Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

FPM: Let’s Avert Disaster in Lebanon Through False Witnesses

The Lebanese political talk show Bi Mawdu`iyya recently hosted an interesting debate between two young political operatives, `Uqab Saqr (a March 14 MP) and Ziad Abs (an official with the Free Patriotic Movement, whom I interviewed in May of 2009).

The two-hour discussion covered several topics, but the most interesting bits dealt with the much-anticipated indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is expected to come out in the next month. Abs’s comments on the indictment were revealing, in my opinion, insofar as they reiterated the FPM’s proposed exit from the crisis. Here are the relevant clips (with paraphrased translations for non-speakers of Arabic):

Clip 1: There are two views on how to handle the indictment. One view holds that if this indictment is issued and it is based on shoddy and unscientific evidence — or even if it is based on scientific evidence — Saad al-Hariri should simply declare that he renounces it, and that he’s ready to turn a new page. The second view holds that given the clear indication that certain people have tried to mislead the investigation, let’s transfer the false witness file to the judicial council so that we can say, if the indictment comes out: “There are false witnesses who are still being prosecuted, and the indictment is now suspended as far as we are concerned…”

Clip 2: By not prosecuting the false witnesses, what we are really saying is that the forthcoming indictment is legitimate and honest. Timing is tremendously important here. Once the indictment comes out, it will be too late, as far as public opinion is concerned. What’s going to convince people otherwise?

Clip 3: If an indictment is issued [against Hizbullah], then we might see Sunni takfiri groups emerging in the North and the Bekaa who use it as their justification to launch a counter-attack. Even if the indictment is not based on false witness testimony, this is irrelevant. The security of the country is more important… I see another Ain al-Rummaneh bus attack [i.e. the beginning of another civil war]. In 1975 nobody thought that the Ain al-Rummaneh incident would lead to a 15 year war.”

In brief, Abs is arguing that whether or not the STL’s case is legitimate, the consequences of an indictment against Hizbullah would be so grave (leading to an Iraq-type conflict) that nothing short of a complete torpedoing of the Tribunal by the Lebanese government would prevent a major disaster. What’s worth noting is that Abs precisely did not say that the FPM regards the STL as an outright conspiracy (as Nasrallah has argued). He said that it doesn’t matter whether it is legitimate or not: what matters is that its consequences would be too explosive for Lebanon to bear.

Let’s not forget that this conversation between two politicians did not take place in a smoky back room. It was held on live primetime television. Think about that. What Abs is saying is: even if X is true, let’s all agree to say that X is false. There’s something so deliciously honest and yet so dissembling about this position. Thoughts?

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244 thoughts on “FPM: Let’s Avert Disaster in Lebanon Through False Witnesses

  1. His Views are very realistic. His argument reflects the street sentiment regarding the STL, and the indictment, at least from an opposition of point of views. It is not the typical lawyer’s argument where one tries to split hair.
    The perception of truth or guilt is more important than any evidence in the Lebanese court of public opinion.
    Good example; the accusations which were directed at Syria, as baseless as they were, were perceived as conviction of Syria’s guilt by many Lebanese. Those same people, who were “so sure” of Syria’s guilt, don’t need any evidence to convict HA.
    HA would be convicted, if it has not already been convicted, the minute the indictment names any of its members, regardless of the evidence presented, or the court verdict.
    PM Abs is being honest and realistic in his opinion. He believes that, it is not the legitimacy or the credibility of the STL, nor is it the strength or weakness of the evidence presented in the anticipated indictment that would matter to most Lebanese, but rather it is the perception of facts, and that is where He sees the danger.
    Having watched part of the debate, I don’t think He could have been more genuine in presenting his argument. Whether one agrees with him or not, He’s one of the most genuine, and spontaneous young politician I’ve watched. Straight to the point. No dancing around the issues.

    Posted by Prophet | November 12, 2010, 12:25 am
  2. The case of the STL and the False Witnesses is essentially a manifestation of the deep schisms in Lebanese politics. It is not about Judiciary principles or justice. Unfortunately the case of the alleged indictments has become a tread mill of sorts. We keep going over the same material over and over again without making any advances.
    The position articulated by Mr. Abs of the FPM is a good example of the above. Mr. Abs did not say anything new. He has merely repeated the position that GMA uses every opportunity he gets. He has often challenged the press to show that he has ever taken a position against the STL or its legitimacy. The FPM position is hardly enviable. They have decided that strategically they want to be on both sides of the issue. They do not deny the legitimacy of the STL but they support their patrons, HA, by opposing the indictments. The convenient rationale for that position is based on (1)the fear of domestic upheavels and (2) false witnesses. The rationalization for the case that an indictment will case domestic instability irrespective of whether the case against the indicted is fabricated or is built on solid evidence is nothing short of a case of a self fulfilling prophecy. The same group that is warning of sedition is the one that has been raising the tension all across the country through speeches and , accusations and even military plans. The only reason that the level of rhetoric is high is because they have willingly and purposely chosen to raise the possibility of internal strife. If they truly care about avoiding internal conflicts then their behaviour would have been exactly the opposite. They would have waited to find out who is to be indicted and for what reason. If they determine that such indictments are weak and based on unreliable evidence then they have the option of challenging the case in court. Unfortunately they build up tension and then the use what they have created as an excuse for their policy. That is a most disingenuous position.
    The false witnesses issue is equally weak but has become a PR bonanza because of the failure of the STL or the pro STL factions to exlain clearly what this so called issue is all about. No one likes false evidence but the STL cannot prosecute individuals as false witnesses when no one yet has appeared before the court to testify. So the STL can clearly say that there are no false witnesses as far as they are concerned. Does that mean that Mehlis is not part of the STL? Of course it does. The TripleICgathere material about the assassination. As iot is to be expected some of the material turned out to be credible and some was not. The current prosecutor has said more than once that the major false witnesses do not play a role in his case. Does this mean that those who might have intentionally attempted to mislead the investigation should not be punished. Of course not. All those who tried to mislead the investigation must be held accountable to the full extent of the law. But the failure to hold these individuals responsible is not a proof that the STL is an Israeli fabrication and a neoimperialist tool. March 14 have indirectly supplied fuel to the fire by seeming to object to bringing the case of false witnesses to a quick close. I am sure that an amicable arrangement can be worked out that will satisfy the STL that is supposed to have jurisdiction in this matter, the Lebanese judiciary and the Lebanese Justice Ministry. The sooner this issue is clarified the better.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 12, 2010, 12:52 am
  3. QN,

    I am not surprised since for months this has been the prevailing argument on the FPM forum. Call it ultra-pragmaticism if you like. Basically, the argument is that there have been so many Lebanese martyrs that no one cares about, so why should we care about Hariri and put justice before Lebanon’s interests in his case?

    What I think is really behind this argument though is the deep seated hatred of the FPM loyalists for Hariri and what he represents for them which is some hybrid of a Saudi prince and Osama Bin-Laden. There is some huge resentment about how the Sunnis have taken first place at least in the economic sphere. It also does not help that Taef basically gave all the executive powers to the Sunnis.

    As for the argument itself, since the only people talking about violence are Hezbollah, it seems disingenuous. And by the way, if the Sunnis were armed to the hilt, and the only way to stop civil war would be to put in jail innocent Shia, would the FPM also advocate that? Or if instead of the murder of Hariri the Tribunal would be investigating the murder of Aoun?

    The argument is really the following: Unless you accept violence as a political weapon, you will get more violence as a political weapon. What is your choice? When do you say, enough is enough?

    Posted by AIG | November 12, 2010, 1:08 am
  4. “No one likes false evidence but the STL cannot prosecute individuals as false witnesses when no one yet has appeared before the court to testify. So the STL can clearly say that there are no false witnesses as far as they are concerned.”

    Well, I am unsure of this. Has the STL been taking statements under oath — lying in this case would be perjury, or false swearing in the case of lying to investigators, or perhaps “obstruction” or “perversion of justice.” Generally, I would assume that the submission of an indictment would include sworn statements (corroborating affadavits) from what would be potential trial witnesses. But I have no idea, nor any sense of the relevant Lebanese laws (in the US, definitions vary, and prosecution is highly selective — people lie to investigators, prosecutors, judges all the time, but it is hard to prove specific intent (where such is required).

    So, I don’t think the STL can say there are no “false witnesses,” despite the imprecision of the term. What they can, as you suggest, is that they will legally pursue those who attempt to mislead the proceedings. Have they done this? I don’t know. It would, however, be very strange for a prosecutor to pursue such “lying” prior to or during an ongoing investigation or proceeding.

    Again, though I am referring to the STL. Such matters as they relate to the Investigation Commission are a different matter.

    Posted by david | November 12, 2010, 1:28 am
  5. QN,

    My young jedi, you will strengthen you powers of analysis when you come to realize that what takes place in those smoky rooms is no less posturing, no less illogical, no less unknowing, and no less gas-bagish than what you see on boob-tube. The key-hole moments will always leave you feeling more like Alice in Wonderland, not Sherlock Holmes. This, I swear under penalty of punishment … 🙂

    Posted by david | November 12, 2010, 1:43 am
  6. I hereby submit the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories.

    Syria/M8 planted the ‘false witnesses.’ What is so perverted is that for this hypothesis to hold true, it means that Syria/M8 had absolute faith that the STL would discover that the ‘false witnesses’ were not credible.

    Think about it. Quite a few of the so called ‘false witnesses’ were Syrian intelligence agents. These agents have yet to lose their life despite pointing the finger at Syria and costing it its privileged relations (in the short term) with its most brotherly country.

    M8/Syria is now able to use the ‘false witnesses’ file to derail the entire STL and ensure that justice never prevails in Lebanon.

    Granted it was a big risk for them to plant the ‘false witnesses’ but these are high stakes and the risk is now paying off handsome dividends.

    Posted by Johnny | November 12, 2010, 2:43 am
  7. I will start this next rant by announcing my political independence. I think the Lebanese people should go back to the UNSC and request to change the mandate of the STL from trying the assassins of Hariri to trying the rulers (tribal/official or otherwise) of Lebanon for crimes against humanity. Once all the rulers are in jail we may be able to start with a clean slate and build a real state – not a playground for the rich and connected.

    Let’s imagine for a minute Syrian/M8 demands of dismantling the STL are realized and the honor of the indicted (I will not name them as I have no idea who they will be) are spared in the court of popular opinion.

    My question is: What is better?

    To let 50-75% of the populace – who have a distorted view of what justice is – make an unwarranted guilty verdict in their minds based on an indictment.


    To let 100% of the populace know that might is right and that the courts are not required to uphold rule of law. That if anyone ever accuses you of anything the best response is not to present a defense to proclaim innocence but an offense to kill or cut the hands off of anyone or anything that gets in your way.

    In selecting either of the above please present your vision of the resulting Lebanon in 5 years time.

    IMHO Dismantling the STL will:
    1) Start a race to re-arm. If might is right then I want to be the rightiest.
    2) Low level war of attrition. Sunni radicals going after HA as Abs described above – with the plethora of civilian passerby killings that always accompany such wars.
    3) Hello sanctions and we become the next North Korea.

    Maintaining the STL will:
    1) If the accused is innocent: Show the Lebanese how a justice system works. Presumably the STL will exonerate the indicted and the 50-75% of the populace that associates an indictment with a guilty verdict will no longer think the accused is guilty.

    2) If the accused is guilty: Start a new war with Israel and use it as an opportunity to kill the remaining M14 leaders and herd their flocks to jail, the gallows or subject them to the new law of the land.

    Posted by Johnny | November 12, 2010, 3:22 am
  8. What is the precise difference between the Justice Council handling the case of the false witnesses and the Judiciary? I get that the Council’s jurisdiction covers matters of national security, but am sure there is something less legalistic, more opportunistic behind the distinction. Would appreciate any information.

    As for takfiri groups, is it not clear that these are hardly independent units – they are financed, supported and allowed to do what they do precisely because of internal political support for their actions.

    Finally, do we think Nasrallah’s attempt yesterday to draw a clear line from Kissinger’s statements during the civil war to 1559 through Blair’s ‘destruction of the state’ comment on Syria to the Birth Pangs of the New Middle East convinced the target audience.

    It interests me that Nasrallah directly addressed the Christian 14th March youth on this point and spent a hell of a lot of time on it – a genuine attempt to appeal to their judgement – would this have any effect? Clearly international media just pick up the bellicose rhetoric but I’m thinking as to what Nasrallah is seeking to achieve with such lengthy interventions of political analysis. Will they cause anyone to change their mind?

    The broader question being is public opinion structurally mobilized according to party affiliation or do interviews such as the one above really represent a (sort of) public sphere?


    Posted by SK | November 12, 2010, 5:18 am
  9. The FPM position would have made sense if the STL was the only divisive issue in the country.
    What guarantee they can give that if a new page is opened over this issue the escalation will subside.

    I heard him tell the Ain al-Rummaneh bus analogy. You can’t help but smile at people’s interpretation of history. Let’s ask: was the bus incident preceded by a long period of peace and brotherly love between the ‘the peoples of Lebanon’? Or was is just another incident similar to thousands before it, but this time around the escalation reached the tipping point?

    I agree with the position that regardless of the STL’s credibility, the Lebanese should consider the security situation as more important. And that for the sake of the ordinary people trying to make a living in a damned land.

    But even if a settlement is reached to avert the explosion, what’s next? Does he, or FPM think the security problem will improve? If the past 5 years is any indication then no. There will be another issue that will increase the tension to the point of explosion. It can be the budget, or some ministerial decision, or who collects the garbage from the streets.

    The country is divided, the constitutional mechanisms are not working (I am not sure whether they ever did), the parliament is useless, the President powerless, and the government about to explode. An extra-constitutional body, the National dialog has become a National Monologue. Where do you meet to discuss any issue? Of course on the street.

    Posted by XP | November 12, 2010, 5:27 am
  10. The threats that are sugar coated are so funny if they were not so dead serious. Here is Lebanon (Lebanese residents) being offered a choice by the local militia leader/Mafia Don: For the sake of your security “please” capitulate and we will let you live in peace…for a week or so that is.
    Just as mentioned above by others; if this was the only point of contention; then the issue would be black or white!

    To succumb to the sick mafioso logic or spinning it makes a mockery of our intelligence!
    I would like to see anyone on this site declare that they would think it would be right if the killer of their child were to let go just because the murderer threatened to kill some more…

    Where does it ever stop? Where do you think Lebanon would be if they were to let HA run roughshod always? In the past five years we have had a taste of HA’s justice and modus operandi. It is time to stop this nonsense and stand up to the bully. The alternative is just declaring officially Lebanon dead and hand over the reins to King Nasrallah! …At least the fog would be lifted once and for all and no ambiguity left.

    Posted by danny | November 12, 2010, 6:37 am
  11. Two observations:

    1. An indictment (credible or not) of Hezbollah does NOT necessarily mean Syria is off the hook, and people should stop treating this as either/or. They were and remain close allies, and it’s hard to imagine that HA would see any reason to blow up Hariri that is not related to his struggle with Bashar. That’s where 1559 and Hariri’s alliance with anti-HA forces came from in the first place.

    2. It’s a bit odd that there have been no preemptive strikes at Rafiq el-Hariri’s politics. If Hezbollah expects an indictment to be issued, one line of defense, among several, would be to “leak” information (or disinformation) that portrays him as in league with Zionism, the US or whatever, and just generally attacks his credibility with nationalist Lebanese.

    This could offer those M8ers who are not swayed by HA’s denial of guilt an alternative exit: “Maybe they did it, but it’s kind of understandable since he was trying to disarm them and aid Israel, so perhaps he brought it upon himself.” That would boost the position Abs is arguing for here, that whatever happened, we don’t need to find out since it might make HA and Syria go bananas.

    That such leaks aren’t happening strikes me as, I don’t know — interesting.

    Posted by aron | November 12, 2010, 8:14 am
  12. To the Lebanese in the forum:

    How likely is HA to provoke a new conflict with Israel to ‘shuffle the cards’, so to speak, when the indictment comes out?

    I mean I suppose HA could provoke a border incident, which will let it claim that the ensuing conflict will be Israel’s fault…but will the other Lebanese buy it?

    Does HA care enough about these accusations to go in such a dangerous direction? Will it really change anything for Lebanon, internally?

    Posted by G | November 12, 2010, 11:21 am
  13. Admitting that I don’t know exactly how the Tribunal functions (ghassan, do you know?), i think a key issue is when the STL publishes it’s case against the people it decides to indict.

    There are three options, 1) they can publish an indictment while keeping all the evidence for the indictments secret until some form of public trial at the Hague 2 years from now, or 2) the STL can publish the indictments and release the entire findings of it’s investigations at the same time, 3) they can preview a selection of the evidence in the indictment.

