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If you want to know how brutally Pakistan treats its people, you should meet Amina Janjua An intelligent painter and interior designer, she sits on the vast sofa of her living room in Rawalpindi -- a room that somehow accentuates her loneliness -- scarf wound tightly round her head, serving tea and biscuits like the middle-class woman she is.

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The Israeli-Arab conflict is about land It is about colonies and walls and about binational states and two states and -- in the end -- about who has power The Israelis with their eternal American supporters? Or the Palestinians, hopelessly divided and soaked -- in Gaza, at least -- in corruption and nepotism The Israeli-Arab conflict is about land .

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It looks like a hop, skip and a jump There's the first electrified fence, then the dirt strip to identify footprints, then the tarmac road, then one more electrified fence, and then acres and acres of trees Orchards rather than tanks Galilee spreads beyond, soft and moist and dark green in the winter afternoon -- a peaceful Israel, you might think.

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Almost 19 years to the day after Saddam Hussein's legions invaded Kuwait -- and less than 18 years since the U.S. coalition liberated it -- the Croesus-rich emirate is still demanding reparations from Baghdad as if the dictator of Iraq was still alive. Kuwait is still demanding reparations from Baghdad as if Saddam Hussein was still alive.

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You don't overthrow Islamic revolutions with car headlights. And definitely not with candles. Peaceful protest might have served Gandhi well, but the supreme leader's Iran is not going to worry about a few thousand demonstrators on the streets, even if they do cry "Allahu Akbar" from their rooftops every night.

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It's a wrap, a doddle, an Israeli cease-fire just in time for Barack Obama to have a squeaky-clean inauguration with all the world looking at the streets of Washington rather than the rubble of Gaza.

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So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night's work in Gaza by the army that believes in "purity of arms". But why should we be surprised?

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Can it be that yet another Israeli failure in Gaza will change the dynamics of "peacekeeping" in the Middle East, that at last the ghost of Arafat will watch the "internationalisation" of the Israeli-Palestinian war?

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