Kerry’s Visit Brings Some Hope

Syrian talks with Kerry were promising, evidently, despite lots of background noise chastising Syria for seeking to regain its territory occupied by Israel whether by building up its military or supporting other Israeli opponents.
Syrian President Bashar Assad meets with US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry at the Syrian presidential palace in Damascus on Saturday (AP photo)

Syrian President Bashar Assad meets with US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry at the Syrian presidential palace in Damascus on Saturday (AP photo)US Sen. Kerry hopeful after Syria talks

By SAM F. GHATTAS – 2 hours ago

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Kerry said after talks with Syria’s president Saturday that there are possibilities for “real cooperation” between the two nations, which have been at odds for years.

Relations soured under the Bush administration, and Kerry and other members of Congress who have come to the Syrian capital in the last week explored the possibilities for better relations after President Barack Obama signaled he wanted to talk to opponents.

Kerry told a small group of reporters at the U.S. Embassy he was encouraged by the “very long, candid, open” discussion with President Bashar Assad Saturday and that he sees the possibility of progress ahead.

“While we will disagree on some issues for sure, what I heard and what I will take back with me and hopefully what we could put in place to take advantage of it, is the possibility of real cooperation on a number of different issues beginning immediately, beginning soon.”….

He did not elaborate, but the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did say he heard from the Syrians “a great willingness” to share in efforts with respect to Iraq.

During a stop in Beirut on Wednesday, Kerry said the U.S. expected Syria to “change its behavior” — particularly on Iraq and Lebanon — in return for renewing diplomacy with Damascus.

Kerry said there is an opportunity with Obama in the White House and a Democratic-controlled Congress “to put in place a different approach.”

Assad told Kerry and U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, whom he met with separately earlier in the day, that “the policy of dictation has proven useless and that dialogue is the only way” to solve problems, according to Syria’s official news agency, SANA…..

Syria’s ambassador to Washington described the congressional visits to Damascus as being “of extreme importance and depth.” But he stressed he was still waiting to see if the visits change “the manner of dialogue between us and America.”

“Let us see what are the goals we all want to reach, where we agree where we disagree … what are the easy and difficult obstacles, things that we can postpone until later,” Imad Mustapha told The Associated Press in Damascus. He said the U.S. was still re-evaluating its policy toward Syria.

Already during their trips to the Mideast, Kerry and Cardin repeated the previous American language demanding Damascus change its ways in terms of its ties to Iran and backing of militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas.

“We’re looking for actions, and we will have a good frank discussion about what those expectations are,” Kerry said during his stop in Beirut earlier this week.

Sateh Noureddine, the managing editor of Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper that is supportive of Syria, said Kerry’s message indicated that optimism over budding U.S.-Syria relations was exaggerated.

The U.S. is seeking “a conditional dialogue, not openness,” and it is too early to tell its outcome, he said. “It is a step backward.”

U.S.-Syrian relations grew tense after Damascus staunchly opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of neighboring Iraq. Relations soured further when the Bush administration pulled the U.S. ambassador out of Syria in 2005 to protest Syria’s suspected role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Damascus denied involvement in Hariri’s death, but in the uproar that followed, it was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year military presence.

The United States also wants Syria to stop helping militants, control its borders with Iraq and Lebanon, and help stabilize Lebanon. Washington also would like Syria to step back from its close relations with Iran, a longtime ally.

But Syria refuses to stop backing the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah and insists it’s doing all it can to safeguard its long, porous border. It also says it’s willing to help stabilize Iraq….

Syrian political analyst Imad Shueibi was optimistic that U.S.-Syria relations would change from a period of “the wrestling of wills to the sharing of wills.”

“What is happening is not just checking the pulse,” he said of the Congressional visits. “It is an attempt to define the possible horizons in the relations ahead.”

Defence chiefs urge hawk Netanyahu to strike deal with Syria

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ISRAEL’S next prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will face an early test when he finally takes office in the next few weeks: should he ditch an election pledge and follow his defence chiefs’ strategic advice to explore a peace treaty with Syria?

During his campaign Netanyahu, the leader of the conservative Likud party, had struck a belligerent note and pledged he would never agree to Syria’s main demand that the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in the 1967 war, should be returned.

On reaching office, however, Netanyahu will be presented with reports compiled by Mossad, the overseas spy agency, and by military intelligence, that strongly advocate opening negotiations with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

According to sources familiar with the documents, both Amos Yadlin, the head of military intelligence, and Meir Dagan, his Mossad counterpart, recommend a deal not only to eliminate the risk of war with Syria but also to create a split between Damascus and Iran, Israel’s arch foe.

A United Nations report last week said Iran had accumulated a stockpile of more than one ton of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride at its nuclear facility in Natanz. If highly enriched this would be enough for a nuclear weapon.

The reports argue that Israel is vulnerable to Syria’s upgraded chemical weapons capability, which is being expanded with the help of North Korean experts. Satellite images that emerged last week showed new construction work at the heavily protected site of al-Safir…..
Aides close to Netanyahu say an agreement with Syria is the surest way for Netanyahu to make political progress with the new administration, as they profoundly disagree on other aspects of a Middle East peace deal….”

DJ Syrian Pres Tells Kerry US Should Stop ‘Dictating’ Policy 2009-02-21

DAMASCUS (AFP)–Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told visiting U.S. members of Congress on Saturday that the U.S. should “move away from a policy based on dictating decisions.” Assad’s guests on Saturday included U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who headed the third delegation this week to call on the Syrian president’s door as Washington reviews its policies toward countries the previous administration regarded as hostile.

Assad told his visitors that future relations should be based on a “proper understanding” by Washington of regional issues and on common interests, SANA news agency reported. Dialogue, based on the history of the region and the rights of its peoples, is the only way to understand and resolve problems,” he said.

U.S. summons Syrian ambassador over suspected nuclear activities 2009-02-21

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — The State Department on Friday said it has asked Syria’s ambassador to the United States for a meeting next week after processed uranium particles were reportedly found in the country.

Ambassador Imad Moustapha will meet Jeffrey Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid said.

Among U.S. concerns is Syria’s alleged pursuit of nuclear and non-conventional weapons.

A report issued Thursday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said its inspectors found uranium particles in samples taken from an alleged nuclear site in Syria that was bombed by Israel in 2007….

