The Hariri Tribunal and Hizbullah; Syria Loves Turkey

Joshua Landis will be traveling for two weeks. He will leave SC in the capable hands of Alex.

Lebanese PM calms fears over naming Hizbollah in Hariri inquiry
Mitchell Prothero, Foreign Correspondent
July 24. 2010

Hasan Nasrallah has refused to discuss Hizbollah’s response if some of its members are indicted in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. Wael Hamzeh / EPA

BEIRUT // The potential indictment of Hizbollah members by an international tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri will not cause widespread civil unrest in Lebanon, the current prime minister and son of the slain leader has said.

Saad Hariri, in an interview published yesterday in the daily Al Hayat, also said any named suspects that may be members of Hizbollah will be regarded as rogue elements of the Shia militant group.

Mr Hariri made the statements in an effort to reassure the country that any indictments of Hizbollah members by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would not lead to a return of sectarian violence between Sunni supporters of the Hariri family and the mostly Shiite supporters of Hizbollah.

The prime minister was said to have informed the Hizbollah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, during a meeting in May that the indictments – expected later this year – would include several members of the Shiite militant group….

“Mr Nasrallah called the indictments “a dangerous plot that is targeting the resistance”.

“We are not at all afraid, nor are we worried. We know how to defend ourselves,” he added.

Mr Nasrallah, who spoke for about an hour and answered several questions, refused to discuss how Hizbollah will react should the indictments be issued….. “As long as the probe does not look into the possibility that Israel is implicated, we believe it is biased,” he said. “Never has the investigation considered the hypothesis that Israel had the means and the motive” to assassinate Hariri…..

Mr Nasrallah used his press conference to imply that the March 14 movement has been duped by the United States and Israel into an overreaction to Hariri’s murder. He called on the movement to re-evaluate its positions now that it seems certain, he said, that Syria will not be directly accused in Hariri’s murder….

Special Tribunal of Lebanon and the Rafiq al-Hariri Investigation

Nick Noe on Elias Muhanna in Mideastwire/ here (via FLC)

“I agree with Qifa Nabki (aka Elias Muhanna) that this is probably the most important speech by HN in the last year – although if there is indeed war in the coming months then I would say HN’s articulation of how they view the coming conflict may have been more important…. But in any case, I would take issue with the key statement by QN
“…There is no desire anywhere — except among certain politicians in the Kata’ib and Lebanese Forces — to use the STL as a battering ram against Syria or its allies in Lebanon.”

You can see Nasrallah’s speech on UTube here.

Here are links to related articles – Washington Post, and al-Arabiyya and al- Jazeera

T_Desco writes:

The sectarian danger presented by the investigation is greater than some people, such as Elias Muhanna, seem to realize: the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indictments will not put pressure only on Saad Hariri. Read the following excerpts which suggest that there is evidence of a connection between the Hariri murder and the other killings.

SPIEGEL (Follath): “And, once again, there was evidence of involvement by the Hezbollah commando unit, just as there has been in each of more than a dozen attacks against prominent Lebanese in the last four years.”

UN 8 (Brammertz): 78. In addition (…) the Commission’s findings suggest that there may be a link between the group claiming responsibility for the Hariri killing and the group that claimed responsibility for the attacks on Samir Kassir, Gebran Tueni and Pierre Gemayel.

81. Communications analysis conducted so far has helped confirm the Commission’s hypothesis that a number of individuals may be relevant to the Hariri case and one or more of the other cases.

UN 10 (Bellemare): “25. The Commission can now confirm, on the basis of available evidence, that a network of individuals acted in concert to carry out the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and that this criminal network, the “Hariri network”, or parts thereof, are linked to some of the other cases within the Commission’s mandate.”

(T_desco’s emphasis)

In short, Shi’ites are seen targeting leaders off all other sects. Will this lead to an additional motive being suggested for these attacks, i.e. 1. revenge on behalf of Syria: 2. stirring up sectarian tensions to ignite a civil war?

