Two Views on Hamas - Syria Comment

Two Views on Hamas

Here are two views on Hamas and its Struggle printed by the Washington Post today. One by Hamas' Foreign Minister and the other by the editorial writers of the Post

Mahmoud al-ZaharNo Peace Without Hamas
By Mahmoud al-Zahar
Thursday, April 17, 2008; A23

GAZA — President Jimmy Carter's sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East while underscoring the fact that American policy has reached its dead end. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acts as if a few alterations here and there would make the hideous straitjacket of apartheid fit better. While Rice persuades Israeli occupation forces to cut a few dozen meaningless roadblocks from among the more than 500 West Bank control points, these forces simultaneously choke off fuel supplies to Gaza; blockade its 1.5 million people; approve illegal housing projects on West Bank land; and attack Gaza City with F-16s, killing men, women and children. Sadly, this is "business as usual" for the Palestinians.

Last week's attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot should not surprise critics in the West. Palestinians are fighting a total war waged on us by a nation that mobilizes against our people with every means at its disposal — from its high-tech military to its economic stranglehold, from its falsified history to its judiciary that "legalizes" the infrastructure of apartheid. Resistance remains our only option. Sixty-five years ago, the courageous Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose in defense of their people. We Gazans, living in the world's largest open-air prison, can do no less.

The U.S.-Israeli alliance has sought to negate the results of the January 2006 elections, when the Palestinian people handed our party a mandate to rule. Hundreds of independent monitors, Carter among them, declared this the fairest election ever held in the Arab Middle East. Yet efforts to subvert our democratic experience include the American coup d'etat that created the new sectarian paradigm with Fatah and the continuing warfare against and enforced isolation of Gazans.

Now, finally, we have the welcome tonic of Carter saying what any independent, uncorrupted thinker should conclude: that no "peace plan," "road map" or "legacy" can succeed unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.

Israel's escalation of violence since the staged Annapolis "peace conference" in November has been consistent with its policy of illegal, often deadly collective punishment — in violation of international conventions. Israeli military strikes on Gaza have killed hundreds of Palestinians since then with unwavering White House approval; in 2007 alone the ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed was 40 to 1, up from 4 to 1 during the period from 2000 to 2005.

Only three months ago I buried my son Hussam, who studied finance at college and wanted to be an accountant; he was killed by an Israeli airstrike. In 2003, I buried Khaled — my first-born — after an Israeli F-16 targeting me wounded my daughter and my wife and flattened the apartment building where we lived, injuring and killing many of our neighbors. Last year, my son-in-law was killed.

Hussam was only 21, but like most young men in Gaza he had grown up fast out of necessity. When I was his age, I wanted to be a surgeon; in the 1960s, we were already refugees, but there was no humiliating blockade then. But now, after decades of imprisonment, killing, statelessness and impoverishment, we ask: What peace can there be if there is no dignity first? And where does dignity come from if not from justice?

Our movement fights on because we cannot allow the foundational crime at the core of the Jewish state — the violent expulsion from our lands and villages that made us refugees — to slip out of world consciousness, forgotten or negotiated away. Judaism — which gave so much to human culture in the contributions of its ancient lawgivers and modern proponents of tikkun olam — has corrupted itself in the detour into Zionism, nationalism and apartheid.

A "peace process" with Palestinians cannot take even its first tiny step until Israel first withdraws to the borders of 1967; dismantles all settlements; removes all soldiers from Gaza and the West Bank; repudiates its illegal annexation of Jerusalem; releases all prisoners; and ends its blockade of our international borders, our coastline and our airspace permanently. This would provide the starting point for just negotiations and would lay the groundwork for the return of millions of refugees. Given what we have lost, it is the only basis by which we can start to be whole again.

I am eternally proud of my sons and miss them every day. I think of them as fathers everywhere, even in Israel, think of their sons — as innocent boys, as curious students, as young men with limitless potential — not as "gunmen" or "militants." But better that they were defenders of their people than parties to their ultimate dispossession; better that they were active in the Palestinian struggle for survival than passive witnesses to our subjugation.

History teaches us that everything is in flux. Our fight to redress the material crimes of 1948 is scarcely begun, and adversity has taught us patience. As for the Israeli state and its Spartan culture of permanent war, it is all too vulnerable to time, fatigue and demographics: In the end, it is always a question of our children and those who come after us.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a surgeon, is a founder of Hamas. He is foreign minister in the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, which was elected in January 2006.

 

Wash Post EDITORIAL: Zahar Is a Terrorist
The former president, on what he says is a road to peace, embraces Hamas terrorists.
Thursday, April 17, 2008; A22

ON THE OPPOSITE page today we publish an article by the "foreign minister" of Hamas, Mahmoud al-Zahar, that drips with hatred for Israel, and with praise for former president Jimmy Carter. We believe Mr. Zahar's words are worth publishing because they provide some clarity about the group he helps to lead, a group that Mr. Carter contends is worthy of being included in the Middle East peace process. Mr. Carter himself is holding what appears to be a series of meetings with Hamas leaders during a tour of the Middle East. He met one militant in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Tuesday and was reportedly planning to meet Mr. Zahar in Cairo today before traveling to Damascus for an appointment with Khaled Meshal, Hamas's top leader.

Mr. Zahar lauds Mr. Carter for the "welcome tonic" of saying that no peace process can succeed "unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions." Yet Mr. Zahar has his own preconditions: Before any peace process can "take even its first tiny step," he says, Israel must withdraw to the 1967 borders and evacuate Jerusalem while preparing for the "return of millions of refugees." In fact, as Mr. Zahar makes clear, Hamas is not at all interested in a negotiated peace with the Jewish state, whose existence it refuses to accept: "Our fight to redress the material crimes of 1948 is scarcely begun," he concludes.

In that fight, no act of terrorism is out of bounds for the Hamas leader, who endorses the group's recent ambush of Israeli civilians working at a fuel depot that supplies Gaza. The "total war" of which he speaks was initiated and has been sustained by Hamas itself through its deliberate targeting of civilians, such as the residents of the Israeli town of Sderot, who suffer daily rocket attacks.

These facts would hardly need restating were it not for actors such as Mr. Carter, who portray Hamas as rational and reasonable. Hamas is "perfectly willing" for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "to represent them in all direct negotiations with the Israelis, and they also maintain that they will accept any agreement that he brokers with the Israelis" provided a referendum is held on it, the former president told the newspaper Haaretz. Compare that claim with Mr. Zahar's own words on the opposite page. In fact, Mr. Zahar has called Mr. Abbas "a traitor" for negotiating with Israel — a label that is, in the Palestinian context, an incitement to murder.

Mr. Carter justifies his meetings with familiar arguments about the value of dialogue with enemies. But he misses the point. Contacts between enemies can be useful: Israel is legendary for such negotiations, and even now it is engaged in back-channel bargaining with Hamas through Egypt. But it is one thing to communicate pragmatically, and quite another to publicly and unconditionally grant recognition and political sanction to a leader or a group that advocates terrorism, mass murder or the extinction of another state. That is what Mr. Carter is doing by lending what is left of his prestige to an avowed terrorist such as Khaled Meshal — or Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Comments (61)


Akbar Palace said:

I agree with the editorial. Oh well, call me naive.

As far as Mahmoud al-Zahar’s article “No peace without Hamas”, I would change it to make it more accurate:

“No Peace with or without Hamas”

(just a minor correction)

April 17th, 2008, 3:34 pm

 

wizart said:

Well you have to look up his last name on google. It means nothing but flower in Arabic. I know I used to be all naive about that too.

April 17th, 2008, 3:51 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Two different worlds.

There’s years and years left in this struggle, maybe decades.

April 17th, 2008, 5:22 pm

 

Shai said:

Without the ability to develop empathy towards your enemy, no peace could be ever be had between two parties. One day, historians, or political scientists, or sociologists in the West will reach the conclusion that the word “terrorism” has many definitions. It is foolish for people to consider that al-Zahar=OBL=Carlos the Jackal. More Israelis, and people in the West, need to understand that if they were in the shoes of the Palestinians, certainly in those who live in Gaza, they too would resist in any way possible, including “terrorism”, especially when lacking a modern army, F-16’s, artillery, smart missiles, UAV’s, etc. I found al-Zahar’s comment regarding the Jewish uprise in the Warsaw Ghetto very powerful.

I’ve noticed that Hamas is beginning to “smartly” throw in more and more hints of acceptance, first towards Jews, then perhaps towards Israelis. It’s obviously far from enough, to change Israeli public opinion of Hamas, but I think there’s a general direction there, which hopefully will develop further. It is obviously tougher for al-Zahar to show empathy towards Israelis than it is for me towards Palestinians. There’s no doubt whatsoever, that Hamas must be a part of the solution with the Palestinians. In fact, given that it did win the 2006 elections, which were fair and democratic, Israel should (in theory) talk mostly with Hamas…

QN, you’re right, and that’s precisely why Israel must make peace with Syria as soon as humanly possible. We need Syria’s role in the region to help us solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

April 17th, 2008, 5:39 pm

 

T said:

Until America calls a halt to support of this abuse, no progress will develop. But that is unlikely to happen either. Why?

In the words of one racist:

Occupied Jerusalem: 3 October, 2001 (IAP) — According to Israel radio (in Hebrew) Kol Yisrael, [Shimon] Peres warned [Ariel] Sharon Wednesday that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and “turn the US against us.”

At this point, a furious Sharon turned toward Peres, saying

“every time we do something you tell me Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.”

The radio said Peres and other cabinet ministers warned Sharon against saying what he said in public because “it would cause us a public relations disaster.”

(c) IAP News

Shai,

Israel needs more than Syrian help. It needs the entire world’s help, and the Arab World’s help. And they were all quite ready to give Israel all the help necessary. It was offered on a platter in the Arab Declaration of Beirut, 2002.

Why didnt they take it? For the same reason you are here at SC; the Alon Liel wing of the peace process? The good cops.. To “very nicely” facilitate a separate peace with Syria (unlinked to Palestine or the greater Arab world) and so maximize Israel’s advantage by fragmenting the Arab states, and negotiating with them in isolation from each other.

Why not work on a campaign to halt all the illegal settlement building? Without that, talking seems insincere.

Or is it to get Peace for peace, and not Land for Peace.

