“A Critique of ‘Promoting Fatahland, while punishing Hamastan,'” by Daniel Levy

The victory of Hamas over the PLO in Gaza underscores the bankruptcy of US policy throughout the Middle East. Divide-and-rule is not working, only engagement with US adversaries can stem escalating radicalism in the region.

The conviction that Washington can re-arrange the realities of the Middle East through force was disproved in Iraq long ago, but Washington has closed its eyes to this plain truth. It has broadened the war into neighboring states and continues to seek a win by arming allies and pushing them to forward to battle.

As a result, US allies have reached the breaking point in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine. Radicalism is on the rise throughout the region. Al-Qaida rejoices as civil strife spreads and failed states multiply. The longer Washington persists in its policy of confrontation, the less leverage it will have at the bargaining table. Rather than strengthen America's position in the Middle East, Washington's violent policy is cutting the ground from underneath it.

Daniel Levy, the Director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative and a Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation and New America Foundation has written an excellent analysis of the situation in Palestine on his blog at: www.prospectsforpeace.com. He explains the dangers and folly of continuing to pursue the Western policy of  "Promoting Fatahland, while punishing Hamastan.

Here is an excerpt from Levy's analysis:

What Next on Palestine: Time to Get Real

Hamas is now in control of Gaza after a cruel, if somewhat surprisingly easy, military victory over Fatah. The images coming out of the Palestinian territories have been harsh to say the least and neither side looks good to put it mildly. The spillover to the West Bank, thus far, has been limited to sporadic Fatah-revenge attacks against identifiable Hamas targets. President Abbas has declared a state of emergency and the disbanding of the unity government. These actions appear to be within the remit of his power, but only for a limited time period, after which Parliamentary approval would be required (and tricky given that the PLC is majority Hamas and that so many members are now in Israeli prisons). Abbas could call elections, that would be even more high-risk. Those who always viewed the political Islam of Hamas and responsible government as incompatible think they have been vindicated. They are wrong.

The situation is bleak, if predictable. The unity government arrangement was always a fragile one. The core group within both Fatah and Hamas who supported a national political accommodation between the factions were fighting a rearguard action against rejectionists from within their respective ranks from day one. The hopes for a functioning unity government were dealt a mortal blow when outside actors led by America and Israel, with the support also of certain Arab states and the complicity of Europe, all worked to undermine the government and strengthened those elements within Fatah striving to violently collapse the government.

Naturally, everyone is now looking for a way out and for a ray of hope in this desperate situation. That is a healthy human instinct, but the emerging plan articulated over the last days from many quarters and in danger of becoming entrenched, is a fantastical one – divorced from reality and far too similar to the previous failed policies that helped create this disaster. The emerging plan is known variously as promoting Fatahland, while punishing Hamastan, or West Bank first, or feed the West Bank/starve Gaza. There is no detailed elaboration of the plan yet, but its outline would look something like this:

Use the new reality as an opportunity to drive home the division between the West Bank-Fatahland and the Gaza-Hamastan.Visibly demonstrate to the Palestinians that Fatahland is a happy place with an advancing peace process, while Hamastan is a dark and hopeless place excluded from this march of peace. Ultimately, so the story goes, the Palestinians embrace the Fatah alternative. Hamas peacefully accepts the consequences or is militarily defeated and we all live happily ever after.

This vision may feature in next week’s Washington talks between President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert. The most sophisticated version of this approach, far more sophisticated than what today’s politicians are likely to come up with, appears in a Washington Post oped by Martin Indyk.

And in truth, it does sound attractive and it is understandable that many people including people of good will and members of the peace camp would begin to mobilize around this plan. It kills two birds with one stone – we are not only provided with a supposedly workable policy for supporting the goodies against the badies, but also given a pathway back to the peace process, as part of the plan would be for Olmert to negotiate with Abbas and perhaps, agree to further withdrawals and/or confidence building measures in the West Bank. A complex and difficult to understand situation suddenly is presented with great clarity and deemed amenable to attractive solutions.

As is clear from the above, I think this approach is wrong-headed and more of the same failed policies, rather than a departure from them. I want to explain why that is and what the alternatives might be. (Read the rest.)

Comments (39)

g said:

قيادة قطرية بعثية مؤقتة من بقايا عملاء النظام العراقي السابق وأجهزته الأمنية ولصوص النظام السوري الراهن المطرودين من جنة فساده

مغارة علي بابا الجديدة برئاسة خدام وعضوية ابنه جمال ومجموعة من المجرمين المتورطين بقضايا الإرهاب والاغتيالات والتفجيرات خلال الثمانينيات ، وبالأعمال المافيوزية .. خلال جميع العهود !

التنظيم الجديد جاء بناء على “طلب” السعودية والإدارة الأميركية ويؤكد ما انفردت به ” الحقيقة ” قبل عشرة أيام

باريس ، الحقيقة : وزع يوم يوم أمس بيان في باريس باسم ” القيادة القطرية المؤقتة لحزب البعث ” في سوريا . وجاء البيان في صيغة ما أسماه بـ ” مشروع رؤية جديدة لفكر حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي ” تضمنت ” طبيخا أيديولوجيا ” شبيها بـ ” طبيخ القرباط ” ويجمع ما بين الفكر العفلقي الذي عرفه البعث في بواكيره الأولى و مقررات المؤتمر القطري العاشر الذي انعقد صيف العام 2005 وما بينهما . وفيما لم يشر البيان إلى أسماء أعضاء هذه القيادة القطرية الجديدة ، علمت ” الحقيقة ” أن ” الدكان السياسي ” الجديد برئاسة نائب الرئيس السوري السابق عبد الحليم خدام ، الذي أعفي من مهماته الحزبية في المؤتمر المذكور على خلفية الصراع المافيوزي بين أجنحة الحزب والدولة على اقتسام النفوذ السياسي والاقتصادي قبل انشقاقه بالتنسيق مع آل الحريري والمخابرات السعودية . كما أنه يضم في عضويته ابنه جمال وعددا من بقايا ” بعث العراق ” وعملاء المخابرات العراقية في ظل نظام الرئيس السابق صدام حسين ، وفي مقدمتهم ” جماعة شبلي العيسمي ” الذين تورطوا خلال الثمانينيات بأعمال التفجير والإرهاب والاغتيال السياسي في سوريا إلى جانب المجموعات الأصولية الإسلامية ، فضلا عن عدد من رموز المافيا البعثية الذين كانوا غادروا سورية في أوقات مختلفة بالطريقة نفسها التي غادرها خدام . وادعى البيان أن تشكيل ” القيادة القطرية المؤقتة ” جاء ” بعد اتصالات جرت بين عدد من الحزبيين القياديين في مستويات مختلفة داخل سورية وخارجها ” . إلا معلومات ” الحقيقة ” تؤكد أنه لا يوجد في عضوية التنظيم المافيوزي الجديد أي شخص من داخل المافيا الحاكمة في سورية الآن باستثناء عدد من أبناء عائلة خدام . وكانت ” الحقيقة ” قد كشفت في الخامس من الشهر الجاري عن مناقشات سرية بين خدام وشبلي العيسمي ، عبر ابن هذا الأخير ـ بشار العيسمي الذي ينشط في إطار ” جبهة الخلاص”، لتشكيل تنظيم بعثي جديد من المحسوبين على خدام وفلول الموالين لنظام صدام حسين السابق ” بناء على طلب السعودية وواشنطن كشرط لدعم عبد الحليم خدام علنيا ، ولإضفاء طابع ” وطني ” على ” جبهة الخلاص الوطني ” التي تجد الإدارة الأميركية حرجا في دعمها علنا ، رغم الدعم السري الذي تقدمه لها ، بالنظر لطابعها الإسلامي والطائفي الأصولي .

