WARNING : This site is not for you if you cannot see the otherness of other and sufferings of both sides of the party in the conflict. Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians are interdependent, one will not happen without the other. My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I hope and pray a sense of justice to prevail. Amen. Website www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com | Also Check Israel Palestine Confederation a pragmatic solution

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Israel Is Not for the Jews

Mr. Spencer writes that the problems and conflicts have begun since the Arab armies invaded Israel in 1948 and grudgingly acknowledges that the problem between Jews and Arabs is a phenomenon of 20th century and not in the past.

The conflict is about land and must be dealt as such. Those who have an interest in keeping the conflict going as it may ensure their existence, keep injecting religion into it? The problem is between the Arabs and Israelis and it should be handled based on justice, security and long terms sustainable peace for all.

To blame Islam or Judaism will not take any one further. Mr. Spencer, quit using the religion to aggravate the situation, instead find the scriptures to justify co-existence. Both the scriptures say to save a life is to save the whole humanity. Do Jews and Muslims believe in this? They do, it is the extremist Jews and Muslims that are the problem.

I hope we spend time on mitigating the conflicts and nurturing goodwill rather than aggravating it.

Mike Ghouse beleives peace makers are mitigators of conflicts and nurturers of goodwill. His views are listed on several blogs, which are all listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
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The Qur'an: Israel Is Not for the Jews


Written by Robert Spencer - JihadWatch.org

Editors' preface: Who has rights to the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River? Zionists cite biblical passages in which God awarded them Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, in perpetuity in his covenant with the children of Israel. Muslims make a counter-claim based in part on verses of the Qur'an that describe the Jews in terms of contempt and in part on rulings in Muslim law that reject Muslims relinquishing rule over a territory under Muslim rule to nonbelievers. But other Muslims cite different Qur'anic verses in support of the Jewish claim. The conflict has a religious quality that makes it the more difficult to resolve.

The Middle East Quarterly commissioned two essays presenting different views of the Qur'an and its passages dealing with the Holy Land and Jews. The first author, Robert Spencer, argues that Islamic law has not recognized and will never recognize Jewish rights to this territory. In a second essay, Muhammad Al-Hussaini, a Muslim scholar, understands the text of the Qur'an to award the Holy Land to the Jews for all time, and he holds that Muslims can be convinced of this interpretation.

The status of Israel has become a pivotal issue in all talks about the Middle East. Israel's legitimacy rests, not just on United Nations resolutions or Zionist aspirations, but, for many, on Biblical narratives and the historical connections of Jews with the Holy Land. A minority of Muslims find justification for the Zionist enterprise equally in the Bible and the Qur'an and believe that the Qur'an offers divine sanction for the establishment of a Jewish state in southern Syria. However, the majority cite other Qur'anic verses and passages from the Hadith (purported records of the Prophet Muhammad's actions and sayings), stating the exact opposite. This second, negative attitude toward Jews is expressed in sacred texts and in the body of Shari'a (Islamic law) where Jews, like all non-Muslims, are assigned a status that does not permit their becoming rulers over Muslims or over Muslim territory.

Traditionally, this has not been an issue. Under the different Muslim empires, Jews were kept firmly in their place and represented no sort of threat to the ruling order. It is only in the modern period that this has become a burning issue. Thus, the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the British Mandate to modern Israel has been as much a religious as a political clash. The Arab onslaught of 1948 was religiously motivated, as is modern opposition to Israel by Islamist groups.

The Hamas charter asserts that "the Islamic Resistance Movement [i.e. Hamas] regards Palestine as an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future generations until Judgment Day." A waqf is a religious endowment bestowed by God. Consequently, "neither it, nor any part of it, should be squandered: Neither it, nor any part of it, should be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Muslim generations until Judgment Day."[1]

The charter is not unique: It represents a mainstream view among Muslims today. In contrast, several Muslim spokesmen have recently claimed that the Qur'an promises Israel to the Jews and that the claims of Hamas, Hezbollah, and allied groups are illegitimate on Islamic grounds. [2]

This is a comforting message, which some of these spokesmen have taken to Jewish audiences, reinforcing the idea that the Islamic jihad imperative against Israel is simply the province of a tiny minority of extremists and that the voices of reason, moderation, and Qur'anic authenticity will eventually prevail.

