Branding Israel: Building walls, destroying bridges..

23/7/2006

Add to that: killing the innocent, maiming the children.

Or maybe Israel’s brand tagline should be: “Experts in Collective Punishment”.

This post is a message across the border, to Israelis: Congratulations. You have just succeeded at making yet another generation of Arabs hate you.

Horrible images are circulating among Arab web users these days, as the effect of Israel’s bombing of Lebanon emerge. The pictures are often shown in combination with the now famous image of the Israeli girls scribbling messages on artillery munitions.

The pictures are so horrible, that I actually asked a former colleague of mine not to include me on his mailing list. I’ve seen enough. Out of respect to those dead children, I am not willing to participate in this orgy of display of suffering.

But the death and suffering are real. Regardless of what I think of spreading these images on the web, they document what happening on the ground.

In my previous online encounters with Israelis and their media, I was often confronted by this notion that the ‘Arab propaganda machine’ has always been very efficient at making Arab people hate Israel. Israel’s internal perception of itself is that of a nation ‘under siege’ by a hostile Arab world. Its own self image is that of highly moral, humanistic state, born out of the horror of the Holocaust to be a refuge for the world’s Jews.

That self perception explains proclamations by the Israeli army, for example, that it is “the most moral army in the world”. And most Israelis, it seems, REALLY, TRULY believe this statement.

Let’s, for argument’s sake, assume that there really is this efficient Arab propaganda machine. Well.. Israel has, for the past half century or so been very ‘generous’ at supplying this machine with a steady flow of images that perpetuate it.

In 1982, as a twelve year old kid, I saw the images of Sabra and Shatilla on TV (ok, Lebanese extremist committed that atrocity, but with complicity of the Israeli army that was occupying Lebanon at the time.)

In 2002, we saw the effects of Israel’s re-occupation of West Bank cities. Another reminder of ‘Brand Israel.’

And now, in 2006, Lebanon again.

And with the magnifying effect of satellite TV and the internet, the horrible images are more prevalent, more vivid and more capable causing limitless anger.

I always expect Israelis to point to Hamas’s suicide bombing tactics and Hezbollah’s indiscriminate rocket attacks as being essentially ‘the same’ as Israel’s bombing raids (and some will point to the fact that the Israeli army actually apologizes for civilian deaths). But Israel’s overwhelming firepower makes sure that the suffering it inflicts on Arab civilians is always greater than anything the other side can inflict upon Israel. I am not attempting a political or military analysis here. I am just wondering about Israel’s ‘branding strategy’ when it comes its neighboring audiences. We keep hearing from Israelis that all they want is to live in peace in this region. How does that fit with Israel’s actions that produce an image of a country that can only be seen as ‘barbaric’.

I am using the term ‘brand’ and not ‘PR’ here because a brand is an image and an evocation of feelings, formed over a long period of time and that is strategic, and not tactical, in nature.

Either Israel is totally blind to the fact that it is making generation after generation of Arabs truly hate it. Or it is totally aware of that fact and is actually happy about it. Maybe Israel wants to occupy the ‘Brand Fear’ positioning. Maybe it expects that by destroying a country and killing many civilians, it will instill fear in the hearts of a new Arab generation. Maybe it is OK for it to be Feared and Hated (i.e: the schoolyard bully image).

51 Comments

  1. Ahmad:

    Respectfully, does the next generation of Arabs really need the Lebanon assault to hate Israel?

    Didn’t you just post the images of the Palestinian Baby Bomber and the Israeli girls scrawling messages on Lebanon-bound tank shells?

    This sort of hatred is taught, and has been for many generations. There are few among us who are willing to dialog and “understand” each other. We see atrocity – and we hate. And we learned to hate from our fathers, who learned it from their fathers, who learned it from their fathers – all the way back to Abrahman’s sons. We will continue to justify our killing by pointing to the other side’s killing.

    There will be no peace among Abraham’s sons, tragically. Not in this world.

    You are ashamed. I am ashamed. You from the East. Me from the West. Thinkers and doers are too few. Haters and killers are too many.

    But we can occupy as voices of truth until Truth comes.

  2. Rob says:

    The Arab world has done nothing to deserve the adoption of pride as a foreign policy. The Israelis have built an oasis out of swamps and wasteland while the Islamic world still blames it’s age old enemies for the backwardness of their own nations. There would be an instant and lasting peace in the middle east if the Islamic world acknowledged Israel and and closed the book on oft used Quranic injunction to “Fight those who fight you.”

    For every picture you give me of Israeli children I can give you a dozen of Palestinian children with suicide belts and machine guns, even in the absense of an active conflict.

    Ahmad, you sound more like an affluent extremist than a moderate.

  3. If somebody comes into your house and kicks everybody out of the kitchen, would you want to kick them out? If they decide to serve the best meals to you and your neighbours, would you still want to kick them out?

    Why are we even discussing that? Even if Israel is a very peacefull country with very VERY high moral, I STILL WANT THEM OUT of my kitchen! And that is I believe, the smartest trick Israel has ever pulled, it convinced the world it exists. That state and anyone living under its fake constitution do not have the right to exist, not to mention “defend themselves.” And untill the Arab world wake up to this simple very basic fact, we wont stop fighting the shadows of an image created only in our minds.

  4. Dotan Mazor says:

    “You have just succeeded at making yet another generation of Arabs hate you”

    Dear Ahamd, and any readers that are willing to give an explained answer,

    Pointing out a problem is simply not enough in this case. You are saying very harsh things, yet you suggest no solution.

    Please, enlighten our politicians as for ways to solve the Lebanese problem, that wouldn’ t envolve use of military force. I can’t seem to think of any.

    For 6 years Israel has been completely out of Lebanon, and the lebanese government took no actions to take control over the southern regions. This gave the terrorists all the time they needed, in order to establish themselves as the owners of these territories.

    What way is there to force (by this time, it has to be forced) the Lebanese government to take control over its south?

    And just to remind you: talks did not work. Neither did U.N. forces.

    Dotan

  5. Jonathan says:

    Ahmad,

    I can go with you up to a certain distance. i do think that Israel is doing several bad things in regards to Bombing civilian targets, and that it should stop doing it right away, as should the Hizbullah stop targeting israeli cities. However, The only reason that your claim that “Horrible images are circulating among Arab web users these days, as the effect of Israel’s bombing of Lebanon emerge. The pictures are often shown in combination with the now famous image of the Israeli girls scribbling messages on artillery munitions.” is true.

    Israel managed to have the upper hand in this fight. If more casualties existed on the israeli site, and if the Hizbullah would succeed in killing hundreds of Israelies, and Israel would have published these pictures, would you feel different?

    I’m not going to answer Mariam, since i believe that no reason or answer i’ll supply would suffice; not even that my family lived in israel (constantly) since the late 1800s and that we bought the land we lived on legally.

    But yes, Israel’s army lacks some moral, but they are still more moral then the Hizbullah.

  6. [...] As you know, Bombing kids and killing innocent people does not give Israel great public relations nor does it help that the death toll is by far greater on the other side . Moreover, The Israelites who are pro-peace are dealt severely in peace rallies worldwide (warning: hebrew link) and when the Israeli left demonstrates, it tends to be quite against Israel’s right to defend itself and calls for immediate disarmament. [...]

