The Death of Hope!

When you look at the numbers, which inform us that only 300 Lebanese civilians have been killed so far, the current crisis in Lebanon doesn’t look so serious. But when you look at the pictures of the devastation in Beirut, in the South, and elsewhere, a different story emerges, that of the death of hope, a reality that represents enough victory for those whose basic industry is to prey on despair.

Indeed, the Nasrallahs, Assads, Ahmadinejads and Meshaals of our world seem to have won. So did the Israeli leaders who just demonstrated to us how destructive their wrath can be.

Wrath! Everybody is preoccupied with wrath over here, everybody likes to play God. Give people a little power and they would immediately seek to give it divine proportions. Give them a lot, and you have a Battle of the Titans on your hand, with us, mere mortals, serving as food and fodder to the divine appetites and lechery involved.

Over 200,000 people died in Darfur, as Muslims killed fellow Muslims, Arabs massacring Africans, but the world, especially our world did not shudder as much. Is it racism that was involved here? Or is it hypocrisy? And didn’t Arab media seek to undermine that entire episode just like western media is trying to do now with this particular one? Yes, yes and yes. We never really accepted the Arabness of “these people,” in our heart of heart, and their blackness has always outweighed the importance of their Islamness in popular imagination, so the possibility of generating popular sympathy for them in their plight on the basis of Islam was and is severely undermined.

Is this shameful? Without a doubt. But it is also the reality with which we have to contend. For most peoples in the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa, Beirut will have a far greater significance and relevance than al-Fashir.

But the trend that we are monitoring here is not restricted to our part of the world, it is universal. International media might have paid more attention to developments in Darfur and Somalia than Arab media have done, but coverage still fell far short both in terms of its scope and duration and in terms of its consistency in comparison to the attention that the situation in the Middle East continues to receive.

The reasons behind this state of affairs are too complex to analyze here and it is not my intention to discuss them, my point is to stress the relevance of what is currently taking place in Lebanon to Arab imagination and the impact of the destruction of Beirut on Arab psyche. Social, political, economic and psychological realities in our part of the world are such that the destruction of Lebanon is sufficient to destroy hope for change in the entire Arab World. Whether this was Israel’s objective or not, this is what Israel ended up accomplishing nonetheless, a feat that the combined efforts of all our corrupt regimes, for all their authoritarianism, have not been able to achieve in decades.

But I still put the greater burden of blame on us in this regard. Why? Because all of us, both peoples and ruling elites alike, are always so cavalier in our willingness to confront Israel and the international community and to supply them with all the necessary excuses and justifications for their acts of aggressions against us. Yes, we do have occupied lands that we need to get back and prisoners that we need to free and families that we need to unite, but no, military confrontation is not the only way to do it. The price of military confrontations in both human and material terms is simply too enormous and cannot be born by our failing economies and increasingly fragile states. Lebanon’s debts are in the tens of billions of dollars, and they are about to increase ten folds.

Are the Shebaa farms worth it in pure material terms? Are they worth it even as far as the principle of sovereignty is concerned? Before you answer that, just bear in mind as well that Israel is still in control of the Shebaa Farms, for all of Hezbollah’s “daring” raids and operations, and might end up controlling even more of Lebanon soon, and Lebanon’s prisoners of war are still in Israeli prisons. So, once again, let me ask, was it all worth it?

But then, is this really what is at stake here? Or is Nasrallah simply trying to fill the power vacuum that Hariri left behind and trying to improve his own position in the emergence regional alliance of the radicals? We should never dismiss the role that such personal ambitions tend to play in these matters. After all, ours is an authoritarian culture, in both the political and socio-religious sense, and the personal ambitions, avarice and temperaments of the leaders and rulers involved tend to be the final and most decisive factors in setting the main guidelines for the state’s policies, both domestic and foreign.

So long as authoritarianism and wishful thinking remain basic facts of our lives, so will disappointment and defeat. But our states will soon collapse under the strain of it all, and the hopes of the many generations in both Lebanon and across the region have just been dashed. Unless we can work out a miracle soon, we are looking at 30-50 years of mayhem in the region.

32 thoughts on “The Death of Hope!

