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 »

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Israel, Opium of the People

Who will dare to expose the collective amnesia and hypocrisy of the Middle East today?

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All Comments (52)

pinetree2 Author Profile Page:

Totally right on. Please write columns that I can disagree with. What's the fun of being obviously correct? Cheers. :-)

KT11 Author Profile Page:

tegenall wrote: "The US treatment of Israel as the 51st state while totally ignoring the plight of the Arabs is totally unacceptable to me as a US taxpayer."

Most people would say that the US are the 2-51 states of Israel. Didn't you notice that many of the tactics used during the Iraq war came from the Israeli military? Sorry to tell you that you really have no say in how your tax money is being used by your central government.

HankToronto Author Profile Page:

A perceptive article. Just like Hamas, other Arab leaders are motivated by staying in power and little else. It works for them to keep the Palestinian-Israeli conflict alive. It diverts the attention of their populations from local problems. That's why the major Arab countries have done very little to resolve the issues between the Palestinians and the Israelis. If there ever is a peace between these peoples the energy will have to come from the Middle East not from Washington.

Jean_dNalgar Author Profile Page:

Imagine?! An Arab writer for Egyptian and Qatar papers, based in NYC, defending the status quo. I'd suggest you read Fisk (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/) if you're really interested in knowing the truth about countries like Egypt.

tlrasnic Author Profile Page:

Americans are under the impression that the Israel/Palistine conflict has been ongoing for over 3000 yrs, so what is new. NOTHING. The only thing that has changed is the type of weapons.Now, each side can destroy each others innoncents with big stuff. What is the answer? Why not let both sides have at each other 'til the last one is standing. Before commencing, however, provide all who want to leave safe passage to anywhere in the world they wish to go & provide them with a new beginning.After all,it is about the innoncent.

MP54 Author Profile Page:

For the last 60 years or so peace in the world was achieved by a “balance of fear”. The so called cold war kept the balances. As long as the game in the Middle East is unequal no peace will come into the region.

stegenall Author Profile Page:

I disagree with Hamas' tactics but I can understand their frustration. I wonder how many members of the US Congress have actually read all of UN GAR 181 which I downloaded from the Yale Law Library. Israel has never complied with some of its conditions and Hamas will not recognize Israel until it does comply. The US treatment of Israel as the 51st state while totally ignoring the plight of the Arabs is totally unacceptable to me as a US taxpayer.

zmar2 Author Profile Page:

Oh dear Mona, after reading your article I again had some hope for the future. Then -- I read the comments. I don't know whether to scream or cry.
As an American Jewish woman, I was raised to believe that a person's religion or a person's color did not have anything to do with whether they were a good person or a bad person. The people who are haters must have been indoctrinated by their parents to hate. And where will it end.
Thank goodness I have been reading other articles by people of reason on both "sides". I know many of your readers will not believe it, but I cry at the sight of wounded and crying Gaza children the same as I do Israeli children.

jmcauli1 Author Profile Page:

Mona, I wonder if it will ever dawn on the Arabs, all Arabs, that the Persians will fight Israel until the last Arab is dead. This latest Hamas triggered carnage is all about the price of OIL. It has tanked and Iran can't stand for that. So they pulled on the leash of their vile Hamas dog to put Arabs into early graves.

Why did Hamas escalate the number of rockets now and use longer range ones? Because the price of oil tanked. Why did Russia suddenly return to their thuggish, heavy-handed Soviet style of negotiating? To change the narrative about oil SUPPLY. Why did our own Energy Department announce yesterday, not more than 3 days after the Congressional ban expired, to re-start filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by buying 12 million barrels?

What's next? Nigerian rebels blowing up a pipeline? Fog in the Houston ship channel? A half-arsed coup in Venezuela? OPEC cutting production more?

Meanwhile, not a peep out of President-Elect Obama. His first big test and he seems totally clueless about it even happening. If he doesn't come out tomorrow and say that he will not only extend the ban on filling the SPR but will also stand ready to SELL, that's right, SELL oil out of the SPR he will have shown himself to be a total STOOGE buy ignoring THE most powerful weapon in his arsenal: THE PRICE OF OIL and the narrative surrounding supply.

Low oil prices are crushing Iran and Russia and giving the West a tax break.

He should also announce as part of his economic stimulus plan that he will put not 100,000 cops on the streets but 10,000 new, alternative fuel, comfortable and modern BUSES on the streets of America and pay for the drivers for two years. An all out assault on gas demand must be undertaken. Better to destroy demand that all our sons and daughters in wars in foreign lands over oil.

To those Persians who think the Arabs are going to remain clueless to your deadly use of Arabs to drive up the price of oil I have to say it would take five minutes rest from the hostilities by most Arabs, during which they studied their own enslavement by the Persian, to figure out they did not like the shackles put on them in the past by the Persian and they will NO LONGER play the expendable slave for them now.

To those Americans who are as tired of this travesty between Israel and the Arabs I say write a letter to the President-Elect demanding he take all steps necessary to return America to position of neutral arbiter of this nonsense including cutting off ALL funding to the area: to Arabs and Israelis alike! They appear bound and determined to destroy each other and that is their choice to make, but I am sick and tired of my tax dollars funding such stone-age behavior.

KT11 Author Profile Page:

Miss el Tahawy's paraphrase "Israel is the opium of the people" is right on. The problem is there is one obvious thing that she failed to discuss, likely not an oversight, and that is the question "Who supplied the opium?"

During the last days of the Qing Dynasty in China, the Western powers, in particular the British Empire, grew (in SE Asia) and imported opium to not only physically weaken the Chinese people, but also use it as a valued commodity (i.e., cash) to trade for Chinese goods like silk and tea. It took a long time and numerous patriotic acts from many brave people for the Chinese to finally be rid of the horrible drug.

Yes, you cannot depend on the suppliers to suddenly show a kind heart and help you kick the habit. The Chinese episode says that it has to come from within, but the encouraging thing is that that day will eventually come. In the mean time, the poor Palestinians will just have to call themselves unlucky!!!!!

iubica2 Author Profile Page:

Mona is doing the only smart thing possible, criticizing her own for their shortcomings in this tragedy.

If everybody on both sides, Israeli and Arabs, would be following her lead - only then we'd be getting somewhere.

mortified469 Author Profile Page:

Palestinians have no state therefore there can be no such thing as a Palestinian. What the world really needs is for one Arab state after the other to fail, not in the name of Palestine, just fail.

ebundagen1 Author Profile Page:

One only need look at Mona's career profile to see why she speaks the way she does. May the Good Lord Almighty give her the same consideration that she has given to the palestinian people, after all she is just one more of a very long line.

mharwick Author Profile Page:

"Hamas rulers of Gaza are just the latest of their leaders to fail them. For those of us who long to separate religion from politics, Hamas has given the truth to the fear that Islamists care more about facing down Israel than taking care of their people. The Palestinians of Gaza are victims equally of Hamas and Israel." NO THE PALESTINIANS OF GAZA ARE BEING HELD CAPTIVE BY THOSE THEY VOTED INTO OFFICE AND WHO THEN SEIZED ILLEGALLY THE GAZA STRIP. ISRAEL IS DEFENDING ITSELF AND HAS EVERY RIGHT TO DO SO.

hbg16 Author Profile Page:

Really great column. It is incredibly frustrating to watch 60+ years of murderous idiocy - all done in the name of invisible superheroes who live in outer space.

People suck.

MichaelAkbar Author Profile Page:

Mona,

Great Job. Now take it to the next level; Follow the money!

You may witness a lot of emotions on the street, but trust me the motivations of the real actors are more cold blooded and strategic. It doesn’t make the actors any smarter, but it is important to understand what makes them tick.

LeeH1 Author Profile Page:

If the Jews suddenly all converted to Islam, they would still be reviled and massacred by the other Moslems. It isn't about religion, it's about race.

And what is it about Islam that makes their people so angry all the time? If they aren't shooting rockets at Israel, they are blowing each other up, or killing each other over Danish cartoons, or murdering Dutch film makers for telling the truth about gender oppression in Moslem societies, or threatening German theatre companies for not revering the Prophet, or spouting off death threats about some author or the other they don't like.

