Saturday, September 02, 2006

RE: Dissapointed

I received an e-mail from a regular visitor to the blog yesterday, that conveyed his dissapointment concerning my recent positions regarding the conflict in Lebanon and the region in general. His e-mail was long and articulate, so I decided to return the favor and explain myself.

The result was a "piece," which after some consideration, I decided to post on this blog. So maybe others who are wondering the same will understand a little more. Anyways, here goes:


Thanks for the long e-mail. I will try to explain to you why I a write the way I do. Before I do, though, I would like to say one thing about myself. At one point of my life (as a child), I admired Saddam Hussein's challenge to the West; I was (and still am) proud of what the Arab armies accomplished in 1973, and I even sided with the Russians during the cold war. I want you to know this about me because I do not wish for you to think that I am not conflicted, and have not really thought about my positions with regards to everything that is transpiring in Lebanon and the Middle East .

Conflicts are always multi-layered, and multi-dimensional. The recent battle in Lebanon is no different [I say battle because it is merely one chapter in a long war that goes back to (in Lebanon at least) the first Palestinian operations launched from the South]. The conflict in Lebanon , today, consists of a local layer, a regional layer and an international one. I don't think I need to explain each one to you because you seem like you're a well-informed individual. As for dimensions, I see a conflict between two visions of how people ought to live their lives, a sectarian conflict, a conflict between established elites and up and coming counter elites, and a conflict between two solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
I will delve a little into the dimensions of this conflict:
  1. Visions of how individuals should live their lives:

    Hizballah's vision is clear because the organization is transparent about it. For as long as I can remember, Hizballah has proclaimed its goal of creating what it calls a “culture of resistance.” So what does that mean? Essentially, a “culture of resistance” means a population that, in one way or another, takes part in a military struggle. A culture of resistance, in other words, means: a militarized culture that, in Hizballah’s case, is founded on Islamic Doctrine and the Sharia. You are probably wondering why I am against this since I do not appear to be a Shi’ite myself. Well, my answer to you is that such a vision inherently contradicts the vision (or idea) of Lebanon itself – which is a republic founded on modern principles (albeit, imperfectly translated on the ground). Another reason I am vehemently against a militarized culture is because such a culture needs an enemy, and Hizballah does not rule a Shi’a Lebanon. If Hizballah takes its militarized population to war, it takes the rest of us with it. The Shi’ite population under its influence probably won’t mind so much because they are constantly prepared for war psychologically by their leadership, but the rest of us aren’t, and can never be, since Hizballah’s ideology is limited to and defined by Shi’ism. This reality causes tremendous friction and tension in an already fragile country. It adds one more challenge to a country already fraught with challenges.
  2. Sectarian Conflict:

    Lebanon is almost defined by sectarianism. Its political system is designed to accommodate a sectarian reality. For Lebanon to exist as a stable and viable country, no one sect can dominate. The Christians tried doing so, then the Sunnis and Druze, and now, I guess, you could say the Shi’ite political elite is having a go. Don’t tell me that all they want to do is fight Israel , and all that nonsense. The decision to go to war is the most important decision any polity can make, and by taking it upon itself to decide on behalf of all Lebanese to conduct military operations against Israel, Hizballah (de-facto) utterly dominates its counterparts – it acts as a national leader, whereas it is merely a sectarian one.

    You mention, in your e-mail, how “there is something positive to be said for how much Hizballah and Amal have played within the system to the degree that they have.” Well, in response to that, I say that if Hizballah and Amal gain any more influence, Lebanon will simply become a Shi’ite state!

    The Lebanese state spares no one with its incompetence! All regions of Lebanon were and continue to be subject to the state’s inability to offer services. The reasons for the relative wealth in Mt. Lebanon has nothing to do with state-intervention, and everything to do with immigration patterns (and the consequent remittances), as well as the Beirut-Damascus highway, which makes it a little more convenient for tourists to drop by! Over the past decade and more however, as more expatriate Shi’ites make their fortunes, the situation has changed dramatically, and the overall well-being of the Shi’a population has improved significantly!

    As for Beirut , what can I say? It is the capital of Lebanon , and welcomes members of all sects. You also have to keep in mind that Lebanon's resources are limited and that investments in infrastructure need to pay off (at least in the long run). Building a university in every region of the country for the sake of satisfying sectarian competition is simply unfeasible! Building a university in Beirut though, where all who wish to attend may do so is, of course, the better , more feasible, alternative.
  3. A conflict between established elites and up and coming counter elites

    In Lebanon the established elites are members of old political families that still retain a traditional base of support. Jumblatt is a perfect example of this club. I am a Druze, and most Druze who support Jumblatt are people I dislike for a myriad of reasons, which can be summed up in one phrase: traditional communitarianism. Their support for the man merely manifests their “Druzeness” and has nothing to do with social, economic or political preferences. Anyways, the same can be said of most of the common Lebanese folk to some degree or another – except with Hizballah, which I will get to in a moment.

    Going back to the elite counter-elite competition though, you could easily place Hizballah as a counter-elite. The traditionally powerful Shi’ite families are the Khalils the Asa’ads, the Hamades and many more. Hizballah has used its religious legitimacy and the endless amount of resources it gets from Iran to undercut the support that these families would otherwise have received from the Shi’a population. The alliance between General Aoun and Hizballah, when seen through this prism, is actually pretty natural. Aoun sees himself as a common man, and despises the traditional Christian elite (including the Maronite Patriarch, who he perceives as a rival). Ever since his return to Lebanon , for example, Aoun has called for an overhaul of the Lebanese political class.

    Where do I see my self in this particular battle? Well, despite his political choices, alliances (at the local and regional levels), and his obvious flaws, I have always had a soft spot for Gen. Aoun. As for Hizballah, I acknowledge their skills and organizational capacity, however, I cannot but stand against them because of their vision.
  4. A conflict between two solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict

    The first option is a diplomatic track suggested by the Saudis where the Israelis would get full recognition by all Arab states in exchange for returning to the 1967 borders. The second track is what I would call the Tehran track… which essentially implies that there will never be peace unless an agreement involves, and is approved by, Tehran . I have personal doubts regarding the rational capacities of Israel ’s leadership. However, their withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and Gaza just this past year, at least indicates their awareness of the futility of imposing their will militarily.

    Some would argue that these withdrawals as well as the construction of the wall on the West Bank merely conveys that Israel is no longer interested in negotiations, but rather is creating a situation on the ground that it could live with indefinitely. If such were the case, these people argue, then the military activities of Hizballah and the Palestinians would be justifiable because it prevents the Israelis from imposing a settlement as opposed to negotiating a mutually agreeable one.

    You see what’s happening here, don’t you? Each side is preparing for the next round of negotiations by doing their utmost to weaken the other in order to secure a stronger position at the table. The Iranians are basically saying, if you leave it to us, we’ll ensure that the Palestinians get a better deal! REALLY? How much of a better deal? And at what price? Will the “better deal” be worth everything the Palestinians and their neighbor to the North are paying? I doubt it. And all that is happening here is a prolonging of the conflict and a trend towards escalation that may lead us to Armageddon.

    No, in this case, I am with the Saudis.


Fearless said...

The Difference between Lebanon and Israel

There is a sad huge difference between Lebanon and Israel. The Israelis can conduct war probes and invistigate the actions of their politicians and leaders while Lebanon, an Arab country, cannot think of doing the same thing. Investigate the actions of the "party of God" that dragged Lebanon to war? Blasphemy! The Shiites would be all over the streets burning Beirut down.

The above difference is just one reason why Israel is advanced in everything while we're mired in ignorance, corruption, dictatorship, and stupidity. Well, we don't learn from our friends, who come we'll learn from our enemies?

Lirun said...

Shalom Raja

you dont have to apologise.. we both love our respective countries and we both defend their interests in our own ways.. the world is listening.. this time norway

a venezuelan publication was the last that mentioned both our blogs -if im not wrong

we can make a difference and i believe in fact that we and our co-bloggers are..

peace to us all


Achillea said...

imposing a settlement as opposed to negotiating a mutually agreeable one

Given the explicitly and avowedly genocidal goals of both Hezballah and Hamas, there's considerable question whether such a thing as a mutually-agreeable settlement between them and Israel isn't merely a diplomatic chimera. Not to mention I've yet to see the Palestinians live up to their end of a single negotiated settlement.

I disagree with your view that Israel's pullouts from Lebanon and Gaza are indications that they feel unable to impose their will militarily. Gaza is being handled as militarily as ever -- in fact, more so. While it was true of the Lebanon pullout at the time, the actions of Hezballah (and inactions of Lebanon) over the past six years have disabused them of that notion. The utter futility of diplomacy has been illustrated for them in no uncertain terms. As soon as Israel complied with its obligations under 1559, for example, the rest of it was forgotten. The sad fact is the only way Israel gets anywhere is by kicking the sh*t out of somebody, so those within boot range would be best advised to pull in their horns and start working on ensuring actual results from the non-kicking method.

march14yuppi said...

"As soon as Israel complied with its obligations under 1559, for example"
Can you please tell me what were the obligations of Israel under resolution 1559 and when did Israel comply?

I have this weird feeling you have no idea what you are talking about ... can you prove me wrong?

Shmulik said...


You are technicaly correct off course, Israel was not part of resolution 1559. You can say however, that israel has complied with the spirit (and the letter) of the resolution ("calls upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon") 4 years BEFORE it was adopted hence there was no need for the resolution to mention Israel (even impilcitly). BTW I believe the rest of Achilea's post is quite correct. What about you?

Omega80 said...

I think this is a great post, and I share most of your views...

Terry Crane said...

Just to make sure. The Saudi solution presumes surrender of land and withdrawal of troops in return to the promise of peace. Hear comes the true question: do you, and I mean personally you, think that Israelis should believe this promise? That it would be held better, then Arafat promise to Israel?

If you were an Izraeli, with all you know about the history, would YOU trust the promise?

The Saudi "deal" will not stop them from supplying Katjushas to Arab "resistance" 10 miles form Tel-Aviv. It would be the same Hezbollah story.

The solution that can work is the surrender of all post-1967 territorries in exchange for recognition, peace, and 99-year lease on all territories critical for Israeli security.

Think of that: you give signed promise of peace, you receive signed legally-binding promise of territory.

The Saudi deal is about real surrender in return to a promise - a promise from the side (or sides) that so far denied any responsibility for Hezbollah actions, Hamas suicide bombing campaing etc.

R said...

I certainly do not claim to completely understand the history of the Israeli/Palestinian struggle after the Oslo agreement. I am going to go further to doubt that anybody does. Every single event of that era (post Oslo) has different and often opposite interpretations depending on whose version you are listening to.

That said, I want to talk about something more important than the past: the present. I am going to agree that Hamas is not a partner for peace. Their ideology and MO certainly do not indicate that and therefore they and their likes have a responsibility to bear for the sorry state that the region is in.

Now, lets turn to how the Israelis handled this situation. How do you deal with a fundamentalist organization? I guess that there are two philosophies. One preaches that you cannot negotiate or compromise with such a group and therefore must deal with them with the utmost of ruthlesness and destroy them before they grow too strong. To nullify the threats that stem from such groups, it is a must to disengage. Close borders, build walls, destroy the homes of families of suicide bombers and so on. If the result is going to be increasing the fertility of the soil that grows the weed that is fundamentalism, then so be it. We have to protect ourselves. We have seen the effects of such a strategy...

But there is another theory, one that has not been explored yet. How about if the world, and the surrounding arab countries, pump the necessary cash, build the necessary schools and provide the necessary jobs so that the Palestinians do not turn to suicidal tendencies that are usually an indication of desperation. How about if we alleviate this desperation by taking care of palestian kids so that they have the ambition to grow into philosophers, scientists, businessmen, doctors and engineers as opposed to would-be martyrs.

Israel is by far the stronger of the two sides. It has the luxury of deciding on seemingly sanitized military action against the palestinians. On the other hand, the palestinians are weak, they are poor, desperate. They live in city sized prisons and have lost the will to live. Some of them have decided to embrace a culture of death, simply because life has lost its appeal. But that is not the danger. The danger is that they are able to justify their actions to their population. Improve the life of the population and the actions of Hamas will be unjustifiable to their people.

