What the Middle East Needs is the “Audacity of Hope”, by Hind Kabawat

For the last five years or so, I have been actively working with Jewish colleagues in the US and elsewhere to help broker a lasting reconciliation between Israel and its Arab neighbors. But in the wake of the carnage in Gaza, it is impossibly difficult to be optimistic about the future of the peace process in the region. Though Israel has apparently had its way by force of arms, it has won this so-called “victory,” at a terrible cost to itself and its neighbors.

The real legacy of the Gaza War is likely to be the further hardening and entrenching of the intense distrust of the Arab and Muslim world of the presence of the Jewish state in the heart of the Middle East in addition to a growing conviction that Israel is an inherently violent state that can not be reformed or positively influenced by any party. Is this the outcome the Israeli government and public really desire? Do they honestly think their ongoing security will be guaranteed year after year by forever brutalizing the Palestinian people? Do they think they will acquire the respect and political legitimacy in the region, they crave, by keeping the Arab people of the former Palestine “penned” like animals into their Gaza gulag without any hope of creating a viable economy, a functional political system and a future for their children. The Israelis may think so. But they are wrong.

Has Israel a right to exist? Only the most extreme and intractable elements in the Arab world now say, “No.” As almost all informed Israelis know, most of the Arab world has long ago accepted the reality of a Jewish state in the Middle East. Certainly until now. So why does the Israeli leadership compromise this pragmatic goodwill among the wider Arab community by engaging in acts of such carnage and barbarism as the world has witnessed in Gaza over the last twenty days. It is hard to fathom. It truly beggars the imagination.

Israelis, of course, justify such over-the-top military brutality because of the Hamas rockets targeted on southern Israel. Nobody in the Arab world, with any sense, would have approved Hamas’ ineffective provocations if Israel did not close Gaza’s crossings forcing Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants to live in hunger and. And before the Gaza campaign, Hamas was generally a marginalized political force outside of Gaza which been encouraged in the beginning by Israel to weakness the Palestinian Authority. But, in reality, what did all these Hamas missile attacks actually accomplish. Very little. A few—very few—unfortunate Israeli fatalities and a modicum of material damage. For this, Israel proceeded to flatten Gaza to the ground, leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless and destitute and over a thousand souls—half of them children—dead. There is an old phrase, “cracking a peanut with a sledgehammer.” Is there a metaphor that better describes the Israeli government’s action in Gaza? The adjective “disproportionate” has been used over and over again during the last few weeks to describe the Israeli campaign in Gaza. But disproportionate is a sadly “clinical’ world to describe the death, destruction and suffering of the Palestinian people.

So where do we go from here? Again, another ceasefire has been called between Israel and Hamas. But how long will it last? The hatred between many elements on the Arab Street against Israel is now more intense, more visceral than ever. During the course of the Gaza campaign, commentators around the world made allusions to the Holocaust, another instance of a brutal enemy, armed to the teeth, inflicting horrendous suffering on an essentially defenseless people. Obviously, the scale of the devastation is different. But spiritually how different is Gaza from Auschwitz? The lesson the Holocaust taught the Jews was seemingly this: Slaughter your enemy before they slaughter you. Is this the lesson the Israeli government wants Arabs and Palestinians to learn from Gaza? No mercy. Just kill, kill, kill.

Such a strategy is, literally, a complete dead-end for both sides—a course of action whose inevitable conclusion is an unthinkable Armageddon in the Middle East where the casualties on both sides will be in the millions, not the thousands. It is only a matter of time before “both” sides truly possess weapons of mass destruction. So how do we—Palestinian and Israeli, Arab and Jew—pull ourselves back from the brink? COMPROMISE is surely the only solution. But though both sides have been talking compromise (paying lip service to it) since the Oslo Accord, no one, on either side, has really been practicing it. For years, Israel has embraced the “two-state solution,’ at the same time as they systematically permitted hundreds of thousands of Jews to settle in the occupied Arab lands of the West Bank. So much for compromise. So much for the two-state solution. And unfortunately many Arabs today are certain that Israel doesn’t want a two states solution.

Ironically, the Gaza Holocaust occurred just days before the inauguration of the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, an epochal event that is occurring just forty-one years after Martin Luther King made his famous speech, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “dreaming” about a time when the racial divide in America would finally be bridged. Forty-one years ago, Arabs and Israelis were killing each other. They still are.

As we despair the wreckage in Gaza, let us pause to reflect on these extraordinary days in America. Barack Obama is the new 44th President of the United States and Black and White America has been reconciled. Who could have imagined just a few short years ago that the descendents of the slaves who built the White House would be living there as the “lord and master”? Why can such miracles occur in America and not in the Middle East? Well, the reason is because, one by one, Americans began to realize the absurdity of treating one’s neighbor (whether they be black or white, brown or yellow, Jew, or Christian, or Arab, gay or straight) as your enemy as opposed to your friend and colleague.

Barack Obama has often talked, and indeed written a book, about the “Audacity of Hope.” That is exactly what is missing in the Middle East. Audacity. Courage. Hope. It is time to harness HOPE in this beautiful historic part of the world, which we all share together. It is time to preach the gospel that we will all be stronger if we work together to create ONE COMMUNITY in the Middle East—Arabs, Jews and Christians, Sunni or Shia, Palestinians or Israelis. Maybe I am an idealist. But so too was the Reverend Martin Luther King who dared to say, I HAVE A DREAM. Rev. King’s dream has become a reality in the United States. Our dream can become a reality here too. All of us in the region have a choice: more Gazas. More wars. More hatred. Or work tirelessly, day by day, year by year, to make the dream of peace and compromise a reality.

But for now let us all, including our leaders, Arabs and Israelis give the Palestinian People, who are our brothers and sisters, the Audacity of Hope.

Hind Aboud Kabawat/ Damascus, Syria
Recipient of the 2007 Women’s Peace Initiative Award awarded by the Tanenbaum Centre for Interreligious Understanding of New York.

Comments (130)


Nafdik said:

Hind you ask:

“There is an old phrase, “cracking a peanut with a sledgehammer.” Is there a metaphor that better describes the Israeli government’s action in Gaza?”

Yes there is. It is called Hama Rules http://www.mafhoum.com/press2/63P58.htm

The Isrealies simply tried to follow this method that is considered one of the most successful campaigns of counterinsurgency in modern history: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-32902.html

If we are unable to persecute the initiators of this massacre they will remain the model to emulate.

January 25th, 2009, 12:16 am

 

Observer said:

Mrs. Kabawat:
You are fundamentally mistaken in thinking that this last campaign is an aberration. It is just on a matter of scale but has been the mainstay of the Zionist ideology. The thinking is clearly shown in the book of Avi Shlaim “The Iron Wall” in which the Zionist entity tries persistently to create an Iron Wall around it for several reasons:
1. It has to convince the local population that there is no hope of resistance.
2. It has to convince its citizens that they are in mortal danger lest the differences between the disparate members of the society come to the fore.
3. It has to continue to insist on exclusion of non jews
4. It has to convince the diaspora that their potential refuge in the ME is secure.
Examples abound such as Deir Yassin or even better the atrocities in Jordan perpetrated by unit 101 headed by a one Ariel Sharon, or the invasion of Lebanon by a one Menahim Begin, or the operation ordered by the current President of Israel that resulted in the displacement of more than a million Lebanese in 87. You truly have an incredibly short memory and you have an incredible tolerance for the atrocities perpetrated by Zionists. Gaza is not Auschwitz, but if you know your history well you would rather compare to “Warsaw Ghetto”. When the Jews of Warsaw stood up in an uprising, they were crushed just as Israel attempted to do.

They do not crave recognition, they believe to their core that they are superior and like all colonialist are blind to the humanity of others. They are after total imposition of their ideology of superior humans with the purpose of exploiting the others to the bitter end.

As for the resistance no one today is accusing the Russian partisans during WWII or the French or Yugoslave resistance to Nazi Germany of “creating pitiful attacks” on the occupier. It is legitimate resistance. Those living in Beersheba and Askelon today are living on the land and in the former houses of the 1.5 million Gazans displaced in 48. I wonder what would you do if someone took your home and then accused you of terrorism if you tried to get it back by trying to force your way through the door or breaking the windows of the current occupier.

I also think that you are mistaken in thinking that the Arab people have accepted the presence of the Zionist entity. Many would like to have peace thinking that any arrangement with Israel will bring about stability and prosperity. Well we have seen how this experiment failed in both Egypt and Jordan. Jordan paid lip service to the suffering in Gaza to absorb the anger of the population, Egypt is an Israeli colony. Its borders, its police deployment, its opening or closing of the crossings, and even the placement of EU observers is not in its hands. Its sale of Gas and Oil at preferential prices to Israel is non negotiable.

The so called peace treaties are treaties between the master and the puppet regimes in Jordan and Egypt. You are foolish in thinking that Israel would like a peace on equal footing where the water resources are shared where free travel of people and free exchange of ideas and wealth occurs. They are terrified of a peace on equal footing, for it may mean getting rid of the 200 nuclear warheads that they have, it means that they will have to let Palestinians visit their native lands, and it means that democratic elections will result in the demise of all the regimes surrounding the Zionist state, regimes that are too happy to collude with Israel as long as they are on the throne of the local garbage dump they call a country: Egypt Syria Jordan Egypt Lebanon, and the rest.

January 25th, 2009, 1:00 am

 

Rumyal said:

Hind,

Amen, amen and amen. I salute people like you. Incidentally Jewish Voice for Peace is also running a campaign centered on the message of hope.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/tellafriend.jsp?tell_a_friend_KEY=3850


It is sad to see that a simple message of hope is confused with either submission to the injustices Israel or turning a blind eye to the injustices of Syria, past and present. There is no wound that cannot be healed, and that is the importance of Hind’s plea. Nafdik, if it’s easier for Hind to call for justice in Israel and Palestine rather than in other places, I have no problem with that. If Israel+Palestine becomes a prosperous democracy before Syria or KSA or Egypt does, that’s fine. Perhaps charting the way to pluralistic democracy will be the unintended legacy (or aftermath) of Zionism, in the same way that South Africa is now well ahead of its neighbors in all parameters of success and can help its neighbors find their way to democratic rule.

January 25th, 2009, 1:48 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

How about the “audacity” of rearing your children to
commit suicide and then complaining only when they fail to kill Jews?

January 25th, 2009, 2:37 am

 

jad said:

Nafdik,
I doubt that you actually read what you linked because if you really did and especially the second one you wouldn’t put it on, nevertheless Thank you.
I’m not sure what are you defending here, the occupation ugly face? the Neo-Nazi AKA Zionist gang disgusting holocaust in Gaza? or maybe the act of the settlers toward the Palestinians?
Your comment is ‘simply’ pointless and naive.

Mrs. Kabawat point ‘simply’ is;
Israelis, If you want peace and future you should not kill our hope in the same brutal way you are killing the people in Palestine.
Was that too difficult for you to agree with?

AP, how come there was no link with your priceless comment?

January 25th, 2009, 3:21 am

 

norman said:

Syria will be first rogue state to get Barack Obama charm offensive

Barack Obama will seek to befriend Syria and enlist the rogue state’s help in fighting terrorism, in what US officials see as the first test of his plans to talk to America’s enemies.

By Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 4:50PM GMT 24 Jan 2009

President Barack Obama (L) signs an executive order to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Cuba as retired military officers stand behind him in the Oval Office at the White House Photo: GETTY
Diplomats and Democrats in Washington have confirmed that Mr Obama wants to persuade the Syrian leader, Bashar Assad, to cooperate with the West, in the hope that he will loosen his country’s close ties to Iran, forcing Tehran to the negotiating table as well.

During his presidential campaign, Mr Obama pledged to speak to states like Iran and Cuba without imposing preconditions as the Bush administration did on any contacts.

But in conversations with allies since his election, Mr Obama has made clear that he believes the key to improving the political situation in the Middle East is to peel Syria away from its longstanding alliance with Iran, rather than to immediately start negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear weapons programme.

US officials believe it will be more palatable for American voters for Mr Obama to launch his rogue nation outreach effort with Damascus rather than Iran and that dealing with the mullahs in Tehran would be much easier if they could no longer rely on knee-jerk support from Syria.

Both countries are accused of arming and sponsoring the terrorists groups Hamas and Hezbollah, funneling extremists and weapons into Iraq and attempting to purchase and develop nuclear technology. A Syrian nuclear plant was destroyed in an Israeli air attack last year.

One source, who has discussed foreign policy directly with Mr Obama in the last two weeks, has revealed that the president “is spending a lot of time thinking about Syria and how to improve relations”.

During the election campaign, Mr Obama expressed support for tentative peace talks between Israel and Syria, which are still technically at war. While better relations with Syria could be key to improving the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in years to come, Mr Obama’s decision to sanction direct talks with Damascus has another short term goal.

A Western diplomat, who has discussed the Middle East with members of Mr Obama’s team, told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s really about Iran. If you can isolate Iran, it makes it much more difficult for Tehran to continue with its hard line approach.

“Obama seems to have decided to go after Syria first before he tackles Iran or Cuba, which are much more emotive subjects in the US.”

And Mr Obama does not seem to be alone in wanting to bring Syria back from the brink of the axis of evil to the diplomatic mainstream. President Assad sent him a message of congratulations after his election, a rare gesture.

A British official in Washington added: “Syria has shown the odd sign of wanting to build up a broader relationship with the West. The fact that Syria doesn’t want to totally disengage and that it does not want to be seen as a bloc with Iran is an opening.”

Other senior sources in Washington say that there will be a “Syrian track” to American diplomacy under Mr Obama.

British officials believe that Syria is prepared to cooperate because they don’t want al Qaeda getting a foothold in their country and they are keen to wean themselves from their dependent relationship with Iran. Those who have studied Mr Assad say he is uncomfortable being so reliant on Iran and that encouraging him to go his own way will decisively change the balance of power in the entire Middle East.

British officials see an opportunity in Mr Obama’s plans to cement close relations with the new US administration, since the UK has for several months been working to improve the dialogue with Damascus, an enterprise that culminated in a trip to Syria by Foreign Secretary David Miliband in November. Britain has resumed intelligence sharing with Syria and Mr Obama is likely to have been briefed on information MI6 has shared with the CIA.

The British ambassador in Washington, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, is also an old Syria hand, having made a trip as a secret envoy to Damascus when he was Tony Blair’s chief foreign policy trouble shooter. He is well versed on negotiating tactics and potential pitfalls.

The hope is that if Syria is treated as a serious player in the region it is more likely to play a constructive role and be less reliant on the security blanket of its relationship with Tehran.

But dealing with Syria is a diplomatic minefield, as former prime minister Tony Blair discovered to his embarrassment during a previous thaw. On a visit to Damascus after the September 11 attacks, Mr Blair had to stand side by side with President Assad at a press conference while the Syrian dictator lectured the West about terrorism and praised Hamas, which has its political headquarters in Damascus, as freedom fighters.

January 25th, 2009, 3:44 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

How about the “audacity” of rearing your children to
commit suicide

No one rear their children to commit suicide,It is resistance,resist the occupation,can you understand this-,if you dont,then you are sick,

January 25th, 2009, 4:17 am

 

nafdik said:

Dear Jad,

Your sarcasm about my misplaced simply is well deserved.

I did read the second article, it is written by Martin van Creveld an influential Israeli military historian and theorist.

He is one of many who consider Assads Hama massacre as one of the very few successful counter-insurgency operations.

The Hama massacre was characterized by the following:

– Extreme violence
– Disproportionate response
– Making the population suffer so much that they will submit totally and reject the insurgence or any form of resistance
– Setting a lesson for any future foe

My point is ‘simply’:

– Gaza massacre was motivated by similar strategy
– We should try all we can to bring those responsible for Hama to justice, if we want to live in a better world were they are not looked up to as a role model

PS I was in no way contradicting Hind, just commenting on her question.

January 25th, 2009, 4:23 am

 

jab said:

Nafdik,
Some notes regarding the paper you link present
1- (……..it as if Germany had been ruled by a Sorbic Mafia or Italy by a Greek one.) Syrian Alawite, Syrian Christian, Syrian Shiia, Syrian Druz, Syrian Yazidieen, Syrian Ismailis and Syrian Jews all are SYRIANS they are neither occupier nor foreigner who came from a different country and rules.
2- (……………were determined to wage holy war against it.)
The MB started the whole confrontation not only with the authorities but also against every secular thoughts we had
3- (To make things worse for Asad, …………………..was also being threatened by a possible Israeli invasion.)
Is Israel under any kind of invasion threats? from who? The Germans?

Some notes regarding your own
(The Hama massacre was characterized by the following)
(- Extreme violence) I agree, I also agree that the killing hundreds of innocent Syrians by MB were as extreme. No needs to mention them.
(- Disproportionate response) I agree, and again I agree that, The military school killing, Al Azbakiya, Buses and station blowing needed some response.
(- Making the population suffer so much that they will submit totally and reject the insurgence or any form of resistance) which resistance are you talking about? Resistance against your local authorities? Resistance against any idea of sharing and building a country for everybody regardless of their religion? Resistance of ugly occupation? Which one?
(- Setting a lesson for any future foe) again are you talking about Occupation or Political disagreement? You need to decide because you are mixing two totally different conflicts and different foes.
(My point is ’simply’) obviously!
(- Gaza massacre was motivated by similar strategy) wrong, this is the Israelis strategy way before Hama and there are many example on that.. It’s obviously that you are not sure what you want. Hama just came along and you wanted to use it as a comparison to Gaza! Well it’s simply not the same.
(- We should try all we can to bring those responsible for Hama to justice, if we want to live in a better world were they are not looked up to as a role model) We should also bring ‘others’ who as your Thomas Freedman wrote in his article ‘went to the western heaven in the states and Europe’ and were responsible for all and every terrorist crime committed against the Syrian public by their MB and any similar extremist group they support so we can have justice.
Back to the confusion your comments has, That means Israel should be judged too for its crimes against the Palestinians not only Hamas and it should pay as Germany did for the holocausts victims…right?
(PS I was in no way contradicting Hind, just commenting on her question.) Me too, I was just commenting on your commenting.

January 25th, 2009, 5:41 am

 

jad said:

Nafdik,
Some notes regarding the paper your link present
1- (……..it as if Germany had been ruled by a Sorbic Mafia or Italy by a Greek one.) Syrian Alawite, Syrian Christian, Syrian Shiia, Syrian Druz, Syrian Yazidieen, Syrian Ismailis and Syrian Jews all are SYRIANS they are neither occupier nor foreigner who came from a different country and rules.
2- (……………were determined to wage holy war against it.)
The MB started the whole confrontation not only with the authorities but also against every secular thoughts we had
3- (To make things worse for Asad, …………………..was also being threatened by a possible Israeli invasion.)
Is Israel under any kind of invasion threats? from who? The Germans?

Some notes regarding your own
(The Hama massacre was characterized by the following)
(- Extreme violence) I agree, I also agree that the killing of hundreds of innocent Syrians by MB were as extreme. No needs to mention them.
(- Disproportionate response) I agree, and again I agree that, The military school killing, Al Azbakiya, Buses and station blowing needed some response.
(- Making the population suffer so much that they will submit totally and reject the insurgence or any form of resistance) which resistance are you talking about? Resistance against your local authorities? Resistance against any idea of sharing and building a country for everybody regardless of their religion? Resistance of ugly occupation? Which one?
(- Setting a lesson for any future foe) again are you talking about Occupation or Political disagreement? You need to decide because you are mixing two totally different conflicts and different foes.
(My point is ’simply’) obviously!
(- Gaza massacre was motivated by similar strategy) wrong, this is the Israelis strategy way before Hama and there are many example on that.. It’s obviously that you are not sure what you want. Hama just came along and you wanted to use it as a comparison to Gaza! Well it’s simply not the same.
(- We should try all we can to bring those responsible for Hama to justice, if we want to live in a better world were they are not looked up to as a role model) We should also bring ‘others’ who as your Thomas Freedman wrote in his article ‘went to the western heaven in the states and Europe’ and were responsible for all and every terrorist crime committed against the Syrian public by their MB and any similar extremist group they support so we can have justice.
Back to the confusion your comments has, That means Israel should be judged too for its crimes against the Palestinians not only Hamas and it should pay as Germany did for the holocausts victims…right?
(PS I was in no way contradicting Hind, just commenting on her question.) Me too, I was just commenting on your commenting.

January 25th, 2009, 5:44 am

 

Soul of Sydney said:

as always your on the money with this post mate, thanks for sharing.. and peace from Sydney Australia

January 25th, 2009, 6:00 am

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

I think you are totally confused because you are not able to class my comments into one of your preconceived pigeon holes.

I will not argue too much because you clearly think that killing a few thousand children is OK for you as long as you agree with the political outcome.

I will answer only one of your questions:

“Back to the confusion your comments has, That means Israel should be judged too for its crimes against the Palestinians not only Hamas and it should pay as Germany did for the holocausts victims…right?”

Right – Israel, the Israeli politicians and the IDF should all be judged for this massacre.

January 25th, 2009, 6:00 am

 

jad said:

Nafdik, Thank you
(I will not argue too much because you clearly think that killing a few thousand children is OK for you as long as you agree with the political outcome.)
Actually, that what YOUR own comments are saying not mine.

January 25th, 2009, 6:10 am

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

You said: “that what YOUR own comments are saying not mine.”

I don’t follow? What political outcome do you think I agree with?

January 25th, 2009, 6:15 am

 

jad said:

Nafdik
What your comments are saying is that because Hama incident went without trial and it was a ‘successful counter-insurgency operations’ as you wrote, the Israelis now in 2009 took the same strategy and use it on Gaza and Palestinians, dismissing the huge differences in time, reasons and players.
In my preconceived pigeon holes classifying system that means you are deleting the history of Israel aggression even before Hama and giving it the rational of killing as much as they want of Palestinians because of the Syrian political system!
FYI, it’s absolutely not OK with me killing anybody for any kind of political gains and I’m too not interested in any further argument with you or knowing what political outcome you agree with, it’s not on my list.

January 25th, 2009, 7:15 am

 

Alex said:

Nafdik

Two more differences

1) Hamas killed 3 civilians with their rockets over a long period of time and they did not cripple the whole country (Israel) for years and were not getting increasingly bloodier results (the rockets killed much smaller numbers than their old suicide missions few years ago) … The Brotherhood, on the other hand, were operating in many Syrian cities blowing up busses in Damascus, schools in Aleppo and killing any non Muslin doctor or professor they could kill, before the regime bombed Hama the Brotherhood were escalating their violence

2) Hama was ugly for sure, but that was early 80’s … since then there was nothing bloody at a large scale … The Syrian people managed to tolerate the regime’s corruption and its non tolerance of political opposition … in return the Syrian people got stability and a popular foreign policy .. both valuable in our part of the world.

Israel, manages to kill hundreds or thousands of people few times each decade … their invasion of Lebanon in 1982 killed 17,825 Lebanese … that counts for Hama if you want.

THEN … you got all the dead Palestinians from the first intifada (Prime minister Rabin) then the dead Lebanese in Qana 1996 (Prime minister Peres, the Nobel laureate) then the thousands dead in the second intifada … the Lebanon war or 2006 … the Gaza slaughter of 2008/2009 …

And many many small (less than a hundred) operations in between … AND before the brotherhood started in 1979 (from 1970 to 1979) Hafez Assad was very popular and there was nothing exceptionally violent to report about … Unlike Israel, again.

Basically … if you want to compare Bashar Assad’s Syria to Israel 2000-2009 in terms of violence … I don’t think there is any comparison.

January 25th, 2009, 7:20 am

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

I am glad you are not interested in further argument, because I could not understand a word of what you said.

Alex,

My argument is not about Bashar at all so I don’t know why you want to compare him with Israel.

My argument is as follows:

1- Hama was the biggest massacre in the modern history of Syria
2- It is being taught in the military academy in Israel and elsewhere as a successful counter-insurgency example
3- I do not want Syria to become the role model for killing civilians to achieve political goals
4- The only way to change this equation is to show that there is a price to be paid for killing civilians
5- We need to find a way to take those who committed these murders to justice

Which of the above statements do you disagree with?

January 25th, 2009, 7:46 am

 

Shai said:

Hind,

I join my fellow countryman Rumyal’s words about your article – Amen and Amen!

Losing the dream is leaving the work to our children, and to theirs. There is no greater sense of failure than that.

People like you today, will be our region’s leaders tomorrow. And one day, people in our region will be echoing “yes we can” in Hebrew and in Arabic. And we WILL achieve the peaceful future we all owe to ourselves and to our children.

Is it a dream? Yes. But I know of few who have gotten far, without following their dream.

January 25th, 2009, 8:01 am

 

jad said:

“because I could not understand a word of what you said”
Oh, I’m sorry SAba (grandpa), I don’t know Hebrew, German, Russian, or any of the languages you used before immigrating to Palestine so I can translate to you what I wrote earlier.
Next time, I promis.

January 25th, 2009, 8:06 am

 

Alex said:

Nafdik

Number 3 is your personal wish, I can not rate it as right or wrong
: )

Number 4 and 5, I disagree with … “Hama” is the bloody end of a number of events that led to Hama.

There was no pattern of Syrian regime violence before and after Hama … we need to either agree to all of us forget about the initial ikhwan violence and the regime violence in Hama, or to assemble a group of experts (psychologists) to help us come up with the best approach (therapy) that will lead to a healthy closure in everyone’s mind for the events of 1979-1982

But I am absolutely against punishing anyone for what happened once, in 1982… It is a non-starter and it is not worth the risks…let God punish them.

Again .. the problem is in Israel, not in Syria … you want to stop Israel from ts periodic use of excessive force that they seem to be hooked on for the past decades.

Don’t worry about Syria … Syria is not excessively violent.
As I said, the Syrians did not fire at Lebanese demonstrators … and they could have simply stopped them from demonstrating.

January 25th, 2009, 9:38 am

 

Alex said:

Report: Turkey says Israel must really want peace for it to broker Syria talks again
By Haaretz Service
Tags: Syria, Turkey, Israel News

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ankara will only resume mediating Israel-Syria negotiations when Israel shows a real desire for peace, the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday.

The paper also quoted Erdogan as saying that harsh comments he made during the recent hostilities in Gaza were not against Israel but merely expressed a principled position in opposition to the killing of civilians.

The Turkish prime minister branded Israel’s 22-day offensive against Hamas as “a crime against humanity,” and blamed a “Jewish-backed media” for falsely suggesting that Hamas uses civilians as human shields in Gaza.

Al-Hayat further quoted Erdogan as saying that while Hamas may have made a mistake in continuing to launch cross-border rocket attacks on Israel, Israel also did not fulfill its commitments by keeping its border crossings with Gaza closed.

January 25th, 2009, 9:43 am

 

Alex said:

أردوغان لـ«الحياة»: يجب على «حماس» ان تكون لاعباً سياسياً في إطار ديموقراطي اوقفنا الجولة الخامسة من المفاوضات السورية – الإسرائيلية بعدما كانت بدأت على الهاتف
أنقرة – غسان شربل الحياة – 25/01/09//

أثار العدوان الاسرائيلي على غزة ردود فعل واسعة في الشارع التركي. وأثار العدوان رداً قوياً من جانب رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان. هل صحيح ان الحرب الاسرائيلية على غزة و«حماس» قتلت عملية السلام؟ وهل صحيح ان هذه الحرب عطلت الدور التركي الناشط على المسار السوري – الاسرائيلي؟ وما هو مستقبل العلاقات بين هذه الدولة الاطلسية واسرائيل؟ ولماذا بدا موقف أنقرة في الأزمة أقرب الى «حماس» منه الى موقف السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية؟
أسئلة حملتها «الحياة» الى أردوغان وهنا نص الحوار:

> كيف أثر تحرك الشارع التركي في رد الفعل الرسمي وفي تعليقاتك على أحداث غزة؟

– لا شك في أن كل انسان صاحب ضمير حي لا بد أن يتأثر لما حدث في غزة، خصوصاً اذا كان أباً أو أماً، ومن غير الممكن ألا يتأثر أمام تلك المشاهد. وكرجل سياسي مسؤول في بلدي اعتقد أن تحرك الشارع كان طبيعياً ويُعبر عن ضمير حي. اعتقد أن شعبنا تحرك بشكل يليق به وبتاريخه وبشعوره بالمسؤولية تجاه قضايا المنطقة، ومن غير المتوقع أن يقف الشارع التركي صامتاً إزاء تلك الاحداث. شعبنا فعل ما كان عليه أن يفعله وعبر عن موقفه بقوة وديموقراطية.

> كانت هناك دائماً أفكار ومبادرة تركية تم طرحها والبحث فيها مع المسؤولين في القاهرة ودمشق. ما هي تلك الأفكار التركية؟

– في البداية استمعنا الى جميع الاطراف بمسؤولية واهتمام، وبعد ذلك طورنا ما هو موجود من أفكار من أجل الوصول الى آلية مقبولة من الجميع وبالتالي يمكن تطبيقها على الارض من أجل وقف اطلاق النار وفتح المعابر من أجل المساعدات الانسانية وانسحاب الجيش الاسرائيلي من غزة. ومن ثم قدمنا هذه الافكار وآلياتها التي اقترحناها على جميع الاطراف المعنية. ووافق الجميع على ما قدمناه بشكل شبه تام لم يتم تعديل سوى أمور بسيطة وقليلة على اقتراحاتنا النهائية. لكن بعد قيام اسرائيل بإعلان وقف اطلاق النار من جانب واحد انصبت جهودنا على إقناع «حماس» أيضا بوقف اطلاق النار في اطار اقتراحات تقدمنا بها، ونجحنا في ذلك، وكان لكل من سورية ومصر وقطر دور مهم ساعد في وصولنا الى تلك النتيجة.

> هل يمكن الوصول الى حل دائم واحلال الاستقرار في غزة من دون دور للسلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية؟

– ان تحقيق وقف اطلاق النار ليس إلا خطوة أولية وليس نهاية الحل. الحل النهائي والشامل يجب أن يشمل كل القضية الفلسطينية وليس غزة فقط، يجب تطوير حل شامل للقضية الفلسطينية، لذا يجب العمل فوراً من أجل تحقيق المصالحة الفلسطينية، يجب وضع خطة سياسية تشمل جميع الاطراف الفلسطينية بما فيها «حماس» نعمل جميعها من أجل حل سياسي للقضية الفلسطينية.

مراقبون مدنيون أتراك

> لتركيا تجربة قديمة بإرسال جنود مراقبة ومتابعة الى الخليل، كيف تقومون تلك التجربة وهل تفكرون في تكرارها ثانية في غزة هذه المرة؟ ما هو موقفكم من اقتراح إرسال قوات عسكرية أو مراقبين الى غزة؟

– نحن مستعدون دائماً لتقديم جميع أنواع العون والمساعدة للفلسطينيين، لكن فكرة إرسال قوات تركية الى غزة ليست مطروحة على أجندتنا حالياً. في حال استدعى الأمر يمكننا ارسال مراقبين مدنيين الى غزة اذا كان ذلك ضرورياً من أجل تثبيت وقف اطلاق النار، في حال طلب الفلسطينيون ذلك. كما اننا مستعدون لتقديم جميع أنواع المساعدة التقنية وتقديم الخبرات من أجل إعادة إعمار غزة وإعادة بناء الأجهزة السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية.

> كيف تنظر تركيا الى «حماس»؟ وما هو سبب ظهورها أقرب الى «حماس» من الاطراف الاخرى؟

– «حماس» تشكيل سياسي ولد تحت شروط الاحتلال الاسرائيلي. وطالبت «حماس» بالمشاركة في الحكم السياسي من خلال مشاركتها في انتخابات 2006 وحصلت حينها على ثقة الشعب الفلسطيني وفازت بتلك الانتخابات. نحن من حيث المبدأ نقف على مسافة واحدة وقريبة من جميع الفصائل الفلسطينية، لكننا ومنذ اليوم الاول على الانتخابات الفلسطينية أوصينا الجميع بضرورة عدم تهميش «حماس» او تهميش غزة. وعليه فإن موقفنا ليس مبنياً على تقريبنا فصيلاً فلسطينياً معيناً على حساب البقية وانما على مبدأ احترام الخيار الديموقراطي للشعب الفلسطيني ونتائج انتخاباته.

> كيف ترون مستقبل «حماس»؟ وكيف السبيل لمصالحة فلسطينية بين «حماس» والسلطة الفلسطينية؟ على أي أسس يجب أن تُبنى هذه المصالحة برأيكم؟

– يجب أن تأخذ «حماس» مكانها على الساحة السياسية الديموقراطية الفلسطينية بالتوازي مع العمل للوصول الى حل نهائي ودائم من أجل إنهاء الاحتلال الاسرائيلي. يجب على «حماس» أن تكون لاعباً سياسياً وجزءاً من مسار التنافس الديموقراطي المتحضر مع الاحزاب السياسية الفلسطينية الأخرى. على الجميع احترام نتائج الانتخابات الفلسطينية وعلى السلطة الفلسطينية أن تستمد شرعيتها وقوتها من إرادة الشعب الفلسطيني وليس من الدعم الخارجي. في حال حصول اتفاق وطني على هذا الاطار او التصور السياسي فإن الحكم الأهم والأخير بين «حماس» و «فتح» سيكون من الشعب الفلسطيني وحده. وأنا أؤمن بالتجربة الديموقراطية الفلسطينية وبإمكان تحقيق ذلك.

حزين على السلام بين العرب أنفسهم

> بعد كل هذا الدمار الذي خلفته آلة الحرب الاسرائيلية في غزة، هل يمكن الحديث عن السلام بعد الآن؟

– السلام هو أمل لا يمكن ان يموت. وعلينا دائما ان نأمل بتحقيق السلام وان نسعى اليه. وعلينا ايضاً بذل كل الجهود من أجله سواء وصلنا اليه أم لا فإن علينا المحاولة. فالنضال من أجل السلام في الشرق الاوسط ليس من الأمس وانما هي مسيرة سنين طويلة. علينا ان نبقي على عزمنا وجهودنا من أجل السلام في المرحلة المقبلة. لكن يجب أن نعترف بأن هناك من يعمل على عرقلة السلام. فالهجوم الاسرائيلي الأخير على غزة زرع بداخلنا جميعا شكوكاً قوية تجاه جدية اسرائيل ونزعتها نحو تحقيق السلام. فلا يمكن القبول بالموقف الاسرائيلي الرافض لتنفيذ قرارات الشرعية الدولية بشكل متكرر كما حدث اخيراً عندما رفضت اسرائيل تطبيق قرار مجلس الامن رقم 1860. لكن حزني الحقيقي هو على السلام بين العرب أنفسهم. فالعرب والمسلمون بحاجة ايضاً وربما أكثر للسلام في ما بينهم. فالعرب الآن غير متصالحين مع بعضهم! حتى في هذه الفترة التي كان يجب أن يقف خلالها العرب موقفاً موحداً، ظهرت الجامعة العربية منقسمة على نفسها، ولا يمكن فهم هذا الانقسام او تبريره. أيضاً عندما ننظر الى منظمة المؤتمر الاسلامي نجد انها عجزت عن ترتيب قمة لها في هذه الازمة، وهذا ايضاً غير مفهوم او مبرر. اذاً يجب علينا تحقيق الوحدة والاتفاق هنا أولاً وعلى العالم العربي والاسلامي أن يقف ويراجع نفسه ويحاسب نفسه على موقفه وانقسامه إزاء أحداث غزة.

> كيف ترى وقوف الغرب متفرجاً على أحداث غزة وانتهاكات حقوق الانسان هناك؟ هل أخرجت هذه المأساة مفهوم حقوق الانسان ومعاييره من الاحتكار الاوروبي؟

– لا يمكن السكوت عمن صمتوا إزاء ما حدث في غزة، فالمذابح التي تعرض لها اطفال غزة ليست شأناً عربياً او اسلامياً فقط انما جرح عميق في ضمير الانسانية جمعاء. لا يمكن لصور ضحايا غزة ان تفارق مخيلتنا او تخرج من ذاكرتنا. حقوق الانسان ليست حكراً على منطقة او دين او مجتمع او قومية بعينها، وأنا مؤمن بأن الغرب سيُحاسب نفسه ويراجع مواقفه بعد تجاوز هذه الازمة.

> كيف تقوّم التعاون الذي شهدناه اخيراً بين مصر وتركيا، وهل هذا التعاون مقصور فقط على أزمة غزة وسينتهي بعد انتهاء الأزمة ووقف اطلاق النار ام انه سيستمر في المستقبل؟

– عملنا عن كثب وقرب مع مصر من أجل تحقيق وقف اطلاق النار، وأنا مؤمن بأننا ومصر سنجد أرضية مشتركة لاستمرار هذا التعاون بيننا، خصوصاً أننا نتشارك في العديد من المواقف حيال مواضيع مختلفة في المنطقة.

> كيف ستؤثر انتقاداتك الشديدة لاسرائيل على العلاقات بين البلدين؟ الصحافة الاسرائيلية بدأت حملة ضد تركيا واعتبرت ان تركيا ليست مؤهلة بعد الآن لدور الوساطة مع العرب؟

– ان رد فعلنا على اسرائيل لم يكن عاطفياً او مرحلياً، انما كان نابعاً من موقف ومبدأ. نحن عبرنا عن ضمير شعوب المنطقة الرافضة وبشدة لقتل الاطفال والنساء والمدنيين بهذا الشكل الذي حدث في غزة. لم يكن هذا الموقف والانتقاد موجها ضد اليهود. فلو قام اي طرف آخر بمذابح مشابهة لكان موقفنا منه الموقف نفسه. وقد كانت هناك داخل اسرائيل مواقف قوية رافضة ايضاً لتلك المذابح. ان رد الفعل الذي أظهرناه تجاه تلك المذابح لن يعيق جهودنا من أجل عملية السلام في المنطقة. لقد جمدنا المفاوضات غير المباشرة بين اسرائيل وسورية بناء على اتفاق وتنسيق مع دمشق. وعندما نرى نية وارادة اسرائيلية حقيقية لتحقيق السلام فإننا سنعاود ونستأنف جهودنا من اجل المساعدة على تحقيقه.

> ما هي رسالتكم الى الرئيس الاميركي الجديد باراك اوباما الذي خص العالم الاسلامي والشرق الاوسط برسائل مهمة في خطاب اداء اليمين؟

– ان وصول اوباما للسلطة انتج توقعات كبيرة من جهات كثيرة في العالم. وأتمنى منه ان يسعى لتحقيق تلك التوقعات بالتعاون مع جميع الدول بغض النظر عن قوميتها او ثقافتها او توجهها الديني ومعتقدها، على مبدأ المصالح المشتركة والاحترام المتبادل كما قال. وأن يسعى من خلال الحوار والتعاون مع الجميع ان يستعيد سمعة الولايات المتحدة وصورتها السابقة. وأن يكون كما قلت سابقاً «صوت من لا صوت لهم» في هذا العالم وأن يكون نصيراً للمظلومين والمستضعفين.

> وجهتم سهام النقد القوية الى اسرائيل، لكن هل لديكم اي ملاحظات على أداء «حماس»، خصوصاً أن هناك اوساطاً حملتها مسؤولية ما حدث من خلال عودتها لاطلاق الصواريخ على اسرائيل فور انتهاء فترة التهدئة ولم تنتظر الجهود التي كانت تسعى لتمديد التهدئة حينها؟

– من دون شك قد تكون «حماس» اخطأت، لكن هذا أمر منفصل ومختلف. اذ ان علينا أن نأخذ في الاعتبار التزام «حماس» اتفاق التهدئة لمدة ستة شهور كاملة وذلك على رغم عدم التزام اسرائيل بشروط الاتفاق. واسرائيل لم تقم بأي خطوة على طريق رفع الحصار او فتح المعابر حسب الاتفاق. ان هذا الموقف الاسرائيلي تسبب في استفزاز «حماس» واستفزاز اهالي قطاع غزة والتضييق عليهم. علينا أن نأخذ هذا الوضع في الاعتبار ايضاً. فقطاع غزة أشبه بسجن مفتوح أو معسكر اعتقال، وكان لزاماً على الجميع العمل من أجل رفع ذلك الحصار وانقاذ أهالي غزة. وهكذا انعكس كل هذا الضغط النفسي على رد فعل «حماس» وتصرفاتها بعد معاناة استمرت ستة شهور، يجب مراعاة أن قيادات «حماس» كانت واقعة تحت هذا الضغط النفسي والشعبي الكبيرين.

> الرئيس بشار الاسد قال اثناء اجتماع غزة في الدوحة ان عملية السلام ماتت، هل تشعرون بالقلق على مستقبل مسار السلام السوري – الاسرائيلي؟

– لن اقول ان السلام قد مات، لقد بحثت في الموضوع خلال زيارتي الى دمشق بعيد بداية الهجوم الاسرائيلي على غزة، وعندها قررنا تعليق المفاوضات السورية – الاسرائيلية. وبناء على قرار مشترك مع دمشق أعلنا تعليق الجولة الخامسة من المحادثات التي كانت بدأت فعلاً عبر الهاتف قبل أحداث غزة. اذ لا يمكن الحديث عن السلام في هذه الظروف. و ما كان ممكناً ان نبقى جزءاً من مسيرة سلام لا يحترمها أحد أطرافها.

> كيف ترى مستقبل العلاقات الاسرائيلية – التركية بعد هذه الاحداث؟

– اريد أن اكون واضحاً في هذه النقطة. ان الموقف الذي اتخذته لم يكن ضد الشعب الاسرائيلي. لكنه كان موجهاً للقيادات السياسية في اسرائيل. ولكل من أيد او ساند عمليات القتل الوحشية الاسرائيلية في هذا الهجوم. نحن نقول الحق ونقف الى جانب المظلوم ولا نراوغ في هذا الشأن. لا يمكننا ان نجامل او نساند من يتلذذ بظلم الآخرين او يفرح بذلك. أريد أن يعرف الجميع ذلك. وأجدد تنديدي بجميع من وقف صامتا إزاء تلك الجرائم.

> بعد كل ما حدث في غزة واثر الانقسام الحاصل في المنطقة، هل ترى أنه من المفيد او الضروري انشاء منظومة اقليمية للتعاون والامن بين دول المنطقة؟

– هناك الكثير من الآليات والمنظمات الفاعلة والموجودة حالياً، فهناك الجامعة العربية وهناك منظمة المؤتمر الاسلامي وايضا، كلما اقتضت الحاجة، تجتمع دول جوار العراق في المنطقة، بالنسبة إلي فإنني أرى ان العلاقات الثنائية بين الدول أكثر فائدة واكثر عطاء في مثل هذه الأمور.

January 25th, 2009, 10:03 am

 

nafdik said:

“Oh, I’m sorry SAba (grandpa), I don’t know Hebrew, German, Russian, or any of the languages you used before immigrating to Palestine so I can translate to you what I wrote earlier.”

I envy the remarkable stability of your inner world.

January 25th, 2009, 3:26 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alex, you advised:

“Don’t worry about Syria … Syria is not excessively violent.”

The reason Syria is not violent is because of the success of Hama. So in a way I agree with you there is a remarkable stability and security.

But this stability and security have been bought at the price of our liberty. It is the stability of a well run prison: there is no violence, but the whole fabric of life is based on fear.

If we want Syria to ever be free again we have to assure future opposition that the end result of dissent is not that the regime will slaughter tens of thousands of civilians while the world community looks the other way.

The only contribution that I see the world community doing at this point is to punish those who did this in the past so that those who consider repeating such acts in Syria and elsewhere know that there are personal consequences.

January 25th, 2009, 3:48 pm

 

Alia said:

Alex,

Thanks for the Erdogan interview. Contrary to people who think that Erdogan is taking Turkey towards an “Islamist” future (whatever they may mean with that), I see Turkey slowly regaining its role in the region after a century of internal -at times quite drastic- developments.
Although a secular country by constitution, Turkey is the home of predominantly Muslim people whose history in the last 500 years was and remains intimately linked with that of the Arab people surrounding them; Erdogan is representing historical continuity as far as I see it- among other things- and this can only benefit the Arab people.

January 25th, 2009, 4:10 pm

 

Alia said:

Hind,

You write: “Has Israel a right to exist? Only the most extreme and intractable elements in the Arab world now say, “No.” As almost all informed Israelis know, most of the Arab world has long ago accepted the reality of a Jewish state in the Middle East”

I do not think that I represent the most extreme or intractable elements in the Arab world. I do not think that a Jewish state named Israel has the right to exist as it is at the expense of the Palestinians. I also refuse to believe in any further peace propositions of the same quality that have been ongoing in the past couple of decades. The bad faith of the Zionists has changed the concept of hope for us to foolishness on our part.

There are decent people in Israel I have no doubt about it and there are people who are willing to engage in an honest dialogue but they are a very small minority at this point. Their voice is not heard and they have not changed anything in the equation for the Palestinians, witness the recent events.

So if you want to continue working that is great. I have no faith in the Israelis at the moment, it is important to be realistic and not to fool oneself.

January 25th, 2009, 4:21 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

While I understand your sentiment, what do you think is the alternative?

What do you advise the Palestinian living in Gaza or the West Bank to do?

What do you advise the Palestinian living in Israel?

What should Syria do with the Golan?

Given that we already lost all these lands to Israel I see 3 alternatives:

– Fight
– Deal
– Do nothing

The best solution for Israel is the last one as they will keep fortifying their position to prepare for future war or peace and every day you wait you are basically extending the suffering of the occupied people and reducing Palestinian and Syrian share of a future compromise.

January 25th, 2009, 4:51 pm

 

Alia said:

Nafdik,

I do not believe that fighting, dealing or doing anything with Israel as it is now is in the favor of the Palestinians in the long run.

I believe that nothing will succeed unless the Jewish state of Israel is forced to change. The Apartheid state of South Africa is the only example that is applicable to Israel and we know what worked there. 1. Ostracism and sanctions 2. A leader like F.W. de Klerk who saw the impossibility of the continuation of S.A. as is and enabled the last steps of change.

That is why I think that sanctions, divestment, international ostracism of Israel is necessary. We have to use the present momentum and work with organizations that have started calling for divestment. AIPAC and so forth have to be discredited slowly but surely, the same in pro-Zionist France and Germany ( who for various reasons have been more deaf and blind recently). Compare them to England or the Scandinavian countries.
When you look worldwide, Israel has no committed friends except for very few countries, there are commercial agreements with Israel but no general policy agreements.

The Israelis that are working for Peace should strengthen themselves and look for leadership and representation.

The Arab and Muslim countries should do everything in their power to work out a resolution between Palestinian factions. Stop using them as support for their own failing regimes.

Dealing à la Camp David, Oslo is a loss for the Palestinians- as clearly delineated by Joe M. in his enumeration of the issues that are left unresolved by such agreements.

This is a tall order but remember, USSR failed in the same way, economic failure then political change.

January 25th, 2009, 5:23 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

I totally agree with learning from the success of anti-apartheid movement to mobilize humanitarian based sanction against Israel and even from inside Israel.

What are the major initiatives taken today? How can we participate?

January 25th, 2009, 5:37 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Alia,
I do agree with you on everything you wrote in your last comments, the only and the main problem is (from my understanding) that SA was based on a ‘race’ issues which is much easier dealing with and support than ‘religion’ issues especially with the guilt feeling Europe has toward its own Jew communities, therefore any of what you suggest will be challenged more by ‘God’ than ‘Morals’
None of the developed countries would have the courage to impose any kind of sanction against the Jewish state or even discuss such idea; it would be considered as ‘anti-Semitism’
Freedman today wrote an article about the two states and what he thinks work there, I’m not a fan for his writing but he has some (old) points he said they might work.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/opinion/25friedman.html?scp=1&sq=thomas%20feedman&st=cse

P.S. I hope that some of you (unlike me) have an inner enlightenment and do understand what I wrote!

January 25th, 2009, 5:49 pm

 

offended said:

the audacity of hype.

January 25th, 2009, 6:21 pm

 

Alia said:

Nafdik,

It depends where you live. if you are in the West then I suggest your start with BDS

http://www.bds-palestine.net/?q=node/7

Review the material and see where you can become active. University, consumer, faith-based interventions are available. You can contact other activists and you can see how things are going. They need all the support they can.

I am active with a church that has announced publicly its intention to divest, as well as with a consumer group : for example if you are in the U.S. and you are taking a generic medication, chances are that you are taking a product of Teva Pharmaceutical located primarily in Israel….divestment from Teva should be a priority. Writing to your Congressman on specific issues of concern, demanding sanctions from your government at every opportunity. Writing in newspapers under comments sections. We have to raise our voices locally and globally, introduce the idea of sanctions into the consciousness of people.

Jad,

I understand what you are saying. But as you heard it from Shai, Israel is really not a religious country in the first place, Judaism is being used as an identity rather than a religion. Secondly, the Race issue as it played out in South Africa under the Boer was pretty horrible. To be of the wrong race was to be much less than an animal…

January 25th, 2009, 6:42 pm

 

Oudemos said:

What right does Israel have to exist? The Zionists will maintain that it is Biblical, and thus they insist on the Palestinians acknowleging this “right”. In fact Israel’s right to exist is the same as Palestine’s – in UNGAR 181. Israel’s genesis is sui generis in international law, breaking the principle of uti possedetis, and the way in which it was brought into being would these days be nullfied on the principle of a ius cogens violation, due to the ethnic cleansing involved.

What actually matters is not the right to Israel’s existence, but the fact of its existence – ie recognition, and the capacity to interact as an international person. Since Israel already has this, its insistence on the Palestinians acknowleging this can only be to force them to submit. As the Samnites discovered after putting the Romans under the yoke at the Sabine Forks, humiliating the other side purely for reasons of pride is a bad idea.

January 25th, 2009, 6:49 pm

 

Shai said:

Dear Alia,

You said: “So if you want to continue working that is great. I have no faith in the Israelis at the moment, it is important to be realistic and not to fool oneself.”

I agree with you. But do you need faith to continue to fight for peace? Isn’t peace sought, amongst other reasons, so that we can one day have faith? We must remember that peace is not a reward – it is a decision, and one that usually comes when both sides are tired of war. I seriously doubt most Israelis had “faith” in Egyptians that up until 1977 had been calling for our destruction. Neither should you have faith in us Israelis. But we have no choice – we must try to reach an agreement, so that one day the fighting will end. Only then will there be a chance to begin building trust. It clearly won’t happen beforehand.

Btw, I very much agree with your idea of the international community treating Israel as SA. But I also think it is less likely to happen, because as small as Israel is, compared with SA, we are clearly more influential worldwide. And, unlike SA, what happens in this region has far greater consequence on the stability of the world. Just see what happened when our (idiotic) ex-COGS Shaul Mofaz uttered a word about the need to “hit Iran” – the following day world oil prices rose by an historic one-day high of $10/barrel.

I think that Obama should find his version of a “James Baker”, and begin threatening to seriously cut back (or end) all financial and military support of Israel, not only as a function of continued occupation (settlements) but indeed as a direct function of withdrawal from occupied lands.

January 25th, 2009, 6:51 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Hind kabawat’s title should read:

“What the Middle East needs is a strong stand by the Arabs”.

Mere “hope“will not get us anywhere.

Israel builds illegal settlements and then looks to use them in future negotiations. Israel annexes the Golan knowing full well that it can use the issue when it comes to offering concessions. It closes Gaza and seals it from the outside world and then looks to offer to unseal its grip if the other side puts down its arms and succumbs to its demands.

The Arab side lacks in imagination, unity and the art of negotiations. Israel has used Iran and Shia versus Sunni Islam to divide and conquer its adversaries. It has worked brilliantly. The current inter-Moslem and Inter-Arab fighting has been a Godsend to Israel.

The Arab and Moslem side must stop hoping or dreaming of a two-state solution. Instead, it must unite behind a one-state solution. Unity includes inviting Iran into the fold. Defining this conflict as Israel versus the Arabs has not worked. The Arab side needs to be broadened and include the whole Islamic world including Iran. With over a Billion people and armed with a significant portion of the world’s proven oil reserves, the group’s power and leverage can no longer be ignored at the expense of the State of Israel.

Only when the U.S. and Israel can detect an uncompromising stand by such a powerful block on a single state solution would they ever consider offering concessions.

A solution to this crisis can only come when one side no longer dominates the other as is the case today. Negotiations are useless in this environment. No one takes the weak Arab side seriously. This setup must be dissolved. It must be broadened. It must adopt an uncompromising one-state solution including the right of return that is supported by every Arab and Moslem state.

Only then, would the other side start to listen and get down to the business of offering concessions and true negotiations.

January 25th, 2009, 6:56 pm

 

aig said:

The usual Arab thinking. When they think they are strong they opt for war. When they think they are weak they refuse to negotiate and pursue a “double or nothing” strategy.

Divestment and sanctions against Israel will never be implemented. The simple reason: Hamas is not Nelson Mandela. Hamas needs to change their whole attitude towards Israel for divestment even to be taken seriously. Their actions and rhetoric are pushing the exact reverse of what you need in order to ever get sanctions and divestments. So your first goal should be changing Hamas. Good luck. There are so many other reasons that sanctions against Israel will never happen, but I will let you think about the issue above.

Second, divestments will never work even if applied. The Israelis and Jewish diaspora are very clever and inventive in this regard. We will continue selling and buying through European and American companies as if nothing has happened. Again, you are under-estimating Israel, Israelis and the Jewish diaspora.

60 years and you still do not understand what is going on. Will you ever learn? Not likely by the remarks on this blog.

January 25th, 2009, 7:27 pm

 

aig said:

And by the way, it is interesting that countries that are actually SANCTIONED like Syria, are calling for the sanctioning of Israel. First figure out why there are sanctions against you and try stopping that.

January 25th, 2009, 7:32 pm

 

Alia said:

Dear Shai,

You cannot continue extending your hand to someone who has betrayed you for 60 years.

Israel had the guarantee of the U.S. in case the Egyptians did not come through with their peace accord. Who do the Arabs have who is going to ensure that a peace accord will be fair and just? Have you heard the sound of silence as the children were being massacred lately?

Things have to change in this equation in order for us to do the same thing and expect a better result.

The issue of sanctions is both psychological and economic. In my view, the Israelis are easy to unsettle psychologically because they have been feeding themselves this paranoid mentality, in addition to the pervasive unconscious feeling of insecurity due to being in a land that does not really belong to them.

In effect the biggest sanctions will have to come from the side of the U.S. to cut the bloodline on the economy, but the psychological effect is not negligeable.

You on your side should be working to find your F.W. de Klerk…are you Shai ?