  7. Schoenerleben says:

    Tell me: which alternative did the Arab countries leave to Israel? They did lot’s of mistakes, but IMO some Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria and IRan though not Arabic) did even more.
    Sure Israel is killing innocents, but where was the blame on suicide bombers? They kill ONLY civilians, they TARGET civilians. While Israel, missing a partner to handle out any dialogue since the Hamas governement, tried to retreat from occupied territories, NONE of their expectations fulfilled. Instead, things came even worse. Sure the reaction looks unbalanced if you compare it to the two soldiers kidnapped, but if you look at the whole situation (Hizbollah supported by Iran and Syria, Iran’S rethorics aso.) the picture gets quite different. All Arab countries involved (exept of Lebanon which is totally powerless as it cannot control it’s own territory) doubt Israel’s right of existence (least you can say). So Israel is supposed to öean back and wait till the Hizbollah is powerful enough to really harm Israel? In an alliance with Iran and Syria?
    This conflict will never end unless BOTH sides are ready to accept a certain status quo, including the acceptance of Israel by both Iran and Syria. Is it that hard to accept a status quo (WITH Israel) as a base to build a future full of peace and prosperity upon?
    If I might point to Europe: this continent brought the most deadly conflicts to humanity in the past centuries. After millions of casualties (and 2 world wars) and bloodshed over centuries, the region was ready for accepting a status quo imposed from the outside (mainly USA and USSR) for a better future.
    Do you think the present conflict is solvable by keeping the hatred, the prejudices and the memories of past humiliations?
    Do you solve personal conflicts by refreshing hatred, humiliations and prejudices?
    Would it not be easier to bury the hatred, to accept differences in thinking for a lastng peace?

  8. Miriam’s argument points to the entrenched views, passed down for generations, that indicate this conflict is unsolvable for now. “That state and anyone living under its fake constitution do not have the right to exist, not to mention “defend themselves.””

    How do you argue with that?

    Many are not willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. So let’s all watch the blood flow and the hatred increase? There is no possibility for a “cease-fire” or “cessation of hostilities” when these viewpoints enter the discussion. There can never be a “road-map,” no “peace plan” until both sides can agree that each has a right to the area.

    Wipe them off the map, right? It can’t and won’t work that way.

    I recognize and sympathize with the “wanting your kitchen back” argument, but you’ve got to at least be willing to let Israel have a bedroom and maybe let them use the kitchen once in a while.

    Must it be “all or nothing?”

  9. A Blog Without Posters says:

    “The Israelis have built an oasis out of swamps and wasteland ”

    it was not swamps and wasteland. but you are not new to making things up. remember “land without people for people without land” ?

    this resulted in the largest and longest suffering refugee population since WWII. but you don’t care about this. if you cared about the truth, you would stop being a zionist and suffocate.

  10. A Blog Without Posters says:

    israeli: “which alternative did the Arab countries leave to Israel?”

    the alternative that said end the friggin military occupation and let the non-jewish refugees return home and free the non-jewish hostages. but for a supremacist such as yourselvs, this is not the alternative you are waiting to hear. so you keep asking which alternative did the Arab countries leave to Israel?” for the next 100 years.

    hence the turmoil.

  11. A Blog Without Posters says:

    israeli “does the next generation of Arabs really need the Lebanon assault to hate Israel?”

    No. all they have to do is drive by the refugee camps and see how millions have to suffer because they are not jewish.

  12. A Blog Without Posters says:

    israeli “You are saying very harsh things, yet you suggest no solution.”

    Are you folks deaf or blind. we have been saying for half a century END THE OCCUPATION, LET THE NON-JEWISH REFUGEES RETURN, FREE THE NON-JEWISH PRISONERS.

  13. A Blog Without Posters says:

    israeli “If more casualties existed on the israeli site, …would have published these pictures,”

    if you were a peaceful nation treated unjustly and unfrialry and if you did not expell millions from their homes because they are not jewish and if yu did not take thousands of non-jewish hostages…yes we would feel very bad if you were the target of an unjustified attack.

    fact is, hizboullaah attacked, killed, and captured israeli soldiers not CIVILIANS. hozboullah’s hands were clean. then you started killing lebanese civilians rulthlessly using them as a pressure tool hoping the lebanese would rise against hizbouallh. that was obsence. and that’s how the hizbouallh started hitting back at israeli towns.

    Hizboullah had a policy for years that they will NOT strike civilian targest unless the jews strike lebanse civillian targets. they have been true to this policy.

    Here is the irony: israel which calls itself a western democracy kills civilians for political ends, that’s the definition of terrorism. hizbouallhl, spares civilians by avoiding biochemical installations in israel. way i see it, you have lost the moral high ground since you were led by zionazi terror groups like irgun and shtern. little has changed but the rhetoric.

  14. So, Blog Without Posters – we’re waiting for your solution.

  15. Schoenerleben says:

    A Blog Without Pisters:
    First of all, I am European. It shows your state of mind that you call someone with a different opinion Israeli, wanting to lower the poster’s thoughts. Clearly racism, as, from your posts, you think of Israel as a bad country.

    “the alternative that said end the friggin military occupation and let the non-jewish refugees return home and free the non-jewish hostages.”

    Ok. This would end terror? Israel tried it at least once. It helped nothing.
    Israel is allowing non Jewish people to live there. Trusting Wikipedia, some 18% of Israels population are Arab Israelis. Show me one Arab country with such a large minority of non.Muslims. Hard to find. huh? And it’s really hard to understand that they don’t want all refugees back… Wondering why…

    “but for a supremacist such as yourselvs, this is not the alternative you are waiting to hear. ”

    The only thing I’d love to hear is a plan for a _realistic_ solution. A kind of masterplan for peace, not the same sentences as ever. Look forward man! The past is gone, and the future will be too if you don’t start looking towards the future.

    “so you keep asking which alternative did the Arab countries leave to Israel?” for the next 100 years.”
    Indeed. Israel did a lot of mistakes (sounds cynical, I know). But at least, they tried different behaviours over the last decades, and Syria and Iran (including Hizbollah and, maybe, Hamas) stayed on the same point. No changes at all. Why shall I stop asking?

  16. Anja says:

    -(…)so bekämpft Israel den genozidalen Islamismus stellvertretend für die westliche Welt. Dass diese westliche Welt diesem Land nicht in den Rücken fallen darf, ist wohl das Mindeste, was erwartet werden darf.- MATTHIAS KÃœNTZEL

    Hi Ahmad
    I was following the german news about what happening these days in Lebanon and Gaza a lot. Almost the majority of this articles is claiming about the barbaric war strategy of the Israelis. But then I found this serious article which really makes me angry somehow but anyway its a topic to discuss and I would like to know what you are thinking about it?

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/debatte/0,1518,428093,00.html

  17. manal y says:

    ok lets say isreal has the right to be, and had the right to start to recreate their kingdom and have the right to live in peace among the Arabs countries, and have the right to defend it self,
    but won’t someone that’s wants peace come in peace, spread peace and be a better model for the rest….when did that happen? you started creating your country in 1948 by a massacre, please don’t say that didn’t happen, you came with guns, grenades and tanks, and the support of the strongest countries at that time, you had not left anything to in power you. That’s not an act for peace. With what we fought you back then? there were no suicide bombs at that time. Why did you kill them and kicked them out their homes where they terrorist sense then? Today you are doing the exact thing that you have been doing for 58 years and today you have an excuse which is you are fighting terrorist, but what is your excuse for all those years? Why we still hear and see the same act ,they same killings, the same destruction through all these years
    prove me that you had come for peace and today’s fight is different and you are fighting against terror?

  18. Dotan Mazor says:

    “hozboullah’s hands were clean”

    That’s a rotten base to stand on, my dear enemy. If you support a terrorist movement, that enters another country’s territory and kills and attacks people, you might be just as bad as they are.

    Just like Mariam, all you want is “Arabs in – Jewish out!!!11!!!!”. I am really grateful, that you have no wish to kill each and every one of us. Thank you very much, o benevolent one.

    Have a good life, and get a name.

