Hillary, Gaza, Econ - Syria Comment

Hillary, Gaza, Econ

Clinton to Engage Iran and Syria Soon
By JAY SOLOMON, JANUARY 14, 2009, WSJ

WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Clinton said at her confirmation hearing that the new administration would move quickly to engage Iran and Syria directly, making good on an Obama campaign promise to shift U.S. Mideast policy….

These initiatives, said the former first lady, would be part of the new administration’s focus on using diplomacy, economic aid and commerce, or “soft power,” to build bridges to allies and adversaries often critical of U.S. foreign policy in recent years.

Sen. Clinton said she would oversee a newly empowered State Department that would play a larger role in projecting U.S. influence overseas. Many U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have voiced concerns that the military has been drawn into too many aspects of foreign affairs, including diplomacy and economic development.

“America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America,” Sen. Clinton said in her testimony Tuesday. “The best way to advance America’s interest…is to design and implement global solutions.”

Sen. Clinton said addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict would be among her first priorities, but she didn’t offer any evidence of diverging from Bush administration policy on Israel’s attacks in Gaza. She said that for any cease-fire to hold, the Palestinian group Hamas must stop firing missiles into Israel…..

The Obama administration also views efforts to engage Syria as central to U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Sen. Clinton acknowledged that the U.S. has continued concerns about Damascus’s support of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. But she said Washington should test Syria’s willingness to break its strategic alliance with Iran and these extremist groups.

“I believe that engaging directly with Syria increases the possibility of making progress in changing Syrian behavior,” Sen. Clinton said in her written testimony, noting Washington would directly support Syrian-Israeli peace talks…..

From The Times of London:

….She acknowledged, though, that many past presidents, including her husband, had tried and failed to solve seemingly “intractable” problems in the Middle East. “The President-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel’s desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets. However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians,” she said.

“This must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel, normal and positive relations with its neighbours and independence, economic progress and security to the Palestinians in their own state.”

Asked if she would be willing to engage directly with the Islamic extremists controlling Gaza, Mrs Clinton replied: “You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is an absolute. That is my position and the President-elect’s position.”

The “smart power” strategy should go beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and address other issues, including Iran’s nuclear programme and the “irresponsible behaviour” of other countries in region such as Syria….

From LA Times:

…. She noted that Obama had described the possibility of an Iranian atomic bomb with the same term used by President Bush: “Unacceptable.”

On Iraq, Clinton seemed to be preserving her options when asked by Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) about plans to remove all U.S. combat troops within 16 months.

Clinton said Obama intended to remove combat troops “safely and responsibly, as soon as possible.” She said troops would be moved out of cities and towns “hopefully by June.”…

She said an expanded U.S. diplomatic corps could take on jobs around the world that in recent years have fallen to the much larger Pentagon. Clinton, Gates and other current and former government officials think that in many countries, foreign service officials can perform nonmilitary jobs more efficiently and less expensively…..

Despite the Bloodshed, Israel is Failing (Contributed by Rumyal)
What Kind of Security Will This Barbarism Bring Israel?
By SAREE MAKDISI

… Indeed, it seems clear that the writing now being posted on alternative media outlets is also starting to outweigh the clumsy efforts still being churned out by America’s army of paid and unpaid cheerleaders for Israel, who have forsaken what little remained of their own humanity and blinded themselves to suffering that ought to move any rational, caring, sentient human being to tears—the Dershowitzes and Foxmans, the Orens and Boots, the Krauthammers and Peretzes, the Bards and Goldfarbs, the cynical apparatchiks of CAMERA and AIPAC and the mindless busybodies and shuffling zombies of Stand With Us, the Israel Project and the Israel on Campus Coalition—who persist with their stubborn, craven defense of the indefensible. About these misanthropes there is much to be said, most of it too unpleasant to print, so I’ll shift the burden here to those memorable closing lines of Wilfred Owen’s war poem “Insensibility:”

But cursed are dullards whom no cannon stuns,
That they should be as stones.
Wretched are they, and mean
With paucity that never was simplicity.
By choice they made themselves immune
To pity and whatever mourns in man
Before the last sea and the hapless stars;
Whatever mourns when many leave these shores;
Whatever shares
The eternal reciprocity of tears.”…

Gaza War Weakens U.S. Standing, Pro-Western Arabs
By Massoud A. Derhally

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) — Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, now in its third week, is weakening the U.S.’s standing in the Middle East and undermining pro-Western leaders in the Arab world, Lebanon’s top diplomat said.

Does Syria matter? Read the arguments of Tom Dine, Martin Indyk, Joshua Landis, Moshe Ma’oz, Michael Oren, David Schenker, Tony Badran, and Andrew Tabler in Moment Magazine

Nearly six million tourists visit Syria in 2008: reports

DAMASCUS (AFP) — A total of 5.9 million foreign tourists visited Syria in 2008, a rise of 15 percent from the previous year, according to the tourism ministry, cited by local media.

More than 3.3 million of the visitors came from Arab countries, an increase of 13 percent from 2007, with 1.1 million coming from elsewhere as well as more than one million emigrants of Syrian origin.

Income from tourism reached nearly 3.5 billion dollars, while investment in projects for the industry totalled around 8.2 billion dollars, the same source said.

Syria mulls allowing majority foreign ownership in firms Wed Jan 14, 2009

KUWAIT, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Syria is considering permitting foreign investors to hold majority stakes in local companies, including banks, its central bank governor said on Wednesday.

Gulf Arab investors, including banks and telecoms firms, have sought to expand into Syria over the past two years but are only allowed to own a stake of up to 49 percent.

“There is a plan,” central bank chief Adeeb Mayaleh said when asked if Syria would allow foreign investors to take majority stakes. He did not give a time frame.

“We haven’t reached that stage yet,” Mayaleh told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab economic summit in Kuwait City.

Private banks were only allowed to set up in Syria five years ago and regulations curb lending and a range of banking activities found in neighbouring countries.

Syria’s nine private banks have mainly Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Gulf shareholders.

Western investors have stayed away from the sector, partly due to U.S. sanctions imposed on the Damascus government in 2004 for its support of anti-American groups in the Middle East.Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Russian navy eyes Tartous, Syria as base for Black Sea Fleet

MOSCOW – On Jan. 12, a task force from the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet arrived in Tartous, Syria from Turkey, which hosted a naval exercise with Moscow.

Russian officials said the navy plans to modernize Tartous over the next few years. They said Tartous, designed to accommodate up to a dozen warships, could become the base for the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet….

Syria Oil Min: Oil, Gas E&P Awards Delayed On Financial Crisis
Wednesday January 14th, 2009

NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- Syria’s Oil Minister Sufian Al Alao said Wednesday the awarding of new oil and gas exploration and production contracts aimed at boosting the country’s output is being delayed due to deteriorating conditions in the world financial markets. “The financial situation is a challenge for exploration contracts,” Al Alao said on the sidelines of the Petrotech energy conference in New Delhi.

As a result of the financial crisis, contracts under negotiation with companies including the U.K.’s Anson and Petro-Canada are facing delays, he said, adding companies were finding it harder to raise funding and less attractive to invest amid a sharp drop in crude oil prices. Syria hopes to stem the decline at its oil fields with the awarding of new exploration and production deals to international oil firms.

The country last year produced 380,000 barrels a day of crude and plans to raise output by a mere 5,000 barrels a day this year, Al Alao said.

Olmert’s boast on U.N. Gaza vote is ‘completely not true,’ U.S. says By Peter Spiegel in LATimes

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he persuaded Bush to reverse a vote on a Gaza cease-fire resolution. But the State Department says Condoleezza Rice already had decided to abstain.

The Times Israeli troops reveal ruthless Gaza tactics Soldiers recently back from front line have spoken of a ‘shoot first’ policy as Israel lays groundwork for ‘third stage’

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Israel’s Goals in Gaza? The focus for Israel and Barack Obama’s team should be on creating a clear choice for Hamas for the world to see: Are you about destroying Israel or building Gaza?

Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas By JEFFREY GOLDBERG

The only small chance for peace in Gaza today is to help Hamas’s enemy, Fatah, prepare the West Bank for real freedom.

IHT SHIFTING POLLS Judging Israel By GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT A potential change of mood over Israel has been palpable for some time

Comments (86)


J Thomas said:

Mrs Clinton replied: “You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is an absolute. That is my position and the President-elect’s position.”

The floggings will continue until morale improves.

January 14th, 2009, 2:45 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

If Hamas does all of the above, they will then be deemed too irrelavant and weak to negotiate with. Why would they then even matter?

This is nonesense.

January 14th, 2009, 2:59 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

The Wall Street Journal is running a front page article today about how Cuban citizens are converting to Judaism and in turn earning the right to immigrate to Israel “for a better life”.

“Not anyone can just walk into a synagogue and get a ticket out of Cuba. Usually, one needs a Jewish mother to be allowed into the fold. But the rules seem somewhat flexible.

The numbers of people interested in rediscovering their Jewish roots picked up in the mid-1990s, when “Operation Cigar” moved 400 elderly Havana Jews to Israel.

Although barely known at the time, Operation Cigar was a three-sided arrangement between Cuba, Israel and Canada. Since Israel and Cuba cut diplomatic relations during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Canada processed the émigrés’ paperwork and provided a landing spot for the Cubans unable to reach Israel directly. Israel’s Jewish Agency picked up the tab. Traditionally, Israel or private Jewish philanthropies have paid immigration costs for Jews from isolated places, such as Ethiopia, to demonstrate that Israel is a haven for Jews from every corner of the world, no matter how poor.”

Isn’t it wonderful?

Once you are labelled a Jew, You can transplant yourself to Palestine from as far away as Latin America while the original inhabitants of Palestine are made refugees.

One of my two friends thought that this was “bewildering”.

My other friend thought that it was “sickening”

January 14th, 2009, 3:15 pm

 

Ben Waxman said:

Why would Hamas’s agreement to these things make them irrelevant? The opposite is true. If they agree, then they can join the process and that will make them relevant. The only thing they have now is a few missiles and that has gotten them (and the people of Gaza) nothing but death and destruction.

January 14th, 2009, 3:58 pm

 

Chris said:

I wonder how Syria fits into all this. It seems that Bashar isn’t exactly yelling and screaming. At the end of all the wing of Hamas that is in Syria will have been strengthened. Bashar’s allies will be, largely, the only one’s left.

Let’s look back to before the elections in 2006, there was heated debate within Hamas about whether or not to go to elections. The moderates, apparently won that debate, and now the moderates on the ground are being eliminated, while the part of Hamas that wishes to continue to fight, even after all this, is in Damascus. So, I get the feeling that Syria is benefiting from all this.

January 14th, 2009, 4:38 pm

 

Chris said:

J Thomas,

Her position is only rational. To engage Hamas would be to enter into a symbiotic relationship with Hamas. After all Hamas would not engage unless it was in its interest. As long as Hamas seeks the destruction of a country it would be counterproductive to do anything that could strengthen it.

January 14th, 2009, 4:41 pm

 

Chris said:

January 14, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor
Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas
By JEFFREY GOLDBERG
Washington

IN the summer of 2006, at a moment when Hezbollah rockets were falling virtually without pause on northern Israel, Nizar Rayyan, husband of four, father of 12, scholar of Islam and unblushing executioner, confessed to me one of his frustrations.

