U.S. Saves Talks but Not Palestine

Netanyahu’s ability to stare down both the Palestinians and Obama made for another of those “there-goes-Palestine” moments. This is the third time that Obama has been steamrolled by Netanyahu.

U.S. Scrambling to Save Talks on Middle East

Jewish settlers in Kiryat Netafim poured a concrete cornerstone for a kindergarten on Sunday.
By ETHAN BRONNER and MARK LANDLER, September 26, 2010

JERUSALEM — Israel allowed a politically charged freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank to expire on Sunday, but the Palestinians did not carry out a threat to quit peace negotiations, setting the stage for further frantic efforts to keep the talks alive.

The winner in the settlement row is Netanyahu‎

By Aluf Benn Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be the winner of the construction-freeze crisis…

Al-Hayat – by Joyce Karam, (from mideastwire.com)

Al Hayat has learned that the meeting between Clinton and Al-Muallem was set up by US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell after his recent visit to Damascus. American sources were quoted in this respect as saying: “The visit made by Mitchell to Damascus was very positive. And upon his return to Washington, he informed Secretary Clinton about the results of his discussions, expressing his belief that there was hope of seeing the resumption of the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations. He also informed the American officials about the importance of the Syrian role in the region, especially in regard to the ongoing peace talks.” A prominent American official also told Al-Hayat that the Obama Administration supported the resumption of Syrian-Israeli peace talks from the start.

“The official added saying: “True, the Administration considers that priority should be given to the Israeli-Palestinian track since it is at the core of the problem, but it also supports the resumption of the Syrian-Israeli peace talks. And the fact that the Syrians have said that they were supportive of the resumption of those talks under Turkish auspice is a good thing… Washington expects the Syrian track to be reactivated within the few coming months.” In this respect, Arab diplomatic sources in Washington told Al-Hayat that they expected the Syrian track to become active again within the two coming months, although the American and Arab sources did not expect a solution to be reached on that track any time soon.

“The meeting between Al-Muallem and Clinton will be followed by another meeting held between the Syrian foreign minister and the UN Undersecretary of State William Burns. Both meetings will discuss the role that could be played by Damascus in the peace process and how it could play a helpful role in order to achieve regional stability…” – Al-Hayat, United Kingdom

Foreign Ministers of Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon met in NY

Enhancing long-term strategic partnership among the four countries through establishing a high-level quartet meeting council.

The ministers stressed that mechanism for regional cooperation will be open to friendly and sisterly countries.
They appreciated the steps made by Turkey and Lebanon to reach a free trade zone agreement which will be a main factor for achieving the participation of the two countries.

Rival Palestinian factions agree to end division in power-sharing deal

“…DAMASCUS, Syria — Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah announced Saturday that they have agreed on steps to end their division and share power and said they will hold more talks before signing a final deal in Cairo.

The two sides have been bitterly divided since Hamas militants violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, leaving Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah in control only of the West Bank…. The agreement came during a four-hour meeting that ended early Saturday between two delegations headed by Hamas’ exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal, and senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed. A joint statement issued after the talks said the two sides have reached an understanding on “the majority of points of difference.” It gave no details, but the sides have differed over control of Palestinian security forces and the date for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Hamas official Izzat Rashaq said the next meeting is expected during the first week of October. The two groups will then head to Cairo to sign a reconciliation agreement. That would clear the way for new Palestinian elections.
Egypt has been trying to reconcile the rivals …”

U.S.: Syria is essential to achieving Mideast peace

U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to meet Syrian foreign minister on Monday in New York to discuss possible renewal of Syria-Israel talks.
By Haaretz

A senior U.S. official said Friday that the United States saw Syria as an essential component in the path to achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace, ahead of a meeting between the U.S. and Syria, scheduled for Monday.

“A comprehensive peace has to include the Syria-Israel track. It’s absolutely essential that Syria be part of this process,” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeff Feltman told reporters.

“The fact that the Secretary [of State Hillary Clinton] is seeing [Syrian] Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on Monday, I think speaks for itself in terms of our commitment and our hope that now is the right time to move forward in trying to restart the Syria-Israel track,” Feltman added.

Answering reporters’ questions in New York, where the United Nations annual summit has convened, Feltman said that the upcoming meeting in New York between Clinton and Moallem will take place in that spirit, and stressed that “the Palestinians have told us that they would be very supportive of having a Syria track as well.”

“We have a lot of differences with Syria,” Feltman added. “Those differences aren’t going to disappear overnight. We also recognize that it is certainly in our interest to do what we can to engage the Syrians and the Israelis in a peace process that can lead to a comprehensive peace.”

Meanwhile, Clinton met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday as the Obama administration engaged in furious, last-minute diplomacy to prevent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from collapsing when the temporary settlement construction freeze ends on Sunday.

The Palestinians have threatened to walk out of the talks if Israel does not extend a slowdown in West Bank settlement activity.

Feltman told reporters the U.S. is urging Israel to extend the moratorium and that both parties need to see the negotiations through to their conclusion.

Turkish Weekly:

“Three PKK members were arrested in Beyrout by Lebanon security forces. The operation against so-called Israeli spies still continues.During the last week, Lebanon Military Intelligence Service launched operations against the ‘spies of Israel’ in Jonieh, a coastal city 20 kilometers north of Beyrout. During the operation, 3 PKK members were also caught. Interrogated terrorists were put under arrest for spying for Israel in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, PKK’s acting leader Murat Karayılan’s recent speech is attracting more attention to the PKK-Israel relations. Two days ago he offered cooperation to Israel against Turkey. The PKK leader declared Turkey as a ‘common enemy’ by saying “Our enemies are also the enemies of Israel.”

Government Increases Price of Fuel Oil

The Syrian Government has increased the retail price of fuel oil to SYP 8,500 per ton in line with its target to reach market rates by 2015.

Syria’s inflation rate stood at 2.18 percent on an annual basis at the end of July 2010, according to the Central Bank of Syria.

Nexia International, an international network of audit and consultancy firms, has opened a branch in Syria.


