Archive pour la catégorie 'Podcasting'

Hamas, One Year Later

Dimanche 28 janvier 2007

Zvi Bar’el, one of my favorite political analyst have a somber evaluation of the situation one year after the election of Hamas.

(…) even if Haniyeh starts wearing a skullcap and Khaled Meshal begins humming Hatikva, and even if Abbas makes it mandatory to teach the heroic story of Masada in Palestinian schools, Israel does not want and is unable to propose a diplomatic alternative that would lead to the establishment of an independent and democratic Palestinian state. It does not want to – because any such proposal would mean a withdrawal from most of the territories and the dismantling of most of the settlements. It is unable to – because there is no government of Israel. After all, even when it appeared that there was a government in Israel, not a single measly illegal outpost was removed; this is a non-government that has transformed the disengagement from Gaza from a national trauma to a housing trauma; and in Hebron, or in Mount Hebron to be more precise, the sovereign provides free protection to a bunch of hooligans.

Zvi Bar’el, As long as we impose sanctions,

It seems to me that the Palestinians are hostage of their political representatives notwithstanding the Israel intransigence and the completely stupid response from the Quartet to the election of Hamas.

It is the first time in history, according to the UN’s John Duggard, that an occupied people have been subject to international sanctions, especially sanctions of this magnitude and rigor.

The result is this: Gaza is gradually declining into anarchy and its entire social, political, and economic fabric is unraveling.

And it is this complete decay of whatever semblance of normalcy they had left that makes Gazans more afraid than ever before.

Order no matter how corrupt or ruthless or artificial it may be, is for the most part predictable and safe. And now it is disorder that is being intentionally fuelled in Gaza’s dusty streets.

It is more than a mere power struggle. It is a fight for both political legitimacy and the pen that will write history. Who will continue the national historical narrative of the Palestinian struggle?

And then there’s that other story: the one about a people forgotten in all of this. Who will relay their narrative?

Laila El-Haddad, Hamas in power: one year on, Raising Yousuf: a diary of a mother under occupation

See also Laila El-Haddad’s interview that narrate the social dislocation in Gaza. (mp3)

Jimmy Carter still amazes me. He gave a conference about his last book (Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid) at an American nondenominational Jewish university and received a standing ovation.

Nathaniel Popper, Carter Wins Over Student Crowd at Brandeis, Receives Ovation,

See also Jimmy Carter defends new book on Middle East for the podcast of this conference (mp3)

Recap on Where the White House is heading in the Middle-East

Lundi 15 janvier 2007 What is New about Bush’s New Strategy?

Sacrificing political stability in Somalia for three al-Qaida operatives is terrible math. Even more troubling is the continued escalation toward Iran. Beefing up Gulf defenses by sending additional battle ships to the region, leaked Israeli plans to use nuclear bunker busters against Iran’s facilities, and promises to provide Patriot missiles to the Arab Gulf states all suggest that Bush is expanding the battle field in the hope that US fortunes in Iraq will be reversed if Washington can claim victory elsewhere. The problem with this strategy is that it builds on the erroneous presumption that the US is in a war against « evil. » Rather than disaggregating struggles in Palestine, the Horn of Africa, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq in order to deal with each separately, Washington is stubbornly gluing them together in one super war on radical Islam. We are pretending they are all directed by al-Qaida and a nebulous enemy of freedom and liberty. This is not the enemy that exists. There is no command central. Moreover, we cannot destroy an idea with firepower. By pursuing this false war with greater determination, the US is ensuring failure with greater determination.

This an excellent recapitulation on all the battle fronts the White House is opening in the Middle-East (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia/Somalia). It’s quite scary. You have the feeling that there’s no check and balance from the Congress, and that Bush/Cheney will be able to do as they like.

The drums of war are even more beating here if you believe Zbigniew Brzezinski:

…this is what really worries me. There are hints in the president’s speech and in Rice’s testimony today about the possibility of escalation, not necessarily in the number of troops, but in the range of the military operations, namely perhaps against Syria or Iran.

And the incident with the Iranian consulate, the rhetoric about Iran, the increasing temptation to blame our failure on the Iranians and the Syrians could push us in that direction. And there are a lot of people still around here, particularly the neocons, who would like us to have a crack at Iran.


I think it reflects, on the one hand, desperation, on the other hand, a kind of fanatical commitment which I think is detached from reality.
Jim Lehrer: From the United States?
Zbigniew Brzezinski: Of the United States and of presidential leadership. And don’t forget that, even the existing policy, short of the widened war with Iran and Syria, does not have the support of the three still-living former presidents, and one who recently died, who went public on record as opposing the current policy.

It’s opposed by more and more Republicans. It’s opposed by public opinion in the United States. And yet these signals, these hints, and some of these actions raise the risk that, if the benchmarks are not met, instead of leaving, we’ll widen the war, because we’ll claim that the Syrians and the Iranians are causing us the difficulties.

And that means a total exclusion of any rational regional effort to get a political process going of the kind that the Baker-Hamilton commission spoke and which I think very rightly advocated.

Online NewsHours: Plan to Increase Troop Numbers Comes Under Broad Scrutiny (mp3)

Jimmy Carter, Israel and Apartheid

Jeudi 14 décembre 2006

Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, 2006.

I was astonished to hear Jimmy Carter talking on an American network television in such a way when he gave an interview about his last book on the NewsHour (PBS). Ok, its PBS, but still, his critics of Israel are coming from an ex US President. You should hear the mp3 that add more humanity to the whole thing. But I tend to disagree with his assessment, when he put the onus of the occupation only on the settler and seems to separate them from the state apparatus.

And let me get to the word « apartheid. » Apartheid doesn’t apply at all, as I made plain in my book, anything that relates to Israel to the nation. It doesn’t imply anything as it relates to racism. This apartheid, which is prevalent throughout the occupied territories, the subjection of the Palestinians to horrible abuse, is caused by a minority of Israelis — we’re not talking about racism, but talking about their desire to acquire, to occupy, to confiscate, and then to colonize Palestinian land.

So the whole system is designed to separate through a ferocious system Israelis who live on Palestine territory and Palestinians who want to live on their own territory.

Jimmy Carter, Former President Jimmy Carter Examines Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Online NewsHour, (mp3)

Helena Cobban point to the flaws of the argumentation of Jimmy Carter.

If I were Jimmy Carter, which I’m not, I would have noted that there are indeed many many things that Israel’s projects in the occupied West Bank and Golan have in common with South African apartheid, and very few if any of them have to do with skin color. (US citizens have this hang-up about skin color issues, which goes back deep in their collective past, obviously. Their common understanding of the word ‘racism’, for example, completely limits it to discrimination based on skin color, unlike just about everywhere else in the world where ‘racism’ has a far broader meaning.)

If I were Jimmy Carter I’d have noted that in both South Africa and the Israeli-occupied territories, the central project of a ruling government constituted by the settler immigrant community is the expropriation of the land and other natural resources of the indigenous people, involving the systematic expulsion of the indigenes from their ancestral lands and their relocation into economically quite unsustainable territorial holding pens.

The term « Bantustans » is generally appropriate in both cases.

Helena Cobban, If I Were Jimmy Carter…, Just World News

What Helena Cobban is saying is that this form of discrimination is deeply rooted in the state apparatus of Israel, even, if, following the pools in Israel, the majority of the civil society is against this occupation (and there is numerous Israeli groups that works against this occupation).