Israel-Palestine: Ignoring Opportunities When They Emerge

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This is a fascinating, sober piece by Harvard University’s Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou on Israel-Palestine problems that looks at Hamas as an evolving, “astute” political player that needs to be engaged one way or another in any new effort at regional deal-making in the Middle East.
Here’s one section:

Ignoring the general disposition of Hamas and its dogged political determination merely tells a story of intransigence feeding intransigence.
For the insistence on treating this organization as a terrorist group obscures the central fact of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
In that context, a militant group that emerges as a resistance movement; grows into a social-support organization efficiently operating schools, health-care centers and welfare services; suspends its resort to force; and agrees to abide by the rules of democratic contest cannot be termed terrorist.
As it is, Hamas has unilaterally declared since March 2005 a self-imposed cease-fire (tahdiya), which it respected for 15 months until the Israeli killing of the picnicking seven-member Ghalya family, following which the group’s armed wing led a commando operation on an Israeli army base.
On Nov. 9, Israeli forces again killed 17 individuals also members of a same family, the Althamna of Beit Hanoun.
All along, the Israeli government failed to reciprocate the cease-fire declaration and multiplied near-daily military incursions invariably resulting in casualties.
Since June, close to 300 Palestinians have been killed, 30 of them children.
Regarding the other two demands of the international community, Hamas had offered in January 2004 — and reiterated as late as Nov. 1 — to enter into political negotiations leading to a 10-year truce (hudna), and the movement has been part to discussions, in September, on a draft document for a program that would “respect previous agreements in a manner that protects and safeguards the higher interests and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

An opposing view has been published by the Council on Foreign Relations’ Steven Cook.
This debate, and others, are being promoted by the Rosenkranz Foundation and a new policy debate organization called “Intelligence Squared“.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

38 comments on “Israel-Palestine: Ignoring Opportunities When They Emerge

  1. DonS says:

    Heard Carter, actually, 2 times today on “Fresh Air”. Its amazing the sense the man makes, the good that he does, and the utter contempt with which he is treated by his party. Guess the party doesn’t know how to deal with honest, straight appraisal and talk. No surprise there.
    What is it about a prophet being denied “in his own land”? I’m not saying the man walks on water, but when it comes to the mideast, he knows his stuff.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061204/brown
    Dems Rebut Carter on Israeli ‘Apartheid’
    Michael F. Brown
    Neither Democrats nor Republicans are prepared to say a word in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to add far-right Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party to Israel’s governing coalition.
    Instead, Democrats are shoring up their pro-Israel bona fides. They are strikingly anxious because of a courageous new book by President Jimmy Carter that hit American bookstores in mid-November, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. It is an extraordinarily bold–and apt–title.
    Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among others, forcefully criticized the book. “It is wrong,” she declared, “to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously.”
    Lieberman, however, embodies the pursuit of “ethnically based oppression.” He has called for the execution of Arab Knesset members for meeting with Hamas leaders, and he regularly talks of removing from Israel many Arab Israelis in what can euphemistically be termed a land swap or “transfer,” but in more plain-spoken English is a form of ethnic cleansing.
    There is a dual system of law at work in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem–one for Jews and one for Palestinians. Additionally, Palestinians are confined to South Africa-like bantustans, while Palestinian refugees are refused permission to return to homes and land from which they were expelled by Israel. Meanwhile, Jews from around the world are welcomed under Israel’s Law of Return.
    Some members of the American Jewish community have tried to make the case for ending Israeli domination of the Palestinians, but most members of Congress still prefer to listen to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
    The ADL criticized Lieberman in May, but National Director Abraham Foxman now says, “He has served Israel well in the past, and I have no doubt he will do so again.” This abdication of moral authority is from the head of an organization that claims to provide “programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.”
    Pelosi is very close to AIPAC, and when it comes to Israeli discrimination against Palestinians she appears to have a willed ignorance. It’s as if she looked at the Jim Crow South and failed to recognize the discriminatory treatment meted out to African-Americans. How would Americans react had Pelosi claimed that there was no racism at work in the Jim Crow South or in apartheid South Africa?
    The same claim of hers regarding the occupied territories is deeply troubling. Yet here we are in the twenty-first century with a generally well-informed leader saying there is no ethnic oppression by Israel at the very moment that a notorious racist is joining the government coalition. On that she is silent.
    Indeed, it is hard to see how any serious American politician can fail to see the racism that courses through the thirty-nine-year Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. A partial explanation can be found in Pelosi’s willed ignorance–a disbelief or bewilderment that Israel’s military and political leadership could be capable of such systematic human rights violations–but some of the cause must also be attributed to lobbying efforts and the fear held by many Americans of being unfairly labeled as unfriendly to Israel or, worse, as anti-Semitic. Verbal intimidation has worked on far too many, politicians and activists alike.
    Then, too, there is the peculiar belief that Palestinians were largely freed with the entry of the Palestinian Authority in 1994 and that certainly Gazans were with the unilateral Israeli withdrawal in September 2005 from the coastal strip. This ignores the fact that Palestinians do not fully control their borders, are confronted with myriad checkpoints, are still losing land to expanding settlements, do not control imports and exports, and do not even have a functioning airport or seaport in Gaza. Palestinians are cast as terrorists, while in Washington even the politicians who should know better give Israel a free ride, and billions in foreign aid, despite oppressive policies that in other locales would have American politicians incensed.
    Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” has even received flak from Congressman John Conyers, the next Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers stated recently that the use of the term “apartheid” in the book’s title “does not serve the cause of peace, and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong.”
    Conyers is absolutely right about the horrific treatment dealt Jews over the years. He would be entirely right to criticize Carter if he had compared Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis. But Carter simply made the case that Israel is capable of discriminating against and subjugating another people.
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Bishop Desmond Tutu has made the same connection as Carter. “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”
    In my own experience, I was deeply struck several years ago, during intermittent stays with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, by the need to save dishwater in order to “flush” the toilet. In contrast, nearby Israeli settlers enjoyed swimming pools and watered their lawns in the heat of the day.
    The unfair distribution of water resources between Palestinians and Israeli settlers–as well as the previously noted relegation of Palestinians to what are essentially bantustans–made it clear that Israel is capable of discriminating on a par with apartheid South Africa. Obviously it’s not precisely the same, but many aspects are strikingly similar.
    Late last month I called a number of offices on Capitol Hill (Biden, McCain, Obama and Pelosi) for comment on the fact that Lieberman was then poised to be named Minister of Strategic Threats (principally giving him responsibility for the Iran portfolio) and for a response regarding his hateful statements on Palestinians–both in Israel and the Palestinian territories. They either had no relevant comment or did not respond to messages.
    It is clear that a prominent racist employing violent rhetoric who is part of the Israeli governing coalition is simply not on Washington’s radar screen. In an alert capital, Lieberman’s entry into the explosive Iranian situation would have the full attention of American leaders. This is no time for provocateurs, and Olmert should be told as much.
    American leaders and journalists had this opportunity November 13, when Olmert visited Washington. Congressional leaders, the President and journalists missed a real opening to press Olmert vigorously to eject the demagogic Lieberman from his coalition and to comply with international law by ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
    This would be in the American national interest–and certainly in Israel’s national interest, though its leaders may not see the advantages of a just two-state solution until the day Palestinians in the territories begin calling not for national rights but for civil rights in a single, unified state. This is a future possibility, as there already are more Palestinians than Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. At the most basic level, however, rejecting Lieberman’s racism and attaining Palestinian freedom are simply the right things to do.
    Perhaps President Carter should send copies of his book to members of Congress who do not grasp the injustice of Israel’s long-running oppression of the Palestinians. They might learn a thing or two about the long-festering conflict at the heart of so many of our current troubles in the region.

