Two Middle East Wars: Amos Oz provides an interesting perspective on what's going on between Israel and Palestine right now.
Two Palestinian-Israeli wars have erupted in this region. One is the Palestinian nation's war for its freedom from occupation and for its right to independent statehood. Any decent person ought to support this cause. The second war is waged by fanatical Islam, from Iran to Gaza and from Lebanon to Ramallah, to destroy Israel and drive the Jews out of their land. Any decent person ought to abhor this cause
Sharonism: on the use of military force to solve Israel's diplomatic issues.
Sharonism is the political philosophy that military force decides all questions and politicians are no better than the armies at their command. Sharonism believes that the Middle East's future can be formulated through tank gun-sights, that a new regional political constellation favorable to Israel can be assembled by divisional maneuvers.
Live from Palestine: they're not all suicide bombers. Some are just trying to survive.
Defining Terrorism Eludes Muslims: The Organization of Islamic Conference, a group of 56 Islamic countries, failed to come up with a definition of terrorism at a meeting, at least in part, for that purpose. They were able to determine that Palestinian suicide bombers do not qualify as terrorists because it is an independence struggle.
President Bush now admits that the one-size-fits-all "Bush doctrine" on terrorism in fact doesn't fit Yasser Arafat.
Bush said Monday that the Palestinian leader's past as a peace negotiator exempts Arafat from the post-Sept. 11 U.S. policy that a country or entity that harbors terrorists will be dealt with as terrorists.
This, unfortunately, is not an April Fools joke. Despite multiple peace efforts, the conflict around the West Bank has been escalating.
There have been almost non-stop suicide bombings over the past several days. Bush and others have called on Arafat to stop the bombings and he of course has not done so. In fact, he has declared that he is ready to become a martyr himself.
Israel has occupied several towns, has troops inside Arafat's headquarters, and has expelled press from Ramallah. A U.N. Security Council resolution issued Saturday called on Israel to pull out of the West Bank, which they of course have not done.
In a speech Sunday, Sharon named Arafat the leader of the Palestinian terrorists and declared war. Can this end with anything other than a wider Arab-Israeli war?
Israelis of all political stripes questioned the aims of the IDF offensive in the West Bank, prompting speculation that if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's goal was to exorcize his personal dybbuk Yasser Arafat, Israel's focus on Arafat as the godhead of terror could backfire, with the Palestinian leader already taking on the mantle of a living, breathing martyr.
When you find yourself wondering whether the woman with the big coat sitting to your right at the movies is a terrorist in disguise, it becomes difficult to convince yourself that the attack in Netanya was intended solely to get us out of Elon Moreh. If one links the vagueness surrounding the Palestinian demand for the right of return and the mantra "but Barak gave them everything," to the attacks in the heart of Israel, it becomes easy to reach the conclusion that the settlers and the far right are correct in saying that `Judea and Samaria is here, the war is being conducted on our homes, and is better to kill them than to let them kill us.'
- Excerpts with Arafat interviews for Arabic TV stations.
Interview With Al-Jazeera Arafat: "They decided to take me as a prisoner, a deportee, or to kill me. No. I say to them [that I will be] a martyr, a martyr, a martyr, and a martyr. .'And they will be in the front line until Judgment Day'. and 'one of their martyrs [who falls in the battle for Jerusalem] is worth 40 martyrs'... Allah, give me martyrdom in. [Jerusalem], the place from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens, and the place our lord Jesus was born. I may be martyred, but certainly one of our boys or one of our girls will wave the flag of Palestine over the walls of Jerusalem, over the minarets of Jerusalem, and over the churches of Jerusalem. 'They think it is distant, but we know it is imminent, and we are right'. 'They will enter the mosque as they entered it for the first time'... This is the path I have chosen. Allah, give me martyrdom..."
"We defend not only Palestine, the Arab nation, and not only the holy Islamic and Christian places - but also all men of freedom and honor in the world. This is our destiny. This is a divine decree..."
"Let those far and near understand: None, among the Palestinian people or the Arab nation, will be willing to bow and surrender. But we ask Allah to grant us martyrdom, to grant us martyrdom. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions."
