News & Notes

News and Notes (January 6, 2009)

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78 thoughts on “News and Notes (January 6, 2009)

  1. Agha and Malley’s article fails on so many levels that a comprehensive analysis would take a book. But just to make two quick points:
    1) there is no such thing as “1967 borders”. this is a fallacy that repeat several times, but you can’t call a military line a “border” just because you want to. There are 1947 borders, and nothing else. So, if their argument was that the palestinians should stick to international law and demand a return to the partition plan, at least it would have some legal ground on which to stand.

    2) I agree that Jordan should be abolished, but i don’t think the palestinians should come under the control of the Hashimites and the CIA, but rather the other way around. Maybe over a period of decades though, it should not be an immediate goal.

    3) my current strategy would be to suck the Israelis in. We have not seen the Netanyahu government react to a crisis, but considering how fanatical and right-wing it is, i assume they would go absolutely crazy if there was even a small show of resistance from the West Bank. Well, that might just be best. The palestinians of the west bank should give israel reason to strengthen the occupation of the west bank for the time being. If there was even superficial resistance from the WB, Netanyahu and his right-wing government would destroy the PA once and for all, and probably kill all future hopes of a 2-state solution. As a result, Israel would be simply destroying itself for good. it might not be immediate, but the consequences would be significant, and necessary.

    Posted by joe m. | January 6, 2010, 1:52 pm
  2. Joe m.,
    As usual you continue the process of dehumanizing the Palestinians and viewing them as a tool to fight Israel. This is so prevalent in the Arab world. How about thinking what would be good for the Palestinians? If the Palestinians wanted the PA destroyed, they could have done it themselves.

    The PA is here to stay. It provides too many jobs and foreign support for Palestinians and relieves Israel of many headaches. There is a symbiotic relationship between Israel and the PA. The Palestinians have two options right now: The West Bank solution or the Gaza solution. Neither is to their liking. But for the next few years at least, the West Bank does not want to become Gaza.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 2:55 pm
  3. Agha and Malley’s article is very interesting. At least some people are waking up and beginning to understand that settlements are not the issue and that the 48-67 dichotomy is just a leftist invention. I have often asked what is the difference between Jaffa and Hebron ? I just do not see any significant difference between land taken in 48 and land taken in 67. I am willing to give up Hebron in an historical compromise to bring an end to hostilities, but that is not the position of most Palestinians about Jaffa.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 3:02 pm
  4. “As usual you continue the process of dehumanizing the Palestinians and viewing them as a tool to fight Israel. This is so prevalent in the Arab world.”
    This kind of epistemological point is so prevalent in the zionist world.

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 6, 2010, 3:48 pm
  5. There is a potential solution that is mentioned every once in a while but it never seems to make traction. I never understood why.

    Wars and resistance through all kinds of forms have been tried and have thus far infliced enormous damage on those that they were expected to help. So why not demand , seriously, that the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan heights be incorporated permanently into Israel and that all the inhabitants of these lands become Israeli citizens. That will immediately give the Palestinians a major voice in elections unless Israel is to openly sponsor a system of 2 kinds of citizenship. If Israel does that then I imagine that we will have a major global outcry rejecting this kind of open apartheid. Furthermore the Palestinians will be in a position to mount major civil marches a la civil rights ones organized by MLK Jr.

    Israel must come to the realization that its exclusivity as a state for Jews will not be challenged any time soon by military means but its misguided policies could result in bringing an end to that which it is committed to preserve. This will not be the first time ,or even the last, when blowbacks come back to haunt planners and destroy their fantasies.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 4:30 pm
  6. Golda Meir told Poland : Don’t send sick or disabled Jews to Israel

    They discriminated against their own people and you want this racist colonial state to offer citizenship to Palestinians?
    Please, wake up.

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 6, 2010, 4:43 pm
  7. quelqu’une,
    Maybe I did not express myself clearly enough. I am suggesting a civil disobedience strategy that is based on saying that if Israel does not want a fair and just two state solution then the Palestinians are willing to be absorbed into the state of Israel as equal citizens.
    BTW, Golda Meier and Abba Eban, just to name two Israeli leaders have often cautioned against keeping the West Bank and Gaza either ac colonies or as an integral part of Israel.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 5:14 pm
  8. Ghassan,

    You are missing the point. Insisting on a Jewish state may involve danger long term, but I and a vast majority of Israeli Jews believe that long term it would be even more dangerous to give up the idea of a Jewish state.

    Without a Jewish state the Jews were brutalized throughout history. With a Jewish state, our fight for survival is still full of dangers but raises our chances significantly. We are not insisting on a Jewish state because we live in a fantasy world. We are insisting on a Jewish state because we are playing the probabilities. It could be that we are wrong. But you could be wrong also. The future will tell.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 5:20 pm
  9. Quelqu’une,
    You are employing the usual tactics of the racist. You take one letter of Golda in one case, and generalize about all Israelis and all cases. And the article you link to makes clear that the request was never implemented. Israel has gone out of its way to always accept any Jew even when the costs to the state were very high. In the end, the immigration has made Israel much stronger even though initially the burden was significant.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 5:26 pm
  10. Important development:,7340,L-3830761,00.html

    The system was developed much faster than I anticipated. This is good news both for Lebanon and Israel. It reduces the chance of war between the two countries.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 5:52 pm
  11. AIG #9,
    In my view your post commits two errors, both of them fatal. (1) If a Jewish state is so important for you and for the majority of the other Israeli citizens then why are you doing all what is in your power to create for the state nothing but instability and uncertainty. It is obvious ,in that case, that a two state solution will at worst decrease the conflict to a more managable phase.
    (2) Why shouldn’t every group of people anywhere in the world use the weak logic that you are using in order to rationalize an exclusive Jewish state based on the myth that she favours some of her creation over others 🙂 (You have to excuse me but I find the concept of the great designer laughable). The last time that I looked I found that the 50% of the Jews outside of Israel are doing very well, thank you.
    I do not look forward to a world made of statelets one for the Maronites, ane for the Druze, One for the Jews … If anything I would much rather promote the idea that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of Westphalia. The idea of a powerful nation state is antithetical to the vision of globalization and unity in diversity. But that is a different subject.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 5:55 pm
  12. Ghassan,
    Most Israelis support the two state solution but there is just no easy way to reach an agreement about it. For example, what to do about the right of return?

