Balancing “Change” and “Prudence” will be an arduous process for President Obama

by Alex for Syria Comment

I thought of writing “an open letter to President Obama”. But I kept remembering that he has a Ph.D. From Harvard, and I don’t. For the first time in many long years, I do not feel the urge to lecture the US president about everything that he does not seem to understand about the Middle East.

Then again, President Obama’s first comments about Gaza were not very assuring. Immediate reactions on the Arab side were of two kinds. “I knew it, he is just like Bush”, or “Give him time, the man can not upset AIPAC from day one”

During his inaugural speech President Obama said: “our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint…”.

Besides prudence and temperance, the president often promised … “change”. Yet, his approach to the Middle East until this date, clearly constrained by the obvious sensitivities of the traditional allies represented by established Washington lobby groups, does not reflect a degree of fortitude necessary to change America’s shattered foreign policy in the Middle East.

Watching and reading coverage of the events in Gaza it was clear that when it comes to the Middle East, the United States has been systematically and successfully brainwashed. Aside from the few cautious and polite exceptions, the only politically correct analysis by American politicians or journalists about Gaza had to stay focused on the importance of “Israel’s security” to the United States. If anyone felt the need to express his or her concern about the thousands of Palestinian children and mothers killed or injured, “civilian casualties on both sides” was the proper way to express concern.

The audacity to equate Israel’s 3 civilian casualties to the 1335 Palestinian ones.

Those who clearly deviated from the strict guidelines of Israel’s numerous watchdogs were mostly the 80+ year old former officials who did not care anymore about their political future in the United States … 81 year old Zbigniew Brzezinski, and 85 year old President Carter.

To understand how far President Obama needs to “change”, compare his stated position on the events in Gaza with those of respected Jewish intellectuals like Uri Avneri, Gideon Levy, Henry Siegman

Arab moderate / Arab resistance Cold war

Aside from the difficulty of taking a more balanced approach to the Arab/Israeli conflict, President Obama will also need to reevaluate his country’s position on the various conflicts in the Middle East which are complicated by an obvious cold war between two Arab camps: “Arab Moderates” such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority facing Syria’s “resistance” camp that includes popular Palestinian and Lebanese factions and is reliably backed by the two large non Arab Muslim countries in the Middle East, Turkey and Iran, in addition to many Arabs countries like Algeria and Qatar, home to the CNN of the Arab world, Aljazeera.

Mubarak gets a hug from the Israeli prime minister, while Syria's Assad turns his back

Mubarak gets a hug from Olmet, Assad turns his back

Opinion polls have shown that the resistance camp represents the feelings and aspirations of the vast majority of “the Arab street”.

Besides the very active and influential Likud lobbyist group (falsely promoted as an American Jewish lobby), there is also a number of smaller lobby groups representing the interests of “Arab Moderates” in Washington (mainly Saudi Royal family and Lebanese M14 warlords) who are still actively working with their Neocon friends to convince the new President not to speak to Syria and Iran just like they continuously, and successfully, lobbied, and constrained, his predecessor for years and years.

Although there is a welcome new humble tone from President Obama, symbolic gestures like granting his first interview to a Saudi TV station Al-Arabiya, were already tried by the Bush administration.

It is widely known that Syria wants America’s help in negotiating a settlement with Israel that includes the full return of Syria’s occupied Golan Heights. But what is not recognized by many is that a prerequisite to a genuine friendship between the United states and Syria’s resistance camp will be for the United states to recognize the right of all countries in the Middle East (and not only Israel) to exist as friends of the United States, without forcing them to become “American puppets” like America’s current set of friends in the Arab world.

Will president Obama be willing to champion such an arrangement? Is the rest of old Washington ready for this “New Middle East”?

There is probably no going back to the old Middle East. President Bush’ war in Iraq, and Israel’s two unnecessary destructive wars in Lebanon (2006) and in Gaza (2008), in addition to all the other disasters that were produced in Tel Aviv or in Washington the past eight years, led to irreversible changes in the Arab world. Israel’s actions are driving more and more Arabs to believe in resistance as the only language Israel (and its supportive friends in the “international community”) can understand and respect.

I can not publish all the emails I have been receiving from secular, Christian or Muslim, highly educated Arab friends who wrote variations of the following: “they [the Europeans and Americans] are all S.O.B.’s, … we need to forget about them and build our strength to show them we are not insects they can kill whenever they wish”.

These are the secular intellectuals. You probably can guess how the younger and angrier ones now feel.

No one respects Israel anymore (many Arabs used to). No one is afraid of Israel and its friends anymore … very few still want to have peace with Israel before that country is treated for its dangerous psychological sicknesses.

Read the comments in Arab blogs for yourself. Angry Turkish Prime minister Erdogan, and not the “moderate” Hosni Mubarak, is everyone’s hero. Israel’s many friends in the media can not control blogs, they can not control YouTube, they can not control email attachments. Online, It is not Israel versus the “Arab terrorists”, it is Israel versus 1.3 billion Muslims.

The Middle East is in motion, and leaders of the “resistance” block who have been fighting for the steering wheel for the past few years, seem to be set to take exclusive hold of it. Next time there is an Israeli led (and Moderate Arab supported) slaughter fest in Gaza or in Lebanon, Mubarak may not be able to deliver and the “international community” may not be able to save him through another well attended summit in Sharm El-Shaeikh. Many believe he is already on his way to follow the Shah of Iran and President Sadat. Both of them American allies that were promoted and supported despite increasing internal opposition.

Sharm El-Sheikh Summits

The latest summit to be held at Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, was hurriedly organized, and attended, by only (I’ll explain later) ten Arab moderate and Europeans leaders in order to reach a convenient closure to the bloody results of Israel’s “the boss has gone mad” strategy of dealing with “Hamas”, or “Palestinian people’s resistance” as the rest of the Arab world calls it.

The other reason for holding that summit was to give Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas the essential reinforcement they required.

How effective or necessary was the 2009 Sharm El-Sheikh Summit? Why did the leaders of Italy, Spain, England, Germany and France need to sit on that table?

Thirteen years ago, in 1996, there was an even more impressive Sharm El-Sheikh summit … 27 world leaders assembled on a short notice (after receiving last minute invitations from President Bill Clinton) to … again, support Israel against Hamas and to support Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the head of the Palestinian authority at the time, Yasser Arafat.

When the summit ended, CNN’s reporter concluded “… at its close, some doubted whether the hastily assembled meeting had any real substance.

Syria was invited, but refused to attend the 1996 Sharm Summit.

Isn’t it about time to recognize that, the number of “Arab moderate” and world leaders assembled not withstanding, all the regional “peace” initiatives that did not respect the legitimate concerns of the the Arab people did not go anywhere?

Throw the donkey a carrot:

The notion that visits to Arab countries by American or European leaders should be used (except in emergencies) as a rewarding tool for good behavior is something that President Obama might need to reconsider if he is genuine about change.

He made it clear that he intends to talk to his enemies and his adversaries. Yet, this week, the president dispatched Mr. George Mitchell, his new envoy to the Middle East to visit Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia … but not Syria.

Is it not prudent to talk to Syria? … or is the Obama administration hoping to again use future visits as potential carrots in exchange for a change in Syria’s behavior?

The real Cost of conflict in the Middle East

Can any of you guess what is the total cost of conflicts in the Middle East? Do you know how many Iraqi children are not in school because of war and sanctions? What would be Israel’s per household yearly dividend if peace breaks out?

India’s Strategic Foresight Group, a Bombay based think tank, came out with a new report on the Cost of Conflict in the Middle East. It is the first report of its kind, with 97 parameters to measure cost, moving beyond the usual economic and political costs and looking at social, human, environmental and other areas, covering Israel-Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, the broader Middle East region as well as a section on the costs borne by the International Community.

The report was prepared after a series of workshops with neutral agencies such as the governments of Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, and the first lady of Qatar

Here is a promotional video that shows some of the report’s depressing figures.

For those in Israel who think they are fooling the Arabs through perpetual negotiations that are designed to go nowhere, and for my Arab friends who want to wait another 50 years until they defeat Israel, the total cost of the conflicts of the Middle East since 1991 is estimated at … 12 Trillion dollars.

We all need President Obama to succeed as a peace maker. There is no other hope, but he can only succeed if he seeks peace among equals.

Comments (238)


Averroes said:

Good article, Alex.

What’s so wrong with “we need to forget about them and build our strength to show them we are not insects they can kill whenever they wish” ?

It’s self-consistent, and only natural. Why is that a direction that should be avoided?

Nothing will change unless we earn it. Peace as equals is very precious, and we have not paid the price for it yet. The first step is to overthrow those rotten, decadent regimes. You think it’s far fetched? I don’t think so. It’s not quite ripe yet, but it’s getting there fast.

Moral principles do not move Europeans and Americans, or the UN for that matter, and they will not act for just the morality or righteousness of a cause. Betting on their help is a sure loser.

I don’t think they’re SOBs. They’re just as corrupt and immoral as any given other, and they have proven it a thousand times over.

God does not provide free miracles, and Obama certainly will not either. Rights have to be earned, pure and simple. You start earning when your citizen becomes valuable, and when you fight and defeat internal corruption. We have only very recently started to earn some rights, and the road is still very long.

February 2nd, 2009, 10:02 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

To understand how far President Obama needs to “change”, compare his stated position on the events in Gaza with those of respected Jewish intellectuals like Uri Avneri, Gideon Levy, Henry Siegman.

“Respected”? By who? You forgot to add Norman Finklestein and Noam Chomsky.

I can create a list of “respected” Arab intellectuals if you want.

The first step is to overthrow those rotten, decadent regimes*.

*except for Syria, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and now, Turkey…

February 2nd, 2009, 12:14 pm

 

offended said:

Great article Alex, if TIME is ALL what Mr. Obama needs, then why not? we’ll give him time.

February 2nd, 2009, 12:29 pm

 

offended said:

AP,

You may bring on that list of yours, along with the credentials of each of those ‘intellectials’; what area of intellect do they specialize in? and what international media outlets (that’s newspapers and TV channels) will entertain their opinions?

p.s. I’d have to share this observation with you, the collective average IQ of any post on SC immediatly falls by 30-40 points the moment you comment on it.

February 2nd, 2009, 12:40 pm

 

Alia said:

Alex,

Great article. With or without PhD from Harvard, Pres. Obama can learn from it.

It is interesting to me that you come out and say that some of your secular intellectual friends “admired” Israel before the Gaza massacre. What was there to admire other than the external trappings of a civilization that was bestowed or blackmailed but never truly earned ?. It is a real problem that they could not see that the Zionist beast has never changed its nature.
Your friends could do some soul-searching on the reasons for their own misinterpretation..

On the other hand, I do not agree with those who think that we are ready for an all out war.
We are only ready with rhetoric and emotions which had died down with time, indifference and habit. The rhetoric is back, so is wishful thinking; we are not any stronger militarily, our countries are still very powerfully run by corrupt leaders that cannot be trusted to deliver in any conflict and not to make an about-face in the middle of a conflict, destroying alliances, forging new ones and driving us to perdition and we are not any closer to overthrowing a dictator than we are to having our space program.
Israel has been preparing for war all along and it will not stop; the delusional motivation has continued to stoke the fire and the Israeli Lobby is weaker only in our dreams.

Anyway, congrats. again on the article.

February 2nd, 2009, 1:55 pm

 

Alia said:

P.S.

For those of us who are super-fans of Arabism and “skeptics” when it comes to Islam; our new found voice of resistance is coming from alliances with non-Arab Muslims who -despite their internal and international problems- are giving us wild hopes and dreams.
What does this say about our Arabism ? Does it exist? Do we need it?
What for ?

February 2nd, 2009, 2:06 pm

 

sam said:

Nice post Alex, I pray Obamas people read this. As for Akbar P the comment you made about

The first step is to overthrow those rotten, decadent regimes*.

The so called resistance group respects, and comprehends the facts on the ground. It’s like they can read between the lines, and the moderates can’t. The reality on the ground is, those regimes are going to be around for a long time, whether anbody likes it or not. In life you can’t choose your neighbors, why does Israel think it can?

February 2nd, 2009, 3:20 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia, Averroes,

There are 3 things we should learn from Israel:

– Intellectual freedom:

http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/proche-orient/les-racines-et-le-doute-de-l-identite-juive_736405.html

– Democracy protected by a functioning justice system

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1057497.html

– Military competence

“The Israeli Air Force shot down 86 Syrian aircraft, with no air combat losses of its own. This was the largest combat of the jet age with 150 fighters from both sides. It also performed ground attacks, notably destroying the majority of Syrian anti-aircraft batteries stationed in Lebanon.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Lebanon_War

Note that these things are not disconnected. We can not have a strong military if we do not have a competent government. We will not have a competent government if …. well you know the drill by now 🙂

So for those who want to deal with the “Israeli Monster” before dealing with our internal problems, remember Egyptian position in Gaza massacre. The “Arab Street” has 0 influence, we are only spectators in the events. We can wave our anger all we want, condemn Israel, cry and pray for the Palestinians, but all these actions, while making us feel good have 0 influence on the real world.

February 2nd, 2009, 3:27 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alex,

I found the tone of Obama speeches after being elected extremely encouraging.

Of course we can not expect him to change the course of the ship of state by 180 degrees, but I feel he is making a 3 degrees move towards rational dialog.

His selection of Mitchel is the first action in this direction.

It is a far cry from Jerusalem-is-the-eternal-capital-of-Israel Obama that we saw during the campaign.

February 2nd, 2009, 3:43 pm

 

Alex said:

Thanks Averroes, Offended, Alia, Sam

AP: These intellectuals are respected because they use their brain … unlike the robots (Israel’s friends).

Alia,

Nafdik still admires Israel. Most others I know do not anymore.

Even Nasrallah admitted he admires accountability in Israel after its leaders were roundly criticized for their mistakes in Lebanon 2006.

The Israelis should realize that their “the boss has gone mad” strategy worked very well … most of us now are convinced they are still the boss (or the bully), but the emphasis is on “mad” … and it is not leading to fear or respect as Israel hoped.

You don’t shake the hands of mad bullies … you stay far from them … and you get your own bully.

Israel will understand how “mad” its back to back Gaza and Lebanon (and a third one on the way) when Egypt falls to the Muslim brotherhood within a couple of years … Sadat was not assassinated right after his 1979 peace treaty, they got him two years later.

And who knows when Pakistan will have its Erdogan … or Ahmadinejad.

Then “the boss” will deal with a hostile Syria/Iran/Turkey/Pakistan/Egypt … and the rest of the Arab world in that case.

There would be no need for winning classical wars against Israel in the future … within five years it will explode from within.

Nafdik

I agree that there are many things to still admire about Israel, including their government’s accountability, and their successes in hi-tech and in medical research …

But “military competence” did not go far in fighting 4 or 5 thousand Hizbollah fighters, did it?

And why did you forget the number of Israeli planes that fell down in 1973 when Syria was well armed by the Soviet Union?

Again you insist to see everything black in Syria because you are on a “democracy is a must, right now” mission.

As for Mitchell … I really like the guy, he is infinitely calm and fair.

But Mitchell 2009 can be not more effective that Mitchell 2001 if he does not have the freedom to visit Damascus or if he has to cancel his trip to Turkey after Erdogan angered the lovely Shimon Peres at Davos.

February 2nd, 2009, 4:03 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alex,

We can go through the history to find who has the best military.

I picked that example because it was so striking and to make the point of course. But I think it reflects the current picture more than 1973.

I agree with you that Hizbullah has showed how a dedicated and competent force could fight Israel, which highlights even more how incompetent our governments have been. But I guarantee you that the Israelis are working day and night on finessing their strategy while our ‘elite’ forces are focusing their energy on their number 1 priority, namely keeping us silent.

I leave it to the intelligence of blog readers to understand that you can admire Mike Tyson’s left hook without appreciating his driving etiquette.

February 2nd, 2009, 4:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Nafdik,

The point I was making is that Syria’s military is not as inferior as some people think. If it was, then Syria would have been attacked when many neocons wanted Israel to attack Syria.

It is not true that Israel feared the alternative to Assad (as the Syrian opposition likes to think) .. the alternative was the useless Khaddam.

If Israel feared alternatives to secular Arab leaders like Assad, Israel would have stopped the US from attacking Iraq.

Syria can not launch war against Israel, but Israel can not defeat Syria either…. their airforce is the only vastly superior part of their army.

Why does everyone forget who trained Hizbollah’s five thousand fighters?

February 2nd, 2009, 4:32 pm

 

Alex said:

Watch this video clip of Senator Mitchell in 2002 … talking about hope for peace etc.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june02/mitchell_4-3.html

That was 6 years ago … while he was talking about what peace strategies Israeli officials negotiated with him, those same officials most probably knew that their Neocon friends in Washington were planning the Iraq war …

Perpetual negotiation until the settlements are everywhere.

But I still hope that this time there is a serious attempt to reach a settlement.

February 2nd, 2009, 4:44 pm

 

Alia said:

Alex,

I am not willing to bet on an Erdogan coming out of Pakistan, Erdogan did not come out of nowhere. I am not willing to bet that Pakistan will be around in 20 years as it is now.

Q: Is the only thing standing between the MBs and power in Egypt Mubarak father? Is the son not ready to step in immediately and maintain the status quo ?

Nafdik,

Admire is a big word both in English and in Arabic. Appreciate is probably better in the context that you are using it.

February 2nd, 2009, 5:16 pm

 

Alia said:

Nafdik,

Now that I had a couple of minutes to check one of your links above…you are actually basing your view of the independance of the Justice from the Executive in Israel on this miserable instance?!

Just in the recent weeks : why don’t you see : That the Government is implicated legally in the settlement policies of Israel ?That human right organizations have hundred of examples of extra-judiciary detentions of Palestinians and torture…I am sure Shai is better equipped than I am to open your eyes on this matter. Oh ! and Look at Phil Weiss’ blog about the newly discovered settlement map …

February 2nd, 2009, 5:34 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alex,

I am not a military expert, but as a layman when I see how the US defeated Saddam army in a few days with less casualties than you would expect in a maneuver I have grave concerns about how Syrian army will stand against Israel.

If you see the proof that we are OK the fact that we have not been attacked yet and you decide to refuse all warning signs this is your prerogative. Israel has bombed selected targets in Syria twice with 0 response.

You think that Hizbullah has defeated Israel? Are you Ok with our military strategy resulting in the loss of a a few thousand civilians for each enemy soldier?

Do you want us to rely on the pity of the international community and the enemy as our basic defense line? Did you see where this has gotten the Lebanese and the Gazawis?

What is the use of our army? You forgot that they are “Humat el-diari”?

February 2nd, 2009, 5:45 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

I agree with you a 100%. My point was that there is a framework by which at the least the Jewish Israelis and to a lesser extent the Arab Israelis have some justice available.

February 2nd, 2009, 5:56 pm

 

Alex said:

Alia,

Pakistan is too unpredictable, i agree. that’s why I suggested an Erdogna or an Ahmadinejad scenario there… or more complex possibilities, true.

Nafdik,

“THE proof”? … no .. I gave you ONE proof.

The US defeated Saddam … in 2004/2005 that was the point when everyone thought this is doable with ease and that the US and Israel should do it more often.

Now?

One thing Syria learned from Saddam’s two examples is not to wait and hope for the world to stop the aggressors. If there is an American/Israeli invasion (not a strike on a military warehouse) thousands of missiles will be targeting Israel within the first few hours before they destroy everything on our side.

Nafdik, there will be no war between Syria and Israel or the United States.

I don’t know how old are you but if you were old enough you would remember that before the 1973 war, Israel attacked Syria and downed 13 Syrian fighter planes. Syria decided to not use its SAM6 missiles on that day and to keep them as a surprise for the Israelis during the 1973 war.

Israel will still be able to do those one-day strikes on Syrian targets and Syria probably will not retaliate and start a full war.

And my ego won’t be hurt … : )

Our army is in a much better shape than what you think. Those corrupt dictators who have nothing to do but to steal money 24/7 have actually spent a few billions on purchasing new weapon systems.

February 2nd, 2009, 5:59 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alex

“Israel will still be able to do those one-day strikes on Syrian targets and Syria probably will not retaliate and start a full war.”

I am shocked by the low expectations we are placing on ourselves.

The problem with 1-day-strike-pass policy is that it basically allows your enemy a veto on any military development you have, not to mention intelligence gathering.

Once you open your airspace to your number 1 enemy you basically have acquiesced defeat. Unless it is a ruse as was employed in 1973, but if it is then I have to say we are so cunning that we might end up fooling our selves into defeatism, as this has been going on since 1982 at least.

February 2nd, 2009, 6:08 pm

 

nafdik said:

An interesting article on the impact of the military weakness of Syria, Iraq and Jordan vs Israel and Turkey. Basically the argument is if you are weak you get less access to water.

http://www.harvardir.org/articles/print.php?article=1700

February 2nd, 2009, 6:46 pm

 

offended said:

Nafdik,
It’s our luck (bad and good) that we’re in the vicinity of two powerful neighbors, is that the Assad’s fault? Is the scarcity of water in the region his fault too? Are you telling me that once there is democracy, Turkey and Israel will fear us and they will start allowing more water and withdrawing from our land respectively?

I understand that you may have high ambitions of elevating Syria to world standards in military, economy…etc.. but let me break it to you, Syria is a country with exploding population and limited resources. If you want to become a Singapore, you have to look at the social maladies that are hurting the country, democracy is not a panacea, I agree it’s important and I expect that its introduction (internally, with love and care) will become the next obvious priority after there is peace. But I am not holding my hopes too high if there is no drastic change in the society.

February 2nd, 2009, 7:30 pm

 

Jad/2 said:

President Obama: A Realist Interventionist?
By Leon Hadar | January 29, 2009

http://rightweb.irc-online.org/rw/4977.html

….

“The problem is that the United States of 2009 has clearly lost its position as the Global Number One. It could find it very difficult to secure even the less ambitious goal of being first among equals. The debacle in Iraq coupled with the horrific costs of the financial crisis have eroded U.S. military and economic power and, by extension, its diplomatic influence. This change in the balance of power is driven to a large extent by growing public opposition to the Iraq War and to new military interventionism.

“The country’s diminished leverage is also demonstrated in the failure to contain Iran’s rising power and growing influence through surrogates in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Notwithstanding strong opposition from the Bush administration, Israel decided to open negotiations with Syria while Lebanon invited Hezbollah to join the government. Moreover, the Europeans and the Egyptians—not the Americans—played the leading role in achieving a cease-fire during the recent Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

“If Washington could not get an Israeli-Palestinian peace process going at the height of the 2000 “Unipolar Moment”—when the Israelis and the Palestinians were less radicalized and led by strong and moderate leaderships—there is little reason to expect President Obama will become an instant Holy Land peacemaker. With a worn-out military and an economy in a down-turn trajectory, Obama and the rest of Washington will be forced to recognize this reality, sooner or later. But the process of a great power adjusting to changes in the balance of power tends to be long and painful.

“Economists have drawn attention to the time lag between when an actual economic shock (such as sudden boom or bust) occurs, and when it is recognized by economists, central bankers, and the government. The existence of this time lag—or, to use the economic term, recognition lag—explains why, for example, it has taken economists so long to signal the current economic recession..

“One can identify a similar lag between the time when an international crisis, like a military conflict, takes place, and the time when officials, pundits, and the public recognize its effect on the global balance of power. Hence, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which devastated the military and economic power of the two leading empires, Great Britain and France, it was still common for officials and journalists to refer to these declining nation-states as Great Powers.

“The same kind of lag can be observed in the way officials and pundits have failed to recognize the combined impact of the Iraq War and the financial crisis have had on U.S. long-term standing in the international system. There is a tendency in Washington to attribute its declining influence to the Bush administration’s mismanagement of U.S. diplomacy and national security policy. But even the most visionary and competent U.S. president will be constrained in his ability to “do something” whenever an international crisis takes place or to create incentives for global and regional players to work with it.

“Will Iran be interested in playing diplomatic ball with the U.S.? Will the Europeans continue to follow U.S. leadership or will they try to make separate deals with Russia? China and India are climbing up the economic and military ladder just as America seems to be stepping down. Realpolitik in the Obama Age could prove to be a painful cost-cutting exercise as Washington readjusts to the realities of the post-neoconservative era. In that case, imperial retrenchment could prove to be the default choice of the new president.”

February 2nd, 2009, 8:52 pm

 

nafdik said:

“It’s our luck (bad and good) that we’re in the vicinity of two powerful neighbors, is that the Assad’s fault?”

No. It is our fault. The Assads are doing very well for themselves, it is the rest of Syrians how have to suffer.

My point was that having a strong military has benefits that are beyond survival.

Allowing your neighbors to do bombing runs in your country unpunished is a recipe for disaster on many fronts. I think with the amount of GDP and sacrifices that we are asked to provide our military we should expect more.

February 2nd, 2009, 9:17 pm

 

jad said:

Good artcile Alex.

Nafdik, are you Syrian or Israeli? If neither may I ask where are you from?
Just curious.

February 2nd, 2009, 9:41 pm

 

nafdik said:

Jad you need to put in the right pigeon hole, 3amil or sahyouni?

Why don’t think of me as human? A lower life form but human nonetheless 😉

February 2nd, 2009, 9:45 pm

 

Jad said:

Nafdik, man, are we back to categorizing my questions under pigeonhole?
You totally misunderstood my question, and honestly I don’t know why.
I was asking not to judge or call you anything, I never called anybody on here those names, go and check all my comments I wrote.
I was just curious because your English is too good to be an average Syrian, your views are too good to be an Israeli, and you don’t sound as an average American either, for me, you sound more like a Nordic / North European citizen not to mention that your comments getting me really confuse sometimes.
Is there any problem asking an absolutely innocent question on here?

February 2nd, 2009, 9:55 pm

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

I was only kidding, I actually appreicated our previous exchange as you provided me an amazing line to add my anti-dictator rants.

I am Syrian, but have been out of Syria for some time unfortunately. I am flattered that you find my English good, as I get very frustrated when I reread my comments, because I find them very garbled.

I still think you have a bit of pigeonholism 😉 that’s why you find my comments confusing; because they are actually boringly consistent, as Alex and Ehsani will attest.

February 2nd, 2009, 10:17 pm

 

Jad said:

Thank you, Nafdik, I’m glad and proud to know that you are Syrian.
I agree regarding my ‘pigeonhole-ism’ it’s a huge part of my work and I do lots of classification, therefore, I need to know who I’m talking to and what message I need them to get so I can rephrase my explanation accordingly, which help having a better understanding and common grounds. Doing that you immediately notice the progress and you actually get much better result. Pigeonhole shouldn’t be a bad word after all 🙂

February 2nd, 2009, 10:34 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

NAFDIK HABIBI,

When people start mistaking you for an Israeli, you know that you have gone too far in your anti-dictator rants.

February 2nd, 2009, 10:56 pm

 

Jad/2 said:

U.S. envoy Mitchell: Mideast peace process faces substantial hurdles By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, and Reuters http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060275.html

” Mitchell told Israeli officials that the new administration was committed to Israel’s security, to the road map, and to the 2004 letter by president George W. Bush stating Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel and the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would take into consideration facts on the ground, meaning large settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands. “

February 2nd, 2009, 11:01 pm

 

nafdik said:

Ehsani,

Look at the bright side AP and Chris have departed thinking that I got the place covered.

Jad,

You got me on the Pigeonholism argument.

February 2nd, 2009, 11:38 pm

 

Joachim Martillo said:

Obama has a JD from HLS in ’91. He certainly is not a PhD.

While Arab politics is not particularly complex if one does not expect it to conform to Orientalist or Zionist fantasies, it might be important to brief Obama on Jewish history, politics, and political economy.

Not only is Jewish politics opaque, conspiratorial, and transnational, but Obama’s team is disproportionately and dangerously Jewish as I explain in Corrupt Jewish Social Networking Rules!

February 2nd, 2009, 11:51 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Nafdik both sides learn about previous wars. Actually after 1973 the Israeli wars have been a constant “down hill” with achievements. IDF is good in fast moving, Blizkrieg type operations against a less equipped traditional enemy army, but in a long guerilla war it has shown to be even less successful as US Army.

Israel could not keep South Lebanon. In the last Hizbollah war Israel had hard time to occupy terrain against a relative small good trained and equipped guerilla army and was in deep troubles with the rocket fire. In military sense Hizbollah has defeated Israel twice and managed to create a credible defensive deterrent for whole Lebanon. Hizbollah managed to demolish the image of IDF as a unbeatable super army.

Hamas and other Gaza resistance groups with much smaller, less trained and equipped troops as Hizbollah has forced Israel to a fight in which Israel lost its public image and managed militarily to achieve in the end very little. In a way Palestinians did win that battle but it seems that they are unable to use that victory politically. Sad.

If we watch the Iraq war and Afghanistan wars we notice that the super armies are not so superior as we first might think. In Iraq US army was “saved” simply that it managed to avoid the situation that the major population groups would have risen relative united against the occupation. The population groups wasted their energy mostly in internal fighting, but managed still to lift the price tag for the occupation relative high. In Iraq the traditional army did not resist much. Iraqi regime had already prepared for a guerilla war.

In Afghanistan US will certainly loose. With the same certainty as Soviets did. A Finnish reporter who had covered the wars in Afghanistan during a long time told in radio that the Americans are in Afghanistan less popular than the Russian troops were, and that is “much”. The Afghan territory is a guerilla’s dream and numerous armies have lost there.

Surely Syrian army has learned from the NATO wars in Balkan, Israel’s previous offensives, Iraq and Afghanistan. Basically Syria has two options. One is to try to lift the technological and material level to the Israeli level, which is both economically and materially impossible. Second is a Hizbollah type strategy where Syrians let Israelis to penetrate rather deep in Syrian territory and then begin to slowly weaken the enemy with good trained Spetsnaz type forces, supported with a constant missile and rocket fire to paralyse the Israeli civil life and economy. Israel can tolerate only short big wars or longer small wars. We will hardly see a 1967 and 1973 style fighting, where Israel destroys huge tank columns in open desert.

If Russia decides to activate in earnest the Syrian naval bases and transfer there all needed gadgets the Israeli military options with Syria are in future rather limited. Then the whole “equation” will be different.

February 3rd, 2009, 12:11 am

 

jad said:

Simo,
You gave us a pretty good analytical comment, interesting and true. Thanks.

