Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wines of the Bekaa

I wrote this last week after a trip to the Bekaa Valley. It originally appeared on the guardian blog. There are some pics to go with it but i'll have upload them later.

Message in a Bottle
Ramsay Short
The Guardian

Though Israel bombed economic targets, including dairies, bottling plants and even a chewing gum factory, all over the valley in its war with the Iranian-backed Hizbullah guerrillas, Lebanon's award-winning vineyards were spared.

"Ksara never stopped harvesting during the worst years of the civil war, and we would not have stopped now even if the ceasefire was not in place," says Charles Ghostine, Ksara's managing director.

And how could he? Sales of Lebanese wine in Europe and further afield soared during the recent conflict.

"Buying a bottle of Lebanese wine felt like you were supporting us here," agrees Ramzi Ghosn, co-owner of the French-Lebanese winery Massaya. "People wanted to show their solidarity with the Lebanese cause. And how better to do that than to buy a few bottles? A bottle of wine in Lebanon has its own message, one of tolerance and communication between cultures."

The problem now is getting all the new orders shipped out while Israel still blockades the ports. Ghosn estimates that the war cost Massaya between $5,000 and $8,000 a day. That figure is mounting by the hour, he says, as long as his shipments remain stuck at port.

But Ghostine is more optimistic - as long as the peace holds. "We are considering sending out orders through Syria via the port of Latakia, even though it will cost $2,000 to $3,000 more per shipment. But we are the biggest winery in Lebanon and can handle such costs."

"We are blessed by God. It was a nightmare as we waited for the war to stop. Even now, most of our grape pickers who are Syrian have not returned, having fled the country, and we are using all the vineyard staff and local Bedouin to do the harvesting."

Lebanese wine production is tiny in international terms. Even Israel produces upwards of 11m bottles a year. But its market share abroad and growth in sales in increasing annually.

Ksara, which is also Lebanon's oldest vineyard, founded in 1857 by French Jesuit missionaries, produces 2m bottles of wine a year, of which half are for export, and had a turnover of $8.7m million in 2005. The young upstart Massaya makes 500,000 bottles a year, with 80% going abroad, and had a turnover of $1.8m (nearly £1m) last year. Between them, Lebanon's 12 winemakers produce between 6m and 8m bottles a year and export a total of 2.5m. If the harvest had not begun yesterday, the 2006 vintage might well have been lost.

Ksara aims to produce 2.7m bottles by the end of 2007, while the other elder statesmen of the Lebanese wine industry, Kefraya and Musar, are also increasing their number of vines and output.

The nation's winemakers grow their grapes in the magical Bekaa, an inland plain whose porous, fertile soil yielded native vines millennia before the Romans built a temple to Bacchus, god of wine and nature, 2,000 years ago at Baalbeck, the easternmost point of their empire. (The Bekaa is also, of course, a heartland of Hizbullah.)

Ksara introduced noble grapes to the region in the late 1970s, and all the vineyards concentrate on quality over quantity to increase their international exposure, operating under the rules of the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin.

Despite the ferocity of Israeli bombing throughout the Bekaa, the producers refused to give up on their vines. Over a simple lunch of local halloumi cheese, freshly baked bread and a fine bottle of rose at his Massaya property near Chtoura, in the central Bekaa, Ghosn explains why he would not leave the plantation even when his offices were severely damaged by the massive bombing of nearby factories.

"When I was boy, in 1975, my father took the family and left the country after we had been threatened by local militia at the start of the civil war," he says. "We didn't return until 1992. I could not leave again."

52 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

Sam said...
Okay Howard, your a bigger pussy then I ever imagined. Sam I'm calling you out!!!! Fly here and I'll beat you up. What a homo, fine give me your number and lets talk you f-ing waste of skin!

5:55 PM


Sam said...
I got blocked yesterday and couldn't respond so I'm calling you on your bluff, or are you all talk like I suspect?


And Howard you pussy, if your so tuff you get on a palne and fly your coward ass to Cali via John Wayne Airport and give me the flight number. What a joke, I'm calling you out. What a retard, no thats to good for you I won't put down a mental person while trying to shown how much of an idiot and pussy you are.

Come on Howard, I know you won't respond becasue you are a complete 100% idiot!!!!!!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Sam said...
HCB said...
You've demonstrated your real self, you stinky little squirt of pee. Here's what I suggest - get your filthy self on an airplane. I'll give you my phone number. We'll meet and we'll see how long a stinky little glob of sewage can stand - you will be on your ass in no more than ten seconds begging for help you miserable piece of scum. Now - get your miserable self out from behind your computer and give me your flight number. I'm calling you out, shit for brains - come and get it or be forever known as the miserable little scum coward you are. Feeling tough, sewage boy? Come and get it - you aren't tough - you're all drooling mouth and no guts at all. Come on, scumbag - let's see who you are really.


Doc I knwe your were a terrooriost, all Lebs are and cheater to. Get your little faggot warriors on me. I beg you to try you f-ing nut job. You and all Muslims deserve to die! And take Howard with you! Come on boys!

Doc your here in my state, give me your local and we'll start with you or are you like the rest of your people? Pussies that run and hide when faces with someone. Make sure you don't hide behind your wife and kids. what am I saying, all of you do anyways!

Lets go people, it's time.

6:36 PM  
Blogger AM said...

Very true, I buy Sohat here and everything Lebanese when I am shopping, whether I need it or not. Chances are if I had a license, I would have gone for Lebanese wine.
It is true that it does make you feel great and proud and connected :)

6:37 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I know you're all pussies, all of you!

Why so quite now? Come whereare your balls, just like the coward Muslims and their supoporters. Hide you f-ing cowards!

6:38 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Lebanese wine (and olive oil) is very good, I must say.

