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Some encouraging news from the Middle East for a change

This bit of news from the Middle East today is a nice change from the usual doom and gloom that seems to come from that area on a daily basis; the Arab League and Israel are meeting for the first time ever:

An official League visit would be a diplomatic coup for Israel. The League historically has been hostile toward the Jewish state, but has grown increasingly conciliatory in response to the expanding influence of Islamic extremists in the region a concern underscored by Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month…”This is the first time the Arab League is coming to Israel,” Regev said. “From its inception the Arab League has been hostile to Israel. It will be the first time we’ll be flying the Arab League flag.” Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa said Sunday, “The upcoming visit of Egypt’s and Jordan’s foreign ministers to Israel upon the request of the Arab committee of peace initiative is to conduct necessary contacts with Israel.”

I do not tend to comment on Middle East matters, but in this particular instance, I hope that this is the start of a good dialogue between the Arab states and Israel, and that it leads to a lessening of tension and hostilities in the region.


10 comments to Some encouraging news from the Middle East for a change

  • An interesting discussion can be read here.

  • Scott says:

    "if you'd read this blog at all (which you obviously haven't) you'd know I was nowhere near Bush's posterior."

    This is also true. Although one might go on to say that Scott's boot sometimes comes close to Bush's posterior.

    I've gone over this blog. And its creator could never be said to hold any pro-Bush bias. 

    Glenn Fitzgerald.

  • Scott says:

    "And this is why I dont tend to comment on Middle East matters, because there are apparently nothing but black and white on this issue for those who support Israel and those who support the Palestinians."

    Scott is absolutely correct about Mid East commentary—such commentary, including my own, does tend to stick to a simple black and white view of issues.  No doubt about that.  

    So to make the commentary less partisan, it might be a good idea to refer to the whole of history regarding the conflict between Israel and other factions, Palestinian and Arab, in the Middle East. The truth is Israel has sometimes faced a daunting struggle to prevent itself from being destroyed by determined and anti-semitic enemies. 

    Yes, my criticism of Israel left out that historical context.  But Israel is now the regional super-power in the Middle East, so to talk about the conflict between Palestinians and Israel as if both parties are equal contributers to the conflict strikes me as sort of deluded.  The struggle of Palestinians to achieve their goals is very much cast in a "David" versus the Israeli "Goliath" reality.

    There's no doubt about that either.

    I still stand by my view, based on pure fact, that the Arab League has nothing to discuss with the Israelis unless it plans to sell-out its support of Palestinians. The Arab League has nothing to discuss because the Israeli state has  already connived successfully to place its captive Palestinian populations in their fragmented and bantu-ized terrorities
    of, "reservations."

    I'll say the same thing I said when the Bush administration laid out its so-called ",Road Map," plan to put Palestinians on the path to nationalist goals. The Palestinians have no partner for that process, so how can one speak of any Road Map? Israel has demonstrated an iron determination to hold on to its post-1967 boundaries. And Israel has never relented from using the political process of diplomacy to ruin any chances a Palestinian state will ever exist. 

    So, yea, let's present the Arab/Israeli  confict in a wider less partisan framework of the region's history. But let's also face facts. The Palestinians have no partner for the realization of peace or their nationalist goals. 

    Glenn Fitzgerald. 

  • mushroom

    Not even armed resistance similar to what the ANC is resorting to defeat the apartheid government of South Africa?
    It seems that most of the blogger comments here believe that the only just solution is impose sanctions on Israel and hope that a Mandela figure will emerge in the Middle East.  I have not seen who that person is going to be.

  • And this is why I dont tend to comment on Middle East matters, because there are apparently nothing but black and white on this issue for those who support Israel and those who support the Palestinians.

    J, if you'd read this blog at all (which you obviously haven't) you'd know I was nowhere near Bush's posterior.   And, just because a government is democratically elected doesnt give it carte blanche to do anything it wants.  Hitler was initially democratically elected as well, remember. I dont think too many people are complaining nowadays that the Allies thwarted the will of the German people by destroying that regime. 

    If Hamas wants to resort to violent tactics, then I have no sympathy for what happens to them.  Fatah isn't the angel here either – unfortunately its probably the least of the bad choices – which would indicate why the moderate Arab states tend to support Fatah, as well as Israel.

  • Well, I followed the provided link to the Toronto Star piece, Arab League to send delegation to Israel, and came upon the line:

    "Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the foreign ministers would lead an Arab League mission to Israel to discuss the Arab peace plan, which would trade full Arab recognition of Israel for an Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war and the creation of a Palestinian state."

    I might be proven wrong, but it isn't at all hard to find grounds for severe doubt that Israel will ever give up the territory captured in the 1967 Mideast war. It also stretches incredulity to think that after reducing Palestinian habitation to so many fragmented "bantu" lands, Israel will ever seriously consider a Palestinian state.

    It is far more likely that five years from now Palestinians will continue to reside in their open air and fenced in prisons—- prisons which represent the remaining Palestinian lands that Israel hasn't taken from them yet

    I'm not sure what the real purpose of the Arab League meeting. Maybe it's to serve oysters and champaign along with the psychotic delusion of Israel's leadership that Israel have peace and keep what doesn't belong to it  at the same time.  The meeting might be more fairly considered propaganda meant to portray the Israeli leadership–hard pressed these days for good PR—as peace-makers.

    Glenn Fitzgerald.

  • I came upon the following exerpt from the above quoted passage:

    "The League…has grown increasingly conciliatory in response to the expanding influence of Islamic extremists in the region – a concern underscored by Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month…”

    Just to set the record straight about Hamas ",violent takeover," of Gaza, the United States and Israel had been arming Fatah likely to enable it to attack Hamas. And since Hamas had actually intercepted some of the arms shipments, it knew the Fatah attack was coming and merely beat Fatah to the punch.  

    The U.S and Israeli fueling of the fire in that region is owed the lack of respect the United States (and Israel) has for the democratic verdict of Palestinians—that verdict that became voiced when Palestinians opted for rule by Hamas.

    Also to set the record straight, Israel is far more given to violence and extremism than Hamas. And for confirmation of that assertion, one has only turn to the recent example of Lebanon to rest that case.

    Glenn Fitzgerald.

  • Sorry about those botched links. Here they are again:
    The Daily Star [Hit the Refresh button if link opens on an error page.]
    Daniel Levy_1
    Daniel Levy_2

    Hopefully they’ll work this time.

  • There does not seem to be much enthusiasm on the part of the Arabs.
    Arabs to meet Israel while Palestine remains splitBy Abdel-Rahman Hussein
    First Published: July 7, 2007
    Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and his Jordanian counterpart Abdallah Al-Khatib are due to travel to Israel in the upcoming weeks to relaunch the peace process, a foreign ministry statement said Thursday. 
    Efforts should be focused on Palestinian division, expert says.The visit to Israel is supposed to come after Aboul Gheit pays a visit to Washington on July 9. Additionally, the EU announced that the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) would convene in July with the “Arab” Quartet of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.“At the end of the day, any negotiation now will not be in Arab interests because of the division in Palestine,” Diaa Rashwan expert at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies told The Daily Star Egypt. “The priority,” he added, “is to solve the problem in Palestine. [This visit] is effort in the wrong direction.”EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said that the Western and Arab Quartets were “the mechanism the most adapted” to kick start the stalled peace process. The meetings were described in the Egyptian statement as “part of Arab efforts to relaunch the peace process.”The current situation however, weakens the Arab hand at the negotiating table according to Rashwan.  “Israel benefits the most in the current situation, because it has the upper hand in negotiations,” he added.However, the majority of Arab countries, including the Quartet have all declared support for Fatah and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, publicly offering support to his new West Bank government, over Hamas which rules Gaza.“Egypt prefers Fatah that is true, but it is disturbed by the Palestinian schism,” Rashwan said, “Egypt sees the division as dangerous to both Palestine as well as itself. Egypt’s strategic aim does not support a division between Fatah and Hamas.”Rashwan added that, “It seemed that Egypt didn’t want the latest Arab summit, but attended on the behest of the Americans. In any case Egyptian foreign policy in this issue is generally along the right lines.” – Link [Quoted in full as some articles are sometimes 'disappeared' on the net]
    ——–Personally, I think that Israeli scholar Daniel Levy has a better hang on what may work for the region. Interestingly enough, it appears that he will be advising Blair in the latter's mission over there.

  • J.

    so you figure that its a good thing the dully elected government of hammas is not there, that a unelected palestinian govenment who by all defenition did everything to downplay the palestinian peoples voting rights and install the minority fatah party in power, and now we in the western world support this action, is ok???? and when the palestinian say its not who they voted for, why should they listen. for that matter, why should any terrorist acts against the western world stop, we only support unelecteds appointed governments after all…i stongly suggest you get out of bush, and the israelies own unwanted goverments ass and come up for a good look, and if you want to blog, blog the truth…oh ya, tha arab league represents all unelected dictatorship, who by the way are extremely unpopular in their respective country…what are you…stupid????

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