Alex,
Do you think that Obama’s policy toward the Middle East will be in any difference than what we experienced for the last 60years?
I know that you are an optimistic man and I love that in your writing, but in politics and the US policy I know that nothing will change with or without Obama, and to be honest I have very low expectation that anything will be different if not going the other way while Obama in power.
I’m not sure who wrote about Obama couple weeks ago and I agree with that comment that Obama did win, however, we shouldn’t forget that 47% of the Americans don’t agree with him and the economical meltdown the world is facing at the moment doesn’t give him much space to maneuver even if he want.

Where is OTW? I miss his smart and excellent comments..

Nafdik, Thank you. 🙂

February 3rd, 2009, 12:45 am

 

Enlightened said:

Article in Ynet News Titled:

“Kahane was right”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3665554,00.html

A very sobering take on some of the candidates in the upcoming Israeli elections.

February 3rd, 2009, 12:47 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Nafdik said:

There are 3 things we should learn from Israel:

– Intellectual freedom:

– Democracy protected by a functioning justice system

– Military competence

Note that these things are not disconnected. We can not have a strong military if we do not have a competent government. We will not have a competent government if …. well you know the drill by now

So for those who want to deal with the “Israeli Monster” before dealing with our internal problems, remember Egyptian position in Gaza massacre. The “Arab Street” has 0 influence, we are only spectators in the events. We can wave our anger all we want, condemn Israel, cry and pray for the Palestinians, but all these actions, while making us feel good have 0 influence on the real world.

Gee Nafdik,

If I didn’t see your name, I’d think your post was written by AIG!

Look at the bright side AP and Chris have departed thinking that I got the place covered.

I guess with you here, we don’t need pro-Israeli posters;)

February 3rd, 2009, 12:56 am

 

Shami said:

* إخوان سورية يشيدون بأردوغان في دافوس: موقفه إنساني نبيل ومسؤول

موقع أخبار الشرق – السبت 31 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2009

لندن – أخبار الشرق

أشادت جماعة الإخوان المسلمين في سورية بموقف رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان المضاد لإسرائيل في منتدى دافوس الاقتصادي، واعتبرته موقفاً “إنسانياً نبيلاً ومسؤولاً”، وذلك في سياق التعليق على المشادة التي جرت بين أردوغان والرئيس الإسرائيلي شمعون بيريز، وانسحب على أثرها الأول من المنتدى وعاد إلى بلاده.

وأثنى زهير سالم الناطق الرسمي باسم جماعة الإخوان المسلمين في سورية في تصريح صحفي رسمي وزعه المركز الإعلامي للجماعة، على “موقف رئيس الوزراء التركي السيد رجب طيب أردوغان في مؤتمر دافوس، واحتجاجه على تفوّهات من يسمى رئيس الدولة الصهيونية، وتصفيق جمهور المنتدين له”.

وأوضح سالم أن “موقف السيد رجب طيب أردوغان في مؤتمر دافوس، هو موقف إنساني نبيل ومسئول، وهو لا يعبر عن موقف شخصي للسيد أردوغان، بقدر ما يعبر عن موقف إنساني حضاري، يرفض القتل طريقة لتسوية الخلافات، ويرفض استقبال القتلة، تحت أي عنوان، في المنتديات الدولية، والتصفيق لهم وتأييدهم، حيث المكان الطبيعي لأمثال هؤلاء هو أقفاص المحاكم الدولية لجرائم الحرب، أسوة بمصير النازيين وأمثالهم في التاريخ الإنساني المعاصر”.

وأعلن سالم تأييد جماعة الإخوان المسلمين في سورية الكامل لموقف أردوغان، منبّهاً “القوى المحبة للحرية والسلام في هذا العالم، إلى ضرورة بذل التأييد المباشر والصريح لهذا الموقف الإنساني النبيل”. كما دعت الجماعة “جماهير الأمة العربيّة والإسلاميّة في كل مكان، أن تبادر إلى التعبير عن النصرة والتأييد لموقف السيد رجب طيب أردوغان الإنساني النبيل في الدفاع عن الدم العربي والطفل العربي”.

وأشارت الجماعة إلى أن “رسالة العدوان الصهيوني واضحة بين قوسي غزة ودافوس، حيث ما يزال القادة الصهاينة يعتقدون أن بإمكانهم أن يرتكبوا أفظع الجرائم بحق المدنيين من نساء وأطفال، ثم يُستقبَلوا ويُصفق لهم في المنتديات الدولية”.

وأكدت “أن الاستعمال المبالغ فيه للقوة – حسب التعبيرات الدولية – بما فيها الأسلحة المحرمة دوليا، تؤكد – كما قرأ السيد أردوغان، وكما نقرأ نحن معه – إمكانية أن يلجأ خريجو المحرقة النازية، إلى استخدام أي نوع من أنواع الأسلحة النووية أو البيولوجية أو الكيميائية، ثم يجدون في هذا العالم من يعتذر لهم بأنهم يدافعون عن أنفسهم ضد طفل يرميهم بحجر، ومن يصفق لهم بوصفهم دعاة تحضّر وسلام. لقد كانت رسالة المؤتمرين في دافوس: بأن دماء أهلنا وشيوخنا ونسائنا وأطفالنا مباحة أمام السلاح الهمجي الصهيوني”.

وقال سالم “إن شعوبنا العربية والمسلمة، تنتظر جواباً حاسماً، كجواب أردوغان، من جميع الدول العربية والإسلامية. فلا يجوز أن تُترَك تركية وحكومتها مفردة في ميدان الدفاع عن إنسان المنطقة، من شيوخ ونساء وأطفال. إن التاريخ لن يرحم الصامتين ولا المناورين. وإن ما بعد غزة لن يعود كما كان قبلها، كما كررنا في أكثر من موطن”.

وأضاف “إن أول المطلوب في هذا الموقف، هو المبادرة إلى إعادة بناء النظام العربي، على أسس تعين على حماية الهوية والإنسان، وإحكام العلاقة في إطار الدولة القطرية، بما يحمي مشروع الوجود الإنساني والسياسي”.

وانتقد سالم موقف عمرو موسى الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية الذي كان مشاركاً في إحدى جلسات منتدى دافوس الخميس إلى جانب كل من الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون، وأردوغان وبيريز، وهي الجلسة التي شهدت تعبير أردوغان عن الغضب من حدة خطاب بيريز وتهجمه على موقف تركيا المناصر لغزة في الحرب الإسرائيلية الأخيرة عليه. وانسحب أردوغان من الجلسة بعد أن منعه مدير الجلسة من إكمال تعليقه على حديث بيريز، وقال إنه لن يعود إلى دافوس مرة أخرى.

وفي هذا السياق، قال سالم تعليقاً على تراجع موسى عن الانسحاب من الجلسة “لقد خيب السيد عمرو موسى آمال الجماهير العربية، الذي كان ينتظر منه أن ينسحب من المؤتمر، مع بقية الوفود العربية المشاركة، في الوقت الذي كان فيه السيد أردوغان ينتصر للدم العربي المسفوك، ولأشلاء الأطفال العرب التي مزقتها أسلحة المصفقين في دافوس وصمت الصامتين فيه”.

وأكد سالم باسم جماعة الإخوان المسلمين في سورية “أن المجازر التي جرت في غزة لا يمكن طيها كما تطوى صفحة من كتاب، وأنه لا بد أن يدفع المجرمون ثمن جرائمهم، والآثمون ضريبة إثمهم، لتطمئن شعوب المنطقة إلى أن هناك قانوناً دولياً يحمي وجودهم، ويصون دماء أطفالهم”.

February 3rd, 2009, 12:57 am

 

jad said:

If may I,

“If I didn’t see your name, I’d think your post was written by AIG!”
Gee AP, how can someone get confused between a meaningful and constructive comment with a point-less and provocative ones? Someone needs to look further than his nose.

“I guess with you here, we don’t need pro-Israeli posters;)”
Your comment obviously shows that you don’t know the difference between self-critic and self-destruction does it?

February 3rd, 2009, 1:20 am

 

N.Z. said:

Alex,

” No one is afraid of Israel and its friends anymore … very few still want to have peace with Israel before that country is treated for its dangerous psychological sicknesses.

Read the comments in Arab blogs for yourself.”

I agree with you, however I will add that Americans are also worried of this 60 year old bully, and things are moving quiet rapidly at this end .

The disgust of Zionism have reached its climax.

The danger is no longer confined to those who are living under the longest occupation but its spreading world wide. The awakening of the citizens of the United States of America.

Dr. James Petras interviews George Kenny, a 56 minute interview, an eye opener

http://petras.lahaine.org/articulo.php?p=1773&more=1&c=1

February 3rd, 2009, 1:44 am

 

nafdik said:

Simohurtta,

While I agree with you that Hizbullah have achieved amazing military results and beat the Israelis twice with very limited resources.

The combination of intelligence, hard work, discipline and heroism from both the leadership and the soldiers is a lesson for any military in how the seamingly impossible can be done.

While I agree that a number of lessons should be learned by the Arab armies:

– Allowing local commanders freedom of decisions
– Fluid troop movements and avoiding useless confrontations
– Protection against intelligence infiltration at all costs
– Use of mobile equipment to counter air and artillery superiority

Ironically all were Israeli techniques that were used against the larger arab armies in past century.

Having said all this, the seemingly attractive idea of turning our military force into a guerrilla-like operations does not stand a few minutes of scrutiny.

Guerrilla warfare works well by bleeding the enemy that is occupying guerrilla country through low level hit and run operations.

In order for these tactics to work the enemy must have as an objective the occupation of the land.

The most likely war scenario with Israel is a case where Israel decides that Syria has to be punished and they go in and destroy economic infrastructure or kill a large number of Syrians.

Further, guerilla warfare works if you have nothing to lose, such as the sad case of Gaza. Otherwise the enemy will threaten the destruction of your livelihood and thus force to do what it is asking for.

This is exactly what happened to Syria in Lebanon in 82, Syria understandably allowed Israel to occupy Lebanon and liquidate the PLO presence there.

If Syria decided to engage in guerilla defense in Lebanon, Israel could have simply raided Damascus and made a Gaza out of it.

Of course once Damascus, Aleppo, Hums and all of our cities are destroyed then we will be able to engage in guerilla warfare without fear, as we will have nothing to lose.

I doubt that this is why we spend 20-30% of our GDP.

February 3rd, 2009, 1:50 am

 

MNA said:

I m sorry if you guys have already seen this, but I thought it is important to support CBS.

Last Sunday CBS 60 Minutes aired an awesome story to millions of viewers exposing Israeli apartheid and mistreatment against Palestinians. This a rare narrative to find on American television.

CBS is now under attack by anti-Arab/anti-Muslim groups for showing the truth. We must praise CBS, the reporter and producer for their courage and encourage them to remain steadfast.

Please do the right thing, WATCH THE VIDEO AND SEND A THANK YOU EMAIL TO CBS 60 MINUTES NOW.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH & SEND NOTE: http://action.gazajustice.org/t/4436/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=963

It will take less than 30 seconds and 1-click.

Thank you

February 3rd, 2009, 2:14 am

 

sam said:

There will be an arab-isreali PM before there will be war between Syria-IDF. It will never happen, if it was going to happen, the IDF missed their chance. 1/20/09 took that option off the table.

February 3rd, 2009, 2:18 am

 

sam said:

Nafdik, I think every army that doesn’t get US-EURO arms, took a lesson from the 2006 war, and introduced it to their military tactics.

February 3rd, 2009, 2:23 am

 

norman said:

I see no chance of peace in the Mideast , if we look at the peace process in the last 18 years , we see that Israel used the peace process to increase settlements and settlers and to change the facts on the ground and make the Palestinians and the Arabs feel as defeated people who should get what is given to them not what is rightly theirs ,
The only reason Israel still exist is because of the lack of Arab leaders who have the well to fight and fight until we get our rights, The enemy respects the people who fight for their rights ,

Yosef AL Azma did not fight the French to his death because he had the chance of winning , he did that to show future generation that Syria and any part of Syria is worth fighting for and for that he gained the respect of the French Commander who defeated him ,

The glimmer of hope comes from the organizations that are standing for the Arab honor and dignity ,Arab organization that are not Sunni, or Shia , they are just Arab organizations , they are not supported by Sunni or Shia , They are supported by all Arabs , Christians , Muslims .

What Erdogan did in the last few weeks proved that supporters of the Palestinian rights are no Shia , or Sunni they are not Arabs only but foreigners too , The divide that Egypt and KSA and Jordon tried to make between Arabs and Iranians , between Sunni and Shia is just a conspiracy to divide the Arab and Islamic worlds and make Israel and the West existence more secure with the inner fighting in the Arab And Islamic world , I believe that is the price that the Saudi were asked to pay to stay in power after 17 of the 19 hijackers were saudis,

Thank God for Hezbollah , Thank God for Hamas , otherwise we would be hiding from shame and embarrassment.

And that is my take, !, For you Jad,

February 3rd, 2009, 3:05 am

 

Enlightened said:

Alex:

I for one have “little hope” that Obama will or make a difference.

What I am worried about though and concerned about is those “secular” muslims or christians whose hope for a end to the conflict, becoming more agitated for a “war” in some capacity (our good friend Ammo Norman in particular over the last six months).

When we (the seculars ) start to agitate for conflict, the task becomes impossible.

I think we need to give this American administration a good six months to properly articulate its Middle East Strategy. A good guideline will be the contact, and resolution of the Iranian Issue.

Everything else can take a back seat, because this has the potential to send the region into an almighty quagmire.

February 3rd, 2009, 3:24 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Well Nafdik Israel has already the capacity (and will) to bomb Syria to the stone age without ever crossing the border. Though Syria’s army is not the Lebanese army which concentrated to watch the damage. Also Israel is not USA with wast resources so the likelihood that Syrian army does the same as Saddam’s army (mostly deserted) in the last war is small.

Naturally Syria needs a relative strong anti-aircraft defence to manage and win time, which Israel can’t afford. I suppose that if Syria succeeds to concentrate heavy missile and rocket fire against Israeli population, military and industrial centres Israel has no option than begin a land invasion and create a very large buffer zone. Most probably also occupying at least Damascus. And that demands manpower, over 100.000 men. Syria can also with the missile and rocket fire create heavy damage to Israel. If the Syrian generals drive their armoured divisions against a superior enemy in style of 67 and 73 without sufficient air defence they are nuts. And I suppose they are not, at least not all of them.

You surely underestimate the guerilla tactics success in the past wars. A war is always a situation where the weaker part looses = has to pay a heavy price. But guerilla war makes the price for occupier so high that it eventually has to withdraw. Israel did not leave South Lebanon or USA in future Iraq and Afghanistan because of good-will.

One important thing to remember is that the probability that Syria attacks alone Israel is about zero for a relative long time (decades). The provability that Israel tries to flatten Syria is astronomically higher. The other thing to remember that for Israelis and Syrians the war is no television war like the US wars are/have been to the home front. For both of them it will be harsh reality.

I suppose that for Israel the attack against Syria and alone against Iran would be politically and militarily a huge mistake. At least then the other Arab countries would wake up and realize that they will be eventually next if they do not fast create a nuclear deterrence and change this absurd situation where a tiny religious tribe dominates the region. It is as absurd as that the Mormons would dominate Central and North America.

I doubt that this is why we spend 20-30% of our GDP.

Well as a Syrian you highly overestimate the military spending of Syria if that is the figure you did bring up. It is 5.9% of GDP, $858 million-1 billion. In Israel 9.4% of GDP, $18.7 billion. The Wikipedia’s figures are rather old for Syria the year 2000 and Israel 1999, but I suppose the ratios are about the same. CIA fact book estimates for Syria in 2005 5.9% of GDP and for Israel 7.3 % in 2006.

February 3rd, 2009, 3:47 am

 

norman said:

Enlighted one ,

You are young , I watched the 1967 war and every war since then , I was listening to the BBC and voice of American , I watched the peace efforts since then from the disengagement agreement with Egypt first then with Syria only to secure Israel and give it time to change the facts on the ground ,

After 38 years of useless peace efforts , I am willing to give you 6more months and i hope that will make a difference , I doubt that , we should remember that we waited for a second term American president since 1967 and we were hoping for another Eisenhower only to find out that we do not count and the West and the US only give us promises while giving Israel weapons including cluster bombs to kill our children.

February 3rd, 2009, 3:52 am

 

Alex said:

Enlightened,

That was exactly my conclusion … if even the calmer ones are waiting for the day we can have another war with Israel, then … we probably will.

We absolutely must give the Obama administration some time. The purpose of this article was not to rush the president, but to simply point out the conflict Obama will have between his obviously prudent nature, and his promise to achieve results… he will have to tone down the prudence at some point in order to take bold steps towards a more balanced American policy in the Middle East.

And I wanted to suggest that while being balanced during more peaceful times is great, expressing his sadness for “casualties on both sides” in this one-sided aggression case was not a healthy balance.

Ya3ni he should be balanced .. in a balanced way : )

Jad, Norman,

None of us lives in Syria … we do not have the right to call for people living in Syria to risk their lives and the lives of their families if Syria goes to war.

When THEY want to go to war, and they know what they are doing, then I guess there is no other way. But I won’t be calling for war.

I am not “optimistic” by now, no … not with the state Israel is in now.

But there is still a chance. I’ll wait few more months before I decide if I will be a pessimist like the rest of you : )

February 3rd, 2009, 4:02 am

 

jad said:

And that, is my take.

Dear Alex,
I have low expectation of Obama but I’m no close to Norman call for war.
War is not the answer.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:04 am

 

norman said:

Alex, jad ,

If i were a biting man i would bet you that nothing will happen except more settlements and more abuse by Israel in attacking Syria , Lebanon and the Palestinians , you should remember that president Bush promised a Palestinian state by the end of his first term ,

That was 4 years ago ,

I do not know about you but I am tired of the people who keep telling us to be patients ,

NOTHING WILL HAPEN ,

By the way can you give me a deadline for a peaceful solution and if there is no peace by certain time like July/9 or even Dec/09 then we will seek force as a way to get our rights,

Alex ,

If you ask the Syrians you will find that the majority would want to fight for their rights and these are the Syrians living in Syria , didn’t they want to fight with Hezbollah in 2006 ,
The Syrian people are not afraid of fighting they know the price that they have to pay , I do not think they have an alternative except surrender as that is what Israel wants , do you think the Syrians will accept that , I doubt it , I believe they would rather die than surrender.

And that is my take.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:24 am

 

Alex said:

Nafdik, Simo

I realize that now the Syrians do not worry much if Israel’s army got to advance inside Syria. In the past this used to mean nothing but a disaster. But by now people realize that Israel can not expand too far … and it can not fight for months and months.

If Israel’s army wanted to enter Syria … their soldiers will be welcome … the more of them, and the longer they want to stay, the better… it will only translate in to higher casualties for Israel.

After the Shock and Awe, after Israel’s “successful” invasion of Lebanon … there was nothing these two armies could do to .. win.

War is not an option… Syria can not win it, Israel can not win it.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:33 am

 

Roland said:

I would not be too sanguine about the prospects of successful guerrilla resistance against a strong foreign occupier.

Without help from an outside power, the guerrillas’ prospects are not very good.

American help was instrumental to the Afghan success against the Soviet Union. Today the Afghan guerrillas receive no help from any major power.

The Taliban have been revived because the USA diverted its own forces in order to ravage Iraq.

Unlike in the 1980’s, the guerrilla bases in Pakistan are now vulnerable to attack by the occupiers of Afghanistan. Moreover, the US strategy is also to foment a civil war within Pakistan which will give them the opportunity to “intervene” on the ground in that country.

I expect a significant escalation of the Afghan War, in which a very large number of people in Pakistan and Afghanistan will lose their lives.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:35 am

 

Enlightened said:

Norman: (LOL)

I am young? I was not even born when 67 happened and was 3.5 when the October 73 broke out. ( I must temper this though when i turn 40 which is december this year, my wife keeps reminding me of this and all the grey hair(s) i seem to be accumulating)

Although I understand your sentiment about hopes being built up towards a resolution, you have been and seen far more than I have, although I tend to remember my High school years, being educated through the Lebanese civil war years, The PLO/Israeli conflict etc, coming home and watching my parents frustrations as they watched the nightly news etc.Getting strange questions from classmates who knew nothing about the conflict and wait for this one: One Israeli supporter of the conflict who was a bully and subjected us to hell on the school bus for one year till he was kicked out of school.

But hope springs eternal I feel, who said “you only make peace with your enemies”?

Alex:

I think a conflict is inevitable, maybe one last hurrah! This is my reasoning, I dont think that the Iranian issue can be solved. This issue is just to important to the rulers in Iran. By the time we have a Bibi led government, I think that the Israeli’s who will view this as a existential threat will not back down and initiate a conflict. Watch for a red line like evidence of supplying Hamas, or a assasination of a Israeli official. They are the usual precursors if history proves right.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:41 am

 

norman said:

Alex,

Syria can win if it does not stop the war and accept security council resolution but continue to fight as Iran did after Saddam invasion of Iran. Israel will lose a war that lasts more than few weeks.

Israel won 1967 war only because the Arab armies were asked to withdraw , thinking that the UN will get their rights back and that is 41 years ago , I can not believe that anybody still think that we can get our rights without a fight.

Alex,

How long we have to wait to declare the peace process dead?.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:43 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

For the next two years,Israel will not attack Iran or Syria,it is for USA to leave Iraq, and Iraq will come back to the arab camp,this is a loss for Israel, also Turkey to get more to the side of Syria and palestine,and this will be a loss for Israel, Also the regime in Egypt WILl change, and this will be a loss to Israel,and when Egypt change,Jordan may collapse.
Obama is not Bush,and Iam more optimistic,and we will see AP,Chris,and the company,choke as they read S.C.

February 3rd, 2009, 5:09 am

 

Innocent Criminal said:

People need to stop thinking that Obama is some sort of Messiah. He is an American president from a major political party that has long toed a strategic policy of supporting certain elements in the region.

Just because Obama is willing to “talk” to Syria and Iran it does NOT mean a peace treaty is near. It just means we are going back to before the “W” era. And don’t doubt for a minute that empowerment for the US allies in the region will cease, if not increase. Just now efforts are being made to undermine the Iran/Syria/Qatar/Hamas axis by pro-western and PLO nations. This of course is happening with US blessing.

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/88EE7F0E-96A7-41F4-8976-F720FA7EAC44.htm

February 3rd, 2009, 6:01 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

American help was instrumental to the Afghan success against the Soviet Union. Today the Afghan guerrillas receive no help from any major power

Come-on Roland. Afghanistan war in Soviet time was not so it is described in a Rambo movie. USA provided the mujahideens some thousands of Stingers, which made Soviet air forces behave a little more carefully. Soviets lost 118 aircrafts and 333 helicopters but in Afghanistan the air superiority was and is not so essential to the end result.

Most of mujahideens’ and Talebans’ hand weapons were and are locally made. On the Tribal side of Pakistan they have an flourishing industry where they make replicates of most hand weapons.

The military situation in Afghanistan begins to be so that the government controls the capital (and even that badly) and some non Pasthun regions. US and NATO troops control basically their bases + a circle with couple of hundreds meters around them. The supply routes are on constant pressure and Pakistan is loosing last control of the tribal areas. The US forces have managed with their strategy and attitude to alienate very badly the local population and are constantly been criticized by the government and allies. The local government is concentrated to fill their pockets with opium/heroin money before their turn is over and Talebans return.

I suppose in case if Israel would occupy a large part of Syria the steady flow of new weapons would not be a problem. So much it would create bad blood in the Arab/Muslim world.

February 3rd, 2009, 6:08 am

 

jad said:

Not sure how accurate the article that Sarah based her comment on but after our exchanges it is worth to read. For me personally it doesn’t sound right…does anybody know anything about the middle east times? Just so I can pigeonhole ‘it’. Nafdik?? wink wink

http://blogandshower.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/us-used-influence-with-israel-for-the-better-for-once/

IC, A HUGE THANK YOU regarding Obama.

February 3rd, 2009, 6:08 am

 

Akabar Palace said:

Norman said:

Israel won 1967 war only because the Arab armies were asked to withdraw , thinking that the UN will get their rights back and that is 41 years ago , I can not believe that anybody still think that we can get our rights without a fight.

Norman,

Thanks again for showing that the “occupation” was never the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Posts and comments like this are used to education those in the West who think once Israel withdraws from occupied terrortory, peace will be just around the corner.

It won’t be. That is why the details of any peace agreement will have to be quite tangible, include verification, and have set rules for non-compliance.

February 3rd, 2009, 11:51 am

 

nafdik said:

AP,

Why are you afraid from peace?

Did you have problems with Egypt since you signed the peace agreement?

February 3rd, 2009, 12:36 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Nafdik,

I’m not afraid of peace if it is real, genuine, and includes the detail necessary for it to work.

I in favor of peace treaties like the ones the GOI made with Jordan and Egypt.

I am not in favor of peace treaties like Oslo.

How about you, are you afraid of peace?

It seems to me, those most afraid of peace are Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

February 3rd, 2009, 1:00 pm

 

nafdik said:

AP,

The reason Oslo and co did not work is because Israel did not leave the Palestinians something significant to lose.

Peace is created when both sides have enough to lose that they prefer the status co to the chaos of war.

The other problem with Oslo is that the peacemakers did not create mechanisms to protect themselves from extremists on both sides. It is obvious that there will be the occasional terrorist attack and the occasional growth in settlements, the challenge is to find ways where such events are controlled, through compensation or escalating punitive measures rather than a war/no war switch that can be arbitrarily pressed by either side.

February 3rd, 2009, 1:24 pm

 

norman said:

Nafdik,Jad, alex

The reason Oslo did not work is because Israel never intended to go ahead with peace , they wanted to use the peace process to open to the Arab and Islamic world while increasing settlements and having more facts on the ground that can not be changed , We are dreaming to think that Israel that just killed more than 300 Palestinians and has been starving 1.5 millions is seeking peace , Peace can be only achieved if Israel is defeated by implementing international law on all parties.the role of the jungle should go away.

February 3rd, 2009, 1:50 pm

 

Alia said:

AP and others,

The recent events have shown the world what it already knew before the Sadat Peace. Peace with Israel is an euphemism for the Palestinians getting a horrible deal- the neighboring countries being cheated, while everyone is gradually being brain-washed with garbage talk like : Israel democracy, Israeli human right groups, Israeli Peace group. The only good Israeli is the one who has left that hellhole and I know a couple. Otherwise everyone is a criminal there. Everyone is an accomplice to what happened to the people of Gaza.

Real Peace will BE only when Israel becomes a different country : No Zionisnm, NO racism , No bloody settlements and No goverment aiding and abetting 1) the settlers 2) the criminal IDF -And when the Palestinians have an honest goverement that looks after the whole population and not a percentage of it and is not being manipulated to become the ennemy of its people..

If Obama & Co. (Zionists and Tax cheaters for the most part so far) cannot deliver this and they will not; we will continue to have all varieties of abuses; the Arabs along with some of their intellectuals will go to sleep again and talk about the civilization of Israel and how the Arab-Muslim countries are just sooo uncivilized in comparison and blame something or the other in the Arab world for that uncivilized state usually never themselves.

I know it is bad taste to bring religion to politics but let’s remember before we forget for ever, that the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) said : “If someone sees something wrong he should correct it by his own action, by his words or acknowledge it to be wrong in his heart and that is the least one can do.”

The admirable Erdogan acted like a human being as we should all act; while the horrible Israelis are calling his action ” behavior”, “mental illness” “uncivilized” and while the horrid Perez is sitting talking of “the silent people who support Israel”-he is the one who needs a shoe thrown at him, one 12 inch heeled one next time.

STOP talking to us about your garbage Peace, go away, disappear. You have done enough.

February 3rd, 2009, 1:58 pm

 

nafdik said:

Simohurtta,

Thx for correcting my military spending estimate.

While checking the CIA factbook (military spending = 5.9% of GDP) I read this:

“18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation – 30 months (18 months in the Syrian Arab Navy)”

Has anybody heard of this fact, could Syrians really cut their military service by serving the navy?

February 3rd, 2009, 2:04 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

Please, you have to be reasonable: no anti-Obama talk on this forum

February 3rd, 2009, 2:08 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alia quotes the Prophet of Islam (PBUH):

…the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) said : “If someone sees something wrong he should correct it by his own action, by his words or acknowledge it to be wrong in his heart and that is the least one can do.”

Alia,

Did the Palestinians ever do “something wrong”? If so, how should they correct it?

Or, perhaps you believe that the Palestinians can do no wrong.

February 3rd, 2009, 2:40 pm

 

Alia said:

Nafdik,

Was that anti-Obama talk or just a statement of fact ?

Anyway I am going to be busy for a while sorting out my shoes, deciding which one I am going to sacrifice ..you know in the spirit of Nafdik like you.

February 3rd, 2009, 2:42 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Alia,
I agree with you 110% of what you wrote.
Rehabilitate Israel to become a normal country is the only sollution for real peace.
However, Let me assure you that at this period of time not the US (with/without Obama, , it is not an anti-Obama to state facts), EU or the Arab countries are going to do any real effort to make Israel a normal country everyone of them for it’s selfish reason.
Have a great day Alia.

February 3rd, 2009, 4:27 pm

 
 

offended said:

Nafdik, I recommend you try these for a while.
http://www.moonbattery.com/ball-gag.jpg

February 3rd, 2009, 5:27 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Normal Country Alert

JAD said:

Let me assure you that at this period of time not the US, EU or the Arab countries are going to do any real effort to make Israel a normal country everyone of them for it’s selfish reason.

What is a “normal country”? Can you spell this out for us?

Thanks,

AP

February 3rd, 2009, 5:34 pm

 

nafdik said:

Offended,

I am glad you found something that turns you on.

February 3rd, 2009, 5:34 pm

 

jad said:

A normal country is any country with clear and accepted borders by the united nation, treats its people equally regardless of their religion, culture or financial status, a country where it doesn’t need to be in an ongoing war with it’s neighbors, a country where the word ‘settlement’ and ‘settlers’ doesn’t exist, a country where it’s army/police personal intervene for justice not to support settlers attacking their neighbors and laugh or to breaks the bones of youth in front of the world knowing that they can do it without paying the price. A normal country that should think twice before killing 1335 man women and children in 20 day with no guilt. A country where 95% of its citizen doesn’t cheer for killing,
A normal country is the one that doesn’t live in fear and her people can visit their neighboring countries knowing that they are safe.
Israel is not a ‘normal country’ AP, its way less than that, irony enough Syria with all it’s flaws, its terrible economy, terrible human rights level, its dictatorship system and unbelievable corruption is a normal country while Israel is just a ‘hellhole’ as Alia wrote.
That is Israel now and it will always be this way until it realizes that Occupying/killing/abusing/steeling lands/destroying farms/ cutting trees and walling in people like animals is going to be questioned, judged and paid for in front of a judge.

