Nasrallah's Brinksmanship

It has been just over three months since the United Nations brokered a cease-fire in the month-long war that left Lebanon battered and made Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah a hero to many in the Arab world.

But Nasrallah's success is costing Lebanon potentially more than the 1,200 civilians killed by Israeli attacks. Commentators see a political quandary that has brought the country to the brink of war.

Nasrallah, supported by a majority of the country's impoverished Shiites, has pitted himself against both Lebanon's pro-Western government and the popular March 14 movement, a coalition of Christian and Arab middle-class groups staunchly against Syrian influence.

Talks to establish a national unity government broke down when six cabinet ministers aligned with Hezbollah resigned over the weekend. The remaining ministers then approved a plan, opposed by Hezbollah, for an international tribunal to try the assassins of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Hezbollah and its Syrian allies want to block the tribunal because U.N. investigators have implicated senior Syrian officials. Hezbollah says that the rebuilding the country is more important than satisfying the demands of the United States and Israel.

The internal power struggle has broader implications as the U.S. attempts to salvage a deteriorating situation in Iraq, an effort that some say will give leverage to American foes, Iran and Syria.

Political Impasse

Lebanon's latest power struggles have so far been peaceful, but tense nonetheless.

Nasrallah is banking on popular demands for rebuilding to trump politics in his push for greater control in Lebanon's government. He predicted Tuesday that Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's administration would fall and a "clean one will replace it" to rebuild areas destroyed by this summer's Israeli assault, according to Almanar.com, Hezbollah's news site. Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah could stage street demonstrations to win public support, but scoffed at talk of civil war.

Siniora has rebuffed Nasrallah's demand for veto power in a national unity government, which he called "tyranny of the minority."

The political impasse is edging toward "open confrontation between rival blocs, broadly defined by sect and external association," said the Economist. "Mr Siniora has UN legitimacy, the US, Europe and a solid parliamentary majority behind him," said the British weekly, republished in Ya Libnan.

The opposition's assets include "include the populist appeal of Hizbullah and of Michel Aoun (a former general, who won a sizeable chunk of the Christian vote in last year's election), and the political and military support of Syria and Iran."

One key demand of the March 14 movement is the establishment of an international tribunal to try the assassins of Rafiq Hariri, the billionaire former prime minster who was assassinated Feb. 14, 2005. A U.N. investigation has implicated senior Syrian officials.

"The international tribunal is necessary for a healthy Lebanon," said one commentator in Al Hayat. "Anyone who is motivated by a true patriotism should rejoice at the idea."

Hezbollah acknowledges that the international tribunal is important, but insists the issue is not fundamental to Lebanon's interest, according to the independent Lebanese news site Ya Libnan. "More important, in Hizbullah's estimation, is the danger of Lebanon falling under US and Israeli hegemony."

The Jordanian paper Al Rai (in Arabic) criticized "the March 14 forces and other groups which bound themselves to the US policy in the Middle East. These forces are now stuck in a stalemate."

The paper asked, "What would be the situation in Lebanon if Israel and the US could crush the resistance? American military bases would have been installed in the Lebanese mountains that overlook Damascus." Al Rai urged Washington to "reassess its priorities and talk directly to the powerful forces in the region," a clear allusion to Iran.

Iran's influence was visible at the height of Lebanon's cabinet crisis when a key power broker, parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, went to Tehran to consult with that country's supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini. After four days, Berri, an ally of Hezbollah, flew to London where he said he had no intention of returning to Lebanon soon.

Hopes for a political breakthrough, said NaharNet, are "thin."

And fears of civil war are thick.

America Falling

Lebanon's political crisis is taking place amid a transformation of public opinion about the United States.

Hezbollah, in the view of The Washington Post and many U.S. commentators, is to blame for last summer's war in Lebanon.The group's "reckless attack on Israel...led to the devastation of the southern third of the country. About 1,200 Lebanese died, including many civilians whom Hezbollah deliberately placed in the middle of the fighting, and some 15,000 homes were destroyed," the Post's editorialists wrote Wednesday.

That's not how most people in Lebanon see it, according to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday. The largest number blamed Israel and the second largest blamed the United States.

"In almost every category, the United States was the big loser," NaharNet said of the poll. "Nearly two-thirds of the Lebanese -- 64 percent -- said their opinions of the United States had worsened the war between Israel and Hezbollah."

"Almost half those polled described their opinions as 'much worse' after the war in which Israel's mainly U.S-equipped military did substantial damage to Lebanese villages, roads, bridges and other infrastructure. "

The poll also looked at countries the Lebanese admired.

"Rated on a 5-point scale from 'very favorable' as 5 to 'very unfavorable' as 1, France, once Lebanon's colonial ruler, was the most admired among 13 nations with a 3.6, with Canada at 3.5. The only countries below the midpoint 2.5 were the United States at 2.3, Britain 2.2 and Pakistan 2.0," according to the Associated Press dispatch.

By Jefferson Morley |  November 16, 2006; 2:04 PM ET  | Category:  Mideast
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Comments

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I couldn't believe when I read the Post editorial yesterday. It was a blatant and obviously one-sided diatribe against the Arabs in general and the Lebanese specifically. It was racist and clearly was written either by someone who had not done his research, or was heartily reimbursed by AIPAC, GINSA or another of the alphabet agencies that make up the "Not An Israel Lobby" in this country. I thank you Mr. Morley for at least acknowledging that there is another side to this issue.

When will your column appear in the print edition?

I'm #1! I'm #1!

Posted by: Thom | November 16, 2006 02:35 PM

Nasrallah got a bunch of his countrymen killed when he went ahead and attacked Israel...regardless of why he did it.

It is beyond comprehension why a "holy" man such as Nasrallah would be against finding the killers of Lebanon's most honest and beloved leader Mr. Hariri... for the sake of his own politics.

It is disgusting the way he is misleading poor arabs.

And don't call me racist I have arabs in my immediate family and think the Palestinians deserve freedom...through non-violence like Ghandi and King achieved.

Posted by: Reality | November 16, 2006 02:44 PM

Howard: I don't recall mentioning Israel one way or another! I mentioned the Lobby, but that is in this country. Thanks for not reading, and then insulting. It really begins a constructive dialogue.


Posted by: Thom | November 16, 2006 02:51 PM

I keep reading here, thread after thread, coming from particularly hateful and bellicose people, that "the Palestinians deserve freedom...through non-violence like Ghandi and King achieved." After more than half a century of criminal violence, how about the Israelis (and the Americans) try that method, for a change? For the record, Mahatma Gandhi himself would not even ask a child not to eat sugar, before he had first got rid of his sweet tooth...

Back to the topic reviewed, you write: "Hezbollah, in the view of The Washington Post and many U.S. commentators, is to blame for last summer's war in Lebanon... That's not how most people in Lebanon see it, according to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday. The largest number blamed Israel and the second largest blamed the United States."

In Canada, the majority reaction seems to have been similar to that observed in Lebanon. I believe the US and Israel, more particularly, have been the great losers in public opinion, following the Lebanese adventure of last summer. One could feel the depth of the resentment developing in Canada, during the summer, after Qana, of course, all the more so given Canadian citizens (e.g. members of the El Akras family and United Nations Military Observer, Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener) were assassinated by the Israelis in such barbaric circumstances. Here in Canada, Israeli crimes were discussed at length, called by their names, condemned angrily and uncompromisingly, as well as with surprising unanimity. They were a great many here to deride, and refuse to accept, the Israeli authorities' "apologies", which they considered hypocritical, disgraceful and purely routine.

It might be of interest to note (a sign of times to come?) that the Harper conservative national government itself lost a lot of credibility and support, after adopting Bush's cavalier way of siding unconditionally with Israel.

All in all, I cannot remember that many Canadians ever being so overtly critical of Israel. I very much doubt the recent events will soon be forgotten, let alone forgiven. One is necessarily reminded of Olga Berggolts' words, carved in stone on the Memorial Wall at Piskaryevskoye Cemetery, in Leningrad: "Nikto ne zabyt - Nichto ne zabyto." "Nobody is forgotten. Nothing is forgotten."

Posted by: Robert Rose, Canada | November 16, 2006 03:44 PM

Whether to laugh or scream with rage at the Post's editorial: that Hezbollah is to blame for Israel's savage ruining of 1/3 of Lebanon and the slaughter of 1,200 it's citizens...."...many commentators say...". Laugh becasue no matter how vile the editorial, nobody believes it.
Savage Israel garnered in spades more world hatred it so richly deserves. Everybody knows. But the idiocy of the words, the very trying to play games, means nothing was learned, the blindness continues. Scream with rage for that.

Posted by: Cammey | November 16, 2006 04:07 PM

Chaim, Israel is hated all over the world. It has no friends. How does that make critics on this posts of it's savage dealings "loons"...

Posted by: dealie | November 16, 2006 04:13 PM

to dealie If people disagree with you, you should call them names, that way it is easier to both demonize them, and convince yourself that you are correct.

An example just off the top of my head : the term terrorist.

Posted by: Thom | November 16, 2006 04:28 PM

@Robert Rose
What is your point?

Posted by: Fred - Frisco | November 16, 2006 04:32 PM

Only if you're trying to defend Israel.

Posted by: | November 16, 2006 04:42 PM

@Fred - Frisco

"IN CANADA, THE MAJORITY REACTION SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN SIMILAR TO THAT OBSERVED IN LEBANON. I BELIEVE THE US AND ISRAEL, MORE PARTICULARLY, HAVE BEEN THE GREAT LOSERS IN PUBLIC OPINION, FOLLOWING THE LEBANESE ADVENTURE OF LAST SUMMER."

Posted by: Robert Rose | November 16, 2006 04:42 PM

No, but really, what is your point

Posted by: | November 16, 2006 04:43 PM

If last summer left Israel and the U.S. as the big losers, are you all saying that both countries, particularly Israel should just sit quietly and be killed? All of us? I kept reading that Israel was over-reacting. So they are to limit their response? I think their restraint has been amazing.

Posted by: Dona Dunsmore | November 16, 2006 05:46 PM

This opinion survey states in the beginning that about 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. That of course means that none of those killed in Lebanon were Hezbollah fighters... unless they also qualify as "civilians", which, given the preferences of many of those who posted comments, might well be the case. Anybody interested to base his/her notions not just on arbitrary "perceptions", might want to check out the critical review of the casuality figures at
http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=2&x_article=1195

Posted by: Petra Marquardt-Bigman | November 16, 2006 05:51 PM

Im aussie the good name of America and Israel hasn't been smeared here at least

1200 civilians? Thats not a big deal if weak minded hezbollah had the guts to confront them in open war far that wouldn't of happened instead they fire rockets then run home where 15 plus women and children are too hide.

they arn't men you should give more credit to your boys over in iraq and the israelis in israel at least they fight like men.

i am seriousy concerned for the worldwide arab IQ rate as how they thought Hezbollah won that war and could defeat israel is insane they should be thankful they wern't carpet bombed israel had the firepower to wipe the country off the map insome ways its a pity they didn't Iran definately wouldn't be speaking up .

Posted by: Jonathon | November 16, 2006 06:02 PM

I think the spotlight should be turned back at Israel. Israel chose the worst possible time, in the midst of such a terrible time during the Iraq war, to go to war agasint Hezbollah over the type of incident that has always been settled through hostage negotiations in the past.

They set up objectives that were simply impossible to acheive during the conflict and only succeeded in killing thousands of innocents adn destrying the infrastructure of lebanon. They still have to go to the negotiating table to get back their soldiers, they have made Hezbollah stronger than ever and they have ruined the goverment that was once on good terms with the US.

This has served to worsen the situation in Iraq. It has emboldened the insurgency there because they see the US and Israel as having lost against Hezbollah.

Now, as clearer heads begin to prevail here in the US regarding the Iraq War(the Baker led Iraq Study Group), we see that the only way forward is by engaging Syria and Iran, and forcing a peace upon Isreal with the Palestinians. It could not be clearer that Israel has made that job much more difficult by their utterly unnecessary and useless foray into Lebanon.The US has lost a great deal of political capitol in the region as a result, at a time when we need it more than ever.

That is why it is critical that we adapot the original Ideology of Bush I, who tried but failed to remove all funding whatosever from Israel contingent upon their pulling out of the settlements and ending the occupation. This was undermined by our own congress, who unfortunately remain completely in the pockets of the Israel Lobby.

If we achieve this ( and the return of the Golan Heights to Syria) we will have a much easier time enlisting the help of Syria and Iran.

Unless we would see Iraq drag out endlessly, and the war on terror drag on forever, we need to make congress more fearful of reprisals from their own electorate than those of AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

How many more 9/11s must we endure before the hacks in congress value our interests more than they do the lining of their own pockets and their short term political careers?

Lincoln Chafee, use your remaining time in office to shed some light on the cowardice of your fellow congressman.

J

Posted by: J | November 16, 2006 07:40 PM

J

You are right. Israel chose the worst possible time to go to war against Hezbollah over the type of incident that has always been settled through hostage negotiations in the past. They should have been responding like they did from the very beginning! They let Hezbollah gather strength. That was their key mistake. It appears that the tactic of setting up terrorist shops in amongst hospitals, markets, office buildings, etc is becomming widely used. I'm supposed to be surprised at the casualty numbers? That said, since Hezbollah still stands to fight again, Israel loses.

Posted by: Dave! | November 16, 2006 08:38 PM

And why would any self-respecting Lebanese think otherwise? After all, the U.S. gave Israel the green light to accelerate its massacres of Lebanese civilians by speeding up arms deliveries to the invading forces. Ten times as many Lebanese as Israelis died in this conflict and yet the Washington Post manages to blame Hezbollah for this conflict, rather than the country that, cheered on by Washington, did the vast majority of the killing.

Posted by: Sami | November 16, 2006 10:34 PM

That Hezbollah has emerged from all of this vastly stronger and more popular than it was before should tell you something about this idiocy of U.S./Israeli strategy. The dummies in Jerusalem and their enablers in Washington may think that bombing the hell out of an entire people will somehow make them bend to your wishes. The evidence emerging from Lebanon today proves otherwise.

Posted by: Saul | November 16, 2006 10:37 PM

Thank god for independent Lebanese news. Check out these other noteworthy articles on Ya Libnan:
http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2006/11/hezbollah_under.php
http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2006/11/hezbollah_instr.php

Posted by: Tony Joe | November 16, 2006 11:32 PM

Dave!

Hezbollah was formed for the express purpose of forcing Israel out of lebanon. This was after they had completely destroyed the country the first time. It is a popular movement that, had Israel worked to stay our of Lebanon, might have faded into the political process in Lebanon over time.

Consider the fact that American citizens believed Hezbollah to be so dangerous that at the start of this war, there were more than 25000 of them running all over the country vacationing and doing business. When they were evacuated from the county, they were really only afraid of indiscriminant Israeli shelling as opposed to Hezbollah.

By attacking the entire country of Lebanon and setting it back 50 years, Israel has strengthened Hezbollah, who is now perceived as necessary to defend the country from Israel in the eyes of many Lebanese.

The war with Lebanon was utterly avoidable and accomplished nothing while dramatically damaging the US relationship with Lebanon and leading to a galvinaztion of the Iraqi insurgencies fight against the US. ie, it lead to increased deaths of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians and set us back in an already staggeringly expensive war.

With allies like that, who needs enemies?

J

Posted by: J | November 17, 2006 04:08 AM

"I think their restraint has been amazing."

Yeah, right, massacring 1,200 people -- ten times as many people as died in Israel, the vast majority of them civilians with no connection to Hezbollah -- show real "restraint."

When will the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd wake up and realize that this butchery only fuels more hatred, more attacks, more insecurity?

Posted by: Saul | November 17, 2006 11:18 AM

Every time I read the news about Israel it is more negative than the day before. Their cruelty against Lebanon and Gaza, Olmert's hugging of Bush earlier this week, Ariel Sharon being tortured in his sleep, you name it, it's there. As such I don't think that Hezbollah is unique, courageous, powerful - they are just there at the right time and right place. Their position and that of Iran and Syria has grown again since last weeks election here in the US underscoring the US's desire to leave Iraq asap. Within Lebanon, Hezbollah will get stronger and other branches of Governemtn will get weaker - you can't change that in midstream. All-in-all, Hezbollah will take over there, Israel is on the loosing side, slowly evaporate but will probably take out there anger and hatred against Gaza. Feel sorry for the Arabs there. Perhaps Egypt will open up 2 years from now (new US President). One other thing, this hug from Olmert to Bush at the White House was kind of a Judas kiss except it will work in opposite direction - Bush will focus more on the Far East and let the Middle East be the Middle East.

Posted by: Anagadir | November 17, 2006 02:13 PM

I do not know who killed Hariri. Lebanon is a cesspool of conspiracies, and it could be anyone. Regardles of anyones opinion of who first did what to whom, the Lebanese have blamed Israel and the U.S. With respect to Lebanon, their opinion is the one that counts. I believe their opinion is shared by the Arab and Islamic world.
However, I do not see involvement in internal Lebanese matters as in the vital interest of the U.S. After the Hariri matter is "resolved" or put on the back burner, there will be another crisis in Lebanon. Things are coming unglued in Iraq, and between that fiasco, and Afghanistan, I think we are busy enough, thank you very much.
It is my view that we have no business being involved in disputes with insurgent or militia groups who are dealing with "national" matters. 9/11 is the only reason we have to be involved militarily in the Middle East, and al-Qaida, along with the Taliban, are the only people we should be fighting.
We also have no business being involved in any disputes between religious factions within Islam.
It is my view that any military action by the U.S. must be in the national interest, and only the national interest, of the United States. If Immigrant groups or religions feel a close connection with another country, they should go and fight for that country in that country. When you become an American, You should only support the "national interest" of the United States. I see no reason for American soldiers dying to defend the religious or national preconceptions of other countries. Real facts on the ground must drive foreign policy.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | November 17, 2006 02:26 PM

Crabs in a barrel with an evaporating water table. More edifying than the Washington Post editorial is Eliot Abrams explaining it all to Carl Gershman who, if he outlives Castro, will become the longest reigning unelected president in the western hemisphere.

Posted by: Reynolds | November 17, 2006 05:02 PM

J
If the only purpose of Hezbollah is forcing Israel out of Lebanon, why did they cross the border and seized two Israeli soldiers? Israel has been out of there for a while (6 years i believe). According to their manifesto, they have 3 goals: the eradication of Western imperialism in Lebanon, the transformation of Lebanon's multi-confessional state into an Islamic state, and the complete destruction of the state of Israel (why that seems to be a reoccurring theme in the region). That would be a great addition to the political process there! The Lebanese clearly supported them prior and, of course more, after. That clash was not only unavoidable but since there was no real victory by any side, it's just a small prelude of what is to come. Truly unfortunate.

Posted by: Dave! | November 18, 2006 05:19 PM

Dave,

Israel currently holds many thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah as Prisoners. This is why they made this move. Israel does it to them regulary, and it has happened to Israel before. It has always ended in a prisoner swap. This was not a unique situation at all. And Israel (and many of the cowards in Congress) chose to start a war they could not finish at the expense of our soldiers in Iraq and our ability to stabilize the region.

with regard to any attempt to wipe out a country or a people, I see lebanon in shambles with thousands dead. You were saying that you believe that Hezbollah is committed to the destruciotn of Israel, yet Israel has layed great devastation upon lebanon twice now, while Israel remains utterly unscathed in comparison.

Really, dave, you can parrot these things back directly from fox news all you want, but the actual facts tell a completely different story.

J

Posted by: J | November 19, 2006 02:51 AM

J
First off, its not that I believe that Hezbollah is committed to the destruction of Israel, its that Hezbollah says it about themselves. That would be why i tend to believe it - they give me that feeling in both word and deed. I'm sure the people of Israel feel the same way - in fact i would consider it an act of war. I have no problem with Israel holding prisoners of people who are trying to erase them from the map. What is normal at that border is the Israeli response to snipers, rockets, car and suicide bombers - they try to hit back hard. Think about it. If a group in Canada declared they wanted to wipe America off the map and started shooting US guards on the border and Buffalo, NY was getting random rocket fire, the US would not take that sitting down. If the Canadian govt did nothing about it, what do you think the US would do? I don't think the US public would be in the mood for prisoner swaps. I think the US would eventually try to take this group out. And it would be the right thing to do.

Posted by: | November 19, 2006 10:35 PM

Anyone doubting what effect Israel's bombing campaign against Lebanon had on Lebanese public opinion would be well advised to consult Gallup's latest poll there, which shows that overwhelmingly, Lebanese believe that Hezbollah emerged politically strengthened from that conflict. That interpretation holds true among not only Shiites, but also among Christians and Sunnis too.
(See http://www.galluppoll.com/content/Default.aspx?ci=25489)
Further evidence that Israel, through its barbaric eye-for-an-eye policies (or make that ten-eyes-for-an-eye policies) is doing nothing but sowing the seeds of its own demise.

Posted by: David | November 20, 2006 12:15 AM

Dave! Please note that the farm in question was not part of Isreal. Though the Lebanese calim it as their territory (which Isreal did not withdraw from), Syria also claims it. Clearly though, it is not Isreali territory, thus it has been occupied by Isreal for more than 26 years.

Posted by: leonardkliss | November 20, 2006 09:43 AM

"If a group in Canada declared they wanted to wipe America off the map and started shooting US guards on the border and Buffalo, NY was getting random rocket fire, the US would not take that sitting down." Interesting hypothesis!... In such an eventuality, I am sure that on both sides of the border, everybody would first be asking themselves WHY that was the case (three times rather than once: WHY? WHY? WHY?). I am also confident it would take them much less than half a century to figure that one out. But this is just a guess, of course.

Posted by: Robert Rose, Canada | November 20, 2006 11:06 AM

Dave,

Again, please just review the facts. Someone tells you that Hezbollah, who have never mounted a serious (unprovoked) attack agaisnt Israel, is committed to Israels destruction, yet Israel, which has virtually laid waste to the whole of Lebanons infrastructure not once, but twice now, while holding thousands of it's people hostage, does not pose a real ongoing threat to Lebanon. You viewpoint makes absolutely no real world sense. When Israel stops it's crimes in the occupied territories and agasint Lebanon, the violence it experiences will come to an end.