    I am sympathetic to Hizbullah, but i would be much less willing to support their position if the indictments (assuming they are against hizbullah members) were accompanied by strong and full evidence that seems to make a strong care. If the evidence is kept secret or is only published in bits, I would generally agree with Hizbullah’s desire to block the tribunal. Yet, additionally, i am very skeptical that the investigation will be able to piece together a strong case. Had a strong case been available, it would not have taken 6 years to develop indictments.

    Posted by joe m. | November 12, 2010, 12:52 pm
  14. G@12
    Not likely at all. HA will only fight a war against Israel if Israel attacks Lebanon. HA can not afford to be accused of starting another war (though I think the 2006 war was inevitable) by his opponents in Lebanon. I doubt that HA constituency would support an unprovoked war with Israel .HA understands very well the consequence of war on the area of his supporters. HA would suffocate without the support of the Shiia community. HA can not explain ,or justify another wave of destruction of Lebanese villages, and infrastructure if they were to start or provoke a war. Unlike what most people think, HA does not take the Shiia community support for granted. The Shiia community in the south and the dahia has barely finished painting their new homes and apartments.
    That being said, The support of shiia ,along with the support of most Lebanese would be very strong, if Israel is to start an unprovoked war against Lebanon.
    HA would not want to be in war(regardless of who start it) while he is dealing with domestic problem.

    Posted by Prophet | November 12, 2010, 1:37 pm
  15. I haven’t read the comments section yet. Just read QN’s post.

    I really don’t know what to say here. The level of debate and discourse is just so ridiculous that it should be a clear indication to everyone how ridiculous and self-serving these politicians are. Yet something tells me, the comment section is going to get bogged down by people debating the minutiae of mister Abs’ statements and their merits.

    The fact that one can come out and say “We don’t care about whether something is legitimate or not. We’re just going to reject it regardless” makes a complete mockery of the idea of the rule of law (which is no surprise to me).
    By this logic, anyone can now say “I don’t care how legitimate the elections are, I reject the parliament, government and state.”
    Or “I don’t care how legitimate this property deed is, i reject it and will now occupy your house.”
    It’s basically the law of the jungle. Those with the guns do what they want and reject what they don’t like and nothing matters.

    Frankly, mister Abs’ statements transcend the discussion of the STL and pretty much enshrine what I have long ranted about: Lebanon is a lost cause. The MENTALITY of the Lebanese is the root problem. The fact that this kind of discussion can take place, and be taken seriously by millions of people, is very telling.

    I’d like to see the way the American people react to a statement by Obama, for example, that “I don’t really care how legitimate the mid term elections are. I reject them entirely.” or something along those lines.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 12, 2010, 1:38 pm
  16. G,
    If I may add one thing, An unprovoked war by Israel on HA, would definitely save HA from dealing (at least for a while, or depending on the outcome of the war) with the STL indictment. It would, no doubt, confirm what HA leader has repeatedly said that the whole scheme of the STL is an Israeli/American conspiracy to destroy HA, and that Israelis doing its part.

    Posted by Prophet | November 12, 2010, 1:51 pm
  17. BV,

    G.W. Bush didn’t give a squat what the UN thought about the WMD’s or about invading Iraq.

    He looked at reports and did it anyway.

    How has America reacted to it ??

    It isn’t SHN that created the atmosphere of utter disrespect for International law. It’s the Americans …. and the Israelis that have.

    The party and the person that actually should stand before an International Tribunal is G.W. Bush and the Republican party (of God!)

    They’re the ones that turned the world upside down.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 12, 2010, 2:41 pm
  18. Prophet;

    But tat is Exactly the focus of my point. In your answer you pointed out that a war with Israel can HA can either strengthen or lose it’s popular support, depending on whether HA attacks first or the war is a ‘unprovoked attack by Israel’.

    Israel and HA may have very different concepts of what is ‘unprovoked’, and HA can try to utilize this.

    An imagery scenario:
    In response to an Indictment, HA goes for a ‘unarmed resistance demonstration’ on the Israeli border.
    People reach right up to the fence, Israeli troops open fire, people get killed.
    HA retaliates by a couple of katyusha – Israel responds in force…and there you have it.

    My question is, how likely is such a scenario? And what will it do for HA support

    Posted by G | November 12, 2010, 2:42 pm
  19. G,
    Why would HA want to go for ‘unarmed resistance demonstration’ on the Israeli border?
    The likelihood of such scenario is almost zero,in my mind at least.
    I can’t see any scenario where HA would have to do that .
    My fear is that Israel cooks up an excuse to attack Lebanon. I think HA , as much as they want to fight Israel, is very carful not give Israel that excuse. As I stated earlier, they can’t afford to be blamed by Lebanese in general ,and by their own community in particular for an other war. They have yet to recover from the blame of 2006 war.
    They would prefer an unprovoked Israeli attack instead. It would unify their front and supporters.. It would also confirm their claim that the whole world conspiring against them.
    The outcome of such war would make all the difference for them. If they win( or at least don’t loose),HA would again become the most famous man in the middle east. If they loose, I can’t predict what would happen, but I can imagine along the devastation of war, lots of civil unrest might take place.

    Posted by Prophet | November 12, 2010, 3:03 pm
  20. Peter, you’re still going on about that?

    While I agree with you on principle. I’m no fan of GW Bush, you appear to be missing my point entirely.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 12, 2010, 3:06 pm
  21. BV,

    The Bush war on Iraq ended being blamed on “false witnesses”. False information given to the CIA by whatnots.

    Obviously Syria and the Hizb are playing on the same angle.

    Now let’s say that the war on Iraq was a “just” war that had to be fought but caused the consequences it did.

    Will a war on Hizballah, that would be viewed as just in case the STL implicates their members be more “just” … if the consequences would probably be another Iraq?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 12, 2010, 3:22 pm
  22. Sorry last paragraph should read …

    Will a war on Hizballah be more “just” should they be implicated by the STL in the Hariri assassination … even though we know it will end up into another Iraq.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 12, 2010, 3:26 pm
  23. If the Americans can get away with murder …

    Why shouldn’t the Shiites ?

    Saddam was a political liability to the Americans … Hariri was one to the Syrians and Shi’ites.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 12, 2010, 3:31 pm
  24. Prophet;

    Of course HA would prefer an unprovoked attack to ‘unify the ranks’.
    However, the chances Israel will send the tanks rolling one starry night, with no reason at all, is nil. While Israel’s casus belli may not be acceptable to the Arab people, they have always been the same:
    – Attack on the border (on any scale).
    – Bus/Building/Suicide attack in Israel or abroad (Jewish target).
    – Hostages.

    To get Israel to respond, HA will have to ‘tickle’ one of them. If you are right in your analysis, it has significant reason to try to do so, since if the Israeli response is judged to be ‘non-proportional’ or ‘un-provoked’, it will win the support it needs.

    Posted by G | November 12, 2010, 3:33 pm
  25. G,
    None of the three reason/scenarios are likely to be carried by HA.
    They can’t afford more international pressure. They might be tough and stubborn, but I don’t think that they are crazy or suicidal.
    They are in dear need for a solution to the anticipated STL indictment. It is no surprise that Nassralla echoed his support for the Syrian/Saudi dialogue/solution. I can imagine how hard it was for HA leader to publicly praise an Arab (Saudi) leader, whose country was always at odd with the whole HA ideology. If that tells me anything, it’s the desperation they feel, and the knowledge they have of strong Saudi support for Hariai, and the leverage they have on his decisions. They are counting on that as a last solution. I don’t have much faith in the Saudi /Syrian thing myself, I doubt that HA does either.
    I’d have to disagree with your analysis of Israel’s intentions though. I think Israel would attack if certain conditions are in place;
    If the domestic pressure on HA becomes so great, that Israel reads as weakness in the HA Ranks, and support.
    Israel does not need excuses in this case, it become more of an opportunity, properly supported by the USA, and other countries. I think Israeli military has been itching to undo the damage it suffered in the 2006 war, yet they know they would have to win next time a round.
    Until Israel feels confident enough that the results of the next war are decisive to its advantage, it won’t go to war, provoked or unprovoked. As of now, I don’t think Israel is that confident yet, considering all the reports of the strength of HA, unless these reports a re hyped up by Israel to show how dangerous HA has become.

    Posted by Prophet | November 12, 2010, 4:15 pm
  26. I was just about to make a point about the Sayed Nasrallh speech when I received the following email. Although I am usually not in favour of cuting and pasting I hope that you will allow this transgression since the statement by MP Kabbara makes the points that I had intebded to make but since it was made by an MP it illustrates the depth of the current tension in Lebanese politics:

    اعتبر النائب محمد كبارة ان الامين العام لحزب الله حسن نصرالله فاجأ الجميع فقط بحجم التضليل المتعمد الذي يوجههه ليس لـ14 ، بل يوجهه لأتباعه الذين يصدقون كل ما يقول، وهو بهذه الحالة يتحمل أمام الله مسؤولية التلاعب بهم.

    واوضح كبارة “هدد وتوعد وأرغد وأزبد، وهز أصبعه أيضا. ولكن ماذا قال لجماعته؟ قال إنه يريد أن يقطع اليد التي ستحاول اعتقال أي شخص من عناصره إذا اتهمه القرار الاتهامي بالضلوع في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري”.

    واشار الى السيد حسن يعلم أنه لا يوجد في لبنان أجهزة أمنية أو عسكرية قادرة على دخول مناطقه لتوقيف مطلوبين بتهم قتل عناصر من هذه الإدارات العسكرية والأمنية. وبالتالي، فهو لا يهدد أحدا. بل أراد أن يظهر أمام جمهوره بأنه يدافع عنه.

    وسأل اي “يد ستقطع يا سيد حسن؟ يد الجيش الذي لم يتمكن من التحقيق في مقتل، كي لا أقول اغتيال، الرائد سامر حنا، أو ضباطه وجنوده الآخرين؟ ولن يحاول، بل لن يكلف باعتقال أو توقيف أحد من جماعتك يا سيد حسن يد أي قوة أمنية أو عسكرية ستقطع يا سيد حسن؟ يد القوى التي لا تفتش ولا تداهم إلا في مجدل عنجر ووادي خالد مثلا؟ هذه اليد أنت تدعمها، كي لا أقول تحميها أيضا في ما تقوم به”.

    وتابع “أم ترى يا سيد حسن أنك تتحسب لمداهمات من قبل قوى أمنية تبارك توزيع السلاح على أتباع أتباعك في طرابلس وصيدا والبقاع الغربي وكل لبنان. أنت تعرف تماما من أقصد وماذا أقول”.

    واضاف كبارة “تريد فقط أن تقول لجماعتك أنك ستقطع يدا، تعلم أنت تماما أنها غير موجودة، وغير الموجود لا يمتد يا سيد حسن. على كل حال، مبروك عليك دور البطل، ولكن بطل على من. بطل على عدو غير موجود. هذه لا تليق بك، ولا بموقعك”.

    وختم “ماذا عن الفضيحة الكبرى التي وعدتنا بها إذا تمت مقاضاة ما يسمى بشهود الزور؟ عن أي فضيحة تتحدث؟ عن فضيحة من لفق أبو عدس؟ أم عن فضيحة من أمر بالعبث بمسرح جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد؟ بالله عليك عن أي فضيحة تتحدث؟ حديثك ليس موجها لنا، بل للمضللين من أتباعك المساكين”.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 12, 2010, 4:59 pm
  27. Could you be so kind to translate.

    I’m an illiterate Semite (with some other genes).

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 12, 2010, 5:03 pm
  28. Peter,

    You’re still missing my point.
    You’re confusing 2 different things. For the purposes of my point, we are not talking about whether something is “just” or not.
    Besides. Two wrongs do not make a right. I did not support the invasion of Iraq nor do I think it was just or legal. But that’s entirely besides the point.
    I am talking about the culture and mentality of completely ignoring the rule of law in Lebanon. The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the rule of law. There was no court or justice system involved. It was a political decision. That has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.
    A much better example for you to use would’ve been Isarel’s insistence of ignoring the UN resolutions that demand it withdraw from the occupied territories post-1967. If you had brought up that example, I’d have completely agreed with you.

    Having said that, neither the US nor Israel display a culture of complete disregard for the rule of law in their own countries. Yes, both may be guilty of ignoring international law at times, but I’m talking about something that’s a lot more fundemental here. I’m not JUST talking about the STL or mister Abs’ statements. I am talking about the logic itself that is displayed in such statements (and many like it, coming from most Lebanese walks of life). This concept of “even if you can produce evidence and proof that X broke the law, I’m going to ignore it and give X a free pass.”

    It is a result of this culture that bestowed us with one of the most corrupt political classes in the world. It is a result of this mentality that we have never seen a single politician step down or resign or be held accountable or spend time in jail, even when one can PROVE their crimes (and that isn’t very hard to do).

    I could provide physical evidence, photos and video recordings of Hariri molesting a little girl, or Berri shooting his maid at point blank, and they’d still keep their posts and people would still vote for them.

    That’s the tragedy. That’s why Lebanon is a complete lost cause, imo.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 12, 2010, 5:14 pm
  29. By the way, any one else see this story?

    A new witness emerges on the scene!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 12, 2010, 5:25 pm
  30. PProphet;

    Our understanding of the other side is always superficial. I don’t know whether you are Lebanese or if you live in Lebanon, but I will assume you know Leb, HA politics better than I ever could.

    But the same thing goes the other way around – and I think I have a better understanding of how the government and public opinion in Israel works.

    Israel can NEVER ‘win’ a conflict with HA / Hamas because HA and Hamas need only to have a single man left standing or launch a single Katusha at the end of a conflict to claim, and be perceived, as vicarious.
    Israeli strategy vs. Leb, Gaza in the last years was simple – respond strongly, very strongly, to any provocation – and win a few years of restraint before the next round.

    It’s an ugly, crude strategy, but one the current political and army leadership conceives as successful. I am not trying to make an argument for this strategy, only highlight it as what guides Israeli decisions.

    Even ‘surgical strikes’ focused on a specific targets (e.g reactor in Syria) were carried out only when it was perceived the issue was a ‘ticking time bomb’.

    That’s why it will take some sort of provocation to ignite an Israeli response. Not even if HA takes over Lebanon will Israel respond, in my opinion, although it will try to leverage it diplomatically by declaring Lebanon as a ‘terrorist state’. Etc’, etc’.

    Posted by G | November 12, 2010, 5:39 pm
  31. *victorious, not vicarious

    Posted by G | November 12, 2010, 5:43 pm
  32. PeterinDubai,
    MP Kabbara, elected from Tripoli, is responding to the latest SHN speech in which he said that he will cut off the hand of those that will attempt tp arrest an HA member indicted by the STL. The MP is essentially saying : we know that neither the Lebanese military nor the ISF are permitted in the areas under your control and so we know that you will not hand over anyone. HA is a state within a state and HA has not cooperated with the official Lebanese authorities in the past; not in the case of the cold blood murder of Samer Hanah of the army…. He goes on to ask SHN about whose hands he is going to cut when he is the head of the party that is arming its factions all over Lebanon and he is challenging SHN to live up to his boasts of rmaking the earth shattering revelations about the false witnesses when so many have close relations to the Syrian intelligence.
    MP Kabbara is not saying abything new but I believe that the significance is that these strongly worded responses to SHN are coming from quarters that have not often been outspoken on these matters. This demonstartes , at least to me, that HA can be a spoiler but is not in a position to form a government. I do not beieve that HA is strengthening its hand through all these threats about labelling everyone who disagrees with them as a traitor and an Israeli agent when it appears that there might be strong evidence to the contrary.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 12, 2010, 7:26 pm
  33. Did Hariri really buy DStar? MeowLebanon a little too LF for Koraytem’s tastes (not that they would care)? Al-Akhbar needs to get up in English …

    Regardless, I am surprised Mroue would sell the family press … so maybe just rumor. Can anyone confirm?


    Posted by david | November 13, 2010, 12:30 am
  34. BV,

    You hit the mark. I try to make the same argument in comment 7 above.

    The sad reality is that this mindset already exists and is too well entrenched. The mindset far precedes the STL. Any other self respecting country, after 15 years of bloodshed, would put those who made the decisions to cause bloodshed in jail – not propelled them to the highest levels of public office.

    Jumblatt, Geagea, Berri, Aoun are directly responsible for the killing of tens of thousands. Why no one pursuing them is beyond reason? Unless we citizens bring a case to the Hague against all the civil war era war criminals there is no hope for Lebanon.

    Posted by Johnny | November 13, 2010, 3:21 am
  35. It is not much but I agree with G 30. Judging the current internal economical- political situation ( surprisingly good for the present government) and the mess in the high military command there will have to be a serious provocation before Israel will go to war.

    Posted by Rani | November 13, 2010, 5:44 am
  36. Holding a national referendum and letting the people of Lebanon vote on the fate of Hizbullah’s weapons still seems to me to be the only viable option left.