Maybe its worth a shot.

Richard said...

"No, in this case, I am with the Saudis"

As am I. I write coming fr. a diff. perspective as I am an American Jew who writes a blog about Israeli-Arab peace.

With you, I see the only solution as a return to 1967 borders in return for Arab recognition of Israel. That means a return of the Golan to Syria & a return of Shebaa to whichever nation finally gains the right to call it theirs.

Militarily, neither side can destroy the other. Through negoation, all sides can get enough of what they need to find a way to resolve the conflict.

In thinking about yr "culture of resistance" phrase--it brings to mind how Hezbollah and Israel are in so many ways mirrors of ea. other. Israel too has a culture of resistance of sorts. It is essentially a security driven state obssessed with terrorism & threats to its existence. The only sure way it has found to ensure its existence appears to be endless bloodshed & conflict. This means that the IDF & the security mentality (for a U.S. example read the statements of Dick Cheney or George Bush on international terrorism) thrive while peaceful negotiation as a policy option dies aborning.

Let us hope that the Saudi vision prevails on both sides of this conflict.

Lirun said...


nice theory

was thinking the same about my friend's sisters baked goods.. but i dar esay bar refaeli would probably make more of an impact..

i think you dont need a vision for peace.. i think you need a desire..

peace is different to war.. because in war you need to strategise your actions to minimise loss whereas in peace you need to maximise your goodwill so create fertile grounds for limitless synergies..

its is such a different approach..

is one always expected to have a detailed vision for every good relationship? i certainly hope not..


M. Simon said...

The Israelis have not decided against the military option.

It just will not include occupation.

Just the destruction of bridges, roads, power plants, and housing. Killing is not the main priority. Economic ruin is.

They did it to Lebanon. They are doing it to Gaza.

So you have a choice. Economic ruin or peace.

An early surrender gains better terms.

why-discuss said...

Saudi vision!!! Thank you! Saudi have produced the highest number of international terrorists that have killed europeans, americans in the past few years. ( 9/11, London etc..) Of course no one dares to mention that most of Al Qaeda are saudis or pakistanis who drank the milk of the Saudi sponsored wahhabi medresseh. If this is the country we should follow , thank you. I far prefer the half emerging democracy of Iran and the pure and hard vision of Hezbollah to the racism and lack of culture of the Saudis..

Dimitry said...

Isn't the Saudi plan essentially two nations for the Palestinian people? I distincly recall it has the "Right of Return" clause (which means exactly that, for anyone who wonders).


You're wrong in one very critical point. You say what you propose hasn't been tried yet. However, what you propose was exactly the Israeli poilicy between Oslo and Protective Wall, exactly the US policy before 9/11, exactly the European policy to this very day... And they all utterly failed.

Shmulik said...


"half emerging democracy of Iran" - Can you elaborate on this? As far as I understand iranian politics (and I am not an expert), it's true that they vote to the majlis (parlament) and that they vote for the president. HOWEVER, all laws passed by the majilis can be vetoed by the "guardians of the law" when they are un-islamic. All majilis members must be approved by islamic clerics and the real executive power is not in the hands of the elected president (who must also be approved by the clerics), but in the hands of the "supreme leader" who is... a cleric! Maybe the iranians go and vote, but this is clearly a theocracy and not a democracy.

R said...


I am afraid I am not wrong on that point. I insisted in the beginning that the history of the period between Oslo and the Wall is heavily contested.
But fine, lets say that philosophy number 2 fails. Obviously philosophy number 1 is worse for everyone. M Simon talks of unconditional surrender. How do you justify that to the palestinian people? How did that backfire between WWI and WWII ? National arrogance will lead to hate. Isn't that all too clear ?

yuval from tlv said...

the question is -

why doing all of this in the first place and not trying to avoid all the wars, hatred, misunderstanding, prejudice, and mistrust?

instead of talking i think that people should go out and take some action.

hyderabadi guy said...



chuck said...


why do u think that trying to help the palestinians now, won't bring the same effect as it did before ?

both ways u mentioned have been tryed and both failed.
and besides, in oslo even arafata was willing to talk to Israel, now hamas wants to negotiate with Israel, only in order to decide how many prisoners to release for Gilaad Shalit.

we had so many hopes for oslo, a man called steff vedtheimer, an Israeli guy that owns many factories in Israel, had this huge plan of building an industrial zone between the palestinian territories and Israeli in which Israelies and palestinians will work together.

we had peace talks between children from both side, trying to create relationships between them (my brother was in this program and we went to many of his meetings with palestinians) organised by both Israelies and palestinians.

everything exploded with the begining of the seconed intifada that arafat arranged for us...

but i do believe in talking to the palestinians. it is the only way eventually.
i'm just waiting to see when these talks will finaly start and the aggression will fade.

abubalboola2 said...

Although I mostly agree with the 4 catagories you gave and the information in each, I dont agree in the respective relation to the conflict.
Well, not absolutly disagree.. but..
The 1st and 2nd catagory are internal matters of Lebanon which much be taken into consideration in any decision making inside Lebanon or from the outside, with Lebanon.
But I dont think you can attribute them as "dimensions of the conflict". Call them a context, call them the enviroment but they are not a dimension.
What attracted me so much was the 3 layers - local, regional and international! but you didnt speak about them. please do!

saying that there is no need for vision for peace.. shows your heart is in the right place, but not realistic. even "desire" is over rated.
It's not realistic to expect normalized relations and a huge group hug to happen now but perhaps in some time from now, an agreement could be actualized.
However, your intention is more important. hope you dont mind my comments.

Can somebody post a link to the saudi proposal details?


Dimitry said...


Contest as you wish. Facts are, Israel focused those years on dialogue and pouring money on the palestinians, and avoided military activity. And you forgot the other examples I brought. They are relevant.

Look, I don't buy your most basic claim. Povetry might contribute - probably contributes - but this isn't neccesery (many European Muslims) not sufficient (most of the non-Muslim third world). The problem goes beyond that, and it might, *gasp*, not be the fault of the outside world.

If we're on the topic of mistakes that led to WwII... You clearly remember the early ones - how about the later ones?

And I disagree with the claim philosophy number 1 is worse for everyone. The number of exploding busses in Israel decreased drastically when we went from #2 to #1.

chuck said...


well yea, u'r right, concider the fact that there were no suicide bombers before the seconed intifada. it was a new thing when the religious leaders started calling people to go blow themselves up and get their 72 virgins in heaven.
and the situation in the palestinian territories at the time wasn't bad as it is now, they were actually handeling a normal way of life.

it's not only poverty that drives people to comite suicide, it's also fanatic psychological brainwashing which starts at a verry young age.

and when enough people support it and when u get aprroval from u'r priest, then u think that this must be the right way to go.

Sherri said...


You have the right answer on the approach to the Palestinian problem. People need hope for better lives for themselves and their children. So many of the terrorism acts are so clearly out of despair and desperation. For so many years, the Palestinians have just been beaten down. While there have been outsiders that helped them such as Arab countries and sometimes the US, no country or countries have come forward to stand up for their interests who were willing to see them through to their own state. More recently, with their government considered as terrorists, there have been attempts to stop all financial aid to the government and people. This has led to the government being unable to pay employees and increased suffering. Just look at Amnesty International Reports and the human rights issues the Palestinians are dealing with.

The United Nations and other countries need to come together and devise a solution and see it through to completion. So much of the bad feelings in the Middle East between Israel and other countries is tied directly to the unresolved Israeli Palestinian conflict. The sense of injustice fuels extremists all over the Middle East. Now is an oppurtunity to do something about this problem, while the eyes of the world are focused on the Middle East.

Sherri said...

Concerning the issues of changing views of our world, we also have to deal with changes in our government's policies. Consider the US after 9/11. The following is an article in Sojourners Magazine September/October 2006 Edition.

9/11, Five Years On
Has the world changed? Or have we?

We are five years away now from the incineration of the Twin Towers when, in one blow, 19 radical religious zealots with a memory for Crusades and a hatred for the United States turned the world upside down. Or we did. It's very hard to tell five years later who really did more of the turning.

What specific concerns drove these men to the point where they would give up their own lives just to injure ours is hard to tell. Few asked, and fewer still seemed to care. In the midst of national grief--and for many, anger--all that mattered, apparently, was who to strike in retaliation. Anybody would do, it seemed. And so we did.

The world needn't have changed the day the Towers went down or even, perhaps, with the military attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. It certainly changed, however, on the day when, without clear proof of Iraq's involvement, without undeniable certainty, without the approval of most of the world, the United States roared over Iraq on bombing raids and rolled into Baghdad to tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein.

On that day--not long after the whole world had grieved with us over the merciless loss of 3,000 innocent U.S. lives--the world divided in its loyalties, most of them against us.

Now the United States, once the most open country in the world, has become a country under seige. Now we make 80-year-old widows and 6-year old boys take off their shoes in our airports to make sure they are not carrying explosives designed to harm us again. Now we have been longer at war with the ghosts of these 19 men than we were with Nazi Germany in World War II. Now we have become invaders, torturers, paranoid partners in global destabilization. The people who would "meet us with flowers singing in the streets" have left us with more than 18,000 wounded, 10,000 of them permanently disabled, and more than 2,500 dead.

Flush with weapons, we are now too poor to afford education grants or social security or universal medical insurance. Now we, too, pick up people in grand random sweeps, call them terrorists, cage them like animals, and fight with one another over whether or not we are a "Christian" country. If it weren't so sad, it would be funny. But it's not.

We have changed the globe; divided it into armed and arming camps. We have accelerated a new kind of arms race with smaller countries of the world intent now on getting nuclear weapons themselves. After all, aren't we the ones who made the concept of "Mutually Assured Destruction" the ultimate defense stategy?

We have changed the Constitution (or ignored it) to allow domestic spying. We have changed the country; stripped it of its liberties and enlarged the powers of the administration to such an extent that we face the prospect of being governed more by the king of a republic than by the president of a democracy. But worst of all, perhaps, we have traded in "America the Beautiful"--whom much of the world revered, or at least respected--for America the Brutal, whom the world now mistrusts. Now we have really given the radicals something to fight about. Indeed, the anniversary of 9/11 is a sad day for peacemakers, not unlike the day after the crucifixion when the work of a lifetime seemed lost.

At the same time, it may be one of the most glorious moments in the history of peacemaking. There is in it the resurrection of an idea: There is no glory in war. And more, there is no victory in it either. There is only the silence of the innocent dead in a cause without cause.

The Twin Towers are not the only thing that went down five years ago. What went down is the soul of a country that once put principle over power. Is such a country Christian? Only if it, too, rises from the values that have died in it. And soon.

Commentary, by Joan Chittister, contributing Editor of Sojourners and the author of The Way We Were and Called To Question

debate said...

R said...


Look its not about contesting all I wish or not, its about a conflict that has outlived any other in recent history. I just want all the bs to end. The palestinians are pissed off, and the israelis are pissed off. Some crazy fanatic from the former goes and bombs some tourist destination or bus in israel, and Israel retaliates by bombing the shit out of some area in Gaza or the west bank and suffocating the economies of those regions. Consequently more people on both sides get pissed off, and more violence ensues.
Look, I am not claiming to have a solution, but I am neither blind nor stupid to think that the approach being tried now are gonna ever work.
As for the references you made to points I didn't answer, I will be happy to if you reiterate them. Also if you clarify your point about the other WWII mistakes, I will gladly answer. Our objective here should not be to "win" a debate, as the objective in the middle east should not be to "win", but to achieve a fair, viable, and lasting peace with the least amount of violence possible.

M. Simon said...

The time to go back to the '67 borders was '68.

Gaza is a done deal. Nothing can be done about the west bank for at least 5 or 10 years. Assuming the attacks from Gaza stop tomorrow. You know, for some strange reason the Israelis don't trust the Palestinians. Or the Lebanese or Hizballah, or the Egyptians or the Jordanians or the Saudis or ? The Arabs are always clinging to the last deal well after its expiration date due to weakened Arab bargaining position.

If they were really smart they would ask Israel what was on offer and take it. Had they done that in '68 they would be way ahead of where they are now.

The Golan? Not a chance.

M. Simon said...


Do you know what Palestinians teach their children about Jews? About becoming martyrs?

And you think there can be any kind of peace with that going on? I'm reminded of the song from South Pacific about hate. You know the bit "you must be carefully taught".

There seem to be a lot of folks preaching hate. Then there arises a counter hatred.

The Vigilantes Arrive

It won't stop until we have had our fill.

chuck said...


everybody want's a solution to this conflict. this is not good living when u'r living in poverty, tanks wake u up in the morning, noon and evening, shooting all over, all day long, didn't get pay checks for 6 months (if u'r lucky), having a government that can't do anything substantial to help the people, and put u'r trust on the international comunity to do something to make the situation better,
or when u live in fear of getting blown up in a bus or a super market, trying to avoid any kind of crowding because a suicide bomber might want to target a crowd, or looking at a guy that sits next to u on a buss for an our and a half because he looks a bit off, thinking wether he is going to push the button now or in a few minutes, being attached to the news every 2 seconds, trying to figure which country hates u more, and which leader said today that Israel is a threat to the muslims all over and should be extinct, or which leader said today that Israel doesn't really exist, the holocaust never happened, and hitler was simply a computerised figure that was invented in order to launch a masive attack on germany in order to destroy it's economics that was threatening the rest of europe and the US.

so yes, we all want an end to this conflict, but the right asnwer of how to solve it is still being figured out.

chuck said...

yesterday was the begining of school year.
in the palestinian authority many teachers decided to strike because of not being paid, trying to influence the government to do something. the kids were ordered not to go to school.
one kid that decided he will go to school was shot at school by a militant guy with a scarf on his face...

so go figure.

Fearless said...

Sunday, September 3, 2006
Fmr. Syrian VP Khaddam: The Syrian Regime "Aims to Drag Lebanon Into Civil War"

Former Syrian VP Khaddam: The Syrian Regime "Aims to Drag Lebanon Into Civil

In an August 28, 2006 interview with the Lebanese TV channel Al-Mustaqbal,
former Syrian Vice President 'Abd Al-Halim Khaddam, who is today an
expatriate leader of the Syrian opposition, ridiculed senior Syrian
officials' excuses for non-intervention in the recent Israel-Hizbullah war.
Khaddam argued that the Syrian regime's refusal to mark the borders with
Lebanon is a pretext aimed at continuing the resistance in southern Lebanon,
since, he said, these borders "can be marked on the map within an hour." He
also revealed information that, following Israel's May 2000 withdrawal from
southern Lebanon, while he was still serving as vice president, Syria issued
instructions to portray the liberation of the Shab'a Farms as one of the
goals of the Lebanese resistance, a goal that had not been named in the

The following is a translation of the main points of the interview:

All Elements in Lebanon Must Accept the Fact That the State is the One That
Makes the Decisions

"The guarantee that there will be no second round [of the war] is the
[establishment] of national Lebanese unity, and [when] all Lebanese elements
will accept the state as the one that makes the decisions and has the
responsibility. But if things remain as they are... then the problem will
move to the intra-Lebanese arena..."

Hafez Al-Assad Gave an Order to Prevent Resistance in the Golan

"In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and the war became a direct [war] between
us and Israel on Lebanese soil. We fought in Beirut, in the mountains, [and]
in the Beqaa and we stopped the Israeli advance between 'Ayn Zhalta and
Sultan Ya'aqoub in the western Beqaa region. Then came the decision for a
cease-fire. After that, [then-Syrian president] Hafez Al-Assad decided to
exhaust Israel in Lebanon. [Even before that,] when Hafez Al-Assad decided
that traditional war with Israel had become impossible because of what
became clear during the [1973] October War, he gave strict orders to the
[Syrian] armed forces and security apparatuses to prevent all resistance
activity in the Golan. This was because any response by Israel would have
reached the internal Syrian arena...

"Thus, in 1982, when the decision was made, we began to encourage the
Lebanese parties to carry out resistance activities [in Lebanon]..."

Top Syrian Officials' Explanations for Syria's Non-Intervention in August
2006 War are All Excuses

"[Syrian President] Bashar Al-Assad is fearful and apprehensive about war
developing and reaching Syrian territory... As far as he is concerned, the
war can be conducted in Lebanon without Syria being forced to bear any
military burden. If you ask me about the value of the Syrian-Lebanese
military agreement, which is part of the [military] contract between them,
[I will say] that it has been proven to be [just] a piece of paper.

"[They claim to have] an excuse. Some of the senior officials close to
Bashar Al-Assad have said it: 'What prevents us from intervening [in the
war] is the Separation of Forces Agreement [between Syria and Israel] in the
Golan [Heights]'... [Yet] Israel violated this agreement when it attacked at
'Ayn Al-Saheb. They said, 'If the Israeli forces approach Syria's borders,
we will intervene.' [Yet] Israeli forces are on Syrian lands in the Golan.
Bashar Al-Assad said in his [August 15, 2006] speech that Israel was
defeated in the first days. If indeed it was defeated in the first days, why
was this defeat not exploited in order to intervene in the Golan and to
liberate it?"

There Can Be No Resistance in Syria While the Syrian People Itself is Held

"How can there be resistance in Syria when the Syrian people sees itself as
a prisoner, when a [Syrian] intellectual says three words and is
[immediately] arrested, and when the Syrian people is stripped of its
freedom, oppressed, and plundered by the ruling family?..." (1)

There Must Be Relations of Equals Between Syria and Lebanon; Today There is
No Place for Syrian-Lebanese Unity

"What is the difference between Lebanon and any other Arab state? This is
absolutely not the time to establish unity between Syria and Lebanon. [The
idea of] such unity has never [even] crossed our minds. Syrian-Mauritanian
unity [will come] before [Syrian]-Lebanese unity... In my experience with
the intricacies of the Lebanese situation, I say that there must be
relations of equals between Syria and Lebanon, and this will serve the
interests of both countries. Why shouldn't there be diplomatic relations
between Syria and Lebanon?"

Syrian Objections to Marking the Border at Shab'a Farms is an Excuse in
Order to Continue the Resistance

"Marking the Syria-Lebanon border requires [nothing more than] diplomatic
will... Even the borders between Saudi Arabia and Yemen are marked, despite
the disputes that have continued for over a century. Why shouldn't the
Syria-Lebanon [border] be marked? The occupation has nothing to do with
this... They can be marked on the map within an hour...

"Actually, [Syria's objections] to marking the border is a pretext aimed at
justifying the continuation of the resistance movement in the South.
[Liberating] the Shab'a Farms was not one of the aims of the resistance
[i.e. Hizbullah]. No one spoke of the Shab'a Farms. [They started talking]
about them [only] after the [May 2000] Israeli withdrawal [from Lebanon].
This was an order that came from Syria."

Assad Aims to Drag Lebanon Into Civil War So As to Close the Investigation
of the Al-Hariri Assassination and to Return to Lebanon

"It is clear that the Syrian regime has two aims: The first is to drag
Lebanon into civil war, so as to close the investigation of the
assassination of [former Lebanese] prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri... The
second aim of the Syrian regime is to bring about a situation in which
matters in Lebanon will blow up, and then [Syria's] allies [i.e. Hizbullah]
will manage to take over Lebanon - which will enable the Syrian regime to
return to Lebanon..."

The Decision to Assassinate Al-Hariri was Made by Bashar Al-Assad

On the assassination of Rafiq Al-Hariri, Khaddam said: "Bashar Al-Assad
knows what he's doing. [He knows] how the decision [to assassinate
Al-Hariri] was made, how the crime was carried out, and who took part in
it... No security operation could be executed in Syria without the decision
of the president. Could Rustum Ghazale have taken a ton of explosives from
the army's warehouse [without Assad's knowledge]? Could Rustum Ghazale have
brought in the group that laid the explosives, tailed [the victim], and
carried out [the assassination] without [Al-Assad's] knowledge? My answer is
that this is a decision that came from the president...

"I reiterate and say to Bashar Al-Assad that I am convinced that the
investigation will reach him, and he knows this... The Syrian regime will
fall... The life expectancy of this regime is short, and Bashar Al-Assad's
last speech [on August 15, 2006] will be his farewell [speech]."(2)

(2) Al-Mustaqbal (Syria), August 28, 2006.

Dimitry said...


Oh, there're several older conflicts around, I assure you. None get the news coverage, though. and in the past there were even longer once. I'll grant you however that the Palestinians are unique in the sense that they're the only case in recorded histroy of second, third and probably already fourth generation "refugees".

Major part of the problem is that there's strong movement among the Palestinians that doesn't want merely 67 borders. They want all of Israel. The schoolbooks they use have no Israel in them, only "occupied Haifa" and "occupied Jaffa". You think merely pouring money on them would solve that issue? No way. The cycle of violence is an old and tired claim, that I don't entirely buy. Sure, it has effect, but on the other hand, if Israel ignores terrorism and keeps pouring money on Palestinians, that make is seems like terrorism works, and too strengthens it. So I'd rather stick with the actions that at least give me some degree of security, as opposed to none.

Unanswered points? Examples from the world. The mindset you bring here ("what they do must be our fault and we ought to correct it") is the mindset that dominated US approach pre 9/11 and domination European approach still. Doesn't seem to help them much.
Also, the other mistakes I'm talking about Chamberlain's Appeasement. Sure, Versailles was a mistake, but once Hitler acsended, the damage could not be undone by simply addressing Versailles - the Nazis had to be forcefully removed first.

chuck said...

this is the part where "innocent" sherri comes in and argues that the syrians r actually trying to help lebanon and wish for peace in lebanon and with lebanon...


this is trully amasing.
but what is the reason for khadam to say such things about his own government ? this is an extreme attack on assad's regieme. i guess he doesn't live in syria anymore ?

Lirun said...

i miss the bubbly momentum this blog used to have..

it was fun and fascinating..

chuck said...


i guess everybody went back to rutine...

Fearless said...

How Assad will infiltrate his NEW agents into Lebanon:

President Assad gives directions to rebuild three Lebanese towns
Sunday, September 03, 2006 - 07:00 PM

DAMASCUS, (SANA- Syrian News Agency) - President Bashar al-Assad gives
directions to the concerned parties Sunday to rebuild three Lebanese towns,
Qana, Sidqein and al-Qulila in a step to support the brotherly Lebanese
people's steadfastness and to contribute in canceling the Israeli barbarian
aggressions' aftereffects on Lebanon.

The Lebanese National News Agency said that Speaker of the Lebanese
parliament Nabeih Berri and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad al-Siniora were
informed about the Syrian decision of rebuilding the three Lebanese towns.

Fearless said...

Olmert claims Siniora rejected peace overtures

Compiled by Daily Star staff
Monday, September 04, 2006

Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert said on Sunday he had made numerous and unsuccessful overtures to Lebanese Premier Fouad Siniora to talk peace. Olmert added: "How natural it would be if the Lebanese prime minister replied to the many requests I conveyed to him, through different people, to sit down together, shake hands, make peace and end once and for all the hostility, fanaticism and hatred that part of his country feels toward us."

Speaking in Maalot-Tarshiha, a northern town hit by rockets during 34 days of fighting with Hizbullah, as the Israeli school year opened, Olmert, whose government took office in May, did not say when the peace feelers were made.

Lebanon has long said it would be among the last countries in the region to sign a peace-deal with Israel. Lebanon is a small country with 400,000 Palestinian refugees and a strong resistance of Palestinian and Lebanese fighters, who have fought against Israel's attacks in Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

"We are committed to the peace process and to the Arab peace initiative," Siniora said Thursday. "On this basis, Lebanon will be the last Arab state to sign a peace deal with Israel on the basis of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace."

He was referring to a 2002 initiative that offers peace and normalization of Arab relations with Israel in return for its return of all land captured in the 1967 war, establishment of a Palestinian state and a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.

This came as Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Sunday ruled out peace talks between Israel and Syria for now, saying that a "sequence" must be followed, with an end to Syrian support of Lebanese and Palestinian extremists coming first.

Interviewed on Israel's Channel 10 TV, Livni said that a move to open Israel-Syria peace talks now would disrupt efforts to stabilize Lebanon.

