Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A few evil men, some Jews some Muslims

A few Gazans and Israelis rejoice each other's death, shame on them;
A few Israelis and Gazans are revengeful, forgiveness to them;
A few Gazans and Israelis are hateful to each other, love to them;
A few Israelis and Gazans are messing up others lives, prayers to them;
A few Gazans and Israelis cannot see their mistakes, wisdom to them;

A few Israeli and Gazans Politicians are seeking re-elections, dump them;
A few of us are excited about killing and mayhem, humility to us;
A few of us Justify one side or the other, we shouldn't justify any killing;

To Kill a human is like killing the whole humanity says the Torah and the Qur'aan
To save a life is like saving the whole humanity says the Torah and the Qur'aan
Don't call them Jews or Muslims, they are simply killers individual or enmasse;

The war is not between Israelis and Gazans, it is between evil men and evil men.
May God help each one of us to learn to see the pain of the other and let's be human.

And speak out louder to stop this killing spree.
In pain,

Mike Ghouse

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaza Solutions

The Gaza Solutions
Mike Ghouse,
Saturday, December 27, 2008

The world sympathized with Israel for the rockets they endured in their backyards, but when they get on the revenge bandwagon and indiscriminately kill, they lose sympathy. The oppressed ones all around the world including the majority of Israelis and Jews feel the pain of this violence, it flies in the face of our continued efforts to stop massacres, it is time for all of us to speak up. This is not the act of peace making; this is the act of destroying a people.

Continued at: http://www.mikeghouse.net/Articles/Gaza.Solutions.asp

List of Articles

List of Articles through December 2008

Peace in Israel & Palestine
Anti-Israel Stooges
Is Israel a Jewish State
Jewish youth and Israel
Punishing Gaza
Annapolis peace conference
Cut Israel off
Annapolis - Rabbinic support
Gaza: the final solution
Annapolis: Naomi and Rafi
Annapolis - Turbulent winds
Israel : No right to exist?
The last refuge:Uri Avnery
Annapolis : Morton Klein
Annapolis: Jewish support?
Cease-Fire With Hamas now
Annapolis - A Joke
Annapolis - Syria's place
Annapolis - Jewish Question
Annapolis - the Iran factor
Annapolis - Include Hamas
Jewish-Muslim dialogue, a necessity
Where Jews and Arabs get along
Is It Pandering to Jews?
Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide
Who are the Neocons?
Israel at 60; a Land of Hope
Palestinians versus Tibetans
Carter Peace initiatives
Carter: Hamas is willing
AJ Congress on Carter initiative
Yes we can, peace to Gaza
Kill 100 Turks and Rest
Bloodbath in Jerusalem
A Rabbi speaks the truth!
If Americans Knew Israel
Israel's false friends

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Scream Bloody Murder, reflections on Holocaust and Genocides

Scream Bloody Murder, reflections on Holocaust and Genocides

You feel angry knowing that the world stood by silently when the Jews were put on the train to the gas chambers; you feel anger when the Bosnian Muslims children were given chocolates and told not to worry and go right behind and open gunfire and massacre them; you feel anger when the Canadian general sends faxes upon faxes to the United Nations to send help, while the UN and USA did not want to get involved and 800,000 Rwandans were massacred, they were even announcing on their radio how to torture pregnant women to pull out the babies… It was a difficult documentary to watch, but you must watch and face the world; you have to do your share to clean your own slate of conscience. Continued: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Articles/Scream-bloody-Murder-reflection-on-holocaust-genocides.asp

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jewish-Muslim dialogue, a necessity

Jewish-Muslim dialogue, a necessity
Mike Ghouse, Dallas, Texas

The Jewish Community Center in Dallas recently screened a documentary about Anti-Semitism in Europe called, “The Monster among us”, produced and directed by Dallas filmmakers Allen and Cynthia Mondell. Watching this film (as well as other films in the past) and listening to the responses of the audience has confirmed my belief that one of the primary obstacles to peace is simply inadequate communications stemming from the unwillingness to see another point of view.

If you find this article offensive, please clarify with me before you draw your conclusions, it is our obligation to repair the world. Prior to publication of this article my Jewish, Christian and Muslim friends have reviewed it to ensure it meets the intent as close as it can and it is to improve communications and a civil dialogue. The producers of the movie have reviewed and shared their point of view, which is included in the essay verbatim.Muslims should participate in Jewish events and vice-versa. Staying away from each other will not contribute towards peace-making that both communities so deserve. We have to come together without conditions and learn each others concerns and clarify mis-information and together find solutions. If we don’t, the who will?

Anti-Semitism is hate for Jews, and to his credit, the producer acknowledged in his comments that both Muslims and Jews are facing this abuse in Europe. As responsible citizens, we need to stand up against hate towards every one. I cannot have peace if others around me aren't peaceful.

To borrow a sentence from my friend Sheila Musaji “these films are to be viewed as opportunities for dialogue and not to further distance ourselves from the other.” We need to consciously guard ourselves from despair and disorientation and focus on hope and goodness to humanity that includes you and I.

I challenge the Muslim and Jewish community to watch this film together with a focus on just the film and its content, we must carry a civil dialogue and learn to take the jolts, then we would have developed the capacity to embark on finding a solution to the crux of the world problem - security of Jews and hope for the Palestinians, together we have an opportunity to find solutions. I am planning to have a showing of the film with a panel of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and others, if you wish to attend, please confirm via an email to: confirmattendance@gmail.com . Sponsorships of a neutral place for 300 People and refreshments are invited.

Continue to read the arcticle by clicking:


You are welcome to write you comments at the end of the article, all civil comments will be posted.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where Jews and Arabs get along

Peace hinges on hope for Palestinians and security for Israel. Anything short of justice will not produce lasting peace. You cannot have peace when other's don't, you cannot be secure when other aren't. It is as simple as that. Peace is a two way street... you cannot blame the other and expect peace to happen, effort must be plural without keeping a score. http://peaceforisrael.blogspot.com/2007/11/peace-in-israel-palestine.html

Mike Ghouse

Where Jews and Arabs get along
This Israeli village shows that peace is possible.
By Deanna Armbruster
from the August 19, 2008 edition

Oasis of Peace, Israel - In Israel, there is a village where Arabs and Jews live as neighbors. Both groups endeavor to create a just society that can be a model for peace in the region.
What's it called? "Oasis of Peace." Though the town's name gives the impression that it's some sort of magical, idealistic utopia, the people living there are challenged daily and deeply by the reality of an intractable, painful, and violent conflict. Like anything worth attaining, peace comes with hard work.

There are fears that the village will somehow threaten the 5.4 million Jews in Israel and 5.1 million Palestinian Arabs in the area. It won't. Only one couple, living there now for more than 25 years, is mixed. The other 54 nonmixed families are Jewish, Muslim, and Christian; they share strong convictions about their own identities, but have made a determined effort – for more than three decades – to live alongside one another and thus affect society.
Much can be learned from Neve Shalom, its Hebrew name, or Wahat al-Salam as it's called in Arabic, about inter-faith relations.

In the local Jewish-Arab primary school, children study one another's faiths with natural curiosity. Students break the fast together at Ramadan, share a sukkah booth at the festival of Sukkot, and exchange small gifts at Christmas. And dialogue begins, but never ends, in its Pluralistic Spiritual Center where discussions transcend religion to recognize that this conflict is not Torah versus Koran versus Bible.

The difficulties lie when the issues of the conflict are placed on the table.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political strife between two national groups about land, resources, security, freedom, equality, power, identity, and justice. Productive dialogue must include recognizing this and not limiting the conflict exclusively to inter/intra-religious issues.

Seeking a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires a look at the big picture. The ultimate goal should be to create stability for Israelis and Palestinians so they may live securely and freely alongside one another in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.
That means building common ground, sharing narratives, and acknowledging the pain and suffering of others. Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and Christians need to show a willingness to recognize one another. It ultimately means seeing an enemy as an equal in humanity. Easier said than done.

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the leading domino to seeing any meaningful dialogue between the Arab world and the West. Without such a catalyst, dialogue will be slow. And dialogue provides the forum for understanding and for seeking resolutions; resolutions do not come without talking.

The West needs to learn more about Islam not because it's the faith of "our enemies" but because, like the children in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, it's the faith of our neighbors.
Just as the village of "Oasis of Peace" is doing, we need to move beyond seeing Arabs as people who are inherently scary. We paint adversarial facades to create enemies, but we must challenge ourselves to break stereotypes, question basic assumptions, and raise awareness. Beyond that, the West needs to learn about the economic, political, social, and cultural conflicts facing the region.

The issues between the West and East are not just those of religion, but of political dynamics, struggles for resources, self-interest, independence, and power relations. As we begin to understand this, we will strengthen those relationships.

