Nuclear Power Plants Fashionable in Middle East; Israel Pokes Fun at Biden - Syria Comment

Nuclear Power Plants Fashionable in Middle East; Israel Pokes Fun at Biden

Syria announces that it wants to develop nuclear power now that Israel, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Turkey and the Emirates have also begun or announced plans for nuclear plants.

Rivals Israel, Syria Want to Build Nuclear Power Plants
Tuesday , March 09, 2010

Mideast rivals Israel and Syria on Tuesday each announced ambitions to develop nuclear energy, with Israel facing the prospect that its plan could bring new attention to its secretive nuclear activities.

The countries laid out their hopes at an international conference in Paris on civilian nuclear energy — which contributes far less to global warming than burning of fossil fuels but still evokes many concerns about long-term safety issues.

Also on Tuesday, Egypt announced it would aim for four nuclear plants by 2025, with the first starting in 2019, Reuters quoted an Egyptian minister. The announcements raise the prospect that the countries’ nuclear programs could come under the microscope of international inspectors to ensure that they don’t cross the forbidden line into weapons programs. Iran, for example, has come under intense pressure to show its nuclear program is peaceful. The United States is providing financing and training for nuclear power plans in Jordan. The United Arab Emirates in December awarded a South Korean consortium a contract to build energy-producing nuclear reactors.

Iran and North Korea, whose nuclear program has also drawn international scorn, were not invited to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference. Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said nuclear plants built in Israel will be subject to strict safety and security controls, and even said his country would like to build them in cooperation with scientists and engineers from “our Arab neighbors.”

“Israel has always considered nuclear power to partially replace its dependence on coal,” Landau said. The program aims to help Israel secure its energy supplies and battle global warming. Israel currently uses coal and natural gas to produce electricity.

The effort by Israel, which has long been suspected to have a secret nuclear weapons program, runs the risk that its nuclear energy program will draw the eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The construction of a nuclear reactor could draw international attention to Israel’s nuclear activities. Asked if Israel would allow IAEA inspectors to supervise any new project, Landau aide Chen Ben Lulu said only that Israel would follow all the relevant rules.

Israel has not signed the Nonproliferation Treaty, which aims to limit the number of countries capable of developing nuclear weapons. Separately at the conference, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad his country is looking at “alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy” to meet its growing demands for energy.

“The peaceful application of nuclear energy should not be monopolized by the few that own this technology but should be available to all,” Mekdad said, noting Syria’s growing population. He did not elaborate on specific nuclear plans.

Between the two countries, Israel is seen as closer to actually developing nuclear energy in terms of know-how and infrastructure. The idea of generating nuclear energy has been floating around for years in Israel. In 2007, one of Landau’s predecessors said he was working on a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Israel’s southern Negev desert. Landau met several months ago with the French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, and raised the idea of French-Israeli-Jordanian cooperation in developing a nuclear power plant.

Borloo was enthusiastic about that idea, Landau said. France derives more of its electricity from nuclear power than any other country and has a highly developed civilian nuclear industry — and Paris sees export potential.

It was France that, beginning in the 1950s, helped Israel build its nuclear reactor at Dimona. Israel is believed to have used that reactor to construct a stockpile of nuclear weapons. Israel has never acknowledged being a nuclear power, following a policy it calls “nuclear ambiguity.” Israel also has a smaller nuclear reactor for research at Nahal Soreq, not far from Tel Aviv. Landau’s office says no specific plans to set up a third nuclear power plant have been drawn up so far.

Will the Exiles Return to Iraq?Sunday’s election is a test of the permanence of the division between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites.
By Deborah Amos, Friday, March 5, 2010

Iraq’s electoral commission expects as many as 180,000 exiles to cast ballots in 23 voting centers across Syria, and Iraq’s Sunni politicians are courting the exile vote. … According to the latest U.S. government report, few of the 2 million Iraqis who fled the country from 2004 to 2008 have returned…..

An estimated 60 percent of the refugees are Sunni Arabs; approximately 15 percent are Iraqi Christians. Their departure represents a dramatic demographic alteration in Iraq, yet the sectarian nature of the exodus has been largely overlooked. This shifting population is a huge loss to Iraq, a vast problem to neighboring governments, a collective tragedy for many caught up in it, and a significant indicator of the future health, stability, and viability of Iraq and the Middle East. Most in the exile population have never sought refugee status with the United Nations. Indeed, fewer than 10 percent have applied to be considered for resettlement to the United States, Europe, or Australia, which suggests the overwhelming majority still hope to return to Iraq and are waiting for some indication that they are welcome there. So far, the signals from the election campaign have not been positive…..

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill summed up the trial ahead: “The real test of democracy is not so much the behavior of the winners; it will be the behavior of the losers.” There can be no stability without political reconciliation and the exiles’ return. They are in daily contact with their families, waiting for word that is time to come back. The rest of the region is waiting, too.

Barak approves 112 new apartments in West Bank
By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

Israel authorized the construction of 112 new apartments in the West Bank despite a pledge to slow settlement building, the government disclosed Monday – a decision that enraged the Palestinians a day after they reluctantly agreed to resume peace talks. Word of the new construction in the Beitar Illit settlement came amid a flurry of activity by the U.S. to try to salvage peacemaking.

Biden Condemns Israeli Decision on Settlements,

…With the Interior Ministry adding insult to injury, (announcing a plan to build 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, on top of the new settlements on the West Bank) the VP came out sort of swinging.

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them. This announcement underscores the need to get negotiations under way that can resolve all the outstanding issues of the conflict. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians and for Jews, Muslims and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world. Unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations on permanent status issues. As George Mitchell said in announcing the proximity talks, “we encourage the parties and all concerned to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.”

Netanyahu and Pastor Hagee’s Lovefest on Eve of Biden’s Arrival in Israel
On 03.09.10, By Max

Vice President Joe Biden was greeted in Jerusalem with the announcement that the Israeli Interior Ministry approved the construction of 1600 new homes in Occupied East Jerusalem contrary to U.S. wishes and complicating Biden’s mission to help jump start the peace process. But Biden should have known that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu intended to upset his plans by Netanyahu’s appearance with John Hagee.

The day after a series of talks between US Special Envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell and Netanyahu, and a day before Biden’s arrival, Netanyahu appeared onstage with Pastor John Hagee in Jerusalem. The occasion was Hagee’s Night To Honor Israel, an event the far-right Texas-based preacher arranged to tout his ministry’s millions in donations to Israeli organizations and to level bellicose rhetoric against Israel’s perceived enemies.

At the gathering, Hagee called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “the Hitler of the Middle East” and denounced the Goldstone Report as “character assassination by an unbiased and uninformed committee.”

Netanyahu welcomed the crowd of 1000 American evangelicals to Jerusalem, a city he described as “the undivided, eternal capitol of the Jewish people. Then, he told them, “I salute you! The Jewish people salute you!” He used the rest of his speech to call for “tough, biting sanctions” against Iran that “bite deep into its energy sector.”

The price tag for Israeli intransigence
by Paul Woodward on March 9, 2010

The day before Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel — supposedly on a mission to help kick-start peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians — the Netanyahu government made its contempt for the Obama administration clear by approving new settlement construction.

They were quick to take offense — they being the Israelis! “While we welcome Vice President Biden, a longtime friend and supporter of Israel,” Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, told the Washington Post, “we see it as nothing short of an insult that President Obama himself is not coming.”

Washington on the other hand had no interest in creating a fuss about settlement growth — its impotence on that particular issue has already been amply demonstrated. Pushing for a real settlement freeze is passé. The new game is proximity talks and shuttle diplomacy. After 17 years of direct talks it’s now time to talk from a distance…

Israelis and Palestinians: Agreeing to Talk — and to Fail
By Tony Karon in Time Magazine

They won’t be talking directly to each other, but at least the leaders of Israel and Palestine have a common objective in the “proximity talks” the Obama Administration is launching this week. Unfortunately, that shared goal is not to reach a final agreement on a two-state solution to their conflict — both sides know better than to expect that U.S. special envoy Senator George Mitchell’s shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah will be able to bridge the chasm between their demands. Instead, the mutual goal in the latest round of talks is to avoid being blamed for their failure.

The very fact that two decades after the start of the Oslo peace process, the two sides are no longer even negotiating directly but instead communicating via the Americans is a clear sign of just how grim the prospects have become for achieving peace through bilateral talks. Both sides, in fact, are showing up for the U.S.’s latest version of a peace process largely to prove a point. For the Palestinians and their Arab backers, who have given the latest round of talks just four months to produce results (a deadline not endorsed by the Obama Administration), their purpose is to demonstrate to the U.S. that no credible peace agreement can be achieved with the hawkish government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that creating a viable independent Palestinian state requires that the Americans press the Israelis to do things they’re not going to do voluntarily. Setting conditions and deadlines is a way for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to offset the domestic political damage he suffers from participating in endless rounds of fruitless negotiations. Abbas was helped by the fact that the new talks were endorsed by the Arab League last week, but the tone of its statement is telling: “Despite the lack of conviction in the seriousness of the Israeli side,” said Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa, his committee agreed to back the talks “as a last attempt and to facilitate the U.S. role.”

The Israelis, for their part, need to demonstrate good faith and position themselves to blame the Palestinians, as they have done up to now, for the absence of a peace deal. And Israeli officials make no bones about the fact that they need to go through the motions in order to pursue their own priority: resuming talks, a senior Israeli official told the dailyYediot Ahronot, “would create an atmosphere in the Arab world and the international community that would allow the world to focus on the real threat — Iran.”

Netanyahu, after taking office, came around to talking of a two-state solution, which he had previously rejected, but at the same time he defined Palestinian statehood in terms too limited to be acceptable to the Palestinian leadership. Netanyahu had publicly opposed the offers made to the Palestinians by previous Israeli governments, and his government made clear last week that new talks would not begin from understandings reached with any of his predecessors but would instead start from scratch — a position vehemently rejected by the Palestinians. Of course, none of those previous offers had been accepted by the Palestinian leadership; it’s hard to see how offering less than the proposals previously rejected by Abbas, as Netanyahu appears set to do, is going to break the deadlock. But Netanyahu will argue that Israel is willing to talk directly and without conditions and to use the Palestinians’ refusal to do so as a basis to blame them for the stalemate.


Read this story about travel in Syria with great photos

Ibrahim Hamidi, al-Hayat’s bureau chief in Damascus interviewed the Turkish FM Ahmad Daout Oglu after his meeting with Mr Assad and other Syrian officials.
He says that “the groundwork has been prepared to resume indirect talks between Syria and Israel under Turkish auspicious,” and that “all US officials with whom he has met strongly support resumption of these talks”

داود أوغلو: الأرضية جاهزة لاستئناف المفاوضات السورية ـ الإسرائيلية
الثلاثاء, 09 مارس 2010

دمشق – ابراهيم حميدي

قال وزير الخارجية التركي احمد داود اوغلو ان «الارضية جاهزة» لاستئناف المفاوضات غير المباشرة بين سورية واسرائيل برعاية انقرة، لافتا الى ان جميع المسؤولين الاميركيين الذين التقاهم «يدعمون بقوة» اعادة اطلاق هذه المفاوضات. واعرب عن «التفاؤل القوي» بان «المناخ الجيد سيستمر» بين سورية ولبنان. ودعا الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس ورئيس المكتب السياسي لـ»حماس» خالد مشعل الى «الوحدة ونبذ الانقسام»، اذ «يجب الا تفكرا بالاهداف السياسية، بل بمستقبل فلسطين باكملها».

وكان داود اوغلو يتحدث الى «الحياة» في ختام زيارة لدمشق اول من امس تضمنت لقاء الرئيس بشار الاسد استمر زهاء ساعتين.

وقال الوزير التركي، ردا على سؤال عن مدى دعم الادارة الاميركية استئناف المفاوضات غير المباشرة بين سورية واسرائيل التي توقفت بعد الحرب على غزة في نهاية 2008: «نحن نتشاور دائما مع (الموفد الاميركي) السناتور (جورج) ميتشل والوزيرة (هيلاري) كلينتون وزملائنا الاميركيين. كلهم يدعمون اعادة اطلاق هذه المحادثات». واضاف انه لا يستطيع «الحديث نيابة عن الاسرائيليين» الذي اعلنوا رفض الوساطة التركية، لكنه قال:»اعتقد بان الارضية اكثر جهوزية واستعدادا حاليا لاعادة اطلاق العملية»، لافتا الى استعداد سورية لاستئناف المفاوضات غير المباشرة من حيث توقفت. واكد:»انني متفائل بان المفاوضات ستستأنف. لا استطيع تحديد التوقيت، لكني متفائل جدا».