We were meeting in a concrete mosque in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Mr. Rayyan, who was a member of the Hamas ruling elite, and an important recruiter of suicide bombers until Israel killed him two weeks ago (along with several of his wives and children), arrived late to our meeting from parts unknown.

He was watchful for assassins even then, and when I asked him to describe his typical day, he suggested that I might be a spy for Fatah. Not the Mossad, mind you, not the C.I.A., but Fatah.

What a phantasmagorically strange conflict the Arab-Israeli war had become! Here was a Saudi-educated, anti-Shiite (but nevertheless Iranian-backed) Hamas theologian accusing a one-time Israeli Army prison official-turned-reporter of spying for Yasir Arafat’s Fatah, an organization that had once been the foremost innovator of anti-Israeli terrorism but was now, in Mr. Rayyan’s view, indefensibly, unforgivably moderate.

In the Palestinian civil war, Fatah, which today controls much of the West Bank and is engaged in intermittent negotiations with Israel, had become Mr. Rayyan’s direst enemy, a party of apostates and quislings. “First we must deal with the Muslims who speak of a peace process and then we will deal with you,” he declared.

But we spoke that day mainly about the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, that specifically concerned Jews and their diverse and apparently limitless character failings. This sort of conversation, while illuminating, can become wearying over time, at least for the Jewish participant, and so I was happy to learn that Mr. Rayyan had his own sore points.

“Hezbollah is doing very well against Israel, don’t you think?” I asked. His face darkened, suggesting that he understood the implication of my question. At the time, Hamas, too, was firing rockets into Israel, though irregularly and without much effect.

“We support our brothers in the resistance,” he said. But then he added, “I think each situation is different.”

How so?

“They have advantages that we in Gaza don’t have,” he said. “They have excellent weapons. Hezbollah moves freely in Lebanon. We are trapped in the Israeli cage. So I don’t like to hear the sentence, ‘Hezbollah is the leader of the resistance.’ It’s a very annoying sentence. They are heroes to us. But we are the ones fighting in Palestine.”

“And they’re Shia,” I said. Mr. Rayyan, who was educated by Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia, was known in Gaza as a firm defender of Sunni theology and privilege, and sometimes lectured at the Islamic University of Gaza on the danger of Shiite “infiltration.”

“Yes! There are many different secret agendas,” he said. “We have to be aware of this.”

Hamas men across Gaza were of two minds on the subject of Hezbollah: One night, I met the members of a Hamas rocket team in the town of Beit Hanoun, on Gaza’s northern border with Israel. The group’s leader, who went by the name of Abu Obeidah, said that he, too, was frustrated by Hezbollah’s success against Israel; he even asked if Hamas’s rocket attacks that summer were featured on television in America, and seemed to deflate physically when I told him no.

“Everyone, all the media, says that Hezbollah is wonderful,” he complained. “We stand with our brothers of Hezbollah, of course, but, really, look at the advantages they have. They get all the rockets they will ever need from Iran.”

Hamas is not a monolith, and opinions inside the group differ about many things, including engagement with the Shiites of Hezbollah and Iran. The former Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi told me shortly before he was assassinated by Israel in 2004 that it would be “uncharitable” to find fault with Iran.

“What do the Arab states do for us?” he asked. “Iran is steadfast against the Jews.”

Today, there is no doubt that Rantisi’s view holds sway inside the organization, and many in Hamas wish for even closer ties with Tehran, particularly over the past month as they have absorbed a battering from Israel. Even those who believe that Iran is secretly trying to bring Sunni Palestinians to Shiism acknowledge anti-Israel Shiites as ideals of resistance.

As the Gaza war moves to a cease-fire, a crucial question will inevitably arise, as it has before: Should Israel (and by extension, the United States) try to engage Hamas in a substantive and sustained manner?

It is a fair question, one worth debating, but it is unmoored from certain political and theological realities. One irresistible reality grows from Hamas’s complicated, competitive relationship with Hezbollah. For Hamas, Hezbollah is not only a source of weapons and instruction, it is a mentor and role model.

Hamas’s desire to best Hezbollah’s achievements is natural, of course, but, more to the point, it is radicalizing. One of the reasons, among many, that Hamas felt compelled to break its cease-fire with Israel last month was to prove its potency to Muslims impressed with Hezbollah.

Another reality worth considering concerns theology. Hamas and Hezbollah emerged from very different streams of Islam: Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood; Hezbollah is an outright Iranian proxy that takes its inspiration from the radical Shiite politics of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. But the groups share a common belief that Jews are a cosmological evil, enemies of Islam since Muhammad sought refuge in Medina.

Periodically, advocates of negotiation suggest that the hostility toward Jews expressed by Hamas is somehow mutable. But in years of listening, I haven’t heard much to suggest that its anti-Semitism is insincere. Like Hezbollah, Hamas believes that God is opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine. Both groups are rhetorically pitiless, though, again, Hamas sometimes appears to follow the lead of Hezbollah.

I once asked Abdel Aziz Rantisi where he learned what he called “the truth” of the Holocaust — that it didn’t happen — and he referred me to books published by Hezbollah. Hamas and Hezbollah also share the view that the solution for Palestine lies in Europe. A spokesman for Hezbollah, Hassan Izzedine, once told me that the Jews who survive the Muslim “liberation” of Palestine “can go back to Germany, or wherever they came from.” He went on to argue that the Jews are a “curse to anyone who lives near them.”

Nizar Rayyan expressed much the same sentiment the night we spoke in 2006. We had been discussing a passage of the Koran that suggests that God turns a group of impious Jews into apes and pigs. The Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, among others, has deployed this passage in his speeches. Once, at a rally in Beirut, he said: “We shout in the face of the killers of prophets and the descendants of the apes and pigs: We hope we will not see you next year. The shout remains, ‘Death to Israel!’”

Mr. Rayyan said that, technically, Mr. Nasrallah was mistaken. “Allah changed disobedient Jews into apes and pigs, it is true, but he specifically said these apes and pigs did not have the ability to reproduce,” Mr. Rayyan said. “So it is not literally true that Jews today are descended from pigs and apes, but it is true that some of the ancestors of Jews were transformed into pigs and apes, and it is true that Allah continually makes the Jews pay for their crimes in many different ways. They are a cursed people.”

I asked him the question I always ask of Hamas leaders: Could you agree to anything more than a tactical cease-fire with Israel? I felt slightly ridiculous asking: A man who believes that God every now and again transforms Jews into pigs and apes might not be the most obvious candidate for peace talks at Camp David. Mr. Rayyan answered the question as I thought he would, saying that a long-term cease-fire would be unnecessary, because it will not take long for the forces of Islam to eradicate Israel.

There is a fixed idea among some Israeli leaders that Hamas can be bombed into moderation. This is a false and dangerous notion. It is true that Hamas can be deterred militarily for a time, but tanks cannot defeat deeply felt belief.

The reverse is also true: Hamas cannot be cajoled into moderation. Neither position credits Hamas with sincerity, or seriousness.

The only small chance for peace today is the same chance that existed before the Gaza invasion: The moderate Arab states, Europe, the United States and, mainly, Israel, must help Hamas’s enemy, Fatah, prepare the West Bank for real freedom, and then hope that the people of Gaza, vast numbers of whom are unsympathetic to Hamas, see the West Bank as an alternative to the squalid vision of Hassan Nasrallah and Nizar Rayyan.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, is the author of “Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.”

January 14th, 2009, 4:59 pm

 

Observer said:

I do not think Israel has achieved anything yet. From my reading of the news, Hamas is now trying to split Egypt from Israel by agreeing to some provisions and not others. My understanding is that Israel has not been able to penetrate with its intelligence services the Hamas force. My contacts in the ME told me that a force of about 3000 Fatah loyalists was supposed to take over Gaza within the first day of the Israeli onslaught and these were headed by Dahlan. This failed and therefore they had to go on bomning for 2 weeks before they engaged ground forces.
Abbas and Fatah are the biggest losers in this effort for as it drags further their credibility is now zero and more importantly they have no committment from the Israeli or US side that anything will be done to shore them up such as easing of blockades or economic uplifting or dismantling of settlements.
If you look at a map of the West Bank today it clearly is not a viable entity. Abbas and his clique are willing to have an office in Ramallah and declare a state when none exists. The one state solution is the only solution now. It would require a dismantling of the apartheid system in Palestine once and for all and this for the sake of both people. Perhaps it would be best to have the area become the 51st US state: a true secular non sectarian democracy.

If after this the elections bring a stronger Hamas even in the West Bank then this will clearly show that the effort has failed.

Now some are saying that the campaign is aimed at deterring any further attacks. But I would say that Hamas has also learned from the 06 war in that it is refusing international monitors. I believe that in 06 HA achieved all it wanted except for the UNIFIL which should have been deployed on both sides of the border and not only in Lebanon.

January 14th, 2009, 5:00 pm

 

Friend in America said:

Syria announced several days ago the results it desires in Gaza:
– cessation of the fighting
– withdrawl of Israeli troops
– reopening of the crossings
These are the Ssame objectives announced by Hamas’s political office in Damascus. Nothing new. A request for a return to the status quo ante. It solves nothing, just postpones.
Several threads ago I wrote that the participants here are in as good if not better posiiton to craft a more permanent solution than governmental officials are. I do not think we should berate Damascus for this statement. Better that we recognize how difficult it is for political leaders to think beyond the present problem. These commenst also apply to the negotiations in Cairo.
Academics and other NGO experts can play a helpful role. I would start with the SHUR report and look for a similar type report from Israel’s perspective.

January 14th, 2009, 5:49 pm

 

norman said:

Syria says Gaza assault will spark extremist backlash 14 Jan 2009

14:22:07 GMT
Source: Reuters
LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Israel’s assault on Gaza will fuel extremism in the region.

“The effect of war is more dangerous than war … sowing seeds of extremism and terror around the region,” Assad said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Wednesday.

The Palestinian death toll has risen to 984, Gaza officials said, since Israel began its attack on December 27 with the declared aim of ending rocket attacks on Israel from Hamas-run Gaza.

Assad said arms smuggling to Palestinians in Gaza from Egypt should be stopped but was not a necessary condition for an immediate end to hostilities, a summary of the interview on the BBC website said.

Syria, which hosts exiled leaders of the Islamist militant movement, was doing everything it could to bring about a ceasefire, he said.

AlertNet news is provided by

Background information
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Israeli-Palestinian conflict – [Who works where]

January 14th, 2009, 6:07 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Syria says Gaza assault will spark extremist backlash

Norman,

I don’t want to “rain on your parade”, but this is what they said about the Lebanon war.

January 14th, 2009, 6:34 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Why would Hamas’s agreement to these things make them irrelevant? The opposite is true. If they agree, then they can join the process and that will make them relevant. The only thing they have now is a few missiles and that has gotten them (and the people of Gaza) nothing but death and destruction.

Ben Waxman,

cc: Eshani2

I agree with you, however, the terror supporters on this website have it “ass backwards”. They believe:

1.) “resistance” is the only way forward until Israel goes away

2.) Like with Syria, if there is no resistance, Israel will not find it worthwhile negotiating with them.

Eshani2,

Was my explaination on target?

AP

January 14th, 2009, 6:40 pm

 

idit said:

For all those who thought that Syria is the only game in town.

I think that Egypt is the only game in town.