There are another 500 families on a waiting list who want to move to the "Oasis of Peace." This fall, 15 of these families will break ground on their plots and begin to build new homes and new futures. They are coming with loads of goodwill and perhaps little understanding of the great challenges that they will confront.

But they offer the world a ray of hope. The residents of this small village are single-handedly removing obstacles by demonstrating that peace is within the grasp of people who seek it and are willing to sacrifice their bias so that all may share prospects of peace.

As they provide the example to those in the region it will soon be up to the rest of us to follow their lead.

• Deanna Armbruster is the executive director of the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam and the author of "Tears in the Holy Land: Voices from Israel and Palestine." This article is part of a series on Jewish-Muslim relations written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Reference: http://peaceforisrael.blogspot.com/2007/11/peace-in-israel-palestine.html

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide

Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide


From the Los Angeles Times Another wedge issue Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide is the wrong way to win votes.
By Salam Al-Marayati and Steven B. Jacobs
June 26, 2008

There's a disturbing trend in this 2008 election. We are witnessing the manipulation and exploitation of Muslim-Jewish differences by political candidates in pursuit of votes. As advocates for our respective communities, we believe it's in America's interest that it stop.
It appears that the political logic of the candidates and their handlers calls for winning Jewish American support at the expense of Muslim American voters. This takes the shape of aggressive outreach to the Jewish community while Muslims go ignored. That strategy may be politically expedient, but it is inherently flawed. Muslims see their exclusion as a betrayal of American values, and many Jews are alarmed by the parallels to their own historical political exclusion.
American Jews are all too familiar with institutionalized bigotry. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Rep. John Rankin opposed the immigration of Holocaust survivors, and he opposed integration. In that McCarthyite, anti-Communist era, politicians clamped down against those who they thought threatened the changing fabric of America -- namely, Jews. Now, Muslims are on the receiving end of similar suspicions, this time in the name of fighting terrorism.

Muslims today are political scapegoats associated with global tragedies including terrorism and war. Against this dismal backdrop, politicians are apparently deeming Muslim voters political pariahs; any endorsement from national Muslim groups is tantamount to a kiss of death.

Just one day after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out of the Democratic race, Sen. Barack Obama rushed to receive the blessing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Last week, his campaign volunteers rushed to remove Muslim women wearing head scarves from a Detroit rally. Though Obama apologized, Muslims felt stung by a candidate supposedly running on a platform of inclusion and change.

But the snubs aren't limited to Obama. Sen. John McCain recently dismissed a Muslim American businessman from an important campaign committee. In March, McCain visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem but made no similar visit to the adjacent Muslim holy site, the Dome of the Rock. And although both candidates have made frequent stops at churches and synagogues, neither has made a campaign stop at a mosque.

Put on the spot about turning their backs on Muslim voters, politicians may argue that they can't afford to lose Jewish support, implying that the Jewish community would oppose any politician who associates with Muslims.

To be sure, the politicians aren't inventing a division between Muslims and Jews. We acknowledge the tension between our communities created by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And yet it is also clear that Jews and Muslims should be natural allies in countering xenophobia and hysteria. We both suffer from scapegoating as fear works against common sense in our political culture. Whether it is anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, we both know the face of bigotry.
The issue of excluding Muslims to get Jewish votes is not about ensuring domestic security, it is about cowardly politics. It is about playing to fears, not processing facts. It is about the canard that Muslims and Jews have been fighting since ancient times and nothing will change. It is about blaming both for America's problems. We Muslims and Jews, along with all people of faith, represent the spirit of God. There is much that binds us together. It is in the spirit of this shared history, and our common interests, that we must stand against these divisions being created by the candidates.

Abraham Lincoln argued against the politics of fear, holding out hope for the 'better angels of our nature.' Our presidential candidates must display such higher thinking in the coming months. Likewise, we -- American Jews and Muslims -- must do the same.

Salam Al-Marayati is the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Steven B. Jacobs, a rabbi, is the founder of the Progressive Faith Foundation. Both are members of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Is It Pandering to Jews?

Is It Pandering to Jews or Scapegoating Them
By: Rosenberg, M. J.
Moderators Note:

With Friends like Bush, Israel don't need enemies.

President Bush got down and dirty and insinuated that Negotiating is tantamount to appeasement and hence Obama is naïve! Wow, who is talking?

Who is the appeaser here? It is Bush's condescending attitude that is the capstone of appeasement. He goes into the Knesset and makes "appeasement statements" to please his gang of Neocons, I am sure not all the Knesset members applauded heartily as his policies have spelled disaster, but I am glad they gave the respect for our President, that Mr. Bush did not deserve. Continued: http://www.theghousejournal.blogspot.com/2008/05/is-bush-enemy-of-israel.html

Barack Obama licking the lobby:
The man who stood for pluralism and inclusiveness has shamefully fallen from grace. His rhetoric about not giving an inch to the lobbyists sounds farce, fake and sham. The American media will give him a pass, they do not have the freedom to question his licking, nor the guts to go at it.Israel Lobby was needed in the mid-sixties to protect Israel from the rhetoric of annihilation, and now they have gone in the opposite direction, their presence has continually put Israel in conflict and further away from peace.

Continued: http://theghousejournal.blogspot.com/2008/06/barack-licking-lobby.html

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@aol.com


Is It Pandering to Jews or Scapegoating Them: Plus McCain's Sterling Endorsement of Talking to Hamas


If I did not know better I would think that there is some conspiracy out there to produce an anti-Semitic backlash in a country, this country, that has been relatively free of that scourge since its founding.

Think about it. President Bush went to Israel to celebrate its 60th anniversary, a nice gesture and one in keeping with a President who personal proclivities are strongly pro-Israel even if his policies have not done Israel much good.

He used his visit there not just to salute our friend and ally but to promote confrontation with Iran, an idea that is utterly unpopular in the United States (to put it mildly) but is an applause producer in Israel. In fact, he went before the Israeli Knesset to denounce Americans who favor negotiations with Iran before resorting to war. He was clearly referring to Sen. Obama although Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Gates hold the same views and they work for Bush!

Bush told the Knesset: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along....We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is - the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.'"

The Nazi Germany-Iran analogy is, of course, ridiculous. As Bush notes, the senator in question was speaking after Germany had invaded Poland and triggered World War II. It had already dismantled Czechoslovakia and annexed Austria. It was also the most powerful military force in Europe and, at that time, was militarily more powerful than the United States.

Bush is comparing Iran to that. What country has Iran invaded? We invaded the country next door but, so far as I know, Iran has invaded nobody, attacked nobody. It issues ugly threats and may be working on a nuclear weapon. The key word is "may" considering that our intelligence agencies found that it is not currently working on a bomb. (If it is, Israel will handle it. Israel is not Masada. It is not helpless).

Furthermore, Iran has repeatedly indicated a willingness to negotiate a "grand bargain" with us. If Bush really wanted to help Israel, he would at least consider the Iranian offer. Accept the Islamic regime and, in exchange, the Iranians stop meddling in Iraq, stop backing Hezbollah, stop threatening and libeling Israel, and allow inspection of its nuclear facilities to ensure that they are not being used for military purposes. Bush has refused even to discuss this offer.

In any case, Bush went to Israel --a country legitimately worried about what Iran may be up to -- to vehemently denounce Americans who are not ready to rush to war before trying negotiations. It is hard to imagine anything more unseemly. (Just imagine how Bush would holler if Bill Clinton denounced American policies in front of a foreign parliament).

I understand that Bush is no student of history but he should know that he picked precisely the wrong place for saber rattling against Iran. I don't care whether or not the Israelis applauded; they are concerned with their security and not necessarily ours. They are also worried sick about Iranian intentions.

Bush knows that public opinion here (including, overwhelmingly, Jewish public opinion) is strongly against attacking Iran. So is Congress. To rule out negotiations, to ridicule those who advocate them, without offering any realistic plan to deal with the Iranian problem is to toy with the emotions of the people of Israel. And for what: to stick it to the Democrats. This is hardly the behavior of Israel's "best friend."

From an American (specifically an American Jewish viewpoint), Bush is playing with fire. He is sending the message that the reason America would go to war with Iran is because Iran threatens Israel. He's probably said it a half a dozen times. Asked why Iran is a threat to the United States, he says, "its leader wants to destroy Israel."

Imagine if FDR had said that the reason the United States had to prepare for war with Germany was to save the Jews of Europe.

Just that charge alone - coming from the likes of Charles Lindbergh and the America First Committee - made it impossible for Roosevelt to aid the allies the way he wanted to. Had Japan not attacked Pearl Harbor, he would never have been able to convince Americans to risk their kids in what was then called a "foreign war." If FDR had been perceived as having gone to war "for the Jews," Philip Roth's vision of pogroms here at home would not be relegated to the fiction section.