We are proud to be Yehudi-Arabi. It is in our veins’. Many Syria’s Jews who never saw their home country have not lost touch with their roots.

Jews who call Syria home; culturally Syrian, religiously Jew
By Brooke Anderson – DAMASCUS published in forward.com

“You can never forget,” says Joey Allaham, a Syrian Jew who left Damascus with his parents at the age of 18 in 1992, the year a nearly 45-year travel ban was lifted on Jews. “The Syrian customs never left – even for people who left Syria a hundred years ago. We still eat the same things; we’re still Syrian. There’s nothing missing.”

This statement might be truer for the Syrian Jews than for almost any other immigrant community in the world. ….

Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
For three decades, the writer and journalist Gideon Levy has been a lone voice, telling his readers the truth about what goes on in the Occupied Territories.
Interview by Johann Hari

Levy believes the greatest myth – the one hanging over the Middle East like perfume sprayed onto a corpse – is the idea of the current ‘peace talks’ led by the United States. There was a time when he too believed in them. At the height of the Oslo talks in the 1990s, when Yitzhak Rabin negotiated with Yassir Arafat, “at the end of a visit I turned and, in a gesture straight out of the movies, waved Gaza farewell. Goodbye occupied Gaza, farewell! We are never to meet again, at least not in your occupied state. How foolish!”

Now, he says, he is convinced it was “a scam” from the start, doomed to fail. How does he know? “There is a very simple litmus test for any peace talks. A necessity for peace is for Israel to dismantle settlements in the West Bank. So if you are going to dismantle settlements soon, you’d stop building more now, right? They carried on building them all through Oslo. And today, Netanyahu is refusing to freeze construction, the barest of the bare minimum. It tells you all you need.”

He says Netanyahu has – like the supposedly more left-wing alternatives, Ehud Barak and Tzipip Livni – always opposed real peace talks, and even privately bragged about destroying the Oslo process.

Comments (41)


1. 5 dancing shlomos said:

Edited by SC – I have erased several of your comments for repetitive Jew Bashing. Please stop. Thanks, JL

“Jews who call Syria home; culturally Syrian, religiously Jew”

arab culture is superior except to those arabs so brainwashed by western institutions and programs of propaganda.

start with AUB.

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September 27th, 2010, 12:51 pm

 

2. 5 dancing shlomos said:

another example of a fascist police state. from ron jacobs.

mr jacobs places this thuggish action in amurderka but we all know this occurs only in non-democratic syria.

“On September 24, 2010 the FBI raided several houses and a couple offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina under the guise of looking for proof that the people living in those houses were involved with organizations that “lent material support to terrorists.” Ironically (or perhaps presciently) the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) also released an 88-page document titled The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the U.S on that day. Not content with criminalizing the representation provided by attorneys to those accused of fomenting terrorism, as in the case of Lynne Stewart, with these raids the Obama administration has stepped up the repression that became quite commonplace under George Bush.”

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September 27th, 2010, 1:16 pm

 

3. 5 dancing shlomos said:

re #1.

cant remember what i wrote but i do bash jewry every chance i get. if i say jews i mean “the jews”, the organised power structure that controls congress, white house, wall st, media, what we can and cannot say.

i dont bash without provocation or without history, meaning truth, on my side – i hope,

oh

i also go after individual jews who are, in my reading, weasels eg few who post here.

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September 27th, 2010, 1:23 pm

 

4. 5 dancing shlomos said:

more u.s. bashing from american media radicals when the govt of syria is the real culprit:

US To Continue Killing Own Citizens Overseas
Obama invokes ‘state secrets’ claim to dismiss suit against targeting of U.S. citizen al-Aulaqi

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer

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September 27th, 2010, 1:33 pm

 

5. Shai said:

I beg to differ with the “there-goes-Palestine” moment. In fact, I would argue that Abu Mazen should, very calmly, suggest to Netanyahu that renewed settlement activity is simply a continuation of the “there-goes-two-states” saga. It is Israel that should hope to get the Palestinians to agree to an End of Occupation, not the other way around!

(Comment made by a Jew, proud member of “The Jews”) ;-)

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September 27th, 2010, 4:35 pm

 

