Monday, July 31, 2006

Flashback 2000

"For those who believe , no proof is necessary.
For those who do not believe, no proof is possible."

Stuart Chase

*Note : back in 2000 this phrase was posted on a forum I used to frequent from time to time. I don't know why it is present in my mind today . يا وقي

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Greater Middle East or the New Middle East.

Arabs, non Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims in the Middle-East are skeptical about the Western promises of assistance with democracy and US administration’s apparent change of heart / policies and encouragement of democracy. This is because to this day the Western world, which is now represented in their eyes (mistakenly) by the US, still seems to be advocating the strategy exhorted by the colonialist powers in the early 20th century and highlighted by Carra de Vaux in May 1901, originally published in "questions diplomatiques et coloniales ' p.588. English version quoted in Buheiry 1989,p.114 :

"I believe that we should endeavour to split the Muslim world, to break its
moral unity, using to this effect the ethnic and political division [.] Let us
therefore accentuate these differences, in order to increase on the one hand
national sentiment [...] and to decrease on the other that of religious
community [...] among the various Muslim races. Let us take advantage of
political conditions".

Following WWI, the Treaties of Sevres (1920) and Lausanne (1922-23) basically liquidated the Ottoman Empire - which was the Muslim Empire at that time - making Iraq, Palestine and what is now Jordan, British mandates , while Syria and what is now known as Lebanon became French mandates.

The 21st century witnessed the rise of rhetoric about a 'Greater Middle East'.

"On 19 February 2004, the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat published a
"leaked" US-compiled document that became known as the Greater Middle East
Initiative (GMEI)[..]The original document, intended for internal distribution
among designated senior officials of the G8 (group of eight industrialised
countries), was meant to signal a new US plan for reform of the Middle East and
some other Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. "

This author seems to agree with me :

“The United States has given Israel a free rein because it is confronted with
the probability of two highly disagreeable developments: a nuclear-armed Iran
and a humiliating defeat in Iraq. It urgently needs to regain the initiative in
the wider Middle East and has persuaded itself - or been persuaded by Israel's
friends inside and outside the Administration -- that Israel can help it do so.
The pro-Israeli neocons in the U.S have been trumpeting that a victory for
Israel in Lebanon will be a victory for the United States, and a defeat for
Israel will be a defeat for the United States.The situation is complicated by a
further layer of conflict. The Arab oil producers in the Gulf dread an upset in
the regional power balance. They want to continue enjoying their great wealth
under the umbrella of American protection. These Gulf regimes fear a dominant
Iran and an assertive Shi'ism. This may explain their astonishing passivity in
the face of Israel's aggression.Israel's indifference to Arab life risks
convincing many young Arabs that long-term coexistence with Israel is not
possible. Arab intellectuals are increasingly expressing the view that Israel is
a colonial state, which must eventually disappear, as Europe's colonial empires
did in their time. At their summit meeting in Beirut in March 2002, all the Arab
states declared their readiness to establish normal peaceful relations with
Israel within its 1967 borders. But Israel, intent on expanding its borders,
rejected the offer. It must surely be time for Israel to think again. The offer
may still be on the table.”

Mark my words this relationship will be discarded once Israel is not needed anymore.

The US administration has draped the mantle of the champion of the West, it is furthermore applying pressure to get on with the project of the GMEI. In order to achieve this , Lebanon must be destroyed to start with a clean slate and to get the two remaining opponents Syria and Iran to capitulate. Funnily enough only recently like 5 years ago (I think ) Syria was not an enemy of the US but it has been slowly pushed to align itself with Iran after the Iraq invasion and its alleged interverntion in Iraq. Iraq one of the strongest Arab countries is already destroyed as we know it. It’s people once they get over their civil war will be too busy to build their country and work off the huge debt accumulated. They are not likely to make any decisions for themselves and they are brainwashed into thinking that the other Arab countries do not really care. That leaves the Gulf states and KSA , I hope I am proven wrong but I believe they will never lift a finger for the ME. Look at Qatar, the smart anti-bunker missiles that the US is rushing to Israel will allegedly be shipped from there.
Israel cannot afford to stop it’s momentum now because God only knows if it would ever have another similar perfect opportunity.

The North African states are too far as well and busy with their own set of problems, plus any marching army will be detected immediately along with any movement of equipment. And anyway where is that equipment purchased from ? Yep it will be used opposite that the of the Israelis.

To demonstrate that the west is still acting in terms of what Carra de Vaux advocated , let us look at this little study called : 'US strategy in the Muslim world after 9/11'.

"U.S. Air Force asked RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) to study the trends that are
most likely to affect U.S. interests and security in the Muslim

This is an excerpt of what they came up with :

"[…] certain divisions cut across the Muslim world and have implications for
U.S. interests and strategy:

Sunnis and Shi’ites. The majority of
Muslims are Sunni. Shi’ites, who number about 15 percent of the world’s Muslims,
are dominant in Iran and are politically excluded majorities in Bahrain and the
eastern province of Saudi Arabia, as they were in Iraq prior to the removal of
Saddam. The United States may have an opportunity to align its policy with
Shi’ite groups, who aspire to have more participation in government and greater
freedoms of political and religious expression. If this alignment can be brought
about, it could erect a barrier against radical Islamic movements and may create
a foundation for a stable U.S. position in the Middle East.

problem is that shiites also have a history of 'radical' Islam ex Iran

Arab and non-Arab Muslims. Arabs constitute about 20 percent of
the world’s Muslims. The Arab world exhibits a higher incidence of economic,
social, and political disorders than other regions of the so-called developing
world. By contrast, non-Arab sectors of the Muslim world are more politically
inclusive, boast the majority of democratic or partially democratic governments,
and are more secular in outlook. Although the Middle East has traditionally been
regarded as the “core” of the Muslim world, it appears that the center of
gravity may be shifting to non-Arab sectors. The most innovative and
sophisticated thinking about Islam is taking place in areas outside the Arab
world such as Southeast Asia and in the diaspora communities of the West. The
United States should pay attention to these progressive developments because
they can counter the more extreme interpretations of Islam held in some parts of
the Arab world.