    As for your second point, you are committing several logical fallacies. The point might make sense when discussing whether to implement a Jewish state. But not if it is a fait accompli. It exists. It therefore needs no excuses whatsoever to be. It does not matter how it was founded and why it was founded. It is a member of the UN and like any other UN member state does not need to give a reason why it exists.

    In 1930 most of the Jews in Western Europe were doing well. So what? The fact that at a certain point in time the Jews are fine, cannot be extrapolated indefinitely into the future.

    You do not like nation states. That is fine. Million of Jews have decided that for us a nation state is the best solution. You can either respect our choice or not.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 6:15 pm
  13. I’m afraid that wasn’t the only time Israel has shown a belief that not all Jews are created equal.

    Posted by sean | January 6, 2010, 6:23 pm
  14. Sean,
    A letter from Golda shows Israel’s beliefs? If Israel is so racist, why did it go out of its way to bring the Ethiopian Jews to Israel??? Why did it bring in all the Yemenite Jews???
    There is some racism in Israel against Ethiopian Jews but it is quickly uncovered and reacted against by the major press and most Israelis and things are improving. What Jonathan Cook wrote is just vile propaganda. The guy is completely crazy. The women were just given the birth control that is simplest to use in their circumstances. Nobody in Israel is forced to take contraception against their will.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 6:47 pm
  15. AIG said:

    “The point might make sense when discussing whether to implement a Jewish state. But not if it is a fait accompli. It exists. It therefore needs no excuses whatsoever to be. It does not matter how it was founded and why it was founded. It is a member of the UN and like any other UN member state does not need to give a reason why it exists.”

    You really do not want to defend the above do you? Once something is created then we no longer question whether there is a need for it or whether it makes sense? How does history unfold except by rejecting periodically what has been in existence because it does not make sense anylonger. I am sure that this argument was used by the slave owners who thought that they were doing the slaves a favour and by the supporters of apartheid and colonialism. When something stops making sense and in the words of Thomas Kuhn becomes full of “anomalies” then it is time for a paradigm shift.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 7:09 pm
  16. Ghassan,
    What I said is absolutely right about countries, do not generalize it to anything else. Countries once founded are a fait accompli and do not need any reason for their existence. Was founding Australia at the expense of the Aborigines a good idea? Were the French right in including many non-Christian areas in Lebanon and therefore the borders of Lebanon and Syria should be redrawn? Why shouldn’t Belgium and Holland be one country? These are merely theoretical questions that are not relevant to Lebanon or Australia or Belgium or Holland. The countries are, and that is it. They do not need to justify anything. The same goes for Israel.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 7:28 pm
  17. AIG,
    But don’t you see that all your examples support my position? 🙂 There is nothing permanent about any of these borders. They have changed all throughout history and they will continue to change if for nothing else but the fact that they do not make much sense anylonger. Why do we need a Jewish homeland? I am willing to accept Israel as a country provided it becomes open and democratic. And please do not tell me that its Arab neighbours are neither open nor democratic. I know that and I do not have any respect whatsoever for any of them.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 7:44 pm
  18. Ghassan,
    How do the examples support your position???
    Once there is a worldwide discussion about changing the borders of all countries, I am sure Israel will be happy to participate.
    But that is not the case. Once a country is founded and it is a member of the UN its legitimacy is not up for discussion. The people of the country can change it, or can be forced to change it by war, the latter option I gather you do not support. So, until the Jewish people decide they do not need a Jewish state, it will be there. We need a Jewish homeland for the simple reason that the Jews believe they need one. No more reason is needed.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 8:05 pm
  19. Those Lebanese who are shameless enough to call other countries or people racist should look at the long records of their treatment of Palestinians, Syrian workers, Sri Lankan maids or other Lebanese and the records are indeed ugly and long.

    Before criticizing anyone look how rotten in the core you are as a nation.

    “To thine own self be true”

    Posted by V | January 6, 2010, 9:30 pm
  20. AIG,
    I cannot help but make one more comment: I do not believe that anything is permanent. One of the very few sure things in life (besides death and tazes) is the theory of impermanence. We do live in a state of flux and the fact that something exists does not mean that I do not have the right to question its eexistence including staes. On the contrary , the concept of what is a state and what are its powers is continuously changing. To believe that democracy and theocracy are compatible is a myth perpetrated by those that think that they are different than others , those that believe in exceptionalism. Any entity, whether a state or institution, will have to ultimately change especially when it is built on weak basis. No amount of nuclear weaponry or military preparedness can change that. The idea of having a nation state built on the premise that it is to belong only to a certain ethnicity, religion, gender, weight etc… is wrong and shall not stand.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 9:43 pm
  21. Ghassan,
    Nothing is permanent. And you have the right to question everything. Naturally, you should start by questioning Lebanon and apply all your theories about how a state should or should not be to it. If your theories turn out to be correct, then we in Israel may adopt them. But for now we are very happy with what we have. Israel is built on very strong foundations. That is why it was able to survive so far. Israel is built on exactly the same foundations as the German, French or Italian state, namely 19th century nationalism. It is not a theocracy by any means. I am an atheist and I feel very comfortable in Israel since Zionism is a secular movement. Israel belongs to the Jewish people just as Japan belongs to the Japanese people and Serbia to the Serbs. There is nothing morally wrong with that. If you want to abolish the nation state, go ahead and do it. Maybe you should start with Japan or Korea? Or maybe Hungary or Serbia?

