Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/12/2012 Arab Response To Peace Isn't Peaceful

From DG:
1) Ari Shavit says stay the course 

In A new peace is needed, (h/t Petra Marquardt-Bigman) Ari Shavit writes:
First the old peace was lightly wounded. After Israel gave the Palestinians most of Gaza, the first bus blew up at Dizengoff Square. After Israel gave the Palestinians Nablus and Ramallah, buses started blowing up in downtown Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. And after Israel suggested that the Palestinians set up a sovereign state on most of the occupied territories, they responded with a wave of terror. And as suicide terrorists were running amok in our cities, it started to dawn on people that maybe there was something defective about the promise of a great peace. 
After that, the old peace was seriously hurt. Tzipi Livni sat with Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) for a full year, but Qureia signed nothing. Ehud Olmert offered Jerusalem to Mahmoud Abbas, but Abbas just disappeared. The fact that the moderate Palestinians were turning their backs on the most generous peace offerings Israel had ever made raised gloomy suspicions about their intentions. Were they really willing to divide the country into two national states that would live side by side with one another? 
Finally, the old peace was critically injured. After withstanding an endless number of blows, even reasonable, moderate Israelis lost their faith in reconciliation. Even though they were still prepared to hand over the territories and divide Jerusalem, they sensed that there was no one to hand over the territories to, or with whom to divide Jerusalem.
So Shavit proposes:
That's why the death of the old peace requires some creative thinking about a new peace - a peace that won't be imminent, but gradual. A peace that won't be final, but partial. A peace that will not necessarily be based on signed agreements. A peace that will learn lessons from the death the old peace and will adapt itself to a new, stormy, historic reality. 
After pretty well describing the death of the peace process Shavit concludes that there a need for a new peace process. Yet what he writes about, is precisely what Netanyahu seems to be doing. So is Shavit asking the peace camp to support Netanyahu? Or to come up with another alternative?

A related point Shavit made is that the "Arab spring" dealt a final blow to the peace process. He might be right, but not in the way he intended.

In Palestinians? Who cares! Guy Bechor wrote (h/t Oren Kessler):
Yet then came the Arab Spring, the Arab public was given a way to express itself for the first time in its history, and suddenly it turned out that Israel is far away and not too relevant. Besides, what does the real Arab distress have to do with Israel at all? The Arabs realized that in many ways their tyrannical rulers deceived them via an imaginary Israel.
If a Palestinian state is established, for example, will Assad embrace his domestic foes? Will Ahmadinejad reconcile with his enemies? Will Libya’s militias make up? Will Yemen regain even a hint of stability? And what does one have to do with the other at all? 
For years Arab tyrants got a free rein because they supported the Palestinians. No depredation of their own  people was too awful to take their statements about the need for a Palestinian state at face value. While Thomas Friedman and those like him will say that Israel now needs to satisfy the demands of all Egyptians when it makes, more likely Egyptians will go on hating Israel regardless. And until they have a government in place that they like, the fate of the Palestinians will mean little or nothing to them.

2) On the Washington Post and Hamas 

The other day I criticized the Washington Post for its editorial stance, supposedly finding moderation in Hamas. It wouldn't be the first time.

6 years ago, in Preelection turmoil, the editors wrote:
The Bush administration prepared a "quartet" statement with the European Union, United Nations and Russia last week that strongly supported the elections and urged Israel to allow voting in Jerusalem. At the same time, the statement reiterated a previous statement calling on Hamas to disarm and recognize Israel's existence, and it added that the future Palestinian cabinet "should include no member who has not committed" to accept those principles. That was the right place to draw the line. 
Hamas should be given the chance to become a democratic movement, but Palestinians should understand that any retreat from recognition of Israel will mean the loss of vital international support.
But when Israel started fighting back against Hamas in Cast Lead, one thing was missing from Washington Post editorials ... an acknowledgment that Hamas in power had not moderated it. 
ISRAEL SAYS that the aim of its offensive in Gaza, which yesterday expanded to a ground invasion, is simple: to end rocket fire aimed at its citizens. That barrage began seven years ago and sporadically continued even during the six-month cease-fire that Hamas refused to extend in December; though the mostly primitive missiles have caused few casualties, they are a threat that no country could be expected to tolerate. The problem is that Israel probably cannot end the rocket fire by military means alone. Nor, without toppling the Hamas government and reoccupying part or all of Gaza, can it unilaterally ensure that Hamas does not rebuild its arsenal once the current fighting ends. To win this mini-war, Israel will have to rely on the United States, Egypt, Turkey or possibly European governments to broker a settlement. By that measure, a victory for Israel still appears uncertain -- and the ground attack may not help its cause. 
To be sure, the editors blamed Hamas, but, even so, considered the toppling of Hamas a bad thing. Why wasn't the Post recommending that the international community to bring pressure on Hamas to surrender instead of a settlement, since Hamas had shown that it had not moderated? And why should we take the Post's word now that Hamas is on the path to moderation when it didn't acknowledge its mistake in the past?

3) Why the Third Jihad needs a second look
From A second look at ‘The Third Jihad’ by Jeff Jacoby
A key message of the film is that jihadists pursue their goal of a West dominated by radical Islam with undiminished fervor. “On my website we talk about the Islamic state of North America by 2050,’’ says Imam Abdul Musa , a prominent Islamist interviewed for “The Third Jihad.’’ 
Radical groups like CAIR use the calumny of anti-Muslim bigotry to defame those who warn of Islamist militancy. Fear of being smeared has intimidated too many politicians and journalists , which is why the Zuhdi Jassers of the world - devoted Muslims who are pro-American, pro-democracy, and anti-Islamist - are inestimable allies in the war against the jihadists. 
Happily, he is not fighting alone. During the recent furor over the film, New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, a Muslim, refused to toe the CAIR line. “I initially thought from reading about it that it cast a negative image on all Muslims,’’ he said. 
“In my opinion it does not. It focuses on the extreme Muslims that are trying to hurt other people.’’ Similarly, the American Islamic Leadership Coalition issued a strong statement defending “The Third Jihad’’ as “factually accurate and important.’’
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