It is interesting to note that Hezbollah was formed exclusivley in an attempt to remove Isreal from Lebanon because Israel was occcupying it. Not before Israels occupation of Lebanon. Same with the Palestinian Groups regarding the occupied territories.

Israels actions are indefensible. They are made necessary because of their refusal to let the Occupied territories go. The very predictable problems caused by this spilled over into lebanon and has caused them to attack Lebanon twice, in order to maintain their ridiculous, bloody, apartheid based stance in the region.

Read Jimmy Carters Book, Palestine; Peace not Apartheid when it comes out. He once sat at the top of the information pyramid in this country and did more for peace in that region than any other president. I think you will find he has a somewhat different perspective.

You really need a break from Fox News.

J

Posted by: J | November 20, 2006 08:51 PM

@Jeff Morley
Time to move on to new subject. Critical issues are evolving between Iran and US: suddenly Iran, according to CIA has no weapons of mass destruction - obviously that would qualify them to take over Iraq so the US can get out. Related to this is the sudden negative articles Re: Israel and Olmert. Obviously some bargaining is already taking place between USA and Iran/Syria.

Posted by: Fred - Fresno | November 21, 2006 09:11 AM

Another view, esp. inlight of the assasination, by non-Jewish, non-American, non-Israeli subversives/terrorists of the Lebanese Christian Cabinet Minister.
Who do you trust? Me, I trust when someone says they are going to destroy Israel, that they mean what they say, and I'd do anything in my power to stop them.

"A vacuum, however, cannot be filled by simply repackaging the policies that failed to fill it, namely the Quartet's road map and Israel's unilateral withdrawal track. Both these policies have become stalled, or worse, because they ignore the root cause of the problem. Both pretend that the obstacle to peace is the lack of a Palestinian state, when in reality the obstacle to such a state - and to Arab-Israeli peace - is the Arab refusal to accept Israel's right to exist."

"It has been obvious at least since 2000, when Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a state on a silver platter, that the Palestinians could have a state over almost all of the West Bank and all of Gaza whenever they wanted. The fight is not over the remaining narrow strips of land but over something much more fundamental, whether the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world are willing to give up their desire to destroy Israel itself."

Posted by: the rest of the story | November 21, 2006 09:38 AM

Another view, esp. inlight of the assasination, by non-Jewish, non-American, non-Israeli subversives/terrorists of the Lebanese Christian Cabinet Minister.
Who do you trust? Me, I trust when someone says they are going to destroy Israel, that they mean what they say, and I'd do anything in my power to stop them.

"A vacuum, however, cannot be filled by simply repackaging the policies that failed to fill it, namely the Quartet's road map and Israel's unilateral withdrawal track. Both these policies have become stalled, or worse, because they ignore the root cause of the problem. Both pretend that the obstacle to peace is the lack of a Palestinian state, when in reality the obstacle to such a state - and to Arab-Israeli peace - is the Arab refusal to accept Israel's right to exist."

"It has been obvious at least since 2000, when Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a state on a silver platter, that the Palestinians could have a state over almost all of the West Bank and all of Gaza whenever they wanted. The fight is not over the remaining narrow strips of land but over something much more fundamental, whether the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world are willing to give up their desire to destroy Israel itself."

Posted by: the rest of the story | November 21, 2006 09:39 AM

If you're going to call yourself the rest of the story, could you at least tell the rest of the story and stop regurgitating AIPAC and FOX News' slogans?

Really now, get your own ideas, ones that are, if not accurate (for these are not) then at least original.

Posted by: Same Old Story | November 21, 2006 09:43 AM

The war was not a good idea, and Hezbollah clearly came out ahead. That said anyone who thinks Israel massacred 1,200 civilians is showing an extreme bias whose rationality is highly questionable. Israel attacked an army devoted to war against Israel. This group had killed multiple members of Israel's defense force and kidnapped three others. Negotiations might have returned the three but not the eight who were killed. Isarael decieds that it cannot continue to let such acts of savage murder continue. At this point they really do not have many options. They opt for engaging Hezbollah. Hezbollah proceeds to conduct a war in the most illegal way imagineable. They launch rocket attacks at exclusively civilian populations from within civillian population centers. Their strategy, not Israel's, is to maximize Lebanese civillian casualties. They know they cannot win a military engagement with Isarael and there only hope is public condemnation of Israel.

It is unfortunate that the world's peoples largely bowed to Hezbollah's wishes and didn't call Hezbollah what it really was. They were a group furthering their political ends very purpposefully at the expense of their own people. This homicidal cynicism and real politik should have been enough to condemn this group, but simple people cannot see past the agressor. The agressor who did try to limit violence against civillians but was met with an impossible task given Hezbollah's despicaple tactics.

Posted by: JM | November 21, 2006 10:01 AM

J

Do you think that Israel would have invavded Lebabnon in the absence of Hezbollah?

Posted by: JM | November 21, 2006 10:05 AM

J

Do you think if Israel completely pulled out of the occupied territory Hamas would leave them alone?

Posted by: JM | November 21, 2006 10:05 AM

Same old story
If you are going to make a statement that that something someone said is inaccurate, do us a favor a at least try to point out where you think they might be incorrect. Otherwise it just sounds as if you have a closed mind. I could find no incorrect facts in anything posted by JM or rest of the story. Interesting ideas that you may or may not agree with, but factually correct.

Posted by: Dave! | November 21, 2006 10:53 AM

"One myth that is central to the propaganda campaign involves a grossly distorted presentation of the Camp David Israeli-Palestinian summit of July, 2000. The American media endlessly repeat the assertion that Yasser Arafat spurned a generous proposal for Palestinian statehood offered by the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, thereby precipitating the eruption of violence that has continued for more than 18 months." Chris Marsden


"Precisely because he [Barak] was willing to move a great distance in a final agreement (on territory or on Jerusalem, for example), he was unwilling to move an inch in the preamble (prisoners, settlements, troop redeployment, Jerusalem villages)." Saul Singer

In other words, not over Israel's right to exist.

"Ami Ayalon, the head of Israel's Shin Bet under Ehud Barak (and before that the chief of Israel's navy), warned Prime Minister Barak that the unrestrained growth of settlements under his administration and his neglect of the Palestinian peace process . . . (which, we now know from President Clinton's and Dennis Ross's memoirs, failed because Ehud Barak reneged on the deal), and, above all, the hardships and humiliations experienced by Palestinians in the territories, created an explosive situation that only needed a spark to set it off. That spark, according to Ayalon, was Sharon's calculatedly provocative visit in September of 2000 to the Temple." Harry Siegman

It was not Arafat who reneged, it was Barak!


DAVE! - The point here is this: Although you may "know" something to be true, it does not make it so.

Try it another way, a fact is not something endlessly repeated until everyone believes it. It is, "Something that actually exists; reality; truth." (Dictionary.com)

I hate to say it, but just because you could find "no incorrect facts in anything posted by JM or rest of the story," does not mean that they are "facts." You were correct when you reffered to them as "interesting ideas."

Posted by: Same Old Story | November 21, 2006 11:14 AM

Pierre Gemayel has been assasinated. I'm sure our innocent freedom fighter friends had nothing to do with it though.

I just want to make it clear that I do not see Israel as innocent. They have committed many horrible acts of violence. Some were justified but many were not. To insist that they are the only ones to fault for the violence is just silly though. The dynamics for the region are so complex, and as we see once again by the latest headline violence is a standard political tool. The Palestinian's problems have just as much to do with Palestinians as they do with Israelis. That is not a comment on the grave misdeed done to them by the European powers when they confiscated Palestinian land for Israel. It is a comment about the reality that Israel exists and will continue to exist. Israel will also continue to respond to terrorist attacks. The hard line Palestinians will continue to fight Israel as long as the Palestinian population at large tolerates them. Arafat had the chance to establish a Palestinian state whose borders had been exhaustively negotiated with many concessions from both sides, but he turned it down in the end. Elements of Fatah felt that not gaining East Jerusalem was a fatal short coming and decided for all the Palestinian people that continued confrontation with Israel was desirable. Presumably they felt that prolonged conflict would eventually weaken Israel's resolve. They decided that all the consequent Palestinian bloodshed was worth the glorious ends of their glorious struggle that will never realize its goals. Now we have Hamas in charge. They make Fatah look like a bunch of moderates.

In the end violence begets violence. You cannot pretend that your violence is justified and then scream with reproach when you are responded to in kind.

Posted by: JM | November 21, 2006 11:35 AM

"In the end violence begets violence. You cannot pretend that your violence is justified and then scream with reproach when you are responded to in kind."

Amen, Brother. Just keep in mind that this expression works both ways.

Posted by: Thom | November 21, 2006 12:31 PM

JM and Dave,

As stated rather eloquently above, the idea that Arafat or anyone else was ever offered a deal that any other country in the world would accept is just an often told lie. Even the 60 minutes commentator Mike Wallace said that Arafat would have been crazy to accept that deal.

What he was offered included little settlements peppered throughout the west bank, connectd by Israeli roads which would be under Israeli control and given a "Right to Grow". Israel still maintained security control over certain sectors of the west bank. This was not a deal anyone in their right mind would a=have accepted.

Regarding Hezbollah, Israel destroyed Lebanon the first time in an effort to assassinate the PLO leaders who had found refuge there. Hezbollah was formed in an effort to remove the occupying force from the country. By the way, it was at this time that Israeli jets lit up some aparatment towers full of a lot of innocent people in Beirut
which later turned out to be Osama Bin Ladens inspiration for 9/11. This really puts into perspecive our "special" relationship with Israel. It is special in the way that the family of a drug addict who financially supports him suddenly becomes overwhelmed with the damage that his addiction is causing both at home and in the wide world.

It's time for an intervention.

J

Posted by: J | November 21, 2006 01:03 PM

Dave

Indeed it does. Israel can hardly expect the Palestinians to lay down under the humiliating treatment they so regularly receive, and the Israeli's can plan on more vioelnce in response to their resposnse which was in response to a palestinian response and so on.

I just think it is not at all realistic to blame one party and protest the other as justified and not warranting attack.

Posted by: | November 21, 2006 01:12 PM

I don't think that i ever said that the Palestinians should just lay down. I think they need to change tactics since what they have been doing for over 20 years seems not to be working well for them. They could have peace if they were really interested in it (despite what Mike Wallace says) but have consistently chosen to do things that would not lead them down that path. Continuing to celebrate, fund and endorse suicide bombers and electing a party who's platform is the destruction of Israel IS different than "humiliating treatment". While you are right about the response to the response, etc, I believe that it is realistic to "blame" one side more than the other, if the situation warrants. If the Palestinians would take the Martin Luther King or Gandhi approach to their situation, they would gather a lot more sympathy as well as respect, and probably have a homeland (if that's what they really want).

Posted by: Dave! | November 21, 2006 03:59 PM

J - The fact that you, one of the most eloquent and persuasive writers on these posts, would refer to me as eloquent really made my day! Thanks a lot.

Dave - I will refer you to my earlier post regarding your own thinking, and suggest that you do a little independent research. Hamas ran on a platform of social reform and services. It just so happens that the party will not recognize a state (that incidently enough [or not] does not recognize them.
The Palestinians tried the Martin Luther King/ Mohandas Ghandi approach for about one hundred years, and all they got for their trouble was to be pushed off the land they had occupied for time immemorial (that or be killed). Can you blame them for trying something new? (It worked for the Jews with the British Occupiers.)

I will also add that your ideas could get across better if you did not sound so condescending (that means to talk down to people.)

[See what I mean?]

Posted by: Same Old Story | November 21, 2006 04:21 PM

After reading these recent posts, I find it fascinating that there are people who believe that the people on the "other" side (the ones blaming Hezbollah and supporting Israel) are only parroting spin from AIPAC, Fox News, etc. As if those outlets could never have factual information. As if there aren't intelligent, reliable news sources coming from those outlets. As if the pro-Hezbollah, pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab supporters have special information that the rest of the world can't get. Let's PLEASE try to remember that the entire Middle East situation is extremely complicated and that there are many sides to every issue there. You can postulate all you wish, but the fact is that you're not living there, and you can't possibly know all the "facts" with certainty. Keep an open mind and hope for open diaglogue instead of homicide bombings, terrorist and nuclear threats in that region.

Posted by: - S | November 21, 2006 04:40 PM

S,

I am not sure what you consider to be so difficult to understand about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. If you take it at face value, using US standards of what basic human rights are, all you can really say is that you object to the method that the Palestinians employ to fight against an insidious and ongoing Israeli attrocity.

The settlements and the occupation that is necessary to secure their growh is something that virtually every other country in the world condems (inclding the US, Officially) and that even about half of all Israelis have consistently not supported. Many in the Israeli Military object to participating in furthering this cause. The Kadima party itself was formed upon the notion that the settlements must be removed at least in large part.

Colonialism is a dead and currently reviled practice world wide. Ethnic Cleansing is something that the US has waged bombing campaigns agaisnt other countries for engaging in. Racism is no longer an accepted viewpoint in this country. The refusal to grant Basic Human Rights to others is despicable. To keep people in "stateless" guarded prison camps
while using them as cheap labor for another countries benefit is horrific.

All of these things have been visited violently upon the Palestinians for the last 40 plus years. In response, over time, they eventually graduated from children throwing rocks at tanks and soldiers to suicide bombings.

If they had Stealth bombers and a really powerful army, would you hold them less accountable for fighting back using those methods (as Israel did against thousands of utterly innocent lebanese cilvilians) to try to put an end to the monsterous crimes that have ruined whole generations of palestiniands lives?

Israel took out thousands of Lebanese and literally destroyed the Intrastructure of the entire country over the capture of a few soldiers when all they ever needed to do was a prisoner swap in order to get them back. No suicide bomber has ever been so wantonly and brutally successful.

Please also keep in mind that although there have been many periods of relative peace, the occupation has always remained in place, and the settlements have always GROWN. Thats why there are currently about 450,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and those numbers and the physical size of the settlements are growing as we speak.

So you say stop the suicide bombing. Fine. Everyone would like to see it happen. But the settlements were started not because of suicide bombers, but becase the Israelis wanted to enlarge their country. End of Story. The most racist and ultranationalist of them still do and recieve the political support and funding they need to continue to do it from the political cowards in Congress, right here in the US. End that financial support and US political cover, and I guarantee you that the settlements will come crashing down just like SOuth African apartheid did.

So, S, did yo have a difficult time teasing apart the fine points of South Africas apatheid system? Did you encourage parties on both sides of the issues to remember that it's really all very complicated and maybe just simply a matter of point of view?

If we decided not to eventually boycott South Africa as we did but rather threw our political and finincial weight behind it to keep Apartheid going long after it should have died a richly deserved natural death, and then were subsequently attacked by african terrorists that despised us for propping that monstrosity up for another 50 years, would you still say, gosh its all really rather complicated and we should not rush to judgement and bail on this draconian and evil system?

I really don't think it's Complicated at all. To the degree that we tolerate or assist the Settler movement in any way, we are giving aid and cover to an otherwise failed and morally despicable movement. We are helping the wrong side. The right side consists of all those Israelis and Palestinians who are commited to living in peace wiht each other, and it is the settlement movement which stands in their way, and enflames Middle Eastern terrorism world wide.

J

Posted by: J | November 21, 2006 07:18 PM

Arabs and Israelis have been occupants on the same bit of land for literally thousands of years so to say that it's been the Palestinian's land for time immemorial is a bit of a stretch. After WWII, in 1947, the plan was to split the British Mandate of Palestine (won in WWI from the Ottoman Empire) up and have a Palestine and Israel. This plan was accepted by Israel and rejected by the Arab League and fighting began immediately. For various reasons, Palestinians fled the area (know as the Palestinian Exodus) despite the offer to Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel for full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. Israel was attached by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. Israel won and wound up with some of the land designated for Palestine. In May 1967, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt had been hinting at war, and Egypt expelled UN Peacekeeping Forces from the Gaza Strip. When Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, fearing attack, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike (the Six Day War) and won decisively. This would be where the settlement lands were acquired. In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack to try to get the land back. They failed. It puzzles me why people think it strange that Israel would be paranoid that its neighbors might just attack them (that's trying to be sarcastic, not condescending).

So the settlements were not started because of suicide bombers. The settlements were also not started because the Israelis wanted to enlarge their country. And it is certainly not the "End of Story". When a country wins land in a war, what do they do with it? In the US, we turn it into Texas, California and New Mexico. I guess if you are Israel, you are just expected to give it back. Don't think of having people live there. Don't expect Israel to use it as a buffer against further attacks. Nope. Just give the land back. So they did. Ariel Sharon proposed Israel's unilateral disengagement plan. The plan was to remove all permanent Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the northern West Bank. Prior to 1967 before the settlements, Israel experienced no peace. They have experienced no peace since then. So are the settlements the problem and an impediment to peace? Hard to make that a definitive argument.

"If they had Stealth bombers and a really powerful army, would you hold them less accountable for fighting back using those methods (as Israel did against thousands of utterly innocent lebanese cilvilians) to try to put an end to the monsterous crimes that have ruined whole generations of palestiniands lives?" - If they targeted the Israeli military with their bombers and powerful army, i'd be ok with that. As long as they would not want a "do-over" if they wound up losing. Israel went after Hezbollah. The fact that Hezbollah set up shop in amongst the innocent civilians does not change the fact that Hezbollah was the target.

Posted by: Dave! | November 22, 2006 01:45 AM

A lot of nasty writing here about Israel and for obvious reasons. They misbehaved in Gaza and WestBank for years, they are holding Palestine Prisoners in jail for years, they killed many innocent folks in Lebanon, they are pushing the US to defend them against Middle Eastern Countries, they again are doing nasty stuff in Gaza, etc. Why are they doing this and why are we (Western World) taking this? What do we have to loose if Israel looses? Now with the US begging Iran and Syria to take over Iraq (let's call a spate a spate - if Kissinger is being defrosted to make such life statements we better take it serious) obviously Israel will pay the price. Indeed, as was stated above, Israel is a western colony and these things are getting out of fashion. It probably will follow the same road as South Africa - it won't change its name but certainly its moral and socio/cultural compas. About time.

Posted by: Fred - New York | November 22, 2006 09:33 AM

Yesterdays killing of the Christian Gemayel in Lebanon seems to put lots of blaim on Syria. Obviously this generates strain on USA, Syria, and Iran to resolve the Iraq War. From this perspective interesting that sofar noone has yet blamed Israel Secret Agents to have pulled the trigger - a stronger USA, Iran, Syria relationship will put Israel in trouble.

Posted by: Bob X., Wash. DC | November 22, 2006 10:47 AM

Bob X,

It is not necessary to point blame at Israel for pulling the trigger. I doubt they did, but I really have no way of knowing. However, what I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that Israel needlessly bombed the entire country into the stone age, killed thousands, ran off 25000 Americans and many others who were bringing a great deal of prosperity and business to the country and destablized the government, who up until this point were very US friendly.

After destroying the country, Israel ultimately lost the war, and Hezbollah has become wildly popular as a result. Meanwhile, the most unstable elements in the country (whether Hezbollah, syria, Israel, it does'nt really matter who) have been emboldened to commit acts such as Gemayel's murder, knowing that the effect they will have is now greatly magnified in the atmosphere of chaos and despair that resulted from Israels needless pummeling of Lebanon.

Keep in mind that Israel's (and by proxy the US) loss also emboldened the insurgency in Iraq and has helped to further destabilize the war there which has obviously translated into increased Iraqi and American deaths.

Remember, you have a majority of the US house and Senate to also blame for this, because they all knuckled under to AIPAC and backed the Israeli destruction of Lebanon.

According to Z. Brzezinski, Carter's NSA, House Speaker Pelosi was presented the resolution to back Israel in it's predicable failure in Lebanon by AIPAC. That is to say, that AIPAC simply writes legislation that is rubber stamped by our government, (even when it's consequeces are obviously dire, as in this case) and Nancy Pelosi is one of their Bagmen.

So, although Gemayals murder might have happened anyhow, it's effects have been greatly magnified by the efforts of Israel, AIPAC, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the US House and Senate who blindly signed legislation that tied the US directly to an ill concieved war that has dramatically damaged our standing in the entire region.

J

Posted by: J | November 22, 2006 12:35 PM

You are missing the point - focus on the hereandnow. All this talk about what happened this summer is way past. Right now Rumsfeld fired, Gates taking over, Baker meeting with Syria/Iran in Manhattan, Kissinger being negative on this War, Bush changing his tunes (sofar all are Republicans)and Democrats saying this War must end - believeyoume this War is dead. The only ones (probably) trying to revive it are the Israelis and killing an anti-Syrian official in Lebanon is a first step/trick. More may follow - Olmert is a trouble maker. I know, all speculation but for Syria to do this just about when they are working out deals with Iraq President, etc. really would be foolish.

Posted by: Bob X. Wash. DC | November 22, 2006 01:56 PM

JM asks: Do you think that Israel would have invavded Lebabnon in the absence of Hezbollah?

Not this time. But it's worth noting that Israeli troops have invaded Lebanese territory in force seven times since 1948.

Five of those invasions occurred before Hezbollah was founded.

Hezbollah was founded in response to the 1982 invasion.

Posted by: OD | November 22, 2006 02:50 PM

Bob X,

What ever else might be the case, I agree with you that it is highly unlikely that Syria is behind the Killing. You are right. They have almost nothing to gain and almost everything to lose at this point. I am not ruling out Israel either, but its just that it is purely speculative at this point, and there are certainly other potential suspects. However, I would not put it past Israel, especially in it's current, rather unenviable situation, to do this in order to scuttle our growing relationships with Syria and Iran.

(Did I say Axis of Evil? I meant Axis of Allies!)

J

Posted by: J | November 22, 2006 03:35 PM

"Arabs and Israelis have been occupants on the same bit of land for literally thousands of years so to say that it's been the Palestinian's land for time immemorial is a bit of a stretch."

Since israel only came into being 58 years ago this staement is ludicrous.

Posted by: Angus is Back | November 23, 2006 09:16 PM

And Dave please - nobody is trying to sell this piece of prooganda anymore - why are you?

"For various reasons, Palestinians fled the area (know as the Palestinian Exodus) despite the offer to Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel for full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions."

If this staement is true why are Israeli Arabs still second class citizens in their own land - akin to Africans in an Afrikkaner society?

