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Editorial correspondence | Back to Politics | Back to the world news
TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Articles written after 2005
Bowling for Palestine
The sad end of a warrior
What if the USA imposed sanctions against Israel?
Gaza is not enough
Hamas are still the real terrorists
Sharon's motives
Disarm Israel and France too for a peaceful Mediterranean
Sharon must go
Why the Intifada will never end
Demistifying Jewish world domination
Sharon's real face
The difference between Saddam and Sharon
What are Sharon and Bush planning?
Israel's missed opportunities for peace
The real enemy for the Palestinians
The other side of the Palestinian struggle
Europeans support the Palestinian cause
A humble proposal for peace
False myths about the Palestinians
There is no limit to Palestinian stupidity
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in perspective
The Palestinian civil war or the end of Arafat
The Palestinians commit suicide
The real martyrs in Palestine
Arafat elects Sharon prime minister of Israel
Palestinians never miss an opportunity...
A solution for peace in Palestine: Destroy Jerusalem
Israel pulls out of Lebanon: when will Syria?
The world would be a more peaceful place without Israel
Why peace is so difficult between Arabs and Israel
My four cents on why Jews have been persecuted by Christians
How Israel was born and became a power

  • (December 2004) Bowling for Palestine. Yassir Arafat is stirring trouble even from the afterlife. Two mysteries still surround his life, and generate all sorts of conspiracy theories. Firstly, we still don't know what he died of. France refused to reveal the causes of his death. That refusal helped the Arab media create the rumour that Israel poisoned Arafat (a rumour that notorious anti-Israeli fanatic Jacques Chirac probably loved to spread). Eventually, France handed over the medical record to the Palestinian Authority, but the Palestinians have been as secretive as France about Arafat's cause of death. It must be something seriously embarrassing. There is no precedent in recent Arab history of so much secret surrounding the death of an Arab leader.
    Secondly, we still don't know what happened to Arafat's fortune, and who controls it. Many observers said that Arafat's widow and the Palestinian Authority were fighting over the billions of dollars that Arafat hid around the world (while his people were living in refugee camps), but noone knows what agreement the two parties eventually reached. We now learn that Arafat even invested in a chain of bowling alleys in the USA (whose main customers are, of all people, Jewish teenagers).
    Muhammad Abbas, the associate Arafat disliked most, has replaced Arafat at the helm of the Palestinian Authority and is now likely to become the first democratically elected leader of the Arab world. Israel will have no more excuses for treating the entire Palestinian nation as terrorists, since their elected leader is a man who never approved of the intifada. Abbas is probably benefiting indirectly from all the secret surrounding Arafat's death and fortune. As Arafat's murky dealings come to light and suspicion shift from Israel poisining him to Arafat contracting an embarrassing disease (AIDS?), the recent history of the Palestinian conflict is indirectly rewritten: Palestinians might feel that they were manipulated and exploited by a corrupt leadership.
    As usual, the biggest humiliations for the Arabs come from their own leaders The real humiliation for the Palestinians is not that Israel killed so many leaders of the intifada, it is not that Israel built an illegal fence, it is not that the USA forgot the Palestinians: the biggest humiliation is that Arafat was "bowling for Palestine" (to abuse Michael Moore's popular expression), a fact that is becoming a joke worldwide.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2004) Arafat The PLO was created in 1964 by the Arab countries (mainly Egypt) to give their anti-Israeli crusade an ideological reason. It was headed by a harmless man. In the meantime, Yassir Arafat had founded Al Fahta, a military organization that, in 1965, started guerrilla attacks against Israel. In 1967, Israel defeated and humiliated an alliance of Arab countries. In 1968, Fatah guerrillas won the battle of Karameh against superior Israeli forces, the first battle ever won by Arabs against Israel. There were other Palestinian organizations fighting Israel, but Al Fatah was the one that staged a military victory that was widely publicized around the Arab world. No surprise, thus, that in 1969 Yassir Arafat became the new leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
    In the following year, chaos ensued, as several parallel guerrilla organizations expanded the horizon of their attacks, hijacking planes all over the Mediterranean and striking inside Israel. Palestinian terrorism became the main concern of the Mediterranean world. Arafat is widely credited with creating the notion of a "Palestinian nation", a notion that no Arab country truly endorsed until it was inevitable. Arab countries gave Arafat minimal support. In fact, his men were expelled from both Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
    The Arab countries (particularly Jordan) outsmarted Israel in that they managed to turn an Arab problem into an Israeli problem. The Palestinians became the people expelled from Israel, not the people expelled from Jordan. Arafat realized that this was in his interest: it united the Arab world behind him. He received funds from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq that funded his ventures into international terrorism. And Arafat knew how to satisfy his funders: he invented "televised terrorism", much publicized actions that would be broadcast all over the world. He invented the Palestinian nation, a concept that had never existed before in Arab history (historically, the Palestinian people are the Jews). He showed no disposition towards peace until his two main allies collapsed, both in 1991: the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein.
