From the BBC blog of documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis: "Save Your Kisses For Me: How the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Israeli Right became co-dependents in an abusive relationship." Includes images / film clips from the BBC news archive. [more inside]
The Atlantic is in the middle of a four-part special report on the Israel / Palestinian peace process, called "Is Peace Possible?" which features multimedia presentations on and analyses of what they believe are the four core issues of the conflict: Borders, Security, Refugees, and Jerusalem. (The latter two will be released on Monday, November 7 and 14th, respectively) The report was put together in collaboration with the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. [more inside]
The greybeards of the U.S. foreign policy establishment have spoken out to the Bush Administration telling it what it needs to do to have a successful Mideast peace summit: advocate a return to '67 borders, Jerusalem as capital of two states, solution of refugee problem with financial compensation to Palestinians, security guarantees for Israel. Signatories of the statement include Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, Nancy Kassebaum, Carla Hills, Thomas Pickering, Ted Sorensen and Paul Volcker. A pretty formidable bunch. [more inside]
500,000 Lebanese citizens are now homeless. That's out of a population of 3.8 million, according to Juan Cole. People in Southern Lebanon have received leaflets warning them to leave, but are trapped in their villages under Israeli bombings. The IDF has opened a 60-km front on the border, using tanks to probe Hezbollah. Meanwhile, a ceasefire remains... elusive. I normally take the position that both sides are excessively violent, but this is a pretty sad picture of what's going on in Lebanon.
Ariel Sharon suffers major stroke. Executive power temporarily transferred to his deputy as doctors operate to drain blood from his brain. Say what you will about Sharon's tenure, his death now would send shockwaves through the Israeli political establishment and through the region.
Israeli Police Find Huge Car Bomb. Certainly car bombings in the Mideast are nothing new but what I found interesting was this paragraph: Police found a cellular telephone attached to the bomb, apparently to set off the charge by remote control. The second vehicle was apparently to have served as a getaway car Does that piece of information strike anyone else as significant? I wonder how many previous "suicide" bombings were not.
Pariah dogs of the Middle East No, not these two jokers, but the real thing: Canaan dogs. Like the more refined Saluki, Sloughi, Azawakh, Afghan Hound and "barkless" Basenji (among many others), Canaan dogs have been known for thousands of years. They guard herds for modern Bedouins like they did for ancient Israelites. During the 1930s, when traditional "war dogs" were having trouble adapting to Palestine, Zionists carefully redomesticated the semi-wild animals, turning them into seeing eye dogs and guards for isolated settlements. Canaan dogs became one of the first breeds trained to detect mines effectively, although their use for bomb-sniffing remains a touchy subject [LAT, reg'n]. You also might enjoy pondering the provocative question raised by this detailed essay: Why have all three major monotheistic religions considered dogs "a threat to the authority of the clergy"?
new counterbalance to israeli nuclear capability if you can't beat 'em join 'em (sort of)
Bush's speech today revealed the basis of what the current administration believes is the roadmap to peace in the Mideast. After looking at the major points of the plan, I feel it's about as good of a deal as the Palestinians are ever going to get and pretty much the only way out for the Israeli's also. What do you think?
Voices, Explosions, Silence: The Middle East Turmoil On (And Off) The Air. "We apologize for the discontinuation of the transmission of the Voice of Love and Peace. The offices, studios and transmission equipment were destroyed totally by Israeli forces in their last invasion of Ramallah." (from Radio Nederlands, more...)
Hamas accepts Saudi peace plan:
"There has been generation after generation (of war). Now there is a generation who needs to live in peace, and not worry about their safety," said [Hamas executive Ismail Abu] Shanab. "So it is a generation that wants to practice living in peace and postpone historical issues. We speak of historical Palestine, and practical reality."Since their official position is that "Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason" (Hamas Charter, Article 32), this is a dramatic change in policy indeed. I'm gobsmacked; this is utterly unbelievable, yet apparently real. And genuinely hopeful IMHO. What do you think?
An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Coalition. "For the founders of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Coalition, there is a possible way out of the present murderous impasse in the region: a return to the agreement drawn up at Taba in January 2001. Two of those who drew it up, one Israeli and one Palestinian, propose an alternative way forward."
Said's ideal Mid East proposal. In one of the more insightful pieces written lately about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Edward Said might surprise those that see only fundamentalists in the Arab world. Excerpt: And since the Palestinian-Israeli struggle has been so humanly impoverishing I would suggest that important symbolic gestures of recognition and responsibility, undertaken perhaps under the auspices of a Mandela or a panel of impeccably credentialed peace-makers, should try to establish justice and compassion as crucial elements in the proceedings. Unfortunately, it is perhaps true that neither Arafat nor Sharon are suited to so high an enterprise. From Al-Ahram Weekly, one of the most interesting English language news magazines originating in the Arab world.
A memo to American Muslims, in Muqtedar Khan's Column on Islamic Affairs, A Return to Enlightenment. "Muslims, including American Muslims have been practicing hypocrisy on a grand scale." "While we loudly and consistently condemn Israel for its ill treatment of Palestinians we are silent when Muslim regimes abuse the rights of Muslims and slaughter thousands of them. Remember Saddam and his use of chemical weapons against Muslims (Kurds)?. Remember Pakistani army’s excesses against Muslims (Bengalis)?. Remember the Mujahideen of Afghanistan and their mutual slaughter? Have we ever condemned them for their excesses? Have we demanded international intervention or retribution against them? Do you know how the Saudis treat their minority Shiis? Have we protested the violation of their rights? But we all are eager to condemn Israel; not because we care for rights and lives of the Palestinians, we don’t. We condemn Israel because we hate 'them'".
Nazis planned Palestine subversion. British secret intelligence files have been released in London about a German wartime plan for subversion in Palestine. Nazi Gold, secret parachute drops and the Grand Mufti.