Elections, Lebanon, Reform

Doha II … or Ta’if I?

back_to_the_future2We’re hearing more and more about the possibility of a “Doha II” agreement, a negotiated settlement to the anticipated standoff about the composition of Lebanon’s next cabinet. With Michel Aoun demanding a cabinet share proportional to his bloc’s strength in parliament, it’s clear that March 14 will not be able to assemble the cabinet simply by giving Hizbullah guarantees on the inviolability of its resistance. It will also have to deal with Aoun.

The original Doha Agreement produced a 30 member cabinet with 16 ministers for the majority, 11 for the opposition, and 3 ministers loyal to President Suleiman. This arrangement gave the opposition just over one third of the cabinet’s seats, the proportion needed to block legislation on “basic national issues”. The one-third-plus-one share also has a “nuclear option”, whereby the government can be brought down if the entire cabinet minority resigns. Here’s what the Lebanese Constitution says about the functioning of the cabinet (or Council of Ministers):

Article 65.5: “The Council of Ministers meets in a locale specifically set aside for it, and the President chairs its meetings when he attends. The legal quorum for a Council meeting is a majority of two thirds of its members. It makes its decisions by consensus. If that is not possible, it makes its decisions by vote of the majority of attending members. Basic national issues require the approval of two thirds of the members of the Council named in the Decree forming the Cabinet. Basic national issues are considered the following:

The amendment of the constitution, the declaration of a state of emergency and its termination, war and peace, general mobilization, international agreements and treaties, the annual government budget, comprehensive and longterm development projects, the appointment of Grade One government employees and their equivalents, the review of the administrative map, the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, electoral laws, nationality laws, personal status laws, and the dismissal of Ministers.”

I am personally uncomfortable with the idea of a Doha II Agreement, and not because I’m opposed to the idea of a national unity government. The problem with a Doha II is that it runs the risk of serving as a band-aid remedy, an antidote whose utility lies only in satisfying immediate political demands rather than addressing the larger underlying issues. Let us ask ourselves, honestly: would anyone be talking about cabinet vetoes if it weren’t for the issue of Hizbullah’s weapons? The fact that Hizbullah itself is theoretically willing to drop its demand in exchange for suitable “guarantees” weakens the opposition’s case that the current system violates the consensual logic of Lebanese governance.

What I would prefer to see is a full-fledged debate on the issues that puts everything on the table, eschews closed-door deal-making in favor of constitutional amendments, and works within the existing framework of the Ta’if Accord. Virtually all of Lebanon’s political parties are in agreement on the fact that Ta’if provides the blueprint for a viable political future. Even the Aounists, who complain loudly about the weakening of presidential powers as a result of Ta’if, cleave to its recommendations regarding a non-confessional electoral law and the creation of a senate.  If we’re going to go to the trouble of coming up with a Doha II, why not at least harmonize its features with the prescriptions of the Ta’if Accord?

The obvious answer to this question is that none of the political players are actually that interested in implementing Ta’if, despite what their voluminous electoral platforms indicate. This is where Lebanon’s civil society needs to swing into action. Rather than sitting back and complaining about the horsetrading conducted over the next several weeks, civil society organizations should be engaged in a public campaign to raise expectations for the kind of deal that should eventually be made. After all, we’ve just spent several months listening to political leaders talking about second independences, third republics, and building the state. Now is just as good a time as any to hold them to their word.

PS: Check out Jimmy Carter’s opinion of Jeffrey Feltman. It’s amusing.
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117 thoughts on “Doha II … or Ta’if I?

  1. QN,
    You are amused with Carter’s remark about Feltman?

    The US, by appointing Feltman, went out of its way to send a message to the Lebanese that they will not be sold to Syria anymore. Furthermore, Feltman is no neophyte and will not tolerate the BS the Syrians will try selling him. Who would you rather have negotiating with Asad on the future of Lebanon, Carter or Feltman?

    You should be angry at Carter’s remark. Not amused.

    Posted by AIG | June 11, 2009, 2:18 pm
  2. AIG

    Does Feltman set U.S. policy or does Obama? Feltman is a messenger. If Obama decides tomorrow that the U.S. is going to turn a blind eye to Syrian interference in Lebanon, Feltman is not going to tell him to go play with marbles.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 11, 2009, 2:33 pm
  3. AIG,

    I am not so sure why QN’s amusement hit a raw nerve with you, over and above the fact that the attempt at initiating a discourse was focused on discussing a viable proposition; you were well off topic completely.

    I am perplexed at your suggestion that Lebanon is for USA to sell, to Syria or any other interested party.

    As to the issue of ‘negotiations’ between Damascus and Washington, I think this would be up to the USA to choose its representative, not for QN, or any Lebanese for that matter, to be happy or unhappy with.

    I will hazard an assumption by saying that, irrespective of the result of the elections, that did not impose a real change in terms of ultimate balance of authority over Lebanon’s destiny, Lebanon of old when regional and international powers were the sole power-brokers with complete disregard of the Lebanese themselves, is no longer the status quo. feltman, cater, Asad et al can no longer by-pass domestic forces.


    The dialogue you have initiated is of immense significance to the future of Lebanon, and consequently deserves due attention and thought, as it proposes ideas that could potentially impact the country socially and strategically.

    I for one encourage this type of discourse.


    Posted by Question Marks | June 11, 2009, 2:42 pm
  4. “It will also have to deal with Aoun.”

    No it won’t. Aoun’s “allies” will cut a deal without him.

    Posted by professor chaos | June 11, 2009, 3:36 pm
  5. Aoun will factor in ONLY if HA does not get the full measure of all its demands…Aoun’s demands have become comical and redundant!
    However, the most dangerous point I see is the expansion of the invitees as well as the topics to be discussed at the charade called the “national dialogue”!! Whatever would the parliament and the cabinet discuss??

    Posted by danny | June 11, 2009, 4:41 pm
  6. QN,
    Of course Obama is the final arbiter about US policies but don’t you think he will listen to Feltman and ask his advice? He was appointed to his job because of his expertise on Lebanese-Syrian relations and because his approach is endorsed by Obama.

    Also, historically the “messengers” like Feltman, Mitchell and Kissinger, played a crucial role even though they were not setting policy alone. Seriously, would you feel better about Feltman negotiating with the Syrians or would you prefer Carter?


    It is an historical fact that Lebanon was sold at least twice. The first time it was sold to the Palestinians via the Cairo agreement and the second time Baker and Bush Sr. sold it for the participation of Syria in the 91 coalition against Saddam.

    In 2005, Bush “unsold” Lebanon and forced the Syrians to leave. So whether you like it or not, the US has the power to “sell” Lebanon. And of course the Lebanese have the right to be happy or unhappy about how the US deals with Syria or which envoy is entrusted with the task. It is critical to their future.

    Posted by AIG | June 11, 2009, 5:32 pm
  7. Can we not refer to Question Marks as ‘QM’? Too confusing.


    I’d prefer that neither Carter nor Feltman was negotiating with the Syrians. Someone like Aaron David Miller would be more my speed.

    Although Kissinger might be nice too.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 11, 2009, 5:53 pm
  8. QN,

    Oh well. As long as it is a Jew. 🙂

    I don’t understand what your problem with Feltman is. He was instrumental in getting the Syrians out of Lebanon. In the middle east where talk is cheap and actions are scarce I thought that would count for something.

    Posted by AIG | June 11, 2009, 6:08 pm
  9. I don’t understand what your problem with Feltman is.

    Because of comments like this?:


    Posted by Peter H | June 11, 2009, 7:14 pm
  10. Peter,
    So telling it like it is does not go well with you. Feltman gave the Lebanese a fair warning. I just cannot understand what is wrong with that. Wouldn’t you rather have the Lebanese going to vote having as much info as possible?

    In fact, Feltman did a service to the Lebanese by telling them the truth. Perhaps it is a cultural thing. I appreciate people talking to me clearly and directly even if I don’t like what they are saying.

    Posted by AIG | June 11, 2009, 7:55 pm
  11. My problem with Feltman is that he has a parti pris that makes him hostile to at least half of the Lebanese population and to the Syrian regime in general. This makes matters much more combative than they have to be and isn’t conducive to conflict resolution. I don’t subscribe to the zero-sum outlook of politics that is content with gaining a short-term advantage even if it’s at the expense of long-term stability.

    I can’t say I agree about wanting Kissinger, but Miller would be a great choice. I also like Mitchell and Rob Malley. Basically, anyone who’s last name starts with an M.

    Posted by sean | June 11, 2009, 7:56 pm
  12. Sean,
    You don’t say. The US is hostile to Syria? Was it the sanctions that led you to this hunch?

    Are you guys living in the middle east or middle west? Where does the naive faith in “being nice” come from? Has any Lebanese problem with Syria EVER been solved because the Lebanese were “nice” and “conducive to conflict resolution”? Look, I will be happy to stand corrected. Give me ONE example that being “nice” to the Asads on a substantial issue helped.

    Posted by AIG | June 11, 2009, 8:35 pm
  13. QN – are you serious about Kissinger?

    Posted by the Sydneysider | June 12, 2009, 2:03 am
  14. No one should negotiate with the Syrian regime, the Evil Lord of Damascus should be threatened and not negotiated with.

    Posted by V | June 12, 2009, 5:15 am
  15. QN,

    I have an idea for you ,

    Hariri as Prime minster.

    Aoun for the Justice ministry,
    Hezbollah for the defence ministry
    Hariri for the Trade and economy ,

    The rest can be divided to keep everybody happy ,but these ministries i put up will be the real power brokers and make up the security cabinet.

    Posted by norman | June 12, 2009, 6:27 am
  16. QN, I had to make some corrections after posting comment 14. Could you please delete 14? Thnx.

    I really wonder who would dream of another Doha at this point in time. Whoever is proposing these ideas is definitely unaware that the world has changed dramatically since May 2008.
    First, the circumstances which triggered Doha, namely the attempted coup in Beirut, are no longer conducive for a repeat which would allow tiny Doha with French/Syrian/Saudi/Iranian orchestration to pull the stunt it did in 2008. The US will not take a backstage now as it did then. How so? The attack on Beirut was possible at a time when the US was in an election year. The Syria/Iran/Hezb axis took advantage of this event to pull their stunt in Beirut in 2008. It was the only window of opportunity open to this axis to attempt to draw Lebanon’s political map for the next six years in their favor before the next US administration is in place. That opportunity is now lost, and the attempt obviously failed as the election results have proven. A military assault on Beirut at the moment is not feasible and for more reasons than the fact that the US is now fully engaged in the area under the leadership of a popular President. An equally important reason is the fact that Syria is currently down on its knees in every respect. Mr. Assad is eagerly seeking a certificate of good conduct in order to be given some role vis-à-vis US efforts to deal with regional problems. Any attempt on his part to play a negative role in Lebanon will backfire on him. This was made evident in his much muted behavior during and after the elections, and highlighted by his phone call to SA soon after the election results were announced. That doesn’t mean that he may not attempt to influence events in Lebanon, but his room for maneuvering is very narrow.

    What the Lebanese politicians, and particularly those in the opposition, should be seeking at the moment is a solution made in Lebanon. It is time for Lebanon to show some maturity, and try to stand on its feet at least in the area of governing itself as it has shown some promise in conducting a flawless election day, thanks to Baroud. There are no better circumstances than what we have at the moment (should we use astrology and say the palnets are aligned to add emphasis?) The opposition can now take the initiative, and actually turn its defeat into triumph, by making its position on participation in the government contingent on a political program that will involve the full implementation of Taif which would also include the disarmament of paramilitary organizations including Hezb militias and the Palestinians simultaneously. The last condition actually was the first US demand made by none other than Mr. Obama shortly after the elections when he referred to 1559 and 1701. The opposition should NOT insist on a gazillion number of portfolios as long as it gets a fair share (i.e. no blocking third even though it could still go at the moment to Mr. Sleiman). But it should make it clear that a roadmap for the fulfillment of Taif should be drawn by the next PM with a timeframe to make the senate and the non-confessional parliament a reality within the tenure of the next government. If the opposition takes this road it will defuse once and for all the unprecedented state of sectarian polarization which has gripped Lebanon for the last four years and will redraw the political map of the country.

    Posted by majid | June 12, 2009, 7:11 am
  17. مجنون يحكي وعاقل يفهم٠
    وزارة عدل لسوريا ووزارة دفاع لايران٠
    واميركا بتمصم بالعشرة٠
    شو رئيس الجمهورية والوزارة والبرلمان رِجل كرسي منعملن وزارة بالشام وما مننسى نأخذ الموافقة من فيصل المقداد٠ والله جبتها يا نورمان٠ عندك اقرباء في حمص٠ لانو اكيد هيدي مش من ابتكارك٠

    Posted by majid | June 12, 2009, 7:50 am
  18. Dream on Norman !!

    Posted by V | June 12, 2009, 8:15 am
  19. majid, what’s the point of writing your comment to norman in arabic in first instance, and in an odd way of writing mostly colloquial arabic in actual arabic letters all of a sudden in second isntance?

    Posted by bint abeeha | June 12, 2009, 11:29 am
  20. I was hoping to read more about the important and interesting questions this thread initially posed. Only a few approached the core matter of the thread. It is obvious that the rest have more ‘important’ issues. While some felt that it is appropriate to ‘debate the virtues of Feltman and co. or the lack of it, others seemed, to me at least, that they are still in the election campaign mode.

    Can we get back to responding to the challenging questions initially posed by QN, please? It goes well beyond an intellectual debate.


    Posted by Question Marks | June 12, 2009, 11:43 am
  21. Majid,

    If I wrote that comment you would accuse me of being naive. 😉

    Did anyone see `Uqab Saqr debating Alain Aoun last night on Kalam al-Nas? Very good stuff. (Saqr dominated as usual… They still haven’t found anyone who can challenge the boy wonder).

    Alain Aoun said that the FPM would have no problem with a 10-10-10 split (10 each for March 14, March 8, and the president), as long as it is achieved through a constitutional amendment, which ensures that from here on out, the president always has a one third share of cabinet seats.

    This, in my opinion, is a terrible idea. (I’ll write a post about why, later).

    `Uqab counter-offered with the standard plan that M14 has been proposing (10 for M8, a few for Suleiman, and the rest for M14).

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 12, 2009, 1:32 pm
  22. What??? no hour by hour coverage of the Iranian elections? what kind of pathetic news source is this? and what the hell are we paying you for? 😛

    On a more serious note. Dont you guys think we are all over analysing this a bit too much? M8 along with it backers have concided without much complaining (except for Aoun who is set for a disappointment) and seem to be willing to accept losing the third as long as HA arms are untouched.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 12, 2009, 2:01 pm
  23. What about lebanese women getting full citizen rights? And what about putting some law and order in the way foreign workers, specially domestic, are treated in the country? I know that the situation is not better in other arab countries, but Lebanon, besides being a beacon of liberties, should use them to become a beacon of civil rights for all too.

    Posted by mj | June 12, 2009, 5:21 pm
  24. where did my comment go?

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 12, 2009, 6:59 pm
  25. 10-10-10….????
    So why go through the elections? If the people have spoken ,its only right to give them what they want democratically.
    10 for M8, a few to the president, and the rest to M14…sounds just about right.
    Uqab Saqr for Parliament speaker in 2013.:)

    Posted by Maverick | June 12, 2009, 8:35 pm
  26. ”If I wrote that comment you would accuse me of being naive.


    Let’s go back to the main issue. QN’s article features the Stephen Spielberg cover picture of the Back to the Future series turned into a movie by Robert Zemeckis, and the article has the title Doha II or Taif 1. Got the picture?

    Let’s make some clarifications. Marty McFly accidently gets sent back from 1985 to 1955 where he meets his parents in high school, accidently attracting his mother’s romantic interests. Then Marty is faced with the task of repairing damage to history by causing his parents to fall in love while finding a way to go back to 1985.

    Realistically, I would have renamed the title of Spielberg’s book “Forward to the Past” and I would still be able to convey the same themes. However, my title would be more suitable for the more mundane art of politics than the more attractive task of playing cupid which may have the metaphysical quality to achieve time travel, while a politician is imprisoned in the present (like everybody else of course) looking to the future while memory becomes the repository of the past. Some people, however, get fixated on this past and they may even get frozen in it, becoming nostalgic.

    Needless to say that travelling backward in time is scientifically impossible. So, as everyone knows Spielberg is a Sci-Fi novelist. There were attempts to build time machines. But, the endeavors always stumbled upon the stubbornness of one of the three fundamental laws of nature, which has always decreed such endeavor as futile. For those politicians plagued with a nostalgic vision of the future, the following visual illustration of this very important law of nature is helpful as a therapy. We all have observed, or can observe if we choose to, the process of a glass cup getting shattered into pieces. It doesn’t take too much effort. Just go to your kitchen right now and drop one cup and keep your eyes fixed on the falling object. We haven’t so far been able to observe the reverse process i.e. the shattered pieces of glass coming back together and glued into the former shape of a cup. Try as you may, at the cost of running out of cups in your kitchen. So, it is not that difficult to articulate fundamental laws by the layman and making it comprehensible to the public in general. This same observation dictates the well known adage that time is unidirectional. And that’s why I find my title for the book more realistic, if realism still has any relevance in this case.

    Let’s go back to the present again. Why is it not possible to enshrine in the constitution what Mr. Aoun is asking for? We have to understand the nature of the political system of the country, and the direction in which it is heading (hence the idea of time travel becomes relevant once again). Let’s compare this system to the other systems in the world where democratic rule is actually functioning. We’ll compare Lebanon’s system to two well known models – those of the USA and Britain. The USA election of a President is a very lengthy process. First, the candidates are nominated and the public is completely involved in the process of nomination. Then the Electoral College is elected by the people themselves once again. Once the College is assembled it chooses the President and the college itself disappears from existence. So the people are fully aware about their choices from the very initial stages. The President in the USA has the full mandate from the people in order to enjoy the powers that are invested in his office. At the same time the Congress and the Senate are selected by the people again and the three institutions are given the mandate for the same term. So the institutions work with each other and not against each other. In Britain, the people once again vote for their candidates into the House of Commons and the people are fully aware of who the next possible PM will be based on the parties leaderships. In fact, Britain doesn’t even have a President with any powers at all. The ultimate power is the Parliament since it has the mandate from the people. The Cabinet actually sits in the Parliament along with the rest of the MP’s and conducts its business of governance with full participation of the other MP’s.

    The President in Lebanon is not nominated by the people. In fact, when the people of Lebanon go to the polls, they already have a President, and they don’t even know who the next President will be five or six years down the road. The President has six year term while the Parliament has a four year term. So you may run into a situation like in Lahhoud’s case where the President was in a state of discord with the people when the next Parliament was chosen leading to a state of paralysis. How could such President for example be given the authority to dissolve a Parliament that has the people’s mandate while he relies on this same parliament to sit in office? Lebanon’s system is more similar to the British model and it cannot be made similar to the US model. How can you convince the vast majority of the Lebanese who currently need 31000 votes for one of the Muslim MP’s against 19000 votes for one Christian MP that it will be fair to reinvest absolute power in the hands of a President selected based on an unwritten code going back to 1943?

    Posted by majid | June 12, 2009, 9:13 pm
  27. Majid

    I agree with your conclusions, if not your reasoning. Comparing the U.S. (or even the U.K.) to Lebanon is like apples to oranges. The problem with Lebanon is that it is neither a presidential nor a parliamentary system. It is a hybrid system, with the added complexity of being a consociational democracy to boot.

    What you say about presidential powers is absolutely correct, though. These calls by the FPM to strengthen the powers of the president are nonsensical to me. Which powers are they talking about, precisely? The president is about on equal footing with the PM and the Speaker today. They each have their own unique powers, and more or less balance each other out. Strengthening one at the expense of another smacks of a sectarian power grab. Why not, as you say, move towards changing the rules of the game entirely such that these kinds of petty squabbles have no political capital attached?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 12, 2009, 10:09 pm
  28. QN,
    My objective was not actually to compare the three systems, even though I used the word compare. I meant it in the sense of contrasting the three systems by choosing the two extremes and you correctly pointed out that Lebanon’s is a hybrid of the two with an added complexity. Thanks for the clarification.

    I hope they (zu’ama, politicians, movements…) see the light as in your last observation and act accordingly. Opportunities sometimes don’t come when you mosly need them as in this case.

    Posted by majid | June 12, 2009, 10:30 pm
  29. Sorry, I’m not understanding what debate is being called for here. How can civil society influence a political deal (the formation of the cabinet)? And what can be written into the constitution regarding it?

    If its about giving the president a veto, that was the situation pre-Taef. As majid pointed out in a dizzying fashion, one can’t go back in time. We tried that situation and, after 15 years of mindless bloodshed, decided we don’t like it. (I’m using the term ‘we’ very loosely here.)

    If its about giving the opposition a veto, I don’t think we can legislate the meaning of a ‘unity government’ in the constitution. I think its meaningless for the opposition to be in government without a veto, because they would be providing a fig leaf of consensus for the majority, who can implement any decision they wish. That was the situation with the 2005 government and we all know how that ended. Better be out of the government completely so that the majority takes complete responsibility for its decisions.

    I think all the issues about presidential power, cabinet authority, or vetoes are not what we ought to be looking at. All this shuffling of executive authority from one post to another only matters to those occupying those posts. What civil society ought to care about is the judicial branch, which is the real safeguard on the executive. Making the higher judicial authority independent of the executive, placing police forces under the authority of judiciary, and appointing more judges so cases can be processed in under 5 years is the real key to political reform.

    Only when we can successfully prosecute those in power can we have a real effective democracy.

    Posted by RedLeb | June 13, 2009, 3:10 am
  30. Majid , Habibi ,
    why are you saying that , you are right though, I am from Hama and have relatives in Homs ,
    The only way for Lebanon to move forward is to push ahead with the things that they agree on like making electricity available at all time ,improving the lives of the Lebanese and trying not to pick a fight with Syria ,or anybody else and keeping their mouth shut .
    if they continue to push for the things that divide Lebanon ,then we are going to have 4 more years of the same , while everybody else is moving forward.

    Posted by norman | June 13, 2009, 5:02 am
  31. RedLeb,
    I endorse you on the judiciary. However, I’m not a fan of witch hunting. If that is the only purpose behind raising it then it is useless. In fact, it has been raised previously under a different post, here on QN, just before the elections.

    Let me make the other issue less dizzying for you. In this post of Qifa Nabki, Marty McFly is General Michel Aoun. The dates of relevance for Mr. Aoun’s time travel are from 2005 to 1991. Mr. Aoun flew back in time in 2005 to the year when he was exiled when his plane landed back in Beirut. The mother who got romantically attracted to him is the Christian constituency which gave him the ‘tsunami’ in 2005. In 2009, General Aoun discovered exactly like Marty McFly that this is a forbidden fruit. In the case of McFly history will suffer damage to the point of eliminating his own existence as a person. Mr. Aoun discovered, likewise, that this romantic infatuation with this constituency is also a forbidden fruit because it is dependent upon a state of sectarian polarization within the country of his own mother which may damage the very existence of his nation.


    Could you please make it clear to us what constitutes a fight with the Syrian government?
    For example, is forming a government in Beirut without consulting Mukdad or taking into consideration his wishes considered a fight from the point of view of the Syrian Governmnet?

    Posted by majid | June 13, 2009, 7:05 am
  32. While I am not a fan of Aoun, I think this is the opportune time to bring him back under the March 14 tent. The FPM rank and file are just as uneasy about Hizballah’s weapons as your typical M14er. At the end of the day, the Hizb weapons are the be-all end-all issue in Lebanon for now. Giving Aoun a satisfactory number of portfolios along with an initiative from patriarch Sfeir to “unite” the Christian front would be the first step.

    Posted by MM | June 13, 2009, 7:33 am
  33. MM

    I agree with you. The FPM base is frustrated with their electoral strategy — if we are to believe the interventions on their forum — and many are calling for a reconciliation with M14 or the FM in particular.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 13, 2009, 8:43 am
  34. Interesting notion it is, bringing FPM into the M14 fold. Perhaps it is the only move that would ‘blunt’ (in non-military terms of course) HA’s influence on Lebanese politics. This however begs a few questions:

    – Would Aoun be amenable for such a ‘dramatic’ departure’, knowing his personality?

    – Would Christian members of M14 not be jeopardising their own status within the coalition by bringing in a grouping that alone enjoys at least equal popular support within the Christian constituency?

    – Would the personal chemistry of the various Christian ‘leaders’ in M14 and their history of antagonism against each other allow for such an initiative?

    – Would such a action not lead to an opposite and equal reaction within the non-Christian camp, and re-shuffle the domestic alliances yet again to something akin to the pre-75 era?

    – Would that not alienate the Shiite constituency in Lebanon en mass with all that this would entail in the shape of instability?

    – Would such a development not force HA and its political allies, especially the former to re-trench and become more belligerent about its ‘need’ to safeguard its arms, especially in the view of the perceived continued Israeli threat?

    – Would such a move not provoke different kind of regional and international dynamic that might not necessarily be conducive to the country’s stability?

    I am sure that this notion has crossed the minds of few FPM after the unexpected results of the election. i am similarly sure that those questions, and perhaps more have been posed.

    it remains an interesting notion nevertheless.


    Posted by Question Marks | June 13, 2009, 10:24 am
  35. Question Marks,

    The answer to all your questions is simple. HA transforms itself fully and voluntarily into a political organization forsaking its armed wing.

    Posted by majid | June 13, 2009, 11:35 am
  36. Majid,

    Thanks for your tip; and I think that this will be the ultimate course of action. It is a matter of facilitating developments and time.

    Don’t you think that this approach, as things currently stand, domestically, regionally and internationally, could be flawed in its tendency towards over-simplification?

    I maintain that before any dramatic and fundamental shift in domestic alliances -and a change in FPM’s stance is certainly one- requires answering the questions posed, and many more I hastily add.

    I believe that pinning all Lebanon’s problems on the issue of HA’s arms could be a grave miscalculation now that the electioneering is over. A couple of authorities would perhaps vouch for this namely Walid Jumblat and Sa’ad Al Hariri, as is clear from their public statements at least that puts the issue of the ‘resistance’s’ arms back on the negotiating table, while coming up with a government that would deal with the other national problems, and are too numerous to list, I am sure you agree. .


    Posted by Question Marks | June 13, 2009, 12:09 pm
  37. Majid,

    Syria wants a friendly relation with Lebanon where Lebanon is not a launching ground to attack Syria and conspire with the surrender camp to force Syria in to submission , and as the US said that it will not help Lebanon if Hezbollah win , Syria should say and be able not to help Lebanon if Lebanon gets a hostile government to Syria , Syria should not be the mother who accepts abuse from it’s child Lebanon and continue to help him ,

    You all are dreaming to think that Hezbollah will abandon it’s weapons as long as Israel is there and as long as the Palestinians are armed in the camps and as long as the Shia do not have equal rights to everybody else in employment and politics ,,so if you want Hezbollah to be part of the Lebanese army and that is the only way that will solve that problem , then Lebanon should solve the causes of Hezbollah arms ,
    The Palestinian fighter in south Lebanon without control, Shia that live in poor undeveloped areas while all the debt of all Lebanon was spent in Sunni areas only under Hariri,

    You all should remember if you are of age that Israel did not get out of Lebanon for the sake of the Christians and the Sunni or even the Americans , they left because Hezbollah fought back and Israelis were being killed almost on a daily bases ,

    And that is my take,

    Posted by norman | June 13, 2009, 3:07 pm
  38. Israel lost on average 10 soldiers per YEAR in Lebanon. And still, Barak made it an electoral promise to leave Lebanon. When Barak won, Israel left. If Bibi would have won those elections, Israel would have have staid in Lebanon. I supported leaving Lebanon then, but with hindsight, it was a mistake. No gesture of good will in the middle east fails to be answered by more hostility and war.

    The Hizballah weapons issue will be solved when there are significant changes in Iran. That could take a long time but surprises are possible as the sudden fall of the Soviet Union shows.

    Posted by AIG | June 13, 2009, 6:17 pm
  39. AIG,

    … And you are saying that after nearly 28 years of occupation and with the increasing frequency and level of resistance operations, the occupier decided, out of the kindness of its heart to ‘liberate’ the land!

    While in the same breath you assure everybody that Bibi would have taken a decision (the right decision in hindsight. as far as you are concerned) not to withdraw!.

    Make up your mind, please.

    “Israel lost an average of 10 soldiers a year”, but still found it prudent to run away from Lebanon exposing its well nurtured network of ‘friends’ behind at the mercy of the resistance. Thankfully, the resistance had the humanity and the farsightedness not to engage in mass retaliation -as the French resistance did after WWII with those who collaborated with the Nazis.

    28 years of continuous occupation and huge investment ended just like that because of the kind hearts of the occupier. RIGHT!


    Posted by Question Marks | June 13, 2009, 7:10 pm
  40. … And you are saying that after nearly 28 years of occupation…

    Question Marx,

    I think what AIG is saying is that whether Israel occupies or not, some states (Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinians and Iran) will always be in a state of war with Israel.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 13, 2009, 8:01 pm
  41. Akbar palace,

    That wasn’t my take on AIG’s contribution. I must admit: I would be proud to have your mind reading ability.

    The fact remains that Israel does occupy land in flagrant breach of international law. Occupation begets resistance. These two acts constitute a state of war. No occupation, no war. Quite simple, I say.

    Quoting a known pro-Zionism US columnist’s defence of the Israeli settlements’ policies isn’t perhaps the most credible way of making an objective point.


    Posted by Question Marks | June 13, 2009, 10:57 pm
  42. Occupation begets resistance.

    Dear Question Marx,

    If that were the case, why was Israel in a state of war with every neighboring Arab state before 1967?

    The facts speak for themselves, the “occupation” is a myth and peace can be attained at any time.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 14, 2009, 12:36 am
  43. يا سيد نورمان انتبه جيدأ
    ليس لبنان مصدر لتهديد سوريا وليست سوريا ام للبنان وليس لبنان طفل لسوريا٠ رجاءً عدم التفوه بمثل هذه التفاهات٠ ليس من شأن سوريا ان تتكلم باسم اي فئة لبنانية او تتدعي معرفة مصلحتها٠ كلامك طائفي لهدف في نفس يعقوب واَسف لقرأة مثل هذا الكلام منك٠ لبنان سيقوم بما تملي عليه مصلحته وان لم يعجب ذلك سوريا فذلك شأنها٠

    Posted by majid | June 14, 2009, 2:40 am
  44. Question Marks,

    It is really sad that you understand so very little about Israeli society and the forces that govern it. Most Israelis believed that Israel was not gaining anything by staying in Lebanon and that after we left and had the UN ratify that we are not holding one square centimeter of Lebanon, Hizballah would point its weapons and rhetoric elsewhere. That is what I believed. Bibi told us that this is a naive belief that will backfire on Israel. Hizballah and other Lebanese would view the move as a Hizballah victory and not as an Israeli gesture of good will and Hizballah will only become more belligerent. Boy was he right.

    AP understood what I said exactly. For some people in the Arab world, whatever Israel will do is not enough. As AP asked you, before 67 there was no occupation. Why was there war then? And after 67, Israel was waiting to discuss peace with the Arabs. But they went to Khartoum and came back with the infamous 3 NOs.

    After the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, Hizballah invented the Sheba Farms. When they were worried about the Sheba Farms issue being solved, they started talking about the “Seven Villages” inside the 67 borders. At least after July 2006, they are mostly your problem. We have no patience in Israel for this crap any more. If Hizballah starts a war, Lebanon will be flattened and hundreds of thousands of Shite refugees will be living among you for a very long time. If you don’t believe me, just give it a try. Hizballah know all this and that is why in the last 3 years their weapons were only directed inward in spite of Gaza and in spite of the attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor. As I said, they are your problem.

    On a optimistic note, I would certainly support (as I believe at least 75% of Israelis would) to give Lebanon the Sheba Farms under a peace agreement. But of course, you cannot talk directly to Israel because the Syrians and Hizballah hold you by the balls. Oh well, this is the middle east where “national dialog” means that the people with the guns talk and those without guns listen.

    Posted by AIG | June 14, 2009, 3:31 am
  45. What do you think Qifa of someone who issues threats on your blog as in ” Lebanon will be flattened and hundreds of thousands of Shite refugees will be living among you for a very long time.”? This looks vulgar to me, not to mention it is coming from a zio-pet!!!
    Do you have any rules on your blog against issuing threats?

    يا سيد كوستشن ماركس
    ليس هناك اي فائدة من الخوض في نقاش عقيم مع هؤلاء الصهاينة٠ كل ما يريدونه من وراء هذه التفاهات هو اجراء عمليات تطبيعية على مستوى الافراد بينما تستمر حثالة المستوطنين بالاستيلاء على الارض٠ لن تستفيد شيئا من الحوار مع امثالهم٠ افضل رد عليهم هو عدم الرد وتجاهلهم كلياً كي يعلموا انهم حثالة غير مرغوب فيها٠ اما ان كان هدفك تسجيل نقاط عن طريق اجراء مثل هذه المبادلات فانه هدف وضيع نظراً لان الطرف الاخر معتوه٠

    Posted by majid | June 14, 2009, 5:37 am
  46. Vulgar? Have you read what you wrote in Arabic? For anybody that does not speak Arabic, please ask an Arabic speaker to translate for you. I see Majid that you endorse the famous tactic of saying one thing in English and another in Arabic hoping that english readers do not understand. Do you really believe that this hypocritical tactic works?

    Posted by AIG | June 14, 2009, 6:11 am
  47. “If Hizballah starts a war, Lebanon will be flattened and hundreds of thousands of Shite refugees will be living among you for a very long time. If you don’t believe me, just give it a try.”

    Wow! you seem to justify the “flattening” and the infliction of harm and misery on a nation and its people should a component in it decide “to start” a war with Israel.

    As such, every action or reaction that the Palastenians and the Lebanese have taken against Israel be it within its self-proclaimed borders or the so-called security zones should similarly be justified. That is unless you do not classify uprooting people from their land and innvading and occupying the land of others as an act of war.

    And by the way, those Shia you referred to have been “living among us for a very long time” and they’re not going anywhere. Your people/friends can hit and flatten as much as they wish. No one is leaving. To the contrary, our people will return and not only to Lebanon.

    Posted by PN | June 14, 2009, 6:37 am
  48. PN,
    Of course, since deterrence is the only thing that works with Hizballah. During the cold war everybody was happy with MAD (mutually assured destruction). But what did that really mean? It meant that if the soviet dictators decided to launch at the US, all the Russians would be targeted by nuclear weapons. Now, how are those powerless Russians responsible in any way for what the Soviet leaders do? Why should they be targeted? But that did not stop people supporting the MAD doctrine. Thus, most people will not have a problem with what I am saying, in the same way they had no problem with MAD.

    Unfortunately, deterrence is only effective if the consequences of war are truly horrible. Thus, you may see my attitude as crude, but in fact it is the best one for both Lebanon and Israel because it minimizes the chances of another war erupting. After all, if Nasrallah would have known how Israel would react in July 2006, we would not have had that war either! At least that is what he said. So know Nasrallah knows how Israel will react, and everyone is safer because of that.

    Posted by AIG | June 14, 2009, 6:54 am
  49. You all know that Israel during the 2006 war attacked Shia areas and destroyed infrastructures in these areas to divide the Lebanese people.