– STL may be adopting a ‘lobster cooking’ strategy (first indicting 3, then 20, then…?), expecting Hizbullah to sit still while the heat is being turned on
– the ‘rogue elements’ theory is obviously absurd
– final indictments could still target leadership
– or, they could point to an  ‘International Hezbollah’ i.e. (Mughniyah)
– or even Revolutionary Guards and Iran.

– expect new Siddiqs!

– the ‘findings’ will be based on more than just communication analysis
– e.g. the link between phones and ‘secret’ commando unit has to be human intelligence
– witnesses could identify the person who bought the 8 phone cards (Ghamlush)
– or the 2 persons who bought the van, etc.

– as a result the indictment will be convincing for March 14, Hariri, the Western media, etc.

Syrians are flocking to the Turkish city of Gaziantep for its Western goods, including at the Sanko Park mall.

Syrians’ New Ardor for a Turkey Looking Eastward
By DAN BILEFSKY, July 24, 2010

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Well-heeled Syrians had already been coming to this ancient industrial city, drawn here by Louis Vuitton purses and storefront signs in Arabic. But local shop owners say Israel’s deadly raid on a Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza in May has solidified an already blossoming friendship between Syria and Turkey, the new hero of the Muslim world.

“People in Syria love Turkey because the country supports the Arab world, and they are fellow Muslims,” Zakria Shavek, 37, a driver for a Syrian transport company based in Gaziantep, said as he deposited a family of newly arrived shoppers from Aleppo, which competes with Damascus for the title of Syria’s largest city and is about a two-hour drive from here. “Our enemy in the world is Israel, so we also like Turkey because our enemy’s enemy is our friend.”

The monthly pilgrimages of tens of thousands of Syrians to this southeastern Turkish city — which intensified after the two countries removed visa requirements last September — are just the latest manifestation of the growing ties between Turkey and Syria, part of the Turkish government’s efforts to reach out to its neighbors by using economic and cultural links to help it become a regional leader.

Turkey’s shift toward the Muslim world — from the recent clash with Israel to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s description of Iran’s nuclear program as peaceful — has prompted concerns in the United States and Europe that Turkey, an important NATO ally, is turning its back on the West.

But in Turkey, where 70 percent of all exports go to Europe, businesspeople insist that the government’s policy of cultivating friendly ties with all neighbors reflects a canny and very Western capitalist impulse to offset dependence on stagnating European markets while cementing Turkey’s position as a vital economic and political bridge between east and west.

Indeed, most Arab states, including Syria, enthusiastically support Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, viewing Turkey as a vital intermediary to Western markets that might otherwise be off limits. At the political level, Turkey’s influence in the Middle East is also deeply enhanced by its strong Western ties — a fact recognized by Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, who shocked many in the Turkish capital this month by warning that the latest crisis between Israel and Turkey could undermine Ankara’s role as a mediator in the region.

Only 10 years ago, relations between Syria and Turkey were strained, with Turkey accusing Syria of sheltering Kurdish separatists and Syria lashing out at Turkey over water and territorial disputes. Syrians also harbored historical resentments of Ottoman subjugation, while many secular Turks, defined by the Western orientation of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, saw Syria as autocratic and backward.

With the recent elimination of border restrictions, however, Turkish exports of everything from tea to textiles to diapers are booming, along with a newfound ardor.

“Today, Arab countries that once resented us want to be like us, even if they are looking to Turks more than we are looking to them,” said Emin Berk, a Turk who is coordinator of the Turkey-Syria Trade Office here.

Trade between Turkey and Syria more than doubled from $795 million in 2006 to $1.6 billion in 2009, and is expected to reach $5 billion in the next three years. Last year the Middle East received nearly 20 percent of Turkey’s exports, about $19.2 billion worth of goods, compared with 12.5 percent in 2004. In Iran, Turkish companies are making products including fertilizer and sanitary products for women. Iran, in turn, is an important source of energy to Turkey.

