Archive through November 08, 2004

raphaelfreeman's picture

You're right. You won't convince me because you don't know the complete picture and when making judgements, the whole picture is necessary. Israel is not a murderous nation (even though you have the right to believe what you will). Incidents will and do occur that are wrong (this happens in all countries) and just in the same way that I don't accuse the entire Palestinian population of being murderous just because a few thousand of that population choose to kill innocent civilian, then I expect the same in return.

Let's make a deal, let the Palestinian minority (whomever they are, I am not interested) stop killing civilians, and I think you'll see the number of tragic incidents like in this story (however few are still way too many) diminish. One girl was shot dead, this is absolutely inexcusable, for her, for her family, friends, neighbours school etc. This has a terrible effect. I'm sure there was a genuine concern that she could pose a security risk (after all she was somewhere where she really shouldn't have been), but still there is no excuse. She should be alive today, playing with her friends at school and doing her homework.

But let me ask you this? What about the 1,000+ Israeli men, women and children (civilians of course) that have been murdered this year alone? They were where they were supposed to be, at a cafe enjoying a cup of coffee, at a disco having fun, on a bus going to school... They were blown to pieces! What did they do wrong? Were they a potential security risk to the Palestinian people? Did they look as though they were about to possibly blow up some Palestinians? What about the thousands of maimed children who are missing an arm or a leg because they decided to go to a disco or step on a bus? What did they do wrong?

I bet if that happened in the gold 'ol USA nobody would care about one little girl. Witness the aftermath of September 11! Everyone wanted blood. Muslims were being attacked in the street by the brawl (and what did they do wrong exactly?). Let's look at the source of the problem, you blow us up, you kill us, you murder us, and we will clamp down and rout out those that do. And yes, unfortunately in a war, civilians do get killed. It is an unfortunate part of war.

My suggestion. Let's stop the war. Let's put a stop to the suicide bombings where 15-year-old girls (yes two whole years older than that poor 13-year-old schoolgirl) get on buses and kill everyone on them. Let's live in peace as Israel proclaimed in 1948 and was rejected by all the Arab nations whose response to the offer of a peaceful existence with our neighbours was all out war on a tiny nation.

The hand is in their court.

William Berkson's picture

>it is certainly not of any help, to be in the israeli army to get a more objective look on the topic.

Titus, this is prejudice speaking and you don't even recognize it. An honest person who has personal experience, an eye witness, whether Israeli or Palestinian certainly should be listened to. It doesn't mean he or she is always right, but they are the real source of information. For you to dismiss Raphael's view because of who he is, is pure bigotry.

And Raphael, your statement about the US is also bigoted. The attacks in the US on Muslims after 9-ll was disgraceful, but Israelis have also committed atrocities against Muslims. The reality is that some people are going to behave immorally in any large scale conflict. Anyone who thinks their side is without stain is just being biassed and unrealistic. The point is that US government policy has been to protect its Muslim citizens. If you think government policy is not important, note that the attacks have largely stopped, and just recall what happened when governments like Germany and Austria joined the forces of bigotry.

The underlying reality is that the Palestinian side, backed by Arab governments, refused to negotiate from 1948 to 1992, and instead had a policy of happily murdering as many Jews as possible, including children on school buses. And Israel, after '67, initiated a foolish policy of settlement throughout the conquered territories, which was bound to lead to a brutal occupation. In my view Golda should have put up a fence in 68, when it was clear the Arabs would not settle.

From 92-2000, when there were negotiations, there was relative peace and the region could have found peace except that the Arafat responded to decent, honest peace offers by unleashing a murder campaign against Israel.

At this point Israel decided that bringing back Arafat and negotiating with him was a mistake, and I can't blame them given his history of murder, lying and betrayal. Now that he is passing from the scene, let us pray that wiser heads prevail, and that my, alas, still President opens his rock head and gets engaged with all parties to the conflict, and the effort can lead to peace. As Rabin said, 'enough blood, enough tears.'

dan_reynolds's picture

>The hand is in their court.

To a simple extent, it always has been. It was Israel's neighbors who started the wars. They never accepted that Israel had a right to exist, even though it was created by the United Nations. The PLO's charter included a clause dedicating them to the destruction of Israel, which wasn't removed until the signing of the Oslo accords.

And one wonders why so many Israeli's are paranoid, or even Jews all over the world (despite there being a difference between Israelis and Jews... it isn't so peachy for non-Israeli Jews either; France for instance, had more anti-semetic attacks in 2003 since any year after 1944). Even friends of the state of Israel are paranoid, and even friends of Jews...

Israel has a right to exist. So does Palestine. These two statements are not contradictory.

dan_reynolds's picture

William, your comments are certainly of more depth than mine... sorry for the cross-post.

William Berkson's picture

>the cross-post.

No, please do post. We have far too much of Hrant's raving irrational bigotry - unfortunately shared by many in the middle east - and it is not answered by enough voices that are sane and balanced. I appreciate your speaking up, which takes some gumption given the bullying vehemence of Hrant's ravings.

titus n.'s picture

i believe your will and desire to live in peace. i dont believe, that you have the complete picture. certain is, that the numbers (if one could measure this in numbers!) speak against you. the body count of palestinian children under 10, mothers, elder people - civilians, is many times the one on the israeli side.

and what is most important is, that you can't compare the violence of the opressed with the violence of the opressor.

you say you want to look a the root of the problem, trouble is, you are not aware of the root of the problem. the 9/11 example shows this very clearly. the terrorist attacks are not the root, but the result - the root lies in the political and cultural imperialism of the us and in general the western hemisphere.
in israel, the root is certainly much more difficult, but i believe you can say its origin is the very old antisemitism of europe.

if you really care for a lasting peace, that accepts palestinians equal to israelis, you have to look much deeper.
there are very courageous people in israel, trying to find a way of living with the palestinians, go find them, talk to them. you'll see, there is more to take into acount than you might believe. it's not as easy as saying: "we try our best, all we want is peace"

dan_reynolds's picture

Have you ever been to Israel, Titus? I have never been there, but I would love to visit. All of the Israelis I met have been wonderful people, and I can't remember any of them being blood-thirsty Arab-haters. I don't think that it is totally appropriate for us to preach to the Israelis (or the Palestinians, for that matter). From our havens of security and peace, how can our fickle words have any meaning for people who spend their lives living in fear. You accuse Israeli's who have served in the Israeli army of being biased... yet all Israeli's must serve in their army, and I can't imagine that their tours are pleasant. Did you serve in the Austrian army? Did you see action on a peace-keeping mission? Do the Austrians even participate in peace-keeping missions? If I were Israeli, I don't think that I would want to hear any advice from Europe. Euroope has never shed it's ancient Anti-Semitism. And now that it has shed religion, I doubt that it ever will. How can people who have decided to stop supporting religion all together possibly understand other people, whose lives are often defined in large part by their religion? The Europeans have always wanted the Jews to just give up their religion and become "normal." After 2,000 years of such predjudice, I doubt that anything will stop that.

