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Commentary

TitleDescriptionDate
Madrid reduxAzmi Bishara-Al Ahram-"Israel has an inexhaustible font of conditions, not just for reaching an agreement with the PA but merely to deign to speak with it. The latest was that the PA had to cease any form of cooperation and parleying with Hamas, which is to say with the representatives of a huge portion of the Palestinian people. This was the first accomplishment. And so well did the PA perform it that it received hundreds of pats on the back for its resolute stance against Hamas, the whole world summoned to Annapolis to bear false witness to negotiations that haven`t begun and that offer no guarantees for success if and when they do."30/11/2007
US hopes peace talks will forge Arab unity against IranBEN LYNFIELD -The Scotsman-""It turns out that Bush has another agenda for the conference and that is Iran. The conference will go a long way to isolate Iran, which is what many Arab states, Israel and the US would like to see, but where things go from there is unclear.""30/11/2007
Canada, Hizballah and terrorism: An interview with Tariq Ali Stefan Christoff-Electronic Intifada/Electronic Lebanon-"..every single liberation organization has been categorized as terrorist. The British used to claim that Archbishop Makarios was a terrorist, the British used to say that the Mau Mau movement in Kenya was terrorist, the US used to say the Vietcong were terrorist, the French used to say the FLN in Algeria were terrorist. It`s an old imperial game, categorizing your enemies as such."30/11/2007
Israel`s nukes missing from the tableKaveh L Afrasiabi - Asia Times Online - "As the first country to have introduced nuclear weapons in the Middle East, Israel bears the lion`s share of responsibility for triggering the volatile region into the bosom of proliferation tendencies, albeit with the false, delusional notion that Israel can forever be the monopolizer of that tendency. And this by sheer force if need be, as was the case with Israel`s 1981 destruction of Iraq`s power plant in Ossirak and, subsequently, Israel`s successful prodding of the US to invade Iraq in order to nip in the bud Iraq`s suspected nuclear genie." 29/11/2007
Not Through Annapolis: Noam Chomsky Says Path to Mideast Peace Lies in Popular Organizing Against U.S.-Israeli “Rejectionism”Noam Chomsky - Transcript of an interview of Amy Goodman with Noam Chomaky - Democracy Now! - "with the Annapolis conference approaching, Israel has just confiscated more Arab land to build a bypass road from Palestinians -- I’m quoting now -- “in order to push the Palestinian traffic between Bethlehem and Ramallah deep into the desert and effectively bar Palestinians from the central part of the West Bank." That’s part of the so-called E1 project, which is designed to incorporate the town of Ma’ale Adumim within Israel and effectively to bisect the West Bank." 29/11/2007
Rice’s Way: Restraint in Quest for Peace HELENE COOPER - The New York Times - "Negotiations are about compromise, and some foreign policy specialists say Ms. Rice should have pressed Mr. Bush to back the Palestinians on something in return. For instance, Mr. Bush could have followed up his comments referring to Israel “as a homeland for the Jewish people” with language about territorial compensation, or land swaps, for some of the large Israeli settlement blocks in the West Bank that Israel would like to keep. He did not." 29/11/2007
When the Roadmap is a One Way Street : Israel`s Strategy for Permanent OccupationJEFF HALPER - Counter Punch - "And here`s the dilemma, and the source of debate within the Israeli government: does Israel continue with the strategy that has served it so well these past 40 years, delaying or prolonging negotiations so as to maintain the status quo, all the while strengthening its hold over the Palestinian territories or, at this unique but fleeting moment in history when George Bush is still in office, does it try to nail it all down, forcing upon the Palestinians a transitional state within the framework of the Road Map?" 29/11/2007
Abbas vs. Hamas after Annapolis Kim Bullimore - The Palestine Chronicle - The next few weeks after Annapolis will be a crucial time for the Palestinian liberation struggle. Whether or not Abbas and his regime will be able to continue as they have is in doubt, something which Israel, the US and even Abbas recognises himself. If Hamas can maintain control of its forces in Gaza and with stand the blockade a while longer, Abbas will not be able to continue to ignore them and will be forced to the negotiating table [with Hamas].28/11/2007
Annapolis: Bush won the jackpotRon Ben Yishai - Y-Net - In Annapolis, the Bush Administration managed to set a new course for reaching Israeli-Palestinian peace. Instead of waiting for the sides to fulfill their obligations and then embark on final-status negotiations, they will quickly and seriously discuss the agreement, but implement it only after they meet the tasks outlined by the Road Map.28/11/2007
Five views on Annapolis - transcript of public meeting organised by Gush ShalomGush Shalom - Following is the transcript of the discussion at the Gush Shalom Forum, on the subject "Is Annapolis Relevant?" held on Nov. 21 Evening at The Kibbutz Movement House, Tel Aviv, with the participation of Gideon Levy, Moria Shlomot, Uri Avnery, Gadi Elgazi and Netta Golan and with the moderation of Teddy Katz. 28/11/2007
Beyond Annapolis Rafiq Husseini - Bitter Lemons - "...let`s dream together for a minute and suppose that Annapolis will achieve the impossible..." 27/11/2007
Annapolis obstacles and hopesJames Carroll - IHT - ""Obstacles," as Emerson insisted, "exist to be overcome."" 27/11/2007
