Mona Eltahawy at PostGlobal

Mona Eltahawy

New York City, NY, USA

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning syndicated columnist and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues. Before she moved to the U.S. in 2000, she was a news reporter in the Middle East, including in Cairo and Jerusalem as a Reuters correspondent. She also reported from the region for Britain's The Guardian and U.S. News and World Report. She has lived in Egypt, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, and is currently based in New York. Close.

Mona Eltahawy

New York City, NY, USA

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning syndicated columnist and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues. Before she moved to the U.S. in 2000, she was a news reporter in the Middle East, including in Cairo and Jerusalem as a Reuters correspondent. She also reported from the region for Britain's The Guardian and U.S. News and World Report. She has lived in Egypt, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, and is currently based in New York. more »

Main Page | Mona Eltahawy Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Real Solutions Won’t Come from Summits

Don’t look to Annapolis to heal the Middle East – look to the young.

» Back to full entry

All Comments (35)

xvqolsyleu:

Wow, cool man, big thanks! http://colfmvbogoz.com

Abdallah Shahin:

I was born in Nablus,Palestine 67 years ago. I left Palestine to come and settle in the US. 28 years ago , after being in the US 12 years, I had decided to visit my family in Jerusalem and Bethelehem.Thinking that I would have an easier time going through customs when I got to Tel Aviv, I decided to fly El Al from New York.What a horrible mistake that was.The Israeli security decided that I should be stripped naked and searched. Mind you, all the last 12 years in this country , I had lived with my American wife in a small town in Georgia oblivious of what was going on in Jerusalem. Not any longer.Unless Israel changes its way treating the Palestinian people,it will always be a state of apartheid.The reason being is fear.I refuse to live in fear.
Alhough I was the only foreigner living in that small town in Georgia, I was accepted and my business thrived. Therefore, I do not understand the Israeli mentality of living in fear.If I had to advise Israel what to do vis a vis its neighbors, I would advise it to banish its fear and extend a hand of friendship to the Arab people.Israel needs to abandon its intranisegence
and quit listeneing to bad advice coming from the US. Israel needs to tear down the wall. When the Berlin wall was torn down, the US was one of the first countries to celebrate the event. Why would
the US tolerate the wall Israel is building is beyond my understanding.It may be true that the wall has lessened acts of terror in Israel,yet,by its structure, it has mushroomed the hate that the Palestinians and other Arabs feel towards Israel.I would rather live in peace and harmony with my neighbours than live in fear. Israel is the one to decide how to live with its neighbours.

Abdallah Shahin:

I was born in Nablus,Palestine 67 years ago. I left Palestine to come and settle in the US. 28 years ago , after being in the US 12 years, I had decided to visit my family in Jerusalem and Bethelehem.Thinking that I would have an easier time going through customs when I got to Tel Aviv, I decided to fly El Al from New York.What a horrible mistake that was.The Israeli security decided that I should be stripped naked and searched. Mind you, all the last 12 years in this country , I had lived with my American wife in a small town in Georgia oblivious of what was going on in Jerusalem. Not any longer.Unless Israel changes its way treating the Palestinian people,it will always be a state of apartheid.The reason being is fear.I refuse to live in fear.
Alhough I was the only foreigner living in that small town in Georgia, I was accepted and my business thrived. Therefore, I do not understand the Israeli mentality of living in fear.If I had to advise Israel what to do vis a vis its neighbors, I would advise it to banish its fear and extend a hand of friendship to the Arab people.Israel needs to abandon its intranisegence
and quit listeneing to bad advice coming from the US. Israel needs to tear down the wall. When the Berlin wall was torn down, the US was one of the first countries to celebrate the event. Why would
the US tolerate the wall Israel is building is beyond my understanding.It may be true that the wall has lessened acts of terror in Israel,yet,by its structure, it has mushroomed the hate that the Palestinians and other Arabs feel towards Israel.I would rather live in peace and harmony with my neighbours than live in fear. Israel is the one to decide how to live with its neighbours.

Abdallah Shahin:

I was born in Nablus,Palestine 67 years ago. I left Palestine to come and settle in the US. 28 years ago , after being in the US 12 years, I had decided to visit my family in Jerusalem and Bethelehem.Thinking that I would have an easier time going through customs when I got to Tel Aviv, I decided to fly El Al from New York.What a horrible mistake that was.The Israeli security decided that I should be stripped naked and searched. Mind you, all the last 12 years in this country , I had lived with my American wife in a small town in Georgia oblivious of what was going on in Jerusalem. Not any longer.Unless Israel changes its way treating the Palestinian people,it will always be a state of apartheid.The reason being is fear.I refuse to live in fear.
Alhough I was the only foreigner living in that small town in Georgia, I was accepted and my business thrived. Therefore, I do not understand the Israeli mentality of living in fear.If I had to advise Israel what to do vis a vis its neighbors, I would advise it to banish its fear and extend a hand of friendship to the Arab people.Israel needs to abandon its intranisegence
and quit listeneing to bad advice coming from the US. Israel needs to tear down the wall. When the Berlin wall was torn down, the US was one of the first countries to celebrate the event. Why would
the US tolerate the wall Israel is building is beyond my understanding.It may be true that the wall has lessened acts of terror in Israel,yet,by its structure, it has mushroomed the hate that the Palestinians and other Arabs feel towards Israel.I would rather live in peace and harmony with my neighbours than live in fear. Israel is the one to decide how to live with its neighbours.