6. Alex said:

WSJ(9/28) US Woos Syria In Mideast Peace Push
2010-09-27 23:19:24.394 GMT

(From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)
By Jay Solomon
NEW YORK — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intensified American efforts
to woo Syria into backing the U.S.’s Middle East strategy, holding her first
direct meeting with her Syrian counterpart in a bid to find common ground on
Iran, Lebanon and the Arab-Israeli dispute.
But Damascus’s top diplomat, Walid Moallem, in an hourlong interview Monday,
voiced opposition to many of the Obama administration’s top regional
initiatives, and expressed skepticism about the prospects for renewed
Syrian-Israeli peace talks.
Mr. Moallem said Damascus would oppose United Nations efforts to issue
indictments to support the U.N. investigation into the 2005 murder of former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a crime some Lebanese officials have
blamed on Syria.
The Syrian diplomat ruled out further cooperation with a U.N. probe into
evidence that Damascus had been covertly developing a nuclear reactor along the
Euphrates River before Israeli jets bombed the site in 2007.
Mr. Moallem said the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy
Agency, discredited itself last week by failing to approve an Arab-led
initiative that seeks to place Israel’s nuclear infrastructure under IAEA
safeguards.
“It is discredited, the agency,” Mr. Moallem, 69 years old, said. “It shows
double-standard policies.”
Damascus has for years denied any role in Mr. Hariri’s death, as well as
accusations that it was seeking to develop nuclear weapons in cooperation with
North Korea.
U.S. officials have increasingly sought to engage Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad in a bid to gain Damascus’s support on a range of Mideast issues, as
well as to weaken its strategic alliance with Iran. Syria and Iran partner
closely in arming and financing the main Arab groups fighting Israel — Hamas
in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
U.S. officials believe a resumption of direct Israeli-Syria talks over the
status of the Golan Heights region — a process that broke down in 2000 –
could diminish Syrian support for Hamas and underpin the separate
Israeli-Palestinian peace track.
State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said later Monday Mrs. Clinton and
Mr. Moallem discussed a range of regional issues and that Mrs. Clinton
“expressed her commitment to securing a comprehensive peace.” Mr. Crowley said
Syria’s foreign minister voiced his own government’s interest in peace talks
and that Washington and Damascus “would explore ways to move the process
further.”
Still, Mr. Moallem said he believed a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace would
be doomed without Israel’s commitment to first freezing any new construction in
disputed territories. He said any direct talks between Syria and Israel could
begin only after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to restoring the
Jewish state’s borders with Syria to the pre-June 4, 1967, lines. “So the land
is ours. And it’s not up for negotiation,” Mr. Moallem said.
Mr. Netanyahu’s government has said it won’t enter into talks with Syria that
have preconditions.
Lebanon remains an issue of tension between Washington and Damascus. The U.S.
has strongly voiced its support for the U.N. completing its investigation into
Mr. Hariri’s murder, as well as trying those indicted for the crime in The
Hague.
Mr. Moallem alleged Monday that the U.N.’s work in Lebanon has been
irredeemably “politicized” and that Damascus has received word that members of
Hezbollah were soon to be formally charged with the murder. He said that such
developments risked plunging Lebanon into a new round of sectarian strife and
that the U.N.’s investigation should be replaced by a purely Lebanese
investigation to ensure fair treatment.
The U.S. and Syria also could clash diplomatically this fall over the
nuclear-proliferation issue, as the Obama administration has indicated it would
press for the IAEA to have the powers to launch a “special investigation” of
Syria’s alleged nuclear infrastructure.
The White House’s special envoy to Syria, George Mitchell, has visited
Damascus and outlined ways that pervasive American sanctions on the Middle East
country could be eased to facilitate high-tech trade and the shipment of spare
parts for airplanes, according to U.S. officials. But so far, Mr. Moallem said,
these steps have had little impact inside Syria. “Until today — nothing,” he
said.

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September 27th, 2010, 10:04 pm

 

7. Norman said:

They keep trying to lure Syria and they will continue to do so without doing the only thing that counts and that is forcing Israel to get out of the Golan , what a waste of time , i just hope that Syria will not be fooled again as she was in the early nineties ,

The only way to force Israel , i said it and I say it again is the military one , If rockets and missiles start showering Israel from the West bank and the Golan , Israel will do what it did in Lebanon and Gaza , Abbas , did you learn anything from what Israel did in Lebanon and Gaza , I doubt it , you are either too dumb to learn or too involved and bought and paid for to do ,

The US might not be able to stop the settlements by stopping support for Israel but can do something to show the Palestinians it’s commitment by recognizing the Palestinian state with 1967 borders keeping the final borders to be negotiated from that point ,,,,,,,,,That will be the day ,

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September 27th, 2010, 11:12 pm

 

8. why-discuss said:

Gideon Levy in Canada

Gideon Levy gave a bleak account of the state of Israel during his conference in Montreal. He said that Israel is a country in a coma. Israelis, busy in acquiring real estate and making money have totally lost any interest in the people they are oppressing and the land they are illegally occupied. He was very depressed at the loss of moral values and the brainwashing done to Israelis. He did not see any hope of waking the Israelis from their coma except by increased events that could put international pressure on them: like the flotilla and the Goldstone report. But ultimately he sounded very pessimistic.

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September 28th, 2010, 12:30 am

 

9. Shai said:

Norman,

Remember that it is traditionally the Left in Israel that goes to war, not the Right. It is Begin that gave back the Sinai, Netanyahu that gave back control of major cities in the West Bank to the PA (in Arafat’s days), and it is Sharon that withdrew from Gaza and was going to continue in the West Bank. Both Sharon and Olmert were elected specifically on the platform of withdrawal from the West Bank. All Likud members and leaders!

Netanyahu knows he doesn’t need to go to war – he has the Left to do that for him. I would guess he’s far more interested in finding a way to deliver the final Arab-Israeli Peace, than the next Arab-Israeli war. He could still go down in History as “the man” to do that. But he has very real problems delivering this (assuming I’m right), because his coalition is made up of weak and paranoid ostriches, who’d rather do nothing.

That Clinton finally sat with Mouallem is a very good sign. I don’t think it’s about “luring” Syria. Syria’s stance vis-a-vis Iran, Turkey, even Hezbollah and Hamas, has already proven that it can’t be “lured” so easily. I’m sure Feltman has made it abundantly clear in the State Department that Syria will not play ball without a guarantee on the Golan. I’m sure Netanyahu also knows this.

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September 28th, 2010, 4:32 am

 

10. Norman said:

Shai,
It is not a matter of Right or Left , it is a matter of justification to seek a settlement and as long as the Israeli not suffering from the present status it will be difficult if not impossible for any prime minster to seek a solution to a problem that only the Palestinians feel , Don’t you think , ?

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September 28th, 2010, 7:55 am

 

11. Elie Elhadj said:

Alex,

The WSJ report covered in your comment 6 addresses a list of serious issues.

By virtue of HA, Hamas, Iraq, Syria, Houthis, Bahrain and Kuwait and Saudia’s badly treated Shi’ites, Tehran has become a part of the Israel/Arab landscape. Under current geo-political and religious/ sectarian realities in the Middle East it would be practically impossible to disentangle this web. The Bush/ Cheney/ Blair failed project in Iraq handed Tehran regional dominance on a silver platter without Tehran firing a shot.

Today, in the absence of Tehran there can be no peace prospects on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Iran has become a part of any solution there. Tehran must be brought by Washington into the negotiations and the bargaining. Iran has its own agenda and will not cooperate for nothing. Chances for a successful settlement of the disputes are close to zero. Meanwhile, GCC royals must be having nightmares.

Elie

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September 28th, 2010, 9:22 am

 

12. Shai said:

Norman,

As you know, I fear that you may be right. But it is very difficult for me to explain to you how a people can exist in a state of coma, apathy, arrogance, fear and paranoia, all at the same time… While Syria is (presumably) no match for a classic military battle with Israel, it is certainly a far more dangerous rival (perceived and real) than the Palestinians. Using your logic, Israel should opt for peace with Syria far sooner and more urgently than with the Palestinians, especially nowadays, when almost zero incidents of Palestinian terrorism/resistance take place. And, unlike Abu Mazen, Syria can deliver.

