hamas leaders are hunkered down in a bunker just like their predecessor “Hassan the Clever”. That’s all cheap collateral damage for the sake of the ’cause’ of remaining in power and not Palestine to be exact. Look at Norman. He insists that the Gazans should continue in their suffering while he sits comfortably in his home somewhere in North America!!! Look at yourself. In order to make a point you are willing to add some superlatives of your own to a quote that is very obvious without need for clarification on your part.

Sorry, OFFENDED, your sensitivity and insight is well appreciated, however, I do not believe by being so sensitive (and emotional by the way) will lead you anywhere. I’d rather be blunt and say the obvious than shamelessly theorize on who should win and who should lose. We’ve seen that before and we’ve become immunized against it. The obvious thing at this moment is a CEASEFIRE PERIOD.

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December 31st, 2008, 11:28 pm

 

83. offended said:

Majid my friend,

I have no suspicions that you were sincere in your sympathies toward Gazan. But for God’s sake let’s not fall in the trap of western propaganda that portrays this thing as a ‘rockets versus airstrike’ equation. IT’S NOT! For there to be winners or losers, there has to be a war, and there is absolutely no war here since there is no equal opportunity. As I see it and as the proportion of casualties speak, there’s one side pounding the other mercilessly. We can pontificate all day about the bravado of Hamas’s armed men and their reckless ventures, but the reality is that THERE WAS A SIEGE. And for the humanitarian and moral dilemma to be corrected the siege must stop.

And for us to be geuinily siding with the hapless people of Gaza the siege must be lifted.

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January 1st, 2009, 1:33 am

 

84. offended said:

Americans Closely Divided Over Israel’s Gaza Attacks

Americans, while far more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians, are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip.

Forty-four percent (44%) say Israel should have taken military action against the Palestinians, but 41% say it should have tried to find a diplomatic solution to the problems there, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

http://tinyurl.com/7osokp

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January 1st, 2009, 1:38 am

 

85. norman said:

Back to web version Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008
Posted on Wed, Dec. 31, 2008
Saudi FM criticizes Palestinians
By SALAH NASRAWI
Associated Press Writer
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Wednesday blamed Palestinian divisions for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, a reflection of U.S.-allied Arab governments’ anger at the Hamas militant group.

Saud al-Faisal made the comments at an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, convened to try to put together a joint response by the deeply divided Arab nations to the Israeli offensive, which has killed more than 370 Palestinians and sparked outrage across the Middle East.

Pro-U.S. Arab countries – Egypt, in particular – have come under heavy criticism in widespread street protests, as well as from Iran, Hamas, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, for allegedly not doing enough to stop Israel or help Gazans. Officials and pro-government media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have responded by blaming Hamas for provoking Israel and accusing the militant group of being a proxy promoting the power of regional rival Iran.

Saud’s comments criticizing the Palestinians were notable because in past Israeli offensives against Arabs, Arab leaders would rarely voice anything but heavy condemnations against Israel. Saud stopped short of directly criticizing Hamas – but it was clear from his talk of “Palestinian divisions” that his words were directed at the militant group, which took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 in a battle against loyalists of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“This terrible massacre would not have happened if the Palestinian people were united behind one leadership speaking in one voice,” Saud said at the league meeting’s opening.

“We are telling our Palestinian brothers that your Arab nation cannot extend a real helping hand if you don’t extend your own hands to each other with love,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, the ministers called on Palestinians factions to put aside their differences and urged the U.N. Security Council to issue a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, according to a final statement.

The Mideast has largely been divided in two camps – pro-U.S. states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan on one side, and Syria, Iran and their allied militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah on the other.

The U.S. allied camp has been concerned over growing Iranian influence – and worry that the Persian state will gain a foothold in Gaza through Hamas, which gets financial backing from Tehran. Israel says its offensive aims to halt Hamas rocket fire into its territory.

But the popular anger over the Israeli bombardment has put the heat on Egypt and its allies. Egypt this week turned to Turkey – a regional rival of Iran with close ties to Israel – to put together an initiative to end the Gaza fighting.

The Arab foreign ministers reviewed the plan Wednesday. It calls for an immediate, unconditional halt to the Israeli assault, followed by a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel, and international monitors to guarantee the truce and the opening of border crossings into Gaza, which Israel has kept largely sealed since 2007.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Wednesday to promote the plan. Syria’s official news agency, SANA, said Erdogan and Assad called on Arab and Muslim countries to pressure Israel to end the airstrikes and warned of the “danger and consequences” a continued “aggression” would have on the region.

Later Wednesday, Erdogan moved on to pro-U.S. Jordan, where he met separately with King Abdullah II and Abbas. He travels on Thursday to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa expressed frustration with Arab and Palestinian divisions. “We are all in one boat, riddled with holes, and only our cohesion can save us,” he said.

Egypt has been criticized because it has kept closed its Rafah border crossing into Gaza, the territory’s only access to the outside world that does not run through Israel. Egypt says it cannot open Rafah as long as Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is not in charge there, but critics accuse it of helping Israel’s suffocating economic blockade. Egypt has let in some humanitarian supplies since the Israeli offensive began Saturday.

Late Wednesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah renewed his pressure on Egypt. “We still demand that Arab rulers and Arab people urge the Egyptian government to open the Rafah crossing,” he said, addressing crowds at a rally south of Beirut through a large screen from an unknown location.

© 2008 TheState.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.thestate.com

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January 1st, 2009, 2:00 am

 

86. trustquest said:

Israeli’s ambassador to the US, suggested today afternoon on NPR, that weakening Hamas (which is the MB within Palestinians) is to the benefit of most Arab regimes even the supporters such as the Syrians because in the end they are the eternal enemy of all regimes in the area, and he hinted that the reaction from Arab regimes suggest confirm that.
Hamas made some tactical mistake and should have preserved its self and chose the right time to action.
Offended please tell me who has the moral high ground in the Arab league and can you name him or predict him?

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January 1st, 2009, 2:10 am

 

87. majid said:

You really disappoint me OFFENDED when you summarize the issue as a Western Media biased against hapless Arabs and Palestinians in particular. This is the first way out the common Arab of today takes in order to avoid overlooking his shortcomings. The problem is within you OFFENDED. You have to conquer yourself first and foremost. In particular, you need to overcome your biases, prejudices, desires, inclinations etc… before you can make meaningful contributions to goals that are worthy of your humanity. What are we do you think? A bunch of buffoons just waiting to be bombarded by savvy western journalists whose only objective is to screw up Arabs? Are we so naive? Is this the level where you want the dialog to descend into? The battle is inside you OFFENDED!!!

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January 1st, 2009, 3:02 am

 

88. Qifa Nabki said:

Ammo Norman,

The framework that Brzezinski lays out in your comment (#73) would certainly have many supporters in Israel and among the pro-U.S. Arabs, but I doubt if it would satisfy Hamas.

When Jimmy Carter came to Beirut a month ago, he discussed a framework very similar to the one that Brzezinski mentioned.

Nor is it very different from the Arab Peace Plan.

What is needed is some pressure by the U.S. because the Israelis will not go for it without some pushing.

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January 1st, 2009, 4:31 am

 

89. offended said:

I am sorry Majid, your last comment doesn’t make any sense.

Trustquest, who has the moral high ground within the Arab league? what kind of a question is that? the arab league is a collective organization and it fails collectively, period.

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January 1st, 2009, 6:37 am

 

90. majid said:

OK OFFENDED, I may have overlooked some of your other points in your comment 81. I’ll try to redress. But first, are you saying in comment 87 that Arabs have to avoid Western Media because in your opinion it is biased towards the Arabs while you have succeeded in cleansing yourself of its own biases and prejudices?

Now to your other points.

You say there is no war in comment 81. You are wrong the war is going on for at least 4 days now. Israelis are bombing from the air and preparing for ground invasion. Hamas is lobbing rockets in the other direction and refusing to suspend firing.

Disproportionate war. You may have reason on this one. Any loss of life is unacceptable of course. However, independent reporters who work for the UN estimate that less than 60 casualties in Gaza were civilian casualties and that is clearly regrettable and unacceptable. The rest of the casualties were military. It looks like one side is prepared for the war better than the other. Please see this link:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3645135,00.html
If you like you may dismiss it as Western propaganda. Granted.

There were calls and attempts by various parties, particularly Egypt, before Dec 27 appealing to Hamas to continue its truce and refrain from firing rockets when the truce ends. Hamas refused and fired over 200 rockets soon after the truce ended. You may argue and say Hamas fired or did not fire or some other group fired in order to create a pretext for Israel to attack. But it is all the same. Hamas as the de facto power in Gaza is still accountable. Besides few rocket launchers were confiscated by the LAF on the Lebanese/Israeli borders just few days prior to Dec 27. It clearly indicates that there was coordination with other groups aiming to create a regional war.

The siege. Yes the siege has to be lifted. But do you have means to lift it in the current state of belligerence? Shouldn’t the situation be restored to at least prior to Dec 27 before you can start discussing such request? In addition humanitarian supplies including food and medicicne continue to flow to Gaza from various crossings including from the Egyptian side.

I have another observation which concerns your view of the Arab League. Even though you are right that it is a collective organization, but it will not necessarily fail collectively. An example from history is when Egypt was ostracized, the League continued to function. Later on the Arabs had to go back to Egypt and make amends. So if the league can function without Egypt (the largest member) for 7 or 8 years it can still function if one or two States decide to boycott in the present circumstances.

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January 1st, 2009, 7:42 am

 

91. Peter H said:

However, independent reporters who work for the UN estimate that less than 60 casualties in Gaza were civilian casualties and that is clearly regrettable and unacceptable. The rest of the casualties were military.

Not exactly. What independent observers like the UN have said is that at least 60 of the casualties were civilian. They’ve compiled that figure by looking at woman and children casualties. It doesn’t include male casualties, simply because observers can’t make the determination which of the adult males killed were civilians and which were Hamas figures at this point. Also, “civilians” doesn’t include members of the Gaza police force which were bombed by Israel.

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January 1st, 2009, 8:18 am

 

92. jad said:

OTW, Offended, Norman, Alex,
I sincerely wish every one of you my friends a very happy new year full of good health and success.
I also wish my Syria a year of development and progress on all and every level.

Offended, obviously you need to work harder on your many problems you have, it’s a sham that ‘The battle is inside you OFFENDED!!!’ keep trying… ;)

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January 1st, 2009, 8:25 am

 

93. majid said:

Thanks for the correction Peter H.
My figure came from an earlier report which may have not been as detailed as in your link.

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January 1st, 2009, 9:19 am

 

94. offended said:

Majid, okay, the truce has to be restored and calm has to be brought back, who could disagree?

But again I reiterate, it’s not a ‘rockets versus airstrike’ equation. For the calm to be restored, the blockade must be lifted. Otherwise how could you tell a population that are under siege that they shouldn’t try everything within their means to lift that siege?

The difference between you and me is that while I hope that calm be achieved through lifting the blockade and giving Palestinians of Gaza a chance at quiet and dignified life while the talks of reconciliation and hopefully later talks of peace take place, you on the other hand, probably secretly, wish for the Israeli ground assault to decimate Hamas and that Fatah takes over after Hamas is reduced to ashes and body bags.

However, if you’re not really wishing that for Hamas, then how else do you see the end game?

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January 1st, 2009, 10:11 am

 

95. offended said:

Jad, happy new year to you as well.

And happy new year to all of you SC contributors.

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January 1st, 2009, 10:16 am

 

96. qunfuz said:

Robert Fisk: The rotten state of Egypt is too powerless and corrupt to act

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-rotten-state-of-egypt-is-too-powerless-and-corrupt-to-act-1220048.html

Thursday, 1 January 2009

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt a country where ‘the idea of service has simply ceased to exist’

There was a day when we worried about the “Arab masses” – the millions of “ordinary” Arabs on the streets of Cairo, Kuwait, Amman, Beirut – and their reaction to the constant bloodbaths in the Middle East. Could Anwar Sadat restrain the anger of his people? And now – after three decades of Hosni Mubarak – can Mubarak (or “La Vache Qui Rit”, as he is still called in Cairo) restrain the anger of his people? The answer, of course, is that Egyptians and Kuwaitis and Jordanians will be allowed to shout in the streets of their capitals – but then they will be shut down, with the help of the tens of thousands of secret policemen and government militiamen who serve the princes and kings and elderly rulers of the Arab world.

Egyptians demand that Mubarak open the Rafah crossing-point into Gaza, break off diplomatic relations with Israel, even send weapons to Hamas. And there is a kind of perverse beauty in listening to the response of the Egyptian government: why not complain about the three gates which the Israelis refuse to open? And anyway, the Rafah crossing-point is politically controlled by the four powers that produced the “road map” for peace, including Britain and the US. Why blame Mubarak?

To admit that Egypt can’t even open its sovereign border without permission from Washington tells you all you need to know about the powerlessness of the satraps that run the Middle East for us.

Open the Rafah gate – or break off relations with Israel – and Egypt’s economic foundations crumble. Any Arab leader who took that kind of step will find that the West’s economic and military support is withdrawn. Without subventions, Egypt is bankrupt. Of course, it works both ways. Individual Arab leaders are no longer going to make emotional gestures for anyone. When Sadat flew to Jerusalem – “I am tired of the dwarves,” he said of his fellow Arab leaders – he paid the price with his own blood at the Cairo reviewing-stand where one of his own soldiers called him a “Pharaoh” before shooting him dead.

The true disgrace of Egypt, however, is not in its response to the slaughter in Gaza. It is the corruption that has become embedded in an Egyptian society where the idea of service – health, education, genuine security for ordinary people – has simply ceased to exist. It’s a land where the first duty of the police is to protect the regime, where protesters are beaten up by the security police, where young women objecting to Mubarak’s endless regime – likely to be passed on caliph-like to his son Gamal, whatever we may be told – are sexually molested by plain-clothes agents, where prisoners in the Tora-Tora complex are forced to rape each other by their guards.

There has developed in Egypt a kind of religious facade in which the meaning of Islam has become effaced by its physical representation. Egyptian civil “servants” and government officials are often scrupulous in their religious observances – yet they tolerate and connive in rigged elections, violations of the law and prison torture. A young American doctor described to me recently how in a Cairo hospital busy doctors merely blocked doors with plastic chairs to prevent access to patients. In November, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm reported how doctors abandoned their patients to attend prayers during Ramadan.

And amid all this, Egyptians have to live amid daily slaughter by their own shabby infrastructure. Alaa al-Aswani wrote eloquently in the Cairo paper Al-Dastour that the regime’s “martyrs” outnumber all the dead of Egypt’s wars against Israel – victims of railway accidents, ferry sinkings, the collapse of city buildings, sickness, cancers and pesticide poisonings – all victims, as Aswani says, “of the corruption and abuse of power”. Opening the Rafah border-crossing for wounded Palestinians – the Palestinian medical staff being pushed back into their Gaza prison once the bloodied survivors of air raids have been dumped on Egyptian territory – is not going to change the midden in which Egyptians themselves live.

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah secretary general in Lebanon, felt able to call on Egyptians to “rise in their millions” to open the border with Gaza, but they will not do so. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the feeble Egyptian Foreign Minister, could only taunt the Hizbollah leaders by accusing them of trying to provoke “an anarchy similar to the one they created in their own country.”

But he is well-protected. So is President Mubarak.

Egypt’s malaise is in many ways as dark as that of the Palestinians. Its impotence in the face of Gaza’s suffering is a symbol of its own political sickness.

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January 1st, 2009, 11:49 am

 

97. norman said:

QN,

Hamas said that a solution that is accepted by the Palestinians in a referendum will be accepted by Hamas , Israel and Abbas did not reach any solution, because Israel wants to keep the west Bank,

Abbas should declare the talks a failure and resign and give a chance to somebody else.

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January 1st, 2009, 2:11 pm

 

98. Shai said:

Norman,

Israel and Abbas can no longer reach an agreement. We’ve turned him into our “puppet” by supplying him weapons, money, and protection. To now ask him to sit across from us at the negotiation table is ludicrous.

Hearing Mubarak say that the only way he’ll open the border at Rafah is if Fatah controls it, makes me think this whole thing is being coordinated between, at least, Israel, Egypt, and Fatah. I hope I’m wrong, but if I’m not, then Fatah may well be sealing a Civil War in the near future for the Palestinian people.

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January 1st, 2009, 3:25 pm

 

99. Shai said:

Netanyahu and Likud strongman in the Negev, Netivot city mayor Yehiel Zohar, says: (Translation. Hebrew version at bottom)

“That up until today we haven’t spoken with Hamas is a mistake,” declared Yehiel Zohar this week, city mayor of Netivot in the last 20 years, Likud center member and one of Netanyahu’s key supporters in the Negev. “It is also a shame that an agreement was not sought enough, because in the end, we will speak only with Hamas. With shelling, and without, Hamas is the only address.”

“זה שעד היום לא דיברנו עם החמאס זו טעות”, הצהיר השבוע יחיאל זוהר, ראש עיריית נתיבות ב-20 השנים האחרונות, חבר מרכז ליכוד ואחד מתומכיו החשובים של בנימין נתניהו בנגב. “חבל שגם לא שאפו מספיק להסכם, כי בסופו של דבר אנחנו נדבר רק עם החמאס. עם הפגזות ובלעדיהן, רק החמאס הוא הכתובת”

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January 1st, 2009, 3:38 pm

 

100. Akbar Palace said:

Saudis blame Hamas amid calls for talks with Fatah

(Ian Black, Middle East editor The Guardian, Thursday 1 January 2009 Article history)

Saudi Arabia yesterday blamed Hamas for Israel’s continuing offensive in the Gaza Strip and urged it to resolve bitter differences with the western-backed Palestinian Authority – even as divisions deepened with a new charge of treachery.

Arab League foreign ministers meeting in emergency session in Cairo warned it was not possible to help until the Islamist movement in control of Gaza returned to national unity talks with its rival Fatah.

A furious Hamas attacked the Arab League stance as “pathetic”. Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum also accused Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, of ordering members of Fatah in Gaza to gather intelligence on the whereabouts of Hamas leaders to pass to Israel – a grave charge that underscores the deep rift between the factions.

Discussions between Arab states were sharp too, amid bickering over calls for an emergency summit conference in Qatar tomorrow .

“Everyone is watching as the intensity of Arab-Arab disputes increase,” warned the league’s secretary general, Amr Moussa.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/01/saudi-arabia-hamas-gaza

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January 1st, 2009, 4:32 pm

 

101. Shai said:

Alex, here’s Ari Shavit for you… on Ha’aretz. Some fun reading for AIG and AP: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1051661.html

…”Israel-hating Israelis call Operation Cast Lead a war crime.” But when Ari Shavit wants to criticize the Israeli government for other actions, he’s not an Israel-hating Israeli. Then he’s an Israel-loving Israeli…

…”Israel-hating Israelis believe that Israeli lives can be forfeited.” Of course we do. We hate Israel so, naturally, we care less about Israeli lives…

…”Operation Cast Lead is an intelligent, impressive operation.” And no criminal act, as we know, can be carried out by “intelligent” people, can it?…

…”This is the time for Israel to finally behave as a mature nation protecting itself with wisdom and restraint.” Wisdom + Restraint = 400 dead + 2000 injured. It’s elementary, isn’t it?…

Today, by encouraging a 3rd Intifada, Ari Shavit is certainly deserving of an “Israel-loving Israeli” award. A fine example for all Israelis to follow. Right AIG, AP?

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January 1st, 2009, 4:52 pm

 

102. Akbar Palace said:

Shai,

I discount Ari Shavit’s article instantly and not worth my time. Why?

Because there is no such thing as an “Israel-hating Israeli”.

If you know one, please let us know.

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January 1st, 2009, 5:25 pm

 

103. Off the Wall said:

Dear Rumyal and Shai

In my previous post, whet I mentioned “peace loving Israel” i was trying to be sarcastic about Israel’s claims of being a peaceful country. I did not mean either one of you, nor did I mean the Israeli peace movement, which I consider to be a better and more natural ally of Palestinians than many Arab parties and political movements.

We have formed a bond, and it is not broken, I assure you. I have not turned the page on my commitment to non-violence and Dialogue, nor do I now accept any innocents being killed on either side. My anger was and still is because of the lives lost. We have all invested time, countless hours at that, trying to imagine our region without the continuing murders on both sides. I still believe my own words of few months back in which I asserted that we can not allow Israel and Hamas to hold the future of our region and our children hostage. I stand firm on that and I assure you that will not change. What changes however is my recognition that Israel will not become peaceful on its own. In its current, fundamentally flawed aggressive behavior, and as the region’s bully, Israel can not be convinced to adopt peaceful existence with Palestinians while at the same time respecting their humanity and their rights and the fact that their lands is sacrosanct and can not be stolen and their lives are worth as much as the lives of Israelis, they are both priceless. However, the Israeli public is complicit in the crimes of the Israeli Defense Forces for it supplies the rational for these forces to do just what they are doing. In fact, simply arguing that it is possible that the current onslaught and murder is an electoral campaign ploy speaks volumes of the callousness of a sizable majority within the Israeli society, which seems to affect the election of Israel’s leaders based on the number of Palestinians they kill, and to fire them, or kill them, the moment they show a shred of possible recognition of the rights of Palestinians. The current claims being circulated by the band of thugs in the Israeli government and diplomatic corps that Israel is not against the Palestinians were blown to shards with the first bomb. They are identical to the claims of some Muslim fundamentalists who claim that they are not against the Jews, but will cheer the bombing of a settlement or a synagogue. But as Azmi Bishara said earlier today, “there is no occupation that is not against the entire people”, be it the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, which is against all Palestinians, or the US occupation of Iraq, which is against all Iraqis, or any other occupation. Occupation is against the people. It is the ultimate violence, and no real dialogue can continue about Israel’s future in the region or even her possible future in Europe before the occupation of both Gaza and the west bank is completely reversed, unconditionally, no settlements, and no wall. All that must end. Any thing less than that would be valuing one life or worst, valuing one lifestyle as more valuable than another’s life itself. I have no other name for this but blunt racism. Today, by failing to act in the UNSC, Europe and the US seems to be getting over their long-held anti-Semitism by exchanging it with anti-Arabism or anti-Islamism. It is like a two packs/day smoker quitting smoking cigarettes by taking on alcoholism.
As an advocate of non-violence, I continue to advocate and cherish dialogue with Israelis. Do is see bright points in Israel and in the Israeli society, you bet I do, otherwise, I would not have written this. Would I continue to admire both of you, of course, you are my friends. It is in my interest to help you alleviate the irrational fears within your own society, and I will continue to do so. It is in everyone’s interest that your voices become the prominent voices not only in Israel, but in the whole region and at global scale. It is also in my interest to confront the voices of hate within my own society. I must say that our job is being made a lot harder with every child killed in Gaza and with every civilian wounded or killed in Israel.

