Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Nasrallah Has Presented His Conspiracy Theory--What Do The Lebanese Think?

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 08:24 AM PDT

Nasrallah has now openly accused Israel of murdering Rafik Hariri back in June 2005, claiming that Israel wanted to create instability in Lebanon--this in his defense over the impending report that will allegedly find Hezbollah as the perpetrators of Hariri's death.

Of course, such a theory doesn't do anything unless the Lebanese--and the world--buy Nasrallah's explanation.

According to Ha'aretz, Nasrallah has no smoking gun tying Israel to Hariri murder, but that doesn't mean the the Lebanese people won't eat up this sort of story:

The speech received widespread and often enthusiastic coverage in the Arab world, especially from Al Jazeera. But in Lebanon itself, it met with some skepticism: Mohammad Kabbara, a member of parliament from the anti-Syria March 14 faction, said it would convince no one but its authors. And Amin Gemayel, a Christian leader, said it contained no proof, and Nasrallah ought to share all his information.

Nasrallah showed intercepted photographs from Israeli drones taken near Hariri's house and that of his brother, along with documentation of intensive Israel Air Force activity on the day of the murder, as if all this were a smoking gun. It wasn't particularly convincing, but that is less important than Al Jazeera's enthusiastic adoption of it.

In the Arab world today, Al Jazeera's support is as good as a court verdict, and is likely to be seen by many Arabs as proof positive of Israel's guilt.

This solution is also convenient for many Lebanese, as Hezbollah's indictment for the murder could lead the country into another civil war - as Nasrallah himself has repeatedly hinted.

Michael Totten, who has visited Lebanon on many occasions agrees that the Lebanese will be wary of Nasrallah's convenient explanation and thinks Hezbollah Can't Pin Hariri Murder on Israel:

I've been working in Lebanon on and off for years, and I've never once met a single person who thought Israel murdered Hariri. Not even the Hezbollah officials I spoke to before they blacklisted me thought so. Once in a while I met a Hezbollah supporter who said he didn't know who killed Hariri and silently left open the possibility that Israel might have done it, but that's the furthest even any of them were willing to go.

Hariri was one of the least anti-Israel Arab leaders on earth. His vision for Lebanon was one of peace and prosperity, not terrorism and war. Jerusalem had no reason at all to want him out of the picture. The Syrian- and Iranian-led Resistance Bloc, on the other hand, needed him out of the way, dead, or at least suppressed.

This all leaves Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri--son of the murdered Rafik Hariri--in a difficult position: Syria and Iran of course want him to ignore the findings of the inquiry while on the other side is the US, which is already angry over last weeks ambush of the IDF and is currently withholding aid to Lebanon as a result.

(This is not to mention that the PM would supposedly like to see his father's murderers brought to justice.)

With Al-Jazeera in Nasrallah's cheering section and the threat of renewed violence from Hezbollah should the inquiry find Hezbollah responsible, it may not matter what the Lebanese people may privately think.

After all, they welcomed the return of Samir Kuntar, who murdered a 4 year old girl.

by Daled Amos

Watermelons Force Palestinians To Institute Checkpoints For Palestinians!

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 05:20 AM PDT

Oh, the horror!

Oh, the outrage!

Oh...the prices!!!

The Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods is not working:

So how did the [Palestinian] Ministry of Economy handle the failure? An emergency meeting was conducted to adopt a policy to inspect all vehicles entering the Palestinian cities with checkpoints based on the borders of cities, such as the point located by the entrance of Beit Sahour and Ram."

You heard it right, Palestinian checkpoints to prevent their own people to exercise the freedom to shop. One thing is certain, cursing Israel was not a great idea after all.

The Palestinian Authority is trying to do more than just keep out Israeli goods. Lenny and Shellie Ben-David write that more than just good prices can be found at the Rami Levy Supermarket. In Middle East Coexistence? On Aisle Two, Next to the Cornflakes, they write:

The parking lot started the amazing experience -- late model cars with Palestinian green and white license plates, interspersed with Israeli vans and jalopies with their black and yellow plates.

The Rami Levy supermarket is located a few hundred yards from the Gush Etzyon junction in the West Bank, 10 miles south of Jerusalem on the road to Hebron. Next door is a former Jordanian army fort, built at the strategic crossroads after the Jewish communities in the Etzyon bloc were wiped out in 1948.

The store opened in June and has been packed with Arabs and Israelis every day except on the Jewish Sabbath or holidays.