Bad news for Assad and Iran.
(Hopefully)

January 14th, 2009, 7:47 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Once I said that zionist Israel is worse than nazi germany, today we see the proof

January 14th, 2009, 7:49 pm

 

idit said:

by Martin Kramer

Sanctioning ‘resistance’
Posted: 14 Jan 2009 05:38 AM CST

Israel’s war against Hamas, now in its third week, is probably closer to its end than to its beginning. Israel has said that the “operation”—there is an official aversion to the term “war”—is close to achieving its stated goal of securing sustained quiet for the south of Israel. Quiet refers to a cessation of rocket fire, and sustainability alludes to an end to weapons smuggling into Gaza from Egypt. These are the two elements that Israel seeks in a cease-fire.

But there is also an unstated goal of the war. It is the humiliation and degradation of Hamas, to such an extent that its continued rule over Gaza will be undermined. As long as Hamas remains in power, it will continue to indoctrinate and prepare for “resistance”—its term for violent jihad-style attacks on Israel. This is the Iran-inspired alternative to acceptance of compromise with Israel, and it is the doctrine that animates Hezbollah as well. Discrediting and delegitmating “resistance” is a prime Israeli objective—one shared by the United States, and presumably by all supporters of any Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” however configured.

There is a present danger concealed in the diplomacy toward achieving Israel’s stated goal, which could damage its unstated goal.

It is the possibility that a cease-fire might include a lifting of Israeli economic sanctions on Gaza. Israel imposed these sanctions after Hamas seized power in a violent coup in June 2007. Since that time, Israel has restricted imports via its crossings to “humanitarian” shipments of food and medicines, as well as fuel. The crossings have been closed to most commercial products and virtually all building materials.

The sanctions regime had a number of demonstrable effects. It made it impossible for Hamas to deliver on its social and welfare promises. As a result, its rule appeared much inferior to Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank, which lately has enjoyed the economic benefits of increased cooperation with Israel. Reports from Gaza suggested a simmering discontent with isolation and economic hardship. The sanctions also had symbolic value, by branding the Hamas regime as illegitimate.

Contrary to some Palestinian claims, the “lull” agreement did not provide for a lifting of the sanctions. It eased them, but only partially, and some imports, such as much-needed construction materials, continued to be banned altogether. It was in the hope of securing a new cease-fire, ending the sanctions altogether, that Hamas refused to renew the “lull” agreement and began firing rockets in December.

The lifting of sanctions has become the principal Hamas demand in the cease-fire negotiations. If Hamas can lift the sanctions, it will claim victory. It will argue that it broke the “siege” through “resistance”—albeit at a high cost—and that it effectively wrested economic control of Gaza’s frontiers from Israel. It will also claim that the lifting of the “blockade” constitutes de facto acceptance of Hamas rule in Gaza by both Israel and the international community.

Mediators operate by finding formulae that allow each side to claim some achievement. Lifting the “blockade” could well become the concession Israel will be asked to make to Hamas, especially since Israel hasn’t defined the continuation of sanctions as one of its declared goals. The concession will be urged upon Israel as a “humanitarian” measure by much of the international community, which will point to the urgent need for reconstruction.

After the military campaign is over, Israel’s control of Gaza’s economy will be its principal lever for translating its military achievements into political gains—above all, the continued degradation of Hamas control. Gaza will be desperate for all material things. Whoever controls their distribution will effectively control many aspects of daily life in Gaza.

This is a card Israel must be careful not to trade, either for a cease-fire or for international anti-smuggling cooperation on the Egypt-Gaza border. To that end, it must act now to affirm its adhesion to the sanctions. Israel should be willing to ease sanctions only if an international consortium for reconstruction is established, which has the legitimate Palestinian Authority as its sole agent within Gaza. In any cease-fire agreement, Israel should agree to open the crossings only to emergency food and medical aid—as it has during the fighting itself.

Ultimately, Operation Cast Lead will be judged not only by whether it produces an end to rocket fire—which it will—but whether it sets the stage for a shift of power within Gaza, away from Hamas “resistance”—a deceptive misnomer for Palestinian jihadism. This long-term goal should not be sacrificed to achieve short-term objectives.

January 14th, 2009, 8:07 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Mrs Clinton replied: “You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is an absolute. That is my position and the President-elect’s position.”

Boy I’m going to miss Condi….

Idit,

Well, Syria DID say that this operation would cause a “backlash”.

Isn’t that extremely valuable information? What would the world do without Syria’s important assistance.;)

Once I said that zionist Israel is worse than nazi germany, today we see the proof.

Majedkhaldoun,

What proof? You found the Zyklon B cannisters?

January 14th, 2009, 8:08 pm

 

Chris said:

Majedkhaldoun:

Do yourself a favor and read a book about World War II or the holocaust. Let’s see 2,000 Russian villages were destroyed, 21 million people died in Europe, genocides were committed, and there existed a lasting Russian occupation of the Baltics and dominance over Eastern Europe until 1989. The violence that Hitler unleashed upon Europe in World War II was of far greater magnitude and led to an exponentially greater loss of human life than what we have seen in this conflict.

The fact of the matter is that the number of people who have died in the Darfur conflict in the past five years, far exceeds the number of people who have died in all of the Arab-Israeli wars combined.

January 14th, 2009, 8:12 pm

 

Observer said:

This article is really a wonderful refutation of the multiple op-ed pieces that Friedman writes about. Like most zealots, he cannot understand that his view of the “other” is basically wrong. He cannot understand that the establishment of an exclusive religious based entity on a population with relentless occupation and repeated ethnic cleansing is slow and long term suicide of this apartheid enterprise.
Here it is
Tom Friedman Offers a Perfect Definition of ‘Terrorism’
by Glenn Greenwald

Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, has a column today in The New York Times explaining and praising the Israeli attack on Gaza. For the sake of robust and diverse debate (for which our Liberal Media is so well known), Friedman’s column today appears alongside an Op-Ed from The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the nation’s leading (and most deceitful) propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, who explains that Hamas is incorrigibly hateful and radical and cannot be negotiated with. One can hardly imagine a more compelling exhibit demonstrating the complete lack of accountability in the “journalism” profession — at least for those who are loyal establishment spokespeople who reflexively cheer on wars — than a leading Op-Ed page presenting these two war advocates, of all people, as experts, of all things, on the joys and glories of the latest Middle East war.

In any event, Friedman’s column today is uncharacteristically and refreshingly honest. He explains that the 2006 Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon was, contrary to conventional wisdom, a great success. To make this case, Friedman acknowledges that the deaths of innocent Lebanese civilians was not an unfortunate and undesirable by-product of that war, but rather, was a vital aspect of the Israeli strategy — the centerpiece, actually, of teaching Lebanese civilians a lesson they would not soon forget:

Israel’s counterstrategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians – the families and employers of the militants – to restrain Hezbollah in the future.

Israel’s military was not focused on the morning after the war in Lebanon – when Hezbollah declared victory and the Israeli press declared defeat. It was focused on the morning after the morning after, when all the real business happens in the Middle East. That’s when Lebanese civilians, in anguish, said to Hezbollah: “What were you thinking? Look what destruction you have visited on your own community! For what? For whom?”

Friedman says that he is “unsure” whether the current Israeli attack on Gaza is similiarly designed to teach Palestinians the same lesson by inflicting “heavy pain” on civilians, but he hopes it is:

In Gaza, I still can’t tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to “educate” Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population. If it is out to destroy Hamas, casualties will be horrific and the aftermath could be Somalia-like chaos. If it is out to educate Hamas, Israel may have achieved its aims.

The war strategy which Friedman is heralding — what he explicitly describes with euphemism-free candor as “exacting enough pain on civilians” in order to teach them a lesson — is about as definitive of a war crime as it gets. It also happens to be the classic, textbook definition of “terrorism.” Here is how the U.S. Department of State defined “terrorism” in its 2001 publication, Patterns of Global Terrorism:

No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance. For the purposes of this report, however, we have chosen the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). That statute contains the following definitions:

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant (1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. . . .

(1) For purposes of this definition, the term “noncombatant” is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty.

Other than the fact that Friedman is advocating these actions for an actual state rather than a “subnational group,” can anyone identify any differences between (a) what Friedman approvingly claims was done to the Lebanese and what he advocates be done to Palestinians and (b) what the State Department formally defines as “terrorism”? I doubt anyone can. Isn’t Friedman’s “logic” exactly the rationale used by Al Qaeda: we’re going to inflict “civilian pain” on Americans so that they stop supporting their government’s domination of our land and so their government thinks twice about bombing more Muslim countries? It’s also exactly the same “logic” that fuels the rockets from Hezbollah and Hamas into Israel.

It should be emphasized that the mere fact that Tom Friedman claims that this is Israel’s motivation isn’t proof that it is. The sociopathic lust of a single war cheerleader can’t fairly be projected onto those who are actually prosecuting the war. But one can’t help noticing that this “teach-them-a-lesson” justification for civilian deaths in Gaza appears with some frequency among its advocates, at least among a certain strain of super-warrior, Israel-centric Americans — e.g.: Marty “do not fuck with the Jews” Peretz and Michael “to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause” Goldfarb — who love to cheer on Middle East wars from a safe and sheltered distance.

Some opponents of the Israeli war actually agree with Friedman about the likely goals of the attack on Gaza. Writing last week in The New York Times, Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi noted:

This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets. Nor is it about “restoring Israel’s deterrence,” as the Israeli press might have you believe. Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

This AP article yesterday described how “terrified residents ran for cover Tuesday in a densely populated neighborhood of Gaza City as Israeli troops backed by tanks thrust deeper into the city.” It reported that “an Israeli warplane fired a missile at the former Gaza city hall, used as a court building in recent years . . . . The 1910 structure was destroyed and many stores in the market around it were badly damaged.” And it quoted an Israeli military officer as follows: “Soldiers shoot at anything suspicious, use lots of firepower, and blast holes through walls to move around.”

The efficacy of Friedman’s desired strategy of inflicting pain on Palestinian civilians in order to change their thinking and behavior is unclear. The lack of clarity is due principally to the fact that Israel is still blocking journalists from entering Gaza. But this Sunday’s New York Times article — reporting on unconfirmed claims that Israel was using white phosphorus on the civilian population (a claim the IDF expressly refused to deny) — contains this anecdotal evidence that The Friedman Strategy is actually quite counter-productive:

Still, white phosphorus can cause injury, and a growing number of Gazans report being hurt by it, including in Beit Lahiya, Khan Yunis, and in eastern and southwestern Gaza City. When exposed to air, it ignites, experts say, and if packed into an artillery shell, it can rain down flaming chemicals that cling to anything they touch.

Luay Suboh, 10, from Beit Lahiya, lost his eyesight and some skin on his face Saturday when, his mother said, a fiery substance clung to him as he darted home from a shelter where his family was staying to pick up clothes.

The substance smelled like burned trash, said Ms. Jaawanah, the mother who fled her home in Zeitoun, who had experienced it too. She had no affection for Hamas, but her sufferings were changing that. “Do you think I’m against them firing rockets now?” she asked, referring to Hamas. “No. I was against it before. Not anymore.”

It’s far easier to imagine a population subjected to this treatment becoming increasingly radicalized and belligerent rather than submissive and compliant, as Friedman intends. But while the efficacy of The Friedman Strategy is unclear, the fact that it is a perfect distillation of a “war crime” and “terrorism” is not unclear at all.