    Dotan

  19. well well well, what you have? Zionists reading and replying! way to go Ahmad :)

    someone replied with: can the Israelis have a bedroom and use the kitchen once in a while? and my answer is: first, what if I do not want you to have a bedroom? bomb me? kill my family? kick us out??? second of all, that is not what the zionists have been doing since 1948, are you sh*t kidding me? where were you when all the original inhabitants of the land disappeared, and other “religiously different” inhabitants suddenly appeared?…

    this is not the way you “use the kitchen,” you stay put and silent, and play by the rules of the house owners, and pay your check, otherwise, dont expect us to be “peaceful”

    as for hatred passed thru generations, common! zionists, wake up! the whole WORLD hated you, they still do in fact! thats why they are putting all their money into “let the damn jews stay there” (no, I mean to say, we dont need anybody to teach us the hatred, one look at CNN news bulliten – although biased- is enough)

    there seems to me only one solution to this, wipe that state out of existence, of course ur gonna argue, that is not possible now, my argument is, nothing is impossible, Israel came to existence in 6 days, everything is POSSIBLE, and I believe we will one day create enough charge to just push our human bodies against the arms of the zionists, and wipe them off this surface of earth… Amen. So you either give me back my kitchen, or live in fear (remember that we have a lot less to lose in this war)

    PS. Israel did not exist prior 1948 as a state, not to mention end of 1800!!!! and since you mentioend it, Arabs had lands for more than 700 years in Spain, you dont see us fighting our guts to reclaim it!

  20. Schoenerleben says:

    Miriam, if you want to stick to history, please note that Palestine was hardly ever independent. From 63BC to 614, it was ruled by the Romans. From 614 to 629, it was ruled by Persians. Then Muslim Arabs took the control until 1516 (interrupted by European crusaders regularly). 1516, the Osman Empire established it’s reign there for 400 years. The Osman reign over the region was ended by the British empire in 1927. Until 1947, _the whole region_ (including Palestine) were British. So IMHO it is really hard to build any nationalistic ideas upon history.

  21. Schoenerleben says:

    I forgot to mention that the fact that no Arab country is claiming land in Spain might be related with the lack of power.
    This is not a point to blame Arab countries at all, Europe (and most other countries or empires) did not stand for peaceful prosperity throughout its history for a time which ended 60 years ago. Unfortunately (least I can say), the region still suffers from Europe’s reign.

  22. manal y says:

    Schoenerleben:
    do you really need an explanation why is there only 18% of Arabs left in israel, and why in some Arabs countries there is only 1-2% of it’s population are jews.
    isn’t it obvious !!!!

    And don’t trust everything in Wikipedia.

  23. Imad says:

    Ahmad thanks for bringing up the idea of “branding Israel”. I think there’s some potential for some sort of campeign…. perhaps even thru a fashion line? This one’s for you Ahmad: http://teeshirtat.com/blog.html/63

  24. That was me posting the kitchen question, Miriam – and I am not a Zionist. I’m just one of the millions of Americans watching this from afar and wondering if there is a solution. As for where I was in 1948; still quite a few years away from being born. I’m just looking at it as a citizen of the world, from another country, in its current state. We can go round and round about history and whose land is whose and at what point it changed hands. But using that rationale, I should probably go live in Italy since my mother was Italian but born in the US. But wait, my father’s heritiage is German. Damn – I am in a fix!

    And maybe we can give Australia back to the Aboriginies?

    Here is where we are: Arabs and Jews live in Israel.

    Here is your solution: Wipe the Jews off the face of the Earth.

    So what if the Jews did as you request, that is, “stay put and silent, play by the rules of the house owners and pay their check”? Would you then be willing to let them live in peace, or will you continue to water your deep-seeded hatred and make plans to “wipe them off the surface of the earth.”?

    And I agree with you on one thing, Miriam – Way to go, Ahmad for opening this East West dialog. You never know, perhaps the bloggers of the world will find the solution to this mess someday.

  25. A Blog without poster for posters without a blog says:

    “And maybe we can give Australia back to the Aboriginies?”

    The Aboriginies had no one to care for them or aske about their well-being. the palestinains have 270 million Arabs and 1.3 billion Muslims and about 4 billion decent human beings who are looking our for them. I guess that’s where you scrwed up. you picked the wrong people to ethnically cleanse and the wrong land to colonize.

    “Here is your solution: Wipe the Jews off the face of the Earth.”

    your cry of victimhood and theatrics is rather obscene when considering you own over 100 nukes and one of the most powerful military machines in the world. strop playing a victim. it’s sickining. this may have worked 100 years ago but it’s so abnouxious for you to keep weeping as you lean on your nukes.

    “You never know, perhaps the bloggers of the world will find the solution to this mess someday.”

    Yes, you are deaf and blind. i lost count over how many times i posted the obvious solution. but you are programmed to see white on white when you come across words that you refuse to accept because of your deep rooted racism. But I will write the solution one more time:

    - LET THE NON-JEWISH REFUGEES RETURN
    - END THE EXPLUSION OF NON-JEWS
    - FREE THE NON-JEWISH HOSTAGES

    Which one of the above solutions do you not understand?

    If you belive you can cause so much harm to non-jews, don’t come to weeping to our blogs and expect us to give you a napkin. you can take your racism to some other blog. try to find friends at KKK or skinhead blog. you have so much in common with them except that they failed when you have succedded.

  26. A Blog without poster for posters without a blog says:

    to israeli ” if you want to stick to history, please note that Palestine was hardly ever independent. ”

    And that gives you the right to expell non-jews from palestine? kill them? replace their towns and villages with jews-only towns?

    What do they teach you in school? do you realize how absurd you sound?

  27. Blog Without Posters:

    Your shrill and rude posts are evidence of the the inability to resolve this conflict.

    You say – in all caps, I will add: LET THE NON-JEWISH REFUGEES RETURN – END THE EXPLUSION OF NON-JEWS – FREE THE NON-JEWISH HOSTAGE.

    Fine. Then will you accept Israel’s right to exist? Then will you stop reactionarily calling me a racist and a friend of the KKK? I am neither a Jew nor an Arab. I am as far from the KKK as you will ever find. I am merely an outside observer, looking at this objectively. Reserve your vehement, hateful comments for your sworn enimies, please.

    Answer that question above and we can begin a dialog. I am refraining (with much restraint) to responding to you as I wish to. Do me the favor and do likewise. Then and only then, in some semblance of civility, will we EVER find, at the very least, a common ground from which to resolve this conflict.

    You want war? Israel wil kick your asses, no question. The facts are there. It’s all about might. Israel has all the might, courtesy of the US, while you have all the hate. You will die (and are dying) a horrible death at the hands of Israel might.

    I want your solutions. Not your hate. Not your history, not your pain, not your retribution.

    Give me solutions. You say “LET THE NON-JEWISH REFUGEES RETURN – END THE EXPLUSION OF NON-JEWS – FREE THE NON-JEWISH HOSTAGE.”

    If that’s your demand, will you talk?

    Get a clue – it’s time to talk. Quit screaming. It’s not what you say – it’s how you say it.

    I mean it, brother. Can we live in peace given your demands? Can you lay down arms if Israel gives in to your demands?

    Cordially and in Peace,

    Radio Free Babylon.

  28. Schoenerleben says:

    A Blog Without Posters: I am trying to explain to you that keeping your role as victim won’t help you in winning anything for your future, that’s all. I don’t want to explain anything concerning any expellation or smthg.
    ut you know, if you are not looking for peace, you will not find it. Unfortunately. And be aware of the Arabic role in the confilct.