Building settlements all the while?

April 17th, 2008, 5:56 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

In Mathematics we call this Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum). Ya’ani, “I proved it!” But, I’m afraid it says nothing, in this case. After all, it was the same Sharon, Butcher of Lebanon, who withdrew from Gaza completely, including removing by force all settlers, and was going to do the same in the West Bank. Begin, the same. Netanyahu, similarly. Rabin, as you probably know, was also an Arab-hater once upon a time. One of my lessons from all this is… we can all change. And if there’s going to be peace one day, we ALL will have to.

April 17th, 2008, 6:07 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Shai,

I’ve actually been very impressed with op-ed pieces published in the West by Hamas over the past few years. Zahar’s piece is no exception: it is moving, even poignant at moments.

The other thing it is, however, is perfectly clear. Perfectly clear about the kind of peace that is acceptable to Hamas. And it includes all the elements that make it a non-starter for the Israelis.

Unlike the Wash Post’s cruel and buffoonish editorial, I don’t think that this makes Zahar a terrorist. But it does make him almost impossible to deal with. He has defined Hamas’s struggle as the real Palestinian struggle, and Hamas’s terms as the real terms, for real peace.

I would guess that his op-ed was just as much a shot across the bow of Syria as it was a plea against the inhumanity of occupation.

April 17th, 2008, 6:15 pm

 

Friend in America said:

The following is from adnKronos International, an Indonesian news service published on 16 April.
Is the international terrorist network operating out of Damascus or where else in Syria? Who has some information? Is it inconceivable that Syria’s internal police is unaware of an international terrorist group operating in its country?
———-
Jakarta, 16 April (AKI/Jakarta Post) – Two alleged Indonesian members of Jemaah Islamiyah were on their way to Syria to build contacts with an international terrorist network when arrested in Malaysia, according to the Indonesian police.

The police said their Malaysian counterparts detained Agus Purwantoro, 39, and Abdul Rohim, 49, at a Malaysian airport on 31 January during a search for illegal immigrants.

The suspects were holding fake passports under the names of Oktariadi Anis and Deddy Achmadi Machdan, the police said on Tuesday.

“They said themselves that they were heading to Syria to meet with a larger terrorist network, but we are not sure what group they are referring to,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam told a media conference.

He said Agus and Abdul were extradited to Indonesia on 28 March and taken into custody by police upon arrival at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Alam said the police were questioning the two suspects over their alleged involvement in regional terror group JI.

Agus is reportedly the leader of JI in Poso, Central Sulawesi, which has in the past been the scene of deadly religious violence. JI is said to have links with al-Qaeda.

Agus, who graduated from Airlangga University’s School of Medicine, in Surabaya, East Java, is also believed to have served as a doctor for fugitive terrorist Noordin M. Top.

Noordin is one of the chief JI members in Indonesia and is allegedly responsible for a string of bombings in the country. He has escaped arrest on several occasions.

Agus is also known to have been a student of the late terrorist Azahari bin Husin, who was killed by the police’s anti-terror squad during a raid in Malang, East Java, on 9 November 2005.

Alam said the police had been searching for Agus and Abdul over their alleged involvement in the religious violence in Poso between 2000 and 2002 that claimed more than 2,000 lives and displaced 100,000 others….

April 17th, 2008, 6:31 pm

 

T said:

Update on Palestinian track, Hamas not targeted here-

12 Palestinians killed in latest airstrike in Gaza, including 6 children and a journalist

Wednesday April 16, 2008 18:47 by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News

Two children and a journalist are among those killed by the latest Israeli airstrike on al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip – this attack brings the total number killed on Wednesday to 18.

An additional 17 people were wounded in the missile strike on the crowded refugee camp. This latest airstrike comes in the midst of rapid escalation of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip beginning Wednesday morning. Thus far, eighteen Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks on Wednesday, most of them civilians. Three Israeli soldiers have also been killed in the clashes.

According to the Reuters news agency, a 24-year old cameraman working for the agency, Fadal Shanaa, was driving in a vehicle that was clearly marked on the top and sides as ‘PRESS’. An Israeli missile, apparently targeting his vehicle, made a direct hit, killing Shanaa and 11 bystanders.

“It was even clearly marked on the roof, so it can’t be mistaken on the ground or from the air,” said a fellow journalist from Al-Jazeera news agency.

According to the Israeli army spokesman, “We hit our target”.

Israeli attacks on journalists have grown over the last eight years, with Israeli forces unapologetically targeting journalists who they say have no right to be in certain areas of the occupied Palestinian territories.
http://www.imemc.org/article/54252
———————————————————–

IOF artillery shells Palestinian hospital
Palestinian Information Center

April 16, 2008

GAZA, (PIC)– Two IOF artillery shells slammed into the Wafa’a hospital east of Gaza city at dawn Wednesday severely damaging the ground floor, X-ray department and the laboratory, the hospital administration said in a press release.

The shelling also severed electricity, water and telephone lines, it said, strongly denouncing the act especially when the hospital serves hundreds of aged persons, wounded and handicapped.

It noted that the eastern fence of the hospital was destroyed in the bombing, and underlined that the hospital is specialized in extending rehabilitation services and specialized surgeries.

The hospital appealed to international institutions, legal groups and WHO to immediately intervene to save the health sector in Palestine, which is experiencing difficulties due to the siege and closure of crossings and now shelling.

April 17th, 2008, 6:39 pm

 

Shai said:

The way we (Israel) are behaving in this conflict is an atrocity. There is no justification for this massive killing, nor for the blockade on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. We must have outside intervention, even from within the Arab world.

April 17th, 2008, 6:59 pm

 

Alex said:

After his rejection of the Hafez-Rabin finalized deal, Mr. Netanyahu will do it again …

Netanyahu: Abbas-Olmert peace deal will be invalid
By Haaretz Service

Opposition leader and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu hinted Thursday that if he were to be elected prime minister, he would not honor any peace agreement struck between current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, if one should be achieved.

April 17th, 2008, 7:03 pm

 

ghat Albird said:

May sound naive but its time to radically change the tone of whats being bandied about as “the main problem”. The problem is not Hamas per se. the problem is that the victims in the Israeli/Palestenian situation are still attmepting to be rational in their quest for justice.

What the Palestinians need to consider is the admission by an Israeli historian who stated that “in order to establish Israel it was necessary to uproot 700,000 Palestinian” that event should be put into the same context that Israel uses to justify its existance by repeatedly exhorting sympathy by mentioning what he Germans did.

In short this is an opportune time for the Palestinians to do as the Israelis are doing regarding attempts to gain and promote sympathy. Keep mentioning the facts that 700,000 Plaestinans have been uprooted by a state that is n violation of human rights. Should be repeated on a regular basis and at opportune times in a variety of public ways for as long as it takes to sink into a world sociatal consciousness.

April 17th, 2008, 7:06 pm

 
 

Shai said:

T,

I’m sorry you see me as merely an “Alon Liel wing of the peace process…” and a part of the “good cops”. I guess my attempts to convince you of my (independent) initiatives, goals, and sincerity didn’t succeed. I’ve said on numerous occasions on SC that by restarting talks with Syria, and even signing a peace treaty with her, I do not see peace between Jews and Arabs, until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. In fact, the ONLY reason I believe we must make peace with Syria NOW, is because on the one hand the Fatah-Hamas rift doesn’t enable us to reach an agreement purely with Abu Mazen (contrary to what Olmert and Bush understand), and on the other hand, Syria is the perfect side to aid in resolving our conflict with the Palestinians. And since Syria has been almost begging Israel to make peace for the past 3-4 years, there is no justification in waiting. The Palestine issue will not be “sold out” by a separate so-called peace treaty with Syria.

You cannot accuse Israel, or Israelis, of wishing to “divide and conquer” the Arab world, one peace (and one piece) at a time, because fact is, that most Israelis right now are not interested in peace with either Syria, nor the Palestinians. I, as well as others, am suggesting that we must take Syria up on her offer. By the way, my view is shared by many an Arabs, including Syrians, and even more so, Palestinians! Believe it or not, top Palestinian officials told Alon Liel, “Go Ahead”, to talk with the Syrians, and even make peace with them. They understand that if anything, it’ll HELP them, not make it worse for them, given the situation that they’re in at the moment. If tomorrow morning Fatah and Hamas work out their differences, I’m ready to reverse the order again, and go talk to the Palestinians first. But until that happens, Syria is the right address. But don’t just listen to my view, ask your Arab colleagues around.

Btw, building further settlements is illegal, by law. The fact that my government does nothing about dismantling caravans that some young settler “punks” place on hilltops is, to put it plainly, criminal. The absurd is, that such settlements have grown mostly during Left/Center led governments, and were controlled when under Netanyahu or Sharon. Barak and Olmert have been some of the biggest disappointments to Israel, and I am looking forward to the day their administration ends.

April 17th, 2008, 7:14 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

To be fair, the Ha’aretz article stated that Netanyahu said that any agreement with Abu Mazen should come to the people in form of elections, and that if Olmert wins, then fine, the agreement should be honored. But if he loses, then he (Bibi) does not consider it right to honor an agreement that the people are against. He also said that the agreement cannot hold, not in the legal sense, but in practice (which he may well be right about).

But bottom line, Netanyahu also said he wouldn’t shake the hand of “that terrorist” Arafat. He not only shook his hand on multiple occasions, he even kissed the man’s cheek. Since when do we “believe” all the words some potential PM utters, especially as he smells an upcoming election coming real soon…?

April 17th, 2008, 7:22 pm

 

T said:

Shai,

you said:
“reason I believe we must make peace with Syria NOW, is because on the one hand the Fatah-Hamas rift doesn’t enable us to reach an agreement purely with Abu Mazen… If tomorrow morning Fatah and Hamas work out their differences…”

There is a rift between Hamas and Fatah because Israel and the US armed & instigated it, ‘creative chaos’ as they say. To divide and conquer and eliminate Hamas. Added benefit? “No partner to deal with.” Lets turn to Syria and peace gardens.

Shouldn’t we advocate that CIA and Mossad quit inciting Civil War? The benefit? Israel’s enemies just do the job, and kill each other off without Israel risking a shot.

Why not adopt the Saudi plan from Beirut 2002?

You have never really answered that. It would mean land for peace and not peace for peace parks. WHO are the Syrians that went along with this?

