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Daniel Dworsky
 
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 03 December 2006 at 4:46pm
Uri Avnery
2.12.06

                A Sparkling Bubble

A FRIEND of mine, who was brought up in Egypt, took part in the
interrogation of Egyptian officers captured in the 1956 Sinai war.

An Egyptian lieutenant-colonel told him: "Every time David Ben-Gurion
gave a speech declaring that he was holding out his hand for peace, we
put our forces on alert."

And, indeed, it was a typical method of Ben-Gurion: before launching a
military operation, he would make a speech culminating with "We are
holding out our hand for peace!" He frequently added that he was ready
to meet the Arab leaders face to face, that he was in favor of negotiations
without pre-conditions, and such.


NOW, BEN-GURION has an heir.

True, even in his darkest dreams Ben-Gurion could not have imagined an
heir like Olmert - a politician personifying all the traits that Ben-Gurion
detested. But, as the Bible says, "the dead praise not the Lord" (Psalm
115) nor can they choose their heirs.

Last week, Olmert went all the way to Ben-Gurion's grave in the remote
Negev and made a speech designed to establish his status as his
successor. No point wasting words on this pretension. But it is certainly
revealing to analyse the speech itself.

On the face of it, a peacenik speech the likes of which we have not heard
for some time. Some said that this was an answer to the words addressed
to him by the writer David Grossman at the Rabin memorial rally. And
indeed, there is a resemblance between the two: just as Grossman's
speech was rich in sublime values and poor in practical proposals, so
Olmert excelled in impressive phrases but failed the test of content.


WHAT DID he say, after all?

"If you (the Palestinians) set up a new government that will undertake to
fulfill the principles of the Quartet, a government that will realize the
Road Map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit - I shall propose to
Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to meet him immediately, with the aim of
conducting a real, open, sincere and serious dialogue between us and
you." (I have translated the words literally, since the official translation
has edited the text.)

Looks good. But if one looks again, one realizes that it is just a soap
bubble.

Since the days of Ben-Gurion, all our governments have used this tactic:
say "yes" to every peace proposal, and add a small prior condition that
turns "yes" into "no".

What does Olmert demand from the Palestinian government? Little things:
to recognize Israel's right to exist without fixed borders (and without
Israel recognizing the right of a Palestinian state to exist within the 1967
borders), to stop the violence (without a parallel commitment by Israel)
and to recognize all the agreements signed in the past (almost all of
which have been violated by Israel no less than by the Palestinians.)

On top of this, the Palestinian government must fulfill its "obligations"
under the Road Map. This ridiculous document, a product of Bush & Co.,
demands that the Palestinians' first step must involve dismantling all the
"terror organizations". Meaning: all the military organizations of the
Palestinian parties. As long as the occupation is in force, this is a
completely impossible and unreasonable demand and the Palestinians, of
course, do not agree. It's like demanding that Israel must dismantle the
IDF as a first step.

Olmert does not suggest that Israel, too, would follow the Road Map.
According to that document, parallel to the dismantling of the Palestinian
organizations, Israel must stop all settlement activities. In practice, these
were not suspended for a moment and are in full swing even now.

What will happen if the Palestinians fulfill all these one-sided conditions?
Olmert will agree to meet Abu-Mazen "immediately". What for? In order to
conduct a "real, open, sincere and serious dialogue."

The words were chosen meticulously. Not "negotiations", God forbid, but
"dialogue". A strictly non-committal term. If we eliminate from the text all
the nice words that only serve as decorations - "immediately", "real",
"open", "sincere", "serious" - all that remains is the agreement to a
meeting. Perhaps there are people who are eager to meet Olmert - it's a
matter of taste - but this has no political meaning at all.


OLMERT DOES not spare words. "In the framework of the dialogue (again
"dialogue" and not "negotiations") and in accordance with the Road Map
(see above) you (the Palestinians) will be able to establish an independent
and viable Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in Judea and
Samaria (Olmert uses these occupation terms instead of the term "West
Bank", which has become a symbol of the opposition to the occupation), a
state with full sovereignty and defined borders."

Now that is really nice. No more "temporary borders", as in the Road Map,
but "defined borders". Only one little detail: where will these run?

