Wikileaks: Bellemare “has no case” against Syria

9. (C) Jumblatt said the Special Tribunal was “not enough” to intimidate Syria. Rizk chimed in to acknowledge that work on the Special Tribunal was “frightening to Syria until recently.” Both agreed that Syrian President Bashar Assad won’t care about the Tribunal in a year’s time. Rizk repeated his concerns that UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare had stated to some that he “has no case.” Rizk said the U.S. can help by directing Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to ask the UN SYG to impress upon Bellemare the importance of his role as prosecutor for the Tribunal…..

Guardian (GB): US embassy cables: Syrian spy chief’s surprise appearance at US talks


5……Mamlouk repeatedly stressed his attendance at the meeting did not signal the commencement of security and intelligence cooperation between Syria and the U.S., but could be a starting point for “a blueprint for that which is not yet started.” Echoing Miqdad, Mamlouk said progress on political issues in the Syrian-U.S. bilateral relationship was “closely connected” to progress on possible cooperation on security and intelligence.

6. (S/NF) The GID Director said Syria had been more successful than the U.S. and other countries in the region in fighting terrorist groups because “we are practical and not theoretical.” He stated Syria’s success is due to its penetration of terrorist groups. “In principle, we don’t attack or kill them immediately. Instead, we embed ourselves in them and only at the opportune moment do we move.” Describing the process of planting embeds in terrorist organizations as “complex,” Mamlouk said the result had yielded been the detention of scores of terrorists, stamping out terror cells, and stopping hundreds of terrorists from entering Iraq. Mamlouk acknowledged some terrorists were still slipping into Iraq from Syria. “By all means we will continue to do all this, but if we start cooperation with you it will lead to better results and we can better protect our interests,” he concluded.

7. (S/NF) According to Mamlouk, Syria’s previous experience in cooperating with the U.S. on intelligence “was not a happy one.” He stated Syria hoped any future cooperation would be “on an equal basis.” Mamlouk specified this meant Syria should be allowed to “take the lead” on anti-terrorism efforts. Alluding to the “wealth of information” Syria has obtained while penetrating terrorist groups, Mamlouk declared “we have a lot of experience and know these groups. This is our area, and we know it. We are on the ground, and so we should take the lead.”

…. Miqdad stressed a “political umbrella” of improved U.S.-Syrian bilateral relations should facilitate counterterrorism cooperation….

13. (S/NF) Third, Miqdad stated convincing the Syrian people to support cooperation with the U.S. would hinge on progress on economic sanctions against Syria, including spare parts for airplanes and a plane for President Asad. The Vice Foreign Minister said the Syrians wanted these efforts “accelerated.” Miqdad specifically requested the USG reach out to Lufthansa Technik and “assure them of no negative consequences” if they cooperate with Syrian requests to have the purchase of spare aircraft parts approved. In response, Benjamin said the Obama administration viewed counterterrorism as a vital concern but, unlike its predecessor, it did not see counterterrorism as something that was separate from the rest of U.S. foreign policy or the sole driver of U.S. foreign policy. Rather, it was part of the fabric of policy, and the administration recognized that progress in bilateral relations would involve coordinated moves in a number of areas. Benjamin added the U.S. expected that the Syrian people would see the benefits of closer relations.

14. (S/NF) Miqdad also encouraged the U.S. to reconsider including Syria on the TSA’s list for enhanced screening, and praised U/S Burns for informing the SARG that the U.S. was prepared to lift its block on Syrian accession to the World Trade Organization.

Hariri investigation was bogged down by ‘insane’ bureaucracy, non-cooperation from world powers
Brammertz said it was obvious the 14 bombings were linked to the Hariri assassination
By Patrick Galey, Daily Star
Monday, December 06, 2010

BEIRUT: The preliminary United Nations probe into the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was hamstrung by “insane” internal bureaucracy and non-cooperation from world governments, according to leaked diplomatic documents seen by The Daily Star.

Successive cables sent from the US Embassy in Beirut and seen exclusively by The Daily Star also appear to show how previously unheard-of US surveillance data on Lebanon was requested by the commissioner of the United Nations International Independent Investigative Committee (UNIIIC)

In a 2006 discussion with former US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, UNIIIC Commissioner Serge Brammertz is said to have lamented burdensome UN processes which were hindering his investigation.

Brammertz told Feltman that “administrative delays with the UN’s bureaucracy have taken up 50 to 70 percent of his time in the last month and have significantly hindered the UNIIIC’s efficacy and progress,” a cable sent on July 7 said.

“Most of the delays appeared to be the result of a cumbersome UN bureaucracy, which seemed to affect everything from the UNIIIC’s hiring procedures to housing issues and even its food supply.”

The UNIIIC commissioner is said to have delivered successive anecdotes detailing a flawed and time-consuming hiring process and severe staff shortages in the investigation’s most critical stages.

“What’s the point of waiting five months to hire someone when the Commission only has five months to do its work?” Brammertz is quoted as saying.

Turning to the issue of international cooperation with investigator’s requests, Brammertz alleged that France – a long-time vocal supporter of the probe into Hariri’s death – had been particularly “flatly non-cooperative.”

“After Brammertz asked this country’s ambassador in Lebanon for access to interview a suspect in that country’s territory, the ambassador came back with all kinds of conditions about how the interview would take place, how the testimony could or could not be used, in order to comply with EU standards. Brammertz said, ‘I told him, if you were Syria, I would write in my report that you refused to cooperate with the investigation. He was shocked, of course, but it’s true. I’ve had better cooperation from Syria than some of the EU countries.’”

In an earlier meeting with Feltman on July 6, 2006 – 16 months after Hariri’s death and over a year after the investigation began – Brammertz is said to have advised that there was no legal basis for the four generals’ continued detention.

“Brammertz explained that, if any sort of international legal standards were applied, the four generals would be released immediately. At the same time, however, he acknowledged that doing so would be a political disaster for Lebanon,” a cable on the meeting read.

Brammertz, who succeeded Detlev Mehlis as UNIIIC commissioner, reportedly labeled three now-discredited witnesses – whose testimonies were used in the four generals’ incarceration – as completely unreliable. He suggested Mehlis had overstepped his jurisdiction in advising the four be detained.

“Brammertz said that much of his work, though, is focused on completing three ‘legacy projects,’ final appraisals of the testimony provided by Zuhair Mohammad Siddiq, Hussam Hussam, and ‘X,’ a ‘protected witness located in a Nordic country,’” Feltman’s cable said.

“As he prepared his final evaluation of each witness, Brammertz said he could discount most of the testimony from all three. Maybe 20 percent of Siddiq’s testimony was based on fact, Brammertz suggested, but his credibility as a witness is so low that none of his testimony would stand up in court. He described Hussam also as an unreliable witness, but suggested that he probably does have important information.”

Brammertz also apparently ruled out all of the Syrian government’s involvement in the crime – a startling confession given the relatively early stage of the investigations of the UNIIIC.

“Syria has five different state security apparatuses. I can’t imagine that an order came down from the president and worked its way through all the security services and until they killed Hariri,” Brammertz is quoted as saying. “If anything, you probably had one security service involved, and the order came from on high and, how high, we’ll have to figure out.”

In a separate cable detailing the arguments of Jamil as-Sayyed’s lawyer, the US Embassy advised: “That Brammertz is worried about [Lebanon’s] continued ability to detain the four generals is cause for us to worry as well.”

The cable continued: “Besides having a seismic effect on the political situation here, Sayyed’s release might well have security implications for us as a diplomatic missions. If Sayyed gets out, he is going to be angry and seeking payback, and he is going to see the United States as at least partly responsible for his interrogation by the UNIIIC and his long months in detention.”

Comments (59)

t_desco said:

No details on indictment for months – registrar
Tribunal’s $65.7 mln budget allocates funds for trial proceedings ‘toward end’ of 2011
By Michael Bluhm

While the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) prosecutor will submit an indictment to the pretrial judge in the coming weeks, the public will almost certainly not find out any information for several months about the names of the accused or the evidence against them, the tribunal’s chief executive told The Daily Star Monday.

Von Hebel confirmed that prosecutor Daniel Bellemare would file his indictment with the pretrial judge shortly, as von Hebel said he expected the pretrial judge to be working on the indictment in January. However, the public should anticipate that Bellemare will request that the pretrial judge keep the indictment sealed, said tribunal spokesman Crispin Thorold.

“Do not expect to get information about the content of the indictment,” Thorold said.

In order to avoid speculation, Bellemare will publicly announce the submission of the indictment when he presents it to pretrial judge Daniel Fransen, Bellemare’s office said an email late Sunday.

Only after Fransen reviews the evidence, indictment and consults the appeals chamber will the pretrial judge decide to confirm all or part of Bellemare’s indictment. “It is only in the first quarter of next year that we may see a decision by the pretrial judge,” von Hebel said. Should the court be able to detain any of those indicted, the phase of disclosure of all evidence between prosecution and defense attorneys would then need to be finished before a trial could begin, the registrar added. (…)
The Daily Star, December 07, 2010

December 7th, 2010, 1:12 pm


Shai said:

The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. The unbalanced Israeli-Palestinian track comes to its expected dead-end and total failure. Turkish-Israeli relations are about to be mended by a Netanyahu government that will apologize and pay compensation for the victims. And the Syrian track will soon return to the foreground, as the only viable option and logical means of averting catastrophic regional war.

Netanyahu had to prove to his people that he “really tried everything”…

December 7th, 2010, 3:16 pm


Norman said:

Do you think that the fire that Israel had will be the sobering moment that will make the Israeli leaders and people that they can not live in a neighborhood where everybody hates you and that is better for Israel to be loved and equal than superior and hated , ,,,,Will see,

December 7th, 2010, 10:34 pm


Alex said:

I can’t believe how foolish Saud al-faisal turned out to be! … the Saudis hate the Shias so much that they can totally lose their mind.

At the time he was meeting with Syria’s leadership trying to improve relations he was lobbying the Americans to start a war in Lebanon.

Another “smart” American ally.

Saudi Arabia proposed creating an Arab force backed by US and Nato air and sea power to intervene in Lebanon two years ago and destroy Iranian-backed Hezbollah, according to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

The plan would have sparked a proxy battle between the US and its allies against Iran, fought in one of the most volatile regions of the world.

The Saudi plan was never enacted but reflects the anxiety of Saudi Arabia – as well as the US – about growing Iranian influence in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The proposal was made by the veteran Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, to the US special adviser to Iraq, David Satterfield. The US responded by expressing scepticism about the military feasibility of the plan.

It would have marked a return of US forces to Lebanon almost three decades after they fled in the wake of the 1983 suicide attack on US marine barracks in Beirut that killed 299 American and French military personnel.

Faisal, in a US cable marked secret, emphasised the need for what he referred to as a “security response” to the military challenge to the Lebanon government from Hezbollah, the Shia militia backed by Iran and, to a lesser extent, Syria.

The cable says: “Specifically, Saud argued for an ‘Arab force’ to create and maintain order in and around Beirut.

“The US and Nato would need to provide transport and logistical support, as well as ‘naval and air cover’. Saud said that a Hezbollah victory in Beirut would mean the end of the Siniora government and the ‘Iranian takeover’ of Lebanon.”

December 8th, 2010, 1:03 am


Shai said:


I’m afraid not. It might have been the case if Syria offered to send 2 firefighting planes… 🙂

But I do hope that the Syrian track will be revived quickly, hopefully via Turkey, because that’s the only hope we have. It’s a shame the Obama Administration still gambled on Palestine-First, as the previous 2 presidents have (and failed).

December 8th, 2010, 4:14 am


Akbar Palace said:

Great Lefty Ideas on Peace NewZ


As Shai has suggested, perhaps we can get Turkey to help with Iranian-Saudi relations as well. Maybe Turkey can send a peace flotilla to Jeddah? I think it’s worthwhile looking into ;o)

December 8th, 2010, 6:49 am


Shai said:

Lefty? I’m not the one running to apologize to Turkey and pay compensation to its flotilla victims. Netanyahu is!

Funny, I haven’t heard you comment about that… Cat caught your tongue? 😉

December 8th, 2010, 7:30 am


Akbar Palace said:

What Arabs say Quietly is more pro-Israel than the typical Jewish Leftist

WikiLeaks cables: You can’t blame Israel for mistrusting Arabs, says Qatari ruler Israel deserves credit for seeking peace in the face of resurgent Hamas and Hezbollah, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani tells U.S. senator, according to classified dispatch.

Netanyahu: Turkey drift toward Iran is worrying
Premier says Lieberman has ‘full backing’ over incident between deputy foreign minister, Turkish envoy.

Shai’s Liberal Imagination (con’t)

Shai states:

I’m not the one running to apologize to Turkey and pay compensation to its flotilla victims. Netanyahu is!


Can you post a link showing the Israeli apology? Thanks.

Netanyahu: No apology, no compensation to Turkey over Gaza flotilla

December 8th, 2010, 8:03 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

ALEX: Iran is winning.

By Juan Cole

Iran is winning and Israel is losing. That is the startling conclusion we reach if we consider how things have changed in the Middle East in the two years since most of the WikiLeaks State Department cables about Iran’s regional difficulties were written. Lebanon’s Sunni prime minister, once a virulent critic, quietly made his pilgrimage to the Iranian capital last week. Israeli hopes of separating Syria from Iran have been dashed. Turkey, once a strong ally of Israel, is now seeking better relations with Iran and with Lebanon’s Shiites.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s visit to Iran was in part an attempt to reach out to a major foreign patron of his country’s Shiite Hezbollah Party. Hariri’s father, Rafiq, was mysteriously blown to kingdom come in 2005, and a United Nations tribunal is now rumored to be leaning toward implicating Hezbollah. Many Lebanese are terrified that the tribunal’s findings might set Kalashnikovs clattering again in Beirut, given that the Hariris are Sunni Muslims linked to Saudi Arabia, and their followers could attack Lebanese Shiites in reprisal. Lebanon, a small country of 4 million, is more than a third Shiite, but Christians and Sunni Muslims have formed the political elite for two centuries.

Hariri’s consultations with the ayatollahs in Tehran were an attempt to seek Iranian help in keeping Hezbollah militiamen in check (many Lebanese Shiites look to Iran as their external patron, just as many Sunnis look to Saudi Arabia and Christians to France and the U.S.). The talks also aimed at reconfirming Iranian pledges of economic aid to Beirut. In return, according to one anonymous Iranian source who spoke to Agence France-Presse, Hariri would throw his support behind Iran’s “development of nuclear capabilities for civilian and peaceful purposes.”

If true, it is a 180 degree turn. According to The New York Times, an August 2006 cable reports that Saad Hariri had said that “Iraq was unnecessary” but “Iran is necessary,” and that the U.S. “must be willing to go all the way if need be” to halt Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, should negotiations prove fruitless. As late as March 2008, according to another leaked cable published on the Al-Akhbar newspaper website, Lebanon’s Minister of Defense Elias Murr, a Christian, passed along advice on how the Israelis could effectively fight Hezbollah without alienating the Christian Lebanese, as Tel Aviv had with its bombing of the Christian north in 2006. (Murr now disputes the account in the cable.)

Not only has Hariri radically altered his discourse about Iran, but he has made an even more incredible turnaround regarding Iran’s best friend, Syria. In the past two years, President Michel Sleiman and Hariri have energetically sought a rapprochement with Syria, one of Hezbollah’s patrons. They sought to repair ties with Damascus that had been badly damaged by Beirut’s accusations that Syria backed the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, which had led to massive anti-Syrian demonstrations and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Hariri now says he was wrong to accuse Damascus. The growing influence in Lebanon of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad has alarmed the Obama administration.


Likewise, during the past two years, Turkey has increasingly offered Lebanon its coat strings as a rising Middle Eastern regional power. Ankara and Beirut have concluded a treaty creating a free trade zone between the two countries, which Turkey hopes to expand to Syria and Jordan. In sharp contrast to the ambivalence of Lebanon’s own Sunnis and Christians, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to Beirut on Nov. 23 and warned Israel, “If you invade Lebanon and Gaza using the most modern tanks and you destroy schools and hospitals, don’t expect us to be silent about it. We will not be silent, but will support what is right.” Erdogan also defended Hezbollah from rumors that it had itself been implicated in the elder Hariri’s assassination, saying that “no one could imagine” that the organization, which called itself Lebanon’s “spirit of resistance,” had been involved in the killing.
Turkey’s defense of Hezbollah tracked with Ankara’s improved relations with Iran itself. Turkey attempted to run interference at the United Nations Security Council for Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. When the council voted to ratchet up economic sanctions on Iran on June 9, Turkey and Brazil voted against the measure, while Lebanon abstained.

From 2005 through 2006, Iran appeared to be on the retreat in the eastern Mediterranean. Pro-Western Sunnis and Christians took over in Beirut. Syria was expelled from Lebanon and there was talk of detaching it from Iran. The powerful generals of Turkey, a NATO member and ally of Israel, were reliably anti-Iranian. Now, Hariri is a supplicant in Tehran, Syria is again influential in Beirut, and a Turkey newly comfortable with Islam has emerged as a regional power and a force for economic and diplomatic integration of Iran and Syria into the Middle East. Iran’s political breakthroughs in the region have dealt a perhaps irreparable blow to the hopes of the United States and Israel for a new anti-Iranian axis in the region that would align Iran’s Arab and other neighbors with Tel Aviv.

