Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 236 (since 2012-12-04 18:20:15)

I am Israeli

Showing comments 236 - 201

  • What will tomorrow bring for Gaza -- a lasting truce or continuous war?
    • Come on, you know that most of the world could not care less about either Israel or the Palestinians or conflicts between them - they have their own problems to worry about. What happens here is a side show for almost everybody apart from those directly concerned and perhaps also some in the West. That is why it it is necessary to reach local settlements - The “Intl. community” is no more than a phrase.

    • Come on, you know that most of the world could not care less about either Israel or the Palestinians or conflicts between them. This is a side show for almost everybody apart from those directly concerned and perhaps also some in the West. That is why it ii important to reach local settlements, The “Intl. community” is no more than a phrase.

  • A brief respite in Gaza
  • Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza
    • The Jewish nation survived all these years partly because it always had a “mainstream” that’s poke with one voice. Some sometimes drifted but part of them came back. And this held all over the world. The mainstream Jewish organizations in ALL the Western countries are pro-Israel. Eli Wiesel is just an example of that – a prominent Jew who will not sell Israel under the water to gain applauds in certain quarters on questionable humanitarian grounds (given the OVERALL picture in the Mid-East)

  • The withdrawal that isn't
    • That`s correct - the moral aspect of this war has already been by and large neutralized by now – and Gaza in effect joins Libya, Iraq and Syria as another place in the region with an Islamist key player, which is in a state of continual upheaval (at least until Hamas is in charge there). At some point, despite the customary “brave talk”, something is gotta give – and that`s the next turning point to expect now.

  • Israel calls Obama's tune
    • @ Ira
      Here is the rationale. It is now recognized by Israel that doing away with the tunnels without risking too many soldiers on one hand and killing many civilians there on the other hand is not possible. So like the Intifada, of which this war is a replica by other means, this will go on for some time now. The Intifada took a year and this is likely to be shorter.
      The “siege” will only be removed if Gaza will go “political”, as did the West-Bank at the end of the Intifada, and replace military "grand designs" with a focus on civil developments. Given how Hamas is isolated in the Arab world itself plus that its main backers are “busy” elsewhere (which was not the case in the Intifada times) this scenario is the likely one (despite all the customary “heroic” talk).

    • OK, Annie, I`ll give this away. One of the key parts of the operation is the questioning of Hamas captives. Without that Israel would not be able to discover so many tunnels in just days. And that`s what will be going on later – trying to get the “maps” of the tunnels network. Takes time – but doing away with the Intifada, which this saga repeats by other means, took even longer.

    • OK, Annie, I`ll give this away. One of the key parts of the operation is the questioning of Hamas captives. Without that Israel would not be able to discover so many tunnels in just days. And that`s what will be going later – trying to get the “maps” of the tunnels network. Takes time – but doing away with the Intifada, which this saga repeats by other means, took even longer.

  • Crisis in Rafah: Palestinian civilians trapped trying to escape Israeli onslaught (Updated)
  • The Brits are way hipper about Palestine than Yanks
    • The only problem with this sarcasm is the FACTS:
      1. The tunnels ARE in residential areas.
      2. The shooting IS from densely populated areas.
      3. The tunnels DO go into Israeli territory and ARE used for terror acts.
      4. Missiles ARE shot, almost exclusively, at civilian targets.

    • @ Walid
      Yes, but here is the rub: if so few people have so much money then in this world they need a powerful patron. And, indeed, they have one, which is….the US (and also partly Saudi-Arabia). Well, then, there is so much you can play before, if they get truly angry, they put you on notice! I think Qatar is almost there….

    • Yes, but which side does the British government support in this conflict? (and the French, German,….)
      Indeed, to what extent is Hamas supported in the Arab world itself? (Its past main backer there, Syria, practically neutralized)

  • The experts’ verdict: Every Israeli missile strike is a war crime
    • You can theoretically augment the definition of war crimes to include what Israel does; you can also describe Israel as un-democratic because of its control of the West-Bank; you can also do that to present the situation vs. Palestinians as Apartheid; or, define what Israel does in Gaza as genocide; or, accept Hamas self-definition as “Resistance” freedom-fighters - but then given what really takes place here you run the risk that this propaganda ploy will end up voiding important notions that may still be crucially needed in future REAL relevant contexts.

  • Will 'Protective Edge' galvanize the US mainstream, as 'Cast Lead' galvanized the left?
    • @ Harry Law. Two main errors:
      Israel doesn`t fight the Arabs anymore – it has an implicit cooperation with some main ones. In regard to Hamas, Egypt loathes them even more than Israel.
      Encouraging the Palestinians to continue fighting because “in the end they will win” ignores the continual price of that. People are innately not warriors for Grand Causes but want normal life and it is only for so long that they do “heroism”. Hamas strategy was in effect an eternal war with Israel, with all resources subjugated to that, and my sense is that this is the last time the Palestinians are going to buy into that approach.

  • The JDL gains influence in Canada as Jewish community moves to the right
    • Yes, of course – there are other people too with the same view (in fact Canada, unlike the US, has a bit of the British mentality, which also means a strong Left there). But still, for a long time the Jews there – and there are many - including many supporters of Israel (and there are many, again) never went to the streets, and now apparently they do.

    • Well, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is going global and in doing so it repeats the Mid-east pattern. Also there initially there were strong socialistic trends with a desire to get to terms with the locals. That has been rebuffed and with time and numerous conflicts Israel, indeed, turned right. I think that is what you observing now in Canada where for a long time the playing field was solely in one direction: Arab demonstrations against Israel and no counteract at all. That has now apparently ended.

  • The threat of sanctions worked against Israel in 1956 -- and it can work again
    • Well, since 1956 a lot of things have changed in this regard. There was no yet a Sep 11 and the consequent Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria wars, which gave Americans an altogether different perspective on Arab politics. Also Israel is not what it was then – a relatively undeveloped country, rather poor, small in population and area and not yet a full pledged US ally. Giving up on missiles and tunnels as the main focus in favor of civil projects is a shorter and surer way to reach calm.

  • More voices describe Gaza slaughter as a 'genocide'
    • “Incremental genocide” as Pappe put is must have as supporting statistical evidence, if the term has nay relevance, a demographic decline. In reality the population there increased 10 folds in the last fifty years.

    • The problem with the use of this term is both quantitative and linguistic. Since if about 1000 killed and scores of thousands fleeing is a genocide then what word would you use in case of hundreds of thousands killed and millions fleeing – as e.g. in the Syria case next door.

  • As night follows the day, deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers lead to deaths of 30 Palestinian civilians
    • @Annie
      Reading this I think you still hasn`t make up your mind if you are happy about how successful and clever Hamas is or how pitiful the Palestinian situation is. Can`t have it both ways.

  • Israeli embassy puts Mona Lisa in a hijab -- 'Israel now, Paris next'
    • @Mooser
      I don`t see the contradiction, man: Jews in western European countries are under threat form Muslims there AND the Arabs there are in danger of locals` backlash - not due to support of Israel but increased general fear of violent conduct

    • The Gaza war now goes global - as nothing stays local nowadays. Given the already tense relationships between locals and Arab immigrants in many countries this may serve as a trigger for an explosion on that global front – and if so it will dwarf its Gaza origins in extent and importance.

  • (Updated) In Photos: Worldwide protest against Israeli attack on Gaza
    • Got to be realistic here. People in the world has been watching almost daily horrific extent of violence coming from countries in the region, mainly Iraq and Syria. That`s, in stark different from the past, is the psychological backdrop today. I think Hamas did not incorporated that well in its calculations, which very much relies has always very much relied on the publicity factor

  • As in Vietnam and South Africa, Gazan masses are willing to pay high price for freedom -- Kasrils
    • Do not ignore the key difference: in S. Africa it was the local population confronting an army that was supported by a local small minority. In Israel the Palestinian nation is confronting another nation that even outnumbers them. It means that behind the army they are fighting there are many millions of people. This makes all the difference and why this missile design or the terror before cannot succeed: you simply cannot defeat a whole nation with these means.

  • 'The unity is stronger than ever': Report from historic march on Qalandia checkpoint in solidarity with Gaza
    • Unity and solidarity are great words but the main point is that the conflict is not with a police/army backed by a small minority of settlers (the usual colonial scene) but another whole nation, which in fact outnumbers them. So a stalemate is assured.
      Given this stalemate Abbas must gain the upper hand because it has powerful allies, the West, while Hamas has powerful enemies, as Egypt and its main past backer, Syria, is now quite “busy”.

    • Here is a dose of reality for the enthusiasts here and also David Hearst, who has consistently misjudged what`s going on because of his obsessed bias against Israel). This is not the end of Abu-Mazen but rather of his opposition, as Barghouti`s party and mainly Hamas supporters in the West-Bank. There is not going to be any new Intifada (as different from demonstrations) for the simple reason that there was already one and the way it ended ensures that it cannot be repeated – the people there had had enough of that and Israel has already in place a whole machinery to block that (which was developed, as in the body immune system, as a consequence and response to the serious events then). Karl Marx said that when history repeats itself the first time is a tragedy and the second is a farce, and that`s what`s happening now there - not a farce but also nothing too serious. In fact this is the West-Bank counterpart of the Gaza operation, namely the removal of Hamas from their hitherto important position in Palestinian politics and transferring the power in both regions to the Abu-Mazen group.

  • Hamas mimics Hezbollah tactics, and no one will have stability till blockade is lifted
    • @ Annie, my answers:
      The alternative to spending all the money on the tunnels and missiles was to spend it on civil projects. The “siege” was a result of the Hamas approach – in the beginning all was open and there were high hopes for cooperative development projects. Hamas killed them all.
      When the “winning formula” comes at the expense of everything else and turns out to be a fantasy then the political outcome is “change of horses”. I predict either Hamas will be abandoned by the Gazans or will become, like the PA in the West-Bank, a political entity.
      Israel didn`t finish Hezbollah because it was forced to accept a ceasefire that Hezbollah desperately demanded. Hamas is not doing that (because it understands what will follow - see below).
      We live in a world where governments matter so what Israel needs is that the governments of Europe will side with it – what the people think anyway nobody knows. Likewise with the Arab governments.
      The tunnels and missiles are not yet fully gone. Some are in the center of Gaza and undoing them cannot be done without a lot of people there killed. So will demand a more cautious and sophisticated approach and therefore also more time.

    • @Can of warms
      I honestly don`t understand the point you are trying to make. Israel doesn`t rely on Arab work and if Arabs will get advanced in the way you say that will be a sure receipt for peace – so a good outcome not something to worry about.

    • I have nothing that you don`t have. It is just my reading of where things are going given what I see happening. In my view this was fantasy on the side of Hamas – trying to play big, to find a winning formula. But they have miscalculated in several ways. Firstly, they are fighting a very modern entity with what is essentially a pre-modern approach. Then they lost Egypt, which is critical to their future moves. Also they erstwhile allies, Iran and Hezbolalh, are busy elsewhere and revised strategies. Then, the continuous bloodshed and refugees on a massive scale in Syria (and now gain in Iraq) cannot but dwarf the Gaza scene. The European governments understood that and they now for the first time stand behind Israel as does the US. So my forecast is all about adding up all that – no confidential information that I have.

    • You have to distinguish between a moral opinion - every person is entitled to that – and a realistic assessment of what goes on in real terms. My feeling is that you want to force reality look the way you want it to come out. Once the tunnels cum missiles saga is over and given the seriously severed relationship of Hamas with Egypt (so cannot redo it all) I cannot see how Hamas` strategy cannot come to an end. Either it follows the PA path and become a political entity in running Gaza or it will be replaced by the PA in that. The Gazans are not going to allow them another fantasy run at their expense – after all they dug these tunnels for decades, with huge costs and efforts, and they now go kaput in days.

  • On ‘Death to Arabs’ in Jerusalem & Tel Aviv
    • You have to realize that more than 6 decades in a conflict takes its toll on people. There is no question that all the many wars and in particular the second Intifada has created a whole new attitude here. I suppose that was also part of the intention of the terror organization: sending Israelis a message that they cannot survive here and retain the traditional liberal attitudes of Judaism. But this “success” is a mixed blessing for the Palestinians because they now need to confront the kind of opponent they have created

  • US plays decisive role in Israel's attack on Gaza
    • Here is a simple explanation for the continual support of Israel in the US without all the conspiratorial and corruption-based arguments. Why strain the imagination if plain facts are enough.
      What we call “West” is constantly shrinking (most recent loss: Turkey) and also other big players are on the rise - posing a serious threat to the US global dominance. In this situation every member of the group is important. In the Arab world there are still few US allies and they are all now brought together, formally or implicitly, with Israel – as for instance Sisi in Egypt. This is about global alliances in hard times and many uncertainties so what is safe and reliable, as the tie with Israel, is cherished.

  • Mr. Modi-- do not court apartheid Israel in my name
    • So let`s see. China and Russia are pretty indifferent to the Palestinian issue – focused only on their own interests - and so are many other smaller countries that know little or care little about such foreign matters. The “New World” countries: US, Canada and Australia are by and large with Israel. India is now too. Japan with the new leadership is tilting towards Israel. Europe is already at two minds. So when people refer here to “the international community” (as being critical of Israel) who they actually mean?

  • The other side of history
    • The assertion here about violence being endemic to Israel would have had more credence had the region around it been peaceful. As in fact it is immensely violent throughout and remembering Jewish liberal traditions you can just as well advance the thesis – based on the very same evidence – that Israel got embroiled in a violence culture and have had no choice if it wanted to survive but to follow suit.

  • Palestinians celebrate report that Hamas captured Israeli soldier
    • MDM, In response to your question: I live in West Jerusalem....

    • “i didn’t say they were pickled. yet.”
      I am afraid your reading of the developments is not much more than wishful thinking. In my view the Hamas game is already over.
      Hamas is losing in days what it built in years and will have no way to redo or to replenish missile stocks. I would not be surprised if the Gazans will opt for Abbas once the mayhem is over – seeing little benefits in Hamas designs, in both the lack of civil investments and the meager military “successes”, and having paid too much for that. They are also tuned to the Arab world views and where Syria is effectively gone, Hezbollah is embroiled in the fight there and Egypt plus Saudi-Arabia are against Hamas.

    • Page: 2
    • I wonder for how long you can keep both tracks at once: on one hand trumpeting any setback for Israel as a “game changer” in favor of the Palestinians and on the other hand lamenting them as helpless victims when something bad happens to them. The English say” You can`t (concurrently) run with the hare and hunt with hounds”

  • Video: Resistance activists down power line in West Bank
    • Someday, people there will understand that the only chance for them to lift themselves form the mayhem and backward situation in the entire Mid-East region is to cooperate with Israel - not silly sabotage acts, or worse, violence. Cheering these acts with abused terms (“resistance” here and many others, as Ghetto, Pogroms, Nazis, elsewhere) don`t help anybody but the clueless nihilists that only destruction makes their adrenalin running.

  • Israel is in a pickle
    • It`s true that Israel is confronting a very tough situation, there is no denial of that. The right parallel is not the war with Hezbollah but the second Intifada. There too it seemed hopeless from Israel`s point of view: the waves of suicide bombers from everywhere right near the heartland of Israel, lack of support for Israel by the Europeans, total support of the Intifada by Arab countries and a much better political standing of Arafat following the Oslo agreement. That was a real bind and it indeed took many casualties in Israel until, against all odds, a way to deal with it was found.
      This is the second big try of Hamas – and in my view the last one. Hamas is now in a small area further away from the centre of Israel and it operates in an altogether different global political climate, particularly a severed relationship with Egypt, which controls its lifelines. There is a limit to how long they can hold out in such conditions.

  • Israel's iron fist
    • I understand that, but the way things are run is that only rulers really count (indeed, even in a democracy it is the elite nowadays that calls the shots - the 1%). In the Arab world the Saudi princes are there since living memory and in Egypt the army is the only really trusted institution and ruled the country continuously in one form or another since the coup d`etat by Nasser half a century ago (Morsi was a short exception)

    • Containment as goal of the “world`s management” is probably a correct stipulation. Given how complex globalization is, namely running the entire world within a common order (where before it was largely separate societies), it leaves little choice in that regard – otherwise there will be disorder and chaos. Whence the order of the day is clear: if you don`t play by the rules or don`t belong to the “modernity core” you are unwanted and won`t be supported. Indeed, gradually all are joining “the game” and play by its rules, even if they do it as competitors, as China, Japan, India, Russia, Brazil, Saudi-Arabia, Egypt (to name some new “big guys” in it). But some adamantly refuse and they indeed will be blocked. Hamas, which was used in the past to outpouring sympathy (and banked its strategy on that), is shocked to find out how isolated it now is (including in the Arab world).

  • 'We are moving from Iron Dome to an iron fist': Israel launches ground invasion of Gaza
    • Let`s face it: Gaza became like that as a consequence of the very same intrinsic belligerent attitudes of Hamas – now it is indeed quarantined by both Israel and Egypt. However, had Hamas instead of its grandiose total-liberation vision of ENTIRE Palestine (including Israel proper), which they openly declared repeatedly, sought civil development for Gaza (remember the big cooperative park that Israel initiated right after it left Gaza and the open borders then) the situation there now would have been radically different.

    • The point is that Hamas underestimated Israel – you cannot fire rockets into Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa and not expect a harsh response. If you cannot prevent your main cities being hit at will and repeatedly you have no real country or defence forces – you are just a paper tiger. Inaction would have made Hamas immensely popular among Palestinian and in no time the entire West-Bank would have been turned into a war zone. In contrast, if there will be steep price in Gaza, especially for the Hamas people, the reaction will be the opposite – people, watching those that Hamas led into chaos by feeding them with false promises, will be glad that they have been spared that by the PA`s moderation. In the end even the Gazans will then give up on Hamas and likewise radicals and the money and efforts there will be diverted into civil development rather than military goals and expenditures. That`s the story in a nutshell

  • Ceasefire. Tightening the Gordian Knot?
    • Realities can be much simpler than tortured argumentation. Hamas invested years in accumulating the many missiles, in placing them in safe tunnels (that cannot be attacked because in densely populated areas) with a view that they are acquiring a “winning card” here” – one that will force Israel to yield to their demands, lest its cities will be bombed (with no real way to stop that). That was also supposed to give them prestige in the Palestinian street and in the Arab world at large (as with Hezbollah before). So they cling to it with the hope that “in the end” they calculations will prove right.
      Yet, the Syria war, and Iraq again, assure that in the present Arab world what they do is a footnote. The resent serious severance of relations with Egypt also weakens their hand. And then there is the much improved Iron Dome.
      The worst thing that can happen Hamas is not that it is defeated, which they can still survive as heroes, but that it will begin to look pathetic – especially to the Gazans or to the Palestinians in general

  • Israel viciously bombs Gaza, that's the only truth
    • On the contrary. The title epitomizes the tragedy of Arabia. It says: “That`s the only truth”, which has become an Arab syndrome - namely, “my truth” is the only one there is and there is none other in the world.

  • 'Protective Edge' has nothing to do with protection
    • No, this is not a show and PR is not that critical now that the Iraqi and the Syrian scenes keep supplying the real big numbers all the time. The missile are hidden in houses so cannot be eliminated without huge number of casualties so getting there “on foot”, even in PR terms, is better because means far less civilian casualties. No choice this time – once TA was targeted the invasion and trying to undo of Hamas became imperative. Israel cannot leave its main cities at the whim of Hamas. Once there the Gaza area will be gradually handed over to the PA guys. Egypt, Saudi-Arabia and Jordan prefer the PA, while Syria and Iraq are out of the equation and Hezbollah is busy fighting the Caliphate guys – so circumstances are right. Can`t be clearer

  • Israel's message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave or die
    • @Traintosiberia 11.22
      The only problem with this theory is the fact that what Hamas mainly did in recent years is to acquire tens of thousands of missiles – forsaking almost everything else for that. Even gave Israel a relative calm period for several years so as not to be interfered in completing this design. Does it not make sense that if you spend all that energy and time for that you would want “to show” everybody your new prowess? That you are now “a power” to reckon with, which can fire at will at all major Israeli cities (importantly, as different from the “cowed” PA). In short, they were waiting for an opportunity to demonstrate that and it has now arrived.

    • The claim in this article that the Israeli army was just waiting for a pretext to launch its operations can be just as well used in regard to Hamas. Its main efforts in the last years, as is clear now, has been to accumulate more, better and longer-range missiles, which is also why they kept matters relatively calm so that they can do that with little interference from Israel. Now, if that is what you are mainly after then it is just as clear that you would want to test your new capabilities and “show” Israel how much more powerful they have become while and also gaining popularity in the Arab world and the Palestinian street (in their competition with the PA) as the ones that are able “to stand up” to the purportedly much stronger Israeli army (the way Hezballah built its reputation few decades ago)

  • Israel's war is just beginning and has never ended
    • Well, insoluble dilemmas, for a small entity in a hostile region where it cannot win but only not-lose, is indeed the norm. This is part of the package – but miraculously it somehow works. While the others with no such apparent dilemmas collapse. So Israel bases its hopes on extrapolation that into the future – perhaps it’s the new “normal”.

    • The analysis here is generally correct. Just add that Israel has an insoluble dilemma in how to treat Hamas. On one hand it`s a problem since fire missiles into Israel at will but on the other hand it is indispensable as an authority to run Gaza - for Israel to do that by itself would be a disaster and other groups there, as the Islamic Jihad, are even worse. So the “solution” appears to be to treat these outbursts of violence as inevitable and there to stay (e.g. as epidemic outbreaks) and try to limit damages while also taking advantage of “the opportunity” to execute “drawer plans” – a bank of targets of importance (as missile launchers) to hit. This is easier said than done because it is impossible to calculate how such outbreaks will actually develop – but then Ce la vie, life is also about risks.

  • After brutal police beating, Palestinian-American Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, sentenced to home arrest without charge
    • This is a moment of truth for a blog like mondoweiss and especially for a hundred percent biased reporter as Allison Deger. Now, when Israel really hit a real low point, as (tragically and hugely regrettably) revenge acts against individual Arabs took place, who would pay attention to those who always “cry wolf” (even in those cases when the wolf is being hunted….)?

  • Apathy in Ramallah as negotiations with Israel dive
    • In considering a boycott on Israel there is little doubt that there are quite a few in Europe who would love to do that. Yet, while there will be some problematic steps for Israel a boycott is unlikely even to a limited degree – and a Luxemburg`s politician is not the person who can change that. There are too many reasons for Europe not to get into that to count. The Jewish history in Europe - mainly affecting Germany`s reluctance from too strong moves against the Jewish state; The recent warming-up relations with France; The lingering-on financial difficulties in the EU, which is a main focus there now and also makes common economic European action harder; The shrinking “West camp” in general (of which Israel is a part), which is especially acute now in the face of the Putin challenge and also due to the loss of Turkey, which is sliding into autocracy; The chaos in the Mid-East region, especially in the unresolved Syria case and the Egypt conundrum – not a good time to add another crisis; The big shadow of China; The anticipated US objection; The spectacular rise of the Euro-skeptics in the EU, which will distract attention and hinder moves that require strong commitment from members states - also some of these new parties are against anti-Israel moves; The lack of appetite of Eastern-European countries for a quarrel with Israel 9and perhaps then losing some US sympathy) – they are too worried from Putin and also have their own agendas, which are separate from Western-European countries.

