Israel is Crossing the Line

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netanyahu 2009.jpgOne of the interesting things to observe after George Bush issued his dictate to the world — “You are with us or against us” — was how some of those nations “with us” began to assume that their importance to and relationship with the United States was “unconditional” and that they could do virtually anything without worry of harming that relationship.
Taiwan and Israel were the two most interesting nations to watch because both suffer types of identity crises. Taiwan wants to be a fully recognized independent state by all parties but knows that China’s ascending power is undermining that fantasy rapidly. Israel, on the other hand, is the only true superpower in the Middle East but lives within borders that are in dispute and with some of its citizens trying to colonize territory that the international community has determined do not belong to it.
To his credit, George Bush instructed his Ambassadorial equivalent in Taipei, American Institute in Taiwan Director Douglas Paal, to tell Taiwan’s premier that the US would not countenance any declaration of independent status from China by Taiwan. Bush set his own red line and told Taiwan there were conditions to the relationship — real ones.
Israel, in contrast, seems not to have been given any red lines or conditions by the Bush team — other than perhaps pretending to be interested in the Annapolis peace process. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and even Bush himself complained about the ongoing expansion of settlements by Israelis in occupied territories — but no firm penalties were applied by the US to Israel for these illegal settlements.
Now Israel has gone one better and is issuing instructions to the United States on what America’s red lines with Iran should be. The implication of course is that Israel will take matters into its own hands if these lines are crossed — whether America does or not.
According to a piece that will appear in tomorrow’s Haaretz, Barak Ravid writes that these red lines and instructions of Israel to the U.S. will be presented to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

1. Any dialogue must be both preceded by and accompanied by harsher sanctions against Iran, both within the framework of the UN Security Council and outside it. Otherwise, the talks are liable to be perceived by both Iran and the international community as acceptance of Iran’s nuclear program.
2. Before the dialogue begins, the U.S. should formulate an action plan with Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain regarding what to do if the talks fail. Specifically, there must be an agreement that the talks’ failure will prompt extremely harsh international sanctions on Iran.
3. A time limit must be set for the talks, to prevent Iran from merely buying time to complete its nuclear development. The talks should also be defined as a “one-time opportunity” for Tehran.
4. Timing is critical, and the U.S. should consider whether it makes sense to begin the talks before Iran’s presidential election in June.

Iran’s pretensions in the region are a problem in my view — but Iran, which fears regime change efforts by the US and other of its neighbors, is responding to an “ecosystem” that many around the world have complicity in building.
Israel should be rebuffed by Hillary Clinton. She should listen to Israel’s views on the region of course — and consider proposals. But this kind of instruction manual on what red lines can be tolerated or not is pretty outrageous — and borders on the type of irresponsibilty and consequences of what a Taiwanese declaration of independence from China would mean.
In other words, if Taiwan wants to declare independence from China — so be it, but America will not be there as a stabilizer, defender or buffer. And if Israel has the audacity to make America’s strategic choices — particularly in public — then Israel can bomb away — but needs to know that such an act will irreparably harm US-Israel relations. A collision with Iran has nothing to do with Israel — despite Obama’s and Lieberman’s and Cheney’s and Clinton’s and McCain’s rhetoric.
A potential war with Iran will have other drivers than Israel’s circumstances and will have truly global ramifications that reach far beyond Israeli security. Such a conflict could happen — and depending on Iran’s course in the future perhaps even should happen (though that’s clearly not the case today) — but such a move would need to be weighed and managed hyper carefully. Israel can not be allowed to determine such a consequential choice for the United States.
Israel can help a lot by trying to become a constructive participant in changing the climate of tension and hostility in the Arab region. Right now, Israel’s performance leaves a lot to be desired — and the act of the victimized, bullied superpower is growing old. Israel controls a great deal of temperature in the Middle East and could significantly change the views of many Arabs towards the US, the West, and even Israel if it tried. Not doing so actually animates the bravado from and tension with Iran’s political leadership.
Israel is crossing the line by instructing the American Secretary of State and President where there lines “should be”.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

99 comments on “Israel is Crossing the Line

  1. Kathleen G says:

    And this is our fair and balanced (choke) reporting having to do with Clinton’s trip
    Rachel Maddow’s interview with Andrea Mitchell about Hillary’s middle east trip.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keq3DnAUkLI
    Rachel Maddow states and ask Andrea Mitchell ” For so long we have thought about the center of the potential resolution between the west and the middle east the the whole relationship between the west and the Muslim world we have thought at the center of gravity there being the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I wonder if you sense that the Obama administration still views the center of the gravity in the Muslim world as Israel Palestine? Or ist it possibly the crisis in south Asia the crisis in Pakistan that is starting to really rise in terms of importance in terms of what the Muslim World is paying attention to and what our relationship is with Muslims around the world?
    Andrea Mitchell “Oh I think it’s definitely Af/Pak is what they would call it”
    SO RACHEL MADDOW IS ASKING ANDREA MITCHELL WHAT “MUSLIMS AROUND THE WORLD” CONSIDER TO BE THE CENTER OF GRAVITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST. ANDREA MITCHELL?
    JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH RACHEL MADDOW YOU MIGHT CONSIDER ASKING SOME MUSLIMS THAT QUESTION….NOT ANDREA MITCHELL.
    GEEZ I THOUGHT RACHEL WAS MORE ON TOP OF IT. Pathetic person to ask that question
    Andrea goes on to take this opportunity to share her extremely lopsided views on the I/P conflict. Rachel does not call her out on it just goes along with the lopsided perspective that Andrea spews. I expected more out of Rachel

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  2. rich says:

    I have a great deal of sympathy for you. Your supposed refusal to even read a simple post is symptomatic of the inability of both Palestinian and Israeli partisans to even hear what the other is saying. Your total unresponsiveness reflects the general mode, and it is unproductive.
    What you cannot hear is this: when even civil resistance to injustice is met by force, what options does Israel leave its least powerful citizens? Read this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/20/israelandthepalestinians-israeli-elections-2009/print
    — and try to come to terms any responsbility at all to contribute to a solution. You don’t seem even willing to try, thus my sympathies.
    Shutting people out doesn’t change the reality.

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  3. gosh says:

    How dare you criticize Israel?? America will always stand behind Israel, even if you don’t think so. I love Israel and so do all true Christian patriots! Next time you think of smearing Israel, think about your family being killed by terrorists. That is everyday life in Israel, which you apparently despise.

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  4. varanasi says:

    i’m sorry, rich, but i just can’t make it through your post. i find your refusal to admit the obvious and your meandering, verbose writing style to be quite frustrating.
    we’ll agree to disagree on this issue and you’re free to ignore my posts as i will yours.
    thanks.

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  5. rich says:

    varanasi,
    This is not a semantic issue. Refraining from acknowledging what I posted hardly earns you points as a cooperative contributor to fruitful discussion and mutual understanding.
    It’s not just that your last premise is wildly, demonstrably inaccurate. Commenters here reasonably want to adjust the biased debate and biased policy to a balanced, productive and just posture. What’s wrong with that? Such a realpolitik policy and honest discussion is the issue — not the perceived lens of TWN commenters. Who, btw, hold nuanced, more than fair, and very generous views of each party — you just don’t bother to engage without leading with your prejudices.
    Holding your hand via an extended explanatory digression specifying the full flowering of our nuanced generosity and Solomonic wisdom (by agreeing with you, I guess, or saying whatever it is you want to hear) — just isn’t going to happen. It’s your obligation to engage fully and honestly here, and to pick up on the varied balanced views of commenters whether the full spectrum we hold is expressed at TWN or not. No one should have to actually point that out to you, and resorting to mislabeling hardly minimizes your responsibities in that regard.
    Given that civil resistance cannot soften the hearts of bureaucratic functionaries or persuade elected leaders to listen to reason . . .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/20/israelandthepalestinians-israeli-elections-2009/print
    . . . is it any wonder those Israeli citizens so wronged by the state do resort, finally, to violence?
    This is not a democracy, this is a crime scene.
    And a charade, of course, but still a crime scene. Never let it said those dispossessed of their own land are committing a provocation or a crime for firing a few impotent if rage-fueled rockets, post-ethnic cleansing. Where there is no shame you cannot expect cooperation or admiration.

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  6. fidel castro says:

    israel has crossed the line a long long time ago….and obama is way over it with rahm as his man.
    http://antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=13773
    though born in chicago, he was an israeli citizen through his father until he, according to his own account, renounced his dual citizenship when he turned 18. when the united states went to war with iraq in 1991 the 31-year-old emanuel rushed off to join the colors, though the colors in this case were the blue and white flag of israel. he claims that he was a civilian volunteer in the israeli army who was assigned the task of “rust-proofing brakes” on military vehicles, an assertion that has been questioned because his father’s background suggests that he would likely have been offered something much more important.
    emanuel’s father, an israeli physician, was a member of the terrorist group irgun in the 1940s. irgun was responsible for blowing up the king david hotel and ethnically cleansing much of palestine through selective massacres of arab civilians. in an interview in the jerusalem post, dr. benjamin emanuel said he was convinced that his son’s appointment as white house chief of staff would be good for israel. “obviously he will influence the president to be pro-israel,” he was quoted as saying.