I guess a peace deal with Syria and focus in that direction would also mean not having to stop building the settlements on occupied land.

As I said before Shai, none of this is personally directed AT YOU. I am just assessing what I see via the machinations here between states. And others here see things radically different, of course.

April 17th, 2008, 7:50 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

I know you’re not directing this at me personally. And my friend, I DID suggest on numerous occasions that we should adopt both the Beirut and the Riyadh Arab Summit offers to end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all. The so-called “3 Yes’s” (yes to recognition, yes to normalization, and yes to peace) would come once Israel withdraws to the 1967 lines (West Bank and Golan), and a just solution is found to the refugee problem. So now tell me, if Israel cannot withdraw from the West Bank right now (as I believe most are in agreement that unilateral withdrawals have proven to be serious mistakes), should Israel not withdraw from the Golan, because that would seem like we’re making separate peace agreements? Again, I’ll say it until I’m blue in my face if I have to – Israel will NOT enjoy peace until it fully withdraws to the 1967 lines, including and especially returning the West Bank to the Palestinians, and enabling them to finally have their own nation, their own independence, their own freedom. Peace with Syria tomorrow morning would be just like with Egypt and Jordan – a superficial one. Israelis cannot walk freely in the souqs of Cairo or Amman, and they will not do so in Damascus, until there is peace also with the Palestinians.

It is completely irrelevant right now who was behind the Hamas takeover of Gaza. If you ask me, it was Hamas, not Israel, the U.S., or anyone else. In fact, Carter himself says that while at the time he (as well as the U.S. administration) thought it was a good idea to have the first democratic elections held in 2006, it apparently was a mistake, because of what happened in Gaza. Personally, I don’t think it was a mistake. But it sure is a twisted logic to suggest that Israel gains from having Hamas controlling Gaza and not Fatah. How on earth do you reach that conclusion? So that we’d have one more partner NOT to talk to? So why are we talking to Abu Mazen? I think it’s silly to think he’s either representative of the Palestinians right now, nor in a position to deliver a peace agreement. And if Israel is not interested in peace with the Palestinians, why did Sharon withdraw from Gaza, remove by force settlers, and already voice across the world his intention to continue the same in the West Bank (but unfortunately never made it, because of his illness)? Why is Olmert negotiating with Abu Mazen? You might claim that Israel doesn’t want peace with Syria (and at the moment, that seems to be true), but you certainly can’t claim the same about the Palestinians.

What is true, is that Israel created Hamas, and now we’re getting what we “asked for”. In that sense, I find it ridiculous that we’re not negotiating also, or even mainly, with Hamas.

April 17th, 2008, 8:10 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai,

If you understood Arabic (with Egyptian accent) you would realize the way they feel in Syria… ten years after Mubarak said that the Syrians simply can not trust Israel’s peace intentions after Netanyahu refused to respect Prime minister Rabin’s agreement with Hafez Assad

17 years of endless movement … but not forward.

And it really looks like more of the same:

1) by next year Netanyahu will probably win the next elections

2) Until then, Olmert will not reach a final agreement with the Palestinians but will simply talk with them for the next few months at the end of which there will be “progress”… same with the Syrians (but secretly or indirectly, not to upset the Bush administration) … more “progress” there.

3) Netanyahu will not need to honor anything… all that “progress” will go nowhere… more waste of time.

April 17th, 2008, 8:18 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I agree… but what choice do we have? In any case, while all the sides are “talking”, they’re also fighting and/or preparing to fight. I guess I prefer talking while fighting over just fighting, no? But with regards to Netanyahu (or any other opposition that would have come along), he is preparing his potential voters for the election, whenever that’ll come. He cannot say anything positive about anyone right now, as that would seem supportive of Olmert-Barak. Their situation right now is so miserable politically, that Labor and Kadima are seriously considering becoming one party! Can you imagine? They failed as a Center-Left coalition, so now they’ll try as a Left-Center-Left party? It seems they’re digging their own grave with each day that passes, and if Bibi doesn’t make too many mistakes on the personal realm (which he tends to do occasionally), he may well be our next PM. And again, I remind all the innate anti-Bibi, anti-Sharon, anti-Begin’s out there (especially amongst the Arabs), to recall how each of these did a complete 180 degrees when it came time to make peace. They all gave orders to withdraw the army, they all removed settlers from their homes, and they all negotiated with those same parties they once swore (in front of their constituents) never to do.

April 17th, 2008, 8:27 pm

 

idaf said:

I’ve always wanted to participate in this, but keep missing the application deadline.

QN,
If you start your driving license application now, you should be able to participate when you turn 18. However, Alex would beat us both with his 4 x 4 🙂

April 17th, 2008, 8:45 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai,

I understand. I was just explaining the mood in Damascus.

One more thing .. Netanyahu is not Begin. I can trust Begin’s word … I can’t trust Netanyahu.

The choice is between the weak Olmert, and the non-trustworthy Netanyahu …

It really does not matter though .. it is the people in Israel that count and it will take time to make them want to have peace with Syria.

Dichter seems to be much more solid by the way … but he is not a candidate.

April 17th, 2008, 8:48 pm

 

T said:

Shai,

You said,

“It is completely irrelevant right now who was behind the Hamas takeover of Gaza.”

Hamas TAKEOVER? Your facts are blatantly wrong. You selectively omit and twist. They were democratically elected- by assessment of all, including Hamas critics.

I never said Israel benefits by having Hamas rule. I said Israel benfits by having Hamas and Fatah kill each other off in a civil war. The ‘enemies’ do Israel’s dirty stuff for it. It was instigated by CIA-Mossad for that purpose.

Israel negotiates with Mazen because he is compliant and they can control him. Like Dahlan, he secures Israeli interests, not Palestinians’. Otherwise he’d be declared “an obstacle to peace” or some such slogan.

Pulling out of Gaza? It became too expensive a liability. And Israel dumped a liability for agreement that its losses there would be compensated by commensurate settlement building in the W Bank.

West Bank has all the fresh water aquifers. Gaza has none.
Why not a Palestine Comment? Hash things out. Dialogue. Start there.

April 17th, 2008, 8:52 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

It’s an absolute shame that this is the mood in Damascus, though it is completely justified. Look at how good we are at missing opportunities? We could have had peace 35-40 years ago, but no. And now too, it seems we’ll have to wait another year or so. And in the meantime, anything can happen, including a horrific regional war.

I understand your feelings about Netanyahu, but I try not to have any, to be honest. If I took you back to hear Menachem Begin in the 1960’s and 70’s, you would certainly trust him no more than Bibi of the 1990’s. Yet, when it came time to decide, he chose peace. So did Sharon, with the Palestinians. And so will Bibi, with both. If elected, he’s not going to miss out his 2nd, and last, opportunity as PM of Israel. Let’s hope so… at least.

April 17th, 2008, 8:58 pm

 

idaf said:

Bashar: US “Condition list” for Syria by Collin Powel in 2003 included “forbidding Syria from hosting Iraqi scientists and scholars”
Al-Akhbar
Ibrahim Al-Amin

الأسد متفائل: نستعدّ للحرب ونستبعدها
بعض خلافاتنا في لبنان مؤقّتة والمصالحة الفلسطينيّة ممنوعة وأميركا طلبت منّا عدم استقبال علماء العراق

