Friday, July 29, 2011

David Gerstman's Mideast Media Sampler 07/29/11‏

My old former blogging pal David Gerstman gives us a daily sampler of noteworthy pieces and worthy reads on the Middle East out today:

1) Pariah

Elder of Ziyon writes about his Twitter exchange with Jeffrey Goldberg. He concludes:

That thread is continuing as I write this, but it is not an avenue that I think is too fruitful. The fear of Israel becoming a pariah state is an important topic, though, and one that I would like to treat fairly - which means, not on Twitter.

As soon as I find the time.

When I read the exchange - and before I reached Elder's conclusion - I was bothered by Goldberg's use of the term "pariah."

It seems to be a self-fulfilling judgment. Israel is doing something I disagree with therefore it will become a pariah.

What's going on?

Normally if we were asked what we thought of throwing a bomb into a crowd or building a house we would choose the latter as being something productive if not admirable.

But if you change the terms and say the house is being built in Shiloh then some people empathize with or rationalize the bomb attack and condemn the house building.

Worse, many of those who condemn the house building in Shiloh not only condemn in on its own terms but say that it threatens Israel's legitimacy. On the other side the terrorism is treated as a reaction to injustice.

But consider the recently revealed fact that the Palestinian Authority - run by the "moderate" Fatah - still pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists. Here's the rationale:

"Anyone imprisoned in the occupation's [Israel's] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation."

It reminded me of the statement made by Ahlam Tamimi, as quoted by Arnold and Frimet Roth. Tamimi is serving a 16 life sentences for her role in bringing about the Sbarro's terror attack ten years ago - killing the Roth's daughter Mali and 14 others.

"I'm not sorry for what I did. We'll become free from the occupation and then I will be free from prison."

Tamimi's response is eerily similar to the law, which rewards her act and makes it acceptable if not praiseworthy. And yet the society that rewards terror, for some reason, few suggest that the pervasive attitude of the Palestinian Authority makes it a pariah. But building the house, a morally neutral act, is the focus of Goldberg and people who think like him.This is one aspect of how the fear of Israel becoming a pariah warps a moral argument.

2) Protests continue in Jordan

Babylon and Beyond has a report on the democracy movement in Jordan, Pro-democracy demonstrators show little sign of letup:

After six months of Egypt- and Tunisia-inspired protests, Jordanian pro-democracy demonstrators calling for reforms and a wider public say in politics remain persistent and show little sign of ceding their demands. Though demonstrations in Jordan have failed to generate the large numbers seen in other Arab countries such as Egypt and Yemen, hundreds and perhaps thousands continue to take to the streets of the Jordanian capital, Amman, in weekly anti-government rallies after Friday prayers to demand reforms.
"It is a consistent peaceful protest that is very stubborn," 29-year old Khaled Kamhawi, a member of the activist group March 24 Youth Movement, told Babylon and Beyond. "There is no compromise. Jordan is a small country suffering from big problems -- all due to political, administrative and financial fraud. The status quo is unsustainable."

Perhaps because rights are not curtailed in Jordan to the degree they are curtailed in other Arab countries, these protests don't get much attention.

Still even if there are those who are pushing for greater democracy there's still an area where Jordan hasn't shown much progress.

Elder of Ziyon notes that the Jordan's Journalist Union objects to normalization with Israel.

I'll know that there's a real Arab spring, when the pervasive hatred of Israel is absent from political discourse in the Arab world.

3) I'm waiting for Ban Ki Moon's condemnation

Earlier this week six french UNIFIL soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb.

Israeli sources speculated.

The bombing of a UNIFIL convoy in southern Lebanon on Tuesday night was likely aimed at sending a message to the peacekeeping force to scale back its operations against Hezbollah, Israeli defense officials said on Wednesday.
UNIFIL’s mandate is up for renewal in mid-August and the attack is understood in Israel as a sign of Hezbollah concern that the force is looking to bolster its rules of engagement.
Israel has been lobbying diplomats from countries which contribute to UNIFIL – particularly Spain, Italy and France – to get the UN to issue new rules of engagement for the peacekeeping force that will enable it to search Lebanese villages without prior coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

I guess you could say that Hezbollah has chosen to emulate OJ Simpson:

Hezbollah and Amal Movement condemned Thursday the bomb attack that left six French U.N. peacekeepers wounded and urged the government to find and punish the perpetrators. “Hezbollah and Amal condemn this criminal act … and call for an urgent investigation into the incident and efforts to find the perpetrators and punish them," said a joint statement issued by Hezbollah and Amal at the end of a coordination meeting in the southern port city of Tyre.

Will the UN condemn Hezbollah for violating UN Resolution 425? or 1701?

I won't hold my breath.

please helps me write more gooder!

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