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  7. varanasi says:

    in regards to south asian history and geopolitics (with an emphasis on accesible readable texts as opposed to dense, academic texts):
    1. modern south asia: history , culture, political economy – sugata bose and ayesha jalal
    2. Govt. and politics in south asia (6th edition) – malik, kennedy, oberst, kapur, lawoti, rahman
    3. pakistan: eye of the storm – owen bennet jones
    4. conflict uneneding: india pakistan tensions since 1947 – sumit ganguly
    5. the end of india – kushwant singh
    6. the idea of pakistan – stephen cohen
    7. the crisis in kashmir – sumit ganguly
    for starters. let me know what you think. i’d be happy to discuss. thanks.

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  8. JWW says:

    I would like to recommend the following books to the TWN community.
    “A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East,” by David Fromkin. Read the conclusion first, then start from the beginning.
    “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” by Ilan Pappe.
    Varanasi, would you please post your reading list?
    Thank you.

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  9. varanasi says:

    perhaps we’re debating semantics, rich.
    how about this: aside from two or three regular posters at twn, EVERY other contributor here regularly criticizes israel and seldom if ever criticizes the palestinians.
    agreed?

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  10. rich says:

    Well, varanasi, it’s not clear you have much to go on here. I respect your opinion, you’re entitled to that, but to be frank if you’re so unfamiliar with the concept of justice that you feel entitled to label the only facet you’ve seen thus far of these differing views as somehow ‘unbalanced’, then that’s something you’ll have to take responsibility for.
    Which, given your evasion of my point, isn’t something that comes easily for you.
    The existence of a just political cause does not preclude defending the right of Israel to exist and being concerned for Israel’s national security. In fact, having the courage to face up to that political just cause and obtaining any authentic security and viability for Israel
    is really one and the same thing. We put forth a balancing perspective because it is not ok, nor is it acceptable, to deny and misreport and mislabel the political dynamics in play — there’s too much at stake.
    In short, when one group or nation takes another group or nation’s land, they are no longer in a position to point the finger at the dispossessed and disenfranchised — and cry victim.
    Everybody knows it’s not about righting wrongs, or self-defense or Israel’s very existence or historical victimization any more. We all know there’s a very different agenda being pursued, for very different reasons, to the Israel’s great self-detriment, never minding the costs to everyone else.
    That’s not something in your power to deny or confirm. You can accept or ignore it, to your gain or loss, but it is as eternal as it is unchanging.
    I’m sorry to lay the naked truth out there for you to gaze upon, but no one here has anything to be embarrassed about.
    Your end of the conversation has to be constructive as well, and whether you come through on that is up to you.

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  11. varanasi says:

    ok, rich. you’re right. there is absolutely no anti-israel bias in these threads.
    your comment above is a perfect example of the balanced and diplomatic views here on this intractable conflict
    i especially appreciate the even-handed criticism in the TWN community on the israeli/palestinian issue.
    (please read this post with sarcasm)

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  12. rich says:

    No, varanasi. There is an attention here to correcting the one-note record of ideologues, whether they be self-interested politicians, single-sided journalists, or orwellian-tongued Israeli spokesmen.
    That widespread and unreliable posture requires pointed and sustained expression of the other point of view, to directly challenge facts unreported, venom routinely spat and lies that’ve become second nature.
    There is no anti-Israel bias here. We just show more concern for Israel’s national security, long-term viability and internal stability than the average Zionist, that’s all.
    An unfamiliar sight for you, I know. But the challenge of less provincial dialogue should be seen as a challenge and an opportunity, not as a discomfiting problem you’re somehow free to label and dispose of.

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  13. varanasi says:

    c’mon, david.
    read the threads and the commentary. there IS a strong bias against israel in these comment sections!
    surely, there is much to criticize about israeli actions and leadership, but there is just as much (if not more) to criticize about palestinian actions and leadership.
    nonetheless, aside from 3 posters here, ALL criticism and antipathy is reserved israel and zionism alone!
    you get serious.

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  14. David says:

    Posted by varanasi, Mar 04 2009, 6:33PM – Link
    welcome to TWN, gary!
    clearly, there is a strong bias against israel in this community.
    Since when is a desire for as full an honest and insightful commentary as possible biased? I do admit to being biased against violence, occupation, and usurpation by any nation, including my own. But a strong bias against Israel in the TWN community? Get serious.

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  15. Kathleen G says:

    During a recent interview with Rachel Maddow Andrea Mitchell sure did Israel’s bidding. Maddow referred to how critical it was that the I/P conflict be dealt with fairly and how this conflict was at the center of the storm in the middle east. Mitchell blew off Maddow’s very good question and went around the question and stated that the Afghanistan/Pakistan issue was far more important.
    Maddow lost her point in Mitchell’s dismissive response. Andrea Mitchell was obviously being another Rep for Israel instead of a reporter (but what else is new?)
    You can access that Rachel/ Mitchell interview March 2009 at you tube (can not link from this computer)
    That interview was telling…about Andrea Mitchell’s agenda (clearly not fair and balanced reporting)

    Reply

  16. Ali A.Alghamdi says:

    I read this aricle and many thanks to the writer saying the truth about Israel.USA Government should study the contents of this article and do something about this problem.Israel is also ignoring all UN orders and no punishments are taken against Israel Govt.Jews are not enemy of Arabs,but their Zionst Govt.is leading the World to continous wars and disorders with the support of USA becaouse of Zinonest lopist in USA and they are very dangerous on the future of America.I hope that USA Govt.with the new Adiministration can put an end to this problem in order the World can live in peace.

    Reply

  17. Ali A.Alghamdi says:

    I read this aricle and many thanks to the writer saying the truth about Israel.USA Government should study the contents of this article and do something about this problem.Israel is also ignoring all UN orders and no punishments are taken against Israel Govt.Jews are not enemy of Arabs,but their Zionst Govt.is leading the World to continous wars and disorders with the support of USA becaouse of Zinonest lopist in USA and they are very dangerous on the future of America.I hope that USA Govt.with the new Adiministration can put an end to this problem in order the World can live in peace.

    Reply

  18. ... says:

    Posted by TonyForesta, Mar 04 2009, 7:03PM – Link
    I never advocated supporting more violence here or anywhere, whomeveryouare. Obviously you skip past the meat of the comments in your haste to slime Israel..
    offering an equal response to garys comment is perceived as slimy according to you, lol….i don’t need to slime israel.. their actions in the past few months do more then well enough on that front…
    your comments suggest you have supported more violence, contrary to what you say here… since you’re short on facts, maintain a positive view of yourself while working to slime others, i thought i’d remind you of a few..
    Posted by TonyForesta, Jan 22 2009, 1:34AM
    Let these vampires slaughter each other, and look towards improving the lives of Americans.
    Posted by TonyForesta, Jan 22 2009, 2:31AM
    The leaderships in these lands are liars, theives, and massmurderers and until that changes – there will never be any resolution to the bloody, costly horrorshow in Palestine.

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  19. TonyForesta says:

    With all due respect, you are wildly mistaken Carroll! Israel is a significant value and special partner to the US, and always will be. as a military asset or in many other ways!
    What you accurately frame as the “cancer on the diplomatic relations of the US in the ME and even with other countries around the world” is a reality and a problem future US leadership must recognize and remedy. We all should agree that “never again” has validity and weight, – but apartheid policies against a targeted population are never justifiable, or tolerable. If Israel and Israeli’s want to erase the goodwill and empathy of America gleaned by surviving the terrible ordeal, holocost and the savage slaughter of 6mn jews by the nazi’s, – pursuing aparthied policies against Palestininans is the way.
    At the same time and in the same breath, Palestinians must accept that any jihadi voice, or fatwa’s, or sharia will never be tolerated by any western state. If you want to practice and tolerate that kind primitive, mysoginist, sexually repressed, predatory, malignant, perversion of religion – great – keep that filth in your own camps in your own tribe, and in your own villages, – but do not imagine any civilized human being will ever tolerate your freakish perversion of islam. Jihadis should and will be targeted. All of them, just as any village or tribe would hunt down, capture and kill any massmurderer slaughtering their children, so every jihadi massmurderer should and will be hunted, captured or preferably killed.
    If the Palestinians choose jihad, – the civilized world will swallow hard and support Israel. The choice is yours. Join the 21st century community of nations, or suffer the fiery consequences!

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  20. Carroll says:

    Cee has said the most intelligence thing on here.
    “It’s time to let the dog catch the car.”
    The cure for Israel in one short sentence.
    Andd since I have said everything there is to say about Israel during the past seven years here’s the short form..
    Israel is of no value to the US, never has been. Not as a military asset or in any other way,quite the opposite it has been a problem and a cancer on the diplomatic relations of the US in the ME and even with other countries around the world.
    US support of Israel comes only from the jewish and christian fundies, but mostly jewish and zionist element who buy influence with our government, most especially congress.
    Prove me wrong, give me one instance of Israel advancing or supporting US interest..just one example. There isn’t one, not in the entire 65 years of it’s existance. And don’t bother me with the simple minded blah,blah about the only democracy in the ME bullshit.
    You can yada,yada, yada about this forever and carry on the peace “bizznesss” forever.
    But if you want to change the Isr-Pal-USA madness you know what you have to do…BCTTGASO.
    Nice Steve…
    “Israel, on the other hand, is the only true superpower in the Middle East but lives within borders “that are in dispute” and with “some of its citizens trying to colonize territory” that the international community has determined do not belong to it.”
    Like saying the serial killer Jeffery Dalimer, who ate parts of his victims, “snacked on the
    leftovers of those he had a slight altercation with”.

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  21. Gary says:

    JWW; Firecrackers huh??!! Those firecrackers as you call them have killed their share of Israeli civilians in the past. and yes, Iran is aiding Hamas in their little proxy was with Israel because the Israeli’s have found evidence that some of those rockets have indeed come from Iran.
    You also talk about “blind rage”. Seems to me all the rage is coming from Hamas. Their STATED GOAL is the total destruction of Israel. Sounds to me like there is not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to talking to Hamas about the peace process.
    Israel has every right to protect itself, and go after those rocket sites. The civilian casualties are high because Hamas are a bunch of cowards and hide those rockets in civilian areas. Another reason that Hamas doesn’t give a damn about protecting its people.
    I agree with varanasi. This is not all Israel’s fault, like the Israeli haters say it is.

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  22. varanasi says:

    … and while you’re at it, go do a little hang with hamas and get back to me about corrosive theocracy AND fundamentalism.
    this is not all the israeli’s fault, by any stretch of the imagination.

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  23. varanasi says:

    Good comment, JWW.
    I agree with much of what you say, but the last few sentences got to me:
    “The West Bank is not Israeli by divine right. There is no divine right, and there are no tribal gods.”
    i may be wrong, but this strikes me as a criticism of israel and the “religious” jewish/zionist belief in the divine revelation of the Old Testament alone.
    I just want to remind you that the Jews are NOT the only people in the middle east who believe in “divine right” and “tribal gods.” far from it. MANY muslims lay claim to the entire region – including all of israel – based on divine privilege. go take a trip to saudi arabia or iran and get back to me about corrosive theocracy.

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  24. TonyForesta says:

    Oustanding commentary JWW. The land for peace issue is short on details, and specifics, but if that approach would end the horrors in the Gaza and the West Bank, then “let’s roll”.
    Who, or what leaders are promoting land for peace options?
    If Israel walked back to pre-67 borders, and granted full legal rights and water rights to Palestinians, and opened the borders, and quit the apartheid policies, and reached some unknown unknown settlement on Jeruselm, – would Hamas quit sending rockets, (which though wildly unaccurate, are potentially desctructive and lethal) and jihadi mass murderers strapped with semtex accross the new Israeli borders.
    America has leverage on Israel due to the large aid package and “special” cooperation in defense and security industries and interests. American leadership can push Israeli leadership to accept the “land for peace option”, – but who will talk to, or push Palestinian leadership to accept “the land for peace” option?

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  25. JWW says:

    Gary, if Hamas are receiving weapons from Iran, why don’t they use them? Suffering ten to one casualties while in possession of advanced weaponry, yet refusing to employ those weapons, does not make much sense to me. So I question Iran’s ability to supply Hamas, particularly in light of Israeli military dominance of Gazan air, land, and sea. During the Israeli incursion into Gaza, I didn’t see any city busting missiles flying into Israel from either Hamas or Hezbollah, so perhaps neither group has them. So perhaps Iran isn’t irresponsible enough to give serious weaponry to those they can’t really control, weapons that may have a return address.
    The homemade firecrackers the Gazans periodically lob into Israel are a feeble and pathetic symbol of resistance, without any military significance whatsoever. These amateur rockets are largely without effect, yet they invite ten to one reprisals from the superpower next door. Why would anyone in possession of his right mind take such a self-destructive step?
    Maybe it’s blind rage. During the last several weeks, and just for the hell of it, I’ve tried to pretend I was a Palestinian. I’ve read an exceptionally well-documented history by an Israeli author, who recounts the history of expropriation and massacre the Israelis visited upon the Palestinians during and since 1948. It makes chilling reading. So I think I am beginning to understand why some Palestinians could be consumed by blind rage.
    When I was an undergrad, we had a holocaust denier visit my school. The history department was so outraged, the Profs decided one of them had to answer the falsehood. John Lucas, the eminent historian, held a public lecture from his book, “The Last European War,” and definitely corrected the denier’s remarks. This led me to read several accounts of the holocaust down through the years, the latest of which is The Lost. I’m still not quite capable of grasping the enormity of it all. It beggars belief, yet the facts are unassailable. Those who deny the historical record are contemptible liars and hate mongers. A circle in hell is reserved for them.
    I therefore consider myself somewhat capable of understanding the Israeli world view. “Never again” makes stunningly good sense to me.
    I trust nobody on this blog truly wishes to visit any more ill on these two peoples. Yet I think the facts are unassailable as well that Israel is attempting to destroy the Palestinians inch by settlement inch. Colonial usurpation of land once held by Palestinians is colonial usurpation of land once held by Palestinians. Military occupation, rule at the barrel of the gun, has resulted in complete subservience of all things Palestinian. Can anyone truly deny the crushing superiority of Israel over Palestine? Can we not figure out who has power and who has none? And we wonder why terrorism is the response? Just for once, just for the hell of it, pretend you are a Palestinian.
    What is to be done? America has aided and abetted Israeli dominance. We have to stop our issuance of blank checks. We must begin to act responsibly. In our commendable desire to succor the remnant of a people murderously persecuted to the point of extermination, we have permitted, perhaps from inattentiveness, perhaps through a feckless unwillingness to face reality, this remnant to crush the Palestinians. The West Bank is not Israeli by divine right. There is no divine right, and there are no tribal gods. Given Israeli history , and ours, we are the ones who must use countervailing power to pry loose Israel’s grip on the West Bank and Gaza. We must demand peace, now, not later. The outline is clear: land for peace, now, not later. There is no later.

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  26. samuelburke says:

    my my my steve, you sure are getting brazen, criticizing israel in public?
    stop or no more parties for you…no more lox and bagel parties for you.

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  27. questions says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/04/closed-zone-waltz-with-ba_n_171859.html
    Waltz with Bashir director’s 90 second semi-animated film about life in Gaza. Nothing gory, but it’s pretty pointed and worth a trip to HuffPo to see it. Film really can take us places we don’t always want to go and make us think about what we’re doing in ways that allow us to feel for others, see our complicity, and yet feel safe. Non-threatening nudges towards reform will go a lot further towards effecting change than will screams. Narrative is potent stuff.

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  28. TonyForesta says:

    I never advocated supporting more violence here or anywhere, whomeveryouare. Obviously you skip past the meat of the comments in your haste to slime Israel, and anyone who even mentions Israel in a positive light and missed the gist of the message. What I have said repeatedly is that the bloodshed will continue. I am not advocating that continues, but simply expressing an opinion based on years of observation, and the exercise in futility in resolving this horrible crisis. Both sides are drenched in oceans of innocent blood, both sides leaderships are intransigent, and so nothing ever changes, and the will be more bloodshed. I wish it were different, – but – its’ not. Part of the reason NOTHING changes is that people like you who are so full of hatred for Israel and Israeli’s, and others who hold similar ill feelings toward Palestinians cannot accept any common ground or recognize any strarting point for solutions that does not involve one or the otherside being wiped from the face of the earth. Deeply entrenched hatreds blurr and distort the entire dynamic of the conflict and prevent any discussion of common ground or workable starting point – so NOTHING changes, and more oceans of innocent blood are spilled.

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  29. Rose Hunter says:

    Tho Tony has me pegged already as a vehement Palenstinian sympathizer, my only interest is in the TRUTH!!! Not Bloody Israel’s version, because they already dominate any sane discussion with the shrill scream ‘Anti-Semetism’. Bloody Israel silences the opposition with their screaming ‘Anti-semetism’ in the ME, as well as monopolizing the piss-stream-media with their own FASCIST geo-political-economic scheme of ‘Zionism’. Just as here in the US, we have all noted how biased the afore mentioned Piss-Stream-Media is, and would like both sides to get a chance at the Public Podium.

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  30. varanasi says:

    welcome to TWN, gary!
    clearly, there is a strong bias against israel in this community.
    unfortunately, you haven’t seen anything yet. just wait until some of the regulars here start blaming the 9-11 attacks on israel… along with every other perceived ill in the world.
    i think it’s time to cue the “dancing israelis” thread 😉

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  31. ... says:

    gary, no one is stopped from talking about hamas terrorism as they perceive it… nor do i feel that anyone is trying to stifle me here from talking about israel state supported terrorism which is exactly what they are involved in.. isreal hasn’t released many nameless and innocent palestinians, it hasn’t stopped receiving shipments of arms from the usa,it hasn’t stepped back from its stated goal of war on iran, and it hasn’t stopped building settlements on stolen of land that never belonged to it… israel’s apartheid towards palestine, bombing the same prison they have created, while dropping white phosphorous on the inmates just doesn’t cut it with many civilized people around the globe…i can’t see how israel thinks it is good pr, even if they are involved in an election cycle from time to time…

    Reply

  32. Gary says:

    Hamas fired more rockets at Israel today, but I see no one wants to talk about that. Hamas has not renounced terrorism, Hamas has not stopped firing rockets into Israel, Hamas has still not released Gilad Shalit, Hamas has still not stopped receiving shipments of arms from Iran, and Hamas has still not stepped away from theuir stated goal of the total destruction of Israel.
    But somehow, Israel is the bad guy here.