One might ordinarily find it surprising that our elite opinion-makers are so openly and explicitly advocating war crimes and terrorism (“inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large” and “‘educate’ Hamas by inflicting heavy pain on the Gaza population”). But when one considers that most of this, in the U.S., is coming from the very people who applied the same “suck-on-this” reasoning to justify the destruction of Iraq, and even more so, when one considers that our highest political officials are now so openly — even proudly — acknowledging their own war crimes, while our political and media elites desperately (and almost unanimously) engage in every possible maneuver to protect them from any consequences from that, Friedman’s explicit advocacy of these sorts of things is a perfectly natural thing to see.

UPDATE: In comments, casual_observer — with ample citations — objects to my characterization of white phosphorus reports in Gaza as “unconfirmed,” and argues that while the substance does have permissible and legitimate uses under the laws of war, this particular usage in urban areas can be used to sow terror in the civilian population — i.e., is an ideal instrument for advancing The Friedman Strategy.

Quite relatedly, Iraq War veteran Brandon Friedman chronicles the truly disturbed warrior fantasies that are becoming increasingly common (and increasingly disturbed) on the war-cheerleading Right. The relationship between that pathology and people like Friedman is too obvious to require any elaboration.

UPDATE II: In response to multiple comments protesting that Israel does not seek to kill civilians, permit me to make clear, again, that the criticism here is directed towards Tom Friedman’s claims about what Israel’s motives are and should be in bombing and invading Lebanon and Gaza. I’m not assuming that those are actually Israel’s motives and stressed that point as clearly as the English language permits:

It should be emphasized that the mere fact that Tom Friedman claims that this is Israel’s motivation isn’t proof that it is. The sociopathic lust of a single war cheerleader can’t fairly be projected onto those who are actually prosecuting the war.

The other point worth noting is that for an American citizen to criticize Israel’s wars without criticizing every similar or worse act of aggression is not to “hold Israel to a higher or different standard.” The U.S. Government funds Israel’s actions, specifically provides the arms for their various bombing campaigns and invasions, and continuously uses its U.N. veto power to protect what Israel does. American citizens therefore bear a responsibility for Israel’s actions that is not the case for actions which the U.S. Government does not fund and otherwise enable.

This objection (“why are you complaining about Israel but not the rebels in Sri Lanka?”) rests on the same fallacy as the accusation that American citizens are being “anti-American” when they criticize the actions of their own government more than the actions of other governments (“Why are you complaining that Bush waterboards when North Korea starves its citizens to death and Iran stones gay people?”). Citizens bear a particular responsibility to object to unjust actions which their own Government engages in or enables. It shouldn’t be the case — but it is — that Americans fund, arm and enable Israel’s wars. Those are American weapons which, at least in part, are being used to destroy Gaza, and Americans therefore bear a special responsibility for condemning Israel’s unjust actions to a far greater extent than the actions of any other country except for the U.S.

One final note: the fact that all sorts of prior wars, including ones waged by Western powers, contain events that could comfortably fit the definition of “terrorism” isn’t a refutation of the point I’m making. If anything, it bolsters the point. “Terrorism” is probably the single most elastic and easily manipulated term in our political lexicon. Who the perpetrators and victims are of “terrorism” is almost always a function of who is wielding the term rather than some objective assessment. Aimlessly shooting rockets towards civilians (as Hamas and Hezbollah do) and dropping bombs from 35,000 feet that you know will slaughter many civilians while viewing that slaughter as a strategic benefit (as Friedman advocates) are acts that have far more in common with each other than differences.

January 14th, 2009, 8:15 pm

 

J Thomas said:

It’s kind of peculiar to make lots of preconditions before allowing negotiation. Better to negotiate first and make the conditions while negotiating.

But it does make sense to me to require Hamas to give up violence and to accept the existence of israel. At the same time, there should be conditions on israel also.

1. Israel must agree not to kill or punish any palestinians for previous acts of violence etc. No more assassinations of Hamas members for any reason. Similarly, palestinians must give up the right to war crimes trials for israelis.

2. Israel must agree to accept the existence of Hamas and of any other palestinian party that arises, no matter what its stated aims.

3. Before negotiations begin, israel must withdraw to the 1967 borders. Israeli settlers may remain in the west bank but must agree to give up their israeli citizenship and become palestinian citizens subject to palestinian law.

4. Israel must respect palestinian airspace; israeli planes may not overfly palestine without prior palestinian permission.

I think once all these preconditions are met by both sides, the negotiations would likely go pretty smoothly.

January 14th, 2009, 8:27 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P.
killing the children,knowing they are children, attacking the UN school, ,also publicly doing their crimes.

Chris;
Gaza people are less than 1.5 million, so far Israel killed over 1000,and injured over 4500, in a relative to russian killing, this is more than 200,000.
Israel is worse than nazi,the holocaust against the palestinian,is a proof of this

January 14th, 2009, 8:29 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

there will be ceasefire soon,may be tomorrow,it is because Israel will be pressed by Obama to do so,if they do not stop before.

January 14th, 2009, 8:35 pm

 

Chris said:

Majedkhaldoun,

It sounds almost as if you’re saying that the lives of Gazans, as if they’re a country, are more important than the lives of the people who died in Europe because their countries are larger. It is completely ridiculous.

Hitler rounded up millions of women, children, and old men and sent them to gas chambers, in Gaza roughly 500 non-combatants have died in a war zone. The two situations couldn’t be anymore different.

January 14th, 2009, 8:38 pm

 

idit said:

majedkhaldoun

You are both bigot and ignorant.

I’m not sure which is worse.

Go and do your homework.

January 14th, 2009, 8:41 pm

 

Chris said:

Idit,

I’ll go with bigot is worse… But Idit he has also said recently on this blog that he wishes the Gaza operation were expanded, as if there hasn’t been enough killing, and that Syria open up the border to send more people to help with the “resistance” in Iraq, as if there hasn’t been enough suicide bombings in the markets of Iraq. That’s just to give you a little context.

January 14th, 2009, 8:49 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Chris you are wrong,you count only what are dead now,and you are redicing the number to less than half, while you count all the crimes of germany (nazi),the number of arab that has been killed by Israel since 1936 is by far more, also you are hugely inflating the number of jews that are sent to fire, this is a proof that you are zionist,and you share Israel in its crimes, murderer

January 14th, 2009, 8:49 pm

 

Alia said:

IDIT, A.P. and other Zionists here,

But of course Israel is worse. When Hitler was around there was no Geneva convention, no Nürnberg trials, nobody worrying about breaking humanitarian rules, THERE WAS NO ACkNOWLEGED PRECEDENT dicussed to death.

Israel is breaking all human laws KNOWINGLY and is expecting to get away with murder; that is beyong immorality- A sociopathic country and a bunch of thugs for its leaders with a majority of citizens lacking a moral backbone.

Go ahead AP have a nervous breakdown- and IDIT get lost I have surely read more books on the topic than you have.

January 14th, 2009, 8:52 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

But it does make sense to me to require Hamas to give up violence and to accept the existence of israel. At the same time, there should be conditions on israel also.

J Thomas,

Of course. Now you’re starting to make progress. But many others on this website would disagree strongly with you.

If the GOI was smart, they wouldn’t sign ANYTHING that takes them back where they were a month ago.

The issue of missile firings, weapons smuggling, exchange of prisoners and oversight all should be part of the agreement.

Go ahead AP have a nervous breakdown- and IDIT get lost I have surely read more books on the topic than you have.

Alia,

Let me guess, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”?;)

If you ask me, Hamas had no morals as they teach their children to kill Jews, literally, as they come out of their mother’s womb. And then we have their supporters like you who have the audacity to tell us about morals.

Get real.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/pictures/PalestinianChildAbuse/

January 14th, 2009, 9:04 pm

 

Chris said:

Majedkhaldoun,

I wrote 500 NON-COMBATANTS were killed because international agencies have been reporting that 40% of those killed, which number 1000, have been non-combatants. So, when I wrote that 500 non-combatants were killed in Gaza I exaggerated the number of non-combatants killed, rather than reduce the number of non-combatants killed.

Majedkhaldoun, again, please read a book about World War II. In Europe more that 21 million Europeans were killed during World War II. This is an exponentially greater number of lives lost than the number of lives lost during all of the Israeli-Arab wars combined.

Less that 100,000 people have died in the entire history of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Think about it.

Again, to put this in perspective, more people have died in Darfur in the past six years than in all of the Arab-Israeli Wars combined.

January 14th, 2009, 9:13 pm

 

chris said:

Majedkharra:

You wrote:
“also you are hugely inflating the number of jews that are sent to fire, this is a proof that you are zionist,and you share Israel in its crimes, murderer”

I wrote that Hitler rounded up millions of “millions of women, children, and old men and sent them to gas chambers.” That is in no way inflating the number, in fact it is an understatement. As it is well documented, through much scholarly research that 5.9 million Jews died in the holocaust. If we include Roma, homosexuals, Poles, and Soviet POWs that number jumps to 9 million. So, I must say that to refer to what is happening in Gaza as worse than the holocaust is absolutely absurd.

As for your comment that I am a murderer, I have advocated nothing, but a negotiated peace settlement between the two parties, you on the other hand have advocated the expansion of this conflict and have requested that Syria send more “resistance” fighter to Syria, ostensibly to blow up more of your coreligionists.

January 14th, 2009, 9:24 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

100,000 palestinian is equvalent to 3 million american

January 14th, 2009, 9:30 pm

 

Observer said:

Al Shark Al Awsat in Arabic is quoting Maariv in Hebrew that Avigdor Lieberman is advocating the same solution for Gaza as the one that was performed by the US on Japan, alluding to the droping of an atomic bomb or perhaps bombing Gaza in the same fashion as the fire bombing of Japanese cities. This is truly telling.

January 14th, 2009, 10:01 pm

 

jad said:

Look who is asking others to read books! The racist street data collector, who doesn’t know what a book looks like.
Avigdor Lieberman proofs that they are worst than Hitler…..what a coincidence

January 14th, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

idit said:

Alia said

and IDIT get lost I have surely read more books on the topic than you have.

You read, but understand very little.

Too bad.

January 14th, 2009, 10:02 pm

 

jad said:

Chris wrote (Majedkharra)
Street language suits you, you sound more convincing now…not to mention “elegant”.

January 14th, 2009, 10:12 pm

 

Chris said:

Jad,

You’re right. I was just pretty upset that he was minimizing the holocaust and saying that what is happening in Gaza is on the scale of what happened during World War 2. I found the comparison incredibly offensive.

January 14th, 2009, 10:50 pm

 

Chris said:

Jad:

I believe you called me a “racist street data collector.”

I believe that while the views of the elite are important it is also important to understand how everyday people feel about a situation or view history. You may derisively believe that to be racist street data collecting, but I think it is important when travelling to try and understand people’s views on things. So, I really don’t see anything wrong with talking to people on the street about politics or history to try and understand the populace.

Now as far as your comment that I am racist, please find the comment that I wrote that sounds racist. I love Syria and have nothing against the people in Syria.

On the other hand I have read on this blog of people diminishing the extent of the holocaust and saying that lives from certain areas are more valuable than lives from other countries. I don’t believe anyone has spoken out on this blog about that comment.

