The Hariri Tribunal and Hizbullah; Syria Loves Turkey

Joshua Landis will be traveling for two weeks. He will leave SC in the capable hands of Alex.

Lebanese PM calms fears over naming Hizbollah in Hariri inquiry
Mitchell Prothero, Foreign Correspondent
July 24. 2010

Hasan Nasrallah has refused to discuss Hizbollah’s response if some of its members are indicted in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. Wael Hamzeh / EPA

BEIRUT // The potential indictment of Hizbollah members by an international tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri will not cause widespread civil unrest in Lebanon, the current prime minister and son of the slain leader has said.

Saad Hariri, in an interview published yesterday in the daily Al Hayat, also said any named suspects that may be members of Hizbollah will be regarded as rogue elements of the Shia militant group.

Mr Hariri made the statements in an effort to reassure the country that any indictments of Hizbollah members by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would not lead to a return of sectarian violence between Sunni supporters of the Hariri family and the mostly Shiite supporters of Hizbollah.

The prime minister was said to have informed the Hizbollah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, during a meeting in May that the indictments – expected later this year – would include several members of the Shiite militant group….

“Mr Nasrallah called the indictments “a dangerous plot that is targeting the resistance”.

“We are not at all afraid, nor are we worried. We know how to defend ourselves,” he added.

Mr Nasrallah, who spoke for about an hour and answered several questions, refused to discuss how Hizbollah will react should the indictments be issued….. “As long as the probe does not look into the possibility that Israel is implicated, we believe it is biased,” he said. “Never has the investigation considered the hypothesis that Israel had the means and the motive” to assassinate Hariri…..

Mr Nasrallah used his press conference to imply that the March 14 movement has been duped by the United States and Israel into an overreaction to Hariri’s murder. He called on the movement to re-evaluate its positions now that it seems certain, he said, that Syria will not be directly accused in Hariri’s murder….

Special Tribunal of Lebanon and the Rafiq al-Hariri Investigation

Nick Noe on Elias Muhanna in Mideastwire/ here (via FLC)

“I agree with Qifa Nabki (aka Elias Muhanna) that this is probably the most important speech by HN in the last year – although if there is indeed war in the coming months then I would say HN’s articulation of how they view the coming conflict may have been more important…. But in any case, I would take issue with the key statement by QN
“…There is no desire anywhere — except among certain politicians in the Kata’ib and Lebanese Forces — to use the STL as a battering ram against Syria or its allies in Lebanon.”

You can see Nasrallah’s speech on UTube here.

Here are links to related articles – Washington Post, and al-Arabiyya and al- Jazeera

T_Desco writes:

The sectarian danger presented by the investigation is greater than some people, such as Elias Muhanna, seem to realize: the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indictments will not put pressure only on Saad Hariri. Read the following excerpts which suggest that there is evidence of a connection between the Hariri murder and the other killings.

SPIEGEL (Follath): “And, once again, there was evidence of involvement by the Hezbollah commando unit, just as there has been in each of more than a dozen attacks against prominent Lebanese in the last four years.”

UN 8 (Brammertz): 78. In addition (…) the Commission’s findings suggest that there may be a link between the group claiming responsibility for the Hariri killing and the group that claimed responsibility for the attacks on Samir Kassir, Gebran Tueni and Pierre Gemayel.

81. Communications analysis conducted so far has helped confirm the Commission’s hypothesis that a number of individuals may be relevant to the Hariri case and one or more of the other cases.

UN 10 (Bellemare): “25. The Commission can now confirm, on the basis of available evidence, that a network of individuals acted in concert to carry out the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and that this criminal network, the “Hariri network”, or parts thereof, are linked to some of the other cases within the Commission’s mandate.”

(T_desco’s emphasis)

In short, Shi’ites are seen targeting leaders off all other sects. Will this lead to an additional motive being suggested for these attacks, i.e. 1. revenge on behalf of Syria: 2. stirring up sectarian tensions to ignite a civil war?

– STL may be adopting a ‘lobster cooking’ strategy (first indicting 3, then 20, then…?), expecting Hizbullah to sit still while the heat is being turned on
– the ‘rogue elements’ theory is obviously absurd
– final indictments could still target leadership
– or, they could point to an  ‘International Hezbollah’ i.e. (Mughniyah)
– or even Revolutionary Guards and Iran.

– expect new Siddiqs!

– the ‘findings’ will be based on more than just communication analysis
– e.g. the link between phones and ‘secret’ commando unit has to be human intelligence
– witnesses could identify the person who bought the 8 phone cards (Ghamlush)
– or the 2 persons who bought the van, etc.

– as a result the indictment will be convincing for March 14, Hariri, the Western media, etc.

Syrians are flocking to the Turkish city of Gaziantep for its Western goods, including at the Sanko Park mall.

Syrians’ New Ardor for a Turkey Looking Eastward
By DAN BILEFSKY, July 24, 2010

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Well-heeled Syrians had already been coming to this ancient industrial city, drawn here by Louis Vuitton purses and storefront signs in Arabic. But local shop owners say Israel’s deadly raid on a Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza in May has solidified an already blossoming friendship between Syria and Turkey, the new hero of the Muslim world.

“People in Syria love Turkey because the country supports the Arab world, and they are fellow Muslims,” Zakria Shavek, 37, a driver for a Syrian transport company based in Gaziantep, said as he deposited a family of newly arrived shoppers from Aleppo, which competes with Damascus for the title of Syria’s largest city and is about a two-hour drive from here. “Our enemy in the world is Israel, so we also like Turkey because our enemy’s enemy is our friend.”

The monthly pilgrimages of tens of thousands of Syrians to this southeastern Turkish city — which intensified after the two countries removed visa requirements last September — are just the latest manifestation of the growing ties between Turkey and Syria, part of the Turkish government’s efforts to reach out to its neighbors by using economic and cultural links to help it become a regional leader.

Turkey’s shift toward the Muslim world — from the recent clash with Israel to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s description of Iran’s nuclear program as peaceful — has prompted concerns in the United States and Europe that Turkey, an important NATO ally, is turning its back on the West.

But in Turkey, where 70 percent of all exports go to Europe, businesspeople insist that the government’s policy of cultivating friendly ties with all neighbors reflects a canny and very Western capitalist impulse to offset dependence on stagnating European markets while cementing Turkey’s position as a vital economic and political bridge between east and west.

Indeed, most Arab states, including Syria, enthusiastically support Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, viewing Turkey as a vital intermediary to Western markets that might otherwise be off limits. At the political level, Turkey’s influence in the Middle East is also deeply enhanced by its strong Western ties — a fact recognized by Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, who shocked many in the Turkish capital this month by warning that the latest crisis between Israel and Turkey could undermine Ankara’s role as a mediator in the region.

Only 10 years ago, relations between Syria and Turkey were strained, with Turkey accusing Syria of sheltering Kurdish separatists and Syria lashing out at Turkey over water and territorial disputes. Syrians also harbored historical resentments of Ottoman subjugation, while many secular Turks, defined by the Western orientation of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, saw Syria as autocratic and backward.

With the recent elimination of border restrictions, however, Turkish exports of everything from tea to textiles to diapers are booming, along with a newfound ardor.

“Today, Arab countries that once resented us want to be like us, even if they are looking to Turks more than we are looking to them,” said Emin Berk, a Turk who is coordinator of the Turkey-Syria Trade Office here.

Trade between Turkey and Syria more than doubled from $795 million in 2006 to $1.6 billion in 2009, and is expected to reach $5 billion in the next three years. Last year the Middle East received nearly 20 percent of Turkey’s exports, about $19.2 billion worth of goods, compared with 12.5 percent in 2004. In Iran, Turkish companies are making products including fertilizer and sanitary products for women. Iran, in turn, is an important source of energy to Turkey.

Here in Gaziantep — whose past is so intertwined with Syria’s that it was part of Aleppo Province during the Ottoman Empire — the signs of the new honeymoon between Turkey and Syria are everywhere.

Every Friday, several thousand Syrians descend on the center of town. Lured by bargains and Western brands, most head immediately to the Sanko Park shopping mall, the largest in town, where their lavish shopping sprees have made them coveted customers. In the city’s bazaars, pistachio vendors summon passers-by in Arabic, while Arabic courses for Turkish businessmen are flourishing. Marriages between Turks and Syrians have become more common.

In Syria, meanwhile, where the alliance with secular Turkey represents a move away from its courtship with Iran, Turkey’s blend of conservative Islam and cosmopolitan democracy is increasingly viewed as a model in the younger generation. Turkish soap operas and films are attaining cult status, while “Made in Turkey” labels near the cachet of Paris or Milan.

On a recent day at the gleaming Sanko Park mall, Mays al-Hindawi Bayrak, a chic 27-year-old Syrian who was buying a Pierre Cardin shirt for her Turkish husband, observed that for Syrians, Turkey had become synonymous with European modernity. After Turkey recently lashed out at Israel, she said, her 21-year-old brother told the family he wanted to apply for Turkish citizenship.

“In the past, many Turks thought that all Arab women wear burqas and that all the men drive camels to work,” she said. “Now, we are getting to know each other better.”

Turkish businesspeople here say that regardless of whether the governing party’s politics is driving economics or the other way around, what matters is that the new openness to the east is enhancing the bottom line.

Cengiz Akinal, managing director of Akinal Bella, a large shoe manufacturer, said that the Islamic-inspired politics of the governing Justice and Development Party had helped ease relations with Arabic clients. The company, which exports a majority of its shoes to Europe, increased its exports to Syria by 40 percent last year.

Mr. Akinal, whose ancestors imported leather from Syria during the Ottoman Empire and produced shoes for the sultans, recently shifted part of the company’s manufacturing to Aleppo and Damascus, where monthly wages are about half those of Turkey. But he said Syria was still decades behind Turkey when it came to quality standards and technical know-how.

“Turkey may be 15 years behind Europe, but Syria is still 30 years behind Turkey,” he said.