    Reply

  33. ... says:

    Posted by TonyForesta, Mar 04 2009, 1:08PM – Link
    There may be “…many normal and sensitive people on both sides of this israel/palestine conflict who are seeking peace” whomeveryouare, but none of them are in positions of leadership on either side.
    perhaps they are not encouraged and supported enough?? supporting more bloodshed as you have advocated here regularly is really counter productive… think about it..
    tony foresta quote “Your obvious Palestinian bias, and pathological hatred for Israel prevents any progress on the discussion.” that is another characterization that i can’t let you get away with either tony.. if one is always recognizing a mainstream media bias favouring israel, then naturally they contemplate and wish to express the other point of view… as for your comment pathological hatred for israel, that is an outright lie, but then it might have a lot to do with an inherent bias of yours that you’re unwilling to look at…

    Reply

  34. ColinLaney says:

    Pecos_gal writes: Frankly, I’m ready to start cutting military aid to Israel.
    Not possible. AIPAC could get a veto-proof majority in Congress to restore aid to Israel in about 15 minutes.

    Reply

  35. ColinLaney says:

    Israel will do what it wants. Washington will follow.

    Reply

  36. Rose Hunter says:

    AGREE!

    Reply

  37. TonyForesta says:

    There may be “…many normal and sensitive people on both sides of this israel/palestine conflict who are seeking peace” whomeveryouare, but none of them are in positions of leadership on either side. Your obvious Palestinian bias, and pathological hatred for Israel prevents any progress on the discussion. Others heap all the blame on Palestinians. No one is willing to accept that all parties in this horrible conflict are responsible for crimes, inhumanities, the spilling of oceans of innocent blood, and the rigid intransigent intolerant divisions that frame this conflict.
    We witness the impossibility of resolving this conflict in microcosm everytime Mr. Clemons posts on the issue, and the thread always quickly devolves into a hatefilled spitting spatter match between those who loathe all things Israel, and those who loathe all things Palestinian. No center voice or middle ground is countenanced. Suggestions for solutions are shouted down and drowned out by the two streams of hatefilled partisan slime. The discussion and thread – like the horrible Palestinian/Israeli conflict itself – blows up, and nothing is ever achieved or agreed on, or resolved and each side returns more concretized in their respective partisan positions, full of more hate, less tolerance and more determined to avoid working on real solutions.
    Dicsussions of the conflict, like the confict itself are unresolvable exercises in futility.

    Reply

  38. Rose Hunter says:

    Thanks again, Don. I only wish I COULD be less inflamatory, so, I’ll just keep my mouth shut. No one wants to face reality, which isn’t pretty. Just as Sen.Whitehouse said, ‘Its really, really shocking. Be prepared.’ I used to be under the thrall of BLOODY ISRAEL, myself, so do know how easy that street to HELL is.

    Reply

  39. rich says:

    Oddly, enough, just the other day I was musing on the huge potential for strengthened U.S.-Syria ties to remake the balance of state-to-state relationships in the Middle East. A stronger Syria, esp one with very close ties to the U.S., could ameliorate its reliance on Iran and cut its vulnerability to Israel at the same time.
    Offsetting the increasingly unmoored behavior of Israel and the rising power of Iran, using Syria as the obvious fulcrum, is the obvious strategic move — at least, in the abstract. But realistically, there’s definitely something in it for Syria, so it seems there’s definite viability in going that route.
    Syria’s been open to conversation for several years. And it’s ideally situated to mitigate the roiling politics between Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey and Lebanon — leaving Israel and Iran entirely out of the equation just of the sake of argument.
    So imagine my surprise to read THIS in today’s NYTs:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/world/middleeast/04diplo.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=syria&st=cse
    Though the headline reads:
    Syria Talks Signal New Direction for U.S.
    . .. the Bush admin was in regular if informal talks with Syria.
    “The two emissaries are Daniel B. Shapiro, a senior director at the National Security Council, and Jeffrey D. Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Mr. Feltman, a former ambassador to Lebanon, has extensive experience with Syria; Mr. Shapiro advised the Obama campaign on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    Middle East experts say they believe that conditions for an opening to Syria are ripe on both sides.”
    Even Martin Indyk, hardly an unbiased operator, recognizes the potential here.
    One disclaimer — the article is pretty crude, other than the basic report, it leaps to most obvious but least important point: that “[t]here are clear benefits to Israel from better relations with Syria: the government of President Bashar al-Assad is a sponsor of Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon, and provides a sanctuary for Hamas’s leaders in Damascus, Syria’s capital.”
    Never mind that the most important geostrategic gains for the U.S. do not consist of “benefits to Israel.” Those side-effects are not the central concern to a strengthened US-Syrian relationship. Second, even the Syrian support for Hezbollah and Hamas can (& must) take a back seat to regional positioning achieved by a US-Syria dual agenda. That stuff will fall into place in the wake of such a relationship.
    In short, if Israel won’t cooperate, but Syria will, strengthening Syria economically, socially and militarily has the potential to alleviate a series of frictions, relationships and hostilities from the other side of the same coin.
    Seeing Netanyahu on the flip side has its attractions.

    Reply

  40. DonS says:

    Rose, you are new to this blog, at least as a commenter. The more virulent forms of Zionism are well known and hotly debated here. And there is a close eye out for anti-Semitism, or what sounds like it (either from genuine anti-Semites, or provocateurs) as it shuts down productive discussion, or escalates it into name-calling. That is why I suggest you “appropriately” express ideas. You have even made POA seem the soul of calmness, and that’s not easy. So it would be good to take heed and gauge your comments, or folks will ignore you.

    Reply

  41. varanassi says:

    POA wrote:
    “Heres an interesting article that claims an India-USA-Israel collusion in covert efforts in Pakistan. In light of varanasi’s idiotic assertions that Israel is irrelevent to the area, it is just one more nail in his argument. Even if one finds the article as less than credible, it is certainly far more credible than varanasi’s asinine argument of Israeli disengagement”
    wrong, POA! i said that israel has nothing to do with the ROOT of the south asian conflict. absolutely nothing. ben gurion’s quote only proves that israel and pakistan had (and have) no diplomatic relations and often engage in hostile rhetoric. this doesn’t change the fact israel and the jews have NOTHING to do with the origins of the south asian, hindu/muslim conflict.
    nothing.
    in fact, if you’re interested in south asian history and politics, i’d be happy to recommend a reading list.

    Reply

  42. Rose Hunter says:

    Zionism definition: a geo-political-economic stratedgy to take over the world. Newest form of FASCISM. Advocated by Kissenger, lying LIEberman, Chertoff,etc. and most especially and passionately advocated by ‘KKKristians’ who are just too dumb to know when they are being used.
    Judaism: a worship of the Divine – theology, philosophy.
    My own PS, without the toxic need to steal all of the resources of their neighbors.

    Reply

  43. ... says:

    regarding rose hunters comments…
    i am with dons and poa regarding rose hunters rhetoric… it is completely unfair, unbalanced and meant to do one thing only.. this is the same criticism i have of tony foresta who always paints both sides using a very similar language.. i think it is dead wrong in fact.. there are many normal and sensitive people on both sides of this israel/palestine conflict who are seeking peace, not murder and blood as tony always suggests… we need to continue to keep focused on them in all of this… that is a path towards peace instead of its opposite which is what both rose hunter and tony foresta seem to be working towards…

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Rose…..
    If you cannot provide specific historical foundation for statements such as…
    “Bloody ISRAEL is ruled by the rich Jews(?) who also sold out their own in WWII”
    Than you are making statements akin to “Blacks have bigger….”
    Your blatantly incendiary commentary, using stereotypical classification of the “Jews”, reeks of having a specific purpose here, which is to invite the throng of Israeli firsters who are bound to be chanting accusations of “anti-semnitism” in response to your comments, which will, of course, totally unravel the thread. I find it hard to discount the idea that you are doing this by design.

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “and sorry, but try as you might, the ongoing conflict between india, pakistan and now afghanistan HAS no historical roots with the arabs or certainly with the israelis”-varanasi
    “It is essential that we…strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans.” — David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister.

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “BLOODY ISRAEL TROLL!!!!”
    Idiot.
    (Gads, can the jackass be more blatant in his efforts to provide justification for the mantra of “anti-semitism” to be used to describe TWN? Some of these people must think the comment section is attended by complete and utter fools.)

