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One man, one vote, from the river to the sea
03:02 PM on 07/04/2010
I was just watching Desmond Tutu speak about that Chinese guy who stood up to that column of tanks approaching Tiananmen Square - and how that iconic act of bravery just arrests and thrills the heart of everyone who watches it

The FreeGaza ships approaching the Israeli navy evoke that same kind of iconic bravery - in the face of overwhelming odds against an aggressive bully just steadfast, pushing forward. I get the same feelings from Hamas and Hezbollah - pushing back against the Israeli assaults, never surrendering.

Repudiating every Israeli lie, every Israeli atrocity, every relentless or desperate Israeli scheme to destroy freedom, and slowly winning Palestine.
Permaculture and Sustainability
06:19 PM on 07/04/2010
Well put!
08:04 PM on 07/04/2010
Israel is scared of Hezbollah
09:00 PM on 07/04/2010
Israel is afraid of everyone. Yesterday they tried blocking the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia by the USA. Now they seem to think they can dictate our trade policies as well as our Foreign poilicy.
Permaculture and Sustainability
01:55 PM on 07/04/2010
Let us not forget that Hamas received significant aid from Israel when it was first starting up. So Israel is suffering the blowback effect described by Chalmers Johnson in his book of that name. Here are a number of sources for the Israel Hamas relationship. I start with a reference from The Wall Street Journal so that the pro-Israeli crowd can't start complaining that I used just liberal sources.
in search of the meaning of being
01:27 PM on 07/04/2010
It is a sad commentary when common sense is termed "thinking outside the box" and "contrarian thinking". On a positive note, recognizing a problem is a necessary first step towards a cure. Hopefully the journey in the right direction won't be too painful nor take too long.
04:47 AM on 07/04/2010
This is the Huffpo after all.
Lets just agree that its all Israel's fault. As usual.
01:02 PM on 07/04/2010
We can agree the root cause of the problem is Israel's continue occupation of the land they stole from a war they started.
08:25 PM on 07/04/2010
I agree with the above comment and Israel spawned Hamas so yes most of it is
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11:46 PM on 07/03/2010
What is the purpose of Hezbollah or a Lebanese resistance movement. Didn't Israel withdraw from Southern Lebanon?? The UN has certified it as a complete withdrawal.
Richard Pearce
Atheistic-agnostic Canadian polymath
12:15 PM on 07/04/2010
Keeping them from returning would be one purpose.

Fighting for a Lebanon that is governed in the interests of all Lebanese is another (which might be why the majority of Lebanese Christians voted for them).

And, though Israel might have withdrawn from all but a bit of territory who's territoriality is subject to an interesting 3 way dispute, it doesn't respect Lebanon's sovereignty over its territory as evidenced by the intrusions across that border.
Justice for Trayvon
12:21 PM on 07/04/2010
How many time must Israel invade Lebanon before you will admit Lebanon needs all the armed resistance help it can get.
11:33 PM on 07/03/2010
Excellent article, Sharmine. As usual, well researched and with pointed questions asked. It's amazing that the supposed "journalists" in Western media just aren't brave enough to tackle these subjects. Not all of us in the West want entertainment, some of us desire enlightenment. The questions you ask in the political arena make me ask questions in a personal one. Isn't that what journalism is supposed to be about?

Why don't we get more of it?

That said, how we define others - as "Hezzbollah and Hamas" the "enemy" - as opposed to "Hezzbollah and Hamas" a political entity - is at times best turned back on ourselves and viewed objectively. When you view the world as an enemy if it doesn't entirely share your own views, you make an enemy of everyone except yourself. That also occurs on a larger scale in societies and civilizations. We, speaking of US foreign policy, need to start seeing how we relate instead of how we differ. There are hard kernels of heart inside of every person as there is in nations and expecting to change those hard kernels of faith is unreasonable at best, catastrophic at worst.

In any case, thank you for an article that made me think and challenged my perspective.
SGC Atlantis
07:17 PM on 07/03/2010
Now that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's forces lost control of the Gaza strip to the Islamist Hamas group, Bush Now tells Israel they made a mistake and to give Fatah the money they have been holding up from the Palestinians and stop trying to starve them to death.

It is really screwed up now that Hamas is building strength and gaining world support just like what happened in the failed Lebanon invasion and Hezbollah win.