Netanyahu Says Iran Threatens Israel from Northern Border

Hawkish Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday named Iran as Israel’s main threat after accepting the task of forming a new government in the wake of the tight February 20 elections.

“Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence,” he said at a ceremony at President Shimon Peres’ official residence.

“The terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north,” the presumptive prime minister said in reference to Lebanon and Syria.

“For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges.

واشنطن تعلن عودة الحوار الدبلوماسي مع دمشق عبر لقاء بين فيلتمان ومصطفى
متحدث أمريكي: اللقاء سوف يتناول القضايا الخلافية بين الجانبين
قال الناطق باسم الخارجية الأمريكية غوردون دوغيد إن مساعد وزيرة الخارجية لشؤون الشرق الأدنى جيفري فيلتمان طلب موعدا للقاء السفير السوري في واشنطن عماد مصطفى لمناقشة القضايا الخلافية بين سورية والولايات المتحدة.

وأضاف دوغيد في مؤتمر صحفي أن هذا اللقاء الذي سيتم الأسبوع المقبل يمثل “عودة للحوار الدبلوماسي مع دمشق, وأن اللقاء سيكون فرصة للحوار ومناقشة الملفات التي تهمنا مع السوريين”.
وأشار المتحدث إلى أن فيلتمان سوف يتناول مع مصطفى قلق واشنطن حيال دعم سورية لحزب الله وحركة “حماس” إضافة إلى ملفات لبنان وحقوق الإنسان والاتهامات حول موقع الكبر الذي دمرته إسرائيل عام 2007 قالت الولايات المتحدة إنه كان مفاعلا نوويا قيد البناء فيما تقول سورية إنه كان مبنى عسكريا تقليديا.
وتأتي هذه الخطوة بعد عدة زيارات لوفود نيابية أمريكية إلى دمشق, وبالتزامن مع استقبال الرئيس بشار الأسد لوفدين أمريكيين في يوم واحد يرأس أحدهما رئيس لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في الكونغرس جون كيري.
وكانت تقارير صحفية قالت إن واشنطن تدرس إرسال سفير أمريكي إلى دمشق بعد أربع سنوات من سحب سفيرها, فيما أبدى البيت الأبيض تهاونا نسبيا في تطبيق قانون محاسبة سورية, الأمر الذي اعتبر مؤشرا على رغبة جدية من الرئيس باراك أوباما للحوار مع دمشق.
وكان الرئيس بشار الاسد قال قبل أيام إن تحسن العلاقات السورية الأمريكية لا يزال في مرحلة الإيماءات والإشارات ولا يوجد شيء على أرض الواقع بعد

“The responsibility we face is to achieve security for our country, peace with our neighbors and unity among us,” he said.(AFP)
Fox News: U.S. Officials Outraged at U.N. Over Hamas Letter to
2009-02-21 17:14:10.547 GMT

U.S. officials are furious with the United Nations for its role in Hamas’ attempt to enlist U.S. Sen John Kerry to transfer a letter from the Palestinian militant group to President Obama during Kerry’s trip to the Middle East, an official source told FOX News…..The Hamas official who wrote the letter confirmed to FOX News that he wrote Obama personally, asking him not to be biased toward Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians and to act fairly. He also said Hamas is ready to talk directly to a new American administration. …

The US has restored trust in the Lebanese Army after the events of May 2008 and Doha. Lebanon buys 225 million worth of out-of-service tanks and cobra helicopters from Jordan as part of US military aid package. Now it must service them and put them into operation in order to fit the Lebanese army to take on Hizbullah. (Thanks FLC). In Al Akhbar:

ثم أبلغت الولايات المتحدة لبنان رسمياً أن بعض المساعدات الموعودة موجودة
في الأردن. وطلبت إلى لبنان أن يوفد من يكشف عليها ويتسلّمها، عل أن تقوم الولايات
المتحدة بدفع ثمنها إلى الأردن. وبناءً على ذلك قرر لبنان إرسال وفد من قيادة الجيش
اللبناني إلى الأردن، برئاسة نائب رئيس أركان الجيش للتجهيز العميد جورج مسعد،
واجتمع مع ضباط أردنيين بينهم اللواء فرغل وضباط من القيادة الوسطى في الجيش
الأميركي، وتركّز الاجتماع على تسلّم لبنان 66 M60 دبابة من طراز وعشرطائرات
مروحية من طراز كوبرا، وتدريب ضباط وعناصر من الجيش اللبناني في الأردن.
ولدى كشف الوفد العسكري اللبناني على المساعدة الأميركية تبيّن أن الدبابات غير صالحة
للعمل، وهي خارج الخدمة وبحاجة إلى الصيانة والتطوير، وتبلغ الكلفة الإجمالية لذلك،
إضافةً إلى ثمنها الرمزي، نحو 225 مليون دولار أميركي. ولدى إطلاع الضباط
الأميركيين على حال الآليات تعهّد هؤلاء رفع تقرير إلى حكومة بلادهم لتسديد المبلغ
كاملاً، ليحصل لبنان على دبابات مستهلكة لكن مُعاد تطويرها.وفي منتصف كانون الأول
من عام 2008 وصلت إلى وزارة الدفاع اللبنانية نسخة من نص المعاهدة التي يُفترض أن
يجري توقيعها بين الجانبين الأردني واللبناني بشأن المساعدات، وخلال مراجعة الأركان
اللبنانية للنص تبين أنه قد ورد فيه إشارة إلى تعهد أميركي بالعمل مع الحكومة
اللبنانية على تأمين المبالغ اللازمة لإتمام الصفقة بعدما كان الجانب الأميركي قد
طرح دفع المبالغ كاملة.وبحث الجانب اللبناني مع المعنيين الأميركيين في المنطقة،
الذين أكدوا أنّ من المستحيل تغطية المبلغ، إذ إن مبالغ من هذا النوع بحاجة إلى
موافقة الكونغرس، وهي الموافقة المستبعد حصولها.الدبابات الموعودة
والموضوعة خارج الخدمة قد لا تصل أبداً إلى لبنان، أما قصة مروحيات الكوبرا، فإن
اعتراضات إسرائيلية عدة أُثيرت لمنع وصولها إلى لبنان، ووجد الوفد اللبناني تعقيدات
كبيرة خلال المباحثات التي جرت بشأنها في الأردن، حتى توصّل إلى قناعة بأن الولايات
المتحدة لا ترغب في تسليم هذه المروحيات إلى لبنان، ولا تزمع ذلك.هل قال أحدكم
استراتيجية دفاعية؟

U.S. to prod Syrian envoy on support of terrorism, suspected nuclear program
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Ambassador Imad Moustapha is to meet with Jeffrey D. Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, at Feltman’s request, Duguid said. Clinton is not scheduled to participate.