  • No thanks for Zionist 'chaperones' --Wesleyan declares itself an Open Hillel
    • “I feel a BDS tsunami building up”
      Relax. There is indeed in the UK a group of committed anti-Israelis. That is so though for decades now and they jump enthusiastically on every anti-Israel move. For instance, there was a couple of years ago and again a couple of years earlier a vote in two university-lecturers unions for an academic boycott of Israel. After an outcry and disapproval of the UK government both were cancelled. The previous London mayor was vehemently anti-Israel until voted out (and probably the Jewish vote there tipped the balance since he lost with a small margin). And there are many other cases and there will be many more, so if you enjoy anti-Israel expressions follow closely the UK scene. But, don`t expect actual results.

  • 'A Painful Price': The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond
    • “The only places your side have the numbers…..”
      These are the ones that matter pal – Israel is what is at stake and the US congress runs the world (or at least this side of it). The Europeans have too much of a historical baggage (and current issues with minorities there) to play a real role (despite much talk to the contrary) and the rest of the world (like China, Japan and the rest), believe me, could not care less about all that – their focus, history, problems and emotions are elsewhere.

    • The BDS is seen, correctly, as an act of war only adapted to today`s times (Banks not Tanks). What it does is to extend the conflict in the region to elsewhere, indeed everywhere. The Israeli – Arab conflict has grown gradually international after bloody warring in the Mid-East; It is already in Europe for a long time; It will be coming to the UN soon; and right now it has reached the US campuses. It will be there as all conflicts everywhere: aggressive and nasty.

  • Reports: Abbas faults Israel for 'procrastinating,' says Palestine will move to join int'l organizations
    • The point is that Israel must play to the tune here - it is under huge pressure from Kerry and also the EU. It is clear to all that the gap is unbridgeable so a REAL agreement is not on the table but the façade must remain since it serves the interests of many. This is a show that goes on for decades now and just keeps changing appearances and shapes. The next “act” will most likely take place in the UN – expect a lot of “drama” there. In the meantime life goes on.

    • Sorry, but aren`t you dramatizing here a non-event?

  • Mahmoud Abbas vs Mohammed Dahlan: The showdown begins
    • “Dahlan is “our guy””
      Exactly, and herein lies a problem for Israel. It will have great difficulties not agreeing to things that it could refuse Arafat (the extreme case) and even Abu-Mazen (the middle way). In this sense it could go the opposite of the predictions made above.

    • No, no the people “on the ground” have an altogether different take on things then warrior cheerleaders from far away. Life is about some degree of normalcy - not perpetual heroic. Bot Abbas and Dahlan represent the only viable path for Palestinians, namely coming to terms with Israel and do so under the auspices of the US and Saudi-Arabia. The alternative of more bloodshed, chaos and destruction has already been tried and left bitter memories plus the terrible scenes from Arabia (not there in the previous Intifadas) make everybody understand exactly what lies behind the grand rhetoric.

  • Saudis don't care about Palestinians, say American commentators
    • “Palestine is still the issue”
      Pilger is dead wrong and I think you are confusing 2 issues here. It is plausible that the everyday Saudi (or other Arab citizen) still cares about Palestine – after all that issue was center-podium for too long to be just gone overnight. The point is that for the leaders, those who need to deal with everyday decisions, the priorities have been drastically changed. Not that they love Israel – the Saudi leaders used in the past to exercise all the pressure they could on the US to promote the Palestinian case, up to sharp and open rifts (so you are also wrong here). Simply realities have been dramatically transformed recently and leaders can`t ignore such things, while ordinary citizens can. Primarily there is the upheaval in many Arab countries (a relatively new phenomenon – just about a decade old; then there is the fear of Iran and a growing Sunny-Shea split; there is the active Syria/Lebanon front and there is also an increasingly problematic Turkey. And, well, it so happened that the interests of Israel and the Saudis coincide in all of the above (as well as in Egypt and Jordan). That`s Realpolitik for primers, not much more than that.

  • Liberal Zionists are the new front line against BDS
    • Yes, BDS is the issue where all those that have any positive sentiment for Israel will circle the wagons. In this sense it is a unifying force as it makes people who care about Israel to any degree understand that the squabbling among them on nuances is meaningless in face of what is in effect being confronted - forces whose REAL intention is to undo Israel underpinned with a limitless hate of it.

  • UN Human Rights Council resolution warning companies to 'terminate business interests in the settlements' or face possible criminal liability gets watered down
    • The HRC has tons of anti-Israel resolutions. It has lost a lot of credibility in general by its almost exclusive focus on Israel in a world with a million human-rights problems. Amazing how the Israel “black hole” continues to devour those that get obsessed with it

  • Bloodbath in Jenin
    • Forget the context and just ask: is the “blood bath” choice appropriate for the killing of 3 people? And ones who conspired to carry out a terror attack? If you use this term here what language would you use for an incident in Syria where 200 civilians are killed with no militant-context at all? And especially so if it happens there daily

  • The battle over Palestine is raging--and Israel is losing: Ali Abunimah on his new book
    • So if that is what he thinks of Americans` views just how seriously s can he be taken?
      He is a man who devoted his life to fight Israel and at some point, with so much investment of time and efforts, a person begins to see reality through his wishes. Can`t he also see what catastrophe this obsessive antagonism of Israel has brought on Arab countries? Was that worth it? And then isn`t the general condition of Arabs in Israel far better than minorities in other countries in the region – should not that be taken into account to?

  • Scarlett Johansson parrots SodaStream CEO in attack on Oxfam
    • Israel seems like a “black hole” that devours all those that want to hurt it or even just defame it (whatever other good things they might be doing). This includes the Human Right council in the UN, which lost its credibility when it turned out that the vast majority of its condemnations were of Israel, the Human Right Watch was disowned by its founder when it turned once against Israel, Amnesty made itself several times look ridiculous by a strong bias against Israel (and a “recommendation: that nobody pays attention to of stopping arms supply to Israel) and now Oxfam - and that is just few examples that come to mind. The reason is that the anti-Israel stance is often a litmus test for general integrity and readiness to see things fairly, while not succumbing to what “the mob” advocates (a test that this actress did pass)

  • Johansson sees greater wrong in Oxfam than Israeli settlement
    • Why was Israel absent? Well, that has nothing to do with Mandela. S. Africa has become very pro-Palestinian and made the present political climate there not conducive for visits of Israeli political figures. It makes much better political sense for Israel to expand contacts and spend efforts on countries in the continent that are politically closer to Israel, e.g. Kenya.

  • Lebanon 'affirms right' of citizens to resist Israel
    • Walid, be careful with phrases if you truly care about the Arab region:A cancer can kill the whole body…

    • Well, I have a completely different take on things here. In my view Hezbollah caused a huge damage to Lebanon. That country used to be seen in past times as the jewel of the Arab world – modern, sophisticated, liberal (in Arab world terms), prosperous and what not. Troubles there began when it was “recruited” against its will to the “big cause”, namely fighting Israel, first by the PLO and then by Hezbollah - doing it in alliance with a non-Arab entity that looked for hegemony (it`s over now) in the region. Lebanon is another tragic casualty of the colossal Arab error of making Israel its main target with massive efforts dedicated to that “front” instead of to matters that have been far more important, even crucial, for the Arab world well-being. In Lebanon, this only got worse now with the involvement in the Syrian war. In the future Hezbollah will be remembered in Lebanon as the greatest disaster that ever occurred to it – I have no doubt about that.