Indeed, businesspeople say the shift toward the Middle East is forcing them to change the way they do business after decades of trying to cultivate Western European attitudes. Mr. Akinal noted, for example, that negotiations with Arabic corporate clients over price were reminiscent of a Middle Eastern bazaar rather than a boardroom.

“With Europeans, you can have a deal in a half an hour,” he said. “With Syrians, I sometimes spend the whole day bargaining.”

While most people here welcome the Syrian invasion, some Turks complained that the Syrians were pushing up the prices of everything from hotels to designer dresses. Others lamented that Syrians’ religious conservatism was out of place in secular Turkey.

“We are more liberal than they are, and it can sometimes be uncomfortable when the women arrive covered from head to toe and the men leer at you,” said Deniz, a Turkish teenager in ripped jeans and a T-shirt, who declined to give her last name for fear of antagonizing her Syrian boss.

Comments (70)

Jihad said:

Really how pathetic some people can be and how disconnected from day-to-day reality, from real people and from real life. Two of them went to Beirut to booze and schmooze in bars for only 48hrs and upon their return could not contain themselves. Lebanon is way ahead and Syria is way behind. In what regards? Both who went to Kaslik because it is one of the sleaziest areas in Beirut want Syria to be like that and to be like downtown Beirut which was privatized by Rafic Hariri for his own benefit in 1992 through the Solidère scheme pushing people out of it and hiking prices to an unimaginable level (25.000 US$ per square meter) in a country where the minimum wage is close to 300$ per month. Do these two Indiana Jones think that this is what is best for Syria and above all for the vast majority of Syrians? It is a shame what a few mls of beer and whiskey and passing by close to naked females can do to some people’s mind.

July 25th, 2010, 1:39 pm


Norman said:

This will explain what happened in the last 10 years between Syria and the West ,at last some common sense

Syria and the west: another wasted decade Ten years of bullying has failed. If the west wants a more peaceful, democratic Middle East it must be friendlier to Syria

Chris Phillips, Sunday 25 July 2010 16.00 BST larger | smaller Article history As Bashar al-Assad celebrated his 10Th year as president of Syria earlier this month, Human Rights Watch marked the occasion with a commendable report on the continued human rights abuses and anti-democratic nature of his regime. The report describes Assad’s reign thus-far as a “wasted decade”, with the 44-year-old eye doctor disappointing many by entrenching authoritarian rule rather than promoting greater political openness.

While these domestic failures should not be excused, they should not be viewed in isolation since they are closely related to the other major disappointment of Bashar’s first decade in power: Syria’s bumpy relationship with the west.

External threats have long provided the Ba’ath regime with a pretext for repression at home, and the past decade has seen no shortage of those. The invasions of Iraq in 2003 and Lebanon in 2006, followed by sectarian violence in both, as well as direct attacks on Syrian territory by Israel in 2007 and the US in 2008 have provided Assad with an arsenal of evidence to support his regime’s claim that it provides citizens with stability and safety in a rough neighbourhood.

Islamists, intellectuals and political dissidents are often arrested on charges of “weakening national sentiment” and other threats to this coveted stability. While Human Rights Watch correctly highlights that “a review of Syria’s record shows a consistent policy of repressing dissent regardless of international or regional pressures”, repression is still justified by the regime as part of a wider nationalist narrative of Syria constantly under threat from Israel, the US and its allies.

Western behaviour towards Syria in the past decade has only exacerbated this view. Despite initial intelligence co-operation between Washington and Damascus after 9/11, Syria’s opposition to the Iraq war placed it on a collision course with the Bush administration. With economic sanctions following, the withdrawal of the US ambassador from Damascus after the Hariri assassination in 2005, a cross-border raid by American marines in 2008 and the White House actually opposing indirect Israeli-Syrian peace talks in 2007-8, it was not difficult to paint the Bush administration as a genuine national threat.

While relations have warmed a little under Obama, sanctions have been renewed and, though the White House has named a new ambassador, the Senate has thus far refused to confirm the nomination. Despite Obama’s initial positive rhetoric, from the Syrian perspective the new president’s inability to stand up to pro-Israeli elements on Capitol Hill and his inertia on the Israeli-Arab peace process means little has changed. While the US is no longer the immediate enemy it was under Bush, Obama shows no sign of being able to restrain the hawkish Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, whose threats to Assad have further served to justify Syria’s tight security regime.

The EU’s approach to Syria has done little to balance the US’s confrontational stance in the past decade. Though European states resisted Bush’s request to implement their own economic sanctions on Syria, they did join in a diplomatic boycott for several years after Assad’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005, and suspended Syria’s accession to the Euro-Med Partnership (EMP) in 2004. Although the boycott was eventually broken by French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, and an EMP Association Agreement was revived the following year, Syria seems not wholly convinced of European intentions.

EU members seem to hold Syria to a higher standard than they do its neighbours. Britain and France inserted a line in the 2004 draft Association Agreement requiring Syria to renounce weapons of mass destruction – a condition they had not demanded of Israel when it joined the EMP in 2000. Though this clause was eventually removed in the 2009 version, a new human rights “break clause” was added, not required of other EMP members with similarly poor records such as Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. Not surprisingly, Syria remains suspicious of this new agreement and has yet to sign it.

Syria therefore feels unfairly victimised by the west and Assad is likely to continue to exploit this to bolster his domestic support while simultaneously justifying curbed freedoms. Having survived the Bush onslaught, Assad is visibly more confident: securing his position at home and reaching out for new allies abroad (notably his ever-closer ties to Erdogan’s Turkey). The US and EU, in contrast, look weak and less and less able to influence the region as they focus on internal problems.

The question for these western states is whether their antagonistic approach towards Syria has achieved any of the US and EU’s professed goals. After a decade of dithering, the region is no more stable, Israel is no safer and Syria no more democratic or free than it was when Bashar took over in 2000. The last 10 years have shown that none of these aims can be achieved by bullying, threatening or ignoring Syria. Full engagement on an equal footing would seem the best way to avoid wasting another decade.

July 25th, 2010, 9:59 pm


Alex said:

I have a different issue with the “Beirut is more advanced than Damascus” argument.

Lebanon (which has 1/5 the population of Syria), is in debt … over $50 billions to be exact. Those wonderful constructions projects were quite expensive. Was it wise to spend that much using borrowed money?

Having said that, Beirut is more of a Mediterranean city and in general, it already had nicer architecture than Damascus. Being situated by the sea does not hurt either. Although, nothing beats old Damascus or old Aleppo : )

July 26th, 2010, 1:57 am


annie said:

Of course Damascus beats Beirut in every way : its magic, its friendly people who will go out of their way to help the foreigner even if he is from the West. Its architecture, the food; of course the Barada does not compare to the Corniche. So what ! One gets addicted to Damascus so fast; it never happend with Beirut.

July 26th, 2010, 2:38 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

First to all those proclaiming their admiration and praise for Dr. Elhadj, a challenge.

” Is your community, state, country devoid of religious schools?”

If not then what steps or actions have you taken to rectify, improve their status of teaching? One should take care of ones house before undertaling the remodeling of some one else”s.

Incidentally has anyone ever wondered why the UN was not brought in to investigate the assassinations of Count Bernadotte, John Kennedy, Anwar Sadat or Yitzhak Rabin
as they have been brought in to investigate the assassination of Mr. Hariri?

July 26th, 2010, 7:44 am


idaf said:

Hassan Nasrallah has a plan. He gave a second speech yesterday as well, during the graduating ceremony for “martyrs sons and daughters”, where touching stories of the graduation of 280 young Lebanese men and women whose fathers (and in many cases grandfathers as well) have been killed by Israel wars in Lebanon.

Nasrallah said that he’s going to be releasing “shocking” information on the tribunal in the next few weeks in his upcoming two speeches (next speech is delayed to August 3 instead of July 31 “under the request of the Lebanese President, due to VIP visits that day”, implying the visits by Saudi, Syrian and Qatari heads of states next week). He’s releasing the information on stages because “releasing them all at once may destabilize the Lebanese society”. Technically, HA will be following the same methodology followed by Syria in the past 5 years with regards to resisting the politicization of the tribunal and its use as a defamation tool against it.

Here’s a brief from PressTV summarizing the past two speeches by Hassan Nasrallah:

Recent remarks by Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah, on possible involvement of several Hezbollah members in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005 have drawn reactions and posed questions.

When Hariri lost his life in a massive explosion, the Bush administration immediately recalled the US ambassador to Damascus. The swift reaction meant the White House was implicitly pointing the finger at Syria while no probe had been conducted yet and not one had been officially accused.

The tactic continued in the following years and Syria was regarded as the prime suspect in later assassinations. The March 14 Alliance backed by the Western governments as well as certain Arab states spared no effort to put maximum pressure on Syria through that strategy. The withdrawal of the Syrian military in the wake of the assassination paved the way for the alliance to easily press ahead with its propaganda campaign against Damascus and go one step further to implicate Syria’s allies in Lebanon and the whole region as well.

The first investigative report on Hariri’s slaying began with a meeting between Hariri and the Syrian president. Syrian authorities would ask why the report should begin with the name of their president? And did that mean the inquiry had been politicized? Moreover, four senior Lebanese military and security officials were apprehended without charge shortly after, and were released three years and eight months later without any explanation.

Now Nasrallah and Michel Aoun, the Lebanese Christian majority leader, say the court looking into Hariri’s assassination has politicized the issue.
The Hezbollah chief says he has been told by Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri that the court will soon accuse several ‘rogue’ members of Hezbollah in his father’s assassination.

Sources close to the Lebanese prime minister say he has brought up a number of possible scenarios with Nasrallah, including the possibility of a missile attack on Rafiq Hariri’s convoy, which singles out Israel as the prime suspect. Leader of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblat, from the very outset, repeatedly referred to possible Israeli involvement in the assassination although he was with the March 14 Alliance at the time.

The court investigating Hariri’s case is an international court which naturally wouldn’t offer information to real entities before it is officially published. Then how on earth Saad Hariri knows that charges against several Hezbollah members are likely to be announced next fall? Either the judge studying the case, or someone in his office, must have given him the information. Another possible scenario is that the Lebanese premier might have found out for himself during his trips to the United States and France. Whatever the means, the end is the same: gaining access to a court verdict without legal permission.

Saad Harir’s comments to Nasrallah indicate the court proceedings are not confidential. And worse, Israeli Army chief Gabi Ashkenazi had even announced before Saad Hariri that the court would announce its ruling in September. This comes as the investigation is not over yet, and some Hezbollah members are to be subpoenaed as witnesses after the holy month of Ramadan. That’s why Nasrallah says the court verdict has already been issued, but its announcement has been delayed due to political considerations.

When Judge Detlev Mehlis was appointed chief UN investigator into Hriri’s assassination, his assistant Gerhard Lehmann asked top Lebanese officer Sayyed Jamil to convey a verbal message to the Syrian president regarding the responsibility of certain rogue Syrian officers in Hariri’s slaying. In other words, Jamil had to sacrifice several people or he himself would be arrested.

Jamil refused to accept the deal, and was taken into custody three months later on Mehlis’s orders. He remained behind bars for nearly four years. Mehlis’s probe was based on the premise that Syria and four senior Lebanese officers were behind Hriri’s assassination. However, the inquiry produced no result. Now, they are trying to make out that Hezbollah is responsible for the current probe.

Even the assumption that ‘rogue’ Hezbollah members were involved in Hriri’s assassination has significant implications. That would lead the US and other Western governments to accuse the resistance movement of terrorism and, hence, to try to strip Hezbollah of its ‘self-defense’ epithet against Israel. Nonetheless, resistance against occupiers is a legitimate practice in all international charters. Moreover, Hezbollah has turned into a role model for freedom-seeking movements.

Unofficial reports suggest charges brought against several Hezbollah members were triggered by the fact that they were talking on their cell phones when Hriri was slain. Three Israeli spies have recently been arrested in Lebanon’s mobile telephone network. They not only provided Tel Aviv with cell phone conversations, but also made up conversations. Fake conversations are not considered valid evidence in any court.

There is yet another scenario. Some are of the conviction that the talk of possible Hezbollah involvement in Hriri’s assassination before the court hands down its ruling later this year could generate a lot of debate in the Lebanese society by then. This, they argue, will turn the saga into an ordinary issue, which, in turn, could prevent domestic problems.

July 26th, 2010, 9:24 am


t_desco said:

Correction! I really should have expressed myself more clearly.
I meant “additional” motive in the sense of “one more”, “another possibility”, an alternative, not a complementary motive. So the following sentence is wrong:

“Will this lead to an additional motive being suggested for these attacks, i.e. 1. revenge on behalf of Syria: 2. stirring up sectarian tensions to ignite a civil war?”

Why were all these anti-Syrian politicians and journalists targeted? The most obvious motive would be ‘revenge’ either by or on behalf of Syria (e.g. if Hizbullah is accused, but not Syria).
However, what I meant to say is that now, taking into account the effect an STL indictment of Hizbullah for several or all of these attacks would have, we can identify a second possible motive, i.e. “stirring up sectarian tensions to ignite a civil war”. And there is even a third possible motive, complementary to the second but mutually exclusive with the first motive: creating pressure to get an UN investigation in place (and later the STL).

July 26th, 2010, 9:32 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

israel assassinated rh. the two mouths shouting loudest implicating syria, even before hariri’s body parts had returned to earth, were israel and its puppet, usa. both involved in the murder.

July 26th, 2010, 12:48 pm


t_desco said:

So Faisal Akbar testified that the Mitsubishi van was bought in Tripoli (a fact confirmed months later by the investigation), but the UN commission never bothered to look into this or to investigate the circumstances of his original testimony?

Regarding the hypothesis of Israeli involvement: as in the case of Syria one would have to show how they managed to manipulate the group behind the attack (the suicide bomber, Adas…).

I still prefer the theory that Sunni extremists (who happened to have a very personal motive) acted on their own, but that this presented a golden opportunity for Israel (and Western countries) to first put the blame on Syria and then on Hizbullah (and perhaps even Iran).

July 27th, 2010, 9:18 am


Danny said:

Lebanon has $50 billion in debt?

How much does Syria have in debt?

July 27th, 2010, 9:30 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

The fascination with the Harriri assassination can only be resolved if WikiLeaks puts out the facts.

In fact WikiLeaks can do a great service for all if they were to put out the facts on who was behind Princess Diana and her boy friend in the one and only car crash to occur in that particular tunnel in Paris.

Obviously Hezballah sticks in the craws of many a UN as well as
Western entity. Without belaboring or minimizing assassinations it seems quite irrelevant to the UN who is murdering Aghan men, women and children on a daily basis or for that matter the 500,000 Iraqi children that Ms. Allbright as Secretary of State of the US felt needed to die as justification for a regime change.

July 27th, 2010, 11:19 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

israel and usa involved. not syria. not hezbullah.

“Then in a psyops setup reminiscent of the Pentagon’s Al Qaeda cutout Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, (who terrorized the length and breadth of Iraq with a wooden leg), several UN reports feature a ‘Zarqawi-inspired’ suicide car bomber, Ahmed Abu Adass as the killer. ‘Martyr’ Adass’s video confession debuted on Al Jazeera Bin Laden-style, with all the requisite hoopla. But according to Reuters and ABC News, the “Syrian-coerced” car bomber had never learned how to drive.”

excerpted from:

February 8, 2007

Cakewalks, Forgeries and Smoking Guns
The Salvador Option in Beirut

July 27th, 2010, 11:51 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

wikileaks is probably being used to bring greater conflict against pakistan – another of israel’s hated to complement israel’s hatred of iran.

July 27th, 2010, 11:54 am


majedkhaldoun said:

It seems that Hassan Nasrallah is nervous.
I do not believe the idea that Sunneh people killed Rafiq Hariri,and they killed all 14 of march victims
I found it hard to believe that Daniel Bellmare told Saad Harriri anything yet.
I think the country implicated still directly,or indirectly responsible for this is too early to exonerate it.

July 27th, 2010, 11:59 am


almasri said:

I agree Nasrallah is nervous and is using the soul of every martyr to justify his dormant resistance. It looks like he has the following options:

1) Bring down the government politically by withdrawing his ministers and possibly his allies ministers. Hariri will be in very awkward position to continue as PM with his father’s potential ‘killers’ sitting across the table from him. He recently chose to replace Seniora as head of his party. He was declared the only candidate for the job. Is it his plan B? I.e. expose his father’s ‘killers’ and sit and watch a new dynamic taking shape? Who would be interested in the job of PM if there was a shred of evidence HA was behind the killing? Or more precisely which Sunni figure would be interested in heading a government with HA ministers in it? More polarization unless HA willingly choses not to participate in the government and remains behind the scene with a Sunni PM supporting it silently. That could lead to more polarization in the Arab world and KSA/Syria rapproachment may be put on hold.
2) Try another May 7 which may backfire.
3) Create an excuse for Israel to attack him (Lebanon) in order to reclaim the past ‘glories’ of resistance.

Interestingly, he (Nasrallah) obliged to the President’s request to postpone his campaign against the tribunal for few days due to some VIP’s arriving in Beirut this week. Also interestingly, minister al-Hussein (President Bloc) declared commitment to the STL. That means more polarization within Lebanon and particularly within the Christian constituency as Aoun will find it an opportunity to realize certain ‘dreams’. Pity the country and its people.

Watch and judge for yourself latest Nasrallah speech – the complete set,

July 27th, 2010, 12:46 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

@13, I think the country implicated still directly,or indirectly responsible for this is too early to exonerate it.

which country? if you refer to syria, syria should never have been implicated. criminals point their fingers to the innocent and fabricate falsehoods. many fabrications against syria which indicates a setup by the actual criminals.

July 27th, 2010, 1:20 pm


Alex said:


I still do not think the investigation will be able to find out who really ordered the assassination. They might be able to find those who carried it out, they might even be able to find who directed them or who financed them. But unless the semi-chaotic “Al-Qaeda” types were indeed the ones who wanted to finish Hariri (your hypothesis, which is a reasonable one), any other party that can benefit from such an assassination probably made sure to not directly get involved in the process and to manage it instead through layers of agents.

You wrote “Regarding the hypothesis of Israeli involvement: as in the case of Syria one would have to show how they managed to manipulate the group behind the attack (the suicide bomber, Adas…).”

If we look at the possibility that Israel or its neocon allies were behind the assassination, then to answer your question, consider this part of Al-Akhbar’s article you linked to:

وعندما انقضّت الدورية على طارق، اتجه محقق صوب هذا الرجل وأوقفه، قبل أن يصل رئيس الدورية ليسأله عما يفعله في هذا المكان. فأجاب نبعة بأنه في طريقه إلى منزله. وقدم هويته باسم مزور، وعلى أساس أنه مهندس لبناني، تبين لاحقاً أنه استشهد في العراق. وعند تفتيشه، عثر معه على بخاخ من الغاز الذي قال إنه يستخدمه للدفاع عن النفس. لكنه لم ينتبه إلى أن مصدر الإنتاج هو قوات حلف شمالي الأطلسي

It is no secret that Israel has an elaborate and extensive intelligence operation going in Northern Iraq’s Kurdish areas. They have very good relations with many Kurds who speak Arabic and who can infiltrate the Iraqi “Al-Qaeda” types. The same can be said about Bush administration affiliated neocons, “security experts” etc …

They can plan it and manage it … they can send an agent who acts like he is working for some rich and powerful good Muslim businessman and that agent can help “Al_Qaeda” types in many ways … help them get more angry at Hariri (show them “proof” that Hariri was selling out to the Americans and Israelis, or even to Iran, for example… ) .. then help them plan the operation and help them buy that Mitsubishi and ship it to Dubai then to Tripoli …

And if it is true that the investigation has a different version of the above scenario, using a set of Hezbollah affiliated young men, then it is still the same template, substitute Shias for Sunnis, Hezbollah for Al_Qaeda … all used by the real planners of the assassination through multiple layers of agents in a way that guarantees the investigation will never catch the real party behind the assassination.

Israel already arranged the Hindawi affair in order to implicate Syria in a very unpopular terrorist act )trying to bomb adn El-Al plane full of civilian passengers) and it worked out so well for Israel and the reagan administration when Europe finally joined the US in boycotting Syria in the mid 80’s … just like Europe (and specifically France) joined the Bush administration’s boycott of Syria after Syria was accused of the Hariri murder in the mid-noughties (2005)

Israel and the neocons are the top suspects, regardless of who the young men who carried the actual operation thought they were working for and regardless of what motivated them to assassinate Hariri.

July 27th, 2010, 2:07 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The Harriri assassination
Has anyone thought about the cost of carrying out such an endeavor.I think it probably at least over 10 million dollar, I wonder about the real cost, planning ,buying equipments ,and paying people to do it,include the intelligence that help doing it.

July 27th, 2010, 3:34 pm


t_desco said:

Of course, Alex. My point was not to deny the possibility of manipulation, but rather that in court one would have to show that it was done and by whom.
The only reason why I prefer a simpler theory for the time being is that manipulation adds a layer of complexity that may be unnecessary (Occam’s razor).

July 28th, 2010, 4:23 pm


almasri said:

US calls on Assad to listen to Abdullah’s message. Syria’s relation with the US will improve if Assad listens. The message is very clear.

واشنطن تدعو الأسد إلى الإصغاء للعاهل السعودي

واشنطن – أ ش أ – دعت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية سوريا إلى أن تنأى بنفسها عن إيران إذا كانت تريد لعلاقاتها أن تتحسن مع الولايات المتحدة والمنطقة والعالم.
وصرح الناطق باسم الوزارة فيليب كراولي بأن علاقة سوريا مع إيران هي موضع قلق، وأنه سيكون من الأفضل كثيراً لو أنها عزفت عن هذه العلاقة واتخذت اتجاها أكثر إيجابية. وأكد أن هذه العلاقة لا تفيد سوريا كثيراً وأن أمام سوريا الفرصة كي تضطلع بدور أكثر إيجابية وبناء في المنطقة، مشيراً إلى أنها أخفقت في ذلك في السنوات الأخيرة.
وأوضح أن هذا هو السبب في أن الولايات المتحدة تتواصل مع دمشق لإبلاغها هذه الرسالة. وحض الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد والقادة السوريين على الإصغاء إلى ما سيبلغهم إياه العاهل السعودي الملك عبدالله بن عبد العزيز خلال الزيارة التي يقوم بها لسوريا ولبنان. وقال إن وزيرة الخارجية هيلاري كلينتون بحثت مع نظيرها السعودي الأمير سعود الفيصل عبر الهاتف في الجهود التي تقوم بها المملكة من أجل تعزيز مبادرة السلام العربية.
وأشاد بالدور الذي يضطلع به العاهل السعودي لتحقيق السلام وترويج مبادرة السلام العربية. وقال: “إن القمة الثلاثية المزمع عقدها بين قادة السعودية وسوريا ولبنان هي جزء من مساعي الملك عبدالله لإرساء السلام، كما تعكس قلق الرياض حيال إيران”.

If Assad and Abdullah arrive in Beirut on Friday on the same plane, it is likely that Assad is listening. Reports so far indicate that they will.

Nejjad on the other hand will arrive in Beirut before Ramadan, apparently bypassing Damascus. The US is also indicating willingness to reconsider fuel exchange deal with him. Obviously, Nejjad is sending the message that he can deal with HA directly without need for Syria as an intermediary. So do not count him out of the deal, i.e. he can still do trouble on his own. This is importnat as part of the listening that Assad may have to do is to weigh in on HA in what the US wants.

And what does the US want? Direct talks with no opposition, or silence, from so-called resistance axis.

Few threads ago, I predicted Syria will destroy muqawama. The above scenario may gauge Syria’s involvement in this destruction. Wait and see if direct talks proceed smoothly particularly if no actions were taken by the dormant muqawama.

I suggest do not waste efforts predicting who killed Hariri or what the STL would do. But the STL will not go away.

July 28th, 2010, 9:46 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Mahmood Abbas said he will not go for direct negotiation,unless there is progress on security and border issues,I believe he will go to direct talk .
IF Assad destroy the ressistance,he will be one of those he described before as half men,I do not think he will destroy the ressistance,all what he should do is wait,when USA comes out of Iraq, he can manipulate and control politics in Iraq,it will be another Lebanon for him.

July 29th, 2010, 10:42 am


almasri said:


So-called Arab League committee for follow up on talks, of which Syria is a member, agreed today for direct talks. Final decision is left for Abbass. It will be a matter of time before Abbass bends as we all know who he is and how he relates to Dayton.

It will be a matter of time before Meshaal will be seeking another home or he too will have to go along.

US will not allow Iraq to turn into another Lebanon for Assad. Iraq is too important strategically and resource-wise and will remain the arena of ‘negotiations’ between US and Iran. Syria will be out of it as it has no meaningful influence on Iraqi politicians that have any weight in the country. Most of them are pro-Iranians. This is where Syrian and Iranian interests are colliding and that is why Assad seems to be listening. Interestingly an unknown spokesman of Syrian government expressed anger today at recent American advice calling it interference is Syrian/Saudi affairs. Obviously, the Syrians would like a behind-the scene approach. The Americans behave in a dumb way quite often.

It is more likely, Syria will be handed back Lebanon as in pre-2005 for two reasons. First reason is to make Assad not just a half man, as you said, but less than quarter man as his main mission would be to destroy muqawama, i.e. disarm HA fully. Second reason is to play on Syrian ego of its love for aggrandizement by giving Bashar a bone to play with claiming that he lived to his dad’s expectations. But as the saying in Arabic goes,
اين الثريا من الثرى؟

July 29th, 2010, 12:31 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

19. “in court one would have to show that it was done and by whom.”

ive forwarded this gem to al magrahi and sami al arian.

July 29th, 2010, 12:34 pm


Alex said:

Did anyone stop and think about what this Netanyahu statement means?

“Continuing the construction freeze in West Bank settlements after it expires on September 26 would be impossible politically and would bring down the coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos in Jerusalem on Wednesday.”

If “extending” settlement “freeze” (no dismantling settlements and no indefinite freeze) will lead to the collapse of the Israeli government … what exactly is Netanyahu prepared to offer the Palestinian people during those direct peace talks without risking the collapse of his lovely government? … peace for peace?

July 29th, 2010, 1:47 pm


almasri said:

Or did anyone stop and think about the latest from Obama?

أوباما يمدد معاقبة من “يهدد” لبنان

قرر الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما تمديد إجراءات كانت قد اتخذتها إدارة سلفه جورج بوش عام 2007 تتعلق بفرض عقوبات على من تعتبرهم “يهددون سيادة لبنان”.

وتنص هذه العقوبات على تجميد الأموال والأصول المادية لأشخاص يقومون بأعمال تصفها الولايات المتحدة بأنها تهدد لبنان.

وقال أوباما في رسالة وجهها إلى الكونغرس إنه “رغم التقدم الإيجابي في العلاقات اللبنانية السورية، فإن استمرار نقل الأسلحة إلى حزب الله يؤدي إلى إضعاف السيادة اللبنانية”.

وأضاف أن الإجراءات التي اتخذتها الإدارة الأميركية في الأول من أغسطس/آب 2007 يجب أن يستمر العمل بها ابتداء من الأول من أغسطس/آب 2010.

وتنص الوثيقة الأصلية للإجراءات التي اتخذها بوش في هذا الصدد عام 2007 على أن ما سمتها “التحركات الجارية لاستعادة السيطرة والتأثير السوري في لبنان تشكل تهديدا غير عادي للأمن القومي للولايات المتحدة وسياستها الخارجية”.

وتتهم الولايات المتحدة النظام السوري بالسعي للتأثير على الساحة السياسية اللبنانية وبتسليح حزب الله اللبناني.

Can we say neoconism is the policy for the next two years before presidential elections?

July 30th, 2010, 12:57 am


Norman said:


nothing , as after Oslo , relation between Israel and the rest of the world improved on the notion of a deal , Israel took the time to increase settlements and change the facts on the ground ,

It is only more of the same ,

July 30th, 2010, 7:23 am


jasmine said:

Alex and Norman
your sentiments about the settlements are accurate… unfortunately… it has been argued that the more Israel does something the more it becomes acceptable and the less they are questioned; whether it be identity theft to carry out assassinations or occupation. Israel is bitting its time in the hope that they can grow their settlements… I sometimes think peace and an equitable settlement is impossible… yet I and many hope.

July 30th, 2010, 9:08 am


Akbar Palace said:


Do you think President Abbas should start negotiations with the GOI or should he instead wait for the right US or Israeli administration?

July 30th, 2010, 10:27 am


jad said:

Hi Alex,
What is your take on the Saudi king visit and what do you think the outcome of it might be?

July 30th, 2010, 11:04 am


Alex said:

Norman, Jasmine, Akbar,

If I were a Middle Eastern leader, I would plan for war or at least for some serious conflict in the Middle East, after those direct talks prove again that Israel will make an offer that the Palestinians will clearly not be able to accept (Netanyahu already did that before).

Of course at that time Israel will try to create hope again by switching to the Syria track … trying to give the impression that Israel is now working hard to prepare an offer that Syria can not refuse … that will surely keep the Syrians and Americans interested and patient with Israel for another year or so …

It won’t work anymore.


We will wait and see, but the good news is that these visits take place only after an agreement has been reached. The Saudi King already left Beirut (after few hours), surely there was no drama in Beirut. It was to announce to the different Lebanese factions that Syria and Saudi Arabia want no conflict in Lebanon no matter what the Hariri tribunal tells them.

If this is a genuine Saudi desire then we will see it from the way the kingdom’s allies react after the expected announcement about a Hizbollah involvement in the Hariri assassination. I guess you can say the same about Syria’s allies and especially Hezbollah … the Saudis wanted reassurances that there will be no excessive reaction after the expected announcement.

The visit proves once again, that Syria is central to the different conflicts and trouble spots in the region. King Abdullah also visited his Egyptian and Jordanian allies, but neither of them was needed in Lebanon.

Similarly, Syria is quietly working on the Iraqi file. Damascus is where most of the action is taking place.

July 30th, 2010, 12:01 pm


Alex said:


President Obama’s announcement about his decision to extend yet another anti Syria Bush administration measure, on the day of the Saudi Syrian Lebanese summit was quite ironic … it shows us (again and again) that Likud’s friends in Washington have reduced the US role in the Middle East to a mostly destructive negative one, compared to Syria’s role that is mostly constructive positive one.

July 30th, 2010, 12:12 pm


almasri said:

Well, it is not a matter of who is constructive. This is all relative.

Relatively speaking, Obama is being constructive in the sense he is planning to get re-elected and there is not much we can do about that.

July 30th, 2010, 1:10 pm


Shai said:


What surprises me about Netanyahu’s statement isn’t that he really thinks his coalition will fall apart if the “freeze” continues, but that his coalition hasn’t understood yet that by continuing to settle the West Bank, they’re bringing us closer to a One-State solution faster and more effectively than any of Israel’s sworn-enemies could. In fact, I think the Palestinians should applaud a return to settlement activity by Israel. With each new Jewish home built on Palestinian territory, that’s one less home in a Jewish State, and one home more in a Binational State.

There have been some voices on the Right, from people such as Moshe Arens (3 times Defense Minister from Likud), who call out to Israelis to accept the “real reality”, which is that a large minority already lives amongst us, and that we can no longer separate. Essentially, therefore, that we are already living in a One-State solution. Some from the extreme Right, including many settlers, applaud any call for a single state, but their vision of a Greater Israel is very different. It doesn’t entail equality and freedom for the Arabs, but rather a Jewish Apartheid. Still, what’s puzzling about Netanyahu’s coalition, is that they actually think settlement activity will speed up a Two-State solution. They’re living in a dream, and cannot wake up.

I understand your call (and Norman’s) for Arab leaders to prepare for war. Your belief that only war will bring about change. But to be honest, I think the Palestinians can get far more, and pay far less, by simply waiting. In fact, I think they should market this idea openly, amongst their people, and elsewhere. Why accept a solution giving you 22% of Mandatory Palestine, when you can have the whole damn thing?

Believe me, a bit of surprisingly coherent statements about the One-State solution, coming from Palestinian and other Arab leaders, will find their way into Netanyahu’s coalition’s heads far faster than a new regional war could.

July 30th, 2010, 1:49 pm


jad said:

Thank you, it seems that your line ‘Damascus is where most of the action is taking place’ is the norm in our region.

Welcome back!

July 30th, 2010, 2:46 pm


Badr said:

The Palestinians in the West Bank are isolated behind a separation wall. So how can this lead to a one binational state in the foreseeable future?

July 30th, 2010, 3:30 pm


Shai said:


Once Israel began settling the West Bank, after 1967, no wall can separate between the two peoples. There are 500,000 Jews living on the “other side” of that same wall. So there is already a binational state. The question is whether Israel wants to maintain a Jewish majority within certain internationally-recognized borders (in which case it’ll have to vacate the West Bank, and help the Palestinians create a 2nd state), or whether it is too late for that, and an Apartheid-like One State is in the making.


Hi, nice to drop in.

July 30th, 2010, 3:48 pm


Alex said:

Hi Shai

I was not calling for war!

I was simply saying that Israel will do something … “the international community” will keep pushing for any movement on the Palestinian or Syrian tracks, but within few months it will be clear that no meaningful movement can be expected and both Syrians and Palestinians will start to insist on time limits and clear definition of outlines of any proposed negotiations with Israel.

Israel will not give those, but will instead react by reminding “the international community” that this is a tough neighborhood and that Israel must not take chances with security …. which means Israel will attack one of its neighbors again some time this year.

I was surprised to read Moshe Arens once talk about the the one state solution … but it is not something that most Israelis are ready for yet. I hope the two state solution will lead to a one state solution within a decade or two, but for now it is a cul de sac.

July 30th, 2010, 4:06 pm


Norman said:

Alex, Jad , Shai,

Welcome back Shai, i just want to say something shai, I love when you quot me ,and yes you are right , Syria has to be ready for war if she wants the Golan ,

The king of KSA is in Syria to offer the carrots while the US is imposing the sanctions , it is simple , good cop , bad cop , they are trying to play with Syria’s peace intention while they are preparing for the attack on Iran which seems to be coming sooner or later and the goal is to keep Syria and Hezbollah neutral , it is another 1991 when they planned the first gulf war and promised Syria a peace process that will return the Golan ,

The big question for you Alex is , will Syria fall for it , as they say fool me once is shame on you fool me twice it is shame on me , so what will it be ,

July 30th, 2010, 10:21 pm


Shai said:

Norman, Alex,

The real question is what does it mean “to get ready for war”? I believe Israel and most of her neighbors are always readying themselves for war (with the exception of Jordan maybe.) And, each in his own way, is constantly fighting the others, with clear objectives in mind. Syria fights Israel through Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. Israel fights Syria through targeted military and non-military operations (such as lobbying in Washington). But we are all fighting, all the time.

Since there is no progress made towards Peace, clearly some of the sides feel the price for Peace isn’t worth it. That even the existing alternative is better. So how can we change this? Well, either the price for Peace should change (even perceptibly), or the sides need to feel differently about the existing alternative. The former requires cooperation between the sides (normally accomplished only through direct talks, where some trust can be created), but the latter can be affected by just one side.

I think “readying ourselves for war” should be much more about communicating the alternatives, than actually demonstrating them through the use of force. Because once the guns start firing, no one knows how war will end. Some wars in the previous century were limited. Others were horrific.

It can’t be that intelligent and courageous leaders can only change by fighting one another. It is the ultimate demonstration of failure. It is the easiest, and most cowardly way out.

We must be courageous enough to communicate. Because it is easy to “find courage” to send someone else’s children to die in battle for you. But will we send our own? Have we truly exhausted all other means?

The answer, in my mind, is clearly “NO”. And that’s true for all sides concerned.

July 31st, 2010, 7:30 am


Shai said:

Very interesting article about what happened to the Golan’s Syrian population after the 1967 war.

July 31st, 2010, 7:58 am


Norman said:


Israel can start talking to Syria immediately if Netanyahu will go out in public and declare that the Golan is Syrian and we will be working with Syria on it’s return for a full peace treaty with Syria that secure Israel , That is if he really wants to do that ( return the Golan ) , after What Barack did to Hafiz Assad and Syria in 2000 , Syria does not trust Israel , i hope you can understand , !

July 31st, 2010, 9:08 am


majedkhaldoun said:

The only war Arab can win is the population war,we need to increase our number,and the number of our sympathizers in USA.Regimes stagnations in the Arab world,keep status quo,empowers Arab Leaders only the people will loose,only severe embarassment will cause Arab leader to go to war,War may increase his popularity temporarily, but failure will destroy the regime,because they all run a dictatorship regimes,regimes that is so weak,it will crumble in a crisis.
The problem in the Arab world is our leaders they all corrupt and dictators,the problem is our people who keep such dictators,the problem is in ourself.

July 31st, 2010, 11:07 am


Jasmine said:

I think Norman is correct in stating that Israel needs to declare its intentions and conditions for peace, as do the representatives of the Palestinians. Hamas and Fatah though need to bridge the gap and conflict between them if [peace is to ensue, hence I do not think that Abbas should negotiate currently). But despite the internal conflicts among the Palestinians the problem as always remains Israel. Netanyahu lack of commitment to stopping the settlements, alone, is a clear indicator he is not for peace, not to mention his comments on the issue. Furthermore polls show a large number of Palestinians in Gaza are not in favour of a two-state solution, a consensus needs to be reached among ordinary Palestinians if a two-state solution or any solution is to be reached, signed off on and a strong state is to emerge.

August 1st, 2010, 1:41 am


jad said:

EU usual hypocrisy:

Robert Fisk: Israel has crept into the EU without anyone noticing

The death of five Israeli servicemen in a helicopter crash in Romania this week raised scarcely a headline.

There was a Nato-Israeli exercise in progress. Well, that’s OK then. Now imagine the death of five Hamas fighters in a helicopter crash in Romania this week. We’d still be investigating this extraordinary phenomenon. Now mark you, I’m not comparing Israel and Hamas. Israel is the country that justifiably slaughtered more than 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza 19 months ago – more than 300 of them children – while the vicious, blood-sucking and terrorist Hamas killed 13 Israelis (three of them soldiers who actually shot each other by mistake).

But there is one parallel. Judge Richard Goldstone, the eminent Jewish South African judge, decided in his 575-page UN inquiry into the Gaza bloodbath that both sides had committed war crimes – he was, of course, quite rightly called “evil” by all kinds of justifiably outraged supporters of Israel in the US, his excellent report rejected by seven EU governments – and so a question presents itself. What is Nato doing when it plays war games with an army accused of war crimes?

Or, more to the point, what on earth is the EU doing when it cosies up to the Israelis? In a remarkable, detailed – if slightly over-infuriated – book to be published in November, the indefatigable David Cronin is going to present a microscopic analysis of “our” relations with Israel. I have just finished reading the manuscript. It leaves me breathless. As he says in his preface, “Israel has developed such strong political and economic ties to the EU over the past decade that it has become a member state of the union in all but name.” Indeed, it was Javier Solana, the grubby top dog of the EU’s foreign policy (formerly Nato secretary general), who actually said last year that “Israel, allow me to say, is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institution”.

Pardon me? Did we know this? Did we vote for this? Who allowed this to happen? Does David Cameron – now so forcefully marketing Turkish entry to the EU – agree with this? Probably yes, since he goes on calling himself a “friend of Israel” after that country produced an excellent set of forged British passports for its murderers in Dubai. As Cronin says, “the EU’s cowardice towards Israel is in stark contrast to the robust position it has taken when major atrocities have occurred in other conflicts”. After the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, for example, the EU tasked an independent mission to find out if international law had been flouted, and demanded an international inquiry into human rights abuses after Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers. Cronin does not duck Europe’s responsibility for the Jewish Holocaust and agrees that there will always be a “moral duty” on our governments to ensure it never happens again – though I did notice that Cameron forgot to mention the 1915 Armenian Holocaust when he was sucking up to the Turks this week.

But that’s not quite the point. In 1999, Britain’s arms sales to Israel – a country occupying the West Bank (and Gaza, too) and building illegal colonies for Jews and Jews only on Arab land – were worth £11.5m; within two years, this had almost doubled to £22.5m. This included small arms, grenade-making kits and equipment for fighter jets and tanks. There were a few refusals after Israel used modified Centurion tanks against the Palestinians in 2002, but in 2006, the year in which Israel slaughtered another 1,300 Lebanese, almost all of them civilians, in another crusade against Hizbollah’s “world terror”, Britain granted over 200 weapons licences.

Some British equipment, of course, heads for Israel via the US. In 2002, Britain gave “head-up displays” manufactured by BAE Systems for Lockheed Martin which promptly installed them in F-16 fighter-bombers destined for Israel. The EU did not object. In the same year, it should be added, the British admitted to training 13 members of the Israeli military. US planes transporting weapons to Israel at the time of the 2006 Lebanon war were refuelled at British airports (and, alas, it appears at Irish airports too). In the first three months of 2008, we gave licenses for another £20m of weapons for Israel – just in time for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. Apache helicopters used against Palestinians, says Cronin, contain parts made by SPS Aerostructures in Nottinghamshire, Smiths Industries in Cheltenham, Page Aerospace in Middlesex and Meggit Avionics in Hampshire.

Need I go on? Israel, by the way, has been praised for its “logistics” help to Nato in Afghanistan – where we are annually killing even more Afghans than the Israelis usually kill Palestinians – which is not surprising since Israel military boss Gabi Ashkenazi has visited Nato headquarters in Brussels to argue for closer ties with Nato. And Cronin convincingly argues an extraordinary – almost obscenely beautiful – financial arrangement in “Palestine”. The EU funds millions of pounds’ worth of projects in Gaza. These are regularly destroyed by Israel’s American-made weaponry. So it goes like this. European taxpayers fork out for the projects. US taxpayers fork out for the weapons which Israel uses to destroy them. Then EU taxpayers fork out for the whole lot to be rebuilt. And then US taxpayers… Well, you’ve got the point. Israel, by the way, already has an “individual co-operation programme” with Nato, locking Israel into Nato’s computer networks.

All in all, it’s good to have such a stout ally as Israel on our side, even if its army is a rabble and some of its men war criminals. Come to that, why don’t we ask Hizbollah to join Nato as well – just imagine how its guerrilla tactics would benefit our chaps in Helmand. And since Israel’s Apache helicopters often kill Lebanese civilians – a whole ambulance of women and children in 1996, for example, blown to pieces by a Boeing Hellfire AGM 114C air-to-ground missile – let’s hope the Lebanese can still send a friendly greeting to the people of Nottinghamshire, Middlesex, Hampshire and, of course, Cheltenham.

August 2nd, 2010, 12:23 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

the one state will be jewish with a disappearing palestinian population. the 2 state will be a jewish state with an extermination-concentration prison in one area and prison cells in another area.

jewry is too filled with hate and too good at creating hate for itself in others to last anywhere for very long.

eventually the jewish state also known as the slut state of sluts will die. this will lead to a palestinian state – palestine.

israel and its jewcons in the west will have a war with iran. probably started by israel but finished by its catspaws. israel will concentrate on hamas for the final solution to the palestinian problem and hezbullah and syria. litani and more.

August 2nd, 2010, 12:31 pm


jad said:

الأسد: السلام يبتعد واحتمال الحرب يزداد
الإثنين, 02 أغسطس 2010
دمشق – «الحياة»
أكد الرئيس بشار الاسد ان سورية هي اليوم «اشد قوى وامضى عزيمة واكثر فاعلية وحضوراً اقليمياً ودولياً»، لافتاً الى إن «طيف السلام الحقيقي في المنطقة يبتعد وتزداد احتمالات الحرب والمواجهة».

وقال الرئيس السوري، في كلمة عبر مجلة «جيش الشعب» لمناسبة عيد الجيش: ووزعتها «الوكالة السورية للانباء» (سانا) «ان التفاعل الخلاق والتمازج الإبداعي الذي نعيشه في سورية المقاومة بين الشعب والجيش وتكاتف الجميع وكأنهم رجل واحد، هو سر نجاح السياسة السورية». واعتبر ان السلام «لا يمكن أن يتم بلوغه إلا باستعادة كامل الحقوق المغتصبة وفق قرارات الشرعية الدولية ذات الصلة. فأول مقومات السلام هو الحفاظ على الكرامة والسيادة وعدم التفريط بذرة تراب أو قطرة ماء لأن حقوق الشعوب ملك لها وحدها وهي حقوق لا تسقط بالتقادم».

وأكد ان «إحلال السلام يتطلب استعادة كامل التراب المحتل حتى خطوط الرابع من حزيران (يونيو) العام 1967، وإذا ظن أحد ما أن سورية قد تتفاوض على أرضها المحتلة فإنه واهم. لأن تحرير الجولان حق يسكن أعماق السوريين شعباً وجيشاً وقيادة، ومهما ازدادت التهديدات فإنها أعجز من أن تغير ما غدا جزءاً من الثقافة والحياة لدى جميع أبناء سورية الذين ينظرون إلى أن الكرامة هي عنوان السيادة». وزاد: «سورية اليوم أشد قوة وأمضى عزيمة وأكثر فاعلية وحضوراً إقليمياً ودولياً. وقد بات العالم كله على يقين بأن إسرائيل هي التي تعرقل مسيرة السلام تهرباً من استحقاقاته».

وخاطب افراد القوات المسلحة السورية قائلا: «طيف السلام الحقيقي في المنطقة يبتعد وتزداد احتمالات الحرب والمواجهة التي أنتم أهل لها، ويخطئ من يظن أن سورية قد تساوم على ثوابتها. فهي على يقين تام أن تكلفة الصمود والمقاومة مهما بلغت تبقى أقل بكثير من تكلفة الخضوع والاستسلام، وأن العربدة ليست دليل قوة وإن وصلت حداً غير مسبوق بل هي دليل تخبط وارتباك وتشويش في الرؤية وفقدان للتوازن كنتيجة لاحقة لفقدان القدرة الردعية والاحتلالية والاجتياحية في آن معاً… ان المستقبل القريب منه والبعيد هو لشعوب المنطقة ودولها الحريصة على مقومات السيادة والكرامة واستقلالية القرار، وعلينا رفع وتائر العمل والتواصل مع كل مبتكرات العلوم الحديثة والاستمرار في الإعداد والاستعداد لنكون جاهزين دائماً لتلبية نداء الوطن».

August 2nd, 2010, 12:33 pm


Akbar Palace said:

~20% Hate

jewry is too filled with hate and too good at creating hate for itself in others to last anywhere for very long.

5 dancing shlomos,

How is jewry “too filled with hate”, when all Israelis enjoy freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or when Israeli-Arab MKs (12 of 120) are allowed to visit enemy states and voice opposing views than the majority?

Do you know an Arab state that allows all of this? Maybe those Arab states are “filled with hate” (for their own people) too, since, for all intents and purposes, no Jews live in Arab countries.

August 2nd, 2010, 1:44 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

44. “Robert Fisk: Israel has crept into the EU without anyone noticing”

jewry occupies the eu as jewry occupies the usa. as well as creeping in the dark or daylight, jewry is not beyond stomping and bellowing its way into organizations and affairs.

August 2nd, 2010, 1:55 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

are you the akbar palace who knows neither current events nor historical facts?

August 2nd, 2010, 1:57 pm


Off the Wall said:

NEWS From Talibasrael hasbara AP Will not Post

Israeli Rabbi Preaches “Slaughter” of Gentile Babies



A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira is one of the leading ideologues of the most extreme wing of the religious settler movement. He is known to be a champion of the “price-tag” policy of reprisal attacks on Palestinians, including punishing them for attempts by officials to enforce Israeli law against the settlements.

So far the policy has chiefly involved violent harassment of Palestinians, with settlers inflicting beatings, attacking homes, throwing stones, burning fields, killing livestock and poisoning wells.

It is feared, however, that Shapira’s book The King’s Torah, published last year, is intended to offer ideological justifications for widening the scope of such attacks to include killing Palestinians, even children.

Although Shapira was released a few hours after his questioning last Monday, dozens of rabbis, as well as several members of parliament, rallied to his side, condemning the arrest.

Shlomo Aviner, one of the settlement movement’s leaders, defended the book’s arguments as a “legitimate stance” and one that should be taught in Jewish seminaries.

But in a sign of mounting official unease at Shapira’s influence on the settlement movement, the Israeli military authorities also threatened last week to enforce a decade-old demolition order on Yitzhar’s seminary, which was built without a permit.

Dror Etkes, a Tel Aviv-based expert on the settlements, said the order was unlikely to be carried out but was a way to pressure Yitzhar’s 500 inhabitants to rein in their more violent attacks.

He said the authorities had begun taking a harder line against Yitzhar only since Shapira and several of his students were suspected of torching a mosque in the neighboring village of Yasuf last December.

“Shapira is trying to redefine the conflict with the Palestinians, turning it from a national conflict into a religious one. That frightens Israel. It doesn’t want to look as though it is fighting the whole Islamic world,” Etkes said.

He added that the rabbi and his supporters were closely associated with Kach, a movement founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane that demands the expulsion of all Palestinians from a “Greater Israel”. Despite Kach being banned, officials have largely turned a blind eye as its ideology has flourished in the settlements.

“It may be illegal to call oneself Kach but the authorities are more than tolerant of settlers who hold such views and carry out violent attacks. In fact, what Kahane was doing in the 1980s seems like child’s play compared with today’s settlers.”

In the 230-page book, Shapira and his co-author, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, also from Yitzhar, argue that Jewish law permits the killing of non-Jews in a wide variety of circumstances. The terms “gentiles” and “non-Jews” in the book are widely understood as references to Palestinians.

They write that Jews have the right to kill gentiles in any situation in which “a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives” even if the gentile is “not at all guilty for the situation that has been created”.

The book sanctions the killing of non-Jewish children and babies: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

The rabbis suggest that harming the children of non-Jewish leaders is justified if it is likely to bring pressure to bear on them to change policy.

The authors also advocate committing “cruel deeds to create the proper balance of terror” and treating all members of an “enemy nation” as targets for retaliation, even if they are not directly participating in hostile activities.

The rabbis appear to be offering justifications in Jewish law for collective punishment and other war crimes of the kind committed by the Israeli army in its attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008.

Pamphlets similarly calling on soldiers to “show no mercy” were distributed by the army’s rabbinate as troops prepared for the Gaza operation, in which 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, were killed. Religious settlers have come to dominate many combat units.

An investigation last year by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, found Shapira’s seminary had received government funds worth at least $300,000 in recent years. American and British groups have also contributed tens of thousands of dollars in tax-deductible donations.

According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, the Yitzhar settlers have responded to the demolition order against their seminary by threatening to publish documents showing that the housing and transport ministries were closely involved in the project too.

The settlers have repeatedly rampaged through nearby Palestinian villages, most notoriously in September 2008, when they were filmed shooting at homes in Assira al-Kabaliya, smashing properties and daubing Stars of David on homes. Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of the time, termed the settlers’ actions a “pogrom”.

The same year a religious student from Yitzhar was arrested for firing home-made rockets at Palestinian villages close by.

In April, Yitzhar’s settlers marched through the village of Huwara and pelted a Palestinian family’s home with stones in “reprisal” for the arrest of 11 of their number.

A settler from Yitzhar was questioned last month over the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Palestinian, Aysar Zaban, in May, reportedly after stones were thrown at the settler’s car. The teenager was shot in the back.

Last week, the settlers attacked Burin, shooting at villagers and burning fields.

In most of these cases, the settlers who were arrested were released a short time later either by the police or the courts. In January, a Jerusalem judge freed Rabbi Shapira for lack of evidence in the arson attack on the mosque.

Yitzhak Ginsburg, an authority on Jewish law and a mentor to Shapira, was questioned by police last Thursday over his endorsement of the book. In the past Ginsburg has praised Baruch Goldstein, a settler who opened fire in Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers.

In 2003 Ginsburg was accused of incitement for publishing a book that called for the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories, but the charges were dropped after he issued a “clarification statement”.

A group calling itself “Students of Yitzhak Ginsburg” recently distributed a leaflet urging Israeli soldiers to “spare your lives and the lives of your friends and show no concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us”.

Kach was founded in 1971 by the late Meir Kahane, an American rabbi who immigrated to Israel. He won a seat in the Israeli parliament in 1984 on a platform of expelling all Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories. As an MP, he drafted legislation to revoke the Israeli citizenship of non-Jews and ban sexual relations between Jews and gentiles.

The political party was banned from running for the Israeli parliament in 1988 and the movement was outlawed six years later. Although the group is considered a terrorist organization in the United States and most of Europe, its ideology has been allowed to thrive in the settlements.

Today, dozens of rabbis espouse an interpretation of Jewish religious law identical to or worse than Kahane’s.

Michael Ben Ari, a former Kach leader, was elected as an MP last year for the far-right National Union party, which holds four seats in the 120-member parliament.

Avigdor Lieberman, who leads the parliament’s third largest party and is foreign minister, briefly joined the party before it was banned. His own party’s anti-Arab “No loyalty, no citizenship” program includes echoes of Kahane’s ideology.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel.


August 2nd, 2010, 4:06 pm


Shai said:


This so-called “Rabbi”, an extremist-settler, is nothing short of a racist terrorist that should be stripped of his Israeli citizenship (he doesn’t live inside Israel, after all), or put behind bars for a very long time. He is an insult to the religion he pretends to represent, and an insult to normal civilized society.

One day, hopefully soon, people like him will be rejected by most Israelis, who will learn just what kind of “patriotic Jews” live on the other side of the wall. Many of them will have to move back, to find a place in a society that will not be all that happy to receive them. And then, we will finally come face-to-face with these criminals, and deal with them accordingly.

August 2nd, 2010, 4:35 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Shai’s “Most Israelis” Problem

One day, hopefully soon, people like him will be rejected by most Israelis, who will learn just what kind of “patriotic Jews” live on the other side of the wall.


How do you know “most Israelis” do or do not reject this crazy rabbi?

A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.


Aren’t there polls showing a large percentage of Palestinians and Arabs are for killing innocent (non-combatant) Jews as a form of “resistance”? I know for sure the Hamas and Hezbollah political movements believe this. And al-Queda and the insurgents kill innocent people (mostly muslims) everyday.

So I guess my question is, what are you so appalled at?

August 2nd, 2010, 5:57 pm


Off the wall said:

Sorry for not responding to you earlier posts. There is off course a glimmer of good news in the above article “Yesh din” and similar organizations are trying to expose the tax deductible source of funding. All power to them.

August 2nd, 2010, 6:04 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

what do you think about israel killed 9 turkish.

August 2nd, 2010, 8:37 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

T_Desco (if you are still checking this space):

You wrote: “The sectarian danger presented by the investigation is greater than some people, such as Elias Muhanna, seem to realize: the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indictments will not put pressure only on Saad Hariri.”

Where have I diminished the prospect of sectarian danger represented by the possibility of an indictment against Hizbullah? This, to me, is obvious.

And it is also obvious that Hizbullah is the one that will feel the most pressure from such a development. My point was to argue that Hariri is also not immune to pressure, given that he now seems constrained by a larger regional strategy to come to an accommodation with Syria.

If this were 2006, Hariri would not be offering any back-room deals to Nasrallah, and the Saudi king would not be visiting Beirut, arm-in-arm with Bashar, in order to ease the tension. They would be going for maximum tension and trying to exploit these indictments for everything they’re worth.

But we are now in 2010, and there is a new calculus.

At the end of the day, the question of who killed Hariri seems to become irrelevant in the face of all the developments following his death. Most people reading this blog believe that Israel or America killed Hariri and then used the STL to punish Syria or Hizbullah for the crime.

But even if it really was Syria or Hizbullah that committed the crime, would most readers of Syria Comment think that America/Israel’s campaign to punish Syria/Hizbullah was legitimate? Probably not.

The STL’s findings are probably doomed to be rejected by one side or the other, no matter what they turn up.

August 2nd, 2010, 8:41 pm


Norman said:

It is time to kill the Devil before his birth , Don’t you think ?.

There is an old story about a man who killed his cousin and when he was caught the family of the dead man forgave the killer and when they were asked about the reason , they said , our son is dead , We do not want to lose our other son out of revenge ,

and that will be the story in Lebanon , taking revenge will just have more sons getting killed ,


August 2nd, 2010, 9:23 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Ammo Norman

I disagree with you.

If this were the way that the world worked, then there would be no such thing as justice. I would like to see the STL conclude its work and the killers punished, no matter who they are.

August 2nd, 2010, 9:43 pm


Norman said:


Good to see you , we miss you here , i visit your site and enjoy the discussions there , but sometime i feel that i do not know enough about today Lebanon to say much ,

In a just world you are right , the problem that in a world where the life of Hariri is more more important the the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed by the US and thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians killed by Israel ,and got away with that , where five countries control the security council and war and peace is not just , when there is a real independent world court and legal system and i hope that day will come , then and only then there will be justice that we all can be proud of , until then all what is being done is being done to divide the Arabs and destroy their world with civil wars ,and keep Israel the dominant power in the Mideast ,

August 2nd, 2010, 10:24 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Israel provoked and started aggression against the Lebanese army

August 3rd, 2010, 7:14 am


Off the Wall said:

Akbar Palace’s Moral Compass Sits Next to a Magnet

AP @ 52
Aren’t there polls showing a large percentage of Palestinians and Arabs are for killing innocent (non-combatant) Jews as a form of “resistance”?

I thought hasbara training required that you first consult with MEMRI, Daniel Pipes, or Michelle Malkin’s websites for such polls. So why are you asking me. Go find them yourself. I have no idea why you insist on me doing your job for you. Aren’t they paying you enough?

I know for sure the Hamas and Hezbollah political movements believe this. And al-Queda and the insurgents kill innocent people (mostly muslims) everyday.

Again, you insist on moral equivalence with those you never tire of calling terrorists. Furthermore, as you insist on questioning shai’s claim, it seems that you are proposing a likelihood that most Israelies accept the racist rabbi. Congratulations one more time, Talibasrael and Alqaida are alike in sanctioning the killing of children. You called Israel a terrorist state, not me. Can I quote you on that as well?

August 3rd, 2010, 8:09 am


Shai said:


By the way the media was covering the Settler Rabbi investigation, it is fair to say at least the media is against this racist terrorist. Does the media represent most in Israel? I don’t know. I hope, in this case, they do. But I also know that not nearly enough Israelis fight for Palestinian rights that are abused by such fanatic criminal settlers. And that’s not a good indication of Israel’s moral compass. We should know oppression at least as well as others. Seems we sometimes forget our own past, doesn’t it?


The matter is being investigated right now, and it is not clear yet who started this whole thing on the border. Hezbollah is claiming (according to Israeli papers) that the Israeli army was attempting to remove a tree on the Lebanese side, in order to place observation cameras (on the Israeli side) that would look at Lebanese Army movements. I imagine in the next day or two we’ll get the official version of each side. On the Israeli side, I can tell you the Israeli Army is saying it was “shocked”, because the Lebanese Army has never fired on them before.

August 3rd, 2010, 9:26 am


Akbar Palace said:

Rabbis for Peace

By the way the media was covering the Settler Rabbi investigation, it is fair to say at least the media is against this racist terrorist. Does the media represent most in Israel? I don’t know. I hope, in this case, they do. But I also know that not nearly enough Israelis fight for Palestinian rights that are abused by such fanatic criminal settlers. And that’s not a good indication of Israel’s moral compass.


Thanks for the clarification. I really need to impress upon you to refrain from your habit of speaking for “most Israelis”. Your claims about “most Israelis” are just your opinion and they can be very misleading. The non-Israelis believe what you say is true simply because you’re an Israeli. I claim the “most Israelis” are disgusted by the ideology of this Rabbi as described by the anti-Israeli commentator, Jonathan Cook.

Jonathan Cook has been known to stretch the truth for his anti-Israel audience. Whereas his article is shown with the words:

Israeli Rabbi Preaches “Slaughter” of Gentile Babies

The Wikipedia shows is a bit differently:

Yitzhak Shapira is an Israeli rabbi who in 2009 published a book (The King’s Torah) in which he writes that it is permissible for Jews to kill non-Jews (including children) who threaten Israel.[1][2]

Personally, I’ve never heard of this rabbi, and I’ve never read his book, so I don’t know who is telling the truth. However, I do know a lot of the residents of Efrat, and they are good, tolerant people just like you and me.

Lastly, I claim that “Israel’s moral compass” is miles higher than any of her Arab neighbors by simply comparing the number of Israeli peace groups active in Israel compared to the number of peace groups active elsewhere in the ME.

We should know oppression at least as well as others. Seems we sometimes forget our own past, doesn’t it?

Again, I would suggest you just speak for yourself.

August 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

Peace loving Israeli soldiers kill three Lebanese soldiers in Lebanon, and warn the Lebanese that more will be killed if Lebanon does not behave.

August 3rd, 2010, 10:29 am


Shai said:


It seems the hot summer months take their toll on your reading ability. You claim (and this is not the first time) that I speak “on behalf of most Israelis”. But allow me to repeat a few words just from your own quoted paragraph of what I said:
“Does the media represent most in Israel? I don’t know. I hope, in this case, they do.”

So does this indicate that I speak on behalf of most Israelis, or does it indicate that I don’t even know that the media speaks on behalf of most? Hmmm… a tough one for Akbar.

That you never heard of this Rabbi is a shame. The Police has heard of him, and has warned of the incitement he preaches already a year ago. It is a shame the Israeli Justice system (the one so superior to our neighbors’, as you exhaustively like to remind us) did not find it urgent enough to arrest him sooner, and restrict his ability to publish and distribute hundreds, perhaps thousands of copies of his dangerous racist words.

By the way, since you’re so fond of those “good, tolerant people” of Efrat (Jewish Settlement in the West Bank), why don’t ask THEM if they’ve heard of this Rabbi? I have a funny feeling they have…

Thanks for your continued concern about me misleading our readers. I guess you assume they believe you, when you provide these “warnings”. But for the record, and hopefully so that you will stop repeating this ad hominem, I never EVER claim to speak on behalf of most, least, some, part, few, or any other set or subset of the Israeli people. I speak only on behalf of my self, and the tiny bit of common sense I hope I inherited from my parents.

August 3rd, 2010, 11:03 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

any examples of justice when israel-america involved in proceedings?

any estimate on when israel-america will punish itself – for any of its uncountable crimes?

August 3rd, 2010, 11:44 am


Ghat Al Bird said:


You should have added this link for AP’s edification on the so called best seller [“how to kill gentile babies”) in Israel.

August 3rd, 2010, 11:46 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

the baby killing rabbi differs from ben gurion, sharett, goldi, peres, sharon, nutnyahoo, barak, shlomos, moishes, daniels, and 32 million other zionist jews(99.9% of world’s jews) in what way?

August 3rd, 2010, 12:19 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

from max blumenthal via xymphora. dancing and clapping shlomos and shlomets: “we love destruction, violence, and death. we are part and parcel of jewry.”

diseased minds.

The “Summer Camp Of Destruction:” Israeli High Schoolers Assist The Razing Of A Bedouin Town

On 07.31.10, By Max.AL-ARAKIB, ISRAEL — On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib, razing the entire village to the ground to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest. The destruction was part of a larger project to force the Bedouin community of the Negev away from their ancestral lands and into seven Indian reservation-style communities the Israeli government has constructed for them. The land will then be open for Jewish settlers, including young couples in the army and those who may someday be evacuated from the West Bank after a peace treaty is signed. For now, the Israeli government intends to uproot as many villages as possible and erase them from the map by establishing “facts on the ground” in the form of JNF forests. (See video of of al-Arakib’s demolition here).

Moments before the destruction of the Bedouin village of al-Arakib, Israeli high school age police volunteers lounge on furniture taken from a family’s home. [The following four photos are by Ata Abu Madyam of Arab Negev News.
One of the most troubling aspects of the destruction of al-Arakib was a report by CNN that the hundreds of Israeli riot police who stormed the village were accompanied by “busloads of cheering civilians.” Who were these civilians and why didn’t CNN or any outlet investigate further?

I traveled to al-Arakib yesterday with a delegation from Ta’ayush, an Israeli group that promotes a joint Arab-Jewish struggle against the occupation. The activists spent the day preparing games and activities for the village’s traumatized children, helping the villagers replace their uprooted olive groves, and assisting in the reconstruction of their demolished homes. In a massive makeshift tent where many of al-Arakib’s residents now sleep, I interviewed village leaders about the identity of the cheering civilians. Each one confirmed the presence of the civilians, describing how they celebrated the demolitions. As I compiled details, the story grew increasingly horrific. After interviewing more than a half dozen elders of the village, I was able to finally identify the civilians in question. What I discovered was more disturbing than I had imagined.

Israeli police youth volunteers pick through the belongings an al-Arakib family
Arab Negev News publisher Ata Abu Madyam supplied me with a series of photos he took of the civilians in action. They depicted Israeli high school students who appeared to have volunteered as members of the Israeli police civilian guard (I am working on identifying some participants by name). Prior to the demolitions, the student volunteers were sent into the villagers’ homes to extract their furniture and belongings. A number of villagers including Abu Madyam told me the volunteers smashed windows and mirrors in their homes and defaced family photographs with crude drawings. Then they lounged around on the furniture of al-Arakib residents in plain site of the owners. Finally, according to Abu Matyam, the volunteers celebrated while bulldozers destroyed the homes.

“What we learned from the summer camp of destruction,” Abu Madyam remarked, “is that Israeli youth are not being educated on democracy, they are being raised on racism.” (The cover of the latest issue of Madyam’s Arab Negev News features a photo of Palestinians being expelled to Jordan in 1948 juxtaposed with a photo of a family fleeing al-Arakib last week. The headline reads, “Nakba 2010.”)

According to residents of al-Arakib, the youth volunteers vandalized homes throughout the village
The Israeli civilian guard, which incorporates 70,000 citizens including youth as young as 15 (about 15% of Israeli police volunteers are teenagers), is one of many programs designed to incorporate Israeli children into the state’s military apparatus. It is not hard to imagine what lessons the high school students who participated in the leveling of al-Arakib took from their experience, nor is it especially difficult to predict what sort of citizens they will become once they reach adulthood. Not only are they being indoctrinated to swear blind allegiance to the military, they are learning to treat the Arab outclass as less than human. The volunteers’ behavior toward Bedouins, who are citizens of Israel and serve loyally in Israeli army combat units despite widespread racism, was strikingly reminiscent of the behavior of settler youth in Hebron who pelt Palestinian shopkeepers in the old city with eggs, rocks and human waste. If there is a distinction between the two cases, it is that the Hebron settlers act as vigilantes while the teenagers of Israeli civilian guard vandalize Arab property as agents of the state.

The spectacle of Israeli youth helping destroy al-Arakib helps explain why 56% of Jewish Israeli high school students do not believe Arabs should be allowed to serve in the Knesset – why the next generation wants apartheid. Indeed, the widespread indoctrination of Israeli youth by the military apparatus is a central factor in Israel’s authoritarian trend. It would be difficult for any adolescent boy to escape from an experience like al-Arakib, where adults in heroic warrior garb encourage him to participate in and gloat over acts of massive destruction, with even a trace of democratic values.

Youth volunteers extract belongings from village homes as bulldozers move in
As for the present condition of Israeli democracy, it is essential to consider the way in which the state pits its own citizens against one another, enlisting the Jewish majority as conquerers while targeting the Arab others as, in the words of Zionist founding father Chaim Weizmann, “obstacles that had to be cleared on a difficult path.” Historically, only failing states have encouraged such corrosive dynamics to take hold. That is why the scenes from al-Arakib, from the demolished homes to the uprooted gardens to the grinning teens who joined the mayhem, can be viewed as much more than the destruction of a village. They are snapshots of the phenomenon that is laying Israeli society as a whole to waste.

August 3rd, 2010, 12:33 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

in case the descriptive was missed:

diseased minds.

the disease passed from generation to generation.

August 3rd, 2010, 12:38 pm


t_desco said:

Qifa Nabki, you asked:

“Where have I diminished the prospect of sectarian danger represented by the possibility of an indictment against Hizbullah?”

Perhaps AFP quoted you unfairly (which wouldn’t surprise me…)? –

“By the time that the STL gets around to indicting Hezbollah members a few months from now… the development will be old news, already dissected, analysed and picked over by Beirut?s punditocracy,” Muhanna wrote on his blog Qifa Nabki.

“No one will be surprised and (if Nasrallah and others get their way), no one will really care.”
(AFP, July 23, 2010)

(my emphasis)

August 4th, 2010, 10:14 am


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