“Our concerns include Syria’s support to terrorist groups and networks, Syria’s pursuit of nuclear and nonconventional weaponry, interference in Lebanon and a worsening human rights situation,” Duguid said.


And this is a Syrian response in Arabic (from Champress), but to summarize “if you want to talk to us this way then don’t waste your time and ours.

وصايا لابد منها للزوار و الموفدين الامريكيين.. بقلم : علي جمالو

عادت دمشق إلى دورها الطبيعي ، محطة رئيسية للوفود العربية و الدولية و منها الوفود السياسية الرسمية و نصف الرسمية الاميركية الباحثة عن أجوبة لأسئلة الادارة الجديدة بعد ما وجدت هذه الادارة الجديدة نفسها تتخبط وسط حطام سياسة الرئيس بوش المدمرة و خصوصاً في هذا الشرق الاوسط و يبدو أنها تحتاج إلى وقت ليس بقصير لرفع كل هذا الركام من دروب هذا الاقليم البائس لتستطيع السير في هذه المتاهة التي تدّوخ الثعالب… طبعاً قبل ذلك أوفدت مندوبها الخاص جورج ميتشل إلى اسرائيل و الاراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة و بعض الدول العربية وعاد – كما لاحظنا – بخفي حنين حيث لم يجد في اسرائيل الغارقة في لعبة انتخابات الذئاب من يحاوره.. و لم يجد في الاراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة سوى رائحة الموت و الدمار .. أما في لبنان فإن صبيان السياسة من فريق الرابع عشر من شباط تكفلوا بكل التضليل اللازم للمندوب الباحث عمن يمسك بيده وسط هذا الظلام الدامس..
حسن… هاهم يتوجهون إلى دمشق لجان نيابية ، وفود من الكونغرس ، خبراء من مراكز الدراسات الاستراتيجية .
يتوجهون…بعد كل [ التهميش ] الذي أراده نجوم الادارة السابقة و عدد من مساعديهم العرب المعجبين بلقبهم الجديد [ الاعتدال ]…
يتوجهون على ايقاع خطاب سياسي مضمونه يتكئ على حقيقة أن دروب الشرق الاوسط لابد أن تمر من دمشق و شكله مزيج من السفسطة و الهذر و المفردات التي تنتمي إلى عصر مات !! مع بعض المجاملات الباهتة و دليلنا : تصريحات بنيامين كاردن أمس في دمشق التي أقل ما يقال فيها أنها وقحة .. و كفى ! وثم تصريحات السيناتور جون كيري في بيروت و التي تكشف النقاب عن خلل في فهم المنطقة و قوانينها و حركة الاحداث فيها [ للتذكير هنا فإن كيري لا يعرف إذا كانت إدارته الجديدة تريد من سوريا التدخل في لبنان من جديد .. من أجل الضغط على حزب الله .. أم أن هذا التدخل مازال ممنوعاً .. و حتى اشعار آخر.!! ].
و بانتظار وصول السيد كيري لنسمع منه هذه النظرية العجائبية في السياسة و التي يمكن تسميتها مؤقتاً [ بالخنفشارية ] حيث مطلوب من سورية أن تتدخل و في ذات الوقت لا تتدخل في لبنان!!.. مع ان في لبنان قادة كبار و رجال لهم وزن و رؤية يستطيعون أن يشرحوا للسيد كيري كيف تكون العلاقات بين بلدين فريدين في التكوين و الروابط .. و بالطبع لا أقصد بقولي قادة كبار و رجال لهم وزن .. لا أقصد صبيان السياسة في فريق الرابع عشر من شباط و حواشيهم من الكتاب المستأجرين!! الذين يتحولون أمام الزائر الاميركي إلى ضحايا من الدرجة العاشرة [ للغطرسة السورية !] التي تحتل فلسطين و الجولان و مزارع شبعا و تدمر غزة و تنتهك السماء اللبنانية كل يوم.. و لا ترسل سفيرها الجديد إلى بيروت !!.
ثم وبانتظار زيارة السيناتور الآخر هوارد بيرمان إلى سورية خلال الساعات المقبلة نتوقع أن نسمع المزيد من هذه [ الدرر ] التي تبعث على الضحك ، و هذا ربما يدل بوضوح على المؤثرات التي تصبغ تصريحات هؤلاء الزوار وجلسات تحضير الأرواح التي يخضعون لها قبل التوجه إلى دمشق !
ولذلك حرصا ً على وقت هؤلاء السادة الذي يعبرون الأطلسي نحو منطقتنا القلقة نقترح عليهم قراءة بعض الوصايا قبل التوجه إلى دمشق !
1 – إن سورية ليست إحدى جمهوريات الموز ولغة الإملاءات غير مرحب بها وقد جرب بوش وفريقه طوال السنوات الثمانية الماضية هذه اللغة مع التهديد والوعيد وفشل ، ولذلك من باب المودة نقترح التفكير مليا ً قبل استخدام لغة بائدة .
2 – إن إسرائيل وليست سورية هي من تتمرد على الشرعية الدولية وهناك عشرات القرارات الصادرة عن مجلس الأمن والجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة ترفض إسرائيل تطبيقها وإذا كان لا بد من الحديث مع سورية عن تطبيق قرارات الأمم المتحدة فإن المعني بهذا الكلام حكام إسرائيل القتلة وليست سورية التي لديها أرض محتلة وهي تنادي كل صباح ومساء بتطبيق قرارات الشرعية الدولية .
3 – إن حزب الله حركة لبنانية مقاومة لها جمهورها وشعبيتها وهي لا تأتمر بأمر سورية وإنما ترسم إستراتيجيتها وفق مصالحها ووفق رؤيتها لبلدها الذي تعرض وما زال يتعرض للعدوان الإسرائيلي وإذا كانت إسرائيل ومن ورائها الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية [ فريق بوش ] ومن جوانبها بعض عربان الاعتلال لم تستطع أن تكسر إرادة حزب الله عام 2006 فلماذا تعاد اليوم الأسطوانة المشروخة عن رغبة أمريكية بقيام سورية بالضغط على حزب الله ..
أي بالرغبة الأمريكية بالتدخل في الشؤون اللبنانية من جديد بعد كل الذي جرى لمنع سورية من التدخل في الشؤون اللبنانية !
4 – إن مسألة إرسال السفير السوري إلى لبنان هي مسألة سيادية بامتياز ولا يحق لأحد ان يقول لـ سورية متى ترسل أو لا ترسل سفيرها !
وبالمناسبة – وهذا تخمين – أعتقد أن الإدارة السورية كلما أثير هذا الموضوع معها كلما وجدت نفسها في وضع الرافض للقيام بهذه الخطوة .. أو لنقل بدقة أكثر الرافض تحديد وقت القيام بهذه الخطوة .
ولذلك من باب المودة أيضا ً أقترح على السادة الزوار ترك هذه الخطوة لأصحابها لأن سورية – ولإنعاش الذاكرة – وافقت على التبادل الدبلوماسي مطلع العام 2005 ولا حاجة لإفراغ هذه الخطوة من مضمونها بتكرار لعبارات ساذجة لكل من يقوم بزيارة دمشق وكأنه يقوم بفتح كبير!
5- في الموضوع الفلسطيني .عدد كبير من الزوار الأوربيين إلى سورية يلتقون قادة حماس سراً ويعرفون – بل بعضهم يقر أيضاً – بأن حماس حركة سياسية فلسطينية مقاومة ربحت الانتخابات بجدارة ودفعت أثمان باهظة ..
فلماذا نتجاهل هذه الحقيقة ولماذا القفز فوقها و لماذا الرهان على رجل ضعيف لا يمون على أفراد أسرته من اجل تحريك المسار الفلسطيني والذي تريد إسرائيل أن تفصل المفاوض معها من الجانب الفلسطيني كما يناسبها !!
وعباس ودحلان وعريقات نماذج مطلوبة إسرائيلياً وعلى المجتمع الدولي أن يبحث لهؤلاء عن قواعد شعبية لإعطائهم الشرعية ! وبناءاً عليه لا تعتبر سورية نفسها معنية بهذا التسطيح وبهذا التضليل وبهذا التزوير للقضية التي ما تزال هي في صدر أولويات كل سوري .
بل أن القيادة السورية لا تستطيع – إن أرادت – القبول بهذا التهريج …
وإذا أردتم أيها الزوار معرفة الحقيقة الفلسطينية إسألوا أصحابها الحقيقيين ! اتصلوا بمشعل ورفاقه واستمعوا إليهم مباشرةً .
6- في موضوع العلاقات -السورية -الامريكية . والسؤال هل تريد سورية علاقات جيدة مع الولايات المتحدة.. الجواب : نعم بكل تأكيد . تريد سورية علاقات جيدة ومتطورة مع الولايات المتحدة ولكن بغير إملاءات بغير شروط مسبقة ، بغير وصفات إسرائيلية مسبقة أو شهوات صبيانية ممررة من صبيان السياسة اللبنانية ، بغير أوهام ممررة من بعض العواصم العربية التي ضل ساستها الطريق فتحولت إيران إلى عدو وتحولت إسرائيل إلى صديق .
إن سورية مفتاح هذا الشرق وبوابته شاء من شاء وأبى من أبى . هذه حقيقة فوق النقاش ، وقد جرب الكثير من الاعداء وشبه الأصدقاء القفز فوق هذه الحقيقة ولكن إلى أين وصلوا ؟!
هذا هو السؤال … ولا أظن أني بحاجة للجواب .