December 8th, 2010, 8:15 am


Akbar Palace said:

Juan Cole’s Odd Fantasy Comes True

Iran is winning and Israel is losing.


Juan Cole must be pleased. I just don’t understand why the government of Saudi Arabia doesn’t feel the same.

Also, since Cole is of the Bahai faith, does he write much about Iran’s persecution of Bahai or about how the Bahai are faring in Israel?

December 8th, 2010, 8:48 am


Ghat Al Bird said:


Does Juan Cole know how the Bahai are faring in Israel?

As reported from Jerusalem it looks like they are treated like “all non jews”.

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Fifty Israeli rabbis have signed an open letter warning Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews, saying those who do should be “ostracized,” a copy of the letter showed on Tuesday.

“In answer to the many questions, we say that it is forbidden in the Torah to sell a house or a field in the land of Israel to a foreigner,” says the letter, referring to the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Bible.

The text, which was signed mostly by state-employed rabbis, warns “he who sells or rents them a flat in an area where Jews live causes great harm to his neighbors.”

“After someone sells or rents just one flat, the value of all the neighboring flats drops… He who sells or rents (to non-Jews) causes his neighbors a big loss and his sin is great,” the letter said, in what was largely understood to refer to Israel’s Arab minority.

“Anyone who sells (property to a non-Jew) must be cut off!!”

According to the Israeli news website Ynet, the letter was to be published in religious newspapers and distributed in synagogues across the country later this week.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel slammed the letter as “racist” and called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn “the incitement expressed by the rabbis.”

“Rabbis who are civil servants have an obligation to the entire public, including Israel’s Arab citizens. It is unthinkable that they would use their public status to promote racism and incitement,” the group said in a statement.

The organization called on Netanyahu to take disciplinary action against state-employed rabbis who signed the document.

The letter appeared as tensions grow between religious Jewish and Arab-Israeli residents of the northern town of Safed, where local rabbi Shmuel Eliahu has called on Jews to avoid renting or selling property to Arabs.

There is a college in Safed that attracts Arab-Israeli students from the surrounding area, many of whom seek accommodation in the town while studying.

In October, a group of Jewish youths attacked several Arab-Israeli students at the college, shouting “death to Arabs” in an incident police had to break up.

Some 1.3 million Arab Israelis live in Israel, which represents about 20 percent of the population. They are made up of Palestinians who remained on their land after Israel’s establishment in 1948, and their descendants.

December 8th, 2010, 10:15 am


Akbar Palace said:

As reported from Jerusalem it looks like they are treated like “all non jews”.


Pretty well then.

I rest my case.

December 8th, 2010, 10:55 am


Shai said:


I’ll say it slowly, so you’ll understand. And then maybe you’ll care to comment on the topic you’re avoiding:

Lieberman isn’t stressed because Netanyahu is planning NOT to apologize and pay compensation to Turkey, he’s stressed because Netanyahu IS planning to do so. Capiche?

“Lieberman’s aides slammed Netanyahu’s endeavor with Turkey in which Israel is expected to apologize for the events of the Gaza flotilla.”

“Israel has agreed in principle to apologize and pay compensation for the Gaza flotilla incident.”

December 8th, 2010, 12:09 pm


Alex said:

M.Cousseran “note que les Syriens sont maîtres dans l’art d’éviter de réelles concessions. Ils savent envelopper leurs interlocuteurs dans une atmosphère merveilleuse et des conversations réjouissantes, avant de les renvoyer les mains vides”, poursuit le câble.

December 8th, 2010, 12:27 pm


Alex said:


Apologizing to Turkey would be a smart move at this time, after the failure of peace negotiations. What do you think the Palestinians will do next?


There is no question that Iran is gradually advancing its interests in the region. Iran’s enemies are too arrogant to think straight.

There is one way to deal with the Iranian challenge … President Obama should visit Tehran, and take it from there.

December 8th, 2010, 12:40 pm


Shai said:


Good question. And the reason I unfortunately don’t know the answer to it, is because I no longer know what is meant by “The Palestinians”. This has been part of (my and our) problem. Does Abbas speak on behalf of the Palestinian people? I doubt it. He barely represents a majority in the West Bank, and certainly cannot deliver anything with regards to Gaza. So Peres convinced many in the West that a Palestine-on-West-Bank first is possible. I doubted it from the minute I heard of this idea. Because Hamas wouldn’t accept it, and would likely make that known, few Israelis would support complete withdrawal from the West Bank in the first place, hence making even this stage impossible.

If I have to guess, I’d say Abbas would try to bring Hamas closer, or dismantle the PA and handover complete control and responsibility of the entire West Bank to Israel (as he’s threatened to do). He’s better off “protected” by the presence of the IDF in all the major cities in the West Bank, than by Hamas with chaos in the streets.

In parallel, he’ll send a delegation to the UN to try to achieve recognition without agreement by Israel. Judging by the quick response of Brazil and Argentina, I would not be surprised if the GA would achieve a majority fairly quickly in favor. It would be Israel-1947 all over again, but this time with Palestine.

What I hope will happen even faster, however, is that a revived Syrian track will quickly reach the remaining 10% or 20% Assad and Uri Saguy have mentioned not long ago, and an Agreement would be signed. This would pave the way for Lebanon to join in, the rest of the Arab World, and then, finally, the Palestinian people would demand Fatah and Hamas come together to end the conflict.

December 8th, 2010, 1:06 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

sooner or later Israel has to appologize to Turkey
The STL decision in Lebanon will be known in three months,some will leak sooner.
We still do not know what type of goverment will be formed in Iraq

December 8th, 2010, 1:14 pm


Alex said:


I think a clear majority of the Palestinian people would support any moderate leader if he appears to be leading them towards serious and conclusive peace negotiations with Israel. They know Hamas is not very “presentable”, but they are supporting Hamas because it is not easy to support a puppet that is leading them nowhere.

Today on Aljazeera, they interviewed Abdel bari Otwan, the Palestinian editor of London based Al-quds newspaper. He said they already got in the past 120 countries to recognize the “virtual” Palestinian state and he strongly advised Abbas to not waste time again on such a useless option. He suggested that the only real option is to launch the next intifada.

I don’t think the Palestinians are ready for an intifada though. They seem to be in a passive mode the past few years.

December 8th, 2010, 1:54 pm


t_desco said:

WikiLeaks cables: Syria stunned by Hezbollah assassination


In 2006 the Lebanese defence minister, Elias Murr, told US diplomats that Mughniyeh was “very active in Beirut”, hinting that he was involved in a spate of murders of Lebanese politicians who were hostile to Syria.

According to Murr, Mughniyeh was working with the IRGC on the one hand and the Syrian intelligence supremo (and President Assad’s brother-in-law) Asef Shawkat on the other.
The Guardian, 7 December 2010

(m. emph.)

It would be interesting to know, when precisely Murr made those allegations (before or after the conversation between General Rifi and Feltman?).

December 8th, 2010, 2:13 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

the above story is believable

December 8th, 2010, 2:43 pm


Shai said:

It’s easy to sit in London and suggest a 3rd Intifada. I don’t think it’s so much that the Palestinians are tired, or passive, as it is that they don’t have a leader that leads them anywhere, as you suggested. Abbas has become a puppet, and cannot pretend to sit across from Israel at the table. Hamas isn’t ready to sit with Israel, and vice-versa. So until a new leadership emerges, the Palestinian-Israeli track will not move beyond where it is today. The real problem, is that the PA cannot “deliver” Peace, because one of the key elements of that peace must be recognition. And Hamas and its supporters will not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

I’m quite sure that many in the Likud agree that Barghouti should be released from jail, if he could take over the leadership of the Palestinian people. But Fatah and Hamas first have to reconcile their differences. Too many if-thens in the situation we’re in, making it nearly impossible to move forward.

Withdrawing from the Golan will undoubtedly help also on the Palestinian-Israeli front, because it will demonstrate Israeli readiness to accept the 1967 borders. That will help convince more Palestinians that currently support Hamas, that maybe it’s time to demand unity, and to put their differences behind. Syria can help bring in Lebanon, and also Hamas.

December 8th, 2010, 2:45 pm


norman said:

shai , look at this ,

December 8, 2010 Wednesday 1 Tevet 5771 15:34 IST

Syria told Iran it won’t participate in attack on Israel

The Syrian leadership in Damascus told a senior Iranian delegation to Damascus last year that it would not assist Iran in retaliating to an Israeli strike against its nuclear facilities, according to an American diplomatic cable published on Wednesday by Wikileaks.

Written by the United States Embassy in Damascus, the cable dated Dec. 20, 2009, summed up the visits earlier that month of Iranian National Security Advisor Saeed Jalili, Vice President and head of the Environmental Department Mahammed-Javad Mahamadzideh and Defense Minister Ahmad Ali Vahidi to Damascus.

The cable cited an unnamed Syrian official who claimed that in the talks the Syrians told the Iranians that they would not participate in an Iranian retaliation to an potential Israeli strike.

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December 8th, 2010, 3:49 pm


Ghat Albird said:

Frane to be first European nation to recognise Palestine as a state according to original UN Resolutions.

After Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, France has now declared that it will recognize a free and independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

France has declared that it will recognize a free and independent Palestinian state based on borders before the 1967 war, becoming the first European nation to do so.
Bernard Valero, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Paris agrees with the formation of a Palestinian state based on the exchange of land between Israel and the Palestinians.

Valero also expressed hope that peace talks between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel will resume.

During the past week, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have all sent letters to acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas, declaring that they recognize a free and independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Human rights activists and international bodies are meanwhile vying for the United Nations membership for the Palestinian state.

The activists believe that Palestine already meets the required criteria for joining the world body.

Israel has protested the recent recognitions, claiming that the move is against the spirit of the Mideast talks.

Tel Aviv accuses the Latin American nations of ignoring the 2003 Middle East roadmap for peace, which said that a Palestinian state could be established through dialogue, but not through unilateral measures.

This is while the international community widely backs Palestinian demands for a state in most of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem), all territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The recent developments come only weeks after Tel Aviv announced that it would not halt its plan for constructing over 1,300 new settler units in East al-Quds and a further 800 units in the northern occupied West Bank.

Israel’s decision has been condemned by the PA, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

In clear defiance to international criticism, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also stated that it considers al-Quds its capital.

The resumption of the illegal construction work has put a halt to direct talks between Israel and the PA, which began in early September after a 20-month break.

The Palestinians say that the settlement activities are being carried out to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its future capital.

December 8th, 2010, 5:31 pm


Norman said:

Ghat ,

That is really wonderful and could be what is needed to convince Israel of making their peace with the Palestinians before it is done for them and at that time the persistent occupation of Palestinian land as recognised by the international body can be used for legal resistance to Israel , no wonder Barack is pleading with his cabinet and parliament for movement before it is too late ,

Shai , This might be what the peace movement need to convince the Israeli public to do it yourself or will be done for you ,

December 8th, 2010, 7:43 pm


Norman said:

Alex, Shai,

Actually I think that Abbas and Fayad are working under the Israeli radar in establishing all what is needed to declare a state of Palestine and if recognised by the UN in 1967 borders as a state with all rights , Israel with it’s arrogance would have missed a major chance to shape the new Palestine and at that time it will be very hard for any Palestinian leader to accept anything less than 1967 borders , Israel might have to pay dearly for any land they want ,

Time is ticking and the Israeli leaders are in LALA Land ,

For Israel to apologize to Turkey under duress is not the same as if it came as sincere apology , Israel would have done a lot better if not for their racist behavior in Thinking that other people blood is not as important as their own , They should have come out immediately and apologized for the incidence and blamed it on the youth of their soldiers and offer compensation , The Turks would have believed them the world would have understood and the relation with Turkey ,that they need in the Mideast, would have stayed in good shape ,

Now they might restore the relation with Government who is seeking a solution with Israel , but they Lost the Turkish people for a long time,

And yes that is my take,

December 8th, 2010, 8:04 pm


Wiki Warts said:

WikiLeaks ‘struck a deal with Israel’ over diplomatic cables leaks
INDYMEDIA Tuesday Dec 7th, 2010 6:39 PM

We should obviously all support WikiLeaks and its founder and spokesperson, Julian Assange, who has just been arrested in Britain, in this dirty war by states around the globe against transparency and openness. But in the world of politics, sadly, things are never as innocent as they appear. According to new revelations, Assange had allegedly struck a deal with Israel before the recent ‘cable gate’, which may explain why the leaks “were good for Israel,” as the Israeli prime minister put it.
A number of commentators, particularly in Turkey and Russia, have been wondering why the hundreds of thousands of American classified documents leaked by the website last month did not contain anything that may embarrass the Israeli government, like just about every other state referred to in the documents. The answer appears to be a secret deal struck between the WikiLeaks “heart and soul”, as Assange humbly described himself once [1], with Israeli officials, which ensured that all such documents were ‘removed’ before the rest were made public.

According to an Arabic investigative journalism website [2], Assange had received money from semi-official Israeli sources and promised them, in a “secret, video-recorded agreement,” not to publish any document that may harm Israeli security or diplomatic interests.

The sources of the Al-Haqiqa report are said to be former WikiLeaks volunteers who have left the organisation in the last few months over Assange’s “autocratic leadership” and “lack of transparency.”

In a recent interview with the German daily Die Tageszeitung, former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg said he and other WikiLeaks dissidents are planning to launch their own whistleblowers’ platform to fulfil WikiLeaks’s original aim of “limitless file sharing.” [3]

Mr Domscheit-Berg, who is about to publish a book about his days ‘Inside WikiLeaks’, accuses Assange of acting as a “king” against the will of others in the organisation by “making deals” with media organisations that are meant to create an explosive effect, which others in WikiLeaks either know little or nothing about. [4]

Furthermore, Assange’s eagerness for headline-grabbing scoops meant that WikiLeaks had not been able to ‘restructure’ itself to cope with this surge of interest, insiders add. This has meant that smaller leaks, which might be of interest to people at a local level, are now being overlooked for the sake of big stories. [5]

According to the Al-Haqiqa sources, Assange met with Israeli officials in Geneva earlier this year and struck the secret deal. The Israel government, it seems, had somehow found out or expected that the documents to be leaked contained a large number of documents about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008-9 respectively. These documents, which are said to have originated mainly from the Israeli embassies in Tel Aviv and Beirut, where removed and possibly destroyed by Assange, who is the only person who knows the password that can open these documents, the sources added.

Indeed, the published documents seem to have a ‘gap’ stretching over the period of July – September 2006, during which the 33-day Lebanon war took place. Is it possible that US diplomats and officials did not have any comments or information to exchange about this crucial event but spent their time ‘gossiping’ about every other ‘trivial’ Middle-Eastern matter?

Following the leak (and even before), Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a press conference that Israel had “worked in advance” to limit any damage from leaks, adding that “no classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks.” [6] In an interview with the Time magazine around the same time, Assange praised Netanyahu as a hero of transparency and openness! [7]

According to another report [8], a left-leaning Lebanese newspaper had met with Assange twice and tried to negotiate a deal with him, offering “a big amount of money”, in order to get hold of documents concerning the 2006 war, particularly the minutes of a meeting held at the American embassy in Beirut on 24th July 2006, which is widely considered as a ‘war council’ meeting between American, Israeli and Lebanese parties that played a role in the war again Hizbullah and its allies. The documents the Al-Akhbar editors received, however, all date to 2008 onwards and do not contain “anything of value,” the sources confirm. This only goes to support the Israel deal allegations.

Finally, it might be worth pointing out that Assange might have done what he is alleged to have done in order protect himself and ensure that the leaked documents are published so as to expose the American hypocrisy, which he is said to be obsessed with “at the expense of more fundamental aims.”










December 9th, 2010, 1:48 am


Ghat Albird said:

Money still talks.

The scant implications of Israel in Wikileaks due to pay off.

December 9th, 2010, 7:36 am


Akbar Palace said:

Heroes of Syria Comment NewZ

Another married “martyr” is nabbed thinking he was going to kill innocent people.

So sorry…

December 9th, 2010, 8:01 am


Ghat Albird said:


The zionist hero and his kind of people.

George Orwell coined the phrase “double speak” in his science fiction classic “1984.” According to Wikipedia: double speak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Some examples from the book are:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

We certainly have evolved into that kind of society, with organiztions like the ADL operating in much the same way that the Ministry of Truth does in the novel. Both employ double speak as part of its modus operandi to disseminate lies and distort reality.

The latest example of this technique being used comes to us courtesy of ADL head, Abraham Foxman, who recently condemed former White House journalist, Helen Thomas, for statements she made in a speech delivered to a group of Arab American students at the University of Dearborn last Thursday. In that speech, Thomas made this truthful and factual assessment of the political reality dominating our society:

“We are owned by the propagandists against the Arabs. There’s no question about that. Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where their mouth is. … We’re being pushed into a wrong direction in every way.”

Foxman responded by stating:

“Helen Thomas has clearly, unequivocally revealed herself as a vulgar anti-Semite. Her suggestion that Zionists control government, finance and Hollywood is nothing less than classic, garden-variety anti-Semitism. This is a sad final chapter to an otherwise illustrious career. Unlike her previous, spontaneous remarks into a camera, these words were carefully thought out and conscious. It shows a prejudice that is deep-seated and obssessive.”