Ethnic communities, tribes, and clans. The failure
to understand tribal politics was one of the underlying causes of the
catastrophic U.S. involvement in Somalia. Ten years later, the U.S. government
still knows very little about Muslim tribal dynamics in areas where U.S. forces
are or may be operating. As the United States pursues an activist policy in
disturbed areas of the world, it will be critical to understand and learn to
manage subnational and tribal issues. [..]

Engage Muslim
diasporas. Diaspora communities are a gateway to networks and may be helpful in
advancing U.S. values and interests. The United States, for instance, can work
with Muslim nongovernment organizations in responding to humanitarian

Rebuild close military-to-military relations with key
countries. Military establishments will continue to be influential political
actors across the Muslim world. Therefore, military-to-military relations will
be of particular importance to any U.S. shaping strategy in the Muslim world.
Rebuilding a core of U.S.-trained officers in key Muslim countries is a critical
need. Programs such as International Military Education and Training (IMET) not
only ensure that future military leaders are exposed to American military values
and practices but can also translate into increased U.S. influence and

Build appropriate military capabilities. The United States
faces a need to reduce the more obvious aspects of its military presence in
sensitive areas of the Muslim world, while working to increase different types
of presence (e.g., intelligence, psychological operations, and civil affairs
such as medical assistance). The U.S. military should improve its cultural
intelligence through more Arab, Persian, and African regional and language

If you read the research in full you will find that it does contain a lot of positive aspects. Here is the pdf version. But In comparing it with the 1901 document I find it telling that over one hundred years later the leopard (though a different one) has not changed its spots. Wrapped in beautiful resounding words it is still all about interest and security and not idealism.

The ‘positive aspects’ which would be democracy, investment etc… are merely the honey pot designed to entrap the gullible masses but also an attempt to have a clearer conscience and give something in return. After all it is better to have a happy population with whom you can trade than a devastated angry mob or a depopulated ME from which you would simply mine resources. We are in the age where although force is important but this kind of action cannot be justified as overtly as in past centuries, unless you can get the opponent to fire at you first.

Baron Carra de Vaux is an eminent respected orientalist who has extensively studied Muslims and the Arab world , you can google his works yourself they are strewn all over the place and are very rich, but it is interesting that he was an important lecturer at the SOCIETE DES ETUDES JUIVES which was the 'Society for the study of Jewish history and literature, and especially of the history and literature of the Jews of France; its headquarters being in Paris. This society was founded in 1880, chiefly through the efforts of Baron James Edouard de Rothschild [and others]" , while the Rothschild family has well known ties to Zionism.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I would have made the link in my head and stated : “It’s the joooooooooooooos (© Sandmonkey) !” but I will only ask the readers for two things (1) to come to their own conclusions, and (2) to explain to me peacefully if there is a different idea re. 1901 and 2004 ?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

War strategies

We always read that Hezbollah or Hamas are not fighting fair because they ‘hide’ and 'blend' among the civilian population unlike the ‘heroic’ IDF soldiers ( or IOF - depending which side you are on) who are just, fair and gallant.

I won’t say that some of them are not nice or even inhumane since I’m not an idiot and do read the news in the Israeli papers and realize that many Israelis have saved the life of civilians caught up in the fight(s). However, it is my humble opinion backed by witness accounts from people who are actually victims or stranded in the war zones current and past (along with personal experience – and no you don’t get to hear about that sorry) that a ‘large’ number – which I will not define in order to remain politically correct- are not totally in synch with the military code of honour (let’s put it this way), and that goes for officers and non-officers.

Well in the current offensive in Lebanon and Gaza it looks like they’ve been caught red-handed using Palestinians as human shields.

“According to the Israeli human rights group, B'tselem, six civilians
including two minors were subjected to the illegal tactic during an incursion
into the town of Beit Hanoun last week [..]
Yekhezel Lain, research director with the Israeli human rights group
B'tselem says [..] This was a very blatant violation of the prohibition of
the use of human shields," [...]It was just soldiers hiding behind the back of
civilians who were held with force in their homes."


Allegedly deliberately targeting UN posts in South Lebanon and this time killing UN observers :

“The UN in Lebanon says the Israeli air force destroyed the post, in which four
military observers were sheltering. It said the four, from Austria, Canada,
China and Finland, had taken shelter in a bunker under the post
after it was earlier shelled 14 times by Israeli artillery. A rescue team was also
shelled as it tried to clear the rubble. "

If this is true it would not be the first time a UN post was targeted , the most infamous being the Qana massacre ( Operation grapes of wrathwho comes up with these names ? seriously)

Nice job fellows you are heroes !

However, what I don’t understand is why people expect any moral integrity from their enemy, why would the world hold the IDF up to a higher standard than others , it is war, they are trained to kill their enemy and they are going to ensure they do that and survive to tell about it. A tad sad but that’s life.
Well condolences again all round even to the Israeli soldiers; after all they too have mothers waiting for them.

NOTE : Yes I know that because Israel is democratic, the perpetrators could be theoretically prosecuted, and I am impressed that the human right people reporting this ar Israelis.
Libyans in the middle

I’ve been so engrossed lately in the Lebanon ongoing destruction , and the Gaza invasion , that I have neglected the Libyan blogosphere, and have not been able to participate in the comment section with my readers, thank you all for the comments of whatever type, the threads are still open and I do read them , and I hope to be able to reply to your questions in subsequent post, although a lot of comments were dialogues or heated debates beween you so do not need my attention ....

Note: Lebanon is taking center stage because as a crisis it threatens to draw the whole Middle East into a black tunnel, more so than Iraq which is slightly removed ( not minimizing Iraq here, I’m aware that more people are dying daily that in Lebanon ).

However, in my tour of the Libyan blogosphere, Lebanon catches up with me and I discover that some Libyans are suffering/have suffered angst about their families stuck there under Israeli bombs.

* First Hanu, her son and daughter are on the road running for their life, Ennis and Juju and she hopes to get them to safety.