Here in Gaziantep — whose past is so intertwined with Syria’s that it was part of Aleppo Province during the Ottoman Empire — the signs of the new honeymoon between Turkey and Syria are everywhere.

Every Friday, several thousand Syrians descend on the center of town. Lured by bargains and Western brands, most head immediately to the Sanko Park shopping mall, the largest in town, where their lavish shopping sprees have made them coveted customers. In the city’s bazaars, pistachio vendors summon passers-by in Arabic, while Arabic courses for Turkish businessmen are flourishing. Marriages between Turks and Syrians have become more common.

In Syria, meanwhile, where the alliance with secular Turkey represents a move away from its courtship with Iran, Turkey’s blend of conservative Islam and cosmopolitan democracy is increasingly viewed as a model in the younger generation. Turkish soap operas and films are attaining cult status, while “Made in Turkey” labels near the cachet of Paris or Milan.

On a recent day at the gleaming Sanko Park mall, Mays al-Hindawi Bayrak, a chic 27-year-old Syrian who was buying a Pierre Cardin shirt for her Turkish husband, observed that for Syrians, Turkey had become synonymous with European modernity. After Turkey recently lashed out at Israel, she said, her 21-year-old brother told the family he wanted to apply for Turkish citizenship.

“In the past, many Turks thought that all Arab women wear burqas and that all the men drive camels to work,” she said. “Now, we are getting to know each other better.”

Turkish businesspeople here say that regardless of whether the governing party’s politics is driving economics or the other way around, what matters is that the new openness to the east is enhancing the bottom line.

Cengiz Akinal, managing director of Akinal Bella, a large shoe manufacturer, said that the Islamic-inspired politics of the governing Justice and Development Party had helped ease relations with Arabic clients. The company, which exports a majority of its shoes to Europe, increased its exports to Syria by 40 percent last year.

Mr. Akinal, whose ancestors imported leather from Syria during the Ottoman Empire and produced shoes for the sultans, recently shifted part of the company’s manufacturing to Aleppo and Damascus, where monthly wages are about half those of Turkey. But he said Syria was still decades behind Turkey when it came to quality standards and technical know-how.

“Turkey may be 15 years behind Europe, but Syria is still 30 years behind Turkey,” he said.

Indeed, businesspeople say the shift toward the Middle East is forcing them to change the way they do business after decades of trying to cultivate Western European attitudes. Mr. Akinal noted, for example, that negotiations with Arabic corporate clients over price were reminiscent of a Middle Eastern bazaar rather than a boardroom.

“With Europeans, you can have a deal in a half an hour,” he said. “With Syrians, I sometimes spend the whole day bargaining.”

While most people here welcome the Syrian invasion, some Turks complained that the Syrians were pushing up the prices of everything from hotels to designer dresses. Others lamented that Syrians’ religious conservatism was out of place in secular Turkey.

“We are more liberal than they are, and it can sometimes be uncomfortable when the women arrive covered from head to toe and the men leer at you,” said Deniz, a Turkish teenager in ripped jeans and a T-shirt, who declined to give her last name for fear of antagonizing her Syrian boss.

Comments (70)

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51. Shai said:


This so-called “Rabbi”, an extremist-settler, is nothing short of a racist terrorist that should be stripped of his Israeli citizenship (he doesn’t live inside Israel, after all), or put behind bars for a very long time. He is an insult to the religion he pretends to represent, and an insult to normal civilized society.

One day, hopefully soon, people like him will be rejected by most Israelis, who will learn just what kind of “patriotic Jews” live on the other side of the wall. Many of them will have to move back, to find a place in a society that will not be all that happy to receive them. And then, we will finally come face-to-face with these criminals, and deal with them accordingly.

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August 2nd, 2010, 4:35 pm


52. Akbar Palace said:

Shai’s “Most Israelis” Problem

One day, hopefully soon, people like him will be rejected by most Israelis, who will learn just what kind of “patriotic Jews” live on the other side of the wall.