  29. Ali Abdelhaq says:

    This is to Ahmad “radio free babylon” : Do you think it is allright for you to speak about justifying our killing to their killing. we don’t kill, we fight because of their killing, these bastards “Isreal, Jewish” couldn’t hold a peace agreement from the time of our prophet Mohammad “PBUH” and man you know there will be no peace and with all my respect to you and to people who think like you. the things you are tlaking about are just lost poets.

    The real thing is that Israel succeeded in Branding itself, and it didn’t create a fear factor for arabic generations, on the contrary it made a chain of hatred in order to make non stop attacks on Isreal from Arabs so the world will have to see only that arabs are attacking Isreal and Israel is fighting for its rights.

    For an example, I used to study in the northern Turkish part of Cyprus and I was discussing the Palestinian case with a group of Turkish friends and one of them popped out and told me that I am attacking Jewsih people and Israel by my words and they are humans. Look here and see the Media and the effects of the Sewer. That is the case and that is what we are doing, we just go on talking and discussing and ending with no results “Actually doing anything is very difficult” but at least we talk .

    A message for all the Arabs Muslims and Christians: Think before you talk or discuss anything. and always know that Israel is branded in an excellent way that Reebok and Nike can learn their methodologies.

    Thank you Mr. Hummaid for raising this issue.

  30. Ali Abdelhaq says:

    For Schoenerleben:

    You don’t know anything about Israel, and the only solution is to kick Israel out of palestine, you said that they are letting arabs live within their lands…

    For GOD’s sake this is the arab land man,,,, what the hell are you talking about…… or maybe because you are europian that is an explanation for your narrow vision of life.

  31. Ali Abdelhaq says:

    Sorry Schoenerleben,

    You are europian I didn’t mean any offence but it seems that eurpoeans trust the Media so much, or is it a built in hatred for arabs and muslims from europeans like the French…. but trust me the only truth is that Israel is the enemy and it is your enemy also.

  32. Ali Abdelhaq says:

    3ala rasi MARYAM AYYASH

  33. A Blog Without Posters says:

    Israeli “I am trying to explain to you that keeping your role as victim won’t help you in winning anything for your future,”

    Us playing vitcim? is this more role reversal? looks whos talking, the people who blackmailed the world with their historical persecution and got away with committing some of the most obscene war carimes and human rights violations EVEN AS WE SPEAK.

  34. A Blog Without Posters says:

    israeli “Fine. Then will you accept Israel’s right to exist?”

    DUHHH! OF COURSE. we have been saing YES since we have accepted Un242 back in the 80s. A BIG FRIGGIN DUH!!!

  35. A M A L says:

    Re: Schoenerleben

    In reference to your comment; “..suicide bombers…They kill ONLY civilians, they TARGET civilians.”

    Please realize the difference between suicide bombers, and the Palestinian government. And then compare this with the Israeli government. I would like to point out here, incase this is not clear to anyone, that the Israeli government directly targets civilians. The Palestinian government does not target anyone. Suicide bombers, are not the Palestinian government. When a suicide bomber targets civilians, this is not an act representative of the Palestinian government – it is an act representative of the anguish and sorrow of this one individual. When an Israeli soldier targets a civilian, this is directly representative of the Israeli government. The soldier acts on behalf of the Israeli people, and the Israeli government. The suicide bomber acts on behalf of him/herself.

    Further, in your posting on July 24th, you asked the question: “This would end terror?” What exatly do you mean by “terror”? What exactly is your definition of “terror”? I find it difficult to understand what you mean in your postings, when you use this term: For me, it sounds like the same definition these brain-washed ignorant CNN reporters use when they also come on TV offering the US their “terror warning alerts” as they did immediately post-9/11, scaring their population into submission for the tory agenda.

    Re: Rob

    “For every picture you give me of Israeli children I can give you a dozen of Palestinian children with suicide belts and machine guns, even in the absense of an active conflict.”

    You assume that, for example, in the case of Lebanon and Israel right now, after Israel stops its massacre, that there will then be an absense of active conflicts? After the bombs stop raining down on these people, then this is it? All will and can then resume to life as per usual? Will there then not be hundreds of thousands of displaced, hungry, homeless, dead, dying, frightened people?

    Because the bombs and gun-fire stops, this then implies an absense of active conflict?

    Must be nice to live in your little bubble there. I hate to be the one to point this out to you, but active conflict does not end with the halt of bombs or gun-fire. Active conflict continues, for decades, of not longer, as a society, as a community, as a home, as a family, and as an individual, attempts to rebuild itself, straight from the ground again.

    So, Rob, for the next time you see a picture or a dozen, of a Palestinian child with a suicide belt and a machine gun, remember that this tragic reaction is N O T in the absense of active conflict. There is no such thing, in the situation of the Arabs and the Israelis.

  36. Well, damn, bros. We seem to be at a deadlock.

    I suggest we pray to our God, in the names of our respective Prophets, “PBUH” and see if we can’t find a solution that doesn’t involve the deaths of any peoples of any countries or faiths.

    Yes, the branding has gone well over here, Ali Abdelhaq, and I apologize for any naivete regarding the delicacies of the situation. And while I appreciate the eloquence of this statement: “The things you are talking about are just lost poets,” I guess I still believe in peace and talking, or “diplomacy” as Colin Powell might call it, regardless of the apparent fruitlessness and hopelessness of any situation. I’m sure you and I can both go find Scriptures that will reinforce this notion. Mine would be something like, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

    And to Blog Without Posters, for the second or third time, I’m not Israeli – but it’s good to know that there is a “Big Friggin Duh” contained within UN242. That’s a starting point. We need to alert our reasonable Israeli friends to this.

  37. Wow… So many answers. I’ll try to answer them all. Thank you in advance for the discussion here. IMHO it’s one of the most important things: understanding people or at least try this. I am serious about this. Keep this great blog on!

    First to Ali Abdelhaq. I have a point on your post:
    “A message for all the Arabs Muslims and Christians: Think before you talk or discuss anything. and always know that Israel is branded in an excellent way that Reebok and Nike can learn their methodologies.”
    How comes you think Israel is branded and Hezb Alla is not? How comes Hamas is not branded?
    Then, I know I am European. I am biased by my way of life, my education. But you are also, and this is the point I am missing most in this discussion: you are emotionally involved. So you are taking party on this conflict.
    You are saying it’s the Arab land? Sure it is. O it was. But who was there first? Where did the Jews found their religion? AFAIK, Islam is about 1700 years old. Jews were already living in Palestine. Also were Christians. Which tme does count for you? I mean you are right when saying that Israel expelled a lot of Palestinians. But this is history!!! Look forward!
    If Europe would always count back to “who was first”, WWII would nt be over! Both sides must be ready for peace. You are the future of this region. So try to forgive! Remember the greatness of former Muslim empires! Look towards future, not the past. I know it is hard, but show your greatness of the Arab and Muslim people by your will to change towards a better future for all!
    Though I am European, though I know hardly anything about Israel, I have friends in Jordan. I can inform myself from German, French, American, British and Arabic media. I am trying my best to understand the crazy things going on down there. But I think sticking to pictures of victims (each single of them is too much) won’t bring anything on. You can call my vision narrow, but I am trying to widen it. From my emotional point of view, I am with the poor Lebanes people. But from my rational point of view, I can understand a nation’s will to survive. Agree with me or not, this is feedom of expresion. But at least, please, try to understand the other side, as hard as it might be. And don’t believe all the things you like to hear. In times of wr, both sides use propaganda. Just watch history. Last point I wish to add to you: each country is made responsible for it’s governement deeds. Don’t forget that, in any country, there are humans living. Humans like you, like me. Young people wanting to live in a better world. My enemy might be a governement, an ideology or a religion. But it as never been, is not and never will be a people. Don’t forget the thousands or millions of inocents in every country. One country doing thi is already too much. Be a better example.

