Yossi Melman at PostGlobal

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. Close.

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. more »

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Annapolis, Like Leaders, Weak and Insincere

The recipe for resolution has been on the table for decades. But as long as leaders are weak and uncommitted, we’ll continue to have non-events like Annapolis.

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All Comments (43)

cvjmzfairl:

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

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

WITH RESPECT TO THE ASSASSINATION OF BENAZIR BHUTTO

This is a glimpse of the world’s future if the Zionist so called “State of Israel” and its number one ally the USA don’t wise up and vacate the Middle East.

That’s right Victoria, they can’t blame this one on the general Muslim population.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/yossi_melman/2007/12/bhutto_conspiracy_theories_wil/all_comments.html

We may find out, however, that the culprit is the Islamist fundamentalists (Al Qaeda and the Taliban) who are enabled by the foolish greed of the colonial USA and Israel.

Certainly Musharraf is one of those with the most to gain. He can now postpone elections indefinitely and hold onto his power, although he may have quite a revolt on his hands if he does so.

On the other hand, Bhutto was a strong ally of the US and an outspoken opponent of the Islamic fundamentalists. That is the kiss of death in this region of the world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/world/asia/28pakistan.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

“In October, Ms. Bhutto survived another deadly suicide attack in the southern city of Karachi on the day she returned from years of self-imposed exile abroad to contest the parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto blamed extremist Islamic groups who she said wanted to take over the country for that attack, which narrowly missed her but killed 134 people. But she also complained that the government had taken insufficient steps to safeguard her parade…

She was openly critical of Mr. Musharraf’s ineffectiveness at dealing with Islamic militants and welcomed American involvement…

The assassination comes just days after Mr. Musharraf lifted a state of emergency in the country, which he had used to suspend the Constitution and arrest thousands of political opponents, and which he said he had imposed in part because of terrorist threats by extremists in Pakistan…”

So this is how my crystal ball has it. We just took another step along the path to WW III. The Islamist fundamentalists (Al Qaeda and the Taliban) hold all the cards. Musharraf may or may not be making a serious effort to rein them in. He may be playing live and let live as they build their strength in NW Pakistan and continue to weaken Afghanistan.

The Zionist invader in Palestine keeps the entire Middle East inflamed at both them and the USA for supporting them. Of course our preemptive attack on Iraq and continued occupation of Afghanistan just adds fuel to the flames.

China, India and Pakistan’s thirst for Middle East oil makes them natural allies of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other Arabian Gulf oil states. They will be eager to supply whatever these countries need in the way of precision guided land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) like the US Tomahawk. These are precision, Global Position System (GPS) satellite guided, low flying cruise missiles that hug the earth and can be programmed to attack Israel from multiple directions. Israel will never know what hit them. These will not be like the thousands of ballistic Katyusha rockets fired from Southern Lebanon, which mostly land in the olive orchards and sage brush fields. These missiles will each have a high rise building or other high value target and street number programmed in them like our Tomahawk attacks on Baghdad in 1991 and 2003.

Our thirst for oil and 10 Trillion dollar national debt, with much of it owed to China, puts us in a very weak strategic position. China could bankrupt us at will by flooding the market with our worthless paper IOUs. That’s why the US dollar has lost ~33% of its value relative to the Euro, which is on its way to becoming the world standard currency. The US dollar will soon be known as the US Peso.

Israel only produces ~1% of its required oil from its own oil wells, and must import 99%, 90% from Russia. Russia is anything but a reliable ally and is known to have used its natural gas supplied to Eastern Europe as a political tool in the past.

So standby for action the so called Zionist “State of Israel” and its number one ally the USA. We live in interesting times.

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.

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.?”

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 is a fascinating link. I find it very interesting indeed. When are we going to figure out how to give the American people as much pull with the Congress as AIPAC has?

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11302007/transcript2.html

Here is the part I like best:

BILL MOYERS: But in this country the right wing, the radicals, if you will, you call them radicals, they are radicals. They're organized. They have the money. They have this alliance with the Republican Party. And AIPAC and others make it impossible for Democrats to have the kind of conversation that you're having here. I mean, you don't hear this debate in the Democratic debates, do you?