دمشق ـ ابراهيم الأمين
أعلن الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد أن سوريا تستعد للحرب مع إسرائيل، وترى أنها احتمال قائم، لكنه استبعد حصولها ربطاً بالمعطيات والمؤشرات المتوافرة. وقال إنّ السؤال الوجودي في إسرائيل طُرح بعد حرب لبنان الأخيرة، معرباً عن تفاؤله بالمستقبل العربي.وكان الأسد يتحدث في لقاء جمعه مع المشاركين في مؤتمر «تجديد الفكر القومي والمصير العربي» المنعقد في دمشق، بحضور الدكتورة نجاح العطار نائبة الرئيس وراعية المؤتمر، وتطرق الى عناوين كثيرة تخص العالم العربي. وفي الملف اللبناني، قال الأسد إنّ «سوريا تعرف ما يجري في لبنان، وهي ليست على مسافة واحدة من الجميع. لكنّنا تصرفنا بمسؤولية في موضوع دعوة الرئيس فؤاد السنيورة إلى القمة العربية، رغم كل ما يوجه إلينا من إساءات من الفريق الذي ينتمي إليه السنيورة. وهي حملة مستمرة. لكننا نشعر بأن الولايات المتحدة راضية عن الوضع الحالي، ولا تريد التوصل الى حل في لبنان. نحن لا نعتقد بوجود خلاف دائم مع فريق سياسي، بل هو خلاف مؤقّت».
وأضاف الأسد «نحن لا نمانع في المبادرة، ولكن ما الفائدة إذا كانت الاطراف التي تملك تأثيراً في لبنان لا تريد ذلك. لقد التقيت وزير الخارجية السعودي الأمير سعود الفيصل هنا في سوريا، وقلت له إننا مستعدون للتعاون، ولكن أنتم تملكون تأثيراً أكبر منا في لبنان. ففي فريق السلطة قيادات أساسيّة نمت في حضنكم، وتعيش من دعمكم، وتخضع لتأثيركم المباشر. أمّا قيادات المعارضة اللبنانية فلم تخرج الى السياسة من القصر الرئاسي السوري، وليس صحيحاً أننا نملك تأثيراً على فريق المعارضة أقوى من تأثيركم على فريق السلطة». وتابع «نحن نرى الأمور بوضوح، إنّ أي مبادرة من جانبنا تحتاج الى علاقة جيدة مع الأطراف الأخرى المؤثرة في لبنان، مثل السعودية ومصر».
وفي ما يتعلق بالعراق، قال الأسد إنه «بعد سقوط بغداد بيد الاحتلال الاميركي بأسابيع قليلة، جاء وزير الخارجية الاميركي كولن باول إلى دمشق، وكان يتحدث بفخر عما أنجزه جيشه في العراق، وفي مرات كان يقدم نفسه كقائد عسكري أيضاً». وأضاف أن باول «قرأ ما بات يعرف لاحقاً بدفتر الشروط»، مشيراً إلى أن الوزير الأميركي «لم يطلب فقط إبعاد قادة المقاومة الفلسطينية من سوريا، بل أتى على أمر لم يسبق أن ذكرته، وهو أن على سوريا منع استضافة علماء العراق، ومنع استضافة المفكرين العراقيين على أراضيها، ليتبيّن في وقت لاحق أن القوات الأميركية استهدفت هؤلاء وقُتل منهم من قتل». وتابع «إضافة الى التدمير الممنهج للمتحف الوطني العراقي ونهبه وسرقة آثار العراق، ومن ثم تدمير البنية التحتية الفكرية، كان واضحاً أن الاميركيين يريدون العراق بلداً مدمّراً من حيث تراثه ومن حيث قدرته على الإنتاج الفكري».
وأشار الرئيس السوري إلى أنه «بعد احتلال العراق، كنا نتوقع قيام مقاومة عراقية بوجه قوات الاحتلال، ولكنني اليوم أقول إن المقاومة العراقية فاجأتنا لناحية قدرتها على الانتقال الى عمل كمي ونوعي في فترة قياسية، بالنظر الى تجارب المقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين». وشدّد على أن السياسة السورية في العراق «هي الحفاظ على وحدته وعلى الهوية القومية العربية فيه، ونحن نعتقد بوجوب الدعوة الى مؤتمر وطني للمصالحة وإعداد دستور جديد ينظم الحياة في هذا البلد».
وقال الأسد «ليس علينا نحن العرب أن نشكو ونتحدث عن مشاريع الآخرين في العراق، بل علينا أن نسأل أنفسنا عن المشروع العربي للعراق. ما يجري هناك الآن ليس حرباً أهلية بالمعني التقليدي، هناك تجمعات ذات طابع ميليشياوي تحاول فرض أمر واقع على الأرض، على طريقة ما يفكر البعض في لبنان. نحن استضفنا في سوريا أكثر من مليون ونصف مليون عراقي، ولم نشهد اقتتالاً في ما بينهم رغم تنوّعهم، وهذا دليل على أنه ليست هناك مشاكل تقود الى حرب أهلية، بل هناك واقع الاحتلال وضرورة التخلص منه من جهة، وهناك الحاجة الى مؤتمر مصالحة في داخل هذا البلد».
وشدد الأسد على أن «كل كلام عن مصالح طوائف ومذاهب لن يفيد في شيء، ولن يوحّد العراق ولن يحميه ولن يطوّره، وأي دستور يقوم على أساس تقاسم المصالح الطائفية أو المذهبية لن يحقق الاستقرار، وهذا اتفاق الطائف في لبنان قام على أساس حفظ مصالح ذات أبعاد طائفية ومذهبية وخلافه، وهو اتفاق يواجه مشكلات كبرى منذ إقراره».
وأوضح الرئيس السوري أنه «ليست هناك رؤية موحدة عند العرب إزاء ملف العراق، هناك وحدة في الكلام العاطفي، نحن الآن نمر في مرحلة ضبابية، وهناك جمود في ملفات كثيرة من بينها ملف العراق، وهناك محاولة لتقطيع الوقت، وربما هناك في العالم العربي من يريد أن ينتظر الادارة الاميركية الجديدة ليقرر خطوته اللاحقة سواء في ما خص العراق أو غيره». وأضاف «ما نشهده اليوم حقيقةً، هو أن المقاومة في العراق قائمة وناشطة، وربما علينا تركها وعدم الاقتراب منها حتى لا نخربها. وبعد فشل المشروع الاميركي في العراق لم يعد بيدها سوى اللجوء الى الفتنة سلاحاً ينقذها من ورطتها في هذا البلد».
وتابع الأسد «هناك رغبة أميركية وإسرائيلية في جعل إيران عدواً للعرب، وما قالته وزيرة الخارجية الاسرائيلية تسيبي ليفني في قطر قبل أيام يصبّ في هذه الغاية. نحن نعرف أن إيران دولة لديها سياسات ومصالح، وقد تكون هناك أخطاء في متابعة بعض الامور، ولكن السؤال لا يجب أن يقوم على قاعدة أن إيران دولة عدوة، لقد قلت لقادة عرب يلومون سوريا على علاقتها بإيران، إن علينا أن نطرح الموضوعات والقضايا التي تهمّنا، مثل ملف المقاومة، ونرى، هل إيران معنا أم ضدنا، لا أن نتخذ منها موقفاً مطلقاً».
وفي الشأن الفلسطيني، قال الأسد «نحن الآن، من موقعنا في رئاسة القمة، ننسّق مع الإخوة الفلسطينيين في أمور تخص مواجهة الحصار، لدينا الاتصالات المستمرة مع حركة حماس، وحتى مع الرئيس محمود عباس، وربما لو كانت علاقتنا مع مصر جيدة، لساعدنا أكثر في معالجة ملف الحصار المفروض على القطاع الآن».
وأضاف «هناك حاجة لتحقيق مصالحة فلسطينية، وقد وجدنا في المبادرة اليمنية مدخلاً مناسباً وقوياً، وحماس أبلغتنا أنها مستعدة للذهاب الى الحد الاقصى ولإعادة الأمور الى ما كانت عليه. لكننا لاحظنا أن الطرف الآخر ليس متحمساً، ما أعتقده أن المصالحة الفلسطينية الداخلية ممنوعة، وهو أمر صعب، ونحن لا نملك أدوات مباشرة للتدخل في هذا الملف، ولكننا نعتقد أن المبادرة اليمنية مناسبة لإطلاق عملية المصالحة الفلسطينية. ونحن نسعى الى منع تحويل حصار غزة الى فتنة داخلية».
وتابع الرئيس السوري إن «الوضع العام أفضل من السابق، ربما مررنا بأوضاع صعبة سابقاً، ولكنني متفائل الآن، والقضية مرتبطة بالزمن، وكل يوم تتحسن أوضاعنا وتتعقد أوضاع الآخرين من الخصوم والأعداء».
وشدد الأسد على أنه «في سوريا، لا نرى بديلاً من الخيار القومي، لأن البديل الذي يريده الاستعمار هو الفتنة المذهبية كما يجري في العراق، وهو يدمّر، وسوريا محمية من تلقاء نفسها لأن هناك تطابقاً في الموقف من المسألة القومية بين السلطة والشعب». وأضاف أن «اسرائيل تريد التطبيع مع العرب كاستراتيجية بديلة من السلام الذي يعيد الحقوق، وعندما كان يحاول البعض أن يفرض علينا التطبيع شرطاً للسلام، كنا نقول له ونكرر الموقف الآن، إن استرجاع الأرض والحقوق يمكن أن يؤدي الى علاقات عادية، ولكنه لا يؤدي بالضرورة الى تطبيع، وما يجري في مصر والأردن يدلنا على أن الجمهور لا يريد التطبيع، وبالتالي لا يمكن لأحد أن يفرض التطبيع على أحد. وأنا أعرف أن الشعب السوري يرفض التطبيع ولن نفرض عليه ذلك».
كذلك أكد الأسد أن «لا أحد منا يستبعد خيار الحرب، ولكن هناك نقاش في ما إذا كانت إسرائيل ستشنّ حرباً على لبنان وسوريا أو أن أميركا ستشن حرباً على إيران. علينا قراءة الموقف من زاوية المصلحة الاميركية، لأن حرب لبنان الاخيرة أظهرت أن إسرائيل كانت تريد التوقف في لحظة معينة، ولكن الإدارة الاميركية كانت تجبرها على مواصلة الحرب». وأضاف «نحن نعرف أن في الادارة الاميركية من يريد هذه الحرب، ونحن نستعد للأسوأ، ونتصرف على أساس أن الحرب مقبلة ونستعد لها، ولكننا نقرأ في المعطيات ولا نرى أن في الأفق حرباً قائمة».
وأضاف الرئيس السوري أن «الاميركيين يريدون استبدال خيار الحرب بخيار الفتنة، في لبنان يريدون تحويل الصراع من خلاف سياسي الى مشكلة مذهبية سنية شيعية، وهم يعملون على فتنة بين العرب وإيران». وتابع أن «المعطيات تقول بأن احتمالات الحرب ضئيلة، وهذا ما يترافق مع سعي الاميركيين الى خلق الفتنة المذهبية بديلاً من الحرب لتمزيق الدول العربية».
وأوضح الأسد «بعد حرب لبنان، ظهر أننا نحن العرب نجدّد شبابنا وأن إسرائيل تدخل مرحلة الشيخوخة، وبعد هذه الحرب ارتفع في إسرائيل السؤال عن الوجود ومصير الكيان، لنتركهم في سؤالهم، الامر لا يعالج عاطفياً، ولكن الوضع الآن أفضل بكثير مما كان عليه قبل عشر سنوات»، مشيراً إلى أن «علينا عدم المبالغة في الأمر، إن منطقنا يستند الى الانتصارات التي حققتها المقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين، لنترك الإسرائيليين يطرحون السؤال الوجودي، ولكن لنعمل نحن وفق مصالحنا».
وتابع الرئيس السوري «بعد حرب لبنان، لاحظت كثرة الوفود الغربية وخصوصاً اليهود منهم، حتى إنه زارني مرة مسؤول أجنبي قال إن ابنه كان يخدم في الجيش الإسرائيلي، وشعرت بأن الحديث تبدل بقوة من مرحلة الضغط والضرب الى مرحلة البحث عن السلام. وبعضهم قال لي صراحة إن نتائج حرب لبنان توجب الإسراع في تحقيق السلام. لقد عرض الاسرائيليون علينا مفاوضات سرية. ونحن رفضنا الأمر، ولن نقبل بأي نوع من التفاوض السري، ليس لدينا ما نخفيه عن شعبنا. ولن نتنازل عن ثوابتنا».
وختم الأسد بالقول «هناك نجاحات كبيرة للمقاومة في لبنان منذ أواسط الثمانينيات، ثم شهدنا انتصارات لهذه المقاومة كما شهدنا انتصارات وتطورات للمقاومة في فلسطين، والآن الأمر نفسه في العراق، الامور أفضل وأنا متفائل أكثر من أي وقت».

April 17th, 2008, 8:59 pm

 

Alex said:

IDAF .. can you please translate the main points in this talk? .. there were some new pieces of info .. like POwell’s conditions …etc.

I will post it if you can send it to me.