    • Annie: “What `propaganda move` you are referencing”
      The thing is that there is a huge criticism in Lebanon for the involvement of Hezbollah in Syria because they are afraid, rightly, that it will bring the war there (by retaliatory moves) – as already happening to some degree. There is also criticism from other Arab quarters to their moves because they side with Assad. The one sure way in the Arab world to deflect criticism is to show their “steadfastness” in the fight against the ”Small Satan” and this (practically vacuous) move “reminds” everybody that they didn`t forget their “primary mission”.

    • Annie, I am afraid you missing the real context here. In practice this is clearly a meaningless move – after all Hezbollah had just as a free hand in its fighting with Israel, with or without a formal permission from the Lebanese state, because they are the most powerful and most armed group there.
      This essentially propaganda move is aimed to distract attention from an on-the-ground dramatic shift: Hezbollah, in the recent year, has actually changes warring arenas. At the behest of the Iranians (whose requests they cannot ignore even if it wanted to because they are the paymasters) it is now fully engaged in the war in Syria and in that they are in effect, in unintentional way, also doing Israel`s bidding, which is just as worried as they are from Al Queida gaining power in Syria. This is an amazing strategic shift that has been lost on many and consequently Israel will not want to harm Hezbollah as long as the war in Syria goes no (which is seemingly forever) - apart perhaps from active blocking of the transfer of long-range missiles to Lebanon, which serves no purpose in the fight in Syria and is just a threat to Israel. Now who would have predicted this development? Things are that volatile in the Mid-East.

  • Why I didn’t make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day
    • Kalithea: “I got your number”
      No, no it is clear that you don`t have any “number”. You seem to want to simplify what is in reality a titanic clash, which practically divides the world and defies any simple solution, by what is really just a "formula talk” with “half liners” - that cannot be anywhere near where things really are or are heading to

    • “Stop stealing other people land”
      When is the last time you looked at the map Kalithea? Land is what the Arabs have in abundance – while their problems, a myriad of them, lie elsewhere. So why should it be such an important issue for them to “take back” a microscopic piece of land from an otherwise miniature-size country? Can`t you see that this has never been the REAL issue. They want it because it serves their wish to see Israel as a whole undone (in fact many of them are honest enough not to deny that). It`s that simple!

    • "hostility to their basic interests"
      Well, of course. There is now a rare understanding between Israel and Egypt, with the US backing, who the “bad guys” are. Syria is practically out of the game and the Hezbollah is busy there too but the Islamic Jihad is still supported by Iran so the game is far from over. At least though its perimeters are getting clearer.

  • It is time to repeal the law being used to criminalize French BDS activists
    • The people who take part in this boycott acts don`t seem to understand how it risks them. There is a growing anti-Moslem trend in a wide range of European countries and disruptions in private French commercial outlets - seemed as sheer lawlessness to many there - only add fire to that. In addition, it pushes the French Jews to the anti-Moslem front and that is not a small thing. For instance, influential Jewish French philosophers, who are otherwise sensitive to minority discrimination because of past bitter experience of Jews in such regards, are not supporting the Moslem case and some even turned against them. In contrast, Martin Luther King was surrounded in the US by Jews in the various committees that he formed and a great deal of financial support for the big marches, - both essential for his success - came from Jewish individuals and organizations.

  • Six Palestinians killed in 24 hours by Israeli forces
    • @RobertB: “Can anybody imagine…..
      No need to imagine. As a response to your query I can refer you to information sources on the second Intifada. You will surely find an encyclopedia of cases there and not just with 6 Israelis killed but entire cafes and buses suicide-bombed, with far many more casualties, including, in particular, the event which brought the IDF back to the West-Bank where a large group of old people celebrating the Passover in a hotel in Netanya (where I was at that time with my family in a nearby one) were gunned down in a single event.

  • Dateline, Ukraine: How the State Department 'midwives' democracy
    • Bandolero
      AIPAC is indeed a fact but then what is so surprising about Jews in the US setting up a lobby to support a Jewish state. The fact that it managed to do that effectively is no more than the American Story in general, namely if you do something you try to do it well. That its mission is to persuade American policy makers to see matters in ways that favor Israel with arguments that strive to show that Israel`s position is the correct one in the conflict is just doing what it was established for in the first place. And likewise, naturally, it would be mainly interested in matters that concern Israel rather than ones that happens elsewhere in the world (even if they happen to have some commonality in structure). And then if the Ukraine case helps to advance their own case – would not they mention that?
      What I am trying to say is that there is nothing out of the ordinary here – it is all on the table and makes perfect sense.

    • So, Zionists are running Ukraine, the US, Russia, Palestinians, Egyptian coup (according to Erdogan at least) and everything else. Now some would connect it to claims about who runs wall St. and responsible for the financial crisis in the EU (as many there actually believe) and the alleged masters of the media and Hollywood and you have “The Protocols” resuscitated. Turns out tiny Israel is some bigger than life force on earth…
      Some key flaws: if something serves Israel interest (or anybody else for taht matter)it does not follow automatically that it engendered it; If two things are Jewish there may still not be any real connection between them – in reality the people behind them might even be rivals; To show conspiracy you need to demonstrate pre-planning, masterminding or control over affairs; Proportions matter: a small country taht is hugely occupied with own problems, as Israel certainly is, cannot meddle, even just find the attention space for it, in global geo-strategic issues.

  • Gov. Jerry Brown brags on signing historic agreement with Netanyahu in Silicon Valley
    • " I am not impressed Enough!"
      The point is that nobody in Israel is trying to impress you anymore. Israel`s main focus now, within the Western segment, is on its relationships with the “New-World” Western countries - nobody here trusts too much the Europeans` good will anyway. While European countries are civilized, they also have a horrible track record, as recently as in the lifetime of presently living people, Jews in particular, and that`s another reason why Israelis don`t care that much about “moral expectations” of Europeans. Too much disillusioned with them even during the short history of Israel itself.

  • Israel lobby AIPAC is down, but not out -- yet
    • The difference is, seafoid, that when you give money to Israel it usually does something useful with it – so much so that it there is often some reciprocal benefit for the Us in that. In case of most other country-recipients of aid the picture is much gloomier due to mainly corruption or incompetence

    • That`s actually correct seafood. It is impossible to stay on top forever – never happened. But then, down from the top can be still high enough… And that is indeed the likely scenario. After all, the functioning apparatus is intact and the many connections and perfected political mechanisms over a long time don`t just vanish.

  • Cut off arms to Israel, Amnesty Int'l says, citing 22 civilians killed at protests last year
    • Annie: “Something`s gotta break sometime”
      This summarizes well what the Arab outlook on Israel has ever been. Here we have this miniature country, surrounded by many hostile forces, embroiled with a restive Palestinian population that is relatively big, In the intl. scene the Arabs influence outdoes by far that`s of Israel, and so on - so just wait it out patiently until all the above add up to the inevitable. Admittedly, this has also been a constant worry on the mind of Israelis. Yet, miraculously, other things happened, contrary to these expectations and some of them pretty much of the opposite kind (e.g. the one by one collapse of Arab countries), the huge economic and technological strides of Israel and its demographic growth, the perennial warnings, which never materialize, about an “imminent” change of attitude in the US vis-a-vis Israel, and so on – so, at some point, you begin to think that, well, perhaps there is some other higher logic in play here.

    • Yes, it crossed my mind too that cutting of arms supplies to a country which is itself a major arms supplier – doing so on a global scale and competing with the very Big Guys of this market – is a bit antiquated as a threat.

    • "Guardsmen killed at Kent state"
      Reason is, Hostage, that other aspects, qualitative in nature, could be more important than the no. of casualties. Killings in a university, is a shocker and what happens at home always matters more.

    • Yes, Annie, this is one of the intractable conflicts of our times and it has always involved violence and bloodshed. It is long enough indeed but that also means that “the spectators” already got used to the bad news from there – already in effect immune to that. Another Amnesty report and a figure of 22 casualties for a year, is unlikely to make a dent in that.

