Category Archives: Egypt

Report In Al Ahram About Gaza

Given the reality that members of the American Congress are ready and willing to accept any act by Israel, and condemn any act by Hamas, we decided to present what an Arab newspaper is discussing events in Gaza. According to al Ahram in Egypt, Hamas only seeks to end the fighting and desires peace to reign in Gaza. Yasser Abed Rabbo, who heads the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), “after extensive calls and consultations with the brothers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian leadership announced on behalf of everyone the willingness for a cease fire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours.” I always find it rather interesting that “the brothers” never include, “the sisters.” So, at this moment, Hamas will accept a 24 hour truce. Great news. At least for 24 hours people in Gaza will not be ducking shells and missiles. Of course, on Saturday, the UN(not the brothers) urged adoption of a 72 hour truce, but Hamas rejected it. There is something sad about this statement. Imagine at this moment, with over 1100 dead–77% being innocent civilian, an Egyptian newspaper is discussing a “24 hour” ceasefire!

Let me be perfectly clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shares responsibility for this slaughter of the innocent because he has consistently refused to engage with US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to develop a comprehensive plan for peace between Israel and Palestinians. Based on what al Ahram reports, it is clear that Hamas, and the brothers, just want to continue fighting because it has become a sign of their manhoods to fight and fight to the bitter end. There is not a single story in al Ahram offering ideas for peace in the Middle East. Al Ahram is correct in condemning actions of Israel in their nonstop bombing which has resulted in death of the innocent. But, it it time for Arab media to present ideas and suggestions on how to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Muslim Vs Muslim-The Israel Mistake

The original Bush invasion of Iraq occurred at a time when conflict in the Middle East focused mainly upon Muslims focusing upon Israel or western Christian groups. Today, in 2014, the central conflict in the Middle East is Muslim vs Muslim. The defeat of Sunni Saddam Hussein, who had kept minority Sunnis under close control, resulted in triumph of Shiites who were determined to take revenge upon Sunnis who had for too long ruled over them. Syria was controlled by Sunni leaders such as the Assad family, but they were very secular in attitude and governance. Any demonstration of religion was for show purposes. The Assad clique had close working relations with secular Sunnis and Christians, and they were deeply concerned about rise of any Islamic religous figures. There regime was the perfect Muslim nation in which religion played a secondary role to that of power and prosperity. Bashar Assad married a very secular woman, and enjoyed the life of a modern upper class person. Yes, he attended the mosque, more for a photo op than for any deep involvement in religious issues.

The Middle East today is witnessing a new manifestation of older Sunni vs Shiite strugles. Shiites constitute about 15% of Muslims in the world, and a large percent of this group is located in the Middle East– Iran and Iraq. Islamic militants which swept into northern Iraq were Sunnis who resented loss of power in that nation to the Shiites. Hamas is as geatly opposed to the Egyptian government as it is to the Israelis. In Libya the conflict is between more secular Muslims vs more religious centered ones. The same struggle is dividing Tunisia and Algeria. Israel has nothing to do with these conflicts. Muslims are fighting Muslims.

A Shiite dilemma is they only possess power in the Middle East. Sunis dominate the Muslim religion throughout the rest of the world. If Shiites can not gain power in the Middle East it means they will never possess power anywhere in the world. A basic failure on the part of Israel is lack of understanding regarding the Muslim vs Muslim conflict. Instead of seeking alliances with secular Muslims, Israel fails to differentiate because its government views Muslims as some sort of monoithic entity. Israel must accept the Palestinian Authority as a leader in Palestine. It must empower Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and assist his efforts to destroy Hamas. How can this be accomplished?

1. Recognize the state of Palestine.

2. Accept that about 5% of the West Bank will constitute Jewish settlements.

3. Encourage the state of Palestine to forge a military alliance with Egypt in order to crush Hamas in Gaza. Israel could provide drones, and helicopters.

It is time the US and Israel recognied reality in the Middle East. The war to ensure peace must be won by Muslims, NOT Israel!