Sam, i am very christian--and proud of it, thanks for asking. I feel sorry for you.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

The anger I now have is becasue of the people here and their supporters. You bring the worst out of people, the hate I feel now is becasue of you people. I am now 100% focused on doing all I can to support Israel and denounce any and all Muslims. Now you can call me a racist and I will agree 100%.

thanks Guys, youre all evil and I will notr rest until you all......


Now that my post are being deleted know that I signed up 12 new accounts on the blog service. I will spend tons of time here having fun. So delete me all you want, it only makes me work harder.

Everyone here knows the truth that I will not go away, it's been weeks and I'm still going.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Doc your an ass and a pussy, where are you? Come out and be a man!

7:21 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh and Doc you can suck my hairy bean bag you complete and utter loser. Next to Howard your complete waste of my countries ozyxgen. Ans yes since I'm born and raised here it's my country adn your just a leach and sleeper waiting your turn to bomb civilians and non combatants.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

See Howard is too much of a pussy to even show his cowardly face, name and where he lives. He probably flushed his family by accident and is out trying to find them in the sess pool holding tank behind house.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

i am woman, cant do that. i dont want to fight you dude. just want you to be respectful and if cant do that, dont stick around. this blog has nothing to do with israelis vs muslims. it has everything to do with looking beyond the surface and dissecting policies and perspectives on both sides. you are too obsessed with this website, Sam. get a life. i am done talking with you.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh Sorry, I didn't know that. My appologies.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

But your still an ass Doc, and as for not talking to me.... Oh my, will I be able to sleep at night?

7:36 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Now that women are getting into the terrorists roll I have no choice but to lump you all as one. You support HZ and make HZ threats so your no Christian, your a Jew hating anti semit and deserve to burn in hell. What god do you worship? My Christian God deosn't speak of the crap you endource. So go to hell with the rest of the Muslims and Lebs.


And take your family with you.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Jaeger said...

It is interesting to see how life perseveres in spite of the war, but this sentence jumped out at me:
A bottle of wine in Lebanon has its own message, one of tolerance and communication between cultures.

I have to say I have associated many things with Lebanon, but tolerance and communication between cultures is the last message I get from the heart of Hizb'Allah land.

Lebanon has been the world's poster child of sectarian violence for most of my adult life, and Hizb'Allah has given us anti-Semitic propaganda and rallies the likes of which we haven't seen since the 30s - to say nothing of the problems they cause the other sects in Lebanon.

Certainly I sympathize with the innocent people trying to persevere in the midst of it, but that statement seems to emanate from some strange parallel universe.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Chris Baker said...

The article said the vineyards operate under "the rules of the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin" - does anyone know what that is?

10:06 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Wasted Words Jaeger, This is a hater site and I am one of them now.

They have all moved onto other sites now. Cowards to the core.

Howard, Doc, Bryan, Julie, Peach and so many more. Traitors to their country and hate mongers to the world. Go against their thinking and your an "idiot, stupid, racist, moron and allot of other hateful things". So unless your a pro terrorist, pro muslim, pro death and hate your words are wasted on these people. If you choose to spread lies and hate you'll fit right in.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey Chris why don't you take a trip to heel and find out. Let your new little bomb making buddies explain it to you while trying to convert you to Islam. I hear it's the only way to get people to join your religon now, well if your a bomb making muslim. Kidnap a person and try to brain wash them, if that doesn't work just tell them unless you convert you'll we'll kill you and show your family the pics.

Nice you freaks, keep breeding more bomb making, gun toting little bastards both male and female.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Jaeger, HZ does not respresent the country. I am sorry that you do not see that. We are a very tolerant society with over 18 religous sects represented in govt all with differing opinions and backgrounds. Although we have tension that arises from time to time (as do all societies), most of the crap we endure is because everyone likes to play war on our territory. We are a country of survivors and resiliency. One only has to visit to understand.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

"the rules of the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin"=

international bureau of grapvines and wine.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

We are a country of survivors and resiliency. One only has to visit to understand.


Why do you live here then Doc, you know the truth. You're home land sucks and is filled with terrorists and nut jobs. you losers come here becasue it's safe and the money is here too.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

I've read about wines of Lebanon couple of years ago.

Wish to try some of those wines.

Also I would like to recommend to try Israeli wines. We had a large progress in the last decade.

Wishing peace , quick exchange of prisoners and lift of blocade ( believe me , nobody here is happy to keep the blocade on , but as for now we've no choice )

10:43 PM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

I thought that drinking any kind of alcohol was not allow if you are a muslim. I also thought that HZ stood for the party of God, so why does HZ let this be made in their heartland? Also does anybody have any recomendations about what is the best wine from Lebanon you can buy in the U.S., would love to try it!!!!!!

12:18 AM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

Sam
I am very pro Israel but I also see hope for Lebanon and will support them anyway I can to build a modern free gov. I will also not degrade anyone for there thoughts or beliefs because thats what this country is founded on, debating ideas and the freedom therefore to do so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12:25 AM  
Blogger Neil Williams said...

Your readers may find this interesting:

George Galloway Respect MP warned last week that plans to use United Nations (UN) troops to disarm Hizbollah and patrol the border with Syria will spell disaster and lead to more conflict.
The Respect MP was in the Lebanese capital to do a special edition of his weekly radio show live from Beirut. Over three million people tuned in to hear him defend the resistance and condemn Israel’s war.
Speaking at a meeting in Beirut, Galloway argued that the Lebanese government should resist pressure to disarm Hizbollah.
He said it is “important that the Lebanese government does not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When you win it’s important to act like you won - and not offer the enemy what they failed to achieve on the battlefield.
“Lebanon should demand the enemy leave its land, air and sea.”
He added, “The impact of Israel’s defeat is reverberating around Ehud Olmert and his allies George Bush and Tony Blair.”
“The anti-war movement has, over the last five or six weeks, been protesting and marching, demanding the recall of parliament (UK).
“We have shown our solidarity with the Lebanese people who have suffered so much during the Israeli, British and US aggression.
“Thousands have died or have been injured. Billions of dollars of damage has been done to essential infrastructure - to schools, hospitals, the electricity grid, water, bridges and roads.
“We extend our congratulations to Lebanon on a great and historic victory against this aggression.
“I congratulate Hizbollah, who have achieved a great victory, and in particular Hassan Nasrallah, whose name is ringing across the world.”
But he warned there are many dangers in the US plan for a “new Middle East”. Lots more .........

To read the full article go to the Respect Supporters Blog at:

http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

There are also 'live' links to the full 2hour live radio show by
George Galloway MP from Lebanon last weekend.

Neil Williams
Respect Blog (UK)
http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

12:42 AM  
Blogger Neil Williams said...

Your readers may find this interesting:

George Galloway Respect MP warned last week that plans to use United Nations (UN) troops to disarm Hizbollah and patrol the border with Syria will spell disaster and lead to more conflict.
The Respect MP was in the Lebanese capital to do a special edition of his weekly radio show live from Beirut. Over three million people tuned in to hear him defend the resistance and condemn Israel’s war.
Speaking at a meeting in Beirut, Galloway argued that the Lebanese government should resist pressure to disarm Hizbollah.
He said it is “important that the Lebanese government does not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When you win it’s important to act like you won - and not offer the enemy what they failed to achieve on the battlefield.
“Lebanon should demand the enemy leave its land, air and sea.”
He added, “The impact of Israel’s defeat is reverberating around Ehud Olmert and his allies George Bush and Tony Blair.”
“The anti-war movement has, over the last five or six weeks, been protesting and marching, demanding the recall of parliament (UK).
“We have shown our solidarity with the Lebanese people who have suffered so much during the Israeli, British and US aggression.
“Thousands have died or have been injured. Billions of dollars of damage has been done to essential infrastructure - to schools, hospitals, the electricity grid, water, bridges and roads.
“We extend our congratulations to Lebanon on a great and historic victory against this aggression.
“I congratulate Hizbollah, who have achieved a great victory, and in particular Hassan Nasrallah, whose name is ringing across the world.”
But he warned there are many dangers in the US plan for a “new Middle East”. Lots more .........

To read the full article go to the Respect Supporters Blog at:

http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

There are also 'live' links to the full 2hour live radio show by
George Galloway MP from Lebanon last weekend.

Neil Williams
Respect Blog (UK)
http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

12:42 AM  
Blogger Neil Williams said...

Your readers may find this interesting:

George Galloway Respect MP warned last week that plans to use United Nations (UN) troops to disarm Hizbollah and patrol the border with Syria will spell disaster and lead to more conflict.
The Respect MP was in the Lebanese capital to do a special edition of his weekly radio show live from Beirut. Over three million people tuned in to hear him defend the resistance and condemn Israel’s war.
Speaking at a meeting in Beirut, Galloway argued that the Lebanese government should resist pressure to disarm Hizbollah.
He said it is “important that the Lebanese government does not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When you win it’s important to act like you won - and not offer the enemy what they failed to achieve on the battlefield.
“Lebanon should demand the enemy leave its land, air and sea.”
He added, “The impact of Israel’s defeat is reverberating around Ehud Olmert and his allies George Bush and Tony Blair.”
“The anti-war movement has, over the last five or six weeks, been protesting and marching, demanding the recall of parliament (UK).
“We have shown our solidarity with the Lebanese people who have suffered so much during the Israeli, British and US aggression.
“Thousands have died or have been injured. Billions of dollars of damage has been done to essential infrastructure - to schools, hospitals, the electricity grid, water, bridges and roads.
“We extend our congratulations to Lebanon on a great and historic victory against this aggression.
“I congratulate Hizbollah, who have achieved a great victory, and in particular Hassan Nasrallah, whose name is ringing across the world.”
But he warned there are many dangers in the US plan for a “new Middle East”. Lots more .........

To read the full article go to the Respect Supporters Blog at:

http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

There are also 'live' links to the full 2hour live radio show by
George Galloway MP from Lebanon last weekend.

Neil Williams
Respect Blog (UK)
http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

12:43 AM  
Blogger Doc said...

Everyone, incl. Byransaid, should read more about the Lebanese culture and history. Why do you think everyone in Leb is Muslim?...and what does that have to do with personal choice of drinking or not? In fact Beirut is considered the most sophistacted and modern city in that region of the world..it is infamous for its night life and rivals no other (not even NY, I might add).

BTW, the vineyards have been around for centuries, before the advent of HZ--after Israeli occupation.

Ksara is very good wine from Lebanon. You can find it here but have to look.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Doc said...

Galloway is an interesting fellow--he makes very good points at times because he is able to see the bigger picture than what is presented in the western media--however i doubt he knows what is best for Lebanon and its future. I dont recall if he spent 16 years living in Lebanon during the civil war.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Really Brian, well I've seen your message and they say something different.

Pay per view?

I am getting personnal because you guys aren't open about anythihng. You slam everyone who would like top see an open view.

That and I see allot of pussy here and it's not of the female kind.

1:30 AM  
Blogger sadadeda said...

Sam and Jaeger,

I would appreciate it if you would stop calling everyone on here an anti-semite. You should look up the word semitic. It does not pertain to any religion. Instead, it is a word used t describe people from a certain area, mainly including the Middle East. The Jews tat now populate Israel are not even as semitic as the Lebanese who populate Lebanon. When tehy lived in Europe, they intermixed with the other races. That is why they are lighter skinned than their former ancestors. So you see, how could the Lebanese be anti-semitic if they are semites? Secondly, you say that you want to see an open view, but taht is exactly what wea re giving oyu here. When everyone seems to have the same opinion that must tell you something.
Another person asked that if Muslims are not allowed to drink, why didn't Hezbollah get rid of the vineyards. This shows you Hezbollah's intent. The ahve no wish to rule the country or take over the governemtn and force thier ideas on others. They will ahve whoever willingly joins them and no more. Also, I thought Christians and Jews were also not supposed to drink that much. Why do they also have vineyards? Nobody is eprfect and no one follows theri religion 100%, not even the fanatics. And tehre are fanatics on all sides.