    Then he bent to history and accepted peace negotiations that led to the 1993 Oslo accords. He even managed to win a Nobel prize, the first terrorist to do so. He had invented hyper-terrorism and he had invented a Palestinian nation, and one concept justified the other. And now he was ready to become the leader of that nation, one of the few leaders in history to have created his own nation instead of replacing the previous leader.
    So far his story made a lot of sense, whether his enemies admitted it or not. Arafat started ruling Palestine like all the other Arab leaders: corruption became rampant, dissent was not allowed, demagogical speeches united the subjects. What happened next was more irrational. Arafat came very close to obtaining official recognition of his kingdom when in 2000 Clinton and Barak offered him the "land for peace" deal. Arafat was offered most of what he had been asking, but eventually walked out of the meeting, without even making a counteroffer.
    It is likely that Hezbollah's success in expelling Israel from Lebanon made a difference. Arafat was willing to negotiate as long as all the other Arabs were losing all the battles against Israel, but was unable, both psychologically and politically, to make peace when one Arab faction had just won a major battle against Israel. Unfortunately, Barak's unilateral decision to withdraw from Lebanon, meant as a gesture of good will, was interpreted throughout the Arab world as a victory for Hezbollah. This emboldened the Palestinian terrorists (such as Hamas) that were hostile to Arafat's peace negotiations: Hezbollahs never gave up, and they got what they wanted. Arafat found himself cornered by the very peace process that he had started. Psychologically, Arafat also felt that he was going down in history not as the hero who created the Palestinian nation but as the coward who surrendered to Israel. Barak's good-will gesture had completely changed the political and psychological landscape. Sadat had been assassinated for making a deal with Israel, and Arafat was beginning to look like another Sadat.
    Whatever the cause, Arafat felt that he did not need to negotiate anymore. He felt that Israel could be defeated militarily (i.e., with terrorism) and unleashed a new intifada. The intifada became an vicious loop: because it killed more Israeli than any Arab war ever, it was considered successful and thus a worthy war. At the same time, most of the success came from the suicide bombers, who were mostly inspired and recruited by the religious wing of Hamas. Arafat's only way to maintain his status as the symbol of the Palestinian cause was to create an equally ferocious terrorist organization, the Al Aqsa Brigades, to compete with Hamas.
    Arafat's nemesis, Sharon was largely elected by the Israeli people because Barak was seen as a failure: he surrendered Lebanon, shook hands with Arafat, and achieved no peace. In a sense, Arafat helped Sharon get elected. Now the vicious loop became even more vicious: Sharon, not a man of peace, retaliated for each Palestinian attack, and the Palestinians retaliated for each Sharon attack. Sharon eventually isolated Arafat and started killing, one by one, the leaders of Hamas. Arafat was a prisoner not of Sharon but of his own logic. His last days were probably spent trying to remain relevant in a Palestinian conflict that had been largely monopolized by Hamas. Sharon was not only a man of war, but also remembered the fate of the two Israeli leaders who tried to make peace with Arafat: one was murdered (Rabin) and one was humiliated (Barak).
    Internationally, Arafat might also have resented Osama's sudden popularity after the successful September 11 attacks on New York. Osama was, morally, a child of Arafat, carrying out sensational terrorist attacks televised worldwide. He stole the limelight from the Palestinian conflict. Worse: eventually, Osama tried to portray himself as a supporter of the Palestinian struggle. Arafat was being forgotten. Osama helped Bush, just elected in the USA, a friend of Sharon, to declare a "war on terrorism", that further isolated the masterminds of the intifada.
    Arafat didn't have a single friend left. The Arab leaders resented him for not ending the Palestinian struggle. Palestinian terrorists saw him as weaker than Hamas. Israel had no intention of dealing with him. The USA saw him as the father of all terrorists and a friend of their main enemy (Saddam Hussein). Russia was no longer a world power. Saddam Hussein was bombed daily by the USA. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates resented that Arafat supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait (yet another major miscalculation). The European Union was the only source of help: only European leaders were coming to visit him and were sending him huge amounts of money.
    Arafat, unable to abandon the guerrilla mentality and become a statesman, and battered by the new international scenario, had come to be the very obstacle to a Palestinian state.
    It is telling that, upon his death, the PLO chose Muhammad Abbas to replace him as chairman: this was the same Abbas who had been shaking hands with Sharon and tried to work out a deal with Israel. Abbas is not a guerrilla: he is a statesman. He is not interested in an intifada, but in jobs and business.
    Arafat's death did more for peace than his entire life.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2004) The sad end of a warrior Arafat did not die a nice death. The reason of his "illness" has never been explained. He arrived in Paris in relatively good (if fragile) health, but hours later he was already terminally ill and never recovered. The Israeli press announced his death days ago, but the French insisted that he was still alive, although in a comatone state. Again, no details on the cause of the coma were offered. Palestinian leaders and his wife kept arguing about how to split his fortune. There may or may have not been discussions also on his political succession (although that seems to have been resolved quickly), but mainly it was the money that kept the Palestinians from announcing his death. Finally, they reached a deal (apparently, 22 million dollars a year to the wife, and the rest to the PLO). Of course, all of this over the dead bodies of thousands of Palestinians who truly believed in the intifada.
    (A 2003 audit of Palestinian Authority finances by the International Monetary Fund revealed that Arafat had diverted $900 million in public funds to a personal bank account, and invested some of it in financial ventures. France even opened a money-laundering investigation into Arafat's wife. See, for example this article).
    This is, in a sense, the saddest part of Arafat's saga. He was long believed to be a mighty warrior. He was, indeed, if he survived more than 50 attempts on his life, if Israel itself was never able to kill him. But, once he became president of a nation, he was never able to get rid of the many leeches who took advantage of him. His wife tops the list: she left Palestine and lived all the time in a luxury Paris apartment, thanks to a generous monthly stipend from her husband. Arafat personally managed the coffers of the Palestinian Authority (the successor to the Palestinian Liberation Organization). Arafat was known to grant money to just about anyone who came to ask for it, whether it was a terrorist or a husband whose son needed an expensive surgery in Europe. His associates obtained large sums of money: Arafat rewarded people who had been faithful to him for decades, and tolerated their corruption. Arafat did not steal money for himself, but for the PLO as a whole. His associates took the money for themselves. Arafat was either incapable of realizing what was going around him (the level of corruption) or simply thought that it is part of the Arab culture that the leaders rob the people.
    So the saga of the mighty warrior ended with a bunch of Palestinian officials and relatives fighting for money over his dead body. His death was not announced until the last penny was accounted for. Then Arafat was useless and someone pulled the plug.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2004) What if the USA imposed sanctions against Israel? The Sharon government has been acting in open violation of United Nations resolutions and World Court decisions. There is no other country in the world that has been condemned so frequently and has been so indifferent to the condermnations. This is not just an anti-semitic attitude, it is a fact: Sharon has ruthlessly violated Israeli and international laws. The world is getting tired of Sharon's policies (see Gaza is not enough).
    The USA should impose sanctions against Israel unless Sharon learns how to behave.
    The Arab world has been clamoring for such an American action. But the reaction in the Arab world is easy to predict. The Arabs would simply say "Allah is great", claim a victory for themselves, and blame the USA for been biased towards Israel ("what, you only imposed sanctions?").
    Probably, Islamic terrorism would increase. After all, it has always increased when Muslims have staged a victory somewhere: the intifada started after Israel voluntarily withdrew from Lebanon; Al Qaeda was born the day the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan; Osama decided to attack the USA the day the USA withdrew from Somalia.
    Let us not forget that there are 22 Islamic Wars in the world. The USA woke up only in september 2001, but Islamic terrorism pre-existed Osama. There is Islamic terrorism pretty much in any place where there are Muslims. And they all claim to be right on what they fight for. And maybe they are sometimes right; but the point is that many other people are right about their claims, and are even poorer and more desperate, but don't become terrorists. Islam makes the difference between having an argument and becoming a terrorist. (Islam is not the only ideology that leads to terrorism, but it is one).
