Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The cease-fire may be sticking but Israel's embargo keeps Lebanese and Lebanese goods prisoner

It's been a while I have not posted. Took the weekend off and travelled to the moutain resort of Faqra though still had to deal with the sounds of Israeli planes and choppers Saturday night as they airdropped commandos into Baalbek after flying over us. It was loud, offensive and of course a continued violation of Lebanese airspace and freedoms. Oh and it killed 5 supposed members of Hezbollah and failed to kill Sheikh Yazbeck which was its stated aim. Same old same old.
Meanwhile British Airways on its British Med subsidiary were supposed to begin flying direct to London this morning but my friend Clancy Chassay of The Guardian who was supposed to be on the flight was told it was cancelled. Why?
Because there was no way for Israel to screen it, its contents or passengers.
All other flights MEA, Lufthansa and more are forced to fly via Amman, the Jordanian capital, so Israeli officials can check all the flights leaving Beirut, adding 4 hours minimum onto any outbound journey.
Now while I can accept, just, Israel's 'need' to check incoming flights to Lebanon for supposed weapons replenishment to Hezbollah, I cannot accept Israel's need to check outbound flights. Are there going to be weapons on them? Does anyone really think that is possible. I can tell you it is not. What else? Terrorists? Please.
This is a continued attack on the Lebanese people and the freedoms of this nation.
No trade is yet moving in and out of Lebanese ports for the same reason. There is no way currently that Israel can examine all in and outbound ships. The result is the continued ruination of numerous businesses and a strangling of trade, aid, and so on.
Are the Lebanese expected to swallow these violations of the nation for months on end on the strength of that reasoning? How long are we expected to fly via Amman to go anywhere? Any countries Lebanese planes fly to will check all goods, etc on arrival methodically and with maximum security no doubt. Is a British Airways plane heading for London going to head directly for Tehran? What laws allow Israel to dictate the where and when of transport out of Lebanon?
And how long do the Lebanese have to suffer such humiliation?
It is unfathomable.

72 Comments:

Blogger Sean Piggott said...

It's a shame that the continued blockade is not more widely reported.

Relatives, who rely mainly on UK/domestic BBC for news are already asking us when we are planning on moving back as they believe everything is getting back to normal.

6:51 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Normal is far from it. And we are only talking about Beirut remember. Not Sour, not the south, and certainly not Baalbeck and half of the Bekaa.

6:59 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Normal is far from it. And we are only talking about Beirut remember. Not Sour, not the south, and certainly not Baalbeck and half of the Bekaa.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

if your goverment could stop the flow of weapons there wouldn't be the need for it in the first place. It has to happen to stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Am I worng? I know you need supplies but if Iran and Syria would stop using you guys for their gain this wouldn't be an issue. More of you need to stand up and say no more but instead you spread the hate for Israel and perpetuate the hate.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Sam, why cant the US govt stop gang warfare, the KKK or other radical groups in the US? "If your goverment could stop the flow of weapons there wouldn't be the need for it in the first place". Do you fully understand the social dynamics in Leb?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Laurel said...

RS, thank you for this message. Last night, I was wondering what the latest news was on Israel's strangulation of Lebanon, but I'm having a very difficult time finding any news source on it. Not surprisingly, American media has dropped the ball on this in exchange for constant coverage of a 10 year old murder investigation. They certainly aren't idiots, but they are most definitely bastards.

Is any aid coming in at all? It's small-scale, I know, but from here, near Atlanta, I would be more than willing to begin a supply drive to send care packages that way. But I don't know how anything would get in.

And now onto Sam (regretfully so)- Perhaps the solution would be for Israel to stop using Lebanon as a measuring stick for its penis (darn, is that crass?). I agree that more people should be standing up and shouting "no more," however I think that the recipient of the admonishment should be Israel, not its victims. What you seem to be proposing is like a beaten up child on the school yard electing the bully for class president. That's just plain silly, isn't it?

7:43 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

The KKK has been a none force for a long time. Only people from other countries use that term. It's a sad little organization that has/can do nothing in this country.

Well gangs are a problem but we're dealing with it every day. Yesterday 39 members and leaders of a big time Latin gang in Miami were arrested. Last month a group trying to become terrorist were arrested. In a free society it's impossible to be 1005 but law enforcement works constantly to stem the flow of violence. Were working on it, were tyring. I support tighter boarder control, tougher punisment on criminals.