And Sam, go ahead and hate Muslims. It is amazing how you think your opinion matters so much, and you think that all of your ideas are the right ones. When anyone presents another idea, you shoot it down, even though you supposedy support an open view. You are jsut as stupid as the fanatics.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

The pay per view comment was just a joke to lighten up the mood, If I offened anybody I am Sorry.

3:43 AM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused critics of the Bush administration's Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism."

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral or intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.

In remarks to several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failed efforts to appease the Adolf Hitler regime in the 1930s.

"I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism," he said.

Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw U.S. troops.

Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from 9/11 to bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.

"But some seem not to have learned history's lessons," he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.

He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.

"Can we truly afford to believe somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?" he asked.

"Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and lies and distortions being told about our troops and about our country," he added.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was addressing the American Legion convention later Tuesday, and President Bush is scheduled to speak here later in the week. On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld made separate addresses to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev.

Rumsfeld made similar arguments in Reno about doubters of the administration's approach to fighting terrorism, saying too many in this country want to "blame America first" and ignore the enemy.

Got this off the net, Would love to hear everybody's thought about this article! Yes that includes Sam too.

4:10 AM  
Blogger mejnuni said...

In America we only let people like SAM speak to give the notion of free speerch.
The worst thing a person can do to me is bore me.and SAMs intellect is a bore. But really we just skim over people like SAM......... I'm all advil
We dont even let people like SAM vote in America. We just let them think they can vote.
REAL Americans want a sovereign Lebanon.
Israels hand has been slapped and Internationally the support is for a FREE LEBANON and for the first time ISRAEL is having to do some explaining to all as well as their own. Which is a good thing and FINALLY, a larger group is starting to realize the Palestinian issues and their underlying anger. This war has shown me one thing for certain,
Americans are more aware than they have been in the last 20 years and I welcome that fact with absolute joy. awareness is better, definitely room for improvemrnt but the hope is present with views on this blog (except for SAM) and journalism from BEIRUT LIVE.
carry on.and skim over SAM.

4:13 AM  
Blogger mejnuni said...

Dear RS,many Lebanese have left Lebanon due to political instability and wanting safety for their children. But some HAVE to stay. So if you are one of those whose calling is to stay that is admirable but remember your father well because his actions in the past made it possible for you to be there now.

I saw a Lebanese women in the south, of moderate means screaming that she was tired of this fighting and how she wanted a different country. Allow her a mothers screams of frustration. Its hard to leave a place of birth that you love and its equally difficult to stay.
may you remain strong,especially on days where you feel weak. To the Bekaa
winery, is there a website that we can purchase from to show our support for businesses that need revenue?

4:37 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Lessons of the Lebanon War
By Daoud Kuttab

Wars are won not only on battlefields, but also in people’s minds. So, while Hezbollah has not decisively won its current war with Israel, by maintaining its ability to fight in the face of the might of the Israeli army, it has captured the imagination of Arabs, restoring lost pride in the same way as the Egyptian Army’s crossing of the Suez Canal in the war of 1973 did. Restored pride was central to Anwar Sadat’s eventual decision to go to Jerusalem and regain the entire Sinai Peninsula for Egypt.

Although ordinary Lebanese have paid a huge human, economic, and infrastructural price, Hezbollah has made it clear to the Israelis that they can no longer take their military predominance for granted. The limits of military power have been exposed. Moreover, the madness of war has been clearly demonstrated to all, and, once the current fighting is over, both sides are now more likely to be cautious about actions that might push their peoples and countries into war once more.

How this war is concluded will likely change the ways in which both Israel and the international community deal with the fundamental national aspirations of Arab peoples. Holding Arab land and prisoners indefinitely will no longer be an asset but a terrible burden.

Conventional thinking in the Middle East has largely been built on Israel’s overwhelming military strength, together with the disunity and lack of purpose of Arab leaders. But, in less than two months, the almost mythic power of the region’s most powerful army has been dented, and Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, has come across as a steadfast and determined leader, in sharp contrast to the usual behavior of heads of Arab government.

The question now is whether this determination can bring about the type of surprising breakthrough to peace that Sadat’s newfound prestige in 1973 yielded. Ironically instead of weakening Lebanon, one clear winner of this war is the unity and independent will of Lebanon.

Whether or not the war in Lebanon has helped or hurt the Palestinians is unclear. Because most media attention has shifted to Lebanon, the Israelis have had a free hand to continue pressing the Palestinians without international protest. Palestinians continue to be killed on a daily basis not only in Gaza but also in Nablus, in the West Bank. More than 170 Palestinians have died since the violence began in June.

Yet the connection between the two wars has not gone unnoticed. In the United States, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice see the problems as linked, as does British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Indeed, the crises in Lebanon and Gaza have brought about a realization that two festering issues – Arab prisoners in Israel, and Israeli unilateralism – must be resolved if there is to be any hope of a return to the peace process.

Given that both conflicts were triggered by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers to be traded for Arab prisoners, Israel must now realize that holding Arabs indefinitely in prison can only beget violence. Israel’s National Security Advisor, Giora Eiland, appears to have recognized this even before the violence began. In May, he is said to have advised Israeli Prime Minister Yehud Olmert that Israel should hand over the disputed Sheba Farms area on the border with Lebanon and Syria, as well as returning Lebanese prisoners.

Olmert reportedly did not see the need. But holding 300 Lebanese and nearly 10,000 Palestinians – all of the first group and many of the second group without charge or trial – has proven to be a major source of irritation to the Arab peoples of the region.

One group of prisoners that will likely benefit from the current situation are Jordanians held in Israeli jails. Jordan, a US ally and one of the two Arab countries with a peace agreement with Israel, previously failed to secure the release of its 30 prisoners. They are now likely to be the first ones set free.