Shai,

They will talk .. regardless of mood and low expectations.

April 17th, 2008, 9:08 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

I was talking about the Hamas takeover of Gaza, removing Fatah control completely. This has nothing to do with the 2006 elections. Of course Hamas was elected as the main party to the government, but the violence that errupted caused a rift between this government, and its President, which led to in essence two separate governments representing the Palestinian people. One in Ramallah, and one in Gaza. Was this instigated by Israel or the U.S.? Perhaps. But surely we’re not benefitting from Hamas controlling Gaza, are we? I can speak for my side – we’re not.

As for having our enemies kill each other off, while in theory that sounds like a neat and simple little concept, a sort of a “win-win” scenario, in reality it doesn’t work that way. By having Hamas and Fatah killing each other, the situation in Gaza and the West Bank has become that much less stable. Instability on our borders and within territories under Israeli control is not a desirable situation. And, there’s always the “day after”. This is precisely why I believe Olmert is making a mistake by talking to Abu Mazen, who is being supported by us at the same time with money, weapons, and protection. This is NOT an “enemy”, with whom we should be negotiating peace. He is more of a “friend”, and as such is irrelevant.

Why did we pull out of Gaza? Because Sharon came to the strategic and historic realization that we must pull out of the Palestinian territories, and that a Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank must be allowed to be created. I don’t know where you get the “… And Israel dumped a liability (Gaza) for agreement that its losses there would be compensated by commensurate settlement building in the W Bank.” from. Are you claiming that someone (Abu Mazen, Bush, etc.) made an agreement with Sharon that if he pulls out of Gaza, he’ll be compensated by being allowed to build further settlements in the West Bank? That’s ludicrous. Who on earth would give his agreement to this?

April 17th, 2008, 9:12 pm

 

T said:

Shai,

Having both sides kill each other off- DOES work effectively. While we armed both sides in Iraq-Iran war, all over Latin America etc etc. That method is a gold standard staple of US foreign policy with a long, long history of use. Now the neocons call certain aspects of it “constructive destabiliztion.”

“… And Israel dumped a liability (Gaza) for agreement that its losses there would be compensated by commensurate settlement building in the W Bank.” from. Are you claiming that someone (Abu Mazen, Bush, etc.) made an agreement with Sharon that if he pulls out of Gaza, he’ll be compensated by being allowed to build further settlements in the West Bank? That’s ludicrous. Who on earth would give his agreement to this?

Its straight from Haaretz, tho put far less bluntly than I have said it. glad you are on board the Arab 2002 proposal- sorry sometimes I miss weeks here and so don’t get current on each poster’s thoughts.

A Palestine Comment? What do you say???

April 17th, 2008, 9:24 pm

 

Shai said:

Bondo,

I’m sorry you see me as a “left gatekeeper”, “good cop”, and “choking the unaware”. Believe it or not, I do not identify myself with any political party. I may well vote Netanyahu in the next elections… how’s that for a “left gatekeeper”? (AIG, don’t get excited…)

I never claimed Begin removed anyone from the West Bank. He did from all of Sinai. Sharon removed from Gaza, and two settlements in the West Bank. Netanyahu removed IDF troops, and handed control over to Arafat in a number of key cities in the West Bank. These hardline, right-wingers, who were vocally more anti-Arab than just about anyone, proved themselves capable of doing the opposite of what they normally preached. They proved ready to make peace, not only in words, but also in action. That’s more than can be said for most of our Left or Center leaders. That’s what I was trying to say.

To suggest that Rabin did not undergo a tremendous transformation from an Arab-hating general to an Arab-respecting head-of-state is pure ignorance. There are few in the Arab world today who wouldn’t wish to have Rabin back at Israel’s helm right now, like many of us here in Israel.

April 17th, 2008, 9:38 pm

 

Shai said:

(same comment appeared twice)

April 17th, 2008, 9:39 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

Of course when you have enemies fighting each other off, when they’re thousands of miles away, then maybe it could work. But not when they’re on your border (Gaza), or under your occupation (West Bank). Instability is not something an Occupier is normally interested in…

As for Ha’aretz suggesting that Sharon would be compensated for withdrawing from Gaza with further settlements in the West Bank – show me the article.

Palestine Comment? Absolutely! I’ll be the first to enter it, from our side. Btw, two guys, one from Gaza, and one from Sderot, started their own blog a bit ago. Nothing like the level of SC, but still quite interesting:
http://gaza-sderot.blogspot.com/

April 17th, 2008, 9:55 pm

 

Shai said:

Bondo,

You know, I don’t get you. You finally come across an Israeli that’s willing to listen to you, to respect you, to respond back in a respectful manner, instead of tear apart everything you write and stand for, and what do you do? You call him (me) “a soft voice that chokes the unaware” and now “a soft voice deceiver”.

Fair enough. I guess you prefer the hardline option. The ones that won’t listen to you for a second, that won’t try to understand you, or your people. That will respond to your rhetoric with “You see, they hate us, let’s bomb them!” You prefer that? Go for it.

April 17th, 2008, 10:31 pm

 

Shai said:

Bondo,

I wish you luck with your approach. If you can achieve your goals faster this way, then I too will apologize to you.

April 17th, 2008, 10:50 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

The following is from adnKronos International, an Indonesian news service published on 16 April.

Is Friend in America Rome in Indonesia????

AKI – Adnkronos International, registered at the Rome Court 7th April 2003, registration number 156. Director: Giuseppe Marra

Jakarta Post is indeed published in Indonesia. Though strange that they use an unknown AKI for such local news. AKI seems (conclusion made by using Google and reading some links) to be a much milder form of MEMRI, maybe a “Catholic propaganda machine”. Rather many not so favourable news about Islam, very little about Catholic “paedophile priests”. And none from Israel.

http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Religion/

———

The way we (Israel) are behaving in this conflict is an atrocity. There is no justification for this massive killing, nor for the blockade on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. We must have outside intervention, even from within the Arab world.

Shai do you want military intervention or what kind of “help”? Weapons or sympathy form Arab countries for Gaza people? 150.000 Egyptian soldiers could guaranty peace in Gaza. Though I doubt Egyptians want to help the Israeli “brothers” in trouble. What about 150.000 Iranian and Syrian peacekeepers?

But how can Arab “friends” help Israel, if Israel doesn’t want to negotiate with people of Gaza. On the other hand what can Israel offer Palestinians of Arabs. The normal bull shit: we negotiate if you do not have any demands and approve the Jewish State, behave peacefully for an undefined period and we find a Palestinian “Messiah” (who is not yet born) with whom we want to talk.

Do people in Israel seriously believe that any Palestinian leader could accept Olmert’s offer of 67 percent of West Bank? That leader could continue his life only in a fortified villa in in Miami Florida.

Well I am afraid that the day is soon coming when Israel looses its nerves and goes to Gaza with force creating an epic battle of “Stalingrad” with thousands of dead. That will be a final catastrophe for Israeli image.

Of course Hamas was elected as the main party to the government, but the violence that errupted caused a rift between this government, and its President, which led to in essence two separate governments representing the Palestinian people. One in Ramallah, and one in Gaza. Was this instigated by Israel or the U.S.? Perhaps. But surely we’re not benefitting from Hamas controlling Gaza, are we? I can speak for my side – we’re not.

Of course the rift was instigated by Israel or the U.S., when they decided to support, finance and arm that looser of the elections, which they amusingly before blamed for corruption. They wanted PLO to destroy military Hamas = act as Israel’s capos. What else could Hamas do than take control of its strategic base when it still had time? If Israeli / U.S. planers could not see that evident result they are completely incompetent and dangerously over optimist.

April 17th, 2008, 10:54 pm

 

T said:

back to the past?
PA Arabs Consider Merge With Jordan
June 10, 07 (IsraelNN.com)

According to political analysts, an increasing number of officials and civilians in Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are discussing the possibility of merging PA-controlled territories with Jordan. The subject has been mentioned recently on a number of Jordanian and PA-controlled media programs, and a recent poll by Near East Counseling in Ramallah showed that 30 percent of PA Arabs support the idea.

Jordan lost control of Judea and Samaria in 1967 after attacking Israel in the Six Day War, and King Hussein officially gave up on reclaiming the area in 1987. However his son, King Abdullah II, has increasingly been involved in efforts to take the areas from Israel.

April 17th, 2008, 11:21 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Idaf

To me, one of the positive statements made by Bashar in that piece by Ibrahim al-Amin was this one:

وشدد الأسد على أن «كل كلام عن مصالح طوائف ومذاهب لن يفيد في شيء، ولن يوحّد العراق ولن يحميه ولن يطوّره، وأي دستور يقوم على أساس تقاسم المصالح الطائفية أو المذهبية لن يحقق الاستقرار، وهذا اتفاق الطائف في لبنان قام على أساس حفظ مصالح ذات أبعاد طائفية ومذهبية وخلافه، وهو اتفاق يواجه مشكلات كبرى منذ إقراره

Of course, Syria played a major role in the creation of Ta’ef (as did the late Hariri).

But, Asad’s admission that it lies at the root of the problems today in Lebanon should be seen as a positive sign.

April 18th, 2008, 1:10 am

 

Friend in America said:

We are in a no progress period until after the elections in Israel and U.S. Frankly, I cannot predict yet which candidate is more likely to make overtures to the Palestinians if made President. It is in academic America where the voices for change in the ME policy are the clearest (there is also strong resistance to those voices in the universities). But that does not mean that those here cannot privately write the outlines of a settlement.

My view is not conventional. In my view the Palestinian Authority is not a viable state and will not be. Israel is unable to secure its citizens without securing the political and economic safety of its neighbors. As was noted here 2 weeks ago settlement of the refugee problem is a must. If a right of return were offered to the Palestinians, or cash settlements for not returning, fewer than 40% of the Palestinians would return. And if the host countries offered citizenship to the Palestinians who took the cash settlement, the potential unrest by Palestinian refugees in host countries will be resolved. Also, the Israelis could be offered the same opportunity – live anywhere in the former Authority lands, in safety. Hamas could then declare victory and morph into a political party. Hezbollah could revert back to being a social service agency. All of Lebanon could go about its affairs of rebuilding. Syria could then propose a “levant trade agreement” which would become a tremendous economic boon for Syrians. The extremists in Iran would despair but the moderates would be the first to send an ambassador.

