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( Marjorie )

Comments made by Marjorie

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

Yes. The first female Arab combat soldier to serve in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) has been in the news lately also (http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/...). A June 2008 Harvard University poll indicated that Israeli Arabs would rather live in Israel than in any other country in the world (http://netwmd.com/blog/2008/06/23/2466). See also "Why Israeli Arabs Don't Want to Live in a PA State" (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/New...). They know for sure that life for them is considerably better in Israel than it would be in any other Middle Eastern country.

September 24, 2010 at 9:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

Also astonishing to me was Mr. Barghouti's statement that the U.S. does not give any money to the Palestinians. I quote from the Congressional Research Service report "U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians," dated January 8, 2010, which can be found at:

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organi...

"Since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993 and the establishment of limited Palestinian selfrule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1994, the U.S. government has committed over $3.5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. Since the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004, U.S. assistance to the Palestinians has been averaging about $400 million a year. During the 1990s, U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinians averaged approximately $75 million per year. Despite more robust levels of assistance this decade, Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Hamas’s heightened role in Palestinian politics have made it more difficult to implement effective and lasting aid projects that serve U.S. interests. . . . The United States has appropriated or reprogrammed nearly $2 billion since 2007 in support of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's security, governance, development, and reform programs, including $650 million for direct budgetary assistance to the PA and nearly $400 million (toward training, non-lethal equipment, facilities, strategic planning, and administration) for strengthening and reforming PA security forces and criminal justice systems in the West Bank."

It should be noted also that in 2009, the U.S. pledged $900 million to help rebuild Gaza.

September 23, 2010 at 5:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

Mr. Barghouti says that Gaza is a concentration camp. No one has seen any gas chambers there. Nor do residents appear to be starving. If they are, why would Hamas have refused to admit “humanitarian aid” from the flotilla ships, letting it sit in Ashdod for 2 weeks until the U.N. intervened? Even during Israel’s 3-week Operation Cast Lead, Israel allowed thousands of tons of food, goods, equipment, and medical supplies into Gaza. According to the Egyptian weekly Rooz Al-Yousuf, shops in Gaza are full of fruit, vegetables, beef and poultry, with food entering Gaza so rapidly that supply is now greater than demand. (See http://www.frumforum.com/life-under-t...) In Gaza now are also a new Olympic-sized swimming pool, a gourmet restaurant, a luxury hotel, and a new shopping mall. (See http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastd... and http://dfrankfurter.livejournal.com/1...) Of course, things could have been better. When Israel left Gaza in 2005, pulling out not only its settlers but its military, Jewish philanthropists purchased the settlers’ greenhouses for $14M as a gift to help jump start Gaza’s economy. The greenhouses were destroyed by looters. The temples belonging to the settlers were also left and could have been turned into schools or hospitals. But they were burned to the ground by Gazans.

It’s probably true that the luxuries evident in Gaza now are not available to all Gaza residents. It helps to be a Hamas supporter, especially since Hamas has often confiscated imports meant for the general populace. Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, is now governing Gaza. This is the same Hamas which overthrew Fatah in Gaza in 2007, shooting Fatah men in the kneecaps and throwing them off the tops of buildings. This is also the same Hamas that has launched thousands of rockets at Israel’s south, killing and terrorizing Israeli civilian men, women, and children. And this is the same Hamas that kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from inside Israel and has held him incommunicado in violation of international law for more than 4 years.

Mr. Barghouti says, though, that Hamas is willing to make peace with Israel. Here are some excerpts from the Hamas Charter:

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

This doesn’t sound much like a peaceful organization to me. But isn’t it pretty to think so?


September 22, 2010 at 4:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

Mr. Barghouti seems to feel that Israel should not be a Jewish State and that the Palestinians will not, and should not, acknowledge Israel as a Jewish State.

There are 22 Arab states in the world. There are 57 states with a Muslim majority in the world. Israel occupies 1/650th of the land mass occupied by all the Arab and/or Muslim states in the world.

Here are the Arab states: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Here are the states in which Islam is the official religion: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

And here are the Arab states in which Islam is the official religion: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mautitania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. By my count, there are 17 of these.

The Jews are the aboriginal people of Palestine. The Canaanites and the Philestines are long gone. In spite of the depradations of the Romans, the Crusaders, and others, there were always Jews who endured in the Holy Land. Jewish history there is 3000 years old. Arabs came to Palestine from the Arabian Peninsula only in the 7th century AD. The Jews who came to Palestine from Europe in the 20th century purchased most of the land available for purchase in the part of the Ottoman Empire we refer to as Palestine.

Why, then, should the Jewish People not have a state of their own, just like the Arabs in Islamic states, especially since (unlike Arab states which expelled their Jews) Arabs, most of whom are Muslims, constitute approximately 20% of the population of Israel and are citizens of Israel with full citizenship rights?

September 21, 2010 at 11:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

Mr. Barghouti seems to think that all the Palestinian refugees who left their homes--not only the original 700,000 or so, most of whom left to get out of the way of war and a much smaller number who were ousted from their homes, but all their descendants--should be able to return to what is now Israel. This group now numbers more than 4 million. The "right" of not only those made refugees by war to return to former homes but also this right for their descendants to return to homes their forebears occupied is unprecedented in international law. Directly after the 1948 war launched against Israel by 5 Arab states, Israel offered to repatriate 100,000 Palestinian Arabs. This offer was rejected. Obviously, for Israel to now absorb more than 4 million Palestinian refugees, many of whom have shown they have no intentions of living in peace with their neighbors, would mean the end of the Jewish State.

As a result of this war, something like 900,000 Jews had their property confiscated and were themselves expelled from Arab states. Nothing has been done by these Arab states to make amends to these refugees or to compensate Israel, which took in most of them and resettled them at its own expense. Ought not a just solution of the refugee problem also address these refugees?

Mr. Barghouti also said he believes in free movement for people and believes people should be free to live where they want. If so, why, I wonder, does he believe the Israeli settlements are illegal? Even though 1.4 million Arabs live in Israel, it seems the West Bank as well as Gaza are to be Judenrein. Before the 1967 War foisted on Israel by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, there were no settlements. But there was still no peace. After that war, Israel offered to return most of the captured territories, but the Arab League, meeting in Khartoum, responded no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with it.

It does not appear to me that Israel has been the obstructionist party in peace negotiations--not in 2000 or in 2008, when, both times, generous land swaps and a generous compensation package as well as a sharing of Jerusalem were offered by Israel. I can only hope that this time the Palestinian Arabs will realize they keep on losing by insisting on a "right of return" and will accept a just peace that will bring security and prosperity to their people as well as to the people of Israel.

September 20, 2010 at 10:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )