Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14, Syria

Who’s Afraid of a False Witness?

The “false witness” issue has gone from being a conspiratorial throw-away line in one of Nasrallah’s early summer speeches, to a full-blown scandal involving several arrest warrants from the Syrian judiciary, and threats by Lebanese opposition parties to boycott cabinet sessions until the issue is resolved.

Who is to blame for this fiasco? While it is fairly clear that the false witness file is just one part of an opposition campaign to discredit the STL, I feel that Saad al-Hariri is ultimately responsible for allowing this issue to snowball. Did he not recognize months ago that this was going to be the opposition’s game plan? Did he think that he was going to get off with a poorly-worded mea culpa in a Saudi newspaper?

By remaining out of the spotlight and not tackling the issue head-on, he has allowed the opposition to take complete control of this story. And the longer he tries to ignore it, the more suspicious and deceitful he and his allies look. Does it matter whether or not the 33 summoned individuals actually offered false testimony or tampered with evidence? No. What matters is that the opposition has been given an open floor to argue that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is nothing but a vast conspiracy relying on false witnesses.

I’ve gotten a lot of flak over the past two weeks for suggesting that Saad al-Hariri’s premiership is little more than a sustained absence, and that March 8th politicians have better rhetorical chops than their counterparts in March 14th. Let me ask you naysayers once again: let’s imagine the tables were turned, and that a media campaign was being waged against Hizbullah. Would Nasrallah remain quiet, or would he respond to his accusers calmly and clearly (and, probably, disarmingly), batting away their claims like the wispiest of dust bunnies?

Compared to what Hizbullah is facing, the false witness issue is small potatoes. Nasrallah is allegedly staring down an STL indictment built on five years of in-depth investigation, interviews, and forensic evidence. What does he do in response? He goes on the offensive a few months in advance, and one-ups the U.N. with a three-part TV special featuring Israeli satellite footage and confessions from convicted espionage artists. Nasrallah could handle the false witness thing in his sleep. Meanwhile, Hariri seems to be asleep.
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263 thoughts on “Who’s Afraid of a False Witness?

  1. For those of us who haven’t followed the STL drama I detail, we would greatly appreciate a quick summary of those witnesses and the key portions of their testimony that proved to be, or is alleged to be, false.

    IF this is not too cumbersome or time consuming.

    Posted by Lysander | October 6, 2010, 3:43 pm
  2. QN,

    Why do you think the issue of the “false witnesses” is not important and has no effect on the STL?

    P.S. There is no motive behind this question as I know people who are pro-March 14 give no credence to this issue while pro-March 8 are all about the issue.

    Posted by Fate | October 6, 2010, 3:54 pm
  3. Fate

    We know very little about what evidence the STL has, but we do know that they are not relying on the testimonies of people like al-Siddiq and Husam Husam. It also seems very unlikely, in my opinion, that Bellemare is going to point the finger at the accused and say that his evidence amounts to little more than something Marwan Hamadeh told Detlev Mehlis 5 years ago. This is not the way it works.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 6, 2010, 4:02 pm
  4. Agreed with QN on this writeup. Definitely agreed that M8 has the chops whereas Hariri is, for the most part, asleep at the wheel.
    This does not bode well for Lebanon.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 6, 2010, 4:02 pm
  5. It’s common place for Saudi Royals to maintain a hush hush policy on their plans and motives.

    How could we expect anything else from their envoy to Lebanon ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 6, 2010, 4:09 pm
  6. Great analysis. Right on #3 & 4.

    I think the M8 do not care as much as the obvious known names; such as Siddiq…and especially do not want to mention Husam Hussam as he still is in Syria giving interviews on Syrian TV. I wonder whether Bashar and Hariri bribed him together?
    My opinion is that HA & Syria would like to discredit Hamadeh and Jumblat (to some extent) as well as Basem Sabaa. These are people who were privy to the goings on in the last days before the assassination.
    Correct me if I am wrong; Chirac and Bush had warned Bashar not to harm Hariri and Jumblat. To my recollection it was in the news. Thus HA and Syria know that foreign intelligence has solid wiretaps and evidence to implicate them. The blowing of smoke is just that!
    Hariri bet on the indictments being issued by now and he did not confront the accusations. Partly because he is not his own man. He just follows KSA’s directives and locally seems clueless and in-cohesive.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Posted by danny | October 6, 2010, 4:11 pm
  7. Unless Saad Hariri’s kids are enrolled in a Saudi school … I’m not sure what these weekly visits to Saudi Arabia are all about.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 6, 2010, 4:30 pm
  8. Obviously Sa’ad Hariri is not the man for the job. This has been obvious for almost five years.More importantly this has been clear since he became the Premiere designate in early 2009. I , for one, have written at least six posts in which I have argued in each that he should take an extended vacation. His inability to give a speech, to be charismatic or to act as an effective leader is a big disadvantage to March 14 but is not the reason that HA are using the False Witnesses issue.

    The national unity government, the tower of Babel, under Hariri was not greatly more ineffective than what it was under his predecessor. My point is that we should not lose fact of the major problem in Lebanon and it goes by the name of Hezbollah. The group and its allies are dedicated to disrupt the normal state of affairs irrespective of who is the March 14 PM. The party of Hezbollah is marching to its own drummer and is intent on preserving its hegemony on the corrupt Lebanese political system at any cost. It is apparent that the STL and the indictments will at a minimum soil its image and damage its prospects to consolidate its illgained power. The timing regarding its decisions to freeze its members participation in the cabinet is an old tyactic that paid dividends before and would have been less advisable after Oct 13. This was the time to escalate the confrontation with March 14 and to distract attention from the STL and the pending indictments.
    As I said before HA will succeed in disrupting the smooth operation of government and possibly cause the cabinets’ resignation but all of that is for naught. HA will not be able to form a government neither would it be able to avoid the indictments . HA is in its fight for its life and I will be surprised if they will prevail.

    Posted by ghassan karam | October 6, 2010, 5:26 pm
  9. Oh the hysterical reactions to Syria’s warrants. Its funny, it really is. Its Syrian law ladies and gents. If you get summoned for as a witness and fail to appear, which the 33 did, then you are regarded as being in contempt of court, same as any country in the world, and the authorities have no choice but to issue an arrest warrant.

    The warrants are not viable anywhere outside Syria, so unless any of these people ever set foot there, the warrants are meaningless.

    Its not what Hariri is saying that makes him look “suspicious and deceitful”, its what he’s not saying.

    The easiest response would have been for him to announce that all he cares about is justice for his dad and since these false witnesses had wasted the investigations time in doing so, he is as eager as anyone to catch them and find out who was behind them and that he would set up a special commission to investigate.

    And Hamadeh seems to be spending an awful amount of time in Paris these days….

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 5:44 pm
  10. “HA is in its fight for its life and I will be surprised if they will prevail.”

    Oh I do hope you like surprises GK!

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 5:50 pm
  11. The Syrian warrants in absentia would have been exactly as you describe them had Syria been a democracy with an independent judiciary. But sadly it is not. That is why these warrants , as ineffective as they will be, are intended to send a political message in support of HA regarding the STL and indictments. Syria is again trying to meddle and influence events in Lebanon and that is fair. Its success rests squarley on the shoulder of the Lebanese who are willing to cooperate and advance its position at the expense of sovereignty.

    Posted by ghassan karam | October 6, 2010, 5:55 pm
  12. Moe, Should I eat mu beret on youtube or is that not sufficient?:-)

    Posted by ghassan karam | October 6, 2010, 5:56 pm
  13. GK,
    Let me get this straight, the tyrannical evil and twisted minds of the Syrian dictatorship are helping HA in regards to the STL.

    And the best they can do is 33 warrants for being in contempt of court? That’s it?

    They are going to erode our sovereignty by applying the letter of their law? Man, can’t they at least fabricate some evidence tying Siddiq to Mossad?!

    No you are right, its us that see conspiracy theories everywhere!! 🙂

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 6:05 pm
  14. UTP, what was your moniker before?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 6, 2010, 6:17 pm
  15. QN, whatever happened to the minister who was going to report about the false witnesses at the cabinet meeting?

    Also, why is it that some folks are delaying taking a definitive and unambiguous position that says that false witnesses are to be condemned, investigated, and the best effort put forth for discovering who was behind their false testimonies?

    Already, reading the official website of the STL, the STL has sent more than one request to HA for any evidence and material they have, especially material that they say is in their possession but that they haven’t made public yet. So, the STL, is taking all this seriously and asking anyone with evidence to come forward. Any accusations against the judges involved, or even the prosecutor, must be backed by evidence or rationale, otherwise it’s hogwash. Who is going to believe that such jurists are in fact being manipulated by the U.S. or by Israel?

    Name one international judge of similar courts who has been proven to be following orders of a specific country as opposed to be an independent jurist.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 6, 2010, 6:24 pm
  16. HP,
    The accusations are not so much at the prosecution or judges but the investigation itself. The prosecutor & judges can only act on the evidence presented. But according to GK, the investigation cannot be manipulated or fabricated and its all conspiracy theories.

    Just ask the people at the UN about Colin Powells vial of anthrax and 3d simulations of Iraqi mobile chemical weapons labs…oh wait

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 6:47 pm
  17. usedtopost said:

    The easiest response would have been for him to announce that all he cares about is justice for his dad and since these false witnesses had wasted the investigations time in doing so, he is as eager as anyone to catch them and find out who was behind them and that he would set up a special commission to investigate.

    Exactly. Why didn’t he do that? Because he has no political IQ. He makes Saniora look positively Machiavellian.

    Could you please go back to being Mo? Usedtopost is a lame handle.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 6, 2010, 6:55 pm
  18. UTP, agree about the UN presentation by Colin Powell (who’s on the record saying it’s the worse thing he’s had to do and he feels bad about it). However, my question is about the judges. You seem to be suggesting that some evidence is fabricated. Maybe so but shouldn’t we wait to see what that evidence is first?

    QN, you must remember how much I liked Saniora (is that the right spelling?). I still do. The man is a poet, he is articulate, erudite, smart, and loyal. I also don’t see him as a fanatic as some seem to think in relation to Sunni domination, etc. I do wish he was still the PM.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 6, 2010, 7:06 pm
  19. I vote we nominate Mo for one of the 3 top positions in Lebanon: President or PM or Speaker of the Parliament. In a post-confessional Lebanon it shouldn’t matter what religion he is believed to belong to (given that he is of course free to adopt any or no religion regardless of what his birth religion was).

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 6, 2010, 7:11 pm
  20. “Why didn’t he do that? Because he has no political IQ”

    I think you are letting him off easy there. Have you wondered why he got the job and not Bahaa?

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 7:27 pm
  21. How is the Colin Powell testimony relevant to the STL? His evidence was manufactured by the CIA, not the UN. Could their evidence be wrong? Of course. But that is why there is a court of law and the prosecution has to prove its case.

    Posted by AIG | October 6, 2010, 7:37 pm
  22. HP,
    Thanks for the vote. My Dad is Shia, my mum is Sunni and my kids are half Roman Catholic. Can I have all 3 positions? 🙂

    We can wait to see the evidence but we know, by virtue of the investigating teams reports that the evidence “clearly” pointed to Syria until it suddenly didn’t when Syria became useful to Obama and now it “clearly” points to Hizballah.

    We also know that both Israel and the US refused point blank to answer or help the investigation and we know that no lines of investigation were followed to check whether anyone else could have been involved.

    Now, if we are talking world standards we should, in the interest of justice of course, be asking why two parties as “interested” as they are in the country were allowed to simply fob the investigation off?

    Oh and I agree, Seniora was loyal. I bet we disagree whom he was loyal to though….:)

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 7:38 pm
  23. This whole false witnesses business is a slippery slope. Supposedly they lied once already. What’s the guarantee that they won’t lie again in the opposite direction. Then, it’ll become a false false witnesses case.

    Never a dull moment in lebanese politics.

    On a serious note, why can’t everyone wait and see what the court has to say. Hope the court has solid evidence backing its findings as its credibility is on the line.

    Already in my view there is room to question its credibility when it comes to the leaks. How did Hariri or others know that the finger will be pointed at HA? Why the leaks on the part of the court?

    Posted by Ras Beirut | October 6, 2010, 9:07 pm
  24. RB,

    Your questions in reverse order.
    The leaks are not out and out leaks. The investigate team should, but at their discretion, provide the Lebanese Judiciary with regular reports – Seeing as the UN investigative team is officially supposed to be aiding the Lebanese investigation….. So certain people get to see where the investigation is going

    Waiting to see what the court has to say works in regular countries – In Lebanon, an indictment will be enough to get the ball rolling that will take us to a place none of us really want to go and how quickly we go there will depend on how much political capitol HA’s opponents try to make of any indictments, hence the attempt by HA to pre-empt the effects.

    Hizballah is not trying to prove its innocence as, to be frank, there’s nothing anyone can or will do if they are indicted, convicted or otherwise. What they are doing is introducing enough uncertainty into any accusations as to make it as difficult as possible for its opponents to raise temperatures after the fact

    Besides, why was waiting to see what the court has to say not a M14 refrain we ever heard when Syria was tried and convicted before the first report had even landed on UN desks? Why all this sudden appreciation for due process?

    Posted by usedtopost | October 6, 2010, 9:18 pm
  25. I highly recommend this long essay by Chibli Mallat, in the Daily Star:

    The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the staring abyss and what must be done about it

    The STL, the UN and Lebanon must all contribute to avert an explosive situation in the country
    Chibli Mallat
    7 October 2010

    Beirut — Lebanon is back on the brink. The highly charged atmosphere has been steadily building up again around the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which was established for “truth and justice” after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri five years ago with little to show to date.

    Diagnosing the crisis

    The build-up of hatred and mistrust in Lebanon needs to be better understood in legal and political terms for a diagnosis that could pull the country away from the abyss. Nothing short of a carefully thought out action by the parties who want to avoid it, and an international understanding that closely accompanies it, will avoid the catastrophe staring us in the eye.

    How did we get here? Best for understanding to start from the end. A relentless rumor in Beirut is that the STL has found enough evidence to incriminate Hizbullah members for the Hariri assassination. Hizbullah is fighting back by rejecting the entire judicial process as an international plot designed to destroy it, and by offering an alternative theory in Hariri’s assassination implicating the Israelis. In a joint effort with Hizbullah and Syria, four generals who spent almost four years in prison question the STL’s integrity in refusing to bring to trial those witnesses whose false testimonies they believe led to their incarceration, and to the finger pointed then at the Syrian government.

    Large-scale violence is round the corner, and sectarian Sunni-Shiite street confrontations are becoming a recurrent and spiraling pattern in Beirut and other Lebanese cities. We have reached a point where the country is damned if it will, and damned if it won’t. If the STL is dismantled, the main reason for its establishment in the first place, to prevent the victims from taking the law into their own hands, will vanish. The street will inevitably take over the yearning for justice in bouts of spiraling revenge. If the STL indicts members of pro-Syrian factions, they will resist it in any way they can, and already threaten large-scale violence. With regional deadlocks around Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict persistent and growing, Lebanon will again offer its citizens as fodder to internal and regional contradictions.

    Meanwhile, the STL remains mum, and the prosecutor gives no indication of the nature of the work achieved, the timetable expected, or the direction of the investigation. After five years of expensive enquiries, and a pattern of targeted assassinations that claimed over 100 innocent victims and passersby, the STL has little to show. No one was arrested or indicted, and those who were arrested have been released. In an effort to salvage the STL, its president Antonio Cassese declared in May that “there are indications the Prosecutor might submit an indictment by December 2010.” In the latest interview, given to Now Lebanon on August 31, the prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, has continued his predecessor’s stubborn silence with the promise of progress no one can see, while belying the STL president’s statements. One admission fused inadvertently, fueling more criticism, when he indirectly admitted that the four generals were imprisoned on trumped up evidence.

    The Syrian government and its allies are therefore claiming to be right in their expressed caution, then outright rejection, of the STL. Not a single accusation has held, despite a finding of two consecutive prosecutors that the “Syrian-Lebanese security order” was key to understanding the assassination of Hariri. Worse, whatever justice associated with the STL unraveled since it ordered the release of the four generals on April 29 2009.
    In their distrust or fear of the STL, the Syrian government and its Lebanese allies now openly demand that it be be dismantled. To press their case, a common position has emerged amongst them politically and legally.

    In political terms, Hizbullah and its allies are threatening the downfall of the national unity government, and to resort to the streets to achieve it if the resignation of their members from government is insufficient. By setting the STL at the heart of any government business, the paralysis of the country is assured for months on end.

    In legal terms, two measures have been taken to stop the STL work: 1) pressure on the Lebanese government to deny the funds that it contributes to process, amounting to half of the expenses under STL statutes; and 2) initiation of judicial action in Syria with a set of retaliatory measures, including arrest warrants for leading Lebanese and international figures issued at the end of last week. The arrest warrants were issued against 33 persons; most are open critics of the Syrian government.