*Safia has a good ending for us , after a few days someone managed to get her son and daughter safely to Amman.

*A.Adam’s mum and other family members are caught in the fighting in South Lebanon, though she has managed to send him a quick email when she had some electricity recently.

*AngloLibyan’s mum is Lebanese and he has not heard from his family there .

Last time I prayed for all the victims of war, today I would like to focus on wishing my fellow Libyans that they be united with their loved ones ASAP.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Lebanon

Hattip Y for forwarding this site including the petition to me, excerpts follow :

"The State of Israel, in disregard to international law and the Geneva
Convention, is launching a maritime and air siege targeting the entire
population of the country. Innocent civilians are being collectively punished in
Lebanon by the state of Israel in deliberate acts of terrorism as described in
Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.*
[...] The Lebanese people feel left out by the world that is turning a
blind eye on the savagery of the Israeli state. Israel does not seem to be capable of approaching any
problem outside the realm of the military power
bestowed on it
by the government of the United States of America and other western governments.

*Article 33
No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

If you feel like doing something go sign the petition.

Interesting people's comments (courtesy BBC)

on proportionality !

"OK, next time when the son of my neighbour breaks my window with a rock I will
go on his garden, kill his dog and cat, shoot his wife and set on fire his house
where will be another six neighbour´s children, their old granny and visitors
from Hungary. Finally I will accuse his employer that he continuously gives
money to the neighbour. And since I have good relations with local police I´ll
gain a permission to devastate the garden for next one week. I AM REALLY LOOKING
Ales, Prague

On racism!

Anyone claiming Israel is democratic and the good guy should see how it treats its own. As someone wrote from Haifa, fatalities there are low as they go into
their shelters and wait. Nerve wracking but safe. Try Nazareth. We had rockets
yesterday, one only 300 m from my house where I was with my two young children.
No sirens, no warnings, no shelters. Two dead boys. Are we not worth protecting
as Arab Israeli citizens? If we are not worth it, how much less the palestinians
and lebanese?
, Nazareth, Israel

On seeing beyond black and white!

I am shocked by the level of in-humanity displayed by some posters here. It is
understandable for Israelies and Arabs to have strong feelings- but armchair
critics to advocate the blind genocide of Lebanon, whilst refusing point blank
to analyse BOTH sides of the picture- is disturbing. Considering they are
arguabely the most influential nation on earth (the Americans), it is depressing
to see so vividly the results of effective propoganda. What can other armchair
critics do - but feel fury.
Jamila, Birmingham UK

On propaganda!

Israel is fighting for all the democratic world
Eli, Rome

On special interests !

Apart from France, nobody in the Western arena dares to be critical about them IDF massacres in Lebanon. As long as the US continues to give Israel wild cards
to genocide, there is no chance of a fair diplomatic solution because on what
moral standards could it be based?
Van Brussel
, Belgium

On hidden agendas!

I don't understand why the International Community, specifically US and UK,
refuse to request a cease fire, given the breaches of Geneva conventions.Out of
the 300 Lebanese casualties, more than 250 are civilians (mostly women, children
and elderly), more than 20 are Lebanese soldiers not taking part in the
conflict. How can these killings, the destruction of the infrastructure, be
justified as a 'war against terrorism'?
Roland, Paris "

On Hypocrisy !

What do you envision when you read this ( BBC)

"The growing number of Israeli casualties - both military and civilian - is
stretching Haifa's emergency services to their limit as the conflict with
Hezbollah continues to rage across the Israel-Lebanon border. "

Thousands of Israeli casualties to the point where Israeli hospitals cannot cope anymore. Yet the Jerusalem Post reports 26 wounded in Haifa up to 2 days ago .

"It is nearly impossible in southern Lebanon to move anything anywhere
because it is too dangerous"
The United Nations' emergency relief co-ordinator, Jan Egeland.

US Evangelicals support and lobby for Israel . You think that is insignificant, that these are just some 'crazy' people with doomsday visions ? Well think again and the following is why :

"The thousands of Christians in Washington - who came and are staying at
their own expense - will be urging the US government "not to restrain Israel
any way in the pursuit of Hamas and Hezbollah",

"Research by the
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year found that
Christians were more likely to support Israel than any other
religious group
in America besides Jews.
And there are far more evangelicals
in America
than Jews - estimates suggest that they represent about a quarter of
the US
population. (Jews make up about 2%.) "

"Evangelical Christian support
for Israel is "not a new phenomenon", Mr
Shah said, pointing out that there
were Christian Zionists lobbying for a
homeland for the Jews in Ottoman
Palestine in the 19th Century. "

"Whereas the church used to counsel
people not to engage in politics, many
churches are now counselling the
"It's important and it will have
a huge influence on foreign
policy over time,"

"evangelical Christians had substantial influence on
US Middle East policy
- more so than some better-known names such as Aipac,
the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee.

""When a congressman
sees someone from Aipac coming through the door, he
knows he represents six
million people. We [the Evangelicals] represent 40
million people

40 million people wow ! that's a huge number out of a total of 299 million . They can really affect governement policy. I am positively trembling in my shoes. How can the Muslim and Arab minorities counterbalance them ? they would need a miracle . Ya Rab Ra7metak we sitrak .Allahmu la 'asa'luka rad al kada' wa lakin al lutf fih! La illah illa Allah .

"I don't support Hezbollah's actions at all and as I think I've said a
hundred times, neither do 90 percent of the Lebanese. But it is unbelievably
unfair to target, and I do mean target, and attack an entire nation for what one
militia group inside it has done. Israel's attacks are described as
"retaliation", "response", "defense" and my favorite, "justified". Yet Lebanon
is supposed to just sit and be decimated and anything Hezbollah does is not a
response but a terrorist act.[...]

Yesterday on our way over the border from Lebanon to Syria we were moved to
see a convoy of ambulances heading the other way, presumably coming from Syria -
whose relations with Lebanon we all know to be tense at best - to help deal with
the mounting toll of death created by Israel's unending assault. Half an hour
later we found out that Israel bombed those ambulances and the road other
innocent people like us were fleeing on. Of course, many will say they feared
they were carrying weapons. Honestly, I am tired of that excuse. Perhaps a small
percentage of the time that is true. However, given our own government's use of
the mythical weapons to justify another senseless war, I think we should all
question each time that same excuse is used to justify attacks on

Leila Buck is a founding member of Mixed Company, a bi-cultural theater collective, and Nibras, with whom she performed Sajjil for the 2002 New York Fringe Festival 2003. Her one-woman show, ISite, has traveled across Europe, Asia and the U.S., most recently featuring in Lebanon's Daily Star and The New York Times. Leila is a teaching artist dedicated to using drama to educate about the Arab world through performances and workshops across the US and around the world.

"There is so much that is not being reported. Israeli leaders are saying
that the reason they are bombing the port of Beirut and the Damascus highway is
to stop the delivery of weapons from Syria. Gocksel found this amusing: "Do you
think they are going to come via the Damascus road or the ports where they will
have to pay import duty when there are hundreds of unguarded roads between Syria
and Lebanon?"

Patrick McGreevy writing from Beirut, Live from Lebanon, 17 July 2006

In another development some sources are accusing Israel of using depleted uranium and poison gas in Lebanon and other 'banned' weapons. While I would not put it past the Israelis to do so , I cannot corroborate this from a reputable source acceptable to all plus I really know nothing about these weapons and their legal status ( as I don't want to repeat the discussion about white phosphorous used in Fallujah ), therefore it will simply remain a suspicion for the time being.

Nothing and I mean nothing justifies these horrible crimes (hattip Soraya), and yes I know that Hizbollah kidnapped 2 officers.
Day 10 : Flashback 1982

"Cities, buildings falling down
Satellites come crashing down
I see them falling out the skies like eagles
All mirrored glass and shattered egos
But in a corner of the world wed meet to laugh and drink and plan our sequels
cause in the alleyways and bars downtown
Theyre singing up from here to there can we go
This city comes alive at night, see these city walls are heaving
And if these old city walls should crash, amid the rubble youd find us breathing
Come say what you see in me
cause boy, I believe in you
Come say what youre seeing
All gone just ghost dancing, going all the way through

You talk about the lebanon
You tell me bout the dawn in eden
You talk about south africa
I tell you about the irish children
You say one more polish knight could come and blow away the doors to freedom
And if mother ethiopia could blow away the tears that we see run

O blow them away,
Blow, blow away
We will blow them away
O blow, blow away
Blow, blow away
Blow, blow away
Come say what you see in me
cause boy, I believe in you
Come say what youre seeing
Theyre all gone just ghost dancing, going all the way through
You know I believe in you
Oh yes I believe, you know I believe in you
You say you believe
I believe, I believe, going all the way through, yeah
Come take me back home, come on and take me away
Ghost dancing
The car pulled up, the girl she jumped in
The boy he wore a medal that was shining from his skin
With the windows pulled up, their radio tuned in
Shes hitting from the stars, hes hitting for the moon
She said, one last kiss while you look across the land
Move it into overdrive and take me by my hand
When the car broke, the rebels saw smoke
And they all went to heaven in a stupid fantasy, go
Take me away[sic]".

Words and music : simple minds (c) emi music (publ) ltd reproduced without permission from Ghostdancing .

Today just like in the 1980s this song fills my head.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I have kept away from the blogs lately because of all the terrible things people are saying, and although I've learned never to be surprised at anything in this life, some people's reactions on various blogs did make me draw my breath in and shake my head in despair and disappointment. I don't know these people; it's just that you keep asking yourself are they for real ?

Yet although I boycotted the blogs , the news of war and bitterness follow me every where: colleague conversations, TV pundits, and even lately by sms where I received a text message yesterday sent by this organisation regarding a rally which will be held today after Friday prayers in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli in solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.
I think it is a great idea as it would give the people a way to vent their pent up feelings, as long as they don't veer off track !

With regards to Israel, I'm going to voice my opinion once again loudly :

I do not think that the land on which Israel is now established is its right let alone 'divine' right. I think that it was obtained by force and by crookery and that the Arab/Palestinians have been 'scre***d' big time. So do not attempt to reason with me or change my mind about this.
BUT I also totally agree that Arabs who had not given up in their endeavour to regain this land have been stupid, and at times downright wrong (even though it was a desperate bid) and that made them loose both militarily and on the moral high ground front and so deserve what befall them.

Hence, I concede ( as I did 2 years ago on this blog ) that Israel is here to stay and that it is a force to be reckoned with and that is why it has 'earned' the right to be in the Middle East.
So I have been in agreement of a peace deal with Israel for a long time, there is no need to get killed for no purpose since Liberation of occupied Palestine is not going to happen without a proper plan. There will only be Arab genocide. All that we are seeing are half baked attempts . Liberation needs dedication and work, and unity and a strong economy. The Palestinians are none of that and neither are the neighbours ( who never get the chance to reach that stage anyway, as always something happens to them ! ).

So yes let's each hug an Israeli, since the Jews are our cousins anyway and lets spare lives and live in Peace. The important thing is to have a prosperous healthy free and educated society, of which can feel proud. And if there is any Justice to be done let God be the judge of that.

Watch this space for the next installment : The Lebanon and much more , also your comments will probably be replied to in a big post as well :)
The Lost Comments

Remember this thread ? well here are the hidden comments ; I've left the ones which are on topic and removed the personal stuff !