Our FBI NSA & CIA are doing a much better job dealing with terrorists both in the country and else where. Sure there are gaps but not as big as what your goverment is allowing by doing so little so late. Your society is so unstable no one knows about it. Everyone was so scared that and still that your goverment will fall. When an interior armed force is stronger than your national army you have issue's. that would never happen in the states or any 1st world power.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

KKK is one example. There are hundreds more.

Keep in mind that Leb just recently (last year) pushed Syria out of the country (over 30 yrs occupation). The Leb gov't and army has not had time to strengthen. They were literrally in dialogue to take care of the HZ problem when Israel decided to take matters into its own hands. We just also experienced the civil war not too long ago...there should be caution and intelligence in approaching the HZ situation, not just pull out your guns and start shooting.

So dont tell me about the Leb govt and what should be done. They know about the problems, but apparently the US and Israel plays the world police and assumes they know what is best for everyone. This latest conflict shows proved otherwise.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

See that's the point Laurel, sure Israel is in the wrong. But so is the Leb goverment. They are allowing a terrorist army to make war against the it's neighbors. Why is that so hard to understand? Isreal is fighting for it's survival, Iran has openly stated that they are going to wipe Israel off the map. How would you react? HB hides amoung the masses and fires weapons of terror, they are just as guilty if not more so. How is Israel to fight them? If Leb would have asked for help the world would have done it to stop the chance of war and that includes the US.

It's easy to say Israel is wrong, the bigger army always gets a bad rep. This is life or death, they're cjhoosing life and will do what it takes to protect it's people. Any country would do the same, well most Leb isn't as concerned for it's poeple or it would have tried to deal with this before and not letting HB become a strength in the 6 years since the Israeli army pulled out of Leb.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

There are a ton of little crazies in the States. What have they done in comparison to HB or other groups? The answer is Fred Murragha building in OK. Nothing else, just outsiders coming in but that is being delt with.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

that's not the point Sam. You have the American point of view, whereby you think all world govt react and behave in a vacuum, with no underlying social or historical contexts. This is not so and should not be so.

"This is life or death, they're cjhoosing life and will do what it takes to protect it's people. Any country would do the same"--this is exactly the mindset of HZ. Remember, HZ formed during the Israeli occupation in Leb in 1983. It did not, as some think, in 1948 with the establishment of Israel as a state...

8:13 PM  
Blogger Laurel said...

sam said: "If Leb would have asked for help the world would have done it to stop the chance of war and that includes the US."

Yes, because the world would have jumped at the chance to help a nation's people avoid utter slaughter. Just ask Rwandans. :)

8:19 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Well too bad people can't blame Bush for that! Rawanda was during a Euopean crisis and was psuhed to the side. Just like the October Revolution in Budapest in 56. We were so busy with the middle east we forgot them, more were killed there than in the middle east area at the same point in time.

israel is there to stay, deal with that. Hb did form beacsue of Israel but was there a need to start something with the? Iran wanted to get the wheels moving so they said go grab a few soldiers and kill some too and see what happens.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Sam, where do you get your information about the start of the latest conflict? FOX or CNN? The war has been going on for years, since Israel invaded Leb in 1983. There have been plenty of kidnapped soldiers for years AND on both sides. Deal with that.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I know it;s been going on for years. So the abduction of soldiers in your mind is okay? Or is it that they finally said no more. you want to dance, lets go. you use your tactics we'll use ours. No one is right but the sooner more people understand that it tkaes to to make peace. Why is Eygpt getting along with Israel, weren't they bitter enimies?

8:46 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I have very little sympathy for the Lebs, they didn't do anything to stop HB. then they blame the USA, Israel..... Next God.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

The Goverments do as the people ask more or less. The masses do the voting. Before you bring up Iraq, the country including the vast majority of Congress voted yes to the war in Iraq. We vote the leaders in, we know there stance on issue's. We knew Bush was tough on people, he allowed how many people to die in the state of Texas without one stay of exicution. People are going to say he stole the Election, the high courts as well as the lower ones all said it was fair.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Sam, of course no side is right.

This is a given.

But keep in mind that HZ and the Leb govt are separate, not the same. You talk as if they have the same objectives. As I said before, Syria was kicked out of Leb just last year. Syria and Leb are quite different and have different objectives. The Leb govt did not have enough time to strenghten and form in unity since Syria's "departure". Egypt, again, has different historical and social context then Lebanon, who has been occupied over the last century, by the French, the Turks, the Syrians and the Israeli's. You cannot compare all arab countries, because they are all different.

Why cant you use the same logic above and apply to HZ action. HZ soldiers were abducted, hundreds of them, during Israel's occupation. Their land was taken and occupied. Abduction is stupid, we all know that. But they are using what they have to return what belongs to them. They did it before, and that seemed to work.

I hate HZ and their methods, but this is the truth.

8:58 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The answer, RS, is that you shouldn't have to suffer either the humiliation or the blockade itself. The problem is that no one with the power to do anything about it really cares. Nothing is served by the blockade but neither the US nor Israel will do anything about it because it would be seen in Bush's and Olmert's dim views as a kind of capitulation. Bush is so incredibly stupid that he proudly announces "immediate aid" of a quarter billion dollars and "additional aid" of another quater billion dollars for rebuilding homes. That's on top of the 30 million he admits to for evacuating americans in the face of our ally's bombing. But, there's no money in the treasury here to rebuild New Orleans. Instead, we hand out little trailers. And there's no move to do anything sensible about Lebanon because the whole thing was nonsensical to begin with - doing anything sensible now would be seen as proof of the nonsense.

It's the result of one side's hate getting so much more power than the other hating side. It blinds the powerful to what it is he's doing so he just does it.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

"The Goverments do as the people ask more or less. The masses do the voting."

Please tell me what world you live in. I can see know you have no reasoning skills that are worth responding to.

take care.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

The fact of the matter is that Israel agreed to cease all offensive military actions. As far as I am concerned, an air and naval blockade is a hostile offensive action. This is just another example of the Israeli government doing whatever they feel like, no matter who they have to step on.

I wish this was being reported more widely, as international pressure needs to be directed against Israel.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Rick how do they stop the flow of arms into the country? The leb army isn't doing it.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

An air and naval blockade is a violation of cease fire--or should be. They are just bullies who dont want to leave the playground.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Do you think HZ is that dumb to bring in arms now? They are a very intelligent organization and will not do it when everyone is looking.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

HA HA HA thats funny, I guess we should all start crying for Leb or is that Argentina?

9:08 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

WOW your are funny Doc? I guess I'm the moron and your the piller of inteligence. So sorry, I'll start reading only one sided papers and then I can think like you. Give me five minutes and I should be up to your speed Doc.

9:10 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The shame of it, Rick, is that it's not really "Israel" that's doing it. As it is not really "America" that's on the disastrous adventure in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's Olmert and it's Bush. The idea that I or you or anyone other than the heads of state and their immediate hangers on have anything to say about it is utterly naieve.

So - Bush spreads his hate and mongers his fear to mobilize America in support of the nonsense in Iraq and continues to worry us about it. Even to the extent that he and his attorney general would have us believe he broke up a terrorist cell in Miami made up of a bunch of losers playing army in an abandoned warehouse. approach them as a fake al queda operative, offer them $50,000 and a truk load of weapons and they say, "damned right - we'll blow up the sears tower." Headlines result and we're told - "see? told you so."

No - check some of the Israeli blogs and newspapers. Olmert is going in the same direction as Bush. Questions are being asked, accusations are being made and people are wondering about the truth of the things they were told.

There's still good reason to be worried about Hezbollah but it also is fantasy to say Lebanon should simply get rid of that crowd - remember, we can't even get rid of Bush and his gang of fools. Rumsfeld simply ignores what's going on while Cheney pulls Bush's strings. What to do about it? The congress won't impeach so - what can be done?

but - it will eventually be done. At least I hope so.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

It's not Israel's role to police whether or not Hezbollah seeks more arms, even if Israel appointed itself to the task. So far I count two substantial violations of the cease fire, both committed by Israel; the raid into Lebanon and the blockade.

It is the role of the peace-keepers coming in to see that no aggression is launched from either side. Israel needs to get out of Lebanon, stop the blockade and turn its attentions to the negotiating table. Once they can turn nations like Lebanon into trading partners, there will be no toleration for Hez within Lebanon as a military force.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

But Rick, where are the international peace keepers? No shows, the UN is utterly useless. The lebs aren't in place to secure their boarders yet nor have they proven that they are truly against HB. there are to many HB puppets in the Gov already. I wish Israel wasn't doing it either but who will?

9:17 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Beautifully put, hcb; we have egomaniacs at the helm... nothing good is going to come from that. Bush and Olmert are both war criminals, as is Nasrallah... none is any better than the others.

9:17 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Ignore it Doc - ignore it. If the world really was perfect, there would be a playpen in each blog to which the children would be assigned while the grown ups talk. But - there's not and the world's not perfect. So you learn to ignore the noise and the noisemaker.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hope in a blind dream. Keep wishing Howard, maybe toss a coin in a well or go grab a wish bone. Anything is possible in fantasy land. You're close to Disney, go see Mickey and ask his help.

I've got an idea, since your all so anti Israeli why don't we all jsut fund a new concentraion camp and start getting rid of the Jews? If they can't live there then why let them live at all. Gas them, then you all will be happy and have nothing to talk about!

NOT!!!!!!!!

9:20 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Sam, Lebanon has been slow to put troops in because Israel is both slow to give up ground and has already violated the cease fire once.

You know everyone, I have lived with American propoganda all my life, and in many cases I find it to be at least reasonable. But please folks, consider for a moment that things truly have gone to shit in the oast six years, and it's no coincidence that Bush came to power at that time.

Please....to all reasonable people, please consider that Bush, Blair and Olmert are not right. We cannot continue to push the interests of these three nations ahead of all others; this can only result in our downfall. America will be much better off in the long run treating other nations as equals, rather than pawns. How much hate has to be directed at us before we wake the hell up?

9:22 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Howard I thought you were not coming here anymore? You tease, or should I say flip flop Kerri style.

Since you people don't want to help the problem just complain about it this site is all bla bla and a way to pass the time.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Thanks, HCB. Will try.

I agree with your and Rick's comments. I do not think there is a real threat of re-arming at this point, and the blockade by Israel is just useless and harmful to everyone. Even if there were a threat, it is not Israel's call anymore with the cease fire.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey Rick, As the troops come in then give it up in a joint way so that a gap isn't created that can be filled by the HB. where is all of the anger against France and the EU for screwing up yet again. They act all knowing and supportive, tell me when the troops will be there. Tell the world how they're idiots too.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Oh and Sam.... when it comes to concentration camps, there is no doubt that what happened to the Jews and other minorities in the war was despicable and horrifying. But I don't believe the Lebanese or Palestinians committed those atrocities. They had their land taken, they have been oppressed in brutal ways, and for all appearances Israel seems to be on the path to treating Arabs as sub-humans. How long before random shooting of civilians by soldiers? Oh yeah, it's already happened.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Since you want to point a finger at France Sam, let's revisit something. France, Germany and Russia were all vilified in this nation for not going along with our attack on Iraq when we had "indisputable proof of WMDs." Who came looking like an ass in that one?

I don't know that we really have the credibility to call out France or any other nation in this case. Everyone knew the deployment was going to take time. Lebanon began moving troops in only to watch Israel launch another attack. Exactly who wants to step into the middle of that?

I know...maybe we can send American troops. Oh wait, they are already busy conquering another nation. The foreign policy of this administration would be laughable if it didn't get so many people killed.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

I am not anti-Israeli, but anti-Israeli govt. I am not Arab, but I am Lebanese. I live in the US but despise US policy. And I dont like HZ but appreciate their efforts in defending Leb.

So these are all contradictions that many cannot grasp. Again, people dont understand the social and historical context that makes up the middle east, esp Lebanon. You cannot apply geometric rules to a non-geometric situation.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

What a waste, it's these views that creat anger. It's like you guys are wanting to fight and call names, not you Rick but the others. I guess the only solis I have is that I'm on the side that is in control for now and I'm not trying to change something, just support.

9:31 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Even more - assume there IS a threat of re-arming. Israel knew - through Mossad if no one else - for SIX years that Hezbollah was getting their thousands of rockets and rifles and anti-tank weapons from Syria and Iran. They knew for six years Hezbollah was digging in by building deep bunkers and tunnels. But they didn't go to the Lebanese government and say, let's go clean out that swamp together.