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  3. Carroll says:

    Posted by Pissed Off American at November 26, 2006 05:33 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    I agree that the major problem of congress in the ME issue is one of their corruption and partnership with AIPAC. A lot of them are just nutcases but most seems to let AIPAC call the shots on all ME related issues.
    Our political body is hopeless as far as I can see. They don’t have any touch with right or wrong or truth or fiction. Maybe they think the US is invincible because they sit up there on billions and trillions of our taxpayer money and might and think they are some kind of Gods and not subject to any fate that befalls the ordinary citizen.
    I truely think money lies at the heart of it for most congresspeople. I read in Richard Cohen’s column in the WP some time ago that AIPAC related PAC’s donated some 65% of all campaign monies to to the dems and repubs…I may be a bit off in the %, it gave the %’s for both the dems and the gop. When I have time I will try to google up the article and give you the link. It’s not the jewish vote that politicans are after so much, it’s only 2% and when you break down that 2% between the zionist type and the normal it is doubtful it could make that much of a difference overall, but the money the fanatical core will give for the Israeli cause is another matter.
    All the policies and decison by our so called ‘representives” are about keeping them in their poltical offices and the money they need to do that, that’s all…and in the end it is going to be the end of America. I just hope we can find all the sob’s after the final crash so we can hang them all.

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  4. Pissed Off American says:

    Carroll, your pessimism is founded in common sense. If anything, the power behind the incoming Conmgress is even more beholding to the Israeli lobbies than the outgoing one was. There is something inexplicable occurring in this process that I cannot quite put my finger on. Even those politicians that seemingly stood up for accountability, such as Conyers, have now backed off of the impeachment bandwagon, and the rhetoric, from both sides has shifted to one of insincere promises of bipartisan unity, while business as usual belies the truth to the promises. One wonders what backroom deals have been struck. Or; were they backroom deals, or is blackmail now a political lever being used to silence and tame the calls for accountability? Conyers’ backstepping was truly disheartening, for the Democrats newfound power could definitely have been used as a springboard for Conyers calls for reform and accountability. What was he threatened with to force him into his recent ovine posturing?
    As well, I am amazed by the minor attention paid to the maps recently released by the Peace Now group, that proves that Israel’s denial of the purposeful theft of Palestinian land was a deception of epic scale. Pelosi’s past comments about the issue NOT being one of occupation, but rather one of “Israel’s right to exist” do not bode well for the Palestinians to expect any help from this incoming Congress. I suspect the Palestinian’s lot may well become even more hopeless with this Congress coming into power, if such a thing is possible.

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  5. Carroll says:

    One thing I notice is, the closer Israel gets to commiting full genocide on the Palestines and commiting sucide on themselves, the more strident and hsyterical the pro Israeli defenders become. They are in the grip of their own madness.
    Over a year ago I said that contrary to what Israel believes, that time is on their side, that they could conintue to “lay facts on the ground” so that any settlement would be 90% in their favor…that actually time was not on their side and was running out.
    I also correctly predicted that at some point the internationals would move to take over settling the Isr/Pal conflict because the US was doing nothing but encouraging the conflict.
    I also said that the more Israel pushes for regional dominance thru the US “realignment” of the ME the more they will lose in the end.
    Now Israel and the US are at the point where Israel is despised by most of the world and their only champion, the US has no sway or influence with other countries. About the only thing the US is left with internationally is their vote on the UN security council.
    Now I have no idea which way the new dems war hawks will fall, or what Baker is up to or whether or not the US will continue over the cliff or pull back. One thing though is certain, the US and Israel have already lost. Neither one is going to get military or economic control of the ME. Nothing short of reducing the entire ME to nuclear rubble is going to control the ME. So the only question now is, are Israel and the US going to lose everything or limit their loses?
    I think the Israeli goverment has gone too far into insane to back up and I don’t see a lot of actual decision makers in the US showing they understand the US is going to have to give up a lot, as well as change their tune on any Isr/Pal settlement, to disentangle us from the PNAC nightmare.
    And frankly I don’t have any faith in the new dem majority on this issue..so I am not encouraged.

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  6. Matthew says:

    Winnipegger, stop lying. There was no 1,000 year old conflict. The fact that you have to make up information shows how weak the Zionist position really is….
    I prefer Tony Judt’s observation: In the history of the world, never has the “international community” declared an occupation to be illegal (Israel’s occupation) and then punished under occupation for resisting. That in a nutshell is why the West, i.e., the “world community” is completely losing its legitimacy in the ME.
    P.S. Good to see Cheney meeting with Saudi “moderates” today. I wonder if Dick will notice the irony of the “moderates”–i.e., monarchists who refuse to save girls burning in a school because they are uncovered–lecturing Iran on being backward and dangerous. Probably not. We know “moderate” means we control your oil; “radical” and “dangerous” means we do not.

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  7. Pissed Off American says:

    “But yet Israel agreed and the truce started in 06:00 local time today. And what the Israelis get in return? Kassams on Sderot 57 minutes after the cease fire came into action!!!”
    Posted by Abe Bird
    When the settlers, living on stolen land, attack and kill Palestinians, are we to blame all Israelis?
    When an American serviceman rapes a little girl in Iraq, then murders her familiy, are we to blame all Americans?
    When will Israel stop punishing all the Palestinian people for the acts of a few?
    And I strongly suggest you avoid the topic of violations of cease fire agreements, or, for that matter, ANY agreements that Israel enters into. Or we may end up debating why the French have refrained, thus far, from shooting down an Israeli aircraft over Lebanon. Or, we may debate the multitude of UN resolutions being IGNORED by Israel. Or its theft of Palestinian land.

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  8. DonS says:

    Abe, several words: noone defends Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. That’s not the point. But in such disproportionate warfare, with the US refusing to push Israel to move toward peace consistently and virtually taking orders from Tel Aviv, how else do you think the Palestinians would get Israel’s attention?
    Israel has shown only expansionist and oppressive tendencies, regardless of your litany of their humane tactics, which I would rather call avoiding bad publicity. Their inclination to compromise, maybe only tactical, is based on recognition at some level that survivial demands it. Seeking accommodation rather than playing the bully might have been a move to try sooner.
    Finally, talk about Israel’s right and might all you want (when its not posing as a poor oppressed little country), but the reality is that, without US backing, to the extent it does, Israel would have been forced to come to accommodation with reasonable international backing of such a process. Instead they’ve played the zero sum game about as far as possible.

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  9. Abe Bird says:

    And how do you feel about Israel’s rejection of the latest Palestinian truce offer? Doesn’t it strike you as just a bit “bizzarre” that the “foundation” laid by Israel upon which they construct the rationale for their latest military forays into Gaza are the missile attacks, yet they reject an offer from the Palestinians to cease said attacks if Israel will cease its hostilities in Gaza?
    Posted by Pissed Off American at November 24, 2006 08:31 PM
    ———————————-
    Any truce offer should be based on facts and REAL partners. The PA is quite an huge fraction or terrorists of their own, by their own, none they own!!! A reasonable democracy can’t sign a deal with such a torn body.
    But yet Israel agreed and the truce started in 06:00 local time today. And what the Israelis get in return? Kassams on Sderot 57 minutes after the cease fire came into action!!!