Ross’ job, cont’d Ben Smith at Politico

A very interesting piece from CNN’s Elise Labott explains, in greater detail, what had become clear about the delay in laying out the administration’s Iran policy: They’re very concerned about the signal the rollout will send.

Ross’s new job in the State Department won’t be quite what many expected. Rather than being called an “Iran envoy,” Ross will have a title along the lines of Special Adviser to the Secretary of State dealing with Middle East issues.

Senior officials tell us the announcement will come early next week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returns from Asia.

What’s the difference? The problem with the “envoy” title is expectations. It sets them too high.

Yes, Ross will be handling the Iran portfolio. But “envoy” is such a lofty title that it would suggest that Ross would talk with Iran, and visit Iran, and deal directly with this nation that the State Department has listed as the State Department lists Iran as the most active state sponsor of terrorism because its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts.

During his campaign, President Obama faced plenty of criticism for saying he’d be willing to talk with Iran.

So Ross will have a more ambiguous title. It might sound smaller — or bigger, depending on how you look at it. But that doesn’t change his job.

The so-called “p5 plus one” — the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, UK, France, Russia and China) plus Germany — will continue to be the public face of engagement with Iran

But officials say Ross’s mission is to try to develop a back channel to the Iranians, with the aim of reaching solutions — and having talks — someday.

A test for the Israeli lobby – Ben Smith at Politico

The pro-Israel wing of Obama’s supporters has generally been pretty happy with the state of the administration, from Hillary’s appointment to Dennis Ross’ role with Iran. George Mitchell, by downplaying Israeli settlements and stressing Iran policy yesterday, won raves from hawkish Jewish leaders.

But former AIPAC Policy Director Steve Rosen sounded a more strident tone yesterday at Laura Rozen’s report of a new head for the National Intelligence Council, calling the reported choice of Chas Freeman “alarming.”

He disapprovingly quotes Freeman, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, saying, “As long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected” and decrying the consequences of “Israeli violence against Palestinians.”

It’s not the kind of high-profile appointment that would automatically provoke a broader reaction, so the decision of Jewish organizations whether or not to make a fuss will have a lot to do with how much good will (a lot) Obama has bought over the past two years.

Former Gitmo Guard Tells All
By Scott Horton

Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,”…..

