Conspiracy Chronicles, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon

Is the Iranian Aid Convoy to Gaza Under Hezbollah’s Protection?

Conspiracy Chronicles series, no. 7

Iran is sending a convoy of aid ships to Gaza, according to Iranian state radio. Reuters is reporting that one ship left on Sunday and another “loaded with food, construction material and toys” will leave by this Friday.

We haven’t had an episode in our conspiracy chronicles series in a while, so I’m pleased to bring you the following nugget from a Beirut-based source who describes himself as “a western expert brainwashed by bad operas dedicated to Imad Mughniyeh and bought by iranian petro-lucre…”

According to my source (who got his information from “a bearded taciturn birdie”) these Iranian ships are under the protection of the muqawama. “Any trouble, and whoosh whooosh boom…”

You should know that this isn’t the first time that Iran has sent aid ships, and on previous occasions the ships have been turned around by the Israeli Navy without any incident. I don’t imagine that Hizbullah would actually take any serious action in the event of a repeat of the Freedom Flotilla disaster, but don’t say you weren’t warned…

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70 thoughts on “Is the Iranian Aid Convoy to Gaza Under Hezbollah’s Protection?

  1. Interesting description of the source, lol, this guy is multi-function 🙂

    Posted by | June 15, 2010, 2:10 pm
  2. How likely is it that Hizballah did nothing during the Gaza war but will act now? Zero.
    Furthermore, to protect the ships, Hizballah must issue a threat, and that will not be popular in Lebanon.

    By the way, it is quite a commitment to send ships from Iran to Gaza. They will have to go through the Suez Canal and that ain’t cheap. I hope the Iranians send many ships.

    Posted by AIG | June 15, 2010, 2:21 pm
  3. QN,

    Anything that frees the Palestinians from the yoke of Zionist oppression would make my day. Anyway, I hope the brave Iranians and their fearless leader won’t let me down.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2010, 9:39 pm
  4. Anything is better than the White Man president Barack Obama who is faltering just as his warrior Gen. David Petraeus. And Andrew Exum keeps bragging about him and about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, while drawing ridiculous scenarios on how to board a civilian ship.

    Posted by Jihad | June 15, 2010, 10:41 pm
  5. Hezbollah better not be so stupid to associate themselves in anyway with this peaceful demonstration.

    Posted by Nasser Victor | June 16, 2010, 12:21 am
  6. Jihad,
    I can understand your opposition to the “American Empire” and the role of “white men” in it, but does that imply that you oppose all empires or do you think that some are virtous while others are not. Would you rather deal with a Chinese leadership similar to that of the Tianamen Square times or possibly a Mugabe , an Idi Amin or a Mobutu.
    I am just curious since your use of these rather loose decriptions do not appear to serve your cause. On the contrary, such superficial accusations and generalizations detract from your argument.

    Posted by ghassan karam | June 16, 2010, 12:37 am
  7. I had read somwhere that Lebanon was also sending an aid ship to Gaza. Any update on that???

    Posted by Marillionlb | June 16, 2010, 2:35 am
  8. If am not mistaken, there are two ships going from Lebanon, the Mariam and Naji al-Ali.

    One is aparently with Lebanese women:[]
    The trip is coordinated by Samar Hajj, who stressed that the women were not affiliated to Hezb or any other political organisation.
    Samar is the wife of Ali Hajj, one of the 4 Generals that were detained in relation to the Hariri assassination.

    Ynet reports that “There is no connection between my boats and Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran,” promises Palestinian businessman Yasser Kashlak, who has presented two ships slated to sail from Lebanon to Gaza. According to him, more than 50 vessels will take part in “Freedom Flotilla 2″.”,7340,L-3905700,00.html

    They might be close to Gaza by now…

    Posted by Umm iDriss | June 16, 2010, 3:41 am
  9. Thank you Umm iDriss for the update.

    Posted by Marillionlb | June 16, 2010, 3:48 am
  10. AIG,

    What would you advise Israel’s security cabinet, which is considering easing the blockade of Gaza, amid growing international pressure to end the embargo?

    Posted by Badr | June 16, 2010, 2:02 pm
  11. Badr,

    I would advise them to make absolutely no concessions until the International Red Cross is allowed to visit Gilad Shalit.

    And by the way, I wish to thank the many Arab liberals that have taken a brave stand in supporting that Gilad get this very basic right. Thank you also for all the Arab bloggers who voiced their support and to the multitudes that went out to the streets to support this cause especially in liberal Beirut.

    Posted by AIG | June 16, 2010, 4:55 pm
  12. Now petty Zionists are dubbed “Arab” liberals? Halleluya!

    Posted by Jihad | June 16, 2010, 5:53 pm
  13. AIG,
    I hate to be constantly asking you these questions that appear to come from left field but I do appreciate the fact the you respond thoughtfully. I consider such exchanges to be very valuable.
    Know that the premise is out of the way let me get your view on an issue that has been on my mind for weeks. I just cannot shake it off. Hannah Arendt is probably much better known to the average Israeli than she is likely to be to the average Arab. After all the average Israeli enjoys a much higher level of academic achievement than the Arab counterpart whose average years of schooling is in the low single digits. I presume that Ms. Arendt is taught in your educational system and if I am not mistaken such Israeli luminaries as Amos Alon thinks that Israel will eventually build monuments for Ms. Arendt. I have been attracted to many of her ideas and I think that both sides, Arab and Israeli, can benefit from her beliefs about forgiveness. In her explanation of the “banality of evil” she makes a distinction between individuals and the state…Are there enough people in Israel who believe in the strength of her ideas? If that is true then I will have to feel more hopeful about the possibilities of the futre although I do not have an answer as to who would be the Arab Arendt. This vicious cycle of violence must come to an end for the sake of all of us.
    Who knows maybe the blockade on Gaza would be removed gradually and the Gazans would reciprocate by setting an example of peaceful coexistence that could inform the future negotiations of the peace process. Can we discover that bothy of us are human, both of us feel pain and that both of us want ultimately to live in dignity. Can we forgive each other? I think that Hannah Arendt argued forcefully that we can. What do you think?
    Maybe what we need are posts that do not only react to the current events but discussions about what we think that the future holds and what can be done to shape it so that it will not be a continuation of the past.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 16, 2010, 7:55 pm
  14. Ghassan,

    Just out of interest, have you ever been unfortunate enough to have suffered anything at the hands of the Israelis or personally witnessed the result of Israeli action in Lebanon?