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  10. Abe Bird says:

    Well, I see here some who consider it as a problem when Israel well proven her ability to defend herself against the Evils, although a lot of hate from her vicinity and all around the world is well heated. Putting some false claims against Israel and than building a nice Babylonian Tower of claims against her is ridiculous. The fact that lot of you avoiding the truth make you losing your target and irrelevant to the issue.
    War against aggression is a military legitimate action against those who opened the war !! All the countries in the world have right to reply in order to survive; So does Israel.
    As long as the Arab Palestinian mindset remains that the taking of Jewish life is more important than the saving of an Arab life, we’ll stay stuck at this point.
    A normal, sane mentality considers the numbers of death of its own people before continuing to try and kill the enemy.
    The critics of Israel need to train their sights at the Palestinian terror fractions and the rest of the Palestinian government and public, for their continued aggression despite their total lack of ability to defend themselves
    .
    The Palestinian are operating on the assumption that Israel will not hit back in kind. Neither a guerilla nor a conventional army should target civilians. With that being said, if it’s the method of operation and the strength of the enemy to move between civilians and use them as shelter, then that it is their responsibility to defend them.
    Hamas, PLO, Az a-Din a-Kassam, Al-Aksa Brigades etc. had failed miserably to defend the population yet continues to attack just the same only to get more pain inflicted.
    I don’t believe that the Palestinian Arabs will keep their trust to the achieved seize fire this local 06:00 time. The last Kassams were already launced over Sderot in 06:57, breaking the new agreement. And Israel still calms waiting the Arabs to be loyal to themselves, if they can’t be before others.
    Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties as much as they can in principle. There are civilian casualties on both sides – the difference is that the Palestinian terrorists fire civilians by PURPOSE as their main target, and Israel targets civilians ONLY by MISTAKE or because their Palestinian terrorists are hiding behind the civilian captives. Israel avoided attacks at the last minutes when the pilots or intelligence detect civilians in or around targets..
    And the terrorist organizations use that situation for their own benefits risking their civilians lives at purpose !!!!!
    Leave alone Israel to deal with the threats she stand against, and you deal with the threats made by Islamo-Fascists against you. I’ll wonder how you deal with your problem the way you preach to Israel to deal with the same kind of problem. You better turn the other cheek !!!!

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  11. Carroll says:

    Have to agree with those whom I usually think of as the “bad guys” here—-Carroll is completely off the fence and into indulging rabid anti-semitism. Ugh.
    Posted by Marky at November 25, 2006 08:18 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    You are another very sick little boy fellow…keep on ascribing your own weirdness to me and I am going to embarass you. Normally you are just boring..pimping for the democracts like a good little sheep, whinning when the theads don’t follow your interest and respond to your every thought..and now I guess to get some attention you have decided to insult other posters. Actually come to think about it..YOU do remind me of a monkey.

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  12. Pissed Off American says:

    For what it’s worth–not much–I don’t think Carroll is calling Jews monkeys. She’s trying to make a point by using a story to illustrate it. However, since I assume we’re all trying to get educated here, it IS worth noting that comparing Jews to various animals is a classic anti-Semitic ploy. Jews were shown as rats, for example, in much the same way that blacks here were shown as monkeys. The imagery was used in the first place because it’s potent and it reaches down into the primitive part of the brain. The point is to say that “these people are less than human.”
    That’s why Carroll is getting this reaction.
    Posted by MP
    No, thats NOIT why she is getting that “reaction”. And it IS NOT a “REACTION” to her post, it is a concerted effort to insult, malign, and attack Carroll’s posting, waged by the same irritating and immature internet troll that has been harrassing her here on this blog for some time now. Any half sane adult with two brain cells to rub together can see that Carroll was not “calling jews monkeys”. You know it, and I know it. If I use the old fable about the Tortoise and the Hare to illustrate a point about two different viewpoints or approaches to a problem, is some ignorant asshole going to throw a hissy fit because I just called someone in the debate a “tortoise”?.
    Maybe winnipeger and his alter egos should just stop with the incessant harrassement of both Carroll and I.

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  13. Pissed Off American says:

    “Who could have predicted the shit we’re in now?”
    A whole bunch of us. And thats just us lay people. There were plenty of “experts” that warned us as well.

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  14. Marky says:

    Have to agree with those whom I usually think of as the “bad guys” here—-Carroll is completely off the fence and into indulging rabid anti-semitism. Ugh.

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  15. MP says:

    “When there are no limits, no punishment for continous destructive behavior people feel increasingly free to act on and esculate their primitive instincts.”
    I agree with this. The US needs to use its leverage over Israel to move it to the negotiating table and a just peace for everyone in that region. The rightwing agenda–here and in Israel–is, I believe, doomed to failure. Costly failure. And it’s morally wrong. If Clinton had had another term, we might have had peace. But of course, no one can foretell the future perfectly. Maybe not at all.
    Who could have predicted the shit we’re in now? Not me. I fell over the first time I heard we were going into Iraq.

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  16. MP says:

    “Well I could have used a story about my son in his terrible two’s, who acted much like a spoiled monkey, to illustrate my point. But I think the monkey story gets the point across better.”
    Okay, I accept that. It’s a judgement call. The key is, I look into myself to see “what’s happening.” You do the same.

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  17. Carroll says:

    Well I could have used a story about my son in his terrible two’s, who acted much like a spoiled monkey, to illustrate my point. But I think the monkey story gets the point across better. When there are no limits, no punishment for continous destructive behavior people feel increasingly free to act on and esculate their primitive instincts.

