Camille Alexandre | Founder of Creativesyria Canada
May 21st, 2007

Re: ‘Syria's Occupied Golan Heights

Some of the most popular reasons for opposing peace talks with Syria that I read in the comments section of every Syria related article in my favorite Israeli newspaper, Haaretz:

1) Syria attacked Israel in 1967 and it deserves to pay a price (The Golan)

There are numerous reliable sources that explain what really happened in 1967. Syria was part of the Arab world that was led by Nasser’s Egypt. If we put Arab politics and public rhetoric aside, it would be clear that Syria was not posing any existential, nor serious threat to Israel at the time. For a backstage look at what really happened, I recommend watching the excellent PBS documentary: the 50 Years War. Or better still, read what your legendary defense minister Moshe Dayan admitted in a 1976 interview that was banned for a decade until his daughter published it in the 90’s: Dayan said

The Syrians were not threatening us at the time.’ The attack proceeded not because Israel was threatened but because of pressure from land-hungry farmers and army commanders in northern Israel. ‘Of course [war with Syria] was not necessary. About those shellings: Syria shelled and otherwise emanated cold hostility. But, Dayan told his interviewer, ‘at least 80 percent’ of two decades of border clashes were initiated by Israel.

So, Syria does not really deserve the “punishment” of Israel’s “capture” of the Golan in an unprovoked aggression. Ask every country on earth that supports UN resolutions 242 and 338.

2) The Syrian regime is not democratic, Israel can not do business with a dictator.

Well then why did you support signing a peace treaty with Egypt and then with Jordan? And why is prime minister Olmert so eager to sit down with the Saudis and the other Gulf Arab rulers? The only way Syria is different from those other Middle Eastern countries is in the fact it is not a US ally. Is this a potential strategic threat to Israel?

3) Syria must cut its relations with Hamas/Hizballah/Iran before we can talk

This is the fantastic approach that was first made popular by the current American administration which is, so far, not known for its experience, wisdom or achievements in the Middle East. On his first visit to Damascus, secretary of state Colin Powell told the Syrian president that from now on there will be no negotiations with Syria until it agrees to and meets a number of American demands. The idea was to show the new Syrian leader that the United states will not anymore tolerate his late father’s 5-hour marathon negotiation sessions at the end of which he often succeeded in convincing the exhausted visiting American officials to agree to his recommendations. The new strategy of dealing with Syria was: “these are our demands .. take them or leave them”

The fact is, you can only dictate stern terms like these to a country you just invaded and destroyed in a totally one-sided war. Whoever came up with this new Syria policy either did not know much about international relations, or he wanted to have an excuse for avoiding an inevitable settlement with Syria.

Why does Syria have relations with these organizations? For various reasons. One of them is that these are very popular organizations. Hamas scored a landslide victory in the latest free elections in Palestinian territories. Hizbollah is highly popular among Lebanon’s Shia community, and also among many others in the Arab world. Do not blame Syria for “supporting Hizbollah and Hamas”. Blame Israel’s strategic blunders that led to the creation and increasing popularity of both Hamas and Hizbollah. Just imagine if Israel did not invade Lebanon in 1982, or even if they invaded and departed right after the PLO was sent to Tunisia. Just imagine how much less popular Nasrallah would have been had he not been handed the opportunity to defeat the mighty IDF last summer. In effect, it is Mr. Olmert who is mainly to blame for “supporting Hizbollah”

While many Arab leaders share Israel’s desire to weaken or destroy Hizbollah, the Arab street is still full of Nasrallah posters. If Israel does not understand the need to deal with these popular Palestinian and Lebanese forces, Syria is not obliged to make the same mistake. Syria’s ability to communicate with Hizbollah and Hamas can be used in the most positive ways if you can manage to look beyond the non logical demand “Syria must cut its relations with these organizations”.

4) How can I be sure that Assad is solidly in power? Can he deliver? Can he respect a signed peace deal?

If after 37 years in power the Syrian regime still needs to prove to you that it is solid enough, then please tell your Syrian counterpart who is worried about Mr. Olmert’s popularity which these days falls within the margin of error, how can Syria take the risk of making commitments to an Israeli government that has a very high chance of collapsing anytime soon.

Syria is taking a big chance by offering to engage the Olmert government with all its internal fighting and highly incompatible members. You are not the one who should worry about stability of the other government.

Syria never violated a signed agreement that it negotiated carefully without outside pressure. There is a difference when Israel withdraws from Arab occupied lands after a negotiated agreement compared to withdrawing unilaterally such as Israel’s non effective unilateral withdrawals from Gaza or from the south of Lebanon. Don’t expect “the Arabs” to respect a solution you forced on them, but remember that Syria, Egypt and Jordan all respected their negotiated agreements with Israel for decades.

5) Why should I give away the Golan back to a weak and harmless Syria? we can keep it for ever, can’t we?

No, you can not. I have been discussing the Golan issue with Syrians from all kinds of backgrounds. Regime supporters, regime opponents, Islamists, communists, secular types, poor and rich. With the exception of one Neocon favorite, Farid Ghadry (who did not set foot in Syria for decades), all Syrians want the whole Golan back. Don’t try to understand why, it is not relevant. They want their land back and they will not allow any Syrian leader to sign on anything less than the full return. If you want the Syrians to respect their signed agreement and to have a warm peace with Israel, try not to support your government’s attempts to pressure their government to sign on anything less than a full withdrawal from the Golan. If prime minister Barak did not try to keep part of the Golan in 1999 then we would have had seven years of peace and normal relations by now. There would have been no Lebanon war, and it is quite possible that the Middle East would have been in a much better shape.

Israel has two options: negotiate a peaceful settlement with Syria that include the full return of the Golan Heights, or keep waiting. Syria will not be foolish enough to attack Israel. But Syria will simply continue to remind Israel and the United States that nothing will function smoothly in the Middle East before a proper settlement is reached. Managing the ongoing conflicts will not be within the compass of your attainment. The same way Hamas and Hizbollah appeared, new players and new conflicts will periodically emerge until the scene is over crowded with angry competing players. At some point, the Middle East’s pressure cooker will finally explode.

6) How will the Syrian people react to visiting Jews?

Just ask the generic taxi driver that all American journalists like to quote while they report their stories from Damascus “The American people are very nice, their government not too nice .. a bit like Syria too”.

Despite the Atrocities of the Iraq war, Syrians have been exceptionally hospitable to visiting Americans, including many visiting Jewish American reporters … the types that you would normally expect Syrians to dislike because of the media bias towards Israel.

Have you heard how pleased Syrian Jews living in Brooklyn are with the way Syrians treated them when they used to live in Syria? They are among the biggest supporters of peace talks with Syria.

Did you also hear of how Syria opened its doors unconditionally to millions of refugees from all neighboring countries no matter what religion or ethnic background they had? ? starting from the tens of thousands of Armenian refugees in 1915, to the Palestinians of 1948, the Lebanese who escaped the civil war in 1976, the Iraqis who escaped Saddam, the Kurds who escaped the Turkish army, the 1.3 million Iraqis who escaped the war in Iraq today. Can you match that? Can you ask for more proof that Syria is the most generous and hospitable and honorable nation a peaceful and good neighbor can hope for?

Return Syria’s occupied Golan, respect its legitimate rights, respect its dignity, and your “painful concessions” will be quickly forgotten the first time you have lunch in Damascus.

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47 Responses to the Article

Amir Says:

There is one problem with this article. The author writes: “… all Syrians want the whole Golan back. Don??t try to understand why, it is not relevant.” How can it not be relevant?

I believe Israel should stop the occupation immediately, and I now why I say it: justice to the palestinians. But I cannot accept an argument that says “don’t ask why and don’t try to understand”. Why not try to understand? Are the Syrians not human beings like all of us? Do they have morals that are so different that Israeli’s cannot understand?

I am also an Haaretz reader, and support writers like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass. But I cannot agree to an argument that has no basis such as “every body thinks that way, and it’s irrelevant why”.

Alex Says:

Amir,

I knew I will get asked about that part. I’m afraid the answer to your question is rather technical and boring : )

I did not want to try to explain that part because my piece here was getting too long. We agreed that everyone will write 400-800 words and I reached 1300 words I think.

I am known for my long boring articles. I’m trying to improve.

Besides, this is not meant to be a very formal forum… I prefer to encourage a more direct and honest communication process.

But if you want one of the shorter answers to why Syrians, the vast majority of Syrians, want the whole Golan back, you might want to read the simplest piece on this blog written by The Syrian Brit. And you might want to ask yourself the opposite question: Why should Israel take any part of the Golan from Syria?

And I hope you agree that most Syrians, like most Israelis, are nice people. If they want the Golan back it can not be because they are secretly planning to attack Israel from the strategic height.

Alex carmely Says:

What is the efort to israel from withtroing the Golan?

is there any war now between israel and syria? No. You syrians are sitting still because you know what israeli air force can do. You saw it in lebanon.
Is syria will cut there ralationship with the hamas and jihad murderers? No. We see how mubarak (peace! peace!) lets palestinian terrorists import weapons. And you also will do it “dancing on two weddings” with israel and iran.
You can dream about the Golan like you dream about the Iskandrun county in Turkey.

Alex Says:

Please tell me how you imagine Israeli Air force (Or Israeli nuclear weapons, why stop with the Air force) being used effectively.

Will they lead your country to “victory”? did the American air force have a lasting effect in the long run in Iraq?

Alex carmely Says:

So dont you start something agressive if you don’t want to become Irak 2. You will loose much more then us. like lebanon.
Your problem is that you reading “Haaretz” and think that this is an autenthic israeli vois. fortunatly Its represent only 5% of israelis, the defetists, left-wingers and traitors of our nation.
If you realy want peace come and get one. Peace for peace. And come visit The Golan. With visa.

Amir Gross Says:

First, as an Israeli, I found your article fascinating, insightful and not at all boring :)

I would like to argue that both Israelis and Syrians are responsible for the 67. I hope that you can agree that Syria also took some actions that provoked Israel or at least gave it good reason to attack. Both of us, because of our lack of willingness to compromise for many years, are also responsible for the new situation that emerged on the ground in the Golan- Israelis moved to the Golan and Syrians who lived there moved to other places. Since we share responsibility for the war, we share responsibility for its results and we both should pay a price and compromise.

Given that I would like to suggest that Syria will sell the Golan to Israel! Each Syrian that had land in the Golan will be paid personally for his land and also the state will be paid.

This will allow Syrians compensation for their lost but will not cause the serious disruption as the need to move thousands of people and business. It will give a real boost to Syrian economy. It will get Syria a recognition from Israel that the Golan was taken illegally. it will enable the building of trust. I know how important the land is for Syrians but the Golan is a very small part of the country and I do not think it is of strategic importance to it, so why not sell? Selling land is common practice and will reestablish the honor of the Syrian land owner. Syrians will not get the land but will get paid, Israelis will keep the land but pay a lot for it – compromise. And there are probably other benefits for this suggestion.

Do you think this suggestion could appeal to Syrians?

george_ajjan Says:

Amir,

Thanks for writing.

As for your question: frankly, I do not think this will have any appeal. The recovery of the land is so intimately tied to the Syrians’ notion of dignity.

I recall an interview of Syrian President Bashar Assad in which he told David Ignatius of the Washington Post: “For an Arab, dignity is more important than food”. That encapsulates sentiment quite well.

Thus, it is my impression that no price can compensate most Syrians for the dignity that they feel is lost in the Golan Heights.

Amir Gross Says:

Dear Alex,

My daughter is keeping me up tonight so I can write…

I think you’ve touched the heart of the conflict – Arab dignity and its close relations with land ownership. I think that most people in the west do not understand this issue of dignity and how central it is in the Arab world, even in the decision making process at the highest levels. This cultural difference between the practicality of Western culture and Arab culture is very difficult to overcome.

Personally I think I understand the issue of dignity and I certainly respect it. In some ways I also envy Arab society where the value of dignity was maintained, as in our culture it sometimes feel like it is missing. This is why I think my suggestion could bridge the dignity issue. The message should not be we are taking from you but that you are willing to sell something that is yours. This is very dignify.

As much as the value of dignity is important, don’t you think that sometimes it is better to take the practical point of view? And practically, in today’s world, owing land in a location such as the Golan is not a measurement of richness and not the way to prosperity. Those are achieved through education and knowledge. Instead of owing a small piece of land in the Golan wouldn’t the former owners like to be able to have the money and put this matter to rest? Wouldn’t they be willing to make this sacrifice for peace among nations? How many of them would really want to go back and be farmers in the Golan?

Lets say they get paid according to today’s value of the land. This means each will get a lot of money for their land without losing any dignity. That would make it appealing and I think this is an idea that needs to be explored.

