Almost all energy on Mepeace is given over to the Palestine/Israel situation with a strong bias against the nation of Israel. This same attitude can be found on most sites which feature themselves as "liberal". In fact, it's pretty evident that Israel is demonized while the horrendous problems facing the populations of the Mideast are practically disregarded. Let me begin with my own country, Lebanon, which one I recently had to flee for fear of my and my family's well-being. While Lebanon is ruled by a coalition, the very powerful terrorist entity known as Hezbollah has a strong voice in governmental matters plus it possesses its own military of highly trained men. This situation is a curse for the mixed population of Lebanon. Our former PM, Rafic Al-Hariri, was the victim of assassination. Four Hezbollah men are wanted by the World Court for this act but Hezbollah refuses to give them up. In short, Hezbollah continues to act against the law and, furthermore, acts oppressively. Today, in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has armed itself to the teeth. Every village along the border with Israel contains an ammunition dump and most also house Hezbollah militia. The people are forced to endure this because they rightfully fear this entity. It should be no secret that if war broke out between Hezbollah and Israel, and this is likely to occur, many villagers would be in a direct line of fire as Israel would be forced to disrupt the Hezbollah militia hiding behind these villagers and, as well, the ammunition dumps will have to be destroyed. Hezbollah has done this purposefully in full knowledge of the danger it has foisted upon these village people. Of course, just as in Gaza, when these villagers are killed or injured, the Islamists and their liberal accomplices will seek to blame Israel. I should further mention that Hezbollah, which receives a large share of its funding from Iran, uses Syria as its transportation centre and intermediary. Should Syria and its dictator fall, Hezbollah's power base would significantly diminish. It's no secret that Hezbollah is aiding the present Syrian government against the fierce opposition of its protesters. What do Mepeacers think, if anything at all, about this situation?
I wish to add that the turmoil of the socalled Arab Spring has continued in Egypt. Killings and imprisonments continue in spite of the downfall of Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood, the cousin of Hamas, is poised to take over the government with the Salafists making up the second largest contingement. In other words, Egypt appears to be on the verge of transferring itself from a secular dictatorship to an Islamist controlled society which will extensively limit the freedoms of the current population. Freedom and opportunity for women, for instance, will be severely curtailed. I wonder what Mepeacers think about this situation, if anything.
Syria, of course, is in the midst of a very serious civil war in which thousands of protesters to a very evil dictatorial Alawite minority government are being murdered, injured, imprisoned and tortured. With the exception of Turkey, which has offered asylum to renegade soldiers and citizens, no one in the international community is offering (at least publicly) a hand. Iran, by contrast, is assisting the current government in Syria as is Hezbollah. The downfall of the Syrian government could have very serious effects not only on Hezbollah but on the Iranian nation as well. What do Mepeacers think of this situation and do they have any suggestions as to what might be done to assist these brave protesters?
When the Iranian people protested against the Mullahs who lead the country as well as the secular government of Ahmadinejad, thousands were reported as dead or injured and many were (and still are) imprisoned and cruelly tortured. The international community was silent. Today, Iran threatens the western world, Israel and certain Arab states such as Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq with weapons of mass destruction in order to achieve a Shiite hegemony. It appears that a full battle will result, possibly an Armageddon as expressed in the Jewish holy scriptures, if diplomatic means and economic embargoes do not work. What do Mepeacers think about this situation and what could be done to decrease the imminent threat of a nuclear war?
I will also mention in passing that extraordinary strife continues in Iraq with the high risk of a fundamentalist Muslim takeover as soon as the western nations pack up and leave. Incidences of horrific suicide bombing missions continue. Much the same could be said of Afghanistan with the secret backing of al-Queda insurgents in Pakistan. And the Yemen and Bahrain deadly civil battles continue. What do Mepeacers think about these situations?
This should have been placed under "Greater Middle East". Not my doing.
We are all mepeace Ghazi. So long as we stay within the guidelines. Please feel welcome like everyone else to raise issues as you see fit.
I like you have am deeply disturbed about the situation in each of the countries you have raised. I also appreciate when you raise your personal experience from Lebanon.
That said each of us has only a limited time to do anything on this site.
I have a particular interest in Palestine and Israel because of my time spent there and my belief that it plays a key geopolitical role. Stability and peace in Palestine and Israel will have ripple effects in the region. Continued instability in Palestine and Israel sadly divert national struggles for democracy in neighbouring countries as autocratic regimes play the Islamist/anti-US/anti-Israel and Cold War card
[Cold War example see Russia and China backing of Syria in the UN Sec Council] .
Ghazi, please don't write people off because they have a different perspective. We all bring something to mepeace.
This form of communication on mepeace is very limited - but at times is better than nothing.
Perhaps if we are more generous in our attitudes to one another on mepeace then we may provide better grounds for communication and understanding.
Instead of attacking one another why don't we all work towards building empathy with one another and discussing issues devoid of personal demonisation.
