Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Palestinians Support Ending Negotiations with the Government of Israel

An article in today's Boston Globe.

As I wrote to a friend,
"Quelle shocque!! What could possibly have caused them to feel that way?"

What do you think? I do not think that the Government of Israel has for many years engaged in good faith negotiations. I believe that the Government of Israel's definition of peace is not a "just peace" but one in which the Palestinians stop complaining at the least and, at best, leave. If you believe that the Palestinians should continue the negotiations with the Government of Israel, please post a comment here.

Poll says most Palestinians favor violence over talks
By Ethan Bronner, New York Times News Service March 19, 2008

RAMALLAH, West Bank - A new poll says that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also indicates unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The pollster, Khalil Shikaki, said he was shocked because the survey indicated greater support for violence than any other he had conducted over the past 15 years in the Palestinian areas. Never before, he said, had a majority favored an end to negotiations or the shooting of rockets at Israel.

"There is real reason to be concerned," Shikaki said in an interview at his West Bank office. His Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducts a survey every three months, is widely viewed as among the few independent and reliable gauges of Palestinian public opinion.

His explanation for the shift, one widely reflected in the Palestinian media, is that recent actions by Israel, especially attacks on Gaza that killed nearly 130 people, an undercover operation in Bethlehem that killed four militants, and the announced expansion of several West Bank settlements, have led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge.
Shikaki's poll also suggested that the militant Islamist group Hamas, which Israel and the United States have been trying to isolate, is gaining popularity in the West Bank while its American-backed rival, the more secular Fatah, is losing ground. Asked for whom they would vote for president, 46 percent chose Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, the current president, while 47 percent chose Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

Three months ago, Abbas was ahead 56 percent to 37 percent. After Hamas forces pushed Fatah forces out of Gaza last summer, Shikaki's polls suggested that the Palestinian public was disillusioned with Hamas, and in the subsequent months many argued that Abbas, with the support of Washington and Israel, had an opportunity to win public support by easing living conditions and advancing in negotiations. That has not happened.

According to the poll, conducted last week with 1,270 Palestinians in face-to-face interviews, 84 percent supported the March 6 attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, one of Israel's most prominent centers of religious Zionism and ideological wellspring of the settler movement in the West Bank. Shikaki said this is the single highest support for an act of violence in his 15 years of polling here. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

On negotiations between Ehud Olmert, prime minister of Israel, and Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, 75 percent said they were without benefit and should be terminated. Regarding the thousands of rockets that have been launched on Israeli towns like Sderot and Ashkelon, 64 percent support it.

The poll did indicate support for a two-state solution with 66 percent favoring normalized relations with Israel if it returned all land won in 1967 and a Palestinian state was established.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Al-Jazeera's "Slanted Coverage"

What a way to start the day!! Another story about the Government of Israel.

"Israel imposes sanctions on Al-Jazeera

By Matti Friedman, Associated Press
March 13, 2008

JERUSALEM - Israel said yesterday that it would impose sanctions on the influential Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, accusing it of slanted coverage favoring the violent Hamas movement.

Majalli Whbee, Israel's deputy foreign minister, said the government would deny visas to the Qatar-based station's employees and Israeli officials would no longer agree to be interviewed by the network. He did not say Israel would strip foreign Al-Jazeera employees currently in Israel of their visas.

"We have seen that Al-Jazeera has become part of Hamas . . . taking sides and cooperating with people who are enemies of the state of Israel," said Whbee, a Druse Arab. "The moment a station like Al-Jazeera gives unreliable reports, represents only one side, and doesn't present the positions of the other side, why should we cooperate?"

Israel was especially incensed by the network's coverage of the most recent round of intense violence in Hamas-ruled Gaza, saying it rarely showed Israeli casualties or
Palestinian rocket fire.

Three Israelis and more than 120 Palestinians were killed, including dozens of civilians, before the fighting subsided earlier this month."

The focus of the outrage of the Israeli Government Officials and its proof of Al-Jazeera bias was the publication by the Arab satellite network of only 3 obituaries of dead Israelis while day after day and week after week for over a month it prejudicially published 120 obituaries of dead Palestinians. Israeli Government Officials protested this is the strongest terms saying that the Al-Jazeera should have provided balance in its coverage by once a month publishing all 123 obituaries on the same day in the same column or, in the alternative, by including in the names of 117 Jewish Israelis who had passed away during that month.

Obviously the previous paragraph is something I made up. But the point is that the difference between slanted coverage and accurate objective reporting sometimes, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

I'll bet that Eliot Spitzer believes that the media is offering "slanted coverage". How can it ignore all the good works that he did?

How about the President of the United States? All the time headlines about Torture? Illegal wiretaps? Firings of US Attorneys!! Unjustified invasion of Iraq? Hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers and civilians? Where are all the stories about his great moves and trades when he was involved with the Texas Rangers? Talk about slanted coverage!!

And what about the Catholic priests found guilty of sexually abusing children in spite of doing so much good for so many others in their flocks. Another example of slanted coverage by the media.

Forty years - nearly FIFTEEN THOUSAND (15,000) days and nights of an illegal and immoral occupation and oppression of the Palestinians by the Government of Israel and the Government of Israel accuses Al-Jazeera of slanted coverage and wants to punish it.

What twisted logic? What Chutzpah? What arrogance? How conniving?

What comes to mind as I try to describe this action of the Government of Israel is the phrase Eliot Spitzer used when referring to himself: a f------ steamroller.


PS: Speaking of steamrollers, in a previous message, I mentioned that Joan and I are going to see My Name is Rachel Corrie this Sunday, March 16, at the New Repertory Theater. I just received a message from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation noting that that date is the 5th Anniversary of her being killed by an Israeli army Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer (note the slanted coverage) in Rafah in Gaza. Three days later the US illegally and immorally (note the slanted coverage) attacked Iraq. The US Campaign suggests various ways to take action on that day. Coincidentally and fortunately, we will have the opportunity on that day to honor her memory and her dedication to peace by listening to her words.