"In peace or war, the ultimate refuge—the sanctuary of all that is humane—lies distilled within the warmth of the kitchen."
Journalist Paul Salopek pauses in the middle of his 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk from Africa to South America -- Ethiopia to Tierra del Fuego -- to reflect on the food
shared with him during his time in Israel and Palestine. "Watching the women of Nablus move briskly, efficiently, purposefully about their tasks, chatting, often joking (about men, politics, life), I am reminded of all the meals that admitted me briefly into the conflicted lives of Israelis and Palestinians." [more inside]
Forty maps that explain the Middle East.
Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's
new Middle East Real Time
blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas
, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program
, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq
, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions
, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon
, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival
, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world
. Previous non-paywalled WSJ
Real Time blogs include Korea
, Emerging Europe
"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay
- "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
"I get up every morning at 5, go for a half-hour walk in the desert, come home and have a cup of coffee, sit down at the desk and ask myself what I would say if I were him, and what I would do if I were her. I think curiosity is actually a moral virtue. I think a person who is curious is slightly more moral than one who is not curious, because sometimes he enters into the skin of another. I think a curious person is even a better lover than one who is not curious. Even my political approach to the Palestinian question, for example, sprang from curiosity. I am not a Middle East expert or a historian or a strategist. I simply asked myself, at a very young age, what it would be like if I were one of them. So, that’s what I do − get up in the morning and ask myself: What if?"
- Israeli writer Amos Oz reflects on his life, on Israel, on writing, and discusses his newest work [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
, 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]
Photographer Mario Tama positioned himself over Netanyahu's shoulder at the UN General Assembly, and photographed hand-written edits he made to his speech. Here's what he saw
. (via The Browser
Lebanon has one tourist attraction
that's making money
, the Hezbollah financed "Landmark of the Resistance"
, a theme park commemorating multiple wars with Israel
The Point of No Return. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides—and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold.
"Turkey is emerging as the crucial power in the Muslim world."
But after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent walkout
from a Davos panel discussion and his confrontational words to Israeli leader Shimon Peres, some wonder
whether Turkey is forfeiting its role as a peace-broker, attempting to smoke-screen its own oppressive actions
against press, intellectuals, and ex-military, and possibly hurting its chances for full EU membership
, funded by the Israeli government and Jewish philanthropists, provides free all-inclusive 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults. The program's goal is to promote Israel along with general Jewish unity and engagement
. The blog Jewlicious has a category about these trips
. (Scroll down past many promotional entries for the interesting stuff.) Some question
its efficacy and results
, while some
. The trips end with a "Mega Rally
" featuring entertainment, giant inflatable Stars of David, and speeches by dignitaries including PM Ehud Olmert. Here is video coverage
(FLV) of the most recent rally. There is also a satirical Something Awful report
has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.
Israel vs. Palestine: Against the Wall
is a six-part series on VBS.tv about the separation wall
which divides Israel from the West Bank. [more inside]
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East
from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole
Last night I saw this short film at the Breckenridge Film Festival
which was an inspired and low-key effort at encouraging the two-state solution to The Problem. You can watch the video if you can watch a thirty-minute movie on your computer (I can't), or you can order a free copy to watch and hopefully share.
Not just another news blip; UN Security Council passes Lebanon cease-fire resolution
. The resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities" and tells Hezbollah to stop all attacks immediately and Israel to end "all offensive operations". Let's hope this brings about an end to all the madness.
How To Put Your Thumb on the Scales of World Opinion.
In the past week nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students
(WUJS) have downloaded special “megaphone
” software that alerts them to anti-Israeli chatrooms or internet polls to enable them to post contrary viewpoints. A student team in Jerusalem combs the web in a host of different languages to flag the sites so that those who have signed up can influence an opinion survey or the course of a debate.
PINR presents a well educated guess over what is going to happen with the Israel - Hezbollah conflict
. They also offer significant background and insight into the mood and motives
of some surrounding states
From Democracy Now!, Noam Chomsky offers an interesting look
at the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. There's really no good
that can come from the current escalation of conflict. Although the Bush Administration has remained complacent in the situation, the conflict will have direct repercussions
toward the United States. There's also the argument posed by the EU that the attacks are "disproportionate
." Inevitably this could be caused by the growing "Shiite Revolution
"If Hamas fails to agree to a permanent ceasefire, we will have to create another leadership, just as we did before with Sheikh Yassin."
Former head of the double ISO (Mossad
), Efraim Halevy Spoke at the Middle East Forum
in Boston last week (yes, he's selling a book
) and had some interesting things to say.