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.rense.com/general25/team.htm
    An excerpt…
    “The Indian newspaper The Pioneer wrote on March 3, 2001: Fencing of the Indo-Pak border is not enough. To check Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism, top security experts of Israel have suggested that hi-tech gadgets ranging from an electronic barrier system of radars to thermal imaging devices should be immediately installed on India’s sensitive international border in J[ammu] & K[ashmir] and Punjab sectors”
    “The team of experts, including officials of the Mossad, the Israeli Army and the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), also found shocking loopholes in the security arrangements relating to the much-talked about Samjhauta Express. They advised that instead of Lahore, the train should terminate on the Attari border. Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said the Israeli experts surveyed the 198 km international border in Jammu and Punjab and reviewed the route of the Samjhauta Express with top officials of the Border Security Force”

    Reply

  48. Rose Hunter says:

    BLOODY ISRAEL TROLL!!!!

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It is essential that we…strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans.” — David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister.

    Reply

  50. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres an interesting article that claims an India-USA-Israel collusion in covert efforts in Pakistan. In light of varanasi’s idiotic assertions that Israel is irrelevent to the area, it is just one more nail in his argument. Even if one finds the article as less than credible, it is certainly far more credible than varanasi’s asinine argument of Israeli disengagement.
    http://atheonews.blogspot.com/2009/03/us-india-mossad-connection.html

    Reply

  51. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If its “common sence” (sic) you’re trying to exude, I suggest you check your pores, as you seem to be oozing something else entirely.

    Reply

  52. Rose Hunter says:

    Thank you Don. I do try to bring some common sence to the inflamatory rhetoric coming mostly from AIPAC/JINSA/LIEberman/Kissenger/Chertoff etc. It’s a steady stream of ‘POOR ME’ shit from BLOODY ISRAEL. Did anyone ever wonder how BLOODY ISRAEL can sqeeze out more $$$$$ for more right-wing propangda, in the middle of ‘fighting’ all it’s supposed ’ememies’. Yours will be the only positive comment, since most are cowed to bow-down in front of BLOODY ISRAEL.

    Reply

  53. DonS says:

    Rose Hunter, I can see why some might take exception to your emotional tone, especially since you invoke the word “Jews”, albeit in ditinguishing between classes of Jews. I am interested in this because it is a point I have made frequently, that is, the Jews of my acquaintance and family are not of the bloodthirsty type, and politically resent having the martyrs of the Holocaust being used to leverage agressive policiies, whether by neocons, or RW Israelis.
    I would encourage you to continue to appropriatel articulate how it is that this “class” of Jews, and their ilk, utilize the mechanisms of power and propaganda to influence, for example, the political climate in the US. It is only by educating Americans to the maniplativeness of such propaganda that the political winds may sufficiently shft to enable a more healthy attitude and behavior of the US towards Israel and, relatedly, its Arab neighbors.

    Reply

  54. Rose Hunter says:

    Bloody ISRAEL owns the US, the US is just their colony of dumbed-down, passive, victims who are obliged to go belly-up and let BLOODY ISRAEL suck the US dry. Bloody ISRAEL is ruled by the rich Jews(?) who also sold out their own in WWII. That is why BLOODY ISRAEL, silences it’s liberals who know who they are!
    BLOODY ISRAEL will be the downfall of the US, but the Military/Industrial/MEDIA/Petroleom mafia headed by BLOODY ISRAEL will do OK.
    How is it that while AMERICANS can’t find work, can’t sell their homes, can’t even have access to their own $$$$ in ‘failed’ banks (ZIONISTS again) the poor, dumbed-down, AMERICAN is still PAYING BLOODY ISRAEL????? Does this makes any sence at all?????
    This is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESSENTATION!!!! The dumb-down, American needs to at least be consulted by means of a referendem, abt. continuing to be bled dry by this POMPOUS ASS, BLOODY ISRAEL!!!

    Reply

  55. DonS says:

    Kotsabasis: “And the Israeli four points, as presented by Clemons in his post, exactly embody these aims of the Western world. ”
    Now how would you surmise to know “the aims of the Western world”, as if there was one. I think I take your general point, but it is just such loose language that is unhelpful.

    Reply

  56. ... says:

    The Israel donors conference
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068553.html
    The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted.
    The $900 million pledged to the Palestinians in Sharm el-Sheikh should be seen as part of the regular American aid to Israel. As an occupying power, Israel is obligated to assure the well-being of the population under its control. But Israel is harming it instead, after which the United States (like other countries) rushes to compensate for the damage.
    The Clinton and Bush administrations – and Barack Obama appears to be following in their footsteps – erased the phrase “Israeli occupation” from their dictionaries and collaborated with Israel in ignoring its commitments as enshrined in international law. The billions of dollars that Israel receives from the United States for weapons and defense development – which played a significant role in the destruction in the Gaza Strip – are part of Israel’s successful propaganda, which presents the Rafah tunnels and Grad rockets as a strategic threat and part of the Islamic terror offensive against enlightened countries.
    The West has blown the Hamas movement out of proportion, exaggerating its military might to the point of mendacity; this allowed for an extended siege and three weeks of Israeli military intractability. In the Palestinian and larger Arab world, this embellishment helps Hamas depict itself as the real patriotic force.
    The hundreds of millions of euros that have been donated or pledged to help Gaza, as though it were beset by natural disasters, are overshadowing the trade ties between Europe and Israel. The Western countries concerned about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians also buy from Israel arms and defense knowledge developed under the laboratory conditions of the occupation, that serial creator of humanitarian crises.
    And the 1 billion petrodollars? First of all, they were generated from a natural resource that logic dictates should benefit the Arab peoples. Second, they were pledged at a conference that boycotted Gaza (neither Hamas nor business people or social activists from the Strip participated in the donors conference). This is how Saudi Arabia lends its hand to the American and Israeli veto of inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
    Every cent paid to the Palestinians – whether for the Ramallah government’s budget or medical treatment of children wounded by Israeli pilots or soldiers – lets Israel know that it can continue its efforts to force a capitulation deal on the Palestinian elite. Only by recognizing that surrender is the goal can one understand that 16 years after Oslo, no Palestinian state was established. When did Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Tzipi Livni begin talking about two states? Only after their bulldozers and military bureaucrats crushed the realistic physical basis of a Palestinian state. And this basis is: June 4, 1967 land (including East Jerusalem), Gaza – an inseparable part of the state – and zero settlements (and that applies to Gilo and Ma’aleh Adumim).
    During the 1990s it was still possible to describe donations to the Palestinians as an expression of confidence and hope in Israel’s readiness to free itself of the occupation regime it had created. But not in 2009. Support for Israeli policy – this is the only way to understand the fact that other countries keep pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars meant to put out the fires set by this policy, without extinguishing the source of the blaze.

    Reply

  57. ... says:

    clinton asks isreal if they can open up the gates and feed the prisoners…
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested on Tuesday that Israel permit the opening of Gaza border crossings to allow for massive supply of humanitarian aid to the civilian population.
    tony foresta, you’re dead wrong.. isreal is actively practicing apartheid.. there is no balance in anything they’re doing at this point..

    Reply

  58. PeterG says:

    Steve, I agree with you totally. Israel feels that since they went through the holocaust, that they can do whatever they want to do to destroy other ethnic cultures to achieve their ends. And the United States has aided and abetted their misdirected policy with its misunderstanding of the Arab world and culture, and facilitated Israel’s terrorist-like means to their end. Israel seems to have no compassion for other nationalities in the world and has no feeling for the destruction of humanity to achieve their ends, even though they were once the humanity that was once threatened with extinction. Quite a reversal in global thinking on their part.

    Reply

  59. TonyForesta says:

    You are arguing my point varanasi. We agree! Both sides, all sides are culpable and responsible for the concrete divides that separate Israel and Palestine, Palestinian and Israeli and contribute to the wanton slaughter mayhem and aprarthied in the region. Nothing ever changes!
    Zionism,
    Jihadism,
    Evangelicanism are all fascist perversions and malignant mutations of religion proselytizing supremist ideologies, exceptionalism, predator class economic policies masked as “privatization” wherein select cronies, cabals, coteries, and oligarchs benefit exclusively and wantonly from the machinations of the regime commandeering the government, and proclaiming godwills the slaughter and destruction of every one, and every thing on earth that is not, or does not bow to Zionism, Jihadism, and Evangelicanism. All these freakish perversions and betrayals of religion are born of the exact same cloth, bruting policies and prosecuting operations that are nefarious, bloodthirsty, savage, and FASCIST!
    Look up the word, compare with the rhetoric and activity or actions of the three hordes, – and get back to me!
    The world is owned and controlled by warmakers. The peacemakers are repeatedly slaughtered and disappeared. Warmakers rule the earth, and war is what we will get while warmakers rule. Peacemakers so far have the fatal disatvantage of resisitance to combat or even adequate selfdefense. It’s time for a new paradigm for peacemakers. Peacemakers must be prepared and willing to fight, to engage in combat and destroy all opponents or threats. If peace is even possible, it will be the result of the violent birthing pangs on an entire new being. Blood and other bodily fluids will gush out, wise midwives must attent to the newborn, and the mother. Peacemakers are deluded if they imagine there is some bloodless or peaceful way to right these horrible wrongs. There is not. The necessary actions will be hot, fierce, and bloody. It will be ugly. War always is an example all that is evil and destructive in man. Peace is recklessly discarded to the trash heap of triviality having no more meaning or legitimacy in the average American, or European, or Asian, or Latin, or Russian mind than a shout. War is glorified, warriors hoisted to Olympian status, weapons mass marketed and sold as vicarious extensions of dominance and control. Peace makers are ridiculed as effette, trea huggers, hippies, and tarnished with other stereotypical scrurrilous slanders, misrepresentations, and slime.
    Do the math, or any due dilligence on the media, and who or what oligarchs controls the media, – and the ridiculous idea that there is any hope for a liberal bias is unmasked as a naked lie. Theright, not theleft controls the media horizontally, vertically and Diagonally.
    Rush Limbaugh is a pathological liar!!!, and the true face of the gop, the bush crime family cabals, and the ignorant wingnuts in redneck Amerika! May the Lord and the Goddess have mercy on their souls!