Matan Says:

So many Alex’s!
I, for one, would be happy to return the Golan for a full peace, provided some common sense assurances are made (water for irrigation from the Sea of Galilee not pumped to Syria etc.)
I am always filled with hope when I see comments like those above. Let me ask you, though: In your estimation, would Assad act to remove terrorist organizations from Syria when a peace accord is signed? Sadly, I don’t believe there currently exists a palestinian force with which to negotiate peace, and one sided withdrawl seems to be ineffective. Curtailing the activites of organizations like Hamas within the Arab world might stabilize Palestine enough for peace negotiations. I think this holds true for Lebanon as well, to a degree.

Alex Says:

Dear Amir,

It was George Ajjan who answered you. I was away for the day.

In addition to the question of dignity, there is the comparison with Egypt. Egypt got its Sinai back in full. If Syria does not get back its occupied lands in full, there will be an automatic conclusion that the Syrian regime is selling out, or at least that it has been a failure .. after wasting decades (since the seventies)… for not much (a partial Israeli withdrawal)

In short, the Syrian regime can not deliver on an embarrassing agreement.

I will answer your other point (thinking logically and practically) and I will answer MATAN later today.

george_ajjan Says:

Matan and Amir,

I think answering concerns like yours above is something all the Arabs need to pay attention to. What Syrians fail to understand is that Israelis, even those willing to part with the land, still have major fear that they are hated and will have capitulated to neighbors who wish to “throw them into the sea”.

The Arabs as a whole have done a terrible job allaying these fears. I firmly believe that if Syria were to regain the Golan Heights, anyone wish the vision of using this territory for its military strategic value to attack Israel would be laughed out of the country. The Syrians are ready to move on politically and economically and the benefits of a peace with Israel that takes their scarred dignity off the table once and for all is a big part of that need to move on.

I have written about this in the past in the conservative American magazine Chronicles. Here is an excerpt which partly answers Matan’s concerns:

While the Israeli military can inflict major damage on Lebanon and certainly wage similar air strikes on Syria with relative impunity, its leaders know that this strategy is not sustainable. Unless Israel occupies every square inch of land from which missiles could be launched, the possibility remains for isolated rocket barrages to send tens of thousands of her citizens into bomb shelters.

Only one force has demonstrated the capability to stop such activities: the military and intelligence services of the countries from which these attacks could be launched. The only way that Israel will be safe in the long term is for these tightly controlled Arab state institutions to deal with internal rogue elements themselves. Essentially, Israelis need the infamous Syrian moukhabarat to work to disrupt terrorists instead of facilitating them. They would have to conclude that this outsourcing of crackdowns against militants, which has already been done with Egypt and Jordan, would ultimately increase Israel’s security. Of course, the price for the Syrian and Lebanese governments to switch sides and comply would be “land for peace” treaties that allow those governments to recover some of their dignity.

AM Says:

To Alex Carmely,

I really have read all your comments, and ??amazed? about some certain comments and ??polite? attitude which you have, which really shows how much you ?? and the ones who think the same ?? want peace with your whole neighbors.

??You can dream about the Golan like you dream about the Iskenderun county in Turkey? said Alex Carmely. What a peace seeker you are ? Do you think that there is one nation in this whole world going to win or to loose forever ? Haven??t you read history ? Don??t you know that there is always high and low peaks for every nation in this World ? I believe that Israel is not an exception?. Especially that we saw what happened last summer in south Lebanon, who knows ? It might be the beginning..

??don??t you start something aggressive if you don??t want to become Irak 2. You will loose much more then us?. come visit The Golan. With visa.?, said A.Carmely. Well, I don??t think this is a good attitude from you at all, and this shows how a week person you are. You have the power today, many had the power before you too, and they loose it in one day> Maybe your sons and your grandsons will enter Golan Heights with a Visa one day, because their respected grandfathers didn??t understand the meaning of ??PEACE? when they could do it and have the power to do it.

Dan Says:

The way I see it we have two issues here.
The first one is about security – You may argue that the Syrian people are nice but unfortunately Syria is still under a totalitarian regime. What the Syrian people think doesn’t matter, only what Bashar-Al-Assad thinks matters (sad but true!).
Unfortunately Assad maintains close ties with Iran and Hezbollah, whose attitude towards Israel is well known. The headquarters of many terrorist organizations like Hammas is in Damascus.
Given these facts I believe you can understand why we Israelis don’t trust Assad. We simply can’t trust this man to keep a peace treaty and not use his reclaimed Golan heights to launch an attack against Israel.
There are two ways to overcome this situation – The first one is Assad’s regime being replaced by another one, hopefully democratic, but unfortunately I simply don’t see that happening in the near future.
The second, more likely, solution to this problem is for Assad to prove Israel that he actually intends to become a ‘good neighbor’: He must relinquish ties with Iran and stop supporting terrorist organization like Hammas and Hezbollah. This is a prerequisite for any negotiation – If you want to talk then talk, don’t threat.
The second issue I want you to consider is the Golan heights themselves. They have been a part of Israel for 40 years now. People are actually living there. Any settlement involving the return of the Golan to Syria will involve relocating those people and they sure won’t be too happy about this (Try putting yourself in their shoes).
We may return the Golan to Syria one day but it won’t happen tomorrow or next week. It will probably take several years and the Syrians should be rational about this.

george_ajjan Says:

Dan,

With respect to the concessions you noted above, I outlined a possible deal in the same article I referenced above:

Syria would be lavishly rewarded, most likely with the entire Golan Heights, in exchange for delivering on a lengthy list of tough concessions, which would include facilitating Hezbollah’s disarmament.

Syria would have to cease all support for Hamas and the other “rejectionist” Palestinian groups, who would be permanently expelled from Syria back to the West Bank and thereby deprived of their impunity and subject to retaliation by Israel.

Syria would have to recognize the state of Israel and normalize ties, including full diplomatic exchange.

She would have to minimize her ties with Iran and express her disapproval of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

She would have to cooperate with American goals in Iraq, including, but not limited to, border control.

She would have to grant full citizenship to some 420,000 Palestinian refugees currently living in Syria.

She would have to compensate Syrian Jewish families who lost homes, businesses, or lands during reprisals following the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars.

And she would have to acknowledge Lebanon’s sovereignty and establish an embassy in Beirut…

Responding to such a proposal would no doubt be the biggest and toughest decision Bashar Assad has faced. He has already navigated a few considerable challenges, and, despite some foolish rookie mistakes, his regime remains solidly in control of Syria, while his naive opposition is barely functioning. This would be his first true test as a leader and would define his legacy. During his six years as Syrian president, did he tighten relations with Hamas and Hezbollah because of some ideological commitment? Or did he astutely surmise their rising fortunes and merely ride their coattails to a stronger bargaining position with the United States and Israel? The answers are unclear, but it is worth the risk to discover them.

Dan Says:

George,
My personal belief is that had Bashar Assad not associated himself with Iran and terrorist organizations but truly wanted peace, we would have had peace a long time ago.

Alex Says:

Dan,

When would that “long time ago” have been? in the 90’s we got very close to signing a peace agreement twice … once prime minister Rabin was assassinated and his successors refused to honor his agreements with Syria and the Clinton administration (“the Rabin deposit”). Then again when prime minister Barak “got cold feet” and withdrew his previous offer to Clinton and Assad. You can read president Clinton’s book “My life” for details. President Clinton does not fault Syria for the failure to sign the agreement.

Then came Bashar Assad to power. Unfortunately his arrival to power was quickly followed by the following complications:

1) Prime minister Sharon came to power. As you know, he was not ready to respect whatever the labor party agreed to with the Americans and the Syrians.

2) Then 9/11 took place and America was not interested anymore in peace between Syria and Israel. Mr. Cheney and his friends were focused instead on materializing their plans for the Middle East. Those plans had no place for Bachar in them. The next American visitor he met with told him that from now on there will be no negotiations with Syria, only a list of American demands.

3) Iraq’s war started. Syria was told by the victorious Americans “you are next on our invasion list” as soon as we wrap up our quick operation in Iraq.

If you were the Syrian president .. where do you find an opportunity for peace under those circumstances?

Yet Bashar still managed to send some positive signals. Remember Bashar’s unprecedented hand shake with your president at the Pope’s funeral? remember Bashar’s 2004 interview with the New York times in which he declared his willingness to start negotiations with Israel whenever Israel is ready?

What did Syria get in return? …. “the Syrians are so weak they are begging” … Do not blame Bashar for strengthening his relationship with HA, Hamas, and Iran, blame this American administration and your government for ridiculing him instead of encouraging him when he sent them positive signals.

The only place I would agree with you is his unfortunate speech when the pope visited Syria… when he reminded the pope that the Jews killed Jesus Christ.

Very bad.

I heard later that he asked a Christian adviser to write that speech the way Syria’s Christians would like him to speak in the presence of the Pope. But Bashar read it and that was his mistake, regardless who wrote the speech.

But there was no trend. The past year Bashar stated over fifty times his willingness to start peace negotiations with Israel.

Finally, I find Israel’s pre-conditions regarding cutting relations with Hamas and HA and Iran to be bizarre … no Israeli government in the past put such pre-conditions on Syria, and Syria was taught this lesson the past few years that Israel and the United States do not take you seriously if you are weak and harmless. So you can not ask the Syrians to make the mistake of turning into a harmless entity anymore. But you can do better than that: Turn them into good friends by doing the right thing … finalize that peace agreement and settle that conflict.

THEN, you would be thankful that Syria has good relations with HA, Hamas, and Iran … if you want to settle with your other enemies, Syria is the party they respect the most. Then Syria can become your best intermediary with the others. Syria is perhaps the only mediator they respect. Remember the Mecca agreement? Syria was thanked by many European foreign ministers for the instrumental role it played in delivering Hamas’ side to the Palestinian government agreement that Saudi Arabia was officially credited for. In the nineties it was widely known that Syria convinced Hizbollah to keep the Lebanese Israeli border calm.

Don’t imagine that you can destroy those movements (or Iran) by force or by boycott. There are there for a reason. They represent popular forces in each country. As I said earlier in my article. Israel is to blame for Hamas and Hizbollah creation and for their popularity and their “successes”.

Instead of submitting numerous demands to the Syrians, Israel and the United States can go much further (if that is really what they want) by asking the Syrians for their advice on how Israel can deal with its problems. Demands are quite rude and they imply that you really still believe that you are approaching talks with Syria from a position of absolute strength. That leads nowhere. Syria can help Israel solve its problems in the area. But it all starts when Israel acknowledges Syria’s role and strength.

george_ajjan Says:

Dan,

Last summer’s war proved that Israel doesn’t have the military power to eradicate a military threat from Hezbollah unless your nation is willing to totally occupy virtually the entire Republic of Lebanon.

The only force that has the knowledge, the toughness, and the political cover to eliminate the possibility of rockets and missiles harrassing Israeli citizens is the Syrian moukhabarat. With the right incentive (regaining the Golan Heights), the Syrian government would make sure that Hezbollah would be lucky if they managed to smuggle pistacchios from Iran plus Khaled Meshaal and any other clowns would be served up on a silver platter.

Syria is a state, a tightly controlled one where an unchallenged President has the army under his thumb. Israel could ask for no better profile in a negotiating partner. Ask yourselves: how many incidents have their been on the Golan border since 1973?

SyriaComment » Archives » Introducing the Creative Forum: Commemorating the Golan Heights Says:

[…] took a more practical approach and listed a number of relevant arguments, as I have done on Syria Comment […]

Matan Says:

George,
I believe you are right. I also believe Alex Carmeli is absolutely wrong: This kind of rhethoric usually comes from people who haven’t actually fought in any of the major wars. My father, who fought in 67, 73 and 79 can attest to all the childhood friends he has lost, and would much rather return the Golan for lasting peace. It should be noted that the most virulant right wingers in Israel are very often people that never experienced the “real” wars. I hope you understand that grandstanding is the act of frightened people who try to bluster their way out of a hostile room. I, for one, would much rather respect my father’s sacrifice by eliminating my son’s need to go to the army. It would make my father a happy man.

naim Says:

Matan , You are so right in what you said , I have hope for peace , I hope you have many children who will carry your ideas and ideals.

robert Says:

Alex Carmely – you dont make me be proud of being israeli.

its fine to state your right wing beliefs, but please do it in a more intelligent way.

“Your problem is that you reading ??Haaretz? and think that this is an autenthic israeli vois. fortunatly Its represent only 5% of israelis, the defetists, left-wingers and traitors of our nation.”
– – – – what is that? where are you?
i am reading Haaretz and i believe in peace and in returning lands for peace, like many of our leaders in the past and current, who i found it hard to describe as “defetists, left-wingers and traitors of our nation” – who do you refer to? Rabin? Sharon? Barak? Begin? Ami Ayalon?

Whenever you are posting, please make sure you are have some respect to your self, to the readers and to this great oportunity to share positions and ideas.
this will be very appreciated! thanks.

unfortunately, there are still too many people like you on both sides..

further to the idea raised here, in which israel will purchase and compansate syria for the Golan. i am also doubt about this direction. however, recently Ami Ayalon, who is now competing with Ehud Barak for the leadership of the AVODA party, to charter the Golan for 50 years from syria.
what do you think about that?

thanks, robert

IsraeliGuy Says:

Dear Camille, George & Syrian people who read this,

I found this site through the SyriaComment blog ?? where I met Alex/ Camille.

This is going to be a long comment. Very long!
Reading it in full will prove to me whether you’re really interested in peace or not 😉

Let me start with the good stuff: I congratulate you for initiating this site.
I have respect for people who fight for peace in non violent ways ?? like you.
This website is a true internet gem and whoever was involved in creating it did an excellent job ?? so well done!

I am going to share my views with you about the issue of Israeli-Syrian peace.
I must warn you: I am a very ‘difficult customer’ but I gave you a fair chance by reading some of your articles and comments and I hope I’ll receive the same treatment from you.

I’m going to be open, honest and direct and I’ll put all the cards on the table.
I’ll start by commenting on Camille’s article.

I think it’s nice that you’ve wrote an article with answers to common Israeli objections to peace talks.
Frankly, I don’t believe the majority in Israel will object peace talks.
Handling over the Golan to Syria is the tricky part to which many Israelis object.

Let’s start with your first point (‘punishment for 67’): I believe you’re responding to the wrong or perhaps to an artificial argument – maybe because it has a better answer and it’s easier to explain.

A more likely objection point would be: “Syria attacked Israel in 1973 and deserves to pay a price (the Golan).

The Israelis that wish to punish Syria want to do so for humiliating us in 1973, when you caught us off guard, during the holiest day of the Jewish year ?? not for 1967.

So if you really want to address the issue of “why do we deserve a punishment”, you should address the Yom Kippur war and not the Six Day war.

Regarding your second point (why make peace with a dictatorship), you’re responding by asking the reader ” why did you support signing a peace treaty with Egypt and then with Jordan?”.

Well, let’s not forget the circumstances.
Back then, we were surrounded by 4 extremely hostile enemies.
Naturally, when your cards are weaker (that’s us), you’re willing to make more compromises.

Back then we were worried from a situation of fighting a war at 4 fronts simultaneously.
This is a nightmare scenario for any army.
Anwar Sadat was wise enough to be the first to jump on the peace wagon ?? while it was possible.

He played his cards right.
He had a target (Sinai) and he was willing to travel to Israel, speak in front of the Knesset, appeal to the Israeli public opinion ?? and all that with no real guarantee that it will lead to any positive result.

The Israeli public opinion fell in love with Sadat.
He came to Israel with a flower ?? not a gun, he took the initiative, he was willing to risk his neck and he didn’t hesitate to make gestures to the enemy that brought defeat on his army.

The result? Israelis loved him and he received everything that he wanted up to the very last byte of sand.
And from whom? From Menachem Begin, the most right winger prime minister that Israel had up until that point. Unbelievably, huh?

Then came King Hussein of Jordan.
The Israelis always loved him: he was always courteous to Israelis, never used the language of threats always talked about peace as a value and not as a way to get more land and you could feel how he reached out to the Israeli public.

The result? Public opinion supported the peace deal and it was an easy ride for the late PM Rabin.

So instead of being surrounded by 4 hostile countries, we have only 2 ?? both in the north, close to each other (Syria and Lebanon).
The pressure that we’ve been in the past is not there any more.

It’s like in the stock market when the market is good: the first to come in, benefit the most and those who come last, do not profit as much (if at all).

So telling Israelis “you signed on a peace treaty with 2 other dictatorships, we want the same deal” is not persuasive enough.
When you enter the market late ?? you pay a price.

Let’s go to the 3rd point: Hizbollah / Hamas / Iran
The reply to this point is extremely unconvincing.

The fact that Hamas has been elected in free elections has no meaning to Israelis.
Hitler was elected in free elections ?? so?

The fact that Hizbollah is ‘popular among Shias’ will also mean nothing to Israelis as long as it’s Israel’s bitter enemy.

Iran is also an extremely bitter enemy and every single Israeli knows that this country wants to wipe Israel off the map.

You may argue that ‘it’s Israel’s fault’ that these movements are strong and popular and you know what? Maybe you’re right, but Israelis can’t accept the fact that Syria will be in bed with this trio, after peace will be reached.

The notion that Israel will make peace with Syria and Syria will maintain its ties with this trio will be unacceptable to at least 80% of Israelis ?? and perhaps more.

The idea which is presented in the article that Syria will ‘bridge’ between Israel and these elements (which seek to destroy Israel) is seen as ludicrous as an idea that Israel will ‘bridge’ between Syria and Lebanon.

Let’s go to the next point: (Assad).
Well, maybe the Assad family has been in power for 37 years but any Israeli who watches the news (and they all do), knows how delicate things can be in dictatorships ?? especially after one dies or being assassinated.

You’re right, Israeli governments are changing like socks, every 2 years or so, but Israel is a democracy which respects all its international agreements even after a government collapses, while in dictatorships, the leader is sovereign to do whatever he wishes.

If there will be a military coup, Islamic rule or whatever ?? the peace paper can find itself in the garbage can pretty quickly.

By the way, I see that you’re mocking Mr. Olmert??s popularity and mentioning that “these days falls within the margin of error”.
Let me tell you that it’s not a good policy to persuade an Israeli in the need of peace by mocking his leader ?? even if you feel that he’s a joke.

Ironically, just days ago, Mr. Olmert??s popularity went straight up after?. Yep, the Syria ‘flyover’.

Even if the reader hates Olmert, when he’ll read such a comment on a Syrian site, his patriotic feelings will overshadow his hate to the man.
Nobody likes it when his leader is being mocked by his enemy’s ‘media’ and it’s not making your argument more effective, in my humble opinion.

When you write a line like ‘ You are not the one who should worry about stability of the other government’, it obviously insults the reader’s intelligence ?? because they ARE extremely worried and why shouldn’t they? It’s not Denmark or Norway it’s Syria!

Moving to the 5th point: I can understand it when you say that all Syrians want the Golan back.
I believe you, I know they do.

However, when you say ” they will not allow any Syrian leader to sign on anything less than the full return”, I find it very hard to believe.
I’m not enjoying repeating this, but a dictator can decide whatever he wants.
That’s the fun part of dictatorships.

If Syria was a democracy and you’d tell me that Assad will not be able to pass a no confidence vote ?? I could really understand.
But this is not the case.

If he wants, he can decide that he’s giving up the Golan and in fact giving us Kunetra as a gift for the holidays.

I’m sure Syrians know that it’s not healthy to criticize the leader or the deals that he’s making.

Towards the end of this point you say that ” Israel has two options: negotiate a peaceful settlement with Syria that include the full return of the Golan Heights, or keep waiting”.

Well, actually Syria is the one who’s doing the waiting.
It’s Syria who wants the Golan from Israel and not vice versa.
After reading this part I’m sure a lot of Israelis are saying to themselves (with irony) “Gee, I guess we’re gonna have to keep waiting..”.

Then, you say ” Syria will not be foolish enough to attack Israel. But Syria will simply continue to remind Israel and the United States that nothing will function smoothly in the Middle East before a proper settlement is reached.”

An average Israeli will read the “Syria will simply continue to remind Israel?” part as a threat and as extortion and will not respond well to it.
Threats do not work with most Israelis.

We have a nice buddy called Ahmadinejad which threatens us with annihilation, so your little hint is like small money compared to it.

Regarding your last point (visiting Jews): I don’t think that many Israelis really ask it.
I think they know that the Syrian people are made of human beings, just like the Israeli.

However your closing remarks will dread many.

It starts with barking orders: “Return Syria??s occupied Golan, respect its legitimate rights, respect its dignity?”.
I understand from what you wrote how you hated it when Mr. Collin Powel ‘ordered’ you to do this and that.

Guess what? The Israelis will not respond well to orders too ?? especially from Syrians, who they see as merciless and pretty primitive aggressors.
I know it sounds bad and offensive, but I don’t want to sugar coat the reality of how you look in our living rooms.

And another point: you say that “and your ??painful concessions? will be quickly forgotten the first time you have lunch in Damascus”.

The fact that the term ??painful concessions? is under quotes, suggests once again, mockery.
Israelis pay attention to such subtleties.

Well, let me tell you this: the disengagement from Gaza left Israelis in a state of internal crisis.
Every poll that was made since the disengagement showed that the Israelis are deeply sorry for supporting the decision to pull out.

The main reason for this is not the rockets that keep falling on Israeli citizens.
Not many really expected the other side to stop shooting.

The main reason for the deep regret that people feel for supporting the pull out is the suffering, the pain, the anguish and the devastation it brought on the Jewish settlers, who were evacuated by force from their homes and still haven’t adapted.

And these were right wing settlers ?? not exactly the cup of tea of the Israeli consensus.
The Israelis that live in the Golan Heights are a totally different ball game: they’re in the heart of the mainstream consensus!

Many Israelis, after seeing what it brought to these people, are saying to themselves ‘never again’.
They’re not going to pull out Israelis from their homes ?? at least not easily and especially not for a pretty thin incentive: lunch in Damascus.

I have no doubt that Syria has a great cuisine and some fine restaurants, but I can’t see how this extremely painful move equals to a meal (or even several) in Syria.
I can tell you for sure that it will not be “quickly forgotten” as you write and it’s kind of an insult to most Israelis’ intelligence.

A few more notes:

I must tell you that when I first arrived to this site, I was pretty shocked.
It looked like an official Syrian site, but I couldn’t believe it.
It was too open, too straightforward, “too friendly” for Israelis.
Something was fishy.

Then, I did some digging and found out that it’s not an official Syrian site.
After doing some more digging, I see that writers like Camille and George actually live in places like Canada and the US.

I have no doubt that you’re both proud Syrian patriots that love Syria deeply, just as any other Syrian, however ?? it’s not the same.

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, you two went through a process of “westernization”.
You both live in the west, in open democratic societies, in cozy cities with great standard of living, with free speech and the whole shebang.

You are very different from “regular” Syrians and TOTALLY different from Syrian officials.
It’s so evident that you sucked in everything that the west could offer you ?? and you took it without hesitating (and for a good reason).

If I had to find a title for this website (for Israeli audience), it would be “The Sexy Syrians That You Always Wanted To Meet ?? And Never Did”.

You speak great, you know how to create a dialogue, you seem to handle tough questions with bravery and you present the most beautiful face of Syria.
BUT ?? it’s not Syria, just like local Jews or former Israelis who live in the US or Canada are not “real Israelis”.

You don’t actually represent anybody and what you say has no relevancy to the positions of the Syrian leadership.
It’s pretty obvious.

Don’t get me wrong: you’re great people (and beyond that).
You’re spending money and time on a noble cause and you deserve my salute for that, but since you represent nobody but yourself, this site can be pretty misleading too.

Let’s face it: you’re doing what the Syrian leadership doesn’t do ?? talk to us (and even nicely).
When I see Syrians on TV they threaten us, threaten us or threaten us.
It’s either one of the 3.

I mean, it reached a point of being pathetic.
Unlike Sadat or King Hussein, I never EVER heard or saw the Syrians reach out for the Israelis ?? for real!
Not one good word, not a single gesture ?? ever!

It’s always barking orders, threatening, some more orders and some more threatening.
I mean, can’t they at least diverse a little bit?

It amazes that they learned nothing: not from their unsuccessful past with Israel and not from the huge successes of their Arab ‘colleagues’ like Sadat and Hussein.

Why don’t they do what worked so well for Sadat and Hussein? And why do they keep banging their heads in the cement wall with the same ineffective strategy?

It’s beyond my comprehension.

That’s it, I’ve said my piece.
If you read this far, you definitely deserve a medal :-)

I’ll be more than interested in reading your responses.

naim Says:

MR Israeli ,
It is astonishing to me that you think that there is peace between Egypt and Israel , The last time i checked i found that Ha mas is getting it’s arms from Egypt or even Israel not Syria while no Israeli ever killed on the Golan after the disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria , to me deeds are more important than words , i do not know about you but it looks more logical to have peace with people that can secure and safeguard the border for you than with the people who will give lip service .
can you tell me the end result of this stupid conflict , Is Israel going to be able to destroy Syria , even if it uses nuclear weapon , the result on Israel will be devastating , the persistent conflict is pushing toward Islamic fundamentalism and a weapon race , that will never make Israel or Syria safer.
Now comes the solution which has to come to save us all , Open dialogue between Israel in one side and Syria Iran Hezbollah and Ha mas on the other side and Keep the US as far as we can as they believe in Armageddon and the destruction of the mideast while they are sitting far away , wake up will you and save Israel .

IsraeliGuy Says:

Dear Naim,

First, I don’t know if you know that already, but your name, Naim, has a meaning in Hebrew.
Do you know what it is?

In Hebrew Naim means pleasant, so I hope that just like your name, your a pleasant person :-)

What you wrote about the gun smuggling is indeed very true and we’ve been doing some discussions with the Egyptians about how to better seal the border.

Since Hamas took over the Gaza strip, the motivation of the Egyptians to do a better job grew and I hope their effort will indeed succeed.

What you write about having peace with people that can secure and safeguard the border is so true!
I couldn’t agree more!

Would you mind if ask you how come Anti American fighters cross the border between Syria and Iraq?
It looks like a huge problem there.

No doubt that border safety is a major issue and you’re right, people hate lip service.

Regarding Israeli-Syrian peace, if you were Bashar al Assad, how would you persuade Israelis to start serious talks?

Alex Says:

Israeliguy,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I am happy that this site manges to make Syrians look sexy : )

Please note that it is only partially related to living in the west and being influenced by its freedom of speech. I know Syrians who live in Montreal that you really do not want to communicate with : )

On the other hand, if you look at what is happening in Syria the past few years, you will see many sexy Syrians … the internet and satellite TV and ability to travel have finally changed Syria in many good ways (and some bad)

The Syria (regime, or people) that you know, or think you know, is largely the product of a consistent negative P.R. campaign from the Untied States and its allies … starting from the days Syria did not go along with Camp David in 1977-1978

I am not trying to sell you rotten apples after covering the rotten part. Syria today is genuinely different from the image you have formulated.

First, this site has other sections worth looking at. If you look at the list of experts I invited to contribute to the Syrian Think Tank page, it includes the whole spectrum from Ambassador Imad Moustapha (official Ambassador to Washington) all the way across the political center then to Ammar Abdulhamid who sometimes meets with members of this administration administration and with other neocon think tankers to overthrow Bashar elAssad. Ammar calls Bashar “the moron”.

On this same Creative Forum, you can see monthly topics that deal with reform in Syria for example … many Syrian bloggers who are very much anti-regime were invited to participate, and they sure did.

The reason I am mentioning all those things is to illustrate my point that there is no attempt here to polish the regime’s image. I do it sometimes (when it is the truth), but the site is inclusive of all points of view.

When we decided to discuss the Golan topic I had to rely on the help of my good friends at Haaretz who published a review of the topic which brought us over 1500 Israeli visitors to the page. Without them (or you) this would have been the most useless one sided presentation.

Now I will address some of the points you raised above. Then we’ll take it from there.

1) About your suggestions regarding an optimal communication technique with the Israeli people, we have debated that issue in detail under Rime Allaf’s piece. Her style is very different from my style. You can read the whole thing if you want but I’ll give you a summary of my opinion here:

It is practically impossible for Syria to be successful in communicating with all the Israelis. We’ll look at Sadat’s and King Hussein’s “success” later.

Syria today is faced with an Israeli public that is split in three camps:

1) We want to have peace with Syria and Lebanon … but the Syrians are scary and evil because they have our worst enemies as allies (Iran Hamas and HA). How can we trust that they don’t hate us? how can we trust that they will not continue after signing peace to help our other enemies?

2) Syria? … is there a problem there? do we really need to discuss their Golan now? why?

3) Why the hell don’t we just nuke them? maybe they will learn a lesson not to mess with Israel again.

I used dramatic terms of course in the above group descriptions. Think of it as the fundamental frequency of each group. In reality there are other harmonics around it.

Communicating with the first group can surely benefit form the Sadat and King Hussein style. The second group requires a mixed message, Syria will be friendly and will be a good trading partner, but Syria and Lebanon can not be taken for granted for ever … it is not that Syria is going to attack you, but the Middle East will explode and you will feel it since you happen to be part of this lovely middle east. This is not a threat, although you seem to perceive it that way. Think of it as a doctor describing to you how although you can still smoke a pack of cigarettes per day because you concluded that nothing happened to you so far, in the long run there is a considerable risk to your health if you continue smoking. You would not be offended at the doctor’s “threat” would you?

Syria is “an enemy” I know, so it needs to be extra careful to not sound like it is threatening Israel but warning it. This is not easy. The Syrians are not good in P.R., but even if they were the task is difficult .. Israelis will look at their warning as a threat .. a threat from a weak enemy!

The third group .. the macho fans of the IDF who think of their army as a sports team and cheer every game they win for Israel and look forward to an opportunity to watch another game. These are idiots who exist in every country, including Syria. Sadly, these people do not understand any subtle message. Communicating with them is left to their government. Syria does not have the slightest chance to convince them of anything.

Now to your suggestion that I should not “insult” prime minister Olmert. In general, you probably noticed that I am not into insulting those I want to communicate with. But sometimes to make a point you need to put few things in perspective. To address the charges that Syria’s regime is not dependable, I used sarcasm … you often use sarcasm too right? … what applies to you applies to me. Unless if you believe that Israelis has privileges that Syrians do not have? Am I talking to a superior audience? Can Israelis call Syria’s president an evil thug but Syrians can not point to Prime minister Olmert’s low ratings (at the time!) and the way it raises a concern about the result of those negotiations?

Here, I would like to remind you that despite Israel’s democracy, prime minister Rabin’s written acceptance to return the Golan heights to Syria was dumped in the garbage when Mr. Netanyahu replaced him. The point I was trying to make is that the Olmert government (at the time, again) did not seem like it had a very high chance of even reaching that peace agreement that the next democratically elected government (Headed by Mr. Netanyahu probably) democracy will respect… he was saying it himself!

Now to your point about Syria trying to get into the market at a not so favorable time. First, Syria was always in the market. Mr. Kissinger was negotiating as early as 1974 with Syria the prospects of signing a peace agreement with Israel. Instead, Mr. Sadat (who I understand very well since I was living in Cairo for years when my father was a UN diplomat) Mr. Sadat decided to settle with Israel behind Syria’s back. In the case of Egypt your country was sure it was worth “the painful compromise” of returning the occupied Egyptian Sinai. Egypt was clearly worth settling with .. the largest Arab country and the most powerful Arab army.

Syria? … Israel and Israel’s friends in the Untied States kept oscillating on the perception of its relevance .. is Syria worth the painful price?

YOU don’t seem to think so. Why do you think Mr. Begin (the hard liner) was ready to give the Golan back to Syria?

He was not. The decision was made to take Egypt out of the game and that way Israel can keep the rest of its war possessions.

And this was during the friendly Carter administration!

Then came the Reagan administration (the cowboys) and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

They boycotted Syria … it was Reagan’s strategy to boycott the countries he disagrees with.

So Syria was kept isolated, on the side, for 8 long years.

Nothing works int he middle East when the Americans (and their Arab allies, the puppets) boycott Syria .. not necessarily because Syria actively makes life difficult for them, but because Syria is there! .. right there in the middle of everything. It is like not having good access to and from different parts of the middle East.

And Syria will not provide the services of police cops and traffic lights at those intersections when no one appreciates those services. Just like today with the Lebanese situation. THe United States and France want Syria to not interfere in Lebanon. Syria is not interfering … the United States and France and Saudi Arabia are the ones who have ambassadors in Beirut meeting everyday with every Lebanese leader trying to steer them properly… but the fact is, they want Syria to interfere .. and how? to their liking! .. they want Syria to put pressure on its friends in Lebanon to force them to accept America and Saudi Arabia’s candidate for president!

The last point I want to make are about your assessment of Israel’s readiness to give up the Golan Heights. It is not as you describe it … it is not like Syria missed the boat back in the 70’s. Prime minister Rabin accepted to return the full Golan heights (then someone killed him!), then Prime minister Barak accepted to return them, then when Hafez Assad said “let’s sign the deal” .. Mr Barak “got cold feet” and apologized to president Clinton that he is not sure anymore he wants to risk his political future … read Clinton’s book.

Even today, Avi Dichter believes Israel should return the Golan to Syria.

Syria is not a weak beggar waiting outside the door asking for something to eat.

When I quoted Israelis claiming Syria deserves to pay the price for its aggression in 1967 I had in mind endless comments by Haaretz readers during the 2006 Lebanon war which specifically mentioned Syria attacking Israel in 1967.

Besides, there is a reason why Israel made up stories that the Golan was captured because Syria was about to attack Israel in 1967… those stories were there .. and many people in Israel and outside believed them … otherwise how can Israel justify its “capture” of Syrian lands?

Since the late Dayan admitted Israel simply took the lands because it liked to have them … how do you want Syria to communicate with Israelis who still want to punish Syria for its attempt in 1973 to regain its territories which were taken from Syria by force?

What I am trying to say is that Syria is much more intelligent and wise and reasonable than the Syria you decided to imagine.

Syria is the country that helps more poor refugees than any other country. You are good in accepting Jews from Iraq, Yemen, Egypt or Syria. Over the years. Syria, in comparison, took millions of Lebanese, Iraqis, Armenians, Kurds, and Palestinians … Muslims, Christians, Arabs or non Arabs… not only Syrian Muslims.

Instead you keep digging for examples (sometimes real, other times fabricated) to justify to your self why you do not want to speak to Syria … at the conscious level you have all the good arguments. At the primitive subconscious level .. the motivation is simpler: I want it for myself … I do not want to give it to anyone. The Golan is mine.

Back to King Hussein … he was a very interesting case … He was running to Israel to warn you to expect the surprise Egyptian Syrian war in 1973 … are you suggesting that the Syrian president should imitate his approach? why?

And I know you find it outrageous that Syria thinks it is better for you to have Syria as a positive mediator with Hizbollah and Hamas, and Iran … I respectfully beg to differ. If it is not obvious to you, then look at the alternative .. what will you do with these groups and the people who support them after you sign a peace treaty with Syria? .. continue to bomb them?

Again you keep using the analogy to Syria and Lebanon .. it is not the same .. every Lebanese family has Syrian relatives … most Lebanese people do not hate Syria. If you insist to ignore these facts, I can not do much about it. Syria’s problems with Lebanon will be settled as soon as Lebanon goes back to the center, not all the way towards Syria. Lebanon will, and your example of Syria/Lebanon will be clearly not valid to you at that point.

Finally, I am equally frustrated that the Syrian leaders refuse to speak to moderate Israeli journalists. I have no idea why they find it to be a bad idea.

Hopefully they will.

IsraeliGuy Says:

Alex, first, thanks for taking the time and the effort to respond.

I’m kinda sorry that I wrote such a long reply.
I wouldn’t want to subject you to the same marathons that Assad senior gave his guests from the west.

Plus, it’s tiring and you soon get diverted to ready made arguments and counter arguments that can suck out your will to discuss things.

Regardless of my own personal opinion and beliefs towards the entire issue, I think that what you’re doing is important.

Dialogue between peoples helps.
Nothing will ever be achieved if you will not understand the Israeli public opinion way of thinking and if Israel will not understand the Syrian way of thinking.

As an Israeli (and a curious one) I’m always wondering how my enemies, who are naturally also my potential peace partners, think, what makes them tick, what turns them on and off.

Without this in depth mutual understanding, nothing will really move forward and it will be like a “dialogue” of 2 deaf people.
I already saw that you had a few ‘deaf dialogues’ here.

I’m sure you had a ball.

I have no doubt that in order to move forward, the 2 sides will have to break principles and even TABOOS that lasted for the past decades.

Sure, both sides can maintain their taboos and it’s their right as sovereign countries, but the price will be the continuation of the deadlock.

But I’m running too fast.
I’m very interested to understand the Syrian minsdset and when I say mind set, I don’t mean PR slogans, propaganda or cliches.

I bet you ABSOULOUTLY HATE to listen to Israeli ones – don’t you?

So let me tell you what I have in mind.
I followed on your article and prepared a pretty comprehensive list of REAL objections of Israelis to peace with Syria.

Some Israelis, may have more than one or two from the list.

Some of the list items may really offend you (and let me guarantee that it’s not my intention).
But if you want a free ride in to the mind set of the people of Israel – this is your chance.

For some readers, it maybe the first time to really understand what your neighbors think, feel and fear.

Everything inside is 100% genuine, even if some of you that it looks weird, exaggerated or simply doesn’t make sense.

Feel free to read it and I’ll be more than happy to read your comments.

————–

Why Do You Object to Peace With Syria Which Includes The Return Of The Golan to Syrian Hands?

?”Peace for Peace only”

I’m willing to immediately sign a peace accord with Syria, but only on a peace for peace basis.

If they REALLY want peace with Israel so much, as they claim, no problem: let’s sit together and make peace ?? but the Golan will remain ours forever.

(a ‘fair deal’ argument/reason)

?”Eretz Israel” (biblical land of Israel)

The Golan is a part of holy Eretz Israel and no part of it can ever be handed over to anybody else.
It’s Israel’s only and forever.

Any discussion on handing over a part of Eretz Israel (Golan, Judea, Samaria, etc) is not legitimate and totally forbidden by the Halacha (religious Jewish law).