Muhammad al-Hussaini's Liberal Stance

Among these scholars is British-based imam Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hussaini, who asserts that early Muslim intellectuals recognized that Israel belonged to the Jews. "You will find very clearly that the traditional commentators from the eighth and ninth century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Koran to say explicitly that Eretz Yisrael [Heb. The Land of Israel] has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual convenant [sic]. There is no Islamic counterclaim to the Land anywhere in the traditional corpus of commentary."[3]

Although an extremely comforting message to supporters of Israel, it is not true and is based on a partial and inaccurate reading of the Qur'an.

Hussaini bases his argument primarily upon Qur'an 5:21 in which Moses declares: "O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has prescribed for you, and turn not back in your traces, to turn about losers." [4] He then cites the classic Qur'an commentator Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (838-923), who explains that this statement is "a narrative from God ... concerning the saying of Moses ... to his community from among the children of Israel and his order to them according to the order of God to him, ordering them to enter the holy land."[5]

Tabari is not unique in this. Another respected Muslim exegete, Ibn Kathir (1301-73), says about Qur'an 5:21 that the Jews "were the best among the people of their time. ... God states next that Moses encouraged the children of Israel to perform jihad and enter Jerusalem, which was under their control during the time of their father Jacob. Jacob and his children later moved with his household to Egypt during the time of Prophet Joseph. His offspring remained in Egypt until their exodus with Moses. They found a mighty, strong people in Jerusalem who had previously taken it over. Moses, God's Messenger, ordered the children of Israel to enter Jerusalem and fight their enemy, and he promised them victory and triumph over the mighty people if they did so."[6]

But that is not the end of the story. Ibn Kathir then says that the Jews "declined, rebelled, and defied his order and were punished for forty years by being lost, wandering in the land, uncertain of where they should go. This was their punishment for defying God's command." In contrast, "The Muslim Ummah [community] is more respected and honored before God, and has a more perfect legislative code and system of life, it has the most honorable Prophet, the larger kingdom, more provisions, wealth and children, a larger domain and more lasting glory than the children of Israel."[7]

The idea that the "glory" of the children of Israel was not lasting explains why Hussaini's exegesis is incomplete. He quotes Tabari, saying that God wanted the children of Israel to enter the Holy Land but stops short at the rest of what the Qur'an says about them. But he argues that this promise is lasting, basing his comments on the nature of the Qur'an itself as understood in traditional Islamic theology: "It was never the case during the early period of Islam ... that there was any kind of sacerdotal attachment to Jerusalem as a territorial claim. Jerusalem is holy but Mount Sinai is more holy. Sinai is mentioned far more often, and Jerusalem isn't actually mentioned [in the Qur'an] by name."[8]

If this exegesis is correct, why does the Islamic world from Morocco to Indonesia manifest such hostility to Israel? Why have so few Muslims noticed that God wants the Jews to possess the Holy Land? One answer is that Hussaini's primary authority, Tabari, has more to say about the Jews. Qur'an 2:61 says of some Jews who rebelled against Moses that "abasement and poverty were pitched upon them, and they were laden with the burden of God's anger; that, because they had disbelieved the signs of God and slain the Prophets unrightfully; that, because they disobeyed, and were transgressors." Qur'an 9:29 directs Muslims to "[f]ight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden-such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled." "Those who have been given the Book" is the Qur'anic term for Jews and Christians, and the tribute (jizya) is a poll tax levied upon the People of the Book in an Islamic state. Tabari discusses 2:61 in the context of 9:29, emphasizing that this tax was meant to be humiliating:

Abasement and poverty were imposed and laid down upon them, as when someone says "the imam imposed the poll tax (jizya) ... on non-Muslim subjects," or "The man imposed land tax on his slave," meaning thereby that he obliged him [to pay] it ... God commanded His believing servants not to give them [i.e., non-Muslims] security-as long as they continued to disbelieve in Him and his Messenger-unless they pay the poll tax to them.[9]

Conversion or Submission of Jews

The principle that Muslims must not give the Jews security unless they convert to Islam or pay the jizya directly contradicts Hussaini's assertion that they were to possess the land forever. A people that may never have security unless it converts or submits to the rule of others cannot have a land to rule by itself. The idea that "good Jews" are those who convert to Islam is deeply rooted in Islamic tradition. In the 1970s, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, currently the grand sheikh of Cairo's Al-Azhar University and the leading authority for Sunni Muslims today, wrote a 700-page treatise, Jews in the Qur'an and the Traditions, in which he concluded:
[The] Qur'an describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah, corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people's wealth frivolously, refusing to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness ... only a minority of the Jews keep their word. ... [A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims, the bad ones do not.[10]

The Jews and Christians who do not believe in Muhammad as a prophet will find that "shame is pitched over them (like a tent) wherever they are found, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah and from men." [11] This probably refers to the dhimma, the contract of protection under which Jews and Christians live as subject peoples under Islamic rule. However, even if one understands it to refer to the covenant that God made with the Jews to give them the Land of Israel, the Qur'an also says that they broke their contract:

So for their breaking their compact we cursed them and made their hearts hard, they perverted words from their meanings; and they have forgotten a portion of that they were reminded of; and thou wilt never cease to light upon some act of treachery on their part, except a few of them. Yet pardon them, and forgive; surely God loves the good-doers.[12]

Being thus accursed, the Jews are not the legitimate heirs of the promise made in Qur'an 5:21. The true heirs are those who have remained faithful to God (i.e., the Muslims), not those whom he has cursed (i.e., the Jews). Even this is not the full extent of Qur'anic anti-Semitism. The Muslim holy book contains many passages that form the foundation for hatred of Jews that exists independently of the actions of contemporary Jews or the State of Israel. The Qur'an portrays the Jews as the craftiest, most persistent, and most implacable enemies of the Muslims.
The Qur'an is supplemented by the Hadith, purported records of the Prophet Muhammad's actions and sayings. Some hadith predict that at the end of the world, in the words of Ibn Kathir, "the Jews will support the Dajjal (false messiah), and the Muslims, along with 'Isa [Jesus], son of Mary, will kill the Jews." [13] The idea that the end times will be marked by Muslims killing Jews comes from Muhammad himself, who said, according to a hadith, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: 'O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.'"[14]

This hadith is a favorite motif among contemporary jihadists. On March 30, 2007, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said on Palestinian Authority television:

The Hour [resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: "Oh, Muslim, servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!

Continuation of Qur'anic Anti-Semitism

A vivid illustration of the Qur'an's enmity toward the Jews and how contemporary Islamic spokesmen echo it, came in 2004 from Islam Online, a website founded by the internationally influential Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Although Qaradawi has won praise from Islamic studies professor John Esposito for engaging in a "reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism, and human rights," that reformist impulse does not carry over to Qaradawi's view of Jews (he has justified suicide bombings against Israeli civilians), or the anti-Semitism he has allowed to be published on Islam Online.[15]

In 2004, the site posted an article entitled, "Jews as Depicted in the Qur'an," in which Sheikh 'Atiyah Saqr, former head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar University and Seminary in Cairo, depicts Jews in a chillingly negative light, illustrated with quotations from the Qur'an. [16] Among other charges he levels at the Jews, Saqr says that they "used to fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to God"; they "love to listen to lies"; they disobey God and ignore his commands; they wish "evil for people" and try to "mislead them"; and they "feel pain to see others in happiness and are gleeful when others are afflicted with a calamity."[17]