Abdallah Shahin:

I was born in Nablus,Palestine 67 years ago. I left Palestine to come and settle in the US. 28 years ago , after being in the US 12 years, I had decided to visit my family in Jerusalem and Bethelehem.Thinking that I would have an easier time going through customs when I got to Tel Aviv, I decided to fly El Al from New York.What a horrible mistake that was.The Israeli security decided that I should be stripped naked and searched. Mind you, all the last 12 years in this country , I had lived with my American wife in a small town in Georgia oblivious of what was going on in Jerusalem. Not any longer.Unless Israel changes its way treating the Palestinian people,it will always be a state of apartheid.The reason being is fear.I refuse to live in fear.
Alhough I was the only foreigner living in that small town in Georgia, I was accepted and my business thrived. Therefore, I do not understand the Israeli mentality of living in fear.If I had to advise Israel what to do vis a vis its neighbors, I would advise it to banish its fear and extend a hand of friendship to the Arab people.Israel needs to abandon its intranisegence
and quit listeneing to bad advice coming from the US. Israel needs to tear down the wall. When the Berlin wall was torn down, the US was one of the first countries to celebrate the event. Why would
the US tolerate the wall Israel is building is beyond my understanding.It may be true that the wall has lessened acts of terror in Israel,yet,by its structure, it has mushroomed the hate that the Palestinians and other Arabs feel towards Israel.I would rather live in peace and harmony with my neighbours than live in fear. Israel is the one to decide how to live with its neighbours.

nour_ mohamedy:

السلام عليكم استاذه منى كنت اتمنى لو فيه ترجمه عربيه كانت الاستفاده تكون احسن وتعم اكبر عدد ممكن المهم انا سعيد باللى قدرت اقراءه ولكى جزيل الشكر والسلام عليكم

ibrahim:

hi mona لو عربي افضل لو الحال بقي غير لو الدنيا بقت غير ممكن تعيشي في دولة معادية لمبدئك وايه هي المبادئ الممكنة والغير انا لست مبالغا فيما اتحدث ولكن بصدق بما انك من الجميل ان نتعون في احكام او اللزام امور الحب فيما يعشق والحياة والحب ما هو اتمني ان تقبليني ولو صديق وتجيبي عن بعض الاشاء التي كتبتها يدي ولم ينطق بها لساني وسلامي اليك وشكرا ان اجبتى ام لمmr_hima_64@yahoo.com

ibrahim:

hi mona لو عربي افضل لو الحال بقي غير لو الدنيا بقت غير ممكن تعيشي في دولة معادية لمبدئك وايه هي المبادئ الممكنة والغير انا لست مبالغا فيما اتحدث ولكن بصدق بما انك من الجميل ان نتعون في احكام او اللزام امور الحب فيما يعشق والحياة والحب ما هو اتمني ان تقبليني ولو صديق وتجيبي عن بعض الاشاء التي كتبتها يدي ولم ينطق بها لساني وسلامي اليك وشكرا ان اجبتى ام لم

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Scanning the newspapers this morning I see that Paris conferees have pledged $7.4 Billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority, saying that an infusion of cash would help the peace process begun by the United States last month in Annapolis, Md.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/17/AR2007121700210.html

“But some delegates said that pumping money into the West Bank and Gaza Strip would not lead to long-term economic growth or political moderation as long as Israel continued expanding Jewish settlements and imposing a regime of checkpoints and closures that was strangling the Palestinian economy...

"Economic development is the best guarantee of lasting peace and long-term security for Israel," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the conference host...

But it was unclear how much of the $7.4 billion pledged Monday would go to Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, a radical Islamic group whose forces expelled the Palestinian Authority from the strip in June.

Events that followed the Nov. 27 Annapolis conference contributed to Palestinian resentment here and in the territories leading up to the Paris meeting. A week after both sides pledged to adhere to the U.S.-backed "road map" for peace -- a plan launched in 2003 that calls for Israel to stop settlement activities and for Palestinians to disarm militant groups and boost security -- Israel announced the construction of more than 300 homes on occupied land on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

"I'll be eager to implement all our commitments under the road map, and I expect the Israeli side to do the same, comprehensively, and without excuses from our side or theirs," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the delegates. "I expect them to stop all settlement activities, without exceptions."

There is a fat chance that the Zionists will let up on their expansionist settlements and strangle hold on the Palestinian economy. They will prefer to keep their West Bank settlements, hog 80% of the water supply to keep their lawns green and swimming pools full, while denying the Palestinian natives the right to drill wells; even though both the UN and USA agree that the Palestinians are being deprived the minimum amount of water to maintain health.

Some people cannot be lived with; they must be expelled once again from the Middle East.

Roi Ben-Yehuda:

I have come up with some good solutions to this conflict: Here are three of the most creative:

Olmert and Abbas, please take note.

1. Smoking for peace: In the documentary “Encounter Point,” my friend Ali Abu Awwad suggests that since Israelis and Palestinians love smoking so much, we should make it a law that cigarettes can only be purchased from one’s enemy. Of course this would give both sides ample reason to blame each other for cancer, yet imagine how quickly peace would be achieved if it had the power of nicotine behind it.

2. The Angelina Jolie Solution: It is said that peace will come when we love our children more than we hate our enemy. Well, it is time to test this theory out. Forget land for peace. It is time for kids for peace. An exchange of children population based on a one to one ratio. Every Israeli family gets a Palestinian kid and every Palestinian family gets an Israeli kid.

3. Porn Stars For Peace: According to Freud, there is a direct causal connection between repressed sexual energy and aggressive behavior. The great Italian porn star Cicciolina understood this when in the 1990’s she offered herself to Saddam Hussein on condition that he would abandon his rule over Iraq. More recently, the aging vixen offered up the same deal to Osama Bin Laden. In her words: “It is time someone did something about Bin Laden, and I am ready to do it. I am ready to make a deal. He can have me in exchange for an end to his tyranny. My breasts have only ever helped people while Bin Laden has killed thousands of innocent victims.”

Following Cicciolina lead, I say the same deal goes for all the guys in Hamas (72 virgins got nothing on Jenna Jameson), the settlers (plough Tera Patrick not the West Bank), and the politicians in power (have you seen their wives?). Each one of these folks needs to get laid by a porn star (sponsored by the UN, of course). Only then will peace come.

