Peace for Hasan Abu 'Afash and Gaza

Saad Abulhab's picture

.

Please join us in praying for our typography colleague and friend in Gaza, Arabic type designer Hasan Abu Afash, and wish him, his family, and his people peace and safety.

The text above is set on Adobe InDesign ME Tasmeem using his fonts, Hasan Hiba, Hassan Noor, and Basim Marah. Hasan worked very hard on these fonts in the past year and half in blockaded, electricity deprived, Gaza. He is a self-taught, talented, typographer and a hardworking family man. His third baby was born few months ago. Here is what he wrote us on Christmas eve, 2008:

Happy Holidays to ALL.
Please pray for me (us) in my terrible situation here in GAZA.
Hasan

Please visit his "Hiba Studio" website to appreciate his hard work and dedication to Arabic typography on the occasion of the new year. We are sure this can help alleviate some of his suffering in Gaza today:

http://hibastudio.com/

Hasan's typography friends.

William Berkson's picture

Saad, I am happy to hear that you want both Israelis and Arab Palestinians to live in peace in the land. I am still not entirely clear whether you mean by this a two-state solution. Clearly Aziz does not accept this.

Your statement that Jewish immigration was stealing land illegally is not my understanding from reading the history, unless you mean that the British mandate and their laws where illegitimate. Almost all Jews under the British lived on land legitimately bought from local land owners, as I understand it.

Aziz, I never said that the Palestinians were responsible for the holocaust. But what I did say is that the Israeli Jews won't give up control of the bullets--control of state power--because they know what happened when they didn't have the means of self-defense. You and many others are so filled with anti-Jewish hate that you are willing to believe neo-Nazi lies, such as the pages you linked to here. That kind of thing gives Israeli Jews zero confidence that they can survive without control of their own state.

I have been reading about the background to this, and the picture I am getting is this: The Jewish settlers under the British mandate where mainly worried about the European powers who were in control in Palestine as well as main Arab powers, and failed to attend to the needs of the local population, and to talk with and negotiate with them. There were honorable exceptions to this, such as the group of Jewish intellectuals lead by philosopher Martin Buber, who advocated a bi-national state. However, both the Arab powers and locals paid little attention to this group.

If there was neglect and obtuseness on the Jewish side, on the Arab side there was violent intolerance. Amin Al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, as discussed in the other thread incited anti-Jewish riots and allied himself with Hitler in attacking the Jews. These anti-Jewish killings led most Jews to think they needed a militia to protect themselves, and they organized it. But in any case when the UN was considering what to do with Palestine, the Arab powers rejected also a bi-national state--one with Jewish and Arab cantons, on the model of Switzerland. And they began to lay siege to the Jews to drive them out, or at the very least remove any possibility of self-government, even on a local level.

Fatah until 1992 and Hamas today have said they want to destroy the Jewish state, so that the Jews are without bullets, and only reliant on the benevolence of those currently spew anti-Jewish hatred. As I said, Israeli Jews will never willingly accept being left defenseless.

Currently the best hope is that with a new US and Israeli government, and the Arab governments now willing to support a two-state solution, a negotiated peace will finally happen. If Netanyahu gets elected in Israel, I am more fearful of the possibilities of peace. But it was the right-wing Begin who made peace with Egypt, so maybe there will even be hope with Netanyahu, I don't know. Also there is great danger of Hamas provoking Israel into another war, as Hamas leadership seems to prefer war and death as preferable to a two-state solution. But Europe as well as the US and Egypt want to restrain Hamas. So I see hope for peace in the fact that Europe, the US, Israel and the Arab powers all want a two-state solution, even if the road ahead is filled with difficulties and dangers.

John Hudson's picture

Vladimir: No but the the Holocaust has been always invoked to distract attention from the crimes of Israel against the Palestinians, and to pile feelings of guilt on people who are innocent of that older crime, to make them support Israel.

I think this is a common misunderstanding of the reason why the Holocaust is invoked: it has nothing to do with guilt. It has to do with the historical reality of the vulnerability of Jewish minorities in non-Jewish states, which culminated in the targeted destruction of the most economically secure and culturally assimilated Jews in Europe: the German Jews. It is a mistake to think that the Holocaust is invoked in order to instil a sense of guilt in today's generations of Germans or other Europeans with their own histories of anti-semitism; it is invoked as evidence that Jews have never been safe in any land that they cannot call their own, even when they had been assimilated into German culture and lived as German citizens for many generations, even when they thought themselves safe and secure and prosperous.

Historically, Jews fared better as minorities in Muslim states than in European state, but they were still treated as second-class citizens, obliged to pay special taxes that Muslims did not have to pay, and restricted in the public exercise of their religion. So when the constitution of Hamas declares that all of Palestine is an Islamic waqf -- an inalienable religious endowment for all time -- the Jews consider this unacceptable (and I don't imagine Arab Christians are too thrilled by the prospect either!) The Jews want not only to inhabit their historical homeland, but to govern themselves and not to be subjugated.

Of course, the Palestinian Arabs want the same thing, on the same poor piece of land.

William Berkson's picture

Thanks, John, that's what I was also trying to convey by the story of my Rabbi.

Vladimir, you write "Nobody realistically can make Israel disarm willingly or unwillingly as William suggests some are- as if that was the question!!"

I'm sorry, but that is the precise question, and if you don't understand that you won't understand Israel and what is needed to make peace. Eliminating any Jewish state was the declared aim of Arab governments in many wars or battles and terror campaigns from the 1948 on, and was the policy of Fatah until 1992 and is today declared policy of Hamas, and is clearly supported by Aziz on this thread.

If you want peace, then there has to be a solution that gives Israel some sense of security.

Saad Abulhab's picture

John

>>it is invoked as evidence that Jews have never been safe in any land that they cannot call their own, even when they had been assimilated into German culture and lived as German citizens for many generations, even when they thought themselves safe and secure and prosperous.

Why exaggerating? As ugly as the Holocaust will for ever be, Jews were not safe only in a *specific* limited time periods and at a *specific* limited locations. This happened and could happen to *many* groups of people at many other time periods and locations, before and after the Holocaust. One does not need to conclude that they must then be living alone in their own state to be safe! But if one must do that, why not choosing an **empty** land in Germany or England for that purpose?

>>Historically, Jews fared better as minorities in Muslim states than in European state, but they were still treated as second-class citizens, obliged to pay special taxes that Muslims did not have to pay, and restricted in the public exercise of their religion.

If you are alluding to Islamic "Jizyah" tax of 1000 years ago, this *was* tax for any non Muslim group in exchange for not being drafted in the army. It is a protection tax that was completely abolished centuries now! The first Iraqi Government in 1920s, included three Iraqi Jewish cabinet members! That is more than the Shiites had, and definitely not a second class citizens treatment!

>>The Jews want not only to inhabit their historical homeland, but to govern themselves and not to be subjugated.

The historical land of the European Jews now constituting more than half the Israeli people *is* Europe, but the are welcome to live peacefully *side by side* the Palestinian Arabs if they really feel strongly about that land. The Palestinians do not want to be subjugated, killed, or expelled by them, either! This land was not empty when Moses people crossed the desert into it. It was not empty when David Ben-Gurion (Born David Grün in Poland!) crossed the seas into it.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

John said Jews have never been safe in any land that they cannot call their own
Any reading of the Old Testament shows that even with a state of their own in Palestine after ancient Israel (which defeated the Canaanites who were there before them), as well as every other state in the area before or since, has been subjected to the constant invasions from all directions by armies ranging from those of Alexander the Great to the Mongol invasion, the Crusaders who massacred Moslems, Jews and Christians in Jerusalem on an equal footing, to the current US-Israeli alliance that is subjugating large chunks of the Middle East and beyond. It is like building on quicksand. Neither the Zionists nor Hamas nor anyone else can ever fulfill a dream of permanent exclusive domination of the land. The Bible also says "the meek shall inherit the land": a democratic solution is the only way in Israel-Palestine, or whatever the place will be called in the future, if that can ever be achieved through mutual agreement. At one time I thought it should be called the Land of Abraham because he is respected by all the people involved. But this sort of speculation is unimportant in the face of the humanitarian crisis facing the people of Gaza today. In a chat Hasan said he took a walk in his neighborhood and was appalled by the extent of the devastation...he said "my mission is to record the pain and the sighs..." but then said that he cannot do that because he does not have a laptop that can be used in periods when the electricity is unavailable, nor torches to see with at night. Hasan and Gaza deserve this and much much more.

david h's picture

> I am disappointed that here our Arab colleagues are not criticizing the extremists on their own side

Bill,

Don't waste your time with people that support Terrorism, Anti-Semitism, Fascism.

Let's see for example the post by Saad Abulhab : "but the absolute majority....including Hamas are not extremest."
Hamas?!?!?

Such a huge Nonsense. Just couple days ago:
1. an "ad" by the Hamas, Al-Aqsa TV: "From the Palestinian people to the Zionists: The Zionists – I swear to you, by God, by the world. We will not recognize Israel. If you want security or peace, you should go back to where you came from."

2. Mahmoud al-Zahar, the hardline foreign minister, Hamas: "Hamas must lay the foundation for a tomorrow without Zionists."

John Hudson's picture

Vladimir: Neither the Zionists nor Hamas nor anyone else can ever fulfill a dream of permanent exclusive domination of the land. The Bible also says “the meek shall inherit the land”: a democratic solution is the only way in Israel-Palestine, or whatever the place will be called in the future, if that can ever be achieved through mutual agreement.

I agree with this statement.

Israel is in many ways an impressive country whose small population has made remarkable achievements in e.g. the fields of medicine and agriculture that could be and should be shared with all the region. The possibilities for mutual prosperity, which is the best foundation for stable peace, are great. But that is impossible so long as there is unwillingness to share the land.

I am familiar with the voices of those in Israel, very many of them, who protest the treatment of the Palestinians, because these voices are heard in the newspapers and because Israel is a society that permits dissent. But it is very difficult to hear the voices of Palestinians -- and I presume they must exist -- who want to find ways to live alongside the Israelis in peace, nor am I surprised, since the rhetoric of the men with the guns is that Zionists must be driven out of the land.

david h's picture

apropo the rhetoric...

Al-Ahram, Egypt:
"Same mettle:
Intentionally or not, Hamas and Hizbullah are speaking a similar discourse. Sherine Bahaa reviews their rhetoric."
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/930/re4.htm
http://www.ahram.org.eg/

AzizMostafa's picture

@ Israel is in many ways an impressive country whose small population has made remarkable achievements in e.g. the fields of medicine and agriculture that could be and should be shared with all the region.

Take your achievements back with you. We are healthy+wealthy without them. http://typophile.com/node/53099#comment-320733

@ Zionists must be driven out of the land.

That's right, Zionists from every color+race+religion must be driven out of the land. True Muslims, Christians+Jews are unwilling to share the land with Zionists.

Vladimir Tamari's picture

John said Israel is in many ways an impressive country whose small population has made remarkable achievements in e.g. the fields of medicine and agriculture
There are many remarkable Israelis and institutions, no one is denying that they made good use of their statehood. But by 'agriculture' are you referring to the 'making the desert bloom' myth? Palestine was always a fertile land (milk and honey anyone?) and in the mid 19c. the Arabs of Jaffa used to export oranges to Europe, well before the Zionists came to settle and in time expel most of the original people of Jaffa. Far from encouraging agriculture, in the West Bank Israel has uprooted hundreds of thousands of olive and citrus trees to make Israelis-only roads and settlements. See for example http://books.google.com/books?id=NmXBmOGbHL4C&pg=PA124&lpg=PA124&dq=Isra...
As to why Palestinians are not happy to live alongside Israelis one has only to look at the fate of Israel's own Arabs - Palestinians who were able to stay in the land in 1948 and are treated as second-class citizens in this uber-racist country that claims it is the only democracy in the Middle East. Any Jew anywhere in the world, even recent converts, have a right to 'return' and settle, but Palestinians who have their centuries-old roots there have to languish under oppressive military occupation, live in exile or are being massacred, as in Gaza.

AzizMostafa's picture

@ Israel is in many ways an impressive country whose small population has made remarkable achievements in e.g. the fields of medicine and agriculture that could be and should be shared with all the region.

In the field of medicine, the Zionist claimed that 1.5 million Jews were gassed by exhaust fumes of a Russian diesel tank engine, that you have to wonder how the Jews could get away with them for 60 years. Any medical student can tell you that you have to be a severe asthma sufferer to die from diesel exhaust fumes!

William Berkson's picture

On the repeated claim here that the Jews drove out Palestinians in the first part of the last century, this seems to be a pretty good effort at getting the honest facts:

http://www.mideastweb.org/palpop.htm

This is a site with contributions both by Jews and Arabs, and you can read it Arabic and Hebrew as well as English and French.

One of their conclusions is that the Jews did not drive out any Arabs during this period. They also reject the claim, from the opposite side, that the Arab population was extremely small at the outset.

Of course if you want to believe totally biased sources, you will.

AzizMostafa's picture

The crimes committed in Gaza today speak volumes louder that what had happened yesterday.
Nothing is more believable than what All have been witnessing with our eyeballs.
But the Zionist must have had a lot of trust in their grip on Western governments and corporate media and their ability to cover up the obvious truth.

Saad Abulhab's picture

John

>>I am familiar with the voices of those in Israel, very many of them, who protest the treatment of the Palestinians, because these voices are heard in the newspapers and because Israel is a society that permits dissent.

Fully agree. Yes, many decent Jewish voices (in Israel and outside) protest and deplore these Zionist war crimes against the Palestinian, Arab, and Moslem people (Like the war crimes by Zionist W Bush in Iraq and elsewhere). The political positions of most of my close Jewish friends in New York were much more decent than those of my Muslim and Arab friends and relatives! As a prominent Arab columnist wrote, "We have more hope that they would liberate us than the Arab leaders would!"

>>But it is very difficult to hear the voices of Palestinians — and I presume they must exist — who want to find ways to live alongside the Israelis in peace, nor am I surprised, since the rhetoric of the men with the guns is that Zionists must be driven out of the land.

I am really surprised at this statement. Most Palestinians spoke and speak daily and for decades, in the media and meetings, about living alongside the Israelis. From leadership down! In the Muslim and Arab world, we even have today vocal Palestinian, Muslim and Arab Zionist voices, barking days and nights in all Arab media outlets! But, haven't you heard about Oslo, Madrid, Camp David, Sharm al-Shaykh? Even Hamas had clearly and *officially* accepted *in principle*, years ago, a two states solution as long as the refugees are allowed back. I fully *disagree* with them on this as I see no solution but ONE democratic Palestine for all, where even the Zionist racists would be allowed to *stay* and live in peace, like their South African white racists friends do.

-Saad

AzizMostafa's picture

> “We have more hope that they would liberate us than the Arab leaders would!”

That was the biggest mistake committed by Iraqis when they wanted US to liberate them from Saddam knowing or unknowing that he came to the power with US help to counter the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

It is inaccurate to say "Bush was better than Saddam".
But the accurate is "Saddam was worse than Bush".
_____________________________________________________
By the way Saad, can you help me complete this:
http://typophile.com/node/53591
Thanks in advance with Flowers.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Aziz,

>>That was the biggest mistake committed by Iraqis when they wanted US to liberate them from Saddam..

I agree on that, but you miss the point. The Arab writer meant the good (or realist) people of the west and Israel will help liberate the Muslims and Arabs by forcing their Hawkish Zionist leaders to behave decently and stop their rampage in the Muslim and Arab worlds.

-Saads

John Hudson's picture

Vladimir: But by ’agriculture’ are you referring to the ’making the desert bloom’ myth? Palestine was always a fertile land (milk and honey anyone?) and in the mid 19c. the Arabs of Jaffa used to export oranges to Europe

No, I was not referring to the poetic 'blooming desert'. The reality is that although pockets of Palestine are indeed fertile, only about 20% of the land is arable even today with the most modern irrigation techniques. There has been export trade from the region to Europe for many centuries, yes, but both demand and supply are now at levels far beyond anything comparable in the past. I am referring to advances in greenhouse technology, irrigation, seed conservancy and new strains, sustainability etc. I live in a rural area, so things like this interest me.

Also, and I want to say this very clearly, I am not implying that these achievements are directly linked to Zionism or to Jewishness, or that similar achievements might not have been pursued by Palestinian Arabs. I was referring to the prosperity that exists -- not what might have been, but what is --, which the conflict prevents from being mutually enjoyed.

behnam's picture

No matter what is the argument for or against its creation, the fact is that the Israeli state is here to stay. It is also a fact that Palestinian did not want it to happen. But it did. This is what you lost. This is what they won. Let's move on.
The culture of self victimization, self pity, hatred and denial is not a healthy culture. The culture of glorifying armed kids is not a healthy culture (a boy with slingshot was depicted even in this thread). It is useless to draw historic similarities when the historic events are only used for self justification.
I don't know where I read that there are more Palestinians killed by Palestinians than by Israeli army. This is the nature of this culture of hate and denial that doesn't let anybody set free. It blinds you. You can't see the reality for what it is, take it from where it is, and make it for the better. This is impossible in a vision that 'reasoning' is only a tool for achieving a preconceived result. And all it takes to overcome this vicious circle is to spell it out that you lost and they won... but of-course you may think you didn't.
Of-course John, Geeza attack was planned by warmongers in Likud party. But where it comes from its popularity amongst Israelis? Are they all warmongers? or only insecure about their own existence? If their existence is respected, warmongers will be left with supporters amongst some nut cases in the settlements.
It doesn't matter how sophisticated you argue, or how crude. If the intention, the feeling in heart is denial of Israeli state, everybody will know it. Peace with something your internal intention is to deny its existance is meaningless. If you really want the peace, then spell it out: You lost and they won their existance. The fact that this simple message created such reaction may be because it means exactly what it means, and no matter how lengthily you argue, you can not erase it.
But if you did spell it out, then, you could take it from here, to wherever it's achievable, whatever makes for better life. And there is a lot achievable, if the desire is there.
But of-course, this picture is a doll idea. It doesn't have martyrs. It doesn't have kids with arms. It doesn't have moaning mothers in the rubbles. It doesn't have some spectators cheering for one or the other. Only children playing in the playground. Peace may not be such an exciting idea after all.
What I was thinking.

AzizMostafa's picture

Behnam, Ba Mazza va Khosh Nam

1. Did you skip my question?
http://typophile.com/node/53068?page=1#comment-323287
Just a hint for you:
http://typophile.com/node/48217?page=8#comment-301039

2. Are/were you a friend or enemy of MKO?
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=81614&sectionid=351020201

3. Democracy is the new title of Zionism.
Sent to http://www.videochallenge.america.gov/
Do you think I will win or lose?

4. How can the Palestinians defend themselves against aggression and prevent the repetition of scenarios like the Israeli offensive against Gaza?
a. The Palestinians are entitled to possess arms
b. International bodies should prevent any attack against Palestinians
_________________________________________
I will stop posting if you answer my 4 questions.

behnam's picture

>>I will stop posting if you answer my 4 questions.

Don't bother. I will.

Vladimir Tamari's picture

John said I was referring to the prosperity that exists — not what might have been, but what is —, which the conflict prevents from being mutually enjoyed. Yes the billions of tax-free dollars granted by the U.S. certainly help. The Palestinians do get some aid from the UN and Europe but it pales by comparison. And the conflict certainly limits the prosperity of the Palestinians...The UN estimates that Israeli tanks and jets have destroyed a few billion dollar's worth of property in Gaza in the last few weeks alone.

behnam, I fail to understand what you are advising the Palestinians to do? Of course we lost a great deal, but not our level-headed assessment of the injustice we suffered when Israel was created, nor the tenacity with which we cling to our dream to regain some of what we lost. "Move on?" Where to exactly? The surrounding Arab countries are already full of Palestinian refugee camps. Most of the inhabitants of Gaza have 'moved on' when Israel expelled from their villages and towns in Palestine of 1948, now Israel. Beyond Gaza there is nothing but the desert and the sea. As for your alleged Palestinian 'self-victimization' do we really need more of that commodity than what Israel has been meting out in all directions? And why should we leave the land of our ancestors that we love and cherish, even in the terrible state it is in now? Are we supposed to forget our 'lost paradise' of sixty years ago while the Zionists have a right to remember what they think they had 2000 years ago? Your advice for people who are suffering loss to give up and move on is insulting and shameful. And thankfully not generally followed by people facing trouble or clinging to hopes of any sort.

William, it has been some time since I have followed the ever-changing propaganda line of the supporters of Israel. In the 1970's Golda Meir famously claimed "there are no Palestinians", but a few decades of struggle by those fictional characters have convinced even President Bush to call for a Palestinian state. For every site of Zionist obfuscation there is now another that shows the truth: that Palestinians have their roots and full historical rights in Palestine and no amount of casting doubt on well-established facts and figures will hide this. For one here is: Palestine Remembered and Miftah Also read the recent spate of books by Israeli historians themselves who show the injustice that has occurred and that has to be understood and addressed before any progress is made towards peace.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Yes, Bahnam, it is time to accept reality and "move on". It is time for the Israeli people to rid themselves of that racist apartheid-like settlement mentality element to live peacefully with others. The world has changed. It is time for Israel to elect a leader who would honor the good words of the Jewish faith and dump hateful Zionism. It is time to get rid of 200 nuclear missiles and stop bullying others. Israel deserves better!

May be (at best!) you are dealing with this tragic Palestinian issue with your good, forgiving, Christian faith background (even though most of your Christian Palestinian brothers disagree), but why don't you first practice your "turn the other cheek" approach with your situation at home and get over the fact that Persia became mainly a Muslim nation 1400 years ago and you should "get over it" and "move on" now! (you conveniently escaped this question last time so I am repeating it again here, but differently)

You accuse others (i.e. president Jimmy Carter who wrote the book: Palestine: Peace not Apartheid!) falsely and claim that they refuse to recognize "Israel" existence, despite their repeated statements that they *only* refuse to accept Israel *as an apartheid-like system*. You, only, must know exactly why you are doing that!

If one must accept your "hypnotizing" logic then Nelson Mandela, Desmund Tutu, Martin Luther King(s) (the American and the German), Jimmy Carter, and many others in history should be re-classified as "hate mongers" who resisted to accept reality and live quietly within their established systems!

-Saad

William Berkson's picture

Vladimir, your historical references are so out of line with reality that I don't think it is productive to discuss the history. In the late 19th century, Palestine wasn't a land filled with milk and honey, but a land devastated by millennia of deforestation, the worst apparently being in the period under the Turks. Israeli agriculture was a huge success story, though marred by unjust treatment of Israeli Arab farmers.

The real stories are complex with rights and wrongs on both sides, but your story never acknowledges an ounce of wrong on the Arab side, nor a gram of compassion for the Israeli Jews, who after being driven out of Europe have been under siege in their ancestral homeland on and off for 60 years.

The simple and clear issue was well put recently by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, "Are you about destroying Israel or building Gaza?"

Those who want to build Gaza, and build the economy and life of Palestinian Arabs generally I think will opt for a two state solution and peace.