Seeking a Mideast path, Bush offers a nudgeSteven Lee Myers - IHT - ""If the conference fails, it doesn`t leave you in equipoise," said John Bolton, who served as the United Nations representative under Bush until last year and is now a vocal critic of the administration. "It could put you in a worse position."" 27/11/2007
Hours before summit, expectations remain low Yitzhak Benhorin- Ynet - "President George W. Bush said that "difficult compromises" will be required but the Israeli and Palestinian leaders were committed to making them." 27/11/2007
In Annapolis, Conflict by Other MeansRobert Blecher and Mouin Rabbani - MERIP - "And even should Israeli and Palestinian negotiators find common ground before Bush’s term ends, what hope does either government have of selling it at home?" 27/11/2007
Mission impossible?Rupert Cornwell -- The Independent -- "Making matters worse was Mr Bush`s lack of knowledge and sense of history. Flynt Everett, once the top adviser to Ms Rice on Middle East matters, but now a strong critic of the President, last week related how at a 2002 meeting in the White House situation room, he heard Mr Bush say that as soon as the Palestinians had a democratically elected government, their leadership would be ‘less hung-up’ on issues like borders and the status of Jerusalem. Mr Everett was astounded. It was, he told the Washington Post last week, ‘one of the most profoundly ignorant statements anyone has ever uttered on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’" 26/11/2007
We have not given upKarma Nabulsi -- The Guardian -- The Palestinian people will not yield to the west`s cynical pressure on them to surrender 26/11/2007
The Gaza Strip: Disengagement two years on Kris Petersen -- EI -- "Two years after disengagement, the Gaza Strip is poorer, more isolated, and more disillusioned than ever before. My own attitude will remain one of profound cynicism as long as the international community tolerates Israel dealing with Gaza as a zookeeper would his animals. With the West Bank isolated from Gaza and Gaza isolated from the world, the situation looks depressingly dismal"26/11/2007
Who are the A`adhamiya Knights? Darkness Falls on the Middle EastRobert Fisk -- CounterPunch -- "So what can a Middle East correspondent write on a Saturday morning except that the world in the Middle East is growing darker and darker by the hour. Pakistan. Afghanistan. Iraq. "Palestine". Lebanon. From the borders of Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean, we--we Westerners that is--are creating (as I have said before) a hell disaster. Next week, we are supposed to believe in peace in Annapolis, between the colourless American apparatchik and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister who has no more interest in a Palestinian state than his predecessor Ariel Sharon" 26/11/2007
Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton interviews Daniel LevyScott Horton - Antiwar Radio - Former Israeli diplomat Daniel Levy, now at the New America Foundation, discusses the upcoming Annapolis peace conference, the letter from the American establishment to Bush and Rice urging them to make real progress toward a two-state solution, the negative consequences of current American policy, the failure of the “roadmap to peace,” the lack of a real strategic purpose behind the occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, U.S. intervention to the detriment of an Israeli/Syrian peace deal, the blown opportunity to work with Hamas and the consequences, the effect of the neocons’ “Clean Break” doctrine on current policy, the contemptible myth that the origin of America and Israel’s problems in the Middle East are rooted in radical Islam rather than real grievances about circumstances here on earth and his belief that the U.S. should remain involved, but should start getting it right.25/11/2007
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Demands of a thiefGideon Levy - Haartez - Just as a thief cannot present demands - neither preconditions nor any other terms - to the owner of the property he has robbed, Israel cannot present demands to the other side as long as the situation remains as it is. Does Israel have the moral right to continue the occupation? The world should have asked this long ago. The Palestinians should have focused only on this. And above all, we, who bear the guilt, should have been terribly troubled by the answer to this question.25/11/2007
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Disintegration of the bourgeois brainOlga Bonfiglio - Commondreams - We have our soldiers bomb civilians to pieces and then pray our enemies don’t bomb us. This will weaken any moral existence!25/11/2007
Can the US-drafted roadmap serve as a basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace? Sergio Yahni - Alternative Information Center - If Abu Mazen is willing to become the Palestinian Pinochet, he will be prized with the presidency of a Palestinian state with temporary borders, a mere patina of sovereignty, and all on a territory covering 45 percent of the West Bank (12 percent of historical Palestine). If Abu Mazen rejects this meager offer, following the fate of Arafat, he will be declared a “radical” and be boycotted by Israel and the US administration.25/11/2007
Annapolis, as seen from GazaLaila El-Haddad - Electronic Intifada - The conference simply generates new and ever-more superfluous and intricate promises which Israeli leaders can commit to and yet somehow evade. An exercise in legal obfuscation at its best: we won`t build new settlements, we`ll just expropriate more land and expand to account for their "natural growth," until they resemble towns, not colonies, and have them legitimized by a US administration looking for some way to save face. And then we`ll promise to raze outposts. 25/11/2007