The Nelly account shows that health professionals are right in the thick of the torture and abuse of the prisoners—suggesting a systematic collapse of professional ethics driven by the Pentagon itself. He describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners. This was a standardized Bush Administration tactic

Iraq Wants Progress on Energy Projects With Syria
Reuters, Friday February 20 2009
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Iraqi government plans to speed up multibillion dollar energy projects with Syria that would help end tension between the two neighbours, Iraq’s first ambassador to Syria in almost 30 years said on Friday.

The projects — an oil pipeline linking Kirkuk oilfield to a Mediterranean terminal and developing an Iraqi gas field near Syria — have been delayed, with Baghdad criticising Damascus for what it describes as insufficient cooperation on stopping rebel infiltration across the 600 km (375-mile) border.
“I expect substantial progress. What I heard directly from the leadership of my country is that Iraq is serious and ready to remove the obstacles standing in the way of these two strategic projects,” Ala al-Jawadi told Reuters.

Jawadi, a founder of the Shi’ite Supreme Council For the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, lived in Syria along with scores of exiled Iraqi opposition leaders during Saddam Hussein’s rule.

“I will not say more because these issues are better resolved away from the spotlight, but we will see major progress,” said Jawadi, who presented his credentials to President Bashar al-Assad this week.
Relations between Iraq and Syria plummeted after Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq in the late 1970s and Iraq launched an eight year war against Iran.

The two countries remained on poor terms after the U.S. invasion of Iraq removed Saddam from power in 2003, although the two sides re-opened embassies in each other’s capitals three years ago.
Syria was a major exporter to Iraq in the last years of Saddam Hussein’s rule. It also helped Iraq bust United Nations sanctions by importing crude oil through the pipeline, which was bombed by U.S. planes during the 2003 invasion.

Syria, whose oil output fell steadily to 379,000 barrels a day last year, has felt limited economic benefit since the invasion of Iraq and end of sanctions which contributed to the collapse of the Iraqi economy but helped neighbours thrive.

Damascus viewed joint energy projects as crucial — the oil pipeline would net Syria hard currency that would help offset its declining oil production — but Iraq made it clear that they must be accompanied by progress on the security issue.

Iraq invited Russia’s Stroytransgaz in 2007 to submit an offer to re-activate the 300,000 barrel per day Kirkuk-Banias oil export pipeline and raise its capacity but no follow-up was made, industry executives said.

Initial agreements also envisaged developing Iraq’s Akkas gas field and exporting output through an Arab network passing through Syria. Iraqi officials who visited Damascus last year urged Syrian officials to do more on security cooperation for the projects to move forward.

Akkas is one of eight oil and gas fields that Iraq opened to foreign firms to bid for last year. The Iraqi oil ministry said in January it was “preparing the requirements” for a gas pipeline from Akkas to Syria. Jawadi would not be drawn on the security issue, but said Iraq was looking to improve ties with Syria across the board.

“The intention is now sincere from the two countries to move relations where they should be. Economics ties are related to the overall political, social and security picture,” he said.
“We are not taking about a country thousands of kilometres from Iraq. We are talking about a neighbouring country where many of Iraq’s current leaders used to live and many Iraqis (refugees) still live under generous benefits.

Comments (34)

offended said:

Jeffery Filtman is now worried about the “Worsening human rights situation”? why didn’t that seem to be the concern in the much more repressive regime of China to the visiting secretary of state Hillary Clinton? She didn’t even utter a word concerning the human right situation there. On the contrary, and since the US now needs china to buy its treasury bills, Hillary effectively praised China and its imperative rule in the global economy.

I guess hypocrisy knows no limits.

February 22nd, 2009, 9:46 am


Akbar Palace said:

From the article above:

Yes, Ross will be handling the Iran portfolio.

I guess Grant F. Smith was wrong again. First he said Bush was going to “pardon” AIPAC (which never happened), and now this:

February 22nd, 2009, 1:29 pm


nafdik said:


You seem to have an unhealthy expression with Grant F. Smith.

We are more interested in your comment about the events themselves than about what another commentator on a site linked to a site linked to the blog said about the event.

February 22nd, 2009, 3:42 pm


Akbar Palace said:


A lot of the people the “authors” here link to are often anti-Israel polemics. I need to bring a little more balance to the site by exposing some of this.

The “event” was Kerry’s visit.

For the life of me, I don’t think the Obama Administration is going to get much from Syria and Iran. And so, I don’t have much faith in American “Smart Power” (as enunciated by Hillary Clinton). Also, thank G-d Hillary has advisors, because I don’t know what makes her qualified to be Sec. of State.

Like I said before, much of what George W. Bush accomplished could unravel with Obama as president. I hope not.

See Charles Krauthammer’s latest article. Actually he is more alarmed with Obama’s mistakes with Russia and N. Korea. Due to the difficult economic times, some countries are “testing the waters” by taking small aggressive steps. I’m concerned:

February 22nd, 2009, 4:01 pm


nafdik said:

“Like I said before, much of what George W. Bush accomplished could unravel with Obama as president. I hope not.”

I am glad to see that it is not only our Syrian aplologencia who live in a parallel universe.

February 22nd, 2009, 4:21 pm


Rumyal said:

re: Kerry’s Visit

What is conspicuously missing from the American new policy of rapprochement with Syria is any mention of the Hariri tribunal and how its results may affect the future of the relationships. In all likelihood the Americans know everything that they need to know about who is going to be named in the trials and feel that they don’t need to wait for this to clear out. If they had any doubts about whether Assad is going to be embroiled in this personally, they would have waited with all the declarations and delegations. (It’s interesting to see how the Americans withdrew their ambassador following the assassination without waiting for clear proof of complicity and now they are marching towards restoration of relations without a proof of exoneration.)

I personally believe that it must have been the Assad regime that carried out the assassination, so it’s interesting to see who the investigation is going to put the blame on. First option is that they’ll say that they have failed to solve the crime. The second option is that they’ll pin it on “local initiative”, maybe they can even put the blame on dead people such as Ghazi Canaan and Suleiman; that would ensure that America and Syria would be able to go hand-in-hand towards the sunset without the weight of the crime encumbering them…

February 22nd, 2009, 6:58 pm


Shai said:


What would be more interesting, I think, is to see how the U.S. reacts when Syria asks the International Tribunal to investigate America’s failed attempts at Fidel Castro’s life back in the 1960’s under Kennedy and Johnson… 🙂 And this stuff is well documented!… (Some things you just don’t bring up, if you have a slightly less-than-perfect record yourself).