June 16th, 2007, 12:49 pm


Abhinav Aima said:

There are many commentators in the U.S. who routinely conflate Al Qaeda and Hamas – they are wrong, but they do so because of a number of reasons, two of which are either an automatic hatred of all Islamic movements, or out of a desire to equate Israel’s national security with the U.S., or as is also common, both.

But Hamas is not Al Qaeda. In fact, the only reported setup of Al Qaeda in Palestine turned out to be a false flag operation allegedly launched by the Israelis… There has never been any proof that Hamas has actively sought to target, attack and kill Americans… The politico-military aspirations of Hamas are strictly regional, even though their rhetoric is often universal… But then, isn’t the rhetoric of most radical religious groups universal? Oh yes, I forgot, we aren’t radical, we are just right…

It should also be noted that the only incident in Palestine, in the Gaza Strip, in which an American convoy was attacked by a car bomb and resulted in three fatalities (in October 2003) was NOT a Hamas operation… The investigation of that attack resulted in the arrest of seven members of militias loyal to Fatah… Of course, the Bush administration has since given millions of dollars to these same pro-Fatah militias…

The crux of my arguments all through this period has been that these crippling economic sanctions and the bloody armed campaign waged by the U.S. and Israel against Hamas and the Palestinian people would lead to a weakening of the Hamas’s political wing and a strengthening of the Hamas military wing (known as the Izzadine al-Qassam Brigades).

And that is pretty much what we have seen happen over the last year – the authority of Hamas political leadership, under the command of Ismail Hanniya, has weakened, while the authority of the Hamas military wing, reportedly led by Khaled Mashal out of the Damascus office, has taken lead in dictating Hamas activities…

And yes, Hamas has an office in Damascus, but this doesn’t mean that they are a Syrian group… Hamas does, within limits, see Syria and Iran as its natural allies in the region… And in that relationship, Hamas offers that peculiar triangulation of interests – a Sunni Muslim group focused on Palestine is allied with a secular Ba’thist/Alawi Syrian regime and a Shiite fundamentalist Iranian regime…
Readers should also note that this isn’t a matter of deterioration of Palestinian polity that I am simply and singularly blaming on the Bush administration… This crumbling of Palestinian Authority is, in part, due to the reckless nature of U.S. meddling in the political apparatus for the PA, which was essentially designed by the CIA at the behest of the American authorities…

In fact, CIA Director George Tenet spent many weeks in Palestine over the course of his tenure in the Clinton and Bush administrations, offering all kinds of political, intelligence, military and economic assistance to the leaders of the PA… When the authority was first established and Arafat was a reliable ally against other radicals, the CIA helped design a political apparatus that concentrated power in the hands of the president (Arafat)…

When Arafat fell out of favor with the U.S., the CIA, with the full backing of the U.S. government, again interfered and pressured Palestiniain legislators to redraw the political infrastructure, this time weakening the president (Arafat) and giving more power to the Fatah legislators more favorable to the U.S. interests…

And then in 2006, the widespread corruption of the legislators, mostly from Fatah, led to a sweeping victory for Hamas, so once again the U.S. is trying to restructure Palestinian Authority in order to make the president more powerful.

All this may make perfect sense to those who prefer a Machiavellian foreign policy of constant corruption, deceit and bloodshed – but it is very much this approach to Middle East politics that has disheartened the local population has turned them toward cynical radicalism…

The violence between Fatah and Hamas may worsen, or it may cool down… But there is little doubt in my mind that radicalism has edged out reason in Palestine as it has in the U.S. and Israel, again, and that more Palestinians than ever before are now disgusted with the U.S. and Israeli policies toward the Palestinian Authority.

June 16th, 2007, 2:56 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Please answer me;
US constitution says that the president of US must be born in the USA, this is discrimination,against immigrants,like me, who lived in this country many years,40 year in my case,and who paid taxes, law abiding person.
I have no problem changing the constitution in Syria and remove the part that require the president must be muslim,but only if the president is elected through democratic process, since in Syria,the way to become president is through military coup,or authoritarian regime,then the statement must remain the same.
Further, I do not think it is right,to change the constitution,without people consent.

June 16th, 2007, 3:54 pm


Akbar Palace said:

majedkhaldoun said:

US constitution says that the president of US must be born in the USA, this is discrimination,against immigrants,like me, who lived in this country many years,40 year in my case,and who paid taxes, law abiding person.

That is why the Governor of California, Schwarzenegger and the Secretary of State, Kissenger can never be president. I guess the only difference is they understand the law and they’re not crying about it.

I have no problem changing the constitution in Syria and remove the part that require the president must be muslim,but only if the president is elected through democratic process, since in Syria,the way to become president is through military coup,or authoritarian regime,then the statement must remain the same.
Further, I do not think it is right,to change the constitution,without people consent.

You shouldn’t have written this. SimoHurtta may be angered. You see, in Israel, “Any Israeli citizen who is a resident of the State is eligible to be a presidential candidate”.

I guess SimoHurtta will have to think his way out of this one.

June 16th, 2007, 4:25 pm


G said:

Landis, you filthy regime agent, you have the balls to talk about “violence” and “changing reality by force” as your paymaster murders people in Lebanon and then you, as his payed servant, jump to say the US should “talk” to him as he murders its allies?