    If SHN is so confident about his militia’s popularity, let him put it to the test.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 13, 2010, 9:58 am
  37. G,
    I am a Lebanese, but do not live in Lebanon, yet a good follower of Middle East politics in general, and Lebanese in particular. I don’t claim to know everything, nor do I claim any expertise. I do think I have a reasonable (my own at least) understanding of Lebanese politics, and southerners sentiments.
    I can’t disagree with your analysis that Israel could not win a conflict with either HA or Hamas, I’ll just add my take( correct me if I’m wrong) on this topic; The nature, and consequences of any conflict with either group is much more serious than similar conflicts that took places years ago with PLO or earlier HA face offs. The level of sophistication that both groups have reached is making it harder for Israel to resort to its traditional strategy for strong response. Israel traditionally had total control of how to end any military face off. That has changed where, absent of total victory, any military operation is reaching fronts that were out of reach. So Israel is forced to take into consideration the public (which has become very prosperous) ability to endure casualties, and inconveniences of war time. I do believe that societies that are very prosperous economically , can not ,and usually do not support long wars.
    That being said, I still Think that military leadership is Israel are itching to have a second try on HA, in the hope of restoring the image of the army, and its deterrence history. The question is when do they reach the level of confidence that they are allows them to think that they will decisively win next time around. They know they can’t afford another set back.
    As for the idea that HA would take over Lebanon, I truly believe it is out of the question. HA is not Hamas, and Lebanon is not GHAZA. HA may be a hard core Islamic movement, but it is not suicidal one. They are much more pragmatic in reading politics than they show. HA, for years avoided getting involved in direct governing through any government. The only reason, I think they did take part of the cabinet ,is because the Syrian umbrella had disappeared, and they were forced to take part of the first government after the assassination of Hariri, and the withdrawal of the Syrians, so they can secure an official support, and legitimacy ( which was a given under Syrian presence) for the resistance.

    Posted by Prophet | November 13, 2010, 2:57 pm
  38. Correction.
    The question is when do they reach a level of confidence that allows them to think that they will decisively win next time around.

    Posted by Prophet | November 13, 2010, 3:07 pm
  39. Prophet,

    Not reading past the first paragraph … you sound like a Blood thirsty Sports enthusiast.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 13, 2010, 3:34 pm
  40. Thanks Pete, I always got the impression that you are a mind reader, and a psychic. You seem to know it all. lol

    Posted by Prophet | November 13, 2010, 5:00 pm
  41. To P
    1.No, you do not read Israel right, to say the least.
    2. The duration of Israel wars was never ever decided by Israel or the Arabs.
    3. Israel knows very well that the definition of an Arab victory has changed. Once it was the conquest of Israel and sending the Jews west swiming. Now it is killing as many Jews as possible, destoying as much of Israel, and the survival of even one fighting Arab. Israel can not prevent such victory.
    4. HA is telling all the time how many missiles they have and how far into Israel they can send them. Not even one word about possible damage to Lebanon or about shelters, fire alarms, civil defences or early warning, etc. The aim based, on the past, is to cause an international cry about the high number of casualties. As in the last wars in Lebanon & Gaza all casualties will be presented and listed as civilians causing a tremendos pressure on Israel.
    5. There can be no victory in such situation and no hope of restoring the image of the army, and its deterrence history. That is accepted by most of the Israeli public and most of the politicians and the media. But Israel, which in a war will pay a high price, can charge Lebanon twice as much or more, much more. But for what use?
    6. In any case most of the “big” decisions on the non Israeli side will be made in Syria and Iran, not in Lebanon. It is known from intercepted communication that during the last war in Gaza the Hamas asked HA for help. None came. However, if Syria and Iran will decide on war their leaders will not be detered by any thing that will happen to Lebanon. So what is the use of damaging Lebanon.
    7. The high command of the IDF is in a mess right now.
    8. A war with Lebanon in the near future, that will be started by Israel, can come only after a major provocation. But it is the ME and anything can happen.

    Posted by Rani | November 13, 2010, 6:53 pm
  42. Rani,
    If you scroll up and read the exchange between G and me, you would realize that I was answering some specific questions put out by G. No one doubts that the cost of war is heavy on both sides. No one was advocating war. No one was defining what victory or lose is. No one was discussion strategies.
    As for the casualties caused by both wars against Lebanon and Ghaza, they are real, regardless of how HA and Hamas use or misuse these figures.
    I stand by my position that Israeli army is itching for a war against HA, But they would only do it if they can guarantee a decisive victory.

    Posted by Prophet | November 13, 2010, 7:37 pm
  43. Ghassan (2): “March 14 have indirectly supplied fuel to the fire by seeming to object to bringing the case of false witnesses to a quick close. I am sure that an amicable arrangement can be worked out that will satisfy the STL that is supposed to have jurisdiction in this matter, the Lebanese judiciary and the Lebanese Justice Ministry. The sooner this issue is clarified the better.”

    It would be great if the issue could be cleared up soon because amazingly the very issue that should give the STL added credibility (its rejection of some testimony) is being used to damage its credibility. Go figure.

    But Najjar’s report was fairly clear (at least as reported) that the Lebanese judiciary has jurisdiction in this matter but that it respects its agreements with the STL and the desire of the STL to keep all evidence under wraps. So nothing could happen pre-indictments. That seems reasonable enough since the STL has primacy within this weird “two concurrent jurisdictions” arrangement, and the STL is dealing with the more serious set of crimes. But “reasonable enough” doesn’t really get you very far in Lebanon’s court of public opinion right now.

    The STL, for its part, seems to be taking the view that this is a domestic political squabble and it will not get involved with any political horse-trading to try to solve it. One STL official allegedly responded to a “false witnesses” question from a Lebanese journalist with, “You can’t seriously expect me to respond to that.” Such remoteness is also understandable, and perhaps even necessary, but in the meantime the opponents of the STL have a field day.

    Posted by Jonathan | November 13, 2010, 7:54 pm
  44. Correction: No one was discussing startegies.

    Posted by Prophet | November 13, 2010, 8:09 pm
  45. Prophet;

    I am well aware of the prevailing perception among the Lebanese in this forum that Israel, or the IDF, is “itching for a fight” with HA / Lebanon.

    From this side of the border, I see no indication of such a mindset.

    On the contrary, the army generals are much more cautious when talking of future conflicts than they were five years ago, well aware that it will not be possible to achieve that “winning” perception we talked of earlier.
    This should not be confused with the army’s desire to demonstrate it has implemented lessons from previous conflicts which can have a strong influence on how they conduct that war, once the prime minster approves an ‘operation’. (e.g., maximizing infantry engagement in the 2009 Gaza conflict). But that is not the same as deciding to initiate conflicts just to “show off”.

    Furthermore, it’s important to understand that in Israel there is a great difference in the weighing of risk vs. benefit between the prime minister vs. Minister of defense and army chief of staff.
    And it doesn’t matter if the prime minister is an ex-army man himself, the ‘civilian’ government calls the shots and is the one that has to deal with the political, economical and diplomatic repercussions of any conflict.

    If the IDF is ‘itching’ for anything, its those limited operations such as the Bombardment of the reactor in Syria or perhaps an attack on Iranian facilities.


    Posted by G | November 14, 2010, 5:13 am
  46. Just an observation. Words are just words, but it should be of interest to people here that most probably such “limited operations” in Iran could be very “unlimmited” to some other countries in the ME , and very total and all encompasing to Israel it self. The question of how can such “bystanders no more” pull them selves out of such mess is for them a question of life and death, literally. The governments of such lands should at least think about this question.

    Posted by Rani | November 14, 2010, 7:13 am
  47. QN,

    I just now read this latest piece, and it’s actually fascinating. But instead of viewing the “dishonest” part of the suggestion, I think certain Lebanese MP’s are saying “Lebanon cannot handle this now!” And to me, that sounds like a legitimate call to make, especially given Lebanon’s unstable situation over a number of decades now.

    If a similar case occurred in Israel, let’s say with a potential indictment of the Settler Movement leadership conducting subversive activity intended to bring Israel and the Arab World to a disastrous clash. Could Israel handle such a case today? I’m not sure.

    Posted by Shai | November 14, 2010, 2:58 pm
  48. BV,

    A man who betrays his country will do anything for money. It could be true though, no clue.

    Posted by Nasser V | November 14, 2010, 3:48 pm
  49. G,
    How do you explain all the statements (and they are many) by many Israeli military, and civilian leaders who always refer to the “next war”, “coming war”, or “inevitable war” on the “Northern borders”. We hear these,and similar words every time a general visits a training camp, the border with Lebanon, or after every major military exercise.
    I understand that psychological war is part of every conflict, ,and this may as well be a part of the conflict. But It seems to me that Israel is really getting ready for the next war. I even heard many Israeli official say that it is not a matter of if, but a matte of when.
    If all of those threats are just threats, then my fear that the next war could start because of misreading of the other side’s intentions, than actual readings.
    My other question to you is this; can Israel start an unprovoked war without the US’s support? Historically, all Israel’s wars were either encouraged or at least approved by the USA. None were carried by Israel without consultations and approval of the US.

    Posted by Prophet | November 14, 2010, 4:00 pm
  50. Prophet;

    Its interesting how the same statement sounds different to your ears than it does to mine…

    Of course, I saw/read those statements too, but heard no threatening tone in it.
    Some of it, I suppose, is directed for outside ears – “Israel is prepared, so don’t even consider it” – which isn’t too different than the HA statements.

    But for the most part, its what we call in Slang Hebrew “COA” (Covering One’s Ass). Ever since the 73’ war, when army Intelligence failed in the most part to appreciate the chances of the coming attack, Generals and army Intel. will always predict the worst-case scenario. After all, if you predict war and proven wrong, the Israeli public won’t hold it against you. BUT, if you predict quiet and proven wrong, well then, it’s a Parliament Investigational committee for you.

    One cannot negate AIG’s comments about the army budget, either. 55 Fuckin’ Billion NIS a year, that doest grow on trees, not even American ones, not with education and health care in dire need.

    As for Israel going for any military offensive without US support – definitely, depending on the circumstances, and the judged criticality to Israel’s security and survival.

    Yes folks, with +200 nukes (so they say) we are *really* worried about survival. Maybe it’s a paranoia thing, can’t be sure.

    In fact, some may argue that in certain situations Israel would utilize such an offensive to force a reluctant US administration to take sides. Definitely can happen.

    Posted by G | November 14, 2010, 4:37 pm
  51. Prophet,

    “But It seems to me that Israel is really getting ready for the next war.”

    Israel has, for the past 62 years of our existence, always been getting ready for the next war. Unfortunately, some of these have been initiated by Israel (1967, 1982, 2006, 2008/9).

    Posted by Shai | November 14, 2010, 4:39 pm
  52. *Note – for those intrested, the ‘COA’ – “Covering One’s Ass” gem is a free translation of the Hebrew ‘כסת”ח’ expression.

    Posted by G | November 14, 2010, 4:45 pm
  53. What’s the shekel backed by ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 14, 2010, 4:56 pm
  54. Is the Shekel pegged to the dollar … or is it a free floating currency?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 14, 2010, 5:01 pm
  55. G@50

    I’m of the opinion that Israel, being a state build and protected by military might, is finding hard to live with a neighbor who is considered dangerous and lethal. A Neighbor who has changed the equation that existed for years, where Israel’s military was feared by all Arabs. The assumption that Israel will always prevail in wars is no longer believed, at least in Lebanon. Again, that depends on how people view winning or losing. lol
    Basically I believe that Israel has yet to learn from its mistakes. The idea of surviving through military might has failed.
    Israel’s experience in Lebanon made it loose the deterrence ( at least in Arab and Lebanese eyes) that always existed, and will try to re-impose that deterrence by another war in Lebanon. I doubt that it would be a success, and hope they don’t try. We’ll always be back at square one, but this time it would be very damaging to Israel, and its future, and no doubt devastating to Lebanon.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, I think Israel is lacking a strong leadership that is willing to think out of the box. Negotiations are not going anywhere, war is not bringing in peace, demographics are changing too fast to have an official Jewish state. The west bank is becoming like a piece of Swiss cheese with the spread of the settlements.
    Where do you think we are going ?If there is no war that can change facts on the ground, and if there is no progress in the peace process ,at least with Palestinians, what is next? How long do you think the area could maintain this status quo?

    Shai @51
    That was my point. But this time around, it is being talked about in the o

    Posted by Prophet | November 14, 2010, 5:14 pm
  56. Shai @51
    That was my point. But this time around, it is being talked about in the open.

    Posted by Prophet | November 14, 2010, 5:17 pm
  57. We don’t need no education
    We dont need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers leave them kids alone

    Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
    All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

    * Support all Govt’s, nations and people that build brick walls to separate people from people *

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 14, 2010, 5:37 pm
  58. To pick up aron’s points in comment 11, it is interesting that no one has commented on his observation about the blame game going back to Rafiq Hariri and 1559. I detect in some of Walid Junblatt’s recent statements something along these lines — that ultimately the whole mess started with Bush/Chirac’s insistence on pushing 1559, and that Rafiq Hariri was lethally compromised by this. If the case does go to trial, a lot of this is bound to come up in the discussion of motive.

    Separately, peterindubai, the shekel is free floating and is supported by a rather strong economy, among whose benefits is a central position in the globa diamond trade (lots of that going through Dubai).

    An excerpt from the EIU’s current outlook for the Israeli economy:

    Against the backdrop of US dollar weakness and a sharply appreciating shekel, the Bank of Israel has stepped up the frequency and magnitude of its foreign-currency purchases. The intervention policy continues to spark controversy. But Mr Fischer [Stanley Fischer, the central bank governor] has defended the central bank’s actions, implicitly arguing that it is an essential means of preventing an erosion of export competitiveness. Despite the official intervention, we believe that the shekel will receive continuing support from a large current-account surplus and a steadily widening interest-rate differential with key developed economies—given that we expect the monetary authorities in the US, Japan and Europe to leave interest rates on hold until the second half of 2012. Looking further ahead, the prospect of Israel becoming a significant net energy exporter will further underpin the currency.

    Posted by EIU | November 14, 2010, 5:40 pm
  59. Peter;

    The Shekel is a free floating currency, fully convertible by the CLS since 2003.
    A dollar equals approx. 3.5NIS.


    Well I guess here we see things in opposite colors, which is natural. Your seem to think Israel is on the verge of gloom & doom, but I don’t. You make it sound like were are all huddling together in some bomb shelter, armed to the teeth. Actually, I AM typing this post this from my shelter, but only because we turned it into a guest room / computer room.

    Demographics? I look at the data now and then. Arab fertility rates in Israel are dropping – and their standard of living is rising. Ate at a nice place in Nathareth last week – they don’t seem to be doing all that bad. Have their own Hi-Tech industry zone now. I grew up in Haifa, with Arab neighbors and I know co-existence is happening in more places you may imagine.

    Heck, open any of Israel’s major hospital physician directories on the Web, look how many Arab names you can find there.

    Our politicians? I don’t find the Idea of ‘Strong Leaders’ as appealing as many in the Arab world seem to. I like how open debate and political discourse run their course in Israel.

    I mean, even comparing the Israel of 2010 to the Israel I remember 20 years ago and I can see so much that has changed – some for the worst but a lot for the better, too.

    As for where we are going, probably nowhere special, currently. The status-quo is much more hard on the Palestinians than on the Israelis, I am sorry to say. But they don’t seem to be in any hurry, not even to mend their own divides.

    In four decades, Arab oil will be drying up across the region – with the water drying up right now…..I am not sure Israel will be the worst place to be when that happens.

    I am not trying to gloat, or get into the ‘who will win at the end” contest.
    Unlike yourself, I am no Prophet….but so many of the Arabs want so desperately for our demise, forgive me if I prefer to leave them disappointed.

    Posted by G | November 14, 2010, 6:25 pm
  60. Shai,

    Are you arguing that if the settler movement assassinated our prime minister we would be afraid to prosecute them??? You must be joking.

    Posted by AIG | November 14, 2010, 6:28 pm
  61. The IDF has kidnapped a Lebanese grandmother!,7340,L-3984545,00.html

    Posted by AIG | November 14, 2010, 6:43 pm
  62. AIG,
    Do you think that HA is trying to see if they can use an elderly women as suicide bomber?.

    Posted by Norman | November 14, 2010, 6:56 pm
  63. Israel has, for the past 62 years of our existence, always been getting ready for the next war. Unfortunately, some of these have been initiated by Israel (1967, 1982, 2006, 2008/9).


    Only the most Lefty of Leftist Jew, Israeli or anti-Zionist would criticise Israel for “initiating” the Six Day War (a war carried out by the left-leaning Labour Party no less).

    By cutting off the Straits of Tiran, kicking out UN forces in the Sinai and amassing the Egyptian army in the Sinai, this made Israel’s surprise attack a “no-brainer” if anyone had an ounce of objectivity.

    But alas, Israel-haters like you aren’t objective.