Some might say: one does not disclose his final positions before the start
of the negotiations (sorry, dialogue). But the Palestinians are expected to
give everything before the start.

"We, the State of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories
and the settlements that we have established therein. This is extremely
difficult for us - akin to the Parting of the Red Sea (a Hebrew saying) - but
we will bear it, in exchange for true peace between us and you."

Sounds nice. But what does it mean? The evacuation of "many territories"
and not "all the territories", not even "most of the territories". (In Israeli
usage, "territories" means "occupied territories", a term official
spokesmen prefer to avoid.)

Also, not "the borders that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War". Not
even "borders based on the Green Line", which would allow for small
changes and an agreed swap of territories. But a new border which would
annex to Israel the "settlement blocs", as defined by the Separation Wall.
That means the annexation of at least 10% of the West Bank, and perhaps
much more.

And what's to stop that? After all, at this stage the other side would
already be disarmed and would have agreed to recognize an Israel
without fixed borders.

That is the old plan of Ariel Sharon: to dismantle the small and dispersed
settlements, in which some 20% of the settlers live, in order to annex to
Israel the territories occupied by the remaining 80%. Olmert does not say
what would happen to the expanded Jordan Valley, which constitutes
about 20% of the West Bank and which is already completely cut off from
it (with the exception of Jericho). Nor does he mention East Jerusalem, in
which another 200 thousand settlers have established themselves.

He promises that with the release of the captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, he
would be prepared "to release numerous Palestinian prisoners, including
ones who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, in order to increase
the trust between us and prove that we indeed hold out our hand for
peace."

After eliminating all the bla-bla from this sentence, what it says is that he
would agree to release veteran prisoners, with "blood on their hands",
which he and his predecessors have always refused to do, in return for
the soldier, as demanded by Hamas. That only confirms the Palestinian
view that Israel understands only the language of force and that it would
never give up anything unless compelled to do so.

It seems that Olmert was in an especially generous mood, so he added:
"(After) the cessation of terrorism and violence… we will significantly
diminish the number of road-blocks, increase freedom of movement in
the territories, facilitate movement of people and goods in both
directions, improve the operation of the border-crossings to the Gaza
Strip, and release your monies held by us, in order to alleviate the
humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer."

"Thank you, really thank you from the bottom of our hearts," a Palestinian
might reply. Not the end of the occupation, not even the lifting of the
blockade of Gaza. The dismantling of some road-blocks, leaving the
others where they are. Not the return of freedom of movement, but an
agreement to "increase" the permitted movement. And no opening of the
passage between the Gaza strip and the West Bank (as provided for in the
Oslo agreement 13 years ago.) But at least, we would give back the
Palestinian money "held" by us. "Embezzled" would be a more proper
term.

And what did Olmert not say in his speech? He did not propose a cease-
fire in the West Bank. Why? Perhaps because the army chiefs object. But
even a child can understand that without a cease-fire there, the cease-
fire in the Gaza Strip will not hold. The members of the organizations in
Gaza will not be able to sit still while their defenseless comrades in the
West Bank are being arrested, wounded and killed. Not to mention the
dismemberment implied in this proposal, contrary to the Oslo agreement,
which states unequivocally that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
constitute "a single territorial unit".


SO HOW to define this speech?

It is easy to say what it is not: it is not a "turning point" in the policy of
the government. A "turning point" is a change of direction, which would
necessitate the preparation of the public, explaining the nature of the
change, its reasons and expected results. Nothing of the sort has been
done. Even the spokesmen of the extreme right did not get excited.

The correct definition is "spin" - just some more sleight of hand prepared
by "image advisors" and publicity experts.

True, even spin can have some positive value. Olmert has decided to
devote the spin to matters of peace, not matters of war. This shows that
he believes that Israeli public opinion is moving in this direction. The
Israeli peace camp can congratulate itself for that. But there is no cause
for dancing in the streets.


WHY DID Olmert make such a speech at all? And why now?

There is an internal reason. In Israel, the impression has (quite rightly)
gained ground that this is a government without an agenda, without a
political plan, a "hollow" government (to use Grossman's phrase), whose
only concern is political survival.