Omelettes into eggsUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - Two months before the UN partition resolution, in September 1947, I published a pamphlet called "War or Peace in the Semitic Region", in which I proposed a completely different plan: that the Hebrew national movement and the Palestinian-Arab national movement combine into one single national movement and establish a joint state in the whole of Palestine, based on the love of the country (patriotism, in the real sense).25/11/2007
Annapolis: The Cost of FailureHenry Siegman - New York Review of Books - "If Annapolis fails, it will be because of Israel`s rejection of the single most central condition for success: full disclosure of its definition of viable Palestinian statehood. Olmert has already reneged on his earlier endorsement of Rice`s insistence that the meeting must produce a joint statement outlining a permanent status agreement to avoid becoming a meaningless photo op, and it remains unlikely that any meaningful joint declaration can be reached. " 24/11/2007
Nurit Peled-Elhanan on education, racism and murderNurit Peled-Elhanan - translation from machsanmilim.com by Mark Marshall - "I would like to dedicate my words to the memory of the Palestinian children who are regularly murdered in cold blood, not because of human error and not because of technical errors, as is alleged in the media, but in accordance with correct procedures, children for whose systematic, routine murders nobody will ever be found guilty. "24/11/2007
Learning to forgetIrene Gendzier - ZMag - " The U.S. Secretary of State is reported to be studying the history of Middle East `peace-making` in anticipation of the Annapolis Conference... Here are some relevant pages that may not be part of her dossier."23/11/2007
Two pieces on nuclear arms race in the Middle East(1) "Humor: Nuclear Two-Step" - Will Durst - Truthdig - "As leader of the free world, [Bush has] taken a monumental task upon himself to divide the world into two distinct and separate groups: those countries sober and sensible enough to handle the whole nuclear thing in the mature manner of a good democratic nation like the United States, and all those other fourth-rate, scorpion-infested hellholes that still allow barnyard animals to board airplanes. "; (2) "The Middle East has had a secretive nuclear power in its midst for years" - George Monbiot - The Guardian 23/11/2007
IDF Spokesperson Tells the Truth! Oded Na`aman - Breaking the Silence - "On Thursday, 1.11.07. , The Daily Israel Today published a story revealing that soldiers from Golani 12th battalion take pictures of corpses of terrorists which they killed, and use them as screen savers on their cell phones. At first glance, it seems that that is the real news is in this story. At a closer look, the article gives us a rare glimpse at the logic that guides the IDF spokesman when examining cases like these. This is due to an unexplained honesty of the IDF`s response to the incident. "23/11/2007
Arabs march to AnnapolisDina Ezzat-Al Ahram-"Speaking on background, some Arab diplomatic sources suggested a positive opening up, especially on the US side. "We will get some freeze on the settlements, tentative timelines for future Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, some sort of a follow-up committee to secure the implementation of whatever is agreed upon by the Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams, and a reference to the need to address the Syrian and Lebanese tracks," commented one senior Arab official. "It is not exactly what we had demanded for our participation in Annapolis," he admitted"23/11/2007
Israeli and Palestinian Perspectives on Annapolis Naomi Chazan and Rafi Dajani-Brit Tzedek v`Shalom-"The question of the borders is the most immediate issue that must be resolved. The June 4, 1967 boundaries are the bedrock of any binding agreement. Any variation from these borders must be by agreement, on the basis of 1:1 swap. No transfer of population must be included in this settlement."23/11/2007
Reinventing the Mideast wheelGeorge S. Hishmeh - Arabic Media Internat Network - The sugar-coating that will take place at the Annapolis session next week will not make the event any sweeter unless there is a serious and public commitment to an all-encompassing a Palestinian-Israeli settlement within a specific time frame. But that goal cannot be achieved unless there is a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Otherwise, failure could have devastating consequences especially to the man in the street, particularly in isolated Gaza, and to many a leader in the region, some of whom are precariously at the top. 22/11/2007
Syria, Saudi to attend Mideast conferenceMIDDLE EAST TIMES - The attempt to bring to the table an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians at Annapolis is not without challenge – and risk. The last time a U.S. president tried to solve the Middle East conflict ended in failure when President Bill Clinton, nearing the end of this administration in 2000, tried to push through a last-minute peace agreement between then Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. 22/11/2007
Come to summit, Abbas tells Arab nationsIan Black - The Guardian - Arab countries that may be reluctant to attend - for fear of giving Israel the "normalisation" it craves - can do so under the cover of the peace initiative re-endorsed by the Arab League last March. That called peace with the Jewish state a "strategic choice" but insisted it had to be based on a return to the 1967 borders. 22/11/2007
Sadat and AnnapolisDina Ezzat - Al-Ahram Weekly - Three decades after Sadat`s dramatic visit to Jerusalem, Abbas will go to Annapolis without assurances. Dina Ezzat examines a peace process turning 30 that has yielded few dividends 22/11/2007
