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Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a best-selling author, an activist, a Presbyterian minister, a university teacher and a television host. He has written 12 books, including the New York Times best-seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with...


Israel’s Barrier to Peace

(Page 5)

She was eight months pregnant when Abed was arrested for the 13th time.  He was sent to Ofra prison.  The prisoners live 20 to a tent in the desert.  They sleep on wooden pallets.  The tents are sweltering in the summer and cold in the winter. 

“Abed sleeps under 10 blankets in the winter,” she said.  “There is no heat.”

There is an open sewer nearby and swarms of mosquitoes.  He is being held on secret evidence, which means he has not been told the charges against him.  Abed has never been sentenced.  His six-month military detention order had been extended for another six months in June.  It too was done in secret.  It can be renewed indefinitely.  Amnesty International has adopted him as a prisoner of conscience.

His health is precarious.  When he was 16 he was arrested for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.  He was tied to a chair in contorted positions.  His back and stomach were under tremendous pressure.  He was in great pain.  His head was covered with a bag soaked in urine.  Allegra has sued the army for the torture he underwent in 1996.  He was also tortured on three other occasions while in detention. 

“They have told him he will be released if [we] drop the lawsuit,” she says.  “He will not.”

She gave birth to their first child, Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, this spring.  Abed has never seen his son.  When Allegra asked for the address of the prison to mail her husband pictures of their child she was told there was no address.

“My husband has been banned from Jerusalem for 20 years, so we brought Jerusalem to us,” she says. 

She is an Israeli citizen, but because her husband is Palestinian, because of his ethnicity, he is refused citizenship.  She was born in Long Island.  He was born here.  This is how it works in Israel.  Israel is a democracy only for Jews.  If she had married a Jew he would have a passport and citizenship.

“What democratic state builds its laws based on a person’s ethnicity?” she asks.  “The goal of the South African apartheid regime was to separate whites and blacks to preserve white privilege.  How is this different from what is being done to the Palestinians?”

“Who is really being shut out by this wall?” she adds.  “Who is being shut in?  Israel will be a closed society when the wall is finished.  It will even further shun reality.” 

Her son wakes up and begins to cry.  She gets up and walks to his room.  She comes back with the infant in her arms.  She begins to breast-feed him.

As she coos over her son she lets me read a notebook smuggled out of the prison.  It has drawings by one of the prisoners for her child Quds with stories by her husband.  On the cover of the ruled school notebook are the words “Quds Smart Notebook.”

In one picture a small boy is feeding a bird.

“This is Quds’ bird,” it says.  “Quds feeds the bird.  The bird loves Quds.  The birds are playing in Quds’ beautiful garden.  They know Quds.  They love him very much.”

She slips her wedding ring off her finger so I can read the inscription on the band inside.  It has two letter A’s with a heart between them.  The word “forever” is etched into the band.  She cradles the child in her arms and whispers words of comfort to him.

She looks up, weary and sad. 

“In Israel, I’m considered radical because I advocate equal rights for all persons residing between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” she says.

It does not matter where I turn.  I see the noose tightening.  There is no escape.  The barrier is closing in from every side, grinding and crushing everything in its path.  I begin to feel the claustrophobia, the sense of inevitable doom, the awful fatalness of it all.

Palestinians cling to what they have like shipwrecked sailors clinging to the hull of a sinking boat.  There is a mass migration.  They are being forced from their homes.  Some have moved into their fields.  They have set up squalid little encampments in vegetable patches.  It is their last stand. 

I walk over the heavy earth on the Israeli side of the fence from the village of Jayyous.  The village has some 2,200 acres, along with six wells and pumping stations.  The fence has separated the farmers in the village from 73% of its irrigated farmland.  About 300 families are losing their only source of income. 

My feet are covered with dirt.  I see across the fields the sparks shooting up from numerous campfires.  I hear voices, the idle chatter of children, women and men. 

Suffian Youssef, 30, stands beside an old blue truck.  His two brothers, his mother and his father are with him.  It is nearly dark.  They have set up a small tarp and a crude shack.  It is where they sleep.  There is a brass coffee pot on the brazier over the fire.  I smell wood smoke.

“We began to sleep in our fields a month ago,” he said.  “We fear that if they close the gate we will not be able to get to our crop.  We are having trouble getting our crop to market.  We took the crates of potatoes up to the gate in the truck a few days ago.  The Border Police told us to take the crates off the truck and load them back on the truck four times.  When we took them off for the fourth time they dumped the potatoes on the ground and crushed them with their boots.  They beat us with their rifle butts.”

Crickets chirp softly.  I see a half moon poking through the haze in the sky.

The roadblocks and checkpoints mean that farmers cannot get their produce to urban areas in the West Bank.  There are now Israeli suppliers, who can use the settler roads, who have taken over these markets.  Prices, because vegetables are bottled up in agricultural areas, have plummeted.

“We may not have enough money next year to plant a crop,”  Youssef says.

When I leave it is night.  I stumble out of the fields.  I know they will not be here next year.

It is late afternoon at Gate Number 542 in the farming village of Zita, north of Tulkarm.  A sign on the electric fence that runs along the dirt track for as far as the eye can see reads: “Danger.  Military Area.  Anyone crossing or touching the fence does so at his own risk.”  It is in Hebrew, Arabic and English. 

The iron gates are painted yellow.  There are motion sensors and television cameras mounted along the fence.  There is a smooth strip of sand to detect unauthorized footprints.  There is a dirt service road.  There is a trench about seven feet deep to stop vehicles from crashing through the barrier.  There is a paved road for the army jeeps.  There are coils of razor wire.  The land on either side of the barrier, about 100 feet wide, is desolate.  Blackened stumps from uprooted olive trees poke up from the dirt.  All living things on or near the barrier have been killed.  It tastes of death.  This is what the barrier will look like in most places on the West Bank.

There are poles mounted with powerful floodlights along the barrier to turn night into day.  The farmers who live on the edge of the wasteland, often once their farmland, cannot sleep because of the glare of the lights.

A dozen poor farmers and shepherds are clustered on the other side of the barrier.  They have grazed their flocks or tended their plants on their land, land Israel has swallowed up.  They have been there for an hour.  The gate is supposed to be opened at 6 p.m.  On some nights the border police come early.  Other nights they come late.  There are times they do not come at all.  When they do not come the farmers and shepherds sleep on the ground near the gate until morning.

Jamal Hassouna, 43, a farmer, is standing with me.  We are standing on land that once belonged to him but was taken without compensation to build the barrier.

“If anyone touches the fence, even a child, they are not allowed to pass,” he says.  “Every soldier is a little Ariel Sharon.”

Two green armored jeeps from the border police roar down the asphalt strip enclosed by the two electric fences.  They halt and five policemen climb out.  They hold their M-16 assault rifles at an angle.  They are wearing helmets.  One soldier, watched by two others, goes to open the padlock on the gate on the other side.  He swings the gate open and the motley crowd walks out into the empty space, across the tarred road and the dirt road to the yellow gate on my side.  They show the police their special permits before they are allowed through the yellow gate.

The police are silent.  Jamal says it is because I am present.  On many nights, he says, farmers are insulted, cursed, made to lift their shirts or humiliated by being told they have to crawl through the gates.  Wives and children no longer cross to spare themselves the harassment.  There are many farmers who, although they are never told why, are no longer allowed to pass.  Their fields are dying.

I walk to tomato fields covered by gauzy brown netting.  Iyad Abu Hamdi, 27, is seated alone on the lip of a small drainage ditch next to the field of tomatoes.  His land is on the other side of the barrier.

He was tending his crop of peppers a few days ago when a patrol of the border police arrived at his field.  The two policemen began to make lewd remarks to his wife, who was working with him.  They ordered her to make them coffee.  She obeyed.  They ordered her sister to bring them water.  She refused.  They threw their thermos at his brother and told him to fill it with water.  He also refused.

“They began to beat my brother,”  Hamdi says.  “They tossed the coffee in our faces.  They cursed us.  They shouted at us.  They confiscated our identification cards.  The soldiers told my wife to accept their advances or they would ruin her reputation.”

When he says “accept their advances” his voice quivers with emotion and he turns his head away to avoid my eyes.

The sun is dipping below the earth.  There is a dim yellow glow across the fields.  His voice is shaking.  He bows his head between his knees and looks at the ground.

“This happened on Aug. 3,” he begins again.  “I have not been allowed to cross since.  They slam the gate shut in my face.  My crop is dying.”

The tears roll down his cheeks.  They too are serpent’s teeth.

1   2   3   4   5
Dig last updated on Jul. 25, 2006

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By alon, August 3, 2006 at 12:33 am Link to this comment
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israel withdrew from lebanon 6 years ago, israel didnt have anything to do with lebanon till they started intensifying their rockets which they have continually dropped on israel for the last 6 years and illegaly crossed the border into israelli land and killed 8 soldiers and kidnapped 2 WITHOUT any provacation. if someone kills 8 members of your family and kidnapped 2 more for no reason except they hate your guts, you will do whatever you could to get back the 2 kidnapped members of your family and protect the rest. why dont all of you people go join mel gibson in the lets make up crap about the jews and israel club!

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By Spinoza, August 2, 2006 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
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People please spread this around the web and send it to your Newspapers etc.  This is the best discussion of a/the solution to the issue of the fight between Jews and Arabs.

b Hizbullah’s attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon

By Anders Strindberg

08/01/06 “Christian Science Monitor”——NEW YORK – As pundits and policymakers scramble to explain events in Lebanon, their conclusions are virtually unanimous: Hizbullah created this crisis. Israel is defending itself. The underlying problem is Arab extremism.
Sadly, this is pure analytical nonsense. Hizbullah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 was a direct result of Israel’s silent but unrelenting aggression against Lebanon, which in turn is part of a six-decades long Arab-Israeli conflict.

Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored “blue line” on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah’s military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah’s leadership; this indeed has been the pattern.

In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians. This past February, for instance, 15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon. Israel has assassinated its enemies in the streets of Lebanese cities and continues to occupy Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms area, while refusing to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended. What peace did Hizbullah shatter?

Hizbullah’s capture of the soldiers took place in the context of this ongoing conflict, which in turn is fundamentally shaped by realities in the Palestinian territories. To the vexation of Israel and its allies, Hizbullah - easily the most popular political movement in the Middle East - unflinchingly stands with the Palestinians.

Since June 25, when Palestinian fighters captured one Israeli soldier and demanded a prisoner exchange, Israel has killed more than 140 Palestinians. Like the Lebanese situation, that flare-up was detached from its wider context and was said to be “manufactured” by the enemies of Israel; more nonsense proffered in order to distract from the apparently unthinkable reality that it is the manner in which Israel was created, and the ideological premises that have sustained it for almost 60 years, that are the core of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict.

Once the Arabs had rejected the UN’s right to give away their land and to force them to pay the price for European pogroms and the Holocaust, the creation of Israel in 1948 was made possible only by ethnic cleansing and annexation. This is historical fact and has been documented by Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris. Yet Israel continues to contend that it had nothing to do with the Palestinian exodus, and consequently has no moral duty to offer redress.

For six decades the Palestinian refugees have been refused their right to return home because they are of the wrong race. “Israel must remain a Jewish state,” is an almost sacral mantra across the Western political spectrum. It means, in practice, that Israel is accorded the right to be an ethnocracy at the expense of the refugees and their descendants, now close to 5 million.