Posted by: Angus | November 23, 2006 09:19 PM

J - re the assassination of Gemayel - I recall the recent assassination of Lebanese Christian general who was due to testify against sharon the following day in his war crimes trial ....there are many instances of mossad misbehaviour in Lebanon so I would not be surprised if the trail went back to tel aviv....

Posted by: Angus | November 23, 2006 09:24 PM

Indeed it is dumn to keep saying that Israel goes back thousands of years. They just don't belong there (Jews certainly, but not Israel) - they are all recent colonists or immigrants. The only advantage is when they are interviewed by CNN or FOX - with there proper American or European English they are easy to understand (both accent and Western reasoning). The Arabs there obviously have a different (but much more authentic) way of reasoning and their English sometimes is difficult to understand (is called a Middle Eastern accent) - but they are the ones that belong there. That's clear.

Posted by: Bob X., Wash. DC | November 24, 2006 09:31 AM

Angus
While the country of Israel was founded only 58 years ago, the "Israelites" have been on the land for thousands of years.

"If this staement is true why are Israeli Arabs still second class citizens in their own land - akin to Africans in an Afrikkaner society?" A good question. Nonetheless, it does not change the facts of what happened and what happened is that the offer was officially made. While there is an uneasiness and obvious issues and problems between the Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis (similar to other majority/minority relationships), to compare it to South Africa under Apartheid is a stretch. Arab Israelis (those who are citizens of Israel) participate in all levels of society including politics (there are Arab-Israeli members of Knesset). Yes, there are problems with their treatment and that is wrong. But is there a society in the world where everyone is treated the same? The US is the closest but far from perfect. Israeli laws, unlike old South African laws, tend more towards equality. And finally - how would Jews do as a citizen of Iran or Syria?

Posted by: | November 24, 2006 09:53 AM

"For various reasons, Palestinians fled the area (know as the Palestinian Exodus) despite the offer to Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel for full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions." -- That well-worn statement (by no means an argument) that Palestinians just "fled" like penguins is disrespecful of penguins, of the Palestinians, and of the readers. It is worthy of contempt, unworthy of the Washington Post.

Posted by: Robert Rose | November 24, 2006 11:18 AM

I'm not sure why it is so clear that Arabs belong there and not an Israel. I really don't think that the ability or inability of English speaking people to understand someone from the Middle East has anything to do with who should be living there. Both Arabs and Israelites have been living there for thousands of years, no matter what the land was called. They have as much right as anyone else to have a country there.

Robert Rose - the statement may be well-worn but that is only because it is fact - look it up in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. Whether it was lived up to is a different thing. The word "fled" was not intended to imply anything other than "left the area". There was definitely a force, terror aspect to it, especially after the Deir Yassin massacre. There was also a "get out of the way and wait for the Arab Liberation Army to run the Israelis into the sea" aspect to it. Regardless, somewhere between 400,000 and a million Palestinian Arabs left, or were forced to leave, the area. It began immediately after the creation of Israel and occured during a war between Arabs and the just-formed Israel. The fact that Arab-Israelis were not treated equally or fairly when many, if not most, were siding with the people trying to push the Israelis into the sea is not surprising.

And while there was no disrespect meant toward the Palestinians with that line, respect is earned. Supporting suicide bombers, walking away from deals, and electing the party formed specifically to bring about the destruction of Israel does not get it done.

Posted by: Dave! | November 24, 2006 10:00 PM

Well anonymous - if we are going back to the israelites - why not the caananites amorites, hittites ..or even the cellulites.

And if we are to be really honest (rare in these forums) the truth is that the majority of modern day israelites are Ashkenazi's who's roots have been european for hundreds of years.

As for the "equal" treatment for Arabs in israel a little due diligence in ones research quickly blows that myth out of the water - I could go on and on about the difference in basic municipal standards and building permits in Jerusalem and the separation of families.

Interestingly if Sammy Davis Jr. were still alive he could go live in Israel and have more rights than people who's families have really lived there for 1000s of years.

Posted by: Angus | November 24, 2006 10:12 PM

I read this article on anoher site, and i couldnt believe that it (the article) was actually sponsored by the seemingly-respectable "Washington Post". This Jefferson Morley (the author) seems really misguided at best, and ill-intentioned at worst ! Please encourage him to better acquaint himself with the facts:
1- Nasrallah isnt just "supported by a majority of Lebanon's impoverished Shiites". He leads in Lebanon a coalition of all social classes and religions, that has consistently garnered AT LEAST 60% of Lebanese opinion polls. Moreover, on an arab-wide scale, an Egyptian opinion poll few weeks ago named Hizbuallah leader Nasrallah the most popular of ALL Arab leaders.
2- The article author states that : "Talks to establish a national unity government broke down when six cabinet ministers aligned with Hezbollah resigned over the weekend". He can't be more wrong. The resignations occured AFTER the national unity government talks collapsed, since current prime minister Siniora and his March 14 group REFUSED to form such a government. In fact that is the cause of all the current chaos in Lebanon.
3- Furthermore, the author writes: " Mr Siniora has UN legitimacy, the US, Europe and a solid parliamentary majority behind him, as said by the British weekly The Economist" ! Well, Mr. Morley, what good does it do a government, ANY government, if the WHOLE world supports it, while it lacks support and legitimacy amongs its own people. As for the "parliamentary majority" it was achieved by fraud: Not only it used an illegal Syrian-imposed election law, but also the election results of 12 parliament members belonging to that group, were contested to the Lebanese-equivalent of the US Supreme Court. So Mr Siniora and his March 14 group just disbanded the court before it got a chance to rule on this issue. Cool, isn't it?
4- The author, Mr Morley, mentions that opposition leader, General Michel Aoun, " won a sizeable chunk of the Christian vote in last year's election". Strange oversight !! General Aoun won the LARGEST chunk of the christian vote, and heads the BIGGEST christian parliamantary block.
5- NO opposition figure has yet opposed the International Tribunal for the murder of Mr Rafik Hariri. If you were a little more acquainted with the issue before writing about it, you would realize how the Court is being used by the March 14 as purely a whipping tool to lay their control over all aspects of the Lebanese political and economic life. Just as Israel (their declared supporter per Israeli leader Shimon Perez) uses the "anti semite" label to thwart any criticism of its policies, no matter how fair and objective.

PLEASE check your facts and sources well before writing in the Washington Post. Otherwise, u may as well publish in the trashy press like the National Enquirer tabloid.

aaa_usa@hotmail.com

Posted by: AJ | November 26, 2006 04:07 AM

Interesting statement today from Abdullah-II, King of Jordan, that the Israel-Gaza-WestBank problems, in a way, triggered of the Iraq fighting. Wouldn't surprise me if Lebanon Government has a similar statement (probably tomorrow). Also interesting that Olmert and Gaza Management suddenly are doing their level best to see eye-to-eye (rather than the more standard "eye-for-an-eye"). Things are happening full speed suddenly in the Middle East (again King Abdullah of Jordan stressed that things should be resolved before the end of the year. If not ...etc.). Also interesting that President of Iraq couldn't fly to Iran because the Baghdad Airport was closed. No more helicopters to fly him across the river? - not convincing - obviously the US didn't want him there (yet - he probably has to wait until after the Bush-Iraq/PM Meeting this Wednesday in Jordan). All-in-all though it is obvious that Iran will be given to Syria and Iran, that Israel is being castrated, and that other Middle Eastern Countries (especially Saudi-Arabia and Jordan) want to resolve this whole issue without USA muddling (enough-is-enough!). The only quiet country is Egypt - but I'm sure they will follow Middle East consensus (again not good for Israel). Obviously the US and Israel are the big loosers (although US doesn't care - Bush may care, but sowhat - he's finished!).

