MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Friday, June 24, 2005
The Missing Peace Part I: The Missing Piece
The "peace" process was not what any of us thought at all.
Review of "The Missing Peace," by Dennis Ross, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.
In ancient Sumeria and other cultures, when a king died, his retainers were often killed and buried with him. If we consider the effects of various memoirs written by people in public life, we can begin to see the logic behind this cruel custom. Dennis Ross's huge book, The Missing Peace however, is required reading for students of the Middle East Peace Process. It has received many reviews, most which were more about the pet theses of the different reviewers than about the book itself. As it is a large book, and Ross is not a terribly inspired writer, it will probably be cited and talked about far more than it is read. [more]
The face of evil - Wafa the hospital bomber
It didn't happen, but as the Hallmark people tell us, it's the thought that counts. As Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon prepared for their summit meeting, someone was preparing a "surprise" for them. Wafaa al Biss (or Wafa al Bass), age given variously as 21 or 23, was caught at the Erez crossing, trying to enter Israel in order to carry out a suicide bombing in a crowded Israeli hospital. Bis was being treated gratis in Israel for burns she suffered in a home cooking accident. It takes more imagination than I have to imagine someone who would take advantage of the kindness of the Israeli medical establishment in this way. [more]
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Truth, Demonization and Reconciliation - Parents' Circle and Frontpage Magazine
Sadly, truth and reconciliation are always victims of conflict. Even those who advertise themselves as advocates of nonviolence and reconciliation can, perhaps inadvertantly, become agents of demonization and polarization.
This story began on February 11, 1999, when Naela Kara'in, a distinguished and beloved Palestinian public health worker, was stabbed to death near #11 Elisha street in the Musrara neighborhood of West Jerusalem. According to Palestinian newspaper accounts, a Palestinian Arab, Mohamed Sha'alan, confessed to the crime, and was convicted. Sha'alan claimed he had mistaken Naela for a Jewish lady. This account of the story is also accepted by Naela's sister, Nadwa Sharandah, though Nadwa insists that Sha'alan may have been working for others. Sadly, today there are at least two different versions of this story in circulation, one is an vicious invention, and the other is not quite true. There is a third version that gets the facts of that story right, but gets almost everything else wrong. It is a small matter really, but it is hard to keep silent in the face of all the apparently deliberate distortions. [more]
Monday, June 13, 2005
Public Participation: Critical for Success of Morocco's "National Initiative for Human Development"
Last month in a well received speech to his nation, King Mohammed VI of Morocco launched the National Initiative for Human Development. He described the Initiative as a "large-scale mobilization...in the effort to achieve sustainable development" and "self-reliance." Its objectives include extending basic social services and infrastructures, creating jobs and regular income, and upgrading services for the most vulnerable people. The King stated the Initiative is a "venture spanning a whole generation" and initially will target 360 rural communes and 250 urban districts that are in most need (roughly three million people). It will also be funded by the state budget (starting at over $100 million annually) without new taxes or levies. [more]
by Jason Ben Meir @ 06:48 PM CST [Link]
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Boogie with the Bogeyman? Legitimizing Hamas
Children's stories are filled with bogeymen, but those bogeymen are not real. History is filled with bogeymen; all too many of them are very real: Hitler and Nazism, Stalin and the KGB, Pohl Pot in Cambodia, Pinochet in Chile, Mao Tse Tung, the Argentine regime and many others. Those regimes really did have men who came and took away children and parents by the thousands and millions, but good behavior was no guarantee of immunity. It is hard to understand in retrospect, how these vicious characters and movements could be accorded diplomatic honors and considered "respectable" by the statesmen of the world, but it happend nonetheless, and it is happening again right now. For those who want to understand, follow the current career of the Hamas, an up-and-coming real live bogeyman. You are watching history in the making. [more]
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Abbas visits the Emperor
In the old days it was simple. If there was a regional squabble, the Soviets took the side of one state, and the US took the side of the other state. Leaders of the client states went to their respective patrons to receive their blessing. Today however, the USA is the only game in town, so both Israeli PM Sharon in April, and Palestinian President Abbas in May, came on pilgrimage to Texas and Washington respectively to be blessed by Bush. Both of these visits were largely ceremonial. If Bush had hard words for Sharon about settlements or for Abbas about terror, these were kept very private. Each visit was crowned by effusive media events and statements that made the other side nervous. [more]
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