Olmert thought it necessary to fill the vacuum and to create the image of
a Prime Minister who knows what he is doing and is working towards a
clear goal.

And there is also an external reason, which may be more significant.
Olmert may be bankrupt, but President Bush is even more desperate. He
has come to the Middle East in order to convince the American voter that
he knows what he is doing in Iraq and in the whole region. He needs a
manifest achievement. He is carrying on the tradition of his predecessors
that an American president who does not know what to do turns to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieves a "breakthrough".

Bush demanded that Olmert make a gesture to impress the world. So he
made a gesture - delivering a speech full of nice phrases and promises
with nothing behind them.

It must be remembered: Bush wants to look like a resolute statesman,
who is constructing a front of "moderate" Arab leaders against the Evil
Axis of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. This is why he came to Amman,
instead of summoning his servants to Washington. But the leaders of
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan know the dangers of looking like Israeli
agents. So Bush demanded that Olmert include in his speech a reference
to the Saudi peace initiative, which was rejected out of hand by the Israeli
government after it had been endorsed by all the Arab states. This
initiative says that the entire Arab world would recognize Israel and
establish normal relations with it if it withdrew to the borders of June 4,
1967. Now, suddenly, Olmert declares that there are "positive" elements
in it. But he did not accept it this time either.

Bush has returned home and will forget the whole matter. Olmert's
speech will join the many others which were forgotten the day after they
were delivered. Just another speech by an Israeli leader "holding out his
hand for peace".


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superme
 
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Quote superme Replybullet Posted: 07 December 2006 at 2:43pm

It was the best speeach this year for whatever the hidden intention which maybe lurking behind it. To me personaly who is not really in the know of the past history in that local area - I see hope for the hopeless and the despair. I can't see the point of humiliating the Palestinians on end, it is a pointless excercise.

I have strong belief that human do change, and human - any human - can change in an instant against all odds for reason or reasons that can confound human minds. Along the walk of my life I have seen this changes few times to different personalities - either in person or in distance.

Maybe it was just a speech to please the US President. Or maybe he was pressured by the invisible stronger arm somewhere. But also maybe it was genuine offer regardless how the speech was structured. I am not good in playing games, infact I have lost few times in the past because I took other people word as they were genuine.

Can a person or group of people be so cruel continously all his/their life? Can they always see the world from one reading glasses that they like - knowingly that there are number of reading glasses available which offer the world view from different angle? Can a person or people rely to the physical strength to prove the right and the wrongs?

Anyone who is willing to spend a bit of his time in silence and think about life will instantly see the meaningless life we have, what is it anyway. Human will become something as to what he created while still living. An arab won't retain his/her arabness in the grave. The whites the blacks and whatever colours tag used can't survive in death. That is the final fate for every human - including the jews who think they are different. In simple word there is nothing to gain once the death come or once the humanness has ceased from functioning.

Isaac newton did not have a gun and and never used one when he introduced his finding, yet he made every toms dicks and harrys walk in obediant to him with no question ask. We can't hate him because we need his formula desperately. Yet here there is/are section of people still struggle to understand such a basic example in conquering and dominating others and the world. Are the jews that claim to be jews themselves are so st**id?

There are more than 100 millions Arabs there in the Middle East so I heard.  Yet these people still as good as backward technologically, they invent nothing significant to be proud of. They have been in few wars and they can't produce even a rifle, yet they have the man power and money to burn. If I were a jew I know exactly what I am going to do.

My friend asked me one day:
If someone say to you that you are poor man will you get angry by it? I said no, of course not.

If someone tells you that you are an ugly man, will you get angry?
I am not ugly so there is no reason to be offended.

If someone say to you that you are an idiot a moron a st**id will it
offend you?
I thought that was very offensive.

It is really very hard to explain to people while having the panting breath syndrome. Time to cool down is a must until the breathing is back to normal. Sit back and relax until the mind is seeing something like the still pond in the middle of the forest.

While the mind is relax - rewind the human life back to the first couple  that start the humanity - and see what life is all about.

There are more than this when the person is relax. Zip the lips, close the eyes and seal the ears for few minutes - and take deep breath.

Thanks to Uri for the article, maybe I will give more comment later.

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herjihad
 
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 09 December 2006 at 5:11pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri Avnery
2.12.06

                A Sparkling Bubble

A FRIEND of mine, who was brought up in Egypt, took part in the
interrogation of Egyptian officers captured in the 1956 Sinai war.

An Egyptian lieutenant-colonel told him: "Every time David Ben-Gurion
gave a speech declaring that he was holding out his hand for peace, we
put our forces on alert."

And, indeed, it was a typical method of Ben-Gurion: before launching a
military operation, he would make a speech culminating with "We are
holding out our hand for peace!" He frequently added that he was ready
to meet the Arab leaders face to face, that he was in favor of negotiations
without pre-conditions, and such.


NOW, BEN-GURION has an heir.

True, even in his darkest dreams Ben-Gurion could not have imagined an
heir like Olmert - a politician personifying all the traits that Ben-Gurion
detested. But, as the Bible says, "the dead praise not the Lord" (Psalm
115) nor can they choose their heirs.

Last week, Olmert went all the way to Ben-Gurion's grave in the remote
Negev and made a speech designed to establish his status as his
successor. No point wasting words on this pretension. But it is certainly
revealing to analyse the speech itself.

On the face of it, a peacenik speech the likes of which we have not heard
for some time. Some said that this was an answer to the words addressed
to him by the writer David Grossman at the Rabin memorial rally. And
indeed, there is a resemblance between the two: just as Grossman's
speech was rich in sublime values and poor in practical proposals, so
Olmert excelled in impressive phrases but failed the test of content.


WHAT DID he say, after all?

"If you (the Palestinians) set up a new government that will undertake to
fulfill the principles of the Quartet, a government that will realize the
Road Map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit - I shall propose to
Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to meet him immediately, with the aim of
conducting a real, open, sincere and serious dialogue between us and
you." (I have translated the words literally, since the official translation
has edited the text.)

Looks good. But if one looks again, one realizes that it is just a soap
bubble.

Since the days of Ben-Gurion, all our governments have used this tactic:
say "yes" to every peace proposal, and add a small prior condition that
turns "yes" into "no".

What does Olmert demand from the Palestinian government? Little things:
to recognize Israel's right to exist without fixed borders (and without
Israel recognizing the right of a Palestinian state to exist within the 1967
borders), to stop the violence (without a parallel commitment by Israel)
and to recognize all the agreements signed in the past (almost all of
which have been violated by Israel no less than by the Palestinians.)

On top of this, the Palestinian government must fulfill its "obligations"
under the Road Map. This ridiculous document, a product of Bush & Co.,
demands that the Palestinians' first step must involve dismantling all the
"terror organizations". Meaning: all the military organizations of the
Palestinian parties. As long as the occupation is in force, this is a
completely impossible and unreasonable demand and the Palestinians, of
course, do not agree. It's like demanding that Israel must dismantle the
IDF as a first step.

Olmert does not suggest that Israel, too, would follow the Road Map.
According to that document, parallel to the dismantling of the Palestinian
organizations, Israel must stop all settlement activities. In practice, these
were not suspended for a moment and are in full swing even now.

What will happen if the Palestinians fulfill all these one-sided conditions?
Olmert will agree to meet Abu-Mazen "immediately". What for? In order to
conduct a "real, open, sincere and serious dialogue."

The words were chosen meticulously. Not "negotiations", God forbid, but
"dialogue". A strictly non-committal term. If we eliminate from the text all
the nice words that only serve as decorations - "immediately", "real",
"open", "sincere", "serious" - all that remains is the agreement to a
meeting. Perhaps there are people who are eager to meet Olmert - it's a
matter of taste - but this has no political meaning at all.


OLMERT DOES not spare words. "In the framework of the dialogue (again
"dialogue" and not "negotiations") and in accordance with the Road Map
(see above) you (the Palestinians) will be able to establish an independent
and viable Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in Judea and
Samaria (Olmert uses these occupation terms instead of the term "West
Bank", which has become a symbol of the opposition to the occupation), a
state with full sovereignty and defined borders."

Now that is really nice. No more "temporary borders", as in the Road Map,
but "defined borders". Only one little detail: where will these run?

Some might say: one does not disclose his final positions before the start
of the negotiations (sorry, dialogue). But the Palestinians are expected to
give everything before the start.

"We, the State of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories
and the settlements that we have established therein. This is extremely
difficult for us - akin to the Parting of the Red Sea (a Hebrew saying) - but
we will bear it, in exchange for true peace between us and you."

Sounds nice. But what does it mean? The evacuation of "many territories"
and not "all the territories", not even "most of the territories". (In Israeli
usage, "territories" means "occupied territories", a term official
spokesmen prefer to avoid.)

Also, not "the borders that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War". Not
even "borders based on the Green Line", which would allow for small
changes and an agreed swap of territories. But a new border which would
annex to Israel the "settlement blocs", as defined by the Separation Wall.
That means the annexation of at least 10% of the West Bank, and perhaps
much more.

And what's to stop that? After all, at this stage the other side would
already be disarmed and would have agreed to recognize an Israel
without fixed borders.

That is the old plan of Ariel Sharon: to dismantle the small and dispersed
settlements, in which some 20% of the settlers live, in order to annex to
Israel the territories occupied by the remaining 80%. Olmert does not say
what would happen to the expanded Jordan Valley, which constitutes
about 20% of the West Bank and which is already completely cut off from
it (with the exception of Jericho). Nor does he mention East Jerusalem, in
which another 200 thousand settlers have established themselves.

He promises that with the release of the captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, he
would be prepared "to release numerous Palestinian prisoners, including
ones who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, in order to increase
the trust between us and prove that we indeed hold out our hand for
peace."

After eliminating all the bla-bla from this sentence, what it says is that he
would agree to release veteran prisoners, with "blood on their hands",
which he and his predecessors have always refused to do, in return for
the soldier, as demanded by Hamas. That only confirms the Palestinian
view that Israel understands only the language of force and that it would
never give up anything unless compelled to do so.

It seems that Olmert was in an especially generous mood, so he added:
"(After) the cessation of terrorism and violence… we will significantly
diminish the number of road-blocks, increase freedom of movement in
the territories, facilitate movement of people and goods in both
directions, improve the operation of the border-crossings to the Gaza
Strip, and release your monies held by us, in order to alleviate the
humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer."

"Thank you, really thank you from the bottom of our hearts," a Palestinian
might reply. Not the end of the occupation, not even the lifting of the
blockade of Gaza. The dismantling of some road-blocks, leaving the
others where they are. Not the return of freedom of movement, but an
agreement to "increase" the permitted movement. And no opening of the
passage between the Gaza strip and the West Bank (as provided for in the
Oslo agreement 13 years ago.) But at least, we would give back the
Palestinian money "held" by us. "Embezzled" would be a more proper
term.

And what did Olmert not say in his speech? He did not propose a cease-
fire in the West Bank. Why? Perhaps because the army chiefs object. But
even a child can understand that without a cease-fire there, the cease-
fire in the Gaza Strip will not hold. The members of the organizations in
Gaza will not be able to sit still while their defenseless comrades in the
West Bank are being arrested, wounded and killed. Not to mention the
dismemberment implied in this proposal, contrary to the Oslo agreement,
which states unequivocally that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
constitute "a single territorial unit".


SO HOW to define this speech?

It is easy to say what it is not: it is not a "turning point" in the policy of
the government. A "turning point" is a change of direction, which would
necessitate the preparation of the public, explaining the nature of the
change, its reasons and expected results. Nothing of the sort has been
done. Even the spokesmen of the extreme right did not get excited.

The correct definition is "spin" - just some more sleight of hand prepared
by "image advisors" and publicity experts.

True, even spin can have some positive value. Olmert has decided to
devote the spin to matters of peace, not matters of war. This shows that
he believes that Israeli public opinion is moving in this direction. The
Israeli peace camp can congratulate itself for that. But there is no cause
for dancing in the streets.


WHY DID Olmert make such a speech at all? And why now?

There is an internal reason. In Israel, the impression has (quite rightly)
gained ground that this is a government without an agenda, without a
political plan, a "hollow" government (to use Grossman's phrase), whose
only concern is political survival.

Olmert thought it necessary to fill the vacuum and to create the image of
a Prime Minister who knows what he is doing and is working towards a
clear goal.