    To A Blog Without Posters:
    I am sorry that I sounded too hard. It’s not about playing victims; I actually tried to point out that the Arabic roe in the whole crisis (since 48) has not been constructive. You are seeking peace. This is the best thing to do. But to get peace, first thing to do is to bury the hatred. Even if it is hard. And I think that as a European (we were the origin of the whole “things”), we did very well in at least one single thing: forgiving those people we hated throughout centuries (at least). We had to walk over millions of bodies to come to a period of 60 years of peace. I do not wish any country to have to do this again. I have been to Jordan once. I loved the country and its people. I still do. I believe your neghboring countries must be similar from your fantastic hospitality. So I think and hope you have a damn great potential for the whole mid east.

    To Amal:
    I agree that Israel is targeting civilians. But how would you, as a leader of a country (not popular among it’s neighbors), react, if your country was exposed to “guerillia” pressure. This militia would hide amongst civilians. I agree even to the fact that the Palestinian governement is not targeting anyone. But this is one of the most important points: the Palestinian governement, unlike any other country (exept of Lebanon) cannot control violent acts from its territory, although it should (international law, UN charta…). By this, Israel has no one to negotiate with. When Israel met few points with Fatah, Hamas comes and does not accept any single point! And if any kind of violence moves cross-border, the governements are responsible for it! Don’t tell me Hamas could not stop individuals commiting resistance/religious suicide! They are doing all this martyr propaganda, so they are responsible for it… So if you take Israeli individuals (soldiers) into responibility, please do the same with suicide bombers.
    From my (distant) point of view, you could sound as brain washed as you titulated me, just from the other side. No offense meant, only to stay in the picture.
    Terror is, for me, reaching goals through spreading panic within civilians without being a war. A war is terror but different, as it is led by nations (does not make it better, but for me, makes the difference).

    Anyway, I hope I could clarify my thoughts. If not, do not hesitate answering.

    Anyway, I am not here to contribute to hatred, just wanting to explain my point of view about this sad crisis.

    Best wishes to all,
    ala rasi

  38. Humeid says:

    Thank you all to your contribution to this dialoge. I think that even in the darkest hours, dialoge is important. Harsh words have been spoken here, but I guess that’s better than sugar-coating the situation with general talk about peace etc.

    Before we get lost in longer and longer historical discussions (who was there first the canaanites or the Israelites etc etc), let us not forget that TODAY there is a war being waged that, regardless of who started it, Israel is using to collectively punish Lebanon and humiliate it. Israel, which has the bigger gun here, has to bear the responsibility for creating even more anger and resentment in the region.

    From the ‘dialoge’ going on here one can see how hot this whole issue is and how far apart and entrenched the views are.

    Here’s how I see things

    Israel comes across (and acts) in a very arrogant manner. There is a a prevailing fortress mentality on that side. From what I read on Haaretz message boards, for example, I can see that Israeli society has a significant amount of extremists/racists in it that have no problem with collective punishment and ‘wiping out’ Pleatinians/Arabs.

    On the other hand, I can anly applaud the moral courage of some Israelis who come out demonstrating against the war.

    As for the Arab side, the whole Israel issue, is an unbelievable wound. It is the manifestation of the collective failure of Arabs and muslims and their weakness. It is seen by most Arabs as the ‘wickedness of the west’ manifested in the ‘rape of Palestine’.

    And let’s admit that the Arab and muslim side has its share of extremists and racists too. Maybe Arabs and muslims need to be reminded that it is not accepatable, humanely or religously, to advocate ‘wiping out’ any people, even if they are enemies.

    Israel’s creation has resulted in a grave, ongoing injustice to the palestinians (and other Arab people). This is something that needs to be admitted by anyone in Israel or the west, seeking peace or dialoge.

    Arabs, on the other hand, need to admit that their own failures to deal with this issue has made it worse too. One of the worst things in Arab culture today is the tendency to blame everyone but ourselves for our problems and failures.

    The bottom line is: deep cultural changes in Israeli and Arab society need to to occur before any lasting peace can prevail. This might be a chicken-egg problem (do we first have peace, then have a culture of just, fair coexistence, or is it the other way around?). Somewhere this cycle of violence-hate-arrogance-unjustice-terror-state terror-misery has to be broken.

    Let’s start with this thought:

    Let’s consider that in World War II TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WERE KILLED. And ENTIRE CITIES HAVE BEEN WIPED OUT. And that was just a little over 60 years ago (your grandpa might have been in it). And yet, countries who fought this war (Germany, Japan, Italy on one hand and Britain, France, the US and Russia on the other) now actually are mostly allies and friends/economic partners.

    Maybe we should all climb at least one step down from the tree and lower the rhetoric just one degree.

    Israelis: consider the path of justice. Try to stop your government’s action of collective punishment and military arrogance.

    Arabs: demand your rights, but don’t keep blaming others for ALL your problems. Build more justice into your own societies before you demand justice from others.

  39. seif says:

    I believe that this article from the independent is the most acurate description of the state of Israel that I have read for a very long time- written by an israeli- enjoy!
    http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article1197235.ece

  40. Thanks for the link! Critics comeing from “the inside” are most helpful now. Pressure from outside is too weak IMO.

  41. Well put, Ahmad. And I will try to keep what you see as my “sugar-coating the situation with general talk about peace etc,” out of the discussion.

    That said, is there not a common ground that can be acknowledged by both sides? That is, Ibrahim or Abraham? Is this not the place from which to start?

  42. Ali Abdelhaq says:

    Listen Schoenerleben, Maybe you are jewish, but I really don’t care where you are from.

    I am talking to you as a grown up. you said that the israeli military hit civilians in the name of Israel, so does this give them the right to?

    Man just wake up….. have a deeper look on the history and read it since 1916 only.

  43. Ali Abdelhaq.
    I am atheist, if you r interested. I respect any religion and people believing to it.
    I did not (and never) mean that Israel has a right of aggressing s.o. because of any special status of it’s country. So I think you got me wrong; if you are interested for a reply concerning it, I would ask you to be more specific as I don’t get your point.
    Why reading history from 1916 only? IMO it won’t help you a lot. E.g., you cannot understand European history by reading it from 1945 only. It is quite selective and biased trying to look at history from a particular date on.

  44. [...] Bravo Israel, another generation of liberal moderates have started hating you. [...]

  45. [...] I’m sure that like myself, many if not most of the Arabs have totally lost hope in Israel. If there was a point in our lives in which we happened to believe Israel would settle for our many compromises, and would finally appreciate all what we’ve given up, and live with us in peace, then this has changed for ever, and to me, Israel is nothing but a hard-to-satisfy Monster with a very big appetite for destruction and imperialism. And if there’s anyone to be denied the right of keeping weapons then it’s Israel! [...]

  46. Dan whitmarch says:

    Hi Achmad,
    i like your approach when you try to illustrate Israel Brand as a country.
    I would like to contribute my impression of the Arab brand.
    After the UN approved the 1947 UN Partition Plan and divided Israel to 2 states, the Arabs started war on the Jews. The Arabs lost and also they lost the following 3 wars. As a brand I would say, not very brilliant in terms of fighting. Although they lost they are still trying again and again to attack Israel- I admit the Arabs are very stubborn but at the same time why is it so hard to understand that you are weaker in a conflict? One of the big problems in this conflict is that the Arabs still think they can get back what was lost in wars which they started.
    It is a sad side of humanity but the world is still dominated by force and a weaker country can not attack a stronger country because it will end in more damage to the weaker country. The Arabs seems to ignore this. They attack Israel and then being surprised that they suffer more casualties. If instead of trying to get revenge they will start investing in building their economy, their future will be better, instead most of the money they are getting is being spend on fighting and trying to reverse the situation. With the refugees, I think the solution must come from the Arab countries which refused to give shelter to them. After 1948 all the Jews were expelled from the Arab countries (around 800,000) instead of defining themselves as refugees they were assimilated in Israel. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea if the Arab countries will find a way to adopt the Palestinian refugees because obviously, it wont be possible for them to return to Israel.

    For the allegation that Israel is creating another generation of people who will hate it- well, that is part of the problem of the Arab education system. You let them brainwash the mind of the children promising them that if they will fight they will be holy martyrs. Israel as a brand is much more advanced nation in this sense. Israel education system do not educate people to hate Arabs. Another thing I find incredibly crazy is how do the people in Lebanon support Hezbollah. Obviously, Hezbollah is playing the ‘good mom’ and building hospitals and schools but at the same time leading the Lebanese people into a disaster. The Lebanese people are being manipulated and some of them think that Hezbollah is fighting against Israeli occupation- what a nonsense! Israel went inside Lebanon to act against Hezbollah who is terrorising Israel. I wish I could open your eyes and make you realise that the Arabs have a lot of responsibility of what is going on now. I don’t think the Israelis are 100% pure and they did some terrible things but comparing to the Arabs they make so much more sense.

  47. nizar abboud says:

    Ignoring what happens in Jerusalem will lead one day to a similar aggression against Holy Kaaba in Mekka. If the Muslim world remains indifferent and fragmented as it is under US proxy leaders, nothing will remain sacred. This is all the more reason for people to take matters in their hands, not to wait for hopeless governments to take action.

    Nizar Abboud

    New York

  48. Ahmad Mousa says:

    Ahmad, I know I’ve come across this very late, but I need reply to several posts and add a few comments to put things into context.

    Re: Dan whitmarch
    You talk about Palestinians teaching their kids to hate. Well you are wrong my friend, I am a Palestinians and I don’t hate Jews, on the contrary hate is quite visible in Zionist policies even before the state was established. David Ben-Gurion promoted hate. According to Ilan Pappe and I quote. ” The final master plan that was called Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew) following plans A, B, and C preceding it. It was to be a war without mercy complying with what Ben-Gurion said in June 1938 to the Jewish Agency Executive and never wavering from later: “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.”

    Plan D became the way to do it. It included forcible expulsion of hundreds of thousands of unwanted Palestinians in urban and rural areas accompanied by an unknown number of others who were mass slaughtered to get it done. The goal was simple and straightforward – to create an exclusive Jewish state without an Arab presence by any means including mass-murder. Two years later, the director of the Jewish National Land Fund, Joseph Weitz wrote ‘It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country”.

    Over time, these views have contaminated the collective Israeli consciousness and justified for them the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that has continued uninterrupted since the creation of Israel. According to Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, The Guardian, 24 March 2006, 41% of Israel’s Jews favour segregation by inevitable mass expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

    So, what do you call that? Love.

    Re: In relation to the 1947 UN partition plan. Maybe a context is needed.

    The partition of Palestine was a treacherous decision forced through by the United States after pressuring delegates of several member states to reverse their earlier vote against partition, in order to obtain the two-thirds majority needed to pass the resolution. [1] The decision betrayed the majority Palestinian population of the day who had no say in the partition of their land. Instead, they saw 55 per cent of Palestine go to the minority foreign Jewish immigrant population, who a few months later became citizens of the newly-created state of Israel in the Palestinian heartland.

    Almost immediately after the General Assembly resolution was passed, the US State Department changed its mind. After all the politicking that had gone on to force the resolution through, the US realised that partition would destabilise international peace and security, particularly if Russia became involved. The then US ambassador to the United Nations, Warren Austin recommended to the Security Council that Palestine be placed under UN Trusteeship. But, unbeknownst to him and the US State and Defence Departments, US President Truman had already promised support for partition to Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the World Zionist Organisation. [1]

    Realising that the partition of Palestine was in jeopardy – despite Truman claiming Trusteeship was merely a temporary measure – the Jewish Agency took matters into its own hands. On 14 May 1948, it proclaimed the State of Israel in contravention of the UN Security Council resolution requesting the General Assembly “to consider further the question of the future government of Palestine.” [2] Moments later, President Truman recognised the state of Israel on a de facto basis. By its presumptuous act, the Jewish Agency had set the course of the conflict that sixty years later still threatens the peace and stability of the region.

    Note that the Palestinians had no control over Jewish immigration into their homes and the partition plan was resented because 55% of the country was to be allocated to 4% of the population that were Jews. The Palestinians rioted knowing the effect the partition would have on them particularly as their heritage and livelihood were inextricably linked to the land that they’ve lived on and worked for centuries. They did not fight the Jews, they were defending themselves against right wing militant zionist groups that engaged in violent armed terror techniques to push them out of their homes. The Jewish population in Palestine at that time was 4%, yet they had ambitions of establishing Israel by force on both banks of the Jordan river. These groups such as the Israeli ‘Irgun Zvai Leumi’ which was the parent body of the ‘Stern Gang’ began their terrorist campaign against the Palestinians in Sept 1937 to fulfill their vision in a land in which 96% of the population are not Jews. Despite their fanaticism these groups are regarded by Israelis today as national military organisations that aimed to safeguard Jewish interests. To the world at large however, they were seen as terrorists particularly after they targeted British forces in Feb 1944 in Jerusalem and assassinated Lord Walter Moyne (the British colonial secretary & minister resident of the Middle East in Cairo). Lohemai Herut Israel and Haganah were other terrorist organisation that believed in ethnically cleansing Palestinians. Ironically without these terror groups the Israeli state would not have been on the world map today.

    Keeping that in mind. It was not the Palestinians that were threatening to invade, colonize or set up a state on an already existing population. It was not the Palestinians that were provoking attacks. These Zionist terrorist groups forcibly expelled approximately 900,000 Palestinians – never to be allowed to return in order for a Jewish state to be created. Later the Israeli state became determined to make the exile permanent by levelling hundreds of towns and villages, so much so that their prior existence would be unrecognisable to anyone wanting to return. As a further safeguard, Israel put in place complex systems, laws and restrictions that have in fact made it impossible for the Palestinians to return or be repatriated, despite the UN General Assembly passing resolution 194 which affirmed the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property. This right has been endorsed by the United Nations annually since 1948 without effect.

    How easy it is to forget all the early slaughters that were committed by Israeli men and women. Up to 1,700 Palestinians were butchered at Sabra and Chatila by Israel’s proxy christian militia allies in September of 1982 while Israeli troops – as they later testified to Israel’s own court of inquiry – watched the killings. In 1996 in which 106 Palestinian refugees (more than half of them children) were slaughtered when the Israelis shelled the UN compound at Qana. And shall we not forget the terror techniques applied by Lohemai Herut Israel, Haganah, and the Stern Gang in the 1930′s, the famous massacre of Deir Yassin on the 9/4/1948 and the destruction of 531 villages, the massacre of Qibya on 14/10/1953, the massacre of Kufr Qasim on the 29/10/1956, the atrocities committed in the 1967 and 73 wars, the massacre of Al Aqsa mosque on 8/10/1990, the massacre of Ebrahimi Mosque 25/02/1994 and there are many more that followed like the one Jenin in 2006. This demonstrates that the killing of Palestinian civilians is still going on up to this day. Sixty years later it is no different.