Is it not understandable that Israel’s ethnic preoccupation profoundly offends not only Palestinians, but many of their Arab brethren? Yet rather than demanding that Israel acknowledge its foundational wrongs as a first step toward equality and coexistence, the Western world blithely insists that each and all must recognize Israel’s right to exist at the Palestinians’ expense.

Western discourse seems unable to accommodate a serious, as opposed to cosmetic concern for Palestinians’ rights and liberties: The Palestinians are the Indians who refuse to live on the reservation; the Negroes who refuse to sit in the back of the bus.

By what moral right does anyone tell them to be realistic and get over themselves? That it is too much of a hassle to right the wrongs committed against them? That the front of the bus must remain ethnically pure? When they refuse to recognize their occupier and embrace their racial inferiority, when desperation and frustration causes them to turn to violence, and when neighbors and allies come to their aid - some for reasons of power politics, others out of idealism - we are astonished that they are all such fanatics and extremists.

The fundamental obstacle to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict is that we have given up on asking what is right and wrong, instead asking what is “practical” and “realistic.” Yet reality is that Israel is a profoundly racist state, the existence of which is buttressed by a seemingly endless succession of punitive measures, assassinations, and wars against its victims and their allies.

A realistic understanding of the conflict, therefore, is one that recognizes that the crux is not in this or that incident or policy, but in Israel’s foundational and per- sistent refusal to recognize the humanity of its Palestinian victims. Neither Hizbullah nor Hamas are driven by a desire to “wipe out Jews,” as is so often claimed, but by a fundamental sense of injustice that they will not allow to be forgotten.

These groups will continue to enjoy popular legitimacy because they fulfill the need for someone - anyone - to stand up for Arab rights. Israel cannot destroy this need by bombing power grids or rocket ramps. If Israel, like its former political ally South Africa, has the capacity to come to terms with principles of democracy and human rights and accept egalitarian multiracial coexistence within a single state for Jews and Arabs, then the foundation for resentment and resistance will have been removed. If Israel cannot bring itself to do so, then it will continue to be the vortex of regional violence.

Anders Strindberg, formerly a visiting professor at Damascus University, Syria, is a consultant on Middle East politics working with European government and law-enforcement agencies. He has also covered Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories as a journalist since the late 1990s, primarily for European publications.

Copyright © 2006 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved

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By NotYourFool, August 2, 2006 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
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Some Israel-for-brains poster sloganized: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”

This is a straw argument. No one argues that Israel should disarm. So please, pro-Israel groupies, don’t argue against what no one is saying. It’s an insulting waste of everyone’s time.

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By John, August 2, 2006 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment
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Revenge is wrong.

The rule is very simple and very clear:  Thou shalt not kill.

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By Verity, August 2, 2006 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
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Poor Mr. Ed. I see that I’ve rattled you.

And here we go again. You called me an anti-semite!!! Brilliant, inciteful response. Mr. Ed scores!!! Let this be a cruel lesson for anyone who dares to question Israel’s policies.

This excerpt from:

“Many Internet forums are affected by racist and bigoted trolls…The two most common targets, however, are Blacks and Muslims, especially Arab Muslims.”

So carry on your duty, Mr. Ed.

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By Rachel, August 2, 2006 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
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You are right Verity, there are those of us who will do everything to help Israel, without pay. Why are you so bothered by it?

Does it disturb you when people want Israel to exist?

And Sara, oh Sara, who quotes peace loving Ghandi, but then shows her true colors, very unGhandi like, I should say, when she wishes death to the children of Americans, Europeans and of course, israelis. This sounds like Jihad to me, don’t you think?  I am sure that Hindus from India will delight in the comparison between you and Ghandi.

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By ed_tru_lib, August 2, 2006 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
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Sara-Jews did indeed learn something from the nazis. You have to stand up and defend yourself against terrorist murderers, and the insane hatred that motivates them, and the boundless greed and avarice of those that train and control them, or even more boundless stupidity of those who makes excuses for them, or they will kill you. The rest of the world learned something too. Unless there is some other reason to step in and prevent it, Jews can be tormented or killed with impunity.
Ghandi, like Israel’s founders, most of its people, and, sadly I’ll admit at the moment, perhaps not enough of its current government, was a true liberal and humanist. He was also, unlike them or they would have have long since ceased to exist, a pacifist. I can only imagine how he would react to being quoted in that context by you in the second paragraph of your post, and then read the utter, mindless evil of hitler’s message-“ending the generations” and “killing the children” of the Jews in the third.
He would have despaired.

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By Ramasyst, August 2, 2006 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
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Rachel 16246 says

“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.

If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”

Well Rachel, Israel is not interested in peace. It is interested in a “Peace Process” which does not result in anything. It can talk about peace forever but it cannot be in peace simply because it’s very existence depends on a state of war and it receives billions of dollars of aid for that reason.

Between 1994 and 2000, there was no violence in Palestine, no suicide bombers and what was the result.. Absolutely Nothing. It wanted to negotiate and negotiate forever without any tangible results and it made all sorts of excuses blaming the other party for not wanting peace and it succeeded because of its powerful and effective PR machine—exactly as it is doing now twisting facts in Qana and other Lebanese villages.

In a nutshell, Israel wants to dominate the area politically and most importantly economically. FYI, Israel generates almost $4-5b annually from Palestine. If there is peace and a separate Palestinian State, Palestinians would have other trading partners and Israel would loose a big portion of that amount. Furthermore, if there would be a separate Palestinian State, Palestine would have control of its own water resources and this would be a major problem for Israel.

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By Sara, August 2, 2006 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
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Nazi Germany once destroyed entire Jewish towns as revenge for the capture of two soldiers. Israeli’s have learned quite a lot from the Nazi’s haven’t they?

As Gandhi said “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, always.”

May God bless the souls of the people, the children murdered by Americans, Europeans and Israeli’s in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine. May he show his mercy when they, seeing us as the enemies - those who caused them to see lifeless children, bloody limbs, and ghastly wounds - take their revenge.  May those who participated in these crimes see their children die, see their generations end, and see the destruction and feel the pain of the opressed.

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By ed_tru_lib, August 2, 2006 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
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Looks like Verity has got it figured out. You caught me Verity. I’m posting from the grassy knoll, having just cashed my Aipac paycheck at a convenience store Elvis works at (he’s slimmed down quite a bit, by the way) while on my way to bury some evidence of OJ’s innocence, and Sirhan’s co-conspirators.
Just add “lunatic conspiracy nut” to “anti-semite pseudo-left nut” and we get a pretty clear picture of who’s posting the pro-terrorist hate and silliness here (while posing as members of the true left-anyone want to buy a slightly-used Ralph Nader mask?)

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By Verity, August 2, 2006 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
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Info on Pro-Israeli web trolling services:

Here’s an excerpt from the site:
“GIYUS.ORG spends a lot of effort tracking down online articles and surveys that members should see and act upon.
After installing the Megaphone application, you will receive alerts on these articles so that you can voice your opinion on them.
You can help even more! Report relevant articles and surveys to GIYUS.ORG and help Israel win the public opinion front.”

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By rachel, August 2, 2006 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
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.This is the truth!!!!

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel’s part for whatever reason, the following two sentences really say it all:

If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.

If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.

And BTW, surprisingly enough, no one is paying me to write this or to “peddle my opinions”. Not AIPAC, no zionist organiztion, just my heart.

Would it be fair if I ask Verity who is paying her?

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By Verity, August 2, 2006 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
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To Rachel, comment #16184.

During the Lebanese Civil War, atrocities were committed by all sides, including the Christian Lebanese. Furthermore, the Israeli government has historically funded right-wing factions of the Christian Lebanese, so I wouldn’t necessarily assume them to be an objective source.

But perhaps objectivity is not your intention.

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By Verity, August 2, 2006 at 4:52 am Link to this comment
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Of course Israel has a right to exist. No rational person would argue against that. But Israel’s current vicious attack on Lebanon is immoral and genocidal.

There’s a growing suspicion that some of you who troll the web peddling the innocence of Israel in this current war are on the payroll of AIPAC and other Zionist groups. If that is indeed true, you should reconsider your tactics. The raging racism - it’s just not smart PR. If you were on my payroll, I’d fire you for incompetence.

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By Mark, August 2, 2006 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
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Regarding Comment #16143 by anon, who writes: <<The concept of “Palestinians” as applied to Arabs and as a distinct nationality urgently in need of their own twenty-third Arab state, is a fairly new one; it was not invented until after 1948, when the State of Israel was founded.>>

It doesn’t matter, even if true. People have the right not to be forcibly driven from where they live because of their ethnicity even if they don’t fit some bible-addled racist’s definition of a what “true nation” is.

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By Sebastian Lobo, August 2, 2006 at 4:21 am Link to this comment
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Mr Anon(ymous?) uses the expression ” islamic fascists”. Very well, then how would he describe people like Begin, Shamir and Sharon ? Oh, he could also tell us what Ben - Gurion thought of the Hagannah and the Stein gang. John has a apoint ? An eye for an eye and a tooth for, say, a denture?
Sebastian Lobo

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By rachel, August 2, 2006 at 4:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It will be helpfull if people here make attempts to get their facts right. Propaganda is a dangerous thing!

John keeps on talking about “fireworks”. Well, his firework killed 8 Israeli soldiers and manage to kidnap two others, and it was not done in the neighbor’s yard, but in Israel’s. It must have been a LOT of fireworks with a lot of malicious intentions. Is it convenient to forget it?
This is when Israel started attacking. Maybe if John’s child was killed by this very potent firework, he would have done nothing, and maybe if eight or ten of his children were killed because of the “firework”, he would have done nothing. He must be a very saintly man, or he truly believes that Hezzbolah’s “firework” is a “kids playing”. You might feel differently if they played in your backyard, unless of course, you want to see Israel destroyed, which is what Hezzbolah keeps on declaring. In other words, they did not say that they came to play!

The readers here, if they read French, should read an article published in LIBANOSCOPIE, which is a from Lebanon,a Christian influenced web site, where they are claiming that the killing in Cana, where women and children were killed, was completely conceived and planned by Hezzbolla. If you do not read French, try some free translation web sites, don’t take my word for it.

Mais pourquoi une bavure pareille, une erreur ? Un massacre prémédité ? Une source généralement bien informée nous raconte sa version :
« Le Hezbollah, coincé par les 7 points proposés par le premier ministre Fouad Siniora, qui mettait un plan de déploiement de l’armée libanaise sur tout le territoire et essentiellement au Sud Liban, et donc le désarmement de la milice du parti de Dieu, a voulu faire échouer ces négociations. Il a mis en pace un plan machiavélique en créant un événement qui lui permettrait d’annuler ce projet. Sachant très bien qu’Israël n’aura pas d’état d’âme pour bombarder des cibles civiles, des militants du Hezbollah ont installé une base de lancement de roquettes sur le toit d’un immeuble à Cana et y ont entassé des enfants infirmes dans la ferme intention de voir une réplique de la part de l’aviation israélienne et créer une nouvelle situation, utilisant le massacre de ces innocents pour reprendre l’initiative des négociations. »
Ajoutant : « ils ont utilise Cana qui a déjà été un symbole d’un massacre d’innocents, ils ont fomenté un Cana 2 ».

En effet le président de la chambre Nabih Berri a annoncé que les négociations avec la secrétaire d’état américaine Condoleezza Rice ne seront plus poursuivies pour le moment avant d’avoir un cessez le feu inconditionnel, première revendication du Hezbollah , il faut tout reprendre à nouveau.

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By Kwagmyre, August 1, 2006 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment
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Posted by Anon:
“if a group of people who have openly stated that they want to wipe you off the map constantly bombed your country then you would have done the exact same thing israel is doing to protect their civilians!”

No.  You see that Israel responded with a typical “conditioned” response which may very possibly have been Iran’s intent using Hezbollah for that purpose.  They fell for the trap which because of the predictable Israeli response has very likely backfired since it seems to have significantly increased support among many in the Arab countries for Hezbollah(including Lebanon’s Prime Minister!).

It’s entirely possible that Ariel Sharon wouldn’t even have done this because he would painfully remember the ignominious withdrawal of Israel’s defense force in 2000.

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By anon, August 1, 2006 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
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The concept of “Palestinians” as applied to Arabs and as a distinct nationality urgently in need of their own twenty-third Arab state, is a fairly new one; it was not invented until after 1948, when the State of Israel was founded.

if you read up on history you would know that. you would also know that during the wars jews were also displaced from the surrounding arab countries, they had to leave with only the clothes on their backs. they were accepted into israel. unlike the “palestinians” who were not allowed into the surrounding arab countries.
the islamist facists who control these countries and dont allow free thought dont give a crap if civilians die jewish, christian and even their own muslim civilians. they have no regard for life. Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties but like any war civilians get killed, hezbollah aim their rockets at civilians and put ball bearings in to maximise the civilian deaths. if you have seen the tv shows played in iran and other muslim countries, then you would knw the crap that they teach their children from young ages. they have kids shows gloryfying suicide bombing; if a group of people who have openly stated that they want to wipe you off the map constantly bombed your country then you would have done the exact same thing israel is doing to protect their civilians!

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By John, August 1, 2006 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
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If my neighbor’s fireworks killed a single member of my family and I retaliated with my .357 Magnum Smith and Wesson, I’d be arrested and put in jail for life.  The kids in Lebanon who throw rocks at Abram attack tanks are no more lethal than the “terrorists” who shoot #10 warhead rockets randomly aimed at Israel.  The death toll is ridiculously disproportionate.

You are on the wrong side.  Powerful bombs and delivery systems do not make the weaponless folks (armed only with heroism and RPGs) wrong.  You are representative of the folks who see things incorrectly.  Revenge is wrong.

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By ed_tru_lib, August 1, 2006 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
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Once again we see not just the stupidity but the vapidity of the anti-Israel “left”. I use the parentheses because of course, Israel was founded by the the true liberal left-the great liberal and socialist thinkers, committed to justice and democracy, but no less equally committed to their people being allowed to continue breathing. John compares his neighbor’s fireworks with hezbollah rockets. If your neighbor’s fireworks were killing your family, you would be allowed to defend yourself and no sane person would suggest otherwise. The other recent posts talk about the “Israel Lobby” or “Jewish propaganda” the same way the nazis and their collaborators talked about the “Jewish bankers” who start all the wars.
O and John-it must be nice to have “a big forest” Shouldn’t you return it to the Native Americans, given how sincere and historically well-thought-out your point of view is?

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By John, August 1, 2006 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
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I did write:  You made the wall.  Now stay behind it!  Lots of folks seem to think that Arabs firing fireworks over the wall in large numbers justifies F-16s and laser-guided 1000-pound bombs.  I don’t celebrate the 4th of July here in my town.  One of the reasons is that our nation was founded not on law-abiding “citizens” but on revolutionaries who defied unjust laws.  Nobody gets that any more.

Anyway, my neighbor celebrates and fires scores of rockets from his very small yard into my very large forest.  It’s a fire hazard and an irritant.  However, I am not permitted to retaliate, to kill him and/ or his children and wife [ves].  In fact, I cannot shoot my gun within 500 feet of his house.  The Hezbollah rockets carry 10# of TNT.  They hardly ever hurt anyone, even at the rate of hundreds per day.  How does everyone seem to think that Mr. Bush’s statement, “Israel is allowed to defend itself,” is justification for these horrible crimes against humanity.  There is no justification.  There will be hell to pay.

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By Sebastian Lobo, August 1, 2006 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment
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In 1944 Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to discuss what the world should be like after WW II. One main issue was what was then call the World Peace Instrument, which later became the UN. On one point they all agreed : the Veto Power of the Big Four ( US,USSR, Britain and China)

Days before the UN vote partitioning Palestine a proposition was put for the to the General Assembly – should the UN consult the International Court of the Hague in the matter. The pro – Israel lobby immediately went to full throttle and the proposition was defeated by one vote.

These could be two starting points to understand the wall.

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By NETTIE, August 1, 2006 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
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My word, having studied the Holocaust until I made myself ill as a teenager, and having been aware of the hideous things the Israelis have/had been doing in Lebanon and to the Palestinians for at least 30 years now, thanks to Amnesty Int’l, I’m beginning to think the misinformed Balfour agreement, only allowed malicious THUGS to displace the Palestinians.  Not true, of course, but as any psych. 1 student will know, the long abused often become the abuser, yes, nearly reptilian in their responses to the plight of others, in which they share huge responsibility.  The WALL, attacking Lebanon with such ferocity..where does it end?  The region will go up in flames if an honored cease-fire is not demanded by the world and kept.  Start talking.  Stop the 10:1 Israeli tit for tat nonsense.  Would this be happening if the Bush crime family were not calling the shots?

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By claire liret, August 1, 2006 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
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In yesterday’s speech to justify current bombings in Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asserted “we’re not prepared to give up our right to live perfectly ordinary lives”.(7/31/06)

This right was taken away from Palestinians eighty-nine years ago, when the Balfour declaration opened the way for one of the most organized and effective land grabs in modern history. With a deeply sophisticated balance of moral claims, intimidation, idealism, legal bullying, topographic re-engineering, and cultural obliteration, the Israeli project, born of centuries of Jewish persecution in Europe, took root with a declared policy of “putting facts on the ground”.
This was accomplished with the blessing of a West whose interests it overall served, and whose assumption it was that the displaced Palestinian populations would eventually be given a footnote in the history books as a sad but necessary casualty of a noble history on the march.

Mr. Hedges’s article is eloquent, but it could and should have been written three years ago, ten years ago, thirty years ago, fifty years ago, and especially seventy five years ago, when the facts on the ground could still be undone.

Now, it is too late. When you treat people like animals, it should hardly be surprising that some of them will eventually start behaving like animals.

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By olga, August 1, 2006 at 6:07 am Link to this comment
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Pro-Israeli propaganda is overwhelming in America. Those seeking truth bring up buried issues and forgotten facts. Unfortunately, the truth is quickly dismissed and squelched as anti-semitic.

Read UN Resolution 425. It took 20 years for Israel to withdraw from South Lebanon. Resolution 1559 is only a few years old.

Hezbollah wanted a prisoner exchange and maps to land mines laid by the IDF in South Lebanon. How is that unreasonable?

What’s the difference between resistance fighter and terrorist?

Read up on USS Liberty and then wonder if Qana and the hit on UN observers was an accident. Read up on USS New Jersey and then wonder about the U.S. Marine barracks attack in Beirut.

Research how water is being diverted to make Israel green and prosperous at the expense of its Arab neighbors.

How is all this lost on some of us? Why the selective morality?

Talk less. Read more.

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By Mark, August 1, 2006 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
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In Comment #16000, “alon” writes:

“the only reason that the innocent lebanese and palestians are getting killed is because they let terrorists run their lives and countries. if hezbollah did not use civilian houses to store and fire their rockets then civilians would not get hurt…”

... and so on and blah blah blah in this vein.

You’re full of AIPAC .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Israel has insisted that it is doing its “precision” bombing “very carefully”.

Well, darling, Israel is precisely butchering unarmed UN observers, twice now (understandably not wanting them to observe).

Israel is carefully incinerating minivans and buses full of people fleeing north as Israel (illegally) told them they must.

(By the way, Mr. Moral Paragon, telling everyone in the southern region of a country to leave so you can bomb indiscriminately does not get you off the hook morally or legally.)

Israel is targeting power grids, lighthouses, grain elevators, milk factories, bridges in the north used by refugees, and entire apartment buildings partially occupied by members of Hezbollah’s political wing.

Israel is precisely and carefully phosphorous-bombing acres of apartments in generally Shiite areas in Beirut, far from the Israeli border, from which no missle could ever reach Israel and with no military significance except perhaps the (well deserved) hostility of the people in the neighborhood to the greedy and murderous country south of the border that keeps invading and which even since its phony “withdrawal” in 2000 is holding the choice Shebaa farms and making it clear that it intends to annex the Litani river, because it needs more water for its swimming pools and the Palestinians have none left for Israel to steal.

By the estimate of our own insanely pro-Israel government, Israel had already over a week ago destroyed 80% of the Lebanon’s road system and 95% of the bridges. Thousands more innocent people will die because of this alone.

Israel simply HATES Lebanon (perhaps because, in general, people love Lebanon, as no one could EVER love militant, racist, sanctimonious, greedy, murderous, theocratic, ugly-to-the-bone Israel?).

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By Spinoza, August 1, 2006 at 3:00 am Link to this comment
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Mr. Alon, I don’t feel sorry for you, My sister also lives in Israel and I don’t feel sorry for her.  Do you know the word sophistry?  Your so called arguments are defined by that word.  Give full consideration to that word and also the word hypocrisy.  Look at every argument you present closely, sincerely.  Now go and look at some history books, honest ones.  Check to make certain every statement can be accepted as historical fact or close enough.  Sir most of your statements are false.  Lies do not make a basis for an argument.

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By alon, July 31, 2006 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment
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the only reason that the innocent lebanese and palestians are getting killed is because they let terrorists run their lives and countries. if hezbollah did not use civilian houses to store and fire their rockets then civilians would not get hurt. Israel does NOT delibrately kill civilians like hezbollah DO. if you actually knew anything correct about the conflict in the middle east then you would know that Israel never starts any of these conflicts they only respond to the actions of their neighbours who openly declare that they want israel and the jews wiped off the map. these respectable journalists need to stop giving in to arab propaganda before they write these one sided incorrect articles.

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By John, July 31, 2006 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
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My street sign says:

You made the wall.  Stay behind it!

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By chris, July 31, 2006 at 9:35 am Link to this comment
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The IDIOTS are those of you who actually believe, or are trying to deceive those of us who know better, that Israel’s intentions are pure! No one disputes thier right to exist; but that they exist in harmony with others, not at their peril! The truth is that they continually impose their will upon those who have no REAL means of defense. How convenient for Israel to have AIPAC and other US government/corporate nutcases always on their side! No one is fooled by the relentless attempts of those willing to justify the incredibly cruel and horiffic actions of Israelis upon innocent Lebanese, not to mention the poor Palestinans, who remain in a desparate situation. They are the real victims hers.

Wake up people and start reading articles by respectable journalists like Chris Hedges and Robert Fisk whose message is all about the facts.

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By Alon, July 30, 2006 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment
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Majority of the people posting here are mislead unimformed IDIOTS. Israel is protecting itself from Acts of terror committed by people who want to see israel and jews wiped off the map. these people who are committing these crimes against isreal do not want peace. Israel has tried many times to get piece only to be turned down by the arabs. This “wall” which is actually a fence only a really small part of it is actualy a wall because the palestinians used to camp at that particular part of the border and spray bullets at passing israeli civilians. this fence is not in palestinian land seeing as there is no such thing as palestinian land. this group only started calling themselves palestinians in 1968 aftre the war. if the palestinians stopped attacking israel then the fence will come down.

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By rachel bar, July 30, 2006 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment
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It is quite amazing to sense the deep hatred towards Israel by people who claim to know the truth, and are liberal.
As long as you do not acknowledge that our ability to know ALL the facts about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is marginal and limited, we will continue to face dogmatic belief systems, which lead us nowhere.

The situation in the Middle East is so much more comlex than the wall. It is so utterly simplistic, and an act of jouranlistic manipulation to focus on one event and one object, and to use it as raison d’etre(sp.?).

The conflict in the Middle East did not start by Israel, and despite some grave mistakes by Israel, there were many opportunities for peace that were repeatedly rejected by Arafat.

Israel had its prime minister Rabin assasinated because he led a movement for peace, which was shared by more than 50% of the Israelis.

Which Arab country ever demonstrated in its streets for peace, anytime ? anywhere?

Even today, in Israel, you have israelis demonstrating for peace. When did we last see Palestinians marching in the streets,  telling their Hammas government that they do not want to fight anymore? Did anyone notice Hezzbolla marching on with peace signs?

The duplicity in the above opinions and responses is so saddening.

Instead of acknoledging the right of both sides to live peacefully, and to reach a compromise, I witness journalism that is purposefully inciteful, in the name of “injustice”, and readers’ opinions that are so inlamed with hate, that it makes one wonders whether these kind of people will celebrate in the streets and give out candy, if Israel
were to be destroyed, a wish that Hammas and Hezzbolla repeatedly express, just as they danced in the streets when they heard about 9/11?  I wonder….

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By Spinoza750, July 30, 2006 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
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>>>>Israel built the wall to keep the suicide killers out.  It worked.  Now missiles come over the wall.  So Israel responds and now they are the murderers?<<<<

One doesn’t often associate the word stupid with Jews. C Wright Mills associated the word crackpot with American Foreign policy.  American Foreign Policy has been mostly based on a militarist view of the world, that is, if there was a choice of policy Americans always carried the big stick and took the moral low road.

I was in Israel during the Yom Kipper War.  On Israeli radio they were playing Pete Seeger and Joan Baez and many other anti-war singers and on Arab radio stations they were playing Military Marches.  Who won?

RIGHT WING SCUM IDEAS OF MILITARY DOMINATION NOW DOMINATE IN THE USA AND ISRAEL.  In the long run military policies and ideologies only have negative effects.  The Jews with there walls and the harming of Palestinian lives will only bring calamity on themselves.  Building up reasons for hatred is absolutely stupid. Taking the moral low road is always stupid.  Jews are acting in a very very stupid manner.

However, Fascist ideas have become more and more popular in the USA and Israel.  The words of the peacemakers have been drowned out. Extreme right wing ideologies and racist type thinking has gained a new prominence. A world war is brewing, usually smart people say a plague on both your houses, but today I think we are facing another anti-fascist war. Israelimerikkka has to be defeated.

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By Mark, July 30, 2006 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
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Regarding Comment #15820 by M Henri Day on 7/30 at 3:13 am:

Very good point indeed.

The day you are able to budge the supposedly “liberal” New York Times even one inch on this particular issue will be the day when, in the lovely spring air—with the birds atwitter—you will be able to put Ariel Sharon on a string, break into a run, and fly him over a flowery meadow like a kite.

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By Jaded Prole, July 30, 2006 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
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Great article. Thanks for being among those willing to speak with sanity, clarity and integrity on this issue.

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By M Henri Day, July 30, 2006 at 3:13 am Link to this comment
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A question for Chris Hedges (for whom thanks are due for his revealing, but low-key article) : You are the former chief of the New York Times Middle East Bureau. Why wasn’t your article published in say, the New York Times Magazine, instead of on the Truthdig site, where it reaches only a minuscule fraction of the readers it would have had it appeared in the Magazine, and where it can be conveniently ignored by other members of the US mainstream media ? Or should this question rather be directed to NYT publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr and/or executive editor Bill Keller ? I considered forwarding this question to the newspaper’s so-called «Public Editor», Mr Byron Calame, who is said to be «the reader’s representative», but discarded the idea, as earlier contact with Mr Calame has shown that letters concerning the really grave breaches in the Times version of journalism, which transform it into mere propaganda, go not only unanswered, but also unacknowledged….

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By heather, July 30, 2006 at 2:56 am Link to this comment
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Israel built the wall to keep the suicide killers out.  It worked.  Now missiles come over the wall.  So Israel responds and now they are the murderers?

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By Kate, July 30, 2006 at 12:38 am Link to this comment
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The following is a great clip from a documentary called We… Unauthorized Arundhati Roy, where Ms. Roy talks about the recent history of the Palestine / Israel conflict. She lays it out well. I find it helps wake more people up to what’s been going on over there.

The direct link to the video:

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.” - Arundhati Roy

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By Sharyn, July 29, 2006 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment
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This article and The Occupation of Iraqi Hearts and Minds (Tuthdig June 27 2006) reveal frightening and deeply, deeply disturbing similarities between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and American treatment of “Terrorists.”  I ‘ve wondered my whole life and still do not know if failure of emphathy and morality on such a grand scale begins with individuals and spreads to the political ~ or whether the political creates the personal.  Thanks to Marcia (Comment #15550) for reminding me of the one thing I do know.  Where such failure is born matters less than where it settles down:

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either ~ but right through every human heart.”  (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago)

Is the future of the human race in grave jeopardy?  Take its pulse ...

Look into your own heart ... today.

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By ed_tru_lib, July 29, 2006 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
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Will sensible, fair, honest, decent people-that is, the liberals, and even many “moderates” and perhaps even a few “conservatives” EVER grasp the 1 key simple truth of the entire mideast conflict, and support, in its ENTIRETY, the way to resolve the endless problems caused by not doing so. ISRAEL HAS AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO EXIST IN PEACE. If all sides, and the powers behind all sides, would simply acknowledge this as the starting point, then it would have to include the end point of Israel living in peace and security behind UNWALLED (because they are not needed) borders. How many of the Palestinians who’s lives have been disrupted by Israel’s wall, or Lebanon’s/Iran’s/Syria’s new war, harbored a terrorist, or stockpiled their weapons, or were one themselves, or only aren’t because they lack the insane, venomous anti-semitism and religious extremist-fueled madness of the actual killers? Let every Arab entity agree that Israel will ultimately exist in secure peace, and those who won’t agree will be treated by them the same as they would be by Israel, and Israel will sit down at the negotiating table today! Will Al Quaeda? Will Hezbollah? Perhaps, if they see that no one will harbor murderers anywhere anymore, nor attempt to profit, politically or financially, by supplying them with weapons.

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By Kate Gerber, July 29, 2006 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
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I am an American living in South Africa; I am amazed at the attitudes people who have no stake in this heart-rending battle have. Everyone but the Moslems believe Israel has a right to be where they are.  Given the fact that a billion plus people in that general region don’t want Israel to be there makes for high tension.  Let’s just pretend there were as many Moslems in that region as there are Jews.  What do you think this situation would look like?  My husband’s family (Jews)fled here after Europe was desimated before the American soldiers even set foot there in WW2. Why shouldn’t my husband, his children and all the other displaced Jews demand the right to live in their homeland?  Maybe launch a rocket (or two thousand)at anybody they like because they are tired of waiting for the World to recognize their rights?  Come on, folks.  This struggle goes back to times we from European origins don’t even understand. The Chinese built their great wall, I am told, to keep the (marauding)Mongols out.  It isn’t a new idea. 

If you realize that Palistine didn’t exist as a State when Israel took that territory, but that it was actually land that belonged Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan before the Moslems attacked Israel, then their claim is almost spurious.  They weren’t acting this way when they were “occupied” by their Moslem brothers.  The Palestinian people have been around forever, but they’ve not had their own government since when?  All this ferver about democraticizing the Middle East is a joke.  If we Americans want to do that place a favor, we might indeed not take any sides, but this battle for the life of Israel has now gone on for generations, and unless we’re on the receiving end of one of those rockets, we need to maybe be more circumspect.  If Mexico started sending rockets into the US Southwest, what would happen?  After all, by the measure we use in the Middle East, the Mexicans have every right to demand their land back. 

I have no problem with Palestine having its own State and govt., but who says they have the right to make war on their neighbors, under any conditions?  Used to be, back in the 70s and 80s we frowned on any kind of “un"civil disobedience: hyjackings, murder, civilian populations attacked by militant groups.  Seems that we’re desensitized to a point now, and so easily led by platitudes about democracy, we’re not keeping our eye on the ball.  Where are the legitimate governments of Lebanon and Palestine?  Why aren’t they stopping these attacks?  Have their governments been “hyjacked” by these extremists?  The game, according to well-meaning observers is for everyone playing to win.  What game works that way?  The objective of Hamas and Hesbolah is the destruction of Israel.  Sorry, but until these “freedom fighters” are willing to acknowledge freedom for others not like them, there won’t be a way to find peace.  Israel can bend over backwards and will only find itself under continuing attack.  Never has Hamas said they’ll stop attacking. 

Here in South Africa we had our liberation struggle with all the ugly, nasty terrorist/anti-terrorist elements you can imagine.  Now the “terrorists” are running the govt. and they are having to learn the lessons of leadership.  Maybe if Lebanon and Palestine weren’t so corrupt and callous, they’d be more concerned with their own citizens and less obsessed with their Jewish neighbor.

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By Olga, July 29, 2006 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
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I’ve read Mr. Hedges’ book “War is the force that gives us meaning.”
Judging by the obtuse comments below, it should have been required reading before submitting opinions here.

Thank you Fadel Abdallah for your opinion on Mr. Hedges and his writing. You’ve expressed my sentiment exactly.

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By Ramasyst, July 29, 2006 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
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Jill Says:

“riggght, I forgot, I’m so cruel. Because Israeli’s bulldoze olive gardens, I must be a bad person…considering I’m Canadian? And of course, blowing up children is right on par with cutting down olive trees! What retort comes next Mark? Keep it coming, I find it amusing how defensive you are.”

No Jill, “blowing up children as you claim” is not on par with bulldozing olive groves but you fail to mention or admit the systematic killing of Palestinian families and children in Gaza and the West Bank- by mortar shells and F16 Jets. This has been going on for decades now and is something you and the mainstream media choose to ignore as if Palestinians (or Lebanese for that matter) are not humans and their lives are not as worthy. They are children of a lesser God as it seems. Not sure if you are following the news lately, more than 28 Palestinians including children have died only in the past week but nobody knows about them because your biased media does not want you to know about them. Therefore, it is your moral duty as a human being to dig the truth and start watching, listening and reading balanced news.

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By Geronimo, July 29, 2006 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
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The realization that our government’s support of Israel is a threat to us Americans is beginning to take hold.    How else to interpret the following letter to the editor, published last Wednesday in the LA Times?
It’s a first for that rag,

Re:  “Israeli warplanes hitting fleeing Lebanese civilians,” July 24
    Is this what “never again” has finally come to; the collective punishment of innocent civilians in Lebanon and a pledge to turn back the clock there by 20 years?  Wasn’t that the way of the Axis powers during WW II?  As one who has throughout my lifetime protested anti-Semitism, I must warn American supporters of Israel that this over-reaction against the people of Lebanon is likely to spark a violent outburst of anti-Semitism throughout the world.
                                Ralph Shaffer

And if an outburst of anti-Semitism occurred, what would be the reaction from Israel’s leaders?  Something akin to what one world Zionist official wrote sixty some years ago in explaining why he’d turned down an offer from Nazi Germany that would have allowed several thousand Eastern European Jews to escape Hitler’s ovens and gas chambers by taking asylum in England..  Here’s what this Zionist official had to say*.:

“If I knew that it was possible to save all the children in Germany by transporting them to England,  but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second,
because we face not only the reckoning of these children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.”

With such friends who needs enemies, as Zionism, this mutant strain in Jewish history,  shows its predilection for chewing-up its very own.  Fortunately for all of us looks like it’s wake-up time in America.

*cited in Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, New York (Hill and Wang), 1993, 28.  Segev in turn cites a Hebrew work by Natan Michael Gelber


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By Mark, July 29, 2006 at 7:25 am Link to this comment
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Regarding Comment #15689 by gil on 7/28 at 6:15 pm:

Gil, you have perversely cultivated a misunderstanding here. NOW you tell me: “...considering I’m Canadian?”

But I CLEARLY addressed my original tirade (yes, OK, it was a tirade—maybe even an aria—OK, a mad scene)  to “those Israelis who don’t understand our objections to their stupid wall” that cuts deep outside Israel’s borders and into land that is rightfully not Israel’s (even if you concede the legitimacy of Israel per se).

Now, YOU do not belong to this set of people if you’re not Israeli and/or don’t approve of the wall and/or approve of the wall in principle as a protective measure but do not approve of the wall as the land-confiscating device it has become in practice because of its being built beyond the border.

If you INSIST on hearing what in your Jewish tradition of endlessly rehearsed victimhood you feel compelled to hear, I can’t help you. You evidently cannot comprehend that someone can be outraged at Israel and sick of its fanatical, lying supporters, to the point of real disgust and (yes) hatred, without hating “the Jews”, or even “every single Israeli individually”, then you simply are the victim of habits of mind that make communication impossible on this matter.

This is ridiculous. When the United States does something, the convention is to say “Today the United States did such and such”. We don’t say, “Today the United States declared war against—I mean—well—not exactly—X number of Congressman and Senators voted against it—and many, many Americans oppose it, or they only think they favor it, without truly understanding what’s involved, because they’ve been tragically misled through no fault of their own—and all over the world, people of American origin or ancestry were not even involved in the decision, whatever their opinion may be on the matter, or they might agree in principle but not with the way it’s being implemented, so we really can’t say this is something that was done by that the United States or by Americans generally, and in fact we risk fanning the flames of anti-American hatred and terrorism by even discussing this further, so never mind…”

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By Fadel Abdallah, July 29, 2006 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
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Modern human history has witnessed the stories of two apartheid walls and a third in the making. During the Cold War between Communism and Capitalism, the communists erected the infamous Berlin Wall. When the wall was brought down in 1989, the event was hailed as a victory of good over evil. And the then Teflon President Ronald Reagan, made big noise about it, claiming personal achievement in bringing that evil wall down and calling it a vicory for democracy and human rights.

The second wall story comes from evil and trouble-maker Israel, where the construction of its “apartheid wall” was started in 2002; of which 470 miles have been completed, and the work continues despite international condemnation and the World Court declaring it illegal. In all this, the U.S. has been silent, while continuing to provide Israel with unspecified billions of dollars and equipment.

At best, one can describe these two historical walls as simple solutions to divide people, where diplomacy and wisdom failed to prevail. At worst, these can be described as evil militaristic schemes to solve political issues. In any case, they can be fairly described as “apartheid walls” that attempt to curtail free human movement, and thus go contrary to the concept of civility and the progress of human civilization.

Now, in regard to issue of the Mexican immigration to the north, one troubling sign is Bush’s decision to send national guards to control the border. What is worrisome for liberal humanists like myself, is the sad fact of the militarization of the border.

Yet what is even worse is the plan to build another apartheid wall, courtesy of Bush and his Republican rednecks. And here where the story of the third evil wall of modern human history starts. It is no secret that one of the proposals on the table is to erect a 700 miles of walling across the Mexican border. I read, at least, one major article, where the underlying theme talks about “West Bank Fence Provides Example for U.S.” The idea of the American apartheid wall is no doubt borrowed from evil Israel, and most likely the experise will come from there too.

The unholy alliance between Israel and the political-military establishment of the U.S. is a very sad and evil story of Biblical proportions. For many years since its illegitimate establishment on Palestinian occupied lands, Israel was helped in its aggression and brutal occupation by untold billions of dollars from American taxpayers, and unlimited supply of weapons of mass destruction.

Now, when American incompetent politicians fail to solve their problems through diplomacy, communication and wisdom, they resort to copying the uncivilized apartheid methods of constructing apartheid walls. Even in the so-called medieval times, we have not heard about such large scale walls.

America and Israel are two countries that are constantly going backward in the progression of civilization. No wonder they are both hated by the majority of the world! They are both the most arrogant political establishments modern history has seen. But the good news for those who don’t like what they see is that “arrogance comes always before the fall.”

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By Fadel Abdallah, July 28, 2006 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment
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A great piece of sad yet truthful reporting, worthy of being recorded, in golden letters, in the annals of truth-telling. If we were in a truly free country, with free press, this piece should run on the front pages of all newspapers and as featured article in all magazines and periodicals, and should be taught in colleges and universities as a model for reporting facts with a human touch.

As a literary critic and lover of the truth, I nominate this piece as the best reporting of the year.

Thank you, dear Chris Hedges, for being a friend of the truth and the oppressed, and for being a man of true courage and deep sense of justice in a world where people like you are increasingly becoming a rare breed.

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By val reed, July 28, 2006 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
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Guerilla warfare ensures when freedom fighters dont have the cash for big planes etc.  To prattle on endlessly about terrorism
when the palestinians and israelis have been schooled on hate and
the koran and bible respectively , which are really just tribal records with great historical inaccuracies in them, is absurd.

Follow the money::: no, also follow the WATER. Israel wants to control all the water; the manchester guardian says it now has seventy eight percent of the land.

genocide should be stopped, not witnessed.

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By gil, July 28, 2006 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment
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riggght, I forgot, I’m so cruel. Because Israeli’s bulldoze olive gardens, I must be a bad person…considering I’m Canadian? And of course, blowing up children is right on par with cutting down olive trees! What retort comes next Mark? Keep it coming, I find it amusing how defensive you are.

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By Mark, July 28, 2006 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
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Gil says:

“Of course, it doesn’t matter, right Mark? I’m just a greedy larcenous pig.”

Notice: the phrase was “cruel, greedy, larcenous pigs.” But when you repeat it, you always leave off the “cruel” part.

Maybe you don’t object to that part? Did it make you feel tough?

(Oooh, mein herr, hit me again!)

P.S. - (By the way: I’m not a leftist; I’m a liberal. There’s a difference—go look it up.

But first, go bulldoze an olive orchard—I’m sure you’ll feel better right away.)

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By Gunter Hausmitten, July 28, 2006 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
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“...we have ignored and disregarded the decades of repression, the crushing weight of occupation, the abject humiliation and violence, unleashed on Lebanese and Palestinians by Israel because of our silence and indifference.  It is the Israeli penchant for violence and occupation that slowly created and formed these frightening groups.”

I am not sure what parallel universe the author lives in, but even in that universe the sworn oath to kill someone followed by acts in furtherance of bringing the oath to fruition justifies the victim protecting itself by whatever means necessary, especially when a failure to do so means extinction.  I suggest that if the Muslim world wants peace, it police itself by getting rid of the militants who theaten it as well as the rest of the world including Israel. God willing.

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By gil, July 28, 2006 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
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mark (or should I use a petname? You seem so preoccupied with them), I’m so happy you’ve come to terms with how you view the world. Israel is evil, wow, thanks for opening my eyes! I’m glad you’re so ‘liberal’ that you went from being extremely left to now being extremely…what, hating of people? The difference between what some of us say and what you say is simple: I may disagree with your views, but I don’t categorize any group of people as ‘one thing’, neither Israelis nor Palestinians. I’m sorry you’re all out of etiquette and fundamental human emotions.
Responding to R.A. Earl again, and to anyone who’s listening: I agree, it’s a spectacularly huge failure on both sides to commit to creating peace or settling differences. Everything is divided by one degree: they did this, so we’ll do that. Fundamentally, the root cause of the conflict and the solution is simple. But honestly, I don’t see how either side, both perpetuated by their own ideas of righteousness and who is entitled to what, could ever compromise or settle their differences. When people are willing to blow themselves up in order to achieve something, you know that things have been taken too far. Israel answers only to themselves, true, and that is a major problem. But people also have to understand, simply, no matter what one person says or how they feel about the situation: because of this, because of Israel’s constant bombardment on Lebanon and the world’s reaction to it, Jews are beginning to be hated again. I didn’t do anything, but I’ll have to pay for it. Of course, it doesn’t matter, right Mark? I’m just a greedy larcenous pig.

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By Geronimo, July 28, 2006 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
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An oil boycott by the oil-producing countries in the Middle East,  such as occurred during the ‘73 Arab-Israel War,  sure would change the dynamics in that part of the world,  since there’s nothing like a long line at the gas pump to get folks’ attention.  Like never before   we’d tune-in to what’s happening in the Middle East..  Either that or switch to public transporation, where such exists, that is.

Perhaps this is what it’s going to take to get us Americans to reconsider what’s really in our interest in that part of the world, continuing to blindly support Israel, or being even-handed in our approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  We do that and, count on it,  there’ll be a brand new ball game in the Middle East.

But what would make the oil-producers shut down oil shipments to the West.  The same thing that forced them to do this thirty-three years ago - Popular will.  It couldn’t happen this time?  The oil-producers are too dependent upon US support and protection?

Maybe, but note that already Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have switched from condemnation of Hezbollah for having captured those two Israeli soldiers to criticizing Israel for its invastion of Lebanon.  It’s not that the leaders of these countries have had a sudden change of heart, they’ know that if they don’t support the Palestinians and Lebanese now ,  they could be in serious trouble with their own people.

Will there be a boycott?  Depends upon how long these dual Israeli invasions of Lebanon and Gaza last,  how it plays on Aljazeera (and other Arab media) and what our president says and does.  But if the Arab publc is aroused to the extent that it demands that its leaders initiate an oil boycott, it could happen..

What are the odds?  Who knows.  But it did happen once..  . 


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By val reed, July 28, 2006 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
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War is about grabbing land and resources; the Israelis needed a pretext to implement the plans of the past three yrs to INVADE
Lebanon yet again; what ticked the Israelis off was that
Lebanon was trying to exert as a sovereign government better control of water resouces etc.
The Hamas and Hezbollah grew up as freedom fighters in reaction to a history of brutal engagements with the Israelis::: but no one would deny that Israel is the favoured child of America and like a lot of America, is WHITE and MIDDLE CLASS and largely insensitive
to the plight of any third world peoples.
The irony here is that the USA saved the jews in the concentration camps,but now turns a blind eye to the camps and ghettos the Israelis have created.

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By Almoni, July 28, 2006 at 9:53 am Link to this comment
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Retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie, the first commander of UN forces in Sarajevo at the beginning of the Bosnian civil war, told the gathering that Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon are hiding behind hospital buildings and apartment buildings, to provoke Israeli forces to retaliate and thus create civilian casualties.
‘‘If Hezbollah truly cared about civilian casualties, they would get their butts out of the residential areas of South Lebanon and fight man to man,’’ he said.
Even so, ‘‘The number of civilian casualties is unbelievably low,’’ he said.
‘‘This is Israel versus terrorism,’’ MacKenzie said. ‘‘We have never been even-handed in the Middle East. We’ve always supported Israel and we don’t support terrorists having the rights of a nation.’’

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By Andrew, July 28, 2006 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
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It’s really easy to see… 1, 2, 3…

Opposite Manifest Destinies— 

Critics of Israel often say that Jerusalem’s holy sites must be transferred to Muslim control because of the central role they play in Islamic theology. The Dome of the Rock was built on the site where Mohammed is believed to have ascended to Heaven to receive the revelation of the Koran. There is no longer a Jewish Temple on that exact spot. So, who has the right to control that area? Isn’t the fact Muslims are prominent in Jerusalem and Jews have only temple ruins a case for Allah’s supremacy? Islamists say so and point to this as their strongest case for validation. Would Jehovah allow this?

Ezekiel prophesied May 15, 1948 exactly as the end of Israel’s second punishment and the revival of Israel as a country. Doesn’t the mere existence of Israel validate Jehovah’s hand? The prophesy is stunning, but often overlooked.

Oddly, Mohammed, Moses and Jesus all record God gave Jerusalem and the land of Israel to the Jews. None of their scriptures revoke Israel’s title to the land.

The only question is, who does God now favor in these conflicts over land? Both sides convinced of their cause, if not original title, the conflict over Israel is now basically one of “squatters’ rights”. Does 2,500+ years of occupying the land justify ownership? Arabs and many others say it does and that’s the fight we see today. Finders, keepers. It’s Arab land, now. Compromise is really just a ruse to get the upper hand by both sides.

So why all the hubbub now? Answer: the increased influence of Islamists in the world. Unilateral concessions and changes in Israel have been perceived by Islamists as weakness. For those seeking to gain dominant regional influence, it was a good time to embolden and finance surrogates to destabilize Israel. It has turned the world’s eyes toward actual war and off nuclear proliferation or other theoretical dangers. e.g. Iran, Russia, Syria, etc.  ‘Kind of a Russo-Persian “bait-and-switch”. Most deny the conflict’s basis in religion, but it is certainly a major factor being exploited by both sides.

Growing Distaste For Religious Conflicts—

To most, this fight is really over the validation of faith. Land is merely the scoring mechanism. Occupation of Israel and Jerusalem are viewed as the end-all-be-all trump card for that claim to Godship. Jehovah vs. Allah. Many wish to dismiss this evident conflict, but it is growing in spite of their denials. Some are even trying to instigate this battle today because both sides feel they will win outright. God is on their side. “Bring it on!” For the first time, Islamists feel up to the challenge.

For years, Christians and church-going American politicians were quite familiar with this end-times concept regarding Israel. For nearly 60 years it was the basis for America’s often illogical support of Zionist actions— Americans as a whole have not wanted to be against Israel or Jesus if He returns. Bonus the fact it got votes from Jews and Christians alike, so secularist politicians gave the idea lip-service. “America for Israel, right or wrong” is no longer politically viable, now.

Now, this geopolitical dynamic is about to shift during the very generation that saw Israel reborn. The Bible state this generation shall not pass before Jesus appears to rule and reign forever. The heat is really being turned up on “Zionists”.

This belief is now made fun of and cited as a reason to question the judgment of politicians who support Israel. News organizations and others are casting Evangelicals as religious extremists to be marginalized by rational voters. Foreign policy based on scripture?! Secular critics rightly identify Jehovah vs. Allah as the conflict that could kill us all. The War on Terror is a war of religions, although no one in favor of that war will admit it [except a few who will be bludgeoned this election].

Therefore, hatred of religion takes on a modern validation… peace and reason. Sam Harris and other anti-religion pundits make a career out of it. They lead a growing group who say religion is very bad because it causes hate, terror and war. Anyone who believes in this bunk on either side is a danger to themselves and others, they say. They advocate stigmatizing all religion, not tolerance.

Proof In The Pudding?—

The Bible predicts Damascus will be destroyed. To-date, it never has been. Interesting.

Its invasion by Israel is now speculated upon in the news now by non-religious commentators. The Bible predicts Damascus’ ruin. Would that cause an Iranian-Russian supported force to attack Israel, also speculated upon by secular analysts? The Bible says so and that anti-Israel forces will be repelled. Then an Asian led attack will suffer the same defeat. Then a worldwide coalition attacks Israel. No nation comes to Israel’s aid. Today, these scenarios are actually possible.

If (when) these events occur exactly as spelled out, will most dismiss it as coincidence?  Have they done the math?  Impossible.  What will it take for folks to finally see the real cause of the conflict?

“Fundies” Notwithstanding—

America does NOT stop any of this from happening in the Bible and doing so would likely be political suicide, given the climate of U.S. politics today. ANYONE who thinks they can spin this conflict even a tad is a fool.

In the end, no theologian can show any stop to Israel destruction other than Jesus’ intervention. For whatever reason, America is curiously absent from Israel’s defense during final conflicts described in the Bible. America doesn’t ride in on a white horse to save Israel… Christ does. God settles the case once and for all in the Jehovah vs. Allah (and everyone else) matter. He is glorified.

America doesn’t rescue Israel from the world’s armies, Jesus does. America doesn’t get the credit, Jehovah does. All by himself. Mission Accomplished. Sorry, George, I had to.

The Bible says the generation that saw Israel reborn in 1948 won’t pass away, not that it will.

The only real question as more of the Bible accurately, improbably and rapidly unfolds is, are you ready for His final proof of Godship— when Jesus suddenly steps in to take final authority over Jerusalem, Israel and everyone on Earth?

At what poinbt would YOU say enough events have occurred as predicted as to justify a closer look at the claims of Jesus?

Don’t wait too long.  He will come quickly when we really don’t expect it.

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By R. A. Earl, July 27, 2006 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment
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To Gil re #15425 “you’re saying that the inability to negotiate peace or deal with each other in a peaceful manner is Israel’s fault…”

Apologies for my lack of clarity. I meant for the blame to be laid equally in the laps of BOTH SIDES.

But, as you clearly point out, “we” who are commenting here, for the most part, haven’t a clue what we’re talking about. We weren’t born there, indoctrinated there, abused there, taught to hate there. So we can only guess and extrapolate from our own limited experience.

I know it’s glib and simplistic to state the obvious… that this kind of relentless conflict is a FAILURE OF BOTH SIDES to intelligently and fairly deal with the situation. But who else can possibly be at fault?

It reminds me somewhat of a strike against an industry or employer. Just as soon as the workers “hit the bricks,” it should be publicly regarded as a FAILURE on BOTH SIDES to deal with the situation, and it should be regarded as mutual shame and disgrace, not “business.” (And neither management nor staff should be paid a nickel until agreement is reached. THAT would sure shorten strikes if not eliminate them altogether… but I stray from the topic.)

The ongoing hostilities in the Middle East are tragedies of monumental proportions and will only be resolved by those directly involved. It may take CENTURIES for them to evolve to the point where they can live in peace. Hopefully there will still be enough of them left to form countries. In the meantime, the rest of us can… and SHOULD… only watch. It’s their fight… we should stay the hell out of it.

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By Mark, July 27, 2006 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
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By the way, people, have we noticed a curious double standard concerning talk about Israel that very conveniently hobbles conversation concerning Israel’s misdeeds?

What I mean is this: if the elected Russian premier does something, like, say, opposes a US initiative, a headline will say “Russia opposes US initiative”, or even “Russians oppose US initiative”, or even “Russians thwart US interests regarding [etc.]”.

Nobody complains or believes that the headline writer is claiming that EVERY SINGLE Russian, BY INBORN NEFARIOUS NATURE, is opposed to our interests and can’t be trusted. Certainly no one tries to cut off discussion by saying that the discussion itself demonizes all persons of Russian ethnicity everywhere.

But lord, if you say something like “Israel is interfering with US foreign policy” - which is true in the same sense as the hypotheticals above might be - you get jumped on for supposedly calling by implication for a pogrom against “the Jews”.

I’m sick of this garbage. I just refuse to have it any more.

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By George Wittenburg, July 27, 2006 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
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Let us keep a few facts straight.  The “state of Israel” was thrust upon the region of Palestine by outside mandates, resulting in a massive displacement of Palestinians that created an enduring resentment and refugee crisis that has had major effects on the entire region.

Secondly, in discussing “Hezbollah” as a terrorist organization, it would do the discussion of this matter well to ask the British what their opionion is of the “insurgents” in the late 1940’s, like Begin, whose activities in bombings, killing civilians, etc, would under any definition be determined as terrorism today. 

With 3 billion a year in military aid Israel can simply use f-16’s and blackhawks instead of guerilla (or terrorist, depending on what word you wish to use) tactics.

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By Marcia, July 27, 2006 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
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The piece, the comments, all demonstrate for me what Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in his ‘Gulag Archipelago’:
“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart.”

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By felicity smith, July 27, 2006 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
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#15537 - Adding to what you said well, it is necessary for the sake of clarity to be specific in our criticism of Israel.  Just as I would hope that non-Americans who can’t stand our guts - there are a lot of them out there - would direct their hatred at the present American government and not at me or you, I would hope that the commenters on this site who seem to reflect a hatred of Jews would step back, think about it, and perhaps direct their hatred at the present government of Israel and ultimately feel empathy for probably thousands of Jews who deplore its policies in the same way as I deplore the policies of the government which presently represents me.

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By Mark, July 27, 2006 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
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Gil says: “You said anyone who doesn’t agree with the wall thinks Israeli’s are pigs.”

Well, it’s a very necessary kind of poetic license.

Now let me tell you why it’s necessary, at this particular juncture of political history.

You know what, Gil? I’m a proud liberal, and I used to be such a good little pro-Israel member of the Democratic party, and as such, a docile swallower of the big lie about the Goodness of Gentle, Enlightened Israel.

So when I got a bit older and started reading and thinking outside the approved American Zionist box, and was in the process of having my eyes opened, I did go through a period when I expressed myself on this subject with extreme politeness and delicacy, falling all over myself trying to assure everyone (including myself) that certainly I still LOVED precious little saintly Israel but was only trying to address some teensy weensy little problems that had come to my reluctant attention.

And you know what? I found that no matter how careful and polite I was, the almost invariable response of not only Israelis but many American Jews and even some non-Jews among my benighted, hasbara-poisoned countrymen, was to BITE MY HEAD OFF. They responded with all the forebearance of the Israeli Defense Force.

The more I learned, and the more I encountered this virulently explosive defensive response to any approach to this third rail of US politics, the less and less polite I got.

Buttercup, I’m all out of etiquette at this point.

Because my experience is that, ON THE WHOLE (with many exceptions), Israelis - as a nation, as a political and military force functioning in the world, relative to the United States (their slavish benefactors), and to the Palestinians (their prostrate and degraded poor relations) - ARE a bunch of pigs.

I feel that rudeness, at this point, is truly necessary. America is CRIPPLED with DEFERENCE to Israel in all things, and Israel continues to take advantage of this. All this politeness just encourages further, ever more breathtaking displays of GALL from the Israelis. We, the US, as a nation, need to tell the Israelis to go to hell and get their greedy hands off our government.

And we need to be RUDE about it.

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By Geronimo, July 27, 2006 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
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Enough of this chosen people nonsense, because all people are equal,  nobody’s better than anyone else, simple as that, whatever those ancient scrolls of unknown authenticity say.

However Jews do have a unique opportunity now to stop the bloodshed in the Mideast.  How?  By resisting Zionist pressure to keep all Jews on the side of Israel;  or, failing in that, to silence any Jew who dares support the Palestinian people in their demand for justice,  by labeling her/him a “self-hating Jew.”