    1982 and 2006 aren’t much different, if the usual axiom, namely, “Israel does not have the right to defend itself” is taken seriously.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 6:56 pm
  64. AP,

    I do not know from which planet are you from but it is very clear that Shai is a Netanyahu supporter and that can not be lefty may be anti war but definitely not lefty, he blames the Israeli wars on the left and their need to show how tough they are ,

    Posted by Norman | November 14, 2010, 7:01 pm
  65. Do you think that HA is trying to see if they can use an elderly women as suicide bomber?.


    What most people don’t realize is that MOST suicide bombers are middle to upper income, young, and totally brain-washed.

    That is why one never sees an elderly person giving up his/her life for the poor Palestinians. They aren’t brain-washed after having the opportunity of seeing year-after-year of jihadist BS. I mean, the elderly would logically be the best candidates to blow themselves up instead of newly-weds like Faisal “If I’m given 1,000 lives I will sacrifice them all for the life of Allah” Shahzad…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 7:03 pm
  66. Norman,

    I’m glad Shai makes sense to you. It must be difficult recruiting Israelis who think like you.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 7:08 pm
  67. AP,

    a young person at the fence will make the Israeli soldiers shoot first for the same reason you put up , but an elderly woman made them come close to help and that is the right time to kill as many as they can , think about it a benign looking elderly woman is the ultimate weapon ,

    Posted by Norman | November 14, 2010, 7:19 pm
  68. EIU

    I think that a rhetorical strategy along those lines would be seen by many in Lebanon as problematic. The Hizb knows better than to try to tar Hariri Sr with the collaborationist brush… It would make them look guilty.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 14, 2010, 7:21 pm
  69. …think about it a benign looking elderly woman is the ultimate weapon…


    OK. So explain to us why we NEVER see the elderly freeing the Palestinians. Only the brain-washed, the bullied, the retarded, or the “dishonored”…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 7:25 pm
  70. Norman,

    Great idea about the elderly people! Since you are elderly, why don’t you get some of your friends and do that from Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan. The “resistance” needs you! Don’t you want to be a martyr, or are you just about sending others to their death?

    Posted by AIG | November 14, 2010, 7:30 pm
  71. One-way Peace Process NewZ

    The Israelis agree to extend the settlement freeze for a big Chanukka present?

    I believe the Obama Administration is punishing the Palestinians by making Israel do next to nothing.

    The Palestinian-induced Nakba continues…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 7:32 pm
  72. G,
    I don’t think that Israel is on the verge of a gloomy & doom. I was just asking questions that I thought are important.
    You seem to think that Israel is very comfortable where things stand; yes Armed to the teeth, strong, and prosperous economy. It can hold on to, and continue to chop off west bank land and turn it into settlements, with no hurry to find a permanent solution. You might be right.
    However, from the other side, things are seen a bit different. The view from here is that Israel may not be able to maintain the status quo for long. Palestinians Authority has lost all of its bargaining chips, so they are in weak position .But how long can Abbas stay in power, without delivering to his people? What about Hamas, in Ghaza? Don’t you think they are waiting for Abbas to give up, and admit that He can’t deliver? Do you think that Israel can reach a solution without involving Hamas, eventually? You and know that Israel has no military solution to the Palestinian problem, so sooner or later Israel will have to face reality.
    My mention of “strong leadership’ was intentional because I think that , without leadership that has broader vision ,and strong public support, Israel will not be able to make the concession necessary to reach a comprehensive solution.
    The demographic dimension becomes more important if Israel insisted on Palestinians to recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state. With 1.5 million non Jewish Israeli citizens, you’ll be entering into un- chartered territories. Some have described it as the next Apartheid South Africa.

    Posted by Prophet | November 14, 2010, 7:46 pm
  73. AIG, AP,

    I do not want to kill Israelis , I thought that you are smarter than it seems , My mistake,

    Posted by Norman | November 14, 2010, 8:02 pm
  74. Some have described it as the next Apartheid South Africa.


    Let me guess who “some” is. Jimmy Carter? Norman Finkelstein? Shai? Walt & Mear.?

    And, BTW, which countries are Jews not allowed to set foot, in this apartheid-free, liberal utopia?

    I’ll give you a hint, it begins with a “P”.,7340,L-3984303,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 8:02 pm
  75. Norman,

    I never said you wanted to kill Israelis.

    I merely asked you to “explain to us why we NEVER see the elderly freeing the Palestinians” as you suggested in Post 67.

    We’re all ears!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 8:05 pm
  76. AP,

    Wake up it was meant to be that anybody can disguise as an elderly women and launch an attack,now we can see that the Israeli soldiers were helpful to an elderly woman , i can not explain it more to you , For God sake i do not know how you are winning against us,

    Posted by Norman | November 14, 2010, 8:10 pm
  77. For God sake i do not know how you are winning against us


    I would say by depending on democracy and freedom instead of clerics, despots and theocrats.

    Anyway, thanks for trying to answer my question. I know it was difficult, but your effort is worth noting.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 14, 2010, 8:32 pm
  78. Wow,

    It never seems to amaze me how the Syrian/Persian/HA axis’ trumpeters and Israeli dudes like to get into the same lame discussions on this blog; irrespective of the thread!

    Posted by danny | November 14, 2010, 8:37 pm
  79. Oh my. This needs to be a screen shot.

    Official letterhead doc from the STL Prosectors Netherlands office to “His Excellency” regarding all sorts of shenanigans, including that the Jordanian intel guy who planned Operation OB/GYN is also a Special Friend of David (Deputy Middle East Peace Envoy) Hale & Israel.

    It seems that some people on the inside have fears about the integrity of the ground operation in Beirut and the dissemination of information from suspect sources.


    Click to access stl_clinic_event_document.pdf

    “Fruit of the poisonous tree” as we say in the US of A.

    Data mining or seeking to acquire targeting coordinates? Or both and then some?

    Posted by lally | November 15, 2010, 12:14 am
  80. Prophet;

    Unlike others, I am not afraid of Israeli Arabs stepping up and taking their rightful place in Israeli society. If integration and education make Israel a prosperous, bi-national state, which is bi-national ia a good way, then why not. Having a strong army or strong sense of nationality does not contradict this.

    I wish more Israeli Arabs could see this, join the National service program (instead of Army service) and integrate better. It’s happening, but slowly.

    My remarks on the status-quo were to point out that the Palestinian side isn’t doing its part to reach a settlement. They are wriggling and playing games, looking at everything as zero-sum vs. Israel. And if they don’t clean house, they will never achieve independence.


    Posted by G | November 15, 2010, 1:04 am
  81. lally,
    Who is Is this a joke?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 15, 2010, 1:08 am
  82. AIG,
    Remember the Amos Yadlin speech that appeared only in the Arabic press and that was full of childish boasts and silly assertions. Well you will be glad to know that just as suspected the Al Akhbar has revealed that the Amos Yadlin speech and other reports have been a total fabrication by a group of Arab resistance journalists.
    I am inclined to think that the report attributed to the STL in lally’s post above is also a fabrication.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 15, 2010, 1:58 am
  83. Akbar,

    According to you, no war can be initiated by Israel, since every war is purely “defensive”. But even your very own Menachem Begin (whom Likud supporters called “Traitor”) referred to the 1982 war as a “War of Choice”. It was, from his point of view, the first war Israel CHOSE to start, and didn’t HAVE to start. I of course think that some of the wars we fought were inevitable, such as the War of Independence and the Yom Kippur War. But 1967 was a Russian manipulation on the Arabs, which led to our preemption. In retrospect, and in light of the miserable 43 years that have come as a result (remember, no one in Israel PLANNED to conquer and occupy the West Bank or Gaza), the 1967 war was the biggest mistake we ever made.

    To suggest 2006 was a war of no-choice is ludicrous. Hezbollah kidnapped 3 Israeli soldiers, and as a result of our “war of no choice”, we killed 1500 of their civilians, lost a few on our side, untold damage measured in the tens of millions if not more, and a million of our citizens lived underground for 34 days. Purely “defensive”… except, that the North of Israel hasn’t needed to be so defensive in more than two decades, all because of our war of no-choice.

    The 2008/9 war was, similarly, completely out of proportion. We cannot kill 1,300 Palestinians in a few weeks, when they’ve killed barely a dozen, in a period 100 times longer. That’s a ratio of about 10,000 to 1. To the minds of some, that may be considered “somewhat disproportional”. Again, a “defensive” war no doubt.

    Posted by Shai | November 15, 2010, 5:11 am
  84. Akbar,

    Just to make it clear (since I know you sometimes need help understanding), I did not criticize Israel for “initiating” the 1967 war – it’s a bit too late for that in any case – I criticized Israel, and still do, for what it did AFTER the war! Ever asked yourself why no Israeli government, left, right, top, down, has ever annexed the West Bank? We’ve been there long enough, certainly by now it should be Israeli, shouldn’t it?

    As for “Israel-hater”, I think it’s a bit funny coming from you? Remind me where you live, and how many years of your life you’ve given to this country? When you’ve contributed to Israel one one hundredth of what I, and most other Israelis have, you can turn on your labeling machine again, and try a new label. Until then, go buy a mirror, and take a good look. You might be surprised at what you see.

    Posted by Shai | November 15, 2010, 5:22 am
  85. Shai,

    Let’s say the US had nuclear weapons at the beginning of WWII and right after Pearl Harbor, it dropped one atom bomb on a large German city and one on a large Japanese city bringing the war to an end quickly but with completely disproportionate civilian deaths: zero for the US and tens of thousands civilians for Germany and Japan. Would that have been good or bad?

    The point is the disproportion of casualties as an argument not to do some act of war is stupid. Operation Cast Lead gained Israel years of relative quiet on the Gaza border and that is why it is very good. The disproportional number of casualties will save in the long run many more lives on both sides.

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 12:24 pm
  86. Shai’s “Double-Standard” (continued)


    And let’s just say a neighboring country lobbed mortars and Katyushas into the US from across the border for a period of years assuming not one person was killed, not one structure was damaged, nor one person inconvenienced in any way.

    What do you think the US (or any other country for that matter) would do?

    Here’s a small indication:

    Posted by AKbar Palace | November 15, 2010, 12:42 pm
  87. Like asking about the Shekel some very clever people here do not have some essential facts.
    VICTORY. The following is brought up and tought in any good high school in Israel, and surely in officers schools. Since Ben Gurion times it is the most basic axiom in Israeli politics and strategy. Israel can never ever under no condition win a total victory over any Arab state in the WW II sense. It is also axiomatic that if ever Israel will lose even one war in the WW II sense there will be no Israel. That is, by the way, why M. Dayan behaved as he did in first days of the YK war. The idea or the saying that in some secret place IDF officers are planning for such impossible thing as a total, absolute, eternal, everlasting, complete victory over any given Arab state, or even some thing close to such victory, is pure 100% hogwash.

    In the war of words and letters against Israel, every so often Israel is presented as the ultimate inhuman state because it prepared for this or that war. But if it would not have prepared constantly for war, since 1947, there would have been no Israel. But the IDF is not unique in that, all armies prepare for war. They try to spend more time in preparing for war than in making wars. The fact is that the longer, better and more intensive they prepare the shorter are the wars. Yes, IDF prepared in the past and is preparing now a war against Lebanon, this include protecting Israeli non-warriors. “Living underground” as was said here.
    But so is Lebanon. According to what we hear, see and read Lebanon is preparing for “resistance”. Seems that now, as in cloth fashion, new things have arrived. Many people in Lebanon like the new fashionable, fancy word “resistance”. They convincingly forget that resistence is just the same old killer, war in another name. Part of the extreme casualties propotions for which Israel is being demonized and blamed, also on this blog, are the because the other side, while talking constatly about war, did not prepare itself for it as it should and could have done.
    When the HA is talking about missiles that reach “Bahadain bahadain Tel Aviv” when and where was the plain question asked: How many bomb shelters, privet and public, for the “simple people”, were built by the HA. We are not talking about those under the Iranian embassy.
    Thank you for your time.

    Posted by Rani | November 15, 2010, 2:14 pm
  88. Ashkenazi is worried about the tribunal also:,7340,L-3985075,00.html

    If someone in Canada can point to a more detailed version of what he said, I would be thankful.

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 3:39 pm
  89. AIG, Akbar,

    I actually prefer it this way – I can make one comment to both of you at the same time.

    What the two of you do not realize, and I don’t blame you because you more closely resemble robots than open-minded thinking human beings, is that even in war there are rules! What a concept… go figure.

    Gen. Curtis Lemay said it best, to Robert McNamara in 1945: “If we had lost (to the Japanese), then you and I would be tried as war criminals…” This is because, in addition to dropping two nuclear weapons atop Hiroshima and Nagasaki (thereby bringing WWII to an end), the U.S. also firebombed and destroyed between 50%-90% of the populations of 67 of the largest Japanese cities (cities equivalent in size to NYC, Chicago, LA, etc.), and all of this… BEFORE dropping the nukes.

    In his documentary “The Fog of War”, Robert McNamara asks “What makes it moral if you win, but immoral if you don’t?” And that’s exactly the point. You can’t just do anything you want in war. Do you mean to say that Israel HAD to kill 1500 Lebanese citizens, so that there’ll be quiet on our Northern border with Lebanon? Do you mean to say Israel HAD to kill 1300 Palestinians in Gaza, to attain the “relative quiet” every nation deserves? Is this what you’re suggesting?

    Is there any meaning to the notion of disproportion in your mind? Could Israel do ANY wrong, ever???

    (What an absurd question to the two of you. Since everything Israel does, no what to what extent, is “defensive”, then of course it can do no wrong. Plus, if someone dares criticize Israel, then OF COURSE Israel can do no wrong!)

    Posted by Shai | November 15, 2010, 5:21 pm
  90. Shai,

    Israel could not control exactly how many Lebanese or Gazans died. Fighting a war is very difficult especially against Hamas and Hezbollah type opponents. If you can do better, while achieving the same goals, tell us how and we will elect you prime minister. Just preaching about how moral and saintly you are is not very convincing. In fact, it is pathetic. What Israel did in Gaza was proportionate to achieving its goals. If you and others like you want to fight differently, you are welcome to risk your own life. As a veteran of the IDF and as an Israeli worried about his kids in the IDF I am very pleased about how the IDF fought in Gaza and very happy that there were so few Israeli casualties.

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 5:55 pm
  91. AIG,
    If Israel stops targeting Residential areas, it would reduce the civilian casualties.
    If Israel didn’t, systematically, demolish entire villages and cities, in 2006, the civilian casualties would have been reduced drastically, and properly, no Israeli civilian would have been targeted.
    It is an official Israeli policy, as demonstrated in 2006, to destroy civilian areas as revenge for military casualties, or for military setbacks.
    Anytime Israel punished civilians, it brings more support to HA and Hamas. This policy, aside from the killing civilians for no purpose, has been counter productive. Israel tried it in south Lebanon when the PLO was in Lebanon, it failed. It tried it in the e 80 and 90 against civilians in south Lebanon, it failed, and made HA more popular. It will always fail to accomplish any strategic or tactical purpose.
    Killing civilians in order to accomplish political or military purposes is nothing but terrorism, except it’s state terrorism when the killing is carried out by a state.

    Posted by Prophet | November 15, 2010, 7:18 pm
  92. Prophet,

    It is completely false that Israel systematically demolished entire villages and cities. It is also completely false that “it is an official Israeli policy, as demonstrated in 2006, to destroy civilian areas as revenge for military casualties, or for military setbacks.” You are just regurgitating the modern version of the blood libel.

    If you want less civilians killed in Lebanon in the next war I advise the following:
    1) Make sure that no HA facilities or fighters are near civilians
    2) Make sure civilians leave the war area
    3) Build shelters

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 7:31 pm
  93. “2) Make sure civilians leave the war area.”

    I assume you’re gonna tell me it’s also fiction that a convoy of such people, who were attempting to leave the war area in 2006, was then bombed by the IAF?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 15, 2010, 7:51 pm
  94. AIG,
    You can never bring yourself to admit that Israel ever does any wrong.
    Warping yourself with the morality flag isn’t a good thing.
    I won’t bather give you any details, because I know that you know the truth, but you can’t admit it.
    Israeli general have been gloating, and threatening that the Dahia doctrine (of 2006 destruction) will be duplicated on a larger scale.
    The systematic destruction of Bint jbeil ,Aynata, Aytta, and ,and entire neighborhoods of Dayia is a good example of Israel’s policy of punishing civilians for military purposes.
    Here few links that will give you a clearer picture.
    BTW, The Haarats story indicates that it was Israeli troops who were hiding in civilian homes, not HA. Figure that out.
    If these links aren’t enough, let me know, I’ll give your from more from Israeli media.

    Posted by Prophet | November 15, 2010, 8:01 pm
  95. BV,

    The IDF makes mistakes. Show me an army that doesn’t. Hundreds of thousands left without being hurt.