Important as they are, however, the prisoners are not the crux of the matter. The real issue is the unilateralism that has been adopted by the major parties that have ruled Israel. Both the uncoordinated withdrawals from south Lebanon (by the Labor party after 22 years of occupation) and from Gaza (by Likud after 39 years of occupation) proved that you can’t simply evacuate an area and forget about it. The population left behind must have secure governments and institutions in place. On the most basic level, for example, the people of south Lebanon needed maps of where Israel had laid mines, but these were never provided.

The unilateralism that Israelis overwhelmingly voted for in their recent election is based on the idea that security can somehow be achieved by erecting physical walls and barriers. The barrage of Hezbollah and Hamas rockets has shown the folly of such thinking. And, although the West Bank has not been used to launch rockets against Israel, there is no reason why the Palestinians who reside there will not resort to such weapons if walls continue to be built deep inside their territories and Israel continues to act with arrogance towards them.

Soldiers are the first to recognize that military power is of limited value in achieving long-term peace. It is past time that political leaders on both sides, especially moderate ones, also come to understand this. They need to work together through negotiations to solve problems that simply cannot and should not be solved by brute force.

5:48 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Lessons of the Lebanon War
By Daoud Kuttab

Wars are won not only on battlefields, but also in people’s minds. So, while Hezbollah has not decisively won its current war with Israel, by maintaining its ability to fight in the face of the might of the Israeli army, it has captured the imagination of Arabs, restoring lost pride in the same way as the Egyptian Army’s crossing of the Suez Canal in the war of 1973 did. Restored pride was central to Anwar Sadat’s eventual decision to go to Jerusalem and regain the entire Sinai Peninsula for Egypt.

Although ordinary Lebanese have paid a huge human, economic, and infrastructural price, Hezbollah has made it clear to the Israelis that they can no longer take their military predominance for granted. The limits of military power have been exposed. Moreover, the madness of war has been clearly demonstrated to all, and, once the current fighting is over, both sides are now more likely to be cautious about actions that might push their peoples and countries into war once more.

How this war is concluded will likely change the ways in which both Israel and the international community deal with the fundamental national aspirations of Arab peoples. Holding Arab land and prisoners indefinitely will no longer be an asset but a terrible burden.

Conventional thinking in the Middle East has largely been built on Israel’s overwhelming military strength, together with the disunity and lack of purpose of Arab leaders. But, in less than two months, the almost mythic power of the region’s most powerful army has been dented, and Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, has come across as a steadfast and determined leader, in sharp contrast to the usual behavior of heads of Arab government.

The question now is whether this determination can bring about the type of surprising breakthrough to peace that Sadat’s newfound prestige in 1973 yielded. Ironically instead of weakening Lebanon, one clear winner of this war is the unity and independent will of Lebanon.

Whether or not the war in Lebanon has helped or hurt the Palestinians is unclear. Because most media attention has shifted to Lebanon, the Israelis have had a free hand to continue pressing the Palestinians without international protest. Palestinians continue to be killed on a daily basis not only in Gaza but also in Nablus, in the West Bank. More than 170 Palestinians have died since the violence began in June.

Yet the connection between the two wars has not gone unnoticed. In the United States, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice see the problems as linked, as does British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Indeed, the crises in Lebanon and Gaza have brought about a realization that two festering issues – Arab prisoners in Israel, and Israeli unilateralism – must be resolved if there is to be any hope of a return to the peace process.

Given that both conflicts were triggered by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers to be traded for Arab prisoners, Israel must now realize that holding Arabs indefinitely in prison can only beget violence. Israel’s National Security Advisor, Giora Eiland, appears to have recognized this even before the violence began. In May, he is said to have advised Israeli Prime Minister Yehud Olmert that Israel should hand over the disputed Sheba Farms area on the border with Lebanon and Syria, as well as returning Lebanese prisoners.

Olmert reportedly did not see the need. But holding 300 Lebanese and nearly 10,000 Palestinians – all of the first group and many of the second group without charge or trial – has proven to be a major source of irritation to the Arab peoples of the region.

One group of prisoners that will likely benefit from the current situation are Jordanians held in Israeli jails. Jordan, a US ally and one of the two Arab countries with a peace agreement with Israel, previously failed to secure the release of its 30 prisoners. They are now likely to be the first ones set free.

Important as they are, however, the prisoners are not the crux of the matter. The real issue is the unilateralism that has been adopted by the major parties that have ruled Israel. Both the uncoordinated withdrawals from south Lebanon (by the Labor party after 22 years of occupation) and from Gaza (by Likud after 39 years of occupation) proved that you can’t simply evacuate an area and forget about it. The population left behind must have secure governments and institutions in place. On the most basic level, for example, the people of south Lebanon needed maps of where Israel had laid mines, but these were never provided.

The unilateralism that Israelis overwhelmingly voted for in their recent election is based on the idea that security can somehow be achieved by erecting physical walls and barriers. The barrage of Hezbollah and Hamas rockets has shown the folly of such thinking. And, although the West Bank has not been used to launch rockets against Israel, there is no reason why the Palestinians who reside there will not resort to such weapons if walls continue to be built deep inside their territories and Israel continues to act with arrogance towards them.

Soldiers are the first to recognize that military power is of limited value in achieving long-term peace. It is past time that political leaders on both sides, especially moderate ones, also come to understand this. They need to work together through negotiations to solve problems that simply cannot and should not be solved by brute force.

5:48 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

The War on “Democratization”
By Alvaro de Vasconcelos

The wars in Lebanon and Gaza constitute a grave threat to democratic reform in the southern Mediterranean. These wars are inflicting heavy punishment on precisely those peoples who have held fully free and fair elections in the region, while eroding the legitimacy of Israel’s democracy.