We sure made the Middle-East worse with the Bush Neocon New World Order mis-steps in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon. Defeat after defeat.

Israel turned Gaza into a five mile wide prison camp. Israel built walls, guard towers, and controls who comes and goes into the West Bank. They cut off food and only allow three hours of electricity and water a day. They use cluster bombs against woman and children.

Watch Israel and their right-wing lackeys to vilify the nine protesters they shot in the head.

That is how they have successfully used propaganda for 60 years to deceive Americans.

I would pick up a gun and fight Israel too if I was forced to live like that.
06:31 PM on 07/03/2010
And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed
05:47 AM on 07/04/2010
Oh for goodness sake, get over this chosen business. Not only has it been proved patently false throughout history but it only serves to increase hatred all round. How on earth has America been blessed for it's unbiased support of Israel? I'd say it's just the opposite. Israel's apartheid sullies everyone who supports it which is why our economy's on the brink and we're stuck in two conflicts in the region.
12:36 PM on 07/04/2010
See! G0d the ultimate racist! Then you wonder about why people become antisemetic. Keep telling them how they all don't matter becuase you are the chosen and they will chose to dislike you! Maybe you can rethink that bit of BS about what "He" said since he has been silent for 2000 years. Maybe he even has moved on.
12:52 PM on 07/04/2010
anti-semitism is the oldest hatred in this world..ask yourself why I made you so angry...I didn't attack you and you are up in arms if you don't believe in god then why are you responding and why do you argue that he has been "silent" if he doesn't exist..? I used to be like you an atheist and one day something very strange happened to me and it forced me to reexamine my belief start from scratch and think about things all over again...I hope maybe you do the same..but it's personal nobody can prove the existence of him sometimes there is something that can's frightening when it happens I am not a born again i have not changed my lifestyle but I can no longer deny that there is a god.
03:54 PM on 07/03/2010
Approaching Hezbollah and HAMAS, like Syria ultimately depends on how Israel views them in relation to its regional expansion. All these interests suffered extensive US-Israel intrusion in the past. Relief to HAMAS/Hezbollah interests is anathema also to top US allies, Egyptians and Saudis. The root of much of all this is MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD. It is feared as the mother of Arab activism by these regimes. This wedge Israel has been exploiting though CENTCOM realizes all these elements face too critical life/death consequences to be just stooges of Iran. Yet such military intrusion into DoS/CIA matters only bespeaks that in Petraeus-land Rumsfeld lives on.

Israel was part of European Theater because of its obsession with admission to NATO as European. Thus submission to CENTCOM, where Muslim parties are taken on their own merits, is unacceptable. Israel long claimed that it's a European FINGER in Arab World; considered member of Mideast it loses the above-them character it seeks as member of NATO/EU. Arms sales are most of Israeli economy so it can't do much business in the region.

As CENTCOM territory it would have faced Petraeus as it faced Zinni in the past. For both generals Israeli expansion through extermination of Palestinians as “terrorists” is an outrage. “Greater Israel” Zionist agenda can be achieved in no other way and US security interests were dismissed on thesis: if it’s good for Israel it must be good for America!
Sharmine Narwani
04:40 PM on 07/03/2010
Israel is indeed a finger in the region. Which finger...seems abundantly clear to me. I apologize in advance, but I have been laughing so hard over this for the past 2 minutes, that it will be well worth risking potential flags and moderator wrath. Be gentle, as I am still bent over in hysterics. Thank you, Danielet - I needed that after Argentina was thrashed by Germany earlier today.

Did Israel actually ever claim "it's a European FINGER in the Arab world?" Really?? Oh, here I go again...
11:18 PM on 07/03/2010
Firstly, let us realize that a lot of Pentagon officers do not see Israel as a European in the Mideast but rather a fist up there! Back when I first visited as a kid Israelis considered themselves a finger on the Mideast hand. The post-SixDaysWar change always fascinated me as a major alteration from Israelis feeling an ultimate need to integrate as part of the region-- a hopeful nation that could eventually overcome the paranoid Arab view that it’s holding West’s place until colonialists could afford to return (1940s to 50s) -- to the idea that they must DOMINATE the region with an IRON WALL as vanguard of an oil thirsty West paying all its military/economic bills. Your comment is not very deep, not very new and not clear as to the vectorial forces that CENTCOM will bring to bear. You failed to deal with post-1967 Israeli self-image that no longer abides by BenGurion's gradualist idea of dominating the Biblical region between the two rivers, Nile&Euphrates. Either the US/CENTCOM is willing to exterminate all Muslims in order to nip "terrorism" in the bud or it will consider the interests of the locals rather than pretending to bring democracy by crusading the Neocons' WORLD WAR IV against Islam. Can we have it both ways? No, especially not the politico-general who, according to e-mails-- seems to think he can BS it. What do you think about avante to GREATER ISRAEL?
11:38 PM on 07/03/2010
LOL That was was hysterical.
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01:46 PM on 07/03/2010
Former navy and Flotilla 13 chief and former Labor minister Ami Ayalon detailed the exact insight in this interview.

"Israel participation in such a coalition may be a strategic necessity for Israel, but it would come with demands. "for this coalition to be created, we must show advancement on the Israeli-Palestinian subject. I think this is an asset, not a liability, for Israel as well, because it is the only way to maintain Israel as a Jewish and democratic and secure country," he argued.

"For the Arab states this is a basic condition for the existence of the coalition, because they see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the source of instability in the Middle East and of the government instability in their pragmatic states, such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Thus to build the coalition which is in the interest of America, Europe and the pragmatic Arab states we must advance on this subject. We don't understand this. We think that we are the ones who have to pay the price and make the sacrifices, but it is actually the best thing that could happen."

Excellent points as in this article.
12:00 PM on 07/03/2010
Hi, children, can you please grow up and stop flagging posts just because you disagree with them. That isn't the point of the flagging process and actually, it shows your immaturity and inability to have a grown up conversation about complex issues in the Middle East.
11:51 PM on 07/03/2010
Couldn't agree more. I've had comments flagged all day because they were honest and to the point about other issues, not because they were abusive in any context.

This isn't the kiddie table and some delight in treating it as such out of abject pettiness.
Richard Pearce
Atheistic-agnostic Canadian polymath
12:32 PM on 07/04/2010
I get the feeling that there are some who are trying to use 'flag as abusive' as a sort of anti-favorite flag.

Perhaps if HuffPo were to change from that unitary 'favorite' (which only lets someone indicate agreement) to an agree/disagree system things would become a little clearer.

(and if they added to the 'flag as abusive' a place to make your argument as to why the moderator should consider the post abusive, that would be also be nice. Sometimes, the abusiveness is not noticable unless you look at them without the cultural filters. The best way to do this is to substitute one party for another.)
01:11 PM on 07/04/2010
and they could move the flag over to the right, away from where the reply flag is... or is not as the case may be.

Why is there no open forum on the "moderation" issues, I wonder, it seems to me people who play in the sandbox might have input on how to play nicer.
11:20 AM on 07/03/2010
CENTCOM's "Red Team" are the smartest officers in the military, meaning the smartest of the military officers. They don't suffer fools easily. It used to be a requirement pre-2000 that all US military officers obtain, at least, masters degrees; dont know if that still applies.

The US Army College is the number one higher-education institute in the country (again, this year, according to Forbes Magazine), and beats Harvard, Stanford, the rest. Beats the US Naval College too. Problem is you have to be a US military officer to attend.
10:44 AM on 07/03/2010
Right-wing Israel can not let the sage councils of Centcom to "mainstream" Hamas and Hezbollah and thus bring them into practicing diplomacy and other civilized norms rather than resorting to violence.

No. they are much to valuable as cardboard villains to validate IDF vicious militarism, the avoidance of sincere negotiations and defiance of civilized norms to continue the illegal occupation, the slow grind of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and all along the edges of the West Bank and the brutal blockade of Gaza.

That is validate it in the extreme right-wing Israeli government's collective mind games. When will you hasbara clowns realize the world is on to your self-deluding game?
11:08 AM on 07/03/2010
Actually that should read Right-wing Israel cannot TOLERATE the sage councils of Centcom to "mainstream" Hamas and Hezbollah and thus bring them into practicing diplomacy and other civilized norms rather than resorting to violence.

No it is necessary to cherry pick a few extremist quotes and trot them out to noise over the more moderate voices in both Hamas and Hezbollah that are ready to start the long overdue negotiations towards a more normalized relationship with Israel. The violence first attitude of the IDF is the perfect smokescreen for savage bulldozing of habitations, slant drilling of water wells under and Palestinian villages and general penal colonization which are the hallmarks of Likud's real policies of long term ethnic cleansing.