"This is a call to the Arab and Islamic nations and to all the Christians in the world. This is the sacred land called in the West 'Terra Sancta,' Holy Land. We defend these holy places..."
"We said to the Americans: You must act. Where are you going? Don't you know this will shake the Middle East? I say to our Palestinian people: 'Oh mountain, the wind will not shake you.' I say to our Arab nation: 'To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions.'"
For three months the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades pursued a relentless and efficient campaign of violence, shooting down soldiers at Israeli army roadblocks and dispatching suicide bombers to the Jewish heartland. At long last, they gloated yesterday, they were recognised: the US state department branded the Palestinian militant group a terrorist organisation.
"We are really grateful and thankful. It is a great honour for us to be called a terrorist organisation by the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world," its joint-founder, Nasser Badawi, said.
The CIA, Israel's Mossad, and Palestinian security services have conducted their own independent investigations. All three "investigators" have withheld their conclusions up to this point for different reasons. According to the estimates of the intelligence services, Saudi Arabian businessmen paid $10 million dollars to Iran for the weapons carried on the "Karine A." Rent for the ship cost $400,000, and fuel, repairs, and harbor fees cost $1 million.
[via little green footballs]
Israel is claiming that the weapons they seized in route to the Palestinian Authority are Iranian, which Iran denies.
Evil Unleashed: on how the Israeli response to the escalation of violence from Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been planned since before the start of the second Intifada. Here is one document she references but doesn't link to: Peace and War: Israel versus the Palestinians - A second Intifada?. [via Unknown News]
Unholy Alliance -- Sharon, Hamas Work in Concert Against Peace: Is it possible Israel and Hamas are working toward the same goal, but with different motivations? Rabbi Michael Lerner thinks so. He says they both want the elimination of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. [via Unknown News]
Arafat is looking more and more like he is irrelevant, as Israel and Palestinians continued to attack each other after Arafat's speech Sunday, calling on all parties to stop the violence, a request that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have rejected.
For the second time, the U.S. has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have put international monitors in the West Bank and Gaza, this time on the grounds that the resolution did not mention recent suicide attacks or name the groups responsible for them. Other than the veto, the vote was 12 for and two abstentions.
John D. Negroponte (United States) said the question before the Council was whether the draft resolution could make a meaningful contribution to improving the situation in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it failed to address the dynamic at work in the region. Instead, its purpose was to isolate politically one of the parties to the conflict, through an attempt to throw the weight of the Council behind the other party. A fundamental flaw of the resolution was that it never mentioned the recent acts of terrorism against Israelis or those responsible for them. Terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were deliberately seeking to sabotage any potential there might be for Israelis and Palestinians to conclude a negotiated peace.
He said it was Chairman Arafat's responsibility to take a strategic stand against terrorism. There could be no coexistence with terrorist organizations or acquiescence in their activities. The Palestinian Authority must arrest those responsible for planning and carrying out terrorist attacks, and destroy the formal and informal structures that perpetuated terrorism. Israel, for its part, must very carefully focus on the repercussion of any actions it took. Neither party should lose sight of the need to resume progress towards a lasting end to the violence and resumption of a dialogue.
The Council should not take any action that would turn the focus of the parties away from the efforts needed to improve an already tense situation. The United States had decided to make use of its veto to block the draft resolution.
Israel's cabinet declares Arafat irrelevant and will no longer deal with him.
Goodbye, Mr. Irrelevant: on what the Israeli cabinet declaration really means.
Reaction to the last two days of bombings in Israel: Sharon declares war on terror and the Israeli army goes after Arafat's headquarters and helicopters. They attack the headquarters again while Arafat is inside. The Israeli Cabinet declares the Palestinian Authority a terrorist organization. Arafat arrests 110 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members and calls on Palestinians to stop attacks. Bush supports Israel's response.
ASHI's journal Human Immunology has retroactively pulled a paper, "The Origin of Palestinians and Their Genetic Relatedness with Other Mediterranean Populations", by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena and others on the similarity of genes between Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians from its September 2001 issue and removed the lead author from its editorial board. The paper has stirred controversy over its political language and its conclusion that the two groups are closely related genetically. [via also not found in nature]