The bottom line reality is that continued war with Israel will cause further suffering on both sides, most of all for Palestinian Arabs, who in recent times have suffered most of all parties.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Vladimir,

>>John said I was referring to the prosperity that exists — not what might have been, but what is —, which the conflict prevents from being mutually enjoyed. Yes the billions of tax-free dollars granted by the U.S. certainly help.

European Jewish settlers who settled Palestine by force are **Europeans**. Being of the Jewish faith is not why they were technically more advanced! This is true as with the European settlers of south Africa and America who clearly had the technology and "know how" to do 1000 better their local victims. Arab or Eastern Jews have not produced much more Nobel prizes than their Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters! Invoking the fact that settlers are more advanced is completely IRRELEVANT, let alone, RACIST.

-Saad

Saad Abulhab's picture

Vladimir wrote:

>>In a chat Hasan said he took a walk in his neighborhood and was appalled by the extent of the devastation...he said “my mission is to record the pain and the sighs...” but then said that he cannot do that because he does not have a laptop that can be used in periods when the electricity is unavailable, nor torches to see with at night. Hasan and Gaza deserve this and much much more.

This thread, which I hoped would be solely to show sympathy and solidarity with Hasan and Gaza where he lives, has understandably got political! I feel guilty since I was unable to ignore Bahnam initial post. Vladimir, have Hasan chatted with any one, lately?

-Saad

piccic's picture

I was glad to see discussion extended to the socio-political situation, Saad, and I thought especially you, John and Vladimir were doing fine, until Benham's comment.
So I also thought you may always read too much in another person comment, and the situation degenerated.

As you imply, there is no single analysis which will bring back on earth Hasan cousin and poor little Amira, and I feel deeply troubled by the idea that in 2009 people can still identify true faith with a political ideology.

No matter the angle by which the question is considered, as long as you seek an earthly kingdom to morally conform to the Kingdom of Heaven, this material horror will continue.

So, said this, on everyone's part, I would just appreciate William's first intervention, which was by no means tainted by preconception towards muslim faith.
Pick up again on that line, and we'll start to build a Kingdom, already there.

In a chat message Hasan a couple of hours ago he said he is safe has good morale which he attributes to his faith in God. He expressed thankfulness to all his friends here.

Yes, Hasan, I keep praying, and I apologize I haven't prayed so much as I could have…
Thank you.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Claudio,

>>Yes, Hasan, I keep praying, and I apologize I haven’t prayed so much as I could have…

Those who survive such tragedies need all the praying and support! I am sure for Hassan, it is specially painful that he is too long away from his computer.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Saad said ... Hasan chatted with any one, lately?
Yesterday we chatted. His morale is amazing, and is justified, considering the scale of the mad invasion he and the people of Gaza have survived, albeit at such a great cost..
Dear friends - I hope, despite the words we have bandied here. This thread was started to support Hasan, but has inevitably spilled out of subject to cover the Palestine-Israeli conflict and beyond. It is a vast subject and the truth vs. lies difficult to sift and prove. I for one will take behnam's well-meant but irritating advice to 'move on' out of this thread, which I feel has served its purpose. Peace for Hasan and Gaza.

William Berkson's picture

At this morning's pray service for Obama starting his first day, on of the preachers told a Cherokee story that reminded me of this thread. Here it is, from a version on the internet:

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

Saad Abulhab's picture

William, Thank you for sharing this very meaningful story! Hate destroys but principled struggle (Jihad) builds.

I am glad that most Muslims and Arabs have finally re-learned forgiveness from their historical hero "Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi" who defeated the Crusaders in 1200s AD but refused to commit hateful revenge acts! After 1967, Arab have finally abandoned calls for revenge, accepted to live side-by-side the Israeli people, and are now clearly feeding the good wolf who "lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended" and "fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way." I am sure, the Israeli people will do the same soon, despite all brainwashing!

I would never forget the words of a group of young Israeli kids on the ABC program "Nightline" in the early 1980s. Ted Koppel, the well respected American Jewish journalist asked their opinion regarding coexistence with Palestinians, along side a group of Palestinian kids. The Israeli kids had one collective answer to explain the tragedy of the Palestinians: "we were chosen, they were not"!

-Saad

AzizMostafa's picture

It is as if there are two parties inside occupied Palestine. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other party is a wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

It is impossible for these 2 parties side by side, for one of them is chosen, the other is not!

piccic's picture

Saad, thank you for mentioning Jihad, that was exactly the thought occuring to me after I replied.
As the holy war is not settled inside, with an unshakable islam, but refused to fight, the war will incessantly re-grow outside and around.

I value the zeal of Aziz, but – while I'm not so fascinated by allegoric images (the wolves image told by William) – that's the point: the war is within.
The misdirected idea of an "earthly Jerusalem" is not a hallmark of a single people, no matter how chosen, but a danger to which we are all exposed, because of our infirmity.

So: great, to hear Hasan's faith is building inside his heart, I rejoyce with him, and I keep having faith in each one of you: we're doing more than you can think with our ordinary work and lives. :=)

Saad Abulhab's picture

Claudio

>>As the holy war is not settled inside, with an unshakable islam, but refused to fight, the war will incessantly re-grow outside and around.

I am not sure I do understand your sentence. My point was that the term "Jihad" is not the same as the European term "Holy War" of the middle ages. Jihad is "struggle" or doing hard work by any mean including making good fonts :) or just saying no (Like Nelson Mandela did for 50 years). In Islam, like in other religions, ugly war is *never* holy. This translation of the word was either bad, or intentional to confuse average people in the west that the struggle in Palestine is a religious struggle, when it is clearly not! It is purely a political struggle for freedom. One can not call it religious, even if religious groups (like Hamas) want to actively participate since they have full rights to do so. They live there too!

-Saad

John Hudson's picture

Saad, I agree that the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is not a religious struggle. Like almost all wars from the beginning of time it is about land and resources, although expressed in modern notions of statehood. However...