Continues

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday that Israel has agreed to permit Ankara to resume its former role as mediator between Israel and Syria. This contradicts recent statements from Israel that Turkey’s fiercely anti-Israel statements since Operation Cast Lead disqualify it from playing this role in the future. The prime minister was quoted by Turkey’s NTV television, telling members of the press in Saudi Arabia that talks that broke off during the former Olmert administration between Jerusalem and Damascus may resume “at any moment’. (Yeshiva World News)

Turkey’s Domestic Controversy Unfolds Amidst Increasing Ties with Iran
By Shayan Ghajar, insideIRAN.org

Events the past few weeks in Turkey indicate that a sea change is occurring in the nation’s domestic politics. Prime Minister Erdogan’s maneuvering against the traditionally untouchable military marks a new phase in Turkey’s history. This shift in Turkey’s domestic politics follows a more gradual but no less relevant shift in its foreign policy, and likely indicates even greater changes to come. Mutual trade, investment, and tourism are growing between Turkey and Iran, and the two nations are increasingly in accord on three of the regions biggest security issues, namely the Middle East peace process, Iran’s nuclear program, and Kurdish separatism.

Simultaneously, American policy has been increasingly out of step with Turkey’s vision for its future. The recent American congressional vote to declare the Armenian deportations and relocations a genocide will certainly have damaged Turkish-American relations for the foreseeable future, and will be yet another factor in Turkey seeking alternative allies in the region.

Diplomatic contact between Iran and Turkey has increased in frequency and intensity in recent months, starting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit to Iran in October 2009. Concurrently with Erdogan’s visit, Iran announced that Turkey was investing $4 billion into Iran’s South Pars gas field, which holds one of the largest gas reserves in the world. Shortly after Erdogan’s visit, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that there are “no limitations to increasing ties” with Turkey.

New Republic’s Marty Peretz: The Multitudinous Disasters Of The Obama Administration. Here: On Syria And Iran
2010-03-08 22:04:10.188 GMT

A Delusional Left, a Hysterical Right, and a Sullen Center: Have American Politics Ever Been This Bad? The Oscars Made Some Good Calls This Year. So Why Am I Still Disappointed? How an Obscure Nomination Fight Turned Into a Hinge Moment for the …

I’ve written myself about the Obama administration’s more-than-flatfooted policies on Syria (here, here, and here) and Iran (here, here, and here). So I am particularly gratified when I find myself in alignment with Barry Rubin, a truly brainy scholar with a slight polemical touch. His latest analysis is below.

Syria is a galling instance of the president’s obsessions … and for several reasons. A weak country, both economically and militarily, its only possible political sway is to exacerbate the hatreds of its neighbors towards Israel.

Lebanon Defense Talks Going Nowhere: AFP

“……… “This dialogue is going nowhere,” said Rafic Khoury, chief editor of the independent daily Al-Anwar, referring to national defence strategy talks that resumed on Tuesday at the presidential palace before being adjourned until March 15. “Hezbollah, as well as Syria and Iran, clearly stated recently their strategy of resistance against Israel,” he added.

The talks, which were launched in 2006, have repeatedly been adjourned because of the successive political crises that have shaken Lebanon. The last round was held in June 2009. The stated aim is for Lebanon’s Western- and Saudi-backed majority and a coalition led by the Iranian- and Syrian-supported Shiite militant group to agree on a national defence strategy as concerns neighbouring enemy Israel…….

“Syria and Egypt are competitors when it comes to attracting foreign investments,” writes Ehsani two. “Egypt is looking for $10 billion of foreign investment a year. Jordan is too. Lebanon has seen capital come into its real estate sector. Syria has set a target of attracting $85 billion over 5 years, which will not be easy at tall.”

Comments (75)


jad said:

When Quaradawi announced his ‘lovely’ thoughts about not congratulate Christians and Jews in their religious celebrations lots of Arabs, Christians as well as Muslims, condemned what he talked about and the west media used his words to generalize that on all of us and show how full of hatred we the Muslims have toward other religions, but when a crazy and obnoxious Pastor (personally I think of him and his church as some kind of blasphemy and insult to any true Christian in the world, those pastors are nothing but greedy, dirty and corrupted business men/women using religion for political gains and playing with average people minds, how pathetic to call themselves Christians), do actions and help collecting money to support occupation, the same west media doesn’t even exist, they all keep their mouth shut, WHY?
What is the difference between any radical person when he/she act against humanity, why we treat them differently? The west’s values are nothing but bunch of lies they only use them when it serve their own interest.
Christianity which supposedly built around Love, doing good and helping others went through many ugly faces and after we learn a lot about it, this fake ‘Pastor’ Hagee is coming to tell us that his own version of ‘Christianity’ is to support occupation, support killing and support treating human like insects and he is actually collecting money for that.
John Hagee, you are a shame on every human being regardless of his/her religion, I feel sorry for you and for anybody who believes in all the hatred messages you are spreading by the name of religion, you are another face of the same radicals and terrorist we all hate and condemn, the only difference is that you wear a suite and tie and some people do respect you, they shouldn’t because you are another version of Bin laden and his ilks.
SHAME ON YOU.

March 10th, 2010, 7:47 pm

 

Majhool said:

This Quaradawi is “something” isn’t he? Aljazeera loves him

March 10th, 2010, 10:59 pm

 

Nicolas92200 said:

For info, there was a recent dedicated conference in Tunisia attended by Arab the nuclear power authorities, and all outlined their plans for developing nuclear power generation. Only Syria clearly stated that it is NOT pursing this option; very rightly and realistically so.

Syria is focusing on developing the conventional fuel-based and renewable (wind) IPPs; which is the right move, and a move that still has a lot of way to run. The nuclear option is still far from tested in the region, and the most advanced project (the Abu Dhabi project) is still in its infancy, despite the large amount of work already carried out and the press releases, it still is not a sealed deal (let along the other announcements made by the other less wealthy countries in the region). Such projects require years of groundwork preparation on the legal, political and technical angles, let alone the financing to come in support.

I had noted in an earlier post, that there was talk in the market about Syria potentially joining the project in Jordan (2nd “more serious” approach in the region) and obtaining a share of the power outcome via a cross-country cable against Syria investing equity and providing the much needed water requirements for a nuclear project that Jordan does not have (not sure Syria does either but still…). This looks theoretically more realistic, despite the massive political uphill drive to get this through. Ideally, it would look good as part of peace incentive package with the world power’s backing.

The only other option would be for Iran to pass on the nuclear technology to Syria; if it were to happen, then that would be just folly as it would just drive the Syria into a position of confrontation with the entire world (maybe unjustified but this would be the case).

Luckily, there seems to be a good level of common sense within the circles running the power generation projects in Syria and they seem intent on focusing on realistic targets rather than fancy unrealistic schemes.

I do not see where in Mekdad’s statement he says that Syria wants to develop nuclear power.
Josh, frankly, I would rewrite the first phrase in your opening right before the article.

March 11th, 2010, 7:40 am

 

Rev. Mike Nahas said:

Peace to all!

As some of you know I´m a Christian, Brazilian, UCC(US) ordained minister, of Syrian origins.

That said, as a Christian, I´d like to tell our Muslim, Jews and , why not some of the Christians on this blog, that Pr. Haage´s brand of Christianity is by no means majoritary in Christendom. The fact is that this “Pre-milenist, dispensasionalism” (that´s how this position is called theologically speaking) is a position that is not only minoritary, but tipically American, from the South, and the worst part of it, pseudo-Christian and Pseudo-Biblical. It started with Darby (I might have the name mistaken) on the late 19th Century, and claims that Christian people are only an appendix in humankind history, that the Jews are eternally God´s people, for ever.

Orthodox Christian position nevertheless says that the Jews who accepted Christ as GOD incarnates are God´s people. (please, I´m just exposing doctrine, not bad-mouthing Muslims nor Jews). In other words, this ackward brand of (pseudo-) Christianity is by no means REAL Christianity for MOST Christians (2 Bil people, while less than 50 mil believe on this anomally). Of course for Israel, AIPAC and so on, this comes very handy, and the fact that this people believes that all Jews will have to accept Christ, is irrelevant at this point in history, as long as they unconditionally support them!

It is hard to accept that my Lord, who died hanged on a PLUS sign, open armed, would accept this position.

Mike

March 11th, 2010, 10:02 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

A Little “Nahas” is Good

Rev. Mike Nahas said:

It is hard to accept that my Lord, who died hanged on a PLUS sign, open armed, would accept this position.

Rev. Mike Hahas,

What “position” are you saying is “hard to accept”?

Is it:

1.) WW2 where twenty million or so people were killed along with 1/3 or the Jewish people?

2.) The State of Israel?

3.) Israel’s right of self-defence?

4.) Iran’s threats to bring an end to Israel?

5.) Islamic terrorism?

6.) Christians who are pro-Israel?

I would be interested if you could clarify what “position” you think your “Lord” would find “hard to accept”, and why?

http://www.cufi.org/site/PageServer

Just an after thought Rev. Nahas, but do you think your Lord is the only innocent human that died a violent death? I don’t know which method of death is better a “plus sign”, Zyklon B, being blown to bits or having your head cut off like Daniel Pearl.

March 11th, 2010, 12:32 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P.
3.) Israel’s right of self-defence?
Self defence To you is the right of Israel to kill palastinians,evict them from their homes,and commit all crimes against humanity,and not being accountable because they are jews.
You call legitimate resistance,in Israel 5.) Islamic terrorism?

March 11th, 2010, 1:20 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Majed,

Every country has the right to self-defence, including Israel.

In all wars, innocent people perish, but as long as the warring parties do their utmost to minimize civilian deaths, no “crime” has been committed. Conversely, fighting and hiding among the civilian population is a war crime, as well as intentionally targeting non-combatants and civilian population centers.

That is why the US has never faced war-crimes for accidently killing civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I suggest that Hamas and Hezbollah focus their weapons at the IDF instead of civilian population centers, pizza parlors and bus stops if they do not want the stigma of a “terrorist organization”.

March 11th, 2010, 1:40 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P.
What self defence in killing Rachel Coury?
What self defence in evicting arab from Quds?
What self defence in breaking the bones of kids after capturing them?
Stop deceiving .

March 11th, 2010, 1:56 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

What self defence in killing Rachel Coury?

Majed,

None. No one was defending themselves from Rachael Corry. I believe it was an accident.

What self defence in evicting arab from Quds?

None. No one was defending themselves from the evicted arabs. I believe the Israel Supreme Court determined who the rightful owners of the property was.

What self defence in breaking the bones of kids after capturing them?

None that I’m aware of. If any IDF soldier broke the bones of a kid who was not in a position to cause any harm to the soldier, the IDF soldier should be punished. Some (but probably many have not) have been punished.

However, going to war against a government that is responsible for lobbing thousands of missiles against Israeli population centers is “self defence” as far as I’m concerned.

Stop deceiving.

I’ll try my best;)

March 11th, 2010, 2:39 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Deceiving the Deceived

Israeli-Arab Representation in government

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=55&x_article=1807

March 11th, 2010, 3:00 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

MAJEDKHALDOUN

It should be clear after over 60 years of being on the “road to peace” that the peace Israel has in mind is 100% different than the peace its neighbor have on their mind. Self defense for Israel means that like any other state/society cannot exist without WATER.

High on its list of self defense is to get control of the Litani River. Also on its list of self defense is to blackmail the US into attacking Iran by continuing to build settlements. From its past actions Israel’s self defense means getting rid of all the Arab population within its legitimate borders as well as the ones in the West Bank and Gaza.

It should be quite plain by now that Israel’s actions violated and continue to violet international laws. And the UN and so called world community have done nothing.

It also should be quite plain by now that the constant demands by Israel for the US to attack Iran is based solely on one reality and that is that israel is in fear of being challenged miltarily.

IMHO If the Arab states still cling to the parody of a US brokered peace based on international law then they are living in fantasy land.

Thus the polemic or as some have called it “the Israeli bs” about “self defense” have made the descendants of the terrorist groups like the Stern Gang, the Irgun Zvai and others who were responsible for creating over 600,000 Palestenian refugees are now the ” good people” and the Palestenians are now the bad people or just plain “terrorists”.

March 11th, 2010, 3:00 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

MAJEDKHALDOUN

Forgot to mention THIS ACT OF SELF DEFENSE.