At the time of its “Cedar Revolution” last year, Lebanon was held up as the best example so far of democratization in the Arab world. The enthusiasm with which the international community welcomed those changes now seems all but forgotten, which is also true of recent elections in Palestine – another longstanding international demand.

The signal being sent is clear: it is preferable that Israel, the only state in the region that abides by the rule of law, be surrounded by authoritarian regimes where political outcomes are predictable than by democratic states where Islamists may well rise to power. It happened in Palestine, and it could well happen in Egypt if free and fair free elections were held. As a result, Arab nationalist governments feel justified in resisting serious political reform and vindicated in repressing all domestic opposition, particularly the swelling Islamist movements.

But it should now be clear to everyone that democratization in the southern Mediterranean cannot bypass Islamist movements, and that the success of that process largely depends on the degree to which their full participation in the political arena is ensured.

Of course, this requires their renouncing violence as a means of achieving power. Repressing political Islam, or attempting to “erase” Islamists militarily with total disregard for national political processes (not to mention human life), is not the answer, because it won’t persuade electorates to turn away from Islamist movements. The efforts of reformist governments in the region to integrate such movements into the public sphere have been dealt a severe blow.

Democracies have long known that extreme and indiscriminate punishment – which by definition affects friend and foe, combatant and civilian alike – is a grave violation of international law, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has pointed out. They also know that such action fuels radicalism, leading to the kind of tragic consequences that are all too familiar nowadays.

Hezbollah is, after all, a creature of Lebanon’s resistance to Israel’s 1982 invasion, now trying to reassert its influence at home and in the wider region by portraying itself as a champion of the Arab-Islamic cause, namely in Palestine. Any reinforcement of its power will necessarily weaken Lebanon and the region’s democratic forces.

The prolonged absence of the United States from truly active engagement in the Middle East peace process is partly to blame for the current situation. For almost six years, there has been no significant US diplomatic initiative to resolve the Palestinian question or to pursue the Syrian track (Israel still occupies the Golan Heights).

Moreover, just when we were beginning to think that the Iraqi tragedy had made the limits of unilateralism and preemptive military strategies clear to all, the Bush administration encourages Israel’s military action – this time against a country that has painfully been attempting to consolidate democratic reform and to reafirm its sovereignty in relation to Syria .

Bush’s most promising initiative, promoting democracy across the Middle East, was already dealt a crippling blow by US intervention in Iraq and the ensuing civil war there. Now the project is buried under the weight of America’s inability to protect Lebanon’s fragile democracy and Palestine’s democratic experiment.

The European Union’s feeble response to the warfare in Gaza and Lebanon has oscillated between understanding and condemnation of the disproportionate use of force by Israel (described as “ten eyes for one” by the Finnish presidency), thereby betraying its dependence on the US to end the violence. Europeans will have learned nothing from the damaging disunity, and thus weakness, that they displayed during the Iraq war if this conflict does not compel them to speak with one voice.

What is needed is a European initiative that is backed by a credible military deterrent, consisting of forces from the EU, Turkey, and Arab countries, to be dispatched under a UN mandate to Lebanon and Gaza. Europe must not only put forward a clear demand for an immediate cease-fire and the end to Syrian and Iranian meddling in Lebanon, it must also provide the means to enforce it as well as massive support for Lebanon’s reconstruction. The EU should decisively back the end of the embargo on Palestine and the urgent creation of a Palestinian state.

A common European front could persuade the US to give Lebanon and Palestine enough time to consolidate their national democratic processes, thus isolating the radical elements of Hamas and steering Hezbollah to dissolution of its private army. With the US project in ruins, a credible European policy to delegitimize war and support democratization in its neighborhood has become essential.

Digest

War On Terror is a false metaphor

Bush neo con forgot the rule of marketing
If you have a poor product, not even the best advertising will sell it.

6:57 AM  
Blogger mejnuni said...

okay, I can see that we are back to intelligent voices. And the article you show hpefully will be viwed by reporters that see this or persons with other means to get the views of the people printed and thus heard.don't stop no matter what.

Again peoples outside of the middle east need to hear views from the people of Lebanon. People want Lebanese people to explain how Hezbollah gained members. Explain objectively how people have become frustrated and how it could happen that a movement in Lebanon could start a war on Lebanons soil without first discussing it with Lebanon and also how Israel could respond without first contacting Lebanon.Israel basicly declared war on Lebanon without discussion.Aclear sign that Israel did not want resolve. I believe ANNAN AND RICE are addressing this. But don't stop there. Dont let the public tell us how they're tired of hearing about it.
Gently and politely "too bad, address it"
thank you M2time change for getting discussion back on tract.
Intelligence is always attractive

6:57 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

mejnuni more..

Fighting Words and False Promises
By George Soros

For almost five years, the “war on terror” has proved to be a false metaphor that has led to counterproductive and self-defeating policies. A misleading figure of speech has been applied literally to unleash a real war on several fronts, including Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed, enraging millions around the world.

Yet al-Qaeda has not been subdued, as was shown by the recent plot to blow up United States-bound commercial flights from London. That plot, which could have claimed more victims than the 9/11 attacks, was foiled by the vigilance of the British intelligence authorities. Clearly, it won’t be the last.

Unfortunately, the American public accepted uncritically the war metaphor as the obvious response to 9/11. Indeed, even now, when it is widely admitted that the invasion of Iraq was a blunder, the “war on terror” remains the frame into which American policy has to fit. Most Democratic politicians, too, subscribe to it for fear of being branded as weak on defense.

But continuing support for the war on terror makes it no less self-defeating. By its very nature, war creates innocent victims, and this even more likely when it is waged against terrorists, because terrorists tend to keep their whereabouts hidden. The deaths, injuries, and humiliation of civilians generate rage and resentment among their families and communities, in turn fueling support for terrorists.