While the interpretation of jihad as spiritual and moral struggle is both valid and longstanding, so too is the use of the term as applied to military struggle against unbelievers, including the spread of Islam by conquest. This can't simply be ignored or denied, when so many Islamic sources, including the Qur'an, use the term in exactly this way. The word, like many others, has more than one meaning. It is no more honest to ignore its historical meaning as a war against the infidel than it is to ignore its meaning as a spiritual and moral struggle.

Further, the term has been adopted by militant groups both specifically, e.g. Jamaat al-Jihad and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and generally, in referring to themselves as jihadi. This is not an association that was imposed on these groups by the west, this is an association they chose for themselves.

Saad Abulhab's picture

John,

>>It is no more honest to ignore its historical meaning as a war against the infidel than it is to ignore its meaning as a spiritual and moral struggle.

Jihad جهاد is related to the noun words Juhd جُهد and Jahd جَهد (both mean hard effort) and is derived from the verb word jahada جَهَدَ (exerted hard effort). Jihad in Quraan was explicitly used to call upon Muslims to *defend* god and their religion with life and *money*. This is consistent with modern religious groups using Jihad to rally their people to *defend* their land, freedom, and religion, as they see all as one.

However, I agree, I would not deny that the term Jihad was used historically to rally Muslims in both defensive and offensive religious wars, but unlike with "holy war" it was originated as a *defensive* act and it is not limited to combat and war. One can translate it partially to "holy war" but it would not be an accurate translation.

-Saad

William Berkson's picture

Saad, I'm afraid I see many here, and in the Middle East as feeding the "Angry Wolf" rather than the "Wise Wolf".

Operationally, you can tell that the compassionate wolf is being fed in three ways. First there is a real effort to listen to other parties and to try to understand the way those who disagree with you view the situation. That listening is different from two monologues.

In particular you can see that if one asks a question, the other answers it, to the point. For example I asked here why Hamas continued to shoot bombs into Israel after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza. Neither you, nor Aziz, nor Vladimir answered. Further, Aziz posted links to Neo-nazi holocaust-denying sites, which frankly no one believes unless they want to feed hatred of Jews. Everyone else recognizes that they are full of hate-filled lies.

Second, you can see if one is willing to acknowledge the truth of the other side's statements, and where they are right. And you are willing to acknowledge where your side has been wrong. I have condemned the aggressive policies of Sharon which led to settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, the extensive first Lebanon war, etc. And I have prayed for the survival of our colleague in Gaza. To me that is feeding the compassionate wolf.

Finally, a sign that you are actually thinking about solving the problems, rather than escalating conflict, is that you recognize that the other side is not one monolith, but has factions, some of which may help peace. The path to peace has to find that on the other side.

For example, in Israel there have always been factions that want peace and reconciliation, and also factions that are more aggressive and bellicose. The same on the Palestinian side. I have said that the Palestinian authority is on the side of peace now, and Hamas is not. Of course Hamas itself is split, and some may be more willing to build a peace--I certainly hope so. But I don't see any recognition on your side that there are Israelis with whom you could build a peaceful and prosperous middle east.

It is true that even the Israeli doves will not agree to destruction of the Jewish state--that is, they they should be governed by others. As I said, recent history will mean that they never agree having no bullets.

Also I would note that the Israelis lost their own blood--not American or British--to win their independence, at a point when there was a transition from European rule to local rule. And they have defended it with their blood, though with more help of arms from others.

At some point this needs to be accepted, I think. For example, do you insist that now Muslims should attack all of Spain that was once Muslim, so that those in Morocco who still have keys to their homes in Analusia--and they do exist--can return? Do you think that it's a good idea for those Muslims who went to randomly kill Hindus and others in Mumbai, so that all the parts of India that were once Muslim return to Muslim control?

Yes, there are Jewish fanatics that say all of King Solomon's territory has to be put on Jewish control, and who want to fight to do it. I think they are equally fanatic and certainly feeding the angry and vengeful wolf.

And though I don't know any English who say it, they could try to wage war to recover all their empire under Queen Victoria, as the British know better how to rule--and there are certainly those who do say that.

The point is, you can try to make peace, and make it, or you can nurse past grievances, feeding the vengeful wolf, and get more war and more suffering and tragedy.

Saad Abulhab's picture

William

>>for example I asked here why Hamas continued to shoot bombs into Israel after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza.

I actually *did* answer that earlier when John brought it up, and asked a question that went unanswered. Here is what I wrote:

"As for Gaza, Israel did not really withdraw, they had a plan: leave the area as a large prison/Ghetto and blockade it until they surrender and accept the reality of loosing their homeland. Could Gaza, a great port from Biblical times, use its shores to trade with the world after that so-called withdrawal?"

>>For example, do you insist that now Muslims should attack all of Spain that was once Muslim, so that those in Morocco who still have keys to their homes in Analusia—and they do exist—can return?

I have trouble accepting this comparison as I think post WWI history is fully recorded unlike the bloody wild centuries before. Still if not, the *main* difference here is that the Palestinians do *exist on the ground* today. I promise you if the Zionists manage to expel or kill all Palestinians and hold Palestine for 300 years peacefully without them, I will not bring the subject again! But as it stands now, I see the situation an exact duplicate of South African apartheid, where settlers expelled native population and tried for centuries to force a two state solution, unsuccessfully.

>>For example, in Israel there have always been factions that want peace and reconciliation, and also factions that are more aggressive and bellicose.

William, I truly and honestly believe that the people of Israel will eventually see that they and the Arabs (not only Palestinians) have full interest to live in prosperity with peace that *both* accept not a peace forced by Israeli military superiority. I have always believed that the Israeli people have full right to live in Palestine side by side the Palestinian Arabs.