Americans do not send their sons and daughters to war for other countries. That is why the Bush administration made up the Iraq-9/11 connection. Americans would not go to war for oil, or to remove "the dictator" or to strengthen Israel (all goals of the neoconservatives).

They will only go to war if they believe we are threatened. Israel knows that and has never asked the United States to fight its wars for it. So when Bush tells Israelis that he is ready for war on Israel's behalf, he is giving currency to an idea that harms Israel. And Jews.

To their credit, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and a host of others condemned Bush's remarks as offensive and inappropriate. Not surprisingly, Joe Lieberman chimed in to agree with Bush.
Like Bush, he cavalierly justifies is hawkish views on Iran by referring to Israel. He has also been leading the charge against Barack Obama for being, you guessed it, being pro-Hamas based on the fact that some Hamas official compared Obama to JFK and said he'd vote for Obama.
That raises another question. Why is Hamas suddenly an American political news story? Hamas is not Al Qaeda. It is not at war with the United States. It is at war with Israel.

Why have candidates suddenly made attitudes toward Hamas some kind of litmus test?
Obama has made it clear, over and over again, that he would not negotiate with Hamas as has Hillary Clinton.

The only one of the three Presidential candidates who has ever said anything remotely pro-Hamas is the candidate Joe Lieberman supports. After Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2007, McCain said the United States should negotiate with them.

According to today's Washington Post, Mc Cain said of Hamas: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice. . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. "

Nonetheless, some people want to talk about Hamas. Maybe it's to tap into some particularly dim donors who can be duped into believing that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton has a secret affinity for Islamic terrorists.

But it's an incendiary tactic. All it does is make Americans wonder what is it with American Jews. Why do candidates pay so much attention to a tiny sliver of the electorate? And why does this sliver of the electorate care only about issues relating to Israel and not America?

The answer is that they don't. American Jews vote based on the same issues their neighbors vote on. Israel is one of them--but because every candidate supports the US-Israel relationship and the Israel aid package, it is not a voting issue. (Even when Israel is a factor, Jews support Presidential candidates committed to the two-state solution and negotiations. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry all received three-quarters of the Jewish vote--including Florida).

No state is going to tip over Hamas. And even if Dade or Broward Counties could be moved by issues relating to Israel, it would still be wrong for candidates to do these full-court suck-ups. It is wrong to talk to American Jews as if we are foreigners. It is not only insulting and disrespectful. It also has the potential of making our fellow Americans start thinking we are somehow alien. And we all know how fond many Americans are about aliens nowadays.

So, the next time you hear some candidate--and Democrats do it just as much as Republicans--shooting his mouth off about Hamas or Ahmedinejad to a Jewish audience, tell him that he just lost your vote.

And skip those ridiculous "debates" where a Jewish Democrat argues with a Jewish Republican over who can do more for Israel. They are as serious as a Mel Brooks film, though not quite as funny. Candidates should stop exploiting Israel. Israel and the Holocaust are not slogans to toss around to raise campaign money.

As for those hell-bent on attacking Iran, let them find an American rationale for their war. The Iraq war wasn't fought for the Jews. The next war, if God forbid there is one, won't be either.

There is a fine line between pandering and scapegoating.

IF YOU WANT TO see how this emphasis on Israel plays out in the media, watch Chris Matthews take down a right-wing talk show host from California last night. Two things to note, one the LA talk show host knows nothing, absolutely nothing, about history. But watch Matthews. He is a friend of Israel and of Jews but he cannot understand why these right-wingers keep bringing up Israel. He simply does not get it. This all goes to my point that these strident partisans (Jews included) who keep using Israel as a political football are harming Jews. That may not be their intent. Their intent is helping their candidate. It is just that they are not worrying about fomenting anti-semitism. They should be. Watch it HERE

The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bush - An enemy of Israel

Is Bush, an enemy of Israel?
With Friends like Bush, Israel don't need enemies.

President Bush got down and dirty and insinuated that Negotiating is tantamount to appeasement and hence Obama is naïve! Wow, who is talking?

Who is the appeaser here? It is Bush's condescending attitude that is the capstone of appeasement. He goes into the Knesset and makes "appeasement statements" to please his gang of Neocons, I am sure not all the Knesset members applauded heartily as his policies have spelled disaster, but I am glad they gave the respect for our President, that Mr. Bush did not deserve.

He and his ilk, have duped the Americans, Israelis and the Palestinians for nearly 60 years with that kind of rhetoric, and their propaganda machinery goes to work full time to make his look like a hero.

The Neocon gang talks peace, but don't mean it. Their plans have failed badly, and they still don't get it. They are no good for Israel, Palestine or America, their actions and words have are the root cause of terror and turmoil in the world. The more they talk about terrorizing the little nations, the more dangerous they make it for Israel, with Friends like Bush, Israel don’t need enemies.

I do hope the average Americans and the Israelis remind these guys on the Election Day that they are out of touch with the reality and that they have brought nothing but misery. They are failures in the international relations.

Why are they afraid to talk? Is it because talking would bring a solution, and bring an end to their eternal itch to be destructive? They still have time to negotiate for peace and become genuine peace makers. As Mother Teresa said once, “If you want to make peace, go talk to your enemies, you don't make peace with friends”.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@aol.com
# # #

Negotiating isn't appeasement
By J. Peter Scoblic May 17, 2008
In a speech to the Israeli parliament Thursday, President Bush took a swipe at Barack Obama for his willingness to negotiate with evil regimes.

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said. "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

But if there is anything that has been discredited by history, it is the argument that every enemy is Hitler, that negotiations constitute appeasement, and that talking will automatically lead to a slaughter of Holocaust-like proportions. It is an argument that conservatives made throughout the Cold War, and, if the charge seemed overblown at the time, it seems positively ludicrous with the clarity of hindsight.

The modern conservative movement was founded in no small part on the idea that presidents Truman and Eisenhower were "appeasing" the Soviets. The logic went something like this: Because communism was evil, the United States should seek to destroy it, not coexist with it; the bipartisan policy of containment, which sought to prevent the further spread of communism, was a moral and strategic folly because it implied long-term coexistence with Moscow. Conservative foreign policy guru James Burnham wrote entire books claiming that containment -- which, after the Cold War, would be credited with defeating the Soviet Union -- constituted "appeasement."

Instead, conservatives agitated for the rollback of communism, and they opposed all negotiations with the Soviets. When Eisenhower welcomed Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev to the United States in 1959, William F. Buckley Jr., the right's leader, complained that the act of "diplomatic sentimentality" signaled the "death rattle of the West."

Conservatives even applied this critique to one of the most dangerous moments in human history: the Cuban missile crisis, during which the United States and the Soviet Union nearly came to nuclear blows over Moscow's deployment of missiles 90 miles off the American coast. When President Kennedy successfully negotiated a peaceful conclusion to the crisis, conservative icon Barry Goldwater protested that he had appeased the Soviets by promising not to invade Cuba if they backed down.

The Soviets withdrew their missiles in what was widely seen as a humiliation to Khrushchev, but Goldwater believed that Kennedy's diplomacy gave "the communists one of their greatest victories in their race for world power that they have enjoyed to date." To Goldwater, it was far preferable to risk nuclear war with the Soviets than to give up our right to roll back Fidel Castro.

Indeed, conservatives considered virtually any attempt to bring the arms race under control as a surrender to communism. When the SALT I agreement capping nuclear arsenals came to Capitol Hill, conservative Rep. John Ashbrook (whose presidential candidacy Buckley supported in 1972) said that "the total history of man indicates we can place very little reliance on treaties or written documents. This is especially true when the agreements are with nations or powers which have aggressive plans. Hitler had plans. Chamberlain's Munich served only to deaden the free world to reality. The communists have plans. SALT will merely cause us to lower our guard, possibly fatally."

A few years later, Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, the elected face of the burgeoning neoconservative movement, charged President Carter with "appeasement in its purest form" for negotiating SALT II, which set equal limits on the number of U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles and bombers.

Ronald Reagan, whose election in 1980 was seen as the culmination of the conservative movement, dubbed SALT II "appeasement" as well, but the trope would come back to bite him. Although Reagan pleased the right enormously during his first three years in office with his military expansion, his call for rollback and his advocacy of missile defenses, conservatives reacted with horror once he began serious negotiations with the Soviets. When he and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, which for the first time eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons, Buckley's National Review dubbed it "suicide." The Conservative Caucus took out a full-page newspaper ad saying "Appeasement is as unwise in 1988 as in 1938." It paired photos of Reagan and Gorbachev with photos of Neville Chamberlain and Hitler.

Containment, negotiation, nuclear stability -- each of these things helped protect the United States and end the Cold War. And yet, at the time, conservatives thought each was synonymous with appeasement.