So I’m not sure we must have another war over the Golan. However, you may still be proven right.

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September 28th, 2010, 9:32 am

 

13. Ghat Al Bird said:

The realitIes no one seems to accept.

Israel is the sole entity that still dictates in 2010 whether a Palestinian State becomes a reality or not.

Israel still occupies the Golan Heights. Israel still determines whom the US considers an ally or enemy in the Middle East.

American Jews for the most part are dedicated to condemning ALL ARABS/MUSLIMS.

The overriding posit then translates into what happens from now on.

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September 28th, 2010, 9:58 am

 

14. why-discuss said:

Shai

Making a peace deal with Syria will have to take into account Iran. Israel will not make a peace with Syria unless it is sure that Iran is neutralized and/or evacuated from Syria and other arab countriesi. This is a hard task for the US administration considering the way the relations have envenimated, mostly thanks to Israel who thought that this would ‘isolate’ and strangle Iran. The result is that isolation and rejection from the west has made Iran closer geographically with Israel with Iran’s alliances with Lebanon Iraq and Syria.
If Israel wants peace with Syria, they will have to become less aggressive towards Iran and in view of the present political stand in Israel this seems far fetched.
Yet, a real gesture from Israel towards Syria may create a momentum for unravelling all these knots, including containing Iran, and create an impetus for a change of attitude of Syria allies towards Israel.
A withdrawal from the Golan will not be like Gaza. Syria had good control of its border with Israel.
It is time the US wake up and takes seriously the primordial task of pushing Israel to return the Golan and cancelling the sanctions.
Maybe we are seeing signs of that…

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September 28th, 2010, 10:25 am

 

15. 5 dancing shlomos said:

partial from jonathon cook:

Israel’s reasoning against peace

Deal comes at high cost to Jewish privilege

“With the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank yesterday, Israel’s powerful settler movement hopes that it has scuttled peace talks with the Palestinians.

It would be misleading, however, to assume that the only major obstacle to the success of the negotiations is the right-wing political ideology the settler movement represents. Equally important are deeply entrenched economic interests shared across Israeli society.

These interests took root more than six decades ago with Israel’s establishment and have flourished at an ever-accelerating pace since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 war.

Even many Israeli Jews living within the recognised borders of Israel privately acknowledge that they are the beneficiaries of the seizure of another people’s lands, homes, businesses and bank accounts in 1948. Most Israelis profit directly from the continuing dispossession of millions of Palestinian refugees…..”

beneficiaries, including several posting here, who live well on someone else’s land and with someone else’s money.

god bless the welfare bums amongst us.

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September 28th, 2010, 11:20 am

 

16. 5 dancing shlomos said:

edit doesnt work.keeps moving.

to following paragraph from above, add: julan heights after w. bank and gaza.

These interests took root more than six decades ago with Israel’s establishment and have flourished at an ever-accelerating pace since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 war.

remember dayan said, “we took the julan out of greed”.

dayan, what hasnt israel taken out of greed.

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September 28th, 2010, 11:27 am

 

17. 5 dancing shlomos said:

partial from peter beinart, a zionist:

Meanwhile, the Obama administration pressured Netanyahu to curb the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The harder the White House pushed, the more American Jewish groups objected. “Mr. President—The Problem Isn’t Settlements,” declared a summer 2009 advertisement by the Anti-Defamation League. But when Netanyahu did agree to a partial (and, as it would turn out, lightly(me: never) enforced) settlement moratorium, AIPAC hailed it as a sign of, you guessed it, “Israel’s Peace Commitment.”

So let’s get this straight. When Netanyahu agrees to a settlement moratorium, it’s a sign of his commitment to peace. And now that he has let the moratorium end? It’s still a sign of his commitment to peace because, as AIPAC now insists, negotiations must proceed without preconditions. It’s back to “the problem isn’t settlements.”

But the problem—or at least a crucial problem—is settlements. Creating a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank could easily require moving 100,000 settlers—ten times as many as Israel removed in Gaza, on far more theologically charged land. All those settlers will have to be financially compensated (at least partially, judging from the Oslo discussions, with U.S. taxpayer dollars). Many will have to be violently confronted, a terrifying prospect given that militant settlers comprise a larger and larger share of the Israeli officer corps. (Yitzhak Rabin, remember, was assassinated for merely contemplating the removal of West Bank settlements). And even if all this can be done without civil war, any land Israel keeps in the West Bank will likely have to be traded for land within pre-1967 Israel, and there’s not much land to trade.

problem moving 100,000 squats? jews had no problem moving, killing 1,000,000 palestinians.

financially compensated for stealing. how about hanging.

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September 28th, 2010, 11:45 am

 

18. Shai said:

Why Discuss,

I hope we are seeing these signs. However, with regards to Iran, I don’t think Israel will demand Syria “flip”, as everyone seems to suggest it will (and the U.S.) And this is simply because Syria will not agree. What Syria probably will agree to, I imagine, is completely changing its military/defensive stance and alliance vis-a-vis Iran. Syria won’t need a military alliance with Iran once there’s peace in the region, and once the Golan is returned. If such an alliance threatens Israel, as today it does, then I’m sure Syria will be ready to change the nature of such a relationship, without harming the diplomatic, economic, cultural, etc. natures of her relationship with Iran. I believe Israel and the U.S. can and will accept that.

You said: “If Israel wants peace with Syria, they will have to become less aggressive towards Iran and in view of the present political stand in Israel this seems far fetched.”

I disagree with you about Israeli aggression towards Iran. While it is true that Israel has repeatedly sent threatening messages of the “all-the-options-are-on-the-table” nature, I doubt most in the world would view Israel as the aggressor, and Iran the receiver. I imagine most, including the Arab World, have adopted deep suspicion of Iran’s objectives vis-a-vis the region, and even vis-a-vis Israel. Israel has never called for the destruction of Iran. Iran, as you know, hasn’t missed a week in recent years to do so. And no, I don’t buy the soft-translation, suggesting Ahmadinejad only means the “Zionist Government”.