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 8:11 pm
  96. It is simple , Israel makes the suffering of it’s enemy so severe that they will not get involved in future war against Israel , what Israel forgets is that what goes around comes around and when the Arab recognize that inflicting a severe blow to the Israeli civilians as it did and is doing to Arab civilians will cause a tremendous and more lasting effect on Israel ,

    Long lasting war is the way the Arabs will win against Israel , with that kind of war Israel has to keep all the reserve under arm , and that will destroy their economy and force them to immigrate,

    The Arabs just need to stand to the shock and have the will to fight ,

    Posted by Norman | November 15, 2010, 8:13 pm
  97. AIG
    This from hybrid state
    How to counter the argument that Israel doesn’t target civilians
    by Yaniv Reich on December 4, 2009

    We have all heard it a million times: Israel does not target civilians; it only attacks military targets. I can barely count the number of times I have heard this argument from my family and friends. When all evidence of the Israeli destruction of Beirut or Gaza or wherever comes to light, this is the pillar to which uncritical Israel-supporters cling. As if the destruction of entire neighborhoods is justified through the assertion that civilians weren’t targeted, they just got in the way.

    There is just one big problem with the argument: It is patently false. Moreover, Israeli leaders know its false, which therefore means this argument, when heard from Netanyahu/Livni/Olmert/Barak/Peres and all other Israeli leaders, is also a conscious lie.

    Next time you hear this naive and propagandistic assertion, you should respond with a single, emphatic point: “That’s not what the Dahiya Doctrine says.”

    What is the Dahiya Doctrine? It is the approved military strategy of the IDF whereby any attacks against Israel are countered with deliberate, “disproportionate” force on civilian areas in order to create political pressure on the organization that fired the rockets. Named after the Shia neighborhood of Beirut, which was flattened in the Second Lebanon War (2006), the Dahiya Doctrine aims to punish civilians badly enough that Hezbollah or Hamas will think twice before launching more rockets.

    One of the most detailed discussions of this was just published by an Israeli NGO, the Public Committee Against Torture, which documents a substantial shift in Israeli military strategy in recent years. I reproduce below some of the relevant information about the Dahiya Doctrine, but I encourage readers to take a look at the whole, very important report.

    The clearest explanation of the Dahiya Doctrine comes from Maj. General Eisenkott, Commander of the IDF’s Northern Command, in an interview with Yediot Ahronot in October 2008:

    “What happened in the Dahiye Quarter of Beirut in 2006, will happen in every village from which shots are fired on Israel. We will use disproportionate force against it and we will cause immense damage and destruction. From our point of view these are not civilian villages but military bases.

    This is not a recommendation, this is the plan, and it has already been authorized.”

    He goes on to ask: “In the Second Lebanon War we used a great deal of bombs. How else were 120,000 houses destroyed?”

    Despite Israeli protestations to innocence, its inconceivable that 120,000 homes were plausibly linked even in Israeli leaders’ minds to military targets.

    The report continues:

    At the same time Eisenkott made this statement, two months before Operation Cast Lead, the Institute for National Security Studies, a think-tank at the Tel Aviv University which reflects the mainstream of Israeli military thinking, published an article by Dr. Gabriel Siboni, a colonel in IDF reserves. The article’s title was: “Disproportionate Force: Israel’s Concept of Response in Light of the Second Lebanon War”.

    In the article Siboni expresses an identical approach to that of Eisenkott, which he relates in greater detail:

    “With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher. Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… attacks should both aim at Hezbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centers of civilian power that support the organization.”

    Given the statement of this military strategy, is there evidence that it was implemented during the Gaza offensive? Absolutely, as confirmed by numerous soldiers’ testimonies.

    Lt. Col. Ofer Levy, Deputy-Commander of the Givati Brigade, which operated in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza: “Our combat was very, very aggressive. With very heavy firepower, a great deal. At levels that veteran soldiers and senior commanders never encountered before. We have direct aid from fighter planes and helicopters, from whatever we have available.”

    More evidence comes from an interview with an IDF air force squadron leader and Channel 10′s military correspondent, Alon Ben-David:

    Alon Ben-David: “During the entire history of the bloody conflict, never have so many explosives been dropped on the Gaza Strip as in the past three weeks. The IAF carried out 2500 attacks on Gaza, which is to say that the IAF alone rained something like 1000 tons of explosives on Gaza.”

    Micha, deputy F-15 squadron leader: “I don’t think it’s correct to return a rocket for a rocket, for 8 years we showed restraint, we reacted proportionately or less than that, but I think, once again, these are my thoughts, that the time has come to stop with this, and if we have to use all our firepower, then we’ll use it… Israel isn’t trying to hide the fact that it reacts disproportionately”.

    And from Prime Minister Olmert: “I’m telling them to stop it. We are stronger; there will be more blood there. We have power, enormous power; we can do things that are devastating.”

    And from independent investigations…

    According to an independent panel commissioned by the Arab League: “There was substantial destruction of and damage to property during the offensive. Over 3,000 homes were destroyed and over 11,000 damaged; 215 factories and 700 private businesses were seriously damaged or destroyed; 15 hospitals and 43 primary health care centres were destroyed or damaged; 28 government buildings and 60 police stations were destroyed or damaged; 30 mosques were destroyed and 28 damaged; 10 schools were destroyed and 168 damaged; three universities / colleges were destroyed and 14 damaged; and 53 United Nations properties were damaged.”

    According to Israeli human rights organizations: “During the assault, the army received via the Red Cross a list of the locations of all the water installations and sewage facilities in the Gaza Strip; despite this, water wells, water and sewage lines, and sewage facilities were shelled. On 3 January 2009, seven of the twelve power lines that bring electricity from Israel and Egypt to the Gaza Strip were shelled, completely shutting them down.”

    Finally, I end with a quote about Israel’s “day after” policy, which makes clear that these civilian spots were not destroyed accidentally as part of an attack on a “legitimate” military target. Instead, they were destroyed in accordance with accepted military strategy:

    “But then we were told there are houses to be demolished for the sake of ‘the day after’. The day after is actually a thought that obviously we’re going in for a limited period of time which could be a week and it might also be a few months. But it’s not a longer span of time without defining what it is. And the rationale was that we want to come out with the area remaining sterile as far as we’re concerned. And the best way to do this is by razing. That way we have good firing capacity, good visibility for observation, we can see anything, we control a very large part of the area and very effectively. This was the meaning of demolition for the sake of the day after. In practical terms this meant taking a house that is not implicated in any way, that its single sin is the fact that it is situated on top of a hill in the Gaza Strip.”

    Another soldier casts doubts on the contention that everything was operational when he talks about the destruction done by D-9 tractors:

    “The amount of destruction there was incredible. You drive around those neighborhoods, and can’t identify a thing. Not one stone left standing over another. You see plenty of fields, hothouses, orchards, everything devastated. Totally ruined.”

    Did you happen to escort D-9s demolishing houses, do you know what they destroyed, why, how many?

    “The way we worked was in secondary protective positions. After they realized we’d be inside over 72 hours, and that we couldn’t stay in our positions, all of us, all of the time, these rear positions were prepared. If they didn’t like the looks of some house, if it disturbed or threatened them, then it would be taken down.”

    But that was for operational needs.

    “Operational needs. I don’t know, maybe half of them. Sometimes the company commander would give the D-9s something to demolish just to make them happy.”

    Given these statements and the uncontested reality of Gaza, it becomes clear that the situation is one where a clear military strategy was adopted, which was then followed by military action perfectly consistent with the strategy.

    Its called the Dahiya Doctrine. It explicitly calls for war crimes and possible crime against humanity. Remember the name and use it to win your next debate about Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians and their infrastructure.

    Posted by Prophet | November 15, 2010, 8:14 pm
  98. 70% of known casualties were militants.

    What percentage of those killed in Hama were militants?

    Anyone have the actual figures, or is Israel again getting the “Do as we say, not as we do” treatment (aga9n)?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 15, 2010, 8:19 pm
  99. Prophet,

    You can cut and paste BS from all parts of the internet. Israel fights its wars like any Western army. If you you don’t like it, don’t fight a war with us.

    You are a coward advocating war from the US. Why don’t you practice what you preach? Go to the Golan and shoot at Israel “until we immigrate”. Israel’s force is in its people and their knowledge. You want to beat us, the only way is to develop your own society, make sure 20% are not illiterate and that you have enough electricity. Your average GOVERNMENT employees and their families are living on $2 per day and you think you can survive a war without your whole country disintegrating into chaos, just like Iraq? By the way, you never told us, how much did you pay not to go to the Syrian army?

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 8:39 pm
  100. AIG,

    If there is a coward it is you , the next war will not be Israel killing Arab civilians and getting away with it , it is clear that this kind of war is what you fear the most ,so hang on to your bags, oh sorry you are are already far away in the US ,

    Posted by Norman | November 15, 2010, 9:14 pm
  101. Norman,

    So how much did you pay not to go to the Syrian army? Why won’t you tell us?

    Don’t you feel pathetic sounding like 62 year old broken record? You have learned nothing. The more time passes the more delusional you and your ilk get. And lest I forget, thank you for paying taxes to support Israel.

    Posted by AIG | November 15, 2010, 9:40 pm
  102. Keep Barking , By the way I am not as old as you are,

    Posted by Norman | November 15, 2010, 9:45 pm
  103. AIG,

    Don’t expect Norman to answer your questions. Just expect him to hold Israel to a higher standard than his Jihadist heroes.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 15, 2010, 10:03 pm
  104. AIG@99,
    “Israel fights its wars like any Western army”???? Is that a justification for murdering civilians for military and political reasons? What happened to your earlier denial that Israel does not target civilian during wars? Since when, western ways of fighting wars are morally justified?
    Did any one ever tell you that western ways of fighting is morally accepted?
    Germany was a western power in world war two; was Germany justified in the way it conducted its war? I don’t think so. Otherwise one could make the argument that the holocaust was justified, according to your western ways of fighting wars, where killing of civilians is justified in order to achieve political objectives.
    I only brought that up to give you awake up call, and give you the opportunity to reconsider your statement that “Israel fights its wars like any Western army, if you don’t like it, don’t fight a war with us”
    Do you justify the use of atomic bombs on Japan (and the murder of more than 200 thousand civilian), because it was done by a western army? I would love to hear the answer to that.
    It’s really that you say:” If you don’t like it, don’t fight a war with us”
    You make it sound like we had a choice. All of the wars Israel fought against Lebanon were wars of choice of Israel, not for Lebanese.
    Unless you mean to say that people should accept the way you fight or submit to you. It is obvious that you, as an individual Israeli, are not willing to admit that your country has no respect to any international law, or human lives in general.
    The Encyclopedia Britannica Online defines terrorism generally as “the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective”, and adds that terrorism has been practiced by “state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police.”
    I’ll give it you though, for the first time, you could not ,and did not deny that Israel conducts its wars according to terrorism doctrine as defined above; use of disproportional force to reach political and military objectives, Target civilians to create fear and terror in order t o reach political and military objectives, destroy entire civilian neighborhoods to reach political objectives, and Hid its military forces in civilian homes ,and use civilians, and civilian property as human shield. Destroy civilian homes for no other reason than making commanders feel good.

    Posted by Prophet | November 15, 2010, 11:37 pm
  105. Prophet,

    Israel does not target civilians. Neither does any modern Western army. Why did you assume from my response that I accepted your ridiculous position? And by the way, the use of nuclear weapons by the US against Japan was completely justified. It saved hundred of thousands of lives that a conventional assault on Japan would have cost.

    As for a country that does not respect human lives, you probably meant to say Lebanon where 200,000 people were killed in a civil war and where fighting in the street often erupts.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 1:40 am
  106. AIG,

    Listen to Norman every now and then, you might learn something.

    Norman said: “It is simple , Israel makes the suffering of it’s enemy so severe that they will not get involved in future war against Israel…”

    Unlike you, a so-called “veteran of the IDF”, even Norman understands Israel’s Military Doctrine well. One of the key elements of the Doctrine (as a “veteran”, you should have learned it), is precisely the DISPROPORTIONATE punishment of the enemy, so that it will not opt for further rounds with Israel. Ben Gurion spoke of “makot koavot” (painful blows), and about preemption. He didn’t, naturally, define limits to the “pain”, and left that to Israel and its army to decide.

    I’m glad you’re proud of the IDF. I’m also proud of it. I’m also a “veteran” of it, and I have served it and my country for nearly two decades of my life, in places you would not want your children going into. I’ve also experienced first-hand the moral corruption the Occupation has on its soldiers (let alone its citizens, in the form of Settlers). I don’t need to read stories about it – I was there, sometimes months at a time, ever since the First Intifada.

    But I never developed blind pride, not in the IDF, not in my leaders, not in anything. I allow myself to use that cerebral cortex I was born with, and when it leads me to recognize serious issues, I don’t run away from them by not looking in the mirror, or by thinking that I’m doing the best that can be expected, or by pretending that I’m no less ugly than all the rest. If MY country does something I find unacceptable, it makes no difference to me if others are no better. I prefer to first self-criticize, even if that’s really not so-convenient. My confidence and my love for my country is not shaken a tiny bit by self-ciriticism – the opposite – I derive strength and PRIDE in my country, when I see that we can acknowledge our mistakes, and correct them.

    No IDF manual talks of blasting away civilian territory and inhabitants like we did in Lebanon or Gaza. The IDF has had to reinvent itself over the past two decades, to deal with what we call “limit conflicts”. Except, that a regular army cannot fight in such a conflict, without extracting untold punishment upon an innocent population. Does it have a choice? Of course it has a choice, because IT is the stronger side.

    You and I both know that we blasted away entire blocks in Gaza, not only to make room for tanks and infantry, but also to severely punish the civilian population. We wanted to deliver the lesson – “If you allow the Hamas to live and operate amongst you, this is the punishment you’ll incur, again and again. So think about…” But no rules of war enable you to punish the civilian population to such an extent. None of our allies accepted what we did in Lebanon or Gaza (they did in the first few days, until the discovered how bad it got), just as none of America’s allies supported what the U.S. did in Vietnam.

    If we had killed 1,300 Hamas combatants and 1,500 Hezbollah fighters, that would have been severely disproportionate to the amount of killed on our side (100 to 1). But we did far worse. The majority of those we killed were innocent civilians, who were killed not because they posed a threat to Israel’s security, but because we wanted to punish them. That’s the difference between fighting your enemy, and killing his innocent civilian population. There’s a reason Israel didn’t bombard Cairo or Damascus civilian populations in 1967 or 1973. Back then, we exercised a completely different type of moral standard as an army, than we did in 2006 or 2008/9. The fact that the enemy has changed, does NOT allow us to kill far more. Even if you think it does.

    The greatest absurd of all, though, is that despite the fact that we killed a hundred times as many Palestinians or Lebanese, in one one hundredth of the timeframe that they killed Israelis, some people like yourself still believe Israel is the victim! This mentality does indeed sell well amongst blind Israeli-supporters, but its price is also that we will not look inward, and to see if we were in the wrong. If we went too far. If we’ve changed, in the wrong direction.

    Lest you god-forbid continue the labeling-machine Akbar is so famously using, and dismiss the ideas I’m putting forth in this comment as being “Left of Left” or “Overly-Liberal” (I hope not anti-Zionist or Israeli-hating, as Akbar likes to say), I will let you in on a little secret, if you promise not to tell anyone. Over those 8 years that Hamas has been lobbing rockets into Israel, often every single day, I was 100% AGAINST doing nothing. I was pushing everyone I knew, to react. Already in late-2000, I suggested Israel do two things simultaneously: Go on national television, and announce the following in Hebrew, Arabic, and English:

    1. Israel is ready, at any time, to recognize ANY leadership of the Palestinian people. Israel is ready to talk to ANY party that is ready to sit with us – PA, Hamas, Jihad, etc.

    2. But at the same time, Israel must also partake in this new form of War of Attrition, and defend its citizens. Not in massive, short period operations that kill hundreds and thousands, but in ongoing tit-for-tat retaliation to each rocket that is launched against us. For each Qassam, a 120 mm shell will be launched at the perpetrators. Not a half-million dollar smart missile, but a $40 artillery shell. Israel will sit with its enemy, but also fight it when necessary.

    I doubt you would have found many “Leftists” or “Liberals” that would have agreed with me. That is why I don’t define myself as either one. And, as Norman has already noticed, I certainly have more hopes out of Netanyahu, than I do/did out of Barak or Livni.

    But I will NEVER stop criticizing my country, as long as we make mistakes. I also stand PROUD, each time we achieve great things. To me, THAT is patriotism. Not something that more closely resembles the behavior of moles in nature.

    Posted by Shai | November 16, 2010, 7:27 am
  107. Shai said:

    Listen to Norman every now and then, you might learn something.


    I have been listening to Norman, and this is what I’ve been learning (ref. Post 67):

    a young person at the fence will make the Israeli soldiers shoot first for the same reason you put up , but an elderly woman made them come close to help and that is the right time to kill as many as they can , think about it a benign looking elderly woman is the ultimate weapon

    When I asked why no elderly are doing this, Norman refused to answer.


