But many believe that in the absence of a peace treaty in the short term, the shifting demographic balance, coupled with a new uprising and a Palestinian political gridlock, could also render the two-state solution impossible. If the results of the census show a rapidly expanding Palestinian population, Palestinians may rally behind a shared, binational state in which they would have the majority.
Beware sexed up Palestinian demographic projections.
Does this Daily Telegraph review of The Israel Lobby suggest that some new players have joined the conspiracy?
Its authors have been described as anti-Semitic by, among others, The Washington Post, The New York Sun, The New Republic and The Wall Street Journal. . .
Indeed, the fact that their book has encountered such outrageous abuse surely vindicates one of their central arguments: that pro-Israel lobby groups are so one-eyed that they toss accusations of anti-Semitism around like balloons at a birthday party."
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, who spearheaded the Netherlands site, explained the raison d'etre to HonestReporting:
I think that as the number of negative items on our website will grow, their cumulative effect will become very powerful. We should however never forget our ultimate goal: to force Dutch society to begin a debate on how many of its leading Dutch media distorts reporting on Israel.
While visiting the US, Archbishop Desmond Tutu got op-ed space in the Boston Globe to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How reasonable is his logic on comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa?
Some people are enraged by comparisons between the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and what happened in South Africa. There are differences between the two situations, but a comparison need not be exact in every feature to yield clarity about what is going on. Moreover, for those of us who lived through the dehumanizing horrors of the apartheid era, the comparison seems not only apt, it is also necessary. It is necessary if we are to persevere in our hope that things can change.
A report on Palestinian prisoners ignores their terror resumes and rap sheets, presenting them as "fighters against the occupation." See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: CBC Whitewashes Palestinian Prisoners
Think Israel has no right to exist? In a compelling commentary, Michael Medved takes all the arguments against Israel's right to exist and finds that them more applicable to Pakistan.
This Islamist intransigence raises the obvious question: on what basis does Pakistan constitute an “authentic,” “well-established,” “respect-worthy” nation, but Israel does not?
On every conceivable basis—history, international recognition, authorization by world bodies (The League of Nations supported a Jewish homeland on the site of Israel in 1923, a decade before anyone even proposed the idea of Pakistan), stability, functioning economy, democratic institutions, rule of law, enforceable borders, successful self-defense on multiple occasions, desire of peace with neighbors, support by a majority of its own citizens, respect for religious and ethnic pluralism --- Israel contrasts favorably with “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
Concordia University's student paper, The Link and Tariq Ali label HonestReporting as a member of the sinister Israel lobby. Here's the snippet from the Q+A:
Neil MacDonald was heavily criticized when he was CBC's chief Middle East correspondent. One group awarded him the “Israel conspiracy award.” And he was reporting—
He was reporting the truth. He was reporting the truth, but you're not allowed to report the truth about Israel in North America. Because the power of the Israeli lobby in the United States is phenomenal. Jewish professors who are hostile to what the Israeli army is doing are hounded out of universities. It's shocking.
We gave MacDonald this award in 2004 -- for a report falsely implicating Israel in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Ali said daily fuel shipments on Sunday were more than 30 per cent below normal. He said Israel delivered 52,835 gallons of diesel fuel, compared to the typical 92,500 gallons on a normal day, and 23,775 gallons of gasoline, instead of the regular supply of 40,000 gallons.
Ali said daily fuel shipments on Sunday were more than 30 per cent below normal. He said Israel delivered 200,000 litres of diesel fuel, compared to 350,000 litres on a normal day, and 90,000 litres of gasoline, instead of the regular supply of 150,000 litres.
As more and more Mideast reporters work under the threat of being kidnapped, the Toronto Star introduces a Jerusalem psychologist giving seminars to journalists on how to deal with hostage situations. My favorite practical advice:
Do your best, surreptitiously, if possible, to disconnect the wires from any explosive device placed near or on you; don't worry about which wires to pull out, because it is only in the movies that bombs are designed to detonate if the hero cuts the wrong strand (real bombs don't work that way).