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  18. MP says:

    For what it’s worth–not much–I don’t think Carroll is calling Jews monkeys. She’s trying to make a point by using a story to illustrate it. However, since I assume we’re all trying to get educated here, it IS worth noting that comparing Jews to various animals is a classic anti-Semitic ploy. Jews were shown as rats, for example, in much the same way that blacks here were shown as monkeys. The imagery was used in the first place because it’s potent and it reaches down into the primitive part of the brain. The point is to say that “these people are less than human.”
    That’s why Carroll is getting this reaction.

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  19. winnipeger says:

    so now the looting of artifacts from iraqi museums BY IRAQIS and the lamentable destruction of a random mosque (just about everything is 766 years-old in the ME) is analogous to the destruction of the holiest site in Judaism?
    and how to compare the destruction of the AL-NASR mosque in which HAMAS militants were hiding and from which they were firing with the taliban’s unprovoked destruction of the bamiyan buddhas??
    as much as i hate to engage, poa, in debate, i do find some degree of satisfaction in highlighting his flawed logic.
    my apologies to everyone else, i know that we would all be better served if i ignored this “troll.” i’ll try.

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  20. Carroll says:

    Posted by larry birnbaum at November 25, 2006 10:33 AM
    >>>>>>>>>
    The monkey story, which is true by the way, was to illustrate the progression of the Israelis from being rescued by the world, indulged and treated well by the US to becoming totally uncontrolable, uncivilized and ungrateful for all they have received. They aren’t satisfied with having their own coke, they want everyone else’s too and keep bashing everyone around them to keep all the cokes for themselves. You should learn from this monkey story. Israel is a small monkey surrounded by big monkeys. Someday they will bash the wrong country in the head. If they don’t adapt to the rules of the world that has made their existence possible and learn to share they will most likely be put down.

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  21. Pissed Off American says:

    There has been little mention of the fact that Israeli forces completely destroyed the 766 year-old Al-Nasr Mosque in Beit Hanoun, Gaza during the same operation that left 19 members of a Palestinian family dead. Some observers think this is worth a mention.
    Posted by grascarp
    Bush’s actions in Iraq in regards to the relics, antiquities, historical sites, and museums, and Israel’s recent destruction of this mosque are no different than the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddist historical sites. Such actions, or failures to protect, are blatantly prejudicial against certain religions. Can you imaqine the outcry if a Palestinian bomb took out the Wailing Wall?
    Interestingly, an interesting aside to this is the millions, (billions?), of dollars of missing Iraqi antiquities and artwork, which came to light early on in this mess, when the Iraqi Museums were being looted. I seem to recall that Farouki, a compatriot of Feith and Zell, part of the early Chalabi bunch, was involved in collecting, and dealing in, Middle Eastern Art and antiquities. But, at this late date, so much information has dissappeared down some internet black hole, that researching such information has become impossible.
    Recently, I was attempting to refresh my recollection of the events at Tuwaitha, and there is really very little information that comes up on the search engines, and what information that DOES come up is shallow and incomplete. How many Americans realize that tons of yellow cake were looted out of the Iraqai storage sites??? How Many Americans know that Bush refused to allow the IAEA into over twelve sites, so they could inspect and catalogue the missing radioactive materials? (except one cursury supervised inspection at Tuwaitha) How many Americans know that Bush had tons of yellow cake flown out of Iraq into the United States, (imagine, had an aircraft crashed), circumventiong international law about the movement of such materials, and refusing any IAEA oversight?

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  22. Pissed Off American says:

    “Now, according to Carroll, the Jews are monkeys. Not sure if this is a step up from his/her previous description of us as vermin, or down towards the classic “descendents of pigs and monkeys.””
    Carroll does not call the Israelis “monkeys” through her story. To interpret it as so, or dishonestly insinuate such, says more about YOU than it does about her, “Birnbaum”.

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  23. larry birnbaum says:

    Now, according to Carroll, the Jews are monkeys. Not sure if this is a step up from his/her previous description of us as vermin, or down towards the classic “descendents of pigs and monkeys.”
    But I’m passed being shocked by this wacko, who appears completely unaware of the classic anti-Semitic sources of the imagery he/she invokes, or of the eliminationist nature of the rhetoric he/she employs.
    Or, who knows, maybe not.

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  24. Pissed Off American says:

    Winnipeger refuses to accept the reality of the FACT that Israel repeatedly and consistently blames specific events, often misrepresented, as the reason for assasinations, shellings, or military incursions into Gaza. His lamentation of my use of the term “foundational” is just another irritating gnat bite. He knows full well in what context the term was applied.
    This latest round of Israel “acting to defend itself”, (ha ha), by killing men, women, and children, destroying infrastructure, and shelling civilian compounds was prefaced with the excuse of the Hamas raid into Israel, (of which there is credible evidence that Hamas WAS NOT in fact over the border), when really it was the Israeli MURDER of the family on the beach that sparked Israel’s latest action.

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  25. DonS says:

    WP, we can agree to disagree but, FWIW, I am not concerned so much about the semantics of a particular word in this case as I am about language being used generally, and almost universally, in the U.S. press, and by politicians, to portray Palestinians as aggressors (usually terrorists) and Israelis as victims. That’s all I am asserting.