You filthy employee of assassins.

June 16th, 2007, 6:06 pm


SimoHurtta said:

You shouldn’t have written this. SimoHurtta may be angered. You see, in Israel, “Any Israeli citizen who is a resident of the State is eligible to be a presidential candidate”.

I guess SimoHurtta will have to think his way out of this one.

Akbar you did not give me a big challenge. Of course Israel doesn’t demand a president, who is born in the country. Why, because most of the present Israelis were born in Russia and Ethiopia and the older ones in Poland, Germany etc. Many of those born in Israel have left the country to more civilized surroundings. So of course Israel must choose a president of those who are still “around”.

If you Akbar in your little mind think that this presidency question shows how open minded and liberal Israel is, you are mistaken. Most democracies have the same rule as USA, including Finland. Israel is the only country (besides Russia) where a born Russian billionaire could be an elected president.

Maybe you should have a little “higher” standards in Israel with the politicians. Israel made the unbeaten world record of countries which call them selves democracies. On the same time the President fired for alleged multiple rapes and an astonishing amount of ministers and high officials under investigations for corruption. A real banana republic…

PS. Maybe it is a good thing that the Terminator and Kissinger can’t became the presidents of USA. Both of them speak better German than English.

June 16th, 2007, 6:17 pm


t_desco said:

For the record:

“The establishment of Fatah al-Islam may seem like a simple matter of posting a message to a website and giving an interview to the media, but the group’s rise to prominence required a significant amount of support from foreign jihadists willing to travel to Lebanon to spread the jihad. While the group was officially led by Shaker Al-Abssi, who with ties to Zarqawi and a history of engaging in jihad on behalf of Palestinians likely commands respect within the refugee camps of Lebanon, Fatah al-Islam’s success depended on the aid of seasoned jihadists, both in terms of military experience and issuing propaganda. Without this external support from jihadists near and far, Fatah al-Islam would likely never have been able to make its mark in Lebanon in such a short period of time.

One of those endeavoring to bring jihad to Lebanon was Abdulrahman Yahya al-Yahya, who, according to jihadist messageboards like Ekhlaas, is the son of the prominent Saudi shaykh, Yahya bin Abdulaziz al-Yahya. Al-Yahya left his home of Saudi Arabia to fight with the mujahideen in Afghanistan subsequent to 9/11. He then left Afghanistan and returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was wanted by Saudi authorities. While Al-Yahya managed to evade capture, his brother, Abu Asem, was arrested northwest of Riyadh. Al-Yahya then traveled to Iraq, where he joined and fought with the Islamic State of Iraq. Clearly believing in the need to establish a jihadist front in the Levant, al-Yahya left Iraq for Lebanon in late 2006, where he helped found Fatah al-Islam. As a member of jihadist messageboards, al-Yahya was able to recruit others remotely and while on the move. The valuable experience that he gained fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his contacts, enabled al-Yahya to become one of the leaders of Fatah al-Islam and help the group operationally, strategically, and in media warfare.

Al-Yahya was not the only individual with a strong presence on jihadist messageboards who went to Lebanon after the war between Israel and Hizballah ended. Another prominent jihadist who aided in the establishment of Fatah al-Islam was an individual known on jihadist messageboards by his username “Al-Faris Al-Ta’an.” On December 4, a message appeared on the Ekhlaas jihadist forum announcing that one of the messageboard’s moderators had departed for “the land of glory.” The phrase traditionally meant Iraq or Afghanistan, but in this case, signified Lebanon, indicating how strongly jihadists desired to form a front in the country. Al-Ta’an’s role was not to shoot bullets or make IEDs, but instead to aid the nascent group in creating a media wing to produce propaganda, crucial to the success of any jihadist group. Al-Ta’an’s experience as a moderator of the highly influential Ekhlaas forum put him in an excellent position to help Fatah al-Islam appeal to the global jihadist movement.

The group remained largely silent for the few months after the announcement of its initial formation, biding time to prepare itself for the coming jihad by recruiting, training, solidifying its local presence, and establishing trusted channels to distribute propaganda. By March 2007, Fatah al-Islam began releasing communiques to the most prominent jihadist messageboards much more frequently, demonstrating to the global jihadist community that Fatah al-Islam was indeed well-established and engaging in military training. The connections and contacts that Al-Yahya and Al-Ta’an brought the group enabled Fatah al- Islam to distribute its communiques through the Al-Fajr Media Center, the online distribution committee that al-Qaeda and other prominent jihadist groups utilize to disseminate their propaganda online. With an instant global audience obtained through the al-Fajr Media Center, Fatah al-Islam was soon appealing to Palestinians in refugee camps to provide their support to Fatah al-Islam and releasing savvy statements designed to attract jihadists to join the fight.”

“The Rise of Fatah al-Islam”
SITE Institute

Ash-Sharq al-Awsat has put up its own translation of its interview with “mid-rank leader” of Fatah al-Islam:

Fatah al-Islam to Target Top Lebanese Officials

However, I noticed that there are some clear contradictions in the text:

– “Abu-Musab” says that he surrendered “about a year after he joined the movement [Fatah al-Islam]”.
As Fatah al-Islam is about 8 months old, this is technically impossible, but, on the other hand, it is reasonable to assume that the movement had a presence in the camp even before it became “Fatah al-Islam”.

The following is in line with the practices described in the analysis by the SITE Institute:

“The 30 year old Palestinian national who goes by the alias Abu-Musab, told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone interview that he personally witnessed the recruitment of approximately 25 Saudis through Jihadist forums, and that these new recruits have been called to join the Jihad in Iraq after receiving the necessary training and military preparation in various locations inside and outside the camp. He added that it is difficult to determine the precise number of the Saudis because of the “compulsory” residence imposed for a number of months on those who wish to fight in Iraq lest they are found out before the completion of the necessary arrangements for that.

Abu-Musab explained that the internet was the best means for mobilizing large numbers of young people from various Arab and Islamic countries such as (Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, etc).

Abu-Musab explained that his duties compromised of recruiting and mobilizing new members for the movement through the internet under the pretext of training and preparation for fighting in Iraq in Al-Hulwah camp and in the Samid hall (formerly a clothing workshop).”

– One time he says that the “necessary arrangements” for “those who wish to fight in Iraq” were made, then he calls it a “pretext”.

I suspect heavy “editing” by the journalist, also in the following case:

“Abu-Musab, who joined the movement after abandoning Fatah Al-Intifada [Fatah Uprising], revealed that the mobilization of internet users used to be done through the exploitation of religious slogans encouraging people to fight the Jews and the USA and to go for Jihad in Iraq.”