And there is also an external reason, which may be more significant.
Olmert may be bankrupt, but President Bush is even more desperate. He
has come to the Middle East in order to convince the American voter that
he knows what he is doing in Iraq and in the whole region. He needs a
manifest achievement. He is carrying on the tradition of his predecessors
that an American president who does not know what to do turns to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieves a "breakthrough".

Bush demanded that Olmert make a gesture to impress the world. So he
made a gesture - delivering a speech full of nice phrases and promises
with nothing behind them.

It must be remembered: Bush wants to look like a resolute statesman,
who is constructing a front of "moderate" Arab leaders against the Evil
Axis of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. This is why he came to Amman,
instead of summoning his servants to Washington. But the leaders of
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan know the dangers of looking like Israeli
agents. So Bush demanded that Olmert include in his speech a reference
to the Saudi peace initiative, which was rejected out of hand by the Israeli
government after it had been endorsed by all the Arab states. This
initiative says that the entire Arab world would recognize Israel and
establish normal relations with it if it withdrew to the borders of June 4,
1967. Now, suddenly, Olmert declares that there are "positive" elements
in it. But he did not accept it this time either.

Bush has returned home and will forget the whole matter. Olmert's
speech will join the many others which were forgotten the day after they
were delivered. Just another speech by an Israeli leader "holding out his
hand for peace".

Salaams and Bismillah,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who can hear through the spin what the words mean.  It's great to read this from Uri.  NPR is great.  They present both sides equally, even though one side is incredibly wrong.  And the ability to spin evil rhetoric into winning people to your side was shown by the speakers on NPR by the, hmm, shall we say Pro-Olmert side?  Kudos to their truly deceptive speeches which to me were sickening to listen to since I know that many were convinced by them.

My continuing gratitude for your posts, Brother Daniel.


Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 09 December 2006 at 11:43pm
Uri Avnery
9.12.06

                      Baker's Cake

NO ONE likes to admit a mistake. Me neither. But honesty leaves me no
choice.

A few days after the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001,
I happened to go on a lecture tour in the US.

My message was optimistic. I expected some good to come out of the
tragedy. I reasoned that the atrocity had exposed the intensity of the
hatred for the US that is spreading throughout the world, and especially
the Muslim world. It would be logical not only to fight against the
mosquitoes, but to drain the swamp. Since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
was one of the breeding grounds of the hatred - if not the main one - the
US would make a major effort to achieve peace between the two peoples.

That was what cold logic indicated. But this is not what happened. What
happened was the very opposite.

American policy was not led by cold logic. Instead of drying one swamp, it
created a second swamp. Instead of pushing the Israelis and Palestinians
towards peace, it invaded Iraq. Not only did the hatred against America
not die down, it flared up even higher. I hoped that this danger would
override even the oil interests and the desire to station an American
garrison in the center of the Middle East.

Thus I committed the very mistake that I have warned others against
many times: to assume that what is logical will actually happen. A rational
person should not ignore the irrational in politics. In other words, it is
irrational to exclude the irrational.

George W. Bush is an irrational person, perhaps the very personification
of irrationality. Instead of drawing the logical conclusion from what had
happened and acting accordingly, he set off in the opposite direction.
Since then he has just insisted on "staying the course".

Enter James Baker.


SINCE I am already in a confessional mood, I have to admit that I like
James Baker.

I know that this will shock some of my good friends. "Baker?!" they will cry
out, "The consigliere of the Bush family? The man who helped George W
steal the 2000 elections? The Rightist?"

Yes, yes, the very same Baker. I like him for his cold logic, his forthright
and blunt style, his habit of saying what he thinks without embellishment,
his courage. I prefer this style to the sanctimonious hypocrisy of other
leaders, who try to hide their real intentions. I would be happy any time to
swap Olmert for Baker, and throw in Amir Peretz for free.

But that is a matter of taste. More important is the fact that in all the last
40 years, James Baker was the only leader in America who had the guts to
stand up and act against Israel's malignant disease: the settlements.
When he was the Secretary of State, he simply informed the Israeli
government that he would deduct the sums expended on the settlements
from the money Israel was getting from the US. Threatened and made
good on his threat.

Baker thus confronted the "pro-Israeli" lobby in the US, both the Jewish
and the Christian. Such courage is rare in the United States, as it is rare in
Israel.


THIS WEEK the Iraq Study Group, led by Baker, published its report.

It confirms all the bleak forecasts voiced by many throughout the world -
myself included - before Bush & Co. launched the bloody Iraqi adventure.
In his dry and incisive style, Baker says that the US cannot win there. In so
many words he tells the American public: Let's get out of there, before
the last American soldier has to scramble into the last helicopter from the
roof of the American embassy, as happened in Vietnam.

Baker calls for the end of the Bush approach and offers a new and
thought-out strategy of his own. Actually, it is an elegant way of
extricating America from Iraq, without it looking like a complete rout. The
main proposals: an American dialogue with Iran and Syria, an
international conference, the withdrawal of the American combat
brigades, leaving behind only instructors. The committee that he headed
was bi-partisan, composed half and half of Republicans and Democrats.


FOR ISRAELIS, the most interesting part of the report is, of course, the
one that concerns us directly. It interests me especially - how could it be
otherwise? - because it repeats, almost word for word, the things I said
immediately after September 11, both in my articles at home and in my
lectures in the US.

True, Baker is saying them four years later. In these four years, thousands
of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died for
nothing. But, to use the image again, when a giant ship like the United
States turns around, it make a very big circle, and it takes a lot of time.
We, in the small speed-boat called Israel, could do it much quicker - if we
had the good sense to do it.

Baker says simply: In order to stop the war in Iraq and start a
reconciliation with the Arab world, the US must bring about the end of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He does not say explicitly that peace must be
imposed on Israel, but that is the obvious implication.

In his own clear words: "The United States will not be able to achieve its
goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the
Arab-Israeli conflict."

His committee proposes the immediate start of negotiations between
Israel and "President Mahmoud Abbas", in order to implement the two-
state solution. The "sustainable negotiations" must address the "key final
status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and
the end of conflict."

The use of the title "President" for Abu Mazen and, even more so, the use
of the term "right of return" has alarmed the whole political class in Israel.
Even in the Oslo agreement, the section dealing with the "final status"
issues mentions only "refugees". Baker, as is his wont, called the spade a
spade.

At the same time, he proposes a stick and carrot approach to achieve
peace between Israel and Syria. The US needs this peace in order to draw
Syria into its camp. The stick, from the Israeli point of view, would be the
return of the Golan Heights. The carrot would be the stationing of
American soldiers on the border, so that Israel's security would be
guaranteed by the US. In return, he demands that Syria stop, inter alia, its
aid to Hizbullah.

After Gulf War I, Baker - the same Baker - got all the parties to the
conflict to come to an international conference in Madrid. For that
purpose, he twisted the arm of then Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir, whose
entire philosophy consisted of two letters and one exclamation mark:
"No!" and whose slogan was: "The Arabs are the same Arabs, and the sea
is the same sea" - alluding to the popular Israeli conviction that the Arabs
all want to throw Israel into the sea.

Baker brought Shamir to Madrid, his arms and legs in irons, and made
sure he did not escape. Shamir was compelled to sit at the table with
representatives of the Palestinian people, who had never been allowed to
attend an international conference before. The conference itself had no
tangible results, but there is no doubt that it was a vital step in the
process that brought about the Oslo agreement and, more difficult than
anything else, the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the
Palestinian people.

Now Baker is suggesting something similar. He proposes an international
conference, and cites Madrid as a model. The conclusion is clear.


            HOWEVER, THIS baker can only offer a recipe for the cake. The
question is whether President Bush will use the recipe and bake the cake.

Since 1967 and the beginning of the occupation, several American
Secretaries of State have submitted plans to end the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. All these plans met the same fate: they were torn up and thrown
in the trash.

The same sequence of events has been repeated time after time: In
Jerusalem, hysteria sets in. The Foreign Office stands up on its hind legs
and swears to defeat the evil design. The media unanimously condemns
the wicked plot. The Secretary of State of the day is pilloried as an anti-
Semite. The Israeli lobby in Washington mobilizes for total war.