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  26. winnipeger says:

    I have described the Israeli mentality every way possible.. politically, morally, historicaly. reigiously, mentaly. But I think it all can be boiled down to something simple that popped in my mind when I was reading about the hissy fit the Isr UN Abm threw over the UN censure.
    When I was a child an associate of my father, who was a sort of character, had a monkey for a pet. I believe he rescued him or bought him from a circus. He took the monkey everywhere with him, you never saw him without the monkey. This fellow treated this monkey better than than some parents treat their child. All the monkey had to do was point at something and chatter and the man would give it to him. Everyone was fasinated with the little monkey and gave him treats and allowed him the run of most places. He brought him to my father’s office several times and then sometime later my father told me that he had to tell him not to bring the monkey there any more. The monkey had gone batty and almost torn up the office and ran around snatching things from desks and jumping on people. He remarked that he thought the monkey was becoming dangerous.
    One of the things the man had taught the monkey to do was to fetch cokes from the fridge for himself and the monkey. Later on we learned that the man was in the hospital badly hurt. It seems that he had told the monkey to fetch some cokes and after the monkey got the cokes he didn’t want to hand over the man’s coke, he wanted both of the cokes evidently. The man tried to take it from him and the monkey bashed him in the head with the full coke bottle and tore into him. I don’t remember what happen to the monkey, whether they put him down or not but the man had to get rid of him.
    And that’s what the Israelis remind me of…that monkey.
    Posted by: Carroll at November 25, 2006 02:30 AM
    ————————————————
    wow.

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  27. Carroll says:

    Israel rejects Palestinian offer to halt rocket fire
    (AFP)
    24 November 2006
    GAZA CITY – A proposal from Palestinian factions to stop rocket attacks in exchange for an end to Israeli offensives in Gaza and the West Bank was rejected as inadequate by Israel on Friday.
    Just hours after a spokesman for the ultra-radical Islamic Jihad made the offer following an overnight meeting between rival factions, a Hamas militant was killed during ongoing Israeli operations in the northern Gaza Strip.
    “We are getting nothing from these rockets because nothing they achieve matches the force and power of the Israeli response,” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas declared in Gaza City late Thursday.
    “We talked about the rocket fire. There is an agreement to stop the fire in exchange for a halt to Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza,” the Jihad spokesman said after inter-faction talks.
    “This idea will be transmitted to the Israelis by Abu Mazen (Abbas). If they accept, there will perhaps be a stop to fire on Israeli towns but not a general truce,” Khader Habib added.
    But Israel did not accept the offer, with government spokeswoman Miri Eisin describing it as a “partial ceasefire” impossible to take seriously.
    “The suggestion concerns a partial ceasefire, limited to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in exchange for a total halt to Israeli operations on all fronts. This is not serious,” she told AFP.
    “Israel has always aspired to an end to violence and we count on a change of attitude from the Palestinians and primarily Hamas in order to give development a priority in the Gaza Strip instead of continued attacks,” she added.
    The army, meanwhile, said three rockets fired from the territory exploded in Israel overnight, one of which damaged a commercial centre in the town of Sderot, where two people have died in such attacks in the last 10 days.
    A spokesman for the Islamist movement Hamas, which heads the internationally boycotted Palestinian government, and an independent MP involved in the faction talks said there could be no way forward if Israel remained intransigent.
    “There is no chance of a truce as long as the enemy aggression continues,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum.
    “If the enemy agrees to withdraw from the zones it is occupying and top its operations, we can look at something else,” he added.
    Independent MP Mustapha Barghuti lashed out, branding the Israeli reaction “very discouraging”.
    “Israel is responsable for the cycle of violence. Each time Palestinians want an end of violence, Israel refuses. Israel is the one that does not want to stop the cycle of violence,” he told AFP in Gaza City.
    The Jihad spokesman had said that Hamas, Abbas’s Fatah movement, his own faction and the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP and DFLP) had accepted the agreement.
    A spokesman for the cabinet headed by Hamas, whose armed wing on Thursday claimed its first suicide attack in almost two years when a grandmother blew herself up in Gaza, also said there was willingness for a mutual halt.
    “The Palestinian groups are ready to stop the rocket fire if Israel agrees to stop all forms of aggression. If there is such a halt, there will be a halt to the (rocket fire),” said Ghazi Hamad.
    But Tawfiq Abu Khussa, a spokesman for Fatah said talks needed more time, saying the movement was talking about an “unconditional” halt to violence.
    Israeli troops have stepped up an air and ground offensive in the northern Gaza Strip in a bid to counter near daily Palestinian rocket attacks.
    Ayman Juda, 22, a Hamas militant was killed by Israeli fire in Beit Lahiya, a medic said. An army spokeswoman said she was ”checking” the report.
    Seven Palestinians, including at least four militants, were killed by Israeli fire in the territory on Thursday.
    >>>>>>
    I have described the Israeli mentality every way possible.. politically, morally, historicaly. reigiously, mentaly. But I think it all can be boiled down to something simple that popped in my mind when I was reading about the hissy fit the Isr UN Abm threw over the UN censure.
    When I was a child an associate of my father, who was a sort of character, had a monkey for a pet. I believe he rescued him or bought him from a circus. He took the monkey everywhere with him, you never saw him without the monkey. This fellow treated this monkey better than than some parents treat their child. All the monkey had to do was point at something and chatter and the man would give it to him. Everyone was fasinated with the little monkey and gave him treats and allowed him the run of most places. He brought him to my father’s office several times and then sometime later my father told me that he had to tell him not to bring the monkey there any more. The monkey had gone batty and almost torn up the office and ran around snatching things from desks and jumping on people. He remarked that he thought the monkey was becoming dangerous.
    One of the things the man had taught the monkey to do was to fetch cokes from the fridge for himself and the monkey. Later on we learned that the man was in the hospital badly hurt. It seems that he had told the monkey to fetch some cokes and after the monkey got the cokes he didn’t want to hand over the man’s coke, he wanted both of the cokes evidently. The man tried to take it from him and the monkey bashed him in the head with the full coke bottle and tore into him. I don’t remember what happen to the monkey, whether they put him down or not but the man had to get rid of him.
    And that’s what the Israelis remind me of…that monkey.