The problems between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs only provides an excuse and diversion for the oppressive regimes throughout the Mideast to stay in power. In fact, the injustices, poverty and lack of dynamic change and achievement are so much vaster than you and most foreigners (to the Mideast) can imagine that it's probably a good deal easier to just focus on Israel/Palestinian Arabs. The trouble is, by so limiting your perspective, you further distort the disheartening reality of the Mideast. You are an intelligent man, Stewart. I realize that from your posts. It's incumbent for a man with such intelligence to broaden his purview (that's you I am speaking of). If you do, you will be able to place the Israeli/Palestinian Arab troubles within a much broader context and, as a result, increase your understanding manyfold. In turn, your value not only to Mepeace but to all the Readers of your own blog will profit immensely. I, myself, have tried to provide context in each post that I write (well, almost "each") but, I am afraid, with little success in terms of making any difference. I think my frustration is, unfortunately, showing.
"Palestinian?...Who Cares", an article appearing today from the pen of Guy Bechor (an excellent columnist) in Ynet. We are informed that CNN and France2 and other news bureaus are closing their international offices in Jerusalem and moving to other parts of the Mideast ... where the real action is. It is evident that the Israeli/Palestinian conflicts are really small potatoes in view of the crushing violence in other surrounding countries and that Israel was always a convenient scapegoat for the corrupt Arab regimes of the Mideast and North Africa (we can attach Iran to this series) so that people (civilians) would be distracted from the very real problems facing them. Israel and the Palestinian Arabs are, according to Guy Bechor, are of little consequence in comparison. Hello, Mepeacers, do you want to be relevant?
Bechor's op ed is here
Bechor's "If a Palestinian state is established"
Bechor's article is troubling. He talks about "if" there will be a Palestinian state not when. Does Bechor mean he favours the continued occupation of Palestinians? The 'self-rule/bantustan of the Likud Party. However, this is just a perpetuation of an apartheid policy where there is one law for Israelis (civilian law) and one law for Palestinians (military law). [And please do not try and confuse the situation between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. When I use apartheid - it is specifically to the occupied territories It is based on the context that for 45 years there is one law for one people ad one law for another - based on citizenship].
Or does Bechor favours a multinational unified state as the rest of the developed world enjoys?
Bechor's "As long as they spoke about Israel’s brutality, nobody would be talking about their own brutality."
Does Bechor realise that this principle also works in the reverse? For decades we have heard right wing apologists for Israel only ever critique their Arab neighbours and deny any moral culpability themselves. Of course regimes within Iran, Hussein's Iraq, Syria and the like have displayed immense brutality to its citizens. But does that excuse Israel from its own culpability in maintaining military control over a people? Especially when Israel holds it out to be a light unto the region. If it is indeed a light let us see people liberated. Let us see democratic rights given to Palestinians to decide their own future.
Your approach to the political world is replete with flaws; I will try to articulate them (flaws) in hopes that you, in turn, will reflect on your own continued lack of objectivity, your obsessiveness and your inability to put opinions within the broader context. If I can assist you in learning from what I write, all the better. I am a much older man than you and I believe that your intelligence, if used properly, will result in a far greater understanding than what you have shown in your blog and here on Mepeace. As a man who was trained in journalism at the University of Iowa and who practiced journalism as a means of making a living for about a decade, I was fortunate to have one superb teacher (elder) who was perceptive, honest and intelligent enough to provide me with the kind of hard lessons not normally taught in graduate school so that I could advance the power of my own writing and analyses. I will try to point out some serious flaws in your own analyses which I have continually found on the pages of Mepeace.
1) You once stated that you were drawn to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict due to the fact that the Native people of Australia, where you reside, were subjected to a harsh form of colonialism (still hasn't terminated, incidentally) which you subsequently identified with the Palestinians of Arab descent. Of course, England had no prior relationship with the Australian continent before colonizing it. On the other hand, the Jewish people actually resided in the Land of Israel thousands of years before such a people as "Arabs" even existed. Furthermore, there always was at least a small contingent of Jews who continually resided on the land. The Old Testament plus numerous artifacts, both large and small, are witness to the Jewish presence in the "Holy Land". So when Jews return to their land, it can hardly be considered "colonialism" and is in no way similar to the colonialism of England as you have suggested. Assuming your mistake has been made in good faith, I suggest you take a cold look at your own motives for dwelling upon the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and ask yourself whether you are not moved, at least emotionally, by a rather false code which ends up muddling your thinking.
2) You have pointed out that the reason you find yourself interested in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is that you have actually visited the region. One wonders what your motivation to visit was in the first place. Did you consider visiting other parts of the Mideast? Did you consider other conflicts? Have you not focussed so much on your "area of interest" that you cannot see the forest from the trees and therefore do not consider the conflict (actually, a minor one) within the whole context of the Mideast. Many of the problems I, myself, have with your repeated analyses are due, in fact, to your lack of understanding of the Mideast as a whole as well as a lack of understanding of how such powerful social and political currents have affected both Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews alike. It is rare to read anyone on Mepeace, incidentally, who possesses such broad understanding. Few journalists possess it (broad understanding) so it's not as though you are alone. Nonetheless, for a serious intellectual, it is necessary to view the conflict within its proper context. This would require a knowledge of history, culture, social functioning and politics.