M.J. ROSENBERG: You don't. And that's-- it's so amazing that no one asks the candidates about Israel and Palestine in debates, ever.

BILL MOYERS: Why?

M.J. ROSENBERG: I think the reason they don't ask is that they know what the candidates are going to say is, "I love Israel. I stand with Israel. Israel is great." End of the discussion.

BILL MOYERS: Why?

M.J. ROSENBERG: Because they are intimidated...

BILL MOYERS: By?

M.J. ROSENBERG: By the lobby which basically does not want a debate on this issue. But, you know, I don't blame the lobby. I blame the politicians. They're not going to lose their seats in Congress. They're not going to lose the presidency because they endorsed a two-state solution. The-- it is not losing that they're afraid of. They're afraid of getting any static from a couple of right wing donors...

BILL MOYERS: --I mean, you have seen the candidates for Congress lose because of opposition from supporters of Israel.

M.J. ROSENBERG: You know what? I think that the only people say that candidates for Congress have lost because of that opposition is, one, the lobby itself to tout its own power. And those candidates who lost for other reasons and want someone to blame. No, I can go over those case by case--

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, but-- but in your newsletter you keep talking about the power of the lobby to intimidate the discussion among Democrats in particular...

BILL MOYERS: --talk about Barney Frank, who's a good liberal Democrat but never discusses this. You talk about Nancy Pelosi writes a letter to Bush before the Annapolis conference and says the only solution can be one that deals primarily with what Palestinians are doing and has no reciprocity from Israel.

M.J. ROSENBERG: Oh, absolutely. The-- they have a real chilling effect on debate...

BILL MOYERS: More so than CUFI, don't they?

M.J. ROSENBERG: Oh, much more. CUFI doesn't really-- I don't see them as really counting on this issue. No, they have a much more-- I go up to the Hill all the time, talk to members of Congress. And what they always are say is, "I'm with you 100 percent. I'm for the two-state solution. I know it's the best thing for America and it's the best thing for Israel. But you really don't want me to go out and say that in public." So they say, like, in my heart I agree with you. But that's not good enough.

RON SIDER: I think that MJ's basically right on that. And I'm sorry about that. I wish they did. I wish they had the political courage to-- in fact, say what they think. Because I mean, it's really momentous in terms of the U.S. and the history of the world and our foreign policy. Because 1.3 billion Muslims in the world tend to judge the U.S. and see it through the lens of Israel-Palestine. And all those Muslims perceive the U.S. as very one-sided. If we would solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, that would remove one major problem in the huge dangerous relationship between the U.S. with its large Christian majority and the Muslim world.

M.J. ROSENBERG: And, you know, on top of it, you have in the Jewish community some 70 percent of our community supports the two-state solution, supports the peace process, supports what Bush tried to do this week in Annapolis. But under our current system, it isn't majorities that matter, it's special interest groups based in Washington. It's a problem with our system right now and how it works.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

More commentary from your good neighbor:

Asim MA, San Antonio:

Were not for the creation and the blind support for "Israel," 911, the war on Iraq and "terrorism" would have never happened; if Israel does not like "terrorism" then why not simply end its sixty year old occupation of all of Palestine and where Jews go back peacefully to where they come from.

Ehud Barack-PM and now Defense minister-once said in a slip of a tongue:" If I were a Palestinian I would be a terrorist."

Golda Meir once said: "what Palestinians-they don't exist."

December 6, 2007 4:52 PM

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Hey William,

Here’s a post from a buddy of yours that you may want to check out:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/12/israeli_soldiers_us_sderot_terrorism.html#more

Asim MA, San Antonio:

“The so called "Israeli's" are the last ones to talk about terrorism: their racist apartheid Jewish theocracy was built on violence and terrorism and in fact introduced terrorism to the ME region, the murdered the UN envoy Count Bernadout in 1947 and even their own PM Ytzhak Rabin-the Jewish terrorist gangs such as the Haganah, Palmach, Irgun, Stern etc..-ethnically cleansed 70% of the indigenous Palestinians in 1947/8 and destroyed over five hundred villages to prevent the return of the ethnically cleansed Palestinians who number now over six million and who still suffer in refugee camps sixty years later awaiting return as per UN 194 of 1947; once set up, "Israel" has survived on brutal state terrorism backed by a monopoly of formidable nuclear arsenal in the ME-hence Israel/AIPAC agitating for another war on Iran, again on false pretenses.

The "Israeli soldiers" deliberately confuse national resistance to occupation with terrorism: PLO, Hamas and Hezbullah were all established as a reaction to lengthy military occupation; the Brits called George Washington a terrorist and the Nazi's called the French resistance freedom fighters, terrorists. It is the executioner who accuses the victim and brands him as terrorist.

For more on Israeli terrorism see the scholarly and balanced WWW.PLANDS.ORG”

December 6, 2007 4:42 PM

William, San Antonio:

Over 200 years ago U.S. foreign policy toward Arab barbarians began and is memorialized by the Tripoli Monument at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The inscription reads:

THE TRIPOLI MONUMENT

The oldest military monument in the United States honors heroes of the War against the Barbary Coast Pirates, the new republic's first war. In 1804, President Jefferson ordered the nation's tiny naval force to the Mediterranean to protect the expanding trade of the new United States against the pirates, who demanded ransom for safe passage of merchant ships. "Millions for defense, but not on cent for tribute" became the rallying cry for this war. Jefferson's action established the doctrine of extension of power overseas and created a permanent United States Navy.

On "the shores of Tripoli," young Americans took brave actions against the pirates, including torching their own grounded vessel, the USS Philadelphia, to prevent her use by the pirates. Six men were killed before Tripoli's "pasha" relented. Congress cited them for their gallantry and Captain David Porter, one of the pirates' captives, instituted a campaign for a monument to honor his former shipmates, now heroes.

The monument was carved in 1806 in Italy, of Carrera marble, and brought to the United States as ballast on board the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides). From the Washington Navy Yard it moved to the west terrace of the national Capitol. It has stood at the Naval Academy since 1860.

http://www.dcmemorials.com/index_indiv0003204.htm

Thankfully, the response to Muslim terrorism is the same today as it was then. May it ever be so.

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, Fredericksburg, 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…

obaid karki:
Dr E S K:

You are right to the letter!

tmaertens:

Melman's comments seem right on. Yes, Arafat used Hamas, and before that Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and before that Black September, to keep pressure on Israel.

Even so, had Israel recognized that a two-state solution was the only long-term possibility -- because the Palestinians had such a high birth rate they would eventually outnumber Jews inside Israel -- they would have restricted the settlements.

Ironically, Sharon pushed the settlements and then, when it was too late, recognized that only a two-state solution would work.

Now removing the settlements would provoke a civil war inside Israel. Leaving them there means a perpetual impediment to peace and an eternal irritant in Arab-Jew relations.

Chris Konrad:

The ideal solution is possible far away anyway: that at some point of history there will be one secular, enlightened democratic state where all citizens, Palestinians, Jews and anyone else have equal rights and just live in an open society. Israel is already a multiracial society with immigrants from everywhere, so it is not such a stretch of imagination.
Of course, as long as many of the regional inhabitants prefer to stick to their antirational, exclusive and intolerant religions that some cavemen dreamed up ages ago, there will be no peace. It is so grotesque to believe that some God earmarked the land for the Jews, or that you will go to a heaven to meet with 72 virgins when you blow yourself up in public buses. Yet people who belief that obvious nonsense are the biggest obstacle to an intelligent and humane solution.

George Robertson:

Owen - Neither Israel nor the Arabs have ever accepted the full terms of the UN resolution which authorized establishment of the state of Israel. Jerusalem was supposed to be an undivided city under UN control- with full access to all religious sites by all religions. Of course that would be almost impossible to do now because of potential threats against the sites by one extremist group or the other, but that's actually what the original UN resolution called for. Another issue that both sides have lied about is refugees- yes, Israel, there actually are some Palestinians who lived there for centuries and yes, Arab world, most Arabs in Palestine as of 1948 actually did arrive there in the 20th century to work as laborers during the British mandate. Israel should allow back in the refugees who really are "historical" Palestinians and the rest could reasonably be asked to return to their own national homelands. Of course, in order to have a reasonable solution, you have to have reasonable people, which I don't see a whole lot of in the Middle East these days. all I see are bigots on both sides each pushing their own ideas to the exclusion of all others.

George Robertson:

Mr. Melman - That's the most fascinating interpretation of events of the 1990s that I've ever read, and one of the most distorted. Arafat locked up thousands of dissidents, thousands. All he got for it was a kick in the teeth from Netanyahu- who kept expanding settlements, building roads, and authorizing the now-infamous outposts. All along, Israel had it within its power to refrain from building more settlements, and to bring Hamas into the negotiations alongside Arafat. Israel didn't want to do so because Russia was finally collapsing economically and they wanted to siphon off a few more immigrants in the process. These Russians, could of course, have left at any time after 1991 if they really were being persecuted. Obviously, they were just economic refugees; many of them are not even practicing Jews. The UN approved the foundation of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people so that they would never be turned away because of their religion if they were being persecuted, like in World War II. That's what my American tax dollars are supposed to be going for- not to facilitate one group of bigots taking land away from another group of bigots. We should cut off military and financial aid to Israel until they agree to dismantle their settlements and negotiate with the Arabs in good faith. As for the settlers, if a peace treaty put them on the wrong side of the border, that sounds like a personal problem to me. No reason to re-settle them; if they don't want to leave voluntarily, I'm sure the Palestinians would accept them if they learned Arabic and converted to Islam. I don't really care what happens to the settlers; they're idiots so far as I am concerned.

owen:

Strange that Israel abides by one UN resolution (voting for the state of Israel in 1948) but ignores or repudiates most of the others. Israel will not tolerate UN intervention between itself and the Palestinians because it cannot tolerate any impartial umpire - it negotiates from a position of strength (200 nukes and a wealth of weaponry) supported by the US against the Palestinians with nothing. Like Tony Soprano against a three year old child. The first step in any resolution of the conflict would be for the US to withdraw its support and become neutral - no chance of that - and for the UN to enact sanctions against Israel like those that have been used against other aggressors.

Albert:

After another 50 or 60 years of global warming, who is going to care who lives in "Israel" or "Palestine?"

Vic van Meter:

I love reading these posts where people say one thing the poster said and then launch into their own topics.

Let's get back to the issue brought up here by Mr. Melman, which is weak leadership dooming the peace process. I've chosen this comment to post on because Melman has spoken exactly the reason Annapolis has failed any why subsequent peace processes shall fail.

The leaders are weak. Very weak. From President Bush to the lowliest orderly in Palestine's government, nobody has the cojones to step up and maybe do something (I can hear the collective gasp) negotiable! Melman's preached the point. The workable solution is RIGHT THERE! It's been on the table for many years. It's obvious to any idiot that peace can work if both sides are willing to concede hard points.

But concessions hurt the pride. They can hurt the popularity. They can force uncomfortable decisions, like dismantling the West Bank settlements and recognizing a Jewish state. Those are part of the peace plan, but the governments shy away from those because there are warhawks on both sides of the Israel-Palestine border looking to make a blood sacrifice in the name of God. These people are in power now, Hamas in the West Bank and the hardline Jewish political structure. These two sides have banked money, power, and prestige on decisively defeating the other side and forcing a huge, unlikely surrender and concession. And they're helped by a lot of naysayers who'd like this little game to keep going so we have something to talk about on this forum.

The road to peace is really right there. Everyone knows what the other side wants. Everyone knows what peace will eventually cost. And it's just not going to happen until strong leadership steps up and says that enough is enough.

Eventually, it will happen. The road map is there and peace is inevitable. It's all a matter of how much blood both sides can choke down until they're full.