You know very well what a normal country is, you just need to accept that Israel is not…it’s a middle age mentality shoguns living in villages and tents parks connected together by great highways using high tech and walled in by the great wall of ‘Israel’

P.S. I have more important work to do than teaching a high school kid A B C, he must know that by now.

February 3rd, 2009, 6:22 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Hmmmm….
Haaretz news flash
21:02 Barak: Any Syria-Hezbollah arms deal will prompt Israeli action in Lebanon (Haaretz)

and
Amos Gilad: Only peace can avert collision with Syria

With all eyes on Gaza it seems as though the threat from the North has been moved to the back burner. But Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad warns Israel is ‘on a collision course with Syria,’ says only peace with Damascus can drastically change security situation.

Roni Sofer
Published: 02.03.09, 20:33 / Israel News

“We’re on a collision course with Syria, a high probability of a confrontation with (Syria). We were nearly at that point in the summer of 2006,” Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, said on Tuesday at the annual Herzliya Conference.

Gilad said he believed Israel would have no choice but try to reach an agreement with Syria in the near future. Failing to achieve such a peace would create a far more dangerous front for Israel, which in two years would include a nuclear Iran, Syria’s rocket array and a well-equipped Hizbullah. Gilad made the comments during a panel debate of former IDF major generals. “The way to prevent this is to try and achieve peace,” he added.

“We’re on a collision course – on the one hand there’s been quiet since the Yom Kippur War and an almost peace, but on the other hand in the space of two years we can find ourselves facing a hostile entity on our eastern border – from a nuclear Iran through Syria and down to Hizbullah and Hamas. I’m warning now that if we reach a confrontation with Syria, (President Bashar) Assad’s regime may fall and then we’ll get a Sunni regime that will join other radical regimes in the region and put us in a far more difficult situation.”

Gilad said that he believed it was possible to reach an agreement with Damascus. “I say there’s a chance to progress towards peace, and during that process to put our problems on the table – like the demand to sever military ties to Iran, which we won’t have peace with. That way we can stop the delivery of arms to Hizbullah, that way we can expel the terror headquarters from Damascus, we can weaken the entire hostile coalition in the region. Peace with Syria can greatly decrease the threat to Israel, but we must take into account that somewhere along the way of the process it may falter, and then I believe that in any case we’ll still be on a collision course with them (Syria.”

Gilad added that whoever the prime minister may be after the coming elections “he or she will see the Syrian track as far more attractive than the Palestinian one, and this is due to the schism between Abu-Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and Hamastan.”

‘Sand in our eyes’
However Maj. Gen. (res) Giora Eiland, the former head of the National Security Council, rejected Gilad’s estimate. Eiland said that without clear security arrangements, an extremely serious situation will be created in the region. He ruled out the possibility of negotiations with Syria, warning that doing so may lead to the outbreak of a third intifada by Palestinians frustrated that their own process is stagnated.

Eiland was joined by Maj. Gen. (res) Yaakov Amidror, former chief of IDF Intelligence. Amidror slammed the promise of peace with Syria as “the peddling of an illusion. No one in the world thinks that if Syria has peace with us it will cut off its ties to Iran. They’re throwing sand in our eyes. Ever since Oslo people in Israel have loved illusions.”

The latter’s position was also backed by Dr. Dan Shiftan from Haifa University, who said that under no conditions would Syria disengage from the radical axis headed by Iran after 30 years of isolation. In fact, he said, “its wishes appear to be coming true – Iran is becoming nuclear, its relations with France and the United States are improving, the US is growing weaker and Israel is confused.”

February 3rd, 2009, 7:35 pm

 

Adam Gallagher said:

Obama doesn’t have a Ph.D. He has a J.D. from Harvard

February 3rd, 2009, 7:45 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Welcome Iran and Turkey!

It was time countries in the region, other than arabs took part in the support of the palestinians cause. The arabs and thee european have done nothing in the region since 60 years, other than encouraging Israel in its aggressive and superior attitude on the Arabs.
The Arab league, the OLP are jokes, corrupted and impotent. Hard talk from strong militarized countries ( turkey, Iran) is something that may frighten the zionists who took advantage of the disarray and the corruption of the Arab regimes to impose by force their notion of peace.

February 3rd, 2009, 8:30 pm

 

Alex said:

Adam,

So, the president is not smarter than I am?!

Thanks for the correction : )

Simohurtta

By now we learned the real value of statements from Israel officials or quasi officials.

Let them try to be as smart as they want … “peace with Syria is a necessity” .. “confrontations with Syria might be inevitable” … “Hummos in Syria is delicious” …

February 3rd, 2009, 9:24 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Today’s Lesson

Responding to JAD:

A normal country is any country with clear and accepted borders by the united nation…

I guess that leaves out Israel, Spain, France, Portugal, Algeria, the United Kingdom, the USA, China and several other countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_territorial_disputes

… treats its people equally regardless of their religion…

I guess that leaves out Iran, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Finnland (sorry Sim), Argentina, Yemen and a slew of other countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_religion

(Note: “At present, there is no specific law or official statement establishing the Jewish religion as the state’s religion.”)

… culture or financial status, a country where it doesn’t need to be in an ongoing war with it’s neighbors,…

You can’t name a “normal” country at war with its neighbors other than Israel JAD?

… a country where the word ‘settlement’ and ‘settlers’ doesn’t exist,…

Like Cyprus?

http://www.cyprusnet.com/content.php?article_id=2881&subject=standalone

Like the USA, Canada, Australia, Estonia, Central and South America?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Russians_in_Estonia

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536601258.html

… a country where it’s army/police personal intervene for justice not to support settlers attacking their neighbors and laugh or to breaks the bones of youth in front of the world knowing that they can do it without paying the price.

Does the army/police personal [sic] intervene for justice in Syria JAD? Maybe Syria isn’t a “normal country”.

A normal country that should think twice before killing 1335 man women and children in 20 day with no guilt.

I’ll start with Syria, and leave it to you to do a search on the “killing women and children … with no guilt”. Also, while you’re doing your search, find out if the “women” raised their children to be suicide bombers. Like the “women” in Hama.

A country where 95% of its citizen doesn’t cheer for killing…

The only “cheer for killing” I know of were small groups of celebrants in the Arab world and Palestine after 9-11. Other than that, I’m not aware of any “cheer for killing”.

A normal country is the one that doesn’t live in fear and her people can visit their neighboring countries knowing that they are safe.

Half the world lives in fear. Fear of starvation, fear of being killed, lack of the rule-of-law, or saying something the government doesn’t like.

Israel is not a ‘normal country’ AP, its way less than that, irony enough Syria with all it’s flaws, its terrible economy, terrible human rights level, its dictatorship system and unbelievable corruption is a normal country while Israel is just a ‘hellhole’ as Alia wrote.

I know. A testament to the brainwashing you and Alia have been accustomed to all these years. Kudos to your fine teachers and clergymen.

Which is why Jews and non-Jews are fleeing to Israel:

http://www.thejewishagency.com/JewishAgency/English/Home/Jewish+Agency+Resources/Highlights/Archive/2009/feb02c.htm

http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Home/About/Press+Room/Jewish+Agency+In+The+News/2007/3/dec27alsum.htm

http://www.thejewishagency.com/JewishAgency/English/Home/About/Press+Room/Jewish+Agency+In+The+News/2001/jpdec25.htm+7.htm

That is Israel now and it will always be this way until it realizes that Occupying/killing/abusing/steeling lands/destroying farms/ cutting trees and walling in people like animals is going to be questioned, judged and paid for in front of a judge.

OK JAD, I’ll make a note of this important information.

You know very well what a normal country is…

This is apparent.;)

… you just need to accept that Israel is not…it’s a middle age mentality shoguns living in villages and tents parks connected together by great highways using high tech and walled in by the great wall of ‘Israel’

Allahu Akbar!

P.S. I have more important work to do than teaching a high school kid A B C, he must know that by now.

Sorry JAD. Thanks for the high school/madrassa lesson.

February 3rd, 2009, 9:27 pm

 

Alex said:

Aaron David Miller on peace in the Middle East

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/02/02/opinion/1231546921209/bloggingheads-israel-and-syria.html

I like ADM, but I disagree that a “deal” that is only focused on Syria will be doable.

But he is saying that President Obama will have to be personally involved … “you can’t subcontract this to your envoy or your secretary of state”

February 3rd, 2009, 9:56 pm

 

Jad said:

You are welcome AP, God bless you.

One favor to ask you AP: don’t forget to take some heart attack prevention pills, it’s not good for someone like you to be that much excited.
After all you are not a ‘normal human being’ you are a Semitic, and my teachers and clergymen always teach me to care about other Semitic tribesmen and wish them wellbeing. 😉

Your Syrian/Arab brother in Semitisms
Jad

ALLAH AKBAR! Who can argue about that?
Don’t you believe that God is great and mighty? I do.

February 3rd, 2009, 10:01 pm

 

Alex said:

Daniel Pipes : )

Obama, The Middle East And Islam: An Initial Assessment

By Daniel Pipes, For The Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Why, just two weeks into a 209-week term, assess a new American presidents record on so esoteric a subject as the Middle East and Islam? In Barack Obama’s case, because of:

(1) A contradictory record: His background brims over with wild-eyed anti-Zionist radicals such as Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi and Edward Said, with Islamists, the Nation of Islam, and the Saddam Hussein regime; but since being elected he has made predominantly center-left appointments and his statements resemble those of his Oval Office predecessors.

(2) The outsized role of the Middle East and Islam: His first fortnight in office witnessed an inaugural address that mentioned them prominently, a first diplomatic telephone call to Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, the appointment of two high-profile envoys and the first interview granted to al-Arabiya television channel.

Barack Obama speaks on al-Arabiya television channel.

What to make of this whirlwind?

Afghanistan and Iraq: No surprises more emphasis on the former and less on the latter (you’re going to see me following through with dealing with a drawdown of troops in Iraq).

Iran: A willingness to talk to the Iranian regime mixed with a flabby reassertion of the unacceptability of Tehrans actions (Iran has acted in ways not conducive to peace and prosperity).

Arab-Israeli conflict: A strange mix: Yes, statements about Israel’s security imperatives and no condemnation of its war against Hamas. But also effusive praise for the Abdullah Plan, a 2002 initiative that has Arabs accept Israel’s existence in return for Israel’s return to the June 1967 borders, a plan distinct from other diplomatic initiatives for its many loose ends and its total reliance on Arab good faith. Israeli elections on Feb. 10 are likely to bring a government to power not favorably inclined to this plan, spelling rocky U.S.-Israeli relations ahead.

War on terror: One analyst announced that Mr. Obama is ending the war on terror, but this is speculation. Yes, early on Jan. 22, Mr. Obama referred to the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism, which avoided saying war on terror, but later that same day he did precisely refer to the war on terror. Given the many clumsy ways George W. Bush referred to this war, including the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East, Mr. Obama’s inconsistency so far suggests continuity with Bush more than change.

Reaching out to the Muslim world: Mr. Obama’s reference to wanting to return to the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago revises history, ignoring that 1989 was a bad year and 1979 the worst ever for U.S.-Muslim relations. (In November 1979 alone, Khomeini overthrew the shah of Iran and then seized the American embassy in Tehran, while an Islamist insurgency in Mecca inspired a wave of attacks against U.S. missions in eight majority-Muslim countries.)

Democracy: Harkening back to the good old days of 20 or 30 years ago does contain a real message, however, as Fouad Ajami points out. This phrasing signals a return to Realpolitik and business-as-usual in relations with the Muslim world. Mr. Bush’s freedom agenda has been in retreat for over for three years; now, with Mr. Obama, tyrants can breathe yet more easily.

Finally, there is the issue of Mr. Obama’s personal connection to Islam. During the campaign, he denounced discussion of his connections to Islam as fear-mongering, and those exploring this subject found themselves vilified. He so severely discouraged use of his middle name, Hussein, that John McCain apologized when a warm-up speaker at a campaign event dared mention Barack Hussein Obama. After the election, the rules changed dramatically, with the oath of office administered to Barack Hussein Obama and the new president volunteering, I have Muslim members of my family, I have lived in Muslim countries.

It’s bad enough that family connections to Islam perceived as a liability when campaigning are suddenly exploited once in office to win Muslim goodwill. Worse, as Diana West observes: not since Napoleon has a leader of a Western superpower made so unabashed a political pitch to the people of the Muslim world.

To sum up, while Mr. Obama’s retreat from democratization marks an unfortunate and major change in policy, his apologetic tone and apparent change in constituency present a yet more fundamental and worrisome direction.

Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

February 3rd, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

I guess that leaves out Iran, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Finnland (sorry Sim), Argentina, Yemen and a slew of other countries.

Are you a German Akbar? Finland is in English Finland, in German Finnland and in Finnish Suomi. Suomi comes from the words suo (swamp) and maa (land).

Finland surely has a state religion as I have mentioned many times, but in your list only Israel and Saudi Arabia have legislation which which discriminates the citizens based on their religion and give extra benefits for the right religion followers. Finland, GB or Argentina do not give any benefits to the “right” religion citizens. Surely Israel is the only one among democracies (which Israel in reality is not).

Finland and Sweden are in the process of demolishing finally the link religion and state. The link between state and religion inherits from the ancient times (16th century) when protestants separated from Catholics. In Protestant countries the ruler (King) replaced the Pope as the highest authority (for example Henry the eight in England and Gustav Vasa in Sweden). The power transition did mean that state comes first and the church serves the county’s earthly rulers not a guy in Rome. During the last hundred years the link has been only on paper and has had basically no relevance.

Akbar I am free to change my religion. It has no effect to my rights and changes in Finland. Can you do the same in Israel? I suppose not. If you and your family decided to be a Muslims or Christians you would loose many opportunities. Sorry I did forget that you, or was it AIG, are a secular Jew. 🙂

By the way it would be interesting if in Finland a Jew (or Muslim) would be chosen as the president he/she would be the formal leader of the Finnish state church. That is for example why we are ending the link. The present Finnish president lived in a no-marriage relation ship with a man. When she was elected as the president she had to marry not to upset the religious extremists and to keep up the old “link”. 🙂

February 3rd, 2009, 10:14 pm

 

jad said:

One last thing…
WOW, I just notice that Syria name came only twice in your lengthy predicted reply AP and I’m glad for that, it just proves my point of Syria being more normal than your beloved Israel ‘Hillhole’ shogun who fall under every one of the mentioned ‘normal country’ criteria I came with…
I’m really happy now…
In your face AP! in your face!

February 3rd, 2009, 10:17 pm

 

Alex said:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/01/gaza-food-crisis

Akbar, how can humanity thank your “normal” Israel for all it has done to make peace closer to impossible?

Like making Gaza even more unsuitable to live in in the future …

Gaza desperately short of food after Israel destroys farmland

Officials warn of ‘destruction of all means of life’ after the three-week conflict leaves agriculture in the region in ruins

* Peter Beaumont in Gaza
* The Observer, Sunday 1 February 2009

Gaza’s 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion.

According to the World Food Programme, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege.

Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme’s country director, said: “We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north – where the farming was most intensive – may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster. It is not just farmland, but poultry as well.

February 3rd, 2009, 10:27 pm

 
 

Jad said:

“If Israel, and Israel alone among democracies fighting defensive wars, were ever to be charged with “war crimes,” that would mark the end of international human rights law as a neutral arbitrator of conduct.” he has a good sense of humor! Doesn’t he?

What I find twisted in this article is that he didn’t bother to criticize ‘radical academics’ until they criticize ‘Hellhole’ and he called others Radicals while his view are as radical as any others.
He is a professor of LAW, what an irony!
(Alan M. Dershowitz is a Professor of Law at Harvard.)
I wonder if he taught President Obama at Harvard.

February 3rd, 2009, 11:29 pm

 

Alex said:

Amazing how that Dershowitz can see so well … in one direction exclusively.

If the laws of war in particular, and international human rights in general, are to endure, they must be applied to nations in order of the seriousness of the violations, not in order of the political unpopularity of the nations. If the law of war were applied in this manner, Israel would be among the last, and certainly not the first, charged.

No .. among the last would be Syria, Hamas, and Hizbollah … they killed less than his Israel killed the past ten years (if we do not want to go back to the sixteenth century)

When Israel makes a big deal out of three dead civilians, he should expect a big deal for 1335 dead Palestinians.

February 3rd, 2009, 11:35 pm

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

If you never encountered Dershowitz you will definitely enjoy this classic:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1899267555870962994

February 4th, 2009, 12:21 am

 

norman said:

for the people who beleive in two states solution,

Five minutes to midnight on a two-state solution
By Thomas L. Friedman
Commentary by
Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Listen to the Article – Powered by

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “Guy walks into a bar …” No, not that one – this one: “This is the most critical year ever for Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy. It is five minutes to midnight. If we don’t get diplomacy back on track soon, it will be the end of the two-state solution.”

I’ve heard that line almost every year for the last 20, and I’ve never bought it. Well, today, I’m buying it.

We’re getting perilously close to closing the window on a two-state solution, because the two chief window-closers – Hamas in Gaza and the fanatical Jewish settlers in the West Bank – have been in the driver’s seats. Hamas is busy making a two-state solution inconceivable, while the settlers have steadily worked to make it impossible.

If Hamas continues to obtain and use longer- and longer-range rockets, there is no way any Israeli government can or will tolerate independent Palestinian control of the West Bank, because a rocket from there can easily close the Tel Aviv airport and shut down Israel’s economy.

And if the Jewish settlers continue with their “natural growth” to devour the West Bank, it will also be effectively off the table. No Israeli government has mustered the will to take down even the “illegal,” unauthorized settlements, despite promises to the US to do so, so it’s getting hard to see how the “legal” settlements will ever be removed. What is needed from Israel’s February 10 elections is a centrist, national unity government that can resist the blackmail of the settlers, and the rightist parties that protect them, to still implement a two-state solution.

Because without a stable two-state solution, what you will have is an Israel hiding behind a high wall, defending itself from a Hamas-run failed state in Gaza, a Hizbullah-run failed state in south Lebanon and a Fatah-run failed state in Ramallah. Have a nice day.

So if you believe in the necessity of a Palestinian state or you love Israel, you’d better start paying attention. This is not a test.

We’re at a hinge of history.

What makes it so challenging for the new Obama team is that Mideast diplomacy has been transformed as a result of the regional disintegration since Oslo – in three key ways.

First, in the old days, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger could fly to three capitals, meet three kings, presidents or prime ministers and strike a deal that could hold. No more. Today a peacemaker has to be both a nation-builder and a negotiator.

The Palestinians are so fragmented politically and geographically that half of the United States’ diplomacy is going to be about how to make peace between Palestinians, and build their institutions, so there is a coherent, legitimate decision-making body there – before we can make peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Second, Hamas now has veto power over any Palestinian peace deal. It’s true that Hamas just provoked a reckless war that has devastated the people of Gaza. But Hamas is not going away. It is well armed and, despite its suicidal behavior of late, deeply rooted.

The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank will not make any compromise deal with Israel as long as it fears that Hamas, from outside the tent, would denounce it as traitorous.

Therefore, Job 2 for the US, Israel and the Arab states is to find a way to bring Hamas into a Palestinian national-unity government.

As the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen says, “It is not enough for Israel that the world recognize that Hamas criminally mismanaged its responsibility to its people. Israel’s longer-term interest is to be sure that it has a Palestinian partner for negotiations, which will have sufficient legitimacy among its own people to be able to sign agreements and fulfill them. Without Hamas as part of a Palestinian decision, any Israeli-Palestinian peace will be meaningless.”

But bringing Hamas into a Palestinian unity government, without undermining the West Bank moderates now leading the Palestinian Authority, will be tricky. Washington will need Saudi Arabia and Egypt to buy, cajole and pressure Hamas into keeping the cease-fire, supporting peace talks and to give up rockets – while Iran and Syria will be tugging Hamas the other way.

And that leads to the third new factor – Iran as a key player in Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy. The Clinton team tried to woo Syria while isolating Iran. President George W. Bush tried to isolate both Iran and Syria. The Obama team, as Martin Indyk argues in “Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East,” “needs to try both to bring in Syria, which would weaken Hamas and Hizbullah, while also engaging Iran”.

So, just to recap: It’s five to midnight, and before the clock strikes 12 all we need to do is rebuild Fatah, merge it with Hamas, elect an Israeli government that can freeze settlements, court Syria and engage Iran – while preventing it from going nuclear – just so we can get the parties to start talking. Whoever lines up all the pieces of this diplomatic Rubik’s Cube deserves two Nobel Prizes.

Thomas L. Friedman won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The New York Times. He became the paper’s foreign-affairs columnist in 1995. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with the Common Ground News Service, by permission from the International Herald Tribune.

February 4th, 2009, 12:31 am

 

Alex said:

after issuing a number of threats to Turkey, it is Qatar’s turn:

Israeli official says Israel will make it difficult for Aljazeera to report from Israel.

تعتزم إسرائيل اتخاذ جملة إجراءات من شأنها تشديد الخناق على قناة (الجزيرة ) وخلق صعوبات لها في العمل على أراضيها ، فقد أعلن مسؤول اسرائيلي أن إسرائيل تنوي عرقلة عمل قناة الجزيرة الفضائية القطرية على أراضيها بعد قرار قطر إغلاق مكتب مكتب التمثيل التجاري الاسرائيلي في الدوحة.
وقال المسؤول :”أن قطر هي التي وضعت العراقيل بقطعها علاقاتها مع اسرائيل. ليس هناك اي داع لمساعدة هذه الامارة التي تشرف على قناة الجزيرة على تجاوز المشاكل التي اوجدتها بنفسها”.
وأوضح :”أنه سيكون -على سبيل المثال – اصعب بكثير على مواطن قطري او اجنبي يعمل لصالح الجزيرة الحصول على تأشيرة دخول للمجيء والعمل في اسرائيل او في الضفة الغربية”.
واضاف “كذلك لا ننوي تسهيل عمل أولئك الذين سيحاولون الالتفاف على العوائق عبر التوجه الى سفارات اسرائيل في أماكن اخرى في العالم”.
وكانت قطر قررت الشهر الفائت إغلاق المكتب التجاري الاسرائيلي في الدوحة رداً على العدوان الاسرائيلي على قطاع غزة الذي أسفر عن سقوط أكثر من 1300 شهيد.
كما قامت الجزيرة بتغطية نوعية للعدوان على غزة أبرزت خلالها ممارسات الاحتلال التي خلفت أوضاعاً مأساوية في القطاع.

February 4th, 2009, 12:33 am

 

Alex said:

Thanks Nafdik,

I recommend skipping to 36.20 to hear how Dershowitz made a small “typo” in his book … 2 to 3 thousand Palestinians, instead of 2 to 3 HUNDRED thousands of Palestinians.

February 4th, 2009, 1:15 am

 

nafdik said:

At the risk of being asked to wear kinky outfits by the Offended, here is a more entertaining version of the same debate:

February 4th, 2009, 1:39 am

 

jad said:

YAK………………….I’m not happy to know this guy
Nafdik, what did I do to you to be torture by listening to this pleasent Dershowitz? 😉

Alex, it’s a small innocent ‘typo’ mistake don’t make a big deal out of it.
Be ‘open minded’ ‘life loving’ and above all ‘civilized’ man. Don’t make me call you an Anti-Semitic; because I sure will if you ever dare to point out such ‘friendly’ mistake about ‘Hellhole’ (I do love this word, Thank you Alia)

February 4th, 2009, 1:57 am

 

Ras Beirut said:

Norman,

Thanks for the Friedman’s article. I thought it was good.

Now if AP can only realize the price of Israel’s “killing Time” strategy since 67. A two state solution would have been so much easier to achieve in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s.

This “Killing Time” strategy and creating new facts on the gound, has done nothing but empower the radicals on both sides. And once the Genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put it back.

We might need leadership that deserves three Nobel Prizes to untie the difficult knots.

February 4th, 2009, 2:35 am

 

norman said:

Ras Beirut,

you are welcome , and i agree with what you said .

February 4th, 2009, 2:44 am

 

Alex said:

Ben & Jerry created “Yes Pecan!” ice cream
flavor for Obama.

For George W. they asked for suggestions from the public.

Here are some of their favorite responses:

* Grape Depression
* The Housing Crunch
* Abu Grape
* Cluster Fudge
* Nut’n Accomplished
* Iraqi Road
* Chock ‘n Awe
* WireTapioca
* Impeach Cobbler
* Guantanmallow
* imPeachmint
* Heck of a Job, Brownie!
* Neocon Politan
* Rocky Road to Fascism
* The Reese’s-cession
* Cookie D’oh!
* Nougalar Proliferation
* Death by Chocolate… and Torture
* Freedom Vanilla Ice Cream
* Chocolate Chip On My Shoulder
* Credit Crunch
* Mission Pecanplished
* Country Pumpkin
* Chunky Monkey in Chief
* WMDelicious
* Chocolate Chimp
* Bloody Sundae
* Caramel Preemptive Stripe
* I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of
thousands . . . with nuts

February 4th, 2009, 6:49 am

 
 

Alex said:

Too positive for our collective mood these days, but very nice song

And they (didn’t check who they are) seem to support the one-state solution: it is important to remind ourselves there exists a vision of a different reality – where Israel/Palestine is a democratic, secular state which grants equal rights to Jews and Palestinians alike.

February 4th, 2009, 7:33 am

 

Rumyal said:

Alex,

Israel—is in a crisis, which was written on the wall since the beginning of Zionism. It doesn’t have the moral higher ground. The best we can do is say we’re not worst than KSA.

Israel—still, given some BDS pressure from the outside, will reform. The seeds for a fully democratic society are well planted and they will sprout and flourish. Despite all the brainwashing, Jews and Arabs are reaching out to each other and chart the future, in numerous fields: education, culture and entertainment, business, political parties and governance, etc. Those who fight for a democratic society are not “accomplices to war crimes” in any way. They are the true heroes. Much more than some of the learned commentators here that excel in fomenting hatred and pontificating about abstract just solutions or marshalling imaginary legions.

And when this will happen, you would still have to explain why you need to wait another 10 years before the grandson of Hafez will let you surf the Web unobstructed.

Check out HADASH http://www.youtube.com/user/hadash2009

February 4th, 2009, 10:47 am

 

norman said:

Rumyal,

How do you explain the diffrence between American Jews and Israeli Jews , American Jews being Humble helpful , easy to work with and Israeli Jews who are arrogant and racist.?

February 4th, 2009, 2:05 pm

 

Alia said:

Rumyal,

Stop trying to relativize and excuse Israel. KSA the worst country in the middle-east is miles ahead morally from Israel.

Better for our children to never surf the web than have for fathers settlers and IDF soldiers with blood on their hands collectively and individually- are you kidding?

Norman and Ras Beirut,

There was never ever a “Killing Time” strategy for Israel. Israel behaves as Israel defines itself, it has as little choice in its interactions as a beast of prey has of killing in order to live. And Zionism being itself radical, it begets itself radical solutions.

As for the mediocre T. Friedman (Yawn), a first class Zionist, his major claim to fame is his inconsistent views about everything on earth…except the Arabs. Remember Edward Herman from the Economist stating:
[Thomas Friedman ]…regularly denigrates Arabs for their qualities of emotionalism, unreason, and hostility to democracy and modernization. His classic remark, in the same interview in which he lauds the proxy terrorism model, was that we mustn’t go too far in forcing Palestinian concessions because, “I believe that as soon as Ahmed has a seat in the bus, he will limit his demands.”

Dear Jad,

There is a hellhole in West Virginia, it is in the Germany Valley ( can you beat that !!!)- You have a good day too.

Back to sorting shoes…

February 4th, 2009, 2:18 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

I did not read Rumyal comment as excusing Israel:

“Israel—is in a crisis, which was written on the wall since the beginning of Zionism. It doesn’t have the moral higher ground.”

On the contrary he acknowledges the problems, and points out that there at least a few people in Israel who want to move in a positive direction.

His point is more a prediction than a moral judgment. He predicts Israel will improve with time, while Syrians will be always asking for “10 more years” for generations to come.

Do you see a way forward for Syria? Where is the hope on Syrian side that we can point out?

February 4th, 2009, 2:45 pm

 

nafdik said:

Rumyal,

Love the video.

I was always surprised that Israeli parties will build coalitions with the devil before joining with Arab parties.

Any comments?

February 4th, 2009, 2:52 pm

 

Shai said:

Alia,

Rumyal is the last person to excuse Israel for anything. The overwhelming majority of Israelis (95%+) do not have a father Settler, nor have a family member soldier with blood on his hands. To place me (and other peace advocates and activists) collectively with those who hate Arabs and feel justified in killing them, might have some legitimacy (hence my shame), but will not end the suffering of the Palestinians any faster. By painting us all as demons, you are indeed contributing to further hatred, on both sides. If Israelis like Rumyal and me have no address on the other side, we can’t convince our own people to change.

You must understand that your rhetoric is mirrored perfectly by most Israelis. They say the same about Arabs, collectively. You point to 1,300 dead Palestinians in a single military massacre, they point to 1,200 dead Israelis in 7 years of terror attacks. No Israeli is willing to listen to the “why”, or to the difference between the two.

This form of back-and-forth blaming has never, and will never, serve our goals. While indeed you and most commentators on SC are just in making most if not all of your claims (I rarely argue with you about them), I believe their sole contribution is to further add fuel to this fire of hatred. We, of course, are doing plenty to create those fires in the first place.

Sooner or later, whether between mere individuals, organized movements, or courageous leaders, bridges of hope will have to be built. They’ll have to be built also without first seeing proof of change, also without ending mutual hatred, distrust, and suspicion. They’ll have to be built also without justice first being served. Because if we don’t build these bridges, if we continue to maintain that there’s no one to talk to on the other side, then we will only further the suffering of those who truly deserve salvation.

February 4th, 2009, 3:31 pm

 

Alia said:

Shai,

I am sorry, I do have very little time to read your long response but I will say this.

I do not have a rethoric. I am afraid of your rethoric Shai. I am afraid of you pulling the wool over our eyes and making everyone talk of “peace”. Where were you when the people were being killed next door? were you in a human cordon protesting their murder? Has anyone dragged you from the street to jail because you were protesting what was being done in your name.?
Your talk of Peace is dangerous Shai, it made me soften for a few days.. until you have something to offer I will not believe you.
You are lulling us to sleep with empty promises. You have nothing.

I always liked Uri Avnery who I read at counterpunch for years now because he has put himself out consistently and for years. I listen to what he says, he is fighting I know that.

Your rethoric check it out Shai. You are a scary person to me and I mean it.

AS for Rumyal, I do not assess that he has condemned Israel enough in his statement – bringing up KSA and web surfing right now- IS relativizing Israel’s moral position and is NOT appropriate now.

Nafdik,

You do not know who I am and what my position towards the Syrian regime has been – but you know what? There is an Adab ( appropriate manner of acting ) for every situation. The Adab of this situation is profound mourning for our Palestinian brothers, everything comes after that. Plus we have rehashed the whole thing a million times already.

February 4th, 2009, 3:58 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Nafdik said:

Even Alain Dershowitz thinks Israel is an exception:

Nafdik,

Yes, I have to agree with Alan Dershowitz. As I’ve said many times, there is one standard for Israel and another standard for the rest of the world.

There are too many example to innumerate, but since we’re on a Syrian-interest website, I’ll just point to the Hama “operation” for a comparison.

You have a nice day,

AP

February 4th, 2009, 4:10 pm

 

Shai said:

Alia,

Short response this time: Be careful from assuming your way of fighting something is the only way, or even the effective way.

If I scare you, then the game is indeed over. Let’s let those who don’t “pull wool over our eyes” work out the conflict…

February 4th, 2009, 4:27 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar

Go get a calendar please … or ask someone to explain to you what 1982 vs 2006 and 2009 mean.

If you always need to refer to something that happened once in 1982 to justify your spoiled baby country’s non-stop murders then why not refer to things that happened centuries ago? that way you can justify killing even more Palestinians!

February 4th, 2009, 4:39 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alia,

“You do not know who I am and what my position towards the Syrian regime has been”

Nor do you know my position and level and mourning as regards to the Palestinian issue.

This is why we have a discussion forum.

If the moderator prefers to convert this forum into ‘group therapy’, as it seems that you and the “Offended” are proposing; he is welcome to send me the Adab guidelines, formal or informal, and I will gladly adhere or leave.

February 4th, 2009, 4:55 pm

 

qunfuz said:

O for God’s sake Shai, how long will you continue repeating the same rubbish? Years of peace process have brought Israel more stolen land and water and the Palestinians more dispossession and apartheid. And the violence of the oppressor and the oppressed is NOT the same. What you call terror attacks is resistance to Zionist ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and massacre. You say: “No Israeli is willing to listen to the “why”, or to the difference between the two.” That is precisely why there is no point talking to Israelis at the moment. You will say that’s what the Israelis say about the Arabs, and I repeat – the Arabs have tried making peace, and it has brought only more disaster. The Arabs do not occupy the Israelis. The Arabs have not ethnically cleansed the Israelis.

Zionism is based on the concept of Jewish superiority over the natives of Palestine. It necessitates bouts of ethnic cleansing and massacre, and can only survive while the Arabs are controlled by dictators. Zionism is an evil. There can be no peace with it. We don’t want peace anyway, we want justice.

94% of Israelis supported the disgusting racist massacre of innocents in Gaza. Ninety four per cent. Don’t talk to us about partners for peace. Your rhetoric is sick, like your society.

I don’t imagine we can defeat you in the near future. This situation is truly tragic. But enough of dialogue with you monsters and your monstrous ideology. Resistance doesn’t have to be violent – though I support absolutely any means the Palestinians employ to resist the genocide – but resistance is the only option.

(By the way, there are an increasing number of Jews OUTSIDE of your apartheid state who do see the difference between the violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed. This provides a glimmer of hope. Zionists like you, even if you’re soft Zionists, provide no reason to hope whatsoever.)

February 4th, 2009, 5:01 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sim states:

Akbar I am free to change my religion. It has no effect to my rights and changes in Finland. Can you do the same in Israel?

Sim,

I thought you were the “Joo Expert”? You can’t ask your Joo Friends?

What do they say?

To the best of my knowledge, any citizen of Israel can change their religion.

I suppose not.

You “suppose” a lot Sim. And your bigotry always leads you to the wrong conclusion.

If you and your family decided to be a Muslims or Christians you would loose many opportunities.

How did you reach this conclusion? Are you “supposing” again?

Sorry I did forget that you, or was it AIG, are a secular Jew.

Keep researching…. I’m sure you’ll find the answer you want;)

February 4th, 2009, 5:09 pm

 

offended said:

Shai,

You know I’m be the last person to demonize everyone on the other side. But why does it really matter what anyone of us think in the world of politics? Arabs, I assure you, are fed up with double standards. You don’t take it upon yourself to settle an injustice that has been inflicted upon you with your own hands unless all sorts of first instance and appeal courts have kicked you out and refused to listen. This is what every Arab feels. Every single one of us (except those who sold out and are enjoying the bounties of their sale).

The other day I came across the charter of the Likud party, a right wing extremist party, I acknowledge, but one that is also allowed to participate in politics and to win prime ministry even. One whose leader is entertained by international media. One that no one would dare label as terrorist. And you know what I think? If we are to label Hamas as terrorist, then Likud is nothing short of terrorist.

Otherwise what do we call the “flat rejection” of establishing Palestinian state west of Jordan river? Isn’t Hamas perpetually demonized for its non-recognition of Israel? And what do we call the combination of the agenda for expanding the settlements while not allowing a Palestinian state? Isn’t that, albeit low-grade, some sort of an attempt at ethnic cleansing?

And soon Likud might win the election and becomes democratically elected. Who’s to question the choice of Israeli people? Who’s to hold their leadership accountable for its extremist position?

There’s no hope in sight, I am afraid, unless there comes a whiff of fairness to world politics, and till then I can’t blame people if they see Hamas’s resistance choice as the ideal one.

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.
The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs. ”

http://www.knesset.gov.il/elections/knesset15/elikud_m.htm

February 4th, 2009, 5:52 pm

 

Alex said:

Rumyal,

Let’s say that we want to work for the following goodies:

1) Peaceful relations among countries in the Middle East
2) equal rights for all (fighting racism)
3) Women’s rights
4) Religious rights
5) Democracy
6) Fighting corruption
7) Economic development
8 ) Education
9) secularism
10 ) Fighting extremism.

Israel has serious problems in #1 #2 #5 (until occupation is ended or a 1-state solution) #9 (it is a Jewish state) #10 (94% supported Gaza!)

Syria has serious problems in #5 #6 and diminishing problems #7 and #8

But we need to keep Maslaw’s hierarchy of needs in mind. If 51% of Syrians are much more concerned with settling the conflict with Israel (on all fronts) so that they can have no more American sanctions and no more “Arab moderates” trying everything they can to make life difficult for Syria, then we can not be upset why are they not discussing democracy instead.

After Iraq and after Lebanon in 2006, and now Gaza in 2008/2009 … we know that security needs are paramount … Israel is a mad armed man next to us .. we have to shut up and tolerate this Israel that believes in non-proportional revenge as if it is some civilized, well calculated tactic for fighting terror. And we have to tolerate this Israel that talks peace with us then the next day sends its F16s to bomb Syria. Then it moves its friends in Washington and in the Murdoch owned media to make us look like some criminal that the great law enforcer (Israel, who already has hundreds of nuclear bombs) was able to stop from building nuclear weapons that were going to be used to terrorize planet earth … then Israel talks peace with us some more … then Israel surprises us with its Gaza madness.

When you have an unpredictable insecure yet arrogant deranged murderer in the apartment next door that the police refuse to stop despite his repeated offenses, you will worry about your children’s life and about your inability to always leave your apartment to go to work, much more than you would worry about your right to access facebook or your right to complain to the owner of the building if he is not doing a good job cleaning the entrance.

My priorities for Syria are in this sequence:

0) Enforcing the anti-smoking law(including argeeleh)
1) settlement of regional conflicts
2) fighting corruption/Economic reforms
3) Democracy

Smoking kills more Syrians than Israel kills Palestinians.

February 4th, 2009, 6:05 pm

 

norman said:

Looking at what Alia and Gunfuz wrote , I think Arab women should lead the Arab world.

February 4th, 2009, 6:38 pm

 

norman said:

Alex,

That is a very nice out line , How can we decrease smoking ?.

February 4th, 2009, 6:48 pm

 

AIG said:

Alex,
Israel is VERY predictable. If you do not attack Israel and you don’t develop nuclear wepaons we won’t attack you.

You are complaining about the fact that Israel is better at intelligence gathering and at fighting wars than Syria. Every country in the world attempts to be good at those things. You need to make an effort to improve on your side.

But the real issue that one day you may accept is that the reason you are so weak and have to accept reluctantly what Israel does is because there is no democracy in Syria. It is the lack of democracy that makes Syria weak relative to Israel. But I won’t complain if you prefer to not deal with this issue and keep Syria weak. Until then, all I can say is that you contradict yourself when you say that you can postpone dealing with democracy so that you can stand up to Israel.

February 4th, 2009, 6:59 pm

 

Shai said:

Qunfuz,

I never ONCE justified what Israel has done. If you’d like to place me together with others that’s your right, and if it makes you feel that much better, by all means don’t let me stop you.

But do stop feeling so betrayed. I never sold you anything. I didn’t fool you. I opened myself to you, hoping to build bridges of hope, and you see it as backstabbing! Indeed I may have made a serious mistake.

You have no right to judge me, just as I don’t judge you. You don’t know what I do, and don’t do, for peace, for the suffering of the Palestinian people, for Israeli Arabs, or for changing my society. And, to be quite frank, I don’t know what YOU do for your people.

I promise not to bother you further with “rubbish” in the form of “peace talk”. You’ve convinced me that indeed there’s no need for that – it’s been tried for too long, and failed. Why think it could ever succeed?

February 4th, 2009, 7:01 pm

 

norman said:

prepare for war,

No territorial concessions to Palestinians, says NetanyahuLand would be ‘grabbed by extremists’, says Israeli opposition leader
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 4 February 2009 17.35 GMT larger | smaller Article historyIsrael’s rightwing opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads the polls before next week’s parliamentary elections, warned today against giving up any occupied territory to the Palestinians, saying it would be “grabbed by extremists”.

Under Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are likely to grow more rapidly, putting Israel at odds with the new US administration.

In a speech, Netanyahu said that rather than peace talks with the Palestinians about giving up territory, he favoured economic development – a plan of “economic peace”. He has stopped short of endorsing a two-state solution that would see the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

It is a stance that is likely to draw criticism from Washington, particularly from new Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who wrote a report in 2001 explicitly calling for a halt to all settlement growth. Since then the Jewish settler population has increased significantly until today it stands at nearly 500,000 settlers in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has said he will not be bound by current prime minister Ehud Olmert’s commitment to withdraw from some West Bank settlements and from large parts of the occupied territory as a whole. “I will not keep Olmert’s commitments to withdraw and I won’t evacuate settlements,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying last week in the Ha’aretz newspaper. “Those understandings are invalid and unimportant.”

Netanyahu is opposed to territorial withdrawals, even from the Golan Heights, captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 war. Others, including members of the current Kadima-led government, have said they would give up sovereignty over the Golan Heights in return for a peace deal with Syria.

Last month Netanyahu said there were other “models” for the Palestinians short of complete sovereignty.

His comments come at a time of growing assertiveness from the settler movement. None of the leading election candidates have taken a strong position against the settlers. Even Tzipi Livni, head of Kadima, who favours the creation of a Palestinian state as long as Israel’s interests are met, said she believes in “maintaining maximum settlers and places that we hold dear such as Jerusalem”.

There is frequent evidence of continued settlement expansion, despite the latest year-long round of peace talks. Under the US road map, which remains the basis of peace negotiations, Israel is committed to halting all settlement growth. All settlements are illegal under international law.

Yesterday, Ha’aretz reported that defence minister Ehud Barak had agreed to approve a new settlement in return for the evacuation of Migron, a settlement of 45 families which even the Israeli government regards as illegal. Evidence of the approval emerged in an affidavit submitted on Monday to the Israeli high court. A plan is being considered for 1,400 housing units at the new settlement. In January last year, Olmert committed himself to evacuating settlers from Migron within six months, though it now appears that no one will leave the settlement for at least another two or three years.

It has also emerged that Israel has spent more than 200m shekels (£35m) in the past two years preparing infrastructure to build thousands of homes between east Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, one of the largest settlement blocs on the West Bank. A police base was built on the site in May last year and, according to Ha’aretz, much more building is expected in the area. The defence ministry told the paper it regarded Ma’ale Adumim as “an inalienable part of Jerusalem and the state of Israel in any permanent settlement”.

A secret Israeli government database on settlement construction that was leaked last week to an Israeli human rights group showed that in three-quarters of all West Bank settlements some construction had taken place without proper permits. It showed more than 30 settlements were built at least in part on privately owned Palestinian land.

February 4th, 2009, 7:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Qunfuz states:

Years of peace process have brought Israel more stolen land…

Qunfuz,

Please detail the “more stolen land” Israel took since the “years of peace process”.

And the violence of the oppressor and the oppressed is NOT the same.

Which law states “the violence of the oppressor and the oppressed” has to be the same, especially if the oppressed are suicidal and hide in the civilian population?

What you call terror attacks is resistance to Zionist ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and massacre.

Qunfuz,

Perhaps in your “dictionary”. In the dictionary of international law, the “terror attacks” are considered self-defense.

The Arabs have not ethnically cleansed the Israelis.

Qunfuz,

Isn’t this unfortunate? Apparently, this is the stated goal of Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Meshaal, and a slew of Muslim clerics.

You can only thank the IDF for the validity of your statement.

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD222409

Zionism is based on the concept of Jewish superiority over the natives of Palestine.

Please feel free to show proof of your claim. Methinks this is just your opinion.

It necessitates bouts of ethnic cleansing and massacre, and can only survive while the Arabs are controlled by dictators.

Qunfuz,

Please detail all occurrances of “ethnic cleansing and massacre” in Israel. In a similar vein, please explain to the audience here, how successful Israeli ethnic cleansing has been in light of the increased Arab population in Israel.

Zionism is an evil.

Of course, that’s your opinion and the opinion of many Arabs (not all) and you’re free to bathe in anti-Israel/anti-Zionist dogma until you cleanse yourself from it entirely.

There can be no peace with it.

Of course not. Your media, your relatives, your clergy and your friends here on the World-Wide Web won’t allow it.

We don’t want peace anyway, we want justice.

Quelle surprise!

94% of Israelis supported the disgusting racist massacre of innocents in Gaza. Ninety four per cent.

That’s right. 94% of Israelis had enough of 8 years of Gazan missiles falling indiscrimanately into Israeli villages and cities.

Don’t talk to us about partners for peace.

I know, Shai is beginning to sound like a broken record. Maybe we can get Alex to ban him;)

Your rhetoric is sick, like your society.

Although I don’t think Israeli society is sick (I’ll be there in a month to visit), I understand your feelings, especially after “bathing” so long in the Arab media.

I don’t imagine we can defeat you in the near future.

Why not? Perhaps you’re not trying hard enough? For example, are you sending much needed money to Hamas for food, blankets, and ball bearings?

This situation is truly tragic.

Yes. If only the Zionists weren’t around things would be so much better.

But enough of dialogue with you monsters and your monstrous ideology.

Yes, the monstrous ideology of survival and self-preservation from those friendly Hamasniks is certainly a crime…

http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=35455

Resistance doesn’t have to be violent – though I support absolutely any means the Palestinians employ to resist the genocide -but resistance is the only option.

Reminds me of the Outback Steakhouse ads, “No rules, Just Right”.;)

By the way, there are an increasing number of Jews OUTSIDE of your apartheid state who do see the difference between the violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed. This provides a glimmer of hope. Zionists like you, even if you’re soft Zionists, provide no reason to hope whatsoever.

Shai is between a rock and hard place, for sure.

Thank you for the interesting post. I hope my responses make you puke.

February 4th, 2009, 7:10 pm

 

AIG said:

AP and I are the most right wing on this blog by far. Allow me to speak for him and myself. When people here say prepare for war, what do they mean? War between which countries or entities? We can assure you that the Israeli right has ZERO interest in any war since Israel has very little to gain from such war.

How can Bibi in power be worse from an Arab prespective than what happened in Gaza? After Gaza the Palestinians will not be ready for war for a very long time. As for all other Arab countries, Hizballah and Iran, they did not join the war either. So why will they do so now? So when you guys predict war, who will be fighting Israel and why?

February 4th, 2009, 7:15 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

If there is justice,zionism is sure to be defeated.
Zionist are evil,they deserve …….

February 4th, 2009, 7:28 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai,

please check your email when you have the time.

Qunfuz and others,

Please try not to blame Shai for what Israel is doing. You can criticize his approach (that peace with Israel is doable) but there is no need to make him a target.

AIG,

Israel stole everyone’s land and Israel violates tens of UN resolutions and Israel plays tricks on everyone to give the world community the impression that poor little civilized Israel is peace loving and it is those Syrians that do not want peace.

Until Israel decides to respect a settlement based on UN resolutions, there will be more chaos because Syria will not surrender and you will have to kill more Arabs … until the world knows you are a sick country that does not know how to exist peacefully in that environment.

Then you can decide to change … or to continue reinforcing your citadel… until you also understand you are living in prison.

At the end, you will lose… despite all your loaded weapons.

let’s see next year what Netanyahu will want to do with Iran … good luck.

February 4th, 2009, 7:41 pm

 

Alia said:

Norman,

Thanks for your confidence.
I am pretty sure Qunfuz is a man and he says everything I wish to say only a hundred times more eloquently.

A.P.

another masterpiece? You are outdoing yourself LOL !!!!! This was the most empty nonsense I have ever seen.

Man! where do they breed the like of you ? My kids want a new and unusual pet…but you would have to remain outdoors all the time, and the twins (girls) they will torture you…I can just see that !!

AIG,

I do not miss you at all. You are not even funny.

Nafdik,

Sorry!!! if I sounded commanding there- please go ahead and discuss whatever you think is important and appropriate for you and for the forum, I do not make the rules.

February 4th, 2009, 7:43 pm

 

AIG said:

Alex,

From my point of view Syria has already surrendered. It allowed Israel to attack it and Gaza with no retaliation. If Syria continues using its old methods, it will have mostly a problem with the EU and the US. They do not condone terrorism. Your problem will be to convince them that what Syria does is not terrorism. Good luck.

What problem will Israel have with Iran??? Can you explainthis point?

February 4th, 2009, 8:03 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ray Hanania says:

The greatest threat facing Palestinians is that Hamas will one-day broaden its unjustified violence from targeting Israeli and secular Palestinian rivals to instead commit an act of violence so horrendous on the scale of the terrorism committed by al-Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001 and that will destroy all hope for Palestinian independence.

The Palestinian government must take the difficult but necessary step to destroy the Hamas organizational structure. They must arrest those Hamas leaders who reject secular Democratic principles and renounce violence.

If the Palestinian National Authority government of President Mahmoud Abbas is to survive, it must impose its will.

http://arabwritersgroup.wordpress.com/2007/11/12/hanania-hamas-violence-in-gaza-justifies-harsh-pna-response-for-immediate-release-11-12-07/

If it’s not too late.

February 4th, 2009, 8:19 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Apparetnly the CSIS concluded that the GOI didn’t violate “the rules of war” in their recent conflict against the Hamas democracy.

What’s the next step?

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3666995,00.html

February 4th, 2009, 8:33 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Today’s Question:

Should Samira Ahmed Jassim be included in the thick stack of Topps “Freedom Fighter™” trading cards like Samer Kuntar and Yahya Ayyash?

She seems like a worthy candidate to me.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hwK_CSpBxsNuVUEaDuOwmSSCiqGwD964CM800

February 4th, 2009, 8:49 pm

 

Alex said:

It will get worse

Mubarak rebukes Hamas over Gaza war

http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3666901,00.html

Egyptian president slams Hamas for objecting to efforts to prolong Gaza ceasefire
Roee Nahmias

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak condemned Hamas and Iran in a speech Wednesday, and hinted that Hamas was responsible for the fighting in Gaza.

“Why did the resistance factions object to our attempts to prolong the ceasefire? And why did they not heed our warnings that their positions constitute an open invitation for an Israeli assault? Was this planned and deliberate? For whose benefit?” Mubarak said.

Hinting at Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal, Mubarak said, “For how long will Arab blood be shed, only to listen to those who admit their mistakes later, because they didn’t calculate Israel’s response correctly; and to those who wave resistance slogans over the corpses of casualties, the ruins, and the destruction?”

“The resistance does not entail slogans that disparage the lives of casualties and that deal in the blood of the injured or the suffering of innocent civilians,” he added.

Continuing his onslaught against Mashaal, the Egyptian president said, “I have stressed this before and I will say it again, the resistance must face the cost-benefit test. It must be responsible towards the nations that judge it on the merits of the benefits it has brought for their problems alongside the casualties, the pain, and the destruction it has caused.”

Directing his attention to Iran, Mubarak said, “The recent crisis has exposed an attempt to exploit the Israeli aggression in order to impose a new reality on the Palestinian and Arab arena – a new reality that will stack the cards in favor of a well-known regional force, Iran, for the benefit of its plans and agenda.”

He said the aim of the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the conflict was “to take away the Palestinian Authority’s legitimacy in order to bestow it on the factions and Hamas.”

Mubarak said the proof of this was Hamas’ proposal to establish an alternative authority to the PLO.

“The aim was the widening of the rift between the West Bank and Gaza. Otherwise, why are they now discussing a new Authority for the Palestinian people?” he asked.

February 4th, 2009, 9:15 pm

 

Alia said:

1. [If the Palestinian National Authority government of President Mahmoud Abbas is to survive, it must impose its will] .

Ray hanania said that in 2007 . No kidding. So what A.P. ?

2. WOW the CSIS must have been working day and night to come up with this fair and balanced decision at the speed of light. Have you ever taken a look at THAT think tank?

Just a couple of tips:

Micheal Ledeen ( a warmonger, contra-affair implicated, what else? something about enriched Uranium Saddam obtained,advocate of Iran strike, strong advocate of Iraq war ) real, real fine and balanced figure.
Madeleine Albright : So what a few hundred thousand Iraqi children dead, that is not that important!
Arnaud de Borchgrave is not dumm but he is hopelessly imperialistic, it is that Count title that he cannot escape from. He is so afraid that if he may come to the right conclusions after gathering all the right facts ( he is an exceptional jounalist), they will take away his miserable Count title. I know that for a fact.

A.P.

Now we can all go to sleep comfortably knowing that CSIS has studied the matter and the Jewish news has published that on the net.

February 4th, 2009, 9:19 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

If Syria surrendered and Iran can not pose a problem for Israel then why is Akbar Palace still pre-programmed to post links to all the threats that Israel is facing? .. can you ask them to re-program him to produce victory-like output?

February 4th, 2009, 9:34 pm

 

AIG said:

Alex,

I asked you a serious question. Now that Israel has credibly implemented the “boss” has gone mad strategy, and it is clear that this strategy will also be implemented in the future, what exactly can Hamas, Hizballah, Syria and Iran do? The price for any of their actions is just too high. In effect, Israel has been able to neutralize the advantages of the weak side in assymetric warfare. Following 9/11, the world has no patience with regimes that harbor or cannot control terrorists working from their land. Hizballah and Hamas cannot fight anymore without trashing Gaza or Lebanon completely.

Whatever your moral view of the situation it is a fact that Hizballah did nothing during the Gaza war. It is a fact that Syria did nothing during the Gaza war. It is a fact that Syria has allowed Israel to bomb Syrian targets without ANY retaliation. The only explanation to these facts is that Syria and Hizballah are much more worried about the consequences of a war than Israel. In an all out war between Syria and Israel, Syria will just fall apart and cease to exist as a viable country. That is in nobody’s interest, including Israel.

Of course Israel faces threats. The Syrians may go crazy and decide to launch rockets at Israel. Hizballah may do the same. But these things are all very unlikely. The cost of war is just not worth it.

February 4th, 2009, 10:44 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Good question.

I will ask you few questions

1) What does it take to establish a clear trend? … how many points (Xi) along one direction should your dataset have?
2) Did Israel win last time in Lebanon against Hizbollah’s 5000 fighters? .. did Israel manage to hit Iran? … what happens to your conclusions if you go beyond your preferred two data points of Israel’s success in killing 1335 Palestinians and destroying Syrian military wharehouse?
3) Your next prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu is claiming that Iran is the most serious threat to civilization, and not only to Israel. What do you see happening there?
4) If Israel won so convincingly in Gaza, why is it that Israel and Egypt were rushing for the ceasefire and not Hamas? (besides Israel’s humanitarian nature which we all know and admire)?

February 4th, 2009, 11:01 pm

 

qunfuz said:

Norman, my wife is an Arab woman, and she feels much more strongly than me.

February 4th, 2009, 11:06 pm

 

qunfuz said:

AP, your responses did indeed make me puke, quite violently.

Shai, I think you’re a nice bloke. (We’ve never met so I can’t really tell, but it would be nice to). But I mean absolutely what I said before. I’m addressing your words on this site, not you the inner essence.

February 4th, 2009, 11:12 pm

 

qunfuz said:

And Alex, I’m sorry if I have offended. My sensitivities are high, as you may have noticed.

February 4th, 2009, 11:13 pm

 

AIG said:

Alex,

Yes, I know my question is good, but what is your answer?

1) The trend is established when Hizballah does nothing following the attack in Gaza and also Syria does nothing. The trend is established when Asad said in the Arab Leaugue meeting that “he will not risk all of Syria for a small part of it”. There is no need for more data points.
2)Israel did not perform well against Hizballah in 2006. There was no good plan. But, with hindsight, Israel won big because Hizballah has been completely deterred from acting against Israel.
3)In Iran, Obama and the EU will try negotiations and then move on to sanctions. Israel has successfully convinced the world that Iran is everybody’s problem. And if need be, Israel will attack Iran. There is not much Iran can do in retaliation unless it wants to take on the US and Europe. Though I really do not understand your point here. Both you and Shai believe that a nuclear Iran is not a threat to anybody.
4)Israel was not rushing to a ceasefire at all. In fact it comitted ground forces and took the Hamas head on. Hamas lost the Gaza conflict in a HUGE way. They are in the same position they were before the war except that Gaza is trashed and there is an international committment to stop arm smuggling.

February 4th, 2009, 11:27 pm

 

qunfuz said:

To reiterate (I’ve just seen your above post, Shai), I am addressing what seems to be your argument. If your argument is just that people like me should talk to people like you, then here I am talking (admittedly, since this massacre, finding it difficult to do so in a quiet voice). But if your argument is more general, then I don’t agree. Continuing with peace processes IN THE PRESENT FRAMEWORK AND BALANCE OF POWER can’t work. Your argument if generalised, which is how I understood it – perhaps wrongly – seems to me like ‘we’ll talk about not killing you anymore if you love us first.’ It doesn’t work like that. If it was a thing between you and me, if you had me in a cage and said you might let me out if I started to appreciate your finer qualities, I might (but I’m not so strong and good) try, through meditating and suffering, to do so. But an oppressed people won’t work like that.

I hope for a realignement that in various ways, from various directions, puts Israel under serious pressure and lessens the inequality between the sides. The Usual thing – the Arabs are too weak, the Israelis too strong to make peace now.

In any case, if you feel I have insulted you on a personal level, I sincerely apologise.

February 4th, 2009, 11:33 pm

 

norman said:

Home>International News Updated Feb.4,2009 13:21 KST

IAEA Says No Evidence Found in Syria Connection

The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency says if the IAEA has evidence to support Israel’s suspicions that North Korea was assisting Syria in building a nuclear weapons facility, he would have taken swift action to stop it.
Mohamed Elbaradei in an interview with Newsweek magazine also indicated Israel’s “unilateral” military action on the alleged Syrian nuclear site two years ago was unjustifiable.

In 2007 Israeli warplanes bombed a suspected plutonium-production complex in Syria, which the then U.S. government believed was constructed with the help of North Korea.

The IAEA has condemned Israel’s airstrike and is unable to verify Israel’s claims.

Arirang News

February 5th, 2009, 4:12 am

 

Alex said:

No evidence?

It does not matter Norman .. because “the Boss” will attack anyway.

Besides, this Elbaradei is an Ay-rab he should not be trusted.

February 5th, 2009, 4:17 am

 

Alex said:

Open Letter to Barak Hussein Obama, President of the United States of America

By Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Former Prime Minister of Malaysia

January 1, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I did not vote for you in the Presidential Election because I am Malaysian.

But I consider myself one of your constituents because what you do or say will affect me and my country as well.

I welcome your promise for change. Certainly your country, the United States of America needs a lot of changes.

That is because America and Americans have become the most hated people in the world. Even Europeans dislike your arrogance. Yet you were once admired and liked because you freed a lot of countries from conquest and subjugation.

It is the custom on New Year’s day for people to make resolutions. You must have listed your good resolutions already. But may I politely suggest that you also resolve to do the following in pursuit of Change.

1) Stop killing people. The United States is too fond of killing people in order to achieve its objectives. You call it war, but today’s wars are not about professional soldiers fighting and killing each other. It is about killing people, ordinary innocent people by the hundreds of thousands. Whole countries will be devastated.

War is primitive, the cavemen’s way of dealing with a problem. Stop your arms build up and your planning for future wars.

2) Stop indiscriminate support of Israeli killers with your money and your weapons. The planes and the bombs killing the people of Gaza are from you.

3) Stop applying sanctions against countries which cannot do the same against you.

In Iraq your sanctions killed 500,000 children through depriving them of medicine and food. Others were born deformed.

What have you achieved with this cruelty? Nothing except the hatred of the victims and right-thinking people.

4) Stop your scientists and researchers from inventing new and more diabolical weapons to kill more people more efficiently.

5) Stop your arms manufacturers from producing them. Stop your sales of arms to the world. It is blood money that you earn. It is un-Christian.

6) Stop trying to democratize all the countries of the world. Democracy may work for the United States but it does not always work for other countries.

Don’t kill people because they are not democratic. Your crusade to democratize countries has killed more people than the authoritarian Governments which you overthrew. And you have not succeeded anyway.

7) Stop the casinos which you call financial institutions. Stop hedge funds, derivatives and currency trading. Stop banks from lending non-existent money by the billions.

Regulate and supervise your banks. Jail the miscreants who made profits from abusing the system.

8) Sign the Kyoto Protocol and other international agreements.

9) Show respect for the United Nations.

I have many other resolutions for change which I think you should consider and undertake.

But I think you have enough on your plate for this 2009th year of the Christian Era.

If you can do only a few of what I suggest, you will be remembered by the world as a great leader. Then the United States will again be the most admired nation. Your embassies will be able to take down the high fences and razor-wire coils that surround them.

May I wish you a Happy New Year and a great Presidency.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad

(Former Prime Minister of Malaysia )

February 5th, 2009, 4:58 am

 

Shai said:

Qunfuz,

I didn’t see it as an insult, but rather as a great shame. After all these months. I never asked anything of the Palestinians, also long before Gaza. If I were them, I’d struggle against Israeli Occupation no less. Whether I’d do it using Qassam rockets, or ongoing, week after week, year after year, massive human demonstrations, is another argument. But I would certainly NEVER give up my justified fight for freedom. I don’t know why you’d assume I’m asking them to “like me” before I break down their open-air prison – of course I’m not.

I’m not asking you to talk with Israel’s 94% that supported the Gaza operation (far more than ever supported ANY Israeli action against the Arabs). I do think, however, that you should continue talking to the 6% that didn’t. And if what you expect of them is to join you in some anti-Zionist “bonfire”, then you’ll find few are interested. I understand that Peace sounds like a ridiculous notion right now, but do remember that peace isn’t always a reward you give two parties that suddenly love each other. It is also a decision two parties reach when they’re tired of the alternative, of fighting one another. This decision will never take place (especially on our side), if we don’t talk.

February 5th, 2009, 5:25 am

 

Shami said:

Erdogan’s Outburst and the Future of the Turkish State
By George Friedman
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090202_erdogans_outburst_and_future_turkish_state

February 5th, 2009, 5:45 am

 

Alex said:

From Time Magazine’s tony Karon’s blog:

Waltzing With Ariel: Will Obama, Too, Indulge Israeli Rejectionism?

Ariel Sharon still sleeps peacefully on life-support three years after suffering a massive stroke, but you could be forgiven for thinking he was still at the helm in Israel — because today, the Israeli government appears to have only tactics to fight the next battle, but no strategy beyond an improvisational combination of expanding the occupation of the West Bank, cynically chanting the benedictions of a two-state divorce that will come, one day (like the moshiach) while getting on with the “iron wall” business of creating expansive “facts on the ground” and trying to crush Palestinian resistance. There’s no “peace process” at work in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor as there been for the past eight years.

Perhaps Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in next weekend’s Israeli election will provide what George W. Bush liked to call a “moment of clarity”, by making it unmistakably clear that Israel’s leaders are not, in any meaningful sense, a “partner” for a credible two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Then again, you’re more likely to hear more wishful spin about how Bibi, precisely because he’s so hawkish, is a better bet for making peace — which sort of dodges the inconvenient truth that Bibi has no intention of doing so.)

http://tonykaron.com/2009/02/04/waltzing-with-ariel-will-obama-too-indulge-israeli-rejectionism/

February 5th, 2009, 6:14 am

 

nafdik said:

Alex,

I love your logical approach to breaking down the priorities. And your Maslow reference.

1) First my cheap shot:

“My priorities for Syria are in this sequence:

0) Enforcing the anti-smoking law(including argeeleh)
1) settlement of regional conflicts
2) fighting corruption/Economic reforms
3) Democracy

Smoking kills more Syrians than Israel kills Palestinians.”

Using your metric guess what else has killed more Syrians than Israel killed Palestinians?

2) On a more serious note. Maslow explains exactly why some of us accept the dictatorship.

They basically think that the dictatorship will guarantee our basic needs: Physiological and Security.

They are ready to sacrifice the other needs because they are less essential as per Maslow.

This seems to be the reasonable thing to do.

However, using the same logic they should be telling the Palestinians to accept Israeli occupation. They obviously had these basic needs better served pre-Oslo than today.

So if we want to honor the Palestinian heroes that are have risked their most basic human need in exchange for a hope of future where they can be free, we should emulate them and start thinking about our Israel and our jailers.

If we were free, we, the Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese and Jordanians might have been able to extend a hand to the people of Gaza, rather than guarding the border while they were being murdered and starved.

February 5th, 2009, 6:48 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

IDF is chancing to religious settler army. It makes leaving the settlements almost impossible. If over one third of IDF (and the share is fast growing) are loyal to the settlers aims equipped with religious extremism that the settlers/religious extremists have a own army. Even in case that the west would want an agreement based on 1967 borders to be reality there are no force left in Israel to make that happen.

Israel begins to dangerously instabil both “mentally” and politically.

Religious groups are ‘penetrating’ Israeli army

NAZARETH // Extremist rabbis and their followers, bent on waging holy war against the Palestinians, are taking over the Israeli army by stealth, according to critics.

In a process one military historian has termed the rapid “theologisation” of the Israeli army, there are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements. They answer to hardline rabbis who call for the establishment of a Greater Israel that includes the occupied Palestinian territories.

Their influence in shaping the army’s goals and methods is starting to be felt, said observers, as more and more graduates from officer courses are also drawn from Israel’s religious extremist population.

“We have reached the point where a critical mass of religious soldiers is trying to negotiate with the army about how and for what purpose military force is employed on the battlefield,” said Yigal Levy, a political sociologist at the Open University who has written several books on the Israeli army.
….
According to figures cited in the Israeli media, more than one-third of all Israel’s combat soldiers are religious, as are more than 40 per cent of those graduating from officer courses.

The army has encouraged this trend by creating some two dozen hesder yeshivas, seminaries in which youths can combine Biblical studies with army service in separate religious units. Many of the yeshivas are based in the West Bank, where students are educated by the settlements’ extremist rabbis.

February 5th, 2009, 6:52 am

 

Rumyal said:

Alex, Nafdik, Norman, (All,)

As Nafdik said, I only provided a prediction (or some might say wishful thinking) on what Israel may turn into predicated on BDS pressure applied. Non-violent pressure is key. Wars will only radicalize Israel and on the other hand without any pressure we’re seeing what’s happening.

My Syria related comment was mostly just a jibe. I don’t wish to tell you what priorities you need to pursue in your country as long as people in general live in dignity and equality, which seems to be the case in Syria. I can appreciate Syria’s complexities and the desire to address them carefully. I disagree with Alex that you can achieve his higher-priority goals without democracy first but… cool… it’s your business. I am also not certain that Israel will reform before Syria. However, there is something about Israeli society (Arabs and Jews combined) that people on this blog are not in a position to understand: there is a great capacity to do things together and explore options that, in my hopes, will become the norm after Israelis are finally forced to reckon their options. As Alex mentioned, living under insecurity deals a mortal blow to peoples’ hopes and imagination, not less in Israel than in Syria and people have been living under an atmosphere of war and terror that frustrated a lot of the co-existence efforts within Israel, but they still do exist and they proliferate at the grassroots level. Why is this important? Because this is where everything start. These people prepare the blueprints for the future. You should support them.

Now as far as peace-processing is concerned and every other regime-level interactions, I share your skepticism and yes this *has* been tantamount to throwing sand in the eyes of everybody involved, including, maybe most importantly, the Israeli public itself. When Israeli leaders are doing all the peace-processing and then they tell Israelis that there is no partner, it gives this assertion a lot of (false) credibility compared with somebody like Shamir who says there’s nobody to talk to—but never engaged anyone.

I want to say something about my self-perceived responsibility to what the Israeli government is doing. I have said in the past that I feel responsible for what my county is doing. Some of the things Alia had said made me do some reading and thinking about the topic, in a manner that turned out to be quite empowering. Suppose you were born and raised in Israel, what assurances do you have that you would not have been in the “lucky” 5% that objected Gaza? People are people all over the world and they are molded in the shape of the society around them. It’s stupid to think that there is something special about Israelis that makes them “evil”. In fact let me tell you this—if your personality structure in general takes you in the direction of supporting authoritative regimes, you are likely to have been in the 95% camp my friend. Sad isn’t it? Nobody asked me where and when I wished to be born. I was born a citizen of Israel to an ardent Zionist family. I have no other country and this will forever be my home—the land and its people—even if it’s called something else and even if I cannot actually live there for whatever reason. That doesn’t make me responsible in any way to what the government is doing, and I’m not supporting it in any way. However, I have it easy, since I don’t live in Israel, so I don’t have a heavy price to pay. (Still I face ostracism from the Israeli community here.) Also, I don’t understand why people here assume that their sorrow over Gaza is greater than mine? Israel is always being blamed (rightfully so) for its identity politics, people who appropriate morality and sorrow and justice based on a made-to-measure criteria are just as guilty in identity politics and divisiveness.

Alia’s implied assertion that Shai and I “didn’t do enough” is dubious. 99% of the people “don’t do enough”. I suppose Alia expects all the Arab teachers, judges, professors and all other state employees in Israel to not go to work today, or ever? To boycott the country and denounce all affiliation to it so that they don’t support it indirectly? To stop pay taxes? Otherwise they are all collaborators with the Zionist regime? Well it just doesn’t work this way. Not everybody is born to be a world-level musician or athlete and not everybody is born to be a political freedom fighter. I suppose it is also expected of all the Arab US citizens and residents here to chain themselves to the Pentagon in a hunger strike and stop paying their taxes that support Israel (and Egypt)? Or maybe even better yet just leave this big hellhole that supports the little hellhole and go back to your proud and squeaky-clean Syria? Or is it that the “burden of proof” on Israelis who object their government higher than Arabs who can sit on their hands and claim moral higher ground? What would be the justification for this logic?

February 5th, 2009, 6:53 am

 

Alex said:

First Rumyal,

I give you my full support on the last point you made … few thousand people (out of tens of millions) in Egypt demonstrated for Gaza even though 99% of Egyptians probably were furious at what Israel was doing.

In comparison, I was living in Egypt when Anwar Sadat announced he is cutting government’s subsidies on bread (the IMF asked him to I think) … there were huge demonstrations in the streets the next day and … Sadat appeared on TV to tell us he was just joking .. there will be no lifting of subsidies.

I therefore do not find it fair to blame Shai and Rumyal for doing more than what they are doing here… let’s ask our people to do more, then we will ask Shai and Rumyal.

Shai … I disagree with your optimism about the situation in Israel .. I think it is not looking good at all. read Tony Karon’s take on Netanyahu.

I therefore suggest for Shai and all the peace activists to spend one hour every day to educate the Palestinians on the power of peaceful demonstrations … tell them they need to show up to those demonstrations … tens of thousands at a time… help them organize them.

Isn’t this the most efficient use of your time, then of THEIR resistance time?

Now for democracy (Nafdik and Rumyal):

Motivation and decision making are really functions of the following:

1) PERCEPTIONS of probabilities of success following option A (fighting for democracy now, for example) or B (accepting slow reform)

Rumyal … most Syrians KNOW (from current and historical info) that the current system is MUCH more stable than Iraq and Lebanon. And it is much more stable than Syria in the 60’s.

There is certainty (highest probability) there .. which raises dramatically the score (in one’s brain) for Option B.

Your PERCEPTION of the same probability is different, I understand.

2) Each person’s value system … those higher order goals and needs on Maslaw’s pyramid are in general the non-selfish goals… when you start looking at the well being of people around you, then of humanity in general … then you get spiritual …

For Rumyal and Nafdik, their higher order goals seem to be related to democracy.

For me, my higher order goals is to minimize the loss of lives. That’s why I will be very reluctant to mess up with Syria the way it is today … the Saudis were (are?) building an 18 billion dollar wall to stop Iraqi refugees from entering their country … Israel does not give a damn about non Jews and will never save Iraqi refugees … Syria takes millions of refugees no matter what religion or ethnic background. That is my ultimate higher value.

God gives life .. we create countries and political parties … I think protecting God’s creations is more valuable than protecting our own creations.

Then again, Rumyal and Nafdik would say that human beings need democracy to have a fulfilling life.

I say … when they need it that much THEY will ask for it in large enough numbers and they will get it, just like a million Lebanese people demonstrated in the street and got eh Syrian army out in 2005.

3) differnet people’s discount rates for future benefits:

This comes from maturity … some only care for rewards they can obtain today, some can work for rewards they can obtain next week, others can work for things they will achieve in ten years.

When it comes to democracy … People in the Arab world don’t know how long it will take to go there …

It is as much fun as investing for retirement vs buying an HD 65″ LCDTV today : )

February 5th, 2009, 7:35 am

 

jad said:

Alex,
You are truly a very good man!
I really respect you.

February 5th, 2009, 7:49 am

 

Rumyal said:

Alex,

About democracy. Not that it matters that much… but this was not my intent. If I were a Syrian, I would also not press for democracy now. At the same time, I think it’s unrealistic to expect easing the corruption situation while you don’t have democracy.

February 5th, 2009, 7:52 am

 

Alex said:

Thank you Jad!

It is nice to get such praise right after I squeezed my brain for half an hour to remember my motivation stuff from my grad school.

Rumyal,

You have a point and I really wanted to say that my sequence of priorities earlier today was distorted in the sense that it did not allow for overlapping, concurrent “tasks” … fighting corruption can start (and it did start, very slowly) before “democracy”

But please don’t forget that “democracy” is an ideal (plus infinity) that we won’t reach .. and serious, massive corruption is still there in the most advanced democracies in the west.

Therefore, I hope you agree that at best, it will have to be a parallel approach.

February 5th, 2009, 8:01 am

 

qunfuz said:

Not that it’s relevant, but I feel something has snapped in mind and heart over the last month. I’m trying to get beyond the snapping. I have found this helpful and inspiring, a Norman Finkelstein lecture on Ghandi and Palestine. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I agree with most of it. It’s in video and text form.

http://pulsemedia.org/2009/02/04/what-we-can-learn-from-gandhi/

And Shai, I am prepared to talk to the 6%. I find Finkelstein’s concluding paragraph educative and humbling:

“The Caribbean poet Aimé Césaire once wrote, “There’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory.” Late in life, when his political horizons broadened out, Edward Said would often quote this line. We should make it our credo as well. We want to nurture a movement, not hatch a cult. The victory to which we aspire is inclusive, not exclusive; it is not at anyone’s expense. It is to be victorious without vanquishing. No one is a loser, and we all are gainers if together we stand by truth and justice. “I am not anti-English; I am not anti-British; I am not anti-any government,” Gandhi insisted, “but I am anti-untruth—anti-humbug, and anti-injustice.”(188) Shouldn’t we also say that we are not anti-Jewish, anti-Israel or, for that matter, anti-Zionist? The prize on which our eyes should be riveted is human rights, human dignity, human equality. What, really, is the point of ideological litmus tests such as, Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist? Indeed, it is Israel’s apologists who thrive on and cling to them, bogging down interlocutors in distracting and endless intellectual sideshows—What is a Jew? Are the Jews a nation? Don’t Jews have a right to national liberation? Shouldn’t we use a vocabulary that registers and resonates with the public conscience and the Jewish conscience, winning over the decent many while isolating the diehard few? Shouldn’t we instead be asking, Are you for or against ethnic cleansing, for or against torture, for or against house demolitions, for or against Jews-only roads and Jews-only settlements, for or against discriminatory laws? And if the answer comes, against, against and against, shouldn’t we then say, Keep your ideology, whatever it might be—there’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory?

May we all, seekers of truth, fighters for justice, yet live to join the people of Palestine at the rendezvous of victory.”

February 5th, 2009, 10:26 am

 

Off the Wall said:

Dear All
Sorry for pulling once more a disappearing act. Things have been extremely busy around the office to a point that my effective hourly wage is by now below the minimum wage  . Furthermore, I still have not changed my decision of not saying much until I have something constructive and/or useful to say. At my age, with pressures abound, one runs the risk of turning into a bitter old depressed person and reflection is indeed helpful given the amount of re-thinking some of us here have had to go through regarding prospects for peace and non violence that we have advocated vociferously on SC for nearly a year now.
It is hard and perhaps futile to respond to every post that appeared on SC since my last engagement with Chris and AP. I have been reading SC posts to the extent possible, and although I have not responded, it seems that some discernable lines of thoughts are emerging that reflect our individual and collective responses to
(a) massive criminal violence (by israel),
(b) ubiquitous complicity in the crime (by the western and ironically self proclaimed “civilized world”), and
(c) unashamed treachery and treason (so called moderate arabs)
Our responses, and I am only talking about us who identify one way or another as being Arabs, have been typical and atypical. On the typical side, the responses range from very mildly identifying with the aggressor (e.g., Nafdik), rage and anger (all of us including Nafdik), frustration and disillusionment (dialogue camp including myself), and denial and blaming the victims (the few apologists for the so-called moderate arabs who manage to pop-up infrequently). Overall, these responses are akin to some of the responses rape and abuse victims and their immediate family members display to one degree or another.
Yet, what I found to be atypical here and on many other blogs, is the complete lack of defeatism, terror, and fear, which are also common responses to violent rape. It is very obvious that no one fears Israel anymore even as we all recognize that Israel’ repetitive failure to dictate its dominance through conventional (mostly illegal) weapons, coupled with its psychotic condition, will eventually drive it closer to exercising the nuclear option be it the final solution of ethnic cleansing, or the actual use of nuclear weapons against its neighbors. Yet, we, along with the entire Arab and Muslim populace, have exchanged fear of israel’s might with genuine, civilized disgust with israel and what it now stands for. Our rage is no longer the hot tempered anger or the depressed defeatism masquerading in triumphal rhetoric that dominated our responses from 1940s on, it is now a cold rage, grounded in deep humanitarian principles and constructed on demonstrable high moral ground. Most importantly, I find that as a collective we have abandoned hate, and replaced it with disgust and pity, this is a very healthy transition albeit a result of a painful trauma. I must say that we are proving more resilient than we tend to give ourselves credit for.
I have never been a strong advocate of the two states solution. Even when Shai managed to convince me that a separation period between israel and the Palestinians (its closest victims) may be beneficial, I only accepted such possibility because it seemed then that this is what the Palestinians wanted. Unfortunately, every day now, key advocates of the two states solution are recognizing that Israel never really had any intention of going through with any solution that did not involve the complete swallowing of the entirety of historical Palestine. Since Oslo, every action by “elected” Israeli official has been directed toward sabotaging the two states solution and as Tony Karon argued quite well, Israel has never been a true partner in making peace. It was frauds like martin indyk, dennis ross, thomas friedman and the ethically and morally bankrupt dershowtiz who tried to propagate the lies that the Palestinians were not true partners to hide their own complicity in aiding and abetting Israel’s double face diplomacy and continuing theft of Palestinian land and dignity. israel’s latest rabid tantrum, has now convinced many that Israel, in its current pathological composition, is incapable of being a partner in peace. The fact that only 6% of its citizens, are capable of introspection, is hardly an encouraging sign.
While touted by its apologists as victory, israel’s abject failure is demonstrated unambiguously by the fact that the old colonial masters now have to divert their navies from protecting international trade routes against pirates and refocus their efforts towards assisting their “beloved miracle” in enforcing the criminal blockade against the million and a half hungry traumatized Gazans. The knee jerk reaction of the masters, whom we now recognize to have established their strong legal concept of trying crimes against humanity in their national jurisdictions as being only applicable to “third world” dictators but not to the criminal citizen of the illegitimate child of their rape of our beloved Levant.
It is interesting and now universal fact that the moral decline and corruption of any politician in the west, including the US is very clearly rooted in their first conscious decision to blindly support israel’s policies and crimes. Whether it is fear of the intimidation tactics of organizations such as AIPAC, ADL, and their think-tanks, or greed for some campaign donations, the first morally bankrupt statement uttered by many politicians, including progressives, is one in blind support of israel. It ties their hands from that point on. One can argue, by circumstantial evidence, that the decline of ethics in modern american politics can be traced to the beginning of the blind support of israel. One could even venture to argue that efforts to maintain the power of the israel lobby is very influential in preventing a true anti-lobbying and ethical reforms not only in the us but also throughout western europe. Is this anti-semetic, not for a second. Just observe the moral duplicity of these politicians as they go after the tobacco lobby, the AARP, the oil lobby, even some venture to go after the AMA, but no one dares to go after AIPAC despite of the many infractions of it senior members, the criminal activities of its affiliate groups such as the ADL, and the blunt racism of its literature and attack dogs such as horrowtiz and pipes. It is in the interest of Jewish Americans to reclaim their rightful place as major contributors to the development of legal and ethical theories in the US, and to join hand with their true progressive roots to vocally oppose frauds like the above-listed psudo intellectuals, expose AIPAC and its european counterparts as right wing cults, and to join alternative advocacy groups in emphasizing Alex’s wonderful point:
“a prerequisite to a genuine friendship between the United states and Syria’s resistance camp will be for the United states to recognize the right of all countries in the Middle East (and not only Israel) to exist as friends of the United States, without forcing them to become “American puppets” like America’s current set of friends in the Arab world”
In this regard, I must applaud my friend Rumyal, and my friend Shai. From where I stand, they represent an endangered minority in Israel, a minority that is doing its best to remain ethically consistent. As much as I admire Alia and her intellect, I respectfully differ with her, at least with respect to my own enthusiasm about potential reconciliation no matter how far in the future it is. When (and not if) Israel is to recover from its birth defect psychosis, people like Rumyal, Shai, and the many unsung heroes working for peace and reconciliation in israel and here in the US will be much needed. These people will provide the ethical and moral foundation for a reborn society, in other words for the Israeli Baath :). From Shai’s own writing, i am confident that he is doing just that with his own doughters. This is not much different than my thinking and admiration of the younger Syrians such as Jad, Zenobia, Alex, and others on this site, they will one day do what my generation has so far failed to do, help bring progress to Syria.

February 5th, 2009, 11:17 am

 

Alia said:

I wrote this earlier; it stayed under review since I misspelled my name 🙂 I am running out to work, I have no time to review it.

Rumyal,

It is 4.00 am and am closing my books but I will respond to the two points that you address to me briefly:

[It’s stupid to think that there is something special about Israelis that makes them “evil”. In fact let me tell you this—if your personality structure in general takes you in the direction of supporting authoritative regimes, you are likely to have been in the 95% camp my friend.]

Israel is now an authoritative regime? We are being constantly told that you are a democracy!

First of all this personality structure that you are citing is popular stuff, possibly applicable in a small way to individual personalities; however it has no scientific value when it applies to populations.
In countries under dictatorship rules, it has been observed that following the first few years of the establishment of the dictatorship (6-10) years, the population tends to start subverting the authority…sometimes by as little as jokes that circulate ( The DDR for example had an astonishing culture of political satire). There is also a percentage of the population who will ally itself to the regime to obtain concrete benefits or power.
This specific fact, of authority slipping gradually on an individual and group basis, is what drives some of those regimes to go through a massive brutal action every few years in order to RE-subdue the population. Lenin’s purges had that additional effect. Israel is not more authoritative than Caucescu’s Roumania or Enver KhoXa’s Albania.

If you look at the spectrum of personality distribution within a culture, you expect to see the greatest variety in the more open societies, where freedom of movement, equal protection under the law, open information, social subsidies that make it possible for the individual to survive without absolutely belonging to the clan. All of that is available to people in Israel….
Altruistic behavior occurs both under authoritarian regimes and in open societies, but the price to pay for it is much higher under authoritarian regimes. If you insist on saying that you are a democracy then you have to take responsibility for what is happening around you. You Zionists have put the responsibility on all the German population for their silence…Can you compare Germany under Hitler with your country under your rulers?

There is something else going on in Israel to explain the 94% approval of the Genocide and if you say you belong to those 4-5% who did not and do not then may be you can gather some knowledge about your compatriots to enlighten us on what is going on with them.

2) I did not imply anything about you Rumyal but I did expect that Shai would do more because I have been hearing more from Shai. And what is there to do? WE all know what there is…Have I done more under similar circumstances. Yes I have but you will only have my word for it.

What is Evil Shai and Rumyal: How do you define it for others? For yourself? For your children?

It is is 4.00 am here so I will go …

February 5th, 2009, 11:54 am

 

Off the Wall said:

Secular or Relieguous, They are both caluous with the Palestinians Lives (please check the last paragraph)

From Counterpunch

Religious Extremists Rising Through the Ranks
An IDF Jihad?
By JONATHAN COOK

Nazareth.

Extremist rabbis and their followers, bent on waging holy war against the Palestinians, are taking over the Israeli army by stealth, according to critics.

In a process one military historian has termed the rapid “theologisation” of the Israeli army, there are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements. They answer to hardline rabbis who call for the establishment of a Greater Israel that includes the occupied Palestinian territories.

Their influence in shaping the army’s goals and methods is starting to be felt, say observers, as more and more graduates from officer courses are also drawn from Israel’s religious extremist population.

“We have reached the point where a critical mass of religious soldiers is trying to negotiate with the army about how and for what purpose military force is employed on the battlefield,” said Yigal Levy, a political sociologist at the Open University who has written several books on the Israeli army.

The new atmosphere was evident in the “excessive force” used in the recent Gaza operation, Dr Levy said. More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, a majority of them civilians, and thousands were injured as whole neighbourhoods of Gaza were levelled.

“When soldiers, including secular ones, are imbued with theological ideas, it makes them less sensitive to human rights or the suffering of the other side.”

The greater role of extremist religious groups in the army came to light last week when it emerged that the army rabbinate had handed out a booklet to soldiers preparing for the recent 22-day Gaza offensive.

Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, said the material contained messages “bordering on racist incitement against the Palestinian people” and might have encouraged soldiers to ignore international law.

The booklet quotes extensively from Shlomo Aviner, a far-right rabbi who heads a religious seminary in the Muslim quarter of East Jerusalem. He compares the Palestinians to the Philistines, the Biblical enemy of the Jews.

He advises: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers … This is a war on murderers.” He also cites a Biblical ban on “surrendering a single millimetre” of Greater Israel.

The booklet was approved by the army’s chief rabbi, Brig Gen Avichai Ronsky, who is reportedly determined to improve the army’s “combat values” after its failure to crush Hizbollah in Lebanon in 2006.

Gen Ronsky was appointed three years ago in a move designed, according to the Israeli media, to placate hardline religious elements within the army and the settler community.

Gen Ronsky, himself a settler in the West Bank community of Itimar, near Nablus, is close to far-right groups. According to reports, he pays regular visits to jailed members of Jewish terror groups; he has offered his home to a settler who is under house arrest for wounding Palestinians; and he has introduced senior officers to a small group of extremist settlers who live among more than 150,000 Palestinians in Hebron.

He has also radically overhauled the rabbinate, which was originally founded to offer religious services and ensure religious soldiers were able to observe the sabbath and eat kosher meals in army canteens.

Over the past year the rabbinate has effectively taken over the role of the army’s education corps through its Jewish Awareness Department, which co-ordinates its activities with Elad, a settler organisation that is active in East Jerusalem.

In October, the Haaretz newspaper quoted an unnamed senior officer who accused the rabbinate of carrying out the religious and political “brainwashing” of troops.

Dr Levy said the army rabbinate’s power was growing as the ranks of religious soldiers swelled.

Breaking the Silence, a project run by soldiers seeking to expose the army’s behaviour against Palestinians, said the booklet handed out to troops in Gaza had originated among Hebron’s settlers.

“The document has been around since at least 2003,” said Mikhael Manekin, 29, one of the group’s directors and himself religiously observant. “But what is new is that the army has been effectively subcontracted to promote the views of the extremist settlers to its soldiers.”

The power of the religious right in the army reflected wider social trends inside Israel, Dr Levy said. He pointed out that the rural cooperatives known as kibbutzim that were once home to Israel’s secular middle classes and produced the bulk of its officer corps had been on the wane since the early 1980s.

“The vacuum left by their gradual retreat from the army was filled by religious youngsters and by the children of the settlements. They now dominate in many branches of the army.”

According to figures cited in the Israeli media, more than one-third of all Israel’s combat soldiers are religious, as are more than 40 per cent of those graduating from officer courses.

The army has encouraged this trend by creating some two dozen hesder yeshivas, seminaries in which youths can combine Biblical studies with army service in separate religious units. Many of the yeshivas are based in the West Bank, where students are educated by the settlements’ extremist rabbis.

Ehud Barak, the defence minister, has rapidly expanded the programme, approving four yeshivas, three based in settlements, last summer. Another 10 are reportedly awaiting his approval.

Mr Manekin, however, warned against blaming the violence inflicted on Gaza’s civilians solely on the influence of religious extremists.

“The army is still run by the secular elites in Israel and they have always been reckless with regard to the safety of civilians when they wage war. Jewish nationalism that justifies Palestinian deaths is just as dangerous as religious extremism.”

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.

February 5th, 2009, 12:45 pm

 

offended said:

Alex, maybe it’s just me, but I think the level of intellect on SC has risen quite remarkably in the last couple of days. I felt dizzy reading the last 20 comments or so. At the moment I can’t keep up with the prowess of some of the good brains here. So maybe it’s just me. I’ll come back later.

February 5th, 2009, 1:13 pm

 

norman said:

An open letter to Bibi: Security or settlements?

Feb. 4, 2009
CLINTON BAILEY , THE JERUSALEM POST
Binyamin Netanyahu, by all indications you will be the country’s next prime minister. That makes me wonder how secure Israel can be under your leadership. The biggest plank in your platform has been security, and security is our main problem. International Islamic fundamentalism, al-Qaida, the Iranian bomb, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas are all out to get us – not because we occupy the West Bank, but because we exist.

If you want to make the country safe in the face of this formidable alliance, I’m with you. But I have one big reservation. Is this really your goal, or is it a red herring for something else: namely, to hold on to the West Bank and perhaps regain Gaza? When you talk about crushing Hamas, it is the only conclusion I can draw. You surely know that if we crush Hamas, we have to stay in Gaza and run it. How long will we stay while they are sniping at us at every turn? And to get out will look like we’re running away. That’s the prescription for a long, insecure stay, one that only the settlement movement will applaud and exploit.

And after you crush Hamas, will you get down to business with Mahmoud Abbas for setting up a Palestinian state? All we have heard from you is that you won’t divide Jerusalem, won’t give the Palestinians more territory from which to shell us and won’t go back to the 1967 borders. Naturally, there is something to be said for all these positions, but not enough to give us security.

To be secure, we need the support of the American and European governments. They have to deal with fundamentalism, Iran and al-Qaida, and support us when we deal with Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. That support is increasingly vital, because, the Lebanese and Gaza campaigns demonstrated, fighting terrorists who operate from among civilian populations requires actions that are on the fringe of international law and sensibilities; and the pictures of destruction and dead bodies that TV cameras carry to populations the world over show Israel in a bad light.

While such military actions may be necessary for our survival, that will not prevent us from soon becoming a pariah state, like the old South Africa. Governments of people who see pictures of the results of our attacks need a justification for supporting us. Memories of the Holocaust no longer play among generations that did not witness it and have seen many other horrible things. The justification that friendly governments need is that we are a people seeking peace and willing to compromise to achieve it.

MOREOVER, AT a time of economic crisis, the threat of Islamic terrorism and growing Muslim populations in their own countries, the Western world will not long have the patience to wait while we drag our feet rather than compromise with the Palestinians and let them have a state. Rightly or wrongly, the West sees the absence of such a state as the core of its many Middle East problems, and will be increasingly reluctant to accept our maximalist and extremist views of what we deserve. They get enough extremism from the other side.

And before we know it, our various enemies will promise Western government to relieve their problems if only they lessen their support for us. Such seeds have been planted in the past, but the soil is more fertile today. This might even be in the offing with the Iranian bomb.

No one here is under the illusion that a two-state solution will be without dangers. We don’t know what the Palestinians ultimately want. Is it only a state as some say? Or do they want to destroy us, as Hamas openly declares? Will the refugees in the territories and elsewhere – 60 percent of the Palestinian people – adhere to the peace or keep seeking ways to turn the clock back to 1948? Will whoever comes to power be on the lookout for a moment of weakness to do us in?

Naturally we must negotiate meticulously to keep these dangers down and be vigilant after new borders are drawn. If the Palestinian state violates the agreement, we must, unlike over the past three years in Gaza, act to discourage them from doing it again. But if we are, as many believe, destined to live by our swords in any case, it is best we do so having the support of powerful friends. It will be tragic to lose the friends we now have through intransigence.

This is a time for consolidation, for salvaging what we can. Ariel Sharon spared us the settlement blocs. Ehud Olmert opened the door for exchanging territory in order to keep them. The vast majority of the settlers live in them. That makes compromise easier, if you are willing.

Bibi, as you embark on putting together a ruling coalition, keep the national interest in mind. Don’t include those who want the territories more than security and will slow things down to the detriment of the goodwill we have from important friends. In the end, we can have security or we can have settlements. But we can’t have them both.

The writer is a former adviser in the Ministry of Defense.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304687604&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
[ Back to the Article ]
Copyright 1995- 2009 The Jerusalem Post – http://www.jpost.com/

February 5th, 2009, 3:38 pm

 

Shai said:

Alia, Qunfuz, OTW, Norman, Offended, others,

Please know that I still generate great strength (and yes, also hope) from Syria Comment, and from you. I also do not go into detail about things I do, and don’t do, outside of SC. But I promise you that I am active also outside of cyberspace, fighting for peace, and fighting to change my own society. I know I’m not doing enough. But I am doing.

Please keep talking to those “6 percent” of us. We need you for our own strength, and to keep demonstrating that the Arab side is, and has always been, waiting for us to change. This is important, because the psychological barriers (indeed the psychoses at hand) are tremendous.

We ARE starting at the grassroots level, and we WILL prevail.

February 5th, 2009, 3:43 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

We ARE starting at the grassroots level, and we WILL prevail.

Spoken like a true liberal (who haven’t accomplished a thing):

http://www.investors.com/editorial/cartoons/IMAGES/CARTOONS/toon030408c.gif

Israel is such that the best ones in position to deliver peace are not the “liberal leftists”, but rather the Right (Likud, basically).

February 5th, 2009, 4:45 pm

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

If it was up to people like you, blacks would still be riding in the backs of buses. You’re truly pitiful…

February 5th, 2009, 4:57 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Lincoln: Republican

George Wallace: Democrat

http://gopcapitalist.tripod.com/democratrecord.html

February 5th, 2009, 5:15 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

Donald Rumsfeld: Republican

Selling weapons to Saddam

February 5th, 2009, 5:30 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Alia,

It’s a little bit frustrating that you seem to always make these baseless assumptions about your interlocutor such as that I’m a Zionist, or that I claim that Israel is a democracy, or an autocracy, or that I agree that all Germans should have shouldered blame for the holocaust etc.

My “personality affiliation” argument was probably weak, I cannot really judge because I have no training whatsoever in psychology or sociology. So fine, forget about personally style. Let me really simplify it for you…. 95% of Israelis reportedly supported the operation. If you were born a Jew in Israel, regardless of what decides political views, you have a 1 in 20 chance of being on the “right side”. To me this indicates that whatever processes are in play in Israel (and I think you have a good grasp of what’s going on) it is not something that an individual has a good chance, or the tools, to resist. Therefore instead of demonizing Israelis as individuals I propose that people start understanding that a good chunk of those 95% are “victims of history” too and together with the Palestinians need to be salvaged. I anticipate you would say that I’m equating the suffering the victims of the occupation and its perpetrators so let me stress that I’m not. I’m just looking at the mass of people in one unit of geography and pity all of them and wish to see a change, one that Qunfuz has so beautifully referred to as encompassing everybody at the rendezvous of victory.

February 5th, 2009, 5:34 pm

 

offended said:

Shai, as always, it’s a pleasure and the source for a glimmer of hope to read yours (and Rumyal’s) comments on SC. As far as I am concerned, you’re more than welcome to comment here as much as you please. I haven’t had the chance to interact with Israeli civlians before I came across SC. And now I find the experience productive and informative. Whether we’re looking for 1 state solution, 2 states solution or 100 states solution, we should start somewhere and when we end up there we should not be bitter about the history. I don’t have the urge for revenge. I am not vindictive. My only concern is justice for the Palestinian people and the hope for lasting peace and to bring an end to this conflict. I am not looking for a fued, I’ve shed my tribal dispositions long time ago.

Looking forward to read more of your comments….

February 5th, 2009, 5:40 pm

 

Alex said:

Rumyal,

Israelis are not born this way, but they are “victims” of their leaders and their influential friends outside Israel, not knowing where to stop… they started trying to ensure their people are secure, but went much further … by now they are nothing short of a serious threat to their surrounding.

But they still think their army should be called the IDF.

AIPAC is happy it can drag any presidential candidate to come pay his respects (and assure them he is for a united Jerusalem …etc). If they wanted to ensure no US president will sell Israel to the Saudis, by now they are in the business of playing candidates against each other for who will go even further in supporting Israel …

They helped push the United states to go to war in Iraq (check the positions of those who are closely associated with AIPAC on the Iraq war)

Or take Camera.org for example … it was supposed to be a watchdog that ensures there is no anti-semitic influence in hte media and the way it reports on the Middle East .. instad they went much further than that .. they bully any editor or journalist or politician or author (or Norwegian doctor in Gaza) who dares to not be fully pro-Israel.

The have problems with Larry King giving Carter a pass!

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=3&x_outlet=14&x_article=1617

What do you expect when Israelis and their supporters do not understand how destructive this “power” is to their collective wisdom?

What kind of person can learn while shutting up anyone who does not agree with him 100%?

This reminds me of old style Communists in Syria who actually believed all their party propaganda and ideology.

Or … religious fundamentalists who are sure God is on their side.

I am hoping American Jews will realize that Israel’s best interests lie in the moderate use of its power… in all its forms.

February 5th, 2009, 6:15 pm

 

Alia said:

Rumyal,

Interesting we cannot even agree on a form of interaction you and I, let alone the content.

I am sorry you find my assumptions frustrating, but I do not agree with you that they are baseless.

If you talk authoritative regime in this context, I assume you are referring to your country’s since you have been identified in this forum as the other Israeli and this is the topic at hand now. ( So what is it authoritative or a democracy finally ?)

I have not been aware that you have abandonned Zionism as an ideology etc…you may well have and I missed it. I never heard you respond to the issue of the German guilt which has been on and off around, to dissociate yourself from it, I may have missed that. That would have been wonderful, equally wonderful would be to hear how you arrived to your emotional and intellectual liberation on these matters.

On the other hand, you find it OK to anticipate what I would answer you ! and to respond to me …before I do and of course primarily to sabotage any exchange by starting with accusations instead of clarifications.

Anyway, it is alright- I had no positive expectation from this exchange and I am not waiting for any rendez-vous with history ( lovely expression though )-

I spent a part of my evening studying an interview with the son of the Doctor of Death (Aribert Heim), the Nazi doctor who managed to escape and live not really even that much in incognito in Cairo until his death in 1992, while the world was looking for him in South America. This made the news last night…I am not sure if the interview is available in English but the whole thing is so miserably tragic, thought provoking and instructive and of course intimately tied to our subject.

For those interested in watching the interview in German:

http://www.zdf.de/

February 5th, 2009, 6:19 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Been there, Done that

Akbar,

Donald Rumsfeld: Republican

Selling weapons to Saddam

Alex,

You also need a Youtube video showing the “twisted” and “insidious” overtures of the US government and al-Queda as well as some early meetings between Israel and Hamas.

I know the anti-Israel crowd just loves to point out these relationships out of context in order to claim some sort hypocrisy.

There isn’t any.

The US has an extensive record helping Muslim/Arab-based movements. Bosnia was one (against the Serbs), Afghanistan (against the Soviets), and Iraq (against Iran) are three examples. And, of course, Israel tried to make accomodation with Hamas at the very beginning. Of course, Arabists accuse the GOI of “creating” Hamas (sure)!

In every case, the hand of friendship was bitten by the those we tried to help. In the case of Bosnia and its Muslims, it didn’t buy anything.

Saddam used American friendship to kill his own people and start wars, al-Queda turned on the US and the West, and Hamas couldn’t deal with the Joos.

Personally, I’m glad that at least the US tried to befriend these groups, because at least now we have an excuse the next time a liberal pinhead blames the US for not trying to “dialogue” with the enemy (as if we never did).

February 5th, 2009, 6:42 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

The US tried to befriedn Al-Qaeda?
The US FORMED Al-Qaeda as a stupid, extreme fighting force to die on its behalf fighting the Soviets.

The US tried to befriend Saddam? … Which idiot would try to befirend Saddam?

The US USED Iraqi young soldiers who died trying to fight Ira, the new perceived threat to US interests int eh Gulf.

The problem is that you either believe, or want us to believe that the US always acts out of good intentions.

February 5th, 2009, 6:57 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Alia,

I feel that this exchange is degenerating, so I will limit myself to what you have phrased specifically as questions to me.

>>> Alia: So what is it authoritative or a democracy finally?

I don’t know. I don’t think that a clear criteria of classification was central to anything that I said. Here are some stakes in the ground though:
1) Israel is not a democracy since it has the Palestinians under occupation and they are not represented. Arabs inside Israel are discriminated against.
2) Israel does offer a large degree of freedom of expression and organization inside Israeli boundaries, including Arabs and post-Zionists.
3) Israel has a very thorough system of indoctrination for the Jewish population.

>>> Alia: I have not been aware that you have abandoned Zionism as an ideology etc…you may well have and I missed it.

I said a few times that Zionism was a mistake. However what is of interest to me at this point is that (a) almost all Israelis are identifying themselves as Zionists and (b) they would need to find a way to live peacefully and equitably with the Palestinians. So you could either ask them to say “Zionism is Apartheid and I reject it” or you can try to redefine the meaning of the word such that it no longer means any sort of supremacy or privilege. I had a discussion a couple of weeks ago with Joe M about how the original goals of Zionism could be fulfilled in a one-state solution and I don’t think it’s far-fetched. Basically what is required is that the state will recognize that it will serve as a shelter for Jews (and potentially other people too) under persecution and will let them have completely autonomous cultural and religious life. This is not what “Zionism” means today but I would love to see Zionism redefined in these terms and then I will proudly call myself “a Zionist”.

>>> Alia: never heard you respond to the issue of the German guilt which has been on and off around, to dissociate yourself from it, I may have missed that.

I do not hold individual Germans accountable for the Holocaust but I do understand their government’s desire to pay reparations to victims as a token of collective regret. Somebody needs to compensate the victims (fiscally and symbolically) and that seems like something that is best left to the government. Israel will eventually do the same with the Palestinian refugees. Jews from Arab countries will have to be compensated too somehow for their loses (in the cases they left involuntarily or were under threat).

>>> Alia: That would have been wonderful, equally wonderful would be to hear how you arrived to your emotional and intellectual liberation on these matters.

Living away from Israel… I doubt that I would have reached the same opinions had I stayed in the pressure cooker…

February 5th, 2009, 7:08 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

The US FORMED Al-Qaeda as a stupid, extreme fighting force to die on its behalf fighting the Soviets.

Alex,

The US aided and armed an already “formed” group of Islamists to fight against Soviet influence in Afghanistan. Of course, you’ll spin unsubstantiated conspiracies like 9-11 and AIPAC etc, etc.

Did our helping the Islamist win us any favor among them? Nope!

Draw your own conclusions.

The US tried to befriend Saddam? … Which idiot would try to befirend Saddam?

The same idiots that tried befriending Arafat, Abbas, Syria, Hamas, and Iran.

Gee Alex, how do tell a good dictator from another? Is there a test?

The US USED Iraqi young soldiers who died trying to fight Ira, the new perceived threat to US interests int eh Gulf.

Welcome to the real world. Maybe the US uses Israeli young to fight and test the latest US-made technology.

The problem is that you either believe, or want us to believe that the US always acts out of good intentions.

Not at all Alex. Every country has its selfish interests: the US, France, Great Britain, Syria, Israel, etc. My point is, many in the Arab world who we’ve helped either turned on us or didn’t help us to win any favors. Something to think about.

Israel has “turned” on the US by spying. But Israel has yet to fly aircraft into American skyscrapers, bomb US facilities in the ME, or gone to war against us.

February 5th, 2009, 9:22 pm

 

norman said:

القوات الإسرائيلية تعتدي بالضرب على ركاب سفينة “الاخوة” وبينهم المطران كبوجي الاخبار السياسية

اللجنة المنظمة للرحلة: الاتصالات مقطوعة والمساعدات الإنسانية بدأت بالتلف

علمت سيريانيوز أن القوات الإسرائيلية اعتدت بالضرب على جميع الموجودين على متن سفينة “الأخوة” اللبنانية ومن بينهم مطران القدس الموجود في المنفى السوري الجنسية هيلاريون كبوجي.

وكانت القوات الإسرائيلية داهمت سفينة “الأخوة” اللبنانية قبالة غزة حيث تنقل السفينة إمدادات دوائية وغذائية وألعاب لصالح أهل غزة.

وقال عضو لجنة المبادرة الوطنية لكسر الحصار على غزة المنظمة للرحلة, عماد عيسى لـسيريانيوز إن “القوات لإسرائيلية أسرت السفينة بمن فيها واعتدت عليهم بالضرب, ومن بينهم المطران كبوجي البالغ من العمر 88 عاما, واقتادوهم إلى ميناء أشدود للتحقيق معهم”.

وعن صحة كابوتشي أوضح العيسى “لم يتسن لنا الاطمئنان عن صحته نتيجة انقطاع كافة الاتصالات مع ركاب السفينة بسبب تحطيم إسرائيل لكل أجهزة الاتصال الموجودة على متن السفينة”.

ويشار إلى أن المطران كبوجي من مواليد محافظة حلب وينتمي للطائفة الكاثوليكية وعاش في سورية ما يقارب 40 سنة قبل أن يصبح مطرانا للقدس حيث عاش في القدس بعد انتخابه إلى أن تم اعتقاله بتهمة دعم المقاومة بالسلاح حيث سجن لمدة أربعة سنوات حتى تدخلت الفاتياكان وأفرج عنه ليعيش في منفاه القسري في العاصمة الايطالية روما ولا يزال كبوجي يعتبر نفسه المطران الشرعي للقدس.

وحلقت المروحيات العسكرية الإسرائيلية فوق السفينة عند اقترابها من شواطئ قطاع غزة, كما أطلقت سفن عسكرية إسرائيلية النار عليها قبل أن تداهمها القوات الإسرائيلية وتقتادها بمن فيها.

وكانت سفينة “الأخوة” انطلقت من لبنان نهاية الشهر الماضي متجهة على قبرص ثم غزة لكسر الحصار المفروض عليها من قبل إسرائيل منذ عام 2007.

وقال العيسى إنه “يوجد 18 شخصا على متن السفينة، تسعة من أعضاء التضامن مع غزة وتسعة أفراد من طاقم السفينة”، مشيرا إلى “وجود شخصيات دينية مهمة كالمطران كبوجي والشيخ الإسلامي مصطفى داوود رئيس رابطة العلماء المسلمين في فلسطين إضافة إلى إعلاميين ونشطاء حقوقيين منهم ناشطة ايرلندية انضمت إلى المجموعة”.

ونوه العيسى عن وجود “مشكلة خطيرة” وهي أن “السفينة تحمل على متنها 1500 وحدة بلازما لزمر الدم وأنه نتيجة قطع إسرائيل لكهرباء السفينة أتلفت 500 وحدة وأصبحت غير صالحة للاستخدام والتي كان من المقرر توجهيها لدعم إخواننا في غزة”.

وتفيد تقارير صحفية أن “القوات الإسرائيلية ستحقق مع شخصيتين من ركاب السفينة دون أن تحدد هويتهما حيث يرفض الإسرائيليون الحديث عن الموضوع”.

واستنكر العيسى “تصرف إسرائيل الوحشي وخرقها للقانون الدولي”, داعيا “المحافل الدولية والجهات المعنية بحقوق الإنسان لحماية السفينة ومن على متنها وتأمين وصولها بسلام إلى غزة لإيصال المساعدات الإنسانية لأهالي غزة المحاصرين”.

كما أعرب عن أمله بأن تكون هذه الحادثة سببا لكسر الحصار عن غزة.

من جانبها صرحت وزارة الخارجية الإسرائيلية بأنها “لن تسمح بدخول أي سفينة عربية ولا حتى أجنبية لقطاع غزة”.

وأدانت سورية بشدة عملية القرصنة البحرية الإسرائيلية إزاء سفينة الأخوة اللبنانية، ودعت إلى التحرك الفوري لإطلاق سراح جميع محتجزي السفينة.

مها القحف – سيريانيوز

2009-02-05 17:16:49

February 5th, 2009, 9:26 pm

 

norman said:

Click to Print
House delegation meets with Assad
February 5, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. House of Representatives delegation met with the Syrian president and discussed improving ties.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) cast the meeting with Bashar Assad in Cairo as part of the Obama administration’s bid to improve relations with the Arab world. Bush administration policy was to isolate Syria and not to encourage Israel-Syria peace talks.

“Every meeting I believe with a foreign leader is part of the world’s opportunity for peace and prosperity,” said Giffords Wednesday in a conference call with Jewish and Arizona journalists. She one of seven members of the delegation led by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the terrorism subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. “Soft power diplomacy is a form of currency and buys a lot of goodwill,” she added.

Giffords said Assad expressed hope for a rollback of the 2003 Syria Accountability Act, the mechanism Bush used to reduce trade between the two nations. Giffords said the delegation pressed Assad on meeting its provisions, including an end to backing for anti-Israel terrorist groups.

She said the visit cleared the way for another meeting to take place within the next few weeks between Assad and U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Berman’s spokesmen would not confirm or deny the likelihood of such a visit.

Two members of the delegation are Jewish: Giffords and Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.).

The delegation also met with leaders in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as NATO officials in Brussels.

Click to Print

February 5th, 2009, 9:28 pm

 

Alia said:

A.P.

[Israel has “turned” on the US by spying. But Israel has yet to fly aircraft into American skyscrapers, bomb US facilities in the ME, or gone to war against us}

The USS Liberty

February 5th, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

Alia said:

Rumyal,

That was very helpful thank you.

You may have to settle for a different appellation than Zionism since neither the original nor the present day definitions reflect what you have in mind. If the old one had been indeed restricted to “a place of refuge for the Jews” we would not be having this discussion.

February 5th, 2009, 10:06 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

If you were born a Jew in Israel, regardless of what decides political views, you have a 1 in 20 chance of being on the “right side”. To me this indicates that whatever processes are in play in Israel (and I think you have a good grasp of what’s going on) it is not something that an individual has a good chance, or the tools, to resist. Therefore instead of demonizing Israelis as individuals I propose that people start understanding that a good chunk of those 95% are “victims of history” too and together with the Palestinians need to be salvaged.

Well, well. How many times my opinions have here been zeroed by Israeli peace doves and war hawks by the “he is a German” strategy when I had before reviled that my mother from Austria. It has not “helped” to explain that I was born long after WW2 and have lived only together little over one year (several visits) in Austria as a young child. Also it did not “help” when I said that no one of my relatives was an party member. My Austrian relatives only floated along in the “history” like most did. Still I am demanded by Jews (from the left to extreme right) to bear the quilt of what Nazis did even I had nothing to do with those events.

You Israeli peace doves turn the discussion to “seriously” to that “personal level” or is it a diversion strategy to control the discussion? When politics in a country and geopolitics in a region is discussed we speak normally on “general level” by pointing out some symptoms of the severe sickness/problems Israel (or some other country) has. Naturally everybody knows that in Israel are multiple views, some even peaceful and against the ruling elite, but it is also known that the tiny peace side has a relative loud moral voice but not any real political power.

What if in 1936-39 some Germans opposition members had endlessly been debating on internet (if then had been such) with Danes, Polish, French, Belgians etc with the message that not all Germans are bad, we can live together, etc. Some of the “receivers” would have believed those undoubtedly honestly said views, most not when they watched and did read what the country was doing. But these opposition members did not do (hypothetically) what was mostly needed = tried to change the mental climate and tried to bring to power a more rational government.

Does anybody call this latest news a “healthy” sign of Israel’s Jewish democracy
Elections 2009 / Netanyahu: Lieberman campaign against Israeli Arabs is ‘legitimate’
PM hopeful says far-right rival’s ‘No citizenship without loyalty’ campaign like bill Likud already proposed.

If that bill is put into practice shouldn’t then every Jews loyalty to the state which passport they hold be tested around the world?

Surely the Israeli rational peace doves condemn such a law, but they have no political power to stop it. So what is in the end the benefit them condemning such a racist bill suggestion on internet blogs? Surely a demonstration or two in front of the Knesset would be more productive than 100 condemning comments by them on SC.

February 6th, 2009, 12:05 am

 

offended said:

Obama during on speech about religious tolerance:

“We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” The Torah commands, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” In Islam, there is a hadith that reads “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule—the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.”

February 6th, 2009, 12:33 am

 

Alex said:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — One week after the U.S. Army announced record suicide rates among its soldiers last year, the service is worried about a spike in possible suicides in the new year.
If reports of suicides are confirmed, more soldiers will have taken their lives in January than died in combat.

If reports of suicides are confirmed, more soldiers will have taken their lives in January than died in combat.

The Army said 24 soldiers are believed to have committed suicide in January alone — six times as many as killed themselves in January 2008, according to statistics released Thursday.

The Army said it already has confirmed seven suicides, with 17 additional cases pending that it believes investigators will confirm as suicides for January.

If those prove true, more soldiers will have killed themselves than died in combat last month. According to Pentagon statistics, there were 16 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq in January.

“This is terrifying,” an Army official said. “We do not know what is going on.”

February 6th, 2009, 12:34 am

 
 

offended said:

Israel is percieved as badly as North Korea.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7873050.stm

February 6th, 2009, 12:53 am

 

Rumyal said:

Simo,

Good points. Nobody is perfect.

February 6th, 2009, 12:58 am

 

jad said:

A recommendation by Mr. Jihad Alkhazen from Alhayat.
It is worth to read.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/sieg01_.html

February 6th, 2009, 1:12 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Israel committed piracy,provoking a response,which when it comes ,Israel will claim it is an excuse to attack,this is evil,that is why the world should……… the israeli,

February 6th, 2009, 1:35 am

 

norman said:

Shai,Rumyal,

I for one will always have faith in the inner good of Jewish people , we just have to work together to make it clear and show it to the other Arabs and especially to the Palestinians , The future is sad for all if we do not get an agreement.

February 6th, 2009, 3:06 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

[Israel has “turned” on the US by spying. But Israel has yet to fly aircraft into American skyscrapers, bomb US facilities in the ME, or gone to war against us}

The USS Liberty

Alia,

You forgot to discuss the extreme differences:

Whereas one attack was deliberate, killing 3 thousand civilians, the other attack was an accident during a war killing 34 Navy personnel.

Also, another tiny difference…the GOI apologized. Imagine that!

February 6th, 2009, 4:03 am

 

Off the Wall said:

Debated in Israel, but not in the US

From Alternet.org, this is a very interesting story that has some relevance to the one state solution

Controversial Bestseller Shakes the Foundation of the Israeli State
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on January 28, 2009, Printed on February 6, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/122810/

What if the Palestinian Arabs who have lived for decades under the heel of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same “children of Israel” described in the Old Testament?

And what if most modern Israelis aren’t descended from the ancient Israelites at all, but are actually a mix of Europeans, North Africans and others who didn’t “return” to the scrap of land we now call Israel and establish a new state following the attempt to exterminate them during World War II, but came in and forcefully displaced people whose ancestors had lived there for millennia?

What if the entire tale of the Jewish Diaspora — the story recounted at Passover tables by Jews around the world every year detailing the ancient Jews’ exile from Judea, the years spent wandering through the desert, their escape from the Pharaoh’s clutches — is all wrong?

That’s the explosive thesis of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, a book by Tel Aviv University scholar Shlomo Zand (or Sand) that sent shockwaves across Israeli society when it was published last year. After 19 weeks on the Israeli best-seller list, the book is being translated into a dozen languages and will be published in the United States this year by Verso.

Its thesis has ramifications that go far beyond some antediluvian academic debate. Few modern conflicts are as attached to ancient history as that decades-long cycle of bloodletting between Israelis and Palestinians. Each group lays claim to the same scrap of land — holy in all three of the world’s major Abrahamic religions — based on long-standing ties to that chunk of earth and national identities formed over long periods of time. There’s probably no other place on Earth where the present is as intimately tied to the ancient.

Central to the ideology of Zionism is the tale — familiar to all Jewish families — of exile, oppression, redemption and return. Booted from their kingdom, the “Jewish people” — sons and daughters of ancient Judea — wandered the earth, rootless, where they faced cruel suppression from all corners — from being forced to toil in slavery under the Egyptians, to the Spanish massacres of the 14th century and Russian pogroms of the 19th, through to the horrors of the Third Reich.

This view of history animates all Zionists, but none more so than the influential but reactionary minority — in the United States as well as Israel — who believe that God bestowed a “Greater Israel” — one that encompasses the modern state as well as the Occupied Territories — on the Jewish people, and who resist any effort to create a Palestinian state on biblical grounds.

Inventing a People?

Zand’s central argument is that the Romans didn’t expel whole nations from their territories. Zand estimates that perhaps 10,000 ancient Judeans were vanquished during the Roman wars, and the remaining inhabitants of ancient Judea remained, converting to Islam and assimilating with their conquerors when Arabs subjugated the area. They became the progenitors of today’s Palestinian Arabs, many of whom now live as refugees who were exiled from their homeland during the 20th century.

As Israeli journalist Tom Segev summarized, in a review of the book in Ha’aretz:

There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened — hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua.
But this begs the question: if the ancient people of Judea weren’t expelled en masse, then how did it come to pass that Jewish people are scattered across the world? According to Zand, who offers detailed histories of several groups within what is conventionally known as the Jewish Diaspora, some were Jews who emigrated of their own volition, and many more were later converts to Judaism. Contrary to popular belief, Zand argues that Judaism was an evangelical religion that actively sought out new adherents during its formative period.

This narrative has huge significance in terms of Israel’s national identity. If Judaism is a religion, rather than “a people” descended from a dispersed nation, then it brings into question the central justification for the state of Israel remaining a “Jewish state.”

And that brings us to Zand’s second assertion. He argues that the story of the Jewish nation — the transformation of the Jewish people from a group with a shared cultural identity and religious faith into a vanquished “people” — was a relatively recent invention, hatched in the 19th century by Zionist scholars and advanced by the Israeli academic establishment. It was, argues Zand, an intellectual conspiracy of sorts. Segev says, “It’s all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel.”

Zand Gets Slammed; Do His Arguments Stand Up?

The ramifications of Zand’s argument are far-reaching; “the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendants,” he told Ha’aretz. Zand argues that Israel should be a state in which all of the inhabitants of what was once “British Palestine” share the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship, rather than maintaining it as a “Jewish and democratic” state, as it’s now identified.

Predictably, Zand was pilloried according to the time-tested formula. Ami Isseroff, writing on ZioNation, the Zionism-Israel blog, invoked the customary Holocaust imagery, accusing Zand of offering a “final solution to the Jewish problem,” one in which “No auto da fe is required, no charging Cossacks are needed, no gas chambers, no smelly crematoria.” Another feverish ideologue called Zand’s work “another manifestation of mental disorder in the extreme academic Left in Israel.”

That kind of overheated rhetoric is a standard straw man in the endless roil of discourse over Israel and the Palestinians, and is easily dismissed. But more serious criticism also greeted Zand’s work. In a widely read critical review of Zand’s work, Israel Bartal, dean of humanities at the Hebrew University, slammed the author’s second assertion — that Zionist academics had suppressed the true history of Judaism’s spread through emigration and conversion in favor of a history that would give legitimacy to the quest for a Jewish state.

Bartal raised important questions about Zand’s methodology and pointed out what appears to be some sloppy details in the book. But, interestingly, in defending Israel’s academic community, Bartal supported Zand’s more consequential thesis, writing, “Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions.” Bartal added: “no historian of the Jewish national movement has ever really believed that the origins of the Jews are ethnically and biologically ‘pure.’ ” He noted that “[i]mportant groups in the [Zionist] movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely.”

“As far as I can discern,” Bartal wrote, “the book contains not even one idea that has not been presented” in previous historical studies. Segev added that “Zand did not invent [his] thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others.”