    Alternatively, the STL critics would like the prosecutor to shelve its rumored upcoming indictment against Hizbullah members. This is not possible in practice because the tribunal, any tribunal, would destroy its legitimacy by declaring a suspect is off the hook sine die.

    Politically, Lebanon is threatened again with the paralysis and violence of a failed state. The Hizbullah-led factions in Parliament do not have the majority for a new government, and even if they do, it will be hard to find a Sunni leader who will confront the anger of the street if Hariri is forcibly removed from power.
    Legally, the UN Secretary General is obligated to find STL funds denied by the Lebanese government elsewhere. As for the arrest warrants, they will in all likelihood boomerang. When the Syrian government conducted its own attempt to investigate the Hariri case with a view to short-circuiting the work of the investigators five years ago, the investigators accused them of obstructing justice.

    To recap: the diagnosis just offered underlines the STL’s professional shortcomings and the attempts of the Syrian government and its allies in Lebanon to build on these shortcomings to dismantle it.

    The deadlock will therefore persist unless measures that respond to the legitimate criticism of the STL transform the entire scene, flawed as it is with the tragic failure of the STL in fulfilling its missions five years after an assassination that wrecked Lebanon and the region.

    The crisis has now escalated in such proportions that leading Lebanese prosecutors, and two German investigators, are now under arrest warrants issued by the Syrian authorities. This brings the Hariri and related assassinations squarely back to the lap of the UN.

    Correctives: the STL, Lebanon, and the UN

    While parties are digging down their heels, is a compromise possible? I am skeptical, so deadlocked is the situation domestically and regionally, but one should try nonetheless. Political developments depend on the nature and speed of the simmering sectarian violence in the country. The conclusions here are exclusively legal-judicial.

    To avert the legal-judicial crisis as it takes the country into the abyss, a game-change is needed by three protagonists: the STL, the UN, and the Lebanese government.

    The STL

    First, what should the STL do? It must simply perform. So far it has nothing to show.

    The first corrective is to show that justice is actively sought through finding and arresting the killers. The central problem, uncovering the cold-blooded murder of so many innocent people, requires a courage and professionalism that vanished since the appointment of Serge Brammertz in 2005. Brammertz relinquished his professional duty by doing effectively nothing for three years, at a time when assassinations were persisting in a clear pattern targeting anti-Syrian Lebanese personalities, and while four accused generals and a few lesser acolytes were languishing in prison without trial.

    There are at present several competing public theories: one places the Syrian government at the centre, alternatively Hizbullah; the second, recently advanced by Hizbullah, accuses the Israeli government; the third, which has been the mainstay of the generals and their allies for the past five years, is the allegedly Islamist Sunni suicide bomber, Ahmad Abu Ads, whose tape was aired the day after the assassination of Hariri.

    How should the STL proceed? It has now been five years of bungling and silence, and the argument for the secrecy of the investigation has worn out dramatically.

    If Hizbullah is saying that the Israeli government is responsible, why doesn’t prosecutor Bellemare interview Israeli officials, and say it has? Conversely, a large number of Lebanese, including most of the victims’ families, and the two first UN investigators, are persuaded that high officials in Syria were involved: why are the 19 suspects identified by Mehlis in his second report not being questioned? If they were, who were they and what did they say? One of the most stunning findings in that investigation is the telephone call from a low level Islamist activist to the private cellphone of the former president of the Republic, who had used the personal intervention of the Syrian president to force an extension of his mandate on Hariri. Why did this man call the president’s personal phone a few minutes after the blast? There are numerous contradictory explanations floating in Beirut, but the international investigation, which exposed the troubling fact has never taken the trouble of explaining why this track has gone cold. And the thesis of the Sunni Islamist plot around Abu Ads, what came of it? What about the 14 other bombs and assassinations that formed, according to the UN investigation, a “pattern”? If Hariri’s death is so difficult to unravel, are all the other killings as intractable? There are myriads of other questions left unanswered, including leaks to journalists who trumpet news that the STL then refuses to comment on.

    The second corrective is to confront the false witnesses. They cannot remain at large, and must be called in by the STL even if they are a sideshow that does not go to the heart of the issue. Perhaps the first two investigators were wrong in pointing the finger to the Syrian government, but this mistake needs to be squarely addressed by the STL. The murder of Hariri and the suffering of a hundred victims and their families in crimes unresolved, remain the central issue. The file of the false witnesses is a disturbing but relatively marginal concern that nonetheless needs to be fully clarified by the STL. If the fabricated evidence is not marginal, as Hizbullah and its allies contend, only a full explanation of the STL can allay the doubts triggered by a manifestly false imprisonment that lasted three and a half years.
    The third corrective is about the style of communication chosen by the STL. Despite the clear mission it offers to the public on its official site, any substantive information the Lebanese receive is from some obscure journalist in this or that foreign newspaper. The STL has even abdicated the role assigned to it by the UNSC to brief the Council regularly. Since Brammertz took over, all the reports have been empty apart from bureaucratic drivel.
    The continued silence of the STL on any matter of substance, with the pretense that the slightest explanation jeopardizes the investigation, is key to understanding the present crisis. Nature abhors the void, and victims and the public at large are left to glean stories from journalistic sources. It is not sufficient for the STL to keep repeating that people should be patient and that an indictment will be handed down some day, when nothing appears to be happening, especially when the country is on the verge of large-scale violence. By keeping silent despite its own contradictory stances, the STL forgets the foremost rule that lawyers learn in the first year of law school the world over. Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.

    The Lebanese actors

    Second, what should the main Lebanese protagonists do?
    Hizbullah and his allies are asking for the STL to be dismantled. This cannot happen, and even if the whole Lebanese government requests it, which is unlikely, the STL, like the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and others, is an international mechanism that cannot be dismantled or stopped in the foreseeable future. A different approach altogether is necessary.

    The groundwork has been done, with various Lebanese factions united in the current government around expanding justice, not stifling it. The relevant quote of the official governmental platform, reached after months of wrangling, is worth reproducing in full. In Section 13, on the STL, “the government affirms its respect for international law and the commitment agreed in the National Dialogue to cooperate with the STL, which was established by Security Council Resolution 1757, to unveil the truth in the murder of martyred Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, his companions and the victims of other assassinations, to establish justice, and to deter criminals.”

    This was immediately followed by another section, on a case of national and international importance that had until then been all but neglected by the Lebanese political leaders and the international community.

    Section 14 reads: “The government will multiply its efforts in following up the case of Imam Musa al-Sadr’s disappearance with his two companions Sheikh Muhammad Yaaqoub and journalist Abbas Badreddin in Libya, in order to find out what effectively happened, to free them and to punish those Libyan and non-Libyan nationals responsible for their disappearance, as well as the executors and all those involved, on the basis of the official accusation issued by the General Prosecutor on August 2, 2004, and of the indictment decided by the investigative judge of the Judicial Council [Lebanon’s highest court] on August 21, 2008. The government further insists on the need for the Judicial Council to speed up its work and take the national and international measures required by law.”

    This platform has become a defining matter for Lebanon’s future in the light of this national unity program, which demands persistence and effective results in two defining crimes of the country’s traumatic history: the assassination of Hariri and 22 other innocent Lebanese in February 2005, and the abduction by Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi of Sadr and his two companions in August 1978.

    This will not deter the suspicion of Hizbullah towards the STL, or its fear of the persistent rumors about the involvement of its cadres in the assassination of Hariri. Nor will it lessen its animosity towards an international justice that remains highly selective. Still, together with the arrest and investigation of the false witnesses, it will show that the international community is not out to just get a particular Lebanese community, and that justice is a far more universal proposal with which all Lebanese can identify. The full government must take the lead, especially on the international level, to make effective the indictment of Ghadafi and the arrest warrants issued by the Lebanese judiciary.

    The UN

    Last and not least, what should the UN do?

    The Office of the Secretary General has already reacted negatively to the attacks against the STL, and reiterated its support for its work. This was inevitable, but it is far from sufficient, and all the steps suggested above must be met, embraced and encouraged in the UN, especially in the Security Council. In addition the Secretary General should request results from the STL in closed and open sessions on the contradictions left in five years of justice delayed.
    The Security Council’s role in support of the STL has been time and again doubted and undermined by the Syrian government and its Lebanese allies. Flouting the UN is, however, not exceptional, and UNSC resolutions are violated every single day at great expense to peace and stability in the world.

    The case of the STL is different, however, because this is an international tribunal that is being threatened in its very existence, and it is hard to accept either the UN Secretariat or the main Western capitals yielding in New York to pressure. In this particular case, action in favor of justice in the Imam Sadr case can be accommodated by the open and effective support of European countries and the United States, within the Security Council and beyond.

    All these remedies appear to be a distant shot, for intellectual and legal leadership is simply not there. We would not be staring into the abyss if such leadership hadn’t been so patently absent since more than half the people of Lebanon marched in Beirut for truth and justice in the Spring of 2005 and several times since. They deserve better.

    Still, either the Lebanese retreat and condemn international justice as politically biased and hopeless, leaving the scene to chaos decided by arms, or the writ of justice is expanded as much as possible, in Lebanon and elsewhere. Abandoning the STL will leave raw violence as guide, domestically and regionally. So dramatic is the tension in the Middle East that no one will be spared, with sectarian violence bound to spread to the street in Damascus, and a failed state in Lebanon drawing in Israel and Iran into direct confrontation.

    Chibli Mallat is an attorney and professor of law. His book “March 2221. Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution – An essay on justice and non-violence,” published in 2007, underlined the early shortcomings of the STL.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 6, 2010, 9:36 pm
  26. QN,

    Are you applying for a job with Koraytem HQ? Part of Baroud’s masterplan for 2014: Baabda or bust? … 🙂

    Posted by david | October 6, 2010, 10:57 pm
  27. UTP,

    The point I was trying to make is a general one. If the court is not ready to publicly issue its findings, then leaks should not occur, regardless if these leaks are pointing the finger at Syria, HA, or aliens from outer space.

    I view these leaks as unprofessional and unecessarily stirring the political bickering.

    What if at the end of the day these leaks turn out to be incorrect?

    Posted by Ras Beirut | October 7, 2010, 12:28 am
  28. QN,

    To me, Mallat’s piece reads like science fiction. Not one of his recommendations are practical. The one relating to Sadr is in fact amusing. I understand where he is coming from, but seriously, going after Khadafi is not possible for many reasons and in any case HA would not appreciate the effort enough to stay in a national government.

    I am probably missing something. What part of what he wrote do you think interesting?

    Posted by AIG | October 7, 2010, 1:43 am
  29. There is no doubt that Mr. Malat has done an excellent job of presenting clearly the major issues as they stand in the current STL Hezbollah standoff.
    I am totally aware that Chibli Malat is a Law Professor at a Yale but yet I am not sure that his recommendations for the STL amount to much. He asks the STL to perform better. That is a recommendation that can be given to any institution at any point in time since no one can deny that any and all performance can be enhanced. He then asks the STL to adopt a more transparent public communication policy. Again this is the kind of advice that one can offer anyone and at any time. The only substansive recommendation that he demands from the STL is the arrest and investigation of the false witnesses. I am afraid that Mr. Malat is making this recommendation on shaky legal grounds. To the best of my knowledge non of these false accounts were given to the STL investigators but were accounts given to the UNIIIC. Mr. Bellmare has often referred to the fact that he is not relying on any of these accounts and that it was the STL pre trial judge who determined that these accounts were not trust worthy.What is lost in all the “false witnesses” discussion is the fact that these witnesses were not outed by HA but by the UNIIIC and then the STL itself, the implication being that this case does not rest on accounts of false witnesses.false witnesses.
    I am afraid that the recommendations for the Lebanese authorities to bring a case against Muamar Ghadafi in the Musa Al Sadr dissapearance will not achieve much. It would be apparent to all that although the case has merits the timing is suspicious. It sure looks that this recommendation boils down to asking the international community and the Lebanese government to ‘buy” Hezbollah cooperation through this ill conceived step.

    It is highly unlikely that any of these recommendations will be followed and furthermre I doubt their effectiveness even if implemented. All of this is testament that the STL , as it stands, does not suffer of any fatal flaws. The threat of sedition results from the flaw in the make up of the Lebanese political system. If anything is to be changed I recommend radical changes to be performed on the Lebanese body politic. That is the source of our problems.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 7, 2010, 1:44 am
  30. I love how the STL is to be dismissed out of hand as illegitimate with no right to investigate or indict Lebanese citizens, whereas when Damascus issues arrest warrants to foreign nationals, it’s just the regular functioning of the rule of law, and anyone who doesn’t show up for a friendly summons deserves to have an arrest warrant put out on them. (Just like the warrant of Joumblatt back in the day!)

    And by the by, Damascus has already asked Interpol to honor their arrest warrants, a request that Interpol has refused, stating that they were issued on political and not criminal grounds.

    Posted by sean | October 7, 2010, 3:47 am
  31. GK #29:

    When Chibli Mallat writes:

    “In Section 13, on the STL, the government affirms its respect for international law and the commitment agreed in the National Dialogue to cooperate with the STL, which was established by Security Council Resolution 1757, to unveil the truth in the murder of martyred Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, his companions and the victims of other assassinations, to establish justice, and to deter criminals.”

    “This was immediately followed by another section, on a case of national and international importance that had until then been all but neglected by the Lebanese political leaders and the international community.

    Section 14 reads: “The government will multiply its efforts in following up the case of Imam Musa al-Sadr’s disappearance…”etc.

    I understood that the following-up on Sadr’s case was point 14 after point 13 of the “official governmental platform”, so it is no “rabbit” taken out of the hat suddenly to appease a given community.

    IMO, Chibli Mallat is right in highlighting, among other things, the political clumsiness of the team supposed to defend the STL: in the same way that HA looks all the more guilty with every upping in their threats -before even the supposed indictment!-, the M14 team looks guilty of not having clean hands every time they respond with bubbling and mumblings.

    GK, I dissent with you on the uselessness of Mr Mallat’s “son de cloche”: unlike other people that have been pulling the skirts of the STL folks now and then, Mallat is known in many international circles, United Nations included. And he was once a presidential candidate for Lebanon, wasn’t he?

    Posted by mj | October 7, 2010, 4:00 am
  32. mj
    I am very aware of the credentials of Mr. Mallat. I was , during, the last presidential elections, one of his avid supporters and I still am.
    All his recommendations are reasonable and could be acted upon but non is a recommendation that will make a difference. That , at least in my mind, speaks to the strong position of the STL as it stands. (

    BTW, I never implied that the Musa Al Sadr issue was pulled out of a hat but I am very skeptical of the timing. It does come across as a rather crass attempt at silencing an opposition. I don’t think it will work. Nabih Beri would welcome the investigation an indictment of Muamar Ghadafi but will that will not make the STL acceptable to him.

    As for the recommendation for the STL to arrest the false witnesses I just happen to believe that Mr. Mallat is simply wrong on that score.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 7, 2010, 7:46 am
  33. To the supporters of the lunatic Mallat (hhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh@presidential candidate!): rest assured Hizbullah will prevail. As for his “illgained power,” one should be deeply sick to use such a word

    Posted by Reader | October 7, 2010, 1:55 pm
  34. I don’t know about you all but it looks like the shit is going to hit the fan. There is no doubt when that verdict comes out civil war is going to break out that will make 1975 look like a picnic. Lebanon is doomed to failure, end of story. It will never be at real peace unless it is allowed to split up like a pizza into confessional lines.

    Posted by OJ | October 7, 2010, 5:46 pm
  35. OJ, what civil war? Who internally is in a position to fight militarily with HA? The army won’t do it as (a) it will split and (b) we have recent history as guide.
    Is that a hidden wish? If Lebanon is destroyed again the only losers are the Lebanese, local and diaspora. Everyone else in the immediate surroundings gains, including Israel and Syria. The rest are indifferent, what’s another little conflict where people die? just add it to Sudan, Rwanda, etc…
    There is a lot of barking going on and doomsayers abound. Pundits are prolific with thoughts, projections, and advice.
    I, for one, don’t see beyond the fog. I understand that you may be frustrated and disappointed but there are no objective indicators to doomsday (yet).

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 7, 2010, 9:16 pm
  36. HP,
    I have to agree with OJ. Things don’t look good at all. The continuous escalation on both sides eventually will lead to clashes on the streets. I don’t think these will lead to a long internal strife ala 1975.

    But there is a game changer on the horizon. For the first time the Lebanese famous formula: no winner and no loser (la ghaleb wala maghloub) will change.

    Posted by XP | October 8, 2010, 3:35 am
  37. Haram. Lebanon does look like it isn’t going to hold it together. It is looking like Iraq, Bosnia, with all three perhaps going the way of the Serbia-Kosovo and Czech-Slovak splitting way.

    Haram because if Lebanon splits up into separate states for Maronites, Shiia and Druze – with mixed cities I guess – it is a lot of pain for no purpose. As the many state in Europe created in the pain of nation-state building in 19th/20th centuries showed – at the end of the day you have to put it all back together via a “EU” market union any way – Lebanese religious/community leaders could spare everyone the pain of separation when we know eventually we’ll going to come back into a Turkish-centred economic zone in any case!!!

    Posted by Looking like Bosnia, Iraq | October 8, 2010, 4:22 am
  38. A crisis is not something to fear, on the contrary it is to be welcomed since it can be a sign of growth and renewal.

    I find it interesting when the same individuals who express fear that the current stand off in Lebanon might lead to an escalation that will sweep away the present political set up in Lebanon are often the ones that complain about the incompetent politicians and the archaic feudalistic sectarian political structure.
    Lebanon in its current form has been a dysfunctional state ever since its inception. If one cares, really cares for the idea of this state, then one must cheer for an escalation that could bring about a resolution of what has beset this wretched land for so long. Crisis is about rebirth and does not imply except the death of what is no longer viable.
    I for one, have no tears to shed for any parts of the established political class in Lebanon. I hope and am willing to learn to pray, if that would help :-),that the Lebanon that will come out of this crisis will be a viable responsible democratic and secular one. I would hope that the hegemony of HA will be checked but what is equally important that the old political class will just fade away and the republic that merges is one that is based on allegiance to the ideas and one based on equality and respect for human rights.
    Why would one ever want the continuation of what has never worked and that has been a total failure in every regard?

    Unfortunately there is no guarantee that what emerges from a crisis is the revolutionary change that will be based on a new vision unless the stakeholders demand that change. If we make the mistake of settling one more time for another meaningless and unworkable solution based on such anachronistic ideas as “no winners and no losers” { La ghaleb wa la maghloob)
    then we would have squandered another opportunity to grow. The choice is ours as it has always been.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 8, 2010, 8:55 am
  39. HP,

    How does Israel gain from a civil war in Lebanon? In fact, Israel loses from a civil war. What Israel needs in Lebanon is a strong government that can exercise its sovereignty and stop foreign actors from using Lebanon to attack Israel.

    In fact, Israel would prefer Hizballah ruling Lebanon to a civil war. This has the potential of making the Israel-Lebanon border just as quiet as the Golan border.

    Posted by AIG | October 8, 2010, 12:37 pm
  40. I’ll add my 2 cents.

    I too foresee some kind of civil war (or conflict) in the near future. Things are not looking good and will have to come to a head eventually.

    The Lebanon experiment has failed miserably. Ghassan is right that renewal and change has to come somehow, to shake things up and then MAYBE the Lebanese might stand to build something workable. But I’m not holding my breath. I’ve long stated that the problem with Lebanon is the Lebanese and their mentality. And I frankly do not see that mentality changing in our lifetimes. More than likely, any kind of conflict will end the same it ended in 1958 or 1990, with some new sectarian balance and more bullshit to follow.
    One compares to Czech-Slovakia? The difference is, Czechs and Slovaks, despite their differences, have maintained a mentality of democracy and non-violence to advance or resolve their differences. We do not have any of that in our blood.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 8, 2010, 12:45 pm
  41. As long as the Assads and their clan are running Syria, there is absolutely no chance for Lebanon living in peace.

    I thought I’d never say this … but I miss Bush.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 8, 2010, 2:08 pm
  42. AIG said:

    In fact, Israel would prefer Hizballah ruling Lebanon to a civil war. This has the potential of making the Israel-Lebanon border just as quiet as the Golan border.


    Your plans have been exposed! Israel assassinated Hariri and framed Hizbullah for the crime, knowing that they would be forced to take over the country when pushed into a corner by the STL (which Israel set up, naturally…)

    Sneaky bastards.


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 8, 2010, 2:59 pm
  43. QN,

    You almost figured out the whole plot. You just need to figure out how we are going to steal the water of the Litani…

    Posted by AIG | October 8, 2010, 3:12 pm
  44. Do you think we are so naive? You have no plans to steal the water of the Litani because you’re planning to use it to mount a submarine invasion of Lebanon.

    We’re always a step ahead of you…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 8, 2010, 3:51 pm
  45. Submarine invasion of Lebanon! I like that one!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 8, 2010, 4:37 pm
  46. “Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah briefly came out of hiding on Friday to plant a tree as part of his party’s campaign to encourage the Lebanese to go green.”

    Now that’s some funny stuff!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 8, 2010, 4:40 pm
  47. As long as the Assads and their clan are running Syria, there is absolutely no chance for Lebanon living in peace.

    I thought I’d never say this … but I miss Bush.


    Don’t feel ashamed. I felt that way the day Obama took office. And Americans are slowly waking up…


    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 8, 2010, 6:08 pm
  48. PeterinDubai/AP,
    What are Americans waking up to AP? Don’t tell me that you have joined the Tea Party, the party of disgrunteled Old White Males that cannot get to terms that a Black man is a President?
    Peter, Very few both in the US and globally miss the presidency that was built on the principle of illegality. President Bush and Darth Vader aka Cheney will eventually get the treatment that they deserve: to be put on trial for crimes against humanity and for disregarding the rule of law.
    The enemey of my enemy is not my friend.I might disagree with Bashar Assad’s dictatorship with every fiber of my being but this does not mean that I am willing to sell my soul for 30 of silver.
    Bush was a disaster for the US, the world and the ME. The last thing that we need is an unprincipled cowboy.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 8, 2010, 6:28 pm
  49. Gotta agree with Ghassan on this one. Bush was a disaster who’s aftereffects we’re still feeling today. Both in the ME and in the USA.

    And the tea party would be a laughable joke were it not for the fact that it’s apparently resonating with every ignorant, misinformed, idiot out there these days.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 8, 2010, 6:33 pm
  50. Hmm… interesting antipodal positions.

    I think it’s too soon to tell. Depending on how the Middle East evolves and settles (if indeed it does settle), Pres. G.W. Bush may get a lot of credit (or not). Like every U.S. President, there is the good and the bad and there are the mistakes. Same with Obama, probably. Still, too soon for an objective historical judgment.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 8, 2010, 7:02 pm
  51. In this respect, the question to ask is: would the world have been better off with Saddam Hussein still running Iraq?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 8, 2010, 7:04 pm
  52. QN,

    It seems hariri has been listening to your advice…

    Okab Saqr is supposed to reveal “false witnesses” on Monday!

    Let’s wait and see…

    Posted by danny | October 8, 2010, 9:43 pm
  53. It looks like after the meeting between Hariri and Nasrallah , weeks ago when Hariri informed Nasrallah with the finding of the international court , Hezbollah , Syria and Iran decided to move from conciliation to total win and defeat for march 14 camp , that was the hair that broke the Camel back ,

    my feeling is that the court will not accuse Hezbollah under the presume of Hariri to save Lebanon from a sure civil war ,

    Posted by Norman | October 8, 2010, 11:34 pm
  54. “President Bush and Darth Vader aka Cheney will eventually get the treatment that they deserve: to be put on trial for crimes against humanity and for disregarding the rule of law.”

    The Obama administration has signaled in no uncertain terms that there will be no accountability. It’s an American tradition for our hallowed leaders to grant retroactive immunity to their predecessors. Some *progressives* among the “professional left” are aghast & outraged that their hope for change can’t compete with entrenched complicity in bipartisan serial CYA.

    Cheney is one of the most evil men to hold power in the USofA. Only J Edgar Hoover gives him a run for the money in that regard. Bush was a tool easily swayed by appealing to his “Christian” messianic tendencies. American converts of his sort are especially vulnerable to those who understand their weaknesses. CULTS R US.

    In the end, the disasters of Iraq & Operation Just Reward came home and his father’s men such as James Baker et al managed to somehow Isolate Cheney and his cabal from the WH.

    It’s Dick Cheney that the nostalgic yearn for, not George W Bush.

    AIG, you should run for the Knesset. You practical notion about HA in charge of Lebanon has another pragmatic real-life benefit to Israel in that the spawn of Al_Qaeda are not allowed to range free in the buffer zone of southern Lebanon.

    Posted by lally | October 9, 2010, 12:22 am
  55. “Barack Obama is, more than others, required to clarify his position in Lebanon, because it was his policy that enabled the regional players to feel so extremely confident that they would demand the annulment of a tribunal established by a Security Council resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Indeed, his policy was what made Iran feel that it was above being held to account in Lebanon, and that it was in a trade-off relationship in Iraq, one which shows that its political skill is capable of devouring Obama’s emerging administration.”

    Okay, enough already, I am now convinced that R. Dergham is not merely “like” Stephen Colbert, but rather is him. Seriously, on what planet is this not satire?

    Posted by david | October 9, 2010, 1:22 am
  56. Some of you guys (gals) may have noticed that the GOP included a line about Lebanon in its 2008 party platform, as endorsed during the Republican National Convention.

    Interesting to speculate how that got in there, as I think we can all agree that about one percent of Americans could even find Lebanon on a map. If you go into the FEC records, you can see some Lebanese names that gave $50k each to the McCain Victory PAC. Included is Rafik Bizri, Hariri’s guy in DC (Hariri Foundation, Saudi Oger, etc). I would guess that was the quid pro quo.

    Posted by david | October 9, 2010, 1:56 am
  57. Blaming Bush and or Obama is for the Historians. Right now, so it seems, the big players, of the last 200 years or so, are out. Turkey rulled us for more than 400 years, close to 500. It is only about 100 years that we were not rulled by it. It is back again. Also Iran is back, trying to get its share. Time to start learning Turkish, Persian and Chinese. Here we are just toys in a very big game. See the clever observation by lally. Once, for example, the fate of the Iraqis was decided in Europe and the USA now it is Turkey, Iran, and others. At least, so it seems, by what our elders told us, the British, French and Americans were more mercifull.

    Posted by Rani | October 9, 2010, 4:21 am
  58. Excellent points, Rani. You are a wise person. Not sure which “clever observation by lally” you refer to, but if it is the last paragraph of lally’s posting, I agree. The preceding stuff is subject to your (Rani) first sentence: should be left to historians, it’s too soon to judge.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 9, 2010, 8:11 am
  59. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Hariri’s positions and declarations as resulting from ineptitude and babbling incompetence. While he may be linguistically and oratorically challenged, one would think he has access to a good cadre of intelligent advisors. Furthermore, we simply don’t know what information he has access to and what constraints – local and, more importantly, regional and international – he is operating under.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 9, 2010, 8:15 am
  60. Hariri’s main advantage is that Hizballah is like a dog chasing a car. They really don’t know what they will do with it if they catch it.

    The point is that Hizballah will be weakened severely if they take over Lebanon. All of a sudden they will be responsible for electricity, jobs, corruption, the debt and everything else that goes with running the country. All this while having bad relations or even sanctions imposed by the west. In addition, with the distinction completely gone between Hizballah and Lebanon, Hizballah would not be a “resistance” anymore but the defacto army of Lebanon. Throw in the mix possible Sunni violent reaction Iraq style and it is quite obvious that for Hizballah taking over Lebanon would be a disaster.

    Hizballah strategy so far has been to live of the Lebanese state as a parasite. This state is being kept alive because of its relations with Saudi and the West. So, Hizballah enjoys the benefits of relations with Saudi and the West, while being able to be seen as firmly against them. This allows Hizballah to evade the inherent inconsistency in their ideology: You cannot have an economically successful state while fighting the US and Saudi. Syria is the example of that.

    It is very unlikely that Hizballah will give up this cozy arrangement. They do not want to fall into the same trap Hamas fell in Gaza. Hariri needs to take advantage of that.

    Posted by AIG | October 9, 2010, 12:20 pm
  61. to HP, Rani and other Pontius Pilates :

    What do you exactly mean by the expression “too soon to judge” Bush and Obama?
    You are both clever enough to understand the facts and factually, despite of the populist/idealist/absurd motto “yes we can” (?), Obama started his mandate in a very realistic way : by showing that he simply can follow the path and the alliances of his predecessors. For example, this great humanist didn’t utter a single word about the massacre of civilians in Gaza.

    Also cf. Tariq Ali – about Obama’s War in Afghanistan :

    It’s not rational to play the “too soon to judge” card in this context ; we’d rather acknowledge the facts and draw the consequences from these facts since the fantasy of a “new Middle-East” shaped according to the Israeli interests and security in the region is still on the agenda.

    Posted by quelqu'une | October 9, 2010, 1:32 pm
  62. quelqu’une,

    I understand you are a humanist (I am not by the way).

    I wonder though how can you be a Hizballah supporter also since their message is definitely not humanist.
    For example, this is a quote for Cambanis’ book (page 1):
    “As far as I’m concerned, the war ends when there’s nothing left of Israel. After we all die, that’s when Hezbollah is gone. When you kill the Shia, that is when Hezbollah is gone.”
    Ali Sirhan, a volunteer fighter for the Islamic Resistance

    Hezbollah is definitely not looking for a humanist solution either.

    Posted by AIG | October 9, 2010, 1:41 pm
  63. AIG, you’re a very silly man. But you’re not alone on this site.
    As an outsider -a not very American American and a not very Zionist Jew- spoiled self-indulgent Lebanese, fit well with Americans and Israelis. “They have the quantity but we have the quality”. Which now whacked wackjob said that?

    What scares you is the Nasrallah is has the capacity to act like an adult and his opponents are children. He may slip up and try to win outright which would be a mistake but lets wait and see. He has the majority, he doesn’t have to force anything.

    Israel is increasingly unstable. It’s heading towards a one state solution, which really is the only moral choice, regardless. No state can be preoccupied with demographics and call itself “Modern”. Israel is heading towards open apartheid and open fascism, which won’t last long once it arrives,

    Saudi Arabia likewise is under stress. Iran and Turkey are rising, but the US cleaves the Saudis, Israel and… Pakistan? , demi- Gemayel? Amusing to hear Lebanese whine about antonymy. “by what our elders told us, the British, French and Americans were more mercifull.” To which Alden Pyle says “Excellent points, Rani. You are a wise person.”
    Unctuous Sleaze.

    Erdogan is a grown-up, Ahmadinejad is a putz who wants to be Putin which is a problem, but he’s as much of a danger as the Saudis. And he can help the adults deal with the angry children in Pakistan.

    It gets tiring listening to spoiled rich kids pretending to be grown ups. Israelis, the Turkish generals, the “modern” Lebanese, the earnest Americans. The adults are winning. China is winning. They may all be assholes but somehow they’re not as bad as their biggest opponents. Of course I back neither. But people like me lose no matter what. I’m just sick of hypocrites who lie to themselves first. Their delusions make the world much less safe for everyone.

    And AIG, (from another thread): Waking up in your own home and finding yourself in a foreign country as a legally designated minority, with all public lands now the property of your conquerer’s national land trust? That’s how empires are run in’it ?

    I stand by my description.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 9, 2010, 2:06 pm
  64. ” but he’s as much of a danger as the Saudis”
    Should read he’s not as much of a danger.

    Freudian slip? I don’t like him, that’s for sure.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 9, 2010, 2:09 pm
  65. Uh, I get quelqu’une, I get AIG, but “bored and disgusted” what the heck are you saying? Can someone translate?
    Am I understanding correctly that you’re referring to me as Alden Pyle? Maybe you’re just humoring everyone. What the heck!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 9, 2010, 2:30 pm
  66. AIG,

    Do you really think that the “message” of the party that defeated the self-claimed “most moral army of the world” can be summed up & understood in a bizarre page one’s quote from Cambanis’ book ?

    Posted by quelqu'une | October 9, 2010, 2:41 pm
  67. HP,
    I wonder whether you would be as willing to withhold judgment on Hitler, Khmer Rouge, Sadam Hussein as you are towithhold judgment on George Bush and evil personified Dick Cheney? Do you think that morality will be rethought and all the death and destruction visited on 100,000’s will suddenly reverse itself. If the death come come to life what about the legacy of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Is that going to fade away also?

    The men and women of Bush Jr. opperated in a world of their own. A world of illegality and abuse of the rule of law. The fact that president Obama has decided not to push charges does not exonerate either Bush or any other high ranking official is his administration. These are crimes to which the statute of limitations does not apply. Somewhere, somwtime, either a country or a group of citizens in the US will file a law suit against Bush et al. Until that happens the rule of law would not have been restored. No one, not even Obama, has the right to hold any one above the law. As you know there are already a couple of cities in Mass and a few cities in Vermont that have issued arrest warrants for Bush and Cheney. May the number of such communities spread all across the country.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 9, 2010, 3:05 pm
  68. Ahmedinajad, Assad, Netanyahu, Lieberman, Aoun, Sayed, Wahab … someone should oblige them with a drug test.

    They all seem to be high on some form of cocaine.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 9, 2010, 3:05 pm
  69. GK, no, of course not. And it is a matter of record that the Bush administration made many mistakes which led to many deaths and a lot of suffering. My point is that eventually, with the perspective of time and historical distance, some of the drivers that led to perhaps irrational decisions will be understood. Already, many analyses have shown that Saddam Hussein was purposely keeping everyone guessing about weapons of mass destruction. He may, in fact, have believed some of it himself based on fearful assertions from some of his generals. The fact that the forces that invaded were equipped with all sorts of protection gears against such weapons is clearly not part of the deception but was believed at some fundamental level.