Having said that, I’m one that believes Iran does NOT pose an existential threat towards Israel, and that therefore it would be wrong of Israel (or the U.S.) to ever attack it. Israel is still far stronger than Iran, and should maintain its deterrence instead of practice its might.

As we both know, the real victims in the region aren’t the Iranians – but the Palestinians. The Iranians are “riding” the Palestinian wave quite nicely. Better than all the Arab countries, in fact. Kind of makes you wonder…

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September 28th, 2010, 11:47 am

 

19. why-discuss said:

Shai

Whatever happens I doubt Syria will decrease its level of intimacy with Iran. Syria and most arab world DO NOT TRUST the US. Another Bush-like president and all agreements will be scraped and reversed. Iran has been and is a solid alliance to Syria. It is not a “democracy’ ruled by lobbies who manipulate the public perception and who do no shift 180 at every election as the US and Israel do! It is a theocracy consistent with its policies and would not flip-flop every 4 or 8 years…
Now if Iran falls then the geopolitics will be changed and that is what the US and Isreal have fail to achieve.
This is why i believe that Israel has to stop attacking and threatening Iran and the US stop demonizing it then we may see a relaxation of the verbal provocations and an opening to dialog.
While Ahmadinejad has threatened Israel, it does not reflect the views of the iranian establishment the same way as your leaders have threatened to reduce Lebanon to the age of stone. These are just verbal provocations in respond to the military and political provocations Israel and the US continue to inflict to Iran and its allies. Iran’s history has not been one of aggression while Israel’s history is only aggression.

Israel must mend its relation with Iran by using another strategy than aggression. To do that it has to stop misleading the US in their stand with Iran then court and please Syria so it uses its influences on Iran, once the Golan is returned. But Israel is far too used to solving their problem by aggression and wars to move into quiet diplomacy. The US is the key, nothing else.

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September 28th, 2010, 1:32 pm

 

20. Ghat Al Bird said:

Interesting turn of the issue. Netanyahu still rules.

Discussion is centered on Israel/Iran while the pivotal issue is whether the Palestinian Arabs have as much rights and are as important as the Jewish settlers from Moldavia and other exotic countries to their own state?

An individual has to question whether this 50 years charade of a road to peace is based on the fact that the Arabs [excepting Syria] are mentally retarded or being bribed to go along with the Zionists.

If they are being bribed then the least they could to is demand as much money as Israel gets from the US yearly. If its not that then as the saying goes” forget about it”.

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September 28th, 2010, 2:40 pm

 

21. Shai said:

Ghat,

You said, in comment 13 above, “American Jews for the most part are dedicated to condemning ALL ARABS/MUSLIMS.”

Can you support this claim?

I disagree that even today the question is whether the Palestinians have a right to a state. I doubt there’s a single nation on this planet, including all of Israel’s allies, that question this right. The only “question” that remains, which most nations don’t seem to be capable of answering, is whether they have a right to a separate state, or a single state with the Jews.

I do agree with you, however, that the world can certainly do much more to “force” one of those two solutions. Formally recognizing a Palestine, whether with specific borders or not, is one way to start. I imagine this will occur sooner or later, if your so-called “50 year charade” (probably viewed more as a 17 year charade, since Oslo), continues.

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September 28th, 2010, 3:02 pm

 

22. Ghat Al Bird said:

SHAI said:

Ghat,

You said, in comment 13 above, “American Jews for the most part are dedicated to condemning ALL ARABS/MUSLIMS.”

Can you support this claim?

“How about the below as a typical claim?”

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2010
Zionist Neocon PNAC Prick Frank Gaffney Jr. Comes to Murfreesboro Attempting to Prop Up the Mosque Psyops

A witness in court today accused the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s leaders, including Imam Ossama Bahloul, of being supporters of Sharia law.

“I see several things that are a red flag from a security standpoint,” Frank J. Gaffney Jr. said during a hearing before Chancellor Robert Corlew III. “They have engaged in activities that should be worrisome to this community.” {more}

“I don’t hold myself out as an expert on Sharia Law,” Gaffney told the court on the witness stand. “But I have talked a lot about that as a threat.”

“Sharia (law) is the enemy-threat doctrine we face today,” Gaffney said. “And that threat has trickled down to local governments.”

“I’m here to warn this community of seditious acts of Sharia Law,” {more}

The Murfreesboro Tennessee mosque ‘debate’ (see here, here and here) continues with the opposition breaking out one of the ‘big guns’ of the zionist neocon ‘clash of civilizations’ permanent war ‘us vs. them’ psychological warfare operation. None other than Frank Gaffney Jr.; Israel first, anti-American think tanker, media whore and hate shill for elitist fun and profit.

Someone backing the plaintiffs suing Rutherford County to stop the government from issuing any more building permits to allow the Muslim congregation from building a larger community center with a mosque gets Gaffney to ‘testify.’ It was a desperate move because the locals they hired to file the lawsuit are a bunch of screw up self promoters. So it’s call in the jewish self proclaimed Muslim ‘expert’ to give the talking points an air of authority.

Who is this Gaffney?
One of the original Project for a New American Century signatories for Rebuilding America’s Defenses who got his ‘new Pearl Harbor’ and wars with Afghanistan and Iraq and beyond.

President, CEO, and founder of the Center for Security Policy — “a small think tank funded mainly by U.S. defence contractors, far-right foundations, and right-wing Zionists.”

Gaffney says that today’s main threat to peace and security is “Islamofascism,” which is a terms he says “makes clear that the war is about much more than Iraq and Afghanistan” and includes those countries—namely, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and South Africa—which provide direct or indirect support for the Islamofascists “in their death struggle with us.”

That’s enough, you get the picture.

I do like the idea of Gaffney on the witness stand but with him on trial for his life. He should have to testify as to his lies, his criminal accomplices and bosses, his treason to this country and his contributions/complicity to the murder of thousands of Americans on 9/11 and in illegal wars. He has the blood of a million plus Muslims on his hands.
May justice one day prevail.