How do you like them apples? Here we have a white man—born to Eastern European parents—calling a Semitic person an anti-Semite. If that’s not double speak, I don’t know what is.

That’s right. Helen Thomas is a true, honest to goodness Semite. She is of Lebanese decent, which makes her Arab Semitic.

Even today, most dictionaries define the word “Semite” as: a member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.

Is Foxman a Semite? I’m not so sure. We do know that he was born to Polish parents in a town that once belonged to Poland, but is now part of the Republic of Belarus in Eastern Europe. According to his biography, posted on the ADL website:

“Born in Poland in 1940, Mr. Foxman was saved from the Holocaust as an infant by his Polish Catholic nanny who baptized and raised him as a Catholic during the war years. His parents survived the war, but 14 members of his family were lost.”

That hardly makes him a Semite—according to our academic definition—unless of course there is something about his background that we don’t know about. Can his ancestry be traced back to the Middle East, or do his ancestors hail from the plains of southern Russia and the Caucasus Mountains, where many Jewish Poles are more often linked to the Khazars of Central Asia, who converted to Judaism in the late seventh and early eighth centuries?

Though raised a Catholic, Foxman now identifies with Judaism. But Judaism does not make you a Semite. Judaism makes you Jewish, Scientology makes you a Scientologist, and Christianity makes you a Christian. We’re talking about a belief system here, not genetics.

Of course many Judaists will disagree. They believe that their Jewishness constitutes a genetic bloodline that can be traced back to the legendary Abraham of the Old Testament. They even claim that certain genetic studies have proven this to be a scientific fact. But these studies are sponsored by Judaists, authored by Judaists, and are conducted at Jewish institutions. Their papers are released with misleading titles that are picked up by ignorant journalists who propagate conclusions that the real studies have never reached. Not one study has been able to find a gene that is unique to Jews. The reason they don’t is because no two people share the same version of the human genome text except pairs of identical twins. These studies are full of flaws and distortions using data that does not fit the theory they set out to prove.

Still, many Judaists insist that they are direct descendants of a Jewish people that received the Torah in Sinai. They maintain that their exile from the “Promised Land” set them on a two thousand year journey of wandering throughout much of the world, and that they always managed to preserve that crucial bloodline that links that them to the children of Abraham.

Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand, author of the book, “The Invention of the Jewish People,” has done a thorough job of debunking some of the more widely propagated myths in support of this Jewish Diaspora. His research is supported by archaeological evidence discovered—following an earthquake in the 1980’s—that discredits the great exodus of the 13th century B.C., among other things.

“Moses could not have led the Hebrews out of Egypt into the Promised Land, for the good reason that the latter was Egyptian territory at the time. And there is no trace of either a slave revolt against the pharaonic empire or of a sudden conquest of Canaan by outsiders.

Nor is there any trace or memory of the magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon. Recent discoveries point to the existence, at the time, of two small kingdoms: Israel, the more powerful, and Judah, the future Judea. The general population of Judah did not go into 6th century BC exile: only its political and intellectual elite were forced to settle in Babylon. This decisive encounter with Persian religion gave birth to Jewish monotheism.

Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Apart from enslaved prisoners, the population of Judea continued to live on their lands, even after the destruction of the second temple. Some converted to Christianity in the 4th century, while the majority embraced Islam during the 7th century Arab conquest.”

As you can see, there is much to suggest that many people who refer to themselves as Semites are doing so incorrectly. But, of course, we’re still defining Semites according to the academic standard. If you define a Semite within the context of anti-Semitism, you get a whole other story altogether.

What is anti-Semitism? According to the ADL website, anti-Semitism is:

“The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.”

Two European writers from the late 19th century, Wilhelm Marr and Heinrich Von Treitschke, are the ones often credited with applying the word Semite exclusively to Jews. But I reject this notion. Am I allowed to do that, or am I forced to accept the assumptions of two self proclaimed anti-Semites?

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to apply the word Semite to a wide range of Semitic speaking people from the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.

If you want my definition of anti-Semitism, I would refer you to what is being done to the people of Gaza. That’s anti-Semitism on steroids.

I would also apply the term anti-Semitism to the growing Islamophobia taking place here in the United States and in parts of Europe.

The Iraq war was anti-Semitic, as is the war in Afghanistan as well as what is being planned against the people of Iran.

The ADL is anti-Semitic. When plans were announced to build an Islamic community center blocks away from Ground Zero, Abe Foxman came out against it. Some called old Abe out for his hypocrisy on that one. And although he has recently tried to repair the ADL’s image by condemning certain acts carried out against Muslims, he continues to feed the flames of racism and bigotry (behind the scenes) by allowing his group to be allied with organizations like “Family Security Matters” (FSM), a fiercely anti-Islamic group that propagates lies and peddles in fear and loathing against Muslims.

According to Source Watch:

“Family Security Matters (FSM) originated in 2003 as a project of the Center for Security Policy a hawkish security policy think tank and advocacy group. Soon after its formation FSM claimed to represent “security moms”. While generally supportive of President George W. Bush’s domestic and international security policies, FSM have had their differences with the Republican administration over issues such as immigration policy, U.S. policy towards Russian Presdient Vladimir Putin. Since the Democratic ascendancy in the 2006 mid-term elections, FSM have also published criticisms of the Bush administration — such as those byNewt Gingrich — for being too cautious in their strategy in the Middle East.

FSM states on its website that its mission is to “inform all Americans, men and women, about the issues surrounding national security; to address their fears about safety and security on a personal, family, community, national and international level; to highlight the connection between individual safety and a strong national defense; to increase civic participation and political responsibility; and to empower all Americans to become proactive defenders of our national security and community safety.”

And Media Matters says this in an article from 2004 entitled “FOX’s “security mom” expert spouted Bush-Cheney talking points”

“Family Security Matters (FSM) is a front group front for the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a conservative Washington think tank think “committed to the time-tested philosophy of promoting international peace through American strength.” (The phone number listed on the FSM website is answered by the CSP.) The FSM website features articles by, among others, right-wing syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin Michelle and CSP president Frank J. Gaffney Jr., whose lies and distortions Media Matters for America has documented.”

If we were to take the ADL’s definition of anti-Semitism, and replace the word “Jews” with “Muslims,” you would find that FSM fits those criteria to a “T.” Let’s try it. What is anti-Semitism?

“The belief or behavior hostile toward Muslims just because they are Muslim. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Muslims, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Muslims.”

Want proof of their anti-Semitism? Take a look at some of these excerpts, taken from articles that FSM runs on its website:

From “What is Islam?”

“Islam is a comprehensive totalitarian form of slavery. It is the opposite of freedom. Its very name, Islam means submission or surrender. True to its name, Islam strives for nothing short of enslavement of the body of humanity as well as the bondage of its mind. This non-negotiable surrender to Islam requires the individual, as well as the society, to disenfranchise themselves of many of the fundamental and deeply cherished human rights.”

“Islam is not a religion, but a harmful thorn; thus, we must make laws to fight this unwanted thorn growing like mushrooms in our backyards. If Islam is not controlled, these mushrooms soon will blossom and become mushroom-clouds.”

From “Islam—Phobia or Simple Misunderstanding?”

“The problem we face at the Mosque and elsewhere is not one of moderate Islam versus an extreme or perverted version. The problem is with the fundamental nature of Islam itself. Read the Koran, listen to the Imams. One need not be selective in the passages he chooses, just try to understand what the Koran is commanding the faithful to do. For anyone who still has doubts after that, play back the tape of millions of wildly cheering Muslims from Cairo to London after the 9/11 attacks.”

From “Why Would a Woman Convert to Islam?”

“…as so many autobiographies of Muslim women note, the religion bans anything that is fun (“haram”or forbidden). No chewing of gum, no bicycle riding, no make-up, no eating in public, no painting of nails, no pets, no questions, and of course, no answering back. For many Muslim women, there is an eagerness to assert independence as soon as adulthood is reached.”

“By and large, Islam devolves into extremism, the repression of women, inequality, and brutality such as the stoning of adulterers. Converts, however, refer to the celebration of old-fashioned family values and hospitality, values which have been eroded in the West. For many, Islam is an escape route from the cultural degradation of Western society.

But what converts often confuse is culture and religion. The warmth a family confers is not the same as the demands of religious obedience.”

This is just a sampling. There are plenty more. I would challenge you to browse their website and find at least one article sympathetic to Muslims.

So what is the ADL’s connection to this group? Well, the Executive Vice President is Linda G. Cohen, who also serves as a trustee on the New Mexico Board of the Anti-Defamation League.

No wonder we don’t find this organization listed among the many radical-right groups being monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

So who are the real anti-Semites? I guess that all depends on whom you ask.

