MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Truth About Syria
The Truth About Syria
What to do about Syria is, or should be, a major policy concern of the US government, and of most governments in the Middle East. In The Truth About Syria, Professor Barry Rubin takes us inside a modern, if atavistic, mini-USSR, and shows us what it is about and how it works. You do not have to believe every word, though most of what Rubin tells us is well documented and indisputable. It may not be The Truth about Syria. Nobody has a handle on the whole truth. It is certainly a very large part of the Truth about Syria. The truth about Syria is not pleasant. Many U.S. policy makers do not want to hear it. They know the facts. They want to ignore them. They want you to ignore them. [more]
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Sharm summit surprises: Abbas is abandoned
When I wrote about the expected results of the Sharm El Sheikh summit, I anticipated few surprises coming out of a media spin event. After all, the summit was ostensibly called to bolster Mahmud Abbas and his Fateh government. [more]
Update: PBS's Getler repudiates reference to 6,000 Palestinian deaths in Six Day War
Michael Getler, ombudsman of the Public Broadcasting System, has published a correction disowning his recent online reference to 6,000 Palestinian deaths in the 1967 Six Day War.
According to the PBS ombudsman, the producers of Ilan Ziv's documentary film "Six Days in June" blame the error on a misunderstanding in an interview between them and a writer for the Toronto Globe and Mail.
by Joseph M. Hochstein @ 02:23 PM CST [Link]
Israeli-Arab Peace: What Was and Might Have Been
A counter-factual history
Initially, Israel's remarkable military victory in June 1967 did not result in a stampede toward the negotiating table. The three no's of the Khartoum Summit of September '67 -- no to negotiations, no to recognition, no to peace -- threatened to entrap Israel in a long-term occupation of lands captured from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, despite the invitation of Levi Eshkol's government to discuss a return of most of these territories. [more]
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sharm el Sheikh Conference: Vision versus reality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
A realist would have to be really surprised if great things come out of today's Sharm el Sheikh summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Abdullah of Jordan and Mahmud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, or what is left of it. [more]
Thursday, June 21, 2007
False claim of 6,000 Palestinian deaths in Six Day War
A false allegation that 6,000 Palestinians died in the 1967 Six Day War appears at the website of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service.
The false report originated as an inadvertent error in a Canadian newspaper June 2. It gained more visibility on the internet a few days later when Michael Getler, ombudsman of the 354-station PBS, cited it as if it were fact.
Getler devoted his June 8 column to "Six Days," a documentary film directed by Israeli-born Ilan Ziv. The ombudsman's column, titled "Versions of War," dealt mainly with Getler's discovery that "there were actually several versions of this same basic film being seen in different countries, and that the American, or PBS version, was different in important ways." [more]
by Joseph M. Hochstein @ 01:56 PM CST [Link]
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Gaza Coup: Islamization is coming
This projection of events is offered by Palestinian activist Walid Salem. It looks like "Springtime for Meshal and Islam, winter for Abbas and secularization." His prognosis that Hamas will attempt to Islamize Egypt is alarming, and it is interesting in view of persistent reports that Egypt will support the Hamas in order to combat Al-Qaeda. As he points out, Hamas will probably make order in Gaza, providing some benefit to the average citizens. This is, in fact already beginning to happen according to reports.
(1) Islamization is coming
In response to the events in Gaza last week, Dr. Sa'eb Erekat the Head of PLO Negotiations Department, said on 14/6/2007 "This is the worst event Palestine witnessed since 1967 war defeat". [more]
Gaza Coup: Why now?
The coup d'etat in Gaza was well-prepared over a long period of time. That allowed creation of a very effective plan which led to the defeat of the PA security forces in only three days of real fighting.
The question however, is why it took place just now. "Why now?" The answer is that Hamas felt that there is a plan being prepared to crush them, because of the declaration of the American benchmarks plan issued at the end of last April. This has as one of its aims to support the presidential guards in order to take the responsibility of security in Gaza, as part of cooperation with Israel. [more]
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Ten reasons why Fatah collapsed in Gaza
In three days of fighting the security forces of PA collapsed like a cartoon in Gaza. Ten reasons are behind this very shocking collapse:
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Gaza: What is happening and why it is important
The Middle East policy of the United States is suffering an unmitigated catastrophe as I write these words. The U.S. is suffering a policy disaster that may be worse in the long run than the Iraq debacle, but apparently nobody in the state department understands this. The Palestinian national cause is likewise suffering a second Nakba, a disaster as bad or worse than that of 1948. We Israelis too, have a new threat on our southern border. The astounding thing is that nobody at all seems to care very much, and everyone goes about business as usual, as if nothing happened.
