Category: middle east

Let the Middle East Govern Itself

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

NEW YORK – It is time for the United States and other powers to let the Middle East govern itself in line with national sovereignty and the United Nations Charter. As the US contemplates yet another round of military action in Iraq and intervention in Syria, it should recognize two basic truths.

Read on…

israel, palestine, america

Israel & Palestine: A Very Short Introduction
How Jon Stewart Made It Okay to Care About Palestinian Suffering 
The Guardian view on… a futile war in Gaza 
James Fallows: From Inside and Outside the Iron Dome, Once Again
Letter from Gaza by a Norwegian doctor
Report From Gaza: When My Son Screams
The Israeli offensive in Gaza isn’t an attack on Hamas, it’s an attack on peace
Glenn Greenwald: Why Did NBC Pull Veteran Reporter After He Witnessed Israeli Killing of Gaza Kids?
Gaza Is a Concentration Camp, And It’s an American Delusion Not to Recognize That—Weschler
Israel Is Simply Wrong This Time
Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown – Gaza and the West Bank (HD)
Stephen Hawking’s boycott hits Israel where it hurts: science
Naomi Klein: Enough. It’s time for a boycott

blogger blues

little more than a handful of pinoy bloggers on my required-reads list have been blogging (and only a handful of readers commenting) on israel’s wicked war in/on gaza, which is a shame because it betrays how insular we can get, as though we were an island complete unto ourselves, which we’re not.

the israel-palestine problem should concern us, at the very least because it involves the u.s. of a. (even if cnn and bbc don’t talk about the how and the why) with whom we are said to have “special relations.”   a must-read is anna de brux’s post, America should stop subsidising Israel’s war on Gaza to the tune of $2.4 billion a year in military aid.   iyan ang “special relations.”   iyong sa atin, a paltry $149 million, poor relations lang tayo, distant relations, even beggar relations, thanks to government policies, e.g. foreign policy, trade policy, debt policy, that keep us dependent on, subservient to, outside forces.

at the very least, next time gma or kristiekenney talks “special relations” because of our long history as allies, let us be aware that it has been a long time since it’s done us much good.

so what have pinoy bloggers been fretting about  instead all through the holidays til now?    the golf folderol (as djb puts it), what else.   now that the blogosphere’s kneejerk rush to judgement in reaction to bambee de la paz’s campaign for justice has been proven rash foolish unwise, many bloggers left twisting in the wind are making the best of a sorry situation, some by admitting outright that it was a mistake, some by posting the pangandaman side, some by utter silence so far, and some by editing their blogs perhaps to avoid libel suits.

must reads:

Final Cut: The Pangandaman-Dela Paz Feud
Bubuyog Tonite: De la Paz, di nagkasya sa payong …
Obliterated: An Anti Pangandaman Blog
Credibility in Blogging and the Libel Suit against Blogger Bambee de la Paz
It’s your blog
The Right to Bitch …

i can hear luis teodoro et al saying, i told you so:

the principles of journalism should apply . . . . there should be verification and fairness even if it’s an opinion piece.

reading my strong negative reaction at the time, a long time ago, long before bambee, i cringe.   but no, i’m not editing out any of it.   a reminder to think twice before jumping into the next debate between mainstream media and the new media that’s admittedly going through birth pains, no, maybe teething pains, pinoy style.

abraham & moses, israel & palestine

Abraham and Moses to blame for Gaza war
by Neal Cruz

The current war between Israeli and Palestinian forces in Gaza is but the latest flare-up in a conflict in that dates back to biblical days. In fact, it goes back to the patriarchs, to Abraham and Moses. It can be said that these two started all the trouble. Isn’t it ironic that the most troubled part of the world is the cradle of the world’s three great religions: Christianity, Islam, and the Jewish religion? Here is a tongue-in-cheek retelling of what happened:

If you remember Cecil B. de Mille’s opus (many people have seen the movie but have not read the Bible), Charlton Heston, or rather, Moses, led the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt, parted the sea and crossed it, wandered in the Sinai desert where he got sidetracked when God called him to the summit of Mt. Sinai and gave him the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. (That was the “Exodus.”)

Here, old Mr. Moses was probably already footsore from all the walking and preferred to stay behind. It was left to his lieutenant, Joshua, to lead the Israelites in search of the Promised Land. Even then promises were not being kept and the Israelites wandered for 400 years in the wilderness looking for that Promised Land.

Finally, the Jews got tired of wandering (hence, the term “wandering Jew”) and settled in Palestine. This would have been all right, except for one thing: the place was already settled by nomadic tribes now known as the Palestinians. If that were the Philippines, the Palestinians would be the originalsettlers, or owners, of the land, and the Israelites, the squatters. So there was constant warfare between the original settlers and the squatters, and this continues to this day. But then as now, the Israelites were better in warfare and soon subdued the scattered tribes.

They soon founded a kingdom, Israel, and had kings like Solomon who became legendary. Their vaunted savvy in war was no match for those of neighboring kingdoms, however. Worse, the Israelites could not get along with one another and soon the kingdom split into two. Thus weakened, they were soon easy prey for their neighbors. Israel was conquered and occupied by a succession of empires, and the Jews were dispersed all over the world, especially in Europe and New York in the United States where they call the shots in business and finance. All the time, the Jews longed to go back to their homeland, Israel.

In Europe, the Jews were so shrewd (remember Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice”?) that Hitler, in World War II, decided to eliminate their race by gathering them in concentration camps and making soaps, candles and lampshades of them. That was what is called “The Holocaust.”

After World War II, the clamor for the Jews to go back to their homeland became intense. The Jews resorted to terrorism to force Britain, which then occupied the Holy Land, to give back to them their homeland. Yes, the first terrorists were the Jews and among the first Israeli leaders were former terrorists. The present Palestinian terrorists learned the ropes from Israelis.

Finally, the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations, carved an area in Palestine as the homeland of the Jews. This is the present Israel.

Jews from all over the world immigrated to Israel. Naturally, the surrounding Islamic nations didn’t like this. As soon as Israel was inaugurated, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc. attacked the new nation but the Israelis proved once more that they were better in warfare and defeated the attackers in air and tank battles. That was the Six Day War.

There were other sporadic wars which the Israelis also won with their superior forces. The present war in Gaza is just the latest of these sporadic clashes.

So you see, Moses can be blamed for all the trouble now. If Moses and Joshua had not led the Israelites to Palestine and grabbed the land from the tribes already there (the Israelites were also the first land-grabbers and squatters), there would not have been any war now.

Let me go back farther to the first patriarch, Abraham, who is also to blame.

Abraham was married to Sarah, who could not beget him a child. So Sarah gave her maid, Hagar, to Abraham. Hagar bore him a son. But as usually happens, as soon as Abraham had a child by Hagar, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to her own son. And again as usually happens, the legal wife became jealous of Hagar and she demanded that Abraham cast Hagar and her son into the desert. Then as now, wives always had their way with their husbands, even if the husband happened to be a patriarch. So Abraham was forced to shoo Hagar and her son into the desert.

As mother and son wandered in the desert, dying of thirst, Hagar prayed to God to save the boy. God took pity on them. When the boy fell in exhaustion on the sand, a spring welled from under him. This saved mother and son from dying of thirst.

It is said that the Jews and the Muslims descended from the two sons of Abraham. The descendants of the two half-brothers have been fighting ever since.”