(a religious argument/reason)

?”All The Arabs Are Snakes”

All the Arabs are snakes and can’t be trusted or dealt with ?? EVER and on ANYTHING!
The minute you will turn your back on them, they will stab you without blinking or thinking twice.

(racism / fear / distrust – mixed argument/reason)

?”The Salami Method”

The Arabs are taking over our country, piece after piece, cunningly.
One slice after another ?? step after step.
They will attack / kill / push us to the sea, the minute they can.

(a collective Arab conspiracy theory / fear / distrust – mixed argument/reason)

?”We’re Doing All the Concessions All the Time”

We are suckers.
Time after time, we do all the concessions and they give up nothing.
No wonder they laugh at us behind our backs.
Why should we be the ones to compromise every single time?

(‘bad deal’ argument/reason)

?”Piece of Paper”

We are going to hand over the Golan ?? and what will we get in return?
A stinking piece of paper. No thanks.

(‘bad deal’ argument/reason)

?”Assad is a Dictator”

We shouldn’t do business with a merciless dictator who oppresses his own people so cruelly and makes their life miserable.

(moral argument/reason)

?”I Want to See Gestures First”

Before I’ll consider anything, I want to see Assad come to Israel, visit Yad VaShem, speak before the Knesset and treat us with the respect and dignity that we deserve ?? just like Saddat did.

I want him to invite our PM to Damascus too.

Assad should make gestures to Israel before anything real can start.

(“show me some respect first” argument/reason)

?”I Will Not Uproot Israelis from Their Homes”

You saw the misery, the pain, the humiliation and the devastation that we brought on our fellow Israelis in the disengagement from Gaza.
I will NEVER give my hand to such a move again.

(Deep guilt feeling argument/reason)

?”I Want the Syrians to Keep Suffering”

The Syrians attacked us in 1973 during Yom Kippur ?? the holiest day of the Jewish year, while many of us were fasting and in synagogues.
They humiliated us and we lost so many soldiers.

I want to punish them for this and I want them to look at the Golan from a distance (and see us on it) ?? forever.

(Revenge argument/reason)

?”Assad Can’t Deliver”

We will still be attacked from time to time by the Hezbollah and Assad will just sit back and enjoy watching us bleed.
Either he will not do anything or he can not do anything.

(‘bad deal’ argument/reason)

?”Assad is Ahmadinejad’s Partner”

How can we make peace with someone who partnered with the world’s biggest danger, who plans to wipe us off the earth?

(Anger argument/reason)

?”We Don’t Need the Peace”

Syria is weak. We’re much stronger than them and there’s no reason to sacrifice land.
They know that if they’ll do something against us, the IDF will “take care” of them.

(Self or over confidence / ‘bad deal’ mixed argument/reason)

?”Assad Supports Terror”

Assad is hosting terror organization headquarters.
These organizations have killed hundreds of innocent Israelis in buses, cafes, disco techs, restaurants, etc.

He doesn’t deserve the Golan prize.

(Justice / revenge mixed argument/reason)

What do you think?

Alex Says:

You know, I think you are training me to read faster … the last one took me a couple of minutes only.

But you have done an excellent job in documenting the range of negative opinions on your side.

Dealing with the set of objections to peace with Syria is an interesting challenge. I will break those groups into three camps

1) Those that no one can influence the way they feel about it.

2) Those who can only be influenced by their own trusted leaders .. political or religious.

3) Those who can be influenced by a change in Syria’s actions and/or attitudes and language.

The first group is dogmatic in its thinking on probably many other issues as well. There is nothing Syria can do to satisfy them.

The second group is open minded enough but they happen to not trust Syria (or the Syrian regime). My apparent support of Syria or the Syrian regime goes towards giving it enough credibility to convince this group of Israelis (moderates more or less) that it is in Israel’s interest to have normal relations with Syria. But I do not have a direct line of communication with the Israeli people. Whatever I wrote so far the past two years might have been read by a few thousand Israelis at best. It is only when your government, your journalists, and before them: the US administration, are all convinced that Syria is not the monster they created, only then will this group of moderates change its mind (to some degree) about signing a peace deal with Syria.

When will this happen? and how? … I think when they try everything else and don’t get anywhere. When they realize that the King of Saudi Arabia can not settle with Israel before Syria does. He is already considered an American tool, so he won’t reinforce that impression by visiting Israel.

Peace with Syria will translate to opening most of the Arab world to Israel. Social, cultural and commercial opening.

The last group is the least difficult to convince … but this is where you are right .. Syria has been quite rigid in its approach to opening up to Israel.

Although, to their credit, they did open up twice in the past and got burned at the mast minute .. when Prime minister Rabin was assassinated and when Prime minister Barak “got cold feet” (Clinton’s expression by the way). To remind you how advanced things got … when prime minster Rabin was shot Syria’s official reaction was that Syria considers it tragic.

But I am sure that when there is enough realistic hope from Washington that the administration will not try to destroy any chance of success, the Syrians will manage to smile a bit more often : )

Syria needs to explain its relationships to the “bad guys” .. Iran will need to become more friendly … that will happen when we get a more friendly administration in Washington and a more pleasant Israel.

Hizbollah will make public statements supporting peace between Syria and Israel and Lebanon, and they will. Hamas will be another story … I do not want to get into the Palestinian situation, but Israel knows the challenges there … Syria will only need some real progress on the Palestinian track, not a final settlement, if Syria is to settle completely with Israel.

It is doable.

The last opinion Poll I checked ( a year ago) indicated that 60% are opposed to returning the Golan Heights to Syria. I think there is a good chance to convince 20% to switch to the other side … that would be one third those who are today opposed from your comprehensive list of the deferent groups.

IsraeliGuy Says:

Alex, let me tell you what I feel are the biggest problems – and they’re pretty big.

I remember, let’s say 10-15 years ago, the Israeli people was yearning for peace with it’s neighbors.
I remember times when people were dreaming about eating humus in Damascus.

It’s sort of a phrase in Israel :)
It’s another way of asking ‘when will we have peace with Syria?’.

During last years, public opinion’s priorities have changed dramatically.

If I had to rank Israel’s priorities in terms of policy, here’s more or less how it works:
The first thing on the agenda is Iran, with no doubt.
Then, the Palestinian issue and then internal politics issues (economy, society, etc).

I don’t feel that the Syrian track is on anybody’s agenda.
The real gauge for that is the media and it covers mostly the issues that I presented.

Only during the last days, due to the IAF incident, Syria went back to the headlines – but only on the security context, not peace making.

So basically, you’ve got a situation where most Israelis find no urgency in engaging Syria.
They feel that there are far more important issues, these days.

I’m saying that, because I saw a few times people saying stuff like “If you want peace with Syria, you should A, B, C….”.

Well, you know it’s like in economy with the issue of supply and demand: the goods might be there, but when looks there are no shoppers in line, it’s a problem.

This brings me to the next point and please see it as a friendly advice: I think you (Syria) must upgrade it’s marketing efforts with Israelis.

I’ve been doing some thinking and in my opinion, it’s the only effective way to create both public interest and ‘demand for peace’.

The only other way is a successful war, but I’m stating this just for the record and not as advice.

By the way, it takes far beyond an interview with Bashar.
I’m talking about a massive peace attack on Israel’s public opinion.

I’m realistic and I know that the odds that it will happen by you are next to zero, but I feel that this is the only effective measure.

Inviting Israeli journalists will not do it.
You’ll be just wasting a card and for nothing and it will frustrate you even further.

By the way, never invite ‘moderate’ reporters.
It’s the non Ha’aretz readers that you need to appeal to.
Ha’aretz readers are automatic voters for peace, but they’re just 6.5%.

Regarding your 3 point list, the only ones should address are point #3.
Group#1 are just a waste of time and I’m trying to figure up who belongs to Group#2.

You’re right, you need a direct line of communication with the Israeli public – that’s what I’m saying.

If you want to bring more Israelis to this site, there are ways to do it, but frankly, it will be like drying the ocean with a spoon – even if your Israeli traffic doubles, triples or even more than that.

I feel that you need the mass media here and in order for that to happen, it will take official Syria to change – not something they’re gonna love doing, I’m sure.

Either way I look at this, the Syrians should go to the Israelis with this daring marketing program.

I know that many Syrians that will read my suggestion are saying to themselves “in your dreams, buddy” and they’re probably right, but I can’t see how you can mobilize Israeli public opinion otherwise.

Let me tell you that according to my understanding, nobody is under rush here to show that ‘Syria is not the monster’ – it actually serves them, as long as they don’t engage you.

It’s your interest – not theirs.
don’t wait for them to show lovely Syria

In fact, as weird as it may sound to you, I believe the best way (for start) is to go over the head of the Israeli government (simply ignore it) and reach for the Israeli public directly.

Such a move can create an earthquake here and can mobilize the government to take action.
You’ll have a lot of local press here on your side, demanding explanations from the government about the progress.

I’m saying again, your biggest problem is the supply/demand issue and when that’s the situation, I assume that nobody in Israel will do anything.

One last thing: Israelis will not believe in ‘more friendly Iran/Hizbollah.
You may find what I say a bit extreme, but for Israelis it’s like saying ‘a more friendly Nazi Germany’.

You see, for Israelis, Iran is not just another country and not even just another enemy.

naim Says:

MR Israeli,
I know about my name and it’s meaning in Hebrew ,
About Syria and the border with Iraq and letting the Jihadies go to Iraq , We should remember that after the fall of Bagdad there was a talk about going left and going to Damascus so Syria like any other country would deffend itself by at least not helping the army that is planing to invade them ,
Peace between Syria and Israel will free the Syrian army to secure the border with Iraq better , we have to understand that Israel is only 30 miles from Damascus and as long as Israel and Syria are at war the Syrian army will be between Damascus and the Israeli border.
Asad could give intervews to Israeli newspapers as Alex likes , i can see the Israeli leaders doing more too , they could declare that the Golan hights is Syrian under international law and would like to negociate it’s return for a lasting peace and if the the Syrians did not respond and offer Israel what it needs encluding water and help in solving the Palestinian and the Lebanese problem , then and only then Israel would and could say that Syria does not want peace .

IsraeliGuy Says:

Hi Naim,

I’m glad you sticked around for the discussion.

Yeah, I can certainly understand that the talk of Syria, being the next item on the American army’s shopping list had consequences and led to many Syrian fears.

Although I certainly don’t agree with the move of allowing Jihadists to cross the border to Iraq, I know what fears can do.

And now you can imagine yourself that fears is not a Syrian patent.
Israel has fears too – and many of them.

But when you describe sealed borders as one of the advantages of Israeli-Syrian peace, the average Israeli will look at the Syrian/Iraqi border ‘success story’ and will have serious doubts.

Wouldn’t you have the same doubt if you were in his shoes?

Now regarding your other suggestion: Syrian press interviews for an Israeli declaration that the Golan hights is Syrian under international law.

When you give a couple of interviews to the Israeli press, it can indeed be a first step towards peace, but it doesn’t have to.

The interviews don’t carry any lasting repercussion and they don’t abide Syria to anything.
They have great importance – but non of it is on the formal/legal aspect.

On the other hand, an Israeli declaration, as you suggest, has far reaching legal consequences.

By making such a declaration Israel will be practically telling for the whole world to hear, that ISRAEL’s position is that the communities, villages and Kibutzim on the Golan are all illegal settlements and that Syria is the legal owner of the land.

Now if we were in the business world, I would describe this barter deal the following way: Syria is giving Israel $100 worth of goods (a few interviews), while Israel is giving Syria $1,000,000 worth of goods (declaration with far reaching legal meaning).

Is this a fair barter?
Most of the Israelis will see it not only as a bad deal – but as a scam.

If you’ll take another look at the list that I prepared above, many Israelis reject peace on the basis of ‘bad deal’ reasoning.

Let me tell you how a fair deal looks to an average Israeli: Assad will give the Israeli press an interview (100$) and in return, Olmert will give the Syrian press an interview (100$).

So I gave you 100$, you gave me 100$, everybody happy and more open minded to continue discussions for actual peace.

abraham Says:

IsraeliGuy,

I am going to take my own stab at addressing your issues.

What you’re saying is that if an Arab leader comes grovelling to Israel begging for peace and offers complete capitulation, then Israelis will find it somewhere in their hearts to accept a peace deal with them. Unfortunately, the terms of those deals are rarely carried through to their letter because Israel usually finds a way to weasel out of a clause, but that’s another issue altogether. The problem with your hope that Syria will come grovelling to Israel is that the well is so poisoned by Israeli belligerance that nobody wants to drink from it anymore. It is really up to Israel to make the first move here and show that it is sincere by actually extending its hand in peace for a change. Why must the Syrians capitulate? They are the aggrieved party here. Why can’t Israel rise above its own enmity and be the first to promote peace for a change? All we ever really hear out of Israeli politicians is threats and insults. It could not but help Israel’s image to find a way to eliminate open racists like Avigdor Lieberman from your government (Israel’s version of Ahmedinejad).