Non-Blogging said... Maybe we should just stop caring about Palestine and let Israel crush them? Is that it?
No, that's not the solution. The solution for everybody who is an outsider is to do what I think I've argued in this blog before - stop paying too much attention to the crisis where both parties are involved in ugly things, readily break international law and use outsider media as their propaganda tools. I repeat: both parties. We shouldn't forget Palestine but we should let Palestinians and Israelis come to their senses on their own. We outsiders should concentrate our efforts on places where the efforts one day might bring fruits.
Pro-Israeli outsiders should stop treating Israel as a case apart. It's just a country, heck, not an objectively taken Holy Land. And neither is Israel the most criminal state in the world as ranters like the one in Highlander's link think about. Israel is not a true Western democracy yet most of those who spread conspiracy theories should also come to their senses and clean their own backyards first (Darfur, Western Sahara etc.).
Just carry on like the international community - look the other way - I might just do that.
I don't have any statistics to prove my claim but I'm quite sure Israelis and Palestinians are better backed financially per capita than any other nations in the world. The world doesn't look the other way, instead it pays too much attention to that small piece of land and forgets about the rest.
Kidnapping soldiers from across borders is illegal. The Israeli reaction including bombing electricity out of Gaza is an excessive reaction to that which has a nasty toll on civilian outsiders and thus unacceptable.
However, as someone in the military reserve myself, the idea that IDF does so much to bring their boys back home is inspiring. If I were kidnapped by the enemy, I'd love the idea that my troops would do their outmost to get me back alive.
I guess I promised this before (and broke it perhaps), but this time I'll now stop commenting on the Israeli/Palestinian crisis in this length. I've simply nothing to add. Let the participants solve their problems as they best wish, if they wish that at all.

Wed Jul 12, 10:42:15 PM 2006
programmer craig said... Wow! Controversial is right! Those are the most.... erm.... controversial!!... claims about Palestinian rights and Palestinian history I've ever seen!
their fictional ancestry to lay claim to Palestinian land and Palestinian prophets.
Somebody on that Alarabonline site apparrently cannot read, no?
I will endeaver to help :D
Prophets "stolen" by Jews first!
According to scripture, Ham was one of Noah's sons and settled in Egypt. Ham's sons were named Mizraim, Kush, Canaan, and Phut.
Canaan is considered the ancestor of the modern Palestinians, in scripture. In fact, the earliest known use of the word "Canaan" is in Hebrew scripture some 6000 years ago.
In scripture, Ham did his father Noah a great wrong (which I won't get into) and Noah cursed his son Canaan to be the servants of his uncles (Ham's brothers) Shem and Japheth.
Whatever the validity of all that.... from that point forward, the descendants of Canaan become outcast and seperate from all the descendants of Noah.
The sons of Noah and the Nations they founded:
* Ham, forefather of the southern peoples (Hamitic Africa)
* Shem, forefather of the middle peoples (Semitic Arabia)
* Japheth, forefather of the northern peoples (Japhetic Europe)
Ham's sons:
Kush, supposedly the ancestor of black african tribes.
Mizraim, supposedly the ancestor of Egyptian peoples.
Phut, supposedly the ancestor of Libyan (berber?) tribes.
Canaan, supposedly the ancestor of Palestinians.
The Israelites (and the Arabs via Ishmael) are not the descendants of Ham. They are the descendants of Shem.
Therefore, I think the argument that Israelites stole "Palestinian" prophets is ridiculous on it's face. Noah was the first Prophet in scripture, and no Prophet after him was ever descended from Canaan. This claim is patently absurd, and completely unsupported in any version of scripture.
I'll address the ancestral lands in the next comment.
Wed Jul 12, 11:01:53 PM 2006 programmer craig said... a few isolated patches of their ancestral land.
There's two ways to look at this. Scripturally and Historically. Although most (nearly all) of the ancient history of the region is based on scripture, so it gets confusing.
Most biblical scholars say the Phillistines are one and the same with the Canaanites, and that they are the ancestors of the Palestinians. That's going to be my baseline assumption too.
Exodus 13:17
Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt."
The land of the Philistines was close to Egypt, and it was in between the Israelits and the promised land. Not IN the promised land. Because surely God would not have lead the Isrealites around the land of Philistines, in order to lead them right back to the land of the Phillistines, no?
What's betwen ancient Egypt and ancient Israel, drawing a strait line on a map?
Northern Sinai.
I therefore posit that Northern Sinai is the ancestral home of the Palestinians. Not Israel.
Exodus 13:18
So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
Moses wouldn't have had to part the red sea, if God had been willing to lead the Children of Israel through the land of the Philistines! They could have walked across Sinai on dry land!
OK, now the historical argument. SOme historians represent the Canaanites and the Philistines as being seperate people. They say the Philistines (meaning "sea people") were invaders, and didn't originate in that land at all. I don't put much stock in this, because the area the Romans called "Philistia" on their maps was what is today called the Gaza strip. The Gaza strip is also where the tribe the Israelites waged war on (that they called canaanites) lived. So, I think historians are pretty spotty on this issue, but I'm willing to take up the historical arguments if somebody wishes too.
Can we all at least agree that Moses lead the ISRAELITES out of Egypt some 3300 years ago, not the Canaanites? So regardless of who was on those lands, Israel is the land promised to the Israelites by God, and that it's been THEIR land (promised by God no less) for at least 3000 years?
Promised land or not, the land has been recorded as the land of the Israelites since Pharoah Mernepteh, the son of Ramses II. Good luck to anyone who wants to stake an ancestral claim older then that, because it's sheer guesswork.

Wed Jul 12, 11:29:01 PM 2006
programmer craig said... NBA, I totally agree with you. I resolved some time ago not to take sides or even particpate in the debate on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. There's nothing I can do to make things better, and anything I try to add will make things worse for somebody.
I've had a great deal of trouble sticking to that, though. Israel is an ally of the United States, and has been since Nixon declared it was so back in 1973 as part of the Cold War conflict. My country (it's policies and it's people both) are under constant attack from Palestinian side of the debate, and I've been insulted personally on a number of occassions by Palestinians and/or their supporters. Also, I have friends who died as a result of being percieved as helping Israel in Lebanon in 1983, even though they were part of an international peacekeeping effort.
The issue keeps popping up in my life, wheteher I want it to or not. Ignoring it doesn't seem to be an option for me. And trying to be neutral doesn't seem to be an option for me either. I've gotten hammerred for doing no more than stating the obvious in the past, and I'm sure I will be again. I think the issue has to be resolved, no matter how many people suffer, and no matter what the outcome. It's a thorn in the side of the whole world. We all suffer. And I condemn to hell the people who make it so. The world doe not revolve around a minor territorial dispute on a small piece of land. There are a hundred more pressing issues that get no attention at all.