January 14th, 2009, 10:58 pm

 

alia said:

IDIT,

That is too easy, as with many of your ilk you have abandoned thinking; you just react and say nonsense.

Hannah Ahrendt did not please the Israelis when studying the Eichmann trials she concluded that evil is banal.

The knee-jerk reaction, the huddled masses of Jews gathered from all over the world pretending that they are one race and hanging on to their identity as martyrs is exactly the type of scenario where evil is likely to arise. Moral consciousness requires reflection, reason, a dialogue between me and my self…Zionism does not include that provision. Beside the brainwashed population, some bullying tactics for the non-believers and you have the set-up for evil action on such a large scale that it appears normal and justifiable to you. The monstrosity of Israeli evil is that it has been passed down already through a couple of generations always directed against the same tenacious Palestinians who just will not go away.

Unless you step out of that claustrophobic box you will remain incapable of seeing what one of your greatest philosophers diagnosed very accurately….

A.P.,

Rush to wikepedia to see who Ahrendt is; who knows may be she also is a 9-11 turfer?? what a sorry bunch you are.

January 14th, 2009, 11:13 pm

 

jad said:

Chris,
Believe me that I have nothing personal against you but the first comment I read for you was when we had an explosion in Damascus and the first impression wasn’t that good reading your comments as if you were happy of what happened. Then you did the same thing when the American army hit BouKamal without any proper reason and killed many innocent civilians, and I recall that you wrote that you take the American and Israelis on much higher standers than the Syrians.
Afterword you kept taking sides even with the massacre happening now in Gaza (the occupied Palestine where people lives in a similar condition of a concentration camps and we the Arabs are the first one to blame) without showing any sympathy whatsoever about the people lost.
Chris, I’m not a Hamas supporter or any kind of religion fanatic, Actually I’m ANTI any radicalism wherever I sees it however killing innocent people and treating human being regardless of his way of thinking as an animal and defend the occupier just because of ideological and strong believes is wrong and beyond my understanding and I condemn anybody who does that.
I don’t know you as a person, I just read what you write on here and to be honest you are not being just or fair. So please know that when I disagree with you and ridicule what you are saying is out of my human nature of seeing you are totally unjust and taking sides on an issue that doesn’t effect your lifestyle as it affects mine.

I still disagree with you and I still not impressed of your opinion but hey it’s your way of thinking and as I accept your opinion and comments on here you should accept others as well without using bad words. Taking it easy and please be a human, just and fair if you want to see a better future in the world..

January 14th, 2009, 11:26 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Alex, and IC
Chris must be banned.

January 14th, 2009, 11:26 pm

 

Chris said:

Majed:

Let’s see, you’ve advocated an increase in the “resistance” in Iraq. You’ve advocated an expansion of the conflict in Gaza. You’ve stated that Palestinian lives are more valuable then American lives and you have the audacity to request that I be banned? I’m sorry, but it is preposterous that you could openly advocate violence on this site, directed a peace studies professor, and then ask that others be banned for using profanity.

You don’t like what I have to say so you request that I be banned, that’s hardly a surprise.

JAD:
I’ve never expressed glee or satisfaction that battles or violence has taken place. Never.

you wrote:
“I recall that you wrote that you take the American and Israelis on much higher standers than the Syrians.”

I hold rich, educated, democratic countries to a higher standard than brutal authoritarian regimes. That is not racist. It is primarily about the form of government.

January 14th, 2009, 11:44 pm

 

Chris said:

JAD:

You wrote:
“you kept taking sides even with the massacre happening now in Gaza … without showing any sympathy whatsoever about the people lost.”

First of all, I have expressed sympathy for the lives lost in this conflict, at least twice on this blog I have done so. I feel horrible about what is happening in Gaza right now.

Do you feel sympathy for the Israeli victims of Hamas Qassams and suicide bombers?

January 15th, 2009, 12:00 am

 

jad said:

YES, I feel sorry for any lost of innocent life regardless of its Religion, Race, “Financial status”, “Education level”, and it’s “Political government directions” I guess you don’t cover all of that since you already have your personal criteria.
P.S. as far as I know and since this crazy unbalanced war and massacre of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation, no Israeli have been killed by the GREAT destructive Quassam, do you?

January 15th, 2009, 12:58 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Hannah Ahrendt said:

Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations — as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world — we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.

Sounds like a good reason to me. I’d say Hannah Ahrendt made sense.

Alia said:

Hannah Ahrendt did not please the Israelis when studying the Eichmann trials she concluded that evil is banal.

Which is certainly understandable, since the Jewish people lost so many people just a few decades previously.

I’ve always cherished the saying the is attributed to Edmund Burke:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing”

The knee-jerk reaction, the huddled masses of Jews gathered from all over the world pretending that they are one race and hanging on to their identity as martyrs is exactly the type of scenario where evil is likely to arise.

What “knee-jerk” reaction? Eight years of living under missile and mortar fire is not a “knee jerk” reaction. Please elaborate. What “huddled masses”? Please clarify. What do you mean “pretending” to be one race? We do consider ourselves to be a “nation” or a “people” if that’s what you mean. I hope this doesn’t “cramp your style”.

Yet, who am I to say who is a people and who isn’t. Some thought there was no Palestinian people. But if that’s what they claim, then that’s all they need.

Moral consciousness requires reflection, reason, a dialogue between me and my self…Zionism does not include that provision.

Zionist debate all the time. If Shai is an example, a large percentage of Israelis did not want an armed confrontation with Hamas. But after 8 years of living under this cloud, the Israelis bascially tuned them out and started to fight for their rights of self-defence.

Beside the brainwashed population, some bullying tactics for the non-believers and you have the set-up for evil action on such a large scale that it appears normal and justifiable to you.

Israelis have the freest media in the Middle East and a rather large diversity of people (Ehtiopian, Ashkenasi, Sephardi, Persian, Russian, Muslim, Christian). Israelis are quite apt to make up their own minds, and the polls showed Israelis were 91% in favor of confronting Hamas militarily.

Don’t be surprised next time. Countries don’t like missiles fired into their territory. I said the same thing in 2006.

The monstrosity of Israeli evil is that it has been passed down already through a couple of generations always directed against the same tenacious Palestinians who just will not go away.

The evil is the Hamas philosophy of teaching children to hate, to forfeit their young bodies against a Jew they’ve never seen (speaking of brainwashing).

Unless you step out of that claustrophobic box you will remain incapable of seeing what one of your greatest philosophers diagnosed very accurately….

It is not a claustrophobic as you think Alia. Certainly not as claustrophobic as the hospital the Hamas leadership is holed-up in.;)

January 15th, 2009, 1:01 am

 

Chris said:

Jad:

When saying that I hold the U.S. and Israel to a higher standard I was not saying that I value Syrian lives less. What I am saying is that when judging the U.S. or Israel in terms of its compliance with human rights, protection of civil liberties, or basic standards of human decency I am more harsh than when judging countries like Syria on those issues. I don’t expect the Syrian regime to go very far in protecting human rights. I do expect Israel and the U.S. to do so. Therefore, when the U.S. or Israel fail in their obligations to protect human rights I am a far more harsh critic than when I am looking at Syria because I expect the Syrian regime to engage in torture and repress its own people. I do not expect the U.S. or Israel to do similar things, they are open, developed, democratic societies, with independent court systems. As such they should be held to the highest standard.

January 15th, 2009, 1:09 am

 

jad said:

This is the problem and this is Mm. Alia’s point as well, but nobody is listening here, including you.
Many Syrians on this site including me are more critical about their government than you are, and because you are an American you should hold your government responsible of what they are doing not blaming my government for being the bad boy while your government doing much worse while they are talking about democracy and human rights day and night without improving anything…we lost and still loosing millions of our people because of your government and it’s blind foreign disastrous policies…how could you justify that…
Beside it’s our duty NOT yours to improve our country, you can’t love Syria more than all of us here, you will help better if you mind your own government mistakes and know that building a school and educate people is more valuable than bombing them…

January 15th, 2009, 1:28 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

I hope that the egyptians stop the flow of gas to Israel,and the oil flowing from Iraq and SAK stop flowing to Israel, even Syria drill wells in Syria to reduce the water of jordan river,it is Syrian water.And HA shoot any israeli plan that cross over lebanon.

January 15th, 2009, 1:59 am

 

Cindy M said:

I am embarassed to be an American. I thought we were a nation of laws and justice. I guess you can claim religious persecution in Europe and then go to Palestine and religiously persecute. What ever happened to the contracts the jews signed with the palestinians. The palestinians graciously allowed the original jewish settlers to their community with conditions. What about legal rights? If you get American weapons and buy political favors — legal contracts are null and void? The palestinians were a gracious and generous people until they were forced into inhumane refugee camps. Their only option, as has been taught to them by the jews and America, was a religious war. It has worked for the jews for years. Lament anti-semitism and holocaust guilt and anything goes. The only solution to the middle east tension is for Israel to first recognize the generosity of the palestinians to allow them to resettle in their country in the first place and quit treating them and referring to them as barbarians — justice — and then and only then can healing and peace start. The jews need to get over themselves and quit pretending to be victims (centuries old) and behave like adults and take responsibility for their condition that they have caused.

January 15th, 2009, 2:06 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Christopher the Orientalist I support that you should be at least limited with the number of comments. You have said 1001 times what you are capable to say (and that is not much nor very well argued). It is not necessary to argue with everybody using the every time the same lame excuses producing tens of comments. Akbar is a funny fascist, you begin to be simply boring. Write less comments and focus to the substance.

It sounds almost as if you’re saying that the lives of Gazans, as if they’re a country, are more important than the lives of the people who died in Europe because their countries are larger. It is completely ridiculous.

Of course with the amount of victims must be considered the size of the country/population. Soviets killed in WW2 95.000 Finns (2.6 % of the population). Finn killed several hundred of thousands Soviets in the war (127,000 in Winter war and 200,000 in the second episode), which considered to the amount of Soviets was about 0.2 percent of the population.

United States lost in WW2 418,500 (0.32% of the population).

1000 killed Gazans is 0.07 percent of the population. 0.32 % is 4800 killed. 0.07 % of US present population is 214,200.

Read
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

Hitler rounded up millions of women, children, and old men and sent them to gas chambers, in Gaza roughly 500 non-combatants have died in a war zone. The two situations couldn’t be anymore different.

Hasn’t Israel rounded (=forced) millions of women, children and men to Gaza and West Bank and is all the time “harvesting” them? Can you deny that? Most of them (first generation) did not move there voluntarily. Neither they did not build walls around them.

Gaza situation is exactly analogous with Warsaw Ghetto.

Has Israel gas chambers? Is that essential? On the other hand isn’t that constant massive usage of phosphorous in Gaza deliberate gassing of the civil population.

That is in no way inflating the number, in fact it is an understatement. As it is well documented, through much scholarly research that 5.9 million Jews died in the holocaust. If we include Roma, homosexuals, Poles, and Soviet POWs that number jumps to 9 million.

Actually Christopher the 6 six million (5.9 as you say) is not so well documented. The six million claim emerged already during WW2 (as early as in 1942 – 1943) and since then it has been a “scientific fact” which can’t be disputed. Is the real number 2 million or 5 million is not very essential. Naturally everybody killed was too much.

I love Syria and have nothing against the people in Syria.

