MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Monday, November 24, 2008
US Imposed Middle East Settlement: Start of another fiasco
The US has not finished extracting itself from the nightmarish quagmire of Iraq, and is probably about to get involved in a worse quagmire in Afghanistan. Worse, the US may be about to launch itself into an adventure in Israel and Palestine that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like pleasure trips. Ironically, the people urging this course are not right wing neo-con "hard line" imperialists, but their opponents, those who had urged an end to the Iraq war and an attempt to engage Iran. [more]
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Israeli elections may bring a brave new world
Following the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, the world is enamored of change. Change, however, is not always a good thing. It may bring to power a Franklin Roosevelt, but frequently the results are less constructive. The Islamist revolution in Iran brought change, for example, and so did the election of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis in Germany. In 1977, Israelis who wanted "change" voted for the "Democratic party for change." We got change, but those who voted for the "change" party were disappointed to find the Likud of Menachem Begin in power. The era of settlements had begun in earnest. In a few months, there may soon be a another big political change in Israel too, bigger than many seem to realize. Big and BAD. [more]
At the Crossroads, Again: Israel Facing Early Elections
One (major) tactical error and two fundamental political factors--namely, the position taken by the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party and a political rebellion within her own party, Kadima--doomed Tzipi Livni's efforts to put together a coalition government that could win approval in the Knesset. She informed President Shimon Peres that she had failed in her mission and would rather go to early elections than submit to the demands she was facing from several quarters. And it now seems that elections will be held on February 10, 2009, three years since the seventeenth Knesset was elected. Israeli citizens are once again facing a crucial decision that might have an effect for many years to come. [more]
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Benny Morris: 1948 - A book that can make a difference
Rghtly or wrongly, Benny Morris is recognized by many as the dean of Israeli historians of the First Arab-Israel War. At least, it is true for English speaking readers. If so, his latest book should cause an upheaval in that field. This is not a dry academic issue about historiography of events that are past and irrelevant. The history and perception of that war is vital to an understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For that war, at least, we have to agree with William Faulkner, who said, "The past isn't dead; it isn't even past."
Since the 1980s, Israeli new historians have made much of the world look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of a single. "narrative." It states that the Arabs of Palestine were minding their own business in 1948, when they were attacked and expelled by superior Jewish forces for no reason whatever, according to a preconceived racist plan that was 'understood' if not put in writing or announced officially. A terrible historical injustice was done - "Ethnic Cleansing." Leaving aside for a moment whether real history can be written as part of a political polemic - Zionist or anti-Zionist, the real question is "What really happened?" [more]
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Hamas and 1967 borders: Enough to induce Obama?
"We don't have a state, neither in Gaza nor in the West Bank. Gaza is under siege and the West Bank is occupied. What we have in the Gaza Strip is not a state, but rather a regime of an elected government. A Palestinian state will not be created at this time except in the territories of 1967."
This is what the Gaza-based Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, told European parliamentarians who brought emergency relief supplies for the beleaguered residents of Gaza. According to him, Israel had rejected his initiative for a Palestinian state within the June 1967 borders. Within hours another Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, declared that the group's long-term 'truce' with Israel is still on the table. [more]
Monday, November 10, 2008
Barack Obama: Maybe he can't
We can all celebrate the victory that Barack Obama has won for African Americans, and breath a sigh of relief that an incompetent regime is gone. But let's face it: Unless Barack Obama really can walk on water, it is doubtful that he can fulfill even a fraction of his campaign promises.
Hamas and the Quest for Middle East Peace
Realizing that there is no realistic prospect for peace between Israel and Palestine unless the Palestinian factions can unite behind one common negotiating position, the Egyptian government planned to host a conference at the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Shaikh today in an attempt to unite no fewer than 13 Palestinian factions. [more]
Friday, November 7, 2008
Lost in Translation: Who Me, a Settler?
Stephen Kramer, a West Bank settler, wrote an article replying to Americans for Peace Now in which he supposedly derived the origin of the word "settler" for American readers.
This was not an idle linguistic exercise. Kramer's purpose was to show that all Israelis are "settlers," and that the legal status and moral implications of my home in Rehovot, for example, are identical to those of the home of a a "settler" like Noam Federman, who took possession of land without a permit and in defiance of the laws of the state of Israel and in order to sabotage the international undertakings made by the Israeli government. According to Kramer, he, and I and Federman and the BILU who settled in Gedera and the inhabitants of Tel Aviv are all in the same moral category. We are all "settlers." [more]
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Free at last!
When history is happening, we never notice. History just happened. [more]
Monday, November 3, 2008
Middle East: Collision course
2009 will bring a brave new world to the Middle East. Very probably, Barack Obama will be elected president of the United States tomorrow, and he will bring about significant changes in the style and perhaps the content of United States policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.
But the elections that should interest us most are those which are going to take place, and those that will not take place closer to home. [more]
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