  1. The Israel and Palestine problem presents a serious and unavoidable obstacle for all progressives in the Middle East. It is, as you cleverely put it in a previous post, inevitable that the authoritarians will “wag Israel” and thus essentially paralyze our works, organizations, words, etc. It is impossible, as long as this problem exists, to get ideologically consistent support from the West, and especially the United States (as the Lebanon crisis has illustrated), because of its inclination towards Israeli security and dominance in the region. This is a thoroughly entrenched reality that should be questioned, but will not be seriously undermined or changed for at least several decades. We can’t rely on support from the West until Israel does not need to worry about subversive non-state actors like Hamas and Hizballah bringing the region into chaos. For this reason, Ammar, I think it is impossible to be effective in revolutionizing the Middle East without incorporating an agenda for Israel. I’m not sure if Tharwa has a formal opinion on the matter. Nevertheless, this would require a complete rejection of the armed resistance [based on pragmatism over all else, since the prevalent political and religious attitudes tend to lend themselves towards violent confrontation] as you have suggested.I must admit that I’m only vaguely familiar with him, but on the Palestinian front I tend to be a fan of Mustafa Barghouti (not Marwan!). He publicly supports non-violent resistance, normalization with Israel along 1967 lines, recognition but only limited implementation of the right of return, and a democratic Palestinian state.

  2. Ammar, you recently argued that Qatar had more or less decided to back regime change in Syria.If that is so, why did they side with Syria at the Arab League last weekend (only Yemen and Algeria joined them)?

  3. Yaman, we are working on issuing a Tharwa pamphlet soon that should explain Tharwa Philosophy in greater details, this will of course entail dabbling with the Arab-Israeli Conflict. George, Qatar’s attitudes should be measured also in accordance with Saudi attitudes and the ongoing rivalry between the two countries in the region and for closer relations with the US. The Saudi position vis-à-vis the recent Hezbollah ventures and Syrian policies in general have been brazenly critical, so, it is only natural, in the tit-for-tat game that is taking place between the two states, that Qatar should take an opposite position. I think as well that the Qataris, being too small a state and having seen the extant to which the Assads are willing to go have simply opted to play it safe. Under the table, however, where most our policies are made these days, they might actually be backing quite a different policy. I think we are going to see much activity along the same lines in the days and weeks ahead.

  4. Yaman says:Nevertheless, this would require a complete rejection of the armed resistance [based on pragmatism over all else, since the prevalent political and religious attitudes tend to lend themselves towards violent confrontation] as you have suggested.god, well….there is the kiss of death for any opposition movement…..

  5. Everyone in the world asks themselves: Why should we sympathize with Muslims who threaten to kill us as they kill themselves? I think Islam has outlived(outkilled?) its stay on this Earth. A democratic Muslim state is just a fantasy… The only way for democracy to work with Islam is when Islam is heavily muted. Sad, but true. When Islam is gone, no one will remember the good that Islam brought to the world, namely because there wasn’t any. You were better off being idol worshippers than murderers. And yes, I think Israel is only defending themselves, because if Israel just wanted to kill Arabs, there’d be no Lebanese, no Palestinians, no Jordanians, no Syrians and no Egyptians. That’s not what Israel wants.For the record, I’m for a Palestinian state, on most any land they want it on, so long as they get rid of all their weapons. Yes, it’s a double standard, but every Arab state would kill all the Jews given the opportunity, so I’d rather them disarm than the Jews.

  6. Very intelligent post.Those of us from outside the Middle East can only be staggered at the mentality of those involved. Here’s a guy who unilaterally provokes the regional superpower into destroying his country. is relaxed about hiding his rocket launchers in villages so that destroying them will cause civillian deaths and make better TV progaganda and what for – personal glory?? If I were Israel I wuld be very worried by now. Israelis are very good at defeating incompetent Arab conventional armies, but arial bombardment doen’t look as though it can win this war. absent perhaps a lucky bunker strike which takes out the entire Hizbullah leadership. A ground invasion however will surely be very costly in terms of Israeli lives against a well prepared and seemingly fanatical guerilla army indifferent to their own casualties and those of any civilians.For me what this war tells us is that Israel simply cannot allow the iranian’s to develop nuclear weapons

  7. Ammar,First of all I would like to note that your comment about Arabic racism is spot on. We have been shamelessly criticizing Israel & the west’s double standard and prejudice against Arabs/Muslims for decades but not one of us has lifted a finger to protect mass murder in our backyard, prejudice against poorer foreigners in Arab countries and the overall disrespect for non-Arabs in the region. And you’re also right that the issue is universal. Hence full year media coverage and the invasion of two countries over the death of a little over 3000 Americans while many more die in third world countries with little or no interest given. The latest example is Mumbai’s metro bombing two weeks ago. Was there an avalanche of foreign & moral to India, hours of specials/documentaries on CNN/BBC? Not a chance in hell, its only India and they have a billion other individuals to replace the deceased. Which links back to a comment from your previous by Paul Edwards, a delusional fellow, who thinks his world “transcends race/religion/sex/nationality” poor guy is living in a dream world “But then, is this really what is at stake here? Or is Nasrallah simply trying to fill the power vacuum that Hariri left behind and trying to improve his own position in the emergence regional alliance of the radicals? We should never dismiss the role that such personal ambitions tend to play in these matters.” I think the issue is more basic than that. For Nasrallah, it’s a matter of regaining what he had more than gaining ground. On its simplest level, Hizbullah is trying to recreate a reason for its existence. Though they might have just created a reason for its abortion.“Yes, we do have occupied lands that we need to get back and prisoners that we need to free and families that we need to unite, but no, military confrontation is not the only way to do it.” Actually it WAS the only way to do it, but after decades of arms embargo, bad governance and US support to Israel that option is dead. Yet I ask you, what has the adherence to an armistice bring Syria? For over 3 decades there were no direct attacks against Israel from the Syrian side. There were few battles in Lebanon but overall Syria, for its own sake of course, has carried out its own end of the deal. They even changed their policy toward to strategic peace in the 90’s but Israel was not interested. So, if peaceful means obviously don’t work and if military confrontation is also useless. How the hell do you see Israel returning the Golan?

  8. Ammar,I am a 100% with you on our racism.I have done a lot of soul searching on why we consider Israel such an important issue even though numerical data suggests that it inflicts less harm on us than our own regimes, and has taken less territory (in the case of Syria) than Turkey for example.My conclusion is that our obsession with Israel is realted to our mythology, this includes a mixture of religious, national and racial myths that the presence of Israel inflames.Note that this obsession is not limited to the anti-Israeli camp but also to the pro-Israeli and the pro-peace camps. The amount of ink that is spilled every day on this conflict world-wide is RELATIVELY disproportionate to the human tragedy of the situation.In the same way that the DaVinci Code has hit popular sentiment in spite of being a second rate thriller with a bunch of rehashed conspiracy theories, the world is obsessed with this little tribe that thinks it is the CHOSEN ONE and refuses to submerge its tribal mythology into the local mythologies of where it lives.Now going into totally speculative territory, I think the obsession stems from the fact that Christianity is a Jewish sect and that the offspring has a guilt/hate relation with its stubborn aging father that is refusing to die. This explains why Muslims have always had a better relation with the jews than Christians.

  9. Who is not “racist”?A UN official who told me his story of mediating between a Sudanese government official and an official from another African country.The UN official asked the Sudanese: “do you mind picking the phone and calling him, I think he wants to talk to you” .. the Sudanese official replied: “you are asking ME to call that “iswed” (Black)?? … no way”The Sudanese was a bit lighter in color than the other country’s official.There is no need to blame one party or the other for not caring equally for any human casualties around the globe. We know that Americans value Israeli life much more than Arab life, we know that Muslims rarely give to charities outside the Muslim world… we can not change any of that… CNN will still start its news with “6 injured in Haifa, and 62 killed in Lebanon”So the question that Tarik (IC) posed is the most valid one: Do we just accept that the powerful parties will decide whose cause and whose life are worthy or not? or do we “resist” and show them that there is a limit to their power and that our cause will not be dropped?For example: Some of you here advocate fighting the powerful Arab regimes and spilling blood for the cause of “democracy”… is the cause of “not allowing ultra-selfish Israel to rule the Middle East” equally worthy of fighting the powerful Israelis?We have to accept that each one has some “sacred” cause that he/she is willing to fight the bigger opponent for and to expect casualties and destruction in the process … and we have to accept that our Lebanon/Syria/Iraq are not made from the same fabric … different people have different sacred causes .. So in this situation, the question is more basic: what does Lebanon want?