William Berkson's picture

>violence of the opressed with the violence of the opressor.

This is parroting the hollow slogans of bigots. The Jewish people were oppressed and worse, murdered systematically by Nazis 1933-45, and the bigotry and murder campaign was continued by Arabs against Israel - with propaganda led by former Nazis, incidentally. I will give you that the Israeli occupation has been oppressive to Palestinians, but your comments are blindly one-sided.

> political and cultural imperialism of the us

Oh, please. So the refusal by Arab governments to make peace with Israel on the Palestinian issue had nothing to do with their wish to "drive the Jews into the sea" as they put it?

You are assuming that Raphael is not one of those people courageously seeking peace with the Palestinians. You don't know that, and he has expressly said he fervently desires peace. Where are the Arab voices on this board saying how much they want peace with the Israelis?

titus n.'s picture

dan, you believe you are superior because of your faith? horrible news, i didn't know the american fundamentalism was that far reaching.

your way of generalizing the "europeans" is funny, given that you are living in germany (didn't have much time travelling i suppose, perhaps you spent too much time preaching).

it is simply ridiculous how you try to insult me for being austrian and as such european. start reading what i write and stop writing platitudes.

william, i didn't dismiss raphaels view in any way, i only said, you are more easily biased, when you are one of the conflict parties - please read carefully.

titus n.'s picture

>Where are the Arab voices on this board saying how much they want peace with the Israelis?

the arab voices don't have our access and wealth to be here.

>Oh, please. So the refusal by Arab governments to make peace with Israel on the Palestinian issue had nothing to do with their wish to "drive the Jews into the sea" as they put it?

again, read what i wrote! i didn't refer to israel with that point, but to the us after 9/11!

>You are assuming that Raphael is not one of those people courageously seeking peace with the Palestinians. You don't know that, and he has expressly said he fervently desires peace.

of course i know that, because i know the israeli people and organisations who do so.

steve_p's picture

>>is it nonsense? have you been in the Israeli army?

Yes, and no.

Your statement remains nonsensical, and you have admitted that in your more recent posts.

dan_reynolds's picture

>the bullying vehemence of Hrant's ravings

William, while you may disagree with me here, I'm willing to give Hrant the benefit of the doubt. I imagine that, given his direct experiences growing up during the Lebanese Civil War, and as part of an other historically unrecognized nationality, his feelings about the Israelis come out of first hand experiences. While I don't endorse what he says, I'm willing to listen. To point it another way, while Middle Eastern Anti-Semistism must be fought against, I can understand some of the frustration that bears it. It must be hard to live under such perceived oppression... and even though the Israelis aren't responsible for most of the Middle East's problems, many of that regions inhabitants think that they are, and won't change their opinions until their lives improve.

What I cannot understand is European Anti-Semitism. I honestly don't see the difference between most European criticism of Israelis and of Jews. There seems to be too much of both. I don't like it, I think that it is enormously hypocritical, and I think that it should stop.

To be "fair" to the Europeans, it isn't just the Jewish religion that they seem to dislike. I think that many Europeans wish that Muslims, especially their immigrants from Muslim countries, would just give up their religion and become "normal", too. This is sadly a point shared by a lot of Americans, although many American leaders at least pretend in public to act as if they respect the Islamic religious tradition.

titus n.'s picture

>and the bigotry and murder campaign was continued by Arabs against Israel

it's astonishing, you say arabs are nazis
can't comment on that anymore.

William Berkson's picture

>violence of the opressed with the violence of the opressor.

This is parroting the hollow slogans of bigots. The Jewish people were oppressed and worse, murdered systematically by Nazis 1933-45, and the bigotry and murder campaign was continued by Arabs against Israel - with propaganda led by former Nazis, incidentally. I will give you that the Israeli occupation has been oppressive to Palestinians, but your comments are blindly one-sided.

> political and cultural imperialism of the us

Oh, please. So the refusal by Arab governments to make peace with Israel on the Palestinian issue had nothing to do with their wish to "drive the Jews into the sea" as they put it?

You are assuming that Raphael is not one of those people courageously seeking peace with the Palestinians. You don't know that, and he has expressly said he fervently desires peace. Where are the Arab voices on this board saying how much they want peace with the Israelis?

>william, i didn't dismiss raphaels view in any way, i only said, you are more easily biased, when you are one of the conflict parties - please read carefully.

You didn't give any value to Raphael's eyewitness observation, and you, who I believe have no first hand experience, didn't ask about what his experience was. Then you went on to denounce Israel without seeking his views. That is what I was calling dismissal.

Because a person is in an army doesn't mean he loses his mind - though some do. Some become bigotted haters of the other side, but others are thoughtful and critical of their government. For example, on election day I talked to a US Marine who voted for Kerry because he thought Bush has betrayed the US military.

dan_reynolds's picture

Titus, I don't remember saying that I've ever been superior in anything or anybody, online or offline, ever. I'm also not a Christian Fundamentalist... I tend to be quite agressive towards them, in fact. Just because I'm an American who has some conservative views doesn't mean that I want to, or appreciate being, lumped together with them. Religion-wise, I'm a Roman Catholic, and a pretty lackadaisical one at that!

I'm trying to strive for a middle road... I don't want to be too critical of the Arabs in the Middle East, yet at the same time, I think that the world is too critical of the Israelis. There is a difference there!

And thank you for pointing out that I live in Europe. In fact, I've travelled around quite a bit, although not as much as I wish that I could. It's too bad that we didn't have a chance to meet when I was in Austria briefly two months ago.

But just because I'm an American living in Europe, does that preclude that I'm not allowed to criticze any European social habits? Germany is a free country too, you know. And, I've heard an awful lot of criticsm of my home country over the past few weeks/months/years... I appologize if I seem to be letting it get the best of me at the moment.

But even before 9/11, I found the "European attitude" toward Israel (I know that is a sweeping generalzation, but shouldn't we all be expressing our opinions?) troubling.

steve_p's picture

William, it was Raphael who first brought up the subject of being in the Israeli army, and he was the first to claim a connection between being in the Israeli army and being able to understand the issues.
For Titus to remark that being in the army does not help one to understand the issue is not the same as suggesting that being in the army makes one incapable of understanding the issues.

titus n.'s picture

any value to what? what did he say that i dismissed?
you are right, i stick on my opinion, anything wrong with that? why has he the right to do so and i haven't?
and crucially, raphael was stating wrong facts, which is a sign for me, that he is far away from objectivity. if you'd be less agressive, because i oppose your views, perhaps you could get what i say.

i also refered to the people you are talking about, the ones with first hand experience (you are right, i am not) who speak out strictly against the way israeli military operates. my greatest respect to the refuseniks - who are hated by the large majority of israli citizens.

titus n.'s picture

ok dan.
my interpretation of your posting was, that the judgement of the europeans is worse, because there is a trend towards secular worldviews. so, religious is superior and as i guessed correctly, you are religious.

sorry for lumping you together with people you oppose.

could you tell me what european social habits you critisized?

let me tell you, that the "european attitude" towards israel, is very, very moderate. in fact, the eu has various special economic agreements with israel - we are supporting them. and what is also very important: europe has a huge guilty conscience towards the jews - and israel. this is the main reason why the eu is so weak in taking a strict position against the human rights abuses of israel. they are afraid to be branded "antisemitic" for critizising israel.

and one more thing: from my point of view, you can't be critical enough of a country, that terrorizes it's minorities.

William Berkson's picture

Sorry for the double posting.

>it's astonishing, you say arabs are nazis
can't comment on that anymore.

Titus, I said absolutely no such thing. I said that some former Nazis helped lead the propaganda effort against Israel in the Arab world, which is just an historical fact - you can probably find the thread here which discusses it. You seem unwilling to acknowledge the key fact of a decades long Arab campaign, with a series of wars against Israel, to exterminate Israel as a Jewish state. This is also just an historical fact, not paranoia.

>give Hrant the benefit of the doubt

It is a principle of Jewish ethics to give the other person the benefit of the doubt, and I have certainly done it in many discussions with Hrant over the past year on these boards.

But I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that he has blindly bought the propoganda of Arab governments. These views have been called the 'victim mentality'. You blame everybody else for all the problems, and don't look to yourself and your leaders to change. In fact Christians like Hrant have been oppressed in the middle east, and have been leaving in droves, in a little noted major story. Hrant is just one. For example, the majority of Arabs in the US are Christians.

The Arab governments are among the worst on earth, and have led to untold suffering by the Arab peoples. But unfortunately their trick of blaming the Jews and the US for all the suffering of the Arab peoples has fooled many people, including Hrant.

>For Titus to remark that being in the army does not help one to understand the issue is not the same as suggesting that being in the army makes one incapable of understanding the issues.

Being in the Israeli army absolutely helps you understand the attitude and behavior of the Israeli army, and that is what Raphael was talking about. I think that in general the Israeli army has tried to be humane, but in a war situation where the other side is always trying to kill you and sometimes succeeding it is a policy very difficult to maintain. Unlike Rafael I do think the Israeli army has at times violated their policies and has been guilty of atrocities against Palestinians.

William Berkson's picture

>and one more thing: from my point of view, you can't be critical enough of a country, that terrorizes it's minorities.

Ok, so you can't be critical enough of the Palestinians for terrorizing the Jews who have lived in the West Bank? You can't be critical enough of Arab governments, who could have accepted a minority Jewish population in the new country of Israel, setting an example of superior tolerance to Europe, but instead attacked it, and then conducted a 50 year campaign of war and terror againt it?

I don't hear from you (or Hrant) a whisper of criticism of the wrongs committed by the enemies of Israel. You are critical of only one side. I am quite willing to be critical of both sides, and I think that is a sign that my view is more objective and closer to reality.

hrant's picture

I typed up a long, elaborate reply, and then Typophile ate it. :-/

Anyway, it's not like your regurgitated Western/JudeoChristian propaganda is worth even a roll of toilet paper, much less a decent reply.

The only thing I'll clarify (to the only balanced person here) is this:
> it is awful to say that the word 'Israeli' and 'Jew' are interchangeable

I didn't say that, and I don't believe it.


titus n.'s picture

>I said that some former Nazis helped lead the propaganda effort against Israel in the Arab world, which is just an historical fact

ok, i didn't know that. but you said "and the bigotry and murder campaign was continued by Arabs against Israel" which means that the holocaust was continued by the arabs. it is very, very disturbing, hearing a jew say such things.

so how close to reality are you? what about the israeli propaganda, doesn't it have an effect on you?

and yes, i say that you can't be critical enough of suicide bomb attacks on civilians and i am pretty sure, that the reaction of the arab world to the founding of israel was wrong. but this was quite a while ago, and things have changed. israel isn't the poor, little country, amidst evil arabs anymore. israel is the wealthiest, best situated country with by far the best army, including nuclear weapons and last but not least the overwhelming support of ... well, you know.

and they are terrorizing the palestinian people, not the other way round. it's not only the use of tanks against civilians, it is the everyday terror of making your life unbearable. destroying your houses, destroying your olive trees, building a wall through your country, your villages ...

i believe, that a country, based on the human rights, a democraty, proud to be the only one in the region can't use the same methods as the terrorists it fights.

titus n.'s picture

thanks hrant.

sorry for double posting.

dan_reynolds's picture

>could you tell me what european social habits you critisized?

Well, I stated in this very thread (a public forum) that much of Europe was still silently anti-semetic, and perhaps anti-muslim, anti-immigrant, and maybe anti-american as well. I also think that the religion pendulum has swung, and that Europeans now view religion as a thing with too much skepticism and disbelief, even though religion can be a force for good as well as evil, just like most other human creations. I also think that your definition of "moderate" is far more left of spectrum than mine. While we are at it, I don't like socialism either.

Maybe I was just "acting like an American," which seems to be tabu now in Europe :-(

I don't consider myself overtly religious, but I do believe in God, and that there is good in organized religion. I also like the nice, comfortable traditions of my religious upbringing (things like saints, art, the holdidays, the church buildings, some of the old songs, latin), but I am also quite critical of my Church as well. The failure of the American bishops to behave in a moral fashion during the decades long child sex scandal is appalling, and the whole church's positions on everything relating to sex and gender

dan_reynolds's picture

>I typed up a long, elaborate reply, and then Typophile ate it. :-/

There you have it: proof that "God is in the machine" ;-) !

William Berkson's picture

>you said "and the bigotry and murder campaign was continued by Arabs against Israel" which means that the holocaust was continued by the arabs.

No Titus, I mean what I say. I didn't say that the Holocaust was continued by the Arabs. I said that a campaign of bigotry and murder was. And that is true: as I said, terrorism and a whole series of wars for over fifty years, continuing up to the current 'intafada' starting in 2001, when the Israelis were negotiating in good faith.

>and they are terrorizing the palestinian people, not the other way round

Oh all those suicide bombers are not terrorizing the Israelis, and intended to do so? There is a war going on, and both sides are attacking each other viciously. The difference is that the Israelis have proven themselves ready to make peace when the opposition actually wanted peace - with Egypt and Jordan. Arafat proved he prefered terrorism to peace by re-launching a terror war against Israel. Now let us hope wiser and more humane heads prevail.

William Berkson's picture

What amazes me about many Europeans, including you, is that you will not acknowledge the basic fact that when the Israelis were willing to make peace, in 2000, Arafat launched a terror war against Israel. This is not ancient history. The latest suicide terror attack against Israelis was a few days ago. That you do not acknowledge the reality of this shows a highly biassed and distorted picture of reality.

As to Israeli propaganda, first of all they are pathetically bad at propaganda. Secondly, Israelis disagree very loudly amongst themselves, and you can find every view, including your own, in Israel. So I can pick any view and legitimately call it 'Israeli'. Believe it or not, I make up my own mind, and don't parrot anyone's slogans.

hrant's picture

Dan, if you do make it to Beirut next year, it will be a good opportunity for you to develop your political sophistication, to put your faith in a healthy context. William I don't advise the trip, not because he'll be in physical danger, but he's too old to survive the resultant ideological instability (assuming he chooses to open his mind however). I think he'd fit better further south where a convicted war criminal is head of state, and where people -some of them desperate blacks flown in from Ethiopia as cannon fodder- move to the heartland of Palestine because of something some dead people wrote. Boredom and poverty breed fundamentalism - history is only used as an excuse to recruit pawns.

Europe is too soft on Israel. Why? Because of that damn guilt the idiotic Nazis created (they hated Arabs just as much btw), a guilt that has come to be usurped by people who are now much more the greedy, selfish oppressors than they are the victims. History is one thing, the future is another. Pragmatically, if you want to survive as a nation, you need to stop making your neighbors miserable. When you have so much military might, and such a stranglehold on the mind of the world's superpower, there is no excuse for acting fearful of your meek enemy, of insisting on his extermination - not least because you'll never get it. Give back the lands, and you'll be assured prosperity - just like you were under the Moors. Anybody who knows Arabs knows this to be true. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either brainwashed or wants to use you.


steve_p's picture

>>Being in the Israeli army absolutely helps you understand the attitude and behavior of the Israeli army, and that is what Raphael was talking about.

Raphael stated that the Israeli army 'invariably succeeds' in its attempts not to harm civilians.
Clearly the issue of how much the Israeli army tries to avoid harming civilians is up for debate, but the idea that it 'invariably succeeds' is just plain wrong. I suggested that this view was nonsense, and Raphael then asked me if I had been in the Israeli army.
That question isn't relevant. I don't have to have been in the Israeli army to know that some civilians have been harmed by that army, and therefore to know that the claim that it ' invariably succeeds' in avoiding harming civilians is false.

William Berkson's picture


I agree with what you say in your last response on Raphael going overboard, and his claim being wrong.

But being in the Israeli army does give him an insight into the attitudes and morale of the organization, which is relevant. Because the issue to me is not whether there have been atrocities - as every army has committed these (no excuse of course) - but whether they are systematic or rather the exception and against orders. Here Raphael's testimony is relevent, if overblown.

An important confirmation of Raphael's view that the IDF tries to avoid civilian casualties was the case of Jenin. The Palestinian propaganda was that there was a massacre, and the anti-Israel press was trumpeting it all over the world. But when the independent investigation was done, it confirmed that on the contrary the Israelis took casualties they need not have in order to protect the Arab non-combatants.

William Berkson's picture

By the way, I don't mean by the Jenin case to prejudge other controversies, of which there are many. There is by contrast no doubt whatsover that the Palestinian terrorists have a policy of targeting civilians, including children and the elderly.

titus n.'s picture

for me there is no gain in telling each other how brainwashed he/she is. i'm out.

William Berkson's picture

>telling each other how brainwashed he/she is

Titus, I'm making a serious point that when a person is unwilling to criticise the side he favors, it is a mark of bias and unwillingness to look at the truth. I would go further and argue that the willingness to see the humanity in the other side and the evils on your own is fundamental to a compassionate and wise policy. Am I wrong?

I do appreciate the rationality of your discussion up to now, and the fact that you are willing to condemn suicide bombing.

But you do not label the suicide bombing by the Palestinians as a concerted campaign of terror in a current, ongoing war against Israel, which even Hamas itself says it is. Instead you say that only Israel is terrorizing the Palestinian people and 'not the other way around'.

I know there are serious rights and wrongs on both sides. And I grieve for all those lost and maimed on both sides and pray for peace.

dana's picture

On October 31, the following article appeared in our local daily, the Times-Colonist. Although it would be preferable to link to an online source, such is not available; and I hope that the uplifting and educational nature of the article warrants its inclusion (with the permission of its author) in my post.


Far >From Conflict: A world away from Mideast strife, an unlikely friendship takes hold at Royal Roads
Times Colonist (Victoria)
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Page: A1 / FRONT
Section: News
Byline: Louise Dickson
Source: Times Colonist

Russell Pepe has found inspiration in the dispiriting world of conflict resolution. He simply glances at two women sitting together in his classroom at Royal Roads University and believes there can be peace and hope in a fractured world.

For here, in the conflict analysis and management program, an unlikely friendship has taken root. Ganit Poleg, an Israeli Jew, and Alhan Nahhas-Daoud, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, have put aside their differences and are working together for peace.

"If they can do this, if they can work together, then there's hope," says Pepe.

All three students are in the second year of the program. They met last year, living and learning together during a five-week residency on the leafy campus. Soon, after they complete their second residency, they'll return to the conflicted communities they are trying to help, finish their research and write a thesis.

As Pepe speaks, Poleg leans forward and speaks a few quiet words of Hebrew to her friend. They smile. A few minutes later, Poleg brushes a stray hair off Nahhas-Daoud's sweater.

It's remarkable that this course, a world away from the brutal Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has fostered this easy friendship. But it's clear that without it, Poleg and Nahhas-Daoud would never have met.

They are participating in the program as part of Royal Roads' Middle East peace-building network. Their tuition and travel fees are paid by the Canadian International Development Agency. The cost of the two-year master's program is $19,200 for Canadians. International students pay $28,800.

"This is my first relationship with a Palestinian who is a citizen of Israel," says Poleg. "You can live all your life as a Jewish citizen in Tel Aviv and never meet a Palestinian who is a citizen of Israel."

"My Israeli side is strong with Ganit," says Nahhas-Daoud. "When you live together, it's different. You get the other side, the human side, the real side."

The 16 students in their class come from many different countries and backgrounds. There are students from Peru, the Philippines and Africa, says Pepe, who has lived and worked in Bangladesh for 30 years. He will return to the Jamuna River area and distribute $120 million to build roads and early flood warning systems and put houses on stilts. In a country "where everybody feels unsafe," he will also set up community police offices.

"We learn and we all share. It's a great learning experience you don't get very often," he says.

People who study conflict resolution have a natural tendency from an early age to see both sides of an issue, says Poleg, a lawyer who works at the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Institute in Jerusalem. The institute works with the U.S. organization Seeds of Peace, promoting understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking to one another and just holding meetings is never taken for granted in the Middle East, says Poleg. In her Colwood classroom, she learns sophisticated ways to deal with hard issues such as identity and culture. Then back in Tel Aviv, she encourages Israeli and Palestinian students to talk about one of the most difficult encounters of daily life -- the Israeli checkpoint. The Israeli students, former soldiers, talk about their fears of suicide bombers. The Palestinians also talk about their fears, their humiliation when they leave the city, says Poleg.

"When both sides are explained, it is very powerful."

Nahhas-Daoud is a lawyer in Haifa. She works at the Mossawa, the Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens of Israel, promoting equality for Arab citizens who live in Israel. She lobbies the Israeli parliament, petitions the Supreme Court to recognize the needs of the unique minority to which she belongs.

That recognition has already taken place at Royal Roads. Their decision to learn conflict management makes Poleg and Nahhas-Daoud members of the same community. "Ganit acknowledges my rights and needs and I acknowledge her rights and needs," says Nahhas-Daoud. "Our friendship doesn't reflect the tension of the conflict."

The women know each other's families and friends. When a big bombing took place in Haifa after their first residency, both women were worried about Nahhas-Daoud's family. They have travelled to see each other and shared meals. They have connected as Middle Eastern women who speak the same language and share the same history.

The course has motivated Poleg to return to Israel and do whatever she can to build bridges for peace. "I just can't go back to my own little life and my family. I need to be involved," she says.

Nahhas-Daoud has found her time in Victoria relaxing. In spite of the difficulty of living in Haifa, she misses its vibrancy, the ever-changing dynamics.

"We have a lot of work to do. We are trying. But we're not losing hope. It's all we have right now."

alhan and ganjit.gif

* Color Photo: Debra Brash, Times Colonist / GIVING PEACE A CHANCE: From left, Alhan Nahhas-Daoud, a Palestinian woman from Israel, Ganit Poleg, an Israeli Jew, and Russell Pepe, a Canadian development consultant in Bangladesh, all attend a Royal Roads University course on conflict analysis. "I they can work together, then there's hope," says Pepe.

raphaelfreeman's picture

I am very glad this last post went up. I think that the root of the problem is lack of basic understanding on both sides of the spectrum. I also believe in economic prosperity as being part of that solution. But before I comment further I would like to clarifiy a few points re the Israeli Army.

The majority of the army is made up of the reserves. That means after 3 years of compulsory service at the age of 18, every year, each Israeli man is conscripted to serve one month every year in the army. That is my current experience. We get a letter 2 month prior to this date (we don't usually know when it is) and our civilian life goes on hold in order to be soldiers for a month. Most of us don't want this. It interrupts our lifes, professional and personal but we all do it as part of duty to our country and unfortunately absolutely necessary to our survival. So in effect every single Israeli is actually very much the army. I have been to lots of different places over the years and have seen lots of different things. There are many (too many) isolated events that we are not proud of, but to be fair to my friends (yes they are my friends, it's kind of hard thinking of them as anything else), the many isolated events are the tiny tiny minority of the reality. The problem is that the press is not interested in making headlines of the truth of the "Jenin massacre". In fact rather make headlines of complete lies since that is what sells newspapers (I know this since I was a VP of a newspaper (as I have mentioned earlier). The number of pictures that the wire services produced, cropped and incorrectly labelled was incredible. The most famous one that came to mind was of the poor Arab victim that had been beaten to death by an Israeli soldier on the temple mount comes to mind. And this picture was in all the newspapers. The minor fact that he was in front of a petrol (gas) station (which of there are none on the temple mount) didn't disturb anybody. In fact the minor detail that this "poor Arab" was in fact a US yeshiva (Jewish learning seminary) boy who had just been beaten up by a bunch of Arabs and was only still alive because an Israeli soldier had come to his rescue was also conveniently ignored. Most of the newspapers around the world that published this bit of "journalism" didn't even bother to publish an apology. Israel sucks at propaganda, why? I don't know, maybe it's because we can't afford it, maybe 100 other reasons, but the fact is, that the Arab world doesn't even need when respected news organisations make up the news. I know my orders, I know what my commanders tell me. I know those facts. I know that our orders are not to harm in any way (never mind kill) any civilian. Funnily enough, I don't think those are the orders that the Arabs get from their COs before going on their mission to blow up a bus or a cafe.

Now back to the solution. I believe in education. I believe that Israeli school kids should be exposed Arab school kids. They should have outings together they should become friends. That way tolerance can be fostered at a young age and there is a chance for a real peace. I think that kids in Palestinian schools should be taught Maths, Arabic, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and all the other subjects that we learn in the West and not learn to kill Jews (which shockingly is what they are taught and this is an undisputed fact.) I think that all the opportunities that are afforded to Israelis, should be afforded to Arabs (please note that I am using the words very loosely eg Israeli/Jew, Arab/Muslim and I apologise for this, but I think everyone gets the idea). University (again without the organisations that say let's kill all the Jews); Job opportunities, prosperity etc. However, unfortunately most of the money that was funnelled by the West and by the Israeli Government (from my tax money please note) to the PLO, rather than going into building up schools, hospitals, Universities etc, went into Arafat's private coffers and into guns for the Arabs to kill the Jews with. But then again, I wonder how many Arab suicide bombers there would be if their leaders had spent that money on running water (hot and cold), roads, buses, trains, even computers, broadband internet, cellular phone companies etc? Funny how the Arabs living under Israeli rule have all of this (yes including their own cellphone company) but the Arabs living under Arab rule barely have cold running water. Lack of money? I think not.

Let's understand the reality, educated, happy, prosperous people don't kill themselves so it's not really in Arafat's interest for his people to be in this situation. 99% of the suffering is not due to Israeli tanks bulldozing homes (which incidentally is done as punishment to families whose children have gone out that afternoon to kill and maim civilians as a deterrant so as to try to encourage other families to teach their kids better values such as kindness, charity etc rather than murder) but rather by their own leadership. Most of the Arabs killed (and yes many more than Israelis, are actually killed by each other and not by soldiers – another little fact that people tend to ignore.)

And one more thing, don't worry, there are plenty of Arabs with internet, computers, websites etc. I beta-test InDesign CS ME and I also typeset in Arabic (hence the Armenian staff) and the software, which I'm sure you all know requires pretty powerful computers, was primarily designed for the Arabic market and kinda works okay for Hebrew too so they do exist.

Anyway, enough of me ranting....

William Berkson's picture

>People who study conflict resolution have a natural tendency from an early age to see both sides of an issue.

This is a beautiful summary of what I have been trying to say both to Hrant and recently to Titus. What disturbs me is the complete one-sidedness. One-sided, black-and-white thinking is precisely what sparks and perpetuates violence, and seeing both sides is what promotes peace.

Raphael, great to have you on this board. I have been trying to point out the one-sidedness of some posters, but I cannot speak with the first hand knowledge on Israel, which is the target of a lot of invective, along with the US, which I can speak about first hand. I appreciate your speaking up.

A question about type. I am using InDesign CS ME on a fairly old PC - designing and setting a book with English & Hebrew. I want to upgrade my computer. What is best to get so that InDesign ME will work fast and reliably?

raphaelfreeman's picture

The absolutely fastest computer you can buy with oodles of RAM! and preferably with at least 2 screens (my main machine has 3) and a fast graphics card.

I am using a Pentium IV 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Matrox Millenium G450 and running 3 screens, the main one being a 21" Sony. The second machine actually is a Pentium IV 1.8 which I beefed up with a Matrox G550 and a 1 GB RAM and it actually works quite nicely, but I have to say that the second machine is just doing typesetting whereas my machine is doing everything else (ie running my business too).

I think that RAM, Windows XP Pro, and a good graphics card are the most important ingredients. I find that it runs pretty well, but to be honest with you I do have crashes on the 2nd machine, but it isn't a particularly well-built machine.

steve_p's picture

>>What disturbs me is the complete one-sidedness.

>>Raphael, great to have you on this board...I appreciate your speaking up.


hrant's picture

> People who study conflict resolution have a natural
> tendency from an early age to see both sides of an issue.

And people who live in the middle of it -but not on one side or another- even more so.
But my qualification in this respect doesn't fit in William's lopsided world, so it's ignored.

I am not one-sided. I know very well that Arab governments are corrupt - but at least we all admit that, especially the Arab people! You ignore for example that one of Bin Laden's targets is Arab Governments. The Israeli governement is also corrupt (Removing the rights of Israeli Arabs? A war criminal as head of state?!), but you don't hear that in the media of the remaining superpower. This is much more significant than what the European media is saying for example, mostly because the US is the one with the bombs rearing to go, and also because Americans actually prefer to oppose European opinion just for the hell of it. I think there's actually empirical evidence of this, although to a westerner it's "not enough proof".

But even though I'm not one-sided, I certainly put more responsability on the shoulders of those in power, and I think most reasonable world citizens (including the European press) agree, and this is why you see more coverage of Jewish atrocities. Basically Palestinian misbehavior is more justifiable (or less unjustifiable, if you like) than Jewish misbehavior. And this is fair, because of the power issue - one imbalance corrects the other one. Who is Right and who is Wrong? Screw that - do you want to live decently or not? You do, unless you're a jihadist or Jewish settler. What to do with them? Let them get themselves killed, that's what they want anyway, at least as a second choice - and hey, nobody is chosen to get everything they want. Concerning the pull-out of Gaza for example, what I think the Israeli government should do is not forcefully move the settlers, but instead simply say "yallabye, we're outa here - are you coming back home (we'll even give you a new house just because you're clueless) or do you want to stay here and die? Your choice." Some solutions are simpler than they seem, even though life can be brutal - especially to the deluded. BTW, good solutions often become intractable in Democracies, because you have to worry about the essential idiocy of mass behavior. And what to do with the jihadists? Give them (I mean you, not the Palestinian politicians - they have nothing to give, get it?) enough of what they want (since you're the one in power), and blowing yourself up will simply become a really stupid idea. Instead of razing down their family homes (which only creates more people willing to die), give them some money (maybe take it from the funds you saved on the "martyr" settlers) before they try to kill you. You have the power, you have to be gracious.

In the end, even though you're in power, you're not managing to live happily, so you're doing something wrong, more wrong than the other party, because you have the power to improve things more than they do. Fix it. And I don't mean the slow, maybe even unwitting, Genocide you're carrying out. Don't think it's OK just because the Nazis massacred you, or just because Genocide is how your financier -the US- came into being. Be happy that you: actually gained land as a result of WWII; you can annihilate all Arab capitals with nuclear missiles and the US will look the other way, in the end; and you get billions of dollars a year in gifts. You're basically set - you made it - congratulations. Be grateful, not forever vindictive about the past. Share the world.

> I believe in education.

Then teach yourselves to resume treating the planet with respect.
You're certainly not going to teach Arabs that it's OK to be second-class world citizens.


raphaelfreeman's picture

um, hello? we did give the Palestinians money.... loads of it! but rather than using it for education etc., they used it for killing us.

The Holocaust has nothing to do with any of this, I'm not sure why you keep bringing this up.

All the Jewish settlers that I know seem to be very nice decent people, many of them from the US. They have an ideology which you don't have to agree with and that's fine. Cost of housing is very cheap in the settlements and the quality of life there is very nice making it very attractive (basically like living in the suburbs). The profession of those people are typically doctors, lawyers, teachers (you know, the typical suburb living kind of person.)

On the other hand jihadists, well what do they do? hmmm.... let's think? are they doctors thinking about how to save life? are they lawyers upholding the law? are they teachers educating the young? no. they believe in murder.

Not sure how you manage to compare the two in the same page.

Calling Sharon a war criminal is interesting. What do you call Arafat?

Oh and as far as being gracious is concerned, and I believe this was pointed out already in this thread, we offered them everything on a silver platter – their own state (what you and unfortunately the rest of the world believed they wanted). And what did the Nobel Prize for Peace (how ironic) Winner Yasser Arafat say? Did he say, thank you very much? Did he say to his people we've won? We've finally received what we have fought (oh and murdered so many innocent children) for all these years? No. He said, "no thanks.''

Why? why did he do this? why didn't he take it? Very simple. The Palestinian leadership is not interested in a State. They are interested pushing every single Jew into the sea (check the Palestinian charter in Arabic). They don't want peace. They don't to live side by side with us.

But that is why I say there must be a change. And that change must start with the children.

After WWII, the US made sure that the teachers in the schools in Germany were supervised by the US so no more false history was taught. This way, Germany became the Germany of today and not the Nazi Germany of the past. Perhaps the UN should take on this role and supervise the teaching in the Palestinian schools (they could do the same in the Israeli schools and perhaps help in the terrible discipline that they have here in the schools.) We have all been influenced on both sides of the spectrum.

I of course believe I am right, Hrant believes that he is right. I am not here to try and convince anybody of anything and I wouldn't even say that perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle. I think the answer is with our children. I think it is the 6-year-olds of today that need to be given an unbiased view of the world. Before they go into the army, before they are recruited as suicide bombers. That way real peace can exist.

PS. Hrant, I gather from your comments that you don't think that Israel has a right to exist. I'm sorry you feel that way.

hrant's picture

> we offered them everything on a silver platter

You were right, William, he's very balanced.

> I gather from your comments that you don't think that Israel has a right to exist.

Gather whatever you want, little man.


nadine_chahine's picture

Here's a little story for the people wondering about the Arab readers on this forum.

A very close friend of mine is palestinian. Her parents were forced out of Palestine in 1948. There was 300 people living in their little village and when Israeli forces started their attacks, they hid in 2- storey building (the largest) thinking that it would protect them. The few weapons they had were rifles, not much to go by.