Seven years after Rachel Corrie, a US peace activist, was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, her family was to put the Israeli government in the dock todaY

March 11th, 2010, 4:38 pm

 

ever said:

hello
what is the source for the article on syria going nuclear?
Thank you very much,
Eric

March 11th, 2010, 9:09 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Opinion poll among Israeli youth 15-18 y/o.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasite/spages/1155708.html
(Couldn’t find a link in English)

Opinion among Israeli Arab youth (that you call ’48 Arabs’ [fine with me]) shows:

75% accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.
64% see Israel as a democratic state
45% want to integrate into the Israeli society
69% want to volunteer to national service in their communities.
Half of them see themselves as Israelis, and the other half as Palestinians.
(Margin of error +-4.5%)

I was quite surprised. Better than I expected.

(And yes Shai, I’m aware of the answers of the Jewish kids 🙂 I preferred to bring the good news..).
.

March 11th, 2010, 11:55 pm

 

Hassan said:

Thanks for the story about travel in Syria Landis. I hope those travelling to Syria, when admiring the Omayyad Mosque, also take the opportunity to reflect on the way in which the human rights or ordinary Syrians are violated on a regular basis.
———————————————————-

West must press Syria on its continued rights violations: HRW
By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Friday, March 12, 2010

NEW YORK: Western countries must press Syria on its continued repression of dissidents as part of their efforts to draw Damascus out of political isolation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday.

“Talking to Syria without putting its rights record on the table emboldens the government to believe that it can do whatever it wants to its people, without consequences,” said the US-based rights group’s Middle East director Sarah Whitson.

“While Syrian officials are chatting with Western diplomats in their gilded front parlors, they’re jailing anyone who dares to utter a critical word in their basement prison cells,” Whitson said.

The US and Europe have sought to improve relations with Syria, a country that could play a key role in the Middle East peace process, and have pressured it to move away from its close alliance with Iran.

US President Barack Obama named a new ambassador to Syria last month, ending a five-year hiatus. Washington recalled its ambassador in 2005 following the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. That killing was widely blamed on Syria, which has denied any involvement.

HRW said the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton should raise the issue of human rights on her visit to Syria next week.

“A government that fails to respect the rights of its citizens can’t be counted on to respect any other international obligations,” Whitson said.

Syrian “security services have detained numerous human rights activists, journalists and students who tried to exercise their rights to free expression and assembly,” the rights watchdog said.

Syrian human rights lawyer Muhannad al-Hasani faces charges of “weakening national sentiment” and “spreading false information” for his coverage of Syria’s Supreme State Security Court, the rights watchdog said.

Another rights lawyer, Haytham al-Maleh, 79 and said to be in poor health, has been jailed repeatedly and faces new charges of “insulting the president” and “slandering a governmental body,” Human Rights Watch said. – AFP

March 12th, 2010, 12:31 am

 

jad said:

Ya Prince,
“(And yes Shai, I’m aware of the answers of the Jewish kids I preferred to bring the good news..)”
Are you saying that the ugly faces’s Arabs have more morals and are more tolerant and more forgiving to everything the Israeli’s done to them during the 63 years of occupation than your own people toward them?
You are a bit late to learn that but I hope that the opinion of those young Arabs may change your perspective a bit and give you an idea that Arabs are willing and ready to forgive you and move on, the big obstacle though is that you and your government keep refusing their priceless offer.
Something to think about it.

March 12th, 2010, 12:38 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Ya Tribal, Ayuni, this is not what I meant, but I accept your remark.

The problem is not with those who want to make peace. There are quite many on both, the Arab and the Israeli sides.
The problem lies with those who don’t, or who want the kind of peace, that we Israelis cannot accept.

In Israel, if there’s a Knesset resolution, it will be respected by all Israelis. Including all those who voted against. History proves that.
Would those Arabs and Muslims who refuse compromise and peace, respect peace agreement? I strongly doubt it.

(And BTW. 86% of those polled Israeli Arab kids want to live in a democracy ).
.

March 12th, 2010, 1:25 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Husni Mubarak Had a tumor that was removed,in addition to remove his Gall blader,this require him to stay in ICU for two days,unable to eat food,the tumor is reported to be benign.
What was this tumor?,what is the name of it?,if it was benign why don’t they say its name?and where was it?,why did they removed it? rather they could verify its benign nature by biopsy, was it a cyst?,did they open him or did it through laparscope?
All these questions need to be answered,otherwise rumors will fly.

March 12th, 2010, 4:51 am

 

Shai said:

Amir,

Thanks for posting that poll about Israeli-Arab youth. However, I’m not going to let you off the hook so quickly with the Israeli-Jewish youth stats. If not for our Arab hosts (who at times seem to know our society better than we do, I find) then at least for our blind pro-Israeli ones, who need a “rude awakening” every now and then. Not that I expect them to see it as such… of course not. They’ll find someone or something to blame. The Arabs, the Left, the Liberals, the little Green Martians. Anyone, of course, except for themselves or Israel.

Here it is (first in Hebrew):

כ-50% מבני הנוער היהודים סבורים שלא צריך להעניק לערבים-ישראלים זכויות זהות לאלו של אזרחים יהודים במדינת ישראל, ו-56% מאמינים שלא צריך לאפשר להם להיבחר לכנסת – כך עולה מסקר עמדות של בני נוער בגילי התיכון. עוד מתברר כי תופעת הסרבנות, על ביטוייה השונים, רחבה ביותר: 48% מבני הנוער השיבו כי יסרבו לפקודה לפנות מאחזים והתנחלויות בשטחים, ואילו 31% ציינו כי יסרבו לשרת מעבר לגבולות הקו הירוק.

Rough translation:

“Around 50% of Jewish youth (Shai: in Israel) do not believe Israeli-Arabs should be granted equal rights to Jews in Israel, and 56% believe that they should not be allowed to be elected to Knesset – these are the results of a poll taken amongst youth of High School age. Furthermore, the Disobedience Phenomenon, in all its forms, is extremely widespread: 48% of youth claimed they’ll refuse an order to evict/remove Settlements in the West Bank, and 31% will refuse to serve beyond the Green Line.”

Amir, these numbers are terrifying. Not only because they indicate that Israelis are far from “Ready for Peace” (these children learned from parents, from friends, from school, from TV, from magazines, etc.) but even more dangerously, that these children are growing up Racists and not accepting of the Rule of Law and Democracy. This is not an exaggeration, because if half of Israelis do not see Israeli-Arabs as equals, this is Racism. If half of Israelis declare their intention to disobey orders to dismantle Settlements, that’s a clear indication that the rule of law to them is secondary to personal preference.

These youth are in not in Israel’s distant future, they are today, tomorrow, going to lead this country. Their behavior, and their views, will determine what Israel is to become. And judging by these figures, and what stands behind them, I’m afraid to think of what Israel is becoming.

This should not be yet another poll to disregard, with the typical endless excuses that find correlations with the outside world. This should be the clearest mirror, the loudest alarm, that warn us both of reality and of the impending future inside Israel.

March 12th, 2010, 6:28 am

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Syria must allow Israeli journalists to come interview ordinary Syrians. If not for Peace, then at least to help begin the eradication of racism, ignorance, hatred and suspicion. I can, and do, blame my country for what is happening inside it. But I also cannot escape the extreme disappointment I have with the surrounding Arab nations, who are not helping sane and moderate Israelis show the rest of Israel what the Arab world, and Arabs, are really like.

By not opening the doors, ever so slightly, just to begin catching first glimpses, you are leaving the extremists with their “Islamic Terrorism” theories, and are not providing us with sufficient and convincing counter-weight and opportunities to teach my people and others about the real Arabs.

March 12th, 2010, 7:32 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

For those interested in Evangelical Christianity and its politics, the following is a good expose by Professor Paul Boyer:

“When U.S. Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy
By Paul S. Boyer
AlterNet.
Posted February 20, 2003

George Bush’s apocalyptic rhetoric echoes the belief of evangelists that the destruction of Iraq is part of a divine plan.

Does the Bible foretell regime change in Iraq? Did God establish Israel’s boundaries millennia ago? Is the United Nations a forerunner of a satanic world order?

Does the Bible foretell regime change in Iraq? Did God establish Israel’s boundaries millennia ago? Is the United Nations a forerunner of a satanic world order?

For millions of Americans, the answer to all those questions is a resounding yes. For many believers in biblical prophecy, the Bush administration’s go-it-alone foreign policy, hands-off attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and proposed war on Iraq are not simply actions in the national self-interest or an extension of the war on terrorism, but part of an unfolding divine plan.

Evangelical Christians have long complained that “people of faith” do not get sufficient respect, and that religious belief is trivialized in our public discourse. So argues Stephen L. Carter, a Yale University law professor and an evangelical Christian, in his 1993 “The Culture of Disbelief.” Carter has a point, at least with reference to my own field of American history. With notable exceptions, cultural historians have long underplayed the importance of religion in the United States, particularly in the modern era. Church historians have produced good work, but somewhat in isolation, cut off from the larger currents of cultural and intellectual history. That is changing, as evidenced by Mark A. Noll’s magisterial “America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln” (2002). But, over all, the critics are on target.

However, I would vigorously challenge Carter’s related complaint that religious belief plays little role in shaping public policy. In fact, religion has always had an enormous, if indirect and underrecognized, role in policy formation.

And that is especially true today, as is illustrated by the shadowy but vital way that belief in biblical prophecy is helping mold grassroots attitudes toward current U.S. foreign policy. As the nation debates a march toward war in the Middle East, all of us would do well to pay attention to the beliefs of the vast company of Americans who read the headlines and watch the news through a filter of prophetic belief.

Abundant evidence makes clear that millions of Americans — upwards of 40 percent, according to some widely publicized national polls — do, indeed, believe that Bible prophecies detail a specific sequence of end-times events. According to the most popular prophetic system, premillennial dispensationalism, formulated by the 19th-century British churchman John Darby, a series of last-day signs will signal the approaching end. Those will include wars, natural disasters, rampant immorality, the rise of a world political and economic order, and the return of the Jews to the land promised by God to Abraham.

In Darby’s system, the present “dispensation” will end with the Rapture, when all true believers will join Christ in the air. Next comes the Tribulation, when a charismatic but satanic figure, the Antichrist, will arise in Europe, seize world power, and impose his universal tyranny under the dread sign “666,” mentioned in Revelation. After seven years, Christ and the saints will return to vanquish the Antichrist and his armies at Har-Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon), an ancient battle site near Haifa. From a restored Temple in Jerusalem, Christ will then inaugurate a thousand-year reign of peace and justice — the Millennium.

That scenario, which Darby ingeniously cobbled together from apocalyptic passages throughout the Bible, was popularized in America by expositors like Cyrus Scofield, whose 1909 “Scofield Reference Bible” became a best seller. More recently, dispensationalism has been promulgated by radio evangelists; paperback popularizers; fundamentalist and Pentecostal pastors; and TV luminaries like Jerry Falwell, Jack Van Impe, and John Hagee.

Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970), a slangy update of Darby’s teachings, became the nonfiction best seller in the 1970s. Today’s Left Behind series, a multivolume fictional treatment of dispensationalism by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, has sold 50 million copies since the first volume appeared, in 1995. Volume 10, The Remnant, topped the The New York Times’s bestseller list for several weeks last summer.

During the cold war, Lindsey and other prophecy gurus focused on the Soviet Union, citing a passage in Ezekiel foretelling the destruction of a northern kingdom, Gog, which they interpreted as Russia. Today’s popularizers, however, spotlight the Middle East and the rise of a New World Order led by their own “axis of evil”: the United Nations and other international bodies; global media conglomerates; and multinational corporations, trading alliances, and financial institutions. This interlocking system, they preach, is laying the groundwork for the Antichrist’s prophesied dictatorship.

As for the Middle East, the popularizers view Israel’s founding in 1948, and its recapture of Jerusalem’s Old City in 1967, as key end-times signs. They also see the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, and a future rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple on a site sacred to Muslims, as steps in God’s unfolding plan. The most hard-line and expansionist groups in Israel today, including Likud Party leaders, have gratefully welcomed this unwavering support. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the United States in 1998, he called first on Falwell, and only then met with President Clinton. (Dispensationalist dogma also foretells the mass slaughter of Jews by the Antichrist and the conversion of the surviving remnant to Christianity, but those themes are played down by most current popularizers.)

On the basis of such beliefs, dispensationalists denounce any proposals for shared governance of Jerusalem. As Hagee writes in “Final Dawn Over Jerusalem” (Thomas Nelson, 1998): “Christians and Jews, let us stand united and indivisible on this issue: There can be no compromise regarding the city of Jerusalem, not now, not ever. We are racing toward the end of time, and Israel lies in the eye of the storm. … Israel is the only nation created by a sovereign act of God, and He has sworn by His holiness to defend Jerusalem, His Holy City. If God created and defends Israel, those nations that fight against it fight against God.” Dispensationalists also oppose any scaling back of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or Gaza, since those areas lie well within God’s grant to Abraham, recorded in Genesis 15:18, of all of the land from “the river of Egypt” to the Euphrates.

In this scenario, the Islamic world is allied against God and faces annihilation in the last days. That view is actually a very ancient one in Christian eschatology. Medieval prophecy expounders saw Islam as the demonic force whose doom is foretold in Scripture. As Richard the Lionhearted prepared for the Third Crusade in 1190, the famed prophecy interpreter Joachim of Fiore assured him that the Islamic ruler Saladin, who held Jerusalem, was the Antichrist, and that Richard would defeat him and recapture the Holy City. (Joachim’s prophecy failed: Richard returned to Europe in 1192 with Saladin still in power.) Later interpreters cast the Ottoman Empire in the Antichrist role.

That theme faded after 1920, with the Ottoman collapse and the rise of the Soviet Union, but it surged back in the later 20th century, as prophecy popularizers began not only to support the most hard-line groups in Israel, but also to demonize Islam as irredeemably evil and destined for destruction. “The Arab world is an Antichrist-world,” wrote Guy Dury in “Escape From the Coming Tribulation” (1975). “God says he will lay the land of the Arabs waste and it will be desolate,” Arthur Bloomfield wrote in “Before the Last Battle — Armageddon,” published in 1971 and reprinted in 1999. “This may seem like a severe punishment, but … the terms of the covenant must be carried out to the letter.”

The anti-Islamic rhetoric is at fever pitch today. Last June, the prophecy magazine Midnight Call warmly endorsed a fierce attack on Islam by Franklin Graham (son of Billy) and summed up Graham’s case in stark terms: “Islam is an evil religion.” In Lindsey’s 1996 prophecy novel, “Blood Moon,” Israel, in retaliation for a planned nuclear attack by an Arab extremist, launches a massive thermonuclear assault on the entire Arab world. Genocide, in short, becomes the ultimate means of prophetic fulfillment.

Anticipating George W. Bush, prophecy writers in the late 20th century also quickly zeroed in on Saddam Hussein. If not the Antichrist himself, they suggested, Saddam could well be a forerunner of the Evil One. In full-page newspaper advertisements during the Persian Gulf war of 1991, the organization Jews for Jesus declared that Saddam “represents the spirit of Antichrist about which the Bible warns us.”

Prophecy believers found particular significance in Saddam’s grandiose plan, launched in the 1970s, to rebuild Babylon on its ancient ruins. The fabled city on the Euphrates, south of Baghdad, which included one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, owed its splendor to King Nebuchadnezzar, the same wicked ruler who warred against Israel and destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C., for which impiety, according to the Book of Daniel, he went mad and ended his days eating grass in the fields.

In Revelation, Babylon embodies all that is corrupt, “a great whore … with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication.” It stands as the antithesis of Jerusalem, the city of righteousness, and Revelation prophesies its annihilation by fire. Since Babylon cannot be destroyed unless it exists, Saddam’s ambitious public-works project is seen as an essential step toward prophetic fulfillment.

Charles Dyer’s “The Rise of Babylon: Sign of the End Times” (1991) elaborates the theme. Along with the emergence of modern Israel and the European Union (forerunner of the Antichrist’s world system), writes Dyer, Saddam’s restoration of Babylon signals the approaching end and offers “thrilling proof that Bible prophecies are infallible.” “When Babylon is ultimately destroyed,” he continues, “Israel will finally be at peace and will dwell in safety.”

That theme resonates powerfully with today’s calls for Saddam’s overthrow. Indeed, the cover illustration of Dyer’s book juxtaposes Saddam and Nebuchadnezzar. Hal Lindsey’s Web site recently featured a cartoon of a military aircraft emblazoned with a U.S. flag and a Star of David and carrying a missile with a label targeting “Saddam.” The caption quoted the prophet Zechariah: “It shall be that day I will seek to destroy all nations that come against Israel.”

All of these themes converge in the Left Behind novels. As the plot unfolds, the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia, becomes secretary general of the United Nations. (“I’ve opposed the United Nations for 50 years,” boasts one of the authors, Tim LaHaye, a veteran activist on the religious right.) Carpathia moves the U.N. from New York to a rebuilt Babylon, laying the groundwork for the simultaneous destruction of both the city that in the grammar of dispensationalism represents absolute evil and defiance of God’s prophetic plan, and the organization that more than any other prefigures the Antichrist’s satanic world order.

To be sure, some current Bush-administration policies trouble prophecy believers. For example, the expansion of Washington’s surveillance powers after 9/11 (led, ironically, by Attorney General John Ashcroft, darling of the religious right) strikes some as another step toward the Antichrist’s global dictatorship. Counterbalancing that, however, other key administration positions — its hostility to multinational cooperation and international agreements, its downgrading of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its muted response to growing Jewish settlement in Palestinian territory, and its unrelenting focus on Saddam Hussein — strike prophecy believers as perfectly in harmony with God’s prophetic plan: a plan that will bring human history to its apocalyptic denouement and usher in the longed-for epoch of righteousness, justice, and peace.

Academics do need to pay more attention to the role of religious belief in American public life, not only in the past, but also today. Without close attention to the prophetic scenario embraced by millions of American citizens, the current political climate in the United States cannot be fully understood.

Leaders have always invoked God’s blessing on their wars, and, in this respect, the Bush administration is simply carrying on a familiar tradition. But when our born-again president describes the nation’s foreign-policy objective in theological terms as a global struggle against “evildoers,” and when, in his recent State of the Union address, he casts Saddam Hussein as a demonic, quasi-supernatural figure who could unleash “a day of horror like none we have ever known,” he is not only playing upon our still-raw memories of 9/11. He is also invoking a powerful and ancient apocalyptic vocabulary that for millions of prophecy believers conveys a specific and thrilling message of an approaching end — not just of Saddam, but of human history as we know it.”

Paul S. Boyer, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and currently a visiting professor of history at the College of William and Mary, is the author of “When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture” (Harvard University Press, 1992).

Elie

March 12th, 2010, 8:38 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Nuclear energy in the midst of underdeveloped Arab lands would be an odd sight, indeed. Arab countries lack the industrial and scientific infrastructure to sustain the safe operation and maintenance of such technology. Just imagine the radioactive consequences of a Chernobel or a three Mile Island on Gulf waters contamination, where desalination plants dot the Arab shore line, or near the crowded urban centers in Syria, Egypt, etc.

In case of an accident, God forbid, do those countries have the resources to deal with a nuclear accident? Are there sufficient specialist hospitals and doctors to treat the thousands of injured and disabled? What will happen if desalination plants must be shut down as a result of an accident at a nuclear power plant nearby?

A better option would be to build conventional oil and gas power plants until the oil and gas run out. There are sufficient oil and gas reserves in the region to last a number of decades. Meanwhile, a program of wind and solar energy generation could increasingly and steadily supplement oil and gas power generation.

Economic feasibility considerations? Nuclear should not even enter the competition.

Poverty, illiteracy, and disease in Arab countries should preclude nuclear energy altogether.

Elie

March 12th, 2010, 10:59 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Dear Mr. Elie Elhadj,

With all due respect, the article by By Paul S. Boyer was written 7 years ago: February 20, 2003.

Since then, and just a week or so ago, Gordon Brown is still saying that the Iraq War was the right course of action. Is Gordon Brown a “born again” Christian like George Bush?

Moreover, I don’t think there are too many people, especially Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Iranians, and Saudis who are sad to see Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the region.

Personally, (and I talk with much experience), I find all these warnings about biblical, christian “apocolyptic”, pro-Israel, Armegeddon, scenarios to be misunderstood to say the least, and downright hogwash in today’s realpolitik.

The fact of the matter is that christian bible (aka New and Old Testament) details the trials and tribulations of the new Christian faith and the Jewish people, respectively. Both these religions recognize that Jews are tied to Palestine. Today’s Israel is just an affirmation of that, and both religions and their adherents believe this to be a natural and legal fact. Finalizing the borders between Israel and Palestine doesn’t weaken the Jewish or Christian faith.

If Mr. Boyer were writing today, in 2010, would he be writing about the religious aspirations of the Wahabbis, the fanatic Islamists, the desire to see the 12th Imam/Mahdi, the quest of Islamic suicide “martyrs” to experience an early entrance to Paradise, and their main ideological backers from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah?

I doubt it.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/05/britain.iraq.inquiry.brown/index.html

PS – I agree 100% with your last post about ME nuclear energy.

March 12th, 2010, 12:03 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

AKBAR PALACE

Thanks for the response.

That Prof. Boyer’s article was published in 2003 should make no difference to its currency today. Historical facts are ageless. You, I am certain, like me, refer from time to time to books written decades ago, even centuries ago. I kept the date of the article on the post in order to show the reader that the article is not recent. I believe, that the article is as relevant today as it was in 2003 in explaining what Evangelicals believe and the policy consequences of their beliefs.

I posted the piece in order to shed light on Evangelical doctrine. Rev. Mike Nahas touched upon the matter rather briefly. I decided to elaborate on an issue that is surrounded by confusion, exaggeration, and ignorance, especially in the Middle East. Prof. Boyer is a scholar with deep knowledge on the subject. He is eminently qualified to explain.

The effect of beliefs on peoples beliefs is not hogwash. Beliefs shape and drive peoples personalities and actions. Whether one believes that God exists or not is not the issue. The issue is the consequences on the behavior of people individually and collectively of their beliefs or un-belief.

Prof. Boyer need not write today, in 2010, “about the religious aspirations of the Wahabbis, the fanatic Islamists” etc.. A lot of people, including myself, have written and will continue to write about the evil of Wahhabism, not only as a religious doctrine but also as a political tool.

Elie

March 12th, 2010, 1:47 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

AKBAR PALACE

Thanks for the response.

That Prof. Boyer\\\’s article was published in 2003 should make no difference to its currency today. Historical facts are ageless. You, I am certain, like me, refer from time to time to books written decades ago, even centuries ago. I kept the date of the article on the post in order to show the reader that the article is not recent. I believe, that the article is as relevant today as it was in 2003 in explaining what Evangelicals believe and the policy consequences of their beliefs.

I posted the piece in order to shed light on Evangelical doctrine. Rev. Mike Nahas touched upon the matter rather briefly. I decided to elaborate on an issue that is surrounded by confusion, exaggeration, and ignorance, especially in the Middle East. Prof. Boyer is a scholar with deep knowledge on the subject. He is eminently qualified to explain.

The effect of beliefs on peoples beliefs is not hogwash. Beliefs shape and drive peoples personalities and actions. Whether one believes that God exists or not is not the issue. The issue is the consequences on the behavior of people individually and collectively of their beliefs or un-belief.

Prof. Boyer need not write today, in 2010, \\\”about the religious aspirations of the Wahabbis, the fanatic Islamists\\\” etc.. A lot of people, including myself, have written and will continue to write about the evil of Wahhabism, not only as a religious doctrine but also as a political tool.

Elie

March 12th, 2010, 1:50 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Are Christian Evangelicals a threat to Humanity?

Elie,

Thanks for the clarification. I think I understand your point, and, on the surface, I can’t disagree with you.

However, I think Mr. Boyer’s Evangelical Christian “nightmare” (per the article you pasted above and not the books he has written), is a bit exaggerated. None of these pro-Israeli Christians is going to pack Semtex into suicide vests, sneak onto a commercial airliner with explosive underwear, fly a commercial airliner into a skyscraper, sever the head of an infidel, or blow themselves up on a bus.

The difference is that Christian evangelicals, “born-agains”, and other “Christian-Zionists” are modern and liberal. They don’t promote war for religion beliefs, they promote it first and foremost to save lives, encourage freedom and peace. I am not aware of a christian evangelical in government who has threatened to “wipe out” a UN member country “from the map”.

March 12th, 2010, 2:11 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

ELIE ELHADJ said:

Historical facts are ageless.

Two concrete example of historical facts.

Texan’s contributions to:

Military Aid to Israel, Total FY2009-2018: $2,578,333,893.32

This money could have been spent instead to:

Provide 31,307 households per year w/affordable housing grants OR
Provide 42,800 job seekers per year w/green jobs training OR
Provide 76,235 children per year w/early reading education OR
Provide 2,088,058 people per year w/primary health care.

Oklahoman’s contributions to :

Military Aid to Israel, Total FY2009-2018: $330,414,924.53

This money could have been spent instead to:

Provide 4,012 households per year w/affordable housing grants OR
Provide 5,485 job seekers per year w/green jobs training OR
Provide 9,770 children per year w/early reading education OR
Provide 267,586 people per year w/primary health care.

And thats just two out of 50.

March 12th, 2010, 3:05 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Fact or Fiction?

Historical facts are ageless.

Ghat,

Do you also have the facts regarding the money spent by the US Govt on the following:

1.) Kicking Iraq out of Kuwait.

2.) Kicking the Baathists/Hussein out of Iraq.

3.) Kicking the Taliban out of Afghanistan

4.) Keeping the American Naval forces in the Gulf.

5.) Military Aid to Egypt.

Once you add up all these costs over 10 years, you’ll see the money we spend on Israel is not only a great value (on the cheap), but it is also a “drop in the bucket”.

March 12th, 2010, 3:17 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

AKBAR PALACE said:

Fact or Fiction?

Historical facts are ageless.

Ghat,

Do you also have the facts regarding the money spent by the US Govt on the following:

1.) Kicking Iraq out of Kuwait.

2.) Kicking the Baathists/Hussein out of Iraq.

Not the money but the demands made by Bibi’s plan called ” A clean break to be accomplished by the US to secure Israel’s existance. Below is an extract to get you started checking it out on Wikipedia.

“Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy”

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria.

This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

“Since Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq,including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian;— through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon. ..

Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria.
“Changing the Nature of Relations with the Palestinians”

“Israel has a chance to forge a new relationship between itself and the Palestinians. First and foremost, Israel’s efforts to secure its streets may require hot pursuit into Palestinian-controlled areas, a justifiable practice with which Americans can sympathize.

“To emphasize the point that Israel regards the actions of the PLO problematic, but not the Arab people, Israel might want to consider making a special effort to reward friends and advance human rights among Arabs.

“Forging A New U.S.-Israeli Relationship”

“Israel can make a clean break from the past and establish a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership based on self-reliance, maturity and mutuality — not one focused narrowly on territorial disputes. Israel’s new strategy — based on a shared philosophy of peace through strength — reflects continuity with Western values by stressing that Israel is self-reliant, does not need U.S. troops in any capacity to defend it, including on the Golan Heights, and can manage its own affairs.”

“To reinforce this point, the Prime Minister can use his forthcoming visit to announce that Israel is now mature enough to cut itself free immediately from at least U.S. economic aid and loan guarantees at least, which prevent economic reform.”

What you call a bucket most people would call a bottomless pit.

March 12th, 2010, 4:09 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Not the money but the demands made by Bibi’s plan called ” A clean break to be accomplished by the US to secure Israel’s existance.

Ghat,

Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. “Clean Break” was written in 1997.

The US kicked Saddam out of Kuwait without any need for Israel to advise the US government on anything.

BTW – You didn’t formulate the costs for all these wars so our forum can compare it with the money we give to Israel.

March 12th, 2010, 4:23 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Dear Elie
I beg to differ with you on the issue of nuclear energy and on the issue of continuing reliance on oil and gas as a fuel for economic development in Arab countries.

Notwithstanding the expected adverse impacts of climate change in term of reducing precipitation (except for Sudan) population growth in Arab countries, which is likely to remain unchecked, will drive every single water stress index to beyond critical in most Arab countries and in most cases, water resources, already exhausted, will be stressed to limit to provide clean drinking water to the ever expanding mega-cities in the Arab world. Demand for energy will be beyond the ability of any fossil fuel despite of the huge reservoirs available to some of these countries. One single reactor provides almost 40% of Armenia’s energy requirements, and given the population of 4 millions, it is hard to imagine how that is economically unfeasible.

The safety of nuclear reactors is improving, and I find it odd that you view Arabs as incapable of handling technology and modern age science. After all, your first degree, same as mine was from a Syrian university, and it has prepared you sufficiently to assume leading roles throughout your career.

Wind and Solar energy are nice, but they are no match, at least for the time being, with respect to producing the massive amount of energy required to develop the region. This is not considering the massive pollution produced by manufacturing efficient solar cells. By all accounts, energy consumption of any Arab city, similar to water consumption, lags far behind that of any western city, or even south american city 1/3 its size. Oil and gas will continue to be the main export of the region and without such export, the educational programs you are advocating can not be carried out. Massive amounts of energy will be needed for desalinization of water, reclaiming urban sewage water, powering factories, homes, and pumping water in future water transfer projects for those lucky enough to have some untapped surface water resources. Like it or not, the lack of water has contributed to stunting development in the Arab world, why should lack of energy be the next factor in stunting their development simply because we are afraid that they are backwards.

There is no logical reason to assume that Arab engineers are incapable of handling nuclear technology. With all due respect, it is like saying, why build modern hospitals, since Arab doctors are are operating in backward, undeveloped societies, and will be incapable of handling the advanced medical technologies, which may result in killing some patients on the surgery bed. Why build dams, since dam failure accidents can be catastrophic and the Arabs can not handle such catastrophe.

No country on earth can be fully prepared to handle major nuclear accident, but considering the number of active nuclear reactors, some of which have been operating for decades and were built using old, not as safe, standards, the number of nuclear catastrophes remain very small. Nuclear energy is safe and efficient,and it may in fact be the only viable massive scale energy source for future development in most Arab countries, who are not as oil rich as the gulf countries.

The french initiative is a very welcomed development. I have read Sarkouzi’s points and I am not only impressed, but welcoming of his initiative.

March 12th, 2010, 4:36 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P. said
they promote it first and foremost to save lives, encourage freedom and peace. I am not aware of a christian evangelical in government who has threatened to “wipe out” a UN member country “from the map”.
A.P. is the king of deceiving and twisting facts.
Officially the iraqee death is over 60,000, is this saving lives? actually the death toll way exceed this number
stop deceiving , tell the truth once in your life,

March 12th, 2010, 5:23 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P. said
The US kicked Saddam out of Kuwait without any need for Israel to advise the US government on anything.
the truth is that Bush war in Iraq was on advise of Paul wolfowitz,richard pearl and other pro Israel lobbies, it was done to protect Israel.

March 12th, 2010, 5:36 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Majed,

Saddam Hussein killed many times more Iraqis than the 2 wars Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. were responsible for. There is no “deception” regarding this fact.

Now that Saddam and Baathism are gone, I am sure mosst Iraqis would not want to go back.

“Paul wolfowitz,richard pearl and other pro Israel lobbies” did not influence the US govt’s decision to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. All the histories written about the first Gulf War attest to this. There is no deception here. The war was to kick a foreign aggressive power out of Kuwait, it wasn’t done to protect Israel.

However, because Americans are relatively pro-Israel, many Americans would like the US government to protect Israel. Conversely, many could care less. There is no deception with these facts.

March 12th, 2010, 5:54 pm

 

Nour said:

That is a patent lie, first of all. Bush’s war has resulted in over a million Iraqis dead, and the war and sanctions by Bush Sr., and later Clinton, resulted in 2 million dead Iraqis, which is nowhere near the number Zionist propagandists claim Saddam killed.

Second, even if that were the case, that still doesn’t justify the murderous, criminal actions of the Bushes. This would be like saying that England killed far less Americans than Abraham Lincoln did, so they would have been justified to continue ruling the US. Or similar to saying that more Americans are murdered each year than the total number Al-Qaeda has killed, so therefore Al-Qaeda is not so bad.

Third, many Iraqis actually wish they could go back to the days of Saddam where at least there was some sense of security and of the presence of a state.

March 12th, 2010, 6:05 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P.
keep on deceiving,your facts are wrong.

March 12th, 2010, 6:38 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

NOUR,
keep on deceiving,your facts are wrong.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_03_09_iraqpollfeb2009.pdf
.

March 12th, 2010, 7:58 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

OFF THE WALL,

Thanks for the comment.

Just outside Vienna, Austria, there is a nuclear power plant. The plant is idle. A referendum stopped its commissioning in 1982 as it was ready to go on line.

My objection to nuclear power plants everywhere, the Arab world in particular, is due to the fact there is no 100%, not 99.9%, 100% assurance that an accident would never ever happen. All things mechanical are apt to break down. In the event of an accident, God forbid, Arab underdeveloped economies cannot cope. An infrastructure that still cannot deal with a heavy rainfall in Jeddah, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi or Aleppo is not equipped to operate nuclear anything.

In the Arab world, the engineering and scientific infrastructure cannot sustain the safe operating and maintenance of plants on the very edge of technology. Such is the case, not because Arab engineers are inferior, not because Arab technicians are incompetent, far from it, but because there are not enough engineers and technicians and the industrial base in Arab lands needed to support such technology is almost non-existent. Indeed, most exports from Arab countries are still in the form of raw materials, not even low-tech manufactured products. And, whatever is exported in a manufactured form is built in factories imported from Japan Europe, or the US. If a mechanical part in these factories breaks down, the factory has to wait for a replacement from abroad to arrive. These facts do not fill me, and should not fill you, with confidence that nuclear power plants are appropriate.

I do not view Arabs as incapable of handling technology and modern age science. very very far from it. I take exception to your unwarranted accusation.

Nuclear power plants are not like building a golf course in Abu Dahbi, or the world’s tallest building in Dubai. Nuclear power plants are not like a hospital or a dam, as you say. The consequences resulting from a disaster in a hospital or a dam are infinitesimal compared with a radiation leak, an accident like that at Three Mile Island, or a Chernobel-like meltdown. The emergency services in Cairo, Damascus, and Amman cannot cope with major disasters, and you know it. I say again, if a desalination plant is shut down due to a radiation leak, hundreds of thousands of people in GCC states will go very thirsty, unless tankers full of water are constantly stationed in the Gulf in order to deal with such an emergency, a ludicrous idea!

Even if nuclear electricity generation cost a fraction of the alternative, the nuclear option should not even be considered.

Elie

March 12th, 2010, 8:28 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Correction: I said in comment no. 37: “if a desalination plant is shut down due to a radiation leak, hundreds of thousands of people in GCC states will go very thirsty, unless tankers full of water are constantly stationed in the Gulf in order to deal with such an emergency, a ludicrous idea!”

On reflection, that won’t work either because the water in the tankers will become radio active as well. So, OFF THE WALL, the water tanker idea does not work. In case of a radio active leak, people will go thirsty.

Elie

March 12th, 2010, 9:13 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

NOUR

The AMIRS from Tel Abib purposes are to accuse every one that does not agree with them as a liar or misinformed. Their purpose is to make the world believe that they are the victims and the innocent ones when in reality the following statement by one of their military experts truly represent their objectives,

Martin van Creveld, professor of military history at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

“We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. Let me quote General Moshe Dayan:

“Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”. Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the SECOND or THIRD. (AFTER US, RUSSIA OR BOTH)

“We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.

March 12th, 2010, 9:16 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai

I am with you on this one. Syria has nothing to lose if today a decent Israeli journalist is granted a long and frank interview.

There are many decent Israeli journalists.

But Shai, that poll that got nowhere should have been given a bit of a priority. There are always funds available on the spot for potential conferences for meeting Syrians in Europe or in the US but no funding for something more useful such as a meaningful opinion poll?

I think the Israeli peace camp should try harder to focus on the areas where it can really make a difference.

March 12th, 2010, 10:05 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Lies to Die By

Nour said:

That is a patent lie, first of all.

Third, many Iraqis actually wish they could go back to the days of Saddam where at least there was some sense of security and of the presence of a state.

Nour,

UM sanctions against Saddam Hussein and his Baathist government did not inlcude food or medical supplies. If the Iraqi despot holds his own people hostage or prohibits the supplies from reaching his people, only Saddam is responsible.

But if you think 400,000 dead Iraqis is “security”, either you’re an apologist or you’re in denial.

http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/pdf/iraq_mass_graves.pdf

BTW – Iraqi Body Count (anti-war NGO) estimates about 100,000 civilian deaths to date (includes Obama’s 1st year). IBC does NOT distiguish between deaths caused by the military, insurgents, or criminals.

That is why I say that Saddam killed many times whatever the coalition forces have.

But hey, whenever has an Arab thug ever been criticized by other Arabs? Like, never.

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/

March 12th, 2010, 10:24 pm

 

Nour said:

Oh how very thoughtful of the US-run UN to not include food and medicine in the sanctions. Except that the food and medicine had to be bought under certain conditions and guidelines and within specific constraints that made it impossible for the Iraqi government to meet the basic needs of its people. In fact, the UN commended the Iraqi government on more than one occasion for running a rationing system that actually prevented an even more catastrophic disaster.

Moreover, other than food and medicine, just about everything else was included in the sanctions regime, which had a terrible effect on various segments of Iraqi infrastructure, including sewage, water sanitation, agriculture, etc, which of course contributed to the rising death count on the Iraqi side, due to diseases, malnutrition, etc.

Iraqbodycount.com is not a reliable source to determine actual Iraqi deaths as a result of the US savage attack and its subsequent murderous destruction of the country. A more reliable count comes from the Lancet survey, which was conducted by a highly reputable team well-known for the accuracy of their death counts in war zones. This survey is more accurate because, as the authors state, “Aside from Bosnia, we can find no conflict situation where passive surveillance recorded more than 20% of the deaths measured by population-based methods. In several outbreaks, disease and death recorded by facility-based methods underestimated events by a factor of ten or more when compared with population-based estimates. Between 1960 and 1990, newspaper accounts of political deaths in Guatemala correctly reported over 50% of deaths in years of low violence but less than 5% in years of highest violence.”

The bottom line is that Bush is a criminal and a murderer, along with his debased gang of neo-con savages, who are guided by an ideology of pure hatred and thus become elated at the site of death and destruction. And anyone who supports such murderous figures ought to be treated as a criminal facilitator.

March 12th, 2010, 11:39 pm

 

Nour said:

Alex,

Syria should not be treating “Israel” as if it is a legitimate entity, for it is not. Therefore, it should not grant any “Israeli” journalist any interview as any dealings with “Israel” would imply a recognition of legitimacy on our part. And that would mean that we accept and recognize the validity of a foreign entity occupying our land and building an exclusive, racist state on it for their own kind. It would mean that we surrender our inalienable national right over every single inch of our territory. As such, Syria does have a lot to lose by granting an “Israeli” journalist an interview.

March 13th, 2010, 12:21 am

 

Ghat Albird said:

AKBAR PALACE said:

TO :- Majed,

“ About the Gulf War…… There is no deception here. The war was to kick a foreign aggressive power out of Kuwait.

Applying the same logic of AP…there is no deception in kicking a “foreign” aggressive power out of “occupied lands of say the West Bank and maybe too a place called Gaza.”

What say you about that AP?

ماذا أقول لك عن ذلك؟

מה אתה אומר על זה?

March 13th, 2010, 1:00 am

 

norman said:

Nour ,

I agree with you about not granting Israeli journalists any access to president Assad as i believe that the conflict is not psychological or on borders as they try to make it look like , It is about the legitimacy of the existence of a religious state in the middle East , and the rights of the Palestinians to stay in their homes without becoming Jewish,

March 13th, 2010, 1:20 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Chai, Elie Alhadj, Alex, Ghat Albird, Nour, Majedkhaldoun:

-This is who I work for: Israel’s Immigrant Absorption Ministry
-I am shocked that you guys bought into my B.S., it was all over the news see here http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056648.html
-I research anti-zionist blogs and exercise distortion of facts
-The strategy is to deviate the content from the original poster in order to tire out the rest of the commentators by defending my creative baseless arguments… it works all the time!
-The best part is I am never ignored and rarely get pointed out, and when I do get flaged, it is too late as I have already spammed out the blog and acheived my goal.

Cheers,

March 13th, 2010, 1:31 am

 

Yossi said:

Ghat,

Seems like you got the Hebrew and English right, but the Arabic wrong. Hmmm…

van Creveld is quite a character, but I still have to read something from him which turned out to be wrong.

Anyway, you always find interesting references, I always learn something new from your data. I wonder how you stay on top of it (that goes to Alex too). Is it all in your heads?

March 13th, 2010, 3:24 am

 

Mr. President said:

Dear Elie,
it seems that you are too negative as to the strengths of the people of the Middle East. If they were able to still stand after years of (western) psychological/military/economic wars, installed governments, proxy colonialism (Israel), fueled wars,… for sure they can manage a 60 year old technology called nuclear power plants. one should take a trip to Russia and visit the surrounding villages of their nuclear power plants. here is a list what he would see: wood burning cooking stoves, leaking and polluted drinking water pipes, 18th century hospitals, and best of all Turkish style toilets (minus the ceramic touch if you know what I mean.)

March 13th, 2010, 9:44 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

If I were the Palestinians, I’d say long ago “You Jews are right, there should be no Palestine. We give up on that dream, we’re part of your land now. Give us please our rights (you are a Democracy, aren’t you?), and we’ll gladly accept Israel as ‘The Jewish State’…”

Israel is still mostly secular. Most citizens see “Judaism” more as a national identity, rather than a religious one. So what do you care what we call it? If all the Palestinians right now became Israeli citizens, the “Jewish State of Israel” would have more non-Jews than Jews.

The conflict is very much also a psychological one, Norman, and that’s why learning about Arabs and the Arab World is crucial for us Israelis. We can’t just do it from Wikipedia, and Ultra-Right rhetoric. We need to see and hear it with our own eyes via, for instance, a set of interviews in Syria, by ordinary citizens and also the leadership, directly on Israeli TV. It will make a huge difference.

Nour,

Your fantasy of “Israel” disappearing is about as likely as that of “Greater Syria” reappearing. In your lifetime, I hope, your children and mine will meet in Damascus and Tel-Aviv, and try to put the terrible chapters of their parents’ history far behind them.

March 13th, 2010, 11:01 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Shai,

And the likelihood of the Palestinians saying “You Jews are right, there should be no Palestine. We give up on that dream, we’re part of your land now.”, is also a “fantasy”.

It will always be a border dispute between 2 states that are reluctant to negotiate a border. Biden should work on something else.

March 13th, 2010, 11:14 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

MR. PRESIDENT,

As I said in 37 above, I object to the construction of nuclear power plants not only in the Arab world, but any where in the world. The reason for this objection is due to the fact that there is no 100% assurance that an accident would never ever happen. All things mechanical break down. A breakdown here creates catastrophic results.

To argue that modern nuclear power plants are, or can be made, 100% safe is 100% false.

That in Russia “wood burning cooking stoves, leaking and polluted drinking water pipes, 18th century hospitals, and best of all Turkish style toilets” surround nuclear power plants does not take away from the fact that Russia’s scientific and industrial infrastructure designed, supplied, built, and operate these plants. However, in spite Russia’s scientific and industrial prowess, Chernobel happened. Likewise, despite the scientific and industrial prowess of the US, Three Mile Island happened as well.

Since absolute safety does not exist in Russia or the US, why should Arab countries think they’ll do any better? The whole thing is bewildering! Arab cities cannot even cope with a heavy rainfall. How many inventions do Arab universities contribute to science every year? How many scientific journals Arab universities and industry publish in Arabic or English? How many patents do Arab laboratories register every year. For a graphic picture on where we stand on these issues, you may wish to look at the Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR).

This position has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with Arab engineers being inferior to foreign engineers, nor has it anything to do with Arab technicians being incompetent.

As I said in comment 37, most exports from Arab countries are still in the form of raw materials, not even low-tech manufactured products. And, whatever is exported in a manufactured form is built in factories imported from abroad. If a mechanical part in these factories breaks down, the factory has to wait for a replacement from the foreign manufacturer to arrive.

Your statement: “years of (western) psychological/military/economic wars, installed governments, proxy colonialism (Israel), fueled wars,…” has little to do with being being able to operate state of the art nuclear power plants. The statement diagnoses the current malady, which might be or might not be a sound diagnosis.

Even if Arab countries become the world’s super stars in scientific and industrial prowess, they should ignore the nuclear option in order to protect their people from the risk of radio active leaks, no matter how tiny this risk might be perceived.

Even if nuclear electricity generation cost a fraction of the alternative, the nuclear option should not even be considered.

Elie

March 13th, 2010, 1:11 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

YOSSI said:

Ghat,

……. you always find interesting references, I always learn something new from your data. I wonder how you stay on top of it (that goes to Alex too). Is it all in your heads?

YOSSI חול.

I do not know where Alex keeps his date. In my case its usually in my head. By asking the question are you implying that you are capable of not keeping your data and staying on top of it in your head?

PEACE…سلام……שלום

March 13th, 2010, 2:27 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

No “right of return” to Greek Cypriots to occupied (or liberated)
Turkish land in northern Cyprus, after only 34 years of occupation (or liberation).

European Court of Human Rights ECHR ruling:

http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=1&portal=hbkm&action=html&highlight=&sessionid=48724019&skin=hudoc-en

Yossi,

Looks like Ghat didn’t get your irony. I think he takes the fascinating stuff he posts here as “facts”, from
www dot ziegamerica dot com and from www dot jewsarethedevil dot com
.

March 13th, 2010, 3:25 pm

 

jad said:

Open letter to The Pope by a Syrian priest, Elias Zahlawi.

رسالة مفتوحة من كاهن عربي ” الاب الياس زحلاوي” إلى قداسة البابا

“النقطة الثالثة، هي مدى مسؤولية كنائس الغرب، وعلى رأسها الفاتيكان، إزاء ما يحدث في العالم عامة، وفي الشرق العربي وغير العربي خاصة.
سؤالي الأول هو: هل تراني أجانب الحقيقة إن قلت أن كل ما يحدث في العالم عامة، وفي الشرق خاصة، هو من صنع بلدان الغرب، وأعني بها دون مواربة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وأوربا الغربية وروسيا وكندا وأستراليا، هذه البلدان التي تستأثر بغنى الأرض كلها، وتملك وحدها القوة الضاربة الكبرى فيها حتى الآن؟
سؤالي الثاني هو: هل تراني أجانب الحقيقة إن قلت أن معظم ما يجري، أولاً داخل العالمين العربي والإسلامي، ثانياً في البقع الإسلامية المنتشرة على امتداد العالم، ليس سوى ردود أفعال على مظالم الغرب، وهي ردود أفعال بدأت واستمرت في معظم الحالات، غوغائية، دموية وعفوية، ثم انتظم بعضها في نمطين من الحركات المسلحة، الأول كان المقاومة المشروعة في فلسطين المحتلة. وتلك هي حال المنظمات الفلسطينية التي وصفت ظلماً، من قبل الاتحاد الأوربي في أيلول 2002، بالحركات الإرهابية، والثاني كان المقاومة الأصولية، أولاً ضد الطغيان السوفييتي في أفغانستان، ثم ضد الطغيان الأميركي في أفغانستان عينها، وفي العراق وباكستان. وتلك هي حال حركتي طالبان والقاعدة.
ولكن هل من يجهل أن هاتين الحركتين هما أصلاً من صنع الولايات المتحدة؟
أما ما يجري في قلب العالم العربي، في فلسطين تحديداً، فلسطين التي لم تعودوا تسمّونها في كنائس الغرب إلا “الأرض المقدسة”، فليس سوى حروب ظالمة، واحتلال يستبيح كل شيء: القتل والسجن والتعذيب والحصار والتشريد حيال الشعب الفلسطيني برمته، بمسيحيّيه ومسلميه. وكل ذلك يتم تحت سمع العالم وبصره، وبدعم مطلق من الغرب، جعل السيدة كلينتون تقول: “إن ضرب اسرائيل يوازي ضرب مدينة مثل “سان دييغو” في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية”، وجعل السيدة ميركل، مستشارة ألمانيا، تقول أيضاً دون خجل: “إن ضرب تل أبيب هو كضرب ألمانيا بالذات”!…
فأين ما حلّ ويحلّ بالشعب الفلسطيني، منذ أكثر من ستين عاماً، على يد الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، من الحقوق الإنسانية المعلنة في شرعة حقوق الإنسان، ومن جميع المعاهدات الدولية، لا سيما معاهدات جنيف، ومن مئات القرارات الصادرة بحق إسرائيل من الأمم المتحدة ومن مجلس أمنها التعيس؟ وهل بات الغرب كله عبداً للصهيونية، حتى ينتهج مثل هذه الازدواجية الفاجرة في تعامل الغرب مع إسرائيل من جهة، ومع غالبية شعوب الأرض، وهي الشعوب الضعيفة والمستضعفة، من جهة ثانية؟
كل ذلك وكنائس الغرب كلها صامتة. أجل كلها، بدءاً من حاضرة الفاتيكان، قد صمتت بعد رحيل البابا يوحنا بولس الثاني، باستثناء كردينال بوسطن الشجاع، برنار لو.”

“لي أخيراً ستة أسئلة، أرى لزاماً علي أن أطرحها عليك، في ختام رسالتي هذه:
السؤال الأول: هل اللاسامية التي مارسها الغرب، كنيسةً وسلطةً وشعباً، طوال مئات السنوات، حيال اليهود، تبرّر اليوم إراقة دماء شعوب الشرق العربي وغير العربي، بدءاً من الشعب الفلسطيني، كرمى لعيون الشعب اليهودي “المسكين”؟ وهل هي تبرر صمت جميع كنائس الغرب، إزاء هذه المظالم، فيما هذه الكنائس لا تني تطلب الغفران عن خطيئة اللاسامية، التي ارتكبتها وحدها، دون العرب والمسلمين؟
السؤال الثاني: ألا يبدو جلياً لكم في الغرب كله، أن موقف الغرب وكنائس الغرب هذا، سينجم عنه لا محالة، شران فظيعان، لا أرى مغفرةً ممكنةً لهما:
الشر الأول هو تحويل الشعب اليهودي برمته إلى مجموعة من القتلة؟
الشر الثاني هو تفريغ الشرق كله، عاجلاً أو آجلاً، من مسيحيّيه الأصليين؟
السؤال الثالث: ألا ترى معي تشابهاً مرعباً ومخجلاً، بين ما تفعله اليوم قوى الغرب كله على نطاق العالم عامة، والعالم العربي والإسلامي خاصة، وما فعلته القوى الأوربية التي فتحت القارة الأميركية، بدءاً من أواخر القرن الخامس عشر، من إبادة وحشية ومنتظمة لِما لا يقلّ عن أربعين مليون إنسان من السكان الأصليين، كما يقدّر ذلك الباحثون الغربيون أنفسهم؟
السؤال الرابع: إزاء كل هذه الجرائم ضد الإنسانية، هل يكفي الغرب أن يأتي بابا جديد، بعد أربعمائة عام، يستغفر الشعوب، كما استغفرها البابا الشجاع يوحنا بولس الثاني، خلال زياراته الخارقة للعالم، كي نقول أن الكنيسة فعلت ما كان يتوجب عليها فعله؟!…
السؤال الخامس: ألا يجب على كنائس الغرب، اليوم قبل الغد، أن تخرج من سجن صمتها، وتقول كلمة الإنجيل، تدافع بها عن المظلومين والفقراء والجياع والمرضى والأسرى، الذين تماهى يسوع بكل حب معهم، والذين لم يعودوا أفراداً كما جاء في إنجيل القديس متى، بل باتوا شعوباً يغطون المساحة العظمى من الأرض؟ وقد يسمعها، فتحرر بعضهم، أولئك “الأثرياء” و”المتجبّرون” الغربيون، سواء منهم من تحرروا كلياً من الله، أو من استغلوه كما يحدث في الولايات المتحدة، ليجهزوا باسمه على المسيحيين والمسلمين في الشرق كله، ويؤلّبوا الشعوب على بعضها البعض، في حروب طائفية وإثنية، تنتشر يوماً بعد يوم، ولن ترحم أحداً؟
السؤال السادس: وهو سؤال أسمعك تطرحه علي، كما طرحه عليّ الكثيرون من أساقفة الغرب وكهنته: و”هل من يسمع؟”. وهنا بدوري أقول لك ولكل الكنيسة في الغرب: لستم خيراً من يسوع. “أتى إلى خاصته، وخاصته لم تقبله”، ومع ذلك فقد تكلم، وما قاله يسوع، لم يقله ولن يقوله أحد!
والآن هل من شيء أضيفه؟
أجل. شيء أخير.
أبتِ صاحب القداسة، أرجوك، أنا ابنك الكاهن العربي الكاثوليكي من سورية، أرجوك بكل محبة وإلحاح، أن تبادر أيضاً إلى دعوة صفوة صادقة من المسؤولين في كنائس الغرب، من رجال كنيسة وعلمانيين، كي يتدارسوا، في المؤتمر الذي دعوت إليه في تشرين الأول القادم، مع مسؤولي كنائس الشرق والملتزمين الصادقين فيه، من مسيحيين ومسلمين، مدى مسؤوليات الغرب، في ما يحدث اليوم، في الشرق وعلى نطاق العالم، لاتخاذ المواقف المطلوبة والصريحة، قبل فوات الأوان.
لقد فات من الوقت الكثير، والأيام حبلى بكوارث جديدة، لا يتمناها عاقل لأحد.
إن دنيا الله واسعة، سعة قلب الله، فعسى أن يتسع قلبك لكلامي.
أبتِ صاحب القداسة،
أسألك الدعاء من أجل جميع إخوتي في الشرق، من مسلمين ومسيحيين ويهود، وأهديك صادق محبتي واحترامي البنويين.

الأب الياس زحلاوي”

http://all4syria.info/content/view/22919/161/

March 13th, 2010, 4:32 pm

 

jad said:

Dear OTW, Elie,
This is a very interesting article of March NG.
OTW was the one who linked the idea on SC couple months ago.
It sounds like a great start for safer/compact nuclear power system.

“Small Town Nukes
They’d be carbon free, relatively cheap, and according to the industry, inherently safe. An underground mini-nuke could power a village.
Most nuclear power plants are behemoths, big enough to power a medium-size city. They are also behemoth investments, costing upwards of several billion dollars each to construct. Small wonder then that dozens of small-reactor prototypes are vying for attention in an industry newly energized by nuclear power’s advantages as a low-emission alternative to fossil fuels.

“Small reactors can’t address all the problems standing in the way of more nuclear investment, but they can address the biggest barriers—the economic ones,” says Richard Lester, head of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. Building giant reactors, he points out, isn’t the only way to achieve economies of scale; another way is to mass produce inexpensive mini-nukes. If they’re designed as modules, a single unit might power a remote town or mine, while a dozen used in tandem could match the output of a traditional nuclear plant. In the developing world, small reactors would place less strain on fragile electrical grids. And the ability to start small and gradually add power modules could appeal to cash-strapped utilities everywhere.
None of the new small reactors have been deployed yet. Some, like the one designed by NuScale Power, are light-water reactors that resemble ones long used on warships. Others are more novel. Toshiba and the Japanese Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry are working on a liquid-sodium-cooled “nuclear battery.” Delivered partially assembled and installed underground, the reactor would generate ten megawatts for 30 years until it needed refueling. The isolated Alaska village of Galena is in discussions with Toshiba to become its first customer.

Besides costing less to build, some small reactors could be inherently safer, says Vladimir Kuznetsov of the International Atomic Energy Agency. NuScale’s design requires no reactor cooling pumps, while Toshiba’s pumps are electromagnetic, without moving parts; either approach diminishes the possibility of a disastrous failure. Chinese researchers, meanwhile, are developing a small reactor in which the nuclear reaction itself is self-limiting. In a dramatic 2004 demonstration, they turned off the cooling system; the reaction just burned itself out. With any of the new reactors, of course, there will still be radioactive waste to contend with.

There are 56 reactors under construction in the world today, 19 in China alone. But with energy demand soaring—and the threat of climate change looming—even that much construction will not greatly increase nuclear’s share of the global electricity supply. Small reactors could help, Lester says. “The point is to scale up low-carbon energy sources rapidly. Nuclear has great potential to do this.” If regulators go along, that is. In the U.S., officials say some designs may win certification within five years. More innovative ones may take longer. —Chris Carroll”

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/08/mini-nukes
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/img/big-idea/mini-nukes-graph-660.jpg

March 13th, 2010, 4:38 pm

 

Yossi said:

Ghat,

>>> By asking the question are you implying that you are capable of not keeping your data and staying on top of it in your head?

Unfortunately, yes, I am very capable of NOT staying on top of the relevant data, at least in this field of interest 🙂

March 13th, 2010, 5:27 pm

 

Yossi said:

Amir,

I was not ironic at all in my post to Ghat. You need to start looking at what he brings more carefully rather than dismiss it off hand as anti-Jewish or whatever (how convenient).

About Cyprus. The case of the Orams is very interesting and relevant to Palestine/Israel, but it’s a lot of mess, and the EU human rights court is in conflict with the British courts. At any rate the EU rights court didn’t say that the Greek lost their rights, but they should pursue it with Turkish courts first.

Israel is not a member of the EU so the legal picture is different. Still, I’m sure this case is an inspiration to Palestinians on what they could do to either get their rights in their previous homes or just harass the current residents. For example, suppose you’re an Israeli with dual British citizenship living in a settlement built on private Palestinian land int the West Bank. The Palestinians may be encouraged by the Oram case to bring a case in front of the British court asking them to declare that the British citizen has broken either British or international law.

It will probably not stick, but it will draw attention to the role Western nationals are partaking in the illegal settlement enterprise.

March 13th, 2010, 5:38 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

YOSSI said:

Unfortunately, yes, I am very capable of NOT staying on top of the relevant data, at least in this field of interest

THEN YOU REALLY ARE NOT ” always learning something new from my data.” .And you say you are incapable of staying on top of the relevant data, at least in this field of interest.

A condition such as yours would at the very least merit consideration/treatment by a health professional. Take care of yourself, you hear.

March 13th, 2010, 5:55 pm

 

Nicolas92200 said:

On the nuclear debate, for info, there was a recent dedicated conference in Tunisia attended by Arab the nuclear power authorities, and all outlined their plans for developing nuclear power generation. Only Syria clearly stated that it is NOT pursing this option; very rightly and realistically so.

Syria is focusing on developing the conventional fuel-based and renewable (wind) IPPs; which is the right move, and a move that still has a lot of way to run. The nuclear option is still far from tested in the region, and the most advanced project (the Abu Dhabi project) is still in its infancy, despite the large amount of work already carried out and the press releases, it still is not a sealed deal (let along the other announcements made by the other less wealthy countries in the region). Such projects require years of groundwork preparation on the legal, political and technical angles, let alone the financing to come in support.

I had noted in an earlier post, that there was talk in the market about Syria potentially joining the project in Jordan (2nd “more serious” approach in the region) and obtaining a share of the power outcome via a cross-country cable against Syria investing equity and providing the much needed water requirements for a nuclear project that Jordan does not have (not sure Syria does either but still…). This looks theoretically more realistic, despite the massive political uphill drive to get this through. Ideally, it would look good as part of peace incentive package with the world power’s backing.

The only other option would be for Iran to pass on the nuclear technology to Syria; if it were to happen, then that would be just folly as it would just drive the Syria into a position of confrontation with the entire world (maybe unjustified but this would be the case).

Luckily, there seems to be a good level of common sense within the circles running the power generation projects in Syria and they seem intent on focusing on realistic targets rather than fancy unrealistic schemes.

I do not see where in Mekdad’s statement he says that Syria wants to develop nuclear power.
Josh, frankly, I would rewrite the first phrase in your opening right before the article.

March 13th, 2010, 5:55 pm

 

Nicolas92200 said:

For the sake of clarity:

1-I think nuclear power generation is the right way forward t orespond to the growing energy requirements globally. I do not agree with Elie’s assessment. It remainds me a bit of airlines, they are actually the safest form of travel, yet when an incident occurs it get all the media attention and everyone forgets the real record.

2-My point about the nuclear power projects being fantasy in the arab world is not in any way because I think arabs are not capable of running these at high standards; it’s more related to the massive legal, admin and financing structuring required, and which may not be achievable in all the arab states given important economic and political differences.

March 13th, 2010, 6:12 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Dear Elie

This is long, and I apologize for that.

Your argument against nuclear energy can be broken into two key objections (1) nuclear energy is not 100% safe, nor it will ever be and (2) Arab countries do not have the technological and scientific critical mass to deal with the “inevitable” nuclear accident, and therefore they should forgo any attempt to acquire nuclear energy.

I have no basis to argue against point 1, which is absolutely true, all I can say is that we differ on this point, but I think that the differences are not ideological as much as they are related to the distinction between fear and dread. Many diseases kill, perhaps as high as cancer, but cancer is dreaded because until recently, it has a 100% fatality associated with it, and dread is far stronger than fear. Similarly, the risk, in terms of constant exposure to pollution from thermal power stations, is very high, and we have residents of the mountain villages near Coastal Banyas, who are stuck between a refinery and a thermal power station to attest to the type of problems associated with fossil fuel energy. Over the long run, the damage of thermal power may be similar to that from a small nuclear reactor accident, but we tend to accept it and still dread the possibility of a nuclear accident, which is much less probable. I can not argue against dread, nor would I try to. In fact, i get the “look” from many of my liberal friends who see my strong support of nuclear energy as betrayal. But dread is a well established concept in political science, especially in public health policy studies and there is nothing wrong in dreading.

I am afraid that I can not as easily accept point 2. To me it sounds like saying, if you do not have technology, you should not get technology until you have technology. The inability of KSA or Syria to deal with flood waters is shared by every country on earth. Just recently floods killed tens of people in France and in fact over the past decade, the number of flood fatalities in Europe has risen in comparison to previous decades, despite of all the fabulous infrastructure, excellent weather prediction models, and sophisticated flood forecasting systems.