    Ideas aren’t valued by the number of words or posts or by any other quantity. They are valued by the quality of the post.

    Your Leftist ideology and your usual stance of evaluating Israel on a different level hampers you in this department.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | November 16, 2010, 8:45 am
  108. Shai,

    The amount of falsehoods in one post is staggering. You are insinuating that Ben-Gurion and Israel supported hitting back against civilians is beyond contempt. He was speaking about hitting back against military forces.

    As for your strategy of shooting an inaccurate rocket at a qassam launching site which is operated by remote control, it is ultra dumb. It raises significantly the chances of civilians being hurt without having any real effect since you will never get the actual people employing the weapons. The only way to get those, is to use smart weapons. In the few times that Israel used non-smart weapons in Gaza, civilians were hurt and that is why Israel stopped using them. I am sure you remember the Gaza beach incident which is what happens when your strategy is used.

    You are more than welcome to criticize Israel as much as you want. If you feel you need to do so, then it is in fact your duty. I personally do not think that in this specific matter the criticism is warranted, and neither do most Israelis. In 67 and 73 Israel fought regular armies. We are not fighting regular armies now but you don’t seem able to recognize this.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 11:00 am
  109. Hey AIG and co.

    Remind me again, the policy of demolishing the homes of the families of “terrorists” is what again?

    I mean, for the sake of argument, let’s say the guy you’re after is guilty of terrorism (cause this is not about that point). You go in and arrest him or capture him, or even kill him. Fine. I’ll grant you that one.
    Why then demolish the home in which his parents/wife/children/siblings live? Is that not punishment? What do you call that exactly?

    No modern western army/judicial/police blows up the family home after arresting a wanted criminal or terrorist, last I checked.

    Let’s be real here. I truly understand the argument of WHY the IDF does what it does. I understand your Hiroshima argument. Stand behind it, and I will respect you for your principles. Come out and say what Shai quoted above: Israel has learned that the best deterrent, the best way to avoid future wars or attacks is by making the offending populace pay dearly. Nothing wrong with that.
    But please don’t sit there and tell me that does not happen.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 16, 2010, 1:36 pm
  110. BV,

    Does the civilian population suffer because of some of Israel’s actions? Of course. Where did I deny that? We do not disagree about this. But then, in which war does this not happen? Is it Israel’s aim to make the population suffer? Not really, as I will explain below.

    Last I checked the IDF’s actions are much more caring than that of the US. The US usually uses a drone to blow up the house of the terrorist, without even attempting to arrest him. In the process, killing the terrorist’s family.

    The logic for destroying the house is that it is unreasonable to think that people of the household were not in any way aware of the activities of their family member. No, it cannot be proven in court, but in war, the required evidence level is much less. The destruction of the house is punishment for aiding and abating a terrorist.

    Take Lebanon for example. Israel’s goals in bombing the infrastructure was to make it much more difficult for Hezbollah to resupply and reinforce their units, and/or to deny them services they could use against Israel. This of course caused suffering to the general Lebanese population. I agree this creates deterrence because until it actually happened most Lebanese believed that Israel could be forced by the international community not to defend itself adequately.

    Was the aim of dropping the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to make Japanese civilians suffer? I don’t think so. The Japanese leaders had already proven by then that they didn’t care how much their population suffered. The aim was to end the war by showing the Japanese leaders that they will not be able to fight to the death. They would just be slaughtered and there is no honor in that.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 2:13 pm
  111. AIG,

    I don’t understand you. At first you say we should use smart-bombs to get the terrorists, then you say we shouldn’t because Israel learned it doesn’t work. So now you’re left with neither option, and you suggest Israel should go on period operations, such as Gaza 2008/9, even if it has to kill 1,300 Palestinians. Is this what you’re suggesting?

    By the way, did you ask yourself what were the objectives of Gaza 2008/9? Were they to destroy Hamas? At one point politicians and military leaders were suggesting precisely this. Then, a few days later, they “changed their minds”, probably soon after some smarter-than-average adviser told them it doesn’t look like that’s doable. So the main objective has been to stop the rocket fire on Sderot and a few other nearby towns. And, in the first 12 hours or so after the Operation ended, it actually looked like we succeeded. Until Hamas fired again. And within a few days, again. And since those wonderful days of Dec/Jan 2009, it has fired rockets whenever it felt like it. Did we go back in? Not that I can recall.

    So was it worth it? Did we achieve the goals we set out to achieve? Was it worth killing 1300 Palestinians?

    What about Lebanon? Again some actually thought we can destroy Hezbollah. Then, within a few days, toned down the declarations, and as a consequence the expectations. Please remind us what our goals were in Lebanon 2006, and whether we achieved them. I know for fact that one goal we did NOT achieve, and that is to weaken Hezbollah. According to every “expert” in the field (Intelligence chiefs, Air force, Politics), HA’s strength today is roughly 4 times what it was in summer 2006. We did not stop the arms route from Iran, and if Hezbollah were to attack Israel today, you would not have 1 million Israelis north of Hadera sitting underground for 34 days, but you’d have 4 million Israelis, down to Tel-Aviv, doing the same.

    Was it worth killing 1500 Lebanese?

    Or do these questions not even matter, because Israel always fights a just battle? Because the consequences are irrelevant?

    Posted by Shai | November 16, 2010, 2:51 pm
  112. Shai,

    Every additional day there is no war proves that both the Lebanon war and Gaza were worth it. Why is the northern border so quiet? Why is Hamas working to stop the few rockets fired from Gaza?

    As for Cast Lead, not only was it worth it, Israel should have done it earlier.

    And yes, I am exactly suggesting that every few years Israel has to go on a Cast Lead type operation. I hope that we won’t have to for many years to come, but I know that there is always the possibility. Choosing, between bad options is always difficult, but the least bad one is long periods of quiet and once every 5-10 years a major operation.

    As to the cost in lives of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, obviously we should attempt to make this as low as possible. I agree that balancing this with our defense needs and military options is difficult and something we should always endeavor to improve upon.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 3:05 pm
  113. AIG# 105
    Margaret Weis’s famouse quote describes it best; “Hope is the denial of reality.”
    You live in a state of denial. I would be surprised if you can ever bring yourself to admit wrongs. You are unable to face the obvious.
    Your statement and position was very clear that you fight wars like any western army. Western armies are known to have killed many civilians unnecessarily during their war operations.
    What a bout the western army of Germany? Did you justify their crimes because they are western? OH Sorry the victims included Jews there; the German have to be criminals. But when the victims are non Jews, and the killers are Jews, then it’s a different game. Maybe you believe that a Jewish life is not equal to another non Jewish human being.
    Israel’s record of targeting civilians is undisputed, unbeaten, and very well documented.
    Fist, you said “If you you don’t like it, don’t fight a war with us.”, then you deny that israel tagets civilians,. Very contradictory.
    Any one who justifies dropping atomic boms and killing over 200 thousand people ,can and will justify anything. You are so irrational,to say the least.
    As for the 200 thousand lebanese killed in the civil war; I have enough courage to admit that lebanese were vicious and most of the warlords who conducted the civil war, should be tried for war crimes. But you have no courage to admit that your people ever done any thing wrong,whan the record is undisputed

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 3:18 pm
  114. “The destruction of the house is punishment for aiding and abating a terrorist.”

    Ok. So you’re in principle, agreeing with what I said. This is not the “innocent bystander getting caught in the crossfire”. This is intentional punishment of those who – by the IDF’s estimation – aided and abetted your enemy. Like I said. That’s a fair point. You say it’s worth it. Again, fair point.
    But let’s not deny that the IDF does this KNOWINGLY. It is PUNISHMENT. It is not “accidental collateral damage”.

    And the thinking that is applied to punishing those who aided the terrorist by demolishing their homes is the same thinking extended to the dahieh doctrine. Demolishing neighborhoods of those who “aid and abet” HA.
    And Israeli politicians and commanders have said very clearly that now that HA is considered to be part of the Lebanese govt, the next provocation will be met by destruction to the whole of Lebanon. Obviously, this doesn’t mean “strictly military targets and combatants”. Clearly, this means infrastructure, people, livestock, you name it.
    Again, I give you that it’s a fair point. You gotta do what you gotta do to deter attack on your people. But please don’t claim such a policy of punishment does not exist. Your own leaders talk about it all the time. It exists. And I think we both agree that it does indeed work as a fine deterrent (as demonstrated by both 2006 and 2008).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 16, 2010, 3:41 pm
  115. It is hard for me to write English. I am glad that both AIG and Shai got better eduction than me. so I have to say what I want to say in plain and simple and strait way.
    I resent when people refer to others as “co”, BV 109. Any how, not even one of the others, which are not includedin the “co”, and it seems that Shai in not in the “co”, have said one word about the following, by Norman. Even Shai, which is not in the “co” and who have said: “Listen to Norman every now and then, you might learn something”. have not said a word counter the following, said by Norman:

    “Long lasting war is the way the Arabs will win against Israel , with that kind of war Israel has to keep all the reserve under arm , and that will destroy their economy and force them to immigrate”.

    I think that may be, perhaps, some of the “not co” people on this blog rather liked the idea. Except that this long lasting war, which obviously have already started, is fought by the Arab civilian population, from their houses, from their streets from their villages and cities.

    People here, like Shai, and elsewhere, have talked and talked and talked again about the laws of war, an invention by the European, white, capitalists, imperialists, occupiers. The first basic demand of these laws is an ever going effort to separate civilians from soldiers. Go and read these laws Mr. Shai and other cutters and pasters. The Arab nations, Lebanon especially, have made an extreme effort to mix them up, counter to every letter, sentance and page in these laws. So did the Hamas in Gaza, following the recomendation for a war of attrition from civilian bases. When you pit civilians against soldiers you get the numbers that were cited here.

    For the cutter and pasters, act according to the laws, than you can claim the protection of the law. Sound like some sounds comming now from Lebanon.

    As for the cutters and pasters, for every kind of word said by any kind of Israeli, from crazy Rabbies to idiotic officers and so called “civilan organizations” on both sides, Memri can give you one or two mad, irrational illogical saying by all kind of Arabs and muslims. Count it as if I went to Memri and did that cutting and pasting.

    The whole scene here on this blog is begining to look and sound like a court for misbhaving Dahimis. Some of us Israelies, perhaps not Shai, dont like, at all, that look and sound. One of the reasons Israel was established and, so they say, some Israeli nuclear scientists are working over time, is that courts like that will stop and will exist no more.
    Also Arabs, especially Lebanese, should look in the mirror before judging Israel. It was I who brought up the subject of the Jews of Lebanon and there are other things in the Lebanon that the Lebanese should take care of befor judging Israel.

    as for Norman I will cite him again:
    “Long lasting war is the way the Arabs will win against Israel , with that kind of war Israel has to keep all the reserve under arm , and that will destroy their economy and force them to immigrate”.

    So, I will reccomend for Norman and his “co” [ see I have learned an expression] to put the following in what ever they smoke and then take a deep breath.

    Any thing can happen, history is not an insurance company, so if and when we immigrate and leave we will slam, bang, close the door behind us so hard that a large part of the ME, a very very large part, will become nothing, a real plain, flat, gray, glowing pile of permanent nothing. And after you smoke such thought, or before, you can cut and paste what I have just written.

    Posted by Rani | November 16, 2010, 3:43 pm
  116. Prophet,

    Warlords cannot kill anybody unless their followers obey their commands. It is you that is in denial. 200,000 dead in a country as small as Lebanon, only shows the value the Lebanese put on human life. Don’t blame the warlords. Blame the people that did their bidding, and the other Lebanese who stood idly by while it happened.

    There is no contradiction at all in what I say. I repeat, if you don’t like the way we fight wars, then don’t fight wars with us. This does not mean we target civilians, it is just sound advice for you.

    For years Lebanese like you have claimed you have strong evidence Israel targets civilians and you always threaten to take the Israeli state to court. Well, were are the court actions? If the evidence is so good as you claim, why the lack of success pursuing this in any court? Very simple, you have no evidence because Israel does not target civilians.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 3:50 pm
  117. Oh, yes one more thing. Some body complained about Israel blowing houses of Shaids etc. Saintly, democratic Lebanon not long time turned into a pile of nothing a whole camp in Nahar el Barid. Cannon from 200 meters were shooting stright into home and houses for days and destroying everything. Not one standing whole house was left in the camp. At least Hundred civilian were killed in cold blood by the brave Lebanese army. Israel has done nothing like that in Dahia and Gaza. And then all the killing in the so called civil war and Sabra and Shatila, some the killers are now actibe Lebanese politicians. Go buy yourself a mirror.

    Posted by Rani | November 16, 2010, 3:59 pm
  118. Aig,
    What international court ?You must be kidding. The same western countries that you use as models, are in charge of international institutions,and coourts.
    When did israel ever obey any international institution? When did israel ever obey any Un resolutions?
    All human right organisations have condemed israel for its crimes against civilians. There is no need to go to courts. Courts won’t bring back victims, nor will it convict Israel of any crime.
    Your suggestion that all Lebanese a re guilty for war crimes, because they followed the warlords, leads me to believe that all Israelis are as guilty as their leaders. Is this the analogy you want to use?
    Does it make you less guilty that Lebanese killed each other? Or does that justify Israel’s crimes?
    Crimes are crimes no matter who commit them. The crimes of some, does not no justify crimes of others.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 4:10 pm
  119. AIG / Shai;

    With the risk of having both of you turn on me, I would like to point out how both of you use absurd rational to justify your beliefs. Let me start by assuming there isn’t a person in this forum who does not chill at the thought of a dead child or any innocent casualty.

    That said, I will dive into the cynical game of ‘who is just and who is dead’:

    After all, what we are really discussing here is the concept of a FAIR FIGHT. When both opponents are in the same “weight class’, we can accept a ‘no rules’ match much more easily – since each opponent can give as good as he gets.

    This is why we have weight classes for boxing to begin with.
    But what happens when the opponent are not in the same ‘weight class’? In this case we expect some indication of ‘fair fight’.

    Shai pointed to the ratio of civilian causalities on both sides. Although it sounds fair, its quite absurd. I mean, imagine this scenario: Israel declares it will no longer retaliate to casualties by launching full scale attacks. Instead, for each dead Israeli civilian they will drag a Palestinian child or elderly woman to Rabin Square and shoot them in the head.

    Perfectly fair, surly. I mean this has a proven 1:1 civilian casualty ratio….but this idea makes any sane person sick.

    On the other hand, AIG talks of using the means required to get your ‘justified’ military objective, kind of the ‘You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs’ idea.

    Well, consider this concept then: Israel develops a novel technology to deal with Kassam rocket launchers, at the source. Lets call this gadget a ’10 Megaton Nuclear device’. Its extremely effective. No one can argue that stopping Kassam launchers at their source isnt a justified objective, or that our novel device will not handle it well when detonated in the center of Gaza. There are, however, some…side effects. Some civilian casualties may be un-intentionally harmed and they are advised to stay clear of any Kassam launchers.

    At the end I think it’s all about the measures taken to limit non-involved casualties. Even then judging whether the means taken were sufficient is completely subjective. Is the IDF’s dropping leaflets and making warning telephone calls before bombing sites an unprecedented measure for protection for non-combatants or a cynical joke? Depends who you ask.

    On the other side, how do you judge the Kassam rocket – buy it’s abilities or its intentions? It’s ability is pitiful, but as a completely indiscriminate weapon exclusively targeting civilian populations, its intentions are morbid. Only shelters and other protection prevent it from being more lethal.

    That;s all for now. Unlike many here, I dont have any definite answers on right & wrong.

    Posted by G | November 16, 2010, 4:13 pm
  120. Last sentence:
    Crimes commited by some,do not justify for others to commit crimes.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 4:13 pm
  121. G,

    I don’t recall ever claiming that Gaza 2008/9 or Lebanon 2006 was justified, or would have been justified, if the ratio was closer to 1:1. I did suggest, that we can’t escape the unjustifiable (perhaps criminal) aspect of the such disproportionate response.

    What would be an “acceptable”, or “justifiable” response in both cases? I don’t know, but I think that even a war of attrition has rules, as Israel and Egypt demonstrated in the years prior to 1973. No side took severe or disproportionate steps in that less-publicized war, and there was a reason for that. Each side hoped it could “convince” the other to move away from war, and to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. That, to me, sounds like the preferred way, if we must fight one another.

    What most in Israel do not realize, is that we will not get closer to Peace, nor achieve it, if we try to force our enemies to capitulate. Many in Israel still believe (perhaps AIG and AP included) that we can make peace with the Palestinians without Hamas. And that we can make peace with Lebanon, without Hezbollah. So they are ready to exact any kind of toll upon the civilian populations that so-called “turn a blind eye”, and enable these organizations to exist and operate amongst them.