Like many others they are now refugees in Lebanon. Their official papers are palestinian but they will never be allowed back. During the Lebanese civil war, they were at constant risk of death (by Lebanese forces), and she had to watch her brother being gathered up into a line up. Everyone was shot dead, but he was saved because he was still 13.

Everyone preaches that people on oppsite sides should listen to each other. I am willing to listen. Could anyone please answer these questions:

Why is my friend's family prohibited from going back home, when any member of the Jewish religion (I don't say any Jew because it might sound deragatory or anti-semitic) has the right to move to that land and live there?

Can anyone explain Sabra and Shatila? Read Robert Fisk: Pity the Nation.

What is the number of casualties on both sides? Anyone cares to find out the number of dead palestinian kids due to head or chest wounds?

Maybe different sides study history differently. We studied that Palestinians were forced out of their land in the late 1940's till 1948, and in 1967. They have no rights, and live in very bad conditions. Their homes erased to make way for settlements. The Arab political stand is a reaction to that, and to the Israeli transgressions in Lebanon and Syria.

The question about the moral of the Israeli army is not up for debate, unfortunately. Their last major hit on Beirut was 5 years ago. I still remember.

Has anyone seen the picture of the little boy who is throwing a stone at a tank? Here's some food for thought: how desperate could you be, if your 4 year old children feel the need to defend their lives?
One might say it's what they teach at school, but seriously, children should not have to live like that. This goes for all parties.

The bombings, as anyone can tell you, will only make things worse. It is not a solution. Targeting civilians is not acceptable. It's one big vicious circle.

A few unorganised thoughts:
Yes, our governments are generally unpopular and corrupt. We pay the price every day. If there were a democracy, Arab armies (though generally untrained, useless and ineffective) would be defending Iraq.

Palestinans in refugee camps in Lebanon are in a worse situation than anywhere else, as the unerwa reports.

Palestinians have been persecuted by the Lebanese and Jordanian.

Palestians refugees are the only people not allowed to own a house in Lebanon, or a company, or a shop. or anything.

Palestians refugees are not allowed into most Arab countries. It is almost impossible to acquire a Schengen visa for them.

It is a basic misconcepion to label nations as Arabs... We are all very different. It's as ambiguous as saying: Europeans... We read the same language but we speak differently. We live differently... To claim that the conflict is between Arabs and Israelis is misleading. That would make Israel into a small nation compared to the rest of us. And the rest of us isn't really doing anything about it. The conflict is between Palestinians and Israelis. An unrecognised bunch of people against a state with a very powerful army and friends in the right places. If the (unelected) Arab governments really cared about the Palestinians, they would have stopped pumping oil and pressured the international community into forcing a truce, a solution to all this mess. Shame on us.

One really needs to understand the divide btween the people, who happen to care for the fellow Palestinians, and the atrocities of Arab governments. They meet in summits, they say the situation is bad, and then go home and forget about it. It's a sour recipe with very unwelcome results. It festers resentment and anger. People here want to help but can't. They can't even change their own regimes... However, this is not an invitation to a US invasion, ok? It is funny to note that our governments are usually backed by the US. Makes you wonder why.

This makes me tired. Lebanon is too close to the conflict and we've had to survive 22 years of Israeli occupation. The situation is too messy and explosives for people to afford to sit back and throw insults at Arabs. Try to understand.

Thanks if you've read this.

raphaelfreeman's picture

just a point of information. All the Arabs that left Palestine in 1948 did so under the orders of the surrounding Arab nations with the promise that once they had defeated Israel they would be able to come back. This had nothing to do with Israel. Never has Israel told it's inhabitants to leave. The moment you leave a country so that you can make way for an invading force to destroy the country, you kinda lose the right to live there. They weren't running away in order to avoid war, but rather to ease the path of the invading armies. Therefore they were effectively accomplices to war. Sorry, but their homes were not erased to make way for settlements, but rather for the annihilation of Israel.

I have my opinion of settlements, and it may differ from half the population of Israel so I am not going to present it in this forum, but rather let the elected leadership (yes we are a democracy) who represent the people (well in the best way that a democracy can, but that's a whole other story) decide what to do about that. But please remember, settlements are not acts of war. They don't harm anybody. They don't kick people out of the homes or land. They simply go to land which is available and legal to live on (otherwise the Israeli Army bulldoze the Israeli homes and has and does many a time) and live there. There is an argument that this prevents peace with the Palestinians although many would argue that this simply is an oversimplification of the reality.

Now for some answers: Israel is the only Jewish State that is why the Law of Return applies to Jews. There are many many Muslim and Christian States. If a Muslim wished to find their own country where they have the "right" to live there, there are many to choose from. However, a Jew only has one choice. He can apply to live in the US, or Britain or anywhere else, but he does not have the "right" to live there. Therefore Christians and Muslims *may* live in Israel, but must apply like any other country. On the other hand, if that individual has themselves or their families been involved in terror attacks in that country, it must be understood that it's a little harder to get a VISA. There are many people here from the Philipines for example who are not Jewish, but live here legally without any problem, just as there are many Americans living say, in Germany. Yes, I know that an American is not a religion, but my point is that although it is a *Jewish* country, being Jewish affords a special status of having the automatic right to live here, it doesn't mean that anyone else can't or doesn't live here regardless of their religion. Which I don't know if there are any Christian or Muslim countries that have that system of a Law of Return. But come on, Israel is a tiny country whose length fits the width of Britain. Israel isn't a small nation – it's a tiny nation. There are more Jews living in New York than in the whole of Israel. Let's get a bit of perspective here.

Sabra and Shatilla: but in short these massacres were committed by a Lebanese Force called the Phalangists. I'll let you go to the website which explains it all in detail.

I am not sure that a 4-year-old is able to make such distinctions. I think that if a 4-year-old is throwing a stone at a tank it is not due to ideological beliefs but rather because his older brother told him so.

Finally you are right. The conflict is Israel vs Palestinian although the definition of the latter is somewhat difficult to understand. However, there is definately a group of people who define themselves as Palestinian and wish their own State. The other Arab nations treat them despicably so they would rather live in Israel or better still under their own autonomy. But this still doesn't explain the Palestinian leaderships use of the millions of dollars that it has. Again, I still ask the question? Why is this money not being spent on building up infrastructure for the Palestinian people. Why are they made to live in sub-standard conditions?

dan_reynolds's picture

Nadine, thank you very much for joining the conversation. I found your comments very thoughtfull, and well, also a bit enlightening.

I have what might sound like a naive question for you, but it is a question that many people in the west ask themselves all the time: why don't governments in the Arab world take Palestinian refugees in, and make them full citizens of their own countries?

As you know, Europe and the United States have comprehensive

dan_reynolds's picture

Raphael, I don't feel super comfortable discussing German immigration policies, because I know that the German government turns certain groups of people away, while in turn it was very easy for me to move there.