    Not that I am an expert on all this nor that this is the time to discuss what the evidence was, etc., but the perspective of history will enable an understanding of all these drivers without the emotional engagement from the suffering that accompanied the events. Sort of like we now can objectively assess the drivers and reasoning and declared goals and motivations that were involved in the Peloponnesian war!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 9, 2010, 3:17 pm
  70. GK, I do agree that Dick Cheney was a key, and likely determining proponent of the Iraq war. He never accepted that Bush Sr. stopped the first Iraq war without deposing Hussein nor entering Baghdad. He had his own drivers and motivations and he swayed G.W. Bush and even forced the hand of Colin Powell, who no one can accuse of being naive or being a warmonger.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 9, 2010, 3:20 pm
  71. bored and disgusted said:
    “No state can be preoccupied with demographics and call itself “Modern”.

    So France is out, Holland out, Sweden out. Arizona out. There are more, most states in Europe are now preoccupied by demographics one way or the other, aging populations, immigrants etc. So does Lebanon in which practical demographics is a core issue and it was and is typically avoided by not counting.

    Classifying people and nations as grown up and childern is a childish game. When Kipling played it he was called racist & imperialist.

    Yes, Israel has many problem and so is now the situation of half the world, there are periods like that. As for the future? I think that the only thing realy known about it is that some time in the future we will all die.

    Rani said: “British, French and Americans were more mercifull”. Well bored and disgusted seems to believe that Rani is wrong and, no they were not. That is why so many people in the 3rd world are migrating to Iraq, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Iran, Libya and Cuba. That occures when the consulates of the three mentioned depicable, inhumane, useless, cruel nation are everywhere empty, begging for immigrants, practically crying, and nobody but no body in knocking on their gates.

    And bored and disgusted I realy think that it is nice of a genius like you, even if you make a mistake or two, to waste his time in a place full of very silly people, realy. Thank you so much.

    Posted by Rani | October 9, 2010, 3:52 pm
  72. quelqu’une,

    I am willing to stand corrected. Please make an argument that Hezbollah has a humanist outlook and let’s discuss.

    Posted by AIG | October 9, 2010, 4:08 pm
  73. AIG: What’s a humanist?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 9, 2010, 4:19 pm
  74. A Vegetarian ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 9, 2010, 4:45 pm
  75. QN,

    Good question, but let’s not get started on the issue. QQ knows what I mean.

    Posted by AIG | October 9, 2010, 4:48 pm
  76. A Humanist according to the box office is an Avatarian.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 9, 2010, 4:52 pm
  77. AIG vs. quelqu’une round ONE:
    free tickets! get ready!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 9, 2010, 5:15 pm
  78. “Please make an argument that Hezbollah has a humanist outlook”

    As opposed to Israel? Yes.
    That is to say that Hezbollah is openly conservative and within that tries to respond flexibly to basic human concerns. Israel is founded on a lie: “A Jewish state and a democracy.” Try replacing “Jewish” with “German” and see what you come up with. What you come up with is simple nativism: the European Right.

    Hezbollah is modernizing, slowly.
    I’ll give you a question. Who’s modern, Erdogan and the AKP or the secularist military? It sounds hard but it’s easy. Israel is going backwards: the secular state defends religious fundamentalism. In Turkey the religious conservatives accept democracy more than the “Modernists”.

    This is very important: The Islamic reformers in Iran are more modern than the secular “Modernist” Pahlavi. Israel descends from utopian romance, like Communism with a capital “C”. I have more respect for the fundamentalists in Hezbollah than I do for the fundamentalists who claim the right to ‘Judea and Samaria” because Hezbollah are flexible, dynamic, political and engaged. The settlers fundamentally are anti-political. And “Modern” Israel follows their lead. See the reversal? The hypocrisy?

    AIG, you don’t want to get into a discussion with me on the philosophy of language. You really don’t. You have neither the philosophy nor the facts on your side. I’m a third generation secularist, and an heir (among others) to an intellectual heritage that your country betrayed. I got baggage but it’s not dead weight.
    I use it.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 9, 2010, 11:04 pm
  79. HP,

    In re: Cheney.

    “He never accepted that Bush Sr. stopped the first Iraq war without deposing Hussein nor entering Baghdad.”

    No, no quite the contrary. Cheney warned that taking Baghdad in 1991 would put the US in “quagmire.” Cheney went a bit nuts after 9/11 — carry a biohazard suit wherever he went (no one else was dong this). Combine a bit nuts with bureaucratic mastery (+ all the structural trends in US FP) and you get the US GWOT.

    When you guys parse US policy debates, remember that part of it just for domestic consumption, ie Obama talks engagement whether he does it or not, and Cheney talks cruise missiles whether he does it not.

    In other news, clearly, HA is trying to hook up with ecoterrorists (planting a tree is really a secret code). Having already joined forces with the narco-terrorists,
    it was the next logical step in the great marriage of the Global Left and Islamic Jihad …

    Aux barricades … 🙂

    Posted by david | October 10, 2010, 12:59 am
  80. Just to be clear, the real pyschosis is in the structural trends, as Someone points out in a different way (the forensic quality of the “research”).

    A friend who used to work in the think tank world was convinced that all beltway papers on HA/Syria were actually the same paper, with the job of the “research fellow” being to rearrange the paragraphs.


    A humanist is someone who gets to decide who is and who is not human, non?

    Posted by david | October 10, 2010, 1:08 am
  81. Bored and disgusted,

    Have you ever been to Lebanon? If so, when?
    Have you ever been to Israel? If so, when? Have you ever been in a settlement or talked to a settler? Have you been to Iran either during the Shah’s time or now? Do you read Arabic, Hebrew or Farsi?

    Posted by AIG | October 10, 2010, 1:58 am
  82. To Bored and disgusted
    Yes, unlike me you are good with words. About Iran: You said: “The Islamic reformers in Iran are more modern than the secular “Modernist” Pahlavi”. In what? Women dress? Methods of torture and excution? Interventionist policy? Bombing Jews in Argentina. Creating a military colony in Lebanon ? Yes, cleverly they use the right words and slogans.
    You said: “Who’s modern, Erdogan and the AKP or the secularist military?”. Again the “positive” term “modern” is the index of being “good”. Where do you get your information on Turkey? Erdogan is jailing people by same old laws. The press is controlled by the same old laws. More of any thing Erdogan, economically, religiously and socially is a Turkish-Islamic-Bush. The same Mesianic fever the same relationship to the money people. In side, the poor will be fed Islamic propaganda + the old nationalistic one. Out side, an interventionist policy combined with the revival of the ambitions of the Ottoman empire spher of influence. Just one example: The participation with Iran in the destruction of Iraq, the Kurdish zone in Iraq will not last a day without Turkey, the reaching for the oil of Iraq, so Bush like.

    Posted by Rani | October 10, 2010, 3:53 am
  83. Are we to believe that if the Jews packed their bags, tanks and nuclear arsenal and left the state of Israel, Hassan Nasrallah would disband the resistance?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 10, 2010, 4:03 am
  84. Or for that matter … Assad would stop meddling in Lebanese affairs?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 10, 2010, 4:05 am
  85. Peter @83, I’m guessing yes and @84 no.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 10, 2010, 5:38 am
  86. “HA is trying to hook up with ecoterrorists (planting a tree is really a secret code). Having already joined forces with the narco-terrorists, it was the next logical step in the great marriage of the Global Left and Islamic Jihad …”

    Hahaha, j’adore : this is really excellent ! At least it perfectly describes a French obsession : le péril islamo/gauchiste – basically the new version, adapted to the expectations of the American War on the Terror, of the antisemite and anticommunist “péril judéo/bolchevique” of the 30’s.

    For the rest, I fully agree with “bored and disgusted” in comment 78. Especially with this sentence : “The settlers fundamentally are anti-political.”

    Posted by quelqu'une | October 10, 2010, 7:42 am
  87. David,
    The observation regarding HA and ecoterrorism is simply brilliant. Why couldn’t I have thought of this 🙂 It has been obvious for a while, that is why HA , from behind the scenes, pushed the lebanese army to protect the Israeli unprovocked attack on the rights of the trees in Adieseeh? lol.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 10, 2010, 8:33 am
  88. Goodness. I just listened to the CAP interview with Cambanis and Abrams, and it will be sometime before I can get Elliot’s words out of my head:

    “If I were a Lebanese Christian …”

    He should really start a blog, taking those words as its name. Oh wait, there already is a Lebanese web site headlining his bon mots … 🙂

    PS: Did a Lebanese journalist realy ask how the US could fund/equip Sunni militias in Lebanon … Good grief.

    Posted by david | October 10, 2010, 10:08 am
  89. PeterinDubai/AP,

    What are Americans waking up to AP? Don’t tell me that you have joined the Tea Party, the party of disgrunteled Old White Males that cannot get to terms that a Black man is a President?

    Ghassan Karam,

    If I didn’t already mention, I am one of the 22% of American Jews who DIDN’T vote for Barack Obama. And if you haven’t already noticed, a large percentage of the American electorate is sick of Obama and sorry they voted for him. Expect big changes in Congress after the November elections.

    Peter, Very few both in the US and globally miss the presidency that was built on the principle of illegality.

    The US did nothing illegal. If they did, go sue them in court.

    President Bush and Darth Vader aka Cheney will eventually get the treatment that they deserve: to be put on trial for crimes against humanity and for disregarding the rule of law.

    GK, you may dislike GWB and Cheney, but I’ll bet you any sum of money none of them are “put on trial” for anything including “crimes against humanity”. Refer to UNSC 1441.

    Bush was a disaster for the US, the world and the ME. The last thing that we need is an unprincipled cowboy.

    Actually, that’s the FIRST thing we need. Obama hasn’t brought the US any more “friends” than when GWB was in office. And we’ve lost respect. Rogue states like Iran, Syria and the Taliban feel they can walk right over us.

    If Cheney were to run for President, I would vote for him.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 10, 2010, 12:36 pm
  90. the Taliban? A state?

    There’s enough of one “usurping entity” : rabid neo-cons should revise their geography.

    Posted by quelqu'une | October 10, 2010, 12:58 pm
  91. QN,

    Do you remember we discussed the Quntar festival and I opined that it was a major mistake by M14?

    Check out what Abrams says in minute 59 about this issue:

    Posted by AIG | October 10, 2010, 1:03 pm
  92. QN,
    Sorry, minute 58.

    Posted by AIG | October 10, 2010, 1:05 pm
  93. I just checked it out AIG. Thanks for pointing it out… I was going to save this video for tonight after I got off work.

    So what are you saying? That you are Elliott Abrams?

    There are certain trump cards in Lebanese politics. One is resistance against Israel. Another is sectarian/tribal fealty. When these cards are played, almost nothing can beat them. I do believe that the M14 pols who went to the airport to meet Quntar held their noses while doing so, but this is kind of beside the point. What matters is not how these politicians really felt about Quntar, but rather how they acted.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 10, 2010, 1:44 pm
  94. By the way, if anyone asks me a question and I don’t answer you, it’s not because I’m ignoring you or not reading the comment section. It’s simply because I try not to do any blogging during working hours (yes Sundays are work days for me sometimes).

    I try to catch up in the evenings, but even this is not so easy to do at times.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 10, 2010, 1:45 pm
  95. QN,

    No, I am saying that if M14 think that American support is important, then they should have re-calibrated their response to Kuntar’s release.

    On the Israeli side, I believe their actions reduced the probability that Israel would give weight to their interests when making decisions.

    I think the short term gain from the Kuntar festival was not worth it for M14. What do you think?

    Posted by AIG | October 10, 2010, 2:49 pm
  96. In minute 14 of the interview:

    “Hizballah had 30 years of building a society that at its root has a certain view of how religion should play a part in their personal lives”

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 10, 2010, 3:07 pm
  97. Typically in politics, a “humanist” designates someone who highlights ethics and ethical interactions in international affairs; a “realist,” on the other hand, designates someone who analyzes international relations from a non-prescriptive POV. [The meaning of “humanist” is different in other dsiplinary debates].

    It is interesting how the discussion veared towards a larger geopolitical perspective–in the realist tradition. It is an important question to ask: what kind of “alliances” will replace the old ones, considering the chnage of the “balance of power.”

    With the waning of the American/French support of the Saudi-allied/regulated Lebanese power elites, and with the temporary re-alignment of forces to the advantage of Syrian/Iranian supported Lebanese power elites, what is to be expected on the long run?

    Locally, HA relies on the financial and military support of regional powers that are not backed by a global power-broker (Russia and China are supporting Iran for economic reasons, and such a strategy is subject to chnage, on the long run; the EU itself has been divided, with Germans and Italians dealing economically with Iran for the time being). As long as Saudis (and Qataris) have a stable political and economic siutation, they can financially support their allies, but they cannot provide them with the military protection needed if the US and EU distance themselves–they can only rely on Israel to keep the status quo until the situation changes. If and when Fatah controlled Palestinian regions normalize relations with an Israel that recognizes them as both an independent state and an economic partner, the game will change: Hamas controlled Palestinian regions will need to be subdued to establish a link with Egypt and port entries, and that will re-draw the geopolitical battlegrounds.

    This is why everyone is trying to delay, defer, prolong, and keep waiting until a resolution takes place on either the Palestinian front or on the Iranian front (with the return of Rafsanjani and/or other economic realists to power to replace the current political reaslists).

    Lebanon is on hold until then. That’s the “realist” reading of the current situation–and not the idealist or humanist reading.

    Posted by Parrhesia | October 10, 2010, 3:28 pm
  98. Maybe we need an Abrams-to-English dictionary. Anyone want to take a stab at what “theoretically” means in Elliot-speak?

    I have a definition.

    Posted by david | October 11, 2010, 12:35 am
  99. “With the waning of the American/French support of the Saudi-allied/regulated Lebanese power elites,” ……..

    Since when & where is/are the current positions of these parties as depicted? In the matter of the STL? With the French UNIFIL deployment? The forensic examination of “evidence” produced by the re-enactment of the terrorist style hit on Hariri and bystanders?

    etc, but

    There seems some French movement away from the cozy Chirac lockstep model in other arenas as the unrealistic US FP goals are further enshrined. The American diplomacy beast staunchly continues to pursue it’s metaphorical tail in the Levant and environs.

    Besides, bloody Lebanon is confounding and damn proud of it, too.

    So, what would Elliot Abrams do were he a Maronite Christian? Theoretically of course…


    ” With the waning of the American/French support of the Saudi-allied/regulated Lebanese power elites,”

    Posted by lally | October 11, 2010, 3:15 am
  100. It never ceases to amaze me how things always get screwed up for Lebanon (pardon my French). And it always has something to do with Hizballah, in one way or another.

    Posted by Dan Stevens | October 11, 2010, 6:05 am
  101. “Always”?

    Things were getting screwed up long before there was anything called Hizballah

    The fact is when you create a state as small as Lebanon, populate it with relatively equal amounts of groups who you know are never going to quite trust one another and then place around it a couple of powerful nations that dont exactly have its best interests at heart, things will have a tendency to “get screwed up”.

    Posted by usedtopost | October 11, 2010, 7:38 am
  102. Qifa Nabki, I can tell you’re not a lawyer. You really don’t know how to argue.

    AIG, let’s put Kuntar’s popularity in proper context.

    “One Shot Two Kills”
    Not Just a Slogan on a T-Shirt.

    Here’s a nice list for you

    Of course land mines are more economical.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 10:07 am
  103. Bored and disgusted

    I don’t understand your argument. Are you saying that I should regard Samir Quntar as a hero because of some disturbing t-shirts and the people who wear them?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 11, 2010, 10:18 am
  104. The question is why you regard him a villain based on Israeli testimony alone? Faith in the infamous “honesty” of Israelis?

    Oh and why do you regard him with such scorn when you are happy to jovially banter with Israelis who have sereved in the IDF and probably have the blood of Palestinians (if not Lebanese) on their hands?

    Posted by usedtopost | October 11, 2010, 10:30 am
  105. usedtopost

    Would you regard him as a villain if he had admitted to what he was accused of? He did, by the way, and then changed his testimony later. Evidence presented at his trial included the brain tissue of the little girl he killed with the butt of his rifle.

    With the evidence that I have to work with, am I not justified in considering him a “villain” as you put it? Resorting endlessly to the “let’s put it all in context” type of reasoning places you on a very slippery ethical slope. AIG often justifies Israel’s militarism on the basis of previous atrocities against Arab jews in the early 20th century. At some point, we have to be willing to adhere to a moral standard, or else lose any basis for holding the other side to such a standard.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 11, 2010, 10:58 am
  106. “Are you saying that I should regard Samir Quntar as a hero”

    No, but you should be willing to ask AIG what he should expect from a population who has to put up with such people. But also “people” is a term better used for civilians. The fact that they’re soldiers actually makes their behavior even worse. That’s a major aspect of the logic used against Hezbollah. Hezbollah has “fighters” Israel has soldiers. Soldiers are claimed to represent a state and law. But terrorism is terrorism.