Though he offers many examples of the alleged evil traits of the Jews supported by the Qur'an, Saqr does not mention the notorious Qur'anic passages that depict an angry God transforming Jews into apes and pigs. The first of these depicts God telling the Jews who "transgressed the Sabbath ... Be you apes, miserably slinking!" It goes on to say that these accursed ones serve "as a punishment exemplary for all the former times and for the latter."[18]

The implication is that today's Jews are bestial in character and are the enemies of God, just as the Sabbath-breakers were. Tantawi has called Jews "the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs." [19] Saudi sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudayyis, imam of the principal mosque in the holiest city in Islam, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, has said in a sermon that Jews are "the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs."[20]

Yet Hussaini actually asserts that the Muslims who oppose his perspective have no Qur'anic case, asserting that "no fundamentalist, no matter how hard they try, can overrule the existing tradition to say there is, in fact, an Islamic counterclaim to Eretz Yisrael." [21] The Qur'anic evidence above explains why mainstream Muslim voices and prominent Muslim leaders never invoke Qur'an 5:21 to argue that Muslims ought not to be waging jihad against Israel. This is simply not a mainstream view or one that most of those who are familiar with the totality of the Qur'an would ever advance. It gives Jews and all supporters of Israel hope, yes, but only a false hope.

Muslims can get beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism only by forthrightly acknowledging that the Qur'an and Sunna do, indeed, teach that the Jews are accursed and are to be warred against. Muslims must explicitly formulate theological frameworks that reject literalism in this regard. To deny that the Qur'anic evidence actually says what it does, however, is only to allow the endemic and pandemic problem of Islamic anti-Semitism to continue unchallenged.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery, 2005) and The Truth About Muhammad (Regnery, 2006).
[1] "The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)," Aug. 18, 1988.
[2] See, for example, Abdul Hadi Palazzi, "What the Qur'an Really Says," Viewpoint, Winter 1998; Jamie Glazov, "The Koran and the Jews," interview with Khaleel Mohammed, FrontPageMagazine.com, June 3, 2004.
[3] Simon Rocker, "What the Koran Says about the Land of Israel," The Jewish Chronicle, Mar. 19, 2009.
[4] All translations of the Qur'an from A.J. Arberry, ed., The Koran (London: Allen and Unwin, 1955, subsequently Oxford University Press).
[5] Rocker, "What the Koran Says about the Land of Israel."
[6] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged), vol. 3 (London: Darussalam, 2000), pp. 142-3.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Rocker, "What the Koran Says about the Land of Israel."
[9] Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 2008), p. 35.
[10] Ibid., p. 33.
[11] Qur'an 3:112.
[12] Qur'an 5:13.
[13] Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari: The Translation of the Meanings, vol. 4, book 56, Muhammad M. Khan, trans. (Houston: Darussalam, 1997), no. 2925.
[14] Ibid.
[15] John Esposito, "Practice and Theory: A Response to 'Islam and the Challenge of Democracy,'" Boston Review, Apr./May 2003; "Al-Qaradawi full transcript," BBC News, July 8, 2004.
[16] Qur'an 3:75; 5:64; 3:181; 5:41; 5:13; 2:109; 3:120; 2:61; 2:74; 2:100; 59:13-4; 2:96; 2:79.
[17] Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch, no. 691, Apr. 6, 2004.
[18] Qur'an 2:63-6; 5:59-60; 7:166.
[19] MEMRI, Special Report, no. 11, Nov. 1, 2002.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Rocker, "What the Koran Says about the Land of Israel."
This article republished by gracious permission of The Middle East Quarterly
Robert Spencer
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2009, pp. 3-8
The Middle East Forum

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama, the time has come

[America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the
cause of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- in which peace
and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and
Palestinians are respected.... The time has come to re-launch
negotiations without preconditions.]