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January 1st, 2009, 5:35 pm

 

104. offended said:

From As’ad Abu khalil blog:

On Hate. I was thinking about us Arabs who are watching a savage Israeli war on Lebanon on live TV. I have been thinking about hate. Just yesterday, I read a column by the confidante of Rafiq Hariri (that corrupt politician who put the foundations of the construction not of Lebanon but of the Israeli/American/Saudi conspiracy in Lebanon), Faysal Salman, writing in As-Safir. And the column was a very vicious anti-Jewish babble. I really think that we should avoid the pressures to succumb to hate. I always cite Richard Nixon when he gave that rambling address at the White House before leaving after his resignation. He said, I am paraphrasing: Your enemies don’t win, until you hate them. And when you do, you destroy yourself. Hate is not a constructive energy, not politically and certainly not personally. I am not here preaching a message of Christian or hippie “love.” Political anger is justified but that has to be articulated in a rational and humane manner. We can’t, or shouldn’t, allow Israel and its crimes to make us worse as human beings, especially when we criticize the Zionist project on humanitarian grounds. Go back to sleep.

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2006/08/on-hate.html

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January 1st, 2009, 7:06 pm

 

105. majid said:

OFFENDED,
The end game is for the Palestinians to sit down together and agree on a unity government. It looks like you cannot convince Hamas to stop firing rockets. Because, that is the only legitimacy it has left now. Right? That’s according to your logic and please do not mention your caring sensitive attitude towards innocent deaths from now on, because your priorities are now the political survival of Hamas. Likewise, I’m not sure Israel will now even accept a state where conditions before Dec 27 are restored. I don’t think Israel needs to actually invade Gaza. Israel has more or less achieved its planned goals of taking out Hamas rocket launchers – or most of them. It can maintain the status quo indefinitely and at the same time demands a demilitarized Gaza from the UN to lift the blockade with whichever ‘authority’ is in place. It may even ask Egypt to take active role on its side of the border by seeking and destroying smuggling tunnels. That would actually work to everyone (responsible that is) advantage – no smuggling of goods through Egypt which may include weapons, and Egypt would be in control of an open strictly civilian goods crossing. But I hope they don’t allow sugar to cross because it is used as rocket fuel instead of a sweetener.
You do not need to accuse me of a secret wish for Israel to go in and decimate Hamas. I have made it clear in many comments that I’m opposed to Hamas and other similar organizations. As I mentioned above, Israel may find it unnecessary to commit troops into Gaza. But if that happens, I will not shed a tear over Hamas just like many who didn’t shed a tear over Hama in the eighties.
Whoever planned this escalation from the Syrian/Iranian camp (and it has more Iranian involvement than Syrian for obvious reasons) had the specific goal of derailing the Syrian/Israeli peace talks and that has been obviously achieved to Iranian advantage. Whoever in Hamas took the bait made a fatal miscalculation with regards to Hamas future as an organization and the well being of the Gazans. Gaza is not Lebanon. The only similarity is geography. Geography works in Syria’s advantage in Lebanon’s case but it works in Israel’s advantage in Gaza’s case. Therefore, Gaza is the opposite mirror image of Lebanon. If you consider the geopolitical consequences of a Hamas ruled Gaza you would understand that it was a gamble that shouldn’t have been undertaken by the Iranian allies within Hamas. I’m sure when the dust settles, the Gazans will wake up to yet another broken promise of the ‘divinely promised’ infallible Hassan and his mullah masters of Iran.

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January 1st, 2009, 7:21 pm

 

106. Shai said:

OTW,

Though I’m quite a secular person, my first thoughts as I read your words were “God Bless You!”. You don’t know how much it means to me, as “representative” here of a nation that is, as I type these very words, committing the most horrible crimes against a helpless people, to hear you still willing to engage us in discussion. As up until now, but especially today, I hold the highest respect and admiration for you, for your courage, and for your strength and determination to continue helping us along our common quest.

You said: “What changes however is my recognition that Israel will not become peaceful on its own.” And I too am beginning to accept this fact. It seems Israelis have not, and perhaps choose, not to determine what they want. We (sometimes) speak peace, but (almost always) act with war. We continue to occupy, suffocate, punish, and control the lives of millions, yet pretend not to understand why they would choose to resist us. We engage in continuous self-deception, on the national and person levels, pretending to ourselves and others that we are the victims, and those under our control are the perpetrators. We commit crimes, pretending they’re mere reactions in self-defense. And, worst of all, we are succeeding in convincing the world that we’re right.

I have great difficulties looking myself in the mirror these past few days (I haven’t even shaved this entire week…) I feel shame in myself, and for my entire nation. If we were some primitive people, an underdeveloped nation somewhere, who’ve never enjoyed freedom and democracy, never had access to information, never interacted with the world, maybe I could “understand” why we do not see reality for what it is. Why we cannot self-introspect. But we’re not. We are a developed nation, relatively-wealthy, rich in talent, full of capable people that have achieved much in the past 60 years. We hold the second-highest record of patents registered in the U.S. each year, far more than anyone within 2,000 mile radius of us. We are, supposedly, a “smart” people. But are we?

Why is it that we can find a cure for a terrible disease in our Research Institutions, but cannot find a cure to our mistreatment of human beings right next to us? Why is it that we can achieve, in merely a few decades, growth and lifestyle comparable to almost any in the West, but we cannot see the destruction and poverty we are causing a society under our rule?

You are right, OTW, it does look like someone else will have to make us see these things. We have the most sophisticated communications systems in the world, satellites, high-tech firms, internet startups, etc. But we’ve run out of mirrors… Or, maybe it’s something we were never interested in purchasing in the first place.

But do know, OTW, that there are many of us who haven’t given up. We’re still here, and we WILL continue to fight from within. We will not let our own shame destroy our hopes and dreams. And we will continue to seek a different Israel, one that we once had, that was based on other principles. And, as long as our democracy allows us, we will not cease from voicing our opinions, and from doing what we can, to change. And yes, your support, and your dialogue, help us.

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January 1st, 2009, 7:26 pm

 

107. EHSANI2 said:

The recent events in Gaza must serve as a reality check on the state of affairs in the region. While the discussion of possible peace has taken center stage recently, I have personally been far more skeptical.

Israel is too powerful to concede an inch.

Hamas is too weak to concede an inch. They have nothing to lose. They are already too poor and too hopeless to worry about further losses and concessions. When you are already pushed so far over the edge, you stop worrying about even death.

Syria’s leadership has little room for error. One mistake and it is all over. It is fully aware that it is surrounded by enemies that are waiting for a slip up that would ensure its quick and bloody demise. Conceding an inch is simply out of question. The status quo has worked for nearly forty years. Why change?

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are too dependent on the U.S. for economic and political survival. In return, they are rewarded the title of “moderates and allies”.

The United States will never be an impartial participant in this conflict. The Presidency of Mr. Obama is unlikely to bring any fundamental changes to the way the country deals in the region. Israel will continue to receive all the support it needs to ensure that it offers as little concessions as possible.

In the meantime, the demographics in the region are frightening. Syria’s population doubles every 30 years. When 200,000 jobs need to be created a year today to absorb the growing labor force, think of what is come by 2030. This scenario is likely to play out in country after country in the region. Yemen, for example, will be home close to 100 million people over the next forty years based on current demographic trends.

Such demographic trends need an urgent response. Regrettably, there is none coming. Standards of living are most likely going to fall sharply with time. Economic growth needs to be at least double in every country in the region. In reality, We will be lucky if we can maintain the current trends. There is just too much corruption, nepotism, state control, absence of property rights and a lack of a functioning judicial system to allow for faster economic growth.

While feels the need to paint a more optimistic picture at the start of this new year, the reality is that the region faces enormous challenges going forward. Rather than peace and prosperity, I predict further ethnic and religious tensions coupled with falling standards of living and economic stagnation in a sea of dictatorships.

Participants of this forum will of course be spared. We can at least opine, argue, dream and participate in cyberspace from the comforts of our computer desks.

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January 1st, 2009, 7:52 pm

 

108. Shai said:

A march in protest of the attack on Gaza is planned to take place in Tel-Aviv this coming Saturday evening. The police gave its permission to hold the march, but with the condition that Palestinian flags will not be waved. An appeal has been brought to the Supreme Court, demanding to allow Palestinian flags at the march. I imagine the court will overrule the demand made by the police. At least a few thousand people are expected at the march. Most importantly, though, is to get good media coverage.

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January 1st, 2009, 9:44 pm

 

109. Off the Wall said:

Shai
Thank you for the nice words and more importantly for holding the fort. You know I have been enlisted in the fight for peace long time ago.
Ehsani
As usual, you hit it spot on. A few minutes ago, a tweeter response to rick Sanchez (CNN) made the comment that people in the ME should make love not war, my answer was, quite cynical, they are making too much of both.
The anticipated population explosion in Syria is mild compared to the expected disasters in Yemen, and more specifically in several sub-Saharan Africa. Bangladesh and Afghanistan are also on the way to disaster along with Pakistan and Egypt, especially as the fertile narrow band around the Nile yields its agricultural fields not to improved productivity but to urban sprawl as small villages become even bigger, unplanned, and un sustainable towns and cities.
I like to look at populations not based on countries but based on the more natural unit of river basin or eco-hydrological region. The picture is not encouraging at all.

Finally,
Most of our anger on this forum is probably directed at our own feeling if hopelessness. A few weeks back I participated in the orgnization of a conference here in the US, a brave and incredibly competent and brilliant colleague from Jordan stood in front of many scientists from more tham 50 countries and stated very elequontly, and rather emotionally, that in most developing countries, environmental and development problems incdluing those associated with water scarcity (both quality and quantity) are not ONLY due to lack of resources, but equally to mismanagement and bad governance. He was right and we all knew it.

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January 1st, 2009, 10:01 pm

 

110. EHSANI2 said:

“Most important is to get Media coverage?”

This is the best that those hopeless and powerless people have been reduced to and we are supposed to rejoice when they get “media coverage”. If you ask me, it is not the shortage of media coverage that is in short supply. Instead, it is the abundance of impotence in the Arab world that mostly to blame.

OTW,

I am also interested in demographics. I have built a spreadsheet that calculates the population numbers of all Arab countries over the next 30 years using UN fertility rates data.

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January 1st, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

111. Shai said:

Ehsani,

The media coverage I was talking about was aimed at Israelis, not the world. When Israelis will finally see and hear another voice, not only those “proud” Israeli ones that rejoice while our jets are bombarding the Palestinians, then maybe they’ll start to think and act differently.

Btw, I fully agree with your analysis above. But if (by some miracle of God) there was peace in the region, many things could change for the better, and perhaps quite rapidly. Nations working together, and systems rewarded for undergoing major reforms, could quite possibly stop and even reverse some of those dangerous trends.

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January 1st, 2009, 10:14 pm

 

112. majid said:

EHSANI2 laments “If you ask me, it is the shortage of media coverage that is in short supply. Instead, it is the abundance of impotence in the Arab world that mostly to blame.”
I have also started my own lamentation of the impotence of ‘mighty’ mullah ruled Iran which possesses the ‘divine’ know how, power and promise which has so far failed to come to the aid of those it misled. I forgot. It is not time yet. It is just a diversionary tactic until the bomb becomes ready.
I will not say anything about Syria for the time being because I assume it is already included in your impotent Arab world.

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January 1st, 2009, 10:17 pm

 

113. EHSANI2 said:

Majid,

Of course she is included in my list. The whole Moslem and Arab world is impotent.

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January 1st, 2009, 10:22 pm

 

114. offended said:

Majid:

Reading your comment one would wonder whether this is your personal view of the matter or simply an analysis, because those two are mixed up quite vaguely within the flow of your logic.

I was trying to understand your own view of the matter, newspapers and websites are abundant with analysis. what’s important is whether we, Arabs, have a collective vision to counter this crisis or not. And who said the political survival of Hamas is my priority? My support is for the Palestinian people whether they want Fatah or Hamas in power. Obviously it’s Hamas for now because that was what the free elections showed. I am not in a position to tell the Palestinians under occupation what they should do. I support them no matter what. While at the other hand, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are biased and would offer only a conditional love. Why should the Palestinians allow you to middle in their business?

And then again you said that you’d like to see talks of reconciliation, but how is that going to happen under the airstrikes? You have not even proposed one thought on how the blockade should otherwise end. Can you offer something more productive than the rockets? Gaza was in intensive care and would have been for the foreseeable future if it wasn’t for the recent events which merely quickened its illness. and again, you fall into the trap of believing that Hamas is the side that ignited the escalation, while it’s obvious for any neutral observer that a two and a half year old blockade would infuriate and provoke even the most sane person on earth.

Sounds like the accolade of ‘moderate arab’ is too sweet for you to forfeit by simply stating an honest and genuine opinion!

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January 1st, 2009, 10:46 pm

 

115. majid said:

On SM blog, some people are saying the cause of this impotence has become known. They think it is the smuggling tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. All the Viagra has been smuggled to Gaza through the tunnels!

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January 1st, 2009, 10:48 pm

 

116. trustquest said:

Ihsani, I like what you said, thanks for being rational again because I have no idea what happened to you in 2008.

Away from the country gives you the advantage to think outside the box that box which the whole middle east is bottled in and which their leaders avoiding mentioning any of those terrible things coming to them. You mentioned the demographic; I looked into the natural recourses and found it dwindling in a rate the area did not experience in its history. The water resources for example in Barada basin which provide for living for the Syrian’s capital people and agriculture, went down 25% from its level 5 years ago, while the population double every 30 years. They are pumping from the deep aquifer which needs thousands of years to replace.
The leaders have no fear and don’t care about what is coming because they have grabbed for themselves huge chunk of cash. Their mere ominous existence there is to shut up the people mouths and brains and take over people thinking and decisions.
I was listening today to Hamas’s leader; in his speech he mentioned a lot verses from holly book, cared too much about second live, going to “Janna” heaven and did not care much about human lives. He insisted on saving the land and human beings wellbeing comes later, and there is no need to tell when. It made me wonder if you put all the aforementioned together, isn’t the solution as nature usually demands. Humans sometimes must extinct because Mother Nature can not provide for all. The surprising thing here is that nature choice has been implemented by the leaders of that place.
I tried to think outside the box for a minute and I thought to myself, suppose Hamas raised the white flag and surrendered and asked the Israelis to take control to run the county and be in charge of administering the country, bring their personals, their monies, run everything and provide for the people health, food, work and the rest, doesn’t that would wipe the Israelis hegemony and it is existence as apartheid state and creating the one state solution at once? I’m just thinking outside the box!
And you would think Israelis are smart, they think that they are outside the box! Amazing!

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January 1st, 2009, 10:55 pm

 

117. Off the Wall said:

Ehsani
This is a commendable task. I am now working on a gridded population data set using UN gridded population (4×4 km grids) of 2000, and extrapolating the country based UN projection on to a grid (not taking into account individual cities, which are assumed to be considered in the original grid. This is then to be re-aggregated at river basin scale to determine supply and storage need in contrast with existing storage, which is already reduced significantly due to siltation problems.
So far, previous studies and my own on-going work (which has been keeping me busy) confirm that given the worst climate change projections (in term of variability of rainfall) over the next 30-50 years, the impact of demographic on per -capita availability of fresh water is by far the most dramatic. Green water may end up being the next global trade issue. But even with revolutionary improvement in food production in developed (normally wet) countries, there is likely to be much less green water available for trade as china becomes competitive buyer in green water markets. Another issue that will be needed, is to rethink the confluence of energy and water. Nuclear energy will eventually re-gain respectability, and water storage must be increased, through a combination of large mid-size and small dams along with ground water recharge using surplus surface water. The real opportunity would be in the development of micorscale water treatment facilities for reclamation of sewage water.
A very interesting development occurred recently in one of our National labs (I think it was the Los Alamos National Lab). The scientists have managed to build a self contained bus-size nuclear power plant that will be capable of providing electricity to more than 20,000 mid-size US homes, which is quite a lot. The real interesting thing about that power plant is the fact that it is a one peace that can be buried in the ground and its fuel can not be extracted or re-processed. The whole fuel unit is a single peace (Cartridge), which would provide for major development in energy supplies without risk of proliferation. According to the piece I read, these power-plants could be available for marketing within the next decade.
One obstacle we must resolve in the Arab and Muslim world (which is disproportionally arid/semi-arid) is our reluctance to re-use reclaimed water. I do not want to divulge names here, but some Arab colleagues of mine are doing pioneering work in the Arab world, and they are facing constant problems because of the stigma of reclaimed sewage water. I live in a town that is the best in the world in water reclamation, we waste nearly nothing. And such projects are cheaper and more effective than desalination in providing water for most domestic uses including cooking. In fact, the reclaimed water is indistinguishable from the original water and can be most effectively used in recharging ground water aquifers where it can undergo further filtration.
I understand that you are in venture capital, and I hope that venture capitalist pay close attention to what is happening in sewage water treatment technologies, especially on issues of macro and microscale facilities that could be built for small communities and managed collectively by these communities. The governments in most developing countries in Africa and the ME are ignoring the future of their people, and we can not rely on them to improve the situation. The world bank, and I know for sure, is really interested in doing the right thing, but as one of the most respected policy giant colleague of mine once said, the WB knows well how to spend a billion dollar on one large project but not how to spend a 100 million dollars on 100 smaller but very effective projects. You guys must fill in the gap. I believe it would be both profitable and responsible.

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January 1st, 2009, 11:33 pm

 

118. Akbar Palace said:

Offended said:

My support is for the Palestinian people whether they want Fatah or Hamas in power.

My support is for the Iraqi people whether they want Saddam Hussein or Muqtada al-Sadr.

My support is for the Syrian people whether they want Hafiz al-Assad or Bashar al-Assad.

My support is for the American people whether they want David Duke, Joe McCarthy or Barack Obama.

My support is for the Israeli people whether they want Kach or Yizhak Rabin.

My support is for the Iranian people whether they want Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ayatollah Khomeini.

My support is for the German people whether they want Adolph Hiter or Angela Merkel.

etc, etc.

My support is unconditional. I will not criticize any people for the leaders they put in power or for the actions their leaders are responsible for.

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January 1st, 2009, 11:58 pm

 

119. Shual said:

“Israel-hating Israelis”
We had the same list in March/April/May 2003, in the middle of the Israeli rigth swing. Nothing new.

But I am surprised about a wave of incomprehension that sweeps trough the net out of the “new generation” of jewish blogs, especially out of America. Very simple: To be against the Bush-Admins wars over 5 years and now in favor of the Gaza-War? That does not work. The mass is astounding. But they are not organized, thats sad.

On the other hand, you can detect a very well organized mass of claqueurs, especially in info-hub-states like Germany. Years of disinformation about Arabs, Islam, Palestinians, Gaza did a “very good” job. You can see a boost of 500% in comparison to the months of the Lebanon-war. [Btw. the same with far-rigth neo-Nazi hate crimes in the net.] The effect is -still- only “disturbing a dialogue” with endless clone-posts “Hamas – Terror – Charter – annihilation of Israel” an you can not see a political concept in them. [Hate is no political concept and a brainwashed mass without leadership is not polical movement. But we seem 2 or 3 years away from that.] = Its really dirty in the net today.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:37 am

 

120. Alex said:

Sorry for being away, Ehsani knows I was not partying, I was arguing about the same thing with few people, elsewhere.

OTW,

I still insist that what Rumyal suggested and I supported works.

It is very difficult for normal human beings, like those living in Gaza, to come up with the wisdom that will enable them to decide to walk to Israel’s border with flowers (and video cameras). I agree. If I were in Gaza today, anger will be my dominant feeling.

But I was talking about normal (relatively normal) times… for example in the West Bank Palestinians today can “do something” to support Gaza … I’m not talking “theatrics” of 2000 participant … they have to do a few with 500,000 protesters.

Why can’t they try? … why don’t the Egyptians try the same?

I am very confident that an escalating campaign will have a serious effect. 50,000 .. then 100,000 .. then 200,000 … until 500,000 show up …daily …

And if Israel decides to shoot at them … well, then Israel will be in trouble … even FOX will have a problem reporting on the shooting in a way that protects Israel.

One last thing … I totally disagree with those of you who are feeling helpless. If you are feeling helpless then you don’t have patience and you don’t know how to read trends.

You are reading only the negative, visible ones.

The sad thing is that, as I wrote before, 70% of Israelis are feeling too powerful to give the dirty Arabs what they are asking for. That’s human nature perhaps .. power corrupts one’s had and one’s values.

The good news is that one day they will realize that their F16’s power can not solve many problems anymore.

No matter how long it takes, it WILL happen.

Syria is not doing much that you can show on TV, on TV you show muscles .. you can not show brains.

It would have been more “satisfying” if Syria had the necessary muscles so that you would feel satisfied … but Israel’s friend, the United States made sure the past 33 years that almost no one sell Syria weapons.

So we learned how to use our brains…

We won’t win every battle … some of those need more muscles than brains. But we are doing very well in the long tun.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:39 am

 

121. SimoHurtta said:

My support is unconditional. I will not criticize any people for the leaders they put in power or for the actions their leaders are responsible for.

Akbar that is very wise for an Jew in USA. Otherwise you would have the same faith as Finkelstein, Falk etc. You would not be allowed to enter “the promised Reich”. It is also clever because you would have some moral dilemmas in criticising Saddam for slaughtering Kurds and Shias for rebelling when your leaders do the same in front of our eyes.

By the way Akbar you forgot from your list Stalin. Why, do you have same symphony in that direction? Did you know that 12 of the 20 People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs’ (NKVD) directorates were lead in the 30’s by a Jew. I hope Akbar you do not take this as an anti-Semitic remark. We can’t change history.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:48 am

 

122. majid said:

OFFENDED, (Reply to your 113)
My reply # 104 is my PERSONAL view even if you may find it coinciding with the view of some Arab States or even Israel.
When Hamas legitimacy is reduced to firing useless rockets, it is time to replace Hamas with another authority. When the people under Hamas continue to support its maddness, it is time to take away from this people their undesreved right of self determination and so-called dysfunctional Democracy. Before pontificating about your Democratic concerns, go and apply it on your own people in Syria. Occupation sometimes is legitimate when people are irresponsible and gamble it away.
Geopolitical considerations far outweigh such rights when it comes to regional and international peace. Hamas took over government by force and there is no reason why it should not be forced to give up authority.
Egypt is not a bannana republic that Hassan and Iran should monkey around with. Neither is Saudi Arabia. If Hamas becomes a threat to its neighbors, these neighbors have the legitimate right to destroy the threat.
Is this blunt enough?
My view on how a ceasfire should come about: Hamas declares it will no longer fire rockets into Israel and agrees to be disarmed. Israel declares a halt of military operations for a one week period. Demilitarization of Gaza then begins under International supervision and with full Hamas cooperation. Palestinian authority resumes its function and takes responsibility along with International observers of the functions of the crossings on the Gazzan side. Israel will then lift its blockade of Gaza from land, sea and air and permanent ceasefire is declared.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:48 am

 

123. Shual said:

“Most importantly, though, is to get good media coverage.”

