Key shifts in the Arab ‘moderates’ position on Hamas and Israel

Published by Middle East Monitor

The Egyptian, Saudi and other Arab “moderates” position on the Gaza war has been presented in most media discussion and political analysis as a striking departure from previous policy and indication of a new shift towards Israel and its view of Hamas, “resistance” and other regional challenges to the global order. The fact is, however, that their Gaza policies are the consequence of over a decade of restructuring of Arab positions to accommodate the United States. Continue reading Key shifts in the Arab ‘moderates’ position on Hamas and Israel

The “moderates” on Gaza: sowing seeds of hate

First published on Al Jazeeara.net aje.me/1sgTl1V

In 2006 Saudi Arabia’s leadership broke with convention in Arab politics by publicly blaming a self-proclaimed “resistance” force for provoking Israel to unleash a war. Rather than hold Israel to account for targeting civilians, ground invasion, air and sea blockade, Saudi Arabia took aim at Hizbullah for what it called “irresponsible adventurism” in kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. This set the tone for a number of Arab governments during a month of war during which it became clear they hoped Israel would “finish off” Hizbullah, a nuisance that inflamed popular passions, leading to impossible demands on regimes who relied on Western support to survive. Hosni Mubarak couldn’t even bring himself to call Hizbullah by its name, referring to it famously during the Lebanon war as “thingy”. Add to that, especially for Saudi Arabia, the fact that Hizbullah was an extension of Iranian power. Continue reading The “moderates” on Gaza: sowing seeds of hate

Key shifts in the “Arab moderate” position on Hamas and Israel

The Egyptian, Saudi and other Arab “moderates” position on the Gaza war over the past three weeks has been presented in most media discussion and political analysis as a striking departure from previous policy and indication of a new shift towards Israel and its view of Hamas, “resistance” and other regional challenges to the global order. The fact is, however, that their Gaza policies are the consequence of over a decade of restructuring of Arab positions to accommodate the United States. Continue reading Key shifts in the “Arab moderate” position on Hamas and Israel

A case for one state – by a two-stater

A recent conference on “Israel and the changing Middle East”, organised by the Anglo-Israel Association (with a few other sponsors) offered a fascinating insight into the concerns of Zionist Israelis and their views of the historical conflict with Arab Palestinians at this point – with Oslo’s clear failure to produce a resolution while settlement building in the West Bank and extensive incorporation of the territory into the fabric of Israeli politics and society continues apace, and Gaza remains under a state of manufactured separation from its Israeli-Palestinian environs. Continue reading A case for one state – by a two-stater

Does Zionism explain the success of Israel?

Does Zionism explain the success of Israel? It might seem an odd question but it was raised by Israel Studies scholar Derek Penslar in a talk in Oxford this week which analysed the fates of several settler colonial movements. In a tour d’horizon he looked at the New England Puritans, the French in Algeria, and South Africa and apartheid. Each one was similar to Israel and yet different in crucial respects, which led to the failure of one and the dismantling of a system of racial supremacy and subjugation in another. Continue reading Does Zionism explain the success of Israel?

‘Egypt First-ism’ turns its guns on Islamists

One of the key themes the coup regime has developed in Egypt against its Islamist opponents is a rehashed version of the chauvinistic nationalism of the Mubarak regime. This involved an ‘Egypt First-ism’ vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict that gave a veneer of respectability for security paranioa over Palestinians that verged on racial hatred. The redux of this fascistic nationalism has anti-Syrian racism thrown in for extra. This nationalism emerged specifically in an Arab nationalist context, as a response to the Nasserist years with its failures. It was traditionally challenged by leftists and Arab nationalists, and lately among the youth activists behind the Jan 25 uprising. Continue reading ‘Egypt First-ism’ turns its guns on Islamists

Empire Wants What’s Best for the Arabs

The fear among international players with a stake in the Arab world that more instability threatens the political systems in place was palpable at the Doha Forum I attended last week. This even extended to the Gulf, purportedly the most stable part of the region, despite its having survived the first wave of the Arab uprisings that began in 2011. What was also striking was the idea among foreign powers that change among the Arabs can only happen through their coaching and supervision. Continue reading Empire Wants What’s Best for the Arabs

Israel attacks Syria: A Night on Twitter

The Israeli rocket strikes on Mount Qasioun last night produced an almost immediate explosion of Twitter commentary, despite the wee hours when the action took place. Those opposed to the Syrian opposition – whether for fear of the Jihadists or Syria falling into the hands of a Saudi-Israeli-US axis – were sort of triumphant at seeing the rebels exposed on the same battlefield as the Israelis, while there was perhaps some embarrassment dressed up as bravura from the other side. Either way, the massacred civilians of Banias have fallen off the news cycle, not that global media attention has really made any difference to anything, despite the intense glare directed at this most horrific of conflicts.* Continue reading Israel attacks Syria: A Night on Twitter

Israeli Arab wrestles with grief, guilt in suicide bomb film

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI | Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:50am EST

(Reuters) – When Universal Studios took a disliking to the script for Ziad Doueiri’s Israeli-Palestinian suicide bombing drama, the Lebanese director thought his career was over.

Six years later “The Attack” is garnering interest on the festival circuit, winning praise in Toronto, an award in Marrakech, and wowing audiences at the Dubai international film festival in the United Arab Emirates this week. Continue reading Israeli Arab wrestles with grief, guilt in suicide bomb film

Egypt’s ‘Security State’ and Israel

There was an interesting discussion on Twitter yesterday on the comparison between Egypt and Algeria, a theme that has come up after the ruling military council in Egypt dissolved parliament last week, took on legislative powers in the interim, gave the armed forces powers of arrest, set parameters of presidential power that place the military above oversight and reduce presidential control of security forces, and arrogated to itself the right to reject items in a future constitution. Media and observers brought up the Algerian military’s decision to annul elections in 1992 because of concern when it appeared that the Islamic Salvation Front would win. After that Algeria was thrown into a decade-long civil war in which tens of thousands of people died. Continue reading Egypt’s ‘Security State’ and Israel