The Bush administration has been little different, refusing for years to talk to North Korea or Iran about their nuclear programs because it wanted to defeat evil, not talk to it. The result was that Pyongyang tested a nuclear weapon and Iran's uranium program continued unfettered. (By contrast, when the administration negotiated with Libya -- an act that its chief arms controller, John Bolton, had previously derided as, yes, "appeasement" -- it succeeded in eliminating Tripoli's nuclear program.)

Alas, John McCain accused President Clinton of "appeasement" for engaging North Korea, instead calling for "rogue state rollback," and now he dismisses the idea of negotiations with Iran. Given conservatism's historical record, Obama's inclination to negotiate seems only sensible. When will conservatives learn that it is 2008, not 1938?

J. Peter Scoblic, executive editor of the New Republic, is the author of "U.S. vs. Them: How a Half Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America's Security."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Israel at 60; a Land of Hope

Happy birthday Israel!

The following article on the subject is the the first article I have read in 16 days.... (due to: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2008/05/gods-grace-for-najma-ghouse.html ) because my friend Joe asked, I read it, and I am glad I read it.

It is one of the best pieces I have seen to project the Jewish side of the human experience and endurance. I have written quite a few comments along the same lines.

I just wrote http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2008/05/clinton-stoking-anti-semitism.html and I hope you can see some sense in the piece I wrote last November http://peace-palestine-israel.blogspot.com/2007/11/peace-in-israel-palestine.html . I have to complete a full presentation on the subject of Peace for Israel and Palestine and it touches along the same lines Joe has written below. And this

There is a dire need for the Palestinians to understand the trauma the Jewish people have endured and the Israelis to understand the hopelessness, pain and anguish of the Palestinians. The leadership on both sides has focused on bullying each other and cowing each other down.... that is inhuman and has failed, yet they don't get it. We need a human approach - to step forward. I hope to write that piece some time this year.

The one sentence that I need to understand is the "the armies of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, attacked Israel. Five countries, with combined populations of 25 million, declared war on the State of Israel , with population of 600,000." I need to understand the background on this particular aspect and hope to learn it from both sides of the issue.

Sadly, we the Americans cannot bring peace to the Middle east because we do not have the genuine disposition to see another point of view nor do we have the emapthy for the Palestinians or truly understand the security needs of the Jews. Yet we talk about peace without meaning it. It is time we focus on justice to bring about sustainable peace to the Jews and the Palestinians.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Israel at 60 - A Land of Hope

Joe Samuels

May 14, 1948. Tears of joy mixed with tears of fear. After the longest exile ever endured by any people, the Jews now had their own State. Then the war broke out. Oops? The war broke out? How does a war break out? Is it lightening from the sky that starts a forest fire? Someone must start a war. On that day, May 14, 1948 while the Israelis were dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv and rejoicing the birth of their nation, the armies of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, attacked Israel. Five countries, with combined populations of 25 million, declared war on the State of Israel, with population of 600,000. That was a traumatic time that changed my life forever. I was 18 years old in Baghdad. The tears of fear drowned the tears of joy. A year later I was smuggled safely out of Iraq. I was lucky.

For centuries, Jews were dispersed all over the world, wandering from one place to another in search of safety and a place to live, always a minority. It was a history of suffering, adding new words to a lexicon of tragedy: expulsion, disputation, forced conversion, inquisition, ghetto, Dthimitude, and pogrom. Jews were suspended between memory and hope, sustained by the promise that God will bring them back. Although they no longer lived in the land, the land lived in them.

Throughout the years, they returned to the Promised Land. In the 15th and the 16th centuries, Jews came from Spain and Portugal. In the 17th century, they came from Ukraine after the massacre of 1648.

In 1879, a disturbing phenomenon appeared. It was given a new name: anti-Semitism. After the Russian Pogrom of 1881 and the Dreyfus trial in 1895 in France, Jewish leaders such as Theodor Herzl, warned that Europe was becoming unsafe.

Then came 1933 and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Anti-Semitism was at the heart of his campaign and laws against the Jews were enacted. Gradually Jews were deprived of their rights, jobs and their freedom. They were spoken of as lice, vermin, and a cancer to be surgically removed from the body of the German nation. Millions of Jews were in danger. Nation after nation shut its doors. On the vast surface of the earth there was not one inch of land Jews could call home.

As the smoke of war cleared in 1945, as the Russians entered Auschwitz and the British Bergen Belsen, people began to understand the enormity of what had happened. A third of the world Jewry had gone up in flames. One and a half million children had been murdered.

When the war was over, Jewish refugees couldn’t enter the land. On November 29, 1947 the UN voted to partition the land between its Jewish and Arab population. While the Jews accepted, the Arabs refused. After 2000 years of wandering the State of Israel came into being. Was this the hand of God or the work of human beings? Surely it was both. The tears of joy drowned the tears of fear.

A homeless, penniless refugee, I arrived in Israel, like others from Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, and Afghanistan. Holocaust survivors and refugees came from over 100 countries and spoke 80 languages. They came from Russia when it opened its doors. They came home to the land of hope, Israel. In few short weeks, after my arrival in Israel, I found work; and a place to stay. I was free and equal citizen. I was no more a refugee.

The Jews accepted every partition proposal, the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the Peel Commission in 1937, and the UN in 1947. After Israel victory in the 6 Day War in 1967, Israel again proposed land for peace. The Arab countries gathered in Khartoum declared: no negotiation, no recognition and no peace. Only two countries have since made peace treaties with Israel, Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. The peace treaty on the lawn of the white House, in September 1993 lasted less than a year. A wave of suicide bombers struck in restaurants, buses, parks, schools, shopping malls and busy streets.

Had the Arab leaders accepted the UN partition plan instead of launching a war, to seize all the land, an independent Palestinian-Arab state would now exist alongside Israel. There would have been no Palestinian refugees. If Arab countries had not expelled their Jewish citizens, there would have been no Jewish refugees from Arab countries either. Israel was never far from war, or the threat of war, terror, or the threat of terror. It fought wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982. Israel is a tiny country home to a tiny group of people. It is the size of the Belize or the State of New Jersey and is one sixth of 1% that of the Arab lands.

Judaism is the oldest western religion. It is twice as old as Christianity, three times as old as Islam, yet there are 82 Christian countries, 56 Muslim countries but only one Jewish State.

How do Israelis live with the constant threat of violence and war, and create a thriving democracy, that excels in agriculture, science, medicine and technology? How did the Jews survive for a hundred generations to build a country from the ashes of the Holocaust? The answer is faith, hope and the refusal to believe or act as victims.

Israel’s National Anthem Hatikvah, means the Hope. Israel is the land of hope. At 60, Israel’s journey is not yet over, and will not be, until peace, Shalom, Salam will come. Peace is a duet and can’t be done solo by Israel alone. Until the Palestinians accept the existence of Israel, the chance for peace is slim. So, for the sake of the Israelis, for the sake of the Palestinians, for the sake of God, humanity and the future generations let us all pray and hope for peace.

Who are the Neocons?

Ron Paul announces it in the following video


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

AJ Congress on Carter initiative

Article follows my comments:

Israel has nothing to lose in working the deal with Hamas, not signing is simply missing an opportunity to see fruition of peace. 60 Years have gone by and the policies of leadership on both sides has not resulted in peace, security and hope. It is time to refresh the thinking. Mike Ghouse

AJCongress: Carter Meetings with Hamas Undermines Peace Process, Rewards Terrorism
April 22, 2008 — The American Jewish Congress today denounced last week’s meetings between former President Jimmy Carter and leaders of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

“By meeting with Hamas leaders, President Carter offered the terrorist group an unearned legitimacy and in so doing undermined the entire premise of international diplomacy on the Israel-Palestinian issue,” said AJCongress President Richard S. Gordon.

“The same conditions that applied to U.S. diplomatic contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization should be in effect with respect to Hamas as well,” Mr. Gordon said. These prerequisites have been stated in a new format by the Quartet representing America, Russia the European Union and the United Nations, as preconditions for the resumption of aid to any jurisdiction under Hamas control. To receive aid, a Palestinian government must renounce violence, recognize Israel and respect peace deals previously agreed to. “If these condition apply to aid,” Mr. Gordon said, “how much more so to high level diplomatic contacts?”

Mr. Gordon said that in launching his own personal diplomatic efforts President Carter appears to represent more than just his own views. “Jimmy Carter is not just a well known American figure; he is a former president of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner for his role in the 1979 Egyptian-Israel peace treaty,” Mr. Gordon pointed out. “So when he meets with Hamas leaders he is conferring on them a legitimacy they do not deserve.” As soon as his intention to hold talks with Hamas was announced, the State Department strongly but unsuccessfully discouraged Mr. Carter from attending these meetings.

