Tag Archives: Palestine

John F. Kerry of Arabia: an Honorable Man, a Futile Quest……

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

John F Kerry is an honorable man. We knew that from the 1960s. He served honorably in Vietnam, did not evade or avoid the war like most his current critics. He also honorably spoke out afterward.
Later today, soon, he will speak about the “Middle East” problem: Palestine-Israel. But he will get nowhere. The Israeli Likud has a lock on both houses of the U.S Congress, on both parties. It will probably be a good speech, but too optimistic. It will get nowhere.
Mr. Trump has already contributed his own drivel to complicating the issue.
Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

Kushner Of Arabia: Just Who Outside Europe Believes in a Two-State Solution Anymore?…..

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“Can Obama save the two-state solution? ShibleyTelhami says the verdict is still out..…”

No, not really, although his abstention on UNSC 2334 was an attempt to keep the two-state idea alive.

Give it up? It is almost not a serious option now, given the deliberate facts being created fast on the ground. Obama is/was probably the last US president to actually believe in the feasibility of two states. The whole Israeli cabinet doesn’t believe in it. Most US senators/congressmen don’t believe in it (apparently it ain’t seemly for a real man to espouse a two-state/bi-state thing). AIPAC only pays lip service to it when it suits them and consistently supports policies that undermine it.

The fact is that many Palestinians don’t believe in it either: the same goes for many other Arabs and Muslims. Some pay lip service to it, some still think and often openly talk about one-state extending “from the River Jordan to the Sea“. So some Arabs and Muslims are as one-staters as the Israeli Likud and its allies are. And we all know what is also meant by this alternative “one state”.

Arab media have in past years extensively quoted former PLO leader Yassir Arafat that there is a plaque outside the Israeli Knesset that says: “Your land, O Israel, extends from the Nile to the Euphrates“. Many, nay most Arabs believed him. Some referred to a vague map on a coin as proof. I have always had my doubts. Could be just some irresponsible quote from the Old Testament (many such quotes exist in all Holy Books). It is more likely that some far-out Christian Zionists in America believe in such borders than Israelis or American Jews. Something to do with a Levantine version of Manifest Destiny and From Sea to Shining Sea.

AS for the Two-State solution, apparently only the Europeans consistently believe in it anymore. Plus some Arabs and a few marginalized Israelis. But there is a suspicion in Washington that the Europeans are a bunch of latent anti-Semitic wusses, right? (Well, probably some of them still are).

So: what to do? Mass expulsion (a k a ethnic cleansing)? It was done in Palestine post-1948, and it was also done to many Jews in the Arab countries around that time. Apartheid or Separate but (allegedly) Equal? History in South Africa and French Algeria and the American South does not give that a high mark. Separate never means equal.

A catharsis? Maybe Netanyahu and Lieberman (Avigdor not Joe) will show up on the steps of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and start a Kumbaya session with Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, for the benefit of the television cameras. Newly Likudnik Alan Dershowitz can be there too.

Maybe Trump will send his son-in-law as he has reportedly threatened, to do something. But being Jewish, even (or especially) Jewish-American is no guarantee of success over there. Besides, this is not some money-focused real-estate business deal in Manhattan: too many historical emotions are involved on both sides.

The prognosis doesn’t look good for the next four years, but the past eight years were not so great either for Israel-Palestine. Especially when the US Congress (both houses) talks and acts as an extension of the Israeli Likud and its more extreme components.

A Nobel Prize or two are waiting, but I know neither Trump nor Netanyahu nor any current Arab leader will do anything to deserve it. The Nobel Committee was bitten by that same bug a couple of decades ago.
Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

Jerusalem: from Humorless Ottomans to Humorless Jordanians to Humorless Israelis……..

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking


Many Arabs & Muslims are commemorating an occasion called Jerusalem Day. ِStarted by the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini, it is held on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan every year.

History has taught us that commemoration does not get you there. It took two millennia and a European not-so-Final Solution, among other steps, for “Next Year in Jerusalem” to bear results.

A month ago was the 49th year of the day when the vaunted Jordanian Army took only a few hours of inept firing to surrender the whole West Bank and East Jerusalem to the Israeli forces. That was the balance of historic Palestine (not counting the Trans-Jordan desert). In June of 1967.