How do you know “most Israelis” do or do not reject this crazy rabbi?

A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.


Aren’t there polls showing a large percentage of Palestinians and Arabs are for killing innocent (non-combatant) Jews as a form of “resistance”? I know for sure the Hamas and Hezbollah political movements believe this. And al-Queda and the insurgents kill innocent people (mostly muslims) everyday.

So I guess my question is, what are you so appalled at?

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August 2nd, 2010, 5:57 pm


53. Off the wall said:

Sorry for not responding to you earlier posts. There is off course a glimmer of good news in the above article “Yesh din” and similar organizations are trying to expose the tax deductible source of funding. All power to them.

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August 2nd, 2010, 6:04 pm


54. majedkhaldoun said:

what do you think about israel killed 9 turkish.

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August 2nd, 2010, 8:37 pm


55. Qifa Nabki said:

T_Desco (if you are still checking this space):

You wrote: “The sectarian danger presented by the investigation is greater than some people, such as Elias Muhanna, seem to realize: the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indictments will not put pressure only on Saad Hariri.”

Where have I diminished the prospect of sectarian danger represented by the possibility of an indictment against Hizbullah? This, to me, is obvious.

And it is also obvious that Hizbullah is the one that will feel the most pressure from such a development. My point was to argue that Hariri is also not immune to pressure, given that he now seems constrained by a larger regional strategy to come to an accommodation with Syria.

If this were 2006, Hariri would not be offering any back-room deals to Nasrallah, and the Saudi king would not be visiting Beirut, arm-in-arm with Bashar, in order to ease the tension. They would be going for maximum tension and trying to exploit these indictments for everything they’re worth.

But we are now in 2010, and there is a new calculus.

At the end of the day, the question of who killed Hariri seems to become irrelevant in the face of all the developments following his death. Most people reading this blog believe that Israel or America killed Hariri and then used the STL to punish Syria or Hizbullah for the crime.

But even if it really was Syria or Hizbullah that committed the crime, would most readers of Syria Comment think that America/Israel’s campaign to punish Syria/Hizbullah was legitimate? Probably not.

The STL’s findings are probably doomed to be rejected by one side or the other, no matter what they turn up.

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August 2nd, 2010, 8:41 pm


56. Norman said:

It is time to kill the Devil before his birth , Don’t you think ?.

There is an old story about a man who killed his cousin and when he was caught the family of the dead man forgave the killer and when they were asked about the reason , they said , our son is dead , We do not want to lose our other son out of revenge ,

and that will be the story in Lebanon , taking revenge will just have more sons getting killed ,


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August 2nd, 2010, 9:23 pm


57. Qifa Nabki said:

Ammo Norman

I disagree with you.

If this were the way that the world worked, then there would be no such thing as justice. I would like to see the STL conclude its work and the killers punished, no matter who they are.

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August 2nd, 2010, 9:43 pm


58. Norman said:


Good to see you , we miss you here , i visit your site and enjoy the discussions there , but sometime i feel that i do not know enough about today Lebanon to say much ,

In a just world you are right , the problem that in a world where the life of Hariri is more more important the the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed by the US and thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians killed by Israel ,and got away with that , where five countries control the security council and war and peace is not just , when there is a real independent world court and legal system and i hope that day will come , then and only then there will be justice that we all can be proud of , until then all what is being done is being done to divide the Arabs and destroy their world with civil wars ,and keep Israel the dominant power in the Mideast ,

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August 2nd, 2010, 10:24 pm


59. majedkhaldoun said:

Israel provoked and started aggression against the Lebanese army

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August 3rd, 2010, 7:14 am


60. Off the Wall said:

Akbar Palace’s Moral Compass Sits Next to a Magnet

AP @ 52
Aren’t there polls showing a large percentage of Palestinians and Arabs are for killing innocent (non-combatant) Jews as a form of “resistance”?