If you want to read some more creative solutions to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, or just respond to those proposed here, please visit http://roiword.wordpress.comm

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Here is an article that shows what we are up against. It shows how Barack Obama executed his abrupt flip flop on Palestinian support when he began his campaign for a US Senate seat from Illinois:

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml

How Barack Obama learned to love Israel

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2007

...“In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of US policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”…

…“But Obama's gradual shift into the AIPAC camp had begun as early as 2002 as he planned his move from small time Illinois politics to the national scene. In 2003, Forward reported on how he had "been courting the pro-Israel constituency." He co-sponsored an amendment to the Illinois Pension Code allowing the state of Illinois to lend money to the Israeli government. Among his early backers was Penny Pritzker -- now his national campaign finance chair -- scion of the liberal but staunchly Zionist family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain. (The Hyatt Regency hotel on Mount Scopus was built on land forcibly expropriated from Palestinian owners after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967). He has also appointed several prominent pro-Israel advisors.”…

…“If disappointing, given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama's about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power.”…

“Only if enough people know what Obama and his competitors stand for, and organize to compel them to pay attention to their concerns can there be any hope of altering the disastrous course of US policy in the Middle East. It is at best a very long-term project that cannot substitute for support for the growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions needed to hold Israel accountable for its escalating violence and solidifying apartheid.”

It is clear to me that our only hope for an honest government is campaign reform with total taxpayer financing of political campaigns. All lobbying must be totally banned.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Here’s a good example of how AIPAC is not the only source of Israeli influence that misled us into the disastrous preemptive invasion of Iraq and continues to stoke our world wide War on Islam:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/12/opinion/12dowd.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

December 12, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist
The Dream Is Dead

By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON

“The man crowned by Tommy Franks as “the dumbest [expletive] guy on the planet” just made the dumbest [expletive] speech on the planet.

Doug Feith, the former Rummy gofer who drove the neocon plan to get us into Iraq, and then dawdled without a plan as Iraq crashed into chaos, was the headliner at a reunion meeting of the wooly-headed hawks Monday night at the American Enterprise Institute.

The room was packed as the former No. 3 at the Pentagon, previewing his upcoming book, “War and Decision,” conceded that the case could be made that “mistakes were made.” His former boss, Paul Wolfowitz, and the former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle sat supportively in the front row.”...

“In “Fiasco,” Tom Ricks wrote that Feith’s Pentagon office was dubbed the “black hole” of policy by generals watching him drop the ball...

Jay Garner, America’s first viceroy in Iraq, deemed him “incredibly dangerous” and said his “electrons aren’t connected.”

Feith’s disdain for diplomacy and his credo that weakness invites aggression were shaped, Ricks reported, by personal history: “Like Wolfowitz, Feith came from a family devastated by the Holocaust. His father lost both parents, three brothers, and four sisters to the Nazis.”...

What’s the answer to bin Laden? According to Feith, it was an attack on an unrelated dictator. He oversaw the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, whose mission was to amp up links between Saddam and Al Qaeda...

It defies reason, but there are still some who think the chuckleheads who orchestrated the Iraq misadventure have wisdom to impart.

The Pentagon neocons dumped Condi Rice out of the loop. Yet, according to Newsweek’s Mike Isikoff, Condi has now offered Wolfie a job. It wasn’t enough that he trashed Iraq and the World Bank. (He’s still larking around town with Shaha, the sweetheart he gave the sweetheart deal to.)
Condi wants Wolfie to advise her on nuclear proliferation and W.M.D. as part of a State Department panel that has access to highly classified intelligence.

Once you’ve helped distort W.M.D. intelligence to trick the country into war, shouldn’t you be banned for life from ever having another top-level government post concerning W.M.D.?”

Leo SION:

My dear Mona,
I agree completely with you. The egyptian "Camp David Generation" is completely blinded by their political propaganda. They have never even seen an israeli or even a jew in their whole life. Moreover, their parents are scared to tell them that in their youth, they have known egyptian jews, lived close to them and even loved each other.
I would be delighted to hear about the feedback of the young israelis to your conference in Tel Aviv University. I was in Cairo in November too, met my friends and I am very pessimistic for the future. Allah Yerhamak ya Anour El Sadate!!

Leo SION:

My dear Mona,
I agree completely with you. The egyptian "Camp David Generation" is completely blinded by their political propaganda. They have never even seen an israeli or even a jew in their whole life. Moreover, their parents are scared to tell them that in their youth, they have known egyptian jews, lived close to them and even loved each other.
I would be delighted to hear about the feedback of the young israelis to your conference in Tel Aviv University. I was in Cairo in November too, met my friends and I am very pessimistic for the future. Allah Yerhamak ya Anour El Sadate!!

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Here is the 2nd of two articles in the WP this week about the exhumation in Washington D.C. and reburial in Israel of Theodore Herzl’s grandson.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/05/AR2007120502025_pf.html

Here is the link to the 1st.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/29/AR2007112902368_pf.html

This is the tragic story of the Zionists’ greatest hero. The first article mentions in passing what an incredible simpleton Herzl was. It never occurred to him that the Palestinians would not readily give up their land and welcome the invading Zionists with open arms.

"Historians and others still sift through Herzl's writings and see many legacies. They note that he envisioned a Jewish state where people spoke not Hebrew, but German; that he and other early Zionists failed to understand Arab nationalism; and that in a utopian novel Herzl wrote, he describes a binational, egalitarian state."

From the 2nd article:

“Sixty years after jumping off a bridge to his death, the last descendant of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was buried Wednesday in a Jerusalem cemetery bearing his grandfather's name _ bringing an end to a torturous family saga and finally fulfilling Herzl's century-old will.

Herzl's son also committed suicide. He had a daughter who was mentally ill and another who was killed in the Holocaust. In the past year, three of the founder's four descendants have been buried in Israel_ no easy task because of rabbinical injunctions against Jewish burials for those who have killed themselves or converted to other religions.”...