The Guardian reports that Gaza's 3,000 Christians are living in fear:
"Everything has changed. In the times of my father and grandfather, there was no difference between Muslims and Christians," said Ibrahim Ayad, another brother of the victim. "The Islamic revival has also brought intolerance in its wake." . He said he would leave Gaza as soon as he had identified his brother's killers and got retribution.
He estimated that 70% of the Christian community would leave when they had the opportunity, possibly at Christmas, when Israel usually allows Christians some movement out of Gaza.
He said many Muslims perceived Christians as "kaffirs", or unbelievers, which meant they were not subject to the same laws as Muslims.
But agreement will mean an accommodation, not a victory of one side over another. Still less will it mean the annihilation of the "other". Where does Hamas stand on these matters? Will it accept a two-state solution? Will it end violence? These are reasonable questions to ask. Hamas's failure to satisfactorily reply shows that it would be wrong to try to include it. The preconditions for engagement were clear for the IRA in the early 1990s, and they are clear for Hamas today - renounce violence, recognise Israel, and accept previous peace agreements.
UTV reports that Lord David Trimble, no stranger to the Irish peace process, debunked the idea of including Hamas in Mideast talks. Melanie Phillips comments:
Much more important, however, is that that far from the Brits suddenly reaching out to the IRA, it was the IRA that suddenly told the British government ‘the war is over’ and asked to be brought into the political process. And that was because, as Trimble says, it had been beaten into a permanent stalemate. That is entirely different from talking to Hamas which is still attacking Israel through rocket attacks and suicide bomb attempts. In fact, as Trimble says, the British government did talk to the IRA in 1972 when it was still very much at war. The result was disastrous and merely intensified the IRA’s belief that everything was up for grabs.
Domestic Israeli and Palestinian angles that affect Annapolis are legitimate MSM angles. At what point do they cross a line and set up Israel (or the PA) as scapegoats?
The Financial Times, for example, doesn't cross that line, but Time magazine's Tim McGirk does:
If the Israelis can show that Abbas is a weakling, and the democratic impulse among Palestinians isn't as strong as their thirst for revenge, then Bush wouldn't blame them for refusing to go to the peace summit. It’s an easy out.
HBO is due to air a film drawing moral equivalence between a suicide bomber and victim. The NY Times writes that To Die in Jerusalem was inspired by a Newsweek cover featuring Rachel Levy and Ayat al-Akhras.
Sonja Karkar, president of Women for Palestine, pushes for a one-state solution. In the pages of The Age, she writes:
If Israel wants to be recognised as a democratic state, it must be inclusive of all its citizens; if it wants peace, it must allow the Palestinians under occupation the right to live in freedom and accept that the Palestinian refugees have an inalienable right to return home.
Here are five reasons why the one-state (a.k.a. bi-national) solution isn't and shouldn't be on the agenda for the upcoming Annapolis conference:
1. There's no shame in the concept of a Jewish state for the Jewish people.
2. The one-state solution negates Palestinian national aspirations just as it negates Jewish national aspirations.
3. Jews and Arabs don't share the language, history, religion, culture, or values required to make a bi-national effort work. Case in point: without an iron-fisted ruler, Yugoslavia disintegrated along ethnic lines and "Balkanization" became part of the world's lexicon.
4. Among themselves, the Arabs have no history of successful multi-ethnic states. Lebanon teeters on the brink of yet another civil war. Sunni-Shiite bloodbaths may lead to Iraq's partition. Fleeing the Mideast in droves are Christian Arabs.
5. The South African model doesn't apply. Among the many differences between the two regions, Benny Pogrund points out that South Africa's blacks and whites had a cohesive leadership who could sell power-sharing to their constituencies, as well as economic interdependence. This is not the case with Israelis and Palestinians.
Eight senior journalists from Indonesia visited Israel. According to Calev Ben David, the reality they found didn't match their expectations:
The visit has been an eye-opening experience for some of the journalists. "Frankly, before coming here I thought of Israel as something of a police state," said Harymuti, "but you probably see more police and soldiers on the streets of Jakarta."