Sure. 🙂 But you love Israeli Jews more. Come-on Christopher, a Zionist is a racist because Zionism is a racist ideology. Surely Zionism has very little to do with equality and democracy among mankind.

January 15th, 2009, 2:33 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sure. But you love Israeli Jews more. Come-on Christopher, a Zionist is a racist because Zionism is a racist ideology. Surely Zionism has very little to do with equality and democracy among mankind.

Sim,

Apparently, you don’t know very much about Zionism. Arabs in Israel not only have the same rights as Jews, but Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries.

January 15th, 2009, 3:55 am

 

jad said:

More rights to be killed by the thousands and buried with their families and beloved ones….unfortunately they have the same rights Jews had in Germany pre ww2… you should be hired as a concentration camp police you fit perfectly for the job.
Zionism is no difference than Nazism both are using the same mentality and techniques of destroying and killing others both are murderers and scumbags

January 15th, 2009, 4:28 am

 

Alex said:

48. Akbar Palace said:

Sim,

Apparently, you don’t know very much about Zionism. Arabs in Israel not only have the same rights as Jews, but Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries.

Alright Akbar, let me test your knowledge of recent history. Don’t worry, it will be a relatively easy question with multiple choice answer.

Question: In summer 2006 a Lebanese Arab who is not happy with Israel occupying parts of his land killed two Israeli occupation soldiers (“combatants” as Chris calls them, suggesting they are a fair target)

Did our non-racist Zionist Israel:

1) Forget about it .. accept it, since these were “combatants”
2) Take revenge by killing two Lebanese Arab combatants (following your equality claim)
3) Kill over a thousand Lebanese (Civilians and combatants) to revenge its two armed combatants?

January 15th, 2009, 5:30 am

 

offended said:

Chris,
Did you learn slangs the hard way in Damascus?

January 15th, 2009, 7:22 am

 

Alex said:

Lancet blasts Israeli ‘atrocities’ in Gaza

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/01/15/2466390.htm

Israel is responsible for “large and indiscriminate human atrocities” in Gaza, and the world medical establishment is a silent accomplice in the bloodshed, The Lancet medical journal says.

In an editorial released ahead of publication next Saturday, the British health journal said Israel, by hitting civilians and wrecking medical infrastructure, had carried out attacks that were “unjustified and disproportional.”

“We find it hard to believe that an otherwise internationally respected, democratic nation can sanction such large and indiscriminate human atrocities in a territory already under land and sea blockade,” The Lancet said.

“The collective punishment of Gazans is placing horrific and immediate burdens of injury and trauma on innocent civilians. These actions contravene the fourth Geneva convention.”

The editorial also blasted “national medical associations and professional bodies worldwide,” accusing them of keeping silent as the destruction unfolded.

“Their leaders, through their inaction, are complicit in a preventable tragedy that may have long-lasting public-health consequences not only for Gaza for also for the entire region,” it said.

More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, and at least 4,580 injured, since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27, the head of emergency services in the territory, Muawiya Hassanein, said on Wednesday.

Israel says the operation aims at quelling rocket attacks by Hamas militants that threaten civilians living in an arc of southern Israeli towns.

The Lancet focuses on publishing medical research, but it also has a tradition of outspokenness on political issues that touch on health, such as the Iraq war and government policies on AIDS.

-AFP

January 15th, 2009, 7:55 am

 

idit said:

SimoHurtta

I followed your comments for some time now and I have a question.

This blog is about Syria.

Its culture, society, politics, History, problems and so on.

That is the reason I started reading this blog. Beacause I wanted to learn about the real syria. The Syria beyond the news and the headlines.

None of the above has anything to do with Israel or the Palestinias.

Yet, I have never read anything from you about Syria per se.
You only comment about Israel. How evil it is bla bla.

what are really doing in this blog?
Do you think that here you can spread your antisemitic filth in a way that you know is unacceptable in other blogs?

Please Correct me if I’m wrong.

January 15th, 2009, 8:05 am

 

why-discuss said:

Israel needs a lesson too… the new jungle world law of Tom Friedman

Tom Friedman brilliantly simplistic logic brings me to that conclusion: Israel needs to be inflicted enough pain by the killing of enough of its civilians to “take a lesson” , respect international laws and withdraw from occupied land. Friedman should apply for the Nobel prize for War…

January 15th, 2009, 11:24 am

 

J Thomas said:

“But it does make sense to me to require Hamas to give up violence and to accept the existence of israel. At the same time, there should be conditions on israel also:”

If the GOI was smart, they wouldn’t sign ANYTHING that takes them back where they were a month ago.

If they were smart they’d pull back to the 1967 borders and sulk. But they aren’t smart.

The issue of missile firings, weapons smuggling, exchange of prisoners and oversight all should be part of the agreement.

Missile firings, yes. If israel were to stop killing palestinians, including an amnesty for all past actions, and palestinians likewise stopped retaliating, then missile firings would be wrong on both sides. If israel were to allow open borders then there would be no missile smuggling. And there should be UN inspectors on both sides of the line — UN inspectors should be allowed everywhere in palestine and israel. All israeli records should be made available to war crimes inspectors unless an agreement is made for amnesty.

But nobody’s actually discussing peace, the question at hand is merely a cease-fire. In that context there’s no possible way to go back to where they were a month ago, unless they can raise the dead.

January 15th, 2009, 11:50 am

 

Chris said:

Jad:

You wrote:
“Beside it’s our duty NOT yours to improve our country,”

Well, this blog is about Syria. So, we ought to be discussing Syria. I wouldn’t want things to get even worse in Syria. It would only be productive to discuss how to improve things.

You wrote:
“because you are an American you should hold your government responsible of what they are doing not blaming my government for being the bad boy while your government doing much worse”

I do hold my government responsible for what it is doing, but again, this blog is about Syria, so we ought to discuss how we can improve Syria.

As far as your accusation that the U.S. is doing much worse, the Syrian authoritarian dicatorship under Bashar Assad, while less brutal than under his father, is among the more brutal regimes in the Middle East. There is a pattern of human rights abuses. In the United State, Human Rights violations are an aberration, while under the Baathist dictatorship, they are the norm. Remember the Qamishly incident in 2004? It was only in 2007, during Nawruz, when the security forces used machined guns to kill Kurds in broad daylight for merely celebrating their new-year? There are arbitrary arrests. Of course, Syria does all this by maintaining “emergency” laws that have been place since 1963. Such “emergency laws” are not usually indicative of a paragon of human rights. If things were far worse in the U.S. than in Syria, than Syria would be the a beacon of hope for the middle east. Unfortunately, things are far worse in Syria than in Jordan, Egypt, Hamas/Fatah.

When I was in Syria I did a language exchange with two guys. I like to talk about politics, but one of the two was always silent during the political discussions I had with the other. So, once when I was alone with my friend who was generally comfortable talking about politics I asked him about the other guy, who would shy away from such discussion, and I was told that he is afraid of being secretly taken away in the middle of the night to some secret prison (or not so secret as in the case of the one near Palmyra or Tadmur) where he is brutally tortured then forced to handover the contact info for all of his family and friends so that the “intelligence” people can then interrogate them. Now, it would be very difficult to find people with such fears in the U.S., I’m fairly certain that such fears are not even common in Jordan.

January 15th, 2009, 11:51 am

 

Chris said:

Offended:

You wrote:
Did you learn slangs the hard way in Damascus?

I don’t understand what that means. Can you clarify?

January 15th, 2009, 11:56 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

IDIT,

cc: Sim

Shalom. I have been on this blog for abut 3 years, and I have the same questions you do.

Sim is a participant from Finland. He does not accept Israel as a legitimate state. Actually, a number of other participants here also do not accept Israel as a legiimate state. Sim is also very interested in knowing who is Jewish. I think Sim feels that if someone is pro-Israeli, they are Jewish.

Sim feels (correct if I am wrong) Jews are responsible for many bad things like 9-11, the creation of a “racist” state, and the murder of Palestinian children. And Sim never gets angry when missiles are falling in Israel. I suppose Sim is just “wired” that way.

So yes, MUCH time on this website is “debating” Israel’s right to exist or Israel’s right to self-defence.

Now the owner, Professor Joshua Landis, Co-Director, Center for Peace Studies, University of Oklahoma, doesn’t participate that often. And frankly, I’ve never seen any posts from him promoting “peace” as his title suggests. Nevertheless, “Professor Josh” allows participants the freedom to express ourselves here, and that’s good. Certainly better than what you can get in Syria.

Regards,

AP

January 15th, 2009, 12:02 pm

 

Chris said:

Yes, let’s get back to Syria.

I’m beginning to think that the Syrian regime is going to benefit from all this as the radical wing of Hamas is in Damascus. They have been opposing a cease-fire and opposed participation in the Palestinian elections. Of course, they are also the part of Hamas that hasn’t felt any direct impact from this fighting. In the end, they will be left unscathed. At the same time, Fatah, Hamas’ rival, is being dealt a severe blow to its legitimacy. So, will Syria stand to benefit the most in the end as its allies have been strengthened?

Compare this to Egypt, which has also been dealt a significant blow as it kept the Rafah crossing closed. People around the region seething with anger at Mubarak. As for Mubarak himself, and his coterie, I can only imagine that they are, well to put it lightly, very happy to see Hamas go down in flames. A blow to the Islamists (Hamas) is a gift to Mubarak.

January 15th, 2009, 12:20 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

IDIT even you should understand that most of the blog’s articles and commentary is linked to the general political situation around Syria. Because of the Israel’s actions and policy one can’t avoid Israel. As you know Israel is a neighbour of Syria. As an Israeli you surely know how Israel became to be Syria’s neighbour and how Israel behaves. Professor Landis and other leading article writes have focused in their last articles to the Gaza situation and so have most commentators during the past weeks. Surely even you must admit most of the world is now focused to Gaza massager and how it reflects to the whole area. Gaza doesn’t “vanish” from the centre of international and regional politics even you Israelis certainly hope it would.

You can easily make the conclusion that the pro-Israeli side is well represented with their comments in this blog. About Gaza and Syria etc. You are not complaining about Akbar’s, AIG’s, Chris’s, Shai’s etc comments (which rarely have anything to do with Syria’s culture, history, problems and society) whose amount beat mine with the ratio of 100 to 1. Strange. Sure most of my comments are answers and counterarguments to the Israeli side’s comments.

I suppose IDIT that if there would be no occupation by Israel, no Israeli nukes, no US and Israeli regional domination ambitions etc we all could discuss more about Syrian culture, society and economy. Sadly Middle East political situation is no MaMaMedia where the reality can be shut out of the discussion.

This anti-Semite blaming is simply amusing. People like you use it always when there is not any more “creative” you can say. The last defence line of pro-Israeli propagandists.

—–
Sim,

Apparently, you don’t know very much about Zionism. Arabs in Israel not only have the same rights as Jews, but Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries.

Well Akbar a good test of that equality in Israel is that can an Arab Israeli minister publicly suggest that Jews should be put on the plane and shipped back to Russia and Ukraine or that Israeli Jewish prisoners should be drowned in the dead sea. Jewish ministers can say that. Can Israeli Arabs block Jewish extremist parties in participating to Knesset elections? Can Israeli Arabs buy land and real estates anywhere he/she wants? Can an Israeli Arab marry an person from West Bank and establish a normal family in Israel? ETC.