    • Your hunch is correct Annie - they always choose the timing to dovetail with hard moments of Israel. That was also, for instance, also the case with another similarly harshly worded indictment of Israel (if I am not wrong by the Intl red cross) before a scheduled UN security council meeting following the release of teh Goldstone committee report.

    • The big problem for those who wish that the report will make a real impact is quantitative. In this world and also recalling numbers of casualties from suicide bombings of Palestinians in the second Intifada - the 22 number for casualties IN A YEAR pretty much sounds as an evidence of the contrary, demonstrating that exceptional measures of restraint are being taken by the IDF in tackling these highly explosive situations.

  • Time for world leaders to stop inflating Israel’s bubble of denial
    • “The rationale for Merkel`s strategic….. is unknown”
      Not so difficult to figure out. It in fact, as well summarized here, acts towards ensuring Israel`s very existence – one that has been explicitly challenged in the Mid-East by various parties (because those who may attempt to undo it can fully realize the associated prices). This is clearly a wish to counteract a repeat of the Holocaust scenario for which, as a German leader, she feels a responsibility.

    • The writer here ignores the broader perspective in regard to the US and EU moves on Israel – perhaps because Israel has been for decades now his only real focus. There is little question that the US and Europe leadership is hundred times more concerned now about what goes on in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, or Ukraine, or Turkey, or potential financial collapse of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland and then the Euro - and that`s just the main headlines. Israel is a footnote in today`s long list of real big problems. And besides would they really want to add yet another big REAL problem (as different from a subjectively bloated one) to the list?

  • Netanyahu seems to put Hitler mustache on Angela Merkel
    • Well, it is generally true that the masquerading is over and the so called “special relations” between Israel and Germany are in the process of going Kaput. It was not totally unexpected as basically there has always been an element of anomaly in this relationship. Yet, even if the purported intimacy in the relationship is over, cold-headed politicians will make sure that it will not go too low. That is simply in the interest of BOTH sides – of small Israel for sure but it is likewise, for a host of reasons, for ostensibly big and powerful Germany too.

  • 'NY Times' and 'LA Times' run op-eds by an AIPAC board member without telling readers
    • Moving beyond the water issue to the bigger picture wouldn`t it be interesting to check data about the relative position of the Palestinians in the West-Bank in regard to ALL criteria that defines standard of living and other related attributes as compared to the broader Arab world (that they are inherently part of)? This is not done because the results are pretty obvious.

  • Liberal Zionists and rightwingers shed differences in effort to save the Jewish state
    • It is as clear as the sunshine to me that in the real moment of truth Left, Right and Center in the Jewish community will circle the wagons. The nation is too small and the history too traumatic to allow otherwise. When Judge Goldstone understood what is at stake (with other people involved) he retracted. And that`s what happened with Benny Morris, who became an icon for the European anti-Israel camp by his purely academic studies (because they happened to serve their case) - he did the same turn when he became aware of the political implications for Israel.
      Generally, the Israel saga is uniquely characterized by a big group with vehemently anti-Israel views, to the point of obsession, and another group, much smaller but with relatively many top infleuntial figures, comprising Jews and (many) non-Jews (few in Europe but plenty in the US and Canada), who are not less committed in their total and dedicated support of Israel. That`s surely the stuff that real historical dramas are made off.

  • Derfner: The boycott isn't economic warfare, it's psychological
    • I would not go as far as saying that normal people expect problems, yet you have a point here. In the Israeli mind this is just another chapter in the historical Europe vs. Jews saga. The fact that Europe is now posed as human-rights defender in justifying the BDS makes very little difference – after all in every past round there were the accusations were morally based (Jews are thieves and exploiting others, traitors for national causes, involved in “unethical” acts as mixing Christian blood in Matzos, or wishing outright control of everything – as in the protocols of the elders of Zion). From this angle, the question at stake is what difference did the emergence of Israel in this regard, namely by having it will this round go less disastrously for “the Jewish team” than the past ones.

  • EU Prez Martin Schulz wreaks havoc during speech at Knesset
    • As a matter of fact the water issue or this incident itself is not the main thing. This has been for some time ago an-explosion-waiting-to-happen and the only question was what exactly will be the trigger and when. The first salvo was already with the Horizon 2020 cooperation agreement and there surely will be more incidents. Yet another Europe vs. Jews round is in the offing and how it will play out will surely provide a lot of juicy stuff for this site too. If History is a guide then the Jewish side will suffer serious damages but survive it while the European side will end up regretting the whole affair. Follow the drama as it unfolds....

  • Why is the American elite scared of BDS?
    • How many babies need to be thrown with the tub-water? So now it is the American elite, the Universities` presidents and administrations and before it was the entire congress that needed to be undone so as to hurt Israel? Relying on “the people” is a catch- slogan but in a democracy, as different from a tyranny, without elites nothing happens. The Arab world`s used to have this suicidal attitude in the past, namely sticking with a main goal that is hurting Israel and never mind the consequences. That turned out so devastating for it that it was abandoned by most, alas a bit too late. So now you suggest the same strategy for the US?

  • Ultra-nationalist rabbis warn John Kerry of divine punishment for the peace process
    • This is the moment to remember the Jewish roots of John Kerry – his grandfather, a Jewish immigrant to the US by the name of Kohn (a variant of Cohen) converted into Christianity and also changed his name (to Kerry). I am not sure those who said what they said know that, but then who knows?

  • Video: Make Seltzer, Not Settlements -- Boycott SodaStream
    • So much fuss about a soda company? And Israel should tremble because of an article on that in the FT, which has been hostile to Israel ever since. Looks bizarre to me.

  • Palestinians living near West Bank SodaStream factory urge Scarlett Johansson to end role with occupation profiteer
    • I don`t know. I still think that the Palestinians together with other likeminded Arabs are making a big mistake in pursuing the boycott of Israel. The point is that this sends a clear message to Israelis that the general hostile attitude from those quarters towards Israel has not changed a bit, which from an Israeli angle translates to an even stronger determination not to consider any gestures and continue as if it is an indefinite existential struggle. This later episode is another chapter in this saga.

  • Vote at the Guardian: Should Oxfam sever ties with Scarlett Johansson?
  • 'Palestinian liberation incomplete without the liberation of all'--a statement on the siege of Yarmouk
    • Here is another way to see it all. At long last it downed on people that the “Palestinian cause” has been for too long a distraction of Arabs from their real problems, which are a myriad and lies elsewhere. This abnormal focus on tiny Israel as the “big target” didn`t make sense in the first place yet nobody in the Arab world had the courage or the will to stand up to it – and foreign “friends” did their share in encouraging this mistaken trend, which only brought calamity to the Arab world (while the potential gains in regard to the “eternal struggle” with Israel have always been negligent in comparison). It is possible that the extent of the tragedy in Syria is, at long last, opening some eyes. Arabs want to deal with what really matters. It is indeed possible that some types of contacts will open between Saudi-Arabia and Israel and other things too but that is only natural.

  • Debunking Israel’s imagined ‘Christian awakening’
    • The massive plight of Christians in Arab countries, among Moslems, cannot be separated from what goes on in Christian regards in Israel, since, practically, it makes Israel the only place in the region where Christian live in the main in safety.

  • Major Jewish org: boycott vote is wake-up call in battle against 'extremist' delegitimization of Israel
    • It is not about victimhood Taxi, rather exasperation with the Palestinians in their incapability to see where their real interests lie – not in a zero-sum and eternal conflict with Israel but rather in finding ways to cooperate with it. They keep looking for the next big fight but will that bring them the hoped for salvation?