January 25th, 2009, 8:02 pm

 

trustquest said:

Ehsani, what you are calling for is the take over of liberal Islamists in the Arab and Muslim world, which a lot of people are ready for and anticipating such events. The secular countries as we know it and see it today is an obstacle to your vision, and they won’t change heart overnight. Of course there are some elements in the religious group who can over ride their Shia Sunni differences and can take you to the above dream, but what you are saying is a contradiction to everything you have said before. The vision you are advocating needs to abandon the national Arabism ideas and come to term with the new Islamic world.
I heard a lot ideas from secular, and nationalists group here in the last month since the Gaza invasion which most came out of frustration of the impotence they witnessed from the Arab leaders in the Middle East who went far beyond the usually bending and playing game to each advantage, this time they play it wit the souls of those incent childrens. Not only that but they played the Shia Sunni card to keep their chairs and they started advocating hate between populace to keep the wheel turning to their side. Some on this form showed courage to the first time such as Observer when he said “…will result in the demise of all the regimes surrounding the Zionist state, regimes that are too happy to collude with Israel as long as they are on the throne of the local garbage dump they call a country: Egypt Syria Jordan Egypt Lebanon, and the rest.”
Which raise the question, when this have chance to happen?

January 25th, 2009, 8:28 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Trustquest,

It is the present system and its failure that is breeding fundamentalism and Hamas style opposition. This is a natural response to a losing strategy and the frustration that it breeds.

What I have suggested will take the initiative away from the fundamentalists who have proclaimed that they are the only solution. It will offer an alternative and viable solution that need not remove the seculars as you seem to suggest.

Broadening the block to include Iran need not necessarily mean that it is the end of liberal Islamists (whoever you mean by that). To the contrary, once Iran is brought into the fold, it will be part of the solution that the current Arab leaders spearhead. Doing otherwise and continuing on this losing path is a sure way to their demise and to the rising power of Hamas.

January 25th, 2009, 8:52 pm

 

Shai said:

Alia,

Many of us in Israel are indeed seeking a different kind of leadership. A courageous one that will not only come to recognize our crimes, but indeed their consequence and the suffering and injustices that have and are still brought upon others. I personally believe that peace is possible. But it may have to happen sooner than we think, and between partners who today do not have our support. In my country, at least, this is the political absurdity. That those who preach hatred and war, and whose agendas begin with “We will not…”, are precisely those best suited to deliver peace. We must come to recognize, that peace is sometimes also made between criminals. And, unfortunately, our region has quite a few of these as well.

Indeed I can no longer expect the Arab world to reach out to Israel. But for all those who tire of war, peace is an inevitability.

January 25th, 2009, 8:58 pm

 

IMB said:

Interesting article – However, I really do not see why Israel should let Hamas continue sending rockets onto South Israel. Just because these rockets are not “killing” enough Israelis is no excuse. Any country has an obligation to defend its citizens. Hamas defied and thought that it could continue indefinitely. It lost…Does that mean that the Peace process is dead? Don’t know and hope not. It really depends on Hamas-ruled Gaza. As to the border crossings, just a question. If Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and its objective is to destroy Israel, then why should Israel let the borders opened..
Open borders exist when you have Peace. Between Lebanon and Israel borders are closed. Why should it be different between Israel and Hamas ruled Gaza.

January 25th, 2009, 9:05 pm

 

nafdik said:

Here is a very interesting article that might contain an amazingly ‘simple’ and practical insight:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/opinion/25atran.html

Basically, a survey of people on both sides found that symbolic gestures have a great impact on Israelis and Palestinians acceptance of a peace deal.

January 25th, 2009, 9:17 pm

 

Shai said:

Alia, we were talking about losing all faith… So, perhaps it’s better that we have none – see Zvi Bar’el’s article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058463.html

January 25th, 2009, 9:43 pm

 

trustquest said:

Exactly, agreed, the present system is a failure and breeding fundamentalism.
What you have suggested is a call for uniting behind one Muslim world to bring more strength and counter Israel hegemony, and I would imagine you mean behind the liberal Muslim world with liberal leadership such as Turkey or Malaysia. Which would requires the over through of current claimed secular regimes to see that happening. The current regimes can not change skin and make that call; they are a lost case for the ordinary citizen. They have been fighting Islamist all along, so I do not think your call means suggesting to these regimes to change rhetoric and call for uniting Muslims across the Muslim world.

Iran is another Issue, which I think we do not agree on their influence and intentions. Current leadership is not in anyway a liberal Islam but I would think that you mean by broadening the block to compact fundamentalists is to reach for the liberal Islamists counter the two extremes of Wahabism and the other axis of the fundamentalists autocratic Iran, which is can be influenced only by reaching the liberal elements in Iran.

January 25th, 2009, 9:46 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

Thank you for the link to BDS it sounds very interesting.

Ehsani,

Your proposal to stop the Arab charade in favor of a unified Muslim front demanding a one-state solution is very logical and unsettling.

Logical because the Israelis have managed in the past few years to take us into a slippery slope of having the minimum demand position of negotiation as the starting point for the next round. This has been driving the ‘reasonable’ compromise more and more into having nothing left to the Palestinians. Using this tactic Israel sees delay as a great way to get more out of the final compromise.

By setting the clock back to the position of Arafat in the 70s, ie one state with equal rights, we suddenly force the Israelis to rethink their position and understand that time is not on their side.

I find it unsettling to frame the conflict as a religious one, because it enhances its special status, and makes us forget many other problems of similar nature all over the region and the world. So we are back to having Palestine as the focal point of our political life, and as an excuse by a new generation of ‘leaders’ to make us forget our problems because of the ’cause’.

It is as if we provide the opium addict with crack.

So while I agree with resetting the negotiation clock to a one state solution. I propose we do so from a humanist point of view and not from a religious or nationalist one.

January 25th, 2009, 9:52 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Change Mubarak
Gaza suffered because Egypt position,enforcing the seige against Gaza,Israel must be happy with Mubarak,it will be a major defeat to Israel,if Mubarak is overthrown.

January 25th, 2009, 10:15 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

When I speak of broadening the block to encompass an Islamic rather than merely an Arabic character, the objective is to end up with a wider and more powerful block. This way Israel can no longer look to benefit from divisions within the ranks of the Moslem world.

The current system is untenable as the masses conclude that “Islam is the solution”. The quicker the current cadre of Arab and Moslem leaders see the need for change, the faster they will take the initiative away from the fundamentalists.

Even T. Friedman has all but admitted in his article today that the two-state solution is nearly dead for all practical purposes.

January 25th, 2009, 10:31 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

I agree with Eshani2 that the fastest way of achieving peace is the Arab/Muslim unity around this Israel/Palestine problem. The present strategy where the moderate Palestinians (+ moderate Arab states) can’t provide anything to Palestinians but the less moderate are at least able to keep up some hope and pride is disastrous for Palestinians and to the so called moderate Arab countries. If some Arab diplomats and leaders believe that Israel (and USA) with its known ways is going to solve their problem with radical Islam’s role in politics and among popular movements they must be complete idiots. If they believe that Iran is on a long run a bigger threat as Israel they must be simply naive. It would take from Iran at least 50 years to get the power Israel has now and the likelihood that Iran would become an expansive mini superpower is rather minimal.

Waiting that Zionist Israel chances from inside is naive. During the past decade Israel has become only more radical, extreme and self confident. The peace camp has little or no influence in Israeli politics. Some Israeli parties (Jewish) speak about peace but with blurry and undefined terms. The negotiation process with PA has a completely farce when Israel constantly enlarges its grip from the West Bank. If some Palestinian leader says that the present strategy is working he must have a luxury villa waiting in Florida.

Arab and Muslim countries could by only using those oil and financial resources, their financial “nuclear weapons”, to force a peace in weeks. First by informing that they will not sell oil and gas to any company and whose customers have business ties with Israel. Using targeted political sanctions as USA does. Secondly informing that they withdraw from US money markets in three months if there is no agreement. Israel would have no chance and its present influence in the West would vanish in minutes.

EU certainly would favour a less aggressive and problems creating Israel. EU needs for its energy supply fast new solutions like to build through Syria oil and gas lines from Iraq and the Gulf states to be attached to the Nabucco project. Other ways Russia “owns” EU.
http://iraqwar.mirror-world.ru/article_image.php?id=187982

For USA co-operation with Israel had certainly some benefits during the cold war, but it is completely unclear for me what USA as country benefits from supporting Israel in the “Bush’s” way. But is satisfying a tiny US Jewish minority worth all that USA looses and is in danger to loose?

January 25th, 2009, 11:00 pm

 

Jihad said:

It not suprising for so-called Arabs, be it males or females, to write such silly pieces in order to recieve a silly award from the West or after receiving it. Such silliness becomes a reference for those in the West who don’t seem to get tired from looking for native-informants telling them what they want to hear.

January 25th, 2009, 11:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Jihad,

I agree with you in general, and I do not share Hind’s enthusiasm anymore (after Gaza), but she is quite experienced and she knows what she is doing.

January 25th, 2009, 11:41 pm

 

Ras Beirut said:

What about if Syria would accept a deal and drop its alliance with Iran? The subject keeps on surfacing both in Israel and the US administration. Why not take them up on it. Is this relationship more valuable then getting back the Golan and the establishment of a Palestinian state?

I’m guessing that Iran would understand Syria’s position in doing so in light of Syria’s national interest.

Just a thought. Why not explore it?

January 26th, 2009, 1:54 am

 

norman said:

Few points ,

Having one secular country In Palestine/ Israel that is multi religious and ethnic is unrealistic and contradict the reason why Israel was established, I believe Israel was established to be a sanctuary for the Jews so they will not be prosecuted without a place to run to , having a secular state will not fit that goal, If that is the case they might as well be settling in the United states where anti discrimination laws are very strong and people from all over the world feel at home ,

One more thing that will make them worry is the fact that minorities are not treated as equal in Arab and Islamic countries
In Egypt Christians are not allowed to hold high level jobs , can not build Churches and it is written on their ID their religion,

In Syria the most protective of minorities non Muslims can not be presidents , in KSA , ( No comments ) .

About the unification of the Muslim world in pursuing one policy toward Israel , i doubt that will ever happen , The Muslim world is as unified as the Catholic or the Protestant world ,

Syria and the Palestinians are better off depending on themselves , Syria is twenty Million and Israel is only 6 Millions , Syria should start by giving it’s people the chance to achieve by allowing them to produce anything they want to work on including weapon manufacturing , the Internet is producing a new generation who is more open to change and to learn new ways , this was not available 20 years ago .

January 26th, 2009, 3:41 am

 

norman said:

مفتي السعودية: لا جدوى من مقاطعة السلع الاجنبية

Alia, I hope you read Arabic, as you can see the enemy is within,

المفتي العام للسعودية

عمان ـ لندن ـ القدس العربي ـ انتقد المراقب العام لجماعة الإخوان المسلمين في الأردن همام سعيد الأحد، تصريحات المفتي العام بالسعودية التي أعلن فيها رفضه لمبدأ مقاطعة البضائع الأجنبية للدول التي تعادي العالم الإسلامي .

وقال المراقب العام في تصريح “حرب الأعداء واجبة شرعاً،والبعد الاقتصادي شكل من أشكال هذا الوجوب واليات الجهاد تتضمن جهاد المال إلى جانب جهاد النفس”،منوها إلى أن هذا الأمر “مستقر منذ عهد النبي محمد” .

وأشار إلى أن “الأصل في التعاملات التجارية بين الدول الإباحة بالضوابط الشرعية”،أما حكم المقاطعة فهو “مرحلي” ، إذ انه “يطرأ بطروء أسبابه وهي العدوان، ويزول بزوالها “على حد قوله .

وشدد المراقب العام على أن “دفع العدو وجهاده بكل الوسائل الممكنة واجب”،وقال “البعض لم يستشعر حجم المحرقة التي نشبت بأبناء المسلمين من الأطفال والنساء والشيوخ في قطاع غزة،ولم ينتبه إلى أنها تمت وتتم بأسلحة أميركية وحماية اوروبية”.

وتساءل “ماذا يعني قتل البشر بطائرات (اف 16) أميركية الصنع وإرسال فرقاطة فرنسية إلى المياه الإقليمية قبالة بحر غزة؟ إلا يعني حصار الشعب الفلسطيني ومنعه من الدفاع عن نفسه لكي يستسلم لإرادة الصهاينة؟ اليس هذا عملا عدوانيا يستوجب الرد؟”.
وجدد المراقب العام دعوته لأبناء الأمة لمقاطعة البضائع الإسرائيلية والأميركية و”بضائع أي دولة تنخرط في العدوان على الآمة”.

وكان المفتي العام للسعودية قد انتقد المروجين للمقاطعات التجارية لبعض المنتجات العالمية في السعودية، مؤكدا أن التبادل التجاري بين الدول جائز.

وأضاف أن “العالم الآن كالحلقة الواحدة لا يستغني بعضه عن بعض، وكما يحتاجون لنفطك تحتاج أنت لسلعتهم، والتهديد بالمقاطعات التجارية لبعض المنتجات لا يخدم شيئا”.
وقال الشيخ عبد العزيز آل الشيخ في محاضرة بجامع الإمام تركي بن عبد الله في الرياض نشرتها صحيفة الحياة اللندنية اليوم السبت “إنه من الواجب علينا الابتعاد عن الطعطعة فأنت تضر نفسك وتضر الناس”، في إشارة منه إلى الداعين إلى مقاطعة منتجات بعض البلدان الغربية.
وكانت قوى شعبية عربية وإسلامية واسعة قد طالبت بمقاطعة منتجات بعض الدول الغربية -وفي مقدمتها الولايات المتحدة- بسبب مواقفها التي وصفت بالداعمة لإسرائيل وعدم إدانتها العدوان على قطاع غزة.

وأضاف آل الشيخ أن “العالم الآن كالحلقة الواحدة لا يستغني بعضه عن بعض، وكما يحتاجون لنفطك تحتاج أنت لسلعتهم، والتهديد بالمقاطعات التجارية لبعض المنتجات لا يخدم شيئا”.

مشيرا إلى أن التسرع في “التفسيق والتبديع بهدف الانتقام وإساءة الظن مزلق خطر”.

وأضاف أن موضوع “التسرع في التفسيق” مهم وشائك لا ينجو منه إلا ذو علم راسخ وإيمان صادق في قوله وعمله، ويجب التعامل مع الناس بما ظهر منهم من خير فنحبهم عليه، وما ظهر منهم من سوء ومخالفة فنبغضهم على قدر ما ظهر منهم من مخالفة وإعراض.
at3

——————————————————————————–
د. أسامة إبراهيم- الإمارات – لا حول و لا قوة إلا بالله
أنا رأى أن مفتى السعودية يا يقول خيرا أو ليصمت.

——————————————————————————–
جرير – والله يا معلم
والله يا معلم لحق الطنطاوي كلهم دارسين عند شيخ واحد

——————————————————————————–
Palestinian from Canada – The saudi mufti
This man should not interfere in the politic. He is not even fit to the religious affairs.

January 26th, 2009, 3:49 am

 

jad said:

Dear Norman,
I do agree on your conclusion regarding:
-One state solution. Unrealistic and not achievable
-The unification of the Muslim world. Not going to happen

About Syria to depend only on its people; WELL that is a mutual wishful thought but it won’t happen neither.
Lately I’m seeing that our government is doing tones of local and terrible mistakes that they should held responsible for and they either pay for their mistakes individually or have things fixed and get back on the right lane.
I think we need fundamental changes in our way of thinking starting from the president to the poorest man/women/child of Syria..The situation is miserable.
Syria is already in an environmental disaster, no development strategy whatsoever and no upgrade for any human resources or skilled worker in any field..I’m sad to inform you Norman that Syria it’s getting worse by the day without any vision of any kind for solutions neither politically nor socially…
Regarding the peace process, what I see is that if Syria continue in the same way doing right now, we are going to surrender for many reasons and we are going to become the biggest loser in the modern Arab history…I hope I’m wrong though.
And that is my take 😉

January 26th, 2009, 4:16 am

 

norman said:

Jad,

You said,

(( Syria is already in an environmental disaster, no development strategy whatsoever and no upgrade for any human resources or skilled worker in any field..I’m sad to inform you Norman that Syria it’s getting worse by the day without any vision of any kind for solutions neither politically nor socially…))

Can you tell me the things that needs to be corrected and let us talk about fixing them.

i thing we can correct things if we talk them over.

January 26th, 2009, 4:42 am

 

offended said:

مفتي السعودية: لا جدوى من المقاطعة الإقتصادية.

He’s become literate in economics too? why doesn’t he stick to issuing fatwas (or fatawawawas) about women conduct in lingury shops and the pious purchase procedure and then explain to us how many fingers women are allowed to use to inspect lace panties while their eyes remain guarded by the niqab?

But I am sure that if he spoke against the boycott, then it must be good.

January 26th, 2009, 5:08 am

 

Jad said:

Dear Norman,
There are no problems can’t have solutions, to work right, as you already know, we need to analyze the roots of them, however, we have to have the will and be firm with a clear vision of where we are heading.
To make this job simple, I think we can separate our country’s problems into three mega categories
Political, Economical, Social and under each one we should get another linked sub-categories (Education, Health-care, Legal system, Environmental, Agriculture, Industry, ect..) that needs to be looked at in details by the finest expert and doing major surveys covers Syria, this, will point out the problems with the obstacles that lead to the condition we are at today, afterward we need to study each and every one separately to come with a solution that work and legalize those solution under strict bylaws and EXCUTE them after an intensive EDUCATIONAL programs to the Syrian public about those solutions and the benefit they will get out of them.
This is the only way I see Syria could move forward otherwise we are fixing our home terribly and just waiting for the hurricane to take it out of its foundations.
When was the last time you visited Syria?

January 26th, 2009, 5:30 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Shai opines:

I think that Obama should find his version of a “James Baker”, and begin threatening to seriously cut back (or end) all financial and military support of Israel, not only as a function of continued occupation (settlements) but indeed as a direct function of withdrawal from occupied lands.

Interesting how the far Left and the far Right meet to shake hands.

James Baker and Jimmy Carter seem to have something in common;)

Shai,

Your dangerous proposal didn’t say anything about what Israel gets in return once she ends her occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. You want a unilateral withdraw first. To where?

And with the experience Israel has with Lebanon and Gaza, withdraws do not translate into peace. It usually translates into more war.

The simple fact is, Land for Peace occurs simultaneously.

Anything else is pure Liberal bullshit, which is why the Israeli “peace movement” is so weak right now.