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  28. Carroll says:

    Hamas should have been supported from their election and shaped into a political party. As for the question of Hamas being a terrorist group, I find no difference in the “pizza” bombings and the IDF shelling of civilian homes or shooting unarmed children. In fact I give Hamas a little more slack considering they are indeed engaged in fighting an insidious occupier. I would be doing the same thing in their place.

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  29. Carroll says:

    Hamas should have been supported from their election and shaped into a political party. As for the question of Hamas being a terrorist group, I find no difference in the “pizza” bombings and the IDF shelling of civilian homes or shooting unarmed children. In fact I give Hamas a little more slack considering they are indeed engaged in fighting an insidious occupier. I would be doing the same thing under in their place.

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  30. winnipeger says:

    btw, steve, thanks for posting the two articles. i find myself agreeing with Mohamedou AND cook. oy.
    big up to the folks at rosenkranz for sponsoring the debate.

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  31. winnipeger says:

    dons,
    i guess we’ll agree to disagree. the terrible, tragedy of beit hanoun aside, i’ll repeat i wrote above:
    i do not understand how someone could see any recent event in the israel/palestinian conflict as “foundational.” look up the definition of the word: “the basis or groundwork of anything.”
    http://tinyurl.com/y62c9a
    the endless war in israel and the greater ME began
    many millenia ago. what happens today or tomorrow, or what went down yesterday, or in 1967 is surely not the *basis* for this conflict. it is horrible. it is lamentable. but it is not foundational.

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  32. DonS says:

    “foudational”, as presented in the Western press, has meant virtual acceptance of Israeli-centric interpretation of causation regardless of circumstances, for decades. Sometime that will have to change if the Palestinians are ever to be seen as human beings with equal rights — as offended against as the Israelis are constantly portrayed. What is bizarre, in the sense of unusual, is to get a report that recognizes Israeli agression and does not propagandize the event as “reprisal”.

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  33. grascarp says:

    There has been little mention of the fact that Israeli forces completely destroyed the 766 year-old Al-Nasr Mosque in Beit Hanoun, Gaza during the same operation that left 19 members of a Palestinian family dead. Some observers think this is worth a mention.

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  34. larry birnbaum says:

    Mr. Mohamedou criticizes the intense economic pressure that Israel and the West are putting on the Hamas government and the Palestinian people as counterproductive, while at the same time praising Hamas for its political maturity in reaching for an accomodation with Fatah to form a national unity government for the PA. But it’s clear that the main reason Hamas has been moved to seek an accomodation in the first place is because of this economic pressure. Which is to say, it hasn’t been counterproductive at all.

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  35. Pissed Off American says:

    “it’s bizarre that someone would see any recent event in the israel/palestinian conflict as “foundational.”
    Yes it is, in a way. But your lamentation is just a deflection from the truth of the matter. This mess is being handed out to us in segments, or episodes, by the Israelis. Each assassination, each incursion into Gaza, is presented to us as a direct response to a specific act. And this latest “episode” was in fact blamed on Hamas, when the truth of the matter is that the Hamas incursion was preceded by the shelling, and murder, of an entire family by Israeli guns.
    Tell me, winnipeger, does a card carrying donating member of Peace Now, such as yourself, condone the killing of innocent combatants by the Israeli military, or was this just another unfortunate case of “shit happens”?
    And how do you feel about Israel’s rejection of the latest Palestinian truce offer? Doesn’t it strike you as just a bit “bizzarre” that the “foundation” laid by Israel upon which they construct the rationale for their latest military forays into Gaza are the missile attacks, yet they reject an offer from the Palestinians to cease said attacks if Israel will cease its hostilities in Gaza?

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  36. winnipeger says:

    “It was refreshing to see this latest round of bloodshed blamed upon its ACTUAL foundational event, the killing of the Palestinian family”
    it’s bizarre that someone would see any recent event in the israel/palestinian conflict as “foundational.”
    the modern conflict is nearly 60 years-old and the historical conflict dates back over 1,000 years. nothing that happens these days is anywhere near “foundational.” just more tragic, grist-for-the mill.

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  37. Pissed Off American says:

    It was refreshing to see this latest round of bloodshed blamed upon its ACTUAL foundational event, the killing of the Palestinian family, picnicking. In lieu of the truth, we have been fed a steady stream of horseshit centered around blaming Hamas. One cannot expect Israel to continue these “Oops we’re sorry” kind of slaughters indefinitely before Hamas reacts.