Moreover, Mr. Gordon said, “Mr. Carter does not make American foreign policy anymore. He had his chance while he was president, over a quarter of a century ago. Instead of furthering the cause of peace, he is undermining it by adding his name and reputation to an organization known for murder, terror and bombing innocent civilians. Former presidents need to hold themselves up to a higher standard. Former President Carter’s actions are well below the standard we should expect from our former presidents.”

In defense of the trip, President Carter points to the “new” statement by Hamas that they support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, in exchange for which they would agree to a ten year long cease fire.

“For one thing, there’s nothing new here,” said Mr. Gordon. “Hamas has already stated this position several times in the past. For another, Hamas is asking Israel to trade all of the disputed territories in exchange for ten years of quiet, after which Hamas would presumably continue the armed struggle to disestablish the State of Israel.”

“How do we know this? The most recent attempt to present Hamas in moderate terms acceptable for polite company with Western peace makers was the April 17 Washington Post column by the Hamas government foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar. The title, ‘No Peace Without Hamas’ is meant to suggest that there could be peace with Hamas’ involvement.”

Mr. al-Zahar who met with President Carter, praised the former president. “Now, finally, we have the welcome tonic of Carter saying what any independent, uncorrupted thinker should conclude: that no ‘peace plan,’ ‘road map’ or ‘legacy’ can succeed unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.”

The AJCongress president said that “Even in this masquerade of moderation, Mr. al-Zahar could not restrain himself from insisting that time is on the side of those who want to destroy Israel, not live alongside it in a state of their own.” In his Washington Post column, Mr. al-Zahar wrote that ‘Our fight to redress the material crimes of 1948 is scarcely begun.’ The material crimes of 1948 is code for the establishment of Israel.

Mr. Gordon concluded, “President Carter’s foolishness has not served the cause of peace which can only be based on foundations that do not require Israel to disappear. The message is not ‘No peace without Hamas,’ but rather ‘No Peace With Hamas.’ Can Hamas change? We do not know. But we do know that giving them access for free encourages them to hold to their current extremist positions.”

The American Jewish Congress is a membership association of Jewish Americans, organized to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad, through public policy advocacy, in the courts, Congress, the executive branch and state and local governments. It also works overseas with others who are similarly engaged.

Carter: Hamas is willing

Carter: Hamas is willing to accept Israel as its neighbor
By KARIN LAUB – 6 hours ago

JERUSALEM (AP) — Former President Carter said Monday that Hamas — the Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel — is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to "live as a neighbor next door in peace."

But Carter warned that there would not be peace if Israel and the U.S. continue to shut out Hamas and its main backer, Syria.

The Democratic former president spoke in Jerusalem after meeting last week with top Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, and his deputy in Syria. It capped a nine-day visit to the Mideast aimed at breaking the deadlock between Israel and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip.

"They (Hamas) said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, if approved by Palestinians and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace," Carter said.

In Damascus, Mashaal confirmed that Hamas would be satisfied with a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders — implicitly accepting that Israel would exist alongside that state. But Mashaal stressed the group would never outright recognize the Jewish state.

"We agree to a (Palestinian) state on pre-67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital with genuine sovereignty without settlements but without recognizing Israel," Mashaal told reporters.

He appeared to be referring to east Jerusalem, since Israel held west Jerusalem before 1967. After the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, Israel declared the entire city of Jerusalem as its capital.

The borders they referred to were the frontiers that existed before Israel captured large swaths of Arab lands in the 1967 Mideast war — including the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.

In the past, Hamas officials have said they would establish a "peace in stages" if Israel were to withdraw to the borders it held before 1967. But it has been evasive about how it sees the final borders of a Palestinian state and has not abandoned its official call for Israel's destruction.

Israel, which evacuated Gaza in 2005, has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state there and in much of the West Bank. But it has resisted Palestinian demands that it return to its 1967 frontiers.

Carter urged Israel to engage in direct negotiations with Hamas, saying failure to do so was hampering peace efforts.

"We do not believe that peace is likely and certainly that peace is not sustainable unless a way is found to bring Hamas into the discussions in some way," he said. "The present strategy of excluding Hamas and excluding Syria is just not working."

Israel considers Hamas to be a terrorist group and has shunned Carter because of his meetings with Mashaal and other Hamas figures. Hamas has been behind dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed some 250 Israelis.

Syria harbors Hamas' exiled leadership in its capital, Damascus, and supports the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas who warred with Israel in the summer of 2006. The U.S. considers both Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

In Washington, the State Department dismissed Carter's assessment of his meetings, saying there was no indication Hamas wanted peace with Israel.

"What is clear to us is that there certainly is no change in Hamas' position," said deputy spokesman Tom Casey. "It does not recognize Israel's right to exist, it has not eschewed or walked away from terrorism and violence, nor has it said it will honor any of the previous agreements that have been made with the Israeli government."

Though the State Department said it advised Carter not to meet with Hamas, Casey said it was open to hearing from him about his talks. "I am sure if he would like to offer any thoughts to us we would certainly be happy to hear them," Casey said.

Carter said Hamas promised it wouldn't undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel, as long as the Palestinian people approved it in a referendum. In such a scenario, he said Hamas would not oppose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Carter said Hamas officials, including Mashaal, agreed to this in a written statement.

But Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza said Hamas' readiness to put a peace deal to a referendum "does not mean that Hamas is going to accept the result of the referendum."

Such a referendum, he said, would have to be voted on by Palestinians living all over the world. They number about 9.3 million, including some 4 million living in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Israel says Carter's talks embolden Palestinian extremists and hurt Palestinian moderates as they try to make peace with the Jewish state. Abbas, who rules only the West Bank, is in a bitter rivalry with Hamas.

"The problem is not that I met with Hamas in Syria," Carter said Monday. "The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to meet with someone who must be involved."

Carter said Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking has "regressed" since a U.S.-hosted Mideast conference in November. He faulted Israel for continuing to build on disputed land the Palestinians want for a future state and for its network of roadblocks that severely hamper Palestinians traveling in the West Bank.

"The prison around Gaza has been tightened," he said, referring to Israel's blockade of the territory since the Hamas takeover.

Israel has been negotiating directly with Abbas, who heads a moderate government based in the West Bank. Abbas lost control of the Gaza Strip last June, when Hamas violently seized control of that territory.

Carter said Hamas rejected his specific proposal for a monthlong unilateral cease-fire.

On Monday, a 4-year-old Israeli boy was slightly wounded by shrapnel when a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in a village just outside Gaza, police said.

But Carter said Hamas has promised to let a captured Israeli soldier send a letter to his parents.

Direct communication between Israel and Hamas could facilitate the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who has been held in Gaza for nearly two years.

Israel agrees in principle to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Schalit, but after back-and-forth talks through Egyptian intermediaries, has approved only 71 of the specific prisoners that Hamas wants freed, he said.

Associated Press Writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria contributed to this report.


Carter Peace initiatives

Article follows my comments;

Why can't the US listen to its wiser statesmen? Why do we have to stand against the world and make enemies instead of friends?

The Bush and Olmert adminstrations continue with their thoughtless dirty games. They want to talk about peace, but not with the party who the peace is going to affect? That is downright chicanery.

The acts of both these administrations are not reflective of majority of their population. The few extremists are shoving it down the throats of the people.

I wrote a similar note way back in November, prior to the Annapolis conference. http://peace-palestine-israel.blogspot.com/2007/11/peace-in-israel-palestine.html
# # # # #

Jimmy Carter Was Right to Meet with Hamas

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on April 21, 2008, Printed on April 22, 2008
Former President Jimmy Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for what the prize committee described as his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts," is touring the Middle East, as a private citizen, in a bid to revive interest in a moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. He's doing so at a time when their decades-long conflict is growing in intensity and distrust on both sides is running high.

As a result, Carter is once again under fire from conservatives. Last week, Republican Rep. Sue Myrick (NC) went so far as to call for the former president's passport to be revoked on Fox News.

Carter's crime was to sit-down with leaders of Hamas last week to explore the possibility of waging peace in the Middle East. For many Israel-hawks, it wasn't a first offense; Carter is guilty of viewing the Palestinians as human beings and for condemning human rights abuses on both sides of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. "Any side that kills innocent people is guilty of terrorism," he told an audience at Cairo's American University after his sit-down with members of Hamas.

Carter rejects the short-sighted idea that negotiating with one's enemies legitimizes or rewards them for their actions. According to the same logic, when a police department sends a hostage negotiator to talk down a gun-toting lunatic who's barricaded himself in a house somewhere, that department would be guilty of "legitimizing" armed lunatics. It's a ludicrous idea on its face, but one that's essentially embraced by much of the American foreign policy establishment when it comes to the international arena.