January 26th, 2009, 11:57 am

 

offended said:

“The experience shows that the world belongs to those who are stubborn, and we are very stubborn.” — Daniella Weiss, Israeli settler in the West Bank

A video about stubborn theft:

January 26th, 2009, 1:27 pm

 

Shai said:

AP,

Not that I think you’re capable of discussing anything to do with peace, but for your information, I never said anything about unilateral withdrawals. I am against such things, as was another “Liberal bullshit” supporter, Yossi Beilin (you may have heard of him).

Btw, don’t you find it a bit of an absurd that only “Liberals” should belong to the Peace Camp? Doesn’t that sort of suggest that all others are NOT interested in peace? Hmmm, which “camp” do you belong to, then?

January 26th, 2009, 1:37 pm

 

norman said:

Jad,

Last time i was in Syria (( 2003 ))

I will write more tonight about things i see can change.eastern time /us

January 26th, 2009, 2:04 pm

 

offended said:

Likud allow settlement expansion

Netanyahu was speaking to the former UK PM, who is now a Middle East envoy
The leader of Israel’s right-wing Likud party, Binyamin Netanyahu, says he would continue to expand settlements in the West Bank, but not build new on

The remarks to Mid-East envoy Tony Blair come in the run-up to Israel’s general election next month which Likud is favourite to win, polls suggest.

Settlements in the West Bank and Golan are considered illegal in international law, though Israel disputes this.

Past Israeli governments have backed “natural growth” of settlements.

Correspondents say the statement may be an attempt to placate the international community before the arrival of George Mitchell, the newly appointed US envoy to the Middle East.

“I have no intention of building new settlements in the West Bank,” Netanyahu told Mr Blair in quotes carried by Haaretz newspaper.

“But like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements.”

Intensive

The expansion of Jewish settlements violates the internationally-backed peace plan known as the roadmap, which has served as the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that resumed in 2007.

Palestinians cite Israel’s settlement activity on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war as a major obstacle to a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

However, past Israeli governments have rejected the international legal arguments and in peace talks have sought to keep their big settlement blocs in East Jerusalem and the West Bank which house hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

Mr Netanyahu also reiterated his pledge to shift the focus of talks with the Palestinians to economic development rather than statehood.

He reportedly told Mr Blair he would deal with the Palestinian issue “very intensively.”

Mr Blair’s reaction to Mr Netanyahu’s statement is not recorded. During a visit to Ramallah on the same day, he welcomed Mr Mitchell’s appointment as US envoy.

“I see this as a partnership between America on the one side and the international community on the other… to make sure that we get the help to people in Gaza, then that we set about revitalising the process toward negotiation, leading to (Palestinian) statehood,” Mr Blair said.

January 26th, 2009, 2:21 pm

 

Alia said:

Norman,

Of course I can read Arabic… it is funny that you think I don’t!

I did read this on al-Jazeera Friday night and I thought to myself how corrupt! Saudi Ulama’ defending Saudi politics, otherwise they do not have a job.
They are not Ahl al ‘Ulm (the people of Knowledge) as far as I am concerned, and they certainly do not deserve to be followed. We do not need them and their Fatawa are not binding. It is largely thanks to such specimens that we got where we are, which is nowhere.

January 26th, 2009, 3:25 pm

 

Observer said:

This is a much better piece than what Mrs. Kabawat wrote. She is out to lunch with her lovey dovey feelings of peace

Lyons: The Crusades are Over;
The West needs to Engage with the Muslims

Jonathan Lyons writes in a guest op-ed for IC:

With the change of administration in Washington, the time has come to acknowledge the so-called war on terrorism for what it truly is: the latest reminder of the West’s enduring failure to engage in any meaningful way with the world of Islam. For almost 1,000 years, attempts at understanding have been held hostage to a grand Western narrative that shapes what can – and, more importantly, what cannot – be said about Islam and Muslims. This same narrative, an anti-Islam discourse of enduring power, dominates every aspect of the way we think, and write, and speak about Islam. It shapes how we listen to what they say and interpret what it is they do. As such, it exercises a corrosive effect on everything from politics, the history of ideas, and theology to international relations, human rights, and national security policies. This has left the West both intellectually and politically unable to respond to some of the most significant challenges of the early 21st century – the global rise of Islamist political power, the more narrow emergence of terrorism in the name of Islam, tensions between established social values and multi-cultural rights on the part of growing Muslim immigrant populations, and so on.
Cont’d (click below or on “comments”)

These failings have pushed the theoretical notion of a clash of world civilizations, advanced by Samuel Huntington back in 1993, toward self-fulfilling prophecy. In such an atmosphere it has been all too easy for the neoconservatives to sell the war on terrorism as essential to national security and to lead the West into its greatest confrontation with Islam since the Middle Ages. But the anti-Islam discourse does more than underpin the war on terrorism, the present wave of Islamophobia, or the broader cultural project advanced by proponents of a coming civilizational clash. Indeed, it has silently shaped 1,000 years of shared history – and seems destined to shape the future as well. Its powers explain a whole host of cultural, intellectual, and political attitudes without which the clash of civilizations thesis would be literally unthinkable.

Central to this narrative is a series of familiar ideas across the political arena, on the Internet, on talk radio, in the mainstream media, and, all too frequently, in academia. Such notions include: Islam is a religion of violence; its tenets are upheld by coercion or outright force; Islam’s prophet, its teachings, and even its God are false; Muslims are “medieval” and fearful of modernity; Muslims are sexually perverse – either lascivious polygamists, repressive misogynists, or both; and, finally, they are caught up in a jealous rage at the West’s failure to value them or their beliefs. Rarely are these core ideas of Islam subjected to any nuanced analysis. Rather, they are often asserted or simply left to operate quietly in the background. In a remark as apt today as when it was first advanced 900 years ago, the Crusades chronicler Guibert de Nogent noted that it was not important to know anything about Islam in order to attack it: “It is safe to speak evil of one whose malignity exceeds whatever ill can be spoken.”

As a result, the West’s “conversation” with Islam has always been a one-sided affair, a dialogue with itself. This has meant a fatal decoupling of the Western idea of Islam from its meaning and content as a vital religious, social, and cultural institution in its own right. Incompatible with Western interests or outside its conceptual understanding, the belief system of the Muslims has been set aside in favor of a denatured Islam that better first the established discourse.

To begin to address this phenomenon, we must peel back the layers of the Western narrative Islam and to uncover the wartime propaganda of the First Crusade that sits at its core. In fact, many of the same themes and images of Islam prevalent in the West today can be found in their original form. Before the 11th century CE, the Muslims were just another barbarian nuisance for much of Western Christendom, like the Vikings or the Magyars. The build-up to the First Crusade, called in 1095, changed all that forever; from then on, Muslims would be endowed with social, political, and religious qualities that were the mirror-opposite of Western ideals and values. Today, such assertions still echo: We love liberty, They hate freedom; We are rational, They are not; We are modern, They are medieval; We are good, They are evil.

The resultant distortions in public policies are clear to see. Less noticed are the underlying assumptions that serve to valorize these policies in the first place. Among the most potent is the idea that Islam and modernity are antithetical, a view supported by a Western history of science that has literally written the Muslims out of the textbooks. Yet, the arrival in Europe of Arab science and philosophy transmuted the backward West into a technological superpower. Like the elusive “elixir” – from the word al-iksir of the Arab alchemists – for changing base metal into gold, Muslim science altered medieval Christendom beyond recognition. For the first time in centuries, Europe’s eyes opened to the world around it. This encounter with Arab science even restored the art of telling time, lost to the Western Christians of the early Middle Ages. Without accurate control over clock and calendar, the rational organization of society was unthinkable. And so was the development of science, technology, and industry, as well as the liberation of man from the thrall of nature. Muslim science and philosophy helped rescue the Christian world from ignorance and made possible the very idea of the West.

Yet how many among us today would stop to acknowledge our enormous debt to the Arabs, let alone endeavor to repay it? How many would recognize their invaluable bequest of much of our modern technical lexicon: from azimuth to zenith, from algebra to zero? Or attest to more mundane Muslim influence in everything from foods we eat – apricots, oranges, and artichokes to name a few – to such common nautical terms as admiral, sloop, and monsoon? The names al-Khwarizmi, Avicenna, al-Idrisi, and Averroes – giants of Arab learning and dominant figures in medieval Europe for centuries – today invoke little if any response from the educated lay reader. Most are forgotten, little more than distant memories from a bygone era.

Yet these were just a few of the players in an extraordinary Arab scientific and philosophical tradition that lies hidden under centuries of Western ignorance and outright anti-Muslim prejudice. A recent public opinion survey found a majority of Americans see “little” or “nothing” to admire in Islam or the Muslim world. But turn back the pages of time and it is impossible to envision Western civilization without the fruits of Arab science: al-Khwarizmi’s art of algebra; the comprehensive medical teachings and philosophy of Avicenna; the lasting geography and cartography of al-Idrisi; or the rigorous rationalism of Averroes. Even more important than any individual work was the Arabs’ overall contribution that lies at the very heart of the contemporary West – the realization that science can grant man power over nature.

Our willful forgetting of the Arab legacy accelerated with the “Renaissance,” when the West increasingly looked for inspiration to an idealized notion of classical Greece. Eager to claim direct descent from the likes of Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Archimedes, Western thinkers deliberately marginalized the role of Arab learning. “I shall scarcely be persuaded that anything good can come from Arabia,” wrote Petrarch, the most prominent of the early humanists, in the fourteenth century. Western historians of science have largely carried on in this vein; many cast the Arabs as benign but effectively neutral caretakers of Greek knowledge who did little or nothing to advance the work of the Ancients. Such accounts are grounded in the persistent notion of the West’s “recovery” of classical learning, with the clear implication that this knowledge somehow comprised the natural birthright of Christian Europe and was merely misplaced during the Middle Ages. They are also colored profoundly by a Western consensus, often invoked to explain the state of the Muslim world today, that Islam is inherently hostile to innovation.

Unraveling the anti-Islam discourse allows us to identify an alternative narrative of relations between Islam and the West. This would take their undoubted rivalries and opposing interests out of the accepted framework of East versus West and place them within a common cultural arena. The prevailing discourse, however, is so powerful and authoritative that such an appeal has failed to make any serious inroads into Western thought. The result is an unnatural, and clearly unhelpful, separation of two rich and powerful cultural traditions that share far more than we are generally prepared to accept. This, in turn, perverts Western understanding of the Muslim world and its culture and all but guarantees that any attempt at east-West communication will result in what the Turks call “a dialogue of the deaf.”

Still, I would like to conclude by proposing just such an alternate reading, one that shifts the problem from the traditional view of inter-cultural rivalry to one of intra-cultural contest. Rather than delimit a boundary between East and West, it would then be possible to assign one large “interactive” cultural space, from the Indian sub-continent in the East to the Canary Islands, the traditional westernmost point of the medieval world. In effect, this would mark a return to the view of the world captured in one of the most remarkable landmarks in the history of ideas: the atlas produced by the Muslim scholar al-Idrisi in the mid-12th century by commission of the Christian king of Sicily which was then multi-faith – Muslim, Christian, and Orthodox.

We are then faced with a compelling, new history of Islam and the West – one of continuous interaction between two cultures locked in relations for 1,000 years – in which it is hard to say where one stops and the other begins. Might this not require a radical rephrasing of the West’s favorite polemical question – “What’s wrong with Islam?” – to a less comfortable query, “What’s wrong with us?”

January 26th, 2009, 4:03 pm

 

Anon- Syrian said:

Mrs. Kabawat,

I think that on paper your ideas seem great, just like Martin Luther King’s did 41 years ago. My problem with your comparison to Obama being elected as hope for the Middle East is that what many people do not see is that there is still racism in the United States. President Obama won by 53%, just above simple majority, but that in no way means that racism has disappeared in the United States. 58,343,671 people believed Obama should not be president and that McCain was the right person. I see comments regularly on the internet of people calling for unthinkable things like assassination, revolution, and eliminating Obama. Yes Obama won, but that doesn’t mean that if a two state solution were to become a reality that a utopia would be created. The generation that has let go of the slavery/racism issue in the United States is one that is no longer affected directly by it (ie. they did not have to drink from a separate fountain themselves). How does a child who’s mother has been starved, his father killed, his home demolished grow up and shake hands with someone who supported it. It is easy to let things go when you can still fly to the United States to meet people in hotel lobby’s. Please don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate your work and have read many of your articles and am in the same shoes as you with regards to how much this situation affects me. However it should be the Palestinian and Israeli PEOPLE that decide the fate because only when THEY have a solution they have agreed on, will it become a reality. Not when the leaders of European and other Arab countries decide what the solution is. The first step in ANY of this though is for somebody with enough power (UN backed by majority of countries, US, EU) to put their foot down and put Israel in its place with regards to international law and its military action. Their government needs to know, enough is enough and only when everybody in the world takes one step farther with regards to effort will this happen. Unfortunately the ones who suffer most are the ones that cannot afford a computer and have the hardest time expressing their opinions, the Palestinian people. The need a true leader, one who does not appear in diplomatic parties while claiming to be concerned or another who passed away with millions of dollars in his accounts. In my opinion everything in the world runs like a computer in some ways, there will be a point where all that is left is to pull the plug and put it back in again, or to format it and install a completely new software. Interpret that as you all wish.

January 26th, 2009, 4:11 pm

 

JUMP said:

“Has Israel a right to exist? Only the most extreme and intractable elements in the Arab world now say, ‘No.'”

…and apparently, you: “It is time to preach the gospel that we will all be stronger if we work together to create ONE COMMUNITY in the Middle East”

No matter how liberal, multicultural, idealistic, or goodhearted talk of a one-state solution is, to Israelis and most Diaspora Jews, it still spells the end of Israel. The Jewish State is an endeavour in which an unbelievable amount of resources, material and human, has been invested and about which millions of people care passionately…people aren’t going to willingly give it up for a concrete promise of a return to the status quo ante 1948, let alone a vague promise of an unspecified future. This war has proved that Israelis will let world opinion be damned if they feel their national sovereignty is being stepped on.

It’s now time for Palestinians, Syrians, Arabs, and Westerners to realize the “one state solution” is poisoning the debating pool.

January 26th, 2009, 4:25 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

How about the “audacity” Louis Michel?:

Humanitarian aid chief Louis Michel called the destruction left by Israel’s offensive “abominable”, but said Hamas bore “overwhelming responsibility”.

He said there would be no dialogue with with the “terrorist” movement until it gave up violence and recognised Israel.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7851545.stm

Apparently Louis didn’t buy into the Hamas sob-story like our friends here…

January 26th, 2009, 4:46 pm

 

Alia said:

Well well A.P.,

Monsieur Louis Michel previous Foreign Minister of Belgium although titled “humanitarian” of the European Union, is actually a political employee and he does not have a great reputation for fair-handedness.

I know that he was and remains under great suspicion of being an accomplice of Joseph Kabila (dictator of Congo with severe human accusations to his name)…

Last year Michel was booed out of a conference he was supposed to be giving at the London School of Economics.

http://congoone.afrikblog.com/

Sorry I do not have more time to dedicate to this fascinating coincidence – Briefly stated, whatever he says I would disregard, but I do worry about the probity of those who have hired him in this post.

A.P. chill! nothing to be happy about so far.

January 26th, 2009, 5:35 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Alia,
I adore and respect your knowledge.
Thank you

Dear Norman,
Syria in 2003 was better environmentally than now, if you visit it now you will be shocked of the way our people treating our environment and how the ‘stupid’ government is the big partner in this destruction and going into the ‘black’ future being blind and the waste of money, materials and time they are doing over many loosing and unproductive projects… that is only ONE aspect that you can see just walking in the street…will defiantly talk over other issues and more terrible issues we have now in Syria…you wont believe the stupidity and ignorance of our government and it’s management skills and strategies really bad with no improvement.

January 26th, 2009, 6:24 pm

 
 

Akbar Palace said:

Briefly stated, whatever he says I would disregard…

Alia,

OK. Maybe the International Court of Justice will agree with you.

A.P. chill! nothing to be happy about so far.

Alia,

You’re not happy about the Hamas victory? They are.

January 26th, 2009, 6:57 pm

 

offended said:

Alex,
I think this report of 60 minutes is something close to revolutionary compared with the usual bias in US media.

Are we really seeing some change?

January 26th, 2009, 7:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Offended

I was very impressed with 60 minutes.

It is not easy to like those settlers … I can not imagine any semi-decent journalist being able to portray them in a positive way.

I’m not sure if i would call it revolutionary though. we have seen in the past a few cases of objective reporting … if you want examples of more objectivity, simply go to camera.org and check their list of the latest non-objective reporting (in their lovely view)

During the first intifada, there were many reports on American TV showing Israeli soldiers using their rifles or small rocks to break the bones of Palestinian children. Also, during Israel’s two invasions of Lebanon (1982 and 2006) and the Israeli organized Sabra and Shatilla massacres, many American reporters dared to show it as it is.

January 26th, 2009, 7:35 pm

 

Ali said:

A.P,

So far the ICC has taken the position that it does not have jurisdiction over Gaza; something that the IDF and Olmert (who has promised to defend each and every murderer among the troops) are really happy about.

There is international pressure on the ICC to change its decision; but that it would reverse its decision and go after a non-state agent like Hamas FIRST is not likely.

Jad,

YOU are too kind.

January 26th, 2009, 8:22 pm

 

trustquest said:

The video posted above for the 60 min anchor Bob Simon was shot during the Gaza debacle. Here is more light on the story from Bob Simon mouth interviewed by Charlie Rose. There are some disturbing facts, may be as gruesome as the video. In my mind, the advocating of one state solution is another chapter in the story not a real solution; even I think it is the best solution. The question is to imagine what after that, how the settler and Israel will treat the Palestinians. The new facts on the ground is the new theme which will drive new ideas for the settler which to push Palestinians out of the promise land and in a time to where Arabs countries is out of the equation.
http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9900

January 26th, 2009, 8:30 pm

 

Alex said:

Last update – 22:14 26/01/2009
Assad: Syria will talk with any prime minister elected in Israel
By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service
Tags: Assad, Syria, U.S.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Monday that Syria was “willing to hold talks with any prime minister who is elected in Israel.”

Despite the optimistic declaration, Assad told Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV later in the interview that “if whoever is elected in Israel won’t be willing to pull out of the Golan Heights, there will be no negotiations.” The Syrian leader lashed out at Israel, saying that “in the indirect talks between Israel and Syria it became clear that Israel is not interested in peace. Israel, in general, does not want to achieve peace. We held talks with Israel over recent weeks, but Israel did not convey its commitment to peace talks, and it became clear that they only understand the language of force.”