    Posted by Shai | November 16, 2010, 4:46 pm
  122. G,

    I clearly wrote;
    “As to the cost in lives of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, obviously we should attempt to make this as low as possible. I agree that balancing this with our defense needs and military options is difficult and something we should always endeavor to improve upon.”

    You choose to ignore that.

    I appreciate your lack of certainty on this issue. I am not 100% sure either but it is an issue of great importance and we need to take a stand and accept responsibility for our decisions. And for better or worse, the way we make decisions in Israel is through the democratic process. The huge approval in Israel for Cast Lead shows that most Israelis think something like me. That does not prove me right, but it certainly shows that Shai’s arguments are very weak and unpersuasive.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 4:56 pm
  123. What would the Middle East look like today had the state of Israel not been created in the Middle East?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 16, 2010, 4:58 pm
  124. Shai,

    Are you really living in Israel or do you not talk to the rest of us? What many in Israel believe is that peace with the Palestinians or Lebanese is not possible, full stop. Whether you add or remove Hamas and Hezbollah from the mix does not matter. I don’t think peace is possible, it is an unrealistic expectation. What we should aim at is no war, that is quite achievable.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 5:02 pm
  125. Peter,

    Who cares? History has no rewind button.
    If you insist though, a more interesting question is what the middle east would look like if their was no oil.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 5:04 pm
  126. Would the Lebanese Jews have been threatened out of Beirut ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 16, 2010, 5:06 pm
  127. AIG,

    You say that:”the way we make decisions in Israel is through the democratic process. The huge approval in Israel for Cast Lead shows that most Israelis think something like me.”
    You are implicating the whole Israeli society in the crimes committed by your government. This is a new admission on your part that Israeli society is responsible for the crimes committed by your army. I never thought of it this way, because I never hold every Israeli responsible for crimes committed on their behalf, I just wonder what percentage of Israelis are willing to hold themselves responsible for the crimes of israel’s army.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 5:08 pm
  128. Depends on what you label the Middle East.

    I don’t think the Levant is part of the modern Arab Gulf, Turkey or Persia.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 16, 2010, 5:10 pm
  129. AIG,

    I’m glad you used the term “many in Israel”, and not “most”. Although I do not share the views of most Israelis, on the issue of the impossibility of Peace, you are clearly in a minority. Most Israelis still believe in Peace, still want Peace, and still think it is possible.

    What IS true, is that most Israelis think we can get the Arabs to give up their hopes for E. Jerusalem, the Golan, and much of the West Bank.

    But even those 27/120 that voted Netanyahu, believed Peace was possible. Of course the 28/120 that voted Livni, and the insignificant Left’s 13/120 that voted Barak, as well as a few others.

    If you think you’re representative of most Israelis on this issue, you are wrong. Even our Arab neighbors know that.

    Posted by Shai | November 16, 2010, 5:12 pm
  130. or pharaonic egypt for that matter.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 16, 2010, 5:13 pm
  131. Prophet,

    Let me tell you a secret, the Israeli army is the Israeli people. What are you surprised about? The government in Israel rules because we freely consent to its authority.

    If you would have devoted more time to fixing your own home instead of criticizing Israel, things would be different in the Arab world.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 5:18 pm
  132. Shai,

    Both the polls and anecdotal evidence show that Israeli want peace but do not think it is attainable.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 5:20 pm
  133. AIG,

    Civilization has passed through our corner of the neighborhood for over 200 thousand years.

    Asians, South Americans, europeans, persians, mongols … all of them at one point ate and defecated through this land.

    what is ur problem, man?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 16, 2010, 5:29 pm
  134. AIG, I notice that you are running away from tough argument. You have no problem devoting your time and ‘expertise” to discuss Lebanese issues. No one ever told you not to discuss Lebanese issues at this forum.
    But again, this crime against humanity isn’t just an Israeli issue. It’s a human issue, and those victims happene dto be lenbanese and palestininas.
    Don’t think you can bail out of this debate easly. If you can’t respond with rational , I can understand, but running away isn’t a good way to address questions. It is just proves to me that yo are in denial and you can’t bring yourself to admit that your county does wrong, especially after you made every israeli responsible for the crimes committed by your Army.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 5:34 pm
  135. which gets me back to my point …

    What would the Middle East look like today had the state of Israel not been created in the Middle East?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 16, 2010, 5:39 pm
  136. Prophet,

    Who is running away? You claim without any proof that Israel has committed crimes against humanity. How can one argue with that? Israel does not intentionally target civilians. How can I prove a negative?

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 5:46 pm
  137. My secret to you AIG is that Muslim fanatics are holding every Jew responsible for Israel’s crimes because of people like you. You claim to speak for every Israeli, and every Jew in this world. You claim that Israel does what ever it does in the name/behalf of Jews. Don’t you think you are feeding the Islamic fanatics who commit crimes against Jews for no other reason but for being Jews?

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 5:47 pm
  138. Prophet,

    Where have I made any of your claims? I speak for myself and on certain issues my views reflect the views of the majority in Israel. All the rest is your imagination.

    As for the Muslim fanatics, perhaps you haven’t noticed, but they have killed far more Arabs and Muslims than Jews. So, what would you advise yourself?

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 5:53 pm
  139. AIG,
    You never answered my questions in comment#118
    I showed you prove earlier. I could tell that you didn’t bother read them. You are in denial. Comments #94, 97.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 5:53 pm
  140. True, they don’t discriminate , but does not change anything about my argument , that they hold every Jew responsible for Israel’s action because you claim that Israel does what ever it does in the name of Jews.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 5:57 pm
  141. Prophet,

    You did not show any proof of anything. Mere allegations. Show me a credible court that has declared that Israel intentionally targets civilians.
    And where have I claimed that every Jew is responsible for Israel’s actions?
    Again, your imagination hard at work.
    The Muslim fanatics are antisemitic, as many in the Arab world are. They are irrational haters and need no reason for their hatred.

    You know, it is not healthy to criticize other countries without improving your own. That is the ultimate form of denial. Are you part of the Lebanese army? Are you living in Lebanon or out of Lebanon? A citizen of which country are you?

    We all know you are against Israel. But what are you for and what are you doing to achieve your goals?

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 6:08 pm
  142. Rani, I apologize for “& co.”. That was just me generalizing because I didn’t remember every person who had agreed with AIG. Again. My apologies.

    As to your post bringing up Nahr El Bared.

    I’ll ask one more time that people do the courtesy of:
    1) Understanding that 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Just because Lebanon does something, or Syria does something, doesn’t mean it is ok to do it. I don’t care if its Hama or Nahr El Bared. Neither of those denies the fact that Israel demolishes the homes of terrorists. A fact is a fact. Telling me “it’s ok, because Syria did it in Hama” is not acceptable.

    2) You get offended at my use of “co”, yet you generalized there too. You said “Lebanon demolished Nahr El Bared”. Lebanon is not a person. Your statement does not hold true for 100% of Lebanese. Your statement was meant to imply that I had no right to criticize the IDF’s tactics, because my country had done worse in Nahr El Bared. Well, that’s very bad logic. I personally had nothing to do with Nahr El Bared. I can criticize whoever I want. I have no blood on my hands. Throwing back at me things that other Lebanese did is not a defense. You and AIG have taken my point about demolishing homes of terrorists and diverted it to discussion of Nahr El Bared, and Hama and 200,000 Lebanese victims of the civil war. Do you see how you are using the “2 wrongs make a right” logic?

    I gave AIG the fairness of saying that I understand that war is war and is ugly. That you do what you have to do to prevent your side from suffering. It has been made very clear by various Israeli leaders that part of the IDF’s strategy, to avoid future wars, is to make your opponents hurt so badly they won’t want to start more wars with you. That stuff is no record. I am not making it up. And like I said, I fully understand it. I would probably do the same if I was Israel. But for godsakes, man, stop giving me the “But Lebanon and Syria do much worse.” excuse. We learned when we were 10 years old that “But my friend does it” is not an acceptable excuse for anything.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 16, 2010, 6:37 pm
  143. Are we in a court of law now? Getting technical now, lol. Is this how you want to conduct a debate? Fine;
    Can you give a proof that can stand in a court of law that God promised you Palestine?
    Millions of Palestinian refugees, thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians civilians killed by Israel isn’t enough proof ?Hundreds of massacres committed against Lebanese and Palestinians by Israel , yet you are asking for a proof? Lol
    No matter what proof I give you , you’d say its allegation, and it has not been proven in court.
    Where is the court verdict that gave you the rights to occupy other people’s land?
    It is no secret that I am an anti Israel as much as you are anti Arabs or Muslims or Christians. It makes no difference what I do or where I live, just like it makes no difference to me where you live ,or what you do.
    You are being ridiculous now. You are just trying to run away from the truth.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 6:49 pm
  144. Prophet,

    Yes, you are anti-Israel and pro nothing. I am not anti Arab or anybody. I am pro Israel. I am for building a prosperous Jewish state. What are you for?

    Since I do not believe in God, it is obvious that He did not promise any land to anybody. We own the land because in 1948 the Arabs were not willing to share it and could not throw us into the sea. That is the only justification I need.

    Of course Arab civilians have been killed by Israel. But to claim as you do that Israel has a policy to target civilians intentionally is a blatant lie and a blood libel.

    To me you illustrate one of the main problems prevalent in the Arab world: Do very little productive but spend your time bitching about Israel or using it as an excuse for lagging behind.

    Posted by AIG | November 16, 2010, 7:17 pm
  145. AIG,
    I’m a Lebanese, pro Lebanon, pro Palestine, and anti aggressive/ occupier Israel.
    I’m pro peace based on justice, UN resolutions, and international laws.
    I’m against any country occupying another. I’m anti any country that discriminates.
    I’m not Bitching, but rather stating facts about Israel. Being a Lebanese, I Can tell you that Lebanon will never allow Israel to dictate a possible peace unless it take Lebanon’s interest into consideration. I don’t advocate throwing Israel into the sea, but I do advocate a tough stand against Israel until it agrees to a peace based on UN resolutions. I do advocate a tough stand until Palestinians are given a viable state in the pre67 territories, where they can live in peace. I do advocate a tough stand until Palestinians refugees are allowed to return to an independent Palestine.
    I do advocate resistance until those conditions are met, or until Israel commits to these conditions .I’m not asking for the moon, I’m just asking for international laws to be applied.
    I won’t settle for any thing less.

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 7:45 pm
  146. AIG,
    You never told us what the Arab had to share the land with Jewish immigrants who came from Europe? What rights did they have to demand sharing?
    Since you always talk like a lawyer, what legal rights did those Jewish immigrants have to demand sharing? I can understand Jews who were living in Palestine demanding rights, since they were natives

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 8:05 pm
  147. should have said:You never told us why(instead of what) the Arab had to share the land with Jewish immigrants who came from Europe?

    Posted by Prophet | November 16, 2010, 8:06 pm
  148. Tak Tak hajalhon jawaboo hassooneena

    One time Em Hssein ow Aboo Hssein sitting in their house in Khiam suddenly the IAF F16 was flying lower and lower and started dropping Bombs. Abo Hssein Jumped and told Em Hssein “yala layna Yam Hssein ta neenzal 3al malja” Em Hssein screamed, wait wait let me get my dentures from the room ! Aboo Hssein shot back “Nzalee yo2ta3 3omreek sho 3am bezeto ka3k el 3abees” 🙂

    I really miss Khiam. #$%* War #$%* all those who advocate endless war even if they are righteous. Compromise for life compromise for children, there is so much land for everybody.
    “Taban Lakom Jamee3an”

    Posted by V | November 16, 2010, 8:21 pm
  149. Mission Accomplished!!!

    Well we got to about 59 comments before the Isr-Pal-Syr derail of thread began.

    That’s progress, people. I salute Baroud and his chief of staff and I remind ne’er-do-wells that SyriaComment is still online …

    Posted by david | November 16, 2010, 9:14 pm
  150. Press Associated say UK contribution = 3+million USD. I would guess the French number is about same, maybe a wee bit higher (but not in Uruguay territory!).

    I ask again, anybody seen the breakdown of the STL funding?

    Posted by david | November 16, 2010, 9:34 pm
  151. Prophet-

    You have much patience arguing with the disingenuous, self-contradictory resident Zionist on this blog.

    I will throw in my 2¢ worth:

    We should just ask one question: Would the Palestinians, or the Lebanese, all these years, not have fired one single bullet in defense of their land against the foreign, occupying Zionists, and simply marched peacefully playing the mijwiz and doing the dabke, how much of their land would the Zionists have given them back? Palestinian/Lebanese “violence” is the mere justification the Zionists use to perpetuate their own violence and the continued oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians. The fact is they came here to forcibly, deceptively, however, take the land, and they have no intention whatsoever to share it or give back any willingly. It does not matter what means you use to try to convince them, they will find any justification to blame you and to keep holding on to their theft as long as the cost is tolerable (the rabbis will make that determination).

    Anyhow, all the violence and the misery will eventually come to an end, because Israel, in its present state, by the simple reason of geography and demographics cannot last for too long. It can only sustain its distinction by maintaining perpetual war, and, that, cannot be perpetual. They can only buy a few years here and there to consolidate their “acquisitions,” and steal a few more meters of land in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. But it will be all for naught in the end. The Zionists seem incapable of reading history, nor to learn from it. They will eventually be suffocated culturally, economically, demographically by the sheer majority who have nowhere to go but to bleed into them and either force them out or to integrate into the larger mass. They will not be thrown in the sea but, worse for them, they will inevitably become the minority they have always dreaded, like it or not, and all their machinations notwithstanding. It is truly all unnecessary…all the death and the destruction. The future is in the numbers. Peace, or any sort of agreement to halt hostilities and open orders, will be the end of the Zionist project as we speak.

    Moving on…

    Posted by Saint | November 17, 2010, 3:01 am
  152. We should just ask one question: Would the Palestinians, or the Lebanese, all these years, not have fired one single bullet in defense of their land against the foreign, occupying Zionists, and simply marched peacefully playing the mijwiz and doing the dabke, how much of their land would the Zionists have given them back?


    Here is your answer to your “one question”:

    Considering the 1947 Partition Plan and the ’67 “3 Nos”, the Zionists would have given back a lot more. Without firing a “single bullet”.

    It is Arab intransigence and the support of Palestinian terror groups that has put the Palestinians in a worse position.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | November 17, 2010, 9:23 am
  153. To these who ask why the Jews are in Israel. After the Arab countries kicked out, in one way or another,700.000 Jews their moral right to ask that question is nill.

    Saint and such want war in any shape or form, as long as they can exterminate the Jews. Now they are trying the so called demographic war. Not a war of weapons but a war in which human beings will be used as live ammunition. I hope the ammunition like the job assigned to them the by their betters who always stay behind.

    As I have said history is not an insurance company. In 1945 Lebanon was a free country, more or less, with a Christian majority, more or less. Now it is an Iranian colony, more or less run by a Shia clergy, more or less. More people, % speaking, are leaving Lebanon, the land of the bright future, than Israel which, according to saint, is a land of no future. More history, in 1919 the arabs were free, more or less, after hundreds of years of Turkish imperialism, looking for a bright future. Now the Turks are back building dams and taking the water of Syria and Iraq. So any thing can happen, also to Israel. No body knows the future.

    Talking about the future, in few weeks the people of Raghar will have to decide about their future. Will they be Israelies? or will they be Lebanese, back into the loving arms of the Arab people. Or will they start mixing with Jews as Saint have hoped, diluting the Jewishness of Israel. Now, if Israel would have treated them with the same loving care as Lebanon treat the Pal. they would have gone to Lebanon, but because we treat them as Israel treat the Pal. they will probably go to Israel. Not that Israel is pefect or even near it, and not that it should be changed dramatically but still, Israel treat the Pal., all of them, better than Lebanon does, Nahal el Barid includd. Think about it, if your brain has not been washed totaly. Because we behave more humanly than Lebanon our fate, according to saint, is to become a cartoon of Lebanon.
    All in all we, the Israelies plan to stay and live. Any effort to forcefully or peacefully change our way of life will be met with strong, even lethal, resistance.
    As for the fate of minorities under the brotherly love of Muslims, ask the Christians of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, these who can are voting with the air plane tickets. So would the Jews in Israel do if and when they will become a minorty. Oil less, water less, heavily populated Palestine will have to take care of Palestine, Gaza is the model, or perhaps Somali or Yemen? or even Mauritania?. Should I say that I wish to the Palestinian without Jews the fate of the Iraqies or the Syrians or the Lebanese with out their Jews? well surely it is not the Jews, I am not that fat head or stupid. But life in those lands for some reason or another was, for most people, better when the Jews, as a lithmus paper, were there.

    Posted by Rani | November 17, 2010, 10:31 am
  154. Yes Saint and Prophet, you got us! It is the demographics that will get to us. So, marry your 4 wives and start breeding.


    The issue of rights is very simple. I own my home because I have a deed. If you want to contest that deed in an Israeli court, you are welcome, but you will lose. Or in simpler terms, we own the land because we hold it. We hold it, because try as you may, you were not able to throw us into the sea.