Pale Rider:

Who is Paul ? Quinn is meeting with Sunni and Shia clerics, as we speak. They propose to show us how well they get along. Quinn wanted me to point out that Hitler was elected by a Democratic vote of the German people. I guess thats why those silly Jews worry about Hamas, and why Zionists support a Jewish homeland IN Palestine; Samaria; Judea. Well, I must leave to meet with Quinn, and the "winner" of the Sunni-Shia meeting.

George:

Paul,

Thank you for reading my posts. I do what I can to state the facts, the results thus far, the choices we now have, and what we can expect based upon our choices.

I am sorry you are a Zionist. You too seem like a swell guy.

For what it's worth to you, neither the problem nor the solution will be found in understanding Islam but I applaud your initiative.

Good Luck

paul:

" The official government led by Mahmoud Abbas and celebrated by George Bush....". It seems to me that there was an election in which the Palestinian people elected a Hamas government. George Bush, after pushing for a democratic election decided that he believed in democratic elections but that he wouldn't accept the results of a democratic election. Fatah was voted out by the Palestinians yet they seem to have usurped power so it is they not Hamas that are that have stolen the power of a duly elected government.
As for your argument that their will be little if any positive results from Annapolis and the ensuing negotiations I agree. Without Hamas and Gaza involved in the process any agreements will be moot.
We have a lame duck president and two political eunuchs in Abbas and Olmert that don't even have the support of their own people to a sufficient amount to even negotiate on their behalf. These factors doom the effort for a peaceful settlement.

BeowulfthePolitician:

It's that same tired old Palestinian argument again. That somehow the "Palestinians" were there longer than the Jews is load of crap. The Jews have lived in that region CONTINUOUSLY since around 1400 BC. Even the name "Palestine" (Palaestina in it's orginal Latin) was made up by the ruling Byzantines around 300 AD as an insult to the Jews by re-naming their homeland after their worst enemies, the Philistines.

The modern day "Palestinians" are descended from the Johnny-Come-Lately, Occupying Muslim Invaders of 638 A.D.

Brief history of the region:

Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Alexander the Great, the Ptolmies, Seleucids, Jews, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads, Mamluks, Ottoman turks, Europeans, & Jews again have all controlled that region:

Egyptians conquered the region in 1468 BC. (Thutmose III of Egypt.) During this time, the Hebrews, Amorites, Hittites, & Philistines filtered in.

In 721 BC, the Assyrians conquered northern Israel (Samaria)

In 587 BC, Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar conquered southern Israel (Judah)

In 539, The Persians overran Palestine and stayed for 200 years.

Macedonians (Alexander the Great) conquered it briefly.

Egyptians took it back in 198 B.C.

The Seleucids took it in 168 BC.

Maccabean revolt took the area back for Jews briefly.

132-135 AD, the official name, Palestine (technically, Palaestina), was christened by the Byzantines as a result of the Jewish revolts.

200 AD the Jews were the majority again in "Palestine".

Constantine ruled it til 337 AD.

Persians re-captured it in 611 AD.

Muslim Arabs invaded and conquered Palestine in 636 A.D. and kept it until 1098 AD.

(Crusades – European Christians took it, lost it, took it, and then lost it permanently to Salahdin during that time frame.)

Ottoman empire – Turks controlled it until WWI.

After WWI, League of nations vis a vis Great Britain, ruled over the area until the Jews finally took it BACK in 1948.

So PLEASE spare me your "zionist invader" garbage. All existing nations were birthed through conquest. If the Arabs can't take it back by force (which they've proven they can't), then quit your whining and crying. Israel is here to stay and you can't do anything about it. You lost. Get over it.

Pale Rider:

Ah Amigos: Please understand that Quinn and I are Zionists,which is nothing more than a belief that there is and always be a Jewish homeland IN Palestine,;Samaria, Judea. The Jews are entitled to such homeland as much as our Muslim Bros,who are the majority in numerous Islamic countries, often to the detriment of their non-Islamic minorities. In short Quinn and I do not view Zionism as a perjoritive. In passing I note that George seems like a swell guy. His views are uttered on numerous Islamic sites. Quinn and I are to meet soon with Sunni and Shia clerics who will help us understand what Islam is about.