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 9:58 pm
  22. AIG
    I am sure that many readers are wondering whether this exchange has run its course. Allow me though to add one more observation: Can one be Jewish and an atheist? That is like being an atheist Catholic isn’t it? And do not defend yourself by making comparisons to Lebanon or whatever since I could very easily say pox on both houses 🙂

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 6, 2010, 10:11 pm
  23. Ghassan,
    I am happy to explain the apparent contradiction because there is no contradiction. Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion. Therefore an atheist Jew is not a contradiction at all. The religious aspects of Judaism are just the customs of the tribe or nation I belong to. I may occasionally follow the customs of the tribe out of respect to my fellow tribe members but I certainly do not believe that God exists. Herzl and Ben-Gurion were also completely secular and most probably atheists, yet they were of course Jews. Zionism is a secular movement in which the Jews of Europe and then later the rest of the world, self identified themselves as a nation no different than the Poles, Germans or Japanese.

    Posted by AIG | January 6, 2010, 11:39 pm
  24. AIG,
    I knew that you were going to claim that Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion. How convenient? So where are you going to put the other 8 million Jews in the world? Would Jordan do? How about both Jordan and Lebanon? Unfortunately for their residents neither the Bible nor the Qoran promised them a specific real estate 5000 years ago. How many people in the world would agree with the statement that Judaism is a nationality? Charitably 0.05% of the almost 7 billion. Judaism a nationality, and you can say that with a straight face? 🙂

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 7, 2010, 12:31 am
  25. Ghassan,

    Who cares how many ignorant people worldwide would not agree that Judaism is a nationality? It is not my problem that some people are ignorant and don’t understand Judaism and the Jews. Of course Judaism is a nationality. When you want to know what Judaism is, you ask the Jews and they will tell you, you don’t ask people who are not Jewish and have no understanding of the issue. Or is your arrogance such that you claim to know better than the Jews what Judaism is?

    Any Jew that will come to Israel, we will find room for. Israel was able to take in 1 million immigrants in the nineties. How many of them ended in Lebanon? You have nothing to worry about.

    Posted by AIG | January 7, 2010, 1:19 am
  26. Here’s the report the article is based on:

    Posted by sean | January 7, 2010, 1:58 am
  27. Thank you Ghassan for explaining your point in #8
    To be honest, I personally don’t have a clue about what the Palestinians should do. I simply find annoying to read arrogant people telling them what to do, especially when they are zionists more or less pretending to be fair-minded. Though I don’t need to insult anyone here because I respect the readers’ intelligence: I’ll let them judge of who is using again the usual accusations of racism, anti-Semitism and so on.
    About civil disobedience strategy, I’d like to share a text showing the limits of this strategy. It’s interesting because it was precisely written by a long-time supporter of civil disobedience – Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham’s Jail.
    Excerpt: “I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. […] I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. […]” Regards.

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 7, 2010, 3:29 am
  28. AIG, Ghassan,
    You guys are confusing the concept of nation with the concept of state. A nation can be defined as a group of people that have the feeling of belonging to the same socio-cultural/historical background. Whereas a state is more of a geo-political entity. Sometimes, nations define themselves along geo-political lines (among other things). This is where nations and states overlap. Italy, France are nation-states.
    Judaism is a nation but not a state.
    Zionism’s goal was to create a state for the nation. The problem was that it built this state on the injustice of taking land and homes away from their original owners.
    People can belong to more than one nation. Proponents of the one-state solution suggest building a nation where the feeling of belonging to this geo-political nation is stronger than the feeling of belonging to the Jewish nation or Arab/Palestinian nation, without being in conflict with either of these. It could be a state that is welcoming of all members of the Jewish and Palestinian nations. Why not? This is how you achieve real peace and not by biting the bullet and accepting the injustice, eh brother V? 😉
    P.S.: I expect AIG to hit me with the analogy of other colonial states like Canada, Australia and how they treated the indigenous people over there… Will reply to that later, gotta get back to work…

    Posted by mas | January 7, 2010, 6:16 am
  29. Small addition to the above: belonging to a nation is a matter of choice, whereas ethnicity is inherited. I can be Jewish/Maronite/Druze/African-American and have little or no sense of commonness with the aspirations of other people of my ethnic background.

    Posted by mas | January 7, 2010, 6:47 am
  30. mas,
    I am in total agreement with the distinction between state and nation. That is why we speak of a nation state afterall isn’t it?
    I do not believe that Judaism is a nation. To the best of my knowledge even most of the definitions of “who is a Jew and what is Judaism” that are supplied by Rabbis and Jewish organizations speak of it at most as being SIMILAR TO A NATION or ALMOST THE SAME AS A NATION etc…
    But to me even that is not the issue. Israel is a state built on exclusivity and religious exclusivity for that matter. That is discrimination, exploitation and repression all rolled into one.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 7, 2010, 8:46 am
  31. That is discrimination, exploitation and repression all rolled into one.

    ghassan karam,

    I’m so sorry to hear that you do not believe there is a Jewish people.

