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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Worth reading: Lebanon edition

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 22nd July 2006

I am a Jew (NYCEve, Daily Kos diarist); I am a Muslim (Aziz Poonawalla, “City of Brass”) — Eve and Aziz write from the heart about the Israel/Lebanon crisis, being Americans, and the importance of homelands. Excerpts from NYCEve’s post:

That Israel is aligned with the people I most despise forces me to recognize that Jews are at best tolerated, mostly unwanted by pretty much everyone–except that is, Christian evangelicals who voice support for their own misguided and nefarious reasons.

This sad reality is still true many years after eight million were murdered. Anti-semitism is flourishing throughout the world. We escape the sting of it in the United States. But to deny its existence and that American Jews are blessed to live in a country that still treats us with relative decency, is to ignore the obvious

I live in New York, a city where I don’t feel as if I need to conceal my identity. But when I leave New York–an hour in any direction, even in the United States of America–I often recognize that though I am an American, being openly Jewish might engender an unwelcome encounter […]

I’d like to deny it, but I know my destiny is linked to the survival of Israel. When an El El 747 touches down at Ben Gurion Airport, the tradition is for the cabin to be filled with the plaintive, mournful sound of the Israeli national anthem. Even, nyceve, a very assimilated American Jew, sheds a tear or two when I hear that music and I am reminded of our terrible history.

… from Aziz’s responding post:

So what is it to be an American muslim? NYCeve speaks of rising anti-semitism in the world, and of how “being openly Jewish might engender an unwelcome encounter.” I am not a victim – but I think that muslims in America have more to fear than Jews do. Do you think that the attitudes at LGF are fringe? I surf the red-sphere every day; I contribute at RedState; I live in Texas and listen to the callers on talk radio. Muslims are the new Jews in the US. How much longer can I say that the religious freedom which permits my faith to flourish here as no where else, will persist? […]

But Jews do have Israel, a strong (nuclear-armed) state supported by a superpower. They are well and truly safe there, a safety that no Katyusha or suicide bomber can really threaten – those are the tools of fear alone and the Jews have long ago learned that fear can be overcome. I wish the American public faced the fear of terrorism with half the composure that Israelis do – we might be sacrificing fewer of our own society’s basic principles of liberty were it so.

Muslims in the middle east have nothing like Israel. Ordinary muslims are always caught between terrorists, tyrants, mullahs, and madmen, and now – the wrath of Israel as well. Lebanese people, who have no control over Hizbollah, who have just escaped decades of civil war, and only recently in the Cedar Revolution thrown off the yoke of Syrian dominance and seized their destinies for themselves – are being killed. Why?

… and from the comments to Aziz’ identical post at Daily Kos:

azizhp, really excellent diary . . . (94+ / 0-)
I hope it gets the attention it deserves.
You raise some extremely important issues.
Thank you.
— by nyceve on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 07:14:38 AM PDT

* I almost didnt post this (104+ / 0-)
I really dont want you to feel I am attacking you at all. I cant express how hesitant I am nowadays. It seems like every sentence – no matter how carefully crafted, only delivers pain. You really eased my mind a bit with your comment – thank you.
— by azizhp on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 07:16:28 AM PDT

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBloodthirsty Children or Media Missiles (Michael Shaw, “Bag News Notes”); Emily Litella Speaks Out on the Situation in the Middle East (Jonathan Schwarz, “A tiny revolution”) — The photo on the right is among a series by several news agencies taken near an artillery position in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shamona. (A Guardian reporter writes about the circumstances here.*) The two posts address its implications in different ways.

In keeping with his blog’s focus, Shaw is fascinated with the propaganda and visual implications of this and other photos of these children signing artillery shells. He also investigates the photojournalism involved, culminating with the discovery of this less well known photo, more clearly showing the staged, exploited nature of what happened — for whatever that’s worth. In the process, he cites Schwarz’s post — but rather misses its point, I think, claiming Schwarz “analogizes” Arab and Israeli kids as “sick killers.” Schwarz had written:

…Sadly, until the Arabs let go of their culture of incitement and rage, I’m afraid there’s no concession Israel can ever make that will bring peace with these people.

What’s that?
Those aren’t Lebanese girls writing on Hezbollah rockets, but Israeli girls writing on Israeli shells?
Oh.
Never mind.

