Tag Archives: jordan

Welcome to Lebanon; now part of Iran.

Ahmadinejad and Sheikh Nasrallah (Head of Hizbollah)

Ahmadinejad and Sheikh Nasrallah (Head of Hizbollah)

Imagine your father was murdered and five years later the man that sent his killers pays you a visit.

You let him in because you fear the consequences if you don’t. Additionally, you see tens of thousands of this man’s supporters lining the roads and cheering his arrival.

This was the tragic fate of Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, last week when President Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon.

As one former Lebanese Sunni MP put it: “This wasn’t a visit to Lebanon but a visit to Hizbollah”.

While there Ahmadinejad called Lebanon a “university of jihad” and said that both Iran and Lebanon have much in common, primarily their war with Israel.

I am sure that Iran and Lebanon have far more to their national identity than enmity torwards Israel, not that Ahmadinejad makes it appear so when he speaks.

But there is no war between Lebanon and Israel. The problem is purely Iran.

The Times reported that before Ahmadinejad’s visit a group of 250 politicians, activists, journalists, doctors and teachers in an open letter called on Ahmadinejad to stop meddling in Lebanese affairs and end the financial and military support for Hezbollah:

“Your talk of ‘changing the face of the region starting with Lebanon’ and wiping Israel off the map through the force of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon gives the impression that your visit is that of a high commander visiting his front line”.

It seems certain that the United Nations is about to hold Hizbollah and Syria responsible for the murder of Lebanon’s then Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 and issue indictments.

Both Hizbollah and Iran have previous including deadly bombings of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish Community centre in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 respectively. Over 100 dead.

Then there were the 1983 deadly truck bombings that destroyed the American Embassy, the headquarters of the US marines and that of the french paratroopers all in Beirut. Nearly 400 dead.

It was Hizbollah that in 2006 that started the Second Lebanon war when it ambushed Israeli troops inside Israel killing seven and kidnapping two.

The remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were later returned in exchange for the freedom of child-killer Samir Kuntar.

Even now Hizbollah still controls the whole of southern Lebanon and has 40,000 rockets at its disposal. It has relatively easy access to Israel’s northern border.

The UN troops are no match for Hizbollah and would never fire on them anyway.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad continues to pour millions of pounds of reconstruction aid into southern Lebanon after that war, money that could be spent on the suffering Iranian economy. Building a nuclear bomb drains the economy even more.

Not that Ahmadinejad cares much for his own people judging by his treatment of many of them.

And it is still a mystery why thousands of Lebanese people would want to line the streets to cheer a deadly and proven misogynist, homophobe and anti-Semite who has helped tear his own country apart.

Car bombs are already exploding in Lebanon on the eve of the UN’s report into the murder of Hariri as the scent of civil war is in the air yet again .

And Syria has issued arrest warrants against those it accuses of complying with the UN investigation.

However much Ahmadinejad paints a picture of harmony between Iran and Lebanon, there is none. Syria and Iran are resuming their old ways and cannot leave Lebanon alone.

Controlling Lebanon is the route to war with Israel and so to distract the Iranian people from their own troubles and the world from Iran’s progression towards the bomb.

King Hussein of Jordan once had a similar problem. The PLO was fighting to take over Jordan but in 1970 he crushed the Palestinian resistance and expelled the PLO to Lebanon.

This time, backed by Iran, Hizbollah is in Lebanon to stay.

Meanwhile, another war between Iran and Israel, via Hizbollah, looms but at least four years on the world knows the true nature of Hizbollah’s main backer.

(the Elder of Ziyon has a funny story about the gun in the above photo – thanks to Silke)

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Ilan Pappe: “You’re all just brainwashed”

It is one thing being abused by the audience, which I am regularly, but it is another thing being abused by the actual speaker at an Israel hate-fest.

At these meetings it is with trepidation that one raises an arm to ask a question or put Israel’s side of the case. The hatred is like no other I have felt before in any other place.

I have recently been called a “Holocaust denier”, “scum” and even , horror of horror, “from the Zionist Federation”.

But after listening to Ilan Pappe and Ronnie Kasrils speak at Parliament on Wednesday on Opposing Apartheid: Palestine and the experience of South Africa I approached Pappe.

Professor Pappe is an anti-Zionist Israeli who used to lecture at Haifa University. He claims that his views were so anathema to Israeli academia that he was hounded out of the country and now he is Professor of History at Exeter University.

I have read a lot of his work and have found him interesting on nationalism and identity so I wanted to ask him why he felt that there should be no Jewish state when there have always been Jews living in the area of what is now Israel, West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

“Jews made up just 1% of the population and even they weren’t Zionist,” was his answer.

This bemused me especially as arch anti-Zionist Ben White quotes a Jewish population figure of 5%.

I told Pappe that I couldn’t understand the relevance of whether these Jews were Zionist or not. Surely, their mere presence as Jews was proof enough of uninterrupted Jewish lineage in the area. And it wasn’t as if the 500,000 Arabs there considered themselves “Palestinian”.

I asked Pappe where he got the “1%” statistic from and he referred me to Ottoman records. I questioned how he was sure they were accurate but he’d had enough and said “You’re all just brainwashed”.

Imagine you are a student with a £20,000 loan and you ask Pappe a simple question like that in class but get told you are “brainwashed”.

Pappe is also a prolific writer on how Jews “ethnically cleansed ” the Palestinians.

I would be shocked and amazed if he ever offered an alternative view to his history students about the complex events on the Israeli-Arab war that took place between 1947-1949. For Pappe there is only one view: It was Zionist policy to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians.

But would he, for example, recommend his students to read Benny Morris who has a much more nuanced view of what took place in 1947-1949?

But one of Pappe’s most undesirable comments was reserved for Jewish students in the UK. Just after leaving Israel for the UK he gave an interview to the Times Higher Education Supplement of 6 April 2007:

“By concentrating their efforts on defending Israel, Jewish student groups were exacerbating this perception. They then risked drawing Muslim anger against the state of Israel upon themselves.”

His insinuation was that if Jewish students support Israel they only have themselves to blame if something dreadful happens to them. It was his warning for Jewish students to just shut up.

I did a Masters at SOAS and came across no problems from any Muslim students or Muslims in general when Israel/Palestine was discussed on campus.

The only insults came from middle-aged hard-lefties consumed with rage that the Jews can have state.

Yet, now Pappe comes here trying to stir up trouble and silence Jewish students.

Is this the sort of person who should be lecturing our students?

Really, Exeter University seems to be doing itself no credit by giving Pappe tenure.

More blood shed for Gaza (Viva Palestina)

Palestinians are not adverse to internecine violence (as noted previously 539 Palestinians were murdered by their own people between November 2000 and August 2008, and that before the Gaza War when we saw footage of Hamas members pushing Fatah activists off the the tops of high buildings with their hands cuffed behind their backs). But now they are murdering other Arabs.

The Viva Palestina convoy of 500 people and 200 vehicles bringing aid for the Palestinians was left stranded in Aqaba in Jordan for five days having been turned away from Egypt’s nearest crossing point into Gaza. Then, inexplicably, the convoy was forced back up through Jordan to Syria from where flights were boarded and ferries taken to get the convoy back to El Arish on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast at a cost of $300,000.

Proposed route to Gaza before the convoy was sent back up to Syria at huge expense (vivapalestina.org)

Well, the convoy has now arrived. And guess what, it still isn’t being allowed into Gaza!

To be exact 59 of the 198 vehicles are not being allowed into Gaza via the Rafah, Egypt crossing and have to go to Gaza, if at all, via Israel now.

The distinction seems to be that the vehicles required to go via Israel contain “pickup trucks, sedans, generators” and, more worryingly, “other equipment”. Only medical aid and passengers are allowed via Rafah, Egypt into Gaza.

The simple explanation could be over worries that the trucks, generators, sedans and other equipment could have a sinister use and if Israelis, or Egytians, get killed from a Kassam rocket or suicide bombing manufactured by this equipment then the Egyptian government doesn’t wish to be blamed.

But negotiations are carrying on as we speak to get the whole convoy into Gaza via Rafah, Egypt.

Sadly, a life has been lost. After Hamas called for protests at the Egytian blockade it then tried to disperse the crowd by firing shots. Soon after an Egyptian border guard was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. There is no suggestion that the border guard was behaving aggressively.

Palestinians riot just before an Egyptian was shot dead (bbc.co.uk)

Many others have been left injured after violent scuffles and stone throwing by Palestinians.

The Viva Palestina campaign has put out an emergency call. People are being asked to boycott Egypt and protest to Egyptian officials at Egyptian Embassies worldwide. Kevin Ovenden, the convoy leader, said: “We have now blocked the entrance to the port and we are now faced with riot police and water cannons and are determined to defend our vehicles and aid”.

And Dr Hanan Chehata, who is travelling with the convoy and who is director of public relations at the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), asks: “Why is Egypt adding to the suffering of the Palestinian people?” “Why are the Egyptians not helping their Muslim brothers and sisters – aren’t they part of the Muslim Ummah (community) as well?”

I have tried to answer those questions above but more interesting is Dr Chehata’s lack of interest in Gaza’s Christian community. Gaza has Christians too! Palestinians constantly remind us that Gaza’s Christian Arabs are a quickly diminishing community and blame Israel. (Christians are generally financially better off and so are more able to leave the poverty, unemployment and radicalism of Gaza. It has nothing to do with Israel).

We wait with bated breath as to when the Viva Palestina convoy will enter Gaza and from where. The convoy has been long complaining about the lack of publicity for its charitable gesture of travelling thousands of miles over land, sea and, now, air to support the even longer suffering people of Gaza. But with violence erupting, one dead and many injured there will be no shortage of publicity.

And an Egyptian family begins to mourn its loved one.