Shai,
post all information about the protests here. I will collect them and I will try to write an article with the infos for the german market [via WDR-journalists]. I will ask another Israeli of the “scene” of peace and human rigths activists to help me. I would like to give that a chance. Maybe we can find a positive echo. [The most writers in the media here can only “hide” acts of opposition in large texts about the situation. $$$ = Nobody pays them for special reports of that.]

PS: Names! Names, names, names. We have no crowd of 200 000 at a mass rally. We can only read of “50” activists here and “1800” there… I think its time to produce an overview. If I look into the german [mass-]press, the only organisation that can publish infos sometimes is B’Tselem. I think we HAVE an opposition of some xxx 000 in total, but they have no voice.

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January 2nd, 2009, 1:02 am

 

124. EHSANI2 said:

Off the Wall,

Fascinating work on green water and the issue of re-using reclaimed water, thank you.

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:03 am

 

125. majid said:

Anyone who wants to help the Gazans (and not Hamas) may be able to make monetary contributions to ease their sufferings through UNRWA at the link:
http://www.un.org/unrwa/
You’ll find all the necessary banking information.

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:16 am

 

126. norman said:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0901/S00016.htm

An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal
Friday, 2 January 2009, 3:52 pm
Press Release: Francis A. Boyle

An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal (ICTI) May be the Only Deterrent to a Global War

by Francis A. Boyle

The United Nations General Assembly must immediately establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) as a “subsidiary organ” under U.N. Charter Article 22. The ICTI would be organized along the lines of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was established by the Security Council.

The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and prosecute Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Peoples of Lebanon and Palestine–just as the ICTY did for the victims of international crimes committed by Serbia and the Milosevic Regime throughout the Balkans.

The establishment of ICTI would provide some small degree of justice to the victims of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Peoples of Lebanon and Palestine–just as the ICTY has done in the Balkans. Furthermore, the establishment of ICTI by the U.N. General Assembly would serve as a deterrent effect upon Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, Defense Minister Barak , Chief of Staff Ashkenazi and Israel’s other top generals that they will be prosecuted for their further infliction of international crimes upon the Lebanese and the Palestinians.

Without such a deterrent, Israel might be emboldened to attack Syria with the full support of the Likhudnik Bush Jr. Neoconservatives, who have always viewed Syria as “low-hanging fruit” ready to be taken out by means of their joint aggression. If Israel attacks Syria as it did when it invaded Lebanon in 1982, Iran has vowed to come to Syria’s defense.

And of course Israel and the Bush Jr administration very much want a pretext to attack Iran. This scenario could readily degenerate into World War III

For the U.N. General Assembly to establish ICTI could stop the further development of this momentum towards a regional if not global catastrophe.

ENDS

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:41 am

 

127. majedkhaldoun said:

Israel wants to dominate the Arab world, Israel does not want to live in peace with its neighbors, there is a risk for doing this.

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January 2nd, 2009, 4:34 am

 

128. Alex said:

I found this comment in the SPAM filter but I can’t seem to be able to release it properly, so I copied it.

Murphy said:

Alex, I can’t believe how naive you are being.

“Why can’t the Palestinians try that? …”

But Alex they have!!!!! Many, many times, both in the West Bank and in Gaza. There have been countless demonstrations against the wall and the blockade, among other things. They have achieved nothing.

“that army did not fire a bullet at them .. a few months later the army was out.”

Public opinion means that the Syrian army would find it difficult to fire into a crowd of unarmed fellow Arabs. The Israeli army operates under no such restraints, as it has shown time and again.

“The first intifada (with rocks, no arms) was close … and it was useful for them”

Two points: one, it is true the first intifadah started out as a non-violent protest, but Israel – as you surely must know – responded with extreme violence. You don’t remember ‘peacenik’ Rabin and his ‘break their bones’ command? Secondly, what exactly did the first intifada achieve?

Dont’ get me wrong – I often despair at the lack of imagination and intelligence of successive Palestinian ‘leaderships’. But to act as though non-violent protest had not been tried, and that it would somehow impress Israel is, as I’ve said, shockingly naive.

majid,

“to draw their country into something they know full well is against their interests”

Sorry, way too late for that. In colluding with Israel’s strike on Gaza (just the latest and most dramatic example of Egypts’ decades long collusion with Israel) Egypt lost the right to complain about being ‘drawn into’ the mess that they have done much to create.

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January 2nd, 2009, 6:31 am

 

129. Rumyal said:

OTW,

A good friend of mine from Israel is also an earth scientist and so is his wife, here in the US, maybe you ran into them… They have done some research on waste water treatment also agriculture in arid areas, among other things. I wonder if/when the sectarian politicians, racist ideologues and the clerics will give us some rest and let us save the region from the results of criminal neglect and lack of planning.

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January 2nd, 2009, 6:40 am

 

130. Alex said:

Dear Murphy,

Gandhi liberated India with similar measures.

The Palestinians NEVER demonstrated in large enough numbers and consistently. They need to demonstrate like they did in Lebanon and they need to do it everyday…

http://www.sfgd.org/pub/images/lebanonProtests8.jpg

http://360east.com/blogfileupload/lebanon-demo.jpg

half a million … why can’t they try that FEW TIMES?

shut down the west bank …

If you want a non naive plan, Gandhi can help you:

http://www.gandhiinstitute.net/home.html

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January 2nd, 2009, 6:43 am

 

131. Alex said:

Respected Egyptian Journalist Ibrahim Issa, editor of Al-Dustoor

http://dostor.org/ar/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11275&Itemid=1

“either we act like a large country, acting according to our obligations, or we accept turning into a smaller country with limited resources and limited energy and motivation.”

Which is what I have been saying about Egypt for years now …

إبراهيم عيسى يكتب : خيار الجاهلية

إما أن نكون دولة كبيرة نتصرف بما يمليه علينا المكان والمكانة، الجغرافيا والتاريخ، وإما أن نصغر ونتعامل باعتبارنا دولة محدودة الإمكانات وفارغة الهمة وملهاش دعوة!!

سهلة قوي تقول لي ياسلام نعمل فيها دولة كبيرة ونفتح صدرنا وبعدين ناخد علي دماغنا، كفاية ما ضحت به مصر من أجل العرب وفلسطين، فالعرب يريدون الحرب حتي آخر جندي مصري!

طبعا أنت معذور في تكرار هذا الكلام الفارغ فأنت تسمعه منذ نعومة أظافرك ومن كثرة ما تردد أمامك تصورت أنه حقيقي والحاصل أنه:

1- مصر حاربت ضد إسرائيل منذ 1948وحتي 1973، أي خمسة وعشرون عامًا فقط بينما حالة اللاحرب ثم السلام مستمرة منذ 35عاما، فالمؤكد أننا لم نطلق رصاصة واحدة من أجل فلسطين أكثر من ثلث قرن، بل وعلي مدي أكثر من نصف عمر الكيان الإسرائيلي!!

2- إننا حاربنا إسرائيل ليس من أجل عيون فلسطين بل من أجل مصر، فإسرائيل تهديد لمصر وحرب عليها وعدوان ضدها، وإسرائيل هي التي اعتدت علي مصر في 1956واحتلت سيناء ثم انسحبت ثم اعتدت علي مصر في 1967 واحتلت سيناء ولم نكن قد أطلقنا رصاصة عليها، والحرب الوحيدة التي خاضتها مصر كطرف أول وبادئ هي التي انتصرت فيها وهي حرب أكتوبر 73، وأرجو ألا ننسي أننا كأكبر جيش في الوطن العربي خسرنا نصف فلسطين في 48 وخسرنا نصفها الثاني في 67، يعني نحن الذين أضعنا فلسطين وليست فلسطين التي أضاعت نفسها، فلم يكن فيها جيش ولا دولة بل كانت محتلة من الإنجليز في 48، ثم مصر والأردن كانتا تسيطران علي غزة والضفة الغربية والقدس الشرقية في 67 .

3- أنه في أي بلد في الدنيا حدوده هي أمنه القومي وأي خطر علي الحدود هو بمثابة التهديد الجاثم علي حاضره ومستقبله والتي تملك مفاعلاً نوويًا علي حدودنا هي إسرائيل والتي تضع خريطتها حتي الآن علي حوائط الكنيست من النيل للفرات هي إسرائيل، ومن أعجب الأمور أننا نسالمها ونسلم عليها وخريطتها تضع مصر ضمن حدود إسرائيل الكبري بينما نغضب من اسم قاتل السادات علي شارع في طهران فنقطع علاقتنا بها منذ 28عامًا!! ثم إن أي اضطراب أمني أو قلاقل عسكرية بالقرب من حدود مصر هي خطر ماثل وداهم عليها (الحرب في دارفور وجنوب السودان بل القرصنة في الصومال وما يحدث في غزة كلها شأن مصري صميم وليس موضوعًا خارجًا عن اهتمامنا أو لا يشغل بالنا)

4- قطع لسان اللي عايز مصر تحارب، تحارب إيه وإزاي، مصر المريضة بفيروس سي والسرطان ومياه الشرب الملوثة والـ 18% بطالة، ومصر التي تقف في طوابير العيش من أجل رغيف مدعم والـ 22 في المائة من عائلاتها تصرف عليها نساء (المرأة المعيلة)، ومصر التي تقف في اليوم مائة وقفة احتجاجية من أجل كادر المعلمين وكادر الأطباء وفلوس التأمينات والمعاشات، وعلاوة الـ 30% ومنحة عيد العمال ومصر المدينة بالمليارات من الدولارات، ومصر التي لا تزرع قمحها ولا تملك في مخازنها قمحًا يكفيها ستة أشهر، ومصر التي يهاجر أبناؤها ويموتون غرقًا من أجل فرصة عمل في أوروبا، ومصر التي تبيع كليتها لتعيش، ومصر التي تسرق الكلي لتبيعها للأمراء العرب، ومصر التي يموت 63 ألف مواطن فيها سنويا في حوادث الطرق، مصر ليست في حاجة لأن تحارب كي تضحي فهي تضحي بنفسها في حرب رغيف العيش والرزق تحت القيادة الحكيمة للرئيس مبارك ونجله وحزبه، ومن ثم لاحرب نريدها ولا نقدر عليها إلا إذا كتبها الله علينا والحمدلله لأن رحمة الله رحمتنا فلم نرفع سلاحًا في حرب علي مدي الـ35عامًا الماضية اللهم إلا دخولنا في حرب تحرير الكويت التي لا نعرف لماذا كانت هي الحرب الوحيدة التي لم يرفضها واستعد لها نظامنا المصري ودخلها متأهبا متأهلا ولا سمعنا يومها أي فسل من هؤلاء الذين يخرجون الآن من تحت الكراسي يحذرنا من أن العرب يريدون الحرب حتي آخر جندي مصري؟، هل لأنها كانت حربًا تحت القيادة الأمريكية؟.. ربما لأنها كانت ضد جيش عربي؟.. ربما، فمن المستبعد أن يكون سبب حماس النظام لها هو السعي لتحرير الكويت، فتحرير فلسطين لا يشمل هذا الحماس المصري (حماس إنت بتقول حماس يا خاين ياعميل يا عدو إسرائيل!!).

فليخرج إذن من رؤوسنا حالا هذا الوسواس الخناس الذي يزن ويطن ويسعي إلي حشوه في أذهاننا الإخوة الذين يعلموننا أن الوطنية الجديدة هي مسالمة إسرائيل ومعاداة إيران وهي التواطؤ علي ضرب حزب الله في 2006 وعلي حماس في 2008وعلي أي كيان أو جماعة أو دولة تعادي إسرائيل ولا تمسك بيد وزير خارجيتها مسكة ضامة وحانية!

لا أحد علي وجه الأرض يطالب مصر بأن تحارب إسرائيل لا نيابة عن الفلسطينيين ولا نيابة عن نفسها حتي، ونتحدي كائنا من كان أن يأتي بكلمة قالها عابر سبيل يطالب مصر بأن تحارب!

هل معني ذلك أننا لم ندافع عن فلسطين ونقاتل من أجل شعبها؟، طبعا دافعنا وحاربنا من أجلها ومن أجلنا قبلها ومن ثم فلا توجد أي أمارات للقنعرة والاستعلاء علي الشعب الفلسطيني، لأننا حاربنا لأجله فهذا محض افتراء لا يليق بالدول الكبيرة.

آه رجعنا للدول الكبيرة والكلام الكبير !!

يا سيدي ولا كبير ولا حاجة، نصغره، لو مضايقة حكومة مصر حكاية إننا دولة كبيرة، بلاها خالص، بس نقول ونعترف إننا دولة علي قدها وخلونا في حالنا ومحدش ييجي جنبنا ولا يطالبنا بأي حاجة، فقط لاداعي لخوتة دماغنا كل شويه بمصر الرائدة وزعيمة المنطقة والدولة الإقليمية الكبري وكل هذا اللغو، فلايمكن أن نقول عن أنفسنا هذه الأوصاف الجامدة وساعة الجد يبقي الجري نصف المجدعة وتقول لي:عليك واحد!!

طيب كيف نتصرف كدولة كبيرة.. نحارب إسرائيل كي ترتاح؟!

يا سيدي ماقلنا انس حكاية الحرب دي، لا أحد يطالب أي أحد بالحرب علي إسرائيل لكننا نخشي الحرب مع إسرائيل!! ولهذا يجب أن نتصرف مثل الدولة الكبيرة التي تحترم القانون الدولي والقيم الأخلاقية والمسئولية القومية!

مصر هكذا لا ينفع أن تقول عن نفسها أم الدنيا ثم تخلع من عيالها «أولاد الدنيا!»

فلكل الأمور تفاصيل يمكن مناقشتها لكن بعدما نتفق علي اختيارنا أن نكون دولة كبيرة أم دولة صغيرة منعزلة!

دعني أقول لك إننا دولة بالمعايير الاقتصادية والتكنولوجية والعلمية صغيرة ولا نشكل شيئًا في الموازين الدولية من حيث قوتنا الاقتصادية والعلمية وإحنا علي قدنا جدا في كل هذه المجالات، لكننا بالتاريخ والبشر والدور القومي العروبي والمكانة الثقافية والفنية كبار فعلا، هذه هي المشكلة أننا كبار رغمًا عنا وحتي إن رفضنا، ومع ذلك فمن حق هذا الوطن أن يقف مع نفسه ويفكر ثم يفكر ويفكر ويقرر أننا لن نتصرف كالكبار لكن الشرط هنا يبقي شرطين:

الأول: أن نتوافق جميعًا علي هذا الموقف ومن ثم لابد أن يكون قرارًا ديمقراطيًا عبر تمثيل حقيقي للشعب، إنما شغل التلت ورقات بتاع تزوير الانتخابات والحكومة تتصرف فينا علي كيف كيفها وكأنها فعلاً حكومتنا وكأن مجلس الشعب مجلسنا فهذا محض عبث، فلا يحق للحُكم الذي يزور الانتخابات أن يدعي شرعية تمثيل الشعب واتخاذ قرارات نيابة عنه!

ثانيا: أن نكف كلنا عن الغناء والتغني بأننا دولة كبيرة!!

الدول الكبيرة المحترمة التي تتصرف وفق ما تمليه عليها إنسانيتها وأخلاقها ودينها بل والقانون الدولي لا تفعل واحدا علي مائة مما فعلته مصر ونظام حكمها مع الشعب الفلسطيني في غزة، حيث اعتبر مثلا ريتشارد فولك ـ المقرر الخاص للأمم المتحدة لحقوق الإنسان في الأراضي المحتلة ـ الغارات الإسرائيلية علي قطاع غزة وما نتج عنها من خسائر بشرية مأساوية تمثل تحديًا للبلدان «المتواطئة» بصورة مباشرة أو غير مباشرة في انتهاكات الاحتلال للقانون الدولي. وقال فولك إن التواطؤ يشمل «تلك البلدان التي تقوم عن علم بتوفير المعدات العسكرية بما فيها الطائرات الحربية والصواريخ المستخدمة في هذه الهجمات غير القانونية، فضلا عن تلك البلدان التي دعمت وشاركت في الحصار المفروض علي غزة». هذا بيان من مسئول أمم متحدة لا من قيادة من حماس ولا من حزب الله ولا من الإخوان المسلمين ولا من إخوان الصفا.. هذا بيان من طرف دولي يصفنا هكذا بالتواطؤ!

نعم مصر الرسمية متواطئة مع إسرائيل وإلا قل لي:

1- من يحاصر غزة ويمنع فتح المعابر تحت حجج تافهة بالمعيار القانوني وليس بالمعيار السياسي، فالقانون الدولي يجبر ويلزم المصريين بفتح المعابر.

2- من يصدر الغاز والبترول لإسرائيل كي تزود طائراتها ودباباتها بالوقود الكافي لإطلاق الصواريخ والقذائف علي غزة (بالمناسبة استخدام هذا الوقود في تلك الهجمات يجبر مصر طبقًا للقانون الدولي علي وقف التصدير لإسرائيل ثم مصر التي تلوم أمريكا علي استخدام الطائرات المصنعة أمريكيا في ضرب غزة عليها أن تحاسب نفسها علي استخدام غازها وبترولها في ضرب غزة).

3- مَنْ الذي يقول إنه وسيط بين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين، منْ الذي يزعم أنه محايد بين إسرائيل وفلسطين، أليست مصر الرسمية التي تساوي بين القاتل والقتيل، بين الجاني والضحية، بين المحتل الغاصب والواقع تحت الاحتلال، بين الحق والباطل؟!

4- من الذي يستقبل وزيرة خارجية تل أبيب متبسمًا ومُقبًلا وساكتًا صامتًا وهي تهدد بضرب وحرق غزة؟ من الذي يصف القادة الصهاينة بأنهم أصدقاؤه؟!!

مصر الرسمية في موقف مخز لو حاسبناها كدولة كبيرة، إنما لو أرادت أن تكون دولة صغيرة فالله يكون في عونها وربنا يتولاها برحمته!

أما الشعب المصري الذي يخرج بالآلاف للتضامن مع شعب غزة فهو يسجل براءته من دم شهداء غزة ومن تواطؤ حكومته الرسمية المعيب والمعيبة، لكن الحقيقة أننا نسمع من بعضنا الطيب كلامًا ليس طيبًا من باب إحنا مالنا أو يغور الفلسطينيون أو اللي يحتاجه البيت يحرم علي الجامع فالمؤكد أن:

– غزة بيتنا وليس جامعًا.

– لو تصرف الأنصار في يثرب تصرف بعض المتدينين الجدد في مصر من بتوع الاكتفاء بالحجاب دينا وباللحية إسلاما لانهارت دولة الإسلام بل الإسلام نفسه، فقد كان الأنصاري يقسم بيته وماله وأرضه مع المهاجر اللاجئ، ولم يقل له إن ما يحتاجه البيت يحرم علي الجامع أو أنا مالي، ولو ذهب المهاجرون اللاجئون إلي النجاشي ـ ملك الحبشة ـ يطلبون السند والمساندة فقال لهم ما يقول بعض المصريين عن شعب غزة في برامج تليفزيونات مصر المسائية لانتهت هجرة المسلمين للحبشة بمأساة.

– أعرف أن أخلاقيات كثير من المصريين قد تغيرت بل واختلت، فصرنا نراهم ينبذون اللاجئين السودانيين والعراقيين بل والكوايتة حين كانوا لاجئين في مصر فترة الغزو والاحتلال العراقي المشئوم، ولكل موقف حجته عند بعضنا، ولكل نقمة مبرر عند بعضنا الآخر،وكلها حجج ومبررات تكشف عن نفس مصرية بدأ ينخر فيها سوس الأنانية وغياب غوث اللاجئ ونصرة المظلوم وإعانة المحتاج، ولا عجب أن اختفت قيم نبيلة من التضامن والتكافل بين المصريين أنفسهم بينهم وبين بعض، وصارت العدوانية وبات العنف بيننا مشهدًا يوميًا متكررًا وكارثيًا، لكن الحمد لله أن كل هذا أورام حميدة لم تتحول إلي ورم خبيث يقتل ويدمر!

-لا يمكن للمساجد التي تمتلئ بالمصلين في تراويح رمضان ولا لملايين المحجبات ولا لمئات الألوف من الملتحين ولا للملايين ممن يصلون الظهر في الشغل وردهات المصالح الحكومية والخاصة أن ينسوا تعاليم دينهم في نصرة المسلم، وإلا لتأكد تخوفنا من أن هذا كله تدين شكلي لا يصل لجوهر الإيمان فالله ليس في حاجة إلي صلاتك وزكاتك وتمتماتك علي السبحة لو تخليت عن أخيك بل ولو تخليت عن إغاثة الكافر المشرك وليس المؤمن المسلم والمسيحي فقط، حيث يقول الله عز وجل في سورة التوبة آية 6 (وإن أحُدُ مِنَ الُمشِركِينَ استَجاَركَ فأجرهُ حتَّي يَسمَعَ كَلاَمَ الَّلهِ ثُمَّ أبلغهُ مأمَنهُ ذَلكَ بأنَّهْم قومُُ لا يَعلمُونَ ) هذا عن الكافر، فما بالك بالمسلم الجار الجنب الذي يعاني الحصار والجوع، ألا نكون مثل كفار الجاهلية حين توجعت قلوب كثير منهم من جراء حصار المشركين للنبي «صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم» وأبناء عشيرته وأهل بيته في شعب أبي طالب فكسر كفار مكة الحصار عن محمد وأهله، فإذا لم نكن مسلمين فلنكن مثل خيار الجاهلية علي الأقل!!

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January 2nd, 2009, 6:49 am

 

132. offended said:

Majid, excellent!

Thanks for proving my point about the Egyptian-Israeli-Saudi collusion. I rest my case.

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January 2nd, 2009, 7:05 am

 

133. Joe M. said:

Majid,
I am very tired of your insanity. You need to grow some sense. There are so many things wrong with what you have been saying that it is impossible to decide where to start. So let me just ask you a very simple question and we can go from there:

Why do you think the Islamic movements (not limited to Hamas) are so popular these days?

You may try to argue that they are not popular, but I think that is flatly false. Yet, even if it is not possible to 100% fairly gauge how popular they are, the same is true of everything. For example, I explicitly lie to American pollsters when I am called, I am sure that happens everywhere throughout the world. And there is no doubt that the power of the Islamic movements is growing, and since they do not have the levers of power or access to traditional stores of weapons, it is fairly clear the growth is directly proportional to their growth in popularity. So let’s have it, what’s your answer.