For example: the Rogers Plan of Richard Nixon's first Secretary of State,
William Rogers. In the early 70s he submitted a detailed peace plan, the
principal point of which was the withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 borders,
with, at most, "insubstantial alterations".

What happened to the plan?

In face of the onslaught of "the Friends of Israel" in Washington, Nixon
buckled under, as have all presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man
of principle who did not need the Jewish votes. No president will quarrel
with the government of Israel if he wants to be re-elected, or - like Bush
now - to end his term in office with dignity and pass the presidency to
another member of his party. Any senator or congressman who takes a
stand that the Israeli embassy does not like, is committing Harakiri,
Washington-style.

The fate of the peace plans of successive Secretaries of State confirms, on
the face of it, the thesis of the two professors, John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt, that caused a great stir earlier this year. According to them,
whenever there is a clash in Washington between the national interests of
the United States and the national interests of Israel, it is the Israeli
interests which win.


WILL THIS happen this time, too?

Baker has presented his plan at a time when the US is facing disaster in
Iraq. President Bush is bankrupt, his party has lost control of Congress
and may soon lose the White House. The neo-conservatives, most of
them Jews and all of them supporters of the Israeli extreme Right, who
were in control of American foreign policy, are being removed one by
one, and this week yet another, the American ambassador to the United
Nations, was kicked out. Therefore, it is possible that this time the
President may listen to expert advice.

But that is in serious doubt. The Democratic Party is subject to the "pro-
Israeli" lobby no less than the Republican Party, and perhaps even more.
The new congress was indeed elected under the banner of opposition to
the continuation of the war in Iraq, but its members are not jihadi suicide
bombers. They depend on the "pro-Israeli" lobby. To paraphrase Shamir:
"The plan is the same plan, and the trash bin is the same trash bin."

In Jerusalem, the first reaction to the report was total rejection,
expressing a complete confidence in the ability of the lobby to choke it at
birth. "Nothing has changed," Olmert declared. "There is no one to talk
with," - immediately echoed by the mouth and pen brigade in the media.
"We cannot talk with them as long as the terrorism goes on," a famous
expert declared on TV. That's like saying: "One cannot talk about ending
the war as long as the enemy is shooting at our troops."

On the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis I wrote that "the dog is wagging the tail
and the tail is wagging the dog." It will be interesting to see which will
wag which this time: the dog its tail or the tail its dog.
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Daniel Dworsky
 
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 10 December 2006 at 12:30am
My dear sister,
These are articles and speeches that are intended for the Israeli public.
They are intended to persuade and anger us into at least considering
solutions other than war and apartheid to insure our survival.

The countries that surrounded us in every direction in 1967 are still only
a little farther away but less of an immediate danger than they were then.
The Palestinians enjoy little more love from their arab brothers than they
do from their Jewish cousins.

Palestine and Zion have been reduced to an excuse used by the worst
elements of both sides. We all have a future to plan for and the longer we
go on with our short sighted nonsense the more we allow the revengeful
and greedy to call the shots. All of us want to raise our families and be
safe. The solution lays here between civilians and friends on both sides.
Random acts of kindness. I fear for people who reside only in the "big
picture" for the "greater good". It is there that we loose our children.
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mariyah
 
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Quote mariyah Replybullet Posted: 10 December 2006 at 9:56am

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

I meant the settlers but now that I think about it Haldol (Antihallucinogenic)
seems more appropriate

Asalaamu alaikum,

Brother Daniel, you are Muslim? It does not matter, but you sound as if your are.

May Allah (swt) keep you and your family safe.

"Every good deed is charity whether you come to your brother's assistance or just greet him with a smile.
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Daniel Dworsky
 
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 10 December 2006 at 2:16pm
Born and will die Jewish but Thanks for the compliment.
   
I'm afraid I would make a truly terrible Muslim
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Daniel Dworsky
 
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 14 December 2006 at 11:59pm
                      Gush Shalom ad published in Haaretz,
                      December 15, 2006

The Supreme Court
Has approved
Extra-judicial executions.

This is
A black day
In the annals
Of Israeli law.



----------------------------------------------------


972-3-5221732.
P.O.Box 3322,
Tel-Aviv 61033.
www.gush-shalom.org
info@gush-shalom.org

          

.
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