Sound far fetched? In todays nitpicking and fighting, yes. But a better life for our children and grandchildren is worth the effort and somebody has to start it so why not here? A grand plan will catch the favorable attention of other ME countries, Europe and America.

April 18th, 2008, 1:56 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

I found al-Zahar’s comment regarding the Jewish uprise in the Warsaw Ghetto very powerful.

Shai,

In what way did you find al-Zahar’s comment regarding the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto “very powerful”?

I don’t recall the Warsaw ghetto jews refusing to recognize Germany’s right to exist nor do I recall them firing missiles into German population centers.

April 18th, 2008, 2:19 am

 

Enlightened said:

Akbar Palace said:

I found al-Zahar’s comment regarding the Jewish uprise in the Warsaw Ghetto very powerful.

Shai,

In what way did you find al-Zahar’s comment regarding the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto “very powerful”?

I don’t recall the Warsaw ghetto jews refusing to recognize Germany’s right to exist nor do I recall them firing missiles into German population centers.

Thats right, I remember the Germans had a problem with the Jews right to exist didn’t they? Thats why the Warsaw ghetto jews took it lying down and didn’t fight back right?

Yes we do live in a Bizzaro world don’t we?

April 18th, 2008, 3:13 am

 

Majhool said:

وشدد الأسد على أن «كل كلام عن مصالح طوائف ومذاهب لن يفيد في شيء، ولن يوحّد العراق ولن يحميه ولن يطوّره، وأي دستور يقوم على أساس تقاسم المصالح الطائفية أو المذهبية لن يحقق الاستقرار، وهذا اتفاق الطائف في لبنان قام على أساس حفظ مصالح ذات أبعاد طائفية ومذهبية وخلافه، وهو اتفاق يواجه مشكلات كبرى منذ إقراره

Maybe he should apply it first to Syrians! and maybe he can let the Lebanese build a functional goverment (i.e. stop supporting the mini state of HA, which happens to be the first step on the road map for “Deconfessionalism” in Lebanon” Syria-Iran policy for the past few years was focused on ensuring that weak goverments exist in Lebanon, Iraq, and even Palestine.

See, I don’t why some give any attention to these words when actions speak of the opposite. I mean after all these statements are not made by an accountable head of state, these are made only for “Arab Street” consumption

April 18th, 2008, 3:57 am

 

SOL said:

“And if the host countries offered citizenship to the Palestinians who took the cash settlement, the potential unrest by Palestinian refugees in host countries will be resolved.”

Friend in America

I have a question that I know has been asked many times before but..

Without dismissing or diminishing the legitimate right of the Palestine to return to their historical homeland and with full agreement that it is totally, 100% Israel’s fault that they are refugees, why have the Arab host countries forced the refugees to live in squalor and poverty the past sixty years? Why not build decent housing and elevate the suffering of their Arab and Muslim brothers? Why has the Arab League not demanded from the Gulf nations to set aside some, 10%, of their oil profits to help the Palestine refugees live in decent and humane conditions?

Can anyone imagine if the millions of German refugees fleeing Eastern Europe after WWI were still living in refugee camps? The shame and humiliation would be unacceptable to the German nation. Can anyone imagine if the millions of Muslim refugees fleeing India in 1947 were still living in refugee camps? The shame and humiliation would be unacceptable to the Pakistan nation?

I realize that Israel is subjecting the Palestine’s in Gaza to an inhumane and vicious blockade that is making their lives unbearable but are the Israeli’s also imposing a blockade on the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan? Where are the Arab masses demanding that this horrible situation stop?

April 18th, 2008, 4:07 am

 

Shai said:

AP,

The “very powerful” comment stemmed from an impression that al-Zahar knew how to use a very close-to-heart example from our own history, and in a way that both gave respect “… courageous Jews…”, and drove the point of resistance. The recognition issue is not relevant, in my mind, because Jews in Warsaw also didn’t recognize the Nazi regime. The reason a few brave Jews rose up was because they saw their people being treated inhumanely, having their basic freedoms and rights removed from them, and they had had enough. They could no longer sit idly by and watch this atrocity take place. If you or I were in their shoes (Palestinians in Gaza), don’t tell me we’d stick to blogging late at night from our laptops… you know where we’d be, and what we’d be doing. And recognizing Israel’s right to exist is not the first thing you and I would run to do, nor the second. Sometimes it really does help to switch roles. Suddenly, things become “clearer”. At least to me…

April 18th, 2008, 4:29 am

 

Enlightened said:

Shai:

Just like being able to wear someone else’s shoes and walk in them?

Il lend you mine as soon as I get over the Tinnia problem I have! I am sure that you wont mind?

April 18th, 2008, 4:41 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Zahar is a terrorist and Bashar is a terrorist for supporting Hamas. The Palestinian people have every right to elect Hamas, just as the Israelis have every right not deal with them. Israel owes the Palestinians in Gaza nothing. Let their Arab brothers take care of them. If they want war, they will get war. If they want peace they will get peace, but on terms that reflect the relative power of the participants in this conflict. Not one Palestinian refugee will return to Israel. If Hamas don’t like it, they should continue doing what they are doing and Israel will continue doing what it needs to do.

If the Arabs want to beat Israel, they need to build strong cohesive and democratic states. Since the Arabs don’t want to or can’t do this, they cannot beat Israel ever. All they can do is complain about the fate of their brothers in Gaza while letting all the other brothers languish in refugee camps. Israel took care of its refugess. It is high time the Arabs took care of theirs.

April 18th, 2008, 6:41 am

 

idaf said:

QN,
I agree, this paragraph is important, but Syria and Bashar have been calling for this for years now. On the other hand, it is now a forced ritual by M14 Zaiims that each politician has to state clearly that he fully supports the Taif accord on each statement or TV interview or else he’ll be severely attacked on M14 media. Whenever a quasi anti-Taif statement was made by Aoun in the past 3 years, you would see Jumblat and other M14ers jumping hysterically on TV screens accusing him of trying to stage “al-inqilab 3ala al-taif” (which means to them that Aoun wants to threaten these Zua’am’s “benefits” and quotas in the government, parliament and the whole Lebanese bureaucracy).

This is one main reason why many sane people view Aoun favorably. He is courageous enough to question this ill-fated sectarian system and “constitution” in Lebanon, despite the fact that he might not politically gain from changing it as a Christian. Aoun was a real secular national Lebanese when he came back in 2005 and was forced to transform into a “Christian Zaiim” by the endless attacks on this “tsunami” (as Jumblat put it) by the sectarian Zua’ama in control in Lebanon who were threatened by this.

Bashar did not create the Taif accord. Yes Syria did (with the sectarian minded Saudis, Hariri, and other Lebanese Zua’am), but it is not the Syria of today. I argue that one of the main points of differences between Bashar on one side and Khaddam/Hariri/Saudis on the other side, is this secular vs. sectarian view of problem solving in Lebanon. Khaddam and Hariri wanted to stick to what “worked” in the past (satisfying each sectarian Zaim with “benefits” while keeping the Lebanese society fragmented under those Zuama), while Bashar and the new Syrian leadership wanted a more secular Lebanese system and supported people like Hoss, Lahoud, Franjieh and Karami. Of course there where also static sectarian Lebanese allies that Syria could not turn away from for regional interests.

Majhool,
You keep referring to “the regime” as one static block that existed for decades. It is not. While I might agree that during Hafez time, the leadership was viewed by a majority of Syrians as a “sectarian regime”, this is not the case since Bashar came to power. I would argue that the majority of Syrians today do not share this view, but view the regime as genuinely secular. So this statement by Bashar is actually based on the collective experience and lessons learned in Syria and Lebanon.

Probably you haven’t been to Syria since the Ikhwan time and you still hold that old image in your head.

The “Syrian regime” has matured over the last decades and learned from its mistakes on sectarianism and tribalism, unlike the Lebanese and the Saudis and more recently the Iraqis. If you remember, Bashar was repeatedly warning against “Lebanonizing Iraq” for months during the formation of the Iraqi government and constitution. Saudi, Iran, the US and Israel were happy with this sectarian system being created in Iraq, each for their own different reason. It was only Syria that was against it vocally.

Alex,
I emailed you a translation of the main points in Al-Akhbar’s article.

April 18th, 2008, 10:00 am

 

Nour said:

Majhool,

I believe it is your comments that express sectarian feelings and aims, as you judge groups and leaders solely on their sectarian affiliations. As Idaf stated, there is no doubt that the “old” regime in Syria behaved in a very sectarian manner and their handling of the Lebanese issue was carried out in a way that would please sectarian and tribal chieftains rather than helping to end the sectarian system in Lebanon.

Unfortunately, however, you focused your attention on HA, only because they are Shia and have been recently a target of Sunni wrath in this foreign-sponsored Shia v. Sunni nonsense. Lebanon does not have a true functioning state, and never has. It is a conglomeration of sectarian and tribal chieftains in continuous conflict over who gets what share of the pie. As such, to speak only of a HA mini-state, as if this is the onl hindrance to a modern, secular, democratic, accountable Lebanese state, without mentioning Jumblatt’s mini-state or Hariri’s mini-state is intellectually dishonest.

As for Syrian support of HA, it is actually support for resistance, and not support for a sectarian Shia organization. Syria also supports Hamas, not because it is a Sunni sectarian organization, but because Hamas is resisting Israeli aggression.

April 18th, 2008, 10:35 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Darfur rebel group wants Western oil companies to replace Chinese

LONDON (MarketWatch) — A leader within a powerful rebel faction in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region wants major Western oil companies to replace Chinese companies in the country, adding that new attacks were being prepared against them.

Offering better guarantees of oil revenue redistribution and environmental protection, “we would love to have Western companies,” replace Chinese ones, Eltahir Abdam Elfaki, chairman of the legislative council of the Justice and Equality Movement, said in a recent interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

“We don’t want China. We want to expel them. We have the means” to do so, he added. “We are preparing new attacks.”

The Justice and Equality Movement’s leader, Khalil Ibrahim, is listed by the U.S. Treasury as an individual “contributing to the conflict in the Darfur region”, a designation, Elfaki said, tied to Ibrahim’s past association with Sudanese Islamist ideologue Hassan al-Turabi.

But the movement is now in favor of a secular, democratic regime in Sudan and “we really want dialog with the U.S.,” Elfaki said.

Indeed, by supporting Chad – whose main oil project is the Chad-Cameroon pipeline operated by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) – the movement has “definitely” helped U.S. oil interests in the region, he added.


Though mostly Muslims, Darfur rebels have also sought support from Israel.

The Sudan Liberation Movement has opened an office in the country. Elfaki welcomed the move, saying Israel is “supportive of Darfur” and has hosted refugees from the region. The Hebrew state “is a democratic country” and “the Palestinians themselves are negotiating with Israel,” he said.

Hmmm it would be interesting to know what argumentation Israel uses for this support. Oh yes, democracy, secular states and the right to resist occupation and rebel. Oil for US companies is no issue in the support. 🙂

No wonder that the US media is so interested in Dafur and Tibet. And less in Palestine. It is all for democracy and secularity.

April 18th, 2008, 10:57 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Enlightened said:

Thats right, I remember the Germans had a problem with the Jews right to exist didn’t they? Thats why the Warsaw ghetto jews took it lying down and didn’t fight back right?

Absolutely. But how does that compare to Israel? It is the Palestinians (Hamas and al-Zahar) who do not recogize Israel, not the other way around.

Shai said:

AP,

The “very powerful” comment stemmed from an impression that al-Zahar knew how to use a very close-to-heart example from our own history, and in a way that both gave respect “… courageous Jews…”, and drove the point of resistance.

Yes, his propaganda is stellar for the uneducated and for the already anti-Israel. But everyone knows the two situations are as different from night and day.

The Warsaw Jews had no option to recognize Germany, lay down their weapons and live in their own country.

I guess that’s the “fine print”.

The recognition issue is not relevant, in my mind, because Jews in Warsaw also didn’t recognize the Nazi regime.

The Jewish experience in Eastern Europe during WW2 wasn’t about recognition of governments, land, or political parties. It was about the death sentence imposed on Jews because to their religion.

Quite different than the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The reason a few brave Jews rose up was because they saw their people being treated inhumanely, having their basic freedoms and rights removed from them, and they had had enough.

The Warsaw ghetto Jews “rose up” becasue they had no choice. There were no offers of peace, no offers of land, and most importantly, no offers of life.

They could no longer sit idly by and watch this atrocity take place.

Most Waraw Jews DID “sit idly by” as they died in the streets from starvation and sickness. And without options for a cease-fire, peace, and the right-to-life (like the Palestinians currently have), the remaining Jews fought back.

If you or I were in their shoes (Palestinians in Gaza), don’t tell me we’d stick to blogging late at night from our laptops… you know where we’d be, and what we’d be doing.

Interestingly, our people were in shoes that were much more dire than Palestinian shoes. So, really, it is not much of a stretch for me. Qassams could be flying into Israel from the West Bank you know. But they aren’t.

And recognizing Israel’s right to exist is not the first thing you and I would run to do, nor the second.

Ha’Efekh! Recognizing Israel’s right to exist would be THE VERY FIRST THING I WOULD DO! But no, I guess I’d rather write articles to the Washington Post and fire missiles into Sderot.

Sometimes it really does help to switch roles. Suddenly, things become “clearer”. At least to me…

Me too.;)

April 18th, 2008, 11:33 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

No offence Akbar, but what has Israel promised for Palestinians. Why on earth should Palestinians recognize Israel before Israel recognizes and defines the borders of the new Palestine? Do you think that Palestinians are so stupid negotiators, that they do not understand it? On the others hand Palestinian groups have directly and indirectly recognized Israel based on 1967 borders. So have most Arab nations. The problem is that Israel doesn’t recognize Palestine more as a virtual state in speeches. A country without land and borders. But Israel demands from Palestinians “things” what only a real state can deliver.

Akabr your argumentation with the Warsaw and Gaza ghettos differences is rather amusing. Do you think that Palestinians rebel because simply the do not want recognize Israel? Funny indeed, if that is the only argument for the difference.

April 18th, 2008, 12:03 pm

 

Shai said:

AP,

Most Jews did not rise up in the Ghettos, just as most Palestinians aren’t rising up today. It is easy to dismiss any comparison whatsoever between the two cases, because we certainly cannot compare ourselves to the Nazis, right? But there are some similarities, especially from the point of view of those being subjugated. You cannot claim that Palestinians in Gaza aren’t suffering terribly. Some are actually starving to death, AP, while you and I are “cooly” typing letters on our fancy laptops. We are choking 1.5 million Palestinians, and brutally treating their brethren in the West Bank (read this from today on ynet: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3533377,00.html).

It is easy to say to everyone around, watching you choke some guy half to death, “All he has to do is say ‘uncle’, and I’ll let him go…” But for someone to maintain the one last thing he may still have in this world, dignity, he cannot do even that. Recognition will come at the end, not at the beginning. There are no more excuses, AP, it’s time we took a good look in the mirror. The book of excuses is overflowing and worn out; it’s time we showed real courage, and if there’s a shred of humanity still left in us, go help a people we mistreated for 60 years reach their deserved salvation.

April 18th, 2008, 12:09 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sim said:

No offence Akbar, but what has Israel promised for Palestinians.
Why on earth should Palestinians recognize Israel before Israel recognizes and defines the borders of the new Palestine?

I think the Oslo Accords (as well as numerous other statements from the pre-Palestinian Hamas government) pretty much outlined a framework for the borders:

Pre-1967 with adjustments, here and there. al-Zahar is firing missiles from land he is in full control of. I’m not sure what he’s trying to accomplish. Do you?

This shouldn’t be news to you or anyone else here.

Do you think that Palestinians are so stupid negotiators, that they do not understand it?

The stupidity is not so much negotiatiating, it is “the lack thereof”.

On the others hand Palestinian groups have directly and indirectly recognized Israel based on 1967 borders.

I’m not sure what that means “directly or indirectioy reconized Israel”. The GOI already tried reaching out to Hamas, and got their hands bit-off (thats when the anti-Zionists blame Israel for “creating” Hamas in the first place, and, of course, Israel is to blame for everyting).

But in any case, Israel would be happy to negotiate with Hamas if they were to respond in kind to the GOI.

The problem is that Israel doesn’t recognize Palestine more as a virtual state in speeches. A country without land and borders.

Israel recognizes the Palestinian Authority and has returned many areas that were once occupied to their control. Remaining issues have to be resolved. This is difficult under the current state of war.

Do you think that Palestinians rebel because simply the do not want recognize Israel?

Yes. I can’t think of any other reason why they would want to live under such violence and poverty. Of course, don’t listen to me.

Listen to Hamas:

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=Announcement6808

April 18th, 2008, 12:19 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Shai, check your email.

April 18th, 2008, 12:40 pm

 

T said:

Alex, AP

On the AIPAC banning controversy-

AP SAID:
Akbar Palace said:

… anyone they want to silence …

Alex –

Exactly. Who does AIPAC want to “silence”? The obvious answer is: no one.

AIPAC, along with many other Jewish organizations are ready, willing, and albe to respond to anyone concerning Israel.

This isn’t Syria. AIPAC doesn’t “want to silence”; this is either your prejudice at work or a bad choice of wording.
———————————————————

The list of AIPAC-bannings is long and extensive and was partially covered here at SC many times. One recent example is their instigation w/ ADL of the Global Antisemitism Awareness Act, which broadens the definition of ‘hate-speech’ to include those who accuse or even speculate that Israel had a hand or benefited from 911, for example.

Maybe AIPAC could start the prosecutions with the following hate-speculators?

Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel
By Haaretz Service and Reuters Last update – 17:34 16/04/2008

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt over the veracity of the September 11 attacks Thursday, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names,” Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom.

“Under this pretext, they [the U.S.] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then, a million people have been killed only in Iraq.”

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference on the Iran threat, Netanyahu compared Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and likened Tehran’s nuclear program to the threat the Nazis posed to Europe in the late 1930s.

Netanyahu said Iran differed from the Nazis in one vital respect, explaining that “where that [Nazi] regime embarked on a global conflict before it developed nuclear weapons,” he said. “This regime [Iran] is developing nuclear weapons before it embarks on a global conflict.”

Last update – 00:43 26/09/2001 Haaretz By Yuval Dror
Odigo says workers were warned of attack

Odigo, the instant messaging service, says that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, and the company has been cooperating with Israeli and American law enforcement, including the FBI, in trying to find the original sender of the message predicting the attack.

Micha Macover, CEO of the company, said the two workers received the messages and immediately after the terror attack informed the company’s management, which immediately contacted the Israeli security services, which brought in the FBI.

“I have no idea why the message was sent to these two workers, who don’t know the sender. It may just have been someone who was joking and turned out they accidentally got it right. And I don’t know if our information was useful in any of the arrests the FBI has made,” said Macover. Odigo is a U.S.-based company whose headquarters are in New York, with offices in Herzliya.

As an instant messaging service, Odigo users are not limited to sending messages only to people on their “buddy” list, as is the case with ICQ, the other well-known Israeli instant messaging application.

Odigo usually zealously protects the privacy of its registered users, said Macover, but in this case the company took the initiative to provide the law enforcement services with the originating Internet Presence address of the message, so the FBI could track down the Internet Service Provider, and the actual sender of the original message.

BTW- MEMRI:
“Dr. Wurmser is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and a frequent guest on radio and television, including BBC, Fox News, CNN, PBS and CNBC. Wurmser has written numerous books and monographs on Israel, the Arab world, and Zionism. Her most recent book is The Schools of Ba’athism–a Study of Syrian Schoolbooks (Washington, D.C., MEMRI, 2000). Wurmser, who has taught political science at the Johns Hopkins University and the United States Naval Academy, has published articles in such publications as the Weekly Standard, the Middle East Quarterly, the Washington Times, the Middle East Journal and Middle East Insight.”

Wurmser is also listed as an expert for the Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR) in Israel.

From the MEMRI website we find: “Her article, Can Israel Survive Post-Zionism? was the lead article in the March 1999 issue of Middle East Quarterly.”

From 1998 to 2001, Meyrav was a co-founding member and Executive Director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence. The Institute specializes in the translation and distribution of articles which show Arabs in a “bad light.” Left wing Israeli intellectuals, whom she regards as “a threat to Israel”, also draw her ire.[3]

Public relations for Wurmser is handled by Benador Associates.[4]

In 1996, Wurmser was a member of the Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.