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January 2nd, 2009, 7:32 am

 

134. Sami D said:

Although I haven’t read most of what’s on this page, two things caught my eye and deserve close attention, I think. First, thank you Joshua for the collection of excellent articles on the latest round of barbarism by the only democracy in the Middle East (no surprise the best ones are from the British press: The Guardian and The Independent). Of that list I note the one by Johann Hari. He may not know it, but what he tells about Israel vis-à-vis Hamas reflects a history of systematic rejectionist Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians and Arabs in general.

Israel’s current attempt at destroying Hamas, like its previous one against the PLO, and Nasser before that, followed Hamas’ acceptance of the political process and effective recognition of Israel within its 1967 border. This “threat of peace” is problematic for Israel, who would like to keep the land it occupied and colonized, and the Palestinians subjugated, lacking real independence and rights. The PLO in the 1970s also had moved toward the accomodationist political path and was gaining international recognition as a result. Israel’s reaction was: “There was no one to talk to on the Palestinian side” as it moved to destroy the PLO and the threat of peace. Israel can’t accept a serious political process that puts it on equal footing with its much weaker subjects and which may, horror of horrors, lead to restoration of their rights and land occupied by Israel. It prefers to deal with its subjects and neighbors in the dimension it reigns supreme: Namely, violence, on which it more or less has a monopoly. The only Palestinian/Arab leadership Israel would tolerate “negotiating” with is one that is compromised, like Abbas; one that is satisfied with the appearance of negotiations in an endless, meaningless process, and is delighted to assist the occupier in controlling the occupied, while the former extends colonization of the latter’s land.

Another déjà vu in past Israeli policy can be found in the immediate history following 1948. Israeli mythology has it that “Israel’s hand was extended in peace”, but the Arabs, who “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” rejected it and chose violence instead. Among others, Israeli historians also demolished this myth, where a 1953 Nasser was mainly concerned with improving his country and was quite accommodating to Israel (Check Shlaim’s Iron Wall). As was Syria, in 1949 and after which even offered to settle half the Palestinian refugees. (Abdulla of Jordan was all hugs and kisses with Israel anyway). Israel, under mostly Ben Gurion and Dayan (in opposition to Sharett, perhaps the closest by far of Israeli leaders to fairness) chose the path of violence and undermined any peace chances.

In short, what Hari reports is but a continuation of a systematic rejectionist path by Israel, most recently in relation to Hamas.

The second noteworthy thing I spotted on this page from select reading, is OffTheWall’s excellent commentary in response to suggestion of non-violence (comment #63). It’s been customary for commentators to instruct Palestinians to “practice nonviolence”. If they were to just walk up to Israel’s borders, (after smoothly crossing hundreds of Israeli checkpoints), olive-branches in hand, dressed in white robes and humming peacefully perhaps, that Israel, who naively didn’t predict this possibility at all, would be caught off guard, its wall overwhelmed with singing Palestinians, and will thus be forced to embarrassingly cease its dispossession and destruction of what’s left of Palestine and Palestinians.

In essence, not only were some commentators, mostly unwittingly, instructing the sheep how to react to the butcher at the door, presumably to impress Western cameras and hence bring outside pressure on Israel, or perhaps to shame Israeli soldiers. This also implies that the Palestinian reaction for over 60 years was mainly violent, or that they haven’t tried non-violence before, which is far from the truth. The reality is not just that Palestinian non-violence does not register on a media looking for bombs, blood and flares. But, as I wrote here 4 months ago, for 60 years 99.9% of Palestinians didn’t react with violence to Israeli occupation, but instead have meekly accepted humiliation, imprisonment, home demolition, starvation and death and didn’t resist; but the Palestinian victimization only continued if not strengthened. Just like the fact today that there are no rockets hitting Israel from the West Bank and yet Israel continues to colonize, destroy homes and kill Palestinians, and steal 85% of their water sources (for security of course, what else?).

In essence my point is that whether Palestinians launch rockets or not, Israel’s gradual usurpation of their land and livelihood will continue. No denying that the Palestinians violently resisting their victimization, may end up helping the predator use that violence as pretext to speed its ongoing violence and robbery. But the crucial point is that WHATEVER the Palestinians do, maybe beside total, meek surrender, Israel’s response remains more or less the SAME. This problem of Israeli victimization of the Palestinians, of which Gaza is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg, is systemic to Zionism, Israel’s state ideology that foretold Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and the thwarting of any future peace that had a hint of fairness. Israel’s whole existence is based on denying rights to the Palestinians, which necessitates that violence against civilians, becomes fundamental to Israeli policy. The mere existence of Palestinians is a problem for Israel. Thus, while trying to analyze the immediate causes of Israeli policy –like why Israel’s attacking Gaza now– is important, the analysis would ultimately be stunted, as would any peace deal be limited, if the core problem remains unaddressed: Namely, Zionism, its exclusive claim to the land, and the racism and subjugation of the native that are only the natural outcome of such.

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January 2nd, 2009, 7:53 am

 

135. offended said:

Majid,
This part of Rami Khouri’s article (you’d agree the Daily Star is somehow unbiased, wouldn’t you?) sums it up for you quite well:

The more a foreign imperial or colonial oppressor uses military power against indigenous guerrillas and their society, the stronger the guerrillas emerge and the more support they gain among the civilian population for what becomes a war of resistance, survival, and, ultimately, national liberation.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=5&article_id=98758

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January 2nd, 2009, 8:10 am

 

136. offended said:

A very biased article by Christopher Hitchens on Rick Warren and Syria:

……………..

fighting words
Shame on You, Rick Warren
Still more reasons to boot the huckster of Saddleback from the inauguration.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, at 2:43 PM ET
——————————————————————————–

It seems to have been agreed by every single media outlet that only one group has the right to challenge Obama’s promotion of “Pastor” Rick Warren, and that group is the constituency of politically organized homosexuals. But why should that be? Last week, I pointed out that Warren maintains that heaven is closed to Jews and that his main theological mentor was a crackpot “end-of-days” ranter. Why is this not to count against him as well? Do we need our presidential invocation to be given by a bigmouth clerical businessman who is, furthermore, a religious sectarian? Let me add a little more to the mix. In November 2006, Warren made a trip to Syria and was granted an audience with the human toothbrush who has inherited control of that country and all its citizens. Bashar Assad, the dictator of Syria, is also a religious sectarian—his power base is confined to the Alawite sect—and in the intervals of murdering his critics in Lebanon, he does not expect to receive very many distinguished American or European guests. Of late, the most eminent I can think of have been David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and George Galloway of Britain’s so-called Respect Party, and I believe only Galloway—an old fan of Baathism in all its forms—got an audience with the Grand Toothbrush himself.

Whatever time Warren managed to get with the dear bristled leader was not wasted—you should check out the hilarious parody of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza that accidentally results from the official photograph—and whatever hospitality he received from the Syrian authorities did not go unreturned. “Syria,” he told his viewers back home by video, is “a moderate country, and the official government rule and position is to not allow extremism of any kind.” This is a highly original way to describe a regime that is joined at the hip with the Iranian theocracy, that is the patron of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and that is the official and unabashed host of the fugitive Hamas leadership whose military wing directs massacre operations from Damascus itself. (One might also add that the Syrian Baath Party’s veteran defense minister,* Mustafa Tlas, published a book under his own name that accused Jews of using the blood of non-Jewish children for the making of those ever-menacing Passover matzos. I suppose it depends how you define extremism.)

According to an undenied report from the Syrian state news agency, SANA, Warren followed his Assad meeting with another get-together, this time with a mufti. The resulting press communiqué read like this:

The Mufti called for conveying the real image of Syria, national unity and its call to spread peace, amity and justice to the American people which the US has distorted their image throughout the world. Pastor Warren expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country.

(As one who has spent time in Syria, I can confirm that the official translations are indeed of that abysmal level. But Warren cannot wriggle out in this fashion, because most of the worst of what he said was recorded and transmitted in his own voice.) Our good pastor also found the time to tell his captive audience—if I may use such an unoriginal phrase in a literal way—that 80 percent of his countrymen opposed the administration’s policy in Iraq. Assume yourself, dear reader, to be one of that possible 80 percent. Did you ever ask to be spoken for by Warren, who was a guest of a regime that sponsors al-Qaida infiltrators in Iraq, or to see him denounce the administration in front of an audience of Syrians that had no choice but to listen to whatever it was told? For shame.

And a shame, too, that on Inauguration Day we may also have to stand still—out of respect rather than fear, it is true—and listen to a man who is either a half-witted dupe, a hopeless naif, a cynical tourist who does favors for the powerful, a religious nut bag, a cowardly liar, or perhaps some unappetizing combination of all five. I personally think that the all-five answer is the correct one, because you cannot just find yourself in Syria, smirking into the face of the local despot and being treated like a treasured guest. The thing has to be arranged, and these things take time. So what was the motive? Listen again to Warren’s driveling broadcast for the folks back home at the megachurch:

In fact, you know Saul of Tarsus—Saul was a Syrian. St. Paul, on the road to Damascus, had his conversion experience, and so Christians have been here the longest, and they get along with the Muslims, and the Muslims get along with them. There’s a lot less tension than in other places.

I can absolutely see what Warren hoped to get out of this sordid little trip, the evidence of which he vainly tried to conceal when it threatened to become embarrassing. He wanted to be on video for his open-mouthed followers as he posed “on the road to Damascus.” And he didn’t care what deals he had to make, with Baath and Toothbrush Central Command, in order to bring off such a fundraising coup. But now it’s the sandals of Obama that are being exploited by the same tub-thumper, and one has not merely a right but a duty to object to having as an inaugural auxiliary a man who is a pushover for anti-Semitism, Islamic sectarianism, “rapture” theology, fascist dictatorship, 10th-rate media trade-offs, and last-minute panicky self-censorship all at the same time. Is there nobody in the Obama camp who can see that this is not just a gay issue? And is there no gay figure who can say that Warren is objectionable for reasons that have more to do with decency, democracy, and the Constitution? The televised, Bible-bashing entrepreneur is perhaps the single most unattractive and embarrassing phenomenon that modern American culture has ever produced. It would be nice if we could begin a new era in the absence of this racket and these racketeers, and if enough people can find their voices, we still may be able to do so.

Correction, Dec. 29, 2008: This article originally identified Mustafa Tlas as the Syrian Baath Party’s veteran foreign minister. In fact, he was the defense minister. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the Roger S. Mertz media fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif.

http://www.slate.com/id/2207554/

Copyright 2008 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

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January 2nd, 2009, 8:25 am

 

137. offended said:

It’s ironic that Syria’s reception of Warren was some sort of an attempt at a PR maneuver.

It seems that now, after almost three years, Rick Warren has proved to be a liability rather than an asset!

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January 2nd, 2009, 8:40 am

 

138. jad said:

OTW, as usual, great writing

Offended, Thank you for the articles.

‘Majid, I am very tired of your insanity.’ Thank you Joe M.
I have the same impression…and I got tired of reading loops of emptiness and stupidity.

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January 2nd, 2009, 9:03 am

 

139. offended said:

Shai,

Many people here in the UAE are donating massively to the UNRWA and Islamic Relief. But lots of them are also wondering whether the aid is actually, materially, getting through or not.

Do you have anyway of confirming whether it’s really reaching its needy recipients?

Thanks a bunch.

(p.s. Alex has my email if you wish to contact me privately, thanks again.)

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January 2nd, 2009, 11:46 am

 

140. offended said:

The terrorists of Hamas, even in their charred dead bodies, they are very disturbing.

(warning: very distressing photos)

http://tinyurl.com/93kvzv
http://tinyurl.com/7vk9ol
http://tinyurl.com/9p9r46
http://tinyurl.com/6vf3px
http://tinyurl.com/8kvyf5
http://tinyurl.com/9h3ug5

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:01 pm

 

141. majid said:

Alex says’
“majid,

“to draw their country into something they know full well is against their interests”

Sorry, way too late for that. In colluding with Israel’s strike on Gaza (just the latest and most dramatic example of Egypts’ decades long collusion with Israel) Egypt lost the right to complain about being ‘drawn into’ the mess that they have done much to create.”

Alex motto: Egypt must abrogate its peace treaty with Israel and kick the Israeli ambassador from Cairo in order to clear the mess created by the 30 year old peace treaty with the Jewish State and help create the well designed, orderly and heavenly ordained Middle East planned by Mahmoud AhemdiNejjad, Khamenei and their puppet Assad.

Alex, you also promised to look after some silly comments. Would you mind doing so and edit comments number 133 and 138? Now, let’s see how unbiased you are first and perhaps we can go on with the debate.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:26 pm

 

142. Shai said:

Sami D.,

I have read almost everything you’ve written here in the past year, and I very much respect your opinion (even when it’s not “easy” for me to hear). I understand your, OTW’s, and others’ reaction to our suggestion that perhaps the Palestinians can achieve far more by “starting” non-violent civil disobedience. I of course agree with you, Joe M., and others that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians over the past 60 years have, in fact, practiced non-violence. Even since the first Intifada, in total, the amount of Palestinians that have actually partaken in violent resistance probably doesn’t surpass 1%-2% of their total population.

But my suggestion is not to practice the same “type” of civil disobedience and nonviolence that has been practiced all these years, but rather a very different type. My suggestion, is to attempt to create a Palestinian Ghandi, who will organize and mobilize his or her people, unlike any leader has succeeded in doing up until now. And to embark on an ongoing campaign, that will last as long as necessary, and will involve not “mere” thousands that amass along checkpoints every few months or years, but hundreds of thousands that gather and march, if need be, every single week, in different places from Gaza to the West Bank. In one of my comments above, I wrote about a scenario depicted in an army lecture I once heard, where precisely this sort of thing took place. And, guess what, the army had NO answer to it. An entire settlement in Gaza, called Kfar Darom (you might recall), was taken over with violence, without a single Palestinian killed or injured, by thousands of women, children, and elderly who marched almost unhindered.

Our army and our police know how to “handle” small crowds (a couple hundred, possibly a few thousand), specific individuals, and anything remotely resembling an army-style target. We know how to blast away buildings, how to create 10 meter-craters in the ground, how to level entire street blocks. But we don’t know how to stop 200,000 or 300,000 people, not in a checkpoint, and not along our borders.

I’m not suggesting that I know no one will be hurt. That no Israeli soldier (out of the few that would face such a crowd), would fire a round of bullets. But I do know, that no army order (at least in the IDF that I know), would allow for indiscriminate bullet-spraying into a civilian crowd, that marched peacefully, without shooting in the air, without throwing stones, and without posing a threat.

I think it is time the world begins to understand the true dimensions of this catastrophe, and that there are real people behind the words “Gaza”, “West Bank”, “Palestine”, and not mere Hamas militant leaders and their armed followers. It is time the world is given no more opportunities to conveniently ignore what is happening here. When 200,000 or 500,000 people anywhere in the world march in protest, nations listen. When they march for a second, and a third time, nations begin to think. And by the fifth time, they have to react. If today, European diplomats are easily fooled by Israeli propagandists highlighting Qassam hits in Ashdod and Ashkelon (rather than our F-16 hits throughout Gaza), tomorrow, when 200,000 Palestinians march peacefully alongside Gaza’s border with Israel, they will stop buying it.

I believe, and perhaps I am naive (I don’t rule it out), that a thousand signs held up by a crowd of 200,000, reading “Every People Have a Right to Their Own Nation!”, are a thousand times more effective than 200 Qassam missiles lobbed at Israeli towns. This isn’t about justice, about what’s right or what’s wrong. It’s not about what has been tried, and failed. It’s about what might be more effective, rather than less. It’s about trying things you haven’t yet. And just as Israel is playing off the Western world’s emotions and fears of radical Islam (9/11 did a nice job at providing this opportunity), so must the Palestinians begin to target the basic principles of freedom that the West still, at least outwardly, pretends to uphold.

Sami D., I don’t know if I’m right in my feeling that this form of civil disobedience is any different from before, or that it will succeed where previously it failed. But I do know that it hasn’t been tried, at least not enough and not as I’ve detailed above, and that it should be.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:32 pm

 

143. offended said:

Mahmoud AhemdiNejjad, Khamenei and their puppet Assad.

Majid, although I don’t have favorable feelings for your king (and I have very good reasons why), I am practcing lots of self-restraint not to ridicule him nowadays. so please refrain from these childish insults.

7aratna daye’a we mn3arif ba3ed.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:34 pm

 

144. Shai said:

Offended,

Yes, I do know that some trucks are getting through, but not nearly enough. Barak, after ordering a few F-16 sorties on a given day, allows 100 trucks with relief to pass through. Yesterday he apparently allowed 400 dual-citizen Palestinians to cross into Israel. These numbers are so miniscule, as you can imagine, that one has to wonder what Barak’s real intentions are, for this ya’ani “humanitarian gesture”.

I heard this morning that Qatar has been sending a lot through Egypt, and that the latter decided to take all Qatari stickers off the boxes, and replace them with Egypt’s and the Red Crescent’s. This of course infuriated the Qataris. I don’t know if this is true, but either way, I’m sure it will take a long time to get all those boxes in.

I would definitely keep sending from the UAE, because eventually it will get there. As the humanitarian catastrophe is growing, sooner or later the borders will have to open, either from Egypt, or from Israel, or both.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:48 pm

 

145. majid said:

OFFENDED,
Please feel free to vent your anger and criticize any head of State. After all Bush had a shoe thrown on him and he continued to smile. But I think you’re debasing yourself when you resort to personal attacks on participants in this forum. And I believe it is against the rules.

By the way, is your self-restraint related to some fear you may suffer financially or otherwise being working in a country not far away from the king’s reach? So in this case you try to vent it on someone else? As you know 7aratna daye’a and we know your exact address and other electronic signatures.

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January 2nd, 2009, 12:50 pm

 

146. jad said:

Some of us left Syria to imrpove ourselves and our beloved ones’ lives and we do it with pride and love to our roots, unlike other’s who doesn’t have any pride and live in shame wherever they go since they don’t know what ‘pride’ means..
iza anta akramta al karim malaktahou we inta akramt allaeem tamarada.

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January 2nd, 2009, 1:49 pm

 

147. offended said:

As you know 7aratna daye’a and we know your exact address and other electronic signatures.

You’re a funny guy Majid. Tell me, how are you going to do it? will I be visited by goons of the religious police who will copiously preach to me about the erroneous nature of my behaviour? or is my sin too big it might require some flogging and smacking around to atone for?

Will it involve a personal meeting with yourself? I’d love that by the way, quite sure your level of civility will witness a remarkable rise in a face-to-face meeting. (not that you will have a choice anyway)

So yeah, be my guest and ‘trace’ all you want…. I’ll be waiting.

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:02 pm

 

148. offended said:

Shai, thanks a lot for the info. I’ve already relayed your suggestion; you’re right, it stands to reason that relief agencies should be ready to act when the borders are completely open.

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:07 pm

 

149. Akbar Palace said:

Majid,

I agree with your #122 and #125. You bring a lonely breath of fresh air to the fanatic-supporting chorus of Hamas apologists on this website.

Keep up the good work.

I just heard our (secret Israeli) Secretary of State, Condi Rice speak briefly about the war. Apparently, like the 2006 conflict, she does not want to return to the same place where we left off before the war began (aka “status quo ante”).

She wants “change”. Maybe Israel will help with that. Maybe Obama will help with that. Maybe Fatah will help with that too.

It will take the concerted effort of a number of players, and if we work together, positive change can happen.

What do you think Shai? You’ve been quiet lately.;)

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:09 pm

 

150. offended said:

To those who think that propaganda of western media is a myth:

“Israeli officials have also enjoyed a clear edge with coverage. An Israeli foreign ministry assessment of eight hours of coverage across international broadcast media reported that Israeli representatives got 58 minutes of airtime while the Palestinians got only 19 minutes. Speaking for the Israeli military, Major Avital Leibovich said: “Quite a few outlets are very favourable to Israel, namely by showing [it] suffering … I am sure it is a result of the new co-ordination.” ”

………………………………………………………….

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/02/israel-palestine-pr-spin

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:14 pm

 

151. Innocent_Criminal said:

Majid,

I just went back and read all your comments from the last week or so. and i haven\’t seen any constructive ones on a proposed solution. you spend your time vehemently disagreeing with most people here but what would your royal highness propose for a solution?

so kindly advise, in basic points how would you prefer the major issues happening in the middle east (gaza included) to be resloved?

Thanks.

P.S it was Fatah that moved to break the unity government from day one after losing the elections to Hamas so you cannot blame the latter for that one.

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January 2nd, 2009, 3:30 pm

 

152. Off the Wall said:

Majeed

Never on this site I have seen anyone issuing threats like the one you issued above to Offended. 3ayb. Whether you are a breath of fresh air or not, such threats are totally rejected.

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January 2nd, 2009, 4:44 pm

 

153. Innocent_Criminal said:

Majid,

Correction, i didn’t read all of them too well since i missed that threat of yours. If you ever try to pull a cute/pathetic move like that again on this site you will be banned permenantly. consider this your first and final warning.

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January 2nd, 2009, 4:47 pm

 

154. EHSANI2 said:

“As you know 7aratna daye’a and we know your exact address and other electronic signatures.”

Who the hell do you think you are you dope?

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January 2nd, 2009, 4:58 pm

 

155. why-discuss said:

Majid said \”My view on how a ceasfire should come about: Hamas
declares it will no longer fire rockets into Israel and
agrees to be disarmed. Israel declares a halt of military
operations for a one week period. Demilitarization of
Gaza then begins under International supervision and
with full Hamas cooperation. Palestinian authority
resumes its function and takes responsibility along with
International observers of the functions of the crossings
on the Gazzan side. Israel will then lift its blockade of
Gaza from land, sea and air and permanent ceasefire is
declared.\”

Majid , are you on Ectasy? or it is a joke?

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January 2nd, 2009, 5:12 pm

 

156. EHSANI2 said:

All New Year Eve celebrations in Syria were cancelled due to the events in Gaza.

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January 2nd, 2009, 5:48 pm

 

157. Joe M. said:

Shai,

I just wanted to respond to your comment #142.

In theory, I agree with that you said, except I think you have overly simplified things a lot. One of the problems with arguing that there needs to be a Palestinian Gandhi is that is that even Gandhi considered himself a failure. Even during world war one, when the first incarnation Gandhi’s Indian freedom movement was at its peak, he abandoned efforts to reach an agreement with the British largely because he felt that his movement was not properly disciplined and able to act non-violently. Even Gandhi’s famous fast-to-the-death was out of recognition of his own failure.

So, I mean, it’s easy to invoke Gandhi, but it’s not always a good comparison to make. If the actual Gandhi didn’t succeed in using Gandhian methods, what chance do other people have?

Additionally, Hamas (and others, including Mubarak Awad and Mustafa Barghouthi) has consistently used examples of Gandhian methods of resistance only to face Amritsar type violence in response.

Also, as you well know, those practicing non-violence need not be the excuse the occupier needs to destroy the system of non-violence. For example, it is entirely possible that non-Hamas forces fired the rockets that Israel used as an excuse to turn Gaza from a mere prison camp to a mass grave yard. All the non-violence in the world from one particular quarter of the population will not protect them from a party that is destined to use violence against them. In this respect, when asked what the Jews should have done facing the Holocaust, Gandhi suggested that they stand up, confront the Nazis and face death with dignity.

Of course, Gandhi didn’t only advocate non-violent resistance to colonialism, he advocated an comprehensive lifestyle of non-violence including vegetarianism, peaceful interrelations between families, economic self-sufficiency, and advocacy for the poor. In this respect, it took him decades to build communities that sustained this lifestyle. Maybe the Palestinians need to start doing that, but we can only hope they have a shorter time frame to some reasonable peace.

That said, I have always dreamed for the Palestinians to convert their funeral marches into independence marches and over-run checkpoints. I would love to see 5000 (or more) Palestinians march from Ramallah to Jerusalem, and occupy the zionist parliament building. I am sure many would be shot down, and I am sure that they would eventually be stopped, but it is possible that one march begets another, as happened with the Iranian revolution, until they are sufficiently large to have an impact. I don’t think this type of thing would end the occupation, but I do think that such boldness would change the balance of what it conceivable to the Palestinians. And it would give them an immediate power that help equalize the military balance.

My very last point is that it is pretty obvious that Israel will give the Palestinians a grain of sand out of generosity. So it is up to the Palestinians to take their land back by force. Until there is a reasonable balance of power, and until the zionists are forced to feel the occupation, the Palestinians (and other Arabs) will continue their inferior position. I am personally open to both non-violent and violent force as options, we just have to keep trying and wait until we find the right balance.

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January 2nd, 2009, 6:49 pm

 

158. Joe M. said:

correction, the first line of the last paragraph should read:

“My very last point is that it is pretty obvious that Israel will NOT give the Palestinians a grain of sand out of generosity.”

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January 2nd, 2009, 6:56 pm

 

159. Shai said:

Joe M.,

I of course used Ghandi, or Mandella, as symbols and not as exact models for the Palestinians to follow. Civil disobedience, and massive nonviolent protesting, could quite possibly prove far more beneficial to the Palestinians, than those Qassam rockets. I agree with you, Israel can always find an excuse to attack. And, quite likely, there will always be groups within that reject this form of protest, and in fact will either opposite it with their own means, or outright sabotage it.

But those 200,000 or 300,000 marching Palestinians do not have to represent every group. It is the volume and power of the protest that I think the Palestinians should seek, not their true representation. To end the first war in Lebanon, some 400,000 Israelis gathered in Malkhei Israel Square in Tel-Aviv, and made themselves heard before Menachem Begin. There were plenty in Israel who were completely opposed to them. But they had an effect (at least the war ended… only to be continued by 18 years of occupation…)

While I don’t think 5,000, or even 50,000 Palestinians will reach the Knesset in Jerusalem, I do believe they can walk right through (and render useless) many army checkpoints in the WB, and they can certainly reach the border with Gaza, and demand to have the blockade lifted. Again, I don’t see this as one or two televised events, but rather as the beginning of a period of ongoing, well-organized nonviolent protests, by huge masses of people. Literally hundreds of thousands of people. I’ve been to Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv when some 120,000 Israelis gathered for a demonstration. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen such a number of people in one place, but it is absolutely tremendous. Helicopters flying above can’t cover it all in one shot. It’s the kind of thing that gets the world’s attention in an instant. And with more people, and more demonstrations, the world (and Israel) will have to think and address this issue and these people.

I am also starting to lose faith in my nation’s ability (and will) to change on its own. It indeed looks like the Occupation will only end when Israel is forced to end it. I’d rather it was the International Community, or the Obama administration, that forced Israel, and not thousands of proud Palestinians ready to die for their Independence. Our region has had more than enough martyrs, and look where we are today. What I hope will happen with this war in Gaza, is that soon the world will demand of Israel to cease its attacks, to lift the blockade immediately and completely, and to complete the Gilad Shalit – Palestinian prisoners exchange as quickly as possible. Then, when this is done, to force the three sides (Israel, Fatah, and Hamas), to sit down, and begin talking to each other. Because otherwise, we’ll be right back in the same place, a few months from now.

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January 2nd, 2009, 7:26 pm

 

160. Alex said:

Joe M,

Gandhi did not have the benefit of embedded reporters of Aljazeera and other independent reporters transmitting live what takes place during those peaceful demonstrations.

There is only so much that FOX and CNN can hide from the American public opinion. There are images that speak for themselves … they can not be distorted and they can not be ignored.

Please rest assured that ALL leaders (American, Egyptian, and Israelis included) will, within months (not years), be forced to try much harder to solve the Palestinian problem… When a whole population goes out of control there is nothing they can do but to try harder to meet the population’s demands.

But few thousands marching is old news by now … What was Beirut’s population when they produced quite a few 500,000+ demonstrations (M14 and M8)?

But I understand there are no large Arab cities in the West Bank … to assemble hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in one place might be impossible given Israeli road blocks?

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January 2nd, 2009, 7:29 pm

 

161. Shai said:

Alex,

In Gaza, it is certainly possible to try to get 100,000 or 200,000 people together. In the West Bank, there are towns with more than 250,000 citizens (Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, E. Jerusalem, and Hebron).

Btw, did you get my email?

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January 2nd, 2009, 7:45 pm

 

162. Joe M. said:

Alex,
I would not rely on the outside world to help the Palestinians. We have waited 60 years already to no avail. I highly doubt that will change any time soon. And even if there was a greater effort to force the zionists to accept reality and give more freedom to the Palestinians, I would anticipate that the occupation would simply change forms. The process of de-occupation of Palestine is not something that can be solved by a peace conference, but only something a one-state solution can truly address.

What I mean is that the Palestinians should not (and do not) give a damn about what the Americans or Europeans think. If there are protests, they are not for the benefit of the American public, but a direct effort to address the occupation.

Shai and Alex,
While I think it is generally admirable to consider such scenarios like those you are talking about, it is also a lot of empty words. The Palestinians are aware of ideas like this, and they take them into consideration. Different factions do different things. Hamas, for example, tried this type of action not long ago when they organized about 1000 people (mostly women, i believe) to break through the zionist siege of Gaza. Unfortunately the zionists shot at them and it was impossible for the Palestinians to go further.

Additionally, Hamas is quite able to organize hundreds of thousands of people in both the west bank of Palestine and in Gaza. Here is an example from just two weeks ago:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7782378.stm
But it is a big difference between people gathering and people going on a potential suicide mission. 150,000 people can gather in Tel Aviv, fine, good for them. But how many people would gather under fire?

Additionally, one point i made was just that you never know how many people it takes to make change. I don’t think 5000 people would be able to take the zionist parliament on their own. But i do think 5000 would be able to over-run checkpoints and make some progress. but, the Iranian revolution didn’t start with millions, there was a steady progression of growth in the size of the rallies.

Yet, no one should be so naive to believe that you can overturn zionism with a rally or two. To believe such a thing would underestimate the comprehensiveness of the zionist project. All such an action would do would provide one level of pressure on the zionists. Similarly, even the rockets provide some pressure on the zionists. If you ask me, it takes a combination of methods, and it will take years…

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January 2nd, 2009, 8:26 pm

 

163. Shai said:

Joe M.,

I understand what you’re saying, and indeed I admit I may be overly naive in this suggestion. But let me ask you this – why can’t 50,000 Palestinians gather in Ramallah, and demand immediate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas? No matter where we fast-forward the conflict to, clearly no peace agreement could be reached without this necessary precondition, no? It would be easier for the Palestinians to make their case heard, if at least they were united under one roof. And, for Israel, it would be a little tougher to claim “we have no one to talk to… no one on their side can deliver…”

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January 2nd, 2009, 8:38 pm

 

164. Rumyal said:

http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052057.html

02/01/2009

Yossi Sarid: If you (or I) were Palestinian

I hate all the terrorists in the world, whatever the purpose of their struggle. However, I support every active civil revolt against any occupation, and Israel too is among the despicable occupiers. Such revolt is both more just and more effective, and it does not extinguish one’s spark of humanity. And perhaps I’m just too much of an old codger to be a terrorist.

But, and pay attention to this but, if a normative young person has a spontaneous answer that is different from mine, and that answer also escaped the mouth of an Israeli lieutenant general, then every individual must see himself as though his son is running with the wrong crowd. If things were the other way around, our son-whom-we-loved would be a damned terrorist, almost certainly, because he is of the third and fourth generation of refugeehood and oppression, and whence cometh salvation? He has nothing to lose but his chains.

Whereas we, his mother and father, would be weeping for the departing son because he will never return to see the land of his birth and us, except in his photograph on the wall as a shahid, a martyr. Would we detain him before he carries out his plan? Would we be able to hold him back if we wanted to? Would we not understand what he is feeling? What Ehud Barak understood in his day – would that be impossible for us to understand?

Young people who have no future will easily give up their future, which they can’t see on the horizon. Their past as guttersnipes and their present as cursed unemployed idlers lock the opening to their hope:
Their death is better than their life, and their death is even better than our life, as their oppressors – that is how they feel. From the day they are born to the day they leave this earth, they see their land ahead, to which they will not come as free people.

There are no good and bad peoples; there are only leaderships that behave responsibly or insanely. And now we are fighting those whom a goodly number of us would be like, had we been in their place for 41 and a half years.

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January 2nd, 2009, 8:53 pm

 

165. Shai said:

Rumyal,

Most Israelis cannot understand Yossi Sarid. They confuse his wisdom and courage for weakness and self-hating attributes. Indeed how cruel and ironic it is, that the same Ehud Barak, who in 1998 claimed he would have also joined an armed Palestinian group had he been born a Palestinian, is today the one pressing the button, in attempt to crush the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. But hey, doubling his party’s seats 39 days from now, from 8 to 16, might just be worth the uneasy feeling, no?

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January 2nd, 2009, 9:09 pm

 

166. Joe M. said:

Shai,
When you talk about “reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas”, you act like there are no differences between the groups. It is not as though they are divided for no reason. And in my opinion, this is something of a necessary (though regrettable) divide. The divide would not have been necessary had Fatah accepted their electoral loss and defended Hamas when the siege first came into effect, but their failure to defend democracy and their cooperation with Israel has made the divide a reality. it’s not just some random division.

When Fatah decided to reject the results of the Palestinian election, they gave up any connection to having a constituency of Palestinians (those who voted for them, voted in a system knowing of the possibility of loss. why would they vote if they expected Fatah to just take over regardless of the results?) and put the fate of their movement in the hands of the constituency of the USA and Israel. Fatah must reject that before the division can be healed.

In order to do so, it is pretty obvious that Fatah has to purge itself of its corruption, collaboration and belief in “peace process industry” before it is possible for there to be unity between Hamas and Fatah. A rally of 20 million people would not change that.

Lastly, I just heard a story on NPR that talked about a protest for unity that was broken up by the zionists and those Palestinian forces who have been paid off by the Americans and zionists.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98960940

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January 2nd, 2009, 9:15 pm

 

167. Shai said:

Joe M.,

Of course the rift between Fatah and Hamas “it’s not just some random division.” I’m not going to repeat details I know you know about the two. And of course reconciliation means coming to terms with the wrongs of Fatah (not accepting the democratic results of their first and free elections, and trying to delegitimize Hamas) and Hamas (taking over Gaza by force).

I don’t think corruption and collaboration amongst Fatah members must be totally purged first, though, nor must Abu Mazen completely “unpuppet” himself. It is enough that the two parties agree to hold elections again, and to accept whatever results this time, as they should have before. Perhaps if Abu Mazen doesn’t run for President again, would also help. But when I say reconciliation, I don’t mean hugs and kisses and forgiveness, I mean accepting the need for a single governing body again. I’m not sure Hamas would reject an agreement that would have Abbas remain in power as President.

My feelings were that the hurdles are actually not that great. Do you know otherwise?

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January 2nd, 2009, 9:55 pm

 

168. Joe M. said:

I think the differences are quite large. Even if there were a temporarily successful attempt to reconcile, it would break down fairly quickly (as did the previous “unity government”). Fatah is too invested in the status quo (foreign travel for them, living a high life as diplomats, and it has paid off a lot of people on the ground to keep them from total collapse), and Hamas is too invested in resistance. If we looked at the two groups as simply fighting for the freedom of the Palestinians, then it is easy to assume they are not that far apart. But, Fatah is simply too compromised by the west and the zionists to join with Hamas without major personnel changes to their top echelon.

I think they can be unified if there was a mutual change in strategy. But currently the only reason for Fatah’s existence is that they are part of the “peace process industry” or as puppets of the west/zionists. Additionally, Fatah, Israel, the USA and Egypt… still refuse to recognize that Hamas has a right to govern. You can hear how divided they are in the tone if Mubarak when talking about the Rafah crossing.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3649392,00.html
http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/Egypt/238957

Until the lexicon (let alone the reality) that Hamas doesn’t have a right to govern ends, there can be no reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Yet, Fatah and the other puppets are too beholden to Israel and the USA to allow Hamas to govern because it makes their existence and support of the peace process industry obsolete. So, absent some major changes in personnel in the puppet camps, there will be no reconciliation any time soon.

(the reason I do not think it has to do with personnel on the Hamas side is because they are a mass, popular movement. Changes of their public face does not change their ideology. Fatah, Egypt, Jordan… the other puppets… have no ideology or public support, and thus their path is totally determined by their top personnel.)

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January 2nd, 2009, 10:21 pm

 

169. Friend in America said:

JOSHUA –
Please create a new thread with the lead article being the entire SHUR Working Paper or if too lengthy, at least your summary of it. The SHUR Working Paper may contain the framework, in principle, of an possible enduring settlement. Modifications will be necessary, but first let those on this blog express their views.

A review of comments up to #46, and many that followed, reveals a wider scope of agreement and a desire for a lasting solution than I thought existed. They are ahead of the politicians – Brezizinski (#74) and many other self styled experts in the media are walking in their dust.

If we wait for political leaders, particularly those in PA or Israel, we will be waiting too long. Non-governmental experts have greater flexibility and often greater vision. They do not have to look to elections or patrons. The Norway Peace Accord tells us that. The Accord was negotiated by interested experts, mostly academics, who were outside government. After they had a document they could agree upon, they submitted it to the world. Let it start here.

One thought: Post the Working Paper, or summary, but do not allow comments for 24 hours so that those who are interested can then post a prepared comment.

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January 3rd, 2009, 12:18 am

 

170. Akbar Palace said:

Yossi Sarid said:

There are no good and bad peoples; there are only leaderships that behave responsibly or insanely.

I humbly disagree Yossi.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f19_1229265127

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January 3rd, 2009, 2:07 am

 

171. norman said:

Shai, Alex,

I do not know what is so difficult to know the best way for the Palestinians and the Syrians to get their just rights ,

Just look at history it is so simple,

The Golan has been quiet for 34 years , now look around , Israel is still in the Golan and more than 80% of the Israelis want to stay there , now look at south Lebanon , the Lebanese fought for their land and Israel got out in 2000,and at that time 80% of Israelis were for that .

Now look at the West bank, Abbas has been doing everything Israel wants including attacking Hamas , he practically eats what they give him to eat , we still see Israel in the West bank and i do not see any signs of leaving ,with settlements being expanded .

Now look at Gaza , they fought back and made the lives of the settlers miserable , and endagered the lives of the soldiers that were protecting them ,

Israel left even though they knew that Hams has no intention of stopping their attacks ,

As we can see that Israel only left areas that they faced resistant so all peaceful ways will not work and if the Palestinians want their rights they have to fight for them and if rockets were flying from the west bank israel would be back behind 1967 border and happily doing that and thanking God that the Palestinians accepting these borders ,

The same can be said about the Golan , so if Syria wants the Golan it should be willing and fighting for it otherwise Israel will stay there forever and Syria will keep saying that our choice is peace , why does not Israel believe that , it is simple Israel thinks of that as weakness , Israel has to suffer to convince it’s people to leave.

And that is my take,

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January 3rd, 2009, 2:36 am

 

172. why-discuss said:

NYT January 4, 2009
NEWS ANALYSIS
Israel Weighs Goal: Ending Hamas Rule, Rocket Fire, or Both
By ETHAN BRONNER
EREZ CROSSING, on the Israel-Gaza border — As Israel’s tanks and troops poured into Gaza on Saturday, the next phase in its fierce attempt to end rocket attacks, a question hung over the operation: can the rockets really be stopped for any length of time while Hamas remains in power in Gaza?
And if the answer is determined to be no, then is the real aim of the operation to remove Hamas entirely, no matter the cost?…

….
Taken together, it suggests that even if Israel intends to hold back from completely overthrowing Hamas, its choice of assault tactics could head that way anyway. And the Israelis may already be facing a kind of mission creep: after all, if enough of Hamas’s infrastructure is destroyed, the prospect of governing Gaza, a densely populated, refugee-filled area whose weak economy has been devastated by the Israeli-led boycott, will be exceedingly difficult.
In the background, too, is broad international criticism of this war on Gaza, not only because of the unspeakable suffering seen on television screens but because of a feeling that Israel has tried such tactics in the past and never succeeded.
In particular, many point to the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, where Israel also tried to destroy rocket launchers and a hostile organization’s infrastructure, only to end up killing many civilians and leaving Hezbollah more popular and perhaps ultimately stronger than before the war.
But military planners here say that the parallel is inexact and that they, too, have learned a lesson. Gaza is smaller and flatter than southern Lebanon and, most important, does not have a sievelike border with a country like Syria where arms can be constantly resupplied. Destroying the smuggler tunnels from the Egyptian Sinai into Gaza and systematically eliminating weapons depots and launcher sites, along with their supporting infrastructures, will ultimately succeed, they contend.
It may take weeks or months, they assert, but it can work. If true, questions still remain: At what human cost? And who will be in charge when it is all over?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/world/middleeast/04assess.html

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January 3rd, 2009, 8:46 pm

 

173. Averroes said:

Gilad Atzmon – Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land
=======================================================

Communicating with Israelis may leave one bewildered. Even now when the Israeli Air Force is practicing murder in broad daylight of hundreds of civilians, elderly persons, women and children, the Israeli people manage to convince themselves that they are the real victims in this violent saga.

Those who are familiar intimately with Israeli people realise that they are completely uninformed about the roots of the conflict that dominates their lives. Rather often Israelis manage to come up with some bizarre arguments that may make a lot of sense within the Israeli discourse, yet make no sense whatsoever outside of the Jewish street. Such an argument goes as follows: ‘those Palestinians, why do they insist upon living on our land (Israel), why can’t they just settle in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or any other Arab country?’ Another Hebraic pearl of wisdom sounds like this: ‘what is wrong with these Palestinians? We gave them water, electricity, education and all they do is try to throw us to the sea’.

Astonishingly enough, the Israelis even within the so-called ‘left’ and even the educated ‘left’ fail to understand who the Palestinians are, where they come from and what they stand for. They fail to grasp that for the Palestinians, Palestine is home. Miraculously, the Israelis manage to fail to grasp that Israel had been erected at the expense of the Palestinian people, on Palestinian land, on Palestinian villages, towns, fields and orchards. The Israelis do not realise that Palestinians in Gaza and in refugee camps in the region are actually dispossessed people from Ber Shive, Yafo, Tel Kabir, Shekh Munis, Lod, Haifa, Jerusalem and many more towns and villages. If you wonder how come the Israelis don’t know their history, the answer is pretty simple, they have never been told. The circumstances that led to the Israeli Palestinian conflict are well hidden within their culture. Traces of pre-1948 Palestinian civilisation on the land had been wiped out. Not only the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians, is not part of the Israeli curriculum, it is not even mentioned or discussed in any Israeli official or academic forum.

In the very centre of almost every Israeli town one can a find a 1948 memorial statue displaying a very bizarre, almost abstract, pipe work. The plumbing feature is called Davidka and it is actually a 1948 Israeli mortar cannon. Interestingly enough, the Davidka was an extremely ineffective weapon. Its shells wouldn’t reach more than 300 meters and would cause very limited damage. Though the Davidika would cause just minimal harm, it produced a lot of noise. According to the Israeli official historical narrative, the Arabs i.e., Palestinians, simply ran away for their lives once they heard the Davidka from afar. According to the Israeli narrative, the Jews i.e., ‘new Israelis’ did a bit of fireworks and the ‘Arab cowards’ just ran off like idiots. In the Israeli official narrative there is no mention of the many orchestrated massacres conducted by the young IDF and the paramilitary units that preceded it. There is no mention also of the racist laws that stop Palestinians[1][1] from returning to their homes and lands.

The meaning of the above is pretty simple. Israelis are totally unfamiliar with the Palestinian cause. Hence, they can only interpret the Palestinian struggle as a murderous irrational lunacy. Within the Israeli Judeo- centric solipsistic universe, the Israeli is an innocent victim and the Palestinian is no less than a savage murderer.

This grave situation that leaves the Israeli in the dark regarding his past demolishes any possibility of future reconciliation. Since the Israeli lacks the minimal comprehension of the conflict, he cannot contemplate any possible resolution except extermination or cleansing of the ‘enemy’. All the Israeli is entitled to know are various phantasmic narratives of Jewish suffering. Palestinian pain is completely foreign to his ears. ‘Palestinian right of return’ sounds to him like an amusing idea. Even the most advanced ‘Israeli humanists’ are not ready to share the land with its indigenous inhabitants. This doesn’t leave the Palestinians with many options but to liberate themselves against all odds. Clearly, there is no partner for peace on the Israel side.

This week we all learned more about the ballistic capability of Hamas. Evidently, Hamas was rather restrained with Israel for more than a long while. It refrained from escalating the conflict to the whole of southern Israel. It occurred to me that the barrages of Qassams that have been landing sporadically on Sderot and Ashkelon were actually nothing but a message from the imprisoned Palestinians. First it was a message to the stolen land, homes fields and orchards: ‘Our beloved soil, we didn’t forget, we are still here fighting for you, sooner rather than later, we will come back, we will start again where we had stopped’. But it was also a clear message to the Israelis. ‘You out there, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa, whether you realise it or not, you are actually living on our stolen land. You better start to pack because your time is running out, you have exhausted our patience. We, the Palestinian people, have nothing to lose anymore’.

Let’s face it, realistically the situation in Israel is rather grave. Two years ago it was Hezbollah rockets that pounded northern Israel. This week the Hamas proved beyond doubt that it is capable of serving the South of Israel with some cocktail of ballistic vengeance. Both in the case of the Hezbollah and the case of the Hamas, Israel was left with no military answer. It can no doubt kill civilians but it fails to stop the rocket barrage. The IDF lacks the means of protecting Israel unless covering Israel with a solid concrete roof is a viable solution. At the end of the day, they might be planning just that (link).

But this is far from the end of the story. In fact it is just the beginning. Every Middle East expert knows that Hamas can seize control of the West Bank within hours. In fact, PA and Fatah control in the West Bank is maintained by the IDF. Once Hamas takes the West Bank, the biggest Israeli population centre will be left to the mercy of Hamas. For those who fail to see, this would be the end of Jewish Israel. It may happen later today, it may happen in three months or in five years, it isn’t matter of ‘if’ but rather matter of ‘when’. By that time, the whole of Israel will be within firing range of Hamas and Hezbollah, Israeli society will collapse, its economy will be ruined. The price of a detached villa in Northern Tel Aviv would equal a shed in Kiryat Shmone or Sderot. By the time a single rocket hits Tel Aviv, the Zionist dream will be over.

The IDF generals know it, the Israeli leaders know it. This is why they stepped up the war against the Palestinian into extermination. The Israelis do not plan upon invading Gaza. They have lost nothing there. All they want is to finish the Nakba. They drop bombs on Palestinians in order to wipe them out. They want the Palestinians out of the region. It is obviously not going to work, Palestinians will stay. Not only they will they stay, their day of return to their land is coming closer as Israel has been exploiting its deadliest tactics.

This is exactly where Israeli escapism comes into play. Israel has passed the ‘point of no return’. Its doomed fate is deeply engraved in each bomb it drops on Palestinian civilians. There is nothing Israel can do to save itself. There is no exit strategy. It can’t negotiate its way out because neither the Israelis nor their leadership understand the elementary parameters involved in the conflict. Israel lacks the military power to conclude the battle. It may manage to kill Palestinian grassroots leaders, it has been doing it for years, yet Palestinian resistance and persistence is growing fierce rather than weakening. As an IDF intelligence general predicted already at the first Intifada. ‘In order to win, all Palestinians have to do is to survive’. They survive and they are indeed winning.

Israeli leaders understand it all. Israel has already tried everything, unilateral withdrawal, starvation and now extermination. It thought to evade the demographic danger by shrinking into an intimate cosy Jewish ghetto. Nothing worked. It is Palestinian persistence in the shape of Hamas politics that defines the future of the region.

All that is left to Israelis is to cling to their blindness and escapism to evade their devastating grave fate that has become immanent already. All along their way down, the Israelis will sing their familiar various victim anthems. Being imbued in a self-centred supremacist reality, they will be utterly involved in their own pain yet completely blind to the pain they inflict on others. Uniquely enough, the Israelis are operating as a unified collective when dropping bombs on others, yet, once being slightly hurt, they all manage to become monads of vulnerable innocence. It is this discrepancy between the self-image and the way they are seen by the rest of us which turns the Israeli into a monstrous exterminator. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from grasping their own history, it is that discrepancy that stops them from comprehending the repeated numerous attempts to destroy their State. It is that discrepancy that stops Israelis from understanding the meaning of the Shoah so can they prevent the next one. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from being part of humanity.

Once again Jews will have to wander into an unknown fate. To a certain extent, I myself have started my journey a while ago.

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January 4th, 2009, 3:57 am

 

174. Rumyal said:

Averroes,

These are very strong words by Gilad Atzmon, ones that I almost totally identify with. One thing he doesn’t mention in detail is that the ignorance about the past of the conflict and the phantasmagoric ideas we have, as Israelis, about our past in the Diaspora are not mere accidents but the result of a carefully crafted history that we imbibe in the public education system, in the media etc. The enterprise of building this history was of upmost importance to Ben-Gurion and his peers, and they dedicated a lot of their time and energy to building the “story”. This is detailed in Shlomo Sand’s new book which has caused quite a bit of shock in Israel—but is of great commercial success—which means that people *are* interested in removing the shackles of ignorance. (Shlomo Sand’s book is not available yet in English to the best of my knowledge.)

One thing I don’t fully identify with however is the total despair. That is, my despair however deep it is, is not utter and complete, because I do believe in the human power to seek the truth. There are many many stories of people like Gilad who have attained a crisp understanding of the past and are thinking of formulas for a mutual future, perhaps they have a chance?

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January 4th, 2009, 7:14 am

 

175. why-discuss said:

Israel is reviving antisemitism and bringing in new antisemites.

Don’t the jewish community realizes that the actions of Israel is reviving anti semitic feelings worldwide?
Unless this community distances itself from Israel it may become ostracized and despised worldwide as the european christians despised them for centuries and tried to get rid of them.
Arabs who have never been anti-semite are becoming more and more.
It is time for the jews who disagree with the monstruous behavior of Israel to raise their voices.

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January 4th, 2009, 9:31 am

 

176. Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

I very much agree with you, and I think most Jews aren’t giving this enough serious thought. However, Europe is still far more problematic to Muslims than to Jews. That Simo likes to attack the Jews (ya’ani Israel), and compare us to Nazis, is in no way comparable to the growing anti-Islamism in that same continent he so proudly resides in.

But the problem is not just the Jewish community, but indeed the World community. Putting aside Washington, just yesterday the current EU president (the Czech Republic) announced the land incursion into Gaza by as Israel as “Defensive in nature…” So if you hear that out of Christian Europe, what can you expect of the Jewish community… It is truly sad, because no one seems to be thinking beyond yesterday.

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January 4th, 2009, 10:24 am

 

177. SimoHurtta said:

I by accident stumbled on a fight between Israeli troops and Finns UN forces when reading a column of a former Finnish diplomat. After 1973 war ceasefire the UN forces general Siilasvuo (a Finn) ordered Finnish UN troops to establish UN checkpoint called Gamma in Sinai.

Israelis did not like the establishing that checkpoint, because it was needed by the ceasefire agreement for the exchange of war prisoners. That “dislike” led to fighting Israelis used fists and rifle buts, Finns used fists. Despite the Israeli superiority in numbers Finns did win and the checkpoint was established.

So one could say that the Finns and Hizbollah have beaten IDF.

——

That Simo likes to attack the Jews (ya’ani Israel), and compare us to Nazis, is in no way comparable to the growing anti-Islamism in that same continent he so proudly resides

Well Shai the history shows that anti-Semitism is not “unpopular” in Europe. Let’s not mix the present deep disgust of Israeli actions during the past decades and past anti-Semitism.

I have noting against Jews, I surely have against how the religion of Judaism is used in Israel to divide people in separate groups and how the members of that religion in Israel are treating others. Shai if you and your bunch were Hindus, I would still criticize Hisrael (I suppose a fit name for a hypothetical Hindu Israel).

Shai lets be clear what we now see in Gaza is pure “Nazism” in the worst scale. The only suitable comparison in recent history to this attack against a small surrounded area is the destroying of Warsaw Ghetto.

What the Czech EU presidency spokesman Jiri Potuznik said represents only his country’s view. It is not a view of the whole EU and certainly the Czechs will be heavily criticized for such of idiotic statement as the following quote shows.

Further underlining the impression of European division, a British government source said of the Czech statement: “It is not the position of the British government.”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/UKNews1/idUKTRE5021XK20090103?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0

Shai Israel is presently loosing much more than the fight against Palestinians (or Hamas as your propagandists call the “operation”).

PS.
Shai are you going to fight to Gaza if you are called there as a reservist? You did not answer my question. I suppose silence is equal to yes.

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January 4th, 2009, 11:07 am

 

178. Shai said:

Simo,

When you get back to talking sensibly, I might bother to respond. In the meantime, I’d rather communicate with more serious people. Take my silence to mean whatever the hell you want…

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January 4th, 2009, 11:33 am

 

179. Shai said:

Pan-Arab effort required to help Gaza crisis: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052340.html

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January 4th, 2009, 11:55 am

 

180. SimoHurtta said:

So you would go hunting Palestinians in Gaza when called. Like you did not go to Tel Aviv to the demonstration against Gaza invasion, because you had to spend family “quality time”. Shai you are loosing fast the credibility as an real Israeli peace dove. A lazy dove indeed or a hawk in a dove disguise.

As you know real individual commitment should be needed from your Israeli peace side in the present situation instead of writing more or less sense making hollow “peace talk”. Remember Gandhi whose strategy you a couple of days ago admired. He did something else than write meaningless slogans and surfed along the opposite sides opinions.

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January 4th, 2009, 12:08 pm

 

181. Shual said:

“Shai lets be clear what we now see in Gaza is pure “Nazism” in the worst scale. The only suitable comparison in recent history to this attack against a small surrounded area is the destroying of Warsaw Ghetto.”

Simohurtta,
after your “Stalingrad”-comments prooved that you have no clue about “Nazism”, … you should stop annoy Shai with such wrong comparisons. Please annoy him with other things. But not with the history of my country.

Read the rest in my answer on your fascinating “Wehrmacht”-fantasies

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January 4th, 2009, 12:45 pm

 

182. Shai said:

Simo,

You’re the LAST person here to give me moral lectures. You have no idea what I do and don’t do for my Palestinian and Arab friends, for their people, and for mine. I certainly don’t need to give YOU, of all people, a “report” of my active and passive pro-peace or pro-war activities. I, at least, come here trying to learn, trying to accept responsibility for my actions and for those of my country’s, to listen, and to open-up. I try to build bridges of understanding, of communication, of empathy, and eventually, of peace. You, on the other hand, come here to destroy all those attempts. I have not seen, in this past year that I’m here on SC, a SINGLE comment, just one, that came out of your mouth, that called for peace. Your task is to supposedly “enlighten” us all with reality as-it-is, with proper comparisons between Nazism and Zionism, with stories of Finnish soldiers beating the IDF, and with analogies about Israelis and the Wermacht. But your real task, is to inflame, to divide, to destroy, and to cause Jews and Arabs to continue their century-long hatred and violence towards each other.

And when that’s all you can do, then I certainly have nothing further to discuss with you. Go preach to your choir, tell them what they want to hear, and give yourself a pat on the back. Once again, you did NOTHING to help.

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January 4th, 2009, 1:39 pm

 

183. Alex said:

Simohurtta

We are all upset at Israel’s criminal behavior … but PLEASE avoid personal attacks on Shai … if he is the pretentious man you feel he is, he could have easily told us that he did indeed take part in that demonstration.

And Israel’s ugly crimes are not comparable to Nazi crimes. they are not comparable to the crimes in Darfur … or in Iraq.

The numbers are not even close.

A million people demonstrated in turkey today … another million demonstrated in Morocco (in a city of 300,000 people)

Other criminals in my opinions are those who think they are “Israel’s friends” who are steering what the American people read or watch, to their liking … thus enabling the pathetic fools leading the Untied states and Israel in starting unnecessary bloody wars knowing that million people will NOT demonstrate against it in their countries… because the media packaged everything properly for them to be brainwashed again.

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January 4th, 2009, 9:14 pm

 

184. SimoHurtta said:

Isn’t Alex fair in these circumstances to ask from any Israeli military age reservist would they go to Gaza? Especially from those who advocate peace. In Israel the real heroes are those people who decide not to participate in military actions on occupied areas, even they face prison.

I see it extremely hypercritical to give advice in several comments how Palestinians should get their rightful freedom and own state by Gandhi style demonstrations but neglecting the rare opportunity to show his own state his own opinion/advice on a crucial moment when that opinion has effect. Somebody sometimes said “don’t do what I command to do, do what I do”. It is also called leading by example.

One million demonstrators in Turkey or Morocco have little or no effect. 150.000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv have much effect. 1.000 Israeli soldiers/reservists refusing to go would have huge effect and force the Israeli society to think about more clever solutions. Now it is to late.

they are not comparable to the crimes in Darfur … or in Iraq.

Do you Alex mean crimes in Saddam’s Iraq or in “American” Iraq? Both were costly in “numbers”. The American participation even more costly in “numbers”, considering the US role in Iran-Iraq war, donation of chemical weapons, sanction period and finally in Bush Juniors war. If a dictator regime makes crimes it is bad, but when a democracy makes same crimes it is much more worse. From the moral viewpoint.

“Numbers” are not necessary so essential and who is the one who decides the scale. Is Gaza (and Palestine in general) bad after 1.000 dead and terrible after 10.000 and a holocaust after 100.000 dead. As you and I know the Israeli occupation has not been something Israel is forced to do. If Israel had made the two state solution 20 (or 10 or 5) years ago would there be now troubles? It didn’t and seems that it is not going to make any changes in course in the near future. Things are only going in the even more dangerous direction.

By the way Alex Israeli and US politicians are constantly comparing Iran to Nazis. However the “numbers” in Iran are smaller than in Israel/Palestine. Seems that also “they” do not understand the “number” scale.

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January 4th, 2009, 10:14 pm

 

185. Alex said:

Dear Simohurtta

I understand your reasoning but I only hope you would moderate the way you present your thoughts. You can tell Shai in a less confrontational way that you believe that the most effective way to influence Israel is for Shai to work harder to make those 150,000 anti war demonstrations in Tel Aviv a reality.

As for the crimes in Iraq, definitely I am blaming the Neocons in the first place … we knew Saddam was a ruthless and foolish man but the Neocons who are pretending they are fighting against dictatorships are beyond criminal … they top the list.

Honestly, the Israelis are way less criminal than Cheney and his allies … at least in Israel they are close enough to see the real situation in Palestinian territories, and they allow Haaretz to occasionally print the most impressive opinion pieces by “the far left” … they can’t pretend they do not understand and do not see.

In the United states? … the facilitators of crimes who call themselves “the Friends of Israel” have isolated the American people from what their current leaders, have done in Iraq and in the Middle East in general … very little is reaching the American people.

I was watching a CNN report on some Iraqi child (Ali?) whose face was burned and distorted in one of those countless cases of post-Saddam violence. America helped Ali with a couple plastic surgeries … CNN’ sreport on happy Ali in America made it sound like America is really wonderful … they helped Ali.

Never mind that it is evil Syria that opened its doors to 1.5 million Iraqi refugees … CNN can show Ali and feel good that their country is doing just fine.

Israel killed 509 Palestinians and injured close to 3000 so far … The Neocons? hundreds of thousands …

Both are serious crimes worthy of Hariri tribunal-like legal investigations … but the problem starts in Washington… Likud’s friends in Washington are among the worst enemies of peace.

When the ground invasion is over Israel will lose many more young soldiers than the number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets … There are increasing calls for kicking out Israeli ambassadors from Amman, Cairo, and Ankara

This is not about protecting Israel and Israelis .. it is about the eagerness to use absolute power given the guaranteed no accountability in Washington.

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January 4th, 2009, 10:50 pm

 

186. Shual said:

“By the way Alex Israeli and US politicians are constantly comparing Iran to Nazis.”

Simohurtta,
I think that I already wrote, that “Hamas is behaving like Nazis” is one of the most popular text module in Western countries, especially here. Its only used by people with no background, information, basis to transport meaningless messages. It is the sign that the “autor” is helpless and indoctrinated. Indoctrinated by “Israeli + US politicians”.

Arabs? Palestinians?
For the most of them I know a try to communicate with the world. “Nazis” is something that is known. “Israel behaves like Nazis” should only create an emotional basis -empathy-.

Sorry,
it does not work. The NS-comparisons have degenerated any emotional basis. Stage I: Silence. Stage II: Final Stroke. Stage III: Degeneration of rememberance. Stage IV: Tool.

Why?
After the war the world started to modify the laws of human rigths. Bääääh. What a word for “consevatives”! human rigths! Ugly. “We have to act against Hamas with all strength. We are the idol of human rigths, BUT Hamas is worser than the Nazis, so we have to forget that for a minute.” NS-comparisons are today a tool to bridge reality and pretension.

I can only advice all arabs not to follow the path of ultra-democratic conservativs. Talk about human rigths, please. Create your own tools, please. Show us that arabs can be better than “well-educated ultra-democrats”, please.

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January 5th, 2009, 2:08 am

 

187. Rumyal said:

Simo, All,

I’m going to write something about Shai, I hope he won’t mind… Shai as you may have noticed is a “man with a plan”. Out of deep commitment to the betterment of the lives of all people in our area, he has reached the conclusion that the only way to start things moving is by having a peace treaty (not necessarily “real peace”) between Syria and Israel. You may disagree with his analysis, but that’s where he’s coming from. I have absolute trust in his motives—he is not trying to sell anybody on the cheap, not consciously at least (but maybe unconsciously he has given Israel too much credit with respect to the settlements). Anyway, with his charisma and communication skills you can imagine that he may actually be able to nudge some people in Israel. Now, he can’t do that from a partisan position—he may need to talk with people from all around the political spectrum to further his goal. And therefore, he may have less freedom in expressing his own public opinion in matters related to the Palestinians, as that would discredit him as the unpartisan messenger for peace with Syria. Till now, there hasn’t been a single person that has refused reserve duty in this war. Being the first one to do so would taint him unequivocally as a “traitor”.

Now if you read Zvi Bar’el here: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052351.html you’ll see a pretty strong position that says that regardless of the results on the ground one thing is certain—Hamas’ position as a legitimate player will, ultimately, get bolstered as a result of this war. This in turn will again underscore the need to get to more comprehensive understandings and that path invariably goes through Damascus. So, I believe that a few months after the dust settles we will see renewed negotiations with Syria, so I would “save” Shai for that time.

And to Norman and co. who now believe only in the power of war I say wait for a few months, in the renewed negotiations Syria will have the strongest hand it had so far and a more favorable administration in the US (that of course does not take into account the possibility of Assad imploding due to the Hariri tribunal. If that happens then all bets are off again…)

===========================================================================================

Through the eyes of a squad leader

By Zvi Bar’el

Tags: hamas, israel news, gaza

How to define victory? The squad leader is bound to have a very clear answer. The chief of staff and the politician will probably begin to philosophize over it. They will all agree without difficulty, though, that one’s definition of victory depends on the goal.

So if one sets goals that are vague enough, such as “changing the security situation,” everyone can claim victory. If the Qassams stop, then we will have won. And if we set terms for the opening of the Rafah crossing, then we will have also won. And if we restore our deterrence, we will have most certainly won.

Generally speaking, wars are very convenient for making such definitions. But when the war ends, Gaza will no longer be ruled by a “terrorist organization” running the Strip, but by a government with status, which will set terms for any regional move Israel aspires to carry out. That’s because Hamas stands to gain through war what it has failed to achieve through its sweeping victory in the Palestinian elections.

Hamas, as it turns out, has a single definition for victory. Like Hezbollah, Hamas knows that a few hundred rockets will not crush Israel, but rather serve as critically-needed leverage to establish its presence as a prominent and active decision-making force in the inter-Palestinian arena. This goes beyond Hamas’ standing as the only Palestinian force engaged in a liberation struggle with the conqueror. It refers to the organization’s success in reshuffling the Middle Eastern deck of cards.

The deep rift – even conflict – between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria is Hamas’ handiwork. It is a repeat of Hezbollah’s successful efforts to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Syria. Similarly to its role in Lebanon, Iran has turned into a significant force in the diplomatic battleground around Gaza.

The international boycott of Hamas, the fruit of Israel’s labor, is developing ever-widening cracks. A similar process occurred when Hezbollah made the boycott on Syria go away with its achievements in Lebanon.

Already France is initiating plans for a cease-fire, and in the near future it will agree to talk to Hamas. The Turkish prime minister has already met with the head of Hamas’ political department, Khaled Meshal, and with Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah. And although these meetings were public, Israel protested by sounding the traditional horn of condemnation.

In a broken voice, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a placatory speech last week in which he not only blamed Israel for the war, but also invited Hamas to a reconciliation with and even possible incorporation into the PLO. Abbas even hinted that he would put an end to peace talks with Israel if he is convinced that they are leading nowhere.

This week, Abbas appeared to be the least relevant figure in this war. Instead of becoming the most senior Palestinian leader conducting talks with Israel to put an end to the hostilities, he turned himself into the leader of just one Palestinian faction, an “exiled leader” capable of nothing more than making compassionate speeches.

Like Hezbollah, Hamas is not a popular organization among Arab regimes. These two entities are not unpopular because they represent radical Shi’ite Islam. It is because they are disrupting the traditional balance of power that allows Arab powers like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Syria to set the rules for the rest of the region’s countries.

Moreover, they destroy the roles of inter-Arab organizations like the Arab League, and expose them to ridicule. They are constructing a new Middle Eastern order in which the organization is the state.

Through a painful process wrought with intense stomach cramps and nausea, the Arab nations are gradually internalizing this reality. They are already aspiring for a stable regime in the territories, be it under Hamas or the Wizard of Oz for all they care, as long as the Palestinian issue stops haunting them with street protests in their cities.

Israel, by contrast, has not yet fully grasped the shift. This war will surely clarify matters for Jerusalem, making it more evident that it is impossible to negotiate with Abbas while killing hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza. Gaza and the West Bank are two regions of one nation, under a split leadership whose two halves are at odds with one another. Hamas wants to consolidate this realization in Israel’s mind through this war, and will continue the war even if it achieves a cease-fire and the crossings are reopened. The smuggling tunnels will be rebuilt.

For Hamas, the definition of victory does not depend on the number of casualties or changing the security situation. The next stage for Hamas will be to use the war for political and internal leverage, because the organization has already achieved its objectives in terms of deterrence.

At any given moment, all it takes is one Qassam to disrupt the entire order of things. Hamas is thinking like a regional power. Israel is still looking at things through the eyes of a squad leader.

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January 5th, 2009, 4:53 am

 

188. Shai said:

Rumyal,

Thank you for trying to depict me in “better light”. But first, I think Simo knows very well what I stand for and second, I don’t think he really cares. I think he needs to vent out his own frustrations at Israelis, regardless of who is in front of him, so he allows himself to talk to me as he would to Yvette Liebermann. To him, I’m no less a criminal than “my bunch”. His incessant needs to compare Zionism to Nazism may be related to his own family’s history with the topic, I don’t know. By his own admission, his mother (being Austrian) or her family certainly, may have had certain “dilemmas” to face some 65 years ago, and he certainly alludes to us Israelis having similar “dilemmas”. He wonders out loud how this particular Israeli would handle this “dilemma”.

Well Simo, I’ll resolve your deep suspense and concern for my moral dilemmas – I no longer do Reserves duty and, with the exception of a 1973-style war, where Israel’s existence comes into question (and hence, where I will voluntarily go back to fighting), I will not be doing any fighting in Gaza or the West Bank. I’ve done military service (including Reserves) for nearly 20 years of my life, which is more than plenty. I’ve been to every corner of the Palestinian territories almost – from Gaza to Jenin to Hebron to Nablus. I know about what goes on there about a thousand times better than most in this forum, including you. I know what Israeli soldiers do there, I was one of them and saw things up close. I’ve seen how my own society was corrupting itself morally by occupying other people’s land, and controlling their very lives. I know this, because I stood a meter away from it, unlike you who, at best, read about it on some Finnish blog, or heard about it from some Palestinian friend. By the way, I doubt you have as many Palestinian friends as I do, nor do for them half as much as I do. I will certainly NOT give you a “report” of my activities. You’re the LAST person I feel indebted to in any way shape or form.