The Syrian president added that Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip, which began last month, proved Israel’s disrespect for the United Nations, the Security Council and the Arab League. He also criticized Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, saying that “if Olmert were to come to me today and say that he was ready for peace, what could we tell him? We would tell him that he is a criminal and that we don’t talk to criminals.”

Assad also told Al-Manar Monday that he wants to pursue dialogue with the United States, but maintained that there should be no preconditions.

He said that the new American administration has already sent officials to Damascus to begin dialogue. He did not name them but said they had visited Syria before.

Assad added that despite the positive signals from Washington “we have learned to be cautious.”

January 26th, 2009, 8:30 pm

 

norman said:

Olmert: Israel’s indirect talks with Syria will produce accord

By Reuters

Tags: Olmert, Syria, Israel news

Israel’s indirect peace talks with Syria will eventually produce an accord, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday, adding that the Israeli assault on Gaza may have improved the chances for rapprochement.

“We started negotiations with Syria and… at the end of the day, we will be able to reach an agreement that will end the conflict between us and the Syrians,” he said in a speech.
Advertisement

Olmert unveiled Turkish-mediated negotiations with Damascus last year before being forced to resign in a corruption scandal.

The frontrunners to succeed him in a Feb. 10 election, centrist Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and right-wing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, have been publicly cool to the Syria talks.

Syria’s bedrock demand for any accord is the return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in move not recognized abroad. Israel wants Syria to distance itself from Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and Islamist Hamas in the Palestinian territories, a demand rebuffed by Damascus.

“They [Syria] have lots of aspirations, lot of desires – sometimes entirely unrealistic – but they also know that it is better to make peace with Israel than to fight with Israel,” said Olmert, addressing foreign Jewish visitors in English.

Israel launched a 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip last month to counter cross-border Hamas rocket fire, killing 1,300 Palestinians, many of them civilians. Thirteen Israelis died.

The carnage drew international protests and prompted Syrian President Bashar Assad to suspend the indirect talks with Israel and call on other Arabs to cut any ties with the Jewish state.

But Syria, which hopes to build relations with the United States under President Barack Obama, has not ruled out a resumption of peace negotiations with Israel.

Olmert said the Gaza war, by reminding Israel’s foes of its military might, could bring a comprehensive peace deal closer.

“Now we have to try and invest in moving forward on that basis, on the basis of the strength of Israel, on the basis of the confidence that Israel has, in order to achieve that which has always been the greatest dream of the Jewish people and the people of Israel – peace with everyone,” Olmert said.

January 26th, 2009, 9:39 pm

 

Alex said:

President Jimmy Carter speaks to Forward
Article Author :Sami Moubayed

* January 2009
* Politics

Carter: Intelligent Obama puts an end to disappointing Bush

I asked young Syrians, all born after the Carter years, what the first thing was that came to mind when they heard the name Jimmy Carter. Answers varied but had the same theme: Camp David, ally of Anwar Sadat, and friend of the Palestinians, mainly because of his latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. One particular, or trait, that kept ringing in my ears, as I met the former US President during his latest visit to Damascus was: “Justice.”

Jimmy Carter’s image, and the legacy he left behind (both during his White House years and since becoming a private citizen in 1981) is one that brings out confidence in people. He is a man who has vowed to bring justice to the Holy Land and remains committed to peace between Syria and Israel. The Syrians trust, like, and believe him, appreciating his insistence to come to Syria despite the strong veto from the Bush White House.

When speaking to Forward Magazine, Cater—at 84—was charming, humble, full of life, and still optimistic that peace in the Middle East, was within reach. President Carter’s interview with Forward Magazine was the first ever for a US President with a Syrian publication.

Barack Obama will become president of the United States on January 20, 2009. Do you think that the Obama presidency can provide foundations for a new relationship between Syria and the US, where Syria becomes America’s ally in the Middle East?

I think there is a new opportunity with the new administration in Washington, to resolve existing problems between Syria and America. Not just diplomatic relations, but we hope to see the American school re-open, along with the American Language Center, and for a new American embassy to be built.

We seek a complete opnesess in exchange of ideas, and cooperation in a new era, to also achieve results between between Fateh and Hamas, between the Palestinians and Israel, and between Syria and Israel, which would lead to restoration of the Golan Heights.

I think that Syria made a good move recently in restoring diplomatic relations with Lebanon. I will be carrying some good greetings to the leaders of the new administration, through this last visit and my meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.

For relations to be enhanced, this needs a lot of confidence-building, given that both camps currently do not trust eachother. Until recently, one of the promising issues were the indirect talks that took place between Syria and Israel, via Turkey.

Syria recently suspended these talks as a result of the Israeli war on Gaza. Back in 1977, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat began toying with peace talks through Romania, Morocco, and Iran—in an Israeli attempt to avoid talking to the PLO. The US could not but support, then spearhead, such a peace initiative although it was not involved in the eartly talks.

Today, however, we don’t have a Menachem Begin in Tel Aviv, nor do we have a Jimmy Carter at the White House. The talks were recently called off as a result of the situation in Gaza. Can these talks materialize into a breakthrough within the next year, without the Americans?

I don’t agree to your premise that the Egyptian-Israeli talks, which we initiated, were started by all these countries. To get to get to the front question, however, I don’t think there is any doubt that the indirect talks that were sponsored and mediated by Turkey were a good beginning. Syria was pleased with the results of the talks.

I understand that the two delegations had been in separate hotels, and the Turks had going back and forth to find results, not only to resolve differences, but to present questions, from Syria to Israel and vice-versa. All of those questions have not yet been answered but I understand that the answers have been prepared. I don’t have any doubts that the United States is prepared to welcome this initiation. When the direct talks begin, at a later stage, and lead to details on the Golan Heights, the United States will be welcome (them).

During your April 2008 visit to Syria you said that 85% of pending issues between Syria and Israel had been solved. Can the Obama administration deal with the remaining 15% and give them high priority, for us to see a peace deal materialize in one year’s time?

Well there is no way that the Obama administration or any other outside force, could put enough pressure on either Syria or Israel to yield on their basic principles. My hope and my belief are that there are enough compatabilities between the two parties to reach a final agreement. The issues, however, are still there.

I discussed them in detail with President Hafez al-Assad, as early as 1983 when I first came to Syria. It seemed to me that the proposals he put forward would be acceptable to the Israelis. At that time I went back to Israel and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was not prepared to enter into negotiations with Syria. Subsequently in the 1990s another round of discussions were concluded, and enough agreement was reached. In the past, at least three prime ministers, Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, and now Ehud Olmert, have said that they want to conclude talks with Syria.

From the information I have there has never been any doubt that the basic demand of Syria has been total withdrawal from Syrian territory, along with an exact definition of the western boundary of Syrian territory; the Sea of Galilee and the Sea of Tibareas. There are other problems with which I am fairly familiar, where Israel has been requesting some commitment from Syria regarding Syria’s relationship with ‘others.’ That might be a difficult issue to resolve.

You met President Hafez al-Assad in Geneva in 1977. In 1983, you were the second US president to visit Syria, after Richard Nixon came here in 1974. Can you give us your impressions of Syria—then and now. What has changed? What has remained the same?

My personal impressions have always been favorable. I had complete compatability with Hafez al-Assad. I met with him four times and we always had thorough discussions; he was always outspoken, and well informed, not only about billateral issues, but regional ones as well, as anyone I have ever known.

He studied history and monitored news reports from different capitals. He liked to argue and debate, and presented his views very strongly. He almost memorized passages of my own book, and was also, one of the most gracious hosts I have ever known. He took me to visit interesting places in Syria, like his own hometown, and the Church of Hanania, which we visited this morning.

We visited the Old City of Damascus in 1983 and some of the shopkeepers still remember me.

The personal experience for my wife and I has always been perfect. In one of my earlier visits he brought in his own family to meet with me, including his daughter, older son, and younger one (current President Bashar al-Assad) from London. That was an honor for me. He invited me to his home, where his wife prepared supper for us. I have always been pleased to see an indisputable fact, being that Syria went out of its way over a period of generations, to have compatibility between its different sects and religions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. This is a good example for the rest of the world to copy.

Is there a special story regarding your relationship with Syria that would like to convey, for the first time, via Forward Magazine?

One time, Hafez al-Assad accomodated a particular request of mine. There was a group of Syrian Jewish men in New York who couldn’t find wives. Their custom was to marry women who shared their faith.

So I brought that problem to President Assad and he promised me to send around 50 Syrian Jewish women to New York, with match-makers to orchestrate the pairing. A number of the men found wives and the remaining ladies came back to Syria. President Assad had a great sense of humor. He noted very carefully how many women went to America, and how many came back home. He then showed me that not everyone wanted to move to America!

Speaking of unique stories, yesterday during your speech at the American University of Beirut (AUB), you mentioned one about your relationship with Menachem Begin, and his grandchildren, during the peace talks at Camp David. Can you tell us about it?

This is a beautiful story. It was a turning point in my political life. After 12-days of tedious negotiations, we had reached a termination of all my efforts for accommodation between Begin and Sadat. Begin had sworn before God that he would never dismantle the settlements, and there was a major Israeli settlement in the Sinai desert.

Sadat had told me that he had only two requirements. One being that Palestinian rights be honored. I wrote “autonomy for the Palestinians.” Sadat said, “Write full autonomy!” Second that all Israeli settlements be dismantled (in the Sinai). I couldn’t make either man change (his positions). So we had failure, and Begin was very angry with me. On the last day he sent me word with his most trusted associate, Aharon Barack, who would later become Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, saying that he would like to have a copy of a photograph, of me, him, and Sadat, signed for his eight grandchildren.

My secretary called Israel, and got the personal names of all of Begin’s grandchildren. Instead of signing, “Best wishes, Jimmy Carter” I wrote, “Love and best wishes, to…” I wrote down all their first names and decided to take it in person to Begin. He had been in his cabin and Sadat had been in his for 10 days. They had not seen each other. I gave him the photograph and he said, “thank you Mr. President.” He turned around to walk away, then took out the photograph, and very slowly, began to call out (his grandchildren’s names), one-at-a-time.

He began to weep, and so did I. I left, but around one hour later, Barak knocked on my door, and I spent that night with him and Sadat’s top representative, and we negotiated a proposal that we brought back to Begin. It was that the Israeli Knesset would decide on dismantling the settlements and he would not have to be involved in the decision. He agreed and I got him to agree that he would not interfere in the Knesset’s decision. So, we signed an agreement and announced it in Washington DC.

The Israeli Knesset voted 85% in favor of withdrawal, although a few people, like Netanyahu and Olmert, did not support it. Sadat was the most forthcoming of all the Egyptians, while Begin was the least forthcoming of all the Israelis.

During a recent survey among university students in Syria, they were asked to name their heroes. There were only two re-occurring names from the United States, although 500 students were polled. They were Martin Luther King, and Jimmy Carter. How does that make you feel?

Well, that is an honor for me. He and I are both from Georgia. His church is in Atlanta, and so is the Carter Center. And we are the only two Georgians who have gotten the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Mr. President; I am going to mention a few names, and I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear them.

Bashar al-Assad: Very intelligent, very forceful. From my experience, very popular in his own country.

Anwar Sadat: Wise, courageous, independent.

Menachem Begin: Extremely intelligent and wiling to take the chance for having peace with Egypt.

George W. Bush: The end of a very disappointing administration

Barack Obama: Honesty, intelligence, and politically adept.

January 26th, 2009, 9:41 pm

 

Shami said:

The world and the west in particular would not show us respect ,untill we become Democratic countries.There is no other way of salvation.

January 26th, 2009, 10:53 pm

 

Alia said:

Further on the relationship between Louis Michel, Israel, Mossad and The democratic Republic of Congo in light of Michel’s recent statement on Gaza.

http://gaza-peace-n-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/01/michel-hamas-is-responsible.html

With special thanks to A.P.

January 26th, 2009, 11:07 pm

 

S.A. said:

To Alex on (post #71)

Thank you for posting the 60 minutes video. Very disturbing indeed. It’s very rare for an American journalist to have the courage to show the truth like it is, putting aside the “follow the herd” mentality which is very prevalent in the U.S. I am very confident, however, that the truth will come out slowly but surely.

It is obvious that Israel does not want peace because peace will halt its expansion. It’s very clear that they’re trying to make life simply impossible for the Palestinians so they will leave their own territories with their own “free will.” Then the Israelis will simply tell the world that these people have actually left willingly. The American public is highly misinformed and uninformed about the real situation. It’s very rare indeed to see a program like this 60 minutes on TV.

It is vital to keep trying to educate the public on the Palestinian trajedy still unfolding.

January 27th, 2009, 12:48 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Mossad Agent by Night, Hamas Agent by Day

Alia said:

Further on the relationship between Louis Michel, Israel, Mossad and…

The first defence of a Hamas supporter is to “prove” a relationship between a pro-Israeli and the Mossad.

Alia,

Thank you for your the informative blog link. Not sure what it proves though.

Here are some other statements from the Mossad-tainted Louis Michel:

On Sunday the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union pledged an additional $4.2 million in emergency aid for Gaza and called on Israel to respect international law.

“Blocking access to people who are suffering and dying is also a breach of humanitarian law,” Louis Michel, EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner, said in a statement.

“I call on the Israeli authorities to respect their international obligations and ensure a ‘humanitarian space’ for the delivery of vital relief,” he said.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/20091416255233877.html

EU development commissioner Louis Michel calls Israeli blockade of Gaza as collective punishment, Libyan boat breaks the siege

Date: 29 / 11 / 2008 Time: 20:27
Bethlehem – Ma’an –

http://www.ccun.org/News/2008/November/29%20n/EU%20development%20commissioner%20Louis%20Michel%20calls%20Israeli%20blockade%20of%20Gaza%20as%20collective%20punishment,%20Libyan%20boat%20breaks%20the%20siege.htm

January 27th, 2009, 12:50 am

 

norman said:

hi jad,

I think i am missing something , I know that the roads in Syria are dirty , the Garbage over flow , and the rivers are full of waste and dirty , i still do not know why the localities do not join together and clean up , I remember when we had camp during high school we did public service ,they can use the Kids for that .

Apparently you have experience with the environment .

from what i can see being careful about the environment is very expensive , it is expensive for China and India and and It would terribly expensive for Syria.

Syrian should do for themselves and leave the big stuff for the government to do.

January 27th, 2009, 2:29 am

 

Alia said:

A.P.

You note that these statements that you are linking went unheeded- just words. But when he is on the scene and he witnesses the outrage, we hear his recent condemnation that implicates Hamas. How would Hamas have brought the damage on the population without the invasion of the Israelis, one would ask?

You call me a Hamas supporter as if we are in a neocon anteroom! Come on man, grow up please!

You want to know about Israel, Mossad, diamonds, Louis Michel …you have to have the stomach for that. It is not a pretty picure

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_keith_ha_080207_the_gertler_steinmet.htm

Check also the references.

January 27th, 2009, 2:44 am

 

Alex said:

AP

First you paid attention ONLY to Louis Michel’s anti Hamas statement… you tried to prove the European visitor sided with Israel.

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=2033&cp=all#comment-224799

Apparently Louis didn’t buy into the Hamas sob-story like our friends here…

Then, Alia challenged you by demonstrating that the man has links to Israel.

THEN, somehow, your eyes and brain worked a bit harder until they succeeded in discovering the rest of Louis Michel’s statement which you decided to link:

“Blocking access to people who are suffering and dying is also a breach of humanitarian law,” Louis Michel, EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner, said in a statement.

“I call on the Israeli authorities to respect their international obligations and ensure a ‘humanitarian space’ for the delivery of vital relief,” he said.”

Why is it that you managed to see the full story ONLY when you needed to counter Alia’s argument? … and did you contradict your original point when you had to link to the rest of his statements?

January 27th, 2009, 4:25 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar Palace will be happy that the BBC said no to to broadcasting an appeal for helping the people in Gaza:

http://pulsemedia.org/2009/01/26/bbcs-mark-thompson-soft-on-israel/

January 27th, 2009, 4:53 am

 

jad said:

Hi Norman,
The issue is not about some dirt and harmless waste nor about more expenses needed to be paid, or even asking the public to clean up, it’s on a higher level, where only the government can act.
Do you know that our government worked on sewerage purification project using millions of dollars building it and buying special distilling equipments that can make sewage waters poured back into river 90% cleaner missing one small element? They didn’t separate the residential net from the industrial ones and they end up with water that can’t be used because it’s contaminated with harmful elements. That is not an individual issue it’s a whole government responsibility and failure.
You are saying that environment protection will cost money, NO, it won’t cost them a penny to force the minimum environment measurement and it will save our future. Actually it will cost the factory owners less money since they wouldn’t have to bribe the local authority personnel to cover up for them.
My environment pollution example is just to present to you that our government is not doing the job it supposes to do by protecting its citizen from any harm have an effect on their lives and their productivity but the opposite, they are harming them more being dump and stupid.
Norman, I chose the environment issue since it’s the more obvious one that we can see and feel, I Will give you another example that you don’t need to be specialist in anything just use your logic thinking:
In your next trip back home you should drive through Abbassien plaza and think of the amount of money wasted their over an architecture project that has nothing to do with traffic, can’t be seen and with no benefit to the public whatsoever except if you want to have a nice cup of coffee with some killing level of pollution since there is no ONE tree not a single tree!!! You also check the renovation project done on midhat pasha, toke them a year and something to finish, take a closer look at the beautiful coloured plastic sheets been used as a ‘historic’ and ‘authentic’ elements on top of each shop there. Yalbougha centre, still the same since the 70th with one advantage, they dry the whole river underneath. The airport renovation, OMG that is another story… It’s really bad and it shows that there is nothing in our government system called scientific studies, common sense or even logic, they just DO and if things went wrong, well, It’s GOD’s will!!!!!!! I’m sorry to depress you Norman but this is our reality and believes me I’m not blaming one group for that I blame all of us, we all are equally responsible for the situation we are in.
I work on many issues and many levels not only environments, so when I see what is happening back home I get frustrated because I know that the problems we have regarding infrastructure and future strategy development are not impossible to fix or to deal with, you just need the will and to educate the community you are working with/to. Believe me; you’d be surprised how fast people learn when you show them the right way… I personally think this is what we should work on to move forward, education, forcing meaningful rules and truly fighting corruption.