I'm tired of Moslem outrage and anger.

News of an end to Islam anger would be nice. News of an end to Islamic corruption would be nice. News of oil wealth shared among Arab citizens, instead of kept by only a few Arab leaders, would be nice. News of Arab leadership and accomplishment in science, medicine and the humanities would be nice. News of Arab contributions to world safety, security and prosperity would be nice.

News of Islamic anger is waaay to common.

This is a good article, but it needs to be translated into Arabic and published in Gazan, Egyptian, Jordanian and Lebanese newspapers, not just in American ones. Until freedom of the press, and the presentation of minority opinions are allowed, Arab societies won't grow. And they haven't grown up in many years.

edbyronadams Author Profile Page:

Since human beings are a tribal species, it is much easier to demonize the "other" and cast them as the cause of all your problems. Self analysis and self criticism are painful exercises. I might note that these exercises are more difficult for Muslims because the doctrine of the "final prophet" puts large areas of spiritual belief off limits for intellectual self criticism and, since Islam is a legalistic religion that governs many aspects of ordinary life, that territory off limits is large indeed.

Furthermore, thinking of Israel in a moral sense is completely wrongheaded. Two groups of people claiming the same spot of land has no right or wrong, merely winner and loser.

timothy2me Author Profile Page:

A very thoughtful article.

I would disagree on the opiates. I would think it looks more like meth.

rannrann Author Profile Page:

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning syndicated columnist and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues.


Mona, I can see why you are an award-winning syndicated columnist.....great piece!

whocares666 Author Profile Page:

Mona your article was a great read, so too were the comments. Religions are the opiates the validate hate, even in the USA.

TomfromNJ1 Author Profile Page:

While I am neither Muslim nor Jew, I believe you are on the right track. you are a Muslim who can see both sides and I know many Jews who are very sympathetic to the Muslim predicament. And I think if folks like you could sit down, the issues could be settled. But I fear that the tone of some of these comments shows there are many people who would just not accept that. And I doubt if they are as much at fault as the leaders on both sides who like to use fear to cover up their lack of competence.

And it is not limited to the ME. As I said, I am neither Muslim nor Jew, but I am an American and I see our own current government doing the same thing -- using fear to keep us from concentrating on their real shortcomings. I think if the rank-and-file Muslims and Jews could get together a lot of progress could be made along the lines you suggest, but not with some of the rhetoric I am reading in comments here.

istanbuli Author Profile Page:

Mona:

Thank you for your wise comments. Your analogy is reminiscent of Raymond Aron's lyric that marxism was the opiate of the intellectuals.

Best regards

PRD1 Author Profile Page:

Right on Mona! Notice the comments coming from those who continue their hatred against Israel to prove your point all the more. Its not the Israelis don't care about the palestinians, quite the contrary. They lived side by side for many of years with good relations and a prosperous palestinian state makes a prosperous Israel Palestinians have legitimate greviances, but these issues can not be resolved until the hatred and violence stops..across the Middle East.

salmunalfarsi Author Profile Page:

Mona Eltahawy: “On Sunday, a man on a bicycle blew himself up in the middle of an anti-Israel demonstration in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The technique legitimized and blessed by clerics throughout the Arab world as a weapon against Israel had gone haywire and was used against Arabs protesting Israel's bombardment of Gaza. That twisted and morbid full circle completed on the streets of Mosul can be captured only by paraphrasing Karl Marx - Israel is the opium of the people.”

Note the definition of worshippers of Azazel (Satan): (1) Their manners are impeccable; they are well groomed; they fit perfectly within any human society. They are likely to be eloquent talkers who lace their speech with impressive human desires. (2) While easily provoked to frustration or rage by believers and especially Kafur, their display of feeling is little more than an illusion. Their consciousness is the will of Azazel. To the nafiqun worshippers, other people are tools to get them what they want: money, sex, and especially power over others. (3) Worshippers of Azazel practice Taggiyah with all they meet and do not repair the damage they've caused to others because the damage was their only intent. When they lie, cheat or steal, the act exists solely for them as nafiqun ; they believe it should have no repercussions or real world effects. (4) Their only quest is to serve themselves in Azazel’s image and, if this entails taggiyah or even dhimmi genocide, they will do so. If one catches them in lies, they are brilliant at changing the subject, placing the onus on the other person (It is always ‘them’, whether Jew or Muslim, that is wrong), denying their involvement in the deceit .

If Israel’s religion is the opiate of the people (for and against), totalitarianism is the cocaine of the rulers (anywhere).

There are many irrational acts of violence that do not make any sense to a human being and even less to a human child. Consider an endless war between the People of the Book and the People of the Quran that destroys the lives of spiritual people but leaves pagans intact. This can only be the will of Azazel. Why are the ‘rights’ of religious people continually attacked when those of the nafiqun (atheist hypocrites) are left alone? There is an evil at work in Canaan that is not the doing of Humans but of Azazel and its followers on all sides.

bostonbrahmin Author Profile Page:

A lot of the posters seem to miss a fundamental fact..

No, it is not just the tiny speck of Israel in the whole vastness of the Aran land, that is the problem. Please consult the map again...and notice

1. Egypt: American Stooge, gets billions of dollars to pay ball with Israel, and make sure the popular sentiments dont ever find a way of expression.

2. Saudi Arabia: Amaerican "ally", hosted US troops some time ago

3. Lebanon: Americal stooge, gets dollars and arms to try keep Hezbollah from getting to power

4. Jordon: American "ally", gets dollars and arms makes sure to keep "peace" with Israel at the cost of popular feelings and has massacred Palestinians in the past.

5. Iraq: Former American stooge, now under US occupation

6. Turkey: US "ally", gets dollar and arms. Only recently has some backbone to stand up against US imperialism.


The writer has the chutzpah (no pun intended, even though its derived from a Hebrew word) to reside in US, and talk about absence of progress in the Arab world.

The US has employed all the power and money it has to buy off the Arab "leaders" and arm them to the teeth, so that they can maintain a boot on the neck of the entire region.

Talk about being shameless...

asizk Author Profile Page:

ThishowIseeit,

The Palestinian Arabs have lived in Palestine for the last five thousand years since their Canaanite Arab ancestors settled it and built Jersualem-long before jews ever existed;Plaestine's Arab identity was
reinforced once and for all when the Arab Muslims liberated the entire Arab East including PAlestine from the alien Byzantine colonization in the 7th cenutry AD.

jews came as invaders when they were thrown out by the Pherohs from Egypt and among the different aliens who inavded Palestine,jews were very marginal and were insignifcant to the history of Palestine-Biblical and historical myths which the jews recycle are not worthy of consideration and are recycled to lend false legtimacy to an illigitimate jewish presence in Palestine.

"israel" is a colonial settler state and is a passing phenomenon-like apartheid white south africa; "israel" and it is aliens-in every way-culture,langauge etc...has nothing in common with the Arab East-it can never be be part of it.

hgcsato Author Profile Page:

Forgot to recall Churchill's comments about Russia which is apt for Israel of today: "The situation appears to be a riddle, wrapped in mystery, concealed in an enigma"....
.......or is it America's understanding of Israel that is stuck in such misfortune?

Garak Author Profile Page:

TTRAUB: Israel has shown how it can transform a land with the help of unlimited US taxpayers dollars. Israel has shown the Arabs how might makes right, with its unlimited US-supplied arsenal that it uses to destroy Arabs and Palestinians who don't surrender to Israel's theft of Palestinian lands. Israel has shown the Arab leaders how, with the right mix of PR and lobbying, it can brutally suppress an entire people. Israel has shown how it can steal US technology and sell it to Communist China for fun and profit. Israel has shown how unlimited US subsidies and trade preferences can help it become a modern nation with a vibrant economy. Israel has shown the Arabs how terrorism works when it used mass terror to ethnically cleanse Palestine of Palestinians in 1947-48. Israel has shown the Arabs how to spin wars of conquest in 1947, 1956, 1967, and 1980 as "self-defense." Israel has shown the Arabs how to treat minorities as 2d-class citizens. Israel has shown the Arab world how to let religious fanatic parties such as Shas dominate the gov't. Israel has shown the Arabs how to let religious fanatics control social issues (Shas again) through a state theocracy (the official Israeli Rabbinate).

Israel wants to complete the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Untermenschen from Israel's Lebensraum. Israel will show the Arabs how to accomplish this war crime with the help of powerful allies and a compliant and submissive media.

Yup, some lessons!

hgcsato Author Profile Page:

Thank you, and you are right. No lessons have been learned. None!

Here is my recipe:

1. It must start with Regime Change in Egypt, a relative heavy weight in the Middle East (historically) and one with a peace treaty with Israel. That must be followed by opening the border post at Rafah and serving notice to Israel that Gaza is an Egyptian protectorate. [It was shameful to read Mubarak saying that Rafah will only be opened in coordination and with approval of Israel. Shameful!]

2. In turn, that will serve notice to Israel (and its American sugar daddy) that the tide is turning against Israel's hoax plan of peace with neighbours, which ought to produce regime change in Israel too.

After 60+ years, it is time for Plan B!

cintronlourdes Author Profile Page:

"...their respective demands to stop everything else we're doing and pay attention to their fights because what's the slaughter of anyone else - be they in Darfur, Congo or anywhere else - compared to their often avoidable bloodletting?"

Well, the Jews have promised us never to let us forget the Jewish Holocaust (they seldom mention the Gypsies or the gays who were also part of the 'final solution', it's all about them). This war against the Palestinians is fought ALWAYS reminding us that they had to occupy Palestine because of holocaust.

So, yes, it is the Israelis who always demand that we have their interest in first place. We are suppose to ignore all laws, international laws, national laws, in order to let them commit the same crimes they claim were committed against them, only because 'we owe them' for the holocaust.

I don't know this journalist, but her opinions lack political depth. Israel is committing acts against humanity. They have a moral mandate to fight against genocide. Why is German Auschwitz condemned but Gaza Auschwitz condoned?

The moment the Israelis went ahead to make of Gaza another ghetto, another concentration camp, they lost their right to claim 'victimhood'.

Do you not know what 'occupation' means? Maybe you should go back to Politics 101.

timscanlon Author Profile Page:

I've given up in disgust with that whole area. There wasn't peace there long before I was born, there will be no peace there long after I'm dead too. There is no realistic hope of peace there, and talk about peace is only an excuse to form a foundation for yet more war and slaughter.

The worst part of it is both sides base their hate in a shared belief in the same god, but a conflict over who's got the bigger prophets.

The audacity is, they kill each other and soak the ground in blood of land they call holy. Does their god put a stop to any of this over thousands of years of ongoing stupidity? Why no, never. He's like some sort of evil Santa Clause that brings rockets, bullets, and death.

Israel is proof of the existence of human evil, and the non-existence of the gods worshiped by the fools who spend all this time killing each other over this land.

zcezcest1 Author Profile Page:

If the author was leading Palestine, not only would Palestine be a country, but it would be among the most successful in the region.

The author is one of the voices, far too uncommon in the region, that need to be heard. Loud and clear. Sadly, I fear that the author's voice will only be heard in the west. Her insights are appreciated here, but they are necessary in the mideast.

bostonbrahmin Author Profile Page:

There is a time and place for everything.

When the state of Israel is killing innocent civilians just so that their ruling party gains an upper hand in the forthcoming elections, this column is completely out of place.

If this came out three weeks ago, this would have made sense, and there could have been a proper discussion of the nuances.

How is not a time for this. Now is the time to be angry. Now is the time to clearly and loudly denounce the Israeli action as criminal, uncivilized, and not worthy of human beings.

adam777 Author Profile Page:

I am sad at this..there is no balance here.Its all over the place discusing seprate issues and ignoring the bloody history of Israel.yes she is trying to please the goverment of egypt,the US and israel.

the whole world is against Israeli war crimes and atrocities.the justifican for it is lies and propaganda.the so called rockets have killed no Israeli in the last 3 years.Hamas have no F-16s,no tanks, no apaches, no ships, and no nukes.Israel have all of the above.

