Home / Israel-Lebanon Conflict – Loss Of The Moderate Arab Voice

Israel-Lebanon Conflict – Loss Of The Moderate Arab Voice

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The aftermath of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict has raised numerous issues and brought to the fore the harsh and brutal reality of war. There are a number of repercussions and lessons to be learnt from the Israeli invasion and subsequent withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

One of the foremost results is the failure, yet again, of the United Nations as an international body that can promise to bring peace and justice to the conflict-ridden regions of the world. The inexplicable delay in passing the resolution calling for a ceasefire resulted in hundreds more casualties and a catastrophic destruction of the country's infrastructure. And now, observe how the U.N. can only urge Israel to lift the blockade which is continuing to make life hell for Lebanese citizens trying to rebuild their lives, and a country trying to recover from a recurring nightmare. The stalling by the U.S. in pushing for a ceasefire has also illustrated just how hollow is the claim that it is a neutral party in resolving the Middle East conflict.

Is it now being proposed that the real reasons behind the Israeli invasion were not the capture of the two soldiers but rather that that was simply an excuse for Israel to execute an agenda it had been working on for much longer. Contentious as that may be, no "retaliation" claims can stand up against the thousands of mostly civilian deaths, the billions of dollars of destruction, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of southern Lebanese and northern Israelis. Once again, the asymmetrical nature of modern warfare has been very effectively demonstrated whereby simply surviving the war was reason enough for Hezbollah to claim victory. I bet the famed Israeli PR machinery (link to Google video) is going to have a tough time putting a spin on this one.

The complete failure of Arab diplomacy shall also be something that the Arab world will need to contemplate. Gone are the days when UN resolutions could be influenced by the oil-rich nations putting their lot behind Palestine. All the rushing around that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did during the first few weeks of the invasion came to naught. Neither were the other Arab countries able to come together and force the imposition of a cease-fire.

But much more than anything else, the biggest loss has been the complete quelling of the moderate Arab voice. For most people outside the Arab world, "moderate Arab" seems to be an oxymoron. And before arriving in Riyadh I would have been inclined to agree. But when I made my first visit here last year, one of the most surprising things was the moderate and critical viewpoint being expressed in the newspapers and among the intelligentsia within the Arab world.

When the Israeli attacks started, there was still hope in the region that it would be just a matter of a couple of days before better sense would prevail, or the international community would bring pressure on both sides to cease fire. As days became weeks, and U.S. government statements and Condy's trips increased the level of frustration, the moderate voice – and with it hopes for a peaceful and quick resolution – started to slowly disappear. There was no way that the Israeli aggression could be justified or even analyzed dispassionately. And then Qana happened. For those Arabs for whom Shabra and Shatila were still living memories, this was simply the last straw.

As just one example, the Arab News, is the leading newspaper in the region, and has consistently carried columns and editorials expressing a pro-peace viewpoint, very much accepting the existence of Israel, and highlighting the need for dialogue rather than violence. But as the conflict worsened, the moderates had no choice but to unequivocally condemn Israeli action and of course the vindicated fundamentalists were all over the place. Today's Arab News carries a very simple, but illustrative three-panel cartoon. The first panel shows a bomb being dropped on a piece of land. The second shows a trench-like crater created from the bomb's explosion. And the third shows an armed-to-the-teeth terrorist rising up from the trench.

The loss of the moderate viewpoint will deal a strategic blow to the US claims of bringing "freedom" to the region, and its failed efforts to force democracy down the throats of the Arab world. You try to do that and here's what happens:

  • Muslim BrotherhoodHere's where Al Zawahiri – the ideologue for the Al Qaeda – comes from. In Egypt, they have 22% of seats and form the largest opposition bloc. In Jordan they have the largest number of seats of any political party. In Bahrain, their affiliated party is the joint largest party.
  • Hamas – They yet don't recognize the right of Israel to exist, but they are the party in power in Palestine.
  • Hezbollah – Of course, they, alliance with other parties, took 27% of the seats in the Lebanese parliament. Incidentally, Nasrallah's public "admission" that they would not have captured the soldiers if they had known the scale of the Israeli retaliation, is not acceptance of a mistake, but simply shrewd PR. Should an election happen in Lebanon now, Hezbollah will win far more seats than it holds currently.

The war has not only set back the entire peace process by many decades, but it has also completely alienated and quelled the very opinions that would have made it possible for the West to find any true allies in the region.