    Reply

  38. Dan Kervick says:

    I thought both of these pieces left something to be desired.
    Mohamedou argues:
    “In that context, a militant group that emerges as a resistance movement; grows into a social-support organization efficiently operating schools, health-care centers and welfare services; suspends its resort to force; and agrees to abide by the rules of democratic contest cannot be termed terrorist.”
    In this passage, Mohamedou seems to fall victim to a common error: confounding the question of the legitimacy of a group’s aims with the question of whether the group is a terrorist group. These are conceptually and morally distinct questions.
    An organization is a terrorist organization if it engages systematically in terrorism. That’s all there is too it. There are several very clearly understood definitions of terrorism in international law, which differ only slightly and have a clear common core. Terrorism is the pursuit of political ends by intentionally targetting violence on civilians or noncombattants.
    When some Palestinian unit launches assaults againt Israeli soldiers, it is engaged in legitimate armed resistance to occupation. If it blows up a pizza parlor, intentionally targeting the civilians inside, it is engaged in terrorism. I don’t understand why so many persist in pretending to find this issue confusing.
    Along these same lines, it is sometimes argued that if an organization is engaged in freedom fighting, then it is thereby not a terrorist organization, or that if it is engaged in terrorism, it cannot also be engaged in freedom fighting. But again, these are completely distinct questions. A given group of people can be terrorists and freedom fighters at the same time; or they can be freedom fighters and not terrorists; or they can be terrorists and not freedom fighters; or they can be neither freedom fighters nor terrorists. Correctly answering one question implies nothing about the correct answer to the other.
    Terrorism is by almost-universal international consensus a morally illegitimate tactic in armed struggle. This goes for states and their armies as well as armed resistance groups. If the IDF launches an assault that intentionally targets civilians, then it is also engaged in terrorism. Whether it is engaged at the time in a legitimate campaign of self-defense or an illegitimate campaign of colonization and occupation is irrelevant to the question of whether their actions constitute terrorism. Having a legitimate end in view doesn’t magically sanctify a terrorist act and turn it into something other than what it is in its nature.
    Cook’s discussion suffers from a different weakness. It starts off well, but then runs off the rails by turning the clock back to 1989 and the circumstances of Hamas’s founding and original aims. That is an interesting topic, but not the most relevant one for our current concerns – and in the context of this debate it is a diversionary tactic. What is much more important is what sort of organization Hamas has *become* in 2006. What does Hamams *now* seek? What methods does it *now* employ? what possible settlements is it *now* willing to accept?
    In February of this year, Khaled Mashal signaled that Hamas would end its armed struggle,if it recognized the 1967 borders, withdrew itself from all Palestinian occupied territories, and recognized the “right of return”. Surely it is much more important to understand whether this is a sincere expression of Hamas’s current orientation than it is to engage in historical inquiries about the Hamas of 1989.
    Turning to the US, I think we can see the main structure of our general national debate about the Middle East shaping up well. On the one side will be those who favor “regional deal-making”, as Steve describes it. They envision a settlement in the Middle East built on a series of bargains and modi vivendi. The favor an opening toward Iran and Syria. They favor a more realistic acceptance of the power relations in the region, and a pragmatic response to those realities with an eye toward protecting US economic and security interests and the promotion of peace and stability. They favor a somewhat less indulgent attitude toward Israel and a more open attitude toward Israel’s Arab and Muslim neighbors. Achieving a regional settlement along these lines will require significant changes in current US policies toward the region, and an imaginative strategic reorientation.
    Others see the US as involved in a multi-decade war against the enemies of freedom and forces of Islamofascist evil. They don’t want a settlement. They want victory, even if that victory takes many years to achieve and comes at a great cost. They believe there can be absolutely no compromise toward states like Iran and Syria, because they see those states as inherently aggressive and hostile to the United States, its friends and its interests, and the contemporary equivalent to the fascist and totalitarian movements of the last century. They thus regard any talk of settlement or compromise as akin to the appeasement of the Nazis at Munich. They see Iraq as just one of the opening battles of a long war, and the recent war in Lebanon as another skirmish in that same war.
    My sense is that these two sides in the debate are becoming more clearly defined, and that the debate will kick into another gear following the release of the Baker report, since early indications are that the Baker commission is inclined toward the first approach, and the administration is acting preemptively to stake out a position closer to the second approach. This emerging debate is relevant to the other issue Steve has been raising recently, since I think we can expect to see McCain and Lieberman enthusiastically lining up on the victory without compromise side. I suspect Hillary Clinton will also find herself forced to come down on that side, but less enthusiastically and with more calculation.
    The debate is extraordinary and points toward a crossroads in US history, because its outcome is momentous and yet it cuts across conventional party lines. Neoconservatives, the religious right and some hawhish DLC-style Democrats can be expected to be on the McCain-Lieberman side. More traditional realist and national interest Republicans, and much of the left and Democratic rank and file can be expected to line up on the pro-settlement side. But what will happen with Clark, Edwards, Obama and the new Democratic Congress following the release of the Baker report and the start of the next session? It should be interesting.

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