In some Arab & Muslim cities they burnt effigies and the usual flags. The Quds Brigade of the Iranian IRGC, named after Jerusalem, did its own Pride Day in Tehran. Burning flags and effigies.
Once it was over, all passions spent, Jerusalem still securely in Israeli hands (and getting more so each day), the effigy burners and flag burners and “Death To” shouters felt quite liberated. Mission Accomplished, they all went home for lunch, and to wait another year.
The Israelis have their own Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day,”celebrating” that Jordanian handover of East Jerusalem. But it goes according to the Hebrew Calendar.


The Palestinian Arabs, of course, are the perennial losers no matter who controls East Jerusalem, be they Turks, other Arabs, or Jews……. Be it humorless Jordanians pre-1967 or humorless Israeli bureaucrats and soldiers and assorted zealots post-1967.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Netanyahu King of Israel: the Arab Dilemma of Theodor Herzl……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

Netanyahu won by throwing under the bus the remnants of the anemic and failed ‘Peace Process’. No two-state solution now, unless he backtracks again. So, no Palestinian State means One State for Jews and Arabs? At least not for the next two to four years. In doing so, he may have thrown part of Israel under the bus as well. Few world leader take him seriously or believe him now, outside the US Congress and the Republican Party. The “wolf” warning could have been a little bit more credible if the boy doing the crying had been a different one.

That leaves two eventual options:

(1) A democratic option: everybody votes, which is the case in Israel now. Which also means the Palestinians in the West Bank get their first truly free vote. The Israeli right does not like this, the idea of Arabs voting “in droves” as Netanyahu complained on election day. The Israeli Arabs were given the vote at a time when the center-left (Labor) dominated Israeli politics, with what they could salvage from the ruins of their old European ideals. Had the Likud and the extreme right-wing been in power in 1948, the Arabs probably would not have gotten the vote. Even now the right (Lieberman) has tried to keep them away from the Knesset (an Israeli version of the claimed voter suppression in some American states). To be fair, Arabs don’t also get to vote in most Arab countries, but then the princes and potentates and generals don’t claim to be democratic, not convincingly. When they do, nobody believes them anyway.

(2) a moderate version of the untenable South African option, pre-Mandela. Which means Arab townships surrounded by concrete walls. We already see the beginnings of that now. Two unequal states in one country: unless they get the vote. The Israeli right wants to keep the West Bank but keep its voters away from the polls, and the Israeli center-left would probably want universal voting rights. If they get the vote, and in such large numbers, what would that do to the original Zionist visionary idea of Theodor Herzl

There are other options which some hard-nosed Israelis might prefer. A Jordanian option, back to pre-1967 state when Amman ruled the West Bank and Egypt ruled Gaza (forget Gaza for now, it is a different entity). But Likud does not win elections by uprooting Jewish settlements and displacing settlers and new immigrants, its reliable political base.

So, a dilemma. Best left for some future date to resolve. Easier politically for now.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Hey , Anyone Remember the Palestinian Problem?……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

Hey , Anyone Remember the Palestinian Problem?………..
The ‘what‘ problem?…….

Used to be that ‘the Middle East problem‘ was the Palestine/Israel issue. At some point, with the Iraqi wars (1980-2015) and Jihadist growth it became one of the Middle East issues. Now, well, nobody is talking about it anymore, not much. Not even many Palestinians, or maybe nobody listens to them anymore.

Only when Israeli leaders unleash a huge attack on Hamas-ruled Gaza, or blow up the homes of some Palestinians, do the world (and Arab) media remember the Palestinian issue. So, maybe Mr. Netanyahu is actually a brilliant strategist after all. He may have alienated the political and other classes everywhere outside the USA, but he has managed to downgrade ‘Palestine’ as an issue.