In Gaza, a relatively small force of Hamas Islamist extremists are liquidating the possibility of a two state solution and a secular Palestinian democracy. The tragedy is exemplified by two items.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Gaza Implodes: The anti-Altalena of the Hamas
We are witnessing the unfolding of a great tragedy in Gaza. Civil war is always ugly, but this is not simply civil war, as occurred in the United States for example, and some other countries. People are thrown from the fifteenth story roofs of buildings, hospitals are invaded, doctors murdered. With considerable understatement, HRW has condemned the "Grave crimes" of the Hamas and Fatah.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Stop the Chomesh march madness
For a second time, Greater Israel "enthusiasts" are marching today to the ruined settlement of Chomesh in the West Bank. God must be on their side, if God is on the side of those with the big battalions. The IDF will be guarding the march with four battalions. My tax money is at work - and yours, dear fellow Israelis, for we pay the salaries of those IDF troops, and we probably are paying for the march too. [more]
Monday, June 11, 2007
An EU for Israel/Palestine
only that victory endures in consequence of which no one is defeated.
My father still can't believe it. A D-Day vet, he shakes his head every time the term "European Union" comes up on television or in the paper. "I'd have bet my life," he says, "that England, France and Germany would never have anything to do with one another -- except to slaughter each other." [more]
Friday, June 8, 2007
Claims of Entebbe conspiracy lack credibility
A subscriber to the MidEastWeb news service asks for clarification of two British articles publicizing a claim that Israel helped a radical Palestinian group hijack an Air France airbus to Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976.
"I had trouble accurately interpreting the ... article on the Israel hijack role," the subscriber writes. "Did it indicate the previous article ... was not true?"
The question refers to articles distributed June 1 by BBC News and by the Telegraph. The BBC reported that a document found in British government archives contended "that Israel itself was behind the hijacking." The Telegraph, treating the archived material with greater accuracy, described the allegation as an "extraordinary claim that Israeli intelligence may have had a hand in an airline hijacking before sending in commandos to rescue the hostages at Entebbe." The rescue took place July 4, 1976.
The articles in question do not provide a basis for believing the conspiracy claim. Nor does the archived document reveal any evidence for the allegation. This leaves the credibility of the allegation dependent on faith in its source. [more]
by Joseph M. Hochstein @ 11:53 PM CST [Link]
Monday, June 4, 2007
In the Wake of the Winograd Interim Findings: Why Is Olmert Hanging On?
University of Pretoria Centre for International Political Studies (CIPS)
More than 100,000 Israelis—and these figures are the lower estimates—gathered in Rabin Square on May 3 to call for the resignation of those held responsible for the failures of planning and execution that attended the Second Lebanon War. The protest, in a sense, was true to the intent of the Winograd Commission, which explicitly chose to assign responsibility to the former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Force, Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz; to the Defense Minister, Amir Peretz; and to the Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert; but at the same time to avoid specific personnel recommendations in its interim report. Prime ministers and their key colleagues, it said, are judged not by one aspect alone, and beyond the war issues, which the commission was charged to look into, there are much broader considerations that the real sovereigns—the people at large—may want to weigh as they make their judgment. Since the war gave rise to questions of professionalism, conduct, and discretion (as distinct from criminal culpability, where one instance might suffice to discredit, which was not the case here), it was better left to the public to have the final word.
Boycotting Middle East peace
The Israel boycott resolution of the British UCU academic union, and the announcement by the larger UNISON federation that it too is considering a boycott, follow similar resolutions by a UK journalists' union (NUJ) and an Irish artists group. These resolutions are not the product of legitimate concern over the sometimes heartbreaking aspects of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Nor are they stepping stones on the way to peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, they are the fruit of a long campaign to delegitimize Israel, aimed at blocking any peaceful settlement. [more]
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