At the same time, as the British have shown, groups like al-Qaeda are best dealt with by good intelligence. The war on terror’s emphasis on military action merely increases the terrorist threat and makes the task of the intelligence agencies more difficult. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still at large, and we need to focus on finding them if we are to prevent attacks like the one foiled in England.

Finally, the war on terror drives a wedge between “us” and “them.” We are innocent victims; they are perpetrators. While we seem not to notice that we also become perpetrators in the process, much of the rest of the world does notice – a gap in perception that has severely weakened America’s international credibility and standing.

Taken together, these factors ensure that the war on terror cannot be won. On the contrary, an endless war waged against an unseen enemy is doing great damage not only to our authority and prestige in the world, but also to our own society. It has led to a dangerous extension of executive powers, tarnished our adherence to universal human rights, and inhibited the critical process that is at the heart of an open society. It has also cost a lot of money. Most importantly, the war on terror has diverted attention from other urgent tasks that require American leadership, such as finishing the job that we correctly began in Afghanistan, addressing the looming global energy crisis, and dealing with nuclear proliferation.

With American influence at low ebb, the world is in danger of sliding into a vicious cycle of escalating violence. We can escape it only if we Americans repudiate the war on terror as a false metaphor.

If we persevere on our current course, the situation will continue to deteriorate. It is not our will that is being tested, but our understanding of reality. It is painful to admit that our predicaments are brought about by our own misconceptions. But not admitting it is bound to prove even more painful in the long run. The strength of an open society lies in its ability to recognize and correct its mistakes. That is the test that now confronts us.

Digest

7:50 AM  
Blogger mejnuni said...

straight to the point:
glad to see Lebanese govt with TEETH.
Nasrallah now recanting that if he had known Israel would have retaliated so violently against LebaNON, Hezbollah might not have instigated the attack by kidnapping.

I think Israel was waiting for an excuse and if Israel wanted peace it would have contacted the Lebanese govt and said
"hey, 2 of our guys have been kidnapped...."
It would have given the Lebanese a say and an opportunity to to settle peacefully.
Its my opinion that there are those that want war. Israel and Hezbollah are those.America is also another culprit.Iran iss no innocent party and Syria has never cared about the Free Lebanon.

Israel needs to address the issue of Palestinians and the Intl Communities need to hold Israel accountable for its actions.Americans need to hold America accountable by MAKING America Accountable.


Americans need to hold the American govt accountable for its actions also.
Americans need to be held accountable for what our govt does.
i.e. backing Israel without LOOKING at the root of the problem.
i.e. quit creating and buying into Israeli propaganda.
(theres plenty of Irans bull/propoganda going around too.


i.e. Americans need to acknowledge that while Iraq was illegally attacked on false premise of WMD, we cannot just pull out and cut and run as we have done so many times in history.

We need to protect those in Iraq that do support our presence at what ever cost to us because some of these Iraqis have put their necks on the line in hopes of freedom.
(it must be a wonderful feeling for Iraqi's to see Saddam humiliated and held accountable for gassing so many innocent people)

Kuwaitis must be happy to see Saddam being held accountable too.


when America abandoned Iran in 1978 their were alot of people put to death.
Where was thE SO CALLED FREE WORLD THEN?
When america exploited Guatemala and other countries in central america, it left thousands of people to die at the hand of every new regime.in the 80's there was a new coup every three weeks, where was AMERICVA then.?

NO, I personally hold America and the american people accountable for what we have allowed our country to do. If we are so free why haven't we ,the American people, had the "olos" to make ourselves accountable.

Another important issue is:we have so many weird religions in the US we dont have the right to point fingers at other religions.

Me personally, I speak with my God one on one and know that God does not support things done in the world as though it is Gods command.
Suffice it to say I think ALL religions
control the weak. If it works for you good,
If it causes harm to others in Gods name, well its my opinion that your religion really has no God.
God does not care about man interpreted
religions.

World peace really needs to be the focus of all responsible intelligent communities.
We all need to be held accountable for what our countries governments do.

In the middle East Iran America Syria and Israel need to knock off the BULL.

America and Israel need to address the Palestinian issues. Israel must give Palestinians the recognition they have been given and not allow opportunities
for Iran to wreak havoc. Syria is insignificant without Iran.

Lebanon is in the best position, everybody wants afree Lebanon, except Syria and Iran. Israel?....has not proved ,in my opinion it wants a free Lebanon by the way we can see, Israel clearly does not want a free and independant Palestine.
American public and Israeli public are noticeing this for the first time.

and pressure to our governments must be continually applied.

Get off your high horse Syria and Iran,
you are not the answer for a free anything , least of all Lebanon.

I appologize for my lazy form of speech
but I have come to have great disdain for politiciaans and corporations speak so eloquently and say nothing but buull.

11:03 AM  
Blogger susu said...

THERE ALWAYS IS A CHOICE EVEN IF IT MAY SEEM WEAK IT WILL ONLY GIVE THE UPPERHAND IN THE FUTURE! NO CHOICE NO I THINK ANYONE WHO SAYS THERE ARE NO CHOICE IS NOT THINKING IN THE LONG RUN AND SETTLING THIS WHOLE MESS PEACEFULLY WOULD NOT HAVE PUT THE IDF IN A BAD POSITION IN THE FIRST PLACE! WHERE IS LOGIC IN A GROUND INVASION IN LEBANON WHEN I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT IS WHAT HIZBULLAH IS STRONGEST AT STOPPING OR MAKING ISRAEL REALIZE THAT THEY WERE NOT WELL PREPARED BY A LONG SHOT!
HIZBULLAH AND THE IDF WERE THE VICTIMS OF THEIR OWN TRAPS!