January 27th, 2009, 5:47 am

 

Hind Kabawat said:

When you hit a nerve, you inevitably provoke a strong, usually involuntary response, so I took some satisfaction in knowing that my recent article about the catastrophe in Gaza, occurring just days before the dawning of a new more optimistic era in Washington, generated such an enormous outpouring of interest, some of it pro, some of it con. Now, if you cut to the chase, what I argued in the piece was essentially this: the ongoing systemic violence that has characterized the Middle East for over six decades (and which reached a particularly ugly apotheosis in the recent short brutal barbaric war in Gaza) will only carry on, endlessly, unless all of us in the region—Arab and Israeli, Sunni and Shia, Hamas and Fatah, Jew, Muslim and Christian—fundamentally change the nature and essence of the geopolitical discourse in the Middle East.

If we continue to focus on past insults, injuries and grievances, we only prolong this disastrous “dance-of-death” conflict until it reaches a truly horrific conclusion, when the time inevitably comes, For those who think this deadlock, this “Mexican stand-off,” will last forever, think again. Deadlocks never last—forever.

So, the question then becomes, can this historic conflict be resolved peacefully? Or do we have to wait passively until all of us in the region are consumed by a truly horrendous conflagration? I hope—and I choose the word hope, advisedly—not. So what is the way ahead? All of us must step back from the abyss and rethink the fundamentals of this disastrous historic standoff. Too often, people—politicians and the general public—engage in “zero-sum” gamesmanship. Sort of, “it’s my way or the highway.” “If you win, therefore I lose.” Or vice versa. Where has this gotten us? Nowhere. Except the hellhole of Gaza.

And when folks on both sides aren’t playing zero-sum games, they’re engaged in “pretend peacemaking.” Peacemaking as a giant fraudulent charade. Since Oslo, both sides, Arab and Israeli, claim to be interested in compromise, in reaching a final settlement, but in reality, their actions belie their nice words. As I noted in my earlier article, how else do you explain the settlement policies in the West Bank of successive Israeli governments? Or the starvation of the people of Gaza? Or the “official position” of an organization like Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel? IT IS EXACTLY THIS KIND OF POSTURING AND POLICYMAKING WHICH MUST END—AND END NOW.

No matter what the extremists on the Arab side claim, the Palestinian people are not going to wake up one day from their “historical nightmare”—The Catastrophe, as it’s called—to find the Israelis have, like magic, disappeared, Ain’t going to happen. Not in this lifetime. Or that of your kids, or grandkids. Israel is not going to disappear.

Further, I would make a similar argument to the Israelis about the Arabs in their midst. The Palestinian people will not disappear. One day, the good burghers of Tel Aviv and Ashdod are not going to wake up to discover all the Palestinians have moved to Detroit, or Melbourne, or Toronto. Ain’t going to happen. Not in this lifetime. Or that of your kids, or grandkids. So, unless you learn to live with your Palestinian neighbours, peacefully, fairly, equitably, your Jewish state will never live in peace, NEVER. You will always live in constant threat, literally in a state of suspended paranoid animation.

So, what is required to break this deadlock, this Mexican standoff? Many years ago, an historian explained history-changing revolutions in science through something called a “paradigm shift.” The fundamentals about how we perceive things changed—180 degrees. The Old Rules were Out. New Rules were In. That is what is required in the Middle East. All of us must begin with a new premise: HOW CAN WE SHARE OUR ANCIENT BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC PART OF THE WORLD, FAIRLY, EQUITABLY, JUSTLY.

For those who think I am engaging in delusional fantasy, I refer them to first the historic changes underway in the United States. After centuries of oppression, the African-American community is finally realizing its rightful place in American society. As Barack Obama observed in his Inaugural Address, sixty years ago, his father could not be served in public restaurants across America, now his son has taken a solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States as the President of the United States. Only a little over forty years after Rev. King made his famous speech proclaiming his “dream” about an America “where people are judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character,” a very gifted black man is the American president. From King to Obama in two generations. Wow!! Forty years ago, Jews and Arabs were killing each other in the Middle East; they still are. Is there something wrong with this picture? YES, THERE IS.

Further, let’s look at another historic breakthrough: After three centuries of deadly sectarian conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, peace has come to that troubled region, Change is possible if you truly embrace it. To paraphrase, President Barack Obama, “YES, WE (IN THE MIDDLE EAST) CAN.”

After less than a week in office, the new US president is already demonstrating a willingness to “constructively” engage in the Middle East. Among President Obama’s first phone calls after taking office were those to ALL the major players in the region, not just to Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. Perhaps even more significantly, he has appointed former Senator George Mitchell, the architect of the peace deal in Northern Ireland, as his special envoy to the Middle East. Is it now possible, in the wake of the disastrous standoff in Gaza, that all factions in the Middle East can put aside their differences and engage in a more positive hopeful approach? If Black and White America (slave and slave master) can reconcile, why can’t the ancient Biblical peoples of the Middle East. Jew and Arab creating one community, living in many states. Call me a crazy optimist, but I say, “Yes we can.” What’s the alternative? Another Gaza. Or worse.

January 27th, 2009, 5:48 am

 

Alex said:

Hind,

I just finished checking Mexican standoff at Wikipedia, so I can now post my comments to your comment above : )

Fine … Hamas and its destruction of Israel is way off.

But assuming (and you know it is a good assumption) that Syria will be able to deliver the needed Hamas recognition of Israel, if and when Israel does the right thing.

Do you believe the Israeli people … 94% of them supported the “barbaric, ugly war in Gaza” (your words) have a powerful incentive to meet Syria and Hizbollah and Hamas at the long-held Syrian (and Arab) demand that Israel respects the UN resolutions 242 and 338? (withdrawing from all the Golan and giving the Palestinians back 20% of Palestine and keeping 80%)

If they don’t have that incentive then:

1) Do you think Syria and Hamas and Hizbolah (and the Arab street) are willing to settle the conflict at terms that can be described as “surrendering to the Zionists”?

If not then …

2) Do you have any realistic suggestions that can lead to that Paradigm shift in Israel? … will the 280,000 Israeli settlers buy your beautiful inspiration for that paradigm shift? (we should share this beautiful holy land) .. do you think they like this “Share” idea?

In other words .. do you think that peace between non-equals is possible? … especially when religion is part of the problem in such a massive way… religious differences between Israeli settlers and Hamas fanatics are not omparable to the mostly ethno-political conflict of Northern Ireland (or the non existent religious differences between Blacks and whites in the United States)

January 27th, 2009, 6:45 am

 

Alex said:

Where is Rime Allaf?

: )

January 27th, 2009, 6:53 am

 

jad said:

Mrs. Kabawat
With all due respect and admiration of your choice of Hope over Despair, I do share Alex questions and doubts.
Religion is the most powerful and problematic topic that can get us any meaningful results. The answer is always, God willing! The main problem with this answer is that we never know if it’s a negative or a positive sign.
I’m afraid that another 40 years will pass by and the Jews and Arabs will continue killing each other and sadly enough they’ll keep doing that until one of them have the ultimate victory, we both came from a tribal roots and this is the only way we learn of how to solve our disputes.

January 27th, 2009, 7:25 am

 

jad said:

Norman,
http://www.champress.net/?page=show_det&select_page=14&id=34397
This is another great achievement ‘chef-d’œuvre’ of our government.
La 7awla wa la qouwatta illa billah 3ala hal 7ameer yalli 3anna!
Another story the same day
http://www.champress.net/?page=show_det&select_page=9&id=34396

January 27th, 2009, 9:05 am

 

qunfuz said:

Ms. Kabawat – Thanks for your input. You may be right, although I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t want to insult you, but I think your piece about hope is one of the most inane and substanceless pieces I’ve ever seen on Syriacomment. And your examples are ahistorical. For instance, in your comment above you draw a false parallel with northern Ireland. The Irish problem is the legacy of colonialism which happened centuries ago. Now it’s an issue of reconciliation. It’s the kind of situation that Palestine may face in two hundred years.

I could go on, point by point, but I have no time.

As to Louis Michel’s immoral comments on the Palestinian liberation movement, and Obama’s fake rhetoric, we really aren’t going to get anywhere getting excited by Western ‘balance’. It’s far too late for that. Ehsani’s comments were wonderful, on the need for unity, and the necessity of demanding a one state solution. Shifting public opinion in the West, including Jewish opinion (and the tide is turning) is also very important. But running after the political class (who think of us as children) is just silly. Edward Said wrote very well of Arafat’s humiliating behaviour buying jewels for Hillary Clinton and Albright instead of organising Palestinian speaking tours of US churches, town halls, etc.

January 27th, 2009, 11:12 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Why is it that you managed to see the full story ONLY when you needed to counter Alia’s argument? … and did you contradict your original point when you had to link to the rest of his statements?

Alex,

cc: Alia

I am always willing to see the full story. I simply stumbled on the Louis Michel comment about placing the “overwhelming responsibility” of the conflict on Hamas. I thought your readership would want to know.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232643751651&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Later, after Alia tried to tie Mr. Michel to the Mossad, I figured I’d look further into his background (don’t you love the internet?).

Apparently he has been fairly critical of the Zionist Entity as well. Certainly more critical than any Mossad agent.;)

My points are:

1.) Is every personal critical of Hamas a Mossad agent?

2.) Can one be critical of both Israel and Hamas?

3.) Is this conflict resolvable?

My answers:

1.) No;)

2.) Yes, of course.

3.) No. Not with Hamas leading the show. Jimmah Carter is wrong.

Hamas to probe “military failings” (oy vey):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090126/wl_mideast_afp/mideastconflictgazaeuaidhamasjanes

January 27th, 2009, 11:48 am

 

Shai said:

Dear JAD,

I hope you do not really believe that “… this is the only way we learn of how to solve our disputes.” We cannot wait another 40 years, at least not those who keep paying the price. To them, and to our children, we owe the relentless search for peace. Like George Mitchell said in the State Department recently, the Northern Ireland negotiations consisted of 700 days of failure, and 1 day of success. That conflict entailed no less bitter enemies, spanned a time period of 800 years (not 60), and yet ended in peace. When the emotional barriers came down, so did all the rest of the hurdles that kept peace away from that part of the world for so long. If it’s possible between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists, it’s possible between Arabs and Jews.

January 27th, 2009, 11:51 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Another cease fire broken? I can’t believe it…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090127/wl_nm/us_palestinians_israel_4

January 27th, 2009, 12:21 pm

 

Alia said:

A.P.,

I never said that Louis Michel was a Mossad agent- I responded to your initial bravado statement by showing you that Michel is a non-trustworthy person in this conflict because of his elaborate negative history in RDC along with Israeli diamond merchants and with the support of Mossad. The rest of your elaborations and questions are tangential and childish.

If you watch the pictures of dead children in Gaza and read the article on the Diamond cartel in The Congo, Zaire and Zimbabwe with open eyes you would understand something about Zionism that is beyond your naive understanding of : “They threw rockets at us and disturbed our lifestyle”.

You and the likes of you are being driven to defend the interests of people who are in the shadows, making alliances with dictators, killing people, allowing genocides to occur in their own interest. Religion and the Jewish homeland are the tip of the Iceberg in Israel, when you go deeper you see that it is all about money, power and resources. The African dictators will be condemned but not the Israelis and the Belgians who have benefited from their atrocities. It is extremely disheartening to see that the so-called European Parliament would allow someone like Michel to be in this role. His miserable story in not unkown. This shows you again the masquerades of the old colonial powers which are now called EU and ECM… They are not talking about peace in the coulisses of power in Washington, the talk is of relentless dispossession and gradual genocide.

The half-hearted statements of Obama are not enough. In order for him to do anything meaningful he has to tip this glass upside down.

January 27th, 2009, 1:32 pm

 

norman said:

Jad,

Thank you ,it is an eye opener.

January 27th, 2009, 1:54 pm

 
 

Akbar Palace said:

I never said that Louis Michel was a Mossad agent- I responded to your initial bravado statement…

Alia,

Everyone here knows what you said/wrote:

Further on the relationship between Louis Michel, Israel, Mossad and The democratic Republic of Congo in light of Michel’s recent statement on Gaza.

You still have not shown what the “relationship between Louis Michel” and the Mossad is. I would like to know.

If you watch the pictures of dead children in Gaza and read the article on the Diamond cartel in The Congo, Zaire and Zimbabwe with open eyes you would understand something about Zionism that is beyond your naive understanding of : “They threw rockets at us and disturbed our lifestyle”.

Alia,

I’m all ears (and eyes). Tell us what the “dead children in Gaza” have to do with the “Diamond cartel”. I promise to be open-minded.

What would I “understand [something] about Zionism”? Please don’t hold back.

Shukran.

AP

BTW – Here’s some more info about the diamond industry in China, India, etc.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-11/19/content_282793.htm

http://www.ieo.org/diamond.html

http://www.diamondfacts.com/index-2.html

January 27th, 2009, 2:42 pm

 

trustquest said:

Jad, do not diapair,
25 years ago, before I left to the US, while the French company was expanding the Fejeh Basin, the three cities near the Fejeh, was discovered that their swage system was emptying in the spring basin. It took two months to realize that. Shaha w hans.

You don’t have to mention all those small things, you should mention that since 1965, these is not single project made in according to any Standads, even their own standard. Actully my friend in 78 tralated Ashtoo to Syrian Army, but no one use it. And just consider this, the regime, govenment or whateve, they are not going to use any Standards not traslated, so they have long time to wait for traslation first, like the internet.

January 27th, 2009, 4:02 pm

 

jad said:

Trustquest, Norman,
Planning can make a big difference and Standards can make people’s life easier and our projects succeed but no one of the government directing personnel believes in that. They only care about how much money they can get out of it…pure corruption…

Shai,
Sorry to disappoint you with my twisted interpretation regarding the endless ‘issue’ of this conflict. From what I see, force is the only way Semitic tribe’s members (you and us) understand, it will take us another 740 years of wars and massacres to get to the Irish stage.
Don’t you think that our region including Israel still lives in the Middle Ages, where the voice of revenge and hate is way louder than the voice of peace?
Even our countries, Israel included, are still run with tribes’ mentality, mafia-like and Shoguns. None of us have become into the real ‘STATE’ era yet, in our brains we still live in tents the only difference is our cloth and the thin crust of civilization we fake.

January 27th, 2009, 6:12 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Today’s Question:

“Does the UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief”, John Holmes, have a ‘relationship’ with the Mossad?”

JERUSALEM, Jan 23 (Reuters) – A U.N. official said on Friday Israel was cooperating in efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza but that far more had to be done to help the Palestinian territory recover after Israel’s offensive.

John Holmes, the U.N.’s Humanitarian Affairs chief, said Israel was allowing in more food and medicine into Gaza than it did before Dec. 27, when it launched the offensive against Hamas with the stated goal of stopping cross-border rocket attacks.

“I’ve detected a spirit of good will on the Israeli side to help do that,” Holmes told Reuters, referring to efforts by aid organisations to transfer medical, food and other urgent supplies to Gaza through border crossings controlled by Israel.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUKLN255994._CH_.2420

Don’t you think that our region including Israel still lives in the Middle Ages…

JAD,

What about Israeli society makes you think they “live in the Middle Ages”?

(don’t you love these questions?)

January 27th, 2009, 6:18 pm

 

jad said:

For God sake AP, go out of your tent! We are not in a demonstration or a competition showing how much we (the terrorist) support Palestine and how much you (the Zionist) support Israel. We are old enough to know that nothing is perfect. So please stop using your immature and unanswered questions as a challenge to our intelligence and start looking for a solutions and real dialog, you will be for more use than wasting all your effort searching and linking some useless propaganda as if we are watching a creepy brainwashing meaningless soap opera.
What makes me think that Israel still lives in the middle ages?
Well, it is people like you AP, and everybody else who use the same mentality to rationalize and blindly defends every mistake their tribe does without trying to think or challenge them. And when there is no law preventing me from killing or even beating my neighbor just because he is from a different tribe and when the only law I believe in is the law of the jungle, that is few of the reasons I think that Israel in fact still lives in the middle ages.
I hope that I answered your question and no more ‘tricky’ and ‘challenging’ question for me to work on today!

January 27th, 2009, 6:57 pm

 

Alex said:

AP,

1) revenge
2) revenge
3) revenge

January 27th, 2009, 6:58 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

More Questions than Answers

Well, it is people like you AP, and everybody else who use the same mentality to rationalize and blindly defends every mistake their tribe does without trying to think or challenge them. And when there is no law preventing me from killing or even beating my neighbor just because he is from a different tribe and when the only law I believe in is the law of the jungle, that is few of the reasons I think that Israel in fact still lives in the middle ages.
I hope that I answered your question and no more ‘tricky’ and ‘challenging’ question for me to work on today!

Hi JAD,

Israel, Hamas, Iran, the US, Japan, France, Great Britain, etc have all made mistakes. Believe it or not, I don’t believe the Zionist Entitiy is perfect. But that isn’t the issue. I was just wondering how you felt “Israel still lives in the Middle Ages”. I would eventually like to compare your answer to, say, a country who DOESN’T still live in the Middle Ages. C’est tout Habibi;)

I think this exercize will be enlightening to everyone here, Hamas and Israel-supporters alike.

Alex,

Why do you (and others on this forum) believe Israel’s retaliation was more “revenge” and less “self defence”?

Is there an example country beset by a similar phenomenon who reacted WITHOUT “revenge”?

Thanks,

AP

January 27th, 2009, 7:30 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

Because there is a pattern … Israel always takes revenge.. and it is: a thousand Arab eyes for one Israeli eye.

In 2006 Hizbollah killed two of your soldiers who went into South Lebanon … Israel responded by killing over a thousand Lebanese people.

Hizbollah was not launching missiles at Israel that year, were they? .. they did not attack school children in Tel Avi … they were defending their own country from your army.

January 27th, 2009, 7:43 pm

 

jad said:

Hi AP
Some major corrections;
First, you are using HAMAS in the context of an independent state form, I totally disagree; Hamas is and will never be an independent state.
Second, most of us here are not HAMAS supporters and will never be; we are for a free Palestine and for a free and proud Palestinians. We all anti evil and anti any aggression against defendless and starved population, not only in the occupied land called Palestine but in every place has any similar condition as Palestine does on the planet (BTW, there isn’t any similar example in the whole world).
May I personally ask you not to call me ‘Habibi’ in any future exchange, it sounds cheesy and I don’t like it.