Israel cannot say with any certainty they got all the rockets already in Lebanon. Nor can it be said certainly that Hezbollah is a significantly reduced threat - not if the threat before was that they'd fire two or three or four unaimed rockets into northern israel each month or so. Or even every day. I don't mean to say Hezbollah is justified in any sense. I mean only to say the threat hasn't been reduced. So - why worry so much about being re-armed? Especially when the result is not to reduce the threat but to increase worldwide condemnation?

that's what I mean about being stupid. Let Hezbollah sneak in some weapons - if they fire one, blow 'em up. But weigh the practical effect of preemptive strikes against the very real adverse effect of continuing to look like a foolish bully.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

it's these views that creat anger--

No Sam, its the fact that you cant understand these views that creates anger. We understand your position, do you understand the other side? I dont think you want to. Simple.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

We are in control of what?

Iraq? hardly.

Afghanistan? Clearly not.

Our own borders? Nope, try again.

We maintain the illusion of control, when in real terms we are falling from the ranks of superpower status. Sure we have the military means, but as a government we lack courage and values. Who supports us? Britain and Israel... out of their own self-interests.

Sam, I have seen you express frustration that this is just talk, and that no one here is taking action. I beg to differ with you. Talk is what this forum is designed for, and if enough of these talks take place, we reach a critical mass to make change. Talk is what will settle these long-standing disputes, as they certainly have not been resolved through force of arms. In fact, in terms of arms, the future only holds other nations gaining the ability to do greater damage, no what whet efforts we take to prevent this. It seems to me that talk is our best option.

9:36 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Doc - the fact of the matter is you are a reasonable person and sam - or whatever his name is today - is an uninformed, unread, uninspired, unmitigated fool who enjoys hearing his own babble. He's the guy who spread unimaginable filth for weeks and then suddenly announced his "agenda" - make everyone hate him and then see if anyone would forgive him. That was his imagined way of getting attention for the second round. And now it starts again - he calls you a moron, he suggests a new holocaust, he insists that everyone who does not pat him on the head and congratulate him on his insight is hateful and ignorant. He talks in hyperbole (look it up, sam) with no thought.

But he feeds on attention. The more he gets, the worse it gets. You are trying to convince a person who is paranoid and schizophrenic to be understanding. You have a better chance with Olmert and Bush. Together.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

How long can a stroy be talked about? When do people stand up and try to changeit. the energy spent infighting is getting us where Rick? No where but it makes rational people stupid and say things that are not right.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Hmmm, interesting HCB. That is an accurate description, I must say. But it is not Sam that I am worried or care about. Its the fact that his views are evident many places in this world. I dont mind differences of opinion but prefer ones that are insightful and make me think, even if I dont agree. I appreciate your thoughts and hope to follow through with reason.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Come on Howard, you can do better in insultingme. A man of your experiences, thoughts and ambitions.

It's okay Ducky, I understand.

9:48 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Doc - you're entirely right. But what is going without discussion is the root of all these problems. Is there ANYthing that can be done in the long term? With respect, the invasion, disarmament, withdrawal - all those things are short term. But isn't the real problem whether or not Israel is a viable state? Isn't it really that everyone else wants Israel simply to pack up and move out of the mideast? And Israel refuses by saying, "no - we simply want to live in peace amongst you." Is that possible? Because if it's not, then this is only the latest escapade in an interminable war.

It seems there are many examples of multiracial and multiethnic communities throughout the world - Lebanon, as you point out, is one. Is there any hope the mideast can expand that success to the entire region?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

The red states and people are the ones running the country. Right or wrong they make up the majority of the voters. Maybe you guys should push more of your constituents to vote then you can see your version of the US government take control. If there are so many people against the way America is then why don’t they do what it takes to make a change. Vote! We’ll see in the next few months if the majority has changed, the news doesn’t prove it nor the slander of politicians. The outcome of an election states the will of the people, the American People. So you guys should be telling everyone you know to vote and to help make sure they do it. Then and only then can you make a difference. Until then this is our government right or wrong, so you be the ones to make a difference and prove to the people on this blog that are outside the states that you really care and are willing to do more to help.

My name has always been the same howard, your the one who used anon to slam and insult me. Sp\ome people posted stuff as well under my name in the last two weeks and your to blinfd to know it. It was probably you anyway Ducky.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

The existence of Israel is indeed the main root of the problem. I personally dont believe the majority of Leb want to see the state of Israel destroyed (I am talking from the perspective before this latest conflict). But I do think they want them to give back what does not belong to them (land, people, economy) and to act justly and fairly to all in the region, esp the Palestinians. Remember, the Lebs also carry the "burden" of the Palestinian refugees (over 400K), which is the direct result of Israel's actions. So there is alot of unresolved issues that could be solved, without having to revert to the destruction of the Israeli state. Action causes reaction. So you cannot have peace, when your behavior suggests otherwise.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

What a crap argument, Sam. Is that all you can come up with? Are there no Republicans willing to stand up to the Administration? Senator Chuck Hagle is one who has already had the courage to stand up.

Go back and look at my posts of today. Now try addressing the real issues; the futility of peace through arms, the need for dialogue, and start saying something constructive. All I have seen you do on this blog is disagree. Are there any common interests at all, or am I wasting my time at the keyboard?

10:05 PM

10:06 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Well spoken, doc!

10:07 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I don't see near the problems that you do. I klnow now tell me how blind or dumb I am. It's the same topics every year, the players are only different. Nothing will change and this is the way it is.

10:13 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The trouble is, giving back "what does not belong to them (land, people, economy)" What DOES "belong" to them? There are many who say they and the British and Americans and UN simply moved in one night, dispossessed the then "owners" and announced the formation of Israel.

I assume it will always be a fait accompli with no chance of a voluntary dissolution by Israel. That being so, Israel will continue to insist it has the right to defend itself and that includes establishing "buffer" zones - as with the southern most part of Iran and the Golan Heights.

Given that set of facts, is there a chance? I say yes - I was not aware of 400,000 refugees in Lebanon and that makes the solution even more possible. I think wars and battles like this latest one spring from the discontent that creates instability that is exploited by the power hungry. That's how Hitler and Stalin and Idi Amin came to power. And it's been true in all of history. Take away the discontent that creates the instability and, it seems, the need for the power mad dissolves as well.

My answer? Start with the 400,000 refugees as a wonderfully ripe PR target. Israel - with the aid of the United States - provides housing, medical care and all the trappings of a stable society. Likewise in Jerusalem. At least offer the help. And not as some kind of superpower handing out largesse. As a good neighbor who is more fortunate.

Naieve? Maybe. But it certainly can't be any more expensive than bombing a country flat and creating more and more "terrorists." Do something good - at least as an experiment to test the results against the current model of destruction and mayhem.

10:13 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Sorry - I meant the "southern most part of Lebanon" - not "Iran"

10:17 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Since we're all dreaming and going nowhwere does anyone else think the Red Sox's still have a chance? Thye got pasted by the Yanks something bad. 5 and ahalf games out, but if they're in town this week to play the Angles and are staying about 5 minutes from my house. I really want to get a few more autographs. Now that would be cool sepecially Pesky, once I have his I will have all 4 of the most famous Red Sox players.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Weierd it cut a full sentence out of my post......

11:04 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

HCB, What DOES "belong" to them? you ask.

Well, that is a matter of contention. Personally, I think its all of the land that Israelis are squatting on. Israel was created just as you mentioned above. I dont know much about the disputes over land there, but there are specific demands and violations that are being committed. But it goes beyond land--there is oppression on every level. This is where discussions need to start. In the meanwhile you have crazies in the middle trying to be heard (e.g. Hamas, HZ)because nobody listens or pays attention any other way. I am not justifying their actions in any way but that is the reality.

"Israel will continue to insist it has the right to defend itself". Of course it does. But their efforts at defense will never cease, because the root cause of the problem is not addressed.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

HCB, What DOES "belong" to them? you ask.

Well, that is a matter of contention. Personally, I think its all of the land that Israelis are squatting on. Israel was created just as you mentioned above. I dont know much about the disputes over land there, but there are specific demands and violations that are being committed. But it goes beyond land--there is oppression on every level. This is where discussions need to start. In the meanwhile you have crazies in the middle trying to be heard (e.g. Hamas, HZ)because nobody listens or pays attention any other way. I am not justifying their actions in any way but that is the reality.