The First ImperativeRoni Ben Efrat - Challenge - A peace process demands reconciliation and consensus. The Palestinian people was close to reconciliation with Israel in 1993, although the latter blew the chance by its take on the Oslo Accords. Today, largely because of Israel`s actions, the Palestinian people is divided and exhausted. Truth resides with neither of the clashing sides: not with Abbas, who gambles on a fruitless alliance with America and Israel, nor with Hamas, which offers nothing but fundamentalism. 22/11/2007
Barghouthi: Israel Makes a Failure of Annapolis before it even BeginsPalestine Monitor - "“An initiative based on entrenching Palestinian disunity, sidelining democracy, ignoring Israeli violations of human rights, and placing the onus on an occupied people to enforce their own occupation.”"27/11/2007
Bring Syria into the talksYossi Alpher - IHT - "Thus far, Assad has been invited to Annapolis half-heartedly, as a skeptical cheerleader for the Palestinians rather than a hands-on participant. It is not too late to correct this dangerous mistake." 21/11/2007
The failed marriage brokerH. D. S. Greenway IHT - "Rice`s somewhat feckless diplomacy has created a new verb in Hebrew: "lecondel." According to Steven Erlanger of The New York Times, it means "to come and go for meetings that produce few results."" 21/11/2007
My hopes for AnnapolisGershon Baskin - J-lem Post - "It won`t happen by itself. The US has an opportunity to redemonstrate its global leadership and, as these courageous Israeli and Palestinians have shown, peace is within reach."21/11/2007
Ramzy Baroud interviewed by June RughZMag - " Ramzy Baroud, veteran Palestinian-American journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle, recently completed a speaking tour of the United States’ East Coast to promote his second book, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, 2006). The Second Palestinian Intifada is a far-reaching account of key events of the past five years that transformed the political landscape not only of Palestine and Israel, but of the entire Middle East. With a critical eye, Baroud takes the most controversial issues head-on: the alarming escalation in suicide bombings, the construction of the Separation Wall, the devastating hunger and unemployment in the Occupied Territories, the brutality of the Israeli army, the political surprise of the Palestinian elections."20/11/2007
An Interview with Norman Finkelstein: On Islamo-Fascism and Other Vacuous EpithetsWahjat Ali - the Counterpunch - [WA:] With all the issues you have faced as a result of your scholarship, what has motivated you to continue down this road? [NF:] Whenever I wonder why I do what I do - and I do have those moments of self-doubt - I put in my mind`s eye the suffering of my late parents, I think of my friends in the occupied territories, and the doubts vanish. I press on, knowing that soon I will pass from the scene, hopefully having done some good, and not too much evil. 20/11/2007
The one-state reality Ben White - The Electronic Intifada - "The real paradigmatic shift is not to be found in talking about the "two-state versus one-state" solution or anything else in between, because this debate misses the point. It`s not a question of proposing a "one-state solution," but of recognizing the "one-state reality." This has been brought about by Israel`s integration of East Jerusalem and the West Bank into the infrastructure and legal fabric of the Jewish state since 1967, to the extent that there is de facto, if not de jure, annexation. "20/11/2007
YANKEE, GO HOME: In the Mideast, America Casts an Imperial ShadowRashid Khalidi - Washington Post - "No true U.S. interest has been served by the invasion, destruction and occupation of Iraq. We have done incalculable harm to that tragic country and to our position in the world. Perhaps we can limit the damage if we substitute a little humility for the blind hubris that led us into this disaster -- an understanding of the limitations of armed force and "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind," especially those whose hearts we hope to win. " 19/11/2007
The Undeclared Palestinian Civil WarMarwan Bishara - Middle East Online / Le Monde Diplomatique - "If, as expected, the Annapolis peace conference hosted by the United States in November produces another general declaration of principle under the guise of the war on terror and in the spirit of the failed roadmap, the rift between Fatah and Hamas will deepen with severe consequences to the Palestinians, who may be the biggest losers. "19/11/2007
Talking in circlesKhaled Amayreh -- Al-Ahram -- Provocations and misunderstandings abound, but Israel as a state for Jews only remains the heart of the problem19/11/2007
Jewish disengagementNaomi Chazan -- The Jerusalem Post -- "This new crisis in American Jewry has more to do with Israel than the formal leadership cares to acknowledge. Many American Jews, especially the new, highly-educated generation, cannot glibly concur with the stated positions of those who purportedly speak in their name. […] Discouraged from voicing their opinions, they prefer to opt out in growing numbers. Unless the muzzle on Israel-related issues is removed, this situation may become permanent"19/11/2007
In memory of Dr. Haidar Abdul-ShafiRuchama Marton - Ha-Gada Ha-Smalit - Palestinian physician, activist and community leader Haidar Abdul Shafi, founder of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza and head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid talks, died on 25 September 2007 at age 88. "Haidar`s greatness was that he knew and understood from the depths of his soul that a just and stable peace would not be achieved by groveling. Palestinian national interests obligate its emissaries and elected representatives not to grovel or to surrender, even to forces stronger than they. Haidar openly said to Israelis as well as to his leader, Yasser Arafat that true cooperation and the correct solution to the conflict cannot come in the form of an agreement to surrender. Such an agreement would not only be wrong; it would not endure. A true partner must be dignified and equal, not one that is defeated and humiliated." 18/11/2007