The role of climate change in enhancing extreme events is being studied and evidences are beginning to mount on that topic. So what really happened. As you said, any mechanical system is bound to fail although failure rate can be cut significantly by strict design standards, as well as by strict adherence to operating procedures. All large civil infrastructures, especially flood protection systems are designed to convey flood waters for an event of certain recurrence period or frequency (probabilistic construct). And the decision on what frequency one can tolerate is strictly financial in terms of cost/risk analysis. In the US, most urban flood drainage facilities are constructed to withstand the 100 years flood, and we use, day in day out, complex statistical analysis of historical observations (although continue to be insufficient), hydrological models, and hydraulic models to attempt to identify two numbers, which are how accurate the magnitude of that event is, and how high would the water be at position x if that event is to occur. Climate change throws all of our previous calculations aside. If precipitation patterns change that design number changes, and there is a possibility that what was a 100 years event, is no more than a 70 years event now. From public perspective, the notion of 100 years event can be greatly misunderstood, many think that being a 100 year event means that the event will not occur until a 100 years from now, in reality however, all what is being said is that the event has a 1% probability of occurring in any given year. A simple back of the envelop calculation (i mean spreadsheet calculation) will reveal that if you live near the 100 years flood-plains, you have a more than 37% probability of having your house flooded at least once during the life-time of a standard 30 years mortgage. Please note in most cases we have much shorter record than a 100 years, and as such any calculation of the magnitude of the 100 or better yet the 500 years flood (required for major structures), is nothing more than a very sophisticated extrapolation rife with uncertainties associated with any extrapolation, and better yet, with any probabilistic analysis, risk assessment being one of them.

I bring this to say that, while I severely fault both the Syrian and Saudi governments for the inadequacy of flood drainage system in the case of Aleppo’s recent flood, and for the utter negligence and complete absence of any facilities in Jedda. At the same time, I would argue that even the most advanced countries on earth are still incapable of bringing 100% safety to their citizens. All they can do is to designate an un-acceptable risk level, and move to protect infrastructures and people from any level higher than that (more frequent events such as the 5,10, 50 … up to 100 years return period), in the case of flood. This is a reality civil engineers live with every day as they design and build drainage capacity for flood control structures. And without these realities, no dam would have ever been built, nor a bridge and no one would have built anything within 20 miles of any major river, or within 2-4 miles of minor ones. But people continue to do so. What you are saying is that with respect to nuclear energy, the only acceptable risk is 0 risk. Now that is a personal dread factor, and the lack of existing technologies should not be used to explain it.

In our modern world, technologies are acquired, and In fact, it can be argued that developing countries who are managing to get out of scientific stagnation can primarily thank their nuclear programs for developing precisely the type of critical mass of science required to operate and manage both their legal and clandestine nuclear facilities. Since the establishment of Iran’s nuclear program, there has been a major (and I am serious in saying major) qualitative and quantitative advancements in Iranian Universities. Nuclear studies are prestigious, they require the development of advanced courses and laboratories in physics and chemistry not to mention high quality study programs in metallurgy, energy, electronics, system engineering, and the list goes on. By the time you get the 1000 or so qualified engineers required to build the program, the process would have resulted in training 100 times as many competent engineers and scientists from elite universities. A university is a living being, and once it acquires an elite status with respect to one or two programs, it strives to extend that status to many others. Excellent mathematics professors start teaching in engineering, you start developing interdisciplinary programs, and the bunch of elite students in elite programs interact with those from others, and by result the intellectual standards of the entire university rise. This is why people continue to pay to bankruptcy to send their kids to MIT, famous for engineering, event if the kid wants to study another non-engineering field. From my own experience I can say that Iran has developed at least 5 elite, national universities, primarily because of its nuclear energy program.

That my friend requires dedicated leadership, and whether I agree with the Mullah’s politics or indoctrination, I would say that they managed to build institutions of higher learning that will train and educated the generations of those who will, and may have already, build Iran scientifically and technologically.

Israel’s nuclear program can also be credited with much of the advancements and positioning of Technion as one of the leading institutes of learning in the world. Scientists who worked in Dimona, had affiliation with Technion as well as with the University of Haifa and with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem-Alquds. They taught engineers who later became the founders and designers in outstanding high tech firms and industry. The sad thing is that in both cases, the two nuclear programs were not civilian and peaceful. One must however reckon with the un-intended consequences.

With the exception of medicine, science seldom advances for altruistic reasons. This is a sad reality, but it is a reality nonetheless.

March 13th, 2010, 6:14 pm

 

jad said:

OTW,
Very convincing argument, on both points that Elie represent, however, I do agree with Elie on both of them.
In case of Syria; corruption, mismanagement and the inability to understand codes. write codes and work with them is our main obstacle along our ‘unique’ way of thinking, so a nuclear plan would be a ‘dread’ disaster if you ask me.
We still have Homs refinery ‘pollution factory’ killing thousands and poisoning everything around it, Tartous cement factory the infamous environmental disaster, the water treatment system that didn’t work in Damascus, polluting water and soil without any clear rules or even cases against those who do that, the using of sewage for watering plants and destroying the soil, unstable damns, under construction building in a prime location still struggling to be finish for 30 years….(where do you want me to stop?)…do you trust putting such dangerous technology in the hands of any person with such lovely history of endless ‘incidents’? it will be ABOU AHMAD Simpsons.

I totaly agree with you about the Iranina universities and students, they are doing outstanding work and I envy them. Iranians are working on their universities and their education, they know what they want, our government doesn’t know and doesn’t want to invest in a sustainable and bright future, they only care about keeping Syrian living in the 60s maybe 70s of the last century and never ever to go forward.

No nuclear for you Abou Ahmad, for your own safety, Sorry buddy 😉

I just remember, all our opinions doesn’t count, only Al Ulamaa can tell us, I’m wondering what is their opinion on Nuclear power, is it Halal or Haram? 🙂

March 13th, 2010, 7:03 pm

 

Alex said:

Nour and Norman,

You know how hard line I am in general, I do not believe Syria needs to compromise on anything, Syria’s vision for a solution to the conflict is perfect as is… legitimate, wise and fair to everyone.

But I disagree with both of you … we need to be more creative in communicating, … that does not mean we will compromise our national rights in anyway.

Granting an interview to Zvi Bar’el or Akiva Eldar would not imply an early recognition of Israel … we already talked to borderline Israeli journalists, like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

March 13th, 2010, 7:13 pm

 

Yossi said:

Ghat,

Thanks for the advice. You know what they say: self-awareness to ones condition is always the first step towards rehabilitation.

🙂

March 13th, 2010, 7:16 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex, Norman, Nour,

I’m sorry to be the only “court idiot” here, but you guys are debating whether an interview by a respectable Israeli journalist is considered “recognition of Israel”, while your own leadership decided long ago that meeting face-to-face with the Prime Minister of Israel (Ehud Barak), twice, isn’t a problem.

And, unlike your buddy Nejjad, your own leaders have long ago stopped referring to Israel as the “Zionist Entity”, and actually do call us by our name. I don’t think a “recognition” is any longer a relevant matter.

Again, I refer us all to two other bitter-enemies (no less than Israel and Syria), called India and Pakistan. And though they have yet to make Peace, both have established various forms of communication, including (and especially) ones between their people. There are cultural exchanges, interviews, etc.

I think we can and should learn from them.

(Alex, btw, I’m not at all sure that there is a “Peace Camp” in Israel at the moment. If there is, it is deep in winter hibernation.)

March 13th, 2010, 8:41 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Dear Jad
You are absolutely right, and I have no option but to agree with you as well as with Elie on the need for education and above all commitment to the welfare of the nation and of its people. This is why I said that such program requires dedicated leadership, which I am afraid is not as demonstrable in Syria’s case at various levels.

Abu Ahmad Simpson is a scary concept, or better yet “dreadful”. But you know, I keep asking, can a man dream? Homer does that, even at work, at least I am dreaming from the leisure of my home, not in front of the control panel of a reactor 🙂 at least not yet !!!

March 13th, 2010, 8:52 pm

 

norman said:

Shai,
CC , Alex, Nour ,

You are making our case , and what did that get Syria, NOTHING , Syria has to find another way ,and Israel should help that before Syria does ,

What did communications get Pakistan and India , are they at peace , NO

March 13th, 2010, 8:54 pm

 

Shai said:

Norman,

Perhaps one of the reasons India and Pakistan haven’t blasted each other to Heaven already with their nuclear weapons, is precisely because of communication! There is hope in those two countries, and I want to give that to my people, by opening up their eyes. Hatred and suspicion are created and nurtured through ignorance (and self-interested politicians…) We need the counter-weight.

Otherwise we are truly at the mercy of corrupt politicians, and possibly heading towards war.

March 13th, 2010, 9:15 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai

I said “early” recognition… the proper “official recognition” is one of the main things that Syria will give back in exchange for Israel’s decision to return the Golan Heights to Syria.

Just like in Israel you know that you have to return the Golan and the other 1967 Arab occupied territories, we in Syria know that we have to recognize Israel

But it takes place simultaneously.

March 13th, 2010, 9:20 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

An op. about the Biden visit to the ME and the subsequent rebuffs by Bibi and friends.

The main obvious cause is due to reports that suggest that top U.S. commanders in the Persian Gulf are in favor of dialoguing with Tehran. US. Adm. Mullen is on record supporting military-to-military dialogue. Neither the U.S. nor Iran can afford to allow an avoidable incident at sea to spin out of control or overlook the socalled “mad dog in the region” ( a reference first made by an Israeli General that Israel should project a mad dog image) to put fear in potential rivals.

Since the US will not attack Iran as the neocon/likudniks demand then Israel will not bow to US pressures to any kind of peace deliberations with neither the Palestenians, Syrians or any one else for that matter.

The one fly in the ointment as far as israel is concerned what would happen if the decision is made by individuals who carry multiple passsports to get rid of the “mad dog in the region”.

With such a probable scenario in the making and for the foreseeable future all those parties that feel it necessary to pursue their peaceful objectives must not address or contact any Israel officials.

Their attitude should be “been there and done that too many times”.

Leaning in support of NORMAN comments/suggestions above.

March 13th, 2010, 9:28 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

AP
None of these pro-Israeli Christians is going to pack Semtex into suicide vests, sneak onto a commercial airliner with explosive underwear

may be not yet, but they have been sending cash to zealot settlers to buy Semtex and Uzies and blow Arab trees and homes or cement to plug a freshwater spring under protection from the IDF, terrorism is terrorism whether practiced by Aaron and his gang, or by Ahmad and his vest.

And before you ask for a link, HERE IT IS

March 13th, 2010, 10:20 pm

 

Nour said:

Alex,

“Israel” is an illegitimate entity by its very nature. It is founded on the usurpation of our land and the killing, disposession, and ethnic cleansing of our people. It is an inherently racist, cancerous entity that no self-respecting nation would recognize on its own land. How many nations do you know that would be perfectly fine with a group of people taking their land, forcefully evicting its people, and building in their stead a racially/ethnically exclusive entity. Therefore, we, as a living, vibrant nation, should never surrender our natural, inalienable national right to live freely on every inch of our territory. Otherwise, we would set a precedent that we recognize the right of foreign groups to occupy our land and disposess our people.

As for Wolf Blitzer, while he may very well be an “Israeli” for all practical purposes, accepting an interview with him is done so within his capacity as a reporter for an American institution, not an “Israeli” one. And thus talking to him does not amount to a recognition of anyone’s right to replace our people on our land and become citizens of their own exclusive entity there. On the other hand, receiving “Israeli” journalists or reporters working for “Israeli” media outlets does amount to such recognition because it gives credibility to news sources working as institutions that are part of the usurping entity. And our goal should always be the liberation of every single inch of our territory and the refusal to recognize the right of anyone to violate our national rights.

March 13th, 2010, 10:23 pm

 

norman said:

Alex, I like your suggestion and if Israel agrees , Syria will help Israel solve it’s Palestinian problem , ,

Shai,

Two things ,
one , Israel should change from being a Jewish state to a Hebrew state which will give Israel the color of non religious state ,and will make it easier for the Palestinians to become Israeli,

Second , you always talk about the Israeli public knowing the Arabs and the Syrians and their thoughts , you do not have to go far , just look at your Palestinian Arab neighbors and treat them well , let their kids go to as good schools as the other Israeli , let them live anywhere they want as Jews living in the US , with the treatment that you treat the Palestinians it is hard to believe that they would want to be Israeli ,Treat them well in the West Bank, Gaza , and in Israel then be concern if they do not treat you the same ,

March 13th, 2010, 10:35 pm

 

Shai said:

Driving Drunk in Jerusalem

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/opinion/14friedman.html

We said before that the Palestinians could not have hoped for a better Israeli Foreign Minister than Lieberman. Now they’ve got the best Israeli Prime Minister. Netanyahu is, so far, making every mistake possible. It’s only a question of time before Obama-Clinton make Bush-Baker seem like kids’ play.

At this rate, Peres will have to again reside himself in some French Ministry in Paris, as he did in the late 50’s/early 60’s, hoping France would take us under its wing. Even Jewish Congressmen are already getting tired of these games. We keep this up, and the U.S. will remind Israel that it is about the size of… New Jersey. Not China!

March 14th, 2010, 2:28 pm

 

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