    Posted by mo | June 16, 2010, 8:14 pm
  15. MO,
    I have never personally been physically affected but I have seen from a distance the destruction and mayhem brought about.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 16, 2010, 8:35 pm
  16. Then you are a lucky man Ghassan.

    Talk of forgiveness is moot when you are carrying the lifeless body of a five year old little girl.

    Posted by mo | June 16, 2010, 8:49 pm
  17. mo,

    It goes every which way but loose…
    If you would like everyone to be vengefull of the other’s crimes..Let’s ring up HA for billions of dollars and thousands of dead and injured. Let’s thank PLO and other palestinian thugs and terrorists for ripping apart Lebanon…Let’s destroy and NUKE Syria as it caused more grief, harm and destruction than any other party ever!!!

    Do you need more incentive to be “real”??

    Posted by danny | June 16, 2010, 9:02 pm
  18. mo,
    I think that I understand the level of pain and the hurt that will probably last a personal life time. I do not belittle that. And yes I am lucky that I have not been subjected on a personal level to much pain.
    But what is the way out of this? Surely it is not revenge is it? Doesn’t that just increase the hatred and deepen the scars on both sides? Is it possible to forgive individuals who belong to the other camp and not systems. To go back to Hannah Arendt , who has been on my mind for the past month or so, is there such a thing as the “banality of evil” and is anyone immune from it. I cannot help but remember in this case the popular response to a “tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye’: A society that is toothless and blind.
    I am not suggesting that it is easy or normal to do that, if it were than we wouldn’t be in this quagmire a hundred years after it had started. The ANC could have chosen to make all the whites of South Africa pay for the sins of their ancestors but they didn’t and the whole world applauded them for it.
    In the final analysis we are not destined to be who we have become.History plays a role but so do we. We must be able to transcend hatred and inflicting pain on others. We have to forgive and move forward.
    We owe this to the future generations.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 16, 2010, 9:21 pm
  19. Ghassan Karam;

    Although you asked AIG for an ‘average Israeli’ view on Hanna Ardent, I will assume other Israelis can respond as well :).

    As for Mrs. Ardent, the “Average Israeli” will probably not know her and she is not taught a part of the high-school curriculum (in my personal experience). You have a higher chance of hearing about her in the Academics, and about 25% of Israelis do have at least a bachelor’s degree – but many of them is Engineering, etc’…

    The reason I think is not surprising, since Ardent is often described as an “early post-Zionist”. To quote her from 48′:
    “Even if the Jews win the war, Jewish culture will cease to be the focus and Social experimenting will cease, with policy focusing only on military strategy….the Jews of Palestine will degenerate into one of those small militant tribes, the type of which we know since the days of Sparta”

    Cant take from her powers of foresight, but I guess you can see why she isn’t that popular for current Israeli thinkers….


    Posted by G | June 17, 2010, 4:38 am
  20. Ghassan,

    I believe you are misunderstanding the position of people like me. The point is not vengence, or in fact anything to do with retribution. Its about justice. Its about not rewarding rampant colonialism. Therefore the way out is for justice served not vengance extracted.

    Let me put it another way. If a man rapes a woman her relatives may want vengance but its not up to anyone to forgive him but the woman herself. But even if she does, her forgiveness should not also impel her to then share a bed with him.

    Of course it is sometimes possible to split the individual and the system. Not with Israel though, simply because the individuals are the system. Zionism is made up all the population living on stolen land.

    And besides, you cannot forgive before there is contrition.

    So, let me stress, its not tooth for tooth and eye for eye; Its a simple struggle against injustice.

    I find it strange that you should bring up the ANC in this discussion. Their forgivness and reconciliation happened only after their struggle was victorious and justice was served on a national level. If such a thing were ever to happen in Palestine, I would be happy to see the same thing there (In fact, it should be noted that the similar did happen to the Lebanese who had served the Israelis in the South in 2000).

    So even if we transcend hatred, so what? What about Justice? My opposition to the state of Israel is not based on hate. The hate only came after the fact.

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 6:16 am
  21. mo,
    I am not suggesting moving forward through submission but I get concerned that “Justice” becomes a code word for rigidity and the inability to make compromises.
    What is clear is that what separates our positions is bridgeable, I think

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 17, 2010, 7:01 am
  22. Ghassan,

    Ardent is not taught in Israeli schools.
    I am not sure the problem is forgiveness. I don’t think many Israelis carry a grudge or seek vengeance. I think part of the problem is respect. Many Israelis are prejudiced against Arabs and do not respect their culture or world view. On the other hand there are people like mo that can still call third generation Israelis “colonialists”.

    But the major issue is trust. And here I am part of the problem. I just do not trust Palestinian society to be even a flawed democracy. Following the second intifada and seeing the lack of popularity of liberal ideas in the Arab world, plus the fact that neither Abbas nor Hamas are someone I would like to live under or with, it is clear to me that a one state solution is suicide and the result of the two state solution will be a Palestinian state in the mold of the other Arab states. Not exactly something to look forward to, but if that what the world wants I can live with it, as long as Israel has in place the security measures to make sure it doesn’t become another Iranian base like Lebanon.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 9:30 am
  23. I like AIG’s last comment here. For once 🙂

    The notion of respect and trust is really the key issue in my mind.
    And maybe first and foremost would be the idea of COMMUNICATION.
    Israelis and Arabs don’t trust/respect each other because they do not communicate (put aside our merry little group here) and have not communicated for 60+ years.
    Lack of communication (be it between two tribes or two family members or two coworkers) inevitably results in different narratives, which in turn further entrenches each side’s beliefs and positions and lack of trust. It’s really as simple as that, in my mind.
    Israelis don’t understand/respect/trust/get Arabs. They think of them as “the others” within the narrative of Israeli collective worldview.
    Similarly Arabs do not trust/respect/understand Israelis. Most Arabs do not KNOW Israelis. You guys are some sort of mythical demons that arrogantly “displaced everyone and inflicted death and destruction on us.”
    Anytime you coin an entire civilization/culture/people in such a one-sentence oversimplification, you’re bound to be missing a hell of a lot about the other side’s motivations and thinking.

    Oh, and btw, I have indeed been personally affected by Israeli actions, unlike Ghassan. I lived in Lebanon in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I have also been personally affected by the actions of Syrians, Palestinians, and probably more importantly, my fellow Lebanese. I do not single out any single group as an object of my hate and loathing, as they have all brought death and destruction in roughly equal amounts.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 1:05 pm
  24. BV,

    I wish the problem was communication, but it isn’t. The problem is that two nations want the same piece of land. These problems are not solved by communication as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Belgium etc. etc. show.

    These problems are solved either by partition, genocide, ethnic cleansing or when one of the sides gets tired fighting. We have many decades of fighting ahead of us. Not necessarily war, but a lot of low intensity warfare.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 2:43 pm
  25. At least he admits that the Palestinians are a nation. It’s a red letter day. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 17, 2010, 2:46 pm
  26. QN,

    You are not paying attention. The Palestinians are a nation because they have self determined themselves as such. They were not a nation in 48 as most saw themselves as Arabs and part of Greater Syria. But over time, they developed a national consciousness. And this has been my position for years, so nothing new.

    I think the problem is really on your side where many Arabs do not fully understand that the Jews are a nation.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 2:55 pm
  27. AIG said:I think the problem is really on your side where many Arabs do not fully understand that the Jews are a nation.

    No, I don’t think that’s the problem. That is, most Arabs don’t have a problem conceiving of the Jews as a nation, to the extent that they refer to them regularly and collectively as “the Jews” (al-Yahuud), not really distinguishing between different nationalities.

    Rather, what many Arabs “do not fully understand” is why the Jewish nation’s right to the land supersedes that of the Palestinian nation’s right. If you can explain that satisfactorily to a Palestinian, you will have solved the conflict.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 17, 2010, 3:37 pm
  28. QN : “most Arabs don’t have a problem conceiving of the Jews as a nation”

    I don’t know which Arabs you are referring to but most Arabs who are mostly Muslim; refer to the Jews as a religious group who are the “Enemies of God” and “Killers of the Prophets” (the last being shared by the Christian Arabs). Not to mention all the other non religious derogatory references to the Jews as being cheap or inhuman etc..

    i doubt very much the rejection of the Jewish people is based on territorial issues or national rights to the land. This conflict is rooted in the fact that Arabs and mostly Muslim Arabs are racist intolerant group of people who think they are superior to others and refuse to accept anyone who is different.
    This is the simple and sad truth that is deeply known by every Arab.

    Enough covering up!!

    Posted by V | June 17, 2010, 3:57 pm
  29. Aig,
    I submit that what one is calling justice, another respect and a third forgiveness are practically the same. Is it really a question of semantics?
    It struck me a while ago that BV’s experience and the way that he has been able to deal with it, if I understand his wrtitings correctly, is a model for us, seriously. That is why I have mentioned Hannah Arendt and that is what I mean by forgivness. He has personally been affected negatively by Israelis, Palestinians and others but yet this has not prevented him from calling for a humane treatment of the Palestinian refugees and from opposing the random violence that at times is used against the israelis. He might not have written a book about it or been awarded a Nobel but that is the major argument of Elie Weisel insn’t it. He refused to seek vengence from the Germans who sent to the oven all his family. The same is true of Hannah Arendt when she makes a distinction between a regime gone wild and ordinary citizens.

    You know what else is ironic about what we have been exchanging ;- 0 An Arab (me) has his view of the world influenced substanyially by three Zionists : Buber, Arendt and Weisel but it looks that modern Israel has rejected the three:-)

    BV, bravo for your ability to look at events without having your personal experience overwhelm your conclusions. To me he has been able to forgive those that committed the hurtful acts which does not mean that he condones the regimes. (I do not want to talk on his behalf, he might disagree with my interpretation ).

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 17, 2010, 4:13 pm
  30. QN,

    V is right in that most Arabs view the Jews as a religion and not as a nation.

    As to why “Jewish nation’s right to the land supersedes that of the Palestinian nation’s right” it is quite simple. Because the Jews won the war in 47-48. If the Arabs would have won, there would be no Jewish state. I don’t think though that this simple answer helps solve the conflict.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 4:17 pm
  31. You’re pretty close to the truth, Ghassan.

    I don’t know that I’ve necessarily “forgiven”. But I took my life in my own hands and left Lebanon in 1993 for a better life elsewhere. I blame all the ‘actors’ for that (Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis, but most importantly, my own compatriots).