    Majid ,

    AIG is right , many here know Arabic , and i do not mind if you disagree with me , Syria surrounds Lebanon from the east and north , Israel is in the south , don’t you think that your brother is your brother like him or not ,

    One time I asked my uncle ,after i read something to the fact that your brother is not your brother if he is not your friend , ((a Western idea )), I believe , he answered me ,

    My brother is my brother even if he is not my friend , That is the way we look at families and that is one of our values.

    Posted by norman | June 14, 2009, 6:57 am
  50. “Thus, you may see my attitude as crude, but in fact it is the best one for both Lebanon and Israel because it minimizes the chances of another war erupting.”


    If we accept your “deterrence” strategy as you explained it in terms of comparison to the historically validated MAD (mutually assured destruction) approach, then “what would that really mean?”

    For this scenario to work “best for both Lebanon and Israel”, both sides need to achieve a power balance. Accordingly, all Lebanese should then support HA to retain their arms and not the other way round.

    Otherwise, what you’re suggesting may minimize the chances of another war errupting for now, but would it guarantee us not having to wake up one day and find the IAF in our backyard? History and experience suggest NOT AT ALL. Indeed, such an outcome won’t be best for Lebanon.

    Posted by PN | June 14, 2009, 8:01 am
  51. Norman,
    I don’t care if he’s right or wrong. He’s non-existent as far as I am concerned and as I said it in Arabic.

    We also say that even brothers differ and they remain brothers. However, to be friends does not mean one has to do everything in accordance with his friend’s wishes or else they’re not friends.

    Posted by majid | June 14, 2009, 8:08 am
  52. PN,
    In each and every case you found the IDF in your backyard it was because an armed militia was using Lebanon as a base against Israel. In addition, Israel left in 2000. Do you really believe that Israel wants to annex any part of Lebanon? Most Israelis even support giving Lebanon the Sheba Farms for peace.

    But by all means, if you are afraid of an Israeli invasion without Lebanese provocation, and believe that Hizballah arms are effective in stopping or deterring Israel, then you should support Hizballah remaining armed. It is really up to you to way the pros and cons of that. As the Hizballah weapons are being aimed inward in the last 3 years and in the foreseeable future (Israel’s northern border has never been quieter), the Hizballah weapons are your problem, not mine.

    Posted by AIG | June 14, 2009, 8:24 am
  53. Majid,
    You remind me of the falach who comes to the big city for the first time in his life and goes to the zoo. When he gets to the giraffe’s cage, he stops and stares for 30 minutes, then turns around and returns to his village while mumbling under his breath: “There is no such animal.”

    By the way, why do you bother trying to insult non-existent people? Isn’t that a waste of time, even perhaps delusional? And why bother writing in Arabic? Non-existent people don’t read in any language. I think your world view has severe inconsistencies that may require reassessment.

    Posted by AIG | June 14, 2009, 8:35 am
  54. This is an article that appeared in the press after its writer passed away. It is written in a typical comical colloquial Egyptian style. It is a must read for an Arab. Sorry QN. It is too long, and it’ll take quite a bit of space. I do not have a link for it.