Your comparison of Hamas to Hitler (“The fact that Hamas has been elected in free elections has no meaning to Israelis. Hitler was elected in free elections so?”) insults the intelligence of your audience. This is not going to endear you to people like me who view Hamas as not only the democratically elected leadership of the Palestinians, but a legitimate resistance movement that has a right to engage in activities to expel invaders from its land. I know you won’t be able to accept that, because you’re Israeli, but I’m not willing to accept the throwing of Hamas under the train in order to appease Israel for the mere promise of a potential peace treaty. The Palestinians are the ultimate aggrieved party here, and you won’t find many Syrians willing to compromise on this issue.

Your statement that, “every single Israeli knows that this country [Iran] wants to wipe Israel off the map” only re-affirms my belief that Israelis are suffering from a collective form of traumatic delusions. This trauma can be traced back to the origins of your country as a haven for Jews fleeing the Holocaust, but it is also a result of cynical politicians exploiting that fear for their own political purposes. Iran is not a country of psycopaths. It is an ancient nation that is intelligent and sophisticated. Their current leadership may not be the most wonderful people and their oppression of their people is unfortunate, but that’s an issue for the Iranians to deal with. At any rate, my point is that Iran has been portrayed as the “Next Hitler” in a long line of Next Hitler’s that Israel’s leaders have been shamelessly exploiting for their own personal gain. This also again serves to demonstrate this collective trauma that Israelis suffer from, always believing that the Next Hitler is right around the corner and will finish the job started in 1938. This paranoia is by your own doing. You Israelis are really good at working yourselves up into a lather.

You write:

“The idea which is presented in the article that Syria will bridge between Israel and these elements (which seek to destroy Israel) is seen as ludicrous as an idea that Israel will bridge between Syria and Lebanon.”

This just stands to demonstrate how irrational Israelis can be. Israel and Lebanon are not enemies like Syria and Israel are. You ignored the most important point of Alex’s statement. Syria, Iran, Hizballah and Hamas are allied. Bizzarely enough, they are all also enemies of Israel. Syria has influence with each, but to require Syria to abandon its long and strong alliances with any of these players not only misjudges Syrian resolve but insults them as well. Dignity is more important than food, says Bashar, and there is no dignity in abandoning your faithful allies. And as Alex has continued to point out, who is going to talk to Hizballah and Hamas if Syria abandons them? Do you think you will then be able to get rid of them? Hizballah didn’t prove so easy in last summer’s war. What makes you think a Round 2 will result in a more favorable outcome? Hamas has been battling Israel for 20 years now, and despite what may seem to be the case currently, they are not going away. And even if they did, another group more radical would simply fill in the vacuum. In short, your Palestinian problem is not going to be solved by Syria abandoning the Palestinians, which it is not going to do in any event. Your problem will be solved when you end your occupation and re-create Israel in the image of a true democracy with equal rights for all its citizens. But that’s another argument.

Youre right, Israeli governments are changing like socks, every 2 years or so, but Israel is a democracy which respects all its international agreements even after a government collapses, while in dictatorships, the leader is sovereign to do whatever he wishes.

I would vigorously disagree with your characterization of Israel respecting its international agreements across regimes. If this was true, Palestine would not still be occupied after 60 years, or in the very least the settlements would not continue to grow. You’re a nice guy, IsraeliGuy, but you’re self-delusional, and this is the biggest obstacle to peace between Israel and all its enemies.

As far as the issue of who is waiting for peace, don’t be so sure that
Israel has time on its side. I would argue that Israel is in fact running out of time, and if it doesn’t come to terms with its own weakness, which is that it is the last colonial project on the planet that still illegally occupies land, eventually international law will catch up to it because America is on the decline. No, it doesn’t make me happy to say this because I am an American with strong roots here between family and business interests, but I’d rather have the US suffer for once rather than the Palestinians, who have suffered long enough. But this is beyond my control at any rate. The US has over-played its hand and some day it’s going to catch up with us. And when it does, Israel will suffer all the more, because they put all their eggs into the American basket.

You then write something which brings the root of the problem to the fore once again:

The main reason for the deep regret that people feel for supporting the pull out [of Gaza] is the suffering, the pain, the anguish and the devastation it brought on the Jewish settlers, who were evacuated by force from their homes and still havent adapted.

You probably can’t imagine how offensive this is. It is god damn insulting. To be blunt, we don’t give a shit about Israelis who stole Palestinian land, extracted its wealth and prospered for several decades while the Palestinian inhabitants squeezed aside by these settlers languished and suffered. And now that the settlers have left, the grudge has only deepened with Israeli border closures and threats to cut off water and electricity. The comparative scratch that the Israeli settlers suffered by having to leave land that was not theirs not only doesn’t move us, but your bringing it up demonstrates again how self-delusional you are.

It is this self-delusion that prevents you from making the obvious connection: once Israel relinquishes the Golan back to Syria, this will mean peace with Syria. You Israelis will some how have to finally accept that you will not keep the Golan. It is not yours, it never was, and it never will be. As long as you sit on Syrian soil, it will only be at the expense of peace. It seems that the Israelis have so far decided that they would rather have a piece of land than peace. So be it. But just know it is not tenable.

Your final notes on how you find us “Westernized” Syrians to be gullible dupes for the regime in Damascus (not your words but my interpretation of them) will not endear you to us. You insult us once by insisting the Golan is yours, and then you insult us again by insisting the situation in the Middle East is too complex for us compromised Westernized Syrians to comprehend in the proper context. If anything, our adopted American ideals convince us more than ever that we are right. Israel’s occupation of Arab lands is anathema to freedom and democracy, and we will fight even more ardently for the return of these stolen lands. Ignore us and insult us at your own peril.

Unlike Sadat or King Hussein, I never EVER heard or saw the Syrians reach out for the Israelis for real! Not one good word, not a single gesture ever!

Again, why is it incumbant on the Syrians to make this first gesture? Is Israel incapable of making the first move? I truly do believe so, and this is why I don’t think Israel is interested in peace itself. It talks peace with Syria and then flies into its territory and bombs it. This is delusional. Self-delusional.

Look, I appreciate your attempts at opening a dialogue, but you obviously just don’t get it. Israel is a racist, Western colonial project that was forced onto the Arabs that have called Palestine home for centuries and millenia. It always will be. The situation can be remediated by Israel relinquishing its draconian grasp of Arab people and land and affording equal rights to all who currently live there, but so far it seems your arrogance and self-delusion make you believe you can sustain this current situation indefinitely.

I tell you that the hourglass is nearly empty and Israel doesn’t have much time. It would behoove Israelis to embark on an Apollo Program of Peacemaking immediately and without further hesitation. You need to start not now but yesterday. Every day you continue to delude yourselves is one day closer to your self-demise.

IsraeliGuy Says:

Dear Abraham,

Thank you for taking the time and investing the effort to write such a long and detailed reply.
It shows me that you’re really passionate about the issue.

It looks like you and I have a lot of differences.
In fact, it would probably be wrong to define them just as ‘differences’, because we seem to have a totally different look on reality.

I think that the debate on a possible Middle East peace deal can originate from 2 possible basic approaches:

The first is ‘ultimate justice’, on a basis of ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’, ‘fair’ vs. ‘unfair’ or ‘good’ vs. ‘evil’.

The second is ‘practicalities’: how CAN we move to peace? How can we be more EFFECTIVE in reaching a SOLUTION?

2 angles, 2 schools of thought, 2 strategies.
I feel that your perspective, as I understood it, belongs to the first category (ultimate justice).

Personally, I believe that the only way to bring peace to the Middle East is by a way which combines the 2 approaches.

You may hate it, you may think I’m crazy, you may think I’m dead wrong, but the vast majority of Israelis feel that justice is on their side in the same passion that you strongly believe that justice is on yours.

You may find it hard to believe, but an average Israeli doesn’t see himself (or his people) as thieves, murderers, morally wrong or unjust.
They see themselves as good, human and peaceful people.

According to ‘your justice’ I should pack my belonging and move to Poland, where my grandparents were born, since you see Israel as “a racist, Western colonial project that was forced onto the Arabs”.

Many Israelis will tell you that “their justice” is that Israel was established after the UN voted in favor of its establishment and after Israel ACCEPTED the partition plan, while the Arabs REJECTED it and opened a war against the new born country.

It all went downhill since then.

By the way, I wonder how history would have looked in recent 60 years, if instead of opening a war against us; the Arabs actually accepted the partition plan, as we did.

It could have saved a lot of blood on both sides ?? right? And many of today’s problems and issues would simply not have been on the table.

Now, basically, you ask me ‘why should we grovel’?
Let me ask you: why did Anwer Sadat “grovel”?
Why did King Hussein “grovel”?

You may see it as groveling.
No problem. It’s your right to see it anyway you choose to see it.

Many Israelis will tell you that they see it as a sign for seriousness, as a way to show that you’re sincere in your wishes to have peace with Israel and that you mean business.

Many times, I hear from Syrians who reject the ‘peace for peace’ formula and support the ‘peace for the Golan’ formula, that they should get the “same deal” that Saddat got from Israel.

Many Israelis will say: no problem, give us the ‘same deal’ that Saddat gave us when he came to Israel a few years before the peace was finalized.

I mean if you want the same deal that the Egyptians got, isn’t it reasonable that Israel can expect the very same – at the very least?

naim Says:

You may hate it, you may think I??m crazy, you may think I??m dead wrong, but the vast majority of Israelis feel that justice is on their side in the same passion that you strongly believe that justice is on yours
I mean if you want the same deal that the Egyptians got, isn??t it reasonable that Israel can expect the very same – at the very least?

MR Israeli,
What you said in the first paragraph is the problem and what you said in the second paragraph is the solution , i want to say more that Syria has delivered more peace with Israel on the border than Egypt did and Israel should take it’s own experience with Syria than America’s
We should look at the future not the past , i for one think that the Hebrew have the right to be there they were there and they are returning home , we can argue about how many of them is pure and deserving to be called Hebrew and if they are more deserving than than natives who changed their religion to Christianity and Islam and how that should not change their right to be there as they probably belong to the Hebrew tribes that stayed behind when the Roman destroyed the temple ,
Israel is making it more and more clear that it responds only to pressure , many Syrians see that Israel withdrew from Lebanon under pressure while they are stay on the Golan because it is not costing them anything , actually a friend of mine a Jewish friend of mine in the US told me ( WHY SHOULD THEY , IT COSTING THEM NOTHING TO BE THERE AND THEY LIKE THE SYRIAN WINE), Israel should move fast before the fanatics take over and it is too late for a peaceful solution .

abraham Says:

You may hate it, you may think I??m crazy, you may think I??m dead wrong, but the vast majority of Israelis feel that justice is on their side in the same passion that you strongly believe that justice is on yours.

You may find it hard to believe, but an average Israeli doesn??t see himself (or his people) as thieves, murderers, morally wrong or unjust.
They see themselves as good, human and peaceful people.

IsraeliGuy,

This is merely a false and misguided sense of righteousness. Of course a pathological thief will find a way to not only defend their theft but to justify it as well.

Many Israelis will tell you that ??their justice? is that Israel was established after the UN voted in favor of its establishment and after Israel ACCEPTED the partition plan, while the Arabs REJECTED it and opened a war against the new born country.

By the way, I wonder how history would have looked in recent 60 years, if instead of opening a war against us; the Arabs actually accepted the partition plan, as we did.

First of all, what logical reason would the Jews have had for rejecting the partition plan? They had no choice in the matter, really, since few countries were willing to accept Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. After all, the Zionists got some of what they wanted, which was a part of Palestine (and later all of Palestine through terrorism and aggressive war). But second, why should the Arabs accept a plan that effectively dispossessed them of their land and handed it over to another people? What sane person is going to accept the confiscation of their home so that it can be simply handed over to someone else deemed more deserving?

What if an external force came to you and told you that half of your property would be given to a Palestinian refugee who fled Lebanon’s Nahr al Bared camp? You would be allowed to have your say in this unaccountable court, but ultimately the judgement is rendered that half of your property will be given to the Palestinian since he can’t return to his home. Would you accept such a ridiculous ruling?

Of course not!

This is such a simple analogy and yet most Israelis will find some reason to challenge it, claiming the Holocaust was a “special case”, or that “God” promised this land to the Jews, or the land was empty until the Jews came to populate it, etc.

The entire premise of your argument is based on injustice. You cannot claim righteousness or moral certitude because the founding of your nation was based on the theft of land through a process that ignored the fundamental rights and realities of the indigenous Arab population by an entity that had no right to make such a decision. It is a scam, a hoax, and a fraud, and you will never be able to convince me otherwise. Never.

Many Israelis will tell you that they see it as a sign for seriousness, as a way to show that you??re sincere in your wishes to have peace with Israel and that you mean business.

