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

Volume II

To: Mewzine Middle East Magazine - Current

Current Commentary

Second Guessing Rabin  - Saying Yitzhak Rabin was a coward might be a good way to sell newspapers, but not everything that sells newspapers is true. More

Sharon: The tiger is smiling  -  Bibi Nethanyahu and his friends went for a ride on a tiger. They came back from the ride with Bibi decidedly outside, and the smile on the face of the tiger. More

Affirming Middle East Dialogue - A "flame letter" launched a promising dialogue - More

Sharon's UN Address - and anti-Climax - After the euphoria of disengagement, comes the anti-climax of the row about Hamas election participation, to be followed by a summit that will most likely produce only acrimony. More

Karen Hughes and American Muslims: Alliance against Extremism - US has to do more than talk to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, says Muqtedar Kahn, but it can be done. More

The Palestinians are burning their own future - Anarchy, synagogue burnings and a lynching mark the start of the new era in Gaza. As usual, there are attempts to blame it on Israel.  More

Hurricane Katrina and Ovadia Yosef's Racism Enough is Enough The religious leader declared, "The hurricane is God's punishment on George Bush." The religious leader was not an Islamist extremist in this case. It was our very own "Kvod Harav" (his honor the Rabbi) Ovadia Yosef, the venerable "spiritual leader" of the Shas party. More

The Israel press and disengagement - Was the Israeli press really too soft on Sharon? More

Surefire political position diagnostic - Yours truly, proposes a quick and easy surefire political position diagnostic.  As a bonus, it will test your sanity. More

Settlement freeze is a hopeful sign -  The Israel government's announcement that, under pressure from the USA ,they will suspend plans to connect Maale Adumin with Jerusalem by the construction of additional housing units, is good news. More

Disaster in Iraq - Massive tragedy underlines the urgency of the problem. - The loss of nearly 700 lives in a diabolically engineered panic brings home the urgency of solving the Iraq mess and the need to stop denying reality. More

Disengagement Critics Were Mistaken - The skeptics of the right and left were wrong - disengagement happened. Palestinians should seize the opportunity to show they can produce orderly government. More

Yet another article about disengagement - The sky was not falling for the Israeli right, until they brought it down on themselves with hype comparing disengagement to the Holocaust and insisting that it is the end of "Zionism." More

Bye Bye Bibi - PeaceWatch and the Israeli government say Goodbye to Benjamin Netanyahu, for now. He'll be back. - More

Divestment and Bolshevism - Divestment and boycott initiatives hide their motives under the deceptive slogans of "peace" and "ending the occupation." That is a conscious and openly announced tactic of subversion and deception.  In reality, their goal is to destroy Israel and deny the Jewish people the right to self-determination.  More

Swearing allegiance in Tel Aviv - A first hand report from the rally of the right. More

An Existential threat called "Yesha"  An open letter to the leaders of Yesha - Arnon Sofer - Prof Sofer, a demographer known for his controversial views, gives his reasons for supporting disengagement. More

Terrorist Kach Member outrage shames Israel, Zionism and IDF - Following the attack by a Kach member on five innocent citizens of Israel, it is time to say "enough is is enough" and to put an end to settler "Zionism" before it drags us all down together. More

Will the real Israeli-Palestinian conflict please stand up? Is the conflict about occupation? Security? Ending "Zionism?" Depends who you are, writes Tony Klug. More

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in Gaza - Settlers use and abuse the heritage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for their anti-disengagement struggle. More

Disengagement in Gaza: The unsettling end of orange? - July 21, 05- Fizzled settler protests highlight the overdue revolution taking place in Israeli society. More

Disengagement diary: Wayward taxi  --- Walking to the post office on an urgent errand, I encounter a huge truck on the sidewalk. It hogs the pavement, blocking my path. Orange ribbons festoon its door-handles and rear-view mirrors. The driver is nowhere in sight.  More 

Bombing in Netanya - Chaos in the Palestinian Authority - The purpose of the bombing was to dethrone Mahmud Abbas and to prevent any peace settlement. The inexorable logic of politics may make it succeed. In this case, US intervention IS needed. More

London's 9-11 - Terror really can happen anywhere. Let's see these people for what they are and stop heeding fancy excuses and rationalizations. More

The Missing Peace Part II: Peace is not a Piece of Paper - The Israelis and Palestinians each sought peace on their own incompatible terms. The Americans sought photo-ops. Having failed to deal with reality for five years, the peace process could not be saved by any amount of "preparation" in 2000. More


Islam and the Concept of Martyrdom Amina 02/18/2004

Suicide bombing in Islam? Just say "No" argues Amina from Lebanon.

There is a need for every believing Muslim to 'strive', or engage in spiritual Jihad, to understand the word and will of God and to live accordingly. Failure to engage in that Jihad makes our responses in times of crises mere reflexes based on what we are told (traditions) rather than the result of rational (yes, I believe one can be rational in his/her approach to understanding the written word of God) and independent thinking that is grounded in evidence from the Qur'an, the most authoritative religious book for Muslims.  More

Security Experts: Israel Must Withdraw 12/16/2003
Speakers at the conservative Herzliya security conference agreed that withdrawal from the occupied territories was a top priority for Israeli security in the near future.  More

Behind McNamara's "no comment" on Iraq 12/16/2003
In his unique 1995 book In Retrospect, McNamara listed eleven lessons from Vietnam that are very much worth reflecting on. More

Iraq: Back to business as usual 12/15/2003

Two more horrendous explosions rocked Iraqi police stations, signaling that American problems in Iraq are not over yet More

Saddam Hussein Captured 12/14/2003

US and Iraqi officials announced the capture of former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

Before and After


GI Letter from Iraq
(Mew Exclusive)

... The news implied we caught 32 "bad guys," but, in actuality, that means there were 32 people around when we did the raid on this mosque in the middle of the night. We just detain everyone. Well, almost everyone. Iraqi people often sleep on the ground in front of their little stores. One guy was sleeping when we rolled up in our noisy Bradleys and Humvees and secured the corner at 1 a.m. He looked up at us, blinked, and rolled over and went back to sleep. We left him alone. I never did hear how many of the 32 detainees were the guys we were looking for.  More

Eight years After the Rabin Assassination:  Not just democracy
Ami Isseroff
November 1, 2003
Perhaps the vandals who defaced posters of Yitzhak Rabin did us a favor. They reminded us what Rabin stood for, and who opposed him, and why. They scrawled on a poster, "Kahaneh was right," giving us a chance to reassert, "Rabin was right." 

More Madness - Another Bombing of Aid Workers Ami Isseroff October 27, 2003
Today the madness of suicide attacks struck at Iraqi workers of the International Red Cross. Not long ago, Palestinian dissident factions attacked a convoy of US aid workers in Gaza, apparently at the instigation of forces hostile to the PNA. The attack was really directed at embarrassing the Palestinian Authority as much as against the USA. Not long before that, a bomb blew up a Shi'a holy man and killed many other Muslims as they were leaving a Mosque after Friday prayers in Iraq. More

Geneva Accord: A Popular Initiative? Dr. Mohamed Mosaad  October 27, 2003
On October 21, 2003, Ha'aretz newspaper published a draft of the Geneva Accord, signed the previous week by both Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Even before this disclosure, the accord had already been cursed by both sides... Everyone could, of course, find something to criticize. No one, nevertheless, gave us a genuine alternative.

Democracy in Iraq - Why settle for less?   Ami Isseroff 10/23/2003
The United States promised to create democracy in Iraq. The models for this were the democratic regimes installed in Japan and Germany after World War II. This was to be the
crowning achievement of the Iraq war. If they succeed, the US will have given a real gift to the Muslim and Arab world as well as to the Middle East, a show case for Muslim and Arab democracy.  More

An indecent proposal?   Analyst 10/22/2003
The U.S. faces a number of constraints in Iraq.
The most obvious is that, short of radical measures, we will forced to reduce our troop presence sharply over the next several months. Current levels are simply unsustainable. More

Incubating Ultra-Radicalism Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury October 19, 2003
Bangladesh is known as a 'moderate Muslim country' and its people have the reputation of 'moderate Muslims,' free of rancor against other faiths. However, our society, like many others, is being subverted by the efforts of Muslim extremists. More

A New Basis for Palestinian-Israeli Agreement  Ami Isseroff  October 13, 2003
Israeli opposition leaders led by Shahar party leader Yossi Beilin and Palestinians led by Yasser Abd-Rabbo have been busy negotiating a new draft agreement, that would supposedly replace the Oslo accords as the basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace. More

Iran - Toward the Next Confrontation? - Ami Isseroff October 12, 2003
Articles in Der Spiegel and LA Times focus on the possibility of dramatic Israeli action against alleged Iranian nuclear capability, and warn that Israel has submarine-based cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. More

Peace Day in Jerusalem: an Interfaith Walk for Peace Elana Rozenman and Ibtisam Mahameed October 10, 2003
We are Ibtisam, a Muslim woman from Fureidis and Elana, a Jewish woman from
Jerusalem, and this is how we celebrated World Peace Day on September 21, 2003,  by meditating and praying at the holiest sites in Jerusalem: Haram Al-Sharif, the Western (Wailing) Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  More

Nothing New Under the Sun  Analyst  October 9, 2003
Before launching their grandiose project to remake the Middle East by invading Iraq, US foreign policy makers might have done well to contemplate words written many years ago by Middle East scholar Elie Kedourie.     More

An Unexpected link - An Israeli student made an unexpected friend at a Norwegian summer school.   More

Us vs. Them: The Carnage Continues Ralph Seliger September  15, 2003
Whichever “Abu” Israel and the United States eventually deal with– whether Abu Mazen, Abu Ala, or Abu Amr (Arafat’s nom de guerre)– we’ll never know if the Jerusalem bus bombing of August 19 might have triggered a healthy and overdue change in Palestinian policy. (I refuse to examine the gratuitous idiocy of Arafat’s looming expulsion.)  More 

Older and no Wiser - Analyst  September 9, 2003
The speech George Bush should have made about Iraq. More


Final Curtain? Ami Isseroff, September 8, 2003
With the resignation of Palestinian PM Mahmud Abbas amidst Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli assassinations, many are asking if the final curtain has fallen on the US roadmap for peace.

"Final curtain" is an apt metaphor...The Israelis and Palestinians were performing for the Europeans and Americans... Those who really want to be fooled might pretend that the performance is the real thing, but facts show otherwise. More


What Bush told Americans about Iraq, and himself    Analyst September 8, 2003
Unlike Don Rumsfeld, George W. Bush doesn't believe that the U.S. has so far failed to bring the war in Iraq to a successful close. He believes that we already have done so. The twist is that, in a sequel of sorts, "the terrorists" have decided to challenge us there, lest our success transform the Middle East and leave no room for their kind. Iraq is now the "central front" in the War on Terrorism. And we will bear any burden, pay any price to win. Sacrifice is the order of the day, starting with an $87 billion down payment.

Debacle: Going it Alone in Iraq Brita May Rose August 31, 2003 
The US acted unilaterally in invading Iraq, and therefore it has to shoulder responsibility for the outcome of that invasion. In the absence of post war planning, we stand on the brink of another tragedy in the Middle East, much like the one we now see in Afghanistan – an unstable, dangerous and poverty stricken backwash further devastated by war and its after-effects. More

The Fine Line between Revenge and Murder Yitzhak Frankenthal  August 24, 2003
..There is a fundamental difference between the two: revenge is a punishment meted out for a murder committed; however, penalizing an entire population in response to a terror attack or to murder is not revenge, but murder per se. Unfortunately, we see the IDF performing - in my name as an Israeli citizen - acts of vengeance almost daily...

Speaking out for Palestine and Peace Ami Isseroff  August 22, 2003
Common sense dictates that anyone who wants peace between the Palestinians and Israelis must speak out loud and clear
against suicide bombings and other terror attacks, but no peace groups have spoken out. "Non-violence" apparently does not include opposition to suicide bombings. More

It All Makes Sense Now, Analyst August 21, 2003  Can anyone understand what motivates US policy in Iraq? More

Fencing around the Issues  Ami Isseroff  August 12, 2003
Peace activists ask, "Should I be protesting the wall, or supporting the security fence?" Neither. Anyone who wastes time on this issue has been led astray. It will not bring peace and it will not prevent peace. If you want to save the peace process, ignore the fence. It is a distraction created to help avoid the issues. It is a symptom, not a cause. Those interested in peace should get the sides to comply with the letter and spirit of the road map in reality, not just in press releases.  More

IRAQ SATIRE - A Modest Proposal Analyst,  August 7, 2003
In the wake of reports that the U.S. Department of Defense will provide an unnamed Iraqi with a promised $30 million bounty for information on the whereabouts of Uday and Qusay Hussein, experts are proposing that reward money be put to a wider array of uses in Iraq.

"So far, so good," noted Michael O'biquitous of the Triangulation Institution. "Given that the U.S. is running through about $3.9 billion a month in Iraq, it's cheap at the price. There are plenty of other people and things we can pay Iraqis to find, so we can kill them, too."

"At $15 million per son, the tally comes to 260 sons of Saddam per month," O'biquitous added. "It's money well spent."   More

Book Review: Kimmerling & Migdal The Palestinian People Ami Isseroff, July 12, 2003

Kimmerling and Migdal have written a book that is essential reading for those interested in the Middle East. It gives a broad overview of the history of the Palestinian Arabs from  their evolution as a modern nation to fairly recent developments in the peace process.  More


Pilots' Ward Abu Salam Al-Arabi  June 23, 2003

I was a reserve lieutenant serving in an Arab army during the 1973 war. I was positioned at a big military hospital. The adjacent ward was assigned to the injured Israeli pilots whose jet fighters were shot down by air defense missiles. Many of them ejected from their planes just seconds before being hit by SAMs.  More  Arabic Version

The Roadmap: The Passengers - Ameen Hannoun,  June 22, 2003

The passengers on the bus to peace are content to watch the proud drivers' systematic refusal to take guidance in the map. It is yet to be known when they would finally realize they have been going around in circles. More

Coming out of the Closet: The Public Peace Process Ami Isseroff,  June 22, 2003

Can the road map get the silent majority who are supposedly for peace to come out of the closet and start a public peace process? More


The Winds of Peace  Ami Isseroff June 5, 2003 -

At long last, after so many months of violence and repression, the winds of peace are blowing in the neighborhood of Israel and Palestine. So far, it is mostly talk, but it is good talk.

The recent summit meetings that launched the Roadmap for Middle East peace have given new life and respectability to the idea of peace.  More

When did the Holocaust End? Aram May 6, 2003
A Syrian describes his first experience with anti-Semitism
The astonishing thing about this incident was that nobody at that time mentioned Jews as conquerors of Arabic Muslim Palestine or Zionists. We attacked them just because they were "Yahood" - JEWS! The same "Yahood" who were cursed in Qur'an.

I want to ask Norman Finklestein, the author of the book The Holocaust Industry, “Please tell me when the Holocaust ended?” More

Comments on the Draft Palestinian Constitution Dr Sami Aldeeb May, 3,  2003 -
A Palestinian legal expert comments on protection of human rights, separation of church and state and other issues in the proposed constitution.

War in Iraq - An Arab View Samer Kurdi, May 1, 2003
...The best thing to come out of this war, in my view, is that the US now is directly engaged with the Arab masses... Many Arabs are watching closely to see how America will deal with the aspirations of the Arab street, when Arab regimes have traditionally responded to these with varying degrees of oppression and repression, and where the US has traditionally dealt with these issues by backing these repressive regimes. More
Statue of Saddam coming down in Baghdad


Roadmap: No Illusions  Ami Isseroff, April 30, 2003
... The ‎election of Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as Palestinian Prime Minister inaugurates ‎the process dictated by the quartet roadmap. ... Abu ‎Mazen's election is supposed to sideline the discredited Yasser Arafat, and install a ‎new and honest government, dedicated to ending corruption, chaos and violence, and ‎making a "Clean Break" with the past. ‎More


Definition of Terms  Analyst, April 15, 2003
A serious observer of both Middle Eastern and American
politics asked me whether it was a sin or a provocation to mention the group known as "the neoconservatives."  More

Minister of Information  Analyst,  April 11, 2003
Just how slavishly does the American news media follow cues provided by national authority figures in this season of war? Among alert watchers of cable TV news, skepticism has long since yielded to cynicism. Now the major newspapers, too, after just a few days' flirtation with probing questions, not only have adopted en masse the Pentagon's narrative of ineluctable triumph...

Iraq: The Incomplete Menu! Dr. Mohamed Mosaad, April 2, 2003
Today, we  all stare at our TV screens, transfixed by the destruction being meted out in Iraq. Before that, we all watched, with the same horror, as Palestinians and Israelis blew up each other's children. We also watched the World Trade Center Towers topple before our eyes. All were busy watching except the victims. We all wonder why it is happening. The answer is to be found in the deficient menu of the Global Political Restaurant.

The Global Political Restaurant today serves three dishes, only three dishes: Imperialism, Terrorism and Dictatorship...

Telic? - Ami Isseroff, March 26, 2003 
The British operation in Iraq is called "Telic," implying that it has a defined purpose. But the war that is supposed to give democracy to the Iraqis, bring peace to the Middle East and ensure compliance with the will of the International community may instead give the Iraqis a police state, force the Palestinians and Israelis into more disastrous play-acting about peace,  and destroy the UN, igniting another era of colonialist big-power rivalry in the Middle East.

The Roadmap and Other Gimmicks - Ami Isseroff March 16, 2003
The resolution of the Iraq issue, one way or
another, will hopefully open another window of opportunity for peace, similar to the one opened after the war with Iraq. There is every sign, however, that Israelis and Palestinians are working very hard to keep the window closed.

Protest - Paul Usiskin February 16, 2003
I didn't march in London in protest at the war prepared against Iraq. Its not because I advocate wars. I've been in one and watched too many others to honestly believe they are "a good thing". But there was a mixture of such over simplification of the issues together with a piggy-backing on this march for other purposes. Nothing in this world is as black and white as so many "virgin" marchers were making out. Each of the countries currently embroiled at NATO and in the UN are all playing for self-interest, even if it's as simple as "I want to be the one who says it first" or "my way's better". More

The Wonderful Meeting - Dr. Mohamed Mosaad, February 10, 2003 Nay I humbly ask how would we, Arabs, talk to the Israeli people? Is it enough to promise them that we will beg Hamas to halt the suicide operations inside the Green Line till the end of their elections (first meeting) or for a whole year (second meeting)? For us it looks like a very “generous offer”, but guess what? The ungrateful Israelis replied by putting Sharon, again, in the Prime Minister's office. More

The Columbia Tragedy - a Tribute -  Feb 7, 2003
There's no better place to emphasize the unity of people in the world than flying to space. It goes the same for any country, Arab country, whatever -- we are all the same people, we are all human beings and I believe that most of us, almost all of us, are good people. Astronaut  Ilan Ramon (Israel) 04, January 2003. More.

The Roadmap Ahead II - Can't have settlements and US support Ami Isseroff Jan 19, 2003

Why Oslo Failed Ami Isseroff Jan 17, 2003
"I maintain that Oslo was not given even a day's grace. Immediately, even before the ink was dry, the one side planned jihad and the brainwashing for jihad, while the other planned settlements. Therefore, I don't think Oslo failed, because Oslo was never tried. (Israeli writer Amos Oz) More

Grim Routine - Palestinian Suicide Bombing Kills 23  Ami Isseroff Jan 6, 2003


Mewzine Middle East Magazine - Current

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