Tag Archives: Israel

Israel Lawmaker Insults Israeli Arab Citizens

Among the tragedies in Israel over the past decade has been the emergence to power of right wing groups who violate the basic essence of the Jewish religion and the values of those who founded the state of Israel. Judaism is founded in a respect for the rights of all people and Israel’s founders wanted to live in peace with their Arab neighbors but the utranationalist Yisrael Beitenu Party led by racists such as Avigdor Lieberman continue to display insensitivity for the rights of Arab citizens. Internal Security Minister Yitzhad Aharonovitch responded to a comment by an undercover police agent who apologized for his dirty clothes with an inane comment, “What do you mean dirty? You look like a real Araboosh.” The word is a derogatory expression in Hebrew for Arabs– much akin to the word, “nigger.”

Mr. Aharonovitch defended himself by saying: “this remark does not reflect my positions or world views and I apologize to anyone who was insulted.” At least Mr. Aharonovitch could have the decency to speak the truth and admit what he said was exactly what Lieberman and he believe regarding Israel Arabs.

US Support For Israel Drops But Lieberman Rants On!

A recent study by Project Israel reveals American public support for the state of Israel has dropped over the past nine months from 69% supportive to 49% supportive. The reason is not because Americans are entranced by the performance of the Palestinians, but they are increasingly disgusted by a pig headed obdurate stance on the part of Israel leaders such as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who refuse to offer any sensible proposals for peace other than whatever we have been doing we intend to continue doing it. The Obama administration has increased pressure for Israel to allow free flow of goods in and out of Gaza and allow its inhabitants to work at restoring their economy. Secretary of State Clinton wishes Israel would cease linking the release of a captured Israel soldier to the lives of the entire Gaza population.

The Israel soldier eventually will be released but there is no evidence the present Israel policy is helping to achieve that goal. Obama wants border crossings opened and commerce to restart in order to focus the attention of Gaza inhabitants on their economic development. Forcing them to endure poverty only gains new recruits for violence.

Perhaps, the people of Israel could watch on TV how hundreds of thousands of young Muslims in Iran are peacefully fighting for peace. Those youngsters do not seek war with Israel anymore than do most Muslims. If Israel would accept the 1967 boundaries a compromise can be worked out concerning return of Palestinian refugees.

Jimmy Carter Works For Middle East Peace

Former president Jimmy Carter is reviled by conservative talk show hosts, supporters of Israel and any night on Fox News as someone who hates Israel. Of course, Jimmy Carter is the ONLY AMERICAN PRESIDENT WHO ACTUALLY HELPED NEGOTIATE A PEACE AGREEMENT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND AN ARAB NATION. I do not always agree with the ideas of Jimmy Carter, but his motives derive from a genuine desire to foster peace in the Middle East. He currently is talking with Hamas leaders who told him they were willing to accept the 1967 borders which, in effect, is recognizing the existence of the state of Israel. Ismail Haniyeh also told Carter he was willing to exchange captured Israel soldier Gilad Schalit for Palestinian prisoners.

Ironically, there are reports that al-Qaeda attempted to assassinate Carter by placing road side bombs on the route he was traveling. Ironically, the Shin Bet passed on information to Palestinian sources about the potential attack. The reality most Israelis do not wish to accept is they can have peace– based on 1967 borders if that is their desire. But, insisting that Israel can retain the West Bank is a killer in any attempt to secure peace. Accept the 1967 borders, be recognized by Arab nations and create a Middle Eastern version of the European Union– that is the road to peace.

Does Netanyahu Have A Valid Argument?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his explanation as under which conditions Israel would recognize the existence of an independent Palestinian state. He insisted Palestine must be demilitarized and not be allowed to control its own air space or to have the capability of militarily threatening Israel. On this point, the Israel prime minister has a valid argument. Given the size of Israel, if a Palestinian state came under the control of radical groups and had access to rockets and planes it would pose a serious threat to Israel. On the other hand, Israel must give iron clad guarantees to Palestine that it will not interfere in the internal affairs of that nation.

However, Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize the existence of a “Jewish state” raises serious questions. One out of five people in Israel are Muslims and to accept the concept their country is not representative of their existence is simply not tolerable. Jews in America constitute less than two percent of the population and would be furious if America was termed a “Christian nation.” This is a semantic argument and has no place in serious negotiations.

The West Bank continues to be ignored by Netanyahu, but no nation of Palestine could simply surrender a large portion of their territory because some Jewish settlers want to live there. The West Bank was awarded to Arabs, not the new nation of Israel. The land was illegally seized and must be returned.

Perhaps, in surrendering the complete right of return of Arab refugees a compromise could be worked out allowing a small piece of the West Bank to be exchanged for land in Israel such as a road connecting Gaza to the remainder of the country.

Ball Of Peace In Arab Court!

The aftermath of President Obama’s speech has resulted in renewed discussions among various Arab groups about the necessity of coming together in a coalition for peace. Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal is now in Cairo discussing the situation with General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman in order to find a solution to end the breach between Fatah and Hamas. An anonymous source told the Arab weekly, Al-Ahram, “the Americans– to judge not just by the Obama speech and talks in Cairo and Riyadh, but also by successive delegations to the region –seem serious about getting engaged in talks for peace. Now the Palestinians and Arabs in general have to work to make these talks possible.” Amen.