February 22nd, 2009, 7:08 pm


Idit said:

From the Guardian, no less.

Syria may be coming in from the cold but we should not ignore the regime’s human rights abuses.

February 22nd, 2009, 10:00 pm


kingcrane jr said:

Feltman is still part of the State Department, it seems. Wow!
Where is his buddy John Bolton? I miss him.
What I mean to say, in retrospect, is that the choice between McCain or Obama (as expected) comes as a choice between Bonnet Blanc et Blanc Bonnet.
I was astonished by the show of solidarity with Palestinians that Barack Hussein Obama showed during the Gaza annihilation.

PS: The most recent joke on the Israeli elections:
Why did Barak fare so poorly at the most recent elections?
Because the voters did not want to vote for a Black man with a Moslim middle name, especially since he is already the President of another country.

February 23rd, 2009, 1:34 am


Akbar Palace said:

…but we should not ignore the regime’s human rights abuses.


Who is “we”? The Arab street? You forgot the First Rule of the ME:

Never complain about an Arab leader’s human rights abuses unless they signed a peace treaty with Israel.

February 23rd, 2009, 1:45 am


norman said:


(( Or never complain about human rights abuses in countries that has a peace treaty with Israel or support the Israeli killing of the Palestinians , Lebanese and other Arabs )) .

February 23rd, 2009, 2:15 am


Enlightened said:

Just a interesting note. That Doyen of M14 politicians Ahmed Fatfat is doing the rounds in Sydney Australia.

He had a banquet put on for him in Sydney on Saturday night, I was only informed on Sunday night by family members, and my invitation went “surprisingly missing”.

He among others that have come here in the past few months are “urging” all those with citizenship to return in time for the elections to vote.

Quite interesting, the lengths that the M14 “crew” are adopting, perhaps worried about the numbers on the ground?

Any visits by any political figures that, any on the forum here know of to their current place of residence?

Curious to know.

February 23rd, 2009, 2:35 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Hilary Clinton is qualified to become secretery of state,more than Condolisa Rice was qualified at the start of her job,Obama is better than Bush,and he will do much better job than Bush, who supported the criminal act of Israel.

February 23rd, 2009, 2:36 am


jad said:

Indyk: Netanyahu may seek Syria deal to deflect U.S. pressure

“Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said Thursday that he believes that should Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu become Israel’s next prime minister, he “will try to deflect American pressure by seeking a deal with Syrians”

February 23rd, 2009, 5:30 am


jad said:

السفير عماد مصطفى: لا صحة لما تناقلته الفضائيات.. و مصدر امريكي يؤكد : دعوة السفير مصطفى هدفها التباحث في قضايا تهم دمشق وواشنطن

أكد السفير الدكتور عماد مصطفى أنه لا صحة لما سوقته الفضائيات بشأن استدعاء وزارة الخارجية الأميركية له بشأن ما سمته المخاوف الأميركية من عدة قضايا بينها معلومات وكالة الطاقة الذرية و قال :” الصحيح هو أنه تمت دعوتي إلى وزارة الخارجية الأميركية للانخراط في نقاش حول جميع الأمور المتعلقة بالعلاقات السورية ـ الأميركية “.
و أكد مصدر أمريكي أن ما تناقلته وسائل الإعلام عن استدعاء السفير مصطفى إلى الخارجية الأمريكية غير صحيح. وأوضح المصدر الأمريكي أن ما تلقاه السفير السوري في واشنطن من الخارجية الأمريكية ليس استدعاء بل دعوة للقاء من أجل التباحث في قضايا تهم البلدين.
وحسب المصدر ذاته فأن كلمة استدعاء تحمل معنى احتجاجياً، في حين أن اللقاء سيكون لاستعادة الحوار بين سورية وأمريكا عبر القنوات الدبلوماسية المعتمدة

February 23rd, 2009, 5:37 am


jad said:

Israel ‘evicts Jerusalem families’

More than 1,500 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem could be made homeless after Israel told them their homes are illegal and are to be demolished.

“The owners of 80 houses in the al-Bustan neighbourhood have received eviction notices saying that the structures will be destroyed because they are illegal,” Hatem Abdel Kader, an official responsible for Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian government, said.

Kader said that several of the houses served with demolition orders had been built before the 1967 war, when Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan, but that numerous extensions have been built since.

“The [Jerusalem] municipality used this as a pretext to issue the demolition orders despite appeals by the residents,” he said.

No comment was immediately available from the city authorities.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital and has annexed the Arab east of the city, but under international law east Jerusalem is considered to be occupied and has not been recognised by world powers as the Israeli capital.

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organisation, Israeli authorities have demolished about 350 houses in east Jerusalem since 2004, saying that they were built without permits.

February 23rd, 2009, 5:47 am


why-discuss said:

About Hilary’s smiles
Hilary Clinton has to get out of her presidential ex-candidate attitude and get down to real work. She is certainly more intelligent, better looking, better dressed, and has a better master than Condie but her superior attitude and uninterrupted and somehow condescending smiles when she visited the Chinese ( who smile a lot too) may not do too well in the Middle east. Let’s see if she has the ability to compose another face when she meets less smiling faces.

February 23rd, 2009, 11:58 am


Akbar Palace said:

Israel ‘evicts Jerusalem families’


Wouldn’t you know it, Israel NEVER evicted any Jerusalem families.
It looks like al-Jazeera “jumped the gun”.

The demolition orders have been in place for several years, but have yet to be carried out, with international pressures running high. An alternative plan proposed by the residents was rejected by the city’s planning committee

February 23rd, 2009, 11:59 am


jad said:

100 year-old man attacked by Israeli army dog

One would think it is bad enough that the Israeli army constantly targets and kills innocent children…..but why stop at that? 100 year old people at rest in their own homes and beds are also equal and defenseless targets.
They can always ‘blame it on the dog’ just as we did when our homework wasn’t finished…..

IDF confirms army dog bit Palestinian during West Bank raid

I can’t wait to read something as smart explanation as #19

February 23rd, 2009, 3:27 pm


Akbar Plan said:


Don’t forget, the Arabs rejected the Nov. ’47 Partition Plan.