Obama at Cairo:

-- President Barack Obama at the United Nations, September 23,

Advocates for a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict know that achieving true peace is not now, nor has it
ever been, easy.

President Obama acknowledged this simple truth in his speech
before the United Nations, even as he pledged to "continue to
seek a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the
Arab world. He said: "I am not naive. I know this will be

This is an historic moment for American Jewish peace advocates,
a time to rally without hesitation around the cause in which we
believe and for which we have fought so long. Let us grab it.

Now we must follow President Obama's speech with bold steps of
our own. We must publicly support the President's efforts toward
negotiation, and help achieve the very peace that Israelis,
Palestinians, and three-quarters of Jewish-Americans say they

Since his inauguration, President Obama, Secretary of State
Clinton, and Mideast Envoy George Mitchell have invested
enormous energy and capital working, in the President's words,
"steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states."

Slowly, these efforts have begun to bear fruit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to shift the
Obama administration away from a focus on settlements and onto
an agenda of Palestinian economic progress, but the White House
hasn't budged. "We continue to emphasize," the President clearly
stated, "that America does not accept the legitimacy of
continued Israeli settlements."

Similarly, Obama has been adamant that the Palestinian Authority
increase security and restrain anti-Israel incitement. American
security teams working on the West Bank report a greatly
improved situation but, in the words of the President, more
progress is needed: "We continue to call on Palestinians to end
incitement against Israel."

President Obama spoke with much greater frankness at the U.N.
than we are accustomed to hearing from US Presidents. But, if
these frank words are not followed by firm action, they will
achieve nothing. If the world, American political movers and
shakers, and Israelis and Palestinians alike don't believe that
the President has our support, he will not have the political
space he needs to take that action.

If we truly believe what we say we believe -- that Israel's
security is best served by peace, and that only a two-state
solution will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- then
we must see President Obama's speech at the UN as a call to

Those of us in the American Jewish community who have long
advocated for such a solution are right to feel heartened by the
President's vision and to recognize the role that we have played
in achieving this historic moment.

But our job has only just begun.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Obama caves in to Netanyahu

It is dead wrong to stereotype any group of people. There are an overwhelming majority of Israelis and Jews that want peace, they get bulldozed by the insecure hawks like all majorities among Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus and otherwise. Good people need to stand up and speak, if not the bad people will run the show to the detriment of every one, including themselves - Mike Ghouse

From Tikkun Magazine
The Drama and the Farce

Unwilling to challenge the Israel Lobby, Obama Caves to Netanyahu, according to Israeli Peace Movement leader Uri Avnery - 26.9.09

NO POINT denying it: in the first round of the match between Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama was beaten.

Obama had demanded a freeze of all settlement activity, including East Jerusalem, as a condition for convening a tripartite summit meeting, in the wake of which accelerated peace negotiations were to start, leading to peace between two states – Israel and Palestine.

In the words of the ancient proverb, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Netanyahu has tripped Obama on his first step. The President of the United States has stumbled.

THE THREEFOLD summit did indeed take place. But instead of a shining achievement for the new American administration, we witnessed a humbling demonstration of weakness. After Obama was compelled to give up his demand for a settlement freeze, the meeting no longer had any content.

True, Mahmoud Abbas did come, after all. He was dragged there against his will. The poor man was unable to refuse the invitation from Obama, his only support. But he will pay a heavy price for this flight: the Palestinians, and the entire Arab world, have seen his weakness. And Obama, who had started his term with a ringing speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, now looks like a broken reed.

The Israeli peace movement has been dealt another painful blow. It had pinned its hopes on the steadfastness of the American president. Obama’s victory and the settlement freeze were to show the Israeli public that the refusal policy of Netanyahu was leading to disaster.

But Netanyahu has won, and in a big way. Not only did he survive, not only has he shown that he is no “sucker” (a word he uses all the time), he has proven to his people – and to the public at large – that there is nothing to fear: Obama is nothing but a paper tiger. The settlements can go on expanding without hindrance. Any negotiations that start, if they start at all, can go on until the coming of the Messiah. Nothing will come out of them.