It's an ideological construct that defies both common sense and the "best practices" that have been developed in the field of conflict resolution -- best practices that were borne of hard experience. What Carter seems to understand, and his detractors appear unable to grasp, is that there is absolutely no chance of establishing and implementing a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians without offering Hamas a seat at the negotiating table.

One of the most obvious lessons from the international community's efforts at conflict resolution is that getting signatures on a peace deal is only half the battle (if that much). Implementing peace treaties is much more difficult, and recent history is littered with wreckage of agreements that didn't hold.

One of the ways to almost guarantee that a peace agreement will be impossible to implement is to negotiate it without bringing all of the combatants to the table. Israel and Fatah (the faction of Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority) can negotiate a deal, but if Hamas isn't invested in it, then they'll have no incentive to comply with its terms.

One doesn't need to have warm feelings towards Hamas to recognize this reality. The idea that one can choose one's negotiating partner, as opposed to negotiating with all of the parties to a conflict, is a fantasy. The fact that Hamas won a decisive victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections and is the legitimate voice of a majority of the Palestinian people reduces the notion to a bit of right-wing idealism that's thoroughly divorced from historic experience.

Carter, whose recent book Palestine: Peace not Apartheidbrokered a lasting peace deal between Israel and an Arab state. His work at Camp David in the 1970s not only led to a sustainable peace deal between Israel and Egypt, it set a precedent that was followed by other Arab states and eventually an offer by all of the Arab states for full recognition of Israeli sovereignty in exchange for Israel's return to its pre-1967 borders. In other words, not only has Carter contributed to the region's stability, he's also done more to improve Israel's security than all of his neoconservative naysayers combined. ruffled many right-wing feathers, remains the only American president to have actually

A common refrain among American and Israeli hawks is that Hamas must recognize Israel's legitimacy before they can get a seat at the table. While that sounds reasonable on its face, in reality it's asking Hamas to accept a key Israeli demand before negotiations begin. Meanwhile, Israel continues to build new settlements in the Occupied Territories, and continues its brutal siege of the Gaza strip. In other words, the position held by much of the Washington establishment is that Palestinians must make concessions before negotiations begin, but Israel is free to continue creating "facts on the ground," even when it's in violation of international law. It's a pipedream to believe such a position can lead to anything more than extended bloodshed.

Of course, what separates Carter from his detractors may be that he has a genuine desire for establishing peace in the Middle East, while many "pro-Israel" hawks favor (an impossible) military solution to the conflict, with Israel crushing the Palestinians into oblivion.

If that is their position, they should be upfront about it and admit that they oppose a negotiated settlement to the conflict rather than lashing out blindly at anyone who is serious about making peace.

Joshua Holland is an AlterNet staff writer.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/82936/

Friday, April 18, 2008

Palestinians versus Tibetans

Palestinians versus Tibetans - a double standard
By Gideon Levy

Tags: Israel

Israelis have no moral right to fight the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The president of the Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People, the psychologist Nahi Alon, who was involved in the murder of two Palestinians in Gaza in 1967 - as was revealed in Haaretz Magazine last weekend - chose to make his private "atonement" by fighting to free Tibet, of all places. He is not alone among Israelis calling to stop the occupation - but not ours. No small number of other good Israelis have recently joined the wave of global protest that broke out over the Olympics, set to take place in Beijing this summer. It is easy; it engenders no controversy - who would not be in favor of liberating Tibet? But that is not the fight that Israeli human rights supporters should be waging.

To fight for Tibet, Israel needs no courage, because there is no price to pay. On the contrary, this is part of a fashionable global trend, almost as much as the fight against global warming or the poaching of sea lions.

These fights are just, and must be undertaken. But in Israel they are deluxe fights, which are unthinkable. When one comes to the fight with hands that are collectively, and sometimes individually, so unclean, it is impossible to protest a Chinese occupation.

Citizens of a country that maintains a military subjugation in its backyard that is no less cruel than that of the Chinese, and by some parameters even more so, and against which there is practically no more protest here, have no justification in denouncing another occupation. Citizens of a country that is entirely tainted by the occupation - a national, ongoing project that involves all sectors of the population to some extent, directly or indirectly - cannot wash their hands and fight another occupation, when a half-hour from their homes, horrors no less terrible are taking place for which they have much greater responsibility.

The world has fallen in love with Tibet. How easy it is to do so. The picturesque figure of the Dalai Lama and the non-violent struggle he leads with his scarlet-robed monks is truly captivating. Indeed, the world has smothered the leader with awards and recognition, from the Nobel Peace Prize to an honorary doctorate at Ben-Gurion University.

The Palestinians are not as nice as the Tibetans in the eyes of the world. But the Palestinian people deserve exactly the same rights as the occupied Tibetan people, even if their leaders are less enchanting, they have no scarlet robes and their fight is more violent. There is absolutely no connection between rights and the means of protest, and from that perspective, there is no difference between a Tibetan and a Palestinian - they both deserve the exact same freedom.

Moreover, in the first years of the Israeli occupation, most Palestinians accepted it submissively, with practically no violence. What did they get as a result? Nothing. The world and Israel cloaked themselves in apathy and callousness. Only when planes started being hijacked in the 1970s did the world begin to notice that a Palestinian problem even existed. In contrast, the Tibetan struggle also was tainted with violence in the past, and it is reasonable to assume that violence will increase if the Tibetans do not attain their goal.

There is also no point in asking which occupation is crueler, the Chinese or the Israeli. The competition is harsh and bitter. The Chinese killed and imprisoned more Tibetans, in Lhasa there is less freedom of expression than in Nablus, but in general, the extent of Israeli repression in the territories is much greater today than Chinese repression in Tibet.

Nowhere in the world today is there a region more besieged and confined than Gaza. And what is the result? The world calls to boycott the occupier in the case of China, while absurdly, with regard to the Palestinians, the world is boycotting the occupied entity, or at least its elected leadership, and not the occupier. This, it seems, has no parallel in history.

Internationally speaking, the situation of the Palestinians is ostensibly better, since while all governments recognize Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, no government in the world recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territories. Practically speaking, this does not help the Palestinians much: Contemporary bon ton is to support the struggle for Tibet, only Tibet. The Palestinians have not even one Richard Gere to serve as a mouthpiece. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is boycotting the Olympic games but paid an official visit to Israel, where she spoke not one word about the shameful conditions in Gaza under Israeli occupation. Is there any other way to describe this, except a double standard?

In a more just world, no occupation would exist - neither the Chinese nor the Israeli. But until that time, the Israelis have to look inward at their own home and protest what is being done there in front of the Israeli Defense Ministry, before they present themselves with colorful signs outside the Chinese Embassy.

JPN: Palestinians versus Tibetans

2008-04-16 Recent world-wide protests have drawn critical media attention to the Chinese occupation of Tibet. While such attention is both important and overdue, it does raise questions about moral responsibility and political double standards.

We can put it this way: if the media were genuinely concerned to report on human right violations, they would show the Palestinians, Chechnyans, etc the same sort of sympathy they show for Tibet. The fact that their sympathy is so systematically selective suggests that it is not human rights violations that provoke their concern - and leads naturally to the question of what does. In the second article below, Uri Avnery explores the question of selective sympathy, and the factors that lead the media to fall in love with the Tibetans (who have also resorted to terrorism on occasion) while condemning the Palestinians.

Clearly, Avnery argues, the protests against Tibet accord with Washington's diplomatic interests in the region, its desire - driven largely by economic rivalry - to keep China at arm's length. In this climate, the US media is encouraged (or allowed) to be sympathetic to China's victims in a way that is not permissible in the case of the victims of America's steadfast ally, Israel.

This is by no means to detract from the urgency and justice of the cause of the Tibetan people under occupation, or the motives of the activists working to publicize their plight. It is only to say that human rights are universal and we should be wary of who is driving some of these bandwagons.

On the other hand, there are good reasons for concerned citizens to pay more attention to some causes. Clearly, we have a greater responsibility to protest policies carried on by our own governments - policies that we stand a chance of being able to change. For this reason, both Israelis and Americans (and particularly American Jews) have a special responsibility to protest the occupation of Palestine. Since our governments are conducting (and in the case of Americans, bankrolling) this occupation, we are the ones who can force our elected leaders to stop. We have a privileged position in these issues that we do not have in the case, for instance, of the Tibetan struggle. In the first article below, Gideon Levy explores the question of Israelis who are silent on Palestine but vocal on Tibet. The same questions can be extended to Americans in the cases of both Palestine and Iraq.

Again and by all means: free Tibet! But this outpouring of selective outrage rings false in countries supporting human rights violations elsewhere.

