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Online Journal: Middle East Current Affairs, the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, Democracy and Civil Society

Volume I


2002 and 2001:

You only understand when it happens to someone you know Ami Isseroff Dec 18, 2002
Yesterday (December 17) my friend was arrested. He is being held without charges. It took an entire day to find out where he is being held. "Not possible" you say, "We live in
a democracy." It is possible, and it happened. My friend is a Palestinian. He is not likely to be a terrorist. He helps run the Hope Flowers school that has become an international byword for peace and coexistence. Nonetheless, his house was nearly destroyed. Tonight he sleeps somewhere in a jail in Gush Etzion. His worried family in Bethlehem will not sleep. More

Israeli Elections: The Roadmap Ahead Ami Isseroff Dec 15, 2002
Polls predict an easy victory for the right-wing government of Ariel Sharon, but the reality of international politics, and the looming Quartet roadmap, indicate a rocky future for its hard line policies. It will be much harder for Israel to follow the roadmap with Ariel Sharon and the Likud in the driver's seat. More

Knight without a Horse: The Lesson is Over Stupid! Mohamed Mosaad Dec 5, 2002
Twenty-two Arab TV channels broadcast the infamous soap opera “Knight Without A Horse” each day. On the other side of the Atlantic, the greatest power in the world declares its total rejection of this racist soap opera and demands that Arab countries stop broadcasting it. More

Rites of Wailing Mohamed Mosaad Nov 29, 2002
Not long ago, the morning newspapers brought to us the usual sad news, which came this time from Bali. Tourists’ bodies, or rather pieces of bodies, flew everywhere stained with their blood, smoke and the terrorists’  gunpowder.  More

Of Murder and Suicide Ami Isseroff  Nov 15, 2002
This week, a Palestinian terrorist of the Al-Aqsa brigades infiltrated Kibbutz Metzer, inside "green line" Israel, and murdered five innocent people, including two children of the Ohayun family, their mother who tried to shield them, a visitor and the secretary of the kibbutz...More

Elections in Israel  Ami Isseroff  Nov 5, 2002  
On November 5, 2002, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that he is dissolving the Israeli parliament and calling for new elections. The announcement followed resignation of Israel Labor party ministers last week. Ariel Sharon's government now has only 55 or 57 votes out of the 61 needed for a majority in the Knesset (parliament) and therefore could not continue.

Our need for "A Culture of Compromise"  Tarek Heggy  Oct 27, 02
 A few years ago, I discovered that there is no equivalent in the Arabic ‎language, classical or colloquial, for the English word ‘compromise’, which ‎is most commonly translated into Arabic in the form of two words, literally ‎meaning ‘halfway solution’. I went through all the old and new ‎dictionaries and lexicons I could lay my hands on in a futile search for an ‎Arabic word corresponding to this common English word, which exists, ‎with minor variations in spelling, in all European languages, whether of the ‎Latin, Germanic, Hellenic or Slavic families.

The Lesson of Iraq: A New Principle Mohamed Mosaad Oct 22, 02
... Arabs should not pretend to speak on behalf of the Iraqis, whose authentic voice no one has heard since Saddam Hussein seized power in that country. What we can learn from the Iraqi issue is this new principle:
"Change your tyrannical ruler before the US changes him for you." Choose the government that you want, rather than letting the Americans choose rulers that they want. More

7 Years Since the Rabin Assassination: The Fruits of Yigal Amir's "Victory" Ami Isseroff Oct 16, 02
Seven years after the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, we need to ask ourselves if Yigal Amir, his assassin, is gaining his objective after all. More

The Future: Should We Wait For It…or Create it? Tarek Heggy  Oct 14, 02
 ... instead of placing our faith in the only real constants in our world, which are science, strategic interests and humanity, we choose to wallow in nostalgia, clinging to pan-nationalism and narrow parochialism as though they were immutable truths... What we need to realize before it is too late is that our static mind-set can only lead to greater loss, while a dynamic approach based on active participation can do just the opposite.

Muqata Madness Ami Isseroff Sept 28, 02
Together with my son, who has just finished six years of army service,  I watched the news of the Israeli decision to besiege Yasser Arafat in the Muqata compound in Ramallah. A great feeling of despair overcame us. It is like understanding that your beloved parents, on whom you depend for guidance, have lost their mental competence. More.