In Washington next month, in his expected old rehashed dishonest campaign speech, he may declare the end of the Palestinian problem, and he will get another standing ovation from his elected groupies. He may be right, but only officially.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Israeli Settlers Greet New Year with Stones and Uprooted Olive Trees……

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

“On Friday, American security personnel accompanying staff from the United States Consulate in Jerusalem drew their weapons on violent Israeli settlers who attacked a two vehicle U.S. convoy outside the Palestinian town of Turmusaya in the West Bank. Consulate staff were investigating a incident which took place on private Palestinian land on the first night of 2015 when six thousand recently planted olive saplings were uprooted, and dozens of old olive trees were destroyed by violent Jewish settlers from an illegal outpost the Adei Ad near Turmusaya. Officials from Turmusaya notified the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and requested an investigation because some of the owners of the land are Palestinian-Americans. When the U.S. delegation arrived in the area to investigate settlers started hurling stones at the convoy…………..”

The U.S. Congress, most of its Adelson-ized members, in a brave fit of loyal patriotism, would probably blame the incident on the American diplomats. Not on their foreign soul brothers from among the extreme right-wing Israeli colonists who resort to terrorist tactics and get away with it.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

One Israeli View of Gaza and the Others………

Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter


“Illouz: Where you see human beings, Israelis see enemies. In front of enemies, you close ranks, you unite in fear for your life, and you do not ponder about the fragility of the other. Israel has a split, schizophrenic self-awareness: It cultivates its strength and yet cannot stop seeing itself as weak and threatened. Moreover, both the fact that Hamas holds a radical Islamist and anti-Semitic ideology and the fact that there is rabid anti-Arab racism in Israel explain why Israelis see Gaza as a bastion of potential or real terrorists.…………. The nature of Israeli leadership has also changed. The messianic right has progressively gained power in Israel. It used to be marginal and illegitimate; it is now increasingly mainstream. This radical right sits in Parliament, controls budgets and has changed the nature of discourse. Many Israelis do not understand the radical nature of the right in Israel. It successfully disguises itself as “patriotic” or “Jewish.”………………”

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Birth Pangs of a New Middle East? American Delusions about Gaza as a Turkey Shoot…….


Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

This new Israeli war against the people of Gaza is reminiscent of an earlier Israeli war and of the delusions of the US political classes regarding its outcome.

In July 2006, two Israeli soldiers were captured near the Lebanese border. The Israeli military waged a fierce war on selective parts of Lebanon. It became a major incursion back into a land that the IDF had been forced by Hezbollah to leave six years earlier. The Litani River was crossed and parts of Beirut were bombed, including with Cluster Bombs. Many Arab regimes, from Egypt through to the Saudi princes, not-so-secretly supported the Israeli case against the Lebanese Arabs. Not only that, there have been indications that some Arab regimes shared intelligence with the Mossad and the Israeli military. In fact some Lebanese factions and militias of the pro-Saudi March 14 bloc also sided with the Israelis: public figures among them even gave some advice on how to defeat Hezbollah.

As the attack on Lebanon continued for days and weeks, there were calls for a ceasefire. George W Bush’s Secretary of State Condi Rice responded to those calls with her famous statement that the sounds of bombs and exploding Lebanese buildings were “the birth pangs of the new Middle East”. Rice did not want to “return Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante“. Well, it did not: that war created what I called ‘a balance of terror’ with both Israel and Hezbollah militarily stronger. We all know what happened: that war was stopped, the IDF withdrew after another failed mission unaccomplished. Hezbollah became politically and militarily even stronger than before. Most Lebanese, if not all of them, looked on that war as their second victory over invading Israelis.

Now this new Gaza assault has similar roots, although it is questionable who was responsible for the three killings near Hebron, an area controlled by the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority. Otherwise it resembles the attack on Lebanon, but with its own set of goals. A similar attack on Lebanon nowadays would be prohibitively costly for the Israeli population centers and with doubtful military and political results, but apparently the assessment is that Gaza is “do-able” and at a much lower cost. Early reports of the casualty ratio seem to support this for now: too many Palestinian deaths and casualties and destroyed buildings but hardly any on the Israeli side. Regardless of some propaganda statements from Hamas and others.

So far it is shaping as what Americans would call “a turkey shoot”. There are again some reports that the Obama administration hesitates to push forcefully for a cease-fire before certain political and/or military goals are achieved. That can only be done with a ground invasion, a new quagmire. Even if the Al Sisi regime in Cairo and the Saudi princes cooperate more closely, and perhaps more openly, with the invaders of Gaza, the results would still be in doubt.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com