    How does someone like you deal with such a situation? I imagine this sort of thing can keep someone up all night.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 7, 2010, 9:21 am
  32. Ghassan and Mas,
    The issue is very simple. The right of self determination is a basic inalienable human right. The Jews have self determined themselves as a nation, therefore they are a nation. It is as simple as that. All nation states are exclusive in the sense that they are for that nation. Can anyone just come into Japan and become a citizen? No, you need BOTH parents to be Japanese in order to get citizenship. Does that make Japan an exclusive and racist state? If no, Israel is not racist and exclusive and if yes, Israel is in good company and just following international norms.

    In fact, Israel is much less “racist and exclusive” than Japan. There are no genetic barriers to getting citizenship. Anyone can decide to tie his destiny to the Jewish people and convert to Judaism which means that he goes through the process of joining our nation.

    Posted by AIG | January 7, 2010, 10:04 am
  33. AP.. What??? That’s not what he said.. Very weak and irrelevant.. as usual I might add…

    Posted by mas | January 7, 2010, 10:07 am
  34. Once again, Israeli racism has a direct effect on peace-loving bipolar aiplane passengers.

    Let the finger-pointing begin…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 7, 2010, 2:07 pm
  35. Had we bit the bullet in 48, or during the countless wasted opportunities we had to make peace we would not be here 60 some years after the initial “injustice” and counting on for another 60 years of misery and injustice for both sides.
    Whether the Muslim Arabs like it or not the Jewish people have and had historical rights to the land of Palestine and Jerusalem they are there to stay and they will stay the only solution to this conflict is for the Muslim Arabs to learn tolerance and co-existence with our Jewish cousins
    There is enough land for everybody 🙂

    Posted by V | January 7, 2010, 5:29 pm
  36. V,

    We need more people like you.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 7, 2010, 5:34 pm

    22 days in Gaza

    1,300 people killed, including more than 400 children and more than 100 women

    5,300 Palestinians injured, including nearly 1,900 children and 800 women

    100,000 people forced from their homes

    13 Israeli – “cousins” of yours – killed, including three civilians

    3 Israeli civilians / 1300 Palestinian civilians

    Did it slightly affect any of your fantasist conceptions about “tolerance and co-existence”?

    The more I read some comments, the more I feel people don’t even need a clergy to be brainwashed.

    Please be decent and think twice before writing that “misery and injustice [is] for both sides”.

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 7, 2010, 6:48 pm
  38. If we look close enough, it is those who suffered from this conflict regardless which side they are on, they are the one willing to compromise for peace. And those who haven’t suffered at all who only pontificate from the luxury of their thrones, homes, caves or underground bunkers these are the most intransigent that are willing to fight to the last drop of blood but never their blood.

    Please don’t lecture about decency, anyone willing to perpetuate a bloody conflict from the comfort of their living room is by definition, indecent and evil.

    Posted by V | January 7, 2010, 7:27 pm
  39. Allow me to throe down the gauntlet: Is there anyone who believes that Lebanon will not have to ask for a debt relief by 2015? I contend that it will be a mistake if Lebanon is to honor all its international financial obligations as they stand. What do you think?

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 7, 2010, 7:39 pm
  40. Ghassan, always the great teacher and peace maker. salud y gracias 🙂

    Posted by V | January 7, 2010, 7:56 pm
  41. Ghassan,

    I’ve followed your comments on the debt issue on this blog and read your articles on the subject. I totally agree with you, that as it stands right now the debt size is not manageable for Lebanon. A friendly restructuring, that reduces the principal and interest rate is in order.

    The servicing of the debt is a huge burden on Lebanon’s government given its skinny taxation (BTW, I’m not advocating higher taxes).

    I come from the school of finance, where anything is negotiable, and in Lebanon’s case these negotiations are imperative and the sooner the better.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | January 7, 2010, 9:37 pm
  42. V,

    Resolving the Arab/Israeli conflict has had more effort exhetred to resolve than any conflict this planet has had to deal with.

    Sad as it is, Israel has made a mockery of the process. Not negotiating in good faith, ignoring the multitude of UN resolutions in this regard, delay tactics, you name it.

    Just as an example today. Bibi is telling the world that he wants to negotiate with the palestinians, while at the same time keeps on building in the occupied WB and East Jerusalem, the areas that are supposed to be the future palestinian state. What kind of a genuine negotiation is this?

    Unfortunately, Israel’s actions on the ground reminds me of a lebanese proverb/saying:

    Iza chi bbalesh ketter minno.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | January 7, 2010, 9:58 pm
  43. Ras Beirut,

    I am not exonerating Israel or the Israeli leaders of blame or fault, at the same time I won’t turn a blind eye to the numerous faults of the Arabs just because I am an Arab.

    I will give you a similar example to the one you gave. the Palestinians and many Arabs still rejoice at killing Israelis, still call on the destruction of Israel, would jump at any opportunity to destroy Israel if they can, still teach their children to hate Jews still think it is ok to blow up a restaurant or a bakery and kill “Zionist”. The examples of hate and acts of violence are bountiful so you tell me now what kind of genuine negotiation toward peace is this?

    The Arabs declared a fight to the death against Israel in the beginning and after 40 years they woke up and decided to have peace with Israel as a “Strategic” choice meaning only because they couldn’t defeat Israel.

    After 60 years of utter failure and tragedy to our own, Peace should never be a “Strategic” choice it should be an ethical choice a choice of the brave and decent people on this earth

    Posted by V | January 7, 2010, 10:40 pm
  44. “There is enough land for everybody”

    V that’s what I’m arguing for, and that’s what your Israeli peace-loving friends are refusing.
    So you do agree that stealing lands and homes from their original owners is an injustice, but you argue that people should forget about it and accept the fait accompli, right?