The Israeli – Hamas Dilemma

During the momentary lull in Gaza fighting it is time to examine what is happening in Israel and among Palestinians. During the 1967 war, Israel gained control of the West Bank. At that point in time, Jordan ruled the West Bank because the concept of an independent Palestinian state had yet to be born. Israeli leaders in 1967 were prepared to allow an independent Palestinian state to be created in 1967 in return for recognition and peace, but no Arab nation took up the offer. This began the current stalemate in the region. It was simply a matter of time and politics before conservatives in Israel took up the cry of settling on the West Bank in order to restore the ancient land of Israel. There simply was no Arab nation willing to negotiate with Israel until President Sadat of Egypt initiated a peace agreement. Unfortunately, only Jordan was willing to go along with recognition of the state of Israel.

During the past forty years, the “settlers movement” within Israel continued to gain strength and power. By the year 2000 it was a force in Israeli politics. Benjamin Netanyahu seized the opportunity to incorporate this group along with conservative factions in Israel in order to become Prime Minister of the country. He soon recognized that creating the “Iran Threat” would produce votes. Shout that Israel is threatened by Iran in order to engender fear, and the result is more votes. Examine the Netanyahu political approach and the war in Gaza makes sense:

1. He opposed efforts by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to forge an alliance with Hamas. Of course, if Abbas signed a treaty with Israel, this would FORCE HAMAS to go along with it or face massive disapproval by Palestinians.
2. Instead, Netanyahu continues to gain support from Settlers on the West Bank who now number over 500,000. Instead of forcing Hamas to become engaged in a political process, Netanyahu simply encourages their extremists to engage in violence.
3. REALITY: If President Abbas announces the end of his government, this means Israel would have to assume responsibility for government of the West Bank. This is the ISRAEL NIGHTMARE. Within thirty years there would be more Muslims in Israel than Jews. What then?

In one sense, the current horror in Gaza serves the political aims of Hamas and Netanyahu. Both Hamas and Netanyahu require a crisis in order to gain political power. Eventually, fighting will cease. President Abbas, the moderate, has been virtually destroyed by the Gaza war since now revenge and violence are the mantra of most Palestinians. The refusal of Prime Minister Netanyahu to compromise with Abbas has brought to power violent extremists within the Palestinian community.

Hey America-Let’s Fight With Turkey!

The Gaza war continues to ripple across the Middle East creating one new conflict after another. For some strange reason, Muslim Turkey has been upset at the invasion of Gaza and death of hundreds of fellow Muslims. Unlike, George Bush who didn’t give a damn that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians were being oppressed by an Iraq government placed in power by the United States, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is furious at the death of civilians in Gaza. Let me make clear that Recep Erdogan is a petty tyrant who has been active in crushing democratic forces in his own nation, but he certainly is correct in fighting to protect the lives of innocent civilians in Gaza. Yes, he did employ harsh words towards Israel, why is this a surprise to anyone? What else should the leader of a Muslim nation do other than seek to save the lives of fellow Muslims? In fairness to him, Erdogan has been working with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in an effort to obtain a cease fire.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutogu is upset at comments made by a State Department spokesperson who said: “the U.S. believes Erdogan’s statements were offensive and wrong.” What else could Erdogan say but, “If America is still saying Israel is using its right to self-defense, then it should be critical of itself. It is America that is offensive.”

Perhaps, it is time for American diplomats to, while acknowledging the right of self defense, to also acknowledge the right of civilians to be able to live. A civilian certainly has the right of self defense, and that includes still being able to live.

No Fly, No War?

The killings continue in Gaza as the Israel army continues its campaign to wipe out launching facilities that send rockets into Israel. A new twist on this story concerns decisions by most major airlines to cease any flights in or out of Israel. After all, if rockets are in the air, the last thing desired is to have planes up in the sky. One suspects this ban was never anticipated by those planing the invasion of Gaza. Then again, has the Israel government a plan to end death for its citizens that goes beyond the present moment in time? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflects the feelings of many nations in demanding that Israel halt its current attacks in Gaza. Each minute, each hour, each day, the number of deaths grows higher and higher.

Let me make clear, that every nation in the world has a right to respond to military attacks upon its soil. No nation has to sit idly by while rockets descend upon its people. The right to employ force against violence is NOT the issue. The issue, and it will continue to be the issue is: what is the future of Israel as a society? Is the goal seizure of the entire West Bank and removal of Palestinians from the area? Is so, then the current invasion of Gaza makes some sort of sense. BUT, if the issue is: how does the Israel government develop a policy which enables Palestinians to have their own government, then the invasion makes scant sense. Why? Because after the guns grow silent in Gaza, thousands of young Palestinians have only one dream– to revenge the deaths of family and friends. Perhaps, it takes a year, perhaps two years, but in the future there will be other rockets.

What then? Another invasion?

Words Of Wisdom From Chairman Chris

I was aware that Governor Chris Christie was an expert on traffic conditions on bridges, and when it comes to the issue of ensuring his wealthy friends get tax breaks, the good governor of New Jersey leads the nation. So, it was surprising to discover that Chris is an expert on the Middle East. However, to be honest, he is an expert on what Sheldon Adelson desires in life. A few months ago, Chris dashed to Las Vegas and kissed the hand of Sheldon as well as falling to his knees pleading forgiveness. He referred to the West Bank as “occupied land.” Sheldon does not give money or blessings to anyone who doubts the entire Middle East belongs to Jews–God promised them the region. Anyway, Chris decided to really prove to Sheldon that he loves Israel above all, particularly the truth. He gave a speech and explained to Americans why there are problems in the Middle East. Take one guess: BARACK OBAMA!

According to Chris, “Israel is not sure that they have American full support like they used to, and that is the failure of then presidency now.” He went on to emphasize, “that what you see in the Middle East is caused, not completely, but in some measure by the fact that the president has not acted in a decisive, consistent way.”

Oh, as I recall, a president invaded Iraq seeking weapons of mass destruction that never existed. The best friend of Israel is John Kerry who has worked to achieve peace with Palestinians. If not for the US, the Security Council would be passing resolutions blasting current Israel policy in Gaza. Chris, focus on bridges, that is your expertise!

Kick Or Pray

The 2014 World Cup has finally drawn to a conclusion which means that about one billion people can get back to the ordinary hum drum of daily life. Writing as an American who simply does not share the fervor that is so often demonstrated in nations that regard who wins the World Cup as among the most important issues in their lives. I appreciate the sport fanatic since I am one. Alas, not for soccer or World Cups, but for my beloved New York Giant football team or my long lasting love affair with the New York Yankees, and my tormented suffering with the New York Knick basketball team. So, I was intrigued by a study conducted in Saudi Arabia by Marian Dujain al-Kadi which reveals that 60% of Saudi females decide which team to root for in the World Cup based on the good or bad looks of players. Of course, in Muslim Saudi Arabia not only are women banned from driving a car, they don’t even have time in school for physical education. One is left wondering do Saudi women have extra energy and are dying to bang away at a football more than even banging away with a man?

The other aspect of the World Cup in Saudi Arabia that captures my attention is what happens if the game conflicts with prayer time. Sheik Mohamed al-Mahmoud insists that prayer takes precedence over the game. “When it is time for late evening and Ramadan-specific night prayers, one must go to the mosque and pray.” These are definitely not the words or advice of a sport fan. On Yom Kippur I would flee from the synagogue to find some friendly Christian family listening to the World Series. Since they recognized while I was not Jewish, I was a devout Yankee fan, they allowed me to listen.

I hate to inform the Sheik, but God is a fanatic sport fan. And, he is really upset that Saudi women cannot kick a ball!

America In 2050

Among the most serious defects of modern political leaders is their failure to function in long term thinking. Just about every important world political leader can not get beyond thinking in terms of next year. We decided it was time our readers got a glimpse into the world of 2050.

1. At this point in time, a majority of people residing in America will NOT trace their ancestry back to Europe.

2. Women will be a majority in college, a majority in key business leadership positions and, hopefully, either a majority of close to it in Congress.

3. We can expect a woman as President.

4. About one fourth of Americans will fall into the category of being of mixed racial backgrounds.

5. Robots or some form of them will handle the vast majority of work in our society.

6. People will live in “smart houses” that make decisions including what to order for dinner tonight.

6. Leisure will be an important component of the American economy.

7. The impact of global change will begin to be apparent even to each and every American.

8. Congress will be investigating as to the nature of life in America in the year 2100. This will be a major issue for all in politics.

9. Viewers will now be able to feel the experience being seen.

10. Education will be handled in small schools which are linked technologically all over the world.

11. Oh, what we now know as “tests” will have long since disappeared from education.

12. A sensible tax rate will now be accepted by most Americans due to the large percent of people past retirement age.

13. Education and work for retired people will be a major focus of society.

14. Life expectancy will now be 100 for most Americans.

15. A major project will be sending people to investigate possible life on Mars.

16. The UN will become the focus of creating a world wide citizenship status that enables an individual to travel and reside in any nation in the world.

17. There will be growing interest in how to create the basis of world wide planning.

18. Use of money will have ceased, everything will be handled electronically. Alas,no more penny.

19. A political party will be formed that seeks to grant robots some form of “rights.”

20. Congressional districts will be created by non-partisan commissions.

Sort Of Cease Fire

Every so often in the Middle East there arrives a moment, just a moment, when one is capable of considering the possibility that some sort of quiet might reign in the region. In Libya, they are firing rockets into cities, in Egypt, missiles are being fired by Islamists who hate the Islamist government of General Sisi which has imprisoned members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, under President Morsi, the Brotherhood imprisoned Islamists who did not agree with the other Islamists. Anyway, the Egyptian government persuaded the Israel government to hold off on further bombings that have left hundreds dead or wounded. The Arab League accepted the cease fire, Egypt supported the cease fire, Israel said OK to the cease fire, but Hamas continues to insist that firing rockets which result in the deaths of hundreds somehow, in some way, furthers the cause of Palestinian independence. Hamas leaders think something like this:

“If we can get Israel to kill a few thousand people in Gaza or in other parts of Palestine, the people will reject President Abbas and come running to us. Who else but we can guarantee that people die? The more who die, the more families that become radicalized, and the more followers flock to us. So, please Israelis, continue to kill and kill and help us recruit more fanatics filled with hatred. We of Hamas believe the road to heaven is filled with bodies of the dead. Just heap up the bodies and we can climb on them in order to reach Heaven.”

Leave it to Hamas and no one will be left to live in Palestine.

Bombs Away Bombs Away Peace

There is no question that the history of negotiations between Israel and Arab leaders reveals a story of missed opportunities, incompetent Palestinian leadership, and roads that were never explored. Yasser Arafat in 2001 refused the Clinton plan which gave Palestinians about 95% of what they desired, he wanted, 100%! Such has been the past. But, today, there is another Palestinian leader, President Abbas, who seeks a genuine solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Yes, there is the presence of Hammas. We can assume Israel’s claim that Hammas had something to do with the death of 3 innocent Jewish children. The response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bombings,words of hate and violence, will have consequences. Israel claims its bombings have destroyed missiles, weapon bases, militants, and, of course, a few dozen innocent Muslim children. A mosque has been hit, a center for disabled people has been hit, schools have been hit, all in retaliation for the death of 3 innocent children.

Death of a Jewish child is painful, so is death for a Muslim child, painful, as well as the child of an atheist or Christian. As I recall, there have been previous bombing campaigns with the promise that THIS time bad people will be killed, and there will be no more bombings or deaths of Israelis. Frankly, one has lost track as to how many bombing campaigns were launched that were the last bombing campaign. American colonists fought for seven years against the most powerful nation in the world, they lost 90% of the battles, but finally won the last one. Of course, the “end” only arrived when both sides sat down to negotiate peace. THAT is the only hope for peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s heroes are warriors. Perhaps, it is time to model another hero-Nelson Mandela who did not allow the deaths of innocent black South African children to get in the way of peace–even with those who had brutally killed the innocent!