    But that is neither here nor there. I think the big distinction I make, as compared to what I hear a lot of people saying (including some people commenting here) is that I focus on individuals, not “nations” or “races”. I admit, that is not easy for most people. Not to sound superior, but I have always been able to “compartmentalize”. I don’t think of “the Jews” as one entity. I don’t think of the Lebanese as one entity. My measure of worth for an individual is their actions.
    I know many Israelis who are good friends. They have personally not done me anything wrong. They’re not the ones who dropped bombs on my family in 1982. Some of them have opinions that differ to mine. I don’t hold that against them because I know them, as individuals, and I am therefore able to understand WHY they hold such views. I am able to understand when someone says “But we had to protect our families from Hamas rockets.”
    Does this mean I condone the Gaza war? Surely not. But I can certainly understand when a friend of mine says “There are rockets fired at us. We have to do something about it.”
    Similarly, I understand when a Lebanese friend tells me “But Israel killed people in my village in 2006.” Or, to use mo’s comment earlier, when a friend of mine has had to carry his dead 5-year old daughter. That’s what I mean by “understanding”.
    The ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes and comprehend why they might hate a nebulous entity that did them harm.
    You see, it’s very easy to point one’s rage or hate or grief at nebulous entities such as “The jews” or “The Syrians”.
    Truth is, both “The Jews” and “The Syrians” are vague words that represent millions of people, who for the most part want to lead safe, civil, fruitful lives.
    When you strip away ideology, religion and other such claptrap, I highly doubt that a Syrian beet farmer cares much what happens in Jerusalem, as long as his crops are coming in fine, his wife’s fed, and his daughter pregnant.
    I also highly doubt an Israeli car dealer in Tel Aviv gives a crap about what happens in Beirut, or Damascus, as long as his business is good, his family’s well fed, and his firstborn’s bat mitzvah’s celebrations are on schedule.

    It’s really all about the individuals.

    Once you start lumping all people from a certain creed, race or geographical location into nebulous collective constructs, you open the door for demagogery and ideology. All of a sudden, “The Jews” are no longer this car dealer, his wife and his son, but rather this “entity” that’s somehow directly responsible for the bombs of 82, the Qana massacre of 2006, and who knows what else.
    And all of a sudden, the Syrian beet farmer and his family are suddenly responsible for the kidnapping of my neighbor in 86, or the shelling of our building in 89, or whathaveyou. You get the idea.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 4:29 pm
  32. AIG,

    History has shown that your logic of “Because they won the war” leads us nowhere.
    The logic you use is an argument for the Arab world to simply think “ok, fine. Then we’ll just keep this ‘war’ going until we can win it.”
    If you go about allocating the “rights” of people based on who wins a war, all you’re doing is asking for more wars in the future.
    In fact, your simple answer lends perfect legitimacy to Hamas, and the PLO before them. You’re arguing that one earns their rights to land through winning wars and violence. Right?
    Bravo. You’ve just debated yourself into the same camp as Hamas.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 4:38 pm
  33. V,
    If ignorance is bliss, your bliss must be absolute. Its actually you and you alone that all Muslims don’t like. There, cover up exposed!

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 5:10 pm
  34. BV,

    The difference is quite clear in my head.

    With Syria, our problems had everything to do with the leadership and little or nothing to do with the general population. Had there been a different type of leadership, there would have been a different relationship.

    With Israel, the leadership is and has been irrelevant. The problem IS the car dealer and his family being there, living on land whose Arab owners the car dealers father probably drove out (or worse).

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 5:16 pm
  35. mo,

    While you do make a fair point, we end up back to things that happened in the past. The way to move forward IS clear. The car dealer and the original Arab owner will need to reach an acceptable compromise that works TODAY, for this car dealer, and this landowner. Not their ancestors.

    But that’s a different discussion.

    I think you’re missing the point I was trying to make. The individual Israeli car dealer did not boot ME or MY FATHER off our land. On the other hand, some Kataeb guys DID exactly that (and lived in our apartment in Furn El Chebbak for years after) in ’78.
    So, by your logic, I should be pretty dead set on writing the wrongs that were done to me and other Lebanese during the civil war?
    By your logic, the druze and Christians of the Jabal should continue butchering each other, because of what happened in 83?
    How about the Armenians that are now settled in Lebanon (isn’t that Tawteen?) should they pick up arms again and start lobbing rockets at Istanbul?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 5:44 pm
  36. BV,

    You are making the same mistake Ghassan makes in believing this is about vengeance. It really isn’t and I repeat its about justice.

    Ok, lets take you apartment as an example.

    I am assuming your family eventually got the flat back. If so, then you have your rights back and I assume you are happy to get on with your life without feeling the need to have the militia men tried in a court of law.

    But lets say, for arguments sake, not only did they take the apartment, but they killed a member of your family in the process and not only that, one of them then passed “ownership” of the apartment to his son.

    What would you do today? Would you consider the son the rightful owner of the apartment? Would you accept splitting the apartment so you got one of the room while the son got the rest of the house? Or would you go to court to take back the apartment?

    Its not about what happened in forties, eighties or whenever. Its about the here and now. Its not about whether todays Israeli commited the crime but that todays Israeli continues to benefit from the crime. And the fact that Israelis use this argument about when it happened is richly ironic as they continue to chase down expensive artwork stolen by the Nazis.

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 6:09 pm
  37. 1) No it is not about justice. Justice is fine on an individual basis. When you take it down generations, on entire peoples, you end up with new injustices. So by very definition, it’s unjust.
    Is it fair and just to hang a bunch of white people today because their great-grandparents were slaveowners?
    Is it justice to line up a bunch of Palestinians and execute them because their parents belonged to the PLO in 1975?
    Is it justice to displace the Israeli car dealer who’s born and lived all his life in Tel Aviv because his grandfather displaced a Palestinian back then?

    My opinion: No. That is not justice. That is 2 wrongs that simply attempt to cancel out one injustice by committing another.

    Justice works ONLY on individuals. You can prosecute and try the individual guy who killed your father, if you know who he is. And so on. But you can’t arbitrarily punish his descendants who haven’t necessarily done anything. Nor can you “collective punish” a people (my very argument for why the siege on Gaza is misguided and unjust).

    2) We never did get our apartment back. My parents made a life for ourselves elsewhere. And when I grew up I made a life for myself elsewhere. Had there been a state of rule of law, then my recourse for justice would have been to sue or whatever it is people do in the civilized world when their property is taken. But this being Lebanon, the only thing to do to get the apartment back would be violence (or some indirect form of it ie intimidation, coercion through connections, etc). Which brings us back to two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 6:28 pm
  38. mo,

    Sorry. I went off on a bit of a tangent. To answer your example. Yes. It is about the here and now. That is exactly my point. The ONLY viable solution is very clear: Two states, side by side.