Middle East talks in Annapolis: photo-op or talk-festPhyllis Bennis - Znet/Institute for Policy Studies - Because of U.S.-Israeli control of the agenda, "success" in Annapolis will depend on whether the Palestinian leadership can be coerced to sign on to a U.S.-Israeli text that many Palestinians will view as further abandonment of Palestinian national goals, and many in international civil society will see as violations of international law and human rights.18/11/2007
How to get out? Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - The Annapolis conference is a joke. But it is not in the least funny. 18/11/2007
My sons won’t go to GazaYael Mishali-YNet News-"..when you still have some time to think of alternatives (and I don’t dare suggest peace, heaven forbid, just another war,) this is my opportunity to stand up and say with confidence: “It won’t happen.” You won’t be getting my sons for your Gaza war. If all of you (including the prime minister, ministers, Knesset members, chiefs of staff and major generals) bring your sons back from overseas, where they are safely living, you can use them to fight your war."16/11/2007
The Jewish Lobby Israel Needs Akiva Eldar-FORWARD-"Yes, in return for peace, Israel will have to give up the West Bank and Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. In return, however, it will regain its Jewish, democratic and moral values. As always, the final decision will be in the hands of the Israelis. But the American Jewish community has to decide whether it wants to be helpful in making peace or only in times of war."16/11/2007
The Constitution Committee confirmed: the police will listen to usWalla Editorial/translation by Daphna Levit-"The Constitution Committee of the Knesset approved the vote on the proposal for the “law of conditions for eavesdropping” in the second and third readings, which will allow the police to listen-in on land and cellular lines of every citizen without requiring the approval of the court; also to verify the geographic location of the speaker when he is speaking on a cellular phone; or to acquire patterns of his internet surfing and the text messages he sends."16/11/2007
Wisdom from the shadowsMIDDLE EAST TIMES - Editorial - "Wisdom can come from the most unexpected places. But when Ephraim Halevy, the long-time head of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, urges the United States and Israel to open serious dialogs with Iran and Syria, we agree with him."15/11/2007
Short on substanceAl-Ahram Weekly - After months of talks, and ahead of Annapolis, not a single key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been agreed upon, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem. `Khatib told Al-Ahram Weekly that the PA realised that even exemplary security performance on its part wouldn`t be good enough for Israel. "Besides, how could you ensure security and dismantle what the Israelis calls the `infrastructure of terror` when you are not in control?" `13/11/2007
in praise of mother monkeyAya Kaniuk - link to mahsanmilim.com - "He did not go because the law tells him to, or because he wanted to, or because his dad thought it is the manly and worthwhile thing to do, a national duty. He went because you sent him. In your pride, in your silence...First he was alive. In an instant, he was dead. In an instant, he demolished a home. In an instant he loaded his rifle, and aimed and fired. No matter at whom or why. He shot another"12/11/2007
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The Slippery Slope of Blame in GazaTabula Gaza - "Overarching political debates rarely take into account the common person whose reality it is addressing; the Hamas mother of seven who is not able to feed her children, The Fatah taxi driver beat down in his place of prayer, the wife of a murdered Palestinian Christian left in mourning. We must step out of the framework of political monologues and measure the wrongs carried out by all parties. Fatah’s critics need to also hold Hamas accountable for its shortcomings in Gaza despite the deep-rooted extent of Fatah’s wrongdoing."12/11/2007
`Failure Risks Devastating Consequences`The following letter on the Middle East peace conference scheduled for Annapolis, Maryland, in late November, was sent by its signers on October 10 to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Signed by: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter`s national security advisor and a key advisor of Barack Obama; three other Democratic notables: Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the Iraq Study Group; Thomas Pickering, Bill Clinton`s Under-Secretary of State; and Theodore Sorenson, special counsel to John F. Kennedy. The Republican side is equally eminent: Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to both Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush (who is often considered to be the unofficial voice of the first President Bush); Carla Hills, U.S. Trade Representative for George H.W. Bush; former Senator Nancy Kassenbaum-Baker; and Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 12/11/2007
Beyond the Political Monologues. The Blame Game in GazaPhilip Rizk -- CounterPunch -- "The disease of violence is a phenomenon widespread in Gaza today and rather than merely addressing the fruit and pointing the finger at the perpetrator of an act of violence, at the political party in control or vying for power, we must look beneath the surface at the social reality of the Gaza Strip. What can be expected of a 365km2 enclave with closed borders, insufficient resources to survive, a vibrant, growing population without enough work opportunities or future prospects of any sort? Has the world utterly lost its conscience or are we merely lead astray by an array of commentators with no grasp of history and a shallow either/ or capacity for reasoning?"12/11/2007