  10. Ammar, a perceptive post that lays bare the delusions and prejudices of the typical Arab mindset.If psychoanalysts are to be believed, these are emotional disorders which develop from an early age in response to excessive authority or neglect. At the risk of stating the obvious, nation states are made up of artificial institutions and family units. These units either nurture or stifle the mental and emotional develpment of the individual. Culture and religion play an enormous part in the way parents and schools raise children and institutions develop and inspire adults to assume specific social roles including leadership.The emotional disorders and prejudices that we observe are the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is a great solid mass of attitudes, convictions and memories that cannot just melt away. Wars can bring about abrupt and fundamental change to societies. For example, in Europe, after the first world war, women demanded more rights and were able to fight off excessive male domination in the family and in public and private instituions because they sacrificed so much during the war and many men were killed. The result was that the female half of Europe quickly became more productive and better organised. Europe’s institutions became more creative, more flexible and more socially fairminded. war or no war, human history shows that unless the Arabs change their attitudes to women, they have no hope in hell of developing into healthy and strong societies that can produce good managers and mentally balanced leaders. AlexWhat Lebanon NEEDS (rather than wants) is social justice. The Shia were oppressed and marginilised for centuries. So they have managed to get some redress with the help of the Iranians in the last 25 years. Never mind that the Syrians are using them as proxy fighters. They are now fighting for their own survival, as did the Maronites and Druzes and palestinians before them.I think the Lebanese just WANT to be left alone to rebuild their country. If they they end up feeding on each others’ flesh, well, that’s their problem.

  11. Alex, as long as the Lebanese people are not willing to overthrow their feudal lords and stand together on the basis of their national identity as Lebanese, we will never the answer to your question. Which brings me to the second point…We will never be able to stand up against any foreign aggression so long as we continue to have a bunch of moronic and corrupt leaders who thrive by following an internal policy of divide and conquer and a foreign policy aimed at creating national crises to divert their people’s attention from the deteriorating living conditions. We have to fight our own tyrants first. And since this is an internal fight, and often involves sectarian and ethnic dichotomies, primacy should be given to nonviolent tactics, which only complicated matters of course. Nonviolence requires the adoption of a certain ethics that go against the grain of certain Islamic teachings, despite the fact that certain contemporary scholars are trying to develop an Islamic theory for nonviolence. The issue of leadership plays an important role here as well. I cannot see any leaders capable of generating popular consensus on any issue emerging anywhere in our part of the world at this stage. IC, the armistice that Syria maintained in the Golan was meant to help it evade a direct confrontation for which it was not ready. But the Assads are champions at fighting proxy wars, as many Lebanese and Palestinians can attest. One of the main handicaps that impeded talks, both and indirect, with Israel all through the years, was the fact that Hafiz al-Assad was more preoccupied with maintaining the internal balances in the country than with the Golan, otherwise he could have joined the Camp David crowd in 1978. Indeed, Assad received mixed signals in this regard, but he could have always imposed himself, just as Sadat did. For Sadat, too, had been receiving mixed signals until he decided to go to Tel Aviv. Assad did not have to do that, but he could have joined the meeting in Geneva. But Hafiz wanted guarantees before hand, he wanted everything to be agreed before hand, he was not willing to take risks in this regard, he was not willing to brave the give-and-take of direct semi-public negotiations. Why? I believe that his “Alawiteness” had always held him back in this regard. He was more preoccupied with maintaining his control over what he had of Syria, than in risking it all for the sake of the Golan. This situation might still change under Bashar, he is much more of a high-stakes gambler than his father had ever been.

  12. Ammar,I said “There were few battles in Lebanon but overall Syria, for its own sake of course, has carried out its own end of the deal.” so i agree they kept the truce to save their own ass but nevertheless it was a truce. but more importantly i still cant find an answer to my question, what options does syria have to get the Golan back???