    Reply

  60. JohnH says:

    With power comes responsibility. Applying that simple principle and you can easily determine who’s more responsible for the problems in the Middle East…

    Reply

  61. varanasi says:

    TonyForesta writes:
    “One side blames all the problems on the other, and the other side heaps all the causes of the problems on the opposing side.”
    i say that both sides are to blame and i strongly disagree with anyone who claims otherwise.
    also, relax “aghast,” i don’t think “…” was calling for a terrorist attack to “wake up” america

    Reply

  62. TonyForesta says:

    Every discussion or debate regarding either Israel, or Palestine quickly devolves into two ferociously opposed, divided, and intolerant factions. One side blames all the problems on the other, and the other side heaps all the causes of the problems on the opposing side. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, soon to be followed by wanton acts of destruction and mayhem by or more often both sides, oceans of innocent blood is spilled, and NOTHING CHANGES!
    Hopefully, the Taiwan issue resolvable, – because the Israelin Palestinian conflict – is NOT.

    Reply

  63. AgHaSt says:

    “The population (U.S) seems to need a good wake up call, however it comes, for them to see how badly they’ve behaved.”
    -Ayman Al-Zwahiri or …?

    Reply

  64. kotzabasis says:

    WigWag
    As an opponent thank you for your morally generous remark about my comment.
    It’s fascinating to view all the political stallions above that they cannot see, due to their inveterate bias against Israel, that all the four points are tangential not only to US interests and goals but also to European ones as both of them are aiming to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And the Israeli four points, as presented by Clemons in his post, exactly embody these aims of the Western world.
    If a Martian visited perchance the Washington Note and glanced at the volcanic wrath of the above posters he would not understand what all the fuss was about.

    Reply

  65. ... says:

    dons – placing sanctions on a country is similar to an act of war.. it may also precede a direct act of war… this might partly explain why the usa always vetoes any potential sanction expressed towards israel… the usa is quite happy to try and use sanctions to starve millions of iraqi children or to go to war in iraq and murder more of them, but no sanctions ever on israel… what kind of impression do you think this creates towards the usa? obviously it isn’t a good one!!!
    the usa would be better served not using its veto power for all the wrong reasons, while it still has some veto ‘power’ left… unfortunately since the end of WW2 the usa has almost never acted in the best interests of the world community.. many people in the usa seem ignorant of this as well, which makes it even more disturbing.. in general the population seems to need a good wake up call, however it comes, for them to see how badly they’ve behaved on the world stage, especially under w bush’s tenure… siding up with israel seems to be another recipe for disaster that the usa seems determined to continue..
    unfortunately here in canada, many canucks are similarly hard wired to think that following the usa and mimicking what they do is the way to go – our present leader (a bootlicker) harper is a good example…

    Reply

  66. John Waring says:

    If William Burns is the address for Iran policy, we can hope for more than neocon hash.

    Reply

  67. DonS says:

    Bernhard, at Moon of Alabama, connects the dots as he sees them, with citations (including Steve’s instant post), supporting the thesis that Iran is following the neocon pattern that brought about the Iraq adventure. The endgame is an attack on Iran. It’s entirely plausible, though not inevitable.
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/03/obama-implements-neocon-strategy-against-iran.html

    Reply

  68. Bart says:

    On that 900 million of aid, how might we get our representatives to deduct that amount from our annual stipend to Israel?

    Reply

  69. Cee says:

    Pacos,
    Thank President Obama for not including military aid to Israel in his budget outline. Send a letter to the President today asking him to investigate Israel’s prior misuses of U.S. weapons against Palestinians and to reconsider his anticipated request for additional weapons in his upcoming detailed budget.
    http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1872

    Reply

  70. AndrewM says:

    I think that it’s absolutely outrageous for the Israelis to “tell” America what it plans on doing with regard to Iran. Sixty one years of American aid to Israel and still the United States gets taken for granted. Israel, having benefited enormously from US assistance over the course of its existence, has no right to instruct American politicians on how they must handle Iran. Moreover, as an ally Israel should show at least some concern for ways that the US would suffer if there was indeed a war with Iran. As usual, Israel does not care about the long term well being of its closest ally. Rather, it has already stated that it will act alone if its childish demands are not met.

    Reply

  71. amir says:

    continue-
    Why Palestinian should relocate themselves from their home?
    Actually, all those immigrants from Europe,Asia and Africa should go back to their home land and give the stolen lands to their owners. It is the only way for PEACE

    Reply

  72. amir says:


    Why will no Arab rich oil countries help their fellow arab palestinian refugees relocate? Where is the compassion for these refugees who live in misery, have lots of babies and teach them to hate, because that is their only hope. Refugees need a new land of opportunity, so they can educate their children, have the opportunity to acquire wealth, to enjoy, to love. A very bright world of opportunity is out there, waiting. It is a big beautiful planet.

    How can you call yourself a human?

    Reply

  73. not so high a roller says:

    Rae Stevens???
    What have you been smoking?
    — NCHQ

    Reply

  74. Neo Controll says:

    Rae Stevens???
    What have you been smoking!

    Reply

  75. Rae Stevens says:

    Israel does not worry about winning or losing a war. They worry about living or dying. Israel is a beautiful country, to enjoy, to love, to defend. Israelis have defended their little country against overwhelming odds many times. Surely America, after the Cuban missile crisis, can understand why the Israelis cannot afford to not take a stand for their very lives.
    Why will no Arab rich oil countries help their fellow arab palestinian refugees relocate? Where is the compassion for these refugees who live in misery, have lots of babies and teach them to hate, because that is their only hope. Refugees need a new land of opportunity, so they can educate their children, have the opportunity to acquire wealth, to enjoy, to love. A very bright world of opportunity is out there, waiting. It is a big beautiful planet.

    Reply

  76. David says:

    WigWag,
    I honestly do not understand your position. This is a quite solid commentary by Steve, and the idea that the goal is to “stir up the rubes” makes no sense whatsoever. That Israel should not be dictating US foreign policy, but rather that the US should be crafting the wisest policy possible, especially as regards the Middle East, makes excellent sense.

    Reply

  77. alan says:

    Israel has no interest in restricting settlement expansion; and it may well prepare plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. I doubt that even with AIPAC and the readiness of Congress to pass resolutions supporting Israel things are going to go on as usual. Iran is a more capable enemy; and will find ways to retaliate, even if this means sacrificing Palestine.
    Both the US and Israel may have military strike capabilities, drones and other devices; but we would be foolish to assume that Iran will take an attack on their facilities like Saddam did.

    Reply

  78. Pro-Israel Pro-Peace says:

    Israel has a perfect right to urge the US to follow policies it wants, as does any other ally. The difference is that Israel has an enormously powerful lobby in the US which clearly takes its direction from hawkish Israeli leaders (If you have any doubts, just compare AIPAC’s Iran Memo of 2-26-09 to Israel’s “instructions” in Steve’s report). This is what makes Israel’s “instructions” so frightening.
    Why frightening? Because if the point of negotiations is to get Iran to stop Uranium enrichment even at low levels, it is bound to fail, as most Iran experts predict, even if sanctions are strengthened. Like it or not, this is true because of popular national pride, resistance to perceived Western colonialism, official policy of technological independence, and distrust of international assurances, among other factors. Surely Israel knows all of this, so the real point of these “negotiations” is to lay the groundwork for military action. This could begin with the often-threatened embargo of oil and gas exports, which could provoke war, or, with an Israel pre-emptive attack (or mass sabotage) with the US left to clean up the resulting carnage (including Iraq and Afghanistan).
    On the other hand, if we negotiate enhanced and intrusive inspections (Additional protocol +) in return for internationally controlled Uranium enrichment in Iran, Israel and the US would have far more security and information than now. Iran has already indicated it is interested in this type of solution, so we might make far more rapid progress than if we pursue the hopeless insistence on zero enrichment.

    Reply

  79. Chicagoan says:

    Talke— China would not be justified in attacking Taiwan, but if they did we certainly wouldn’t get into a war with them over it. That, and not their abstract rights, is the significant fact of the relationship and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging it.

