Middle East

Thursday, 22 May 2008 20:00 Jim Camp Editorial Dept - Middle East
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National elections are actually debates over an American vision of itself and the rest of the world. We select presidents on the basis of whether we think they have a good or bad vision of the future, but we rarely ask ourselves what other nation’s expect of us.

The recent political squabble over President Bush’s speech to the Israeli Knesset is a perfect example. If anyone had actually read the text of the speech, one would find his vision expressed as it has been many times. He said, “We believe that democracy is the only way to ensure human rights”, adding that, “The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time.”

As the author of two books and the inventor of The Camp System of Negotiation, what caught my attention and Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign staff was Bush’s view that, “Some people seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them that they have been wrong all along.”

 
Thursday, 01 May 2008 19:00 Julie Stahl Editorial Dept - Middle East
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Although Holocaust denial has long been a common theme among Palestinians, Hamas has added a 'sinister twist,' claiming that the Jews themselves devised the Holocaust to exterminate the disabled and handicapped among them so they wouldn't be a burden to the future State of Israel.

The documentary, which aired on Hamas Al-Aksa television on April 18 - two weeks before Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday -- was translated by the Palestinian Media Watch and can be found on YouTube.


Over archival footage of the first Israeli leaders, a Holocaust death camp and Nazi Germany, a narrator "quotes" Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion as saying that the "disabled and handicapped" represent a "heavy burden" to the state.

"The Satanic Jews thought up an evil plot [the Holocaust] to be rid of the burden of the disabled and handicapped, in twisted criminal ways," the narrator says.

 
Tuesday, 08 April 2008 19:00 Monica Hill Editorial Dept - Middle East
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Spirits lifted last January when most of an 8.5-mile wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt came tumbling down and Palestinian women led the way across the border — to food, medicine and a taste of freedom.

Their breakout erupted after six days of lock-down in the most densely populated place on earth. The Gaza Strip, 4 to 7.5 miles wide and 25 miles long, has been a prison for 1.4 million Palestinians since 2000.

It is often compared to the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland, where Nazis locked in a half-million Jews. There they were starved, murdered and pitted against each other to survive where it was impossible to survive.

Today, Palestinians need the worldwide help that was denied Europe’s Jews more than 60 years ago.

 

 
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 19:00 Ahmed Quraishi Editorial Dept - Middle East
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Next to her bad Collagen-injected facelift job, Nancy Pelosi has given us one of the worst lessons in deceitful diplomacy on behalf of the United States. Pelosi, who is third in line of power in Washington after George Bush and Dick Cheney, flew halfway around the world to our neighborhood last week. Her mission? To further stoke the fire in China’s Tibet.

Tibet is striking a nerve in Islamabad because it is a classic example of the oldest trick in modern espionage: a host country, India, facilitates a superpower, the United States, to use Indian soil to create and sustain ethnic unrest in Tibet, China’s backwater joined at the hip with India.

For Islamabad, it’s déjà vu. Last year, a calculated U.S. Media blitz and suspected espionage helped American strategists plead the case for military intervention in Pakistan. A false case was built around Pakistani nukes. Now it’s Beijing’s turn. And the pretext is Tibet which erupted in flames surprisingly just in time to tarnish China’s impressive 2008 Olympic preparations.

We in Pakistan are too busy to pay attention. But let’s remember: The politicization of the 1936 Berlin Olympics by the United States and Britain helped spark a world war three years later. Washington is convinced that China’s economic rise is undermining its political and economic hegemony. China must be drawn into a conflict sooner than later.

 

 
Monday, 24 March 2008 19:00 Roni Ben Efrat Editorial Dept - Middle East
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The blood still boils at the sights that came out of Gaza when Israel invaded in March. At least 107 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians. Houses collapsed on their inhabitants. Hamas went underground, so that the "strongest army in the Middle East" again found itself in a dirty war against unarmed people.

Israel has no solution to its Gaza problem. It cannot afford to re-occupy the Strip, exposing its soldiers to guerrilla attacks. Short of that, it cannot stop the rockets. Now we can comprehend the function of Annapolis in November: the conference established a framework enabling PM Ehud Olmert to pepper his incursions with protestations of peace. In America he is Dr. Jekyll, in Gaza Mr. Hyde. Or to vary the tale, his tailors meet daily with the tailors of PA President Mahmoud Abbas to patch a suit they can hang in the closet till Hamas magically dissolves. The emperor meanwhile remains unclothed: Israel remains unwilling to withdraw from the lands conquered 40 years ago—the minimum the Palestinians require.

Responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rests squarely on the side of the former. In every political process undertaken since the conquests of 1967, Israel has tried to break the legitimate Palestinian will for statehood. The acme was the Oslo Agreement, in which it co-opted the PLO leadership. This co-optation paved the way—through many vicissitudes—to the Hamas electoral victory in January 2006. It was US President George W. Bush, we recall, who promoted those fateful elections. The result was not to his liking. He responded by preparing a coup against Hamas, giving Fatah's Muhammad Dahlan $25 million to build an armed force in Gaza. In June 2007, Hamas pre-empted, the Fatah militia folded, and its remnants fled to the West Bank.
 

 
Thursday, 13 March 2008 19:00 Fred Hyde Editorial Dept - Middle East
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Ever since last summer, when Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf stepped up arrests of political opponents, each round of increased repression has been met with greater resistance to his abuse of power.

The conflict came to a head on Nov. 7, 2007, when Musharraf suspended the constitution and arrested the Supreme Court for refusing to validate his unconstitutional bid to be both president and head of the military. Musharraf closed down media outlets and arrested hundreds of judges and over 10,000 attorneys, trade unionists, students, journalists and human rights activists.

Musharraf's crackdown failed to intimidate his adversaries, including many women and youth, who bravely challenged his declaration of martial law by engaging in daily rallies, strikes, and other acts of defiance. It also sparked international protest, including demonstrations by lawyers and letter-writing campaigns participated in by the U.S. and Australian sections of the FSP.

At the same time, the Bush administration sought to shore up Musharraf's discredited government - a key ally in U.S. efforts to control Mideast oil - by putting a democratic face on his regime, which has received billions in U.S. military aid. The U.S. ordered the general to agree to a power sharing arrangement with infamously corrupt former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, his main political foe. 

 

 

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