If Israel was really serious in making peace, as it claimed it was when it entered into the Oslo agreements with the Palestinians, they would have honored their end of the agreement and removed the settlements from Palestine. If Israel was serious about making peace with Lebanon, they would stop invading their airspace and produce the maps showing where they left the landmines and cluster bombs. If Israel was serious about peace they would stop invading Syria’s airspace and offer to negotiate the return of the Golan Heights.

In short, if Israel is serious about peace, it should not only say so (because as Israel has proved time and again, talk is cheap) but it should prove it by taking actual steps. It is time for Israel to come grovelling to the Arabs, as Sadat and Hussein did.

Stop making excuses. You are running out of time.

Israel Kasnett Says:

Camille,
While I appreciate the amount of work you put into writing your essay, I find it to be resoundingly pompous and conceited, misinformed and delusional and completely off the mark. For now, I will start with number 1 as you list it.

The basis for you claim in number 1 is that Israel was not faced with an existential threat from Syria and was therefore unjustified in conquering the Golan Heights.

In 1967, Israel was attacked by Syria for no reason other than the fact it existed. Forced to protect its citizens in a defensive war, Israel launched retaliatory attacks on Syria and through skill and bravery, managed to push the Syrians away from the Golan Heights, thereby conquering the area.

While Israel’s objective never was to conquer land per se, there existed a strong necessity to control lands from which Israel was often attacked. In this case it was the Golan. For 19 years, Israeli citizens suffered unprovoked artillery shelling from the Syrians and it was for this reason that Israel needed to capture the Golan.

Moshe Dayan was mistaken in his assessment and although Defense Minister at the time, he was also known to be an extremist left-wing individual and an Arab apologist.

Israel has every right to capture lands it needs to defend itself, especially if that same land was used to terrify and antagonize innocent Israeli civilians.

Israel’s capture of the Golan was not an “unprovoked aggression” as you mistakenly write, but rather a perfectly justifiable response in every legal and moral sense, to the 19 years of Syrian provocation and terror.

Alex Says:

Israel,

I will not attempt to convince you.

Thank you for your comment.

Ken Jurist Says:

I wanted to respond to the author’s view on what he claimed Moshe Dayan said in 1976.
The person who did the interview with Dayan was Rami Tal.
There are alot of questions weather Rami Tal lied about what he said Dayan claimed he told him.
Tal said Dayan told him this.
We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was…

Why did Rami Tal not come out with this information when Dayan was alive. The interview was in 1976 and Dayan died in 81.
Tal had 5 years to come out with this information.
Instead Tal did something slick. He waited till Dayan was long dead to come out with this information.
To prove that Tal lied about the whole thing.
If what he says is true, then their would be Israeli soldiers who were under Dayan’s command that would have agreed with what Tal said.
To this day, their is not one single Israeli soldier who served under Dayan who verified what Tal claimed.
So its pretty obvious Tal lied about what he said Dayan supposedly told him.
This is why Tal could only come out with this information when Dayan died. He knew Dayan would have sued him for libel if he was alive and came out with this information.

Ken Jurist Says:

Any Israel-Syria deal must be based on Hatay Model. Turkey won Hatay (Alexandretta) province back in 1939 in a war with Syria.

4 years ago, a historic event happened in the Mideast that for some reason Camille Alexandre will not talk about.
The Syrian regime recognized for the first time the Alexandretta (Hatay) region as sovereign Turkish territory after dozens of years where Syria strongly demanded Turkish withdrawal from this area.

The Syrian position was for years an uncompromising demand to “return” the area to Syrian sovereignty. Syria educated its citizens and children to view it as Hatay as part of Syria. All Syrian maps showed Alexandretta as part of Syria

For dozens of years, Turkey was unwilling to discuss any kind of compromise in Alexandretta. It never expressed a willingness to cede Alexandretta in exchange for peace. It never negotiated a withdrawal from Alexandretta. Its attitude was clear and simple – Alexandretta is ours. Period.

For dozens of years, Turkey showed determination in safeguarding its national objectives and strategic interests. It turns out that the stubbornness and patience paid off. Syria recognized reality and in contradiction to its pledges for dozens of years when it renounced its claim for Alexandretta.

Syria came to the right conclusion only peace for peace will bring peace.
We hope Syria will come to that conclustion on the Israeli Golan Heights.

Syria will have to recognize reality and accept Israeli sovereignty in the Golan. Turkey waited patiently for 70 years. Israel may have to wait less.

It would be appropriate for Israel to adopt the Turkish model and respect its sovereignty in the Golan just like Turkey respected its sovereignty in Alexandretta. Just like the Turks, Israel too must show determination and patience. We should not discuss the Golan, negotiate over the Golan, or agree to create any kind of link between the Golan and peace with Syria. Just like Turkey, Israel must say that the Golan is ours. Period.

Ken Jurist Says:

Proof Golan is historically Israels.
Brilliant article
http://xrl.us/bmfrf
Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Golan Hights – Historical Rights and Legitimacy .

The Golan is where the tribes of Dan and Menashe settled, and Israeli kings ranging from Saul to Herod ruled there. The Golan saw consecutive Jewish settlement for 800 years; 300 Jewish communities from the time of the Mishna and Talmud were discovered there, along with the remnants of 27 synagogues. Later, 1,000 years of desolation followed, until the Jews returned. In the 16th century, the Ottoman Turks came in control of the area and remained so until the end of World War I.

The Golan belongs to Israel because it is the estate of the Jews forefathers and not only by the power of occupation in a defensive war against an aggressor, like America in Texas and Poland and former German territories.

Syria controlled the Golan for only 21 years, half the period it has been under Israeli rule. Almost half of its territory has been purchased by Rothschild and later robbed by the Syrian government. Jews settled in the Golan as early as 1886 (long before the Syrian Arab Republic existed) but they were expelled, massacred, or fled because of malaria.

In 1886, the Jewish B’nei Yehuda society of Safed purchased a plot of land four kilometers north of the present-day religious moshav of Keshet, but the community, named Ramataniya, failed one year later. In 1887, the society purchased lands between the modern-day Bene Yehuda and Kibbutz Ein Gev . This community survived until 1920, when two of its last members were murdered in the anti-Jewish riots which erupted in the spring of that year. In 1891, Baron Rothschild purchased approximately 18,000 acres (73 km²) of land in the Hauran, about 15 km east of modern Ramat Hamagshimim. Immigrants of the First Aliyah (1881–1903) established five small communities on this land, but were forced to leave by the Ottomans in 1898. The lands were farmed until 1947 by the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA) and the Jewish Colonization Association, when they were seized by the Syrian army.

According to the Agreement of San Remo ,(April 1920) The mandate for Palestine comprises an area incorporating what is now the entire state of Israel, including the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The mandate specifically states that a national homeland for the Jewish people should be established in Palestine, but that the rights of non-Jews should be protected. In 1923, Britain ceded the Golan Heights (1,176 square kilometers of the Palestine Mandate) to the French Mandate of Syria, in spite of the specifications of the San Remo agreements and the Mandate for Palestine which was conferred on Britain in 1922 by The League of Nations. Jews were also barred from living there. Jewish settlers on the Golan Heights were forced to abandon their homes and relocate inside the westerb area of the British Mandate.

Claims that the Golan is Syrian land has no geographic or historical basis. All theese evens should be known before we talk about strategy and security.

And the situation today?

A poll found that 48% of the public said they would refuse an order to evacuate the Golan. This strengthen the Golan loyalists, and it appears to undermine Israel’s right to hand over parts of the country to other states.

With the exception of Stalinist Russia, states only expelled the populations of enemies defeated in war, rather than their own citizens. And just like depriving a person of his rights and freedoms is forbidden, “cleansing” the Golan off Jews would not only be a national sin, but also a crime against humanity, which allows for the right to resist. Should Golan leaders not internalize this, the Gush Katif tragedy shall repeat.

Ken Jurist Says:

The Golan Heights was never part of Syria before 1946.
The Golan was part of the British mandate borders of 1917 that was supposed to go to Israel.
Great Britain made a deal with France and illegally gave the Jewish Golan to the French who then gave it to Syria in 1946.

Syria controlled the Golan for only 21 years, half the period it has been under Israeli rule. Almost half of the Golan was purchased by Rothschild and later robbed by the Syrian government in 1946. Jews settled in the Golan as early as 1886 but they were expelled, massacred in 46

The Golan is where the tribes of Dan and Menashe settled, and Israeli kings ranging from Saul to Herod ruled there. The Golan saw consecutive Jewish settlement for 800 years; 300 Jewish communities from the time of the Mishna and Talmudwere discovered there, along with the remnants of 27 synagogues. Later, 1,000 years of desolation followed, until the Jews returned. The Golan belongs to us because it is the estate of our forefathers and not only by the power of occupation in a defensive waragainst an aggressor, like America in Texas and Polandand former German territories.

Ken Jurist Says:

How long can Camille Alexandre be silent on Syrian fascism?
Today Kurds cant vote, own land, be citizens or leave Syria.
All the Kurdish land was taken by Syria in 1962 and renamed in Arab names.

http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=15139
Campaign for the international recognition of human rights of half a million Kurds “Buried Alive” in Syria
10/13/08

Introduction:

The Kurdish People are the second largest ethnic entity in Syria, consisting of more than three million of the total population. The Kurds have been living on their ancient historical homeland and have actively contributed to liberating and building up the modern republic of Syria. Successive Syrian governments after independence in 1946 have denied the legitimate national rights of the Kurdish people and their contributions to achieving independence. Since the Baath Party seized power after the coup of March 1963 and declared itself the autocrat of the country, it has been systematically applying all political, military and psychological means to eradicate the Kurdish existence and forcibly assimilate the Kurdish national identity and annihilate their culture. These racist discriminatory policies have deprived the Kurds of the constitutional recognition of their cultural and national existence. The following atrocities are an ongoing part of these policies of the Syrian totalitarian regime for nearly half a century:

Exceptional Census:

The suppressive Syrian regime, in flagrant breach of human rights and international law, developed the racist, discriminatory Census Article 93, issued on 23/08/1962 and implemented on 05/10/1962, limited to Al Hasakah and Kurdish regions, which initially resulted in more than 150,000 and now increased to more than half a million, Kurds, who had been living in their own homeland, being stripped of their Syrian nationality certificate, thereby depriving them of the basic human right of surviving and prospering in their own country. Those whose nationality was withdrawn, and henceforth considered as foreigners in their own land, have no right to work in formal government departments, nor to own property, nor can they have access to education and health facilities. They cannot register their marriages and neither are they allowed to register their children in the state civil records. They cannot travel abroad as they cannot obtain a passport. They have no rights to practice some freelance professions such as medicine, law and teaching, which require a nationality certificate. In conclusion, they have no birthright to live in their own homeland. This racial and cultural genocide still continues today, after more than four decades, despite many promises to resolve this human rights issue which is so disastrous for the Kurds.

The Arab Belt and Arabisation Policy:

Since the racist Baath Party seized power in the 1960s, the Kurds have been cruelly subjected to a ethnic cleansing, racial and cultural genocide, aiming to eradicate the whole Kurdish national and cultural existence by isolating and separating the northern and southern parts of Kurdistan.

On 24/6/1974 the Chauvinist Government issued the racist Article 521, known as “The Arab Belt” which resulted in the seizure of the Kurdish agricultural lands (350km long and 15 km wide), and thousands of Kurdish land owners and farmers were forcibly driven from their own property, which was confiscated and given to Arab settlers and farmers coming from Arab regions. This widespread annexation of Kurdish agricultural lands and the settlement of immigrant Arabs resulted in splitting families and the destruction of social relationships, and in Arabising the names of villages and towns, which has altered the character of the whole region. This inhuman deprivation of natural ownership rights and livelihood has terrorized the Kurdish population who were deported from their cultural homelands and property and forced to live in isolation and destitution in big metropolitan cities.

The Political Repression of the Kurds in Syria

The Baath regime launched a campaign to eradicate all Kurdish national identity including Kurdish cultural and social activities. Kurdish political leaders, academics and intellectuals were brutally executed, imprisoned or exiled.

In 1949 the Kurdish President of the Syrian Republic, Mr. Husni Zaeem and his Kurdish Chief of Council of Misisters Mr. Muhsin Berazi, were overthrown and executed.

On 15th July 1951, two national Kurdish leaders, Prince Jaladat Bederxan and Dr. Noraddin Zaza, were assassinated and the Kurdish leader Apo Osman Sabri was exiled by the Arab nationalists.

On 31st November 1960 the Syrian authorities committed a horrific racial genocide in the Amuda Cinema where 380 Kurdish children were deliberately burnt to death while on a school excursion, watching a film on the Algerian revolution.

On 21st March 1986 the Syrian military forces attacked the Kurdish people and killed a man and injured many others in Damascus at a peaceful Newroz demonstration.

In 1993, 72 Kurdish prisoners were burnt to death and 100 were injured in the Central Prison in Hasakah City. To date, hundreds of Kurdish activists and academics are still dying under the brutal torture of this barbaric regime.