    The Arabs did not have to share the land. And in fact they decided not to and went to war and lost. The moral is, do not start a war you are not sure you will win.

    In the end, all the rights issue is irrelevant. Both my parents were born in Israel and so was I. My children are third generation born in Israel. They are more indigenous to this land than any Palestinian born in Lebanon or the US.

    We need to reach an historic compromise, and that can only be done through negotiation and trust building. The main obstacle to peace is the lack of trust.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 11:11 am
  155. “We need to reach an historic compromise, and that can only be done through negotiation and trust building. The main obstacle to peace is the lack of trust.”

    Now we’re getting somewhere. So if to the Palestinians continued Israeli settlement building is like to the Israelis continued rocket firing from Gaza, both perceived as demonstrations of the lack of readiness to reach an historic compromise, how do you suggest to break the impasse AIG? And how to do so, without causing either side to feel they capitulated?

    Each side should answer the question: “What are we doing to build trust and confidence, and what are we doing that can be viewed as quite the opposite?”

    Do you think most Israelis (since you claim to represent them) care about demonstrating readiness for a historic compromise? Or have we become so intoxicated with our power, that we couldn’t care less?

    Posted by Shai | November 17, 2010, 11:30 am
  156. Shai,

    I think Obama’s current direction is a good one. Get the parties to agree on the borders and then the issue of settlements will be moot.

    My problem is that I still don’t see how to solve our security issues without severely curtailing Palestinian sovereignty. For example, what is your view on control of Palestinian air space? I can’t imagine any responsible Israeli PM relinquishing control over it.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 11:46 am
  157. AIG says: “Both my parents were born in Israel and so was I. My children are third generation born in Israel. They are more indigenous to this land than any Palestinian born in Lebanon or the US.”

    I beg to differ. My father was born in Haifa. His parents and grandparents were born there for 450 documented years prior to 1940 (my grandfather came to Beirut in 1940 cause there was better work opportunity at the time).

    So please explain to me AIG why you and your children are more indigenous to this land than me and my children?

    I’ll add that I have no problem with you being here. I think the scientific achievements Jews in Israel have achieved in the past 60 years are a great addition to the historical achievements of the ME.

    But please let me know why you (a second generation birth) is more indigenous to this land than me (a child of tenth generation birth)?

    Posted by Johnny | November 17, 2010, 12:22 pm
  158. AIG,
    “All rights issue is irrelevant” Is a very revealing statement. Then you go on to say that “We need to reach an historic compromise, and that can only be done through negotiation and trust building. The main obstacle to peace is the lack of trust.”
    What you are saying is that power and might rules. You were not able to provide any prof of any rights to the land. You can’t admit any wrong. You are chopping off the west bank land everyday, yet you tell me that we need to build trust. What a hypocrite you are. There is nothing trust worthy in what you are suggesting .
    How can I trust someone who justified dropping atomic bombs ,and killing over 200 thousand Japanese?
    How can we build trust if you are not able to recognize that you have done wrong? How can we trust people who are in denial? How can we trust people who don’t recognize International law or UN resolutions? What has israel done to build trust? Nothing.
    Trust and honesty during negotiations go hand and hand, if real peace is desired.
    You use your military power to enhance your negotiating position, and then ask me to build trust.
    Don’t worry about my four women, and my breeding. At least we don’t marry our nieces. I know you will come back and deny that you are allowed to do that, or that you are not religious. That was such a cheap shot which prompted me to respond . It would be better if you stick to the subject of the debate.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 12:33 pm
  159. Johnny,

    I am not trying to claim that I am more indigenous than you. Perhaps I stated my point too strongly, so let me restate it. My children, are obviously indigenous to this land. All their parents and grandparents were born in Israel. Speaking as Prophet does of what right they have to be here is nonsense. They have an unquestionable natural right that does not need any justification.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 12:37 pm
  160. Prophet,

    Of course power and military might matter in the middle east and especially in the Arab world. Inside Arab countries, power is yielded by might, not by democratic means. When you show me an example of ONE Arab country that is a functioning liberal democracy, then I can take you seriously about wanting to solve problems not based on might. As it stands your position is hypocritical and amusing. Practice what you preach at home, and then maybe I will trust you.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 12:46 pm
  161. Jonny,
    The right issue was brought up by AIG. I understand that those who were born in Israel believe strongly in their rights, and I didn’t dispute that.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 12:50 pm
  162. AIG
    A functioning democracy is not a per-requisite to peace, nor is it a per requisite for justice to be applied. Lack of democracy is a big issue in the Arab world. I admit that .But you know that lack of democracy in Arab countries have served Israel well. I’m surprised you complain about that.
    It’s either you stick to your strategy of might and power, or democracy and respect for international laws. You can’t have both.
    You claim to be democratic when your country is the most discriminatory one in the whole region. Your democracy applies to Jews only.
    Can you explain how democracy will be applied when your country wants to be recolonize as a Jewish state?

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 12:59 pm
  163. Prophet,

    If trust is a prerequisite to peace, and you will only trust me if the negotiations are not based on might, and I will not trust that you really believe in that principle until you employ it at home then democracy in the Arab world is an issue.

    And of course I can have both. Israel is a democracy for all its citizens. You can deny that till you are blue in the face, but it will still be true. The average Arab Israeli is richer, more educated and has more rights than the average Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian or Egyptian. Just come visit and see for yourself.

    The fact that Israel is a democracy, does not mean I cannot use might as a foreign policy tool, just as Arab countries use might internally and talk about international law as a foreign policy tool. I would be happy to see a world order not based on might, but until that happens, I have to think of Israel’s interests.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 1:12 pm
  164. One more thing. Israel does not profit from lack of democracy. Israel remains strong relative to the Arabs becomes the Arab states do not develop their human capital to its potential. Part of that is lack of democracy but I am not sure it is the only reason.

    I would welcome democracy in the Arab world as I think it will lead to a state of no more wars (not peace, just no wars). Accountable governments do not last long if they go to wars that bring marginal benefits and are not absolutely necessary. In fact, I would be happy to give a truly democratic Syria the Golan as a gesture of good will.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 1:19 pm
  165. Aig,

    Do you get paid by the hour or by number of posts?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 1:33 pm
  166. Prophet,

    If Israel is so bad and discriminatory against non-Jews, why do the residents of Ghajar want to be part of Israel and not Lebanon:

    “But there are new SUVs in the driveways and the streets are tidy. Gharaj has farmers, teachers, factory workers, university-educated professionals all employed in Israel and speaking fluent Hebrew as well as Arabic.” Oh, the discrimination!

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 1:47 pm
  167. Peter,
    Yes, your antisemitism bubbles to the surface. Of course a Jew will only do what I am doing for money.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 1:49 pm
  168. So you are a volunteer ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 1:55 pm
  169. AIG
    A democratic Egypt would have never allowed Gaza to be under siege, nor would it have accepted a their sovereignty to be compromised over the Sini peninsula. A democratic Egypt would never have stood by when Gaza was being systematical demolished by Israel. Democratic Syria would not have stood by either.
    A democratic Jordan would never have allowed their land to be rented for hundred f years.
    All arab regimes are fighting to keep a hold on power. Nothing more, Nothing less. So you should be happy that they are not democratic .I know you’d never admit that, because you are not capable of admitting anything.
    We know we have big problems,,unlike you, we admit them.

    One other thing, You make it sound like Israel occupied all arab land because of lack of democracy. Are you saying that Israel’s purpose is to help Arabs become democratic, even if it has to occupy their lands, and murder thousands of their civilians?
    We watched what kind of democracy Israel was promoting in Lebanon in 1982.It was trying to install its puppies in power, and force a peace agreement that would have done away with the sovereignty of Lebanon.
    Spare me your democratic lectures .Stick to your power and might strategy , you’d sound more genuine.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 1:57 pm
  170. AIG,
    You are becoming very sensitive now, everyone loves money. Why would you think it’s anti-Semitic to say that you post for money?
    IS anti Semitic charge your last line of defense.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 2:02 pm
  171. Arian race, anybody?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 2:07 pm
  172. Prophet,

    Who are you kidding? What would a democratic Syria or Egypt do? Would they fight a war against Israel? Really? Would you as a citizen of these countries be willing to fight such a war? Of course not. And if your government would force you to fight such a war, that government would not be re-elected. Lebanon is a good example. How many Lebanese would support a war to “liberate” Sheba farms or how many would have supported a war to help the Palestinians?

    You are completely deluded about the fact that Arab democracies would fight Israel. Very few Arabs are actually willing to give their lives for the Palestinian cause or trash their country for that cause.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 2:09 pm
  173. Prophet,

    Peter is a racist in my opinion because he only asked this question of me and he assumed that I was posting for money. Of course I am not. I am posting for the same reasons you are. I am posting on behalf of myself and no-one else.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 2:12 pm
  174. AIG,
    Residents of Ghajar want their town to stay united.
    It’s their misfortune that their town happened to be on the dividing imaginary line .
    They prefer to keep thE town united until a solution is found. They are Syrians, and they see themselves as Syrians.
    I have to say , it a clever move on Israel’s part. At the end of the day, the rest of the town will be liberated, and the whole town will be reunited.
    Israel would have shown a good gesture if it withdrew from the entire town, since the town is, after all, Syrian and Lebanese territories.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 2:14 pm
  175. Aig,

    u are as deluded as Hitler was.

    Please be our guest in Cairo, Beirut, Damascus or Amman to find out what the democratic sentiment vis-a-vis your country and the Palestinians is.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 2:16 pm
  176. Peter,

    Your reading comprehension is below par. Of course no Arab democratic state would make peace with Israel. But my whole point is that they would not go to war. Would you vote for a party that said it would impose a draft and fight Israel? Of course not. The Syrians if they can afford it, pay money to get out of their army. The Lebanese army has no intention of fighting Israel.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 2:37 pm
  177. Prophet,

    If the residents of Ghajar really thought themselves as Syrians they would not have taken Israeli citizenship. Nobody forced it on them. Most of the Druze in the Golan declined to become citizens. The Ghajar residents have prospered under Israeli rule and feel welcome in Israel. That is why they want to stay part of Israel. I know this rips your whole world view apart, but facts are facts.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 2:41 pm
  178. AIG,
    You are deluded about arabs and Lebanese altogether. You make so many assumptions based on your wishes.
    Lebanese may have their differences, but at the end of the day the greatest majority would want Shibaa to be returned. There is a debate an resistance for sure. But when that resistance was fighting to liberate the south, There was no debate. The debate going on now has to do with domestic problems then with lack of nationalism.
    Don’t mistaken our differences for lack of patriotism.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 2:47 pm
  179. Prophet,

    Of course you are patriotic. You would fight for Lebanon if attacked (maybe, Peter would leave like he is doing now). My only assumption is this: In a democratic Arab countries, people would not vote for parties that would support starting wars with Israel. Just like most Lebanese now do not support attacking Israel, unless attacked first. Therefore, a democratic middle east will lead to one without wars and that is good for Israel.

    As for the Sheba farms, you may want it to be returned, but are you willing to sacrifice your life in the attempt to do so? Are you willing to risk the consequences to Lebanon in the attempt? I assume that most Lebanese would say: No.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 3:04 pm
  180. Our problems go way beyond the Ghajr chapter.
    I have never heard or read any thing that indicate that the residence of Ghajr don’t see themselves as Syrians. Sure they took Israeli citizenship for convenience. Every thing I read, indicate that they are Syrians ,and they look forward to becoming a united town under Syrian sovereignty

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 3:11 pm
  181. “As for the Sheba farms, you may want it to be returned, but are you willing to sacrifice your life in the attempt to do so? Are you willing to risk the consequences to Lebanon in the attempt? I assume that most Lebanese would say: No.”

    6000 years of Jewish history obviously connects you to the primates.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 3:14 pm
  182. Peter,
    Since human beings are also primates you may want to write your cryptic sentence more clearly. What exactly do you mean? Surely, a person like who runs away at the first whiff of trouble would not fight for Shebba? Am I wrong?

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 3:21 pm
  183. Prophet,

    The only extra convenience that taking an Israeli citizenship gives them is the ability to vote. Why would “Syrians” need that convenience??? That is why the Druze in the Golan did not become citizens. They want to be Israeli. Facts are facts.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 3:24 pm
  184. AIG,
    All countries ,democratic or not, would want to defend their countries.
    A democratic society is always more successful than no democratic ones. Countries that enjoy freedom of press, and freedom in general have better chances in articulating a better policy to defend or liberate their countries. Lebanon is a good example, compared to arab countries. It is the freedom ,and the open society of Lebanon that allowed for resistance to exist.
    As for Shibba farm, It may strategically better for Lebanese ,and for the resistance to stay ready to fight. No one said that Lebanon won’t fight for shibba. Countries have to weigh the cost of war ,and the timing of war before deciding that war is the only solution.
    I don’t advocate wars for the heck of it, But Lebanon has to be prepared for war, since most wars with Israel were wars of choice for Israel, but not for Lebanon. The fact the shibba is not a residential are, I’d say take your time, and be prepared for the worst. We want shibba back, regardless of what strategy we take.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 3:34 pm
  185. You can turn this around million times, Arabs in Israel had no choices. They either were forced directly to take Israeli citizenship, or indirectly ,for the convenience of their daily lives, took it.
    The bottom line is this; Arab citizens do not enjoy the same treatments as jews. Soon , when they are forced to pledge alliance to a ‘Jewish state” things will start coming to the open. No one knows how this “Jewish state” would affect non jews. Unless you force them to become jews, Democracy and religious Jewish state will conflict.
    We hear many voices in Israel who advocate expelling all non jews(ARABS). That would not surprise me a bit if it became reality.

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 3:48 pm
  186. Prophet,

    What allowed the “resistance” to exist is and was a weak and ineffective central government. Same for the PLO and same for Hezbollah.

    A democratic Lebanon will not fight for Sheba because it would be a stupid thing to do. You may want many things, but you are willing to risk your life for very few. That is only natural. Your threat is idle and not credible, especially with the state Lebanon is in. If you want to be powerful, fix your own home.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 3:50 pm
  187. Aig,

    How much would it take for you to relocate?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 3:51 pm
  188. Prophet,

    You can deny the facts as much as you want but they still are facts. Ghajar was taken in 1967. Nobody forced its people to become Israelis. In fact, most other people in the territory taken from Syria chose not to become Israeli citizens.

    There are inequalities in all democratic societies. In the US also the Jews are one of the richest and most educated ethnic groups. In the US, an African American scores on average 100 points lower on the SAT test than a white American? Does this mean the US is not a democracy? No. Israel is a democracy but certainly there are inequalities that we need to improve upon.

    Yes, there are a few Israelis that want to expel Arabs. There is not one representative in the Israeli Knesset that supports this. Lieberman supports giving Arab communities to the Palestinian state, NOT expelling them from their land or property.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 3:57 pm
  189. Peter,

    A lot more than your sister and mother get from the Saudi tourists.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 4:00 pm
  190. My mother was an orphan Latvian Jew that was adopted into an Austrian farmer’s family after ww2 and died of cancer when i was 12 years old.

    My sister is her daughter.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 4:10 pm
  191. Well then, she obviously doesn’t interact with the Saudi tourists.

    And it really does not matter who your mother is, I am only trying to make you self aware of your prejudice, apparently unsuccessfully.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 4:14 pm
  192. When you asked the Palestinians how much they would need to leave the West Bank, what did they say?

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 4:25 pm
  193. Stick to your own kind.

    SHN is in your avenue.

    Best of luck with your kids keeping it in the family.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 4:25 pm
  194. So you never asked Palestinians this question? Why am I not surprised. Asking a Jew this question is fine but asking a Palestinian is not. Antisemitism spelled large.

    Posted by AIG | November 17, 2010, 4:32 pm
  195. they should have asked a Jewish wall street banker about it.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 4:38 pm
  196. Taking a break ,and letting you both have fun with each other,lol

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 6:22 pm
  197. take a prolonged break, please.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 17, 2010, 6:47 pm
  198. You’re such a cynical character, Peter, but not funny .

    Posted by Prophet | November 17, 2010, 7:41 pm
  199. Yashar Koach


    Keep up the good work. You’re doing a great job exposing the “double standard”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 17, 2010, 10:24 pm
  200. David,
    Pursuant to your observation that Uruguay is a donor to STL I have tried to get exact figures about the size of the individual country but to no avail.
    The UK as you have suggested has given close to $4 million over three years. Since I am not a believer in altruism then I have to agree with your speculayion about why Uruguay? If the contribution is in millions then my speculation is that Uruguay is acting on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Why would Uruguay be interested in doing this for the Saudis? Because they are interested in the lucrative Saudi food market. The food connection is an established one and I am wiling to speculate that it does explain the Uruguain connection to STL. What do you think 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 18, 2010, 8:45 pm

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