Hamas arrests Fatah supportersTaghreed El-Khodary and Isabel Kershner - IHY - ""Fatah succeeded in sending a message to the United States and to Israel before Annapolis, that the Gaza Strip is not only Hamas."" 14/11/2007
Claiming “incitement material” Israeli Customs seizes shipment of new Beacon Press book Gina Frey - Beacon Press- "Victory for Us is to See You Suffer: In the West Bank with the Palestinians and the Israelis" 14/11/2007
The PA cannot remain transitional much longer Ghassan Khatib - bitterlemons.org - "So far the signs are not good. The Israeli insistence to continue consolidating occupation and disempowering the PA will further alienate this authority from its own people. The ultimate outcome of this course will be to render the PA irrelevant and reinforce support for the only available alternative, the opposition led by Hamas."13/11/2007
`Last call for a two-state solution?Immanuel Wallerstein - Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University - a group of US political figures make a desperate appeal for a two-state solution. 11/11/2007
The last refugeUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - No president likes being ridiculous. Scary - OK. Evil - OK. Dumb - OK. But ridiculous - never! It has been said that "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". For a failed politician, the last refuge is war.11/11/2007
Peace and democracy must go hand in handRamzy Baroud - Znet - After years of marked absence, the Bush administration has finally decided to upgrade its involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The announcement of a Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland has raised red flags for anyone who has learned from past experience how unbalanced and insincere peace efforts actually can lead to further violence. And it requires little cynicism to ponder how genuine these current efforts are.11/11/2007
Uncle Sam`s new backyard: how to turn a region into a graveyardAlain Gresh - Le Monde Diplomatique/Counterpunch - The unprecedented influence of armed groups makes any negotiation more difficult. They hold the whip hand in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Hizbullah dominates Lebanon; Hamas controls Gaza. They have proved formidably effective against the US in Iraq and against Nato in Afghanistan.11/11/2007
Teaching Israeli and Palestinian Children to "Get Along" at Best Only Buries the Real Problems -- Meeting the Other in Israel and PalestineKathleen and Bill Christison -- CounterPunch -- "It is almost always Israelis and Israeli supporters who initiate these cooperative schools and camps -- soft Zionists whose desire to help end the conflict by ending the occupation is quite genuine but whose concern above all is to preserve Israel as a Jewish state and who therefore, most likely unconsciously but noticeably nonetheless, operate entirely on Israel`s terms. The effort is much less to teach Israeli children the Palestinian narrative than to try to bring Palestinian children to an understanding and acceptance of the Israeli perspective"10/11/2007
US war insanityAzmi Bishara -- Al-Ahram -- Only sustained action, not piecemeal and polite entreaty, can help block America`s voracious military-economic machine from devastating the region10/11/2007
When do we stop sitting shiva for the Holocaust?Rita Corriel -- EI -- "Shiva is the traditional seven-day period of mourning which follows a Jewish funeral. […] However, this formal period of mourning is only the first step in the process of healing and growth. So why haven`t we moved on? Why has the ‘shiva house’ become a living, breathing war machine, fueled on self-destructive fear and violence? Why the dehumanizing oppression of a people who did not even participate in the Jewish genocide? How can this ‘House of Israel’ continually try to justify crimes against humanity while still claiming victimhood? Why does it expect the rest of the world to feel perpetual empathy, when it refuses to hear the cries of anguish and outrage echoing from within its own walls and throughout the planet?"10/11/2007
Whose road map?Jeff Halper -- The Jerusalem Post -- "Indeed, while accepting the road map, Olmert has in mind a very different document than that of the UN, the Europeans, the Russians and the Palestinians themselves. Integral to Israel`s version of the document are the `14 reservations` it appended, which effectively nullify the road map as a genuine path to peace"10/11/2007
Satellite photos don’t lieB. Michael -- YNET -- "As we recall, the Sunday Times reported that the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit was part of the celebration and told its readers how those guys infiltrated the Syrian desert in the middle of the night and marked the target with lasers. The newspaper did not detail whether only Jean Claude Van Damme took part in the operation, or Tom Cruise as well"10/11/2007
Syria and the Annapolis IllusionMohammad Habash - bitterlemons.org - "Any simple reading of the political map should confirm that the absence of Syria, Iran and Hamas will not produce any peace on this earth.<"9/11/2007
US fears Israeli strike against Iran over latest nuclear claimTom Baldwin, James Hider, Francis Elliott - TimesCom - "A claim by President Ahmadinejad that Iran has 3,000 working uranium-enriching centrifuges sent a tremor across the world yesterday amid fears that Israel would respond by bombing the country’s nuclear facilities". 8/11/2007