February 23rd, 2009, 5:43 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Dubai tennis tournament fined, Andy Roddick declines to play.

Gee, some gentiles have more “baytzim” than Jews do.


Don’t forget, the Arabs rejected the Nov. ‘47 Partition Plan.

February 23rd, 2009, 5:48 pm


norman said:

High hopes for sew Syrian stock exchange

Syrian authorities introduce more reforms to get financial sector into better shape amid global downturn.

DAMASCUS – The Syrian authorities are hoping that the country’s first-ever stock exchange will give a boost to the emerging private sector, although some experts say it could hardly have started up under more adverse market conditions.

The Damascus Securities Exchange, DSE, began trading on a limited scale at the end of January, as part of a pilot project designed to test out the computer systems. The three-week trial will also give the Egyptian-trained brokers and other staff an induction period, including opportunities to practice dealing with emergencies such as systems breakdowns.

The DSE is due to be officially inaugurated on March 9.

As Syria attempts to shift from a centralised socialist system to a “social market economy”, the authorities have introduced legal and regulatory reforms to get the financial sector into better shape. Private banking was legalised as long ago as 2001, and more recently private ownership rights were increased.

The stock exchange is the latest step in this process, and there are hopes it will stimulate investment in the private sector.

The way was paved for the DSE by a presidential decree issued in 2006, but it has been delayed repeatedly because of problems in acquiring the right technology. A report by Oxford Business group published last year said a United States economic embargo had hampered Syria’s attempts to purchase electronic trading systems.

The DSE, which is operating under the aegis of government, will trade only on Mondays and Thursdays, and will be subject to restrictions designed to restrict speculative trading and abrupt changes in share prices.

“The Damascus stock exchange will not be open to gambling or risk-taking,” said Ratib al-Shalah, chairman of the DSE’s board, in remarks quoted by the SANA news agency. “Shares can only be traded by those who want to invest money, not for speculation.”

The DSE’s deputy chairman Saqr Aslan has made it clear that the value of shares in any company listed on the exchange will not be allowed to rise by more than two per cent in the course of a day’s trading. Nor can shares be bought and then resold the same day.

The pilot phase involves just five companies, most of them local banks with foreign capital. The DSE says that about 30 companies, half of them in the banking and insurance sectors, are currently eligible to take part once the exchange is fully up and running.

For a company to qualify, it has to be at least one year old, have a minimum capital of 100 million Syrian liras and at least 100 shareholders.

The DSE’s Aslan told the Syria News website that he expected 15 companies to be listed, with total capital of some 28 billion liras.

The exchange is currently based in temporary premises, but will later move to an upscale neighbourhood in the suburbs of Damascus.

Some analysts fear that the financial turbulence affecting world markets, and stock exchanges in the Gulf, in particular, does not bode well for the DSE.

“Unfortunately, the stock exchange in Syria is opening at a time of unfavourable economic conditions,” said Abid Fadhila, professor of economics at Damascus University, predicting that the global recession would slow trading on the DSE.

Mohammad Samman, a 50 year-old businessman in Damascus, said he was concerned that “the bankruptcies that have hit many small investors in other Arab countries like Dubai make many here fearful of investing in the stock market, especially since there’s a lack of expertise in this sector in Syria”.

DSE chairman Shalah insists the stock exchange will not be affected by trouble in the Gulf markets as it has not been exposed to risk through investments in foreign funds.

Others complain that the DSE will exist mainly to benefit foreign investors rather than local people with limited amounts to spend on shares.

“Most Syrians can’t afford to pay their basic daily costs, so how can they buy shares?” asked Mohammad Suleiman, a 30-year-old who works for the finance ministry.

[Syria News Briefing, a weekly news analysis service, draws on information and opinion from a network of IWPR-trained Syrian journalists based in the country.] Print Printer Friendly Version


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February 23rd, 2009, 6:30 pm


jad said:

Don’t forget what your criminal Israeli’s occupation doing regarding the Arabs plan for peace!

Israel’s Back Yard

February 23rd, 2009, 7:10 pm


why-discuss said:

February 19, 2009
Sweden: Israeli Taekwondo Team Cancels Trip Due To Terror Threats


An Israeli taekwondo delegation, consisting of 45 athletes and 5 coaches, was supposed to travel last weekend to Trelleborg for the Swedish championship (Trelleborg Open). However, the trip was canceled due to threats by a Muslim organization.

The Swedish Federation warned the Israeli delegation that they had concrete threats of an attack on the Israelis during the competition. They asked the Israeli delegation to cancel the trip due to security problems and the flight was indeed canceled.

A senior Swedish taekwondo official told his colleagues in Israel: “Ten thousand members of a Muslim organization are threatening to settle the account with you because of the war in Gaza.” The threat was received by email from somebody claiming to represent a pro-Palestinian organization.

February 23rd, 2009, 9:49 pm


Alia said:


This grand geste of Roddrick – how sad that he did it to protest another player’s ban and not to protest the suffering of hundred and thousands of people who are displaced, suffering, anxious and without hope.

It is nice to have noble gestures but if the content is missing then it is just theater, time limited, nothing to stand up and clap for and remember for the ages. Another futile gesture.

February 24th, 2009, 3:18 am


jad said:

You get what you deserve…

“Captain (Res.) Ron Edelheit asked to speak to members of Jewish community on situation in Israel and Gaza, gets four shoes hurled at him by three pro-Palestinian protestors before even opening his mouth. Suspects detained; Edelheit tells Ynet, ‘Slander is just words – here they crossed the line'” (that is funny! crossed the line! as if he respect any Palestinian ‘life’ line)

Holland: Shoes thrown at IDF officer during speech,2506,L-3676296,00.html

I’m sure that AP and Co. are really proud of what their beloved IDF is doing.

February 24th, 2009, 4:49 am


Akbar Palace said:

This grand geste of Roddrick – how sad that he did it to protest another player’s ban and not to protest the suffering of hundred and thousands of people who are displaced, suffering, anxious and without hope.


Maybe because the suffering is self-inflicted. I don’t know for sure, you’ll have to ask Mr. Roddick. Don’t expect a liberal Jew to do anything. They’re too busy whining in fron of their computer screens.

