INDEX (stories follow)

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell


from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Headlines for March 17, 2011

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Hamas’ Meshal Offers New Pragmatism, Renounces Violence (For Now)

khaled meshalKhaled Meshal discusses Palestinian unity agreement and Hamas approach toward resisting Occupation (David Degner/WSJ)

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Hamas’ Khaled Meshal offered a newly pragmatic, consensus-driven Hamas approach to its Fatah collaborators and to Israel.  Of course, the proof is in the pudding in these situations and we’ve seen Hamas’ pragmatism wax and wane with the political winds.  But given the overall mood-music in the Arab world and the upcoming campaign for Palestinian statehood at the General Assembly in September, Hamas’ initiative appears promising to say the least.  As others have noted, I’m guessing that Hamas’ increasingly unstable home in Damascus is also forcing it to look outward for friends and allies in places (Ramallah, Washington, Cairo, Brussels) it hadn’t considered.

Here are some of the chief excerpts from Meshal’s remarks:

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said his movement will make decisions about how to wage its struggle with Israel, including if and when to use violence, in consensus with more moderate Palestinian factions.

“How to manage the resistance, what’s the best way to achieve our goals, when to escalate and when to cease fire, now we have to agree on all those decisions as Palestinians,” said Mr. Meshaal in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Cairo.

…The Hamas leader’s comments…suggested a power-sharing agreement signed Wednesday between his militant party and the more moderate Fatah party could significantly change the Palestinian approach toward the peace process.

Mr. Meshaal said that decisions on “negotiations with Israel, domestic governance, foreign affairs, domestic security and resistance and other field activities” against Israel, would all be reached in consensus between Palestinian factions.

If Mr. Meshaal follows through on his pledge, it would mean that Hamas would no longer attack Israel without the agreement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, who has long opposed violence.

Aides to Mr. Abbas said that in closed-door negotiations in Cairo ahead of the signing of the Egypt-brokered reconciliation agreement, Mr. Meshaal said his movement was prepared to adopt a strategy of nonviolent resistance, at least for the time being. “They accept nonviolent resistance. That’s what Meshaal said in closed meetings,” said Nabil Shath, a senior aide to Mr. Abbas who was present in those meetings. “He said ‘we cannot do violence and you do nonviolence. It does not work out.’ “

It’s important to point out that for Hamas (and unlike Fatah), violent resistance and non-violent resistance arestrategies and not ends in themselves.  Meshal is clearly saying that for now, it’s most promising for us to turn away from violence, since that is most likely to secure our goals for Palestinian statehood.  But he’s also clearly saying that if non-violence and this current round of peacemaking and nation-building fails, that the movement could very well turn back to violence.

Of course, this will make Bibi and the pro-Israelists howl.  They’ll wag their fingers saying: “You see.  We told you you can’t trust them.  They’re only turning to non-violence out of cynical motives and they’ll return to violence the first chance they get.”  This of course gets things all wrong.  The point is that if non violence gets them where they want to be, then there will be no need for violence.

What Meshal is really saying is that if Fatah honors its commitments, there are free and fair elections, and the General Assembly approves a Palestinian state, then Hamas will have no reason to turn to violence.  To me, this is a patently self-evident pragmatic approach.  Even former Mossad directors like Ephraim Halevy understand it too.  But not the Bibistas.

Pres. Obama has to decide whether he’s going to be a Bibista or whether he’s going to get on the right side of the Arab Spring.  The U.S. is still insisting that Hamas completely renounce violence as a condition of being considered a partner in peace negotiations.  But that’s simply not going to play in Gaza.  And there is no reason it has to.  What Meshal is telling Washington is: “if you produce for us, we’ll be good boys.  If you don’t, we won’t.”  That is the best Obama’s going to get.  If he demands more, then he will end up being bitterly disappointed and we’ll end up with more misery, more wars, and more terror.

Hamas is currently showing pragmatic realism.  Bibi is showing the same old losing cards.  And Obama’s showing nothing.  Where are you, Mr. President?  Stop basking in the glow of being Osama-killer and get down to brass tacks.  Show some leadership.  If he allows the mid-term elections to dictate the same-old, same-old approach to Hamas for fear of appearing soft on terror and hostile to a Likudist Israeli government, he’ll have lost yet another opportunity to play a leadership role in making peace.

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Abduction of a boy and wounding of another in a unity march in Bil’in

Photos By Rani Burnat Photos By Abdalkhalik Burnat Abduction of a boy and wounding…

Kushner supports Israel

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“Mr. Kushner, who was not present, has disputed Mr. Wiesenfeld’s characterization of his views, and said he is a strong supporter of Israel’s right to exist.”  Can you imagine the controversy if any American were to have said that he/she supported Apartheid regime in South Africa’s right to exist?



Barak: fear of a BDS planet

from Jews sans frontieres by Nedster
The following is a partial translation, with some added comments in [brackets]. Hebrew original:  

“…[Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak believes that a UN declaration of Palestinian statehood without a prior Israeli political initiative will paint Israel into a corner previously occupied by South Africa during the apartheid era. His admonition is pungent and scathing: ‘There are elements in the world, quite powerful, in various countries, including friendly ones, in trade unions, [among] academics, consumers, green political parties’, he warns, ‘and this impetus has culminated in a broad movement called BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) which is what was done with South Africa. This will not happen overnight. The day after September, people will say: ‘so now October has come, the sky hasn’t fallen, nothing has happened’. This is not true.”

Will this happen in December or January?

“It will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners. There are people in the European Council that deal with export and import, and they are capable, without any government decision, of inflicting significant damage on the Israeli economy. We will see this taking place in academia, we will see this taking place in dockworker unions, consumer groups, and this will seep into governments. This is unwise [apparently referring to Israeli policies which will bring about this outcome]. To me, this uncontrollable process looks more dangerous than what the [Israeli] public perceives at the moment. We have been ruling over another nation for 43 years, this is unprecedented. Perhaps China can allow itself to control some small nations in various corners of its empire, and perhaps Russia can [failing to discern that Tibetans and Chechens have citizenship]. We cannot, there is no chance that the world will accept this. The far right is exposing Israel to dangerous and unwarranted isolation.”

(Translated by Ofer Neiman)

Meir Dagan: Israel Attack on Iran ‘Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard’

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OK, Meirke.  We get the message.  Former Mossad director, Meir Dagan, who was unceremoniously booted from his job by Bibi Netanyahu a few months ago, continues to exact his revenge.  This time, he’s weighed in on the notion that Israel should attack Iran (English here) to prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons:

“It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Dagan said that the problem regarding this [attacking Iran] isn’t related to his doubt in the abilities of the Israeli Air Force, but rather because of the great doubt whether it could perform the job to its completion and attain all its objectives.  When asked what would happen after such an attack, Dagan continued: “There will be war with Iran.  This is one of the things we know how to start, but not how to end.”  He noted that Iran could be expected to fire its missiles into Israel for many months afterwards. It could be expected to engage Hezbollah with its tens of thousands of Grad rockets and hundreds of long distance SCUDs.  Iran can also engage Hamas on its behalf and Syria might join the war.

While Dagan stated that Israel must not accept a nuclear Iran, he said an attack on its reactors would be foolhardy idea with little likelihood of success.

Dagan believes that the fall of Bashar Assad would be good for Israel because it would diminish the weapons supply to Hezbollah and weaken the influence of Iran.

Bibi, needless to say, is pissed.  He let it be known through an anonymous security source that during Dagan’s tenure as Mossad chief the prime minister strongly criticized Dagan’s opposition to an Iran attack.

And just to demonstrate that an intelligence chief can be smart on one issue and a dolt on another, Dagan downplayed the significance of the revolts sweeping the Arab world:

“There is no tsunami of change sweeping the Arab world.”  Dagan denied that what occurred in Egypt was an “internet revolution,” because the majority of Egyptians don’t own computers.

This has to be one of the dumbest things a former Mossad director has ever said.  Does this guy not realize that the vast majority of Egyptians were actually NOT in Tahrir Square, in fact that vast majority of Egyptians are too poor not only to own a computer, but to own a home or car or perhaps even the makings of their next meal.  But many of those who were in the Square were indeed wired.  That a revolution may sweep a country and all its citizens, but that such an event begins with a small cadre and then, yes like a tsunami, it sweeps everyone up in its wake.

Dagan continued sharing his wisdom:

What happened in Egypt wasn’t a revolution but a change of leadership.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.   Meir Dagan, former chief intelligence officer of the Israel, can’t register what is happening before his very eyes.  Either that or he doesn’t want to understand what’s happening.  Nor does he want to understand the repercussions that this has already had among the Palestinians and the fact that the wave could sweep Israeli within it as well.  Welcome to a new world, Mr. Dagan, in which Israel may no longer be a dominant player, in which the Arab states may rise to take a more prominent role in the region and in determining its fate.

This could, if there were any realists in Israel, make them understand that in the long-term Israel must find a way to fit in.  This should induce a certain amount of humility.  ”Should” though, is a far cry from what is happening or likely to happen into the foreseeable future.

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from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
I am not satisfied with somebody’s criticisms of Israel here and there: the task is to categorically reject the Israeli racist project, without equivocation.  Anything short of that is a form of endorsement of racism and war crimes.


from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“I know, I know – beautiful, holy, history lingers in its every shady corner. Yet the treatment of Arabs as second-class citizens, the ghastly security wall smashing through its edges and the omnipresent guns have spoilt it. Jerusalem is the perfect example of why tolerance is so critical to a city.”  I can’t imagine an American newspaper bothering itself with the necessity of tolerance in an Israeli city. (thanks Khelil)

Shlomo Avineri

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
I have always said that in the West, a Zionist is by default an expert on the Middle East no matter what.  Fanatic Zionism is the qualification needed to work on the Middle East in the US government, for example.  Think about all those who never studied the Middle East who work on Middle East: Daniel Shapiro, Richard Haas, Elliott Abrams, Jeffrey Feltman, etc.  The list is too long. That was not the case before, of course.  In the West, for example, they seek the opinion of Israeli professors (even if they teach Potato Studies) because they are fanatic Zionists.  Shlomo Avineri is an expert on Marx and Hegel and wrote on political theory but he is always asked to write about the Arab world.  Oh, this is his nugget of wisdom:  “In other words, for the West the agenda was about democracy; for Israel, it was peace.”  What can I say about a guy who summarizes Israeli and US wars and policies thus?
This entry was posted in Apartheid, Background & Analysis, BDS, Events, Human Rights, Israel, Israel Lobby, Zionism. Bookmark the permalink.

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