The whites in South Africa said before that the blacks have better living standard and more rights as blacks in the rest of Africa. In way that was true. But the essential point about democracy and equality is that the level of it is always measured inside one country. One could even say that people in Zimbabwe are more free than people in North Korea.

Surely Zionism is a racist ideology because it is concentrated to advance one “race’s” interests on the expense of others interests. Zionism is not a political ideology for the whole mankind regardless your race and religion like democratic liberalism or democratic socialism. Zionism is a equal political ideology like white or Islamic supremacy ideologies floured with a violent creation of a new own homeland on others homeland would be.

January 15th, 2009, 12:30 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex poses some questions to Yours Truly:

Question: In summer 2006 a Lebanese Arab who is not happy with Israel occupying parts of his land killed two Israeli occupation soldiers (”combatants” as Chris calls them, suggesting they are a fair target)

Did our non-racist Zionist Israel:

1) Forget about it .. accept it, since these were “combatants”
2) Take revenge by killing two Lebanese Arab combatants (following your equality claim)
3) Kill over a thousand Lebanese (Civilians and combatants) to revenge its two armed combatants?

Alex,

I’m not sure what exactly transpired in your example, do you have a link with some background info?

In any case, I will attempt to apologize for the “non-racist Zionist Israeli soldier” (NRZIS soldier – BTW, if we use “Arab” instead of “Racist”, we appropriately get the acronym “NAZI” – how befitting!). Here goes:

1.) I didn’t know there were NRZI soldiers occupying Lebanon. I thought all the NRZI soldiers left Lebanon around the year 2000 or so. In any case, whether he was an occupier or not, I would think the NRZI soldier would NOT “forget” about a Lebanese Arab who had killed his two NRZI soldier friends.

2.) Not sure what my equality claim was. Please elaborate. If you are referring to the 2006 Lebanon War Alex, you conveniently left out the THOUSANDS of rockets that were fired indiscriminately into Israel from Lebanon. I’ll post a summary so your readership gets the complete story:

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

So what turned out to be a small little misunderstanding (Hezbollah firing into Israel to start a war) escalated quite enormously, as Hezbollah tried to save Lebanon from the NRZI onslaught.

3) Sorry the NRZI soldiers killed civilians. I wish the arms the NRZI used could discriminate between civilians and combatants, but they can’t. THE NRZI soldiers dropped leaflets to warn the civilians, but as usual, the brave Hezbollah fighters chose to fight among the civilian population. Maybe the Lebanese and their Hezbollah friends should be more careful next time they want to bully the NRZI soldiers.

Alex,

I hope these answers satisfied you. Please do not hesitate to ask me more questions about Israel or the NRZI soldiers.

January 15th, 2009, 12:31 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sim said:

Gaza situation is exactly analogous with Warsaw Ghetto.

Sim –

Really? You mean the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto fired Katyusha, Grad and Qassam missiles into Poland for 8 straight years? I didn’t know that.

You mean the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were trying to free Poland of infidels. Something else I didn’t know. Strange.

I also didn’t know the Poles and their German overlords were offering the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto a peace treaty if they agreed to end their Jewish “jihad” against Poland.

I also don’t remember the Poles and their German overlords sending in thousands of truckloads of food and medical supplies while they tried to exterminate the Warsaw Ghetto population.

Lastly, I don’t recall 500,000 or so Gazans dying of disease, mal-nutrition, being shot to death, or carted off to concentration camps.

http://encarta.msn.com/media_701501269/warsaw_ghetto.html

Other than that, perhaps there are some similarities. Of course, you’re free to provide links showing a better comparison.

January 15th, 2009, 12:58 pm

 

Chris said:

AP:

Much like others’ attempts to minimize the holocaust, there are more differences between the current situation in Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto than there are similarities. It is a ridiculous analogy. A comparison like that is absolutely absurd.

January 15th, 2009, 1:03 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Akbar

cc: IDIT, AIG, Chris

Sim feels (correct if I am wrong) Jews are responsible for many bad things like 9-11, the creation of a “racist” state, and the murder of Palestinian children. And Sim never gets angry when missiles are falling in Israel. I suppose Sim is just “wired” that way.

Well Akbar can you blame me for those bad things the Jews have done? Blame Jews. “I” do not bomb hospitals, UN compounds, ambulances, shoot children, burning and gassing civilians with phosphorous etc. “I” did not invent communism nor did “I” run the Gulags in Soviet Union. “I” did not invent Zionism nor have “I” stolen others land. “I” do not build separation walls or “we-only” roads. “I” do not humiliate the US president by interrupting his speeches and giving him orders and then later bragging publicly about that.

Why should I be angry if missiles are falling in Israel? Sure I have sympathy towards those few civilian Jews killed living near Gaza on the lands stolen from their fellow human beings dumped to Gaza. On the other hand I understand why they in Gaza Ghetto are firing rockets. As I can understand why the Jews in Warsaw Ghetto did resist.

If Israeli Jews would be wise they would have ended the occupation long time ago. Do you get missiles from Jordan or Egypt? You are simply “wired” that way so you seem not to understand that simple fundamental fact. Jews would not like to live under occupation and constant maltreatment, so why do you think Palestinians and Arabs like it?

Surely Israel is now a reality, but will it be a after 100 years as a violent “Jewish Reich”? It is not up to me, it is in the end up to the Jews in Israel and USA. I hope a there would be a country (or two) where Jews and Arabs could live in peace as in reality equals in a democratic secular state. If I would support Israel as it is now I would be no liberal democrat, which I am, who supports that all people are equal regardless their race and religion. Simple as that.

Regards
SimoHurtta

PS.
Akbar is this 911 conspiracy blaming new orders from the Israeli Internet Haganah or IPRAF (Israeli public relations attack forces) command centre? Have I mentioned 911 lately? Did Jews have something to do with 911 besides collecting the insurance money from the buildings? Interested to hear your points about Jews contribution to 911. By the way Akbar why had the famous “Mossad” Jews in New York dance of joy when they watched thousands mostly non Jews getting on the same time killed? Were they dancing because there were 3000 infidels less?

January 15th, 2009, 1:47 pm

 

Chris said:

Simo,

Why don’t we try to talk about Syria and its relationship to or how it is affected by this recent spate of violence. After all, it is called Syria Comment.

I don’t really see the point of blaming Jews for communism on a blog about Syria.

January 15th, 2009, 1:52 pm

 

Alia said:

AP wrote and highlighted this saying from Ahrendt:

“Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people”

AP,

This is symptomatic of your paranoia- The Palestinians and the rest of the Arab and Muslim nations and increasingly European nations such as England are refusing this argumentation that Israel has been using as a leimotiv for its offensive status on every level for 60 years.

The Jewish people those who follow the Torah should not be complicit to the malevolent actions of the state of Israel. You use your religious identity whenever it pleases you but you do not follow its basic rules.

Israel is built on a stolen land and has displaced an innocent people. If there were no Palestinians who is Israel murdering in Gaza?

But there is a miracle here that you and your people are oblivious to…and in that sense it might answer IDIT’s complaints about not hearing about Syria from us. The miracle is that the Arab and the Muslim people in their great majority have never ever given up their stand of solidarity with the Palestinians no matter how corrupt and worthless their leaders have become..under the wheeling and dealing of their governement. Watch Turkey slowly but decisevely turn around back to join the rest. Somehow the Israelis never ever got that support unless they bought it and bullied for it.

60 years are long on the Palestinians who are suffering but they are not long in the history of nations. Israel may look OK to you for now, but it has sowed its own seeds of destruction, such processes take time. The Roman Empire did not fall in one battle.

Beside being ruthless thugs your leaders are fools and they are dragging you all down a path of no return.

January 15th, 2009, 2:08 pm

 

Alia said:

Chris,

Something you might not have learned in Syria since it appears you were busy learning foul language. The current Assad and esp. his father have largely been tolerated and even supported by people in Syria because of their stand against Israel. That is documented in all Arab and non-Arab history books-
It is a Syrian reality.

Why don’t you get busy with your own corrupt congress that keeps pouring money into Israel even as the USA is bankrupt and begging for help from foreigners ?

January 15th, 2009, 2:17 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Well Akbar a good test of that equality in Israel is that can an Arab Israeli minister publicly suggest that Jews should be put on the plane and shipped back to Russia and Ukraine or that Israeli Jewish prisoners should be drowned in the dead sea.

Sim –

How about the kidnap and abduction of a Jewish soldier by an enemy army? Do you think that is a “good test of equality”?

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1150885951784&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

http://www.iris.org.il/blog/archives/1450-Arab-MK-Admits-I-Advised-PA-to-Kidnap-Soldier.html

Jewish ministers can say that.

Jewish MKs have actually been striped of their credentials due to their racist views. Rabbi Mei Kahane is one of them.

Can Israeli Arabs block Jewish extremist parties in participating to Knesset elections?

Yes. The Kahane example. There have been both Arab and Jewish MKs who have made very dangerous and distasteful statements.

Can Israeli Arabs buy land and real estates anywhere he/she wants?

I don’t think so. I also don’t think a Israeli Jew can as well.

Can an Israeli Arab marry an person from West Bank and establish a normal family in Israel? ETC.

I don’t know. Can a Iranian Muslim marry a person from Israel and establish a normal family in Iran? I don’t know.

The whites in South Africa said before that the blacks have better living standard and more rights as blacks in the rest of Africa. In way that was true.

In a way it wasn’t true.

But the essential point about democracy and equality is that the level of it is always measured inside one country.

True.

One could even say that people in Zimbabwe are more free than people in North Korea.

I don’t know.

Surely Zionism is a racist ideology because it is concentrated to advance one “race’s” interests on the expense of others interests.

Sim – again, your interest in all things Zionist, Jewish, and “race”-related is a little freaky to me. I’m sure this isn’t or won’t be the fist time we discuss these issues, but I would suggest that you “build a bridge and get over it”. Sure, Zionist is racism for those who hate Israel. The UN agreed with that years ago when the “strong arm tactics of the Arab conspriacy” shoved it down the UN’s throat. The UN dropped that resolution.

IMHO, Zionism is the notion of establishing a homeland for the Jewish People. Zionism does not establish a state religion, prohibit people from worshipping as they see fit, prohibit non-Jews from living there, etc. Zionism expects those living within her borders to accept Israel as a Jewish Homeland. OTOH, Zionism does frown upon those who want to discontinue Zionism or by aiding and abetting regimes who want to cause physical harm to Israel.

Zionism is not a political ideology for the whole mankind regardless your race and religion like democratic liberalism or democratic socialism.

Why does Zionism have to be “a political ideology for the whole mankind”? Communism, Capitalism, and Islam are not. Further, there are Christian and Islamic states, why not a Jewish state?

Sim – the reason some people here accuse you of being anti-semitic is your sole focus of all things Jewish, and at the same time, you are totally oblivious to similar phenomenon in throughout the rest of the world. It seems you have 2 standards throughtout your posts.

Zionism is a equal political ideology like white or Islamic supremacy ideologies floured with a violent creation of a new own homeland on others homeland would be.

Zionism does not espouse “supremacy”. We are not better than you. I know some in the gentile word get this impression. Some Christian friends of mine tell stories where they “felt bad” that they were not “Chosen” (aka “Chosen People”). This term is not a Jewish term, nor do Jews feel they are better than anyone else. IMHO, Israel is only about a safe haven for Jews to practice their faith freely and control their own destiny. Sort of like Palestine is to Palestinians.