-Saad

William Berkson's picture

Saad, according to timelines I am reading on Wikipedia, Israel withdrew all its forces in 2005. Also Sharon said that Israel intended to withdraw from the West Bank, though I don't remember how specific he was. Israel did control entry and exit to the Gaza strip, but there was no blockade. Twelve days after the complete withdrawal the rockets from Gaza resumed. This more or less guaranteed that the Israelis would continue control the borders in an effort to stop the rockets and import of other weapons.

I want to know why Hamas did this rocket fire except to provoke and continue war? The rockets into Israel have been condemned by human rights organizations as a violation of human rights, as well as the Hamas firing of them from highly populated areas. The fact is that this was an unprovoked attack after a peaceful move that was very difficult for Israel.

If they were at all interested in building a peaceful solution why would they do this?

It was only after the Hamas coup d'etat against the Palestinian Authority in 2007 that both Israel AND Egypt started a blockade, sometimes eased, sometimes not, until the invasion in December. But Hamas didn't attack Israel in 2005 because of a blockade in 2007. And they didn't attack Egypt in 2007 or 2008, who also blockaded.

To build toward peace, efforts of one side to stop hostilities need to be responded to on the other side. A peaceful effort of Israel, even if incomplete, was answered with bombs against it. Are you telling me that they didn't have a choice? Or that the choice to bomb was promoting peace?

Again, I am not saying that Israel hasn't done a lot wrong, but how is Hamas continuing rocket fire justified?

AzizMostafa's picture

@ ... including the spread of Islam by conquest.
@ ... Egypt in 2007 or 2008, who also blockaded.

Which Islam John+William are talking about?!
http://www.al-islam.org/underattack/7.htm
http://typophile.com/node/53099#comment-320686
http://typophile.com/node/53099?page=4#comment-322450
Re-explore Islam with Flowers!

Saad Abulhab's picture

William, may be there is a third wolf here: the pretending wolf :)

>>Israel did control entry and exit to the Gaza strip, but there was no blockade.

Exactly, they kept control, including control of gas mining on Gaza shores! How can one claim withdrawal but keep full control? This agrees with what I have wrote, they planned to avoid costly contact with their "subjects" in the Ghetto and "pretended" to withdraw [this reminds me with Bush's plan to withdraw from Iraq keeping 400 "non-combative" bases outside population areas and full control of the skies!] The fact is the Israelis hopped that eventually these blockaded people will give up there rights, which they have refused for decades before.

>>Twelve days after the complete withdrawal the rockets from Gaza resumed. ...I want to know why Hamas did this rocket fire except to provoke and continue war?

I would need time to research this 12 days claim, but judging by the very recent six months truce preceding the latest Israeli invasion of Gaza, it is clear that well-known aggressor Israel is *always* the provocateur: Israel had killed 120 Palestinians during that truce which was observed fully by Hamas! Additionally, they have blockaded Gaza (an act of war!) firmly during that truce causing more indirect death. Furthermore, they openly threatened Egypt with war (with the help of Christian Zionist Bush) if they would violate that blockade! With such truce who need war?! Personally, I thought Hamas agreement to that truce was useless, like Arafat's Oslo adventure!

But back to the pretending wolf, William. Do you think that Israel can wash their hands and pretend that the Palestinian question is solved after that Gaza "withdrawal" and expects that Palestinians there should live happily and quietly ever after, given the fact that 80% of the people in the Gaza strip are refugees driven out from their towns and villages after the creation and expansion of Israel? Israel knows exactly how to make peace with the Palestinians and the world, but it chose instead the path of aggression, intimidation, nuclear buildups and covert interventions that extends as far as the Caucus, Kurdistan, African Horn, India, and more. Even the United State, its so-called "friend", does not know what to do with Israel's continuous espionage and selling of arms and American military technology to strategic adversaries of the US!

-Saad

John Hudson's picture

Saad: ...unlike with “holy war” it was originated as a *defensive* act and it is not limited to combat and war.

If, by 'holy war' you are referring to the crusades of the Middle Ages, the first crusade was raised in response to a direct request from Byzantium for the Latin Christians to help defend against Muslim conquests, which had gradually eaten up the lands that had been part of the Byzantine Empire for several hundred years. The immediate cause was the expansion of the Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. Since western Christian's were unlikely to be sufficiently motivated by assisting Byzantium hold onto its territory, the focus became the recapture of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Note: recapture, to take back what had been taken.

Ironically, the crusader attitude to the Holy Land has much in common with Hamas' view of Palestine as an eternal Islamic waqf -- that which was Christian/Muslim once is Christian/Muslim for all time.

William Berkson's picture

Saad, you are still thinking and arguing in black and white: one side is all bad and only question is which one. That is the thinking of the "vengeful wolf."

You point to other actions of Israel. I don't know whether your facts are accurate--and I doubt it--but let me for the moment assume they are. It still doesn't prove that Israel is ALWAYS the aggressor. That's an illogical conclusion. If the rockets were not justified, then Hamas was the aggressor in this case, whatever Israel did in other cases.

The question is also not whether Israel did everything it possibly could to free Gaza. It certainly didn't, because it feared attack. But if you are going to have peace you have to reduce the fears of both sides. What Israel did was a marked REDUCTION in control over Gaza. Gone were the Jewish settlements and gone were the check points within Gaza. If Hamas were interested in peace, the thing to do was reciprocate, and show good will. But instead it showed rockets aimed at civilians in Israel.

The time line on the rocket attacks is in this wikipedia article. Israel completed withdrawal of all its people from Gaza on Sept 12, 2005. The next rocket attack was Sept. 24. This can of course be checked against newspapers still on line, if you care to.

Saad Abulhab's picture

John,

>>the focus became the recapture of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Note: recapture, to take back what had been taken.

Under the Crusaders, or after British occupation in 1917, Palestine had more than 80% Muslims. That is the bottom line. Before the Muslims, Palestine, like Syria, like Iraq, had sporadic Christian and Jewish communities, but the absolute majority were Pagans who converted to Islam under Islamic rule.