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January 5th, 2009, 5:29 am

 

189. Shual said:

Shai,

“dilemma”- not very fair, too.
His question[s] is[are] very actual. His style is wrong.

Where have all that refuseniks gone? If you can receive only 1 or 2 months in prison, why are NO Israeli soldiers refusing? Sorry, I can not find any Israelis that refuse in that war.

Raz Bar-David Varon in his fare-well-letter: “Will there be enough activity on the issue of occupation refusal? How many refuseniks will follow me? I hope that the subject, and us refuseniks ,will not be forgotten, and I also hope our act will turn out to be meaningful.” [Nov/03/2008]

Yes, I know. I guess several ten thousands or more very active Israelis give their best. Thats not the question. The question is: What is wrong with the others?

Ok. Everybody here is smart enough to give the different possible answers. [And no… it has nothing to do with the vikings, huns, or any other historic behaviour.]

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January 5th, 2009, 6:33 am

 

190. Shai said:

Shual,

You’re absolutely right. But the problem isn’t why there aren’t refuseniks, as it is why there aren’t people that see this action as wrong. If people thought it was wrong, you’d have plenty of refuseniks, like you did in nearly every single operation or war we’ve had, certainly since the first intifada. But today, 99.9% of Israelis are united behind this Operation, like they haven’t been in Lebanon two years ago, in various operations in the West Bank (e.g. “Homat Magen”), and certainly in the two-year suffocation and strangulation of Gaza.

I don’t think most Israelis are happy that 250 people died and 700+ were injured in that first day, last Saturday. I think most Israelis ARE happy that the IDF “finally did something”. This is the mindset in Israel now, whether we accept it or not. Israel didn’t know how to react to the Qassam rockets over the past 8 years, and now, they’re acting like the mad dog. To be honest, if all they’d hit (or even most) was Hamas, its fighters, its installations, etc., though I wouldn’t “love it”, I’d at least accept it as part of the ongoing conflict. But the minute Israel decided it can take the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent men, women, and children, that’s where I draw the line. There is nothing “defensive” about such action – it is wrong, and it is criminal.

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January 5th, 2009, 7:12 am

 

191. Shai said:

Correction to the above: 99.9% of Jewish-Israelis. Of course all Arab-Israelis are against it.

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January 5th, 2009, 7:16 am

 
 

193. Sami D said:

Dear Shai, Rumyal, Alex,

Regarding describing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “Nazi-like”: The question in my mind is what constitutes a “Nazi-like” behavior; is it just extermination camps/gas chambers? My impression is that the adjective is used, mainly by victims or their supporters, to simply denote systematic criminality committed by one ethnic group against another. It is also possible that it is used to refer specifically to Israeli crimes in an attempt to add a tinge of insult, (as proven by the reaction it elicits) or perhaps a wakeup call, by likening Israeli policies to that of their own former killers, tormentors and thus symbols of utter evil. It might also be, I am guessing, a jab at the exclusive sense of victimhood some supporters of Israel like to ascribe to Jews under Nazism, as a way to further shield Israel from criticism.

Technically, using the term Nazi in reference to Israel is likely wrong. But, it is also important to mention that besides mass, gas-chamber extermination, Israel has systematically violated all of the Geneva conventions, now ongoing for six decades. Massacres, collective punishment, ethnic cleansing, rape, bombardment of civilian areas, killing of unarmed prisoners of war, starvation, usurpation of resources and land, colonization, home demolitions, erasing of villages, poisoning of wells, preventing (often by shooting) refugees from returning to their homes, destroying power stations, attacking hospitals, infrastructure, civilian areas, using exceptionally cruel weapons against civilians and children, like cluster and phosphorous bombs.

Sure, Israel may not have directly killed as much as this or that brutal dictator (that some defenders of Israeli policy find it fitting to contrast Israel’s murder toll to that of mass murderers, is in itself revealing in the choice of moral reference!). But destroying someone’s life is accomplished not simply by killing them. When Israel drags families in the middle of the night, destroys their homes, or confiscates/destroy their crops, deny them their own water, uproots their trees, mass imprison them with walls, torture them, use them as human shields, humiliate them at hundreds of checkpoints, suffocate their economies, plant ultra-racist and armed settlers in their midst, dump settlement sewers on their land, institute a racist maze of permits and Jews-only roads. Or the hundreds of thousands of Gaza children who have psychological problems, or eyes/knee-caps shot by snipers, bones broken as part of deliberate Israeli policy in the first Intifada? How many nameless hundreds of thousands of Palestinians has Israel done any/all of these things to? Are these counted among those whose lives were destroyed, when we compare it to some brutal dictator, many of whom, let us note, Israel anyway supported, armed, against their people, be it Mobutu or the Shah or the Nazi-sympathizers (note!) of apartheid South Africa?

I think Israel understands the algebra of counting vis-à-vis its image, and thus is smart to avoid large number of direct killing, (although can’t resist it sometimes) and simply sufficing itself by destroying the lives of thousand times more people indirectly, (to induce “voluntary migration” perhaps, as some Israeli leaders, like the Nobel dove Rabin, stated), since these tend not to get counted on Israel’s C.V. Another example of the uncounted casualties is those who die indirectly from Israeli policies. When it is said that Israel killed “only” 500 Gazans in one week, (contrasting it to Saddam or the Neocons, whom Israel anyway supported 100%), who is counting the likely tens of thousands of Gazans who died from lack of food supplies, medications, like diabetes, kidney and cancer patients, cutting power and clean water? Can the term Nazi be invoked to describe this behavior? Would the term “war-criminal” be more acceptable? Does it really matter? Or Israel’s past attempt at erasing all symbols of Palestinian culture and identity –in line with Zionism— incidentally, fitting the definition of genocide, a term which is not limited to the physical extermination of ethnic groups? Even the respected Jewish philosopher, Yesheyahu Leibowitz invoked the term Judeo-Nazi after Israel’s monstrous behavior in 1982 Lebanon, where 20,000 people were killed by Israel in two months. (Chomsky’s account on this episode in his Fateful Triangle is as phenomenal as it is disturbing, also a superb resource exposing Israel’s systematic rejectionist policies in the post-1967 era to overtures of peace, incidentally). My point is that victims and their sympathizers are not supposed to be historically accurate, and should be allowed to use any term they see fit to describe their feeling. After all, to the victim whose entire family was incinerated, her neighborhood, university, mosque and buildings leveled, this is “holocaust”.

As always, I appreciate your inputs, although I might not get the chance to comment back. (By the way, thanks dear Shai for your ever-nice words).

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January 6th, 2009, 6:11 am

 

194. Shai said:

Dear Sami,

First, let me say that I completely agree with the three reasons you mentioned for why some describe Israeli behavior as nothing short of Nazism. I also agree with you, and with Yeshahayahu Leibowitz, that certain things Israel has done (and is doing) towards the Palestinian people indeed constitute Nazi-like behavior.

Though I think much of the time Israelis, or Jews, reject this comparison because of the scale (i.e. killing “only” 500 Palestinians is still not killing 50,000 in the same time period), the main reason most Israelis could not accept this comparison is because it is the most traumatic thing that has happened to the Jews, and it is still very much “fresh” in their minds. I personally believe, though I haven’t done any real research into it, that much of our irrational behavior over the past 60 years is derived directly from many complexes within us that have yet to be “treated”. Some of these include paranoia, innate-fear and distrust, lack of self-confidence, inferiority-complex, etc. I am not trying to give “excuses” for our behavior, only to give my 2-cents worth analysis of why we might be doing what we’re doing.

But the main issue for me whenever I hear comparisons between Zionism and Nazism is not even the extent of the legitimacy. It is whether doing so in the first place, certainly towards Israelis or Jews, is smart. If the purpose is to shock the receiving end enough to cause them to “think about it”, then it is bound to fail before it begins. I’m no special-Jew, but I do have the perspective that most in Israel do not have. I grew up in the West, lived in a few countries as a minority, and experienced many interactions, and indeed friendships, with people who would otherwise be known to me as “enemies”, “antisemites”, etc. I’ve had the luxury of being taken out of this pressure-cooker for quite a few years, have had a chance to develop in a calmer world (I think), alongside people who have suffered in our region as well. In a way, we grew together, helping each other develop faith, trust, confidence and hope. We’ve seen that’s it’s possible.

But most Israelis, and Jews, have not had this luxury. Most grew up learning about the dangerous future that lies ahead, more than the peaceful one. Most have been taught about antisemitism and Nazism, and that our answer to it was Zionism and the State of Israel. Most Israelis have either directly, or indirectly (through family members or friends), seen the consequences of the Holocaust. Most Ashkenazi Jews have but mere fractions of their families remaining, because of Nazism. In my own family, only about 5% survived. My grandmother’s sister miraculously survived Auschwitz, only to carry around with her the famous number on her arm, and the nightmares that kept haunting her at night for the next 40 years until she died. These are physical and emotional scars that most Jews in Israel carry with them, still after so many years.

So to tell such a Jew that he is, in essence, either behaving just like a Nazi, or complicit in this behavior by allowing it to happen, has without a doubt the opposite effect – it causes this Jew to shut down, to dismiss without thinking, to consider the comparison the greatest insult possible. It is the most ineffective means, perhaps, of getting us to see our behavior.

If the purpose is to indeed jab or insult, then it is achieved. But then, what’s the point? Dose it make someone like me, Rumyal, AIG, or Akbar Palace, go and “consider” things more seriously? No, it doesn’t. And, to be honest, especially when it comes from a European (not to mention one that claims his family has had to deal with certain “dilemmas” in their past). It would make sense, perhaps, that a German like Shual could have the most powerful effect on an Israeli, with such comparison. But unfortunately, Jews are not yet “ready” to hear this. The kind of inner-strength, courage, and openness required to do so, are just not there yet.

In the past I brought up the idea of a “psychology of nations”, and that perhaps this field requires much study and development, in order to truly understand why a people might act as they do, in certain periods of their history. I have almost no doubt, that we as Jews are still very much influenced by that trauma, and are still haunted by it. But again, I reassert that this in no way shape or form excuses us from the criminal behavior and treatment of another people.

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January 6th, 2009, 7:44 am

 

195. why-discuss said:

Sarkozy, Israel is NOT “a great nation”? NOT “a great democracy”? It is a neurocracy and a criminal nation.

After watching the horrific images of the massacre in Gaza (reminding me of Saddam Hussein brutality on the Shia and the Kurds) I am more and more convinced that Israel is not ‘a great nation’ or a ‘great democracy’ but a irremediably sick country. Money, economical success means nothing when humanity has disappeared and selfishness, blind hatred has taken over the mind of 70% of the Israelis. It is not conceivable for a normal person to watch the horrors and pain inflicted on simple, destituted people without having compassion. I think that Israelis are hysterics and neurotics as they still perceive themselves as victims while perpetrating siege, starvation and blind massacre of the same people they stole they land from.
The same ways Apartheid South Africa and Saddams’s regime disappeared, Israel current regime is doomed.

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January 6th, 2009, 8:30 am

 

196. Rumyal said:

Shami,

Quite a culture hero you got there. From omniscient Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faisal_of_Saudi_Arabia

====

In interviews to the Arab press, King Faisal claimed that Jews “started the Crusades in order to weaken Christianity and Islam”, that they routinely practice the ritual murder of Christian and Muslim children and “mix their blood into their bread and eat it”, and that the Jews are involved in a plot to rule the world.[22] He habitually presented copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other antisemitic literature to diplomats, officials, journalists, who visited him,[23] including Michel Jobert and Aldo Moro.[24] King Faisal wrote in the Arabic weekly Al-Musawwar:[25]
Israel has had malicious intentions since ancient times.…they have a certain day on which they mix the blood of non-Jews into their bread and eat it. It happened that two years ago, while I was in Paris on a visit, the police discovered five murdered children. Their blood had been drained and it turned out that some Jews had murdered them in order to take their blood and mix it with the bread that they eat on this day. This shows you what is the extent of their hatred and malice toward non-Jewish peoples.

In an interview with the Lebanese publication Al-Sayyad, Faisal said that “in order to comprehend the crimes of Zionism it’s necessary to understand the Jewish religious obligation to obtain non-Jewish blood.”[26]

=======

You send us a clip where he calls for the extermination of Israel, then you explain that “extermination” actually means a new political order involving a two-state federation. Well maybe there is a more effective way to say what you mean in the first place? Our peoples can’t tolerate doublespeak anymore, peace talk that masquarades as calls for extermination and vice versa. If you want to live along side the Jews in a one-state or two-state solution, just say so. If you believe Israel’s ideology is a disaster and must change—say so. If you believe we should all be liquidated, be honest and say that too.

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January 6th, 2009, 8:31 am

 

197. Rumyal said:

Hello Sami,

That’s it. That’s the last straw. How dare you accuse MY country of all these acts when half of my family has been exterminated by the Nazis?!

OK, more seriously, I’m starting a blog and quoting this comment and Shai’s response will be the first entry. Isn’t it nice that you can set up a blog that is based mostly on scavenging the comments section here on SC? Thank you for your very accurate assessment of my country’s behavior. I agree with Shai’s characterization and I would add that I think that some of these traits were ingrained in the people even before the holocaust. When you are a small underdog minority, caring for other groups of the population is not of any significance for your survival or even for your moral well-being, so it’s not something we grew accustomed to as a population, even though we always had great humanist thinkers.

One more angle about the holocaust that you may not be aware of it is that “it must be ours and only ours”. For example, for a long time Israel and Turkey were best buddies regarding the Armenian holocaust because we said that no catastrophe can even come close to ours, so how come those pesky Armenians claim to have been the victims of a holocaust?! Only a few years ago a more humanistic stance started sipping in and we started recognizing the suffering of the Armenians as similar to ours. That of course caused an incident with the Turks. Similarly it also took us ages to recognize that the gays, mentally ill and the Gypsies were also persecuted by the Nazis.

But I have a question for you, what is the goal of finding the right yard stick to measure how horrible we are? When the Palestinians execute people by dragging them from behind a jeep or by pushing them from the top of buildings, what nation do their resemble? Maybe the cannibals of Borneo? How do you feel when rightists make such comparisons to explain their obligation to fight evil?

All of these comparisons are invariably invoked to further some antagonist position and I think they are ultimately ineffective in convincing the other side of your position, quite the contrary, they demonize the other side. This comparisons are many times effective at convincing a 3rd party of your position though, and that’s where I see them mostly used, in the court of world opinion…

As for a message that can be effective in a direct dialog between Jews and Arabs, I really like the slogan that is used by some groups in Israel now “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies”. It’s so simple yet so powerful, essentially saying, whatever accusations we can level at each other, let’s first understand that we don’t have to be enemies and that we can work things out peacefully as adults. This is a message both for internal and external consumption and it humanizes the enemy rather than demonize it.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:01 am

 

198. SimoHurtta said:

And, to be honest, especially when it comes from a European (not to mention one that claims his family has had to deal with certain “dilemmas” in their past).

Shai this constant hinting that I have some dilemmas is simply said annoying. Especially coming from a hypocrite, who is constantly demanding that Israelis and Jews should not be put in same “basket”. I have repeatedly said that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF MY MOTHER’S RELATIVES was a member of Nazi party. They were normal industrial workers and farmers in Austria, originally refugees from Sudetenland. Some of them were forced to go to war like over 20 million other men in Nazi Germany were forced to go. I was born in Finland relative long after WW2 and I have lived in Finland for most of my life. I have been active in politics in a liberal party and certainly have no sympathies toward Nazis (or Zionists or Communists if that matters).

The Israel / Nazi action comparisons have been made for many years also by many Jewish intellectuals like Finkelstein and Falk recently. Blame them.

We should see when the term Nazi like behaviour is used it doesn’t mean anybody claims that Israel is equal to Nazi Germany. There are many differences but there can be found many equalities.

Nobody can deny the fact that Zionism is a national ideology based on the race and the practical application of Zionism has some serious racial/religious supremacy emphasis. Nobody can deny that Israel has not racial based laws and an de facto apartheid system. No other western democracy, to which Israel claims to belong, has presently equal race based legislation and such national constantly repeated ideology.

I have not claimed that Israel is exactly a Nazi state. Zionism is as national base ideology “equally” distributed among many parties. Nazism was one party monopoly. Israel is a one race democracy, Nazi Germany was a dictatorship. My point has been that Israel uses many equal methods the Nazis used. Like putting people on a lorry and dumping them over the border or in ghettos. What is basic difference between Gaza (and the West Bank ghettos) and Warsaw Ghetto? Listen to some of the Israeli politicians and religious figures, who represent the mainstream, not to side stream which you represent, what is their ideology and tone of voice? Is for example Lieberman a voice of western liberalism or a voice of “fascism”? I surely would not categorize him and those numerous others like him as western liberals or even as normal conservatives. You can freely choose the right political category form them. If Finnish member of Parliament would say that his fellow Jewish members of Parliament (we have couple of them) should be dumped in the sea, it would be scandal of century. When Lieberman says the same nothing happens, it is even no major scandal because it rather normal way of speaking in Israel. That is a “difference” and describes the health of the society. Sure you can blame that Lieberman acts like that because of the national “trauma”.

The Nazi like behaviour comparison is also valid because Jews blame constantly Nazis for ethnic cleansing, robbery of property, organized mass murder etc. For the same things Jews do for Palestinians. Sure the amounts of dead is smaller and the methods somewhat more better disguised and less severe, but is that essential? What should the Palestinians, who lost now their whole family under an Israeli (US made) bomb and have before their lands, houses and future stolen, call the Israeli “system” to compare it to what. For them Zionism brought the same what Nazism brought for European Jews.

Shai you are constantly putting on me the burden of my Austrian inheritance. Well I could equally blame you for the crimes of Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, a famous Jew. I also could say that you have some “dilemmas”. Beria organized the Katyn massager, which you as an almost Polish certainly know, he was responsible for creating and running the Gulag system. You as a Jew are responsible for Beria’s and his Jewish collages (quite many of them) acts as much I am responsible for what happened in Germany during WW2. Should I from now on begin to hint about your “dilemmas” with Marx, Engels, Beria, Trostski etc. Surely you can’t say the the Jewish influence in creating and implementing Communism was “minor”.

I hope that you will understand my point of view. If Iranians for example would do equal things we see in the occupied areas I certainly would say that they act like Nazis. Surely I would not mean that Iran is equal to Nazi Germany. When Russia destroyed Chechnya they acted like Nazis did. I suppose you do not have any problems with that comparison, but many Russians, who lost millions because of Nazis (and Beria), have. But if nobody acts as the Nazis did surely there would be no need for comparisons.

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January 6th, 2009, 1:51 pm

 

199. norman said:

Sarkozy urges Syria to pressure on Hamas

Posted: 06-01-2009 , 11:52 GMT

French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Syria on Tuesday to put pressure on its ally Hamas to return to a calm in the Gaza Strip. “It’s up to Syria to put pressure on the players (in the conflict) and notably on Hamas so that peace returns,” Sarkozy told journalists after talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Sarkozy arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus earlier in the day as part of a Mideast tour trying to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. According to Reuters, he added: “I am convinced that Syria can make an important contribution to the search for a solution. President Assad can play a role. He must convince Hamas it should choose reason, peace and reconciliation.”

The French president started his trip on Monday, holding talks with leaders in Egypt, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Sarkozy is due to visit Lebanon later Tuesday on the last step of his mission.

© 2009 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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January 6th, 2009, 1:56 pm

 

200. norman said:

Troops battle Hamas in Gaza cities as Israel spurns truce bids
Published: Tuesday January 6, 2009

Israeli troops battled Hamas fighters in major cities of overcrowded Gaza on Tuesday as Israel spurned appeals to halt a war on the Islamists that has killed at least 580 Palestinians.

Israeli tanks firing cannons and backed by helicopter gunships rolled into the southern city of Khan Yunis in the pre-dawn hours, to be met by return fire from Hamas and other militant groups, witnesses said.

The incursion came as Israeli infantry and Hamas gunmen exchanged fire inside Gaza City and at the edges of Deir al-Balah and al-Bureij in the centre of the territory, witnesses and medics said.

Israeli strikes hit two separate schools run by the United Nations in the Gaza Strip Tuesday morning, killing at least five Palestinians, medics and UN officials said.

Despite the relentless air, ground and naval assault on their stronghold launched to stop rockets, defiant Hamas continued to fire into Israel.

One projectile slammed 45 kilometres (28 miles), the deepest yet inside the Jewish state, lightly wounding a baby, the army said. Three others landed elsewhere without causing injuries.

Protests against one of Israel’s deadliest ever offensives on Gaza spiralled around the globe and French President Nicolas Sarkozy led new calls for a truce as he held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

“We, Europe, want a ceasefire as soon as possible,” Sarkozy said on Monday. “Time is working against peace. The weapons must be silenced and there must be a temporary humanitarian truce.”

But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed that the campaign would continue until Israel completely wiped out Hamas’s ability to fire rockets into Israel.

“The results of the operation must be… that Hamas must not only stop firing but must no longer be able to fire,” he was quoted as saying.

“We cannot accept a compromise that will allow Hamas to fire in two months against Israeli towns.”

Israel unleashed its “Operation Cast Lead” on Hamas on December 27 with a massive air bombardment of Gaza, and poured in thousands of ground troops a week later.

Since then, at least 580 Palestinians have been killed, nearly 100 of them children, and more than 2,700 wounded, according to Gaza medics.

The army said on Tuesday an Israeli paratroop officer was killed overnight in northern Gaza, indicating he may have been killed by friendly fire.

“The details of the event are still being investigated; however it is suspected that a tank shell was mistakenly fired at the force,” the army said in a statement.

The death brings to five the number of Israeli soldiers killed since the army poured ground troops into the Hamas stronghold on Saturday. Three of the soldiers died as a result of “friendly fire” in clashes in Gaza.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said people were dying because ambulances could not reach them amid the fighting.

Sarkozy, in Jerusalem after meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah, called the Hamas rocket attacks “irresponsible and unforgivable,” sparking the Islamists’ retort that he was “totally biased” towards Israel.

Olmert and Sarkozy agreed the latter would continue to push for a deal involving Egypt.

Cairo brokered a six-month truce that ended on December 19, which Hamas refused to renew and Sarkozy spoke after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and as a senior Hamas delegation was due to arrive in Egypt for talks on ending the violence.

Israel’s main ally the United States continued to lend strong support to the operation, with US President George W. Bush saying any truce must ensure an end to rocket fire.

“I understand Israel’s desire to protect itself and that the situation now taking place in Gaza was caused by Hamas,” he said.

The fighting in one of the world’s most densely-populated places where minors make up a large chunk of the 1.5 million population has claimed dozens of civilian lives.