    In the indiscriminate bombing of civilian population in the Korean war the US killed two million people. Terror was the strategy. Terrorism is terrorism. The questions are have to do with who started it, and why? Who is the greater culprit? And how do we judge individual acts as opposed to organized, bureaucratized campaigns? Also, just count up the dead.

    Quntar is a killer and a putz, but so what? Who are the invaders?

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 11:20 am
  107. QN,

    I appreciate your view and in fact totally agree with you about the need to find a moral standard to adhere to.

    Just to clarify, I do not believe that any infraction by the other side justifies a military solution if a peaceful solution is available or realistic. The 1929 Hebron massacre did not justify militarism, it justified putting in place a collective self defense system not reliant on the British.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 11:22 am
  108. Qifa Nabki you really do seem to take “states” and “law” too seriously.

    But outside democracy law does not exist, all there is is realism. Are the 5 million Palestinians citizens under law? If so, where? A Jewish State can not be a democracy. A two state solution is realism, something to be acquiesced to, accepted not celebrated. Do you respect the people who would celebrate it? As a humanist I hope not. I hope you have no friends who do.

    To value law is to value what it represents when it functions, not to worship names and parchment. Thou shalt not worship graven images. Remember? Israelis do that every time they look in the mirror. Harriri did too.

    Don’t be so sure you represent civility and decency just because you want to see yourself that way. 2 million North Koreans. It’s been called something close to genocide. Is that something they taught Abu Muqawama about back in Texas? I don’t think so. And he keeps “forgetting” that the 1983 bombing was a reprisal. But I’m sure he thinks he’s a nice guy.

    I remain,
    bored and disgusted

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 11:44 am
  109. B&D

    I can’t follow your argument. What does Samir Qantar have to do with the Second Commandment, Rafiq al-Hariri, 2 million North Koreans, and Abu Muqawama?

    Yes, genocide is awful. Is that what you want me to say? Well, you’ve done it. In the words of David Cross: “I’m against that!”

    Now, back to work. (I’m anticipating a huge onslaught-of-a-comment from Mo this afternoon, but I won’t be able to write back until later).

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 11, 2010, 12:21 pm
  110. Would I regard him as a villain if he had admitted to what he was accused of?


    “He did, by the way, and then changed his testimony later”

    Again, the Israelis say he did. No one has any actual record of this.

    “Evidence presented at his trial included the brain tissue of the little girl he killed with the butt of his rifle”

    Which I could just as easily say was caused by someone using his rifle to hide the area where a bullet had penetrated.

    “With the evidence that I have to work with, am I not justified in considering him a “villain” as you put it?”

    What evidence? The above? You don’t question how or why a man with five bullets in him would take the time to beat a girl with a rifle rather than shoot her? Isn’t the description of the events just a little too conveniently a description of what Israelis tell their children thats what the Arabs whant to do to them?

    Are you seriously telling me that the above is enough evidence for you to take as the truth?

    So no, I am not resorting “to the “let’s put it all in context” type of reasoning”.

    I do adhere to a moral standard and will hold either side to account.

    It is you, who describes Kuntar as a villain and yet happily discourse with people who have served an army that has killed thousands of your own people.

    What standard are you applying as to whom is a villain and who can be talked to?

    Posted by usedtopost | October 11, 2010, 12:34 pm
  111. usedtopost

    I’m glad you would hold Qantar to account if you had enough information. Since you’ve put us in an epistemological cul-de-sac with your indefatigable skepticism, we may as well leave it at that.

    As for discoursing with Israeli readers of this blog, I’m afraid I’m not willing to make this an all-Arab blog. And supposing I were, how would you have me prevent the participation of people who served armies that killed thousands of Lebanese? The Lebanese have the unfortunate distinction of having been killed by all types: Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Americans, and most importantly: the Lebanese themselves.

    As you know, I regard Hizbullah as having the blood of Lebanese on its hands for provoking the 2006 war and for the May 2008 events. Should I stop talking to you, since you are a such a strong supporter of the party and its military policy?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 11, 2010, 12:47 pm
  112. I love all the sky blue ties. I wonder, if wearing same color ties is part of a future movement uniform. They seem to have ordered all of their ties from the same designer. It would be nice to have such a contract. lol

    Posted by Prophet | October 11, 2010, 1:18 pm
  113. From an interview with Zevi Sela:

    “You also met with Samir Kuntar of the Palestine Liberation Front, who murdered members of the Haran family in Nahariya and was released as part of the deal with Hezbollah that brought back the bodies of the two abducted soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

    “We turned Kuntar into God-knows-what – the murderer of Danny Haran and his daughter, Einat. The man who smashed in the girl’s head. That’s nonsense. A story. A fairy tale. He told me he didn’t do it and I believe him. I investigated the event within the framework of the next book I am writing, about hostage-taking incidents. As far as I am concerned, it was no more than a newspaper report. I sat with him; he was very intelligent. He was a squad commander at 17. He told me that his motive for infiltrating Nahariya was to take hostages. He said [his organization] knew that would both humiliate Israel and get them media publicity.

    “He told me: ‘If I had wanted to kill Danny and his daughter, I would have shot them in the house. I took them to the boat because I wanted hostages. I had no interest in hurting them. After I got them into the boat, wild gunfire started and I went back to help my squad on the shore. Danny, the father, kept shouting, “Stop firing, you crazy people.” He and his daughter were found shot in the boat. I was on a small rise, shooting at your forces, and the boat was 20 meters away in the water, with Danny and the girl.'”

    So you say that Kuntar did not murder Haran and his daughter?

    “That is what he says, and in my opinion there is support for the fact that they were killed by fire from the Israeli rescue forces. You can accuse him all you like, but it was obviously the rescue forces that opened fire.”


    Go ahead. Dismiss the credibility of this Israeli cop, Zevi Sela in order to cling to implausible narratives that suit an agenda:

    “From the mid-1970s until the end of the 1990s, he [Sela] held a variety of positions at the Israel Police, including chief of detectives in the Sharon District, head of intelligence-gathering at national headquarters, commander of an intelligence officers’ course, drugs and intelligence advisor to the minister of police, and chief of police in Hadera. His last position with the police (1995-1998) was as chief intelligence officer of the Israel Prisons Service, in which capacity Sela was in charge of collecting criminal and security information.”

    Posted by lally | October 11, 2010, 1:18 pm
  114. What does Samir Qantar have to do with anything? He’s a dust speck. I don’t question his guilt and those who do are sidetracking the issue as much as those who harp on it.

    It’s the moralizing that’s offensive and that has everything to do with the events and the people I listed. I put Qantar’s actions in context. You argue with those who defend him siding with those who ignore their own greater crimes. That’s a logical, strategic and moral mistake.

    “The 1929 Hebron massacre did not justify militarism, it justified putting in place a collective self defense system not reliant on the British.”

    Colonialism is not justifiable. The Hebron massacre followed Balfour, immigration from Europe, et al. What’s sad is the moral defense by Jews of colonialism and Jewish Israel, which then stands as a moral defense of “Christian Europe”. There is no moral defense of Christian Europe, but racists defend racists.

    The key to solving this crisis is in understanding that “Liberal” ZIonism is an oxymoron. I think Qifa Nabki that this is something you are unwilling to admit. You argue modern morality with AIG when he does not speak the language.

    Imagine a beach and a small group of people sitting on blankets having lunch. Another group comes onto the beach a few feet away and sets up a volleyball net between themselves and the first group. They start lobbing volleyballs over the net that all go unreturned. When the count of unreturned balls reaches 25 the second group declares the game over and themselves the winners. Another group arrives, friends of the second and wanting “their turn.” They tell the first group to move so that they can play. A rule book is consulted and it is decided that the first group lost their game and have no right to occupy the “volleyball court”. The police are called and they are removed by force.

    This is the “law” that justifies Israel’s existence. It is morally void.

    I have no patience with European racism towards immigrants as I have no patience for Europeans, guilt-ridden ex-nazis (or not so guilt-ridden) who defend Israeli racism. If you want “a moral standard to adhere to” there it is. Pure disinterested reason.

    QN “I regard Hizbullah as having the blood of Lebanese on its hands for provoking the 2006 war”
    I should have expected it that. Israel had planned the attack for at least a year, and was waiting for it’s chance. It made a strategic error.

    And I’m not an Israeli but I’m a Jew.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 1:32 pm
  115. Thanks to lally for the link

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 1:37 pm
  116. bored and disgusted said:

    The key to solving this crisis is in understanding that “Liberal” ZIonism is an oxymoron. I think Qifa Nabki that this is something you are unwilling to admit. You argue modern morality with AIG when he does not speak the language.

    B&D, these kinds of sweeping pronouncements, I feel, get us nowhere. Do you know why? Because I hear them from both sides all the time. Replace the word “Zionism” in that last paragraph with the word “Islamism” or “Wilayat al-faqih-ism” and you end up with the same cop-out: that our interlocutors aren’t capable of engaging in a discussion of modern morality.

    Naturally, such a position lends itself well to those who are bored and disgusted with the conflict, but I’m forestalling my jaded phase for a while yet. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 11, 2010, 1:53 pm
  117. QN,

    Aren’t you interested in hearing how “understanding that “Liberal” Zionism is an oxymoron” is the “key to solving the crisis”?

    Finally, someone on this blog with actual solutions!

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 2:56 pm
  118. Qn,

    I think you know that’s not what I meant. Its not a case of discourse. Its the juxtaposition of your disdain for Kuntar, even if guilty of the crimes they say he committed, with the jovial amicability with Israelis who are guilty of far worse.

    I do not question your engagement, that is your right. The question is do you “hold your nose” while talking to them?

    Posted by usedtopost | October 11, 2010, 3:39 pm
  119. UTP, what alternative to “jovial amicability”?(which, by the way, is not what characterizes the exchanges with AIG here, but let’s say we concede your epithets, however misguided they maybe)
    Do you advocate an exchange-of-insults blog?
    Do you advocate complete boycott?
    Curious to know what the heck your approach is?

    Already, the idiotic and bumbling incompetence of any advocates of the Palestinian cause in working the U.S. media and political scene, coupled with the abject resort to terrorism against innocent civilians, has landed “Arabs” and the “Palestinian Cause” in the sorry predicament they are in vis a vis U.S. public opinion, and in many cases, world opinion. What kind of “cherry-on-top” would you advocate in the blogosphere?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 11, 2010, 3:49 pm
  120. Nothing new in bored and disgusted. Same old spins same old un truths, Just an example.
    He say:
    “I should have expected it that. Israel had planned the attack for at least a year, and was waiting for it’s chance. It made a strategic error.
    All armies have plans, drawers full of plans, computers full of plans. So does the Hizb. according to its glrious leader, so does the Syrian army. That is one of the things that all armies do. What does it prove?

    This business of “Modern” again and again who wants to be modern anyhow.

    Imperialism? He learned, where? that there are only two, European and American. In reality there are many, Chinese, Islamic, Iranian etc. All small nations and minorities play between Empires. Ask the Lebanese what they prefer from those they have known lately? Ottoman, French, Syrian, Iranian, British (very short time),Israeli ? Were the Christians of Lebanon agents of European (French?)Imperialism? If they where, as some claim, should they be pay for their crime? Were the Jews of the Magreb after the laws of Carmia [making them kind of French citizens ]agents of French Imperialism? should they be punished? and the christians in Iraq? why pick on Zionism and Israel.

    As for Samir Kuntar: So one Israeli cop believed him and wrote a book and is selling it. The court found him guilty. The next cop will write a book telling us that Kuntar was realy a Red Crecent agent. Since 1001 nights the Levant is full of stories. Millions including the ruller of Iran believe that USA + Israel blew the towers in NY, some who read this blog believe in it too, so what?. Now we have a “new” murder of Lebanese PM and Samir Kuntar friend are writting their versions of the murder. Makes one bored and disgusted.

    By the way why does he think he is Jewish? and when does he use that usefull title in public other than when he is demonizing Israel?

    As for displaced people and such, the ball player story, I entered this blog because 1) Jews were the oldest identifiable ethnic group living in Lebanon, prior to Christianity Islam etc, 2)Part of My family came from South Lebanon 3)unlike the Palestinian in Israel the Jews of Lebanon were totally cleaned out, driven away, exterminated and we have had a long discussion here. So were about 700.000 Jews from the Islamic and Arab countries. It is not a simple story of one side perfect the other 100% evil. Also Jews, as other minorities, were often killed in the Levant. long before Zionism.

    Posted by Rani | October 11, 2010, 3:50 pm
  121. Do you think I defend Islamism? Where did you get that idea?
    It’s not in anything I’ve written here (or elsewhere).

    I’ve described actions and responses and referred to the justifications people use to defend themselves. “Soldiers” “law” etc. I’ve asked what those words mean and what they can hide.
    I’ve gotten into arguments with Zionists -an argument between Jews- and it doesn’t take long before my respondents’ argument devolves into “but the Arabs are barbarians!” before it becomes not about law but about “us” and “them”. I have no “us” other then that it can refer to human beings as a group, and even that has its limits.

    Do you justify morally the massive immigration of European Jews to the middle east under the guise of a European sponsored “return”? Yes or No.

    But expulsion is not an option, and not a moral hope. The Jews are here, as Europeans and others are in the New World. But is continuing immigration moral in the light of Palestinian refugees? These are real questions. How can a humanist defend an ethnic “Jewish” or a “German” state? The French constitution doesn’t even recognize a French people. The sentiment at least is noble.

    I defend the goal of a bi-national state in Israel/Palestine. I’ll support a two state solution only as a practical necessity. But I’ll say this again as a matter of simple political logic: the major obstacle to any solution is the defense of reactionary nativist principles by people who allow themselves to believe that they and their arguments represent modernity, democracy and reason. They do not. They’re lying to themselves.

    The greatest crime of Zionism is against language. That’s the lineage of fascism. That’s why it is possible to negotiate with Hezbollah but impossible to negotiate with the settlers and their defenders. That’s why it’s possible to negotiate with Hamas but again not with Israel. The Palestinians are going to be blamed for the collapse of the talks. It’s Topsy-Turvy. I won’t argue without first flipping the world right side up again.

    I could talk about class too, but that’s for another day.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 3:58 pm
  122. Rani, the Palestinians are more Jewish than the Russians in Tel Aviv. They’re as native to Israel as the Muslims are to Bosnia.
    They converted.

    Liberal Zionists are becoming more and more aware of the contradiction every day. That’s why the split between right and left is widening. Not many liberals are willing to become as fascist as they need to be to fulfill their fantasies. That’s why Clinton made his comments about the Russians.

    An Isolated Israel however will be more dangerous than ever.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 4:09 pm
  123. Rani, “Ask the Lebanese what they prefer from those they have known lately? Ottoman, French, Syrian, Iranian, British (very short time),Israeli ?”
    I don’t know that any survey would yield anything other than that all occupiers and foreign rulers are equally bad. An objective assessment, however, if such were possible, would show clearly that the French mandate was the most beneficial period to the country and to its people, all its people, building roads and schools, creating jobs, and significantly improving the standard of living. Such cannot be said of any other country/group that you list, including (which don’t list) the self-rule since 1943.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 11, 2010, 4:09 pm
  124. I’m willing to say it here and now: If you, AIG (or anyone else in this thread for that matter), have murdered a child or even attempted to kidnap a family, I will no longer talk to you, jovially or otherwise.

    Posted by sean | October 11, 2010, 4:11 pm
  125. רני, חבל”ז עם הט מבל הזה
    הוא רו צה צומ ת לב
    לד עתי פ שו ט לה תעל ם

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 4:13 pm
  126. Habibi Mo (or usedtopost…)

    There are many things I disagree with AIG about. Ask Alex, Shai, HP, and other SyriaComment veterans about the bitter arguments we have had over the past three years. Ask AIG himself.

    Finding a solution requires talking (and listening) to people you don’t agree with. Sometimes, it turns out, there is common ground. Sometimes there are gaps that seem unbridgeable. Sometimes, I get the feeling that everybody is holding their nose.

    Let’s move on.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 11, 2010, 4:15 pm
  127. Yalla yalla, let’s move on…
    I’m tired of holding my noise and need to relief the pinch…

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 11, 2010, 4:23 pm
  128. HP #125
    Are you really arguing for the return of the French mandate I guess colonialism was established for the benefit of the backward savages all over the world. Its a shame that not many people appreciate the sacrifices and the burden of the white man lol.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 11, 2010, 4:27 pm
  129. QN,

    I think we should all learn from Jumblatt and Hariri. They are willing not only to talk, but to make friends with the people who murdered their fathers!

    Seriously though, why move on? I think this is an interesting and important discussion. It is important to understand why people disagree because it helps illuminate the underlying axioms in the reasoning.