Wed Jul 12, 11:53:53 PM 2006
Maya M said... Highlander, you recently wrote to me, "If by invasion you mean immigrants of North African Arab descent in Europe, then the ones causing trouble are 3rd generation and they have become citizens of that country..."I don't agree entirely, as far as I know, most Arab immigrants came to Europe during the last 30 years; in fact, many French rioters turned out to be illegals, i.e. protesting against being discriminated in a country where they were not presumed to be at all, but this is another matter.What is relevant now is, Why do Arabs always use the argument "here for generations" when talking about Arab minorities in Europe but never when talking about Jews in Israel? Even some Jewish settlers in Gaza had lived there longer than many Arab civil right fighters in Europe.I had some expectations that Palestinian negotiators would offer Jewish settlers to remain in place. "If they pledge loyalty to the future Palestinian state and agree to have all the rights and obligations of Palestinian citizens, they can remain. Of course most of their current property will be confiscated, it is not fair the majority to be landless while a small group of people possesses most of the land... They will be compensated of course - as much as our scarce funds allow... And they will have to observe the norms of our Islamic society..."Of course no Jewish settler, as long as his brain is in place, would accept this kind offer, so why didn't the Palestinians propose it? I guess, because they hold their uncontroled xenophobia as national pride and would consider any step back a humiliation.Need we talk about the ancient history of Israel? It is very well documented that this land was inhabited by Jews. The current conflict is between people driven out long ago who returned and those who had meanwhile taken their place. There is at least one other country with the same problem, Liberia. But who cares about Liberia? Palestinians, as always, consider themselves unique.What is frequently forgotten is that many Israeli Jews are of Mideast origin. Arab countries protested (and some waged wars) over the appearance of Israel on the map, but very conveniently used it as an opportunity to get rid of their Jewish minorities. (A feature of Muslim Arabs that worries others is their tendency, while demanding full rights when they are a minority, to pursue ethnically clean society at any cost when they are a majority. How do you imagine Danish immigrants being allowed to settle in an Arab country? It would be easier for them to settle on the Moon.) So what would otherwise arguably be considered an invasion by Jews on Arab land turned into an honest-looking "population exchange" deal. If you unroot your indigenous Jews and deport them to Israel, you lose the right to claim that Israeli Jews are unwelcome European guests and must go back where they have come from.

Thu Jul 13, 02:59:32 PM 2006
redENCLAVE said... Maybe we should just stop caring about Palestine and let Israel crush them? Is that it?Well, if you allow both parties to kill one another, than who will be grinning at the other end of the world? We can't allow this to happen. I know it is difficult, maybe impossible for both to find a solution due to our belief & history & I might add, hatred towards one another for the obvious reasons.
However, I'd like to add something here, I believe the Palestinians are very bright & courageous people. In more ways than one!

Thu Jul 13, 06:57:57 PM 2006
Adam said... Considering the percentage (65% aint it?) of eligible US voters that actually care to vote, I would not call the population particularly politically interested. Unlike Craig, I am not all that sure that US Goverment policies always reflect public opinion. Or perhaps public opinion shifted overnight on for example Guntanamo, an issue where the White House did a recent U-turn.
What I see in this conflict, is human suffering. Both (military) sides can be claimed to be wrong, and innocent people suffer on both sides, but the amount of suffering, by innocent unarmed citizens, is much much higher on the Palestinian side. We could do a cold body count for one thing, or we could ask ourselves: what just cause is achieved by cutting fresh-water supplises or destroying olive plantations? Reducing human suffering does not seem to be on top of the US agenda.
During the rule of Yitzak Rabin, there was a funtioning peace process. This was in the late 90's I think. And as a matter of fact there was not a single, not a single, terror act for two years. That ended after an Israeli murdered Rabin.
It is my firm opinion that the end of that peace was triggered as a consequence of a shift in Israeli policies. And yes if human suffering was high on the US agenda, presure would influence Isreali policies.

Thu Jul 13, 08:56:04 PM 2006
Adam said... Maya M,
Europe does have a rich Arabic heritage. And it goes back a lot more than the 30 years you mention.
As early as the 8th century Christians, Jews, and Arabs lived peacfully together in Granada. The latter two "gloriously" butchered (well sort of) by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1232.

Thu Jul 13, 09:30:51 PM 2006
programmer craig said... Adam, you are using the muslim invasion of Spain as an example of peaceful co-existance!? :O
Or perhaps public opinion shifted overnight on for example Guntanamo, an issue where the White House did a recent U-turn.
There was a spureme court ruling that the White House is obligated to comply with. It has nothing to do with public opinion. Not really sure what your point is, could you clarify?
A majority of Americans DO support Israel. That's a simple fact.
Adam, you seem like a smart guy. What's the percentage of Americans you see on blogs that pick Palestinians over Israelis? The polls show over 60% of Americans support Israel, with about 30% "neutral" and less than 10% siding with Palestinians. That's what I see on blog comments too. Do you see something different?
I realize you're not American, but you can at least look at what people say on blogs, no?

Thu Jul 13, 11:23:08 PM 2006
Adam said... Craig,I take back my remarks on Guantamo, they were pointless.
And I will try to express myself with a bit more precision.
Sure, Americans feel more sympathy towards Israel than the Arab world. I will not deny that. But does that automatically mean that they support all Israeli actions? Yes? And is that equally true in Texas as in NYC? I doubt it.
But please let me ask. In your very own opinion, what good goal is achieved by cutting fresh-water supplies and destroying olive plantations? ( Yes Highlander, I remember ;] ) And do you feel that the recent Israeli Gaza offensive was in reasonable proportion to one captured soldier?
Now if you thought of replying "What good is achieved by blowing up students in Tel Aviv cafés?" you have my answer: "None. None whatsoever."