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About Intrepid

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Your ideas are good but they don’t reflect reality on the ground.

    1. “They (the Arabs) have to stop calling for the destruction of Isael…and demonstrate it with concrete acts of diplomacy, disarming and controlling terrorists, and economic exchanges.”

    Even though the vast majority of Arabs may want peace, the rulers do not profit by it. So it ain’t going to happen Even Jordanians fear Israel attacking, even though they tend to fell that Israel has been shown up to be a papier maché matzo ball. Then there is Egypt with its huge Jew hatred machine pumping out propaganda daily – why, Mark?

    Since that change in heart is the lynchpin in your plan, the rest won’t work either. Sorry, Mark. Good try…

  • zingzing

    arch conservative died august 30th in a fiery plane bombing, didn’t you know? and least that’s what he implies.

    i’m not sure if all of the silent arabs he refers to as having seen “the arab who was coming to blow up the plane” were actually on the plane or not. maybe if you see a bunch of arabs suddenly cancelling their travel plans at the gate, you shouldn’t get on a plane either. that said, i haven’t seen any large groups of disappointed arabs in disney shirts lately… nor have i heard of any planes being diverted from vacation to paradise… so i’m not quite sure what he’s on about.

    well, he’s dead now, having been rudely hi-jacked up in the unending blue, and may his ashes gently rain down upon whatever state he was merrily crossing toward his untimely end. sad days. pray with me now.

  • Let’s see. Who implied all Arabs always know all about every terrorist plan before it goes into action, and that therefore, all Arab Muslims everywhere are always all equally responsible for every terrorist act? Oh, that’s right, it was the “arch conservative” who implied that.

    If he didn’t wish to imply such a thing, he needs to learn how to express himself more clearly.

  • The answer is so simple, it will be impossible to implement.

    First, the Arabs have to acknowledge that Israel is there, is going to stay there, and isn’t going to be driven into the sea. They have to stop calling for the destruction of Isael…and demonstrate it with concrete acts of diplomacy, disarming and controlling terrorists, and economic exchanges.

    Second, Israel (sorry Ruvy) is going to have to acknowledge that the Biblical promise made to Jews isn’t going to work in the 21st century. Some ancient sacred land is going to wind up in Arab hands.

    Third, Europe has to admit, finally, that the problems in the Mid-East are primarly caused by the post WWI partioning which made no local sense, but kept the Brits, French, et al. happy. And they’re going to have to acknowledge that they have a financial and moral responsibility to help solve the horrendous problems of corruption, crime, poverty, and radicalism that Arab leaders are using to deflect their citizens from realizing how lousy they have it.

    Forget democracy–it’s a joke in a region that has known nothing but dictators and tribal chiefs for thousands of years. Satisfy Maslov’s basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and safety–that’s what Hamas and Hezbollah and so many other terrorist groups do so well–and you steal from them their strength.

    Give the moderates on both sides a chance to meet and talk. Who knows what could happen?

    Of course, this is all horseshit since there’s no chance of any of these things happening.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes, all Arabs have mind reading powers and know exactly who has criminal intentions.

    Victor…………..are you that dense?

    Do you honestly think that there are no so called “moderate” muslims who aren’t terrorists themselves but do become aware of or suspicious of the real terrorists due to their interaction with these terrosists in arab/muslim society?

    You’re basically saying that no arab/muslim who wasn’t a terrorist ever had any information about arab/muslim terrosists?

    Are you friggin kidding me?

    And I’m the nutty one?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    A side note to Stan the Man:

    I have an acquaintance in NI, a member of the Irish Anglican Church. More than once I have pointed out to her that the Protestant community would do far better as big fish in the Dael(sp) Eirann in Dublin than as little guppies in the Parliament in London. Her response is that this is precisely the point of view of her husband.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    The remarks made in the first part of comment #17 were not meant as ad hominem attacks. I’m sorry you took them that way.

    After WWI, the British (may G-d spare us their memory) were given responsibility for a large piece of territory in the Middle East that should have been the kingdom that Sherif Feisal of Mecca wanted (at the time he still ruled Hijaz). This included Mesopotamia, and a large piece of of what Arabs tended to refer to as southern Syria, (what Christians tended to refer to as “Palestine,” following the lead of the Romans who destroyed this land 2,000 years ago). That territory, south Syria or “Palestine,” extended from the western borders of the three Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean, and was known as the “Palestine Mandate”. It included all of what is now the kingdom of Jordan.

    Sherif Feisal invaded this piece of territory (he was not happy over having been done out of the Arab kingdom that he expected as a reward for working with T.E Lawrence to fight the Turks) in 1920, and the British, seeking to avoid a commitment of soldiers, came up with the brilliant idea of creating a “transjordanian emirate” with one of Feisal’s sons as “emir.” This was the territory east of the Jordan River. The other half of the British territory further east of the new emirate, the three Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia, became known as Irak, later Iraq, and was given to a different son of Feisal to rule as emir.

    Thus it was that Feisal’s son, Abdullah, always viewed himself as Arab ruler of the entire territory the British had responsibility for, and in negotiations with Golda Meyerson in 1947-8 offered an “autonomous Hebrew republic” within a proposed kingdom of Palestine. Mrs. Meyerson was not authorized to accept anythng less than a solution that would provide total sovereignty for a Jewish entity, so negotiations were left for after whatever conflict would take place over the western part of the mandate the British were abandoning (this from a biography of David ben-Gurion, “The Armed Prophet”).

    Abdullah was involved in secret negotiations with the State of Israel after the war of independence, and for this he was killed on the Temple Mount in 1950 or 1951. These are the origins of the “kingdom of Jordan,” a nation just as artificial as “Arab Palestine” – a virtually empty place before Jews returned in the late 1800’s providing jobs.

    There are no “Arab Palestinians” – this is a title invented in the 1960’s to give South Syrian Arab refugees from the war of independence the appearance of having a right to a piece of territory. There is no “right to return” – this is an invention of Arab propagandists using a UN resolution as window dressing.

    But that does not change the fact that there are several million Arabs who do deserve a place to hang their keffiyehs and call home. And they do deserve a place in the sun to build happy lives in peace, just as every other human being does. And the UN, heretofore responsible for the welfare of these refugees, has done a pathetic job of it, just as it has done a pathetic job of everything else it has undertaken it its history.

    Since the kingdom of Jordan was created out of territory originally meant to create a “Jewish national home,” this is a logical place to center their national home. If it turns out that the residents of the country want to call it “Filastin”, nu, they can call it “Filastin.” They can call it “Nirvana” too, if they want. That is not an issue. So long as there is peace between the two countries, there will not be war, and the economies of the two nations can bootstrap each other and build links to places like Kurdistan and Lebanon. And all the energy wasted on hatred and bomb belts can be devoted to building better lives.

    You might have a place to direct venture capital, too.

  • Stan the man

    Intrepid: the British did it with the IRA (I know the circumstances are different, and it’s possible that within the IRA, there are more moderate voices although probably not many), and as part of the peace process, the protestant unionist organisations in Ulster were also required to enter negotiations that included the Irish government.

    Prior to this process, neither side (IRA, unionists), both of which had engaged in mudrerous and cruel sectarian and civil terror campaigns (the Brits are no stranger to high-casualty terror attacks on their own soil), had engaged in de-arming.

    Essentially, the IRA were still committed to the ousting of the British from Northern Ireland (and still are, it should be added), despite the will of the majority living there, and thus did not recognise its right to exist, if you like.

    The unionists, on the other hand, were militarily committed to the non-existence of a united Ireland. The process has included such things as the freeing of so-called “political prisoners” from jails – many of whom are simply terrorists and killers. But as I said before, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter so it’s important not to place ANY conditions on the table when these negotiations begin.

    And as has been proved in that case, wiser heads have prevailed. There has been very little drama in recent years and it’s likely there will be a permanent solution nutted out over time.

    I believe the trick is just to start dialogue, no matter what. Whether it is fruitful or not is another issue, but being closed to the possibility means being closed to the possibility of peace.

    In the case of the middle east, however, you can imagine it would be a lengthy and tenuous process. But someone has to bury the hatchet first, and preferably not in the other party’s head.

  • Ruvy: I am going to ignore the entire first ad hominem section of your argument in comment #17. I appreciate that you have narrowed down your assessment of “Arabs” wanting to destroy Israel to the specific case of Palestinian Arab nationalists. Now, we’re getting somewhere.

    As to the modification of books in school, that’s old hat. In India, with every regime change, there is a change in what is taught in our schools especially in History and Geography. Apparently, India’s boundaries still include Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Aksai Chin. But that’s fodder for another post someday. The preachers need to get to the minds of the young as early as possible with their doctrines.

    Your solution. Hmm…well, looks like you’ve gone ahead and simply reversed the ideological battle of the right of Israel to exist. You’re now denying the right of Palestinians to exist as a sovereign entity? And did you just gloss over the Palestinian refugee question, or did you say they should all just relocate over from elsewhere into Jordan? And why should Jordan be so pliant?

  • Yes, all Arabs have mind reading powers and know exactly who has criminal intentions.

    Just when you think “Arch Conservative” can’t say anything any nuttier than what he’s said before, there he goes again.

  • Arch Conservative

    They didn’t start any holy war with me today they just looked the other way and said nothing when they saw the arab who was coming to blow up the plane I was on.

  • zingzing

    mmhmm. how many arabs do you know? and how many of those didn’t try to start holy war with you today?

  • Arch Conservative

    Moderate arab voice?

    Why don’t we just write posts about Santa Clause or the easter bunny ………….

    The moderate arab voice screams jihad out the other side of it’s mouth and certain people are too fucking stupid to see it.

  • Interesting “two-state solution,” Ruvy; Israel and Jordan as the two states.

    Didn’t the Palestinians already try a coup in Jordan, a couple of decades or so ago?

    I wonder whether the regime in Jordan is ready to forgive and forget that just yet.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    I took the trouble to check out your blog site after you answered me. That you directed me to my own comments on Desicritics.org struck me as strange, or at least not fitting in with the mental profile I’d had of you when reading your article originally.

    Your blog is an interesting site. Aside from politics, I’ll have to check it out…

    So, having readjusted the lenses just a bit, let’s take another look at what you write.

    There may be a “moderate” Moslem voice in India. While Moslems writing from there and from Pakistan are not necessarily overly friendly to Israel, they are not necessarily terribly hostile, at least not in the sense you read from Arabs in the neighborhood.

    Your own view, while not friendly to Israel per se, is not teribly hostile either and grants that there are shortcomings on the Arab side as well as the Israeli side. And we do not know if you are a Moslem or a Hindu. Looking more closely at what you write, your views reflect a point of view very common in South Asia without necessarily being either Hindu or Moslem. So your own religious affiliation is not an issue here.

    The point you need to comprehend is this: ALL of the “Palestinian” Arab nationalists want to get rid of Israel entirely. The only difference is whether it is done slowly and with a clever combination of terror and negotiation – that’s the moderate Arab voice – or with a war of national liberation that destroys the Jewish entity entirely and gives the Arab armies/mobs access to our women ane children, allowing them to slaughter the men much as a mob of Arabs slaughtered two Israeli teenagers in a cave near Teqó’a five years ago.

    Let’s illustrate the point with an article written by David Bedein

    On The Palestinian School Curriculum: Erasing Israel
    By: David Bedein , Special To The Evening Bulletin 8/28/2006

    Bedein’s source for his information is the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzelia, an agency ……. consistently supportive of the Oslo “Peace Process”.

    Some highlights:

    1. Israel does not appear on any maps of the world in the new PA textbooks, while maps of Israel replace the name Israel with Palestine in all of the new Palestinian Authority school books.

    2. The new Palestinian School Books “annex” sites in Israel to Palestine.

    “Haifa is a Palestinian seaport,” (p. 7) (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language) Vol. 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 86).”Galilee,
    Nazareth and Beit She’an are regions in Palestine,” (p. 7) (Al-Iqtisad al-Manzili (Home Economy), 10th grade textbook, pp.

    3. The new Palestinian school books mention Israel only as an enemy, in reference to “occupation of lands” in 1948 and 1967:”There is no doubt that the Israeli occupation has a negative impact on [Palestinian] agriculture and its export,” (p. 8) (Lughatuna
    al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language) Vol. 1, 10th grade textbook, p. 102).

    4. The new Palestinian school books present Zionism only as an enemy movement: “The Palestinian people are under an oppressive siege, limiting their movement and way of life,” (p. 9) (Al-Tarbiyah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic
    Education), Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 49).Accusation against settlements [from 1948!] of damaging water sources “the influence of
    settlement on sources of water in Palestine,” (p. 9) (Ulum al-Sihha wal-B’ia (Health and Environmental Sciences), 10th grade textbook,
    p. 122).”The Palestinian family has problems…stemming from the occupation…it loses father, mother or son to death or
    imprisonment…endures the difficulties of life…,” (p. 11) (Al-Tarbiyah al-Wataniyya (National Education), 5th grade textbook,
    p. 23).

    6. The new Palestinian school books teach that the First Zionist Congress at Basel fostered the Zionist State based on a secret decision of what came came to be known as the “Protocols of the
    Elders of Zion.” (p. 13) (Tarikh al-‘Alam al-Hadith wal Mu-‘asir (History of the News Modern World), 10th grade textbook, pp. 60-64).

    Nota bene: This confirms what you yourself write in comment #14 (oh yes, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is still taught as fact in schools here!)

    7. The new Palestinian School books teach that the only ancient inhabitants of Israel were Arabs, ignoring any ancient Jewish presence.
    “Concentrated…in the land of Al-Sham [Greater Syria]…was the culture of the Canaanite and Aramaic peoples who migrated there from the Arab peninsula,” (p.14-15) (Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, Foreword).

    8. The new Palestinian school books teach that Palestinians must use war and violence – especially martyrdom – to accomplish their goals: The heroic mother, “who incessantly presents one sacrifice [fida’] after another.” (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 31).The warrior goes to war faced with one of the good options: victory or martyrdom in battle for the sake of Allah. (Ibid. Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p.
    70).”Allah gave the people of this land (Al-Sham and Palestine) an important task: they must stand on the forefront of the Muslim campaign against their enemies, and only if they fulfill their duty to their religion, nation, and land will they be rewarded as stated in the scriptures.” (Al-Tarbiya al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Education), Vol 2, 10th grade textbook, p. 50).

    9. The new Palestinian school books feature children with names such as Jihad (holy war) and Nidal (struggle). (p.22) (Tarikh al-Hadarat
    al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, p.6).

    10. The new Palestinian school books stress the importance of “return” of refugees to all of Palestine – by violence: “The wrong must be made right by returning them to their homes: we returned to the homeland after a long absence.” (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 43). “Returning to
    the homes, the plains and the mountains, under the banners of glory, jihad [holy war] and struggle” (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful
    Language), Vol 1, 5th grade textbook, p.88).

    Bedein wrote, “In May, 2001, when this reporter asked then-Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert about the incorporation of PA textbooks in the Arab schools in Jerusalem, his answer was that ‘they can teach what they want, and we
    will teach what we want.'”

    The prime minister does not deign to consider this as important now, according to Bedein. Olmert has learned nothing in five years.

    Intrepid, there is no “moderate” Arab voice at all, aside from the few clerics that recognize that according to the Qur’an, we Jews will gather here in the end of days and this is rightfully our land.

    IMHO the moderate and humane answer to all of this is

    1.) for the Kingdom of Jordan to grant Jordanian citizenship to all Arabs who formerly lived here and who continue to live in Judea, Samaria and the Heights of Golan.

    2.) All of these Arabs would vote for the Parliament that presently meets in Amman, and Jordanian law would be applied to them. Arab refugees originally from Haifa and northern Israel who found “home” in Lebanon would leave and resettle in Jordan.

    3.) It would be an undertaking of the State of Israel (or whatever entity succeeds this corpse of a government) to see to it that there would be enough prosperity that Arabs living west of the Jordan could relocate east of the Jordan in two generations.

    4.) The schoolbooks in present use would be scrapped entirely and books that reflect reality and which promote peace and reconciliation would be instituted.

    a.) The Palestinian Authority would come to a formal end. Officials ruling Arab towns would be appointed by the King of Jordan, according to Jordanian law, and the Jewish towns would be governed according to Israeli civil law.
    b.) The territory would be annexed to Israel, but Jordanian currency would be recognized as legal tender in the territory that comprises Judea and Samaria, and Jordanian police would be authorized to operate in the Arab towns to enforce law and maintain peace.
    c.) The State of Israel would have overall responsibility for suppressing terrorism, being allowed to use such means as are necessary.
    d.) Efforts would be made to bring the Israeli health insurance system to Jordan, so that all the Jordanians might enjoy its benefits…

  • Stan the man: While I agree with the general premise that dialogue is the key, and that governments need to sit down at the table with “terrorist” organizations, especially given how these organizations are getting increasing political legitimacy in various countries surrounding Israel. However, the caveat is that these organizations need to recognise the right of Israel to exist as a nation. Hamas yet does not recognize that, and Hezbollah’s founding objectives include the annhilation of Israel. I think Israel had continued to make overtures to initiate dialogue and there are backroom diplomatic discussions ongoing, however how do you expect Israel to sit across the table with a group who’s stated aim is their very destruction?

  • The Fifth Dentist: The lack of effect of any moderate voice in any conflict (Lanka, Kashmir, etc.) seems to be a global phenomenon. Yet our only hope lies still in dialogue. Or let’s trash it all, nuke every country we have a problem with. We’ll all be dead, and then neither of us will have a problem.

  • Mark (comment #1): Maybe the Asia Times article is drivel, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the entire exercise looks very much like it was pre-meditated. Maybe the motivations were different, but like I mention, the extent of retaliation simply does not stand up to the official version. And no Mark, the Arabs are not blameless at all in the plight of the Palestinians. Not recognizing the right of Israel to exist, proxy and sometimes direct sponsorship of militant groups, curricula of hate and violence in their schools (oh yes, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is still taught as fact in schools here!), using the Palestinian peoples as pawns in the larger political games they play, the initiation of aggression, the list is endless!

    Nancy: “What I don’t understand is, how in the face of such blatant Hezbollah actions initiating the war, anyone still in possession of their brains can still try to claim that Israel is at fault?”
    The same way that in the face of blatant Israeli occupation of the West Bank, expansion of its settlements there, demolition of Palestinian homes, unresolved questions of the Palestinian refugee situation, economic strangulation of Gaza, and other such actions, you fail to imagine the Palestinians or their brothers-in-arms, the Hezbollah reacting. It’s all a question of precedent. You see the suicide bombers, but you do not see the humiliation and the absence of civil rights that the Palestinians are subject to.

    Here’s an interesting experiment. For a month, don’t get your news from any US media. Check out the BBC website or Hotzone on Yahoo. Just for a different perspective on things.

    Ruvy: And your solution to the entire problem is “nuke ’em all” (ref comment #7 on that page)?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Before you can even hope to have a “moderate” voice, you first need journalists who are free to report the truth. That doesn’t exist in Gaza, nor in Saudi Arabia.

    This Arab writer for the Jeruslam Post has had to face numerous threats to his life and has experienced attacks by Arab groups. So much for free speech in the Middle East…

    Gaza: Journalists protest censorship
    Khaled Abu Toameh
    Aug. 29, 2006

    Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip complained on Tuesday that
    they were being subjected to a campaign of intimidation and terror by
    various armed groups and urged the Palestinian Authority to punish
    those responsible.

    Several Palestinian journalists and editors have been killed or beaten over the past few years by unidentified gunmen, especially in the Gaza Strip. Until today, none of the assailants have been caught.

    At a demonstration outside the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City, dozens of journalists said that they were
    suffering from growing attempts to restrict their work. “We condemn all methods of terror and threats practiced by some irresponsible
    parties in Palestinian society against Palestinian newsmen,” said one of the journalists. “We are facing attacks from internal and external forces.”

    The journalists urged the PA to guarantee the freedom of expression in its territories and take legal action against anyone who threatens
    or attacks them. They also denounced the recent kidnapping of two Fox News journalists in Gaza City and said those who carried out the
    abduction acted against the interests of the Palestinians.

    Ibrahim Barakat, a Fatah activist who joined the protest, described the kidnapping of the journalists as an “immoral act that distorts
    the image of the Palestinian people’s struggle.”

    He urged the PA to reveal the identity of the kidnappers and to bring them to court without delay.

    Some of the journalists also attacked Israel for wounding some of their colleagues during IDF incursions into the Gaza Strip.

    In a separate development, a row has erupted between journalists in the Gaza Strip over a meeting some them held earlier this week with
    PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

    The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, a body dominated by Fatah supporters, accused Haniyeh’s office of “discrimination” in deciding who would attend the meeting. It claimed that only Hamas-affiliated journalists were invited to the meeting.

    “Haniyeh’s office ignored journalists working in important media outlets such as Palestine TV and the Wafa News Agency,” the syndicate said. “This is a very serious development that will have
    repercussions on many levels.”

    According to the syndicate, Haniyeh’s decision to keep many to boycott many of its members coincides with increased attempts to
    terrorize Palestinian journalists and prevent them from carrying out their job.

    In response, the 13 journalists who were invited to interview Haniyeh launched a scathing attack on the syndicate, accusing it of stupidity
    and impotence. They said the attack on Haniyeh’s office was an indication that the syndicate was acting out of “factional considerations.” They said the syndicate had lost its right to
    represent all journalists because of the behaviour of its heads.