——-

Channel 5 Nashville – Sept. 27, 2010

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September 28th, 2010, 4:21 pm

 

23. Shai said:

Ghat,

78% of American Jews voted for Obama. You claim: “American Jews for the most part are dedicated to condemning ALL ARABS/MUSLIMS.”

Surely you don’t believe this Neocon Gaffney Jr. is representative of most American Jews, do you?

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September 28th, 2010, 4:28 pm

 

24. Ghat Al Bird said:

SHAI said:

Ghat,

78% of American Jews voted for Obama. You claim: “American Jews for the most part are dedicated to condemning ALL ARABS/MUSLIMS.”

You must be a Newt Gingrich fan since he believes that Obama is a “closet Muslim”. Your comebacks SHAI are akin to handling a slippery eel.

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September 28th, 2010, 4:54 pm

 

25. SimoHurtta said:

I disagree with you about Israeli aggression towards Iran. While it is true that Israel has repeatedly sent threatening messages of the “all-the-options-are-on-the-table” nature, I doubt most in the world would view Israel as the aggressor, and Iran the receiver. I imagine most, including the Arab World, have adopted deep suspicion of Iran’s objectives vis-a-vis the region, and even vis-a-vis Israel. Israel has never called for the destruction of Iran. Iran, as you know, hasn’t missed a week in recent years to do so.

Shai can you show where Iran has called for the destruction of Israel? It should be no problem because you say it has happened weekly. Saying that the Zionist government should be erased from the “pages of history” is a bit different than demanding to use nukes and armies against Israeli Jewish population and committing a new holocaust. By the way Israel’s and USA’s regimes have publicly for decades “wished” that the “Ayatollah” regime vanishes and the nice “Shah” returns. Israeli experts have even discussed about using nuclear weapons against Iran.

If some military analyst claims that the Iranian army is in reality equipped for expansive operations and materially ready to invade the neighbourhood he does it because he is paid to say so. Not because he believes that. Compare for example the military resources of Iran and Saudi Arabia, or Iran and Pakistan, or Iran and Turkey, or Iran and Russia. It would take decades and countless billions that Iran would be militarily enough strong to invade the neighbours. Own nukes would give Iran only a much more greater immunity against foreign attacks and political pressure, not a real invading capacity. So the notion that the Arab neighbours are afraid of Iran’s military capacity and aims is pure Israeli/American propaganda.

The leaders of Arab countries loyal to the “West” are afraid of what Iran could and probably will become. The regions leading scientific, financial and industrial power which can control the shipping route and be a leading member of the really functioning energy cartel. The fear of Iran is not a military fear, it is purely a political fear. A successful Iran will challenge the present style Arab regimes and the contrast in success and achievements becomes to big.

Of course Shai most of the world sees Israel and USA as the aggressors. The US/Israeli line in IAEA, do not dare to speak about the Israeli nukes but you are demanded to speak about the Iranian potential “nukes”, succeeded only partly and probably only because of massive US political and economical blackmail towards the member states. On the next round that will not succeed. The US/Israeli nuclear policy is so absurd that it can’t kept “alive” long. Either Israel is disarmed of nukes or the neighbourhood will create nukes. Turkey for example will have really to consider its options. It has to neutralize the Israeli nuclear threat and the chaos Israel is spreading around. And it has to do that relatively fast.

The Israeli demand that no Arab country is allowed to begin to use peaceful nuclear technology is rather absurd. These potential nuclear reactors represent such economical and commercial interests to the leading industrial powers that Israel hardly can any longer block the development. It is absurd that USA demands Jordan to give control of the uranium ore found in Jordan to Israel. Control to a nation which doesn’t have civil nuclear energy production and has not signed the NTP.

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September 28th, 2010, 6:10 pm

 

26. Averroes said:

Dancing Shlomos and others of similar inclination.

As much as I despise the writings and opinions of people like AP and AIG on the other side, I have to say that I find your tone, language, and attitudes arrogant and despicable.

I see little substance, and a whole lot of self serving, self assuring, boasting, and totally unfounded arrogance in a lot of what you write. “Arab culture is superior” is it, DS? I think we can use a little more modesty and a little less boasting, and I don’t want to start counting the many shortcomings that this “Arab Culture” suffers from.

I am a Muslim and an Arab (100% Arab lineage too), and I think we’ve used up all the boasting we can muster and should accept that we will be building from scratch if we really want to accomplish anything.

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September 28th, 2010, 6:17 pm

 

27. Ghat Al Bird said:

My gut feeling is that the 5 Dancing Shlomo commentor is neither an Arab or a Muslim. There have been many instances where “non-arabs/muslims” have interposed themselves in commentaries just for the sole purpose of degrading Arabs and Muslims. See #22 above.

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September 28th, 2010, 8:04 pm

 

28. Joshua said:

Dear Averroes, Thank you for your wise words. Is is a shame to be dragged into needless name calling and strutting about.

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September 28th, 2010, 8:42 pm

 

29. Norman said:

Shai,

You are a smart and wise man , smart to know that Syria is not as weak as your leaders believe or tell their people , as you know your Foreign Minster was sending threats to Syria and claiming that defeating Syria is a picnic , it is hard after that for Netanyahu to convince his people that peace with Syria is needed ,

You are wise to know that prevention is more important than treatment and driving cautiously and avoiding accidents is wiser than fixing the car and treating your family who is driving with you , Unfortunately your leaders are driving wildly and having their families( Settlers ) cheering them on ,

They are looking for a war to be convinced ,
Remember that Sharon left Gaza because of the Rockets , and Barack Lebanon because of the casualties , that is why they got their mandate to leave ,

The question is , will there be a prudent driver in Israel that has the foresight to avoid a disaster ,

I doubt it , Netanyahu can not justify any move toward peace when most Israelis think that they are in peace ,

Averroes ,
I agree with you ,

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September 28th, 2010, 9:34 pm

 

30. Akbar Palace said:

No Problem Dancing

5 Dancing Shlomos said:

jews had no problem moving, killing 1,000,000 palestinians

5 Dancing Shlomos,

Arabs have killed orders of magnitude more Muslims than Jews have.