    مقال للمسيري لم ينشر: عندما تتحول الصهيونية إلى نكتة

    عبد الوهاب المسيري
    الصهيونية في جوهرها هي حركة لتخليص أوروبا من الفائض البشري اليهودي عن طريق نقله من أوروبا وتوطينه في أية منطقة خارجها، وقد استقر الرأي على أن تكون فلسطين هي هذه المنطقة نظراً لأهميتها الإستراتيجية، وارتباطها في الوجدان الغربي باليهود.
    وحتى يتم تجنيد الجماهير اليهودية وتسهيل عملية نقلهم، خدعهم الغرب بقوله إنهم سيذهبون إلى أرض بلا شعب، وإنه إن وُجد فيها شعب سيكون من السهل إبادته أو نقله أو استعباده كما حدث في التجارب الاستيطانية الإحلالية الأخرى.
    وبالفعل فُتحت أبواب فلسطين للهجرة الاستيطانية اليهودية التي كانت تحميها قوة الاحتلال البريطانية. وتم إعلان الدولة الصهيونية العام 1948، وتصور المستوطنون أنهم كسبوا المعركة ضد السكان الأصليين. ولكن بعد بضع سنوات قليلة من الهدوء بدأت المقاومة الفلسطينية النبيلة بشكل فردي ثم ظهرت فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية الواحدة تلو الأخرى، وراحت تطور من قدراتها تدريجياً إلى أن وصلت إلى إنتاج الصواريخ وتحسين أدائها.
    ومن الطريف أنه نظراً لبساطة هذه الصواريخ وبدائيتها، فإن الرادارات الإسرائيلية غير قادرة على رصدها، ولذا ظهرت نكتة في إسرائيل تقول إنه لابد وأن تزود إسرائيل المقاومة الفلسطينية بصواريخ سكود حتى يمكن للرادارات الإسرائيلية أن ترصدها.
    وتدريجياً بدأ الإسرائيليون يشعرون أن انتصاراتهم العسكرية لا معنى لها، وأنها لم تنجح في تحقيق السلام أو الأمن لهم (فيما سماه المؤرخ الإسرائيلي يعقوب تالمون “عقم الانتصار” مقتبساً عبارة هيجل) وأنهم خُدعوا عندما صُوِّر لهم أن عملية الاستيطان في فلسطين سهلة، وتدريجياً تنامى إحساس بالورطة التاريخية.
    ولكن ماذا يمكن لهم أن يفعلوا؟ أحد الحلول هو تجاهل الورطة تماماً، وهذا ما تعبر عنه أحداث هذه القصيدة الفكاهية التي كتبها الشاعر الإسرائيلي إفرايم سيدون إبان الانتفاضة الأولى (والتي رفض التلفزيون الإسرائيلي إذاعتها).
    تدور أحداث القصيدة في غرفة صالون يجلس فيه أربعة أشخاص: الأب والأم والطفل، أما رابعهم فهو الجندي الصهيوني، وبالتالي فهي خلية استيطانية سكانية مسلحة. وقد اندلع خارج المنزل حريق (رمز الانتفاضة وظهور الشعب الفلسطيني) وبدأ الدخان يدخل البيت عبر النافذة، إلا أن الأربعة يجلسون بهدوء ويشاهدون مسلسلاً تلفزيونياً ولا يكترثون بشيء. ثم ينشد الجميع:
    هنا نحن جميعاً نجلس
    في بيتنا الصغير الهادئ
    نجلس في ارتياح جذل
    هذا أفضل لنا، حقاً إنه أفضل لنا
    – الأم: جيد هو وضعنا العام
    – الجندي: أو باختصار.. إيجابي…
    – الأب: وإذا كانت هنا جمرة تهدد بالحريق
    – الأم: طفلي سينهض لإطفاء الحريق
    – الأب: وإذا اندلعت هنا وهناك حرائق صغيرة
    – الأم: سيسرع ابني لإطفائها بالهراوة
    – الأب: انهض يا بني اضربها قليلاً
    ويخاطب الأب النار فيخبرها أنها مسكينة، وأنها لن تؤثِّر فيه من قريب أو بعيد، وأنه سيطفئها في النهاية. وحينما تأكل النيران قدميه لا تضطرب الأم، فالأمر في تصورها ليس خطيراً، إذ لديه -كما تقول- “قدم صناعية” (لعلها مستوردة من الولايات المتحدة)، والوقت -كما يقول الأب- “يعمل لصالحنا”. ولكن الطفل ينطق مرة أخرى بالحقيقة المرة:
    – الطفل: بابا، بابا، لقد حرقنا الوقت [الزمن]
    – الأب: اسكت
    – الأم: إن من ينظر حولنا ويراقب، يرى كم أن الأب لا ينطق إلا بالصدق كعادته
    – الأب والأم: لقد أثبتنا للنار بشكل واضح من هو الرجل هنا ومن هو الحاكم
    – الطفل: ولكن بابا… البيت…
    – الأب: لا تشغلنا بالحقائق
    وهذه القصيدة الفكاهية، شأنها شأن النكت، تخبئ رؤية متشائمة بشأن مستقبل المستوطنين الصهاينة الذين يستقرون في المكان وينكرون الزمان، فتحرقهم الحقيقة وهم جالسون يراقبون مسلسلاً تلفزيونياً في هدوء وسكينة، أو يستمعون إلى الدعاية الصهيونية التي تنسيهم واقعهم في رضا كامل!
    ويتضح هذا الإحساس بالعبثية وفقدان الاتجاه عند الإسرائيليين في ظهور موضوع “الخوف من الإنجاب” في القصص الإسرائيلية. فمن المعروف أن الدولة الصهيونية تشجع النسل بشكل مهووس لا حباً في الإخصاب والأطفال، وإنما وسيلة لتثبيت أركان الاستعمار الاستيطاني.
    ولكن من المعروف أيضاً أن معدل الإنجاب في إسرائيل من أقل المعدلات في العالم، حتى أنهم فكروا في أن يعلنوا للإنجاب عاماً يركز فيه الإسرائيليون لإنجاب أطفال أكثر. وكان رد الإسرائيليين، كما هو متوقع، سريعاً وحاسماً وملهاوياً، إذ قال أحد أعضاء الكنيست إن على رئيس الوزراء أن يعود إلى منزله فوراً للقيام بواجبه الوطني مع زوجته.
    وهو بالمناسبة واجب وطني بالفعل، فكما يقول أستاذ الجغرافيا الإسرائيلي أرنون سوفير إن “السيادة على أرض إسرائيل لن تُحسَم بالبندقية أو القنبلة اليدوية بل ستُحسَم من خلال ساحتين: غرفة النوم والجامعات، وسيتفوق الفلسطينيون علينا في هاتين الساحتين خلال فترة غير طويلة”.
    ومن هنا الإشارة إلى المرأة الفلسطينية النفوض، التي تنجب العديد من الأطفال، بأنها “قنبلة بيولوجية”. وتعود ظاهرة العزوف عن الإنجاب إلى عدة أسباب عامة (تركُّز الإسرائيليين في المدن-علمنة المجتمع الإسرائيلي-التوجه نحو اللذة… إلخ). لكن لا يمكن إنكار أن عدم الإنجاب إنما هو انعكاس لوضع خاص داخل المجتمع الإسرائيلي وتعبير عن قلق الإسرائيليين من وضعهم الشاذ، باعتبارهم دولة مغروسة بالقوة في المنطقة، مهددة دائماً بما يسمونه المشكلة الديموغرافية، أي تزايد عدد العرب وتراجع عدد المستوطنين اليهود.
    ويعبر الإحساس العميق بالورطة التاريخية التي وجد الإسرائيليون أنفسهم فيها بهذه النكتة التي أطلقها أحد المسؤولين الصهاينة إبان احتفالات الذكرى الأربعين لتأسيس إسرائيل، إذ قال إن المشروع الصهيوني كله يستند إلى سوء فهم وخطأ، إذ كان من المفروض أن يتم في كندا بدلاً من فلسطين.
    ويرجع هذا إلى تعثُّر لسان موسى التوراتي، فحينما سأله الإله أي بلد تريد؟ كان من المفروض أن يقول “كندا” على التو ولكنه تلعثم وقال “كاكاكا- نانانا” فأعطاه الإله “أرض كنعان” (أي فلسطين) بدلاً من كندا، فهاج عليه بنو إسرائيل وماجوا وقالوا له “كان بوسعك أن تحصل على كندا بدلاً من هذا المكان البائس الخرب، هذا الوباء الشرق أوسطي الذي تحيط به الرمال والعرب”. والنكتة هنا تعبِّر عن إحساس عميق بالخوف من تزايد العرب وتصاعد المقاومة وبالطريق المسدود الذي يؤدي إلى العدمية الكاملة.
    وتتسم المجتمعات التي يُقال لها متقدمة بتصاعد معدلات الاستهلاك، خاصة وأن هذه المعدلات أصبحت واحدة من أهم مؤشرات التقدم. والمجتمع الإسرائيلي يقال له “متقدم” ولذا نجد أن معدلات الاستهلاك فيه عالية. ولكن المشكلة أنه أيضاً مجتمع استيطاني. والتوجه الاستهلاكي يقوض من مقدرته القتالية، لأن هذا التوجه يصاحبه توجه شديد نحو اللذة وانصراف عن المثل الأيديولوجية الاستيطانية التي تتطلب الانضباط والاستعداد العسكري والمقدرة على إرجاء الإشباع.
    وقد كان المجتمع الصهيوني يتسم بهذه السمات. ولكن بعد حرب 1967 انفتحت بوابة الاستهلاكية، وهي تتزايد يوماً بعد يوم، وبدلاً من المستوطن القديم الذي كان يحمل المحراث بيد، والمدفع الرشاش باليد الأخرى، ظهر ما يطلق عليه “روش قطان” وهو الإنسان ذو المعدة الكبيرة والرأس (روش) الصغيرة (قطان) الذي لا يفكر إلا في مصلحته ومتعته واحتياجاته الشخصية، وينصرف تماماً عن خدمة الوطن أو حتى التفكير فيه.
    إنه إنسان استهلاكي مادي لا يؤجل متعة اليوم إلى الغد، غير قادر على إرجاء الإشباع، فهو غير واثق تماماً من الغد، فاليوم خمر بلا شك، ولكن الغد مظلم تماماً، فينغمس في الاستهلاك، خاصة وأنه ينسيه أزمة المعنى وفقدان الاتجاه.
    ولذا يقال إن سياسة الدولة الصهيونية -حسب إحدى النكات الإسرائيلية- هي تزويد جماهيرها بال T. V. C. وهي الأحرف الأولى لـ Video, and Cars وT.V. أما الشباب فيُشار له باعتباره جيل الـM T V وهي محطة الفيديو كليبات الشهيرة التي تركز على الرقص والغناء والجسد ولا تذكر العالم الخارجي من قريب أو بعيد.
    كما يُشار إليه باعتباره جيل الإكسبريسو، أي الشباب الذين يجلسون على المقاهي فيشربون قهوة الإكسبريسو ولا يشغلون بالهم بالوطن القومي اليهودي ومعاركه المستمرة المختلفة. وحسب الحلم الصهيوني كان من المفروض أن تصبح إسرائيل نوراً للأمم (ذات فولت عال جداً) ولكنها أصبحت -حسب قول أحد الصحفيين الإسرائيليين- مجتمع الثلاثة ف (V): الفولفو والفيديو والفيلا.
    وأشار أحد الصحفيين الإسرائيليين إلى أن الإسرائيليين يعملون مثل شعوب أميركا اللاتينية (أي لا يعملون) ويعيشون مثل شعوب أميركا الشمالية (أي يتمتعون بمستوى معيشي عال) ويدفعون الضرائب مثل الإيطاليين (أي يتهربون منها) ويقودون السيارات مثل المصريين (أي بجنون).
    وقد أشار المعلق العسكري الإسرائيلي زئيف شيف إلى الاستيطان في الضفة الغربية بأنه “استيطان دي لوكس” فالمستوطنون هناك استهلاكيون وليسوا مقاتلين، يتأكدون من حجم حمام السباحة ومساحة الفيلا قبل الانتقال إلى المستوطنة.
    ولذلك تشير الصحف الإسرائيلية إلى هذا الاستيطان باعتباره “الصنبور الذي لا يُغلَق أبداً” بل إنهم يشيرون إلى “محترفي الاستيطان” (بالإنجليزية: ستلمنت بروفشنالز settlement professionals) وهم المستوطنون الذين يستوطنون في الضفة الغربية انتظاراً للوقت الذي تنسحب فيه القوات الإسرائيلية ليحصلوا على التعويضات المناسبة (كما حدث في مستوطنة ياميت في شبه جزيرة سيناء).
    كما يشير الإسرائيليون إلى الاستيطان المكوكي (بالإنجليزية: شاتل ستلمنت shuttle settlement) وهي إشارة للمستوطنين الذين يستوطنون في الضفة الغربية بسبب رخص أسعار المساكن وحسب، ولكنهم يعملون خلف الخط الأخضر وهو ما حوَّل المستوطنات إلى منامات يقضي فيها المستوطنون سحابة ليلهم، أي أنهم ينتقلون كالمكوك بين المستوطنات التي يعيشون فيها بالضفة الغربية ومكاتبهم التي يعملون فيها بالمدن الإسرائيلية وراء الخط الأخضر.
    ومن حق أي شعب أن يستهلك بالقدر الذي يريد ما دام يكد ويتعب وينتج ثم ينفق، ولكن الوضع ليس كذلك في إسرائيل، فهم يعرفون أن الدولة الصهيونية “المستقلة” لا يمكن أن توفر لنفسها البقاء والاستمرار ولا أن توفر لهم هذا المستوى المعيشي المرتفع إلا من خلال الدعم الاقتصادي والسياسي والعسكري الأميركي المستمر، ما دامت تقوم بدور المدافع عن المصالح الأميركية، أي أن الدولة الصهيونية دولة وظيفية، تُعرَّف في ضوء الوظيفة الموكلة لها.
    وقد وصف أحد الصحفيين الإسرائيليين الدولة الصهيونية بأنها “كلب حراسة، رأسه في واشنطن وذيله في القدس” وهو وصف طريف ودقيق، وصريح وقاس.
    ولكن هناك دائماً الإحساس بالنكتة. فعندما طرح أحد وزراء المالية خطة “دولرة” الشيكل أي ربطه بالدولار (وهي خطة رُفضت نظرياً في حينها وإن كانت نُفِّذت عملياً) اقترحت عضوة الكنيست جيئولا كوهين أن توضع صورة أبراهام لنكولن على العملة الإسرائيلية جنباً إلى جنب مع صور زعماء إسرائيل ونجمة داود، وأن يُدرَّس التاريخ الأميركي للطلاب اليهود بدلاً مما يسمى “التاريخ اليهودي”.
    وأوردت صحيفة “جيروزاليم بوست” الحوار الخيالي التالي بين وزير المالية وشخص آخر:
    الوزير: الخطوة الأولى هي أن نُخفِّض الميزانية، أما الثانية فهي تحطيم الشيكل واستخدام الدولار.
    الآخر: وما الخطوة الثالثة؟
    الوزير: الأمر واضح جداً، ننتقل كلنا إلى بروكلين (أحد أحياء اليهود في نيويورك).
    لكل ما تقدم، يشعر الإسرائيليون أن الصهيونية لم تعد هي الخريطة التي تهديهم سواء السبيل، ففلسطين التي كان يُشار إليها بأنها “أرض بلا شعب” ظهر أنها فيها شعب، وأنه يقاوم المحتلين بلا هوادة، ولا يكل ولا يتعب من المقاومة.
    وقد لاحظ أحد الكُتَّاب الإسرائيليين أنه لا يوجد فارق كبير بين الصيغتين “صهيوني” (بالعبرية: تسيوني tzioni) و”غير المكترث” (بالعبرية: تسيني tzini) والفارق الوحيد بينهما في الإنجليزية هو حرف (o) أي زيرو. فالصهيونية، هذه الأيديولوجية المشيحانية التي تدَّعي أنها القومية اليهودية، والتي تتطلب الحد الأقصى من الحماس والالتزام، فَقَدت دلالتها وأصبحت شيئاً لا يكترث به اليهود أعضاء هذه القومية المزعومة الذين تحاول الصهيونية “تحريرهم” من أسرهم في “المنفى”!
    ويشير أحد الكُتَّاب الفكاهيين في إسرائيل إلى أن كلمتي “زايونيزم Zionism” الصهيونية و”زومبي Zombie” (وهو الميت الذي تُعاد له الحياة بعد أن تدخل جسده قوة خارقة، ولذا يمكنه الحركة ولكنه لا يستعيد القدرة على الكلام أو حرية الإرادة) تردان في نفس الصفحة من المعجم الإنجليزي، الأمر الذي يدل -حسب تصوُّره- على ترابطهما، وأن الصهيونية إن هي إلا زومبي، أي جسد متحرِّك لا حياة فيه ولا معنى له.
    وهذا الكاتب الكوميدي لم يجانب الحقيقة كثيراً، فهناك العديد من المستوطنات الفارغة، تنعى من بناها، لا يسكن فيها أحد، ويُطلَق عليها بالإنجليزية: دمي ستلمنت dummy settlement. وقد آثرنا ترجمتها بعبارة “مستوطنات الأشباح” أو “مستوطنات زومبي” فهي جسد قائم لا حياة فيه.
    ونظراً لكل هذه التطورات أصبحت كلمة “صهيونية” (تسيونوت بالعبرية) تعني “كلام مدع أحمق” (صحيفة جيروزاليم بوست، 26 أبريل/ نيسان 1985) وتحمل أيضاً معنى “التباهي بالوطنية بشكل علني مُبالَغ فيه” وتدل على الاتصاف بالسذاجة الشديدة في حقل السياسة (صحيفة إيكونوميست، 21 يوليو/ تموز 1984وكتاب برنارد أفيشاي مأساة الصهيونية، ص 26).
    ومن الواضح أن حقل الكلمة الدلالي أو منظورها يشير إلى مجموعتين من البشر: صهاينة الخارج، أي الصهاينة التوطينيون الذين يحضرون إلى إسرائيل ويحبون أن يسمعوا الخطب التي لا علاقة لها بالواقع، ولذا فهي ساذجة، مليئة بالادعاءات الحمقاء والتباهي العلني بالوطنية.
    وتشير في الوقت نفسه إلى الصهاينة الاستيطانيين الذين يعرفون أن الخطب التي عليهم إلقاؤها إن هي إلا خطب جوفاء ومبالغات لفظية لا معنى لها، ولكن عليهم إلقاءها على أية حال حتى يجزل لهم الضيوف العطاء.
    والمقصود الآن بعبارة مثل “اعطه صهيونية” هو “فلتتفوه بكلام ضخم أجوف لا يحمل أي معنى” فهو صوت بلا معنى، وجسد بلا روح، ودال بدون مدلول، أو كما نقول بالعامية المصرية “هجّص” فالمسألة “هجص في هجص”. ويمكن أن نضيف لزيادة الدلالة “والأرزاق على الله” أو فلنُعلمن العبارة ونقول “والأرزاق على الولايات المتحدة ويهود الدياسبورا”!! والله أعلم.
    كاتب ومفكر مصري رحمه الله
    * المقال أعده قبل وفاته

    Posted by majid | June 14, 2009, 8:56 am
  55. Gentlemen please behave yourselves. I have no time to police this section as I’m busy packing my bags to return to the U.S.

    I will put up a new post shortly though.

    (In the meantime, read the excellent op-ed by Antoine Messara in today’s Nahar).

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 14, 2009, 11:21 am
  56. AIG,

    Woke up this morning to read with bewilderment a triad of fallacies, half truths and outright falsification of history, both political and human, not to mention contradictions and a transparent attempt at pitting one Lebanese against another; all of which reflect, I believe the dilemma that segments of Israel’s society battle with at a very serious, indeed dangerous juncture of the state’s history.