Coexistence: The Seeds of Peace Experience Rachel Culley Sept 25, 02
“Will they ever learn to live together?” ... I have seen it happen: I’ve seen Israelis and Palestinians come to the realization that they are both human beings, and both sides are suffering. I’ve seen them overturn their personal biases, and explore both versions of a historical event. More

For a more rational approach to peace and normalization  Ammar Abdulhamid
As a 35-year-old Arab, I have learned not to put too much faith in my leaders' ability to rise to my expectations, no matter how reasonable and modest they happen to be. I have also learned that any regional leader, Arab or Israeli, who thinks that a solution to the conflict can be accomplished by military means is an idiot, albeit a dangerous one.

September 11, 2001 Ami Isseroff Sept 11, 02
Americans entered a new world on September 11, 2001. It is a world where history can touch you, at any moment. Reality can land in your bedroom in the form of a Scud missile or an Israeli tank shell, or walk down the street as a suicide bomber. It can knock at your door wearing a uniform and ransack your house.  More

The One Narrative Crisis - Mohamed Mosaad Sept 5, 02
In the Arab world, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is the universal explanation of all woes, substituting for debate and constructive action on other urgent problems. More

Slam on the Brakes: Stop the Momentum of Settlement Ami Isseroff  Aug 19, 02
 "17,000 new settlers this year," crows the Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) Council advertisement, "Yesha is in a momentum of settlement." Israel Broadcasting Authority allowed this ad, previously banned, but nixed a counter-ad by Peace Now as "political." Settlements are being pushed into the Israeli public consensus. More

Our SOB- Democracy in Egypt and the Conviction of Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim Ami Isseroff  Aug 4, 02
Democracy and human rights in Egypt are embarrassing issues for both left and right, but the US and Israel will eventually pay the price of supporting repressive regimes. More

Ariel Sharon is overstaying his welcome in office -  Josh Pollack, July  24, 02
I was sickened when I heard about the IDF's assassination of a leading  terrorist in Gaza, not because of his death, but because of the many others killed in the process.   Worse yet was Ariel Sharon's crowing over this "success."  Worst of all was his rote expression of regret at the deaths of so many innocent bystanders, including so many children.  He's letting us all know exactly how little he cares. More

The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Between Reason and Hysteria - Tarek Heggy - July 9, 02
...I am well aware that in writing this article I am inviting trouble...But  the task of any intellectual who is consistent with himself is ... to write what he believes can contribute to creating a future better than the dark days our region has lived through for over half a century... More

Arab Peace Activism Dr Mohamed Mosaad July 4, 02
Dr Mohamed Mosaad asks why there is no Arab peace activism, comparable to the Israeli peace movement. More

The View From Ground Zero  Harold Evans June 19, 02
Truth and terror: Harold Evans, the former editor of The Sunday Times, editorial director of US News and World Report and author of The American Century, on the chilling paradoxes of the global village. More

Reformist Delusions Ami Isseroff,  June 5, 02
Everyone concerned with the Israel-Palestine conflict wants reform of the PNA, from the Israelis to the Palestinians to the Arab countries, the EU and the US. But reform is probably doomed to failure.

They only have only each other! Mohamed Mosaad May 14, 02
When the dust of the current Middle Eastern War settles down, the Israelis as well as the Palestinians will discover that they have always been together and alone! More

Nothing Happened Mohamed Mosaad May 5 02
An astronaut was on a trip to Mars for the last few months. Coming back home, he rushed to the newspapers to find out what had happened in the Middle East while he was abroad.  He read that the US is trying to intervene diplomatically to solve the "crisis" while clearly backing Israel. The European Union is sympathizing with the Palestinians and urging the US to do something. More

'If you were born where they were born'  Tony Klug April 24 02
"If you were born where they were born and you were taught what they were taught, you'd believe what they believe"

My Perspective Wasseem Rock April 24 02
I believe that in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle both parties have failed to acknowledge one important point; that is, that both parties are victims. More

View From Cairo  Anna Ghonem April 14 02
..I am hoping for an end to the madness  --  but with Hamas and Sharon in charge (It seems really clear to me that they have identical goals : Maximum destruction) ,   I do not see an end in sight.

Noah’s Story Anne Goodman April 9 02
... Just over a week ago, the Israeli army sent tanks and troops into Bethlehem, declaring the area a military zone and effectively imprisoning people in their homes. On Monday April 8, eight days later, the army allowed people to leave their homes for an hour. Noah Salameh, director of the Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, seized the opportunity to visit the center and pick up his e-mail messages. Arriving there with his three daughters, he was shocked and saddened to find the door broken down and the contents ransacked. ... More

The View From Amman Ahmad Humeid (& reply by Larry Butchins) Apr 4  02
I am writing to you from Amman. It took me days to get myself to write this, because I've been, like all people around me, too busy reading the news emerging out of the West Bank, or too disgusted by the news to be able to write. More

Time to Break The Silence Nadine Abdullah, MD Apr 2 02
We North Americans are cushioned with ignorance and naivete. I am shocked, appalled, and dismayed at the dichotomy of reporting the events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I too, can easily be swayed to believe in Israel’s right to forcefully defend itself against “terrorist” acts of violence, namely the despicable suicide bombings that have swept the impoverished land.  More

Arab Peace Now! Mohamed Mosaad Mar 30  02
What is missing is, certainly, an Arab peace movement that should come into being, right here and right now... This must be the mission of conscientious Arabs, especially in Egypt and Jordan, to start healing the wounds on both sides. This is their moment to cross over borders, physical and mental borders, joining up with Israeli peace activists and marching toward a better future for everyone.... There will be no peace without this essential and urgent step! More

Palestine-Israel Conflict: When Will the Horrors End? Ami Isseroff Mar 29  02
The horrors will end when each side in the Israel-Palestine conflict stops pointing fingers of blame at the other side, and starts mending their own moral failures.

Israeli and Palestinian Youth Speak Out  Michael Shaik Mar 14  02
Israeli and Palestinian youth speak out about each other, the conflict and the future:

Yuval:  “My hope is for co-existence between Israel and Palestine.  I think this would be good for the whole region. 

Vivian: “Peace and freedom for both countries,” says Vivian.  “And for myself I’d like to study abroad and get an MA in International Relations.”   More.

Falling Asleep On the Watch David Lisbona Mar 13  02
...We Israelis who realised that we had conquered the territories in 1967 (unlike those on the right who consider that Israel "liberated" the territories) fell asleep while we should have been on guard against the corruption of occupation. As long as the Palestinians kept quiet we didn't spare a thought for them until they started to wake us up in ever more violent ways. Many, maybe most Israelis think it's just a bad dream and if we can "quieten" the Palestinians we can go back to life as normal and once again forget the existence of the Palestinians and their national aspirations. Some of us (as of now a distinct minority) feel differently.  More

Redeeming Mideast Insanity Bilal Hijjawi  Mar 11  02

Palestinians are not killing “Jews”, neither have they ever killed Jews, because they were Jewish. Nor are Jews killing Palestinians because they are so. It’s a fight for recognition for both, for a place under the same sun. Just as Jews did kill and fight for their own land before, so do others. Palestinians do live in peace under Israel as we speak, have dealt with them always and have learned Hebrew in their schools, forced to do so perhaps, but nevertheless have done so. As did Jews before them, long before. And moderates do communicate everyday on mutually agreeable issues of peace and justice. Palestinians or Arabs are not anti-Semitic, nor are Jews so against all logic. More

United for Peace By Mohamed Mosaad, Tamir Soreq and Fared Ibrahim Mar 01  02
Letters exchanged between Dr. Mohamed Mosaad, an Egyptian peace and human rights advocate, and Tamir Sorek, an Israeli who signed the "refusenik" petition against service in the occupied territories. The campaign of the reserve officers has captured the imagination and hearts of people throughout the middle east. The exchange of letters originally circulated by MidEastWeb has been translated into Arabic and Hebrew and is also featured at http://www.meejann.com/, a Web site originating in Lebanon. A third letter is one of many supportive comments we received after the letters were circulated by MidEastWeb. More

WAKE UP. IT CAN GET WORSE By Ahmed Humeid  Feb 7 02
During the past 16 months, observers of the situation in this region have constantly locked their eyes on a narrow time frame: What will happen next week when this or that leader does this or that? Will Israel occupy/withdraw from this/that Palestinian town tomorrow? Will radical Palestinians blow themselves up next week? Will Powell say something in a speech next week? Will Arafat exert "100% effort" to stop Palestinian violence next month?

We are lost in the details of the news. We lost view of the bigger picture and the abyss we¹re being dragged into. More

DON'T JUST STAND THERE By Ami Isseroff Feb 7 02
Bringing peace to the middle east will take more than the fine words, empty resolutions, commissions and photo opportunity leadership that has historically characterized great power intervention in this area. More


By Ahmed Humeid   Nov 6  01
The Palestinians find themselves locked into a bloody conflict with Israel that has cost nearly a thousand people their lives in one year, mostly civilians, mostly Palestinians. (684 Palestinian deaths including 57 assassinations. 29% under 18, 86% civilian.). Depressingly, the violence is creating a new generation of desperate Palestinians as fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters are killed and as homes, police stations, hotels and other institutions are destroyed by Israel’s disproportionate and excessive use of military force. More

AMERICAN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Getting What You Pay For (an Israeli view)  By Ami Isseroff    Oct 28   01
The tragedy of September 11 made Americans much more conscious of the Middle East. “Why do they hate us?” and “How can we advance peace in the Middle East?” became common questions. Americans would be surprised in fact, to know how much money the US spends in the Middle East, on what it is spent, and what they are getting for their money.  More

BROKEN LIVES  By Ami Isseroff      Oct 03  01
Last week, Eyad Sarraj, veteran Palestinian advocate of non-violence, called for an end to the violence of the Intifadeh. He said, among other things: "The moment that we started to shoot was a tragic mistake." He noted that the "Israeli peace camp has been shattered by Palestinian bullets."  More

Camp David Commentary - 


By Ralph Seliger    Octr 8 01
This past summer was the first anniversary of the failed effort at Israeli- Palestinian peace hosted by Bill Clinton at Camp David. A number of analyses have been prominently published to commemorate this unhappy fact.

One, by outgoing NEW YORK TIMES Israel correspondent, Deborah Sontag, said less than met the eye upon initial reading. It trivialized events by dwelling upon Ehud Barak's personality flaws and some diplomatic slights visited upon Yasser Arafat (e.g., Chelsea Clinton chose to sit next to Barak at dinner, rather than Arafat). Sontag's piece was powerfully critiqued in a NEW REPUBLIC article by Robert Satloff. More


By Ami Isseroff    Sept 27 01
No substantive official summaries or proposals were forthcoming from the still-born Camp David negotiations for the final settlement of the Palestine-Israel conflict. Some facts and speculations are reviewed elsewhere at Mideastweb ( http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm ). The vacuum of fact, the possibility of propaganda gain, and the interest of the public, have invited a host of speculations and allegations that cannot be evaluated objectively, due to lack of evidence.  The result is a series of “projective tests” in which each commentator reads their own biases into the events. More

THE INFERNAL SCAPEGOAT  By Tony Klug  Sept 25 01
The scapegoat is a recurring theme of Jewish history. In biblical times, it was a real goat upon which the Jewish high priest cast all the sins of the people. In exile, it was frequently the Jews themselves, denounced and vilified for the misdeeds of others. Now it is the turn of Yasser Arafat, the Jewish state's erstwhile partner for peace and currently its supreme villain.  More

For almost twenty years, from the 1970s until the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty of 1994, Israel and Jordan maintained quasi-normal, albeit secret, relations. Jordan's King Hussein reportedly met numerous times with Israeli leaders, and even visited the country. Armed clashes along the lengthy border were virtually non-existent. During the Gulf War, despite Jordan's neutrality, Israel even officially announced that Jordan's eastern frontier (with Iraq) constituted its security border...  More

I read, to my horror, that over 70% of the Israeli public supports the government's assassination policy, and just about the same percentage wants even tougher action on the Palestinians.

I don't know if I can explain these figures, which completely astound me. Certainly it is shaped in part by the perception of most Israelis that Barak offered Arafat "an extremely generous offer", the most that any Israeli leader has ever offered, and that Arafat declined and "chose" to launch the Intifada... More

A new slogan was born at this year's Support Israel campaign in the U.S: "Support Israel and Palestine." It could be more than a slogan. It could be the start of a whole new way of looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More

Mewzine Middle East Magazine - Current

Mewzine Middle East Magazine Volume III

Mewzine Middle East Magazine Volume II

Mewzine Middle East Magazine Volume I


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