12:56 PM  
Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

Hi , Mejnuni and all other visitors.
I liked your answer very much , and because it seems that you are a wise man ( certainly not a majnun ) I feel that my explanation for Israeli side is needed . I will quote you with “>” and answer with “-“

mejnuni said...
straight to the point:
>glad to see Lebanese govt with TEETH.
- Every citizen of Israel will be happy when a strong Lebanese army and govt. will control an every corner of the country.
>Nasrallah now recanting that if he had known Israel would have retaliated so violently against LebaNON, Hezbollah might not have instigated the attack by kidnapping.
- 2 points : a. There is no excuse for such provocations. b. Nasralla turned to be a good (Iranian) general , but a very bad politician.

>I think Israel was waiting for an excuse and if Israel wanted peace it would have contacted the Lebanese govt and said "hey, 2 of our guys have been kidnapped...."
- I wish , the govt. of Lebanon could do anything. Unfortunately it can’t do anything now too.
>It would have given the Lebanese a say and an opportunity to to settle peacefully.
-From the beginning there was no chance.
>Its my opinion that there are those that want war. Israel and Hezbollah are those
-Remember , we have still problems with Gaza. Even if somebody assumes , that Israel wants a war , the timing is very bad. From the words of Nasralla it is clear , that he didn’t want war either. But his bosses at Teheran did.
>America is also another culprit.Iran iss no innocent party and Syria has never cared about the Free Lebanon.
- Iran is interested in the war and they have reasons. Syria never wanted the free Lebanon and still considers Lebanon , Israel and Jordan a part of its territory.

>i.e. backing Israel without LOOKING at the root of the problem.
- What is your solution to the problem with its roots ?
>In the middle East Iran America Syria and Israel need to knock off the BULL.
- I think, a more accurate explanation is needed.

>America and Israel need to address the Palestinian issues. Israel must give Palestinians the recognition they have been given and not allow opportunities for Iran to wreak havoc.
- It was possible to sign a full peace agreement 6 years ago . Arafat played games , opened an Intifada and buried the chance .
>Syria is insignificant without Iran.
-It simply will be isolated.

>Lebanon is in the best position, everybody wants afree Lebanon, except Syria and Iran. Israel?....has not proved ,in my opinion it wants a free Lebanon by the way we can see, Israel clearly does not want a free and independant Palestine.
- Let’s make an order. Syria doesn’t want a free Lebanon , Iran wants the Islamic state there , i.e. independent but not free. Israel d o e s want a free democratic Lebanon . Of cause in the issue of Palestine is more complicated but Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and we also maintain diplomatic relations with a couple of other Arab states. Why not with Lebanon ?

>American public and Israeli public are noticeing this for the first time.
>and pressure to our governments must be continually applied.
- Now there is a public demand for govt. resign because the misconduct of the last war.

>Get off your high horse Syria and Iran,you are not the answer for a free anything , least of all Lebanon.
-Bravo my friend. BTW Israel had excellent relations with Shah until 1979. Unless Ayatollas and Baath are in rule , nothing will change.

>I appologize for my lazy form of speech
but I have come to have great disdain for politiciaans and corporations speak so eloquently and say nothing but buull.
-Frequently politicians say “bull” , at least in Israel we can sometimes send them home.

With the best wishes ,

Em

3:49 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

The war on terror is a false metaphor, but one that is very convenient to the neo-con agenda in America. By creating an invisible enemy, this enemy can be transformed into whatever the audience wants to hear, or whatever will move them. The divisiveness in this nation is palatable; it can be cut with a knife. That's what keeps people like Bush in power.

A real war on terror would have consisted of two things; 1) viciously hunting down al Qaeda and capturing Osama, rather than turning it over to Afghani warlords and then pretending that Osama is no longer relevant, and 2) sitting down in honest and frank discussions with other nations (and yes that includes Lebanon, Syria and Iran) to address long-standing issues between and among nations and create an environment of dialogue where terrorism will not prosper.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey mejnuni, I guess your not an American just a poser claiming to be one. Yes I vote, and yes I does matter and that is why the person I voted for is running the country not that pussy you supported. If the war in Iraq did matter or Bush's policy you pussies would have banned togethter and gotten Kerry elected not Bush again.

So chime your lies and lead people on that you or anyone has the power to stop a person from voting. this is American and we a'll get to vote. you're an ass like the rest. Now lets hear from the peanut gall about how the Rebup's stole the elcetion. Come on Guys don't let me down.

Howard did you change names you pussy, where are you hiding out now. What a PUSSY, you call someone out in the most absurd way and then run and hide like the coward you are.

Faggots and Pussies, you should all be ashammed to call yourself's humans. Your all animals at best, and not the good ones.

5:34 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Sam, you're still here? Damn! Your true colors are still shining. Listen, i teach English. i could give you a free lesson if you want. You will be my "special one".

6:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Baker said...

Q. Why did the French initially send only 200 troops for the Un force in Lebanon.

A. They have to train the rest to march forward.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Sorry Lola I would rather type fast and make mistakes then be taught by a traitor or enemy of the country. Piss Off, die I don't care.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

PS I pissed becasue even when I was being very NICE and tryin g to make a point maot of you still aggravated the situation and called me every name in the book. Like the hate the Muslims feel twoards the world I now feel it right back. And YES I know allot of people here are not Muslims, but if they are supporting you casue then have choosen the wrong Americans to help. They shut the door on open thought, they mock and insult opposing idea's. So back to the hate, thanks guys I love feleing like this but since I tried and you guys acted the way you did I'm a hater like you. I just hate anyone [most everyone] in this blog. I don't care what you say or do I am never leaving unless it's bu my will.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I like that Chris.

And why do the French have tree-lined boulevards?

The Germans like to march in the shade.

8:48 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

Q. How meny French men dose it take to defend there boarders?

A. They don't know they never tryed before

9:59 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hello Lola? Just like the rest of the cowards, inslut and run. Hide just like Howard.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

This blog has really slowed down, so many people have left. I guess I will teach you clowns not to give up, I never have and never will. But your all terrorists and supporters of them as well as Democrates [the countries ass's}.

Sam Sam Sam Sam!!!! Go Sam!

12:08 AM  

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