    What happened in the 40s or 50s becomes immature. There are statutes of limitations when it’s an apartment dispute, say. I would have zero right to that apartment 25 years after it was taken from me and passed on to the son, legally speaking (any legal experts here, correct me please).
    Sadly there is no statute of limitations when it comes to nations.
    In an ideal world, you’d do exactly what you described: Take the matter to an impartial court. The court would probably rule that the usurper compensate me for my apartment, but get to keep it, since he’s already established in it for 25 years (or his son is).
    Since it’s hard to split an apartment in half, that wouldn’t be an option.
    In the case of Israel/Palestine, the equivalent solution in a court of international law would be: Split the sum total of Palestine/Israel, compensate accordingly and move on.
    If both sides were willing to go before a UN court, and accept its ruling, we’d have this solution in 2 days.

    The irony of the Israelis argument against the Nazis is not lost on me, btw. I’m completely with you on this one. I don’t want you to think I am defending Israel’s position in all this one bit. The hypocrisy abounds on all sides. But I simply am a firm believer in finding practical solutions and moving forward, not dwelling on what’s unjust or what happened in the past. What’s done is done and cannot be undone. It needs to be fixed. (There is a difference between undoing and fixing).
    The problem today is that the Arab world at large is too focused on undoing. Not on fixing. In real life, you don’t get a reset button like you do in video games. You can’t quit out of your game and reset to 1948 and hope for a different outcome. You have to make the best of the hand you have right now.
    Israel needs to understand that too. I think Israel does get it a little bit more than the Arabs. Israel has modified its expectations over the years to where the notion of a greater Israel has now been replaced, in the mainstream by acceptance of the 2 state solution (some sticking points remain). And as any good poker player can tell you, Israel is simply maximizing the cards in its hand now, while waiting for the Arab side to come to the negotiating table (that’s what the settlements are all about). The longer the Arabs continue to live in denial, and hope for a reset to 1948, the worse their hand becomes.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 6:39 pm
  39. BV,

    I didn’t say my logic lead anywhere, but it is the truth. Do you deny that if the Jews lost the war there would be no Jewish state? It is a fact that the Jews gained their right by winning a war. I mean, what could be more obvious than that?

    The only reason many of the Arabs are talking today about international law is because they do not think force will work in defeating Israel, or they are not willing to pay the price of pursuing a violent solution. Think for example of the Syrian mafia whose mantra has become “international law” as a way to get the Golan.

    And as Jabotinsky said well before me, the conflict will end when almost all Arabs decide that fighting Israel is not worth it. Because in fact many Arabs think about continuing the “struggle” until they can win it. Look reality in the face. Why are Hamas and Hizballah so popular otherwise?

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 6:43 pm
  40. BV,

    Apropo asking for things back, you do realize that there were 3-4 million Jews in Poland before WWII and very few after the war? Do you think most of these Jews were homeless? Or perhaps they had houses, factories, stores etc. etc.

    Israel as a state has never asked for this back. My family and my wife’s family had property in Poland. We of course do not expect to get it back by kicking the current inhabitants out.

    A work of art is a different matter all together. It is a luxury that very little injustice is created by giving it back.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 6:50 pm
  41. NO argument from me, AIG. See what I wrote in the other thread about asking for my apartment back.

    In fact, I argue that we need to move FORWARD, not backwards. I won’t repeat the whole thing here, cause it was rather long, but it’s in the other thread (the one about Palestinian rights).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 7:04 pm
  42. oops. AIG. Not in the other thread. It’s in this thread…Posts #37 and #38.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 7:06 pm
  43. BV,
    I’m sorry you didnt get your apartment back (im sure you still can and in in sin-el fil its probably worth getting back and you can now do it legally)

    But in the examples you cite you are comparing apples and oranges.

    You are talking about the crime, I am talking about benefiting from a crime which in the most of the world is a criminal offense.

    Therefore I think it boils down to this as a difference between the way we think.

    I believe the Israeli today continues to benefit from a crime and therefore it is justice to oppose his continued profit from that crime. The fact that this crime is being committed on a national level is irrelevant. Its not that I am looking for collective punishment, its that the criminals are a collective.

    Its like saying we shouldn’t prosecute the Mafia because they are such a large organisation. Or we shouldn’t confiscate Bernie Maddofs estate because his extended family would suffer and they had nothing to do with the crime.

    I have to disagree with a couple of your points.

    Most serious analysts believe the 2 state solution is dead very much because of “the sticking points. I do not believe that the the settlements are a negotiation tactic (as a starter, compare settlement locations and aquifer locations).

    I also disagree that the longer the Arabs wait the worse there hand gets. In fact I would say its completely the opposite.

    Look what Israel could do to the Palestinians and the Lebanese in 82 and get away with it, and look at it now.

    Look how the IDF was “indomitable” in 82 and look at it now.

    Look at the population figures in 82 and now.

    Look at how most Americans didn’t have the first clue who AIPAC were in 82 and look at the opposition that is slowly rising against them now.

    In fact in every aspect of this war, the longer the Israelis take to give the Palestinians what they demand as a minimum, the weaker their position gets.

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 7:16 pm
  44. mo,

    Clearly we agree to disagree on this matter.

    I’ll leave you with this example to your “benefiting from the crime” argument.

    Do you support the Armenians that now live in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere relaunch a war to reclaim the lands that were stolen from them by the Turks?
    Do you support the Jews of European descent launch war against Poland or Germany, in an attempt to reclaim whatever lands and homes were taken from them by the Nazis?
    It may be hard for us to equate those examples with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict because of the time that’s elapsed versus the latter being current. But make no mistake, the situations are pretty equivalent.
    Hell, we’ll take it a step further. Wanna launch war on Spain, since muslims, at one point governed the Andalus? I’m sure I can find some moor descendant who’d like his land back from the catholics.
    Let’s go further back still! Guess we should also launch a war on Saudi Arabia, cause, way back when, the Islamic conquests took the lands of Lebanon and Syria from the Byzantine Empire (note: Attack the descendants of the Byzantines next! They took our land from the Romans!)