January 27th, 2009, 8:07 pm

 

Rumyal said:

I don’t think Israel and the Arabs will be fighting for 700 more years because Israel will be defeated much before then. This is the logic that drives the people that object to Hind’s assertions. In other words it is possible that the grandchildren of Hind will solve the problem without having to “compromise” their position and make peace with the Jews. Realizing the existence and potency of that stance is what drives Israelis to self-reliance which eventually leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of perpetual war. It’s very likely that things will never be completely resolved peacefully. 99% of the populations are very happy with the “explanations” they receive from their leaders and priests regarding current affairs and how they should perceive them. The remaining intelligent 1% can either give in and let the masses duke it out or try to bring about a paradigm shift. I have no question in my mind which is the moral choice and this is why I applaud Hind.

As has been discussed many times before, the key to peaceful change is through a change in US policy towards Israel. The key to that lies through the diffusion of AIPAC power and that goes through the Jewish public opinion in the US. Thus, what Hind is doing, working with International Jewish organizations, is the most logical way to bring peaceful change to the middle-east.

January 27th, 2009, 8:53 pm

 

trustquest said:

I also applaud Hind and add my voice in her favor, and I think that she is on the right track. If she had written her article before Gaza war, it could have been perceived differently. Also, if she postponed her post until the resumption of the peace talk between Syria and Israel, which is coming soon, it also would have received praise for that. Conflict resolution is a must task when it comes to two states want to resolve their difference. Currently the dictator is riding the wave of tough guy; soon we will hear different tone.

January 27th, 2009, 11:27 pm

 

The syrian youth in Montreal said:

Hind.
You are an inspiration to all young people around the world. It makes us proud to see people like you. You are a person that will affect all of our lives with the changes that you will hopefully create. Keep up the good work and remember that you always have a group of people that will be looking up to you. No matter what you do, someone somewhere will try to put you down but remember to stay strong and to always know who you are and to always remember what you stand for.
Peace.

January 28th, 2009, 12:55 am

 

Nousha said:

Proud to share the same blood as you and hope to someday be as astonishing as you.
Much love.

January 28th, 2009, 12:57 am

 

norman said:

rumyal,

Do you think that we should ban lobbying for forign country and interference in the forign policy of the US.

Do you think that the US should play tough love with Israel and give excuses for the next Israeli PM to accommodate a settlement ,As the Israeli public will not understand any consesions that are not forced on them.

January 28th, 2009, 2:29 am

 

Rumyal said:

Norman,

Of course! That’s our only hope! Israelis are prisoners of their democratic rule. Any people that is under fire will turn to quick fixes and in order to be competitive the politicians have to outdo each other in terms of the easy fixes that they offer. How did de Gaulle pull out of Algeria? He basically deceived his voters. That’s basically the only chance that a democratic country with a frenzied populace has in this case. But in order to do that, you need to have the stature of de Gaulle, or Begin, or Rabin and there are none of these left in Israel. Hence, Israel is behaving as a ship without a captain that’s going straight into the rocks. Worst of all the ship is turbo charged (or nuclear powered) with the carte blanche we get from uncle Sam. So, somebody needs a reality check. I of course would like this reality check to be as harmless as possible to the Israelis and I would much rather see a process of BDS that is followed by sobering up, compared with some sort of a military defeat whose results nobody can really foretell. I think this is also optimizing the gain on the Arab side because you, too, cannot foretell the price of a possible military victory or yet another defeat.

Obama is making some noises already about restricting lobbyists by the way

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/22/headlines

Obama Restricts Lobbyists, Freezes White House Salaries
On his first full day in the Oval Office, Obama unveiled new White House ethics rules on the role of lobbyists.

President Obama: “As of today, lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits than under any other administration in history. If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years. When you leave government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I am president.”

January 28th, 2009, 3:27 am

 

Alex said:

Nousha,

Welcome to Syria Comment : )

Rumyal,

Obama’s restrictions on lobbyists are very very promising.

But how does he define a lobbyist? … will these rules apply to Dennis Ross? … he was not officially acting as full time lobbyist, but I don’t know what else to consider him… a visionary? .. a strategist?

Here is a relevant video clip that I posted in the other post but it relates more to this post .. from an Israeli mother who can teach us Arabs how to really be committed to helping the Palestinians.

Hind … this Israeli gives me hope … but unfortunately ALL the Israeli leaders do not give me any hope.

January 28th, 2009, 5:20 am

 

Rumyal said:

Alex,

Yeah, it’s a good clip. She also recorded it in Hebrew and it has been circulating between Israelis..

The closest thing that Israel has to John Stuart is Eretz Nehederet (“Wonderful Land”) which is, in a form of relatively crude satire, sometimes the only popular media show which is willing to put a mirror in front of the face of people in Israel. It is still very mainstream, so it always stops a little short of taking the Israelis completely out of their comfort zone, but it does nudge them a bit sometimes.

So in the last show, they started “processing” (in the psychological meaning) what they had done in Gaza. The show was under the theme of the Phosphorous Globe Awards, and there were these winners in the following categories:

Best Actor Award – Ashkenazi (IDF chief) – he thanks all the Gaza children whom “we won’t call by name because we may forget someone” (there were too many of them), and he thanked the air-force for the “side effects”. And he finished by saying that he’ll meet everybody at the “Hague Festival” which is where he’ll be after the world figures out what he did.

Best Costume Award – Alon Ben David (war mongering military journalist) – for frenzying the people…

Best Actress Award – Levana Stern (who vacillated against the grieving Dr. Abu Al Eish) – superimposing her hysterics against well-known grieving moments in recent Israeli popular history.

Best Script Award – Avi Bnayahu (IDF spokesperson) – for making up all the cover stories for the war crimes.

Lifelong Enterprise Award – USA/Obama – for supporting Israel always… Obama: “people of Israel, it’s time for you to talk to your enemies”. Bibi to Obama: “you love us so much so we can do whatever we want”… Obama:
“no you can’t…” Bibi: “oh, the new president looks broken, can we go back to the previous one??”. Obama: “… no you can’t”…

This looks quite infantile I’m sure but this show has significant influence over public opinion in Israel.

http://www.mako.co.il/vod/index/entertainment/a64518d63c749110VgnVCM100000290c10acRCRD/erez-nehedert-6/VOD/itemId=ce521d661c5fe110VgnVCM100000290c10acRCRD

January 28th, 2009, 7:59 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

First, you are using HAMAS in the context of an independent state form, I totally disagree; Hamas is and will never be an independent state.
Second, most of us here are not HAMAS supporters and will never be; we are for a free Palestine and for a free and proud Palestinians. We all anti evil and anti any aggression against defendless and starved population, not only in the occupied land called Palestine but in every place has any similar condition as Palestine does on the planet (BTW, there isn’t any similar example in the whole world).
May I personally ask you not to call me ‘Habibi’ in any future exchange, it sounds cheesy and I don’t like it.

JAD,

All good and fine, but it didn’t answer the question I had about your comment “…. I think that Israel in fact still lives in the middle ages”.

If you don’t want to explain that, that’s fine with me too.

AP

January 28th, 2009, 1:10 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex said:

Because there is a pattern … Israel always takes revenge.. and it is: a thousand Arab eyes for one Israeli eye.

In 2006 Hizbollah killed two of your soldiers who went into South Lebanon … Israel responded by killing over a thousand Lebanese people.

Hizbollah was not launching missiles at Israel that year, were they? .. they did not attack school children in Tel Avi … they were defending their own country from your army.

Alex,

“Revenge”? “a thousand Arab eyes for one Israeli eye”?

Please tell us what you would do if you were responsible for Israel’s security along Israel border with Gaza and Lebanon.

Anyway, Hizbollah DID launch missiles as they fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli patrol on the Israeli side of the border.

I’m not surprised you forgot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Israel-Lebanon_conflict

So once Israel retaliated, thousands of missiles came down all over Northern Israel: Haifa, Nahariya, Nazereth, etc. Your “narrative” sort of missed that small point.

Call it “revenge” if you want to, but I call it simply a nation’s duty to protect itself from a dangerous enemy sitting on her border.

Any other nation would do the same, probably worse.

Lastly – Please expand on the following conflicts and let us know if you think there was an element of “revenge” or “a thousand Arab eyes for one XXXX eye”:

1.) The Lebanese Civil War (about 100,000 dead)

2.) The Hama Massacre (about 20,000+ dead)

3.) The Gulf War (10,000+ dead)

4.) The Iran-Iraq War (250,000+ dead)

5.) The Algerian Civil War (150,000+ dead)

It seems to me Alex that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a drop in the bucket in terms of Arabs and Muslims killed, yet YOUR only outlet for your “outrage”, your scorn, and your concern about “a thousand Arab eyes”.

Just a suggestion, but I think you need to scratch the surface a little deeper. I think you need to question why so many more Arabs and Muslims are dying to forces that have nothing to do with Israel or the “Zionist Entity”.

January 28th, 2009, 1:53 pm

 

Hind Kabawat said:

Rumyal:

I don’t work for any Jewish or non Jewish organization; I only work for the people and only the people of the Middle East.

January 28th, 2009, 7:48 pm

 

Shai said:

Hind,

Bless you and all of your efforts. If only our region had more people like you…

January 28th, 2009, 8:00 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Hind,

I said you worked “with” not “for” Jewish organizations, and that was a mistake on my behalf, too. I was referring to what you said in the first paragraph of your piece: “For the last five years or so, I have been actively working with Jewish colleagues in the US and elsewhere to help broker a lasting reconciliation between Israel and its Arab neighbors”. I now understand you specifically said colleagues and not organizations. Sorry for the misrepresentation … and either way I appreciate your involvement.

January 28th, 2009, 8:02 pm

 

Shai said:

And in Israel… Meretz is running a campaign against Lieberman (about time) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9OutbuGMXs

It’s basically down to this:
Lieberman – “Here’s who you should hate (Arabs, Gays, Leftists, etc.)” – 16 seats.
Netanyahu – “… (silence)” – 30 seats (up from 12).
Livni – “Do you want Bibi+Shas, or ME?…” – 25 seats and dropping.
Barak – “At the moment of truth, Barak…” – 16 seats.
Meretz – “We won’t sit with Lieberman or Bibi…” – 5 seats.

So for now, those who won’t speak at all (and so far refuse any TV debates with other candidates), will win and become Prime Minister. Those who speak of peace, everyone knows are lying, since they carry out Gaza 2009. And those who like the Arabs, no one believes anymore.

Are we headed for a 3rd Intifada, or another 4 years like 1973-1977? Is Bibi the new Begin? I guess time will tell…

January 28th, 2009, 8:17 pm

 

Alex said:

Rumyal,

Writing SC comments at lunch break? : )

January 28th, 2009, 8:24 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Alex,

Ahhh… yes! And I’m also watching Indians Cheer Obama.. which you can view over your 4pm tea break 🙂

January 28th, 2009, 8:33 pm

 

Alex said:

And I liked your Israeli version of SNL .. thanks for the report.

Here is our Arabic counterpart … about Arab armies’ united response to the Israeli attacks on Gaza:

January 28th, 2009, 8:52 pm

 

Shai said:

Meretz is doing an anti-Lieberman campaign (about time): http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=J9OutbuGMXs

The way things look right now, 12 days before elections in Israel:

Lieberman (“You should hate everyone – Arabs, Gays, Leftists…”) – 16 seats.
Netanyahu (“… (complete silence)…”) – 30 seats. Up from 12.
Livni (“If you vote Bibi you’ll get Shas, so please vote for me…”) – 25 seats, and dropping.
Barak (“At the moment of Truth, Barak”, except when we’re talking peace) – 16 seats.
Meretz (“We won’t sit with Bibi or Lieberman”) – 5 seats.

So for now, those who remain silent (and refuse TV debates) will become the next Prime Minister. Those who spew further hatred in Russian, will get a few extra seats. Those who pathetically call out for help, and who could have resigned in Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2009, will lose seats. Those who pretend to want peace, but seem to prefer war, will downgrade to 3rd or 4th largest party. And those who truly want peace, will remain insignificant.

Are we headed for a 3rd Intifada, or 4 years that will remind us of 1973-1977? Is the Likud so hungry for power, that it’ll be ready for dramatic steps towards peace, as Begin was after Likud’s historic victory in ’77? Time will tell… But I wouldn’t discount it just yet.

January 29th, 2009, 5:57 am

 

Alex said:

Shai

If I put a poll asking: “which of the following Israeli leaders do you hope will win”?

No Syrian here will vote.

But, President Carter (on Charlie Rose today) said he is quite optimistic that the two-state solution is achievable

So .. who knows.

I think there is a 6-month window of opportunity for president Obama to do something impressive (not necessarily to finalize an agreement) … he needs to show substance, not only granting a Saudi channel (Pro America though) the first interview.

Otherwise, Intifada 3 plus something from Hizbollah at the same time … AND … Mubarak will be gone within few months … he will blame Hamas and Hizbollah again for Netanyahu’s harsh retaliation.

January 29th, 2009, 8:08 am

 

Hind Kabawat said:

Alex:

Thanks for sharing this clip.
Women like this will make me certain that we do actually have the Audacity of Hope.
A Woman, who stands against her government to fight for the fairness, justice and against the starvation of our Palestinian children, deserves our appreciations and respects.
This is a lesson to learn and a role model to follow.
I will definetly support her one day to become the Prime Minister of Israel.
Then, we certainly will have Peace and lots of Hope in our region.

January 29th, 2009, 11:00 am

 

Sami D said:

Dear Alex, the number of Israeli settlers is close to half a million, NOT 280,000, as recently mis-represented by CBS’ “60 Minutes”. The latter # ignores the 200,000 settlers in 1967-occupied “E. Jerusalem”. Actually it is a new E. Jerusalem, after Israel expanded it INTO the West Bank, while “yearning for peace”.

Dear Hind,

Thanks for your contribution. I have several comments and criticisms on what you wrote. I haven’t read everything you added on this page, let alone what most others have contributed, so if my comments have already been made before or addressed, please forgive me.

Hind wrote:

Has Israel a right to exist? Only the most extreme and intractable elements in the Arab world now say, “No.” As almost all informed Israelis know, most of the Arab world has long ago accepted the reality of a Jewish state in the Middle East.

First, Israel exists. Acknowledging that is not the same as saying it has the right to exist. The latter is a much stronger concession. When we say many Arabs accepted Israel’s right to exist, we’re misrepresenting the facts. Indeed the second sentence you wrote above tells me there’s at least some confusion about the issue, because that says, unlike the first, that Arabs have accepted Israel’s existence (the “reality of Israel”) NOT its right to exist. The two are not the same.

Further, Israel has the “right to exist” as what? An apartheid, ethno-religious –ie, Zionist– state that denies the natives their right to exist, or exist as equals? Nor does denying Israel’s “right” as such means that one denies the right of Israelis as a human beings to exist and live in peace. Finally, many Arabs have accepted the reality of Israel not because they see such as right, fair or just; it is only because Israel has big muscles and can plant terror in the hearts of Arab capitals –which is part of the goal of Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2008-9– that they have “accepted” – very reluctantly—a state that discriminates based on religion, one that conquers and destroys and torments the natives in front of all to see. Fundamentally, conquest, discrimination and apartheid should not be accepted, let alone speak of the “right” of perpetrators to carry on.

Hind wrote:

So why does the Israeli leadership compromise this pragmatic goodwill among the wider Arab community by engaging in acts of such carnage and barbarism as the world has witnessed in Gaza over the last twenty days. It is hard to fathom. It truly beggars the imagination.

Does it really “beggar the imagination” that a conqueror is not interested in the “goodwill” of the conquered, but in robbing their resources? Is it because you are trying to speak to Israelis too, that you (pretend to, I hope) express disbelief at a conqueror’s actions, especially ones that are systematic over 60 years? As for Obama and the “audacity of hope”, hasn’t history taught us to wait to see what he does, before drinking the cool aid of campaign slogans?

Hind wrote:

But, in reality, what did all these Hamas missile attacks actually accomplish. Very little. A few—very few—unfortunate Israeli fatalities and a modicum of material damage. For this, Israel proceeded to flatten Gaza to the ground, leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless and destitute and over a thousand souls—half of them children—dead.

Asking what Hamas’ rockets accomplished assumes that there were other options –-beside surrender—- Israel left for Hamas that the latter didn’t take, or that Hamas’ actions –-criminal as they may be– spring from deep calculations of costs and gain, rather a desperate act by a suffocating people locked in a jar. Doesn’t the rest of your sentence above also imply that the false Israeli chronology of events is correct, that “Hamas attacks and Israel defends”? The ceasefire that was largely adhered to by Hamas since June 08 was violated by Israel, with full knowledge that Hamas will respond one can assume. Is it possible that this, like a fundamental component of Israeli history, is just the customary Israeli provocation to provide pretext for a coming Israeli aggression, which would anyway be carried out, only perhaps under a different slower means like tightening the on-going starvation?

Hind wrote:

But though both sides have been talking compromise (paying lip service to it) since the Oslo Accord, no one, on either side, has really been practicing it. For years, Israel has embraced the “two-state solution,’ at the same time as they systematically permitted hundreds of thousands of Jews to settle in the occupied Arab lands of the West Bank

While it might sound appealing to use the language of “both sides”, there’s something inherently unfair, let alone false, to accuse conquered and conqueror, raped and rapist somewhat equally, of not compromising enough. How can the victim compromise further? By allowing the aggressor to take just a little more of what’s left of her livelihood and freedom?

Furthermore, Israel didn’t “permit”, systematically or otherwise, Jews to settle occupied land, as you write; it actively encouraged them to colonize, offered them tax-breaks, lured them with cheaper housing, etc. In other words, the colonization project is one designed and enacted by Israel governments, Likud or Labor/Kadima, not by fanatic settlers, as CBS’s 60 minutes would portray it. (Majority of settlers are not fanatic zealots by the way). The goal of that project is, as Israeli leaders said, to prevent a (viable) Palestinian state from emerging “between Israel and Jordan” and induce “voluntary” migration of the Palestinians by slowly suffocating their existence.

Apologies I didn’t get a chance to read the other contributions you had.

Nafdik wrote:

Given that we already lost all these lands to Israel I see 3 alternatives:
– Fight
– Deal
– Do nothing

Hello Nafdik,

The “Deal” option should be, in my opinion, “negotiate your surrender” or “negotiate the crumbs you’ll be allowed to keep after surrendering, as a reward for bowing”. Unless one thinks that a powerful aggressor — someone who covets another’s land and resources – is really interested in “dealing”.

By the way, I like what you write. The same for you Qunfuz. Keep it up.

January 30th, 2009, 8:57 pm

 

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