I don’t think that a “mid-rank leader” of Fatah al-Islam would describe his own activities in such terms.

– It is also rather odd that a “mid-rank” commander with intimate knowledge about leadership structures and financing and who allegedly had the ear of al-Absi himself should not be aware of the presence of 350 fighters of his own organization in such a small place as Nahr al-Bared:

“Abu-Musab said that as soon as the confrontation started with the Lebanese army, a big number of fighters who already had their military training began to emerge in the camp. He saw about 350 fighters whom he had never seen before.”

June 16th, 2007, 7:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Of course Israel doesn’t demand a president, who is born in the country. Why, because most of the present Israelis were born in Russia and Ethiopia and the older ones in Poland, Germany etc.


It seems as though I can’t do anything to please you:

– If Israel allows any Israeli citizen to be president (Jew, Muslim or Christian), then that’s bad.

– If Syria only allows a Muslim to be president, then that’s OK.

– If the US only allows American born citizens to be president, then that’s bad (even when religion has no bearing at all).

– If all Israeli citizens have the same rights and “privleges”, then that’s bad.

– If Jews and Christians don’t have the same rights in Arab and Muslim countries, then that’s OK.

– Islamic states like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the newly created paradise of Hamastan well, gee, that’s OK too.

– And of course, we’ve already established that Islamic jihadis and murderers are never responsible for their own action.

Did I miss anything?

I guess I did, because your statement:

…because most of the present Israelis were born in…[somewhere else] is false. Most Israelis were born in:


See, there’s a whole world of factual information outside of al-Jazeera and the Arab media!

June 16th, 2007, 7:50 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Not so much radicalism on the part of Hamas as Fatah’s denying the ELECTED GOVERNMENT it powers.

June 16th, 2007, 8:15 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Come-on Akbar Israel is not an equal country even you desperately claim it to be such a country. If Israel would an equal unproblematic democracy we would hardly ever have to read about Israel in news papers. The racist nature of the present days Israel is evident and proven. Why on earth would the British academics etc boycott Israel if there would not be real serious problems.

To your other comments, I do not see any relevance how the problems in Arab countries and elsewhere are related to what Israel is now. Certainly all countries could compare themselves to others and so to try hide monstrous actions, but in reality it doesn’t make them any better. It is pure desperate propaganda. One could say Zimbabwe is better than North Korea, Israel is better than Sudan, Finland is better than Israel etc…

Israel is a Jewish state as you yourself have said. Why can’t other countries then be Islamic, Christian, Communist etc. If Israel would be true equal secular democracy and have responsibility as you claim it would have a long time ago made Palestinians as her citizens. The one state solution, you might heard about it.

Akbar when you try to make propaganda for Israel certainly democracy, equality and human rights are not your strongest “starting points”. You should try a different approach.

…because most of the present Israelis were born in…[somewhere else] is false. Most Israelis were born in:

Yes Akbar most Israeli Arabs are born in Israel. But Jews hmmm. Over one million “Soviet Jews” have moved to Israel during the last 20 years.

By the way Akbar how many Israeli citizens who have a second birth date in their Teudat Zehut actually live nowadays still in Israel? It must be a highly guarded state secret…

June 16th, 2007, 8:41 pm


norman said:

The control of Ha mas over Gaza will make Abbas look so small , Ha mas liberated Gaza , Abbas can not travel freely in the west bank , now we are going to see how nice Olmert is going to be to Abbas , Is he going to stop the settlement , Is he going to give the land back and go to 1967 border , i doubt that , Anything less is going to make Abbas look foolish for trusting the Americans and the Israeli es. Ha mas will be stronger and if they can guarantee Israel security on the border of Gaza , Then Israel will be prudent to make a deal with them , Hanneia declared his acceptance of a palestinian state in 1967 borders.

June 16th, 2007, 10:54 pm


Alex said:


There are many good things in Israel, but they are getting worse with time. The day you can regain the people of Northern Europe (like Simohurtta) as friends you will know that Israel is doing the right thing.

So I am hearing from my Palestinian friends that they (Fatah) want Egypt and Jordan to take over Gaza and the West Bank’s security and that Egypt wants to, but Jordan is not sure they want to risk getting deeply involved in Palestinian affairs, given their own Palestinian population and how they might react.

And they are claiming that some of the worst killing in Gaza was done at the hands of mercenaries, not proper Hamas fighters.

June 16th, 2007, 11:11 pm


Alex said:

And the civilian world bowed

By Doron Rosenblum / Haaretz

So, I understand that we all deserve a big “mazal tov.”

For what? For the election of … ?

No, no, more important: The government finally got the green light “to begin” “to examine” “the possibility” “of exploring” “negotiations” with Syria.

True: We did get the OK from the big boss. But not without hesitation, and even that’s conditional.

Who knows – perhaps in the end they’ll let us worry about the rest of our interests, too, and not necessarily those of the great superpower …

I wouldn’t jump too far in my conclusions. Basically, they gave the Olmert government a very short rope; and if there’s worrisome progress in the negotiations – they’ll make sure to rein him in. It’s happened before. When you get down to it, peace-shmeace isn’t their top concern.

I thought they actually wanted to see peace prevail in our region, or at least calm.

Nonsense. Not under just any conditions. In fact, only on their conditions: For example, that the diplomatic process not impede their freedom of action or their agenda.

So what you’re saying is that they’ve come a long way since the Carter era.


The Americans.

Who’s talking about the Americans? I’m talking about the IDF. About the big boss. The regional superpower. The top banana. Il capo di tutti capi. The IDF, which has had the real say-so here ever since the Six-Day War. If it wants – it will beat the war drums; if it wants – it will loosen the leash; if it wants – the defense minister’s orders will be carried out, checkpoints will be opened, shells will fly, outposts will be built. If it doesn’t want something – then it won’t happen. And by the way – Congratulations: From this week onward you can forget about a civilian defense minister, and maybe about a civilian prime minister. We’ve gone back to the barracks, big-time.

…. read more

June 16th, 2007, 11:27 pm


Alex said:

Sources: Italy offers Syria help in return for safety of soldiers
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema offered Syrian officials a deal on his visit to Damascus earlier this month, according to Israeli sources.

D’Alema told Syrian president, Basher al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moallem that Italy would push for an end to Syria’s international isolation in return for a guarantee that Hezbollah and other groups would not harm Italian troops in Lebanon.