Ray Popovic:

You said it baby - right on the money!

Ray Popovic:

You said it baby - right on the money!

Ray Popovic:

You said it baby - right on the moneu!

George:

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.

Nelson:

As you have stated so cogently in this article, neither man who leads their respective countries, would be the men to work for the long term, 2 state,
non-apartheid, solution that the world is crying out for.
But you have missed one point, that is most important in this terrible tragedy, that is now called Israel: and that is that GW Bush, has stated in the past that he is a "fundamentalist Christian," and the basis for most of their beliefs, is that the nation of Israel, must fight the battle of Armageddon before the return of their Lord. It is without doubt the most important thing that must take place and the commander in chief of this country will not step in the way of the Zionist Christian movement, because he has stated his firm belief in this tenet of his faith.
The Zionist-Christian movement, without a doubt, is the cause of some of the turmoil taking place in Israel today, because of their firm stand that no nation of the earth is more important than Israel, other than the United States of America! We in America must break the backs of this unyielding and obstinate group, for if we don't, then there will never be any reason for the Israelis to make peace with their neighbours. There will never be any incentive for the Israelis to achieve a lasting peace because the Zionist-Christian movement, will always back Israel, right or wrong, just as they think that the US, is the nation of Destiny.
We must give the nation of Israel pause, to think that the US government will not always back their treatment of the Palestinians, in this fashion. Pray my friends not only for the peace of Jerusalem, but also for the peace and security of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the nation of Palestine.

Joseph:

"Is Joseph also against all religious states, such as Iran and all other Muslim states which clearly state that they are Muslim and Islam is the basis of their law. Or is he only against a Jewish state?" -- T. Alana

Yes, I am against all religious states. Israel, however, is more directly bothersome to me because (a) my tax dollars bankroll it, and (b) it is part of the West, and therefore comes largely from the same background that clearly indicates to me that equating nation and state is a bad idea, particularly when a large proportion of the population does not belong to the state's "nation."

"It sure does work. Look at any Moslem country and you see that prejudices do work." -- Feeryarrow

I see. And these Muslim countries, are they at the forefront of any aspect of human development whatsoever? If not, then on what basis do you claim that they "work?"

"Joseph, where were you born?" -- Feeryarrow

In the US, and at a remarkably early age, I might add. How much do you weigh?

Anonymous:

Israelis and Arabs don't want strong leaders with clear vision. Sadat and Rabin were both killed by their own extremists, not by foreign enemies.

People get the government they deserve, in the Middle East as much as anywhere else. The Israeli and Palestinian citizenry are the architects of their misfortunes, not innocent victims. People who refuse to acknowledge the other sides' rational alternatives will never be able to impose solutions on their adversaries. When conflict offers hope that peace would take away, people will choose war over peace.

But when all sides are tired of the status quo, maybe the only choice left to the weak leaders will be some sort of compromise. Weak leaders can become statesmen when their people allow them to.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Pale Rider,

We meet again kemo sabe.

“But Rick, you have been advised the land is not Palestinian land, and the Israelis do not wish to abide by your solution.”

Ah yes, you are correct of course as always my friend. I suppose that the Israelis will require some convincing.

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.

Feeryarrow:

"What the (Jewish) Israelis are really demanding is a system of bias and prejudices, set in law, that elevate them above their non-Jewish countrymen. We've been there, done that, many times, many places. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it doesn't work." in Joseph's emqail.

It sure does work. Look at any Moslem country and you see that prejudices do work. Christians & Jews are second class citizens called dhimis. Copts in Egpt are persecuted. Black Christians in Sudan are in the midst of genocide. Lebanon is about to explode again. Non Muslims are persecuted in Iran. Christians have been killed by Muslims in other countries in Asia.

Islamic nations are anti-women, homophobic, anti-deomocratic and non tolerant of other religions. Joseph, where were you born?

Al T. Alana:

Joseph states "... a state can no more have a religion than my car does. What the (Jewish) Israelis are really demanding is a system of bias and prejudices, set in law, that elevate them above their non-Jewish countrymen."