"Israel will continue to insist it has the right to defend itself". Of course it does. But their efforts at defense will never cease, because the root cause of the problem is not addressed.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

hcb

Re giving back what does not belong to them:

many of the palestinian refugees in Lebanon (and elsewhere, Lebanon is not the only Arab country to have a substantial proportion of palestinian refugees) have official deeds and titles to property in Israel dating back to British mandate Palestine and the Ottoman empire. Israel recognises these deeds as legal, but will only give (limited) financial compensation if the refugees give up their right of return. Yet any jew anywhere in the world, who does not necessarily have a drop of middle eastern blood in their body, is welcomed back to Israel like a long lost son and given grants by the govt to settle in the occupied territories of West Bank etc. Basically Israel has delayed and stalled any talks about the rights of return of 1948 refugees, hoping they will die off or forget about their homes which are now demolished or filled by Jewish migrants.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

hcb

Re giving back what does not belong to them:

many of the palestinian refugees in Lebanon (and elsewhere, Lebanon is not the only Arab country to have a substantial proportion of palestinian refugees) have official deeds and titles to property in Israel dating back to British mandate Palestine and the Ottoman empire. Israel recognises these deeds as legal, but will only give (limited) financial compensation if the refugees give up their right of return. Yet any jew anywhere in the world, who does not necessarily have a drop of middle eastern blood in their body, is welcomed back to Israel like a long lost son and given grants by the govt to settle in the occupied territories of West Bank etc. Basically Israel has delayed and stalled any talks about the rights of return of 1948 refugees, hoping they will die off or forget about their homes which are now demolished or filled by Jewish migrants.

12:32 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

Another question in my ignorance of the matter - I've often heard of "the right of return" but not understood what it means. If the land is "Israel," why would Israel "recognize the deeds as legal?" What does that mean? That the people currently living in a home deeded to a dispossessed Palestinian does not have a legal right to be there? What is the "right of return?" Is it a "right?" Or simply a claim that Israel doesn't want to contest but, as a practical matter, simply ignores. Do Israelis "own" the land upon which they build their homes in the sense Americans do? What is it Israel hopes to accomplish by paying some amount in exchange for "giving up" the "right of return?" Is there something else the Palestinian having the right to return can do other than claim the right? Obviously he or she cannot simply go to whoever is on the land and evict them.

I think I am beginning to understand more the frustration and anger - without agreeing - just understanding. If I understand correctly, the Palestinians were dispossessed but given some "right to return" on some (unknown to me) condition over which the Israeli government has control. Thus, the "right" is, at best, hollow and, at worst, a taunt. Perhaps the Israeli Government could couple some assistance to the "refugees" to exchanging the right to return to accepting the new "Palestine" - in the same way Israel was created.

But - as Doc has so correctly said a couple of times (and so have others), it makes no real sense to try to calm current anger if the real problem is not addressed and resolved.

And the real problem obviously goes much deeper than what is presented on the surface in our news media. It is, again as Doc has pointed out, rooted in matters about which not many westerners (including our president) have much knowledge.

It's going to take a lot more than prayers and resolutions, I think. It's going to take a lot of giving and gracious taking on both sides. That won't happen with belligerent "leaders" on both sides. If Minister Siniora could keep the grace he displayed in the past couple of weeks, he'd be a good person to have at the table.

and - Condoleeza Rice and her crowd just need to butt out. There's no chance Iraq is going to invade the United States with a fleet of Cessnas. Nor Iran, for that matter. So, for openers, Lebanon and Israel need to talk frankly and Syria and Iran need to be there. But NOT the US. The doors should be locked and no one comes out until there's agreement on the problems that have to be resolved. Then - talk about resolution can begin. But first, decide what needs to be considered. I don't think - given that "right of return" that's even been tried.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Doc said...

HCB: I found this an interesting and relevant article.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1220505,00.html

1:51 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

Doc - thanks. If it didn't involve so much distress and suffering, it's a fascinating study. Now I can add to the problems we obviously don't understand: the war between the Sunnis and Shiite. I knew there was no love lost but I had no idea of the extent of the hate. My jaw dropped when I read "they're even worse than the Americans."

But - it's encouraging that even Hamas has moderates who may eventually bring the party around. It had slipped my mind that the PLO had so moderated.

So - while it's fascinating, it also makes me angry. We jump foolishly into the middle of a situation we don't understand, that we don't care to understand and that we will never understand given the arrogance displayed by Israel and the US. And we flail around in the name of a "war on terrorism" while the Muslim world identifies us as the terrorists and create more and more people to fight and to hate.

And that by countries who propose to advance freedom and democracy and happiness through the world. The EU is fortunate to have us - we do all the stupid stuff so they can simply ignore it and pontificate.

Thanks for the link.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

oh jees, I was trying to keep up with the american conversation going on here but it's 4:30 a.m. and by the 16th comment my head started hurting..