As I wrote at Bag News Notes, there is (or was, it’s been a while since I’ve looked) a frequent feature on the right wing Little Green Footballs (LGF) blog site called “Palestinian child abuse.” It involves showing photos — and, sadly, authentic ones — of West Bank, Gaza, etc. kids dressed in suicide bomber mockups, or in military garb, etc. I think Schwarz was simply pointing out that the impulse to indoctrinate kids with hatred and/or use them for propaganda purposes is not as one-sided as sites like LGF imply.

Syria, the Model (Jim Henley, “Unqualified Offerings”) — Henley observes that the two most dangerous places to be in the Arab world right now are democracies the Bush administration was once pleased to take credit for. While Iraq is clearly failing to secure its borders and maintain order,

…[t]he Lebanese lesson is even more dire: American speech and action since Israel began retaliating for Hezbollah’s prisoner grab announces that democracy gains an Arab state exactly no leverage when Arab and Israeli interests collide. […]

People would, literally, rather be in Syria. It’s where everyone from Lebanon that can afford to leave is trying to get. […]

The bomb them free crowd has made the work of liberalizing the Middle East much harder than it needed to be.

=====
* Pointed out by Nell Lancaster in a comment at Bag News Notes.

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What Israel is doing is wrong

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 18th July 2006

For a short while last week, before I understood the scope of the Israeli attacks, I supported them. The attack on and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers was an act of war by Hezbollah, an organization (or elements of it) that had no business sticking out the rest of Lebanon’s neck for it. Despite hopeful signs in Lebanon, this was also but the latest in a string of serious provocations by Hezbollah since the “Cedar Revolution” that only failed to be lethal by good luck, Israeli resistance, and/or poor execution.

So I felt that striking back at Hezbollah military targets — their rockets, headquarters, and so forth — was legitimate, and I even thought wrecking Beirut Airport runways and some bridges in South Lebanon was not an outrageous way of both slowing the kidnappers and of getting the rest of Lebanon’s undivided attention, so long as civilians were not injured.

But it’s clear to me now that Israeli government does not care enough about minimizing collateral damage, probably never was merely aiming to slow kidnappers, and is waging a wholly disproportionate war on Lebanon as a whole. From the Irish Times, via Juan Cole (“Informed Comment”):

The civilian toll continued to mount in Lebanon yesterday as Israeli planes struck dozens of targets. Nine civilians, including two children, were killed when they were hit by a missile that struck a bridge in the southern port city of Sidon. In the southern city of Tyre , rescue workers pulled nine more bodies from the civil defence building that was hit on Sunday in an Israeli strike.

Close to 200 civilians have been killed in Lebanon since the Israeli offensive began last week, when Hizbullah attacked an Israeli border patrol, killing three soldiers and capturing two. Five more soldiers were killed when they gave chase into Lebanon .

I understand and support Israel’s efforts not to be subjected to missile barrages or border raids, but what they’re doing is grossly excessive collective punishment. Ehud Olmert is writing a shameful chapter in Israel’s history.

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This is what a suicide bombing really looks like

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 13th June 2003

Gil Shterzer, quoted in full:

This is what a suicide bombing really looks like. Warning, uncensored gruesome hard to watch photos.

No prescriptions or wannabe smart forecasts here — or balance or “balance.” It just makes me understand the fury Israelis must feel, I feel some of it myself.

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More bombings

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 21st May 2003

Sad to say, I lost track, there have been so many terrorist attacks in Israel in the last week. Israeli blogger Imshin provides links to brief bios of each victim in a bus bombing in Jerusalem that left 7 dead, not counting the shithead who did it. The contrast between the apparently relatively affluent teenage engineering student bomber and the 5AM shift workers he murdered was striking. Imshin writes,

Why are the cold-blooded murders of these people seen by so many as fitting revenge of the weak? Why is this young, good looking, physically strong and economically secure kid perceived as being more desperate than a 67 year old economics lecturer making his way in the soft early morning light to his dead end job as a guard in a car park?

Gil Shterzer (“Israeli Guy”) posts a devastating photo of two victims of the attack. I think one victim in the photo is Mr. Ostinsky, the car park guard.

It’s hard to disagree with Imshin’s (apparent) support for the security wall, or Gil Shterzer’s angry call to “waste” Hamas leaders like Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi or Mahmoud Al-Zahaar in retaliation. May be easier said than done, though.

I continue to support ending the West Bank/Gaza settlements, and think the “road map” or the Nusseibeh/Ayalon agreement could be ways out of the conflict. But I read (via Imshin) that Arafat is insisting on “right of return” again, which together with non-stop suicide bombings makes either peace plan seem like it should be in your bookstore’s “fantasy” section. What does Abu Mazen say? If that matters.

Meanwhile, consider helping Israeli terror victims by supporting NAVAH.

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Weapons mess deconstruction, or Who needs fools to rush in when I can do it myself?

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 29th April 2003

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago — well, in November 1998– the London Sunday Times printed a report* titled “Israel Developing an Ethno-Bomb,” by former Israeli intelligence officer Uzi Mahnaimi and war correspondent Marie Colvin. The report claimed that researchers at an institute in Nes Tziyona — “the main research facility for Israel’s clandestine arsenal of chemical and biological weapons” — were attempting to develop deadly micro-organisms that would attack only people with distinctive genes carried by some Arabs.

I’m not qualified to assess whether such a weapon could be successfully developed.*** I merely point out that this report features a number of people — reporters, politicians, scientists — who were or seemed respected, knowledgeable, Jewish, or combinations thereof, and who said the idea was conceivable and/or that Israelis were researching it. In addition to the reporters, the report features Knesset member Dedi Zucker and former Defense Secretary William Cohen (quoted on feasibility only; Israel’s pursuits were raised by a second anonymous defense official). That doesn’t mean they were right, of course.

I imagine Mahnaimi and Zucker — now an ex-Knesset member who has left the Meretz party to form an Israeli Green Party — may be dismissed as the usual “Peace Now” suspects by many, and perhaps even their non-self-hating-Jewishness will be in question for some.

For my part, although the story and its sources seemed reasonably credible at first, I’ve come to be skeptical. First, there’s Dedi Zucker — or rather, how he’s used in the Times article:

Dedi Zucker, a member of knesset [sic], the Israeli parliament, denounced the research yesterday. “Morally, based on our history, and our tradition and our experience, such a weapon is monstrous and should be denied,” he said.

At first glance, Zucker’s statement seems to corroborate the report (although “denied” is an odd choice of words). But on re-reading the article, I think he’s just reacting to it. I’m trying to reach Mr. Zucker about this. It’s possible that Mr. Zucker had some knowledge about Israeli research via his participation in the Knesset’s “Committee for Scientific and Technological Research and Development.” The committee concerns itself with research institutes, but probably not with military research, which I’d guess is overseen by a different committee. On the other hand, although (admittedly) judging by a Google search, Mr. Zucker’s interests have seemed to lie elsewhere over the years.

Second, the Times story quotes a South African scientist named Goosen; he’s popped up again recently in a Washington Post story about black-market bioweapons, so that I’m provisionally tagging him with my “shady?” and “joker?” mental magic markers.

The anonymous scientist at Nes Tziyona is the key to the story, of course. His anonymity is “convenient” if you dismiss the story, and understandable if you don’t: Mordechai Vanunu has been in jail since 1986 since claiming Israel has nuclear weapons. The anonymous source “confirming” that Cohen meant Israel with his remarks is secondary. It seems fair — and will hopefully not remain embarrassing — to point out many of us have assumed Iraq had WMD on similarly unsubstantiated (albeit presidential) claims. (For what it’s worth, it seems Mahnaimi’s byline also appears on stories claiming Iraq developed nuclear weapons before 1991, and managed to keep a small stockpile after the Gulf War.)

So what’s this all about? Only that it seems to me that Mr. Aziz Poonawalla had a reasonably good faith basis for believing such weapons were being developed — especially because he relied on the WiredNews abridged version of the story, where Mr. Zucker’s comment seems quite authoritative, at least to non-Israelis. Aziz stumbled into a hornet’s nest of anti-Semitism charges of “blood libel” and the like for daring to repeat the story.** Given the Times article itself, I’d say that’s not justified unless you also level the charge at Mahnaimi, Zucker, and possibly Secretary Cohen as well.*** Furthermore, although I’m not Jewish, nothing I’ve ever seen by Aziz justifies the charge.

One objection commonly raised about the story is that you couldn’t keep such a weapon from affecting the many citizens of your own country who have “enemy” ancestry to one degree or another. That seems easy to counter. You somehow (1) tailor a disease virus or bacterium like smallpox or anthrax to be more lethal or contagious for people with a given genetic makeup. That’s the hard part, of course. You then also (2) vaccinate your population, perhaps especially the susceptible members, against the disease. Step (1) wouldn’t necessarily make existing vaccines useless; at any rate, you might also develop a custom vaccine. The motive for tailored bioweapons-plus-vaccination over regular bioweapons-plus-vaccination would be to limit the “collateral damage” outside the vaccinated population, and inside it as well if the vaccine were known or suspected to not be completely effective.