"His vision was realized, and now there is an exemplary nation," said Liora Herzl, the great-granddaughter of Herzl's cousin. But she noted that Zionism's founder left behind a broken, cash-strapped family. "He was completely consumed with his commitment to the Zionist idea, and his family ultimately paid the price for that."

“Norman was the lone family member committed to Herzl's Zionist cause. He read about his grandfather's work and was active in his movement.”

So here we have the idealist Zionist simpleton who is the principal founder responsible for the incredible mess we have in the Middle East today. The question for us to unravel is: what are we going to do about it?

Clearly, the rightful owners of the land of Palestine are in no mood to welcome the Zionist invaders with open arms and they continue to demand the return of their land. The USA is stuck with the consequences of its incredibly poor judgment in siding with the Zionists on this issue.

We are stuck with only two very unattractive options that I can see:

1. Continue with the present approach of funding (with my tax dollars) the slow genocide of the Palestinian people through the denial of their basic human rights and dignity. This is a fate worse than death as evidenced by the tasteless joke of the occasional exploding Muslim. The Israelis confiscate most of the West Bank water, to the point that Palestinians do not even have what the UN and the US government both regard as the minimum necessary to sustain human life, while Jewish settlers - accustomed to living in their native Europe or America - water grass lawns and fill swimming pools with water taken from under the feet of the Palestinians, while the Palestinians are rarely allowed to drill wells.

2. Admit what horrendous mistakes were made by the League of Nations in the 20th century with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the UN Partition of Palestine in 1947 and correct them. How do we correct them? Restore the original pre-1947 boundary of the map of Palestine, go back to the single state solution, recognize the Palestinian Refugee right of return, form a UN mandate to control the allocation of water and enforce the peace. The Israeli planes, tanks, ships and nuclear weapons and all Palestinian arms would be destroyed.

To my mind the 2nd option is the clear choice. What are the odds of this happening? I would say not so good; it is very difficult to admit when one has made a mistake.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Here is another interesting site on the Israeli technological marvel.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/12/israel_silicon_valley_entrepreneur.html

Yup, Israel is a technological marvel. That’s why the Israelis need to hog 80% of the Palestinian’s water supply.

http://www.fmep.org/analysis/articles/water_policy_maher.html

…“According to recommended standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), a minimum of 100 liters a day per capita are needed for balanced and healthy domestic consumption in rural households. In contrast, BâeTselem, the Israeli human rights organization, documents that Israeli per capita consumption of water already reaches 350 l/day, about five-times Palestinian consumption. Per capita consumption of water in Israeli settlements, most of which are strategically located directly above main water extraction sources, can reach even higher levels, estimated at seven-fold the Palestinian consumption rate. In contrast, Palestinian consumption rates per capita vary between 35-80 l/d, well below WHO and USAID recommendations, and in some communities, water consumption can dip to as low as 7 l/d under certain conditions…”

So Israel confiscates most of the West Bank water, to the point that Palestinians there do not even have what the UN and the US government both regard as the minimum necessary to sustain human life, while Jewish settlers - accustomed to living in their native Europe or America - water grass lawns and fill swimming pools with water taken from under the feet of the Palestinians, while the Palestinians are rarely allowed to drill wells.

So you folks go ahead and live well at the expense of your oppressed neighbors on your stolen land. My government will guarantee the continuation of your illegal existence and fund your atrocious behavior with billions of my tax dollars. Live long and prosper, until the world wakes up and puts a stop to your despicable treatment of the rightful owners of your stolen land.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburb, VA:

The Iranians and Israelis can relax. We have no plan to end our dependence on Middle East oil any time soon.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/opinion/05friedman.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

December 5, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

Intercepting Iran’s Take on America

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

There are two intelligence analyses that are relevant to the balance of power between the U.S. and Iran — one is the latest U.S. assessment of Iran, which certainly gave a much more complex view of what is happening there. The other is the Iranian National Intelligence Estimate of America, which — my guess — would read something like this:

To: President Ahmadinejad

From: The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence

Subject: America

As you’ll recall, in the wake of 9/11, we were extremely concerned that the U.S. would develop a covert program to end its addiction to oil, which would be the greatest threat to Iranian [and Israeli] national security. In fact, after Bush’s 2006 State of the Union, in which he decried America’s oil addiction, we had “high confidence” that a comprehensive U.S. clean energy policy would emerge. We were wrong.

Our fears that the U.S. was engaged in a covert “Manhattan Project” to achieve energy independence have been “assuaged.” America’s Manhattan Project turns out to be largely confined to the production of corn ethanol in Iowa, which, our analysts have confirmed from cell phone intercepts between lobbyists and Congressmen, is nothing more than a multibillion-dollar payoff to big Iowa farmers and agro-businesses…

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Sam:

“A far better viable solution that should satisfy both parties and put an end to all complicated issues is available. It is the establishment of one secular country for all on the whole territory of historical Palestine that includes the West Bank and Gaza besides Israel.”

[Yep, you’re right.]

Joseph:

“Meanwhile, nothing has ever occurred to dispel the opinion in the Arab world, well-grounded in fact, that the creation of Israel was a colonialist, criminal enterprise.

There can never be a true peace between peoples with such divergent understandings of the facts of the situation.”

[Yep, you’re right.]

FJL9SF:

“Ultimately, the Hebrews - as horrible as it seems - will have no choice but to live as peaceful citizens of Palestine.

Now is not to soon for all good Hebrews to acknowledge the crimes of the past (desperate though Rabin and the others were), beg forgiveness, stop this Zionist madness, and try to live as peaceful citizens of Palestine.

There is no alternative ...”

[Yep, you’re right.]

Mariano Patalinjug:

“They can negotiate till kingdom come, but all of those efforts will very likely be only sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

[Yep, you’re right.]

Anonymous:

“In my opinion the only viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a one state solution where all the citizens Arabs and Israelis are treated equally in rights and obligations.”

[Yep, you’re right.]

Demetris Zettos:

“Unless both sides can “bite the bullet” and sincerely work towards establishing permanent peace, it is obvious that the world can anticipate the open wound of their conflict to become an incurable gangrene that would cause the demise of the afflicted and perhaps the entire humankind.”