So I'll just say - RS, the extent of the blockade is ridiculous. Seriously. Frankly I think even Olmert forgot about it - I hope someone remembers before we go into internal investigations and/or vote Olmert out.
Can I throw you guys a package over the northern fence? (I'm not kidding)

4:35 AM  
Blogger susu said...

has anyone who is not ignorant read a book or seen a documentary that is discriminate! Before anyone reads I don't think anyone that speaks has a right to be judgemental about the situation! if u want to be openminded read about the history of the state of israel then come and talk about the lebanese issue!

2:28 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

I've read a little, Susu. And I'm reading more and trying to learn more talking to people on this blog. I'm also trying to keep an open mind so I'm reading more than just about the history of Israel.

But - what would you suggest I read about the history of the state of Israel in the context of the Lebanese issue?

2:58 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Sam

The majority of the country was not for Iraq...if you base it on polls, read the fine print - they only interview a couple of thousand people. A tiny fraction of the population, not a representative sample - ok for market research but not for something like this. Congress voted for it because they have no balls. They were afraid they wouild be labeled unpatriotic if they didn't. Their bad.

Here's a few pertinent quotes for you.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political,economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the
State to use all of its powers to repress dissent,for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie,and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

During a war, news should
be given out for instruction
rather than information.

It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.


"...the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious.
The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly...it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.


And then the pundits wonder why the west should care about the Arab streeet, and Bush wonders why he should care about what the American people, a focus group, think. Because George, you can't run a dictatorship without it.

Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street.

George lost the street, that's why he, and his party are done for.And when the election is all over, the members of the press that went along with the charade, will also be done for, because with freedom, there is courage. Dictatorships breed cowards and the few willing to stand up are silenced until no one is left willing to speak.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Here's the U.N. history of the Palestinian issue. here

It has all the relevant documents, etc and goes back to the early days when the Rothschilds were looking for a place to start a Jewish state. Their original idea was Argentina. The Brits (I think) looked into the Congo, Madagascar, adn a couple of other places. At the time Palestine, which encompassed all of present day Palestine, plus all of Isarel, plus Gaza and the West Bank (lost during the 1967 war with Egypt and Syria - Palestine did not participate but lost land, Shebaa Farms issue starts there, also the Golan Heights), originally the Sinai Peninsula, but Egypt negotiated a land for peace deal and got that back in exchange for recognizing Israel. That worked well, I believe Jordan got some land back the same way.

There is also discussion about the idea of creating a state for a religion, etc. The Brits cut Palestine in half, threw the Arabs off the land, and settled the European adn Russian Jews. There were some Jews living there already, I am guesing the Arab Israelis (?) who have just recently won some rights dur to a lawsuit brought before their Supremem Court, they would routinely be given vacate orders from land that was theirs for centuries, their homes would be bulldozed, etc. This is in present day Israel, I think the lawsuit just ended this year. And these people are Israeli citizens. They are not forced to military service, but then if they don't serve they don't get free homes like the military people do. It's a very complex issue in Isarel alone.

But in Gaza, though the Isarelis pulled out, they sealed the borders. They control who enters and leaves and no one does. You now can't get in or out with a foreign passport without special permission. The one checkpoint was opened for two hours, one day. That's it.Their water plants were destroyed and electric is iffy. There is the trade embargo by the U.S. and Euruope to punish people for democratically electing someone no one likes. (There's a farce of the world view of freedom and democracy.) I think the only reason they didn't o that to Chavez is because we buy his oil and don't want to piss him off.

It's such a long story. Go to alertnet.org, they do a good job on Palestine.There's a ton of material out there, just don't get it from a purely American source, Jewish, Arab or Brit. That's why the U.N. source is good. It is just the documents and facts, no judgement......

7:27 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

there's something i don't understand technically. as far as i know there isn't any Israeli official in Beirut on the ground, and if there was someone would already lynch him. how can Israel even interfere in those things? this is a technical question, i really don't understand how it's done and there's nothing in our media about it.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

hcb: The right of return is something enshrined in international law and in article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out by the UN in 1948. Un security council resolution 194 also from 1948 calls for the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes. This is one of the many UN resolutions that Israel has ignored because it does not recognise this right (while most of the rest of the world does).

I know there is some mechanism however, whereby palestininan refugees can apply for compensation, but I think there is some kind of disclaimer they then have to agree to. Maybe someone else can explain this better.

A good summary of the issues:

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/651/op11.htm

12:29 AM  

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