Now, that's better.

Aphorism for the day: Sometimes pouring oneself a cup of coffee is much too delicate an operation to undertake before one has had one's coffee. Same for blogging. Have a bright sunshiny day!
01:45 PM on 07/03/2010
What sage counseling of Centcom?? They did a great job in Iraq and Afghanistan,huh? NOT!
11:56 AM on 07/03/2010
Once the ‘sage’ councillors of CENTCOM suggest mainstreaming the ‘cardboard’ threats of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda then Israel may start to take their ideas seriously.

Until then she may be forgiven for taking the ideas of a military which recently invaded one country under false pretences and has laid waste to another in a fruitless nine year hunt for one man and continues to occupy both with a pinch of salt.
07:21 PM on 07/03/2010
I never said Al-Queda was a cardboard threat. But what you said, if spoken by a neo-con would apply somehow to Israel's Gaza policy.

I am hoping Hamas and Israel work out a swap so a lot of youngsters can go home to their families.
01:14 PM on 07/04/2010
See how quickly we can jump from Hamas to Al Qaeda... yes, they are all Muslims...

CENTCOM pulling its head out of the sand, no, let's pretend Hamas and Hezbollah do not exist...
09:34 AM on 07/03/2010
I believe that both Hamas and Hezbollah are the direct product of the Israeli continued occupation and expansionism on Arab lands, the silence of the U.S.-led West over Israel's illegal actions and the impotence of the Arab dictarships in ending the occupation.

I cannot include al-Qaeda, which remembered the Palestinians' quest for freedom too late and it was merely for the sake of gaining Arab & Muslim support for its violent course.

While I wouldn't vote for either Hamas or Hezbollah, many others did and see them as popular movements untained by curruption pervading most Arab regimes I believe that the resons why United States and other major Western powers are not talking to either is not only due to Israel's veto, but more to please those same undemocratic Arab regimes. Israel too is happy with countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, who are doing a great job on its behalf in pacifying their populations. It also finds in these two groups a perfect punching bag and an excuse to continue its expansionist policies in the Middle East.
10:24 AM on 07/03/2010
It doesn't work that way you can't blame Israel for Hamas and Hezbollah..everybody has free will nobody is forced to do something they don't want to do. The leaders these people have elected does nothing to help them and reflects very poorly on their society.
11:41 AM on 07/03/2010
Please read the rest of the blog. Not Israel through its continued occupation and expansionism is to blame. Many others have played their part in the emergence of Hams and Hezbollah.
Rabidly anti-censorship...
02:58 PM on 07/03/2010
It most certainly does work that way. And it did work that way. Take Hamas for example. As the article points out, it is incorrect to just refer to Hamas as just a "terrorist" group.

It is factually incorrect. Hamas has only existed for about half the length of the occupation, and was nurtured by Israel early on a counter-weight to Arafat. But he's dead.

And still Israel is and was relentless in pursuit of its various and sundry occupations, Hamas' armed wing resisted. The sad fact is though, from 2000-2008 Israel attacked first, in at least 96% of the times of any perceived lull (Kanwisher et al)

Some forget about the catalyst when Sheik Yassin was assassinated along with nine others in 2004. Yet another in a long list of Israel's murderous aggression that often surpasses anything that Hamas has managed.

Israel is solely responsible for radicalizing Hamas through its own actions.

Hamas will have to be brought in from the cold. Shooting them is simply making them stronger, and with that much more determination.
09:28 AM on 07/03/2010
If the proposals of the Red Group are accepted than can we expect to see further brave initiatives being adopted by the US?

It would be refreshing to see the US supporting more than one democracy in the Middle East. Surely the way to a lasting and just peace in the area is for the US to begin to pressure the likes of Syria and Saudi Arabia to turns their backs on authoritarianism and reaction and embrace liberty?

As an added bonus Saudi Arabia could also be forced to check the cancerous and pernicious influence of militant Wahhabism which she so generously funds.

Naturally it would be unusual and disorientating for US policymakers to support Arab democrats rather than prop up the usual Arab kleptocrats and strong men but I’m sure they will soon get used to the idea.