    Both you and Mo are perfectly logical, but your fundamental beliefs are different. The more you evade this discussion, the more you leave yourself open to the accusation of “being a traitor”. In my opinion, it would help to explain how you reach conclusions based on your world view and not because of harboring any sympathy to Israel or Zionsim.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 4:37 pm
  130. Although getting in quite late in the game, I couldn’t resist responding to QN’s Submarine-Attack-via-Litani anti-Zionist suggestions… 🙂

    1. Quntar: What’s the point? Is he going to be the reference to what is morally right or wrong with our conflict? Is bashing a little girl’s head in an unacceptable crime, while shelling a house with 5 girls is? Or vice-versa? It’s a useless argument, no matter who’s conducting it, I think.

    2. Liberal-Zionism: For those out-of-Israel (I assume most), I have shocking news to you… You’ll find it difficult to get a group of 10 Israelis who define Zionism similarly. Certainly when it comes to their own Zionism. Some will refer to the dream of a state for the Jews (one place on Earth, where Jews are a majority). Others will refer to the dream of settling our Biblical lands (the same ones where 2.5 million Palestinians have been living ever since “The Biblical” period.) And yet others will simply suggest that serving in Israel’s army is indicative of their Zionism.

    But more importantly, how can a foreigner blame Zionism on all that is wrong in our region, when he/she does not even understand what Zionism is all about? About 99.9% of Jews in Israel see themselves as Zionists. About 30% of those are ready to give back the Golan tomorrow morning. About 50%+ are ready to end The Occupation, and withdraw from the West Bank. So how do you “adjust” your definition of Zionism to these facts?

    Posted by Shai | October 11, 2010, 4:53 pm
  131. Shai,

    I have explained the issue to you before. As I understand it, most of our enemies are looking for a “just” solution, not for a compromise. Hopefully, this will change in the future. Under the idea of “just” solution there is no room for a Jewish state in the middle east because that would not be just to the Palestinians.

    Would you agree that that 100% (or very near that number) of Zionists believe the Jews are justified to be sovereign in Tel-Aviv? Well, Mo and Lally reject this notion as being unjust. So, one does not need to have a full definition of Zionism to hold their position since they reject the most basic belief that all kinds of Zionists hold.

    Mo and Lally, if I have distorted your views, please correct me.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 5:05 pm
  132. AIG,

    I don’t think most of our enemies are looking for a “just solution” any more than you and I are. But because they’re hoping for a just solution, and let’s for a second assume that means full Right-of-Return to all Palestinians worldwide, that doesn’t mean they’ll get it. You and I aren’t looking for “a compromise” any more than they are. We know in the end we’ll have to compromise, just as they will.

    The question isn’t whether Mo and Lally think that Jews ruling Tel Aviv is unjust, but whether they WON’T accept a solution that enables this reality to continue. If, as I’m suggesting, Israel continues to give the Palestinians every reason NOT to sign an Agreement with us, then Mo and Lally don’t have to worry – time will bring the Palestinians in the West Bank closer to Tel-Aviv, because it’ll all be a single state. Do you think we can occupy the West Bank for another 43 years, and the world will accept status quo? It is us who have to market a solution lucrative enough for the Palestinians, not the other way around.

    Justice, will come generations from now, when a bold Israeli leader will stand up, and apologize to the Palestinians, as a bold American leader once apologized to the Indians. Except, in our case, they’ll probably already be a majority in our single binational state. The Settlers don’t mind it. The Right thinks it can force a Peace-by-Capitulation Agreement. Seems the only ones with their heads screwed on correctly, are the Palestinians. Don’t you agree?

    Posted by Shai | October 11, 2010, 5:16 pm
  133. Shai,

    I have explained to you countless times why you are completely wrong in your theories about a single state. But of course, you are entitled to your opinion. If you can convince a majority of Israelis to adopt your point of view, it will prevail. But, you are are a very small minority in Israel.

    You are wrong about what most of our enemies want. I recommend you read “A Privilege to Die” by Thanssis Cambanis.

    As for what I am looking for, it is clearly an historical compromise not a “just” solution of any sort. Unlike most of our enemies, I do not view the resolving of the conflict as a way to to undo historical injustice either to the Palestinians or the Jews.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 5:35 pm
  134. “Liberal-Zionism”
    My interest is American politics and its relation to Israel, and not because of an interest in the US per se but with an awareness of its place in the world and its role in the middle east. 3 billion a year just in direct aid to Israel, and most of the defenders of that aid consider themselves liberal. But the contradictions are being felt more and more.

    AIG “Zionists believe the Jews are justified to be sovereign in Tel-Aviv”
    Jews as opposed to citizens of Israel I assume.

    “As I understand it, most of our enemies are looking for a “just” solution, not for a compromise.”

    It’s Israel who refuses to compromise: the settlements, the nonexistent freeze, Jerusalem. We’re heading towards a one state solution and that will have been Israel’s choice. And it will have to face the result.

    Sean, ask AIG where he served in the IDF:

    As of the end of February,[2010] 343 Palestinian children were being held in Israeli prisons, according to Defence for Children International (DCI), which took up the Muhtaseb case. Israel routinely prosecutes Palestinian children as young as 12 and the Israeli legal system treats Palestinians as adults when they turn 16, but Israelis become adults only at 18. Ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children are “widespread, systematic and institutionalised”, DCI said in a report last year.

    Chris Hedges bintjbeil.com/articles/en/011001_hedges.html

    “Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”

    I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

    The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

    A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

    Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered—death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo—but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 5:57 pm
  135. Blind Ambition

    bored & distgusted said:

    It’s Israel who refuses to compromise: the settlements, the nonexistent freeze, Jerusalem.

    B & D,

    Near as I can tell, the GOI HAS compromised, on settlements, on the “nonexistent freeze”, and on Jerusalem. The point is, some people can never seem to blame the PA for anything.

    Palestinian officials have rejected an offer by the Israeli government to halt settlement construction if they recognise Israel as a “Jewish state”.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 11, 2010, 6:17 pm
  136. If anyone is interested, I served in the IDF Matzot making unit. We would hunt young children (preferably Christian but quite often Muslim) to use their blood in making Matzot. I am surprised bintjbeil.com does not cover my famous unit.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 6:26 pm
  137. “Near as I can tell, the GOI HAS compromised…”


    And AIG, you should look up Chris Hedges, and maybe Harper’s since that is where it was published originally.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 6:30 pm
  138. “Palestinian officials have rejected an offer by the Israeli government to halt settlement construction if they recognise Israel as a ‘Jewish state’.”

    Giving up on democracy openly is compromise? That’s a bit much. 20% of your population is Arab. How about actually stopping construction?

    In the third quarter of 2009, before the restrictions were imposed last November, there were 2,790 settlement homes in various stages of construction, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. The number rose to 2,955 in the last quarter of 2009, reflecting a last-minute surge of housing starts in the days leading up to the freeze.
    In the first quarter of 2010, with the freeze in full effect, the number stood at 2,517.
    That means that even months into the halt, the number of homes under construction had declined by only about 10 percent.

    Ah, compromise.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 6:39 pm
  139. B & D,

    The moment you take part in disseminating a blood libel about your fellow Jews, you are in my book less than human.

    AP, I would recommend completely ignoring this animal. Let it write whatever it wants.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 6:40 pm
  140. “to use their blood in making Matzot.”

    And please, I’m a Jew. You’re the one who thinks the Europeans were within their rights to expel us because we weren’t really European. Don’t accuse me of defending anti-Semites, or of being one.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 6:46 pm
  141. I’ll apologize for one thing. I have no idea how you behaved in the IDF. I won’t accuse every soldier of war crimes. But referring to blood libel avoids the issue. I’ll link to Amira Hass, Nir Rosen or Gideon Levy. But you’d say the same thing of them you say of me.

    Still for me to make a person accusation like that was too much.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 6:57 pm
  142. Wow. This has gotten pretty sad around here.

    AIG, be fair. I don’t really know the facts regarding the story B&D is recounting, but I would assume that, as with ANY military conflict of any kind, where hatred abounds on both sides, there HAVE been excesses. It is not beyond reasonable to assume that somewhere, at some time, some Israeli soldiers did indeed massacre children. Are you at least willing to conceive of that notion?

    Because when you don’t, you sound no different than the apologists for a guy like Kuntar, or the suicide bombers, or whoever else from the other side, who’s committed atrocities.

    It’s a bit for any arab you may talking to here to see you asking that we condemn Kuntar or his ilk (and I’ve seen you ask that we condemn many things of that sort) when you seem unwilling to condemn anything your countrymen ever do.

    You seem reasonable enough at times. But I’d like to see you once, just once, admit that somewhere, sometime, some Israeli has committed some less than savory act. It would lend the rest of your comments some credibility.

    Otherwise, you sound no different than those commenters (you know who they are), who trumpet HA propaganda and refuse to admit that any Arab or Lebanese has ever done anything wrong.

    Such unrealistic claims simply lose their authors all credibility. On both ends.

    Many of us here have gladly accepted that not all ills are the fault of Israel. That you’re not all a bunch of child butchers. Many of us have been willing to criticize our own camp (if you wanna call it that) for the horrors its committed too. Why is it that you (and several other Israeli posters) consistently refuse to do the same, yet act indignant when you see someone post HA propaganda?

    PS: I honestly do not mean this as a personal attack. I really do wonder about this phenomenon. I have seen it time and again on this blog. Some Lebanese are willing to self-critique (not all, but some). Some are willing to admit that their brethren can, and have been monsters. Yet there’s an unusual unanimity on the Israeli commenter’s side. It’s as if there’s some kind of monolithic “No blogger shall ever criticize Israel” policy over there. Self-criticism is something I personally use as a measure of someone’s credibility. It’s very hard for me to be willing to listen to someone’s arguments or theories when they seem to insisit they’ve never ever done any wrong. I feel the same way about some of the HA and FPM folks who seem to have a rather monolithic worldview and with whom discourse seems rather moot.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 11, 2010, 7:03 pm
  143. AIG, if you’re going to start calling people animals, no matter how distasteful to you their views, then get off this blog and don’t come back! Capisce?

    B&D, I don’t get what you are driving at. If you think of yourself as so remarkably eloquent and knowledgeable and righteous, how about your join a serious effort at arguing your points through an effective lobbying group in the U.S.?
    Throwing accusations left and right and then taking QN to task in this blog is simply indicative of misplaced anger rather than boredom and disgust.
    And, just fyi, B&D, none other than Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has gone on record as respecting the ethics of Israelis in valuing human life. War is a very ugly and dirty thing that leads humans from any side to atrocities. Generalization to a particular group is completely unwarranted.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 11, 2010, 7:19 pm
  144. BV,

    If indeed an Israeli soldier shot children for sport he should rot in jail for life. Israeli soldiers have done many bad things over the years and many soldiers are in jail. Just like any society we have our share of sociopaths. But to imply that over a period of several days an Israeli unit taunted kids to come out to be shot is an accusation that anyone who has any knowledge of the IDF knows is a blood libel.

    There are many policies of any government I disagree with. But I never disagree with Israel just as you do not disagree with the US but with certain government policies. For example, I dislike Netanyahu’s dealings with the religious parties and think he is coddling Lieberman too much.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 7:36 pm
  145. HP,

    B&D is an animal for me. You really do not understand the history of the blood libel and the specific role of heinous and traitorous Jews in giving it credibility. So butt out. When an indoctrinated Hezbollah follower has antisemitic views, that is understandable, he does not know better. But when a fellow Jew perpetuates blatant lies about Jews killing children, what is his excuse?

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 7:44 pm
  146. AIG, all I will tell you is that calling a human being an animal, i.e., dehumanizing him, is a reflection on YOU and not on him.

    We can all read and understand (or try to) what B&D is saying and find the flaws in it. Responding is fine, but dehumanizing a person is not!

    And you might be interested in knowing that I know more about the blood libel than you think I do and than probably you do. “Le Mystère Du Sang Chez Les Juifs De Tous Les Temps” by Henri Desportes is a book that I’ve known about since my early childhood, and that’s only one of many fallacies that have plagued history. I get it. And I get your outrage. Dehumanizing the other side is NOT the answer, but rather, regrettably plays into their hands and ends up suggesting what your thinking is capable of.

    Please don’t ask me to butt out. You are free to take your street fight anywhere you like but this blog has its standards and they will be enforced. The least you can do is show respect to the rules of the forum.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 11, 2010, 7:50 pm
  147. AIG,

    Assuming he’s Jewish.

    Hey B&D,

    Why don’t you at least provide links to articles? Let’s at least see the sources.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 11, 2010, 8:04 pm
  148. HP,

    No, you do not even come close to getting it. B&D is not a human for me. And, yes dehumanizing him is the solution. I do this not from rage but from resignation that this is the only solution. If you would have had more understanding of Jewish history,
    I wouldn’t have to explain this to you.

    Let me be perfectly clear that I am against hurting him in any manner or restricting his freedom of speech. But I cannot accept his humanity.

    I therefore ask you again to butt out. Your moral certainty on an issue that you are ignorant about is quite amusing.

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 8:14 pm
  149. AP,

    It said already that it is Jewish. It went out of its way to say that. It also provided links to bintjbeil.com

    Posted by AIG | October 11, 2010, 8:16 pm
  150. I don’t understand your argument. Are you saying that I should regard Samir Quntar as a hero because of some disturbing t-shirts and the people who wear them?


    You need to understand, anti-semites like “bored and disinterested” have one standard for Samir Quntar, and one for Israeli T-shirts.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 11, 2010, 8:27 pm
  151. My links were embedded in the text. Look at the color of the first words, they’re links.
    This is the author of the link about Gaza. It’s a well known piece. This is Amira Hass. But I think you know her. Do I have to tell you who Gideon Levy is? Nir Rosen? These are all people I read. And someone else I read

    I have written about it before. It was Ziad. The threat was conveyed to me by Ziad’s and my mutual friend Ze’ev Schiff, a decent man who had been extremely close to successive generations of the leaders of Israel’s security establishment for half a century before his death last year.

    To be specific, when I spoke with Ze’ev on the phone before I went to Gaza in March 2006– and he did help me to get in– he asked if I was going to see Ziad, who was then widely reported to be considering an offer from Hamas to be Haniyeh’s Foreign Minister (as he subsequently became, during the brief life of the 2007 national unity government.) I said yes. He said– and he repeated this a couple of times to make sure I got the meaning clear– that I should tell Ziad he would face “the worst possible consequences” if he joined the Haniyeh government, and that he said this “on good authority.”

    I did pass the message on to Ziad.

    Ziad also faced considerable family-based pressure from the Americans since his three children from his first marriage were at college here in the US, and I suppose if he had joined the Haniyeh government and then tried to visit them here he could be arraigned on all kinds of charges of aiding and abetting terrorists. But Ze’ev’s words about “the worst possible consequences” struck me as constituting a more severe and immediate threat.

    The author is a Quaker. Should I link to Uri Avnery as well?

    Liquidate Hamas rule? That sounds like a chapter out of “The March of Folly”. After all, it is no secret that it was the Israeli government which set up Hamas to start with. When I once asked a former Shin-Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, about it, he answered enigmatically: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.”
    For years, the occupation authorities favored the Islamic movement in the occupied territories. All other political activities were rigorously suppressed, but their activities in the mosques were permitted. The calculation was simple and naive: at the time, the PLO was considered the main enemy, Yasser Arafat was the current Satan. The Islamic movement was preaching against the PLO and Arafat, and was therefore viewed as an ally.

    I’m a Jew and not a self-hating Jew.

    I’m done.

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 11, 2010, 9:12 pm
  152. Don’t let the terrorists win, B&D.

    Posted by lally | October 12, 2010, 12:38 am
  153. AIG, You say they are blatant lies. Yet all I see is that B&D quoted articles/books from somebody else. In other words, these aren’t his lies (if they’re lies), he’s relaying something he read somewhere.
    Whether it’s true or not is a different matter.

    I have a much bigger problem with someone who comes on here and just spouts off their own stories with no basis in truth. If I were to say something like “AIG kills children for sport and uses their blood to make some soup.” Then I think you’d be in your mind to be incensed. What we had here though, is a different matter altogether in my opinion.

    Many books and articles have been written portraying the IDF as brutal and some of their practices as completely repulsive. Some of this stuff is documented all over the place (The report about the war on Gaza for example). I’m not saying you have to agree with these. And I wasn’t there, so I have on way of decisively knowing what’s true and what’s not. But various people have documented various events over the years. That’s really all it comes down to. And this goes for all conflicts, all armies, militias, whathaveyou.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this, so I’ll butt out, I suppose. It’s all good.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 12, 2010, 1:18 am
  154. Not to draw attention from the impending Lebanese and Jewish civil wars, but is no one else pleased to see the man from mukhtara, politics aside, returning to his old self?

    Really, Walid Bek’s riddles are quite amusing: the sun rises in the East, except when it doesn’t. As QN would say, indeed, indeed.