  13. Ammar, PhilipI still believe Sadat did the right thing for Egypt in Camp David, and Hafez did the right thing for Syria by not going for it in 1978. If you could meet Zbigniew Brzezinski and ask him his opinion about Hafez’s decision at that time given the state of mind in Israel’s cabinet at the time. The Likudist leadership of Israel was not giving Syria back the Golan … the most they were willing ot go for (and they did) was to return Sinai in order to get Egypt out of the equation. Hafez did waste too much time on internal security, true. But he almost got the perfect deal TWICE … with Rabin and with Barak .. in both cases the falure was not from his part… they killed Rabin, and Barak “got cold feet at the last minute”… Clinton says.Back to TODAY … Lebanon and Iraq are countries forced to be in transition … Syria might also be forced into that mode. You and I know that if we ask all the Lebanese today … a large number whould vote for the resistance, and large numbers would vote for getting rid of “the resistance”. They would be split at many other basic questions as well… They all love “Lebanon” but beyond that…I agree that we have a leadership problem… Nasrallah is a very strong leader, but he is not mainstream. There is nothing interesting on the other side…There is no leadership from the Americans either … the whole show is pathetic… everyone decided to make absolute promises to their people … Israel, Iran, HA, president Bush, Chirac … now that national pride is at stake at all sides, there is no way the leaders will compromise … until many more civilians are killed … then they will talk … just because they are wonderful humans and they want to help stop the suffering.But of course they can not do that now … not enough suffering yet to counter balance the “national pride” thing they created.

  14. IC, if the right caliber leaders should become available by some miracle, there are ways for getting back the Golan, every last inch of it, a far sweeter deal than any that has ever been put on the table, without having to fight. Someday, we yet get the chance. Meanwhile, let’s just follow a don’t ask, don’t tell policy in this regard. Or, you can ask, but I won’t tell.

  15. Ammar, whoever is willing ot offer that deal to Syria can do the us all a big favor by announcing the deal publicly … the Syrian regime can not refuse it if it is that good. If they do, then the Syrian people can know finally who is on their side.

  16. Alex,The statement that “We know that Americans value Israeli life much more than Arab life,… we can not change any of that…” cannot serve as a basis for a consructive argument because you have given yourself the right to assume what you are trying to prove!!! But what concerns me the most is not the logical weakness of the argument but the total sense of helplessness that accompanies it. If we are going to approach an issue by stating that we cannot change any of the perimeters then we might as well write off any possibility of change and progress in the world. If the possibility of change dies then HOPE dies also otherwise we have the right to expect a better tomorrow.

  17. Ghassan,You are right that I sounded too dramatic. I did not mean to imply there is zero hope.My only hope is that something will convince the forces on both sides of this, and most other, major issues in the Middle East to push in one direction .. the right direction.For that to happen, you bneed leadership, wisdom, knowledge, and skills… the basics.But as long as you have ALL leaders claiming that they are ALWAYS right, and the others are ALWAYS evil … what hope do you see?Opinions are split on everything these days … look at the two contributions to this topic today at creative syria as an example .. two respected Syrians analysts with similar age, values, living in Washington DC … almost totally opposed focus.Same between the different Lebanese, same between the Americans and Syrians … Iran and Saudi Arabia … Why can’t we see people in the center on any issue these days?

  18. We cannot put people at the Center until they become more conscious of the fact that they are always at the center, that is, more conscious of themselves as an entity, more aware of their power, and more restrained in its application. This is a long term learning process, of course, and we are only at its beginnings, and the chances of making any progress anytime soon are negligible indeed. But one hopes and strives. As for my contribution to Creative Syria, I am actually completely dissatisfied with it, not because what I said, but, having visited the website I now realize that in my rush to write something for the forum among the billion things I am doing these days, I ended up writing a piece that in no way seeks to answer the question at hand, namely: What should the United States and the other relevant regional powers do to stop the bloodshed in Lebanon. What I wrote was more an analysis of how we got here. Sorry, Alex. I am going to look pretty stupid, aren’t? Oh well, as much as I hate to admit it, that won’t be the first time.

  19. Absolutely brilliant posts by just about everybody here. I never dreamed of the day I would see Arab moderation and deep introspection.I lived in Israel, I am married to an Israeli. I know this people well.Except for a few whacko’s, and yes we have our share, nobody wants to fight. It is the opposite. We are curious to meet you, to make friends, to visit you and you visit us. But we have been hounded and murdered and betrayed for so long and, really who in the Moslem world can we talk to? Assad, Iran, Libya, Iraq, Saudia? The eat their own children alive!! What would they do to us? It is a cliche, but this sums up the majority of our thinking and it goes like this:If you took all the Arab weapons and threw them in the sea, overnight there would be no war. If you took all of Israel’s weapons and threw them in the sea, overnight there would be no Israel.Simplistic…but true. 99% of us would make peace with you tomorrow, but who do we trust.Yes and thank you for the words on Darfur and Arab racism. Thank you for struggling for TRUTH, rather than nationalism, sloganism, etc.God bless you who wrote so candidly…God bless you in you coming and your going.

  20. Syria has a treaty with Israel for more than 30 years which Syria kept ,you should conclude that Syria will keep it,s word and have a full peace with Israel for the return of the Golan and a return to 1967 border with compesation for the Palestenians ,a peace treaty with Syria will enclude Lebanon and safe borders between Israel ,Lebanon and Syria.

  21. Ammar, don’t worry, you partically answered the question I guess.I replied to you in more detail with an email.

  22. “Free arab women” how interesting!That would mean: Deprive arab men of their power. I think this is grassroots development. If you cut only the head there will be another head soonest without any difference. The last bedouin or the best western educated arab man will rule the same way (accept Ammar of course but he is too weak and sensitive for this job).People in syria think and behave and act as they are drilled at home, drilled within their clanship, drilled within their religious group.The first questions has to be: Who am I, how can I change myself and what is the sense of my life. Dont obey your fathers, mothers or rulers, obey yourself. Men or women with the feeling of responsibilty for themselves do not kill, do not blame others, do not go for power over others………..It is not enough to give women equal rights, as Philip meant, it would be just the first step.This is a society of “tattletales” and “I told you so’s.” Actually there wouln’t be that problem if there were opportunities for individuals to get education and find employment, but unemployment is huge and unless your family has a job for you, you are really S.O.L. As for women, the situation is worse because you are raised to rely on your family, not support yourself, and obey. Obviously there are many families not like this but from what I can tell(and I have really dug on this one) if they are not this way they are an extreme minority. The tragic thing is girls are raised here like show-ponies. Once they reach a certain age they are let out of the stall to be trotted around and looked at, and then put away and groomed. This is their life. Maybe get married and mate, but this is still done in Syrian show-pony fashion. Dating here is called being engaged. If you are in your mid twenties and not married yet there might be gossip that you are a whore, lost your virginity, are crazy or problematic. If you go against your family you will be beaten into submission, and this place is one of the MOST progressive Arab countries. Once they get married the show-pony husband will go to his job which he has never had before, and work his ass off to support the princess-like needs of his show-pony wife. Add kids. Let them run free because you can’t be bothered to do anything with them because you are a princess rock star that needs to find popularity and fame. You get the picture. If you don’t I can explain away the rich parents I have seen free-range their kids and not even show up for a meeting cause they are sleeping at two in the afternoon, or show up looking like Britney Spears just after a stage concert, allthewhile still wearing the giant rock-star glasses. It’s like that. If the parent aren’t rich then enter devout religion over the show-pony lifestyle and imagine what kind of neurosis that will build in a child.What Allah told us in his holy book may solve the problems:READ…READ….READ…READ