Italy has headed the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon since February, and has some 11,000 soldiers stationed in the south, covering the Litani River region.

June 16th, 2007, 11:29 pm


Alex said:

More creative ideas from Terje Roed-Larsen that try to bypass Syria.

This guy does not give up.

Larsen: Hamas carried out de facto coup

Hamas carried out a de facto coup d’etat against the democratically elected government in Gaza which is a serious blow to the creation of a Palestinian state and has implications for the entire Middle East, the former United Nations envoy to the Middle East said Friday.

Terje Roed-Larsen, now the president of the International Peace Academy and a UN envoy for Lebanon-Syria issues, called the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip a defining moment in the history of the Middle East and the history of Middle East conflicts.

“We’ve had an intra-Arab strife, de facto a civil war in Gaza, which has led to a de facto coup d’etat,” he said. “This has forced a new agenda on the table of the Arab League and the Arab world as well as the broader international community.”

“We have now a de facto mini-state in Gaza after the coup d’etat headed by the former prime minister, and we have a legitimate, democratically elected president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his recently appointed prime minister, in Ramallah in the West Bank,” Roed-Larsen said.

He called Hamas’ actions completely counterproductive to the just aspirations of the Palestinian people and the most serious blow against the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He said it was of utmost importance for the international community to launch a diplomatic drive that would include moderate Arab states, Europe and the United States under the legitimacy of the United Nations.

June 16th, 2007, 11:33 pm


Alex said:

Arab League states split on support for Abbas over Hamas
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies

The Arab League member states found themselves divided Saturday over their response to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and the crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

Syrian sources told an Arabic language newspaper that Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, fired by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah following the Hamas action in Gaza, had been democratically elected.

The sources emphasized that Syria supports both “factions of the Palestinian government – that of Fatah and that of Hamas.”

June 16th, 2007, 11:34 pm


Alex said:

And the last comment for today, for those who were worried bout our friend Gibran

I found him!!

June 16th, 2007, 11:50 pm


Enlightened said:

So Alex ( Sherlock) is Fares Gibran? or Norman? Or Alex ? or really Joshua (just to put a skew on things) Damn this cyber stuff is so impersonal eh Camille? LOL

Im more worried about Ausamma, I miss his comments even though I dont agree with his regime and Arab nationalist lines.

June 17th, 2007, 1:12 am


norman said:

Enlighted one ,
I agree with you , Imiss Ausamma too.

June 17th, 2007, 2:01 am


Akbar Palace said:

Alex said:

There are many good things in Israel, but they are getting worse with time.

Try not to flatter me or the Zionist Entity. You and I know that the problem isn’t Israel.

Standing Up to Killers
Syria Must Answer for Its Murders in Lebanon

By Hussain Abdul-Hussain
Thursday, June 14, 2007; Page A27


June 17th, 2007, 2:14 am


Alex said:


I found Gibran but I don’t know where is Ausamaa… I think Ford Prefect can find him.

By the way, Gibran is Gibran, he is not Fares, and probably not G.

And Alex is indeed a name that some of my friends use, it is not really a cyber name. I’m easily discoverable

You and K are probably the only ones who did not know : )

June 17th, 2007, 2:52 am


norman said:

Alex , I hate to say it but if these Lebanese could not figure who you are , How do you expect them to solve Harreri’s murder.

June 17th, 2007, 3:31 am


norman said:

For U.S. and Key Allies in Region, Mideast Morass Just Gets Deeper

By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 17, 2007; Page A16

The Middle East is in flames. Over the past week, war erupted among the Palestinians and their government collapsed. A Shiite shrine in Iraq was bombed — again — as the new U.S. military strategy showed no sign of diminishing violence. Lebanon battled a new al-Qaeda faction in the north as a leading politician was assassinated in Beirut. And Egyptian elections were marred by irregularities, including police obstructing voters, in a serious setback to democracy efforts.

U.S. policy in the region isn’t faring much better, say Middle East and U.S. analysts.

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“It’s close to a nightmare for the administration,” Ellen Laipson, president of the Henry L. Stimson Center and former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, said in an interview from Dubai. “They can’t catch their breath. . . . It makes Condi Rice’s last year as secretary of state very daunting. What are the odds she can get virtually anything back on track?”

Each flash point has its own dynamics, but a common denominator is that leaders in each country — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — are each pivotal U.S. allies.

“The people we rely on the most to help are under siege, just as we are,” said Bruce Riedel, a Brookings Institution fellow and former National Security Council staffer. “Three of the four leaders may either not make it [politically] through the end of the summer or find themselves irrelevant by then.”

The broad danger is a breakdown of the traditional states and conflicts that have defined Middle East politics since the 1970s, said Paul Salem of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Beirut office. An increasing number of places — Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories — now have rival claimants to power, backed by their own militaries.

Also, once divided by the Arab-Israeli conflict, the region is now the battleground for three other rivalries: the United States and its allies pitted against an Iran-Syria alliance in a proxy war regionwide, secular governments confronted by rising al-Qaeda extremism, and autocratic governments reverting to draconian tactics to quash grass-roots movements vying for democratic change.

Extremists are scoring the most points. “Gaza is the latest evidence that most of the trends are pointed in the wrong direction. It’s yet another gain for radical forces. It’s another gain for Iran. It’s another setback for the U.S., Israel and the Sunni regimes,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and State Department policy planning chief during President Bush’s first term. “The United States has not shown that moderation pays or will accomplish more than violence.”

A second danger is that conflicts now overlap. “You can’t look at Lebanon or Iraq or the Palestinians or Syria or Iran and try to deal with them separately anymore. You could have 10 years ago. Now they are politically and structurally linked,” said Rami Khouri of the American University of Beirut.

Khouri said the United States deserves a good share of the blame for a confluence of disasters spawning pessimism and anger across the region.

On the Palestinian breakdown, he said, “It’s hard to know who appears more ludicrous . . . the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas leaderships allowing their gunmen to fight it out on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank, or an American administration saying it supports the ‘moderates’ in Palestine who want to negotiate peace with Israel.”

U.S. officials counter that the Palestinians have demonstrated a sense of national identity and are not likely to want to split the West Bank and Gaza. Because the West Bank is the center of the conflict with Israel, a peace process remains viable, they say.

In Iraq, the second attack on Samarra’s mosque and the failure of the Baghdad security plan to lessen the death toll shows that U.S. influence and power is slipping away, Laipson said.