    I am SURE there are people who continue to benefit, generations down, from crimes committed centuries ago.

    That, to me, is a completely pointless argument.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 7:25 pm
  45. AIG,
    Vladimir Jabotinsky essentially was saying that might is right and as you say the conflict ends once the Arabs decide that it is not worth it to continue the fight but it could also end if the Zionists no longer have the upper hand that Jabotinsky required for his ‘iron wall”.
    I know that to Likud members Jabotinsky is revered but I am afraid that what is currently wrong with the policy of Israel is that it has not made any adjustments to these ideas that are no longer apropo. May I suggest to you that Vladimir Jabotinsky would have favoured a retreat/suspension of the West Bank colonies rather than to continue the effort that is no longer as easily achieved as it was over sixty years ago.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 17, 2010, 7:29 pm
  46. BV,

    I know and have heard the argument you make often, and truly I see your point of view and even understand why you take it. You could have added a whole lot of even more “difficult” examples in that list such as the American Indians or indigenous South Americans.

    But I will answer with this. I will support any person who wishes to right an injustice where it can plainly be shown that the injustice exists, that the righting of it is not a political ambition and I will do so with the understanding that the injustice will be righted in the most peaceful way possible and to an extent where the wrong is righted rather than vengence achieved.

    Therefore to answer your questions, the Armenians have a nation now, Jews of European descent have ample routes in the courts of Europe to reclaim what was taken from them.

    The minimum the Palestinians are going to accept is full sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza including water and border controls and the right to national defense.

    The maximum the Israelis will give will fall far short.

    So let me ask you this. If it becomes absolutely clear that there will be no solution, what do you suggest is the way forward?

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 7:41 pm
  47. mo,

    Fair enough.

    “…The minimum the Palestinians are going to accept is full sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza including water and border controls and the right to national defense.

    The maximum the Israelis will give will fall far short…”

    The answer is clear. 2 states. Full sovereignty.
    As long as both sides refuse to see that…nothing will change. And there very well may be more wars. That won’t resolve the issue, nor will it bring justice to anyone. As I said before, I blame both. Israel needs to see that a fully sovereign Palestinian state, as an equal, will be the only fair solution. And the Palestinians need to accept that moping about 1948 is now irrelevant, and they need to focus on the 2 sovereign state solution.

    There simply is not going to be another resolution to this. It’s that simple.

    I’m not saying it’s gonna happen overnight. The longer both sides take to understand this, the longer this will drag on, the more injustices will be committed (more sieges, more rockets, more invasions and more devastation) and these new injustices will just pile on top of the old ones and resolve nothing.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2010, 8:05 pm
  48. Right, now I have to go to Beirut to Beltway or Blacksmiths of Lebanon to have a proper Lebanese debate with none of this civilised discourse respecting other peoples point of view….Its a clear betrayal of all things Lebanese!! 🙂

    Posted by mo | June 17, 2010, 8:29 pm
  49. BV,

    The problem is not a “fair” solution.
    The problem is how to make sure that the Palestinian state does not become an Iranian forward base like Lebanon. Any suggestions that do not diminish from the sovereignty of the Palestinian state? I cannot think of any.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2010, 10:50 pm
  50. 2 sovereign states, with a full peace treaty, guaranteed by the UN/US/World powers is the only way to ensure any country does not become a forward base for anyone else.

    In the end, there is nothing like PEACE and prosperity to guarantee the lack of war.

    Am I being idealistic? Perhaps.

    But we really can’t go around with this siege mentality you have. If you’re going to continue to assume that no matter what you do, Iran will continue to be be a threat, then, well, your problem is with Iran, not with the Palestinians.

    And that Iranian regime is not going to last forever.

    Again, remember, I am not expecting any of this to happen overnight. But 100 years from now, there is no reason why we can’t have 2 states side by side, at peace with Iran not being a factor.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 18, 2010, 12:38 pm
  51. BV,

    I think that assuming that the Iranians will try to destabilize and influence the Palestinian state is a very plausible assumption and not an irrational “siege mentality” response. Especially given their success in Lebanon and the huge influence they have over and the support they give the Sunni Hamas.

    Isn’t this the real problem in the middle east? Because the lack of democracy, dictators compete on ways to maintain public support and agitation against Israel is a favorite method. Without their support of the “resistance”, why would the Iranian or Syrian regimes be even semi-popular?

    Posted by AIG | June 18, 2010, 12:50 pm
  52. I think you’re misunderstanding me.

    I agree with you that Iran will attempt to be a destabilizing factor. But I’m taking the longer view here. I’m talking abstract, in 50-100 years, or whathaveyou.

    I mean, it IS siege mentality when your argument for not making peace is centered around a third country being a destabilizing factor.

    Throughout history, there have always been destabilizing countries. There always will be. That doesn’t stop people from making peace. You think Bosnians didn’t think of Serbia as a “destabilizing factor”?
    Hell, most of the Arab world thinks of the USA as the destabilizing factor.

    The point is, the 2 things are not necessarily related. Israel’s security from the Palestinians is one thing, that can be accomplished through peace. Guarantees can be put in place to ensure it is so.
    What third parties do (Iran) should be a matter in and of itself.
    France and Germany are at peace…If Russia were to try destabilizing France/Germany, the issue would with Russia.
    If that made sense.

    The point I’m making is..make peace with the Palestinians. If Iran tries to mess that up, then you have every right to launch your devastating air raids on Tehran (just like you do against Gaza or Lebanon). And if there are international guarantees to said peace, then you would even have a case for “regime change” in Tehran (ala Afghanistan/Iraq).

    Again. That’s an entirely separate issue, in my mind, from the Palestinians.