Which websites do you use to complain about the Arab murderers?

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September 28th, 2010, 10:37 pm

 

31. Averroes said:

AP,

Comparing the number of those killed by Israelis to those killed by Arabs/Muslims is a pathetic argument used over and over by many Israelis and neocons.

Even with that comparison, one has to take into account the large difference in the exposure area, i.e. the number of the populations in conflict with each other.

So, with 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide, areas of conflict and the number of people in conflict may be large in sheer numbers, but percentage wise, it is a fraction of the killing produced by Israel.

In other words, Israel produces more killing and terrorizing per capita than any Arab or Muslim country in the world. If Arab and Muslim countries were to match you with that statistic, the victims would have to be in the tens of millions, which they are not, not by any far measure.

In fact, if we were to look closer, we would find that most of the killing produced by Arabs and Muslims against one another (the case you’re boasting about) is made by extremist elements like Al-Qaeda. What do you know? There is a match for you in the Arab world.

Your approach is deeply flawed, and on many levels, so I suggest you stop using it. No wrong on the other side can justify a wrong on your own side.

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September 28th, 2010, 11:44 pm

 

32. Shai said:

Dear Norman,

No Israeli thinks he’s living “in peace”. Four years ago a small group of a couple thousand combatants (as opposed to a large army of hundreds of thousands), held a million Israelis underground for 34 days. Rockets fell on every corner of our Northern part of the country. And it was just Hezbollah, not the armies of Syria, Iran, Iraq, etc. Hence the contradictions I suggested earlier – apathy, arrogance, and yet fear and paranoia.

While Lieberman is leading the 3rd largest political party in Israel, he is still far from representative of the average Israeli. His rhetoric is extreme, and even the Prime Minister’s Office tends to go out of its way to make clear its disapproval of his statements. Everyone on Israeli media is calling on Netanyahu to fire Lieberman. If he was representing the average Israeli, the media would only support him. I imagine Netanyahu is still holding on to him, in order to show his own coalition what “the alternative” is. I.e., if you don’t support me, and we go to Elections, you may have to work with this guy next time around.

Averroes,

AP’s argument is similar to AIG’s “The Palestinians are better off economically than the rest of the Arab world…” I like to compare that to a theoretical counter-argument to Racism in the South, by suggesting African-Americans still earn far more than their Liberian ancestors… Btw, the per-capita argument is brilliant!

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September 29th, 2010, 3:05 am

 

33. Ghat Al Bird said:

The following extract is more than ample corroboration to what AVERROES stated under #31 above.

Here’s the roll-call [from delphiforums] on who introduced terrorism (along with biological, chemical and nuclear weapons) to the Middle East:
Bombs in cafés: first used by Zionists in Palestine on 17 March 1937 in Jaffa. (actually grenades).

Bombs on buses: first used by Zionists in Palestine on 20 August-26 September1937
Drive-by shootings with automatic weapons: IZL and LHI in 1937-38 and 1947-48 (Morris, Righteous Victims, p681.)

Bombs in market places: first used by Zionists on 6 July 1938 in Haifa. (delayed-action, electrically detonated)

Bombing of a passenger ship: first used by the Zionists in Haifa on 25 November 1940, killing over 200 of their own fellows.

Bombing of hotels: first used by Zionists on 22 July 1946 in Jerusalem (Menachem Begin went on to become prime minister of Israel).

Suitcase bombing: first used by Zionists on 1 October 1946 against British embassy in Rome.

Mining of ambulances: first used by Zionists on 31 October 1946 in Petah Tikvah

Car-bomb: first used by Zionists against the British near Jaffa on 5 December 1946.

Letter bombs: first used by Zionists in June 1947 against members of the British government, 20 of them.

Parcel bomb: first used by Zionists against the British in London on 3 September 1947.

Reprisal murder of hostages: first used by Zionists against the British in Netanya area on 29 July 1947.

Truck-bombs: first used by Zionists on January 1948 in the centre of Jaffa, killing 26.
Aircraft hijacking: world-first by Israeli jets December 1954 on a Syrian civilian airliner (random seizure of hostages to recover five spies) – 14 years before any Palestinian hijacking.

The only form of violent terrorism not introduced into Palestine by the Zionists was suicide bombing, a tactic used almost entirely by people fighting occupation of their “homeland” – think 1000s of Japanese in 1945, 100s of Tamils and 38 Lebanese in the 1980s – most of the latter being motivated by socialism/communism, not Islam – see http://amconmag.com/article/2005/jul/18/00017.

Biological warfare – pathogens used by Zionists in 1948, prior to the seizure of Acre, putting typhus into the water supply.

Chemical warfare – nerve gas very likely used by Zionists in February/March 2001 in at least eight attacks in Khan Younis and Gharbi refugee camps (Gaza) and the town of Al-Bireh (West Bank).

Nuclear threats – made by Zionists e.g. 2003: “We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under.” – Remarks of Martin Van Creveld, a professor of military history at Israel’s Hebrew University, 1 February 2003.

And, if you think only Muslims need worry, then see http://www.masada2000.org/sharepain.html – “Israel has nuclear weapons and MUST use them and all those arming the Arabs must share the pain!” Comes with cute music.

To these we could add “sofa slaughter” with armed drones. The Israelis use this armchair technique extensively in Gaza, unleashing death and destruction on civilians by remote control at no personal risk to themselves.

There are interesting variations too. For example, during the 40-day siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 the Israeli occupation force set up cranes on which were mounted robotic machine guns under video control. According to eye-witnesses, eight defenders, including the bell-ringer, were murdered, some by armchair button-pushers and some by regular snipers.

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September 29th, 2010, 7:06 am

 

34. Akbar Palace said:

In other words, Israel produces more killing and terrorizing per capita than any arab or muslim country in the world.

Averroes,

I see you suffer from the same brainwashing as our form anti-semite, 5 dancing shlomos.