Judith Norman
Jewish Peace News http://www.jewishpeacenews.net

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bloodbath in Jerusalem

Bloodbath in Jerusalem

"I Came, I Saw, I Destroyed"

by Uri Avnery
March 15, 2008

Mike Ghouse: Until the silent majority of Jews in America and Israel speak up against injustices, and until the majority of the Palestinians speak up. Peace will be difficult to come by. The extremists on both sides will keep killing the people, while shamelessly each majority engages in blaming the other. It is not the other, it is the extremists who are a blockade to peace. Their ideas have not worked in 60 years, why should it work now? They are destructive! People, take over the leadership and let peace makers bring real peace.

What happened this week is so infuriating, so impertinent, that it stands out even in our familiar landscape of governmental irresponsibility.

On the near horizon, a de facto suspension of hostilities was taking shape. The Egyptians had made great efforts to turn it into an official cease-fire. The flame was already burning visibly lower. The launching of Qassams and Grads from the Gaza Strip into Israel had fallen from dozens a day to two or three.

And then something happened that turned the flame up high again: undercover soldiers of the Israeli army killed four Palestinians militants in Bethlehem. A fifth was killed in a village near Tulkarm.

THE MODUS OPERANDI left no doubt about the intention.

As usual, the official version was mendacious. (When the army spokesman speaks the truth, he is ashamed and immediately hurries on to the next lie.) The four, it was said, drew their weapons and endangered the life of the soldiers, who only wanted to arrest them, so they were compelled to open fire.

Anyone with half a brain knows that this is a lie. The four were in a small car on the main street of Bethlehem, the road that has joined Jerusalem and Hebron since British (or Turkish) times. They were indeed armed, but they had no chance at all of drawing their weapons. The car was simply sprayed with dozens of bullets.

That was not an attempt to make an arrest. That was an execution, pure and simple, one of those summary executions in which the Shin Bet fulfils the roles of prosecutor, judge and executioner.

This time no effort was even made to pretend that the four were about to carry out a murderous attack. It was not claimed, for example, that they had anything to do with last week's attack on the Mercaz Harav seminary, the flagship of the settlers' fleet. Actually, no such pretense could be put forward, because the most important of the four had recently given interviews to the Israeli media and announced that he was availing himself of the Israeli "pardon scheme" - a Shin Bet program under which "wanted" militants give up their arms and undertake to cease resistance to the occupation. He was also a candidate in the last Palestinian elections.

If so, why where they killed? The Shin Bet did not hide the reason: two of the four had participated in attacks in 2001 in which Israelis were killed.

"Our long arm will get them even years later," Ehud Barak boasted on TV, "we shall get everyone with Jewish blood on his hands."

SIMPLY PUT: The Defense Minister and his men endangered today's cease-fire in order to avenge something that happened seven years ago.

It was obvious to all that the killing of Islamic Jihad militants in Bethlehem would cause the renewal of the Qassam launchings on Sderot. And so it happened.

The effect of a Qassam rocket is completely unpredictable. For the residents of Sderot, this is a kind of Israeli Roulette - the rocket may fall in an empty field, it may fall on a building, sometimes it kills people.

In other words, according to Barak himself, he was ready to risk Jewish lives today in order to take revenge on persons who may perhaps have shed blood years ago and have since given up their armed activity.

The emphasis is on the word "Jewish". In his statement, Barak took care not to speak about persons "with blood on their hands", but about those "with Jewish blood on their hands". Jewish blood, of course, is quite different from any other blood. And indeed, there is no person in the Israeli leadership with so much blood on his hands as him. Not abstract blood, not metaphorical blood, but very real red blood. In the course of his military service, Barak has personally killed quite a number of Arabs. Whoever shakes his hand - from Condoleezza Rice to this week's honored guest, Angela Merkel - is shaking a hand with blood on it.

THE BETHLEHEM killing raises a number of hard questions, but with very few exceptions, the media did not voice them. They shirk their duty, as usual when it concerns "security" problems.

Real journalists in a real democratic state would have asked the following questions:

Who was it who decided on the executions in Bethlehem - Ehud Olmert? Ehud Barak? The Shin Bet? All of them? None of them?
Did the decision-makers understand that by condemning the militants in Bethlehem to death, they were also condemning to death any residents of Sderot or Ashkelon who might be killed by the rockets launched in revenge?
Did they understand that they were also boxing the ears of Mahmoud Abbas, whose security forces, which in theory are in charge of Bethlehem, would be accused of collaborating with the Israeli death-squad?
Was the real aim of the action to undermine the cease-fire that had come about in practice in the Gaza Strip (and the reality of which was official denied both by Olmert and Barak, even while the number of rockets launched fell from dozens a day to just two or three?)
Does the Israeli government generally object to a cease-fire that would free Sderot and Ashkelon from the threat of the rockets?
If so, why?
The media did not demand that Olmert and Barak expose to the public the considerations that led them to adopt this decision, which concerns every person in Israel. And no wonder. These are, after all, the same media that danced for joy when the same government started an ill-considered and superfluous war in Lebanon. They are also the same media that kept silent, this week, when the government decided to hit the freedom of the press and to boycott the Aljazeera TV network, as punishment for showing babies killed during the Israeli army's recent incursion in Gaza.

But for two or three courageous journalists with an independent mind, all our written and broadcast media march in lockstep, like a Prussian regiment on parade, when the word "security" is mentioned.

(This phenomenon was exposed this week in CounterPunch by a journalist named Yonatan Mendel, a former employee of the popular Israeli web-site Walla. He pointed out that all the media, from the Channel 1 news program to the Haaretz news pages, as if by order, voluntarily use exactly the same slanted terminology: the Israeli army confirms and the Palestinians claim, Jews are murdered while Palestinians are killed or find their death, Jews are abducted while Arabs are arrested, the Israeli army always responds while the Palestinians always attack, the Jews are soldiers while Arabs are terrorists or just murderers, the Israeli army always hits high-ranking terrorists and never low-ranking terrorists, men and women suffering from shock are always Jews, never Arabs. And, as we said, people with blood on their hands are always Arabs, never-ever Jews. This, by the way, also goes for much of the foreign coverage of events here.)

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT does not disclose its intentions, we have no choice but to deduce its intentions from its actions. That is a judicial rule: when a person does something with a foreseeable result, it is assumed that he did it in order to obtain this result.

The government which decided on the killing in Bethlehem undoubtedly intended to torpedo the cease-fire.

Why does it want to do so?

There are several possible kinds of cease-fire. The most simple is the cessation of hostilities on the Gaza Strip border. No Qassams, Grads and mortar shells on the one side, no targeted assassinations, bombardments, shelling and incursion on the other side.

It is known that the army objects to that. They want to be free to "liquidate" from the air and raid on the ground. They want a one-sided cease-fire.

A limited cease-fire is impossible. Hamas cannot agree to it, as long as the blockade cuts the Strip off on all sides and turn life there into hell - not enough medicines, not enough food, the seriously ill cannot reach appropriate hospitals, the movement of cars has come to an almost complete standstill, no imports or exports, no production or commercial activity. The opening of all border crossings for the movement of goods is, therefore, an essential component of a cease-fire.

Our government is not willing to do that, because it would mean the consolidation of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Government sources hint that Abbas and his people in Ramallah also object to the lifting of the blockade - a malicious rumor, because it would mean that Abbas is conducting a war against his own people. President Bush also rejects a cease-fire, even while his people pretend the opposite. Europe, as usual, is trailing along behind the US.

Can Hamas agree to a cease-fire that would apply only to the Gaza Strip but not to the West Bank? That is doubtful. This week it was proven that the Islamic Jihad organization in Gaza cannot stand idly by while its members are killed in Bethlehem. Hamas could not stand by in Gaza and enjoy the fruits of government if the Israeli army were to kill Hamas militants in Nablus or Jenin. And, of course, no Palestinian would agree that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are two separate entities.

A Gaza-only cease-fire would allow Barak to blow it to pieces at any moment by a Bethlehem-style provocation. This is how it could go: Hamas agrees to a Gaza-only cease-fire, the Israeli army kills a dozen Hamas members in Hebron, Hamas responds by launching Grad missiles at Ashkelon, Olmert tells the world: You see? The terrorist Hamas is violating the cease-fire, which proves that we have no partner!

This means that a real and durable cease-fire, which would create the necessary atmosphere for real peace negotiations, must include the West Bank, too. Olmert-Barak would not dream of agreeing to that. And as long as George Bush is around, there will be no effective pressure on our government.

APROPOS: who is really in charge in Israel at this time?

This week's events point to the answer: the man who makes the decisions is Ehud Barak, the most dangerous person in Israel, the very same Barak who blew up the Camp David conference and persuaded the entire Israeli public that "we have no partner for peace".

2052 years ago today, on the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated. Ehud Barak sees himself as a latter-day local replica of the Roman general. He, too, would dearly want to report: "I came, I saw, I conquered."

But the reality is rather different: He came, he saw, he destroyed.