    • There is no Hasbara here Annie just plain facts and cold logic. Ramzi, given what we already know about the situation on the ground and with so many years of experience behind us you can conclude yourself that viewing Israel as the big and eternal enemy was not good for either side. In the West-Bank placing all the hopes on the expulsion of some hundreds of thousands of setter Jews from the West-Bank, under the banner of “freeing Palestine”, while viewing them as land thieves just because they arrived later after the indigenous population (as is the case in many places including the US), is what spoils everything. Why not rather try to cooperate for the benefit of all the people there? There is a big scope for that. As a matter of fact that was the situation long time ago in Israel proper until eyes got opened and real cooperation between Jews and Arabs has begun and even if imperfect it worked far better for both sides. Suspicions, irrational enmity and empty slogans have been replaced by realism and hard work and advanced common interests. Now, isn`t that more compatible with the spirit of peace?

    • I am amazed by how people can let slogans captivate their minds. What in reality waits behind well-sounding slogans as “fear is elf-defeating”, “let`s free Palestine” or in getting intoxicated with a subjective understanding of justice is violence and bloodshed. In practice the people in the Wets-Bank joining the general Mid-East scene where everybody uses similar slogans, (only adapted to the local context) and it nowhere leads to peace but to the opposite. In the concrete case here it would mean that an Arab population that by and large until now escaped the misery of Syria. Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and others in the region will “join the crowd” in endless futile fights. Is that what you wish them? And is the likely suffering that it will bring to Jews in Israel justifies that and makes it worthwhile?

  • 'Goliath' is indispensable to understanding the real Israel in 2013
    • Demonizing Israel is simple. Given the struggle for existence it is in and the hard choices it has to make given how small it is and given a campaign of hate against Israel since its birth – all these must have an impact on the psyche of a nation and what it is ready to do to survive in region where the rules of struggle, as we see all around the region, are pretty wild. Doing cherry-picking on events and opinions can be hugely distorting in general and especially so in the exceptional circumstances that Israel is in. It appears that the general public in the US understands that.

  • This is the most dangerous peace process of all
    • Well, there is a much simpler explanation to it all: there is simply not enough space for two real countries in such a very small piece of land – I think many often forget the geography. Example: the distance between the Mediterranean and the old green line near the population-congested center of Israel at the city of Netanya is 7(!!!) miles. Can a modern country as Israel live within such boundaries in the practical sense of things? Would a mini superpower as Israel go back to that on its own will whatever pressure is applied? Would the US force its main ally to do that? Would anybody uproot hundreds of thousands of people in the West-Bank and could that be a formula for peace? After you consider all that and other realted key issues you see that the rest is just details

  • Palestinian negotiators angered as Kerry proposes Israeli demands
    • The point is that no matter how you look at it there is no way an agreement can be reached since the constraints that bind each of two sides are inherently irreconcilable. Hence “the process” on and off theatre must go on to ensure that the limited normalcy that does exist is retained. At some point though the general setting will change, most likely due to broader events that are unrelated directly to the conflict, e.g. by dramatic development in Syria and Lebanon and/or a violent clash with Iran, etc., and then everything will have to be recalculated. History has many examples for such dramatic turns and it is therefore more about patience than trying to force the unattainable.

  • Marwan Barghouthi on Mandela: 'Our freedom seems possible because you reached yours'
    • Well, Annie, given what you expect from Marwan Barghouti you should, as they say, be careful with what you wish for… Barghouti is a realist and may very well be also the candidate of choice for Israel. It is little coincidence that he chose to write this (and almost nothing until now) since he may very well see Mandela a role model also in yet another respect - Mandela, after all, has become upon his rise to power a close ally, a darling, of the West.

  • 'NYT' article on Palestinian refugees manages to quote Israeli govt spox but no Palestinians
    • When I see the outrage here about fnlevit`s arguments and the profuse insults but no concrete counterargument I suspect he must be onto something…
      The surge of the Palestinian refugees from the original hundreds of thousands into the millions is grotesque. Extrapolated into the future you will have in 2-3 decades 20 million….All wanting “to return” to a miniature piece of land (which the lion share of them has never seen) while leaving behind the immense territories of Arabia.. All this makes very little sense to me

  • Palestinians increasingly concerned Jordan may be given control of West Bank in future deal
    • I am not surprised by Marc`s anguish. It seemed so logical that this miniature piece of land will not survive the many pressure forms applied against it: Intifadas, terror, in the UN, embargos, wars and what not. Just push hard enough and persevere and you have it – and this was indeed the prevalent mindset in involved circles. What they ignored is the inherent fragility of the Arab monolith that drove the crusade and how the effects of that will change the calculations. In addition, size stopped to matter that much: in the new general conditions big and small can be devastated with not so much different efforts. Then there was the fundamental switch of the US in its attitudes to the main players here. You start to add all that up (plus the present try to neutralize Iran as an active player in the game) it become clear that over the 6-7 decades of the existence of Israel tectonic changes have taken place and what is reported in this article is the unsurprising consequence of that. In fact, a reverse rephrasing of the above may now apply, namely (for Israel): push hard enough and persevere and you will have it.

  • What Comes Next: Struggle, or solutions?
  • Joseph Massad on how 'Peace is War'
    • The problem with attitudes like that of Massad that they not only perpetuate the suffering of the people he claims he wants to help but that the disproportionate obsession of a big Arab world with a tiny Israel has distracted it from real problems it had and contributed to the downfall of entire Arab countries and societies. The question therefore is: just how much more in very real terms the Palestinians and the Arab world at large still have to pay just to make Massad feel that his case (as seen from the safe US) is being advanced? How lower Arabs still need to go in order to satisfy that?

  • Israel is a 'corpse' -- Hedges on Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • "Israel won`t survive another 65 years in its present form"
      That`s possible, indeed, likely. Israel is a new creation and didn`t reach equilibrium neither outside – the relations with Arab countries are still in flux – nor inside. The final political configuration with Palestinians, the West-Bank and Jordan (the other semi-Palestine) is still undetermined. Israel as a young country is a project in the making and it clearly bears little semblance to what it was 65 years ago with less than 1 million inhabitants, a far less advanced economy, an amateur army and much narrower area under its control. The Arab world has changed a lot too, which is also part of the Israeli-existence equation.

  • Self-exiled Israelis in Berlin now number 20,000
    • Exactly, there is no need to look for political motives or aspects in everything. Berlin became attractive to many with intellectual and artistic inclinations – it is a symbol of Germany`s makeover especially given its central role in Nazi Germany. Global political and economic power-games have moved elsewhere and the city has been freed to indulge in other things.

  • Netanyahu's sweet deal: 104 prisoners for thousands of settlements
    • “How do Jews think is going to end?”
      Nobody knows but, Seafoid, you keep placing too much weight on size and the “long run”. While size was a determining factor in the past in today`s conditions it can create an “optical-vision” error (and that is also why “the long run” didn`t work until now). In an era of warfare asymmetry and globalized all (including economics) the apparent big, in size and population, can unfold just as easily – e.g. WMD with missiles can instantly undo a whole set of much bigger countries, so can a cyber-attack and outside interference by global players can devastate just as much a big country. Times have changed and old rules don`t apply anymore

  • Lift the cruel, unfair sanctions on Iran, and you can close the nuclear dossier
    • Let us not forget that the sanctions were an alternative to war. Iran is also in effect a military dictatorship cum theocracy ans threatened Arabs and Israel (with which it conducted proxy wars for decades) - all that is the main cause of the problem, not the sanctions - those are just reactions and quite mild at that, given the extensive maliciousness of the regime there.

  • Malcolm Gladwell is afraid to address Israel in his new book
    • Well, alot of it is purely circumstantial. Technology advances give huge advantage to those who can use it well - whether in terms of setting organizations that can harness it effectively or through warfare asymmetry. It eliminates a past intrinsic disadvantage of the small – if you command hi-tech you can create advanced tools, for military purposes or economic one (and get prosperous); if you command cyber-tools you can get information (e.g. by able to spy on others) and disrupt other`s systems – no matter how big is the other entity; if you have an advanced air-force you can win wars against bigger rivals and then the ultimate warfare asymmetry tool – nukes. No matter how small you are if you have 100 warheads and long-range missiles you have a decisive advantage over entities far bigger than you. So real simply, Israel has been and still is a David by physical circumstances (it cannot change that) but has become a Goliath due to general technological advances (which it managed to exploit and create a compensatory trade-off).