So if sheer numbers isn’t enough reason to start your own anti-arab website, “per capita” statistics are?

So yes, please provide your data and make sure you include Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, as these are all Muslim countries.

Oh, and when you start your new website, I’ll be happy to write the first post.

Shai,

I see AIG’s name appears on this website from time to time. It sure would be nice if he was allowed to defend himself. Professor Josh has learned quite a lot from his Baathist friends…

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September 29th, 2010, 7:15 am

 

35. Shai said:

Ghat,

In Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, use of chemical warfare was advised. I’m sure that’s part of the reason France and Germany didn’t mind using it against one another in WWI, the British in repressive bombardments against major cities in Iraq (under its control), the Bolsheviks in 1921, the Spanish and French in Morocco during the Berber rebellion, Italy in Ethiopia, the Japanese in Manchuria, and of course Nazi Germany and the USSR. All this, long before “The Zionists” began developing our own forms of weapons of mass destruction.

Before your 2001 “very likely use” of nerve gas by Zionists in Gaza and the West Bank, you forgot to mention the “very real use” of gas by non-Zionist Egyptian forces in North Yemen, in 1966-67. Or Iraq’s use of mustard and nerve gas against Iran starting in 1980, all throughout the 8 year war (more than 100,000 dead just from gas), and ending in 1988 with the horrific attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja.

So I don’t know who gets the extra bonus points for introducing WMD’s to the region, but please do not try to suggest the Arabs have “clean hands” when it comes to actual use of WMD’s.

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September 29th, 2010, 8:07 am

 

36. Averroes said:

Shai,

Thank you. I’m just sick of people using cheap and morally corrupt arguments to defend state terrorism.

AP,

Have I touched a nerve here? prompting you bring up the anti-semitism, brain washing, and the similar WMDs. Syria Comment is not an anti Israel web site like you would have us believe. Further, many people here spend quite a bit of effort condemning acts of terrorism that are committed by Arab and Muslim fundamentalists and other crazies. There are 1.4 billion Muslims including Arabs in the world. How much inter-killing have they produced in the last 100 years? How many wars have they started against other nations and peoples compared to their populations? True, there has been crimes and I’m not in any way defending those, but what I’m saying is if we were to adopt Israeli standards, the numbers would be much, much larger.

During the two World Wars, Europeans killed more of each another than any other race in history. During the American Civil War, Americans killed more of each other more than any other war they fought before and since, including the two WWs. How can you use such unfortunate historical facts, in any contest, to justify racism, systematic discrimination and humiliation of an entire people?

I’ve also heard many times, the exact other face of your argument being used over and over by Israeli commentators and politicians when addressing Americans in particular. “We lost 200 people in this war … that’s the equivalent of the US losing 12,000 people”. What a sickening way of intimidation and extorsion that your politicians use every day to justify their crimes.

This is what you’re doing with that argument: trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Ghat, thank you for this valuable list of facts and figures.

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September 29th, 2010, 1:15 pm

 

37. Roland said:

Simohurtta’s #25 was absolutely correct about Iran’s military limitations, nukes or no nukes.

Iran is not, and will not become, any sort of “dominant power” in the region. The worst that could happen if Iran acquires some nuclear weapons is that Israel would lose its currently almost unlimited power to stage spontaneous attacks on its neighbours, because they would have to become more wary of potential escalation than they are now.

However, if the Iranians succeed in pursuing an independent line of policy, they would certainly embarrass the Saudi and Egyptian gov’ts in the eyes of their respective publics.

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September 29th, 2010, 8:38 pm

 

38. 5 dancing shlomos said:

#26. “I see little substance, and a whole lot of self serving, self assuring, boasting, and totally unfounded arrogance in a lot of what you write. “Arab culture is superior” is it, DS? I think we can use a little more modesty and a little less boasting, and I don’t want to start counting the many shortcomings that this “Arab Culture” suffers from.”

i think you mean well but are way off.

what culture doesnt suffer from many shortcomings. they are all human. but what is the measuring stick for perfection from which shortcomings are gotten.

one measure of superiority of arab culture to western is the lack of invading every country in the world and the resultant devolution, destruction of the invaded culture. another is the constant harping of superiorty(by the west/isr) and the concomitant declarations of inferiority of the other also by the west/isr. arabs, mujslims dont seem to engage in this sort of child’s activity that so engages western, israeli intellectuals and parroted by their respective streets.

many of my posts are addressed to those who bash syria, arabs, muslims while ignoring equal and worse faults in their idols where they aspire to live. and for ignoring the tremendous pressures, influences, interferences that prevent normal evolution within arab, muslim countries.

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September 30th, 2010, 2:04 pm

 

39. 5 dancing shlomos said:

hey, i havent been deleted – yet. i’ll add another comment before i give up this computer for 4-5 days.

how can s. arabia, all the gulf states, jordan, just to name these few, change when u.s. will not permit except for chan ges benefiting america and israel.

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September 30th, 2010, 2:21 pm

 

40. 5 dancing shlomos said:

to emphasize

changes benefiting america and israel.

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September 30th, 2010, 2:23 pm

 

41. why-discuss said:

Beyond the Failed “Peace Process”
What Does a “One State Solution” Really Mean?

By ALAIN GRESH ( Alain Gresh is vice president of Le Monde diplomatique and heads its Middle East/Muslim world department)

Renewed Arab/Israeli negotiations, opened under the auspices of President Barack Obama in September, are undermined not just by settlement building but differing visions on other fundamental issues. The impasse has led to calls by some senior figures, including Israelis, for the creation of a single state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan

“The lesser danger, the lesser evil, is a single state in which there are equal rights for all citizens,” said the Israeli parliament’s speaker. Another politician, a former minister, added that the only remaining option for Israel is the declaration of a single state covering the whole of the historical territory of Palestine, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. A young female member of parliament with strong religious convictions has also defended the same conclusions. These three politicians are not members of Hamas, nor even Palestinians, nor European anti-Zionists. They are prominent members of the Israeli right…

http://www.counterpunch.org/gresh10082010.html

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October 8th, 2010, 10:07 pm

 

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