  23. It is ironic to me…that a post that speaks about racism…manages to ellicit statements like the ones below.Thinly veiled biggotry if anything….I think Islam has outlived(outkilled?) its stay on this Earth. A democratic Muslim state is just a fantasy… The only way for democracy to work with Islam is when Islam is heavily muted. Sad, but true. When Islam is gone, no one will remember the good that Islam brought to the world, namely because there wasn’t any.NICE, NICE SENTIMENTAmmar, a perceptive post that lays bare the delusions and prejudices of the typical Arab mindset.If psychoanalysts are to be believed, these are emotional disorders which develop from an early age in response to excessive authority or neglect.REALLY? …SO ARABS ARE PATHOLOGICALLY ILL… APPARENTLY…..what a theory. But assuming your massive stereotyped characterization has any validity at all, fyi, most psychoanalyst consider paranoia and desires for vengence… to be result of TRAUMATIZATION (and that can include collective and historic, by the way)But we have been hounded and murdered and betrayed for so long and, really who in the Moslem world can we talk to? Assad, Iran, Libya, Iraq, Saudia? The eat their own children alive!!Really, Howie, how generous of you…. you finally found some “moderation” and “introspection”… (how long were you looking?)…and you rewarded it with your own biggotry, nice going.So, take all the weapons away from the “arabs” and there will be peace, you say:If you took all the Arab weapons and threw them in the sea, overnight there would be no war. If you took all of Israel’s weapons and threw them in the sea, overnight there would be no Israel.Might this be because Israel’s complaint is the aggression directed at her, whereas the complaint of the Arab world begins with her dominion over land and domination of a people. If one takes away the arab guns…Israel still has everything she wants. Take away Israel’s guns…so what… she still has control over the land, so why would there be any peace. She wants peace on her terms. NO SHIT. That’s kind of obvious isn’t it. Tell me…Israel is willing to give up land and get out of Palestine entirely, and then you might be saying something interesting. But this is not reality. Of course, if there were absolutely no demands to give up anything, then Israel would be quite peaceful. Give me a break.

  24. Zenobia-Ah…the short memory. Israel accepted a tiny sliver of land that she legally received from the UN in 1947-48. She was immediately attacked by five Arab nations that were SO concerned about their Moslem brothers (not at all concerned about Moslem niggers in Darfur though). This conflict never had to be.Give ME a break. Ammar is correct. The very best thing that happened to the Moslem leadership was Israel, becasue they can blame and excuse they incompetence, repression, violence and failures on a tiny little country with five million people in it. Israel gets what she wants? She wants peace…shut your eyes and blame if you like…but that is the truth. Arab leadership has consistently chosen war over peace.

  25. “short memory”….selective memory….the land wasn’t theirs to give…… and since it was gave..there is no going back, but that doesn’t justify…Israel controlling every road and every life in the in the West Bank…did i say Ammar is incorrect? He is correct about a lot of things…. including people’s hypocricy, and about the Arab leaders self-interested motivations, or the racism of people on all sides. I agree with Alex, after all, who is NOT a racist. Everyone is guilty.However, this in no way vindicates or excuses the violence of Israel.All i said was that your own use of language…betrays your own… bigotry.

  26. To Zenophobia-I am a racist eh? OK…let’s test:The man I hired to be VP of my company is a Moslem.My wife is of Arab decentI have had several Moslem work for my companyI have had Egyptians to my house for dinnerI have advocated for my Moslem friend to get his nephew out of Iran and into the USA, including writing letters for himI used to support the Peace Now movementI have been out to dinner with LebaneseI am on a board supporting the people, MOSLEMS, of Darfur.And yourself? What have you done to make things better?And whose land was it to give my friend? The Palestinians? Who did not even exsits as a people at that time? The Turks? English? Arabs? Egyptians, Crusaders? Greeks, Romans? They all had it (no Palestinian terrorists during that time).But we can go round and around on this one. Facts are facts…we would make peace in a second. We did with Egypt and gave back land which “conquerers” typically do not do willingly. Palestinians, esp. women, have more rights in Israel than a typical Arab does anyplace else in the Moslem world. But you are lead,typically, by rejectionists and extremeists. I sincerely believe that most are driven by pure hate for us and that most, as Ammar says, are manipulated by corrupt leaders.Yep…I am a real racist.

  27. Dear Howie:It nice to see some contribution from Israeli citizen, however you are making some inaccurate statements, which I think you need to be corrected about if the Palestinian existed when Israel created. The best way I think to clear this is to read or listen to Israeli former foreign minister with this link discussing the matter with Norman Finkelstein.http://democracynow.org/finkelstein-benami.shtmlThank you

  28. Actually Howie, Facts aren’t Facts, since people seem to always have their own ‘facts’ that contradict others’ facts. In fact, facts are 90% interpretation.I never said you were a RACIST. As if we even can say there is such a person who is a THING. I criticized your statement as being offensive and bigoted sounding to me, among many others spouted by commentors on this blog lately.“Assad, Iran, Libya, Iraq, Saudia? The eat their own children alive!!”Who exactly are you talking about? just the leaders? the people?…the countrys?….who?….Maybe you were just speaking of the rulers……but why don’t you save the hyperbolic language….

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