In the latest such incident, medics said a couple and their five children were killed by a navy shell, while three children were killed by a shell in the Gaza City suburbs and two were killed in Shati.

Israeli officials have insisted they are doing all to prevent civilian casualties and have blamed Hamas for operating from civilian centres.

Gaza militants have continued to fire rockets into Israel despite the massive offensive, with three civilians and one soldier killed by the projectiles since December 27.

Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing the densely populated coastal enclave in June 2007 from forces loyal to Abbas, has remained defiant.

“Victory is coming,” its senior leader in Gaza, Mahmud Zahar, said in a television broadcast.

Israel faces intense international pressure to ease the suffering of the aid-dependent 1.5 million Gaza population, which has no power or water supplies and finding food is a daily struggle.

The UN Security Council was to meet again on Tuesday to weigh an Arab call for an immediate ceasefire and for protection of Palestinian civilians, diplomats said.

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January 6th, 2009, 2:00 pm

 

201. Shai said:

Dear Simo,

Did I hit a nerve there? To remind you, it wasn’t me who suggested some people may have certain “dilemmas”, when ordered to do something immoral. You yourself said “Some of them (your family members) were forced to go to war like over 20 million other men in Nazi Germany were forced to go”. And the other day you tried to put me in the same shoes – not a Nazi party member, but a follower of orders, being “forced to go to war…”, right? I guess it was okay for you to hint at my dilemmas, but not for me to suggest the same? Which one of us is a hypocrite again?

You know, you occasionally slip, and let out a little more than perhaps you’d like us to know, about how you truly feel. I know how much you don’t “hate” Jews, but then why do you say “The Nazi like behaviour comparison is also valid because Jews blame constantly Nazis for ethnic cleansing, robbery of property, organized mass murder etc. For the same things Jews do for Palestinians.” You do mean “Israelis”, don’t you? Or do you?

“I also could say that you have some “dilemmas”” Yes, you did exactly that – you tried to put me in a position where you hoped I would face exactly those dilemmas. You didn’t take into account, that I may have already ended my Reserves duty years, and that therefore I had no dilemmas to face. You also didn’t take into account, that your own admission regarding your family’s “being forced” to go to war might be used against you, in your own argument.

To make you finally understand my point – it was never that YOU are responsible in any way for your family’s “dilemmas”. Of course you’re not. But when you, as a European member of a family that had to participate in the Nazi army’s activities some 65 years ago, try to put ME in the same shoes, try to paint me as a hypocrite, or show my “true colors”, then you should at least expect the same in return. True, you Simo didn’t have dilemmas, and are not responsible in any way for what the Nazi army did. But your family, by your own admission, did. I am as much a “Nazi” as they were…

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January 6th, 2009, 7:28 pm

 

202. why-discuss said:

Turkey sides with Hamas and accuses Israel of ‘barbaric ‘ behavior and not having respected the temporary cease fire by keeping Gaza under siege.

Erdogan Searches for Diplomatic Response to Israeli Invasion of Gaza
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 1
January 5, 2009 11:00 AM Age: 1 days
By: Saban Kardas

Israel’s ongoing offensive against Gaza has generated waves of anger among the Turkish public and Turkish political elite. Paralleling mounting street demonstrations throughout Turkey are international attempts by the country’s leaders to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The attacks came amid Turkey’s growing involvement in the Middle East as a significant power seeking to exert influence through nonmilitary means, including economic and trade relations, cultural exchanges, and its new-found role as a regional peace broker. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has successfully involved Turkey in attempts to resolve the region’s protracted problems, most importantly Israel’s entangled relations with its Arab neighbors.

When Israel launched air strikes on December 27, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the high number of civilian deaths and emphasized Turkey’s concern that the developments might undermine regional stability (www.mfa.gov.tr, December 27). Erdogan criticized the operation and labeled Israeli aggression as an act against Turkey’s peace initiatives, noting that through this action Israel had shut the door on diplomacy. He said that any diplomatic contact with Israel was meaningless at that point and called on the United Nations to intervene to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. He also cancelled his plan to call Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss Israel-Syria negotiations, because Israeli aggression was also “an act of disrespect toward Turkey” (Radikal, December 27).

Erdogan’s disillusionment with Israel can be better understood given Olmert’s visit to Ankara a few days earlier, during which they discussed the status of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Olmert asked Erdogan to revitalize the Israeli-Syria talks (www.cnnturk.com, December 23). Erdogan was preparing to play a more assertive role as a peace-broker in 2009, but Israel’s unrestricted use of force and apparent “insincerity” toward Turkey might have shattered his optimism about finding a comprehensive solution to Middle Eastern conflicts through dialogue.

In response to Israel’s uncompromising position, the Erdogan government embarked on a diplomatic offensive to mobilize the international community. Since the outbreak of the crisis, Erdogan has spoken to world leaders such as the UN Secretary-General and European politicians (Anadolu Ajansi, January 4). He went on a “Middle East tour” to consult with regional leaders and explore a common position against Israel. On the first step of his shuttle-diplomacy, he met with the leaders of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, as well as Palestinian politicians. The second step of his tour took him to Saudi Arabia. Following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Erdogan announced Turkey’s proposal for a two-stage plan to calm tension in Gaza. The first stage would be a ceasefire supervised by international peacekeepers, including Turkish forces. The second stage would seek to find a common ground between rival Palestinian groups in order to achieve a sustainable peace in the region (www.ntvmsnbc.com, January 2; Sabah, January 3).

In the midst of these initiatives, Turkey appears to be seeking ways to bridge the divisions among Arab countries as well. While some Arab countries tend to feel that Hamas has the main responsibility for the collapse of talks with Fatah and are seeking to isolate it because of its alleged connections to Iran, Turkey is arguing against its isolation (Referans, December 30). At a time when Hamas is also coming under international criticism for sparking Israeli aggression, Erdogan defended the organization by saying that “agitation does not come from Hamas; rather, Israel has created fertile ground for this agitation.” Referring to a June 2008 deal brokered by Egypt, he maintained that “Hamas complied with the six-month long ceasefire. Yet, Israel did not lift the embargo. The people of Gaza are living in an open prison.” Erdogan went on to add that “Turkey could sponsor Hamas’s conditions for a ceasefire at the UN Security Council [UNSC], because Hamas’s trust in the Palestinian authority and Egypt has been shaken” but it still had full confidence in Turkey (Yeni Safak, January 3; http://www.cnnturk.com, January 4).

Here, Erdogan had in mind Turkey’s new role as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, which it assumed this month. However, the United States’ threat to veto any resolution to halt Israeli attacks, as reflected in the January 3 consultation meeting of the SC, will not make it easy for the Erdogan government to use this avenue for supporting Palestinian interests. It is also important to note that Erdogan has repeatedly emphasized Turkey’s willingness to work in tandem with Egypt as a defender of the Palestinian cause.

At the same time, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with his counterparts. He phoned the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, himself a Turk, and arranged an emergency meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers (www.mfa.gov.tr, December 28). The final communiqué of the OIC meeting held on January 3 strongly condemned “the ongoing barbaric Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza” and proposed a number of measures to mobilize the international community to relieve the suffering of Palestinians and end Israel’s attacks (www.oic-oci.org, January, 3). Similarly, Turkey also urged the Arab League’s foreign ministers to work toward a ceasefire and facilitate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

The start of Israel’s ground offensive despite these efforts raises questions about the future of Turkish-Israeli relations. In response to a question, Erdogan had earlier said, “Inter-governmental relations cannot afford emotions. Yet, injustice cannot be permitted either. If there is oppression, we cannot support it. We seek to solve it through talks” (Zaman, January 2). Given Israel’s lack of interest in “talks,” on the one hand, and Turkey’s pro-Hamas position and exclusion of Israel from its diplomatic initiatives, on the other, it will be interesting to see how Erdogan will advocate Palestinian rights in international forums and whether Turkish-Israeli cooperation can survive the storm.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:01 pm

 

203. Shual said:

“When Russia destroyed Chechnya they acted like Nazis did.”

Now, its getting really silly. Russian tactics incl. progroms against Jews, minorities are well-known for several hundreds of years.

Hitler himself was very surprised to see the world stay silent against the Armenian Genozide. He was influenced by turkish tactics against civillians. “Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?” [Hitler, 22. August 1939] “Who is talking today about the annihilation of the Armenians?” […] He copied very much, Mr. Hitler.

“I have not claimed that Israel is exactly a Nazi state.”
You can not compare a single poop of a Nazi with today without referring to the NS-system. The NS-system includes always a special view at the state of the world, which is seen as an incomplete world as long not all others except of Arians are killed. The “stages” can be found in the mythology of the NS-system. Hitler himself hated his own people, cause they could not achieve the first stage. They only tried = 80 Million people died.

Today, 80% of the world seems to have enough time to think about similarities between everything on the planet and the NS-time. A cheap excuse for not working at the problems of the planet.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:19 pm

 

204. Alex said:

Shai, Shual, Simo … I hope we don’t recycle the Nazi discussion yet again.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:59 pm

 

205. Shami said:

Rumayal i disagree with what the noble king Faysal whe he spoke about the protocol of zion and the ritual killing ,he is a human and as human he is not infaillible.Such primary anti jewish racism should be avoided but it happens under the influence of anger and you should agree that the actions of Israel validate and give credibility to such literature ,imported from Europe.
King Faysal inspite of his religious conservatism was liberal in politic and had as advicers christians from Lebanon and Syria and Syrian muslims like Dr Maaruf Dawalibi former Syrian PM.
I dont believe that when the zionist regime will be defeated there will be acts of revenge against the Israeli citizens.
We protected your ancestors when they escaped massacres and persecution in Europe.And the next israeli generations should not held accountable for the mistakes of the israelis of today.

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January 6th, 2009, 10:39 pm

 

206. Shami said:

When i read the comments of our israeli brother Shai ,we say to ourselves that even if we had 20 millions Shai among us we would feel confortable.
But unfortunately the averrage arab has no other picture of Israel other than these draculas like Barak and the fox Peres.

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January 6th, 2009, 10:55 pm

 

207. Shual said:

Alex,
you are rigth.

The latest developments show that the IDF still is a bunch of overarmed amateurs that want to get some credit back. Its a problem of democracy… it seems that nobody controls them, nobody takes responsibility. The state of Israel has a long way to go and has to install reforms. Especially European countries should demand that, if Israel wants to receive a “quasi”-EU-membership in April 2009. Historic fantasies are not on the table.

[Amateurs. They welcomed international journalists and let them take photos of the -widely seen as- illegal use of phosphor. After the media + the world that is not propagandistic israelizised cried: “Foul” they… “reformed”: Ban of all journalists = lack of transparency. Every country in the Western world needs informational help to solve specific problems. Israel today is on top of the list.]

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January 6th, 2009, 11:36 pm

 

208. Rumyal said:

Shami,

I understand. As somebody who cares about the lives of people in Israel, and also in the entire region, I would hope that we can learn to live together (one state, two state, whatever) without you having to defeat and conquer Israel. I heard that Omar the great has been welcomed into Jerusalem by the Jews, but as you can imagine, this will not replay itself again. Having seen pictures from war zones in the Arab world (Algeria, Iraq), I’d prefer giving defeat a pass. On the other hand, if the situation in Israel played out like South Africa did, where no bloody war was necessary, that would be good. Somehow I don’t take your word for it that if we were defeated everything will just be great again. This would be at the end of a bloody war and after horrific atrocities would have been perpetrated already… perhaps even a nuke or two thrown… So… let’s not make this happen, let’s find ways to bring equality and justice to all without swords.

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January 7th, 2009, 1:01 am

 

209. Alex said:

Rumyal,

I agree with you again … the vast majority of Arabs would not harm Jews .. simply because the vast majority of people anywhere are not criminal.

But there would be enough foolish angry people who would do the worst.

No one should be defeated.

But Israel has to stop generating hate … if we are to have peace one day … It would help if Israel would stop killing and destroying for a couple of years.

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January 7th, 2009, 1:24 am

 

210. Shai said:

Alex,

The video clip you posted is very powerful. To me, this brave Palestinian girl caused those two soldiers to think, a hundred times better than Hamas rockets do. Perhaps Joe M. is right – there need to be both types of protests (violent and nonviolent). But personally I believe the latter has far better chances than the first. Perhaps those banners the PA posted on Israeli sites (their recent ad campaign) should have linked also to these videos, not only to promises of peace with 57 Islamic nations.

A mirror has to be placed in front of my people’s face, and this video is a powerful way of doing so.

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January 7th, 2009, 7:25 am

 

211. Mark Bernadiner said:

Palestinian muslims crime history

In 1920s-30s, Palestinian Muslims committed massacre of Jews in Jewish land of Palestine murdering thousands of children and civilians. The murder was organized by the founder and supreme leader of the Arab Higher Committee, Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and supported by British Administration of Palestine. The massacre was, in reality, the Holocaust committed by Palestinian Arabs in compliance with Islamic Koran which demand killing Christians and Jews.

Haj Amin was close friend of Hitler. In 1941, Haj Amin came to Berlin and visited Hitler. He brought the Holocaust idea to Hitler. In 1943, Amin organized Bosnian Muslim battalions in Croatia comprising some twenty thousand men. The battalions were put in Waffen-SS units, fought Yugoslav partisans in Bosnia; thousands of Serbs, Roma (‘Gypsies’) and Jews hunted down by Haj Amin’s SS troops were killed by those same troops, or they were sent to the Islamic death camp Jasenovac. After the WWII, the International tribunal declared Haj Amin was crime criminal; however, he escaped prosecution, fled to Egypt and then Palestine where he organized Fatah. After his death in 1974, Arafat, who was Haj Amin lieutenant, became Fatah commander. He organized PLO. PLO and Fatah committed numerous murders around the world killing American and European Christian and Jews.
The 1960s
–December 26, 1968 –two Palestinian gunmen traveled from Beirut to Athens, and attacked an El Al jet and killed one. On December 28,1968, Israel troops landed in Beirut, Lebanon and destroyed 13 civilian aircraft at Beirut International Airport.
The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968. He was killed following celebrations of his successful campaign in the Californian primary elections while seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The perpetrator was a twenty-four year old Palestinian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan.
The 1970s
–May 8, 1970: Three Palestinian gunmen crossed the Lebanese border into the agricultural community of Avivim and ambushed the local school bus, killing nine children and three adults, and wounding 19 other children.
–September 4, 1972: Munich Olympic’s Massacre–Members of “Black September,” a PLO offshoot, attacked the Israeli Olympic team in their dormitory at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in Germany. As a result of the hostage-taking and the bungled attempt by the Germans to rescue the prisoners, eleven Israeli athletes and one German policman were killed. This attack prompted Israel to launch “Operation Wrath of God” and “Operation Spring of Youth.” See below for details.
–Beginning in the Fall of 1972: Israel’s launched “Operation Wrath of God” to track down and kill members of the PLO involved in the Munich attack. This operation continued for several years and resulted in the assassinations of several members of the PLO around the world.
–March 1, 1973: Eight members of Black September took over the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. Among the hostages were two American diplomats, Ambassador Cleo Noel, and Deputy Ambassador George Curtis Moore. Both Americans and Belgian diplomat, Guy Eid were killed.
— April 11, 1974: three guerillas of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), infiltrated the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Shmona from Lebanon, killing eighteen residents of an apartment building, including nine children. The attackers died in battle with Israeli troops.
–May 15, 1974: Fighters of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) entered the Israeli border town of Ma’alot from Lebanon, killed five adults and seizing hostages in a school building. All of the attackers died in battle with Israeli forces, but not before they killed 21 of the school’s students.
–June 27-July 4, 1976: “Operation Entebbe”: On June 27, an Air France flight from Tel Aviv was hijacked by four terrorists, two from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — External Operations (PFLP-EO) and two from the German terrorst group, “Revolutionäre Zellen.” The plane eventually ended up at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, which was then ruled by dictator Idi Amin. Amin was friendly to the Palestinian cause, and aided the terrorists. Once on the ground, three more Palestininans joined the hijackers. Demands were made for the release of prisoners held by Israel.
Israel responded with a commando raid on the night of July3/July 4. Around 100 Israeli troops in four military transport planes landed at night and rescued the hostages. As a result of the rescue operation,100 of the 103 hostages were freed. Three hostages died. One Israeli soldier died, while 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed eleven Ugandan Army Air Force fighter planes were destroyed on the ground to prevent them from following the Israeli air planes carrying the rescued hostages and the troops.
–March 5,1975: A force of eight PLO fighters sailed from to Tel Aviv by sea from Lebanon. Once inside Israel, they entered the Savoy Hotel, and took dozens of hostages. In the ensuing battle for the hotel, seven of the eight Palestinians and three Israeli troops died, while eight civilians were killed and 19 wounded.
— March 11, 1978: Eight Fatah guerillas entered Israel from Lebanon. After killing an American tourist on the beach, the guerillas hijacked a bus on the coastal road near Haifa. In the ensuing bus chase and battle, six Palestinian guerillas and 35 of the passengers died. Seventy-One civilians were wounded. Israel’s response to this “Coastal Road Massacre” was to launch a full-scale invasion of South Lebanon in order to root out the PLO forces based there.
The 1980s
July 27, 1980: Attack on Jewish school in Antwerp, Belgium by terrorists associated with the Palestinian Abu Nidal.
July 27, 1980: Abu Nidal claimed responsibility for the murder of an Israeli commercial attachee in Brussels, Belgium.
May 1, 1981: Assassination of Heinz Nittel in Vienna, Austria by Abu Nidal’s forces. Nittel was President of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship Association.
June 3, 1982: Attempted assassination in London of Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov. Israel accused the PLO of the attack, and the Argov attack was one of the incidents which provoked the Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982 called “Operation Peace in Galilee. Argov survived the attack, but was permanently disabled.
September 25, 1985: Three Israeli civilians were killed on their yacht off the coast of Larnaca, Cyprus by commandoes of al-Fatah’s elite “Force 17.”
-Oct. 7, 1985: The hijacking of the passenger cruise ship Achille Lauro. Members of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), led by Abu Abbas, killed Jewish American tourist Leon Klinghoffer. After several days, the hijackers agreed to a deal in which they would release the ship in return for a flight to Tunisia. The Egyptian airliner carrying the hijackers was intercepted by U.S. Navy fighter planes on Oct. 10 and forced it to land at a military base in Italy, where the terrorists were arrested by Italian authorities.
-December 27, 1985: Rome/Vienna Airport Attacks–Abu Nidal’s Fatah – the Revolutionary Council (FRC) staged two attacks in Europe which killed 18 civilians and wounded 140. The terrorists attacked passengers at airports in Rome and Vienna. The FRC claimed these attacks were in response to the October 1st Israeli air raid on Tunis.
September 6 1986 – Istanbul, Turkey
Abu Nidal organization attacks the Neveh Shalom synagogue, killing 22 people.
August 1988 – Haifa: 25 wounded in a grenade attack at the Haifa mall.
July 6 1989 – Tel Aviv: 14 killed when a terrorist steered a bus into a ravine off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
The 2000s
In 2002, 5,301 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets, in which 451 Israeli were murdered.
In 2003, 3,838 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets, in which 213 Israelis were murdered.
In 2005, 2,990 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets.
From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From 2001 through 2008, Hamas launched more than 5,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks against Israeli targets.
According to CNN, Hamas uses civilian infrastructure, including schools, houses, kindergarten facilities, hospitals, for storing and launching rockets and other ammunition, placing training camps inside populated areas in violation of Geneva Convention and international law.
The above is only a minuscule part of Palestinian muslims criminal and murderous history; however, it is more than enough to conclude that:
Islamofascist organizations, PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front of Liberation of Palestine, Fatah etc., must be totally exterminated to last member; other Palestinian muslims must be kicked out of Israel land of Palestine back to the countries of their origin.

Mark Bernadiner, PH.D.
Texas

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January 7th, 2009, 3:53 pm

 

212. pairadice said:

The Israeli – Gazan conflict has been going on for decades, since Yasser Arafat (whose father was a Gaza Palestinian) exhorted extermination of the Jews in Israel, tried to blow up water pipelines to Tel Aviv over 40 years ago, financed suicide bombers, engaged neighboring Arab states to invade Israel (and lost multiple times) and has left a legacy of constant attacks into Israel from Gaza.

This problem is two generations old, and is not about to disappear in the next 10 days, unless Israel, as well as Egypt and Iran and other Arab “brothers,” allow the Gazan Palestinians to emigrate en masse to Iran.

But that solution must come internationally, behind the scenes. Obama himself can not suggest that solution — it must be offered by the Arab “brotherhood.” So Obama must be diplomatic in the interim.

Only when the Gazans have been absorbed into other Arab countries (where they can presumably live a peaceful life), will there be peace in the middle east and a new Palestinian state in the West Bank be able to be created.

Make no mistake about it — trading land for peace means Gaza — the Gazans must trade their land in order to the Palestinians to have a state in the West Bank.

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January 10th, 2009, 4:05 pm

 

213. J Thomas said:

Mark Bernadiner, if you had started out with descriptions of jewish crimes during the middle ages, and gone on to explain about how jews were responsible for the Weimar republic which was disastrous for germany, and after listing a great number of other jewish crimes you decided that the right thing was to exterminate zionists to the last member while kicking out all other jews from germany to whatever nation would accept them —

in that case my opinion of you would not be very different from what I get by reading your actual comment.

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January 10th, 2009, 7:00 pm

 

214. J Thomas said:

“No one should be defeated.”

“But Israel has to stop generating hate … if we are to have peace one day … It would help if Israel would stop killing and destroying for a couple of years.”

It’s a hard thing. Sometimes people get into dead-ends where there is no future but it is very very hard to turn around and go back.

The more that israelis are hated, the more they are tempted to keep killing. “Because they hate us and would never agree to our survival.”

It’s absurd to apologise and ask the victims not to retaliate. If they get power, you must depend on them to be merciful when you had no mercy before. And yet the alternative is to try to keep them from getting any power, which means doing more things to get them to hate you….

It could happen to anybody. Maybe if the palestinians were mostly devout christians it might make a difference. Christians are supposed to forgive their enemies and love them. They’d have to be pretty devout for their persecutors to believe it, though.

It happens in biology too. Sometimes natural selection funnels a species into a dead end where it gets better and better at adapting to an ecological niche that dwindles away to nothing. No chance to get selected for something else, the species just has to get better and better at living on a (metaphorical) island that sinks into the sea, until there’s nothing left.

We can hope that human beings can make better choices, but it’s very hard. A single individual can walk away from a bad situation, but two reinforce each other’s opinions, fifty make a pact, a thousand make a creed, and a million carve out a way of life. It’s just hard. Nobody’s fault in particular. It’s just something that happens to people sometimes.

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January 10th, 2009, 7:31 pm

 

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