I thought hasbara training required that you first consult with MEMRI, Daniel Pipes, or Michelle Malkin’s websites for such polls. So why are you asking me. Go find them yourself. I have no idea why you insist on me doing your job for you. Aren’t they paying you enough?

I know for sure the Hamas and Hezbollah political movements believe this. And al-Queda and the insurgents kill innocent people (mostly muslims) everyday.

Again, you insist on moral equivalence with those you never tire of calling terrorists. Furthermore, as you insist on questioning shai’s claim, it seems that you are proposing a likelihood that most Israelies accept the racist rabbi. Congratulations one more time, Talibasrael and Alqaida are alike in sanctioning the killing of children. You called Israel a terrorist state, not me. Can I quote you on that as well?

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August 3rd, 2010, 8:09 am


61. Shai said:


By the way the media was covering the Settler Rabbi investigation, it is fair to say at least the media is against this racist terrorist. Does the media represent most in Israel? I don’t know. I hope, in this case, they do. But I also know that not nearly enough Israelis fight for Palestinian rights that are abused by such fanatic criminal settlers. And that’s not a good indication of Israel’s moral compass. We should know oppression at least as well as others. Seems we sometimes forget our own past, doesn’t it?


The matter is being investigated right now, and it is not clear yet who started this whole thing on the border. Hezbollah is claiming (according to Israeli papers) that the Israeli army was attempting to remove a tree on the Lebanese side, in order to place observation cameras (on the Israeli side) that would look at Lebanese Army movements. I imagine in the next day or two we’ll get the official version of each side. On the Israeli side, I can tell you the Israeli Army is saying it was “shocked”, because the Lebanese Army has never fired on them before.

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August 3rd, 2010, 9:26 am


62. Akbar Palace said:

Rabbis for Peace

By the way the media was covering the Settler Rabbi investigation, it is fair to say at least the media is against this racist terrorist. Does the media represent most in Israel? I don’t know. I hope, in this case, they do. But I also know that not nearly enough Israelis fight for Palestinian rights that are abused by such fanatic criminal settlers. And that’s not a good indication of Israel’s moral compass.


Thanks for the clarification. I really need to impress upon you to refrain from your habit of speaking for “most Israelis”. Your claims about “most Israelis” are just your opinion and they can be very misleading. The non-Israelis believe what you say is true simply because you’re an Israeli. I claim the “most Israelis” are disgusted by the ideology of this Rabbi as described by the anti-Israeli commentator, Jonathan Cook.

Jonathan Cook has been known to stretch the truth for his anti-Israel audience. Whereas his article is shown with the words:

Israeli Rabbi Preaches “Slaughter” of Gentile Babies

The Wikipedia shows is a bit differently:

Yitzhak Shapira is an Israeli rabbi who in 2009 published a book (The King’s Torah) in which he writes that it is permissible for Jews to kill non-Jews (including children) who threaten Israel.[1][2]

Personally, I’ve never heard of this rabbi, and I’ve never read his book, so I don’t know who is telling the truth. However, I do know a lot of the residents of Efrat, and they are good, tolerant people just like you and me.

Lastly, I claim that “Israel’s moral compass” is miles higher than any of her Arab neighbors by simply comparing the number of Israeli peace groups active in Israel compared to the number of peace groups active elsewhere in the ME.

We should know oppression at least as well as others. Seems we sometimes forget our own past, doesn’t it?

Again, I would suggest you just speak for yourself.

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August 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am


63. Ghat Al Bird said:

Peace loving Israeli soldiers kill three Lebanese soldiers in Lebanon, and warn the Lebanese that more will be killed if Lebanon does not behave.

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August 3rd, 2010, 10:29 am


64. Shai said:


It seems the hot summer months take their toll on your reading ability. You claim (and this is not the first time) that I speak “on behalf of most Israelis”. But allow me to repeat a few words just from your own quoted paragraph of what I said:
“Does the media represent most in Israel? I don’t know. I hope, in this case, they do.”