“The best that we can hope for is that, come autumn, the administration will be able to persuade Congress to support a much-reduced U.S. presence and avoid simply pulling out,” Haass added. “If we can do that, it will at least give the Iraqis more time to try to discover a national political identity and reduce the chance that Iraq will be seen simply as an American foreign policy disaster.”

In Lebanon, a beleaguered government faces a triple threat. The Army entered the fifth week of fighting a few hundred Fatah al-Islam extremists, who held out in a Palestinian refugee camp despite a U.S. infusion of arms and ammunition. The car-bomb killing of anti-Syria parliamentarian Walid Eido has deepened fears that Syria is seeking to reassert control after its 2005 withdrawal. Hezbollah is still blockading Siniora’s government — both politically and physically.

“What’s consistent about all three is wanting to get rid of the Siniora government. It’s not coordinated, but it will stretch the government to its limits,” Riedel said.

U.S. officials counter that Siniora has proven surprisingly resilient, despite Syrian attempts to restore its control. In Egypt, the detention of hundreds of activists, including candidates for parliament’s upper house, reflects the deteriorating state of democracy efforts. “Arab regimes are regrouping now that the U.S. push for democracy seems to have come to an end,” said the Carnegie Endowment’s Salem.

But even former Bush administration officials blame Washington for the region’s latest woes. “The U.S. bears responsibility, both for things it’s done, particularly in Iraq, but also for things it’s not done, which is where the peace process comes in,” Haass said. “The president never developed his idea of a Palestinian state. He never used his leverage to help Egypt get launched on a trajectory of greater openness.”

The United States finds itself active in more Middle East theaters than ever but with less ability to influence events, said Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group. “It is very much now manipulated in places that it once thought it could manipulate.”

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June 17th, 2007, 3:48 am


Enlightened said:

Norman Said:

“Alex , I hate to say it but if these Lebanese could not figure who you are , How do you expect them to solve Harreri’s murder.”

LOL Norman you made me laugh and fall out of my chair, your probably right, I figured out who Alex was when he posted an article when he got back, Im no super sleuth but it was easy after that. If I can recall Gibran is a resident of Canada, he let it slip a few months back, But I am aware that some of you are connected through friendship, that was obvious through some of the earlier dialogue when i started reading this site.

As far as i am aware I am the only reader from Australia, apart from Tony who is a representative from The NSF in Australia.

Anyway I hope Josh posts some cultural articles soon, the political situation is a mess and rather depressing.

June 17th, 2007, 4:04 am


norman said:

My Dear Enlightened one ,
I never met Alex ,(althogh i like to if he comes to the US )or any of the other Blogger except on these posts , May be one day , you can join our friendship by posting on creative Syria which can be reached on the top of the page.
CREATIVE SYRIA , I am sure Alex does not mind.

June 17th, 2007, 4:25 am


Alex said:


Thanks to Joshua who is the best host to all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, we are all friends here. Even Akbar is becoming a friend!

Not G and Gibran though. But there is a good reason why they do not join us … They are superior to this group in many ways … higher IQ for example. I did not realize it, but when G reminded me for the millionth time that I am stupid, I started to notice.

By the way Norman, what do you mean they did not solve the Hariri murder? … Ask G.

Enlightened, as Norman mentioned, you are welcome to write the next time we discuss a new topic (next month, July 1st). I think it will be about Syrian reforms. You don’t have to be 100% Syrian to contribute. SimoHurtta wrote in the current Golan Heights topic. So did Alon Ben Meir, an American Think Tanker. You have my email of Creative Syria you can write to let me know if you want to know the exact topic.

How are you managing as a new father?

June 17th, 2007, 5:36 am


Alex said:


I just found this photo of a Damascus Synagogue on another Syria blog.

June 17th, 2007, 5:52 am


Alex said:

And on the same blog I found this other photo of construction workers building another old-style Damascene House restaurant.

I like how relaxed the man on top seems to be given the elaborate way he designed the balanced support he is sitting on.

June 17th, 2007, 5:57 am


K said:

Alex is back! Thanks for the cool pics.

June 17th, 2007, 6:12 am


t_desco said:

Israel plans attack on Gaza
The Sunday Times

I have some doubts about the Haaretz story quoted by Alex because of this:

“According to the official, information on the deal offered to Syria undermine the suggestion Italy has made several times over the past two months of sending multinational peacekeeping forces to Gaza.

The official said that despite ostensibly ‘good intentions,’ Italy’s forces would not help in preventing Hamas from firing rockets into Israel and smuggling arms into Gaza, as it may decide to make a deal with the organization in return for its soldiers’ safety.”

The Italian government has other and better reasons for trying to bring Syria “in from the cold”.

The less we hear about peace negotiations between Israel and Syria in the media, the better! Usually this is leaked with the intention of hampering or stopping the negotiations.

Radical Group Pulls In Sunnis As Lebanon’s Muslims Polarize

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Surrounded in the first hours of their battle with Lebanese forces in this northern Lebanese city, fighters of the Fatah al-Islam group shouted desperately from the windows of their hideouts. “God is great!” one resident, housewife Aziza Ahmed, recalled the fighters yelling. “Come be holy warriors with us!”

Mohammed al-Jasm, a 28-year-old unemployed Lebanese Sunni, received his summons by cellphone on May 20, his family believes.

Chunky and unmarried, twice-failed in shopkeeping ventures and increasingly prone to spending his idle hours with fundamentalist friends, Jasm took his gun and rallied to the Sunni group, his brothers said.

To his family, Jasm and a handful of other young Lebanese Sunnis who responded to Fatah al-Islam’s appeals died hapless recruits in a conflict that leaders on all sides are promoting between the Muslim world’s Sunni majority and Shiite minority.

In Tripoli, residents say they have watched the expansion of groups dedicated to the more strident forms of Sunnism, especially since Hezbollah’s war with Israel last year. This growth includes politicking by leaders of the Salafi sect, a fundamentalist stream of Sunni Islam that traditionally rejects politics as an impious Western concept.

At the same time, prominent figures in the Salafi community here have served as intermediaries between their flock and Hariri. In the mosques, “our preachers call upon the people to become part of the political process,” said Daii al-Islam al-Shahal, a member of a prominent Salafi family in Tripoli and founder of a group he describes as dedicated to charity, education and preaching.

“There’s a relationship between ourselves and Sheik Saad when it’s needed,” Shahal said. “The biggest Sunni political power is Hariri. The biggest Sunni religious power are the Salafis. So it’s natural.”