    Posted by mas | January 8, 2010, 4:13 am
  45. Ghassan,

    If the Lebanese dailies and news sources allocate only 25% of their content to articles like yours, and leave the rest to their traditional political gossip, we would witness some real change in this country.

    Posted by mas | January 8, 2010, 4:19 am
  46. Ras Beirut said:

    Sad as it is, Israel has made a mockery of the process. Not negotiating in good faith, ignoring the multitude of UN resolutions in this regard, delay tactics, you name it.

    Ras Beirut,

    It is the PA that is refusing to negotiate at this point in time. It was the PA that has not produced a counteroffer to the Camp David 2000 and Taba proposals. It was Arafat who called for an intifada when he decided he didn’t have full authority to sign the peace treaty.

    UN Resolutions come in many shapes, sizes and flavors. In all, there are 2 types: recommendations and directives, where the directives are mandatory. Few UN resolutions fall into the directive category.

    In short, peace is between 2 parties, and if just 1 or the 2 parties is not interested in peace there won’t be any.

    Ras Beirut,

    What “peace” organizations exist in Gaza? What 2 state solution does the government of Gaza propose? Can you link to a website?

    V is the only Arab on this website and SC that isn’t in denial. You can’t “Israel isn’t negotiating in good faith” while at the same time ignore the actions of the Palestinian “leadership”.

    Israel is here to stay. Accept it. The only remaining issue is borders. The rest can be worked out. Once trust is reestablished, the walls can come down.

    The era of the Saddam Husseins, Ahmadinejads, Nassrallahs, Habashes, Meshaals, Assads, Kahanes and Arafats will soon be past history, if we can get more “V”s to speak up and be heard.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 8:08 am
  47. “The era of the Saddam Husseins, Ahmadinejads, etc.”

    Your list is so blatantly partial. Why don’t you include in it the Georges Bushes, Sharons, Netanyahus, Obamas etc.? Do they live on a different planet? The one in which democratic cache-misères allow them to violate as many UN resolutions as they want?

    Trust will never be reestablished without justice – and this also starts from what people are writing “in the comfort of their living rooms”.

    V. said :
    “The only solution to this conflict is for the Arabs to LEARN tolerance and co-existence with our Jewish cousins”.

    Who is getting the lecture to whom?

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 8, 2010, 9:35 am
  48. quelqu’une said:

    Why don’t you include in it the Georges Bushes, Sharons, Netanyahus, Obamas etc.? Do they live on a different planet?


    Simple. Bush, Sharon, BB, Obama all recognize a 2 state solution: Israel and Palestine.

    What’s your excuse?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 9:48 am
  49. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact:
    Those who recognize – in theory – a 2 state solution are actually supporting – in practice – the colonization and the illegal occupation that turns one of the 2 “states” into a archipelago.
    [cf Julien Bousac’s map in the 2009 atlas of Le Monde Diplomatique
    It’s a sort of chiastic pattern.
    “Simple”, as you said.

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 8, 2010, 10:21 am
  50. quelqu’une,

    Je suis désolé. Je ne lis pas ou écrire le français très bien.;) (thank you Google Translate).

    I understand. Bush, Obama, Sharon, BB, and I suppose Abbas are “hard line warmongers” because they recognize 2 states (one for Israel and one for Palestine), while Hamas, Hezbollah, Saddam, Ahmadinejad, etc do not.

    Makes sense to me.

    Again, your post is a prime example of “full throttle”, “in-your-face” denial or simply a complete rejection of peace, or (most likely), both.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 10:31 am
  51. If you can seriously say that you wouldn’t mind living in such an archaic conglomeration of land parcels, and consider that this constitutes a viable country, then I’m willing to walk around Beirut’s southern suburbs waving an Israeli flag!

    I robbed the liquor store the other day. I could’ve shot the clerk behind the counter but instead I just hit him over the head and took his money. I’m such a great humanist, I even left him a few bucks to take a cab. But ever since, he won’t leave me alone! He comes around every now and then wanting some trouble, so my boys slap him around a bit. What I don’t get is why, why won’t he leave me alone, why can’t we both live in peace?!

    Posted by mas | January 8, 2010, 10:54 am
  52. mas, quelqu’une,

    Excuse me, both if you can’t accept the State of Israel (unlike the rest of the civilized world and the UN), why don’t you admit it straight out?

    Instead of this BS claiming your side (Hamas, Hezbollah, Ahmadinejad, Saddam) is “tolerant” and Obama and Bush are not.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 11:21 am
  53. If I’m against Israel’s injustices doesn’t mean I’m a guardian of the revolution. The Americans and the Soviets were both against the Nazis, and the Americans weren’t big fans of Stalin.
    I’m suggesting that Jews and Palestinians live together in the same country. How much more tolerant can you get?!
    Weak as usual…

    Posted by mas | January 8, 2010, 12:13 pm
  54. mas,

    Please cut the BS. Your “suggestions” mean nothing except intolerance and continued violence.

    The world body (the UN), countries that don’t support terrorism, Israel, the US and the even PA accept the already created and established State of Israel and a proposed State of Palestine.

    No, it isn’t “tolerant” to force 2 warring parties and cultures to share the same state. It isn’t tolerant to force Bosnia to merge with Serbia, and to claim so is disingenous and dangerous.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 12:22 pm
  55. Mas,
    You think you are tolerant but in fact your are advocating the destruction of Israel. The Arabs in all Arab countries cannot get along without a dictator keeping everyone in place. In Lebanon, the lack of a dictator led to a bloody civil war that devastated the country. The Iraqi proto-democracy is going through the same problems.

    But you think that Jews and Palestinians can share a country without it deteriorating into civil war. That is just contrary to all the evidence out there. If the Arabs cannot live with each other in peace and democracy, why do you think Jews and Arabs can? Just the mistrust between the communities is a recipe for civil war. But add to that the fact the Jews will be about 10 times richer on average than the Arabs and you have a society that will blow up quicker than you can say “fantasy”.

    But I will make a deal with you, and I hope you agree it is a reasonable one. Let’s agree that after ONE, just ONE, Arab country becomes a liberal democracy at the level of Greece (not Scandinavia), and sustains this for 20 years, I will be happy to change my mind and reconsider what you suggest.

    Until then, all the facts on the ground show that what you are proposing will bring catastrophe both to the Jews and the Palestinians.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 12:28 pm
  56. Ok AP 😉 a call for tolerance is a sign of intolerance…
    Well, I’m off to get beaten up in da7yeh.. wish me luck guys! 😀

    Posted by mas | January 8, 2010, 12:40 pm
  57. AIG, it certainly won’t be easy, but in my opinion it is the only just solution, and will last longer than a 2-state solution. Jews, Christians, and Muslims were living quite comfortably together in Palestine before the advent of Zionism. Granted it wasn’t in a democracy, but in my opinion it would work. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s funny how much of your arguments resemble those used by the advocates of apartheid in South Africa when comparing the country to the rest of Africa…

    Posted by mas | January 8, 2010, 12:57 pm
  58. AIG/AP….

    One of my favourite moral philosophers whose ideas have been influential in shaping minds and “dialogues” world wide happens to have been a Zionist who left Europe to Palestine. The following is a very short excerp from his 1948 essay in which he calls for a Bi-national state. (Edward Said might not have been born yet).

    “We describe our program as that of a bi-national state—that is, we aim at a social structure based on the reality of two peoples living together. The foundations of this structure cannot be the traditional ones of majority and minority, but must be different. We do not mean just any bi-national state, but this particular one, with its particular conditions, i.e. a bi-national state which embodies in its basic principle a Magna Charta Reservationum, the indispensable postulate of the rescue of the Jewish people. This is what we need and not a “Jewish State”.
    Martin Buber

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 8, 2010, 1:01 pm
  59. Edward Said was already 13 years old but yet it shows that his call for a Bi national state was neither that radical or that new. The call by Buber predated all other calls.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 8, 2010, 1:06 pm
  60. One of my favourite moral philosophies (for disproving the above “horsehockey”) is the currently existing Hamas and Hezbollah charters, which is always ignored by the disingenous 1-staters and cheerleaders here on this website, despite the efforts of the world community and the rest of the sane people who live on this planet.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 1:11 pm
  61. Mas,
    Why do you think it will work if it isn’t working in ANY Arab country? Just saying it will work, does not mean it will work. You are asking the Jews to take immense risks without any explanation.

    Look, even the Lebanese cannot get along with the Palestinians. They restrict their freedoms etc. etc. Some even blame the civil war on them. You are asking us to succeed in something that you haven’t even though the Palestinians are you Arab brothers, not Jews like us who have been fighting them for years. That does not generate much confidence. Let’s see a liberal Arab democracy and then maybe your argument will have any weight. But till then, just putting forward a solution that all the facts show will most likely lead to a catastrophe is irresponsible. The two state solution will work for the Jews. If the Palestinian state is a democracy, it will work for the Palestinians also.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 1:20 pm
  62. AP,
    Sometime I get the feeling that you do not listen to the other party.
    You dismiss Martin Buber’s well thought out call for the creation of a Bi national state as if he was an insignificant person. One of the earliest and most articulate Zionist came to the conclusion that a bi national state is the only solution and yet the only thing that you have to say is to call all those that disagree with you disengenous cheerleeders. Do you want to have a dialogue with an open mind or are you intent on just spouting cliches?
    BTW, Martin Buber also suggested that the only way to have a productive dialogue is to place yourself in the other persons shoes. This is true for both parties.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 8, 2010, 1:30 pm
  63. Ghassan,
    Anybody who went to high school in Israel like me is familiar with Buber’s essays.
    The Buber camp was small but influential till the Hebron Massacre and ethnic cleansing of 1929.

    If the Arabs could not tolerate a community of Jews that lived among them at least 400 years, what chance was there of bi-national state? After the massacre, very very few Jews took Buber’s ideas seriously.

    The last nail in the coffin was the rejection of the UN partition plan of 47 by the Arabs. Had they accepted the plan, in a short period of time there would have been two Arab majority states. But even that was not good enough for the Arabs.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 1:36 pm
  64. Ghassan,
    Well, put yourself in our shoes and tell me you even though there is not ONE Arab democracy, the bi-national state will be one. Why did the sectarian make up of Lebanon lead to civil war, and in the bi-national state this will not happen? Why is the fact that Jews would be 10 times richer than the Arabs not be a reason for huge social instability? If a multi-national state is such a good ides, why did Yugoslavia break up? Why did Czechoslovakia break up? Why aren’t the Belgians happy with their bi-national state?

    After you answer these questions, I have several more for you.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 1:43 pm
  65. The first sentence above should read:
    Well, put yourself in our shoes and tell me why even though there is not ONE Arab democracy, the bi-national state will be one.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 1:44 pm
  66. AIG,
    I really do not wish to make this a tit for tat but Martin Buber wrote his famous essay about Bi nationalism in 1948 after hw had been in Israel for over 20 tears. He was always for accomodation but never came out for a bi national state until 1948.
    The fact that Buber supported an idea does not imply that you should. My point, however, is that one cannot just reject these calls as if they are calls for the destruction of Israel. IF one of the most learned Zionist ever was able to come up with the idea and support it then there must be something in it that is worth discussing rather than to dismiss it as if it is insignificant and has no standing.

    I am the first to admit that such exchanges do not change minds, at least not immediately. But they can be productive if both sides are well intentioned because it forces individuals to reasses and to rethink the rationale for their position since in most cases people adopt a position and then look for evidence to defend it.
    If you would reread carefully what has been said on these pages you will find out that the positions cover a very broad range of options and not as you have stated a few times V on one side and all others on the opposite side 🙂
    Ther are many diffferent nuances between V, myself, mas and quelquene. I do not want to sound as if I am speaking for others becasue I am not. I have always had a preference to be a one person show. Anyway, since your comments do not convey that you have detected the differences let me see if I can present my position clearly on this:

    I am not a fan of political boundaries but I am also pragmatic enough to recognize them. In that regard I do favour a one stae solution and it would be easy for me to even to place an open ended bet that ultimately that is what will happen.
    This is going to sound like a repatition from yesterday but it needs to be restated. The state of Israel will be undermining itself by either acting as a colonial power or by absorbing the WEst Bank and Gaza, therefore it has no choice but to give them up. Israel willnot give them up for any great humanitarian design or a belief in the right of self determination, it has to give them up in order to keep this notion of exclusivity.
    Facts on the groun have also convinced many Palestinians and Arabs that this is a good solution that both sides can live withand that is essentially the position of the Arab League.
    So both sides are to benefit from this accomodation. Why hasn’t it happened? Well you can blame Hamas for its obstructions and you can blame Ahmadinajad for the Iranian role and obviosly Hezzbollah in Lebanon but above all you have to blame the Israeli side for being very reluctant on accepting this solution. Actually, Israel accepted the proposal in principle but staretd to erect barriers immediately by encouraging settlers fressentially from Brooklyn NY. So Israel kept its effort to play both sides against the middle. It supports two staes and the right of the settlers at the same time. As time has gone by Israel built its own straight jacket. It is getting to the point where it is becoming impossible to evict all settlers and so what do the planers come up with, A Swiss cheese looking enity that is to exist as a subservient stae to Israel proper. Jimmy Carter, called it apartheid , so did Tutu and Mandella. (Note to self, AP will dismiss all of these great thinkers as ant semetic).
    A two state solution will have to be that, two viable independent states with lots of security guarantees but the West Bank must be whole, contiguous and sovereign. Anything short of that implies that there is no sincere interest. Bibi like many others before him wants to buy time.
    A final and comrehensive solution has two major obstacles: The right of return and the status of Jerusalem. These two obstacles should not prevent both sides from making progress on everything else besdies these two issues. I admit that these are difficult problems but not unsurmountable: Jerusalem can either be divided or it can be a binational capital under international supervision of sorts. Arafat mishandeled the right of return. The right of return is both a legal and a human rights issue. How can we offer the right of return to some who have supposedly left thousands of years ago and deny it to those that were victims of circumstances only 60 years ago? No doubt the idea of having 100’s of thoiusands of Palestinians coming back into Israel is threatening. I am sure thouh that a combination of monetary payments, the right to go to the West bank, the offer to accept some in the US, Canada, Europe and ither Arab countries can solve this issue.
    But as you can see one cannot talk about a two state solution unless one offers genuinely two states. (Keep in mind that Israel is partly responsible for the rise of Hamas and Hezbollah. In a sense these organizations help the cause of the staunch Israeli right.)

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 8, 2010, 2:24 pm
  67. Not Listening

    Sometime I get the feeling that you do not listen to the other party.


    Obviously, I’m a better listener than you are.

    Your suggestion that the residents of the WB and Gaza unite with Israel is basically IGNORING the international community, Israel and the PA.

    It also ignores the racism and anti-semitism espoused by the terrorists networks such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the scores of other offshoot organizations.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 8, 2010, 2:33 pm
  68. AIG,
    The above is not a response to your last question which I have just noticed.
    A short answer: No one is suggesting that we go to bed one night as two states and the next morning we have become one. A plan could be worked out over a long period of time to integrate the two economies togeter and to educate the young and promote integration. This phasing in could be accomplished over a decade or maybe evn more but with strict dates for meaningful accomplishments and equal rights . I imagine in a sense that a two state solution could be the opening salvo in a bi national state. Why trust the Arab world? The binational state indoes not include the Arab world, it would be only between the Israelis and Palestinians. Maybe you would be so successful as to influence, maybe infect, the rest of the Arab world with the democracy bug. But if you are to infect others with a virus then you have to be a carrier of that virus in the first place. I am counting on you because nothing else seems to be able to infect the Arab world, its monarchs, life ;long presidents and dictators.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 8, 2010, 2:39 pm
  69. Ghassan,
    If the Arabs really supported what you propose, there would have been a deal by now. You are too optimistic about the right of return in my opinion, but I hope you are right. I just don’t see how the Diaspora Palestinians would accept this.

    Let’s say that tomorrow everybody agrees to the 67 borders and a Palestinian state is founded. How will it not be subservient to Israel? For peace to take place there must be strong economic ties. And Israel’s economy is so much bigger and richer per capita than that of the West Bank that without anybody doing anything the Palestinian state will be dependent/subservient on Israel. The Palestinians have no choice but to have economic ties with Israel if they want a successful state. But such unequal economic ties means dependency. There is no two ways about it. That is another issue that the Palestinians have not fully grappled with.