3) You once wrote that it is impossible to view the entire Mideast when I challenged you regarding your own rather myopic view of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In other words, you defended yourself by admitting to a lack of willingness to study and understand, a lack of energy, a lack of interest and a lack of desire. In other words, you defended yourself by resort to ignorance, laziness and disinterest. There remains something wrong about your approach, Stewart, since you pose as a kind of quasi-expert. In fact, I would accuse you of being outrightly immoral.
Given the obvious weaknesses and flaws in your opinions regarding Israel/Palestine, wouldn't it be, in the interests of a kind of intellectual clarity and integrity, to reflect on points #1, 2 and 3, and becoming fully self-critical and effecting self-change where necessary before carrying on. If you take such measures, I can assure you, your opinions will begin to add weight, substance, significance and meaning.
As an aside, Stewart, I would suggest you read Giulio Meotti's "A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israelis Victims of Terrorism". This might assist you in comprehending why the IDF has had to take steps to protect Israeli citizens from ongoing terrorist attacks. According to an article in Arutz Sheva 05/05/11, a report put out by the National Insurance Institute, 983 Israeli civilians have been murdered by Muslim Arab terrorists since the year 2000, the vast majority by Fatah/Hamas operatives. In addition, 17,200 civilians have been wounded. One can only imagine the number of cases of PTSD, especially in children, amongst the Israeli populace which these attacks have caused. Proportionally speaking, 983 is equivalent to 40,000 American civilians. Since 1959, 2,443 civilians have been murdered including 119 foreign nationals. So what you refer to as "occupation" is, in part, the defense measures required for the state of Israel to exist under some form of security. You can hardly deny that the presence of a Jewish state amongst Arab Muslim countries is an insult to their (Arab Muslims) pride and a denigration of their religion as articulated in the Koran. It may be politically incorrect to state it but it's nonetheless true, Arab Muslims will never allow any people other than their own co-religionists (even here I am omitting Shia/Sunni conflicts) to reside amongst them on an equal basis but only as "dhimmis". This, I submit, in sooth, remains the crux of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It will not disappear.
Iran supporting Assad and government of Syria to the tune of one billion dollars in order to carry out military operations against those who protest against the Syrian government according to Dr. Barry Rubin of the GLORIA Centre. In the meantime, reports of nerve gas use against Syrian citizens by the government of Syria provided by Iran and Russia according to today's report in Ynet. Any comments; any responses?
To address the issues you are mentioning, you would need a completely separate website. Because they require their own set of attention, like what the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace is doing. I tried to bring this up in a discussion about Islam, and the bigotry I got from people was so revolting and so factually incorrect. How can people understand the Middle East with this type of backwards medieval thinking? Israel is surrounded by Muslim people, and the goal is to get Israel to coexist with its neighbors. But we realize that its neighbors have problems too.
I presume that when you talk about "backwards medieval thinking" you are referring to Islam as practiced today in the Middle East. What is there to understand about Assad and his murder of his own people or the Iranian trying to build a bomb to eradicate Israel and what about the Saudis support for Wahabis.
Perhaps you may want to enlighten us about Islam and the bigotry that you are so fond of mentioning,
I am particularly taken aback by your laid back final sentence: " But we realize that its neighbors have problems too."
Such a typical UNDERSTATEMENT.
Assad murdering his own people has nothing to do with Islam. It is in a nation, where the majority of the inhabitants are Muslim. So because there is civil war going on in Syria, does that justifies it to be a murderous Islamic society? Was sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, a murderous Christian society? Or just that one group belonged to one sect, and the other group belonged to another sect. Iran trying to build a nuclear bomb is actually more of a concern for the United States, because it is the United States which has the capability of destroying its nuclear reactor. The Wahabis began in Saudi Arabia, and was active trying to wrest control of Mecca away from the Ottoman Turks. The Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. issued a statement that it is reforming its educational system to get away from the teachings of the Wahabis. Is the answer to annihilate all 1.3 billion Muslims, and we will just not have any problems whatsoever? A grandiose task for someone to undertake. Or to understand Islam, and not create this hysteria that we are all going to be destroyed by it. If Islam wanted to destroy the world, it would have done so a long time ago.
I guess in a roundabout way ,you are trying to state that you did mean Islam as "backward medieval thinking" in all of the cases that I mentioned and numerous others that I did not.
Your concluding statement seems to be a false analysis of what people here are saying is the solution.
Islam does not want to destroy the world (that is your take) but rather to subjugate it for Islam. A vast difference , my friend. Just ask Ghazi who is more familiar with the other side of the conflict intimately.