One can reasonably argue that this ancient myth of a Jewish nation exiled until its 20th century return is of little consequence; whether the Jewish people share a common genetic ancestry or are a far-flung collection of people who share the same faith, a common national identity has in fact developed over the centuries. But Zand’s central contention stands, and has some significant implications for the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Changing the Conversation?

The primary reason it’s so difficult to discuss the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the remarkably effective job supporters of Israel’s control of the Occupied Territories — including Gaza, still under de facto occupation — have done equating support for Palestinian self-determination with a desire to see the destruction of Israel. It effectively conflates any advocacy of Palestinian rights with the specter of Jewish extermination.

That’s certainly been the case with arguments for a single-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until recent years, advocating a “single-state” solution — a binational state where all residents of what are today Israel and the Occupied Territories share the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship — was a relatively mainstream position to take. In fact, it was one of several competing plans considered by the United Nations when it created the state of Israel in the 1940s.

But the idea of a single, binational state has more recently been marginalized — dismissed as an attempt to destroy Israel literally and physically, rather than as an ethnic and religious-based political entity with a population of second-class Arab citizens and the legacy of responsibility for world’s longest-standing refugee population.

A logical conclusion of Zand’s work exposing Israel’s founding mythology may be the restoration of the idea of a one-state solution to a legitimate place in the debate over this contentious region. After all, while it muddies the waters in one sense — raising ancient, biblical questions about just who the “children of Israel” really are — in another sense, it hints at the commonalities that exist between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Both groups lay claim to the same crust of earth, both have faced historic repression and displacement and both hold dear the idea that they should have a “right of return.”

And if both groups in fact share common biblical ties, then it begs the question of why the entirety of what was Palestine under the British mandate should remain a refuge for people of one religion instead of being a country in which Jews and Arabs are guaranteed equal protection — equal protection under the laws of a state whose legitimacy would never again be open to question.

Joshua Holland is an AlterNet staff writer.

© 2009 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/122810/

February 6th, 2009, 9:28 am

 

Shai said:

OTW,

The problem is, that even if Zand’s theses are correct, I can’t see most Israelis, or even a small part, ready to seriously discuss them. The implications would be perceived as a huge threat to most Israelis, and therefore won’t be considered. The problem, of course, is that if Israelis have a means to protect their mostly-Jewish state (assuming a two-state solution could ever be found, even if temporarily), they may feel secured enough not to contemplate theories that reject the notion of a “Jewish right” to this land, any more than a Palestinian one.

In Israel, unfortunately, there is still far too great a mixture of “church-and-state”, the religious parties are still far too strong, and I can’t see their spiritual leaders open enough to consider these theories, and their ramifications. If we ever changed the multiparty system, and de jure made it far more difficult for religious parties to exist politically, we could perhaps begin a serious discussion about “Jewish right” to this land. I would be happy to partake in such a discussion. I lean much more towards Zand’s claims (even through he acknowledges that he is not an expert in Jewish history), than towards the religious leaders’ in Israel, or throughout the Jewish world.

February 6th, 2009, 10:04 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

What if the Palestinian Arabs who have lived for decades under the heel of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same “children of Israel” described in the Old Testament?

OTW,

Joshua Holland’s above thesis question is moot. Two “people” claim the same land, and each peoples’ claims are relevant. This relevancy has nothing to do with proving any descendantcy or genetic relationship to any ancient people, and only to do with those currently living in the land in quesiton and their aspirations.

Holland states:

…Zand’s work exposing Israel’s founding mythology…

Glad Mr. Holland has already accepted Zand thesis as fact. But it isn’t fact – it’s another in a long series of post-Zionist hogwash. Once again, the anti-Zionists like Holland eat this stuff up for breakfast.

I suppose Holland doesn’t have much to say about Israeli archeology and the numerous ancient hebrew towns, documents, and artifacts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_scrolls

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Beit_Alpha.jpg

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/dever.html

February 6th, 2009, 2:13 pm

 

Alia said:

AP.

The USS liberty :

Your blind affiliation with Israel is making you a danger to the US, your supposed country.

The USS Liberty cover up is a scandal- sure the Israelis apologized but this was a deliberate act that was covered up…The veterans are not happy about this at all.

http://www.gtr5.com/

Furthermore, according to your logic all the US would need is a phone call of apology from ben laden to wipe 9/11 from history books…may be someone can go find him and ask him to PLEASE make that phone call- you go do that AP you do not seem to be doing anything useful anyway-

February 6th, 2009, 2:31 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Dangerous Liaisons

Your blind affiliation with Israel is making you a danger to the US, your supposed country.

Alia Sabah al-kheir,

Who do you think is more dangerous to the US, me or al-Queda?

Furthermore, according to your logic all the US would need is a phone call of apology from ben laden to wipe 9/11 from history books…

Alia,

The US was once at war with Great Britain. Now the British are one of our best allies. Go figure!

http://www.adl.org/israel/uss.asp

February 6th, 2009, 3:23 pm

 

Alia said:

Actually A.P., I know that people like you are a lot more dangerous to the US than al-Qaeda.

People like you have hijacked the congress of the US…to the point that Congressman cannot keep their posts if they even dare put the interests of the US before those of Israel.

Al-Qaeda is a defined enemy so there is no fear that anyone will mix them up with friends- but when your so called-friends are actually no friends to anybody, they can and do in this case stab you in the back whenever it is in their interest to do so- without you being on guard. Let’s just keep pouring trillions in the hands of the Israelis.

ADL is just such a gem of an organisation-

February 6th, 2009, 4:10 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

I know you have good intentions, and that you believe you are doing nothing but good, and I know you care about, and defend, the United States, and even the republican Party. It is not about intentions, it is about results.

You know how you and your friends are among America’s worst enemies despite your good intentions?

1) You feel that the United States is strong and safe .. one one can destroy the United States.
2) You feel that Israel is small and at risk of its “evil” neighbors trying to weaken Israel, through force or through propaganda …etc.
3) Therefore, you and your American “friends of Israel” are mostly focused on protecting Israel. You know that Israel only survived because of America’s solid backing and you therefore spend all your time making sure America will ALWAYS back Israel 100%.
4) You start defending Israel 100% and you become paranoid about making sure American elected officials are 100% pro Israel
5) Israel feels very secure that no punishment is ever possible thanks to YOU securing America’s automatic veto at the UN among other things.
6) Israel becomes spoiled and it starts using its power in the most destructive way .. causing Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan to hate Israel … and to hate America.
7) America joins Israel (and North Korea and Iran and Communist China) in being one of the most hated countries in the world.

Akbar … the Iraq war would not have taken place had it not been for those who think they are “Israel’s friends” adding their weight to the pro war faction int he Bush administration …

And that cost the US much more casualties than Al-Qaeda did so far …

I don’t think you are capable of imagining the psychological damage that tens of thousands of young American soldiers will endure … for life.

You start most of the problems and you want the world to deal with your mistakes few years later.

A spoiled, nuclear powered nation and its friends in Washington who are not sure if that nation is at risk (from Hamas and Hizbollah!) or is strong enough to be able to teach the whole Arab and Islamic world one bloody lesson after another …

Every man or woman who run for congress has to talk about his support for Israel’s security … why is Nuclear Israel’s security in need for periodic statements of support from congressmen from Idaho and south Carolina?

You have messed up American politics and corrupted them … with few exceptions, only those who are corrupt enough to accept AIPAC conditions in exchange for AIPAC support will represent the American people.

February 6th, 2009, 4:56 pm

 

Alex said:

And before you reply with your standard conspiracy theory charges. here is one example which made it to the public, by mistake:

http://www.forward.com/articles/14957/

February 6th, 2009, 5:52 pm

 

jad said:

I don’t like this woman’s article (to be frank I HATE them knowing that hate is a big word to use) her pen always puts Syria in the middle of every article she publishes, even when she is talking about China! I believe that people who keep writing about only one thing become mentally obsess of pointing out how bad that thing is regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
Today is as always an advice for Obama not to talk to Syria, the new target in this article is Turkey! She really needs help in finding something else to write about:

http://www.alhayat.com/opinion/02-2009/Article-20090205-47523840-c0a8-10ed-016d-3046b6ca7de8/story.html

مدير الحوار، الزميل المهني المحترم ديفيد اغنايشوس ربما أخطأ في عدم ايقاف بيريز عن الاسترسال، ثم كرر الخطأ بمقاطعته لأردوغان رغم ان ظروف الوقت فرضت عليه ذلك، إلا ان اردوغان استخدم الزميل من صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» لمآربه الخاصة فجعل منه «كبش الفداء»، ما أطلق ضده حملات التشويه بسمعته واتهامه الباطل بالانحياز، ليعود أردوغان إلى بلاده «بطلاً» تحتفي به الجماهير. فمزايدة أردوغان لم تنحصر في كونها مزايدات على القيادات العربية، وإنما زايد أيضاً على «حزب الله» فيما كان هدفه اقحام «حماس» في المحادثات الفلسطينية – الإسرائيلية وهي أجندة الرئيس الأميركي الذي طالبه اردوغان – عبر «الحياة» – بإعادة تعريف الإرهاب كي تكون «حماس» جزءاً من السياسة الأميركية الجديدة نحو الشرق الأوسط برسالة مرفقة ضمنياً فحواها: أنا القناة.
أردوغان قال إن القناة التركية بين سورية وإسرائيل كادت تستمر لولا غزو إسرائيل لغزة، وإن الطرفين كانا على بعد «بضع كلمات». هذه المهمة تم تأجيلها الآن بقرار إسرائيلي وسوري، ودمشق عبرت عن رغبتها بوصال مع إسرائيل عبر الإدارة الأميركية. بل إن هتاك تنافساً بين سورية وتركيا على «أنا العنوان»، لأن دمشق تعرض نفسها على الإدارة الأميركية على انها القناة الأفعل للتأثير في «حماس» والفصائل الفلسطينية، أو في احتوائها.

February 6th, 2009, 6:12 pm

 

Alex said:

Jad

Raghida hates Syria since the Syrian army confiscated her passport in 2004 I think after she attended a conference with Israelis sitting next to her. When she went back to Lebanon her passport was confiscated for a month and she could not travel for a month.

At least this is a story I heard from a man who was Raghida’s boss for few years.

She is part of the “Arab moderate” lobby I talked about in my post here. She is trying anything she can in Washington or New York to prevent any dialog with Syria … she is promoting boycotting Syria by her continued demonizing of Syria.

But of course she will not agree with what I wrote here .. she is simply trying to protect Lebanon from Syrian hegemony.

February 6th, 2009, 6:42 pm

 

Jad said:

Thank you Alex,
Regardless of the passport incident my problem with such writers is this; If you call yourself ‘professional’ you should be one, otherwise you are not different from a street man talking politics and giving his inputs. When you write an article you should try to put your personal feeling aside otherwise everything you write is not the whole true story and you are driven by your emotion not your analytical skills that separate you from the street man, beside, every word and idea you write has a n influence on your audiences that you may not control later.
I believe that professional journalists can be passionate about anything they wants without being obsessed otherwise they loose their credibility.

February 6th, 2009, 7:38 pm

 

Alex said:

Egyptian journalist Yosri Fouda (head of Aljazeera’s London bureau and its chief investigative reporter) wrote an article that I would love to translate to English (maybe I will) and post it here.

For now, here it is in Arabic

Gaza’s security is our security, Syria’s security is our security

http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=68723

He is calling for a return to Egyptian Syrian alliance, the only hope for the Arab world to survive all the threats.

يسرى فودة
أمن غزة أمننا وأمن سوريا كذلك

الجمعة، 6 فبراير 2009 – 00:12

ربما لا يعلم البعض أن صاحب فكرة إقامة دولة حملت بعد ذلك اسم »إسرائيل» هو نابليون بونابرت؛ إذ إن هذا الداهية العسكرى الفرنسى هو الذى التفت حوله فأمعن النظر فاستطاع أن يقرأ واقع الجغرافيا السياسية للشرق الأوسط ببراعة لم يسبقه أحد إليها من قبل. «إذا أردت السيطرة على قلب العالم العربى فعليك أن تقصم وسط الساحل الشرقى للبحر الأبيض المتوسط». هذه هى فلسفته قبل أكثر من قرنين من الزمان، وهذه هى مصيبتنا اليوم.

من نوافل القول الآن إن فلسطين، وبخاصة غزة، تدخل مباشرةً فى قلب مفهوم الأمن القومى المصرى. تهتز غزة فتلين بوابة مصر الشرقية، وتصمد غزة فتمتنع مصر كلها. هذه عصارة تاريخ طويل من أيام الفراعنة والرومان والعرب والتتار والصليبيين والاستعمار الحديث والإسرائيليين. اختلفت طبائع الصراعات من عصر إلى عصر لكنها اتفقت جميعاً على ظاهرة واحدة: أن مصر تنتصر حين تدافع عن نفسها خارج حدودها، أو حين يدافع عنها الآخرون.

فليفكر إذن مرةً أخرى أولئك الذين «تكرموا» فى مصر بالتعاطف مع ضحايا مذبحة غزة الأخيرة. فهؤلاء الذين استشهدوا بقنابل اليهود الإسرائيليين استشهدوا فى الواقع دفاعاً عن مصر، سواء أدركوا هذا أو لم يدركوه، سواء أحبوه أو كرهوه. وليفكر إذن مرةً أخرى أولئك الذين يخلطون، عن عمد أو عن سهو أو عن جهل، بين أهداف سياسية مرحلية مؤقتة زائلة وبين ثوابت الأمن القومى وأعمدة الجغرافيا السياسية. وليفكر إذن مرةً أخرى أولئك الذين أرادوا أن يكونوا أنانيين ففشلوا حتى فى استيعاب مفهوم الأنانية.

جوهر الأنانية «الإيجابية» فى هذه الحالة يقبع فى دفاعك «عمليا» عن نفسك عن طريق دعم من يقف أمامك فى الصف، لا عن طريق رفع شعار عاطفى أجوف مثل «مصر أولاً»، ولا عن طريق ركل من يقف أمامك فى مؤخرته. تعيش مستور الصدر إذا عاش وتواجه الطوفان عارى الصدر إذا مات. أنا أرفع شعار «أنا أنانى» ولهذا أنا أبدأ بنصرة من هو مثلى «أنا»، ثم أتحسس مسدسى حين أسمع كلمة «مصر أولاً».

فليفكر إذن مرةً أخرى «أسيادنا» حين يعلمون أن «عبداً» مملوكاً، اسمه الظاهر بيبرس، هو الذى أدرك جوهر الأنانية «الإيجابية» من منظور مصر فخرج لنصرة الشماليين على التتار فعاشت بلاده. وليفكر إذن «أسيادنا» لماذا تثور ثورة من يعتبروننا أعداءهم (و يعاملوننا على هذا الأساس) كل مرة يقترب فيها جنوب الساحل الشرقى للبحر الأبيض المتوسط من شماله (مصر وسوريا بلغة اليوم). حدث هذا أيام صلاح الدين الأيوبى وأيام محمد على، كما حدث أيام جمال عبد الناصر وأيام حرب أكتوبر المجيدة، وسيحدث دائماً كل مرة يقترب فيها القطبان.

هذا هو واقعنا وهذا هو قدرنا، ومن لا يدرك هذا فهو إما جاهل أو مُغرض. أما وأننا لا نعتقد أن صناع القرار، سواءٌ فى مصر أو فى سوريا، يندرجون تحت أى من هذين التصنيفين فإن من الحكمة، ومن المسئولية فى آنٍ معاً، أن نرتفع جميعاً فوق مستوى الحسابات المرحلية والاستمزاجات الشخصية قبل أن يتحول المرحلى إلى متكرر ويتحول المتكرر إلى منهجى ويتحول المنهجى إلى ثابت.

الحكومات تأتى وتروح. لكل منها رؤيتها للواقع بناء على ما ترى فيه مصلحتها ومصلحة شعبها. وحتى إذا تلخصت رؤيتها لمصلحتها فى مجرد البقاء فى السلطة رغم أنف الشعب (مثلما هو الحال مع معظم الحكومات العربية) فإن ذلك لا يمنحنا الحق فى استخوانها ولا يمنحها الحق فى استغفالنا، ولا يمنح أياً منا الحق فى مصادرة الثوابت.

مثلما أن من الواجب أن يسعى المرء بكل الطرق المشروعة إلى استعادة الحق، فإن من الواجب كذلك حين يدرك أن ظروفه لدى لحظة زمنية معينة لا تسمح له باستعادة الحد الأدنى من حقه ألا يحرم الأجيال القادمة من شرف المحاولة لعل الظروف تتغير، وهى متغيرة لا محالة. وبالمقابل، مثلما أن من الواجب أن يكون لدى المرء رؤيته الخلاقة فى قراءة موقف متراوح، فإن من الواجب كذلك أن تكون لديه القدرة على التمييز بين ما هو مرحلى وما هو ثابت. بعبارة أخرى: أن يكون قادراً على تحديد مواقع الخطوط الحمراء، وأن يكون من الحكمة (ومن الواقعية) بحيث ينحنى تواضعاً أمامها وإلا كانت نهايته.

من الحكمة والواقعية كذلك (و أيضاً من شجاعة القلب) أن تنصر الحاكم على المتزلفين والمنافقين والذين لا يعلمون. إنها لمسألة تدعو إلى الأسف أن يعقد البعض منا، ومن بينهم «الزعيم» عادل إمام، دم شهداء غزة بناصية المقاومة (بغض النظر عن رأيك فى منهجها وفى أعضائها)، وإنها لمسألة تدعو إلى الحزن أن تقوم بعض الجماعات بإهدار دمه لأنه عبر عن رأيه فخانه الفارق بين المرحلى والثابت. وإنها لمسألة تدعو إلى التأمل أن تكون لدى البعض منا فى مصر كل هذه القدرة على التعالى والغرور (وأحيانا العنصرية) حين نواجه نقداً من هؤلاء «العرب»، حتى ولو كان بناءً وراقياً وعلى حق.

غير أن المسألة التى تدعو إلى القلق، أشد القلق، هى انتقال هذا اللغط من دائرة النخبة إلى دائرة العامة بصورة تهدد بخلط المرحلى بالثابت ربما إلى أمد بعيد على مرأى ومسمع من جيل نما فى ظروف هشة.

بين أيدينا فى مصر جيل يفصله عن حرب أكتوبر أكثر من خمسة وثلاثين عاماً، جيل لم يدرس مادة «التربية القومية»، جيل لم يعد حكراً على الآلة الإعلامية للدولة، جيل خرج منه من تزوج إسرائيليات وخرج منه من التحق بالقاعدة، جيل لا يعلم إذا تسلل لص إلى منزله بأى رقم هاتفى يتصل. لقد وصل «جيل كامب ديفيد» بين ليلة وضحاها إلى مرحلة الشباب فلم يجد موقعاً له فى البلد أفضل من موقع «فيس بوك».

على هؤلاء ينبغى أن نقلق وعلى أولادهم، لكننا بدلاً من ذلك «نستخدمهم» فى إطار ألعاب سياسية شخصية مرحلية عبثية تنتمى إلى عصور سحيقة، تماماً مثلما استخدم عبد الناصر (بغض النظر عن رأيك فيه) صوت العرب (بغض النظر عن رأيك فيه) كى يؤلب الرأى العام العربى (بغض النظر عن رأيك فيه) على النظام السعودى (بغض النظر عن رأيك فيه). فلا فشل عبد الناصر ولا فشل صوت العرب ولا فشل الرأى العام العربى ولا فشل النظام السعودى. فقط أضعنا وقتنا فى عبثية ضارة لا نزال نشتم رائحتها حتى اليوم فى عقدة «الفوقية/الدونية» لدى بعض النماذج فى الشعبين الشقيقين.

إننا لا نريد لمثل ذلك أن يحدث اليوم بين الشعبين المصرى والسورى. سيغضب كثيراً فى قبره نابليون بونابرت. لا نريد للمرحلى أن يتكرر ولا نريد للمتكرر أن يتمنهج. إن الخطر يكمن فى أن يتجاوز الخلاف مستوى الساسة إلى مستوى الأمنيين إلى مستوى الإعلاميين إلى مستوى المثقفين إلى مستوى الفنانين إلى مستوى عامة الشعب. عندها يتحول الخلاف إلى شك ويتحول الشك إلى كراهية، ويتحول نابليون بونابرت فى قبره إلى البحث عن تحدٍّ آخر أكثر تشويقاً.

February 6th, 2009, 7:40 pm

 

AIG said:

Alex,
Why the complex theories? Just as the Arabs care more about Palestinians than Darfurians, the Americans have a special relationship with Israel that is based on many factors. Aipac is succesful because of the special relationship, not because it is more sinister than the NRA (a much more influential and successful lobby). QN tried several times to explain this to you. There is a strong affinity between the US and Israel just like there is an affinity between Arab countries. Just like the Americans like the British more than they like the French.

So, please stop complaining and start working on building a better relationship with the US. Your argument just does not make sense. No one wins a fight or an argument by asking the other side to do less well. You win, by making your side do better. You need to convince people that the US supporting Israel is bad for the US. So far nobody is buying this argument because you are not making a convincing argument. Not becuase of AIPAC or the press or whatever. Walt and Mearsheimer’s book was very well discussed, but convinced very few people. The press did not hide the book but gave it special attention. Walt and Mearsheimer gave tons of talks. But in the end, people considered what they wrote and found in not convincing. If you support their position, you need to do better.

Here is one hint. Syria supports Hizballah. Fine. Hizballah like to chant “Death to America”. Fine. But do you expect Americans to like Syria? Look at the facts objectively and you will see that there are plenty of things Syria can do to build a better relation with the US. And if Syria does not want to do those things, then it has to accept that it is leaving these issues for Israel to exploit. But complain about your enemy taking advantage of your mistaken strategy? What kind of an attitude is that?

February 6th, 2009, 7:44 pm

 

Rumyal said:

OTW,

Sand’s book is excellent and highly recommend it when it becomes available in English or Arabic (or I can teach you Hebrew if you want :-)). Beyond the Historical thesis that he advances and that are not completely in the piece that you posted, there is also a general treatment of the role of history (and also cartography) in the construction of nation states and how historians have basically assumed the roles of priests in the secular nation state. His analysis concentrates more than on the history itself on the historians, their circumstances and sensibilities and how that shaped their views and writing. It’s a very good read and to the extent he’s sloppy, it’s because the evidence is so clear and overwhelming that he loses his guard against potential “AP”’s that will of course dig any minutia they can to discredit him. Above all, this is a passionate plea to Israelis (Jews and Arabs) to remove their blindfolds and understand their past, present and future through a critical understanding of reality.

In this context, I’d also like to mention Rafi Netz-Zehngut who is working on a study on how knowledge (or ignorance) is affecting the views of Israelis about the conflict. He found that Israelis are currently somewhere in the middle between a “critical” and a “Zionist” perception of history with more recent events perceived more “Zionistically” and more far-away things perceived more “crititically”. Basically—the past events can be judged neutrally and the recent ones are judged through the usual defense mechanisms.

In my opinion books likes Sand’s and movies such as Waltz with Bashir are crucially important for the transformation of Israel and their popularity hints that perhaps ideologies that we believe are well entrenched are actually quite superficial and can be discarded over a short period of time. This has to do a lot with a generational passing-of-the-batton with people like Peres the last one of the old-Zionists stepping down and now we have knock-offs such as Livni and Bibi however the next generation (mine) is much more critical. Related to that, HADASH’s (the only joint Arab-Jewish party in Isral) Dov Hanin has swept a third (a THIRD) of the votes in his mayoral campaign in Tel-Aviv and I hear that there is a ground swell of support for HADASH amongst young secular Jews that has already contributed to it now being projected to get 5 instead of 4 seats in the elections. Still not much, but definitely not something to be ignored and the weight of intellectuals and tone-setters in their base is significant.

February 6th, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG

I am not competing with Israel, don’t worry.

I have no problem with AIPAC being “successful” … but they went beyond successful to being destructive.

Have you heard of what happens to those who take 50 pills instead of two pills that the doctor prescribed? .. AIPAC’s “success” in Washington is going there, and you and Akbar (supporters of more and more “success”) have no clue what happens when you increase the dosage with no limits.

February 6th, 2009, 10:54 pm

 

Alia said:

OTW,

Very interesting article. I do look forward to reading the book..
It has been out in French for a few months.

http://www.amazon.fr/Comment-peuple-juif-fut-invent%C3%A9/dp/2213637784/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233971285&sr=8-1

There is of course now a more definitive way of affirming such a theory or refuting it, by performing genetic studies that identify signature genetic lineages across time. Since there are already several identified signature genetic markers for both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewish groups, it would be interesting to see the percentage of those markers in native Palestinians and compare them with a control group that is geographically close but presumed to be historically distinct, like the Turcs or Greeks or Saudis.

( This is assuming that there is enthusiasm for such a study and its possible results)

One recent interesting example of such studies:

Identifying Genetic Traces of Historical Expansions:
Phoenician Footprints in the Mediterranean

The Phoenicians were the dominant traders in the Mediterranean Sea two thousand to three thousand years ago and expanded from
their homeland in the Levant to establish colonies and trading posts throughout the Mediterranean, but then they disappeared from
history. We wished to identify their male genetic traces in modern populations. Therefore, we chose Phoenician-influenced sites on
the basis of well-documented historical records and collected new Y-chromosomal data from 1330 men from six such sites, as well as
comparative data from the literature. We then developed an analytical strategy to distinguish between lineages specifically associated with the Phoenicians and those spread by geographically similar but historically distinct events, such as the Neolithic, Greek, and Jewish expansions. This involved comparing historically documented Phoenician sites with neighboring non-Phoenician sites for the identification of weak but systematic signatures shared by the Phoenician sites that could not readily be explained by chance or by other expansions.
From these comparisons, we found that haplogroup J2, in general, and six Y-STR haplotypes, in particular, exhibited a Phoenician
signature that contributed > 6% to the modern Phoenician-influenced populations examined.

http://www.cell.com/AJHG/fulltext/S0002-9297(08)00547-8

February 7th, 2009, 1:52 am

 

Rumyal said:

Alia,

There were a number of studies that try to prove various theories about Jews’ origins, some of which are based on maternal genetic markers and some on paternal markers. Sand talks about them in his book but as in the rest of the book his concentration is not so much on the studies’ conclusion but the motivation of the researchers, how they manipulated the results to suite their ideology etc. As far as the results of the studies themselves, to the best of my knowledge they are inconclusive. They did show some relationship between Ashkenazi Jews to Levantine populations on the paternal markers, but not so much on the maternal markers and that gave rise to all sorts of theories about (“authentic) nomadic Jewish males traveling in Eastern Europe and taking local women for wives etc. Sand also claims that a large chunk of the Jews originated from the Punic people of Northern Africa which are themselves descendants of the Phoenicians, so even if Northern African Jews show affinity to current people of the Levant you can’t tell whether it was through the original Israelites or through the Punic conversion to Judaism (of which there is great evidence).

His main point though is that it doesn’t matter… except when somebody tries to harness this as part of a political ideology…

February 7th, 2009, 2:35 am

 

Alia said:

Sand also claims that a large chunk of the Jews originated from the Punic people of Northern Africa which are themselves descendants of the Phoenicians, so even if Northern African Jews show affinity to current people of the Levant you can’t tell whether it was through the original Israelites or through the Punic conversion to Judaism (of which there is great evidence).

Rumyal,

You can actually separate North African Jews between those who carry Sephardic markers and those who do not and are Jewish based on conversion during the Punic war.
There is a method of analysis of haplotype sharing and diversity within specific haplogroups (signature genetic markings) which can identify which are the more ancient.

As an example of this: in looking for traces of North African genetic markers among present day Spaniard males, researchers have been able to separate the North African markers ( present in only 10% of the studied samples) from the more ancient Sephardic markers (present in 19%) of the males. There is of course an overlap between the two in some of the males.

The trick is how these data are being used in the service of ideology – or sometimes just ignored.

I understand that Sand is speaking of the manipulation of both historical and scientific data in the service of ideology.

February 7th, 2009, 1:18 pm

 

Shai said:

Rumyal,

In the end, Palestinians will have a full right of return to Palestine, and Jews will have a right of return to Phoenicia (including modern-day Lebanon)… (sorry QN) 🙂 But on a serious note, I think it’ll take a few decades before most Jews in Israel are ready to consider Sand’s theories. At the moment (this is a subjective opinion), I think they’re more ready to press the (nuclear) button, rather than accept that they may not be Jews at all, or have any rights to this land…

February 7th, 2009, 6:42 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Alia,

Interesting… (I still have strong conviction that *I* am a direct descendant of King David though :-))

Shai,

The fact that this book is a bestseller shows that if these views are still unpopular it is not because (reading) people are dumb but because they are engaged in self-deception. Also, the person who is going to press on the nuclear button is not “Israel”. He represents an entrenched political and military ruling elite that has a personal vested interest in perpetuating the current state of affairs.

February 7th, 2009, 7:08 pm

 

Shai said:

Rumyal,

Let’s hope no one presses “the button”. Although, at the rate Yvette Lieberman is gaining ground, he’ll soon be the 2nd strongest party… Sick!!! (and scary). People around are shocked at what’s going on. He’s getting votes from Likud, and from many Russians. Even Bibi seems to be in shock… And Barak, of course, has no morals whatsoever – and is now saying he could see himself sitting with Lieberman…

February 7th, 2009, 7:20 pm

 

Alex said:

Rumyal, Alia, Shai,

I’m sure that among the studies commissioned by M14 leaders there was one that attempted to find out if the “Lebanese” carry genetic Lebanese markers compared to the very different creatures who live in “Syria” who obviously carry Syrian markers.

February 7th, 2009, 8:15 pm

 

Alex said:

Talking To Tehran

America’s old Iran hands on how—and whether—to start the conversation.

Maziar Bahari and Christopher Dickey
NEWSWEEK

From the magazine issue dated Feb 16, 2009

Ever since their 444 days spent in captivity, from November 1979 to January 1981, Bruce Laingen and John Limbert’s names have been preceded by the words “Iran hostage,” a grim honorific that’s emblematic of the suffering and frustration that have marked U.S.-Iranian relations.

Laingen was the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in Tehran when revolutionaries stormed the embassy. Limbert, a Persian speaker and former Peace Corps volunteer, was an English teacher at the time who later went on to become an ambassador.

It was all a long time ago, of course. As of this month, three decades have passed since the Shah of Iran, who had been supported by the United States as the policeman of the Persian Gulf, fled his homeland and the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power, establishing a revolutionary Islamic regime that continues to threaten, challenge, undermine and sometimes violently attack the United States and its allies, especially Israel. That same Iran is now well on its way to becoming a nuclear power, and last week it launched its first satellite into orbit, sending it high over the United States.

In all these years, no American has been posted in Tehran like Laingen, Limbert or their colleagues were; nor has any dealt officially and directly with the Iranian government beyond a few limited exchanges over Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet that might be about to change. The Obama administration has suggested starting a conversation. So we sought out Laingen and Limbert and other U.S. survivors from those fraught and frightening times three decades back, including Henry Precht, the Iran desk officer at the State Department in 1979, to ask them how and whether to talk to the ayatollahs.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Laingen, now 87, Limbert, 65, and Precht, 76, met at a Persian restaurant in Washington, D.C. Over plates of pomegranate stew, they spoke, as they often do, about how the United States government, after years supporting the shah, got blindsided by the Iranian revolution, and what lessons might be learned. In general, they agreed the Iranians today want, and should be shown, “mutual respect.” But the Great Satan is in the details.

“We have to talk to these people to understand them,” says Laingen. “There has to be respect from both sides. But we need to hear something from the other side that makes us think they really want to talk to us.”

“If you go into negotiations thinking that the other side is irrational, crazy and violent, you definitely won’t reach any agreements,” says Limbert. To American eyes, to be sure, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks quaintly eccentric when he demands, as he did in late January, that the Western powers be “polite” when dealing with his country. His truculence toward Israel is inflammatory if not insane—not least because it could goad the Israelis into mounting an attack. And his response to President Barack Obama’s talk of an extended hand has hardly been encouraging. Ahmadinejad demanded that Obama first apologize for America’s many alleged crimes against the Iranian people, dating back to its support of a coup in 1953.

“When Ahmadinejad brings out this laundry list of grievances, you can go with that two ways,” says Limbert. “You can say that the guy’s crazy and can’t do anything about it. Or you can say that like many people in Iran he carries around this burden of history. And it’s a history of grievances: grievances real and grievances imagined, but they are still around.”

“Or you can move on,” says Precht.

“You have to deal with the grievances and then move on,” says Limbert.

In either case, there will not be warm handshakes any time soon, nor should there be. Talks between Washington and Tehran might begin with questions of regional security and stability, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which border Iran. There have been such successful contacts in the past. “We have to find how to make more of this,” says Limbert. “But people on both sides are doing their best to undermine it.”

“There are Iranians who think it’s nice to be mean to us,” says Precht, drinking the liquid yogurt known as doogh. “I think we should ignore all that. Keep the eye on the ball and see the negotiations as paving the way for the future.”

“Maybe,” says Laingen, opening a U.S. interests section in the Swiss Embassy in Tehran—as the Bush administration contemplated—would be “a good step.” American diplomats would staff the office. They’d be the first U.S. diplomats on the ground there since Laingen and Limbert were freed.

“I’m against that,” says Limbert. “I’m against sending colleagues right now.”

“No one is going to ask you to go over there!” says Precht, laughing.

But that’s not what Limbert’s got on his mind. “Can you imagine what our colleagues would have been subjected to during all this Gaza business?” he asks. “[The government] had a hard time containing the mobs in Tehran who wanted to attack the British and the Egyptians!”

Still, “there are relatively cost-free things we can do, like giving visas and then asking for reciprocity,” says Precht.

“But then you get a kick in the teeth: they become suspicious that we’re recruiting spies,” says Limbert. He’s not keen on a gesture like unfreezing Iran’s assets abroad either. “I’m sure they would say, ‘That’s very nice. What else can you do for us?’ ”

Yet Precht maintains that the United States must “find a way to relieve Iranians of their insecurities. We have to stop talking about regime change,” says Precht. “Obama should tell his envoy to tell Iran that we accept Iran and we’re not interested” in changing its leadership. Indeed, an assurance not to meddle in Iran’s internal affairs was part of the agreement that won the freedom of the hostages, at last, in January 1981.

As this suggests, nothing is likely to change before the rhetoric does. “Iran is the only country in the world that gathers thousands of people every week to shout ‘Death to America!’ ” says Gary Sick, who served on the National Security Council in 1979. “It’s foolish and no one takes it seriously. But what if we had a rally in Washington every week and we all shouted, ‘Death to Iran!’? What would they think about that?”

“The language has to change,” says Sick. “If Iranians want to be treated with respect, they have to behave respectfully themselves.”

February 7th, 2009, 8:18 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Alex,

LOL… but like so often in life, it’s usually a case of follow-the-money: who’s donating to the genetic research faculties, funding grants, what kind of scientific outcomes are likely to make them continue their support…

So if Hariri’s buddies start investing in genetic research I’m not sure they won’t get some “proof” to whatever they want to show 🙂

February 7th, 2009, 9:12 pm

 

Alex said:

Rumyal,

I won’t forget how I managed once to change one of the many assumptions in a study and very easily the results were totally different .. the way I wanted them to be (it was a project for statistics course, no harm done)

You have to believe in “Yes, we can” in research too 😉

February 7th, 2009, 10:18 pm

 

Alex said:

“Whether it’s because they’re newly affordable, like the Big Island or Britain, or just plain fascinating like Alaska or Syria”

Syria is one of LA TIMES’s top ten must-see spots around the globe

Syria

Some trips you actually take; others you take only in your mind, which may be the case with Syria. The U.S. State Department says it harbors terrorist organizations and notes that it has been the scene of anti-American demonstrations.

So why does everyone I know who’s been there — including archaeologists and foreign correspondents — say that Syrians are friendly to Americans and that tourists have not been the targets of violence?

They also say it’s a Middle Eastern idyll, at the heart of the ancient cradle of civilization. Syrian cuisine, highlighted by hundreds of varieties of mezes, or appetizers, must be tasted to be believed, and the country’s souks or marketplaces teem with treasures. Best of all, isolation has left it untrammeled and intense. I don’t know how long that will last, so I want to go now.

My dream Syria tour would take in the capital Damascus with its Umayyad Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites; the ruins of ancient Palmyra, where legendary Queen Zenobia mounted a rebellion against Rome in the 3rd century; Aleppo, a Silk Road trading mecca with a seven-mile-long covered souk, citadel and nearby Simeon, the Stylite monastery where the ascetic early-Christian saint lived atop a pillar for 37 years.

February 7th, 2009, 10:21 pm

 

Alia said:

Alex,

The tone of the Newsweek article is the same old stuff-pragmatic reasonable gentlemen who are discussing how best to deal with lunatics, while showing themselves ultra-culturally sensitive and unprejudiced: they deign to even eat in a Persian restaurant and look at them they know the names of what they are eating. And when the mention of present or old grievances from Iran comes up, their best idea is to push them under the carpet and move on.

The U.S. administration has disrespected Iran by overthrowing an elected regime and meddling in Iran’s affairs during the Shah’s reign. The Iranians can call “death to America” all they want, but it is America in fact that has caused a lot of problems in Iran internally and during the war with Iraq, and as always contributed significantly to the rise of an extremist regime and ideology. Would there have been an Ayatollah at the helm of that Republic had there not been a corrupt Shah ?

So I am really not impressed with the article or the level of understanding of the people who are giving their opinions. I have heard better analyzes from people who have never set foot in Iran.
( Please do not tell me about the PTSD of the Iran hostages)

Having listened to Mr.Obama on this subject, I am inclined to think that his attitude will be a lot more conciliatory and understanding than those people….

February 7th, 2009, 11:46 pm

 

Alia said:

Alex,

You are not so far off the mark with the Lebanese gene.

Pierre Zalloua is the principal investigator on most studies tracing the Phoenician gene connection- and from what i have read the Lebanese are very eager to get their DNA tested to prove that they are Phoenicians and not anything else (Like Arab) thankfully Syrians and Palestinians are still included among the possible Phonician connection : )

February 8th, 2009, 12:00 am

 

norman said:

To all of you interested in the genetic origin,

We have to remember that the Mideast is the place of many semitic civilization and the place of many occupations including the Greeks , the Romans , the mongols ,the Crusades and the Turks,

Actually few month back i send for my genetic mapping , I found that i have more people related to me in England and France than in the Mideast ,

I guess I belong to the Crusade ,

The bottom line we are all MUTTS and belong to the land we live in , so let us make it better together.

February 8th, 2009, 4:28 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Alex said:

I’m sure that among the studies commissioned by M14 leaders there was one that attempted to find out if the “Lebanese” carry genetic Lebanese markers compared to the very different creatures who live in “Syria” who obviously carry Syrian markers.

Don’t worry Alex. The March 14 studies discovered that all Levantines carry z-7umMus bI-ta7iNi gene, remember? You have nothing to worry about.

February 8th, 2009, 5:23 pm

 

Alex said:

Netanyahu: No return of Golan Heights to Syria
Israel seems to be moving rightward going into Tuesday’s national election, with polls giving the edge to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a tough stance on Mideast peacemaking that could lead to a collision with the new U.S. administration.
(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

By Mark Lavie

JERUSALEM—Benjamin Netanyahu, the front-runner in polls ahead of Israel’s election this week, declared Sunday he would not give up the strategic Golan Heights for peace with Syria, an apparent attempt to toughen his right-wing credentials after a last-minute charge by a hardline party.

Netanyahu has been leading in the polls since shortly after the Feb. 10 election was called in November, but his lead has been shrinking in recent weeks as another hawkish party, Yisrael Beitenu, or “Israel is our home,” surges with its campaign against Israel’s minority Arab citizens.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, after Syria gunners shelled northern Israeli villages for 19 years. Syria demands return of the territory as a prerequisite for peace, but many Israelis hesitate to give up such a strategic asset.

In moving further to the right, Netanyahu could be setting up a confrontation with the Obama administration if he becomes Israel’s leader. Netanyahu opposes talks on a peace treaty with the Palestinians and favors allowing Israeli settlements in the West Bank to expand, two points that are likely to clash with Washington policy.

Netanyahu’s Likud Party has been the mainstream voice of Israel’s right wing for decades, but the erosion in its support has led him to underline his hawkish positions in the final hours of campaigning.

With polls showing him holding a slim lead over Kadima, the present ruling party, and its candidate, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu traveled to the Golan Heights on Sunday to emphasize their policy differences.

While Livni has not ruled out returning the Golan Heights in exchange for full peace, and the third candidate for premier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Labor, offered the Syrians that deal when he was premier in 2000, Netanyahu insisted he would say no.

“The Golan will never be divided again, the Golan will never fall again, the Golan will remain in our hands,” he declared during his campaign stop there. Netanyahu and his backers consider the strategic value of the territory as more important than a peace treaty.

Netanyahu has carefully not criticized Yisrael Beitenu or its leader, Avigdor Lieberman, who was Netanyahu’s chief aide when he was premier from 1996-1999, hoping for a partnership after the election.

Lieberman’s main campaign plank is to force Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population, to swear loyalty to the Jewish state or relinquish their citizenship. Some polls show Lieberman’s party approaching 20 seats in the 120-seat parliament, trailing Likud and Kadima, polling less than 30 seats each, but well ahead of Labor, with about 15. Israelis vote for parties, not candidates.

His support could catapult him into a key role in the new government, giving him a large voice in peace moves and domestic policy as well.

However, polls are notoriously inaccurate in Israel. This time the pollsters’ task is even more difficult because the gaps among the parties are relatively small, turnout is expected to be the lowest in Israel’s history and a plethora of small parties could upset the equation.

February 8th, 2009, 7:15 pm

 

Alex said:

Mark Lavie wrote above:

“Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, after Syria gunners shelled northern Israeli villages for 19 years.”

“captured” … This is how the conflict will never end … as long as Israel’s friends continue to hide the truth from the American people, Israel will continue to be spoiled.

February 8th, 2009, 7:21 pm

 

offended said:

I’ve done the test.

It turned out I belong to the homo-sapiens.

February 8th, 2009, 7:32 pm

 

offended said:

It’s becoming increasingly irritating to think of BiBi as a prime minister. Granted, he wants to raise the rhetoric, but such statements makes it difficult to any one to be hopeful of peace.

He’s probably secretly preparing for a massacre as he hates to be outdone by the Laborists and the Kadmists.

February 8th, 2009, 7:42 pm

 

norman said:

the only difference between Netanyahu and the others , Netanyahu tells us what he wants to dod the others tell that they want peace then they kill 1200 in Lebanon and 1300 in Gaza , proportionally that is equal to 30000 American of our 300000. population ,

Alex If Syria wants the Golan Syria should fight for it , Obama and others will not help Syria because they can not , and as long as Israel is not paying a price for being on the Golan It will not leave , Even If Syria continue to pursue peace It should prepare for war .

February 8th, 2009, 8:06 pm

 

Shai said:

Offended,

Why secretly? He already promised Lieberman a “significant post” (Minister of Massacres, Minister of Racial Affairs, etc.)

As for your comment earlier regarding your anticipated spare parts, I hope you’re not including 2nd hand ones… 🙂

February 8th, 2009, 8:11 pm

 

Shai said:

Norman,

I disagree. Obama has plenty of weight over Israel, should he choose to exercise it. Remember James Baker in the 1st-Bush Era. Even the “tough” Shamir couldn’t stand up to him. Threaten to cut off financial and military aid to Israel, and we’ll be whistling to the tunes of The Sound of Music while withdrawing from the Golan.

February 8th, 2009, 8:19 pm

 

norman said:

Shai,

Didn’t Israel ban maier Kahana for being racist, Why can’t they do the same here to Lieberman.?.

February 8th, 2009, 8:26 pm

 

Shai said:

Norman,

There have actually been rumors the past week or two that Lieberman was a member for a while in Kahana’s (outlawed) party. He denied it, but some evidence is now starting to appear suggesting otherwise. But this was years ago. As for his racist remarks, I’m not aware of any charges brought up against him. He is, however, under ongoing investigation into some heavy corruption charges. God-willing, he’ll be forced out of politics (and into jail) sooner than he can carry out any of his “plans”. As much as I dislike them, the religious party Shas told voters this week that voting for Lieberman’s party is voting for the Devil…

February 8th, 2009, 8:33 pm

 

norman said:

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

——————————————————————————–

Last update – 04:04 08/02/2009
To the Arab world, every Israeli candidate is the same
By Zvi Bar’el

“Conventional wisdom has it that Israeli Jewish voters are more likely to vote for candidates with a reputation of taking a tough stance vis-a-vis the Palestinians. In both the popular and political lexicon, this translates into spilling Palestinian blood, destroying Palestinian homes and further narrowing Palestinian horizons,” writes Khaled Amayreh in the English language Al-Ahram Weekly.

Click here for exclusive Haaretz coverage of the elections in Israel

Amayreh isn’t airing banal claims to prove, once again, that the citizens of Arab countries should not take an interest in the Israeli elections. He is informed, he reads the Israeli press, he cites the latest public opinion polls and the statements of the prime ministerial candidates. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who until recently was treading water in the polls, has improved his position slightly thanks to how he suggested to treat wanted Palestinian men, even when they are on the toilet.

Readers of the international Arab newspaper Asharq Alawsat might know a bit more, because the paper’s Israel correspondent has taken the trouble of informing them that Shas has promised a personal blessing from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to anyone who recruits 10 voters for the ultra-Orthodox party. The names of Israeli politicians and parties have long since become an integral part of the news menu served up to Arab readers in the Middle East. And so, when the London-based Al-Hayat published a cartoon a week ago, with the word “Wanted” written alongside pictures of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livi, Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and Likud MK Benjamin Netanyahu and the caption “Elections in Israel: Coming Soon,” there was no need to explain who represented what party.

An attempt to find an opinion piece about the upcoming elections in newspapers of the Persian Gulf states, Jordan or Syria came up blank. The outcome does not interest the Arab media, since whoever becomes Israel’s new prime minister is hardly any different from the other contenders. “Israel’s foreign policy agenda is no longer a mystery to us,” explains a Jordanian columnist writing in the Al Rai newspaper. “The interest in what is happening in Israel derived from the impression that different prime ministers can set different agendas – solve the Palestinian problem, withdraw from the Golan Heights, create regional opportunities. Today everyone is using the language of violence. Everyone wants deterrence against the Palestinians and no one is talking about peace agreements.”

Three years ago, during the 2006 elections, the Arab arena was a hub of activity. The ambassadors of Egypt and Jordan met with Israeli politicians, activists and journalists in an effort to characterize the popular mood and assess the candidates. “Every day we would get a long list of questions from Cairo. Sometimes they had even read the Israeli press before we did,” an Egyptian diplomat who used to work at the embassy in Tel Aviv said on the phone. “They wanted to know every detail, to understand even the smallest anecdote about an Israeli politician.”

And nowadays? “My work focuses on another area, but out of curiosity I have been following events in Israel,” related the diplomat. “It’s boring now, because the candidates aren’t presenting a challenge to the Arab policy. It looks like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak isn’t making any special efforts now, compared to how he acted in the previous elections.” Before the 2001 elections, Mubarak described Ariel Sharon as a danger to peace; two years later the Egyptian leader congratulated Sharon – that very same Sharon – on his electoral victory, in a well-publicized phone call that elicited harsh criticism from several Arab countries. In addition, some four months ahead of the 2006 elections, Mubarak told a Spanish newspaper that “only Sharon can bring peace.”

Such direct intervention in Israeli elections on the part of an Arab leader had been unprecedented until then – apart from Yasser Arafat, who in his heyday used to tell Israeli Arabs how to vote. Incidentally, in this electoral race, the Arab press has discerned a change in the status of Israeli Arabs. The sector, which was perceived as able to impact the make-up of the Knesset and the cabinet, has now been accorded the status of an “endangered flower.”

“Aside from reiterating the slogan about the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, it is also necessary to demand the right of ‘Israeli Arabs’ to remain on their land,” Majid al Sheikh wrote in Al Hayat last week. He was referring to the slogans of Yisrael Beiteinu MK Avigdor Lieberman, and furthermore asserted that Livni’s stance toward Israel’s Arabs is no different: Like Lieberman, she wants a Jewish state, that is – to bring about the emigration of Israeli Arabs to the Palestinian state. “The dream of [a population] transfer has been and remains the Zionist dream,” Sheikh wrote. “It changes in intensity (from candidate to candidate), but not in its essence. Livni’s center or Barak’s center is no different from Netanyahu’s.” It seems that in Sheikh’s opinion, not “only Lieberman understands Arabic” (as his electoral slogan says), but so do Livni, Barak and Netanyahu.

According to the Jordanian columnist, “In the past, before the peace agreement with Israel was signed, we would read every report about the Israeli elections. There was hope that a new government would bring with it a new initiative. Your election slogans were full of hope. We related to them as a commitment. Today, the really important election has already been held – in the United States. Now we are writing about George Mitchell and Barack Obama, about Hillary Clinton and the rift between Fatah and Hamas or between Syria and Egypt. We have already despaired of what is happening in Israel.”

——————————————————————————–

/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=1062347

close window

February 8th, 2009, 9:40 pm

 

Shai said:

Kahane won

By Gideon Levy

Rabbi Meir Kahane can rest in peace: His doctrine has won. Twenty years after his Knesset list was disqualified and 18 years after he was murdered, Kahanism has become legitimate in public discourse. If there is something that typifies Israel’s current murky, hollow election campaign, which ends the day after tomorrow, it is the transformation of racism and nationalism into accepted values.

If Kahane were alive and running for the 18th Knesset, not only would his list not be banned, it would win many votes, as Yisrael Beiteinu is expected to do. The prohibited has become permitted, the ostracized is now accepted, the destestable has become the talented – that’s the slippery slope down which Israeli society has skidded over the past two decades.

There’s no need to refer to Haaretz’s startling revelation that Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman was a member of Kahane’s Kach party in his youth: This campaign’s dark horse was and is a Kahanist. The differences between Kach and Yisrael Beiteinu are minuscule, not fundamental and certainly not a matter of morality. The differences are in tactical nuances: Lieberman calls for a fascist “test of loyalty” as a condition for granting citizenship to Israel’s Arabs, while Kahane called for the unconditional annulment of their citizenship. One racist (Lieberman) calls for their transfer to the Palestinian state, the other (Kahane) called for their deportation.

Now the instigator of the new Israeli racism will apparently become the leader of a large party once again in the government. Benjamin Netanyahu has already pledged that Lieberman will be an “important minister” in his government. If someone like Lieberman were to join a government in Europe, Israel would sever ties with it. If anyone had predicted in Kahane’s day that a pledge to turn his successor into an important minister would one day be considered an electoral asset here, they would have been told they were having a nightmare.

But the nightmare is here and now. Kahane is alive and kicking – is he ever – in the person of his thuggish successor. This is not just a matter of disqualifying Yisrael Beiteinu; it is not even a matter of this party’s growing strength to terrifying proportions, becoming the fulcrum that will decide who becomes prime minister. This is a matter of legitimization. All society bears responsibility for it.

Kahane was ostracized; Lieberman is a welcome guest in every living room and television studio. Imagine: Ehud Barak does not rule out a coalition with him; Uzi Landau, considered a “democrat,” is now Lieberman’s number two; a former senior ambassador and a retired police major general also adorn the list. Did we know that Israel was being represented in Washington by an avowed racist in the person of Daniel Ayalon? Did we know that former Border Police chief and deputy police commissioner Yitzhak Aharonovich was one, too? They have come out of the closet, these racists, breaking out of the heart of the establishment to the despicable right, and the attitude toward them has not changed a bit.

Lieberman and his soldiers are borne on the tides of hatred for Arabs, hatred of democracy and the rule of law, and the stink of nationalism, racism and bloodthirstiness. These have turned, horrifically, into the hottest electoral assets on the market. Like all others of his political ilk, he cynically fans these base urges, particularly among the weaker classes, the rejected, the poor and the immigrants. But not just there. Many young people, among them brainwashed soldiers, will give him their vote, and no one ostracizes them. He chose an easy, relatively weak target, Israel’s Arabs, and sets his supporters on them. But his doctrine has seeped in much deeper than that.

Lieberman is the voice of the mob, and the mob craves hatred, vengeance and bloodshed. A useless war in which hundreds of children were killed was received here sympathetically, if not happily. The parties from the right and center have tried to disqualify the Arab parties; these lists are also excluded ahead of time in every political calculation. And Arab students cannot rent an apartment.

When the intifada of Israel’s Arabs breaks out here one day, we will know whom to blame – those who criminally incited against them and, no less, those who turned this incitement into something acceptable and legitimate. This cancerous growth has spread to all parts of society; it remains only to issue a desperate last call: Keep away from this abomination. Anything but Yisrael Beiteinu, lest it really become Israel, our home.

February 9th, 2009, 4:37 am

 

Shai said:

Rumyal,

Check out the Left vs. New Left (“Hadash” Jewish-Arab party) clips – they’re fantastic. (Sorry, they’re in Hebrew…) http://leftvsleft.co.il/

February 9th, 2009, 7:50 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

In a way it is good that Israel will finally have government which will do exactly the same which the previous governments did but without that propaganda smokescreen of negotiations and false promises. The west will finally have to face the true Israel.

With Netanyahu and Lieberman EU and USA are in a really difficult position, they have to support a openly racist, aggressive country or they do not have. With their elections promises Netanyahu and Lieberman have made achieving peace almost impossible. It will be “interesting” to see can the “West” continue the two state game in a situation where Israel is now clearly against it and Bibi promises “economic peace” (what ever that means).

February 9th, 2009, 9:49 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ground Control to Major Tom

Actually A.P., I know that people like you are a lot more dangerous to the US than al-Qaeda.

Me? I never hijacked a plane in my life!

People like you have hijacked the congress of the US…to the point that Congressman cannot keep their posts if they even dare put the interests of the US before those of Israel.

Explain how “people like you have hijacked the congress”? In your explaination, please discuss how there can be congressmen who are anti-Israel and immune to AIPAC.

Al-Qaeda is a defined enemy so there is no fear that anyone will mix them up with friends- but when your so called-friends are actually no friends to anybody, they can and do in this case stab you in the back whenever it is in their interest to do so- without you being on guard.

You haven’t discussed the benefits of al-Queda over Israel. Do any of these actors provide any benefit to the USA?

Let’s just keep pouring trillions in the hands of the Israelis.

It is not clear that if the US throws Israel under the bus that al-Queda and other terrorist groups will suddenly end their jihad. Do you have info showing this would be the case?

ADL is just such a gem of an organisation

I agree. They counter inaccurate information defaming Israel and Joos.

I know you have good intentions, and that you believe you are doing nothing but good, and I know you care about, and defend, the United States, and even the republican Party. It is not about intentions, it is about results.

I do this as a public service and I don’t get paid. It’s a thankless job…

You know how you and your friends are among America’s worst enemies despite your good intentions?

I can’t wait to find out.

1) You feel that the United States is strong and safe .. one one can destroy the United States.

That’s relative. I don’t think any terrorist organization can bring down the US, but they can certainly hurt us (i.e. 9-11).

2) You feel that Israel is small and at risk of its “evil” neighbors trying to weaken Israel, through force or through propaganda …etc.

Mostly through force, although, like with the US, not anything that could bring down the government.

3) Therefore, you and your American “friends of Israel” are mostly focused on protecting Israel.

And protecting the US and protecting Great Britain and protecting Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and every other nation.

You know that Israel only survived because of America’s solid backing and you therefore spend all your time making sure America will ALWAYS back Israel 100%.

Pro-Israel american gentiles do a better job than I do “making sure America will always back Israel. Like AIG has said, you need to do a better job countering them.

4) You start defending Israel 100% and you become paranoid about making sure American elected officials are 100% pro Israel

I don’t bother “making sure” American elected officials are 100% pro-Israel”. I don’t have the time, and these people are too few for me to worry about. I’m more concerned that I can’t change you and Alia’s POV. It must be my delivery.

5) Israel feels very secure that no punishment is ever possible thanks to YOU securing America’s automatic veto at the UN among other things.

Sorry again. That’s my fault.

6) Israel becomes spoiled and it starts using its power in the most destructive way .. causing Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan to hate Israel … and to hate America.

You mean there was a time when Pakistan and Afghanistan liked Israel? Do you have a date and time when this all went away?

7) America joins Israel (and North Korea and Iran and Communist China) in being one of the most hated countries in the world.

See answer above.

Akbar … the Iraq war would not have taken place had it not been for those who think they are “Israel’s friends” adding their weight to the pro war faction int he Bush administration …

I disagree. The first Iraq war would not have taken place if Saddam didn’t enter Kuwait. The second Iraq war would not have occurred if Saddam let the UN inspector investigate without restriction.

And that cost the US much more casualties than Al-Qaeda did so far …

How much is “much more”? And what about the benefit of not having Saddam around? And what about the benefit of introducing an Arab democracy?

I don’t think you are capable of imagining the psychological damage that tens of thousands of young American soldiers will endure … for life.

I just get the impression you don’t want the US to confront ME dictators and terrorism. If we can’t defend ourselves from ME fanatics, why even bother to have an army?

You start most of the problems and you want the world to deal with your mistakes few years later.

That’s your biased opinion. Israel didn’t start 9-11, al-Queda did. Israel didn’t start the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq did. Israel didn’t start dropping missiles into Israeli population centers, Hezbollah and Hamas did.

A spoiled, nuclear powered nation and its friends in Washington who are not sure if that nation is at risk (from Hamas and Hizbollah!) or is strong enough to be able to teach the whole Arab and Islamic world one bloody lesson after another …

The key word is “spoiled”.

Every man or woman who run for congress has to talk about his support for Israel’s security … why is Nuclear Israel’s security in need for periodic statements of support from congressmen from Idaho and south Carolina?

So people know who to vote for….I think.

You have messed up American politics and corrupted them … with few exceptions, only those who are corrupt enough to accept AIPAC conditions in exchange for AIPAC support will represent the American people.

You don’t know this, but AIPAC just rented out your brain to Dick Cheney. If I were you, I’d get an MRI real fast….

February 9th, 2009, 6:14 pm

 

Shai said:

In these days of Yvette Lieberman, here’s an interesting article about Theodor Herzl’s prediction for the future, made in 1902: “… he imagined that Jews could also be racists and inserted into his utopia the errant and disturbing image of a Jewish racist…” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1062723.html

February 9th, 2009, 8:36 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Shai,

How much longer will you live in your racist state? It must be difficult.

February 9th, 2009, 9:39 pm

 

Rumyal said:

Shame on you AP you deserve to live in a racist state yourself, as a minority. You’re so [edited by admin] your only chance to learn is through first hand experience, never through empathy and introspection.

February 9th, 2009, 10:29 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

My racist state is better than your racist state

Shame on you AP you deserve to live in a racist state yourself, as a minority. You’re so [edited by admin] your only chance to learn is through first hand experience, never through empathy and introspection.

Rumyal,

Which racist state do you live in? How do you justify living there?

February 10th, 2009, 1:16 am

 

norman said:

Aba Eban once asked on CNN , (( Is Israel going to survive and last in The Mideast )), He answered (( The question is not if Israel is going to survive , That is for sure , The question is what kind of Israel is going to survive )) , I am sure he is turning in his grave of what Israel turns up to be .

I think Israel lacks leaders who can think and play Chess, Playing Chess teach people how to measure their moves and the consequences of these moves.

February 10th, 2009, 1:31 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Turn, Turn, Turn

I am sure he is turning in his grave of what Israel turns up to be.

Norman –

Instead of guessing what Abba Eban is doing in his grave, here are some more of his words you may want to consider:

“Better to be disliked than pitied.”

“I think that this is the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender.”

“One of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all.”

“Time and again these governments have rejected proposals today – and longed for them tomorrow.”

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

February 10th, 2009, 4:17 am

 

Enlightened said:

Here is a more famous quote:

Ben Gurion: ” Now we are the oppressors, and they are the terrorists”

Funny how the world changes!

February 10th, 2009, 4:55 am

 

Alex said:

smoking in Syria

February 10th, 2009, 6:30 am

 

jad said:

I liked the Aleppine accent..WABA…LOL

February 10th, 2009, 6:53 am

 

Arab moderate / Arab resistance Cold war | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog said:

[…] Balancing “Change” and “Prudence” will be an arduous process for President Obama Monday, February 2nd, 2009 by Alex for Syria Comment […]

September 24th, 2013, 3:03 am

 

Post a comment


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial