MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

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


Friday, March 31, 2006

The devil is in the detail in the Middle East

Although Ehud Olmert's Kadima (Forward) party drew less support than anticipated, he still emerged ahead of everyone else in the recent Israeli election. He will have to struggle rather more than had been thought to put together a coalition, but it is clear that he will head Israel's next government.

There is hope in this because his election campaign left no room for doubt: he intends to evacuate some 80,000 Jewish settlers from 20 settlements on the West Bank. That campaign won him 28 seats in the 120-member Knesset (parliament). The revived Labour party (with its socio-economic agenda), which will back withdrawal, drew 20 seats. Together with other smaller parties (punting religious and other issues) they outweigh those who reject any withdrawal from the West Bank. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:04 AM CST [Link]

The Syrian regime is not about to collapse

Nehad Ismail's account of the bleak prospects of Syrian opposition explains why few are enthusiastic about regime change in Syria, despite the urgent need for reform.

There has been a plethora of headlines recently about the imminent collapse of the Syrian regime. To quote just a few: "Syrian opposition closes ranks" "Exiled Syrian opposition calls for regime change" "Syrian opposition forms alliance" "Syrian opposition unite against Assad" and "Syrian opposition unites to oust Assad". The brutal fact, however, is that the Syrian opposition is too weak to topple the Assad regime. It is fragmented and divided. It has no coherent strategy to achieve common objectives. There is no co-ordination and no workable program unifying the fractious factions. [more]

by Moderator @ 10:49 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

First Results - Israeli Election Surprises

Judging from exit polls results of three Israeli TV channels, the Israeli elections were a bit of a surprise. The Kadima party of Ehud Olmert got the most mandates as predicted, but its victory is smaller than expected: about 29-32 seats. The Labor party got 20-22 seats. Following is full list and some observations.


by Moderator @ 01:43 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Gaza and the West Bank - What Nobody is Saying

Last week Gaza almost starved to death as Israel and the Palestine Authority bickered over whether goods could enter Gaza from the Karni or Kerem Shalom crossings. Israel insisted that Kerem Shalom was safer. Palestinians insisted they wanted a crossing that through Karni. Karni-Kerem-Shalom, Kerem-Shalom - Karni. Tomayto, tomahto. Finally the US insisted that somehow food and other vital goods had to get to Gaza, and at last writing both crossings seem to be open without incident. Israel wanted to use Kerem Shalom because it is safer. Palestinians wanted to use Karni because Israel wanted to use Kerem Shalom. Meanwhile, kids in Gaza were about to go hungry, because Gaza was running out of flour. [more]

by Moderator @ 10:57 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Iraquagmire - Putting an end to the Iraqi nightmare

Three years after the Iraq war that pro missed to bring democracy to the Middle East, there seems to be little hope for redemption of the Iraqi people, and no honorable way for the US and other countries to exit from the quicksand swamp of sectarianism, Islamist fanaticism and plain old corruption. Just about the only good thing that has happened recently was the rescue of three Christian Peace Team members who had been kidnapped. A fourth, Tom Fox, had been brutally and senselessly murdered. The fate of Tom Fox, who came to Iraq to help their people, with the most altruistic motives, is symbolic of Iraq in a way. It reminds us what road is paved with good intentions, and for some, it may show that Western notions of what is fitting and moral and correct may have the most disastrous consequences when applied indiscriminately in the Middle East. The Bush administration might be accused of spreading imperialism under the guise of spreading democracy in the Middle East, but surely Tom Fox had no such motives.

by Moderator @ 04:19 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Strengthening Middle East Moderates

In Yediot Ahronot, Ray Hanania writes that a way must be found to bring forth moderate leadership and moderate policies in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. There can be no doubt in the mind of any decent person that Ray Hanania is right. The question we have all been asking is how to bring about this miracle. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:14 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ehud Fit the battle of Jericho Jail

Israeli-Palestinian relations, which were not exactly on an even keel, got a jolt on Tuesday when the IDF besieged the jail in Jericho that held PFLP head Ahmed Saadat and several other Palestinian prisoners and removed them all for safekeeping to Israel. A prisoner and a guard were killed during the siege and a third Palestinian died later of his wounds. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:07 AM CST [Link]

Monday, March 13, 2006

Tel-Aviv will be fun city, Jenin a riot

I studied the foreign policy plans of the Likud and Kadima parties as best I can to learn the differences. The profound differences are: The Likud wants to keep half the West Bank and make the Americans sore. In contrast, Kadima wants to withdraw from half the West Bank and make the Americans happy. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:30 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Iranian threats are not empty rhetoric and must be taken seriously

Iran has vowed to resist international pressure and threats after the International Atomic Energy Agency decided to put the issue of Iran's nuclear program before the UN Security Council. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme religious authority and spiritual guide in Iran, attributed the pressures on Iran to U.S. hostility towards Iran, which began 27 years ago; when the U.S cut diplomatic relations with Iran in the wake of the 1979 Iranian revolution that saw American diplomats taken hostage for 444 days. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:50 AM CST [Link]

Friday, March 10, 2006

Is there a future for Palestinians?