[Well, demise of the afflicted yes, but not all of humankind. Only the right religious nut jobs think that the end of time is at hand when the Israelis return to their homeland.]

“Yup, this peace process will fail because the two-state solution is a nonstarter. The Jews have no right to a piece of Palestine after being absent for almost 2 millennia prior to 1947. The 5 million Israeli Jews should join their 5.7 million brethren in the USA and form a true Jewish homeland with 80% of the Jews on the planet. We can support it; Palestine cannot.”

[Yep, I’m right.]

“Unfortunately, after a moment of euphoric optimism, reality sets in and we realize that this approach is also doomed to failure. The hard liners of the region will never permit the “State of Israel” to remain on Arab land, nor should they. With the advent of the modern Cruise Missile that is low flying, GPS guided and impervious to radar detection, it is only a matter of time until downtown Tel Aviv and other major Israeli targets are flattened. Russia, Iran, Pakistan or someone will give or sell these weapons to the Arabs. They could but won’t use nuclear warheads because they want the land to remain habitable. They can be programmed to fly various land hugging profiles, approach from multiple directions, and no one will know where they came from.”

[Yep, I’m right again.]

Demetris Zettos:

The Zionist fanatics’ aspiration is to use every means possible to create a incontestable “Eretz Yisrael” (Greater Usrael) stretching between the two great rivers: The Nile and the Euphrates. To accomplish this the existence of five nations (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq) has to be compromised. If the world allowed Israel to pursue such a schizophrenic course what would be the consequences?

Zionism comes from the bowels of the Old Testament. A book written by Jews for their own self-serving interests.

In a display of chutzpah even more galling than the Balfour Declaration, the first Zionists invented a God who “commanded them” to commit genocide. After declaring that their “God gave them” land which had belonged to other peoples for thousands of years, the spiritual ancestors of today's Zionists embarked upon a campaign of mass murder:
...”In the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has “commanded” (Deuteronomy 20:16-17).
The Jebusites were the people of Jerusalem, and like the other nations that were slated for destruction, they had no quarrel with the Israelites. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that The People Of The Book were bent on genocide according to the modern definition of the word:
"They should be utterly destroyed and should receive no mercy but be exterminated, as the Lord commanded Moses . . Utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling..."(Joshua 11:20 . . . First Samuel 15:3).

Then the Jews decided to disperse among charitable nations which provided them with refuge. By the end of the 19th century, using the lessons provided by their religious books, they managed to elevate themselves to positions of economic and political power which enabled them to influence the decisions of the Superpowers that eventually allowed them to reclaim part of the land which they had originally grabbed, claiming that “God had promised it to them”. But that land was already occupied for thousands of years by the Palestinians (descendants of ancient Canaanites and Philistines); and the Palestinians had to be evicted sometimes by the same methods that the ancient Jews used: Genocide and extermination.

Item: Israel has perpetrated many well documented massacres as well as ethnic cleansing operations against Palestinians (http://www.ummah.net/unity/palestine/massacres.htm).
Item: For the past 59 years, Israel has pursued a policy of brutal oppression against a people whose homeland was arbitrarily taken away from them. During the same period, Israeli occupation forces have killed thousands of Palestinians and never hesitated to kill unarmed Palestinian children or to arrest and torture them in order to elicit from them information regarding members of resistance organizations including possibly their parents.

Item: It is documented that a large portion of the US financial aid to Israel is used for the construction of settlements most of which are on illegally occupied territory. Many of the settlement homes are used by American and European Jews as summer vacation or retirement homes.

Item: Whereas Israel owes its existence to a United Nations resolution, it has repeatedly violated the provisions of the U.N. charter and with the concurrence of the United States arrogantly thumbed its nose to subsequent U.N. resolutions regarding its borders, and its persistent violations of the human rights and civil liberties of Palestinians.

Item: The U.S. legislative and executive branches, kowtowing to the powerful Zionist lobby (11 Senators, 26 Congressmen, tens of pro-Zionist organizations, many Zionists in key decision-making positions), have blindly aligned themselves with Israel giving over two hundred billion dollars of US taxpayers' money in economic and military aid to Israel's oppressive regime. US arms were and are still being used against Palestinians. (The total cost in lives and financial resources incurred by the United States in its support for Israel to date is immense). This selective, one-sided, US policy has aptly branded the US as an accomplice to Israel's crimes against the Palestinians and is the root cause of many terrorist acts against the United States.

Item: In the absence of any other rational explanation for the blind subservience to Israeli interests, would it be unreasonable for one to assume that some of the aid funds are sent back to the United States and are given to American-Jewish organizations or individuals who, in turn, pass them on as political contributions to both party candidates for office in order to secure their support for the Israeli cause?

Item: There are some people who say that Israel is a friend of the United States and deserves such unquestioned support. The intentional Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, killing 34 and wounding 172 American servicemen (http://www.ussliberty.com) is indicative of the absurdity of such blind support of Israel. As one of the survivors of the attack stated: “With friends like Israel, the U.S. needs no enemies”

Item: During WWII, in virtually all the Nazi-occupied countries in Europe, the patriotic resistance against the occupiers was encouraged and actively supported by the United States. Many of the freedom-fighters did not hesitate to place their own lives on the line in the cause of freedom from their Nazi oppressor. The similarity with the acts of Palestinians against the Israeli occupation forces is evident and a distinction should be made between freedom-fighters and terrorists.

Item: Many of the past and present Israeli political and military personalities had also been leaders or members of Zionist terrorist organizations such as the “Irgun Z'vai Leumi”, “Stern Gang”, “Haganah”, “Giddy Paglin”, “Palmach” etc. (The assassination of U.N. mediator Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte was an act of one of these organizations). These Zionist organizations “wrote the book” on modern terrorism which, until their appearance, constituted but random and isolated acts by anarchists.

Item: When Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister of Israel, he had adopted the satanic ploy of demanding from Palestinian Chairman Arafat to “rein-in the terrorist groups”. This impossible-to –comply-with demand had allowed Sharon to launch his hard line campaign of assassination and destruction with presumed impunity. Unfortunately, this absurd demand had also been echoed by President Bush. Given the facts that there are almost 3.5 million Palestinians living in Israel the West Bank and the other occupied territories and that every Palestinian family has been brutally victimized by the Israeli occupation forces, how in the name of reason could Yasser Arafat know who the next Palestinian -who had had sufficient reasons to seek revenge and, in his or her desperation, was determined to sacrifice his or her life to achieve it- be reined-in? Furthermore, How could Arafat arrest resistance fighters when the Israeli occupation forces systematically targeted Palestinian police installations and policemen? Needless to say, similar irrational demands are constantly made on the Palestinians by the intransigent Israeli government. Such demands seem to have one purpose: to stonewall any final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Out of the tragedy of the terrorist atrocities of September 11th, renewed hopes had also emerged that a permanent solution would be found to the 59-year old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead of a solution, and in spite of the obvious ability of the U.S. -as the sole Superpower- to impose one, we became witnesses to a severe deterioration of the situation with hostilities from both sides. In light of this, the US foreign policy, blatantly supportive of Israel's aggressive posture, has to be re-evaluated using more pragmatic and objective criteria. For a correct assessment of that situation, one has to view the above historical facts through their proper perspective. By so doing, one will discover one of the real causes of the September 11th attack on the United States. (The other being the unabashed U.S. support of oppressive regimes in Muslim nations.)

Is there a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? The answer is yes. But the solution has to be fair and just, based on international laws and treating both parties impartially and without prejudice.

In order to bring an end to the wanton killings and to the suffering of millions of people, and since the United States government is the key sponsor and supporter of Israel, the initiative rests with the United States. However, any final agreement has to be endorsed and enforced by the United Nations.

Following are some suggestions for a viable solution:

A. To begin with, an immediate cessation of all hostilities must be IMPOSED by the United Nations on both sides..

B. The city of Jerusalem should be completely demilitarized and declared a neutral “Holy City”
protected by the United Nations.

C. Israel must be compelled to:
1) Declare unequivocally that it has no aspirations to any land other than that whose boundaries were defined in the U.N. Declaration which established it as a state.
2) Withdraw from the occupied territories including all the illegal settlements and the Golan Heights.
3) Accept the creation of an independent Palestinian State.
4) Allow the return of Palestinians who were forced out of their homes under the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign.
5) Provide just compensation for the homes and lands previously owned by Palestinians and forcibly appropriated by Israel or return such homes and lands to their rightful owners.
6) Accord and guarantee equal human rights and civil liberties to all Palestinians who choose to live within Israel as stipulated by the U.N. resolution which created the state of Israel.
7) Adhere to all U.N. resolutions aimed at establishing peace in the region.
8) Sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.
9) Recognize the authority and jurisdiction of the World Court as the sole arbiter of disputes regarding international law.

D. The Palestinians:
1) Must accept that the existence of the state of Israel is a fact with which they must live.
2) They must refrain from future hostile acts against Israel.

When Israelis and Palestinians have fulfilled their obligations, the Palestinians can redirect their energies into building a peaceful and prosperous nation without animosity for their neighbors. Time can be relied-upon to heal many wounds opened by both sides.

Both sides must exclude the religious fanatics from the peace-making processes.

The other Arab nations must also regognize Israel as an independent sovereign state.

Unless both sides can “bite the bullet” and sincerely work towards establishing permanent
peace, it is obvious that the world can anticipate the open wound of their conflict to become an
incurable gangrene that would cause the demise of the afflicted and perhaps the entire humankind.

frank burns:

Right, and if ever I steal money from a bank and I get hounded because of it, I will create the self-righteous slogan "Money for peace" -- if I give back the money I stole, they will leave me alone.

frank burns:

If a Jew robs a bank and I report him, am I being antisemitic? A good quesiton, because if they steal land and I decry it, is that antisemitic?

Anonymous:

I dout that the people who organised the conference in Annapolis or the people who talk about two states solution want really peace .They may be profiting from the conflict. In my opinion the only valable solution to the Palistinian-Israili conflict is a one state solution where all the citisens arabs and israilis are treated equally in rights and obligations.

Mariano Patalinjug:

Yonkers,New York
03 December 2007

The Annapolis Summit was primarily the handiwork of Condoleezza Rice who, at this late hour, is desperate to show that she has done something worthy of note during all the years that she has served as US secretary of state.

But, sad to say, Annapolis wasn't much sound nor much fury either.

By all measures, it was a dud, a non-event.

The main parties to Annapolis, the Israelis and the Palesltinians, merely agreed to meet in Annapolis--as if merely seeing each other's faces in the presence of George W--was an event that had anything to do with grappling with the very serious and apparently insurmountable problems that have defied solution all these agonizing years.

The two parties likewise agreed to continue to negotiate in a series of meetings, the next one to be held in Moscow next year.

But merely agreeing to continue to negotiate, in meeting after meeting, will not do it. There is not an iota of a chance, at this juncture, that Palestinians and Israelis can break the Gordian Knot of a Palestinian state living in peace side by side with an Israeli state.

Those Israeli settlements on Palestinian land will not simply go away by themselves. They will need to be removed--but the Israeli people won't agree to it. There is the other issue of Jerusalem: who controls what? And there is the question of what to do with those thousands of Palestinian refugees in Israel.

They can negotiate till kingdom come, but all of those efforts will very likely be only sound and fury, signifying nothing.

MarPatalinjug@aol.com

Pale Rider:

FJL9SF: You were Joseph in a previous life ? I think you were on the Cairo train. Correcto ?

fjl9sf:

Again:
Just more of the same...........a play for time.

The theft of Palestine was underwritten by the Brits and midwifed by terrorists who were financed by the US.