On 12th March 2004 the Syrian secret police and the Baathist Arabs incited and attacked Kurdish civilians in Quamishly and other Kurdish cities and areas. More than 30 Kurds were murdered and hundreds injured during these incursions. Hundreds more were arrested.

On 2st August 2004 the Syrian military secret forces arrested and tortured to death the Kurdish activist Mr. Ahmed Hussain Hussain a member of leadership council of PYD (Democratic Union Party). In July 2004 a member of PYD Miss Naziliye Kechel was arrested and to date her fate is unknown.

On 1st June 2005 the Syrian secret police abducted and tortured the Kurdish clerical leader, Dr. Sheikh Mashouq Al Khaznawi resulting in his death.

On 2st November 2007 during a peaceful demonstration organized by PYD in Qamishly and Kobani three people were killed, many injured, a hundred imprisoned, and the Kurdish activist and organizers Mr. Isa Hiso, Abas Khilo and Isa Mella Hasan were arrested and tortured. Later, on 27/11/2007 the Kurdish activist Mr.Osman Suleyman who had been a member of the Syrian parliament, was abducted and tortured to death.

On 20th March 2008, the Syrian secret police opened fire against Kurdish people who were peacefully celebrating Newroz, resulting in the deaths of three young Kurdish young men.

The Aim:

The aim of this campaign is to promote and publicise awareness of these human rights violations, and develop support for the international recognition for the basic human rights of more than half a million Kurds in Syria who have suffered deprivation and the misery of destitution as a result of these crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian authorities.

Objectives:

• to investigate and collect evidence and valid documents related to the discriminatory policies and the criminal deprivation of basic human rights implemented against the Kurds

• to present statistical documentation of the evidence of the human rights violations and deprivation of nationality, ownership and access to health, education and employment provision

• to prepare and present a legal prosecution against the perpetrators of all crimes committed against Kurdish people and to seek justice in court and to pursue appropriate compensation for their loss of livelihood and use of property suffered by the victims, and the provision of advice and support for them

• to liaise with the regional and international community, UN, EU, Unicef, AI and other human rights organisations concerning basic human rights issues and to gain official recognition of the deprivation and destitution suffered by the Kurds

• to guarantee constitutionally the provision of nationality, the restoration of citizenship and ownership rights, and the return of all confiscated property. In the absence of recognition of these provisions by Syria, an application for UN Refugee Status will be sought

The Campaigners:

The campaign is an initiative by The Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, and supported by the Kurdish Federation in the UK (Fed-bir). The campaign is a voluntary group working to promote the culture of democracy and tolerance.

The Supporters:

The campaign aims to lobby and win the support of MPs, MEPs, Members of the House of Lords, human Rights activists, lawyers, political and intellectual academics, NGOs, charities, international experts and others.

Contact and E-mail: Dr Amed Semo

fedbir@yahoo.co.uk, Tel: 07811346272

Ken Jurist Says:

http://middleeastfacts.com/Articles/myth-of-the-palestinian-people.php

Myth Of The Palestinian People
Yehezkel Bin-Nun
December 26, 2001

“Palestinians doubt Blair can deliver,” announces the BBC. “Four Palestinians die in West Bank,” reports CNN. “IDF demolishes building used by Palestinian gunmen,” announces Israel’s government run Channel 1 News. The modern media is filled with stories about the Palestinians, their plight, their dilemmas and their struggles. All aspects of their lives seem to have been put under the microscope. Only one question never seems to be addressed: Who are the Palestinians? Who are these people who claim the Holy Land as their own? What is their history? Where did they come from? How did they arrive in the country they call Palestine? Now that both US President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (in direct opposition to the platform he was elected on) have come out in favor of a Palestinian state, it would be prudent to seek answers to these questions. For all we know, Palestine could be as real as Disneyland.

The general impression given in the media is that Palestinians have lived in the Holy Land for hundreds, if not thousands of years. No wonder, then, that a recent poll of French citizens shows that the majority believe (falsely) that prior to the establishment of the State of Israel an independent Arab Palestinian state existed in its place. Yet curiously, when it comes to giving the history of this “ancient” people most news outlets find it harder to go back more than the early nineteen hundreds. CNN, an agency which has devoted countless hours of airtime to the “plight” of the Palestinians, has a website which features a special section on the Middle East conflict called “Struggle For Peace”. It includes a promising sounding section entitled “Lands Through The Ages” which assures us it will detail the history of the region using maps. Strangely, it turns out, the maps displayed start no earlier than the ancient date of 1917. The CBS News website has a background section called “A Struggle For Middle East Peace.” Its history timeline starts no earlier than 1897. The NBC News background section called ”Searching for Peace” has a timeline which starts in 1916. BBC’s timeline starts in 1948.

Yet, the clincher must certainly be the Palestinian National Authority’s own website. While it is top heavy on such phrases as “Israeli occupation” and “Israeli human rights violations” the site offers practically nothing on the history of the so-called Palestinian people. The only article on the site with any historical content is called “Palestinian History – 20th Century Milestones” which seems only to confirm that prior to 1900 there was no such concept as the Palestinian People.

While the modern media maybe short on information about the history of the “Palestinian people” the historical record is not. Books, such as Battleground by Samuel Katz and From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters long ago detailed the history of the region. Far from being settled by Palestinians for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the Land of Israel, according to dozens of visitors to the land, was, until the beginning of the last century, practically empty. Alphonse de Lamartine visited the land in 1835. In his book, Recollections of the East, he writes “Outside the gates of Jerusalem we saw no living object, heard no living sound….” None other than the famous American author Mark Twain, who visited the Land of Israel in 1867, confirms this. In his book Innocents Abroad he writes, “A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We reached Tabor safely…. We never saw a human being on the whole journey.” Even the British Consul in Palestine reported, in 1857, “The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population…”

In fact, according to official Ottoman Turk census figures of 1882, in the entire Land of Israel, there were only 141,000 Muslims, both Arab and non-Arab. This number was to skyrocket to 650,000 Arabs by 1922, a 450% increase in only 40 years. By 1938 that number would become over 1 million or an 800% increase in only 56 years. Population growth was especially high in areas where Jews lived. Where did all these Arabs come from? According to the Arabs the huge increase in their numbers was due to natural childbirth. In 1944, for example, they alleged that the natural increase (births minus deaths) of Arabs in the Land of Israel was the astounding figure of 334 per 1000. That would make it roughly three times the corresponding rate for the same year of Lebanon and Syria and almost four times that of Egypt, considered amongst the highest in the world. Unlikely, to say the least. If the massive increase was not due to natural births, then were did all these Arabs come from?

All the evidence points to the neighboring Arab states of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. In 1922 the British Governor of the Sinai noted that “illegal immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria.” In 1930, the British Mandate -sponsored Hope-Simpson Report noted that “unemployment lists are being swollen by immigrants from Trans-Jordania” and “illicit immigration through Syria and across the northern frontier of Palestine is material.” The Arabs themselves bare witness to this trend. For example, the governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey el Hurani, admitted in 1934 that in a single period of only a few months over 30,000 Syrians from Hauran had moved to the Land of Israel. Even British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted the Arab influx. Churchill, a veteran of the early years of the British mandate in the Land of Israel, noted in 1939 that “far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied.”

Far from displacing the Arabs, as they claimed, the Jews were the very reason the Arabs chose to settle in the Land of Israel. Jobs provided by newly established Zionist industry and agriculture lured them there, just as Israeli construction and industry provides most Arabs in the Land of Israel with their main source of income today. Malcolm MacDonald, one of the principal authors of the British White Paper of 1939, which restricted Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel, admitted (conservatively) that were it not for a Jewish presence the Arab population would have been little more than half of what it actually was. Today, when due to the latest “intifada” Arabs from the territories under 35 are no longer allowed into pre-1967 Israel to work, unemployment has skyrocketed to over 40% and most rely on European aid packages to survive.

Not only pre-state Arabs lied about being indigenous. Even today, many prominent so-called Palestinians, it turns out, are foreign born. Edward Said, an Ivy League Professor of Literature and a major Palestinian propagandist, long claimed to have been raised in Jerusalem. However, in an article in the September 1999 issue of Commentary Magazine Justus Reid Weiner revealed that Said actually grew up in Cairo, Egypt, a fact which Said himself was later forced to admit. But why bother with Said? PLO chief Yasir Arafat himself, self declared “leader of the Palestinian people”, has always claimed to have been born and raised in “Palestine”. In fact, according to his official biographer Richard Hart, as well as the BBC, Arafat was born in Cairo on August 24, 1929 and that’s where he grew up.

To maintain the charade of being an indigenous population, Arab propagandists have had to do more than a little rewriting of history. A major part of this rewriting involves the renaming of geography. For two thousand years the central mountainous region of Israel was known as Judea and Samaria, as any medieval map of the area testifies. However, the state of Jordan occupied the area in 1948 and renamed it the West Bank. This is a funny name for a region that actually lies in the eastern portion of the land and can only be called “West” in reference to Jordan. This does not seem to bother the majority of news outlets covering the region, which universally refer to the region by its recent Jordanian name.

The term “Palestinian” is itself a masterful twisting of history. To portray themselves as indigenous, Arab settlers adopted the name of an ancient Canaanite tribe, the Phillistines, that died out almost 3000 years ago. The connection between this tribe and modern day Arabs is nil. Who is to know the difference? Given the absence of any historical record, one can understand why Yasser Arafat claims that Jesus Christ, a Jewish carpenter from the Galilee, was a Palestinian. Every year, at Christmas time, Arafat goes to Bethlehem and tells worshippers that Jesus was in fact “the first Palestinian”.

If the Palestinians are indeed a myth, then the real question becomes “Why?” Why invent a fictitious people? The answer is that the myth of the Palestinian People serves as the justification for Arab occupation of the Land of Israel. While the Arabs already possess 21 sovereign countries of their own (more than any other single people on earth) and control a land mass 800 times the size of the Land of Israel, this is apparently not enough for them. They therefore feel the need to rob the Jews of their one and only country, one of the smallest on the planet. Unfortunately, many people ignorant of the history of the region, including much of the world media, are only too willing to help.

It is interesting to note that the Bible makes reference to a fictitious nation confronting Israel. “They have provoked me to jealously by worshipping a non-god, angered me with their vanities. I will provoke them with a non-nation; anger them with a foolish nation (Deuteronomy 32:21).”

On second thought, it may be unfair to compare Palestine to Disneyland. After all, Disneyland really exists.

Ken Jurist Says:

abraham, the Arabs are the racists.
All minorities in the Arab world are treated like dirt.
Kurds, Coptics, Black Christians of Sudan, Berbers, Chaldeans etc.

All you say is how bad Israel is, when all Israel is doing is defending herself. When one looks at the many Arab atrocities that have been committed in recent history- you realize one thing.

The Arab world is racist, sexist, poverty stricken, diseased, inbred, filled with religious hatred, ignorant, and celebrates mass murder of woman and children. The Arabs have killed their own with guns, hangings, be-headings, chemical and biological weapons, electrified them, and tortured fellow Arabs to death. Arabs even kill there own woman if there raped or not virgins before they get married. ( Honor Killings ) Do you people ever take responsiblity. I guess its far easier for the Arabs to blame everyone else for there failures

Ken Jurist Says:

Alex, you say, Even today, Avi Dichter believes Israel should return the Golan to Syria.

It should be pointed out Ex Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter opposed killing Yassin in 2004. He argued in a meeting with Sharon that it would cause more harm than good.
Yup, shows how smart he is.
Since Yassin was killed terrorism is down 92% in Israel.
Yes people, 92%
When you kill mass murderers like Yassin terrorism goes down.
I hope Avi Dichter now realizes how foolish he was for his decision to oppose killing Yassin.
Maybe he’ll realize the same in trying to give away the Jewish Golan.

Ken Jurist Says:

These rotten Arab colonialists have stolen lands from Kurds, Berbers, Copts, Babylonians, Chaldeans and they want to steal Jewish lands as well. The Golan was part of ancient and modern Israel for centuries, while it was under Syrian occupation for a mere 21 years!! The archaeology of the Golan is proof that the Golan is Jewish. I personally helped dig up a Talmudic era synagogue in Katzrin which is now has a visitor centre. The only Arab land is (Saudi) Arabia. The Arabs can go back there!!

Ken Jurist Says:

The Golan was in Jewish hands in Hasmonean and Roman times, as archeological evidence attests. It was granted to the Jewish homeland under the League of Nations Mandate.

It was temporarily in Syrian hands until 1967 when Israel, responding to Syrian aggression, retook it. It’s now back in the hands of its rightful owner.

Dorsey Says:

I am happy I found your site on technorati. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my boyfriend were just preparing to do some research about this. I am very glad to see such good info being shared freely out there.
Best wishes,
Antony from Chattanooga city

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