    Jamal Nazzal, a spokesman for Fatah in the West Bank, accused the Hamas-controlled government of harassing local journalists and media

    He said the government was practicing “information starvation” by
    boycotting major news organizations and journalists, including Palestine TV and radio. “They prefer to deal with foreign
    journalists,” he said. “They are trying to undermine and discredit the official media.”

    Meanwhile, sources close to Hamas revealed that the movement will launch its own satellite TV station next month. Last year Hamas’s
    local TV station went on the air for the first time, but its programs were viewed only in parts of the Gaza Strip.

    The sources said that the Hamas TV would use the services of the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat, which was established in 1996 and
    which operates hundreds of satellites in the Arab world.

  • Stan the man

    The sad reality here is that there will be no peace in the middle east as long as Arab radicals, jihadists, islamofascists and a smattering of pan-Arab nationalists committed to the destruction of Israel are in a position to influence the attitudes of ordinary Arabs in the region and muslims worldwide, and it’s largely down to current US foreign policy.

    As the writer has succinctly pointed out, even the Arabs’ own voices of reason are being drowned out in the chorus of hate, and you can just see how this one will pan out: “See, we told you, look at what they did to our people in Lebabanon … and they are backed by the US, which wants to destroy us.”

    As unpalatable as this may be to the average American, Israel’s heavy-handed response to the recent crisis, which is backed by US foreign policy, is another example of its current one-vision approach: that no matter how violent, the end justifies the means because the people we are dealing with hate us.

    While that attitude, the product of years of war and violence, is an understandable one, there is another view: only when the current US administration gets off its high horse and starts taking some decent advice about the region will there be a chance for a solution.

    The current impasse in Iraq is a classic example of that flawed thinking in operation. I sometimes wonder how the US could not have been aware of the historical shia/sunni divide and the power vacuum that would be created without a proper and inclusive security infrastructure ready to be put in place before the invasion. Iranian meddling in Iraq’s affairs was only one of the issues that would have been highlighted by a quick check of the history books.

    Right now, the Bush administration says it won’t negotiate with terrorists, which means half the people Israel would like to make peace with won’t be included in any process that might begin that journey. Which means there won’t be a journey.

    My view is that – murderous fundamentalists aside – one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

    So, are we right to continue the war on terror? Yes. But we in the west need to differentiate between those fighting for some basic, promised human rights and those extremists who are just committed to our demise.

    Again, I would point to the violence in Northern Ireland and the terror bombings on the British mainland and the path to peace there: once the British and Irish governments relaxed their intractable stance and began talking with the IRA (and some equally violent protestant Unionist extremists), the ongoing spate of killings and murders ceased.

    What is happening in the middle east is obviously on a much larger scale, but it must be obvious to all but those blinded by their own ignorance that the current US foreign-policy approach, including its tacit support of Israel’s heavy-handedness, is creating more enemies than friends. The benevolence of the US has always been its greatest asset. Perhaps it’s time to dust it off – while letting those it deals with understand that kindness should not be mistaken for weakness.

  • Dean

    “The war has… set back the entire peace process by many decades.

    What peace process?

    Definition please.

  • Fifth Dentist, the fact is it was never interesting for American media to publish moderate Arab voices, to the degree that I’m guessing what you ever knew about them would only fill the smallest of pamphlets.

    Even moderate Arabs had a lot to say that was unflattering about United States foreign policy. When they weren’t saying it in the same breath as “intifada” it would have failed to sell newspapers to an American public bred for drama.

    It would also possibly have succeeded in communicating to Americans all that was going horribly wrong in Arab and Middle Eastern countries whose governments were supported by the government of the United States. Neither of which would have suited the purposes of the conservative media industry.

  • The disappearance of moderate arabs will have no tangible effect on the “peace process” as they’ve never reacted in any way to the actions of their extremist neighbors … oh, except occasionally to applaud vociferously as another elderly jew is pushed off the side of cruise ship in a wheel chair.

  • Nancy

    Oh. I thought maybe it was something apocryphal in the bible or the q’ran, or torah or something. You know, one of those prophesies you’ve been quoting lately.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Nancy, I think I got your answer to comment #5.

    Olmert, wanting badly to kick Jews out of Judea and Samaria, needed to look eppes like a war leader – which he isn’t. This is the same putz who said “we’re tired of winning.” But now that he occupied a seat of importance, he had to have some blood on the sword before going after doing what he does best – bullying other Jews.

    Tou asked me what was going on in October. I figured it out. In September and October, there will be trials of young kids arrested for opposing the expulsion of Jews from Gush Qatif. A war in October might well have taken the negative publicity away from the court system that has kept teenagers in jail for months, often in solitary confinement. Google up the name Moshe Belogorodsky or Haya (or Chaya) Belogorodsky and see what pops up, just for the heck of it. You should see what I’m talking about.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Why October? Why October? I should know?

    Far be it from me to speculate on what occupies the minds of such brilliant strategists as Olmert and Halutz. Now that the fighting is over, they are trying to cover their badly exposed butts. They have no prisoners of war returned, no territory occupied, no effective means of keeping HizbAllah from rearming.

    They have not destroyed Nasrallah or his Iranian armed army. They are total failures. In the words of the song “Yalla Nasrallah,” “they are small, they are dead cockroaches, they are less than trash.”

    But it must be borne in mind that they were carrying out the work of their real boss in Washington, the “Bush” White House. And now that they have failed, they are all totally dispensible. So the big boy Bush (really Cheney – it is time to stop pretending that George Bush is anything more than the badly trained head waiter for the Saudis), by this logic is expendible, too. But rank hath its privileges, and godfathers don’t get kicked out that fast…

    Nu, Intrepid! How does a “moderate” Arab differ from a “radical” Arab? We know about the “radical” Arab already. His peace process is summarized in one phrase; “ItbaH al Yahúd!!”

    Does the “moderate” Arab take apart the Zionist entity in small stages rather than large ones? Does he shrug his shoulders helplessly when terrorists murder 20 or 30 civilians in Israel while singing the praises of peace? We’ve been there and done that, and bought the funeral procession. We are not that stupid.

    The peaceniks in Israel like Dana Olmert or Uri Avneri – traitors who have sold us down the river to the Arabs for the money the EU provides them – may still buy this line of garbage. I had been hoping that HizbAllah would succeed in hitting the soft underbelly of the country, the rich suburbs of north Tel Aviv, with missiles to teach these bastards that the agenda of Arab the powerholders in place is killing all Jews – no matter what trash they spew to the western media.

    We’ll just have to wait for the next round, eh? In the meantime, I’ll take out the wine glass, the spice box and the matches and say havdallá (ceremony of separation) for the “voice of the moderate Arab.” It’ll be missed badly – like the black plague.

    One Israeli won this war. Shim’on Peres, the vulture who killed Rabin.

  • Nancy

    I don’t understand either. Ruvy? Why October? What’s in October?

  • I may have to eat my words. Ruvy on another post talked about the October invasion, so maybe it’s not the big lie, and it’s another example of no one telling me anything. Shit! Why would Israel attack in October? I’m so confused. I hate politics.

    In Nihilism Veritas

  • Nancy

    What I mean is, I wish someone would explain the Arab psychology/thought process in this to me. Currently they are more alien than if they came from outer space somewhere.

  • Nancy

    What I don’t understand is, how in the face of such blatant Hezbollah actions initiating the war, anyone still in possession of their brains can still try to claim that Israel is at fault? Are the Arabs so blind & deep in denial that they think Hezbollah’s actions should have been shrugged off with a laugh, ‘oh, boys will be boys, and terrorists will be terrorists’? No country in its right mind would stand for that kind of incursion, why would Hezbollah think for a nanosecond that Israel would? What am I missing here that would lead Arabs to think that way?

  • Alas, yours seems to be one of the lost moderate voices. You blame the U.N. for not forcing Israel to leave Lebanon but don’t mention Lebanon’s failure for years to abide by the U.N. resolution to disarm Hezbollah.

    The truly extraordinary issue that I’m watching with fascination and horror is The Big Lie being propogated that Israel intended to attack Lebanon all along. The “Asia Times” article is all speculation and nonsense. There’s not one shred of proof except some reference to hundred year old hopes by the early Zionists. What drivel.

    And your vido is interesting in that in starts with the 6 day war in 1967 but never mentions that from 47-67, the West Bank & Gaza were controlled by Jordan and Egypt who actively prevented the Palestinians from creating a homeland. And quoting Noam Chomsky–give me a break. The man lost his marbles twenty years ago.

    But you’re right…Arab moderation seems to have gone. And that is very sad.

    In Jameson Veritas