>>Hamas’ view of Palestine as an eternal Islamic waqf

Hamas belief in Palestine as an eternal Waqf does not mean it is exclusive to Muslims. As a matter of fact, Muslims recognized from day one, that Palestine is for all. The Jewish and Christian presence survived peacefully for a thousand year under Muslims. Being an Islamic waqf means that from an Islamic religious view, Hamas or anyone else can not give up rights to any part of Palestine (especially Jerusalem). Just as Jews should not abandon their religious rights to it as a promised land. The diference here is that Muslims never practiced explosions of Christians or Jews from Palestine, but on the contrary they allowd more in.

-Saad

Saad Abulhab's picture

William,

>>That is the thinking of the “vengeful wolf.”

I think a “vengeful wolf” believes in revenge, which I completely disapprove of. I believe *all* Israelis should stay and live peacefully side by side *all* native people. Even the Cherokee grandpa story you brought up, talked about how the “good wolf” should fight the right time and the right way. He did not tell his grandson, just submit and accept.

Nelson Mandela and Ghandi fed the "good wolf", not the “vengeful wolf.”

-Saad

AzizMostafa's picture

Saad, there is no point continuing discussion with someone who does not want to believe what is happening + being documented today and instead want us to listen to stories that had been flavored and reflavored by (hired) historians.

Some typophiles have shown their colors. I had better walk away with flowers. But just to help others walk through this node, I suggest copying+pasting this:
http://typophile.com/node/53068?from=0&comments_per_page=5000

William Berkson's picture

As you can imagine, Saad, I don't agree with your version of past history.

But the main thing here that frustrates me is that you still won't give an answer as to why Hamas couldn't have held off bombing Israel for more than 12 days after Israel withdrew from Gaza, if Hamas wanted peace with Israel. Israel has shown itself able to make peace with Arab countries, namely Jordan and Egypt, so there is reason to believe that it can with a Palestinian state as well.

And if you now insist for religious reasons that Islam should rule all the land that now comprises Israel, and Jews on the West Bank insist that it too should be ruled by Jews for religious reasons, then you just have a prescription for war.

I think the only hope for peace is if people put the desire for peace above these antique religious claims, on both sides.

As I mentioned, Thomas Friedman wrote that the only real options are either Palestinians opt for a two-state solution, at least for now, and develop Palestine economically, or they wage war and get poverty and bloodshed. Do you see another realistic option?

Saad Abulhab's picture

William

>>why Hamas couldn’t have held off bombing Israel for more than 12 days after Israel withdrew from Gaza

I answered that iin details, but here is it again in a short answer: because Hamas or anyone else never promissed the Zionists or pretended that the Palestinian cause it is over after Israel **tactical* withdrawal from Gaza blockaded Ghetto for self interest.

>>And if you now insist for religious reasons that Islam should rule all the land that now comprises Israel ..

I have NEVER said that. On the contrary, I said both live side by side in a *democratic* country, equal but NOT chosen.

>>Israel has shown itself able to make peace with Arab countries, namely Jordan and Egypt,

This is extremely shaky truce , not peace! It was forced by US and Israelis, on their terms. People never approved it. It part of the pretending wolf mentality! :)

-Saad

William Berkson's picture

Saad, the question is what is the Palestinian "cause". If it is to eliminate the Jewish state, then the attack after 12 days is understandable as a continuing battle in a war.

But I cannot see any way that it is a move designed to produce peace. You keep answering some other question, not why IF HAMAS WERE INTERESTED IN PEACE, they would have attacked Israel with Qassam rocket attacks only 12 days after Israel withdrew, which Palestinians had said they wanted for years and years. You have never addressed the "if" part of my question. Israel and I think most of the world saw the attacks as an act of war in answer to a concession, a step toward peace.

Saad, it is not an Israel-Egypt truce, but a peace treaty. As the wikipedia web site shows, it says "Peace" in English, "Shalom" in Hebrew and "Salam" in Arabic. The reality is a peace treaty; whether you like it or not is another matter.

Your repeated statement that Jews and Arabs live side by side in peace in a democratic country is conditioned on your other view that the area must live under a majority Islamic state. Have I understood you rightly? In other words you reject a two-state solution, right?

As I have said, because of recent history in the near future Jews will not trust a majority Muslim or Christian or any other population to keep them safe. So if you want to eliminate the Jewish state, rather than accept a two-state solution, even as a temporary solution, then you have a prescription for war. Do you disagree?

There is only one country in the Middle East where substantial numbers of Muslim Arabs and Jews are living peacefully side by side in a democratic state, and that is Israel. And and they have done so for 60 years. The Muslim Arabs are also legally equal. I don't deny that Israel has discriminated against its Muslim citizens, but that is most likely to be remedied if there is peace.

Saad Abulhab's picture

William,

>>Your repeated statement that Jews and Arabs live side by side in peace in a democratic country is conditioned on your other view that the area must live under a majority Islamic state. Have I understood you rightly?

No, I did not put a condition of any religious state. I think the world is so integrated today, it is impossible to even have a purely national state, let alone religious one! Arab Dubai lives under a majority of Pakistanis and Indians today! Who cares? Except for racists, normal people live side by side others. Why submitting to this Zionist tribal mentality? Simply put: NOTHING justifies killing and expelling millions of Palestinians from their land for centuries. It is not the Palestinians duty to leave their homes because the European Jewish community felt threatened and *thinks* that they would only find security in a nuclear Nazi state in Palestine. These setters should have either bought an empty land to create a pure state, or seek psychological help to get over their fear of living peacefully with others.

>>In other words you reject a two-state solution, right?

I am not in a position to reject or accept two states. I believe that two states would not bring peace, except (may be) if it is coupled with solving satisfactorily the refugees and displaced Palestinians problem *and* having Israel dismantle its nuclear and militarist empire and stop its intimidation and aggression against the neighboring 200 million Arabs and 1200 millions Muslims (like plotting remote control bombs in Iraqi markets and claiming that **fictional** Qa'idah did it!)

-Saad

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