    Reply

  80. Pro-Israel Pro-Peace says:

    Israel has a perfect right to urge the US to follow policies it wants, as does any other ally. The difference is that Israel has an enormously powerful lobby in the US which clearly takes its direction from hawkish Israeli leaders (If you have any doubts, just compare AIPAC’s Iran Memo of 2-26-09 to Israel’s “instructions” in Steve’s report). This is what makes Israel’s “instructions” so frightening.
    Why frightening? Because if the point of negotiations is to get Iran to stop Uranium enrichment even at low levels, it is bound to fail, as most Iran experts predict, even if sanctions are strengthened. Like it or not, this is true because of popular national pride, resistance to perceived Western colonialism, official policy of technological independence, and distrust of international assurances, among other factors. Surely Israel knows all of this, so the real point of these “negotiations” is to lay the groundwork for military action. This could begin with the often-threatened embargo of oil and gas exports, which could provoke war, or, with an Israel pre-emptive attack (or mass sabotage) with the US left to clean up the resulting carnage (including Iraq and Afghanistan).
    On the other hand, if we negotiate enhanced and intrusive inspections (Additional protocol +) in return for internationally controlled Uranium enrichment in Iran, Israel and the US would have far more security and information than now. Iran has already indicated it is interested in this type of solution, so we might make far more rapid progress than if we pursue the hopeless insistence on zero enrichment.

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  81. Taike says:

    I like the Taiwan angle. It is instructive to see Steve walk away so dramatically from core American values.
    So self-determination is a fantasy? In a slightly different context, I guess some would argue that privacy is fantasy too. Why fight it?
    Sorry. But I don’t agree. Taiwanese independence is about the right of free peoples to determine their own fate. Period. When you give up on that, you are starting down a slippery slope.
    If the Obama administration represents an opportunity for the US to address the many excesses of the Israeli government continues to perpetuate, then it should also be a chance to recognize the sovereignty of the 23 million people on Taiwan.
    China is not justified in threatening Taiwan. It would not be justified in attacking the island if Taiwan does declare independence – no matter how many Anti-Secession laws they pass. I hope that the next time you bring Taiwan into an argument, you think about what’s right and not just about power.

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  82. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Israel should be rebuffed by Hillary Clinton”
    Well, with Hillary saying she has serious doubts that Iran would respond to the Obama Administration’s interest to engage in diplomacy on its nuclear program, it appears that she is taking the exact OPPOSITE stance. And the rhetoric coming out of the Obama Administration is directly polar to the findings of the IAEA, particularly from Mullen. Its as though Israel has written the script, and unfortunately, they probably have.
    Hillary’s about face on the destination of our 900 million didn’t occur in a vaccuum. And this latest declaration about the slim odds of diplomatic success with Iran is just coincidental, falling as it does in unison to the Israeli “four points”? Who does Hillary work for?
    Its not encouraging seeing Gates and Mullen presenting divergent assessments of Iran’s nuclear program. It telegraphs the machinations of two opposing factions within the Obama administration, and as always happens in such infighting, our interests fall by the wayside to inaction, crass decisions, and competing lines of propaganda. Once again, the American people have two distinctly different set of “facts” to sift through. Who’s lyin’?
    Gads, I loath these sons of bitches. This doesn’t even vaguely resemble what the founding fathers had in mind.

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  83. DonS says:

    “Rubes” huh?
    There is no more perfect example of “stirring up the ‘rubes'” than the efficacy of The Lobby and their apparatchiks, paid and unpaid. That would be you, WW.

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  84. WigWag says:

    “Wigwag, few here represent the “anti-Israel” position you attribute.”
    Some here are pro-Israel, some here are anti-Israel, some here are in between.
    I believe Steve Clemons when he says he doesn’t believe in false choices; and I think he’s right when he says it’s possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.
    But this particular post is quite weak. Steve knows perectly well that just because Haaretz presented the four points as if they were ultimatums doesn’t make it true. In fact anyone who thinks about it seriously realizes that the points will almost surely not be presented that way.
    Nonetheless, like Keith Olbermann or Bill O’Reily, Steve thinks it’s fun to stir up the “Rubes.”
    Perhaps he thinks its good for ratings.

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  85. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And how much respect does Israel show for American requests and policy suggestions? Isn’t it about time these cowardly sacks of shit in Washington started issuing some ultimatums to Israel, instead of the other way around??
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=99790
    Israel plans to double West Bank settlers – study
    By Agence France Presse (AFP)
    Tuesday, March 03, 2009
    OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s Housing Ministry has plans for West Bank construction that would nearly double the number of settlers there, the group Peace Now said Monday.
    The presence of the so-called Israeli “settlers” in the Occupied Territories is illegal under international law.
    The group gave the estimate in research issued on the day that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to visit to Israel on her first trip to the region since taking office.
    US President Barack Obama has vowed to vigorously pursue peace efforts in the region, and Israeli settlements on occupied land have long been one of the main obstacles to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
    “The Ministry of Construction and Housing is planning to construct at least 73,000 housing units in the West Bank,” said the Peace Now study, based on analysis of data on Israeli government websites.
    “At least 15,000 housing units have already been approved and plans for an additional 58,000 housing units are yet to be approved,” it said.
    Out of the units already approved, nearly 9,000 have been built, Peace Now said.
    “If all the plans are realized, the number of settler in the territories will be doubled,” the research document said, adding that the estimate is based upon an average of four people in each housing unit.
    continues….

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  86. DonS says:

    Wigwag says “Is there any chance that we can have a debate about whether the 4 points represent good policy (I don’t think they do)? “, and appears to take the incredibly high road.
    What is obvious to all but the AIPAC-inebriated lobes is that form and process in dealing with the ME is every bit as important as substance, and more important at times. This is one of those times. Israel is “testing” our new President. In fact, Israel may have not liked advance back channel information it has no doubt received in advance of the Clinton trip, and is attempting to control the debate. As usual.
    Wigwag, few here represent the “anti-Israel” position you attribute. As usual,you mistake “Pro US” for “anti-Israel”, if mistake it is. It is a rhetorical “mistake” that matters. So, no, we probably can’t have “debate about whether the 4 points represent good policy”. That’s a diversion from the thrust of the post which you would no doubt welcome.

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  87. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Our withdrawal from the Durban conference, the provision Pelosi removed from a bill in regards to Iran, the parallel rhetoric our president uses in his railing against the “illicit” Iranian nuclear program, our turning of a blind eye to Palestinian children being incinerated in White Phosphorous. Even Mullen’s latest assertion that Iran “has enough enriched uranium to buiold a nuclear bomb” is straight out of the Israeli scriptbook, and is designed to strike fear into the hearts of the absolute stupidest members of the human race, the ones that still consider Israel something other than a murderous little nation, ruled by bigots, hatemongers, and monsters intend on wiping out an entire people.
    Now Hillary’s promised 900 million in aid to Gaza is even revoked, the bulk of the money going to the Palestinian Authority to meet “budget shortfalls”.
    What “red line” exists to be crossed by Israel? Our politicians have consistently shown a despicable subservience to Israeli mandates. Why not bring this subservience out into the open, and allow Israel to crack the whip publically and blatantly? Are we supposed to be suprised by this?
    Its interesting seeing varanasi refer to the “rain” of Hamas rockets, ignoring the caged conditions of the Palestinians, who in varanasi’s shallow tunnel of nazi-like racist bigotry should simply roll over to starvation and dehumanization. And his reference to “hundreds of suicide bombings” is laughable. When was the last time an Israeli died in a suicide bombing? Yet how many Palestinians have died this past year?
    Then we have Wig-wag, who in the past has argued voraciously that the Israeli lobby’s “are just like any other lobby”, and he has criticised our observation that Israel has far too much sway over American foreign policy. Here again, even with the blatancy of Israel’s latest “or else”, we see Wig-wag denying reality, and showing his trademark spineless nature with his typically “civil” manner of insult directed towards our host.
    If this latest demonstration of Israeli arrogance is “crossing a red line”, one has to wonder how the families of the lost Liberty sailors feel at having Israel’s past actions so cavalierly dismissed, only to see this qualify as “crossing the line”. And I imagine there are more than a few Lebanese children staring at the stubs of lost limbs, vaporized by the attraction blionding flash of a toylike cluster bomblet, who too are wondering what “line” Israel has yet to cross.
    This doesn’t qualify….???
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_a-Su2SAnGYU/SaOVm2FZ_jI/AAAAAAAAJII/UU1xnkeKJ5k/s1600/amnesty.jpg

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  88. WigWag says:

    Unlike Kotzabasis I will refrain from speculating about when Steve lost his virginity, but the Ktozabasis comment is right
    Steve prefers to comment on the fact that Haaretz made the “red lines” sound like an ultimatum rather than comment on the substance of the four recommendations.
    Are these really ultimatums that the Israelis plan to deliver to Hillary Clinton? I seriously doubt it, and the fact that Haaretz sensationalized the story that way is just about par for the course for newspapers all over the world.
    Focusing on the story the way Steve did may be more fun for him, but it’s hardly sophisticated analysis. In fact, it’s not analysis at all. Worse yet, it’s lazy.
    If Steve actually bothered to read the four points and think about them, he would realize that they are remarkably similar to the view articulated by French President Sarkozy. In fact, at one time or another, Sarkozy has made every one of those points in language just as unambiguous as the language published in the Haaretz article.
    Is there any chance that we can have a debate about whether the 4 points represent good policy (I don’t think they do)? Probably not. After all, that would require us to engage our frontal lobes, not just our amygdalas.
    It looks like our host would rather wallow in the “terrible way” Israel treats the United States than say anything of substance on this particular issue.
    Moral outrage is just so much more fun.