Annapolis: behind the scenes Dominique Vidal - Le Monde diplomatique - "The Annapolis “peace process”, like its many predecessors in the Middle East, will fail unless the international community makes a determined effort to impose its will. Without that, Israel will break any vague promises it makes and the US will make no attempt to force it to respect them." 8/11/2007
Punishing GazaStephen Lendman - Information Clearing House - "Even before the latest crisis, Gaza`s industrial production had fallen 90% and its agricultural output was half its pre-2007 level. In addition, nearly all construction had stopped, unemployment is around 80%, and the level of poverty is shocking based on World Bank data showing over 80% of Gazans live on less than $2.40 a day. " 8/11/2007
Gaza doesn`t need aid: it has a £2bn gas fieldTim Butcher - Telegraph - "Twenty miles from the beaches of Gaza, too far for the eye to see but still very much in Palestinian waters, lies a fortune in untapped, off-shore gas. Prospecting vessels sent down two probes seven years ago and what they found got the juices of executives from multinational fuel companies flowing. In one field alone, experts estimated a reserve of £2 billion worth of natural gas. And there is plenty of potential for other fields." 7/11/2007
The sound of silence - Observations of and contemplations on the Rabin Memorial rallyAdam Keller - "The Other Israel" - “I am not going to that rally, not at any price. To be among Barak’s audience? Barak? Just this week, Shulamit Aloni said he should be tried for war crimes. And you call that a peace rally?” “But we don’t go to the Rabin Memorial Rallies for the sake of the speakers on the podium, we go there for the audience. This is the largest gathering in the whole year of Israelis who care for peace. Even if there is a bastard on the podium, there are still a lot of decent people in the audience... "7/11/2007
The Tunnel at the End of the Light Leon Hadar - Antiwar.com - " The recently published memoir of the late Arthur Schlesinger, the renowned American historian and former aide to U.S. presidents, recalls that whenever officials in Washington had pointed to signs of progress toward peace in the Middle East, Israeli diplomat Abba Eban would caution them that when it comes to that part of the world, one should be reminded that "There is a tunnel at the end of the light."...new military tensions in the Levant... That could certainly happen if and when the United States and Iran head toward a military confrontation, following a possible decision by the United States and/or Israel to strike suspected Iranian nuclear military installations. " 7/11/2007
CNN Documentary: God`s Jewish Warriors - 11 parts God’s Warriors by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.Six-Hour God’s Warriors TV Event Examines Religion, Power and Politics.The Jewish part gives a thorough description of the Israeli -Jewish settlements in Jerusalem and the Palestinian treritories since 1967.7/11/2007
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Israel`s Dilemma in Palestine: A Land With People, For a People with a PlanLudwig Watzal - the Counterpunch - "Two rabbis, visiting Palestine in 1897, observed that the land was like a bride, "beautiful, but married to another man". By which they meant that, if a place was to be found for a Jewish "homeland" in Palestine, the indigenous inhabitants had to leave. Where should the people of Palestine go? Squaring that circle has been the essence of Israel´s dilemma ever since its establishment and the cause of the Palestinian tragedy that it led to. It has remained insoluble." On Ghada Karmi`s new book, Married To Another Man, Israel´s Dilemma in Palestine.6/11/2007
Give Fareed Zakaria a Medal!Tony Karon - Rootless Cosmopolitan - "it’s the absence of real diplomacy by the Administration, not some false choice between sanctions or air strikes, that should be the focus of the media’s — and the Democratic presidential candidates’ — discussion of Iran."6/11/2007
Iraq has Set a Dangerous Precedent -- A Case for Arab DignityRamzy Baroud -- CounterPunch -- "Utterly desperate situations have arisen whereby US clients rule with an iron fist, making prospects for a meaningful democracy sit at an all-time low. However it would be nothing less than self-deception to elucidate Arab social, economic and political ailments exclusively on US-Israeli military and political belligerency; there needs to be an element of self-reflection and responsibility to make viable any pragmatic steps towards improvement and justice" 5/11/2007
Restive Nablus challenges Fatah`s AbbasJoshua Mitnick -- The Christian Science Monitor -- "Part of the difficulty of the crackdown is that it involves taking to task the grassroots of Abbas`s political party, who have joined the Al Aqsa cells while moonlighting as police officers. But with Abbas`s political reputation staked on boosting personal security, and with the Israelis demanding an improvement as a prerequisite for progress on political talks, a confrontation may be approaching"5/11/2007
A parallel PLOKhaled Amayreh -- Al-Ahram -- "`The PLO leadership in Ramallah no longer represents the Palestinian people for two reasons: first, it is a prisoner of the Israeli occupation and has lost whatever semblance of independence and free will it may once have had, and second, the PLO leadership is unelected, undemocratic and anachronistic, relying for its alleged legitimacy on outdated and mostly appointed bodies,` Hassan Khreisha, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told Al-Ahram Weekly"5/11/2007
As the world forgets GazaSaleh Al-Naami -- Al-Ahram -- Hyper-inflation and 80 per cent unemployment are the real target outcomes of Israel`s siege on Gaza5/11/2007
Getting your victims to love youAzmi Bishara - Al Ahram Weekly - Arab students in Israel are now being asked to countersign this negation of their own existence. Moreover, when they reach the celebrated paragraph about equality, they find that it is taken from the vision of the prophets of Israel and appears almost as an afterthought to the Jewish right of return.4/11/2007