For Netanyahu, the threat of peace has passed. At least for the time being.

IT IS difficult to understand how Obama allowed himself to get into this embarrassing situation.

Machiavelli taught that one should not challenge a lion unless one is able to kill him. And Netanyahu is not even a lion, just a fox.

Why did Obama insist on the settlement freeze – in itself a very reasonable demand – if he was unable to stand his ground? Or, in other words, if he was unable to impose it on Netanyahu?

Before entering into such a campaign, a statesman must weigh up the array of forces: What power is at my disposal? What forces are confronting me? How determined is the other side? What means am I ready to employ? How far am I prepared to go in using my power?

Obama has a host of able advisors, headed by Rahm Emanuel, whose Israeli origins (and name) were supposed to give him special insights. George Mitchell, a hard-nosed and experienced diplomat, was supposed to provide sober assessments. How did they all fail?

Logic would say that Obama, before entering the fray, should have decided which instruments of pressure to employ. The arsenal is inexhaustible – from a threat by the US not to shield the Israeli government with its veto in the Security Council, to delaying the next shipment of arms. In 1992 James Baker, George Bush Sr’s Secretary of State, threatened to withhold American guarantees for Israel’s loans abroad. That was enough to drag even Yitzhak Shamir to the Madrid conference.

It seems that Obama was either unable or unwilling to exert such pressures, even secretly, even behind the scenes. This week he allowed the American navy to conduct major joint war-games with the Israeli Air Force.

Some people hoped that Obama would use the Goldstone report to exert pressure on Netanyahu. Just one hint that the US might not use its veto in the Security Council would have sown panic in Jerusalem. Instead, Washington published a statement on the report, dutifully toeing the Israeli propaganda line.

True, it is hard for the US to condemn war crimes that are so similar to those committed by its own soldiers. If Israeli commanders are put on trial in The Hague, American generals may be next in line. Until now, only the losers in wars were indicted. What will the world come to if those who remain in office are also accused?

THE INESCAPABLE conclusion is that Obama’s defeat is the outcome of a faulty assessment of the situation. His advisors, who are considered seasoned politicians, were wrong about the forces involved.

That has happened already in the crucial health insurance debate. The opposition is far stronger than anticipated by Obama’s people. In order to get out of this mess somehow, Obama needs the support of every senator and congressman he can lay his hands on. That automatically strengthens the position of the pro-Israel lobby, which already has immense influence in Congress.

The last thing that Obama needs at this moment is a declaration of war by AIPAC and Co. Netanyahu, an expert on domestic American politics, scented Obama’s weakness and exploited it.

Obama could do nothing but gnash his teeth and fold up.

That debacle is especially painful at this precise point in time. The impression is rapidly gaining ground that he is indeed an inspiring speaker with an uplifting message, but a weak politician, unable to turn his vision into reality. If this view of him firms up, it may cast a shadow over his whole term.

BUT IS Netanyahu’s policy wise from the Israeli point of view?
This may well turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory.

Obama will not disappear. He has three and a half years in office before him, and thereafter perhaps four more. That’s a lot of time to plan revenge for someone hurt and humiliated at a delicate moment, at the beginning of his term of office.

One cannot know, of course, what is happening in the depths of Obama’s heart and in the back of his mind. He is an introvert who keeps his cards close to his chest. His many years as a young black man in the United States have probably taught him to keep his feelings to himself.

He may draw the conclusion, in the footsteps of all his predecessors since Dwight Eisenhower (except Father Bush during Baker’s short stint as hatchet man): Don’t Mess With Israel. With the help of its partners and servants in the US, it can cause grievous harm to any President.

But he may also draw the opposite conclusion: Wait for the right opportunity, when your standing in the domestic arena is solid, and pay Netanyahu back with interest. If that happens, Netanyahu’s air of victory may turn out to be premature.

IF I were asked for advice (not to worry, it won’t happen), I would tell him:

The forging of Israeli-Palestinian peace would mean a historic turnabout, a reversal of a 120 year old trend. That is not an easy operation, not to be undertaken lightly. It is not a matter for diplomats and secretaries. It demands a determined leader with a stout heart and a steady hand. If one is not ready for it, one should not even start.

An American President who wants to undertake such a role must formulate a clear and detailed peace plan, with a strict timetable, and be prepared to invest all his resources and all his political capital in its realization. Among other things, he must be ready to confront, face to face, the powerful pro-Israel lobby.

This will not succeed unless public opinion in Israel, Palestine, the Arab world, the United States and the whole world is thoroughly prepared well in advance. It will not succeed without an effective Israeli peace movement, without strong support from US public opinion, especially Jewish-American opinion, without a strong Palestinian leadership and without Arab unity.

At the appropriate moment, the President of the United States must come to Jerusalem and address the Israeli public from the Knesset rostrum, like Anwar Sadat and President Jimmy Carter before him, as well as the Palestinian parliament, like President Bill Clinton.

I don’t know if Obama is the man. Some in the peace camp have already given up on him, which effectively means that they have despaired of peace as such. I am not ready for this. One battle rarely decides a war, and one mistake does not foretell the future. A lost battle can steel the loser, a mistake can teach a valuable lesson.

IN ONE of his essays, Karl Marx said that when history repeats itself: The first time it is as tragedy, the second time it is as farce.

The 2000 threefold summit meeting at Camp David was high drama. Many hopes were pinned on it, success seemed to be within reach, but in the end it collapsed, with the participants blaming each other.

The 2009 Waldorf-Astoria summit was the farce.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Solutions for Israel and Palestine

Justice, security and peace for Israel and Palestine
Mike Ghouse, Dallas
Originally written on Nov 26, 2007

"Peace hinges on hopes for the Palestinians and security for the Israelis, anything short of justice will not produce sustainable peace" - If Jews and Palestinians can take the position that we cannot have peace when others around us don't and work on first removing bias and stereotyping from their own minds, conflicts will fade and solutions emerge.


The real threat to the peace process between Israel and Palestine stems from their inability to look at their own policies critically. It is time to quit blaming and start finding solutions. Damn it, the leaders ought to be ashamed of them if they cannot look in the eyes of Palestinian and Israeli Children and commit to give them a better life.

The leaders need to learn that, they cannot have peace and security when they keep threatening others around them, period.


Jews have a need to be understood and be acknowledged of their eternal security needs, not the military, but mental security where they can put their guards down and live their life in peace.


Palestinians have a need to be understood. They have suffered immeasurably, no human should be stripped of his or her hope and dignity; hope to have a family, work and own a house and call a place their homeland.


Our Presidents need to seriously look at what works. They need to have the vision for peace. They must understand that it may be going against the general opinion and must take bold steps and produce peace for the people of Israel and Palestine. It will save lives and brings peace to them and takes a burden off us.

We must protect Israel, our ally; however, if that protection is based on injustice to either Palestinians or the Jews, our integrity becomes questionable. We need to be above reproach and seek justice for one and all.

Mighty empires can crush the weak for a short term; in the long run every one goes down the tube. We cannot rob anyone and live with a good conscience.


Words are the most powerful weapons of mass destruction. Just about every war and every conflict in the history of mankind has started out with a choice of wrong words.

There was a time when diplomats were trained in the art of speaking and the art of negotiating. Their whole purpose was to bring results through a dialogue.

Power makes one arrogant, and that arrogance translates into treatment of others in less than equal fashion, the mightier may bully and make their way for the moment, but in the back of their minds, they know they have to live with caution every minute of their life, as the oppressor will pounce in the moment of vulnerability.

Let our words become the mitigators of conflict and not aggravators of it. It does not mean we have to be pussy cats; we have to speak with strong convictions.

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/