Here’s something we may all agree on, though: I’d certainly prefer to believe that Israel would not even research such a weapon. The sheer volume of angry reactions to merely reviving the suggestion tells me it would be tremendously controversial among Israelis, and among Jews around the world.

Look at it this way: either Mahnaimi and Colvin were right, or they weren’t. If it ever turns out they were right, shame on the Israelis responsible. If they lied or were wrong, shame on them, and the discussion was unnecessary — but it may also have a small deterrent effect of its own.

=====
* The story is widely reproduced on the Internet. That doesn’t make it true, but the texts copied seem to match up, so I’m reasonably confident my link is an accurate copy of the Times item itself, for which subscriber access is required.
** As the controversy about Aziz’s post grew, he edited a sentence to read “Israel may be developing” instead of “Israel is developing,” which seemed obvious anyway, but worth stating clearly.
*** I found indirect but credible evidence supporting the Cohen part of the London Times report in a very interesting SIPRI report by Malcolm Dando, where footnote 6 reads:‘Cohen warns of new terrors beyond CW’, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 4 June 1997, p. 27; and Starr, B. and Evers, S., ‘Interview: US Secretary of Defense, William Cohen’, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 13 Aug. 1997, p. 32.; I don’t have access to JDW to follow that further. On the subject of Mahnaimi/Colvin items that more or less check out, they also mention that the British Medical Association was to consider the possibility of genetically tailored bioweapons. This seems to be the 1999 BMA report Biotechnology, Weapons & Humanity.

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Barak’s offer at Camp David

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 13th April 2003

Benny Morris interviewed Ehud Barak about the year 2000 Camp David negotiations for a New York Review of Books article. An excerpt:

But in the West Bank, Barak says, the Palestinians were promised a continuous piece of sovereign territory except for a razor-thin Israeli wedge running from Jerusalem through from Maale Adumim to the Jordan River. Here, Palestinian territorial continuity would have been assured by a tunnel or bridge:

The Palestinians said that I [and Clinton] presented our proposals as a diktat, take it or leave it. This is a lie. Everything proposed was open to continued negotiations. They could have raised counter-proposals. But they never did.

Barak explains Arafat’s “lie” about “bantustans” as stemming from his fear that “when reasonable Palestinian citizens would come to know the real content of Clinton’s proposal and map, showing what 92 percent of the West Bank means, they would have said: ‘Mr. Chairman, why didn’t you take it?'” (emphasis added)

This partly supports a Palestine Orient House map (via MidEast Web), showing two Israeli wedge-and-corridors through the West Bank: a northern one via Ariel and Shilo and a southern one via Maale Adumim and Shilo. A Israeli-controlled Jordan river corridor connects these two, resulting in at least three major Palestinian West Bank “islands” bounded by relatively narrow Israeli corridors or the Israeli “mainland.” Calling these “bantustans” is only a slight exaggeration (the South African bantustans were a bit more far-flung)– assuming for a moment that the Orient House maps accurately reflect Camp David discussions.

As noted, the Morris article suggests they at least got it partly right, by arguably describing the map’s southern corridor. Barak and the Palestine House maps thus seem to agree on one thing: the West Bank was to be gerrymandered, to preserve at least some of the Israeli settlements. The accuracy of descriptions like “razor-thin” (Barak) and “bantustan” (Arafat) is in the eye of the beholder.

Given the fluid situation at the summit described by most participants, it’s possible that the two versions of the West Bank refer to two different proposals floated at the summit; of course, it’s also possible one or the other (or both) are inaccurate in its details. But assuming (as I do) that Barak isn’t lying, the offer he described to Morris would have further subdivided a Palestine already split between the West Bank and Gaza — and preserved a string of galling settlements through the center of the West Bank.

I’m writing about this as part of an ongoing conversation with Gil “Israeli Guy” Shterzer, who took mild exception to my offhand description of the Barak offer as a “patchwork territory criss-crossed by Israeli roads and zones.” In his comments, Gil said, “I’ll take Barak’s word in any given time, especially when the countering is Arafat’s word, and we all know his credibility.”

Well, here is Barak’s word. It may not amount to the “criss-crossed patchwork” I described, but it’s not difficult to understand why Palestinians weren’t overjoyed by the idea. At any rate, I still hope the “People’s Voice” proposal gains support.

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Keep your eyes off the ball…

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 10th April 2003

says honorable blogparent Matt Welch; I hear and obey:

  • 4/7: ANC gets two-thirds majority in South Africa’s Parliament; Prime Minister (and noted HIV/AIDS scholar) Thabo Mbeki now has the power to rewrite the South African constitution. (via UK blog Conservative Commentary)
  • 4/7: Israel allows a settlement in Palestinian Jerusalem (same story referred to below).
  • 4/8: China blocks North Korea resolution in Security Council.
  • 4/9: Hundreds dead in Congo massacres.
  • …and much, much more, via Daniel Drezner, on Cuba, Belarus, Zimbabwe, etcetera!

    …unless you’re in …

  • 4/7: Palo Alto, where the City Council is considering a ban on eye-rolling. (via Educated Guesswork)
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    Another alternative Palestinian (and Israeli) agenda

    Posted by Thomas Nephew on 9th April 2003

    While we’re on the subject: it turns out that Aziz Poonawalla posted an article (“basic needs and desires of all peoples“) about the Israeli-Palestinian issue on Sunday, too.

    Aziz argues for a bi-national single state, an even more idealistic solution than the Nusseibeh-Ayalon “People’s Voice” initiative I described. This approach is laid out in detail by a group called the Alternative Palestinian Agenda (APA), whose initiative proposes reconfiguring Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip as a federal union of three U.S.-state-like regions: 1) majority Jewish areas within pre 1967 Israel, 2) West Bank/Gaza/other majority Arab areas, and 3) Jerusalem. The APA provides maps of “Palestine-Israel” and Jerusalem to illustrate their proposal. There would be a single Senate, Parliament, Supreme Court, currency, and military. A great number of additional details are presented in the APA proposal — all the way to a gun ban and anti-discrimination commissions — but these seem the most critical.

    This bi-national state solution at least makes the Nusseibeh-Ayalon idea seem attainable and feasible. I won’t pretend to have followed Aziz’ arguments in detail yet, this is more of a “go take a look” post in that respect.

    My initial reaction is that this plan and proponents like Aziz choose to ignore what the state of Israel means to Israelis, at least as this non-Jew and non-Israeli understands it. That would be Israel as a place apart, as a refuge for Jews and Judaism. This may be wrong on my part, or it may be wrong, on some level, for Israelis to cling to such views at the expense of fresh thinking like the APA initiative..

    Be that as it may, I think a single-state solution like the APA’s would be overwhelmingly rejected by Israeli voters. Given the history of Israel, it would seem a surrender of what Israel has come to mean to many of its defenders. That’s no reason to not try — unless the political resources might be better spent elsewhere. I have the feeling Palestinians would reject such a plan by a similar margin, and for similar reasons: they don’t want to be part of a nation, they want to be a nation of their own, period. But I don’t know.

    I have a couple of other feelings as well, though. The first one is that 9/11 has put Americans and Israelis in a similar psychological boat; Americans can’t be said not to “get it” about terrorism, the existential threat affecting Israeli lives and politics every day. The second is that both the historic American support for Israel and the current expenditure of blood and treasure in Iraq has earned the United States a seat at the Israeli table as a road map to peace is drawn.

    As I write, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” is knocking down a threat not just to ourselves, but also to Israel, and at real cost and risk to the United States. Americans have thereby earned a deeper right than ever to make demands of Israel: an end to the settlements, serious consideration of the Bush administration “road map,“* and creativity in arriving at an equitable solution, or at least a reasonable cease-fire, for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Given the Iraqi defeat, the United States and Israel couldn’t be reasonably thought to be dealing from a position of weakness or as a reward to terrorism/intimidation, a common argument against negotiations.

    But progress seems to be stuck in reverse gear. On Monday, the Guardian reported that the Israeli government permitted a settlement in heretofore off-limits Palestinian Jerusalem. The United States should respond unfavorably, bluntly, and painfully. These days, it’s at least nice to see a way to save a little money.**

    =====
    * This speech refers to a prior June 24, 2002 speech. While it emphasized the need for Palestinian reforms and the end of support for terrorism, it also contained language directed at the Israeli government.
    ** Data via this Jewish Virtual Library discussion.
    TECH 4/11: In case anyone ever cares: for some reason the automatic permalink for this item remains wrong. Here is the correct permalink.