Israel does not want peace at all and want to control palestinians and make them slaves.Look at the moderate Abbas, he has been so good to Israel, saying the right things, denouncing vilonce, what did Israel give him in the last 3 years? nothing, not one check point lifted,infact Israel stole more land than before.

Israel always have a reason for it war crimes and state terror, now its Hamas, before that the Palestinians with the intifada, before that Arafat, before that the Plo.All are wrong and bad but Israel is right and good, how nice.

If you want to go back in history mona why dont u tell us about Israels bloody history in the area and the spying and espianage against the USA.Israel is the biggest threat to America
Shame on you mona

JS11 Author Profile Page:

>>>Palestinians still have no state.

The article seemed fairly balanced until I came to this whopper. What do you call the West Bank and the Gaza strip ?

You should realize I came into this issue without any preconceptions, and hardly even took an interest until 9/11. That singular event made me do some homework. All my reading convinces me that the reason things got to this point is because other Arab states have shamelessly used the refugees driven out during Israel's formation, to serve their own agendas and to distract their own people.

Displaced people are nothing novel around the world. But this event happened > 50 years ago now. The one graphic that made a dramatic impact on my thinking is a zoomed out map of the ME, showing Israel as a tiny speck among the surrounding Arab countries. It's ridiculous to fight over the small amount of territory involved; the refugees could long since have been resettled in Jordan, Egypt, etc. Except that now these refugees and their descendants have marinated in hate for so long that they have forgotten how to be normal

mharwick Author Profile Page:

The Hamas a documented terrorist organization with a Charter that includes destruction of Israel and a refusal to negotiate their Jidad against the Jews took Gaza by force. "By spending its resources on rocket launchers instead of roads and schools, Hamas has demonstrated that it has no intention of serving the Palestinian people," Bush said. "America has helped by providing tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, and this week we contributed an additional $85 million through the United Nations. We have consistently called on all in the region to ensure that assistance reaches those in need."
Bush blamed Hamas for hiding within the civilian population. "Regrettably, Palestinian civilians have been killed in recent days," he said.
Bush is quite right. The Hamas uses its children as shields and hopes for their death to ensure the liberal media will put the pictures on the front pages.
You cannot appease scorpions. Israel warned the civilians a day before to stay away from weapon hideouts and military targets. They allow humanitarian aid to go in to the civilians. What other country in a fight for survival has ever shown that integrity and character in human history. None.

Robert2008 Author Profile Page:

Ms. Eltahawy makes some good points. While I think Israel had no choice but to hit Hamas, it is good to hear a Muslim voice with reason in it.

Note to Ebo Patel: Mona Eltahawy is a Muslim I would have a conversation with.

washingtonpost31 Author Profile Page:

You are right, Mona, but you did not quite get to the bottom of it. The addiction is not to Israel. The addiction is to hate. Hate lends a sense of purpose and being, psychologically speaking. Leaders, political and religious, leverage hate to divide and conquer. Very basic. Classic Machiavelli.

petehenendez Author Profile Page:

I think Mona is either pleasing her new host-country(America-The enabler of Israel)or she is still learning how to write accurately.She was trying to please both sides.Anyone who reads her a second time could see it.Well done Mona.Why dont you run for the vacant senate seat?Even politicians don't kiss ass that much.

sparrow4 Author Profile Page:

Thank you- you're right- until all parties involved get a grip and take a long hard look at their own responsibility in this horrible situation, all that Israel and Hamas are proving is that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

ThishowIseeit Author Profile Page:

Ms. Eltahaway,
In 1993, archeologists discovered a stone tablet - the Tel Dan Stele- engraved with an ancient inscription. Written in Aramaic, it refers to the "King of Israel" and to the "House of David".
These Stele and other findings - see www.pbs.org/wbgh/nova- prove the ancient presence
and their present and future rights of the Israelites in the land now part of the State of Israel.

ProIsraelProPeace Author Profile Page:

Quite balanced, Mona. Thank you. Your point about the hypocrisy of Arab states denouncing Israeli tactics yet engaging in widespread human rights violations against their own people is particularly poignant. Israel is, in that sense, a convenient distraction for these dictatorial regimes, including Egypt.