    This is what I mean by siege mentality. Israel talks a big game when it comes to retaliating on much inferior “militaries” (ala Hamas, HA). But if your real bone to pick is with Syria or Iran. Then go bomb them back into the stone age and don’t use this weak pretext for not making some kind of just peace with the rest of us.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 18, 2010, 1:29 pm
  53. BV,

    The thing is, that there is never conclusive proof that you can bring that will make an Israeli attack on Syria justified. For example, if Hizballah attacks Israel, under what pretext can Israel attack Syria? Selling or giving weapons to someone is not an act of war and will not be viewed by most of the world as a good enough excuse to level Syria and to cause “collective” punishment. And how can one prove that Hizballah is working under Syrian and Iranian instructions? That is the beauty of using proxies. You get instant plausible deniability.

    We are not going to get suckered again into this impossible arrangement with the Palestinian state. Look how difficult it has been to stop the rockets from Gaza. The only way to stop Hizballah’s missiles was to hit Lebanon hard and change the rules of the game on them. I call this strategy the symmetrization of asymmetric warfare. While very effective, you would agree that this strategy should be used as little as possible.

    There is also another reason why Israel does not attack Syria. I don’t agree with this reason but it holds sway over the majority of Israel’s security people. Most Israeli security officials believe there is just nothing to gain from attacking Syria:
    1) The border in the Golan is already quiet and has been for decades
    2) A war may topple Asad and who knows what we will get after? After all, this is the middle east and things always turn for the worse.
    3) Even if Syria does not give weapons to Hizballah, there are other ways for Hizballah to get them.

    Bottom line, there is nothing to gain from a war in Syria. In the best case, we just get back that status quo ante and we look bad because we trashed Syria and meted “collective punishment” on the Syrian people.

    Posted by AIG | June 18, 2010, 2:26 pm
  54. AIG,

    Hamas is not letting the Red Cross visit Shalit, because according to them, this would reveal his location, and thus give the Israeli forces an opportunity to try to rescue him.

    Posted by Badr | July 5, 2010, 1:48 pm
  55. Badr,

    That is a sorry excuse. If it made any sense all countries would use it as a way not to report the location of their prisoner camps so as not to help the enemy rescue their prisoners. And what about letting Shalit keep in touch regularly with his family? How would that compromise his location? Let’s face it, Hamas are unscrupulous assholes for which the end justifies the means. Just like HA did not let anyone contact the Israeli captives in Lebanon and would not let their families know what was their fate. If these are the rules you want to play by, that is fine with me, I and most Israelis do not really expect much else from Arab governments.

    You either follow the Geneva conventions or you don’t. If you don’t, that is fine, just don’t complain if you feel Israel does not follow them also.

    Posted by AIG | July 5, 2010, 4:46 pm
  56. Gilad Shalit is a prisoner of war; therefore, he is subject to the Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

    “Under Article 125 of this convention, the ICRC’s ability to visit a POW is not unconditional but, ‘subject to the measures which the detaining powers may consider essential to ensure their security or to meet any other reasonable need ….'”

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 5, 2010, 7:02 pm
  57. And here is the full document, courtesy of the ICRC.

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 5, 2010, 7:03 pm
  58. Go sell your BS somewhere else. You obviously have reading comprehension problems. Article 125 states clearly that the visits MUST be organized but the interests of the detaining power should be taken into account. For example, the people visiting the prisoners can be blind folded or strip searched. But the visits MUST take place. Furthermore, the prisoners MUST be allowed regular contact with their families. Any excuse for that?

    Here is the full article:
    Art 125. Subject to the measures which the Detaining Powers may consider essential to ensure their security or to meet any other reasonable need, the representatives of religious organizations, relief societies, or any other organization assisting prisoners of war, shall receive from the said Powers, for themselves and their duly accredited agents, all necessary facilities for visiting the prisoners, for distributing relief supplies and material, from any source, intended for religious, educational or recreative purposes, and for assisting them in organizing their leisure time within the camps. Such societies or organizations may be constituted in the territory of the Detaining Power or in any other country, or they may have an international character.

    The Detaining Power may limit the number of societies and organizations whose delegates are allowed to carry out their activities in its territory and under its supervision, on condition, however, that such limitation shall not hinder the effective operation of adequate relief to all prisoners of war.

    The special position of the International Committee of the Red Cross in this field shall be recognized and respected at all times.

    As soon as relief supplies or material intended for the above-mentioned purposes are handed over to prisoners of war, or very shortly afterwards, receipts for each consignment, signed by the prisoners’ representative, shall be forwarded to the relief society or organization making the shipment. At the same time, receipts for these consignments shall be supplied by the administrative authorities responsible for guarding the prisoners.

    Posted by AIG | July 5, 2010, 7:52 pm
  59. Israel would undoubtedly attempt a rescue operation if Shalit’s location were exposed. Isn’t not revealing his location an attempt to ensure security?

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 5, 2010, 9:32 pm
  60. AIG – Isn’t it “reasonable” to prevent a surely deadly Israeli operation, given Israel’s track record in regards to POWs?

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 5, 2010, 9:45 pm
  61. All your excuses are useless. What Israel may or may not do is not relevant. Either your follow the Geneva Conventions or you don’t. If you don’t, don’t expect others to follow them either.

    Again it is quite simple to strip search and blind fold the visitors thus making sure they cannot be tracked and that they do not know where they are. Furthermore, what is the problem is letting him be in regular contact with his family via letters as the Geneva Conventions require?

    Posted by AIG | July 6, 2010, 12:10 am
  62. Right…right…it is the Palestinians who ought to be the role models here with their 1 recently captured Israeli prisoner.

    AIG, do tell me of the wonderful lives that 7000+ Palestinians are living in Israeli dungeons. Tell me how their treatment adheres strictly to Geneva convention standards.

    Also, how on earth would a blind fold and strip search prevent your military from using all its intelligence capabilities to locate Shalit? After all, your people did just launch that ‘game-changing’ reconnaissance satellite.

    But boo hoo, you have one point – I don’t know why Hamas won’t mail Shalit’s letters either!

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 6, 2010, 7:51 am
  63. Israel is responsible for the security (or lack there of) of the Detaining Power; so it is ridiculous to say that what Israel may or may not do is ‘irrelevant.’