Hariri denies that promoting Sunni political power trickles down to support for armed groups. “We sponsor culture and education, not terrorism,” he said in an interview in Beirut. “I am the son of Rafiq al-Hariri — we never had blood on our hands and we never will.”

“I am concerned about Iranian intervention in the affairs of other countries,” Hariri added. “But that doesn’t mean that we will sponsor Sunni radicalism. Radicalism is not the answer.”

The U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have fed Sunni militancy, and U.S. and European leaders are inciting it anew in the building confrontation with Iran and Hezbollah, said Alistair Crooke, former Middle East adviser under European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

With U.S. and European governments encouraging the alignment of Sunnis against Shiites, “it should not be surprising that in November a group of Salafis could think it would be important to come to Lebanon to defend their Sunni people against a growing threat,” Crooke said. Fatah al-Islam was founded by Shaker al-Abssi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, who arrived in northern Lebanon late last year after serving a prison sentence in Syria.

Mustafa al-Jasm, Mohammed’s 40-year-old brother, said the younger man was drawn to Fatah al-Islam by the heated rhetoric accompanying the sectarian divide in the region. Some clerics, he said, “are telling Sunnis, ‘You have nothing to do here. You might as well go fight Iran, for our Sunni brothers there.’ ”

“Saad Hariri and all of his Future Movement, the only sect they have in their hand is the Sunnis, and they used religious speech to pump them up,” said Mustafa, a bookkeeper in an auto repair shop here. “The tension built, like a bomb waiting to explode. And my brother was part of that.”

Across the bare, uncarpeted living room, one of three shared by the 14-member family, Mohammed’s 19-year-old brother, Taya, agreed, unsmiling.

“I put the blame on Saad Hariri and Nasrallah — this is how they have spread their quarrel to the people,” said Taya, who wore a polo shirt and baseball cap rather than the beard and checkered kaffiyeh scarf favored by his dead brother.

In another tenement in the same neighborhood of al-Tabineh, the father of a 26-year-old man killed by Lebanese forces in the first week of fighting with Fatah al-Islam insisted there be no such blame in a time of crisis for his sect.

“Shut up!” Riad Mohammed roared, raising the back of his hand, when the slain youth’s kerchiefed grandmother ventured a quiet rebuke of Saad Hariri.

“The Sunni people must stand together now,” the father insisted.

The short trip up the narrow concrete steps to their apartment made clear what the family looked for in a leader. Their son’s thickly bearded face was first, scowling from a photocopied sheet declaring him a martyr. An image of Saad Hariri and Siniora followed, next to a poster of Saddam Hussein with sunlit clouds surrounding his head. “God bless Osama bin Laden,” someone had scrawled one flight up. …

June 17th, 2007, 6:59 am


t_desco said:

The Syrian intelligence version of events:

Blowback in Lebanon
By Reese Erlich

During a recent trip to the Middle East, I conducted exclusive interviews with Palestinian and Syrian government and intelligence officials as well as independent sources. All of them insisted that while some leaders of Fatah al Islam did indeed live in Syria, those leaders broke from a Syrian-supported group in 2006, well before the current Lebanese turmoil.

But by 2006 Syrian intelligence officials had begun to suspect Fatah al Intifada might have become a jihadist group. They had been extensively recruiting Saudi, Jordanian and other non-Palestinians to their ranks. Officials learned that meetings and leaflets in Lebanese refugee camps were calling for an independent Islamic state in northern Lebanon and Syria.

Two key events furthered the suspicions. Syrian authorities stopped at least one convoy of small arms being transported from the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq, through Syria, on its way to Lebanon. Non-Palestinians were also using Fatah al Intifada ID cards to smuggle weapons into Lebanon. Under a long-standing agreement between the two countries, according to a second Syrian intelligence source, “people with Fatah al Intifada ID cards can easily cross the border and carry weapons for use in the Lebanese refugee camps.”

In December 2006, Syrian authorities arrested Fatah al Intifada co-founder Abu Khalid Omla, whom they had sheltered for years in Damascus. The second intelligence source told me Omla had squirreled away $20 million in Damascus real estate and foreign bank accounts. Fatah al Intifada formally expelled Omla in December 2006, just a few weeks after a jihadist website announced that a new group, Fatah al Islam, had split off from Fatah al Intifada; Omla had been secretly backing Fatah al Islam, according to Syrian intelligence sources. Soon, Fatah al Islam fighters took over Fatah al Intifada’s military role in the Nahr al Bared camp.

Another of the splinter group’s leaders was a former air force pilot trained in Libya, Shaker al Abssi. He had been a leader of Fatah al Intifada. In 2001 he fled Jordan for Syria, where he was arrested, though it’s not clear on what charges. Then in 2002, jihadists assassinated U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman. Abssi was tried and convicted in absentia in Jordan for plotting the murder. Yet Palestinian leaders in Syria managed to secure his release from prison, and in 2004 he was allowed to move back to Lebanon—where, it seems, he began organizing jihadists.

“We didn’t know they were takfiri [jihadists],” a top Fatah al Intifada leader who lives in Damascus told me. “They told us they were training these guys to fight Israel. Suddenly, we found out they were being trained to fight Shiites in Lebanon.”
Mother Jones

A minor correction:

Al-Absi himself made it quite clear “on what charges” he was arrested in Syria:

He told AFP: “I was jailed because I was accused of having planned to carry out an operation in the Golan (Syrian territory occupied by Israel), as well as of having carried and smuggled arms into Palestine”.

And he told Reuters that “he was jailed in Syria for two years and seven months from 2002 for planning an attack on Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights.”

At the time he was still a member of Fatah al-Intifada, which may explain the lenient sentence.

The article confirms the earlier reports about the role of Abu Khalid al-`Amlah.

As I said before, this is a major embarrassment for Syrian intelligence (if this version of events is true).

June 17th, 2007, 9:22 am


Jamal said:

Israel-watcher journalist Peter Hitchens has come back from a visit there to write a pessimistic (to him) and keenly-observed account entitled ISRAEL FACING A SLOW DEATH. The basis of his piece, that only half the population of Israel is now Jewish, is not news but the details and outcomes he suggests make interesting reading.

From the Daily Mail (UK) 16th June 2007:

Could this be the way the Middle East conflict ends, not with a mushroom cloud or a peace deal but with the slow disappearance of the Jewish state? It seems a real possibility.

Israel must cope with two far deeper dangers than Iran’s amateur atom bomb, or even unending waves of suicide bombers.