The devastating results of Ahmadinejad’s stealing of the Iranian presidency means groups like Hamas have to cease relying on Iranian assistance. For the first time in years, the United States is adopting a balanced stance between conflicting groups which requires all radical elements to unite with moderates and present Israel a united front determined to seek peace. If they allow Iran to enter the process, it will merely provide an excuse for Israel negotiators to play the Iran card and frighten the United States.

US Tells Netanyahu To Speak Honestly On Sunday

Even before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his mouth on Sunday for his expected speech on the future of Israel and Palestinian leaders, the Obama administration said what he intends to say is not sufficient in terms of moving the Middle East towards peace. Netanyahu supposedly told envoy George Mitchell that he would not be able to express the ideas desired by Obama about moving quickly to work with Palestinians about establishing an independent state. He refuses to halt further housing on the West Bank and he refuses to accept the concept of an independent Palestine. Netanyahu is caught in the trap of having created a government in which right wing fanatics hold important positions. If he accepts the American position it might lead to the collapse of his government.

There are moments in history when a leader has to speak the truth to his nation. There are moments in history when a leader has to be prepared to lose power if the end result is saving his nation from disaster. This is one of those moments for Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hamas Urges Obama Talk With Them

Exiled Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said President Barack Obama must enter into dialogue with their organization before it would even renounce violence– a key demand of the United States. Marzouk claimed his organization was the real representative of the Palestinian people which thus made it impossible to have any discussions without their presence. “They know that without Hamas their efforts will not succeed. In his Cairo speech, the president challenged Palestinian leaders to renounce violence and accept the reality of the Israel government.

Hamas is undoubtedly an important cog in any process that would lead to peace, but it falls into the trap of too many Israeli and Palestinian leaders who want the United States to somehow negotiate a peace between rival organizations. Hamas has the power to, at least, say it will renounce violence during a peace process while retaining the right to return to violence if the effort collapses. The ultimate decision for peace resides in the hands of Israelis and Palestinians, not Americans.

Wither Israel– Peace Or Isolation?

There are moments in the history of nations in which choices must be made regarding the future existence of the country. The state of Israel has endured fifty years of isolation and hatred and survived. But, there is always a price paid when living in a constant state of fear and aloneness. President Barack Obama has openly challenged Israel to confront the need for peace and be willing to pay the price that goes along with ending isolation. He discussed mistakes on the part of the United States, he discussed mistakes on the part of Palestinians and Muslims, and he discussed mistakes on the part of Israel. At no point did he single out Israel as the only one responsible for the current impasse in peace.

Jewish voters are divided on how to respond to the Obama challenge. A newspaper poll that asked: “Should Israel accept Obama’s demands or reject them and risk sanctions?” About 40% of respondents said their nation should reject the demands of Obama while 56% said it was necessary to deal with reality. The latter figure might include Israeli Arabs.

The time is now, not tomorrow for Israel.

World Reaction To Obama Speech

The Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, published comments from people concerning reactions to the Obama speech. We print some excerpts of those comments.

Abdullah Gul, President of Turkey: “I find his position on regional peace very appropriate… With the message and assurances he gave today, the US president showed that he is a constructive leader with whom Muslim countries can engage in partnership for peace and stability in the region.”

Rabil Abu Rdainah of Palestinian Government: “His call for stopping settlement and for the establishment of a Palestinian state and his reference to the suffering of Palestinians… is a clear message to Israel that a just peace is build on the foundations of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Fawzi Barhum, speaking for Hamas: “It had many contradictions, al the while reflecting tangible change.”

Ali Al-Dabbagh, speaking for Iraq government: “The speech was historic and important and reflects a positive direction for the new administration and it is a new start…. The government of Iraq is comfortable with the clarity of the president in respecting commitments to Iraq and the timetable for withdrawal stipulated in the security pact.”

Mohamed Habib, of Muslim Brotherhood: “It’s a public relations address more than anything else.”

There apparent is a wide divergence among Muslims in the world how they interpret the Obama speech.

“At Least He’s Better Than Bush!”

Customers at the Delice shop in Gaza watched the speech by President Barack Obama in quiet silence, nodding at certain points when he gave a direct message to Israel to lift the siege on Palestinians and work for a two state solution. Ehab Qishawi, diplomat in Gaza, said “he touched our emotions, especially when he quoted from the Qur’an. His words were good, but up to now we haven’t seen any policies on the ground. That’s what we are waiting for.” Other customers repeated the refrain about words being spoken, but no evidence of any changes in their lives or the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. There is a growing sense that too much time has been spent in meetings which conclude with statements, but life goes on as before and there is no change in the conditions people confront on a daily basis.

Asad Abu Shark, a professor at Al-Azhar University, summed up the general feeling in the Middle East. “Any American gesture in the right direction is welcome. If the Americans want an even-handed policy, we welcome that, but actions speak louder than words.”

The next step is up to Israel. Can it meet the challenge of taking a risk for peace?