So does this indicate that I speak on behalf of most Israelis, or does it indicate that I don’t even know that the media speaks on behalf of most? Hmmm… a tough one for Akbar.

That you never heard of this Rabbi is a shame. The Police has heard of him, and has warned of the incitement he preaches already a year ago. It is a shame the Israeli Justice system (the one so superior to our neighbors’, as you exhaustively like to remind us) did not find it urgent enough to arrest him sooner, and restrict his ability to publish and distribute hundreds, perhaps thousands of copies of his dangerous racist words.

By the way, since you’re so fond of those “good, tolerant people” of Efrat (Jewish Settlement in the West Bank), why don’t ask THEM if they’ve heard of this Rabbi? I have a funny feeling they have…

Thanks for your continued concern about me misleading our readers. I guess you assume they believe you, when you provide these “warnings”. But for the record, and hopefully so that you will stop repeating this ad hominem, I never EVER claim to speak on behalf of most, least, some, part, few, or any other set or subset of the Israeli people. I speak only on behalf of my self, and the tiny bit of common sense I hope I inherited from my parents.

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August 3rd, 2010, 11:03 am


65. 5 dancing shlomos said:

any examples of justice when israel-america involved in proceedings?

any estimate on when israel-america will punish itself – for any of its uncountable crimes?

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August 3rd, 2010, 11:44 am


66. Ghat Al Bird said:


You should have added this link for AP’s edification on the so called best seller [“how to kill gentile babies”) in Israel.

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August 3rd, 2010, 11:46 am


67. 5 dancing shlomos said:

the baby killing rabbi differs from ben gurion, sharett, goldi, peres, sharon, nutnyahoo, barak, shlomos, moishes, daniels, and 32 million other zionist jews(99.9% of world’s jews) in what way?

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August 3rd, 2010, 12:19 pm


68. 5 dancing shlomos said:

from max blumenthal via xymphora. dancing and clapping shlomos and shlomets: “we love destruction, violence, and death. we are part and parcel of jewry.”

diseased minds.

The “Summer Camp Of Destruction:” Israeli High Schoolers Assist The Razing Of A Bedouin Town

On 07.31.10, By Max.AL-ARAKIB, ISRAEL — On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib, razing the entire village to the ground to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest. The destruction was part of a larger project to force the Bedouin community of the Negev away from their ancestral lands and into seven Indian reservation-style communities the Israeli government has constructed for them. The land will then be open for Jewish settlers, including young couples in the army and those who may someday be evacuated from the West Bank after a peace treaty is signed. For now, the Israeli government intends to uproot as many villages as possible and erase them from the map by establishing “facts on the ground” in the form of JNF forests. (See video of of al-Arakib’s demolition here).

Moments before the destruction of the Bedouin village of al-Arakib, Israeli high school age police volunteers lounge on furniture taken from a family’s home. [The following four photos are by Ata Abu Madyam of Arab Negev News.
One of the most troubling aspects of the destruction of al-Arakib was a report by CNN that the hundreds of Israeli riot police who stormed the village were accompanied by “busloads of cheering civilians.” Who were these civilians and why didn’t CNN or any outlet investigate further?

I traveled to al-Arakib yesterday with a delegation from Ta’ayush, an Israeli group that promotes a joint Arab-Jewish struggle against the occupation. The activists spent the day preparing games and activities for the village’s traumatized children, helping the villagers replace their uprooted olive groves, and assisting in the reconstruction of their demolished homes. In a massive makeshift tent where many of al-Arakib’s residents now sleep, I interviewed village leaders about the identity of the cheering civilians. Each one confirmed the presence of the civilians, describing how they celebrated the demolitions. As I compiled details, the story grew increasingly horrific. After interviewing more than a half dozen elders of the village, I was able to finally identify the civilians in question. What I discovered was more disturbing than I had imagined.