Those perils come instead from maternity wards, where Arabs are slowly winning a long-distance population race with Jews – and from Israel’s own foolishly forgotten Arab people, finally beginning to pump up their political muscle.

One sign of the way things are going is that in Israel itself – not even counting the occupied Arab zones of the West Bank and Gaza – the most popular boy’s name is now Muhammad.

There are also quite a few Vladimirs, thanks to the arrival during the last days of the Soviet Union of nearly one million not-very-Jewish Russians, with very few questions asked.

As many as 500,000 of these – experts disagree on how big the problem is – are either not Jewish at all, nothing in particular, or actively Christian.

Recently, to the annoyance of Orthodox Jews, several hundred Russian recruits to the Israeli army insisted on swearing their oath of allegiance on the Christian New Testament alone.

Russian is an unofficial third language, and there is even a Russian TV station, though (madly) there is not one for Arabs.

Abstemious, kosher-observing Israelis have had to get used to having large numbers of Slav neighbours who cannot be persuaded to give up pork sausage or vodka, or even to be discreet about guzzling them.
Russian-language bookshops have even been discovered selling neo-Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda.

(To read the rest, see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=462445&in_page_id=1770}

June 17th, 2007, 9:38 am


Observer said:

i think good reading this summer is Barbara Tuchman’s book: A distant mirror. It depicts the trials and tribulations of Bernard de Couci and through his history shows the history of medieval Europe where statelts, potentates, princes, dukes, kings and the papacy struggled and fought over scraps of power and illusions of grandeur. In it I see a reflection of the current status of fragmentation of all the countries in the region including Israel. Factions are asking for ever smaller pieces of the garbage dump called Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and even Egypt. Clans are fighting over who controls the cement industry, families are fighting over whose company is hired by the state to carry shody corrupt and useless projects. What a sorry state of affairs we have. I invite you to look at the Ruppee, and see that it has printed on it the 16 official languages of India representing more than 600 different ethnic and religious groups and that in a country where 500 million live on less than one dollar a day they are slowly and surely rising into a world power united and unified; and yet all we have in the ME where the vast majority share a common language, history, culture, and aspirations is a truly dark ages medieval state of affairs.

June 17th, 2007, 2:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Jamal said:

Israel-watcher journalist Peter Hitchens has come back from a visit there to write a pessimistic (to him) and keenly-observed account entitled ISRAEL FACING A SLOW DEATH. The basis of his piece, that only half the population of Israel is now Jewish, is not news but the details and outcomes he suggests make interesting reading.

From the Daily Mail (UK) 16th June 2007:

Could this be the way the Middle East conflict ends, not with a mushroom cloud or a peace deal but with the slow disappearance of the Jewish state? It seems a real possibility.


It seems that you, SimoHurtta, Ahmadinejad and many other Islamic fanatics are obsessed with the “disappearance of the Jewish state”.

IMHO, this is a great example of what the Middle East is suffering from: to many people are wasting their time wishing Israel away, while the rest of the Middle East is falling to pieces.

Fighting Israel is more important than peace, freedom, tolerance, the economy, and every thing else. Pity.

BTW – Check your numbers, Israel is about 80% Yahud.

June 17th, 2007, 3:41 pm


SimoHurtta said:

It seems that you, SimoHurtta, Ahmadinejad and many other Islamic fanatics are obsessed with the “disappearance of the Jewish state”.

Well, calling me, a western Christian, as an Islamic fanatic is some what paranoid. Are we all Jews, who oppose the way Israel is run (a rather considerable number of them in Israel, Europe and USA), millions of Christians etc “Islamic fanatics”? How stupid can a person became when he any more can argue using facts and universal moral standpoints?

Most of the world’s people do not like the country what Israel has became and how it behaves. Most people in the world understand that the root cause for violence is social injustice. The Palestinians do not rebel for no reason. Everybody understands that. Even Akbar would consider militant actions and join extremists groups if he would be treated like an Palestinian in Israel for his whole life.

Israel has to change to real secular democracy, not to continue as Jewish theocracy where the Herrenvolk rules. Only then can “extreme” Jews like you Akbar demand the same from Arab countries.

Fighting Israel is more important than peace, freedom, tolerance, the economy, and every thing else. Pity.

Supporting Israel has not brought peace, freedom, tolerance etc to Middle East. Show me Akbar one single attempt when Israel voluntary has done something for peace. Why for example has Israel build settlements, which cost billions, on occupied areas if it has wanted a peace? That is not simply rational for a country which wants have a peaceful solution. It is rational behaviour for a country which want to annex land.

BTW – Check your numbers, Israel is about 80% Yahud

77 percent says the Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Are Christian Ukrainians and Russians really Yahud? Well we learn something new every day. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics estimates that 43 percent of Jews are secular, of whom 47 percent do not believe in God. Hmmmmm.

Are you Akbar an Israeli citizen? If you are, there is a considerable number of people like you who are Israeli citizens but who have only lived in Israel for a short while or not at all. How many Israeli citizens live in USA and how many of them are also US citizens? Have you numbers of that?

June 17th, 2007, 7:15 pm


Jamal said:

Akbar Palace,

Don’t bother with me – have it out with Peter Hitchens who is an influential writer. And, incidentally, he’s a friend of Israel who is in despair for good reasons if you bothered to read his full piece. Reasons to do with the very nature of the Israeli state and those who are running it.


Good point about the “recreational Israelis” who live outside it and spend their spare time relentlessly propagandizing and intimidating others on its behalf, but no thanks, don’t want to live there.

June 17th, 2007, 8:12 pm


Enlightened said:

Alex thanks for the invite, I will take it up, after July things are hectic at work, I am trying to finish a big commercial project by then.

Father hood is intermittent my wife and son are still in Melbourne, have been shuttling between Sydney and Melbourne on weekends. My mother was not around we sent her two months ago to Tripoli to see my sick grandmother who sadly passed away two weeks ago.

Young Marcus is doing well 60cm 5kg, he has inherited my fathers tall genes now 6 weeks old, he was born at Masada hospital in St Kilda, a jewish hospital ( No sectarianism from us , my wife is Shiite)

All in all its been hectic, when I look into his eyes he makes me forget everything, It will be a challenge to teach him his Arab roots , but Sue is fluent in Arabic and will take up the challenge.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Ps where do you reside? Norman mentioned you are not in the US.

June 18th, 2007, 12:52 am


norman said:

Enlighted One ,
I am in the US , New Jersey , I think Alex is in Montreal /Canada.
Just push on Alex name when he writes and that will direct you to his website.

June 18th, 2007, 1:16 am


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