Uri Avneri, is a German-born Israeli journalist, peace activist, and former three-term Knesset member, who was originally a member of the right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement. He is a founding member, Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and a founding member, "Gush Shalom" (Peace Bloc), Independent Peace Mevement.

This column can be found online at: http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/

Posted by Profile of Mike Ghouse at 9:48 AM 0 comments
Labels: injustice, Israel, Jerusalem, Neocons, Palestine, zionists

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kill 100 Turks and Rest

"Kill 100 Turks and Rest"
The Five-Day War in Gaza

I was reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar's army against the Turks.

"Don't exert yourself too much," she admonishes him, "Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…"

"But mother," he exclaims, "What if the Turk kills me?"

"Kill you?" she cries out, "Why? What have you done to him?"

This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert's statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.

Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not "kill a Turk and rest". That was "kill a hundred Turks and rest". But Olmert does not understand.

The Five-Day war in Gaza (as a Hamas leader called it) was but another short chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This bloody monster is never satisfied; its appetite just grows with the eating.

This chapter started with the "targeted liquidation" of five senior militants inside the Gaza Strip. The "response" was a salvo of rockets, and this time not only on Sderot, but also on Ashkelon and Netivot. The "response" to the "response" was the army's incursion and the wholesale killing.

The stated aim was, as always, to stop the launching of the rockets. The means: killing a maximum of Palestinians, in order to teach them a lesson. The decision was based on the traditional Israeli concept: hit the civilian population again and again, until it overthrows its leaders. This has been tried hundreds of times and has failed hundreds of times.

As if an example for the folly of the propagators of this concept had been lacking, it was provided on TV by ex-general Matan Vilnai, when he said that the Palestinians are "bringing a Shoah on themselves". The Hebrew word Shoah is known all over the world, where it has one clear meaning: the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis against the Jews. Vilnai's utterance spread like a bushfire throughout the Arab world and set off a shock wave. I, too, received dozens of phone calls and e-mail messages from all over the world. How to convince people that in day-to-day Hebrew usage, Shoah means "only" a great disaster, and that General Vilnai, a former candidate for Chief of Staff, is not the most intelligent of people?

Some years ago, President Bush called for a "Crusade" against terrorism. He had no idea that for hundreds of millions of Arabs, the word "Crusade" brings to mind one of the biggest crimes in human history, the appalling massacre committed by the original crusaders against the Muslims (and Jews) in the alleys of Jerusalem. In an intelligence contest between Bush and Vilnai, the outcome, if any, would be in doubt.
Vilnai does not understand what the word "Shoah" means to others, and Olmert does not understand why there is rejoicing in Gaza after the attack on the yeshiva in Jerusalem. Wise men like these direct the state, the government and the army. Wise men like these control public opinion through the media. What is common to all of them: blunted sensibilities to the feelings of anybody who is not Jewish/Israeli. From this springs their inability to understand the psychology of the other side, and hence the consequences of their own words and actions.

This is also expressed in the inability to understand why the Hamas people claimed victory in the Five-Day War. What victory? After all, only two Israeli soldiers and one Israeli civilian were killed, as against 120 Palestinian dead, both fighters and civilians.

But this battle was fought between one of the strongest armies in the world, equipped with the most modern arms on earth, and a few thousand irregulars with primitive arms. If the battle ended in a draw - and such a battle always ends in a draw - this is a great victory for the weak side. In Lebanon War II and in the Gaza war.

(Binyamin Netanyahu made one of the most stupid statements this week, when he demanded that "the Israeli army must move from attrition to decision". In a struggle like this, there never is a decision.)

The real effect of such an operation is not expressed in material and quantitative facts: so-and-so many dead, so-and-so many injured, so-and-so much destroyed. It is expressed in psychological results that cannot be measured, and therefore are inaccessible to the minds of generals: how much hatred has been added to the seething pool, how many new potential suicide bombers were produced, how many people vowed revenge and became ticking bombs - like the Jerusalem youngster, who woke up one bright morning this week, got himself a weapon, went to the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the mother of all settlements, and killed as many as he could.

Now the political and military leadership of Israel sits down to discuss what to do, how to "respond". No new idea has come up or will come up, because not one of these politicians and generals is able to bring up a new idea. They can only go back to the hundred things they have already done, and that have failed a hundred times.

The first step on the way out of this madness is the readiness to question all our concepts and methods of the last 60 years and start thinking again, right from the beginning.

That is always hard. That is even harder for us, because our leadership has no freedom of thought - its thinking is very closely tied to the thinking of the American leadership.

This week, a shocking document was published: David Rose's article in Vanity Fair. It describes how US officials have in recent years dictated every single step of the Palestinian leadership, down to the most minute detail. Though the article does not touch the Israeli-American relationship (in itself a surprising omission) it goes without saying that the American course, including the smallest items, is coordinated with the Israeli government.

Why shocking? These things were already known, in general terms. In this respect, that article held no surprises: (a) The Americans ordered Mahmoud Abbas to hold parliamentary elections, in order to present Bush as bringing democracy to the Middle East. (b) Hamas won a surprise victory. (c) The Americans imposed a boycott on the Palestinians, in order to nullify the election results. (d) Abbas diverted for a moment from the policy dictated to him and, under Saudi auspices (and pressure), made an agreement with Hamas, (e) The Americans put an end to this and compelled Abbas to turn over all security services to Muhammad Dahlan, whom they had chosen for the role of strongman in Palestine, (f) The Americans provided plenty of money and arms to Dahlan, trained his men and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, (g) The elected Hamas government forestalled the move and itself carried out an armed counter-coup.

All this was known before. What is new is that the mixture of news, rumors and intelligent guesses has now condensed into an authoritative, well substantiated report, based on official US documents. It testifies to the abysmal American ignorance, which trumps even Israeli ignorance, of the internal Palestinian processes.

George Bush, Condoleezza Rice, the Zionist neocon Elliott Abrams and the assortment of American generals innocent of any knowledge are competing with Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and our own assorted generals, whose understanding reaches as far as the end of the gun barrels of their tanks.

The Americans have in the meantime destroyed Dahlan by exposing him publicly as their agent, on the lines of "he's a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch". This week Condoleezza dealt a mortal blow to Abbas, too. He had announced in the morning that he was suspending the (meaningless) peace negotiations with Israel, the very minimum he could do in response to the Gaza atrocities. Rice, who received the news while she was having breakfast in the exciting company of Livni, immediately called Abbas and ordered him to cancel his announcement. Abbas gave in, thus exposing himself to his people in all his nakedness.

Logic was not given to the People of Israel on Mount Sinai, but handed down from Mount Olympus to the ancient Greeks. In spite of this drawback, let us try to apply it.

What is our government trying to achieve in Gaza? It wants to topple Hamas rule (and incidentally also put an end to the launching of rockets against Israel).

It tried to achieve this by imposing a total blockade on the population, hoping that they would rise up and overthrow Hamas. This failed. The alternative course is to re-occupy the entire Strip. That would carry a high price in lives of soldiers, perhaps more than the Israeli public is ready to pay. Also, it will not help, because Hamas will return the moment the Israeli troops withdraw. (In accordance with Mao Zedong's first rule for guerrillas: "When the enemy advances, withdraw. When the enemy withdraws, advance.")

The only result of the Five-Day War is the strengthening of Hamas and the rallying of the Palestinian people behind it - not just in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank and Jerusalem, too. Their victory celebration was justified. The launching of rockets did not stop. The range of the rockets is increasing.

But let us assume that this policy had succeeded and that Hamas had been broken. What then? Abbas and Dahlan could return only on top of Israeli tanks, as subcontractors of the occupation. No insurance company would cover their lives. And if they did not come back, there would be chaos, out of which extreme forces would emerge the like of which we cannot even imagine.

Conclusion: Hamas is there. It cannot be ignored. We have to reach a cease-fire with it. Not a sham offer of "if they stop shooting first, then we will stop shooting". A cease-fire, like a tango, needs two participants. It must come out of a detailed agreement that will include the cessation of all hostilities, armed and otherwise, in all the territories.

The cease-fire will not hold if it is not accompanied by speeded-up negotiations for a long-term armistice (hudna) and peace. Such negotiations cannot be held with Fatah and not Hamas, nor with Hamas and not Fatah. Therefore, what is needed is a Palestinian government that includes both movements. It must bring in personalities who enjoy the confidence of the entire Palestinian people, such as Marwan Barghouti.

That is the very opposite of the present Israeli-American policy, which forbids Abbas even to talk with Hamas. In all the Israeli leadership, as in all the American leadership, there is no one who dares to spell this out openly. Therefore, what has been is what will be.

We will kill a hundred Turks and rest. And from time to time, a Turk will come and kill some of us.

Why, for God's sake? What have we done to them?
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to The Politics of Anti-Semitism.