Livni said considering Syri-an demands for peace with Israel at the same time as "pacifying" Lebanon after the war would be a mistake.

"The tools are in place to free Lebanon from Syria," she said. "To add other Syrian interests to this 'salad,' if you'll pardon the expression, would in my opinion complicate a process that is acceptable to everyone." Syria "must understand that [international] demands of it are clear: Stopping support of terrorism - Palestinian as well as Lebanese - and this brings on the issue of sequence," she said.

Livni said that in the past, ill-fated talks between Israel and Syria further vexed Israeli-Palestinian relations. She said the Palestinian issue should be the top priority now.

Israel held intensive peace negotiations with Syria that neared agreement but broke down in 2000. Many analysts believe the shift in Israel's attention from the Palestinians to Syria added to frustration that led to the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. - Agencies

tears for lebanon said...

Lirum, Chuck

Regarding why this site no longer appears's not because we 'all went back to our routines'....

It is because there are no longer many Lebanese participating in the conversations in this forum.

I had not checked out this site in a couple of days...I read through again today and noted that it was mainly Israelis posting.

Just my take as to why it seems 'different'

chuck said...

so is it like a lebanese policy not to talk to Israelies ? is that it ?
u say the lebanese on this blog left because of the Israelies here ?

tears for lebanon said...

No Chuck...that is not what I am saying.
I am merely making an observation that there are not as many Lebanese participating in the conversations as before....which is what I contribute to the more 'fun and fascinating' aspect.

I can only speculate, along with you, as to why there seems to have been a shift, but as far as I know, there has not been a Lebanese policy against it.

Now Chuck if you want to find me later to chat, I'll be on an Israeli blog...
chatting with some Lebanese ;) (kidding)

chuck said...


u know what ? if lebanese people would come to talk in Israeli bloggs then i would eat my hat and go around the streets, running naked and shouting that this is the time for peace.

if lebanese people would be interested in Israeli people and Israeli point of view as much as we r interested in u'r point of view, then maybe things would be looking different.

a salam alikum.

tell me what kind of music do u listen to ? do u like heavy metal maybe ?... i have a reason for asking.

chuck said...

u know, i saw today a documentry called "the fog of war", about the war in vietnam, acording to the minister of diffens of the US at the time, macnamera. i found many many similarities to the war in lebanon.

acording to macnamera, the war was going on because both sides didn't have connections between them. both the americans and the vietnamies saw this war as totaly different point of views, a thing which brought this war to extreme.
the americans thought that the vietnames were operating as a coalition with the japanese and the russians in order to create a unity of comusim against america, which wasn't true. in later talks with the vietnamese when the war ended, macnamera said that they found out the vietnamese hated the japanese and russians.
the vietnamese point of view was that the americans were simply trying to conqure vietnam and take over the land, which also wasn't true.

tears for lebanon said...

Shalom Chuck

I know you think that we, the Lebanese, are disinterested in talks. But I really don't think that is the case....and I won't speak for anyone but myself, but I think that part of the problem is that many Israelis believe that since there has been a 'cease fire' then the Lebanese should be ready to 'move on' and 'get over' the hurt and anger and be more open to 'talks'....however when those talks are repetitive with blame(and I believe you and I have already addressed how I feel about that on a previous post here) remains too painstaking on multiple levels. For me, it has also become tiresome and I feel that I am talking in circles at times.

I have spoken with sooo many family and friends who believe that I am wasting my time on this blog, who have told me that this will not make an impact and have actually expressed anger at me when I don't express complete support of the 'resistance', but I have not caved in my stance with my friends and nor have I given up altogether my hopes for discussions here, hence I am still here, however I do find myself needing to take more breaks...I don't know if that makes sense to you, but regardless that is how I feel.

I am willing to tell you what kind of music I enjoy...on the assumption that you will be honest and willing to explain your inquiry....I love U2, Bare Naked Ladies, and Arabic music...sorry to disappoint, I am not a head banger.

abubalboola2 said...

You added a link to the paragraph in which you spoke about the 2002 initiative ( ) but it is not about it. mistake perhaps? if you have a link, could you please post it?

As for the summary of events which you wrote,
I simply believe it is too early for that. sadly.
However, The ego should not take control and the Israeli PM must not stop from making such overtures again through the media and through private channels.
Although rejecting them, on the 20th of August Fouad Siniora said "I believe that if Israel uses all its senses and thinks wisely, I think it will be the opportunity,..... .... The opportunity is how to convert what happened in Lebanon-the calamity that was inflicted on Lebanon-to make it an opportunity to move toward real peace," (see )

For more details:

As for the observation that there are not as many Lebanese participating in the conversations as before,
I havent been here long enough..
But I can say that I found that even arranging face to face meetings of multinational people, was not easy. Stop from trying? not an option.
Chuck, perhaps there's alot Lebanese who read it but simply dont post back?
A possibility: this post ("RE: Dissapointed"), although interesting, was not controversial enough to create a dynamic and vivid discussion. Controversy is important for such discussions.
You want controversy?.. hmmm.. I'll think of something.. (there's plenty from those meetings I mentioned!)

abubalboola2 said...

On the vietnamese point of view (thinking the americans were trying to conqure vietnam, which also wasn't true) I agree there is some resemblence. But I am not sure.
Tears-For-Lebanon, what are the opinions that you hear? Lebanese think that Israel is intending to stay in those lands or try to keep them? What do they think would be an israeli interest to do that?
Somebody told me that he thinks that Israel is trying to conquer more land for expansion. What he thought was the Israeli reasons to do that, was .. erm... ridicioulous from my point of view but hearing them from him was important as one of the things that needs working is the perception of one side by the other side.


Loli said...


I am interested in knowning more about your people, ordinary people, not politicians. I would like to be part of the effort that bridges this huge emotional and existential gap between us. I post blogs on an Israeli peace-related blog space ( would love to see peace in the Middle East. People however need some time to heal, so please understand that. The lastest conflict made a lot of Lebanese bitter, but there is hope, if Israel shows real peaceful intentions.

tears for lebanon said...


I beleive you are asking me what are the opinions regarding Israel's 'intentions'....

I feel I must tell you that I hear many viewpoints, however it is important for you to know that although I am Lebanese, I live in the States and my input and insight may not carry the same weight as those who are experiencing the crisis first-hand.

A common view is that Israel had begun a preparation for a Lebanon assault back in 2000, after the Israel withdrawl, and this was given further creditability when it became known that IDF gave powerpoint presentations to the US in 2004. It is the belief that Israel had the intention to conduct a military action against Lebanon for years and the actions by HEZ in July, was the the 'opportunity' to do so without appearing to initiate such an aggression.

The reasons or beliefs for these preplanned attacks belief is that Israel does indeed want to expand their include the Litani River to aid in water supply to Israel. I am not sure how much support this belief has, but nonetheless, it is a belief of some.

Another opinion is that part of Israel's plan as their strategy is to deliberately inflict great pain on the civilian population of its targets hoping the people affected will blame their authorities for it and turn against them. In Palestine and Lebanon that means Hamas and Hezbollah.

Another popular belief is that there is a collorboration between the US and Israel. It is the opinion of many that the US and Israeli plan was to escalate the current Palestinian and Lebanese conflicts and extend them to Iran and Syria. It is believed that this strategy had short comings due to the poor international support Israel received during the 34 days of war and the criticisms the US received for not demanding an immediate cease fire.

Whether you disagree with the above or not, I am not willing to debate. You asked of what opinions I've heard, and I obliged.

Wishing for peace to all. Good night.

chuck said...


well, i just thought u might like to know about an Israeli band, metal band, which i listen to, and is a verry succesfull in Israel (as much as a metal band can be succesfull in Israel) and in arab countries like syria, iran, ejypt etc. being in a concert of this band is like living in a totaly different world, when u have a syrian guy to u'r left, an ejyptian guy to u'r right and...well, u get the point. headbangin together.

the band is called "orphand land" and it combines metal with oriental, arabic and jewish tunes from different prayers, including verses taken from the koraan, the old testament and the bible.

the songs mainly speak about war between light and darkness and speak against war.

thought maybe it will interest u.

chuck said...

anyway, i know what u r talking about. i also thought i would stop writing here, i felt like u that i was repeating things i already said, but i keep coming back. i'm too curious in understanding what the other side thinks.
my family will never tell me to stop writing in this blogg, or in any such bloggs. they might think i'm wasting my time, but i'm sure they r curious as much as i am about what's going on in lebanon, and how people react to this whole mess.

u know, my father was in lebanon, and lost friends there, i served on the border of lebanon before the withdrawl in 2000. i lost a few friends in lebanon, in this war, and in the palestinian territories. and still i don't feel that talking, even simply on this blogg, is a waste of time.
and neither does my father.

tears for lebanon said...


I will make great efforts in attempt to get their music. Who knows, maybe in this small world, You and I will be at the same concert someday....Thanks for the info! Good night, Shalom, Salam.

Jewish Lady in US said...

Tears and Loli:

I am Jewish, live in the US, have hundreds of distant family members in Israel. I am religiously observant, feel that if Israel were to disappear as a Jewish state, it would be like my legs cut out from under me. Many Jews feel that way.

My own feelings about reaching out towards Lebanese in particular & Arabs in general: We have to talk. Other Jews I know in the US feel the same. When I tell them I am reading Lebanese blogs and having email conversations with Lebanese people, they stare at me in shocked and respectful silence. And they want to know what you think, about everything. I hope I'm expressing what I've learned OK.

What I hear from a lot of the Lebanese is a deep frustration and a deep anger that you can't seem to gain control over your own country because other forces keep using it for their own purposes. Other forces exploit the multi-ethnic nature of your place to pit one group against another. Every time you make a fragile recovery from some long-lasting disaster, like the civil war, or the Israeli occupation, some new crisis descends and sets you back again. The latest war was yet the latest crisis, and you can't just brush off your deep dismay and frustration and even hopelessness to be "friendly" to Israel and the Israelis that cause the destruction.

I hope I captured this sentiment correctly. If I didn't, please tell me where I'm wrong. I really want to understand how you feel.

I also want you to understand how we feel, because the sharing has to go both ways if there will ever be any movement. I'll tell a story. During the first few days after HA captured the two soldiers, and Israel responded with airstrikes, the mood among the US Jews I know was tense, fearful, very somber. We were feeling like the entire being of Israel was on the line. "This is about the whole enterprise", someone writing from Israel said, because the reality of Israel, the amazement that Israel exists as a Jewish state, the unbelievability that after 2000 years of dreaming of returning to our homeland we are actually there, all this still feels like a very fragile experiment. During those first few days of Israeli airstrikes, the prayers I heard in the US synagogues went something like, "God grant our soldiers the strength to do what they must to protect our lives, without feeling hatred towards Hizbollah".

During that same time, I read one of the Lebanese bloggers somewhat scornfully say, "Why do the Israelis look on every event like an existential crisis?"

It really hurt my feelings to read that. It dismissed in one impatient line who we are. We are a tiny people that has managed to keep our sense of community alive for more than 2000 years in Diaspora. We are less than 0.5% of the population of the entire world. Jewish children are raised with the burden of feeling that it is up to them to make sure that Jews continue to exist one more generation. The possibility of failure is ever present. 40% of the world's population of Jews live in the US, where the intermarriage rate is very high. (We may be 40% of the Jewish world population, but we are less than 1% of the US population). Another 40% of the world's population of Jews live in Israel. One well-placed nuclear strike from Iran would wipe us out there. If the US Jewish population shrinks to 1 million, and another 1 million are scattered across the globe, and Israel gets destroyed as a Jewish state, we then become a people numbering 2 million out of a world population of 6 billion and growing. It is doubtful we will survive.

My fiance's mother survived Auschwitz, and she lives with the terror still, and the anguish of having lost most of her family just because they were Jews. I said I have hundreds of relatives in Israel but they are all on my mother's side. I don't have any relatives on my father's side because when the Nazis came to power, all my father's ancesters lived in Poland, not Palestine, and they were wiped out, simply because they were Jews. One of my friends grew up hearing his grandfather - who had survived WWII by hiding out in the forest, eating bark from trees - tell anguished stories again and again about his brother, and how he never knew if his brother had lived or died or where he was. Four years ago, that friend went with his family to Yad Vashem in Israel, did a search on his grandfather's name and home town, learned that someone in Tel Aviv had recently done a similar search, called the person in Tel Aviv and found out that the person in Tel Aviv was the grandson of the brother. The brother had survived, and had somehow made it to Israel, somehow got married and had a family and told his grandchildren anguished stories about the brother he had lost.