Re Yeolds' comment about American-made weapons being conditioned on their defensive, rather than offensive, use. Under international law, military force is justified only in defense against attacks (or imminent attacks). Your statement assumes that these latest Israeli operations were not defensive. They clearly were and therefore satisfy international law and US conditions on the aid. One can (and should) criticize whether the tactics have been proportional or have targeted civilians, but the attacks were clearly responsive to Hamas' use of thousands of rockets in the last two years that have killed several Israeli civilians and have created an atmosphere of fear among Israelis living in the south of the country.

chris_holte Author Profile Page:

I liked your comments. It's about time that someone say what you are saying. All it takes sometimes is honesty to break through years of stupidity. If the Irish could do it, so can the Arabs and Israelis.

alanhm Author Profile Page:

Dear Mona, thank you for writing a balanced view of the current incarnation of the decades-old conflict. What I find intriguing this time around is the resonance among Arab leadership with Israeli leadership, and that is distinctly recognizing Hamas as an Islamist extremist organization that is as much a threat to the region as it currently is to Israel. The next few days will be critical. Despite extreme lengths to avoid collateral damage, it is inevitable when Hamas is includes innocent Palestinians as part of their tactics.

Mike542 Author Profile Page:

How long should Israel do nothing while rockets are sent their way. Who would ignore that?

yeolds Author Profile Page:

While the analysis was correct and impartial, it left out the elehant in the room:
The USA, the one who uses veto in the UN Security Council to protect ISRAEL far any and all actions - be they contrary to previous UN Resolutions, or be they transgression of international law. The other aspect left out from the above note, that Isreal uses USA made weapons, relies on "emergency shipments of bombs - cluster or other; from Uncle Sam. Neither is there any mention that USA madfe armaments may only be used in Defence - where NEITHER the last Lebanon war nor the present attempt in Gaza can be called DEFENSIVE ACTIONS. So now we not only permit ISRAEL to break international Covenants, but the USA Congress and Adminstration is also breaking its own laws while shipping more ammunition to Israel.

The PAlistine Isreal problem of 60 some years will not be solved while the USA is the major supplier of weapons in the world.

DavidZ2 Author Profile Page:

Dear Mona, thank you for the human voice, human values, and sharing a bitter feeling for those making Israel the boggy man of all the ills in the world. Israel is just a country for deserving a community and opportunity to live and work people who were for centuries destitute, persecuted, hunted, abused, and mistreated. Good title, very good. Thank you.

DimitriF Author Profile Page:

Thank you for your courage and perspicacity, Mona.
I understand it can be difficult to rise above the quarrel, especially in such heated times, but there is simply no alternative if this conflict is to be resolved one day.

abhab Author Profile Page:

The Palestinians had committed unforgivable mistakes that led to their present situation. It is their idealism and lack of sophistication that made them refuse even to consider a settlement with the sophisticated Zionists and rely on the so-called Arab sister states in particular and Muslim states in general. Those others shared in setting the trap for the unsuspecting Palestinians by making grandiose promises many of which never materialized and the few that did failed miserably. I cannot think of a single one of those above mentioned states that did not reap benefits , financial and otherwise, at the expense of the Palestinians’ catastrophe.
After more than half a century of this tragedy, the Palestinians’ many warlords are learning the lessons of the Arab states. They are using the Palestinian populations as a bargaining chips to get concessions for power and wealth from the rich countries that care for the viability of Israel as well as from the oil rich neighboring regimes who wish to buy their acquiescence.

DavidZ2 Author Profile Page:

Dear Mona, thank you for speaking humanly and pointing out that been a Muslim does not have to make you a blind hater. Israel does not have to be the opium of the masses. It is just a country of deserving and formerly destitute, hunted, abused, and persecuted.

Vagabond1 Author Profile Page:

Thank you for putting it so clearly and boldly. You're absolutely right. Everyone wants to blame someone else, and not a single state wants to take responsibility for how they've contributed to this misery. I can think of no other word for it than shameful.

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