    Imposing sanctions against the Sharon government would be a good idea because it would show that the USA is a fair and coherent country. But it would not help against Islamic extremism.
    We can defeat Islamic terrorism only by defeating habits that are at the core of Islamic life: education, not Quran; democracy, not dictatorship. If the goal is to defeat Islamic terrorism, Bush is right: remove tyrants and create western-style democracies (the implementation may be incompetent, but the principle is right). Regardless of which school of thought one believes (see Decolonization and the Islamic civil war), the solution is to democratize the Arab world, which inevitably means: to dethrone Islam. Imposing sanctions on the Sharon government is a good idea, but would not significantly change the "war on terrorism" (Bush's awful expression), because the terrorists would simply interpret it as a success and redouble their efforts to create a world-wide Islamic state.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 2004) Gaza is not enough. Sharon has decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. It sounds like a positive move for restarting the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The 7,000 Israeli settlers control 23% of Gaza while one million Palestinian are cramped in the remaining 77%: even without the war, it would be difficult for the Jewish settlers to be loved by their Palestinian neighbors. The problem is that Sharon has built so much in the West Bank (the other half of the future Palestinian state), including a security barrier de facto annexing Palestinian land, that the terms of the peace process have been changed forever.
    Sharon does not have the good of the Palestinians as his main goal: he only thinks of the good of Israel. Sharon likes to make sure that his actions are irreversible, and this is just one such case: he is trying to make sure that the Palestinians will never be able to get what his predecessor, Barak, offered them (a shared Jerusalem, 95% of the West Bank). He has also scientifically eliminated the Palestinian leadership (Arafat is dying in isolation, Barghuti is in jail, the Hamas leaders have all been assassinated) to make sure that whatever happens next will not be a repeat of the Oslo peace process or a repeat of the Clinton peace process. Sharon has created a new order, and any peace negotiation will have to take into account the fact the new reality on the battleground and will have to involve different interlocutors.
    Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are tired of so many years of war. Sharon should begin to realize that he is a Don Quijote fighting alone against the windmills. People want peace. Israelis are not interested in annexing more territories with the excuse of a security barrier, and they are not interested in criminalizing all Palestinians who aspire to a homeland. They are not even interested in this endless series of assassinations of Hamas members that only lowers the state Israel to the same level of the terrorists that it assassinates. Sharon is welcome to keep his security barrier, but let it run along the existing borders. Sharon has a right to prevent terrorist attacks, but it is unrealistic to expect that a people with no leaders can police itself (let alone govern itself).
    One has the feeling that Sharon wants to create the prodromes for chaos in Palestine, so that Palestinians will fight Palestinians instead of fighting Israel.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2004) Demistifying Jewish world domination. The Popes invented the myth. Hitler was obsessed by it. The Arabs justify their own chronic mistakes with it. The idea that Jews are powerful and control the world is still pervasive. The more ignorant they are, the more likely Europeans (and some Americans) are to parrot the Popes and Hitler. Nobody can quite show statistics that prove this Jewish domination. After all, none of the richest men in the USA is Jewish. None of the major banks is owned by Jews. None of the most powerful politicians in the USA or Europe or anywhere else is Jewish (except Israel, of course). The only prominent Jews are scientists, writers, painters, musicians, economists, doctors, etc.
    But the antisemitic fanatics and the ignorant idiots of the world (and the Arabs who keep losing wars against Israel) can always find an obscure Wolfowitz somewhere in the hierarchy of the USA government and pretend that he is the most influential human being in the world. (In the Clinton administration it was easier, because there were more Jews in the government than there are now under Bush, and Gore chose a Jew as running mate, and most American Jews are members of the Democratic Party or of left-wing organizations, but that hardly pleases the antisemitic fanatics because they want to prove that the right-wing, not the left-wing, is dominated by the Jews). Before Wolfowitz, it was Perle, the first man to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and, alas, a Jew. Then Perle was fired by Bush, so now the world racists pick on Wolfowitz, who is pretty much the only Jew in the Bush administration. If Wolfowitz is fired, they will find another Jew, a janitor or a chef, someone who somehow gets access to the White House. The technique was invented by Hitler, one of the greatest psychologists of all times: ignore everybody except the Jews in the government, and then show that those Jews are influential. People are dumb, so they will conclude that those Jews are the ones who run the government. People are rarely smart enough to a) check who else is influential, b) check who is more influential, c) calculate which ethnic group overall is more influential. People are dumb (that was Hitler's fundamental discovery) and will simply accept that a) there is one Jew who is influential.