Rami Levy is no ordinary supermarket. Shellie Ben-David writes:

My Rami Levy shopping is still a wonder to me: if I need a few items, I don't have to shlep into Jerusalem, but can just hop in my car and in five minutes be at the supermarket. Today, as I was whizzing down an aisle in my jeans skirt, Lands End shirt, and crocs, I noticed five or six very well-dressed Arab ladies in their caftans and hijabs, probably in their late 20s to early 30s, checking out the store. They were speaking among themselves as they gazed and pointed at items. At one point a worker in his Rami Levy uniform came over to speak to them in Arabic. Later, I saw that they had finally settled in the shampoo aisle, comparing different brands. Women will be women.

Rami Levy is something of a phenomenon, one that has been ignored by a media that has its own agenda on how to portray the Israeli-Arab relationship anyway. They don't know what they are missing:

Press accounts, political pundits, and pontificating politicians portray the situation in the West Bank as bleak and insoluble. Perhaps that's why I was in awe on my first visit, when I saw Palestinian families and Israeli "settlers" mingling in the aisles, thumping the watermelons and squeezing the plums. My checkout cashier was a Jewish woman from Kiryat Arba of Moroccan descent, on the cash register next to her was a blue-eyed Muslim woman from Halul, and working the register behind me was a member of the Bnei Menashe tribe from India who had formalized her conversion to Judaism.

I really shouldn't have been surprised, however, since out here in the Etzyon bloc region we "settlers" had good relations with many Palestinian craftsmen and workers who live in the area. The intifada in 2000 quashed almost all relations and ties, but in recent months they've been reestablished. I'm back in touch with Khalil, who taught me how to prune my grapevines, and Mahmoud, who was the subcontractor on a construction project in my home 14 years ago.

Across the street from my house one Arab crew is currently working on the remodeling of a house. (Careful, they mustn't add on to the house lest they violate the settlement freeze!) Next door to them is a Jewish crew remodeling another house, owned by a strong nationalist who insists on employing "Jewish labor." But I think I've spotted workers passing over a bag of cement or facing stone if the other team had a temporary shortage.

Hebrew, Arabic, and English are the languages I hear in Rami Levy. Many of the Palestinian male shoppers speak Hebrew, indicating that they had once worked in Israel or the "settlements" prior to the intifada. They translate their Hebrew conversations to their wives and children.

This may sound like a unique experience--and maybe it is, but it needn't be. The fact is that this is not a new idea at all:

In the late 1990s and even in early 2000, there were several encouraging and productive joint Palestinian-Israeli products, but the Palestinian Authority -- then led by Yasir Arafat -- decided to abandon the road to peace and prosperity and chose to launch the bloody intifada that left thousands of Palestinians and Israelis dead and wounded.

Read the whole thing.

When the Palestinian Authorities and Abbas get it through their heads that only peace will bring the prosperity they claim to want for their people, maybe there will be real movement by them to at least take the step of talking face-to-face with Israel.

Maybe it would help if their wives would take them shopping.

by Daled Amos

A better idea

Posted: 10 Aug 2010 11:27 PM PDT

A great deal has been made recently about a recent modest proposal to build, next to the planned Ground-Zero Mosque, a center for Bi-Fidels, Trans-Fidels, Cross-Fidels, and other non-traditional Muslims. While the idea has considerable merit, it has, I believe, one glaring drawback: it threatens a certain Massad-ization of the Muslim viewpoint.

I believe that I can propose an alternate plan much more conducive to building bridges and healing the currently strained relations between the two great civilizations. What was the greatest good fortune ever to befall the Hebraic and Christian faiths? Surely there is nobody who will hesitate to aver that it was the advent of Higher Biblical Criticism. What greater gift could we give our Muslim brethren, what greater demonstration that we know that 9/11 was merely the work of a few crazed misfits, than an institute for historical and textual study of the Quran, right next to the site where Bin Laden's minions played into the clammy hands of Islamophobic bigots like Rush Limbaugh and Pam Geller?

Shall the scripture that is the basis for all scientific discoveries languish for lack of truly scientific study? Will we let our Mohammedan brethren base one of the world's great faiths on silly superstitions and outmoded notions of Divine revelation when a truly scientific foundation beckons? If Bin Laden's propensity to bomb an institution is the greatest recommendation one could make for establishing it, then surely everyone will agree that the Al-Wellhausen Institute for Higher Quran Study should be built even before all the funding is in place for the admirable Cordoba House project. And the BFTFCF community will just have to wait its turn.

Crossposted on Judeopundit

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