January 15th, 2009, 2:17 pm

 

Chris said:

Alia you wrote:
“The current Assad and esp. his father have largely been tolerated and even supported by people in Syria because of their stand against Israel.”

You are correct. The conflict with Israel has benefitted the dictators of the region as they can point to a foreign enemy to encourage people to rally behind the government. They are then able to call critics of the regime traitors, when such a charge would have far less sting during peace time. So, it is not a coincidence, that Syria, which is the most rejectionist country of Israel in the Levant, is also the most repressive country in the Levant. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to resolve this conflict. Its continuation is absolutely toxic to everything in the region.

January 15th, 2009, 2:29 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

The Jewish people those who follow the Torah should not be complicit to the malevolent actions of the state of Israel. You use your religious identity whenever it pleases you but you do not follow its basic rules.

Alia,

Since you are an expert on Judaism, what “basic rules” are we not following?

Israel is built on a stolen land and has displaced an innocent people. If there were no Palestinians who is Israel murdering in Gaza?

Right, Israel stole land. Join the Club… I never said there were no Palestinians. Murder is what Palestinians dream of the day they’re born (see Palestinian Child Abuse link above). Defending ones country by killing combatants who hide among the civilian population is something else. Morally, you should know the difference.

The miracle is that the Arab and the Muslim people in their great majority have never ever given up their stand of solidarity with the Palestinians no matter how corrupt and worthless their leaders have become.

Translation: “The miracle is that the arab and Muslim people in their great majority have never ever given up their goal of “wiping Israel off the map”.”

under the wheeling and dealing of their governement. Watch Turkey slowly but decisevely turn around back to join the rest. Somehow the Israelis never ever got that support unless they bought it and bullied for it.

Yes, Israel “bullied” Turkey. The Turks, especially their secular military had great respect for Israel. They still may not be so thrilled about an Islamist Turkey. That’s for them to figure out.

60 years are long on the Palestinians who are suffering but they are not long in the history of nations.

Not all Palestinians are “suffering”. Mostly, the Palestinians that are suffering are the ones committed to destroying Israel or the ones living in countries still at war with the Zionist Entity.

Israel may look OK to you for now, but it has sowed its own seeds of destruction, such processes take time. The Roman Empire did not fall in one battle.

Inshallah!

Beside being ruthless thugs your leaders are fools and they are dragging you all down a path of no return.

Don’t worry about it Alia. Just hunker down with yor computer and wait it out…

January 15th, 2009, 2:29 pm

 

idit said:

Chris

You are too nice.

If it walks like a duck….

Enough said.

It seems that Egypt comes out as the winner of this.
Everybody is flocking to Cairo.

Hamas (on its knees), Israel,The US and others.

Another development is that despite objections from Hamas-Damascus, Hamas-Gaza went ahead and agreed to a ceasfire.
It will be interesting to follow the dynamics there in the coming days and months.

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5053R720090115

January 15th, 2009, 2:30 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Well Akbar and Chris let us conclude why analogue of the Warsaw Ghetto and Gaza Ghetto is completely valid. So we can get over it and not bore the other readers and commentators.

In Gaza UN and the international community are feeding and treating medically the Palestinians. Israel is not giving them anything, besides occasionally a couple of public relation “hospital treatments”. All the food, fuel and medicine are and have for decades been paid by others. You the overlord only make money with the trade and taxation opportunities that help opens. So the occupying Jewish overlord is not feeding them, like the Nazis or Polish counterparts did not feed the people of Warsaw Ghetto. If it would be up to Israel and there would be no UN, Israel would have let 1.5 million starve and die to deceases in Gaza already long ago. So let’s not be hypocritical about this “help” and numbers issue.

Can you Akbar and Chris deny that there was constant smuggling of food, medicines and weapons to the Warsaw Ghetto? They even had bad “weapon” smuggling tunnels and “weapon bunkers”. Can you deny that the were no attacks against the occupation forces in Warsaw Ghetto? Can you deny that there was a wall build by the occupation forces around the Ghettos in Gaza and Warsaw? You can’t even deny the fact that the overlords left both Ghettos in a similar way. They left the area and put soldiers on the “walls”.

About this 8 years of missiles. Sadly it seems that Nazis had less tolerance as you Israeli Jews. The creation of the Ghettos (= collecting the unwanted to one isolated area) and the crushing of the Ghettos is though similar. Nazis did finish the “job”, Israel hardly can even most Israeli Jews would love the same to happen. Sad isn’t it. What is the difficulty in admitting this?

January 15th, 2009, 2:42 pm

 

Chris said:

Simo,

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to continue with the Warsaw Ghetto analogy. It is an inflammatory, offensive, and sloppy analogy. More importantly, it is irrelevant.

You may have referred to me as “you Israeli Jews.” I’m a gentile from Los Angeles, California.

January 15th, 2009, 2:52 pm

 

Alia said:

Chris,

You got it wrong. Since you are not Syrian you do not know cause from effect. The Syrian people are the ones who are choosing to stand against Israel in this case. Again why are you not busy talking about your country and fixing its problems ?

A.P.,

Judaism ? Not a bad religion if you could stick to it. Remember those 10 commandments ? I don’t think so.

Turkey’s Military Rule was symptomatic of a stage in Turkey’s history, it has not led to any thing good or stable.

If you call yourself a Jewish state then why can’t other countries be Muslims states ?

” Admiration for Israel’s Military”? Ha ha. All arms blackmailed from the U.S. and other countries ” the poor martyrs need to defend themselves against the ruthless Arabs”.

Really something to be proud of.

You make sure you keep yourself busy 24 hours a day posting nonsense.

January 15th, 2009, 2:55 pm

 

Chris said:

Alia,

“Again why are you not busy talking about your country and fixing its problems ?”

We are on a blog about Syria, hence, I am focusing on Syria. But, I have worked in the policy world. I have taught, albeit a summer course. I have given to the interest groups that I support, etc.

January 15th, 2009, 3:09 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

You are too nice.

If it walks like a duck….

Idit,

cc: Chris

I agree. It is refreshing to see a non-Jewish participant’s disgust at anti-semitism. I guess we aren’t “paranoid” afterall;)

If only some liberal Jews had that kind of moxy.

January 15th, 2009, 3:10 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Judaism ? Not a bad religion if you could stick to it. Remember those 10 commandments ? I don’t think so.

Alia,

Which of the 10 commandments are you taking issue with? If it is “murder”, I do not consider the operation in Gaza to be “murder”.

Anyway, I don’t want to follow the Jewish religion too closely in time of war, then Sim’s dream of actually wiping out a Palestinian city could be the next step. Joshua’s (not the good professor) defeat of Jericho, wasn’t interrupted by ceasefire negotiations.

Turkey’s Military Rule was symptomatic of a stage in Turkey’s history, it has not led to any thing good or stable.

Neither has Hamas’. Why so bleak?

If you call yourself a Jewish state then why can’t other countries be Muslims states ?

But there are Alia.

” Admiration for Israel’s Military”? Ha ha. All arms blackmailed from the U.S. and other countries ” the poor martyrs need to defend themselves against the ruthless Arabs”. Really something to be proud of.

Certainly not for anti-Zionists or jew-haters. But that’s understandable.

You make sure you keep yourself busy 24 hours a day posting nonsense.

It’s fun. I’ve always had a knack for getting on people’s nerves – just ask my wife;)

Good luck with your jihad against the Zionist occupier. Make sure the little ones are equiped with the latest slingshots…

January 15th, 2009, 3:18 pm

 

jad said:

Sim
If Gaza concentration camp had Gypsies, Homosexual and ONE Jewish then AP and gang will call it a ZIONIST/NAZI concentration camp…but it’s an all “goy” concentration camp which doesn’t make it that bad even if they kill all of them, 1.5m human being are not worth one Jew according to (AP LAST COMMENT PROVES IT) them and this is the Zionist spirit.

Chris,
MIND YOUR COUNTRY BUISNESS especially when you obviously know nothing in depth about Syria on any level except your two unfortunate friends, and you keep coming back and write some unrelated and meaningless comments as if this site a chitchat messenger…I suggest you stop writing for a while and read till someone ask something you really know the answer otherwise spare us from your street based analysis.

January 15th, 2009, 3:22 pm

 

jad said:

ANTI-SEMITISM!!!
AP you have a thick brain and very retarted…how many times should we tell you that we are ‘Semitic’ too..altikrar yo3lem al7imar obviously not you..

January 15th, 2009, 3:33 pm

 

AKbar Palace said:

ANTI-SEMITISM!!!

JAD,

There’s also a way you can make the font bold (place “b”s inside the arrows).

AP you have a thick brain and very retarted…

JAD,

It’s a birth defect. It’s not funny.

(Alex – are websites rules cancelled due to the Zionist Aggression™?)

Anyway Nahoul is on TV, I gotta go…

http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/continue-to-learn-holy-war-with-nahoul-the-bee/

January 15th, 2009, 4:42 pm

 

jad said:

I didn’t know that you have feeling, anyway, Get well soon…(place “b”s inside the arrows) (in bold at your advice)

January 15th, 2009, 5:01 pm

 

chris said:

Jad:

You wrote:
“you obviously know nothing in depth about Syria on any level except your two unfortunate friends…spare us from your street based analysis.”

I lived in Syria for 10 months and have read a number of books, articles, and journal articles about the country. Again, while we shouldn’t dismiss the importance of the views of the elite, the experience of the person on the street or what you derisively refer to as “street based analysis” is also important. In the Middle East there is frequently a divergence between the views on the street and the elite. At the same time, no government, no matter how brutal, can be completely dismissive of popular opinion, therefore it is important to understand what the shopkeepers and the young people of Syria are thinking.

January 15th, 2009, 5:36 pm

 

Chris said:

Jad,

you wrote:
“you have a thick brain and very retarted…”

While I’m aware that I used profanity (although I didn’t realize it was against SC rules) I would appreciate it if we could raise the level of discussion here. The person attacks are really unnecessary, not to mention against the SC Rules.

January 15th, 2009, 5:46 pm

 

jad said:

We all lived in Syria more than 10months and we all read more book about Syria than you can imagine so out of professionalism and respect of experience you shouldn’t argue with us about our country and tell us that you learned much more than we did in our streets by asking couple people to declare that your research is done and perfect.
Again and please, TRY to read and not write for a short time to understand more.

Something else and no need to write back:
Are you AP? Are you Semitic? When I refer to you by the name you reply. Thank you.

January 15th, 2009, 6:06 pm

 

Chris said:

Jad:

You wrote:
“you shouldn’t argue with us about our country”

I actually didn’t notice many arguments about Syria itself. There are a lot of personal attacks though. Not many people here seem to disagree that it is a brutal regime. More importantly though, if we are not here to argue or discuss Syria than what is the purpose of this blog? Do only those who are from Syria have the right to discuss it and its policies?

You also said:
“you shouldn’t … and tell us that you learned much more than we did in our streets ”

I don’t believe I ever made a claim to having more knowledge about Syria than others who are writing in this blog. I only said that I am knowledgable about the subject. Of course, I am sure there are people who are commenting here who have a deeper understanding of the country.

January 15th, 2009, 6:46 pm

 

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