As for Granada, yes, Arabs invaded it. After that Christians, Jews and Arabs were living there peacefully for 500 years. Then the Spanish king expelled all Arabs and Jews. (The Arabs didn't) And, my point was not the peacfulness. The point was 1300 years, in reply to Maya's 30 years.

Fri Jul 14, 01:45:25 AM 2006
AlanK said... highlander
well I agree that the author is controversial, also a little angry and bitter. She does make some good points
eg for instance the isreal response now does not seem to be improving things, especially targeting militants in civilian areas. Although what else could have been done not entirely sure about, imagine the reaction if isreal has began negotiations for corporal shalit and then hezbollah had kidnapped more soldiers
one thing that seemed to be a little confusing, the author seems to be advocating hamas line, that palestinians should not except the existance of isreal, judging by the quote below
"What the world is offering the Palestinians is a deal they are obliged torefuse – even at the point of Israel’s murderous war machine. They are beingasked to legitimize their own dispossession as the price of livingunmolested ona few isolated patches of their ancestral land."
As for the opposite arguement, basically accepting isreal could possibly be the start to negotiations hopefully leading to an end to the chaos. Both sides need to work together in this, after all it takes 1 to make war and 2 to make peace.
Actually a little suspicious about the timing of the kidnappings, just when mahmoud abbas was about to show that palestinians support negotiated peace. Seems that those opposed to peace are getting desperate now, also with the hezbollah kidnappings not helping either, triggering the isreali response to try to stop this happening.
highlander what is your opinion on this

Fri Jul 14, 02:25:51 AM 2006
AlanK said...
[..]also programmer craig, you make good point about the claim, "we were here first".
If that is true, here in the UK would have almost no people as there has always been large amounts of migration, conquests etc. what matters for now, is now, although I have to admit that this can be a fustrating and unfortunate principal to accept at times, but if you dont, then you end up with what we have now in isreal/palestine.

I agree with you on the guantanamo bay issue, just sad that it took the courts to bring about this change and not desire of the goverment to do something about this.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ranting about the Gaza situation -The updated version 14/7/06

I made this post three days ago, it was obviously half baked. Here is the completed version. Your comments on the previous version are safe and will be replied to in time . Hope you enjoy the rest of my rant.

By popular demand I bring you a controversial post. Please make the discussion heated but civil ;)

You think I'm ignoring what's going on in Gaza ? nope, however I'm not surprised, that is why I have not mentioned it at all. The most I can say is to repeat the words of a friend of mine 'both parties have blood on their hands now , they need to wake up and realise this for peace to become possible'.
Methinks with things being as they are, nothing is going to be solved for a long time to come. Maybe we should just stop caring about Palestine and let Israel crush them? Is that it ? That is the best solution? no heartache and no feeling of guilt anymore for having our hands tied.Just carry on like the international community - look the other way -I might just do that . Here is what may be my last rant about it( ps I reserve the right to change my mind of course) . When you can't beat them join them.

But here are interesting excerpts from Alarabonline, which get the blood boiling and the heart swelling and bring us back to square one.

"What the world is offering the Palestinians is a deal they are obliged to
refuse – even at the point of Israel’s murderous war machine. They are being
asked to legitimize their own dispossession as the price of living unmolested on
a few isolated patches of their ancestral land [...] I wake up every
morning and thank God I am not a Palestinian. These descendents of
the ancients who gave us the Abrahamic liturgy that still enthralls the hearts
of half the human race are being crucified because of a weird cult of Zionist
ideologues who are delusional enough about their fictional ancestry to lay claim
to Palestinian land and Palestinian prophets. "

I wanted to hear opposite arguments, but I realised that the opposite view is easier to backup (not necessarily because it is the truth) , which is what many of you have attempted to do on many blogs throughout the months.
Problem is with each escalation the original problem gets pushed back as we have to deal with a fresh situation. This again is a vicious circle.

Israel is a fact of life which many of us have accepted, wishing it would go away is just that wishful thinking. The warmongering crowd should stop their wild speculation and 'give peace a chance'.

Because each side has its own version of history and the outsiders should please stop interfering and increasing the flow of blood your comments cheering and enjoying the death of this and that are just NOT helpful. Please let the two people of the Middle-East alone.

"In that sense the crisis in Gaza is business as usual.
The Israelis and Palestinians are levelling the same accusations against each other, accusing each other of terrorism and oppression. Both believe that they are acting in self defence.
Forget whether one version is true and the other false. The important thing is that the people who hold these views believe that they are true, and their leaders make decisions based on them. "


"when leaders are under intense pressure, they fall back on some of the old formulas that have been tried - and which have failed - many times before. "


"But in the 39 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, history has delivered a few fundamental lessons, which neither side at the moment is in any mood to absorb.
The most important lesson for Israel [and Palestine] is that force does not work. "


"Even if the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians agreed with this interpretation of the use of force over 40 years, it will not help this time round. The Gaza crisis is doomed to run its course, in the same way that Palestinians and Israelis are doomed to live alongside each other.
But eventually, their only chance of creating a decent future for their children is to make a political agreement about sharing the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean that is acceptable to both sides.
To do that they will both have to recognise that peace has a price. Up to now, in all the years of negotiations, neither side has been prepared to pay what is needed in lost dreams and hard choices.
You cannot do peace on the cheap. But the alternative is much more costly, for everyone."

Here is the whole BBC article , please go read it.

The alternative we've been witnessing for the last few days is "Becoming Israel's greatest enemy" and dragging the neighbours in the mess. With death on all sides ( of course the greater casualties are amongthe Arabs). So as I said above an issue drives the old one away and Lebanon has pushed Gaza and even Iraq ( that's a relief for some I bet ) out of the front page news, while the Gaza situation has lead to the Lebanese new crisis which threatens to bring in other countries. Making peace seems like a distant dream now. So sad....may God rest the dead , the dying and those about to die in Peace . It does not matter whether they are Israelis or Arabs , death is the same to all.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Stomping my feet

This blog welcomes comment from all parties but what I will not stand for is to hijack the comment section for personal attacks.
Freedom of expression does not imply freedom of insult. It is not my policy to censor comments and usually I let you be rude to me because I can cope with that. But the fact that I am nice or indulgent does not mean that I'm a fool, although I have many readers it is my commenters that I value a lot because you guys and girls rock and stuck with me for a long time , becoming family. I cannot stand seeing you feud with each, if this is going to happen I will either have to moderate the comments - which is not fun and spontaneous, or close the comment section.
If you have issues or problems try email- it works too.