Strange as it sounds, Israel's largest cable TV provider plans to drop CNN for Al-Jazeera English TV for financial considerations. But it's not clear cut that Israeli viewers will tune in. The Jerusalem Post writes:
"It's incomprehensible," Liebes said. "Whatever functions CNN performed, none of them will be performed by Al-Jazeera. It's a whole different kind of person who will watch."
Discussing the assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon with Walid Jumblatt, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer gives credibility to a ridiculous canard against Israel. Here’s the transcript:
BLITZER: Hassan Nasrallah, who's the leader of the Hezbollah in Lebanon, he blames Israel for all of these problems. He says: "The hand that is killing is Israel's. Israel has a sure interest in the assassinations because it is the prime beneficiary of any internal strife in Lebanon."
JUMBLATT: That's the biggest joke that I have ever heard. It seems the Israelis are killing in Lebanon the anti-Syrian people or personalities, as if the Syrians are hiring the Israelis to kill us. It's really a joke.
I mean, we oppose Syrian domination. We oppose Syrian occupation. I don't see why the Israelis should kill us.
BLITZER: So you reject what Hassan Nasrallah is saying, that Israel is responsible for all of this?
Palestinian journalists are crying foul over Hamas issuing media credentials. The Jerusalem Post writes:
Hamas's decision is seen by many Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip as an attempt to restrict their work and control news coverage from that area.
"Now Hamas will decide who can work as a journalist and who can't," one journalist told The Jerusalem Post. . . .
Toubasi added that Hamas had been summoning many of the Palestinian journalists for interviews about the nature of their work. He said that in some cases, journalists were instructed to refrain from using certain words and phrases in their writings, such as "Hamas militias" and the "ousted government" of [Hamas Prime Minister] Ismail Haniyeh.
It's worth noting that the PA shut down the Information Ministry in Gaza after Hamas took over the strip, leaving a vacuum for Hamas to fill. What should Palestinian journalists and foreign correspondents do?
Globe & Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon walks the streets of eastern Jerusalem and finds Palestinians oppose the handover of their neighborhoods to the PA:
But the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of this divided city, says that he can't think of a worse fate for him and his constituents than being handed over to the weak and ineffective Palestinian Authority right now.
"If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. "We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA."
As Lebanon deteriorates, profit-seeking farmers are growing more and more marijuana. The Christian Science Monitor finds that Hezbollah doesn’t object:
The northern part of the Bekaa Valley – where the bulk of the marijuana is grown – is dominated by Lebanon's militant Shiite Hizbullah party. Hizbullah officially disapproves of drug production, but it has chosen to turn a blind eye to the practice rather than risk a confrontation over the issue with its grass-roots supporters.
Indeed, Hizbullah in the past has co-opted cross-border drug smuggling networks between Lebanon and Israel, allowing narcotics to flow south into the Jewish state in exchange for intelligence gathered by Israeli drug dealers.
“The number and variety of publishing platforms are exploding in the Internet age,” Mr. Steiger said in a statement. “But very few of these new entities are engaged in original, in-depth reporting. In short, sources of opinion are proliferating, but sources on facts on which those opinions are based are shrinking.”
Must read: The NY Times takes a look at jihad media produced in the USA:
Unlike Mr. bin Laden, the blogger was not operating from a remote location. It turns out he is a 21-year-old American named Samir Khan who produces his blog from his parents’ home in North Carolina, where he serves as a kind of Western relay station for the multimedia productions of violent Islamic groups.
In recent days, he has featured “glad tidings” from a North African militant leader whose group killed 31 Algerian troops. He posted a scholarly treatise arguing for violent jihad, translated into English. He listed hundreds of links to secret sites from which his readers could obtain the latest blood-drenched insurgent videos from Iraq. . . .
In a recent essay, he argued that jihad was mandatory for all Muslims, and he cited three ways to fulfill this obligation: join fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan or Algeria; send them money; or promote militant videos as part of the jihad media.
For now, he said, he is fulfilling his obligations by helping other Muslims understand their religion. Recently he posted a video of a news report from Somalia showing a grenade-wielding American who had joined the Islamists.
It's so much easier, and safer for Khan to blog for jihad within the very comfort of the society he wants to undermine.