    I am not surprised, really. Until not long ago, Israel had everything going for it, not any longer:

    – Its version of history was accepted almost universally in the West, especially the notion of a small weak country of the ‘chosen people’. This is no longer the case judging by results of research conducted in the aftermath of the war on Gaza that showed that societies in the West perceive Israel to be one of the major sources of instability in the Middle East and a threat to world peace. Browsing through US blogs indicate a growing measure of dissatisfaction bankrolling the entity. This reflects to a certain extent the waning influence of AIPAC and similar organisations on the White House if not capitol Hill;

    – Israel has been basking for decades in its perception, alas buttressed by Arab regimes, of invincibility as a regional military superiority. It even managed to alienate the largest Arab nation, Egypt, from the struggle. However, this perception of invincibility has been eroding, perhaps not amongst some shallow Israelis who do not want to face facts, but amongst Israel’s foes. Here exactly where the importance of this development lies: if your adversary believes no longer in your all omnipotent power, then you have a problem; this is human history played on the world stage over and over again. The erosion started with the refusal of the displaced to accept the will of the aggressor and decided not to give up their rights and rebel against the then prevailing international order. This in itself is of profound importance irrespective of the bad management of the Palestinian leadership at certain stages. Then the first Intifada that showed the real frailty of occupation forces when faced with determined people who have not much to lose, followed by the liberation of most of south Lebanon in 2000, and the second Intifadah. The war of 2006 laid to rest the fallacy of the all omnipotent Israeli army because at a minimum it created a balance of fire-power that in turn redressed the strategic balance. I view your assertions of ‘flattening’ Lebanon and displacing the Shiites as a reflection of frustration and refusal to see developments clearly. In responding these claims I am content to refer to contributions that alluded to the fact that Israel tried this approach over the years to no avail, and that the Lebanese refused to leave their land. On the other hand, one just wonders, looking at recent history, how the Israeli society would really react if it were to face the prospect of a prolonged war that will be fought on its own land. A taste of this was experienced in 2006. Next time round, if there was one (and I believe there would be as Israel would constantly try to regain its deterrence powers), it will certainly be different. These are not my words but those of Israeli strategists themselves. Then came the war on Gaza that seems to break the proverbial camel’s back of Israel’s perceived ‘honour in arms’ and the ‘small peaceful nation’ etc. In fact your references to flattening cities, displacing people etc. only reinforce the chance of perception that is sweeping international public opinion;

    – I believe the late Israeli general Moshe Dayan once said in a moment of sobriety after the 67 war words to the effect that the results of that war were a big mistake that will complicate Israel’s life. In hindsight, he was spot on. Maintaining the twin-policy of occupation and building settlements is eating at the core fabric of Israel’s ideology as a ‘democratic’ state, and might ultimately lead to an Israel that is very different from what we see now; even a different political order in that place. In this regard, I recall the concept of a ticking ‘demographic bomb’;

    – Your appreciation of Bibi’s policies notwithstanding, he will either has to bend to US and international pressure, thus disappointing you and like-minded, or face the real prospect of being unseated. I have it on ‘good’ authority that a certain kadima is waiting restlessly in the wings.

    Either way, one has to agree that the scenarios are manifold, but none bode well for perpetuating the current status quo in the Middle East that has been so far defined by the State of Israel.


    I see where you come from and I appreciate your frustrations. Believe me I am not in any way trying to change AGI’s mind, as you can only do so with an open-minded person who is prepared to look at developments objectively and read history as an observer rather than a belligerent; one who can free one’s self of a sense of his/her own sense of superiority. My humble attempt is meant for those of us out there who may still harbour doubts about wrongs being made right and in the inevitability of a future where oppressed people, Arabs in this case, do not have the ability to study history, learn from mistakes, re-discover points of strength, draw strategy and implement it.


    PS you might have noticed that I did not allude directly to what I termed in the opening paragraph as “fallacies, half truths and outright falsification of history”. I will in a later contribution, as the current one ended to be quite long.

    Posted by Question Marks | June 14, 2009, 11:35 am
  57. LOL QN, this is just the beginning. It’s the curse that comes with having a successful blog.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 14, 2009, 4:10 pm
  58. No Hezbollah veto in new Lebanon govt: Siniora
    3 hours ago

    CAIRO (AFP) — Outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said on Sunday that Hezbollah’s right to veto legislation would not be reinstated by the new Lebanese government.

    The Shiite movement Hezbollah and its Christian allies last year obtained the right to veto thanks to a deal that allocated them 11 of 30 cabinet seats.

    The deal was eked out to defuse a power struggle with the rival coalition of Saad Hariri, whose Western-backed coalition defeated the Iranian-backed Shiite group and its allies in a general election on June 7.

    But Siniora said that the deal “has nothing to do with the Lebanese constitution or its democratic system,” following talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit in Cairo.

    “This is why this formula was for a predetermined period which ends with the end of the mandate of the current government.”

    “If a new government of national unity is formed, it will be based on partnership and not on the principle of veto,” Siniora told journalists.

    Hezbollah and its allies have demanded that their veto power over key decisions be maintained.

    Hariri’s camp has said it would not accept this request while Hariri himself has said it was too early to speculate on such demands.

    Posted by norman | June 14, 2009, 5:42 pm
  59. AIG –

    For a non-existent entity, you sure get plenty of responses.

    On the other website, I recall the owner’s sidekick requiring you to reduce the number of your non-existent posts.

    Here, for the time being, your non-existent posts are allowed.

    “Yashar Koach” to you. Your responses are right to the point and very effective.

    Happy Flag Day,

    Akbar Palace

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 14, 2009, 7:04 pm
  60. Question Marks,

    For a person who rightly advocates “to study history, learn from mistakes, re-discover points of strength, draw strategy and implement it”, you are missing the elephant in the room.

    There is only one reason why Israel is strong relative to the Arabs and growing stronger. It is simply the fact that Israel is a democracy and therefore it can better utilize the potential of its people. As long as the Arabs do not democratize, the power structure in the middle east will remain the same.

    Otherwise what you wrote is just the contextualization to recent events of what Arabs have been saying in the 50s, 60s, 70s, till today. Anyone who really knows Israel knows that Israel is not special at all. Israelis know that their country has a lot to improve. Israel is an average democracy muddling along in a very difficult environment making many mistakes along the way.

    But the insistence of the Arab world to remain sectarian and autocratic is what makes a few million Jews a regional power. Israel in the middle east should be like Belgium or Denmark in Europe, nothing more. So your mistake and the mistake of 3 generations of Arabs is quite simple. The problem you need to fix is not with Israel. It is with your own societies. By making yourself stronger you will make Israel weaker.

    You may find this confusing, but that is the middle east I am hoping for. Because only a truly democratic middle east will be a peaceful middle east.

    Posted by AIG | June 14, 2009, 8:11 pm
  61. …you are missing the elephant in the room.

    Oy, a very big, non-existent, LOL!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 14, 2009, 8:32 pm
  62. hhhhhhhahhaha, AIG #54, a ‘falakh’, like the terrorist organization ‘khamas’ you mean? you can’t even translate arabic without a hebrew accent when you try to insult…

    Posted by bint abeeha | June 14, 2009, 9:47 pm
  63. @63, transLITERate, that is

    Posted by bint abeeha | June 14, 2009, 9:52 pm
  64. AIG why bother discussing various points with others who simply think Israel is not allowed to exist! its never about occupation or anything else, the Arabs are inherently racist and tribal and do not accept eachothers let alone tolerating the jews as a powerful nation in the Middle East.
    maybe in another 100 years they will catch up with the rest of the world and learn about democracy freedom and tolerance

    Posted by V | June 15, 2009, 12:01 am
  65. QN,

    Have a nice flight back. Finally, the weather got warm in here.

    Posted by PN | June 15, 2009, 12:39 am
  66. V,
    I am a little more optimistic than you. I’ve met and worked with enough Arabs to know that not all Arabs are racist. If most thought like QN and you, we would have had peace a long time age. I do not kid myself though and know that most think like Majid.

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2009, 12:42 am
  67. Qifa Nabki,

    When you return to the US safe, please get Mahdi Amel’s book and read or re-read the dissection Antoine Messara’s right-wing phalangist writings. The book’s title is: Fi al-Dawla al-Ta2ifiya, Beirut, Dar al-Farabi, 3rd edition, 2003, pp. 13-69. Especially from page 61 to 69.

    Mascarding as university professor or a newly chosen member of the so-called Constitutional Council do not embelish Messara’s well-know “credentials.”

    Posted by Jihad | June 15, 2009, 1:00 am
  68. AIG,

    If you really want peace, ask Bushama in the US, hail Merkel in Germany, the plucky little Sarkozy and co. to bail the Zionist settlers out of Palestine and give them a piece of their own territory, since bailouts are fast coming a way of life.

    Using your line of reasoning above, we all know that the vast majority in the West think like you do. That we must submit to this racist and colonial State and their racist view of the world so the WASPs might cast us as peace loving people! Yes, we are. But not the way you want it to be.

    Posted by Jihad | June 15, 2009, 1:14 am
  69. Jihad,

    So Obama is a WASP? Good to know.

    Is it smart on your side to frame your struggle as one against the West? Are we back to the clash of civilizations thingy?

    We both know the Jews are staying where they are. So if you do not want to “submit” (whatever that means), you better become stronger. I suggest democratization.

    On another subject, you come across as someone educated in the West (I may be wrong). You may perhaps even be living in a Western country. Why are you spitting into the well you drink from?

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2009, 1:27 am
  70. To all those AIGs out there who want to justify Zionist-Jewish terrorism against Lebanon and its people, especially in South Lebanon, by the Zionist-Jewish terrorist organizations and later on army, by citing the presence of various Palestinians organizations in the country, the facts speak louder: between the 1940s and mid-1960s, more than 3000 Zionist-Jewish terrorist attacks took place.

    This is the same propaganda that continue to be used by their terrorist and criminal allies in Beirut.

    Who Started Terrorism in the Arab-Zionist Conflict?

    – Bombs in Cafes: first used by Zionists in Palestine on March 17th, 1937 in Jaffa.
    – Bombs on Buses: first used by Zionists in Palestine Aug. 20th-Sep. 26, 1937.
    – Bombs in Market Places: first used by Zionists on July 6th, 1938 in Haifa.
    – Bombing of Hotels: first used by Zionists on July 22nd, 1946 in Jerusalem.
    – Bombing of Foreign Embassies: first used by Zionists on October 1st, 1946 in Rome (against the British).
    – Mining of Ambulances: First used by Zionists on October 31st, 1946 in Petah Tikvah.
    Letter Bombs: first used by Zionists in June 1947 against British targets in UK.

    (“Who Are the Terrorists? Aspects of Zionist and Israeli Terrorism,” Beirut: Insitute for Palestine Studies, 1972).

    Finally, Obama is no different from Bush when it comes to justifying American terrorism and Zionist-Jewish terrorism in the Arab world among other places. A “WASP” with a black skin does not change what he really is. His deceiful change in tone only as president is due to the fact that American Christian Imperial Zionism came to a halt in Iraq and the region as a whole. He came to Cairo to lecture people as if they are dumb and don’t see and understand what’s really happening. Does he think that all people suffer from the “dislocation” as him, to use the same word he uttered in his “part vapid part sinister” (as As’ad Abukhalil wrote) Cairo speeech?

    Posted by Jihad | June 15, 2009, 3:28 am
  71. Jihad,
    Could you enlighten us? What is “really happening” that Obama is trying to obscure or cover up?

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2009, 4:02 am
  72. Finally, Obama is no different from Bush when it comes to justifying American terrorism and Zionist-Jewish terrorism in the Arab world among other places.

    AIG –

    I always find it amusing when the Arabs “suddenly” reject conservatives. Arab hate of Bush was no different from Arab hate of every other Western leader including Obama.

    They say they’re waiting for the right leader to deal with, but none satisfies the Arab Rejectionist™.

    Not even Carter, Clinton, Obama, Beilin, Sarid, Rabin, Tzippi Livni, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown.

    Unfortunately, these leaders have yet to learn they can not make a difference after all.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2009, 4:56 am
  73. Q. “What is really happening?”

    A. Tawteen and Tatbeeh.

    …”Not even Carter, Clinton, Obama, Beilin, Sarid, Rabin, Tzippi Livni, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown.”

    It has always been about enforcing tawteen and tatbeeh on their terms and at our cost.

    Aeh, marhaba democracy.

    …and by the way, you must be kidding about Gordon Brown; gee, even the British dislike him.

    Posted by PN | June 15, 2009, 5:54 am
  74. PN,

    Why are you blaming the West? It is the Cairo agreement that “localized” most of the Palestinians in Lebanon.