    Posted by david | October 12, 2010, 1:27 am
  155. AIG,

    I’m sorry I haven’t gotten your “countless explanations of why (I’m) wrong”. Seems you still prefer pontification over listening. I know this, because I don’t have “my theory” of a single state. What I claim, and I have yet to hear a counter-argument from you (and usually there’s a reason for that), is that if Israel doesn’t change our policy, if we continue to build in the West Bank, then de facto we’re already a one-state solution. You’ve never explained, even in your “countless attempts”, why we’re NOT headed for a one-state solution.

    I don’t have to explain “my theory” to anyone in Israel, because I’m not trying to sell it to anyone. It’s reality on the ground, not some wishful thinking. Personally, I prefer a two-state solution first. But that ain’t happening, is it?

    I don’t have to read a book to know what “most our enemies” are thinking. I have to use my brain. If by “most my enemies” you mean the Arab World, then you already know what they’re thinking. They want justice for millions of Palestinians that are still, after so long, the longest-remaining Refugees with no status, in the World. Even certain ex-ministers from the Right have acknowledged this catastrophe (Like Rabbi Eylon), and they understand what “they want”. You can call it whatever you like, and of course it will be a compromise. But it needs to be one that is acceptable to both sides, not just to yours. You’re willing to compromise on land and a Palestinian state along yours, but are you willing to compromise on a “compromised-number” of Refugees to return to Israel?

    Posted by Shai | October 12, 2010, 1:51 am
  156. From GrammarBook.com:

    Rule 1. Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.
    Examples: The sign changed from “Walk,” to “Don’t Walk,” to “Walk” again within 30 seconds.
    She said, “Hurry up.”
    She said, “He said, ‘Hurry up.'”


    At least AIG has not yet slid into the further display of his disdain and disrespect of the readers of this blog by accusing another commentator of being an inanimate object. Still, slandering a commentator by accusing him of being an animal is a violation of the terms of use of this blog, and is only a reflection on the mentality of the author of this accusation, no more, no less, a mentality he insists on emphasizing.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 12, 2010, 2:15 am
  157. HP,

    Point well taken. But I still hate placing commas inside quotes. It simply doesn’t make sense. Does it look good? No. Does it support the subject inside the quotes? No, it makes it look incomplete. So I’m using my god-given right to fight this nonsensical rule, by not following it… 🙂

    Posted by Shai | October 12, 2010, 3:48 am
  158. Shai, you are such a wonderful addition to this blog. Thanks for being you!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 12, 2010, 3:49 am
  159. why we’re NOT headed for a one-state solution.

    Because some Israelis think the same thing that was done with Gaza (separation), can be applied to part of the West Bank, if the need arises.

    Posted by Badr | October 12, 2010, 4:15 am
  160. HP, calling a man an animal is not lying. For better or worse, men and women are animals too. That being said, to call a human who behaves heinously and brutally “an animal” is truly unjust and insulting to animals. (No smiley added).

    In fact, this whole discussion would have been much shorter if the discussants had kept in mind their own animal nature. We are animals that live in tribes. “Still”, and “so far”, maybe, but right now we are.

    With that in mind, my first point is that war is a game of tribes. To go fight (or to let someone you love to go to the butchery that is war), you need to feel you belong to the group: you fight for the ideas or conceptions that keep your tribe together. Or maybe you fight because you feel that if you don’t you’ll be an outcast. Or maybe because you need to feed your family, which is the very base of the tribal links.

    My second point is that war is a game without rules. And there is no place for discussing ethics or morality if there are no rules to refer to. The only rule in war is that the stronger wins. And that the winner has the ability to depict the events in a way that flatters the tribe and justifies the crimes committed against other humans (and leaves enough room for similar events to happen again).

    My third point is that any cause that forces you to kill a fellow human is, not only not worth living nor dying for, it is also a stupid cause. As Brassens said, “mourir pour la Patrie, d’accord, mais de mort lente”.

    And my forth point is that apparently all human societies are tribal and respond to tribal calls. Some are luckier than others, as they can canalize their worse tribal drives towards football or political partisanship. Others, like today’s Arab societies (but not only them), didn’t reach that stage, or where caught in other games that prevented them from attaining it. In some of those countries, in fact, they have made of the tribal game a very sophisticated and dangerous one, like in Lebanon. But don’t fool yourselves, all human societies behave like tribes, the only thing that changes is the complexity of the game. Could it be that with the passing of the millenaries, there was a kind of Darwinien selection of the most brutal societies always surviving and more “humanist” ones disappearing, so that it is printed in our social DNA –if such thing exists- that at one point or another we have to practice cannibalism to survive?

    HP, AIG is just excelling playing the tribal game. He is following the rule that you never recognize your group’s errors in front of another tribe’s members (dirty loundry etc.), much less so that you consider your tribe to be at war. And of course he will never allow a member of his own tribe to denounce a behavior of his group as unjust, or “inhuman”: that amounts to treason, and it is the worse sin you can commit towards the group. (If you are not human, you don’t deserve to be a member of any tribe, so you are out of the game). But another rule in the tribal game is that you always count your members as yours. Facing that contradiction, and not having the heart of casting that “self hating Jew” out of his Jewishness (even a bad Jew is one more Jew in this world) AIG casts him instead out of his humanity: and that’s how a self-hating Jew becomes an “animal” for a self-loving Jew.

    Posted by mj | October 12, 2010, 4:44 am
  161. Said
    bored and disgusted Says:

    “Rani, the Palestinians are more Jewish than the Russians in Tel Aviv. They’re as native to Israel as the Muslims are to Bosnia. They converted.”
    If they are converted and if they say that they are not jews they are not Jews. For an outsider to define people ex cathedra is basically what Mengale did in 1943.

    Bored and disgusted is the right name. He talk about migrations and populations, at about now the Baba in Rome is discussing the problem of Christians leaving the Whole ME. No they are not leaving, they are running out like mad. Obviously it is because of the Zionists and Israel. Remaind me a saying of my youth “After saturday comes sunday”. Some of the pepole here can say it in Arabic. If I could I would paint it in big letters on the walls of empty “Magen Avraham” in Beirut.

    If you have not noticed this place was practically taken over by Jews. It is so typical, somebody saying “Israel is Nazi Germany, you have to believe me I am a Jew” so what? does Jews have an insurance a contract a monopoly of saying the truth and only truth about Jews and Israel?. Some of them, clever manipulators of half truths and obvious lies are basically calling for alien intervention, acting by definition as agents of evil empires. They are inhuman racists by blaming the Jews in Israel for sins that are inherent to all humans singularly and in groups. I half agree with mj. I came here to learn about Lebanon and say few words about the Jews from the Muslim countries. I think that Lebanese should settle their problems inside Lebanon, intervention of outsiders is basically no good. think Israeli Jews and other Jews who have thing to say about Israel should do the same.
    As for Lebanon I just went over net. If I was Lebanese, when Turkey, Syria and Iran are counting the sheep befor id el fiter I would pray not to be a sheep. I wish and pray, realy, that no bad news will come from Leanon for the next few weeks. I am not so good and I am no Christian. Bad news from there will,at the end, be bad for me in many ways.

    Posted by Rani | October 12, 2010, 5:54 am
  162. Badr,

    I agree with you, some Israelis do think the same could be done in the WB. AIG is such a person, as he attested himself, considering withdrawals from S. Lebanon and Gaza as examples for possibilities in the WB and the Golan.

    But they’re wrong. They’re simply not thinking it through. Why did Israel withdraw from Gaza? Because it was costing us too much to be there (in human lives, not in human-rights violation lists). But do you think Israel would have withdrawn from Gaza, if it knew for instance that Dec. 2008/9 would have to occur? Or if it thought it couldn’t guarantee the safety of Israelis under rockets for almost 8 years of daily attacks (which killed next to nothing)? No Israeli would have agreed to withdraw.

    And so we’re not talking about “here and there” from the West Bank. No Israeli would withdraw from territory, unless he saw an advantage in doing so, and in particular if it meant saving Israeli lives. But since the West Bank isn’t Gaza, and is mere kilometers away from much of Israel’s major cities and population centers, it is unlikely that the army would withdraw its troops from an area that still controls such potential threats. Unless there is an Agreement, and the Palestinian government cannot vouch for Israel’s security, Israeli forces will never leave the West Bank. The same goes for the Golan, because here we’re talking about a vacuum that would immediately be filled with Syrian forces, guaranteeing their own citizens’ security on the Heights. As you know, or can imagine, no Israeli would accept Syrian forces tomorrow morning on the Golan. I can’t imagine any Agreement in the near future, either, that would enable Syrian forces beyond a few “border patrols” type of forces.

    Therefore, the theoretical exercise of Two-States-Forced-Upon-Them is, and will remain, a mental exercise. It is unreal, and cannot be materialized by force. Two states can only be created if both sides accept it. And no Israeli, Leftist or Rightist, will allow for a no-mans Land east of the Green Line, without agreement. It’s not Gaza or S. Lebanon.

    Posted by Shai | October 12, 2010, 6:15 am
  163. Question (QN or someone else who knows):
    What is the “Judicial Council” in Lebanon and how does it differ from the Lebanese judiciary?
    I ask, because it appears to be a point of contention in the Lebanese cabinet, as to whether to refer the “false witnesses” to one or the other, with March 8 wanting the Council and, of course, March 14, the judiciary. Thanks!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 12, 2010, 9:05 am
  164. QN, I thought that you would like to know that the iphone that you collaborated on with Maya last year is still alive and doing well, very well actually. I received it for the umpteenth time yesterday. Why was it such a huge success and can one duplicate its fantastic record? 🙂

    Posted by ghassan karam | October 12, 2010, 9:06 am
  165. Ghassan

    That’s my legacy for the ages. Some people devote themselves to curing cancer and ending poverty. I’ll go down in history as the guy who came up with the cute Lebanese iPhone parody.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 12, 2010, 9:34 am
  166. HP,
    Lebanon does not have a “supreme court” but after Taif it was agreed to set up a Constitutional Council that in effect would be Lebanon’s Supreme Court. Had the Council been set up then most of the time wasted discussing whether the Presidential elections should be 2/3 or whether a simple majority will suffice.
    Anyway, besides the Constitutional Council the Lebanese Judiciary is headed by the Higher Judicial Councilthat is presided by a judge whose name is Ghanem, I believe. This is the highest court in Lebanon prior to the Constitutional Council and it is the body entrusted with holding hearings if a case is brought against the president or any ministers.

    Posted by ghassan karam | October 12, 2010, 9:37 am
  167. HP
    The following defines the duties of the Higher Judicial Council:

    مجلس القضاء الاعلى |


    – يسهر مجلس القضاء الأعلى على حسن سير القضاء وعلى كرامته وإستقلاله وحسن سير العمل في المحاكم ويتّخذ القرارات اللازمة بهذا الشأن.

    – وضع مشروع المناقلات والإلحاقات والإنتدابات القضائية الفردية أو الجماعية وعرضها على وزير العدل للموافقة عليه، ولا تصبح التشكيلات نافذة إلاّ بعد موافقة وزير العدل.

    – عند حصول إختلاف في وجهات النظر بين وزير العدل ومجلس القضاء الأعلى، تعقد جلسة مشتركة بينهما للنظر في النقاط المختلف عليها. في حال إستمرار الخلاف ينظر مجلس القضاء الأعلى مجدّداً في الأمر للبت فيه، ويتّخذ قراره بأكثرية سبعة أعضاء، ويكون قراره في هذا الشأن نهائياً وملزماً.

    – تصدر التشكيلات القضائية بمرسوم يتّخذ بناء على إقتراح وزير العدل.

    – تأليف المجلس التأديبي للقضاة.

    – درس ملف أي قاض والطلب إلى هيئة التفتيش القضائي إجراء التحقيقات اللازمة وإتّخاذ التدابير والقرارات المناسبة.

    – النظر في طلبات العفو الخاص المقدّمة من المحكومين بعقوبة الإعدام أو المحالة إليه من المراجع المختصّة.

    – تعيين لجنة مؤلفة من ثلاثة من أعضائه للنظر في سائر طلبات العفو الخاص.

    – إبداء الرأي في مشاريع القوانين والأنظمة المتعلقة بالقضاء العدلي، وإقتراح المشاريع والنصوص التي يراها مناسبة بهذا الشأن على وزير العدل.

    Posted by ghassan karam | October 12, 2010, 9:41 am
  168. Shai.

    Yes, militias in the west bank are a potential problem, but since Israel would be able to control and divide the territory as it wants, the Palestinian enclaves will be isolated which would make smuggling weapons to the militias very difficult. Israel would still be on the Jordan valley and so none of the Palestinian enclaves would have access to the sea or to an Arab entity. So, your concern about this issue is overblown.

    And in fact, if the worst case is the situation with Gaza, it is much better than the one state.

    And of course you are discounting a real possibility, that the settlers get armed and fight the Palestinians by themselves after Israel leaves.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 9:51 am
  169. Thanks, Ghassan and QN. It would seem as a stretch to request a hearing by the Judicial Council (on the false witnesses) without first going through the normal judiciary. But it’s all political maneuvering anyway.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 12, 2010, 10:04 am
  170. BV,

    For hundreds of years, numerous books documented how Jews murder children to use their blood in rituals.
    A bestseller now in its 8th printing (no joking) is “The Matzah Of Zion”, by the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass in 1986.

    When the Jews were a weak minority, each time these baseless allegations came up, Jews were slaughtered, tortured, taxed and very often exiled. In many cases the authorities used weak Jews or converts to “verify” that what they said is true.

    There are certain things in my book that if you write, you better be 100% sure that they are right and have the evidence to prove this. Same goes for disseminating such writing as “facts” to make a point. You see, just because it was in print, you give this some credence. I can easily imagine you 150 years ago sitting in your office, reading the morning paper and thinking:
    Hmm, there are murderers in all communities, why is it not conceivable that the Jews murdered a boy for his blood? It is certainly worthy of investigation.

    And of course you would view yourself “reasonable” for having this attitude. After all, you are open to be convinced either way. Basically, that is your attitude towards the story of an Israeli unit shooting children for sport.

    I cannot and do not want to stop anybody writing this. I cannot stop people judging this in a “reasonable” manner, after all the a priori probabilities we give to certain events is different and based on our experience and background. I can understand why Syrians and Lebanese would be inclined to believe blood libels. But I cannot and will not understand such an action by a Jew and especially I cannot understand helping in disseminating a blood libel.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 10:21 am
  171. Excuse my ignorance, but what is a false witness? Is it anyone that comes forward to testify? So far, any one who’s name was “leaked” is labeled so.

    Posted by IHTDA | October 12, 2010, 11:13 am
  172. AIG,

    I think I need to clarify that I never said or believed that jews murdered children for their blood. I used (in quotes, if I recall) that statement as some ridiculous notion that one might throw out as an accusation at you personally (in which case you would be justified in taking affront).

    I clearly distinguished that sort of thing from documenting human rights abuses (which I personally also cannot verify, since I am not in Gaza or South Lebanon). I simply stated that, yes, over the ages, every tribes/country/group that’s been at war has indeed committed human rights violations. This goes for the IDF, Hizbullah, Hamas, the PLO, The US Marines, the Nazis, the French resistance, the Chinese communists or nationalists, the Vikings, the Ottomans, and, well, everyone else.

    That was my point.

    Just like there are published reports (again, I cannot verify in person any of them) of the IDF’s abuses in 82, or in Gaza, there are also hundreds or thousands of books documenting the abuses of most conflicts in history. From the sacking of Rome, to the bombing of Hiroshima or the napalming of villages in Vietnam.

    NO ONE. And I repeat. NO ONE tribe doesn’t have blood on their hands.

    That’s all I’m saying.

    (And again: I thought it was obvious when I used the word “soup” in my previous post that I was emphasizing the ridiculousness of that particular story. I hope you understand the point I’m making).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 12, 2010, 1:23 pm
  173. BV,

    I understand the point you are making. But I do not think you understand the point I am making.

    What I think you are missing is how the blood libel has changed its form in modern times. Its form now is one of the following:
    Jewish/Israeli soldiers kill children for sport

    or for the more sophisticated:
    Jews/Israelis fight wars in a dirty and illegal way

    If I am not mistaken, your attitude towards these statements is that they should be investigated just because some newspaper said that this is the case. Therefore, you give them some credibility. Just as a “reasonable” person 150 years ago would be agnostic about the Damascus blood libel and wait for the investigation, because as you say (I paraphrase) “Not one tribe does not have murderers” you use the same logic to give credibility to the modern blood libels.

    The point is NOT that Israeli soldiers do not commit war crimes. They sometimes do. The point is the insidious way in which any alleged war crime is taken as an accusation against Israel and not as an accusation of the SPECIFIC soldiers who were responsible. Many in the the Arab world and many on this blog including the disgusted animal use mostly fabricated stories to paint all Israelis and the whole state of Israel in a bad light. They are not about pursuing the alleged war criminals, they want to taint the whole state.

    For some reason the blood libel mentality lives on. It is never A Jew that murdered a boy, it is always THE JEWS that murdered a boy, and all suffer. It is never an Israeli soldier committed a war crime, it is always Israel commits war crimes. And you are falling into the same mode of thinking.