Anyone can understand the hatred that the Palestinians.........more than just the Palestinians - the Arabs..... more than just Arabs - the entire Muslim world has for Israel. Much of the rest of the world just wishes it would go away.

Ultimately, the Hebrews - as horrible as it seems - will have no choice but to live as peaceful citizens of Palestine.

Now is not to soon for all good Hebrews to acknowledge the crimes of the past (desperate though Rabin and the others were), beg forgiveness, stop this Zionist madness, and try to live as peaceful citizens of Palestine.

There is no alternative .....

Ultimately:
The footnote will read: Israel was the manifestation of Truman trying to cash Balfour's check with the blood of Palestinians and Hebrews alike.

aepelbaum:

Israel was not the one who started the war in 1948, when both states were declared by UN. Israel is not the one, who is going to commit suicide, giving up currently the terretory for some "mythological" peace. Look what happened when they withdrew from Gaza! Peace, no just vice versa.

David Zohar:

To Ms al-Tahawy:

Specifically I would like to comment on your "bumblebee"analogy at TAU:

Even if young Egyptians do not know Hebrew- although a handful seem to be interested- they can now access Israeli websites freely (if not stopped on the Egyptian side) and they might start with the press:

Haaretz has an English version and the Jerusalem Post is of course in English.

Israeli radio and TV can be reached on the web, in Arabic and in English, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an Arabic website with the official point of view.

But in our Israeli democracy there are many opinions and they can all be found from left to right. All it takes is some basic computer skill.


What -you asked- do Israelis think of Egyptians today? My impression is that they don't think about them at all because they have never met them.

Among a few Jewish and Arab Israelis there is a fad for classical Egyptian music like Umm Kulthum but I wonder if the younger Israelis find her music appealing. If at all it is the pop stars of Beirut that cross the border by TV.

Israeli TV shows reruns of ancient Egyptian films from the time of Farouk to those interested.

I was at first amused when in Egypt I was told that many Egyptian intellectuals feared an Israeli "cultural invasion"(ghazu thaqafi) that would cause the collapse of Egyptian civilization.

Such fantasies were hard to swallow until I realised that these people were trying to justify and rationalise their own hatreds.

Today it is still fashionable in Egypt to blame everything on Israeli attitudes towards the Palestinians. Frankly I did not detect any great love for Palestinians in Egypt...unless one is talking to Moslem Brothers who feel a kinship with Hamas.

Any Egyptian student can reach Israel by bus from Cairo-it is a one day trip across the Sinai and will not cost him a fortune. If he travels by regular buses from Cairo to Taba he can cross into Eilat in Israel WITHOUT a visa because a little known paragraph in the peace treaty enables Israelis to visit Sinai without a visa in exchange for an Egyptian right to visit Eilat and the Negev as far as Beersheva, just by showing a passport.

A few Egyptians in fact have come this way looking for jobs in Tel Aviv....


If inded young Egyptians are curious to see Israel and compare the evidence of their own eyes with the propaganda they have been spoon-fed since birth, they are welcome.

But the Nile flows so slowly.....I do not think they will even try.


Best wishes,
David Zohar

Jerusalem

davidzohar@yahoo.com


Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Sam and Joseph,

Excellent posts.

Here is an exchange of posts that Elevate and I had on a different board the may be of interest:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/11/hezbollah-america_lebanon.html#comments

1. “We can't let them go at it because that will disrupt our oil supply (one of the reasons if not the main reason we are so interested in the region).”

Excellent point; you are exactly right. That’s why we need to develop alternate energy sources to end our dependence on Middle East (and other, including domestic) sources of oil. The Greenies are right; damaging our environment is not required. Thankfully, the Google geniuses are now getting into this big time, so expect major advances in this area soon. See my previous post on November 28, 2007 8:44 AM.

2. “The Jewish people have done and continue to do a lot for this country... So ask yourself where would your loyalties lie?”

My sympathies lie with the oppressed Palestinians. No amount of contribution to our society or lobbying (purchasing) of our politicians can justify the illegal theft of Palestinian homes and land and atrocious oppression of basic human rights and dignity that has been and continues to be perpetrated on the Palestinians with the aid of my tax dollars.

3. “As for the North and South Korea example I believe that the DMZ and the largest landmine field in the world has a lot to do with the peace over there.”

Another excellent point; maybe we should surround Israel with an equivalent DMZ and police it with UN or US forces. It would serve a similar function as the Israeli wall, but would divide the land more equitably between Israel and Palestine. The water supply would also be UN controlled and equitably distributed between the two sides. Our billions of dollars of foreign aid would be shifted from Israel to Palestine until their economy recovers to a point equal to Israel’s.

Thanks again for the post; you are clearly an honest broker and great thinker. Now all we have to do is convince our geniuses in Washington D.C.

P.S.:

Unfortunately, after a moment of euphoric optimism, reality sets in and we realize that this approach is also doomed to failure. The hard liners of the region will never permit the “State of Israel” to remain on Arab land, nor should they. With the advent of the modern Cruise Missile that is low flying, GPS guided and impervious to radar detection, it is only a matter of time until downtown Tel Aviv and other major Israeli targets are flattened. Russia, Iran, Pakistan or someone will give or sell these weapons to the Arabs. They could but won’t use nuclear warheads because they want the land to remain habitable. They can be programmed to fly various land hugging profiles, approach from multiple directions, and no one will know where they came from.

Joseph:

Another generational aspect of any hopes for peace between Israelis and Palestinians is that the old generation of Israeli leaders has died out. These were the people who understood that crimes were committed, that the audacious dream of a Jewish state where there had been very few Jews was something well beyond what a just application of laws and rights ever could have accomplished. To these leaders, what they had achieved was always tinged with a hint of shame if not guilt, with the expectation that at any time it could be flung into their faces that they were, in effect, just glorified thieves.

