rjpieces
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The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:11 am

One of the best, and most straightforward articles in a long time (i.e., it is very balanced)

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568466-1,00.html

No sensible person is against peacemaking in the Holy Land. Applause and hopefulness would seem the reasonable reaction to the Iraq Study Group's recommendation that the Bush Administration "act boldly" and "as soon as possible" to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. But as a front-row observer of similar efforts over the past 15 years, I could muster neither response. In lumping the Iraq mess in with the Palestinian problem--and suggesting the first could not be fixed unless the second was too--the Baker-Hamilton commission lent credibility to a corrosive myth: that the fundamental problem in the Arab world is the plight of the Palestinians.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
halls120
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:27 am

I particularly like this excerpt.

Quote:
To promote the canard that the troubles of the Arab world are rooted in the Palestinians' misfortune does great harm. It encourages the Arabs to continue to avoid addressing their colossal societal and political ills by hiding behind their Great Excuse: it's all Israel's fault. Certainly, Israel has at times been an obnoxious neighbor, but God help the Arab leaders, propagandists and apologists if a day ever comes when the Arab-Israeli mess is unraveled. One wonders how they would then explain why in Egypt 4 of every 10 people are illiterate; Saudi Arabian Shi'ites (not to mention women) are second-class citizens; 11% of Syrians live below subsistence level; and Jordan's King can unilaterally dissolve Parliament, as he did in 2001. Or why no Middle Eastern government but Israel's and to some extent Lebanon's tolerates freedom of assembly or speech, or democratic institutions like a robust press or civic organizations with independence and clout--let alone unfettered competitive elections.

That said, even if we shouldn't link the Palestinian struggle with other problems in the Middle East, the fact remains that while the former dispute goes unresolved, it effectively masks the shortcomings highlighted by the author of the Time magazine piece.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
Bofredrik
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:51 am

It is easy to talk about a "Palestinian problem". Maybe the BIG problem is Israel? Who was there first?
 
rjpieces
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:00 am

Quoting Bofredrik (Reply 2):
Maybe the BIG problem is Israel? Who was there first?

That can be argued for decades. The point of the article is on the situation facing the region today.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
bushpilot
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:44 am

This issue is always interesting. I asked in another thread to one of our Palestinian members what sort of system could they come up with, if starting today, all the past was wiped clean. Could the Israelis and Palestinians live side by side peacefully? Could it be done under the same government?
I have noticed that at least through the media and the Arab leaders in US media outlets, that the Palestine issue is often brought up, but little is actually done about it by ME countries. They can give money all day to suicide bombers families, but they do not engage in the right channels of diplomacy to get things done.
The Palestinian issue is the great mask ME leaders give to thier domestic audiences to force the anger away from thier own ineptitude as governments and toward a common percieved enemy.
 
cairo
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:39 pm

I totally agree that solving the Irsraeli/Palestinian issue isn't going to magically create a peaceful Iraq or cause America to be happy with all the Arab/Muslim states in the region.

However, if you DO solve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, that takes away the biggest problem that the region blames on America, Europe, the UN or "the West" in general.

...which I think is kind of the point of the Baker-Hamilton suggestions. They are giving a laundry list of things that need to be done to create long term stability in the ME.

I think where the Time article makes an error is underestimating appearances, regardless of reality. Even if the most brilliant move in all of history was to create Israel in 1947, and even if the Israelis are 100% right in everything they do....the PERCEPTION is quite the opposite in the ME, and this perception is helping to create terrorists, motivate destabilizers in Iraq, provide moral ammunition to the Iranian government, and so on.

The Israeli/Palestinian problem may well be the scapegoat of the entire Arab-Muslim world, but right or wrong, it is an effective scapegoat among over a billion people. Obviously, to move forward, you have to eliminate this scapegoat by solving the underlying problem.

Besides that, solving this problem is the right thing to do, regardless of whether it benefits America or not. (which of course it will - imagine if America were seen in the ME as the great saviour of the Palestinian people)

Cairo
 
lowrider
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:48 pm

If other Muslim countries truly wanted to solve the problem, how about granting the Palestinians a homeland in one of thier countries, or perhaps carved out of several. So long as the problem doesn't get solved, Muslims have a bloody shirt to wave.

[Edited 2006-12-12 06:16:15]
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cairo
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:59 pm

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 6):
So long as the problems doesn't get solved, Muslims have a bloody shirt to wave.

I can agree with you, at least for the sake of this discussion. Without the Palestinian problem, many Arab/Muslim governments lose a lot of PR power over their own people.

However, this works both ways - without the Palestinian problem, Israel can't continue to dominate the news, suck billions from the American taxpayer and use it as a grounds for Israel's cherished wish of getting the US to overthrow practically every regime in the ME.

Cairo
 
deltaownsall
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:06 pm

i say we just worry about ourselves. god knows thats all the aforementioned countries do...
 
lowrider
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:28 pm

Quoting Cairo (Reply 7):
Israel can't continue to dominate the news, suck billions from the American taxpayer and use it as a grounds for Israel's cherished wish of getting the US to overthrow practically every regime in the ME.

Last I heard, the PLO wasn't exactly going hungary, either. For the sake of the example, lets say that this ceased to be an issue after the 7 Days War. How many fewer dead Israelis would we have. How much time and resources could Israel have devoted to issues other than ensuring their continued existence? How many few dead Muslims would thier be? In short, Israel, as a nation, would probably give up a few dollars in exchange for a peaceful existence. The Palestinians have much more to gain from the continued conflict. Unfortunately, with many Muslims, the starting point of the negotiation is that Israel must cease to exist. As long as that is a part of the discussion, it will go no where. I have my own opinion of how it will play out, but we will see.
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bushpilot
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:57 am

Interesting replies Cairo as always it is nice to hear the straight scoop from someone closer to the situation.
I saw Jimmy Carter last night on Leno. Quite an interesting interview. He spoke about how %70 of Israelis would give up land in the west bank and surrounding areas to Palestine in exchange for peace. It is the far right wing uber religious folks in Israel who are more interested in having that land, than peace. But hell, there is enough land for both sides. I would like to see the UN step up, broker a deal where Jerusalem would become an international city not aligned with any country but a city state on its own. Allowing the free passage for all.
 
jwenting
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:51 am

Quoting Bofredrik (Reply 2):
It is easy to talk about a "Palestinian problem". Maybe the BIG problem is Israel? Who was there first?

No, the so-called Palestinians are the problem.
Jews were there first, were driven out by Arabs, and when they came back were blamed for invading Arab land...

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 6):
If other Muslim countries truly wanted to solve the problem, how about granting the Palestinians a homeland in one of thier countries, or perhaps carved out of several. So long as the problem doesn't get solved, Muslims have a bloody shirt to wave.

They had that. Several times.
Each time they tried to topple the nation's government and kill everyone but their own, just like they're doing in Israel now.
I wish I were flying
 
SlamClick
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:38 am

Quoting Bofredrik (Reply 2):
Maybe the BIG problem is Israel? Who was there first?

The problem is almost certainly going to have to be solved without answering that unanswerable riddle.

Define "who"
Define "was"
Define "there"
Define "first"

"Who?" Are the present Israelis the lineal descendants and heirs of the ancient Israelites? If so, they win on the basis of religion - theirs being older than Christianity and Islam. Problem there is that Islam holds itself to be the "new and improved" version of what the old testament prophets preached and therefore superior - God wasn't finished yet when Judaism and Christianity laid down their rules.

Are the present-day Arabs the lineal descendants and heirs of the ancient Baylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Cellulites and all the other ancient ites? If so, they are the genetic winner - except against the pure-blooded semitic Israelis. Who is who?

"Was?" Was is the first and third person singular, past tense of the verb "be" Now what do you have to do to qualify as "be"ing in Israel/Palestine? Just be there? Squatters rights? How about if your ancestors were driven out many generations ago - are you disqualified?

"There?" Where there? There present Israel borders? There pre-1967 borders? There pre-1948 borders?

"First" First this week? First in the lives of living people? First in recorded secular history? First in Biblical history?

No, this is going to have to be resolved on some other basis and the usual is by right of military conquest.

I believe Moshe Dayan said something rather like that at the UN shortly after the 1967 war.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
andessmf
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RE: The Big Lie About The Middle East

Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:15 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 11):
Each time they tried to topple the nation's government and kill everyone but their own, just like they're doing in Israel now.

Google Jordan's 'Black September' for a reference. After they left Jordan, they went to Lebanon, when a civil war then erupted. After that, they ended up in Tunis. Then they went back to the Gaza Strip, an island of calm in a stormy sea, right?  sarcastic 

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