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  89. varanasi says:

    Steve Clemons writes:
    “Israel’s performance leaves a lot to be desired — and the act of the victimized, bullied superpower is growing old.”
    whatever, steve. i guess the rockets raining down on southern israel for the last couple of years were props? and the hundreds of palestinian suicide bombers that have attacked israel for years were actors?
    how can you say that israelis have not been threatened and harassed by palestinians as well?

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  90. alan says:

    I laughed out loud at Kotzabasis point about Israel’s reasonable requests. We fund these guys and they want to dictate US policy? Do it on your dime if you want to take on Iran.

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  91. Spunkmeyer says:

    We will never resolve Middle East issues without acceptance within
    DC foreign policy circles that condemnation of the Israeli
    government is not anti-Semitic.

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  92. DonS says:

    Kotabasis says “Moreover, he is blatantly inconsistent with his [Clemons]own position when he was vehemently criticizing the Bush administration for not listening to its allies in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.”
    This is either intentionally obtuse or, as I suspect, manipulative.
    It is one thing to “listen” to the concerns of another nation. It is another for that nation to take its “concerns” public by way of instructing its benfactor as to what it will tolerate. This is not public diplomacey, and obviously not private diplomacy. It is blackmail. Kotz level of disdain clearly indicates that Clemons has hit very close to home.
    It plays in nicely to the variousa anti-Iran hype in the papers recently (e.g., Mullen with his red flag about Iran’s uranium, the “detained” NPR reporter, etc. But blackmail it is. Now we just wait for the Cogress to pass a resolution endorsing “what Israel said”.
    Will Obama back down as he seems to be backing down to generals over Iraq?

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  93. Cee says:

    Israel reminds me of a dog chasing a car.
    Now is the time to let them catch the car.

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  94. DonS says:

    I read this article last night and did a double take. I think Clemon’s analysis here is exactaly right: Israel has gone over the line. Another way to look at it is, they play the US like a fiddle, from the president on down to the Congress, and there is obvious method in their madness here. To throw the US off balance and to elecit a response that will enable Israel to gain more attention and “concessions” from the US. Will it work with Obama/Clinton? Or will Israel receive the “schooling” it richly deserves?
    I quote here a synopsis that I wrote on TWN in a comment 2/16/09:
    “The pricipals are in a stalemate, and the US has to get over its one-sidedness. There is a dance that takes place between the US and Israel when Israel says or does something that the US doesn’t like — usually when the US finally cannot ignore the conclusion of the rest of the world on some point.
    “At that point Israel trots out the declaration that, as a sovereign nation it will do whatever it thinks is in its sovereign interest regardless of what others, including the US, may think. At said point, the US figuratively nods its head in agreement, and figuratively claims that it has done all it could to register ‘disapproval’ of the said action, following up with the formulation that agrees that Israel is indeed sovereign and acts in its own.
    “This dance both seeks to get the [current] administration off the hook from the “left” (although that is not an entirely accurate term) which claims the administration can and should push the Israelis harder; and it mollifies the administration critics from the “right” (the neocons, and virtually the entire US political establishment) who want Israel 1) left alone to “act in its best interest”, when it wants the US to keep out, but also 2) want the US to provide all support and succor to Israel up to that point.
    “In this description of behavior, it is clear to me that only the US can make the behavioral changes needed to move the situation. Those who say there will be no peace until and unless the two parties want it just drive a stake through the heart of the possibility of effective diplomacy. To claim the US has no de facto power is patently absurd. Just absurd.
    “On the internal US political dynamics of the situation, I keep coming back to the need for Obama to lead because on the ME the Congress is a disgraceful impediment to change, and Executive leadership in this foreign policy area must be determined and strong to overcome Congress fronting for Israel.

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  95. otiwa ogede says:

    isn’t Israel just doing in public what it has always done in private, i.e dictate America’s actions in the Mideast?

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  96. Joe M. says:

    Steve Clemons,
    While I support your very mild criticism of Israel, I question your worldview that continues to imply that the USA has the right to rule over the world.
    In particular, you said, “Iran’s pretensions in the region are a problem in my view…” and “[war with Iran]could happen — and depending on Iran’s course in the future perhaps even should happen (though that’s clearly not the case today)…”
    Now, I understand that you want to maintain credibility with the fascist branch of the “very serious” crowd, but your position is a form of political violence that should not be tolerated. Considering the fact that the USA has split more blood than any other country since world since WWII, and that the American military has bases in over 150 countries around the world, and that the USA has no sense of its own violence… It is disgusting that you would even suggest that the USA “should” attack Iran under any circumstances.
    If more countries had the foreign policy of the USA, the world would have been destroyed decades ago. And while you admit that Iran’s defensiveness is a result of its environment, you seem to forget that the USA is part of that environment, and people like you help to shape American policy.
    I know you believe the USA has a divine right to conquer any country it wants, and plundering the resources of the world is just business… So I am writing to point this out to you and tell you to grow some humanity!
    Also, as for your criticism of Israel, while it is better than nothing. It is amazing to hear any discussion of Israel without reminding your readers that Israel is a racist, fascist, theocratic apartheid state. If we were talking about the policy of other cancerous political movements, like the Nazis or the KKK or such, no one would forget to properly label them. Yet, for some reason Israel is given more respectability. This is explicit political dishonesty, and it should always be made clear what Israel is. It is not enough to offer mild political criticism of Israel, as that just masks the reality of Zionism and what Israel is.
    (Also, I understand that you do not generally trade in strong political rhetoric, but I do not believe that temperance is fair to those who have suffered at the hands of Zionist ethnic cleansing, war crimes, racism and violence.)

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  97. kotzabasis says:

    Clemons is behaving like a woman who has lost her virginity (In his case political virginity.) at an old age. The reasonable requests (As presented by Clemons in four points.) of Israel, in regard to a dialogue with Iran, that is besieged by fanatical terrorists and is threatened by the stated objective of a rogue state with annihilation, are to Clemons “red lines and instructions (M.E) of Israel to the U.S. .
    It would be interesting to know if Clemons happened to be a head of state in the same circumstances that Israel is in, and who had lost his political virginity long ago, in what other points other than the above he would present his case to Secretary Clinton as conditions of a dialogue with Iran?
    Moreover, he is blatantly inconsistent with his own position when he was vehemently criticizing the Bush administration for not listening to its allies in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Now with the Obama administration in place and apparently ready to implement Clemons policy of listening to America’s allies, only one nation must lose the right of being listened too by the U.S.Israel, as the latter’s reasonable concerns about an impending dialogue with Iran are presented by Clemons as an “instruction manual” and therefore should be out rightly rejected by the U.S..
    What kind of political buffoonery is this when Clemons says that the U.S. “should listen to Israel’s views” but only for the purpose of out rightly rejecting them and before evaluating them on the scale of reason?

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  98. ... says:

    steve israel crosses the line regularly.. it is as if they are unaware of how hypocritical or fanatical they’ve become.. what is it that makes israel think they can have nuclear weapons while others are not entitled to them? how does israel convince the world of the logic in that? paint iran out to be saddam # 2 i suppose… it worked for bush with the help of a stupid media, so maybe it will work again if the media is indeed as brain dead as they were a few years ago… otherwise any objective observer of israels actions in the past 3 months can see israel is a fanatic wanting to dictate on its own terms everything.. the usa has been pathetic towards israel so far, so perhaps nothing here will change…

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  99. Pacos_gal says:

    Thank you Steve for saying this in print, out loud and hopefully where it will be picked up by some of those in State and Obama’s government and listened to.
    I’m certainly not anti Israel, but seriously, I am getting so tired of exactly what you said, “the act of the victimized, bullied superpower is growing old”
    Enough is enough. Obama and Clinton should both know that the settlements are a real hindrance to any kind of peace agreement and by doing nothing, and maintaining the same relationship that the U.S. has had with Israel, has to be construed as doing nothing, is by way of saying, we support your position in this matter.
    We cannot support the Israel position on settlements and still be seen as a peace mediator. The two positions simply do not mesh together.
    To allow Israel to impose any type of restrictions on the U.S. relations with other countries is absolutely ridiculous and endangers those other relationships.
    Israel isn’t the only player in the middle east, it is simply one of many and should be treated as such.
    My question would be what does Israel hope to gain by having this published in Haaretz? They didn’t just come up with this by themselves, it was put out there to be read by whom … the Israelis, the Americans or the Iranians.
    Now doesn’t this mean that the American response will have to be published by someone too?
    Frankly, I’m ready to start cutting military aid to Israel.

    Reply

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