I've read similar statements in articles written by Palestinian propagandists. But what he didn't say was that the PA covenant clearly states that Palestine is to be ruled by Muslim law.

Is Joseph also against all religious states, such as Iran and all other Muslim states which clearly state that they are Muslim and Islam is the basis of their law. Or is he only against a Jewish state?

Aaron Kinsberg:

The author makes a number of fatal mistakes. He assumes that any Arab civil war would result in a Fatah victory. He also assumes that Fatah is an honest peace broker. Facts prove otherwise. Major terrorist attacks have been carried out by groups loyal to Abbas. "Militants" jailed by the PA are usually freed within two weeks. But the greatest proof is that the PLO has not removed parts of its Covenant that calls for the violent dismantling of of the Jewish state. The P.A. still runs anti-Israel children shows on its TV and maps have Israel missing.
The hypothesis of the author is based on wishful thinking that was so prevalent during the Oslo years and has reemerged again.

Pal Rider:

Rick: Rick of Arabia has opined once again his oten posed"Jewish final solution" by deporation to the USA.But Rick, you have been advised the land is not Palestinian land, and the Israelis do not wish to abide by your solution. So Rick, give it up,or address it to the camel farm.

one power stronger than both:


two-states won't work either...the only chance they have before they mutually self-destruct is for a third greater and stronger power to impose a federation a la yugoslavia and to oppress both equally ad perpetuam.

Rationalist:

Some people are born with self denial, and never accept reality. What is happening here and now??
Jews have there state called "Israel", for how many decades? Better calculate. Israel is strongest Nation in whole Arab peninsula and it stay and prevails.
Yes, Palestinians and their included Arab brothers suffered Humiliating defeat.
so in plain language Our world body UN and USA all trying to rectify injustice bestowed on palestinians and their sufferance and humiliation, through diplomatic means and negotiations. But that doesn't mean The state of Israel should be Liquidated and the name ISRAEL should be wiped out from World Map?? These type of thinking processes are usually entertained by "POT" smokers.
Next- What about Kurdistan?? What kind of Justice delivered on them by Turkey? What about Tibetans?? Their Lands is totally swallowed by Communist China? Do all agree that Tibet was raped, plundered, and Communist Chinese committed Tibetan Genocide? There are so many instances of injustices perpetrated throughout whole World and any sensible person cannot have Myopic or Tunnel vision in focusing only on limited sphere and deliberately formatting more bigger issues of Perpetrated Injustice on Humanity?
Annapolis type of Summits and attempted negotiations will never succeed unless both parities accept each other's existences and be ready to sacrifice their perceived interests to some extent, I mean You should have "Give and Take" attitude and pragmatism.

David LaMaster:

Those of us who do so can pray AND work for a just change from the sad facts on the ground in Palestine, Israel, AND the U.S..

Prayers not withstanding, it is election time in the U.S.. WE can grow the vision that goes beyond listening to policies on borders issues, taxes, and energy policies; a vision that engenders hard study, thought and work for equally vital just international policiies and partnerships for peace and justice. Put those latter two "planks" on your radar screen, brother/sister Yanks.

There are many here in the U.S. who dearly want to see just change in the Holy Land of 3 faiths. But there need to be whole lot more of us, and it will take both prayer and sweat.

Thanks for the reality check, Yossi. I still believe in David and Goliath hope and sweat.

Joseph:

Two states, one state - what nonsense.

What is needed is respect for individual rights and dignities. It's a couple hundred years old, but clearly some of the more backward people of the world still haven't figured it out:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Here is what stands in the way of peace: Israelis insist that they must have a Jewish state, when a state can no more have a religion than my car does. What the (Jewish) Israelis are really demanding is a system of bias and prejudices, set in law, that elevate them above their non-Jewish countrymen. We've been there, done that, many times, many places. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it doesn't work.

Some people are just ridiculously slow learners.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Yossi Melman (Senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz):

“...I feel that it's too late to achieve peace before George W. Bush leaves office, as the participants promised to try to do...”

OK, which one of you two guys copied off the other’s paper? You and Saul Singer have the same post. But,

Amen Brother.

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.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.