Friday, November 30, 2007

Looking better?

David Kimche sent this article of his from the Jerusalem Post with the comment, "This time, things just might turn out betterLet's face it. It is so much easier to be pessimistic, especially in our part of the world."

Well perhaps he's right - let's hope so!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

People who hate the very idea of peace


By Bradley Burston on

You know them. The people who come out every time there's any chance of anything resembling a move toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You know their simmering rage, their triumphant condescension, their propensity to call anyone who opposes them, at best, a wishful thinker, at worst, a dangerous traitor.

They are people for whom the very idea of peace ignites a passionate hatred. It is, more often than not, directed against people on their own side of the Jewish-Arab divide.

They will tell you that this peace, any peace, is fictitious, virtual, a fantasy, a sham. They will tell you that for true peace, you need not give up a thing.

They will tell you that this is not their idea. It is God's idea.

It is God's will that their side have everything, own everything, all the land, all of the Land, and that the other side should see that, understand that, accept that. Live with it. Or live somewhere else.

You know these people only too well. In a moment, you will see them on the bottom of this page.

They are the very first to reject the idea that there is anything resembling symmetry between extremists on the two sides. They are also the very first to illustrate that symmetry.

You don't have far to look. On Monday in Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum declared that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was promoting a "failed and dangerous" policy that undermined Palestinian unity.

"The Palestinian people's history has not seen a worst era than that of Abu Mazen as president," he said, again referring to Abbas.

A few hours later in Jerusalem, MK Zvi Hendel was addressing a rally of the Yesha settlers council, also protesting the Annapolis conference. "I'm very sorry to say we have a weak and very dangerous prime minister."

"Never before has a leader posed such a danger to the people of Israel.
There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal, and with Olmert wounded from all the police investigations he is weak enough to divide Jerusalem, free murderers and load them up with arms on their way out."

Jump cut to Gaza. Mahmoud Zahar, a founding leader of Hamas, is speaking to a rally of 2,000 people strongly opposed to Annapolis. "Anyone who stands in the face of resistance or fights it or cooperates with the occupation against it is a traitor," he says, in a clear reference to Abbas.

"The Land of Palestine ... is purely owned by the Palestinians," senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said in a speech. "No person, group, government or generation has the right to give up one inch of it."

Dissolve to Jerusalem, where settler leader Shaul Goldstein is speaking to a parallel rally.

"The people of Israel did not give you a mandate to give away its property and what belongs to it," he says.

Fade to Gaza. Ismail Haniyeh, seen as the more moderate leader of Hamas, tells the crowds "We would prefer to die than give up the land of Palestine. We will not give up one grain of the land of Palestine, and we will never recognize Israel."

Final cut to demonstration in Jerusalem's Paris Square. A sign reads "There was never a Palestinian people."

There you are. Repeat after me:

Not one inch.

You have no right.

Anyone who gives away the property of our people is a dangerous traitor.

It belongs to us, all of it.

Jerusalem is ours in its entirety.

The land is ours alone, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.

Any act is just in defense of our right to our land.

Our case, our cause is entirely, objectively just. Theirs is a flat lie.

A no to compromise is a yes to self-defense.

Peace is an illusion.

Don't even think about it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Syria to attend peace conference

Syria will attend the US-hosted Middle-East peace conference in Annapolis, according to officials.

Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad is due to lead the Syrian team at the conference, which begins on Tuesday.

Syria agreed to go after learning that there would be discussions on reviving Israel-Syria peace moves, which centre on the Golan Heights, officials say.

Damascus had previously said it would not attend the conference unless the Golan Heights were on the agenda.

The meeting is aimed at launching talks for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and for the creation of a Palestinian state.

On Friday Saudi Arabia announced that it would attend, another boost to US efforts to win wide Arab support for the conference.


It is by no means clear to what extent the Golan will indeed be up for negotiation in Annapolis, the BBC's Joe Floto in Jerusalem says.

Correspondents say Syria's decision to send a deputy minister - rather than the foreign minister like other Arab states - may be due to this uncertainty.

Israel has welcomed the Syrian participation but has stressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be the main focus of the meeting.

Sources within the Israeli delegation say the issue of the Golan Heights will not appear on the main agenda.

But they have suggested the territory could still be discussed.

"There will be a plenary session which I will also attend and where issues pertaining to the comprehensive peace in the Middle East can be discussed, and that includes everything," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday.

"The Golan could also be raised there," she said, according to the AFP news agency.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War.

Syria wants to secure the strategic plateau as part of any peace deal.

In Israel, the principle of returning the Golan Heights in return for peace is already established, but previous talks broke down in 2000 over Israel's demand to keep control of the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee - Israel's main source of water.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Petition

This came in today from Reuben Jacobs. I guess these things help:

Hi, have you heard about the Annapolis Middle East peace summit? The Annapolis conference is an amazing opportunity for peace in Israel/Palestine.
However, many are concerned by the possible consequences should the attendees lack the strength of will to seize this opportunity.
We believe that another handshake, another photo opportunity accompanied by words of peace that are not matched by actions will mean that Annapolis has failed.
We fear the consequences if Annapolis fails. We fear for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, for the stability of the Middle East region and for world peace.
We demand peace!Please join us in demanding peace by signing our petition which we will deliver, prior to the start of Annapolis to The Whitehouse, The Prime Minister of Israel's Office, the Office of the President of the Palestinian Authority and Downing Street. Click on the link below, to access the petition. And please tell everyone.