I have put back the post that I removed 24hrs ago to prevent a crisis, but minus the comments for fairness sake. Please observe these rules from now on. I will reply to the reasonable comments which I know you painstakingly wrote.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ranting about the Gaza situation

By popular demand I bring you a controversial post. Please make the discussion heated but civil ;)

You think I'm ignoring what's going on in Gaza ? nope, however I'm not surprised that is why I have not mentioned it at all. The most I can say is to repeat the words of a friend of mine 'both parties have blood on their hands now , they need to wake up and realise this for peace to become possible'.

Methinks with things being as they are nothing is going to be solved for a long time to come. Maybe we should just stop caring about Palestine and let Israel crush them? Is that it ? That is the best solution? no heartache and no feeling of guilt anymore. Just carry on like the international community - look the other way -I might just do that . Here is what may be my last rant about it( ps I reserve the right to change my mind of course) - I'm done with heartache. When you can't beat them join them.

These are interesting excerpts from Alarabonline. I would be interested to hear the opposite arguments....

"What the world is offering the Palestinians is a deal they are obliged to
refuse – even at the point of Israel’s murderous war machine. They are being
asked to legitimize their own dispossession as the price of living
unmolested on
a few isolated patches of their ancestral land."

wake up every
morning and thank God I am not a Palestinian. These
descendents of the ancients
who gave us the Abrahamic liturgy that still
enthralls the hearts of half the
human race are being crucified because of a
weird cult of Zionist ideologues who
are delusional enough about their
fictional ancestry to lay claim to Palestinian
land and Palestinian
prophets. "

Friday, July 07, 2006

Round up

Just a few annoucements:

(1) If you've left comments in some older posts I've replied to you on the same thread. I may not see them immediately but when I do I reply.
(2) Reader Myriam from Malta is back on the blog , welcome Myriam and Mabrouk on baby Amnah. And so sorry to hear about your father in law.
(3) Our very own NBA has a blogger profile now go check it and click on it !
(4) I'll be in London next week if you want to get in touch with me email me and send your phone number. I'll call you when I get there. :)
(5) Blogging may be erratic.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

I would like to to congratulate my friends and readers in the US on their Independence Day. Happy 4th of July everyone ! This is a wonderful achievement and sometimes we forget that America was also a colony too. ...Here is a little background info. I enjoyed reading the Charter of the Declaration of Independence very much.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the world on their respective independence days and also to talk a little about Libya's struggle for independence, until 24th December 1951.

Here is a little historical walk through the events leading up to it .

'As Europe prepared for war, Libyan nationalists at home and in exile perceived
that the best chance for liberation from colonial domination lay in Italy's
defeat in a larger conflict [..]
Libyan political leaders met in Alexandria,
Egypt, in October to resolve past differences in the interest of future unity.
Idris was accepted as leader of the nationalist cause by Tripolitanians as well
as Cyrenaicans [..]
The Libyan Arab Force, better known as the Sanusi Army,
served with distinction under British command through the campaigns of the
desert war that ended in the liberation of Cyrenaica.
In a speech in the
House of Commons in January 1942, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden
acknowledged and welcomed "the contribution which Sayid Idris as Sanusi and his
followers have made and are making" to the Allied war effort '.

Here are some Libyan heros , and wikipedia for basic knowledge .

"By 1947 Italy had relinquished all claims to Libya and two years later a UN General Assembly resolution was approved, which granted Libyan independence. This became effective in 1951 and the country became known as the United Kingdom of Libya. "

However, we celebrate today the 1st of September 1969 as our national day. On that Day King Idris who had became politcally weak in the last years and too accomodating to foreign companies in Libya was overthrown bloodlessly.It is the day of the El-Fateh Revolution which despite a lot of setbacks also brought many good things to the Libyan people initially.
Update on the cat

This is good news to share with all of you , she ( the cat) is out of danger and her eyesight is saved ! I treated her on my own better than that' world cup watching , I'm busy at the beach vet' . I will never forgive and may send the Highlander curse to him !

Maybe I'll go study medicine . .. what do you think ?

Now her torn eyelid is healing , but at least she can see and most important - no infection. yay

Sunday, July 02, 2006

World Cup notes

In a week's time the World cup fever will be over, I hate football ( soccer) and if it were not for two things this year's world cup would have passed unnoticed as usual.
First was when I found out that the vet was more interested in watching his favourite teams than treating my injured pet , and the second one was the stunt pulled by the player John Pantsil from Ghana .

The world reaction was as expected....because it is Israel, people are quick to say oh it's cute etc... but if an Arab team had Oh God forbid waived a Palestinian flag, then it would have had to face the consequences.

"He's unaware of international politics. We apologise to anybody who was
offended," The Ghanaian Football Association .

Nope I dont't agree, his action was cold and calculated , who on this globe has not heard of Israel and Palestine ? He got what he wanted and he chose his camp. Which is good because for this one simple gesture the US will look favourably on Ghana and so will Israel.

There are moments in time which should be seized. This guy just made it to the top . I'm happy for him and for Ghana as they are laughing tongue in cheek now. Also the fact that he had the flag in his socks meant he intended to do this - premeditated. He cannot ignore politics , because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is almost daily a front stage drama.

I don't follow the world cup, so I have no idea if there are any Arab teams left especially at such an advanced stage ( doubt it) in the game but if there are I urge them strongly to waive the Israeli flag ( Yes I meant it ) whether they win or loose. This would do more good then the 50 years of attempted diplomacy.