Posted by: Bob X., Wash. DC | November 26, 2006 08:49 PM

Angus
The "Cellulites" - that's funny. The Ashkenazi have had roots in Europe for hundreds of years. But where did they come from? DNA studies suggest that their ancestry is middle eastern. The Jews have been kicked out of the middle east over the last couple thousand years by numerous peoples including, but not limited to, Babylonians, Romans, Assyrians, Greeks... Jews started in Middle East and have been forced to (or just chose to) migrate to other places that were more hospitable at the time. That said, its not quite right to imply that it's "European" migration to Israel.

Building permit issues and funding (or lack thereof) to Arab municipalities, while wrong, are not equivalent to South African apartheid.

Posted by: Dave! | November 27, 2006 11:58 AM

So given people whose ancestors lived in country C two thousand years ago may return to C, today, because "they have been forced to (or just chose to) migrate to other places that were more hospitable at the time", surely people who themselves, or whose parents or grandparents lived in C, less than a century ago, and "have been forced to (or just chose to) migrate to other places that were more hospitable at the time", may return to C today as well, or at some later time of their own choosing, in the next two thousand years? Interesting.

Posted by: Robert Rose | November 27, 2006 01:35 PM

Good to seee that OD the dumbass has returned to the discussion!

Posted by: Hank | November 28, 2006 03:24 PM

Hank,

I have read a great many of ODs posts and find him to be well informed and very cordial in his communications with others.

You, however........

Lets just say that it does not appear to be applicable in your case.

_________________________________________

Angus,

No, I would not be surprised if Israel was attempting to further destablize Lebanon, but there is just no proof at this point.

By the way, have you read Carters new book, Palestine; Peace, not Apartheid?

He's getting a lot of interviews and there is more discussion about Israel's rather negative impact on the war on terror than ever before!

With Baker and company beginning to echo similar sentiments, I think I see a glimmer of hope ahead for the US, the Palestinians, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, and really the rest of the world if Baker and company can break through AIPACs spell over the House and Senate and compell them to finally get tough with Israel!

J

Posted by: J | November 29, 2006 12:04 AM

Actually Dave - DNA studies suggest that this number is a minority and the majority are likely descendants of the khazars - a race who converted to Judaism and as such have no bloodline to Israel or Judea ....of course thats not to say they should be treated poorly just that that the 'scattered tribes" is a convenient myth.

And when one group of peoples receives favourable treatment over another based on race - that is apartheid - you should read some history and see how fascinated sharon was with SA and the military and munitions links from 20 years ago or so.

Posted by: Angus | November 29, 2006 11:55 PM

Hey J -

I have not read Ex Pres. Carter's book but will when I get a chance.

I also see a glimmer of hope but I also see the Pelosi's of the world moving into power - she votes the israeli line almost 100% - I believe she is known as one of Aipacs top shills (my word)..

Anyway lets hope we start to see soon politicians who base American foreign poicy on American interests.

Posted by: Angus | November 29, 2006 11:58 PM

Angus,

I hold a rather dim view of Pelosi as well (A huge understatement).
But keep in mind, she is not emotionally attached to helping the Isrealis maintain the Apartheid Status quo at the expense of further 9/11s and war without end for the US, shes just a coward.

And cowards are very easily swayed in various directions when it looks as though their short term interests are being threatened. Pelosi would bail on AIPAC in a heart beat if she felt that it would help her personal political career, and it's very possible that the wind may soon e blowing her, Howard Dean, and all the other cowards in that direction very soon.

The ISG will hopefully come out against the Settlements and the Occupation, listing them as number one on the to do list in order to gain the support of Iran and Syria. Carters book and all of the positive interviews he's getting will also help mount pressure. The publishing of Walt and Mearsheimers Israel lobby and their interviews and reviews will put on even more pressure. The situation in lebanon, (ultimately caused by the settlement movement) does not help either.

It's also possible that Dems will quickly tire of Pelosi's utter lack of spine and complete duplicity with regard to the war on terror and show her the door (god willing)

Keep your fingers crossed!

J

Posted by: J | November 30, 2006 08:53 PM

Oh yeah - things will start looking up when the US starts following the suggestions from the most inept president that had the most failed US presidenecy of the 20th century.

Posted by: Dave! | December 2, 2006 10:57 AM

Well since we have seen the "abysmal" results of what is essentially the ideologically opposite policy, to what Jimmy carter seems to be recommending, of the current government, a reasonable person would conclude that choosing a completely different course of action is worth looking into.

On a side note, a Jewish client strongly suggested that I boycott his book, since Carter indulges in "rampant antisemitism" and "blames all the problems in the world on the Jews". Needless to say, I went and bought it the next day and found it to be nothing of the sort.

But of course, if you are criticizing Israeli policy, then you must in some way be a distant relative of Hitler or his other Nazi cohorts, fiendishly bent upon completing his mission (insert evil high pitched laugh) by any means possible.

The association of even legitimate criticism of Israeli policies, with antisemitism, is really becoming quite tiring.

I see you keep yourself quite busy Dave!. :-)

Posted by: Zain | December 3, 2006 09:46 PM

Zain,

Well stated.

Dave,

If you disagree with Jimmy Carters politics, how about How about Bush's Father, who tried to cut off all funding of Israel until they did just what Jimmy Carter is suggesting? How about James Baker, who backed Bush I then, and will probably suggest the same thing in the form of the ISG's recommendations? how about Tony Blair, who told congress that there will never be and end to the war on terror ( and recently, again stating the same thing regarding peace in Iraq) until until the settlements are removed? how about Colin Powell, who said that middle eastern terrorism of the type that caused 9/11 is inspired by the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict? How about Bill Clinton, who said that a fair and eqitable resolution to the settlements problem would "remove the philosphical underpinning of terrorist recruitment in the middle east"? How about Pat Buchanon? How about 147 nations of the UN, voting in the last few days for Israel to remove the settlements, who were opposed by only 7 countries, including, Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the United States? ( I can't decide whether to laugh out loud or hang my head in shame when I consider the implications of that particular coalition of countries.)

It would seem as though the vast majority of the rest of the world disagrees with you, as well as a whole host of extremely qualified people from both the right and left of American Politics.

If I were you , I would think very carefully before I tried to discount the entire list of people and nations that I just presented for your consideration.
On the other hand, go ahead, I'm sure you will try.

J

Posted by: J | December 4, 2006 08:07 PM

And adding some more Israeli perspective to the settlement issue:

"Israeli minister draws the line on West Bank map"

"JERUSALEM: Maps in new editions of Israeli textbooks should no longer show the West Bank as part of Israel, Education Minister Yuli Tamir said on Tuesday, ordering a line drawn between the occupied territory and the Jewish state. "If we don't show these borders, we will turn out very confused children," Tamir, a member of the centre-left Labour Party, told Army Radio. Tamir said maps appearing in some textbooks don't show the pre-1967 war boundary, known as the "Green Line", leading pupils to believe the West Bank is formally part of Israel. She said "this problem should be rectified" in new editions used by the state school system. "You cannot expect children to understand history if portions are excised from school texts," said Tamir, a founder of Peace Now, a left-wing Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Emily Amrusy, a spokeswoman for the Jewish settlers' YESHA council, called on school principals to defy Tamir, accusing her of "trying to sever a fifth of Israel's area from the maps". reuters

Posted by: Zain | December 5, 2006 11:11 PM

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