MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

 log   Middle East   maps   history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 


Sunday, January 28, 2007

My View from our Sunni-Beiruti Neighbourhood

For those of you who know Beirut, I drove from my office at the Maronite Catholic Notre Dame University (http://www.ndu.edu.lb Zouk Mosbeh up the hill from Jounieh) Thursday, via Sassine Square to Sodeco/Damascus Street at the north-western edge of predominantly Eastern Orthodox Achrefieh, on my way home from work. Crossing Bechara El Khoury Avenue (where his statue stands) I wanted to traverse this major metropolitan intersection in order to drive straight towards Basta and ultimately reach Mar Elias Street, which I call home. The police wouldn't allow me to drive forward and they didn't have a clue what a resident should do. [more]

by Moderator @ 10:45 AM CST [Link]

President Katzav speaks in code. We get it.

Haaretz's editorial-page cartoon this weekend shows Attorney General Menahem Mazuz in his office with a sign on his desk stating, "I am a Mizrahi."

If this seems obscure, it is because the message is in code, Israel-style. Ordinary Israelis understand this code, which is based on words that don't need to be spoken because everyone knows what the speaker is trying to tell us.


by Joseph M. Hochstein @ 01:00 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Davos: Building the public peace lobby

The Oslo process failed because of strong lobbies that militated against peace in both Palestine and Israel. Whatever their numbers, they were organized and succeeded in dictating the public agenda. The peace process will not recover from the Oslo disaster until and unless Israeli and Palestinian political leaders understand that peace is politically viable; that there is a large, organized and dedicated constituency in Israel and among Palestinians that insists on a peaceful future for both people in two states. This constituency will need to take over the political arena, and to outshout the advocates of Greater Israel, "Security," "One State Solution," Sharia law, "Justice," "resistance," and other panaceas that have been obstacles to peace for almost a hundred years.

This constituency is not built in a day. The Onevoice movement has made a start toward building it, by slow and meticulous organizational work in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Last week in Davos, they confronted Palestinian and Israeli leaders with a public plea for peace.

Onvoice Israel Program director Adi Balderman said "The time has come to listen to the voice of the moderate majority, and to prevent violent extremists from hijacking our lives, the lives of millions of Israelis and Palestinians ... We will not accept any more excuses or delays."

From Jerusalem, Saad Mashaal said, "Our city, Jerusalem, open for all
religions, must help us exemplify a shared destiny for Palestinians and Israelis, a destiny of partnership for a better future. Let One Voice be heard form Jerusalem, a voice of moderate people from all over the world. "

From Ramallah, Nisreen Shaheen told the leaders, "Enough promises, enough excuses, enough suffering ... Help us not to lose hope, help us strengthen this movement, help us strengthen our leaders, that they may sit down at the table and stand up with a fair and lasting peace agreement."

by Moderator @ 11:57 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lebanon chaos: Cui Bono?

For many months, I have been trying to make sense of the events in Lebanon, without much success. First there was the Lebanon war. It was initiated by a senseless kidnapping, and it provoked a less than wise Israeli reaction to all appearances. The IDF displayed dismal and unbelievable incompetence, and the political leadership showed poor judgement. They started a full scale war, but then they didn't fight very much. Believe me, that almost nobody in Israel can understand how it is possible that reserves were not even mobilized until the last week of the war. Even then, only a tiny part of IDF's total strength was brought into play. This, despite the announced goal of destroying the Hezbollah.

At the very end of the war, reserves were finally mobilized and were making good progress in occupying a security zone south of the Litani. For their part, the Hezbollah was demonstrating that they could hit at Israel with impunity. Seemingly, neither side had anything to gain from a cease fire that made the Israeli advance senseless, and rendered the Hezbollah powerless against Israel, installing the Lebanese army in South Lebanon. [more]

by Moderator @ 02:20 PM CST [Link]

Syria and Israel: deniable peace non-negotiations

Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations were thought to be only a tempting possibility until recently. Now there can be no doubt that serious "Track II" negotiations about Syrian Israeli peace took place, with the knowledge and consent of Israeli and Syrian governments. One set of such negotiations resulted in a non-paper, and the others resulted in non-agreements, and therefore may all be termed "non-negotiations."

These were not real "citizen diplomacy" inasmuch as the people involved were agents of their governments in a very real sense. They are not the same as me writing to a friend in Syria for example, or some Syrian and Israeli businesspeople meeting in a hotel and discussing the weather and the chances for peace. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:16 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bridging the Divide: Must Read, Must Think - Book Review

Bridging the Divide: Peacebuilding in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,
Edy, Kaufman, Salem, Walid and Juliette Verhoeven, eds.
Lynne Reinner, London and Bolder, CO, 2006.

If you are interested in peace or dialogue in the Middle East, Bridging the Divide is a must read. The title alone redeems this work. The authors' hearts are in the right place. The title makes it a much better book than Jimmy Carter's best-selling scribblings about Israeli "Apartheid" replete with mislabelled maps.

You won't buy a book because of its title, but the first chapter, by Edy Kaufman and Walid Salem, which chronicles the long history of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue efforts, is an essential resource. The only problem with it is that there is not enough of it. One would like to see a more detailed discussion of dialogue efforts that have been going on abroad as well, and a systematic discusson of various "Track II diplomacy" meetings that are mentioned in passing in various places in the book -- and others that were not mentioned. There are also important chapters by Tamar Hermann, a frank and peceptive joint chapter on Palestinian-Israeli activities by Mohammed Dajani and Gershon Baskin, and informative chapter by Menachem Klein and Riad Malki on Track II diplomacy that you won't want to miss, as well as other treats. [more]

by Moderator @ 04:31 PM CST [Link]

Friday, January 19, 2007

Highlights of remarks made at Madrid +15: Gareth Evans, President, International Crisis Group, and former Foreign Minister of Australia

How can we now move forward, to capture and build on whatever momentum this conference has generated? Nobody can be under any illusion as to how difficult a task we face. I have never seen any set of conflict issues on which there is such a huge and depressing gap between, on the one hand, the collective awareness of what needs to be done and, on the other hand, collective impotence when it comes to doing it.

by Moderator @ 03:20 AM CST [Link]

Highlights of remarks made at Madrid +15: former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shlomo Ben-Ami

As the launching of the Arab-Israeli peace process in the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference has shown, the prospects of peace in the Middle East have always waited for a concerted international effort to exploit windows of opportunity. Wars in the Middle East, especially those that did not end in conclusive results, have almost invariably created the conditions for major political breakthroughs, for they have taught us all the limits of what power can achieve. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:15 AM CST [Link]

Highlights of remarks made at Madrid +15: H.E. Mr Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States

H.E. Mr Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States

"... I remember well the day the Madrid Conference was inaugurated…. [I]t was indeed the dawn of a new world. The cold war was over…. A new world order was in the offing.

"The Madrid Conference was ... convened at a hopeful moment which enabled it to accomplish … elements necessary for the [start] of a meaningful ... peace process. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:09 AM CST [Link]

Highlights of remarks made at Madrid +15: Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Store

Is this a way forward?
Highlights of remarks made at Madrid +15

"...The Madrid conference 15 years ago did not create peace. But it gave hope. And it lead towards peace. Against a background of a Gulf war it brought key regional parties together. What started in Madrid had lasting effects on the political map of the Middle East.

"As we look at the region today, the picture is even gloomier than the one we were facing 15 years ago. To meet these challenges we need to set a regional agenda. We need to repeat the method of Madrid..." [more]

by Moderator @ 02:59 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Palestinians and Israel: Top down peace process for a new political horizon

One day, we all know, there must be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but the process seems to be mired in eternal deadlock and misery. Is there a way forward?

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke of a "Political Horizon" for the Palestinians. Indeed both sides need a political horizon. All versions of the peace process have brought much talk of peace and many sound bites and photo ops, but no peace. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:47 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Winning in Iraq: Overcoming the urge to surge

President Bush announced plans to add over 20,000 troops to U.S. forces in Iraq, in order to control the growing violence there. This will almost bring troop levels back to their peak post-war levels, when the violence was presumably at a dull, tolerable roar. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:02 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Crystal Ball 2007: The ball is clouded

As in past years, I venture to peer into the future for 2007, with the advice and consent of friends. 2006 was a tumultuous and surprising year. Statistically, our predictions held up pretty will - they were correct 70% of the time. However, that should not hide our failure to predict the election of Hamas and the war in Lebanon, both major events that could have been foreseen. [more]

by Moderator @ 01:11 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Recalling Teddy Kollek

Here are a few personal recollections of Teddy Kollek, the Vienna-born ex-kibbutznik who served as Jerusalem's mayor from 1965 until Ehud Olmert defeated him in 1993. Kollek died today (January 2, 2007) at 95.


by Joseph M. Hochstein @ 01:11 PM CST [Link]

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead, Again

This time it's for real, almost. On December 17, 2006, officials announced that "Laden," as he was known, was killed by sharpshooters in the northeastern state of Assam, India. "Laden," a 10-foot tall killer bull elephant named after Osama bin Laden by fearful villagers, was responsible for 14 deaths in the area and had evaded two previous assassination attempts. Surprisingly, neither conspiracy theorists nor the Bush administration attempted to use the event to sell books/videos or for political gain. It would have been a hard sell: "Laden" was in India, not Afghanistan; and 10-foot tall pachyderms are not prone to suicide bombings and crashing planes into buildings. Nevertheless, the real Bin Laden has been sold before to the U.S. public, either as the commander-in-chief of a worldwide army of terrorists or as an impotent terrorist hiding in his cave. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:47 AM CST [Link]

Victims of Holocaust Denial - Jews, Muslims, and Human Dignity

The Islamic Republic of Iran under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently hosted a conference of historical revisionists dubbed as "Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision."

It was neither global nor visionary. That it coincided with the commemoration of the international Human Rights Day betrayed the sarcastic intent of its organizers. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:01 AM CST [Link]


Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates


Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans


Middle East


Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News


Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)



Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective


Meretz USA Weblog


MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone

Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice


ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now


Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace


Israeli-Palestinian Conflict



Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

Israël in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace


Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites

Powered By Greymatter


Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us


Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow