Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dissecting Netanyahu's speech before US Congress

The following extracts have been taken from Netanyahu's speech addressed to the U.S. Congress. It has left a lot to be desired in the Arab world.
"You don't need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves."
$3 billion US foreign aid is sent annually to help the Israeli war machine: U.S. Military Aid
"I take it as a badge of honor, and so should you, that in our free societies you can now protest"
People are definitely allowed to protest in his free society... and look what happens when they do:
Israeli Snipers shoot peaceful civilian protesters on Nakba day
"I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty."
The Arabs also pray that this path he talks about is also taken with regards the Israeli occupation: Israeli Apartheid - CBS: Is Peace Out of Reach?
"This path of liberty... [paved] when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule"
Amongst many human rights activists victims crushed: Rachel Corrie - An American Hero
"We’re proud in Israel that over 1 million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades."
That's not what those Arabs have to say: Is Israel truly an apartheid state?
"It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world."
Arabs couldn't agree more: UN General Assembly Resolution 38/69 and UN General Assembly Resolution 38/9 (1983)
"They could put a bomb anywhere. They could put it in a missile; they’re working on missiles that could reach this city. They could put it on a — on a ship inside a container; could reach every port. They could eventually put it in a suitcase or in a subway."
This fear-mongering is a typical fascist technique we have seen in one other man, dare we mention his name: Speech given November 6 1933
"When we say never again, we mean never again"
Does he mean never again to anyone? Or never again to the Jews? Operation Cast Lead 2008/09
"Israel will be ever-vigilant in its defense"
Israel definitely needs to defend itself. After all, it is one of the top 10 military powers of the world with state of the art Tanks, Apache choppers, F16 jets, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and has managed to invade four countries in six days.
"We’ll be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland"
"Giving up" ancestral Jewish homeland means he has he forgotten that it is also the ancestral Arab homeland. There were four generations in the history of Jerusalem where the Hebrews called it their own. That's it; a moment in history before Nebuchadnezzar conquered following a Jewish civil war. They weren't the original inhabitants because there was an indigenous population before David conquered, and a population after the Babylonians took over.
Arabs understand that his great, great, great, great, great, great, great (^n) grandparents lived there before their exile to Babylon, but Netanhayu doesn't remember that trauma. Why should Arabs suffer that?
"We’ve helped the Palestinian economic growth by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people"
He also establishes blockades and freezes when he sees fit: Palestinians to ask UN to stop Israeli tax freeze
" far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it"
This is a complete fabrication. The Nobel Peace Laureate Yaser Arafat was the Arab ambassador for recognising the State of Israel in the name of peace. During his life he was confined and incarcerated in his own home and headquarters: Arafat Confined
"In 1947, the U.N. voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes; the Palestinians said no."
There is a reason why Palestinians said no: Did the Jews have the right to declare Israel as an independent state in 1948?
"I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise... This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967."
In other words, the illegal settlements will not be compromised. Arabs would most definitely see this as "far-reaching". Israel profiteering from stolen Palestinian land
"It means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel."
In other words, Israel will not recognise the Palestinian Right to Return: UN Resolution 194
"Jerusalem must never again be divided... Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel."
No Arab will ever agree to this. This unilateral move to make a decision without discussing it with the PA is either a declaration of war, or a denunciation of a capital for the sovereign state of Palestine in East Jerusalem. Neither are a plan for a willing peace.
"Israel withdrew from south Lebanon"
Hezbollah threw Israel out of illegal occupation of the South of Lebanon. It was a retreat, not a withdrawal. George Galloway on Sky News - Aug 2006
"Imagine there’s a siren going on now and we have less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Do you think anybody can live that way?"
The people of Gaza have had to live that way: Operation Cast Lead 2008/09
"It’s one of the smallest countries in the world... It’s bigger than Delaware... It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it."
Jews were initially offered a significantly larger blotch land in Uganda by Britain, but the Zionist decided to take "a land with a people for a people without a land".
That is exactly the current situation of the illegal occupation that Palestinians do not want. This is why there is no peace. Complete sovereignty means the recognition of Palestinians to defend their own right to self-determination: The Solution to the Middle East Crisis
"Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace."
Israel doesn't accept a unilateral establishment of the State of Palestine yet it was formed in that exact same way: 130 UN members will support Palestinian state
"Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter.... it says: Kill the Jews everywhere you find them"
That is not correct: Hamas will accept the 1967 Borders and a Truce with Israel
"Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior."
Lets have a look at what Zionist leaders have said over the last 100 years, even when Arabs are told to open dialogues for negotiations with them regardless of this rhetoric: Quotes from the founders of Zionism
"So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas!"
Shimon Peres, a more decorated Israeli leader, says: Talks with Hamas not impossible

Netanhayu really needs to start improving on his Public Relation's strategies. The only certainty here is that he definitely hasn't won any support in the Arab world after this speech...

Hamas will accept the 1967 Borders and a Truce with Israel

This post is based on the on the following article:

There is a significant quote Zahhar mentions here:
Hamas was ready to recognize a Palestinian state "on any part of Palestine," for the first time publicly steering away from prior Hamas demands that the modern Palestinian state must be established "from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea."
This is definitely a positive step. It is not the best possible scenario for Israel, but just as many party officials in the right-winged Likud party don't recognize Palestinian statehood, Hamas will also have to deal with pressures from their own people to end the current stalemate and find a lasting solution.

Mutual recognition is most likely going to be the highest priority that will need to be sorted out when negotiations resume. The whole concept of making peace is to deal with an organisation that is not a friend or ally, and making strong compromises which both parties have to work on.

Shimon Peres himself, owner of a Nobel Peace Prize, had the following to say:
"Even when I began negotiation with Arafat, they said: 'There's no chance'... I think the same thing about Hamas. The name does not interest me, what matters is the content. Anything can happen, because Hamas has problems too, and it's not so strong... If they [Hamas and Fatah] want to unite, let them unite... The two camps are trying to unite. It is not our business, we don't want to intervene in their decision to unite. What is our business is that the West Bank will not become a Gaza, we would like Gaza to become a West Bank"
The president said it would be better for Israel to focus its energy on building upwards, rather than expanding into Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want for the capital of their future state. "You can sometimes house 10,000 people in one tower," he said. "Today the whole world is building vertically."

He makes a very critical point here to the Israeli government, and that ultimately settlements should be halted. That is why the Palestinians stopped negotiating in the first place; that is why Hamas refuse to accept Israel's current legitimacy which can't even uphold its own Balfour Declaration that states that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. Defying this Declaration is defying their legitimacy.

Current settlement construction implies that Likud are not willing to recognise Palestine. They have just made an announcement on 19th May to build up to 1,500 settlement units in the East Jerusalem settlements of Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev.

Therefore, they, like Hamas, need to start reconsidering the complete perspective of land sharing and ultimate peace in the region.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is Egypt trying to be an Islamic State?

The current incidents taking over the country of Egypt have left its citizens more confused rather than optimistic about their country's fate.

Currently, the interim government is engaged heavily in foreign policy, namely that with Hamas and Fatah, yet the people of the country have not even been asked to counsel this involvement. The people's advise was not sought after regarding how the nation should proceed with this partnership nor were they asked about the amount of resources and personnel that should be invested into this deal. These decisions are usually made by an authority entrusted to do so, and while Egypt is very much in a transitional period, the government is not really in any position to take such initiatives. Field Marshal Tantawi et al have seemingly assumed the rank of authority as though they themselves were elected into office as a result of the ousting of their former leader who supposedly, in their eyes, paved the way for Martial Law.

Another grave concern is that which involved the violent clashes between the people and military outside the Israeli embassy on the Day of Nakba. It was almost as though Mubarak was still flowing through the veins of the soldiers who took it upon themselves to openly fire rubber bullets and throw tear gas at unarmed civilians. 353 people were injured on the first day with guns pointed at children forced to lie on their stomachs and smacked on the back of their head if any looked up while shots were fired into the air. These scenes frightfully mirrored those in the early days of Tahrir square.

Even more alarming however, is the growing tension of sectarian violence that has resumed as it was left off early January as though the revolution never really happened at all. The horrific Church burning incident in Imbaba and the Maspero thuggery suspected to be the work of the Salafis, begs the question, are these infiltrators trying to take advantage of the fragile situation to establish Egypt as an Islamic state especially when the interim government is preoccupied with their own policies and foreign affairs?

What would that entail for the future of Egypt if it were in fact to implement Shariah Law? The Coptic Orthodox have clearly expressed their grave concern about this possibility. Even Livni, the former Israeli Foreign Minister expressed her government's stance on strongly opposing a neighbouring Islamic state.

It is quite unfortunate that regardless of the countless centuries that Islam ruled the land and protected the "People of the Book" when they had called for aid against the barbaric rule of the Byzantine Empire, the native Coptic Egyptians have indeed forgotten what it was like to be ruled with protection rather than treated as lower-class citizens by the general exclusions of the higher class Greek-speaking occupiers from Constantinople in the early 7th century.

During the times of Islamic law, the ruling Muslim authority charged taxes to Egyptians in order to build schools, pave roads and even Churches to improve their way of live - a concept which was alien to them at the time because it drastically contrasted the tyrannical Byzantine rule. That very philosophy is in fact what shapes the modern world as we see it today. This system of rule caused a rippling effect in Europe with feudal systems subsequently being abolished because the people saw endless benefits in establishing a tax system whereby each citizen claimed their own portion of land rather than having the King claim ownership over all property, including their wives.

Unfortunately Coptic memories of burning Churches are fresher than those of Churches being built for their benefit, and what is worse is that their association with this "authoritative" religion has been narrowed down to a minority of extremist Salafis who don't seem to understand that their is no possible benefit in having a large rift from sectarian violence - especially when their ancestor's beliefs completely opposed this behaviour.

The seemingly more moderate, responsible and organised "modern-day" Muslim Brotherhood is more akin to the golden days gone by when respect was shown regardless of theological differences, especially because their party comprises of well educated intellectuals. Their maturity was evident when they did not try to hijack the protests, and moreover, their current reluctance to apply for candidacy in the September elections show they actually have genuine interests for a better Egypt without necessarily having an Egypt ruled by their specific law.

Considering these qualities for such a strong political party is now more important than ever because the revolution has opened up endless possibilities where one could very well be witness to an Egyptian rule by Islamic jurisprudence, if indeed the Muslim Brotherhood do choose to run for elections.

This does not necessarily mean that it will happen, but if it did, would it really be a horrible thing? Islamic law has shown for many centuries that it can successfully govern the country and help it flourish. This is in complete contrast to a potential extremist takeover, and the two should not be confused.

Putting this into context, and considering that Egypt is essentially a Muslim majority, if democracy prevails and the majority want an Islamic state, then the Egyptian people will have to warm up to that possibility.

However, the more probable scenario of course is that a secular government will be established for the simple reason that protests were carried out by the common people striving for freedom out on the streets: men, women, and children; Christians, Muslims and Atheists. There were no Islamic movements; just a people who wanted their freedom back.

Whoever gets chosen based on the people’s consensus will be the rightful leader of the country regardless of what faction they represent, and regardless of what policies external governments believe should be established.