In our own country,  before the civil rights legislation of the sixties,  southern whites who supported equality for Americans of African descent were treated similarly, with the pejorative hurled at them by race haters being “nigger-lover.”  Still those American patriots held out heroically against the haters, until the time came when the rest of America woke up and made history. .  Indeed, their speaking out was critical in making that happen.

Jews today, especially in America, have an equally glorious opportunity to help bring about change, this time in putting our nation on track in the Middle East. 

Actually that’s why Zionists come down so hard on any Jew who manages to see through the Zionist myth of a land without a people for a people without a land,  and comes out for the rightts of the Palestinian people.    Such a liberated (from racist Zionism) Jew is only responding to the Jewish tradition of always being on the side of the slave,  even (or especially) when the slavemaster happens to be a Jew.

And figuring out who’s the slave and who’s the slavemaster in the Middle East situation is strictly a no-brainer, being that It’s the Palestinians whose land has been occupied and to be occupied is to be enslaved..

So again,  what a glorious opportunity there is now for the self-loving Jew to change the course of history by standing up in support of Justice for the Palestinians.  This will encourage people of other religious persuasions to speak out,  folks who up to now have stayed on the sidelines for fear of being called anti-Semitic by Israel-backers,  After all nobody wants to be hassled.

And once the heretofore silent step forward, the game’s over for Zionists.  They’ll have to go by the standard rules.  No chosen people no more.  No “mass-murder credits” stamped “redeemable in Palestine” for all the horrible crimes that European Christianity (not Arabs nor Islamics)  perpetrated upon the Jewish people.   

Those are the negatives that’ll be lost..  And what of the positives to be gained…  Peace on earth and goodwill to all living beings.  How’s that for a trade-off?


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By earle, July 27, 2006 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
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Willful self-deception.

Israelis cannot face the fact that they brutally displaced a people.  They cannot come to terms with that.

They also cannot face the fact that the aggression aimed at them is the result of their actions. They continue to obfuscate. 

It is always others.  Never them.  The eternal victim.  Jews have NEVER done anything wrong.

Of all the people in the world, the Muslims have traditionally been the most accepting of Jews.

Jews have defiled their own neighborhood. They will have to one day face the consequences of their actions.

Stop listening to the Zionist hype and see what is in front of you.  For 50 years you have terrorized the Mideast.  This is the FIFTH Israeli invasion of Lebonon.  The eternal victims are actually the makers of victims. The chickens are about to come home to roost.

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By Shaina, July 27, 2006 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
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This is indeed quite shocking:

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By FrikkenKids, July 27, 2006 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
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Would the British imperial rulers have been justified to build walls around Jewish settlements when the Jewish Irgun terrorists were blowing up Palestinians in the 30s and 40s?  The Jews wanted their own country.  Now their the ones in power and seem to be treating the non-jews just how they hated to be treated and faught back against more than half a century ago.

As so many people have posted, how can you call it a purely defensive wall when it is being used to annex land?  Why in the world would a purely defensive wall have to seperate farmers from their crops?  Who waved the majic wand that gave Isreal the right to simply dictate what land it owns?

I have no sympathy for terrorists, but I also have no tolerence for a heavy handed state abusing a population simply because nobody has the strength (Palestinians) or the balls (the rest of the world) to stand up to them.

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By Michael Hugo, July 27, 2006 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
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I have read so much on this subject that this doesn’t add much new to my knowledge base except to reinforce that the Zionist experiment is a failure.  Unless Israel begins to practice justice, as admonished by its great prophets from its own sacred text, it is doomed to failure.  Or as another great rabbi said, “What does one gain if he wins the whole world but loses his soul.” My heart is with the bomb maker in the movie “Munich” whose conscience finally catches up with him after several “targeted killings”. He pleads with his friend to end this madness and killing by saying, “We are Jews.  Jews are righteous. We don’t do these things.  I am losing my soul.“Israel may be laying claim to its lost piece of land from the first century, but at what price? Hedges stories clearly capture how the Israelis have become what they hate, or what has tried to destroy them over the centures.  They have become racist colonizers, every bit as horrid as America was (and continues to be) as we laid waste to the natives of the land we now live in. But who is listening?Certainly not the bulk of Israelis or Americans who have made this wall and their acquisition of the land possible.

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By ItAintEazy, July 27, 2006 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
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Some people insist that The Wall is necessary because it prevents terrorism.  But in fact, the best protection against terrorism are negotiations and respect for Palestinian sovereignty.  Case in point, there were no suicide bombings during 1999 and 2000 (the events of the second intifada notwithstanding).

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By gil, July 27, 2006 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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can I simply say, to ridiculously upset earle and demi, most educated people don’t think like Jake, who’s talking out of his ass. I definitely don’t believe that, I’m Jewish. But then you had to take it a step farther, and said THIS is why the Jews are hated? Because we think we’re better? Why do you have to go and make statements like that? You know that’s not true. Jews are hated for so many reasons, for so many ridiculous reasons. But can I make one thing exceptionally clear? NOT ALL ISRAELIS ARE JEWS, AND VICE VERSA. People have got to stop categorizing us as the same thing! I can have my own just opinion about anything without it having to be “jewish” or “israeli”.

And Mark…it’s cute to hear you try to sound smart. I accused you of anti-semitism, and never “assumed” that “the rest of you” were all non-jews. It’s just funny that “the rest of you” think Israelis are greedy, larcenous pigs. See what you said? You said anyone who doesn’t agree with the wall thinks Israeli’s are pigs. So you sound like a pretty big idiot to me. Trying to defend it is even funnier.

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By Jane, July 27, 2006 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
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I can’t stop crying after reading this. There is no hope left in the world.

No hope left.

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By Stephenl, July 27, 2006 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
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And yet, the wall has dramatically reduced the number of suicide bombing attacks in Israel. As long as I can rest a little more easily at night, knowing that my family is a bit more safe, I will never be able to really hope that the wall comes down, and neither will the majority of Israelis.

One point: Hedges writes that “The barrier itself mocks any claim that it is temporary.” The fact that the barrier has been moved on more than one occassion in response to rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Israel has proven that it can evacuate territory and uproot settlements, Sinai, Gaza, if there’s a chance for peace. When the wall ceases to be necessary, it will vanish, and most Israelis would move the border back in exchange for a real peace. These days, Israeli pullbacks result in more terror.

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By Robert Castle, July 27, 2006 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
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Comment #15462 asserts that Jews are hated because Jews are God’s chosen people. As in other cases where this assertion has been proclaimed, no justification is offered. The averment makes unfounded assumptions. The argument that Jews are hated because they are the chosen people assumes that people other than Jews believe that Jews are in fact God’s chosen people.

A party avowing that all Jews at all times are evil is anti-semitic.  A person who asserts that Israel’s barrier is counter-productive is not anti-semitic.

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By Phil McGovern, July 27, 2006 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
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I can only say ; ” it is about time “. Thye American media has been manipulated and blinded to the most basic elements of the expansionist Israeli Nation. The simplicity of injustice is that it is obvious to all and becomes the twisted beast of irrational rationalisations when we refuse to apply the most basic tenents of our life experiances.The idea that “these people”(Arabs) have been fighting forever sets the plate for the tableau of Israeli propaganda. The truth is that Rachel Corey was’nt “one of them ” but she could see injustice from the other side of our country and put her feelings into action and she suffered the fate of so many of the indiginous Palestinian population . She was murdered by a system that refuses to acknowledge the humanity or the rights of the Palestinina. She gave her life for her beliefs and the lack of outrage by the AMerican Government says it all. The Apartheid fence is no different than the collective bulldozing of ancectral lands and homes of so many palestinians.The convoluted rationalizations of terrorism and statism defiy the truth that is this fence. I thank you for a little peek into the poor emporers dressing room.
Thank you

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By Demi, July 27, 2006 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
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In response to Jake, and his comments on Jews as being G-d’s chosen people:
Being a chosen people doesn’t mean you get a blank check to do whatever one chooses without compunction.  This is a profoundly shallow and literal manner in which to view “chosen-ness”.  As noted by scholars of Hebrew text, to be chosen is a burden, one that requires the Jewish people to uphold the ethical foundations upon which the faith is based.  These ethics proscribe collective punishment (“punishing the sons for the sins of the fathers”), request that one is kind to the stranger, and requires that the Jewish people love their neighbors.  The Jewish faith, at its core, believes that by behaving ethically one leads everyone closer to G-d, which at times can indeed be a burden to bear.
It is a shame that so many people purportedly of the Jewish faith have, through fear, ignorance, or through Nationalism (a form of idolatry in my opinion), lost focus on basic foundational Jewish ethics.

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By earle, July 27, 2006 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
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With stunning insensitivity and naiveté, Jake posts:

“The Jews are God’s Chosen People. They are hated because God chose them and favored them. Those who oppose the Jews make themselves God’s enemies and deserve what they get.”

With one simple sentence he tells us that he is better than us in GOD’S eyes!  If God favors him then what am I?  Can anyone living in the 21st century really believe this?

Here is the foundation of every pogrom.  Here is the reason Jews segregated themselves into ghettos. This is the reason the Talmud says Jews can take advantage of gentiles.  Here is the reason Jews are distrusted and hated.  They are hated because they act as if they are chosen.

How can anyone live with someone who believes that his or her life is intrinsically better that another’s?

Simply unbelievable.

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By Dee, July 27, 2006 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
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Thank you, Chris, for speaking out about the “elephant in the living room”.

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By Steven Fitzpatrick, July 27, 2006 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
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I keep thinking people will grow up and learn to get along, but it seems they never will. I find the best comparison to be found is between the US action against the native americans and the Israeli’s action against the Palestinians. We killed them, stole their land, humiliated them, tortured them, starved them, placed them on reservations where we knew they could not survive. The entire time we did this we insisted we were the good people and they were savages. Now the Israeli’s do exactly the same thing and use the same tired lie our own government used. You’d think people would have seen through the lies governments tell and see that if you treat people in such horrible ways they will fight back. I fear that once again a group of people will be robbed, abused, and eventually destroyed, while the guilty run around screaming antisemitism and acting like victims. I have no pity for the state of Israel, except for those who use their brains and oppose what is being done in their name. If it was up to me, all aid would be taken away from your sad little country, and instead given to someone who deserves it.

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By Jake, July 27, 2006 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
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The Jews are God’s Chosen People. They are hated because God chose them and favored them. Those who oppose the Jews make themselves God’s enemies and deserve what they get.

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By Mark, July 27, 2006 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
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To Gil, regarding Comment #15390 by gil Filar:

Gil says: “mark, I find it interesting that you claim your standpoint on the issue belongs to ‘the rest of us’. ” He assumes that by “the rest of us” I mean non-Jews, and therefore I’m sounding “anti-semetic” [sic].

Um, sweety: I began by addressing myself to “To Israelis who don’t understand why the rest of us can’t accept their stupid ‘defensive’ wall”.

Notice that the set of “Israelis who don’t understand [etc.]” is NOT the same as “all Jews” or even “all Israelis”.

Do you need me to draw a diagram for you? Or do you simply refuse to accept the plain meaning of words (making you “anti-semantic”?...)?

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By gil, July 26, 2006 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment
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Right back at chya, R.A. Earl. you’re saying that the inability to negotiate peace or deal with each other in a peaceful manner is Israel’s fault? Have people forgotten who started this war? Besides that, it is Israel’s policy to ALWAYS negotiate peace, no matter what. I don’t see ANY Arab country stepping up to the table. That’s Israel’s fault? As for so many other comments, they’re so ridiculous I can’t believe it.
But Steve Lang! I love your idea! It makes so much sense, and I’m serious. The sad thing is, neither side will ever join in in such a peaceful, artistic practice. I’m sure some would participate, and that would at least unite the people with the right ideas.

The fact is, all of us, journalists, the people outside the conflict all around the world, we have the gall to presume we understand what it’s like over there. What it’s like to grow up and be taught to hate Jews or Israelis, what it’s like to blow yourself up (to blow your CHILD up!) in the name of something, or what it’s like to grow up Jewish or just Israeli, and have people surrounding you—and all over the world!—wanting you dead. Please, everyone, stop pretending like you understand. Even I don’t understand, as a Jew with Israeli parents. I hear the oppression, I think it’s awful and it should stop. But it won’t stop with rocket attacks, or kidnapping soldiers, or blowing yourself up in a cafe or supermarket.

A childhood friend of mine just died in a helicopter accident in Israel. A Canadian who moved to Israel when he was young. He was forced into the army. That makes him a greedy pig? Would people stop being incredibly radical and making claims they can’t defend? When one side offers peace and the other is willing to negotiate, then things might be different. But don’t even think that this wall symbolizes Israel’s complete defiance to peace, because it doesn’t…it’s a rejection of unprecedented violence.

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By Steve Lang, July 26, 2006 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment
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Incredible pieces of writing that compel one to face their bias because it’s presented so clearly. Not easy shaking half a century of propaganda.

The problem with oppression is it works, not perfectly and not forever but it is effective enough to maintain status quo. Essentally the victims of oppression have to disappear.

Perhaps hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint could be collected and shipped to Palestine and delivered to the people there so they could throw it at the wall until the entire bleak surface became a brilliant abstract that ran for miles in a display of playful creativity a la Christo.

A consortium could encourage a Walart economy independant of the other side, eventually negating the need even for gates. Totally sealed and covered in bright colours The Wall would disappear from peoples minds and be of interest only to a thriving tourist industry.

For a donation, citizens from every country on Earth could journey to the Wall along any point and launch their own bucket of paint onto its’ surface. Rocket propelled paint grenades.

Seal the gates! More space for paint!

There are two sides to every wall.

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By val reed, July 26, 2006 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
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my oma used to say, we become what we fear; the israelis
fear terrorism, they have become terrorists; the wall is like the berlin wall and it makes life a misery for BOTH sides.

israel is still just a mittel european colony set down in the middle of a third world stretch of arab countries; how is it a colony? it is totally dependent financially and militarily upon the USA;
guilt has lead to endless GELT.
not good for anyone.

why did the UN peacekeepers get hit? so they could not witness
the genocide going on.

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By Kwagmyre, July 26, 2006 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
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Posted as Comment #15352:

“And of course this means that since the US funds the wall, it is acting outside International Law, but of course international law does not apply to what the US does in the world.”

For a thorough, detailed account of this, read Noam Chomsky’s “9/11”  One such case was the U.S. assistance to the Contras during the time they terrorized Nicaragua.

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By bernard arkules, July 26, 2006 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
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Pity the poor Palestians.  The wall makes it more difficult to shop in Israel,and,  oh yes,  It makes it more difficult to kill Israeli civilians.  That’s just not fair

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By Geronimo, July 26, 2006 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
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It’s a mistake to think that the governments of either Israel or America are interested in peace.  That’s the last thing they want, because without their violence what’s going to “stoke the fear that’s the driving force behind all messianic violent movements” , whether Islamic, Jewish, Christian or American.  After all isn’‘t fear what our leaders use to hold on to power?

Is Israel’s violence against the Palestinian and Lebanese people in America’s interest? Depends upon what one means by America’s interests.  Is one referring to what’s good for our ruling elite?  If so,  then the answer is yes, But if one is concerned with what’s in the interest of the American people, then the answer is no,  because US sponsored Israeli aggression against its neighbors is the most significant root cause of global terrorism, including but not limited to 9/11. 

So today when our president said he wasn’t interested in a truce because he wants to get at the root cause of Israel’s latest invasion of Lebanon,  was he signaling us that he’s seen the light?  If so, Hallelujeh, because with justice for the Palestinian people, peace on earth’s gonna be within reach.

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By gil Filar, July 26, 2006 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
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mark, I find it interesting that you claim your standpoint on the issue belongs to “the rest of us”. the fact is, anyone on this planet who generalizes that a whole nation of people (or should I say race? I can’t tell if you’re being anti-semetic or just plain ignorant) are greedy, larcenous pigs shouldn’t box in the opinions of the rest of us. I don’t necessarily agree with the wall, but I don’t see how anyone with a clear mind could agree with your statement. As for the Israelis being an oppressive, brutal force? the difference between the Nazis building a wall around ghettos and the wall in the West Bank is simple: the Nazis built it to keep the Jews in. The Israelis built it to keep people out. Sure, it sucks, but as soon as people stop attacking the country, perhaps deconstruction will commence.

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By R. A. Earl, July 26, 2006 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
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Gil Filar writes “A wall is a defense!”

I beg to differ. Not only doesn’t it defend worth shit, it’s a warning to all the world of the inability of those who build it to communicate well enough with neighbors to establish a mutual trust and respect.

A wall is a clear sign to all who see it of the FAILURE to use intelligence and reason and compromise and a sense of fairness and equity with one’s neighbors to establish an environment suitable for all living things.

What do you do when “one side” doesn’t or won’t use reason? Better question: What do you do when NEITHER side has a clue how live peacefully as neighbors?

“Children of God” - right… with the emphasis on the word, CHILDREN.

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By Geoff B, July 26, 2006 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
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This article is complete dreck.  Hedges is trying to summon sympathy for a people who should be looking at themselves in the mirror and asking why they have voted terrorists into power.  The main thought going through my mind while reading Hedges’ maudlin prose was:  “Good for Israel.  I hope Mrs. Nuhayla Auynaf will now pressure her fellow Palestinians to stop bombing Israel so Israel can live in peace and tear down the wall.”  The solution for the Palestinians is simple:  accept Israel’s existence and stop the terrorism.  Hedges’ attempts to summon sympathy for terrorists will only prolong the violence and cause more death, something he supposedly doesn’t want.

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By chris tackley, July 26, 2006 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment
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FOr those of you who haven’t heard: Innocent people in Lebanon are systematically being pounded every day by Israeli forces who do not care what damage they are doing to a country and a people who does not desrerve this abominable treatment! What is really going on? How long will this continue? These unjust actions are their excuse for “getting Hezbollah” but they only reinforce those of us who already know that Israel is so fear-based that it will stop at nothing to be in control. It has become a country without compassion, without morality, without justice. The sad fact is that the US is complicit in this aggression and will do nothing to stop this madness. I think that this is part of a larger and more definitive plan to change the maps of the Middle East so that Israel and the US can control the entire region. Watch out for Iran and Syria to be the next targets. The plan is very ominous for the rest of the world.

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By Robert Castle, July 26, 2006 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
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As long as the neocons own the Whitehouse and AIPAC writes the laws that govern our land, Israel and the United States will continue to savage the world. The Old Testament and its rules for silencing dissenters is trumps.

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By Ramasyst, July 26, 2006 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You might also want to check this out

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By felicity smith, July 26, 2006 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For what it’s worth - and it isn’t worth much if I’m not honoring it, but it’s worth a lot if you aren’t honoring it - the International Court of Justice ruled that the wall violates international law and must stop.  What is built must be torn down.  Israel argues that human right’s treaties do not apply to what it does in the Palestinian territory or the West Bank. And of course this means that since the US funds the wall, it is acting outside International Law, but of course international law does not apply to what the US does in the world.

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By Gil Filar, July 26, 2006 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
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In response to what Christina Tackley said: when is utilizing terrorism, that is, REAL terrorism a form of defense? A wall is a defense! Collin’s comment was succinct and cogent about the oppression: they still get the bombs in. Since when is it Israel’s job to take care of Lebanon, especially when the Arab countries want to destroy Israel altogether? Don’t give me that “reality of Israel’s oppression” line. The reality is countries bordering Israel want them gone, and will inflict whatever means possible to do it. Sorry if a few people get oppressed while they’re trying to defend themselves.

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By Kate Madison, July 26, 2006 at 11:05 am Link to this comment
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Dear Chris Hedges-

I have been a fan of yours for a long time—in fact, I gave all of my family members your book, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” for Christmas several years ago.  I applaud you for having the courage to speak critically about Israel—and the complicity of the U.S. in abetting its disastrous policies against the Palestinians.  I am sure you are being called an anti-semite, and worse, but I think you are a real humanitarian.  Please keep writing; we need your voice!

Thank you-

Kate Madison
Depoe Bay, Oregon

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By ncm, July 26, 2006 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
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It is a sad but true fact that people who have been abused tend to become what they feared as children. Look at the statistics for abused children - many repeat the horrors their parents inflicted on them onto their children. It seems to be self-perpetuating.

After centuries of ghettos and abuse by too many nations, it seems to be the turn of the Jews - inflicting ghettos and abuse on Palestinians. How is this in any way different than what was inflicted on them? What is it “payback time”? But as usual, on a largely innocent population - mass reprisals for the sins of a few.

Perhaps the wall will keep out a few potential suicide bombers, but at what cost? The indoctrination of generations of future enemies. And this is supposed to be a solution?

Sure, the Arabs are also to blame for the current situation. Other Arab countries have historically not supported the Palestinians in anything but word…if then. And the Palestinians, resentful of the (admittedly unjust) historical consequences of WWII and European guilt that helped create the state of Israel on previously Arab land, are resentful. But it isn’t the first or only time that a population has been displaced/a nation has changed hands by military force. Just look at US history. It’s not as if the European settlers arrived in an empty land! There were other peoples living there.

In spite of this, the Palestinians should have probably accepted the original UN proposal dividing the territory between Jewish settlers and the Palestinians. They would be in a much better position today if they had.

But this doesn’t excuse Israel from charges of becoming what Jews have been subjected to for centuries - an oppressive, brutal occupying force. Is that the culmination of centuries of Jewish thought and philosophy?

ncm (Jewish american of italian/russian origin)

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By Mark, July 26, 2006 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
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To Israelis who don’t understand why the rest of us can’t accept their stupid “defensive” wall:


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By R. A. Earl, July 26, 2006 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
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The day the wall went up would have been my last day in that house.

I know it’s completely unrealistic to expect everyone to just up and move. Too many attachments, traditions… fears.

But I’ve always been a maverick… and I’ve learned to pick my battles. Staying in the Middle East, it seems to me from what I’ve heard and read, is a LOSE-LOSE proposition. What kind of people choose to stay in LOSE-LOSE situations? I used “choose” deliberately because the reality is it’s a CHOICE to stay. There’s no way to “win” by staying there. Who engages in battles they can’t win?

And when we make choices, we simultaneously choose the CONSEQUENCES.

The world is a BIG place and there are thousands of places to which this woman and her family could go to start over. Easy, NO! Possible, YES.

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By Maxim, July 26, 2006 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
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Being a Lebanese-American, it seems to me you ought to be more outraged and saddened by the fact that your country has allowed for over twenty years a terrorist group to exist within its borders.  Hezbollah is shooting missiles at Israeli civilians, and you’re outraged at the willful destruction of your homeland.  Maybe if your homeland stopped its own terrorists, this situation wouldn’t have arisen.  It’s something to consider.

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By Collin, July 26, 2006 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
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I could have sworn that this was identified as a NYT editorial earlier.  But my apologies to the Times for that mis-statement.


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