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    “The People’s Voice”

    Posted by Thomas Nephew on 7th April 2003

    Hamifkad Haleumi, or the “People’s Voice,” is an initiative trying to create grass-roots support for a “two states” political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is headed by the Palestinian Sari Nusseibeh of Al Quds University and Ami Ayalon, a retired Israeli high military official, who have the goal of collecting one million signatures online or otherwise, from the two peoples. From the “Statement of Principles“:

    Permanent borders between the two states will be agreed upon on the basis of the June 4, 1967 lines, UN resolutions, and the Arab peace initiative (known as the Saudi initiative). […]After establishment of the agreed borders, no settlers will remain in the Palestinian State. […]

    Palestinian refugees will return only to the State of Palestine; Jews will return only to the State of Israel. […]

    The Palestinian State will be demilitarized and the international community will guarantee its security and independence.

    I learned of this a few weeks ago via “Israeli Guy” Gil Shterzer, who comments:

    …I’m pretty skeptic but I sure wish it will succeed. I signed the petition and if you are an Israeli you can sign as well over here.

    As folks have commented on Gil’s blog, it’s a little disappointing the Arabic language version of the site is still under construction. In her comments, on the other hand, Diane Moon is dismissive, calling it a “public relations stunt” and urging Gil to “stop trying to get Arabs to like you.” Gil replies,

    The point here is not to show that we are nice but to clarify what Israel is willing to compromise on and on what Israel isn’t willing to compromise. Another reason for this campaign is to shake the Israel public out of its numbness. The people here have gloomed into apathy.

    There’s not much about “Hamifkad Haleumi” on the web; I’ve found you’ll have better luck Googling about this using the words”Nusseibeh Ayalon,” via which I found this highly negative assessment –“Palestinian rights in the document shredder” — by “Electronic Intifada” writer Ali Abunimah. Mr. Abunimah is mainly upset about the agreement to give up the Palestinian right of return to lands under Israeli control, and about the details of the Jerusalem partition. Yehudith Harel of Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, makes similar criticisms.

    As near as I can tell, the plan at least doesn’t repeat the Barak error of presenting the Palestinians with a patchwork territory criss-crossed by Israeli roads and zones. The full withdrawal of settlers seems like a major concession under the circumstances, and compensation is envisioned for Palestinians who lose the right of return. Since this is something the agreement envisions being ratified by the governments of the two peoples, it seems like this is not an abrogation of rights, as Abunimah charges, or an evasion of responsibility, as Harel claims.

    I’m with Mr. Shterzer: I hope this agreement receives support.

    =====
    UPDATE, 4/8: Gil updates the story: Nusseibeh and Ayalon are seeking an endorsement from the Israeli president, Moshe Katsav, according to an item in Ha’aretz. Katsav’s post is largely ceremonial, but it’s still a nice touch. Gil also gently chides me for being a “bit misinformed describing Barak’s offer in Camp David”; see the comments to his post, where I present some evidence — and he rebuts fairly effectively. More on this little historical dispute soon.

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    Haifa, March 5, 2pm

    Posted by Thomas Nephew on 7th March 2003

    Haifa suicide bomber kills 15, including 7 teenagers and one 12-year old. From the Jerusalem Post, the father of a boy lost in the bombing:

    Yossi Mendelevitch described the news of his son’s death as “an ink blot, spreading across the consciousness.”

    Called to the national forensic institute in Tel Aviv, he was warned to bring Yuval’s dental x-rays so that he would not have to view what the bomb had left of his boy.

    “I want to remember Yuval whole,” he said. “In one piece.”

    In today’s Washington Post, I read that Mr. Mendelevitch added this, reacting to deaths in the Gaza Strip following fighting there, in which an Israeli tank shell killed eight people putting out a fire:

    “I’m not looking for revenge — I’m not fulfilled when 11 innocent people get killed in Gaza,” Yossi Mendelevich said just before leaving his Haifa apartment to bury his son. “If it’s 11 militants, I would be happy. But this worthless killing will not solve anything.”

    Israeli blogger “Civax” is posting victims’ portraits like Yuval’s, above, and writes:

    I’m sure the Palestinians will get the country they deserve, eventually. But every such attack just kicks it further away. I don’t have any illusion that we’ll manage to kill all the terrorists ever. But I sure hope we’ll take care of as many of them as possible.

    NAVAH

    Terrorism doesn’t end with the funerals. Its effect ripples for years — sometimes for life. NAVAH was established to assure victims of terror that they are not alone, that there is a place in our heart that feels their pain, and shares their suffering. The volunteers of NAVAH spend hours visiting victims after each attack, sitting by their bedsides, listening to them and encouraging them. […]

    What sets NAVAH apart is that it is usually the first grant that victims of terror receive, enabling them to get the help they need during the first crucial weeks after an attack. In general, most of the victims of terror are ordinary Israelis, with few financial resources.

    Donations start at $18.

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