    I understand that the point is subtle and difficult to grasp. Think about it though, and you will see that what I am saying is correct.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 1:54 pm
  174. “There are certain things in my book that if you write, you better be 100% sure that they are right and have the evidence to prove this.” “But I cannot and will not understand such an action by a Jew and especially I cannot understand helping in disseminating a blood libel.”

    Your response is disgusting. Vile.


    “At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the “buffer zone” created by Israel along the Gaza border, in a low-intensity offensive on the fringes of the blockaded Palestinian territory.

    Israeli soldiers are routinely shooting at Gazans well beyond the unmarked boundary of the official 300 metre-wide no-go area, rights groups say.

    According to Bassam Masri, head of orthopaedics at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya in the north of Gaza, about 50 people have been treated for gunshot wounds suffered in or near the buffer zone while collecting rubble in the past three months; about five have been killed.

    He estimates that 30% of the injured are boys under 18.

    Defence for Children International (DCI) has documented 10 cases of children aged 13 to 17 being shot in a three-month period between 50 and 800 metres from the border. Nine were shot in a leg or arm; one was shot in the stomach.

    The creation of the no-go area has forced farmers to abandon land and residents to leave homes for fear of coming under fire. Last month a 91-year-old man and two teenage boys were killed while harvesting olives outside the official zone when Israeli troops fired shells. Forty-three goats also died in the attack.”

    AIG #170. “…but since Israel would be able to control and divide the territory as it wants, the Palestinian enclaves will be isolated…” “that the settlers get armed ” The settlers, born in Ohio and Melbourne, are armed to the teeth.

    A few of you indulge parallels between the situation of Christians and Jews in the middle east, when Israel exists as a result of the crimes of Europe, and nothing more: western empire in the east and the attempted extermination of European Jews. There was no Holocaust in the Levant. But the surviving niggers of Europe were aided in becoming the white men of the ME, palling around with the old colonial native aristocracy, and partnering in perversion with the Saudi monarchy. All so petty.

    I’ve learned a lot in my few days here. I’d never spent much time with the March 14 crowd. AIG you’re hanging out with the wanna-be Europeans who listen to your tales of victimhood at the hands of the local barbarians. And they nod in sympathy.

    Why don’t you tell them about the Europe of their fantasies? About Dachau and Buchenwald. You’re the self-hating Jew AIG, not me. Kahane used to go out and pick up Shiksas, hiding his Jewishness. Kahane needed to pass as white. I’ve never hid my name. If only the Jews of Israel were as angry at their European torturers as they are at their own victims in Palestine. And no, that’s not a pretense at equivalence: there has been and will be no attempted extermination of the Arabs under Israeli rule. But they are under Israeli rule. Israel is the oppressor in Palestine. And the sons of the Stern Gang are at home with the sons of the Phalange.

    I anger you because I have more respect for Nasrallah than I have for the ex-nazi Pope now defending “Christian Europe”. You misjudge the dangers that you face. Your anger is irrational in its direction. You’re happy to partner with the Saudis against Iran because the Saudis are more predictably extremist and xenophobic. You can trust them because they’re just like you.

    Another link

    Has no one on this site heard of B’TSelem?

    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 12, 2010, 1:57 pm
  175. There is a scientific and psychological reason why humankind has evolved the way it has throughout time.

    Mankind is still obsessed with the psychological reasons.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 12, 2010, 2:10 pm
  176. Wooow guys… Any views on the “false witnesses,”, topic? I’m new to this blog but feel already familiar with everyone repeating his views again and again; pro-isreal,Iran,ha,… Anti-the same.
    As my 7 years daughter once said in an assignment describing poems: “a poem (a thread) should be about one topic so it’s not confusing… And should not go on and on and on and on because it will be boring”.
    False witnesses views anyone?

    Posted by IHTDA | October 12, 2010, 2:18 pm
  177. AIG,

    I understood you quite well, actually. Let’s leave it at that. You get what i’m saying. And i get what you’re saying.

    I think your definition of “blood libel” is actually something a lot of arabs/muslims can relate to when it comes to Israel.
    Do you not think that for many Lebanese (specially), the way Israel is portrayed as such a taboo evil (like it or not, that’s how it is) those of us who even have contact with you in any way aren’t labeled some kind of blood traitors? Imagine for a moment a Lebanese man with US or French citizenship, who’s taken a business trip or vacation to Tel Aviv or Haifa and who’s now heading to Beirut.

    Trust me. The terminology may differ, but I certainly do understand exactly what you’re saying.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 12, 2010, 2:25 pm
  178. The guardian article is a perfect example of how the modern blood libel works.

    Hidden somewhere in the bowels of the article is this paragraph:
    “The army knows the kids are there to collect. They watch them every day and they know they have no weapons,” said Mohammed Abu Rukbi, a fieldworker with DCI. “They usually fire warning shots but the kids don’t take much notice.”

    So we fire warning shots and they are ignored.

    Now, look at the table in the end of the kids shot. 8 out of 10 are aged 16 or 17 and the two others 13 and 14. If any of you has a method to know if a teenager is under or over 18, just by looking, let me know.

    Israel has to stop the gathering in or near the buffer zone. Why? Because if Israel does nothing, Hamas will recruit 1000 17 year olds to “rummage” in the area and be able to dig a tunnel or even shot mortars under the cover of these individuals roaming around.

    So, Israel tries to warning shots. That does not work, so it shoots , but aims to injurem not to kill. Israel is doing what any responsible country would do to defend its borders, but of course the message is “Israel shots children for fun”. And thus, the modern blood libel continues to propagate.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 2:29 pm
  179. AIG said:

    “The point is NOT that Israeli soldiers do not commit war crimes. They sometimes do. The point is the insidious way in which any alleged war crime is taken as an accusation against Israel and not as an accusation of the SPECIFIC soldiers who were responsible. Many in the the Arab world and many on this blog including the disgusted animal use mostly fabricated stories to paint all Israelis and the whole state of Israel in a bad light. They are not about pursuing the alleged war criminals, they want to taint the whole state.”

    I completely get this. I was in complete agreement here. And I’ve gone to great lengths to give the same benefit of the doubt to Arabs.

    I mean, come on. How many times have I heard you guys (and by that I mean Israeli posters on this blog) say things like “The Arabs want to wipe Israel off the face of the planet.” or some similar generalization of THE arabs (just like your “THE jews”). You know as well as I do that “THE arabs” is quite commonly used, even by your government official. I can quote (and these aren’t fabrications) many a prime minister of Israel using those exact words.

    It’s really simple: In a conflict, we dehumanize the other side by generalizing. THE Germans are antisemites. THE americans are pro-Israeli. THE arabs wanna destroy Israel. THE muslims are incapable of integrating into our western societies.

    Come on! We’ve all been victim to these generalizations.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 12, 2010, 2:33 pm
  180. AIG,

    If Israel could do what you suggest up in #170, namely to “control and divide the territory as it wants…” and to leave the Palestinians in isolated enclaves (doesn’t sound like a recipe for a feasible-state), then it would have already done it! It hasn’t done it, precisely because it can’t do all those things imaginary things, and provide security for its citizens.

    The idea that the Settlers would “fight the Palestinians” on their own, once Israel “leaves”, (for HP, “leaves,”) is ludicrous. That’s why Israel won’t leave – it won’t let its citizens take their security into their own hands. That’s like allowing citizens in Northern Israel to shoot across the fence, towards Lebanese farmers, homes, etc. Normal countries don’t allow their citizens to do that. That’s not a “real possibility”, as you called it.

    As for better-than-a-one-state, I’d like to ask you this: What do we have now? Is it a one-state? De facto two-state? Neither one? Is the West Bank part of Israel (not the legal definition, but the way most Israelis view it)? Are only “parts of the West Bank” parts of Israel? In other words, is Israel growing, with each new settlement?

    If the Palestinians do nothing, and just let time run, where do you think Israel is headed?

    Posted by Shai | October 12, 2010, 2:39 pm
  181. BV,

    Ok, humor me. When was the last time a prominent Israeli leader said something close to “The Arabs want to wipe Israel off the face of the planet”?

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 2:49 pm
  182. I’ll go google and report back. But my money’s on Avigdor Lieberman 🙂

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 12, 2010, 2:51 pm
  183. Shai,

    Israeli can only do those “imaginary” things if the the Palestinians follow your suggested plan of giving Israel sovereignty over the West Bank. Then, since we will be the sovereign, we can decide unilaterally where are borders are. There is nothing in international law about relinquishing sovereignty. It is completely legal to do so.

    Of course letting the settlers fight the Palestinians is a real possibility. In fact, that is what from an Arab point of view happened when the British relinquished sovereignty over Palestine. Israel will declare the settlers illegal and demand they withdraw from Palestinian lands because otherwise they will not be protected by Israel. Furthermore, if they stay, their citizenship will be taken away. There is no further demand by international law that Israel has to fight to force them to leave. If the UNSC then wants to issue a resolution under chapter vii to remove the settlers, that is fine. Are the Chinese going to send an army to do that? The settlers by then will be organized enough and say to Israel: “Bye, bye, don’t worry about us” and face off with the Palestinians. Think of Efi Eitam leading 3 infantry brigades of settlers. I think they become 2:1 favorites in that civil war.

    What we have now is an occupation. The settlements are not part of Israel since Israel has not annexed them. The final status of the settlements will be determined by negotiations.

    If the Palestinians do nothing then there will be a PLO fiefdom centered around Rammallah and a Hamas theocracy in Gaza and this can go on for a very long time.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 3:06 pm
  184. This is (was?)a Lebanese Blog ! you are occupying a Lebanese Blog ! please come home, Give back the occupied territory. I for one will not write here, till the subject is changed. And to the Lebanese among us I hope that the next few weeks will pass rapidly with as little pain as possible.

    Posted by Rani | October 12, 2010, 3:19 pm
  185. AIG,

    I’m more than surprised to hear YOU suggest that Israel would ever “declare the settlers illegal…”! Is this the new Leftist self-hating AIG, or the one that supports the Right, the side that’s pro-Settlers, not against it?!? But your scenarios really are ludicrous. No one’s going to say “bye bye”, not Israel to its Jewish settlers, not the Settlers to their government, and not anyone to anyone else. Israel doesn’t leave it up to its citizens to decide if they want to “come back”, or not. That’s a fantasy that some, probably extreme-Leftists, have in regards to Jews living in a newly formed Palestine. You know it’s not a real possibility.

    The scenario you offer, that can go on for a very long time, isn’t very realistic. Where are 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank going to fit exactly? Around Ramallah? What about the other 6 or 7 major Palestinian cities, and all the villages in between? Will their residents be forced out? Be “transferred” to the PLO fiefdom around Ramallah? Obviously not. So Jewish settlers will continue to settle any open space available in and around these territories, and leave 2.5 million people embedded somehow within a yet-to-be-negotiated territory, controlled by Israel. Isn’t this where we’re headed, if the Palestinians do nothing?

    And if we continue in that direction, don’t you think that’s a one-state solution? Don’t you agree that with each day that passes, a feasible Palestinian state becomes less and less likely?

    Posted by Shai | October 12, 2010, 3:22 pm
  186. So no one has “quoted” Ahmadinejad recently?
    Or are going to say he’s not Arab?

    “The point is NOT that Israeli soldiers do not commit war crimes. They sometimes do. The point is the insidious way in which any alleged war crime is taken as an accusation against Israel and not as an accusation of the SPECIFIC soldiers who were responsible.”

    What was the policy regarding white Phosphorus? What’s the law on torture or “moderate physical pressure” as I’m sure you call it?

    I’m still waiting for a “reasonable” person to explain to me why the “right” of descendants to “return” after 2000 years, trumps the right of return of those still living after 60.

    “There is nothing in international law about relinquishing sovereignty”
    Israel has no legal sovereignty over the west bank.

    That AIG is treated with the respect he is here is almost creepy.


    Posted by bored and disgusted | October 12, 2010, 3:23 pm
  187. Rani I agree. I’m hereby withdrawing from Occupation of this Lebanese blog. Let’s talk about the False Witness. QN, does Nasrallah really think his strategy will work long-term? If members of HA are indicted, is this not the beginning-of-the-end for HA as anything other than a political entity?

    Posted by Shai | October 12, 2010, 3:25 pm
  188. Shai,

    Not only will Israel declare the settlers illegal, it will be done unanimously with the consent of the settlers and the right wing parties. Of course it will be only for the settlers on land Israel decides not to annex. This will allow the left to have its cake and the right to have its cake also. After all, when they are not part of Israel any more, the fanatic settlers can have a go at ethnically cleansing the Palestinians. The plan you suggest will lead to a civil war that may end in the Palestinians being ethnically cleansed. Therefore, no Palestinian in his right mind will ever accept it.

    Of course the scenario I offer can go on for a very long time. Gaza is the proof. The situation there is 100 times worse than the West Bank and it is quite stable. The Israeli settlement not in the Jerusalem area is quite slow and it will take decades for it to noticeably change the quality of life of the Palestinians in the West Bank.

    I think that each day that passes, the Palestinians grow weaker and more divided and that Israel grows in strength relative to them. It is the interest of the Palestinians to negotiate in earnest because the future does not make their negotiating position stronger.

    As for a feasible state, you have it all wrong. As long as Israel allows economic ties with the Palestinian state, whatever its size, it will be feasible. If Israel does not maintain strong economic ties with the Palestinian state, even if it is on every square inch of the west bank and gaza, the Palestinian state will be a failed one. It is not the amount of land that will determine the feasibility of the Palestinian state, but the ties to Israel.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 3:42 pm
  189. Shai and Rani,

    QN is not timid in telling people to move on.
    If we have overstayed our welcome, he will tell us. I think HP invited way to do what you are doing.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 3:45 pm
  190. The day the world becomes energy self sufficient and non reliant on oil is the day that Jewish Israel will have to deal with the neighborhood they chose to live in for themselves.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 12, 2010, 4:56 pm
  191. I don’t have any problem with discussions getting off topic. What I find tiresome is the same old arguments. There are a million and one blogs out there about Israel-Palestine. Why not blow off steam elsewhere, and then save your Lebanon-focused energies for this blog? Please? 🙂

    So yes, let’s move on. I’ll try to post something about Lebanon later tonight.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 12, 2010, 5:09 pm
  192. Peter,

    So? Let’s say oil or gas are not needed anymore. What happens in the region? I see only good things. The Iranians cannot afford to fund “resistance” groups anymore. Lebanon cannot rely on Saudi or Iranian money and will have to diversify its economy. Syria will lose its main foreign currency source from its smallish oil fields and will have to open up more to the world, thus not being able to support “resistance” also. Jordan has no oil anyway. And Israel will lose the $3 billion per year it gets in defense spending. Let’s say this happens in 10 years, the $3 billion will be about 1% of GDP, an insignificant amount. In 20 years it will be 0.7% of GDP (assuming 4% average growth)

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 5:14 pm
  193. QN,

    Sorry, comment 194 was sent before I saw your last comment.

    Posted by AIG | October 12, 2010, 5:15 pm
  194. For those of you who want to debate Israeli issues, here’s a suggestion: Sean has post up @ the Human Province about the new allegiance law.


    I’m sure he’d be happy to take you all on. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 12, 2010, 5:37 pm
  195. AIG

    That will be a good day for humankind.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 12, 2010, 5:38 pm
  196. Why give a damn about this life if its the after life that really counts?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 12, 2010, 6:08 pm
  197. Hey Bored & Anti-Israel,

    As AIG described so well, don’t believe everything you read…



    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 12, 2010, 6:21 pm
  198. IHTDA #173 and #178 Good question seeking some details about “false witnesses.” We’ve discussed these briefly on this blog but couldn’t get past the one or two names that feature prominently when one Googles the subject (Husam Husam and “Siddiq” two Syrian Nationals).” Clearly, there are many other names but for some reason there is no explicit discussion of these but only vague insinuations from each party.

    It is obvious that there are manipulations and games being played here and the hope is that the STL will eventually clear up all the facts in an objective and proven manner. Until then, unless more specific facts appear (as opposed to “he says she says”) we’ll just have to wait and see, as many wise folks keep reminding us on this blog.

    And AIG and Shai, yes, I’m guilty of raising the Palestinian-Israeli issue and, in so doing, I guess generate the kind of discussions above. I’m sorry if it is seen as “same old,” but I myself do find it quite instructive in learning of the various thought processes, from everyone who chimes in. Of course, folks can draw their own conclusions from each contributor since, by and large, we have a nice group of critical thinkers here. The only objection I have — and I think I made that quite clear — is to the use of derogatory accusations. My point there, which you’ll forgive me if I repeat, is that going to extremes in the use of accusatory language is a negative reflection on the user him/herself no matter how strongly they feel. This is true in dehumanizing the opposing debater whether by tagging them as non-humans or by using the “n” word. Shame! And if you use these expressions, you’re the loser in that portion of the debate. And I am not seeking a response to this last opinion.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 12, 2010, 7:51 pm

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