But, I would like to elaborate on Jews and Germany a little bit if I may. Almost all Jews are "allowed" to move to Germany, although I can understand why most would not want to. In a large part, this dillema set the stage for the founding of Israel by the UN in the first place.

After WWII, Eastern European Jews who were still alive were rounded up in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, Italy, and France (mostly). They had three options, as far as I am aware. First, they could try to go back home. Many of them did, and were then murdered

raphaelfreeman's picture

Of course Jews can go to Europe or any other country although the rate of Immigration of French Jews to Israel has soured in recent months due to the antisemitism currently in recent months. So if Jews are leaving their native France for Israel, then why should anyone want to go to France...

now regarding the intafada. The rocks were not occasional, the demonstrations were not peaceful. And let me explain what a rock is. A rock isn't usually a little stone thrown at a window to wake up the girlfriend. A rock is a huge boulder that several Arabs throw at cars smashing through the windshield often causing death and if not serious injury. Molotov cocktails aren't something drank at a pub but rather designed to blow up vehicles. The word "intafada" doesn't mean peaceful demonstration.

I personally come from the UK and went to one of the best schools in the country as a child. Yet antisemitism was rampant in a school that was actually 17% Jewish (yes after learning about Nazi Germany in History class, a nazi party was formed in my class!). What is/was scary about this, is that the almuni of my school are the leaders of today -- they are the ones holding position of power in Britain. So guess what, I am not so sure that England is such a great place for Jews either (although since my parents and one of my sisters still live there, I go back often to visit).

hrant's picture

Thank you Nadine.
Just know -you probably already do- that some people here can be just as crazy as the Settlers or the Jihadists, they just dress better and have better grammar.

Dan, if you really did find Nadine's information "enlightening", then that clearly shows the information-hinding you've been subjected to. "I try to support Israel as often as possible" indeed... Did you support South Africa during white rule? If not, I think you missed an opportunity. Oh but wait, white South Africans didn't have a strangle-hold on US media... Open you eyes.

> why don't governments in the Arab world take Palestinian
> refugees in, and make them full citizens of their own countries?

Because Palestine is their land. And not because of something written a long time ago in a book, but because that's what's humanly reasonable.

As Nadine said, Palestinians are many things (Arab, largely Muslim, Middle Eastern, Semitic) but most of all they are their own entity. You can't expect all Arabs to make contingencies for the destructive attitude of some people, especially many American Jews*, who willingly send their brothers, fellows in faith and their nation down the abyss because it's ideologically convenient.

* Israeli Jews (except the industrial-grade loonies in Gaza) are generally much more reasonable - because they feel the conflict on their skin, and furthermore they can see that virtually all individual Arabs are decent people.

> Israel will never willingly extend the right of return.

Then it will just have to do it unwillingly, or sacrifice something else in its place. Nobody gets everything they want, that's a fact of life. Ignore the delusions of rabid fundamentalists saying they're going to send Israel into the sea, as well as the fundamentalist on the other side who constantly point to that rhetoric to justify their despicable behavior (while conveniently ignoring the "Jordan can be the new Palestine" attitude of the Israeli government). Everybody -including Palestinians- know that's not going to happen (at least not within many centuries*), and any reasonable person is willing to compromise. No matter what the JudeoAmerican propaganda machine tells you, on the ground Jews have compromised virtually nothing since the end of WWII. Because they're afraid. Please don't be afraid - you're making everybody miserable. Grow.

* I wonder if this is why Jews are so protective - they're planning things to live safely by the 30th century? :-/

The overblown fear in the collective Jewish psyche (resulting from the Holocaust - it's completely ludicrous to pretend that doesn't continute to be a huge factor - for one thing reparations are still being made, Nazi hunts are still conducted, and it's a continuous presence in Israeli* and US media!) is preventing this from sinking in. Israel has to concede some key things, or continue to live in misery. It's really pretty obvious, unless you think they can simply crush Arabs into the ground** - and of course be remembered in history as a vile people as a result. Why do you think Turks have such problems with European public perception? Because they're still living under the shadow of Genocide. We are all on this planet together. Choose your future wisely.

* Every time there's a reunion of siblings from the Holocaust the Israeli media goes totally berserk.
Oh, but I forgot, the BBC (and all Europeans) are anti-Semitic. Nevermind that they created Israel.

** As many Israeli government ministers have vowed to do - balanced my arse - democracy, they declare, and think they can get away with brutal, disgusting behavior. And tellingly, as you patron -the US- came into being. Do you not realize that the Native American genocide is still a thorn in the side of America's reputation?


The occupation is illegal. Israel is an apartheid state. Those in power need to fix the situation, instead of living in denial and misleading people into allowing the raping and pillaging of fellow humans.


dan_reynolds's picture

Hrant, can you tone down the accusatory rhetoric a notch? This is getting a bit out of hand. Personal attacks are not going to help anyone understand a situation that is rife with too much attacking already. We should be focusing on what we have in common, and not what divides us.

I find it a bit derogatory that you assume that I would have supported the Apartheid regime in South Africa. First of all, I was about 14 when the apartheid system in South Africa ended. I never supported it, and learned about most of its evils after the fact. I find it unlikely that, if I had been born 10 or 20 years earlier that I would have supported it at all. Quite the contrary.

hrant's picture

People believe what their sources tell them. Media is virtually always controlled. Where did you grow up? Some of us have been lucky (nothing else) to have had a mixed bag of sources (sometimes due to having moved around during childhood, other times due to plain old chaos), allowing for the realization that none of them are totally reliable, thus facilitating more critical, objective, and balanced judgment. But there is still hope for those who have been fed one version of reality virtually all their lives: travel. And the internet!

BTW, in my experience, verbal attacks can reduce the possibilities of physical attacks (assuming however that the receiver has no inferiority complex). This is why Freedom of Speech is so useful to the System btw (as long as the system is hermetic enough): it reduces the desire for action.


William Berkson's picture

Thanks Nadine for joining in. In response to Steve, I don't think that the statements of either Raphael or Nadine are balanced, but they are authentic statements of rational people on both sides of the divide who want to see a solution. And together they do provide an authentic view of how the conflict looks from both sides. This is the beginning of understanding.

This is in contrast to Hrant's personal insults and ravings against democracy which, as we can see from Nadine, are even out of touch with many in the Arab world.

While I have heard both Nadine's and Raphael's points before, I appreciate the rationality and good will that they bring to this discussion. I will not be able to post for a few days, but I just wanted to thank both.

hrant's picture

> as we can see from Nadine

Note that Nadine is Arab, so she needs to be more tactful than me, to avoid being dismissed as one-sided*. But of course part of your propaganda is grabbing what you can and ignoring what doesn't suit you. The same as Hzballah, the PFLP and all your enemies you so resemble to a tee.

* It was you who has said that critism of Jews should only come from Jews. Talk about a convenient way to avoid change.

> I will not be able to post for a few days

Oh, how will we ever compensate for your balancing effect?


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