    As for normalization, once there is peace, why would you object to that?

    And how is any of this related to democracy?

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2009, 7:07 am
  75. Jihad

    Thanks for the tip. I will look into it.

    Everyone else,

    I’m racing against the clock to finish packing up my house, but if I manage to get everything in order before getting on the airplane, I will post something.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 15, 2009, 7:54 am
  76. رافقتك السلامة يا سيد الياس وكذلك لمن بصحبتك٠

    Posted by majid | June 15, 2009, 8:11 am
  77. ان اللبيب من الاشارة يفهم٠
    I got at least one already.
    Thanx PN.

    Posted by majid | June 15, 2009, 8:20 am
  78. wow – where are you going QN? are you leaving lebanon permanently?

    Posted by the Sydneysider | June 15, 2009, 9:55 am
  79. AIG,

    There is something to admire about your perverse persistence in moving the goal posts, avoiding real issues -at least as forwarded by contributions to this post- and ignoring near-universally acknowledged impediment to peace in the region such as continued occupation and settlements on Arab land among other things. What is also glaringly clear is your attempt, transparent as it is, to bring in clichés of the sixties and seventies yourself by talking about ‘democracy’ in the Arab world.

    History tells us the story of a certain Joseph Goebbles who advocated the concept of continued passionate propaganda (read hide the truth) until such a time that the untruth becomes the de facto perception. We ought to learn from history, indeed.

    Israel was at a certain time in contemporary history the undisputed regional power able to dictate its will. I alleged in my post this is no more the case, and provided my reading, to which you were clearly ambivalent, as you ignored it and went on with your Goebbles-like reiteration of old utterances.

    The reasons for Israel’s actual superiority are manifold, uppermost among which is the unlimited support the State received from the West, primarily USA. Let us again have a peak at history to discover the real role of USA in perpetuation Israel. I maintain that without that unlimited and unaccountable support, the Middle East of today would be quite different.

    Lest you accuse me of ignoring the issue of democracy in the Arab world, let me tell you about another aspect that was also instrumental in allowing Israel to maintain its hegemony until not long ago. It is some of the existing regimes, who as you may well know, and perhaps comfortable with, are not elected public service men and women but imposed by the same ally that maintains open the blood lines to Israel. I claim, with a great deal of justification that a democratised Arab regime would be detrimental to the State of Israel and not the other way round. The vast majority of the Arab peoples do not agree with the way their regimes have been handling what they deem their core issues, and are prepared to pounce and do things differently given the chance. I would be wary of what I wish for (as insincere as this wish is) if I were you.

    I happen to be one who doesn’t see Israel as special, far from it. However, the notion of ‘God’s chosen people on earth’ in prevalent in the existential rhetoric of the state of Israel to the extent that it is first of two core ideologies that the state is built on, the other being the holocaust. In other words, both cornerstones are based on ‘Jewishness’ (re-emphasised yet again by Netanyahu yesterday, the last in a long list of Israeli politicians and decision makers to do so publicly); a democratic non-sectarian and non-racist regime indeed!

    “Anyone who really knows Israel knows that Israel is not special …”, you claim.

    I presume that this is your position too (it is mine also). I would be grateful though if you were to provide some kind of data/research that would vindicate your claim lest I think that you are only spurting out propaganda to suit your purposes.

    If I were to refer you back to history, the millions of refugees and non-refugees flocked to Palestine post WWII particularly because of the perceived ‘specialness’ of the so-called Jewish state. Are you telling me that the ‘pioneering’ spirit’ of old generations is no longer there? If that is your assertion, then you are predicting a bleak future for Israel, as the state is turning away from the core ideology of its foundation and towards a materialist consumerism society that perhaps cannot sustain a long drawn confrontation..

    Confused I am not, as you may well ascertain, even if you refuse to acknowledge.

    At least we share a desire to see peace in the Middle East. My view of peace however isn’t, indeed will not be built on occupation, illegal acquisition of land and resources, military expansionism, murder (targeted assassination) and pre-emptive strikes in the name of national security, persecution of the disfranchised, war mongering and the concept of the superiority of one race/creed over another i.e. racism.

    This is no recipe for peace, irrespective of whether the Arab person has a vote in that state or the other. I reiterate that occupation and persecution begets resistance; the two factors constitute a perpetual state of war that is increasingly turning into a war of attrition, which favours demographic number superiority. And this is not a 50s and 60s clichés, it is history.


    Posted by Question Marks | June 15, 2009, 11:42 am
  80. Question Marks,
    Your diagnosis of the problem is not only completely incorrect but also detrimental to your cause. Until 67 the US gave very little support to Israel. In fact, the US did not really support Israel until Israel proved it could be a valuable asset in the Cold War. If you do the actual numbers you will see that total US aid to Israel is insignificant relative to the oil revenues generated by the Arabs. Also, don’t forget that it was the Arabs that chose to ally with the Soviet Union and not the US.

    But just for the purpose of discussion, let’s assume it is the US that made all the difference. Does that mean that you plan to fight the US? Does that mean that your energies will be devoted to changing the US and not your societies? What action plan comes from this diagnosis? It just seems an excuse to do nothing and to dodge responsibility.

    And please, enough with the Marxist discourse. The US was 100 times more consumerist than the Soviet Union, yet it was the Soviet Union that disappeared. History has shown that strength of countries and their ability to stand confrontations is related to their economies and their technological advancement. In that respect Israel is way ahead of the Arab world. For example, in 2006 in spite of the war in Lebanon the Israeli economy grow strongly while Lebanon languished. Again not because Israel is special or Israelis are special. The law of large numbers makes it clear that 7 million people must be average. Just because Israel is a democracy that lets people unleash their potential.

    If you really think that democracy in the Arab world will weaken Israel, then why not pursue it vigorously? I think you are dead wrong. Democracies have no appetite for war. The majority of Arabs do not want peace with Israel but they also do not want war, which is good enough. But if we both think democracy is good, why not advance it.

    I would like to remind you that you still have not answered AP’s question: Between 48 and 67 the West Bank and Gaza were not occupied. What was the reason then for the refusal of the Arabs to make peace?

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2009, 3:13 pm
  81. However, the notion of ‘God’s chosen people on earth’ in prevalent in the existential rhetoric of the state of Israel to the extent that it is first of two core ideologies that the state is built on, the other being the holocaust.

    Question Marx,

    Can you please show the forum which “rhetoric”, speech or written Israeli government document states anything about (using your qutoes) ‘God’s chosen people on earth’?

    BTW – What other forums do you participate in that condemn Islamic or Christian states, or do you just have a problem with Jewish States?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2009, 3:33 pm
  82. If you do the actual numbers you will see that total US aid to Israel is insignificant relative to the oil revenues generated by the Arabs. Also, don’t forget that it was the Arabs that chose to ally with the Soviet Union and not the US.

    I’d just like to draw youse attention to the sheer stupidity and zionist idiocy of the above statement, ’cause obviously this zionist punk doesn’t know that oil revenue-generating arab states had not sided with the soviets during the cold war era.

    Posted by offended | June 15, 2009, 5:13 pm
  83. Palestinian dismay, U.S. and EU praise for Netanyahu

    I guess the “cat is out of the bag”.

    The West supports the Jewish State or Israel living side-by-side with a Palestinian State, and the Palestinians don’t.

    Now what?

    Will the West continue to pretend the Palestinians want peace?

    Of course…


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2009, 5:20 pm
  84. Offended,
    My two observations were unrelated. It is true that Arab oil revenues are 1000 times larger than whatever Israel got from the US. So the amounts Israel got could not have made the difference in power between Israel and the Arabs. The Arabs keep arguing that the $3 billion per year is what maintains Israel’s strength but they keep forgetting the trillions they get from oil. Following this logic, if money makes the difference, shouldn’t the Arabs be much much stronger than Israel?

    And it is also true that till Egypt switched in the late seventies, Syria and Egypt (the two countries leading the fight against Israel) were firmly in the Soviet camp during the cold war. Did anyone force them? Why didn’t Syria join the Camp David peace process as Egypt did and become an American ally?

    It is not money or US support or some special Israeli ability that explains the difference in power between Israel and the Arab states. It is only democracy. Let me remind you again that in 48 Lebanon and Israel were equally developed with a slight edge for Lebanon. There is absolutely no reason why today Lebanon is not more developed than Israel except for the difference in internal governance. Lebanese are just as smart as Israelis, have more water and also have access to gulf capital.

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2009, 5:41 pm
  85. PN had just seen the light in his comment 74:
    “Q. “What is really happening?”

    A. Tawteen and Tatbeeh.
    Aeh, marhaba democracy.”

    While you guys (Question Marks, Offended) continue to seek polemical absurdity with two idiots who have been kicked out from every Arab blog in blogosphere? These issues are already déjà vu in many other sites. Ask QN. He knows. What is it with Arabs? Is it actually lack of Democracy? Or is it excess infatuation with علم الكلام?
    You guys are allowing idiots to think they are part of a “forum” implying there is some intellectual veracity behind their nonsense. I remind Question Marks (and offended) of this famous saying:
    ما جادلت عالماً الا غلبته وما جادلني جاهلاً الا غلبني٠
    It is that simple.

    You’re on the right track in the way you post your comment – no ‘person’ to address in the comment in reply to a fallacy. That is a good start.

    I hope you got the clue from PN.

    Posted by majid | June 15, 2009, 9:18 pm
  86. Strange, I didn’t hear little Mahmoud predict the end of Zionism today.

    He must have been preoccupied.

    There’s that funny word again.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2009, 10:21 pm
  87. Majid, Why are you afraid to discuss things with Israelis? How can one promote peace if one refuses to talk!!
    am sorry but i disagree with your Baathist, Nasiri or Khomeini or whatever it may be rejectionist approach

    Posted by V | June 16, 2009, 8:45 am
  88. “PN had just seen the light in his comment 74:”

    Thanks Majid, but it is a “her comment”.


    You’ve been preaching us about democracy post in and post out and you didn’t even get my comment! Now, am disappointed.

    One more proof that Lebanese are not “just as smart as Israelis”, but are by far smarter.

    Posted by PN | June 16, 2009, 10:32 am
  89. PN,
    Ok, you are by far smarter. Which again proves my point that the reason Israel is in so much better shape than Lebanon is democracy.

    How can you otherwise explain why the average Israeli is 6 times richer than the average Lebanese even though you are much smarter?

    Posted by AIG | June 16, 2009, 1:54 pm
  90. Because we the Lebanese are big spenders AIG!! Not only we outsmart you, if you didn’t know we also still have slavery, each Lebanese woman is entitled to own few Sri lankan or African full time slaves for a hundred dollar a month. Do you guys have that in Israel?

    Posted by V | June 16, 2009, 6:06 pm
  91. How can you otherwise explain why the average Israeli is 6 times richer than the average Lebanese even though you are much smarter?

    No offense, but arent Jews meant to be extremely stingy when it comes to money.Im wondering if Homous and Falafel were alot more expensive, would they have been as popular 🙂
    Okay, thats a low blow but seriously stop hijacking every thread with your nonsense.

    Posted by Maverick | June 16, 2009, 6:17 pm
  92. “Majid, Why are you afraid to discuss things with Israelis? How can one promote peace if one refuses to talk!!
    am sorry but i disagree with your Baathist, Nasiri or Khomeini or whatever it may be rejectionist approach

    I’m not afraid of anything. I did discuss with many of them, and I can assure you they are a lot more intelligent than these two.
    The issue for me is the futility of the argument, especially with these pseudo-intelligent blogosphere masquerades, and the cost that it entails if the issue is not settled justly, namely the refugees MUST go back to their homes in Palestine.
    I’m neither one of those rejectionists that you assumed. Actually I do not even live in the Arab World and never joined a political party despite the no lack of offers.

    Thanks PN for the correction.