Earlier post here
Last week, the Guardian posted a three-part special report
by their Middle East correspondent (and former South African correspondent) Chris McGreal on the similarities between the current situation in Israel and the South African Apartheid regime. The report provoked many heated responses, a selection of which is reproduced here
. The Guardian responded by inviting Benjamin Pogrund, former deputy editor of the famously anti-Apartheid Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg, author of a number of books
on South Africa and founder of Yakar, a Jerusalem center for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue to weigh in with a response
[English site] is one of the leading voices of the Persian blogosphere. His blog
[Persian site] manages to reach a wide audience in Iran despite being officially censored. Currently, he is fulfilling his dream of visiting Israel
[Flickr pics] and breaking barriers in Israeli-Iranian relations
. Lisa Goldman, his host in Israel writes about his visit in her blog
, too. He is interviewed by the Israeli press in this Haaretz article
. He has written "Democracy's Double Standard", an NYT op-ed piece
]. from Tel Aviv, and delivered a lecture on "Reform, Youth and Technology" at the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University. Oh yeah, he's also a MeFite
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.
"Tonight was a night of dreams -- dreams of many citizens who have almost given up hope for being part of Israeli society."
A new Prime Minister for Israel? Moroccan Amir Peretz, former head of the Histadrut
(Israel's general labour union) supplants Shimon Peres as leader of Israel's Labour with an agenda of social welfare and an end to sectarianism and ethnic tension.
BBC Profile. Jerusalem Post article
. Analysis from HaAretz
. June 2005 Interview
. Biography and Open Letter from Official Website
Peretz's "Ethical Roadmap" for Israel
Animated video broadcast on Iran's IRIB
state television, apparently aimed at children, seemingly promotes the virtues of becoming a suicide bomber. Coralized wmv link
A Spreading Treason
The vagaries of U.S. involvement in the Middle East were surely brought home to First Lady Laura Bush on her recent trip to Israel, on a tour of Jerusalem's holiest sites. At the Wailing Wall, where she placed a note in the Western Wall – as is the custom – she faced surly throngs of protesters shouting "Free Pollard Now!" The Pollardites also showed up earlier that morning, as Mrs. Bush paid a visit to the home of Israeli President Moshe Katsav: "Pollard, the people are with you!" they chanted.
Q & A with former Israeli Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.
Halevy fields questions from readers around the world. See also his article "The coming Pax Americana
Iraqi Indicted for Proposal to Open Talks With Israel
Bringing democracy to the Middle East--let freedom ring. "A court of Iraq's interim government has brought criminal charges against a prominent politician for attending an antiterrorism conference in Israel and publicly suggesting that Iraq should open talks with Israel.
The indictment and arrest warrant, based on a 1969 law promulgated by the Baath Party that bars Iraqis from having contacts with enemy states, are likely to anger the United States government, which has sponsored Iraq's new courts and is a close ally of Israel." So it goes...
"Although embattled nationalistic movements are a commonplace, no nationalistic cause is as entwined with the larger issues and fault lines of global politics as modern Zionism is. Not least, the crisis of Zionism has implications for the ability of America to achieve its policy goals in the Middle East and in its wider confrontation with Islamic militancy."
Breaking the ice.
"If we can help Palestinians and Israelis understand that even the greatest obstacles can be surmounted through cooperation and understanding, then perhaps we'll be able to positively influence the atmosphere for reconciliation in our part of the world. We want people to see that even enemies can find a way to do great things if they decide to take on the challenge together."
Hatred via weblog.
The Jewish Internet Association
, a tax-exempt, non-profit California corporation, considers the Internet a battleground, where "every channel must be utilized to resist and convert others to our defense and support." A whois showed they have the same mailing address as palestinefacts.org
. However, examining their weblog
reveals an agenda that is every bit as hateful as Hamas.
From a recent entry:
"The Palestinian Arabs go through a pretense of having a government" .... "This must end. In the past the only way such murderous, bastard regimes have ended was through massive destruction of their people and lands." .... "The same process will be required to end the fraudulant "peace process" and come to the point where there can be a new start."
The JIA site links to a guide for shutting down offensive websites
. Do you think the same techniques would work against them too?
Israel calls it a Separation Fence.
Others refer to it as the Apartheid Wall.
Whatever one calls it, and however one justifies it, there is no doubt that this barrier swoops many kilometers into the West Bank, claiming valuable water sources and arable land for Israeli settlers, destroying Palestinian homes and communities
in the process.
With today's news of peace between Israel and Palestine
my opinion of Bush just shot up several notches, but will the compromises stick and finally acheive peace? In the past, Clinton brokered a similar peace deal
, Bush I tried it in 1991
, Reagan tried
, and even Carter did his best
. Even with all the previous work, we're still where we are today, which is less than satisfactory for everyone involved. Will today's announcement finally bring peace to the region or is that too much of a pipe dream?
Palestine as metaphor.
Is "linkage" of the Palestine/Israel situation to a wider peace in the Middle East valid? Some say yes
, some say no
. But it seems clear that most (except the Palestinians and Israelis themselves) view the situation more as a metaphor for wider Arab/Western relations rather than as a conflict between two peoples.
I approach this post with fear and trembling.
Hamas is losing. Good news from the Mideast
To all those who insist terror wars can't be won, some evidence you are pessimists.
Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon
Ok Israeli intelligence so I assume some will dismiss this as propaganda, though clearly US knows of this and works along with Israeli intelligence. And Syria occupies Lebanon with thousands of troops and thus runs the country. Meanwhile, we will (or will not) busy ourselves with Iraq.