Israeli police youth volunteers pick through the belongings an al-Arakib family
Arab Negev News publisher Ata Abu Madyam supplied me with a series of photos he took of the civilians in action. They depicted Israeli high school students who appeared to have volunteered as members of the Israeli police civilian guard (I am working on identifying some participants by name). Prior to the demolitions, the student volunteers were sent into the villagers’ homes to extract their furniture and belongings. A number of villagers including Abu Madyam told me the volunteers smashed windows and mirrors in their homes and defaced family photographs with crude drawings. Then they lounged around on the furniture of al-Arakib residents in plain site of the owners. Finally, according to Abu Matyam, the volunteers celebrated while bulldozers destroyed the homes.

“What we learned from the summer camp of destruction,” Abu Madyam remarked, “is that Israeli youth are not being educated on democracy, they are being raised on racism.” (The cover of the latest issue of Madyam’s Arab Negev News features a photo of Palestinians being expelled to Jordan in 1948 juxtaposed with a photo of a family fleeing al-Arakib last week. The headline reads, “Nakba 2010.”)

According to residents of al-Arakib, the youth volunteers vandalized homes throughout the village
The Israeli civilian guard, which incorporates 70,000 citizens including youth as young as 15 (about 15% of Israeli police volunteers are teenagers), is one of many programs designed to incorporate Israeli children into the state’s military apparatus. It is not hard to imagine what lessons the high school students who participated in the leveling of al-Arakib took from their experience, nor is it especially difficult to predict what sort of citizens they will become once they reach adulthood. Not only are they being indoctrinated to swear blind allegiance to the military, they are learning to treat the Arab outclass as less than human. The volunteers’ behavior toward Bedouins, who are citizens of Israel and serve loyally in Israeli army combat units despite widespread racism, was strikingly reminiscent of the behavior of settler youth in Hebron who pelt Palestinian shopkeepers in the old city with eggs, rocks and human waste. If there is a distinction between the two cases, it is that the Hebron settlers act as vigilantes while the teenagers of Israeli civilian guard vandalize Arab property as agents of the state.

The spectacle of Israeli youth helping destroy al-Arakib helps explain why 56% of Jewish Israeli high school students do not believe Arabs should be allowed to serve in the Knesset – why the next generation wants apartheid. Indeed, the widespread indoctrination of Israeli youth by the military apparatus is a central factor in Israel’s authoritarian trend. It would be difficult for any adolescent boy to escape from an experience like al-Arakib, where adults in heroic warrior garb encourage him to participate in and gloat over acts of massive destruction, with even a trace of democratic values.

Youth volunteers extract belongings from village homes as bulldozers move in
As for the present condition of Israeli democracy, it is essential to consider the way in which the state pits its own citizens against one another, enlisting the Jewish majority as conquerers while targeting the Arab others as, in the words of Zionist founding father Chaim Weizmann, “obstacles that had to be cleared on a difficult path.” Historically, only failing states have encouraged such corrosive dynamics to take hold. That is why the scenes from al-Arakib, from the demolished homes to the uprooted gardens to the grinning teens who joined the mayhem, can be viewed as much more than the destruction of a village. They are snapshots of the phenomenon that is laying Israeli society as a whole to waste.

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August 3rd, 2010, 12:33 pm


69. 5 dancing shlomos said:

in case the descriptive was missed:

diseased minds.

the disease passed from generation to generation.

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August 3rd, 2010, 12:38 pm


70. t_desco said:

Qifa Nabki, you asked:

“Where have I diminished the prospect of sectarian danger represented by the possibility of an indictment against Hizbullah?”

Perhaps AFP quoted you unfairly (which wouldn’t surprise me…)? –

“By the time that the STL gets around to indicting Hezbollah members a few months from now… the development will be old news, already dissected, analysed and picked over by Beirut?s punditocracy,” Muhanna wrote on his blog Qifa Nabki.

“No one will be surprised and (if Nasrallah and others get their way), no one will really care.”
(AFP, July 23, 2010)

(my emphasis)

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August 4th, 2010, 10:14 am


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