News For Dec 8, 2010

December 9th, 2010, 10:06 am


majedkhaldoon said:

According to A.P.
Jesus was antisemitic

December 9th, 2010, 11:09 am


Ghat Albird said:

More good news NORMAN

Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon to set up strategic cooperation mechanism:

ANKARA, Dec. 9, 2010 — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday that a regional strategic cooperation mechanism among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon is going to be set up.

Davutoglu made the remarks at a joint press conference with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem after their talks in the Turkish capital Ankara. He did not elaborate on the details of the mechanism.

Davutoglu said that Turkish-Syrian relations were improving and the two countries had full-scale cooperation, adding that the two foreign ministers discussed the preparations of the second High- Level Strategic Cooperation meeting to be held on Dec. 21.

Referring that 51 agreements were signed between Turkey and Syria last year, Davutoglu said that the second meeting would focus on implementing these agreements and projects.

“We believe this relationship is the one which will change fate of the region,” he said.

Davutoglu said that they also discussed the latest developments in Lebanon and Iraq in their talks. “Iraq’s stability is of great importance for Turkey and Syria,” he said.

Turkey and Syria shared similar perspectives in regard to regional issues, Davutoglu added.

For his part, Moallem voiced his country’s desire to further improve its strategic cooperation with Turkey, adding that Syria was determined to exert more support for stability in Lebanon.

December 9th, 2010, 1:03 pm


Alex said:

International Edition

The Last Zionists?

By Daniel Gavron

757 words

13 December 2010

Newsweek International

December 13, 2010; ; International Edition

Are the Palestinians the last Zionists? It would seem so. The situation of Israel has become surreal. Just as we Israelis are making a stupendous effort to ensure the dissolution of the Jewish state, envisioned by Theodor Herzl in 1896, by hanging onto the occupied territories, the Palestinians, led by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, are working to ensure the survival of the Zionist enterprise by striving to establish a Palestinian ministate in the West Bank and Gaza.

Let us be very clear on just what is happening here: the Palestinians are doing their best to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza on a mere 22 percent of British Mandate for Palestine, which would afford us Zionist Jews a predominantly Jewish state on the remaining 78 percent. This is surely more than we could ever have envisaged when we set out to create a Jewish state and guarantees the survival of the state of Israel. Against this, we Israelis are fighting to keep the West Bank, which will soon result in an Arab majority and the end of a Jewish majority state.

Moreover, the Palestinians are supported by the Arab and Muslim nations, who are offering, via the Arab initiative, normal relations with the Jewish state. They are even prepared to accept our settlement folly by means of land swaps, which will leave a majority of the Israeli Jews who settled illegally in the West Bank during the past four decades inside the state of Israel.

The Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians are, of course, backed by virtually the entire population of the planet, led by the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is devoting a significant portion of her time to finding a formula for peace, including an agreement with Syria in return for our withdrawal from the Golan Heights. This will result not only in our dreamed-for Jewish state, but also will go a long way toward neutralizing the threats to Israel posed by Iran, Hizbullah, and Hamas.

And how are we Israelis responding? We are mobilizing every possible means of obstruction and delay. We are continuing to build in locations in the West Bank that will preclude the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state and in East Jerusalem, which is scheduled to be the Palestinian capital—as opposed to West Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Furthermore, the so-called Israeli majority for peace—the 60-plus percent who support a two-state solution—is so apathetic that we must be regarded as accomplices in the anti-peace path that our right-wing government is currently taking.

We are demanding that the Palestinians declare their support for Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” which is totally unnecessary, as Israel’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, already defines the state as “Jewish and democratic.” Thus it is adequate for the Palestinians to recognize the state of Israel, which they already do.

We are insisting that the Palestinians and other Arabs agree in advance to give up the “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel. This also is superfluous, as the Arab initiative makes it clear that the solution to the refugee problem must be just, fair, and (most significantly) “mutually agreed.” It is generally accepted that if there is a significant return of refugees, it will be to Palestine, not to Israel.

And now our latest demand: that the Americans put in writing their promises of aid and support. After decades of firm American support, this last demand is the very personification of chutzpah, and the U.S. administration is calling our bluff by giving us this document.

Following the Holocaust and the wars to establish Israel, it is understandable that we Jews deal cautiously with our Arab neighbors. But we have moved into the realm of paranoia. It is time to seize the remarkable opportunity before us. Peace with Egypt, the strongest Arab state, laid the foundations; peace with Palestine and Syria, backed by the Arab and Muslim nations, will finally place the roof on the Jewish house. The Obama administration’s effort to establish a small Palestinian state, accompanied by withdrawal from the Golan Heights and peace with Syria, will finally ensure survival of the state of Israel. Why are we Israeli Jews trying so hard to prevent it?

Gavron is the author of nine books on Jewish history, Israel, and the Palestinians. His latest is Holy Land Mosaic

December 9th, 2010, 2:11 pm


Shai said:


The article should be in Hebrew, in every newspaper here. Gavron is right – maybe the entire World are the real Zionists, and we Israelis are more Palestinian than the Palestinians! We’re doing everything possible to bring about a One-State solution, the one the Palestinians have been dreaming about for decades.


I believe Turkey is correct – this cooperation will change the fate of the region. Btw, it will give an Israeli PM interested in Peace (and ready to accept the 1967 borders) real tools to offer his public when the time comes.

It is no coincidence Iran isn’t included in this strategic cooperation mechanism. I believe Turkey is sending a message to Israel, that isn’t of a threatening nature.

December 9th, 2010, 3:04 pm


norman said:

Hey Alex,

did shai write that it looks like something he has been saying for a while .
Ghat ,
They should offer Israel and the Palestinians to join after a peace agreement ,

December 9th, 2010, 3:08 pm


Alex said:


Shai’s real name is Shai, not Daniel 🙂


Since most of the right wing Israelis are smart enough to realize what you and Norman agree on, why is it that they are proceeding with their plans and their refusal to give back the West bank?

I’m afraid there is a population transfer plan at some point … a massively brutal regional war with Iran can make the environment more receptive perhaps to such a transfer. The world will understand if Israel is “forced to” resort to such extreme measures when attacked by Iran (retaliating to an Israeli American attack) and when some Arab Israelis are dancing int he street when Iranian missiles successfully hit Israeli civilian targets …

December 9th, 2010, 4:36 pm


Shai said:


And Daniel’s real name is Daniel…

I don’t believe most on the Right refuse to give back the West Bank. They, like most Israelis, don’t see a way out of the West Bank until there’s someone they can trust on the other side. They do fear a Hamas takeover, and Qassams landing all over the Central (and most populated) part of Israel.

Polls over the past decade have consistently shown a majority of Israelis ready to give back most of the West Bank. Two Israeli PM’s, both from the Right, were elected within this decade precisely on the agenda of bringing about the creation of a Palestinian State. And since most Israelis have been moving to the Right in recent years, you must deduce that many on the Right support a two-state solution. They know this can only happen if we withdraw from almost the entire WB, with the rest exchanged with territory currently inside Israel.

I do not believe there is either “a plan”, or that there will ever be even an attempt, at a massive, forced, population transfer. I can’t even believe there will be an “accepted” (jointly agreed upon) population transfer of any sort. That the extreme-Right politicians have a dream of an Arab-less Israel does not mean an Israeli government can make that happen. We’re not in 1947 now, where our existence and our independence will be determined on the battlefield, because Arab tanks are coming in. Even a horrific regional war, fought mostly with missiles and airplanes, will not put in question Israel’s existence.

I’ve used in the past the comparison to pre-1861 America, claiming that the Palestinians are Israel’s “Slavery”, and if there will ever be an attempt to “solve” this problem by force, Israel may well have its own Civil War. Personally, I don’t think it’ll ever happen. Even now, as a few tens of Rabbis in Israel petition not to allow Arab (Israelis) to rent or purchase real-estate, a public outcry can be heard from every angle almost (Holocaust-survivors, to Netanyahu and his ministers). Rehevam Ze’evi’s and Lieberman’s dream of a Transfer will never happen.

December 9th, 2010, 4:58 pm


Alex said:

I agree Shai. Did not mean to refer to everyone on the right.

By the way, if you and Yossi can check your emails, I will send you a link to check.

December 9th, 2010, 5:29 pm


Shai said:

Fresh poll with somewhat conflicting results, but still indicative of the feelings “on the street”:,7340,L-3997051,00.html

I’m surprised at the 62% figure (of Israeli Jews), that believe the government should do more to achieve peace with the Palestinians. And at the mere 27% that are against an Israeli withdrawal and the creation of a Palestinian state.

And here’s one for Akbar:

Guess who’s coming to Israel’s aid, in defense of Settlement continuation?

Yep, Israel’s Liberal Numero Uno – Labor Leader Ehud Barak.