We live and breathe these stories all the time. That is who we are. This is why we take threats as existential crises, because they very much are. Our small people managed to stay alive for 2000 years, but that miracle could get smashed in our lifetimes. The thought is unbearable.

Had the Israeli defense establishment and government been thinking about going into Lebanon for some time? Probably, but the reason was they were watching with growing alarm as HA was arming itself to the teeth right across the border, sending unprovoked rocket attacks into Israel as if to say: F**K you. And HA was being financed by Iran, with a president who repeatedly declares his goal of eliminating Jews from the world. One of my mother's cousins lives (or lived) in Kiryat Shmona, and she would gesture north from her apartment building and say, "They are making an army over there to attack us one day".

Given that reality, wouldn't YOU be looking for a legitimate reason to go in there and neutralize the threat? I'll bet you would. Could Israel have neutralized the threat without smashing the Lebanese civilian infrastructure? I honestly don't know, I am not a military expert. I read what they said in the newspapers: that they wanted to stop the continuing flow of weapons to HA, and striking roads and bridges was the only way to do that. If that is a bad excuse, then I am ashamed of the Israeli govt and defense establishment, and we all owe you, the Lebanese people, a very deep apology, and we should dig deep into our pockets to help you rebuild. But if it is true, that HA was constantly getting its weapons resupplied through that infrastructure, and that bombing it was the only way to stop the weapons, then that means it's the Lebanese infrastructure vs. the possibility of wiping all Jews off the face of the earth. With a very heavy heart, if that really were the case, I'd have to support bombing the Lebanese infrastructure.

We so desperately need to hear you and the rest of the world tell us that we have a right to exist. Instead what we hear is that Europe wouldn't mind a bit if Israel disappeared. We hear the UN pass one resolution after another condemning Israel, even though there are far more bloodier conflicts throughout the world that they never mention. Nor does the UN ever condemn the ugly, hateful violence directed towards Israel in particular and Jews in general that comes out of the Arab world. All we want is to return to our ancient homeland and live Jewish lives there (and no, the ancient homeland does not include southern Lebanon). That simple desire is perceived as an abomination by much of the Arab world. Only the US comes to our defense, and then only a little bit. So ... is it any wonder that Israel cultivates the support from its only overt friend? And if Israel is going to get blamed for every problem of the world, no matter what it does, then it may as well do anything because the blame will come one way or another.

There is so much more I would love to pour out from my heart, but that is enough. Except to say that I'm so amazed and grateful for this technology. It makes an exchange of views between ordinary people possible. It's probably safer than any other medium. I wish I could read & write Arabic so I could read what is posted there & talk too. Our failure in the US; we don't have to learn the language of others, as everyone else learns ours.

Please keep talking. Please ask questions. Please take our hearts seriously, and know that we take yours seriously too.

nisa said...

Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people
General Assembly resolution 3236 (XXIX)

"the right to self-determination without external interference; the right to national independence and sovereignty; the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced and uprooted"

I'm sorry if I make people sad, but besides non jews, if one make that as a case -- there are Jews themselves protesting against Zionism. Many Jews, some Israelis too, are against zionism. I think people should understand that the issue is not racism against Israelis. but it is the illegal occupation. the Israeli siege is illegal under international law, & it is actually, the palestinians, who are living under brutal occupation. Israelis have a declared state, the mightiest military maybe. but the palestinians have none of Israeli blessings.

Their democratic government is denied, even officials captured. strikes & siege is on-going. Aid is barred. video They have the right to exist, will Israel say that to them too.

honestly, it's weird why people even fight. if one knows that your plastic pen probably exist longer than your own bodily existence, one will be more worried with something more important. I seek refuge in Allah from errors. I hope God guides me. Also I seek forgiveness if I hurt anybody.

again, may God bring truth. God Bless.

Loli said...

Jewish lady in US

I hear you, and I thank you for your long and heartfelt comment. You need not convince me of the way lots of jewish people feel, and their fear of potential extermination. I am all for peaceful existence and co-existence.

What you wrote about how Lebanese people may feel deeply resonates with me. Thank you for your empathy. I do have empathy for your people, as I have empathy for the Palestineans in the occupied territories and in refugee camps. What some Israelis may fail to understand is that Arabs view Israel as an existential threat to them, based on past experiences, especially regarding Palestineans. See, it goes both ways.

While many Arab politicians use the Israeli / Palestinean or Lebanese conflict to serve their own political agenda, ordinary people do care and see injustice in the current and past situation. I believe they see suicide bombers and other similar acts as actions of bravery and ultimate sacrifice. While I understand this view, I completely condemn the actions, because violence against and by Israel is simply wrong, and doesn't solve any problems. Quite the contrary. It may entail the illusion of some victory, but deepens existential problems and widens the gap between Israel and its neighboring countries. History has proven it. Killing other people, especially civilians, is wrong. It doesn't matter who starts what. There is no excuse for death and destruction. It is about human life.

I am always puzzled by the depth of hatred among people on both sides of the border, and while they appear to be different in terms of culture, religion and lifestyle, they are all hurt in the same way and they all share the same dream.

I have learned a lot from blogging with Israelis. I have learned that there are lots of moderate people who truly wish to mind their own business and lead a normal life. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be posting in an Israeli blog. Thanks to this technology, I have learned a lot about how some ordinary Israelis think, and have made virtual friends while working towards peace.

The tunnels of communication that the blog has helped us dig are growing. People need not like each other. If they could just talk in an effort to better understand each other, they could be half way on the road of inner peace and acceptance of the neighbor.


abubalboola2 said...

Tears for Lebanon,
I understand why you are not willing to debate on opinions that are not necessarily yours. So my answers here are intended to give my opinion only.

btw, I dont live in Israel also in the last few years. However, you and I get exposed to alot of other opinions which we wouldne be normally, in our own countries.

As for the preparations to assault,
Preparations could indicate risk management or getting ready for every option. especially since it was known that the HA was building up its power.
Naive to assume any country is not doing risk management.

As for inflicting pain to turn populations against authorities,
This is one of the secondary aspects of every battle by every entity who participates in a conflict. Same can be said about Hizballa trying to weaken the Israeli population in the north, same about Hamas suicide bombers, same about escallating on occasions when there was some progress by organization opposing agreements(i.e these were escallated right before the elections with Shimon Peres to prevent him from being elected).
So, it's a non-false fact but one which is a bidirectional argument.
Naive to assume this is not a consideration in any conflict by any side.

Any belief about collaboration between US and Israel, comes from a naive perception that every collaboration is a conspiracy.

The belief that Israel would like to expand its borders is the only opinion which I find troubling. While the previous opinions stem from naivity, this one stems from the perception of Israeli public opinions.
A claim about expanding to the Litani river (for water or any other resource) ignores the absolute fact that there is no such public opinion in Israel.
One can argue that "it's the same like Gaze or the West Bank" but while there is a strong internal political debate in Israel on returning Gaze or the West-Bank, Lebanon does not stand in the same criteria. There is no cultural, religious or traditional link between Israel and Jews to Lebanon. As for simply getting land or water.. hard for me to come a quick answer on a fundamantaly wrong assumption. But, No.
This is a good point that indicates on the need to change Lebanese perception of Israeli opinions.

I'll emphasize again that I am merely replying to opinions you have heard, and are not something you wish to defend.
Controversial opinions.

Thanks for your honest and full answer!

abubalboola2 said...

Your statements about a sovereign Palestinian country and the rights of the palestinians are good and true.

About your statements about Jews protesting against Zionism..
Last week I was in a debate where somebody gave that as an argument. he said "in a protest I went last week, there were even some Rabbis!" (btw, I dont live in Israel).
So, 2 points:
1st, who are they? are they a valid opinion (i.e. Neturei Karta are not.)? Do you see an enemy of your enemy, automatically as your friend??
2nd, I can come up with similar examples about Muslims going out strongly agains Islam in the media.

I simply to buy into those types in both sides. Not Jew hating Jews and not Muslim hating Muslims.
I see them as invalid opinions. Easy to give them as an example, easy to quote their words.. but so hard to explain why.

You are giving a long list of what the Israelis have but the palestinian dont.

Their government was elected democrtically but from social reasons and not for the purpose of not recognizing Israel.
Look at the difference between the Fatah and the Hamas and you will see that although there are disagreements between Israel and the Fatah, the latter are in the right direction while the Hamas have a self-destructive political manifest.

Israeli leaders have already stated many times about the need of borders and a palestinian state.
Will the Hamas say the same about a state for Israel?

My opinion is, that if indeed in the next few weeks there will be a joint government of the Hamas and Fatah then there is a chance for progress.
Hamas as they are now, are self-destructive for their own people.

Btw, I dont think you hurt anybody. keep writing!


abubalboola2 said...

Reading again what I wrote:

1. Typing mistake: "... I simply DONT buy into those types in both sides .. "

2. I feel my opinion about differences about Fatah and Hamas is explained better in:

Dimitry said...


First, the fact that there are anti-zionsim Jews, let alone Jews who think all the world's problems will be solved by Israeli retreat to pre-67 borders, isn't an argument. Their ethnicity doesn't make their opinion more impressive.

Second, I dare say you oversimplify. Yes, they have a right to their own country (although I dare doubt the sanctity of the 67 borders). Creation of one, however, won't end the conflict. There are forces - and they happened to win the last elections, too - who openly declare they have a bigger aim. Their children are taught from maps that have no Israel on them, and mention "occupied Haifa" and "occupied Jaffa", and that Shahada is superior to peace and normalization with Israel. This has impact on the continouation of the conflict which is bigger than all IDF actions combined.

Third, how is that relevant to Lebanon?

Fourth, do you really think the Right of Return is legitimate demand?

Fearless said...

Israel's quiet victory

Radical Islam increasingly perceived as strategic threat to West

The second Lebanon war is an up-to-date and clear example of the doctrine that modern war is decided not only on the battlefield. As gaps in the military power of the warring sides grow, the decision moves to the arena of media and consciousness.

In the conflict between Israel and its opponents, the terror groups, there's no doubting the other side's talent and ability to fully utilize its advantage in the media, where the stronger party is the weak one.

In that battle, all means are kosher: threatening journalists, doctoring photos, "planting" dolls and wedding gowns at bombing sites, staging scenes featuring the evacuation of "wounded," and a plethora of other creative manipulations.

Indeed, international media buys into everything.

The problematic starting point Israel's public relations efforts must contend with, as we learn from international public opinion surveys, is the mental infrastructure of the Western-European news consumer, with Israel perceived as an aggressive, uninhibited attacker that is almost as fanatical and radical as its opponents across the border.

The foreign press presence in Israel also holds on to this perception. We want them to view the conflict through Israel's eyes, while they are able to view Israel only through the lenses of the conflict.

An example of this is the Israeli spokespeople during the war. One of the myths associated with Israeli public relations efforts for generations is the centrality of the speakers: If only we find someone like Abba Eben or Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel would be able to win the battle over media coverage and public opinion.

Contending with images of Beirut

During the month of war, this myth fully collapsed: The State of Israel deployed coherent men and women featuring clear messages and boosted by the Israeli consensus who submitted to hundreds of interviews on dozens of TV channels.

In CNN alone, Israeli government spokespeople submitted to 400 minutes of interviews in the first two weeks of the war, constituting about 10 percent of the total airtime dedicated to the war.

On the other hand, Arab spokespeople were only interviewed for 30 minutes. Did the fact that Israeli spokespeople received so much more airtime than their opponents decide the outcome of the media war? The answer is negative. After all, the Israelis were not required to contend with their Arab colleagues, but rather, with the images of destruction and victims from Beirut.

And where were images of the suffering, hurting Israeli home front taken by dozens of foreign media crews operating from media centers set up by the Foreign Ministry in Haifa and the upper Galilee? They were cut due to editing considerations because they failed to match the narrative presented.

All of the above is in plain view of the Israeli news consumer, but the most important things are hidden from view. The dust left behind by the military campaign along with the heavy price of those killed and kidnapped, the media fog and the waves of criticism, all combine to hide a fundamental Israeli achievement:

The decline of the narrative that argues that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and particularly the equation of Goliath (us) against David (them), are the exclusive reason for Middle Eastern instability.

For three decades now, Israel has been facing a Palestinian-Israeli media arena it did not choose, but finds it difficult to extract itself from. The battle over image staged against the Palestinians caused Israel heavy damages in the eyes of Western public opinion, undermined its perceived moral standing, and reinforced its image as aggressive and inhumane.

Despite this, leaders and spokespeople found it difficult over the years to formulate an alternative narrative and focused on attempts to present Palestinian injustices in the face of our humanity – but to no avail.

Coalition of radicals

In the wake of the recent war, a new reality is emerging – one that allows Israel and its representatives to work for changing the media narrative and creating a new arena. We aspire that this new framework will be used by Western media and public opinion to view, translate, and judge events in the Middle East.

Public opinion surveys commissioned by the Foreign Ministry in recent weeks in the United States and leading European countries showed the maturity of the public's understanding of our new regional reality.

Indeed, the surveys showed wide identification of the two coalitions – the moderate one, which includes Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian leader Abbas and Lebanese PM Siniora, vis-à-vis the radical coalition of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda too.

In the wake of the war, radical Islam is increasingly perceived as a strategic threat on the West that is not merely a reaction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a new reality that is comfortable for Israel.

The changing narrative is not absolute or irreversible. European public opinion will find it difficult for a long time to come to view Israel as moderate, while international media will continue to present developments in the Middle East through a filter that reinforces Israel's image as a country that resorts to disproportional force at any given situation.

However, this does not change the fact that something has changed: The West's perception of reality, including its leaders and public opinion, is increasingly getting closer to the Israeli view.

The Israeli public relations system (an experienced punching bag, we must say), was able to identify the trend, adapt its messages accordingly, create a uniform line used by its spokespeople, and effectively utilize Israeli representatives and sympathizers online and among varied target audiences.

All of the above made a decisive contribution to the maturing of the new global perception. In the long run, this is an achievement for the State of Israel that may be quiet and hidden from view, but possess strategic importance.

tears for lebanon said...

Jewish Lady in US....I prefer to call you 'neighbor', given that we both live in the states....and our hearts appear to beat for our respective neighboring countries overseas.

Thank you for your comments. I very much respect Loli and her insight. She has expressed much of what I would have stated to you as well.

Neighbor ;)
I would like to comment on one point that you mentioned: "the amazement that Israel exists as a Jewish state, the unbelievability that after 2000 years of dreaming of returning to our homeland we are actually there, all this still feels like a very fragile experiment."

I do recognize Israel... you stated..."We so desperately need to hear you and the rest of the world tell us that we have a right to exist."....I admit, that is not asking for much, and regardless of how I feel about the circumstances surrounding the regaining of the 'returned existance' to the the holy land.....I do, as well as many arabs, recognize Israel and feel it should exist in peace.

With that being said, I beleive what needs to be expressed by Israel for peace in that region (true peace)is the recognition of the Palestinians 'needs' and more importantly, their independent sovereignty. Basic human rights are violated, 60% of Palestinians under occupation are unemployeed and 70% are living under the poverty line. This condition; unemployment, hunger, poor education, unhealthy shelter environments, and poor health and health care...have lead to despair at an unimaginable is the reason, i believe, that Hamas was democratically is because life has become so unbearable that the people would rather elect a militant group and wish for retailation verses coexistance....
I have heard many times by Israelis stating that attempts have been made to aid the people of the occupied areas...that may be true, I am not doubting that, but regardless, the grave situation outlined above continues...and until this changes, nothing else will either. Efforts must resume....walls won't do the trick.
I admit, my beliefs are biased, however I believe until this 'conflict' is resolved...there will not be peace in the middle east, nor trust from Israel's neighbor.... Lebanon.

Lastly, I want to mention that I read your text with sorrow for the hell that your family and so many Jews endured at the hands of the devil during the holocaust....I thank you for sharing those emotional stories.I would like to share one with you...
I am a social worker with hospice, I once had a patient who was a survivor of the holocaust, she never had chidren and her only nephew was not so attentive. She and I became very close....she, as so many who are dying, wished to unburden her heart of its secrets,....she shared her hellish experiences with me and I wept with her....I, a muslim arab,also held her hand and prayed with her the night she died.
Jewish Lady in US/Neighbor.....just because we are Arabs...doesn't mean that we hate you or wish for your extinction ...we want what you want...understanding, dignity, respect, basic human rights to live and prosper. We really are not that different....and to finally respond to your last statement....I do take your hearts seriously.

Dimitry..........hi. I am sorry how I ended our last 'chat'.

Yuval...haven't seen you in awhile...hope you are doing okay.

Loli said...

Jewish lady in US

After having read Tears for Lebanon, I realised that I may not have expressed enough empathy with the hardships the Jewish people have gone through, that culminated with the holocaust. I join my voice to Tears for Lebanon. This is exactly the way I feel about Jews, and any human being who is subjucted to inhumane treatment.

Dimitry said...


T'is okay. I'd still like to hear why you think we've reached an impasse, but I'm on the other hand, moving the discussion here is very good step... It was pretty tiring getting all the way down every time... :)

About your comment... I really think you simplify matters. Look at Gaza - Israel totally retreated from there. It isn't under occupation. Israel has absolutely no control over their border with Egypt. What were the outcomes of that? Why did the Hammas win after that? From Oslo to Protective Wall, Israeli occupation was essentially lifted from the majority of the Palestinian population. What came out of that?
The Palestinians had billions of dollars poured at them since Oslo accords. What wasn't sealed in PLO personal bank accounts was used for terror. Still Israeli fault? Still Israeli responsibility?
And again. Why should this be relevant to Lebanon?

chuck said...

hey tears for lebanon, loly, and dimitry,

well, tears, i hope u'll find some of the music i told u about. just don't let it scrae u when u first hear it, it's a bit tough at first if u'r not familier with this kind of music :)

the jewish lady from US pretty much spoke for me too (although i live in Israel), and i apreciate both u'r responses, loli and tears.

concerning the palestinians,
i think that the hamas group was elevted becuase the people didn't see any alternative. fatah dissapointed them, and hamas people were seem to be wanting to change the social situation. i remember the people that were interviewd in Israeli tv (people from the palestinian authority) during the elections there, they called the hamas as pure people with pure intentions of helping the palestinians.
but still non the less, their other issues that they adressed besides the agenda of helping with social economical problems, they had the agenda of not recognising Israel and not negotiating untill they will take over the whole land (and ofcourse then there will be nothing left to negotiate about).
so i understand the palestinians, and yet i don't understand.

today u can see the palestinians running on the streets demonstrating against hamas government. hamas chose a way of no communication, and got to a dead end. the people don't trust hamas anymore in helping them. i'm sad that it took all this time, untill the palestinians r on their knees calling for a change.
but maybe this will bring some kind of change.

at least now they understand that talking to the other side is the only way.

chuck said...

i just wanted to give another view of things from the Israeli point of view.
this is something all Israeli belive,
that the moment arab countries will lay down their arms, their will be no more war.
but the moment Israel will lay down arms, there will be no more Israel.

Loli said...


Palestineans have had corrupt and bad leaders. They have made terrible mistakes. These leaders have their share of responsibility in the suffering of their people. However, the recent escalation, translated on the ground by heavy shelling and the incarceration of some Hamas officials, won't solve the Palestinean problem. There must be a solution somewhere between giving in to your enemy and trying to eliminate them or contain them in a sort of a ghetto. You need to negotiate peace with the Palestineans, not muffle their cries. Negotiatons involve concessions. Both sides should be willing to make concessions, there's no way around it.

As for your comment:
"The moment arab countries will lay down their arms, their will be no more war.
but the moment Israel will lay down arms, there will be no more Israel." I think it is a bit radical, i.e. black and white. In my humble opinion, reality always lies somewhere in the middle. Your nation needs to find that middle spot. Always using force to solve problems has proven to deepen the gap between your nation and your neighbors.

chuck said...


ofcourse i agree with what u say.
only by making concessions we will achieve peace.
then let's start doing that. let's start talking !

and i'm not refering to "so many prissoners in exchange for so many kidnalies" talks.

but first, u want to negotiate about peace ? u want to talk ? u have to exnoledge that the other side exists. otherwise who will u talk to ??
come on people, ecknoledge that we r here !
ecknoledge the fact that we live here, with u, beside u.
otherwise, who do u want to talk to ?? urself in the mirror ??

u want peace ? we r here. we want peace. talk to us. don't tell us in the face that we don't exist because we r standing right infront of u !

i think that's a most crucial preliminary must in any kind of negotiations.
don't u think ?

chuck said...

about the recent pro lebanon war attacks in gaza came in response to the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

there was no heavy shelling before that. the situation was getting worse since hamas caused the dissconection with Israel and US diplomats.

the hamas leaders were arrested because they might have had a hand in the kidnapping and might have known something of the wherabouts of the kidnapers and Shalit. and ofcourse, hamas demanding the release of prisoners so Israel took prisoners for negotiations.

i think the whole situation stinks and i hop eit will be over soon, maybe in the next few days, as they say in the news.

but the main change will come from the call of the palestinians to have a new government, maybe a united hamas-fatah government.
i'm optimistic.

Jewish Lady in US said...

Thanks to all of you for listening to me. And Tears, thank you for sharing that story about being with the Holocaust survivor as she died. That was truly a wonderful moment of deep human connection that transcends politics.

A lot of you post about the torment the Palestininans endure, and how if only that problem were solved, so much ME tension would be released. I agree it's a terrible tragedy that there are millions of people with no state, no future, living in horrible squalid conditions. But I wonder why this should be Israel's tragedy alone to solve?

Wars always create refugees, many who are never able to return to their homes. It is one of the terrible aftermaths of war. However, there are examples all over the world of refugees from one place being resettled in another. The first generation suffers a great deal, but later generations tend to adapt to their adopted homes.

Why should the entire burden of finding homes for these people rest on Israel, a very small state with a completely different demographic population that would be overwhelmed? Why will Arab countries - with the same religion and language and cultural history - not take them in? I have heard people argue that the cultures are not identical. To me this is a very poor argument.

I live in the middle of the U.S., in a place that is very flat, gets very cold and snowy in the winter. Unitl very recently, the population was predominantly white English-speaking Christian.

About 25 years ago, this place accepted thousands of Hmong refugees who were used to living as farmers in hills. Different language, completely different culture, different religion ... yes, the first years were rough. But now the grandchildren attend the state's university and do very well.

About 10-15 years ago, this place started accepting refugees from Somalia. Black, Muslim, speaking a different language - yes, the initial years are rough. The refugees really stand out, the way they dress, the way they behave with each other, the way they look. But you know what? The first wave of children born here have already entered the local university, where they get student jobs like the other students, and they take classes just like the other students, and a lot of interesting mingling is going on.

If white, Christian, urban industrial, English-speaking Minnesota can accept and absorb massive numbers of Hmong and Somali immigrants, why is it too much to ask Muslim, Arabic speaking countries to accept massive numbers of Muslim, Arabic speaking Palestinians?

tears for lebanon said...

Dimitry...I responded to your comment to me (re: impasse) on the post we last chatted on. I know it is tiring ;) but I felt it more appropriate.

Chuck...I have not had a chance to yet get the music...but I promise to...and don't worry, I don't scare easily :) have a way with words, I envy your articulation.

Jewish lady in US....true wars create refugees....but if a Cherokee American Indian came knocking on your door and kicked you out....would you go quietly up north to Canada?

You should not ask nor expect the Palestinians to leave their land too, sorry, but I beleive it is the responsibility for Israel, and Israel responsibility alone. You are the one who asked for the Arabs to recognize you and right to exist...can you not do the same for the Palestinians?

It is remarks like your response above that makes it very hard for soooo many arabs to state Israel's right for existence, when you indicate the refugees 'should just leave' to other countries. Give the Palestinian refugees the same respect that you ask for....allow them to live and prosper...afterall, it is their land too...and they too have the right to exist in the land in peace.

chuck said...

jewish lady and tears for lebanon,

i know this argument about sending the palestinians to scater around the arab world, and as an Israeli,
as a jew,regarding our jewish history, i can't accept that.

i think it's a terrible thing to be relocated from u'r home and sent to a different place. i'm sorry it happened to the palestinian refuges as a resault of the establishment of our state, it's a tragedy that we all suffer since then, and i feel it resembles to what our people have suffered though all of our exiles.
so i can't accept another exile for the palestinians. reloacating them again won't make it right.
2 wrongs don't make a right.

it has been 58 years since the palestinians left their homes. returning now to where they once used to live is simply unrealistic and imposibble. this is something that when comming towards negotiations with Israel the palestinians must accept. sticking to such an argument would simply bring any negotiations to an explosion.
and the palestinians know that.
this is a political decission that their leaders must take.
otherwise this conflict will last forever untill one of the side is totaly destroyed.

Loli said...


You ask to be recognized as a nation, and as a state, and I personally fully recognize Israel. With the exception of Hamas and Iran, I think nearly all Arab countries recognize your nation and your right to exist. In my opinion, Hamas and Iran are making a terrible mistake. It's ludicrous and completely unrealistic to wish or plan for your destruction. The other countries may tergiversate in favor of their political agendas and out of solidarity with the Palestineans, but in my mind, peace is inevitable. It's only a matter of time, and how willing Israel is to de-escalate in the future.

Thanks for your kind words! It might surprise you, but I am often frustrated with my lack of fluency in English. Being French educated, I would express my thoughts much better in French...

Sherri said...

jewish lady in US,

I think your point that the challenge to solve the Palestinain problem should not be placed on Israel. I do not think that they, the Palestinians, should be forced to leave their homeland. But the international community has obligations here they are not meeting. It should be obvious to anyone that this dispute cannot be resolved by Israel and the Palestinians alone. Israel is so much stronger, resulting in unequal bargaining power, and does not really have adequate incentives to resolve the issue.

There needs to be a commitment to resolve this conflict by the United Nations or other international organization. And they need to stay with it until the issue is fully resolved. There have been past initatives, but they fall apart, and the commitment to resolve the issues breaks down.

I noticed that Resolution 1701 even referred to the need to resolve the Palestinian conflict, and specific comments were made by many countries that they agreed it was importent to resolve this conflict. So much dissatisfaction and unrest in the Middle East is fueled and intensified by the plight of the Palestinians. Recent articles refer to Gaza and the West Bank as a big prison. And it seems it gets worse and worse.

Dimitry said...


I replied in the same post, and since now it's bumped outside of the active ones, I replied in the comments to One step away from picking his toes post - the comment section there was pretty deserted, and I don't think that discussions about this post were in any danger to be productive...


I'd be more impressed by your insistance that the International Community solve the palestinian problem if I didn't know that when you say solution, you mean Israel doesn't interrupt and in fact supplies favorable conditions to the Palestinians to kill Israelis, and in exchange, the Palestinians would kill Israelis. Yeah, I'm sure this is not what you intend, but that's what'll happen. Why don't you focus on convincing the international community to solve Darfur? Chechnya? Any other conflict that in a day kills more people that died in the Israeli-Palestinians conflict in the last year?
Besides, if you didn't get it, JLftUS was talking about the issue of the Right of Return - whether or not Israel is morally obligated to shoot itself in the head, er I mean allow any Palestinian refugee from 1948, their decendants, and anyone who can forge a pseudo proof of being one, into Israel.

Jewish Lady in US said...

Tears, Chuck & Sherri - about 'Palestinians':

The story I've read in numerous history books, which was confirmed from the one I heard from my (Jewish) relatives who called themselves Palestinians long before Arabs did (they emigrated from Europe to Palestine in the 18th century) goes something like this: The lands in the north of what now is called Israel has had an Arab farming presence for centuries, and this also is the land where Jews & Arabs now most peacefully coexist.

The lands in the middle and to the south were somewhat desolate, and Jerusalem in particular was a ratty, poor, broken down, sewer pit. There was not enough water or other natural resources in the south to support a large subsistance population for anyone. When Jews began making Aliya in large numbers from Europe, they brought resources with them. They drained below-sea level swamps and died like flies from malaria to establish some agriculture in areas that had been desolate for years. They also brought resources with them and began to establish a marginal industrial economy, producing jobs that attracted Arab immigrants from other Arab countries.

The people who now call themselves 'Palestinians' are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and probably 5th generation descendents of those job-seeking Arabs who fled the newly created state of Israel when five Arab states declared war on it in 1948. The Arabs who declared the war encouraged them to flee. "Leave to save yourselves," they said, "After we destroy the Jews and push them into the sea, you can return and claim not only your homes, but theirs."

The great misfortune of today's "Palestinians" is that their ancestors believed the bellicose promise of their Arab breathren. Their ancestors gambled wrong; the attacking Arab armies failed in their goal to push all the Jews into the sea. The ancestors who gambled correctly left a bunch of descendents who now are called 'Israeli Arabs'. Same people, same genetic lineage. Making an analogy between Native Americans and the people who now call themselves 'Palestinians' is simply incorrect.

At the same time that Arabs were fleeing Palestine fearing for their lives because of a war that their fellow Arabs declared, Jews who had been living in Arab countries for millenia were forceably evicted from their homes by same Arabs. My own great-grandparents were forceably evicted from their home in what's now the Old City of Jerusalem. They were not permitted to return either to their home or to the Old City until Israel reclaimed Jerusalem in the 1967 war. By that time their home was "occupied", although nobody at the UN, an no bloggers around the world were denouncing "occupation" then. The building in which they once lived is now an office building. I am the 3rd generation descendent of Jews who were forceably evicted from their homes by Jordanian Arabs. If your logic applies to everyone, then I should have the right to reclaim that office building as my own. I shouldn't have to be "resettled" again.

As for other Jews who were evicted from the homes they had lived in for centuries (just as numerous as the job-seeking Arabs who had fled), most of them resettled in the newly established state of Israel. Surrounding Arab countries could have resettled the Arabs who had fled, but they refused, and continue to refuse, until today, where these 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th generations now live in abject misery.

You say it wouldn't be fair to resettle them "again". What is the 'again'? The people we are talking about have never had any other existence than life in stateless misery. I argue that any physical place and any existence besides where they are would be an improvement, and that within one or two generations, these people who now do have a shared culture because of this experience of permanent refugee status, would be having decent and perhaps even thriving lives.

Israel cannot accept this resettlement burden itself without committing suicide as a democratic Jewish state. But other Arab countries do not face the same demographic catastrophe if they choose to resettle them. If the goal is to solve the problem of several million stateless people without a viable future, why limit your options? Unless of course there is another goal, which is to destroy Israel.

By the way, I am friends with a pair of 50-something brothers here in the US. They were Iraqi Jews, from a family that had lived in Bagdad for 1000 years. The family had been very prosperous, had a large house with servents and many connections in the Baghdad community, which at the time of Israel's creation, had a Jewish plurality. The family, along with most of the other Bagdad Jews, were evicted from their homes, forced to leave with nothing except the clothes they were wearing. These two brothers had 10 other brothers and sisters. When they arrived in Israel penniless, there was no place large enough to hold them all, so the parents sent the children to live on different Kibbutzim around the country. In many ways, they are still recovering from this childhood trauma. But some of the brothers & sisters managed to create families & have kids & the kids are doing well.

If you insist on adhering to an idealistic principle that 3rd, 4th, 5th generation descendents should go no place else than the region in which their ancestors lost their homes due to a traumatic event caused by THEIR OWN PEOPLE, you leave only two options to the current problem: (1) Destroy Israel, or (2) No solution to the current problem.

Like I say, why limit your options if what you really want to do is help these people build better lives for themselves and their descendents to come?

chuck said...

jewish lady in the us,

the problem is that u can't decide for people what would be better life for them. like the beduwins in the Negev don't wan tthe government to resettle them in modern buildings, and preffer to live in tents and take care of their cammels, u can't tell the palestinians that where the live today is not good for them and they would have a better life in jordan or wherever else u decide.

they need to have their own state where they live now. once they get that i'm sure their lives will improve. once they stop ressisting the idea of living along side with Israel, their lives will improve tramendously.

the reason they have a bad living now not because of where they live, it's because of how they choose to live.
if u decide to invest the money that u get from the international community in weapons and explosives, then u won't have enough money for paychecks, u won't have enough money for restoring the economy, no money for education, no money for urban development. and then u will find urself living in a shit hole.

the same as in Israel, when u invest most of the state funds in security, then u will have to cut other costs and then u also get poverty, like we have today.

it's all in the way u choose to live u'r life. making u'r priorities.

Sherri said...

chuck and jewish lady in the US,

I saw a documentary that showed interviews with Palestinians who claimed they were forced to flee their homes in Israel and not allowed to return. They said Jewish people were going door to door killing whole families of Palestinians who were not leaving their homes and that they left to save their lives. I asked my husband about this. He said that was true, there was a short period of time this occurred within and it was a well known fact in the Middle East.

Also, we are not talking about 5th generation people here leaving and going far away and losing all ties to their homelands. This occurred 1948 or subsequent to 1948. There are people still alive who were actually forced to flee their homes and want to return to their homes. Also, I have read that under international law they have very clear rights to return. They did not go far away, since they are today in Gaza or the West Bank. Don't they deserve their own state and lives they control, not Israel?

Sherri said...


Israel obviously cannot solve the Palestinian problem itself and you resist the United Nations involvement. What is your solution?

I heard in the news the US was trying to get involved, wanting to place UN Monitors at checkpoints between Gaza and Israel and provide some assistance to the Palestinian government. Israel seemed to be resisting this idea, but I heard the Palestinians supported it. Do you know what happened with this? Is it just a matter of Israel rejected the idea so the US withdrew their plans? Or is something still going on with these proposals? How do expanding settlements in the West Bank help matters?

chuck said...


i have absolutly no knowledge of any massacres that happened in 1948 or in any other time by Israeli soldiers, exterminating whole families or whatever in order to drive people away. pleasee show me where it is written or who says it.

i know a governmental policy was to call for the people to not flee their homes and not to drive them away.
zionistic ideoligy was to have a state with arabs and alongside them and not to take over villages and murder people.

jewsih leaders were trying to learn arab ways, arab way of thinking and arab honor, and didn't try to eliminate the arab population in Israel.

ofcourse not all Israeli leaders r the same but those who call for the tranfer of the Israeli-arab population is either considered a radical and extremeist, and get verry little support within the Israeli public.

Ben-Gurion said Israelies must live with the arabs.
Moshe-Dayan was trying to learn their ways and understand them, and as the minister of deffense tried to understand why they continue to hate Israel.

Kahana was calling for the transfer of arab population out of Israel and supported armed "ressistance" against the palestinians. most people in Israel didn't cry when he was assasinated.

Binyamin Zeeve "Gahndi" was calling for the tranfer of
Israeli-arabs, he had many arguments with the Israeli-arab ministers in the governmental disscussions, but u know what ? some of these people whom he had arguments with cried at his funeral.

yesterday, government member Efi Eitam was reffering to the arab population in Judea and Sumeriton and the Israeli-arab members of the government as traitors and should be driven out of Israel and treated like traitors.
u know how people in Israel look at him (well, most of them)?
we see him as a wannabe massiah, fanatic. the Israeli-arab leaders r calling for his criminal interagation.

meanwhile, u have Israeli-arabs, members of the Israeli government (!) who go to syria to support it's fight against Israel, to incourage it to attack Israel, and who call the prime minister and deffence minister of Israel murderrers and nazis, in the government house.

it's like having a taliban supporter in the american congress,
going to visit in iraq and afghanistan, insghting people against america and then come back to the states like nothing happened. what do u think people would do to him there ?

and hamas and fatah have decided over a united government, but still hamas inssists that Israel doesn't exist...this is so frustraiting to me.
it's unbelievable !

by the way, what is u'r husbands origin ? why would he supposed to know about it ?

about the checkpoints,
i think that the US has dropped any idea of doing something over here in the near future.
Israel is building a hugh checkpoint that is supposed to be more conveniant and air conditioned and everything. don't know how much helpfull it would be, but hey...go for it...

and one more thing about the right to return. i didn't know that there is somae kind of law that says that if u went too far then u can't go back to u'r home. is there such a law ?
do u think that if i wanted to go back to my mothers house or to my fathers house in europe, i would be allowed ? it's only been a few years, you know, and we didn't really go that far away. do u think that the people who live in these houses now would be kind enough to let us go back there ?
and please give us all of the property that they took from my family, all the things that were left u think that's the right thing to do ?

"How do expanding settlements in the West Bank help matters?"

and how does not recognising Israel helps matters ?

chuck said...

Israel withdrew from gaza.
did the palestinians apriciate this move made by Israel ?
what did they do in return, fire more rockets into Israeli cities, Sderot, Ashkelon etc, and u probobly don't even hear this on the news. these towns r targeted dialy by rockets. the media just got so used to it that it sounds like a routin news report.

Jewish Lady in US said...

Hi Chuck,

You said, "the problem is that u can't decide for people what would be better life for them ..." and I agree. You caught me in some sloppy arguing. But then you said, "...they need to have their own state where they live now. once they get that i'm sure their lives will improve." So now you are using the same sloppy arguing!! How do YOU know that's what they need?

The point I wanted to make is that surrounding Arab countries would take genuine leadership in offering homes to the now-dispossed people who call themselves Palestinians, and offer them a clear choice: Relocate for sure into a place where you are surrounded by other people who practice your religion and speak your language vs. hold out indefinitely for some possibility of settling in a closer-by place where the government is founded on a different religion than yours, and the majority of the peoople don't speak your language, and most of those people either fear you or hate you or both ... well. I'm not sure what they would choose. But the point is, they now don't HAVE that choice because Arab countries stubbornly refuse to make it an option.

That's my point. If you and others really want to solve this problem of stateless people with no prospects and no future, open your minds to the possibility that there may be more potential solutions than the one tired one that never goes anywhere: Force Israel to risk its essence by taking them in.

Jewish Lady in US said...


You said, " ... we are not talking about 5th generation people here leaving and going far away and losing all ties to their homelands. This occurred 1948 or subsequent to 1948. There are people still alive who were actually forced to flee their homes and want to return to their homes."

You've mixed a couple of things together in there. First, it is entirely possible for there to be 5th generation descendents of Arabs who left their homes in 1948. All it takes is for women to start having babies at the age of 16 or 17, which I've been told is common. A 16-year-old who left in 1948 has a child in 1949 (generation 2); that child has a child in 1965 (generation 3); that child has a child in 1981 (generation 4), and that child has a child in 1997 (generation 5). No, there probably aren't that many of them, but I didn't say there were. I said that most of the people we are talking about are probably 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation descendents. As for those who actually did leave in 1948 and want to return, just like Holocaust survivors, they are reaching the age where they must be dying in large numbers. It's been almost 60 years. The only people who fit that category who would have any direct memory would have to be 75-90 years old. How many - really - do you think there are?

Also, I never said that they went far away and lost all ties to their homelands. I DID say that calling Palestine an ancient homeland was a politically-motivated fabrication, and I will return to that later. They did not go far away, that's obvious. But the reason they didn't go far away is because nobody far away offered to take them in. Don't you think that if you were in limbo refugee status and a place like Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Morocco had offered you a home you would accept it? I live in a place where people are here who accepted those kinds of offers. The Hmong people who were languishing it Thai refugee camps accepted the offer to come to the U.S. even though it was completely foreign to everything in their culture, knowledge & experience. Somalis who were languishing in refugee camps all over the world accepted the offer to come to the U.S. even though it was completely foreign.

But the sad fact is that not one country that could then or now reasonably offer to make homes for the descendents of displaced Arabs will do so. Instead, you and the whole world keeps insisting that the only solution to their plight is for them to settle in Israel, which can't accept that without risking its very existence. I have to wonder which is more important to you and others who argue this way: That these people who have suffered terribly be given a chance at a new life, or that you keep the pressure heavy and steady on Israel to question its right to exist. By continuing to insist that there is only one solution, and that is settlement in Israel, you basically are using these terribly suffering people to achieve an idealistic political end. Think about it. Is that really what you want to do?

You also said, "i didn't know that there is somae kind of law that says that if u went too far then u can't go back to u'r home. is there such a law ?" No, there is not such a law. But there is a UN-definition of 'refugee'. That definition refers to the actual individual who had to flee his or her home, and the immediate children. At least that is the definition for every other people in the world except Palestinians, and for every other place in the world except Israel. Only for Palestinians, and only for Israel, does the UN revise its definition and include within 'refugee status' every possible descendent for ever and ever of those who had to flee their homes. Doesn't that strike you as a bit peculiar?

As for the larger point that I think you are trying to make, that the passage of time doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't ever be able to "go home", with that I completely agree. In fact, you have just expressed the the entire basis and spiritual rationale of Zionism. Jews wandered in diaspora for 2000 years, with the dream of returning home invoked in religious liturgy every day. It is the only reason, the ONLY reason, why we have any legitimate claim to the land, a far more legitimate claim than Europeans who settled North America.

If there were such a thing as an indigenous "Palestinian people" who keep themselves together because of a historical, religious and cultural bond to the land, you would have a very sound argument. But I am arguing that there is no such thing. The Arabs themselves said there was no such thing when they rejected the proposition to create a land called 'Palestine' in which Arabs would live. They said - THEY said - "there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, thus there is no rationale for creating a Palestinian state".

You, and they, can't have it both ways. You can't reject the existence of Israel in 1948 because you claim there has never been such a thing as a Palestinian people who would live next to Israel in a Palestinian state, and then, 60 years later, when the existence of Israel is a fact on the ground, claim that there IS such a thing as an ancient Palestinian people that has a right to the land that Jews are now living in.

As for the stories you told of Jewish massacres, like Chuck, I have never heard of any such thing. I can also tell you that it is so far from Jewish thinking and way of being, that it's hard for me to imagine it's possible. Here's a different story, that one of my mother's cousins told me. It was during the 1967 war, and she and the rest of her Jewish neighbors were huddled in a bomb shelter, scared to death and hoping to escape the Arab bombs. Somehow, an Arab laborer had gotten caught in there with them, because when the bombing started, he was working on a house in the neighborhood, and he didn't have any place else to go. My mother's cousin told me that he sat propped up by the shelter entrance, awake all night, terrified that the Jews he was sharing the shelter with would kill him. Instead, they offered him food and water. They all fell asleep, and when they woke up the next day, he was gone . They never knew what happened to him. That's the kind of story that makes sense to me, based on every fiber of my being, and every Jew I know.

Sherri said...

chuck and jewish lady in US,

Beginning April 9, 1948, about 100-120 of the residents of Deir Yassin, a great number of whom were women and children, were massacred. The village was a Palestinian Arab town of about 750 located west of Jerusalem.

The dead had been "deliberately massacred," de Reynier discerned readily. Alfred Engel, an accompanying Jewish doctor, saw that "it was clear that [the attackers] had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range." I had been a doctor in the German Army for five years in World War One," Engel later reflected, "but I never saw such a horrifying spectacle."

On April 9, 1948, Jewish parliamentary groups attacked the small Arab village of Deir Yassin. The Arabs defended themselves as best they could until the ammunition ran out and then the real horror story began. A story of entire families lined up and shot outside their homes, of soldiers looting through valuables while others raped and tortured women.

Fahimi Zeidan, then a 12-year-old girl, remembered hiding with her own and another family when the outside door was blasted open. The guerillas took them outside. An already wounded man was shot, she said, and when one of his daughters screamed, they shot her too. They then called my brother Mahmoud and shot him in our presence, and when my mother screamed and bent over my brother (she was carrying my little sister Khadra who was still being breast fed) they shot my mother too. The children and others were put against the wall and fired upon. She and some other children were wounded, but survived.

A then eight-year-old girl named Thoraya later recalled cowering behind her aunts as they were stabbed to death. Villager accounts indicate that as many as 33 civilians were executed firing-squad style in the morning.

About two-thirds of those killed were women, children, and men over 60, most executed by gunfire, along with grenades and knives.

The massacre of Palestinians at Deir Yassin is one of the most significant events in 20th century Palestinian and Israeli history. This is not because of its size or its brutality, but because it stands as the starkest early warning of a calculated depopulation of over 400 Arab villages and cities and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian inhabitants to make room for survivors of the Holocaust and other Jews from the rest of the world.

Today, Deir Yassin-along with more than 400 other Palestinian villages that once existed-cannot be found on a map. The villages have been replaced by modern Israeli towns like Givab Shaul. There are now more than 4.5 million Palestinian refugees all over the world: more than a million of them still live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Similar to last century's European ghettos, where many of the Jewish refugees who founded Israel came from, these refugee camps are overcrowded and neglected.

The killing by Israel of innocent women and children, of innocent civilians, did not begin in 2006 in Lebanon. It began in 1948, the year Israel became a nation.

chuck said...


what u wrote here was merely propaganda and rummors, that actually served both sides during this war.
i will try later to bring u a detailed view over what happened there.

turtlecurls said...

Hi, its' my first time commenting here.

There is a third solution to the PA problem and it comes out of a similiar situation in erie ways. I'd like to hear what's thought of it...

Post WWII, the U.S. & world fixed the problem of Nazism & the Japanese. The problem was a country of people who had bought into a miltary solution of aggression & expansion to solve their humiliation & poverty from WWI. (A simplified summary of it all.)

First, in secret, the US killed the worst, those trained in the SS that were dehumanized completely by brainwashing. Then they took over the area, and educated, while buiding up the area. They didn't just send in money to the local government. That's much of what we did with the Palestinians and the result was a very rich Arafat & chronies. My going in personally, & militarily & essentially recreating a culture through take over, we transformed the brainwashed into a people again. And those who in Germany were already on the side of peace & hiding from Nazism got to come out from under the cover. Exactly the same thing was done in Japan with their sense of superiority & need to take over the world.

The approach kind of combines military which allows for the other part, cultural re-creation. I don't know how this could be implemented in the terroritories. But it seems like one tried & worked solution. It just has such a ring of reducing freedoms especially of thought in order to teach ideas of freedom that it's scary. However I'd rather try it first than wait until enough hate-based extremists have gathered strength together that it's post WWIII.

The Palestinians, AS lead by Arafat, have been problems in Jordan, Lebanon & Israel, so it doesn't seem a simple solution of give them something good to live for will work. Most bombers aren't poor. Those in Israel who support these views have lived with freedoms & opportunities, so it's more than that which needs to be addressed. There's been an ongoing choice to stay in the crisis by the Palestinian leadership.

turtlecurls said...

Please research the Deir Yassin story a little further. You'll find the version is accepted generally.

In general, I've found anything that makes my heart pound & it sound like Israel did terrible things, when researched much further, turns out to be propoganda. By researched further, I mean more than reading Israeli views, but also reading Arab views & writing from those of other nationalities. In the end, a much milder version is always the one that "hangs together" the best, sounding the most pausible, & possible.

In general, truth rarely gives you that instant heart-pounding feeling that strong emotions do, such as hate-based messages. Even the twin towers here took several hours for the emotions to set in & it wasn't heart-pounding, it was just nausea (& sadness & helplessness, at least amoungst those I spoke with).

turtlecurls said...

Big ops, I meant to say:
You'll find the version is NOT (at all) accepted generally.

turtlecurls said...

I posted after the discussion had really ended, but in case someone comes by, I'd better clarify -- that I am not advocating killing Palestinians who's views we deem extreme. I was only noting it as a first action used in another situation.

chuck said...


u can check out these sites talking in details about the dir yasin battle, in which it was estimated that between 107 or 120 people had died :

stop taking every story that u hear as a fact. every one has it's own "truth" about things, but one article that claims for telling the "facts" not neccecerily do so.
so check the real facts before u come up with something that will turn out to be mere propaganda.
that is if u truly seek truth and not trying to show a one sided argument that u decided to be the "truth".