  • 'The world doesn't get it' -- Highlights of Netanyahu's alienation tour
    • Kayq: ” Netanyahu and the Israelis dug themselves into a ditch”
      Those who yearn for that to happen will see it (and everything else) that way. In reality, there is a chance here to avert a war, which serves everybody`s interest, Iranians and Israelis alike, and that`s a good thing. Even if it is just a slim hope it needs to be explored. Netanyahu is playing here the “bad cop” vis-à-vis Iran, which, as usual, is helpful for the “good cop”, and the “bad cop” never looks good. If the move succeeds and Iranian nuclear and a war over it are averted then let the “good cop”, Obama, take the credit – why not? If however it fails then “the cops” will surely reunite in their original goal – maybe even more resolute than before.

    • There is too much focus here on the PR side of things. In the end the essence of things is what will win the day. That is, if the Iranians really decided to back off in order to really improve own world status and relations with the West then that will win. If however they are bluffing, and that will become clear quickly, the charm offensive will be over and all will return to where it was before

  • Blumenthal talks 'Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel' on Democracy Now!
    • Annie: It may also serve Israeli Hasbara, but is that not a real contradiction - it may still be valid on its own. My feeling is that what has been going on for so long in the region as well as outside it (e.g. prominently Sep 11) is dominating the mindset of the American public as far as the region goes. This does not vindicate unsavory opinions by some Israelis (after 65 years of quite dreadful conflict it is not entirely surprising that it happens) but it makes that much less relevant in the eyes of people who are already themselves wary about the Arab scene

    • ‘If it was shown to Dick and Jane”
      Dick and Jane are busy watching how minorities all around the region are persecuted in an abhorrent manner and they also see the unimaginable cruelty in Syria and beforehand Iraq and turmoil elsewhere. The inevitable result of that is that all conflicts that involve Arabs are now seen by the American public in a different light – a category of its own.

  • Fida Qishta's Gaza documentary hit screens in northern California
    • The plain truth is that all these would have been more compelling if the entire region was not in flames – compared to which the troubles in Gaza pale so much as to actually look benign. After all troubles are not just political, for instance in a disadvantaged neighborhood in the US the people might feel hugely frustrated - and there are numerous other categories. In fact, when the Palestinians complained, even shortly rioted, about a prisoner who died from cancer claiming that it was because he didn`t get good enough medical care – to many it may have even sounded as a compliment to Isreal (if that is such a big issue against it….)

  • Gaza: Crushed between Israel and Egypt
    • Taxi, you seem to be placing a lot on Hezbollah – you expect them to shoot down Israeli aircrafts, spray Israel with deadly missiles, now guiding Hamas, etc. In reality it is a much lamer duck than you would want to believe - I think they must be very nervous now watching what unfolds all around. I am afraid you are up to a rude awakening here

    • If you look at it strategically these are the new trends - leading to some sort of stability. Hamas is a kind of outlier even in the Palestinian context – its staunch stance to never recognize Israel cannot be part of workable program for some kind of arrangement and its general violent attitude, past terror adherence and the use of rockets against civilians in Israel (AFTER Israel quit there) disqualifies it from being a part of that. The PA is emerging as the sole representative of the Palestinian side, supported by the main existing Arab forces, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan as well as good contacts with the West while Hamas past allies, Syria and Iran are crumbling or at least on a constant decline. The PA alos enjoys a reasonable level of realtioship with Isreal. So what we see are the phases of an ongoing process of regional consolidation where the trouble makers: Saddam, Assad. Hamas and soon Hezbollah too are withering away (together with a constantly declining Iran`s “resistance axis” including the downsizing of Iran itself) – it`s all History in the making.

  • Obama and Netanyahu discuss the colonial question of questions on Iran
    • “The world to President Obama”
      “Thrashes your presidency and consigns….. to a historical footnote”
      Strong words indeed and from no less than the representative of the entire world. I am sure that will serve as a wake-up call for him.

  • Israel's real fear: shift in balance of power with a normalized Iran
    • Just: "Stop rubbing your hands in glee at the misfortune of others"
      You mean I should feel bad at the downfall of the Islamic Republic in Iran? Sorry, I am not a saint. Never mourned the downfall of the Nazis either

    • Annie: “could you explain why you think Rouhani`s speech was so well attended vs. Ahmedinejad`s”
      With pleasure. The “Iran drama” has been in the world`s political forefront for decades now involving (indirect) wars with Israel through proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, bitter political confrontations with other Arabs, hugely provocative statements on the US and Israel (the Big and Small Satan), constant threats that Israel`s end is near, involvement in the ongoing Syria war, the nuclear drama, the sanctions and what not. Now there appears to be a potential change in direction – isn`t all that enough for people to be curious?
      Generally, Ahmedinejad was also a “hit” and attracted much general attention because of his provocative statements (Cassius Clay style) on Israel and the Holocaust and other things, while in that particular UN appearance he was deliberately snubbed to demonstrate displeasure.

    • Annie, sorry for the shorthand styling: I use “entertaining” here clearly in an ironic sense. More appropriate characterizations would be what “dramatic” or “provocative” and usually also with underlying violence-content. It is a fact (human nature) that these tend to attract attention.

    • Shingo: "The Un was a packed audience during Rouhani`s speech"
      I think you misinterpret the interest in Rouhani`s talk – the Iran saga and the recent switch there with the election of the new president has made it one of the main shows in town now. Ahmadinejad and Kaddafi used to attract big crowds too. People still yearn for some “entertainment” (even if it is partly macabre) - especially so in the ordinarily boring arena of politics (for instance, one of the main complaints with German politics, as in the recent elections there, is that it is boring…). In fact that is in my view why the Israel-Palestinian conflict has attracted so much attention over the years even though it is in reality a footnote in the world`s, even Arabs`, problems. However, Iraq, Afghanistan and now even more so Syria are gradually killing that – stealing the limelight.

    • The Iran saga is still has a long way to go with ups and downs – so will provide a lot of commentary opportunities. The key thing is that Iran is losing its original regional grandeur aspirations - they really hoped to be BIG in the region and surpass Saudi-Arabia and used the “Israeli card” also as a way to get popular with the “Arab Street’ (“your rulers do nothing – see how active and successful we are in fighting the Zionists). For a time it worked, there are always the “initial bravados”, but once the insurgency there took place, Hamas left, Syria is practically lost, the Saudis got into aggressive counter-offensive, the UN nukes agency became more aggressive with its new Japanese head and the sanctions are having an accumulated effect – the “regional dominance” aspirations got buried. So much so that they understand that even the nukes development, which beforehand was expected to make a big difference is rather turning into a liability for them. Hence the recent conciliatory moves – the Big Game is over and small games don`t worth the trouble, and the focus there is now on becoming “normal” again. Problem is, they have already got too much on the nerves of too many and it might be too late for the regime there to be re-accepted regardless of what its true intensions are.

  • Here we go again: California group attacks state professor for pro-BDS website
    • The point is of course the difference between criticism and boycott. The former is a democratic measure the latter is a form of “declaration of war” by means other than physical violence. Being so, you can be sure that Israel (in fact any one in that situation) and supporters will fight boycott by any means they have – La guerre comme a la guerre.

  • David Brooks plays his readers about Israel -- McGowan
    • Right, war indeed became central to Israel but would you be honest enough to answer why? Wasn`t it forced on it by its Arab neighbors from Day 1. You bet that had Israel embraced at its birth it wouldn`t want to spend so much energy and blood on warring and on military production, training etc. Now that it has become specialized in that, as a result of all of that, it is a bit strange to hear those that brought that about to complain about that. Just reaping what was sown and as the bible says you can sow wind and reap storms.

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