    Re: Schoenerleben

    Maybe we should go a bit back in history…
    According to Zionists, they claim that they have a right to live in the Historic land of Israel. Well, according to many history literary texts, Palestinians have the same right as Israelis do, because Palestinians have settled Palestine from about 1600 BC. The Philistines were settling on the coastal plains of Palestine when the Hebrews, having escaped from Egypt, invaded the land from the East, seized Jericho and gradually subdued its settled population in the hills. They fought the Philistines up until king David united the Hebrew tribes, captured Jerusalem and made it its capital. The kingdom of Israel lasted 200 years only and then it was split into the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah which only lasted until about 720 BC.

    Before the Israelites, Canaanites and the Philistines were the Hittites from Asia Minor, who took all of that area from the Egyptians in 1450 BC. Before them the Egyptians conquered these lands from the Babylonians. Before the Babylonians were the Semitic Amorites nomads from central Arabia who defeated the Sumerians. Before the Amorites were the Sumerians who dominated the region for about a thousand years from 3500 BC. Hence, if you are arguing for Jewish right to live in Israel based on historical grounds then you will realize that your argument is majorly flawed. This only leaves you with the argument that this land is rightfully theirs because their god promised it to them, which I think is ridiculous particularly that I am an atheist. Do you think Israelis have more of a right to live on that land than the Palestinians who were forcibly removed from it after living there for centuries?

    You are also condemning suicide bombers for targeting civilians but you fail to condemn the Israeli defense force operations in the occupied territories. One does not have to look hard for evidence of Israel’s oppressive military practices against Palestinian civilians. There is no doubt that the Israeli government is telling the Western world that their presence in the West Bank is for security reasons, but let me start by asking you a question. Have you been to the West Bank and to Gaza? Have you traveled deeply into Palestinian villages and towns?
    I have and it is definitely not a pleasant site. I could sit down here right now and detail the horrors I witnessed under the IDF. I could talk endlessly about the nightmares I still have but this is not the point.

    The Israelis argue that checkpoints are to some extent necessary but I thought that for Israel to protect herself, it doesn’t need hundreds of checkpoints in every Palestinian town or village in the West Bank. That does not secure Israel while on the contrary; it stifles & suffocates people and ultimately breeds resistance. Punishing the Palestinians collectively, using force on an entire nation and constantly killing civilians in the West bank and Gaza shows that the scale of violence inflicted by the occupier is ultimately going to lead to more Palestinian guerrilla attacks on Israeli army posts and civilians. Note that every Israeli citizen (apart from Arab Israelis) has to serve in the army and many are posted in the occupied territories, these soldiers are young Israeli men and women who are responsible for these atrocities. Furthermore, all Israelis take part in democratic elections and they select these governments that enforces these policies.

    While you argue that Israel is entitled to secure its borders, note that the West Bank and Gaza are way beyond its borders. If security is what they are after, then why continue establishing and expanding Illegal settlements in the West Bank? Why seize the best Palestinian farmland? Why impose curfews that generally last a fortnight? Why publicly humiliate Palestinians at checkpoints? Why orchestrate midnight air raids & artillery bombardments? Why use nightly sonic booms? Why destruct thousands of homes and schools? Why knock out power supplies? Why execute families indiscriminately because they were in the wrong place? Why gun down women and children?

    Maybe you should ask yourself all of these questions. If you think Israel needs checkpoints to stop ammunition from being smuggled in, maybe you need to think why are they attacking Israel. Is it because they are confined to an open-air prison? Is it because they are being dispossessed? Is it because they are denied their basic human rights? Is it because their identity & culture has been high jacked? There is no reason in the world why Israel should be able to occupy, destroy, kidnap and eliminate its perceived foes – repeatedly, with impunity and without restraint – while the other side cannot do the same. It is important to bear in mind that the Palestinians are still under the boot of occupation. Haven’t you thought that these people have been left with no choice but resist an unjust occupation?

    We are tired of how all-military operations today are filed under the rubric of “Security”. The coalition of the willing invaded Iraq with claims of protecting American security. This is what we have been told to accept an illegal war. We all bought their lies that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction & that he had a connection to Al Qaeda? Four years later we learnt that there were no weapons of mass destruction nor links to Bin laden. But we were left with lies, lies that were repeatedly told by the US to secure their agendas in the Middle East. In relation to Israel, I believe it is never about security per se but about securing a Zionist ideology that is fundamentally colonialist. An agenda that is designed to systematically apply terror techniques to drive Palestinians out of the remaining 22% of historic Palestine and also to discourage the refugees from returning.

    My partner is a White South African that grew up in Apartheid South Africa. She also thought that black South Africans had access to health, education and services but that they were too backward to take advantage of what was given to them. She thought that all they did was riot and be lazy. A decade later and removed from the indoctrination that she grew up in, she realised that she was lied to by her own government, that there were countless injustices committed in her name without her consent. She has sympathy for Israelis growing up in a similar indoctrinated world view. However, she has no sympathy for people that have access to the facts of what is really going on and do not decide to make a change.

    Re: Radio Free Babylon

    For forty years, the Palestinians had refused to accept the manipulated political realities until their leader Arafat made the momentous decision in 1988 to recognise Israel’s existence on 78 % of the Palestinian homeland. That was the two-state solution moment that should have brought peace to both peoples. Instead, Israel’s Prime Minister Shamir regarded the gesture as “a monumental act of deception because Arafat did not announce that he recognises Israel’s right to exist.” [3]

    The difference is critical: for the Palestinians to accept Israel’s “right to exist” as an exclusively Jewish state, effectively means that they accept their own dispossession. Some four million Palestinian refugees would no longer have the right to return home and those Palestinians who did not leave when Israel was created would find themselves under threat of transfer. All the rights the Palestinians have under international law would suddenly become irrelevant. Keeping this in mind, Israel still has not recognised the right of Palestinians in the occupied territories to have a state of their own.

    In relation to Israel’s peace. Peace talks have given the Palestinians nothing but false hope, and for Israel, the on-again off-again negotiations have bought it time to take away from the Palestinians the last vestiges of their homeland. Not to mention that the peace proposed always came with conditions that are not feasible for a final sustainable settlement. Israeli’s motto is: I will give you peace as long as you give up your rights, your history and everything that we have done to you and for those of you who were forcibly removed, they will not be allowed to return. From my point of view the only peace Israel is interested in, is another piece of the West Bank, or the Golan Heights or the Shebaa farms.

    My answer to your statement, is a quote from Uri Avnery, an Israeli journalist who says: “The number of the opportunities rejected and the consistent way they were trampled upon by all Israeli governments may lead to the conclusion that Israel did not want peace at all. There has always been a tendency in Israel to prefer expansion and settlement to compromise and peace. According to this outlook, there always is “no one to talk with”, there is “no solution”, we shall “forever live by the sword”. “Unilateral” steps, whose real aim is to annex more land, are consistent with this tendency.” This quote is from an article he wrote called ‘Missed Opportunities’ and it was published in Gush Shalom on the 27th of May 2006. I recommend you reading it.

    Even as recently as the Annapolis last week, Olmert said that Israel would not “build new settlements” or “expropriate lands” and that it was committed to “dismantling the illegal outposts.” [4] Yet, Israel has already expropriated more than 40 per cent of West Bank land and has reserved it for settlements and their expansion: it is on that very land that Olmert will allow the building of settlement “neighbourhoods” to continue. According to the Road Map, there is no distinction between legal or illegal outposts because all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and so the freeze on building applies to all Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem. However, there is no freeze and never has been.

    For all the talk of peace and expectations that the Palestinians must comply with their obligations, Israel continues to give subsidies and economic incentives for settlers and authorises the urban planning of settlements. If Palestinian homes or agricultural land are in the way, they are demolished, destroyed and confiscated. Israel has the military might to enforce whatever it wants without fear of any damaging retribution or being reined in. There is absolutely no bona fide intention on Israel’s part to adhere to any of its obligations which makes the whole Annapolis charade and its timetable of negotiations, an exercise in futility.

    In addition to this, Olmert made it clear that he came “not in order to settle historical accounts” despite their suffering for many years and “living for decades in camps, disconnected from the environment in which they grew up . . .” In effect, he was saying that Israel is not responsible and that Israel would not accept the refugees right of return to their original homes under United Nations resolution 194. Their future, according to Olmert, would be in an agreed-upon Palestinian state, and by that we can infer, within borders of Israel’s choosing. This would effectively put the seal on our dispossession and force us to surrender our inalienable rights. So where does this leave us?

    A friend once told me that “Peace is a starting point not a solution, it’s a frame of mind and an attitude through which to resolve conflict – it does not deny or negate the conflict, nor the losses, nor the pains.” I don’t think I can agree with her more, at this point there are collective traumas for us, and much lack of trust, and immense need for dialogue and apology.

    My problem is neither with Jews nor Judaism but with Israel’s expansion in the West Bank and this has nothing to do with security. We are Semites, Arabs and Jews. We share similar cultural traits and we come from the same region. My only problem is Zionism and their expansionist ideology. If there is something that we need to do is stop the blame game, the killings, the war and work towards a final settlement and a sustainable solution. The number of registered Palestinian refugees has subsequently grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than 4.4 million in 2005, and continues to rise due to natural population growth. One-third of the registered Palestine refugees, about 2 million, live in 59 recognized UN refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and Egypt. There are about 2.2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and over a million in Gaza. Not to forget that 20% of the Israeli population is of Palestinian heritage. What I am trying to say is even by building a wall, this is not going to separate them entirely from us, the wall in Berlin and the system of apartheid in South Africa are excellent examples of how this model of segregation failed. Eventually, we will have to learn to live with each other and share this land whether we like it or not. Politicians and aggressive means have been tried, tested and failed. Maybe we should give humans and more peaceful efforts a fair trial.

    I have heard many Arabs on numerous occasions blame us for our own misery. They want this conflict over as much as we do. But by having it over, they expect the Palestinians to cop it out and just accept the realities on the ground. They want it over at our expense. This is the same position the Israeli “left” promotes. “We want peace with our neighbors” they say. But peace means to these Israelis, we will take 80+ per cent of the land, including the large settlement blocs, sorry but the wall must remain for security, let us drink our coffee in peace and ride our busses without fear– and you guys continue to squeeze yourselves into little cantons and try and be happy.” And if you even slip and say anything about a 1 state with these guys you are automatically an anti-semite and an anihilist. While, this is their position, I honestly can’t see a solution. Maybe one day they will realise that the creation of a one state for all is the only thing that will work but that will be after many more years of bloodshed. I personally don’t understand why can’t we work towards a one-democratic state for all Palestinians and Israelis to share? Check out http://www.one-democratic-state.org/

    Maybe that’s the kind of leadership/vision that should be exercised. I recommend these readings:

    ‘Back to square one’ by Azmi Bishara published at Al Ahram Issue No 839 – 5-11 April 2007

    ‘Israel: Jewish only or democratic?’ By Sonja Karkar published at Women for Palestine on 24 April 2007.

    A History of Modern Palestine by Ilan Pappe

    My Israel Question by Antony Loewenstein

    A History of the Middle East by Peter Mansfield

    A Review of ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’ by Ilan Pappe

    Stephen Lendman’s website is also an informative resource http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/

    And when it’s all over,
    My dear, dear reader,
    On which benches will we have to sit,
    Those of us who shouted ‘Death to the Arabs!’
    And those who claimed they ‘didn’t know’?
    ‘Nostalgia’, in J’Accuse, by Aharon Shabtai, New York, 2003

    My Palestinian brothers and sisters, let’s not repeat the same mistake… It will get us nowhere.

    Footnotes
    Footnotes
    [1] Statement by Ambassador Warren R Austin, United States Representative in the Security Council, March 19, 1948 (UN Doc. S/P.V.271, March 19, 1948)

    [2] United Nations Security Council Resolution 44 of 1 April 1948 (S/RES/44 (1948), S/714,II)

    [3] 415. Reaction by Prime Minister Shamir to Arafat¹s speech – 13 December 1988, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Historical Documents, Volume 9-10: 1984-1988

    [4] Congressman Lawrence H Smith in addressing the US Congress said ” . .the pressure by our delegates, by our officials, and by the private citizens of the USA constitutes reprehensible conduct against them and against us.” US Congressional Record, 18 December 1947, p 1176)

  49. Shoaib Mehmood says:

    I love Radio Free Babylon’s comment:

    “I recognize and sympathize with the “wanting your kitchen back” argument, but you’ve got to at least be willing to let Israel have a bedroom and maybe let them use the kitchen once in a while.”

    Hey RFB, I am moving into your bedroom no matter you are happy with it or not and i am gonna kick your ass out of it. Your kitchen will surely be my property. No question about it. I hope you will love it when it happens to you. Your logics and arguments are superb, i must say. Two thumbs up dude!

    The only thing i am enjoying at the moment is how these zionists are trying to stop their fragile and completely rubbish banking system from falling into pieces. They have sucked the blood out of the whole world through these banks for the last 100 years. Now they are forcing the world to pump money and save these banks.

    PS: They have found a lot of idiots who are spending their and their taxpayers’ hardearned income into a system thats gonna collapse anyways.

  50. Shoaib Mehmood says:

    Btw the world has seen how a small group like hezbollah forced the international terrorists Israel and USA to get out of Lebanon. NO F16s or B52 bombers worked. Time will come when Israel will have to pay for its crimes. Humanity has sufferred enough. 1.5 Million afghanis and similar count of Iraqis have been killed for no reason. Yeah I know the operation freedom. They are freed from their lives and are lying in graves. Just to fulfill zionist interests. This has to end but i m afraid the result will not be much different from what happened in WW2. I wish if it could be different.

  51. Jill says:

    Hi there

    I’ve read every post and have found it very interesting.

    A couple of points -
    Antony Loewenstein’s Book My Israel Question has been shown to be full of flaws and mistakes. He himself is a self-decalred ‘progressive” who wouldn’t know a fact relating to Israel if it bought him a cup of coffee. He is regarded with contempt by anyone who understands Middle Eastern affairs.

    The Palestinian Arabs are NOT related to the Philistines. Good attempt to rewrite history but you’ll have to try harder.

    I note that one of the posters here refers by his name to Golda Meir’s famous statement, but his parody shows he is misquoting. She said a “land without a people for a people without a land”, not a land without people. The “a” is often left out of the quotation, creating a flase impression of what she said.
    She meant that there were people there, but not a declared nation.

    I wait with interest to be shown – exactly what have Palestinian Arabs done to show a willingness to live in peace? Fired rockets? Voted for terrorist organisations? helped Arafat invade and scoop out the entrails of Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, etc etc, and kill Israelis?

    I also note you carefully do not mention Islam. If you seriously think there exist people ion the world who are unaware of the Islamic imperative to have Jews and Chrisitians and the rest of the world as dhimmis under Arab Islamic domination, you are sadly mistaken.
    This is where Arab rage for an independent Israeli state comes from. Even secular Arabs have absorbed this essentially Islamic imperative.

    There were no “Palestinians” before 1967. See Walid Shoebat (www,WalidShoebat.com and Zahir Muhsein (Trouwe magazine) for corroboration on this statement.

    All can worship their gods in Israel. Which Muslim country can make the same claim?

    I just love how a couple of posters here acknowledge that Sabra and Shatila were not actually committed by Israelis but by the Maronite Lebanese – repaying the slaughter of their people by Palestinians, incidentally – but choose to blame Israel anyway.
    That’s adult!!

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