Barak: “During Olmert’s reign, we built twice as much in the West Bank, and that was never an obstacle…” (fresh from Ynet, 15 minutes ago)

December 9th, 2010, 5:30 pm


Alex said:

“The survey showed that 40% of Israel’s Jews are in favor of a peace agreement based on a return to the 1967 borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, while 27% are against an Israeli withdrawal and a Palestinian state.”

Sounds very good, but … those 27% are probably much more active and vocal and fierce in their opposition to peace when compared to the quieter 40% that support peace based on the 67 borders.

Still, this is a much more positive poll than what we have been reading about from Israel the past few years. Hopefully a few in the Israeli public started to pay attention to international criticism of their current government’s ultra right wing policies and positions.

December 9th, 2010, 6:05 pm


Ghat Albird said:

Is Daniel Gavron “fishing” for a reaction from the Palestinians?

“the Palestinians are doing their best to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza on a mere 22 percent of British Mandate for Palestine, which would afford us Zionist Jews a predominantly Jewish state on the remaining 78 percent.”

Are the percentage figures of 78% versus 22% of land allocations reflect original Un Resolutions that “created” an entity named “israel” and an entity “Palestine” or is this a magnanimus offer from the entity named “israel”?

If it is a magnanious offer then a hook line along these lines might help the peace process…”Mr, Abbas its either 22 to 78 or all you’ll get is the area known as Gaza”>

December 9th, 2010, 7:05 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

The people in Syria are talking privately a lot,about the upcoming indictment,and about the frequent visits bY the president to foreign countries discussing the expected decision of STL,they seem sure that what they suspected is finally getting to be true.and they seem to know as much as we know here in USA

December 9th, 2010, 7:20 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Syria Comment’s “Claim to Fame”


You really should just link to the article you cut and pasted.

a.) It saves space and prevents lots of mouse scrolling, and
b.) it alerts the participants here that is WASN’T your post (you aren’t smart enough to write such junk).

It was written apparently by someone named Keith Johnson from the, ahem, anti-semitic blog “The Ugly Truth”.

Naturally, the worse anti-semites call Jewish leaders like Abe Foxman “anti-semites”. Go figure;)

majedkhaldoon said:

According to A.P. Jesus was antisemitic


Can you post a link showing I said “Jesus was anti-semitic”?

And since we’re on the subject of Jesus, can you tell us if you believe Jesus was a real person who lived in Palestine 2000 years ago along with the millions of other Jews that were there at the time?

December 9th, 2010, 8:25 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

yes ,certainly I believe of Jesus was living 2000 years ago. If you doubt his existance,then you should doubt Moses existance,I doubt jews are pure semitic,they were slaves in Egypt,a lot of them are part egyptians,they came from inoculation with egyptians, Egtyptians used to castrate men who were slaves.
BTW Jesus criticised jewish ideas,and any one who crticise jews you call him antisemitic,infact Juda was a jew and he caused the death of Jesus,up till now the jewish do not believe jesus has come,they claim that his father was a roman general,please tell us about your ideas about Jesus.

December 9th, 2010, 10:12 pm


Shai said:


The 40% figure is surprising, because that’s “already now”, before any negotiations have succeeded. So 40% have already decided that the 1967 borders should be the final borders of the State of Israel. All we need is another 11%, and the Arab-Israeli conflict can come to an end! We really are not that far from it, despite the feelings that echo throughout the region and the world. It is now up to the leaders to close the gap, and to deliver.

(Note: The 40% figure is much larger, when you consider the Arab vote as well. If 20 out of 100 Israelis are Arab, and 40% of the remaining 80/100 are Jewish, then we probably have more than 50/100 Israelis in favor of the 1967 borders already now! This is impressive.)

December 10th, 2010, 3:07 am


why-discuss said:

Shai, do you think the recent move by South American countries to recognize the state of Palestine is having an effect on Israelis?
Are they worry it snowballs?
It does seem to upset the US a lot, they are invoking Oslo etc.. maybe it is good sign.

December 10th, 2010, 6:42 am


Shai said:


I don’t think the recent recognitions are having much effect yet. The media mentions it of course, but you don’t hear public uproar, or voices of great concern. It will take some time, more nations, and stronger Israeli allies, to have a serious effect. I understand now France is joining the group.

December 10th, 2010, 7:13 am


Akbar Palace said:

yes ,certainly I believe of Jesus was living 2000 years ago.


If you believe Jesus was living 2000 years ago, than you should also believe that the jewish people lived in Palestine 2000 years ago. Fanatics like Arafat never thought Jews had any ties to the Jerusalem’s “Old City”.

Also, you didn’t show the forum where I said, “Jesus was antisemitic”. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t put words in my mouth.

Lastly, Jesus did criticize Jewish ideas at the time. That doesn’t make Jesus “anti-semitic”. That makes him a perfectionist, like Shai;) Judging from Jesus’s followers today, Christians today publically denounce all forms of anti-semitism, and many support Israel more than Jews do. For example:

Today, the worse forms of anti-semitism are promoted by Arab and Muslim governments (including Syria):

I hope this post was educational for you.

December 10th, 2010, 7:13 am


Akbar Palace said:


Why do you think recognition of the State of Palestine would have “an effect on Israelis”?

Israel already recognizes a defacto State of Palestine, just as the Palestinians already recognize a defacto State of Israel.

Isn’t this a tiny issue? The real issue is whether both parties are willing to reach an agreement where borders are clearly defined and all claims are settled. Here, I see no motivation, especially with the Palestinians, to move further. I think both parties are satisfied with the status quo.

December 10th, 2010, 7:20 am


norman said:

Print Back to story Syria Will Have No Problem Selling First Treasury Bonds, Central Bank Says
By Massoud A. Derhally – Dec 10, 2010 Syria, seeking financing for development projects as oil revenue declines, will have “no problem” finding buyers in its first sale of treasury bills and bonds on Dec. 13, Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh said.

The government will sell 1 billion Syrian pounds ($21 million) each of five securities with maturities ranging from three months to five years, Mayaleh said in a phone interview late yesterday.

The notes are “all conventional paper” rather than Islamic-finance instruments, and the rates will be fixed by the Finance Ministry, not determined by the market, he said. Only banks registered in Syria will be eligible to bid.

The sale, delayed for at least three years, will open a new financing source as the Arab country seeks to boost energy capacity and improve infrastructure to help attract tourists. The country relies on oil revenue to fund as much as 25 percent of its budget, yet output has fallen to about 380,000 barrels a day this year from a 1996 peak of 583,000 barrels.

The sale will help develop financial markets and “give the authorities an alternative source of financing,” said Nassib Ghobril, head of research at Lebanon’s Byblos Bank SAL, which operates in Syria. The government is currently “relying on the central bank to finance its fiscal needs, and this isn’t really healthy in the long term.”

About 63 percent of Syria’s public debt is denominated in local currency, and of that about 90 percent is owed to the central bank and other state banks, according to a September report by Cyprus-based credit rating company Capital Intelligence.


Syria has “comparatively strong solvency and liquidity indicators and a demonstrable commitment to gradual economic reform,” Capital Intelligence said. Still, the country’s “economic structure and institutional frameworks are relatively weak, and the financial system underdeveloped.”

Syria’s $60 billion economy will grow 5.5 percent next year and its budget deficit will narrow to 3.1 percent of gross domestic product from 4.3 percent this year, according to International Monetary Fund forecasts. The fund has urged Syria to accelerate its transition to a more open, market-based economy and reduce dependence on oil.

Selling bonds is “definitely a step in the process” and will “provide a benchmark for companies to start issuing bonds,” said Rory Fyfe, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London. “The banks are limited in terms of the financial instruments they have access to in Syria, so this will be good for them, as they have excess liquidity.”

Foreign Investment

Syria aims to attract as much as $55 billion in foreign direct investment over the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah Dardari said Sept. 24.

Projects include construction of 5,000 megawatts of power generation capacity and a new terminal at Damascus airport, as Syria seeks to expand tourism.

About 6.5 million tourists visit Syria a year and the government wants to increase that to 14 million by 2015, Dardari said. Syria earned about $5.2 billion in revenue from tourism last year, the state-owned Sana news agency said in April.

Syria announced plans to sell bonds three years ago, and conducted its first test auction of three-month treasury notes in July 2008, receiving bids of 23 billion pounds, or 1.6 times the amount on sale.

The government may “auction additional notes as the need requires,” Mayaleh said. Asked whether Syria may consider selling Eurobonds like neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, he said: “Let us first work with the Syrian pound, and internally.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut, Lebanon at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at


December 10th, 2010, 8:37 am


Ghat Albird said:

AP. Obviously your kind are used to ordering America what polixies to pursue in the Middle East and now, since Israel will not be getting any “FREE F -35’s you presume to start ordering SC’s forum what to say and how to say it.

Typical “yiddishee” postures as reported many years ago by a Polish farmer about his Jewish farmer neighbor…”he keeps crying while hitting me in the face… and the other offering of…all non jews are cattle and exist to serve the Jew…..well “entre – nous” cretin next time you use personalized abusive staements I can assure that appropriate responses in several languages will make your day.

The days shown in the link attached are over AP and there will never be an “eretz israel”

December 10th, 2010, 8:48 am


Akbar Palace said:


Obviously your kind are used to ordering America what polixies to pursue in the Middle East and now, since Israel will not be getting any “FREE F -35’s you presume to start ordering SC’s forum what to say and how to say it.


Please don’t hold anything back. Your input is an important service to the brain trust that runs this unique web site.

Not quite sure who “my kind” are. Zionists come from all walks of life: they’re liberal, conservative, secular, religious, black, white, blond, middle-eastern, european, south american, persian, asian, and everything in-between.

In any case, US-Israel relations are fine despite Arab/Muslim attempts to terrorize both countries apart.

Typical “yiddishee” postures

I’m not sure what “typical ‘yiddishee’ postures” are, especially since about half of Israelis are from north africa and asia.

The days shown in the link attached are over AP and there will never be an “eretz israel”

Sorry to wake you from your self-induced denial, but Eretz Israel is alive and well.

December 10th, 2010, 9:41 am


Alex said:

Iranians want nuclear arms, US survey finds

The survey shows the stupidity of the US when humiliating a proud country like Iran for

1) Its democratic system is not perfectly democratic
2) The unhealthy role religion plays in the state
3) Its negative role in the region
4) Its seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
5) Its human rights record

While Israel which can easily be accused of the five points above (but often in much more obvious ways) is treated like the darling of the international community.

And Saudi Arabia, which is guilty of 4 out of 5 is also treated with respect and love.

This stupidity will have its price … The US at the end will have to either concede and apologize to an Iran that have clearly won the political influence game in the region … or go to war against Iran … a lose lose situation.

President Obama should have visited Tehran … and it is not too late now to do so.

This stupidity is the result of relying on the advice of America’s other backward allies … like Saudi allies (Prince Bandar or Prince Saud) who hate anything Shia … or Israeli allies and their friends who are always embedded in the US … such as the omnipresent Dennis Ross .. their only real goal is to help Israel keep its dominance in the Middle East.

The US is paying the price for picking two of the three backward religious states as its allies and fighting the third one (Iran).

All those who convinced the US government that Ahmadinejad only won the elections by tampering with the results should look again at the 60% in this poll who said they really voted for him … and at the now 71% who want their country to develop nuclear weapons … and the 8 percent support for the US which is down from 34% in 2008 when they had hope President Obama could make a real difference.

Face it … because of your unfairness, you lost the Iranian people, after you lost the support of most of the Arab people (similar polls).

Thank you Dennis Ross for your expert advice!

December 10th, 2010, 10:06 am


Ghat Albird said:

ALEX. A normal reporting of who tells whom what to do.
Israel to US.

December 10th, 2010, 10:46 am


Akbar Palace said:

Alex in Wonderland

While Israel which can easily be accused of the five points above (but often in much more obvious ways) is treated like the darling of the international community.

And Saudi Arabia, which is guilty of 4 out of 5 is also treated with respect and love.


Thank you for your “objective” judgement regarding Israel and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, especially against your “5 points” above.

Can you tell the forum why you refuse to judge Iran (which you brought up) and Syria in the same fashion?

December 10th, 2010, 10:56 am


Alex said:


Nobody is perfect … each country in the Middle East (including Syria, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) is “guilty” to various degrees … Syria has the worst freedom of expression … Israel is the most violent … Saudi Arabia is the most backward in every sense…

But to pick Iran (and Syria during the Bush administration) for punishment through sanctions and/or potential war is wrong … it is very costly to the US.

December 10th, 2010, 11:12 am


Akbar Palace said:

Syria Comment’s Objectivity Revealed

Nobody is perfect … each country in the Middle East (including Syria, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) is “guilty” to various degrees … Syria has the worst freedom of expression … Israel is the most violent … Saudi Arabia is the most backward in every sense…


OK, so now that we’ve “evened the playing field” by stating that “each country in the Middle East is guilty to various degrees”, please tell us how you came up with the following:

1.) “Syria is the worst freedom of expression”
2.) “Israel is the most violent”
3.) “Saudi Arabia is the most backward in every sense”

Do you make this up based on your prejudices or do you have a reference or study to back this up?

But to pick Iran (and Syria during the Bush administration) for punishment through sanctions and/or potential war is wrong … it is very costly to the US.


US President Barack Hussein Obama has continued applying sanctions to countries our State Department has determined to be involved in terrorism. Don’t put in all on GWB.

Further, many of these sanctions are administered through the UN with the backing of many countries who are as equally fearful of Iran’s intentions as the US and Israel. As we are learning, many of these countries are Arab countries, and they seem to be more fearful of Iran than the “Zionist Entity”.

December 10th, 2010, 11:44 am


Alex said:


My emphasis on the Bush administration related to plans to invade Syria, .. Obama does not intend to invade Syria.

Cheney “would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran” Blair wrote in his memoir, “A Journey.”

Don’t bother with details, just ask yourself … What did Syria do to deserve to be invaded and destroyed?

As for the Arab allies who asked the US to go to war with Iran … as I explained above, they are indeed guilty just like Israel … They are not upset because of Iran’s less than shiny human rights record, they simply despise Shia Muslims.

How did I come up with my general statements?

1) In Syria you absolutely can not criticize the government’s foreign or strategic policies for example .. in Israel, Egypt and Iran you can.

2) During the past ten years Israel waged two wars (Lebanon and Gaza) killing and injuring thousands in each case … and more importantly, Israel lobbied the US to invade Iraq and to is currently lobbying for war with IRan … massive massive responsibility for millions of casualties of dead and injured (and traumatized and economically devastated) Iraqis.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria did not.

3) Saudi Arabia being the most backward country in the region … you have any doubt?

December 10th, 2010, 12:26 pm


Ghat Albird said:

“Israel progresses down the path to isolation”


Peter Beinart facetiously congratulates Benjamin Netanyahu now that he’s thwarted President Obama’s Middle East peace efforts.

Now all you have to worry about is…Argentina. You see, Argentina just recognized a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. Brazil did so days earlier. Uruguay and Paraguay are expected to follow suit, and then Bolivia and Ecuador. Oh, and you have a small problem with rock stars: last year Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana cancelled Israel gigs because of the occupation, and more seem poised to follow. Dock workers are another worry: from Sweden to South Africa, they keep protesting the occupation and the Gaza blockade by refusing to offload Israeli goods. And then there’s Hanna King, the 17-year-old Swarthmore freshmen who along with four other young American Jews disrupted your speech last month in New Orleans because, as she told Haaretz, “settlements…are contrary to the Jewish values that we learnt in Jewish day school.” You should probably expect young Jews like her to protest all your big American speeches from now on.

I know, I know. You consider all this unfair, and in some ways it is. But when you’ve been occupying another people for 43 years, confiscating more and more of their land and denying them citizenship while providing it to your own settlers, it doesn’t do much good to insist that things are worse in Burma. Your only effective argument against the Elvis Costellos and Hanna Kings was that you were trying to end the occupation. That’s where Obama came in. As long as the U.S. president seemed to have a chance of brokering a deal, his efforts held the boycotters and protesters and Palestinian state-recognizers at bay. When Brazil and Argentina recognized Palestinian independence, the American Jewish Committee’s David Harris declared it “fundamentally unhelpful to the Arab-Israeli peace process.” But what if there is no peace process? What’s your argument then? Maybe you can tell the Ecuadorians that Israel deserves Hebron because Abraham bought land there from Ephron the Hittite.

Rest assured, the Obama administration won’t go along with these efforts to punish and isolate you. It may even denounce them. But as you may have noticed, the world doesn’t listen to America like it used to. Non-Americans have grown tired of hearing that only the U.S. can broker a deal, especially because you’ve now shown that to be false. And so the dam preventing countries and institutions from legitimizing Palestine and delegitimizing Israel may soon break. You didn’t like the American way? Get ready for the Brazilian way.


December 10th, 2010, 4:13 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

A.P. said
, Jesus did criticize Jewish ideas at the time. That doesn’t make Jesus “anti-semitic”. That makes him a perfectionist,
This imply that the jews are not perfectionist
Also you did not tell us your Idea about JESUS,who was he?
Also you forgot to admit that jews were living in Egypt,then they invaded part of palastine and occupied it 3000 year ago by force just like they are doing again,their kingdom did not last long,Abraham( who was not a jew )lived in Palastine,he came from UR and kept on moving and later he and his children moved to Egypt

December 10th, 2010, 5:23 pm


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