OTOH, who is displaced, suffering, anxious and without hope? Don’t tell me the Palestinians are. They’ve been on welfare for the past 40 years. They don’t have to work at all. All they have to do is attend rallies, wear green bandanas, and indiscriminately launch rockets and mortars into Israel.,eu-offers-money-to-gaza-help-in-countering-arms-smuggling.html,,hamas-steal-aid-as-israel-prepares-for-elections,73149

I’m sure that AP and Co. are really proud of what their beloved IDF is doing.


Why wouldn’t I? If is wasn’t for the IDF, Israel would have been “wiped off the map” a long time ago.

February 24th, 2009, 5:21 pm


Alia said:


By your words you are showing the motivation and the thinking behind the “Holocaust denial”, and you seee we are not going to fine you or throw you out of your country for that. You are free to think along those lines if that helps you.

February 24th, 2009, 5:42 pm


jad said:

“They’ve been on welfare for the past 40 years”
The least I can comment on your comment is “disgusting”

“Israel would have been “wiped off the map” a long time ago”
How many times did that happen so far?
If you really care about the existence of Israel you’d better think in different way, History taught us that regardless how strong an empire can get there is an end to it.

Mahmoud Darwish:
“0 those who pass between fleeting words
carry your names, and be gone
Rid our time of your hours, and be gone
Steal what you will from the blueness of the sea and the sand of memory
Take what pictures you will, so that you understand
That which you never will:
How a stone from our land builds the ceiling of our sky.

0 those who pass between fleeting words
From you the sword,from us the blood
From you steel and fire,from us our flesh
From you yet another tank,from us stones
From you tear gas,from us rain
above us, as above you, are sky and air
So take your share of our blood, and be gone
Go to a dancing party, and be gone
As for us, we have to water the martyrs’ flowers
As for us, we have to live as we see fit.”

“محمود درويش

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة..
احملوا أسماءكم، وانصرفوا
واسحبوا ساعاتكم من وقتنا، وانصرفوا
واسرقوا ما شئتم من زرقة البحر ورمل الذاكرة..
وخذوا ما شئتم من صورٍ، كي تعرفوا
أنكم لن تعرفوا
كيف يبني حجرٌ من أرضنا سقف السماء…

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة..
منكم السيف.. ومنا دمنا
منكم الفولاذ والنار.. ومنا لحمنا
منكم دبابةٌ أخرى.. ومنا حجر
منكم قنبلة الغاز.. ومنا المطر
وعلينا ما عليكم من سماءٍ وهواء
فخذوا حصتكم من دمنا، وانصرفوا
وادخلوا حفل عشاء راقص.. وانصرفوا
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحرس ورد الشهداء..
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحيا كما نشاء!!

February 24th, 2009, 8:36 pm


SimoHurtta said:

OTOH, who is displaced, suffering, anxious and without hope? Don’t tell me the Palestinians are. They’ve been on welfare for the past 40 years. They don’t have to work at all. All they have to do is attend rallies, wear green bandanas, and indiscriminately launch rockets and mortars into Israel.

Well, well Akbar if you are not a real Nazi who is? How on earth could Palestinians work when you Israelis steal or destroy their assets? What ever they build you destroy.

What is “amusing” that the Palestinians have not been on welfare provided by Israel. You have managed to trick the world to take care of the costs which in reality are yours to pay. The world should make fast an agreement that not a single cent to Palestinians before there is an real agreement of the two state solution. Israel surely could not survive letting millions to starve. These donations by Arab countries, EU and USA only shift the point of an real agreement and allow Israel’s policy to continue.

If Palestinians under Israeli occupation would be clever they would say no to all outside help and demand Israel to pay everything, which Israel as the occupier has to do. That kind of an indiscriminate attack at the “holiest” place the Israelis have, their purse, would be the best strategy for Palestinians. Israel simply could not feed the unproductive Orthodox Jews and Palestinians and the country would be fast emptied of productive secular Jews (a reverse aliyah so to say) or the Jewish people would understand that now is the time to make decisions.

February 24th, 2009, 9:23 pm


Akbar Palace said:

How on earth could Palestinians work when you Israelis steal or destroy their assets? What ever they build you destroy.


Nazis, by definition, have no concern for the welfare of the Jewish people. It seems you don’t either. Thousands of rockets and mortars have landed in Israel from Gaza and you don’t seem to care, nor is this fact a part of your narrative about the poor Palestinians.

What is “amusing” that the Palestinians have not been on welfare provided by Israel.

I don’t find is amusing, but your facts aren’t accurate Sim.

You have managed to trick the world to take care of the costs which in reality are yours to pay.

Israel shouldn’t have to pay anyone for absorbing rocket fire.

Where is the “trick” Sim, and how is it we haven’t “tricked” you?;)

The world should make fast an agreement that not a single cent to Palestinians before there is an real agreement of the two state solution. Israel surely could not survive letting millions to starve. These donations by Arab countries, EU and USA only shift the point of an real agreement and allow Israel’s policy to continue.

I agree with you. Palestinian fighters need to eat. But as we’ve seen, the “matryr” mentality isn’t very “health conscious”. Israel has let in tonnes of food and medical supplies and I would guess that would continue, less material for weapons and so forth.

If Palestinians under Israeli occupation would be clever they would say no to all outside help and demand Israel to pay everything, which Israel as the occupier has to do.

Last I checked, Israel isn’t occupying Gaza. Anyway, the continued “cycle of checkbooks” has to end at some point.

That kind of an indiscriminate attack at the “holiest” place the Israelis have, their purse, would be the best strategy for Palestinians.

Speaking of Naziism, the anti-semitic canard about “Jews and their money” is another Nazi myth. Jews give LOTS of money to charities, well more than other groups. The NIF also give money to help Arabs in need. Find an Arab charity that helps poor Jews (which there are plenty of BTW).

Israel simply could not feed the unproductive Orthodox Jews and Palestinians and the country would be fast emptied of productive secular Jews (a reverse aliyah so to say) or the Jewish people would understand that now is the time to make decisions.

Israel provides PLENTY of food to all her people and exports food as well. My understanding is that the Palestinians (mostly in the WB) successfully farm as well.

The issue isn’t food, the issue is priority. Will the Gazans No. 1 priority be “resistance to the Zionist Entity” or will it be building a viable state?

Maybe you know Sim.

February 25th, 2009, 1:03 pm


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