Friends and enemiesJosh Freedman Berthoud - The Guardian - By referring back to the Bible, and shared Judeo-Christian values and looking forward to the coming of the messiah, second or first, Jewish and Christian groups alike create a false continuum, an eternal union of religions, and reduce complex world politics to simplistic Manichean oppositions: Jews and Christians versus Muslims; enlightenment versus barbarism; good versus evil. Somehow the Jews who subscribe to such ideologies have placed themselves on the Christian side of the revived Crusades, whereas they were in fact always caught up in the middle.4/11/2007
Say it with flowersUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - The Israeli Foreign Minister has no consistent long-term aim. She speechifies, declares and announces, but it is not clear where she would be leading our foreign policy, if she were indeed allowed to lead it. After two years on the job, her political image is pale and blurred.4/11/2007
Warning: this film could make you very angryRobert Fisk - The Independent - Is truth stranger than fiction? Or is Hollywood waking up – after Syriana and Munich – to the gross injustices of the Middle East and the shameless and illegal policies of the US in the region? Go and see Rendition – it will make you angry – and remember Arar.4/11/2007
“Barak is the most dangerous man in the State”Itamar Anbari - NRG/Maariv - Former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni opens her mouth and fires in nearly all directions. Barak and Halutz she wants to put on trial for war crimes, and IDF officers she believes their hands are stained with Palestinian blood 4/11/2007
Barak, don`t come to the rally!Moriah Shlomot - Barak is a ticking bomb, mentally fixated, completely devoid of ideology or moral values. Barak is not Rabin`s successor, and I am deeply disappointed that this year he would get to mount a podium which should have been reserved for true people of peace. 3/11/2007
It`s Not Only the Israel Lobby. Other Interests Benefit from the Chaos Jon Basil Utley - AntiWar.com - "The new, public debate about the Israel lobby is missing a major point - the lobby`s allies, the many other interests in America that want chaos in the Middle East. For example, in the Walt-Mearsheimer book there is no listing in the index for "military-industrial complex." For all its vaunted power, the Israel lobby could not dominate America`s Mideast policies without cover and active support from other powerful groups. Although AIPAC promotes the lobby`s image in Congress as being all powerful, it isn`t. The book does specify Christian Zionists as an integral part of the lobby, but it neglects many others." 1/11/2007
King Abdullah flies in to lecture us on terrorism Robert Fisk - The Independent - "The sad, awful truth is that we fete these people, we fawn on them, we supply them with fighter jets, whisky and whores. No, of course, there will be no visas for this reporter because Saudi Arabia is no democracy. Yet how many times have we been encouraged to think otherwise about a state that will not even allow its women to drive? Kim Howells, the Foreign Office minister, was telling us again yesterday that we should work more closely with the Saudis, because we "share values" with them. And what values precisely would they be, I might ask?" 1/11/2007
Engaging Hamas and HizballahAli Abunimah - The Electronic Intifada - "...it is the role of progressives to support anti-colonial liberation movements without imposing their own agendas, to push for equal dialogue, to listen carefully to what Islamist movements are saying, and to expose and resist the efforts to demonize and dehumanize entire societies in preparation for new wars." 1/11/2007
An Orthodox rabbi`s plea: consider a divided JerusalemRabbi Yosef Kanefsky-JewishJournal.com-"And the difference that honest storytelling makes is enormous. When we tell our story honestly, our position at the negotiating table is one that is informed not only by our own needs and desires, but also by our obligations and responsibilities. The latter include the responsibility to -- in some way, in some measure -- fix that which we have done. Also included is the need to recognize that we have some kind of obligation toward the people who have been harmed by our decisions. Honesty in our telling of the story reveals the stark and candid reality that we also need to speak the language of compromise and conciliation. Not only the language of entitlement and demands. "2/11/2007
Call to Palestine: Mustafa Barghouti says activist visits key to stopping extremismGLENN WHEELER-Now Magazine-"The biggest challenge for us [Palestinians] is to convince our people that they are not neglected by the world and that there is such as thing as humanity. Extremism, violence and fundamentalism grow when people feel isolated, hopeless and desperate."2/11/2007
Gazans` place at AnnapolisTerry Walz - Palestine Chronicle - The core issues of borders, settlements, refugees, and Jerusalem have been put on the back burner. The situation in Gaza is left unattended. This is peace processing, not peace making. 3/11/2007
Dershowitz ignores Israel`s state-sponsored tortureLouis Frankenthaler-YaleDaily - News-Detainees continue to be illegally abused during interrogation, denied access to attorneys and proper medical care, Hundreds of complaints have been served since the Court`s judgment only to be `investigated` by an active security agent and systematically closed by the State Attorney`s office. One may choose to believe that torture has been `abolished in Israel` but it continues, with impunity.2/11/2007
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