    Charlie Rose interviewed Mitchell yesterday. Mitchell is optimistic about a two state solution. I hope he is right and a solution could be found soon. However, what you describe and what Mitchell has in mind in my opinion would be considered “unjust” by most Palestinians and Arabs.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 2:43 pm
  70. Ghassan,

    From 1967 to 1987 (the first intifada) Israel and the West Bank and Gaza were one economic unit. The growth in Gaza and the West Bank was phenomenal and faster than in all the Arab world. However, Israel grew economically also so the differences were not significantly erased. One of the reasons for the first intifada was the economic difference between Israelis and Arabs. By working in Israel, the differences were clear to everybody and caused frustration. It would take decades if not generations for the West Bank and Gaza to catch up economically with Israel.

    All this is to say that a gradual plan of integratin over a relative short period of time will not work.

    Posted by AIG | January 8, 2010, 2:49 pm
  71. “Nationalism is bad enough when it trusts in nothing but the rude force of the nation. A nationalism that necessarily and admittedly depends upon the force of a foreign power is certainly worse […] the Zionists, if they continue to ignore the Mediterranean peoples and watch out only for the big faraway powers, will appear only as their tools, the agents of foreign and hostile interests. Jews who know their own history should be aware that such a state of affairs will inevitably lead to a new wave of Jew-hatred; the antisemitism of tomorrow will assert that Jews not only profiteered from the presence of the foreign big powers in that region but had actually plotted it and hence are guilty of the consequences.”

    Hannah ARENDT, ‘Zionism Reconsidered’ in Jewish Writings (Schocken, 2007), pp.343-5

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 9, 2010, 7:12 pm
  72. Arendt is an anachronism:
    1) In a globalized economy, most states depend on each other. What would China do without the US consumer? Isn’t the US dependent on China buying its debt? Even the biggest countries are dependent on each other.
    2) Israel should act according to its best interests and not worry what generates antisemitism or not. In the end, antisemitism is not a problem for Israel, it is a problem for the antisemites. Antisemitic countries will be shunned by the international community.
    3) Why worry anyway about antisemitism in Arab countries? There are no Jews to speak of left there.
    4) This whole paragraph smells of diaspora attitudes: Let’s not be too successful so the Goyim do not hate us and hurt us. This is not a position acceptable to Zionists.

    Posted by AIG | January 9, 2010, 10:58 pm
  73. 1) China ?! – the comparison is pointless – and a bit funny : )
    does China really have the same size, the same population, the same neighbors and the same history as the colonial state of Israel ?
    2) Antisemitism is unfortunately “not a problem” for Israel, you’re right. At the same time, it is very useful for you and the strongest pillar of your State ideology. It’s the precious key that both justifies the Aliyot and open the doors of impunity.
    3) Because you are rounded by Arab countries and you live on Arab land, hello.
    4) Hannah Arendt was herself convinced by zionism before she realized the limits of this colonial and racist project.
    She was more informed than you can ever be about Israel because she participated since the creation of this colonial project – and even before. She wrote her philosophical and political thoughts during the whole process.

    You’re thinking about what the paragraph “smells”, but you’d better use your brain and your sense of justice instead of your nose and what you call “the position acceptable to Zionists”.
    For Goyims – as you say – and Jewish being parts of the same humanity, whether you like it or not.

    Posted by quelqu'une | January 10, 2010, 6:12 am
  74. quelqu’une,

    1) You do not get the point. 60 years ago China and the US were not dependent on each other. Now they are. Globalization has made mutual dependency the common situation of states. There is nothing special about Israel. In fact, Israel is doing very well economically despite its neighbors because of globalization. It does not matter if your geographical neighbors do not trade with you if there is no problem trading with the rest of the world.
    2) So I don’t get it. If you think antisemitism is good for Israel, why should Israel listen to Arendt and do things that will lessen antisemitism? Get your story straight.
    3) So what if there are Arab countries around us and they are antisemites? That they are racist is their problem. In fact, their racist attitudes makes them weaker, which is good for Israel. And the fact that the Arabs think we are on their land has been a constant forever. We think the land is ours. That is why we are here.
    4)Right, a person living 60 years ago is more informed about Israel than most contemporary Israelis. Maybe the Arabs are so weak because they learn about Zionism from the wrong sources.

    The current situation is the just one. The Arabs should not have rejected the UN partition plan of 1947. You choose war, you suffer the consequences. That is justice. That is another lesson Arendt never could understand. What the Jews view as justice is NOT more important than what the Arabs view as justice. But it is equally important. And we should not subjugate our beliefs to those of the Goyim because we fear being disliked. That attitude ended with the foundation of Israel.

    Posted by AIG | January 10, 2010, 12:41 pm
  75. AIG,
    It would have been like a commedy sketch where two ships pass each in a heavy mist without knowing it had it not been so painful.
    It is true that the Arabs rejected partition in favour of keeping the whole state back in 1947 but the sides crossed each other back over twenty years ago where the official PLO position became to accept partition while the Israeli side would like to have it all. And now with Hamas and Hezbollah gaining popularity in the Arab countries I would not be surprised if both sides will switch positions again. The Arab side seeking a one state while the Israelis accepting partition. It is enough to make one believe in fate, not really.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 10, 2010, 1:01 pm
  76. The Arab side seeking a one state while the Israelis accepting partition.

    ghassan karam,

    Israel doesn’t need to “accept” anything. You fail to understand that Israel already has a state.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 10, 2010, 1:35 pm
  77. AP,
    You are right, there is no Arab Israeli problem. It is all a figment of my imagination and that of the quartet who is wasting its time in trying to find a solution to what does not exist.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 10, 2010, 2:22 pm

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