Co-signatory with her husband David (of the OSP which gave faulty WMD on Iraq) for the Project for a New American Century advocating wars across the ME to redraw the map there for Israel’s benefit.

(MEMRI was pivotal in diseminating the mistranslation of Ahmedinejads statement “Iran will wipe Israel off the map.” Juan Cole and others corrected this idiomatic misquote. No such slang in Farsi. He said “such a regime will disappear from the sands of time.”)

April 18th, 2008, 1:00 pm

 

ausamaa said:

I just do not see the NEED or the BENINFIT of reading Akbar Palace and AIG comments, responses and counter responses. What? Are we trying to history-educate them, or is it to say that we are listening to the other-side point view? Which I do not think they even represent.

The normal Israeli is not their type, he or she know what is happening, know what has been done in their names, know that they have to defend positions unrepresentative of nowadays thoughts, but they still cling to them because they know that those are the only choices availlable to them. US,-and while we had no role in- we know about the Warsso Ghetto uprising and we know about Krsistalnight, and about the roles a lot of “jewish-friendly!” people and industrialists and bankers played in those events,and we even know what Enistin thought and said about the criminal establishment of a Zionist State in Palestine, and we know about the Belfoure Decleration and why it was issued, same also as the Israselies know about what the Irgun Shtern, and the Hagganah did in Dair Yassin, Qibya, Qana ! and Qana 2, Jenin and the road blocks and the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in their jails. In a manner f speaking, we know that you know that we know that we know! Why waste time to prove all this or unprove it?

So why dont we wait until someone on the Isreli side wakes up (and discovers that they have, must, and have no other alternative but to chose the least dammaging option them, and then and demand action from their government). Unfortunately, that would only happen if they wake up under fire on a night heavy with the sounds or air or rocket attack sirens, or maybe, why dont we also wait until some one raises the white flag on the Arab side which I fail to see happening because that requiers many flags to be raised similanuously from Iraq to Gaza to Lebanon to Jordan to Syria, to everywhere from Morrocco to Oman to points around and beyond. It is thier problem too as they say.

Else, this heated “accademic” exchange is getting us no where it seems. I do not want want to discourage free exchange of ideas, but in the light of the killing of Palestinians we watch daily on TV, in the light of Israel conducting the biggest military excercises in 60 years, and in the light of what Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah prepartions for another round, then reading some comments here make feel that we are light years away from reality. All this, just so irrelevat in a way..

We will get more benifit if we try to invest more time to discuss and understand the choices, options and action-plans practically availlable to Syria, Israel/US and the other players if we stay away from this -and their other likes- of such propaganda exchanges led by AP and AIG.

April 18th, 2008, 1:19 pm

 

ausamaa said:

And to sum up on the need for the Carter-Hamas exchange, let us remember that the the US delegation sat at one point in Paris and sipped Chamagin with the Charlies (VC representatives) while their forces were battling in on the ground in Vietnam. Israelies shold be thankfull, Carter is bravely giving them a way out.

April 18th, 2008, 1:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Hi Bondo,

That was Joshua.

As you suggested, I changed the original (to “utter”).

I also grouped the three short comments into one. It is easier address each person in segments within one comment.

April 18th, 2008, 4:05 pm

 

T said:

the latest Lobby banning attempt, writ global–

News (april 14, 2008)
ADC applauds proposed web blackout for hate groups

B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman John Searle.

PETER KOHN ajn.org

CIVIL liberties arguments do not apply when extremist organisations use the internet to spread hatred, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) chair John Searle said last week.

“Clearly a line has to be drawn between freedom of speech, voicing of differing opinions – and material that just incites racial hatred, religious intolerance and violence. When that line is crossed, that material ought not to be freely available to all who log onto the web.”

Searle was responding to protests voiced by civil libertarians after a recent conference of state and federal attorneys-general proposed cutting off Australian internet access to hate groups.

State and federal attorneys-general met in Adelaide late last month to canvass options for empowering the Australian Communications and Media Authority to order internet service providers to cease hosting racist and anti-Semitic websites.

The ADC has joined groups from other com-munities welcoming the proposal.

Searle said the ban, if it receives the go-ahead, will not stop underground distribution, but will remove a heavily accessed outlet for groups to disseminate their message.

The ADC drew attention to virulent anti-Semitic material hosted by the Australian website, Mission Islam.

Material promoted by Mission Islam include The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as an article that accuses Jews of infiltrating the United States administration, and another claiming Jews “like to spread mischief and corruption”.

Members of the ADC last week met with Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs Laurie Ferguson to discuss the material disseminated by Mission Islam and other extremist organisations on the web.

Searle previously said state governments and the former federal government had resisted calls by the ADC to ban these sites.

“We have laws banning race hatred and we have laws policing certain kinds of violent and pornographic material on the internet, but we have no system to police race hatred on the internet. It’s inconsistent and leads to the abuse of minorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ADC has appointed Deborah Stone as its new research director.

Searle said the organisation had not had a person in the role for some months, since the departure of Melinda Jones.

He said Stone, a former AJN editor, “has an excellent knowledge of the community and of the issues the ADC faces”.

April 18th, 2008, 4:13 pm

 

Alex said:

T,

I have no problem with the ADC’s proposed ban … if they apply it with equal vigor to sites where those who hate Arabs or Muslims are free to say whatever they like.

Unfortunately I can see where this is leading … Tens of thousands of AIGs and AP’s worldwide inspecting every single comment they don’t like and deciding that it is reflective of hate or antisemitism. Then their wonderful watchdog organizations can go after each site.

I remember few months ago (or over a year ago?) when Akbar an AIG were calling almost each one of us an antisemite and a supporter of terror… Enlightened … Ausamaa … Ford Prefect … Nour … IDAF …. all were called supporters of terror.

April 18th, 2008, 4:24 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

It is easy to dismiss any comparison whatsoever between the two cases, because we certainly cannot compare ourselves to the Nazis, right?

Shai,

No, it is NOT easy to dismiss any comparison, and YES, I can compare myself to the Nazis.

The Palestinians are in a miserable situation. So were the Jews in Europe. So were the Rwandans. So were the communist Russians and Chinese, so were the Bosnians, so were the Lebanese, so the are Afghanis…

Unfortunately, there was and still is, a lot of suffering around the world. There is no shortage of misery. That is why security is of utmost importance to an individual nation.

In the case of the Palestinians, their suffering is mostly self-inflicted due to their inability to elect a government (granted – voting in Palestine does NOT occur at regular intervals) that is interested in peace. Interestingly, the Palestinians didn’t complain half as much as the Israelis did when Arafat led them to the Camp David talks. The secret is: the Palestinians will accept peace if their leaders ever propose such a thing.

The Palestinian leadership is still clinging to the hope that they will one day retake all of Palestine, and until then, jihad will continue. I’m paraphrasing from their own words.

But there are some similarities, especially from the point of view of those being subjugated.

Shai,

There are also differences, especially from the point of view of those who were lined-up in front of firing squads, mass graves, and concentration camps.

You cannot claim that Palestinians in Gaza aren’t suffering terribly.

I never claimed Palestinians in Gaza we NOT suffering terribly.

Some are actually starving to death, AP, while you and I are “cooly” typing letters on our fancy laptops.

I wouldn’t doubt that, nor would I doubt there are people starving all over the world, especially Africa.

We are choking 1.5 million Palestinians, and brutally treating their brethren in the West Bank

Although the article you referenced is very unfortunate and the soldiers involved should be thrown in jail, the Palestinians are knifing Jews, old women, exploding themselves in front of civilians, and shelling towns with mortars and Qassam rockets.

Israel shouldn’t have to suffer like the Palestinians.

Recognition will come at the end, not at the beginning.

The handshake was 1993. We’re still waiting.

There are no more excuses, AP, it’s time we took a good look in the mirror.

Terrorism and missiles are always a good excuse except for Israel.
And Israel never will have a good excuse (for some).

The book of excuses is overflowing and worn out…

I know.

it’s time we showed real courage

Real courage was shown trusting Arafat.

and if there’s a shred of humanity still left in us,

Shai,

You’re the only Jew with a “shred of humanity still left”. I’ll follow your footsteps as you make peace with Hamas and Dr. al-Zahar.

Pesach Sameakh.

April 18th, 2008, 4:51 pm

 
 

Shai said:

AP,

You know I’m not trying to be condescending towards you. I had a commander in the army 20 years ago, who used to say “become experts at how to do, not at how not to do…” These words echo in my mind ever since. That is, don’t let excuses cause you to not do what you believe is right. Since both you and I believe that we’re choking 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, no excuse of Qassam rockets, or Hamas doctrine, should stop us from lifting the blockade. Since we both know that we’re occupying another 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with over 500 road blocks, running their lives like an Apartheid regime does, we must seek an end even if the other side isn’t behaving the way we’d like it to. We can’t hand over control of the West Bank to Fatah? So let’s restart peace talks with Syria (without nonstarter preconditions), let’s have Syria help us broker talks with Hamas/Fatah, and let’s search for a way to end the misery of the Palestinian people, which will certainly help end the violence towards us. Not all Palestinians are ready to fight until they move back into Jaffa and Haifa. Not all of them support Hamas’s doctrine. Most do not. But the longer we choke them in Gaza, and the longer we commit crimes in the West Bank, the more they’ll want to destroy us, the more they’ll be ready to sacrifice themselves to do so, the more misery will come upon us both.

Why must we continue to act like we’re the victim here? Why must we continue to pretend we’re not overwhelmingly stronger? Why must we demand reciprocity out of the far-weaker side? Why can’t we truly understand their justified frustration and their miserable suffering? Why can’t we stop using excuses? Does it make us less worthy? Less Zionistic? Less committed to the security of Israel? Or more? I don’t like Hamas or Dr. al-Zahar one bit. But I will need to talk to them one day, if we’re to have peace. The sooner we get this through our usually-thick skull, the better.

But on a different note, Chag Sameach and Kasher to you too, AP. Enjoy the Seder. AIG, same to you, wherever you are right now… (I guess you’re not banned from reading, right?)

April 18th, 2008, 6:41 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Idaf, I will respond to this on the new post.

April 19th, 2008, 12:01 am

 

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