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 6, 2010, 8:01 am
  64. Nasser,

    It is not the Palestinians that need to be role models it is the hundreds of millions of Arabs and billions of Muslims around the world that need to show that they are not hypocrites when they talk about the Geneva convention. It is the Arab population in Western countries that have to prove that “human rights” is something you really believe in and not just a weapon to fight Israel.

    The Israeli prisoners are all treated according to the Geneva Convention. Your hero Samir Kuntar got a university degree while serving in an Israeli prison.

    Satellites cannot see inside buildings. It is really very simple to take the visitors, throughly check them and blindfold them and then move them using covered donkey carts or whatever so to make sure that they cannot be followed.

    Just keep coming with those lame excuses not to follow the Geneva Conventions. As I said, I don’t care, we don’t expect otherwise. But don’t complain when Israel does not follow the Geneva Conventions also.

    Posted by AIG | July 6, 2010, 9:58 am
  65. Ahh, because it is not Palestine v. Israel, but Arabs v. Israelis. If there ever was an argument that fucked the Palestinians over more…
    You know, there are many pro-Palestinians out there who are not Arab, or Muslim for that matter. But even if they all were, are you saying none of them condemn and speak out against the brutal regimes and rights abuses in the Arab world? Is this your argument – if someone is going to speak against Israelis, they better do so in every other case of injustice? Otherwise what? Are they anti-Semitic?
    There are hundreds of millions of Arabs, and hundreds of thousands of cases of injustice; it is a difficult task. Why not start with the worst perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses’ in the middle east? You know – those who have inflicted the highest deaths? (maybe make it the deaths of woman & children).

    There are many organizations that have documented the many signs of physical torture that goes on in your prisons that you claim are consistent with the Geneva Conventions. You say I come up with lame excuses, but you come up with lies. If you want evidence, ask, and I’d be happy to provide a mountain load.

    Satellites can read heat signatures. They can see ultraviolet and infrared light, as well as the visible spectrum. They can see where humans are in buildings. Anyone who has seen a spy show on TV knows this – how wonderfully simple and innocent of you to insist ‘donkey carts’ are all that is needed to skip past this ‘lame excuse’ of mine.

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 6, 2010, 12:30 pm
  66. The problem is how to make sure that the Palestinian state does not become an Iranian forward base like Lebanon.

    We are not going to get suckered again into this impossible arrangement with the Palestinian state.


    Direct negotiations would be a good start. And with the Leftists out of the picture, the current Israeli goverment won’t let the same mistake happen twice.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | July 6, 2010, 12:39 pm
  67. Nasser,

    What are you talking about? You said you have a lot of evidence? Please show me evidence of ANY effort ANYWHERE in the Arab world to grant Shalit his rights.

    You really understand nothing about satellite surveillance. What help is it to see all the people in their homes in Gaza? You need to track a specific human to a specific location. That is practically impossible as this person can easily be mingled with many other individuals and also can be taken underground deep enough so that no satellite can sense him. Your excuses are ultra lame.

    Instead of trying to come up with excuses, why don’t you insist that YOUR side follow the Geneva conventions? Or is that a demand you are prepared to make only of Israelis?

    Posted by AIG | July 6, 2010, 1:20 pm
  68. I said I can show you documentation of the evidence of physical torture of the Palestinian prisoners you keep in your dungeons. Why would the Arabs make an effort to secure Shalit’s rights when there is about 7000x as many Palestinians (many of which do not have any rights and have been subject to torture) in Israeli prisons? You have some seriously fucked up logic if you think humanity’s priorities ought to be in securing a war criminal’s rights.

    Obviously your intelligence agencies are not monitoring people in their homes. But, if the Red Cross were allowed to enter, they would certainly be tracked and followed from miles high in the sky (leading them directly to your beloved murderer). Sure, Hamas could force them into a crowd, but do you really think your intelligence agencies are so stupid as to lose track of and not be able to follow a human being outdoors? A group of human beings outdoors? It is like a carnival game, and an easy one at that.

    I would be surprised if Hamas even had bunkers Israel didn’t know about. But, even if they did, don’t you think your intelligence agencies would be waiting for them to emerge?

    I am telling you why there can be no guarantee Israel would not attempt a deadly rescue operation. So quit your whining about these supposed “ultra lame” “excuses” of mine, and accept the fact that you have not made one argument that has stood.

    Lastly – I find it extremely ridiculous that you insist Hamas follow the Geneva conventions before Israel (a supposed beacon of democracy) does. Mainly because it is Israel that violated human rights FIRST with regards to POWs! Three years ago Hamas had no POWs but Palestinian prisoners were still tortured. Aside from this huge fact, it is also true that Israel violates the rights of thousands more POWs than does Hamas.

    When Israel demonstrates that it treats its many thousands of prisoners according to international law, I will insist Hamas does the same. Right now, I could care less if Hamas doesn’t allow a special committee to visit that war criminal you call Shalit.

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 6, 2010, 5:15 pm
  69. Thank you for proving that you are only willing to support the Geneva Conventions when it suits you. I didn’t expect anything else. That is why I find most Arab talk of human rights so hypocritical.

    If Shalit is a war criminal then Hamas should give him a trial. Otherwise they should follow the Geneva Convention.

    You continue with your lame excuses. Hamas just needs to take the visitors into one of tunnel networks to make Israel lose track of him. If Israel knows about every bunker in Gaza, how come we don’t know where Shalit is? And if we do, why haven’t we attempted to rescue him which according to you we would surely attempt?

    The bottom line is very simple. You want to complain about human rights issues or Israeli misdeeds that is fine. I will not take you seriously until you fix your own home. Lead by example or shut up.

    Posted by AIG | July 6, 2010, 5:39 pm
  70. Will you admit that Israel treats its 7k Palestinians like crap?

    Do you believe in the Geneva Conventions?

    Posted by Nasser Victor | July 7, 2010, 11:25 pm

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

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