Not so the modern Israeli, who has grown up amid the pervasive propaganda of the state. There never were any Palestinians; Israel always treated the Palestinians very humanely; and the mistreatment of the Palestinians was always necessary for the safety of innocent people: these three mutually exclusive beliefs are all deeply ingrained as truth to the modern Israeli. Where the old guard might have felt embarrassed displacing a Palestinian family for a second or third time in the Occupied Territories, the young leaders fully believe that these people are the worst sort of criminals anyway, and that it is an extreme sacrifice for Israel to do anything other than summarily to execute them or to expel them entirely.

Meanwhile, nothing has ever occurred to dispel the opinion in the Arab world, well-grounded in fact, that the creation of Israel was a colonialist, criminal enterprise.

There can never be a true peace between peoples with such divergent understandings of the facts of the situation.

SAM:

PALISRA is the only feasible and lasting solution for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.Both parties have been fighting and killing each other for more than 60 years now and unfortunately, no light could be seen at the end of this dark tunnel.
The geography and demography of the area that extends between River Jordan and the Mediterranean indicate the complexity of the current situation. Every party is trying hard to grab by mere force what is in the hand of the other. Many wars have been waged and thousands of innocent lives have been shed for this purpose.
Nowadays, almost everybody is talking about setting up two countries for both Israelis and Palestinians. This simply means that the land of historical Palestine will be divided between the two parties, Israelis and Palestinians.
I doubt very much that either party will be satisfied with his share of the cake. There are chronic problems like Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, borders, water resources that nobody on earth can sort out to the satisfaction of both parties.
The short vision of setting up two separate states could sow the seeds for more bloody conflicts in the future. Nobody can guarantee or secure permanent and lasting peace under this proposition.
A far better viable solution that should satisfy both parties and put an end to all complicated issues is available. It is the establishment of one secular country for all on the whole territory of historical Palestine that includes the West Bank and Gaza besides Israel. Jerusalem will remain united for both parties, settlements could remain where they are now provided an appropriate compensation is made to the original land owners, natural geographical borders are already in place for the whole country and the issue of refugees could be settled by allowing all refugees to return home and to be compensated for the 60 years of misery they had to spend at refugee camps. All citizens of the new state, PALISRA (Palestine +Israel), would enjoy equal rights and bear the same responsibilities.
The newly established state, PALISRA will emerge as a prosperous and safe country within a very short period of time, and citizens of this state will learn how to tolerate,respect and even cherish each other. PALISRA will become a key player and an integral part of the Middle East as yesterday's enemies will become today's friends and allies for ever.

Jim Bloom:

Ms. Eltahawy

I applaud your open-mindedness and candor.

You state:

"And yet those young Egyptians who were uniformly negative in their attitudes towards Israel were still curious to hear how Israelis viewed them and reacted to their comments at the Tel Aviv University conference."

"Many co-existence efforts go unnoticed, but it is these “non-political” actors who are coming up with the new ideas. The leaders at Annapolis have run out of them."

I am a bit puzzled how these Egyptian youth who are so negative in their attitudes toward Israelis yet came to the Tel Aviv colloquium could be receptive to any information that did not reinforce their stereotype.

I would hope that being exposed to Israelis who are not rigidly supportive of keeping the expanded settlements in the West Bank and who have some innovative ideas on breaking the deadlock might change their views.

Nonetheless your take on their hard-line attitudes -- no doubt reflecting the constant barrage of defamatory images of the Israelis in Egypt's controlled press-- leaves one to wonder how they might be the ones to come up with "new ideas".

George Robertson:

Generational changes are very important. Britain literally had to wait for DeGaulle to die before they could join what was then the EU- the Common Market. The problem with Annapolis is a reverse of this. The leaders of the previous generation were the ones with either the conviction (Sadat and Rabin) or the ruthlessness of purpose (the elder Assad) to make a peace settlement between Israelis and Arabs actually work. The only way this will work now is if the people of the region are so sick and tired of the conflict that they signal their leaders, weak and divided as they may be, to make a peace on the best available terms. Unfortunately, the only ones who display both conviction and ruthlessness are the ones who oppose a peace under the proposed terms.

Mona Fan Clubber:

What a great positive and honest view of the whole situation. You should go on Blogconfederation.blogspot.com and straighten out some comments.I can't wait for your next article.
Thanks

Bill Glucroft:

Mona, right on.

I don't accept peace is not possible; I don't accept we have run out of ideas. Far from it, true peace and the ideas required to reach it have been excluded - pushed to the outside - from the myopic frame that confines what we have come to call the "peace process."

Like real democracy, peace comes from people, not politicians. Bottom-up. The "peace" between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan is salam - quiet - not shulh- reconciliation. Governments can end wars but only their citizens can create the cross-cultural efforts required for a real peace. And in that regard, the "peace process," whether between Israel and Palestinians or the wider Arab world, has been a total failure.

I'm not quite sure why Annapolis even happened, other than the Bush administration's realization that, with its freedom-fighting foray in Iraq in tatters, it needed some charade to keep the last eight years from being seen as a total waste.

Abbas is weak, Olmert is weak and Hamas thinks it is strong. We can't ignore Iran, as much as we might like to. What does a one day conference accomplish?

I'm out of battery power on my laptop, and I think my professor realizes I'm not paying attention. I look forward to future posts.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Mona Eltahawy, (award-winning syndicated columnist and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues):

“...it’s easy to see why Annapolis produced nothing new: both Arab and Israeli politics have failed to produce anything new for years now...”

“...The same names are still on the scene – they’re just sitting in different chairs...”

“...Old and stale ideas are natural outcomes of old and stale politicians...”

“...On the political level in the Middle East, I am resolutely pessimistic. Annapolis didn’t change that...”

Amen Sister.

Yup, this peace process will fail because the two-state solution is a nonstarter. The Jews have no right to a piece of Palestine after being absent for almost 2 millennia prior to 1947. The 5 million Israeli Jews should join their 5.7 million brethren in the USA and form a true Jewish homeland with 80% of the Jews on the planet. We can support it; Palestine cannot.

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