The triumph of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections was certainly a shock. Hamas, to remind everyone, has reiterated at every opportunity that they will not recognize Israel. Recently, at the Moscow conference, this appeared to be softened by a statement of Khaled Mashal that they would only recognize Israel if Israel agreed to repatriate all the Palestinian refugees. Since that would amount to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, it amounts to the same thing, but with nuances and room for maneuver perhaps. It was quickly devalued by Khaled Mashal himself in interviews he gave to Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyah television. Those who think Hamas will adopt a realistic approach may be in for a big disappointment. Here are some quotes from the man himself:

Interviewer: "You've said that Hamas has adopted a realistic approach. What does this realism mean? In other words, what is the limit of the tactical concessions you might make?"

Khaled Mashal: "There will be no concessions. Some people believe that realism means making concessions. It doesn't. Concessions were made in the past, with no results. On the contrary, making concessions is not realistic, because it means you are not acting in accordance with your people's needs, or with the requirements entailed by the reality of the Palestinian people.

How can anyone be expected to negotiate with an enemy who insists that making concessions is not realistic?

Here is the Hamas's "realistic" "peace" plan, from the same interview:

"Hamas is realistic. It says to the international community: You talk about the 1967 borders - by all means, make Israel declare that it will withdraw from all the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, that it will accept the right of the refugees and the displaced to return to their lands and property,

So Mashal thinks it is realistic to expect Israel to dissolve itself by absorbing an Arab majority. That is his "peace."

At minimum, Palestinians should be alarmed by the fact that Hamas has refused time and again to agree to the simple and obvious coalition conditions of Mahmoud Abbas that must be the basis of any responsible government:

...to recognize past agreements with Israel, UN resolutions and Arab summit rulings.

Surely, that is the minimum. It doesn't even mention abrogating the racist and outrageous Hamas Charter. That is fundamental to assumption of national responsibility. It is what the Palestinians need for themselves.

The peace process reached an impasse because both sides could not make the concessions needed for peace. Palestinian leaders could not formally give up right of return. Israelis could not give up sovereignty of the Temple Mount. However, after the futility and destruction of the Intifada, it appeared that a way forward had been found. Until the rise of the Hamas, there was hope for a "live and let live" pragmatic arrangement: Israel would withdraw from most of the West Bank. The Palestinians would form a de facto state and cease terror activities. Both sides would get on with their lives. This is the scenario that Rami Khouri conjures up in the Daily Star. Khouri forgot or didn't read that the Hamas has no intention of becoming a responsible political movement. This is Mashal again in that same interview:

"...the demand to disarm and the demand to turn Hamas and the rest of the resistance forces into political parties is an unrealistic demand, because it has nothing to do with the Palestinian reality."

Mashal proposes a government of armed gangs, that insists that it will not even make a truce until Israel agrees to self-destruct. This is not a basis for coexistence.

Khouri, and other Palestinians, want to make believe that nothing happened when Hamas was elected, or that Hamas policies will depend on Israel only. This is alarming, because real change in the Hamas and Palestine can come only if the Palestinians want that change.


by Moderator @ 12:46 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Sedition or Patriotism?

I was saddened to learn that my friend Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury, publisher of the Bangladesh weekly Blitz, will soon stand trial for "sedition" in Bangladesh, a charge that can result in capital punishment.

What are his "crimes?" Shoaib warned repeatedly about the rise of extremism in his country. He also tried to travel to Israel in order to bring a message of peace, and became the Bangladesh representative of IFLAC, a harmless international organization that encourages dialogue through culture. The enemies of democracy, peace and sanity have advanced the absurd claim that this group is somehow collected with nefarious Israeli intelligence organizations. Shoaib's "offences" are that he exposed the growing influence of Islamist fanaticism in Bangladesh before anyone else was aware of the problem. His courage brought down the wrath of the forces of evil upon him. He spent many, many months in jail, and was released only through the efforts of good friends abroad, US congresspersons and international press associations. [more]

by Moderator @ 10:51 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, March 4, 2006

After Moscow: Israel and Hamas must make a deal

Hamas's Moscow visit was a good lesson in international diplomacy. Politically the visit was a failure. Despite Israeli objections to the visit, which should have made it a triumph for Hamas, Hamas inexperience and its adherence to an outdated ideology prevented it from saying the right things.
Hamas should have seized this unique occasion to announce its readiness for peace talks and recognition of Israel. It has failed to do so, thus giving Israel the perfect pretext to avoid making concessions. One is tempted to say that Hamas has shot itself in the foot.

However Israel cannot ignore Hamas as it ignored Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. It is in Israel's interest to have a dialogue with Hamas. [more]

by Moderator @ 06:52 PM CST [Link]

About a Song - Make something good happen in Jewish-Arab Israeli dialogue

These words are meant mostly for Israelis. Of all things, they are about a song. There are riots in Nazareth and people getting blown up in Iraq, but yours truly is writing about a song. Even more frivolously, the song is an entry in the Eurovision contest. To put it mildly, I am not a big fan of this contest and the kind of 'culture' it represents. So what is it all about? [more]

by Moderator @ 06:52 PM 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

IsraŽl 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