    Posted by majid | June 16, 2009, 6:44 pm
  93. PN,
    Actually your comment 74 was more revealing than what has already been pointed out. Don’t blame the guy for failing to properly respond to you because you threw him off balance. His comment 90 shows that he really didn’t understand what you meant by “Aeh, marhaba democracy.” He thinks you’re approving!!

    Anyway the more important point I’m trying to make is that the use of colloquial expressions as in your case would be a great device on these blogs in order to weed out and filter these detractors whose only aim, as Maverick said, is to hijack every thread into the orbit of nonsense. And this is even of great advantage in blogs similar to QN’s with no time to police the blog by the administrator. So if want to lend a hand to QN, I encourage every Arab-phone contributor to this blog to use as much of this colloquialism as he/she can master as a means to avoid distractions, and at the same time to serve a national cause, as in this case it is of great importance to Lebanon and its people. I’ll make one more advice. Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t look impeccably Shakespearean in style. This is not the object behind these discussions. No one is going to rate your English 101 performance. Colloquialisms (particularly the smart Lebanese ones) are probably the most effective against these parasitic intrusions from certain quarters. It will keep the discussion flowing smoothly and more enlightening.

    Thanks again.

    Posted by majid | June 16, 2009, 11:47 pm
  94. One pronoun is missing in one sentence in my last comment. It should read:
    So if you want to lend a hand to QN, I encourage every Arab-phone contributor to this blog ….

    Again, no button to review or edit after posting.
    How could SC do it and you don’t have it QN?

    Posted by majid | June 16, 2009, 11:51 pm
  95. Right Majid, I asked PN explicitly how the issues of normalization and naturalization were related to democracy. Of course I understood she was being sarcastic about democracy. But what is the link between the two and democracy? None follows from the other. Of course PN did not answer me. Because the concepts are not related.

    You may be blogging on the wrong blog by the way. QN is both for the naturalization of the Palestinians in Lebanon and for normalization of relations with Israel. I am quite sure my position is much closer to QN than your position. As for this blog, it is not an Arab blog. It is a QN blog.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2009, 12:23 am
  96. Please make your position clear on this issue of تطبيع وتوطين Mr. Elias Muhanna. This is a matter of grave importance for the majority of the contributors on this blog of yours. Are you happy with a zio-intruder speaking on your behalf on your own website?
    We would like to know exactly where you stand on this issue unlike the less important one of the petty duel of M8 and M14 which you left unanswered. We cannot continue to cheer you up as a rock star if you want to provide a cyber outlet for this scheme to sneak through the back door.

    Posted by majid | June 17, 2009, 2:51 am
  97. Mr. Muhanna,
    In addition to 97, please see توطين according to the position of at least one political party. Other parties such as FPM, HA, Phalange, LF , PSP and others have made clear their positions to be similar if not stronger on this same issue. It is perhaps one of the few consensus issues left in the torn country that brought you to life which you just departed.

    So, are you involved in any way in a scheme to create discord on this issue within the land of you forefathers as the alleged statement of this idiot implies?

    Posted by majid | June 17, 2009, 3:08 am
  98. Dear Mr. Muhanna,

    While you’re on the plane, may I have editor’s rights on your website?

    It think, in these trying times, your webpage needs additional supervision.


    PS – While at Harvard, don’t forget to stop by the Hillel house for Saturday services and the occasional “kiddush”. I heard the gefilte fish is made from real pike!


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2009, 3:23 am
  99. Majid, seriously you are being a bit hysterical here regarding QN’s position on Naturalization and Normalization what if he was for it are you gonna accuse him of being a traitor or a Zionist ?
    Don’t you think naturalizing the Palestinians is the only humane answer to their 60 year old plight? Most of those who are in the camps now were born in Lebanon. Do you think its ok for them to stay in those miserable conditions for another 60 years? All in the name of the right of return? What do you think those refugees would answer if asked what solution would they prefer? To stay and be full fledged Lebanese citizens or go back. And am saying ask them and not their so called leaders and manipulators. Why do you think the various Lebanese political factions are opposed to Naturalization is it because they really care about the Palestinians right of return or is it for fear of tipping the sectarian balance in Lebanon?
    As for your obsession with AIG and AP’s contribution I think you are being childish do you want us all here to agree on a single opinion? What makes you think this is strictly a Lebanese or Arab forum? So what if they are Zionist or have different or opposing view it’s only natural!!You are acting much like the cabbies QN rides with in Beirut.

    Posted by V | June 16, 2009, 11:36 pm
  100. Majid,

    What a disappointment. I was expecting you to say that you don’t care what QN thinks on the issues but are following the blog because of the interesting insights QN brings (which is the reason I follow this blog).

    Instead, you make judgments based on what people believe. Why don’t you just judge QN based on whether what he writes is interesting or not?

    Posted by AIG | June 16, 2009, 11:43 pm
  101. V.
    Hysterical is only in your description and it is not related to me whatsoever. I’m not concerned about QN’s position as much as I’m concerned about an alleged statement, and neither would I accuse him of anything. It is in his best interests not to allow anyone to make such allegations especially on his own website.
    The Right of Return is a Palestinian demand, an Arab demand, a Lebanese demand and a UN demand. It certainly makes sense to give those who were driven from their homes unjustly only 60 years ago than to give the right to immigrate to Palestine to those born in Russia, Europe, the US and other places.
    Of course, the Lebanese politicians are right about guarding their countries delicate demographic composition. So what are you up to here? Are you hysterical to see someone(s) not accepting zionism?
    Are you zionist yourself by any chance to jump up so quickly in defense?

    Posted by majid | June 16, 2009, 11:56 pm
  102. Doe anyone see the contradiction between 97 and 102?

    What an idiotic fool he is? But, wait a minute; put yourself in his shoes for a moment:”I’m commenting mostly to inferior Arabs who have no brains whatsoever to distinguish between a thesis and an antithesis. So I will get away with anything I say especially at this time when I urgently need to cover up a fiasco.”

    Now take yourself out of his shoes and open the floor to everyone to conduct the dialog of the fools. Welcome to cyber fool land.

    Posted by majid | June 17, 2009, 12:10 am
  103. The fool perhaps Majid is the person who had a chance to take the high road and took the lowest road possible. In 97 I gave you an opportunity to show that you are open minded and can tolerate whatever QN believes. In 102 I had to admit that you are as close minded as they come. I was hoping that you would say that you don’t care what QN believes so that I could ask you why it matters to you what I believe. But I never got a chance to ask you this follow up because your tolerance for other people’s views is almost zero.

    And what fiasco do I need to cover up???

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2009, 12:41 am
  104. “Please make your position clear on this issue of تطبيع وتوطين Mr. Elias Muhanna. This is a matter of grave importance for the majority of the contributors on this blog of yours. Are you happy with a zio-intruder speaking on your behalf on your own website?
    We would like to know exactly where you stand on this issue unlike the less important one of the petty duel of M8 and M14 which you left unanswered. We cannot continue to cheer you up as a rock star if you want to provide a cyber outlet for this scheme to sneak through the back door”
    “So, are you involved in any way in a scheme to create discord on this issue within the land of you forefathers”
    “I’m not concerned about QN’s position as much as I’m concerned about an alleged statement, and neither would I accuse him of anything“

    If the above is not contradiction I don’t know what is. And no Majid I’m not a Zionist but I have more respect for them than I do for hypocrites who claim to fight injustice and corruption while they live in cesspools of corruption and injustice. At least the Zionist made something for themselves what do you have to show for yourself in Beirut, Damascus, Cairo or any Arab capital?

    Posted by V | June 17, 2009, 12:47 am
  105. “Right Majid, I asked PN explicitly how the issues of normalization and naturalization were related to democracy. Of course I understood she was being sarcastic about democracy. But what is the link between the two and democracy? None follows from the other. Of course PN did not answer me. Because the concepts are not related.”


    PN did not answer you because as we say in Lebanon, “wahad bi yehkik bil sharq, bi trid bil gharb”. In other terms, we’re on different wavelengths.

    …and no need for reply. I settle my case.

    Posted by PN | June 17, 2009, 1:07 am
  106. So one person just quit the circus. I’m out already. We have two clowns playing in 105 and 106. You’re welcome to tune in if you can.

    Posted by majid | June 17, 2009, 1:29 am
  107. HALT!

    This comment section is getting a little antagonistic, so I may have to shut it down. Some quick points first:

    1) I just got off an airplane. I have not been ducking questions (ahem ahem, Majid).

    2) That said, I\’m aware of the fact that I\’ve missed out on joining plenty of discussions that I would have liked to join because I\’ve just been too busy. Hopefully this will change in the coming days.

    3) As for the naturalization issue, Majid I would appreciate it if you would refrain from the hyperbole. No I am not \”involved in any way in a scheme to create discord on this issue within the land of [my] forefathers…\”

    Do I want to see a comprehensive peace deal that includes an end to the conflict between Israel and Lebanon? Yes. Do I think that the Palestinians who have been living in Lebanon for sixty years should be loaded onto cattle cars and sent to Saudi Arabia or Iraq? No. In an ideal world, they should be given a choice about where they would like to go, and this choice should include pre-1948 Palestine.

    I\’m happy to talk about this but given how sensitive an issue it is, I\’d prefer that we do it in a very clear and systematic manner. I was planning a post on it. So maybe later this week?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 17, 2009, 6:03 am
  108. And with regard to editing comments like on Syria Comment… I\’ve looked for a way to do this but it\’s apparently not an option on free WordPress sites.

    I know it\’s a pain, but just re-read your comment before punching \”submit\”.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 17, 2009, 6:16 am
  109. PN,

    It seems to me that you are afraid of a candid discussion. Yes, we disagree. That does not mean we do not understand what each other is saying, i.e “we are on different wave lengths”.

    Isn’t it your interest to convince people that you are right? You will not do that by giving up and giving a lame excuse such as the “different wavelength” one.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2009, 10:05 am
  110. QN,
    Hyperbole it may have been; but it was necessary to drive the point home to someone making false allegations, and dangerous ones I may even add. Besides, keep in mind we’re neighbors. So what are neighbors for? The least they could do is to look after their neighbors’ houses while they’re away. Do you want some idiot to think he can buy you out with a piece of fish?

    And by the way, if you have no time to police your blog, why not consider IC’s offer as in 58? He has a lot of experience in SC, and will be able to keep your blog running and in order while you’re busy with other things? SC certainly had good reasons to police its blog and they happen to be the same reasons creeping up here.

    Posted by majid | June 17, 2009, 10:50 am
  111. Majid

    I don’t think IC was offering to police the blog! 🙂

    Tell me, are you and he plotting some kind of coup?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 17, 2009, 12:03 pm
  112. QN,

    I don’t even know the guy except as IC from blogosphere. So he is a complete unknown cyber person to me. Calm down and be sure we couldn’t be plotting a coup. It was a genuine advice.

    Do you want the serious threads that quite often appear on your blog to be frequently hijacked? Do you want your blog to turn into a propaganda outlet for the sinister aims of some groups? These are possibilities that would negatively impact a good potential that you may have here.

    “I don’t think IC was offering to police the blog!

    Of course he was not making an offer. It was an implied offer to be exact, or at least a suggestion. Do we need to read the mind of a cabbie driver to read between the lines? Did I know which cabbie driver you were conversing with and sought to please you in order to secure his tip? (Sorry I do not have a happy face to paste and I wouldn’t know how to do it even if I had one)

    Seriously, consider the suggestion. I’m certain it’ll be of great help here. I’m sure you could find someone else if you do not want IC.

    Posted by majid | June 17, 2009, 12:51 pm
  113. Do you want your blog to turn into a propaganda outlet for the sinister aims of some groups?

    QN –

    Please let me or AIG know if you’re interested. We can work out a fair payment plan to your liking.



    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2009, 2:20 pm
  114. QN,

    Just for the record, I have no sinister aims for your blog. That is, as far as you know… ha ha ha ha!!! (how do you do an evil emoticon?)

    Posted by Shai | June 17, 2009, 3:21 pm


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