    I am Italian. And I want to show how easy it is to criminalize an ethnic group if one really wants. So I will use the Italians. I could do the same with any other ethnic group that is represented in the USA.
    There are several lobbies in the USA, but two stand out. One is run by Podesta, and funded by one of the richest man in the world, Soros, who has sworn to remove Bush from power. It is rumoured that they also receive funds from the Vatican itself, eager to destroy Bush, and by other European governments. This lobby is responsible for most of the anti-Bush ads in the USA. Whether it is a coincidence or not, the Democratic party ended up choosing Kerry as its candidate, a favorite of Podesta, Soros and the Vatican.
    The other great lobby is the one that Hillary Clinton accused of a "vast right-wing conspiracy". Its most notable members are (or, better, would be) Richard Mellon Scaife and judge Antonin Scalia (the judge who basically stopped the recount in Florida and thus declared Bush president). If one wants, one can find an incredible number of Italians within the "right-wing conspiracy".
    To start with, one of the staunchest defenders of Israel in the USA senate was senator Alfonse D'Amato. So much so that he was honored by the state of Israel at a special parliamentary ceremony in 1998, a honor few foreign politicians ever received. D'Amato was instrumental in securing the many vetoes with which the USA blocked anti-Israeli resolutions at the United Nations.
    William Luti, the deputy undersecretary of defense responsible for policy matters in the Middle East (slightly more important than all the Jews of America combined in deciding the policy in Iraq), was instrumental in developing both the policy of preemptive strike and the concept of the "axis of evil" that, together, led to the invasion of Iraq. Luti was in charge of the Office of Special Plans (OSP), the Pentagon project that provided "proofs" to justify the invasion of Iraq. An article in the New Yorker said that the Office of Special Plans had overshadowed even the CIA and the Pentagon as the main source of advice for the president.
    Anti-semitic fanatics bring up Wolfowitz (a third-level bureaucrat) because they cannot find any other Jew in the Bush administration (the leaders are two African-Americans, one German and two WASPs), but noone ever brings up the ubiquitous Frank Carlucci, who also happens to be a mentor of Wolfowitz. Carlucci was at the CIA for 20 years and then became Ronald Reagan's national security adviser and defense secretary. Many think that Carlucci laid the foundations for the invasion of Panama and was implicated in the Iran-contra scandal (to name only the last ones: his career reportedly started with some involvement in the coup against Lumumba in Congo in 1961). What is Carlucci today? Advisor and former chairman of the Carlyle Group, one of the main beneficiaries of Bush's defense policies. But, even more important, president of the council that runs the relationships with China (business between the USA and China boomed while Carlucci held this post). Who was Carlucci's most trusted assistant? A young black man named Colin Powell. Who was Donald Rumsfeld's first boss in 1972? Frank Carlucci. So, if one wants, one could notice that the Bush line-up is basically all the Carlucci men plus Condy Rice. Slightly more important than Wolfowitz, don't you think?
    (Do you like conspiracy theories? Get this one: on exactly September 11, 2001, the Carlyle board including Carlucci, former secretary of state James Baker III and Shafig bin Laden, Osama's brother, were meeting in Washington. Who will be one of the main beneficiaries of the post-Sep 11 increase in defense? Carlyle. Who is the main foreign investor in Carlyle? The bin Laden family, with about 10% of the company, followed closely by Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who also owns a big chunk of Citigroup - so much for banks being owned by Jews - and a big chunk of News Corp, the media conglomerate run by Rudolph Murdoch - so much for the media being owned by Jews).
    At the Republican Convention of august 2004, another distinguished Italian, Rudy Giuliani (former mayor of New York during the september 11 attacks) devoted most of his speech to show how terrorism against Israel was a predecessor to terrorism against the USA.
    If one wanted, one could also count Carly Fiorina (HP) and Sam Palmisano (IBM), two of the most powerful names in Information Technology. Or senator Pete Dominici, chairman of the Energy Committee and often named as a key connection for the oil lobby, and a close advisor of president Reagan. (Talking about Reagan, how about Frank Sinatra, who was more often in the White House than any foreign leader?)
    ANd let's not forget myself: Piero Scaruffi. I have advocated the removal of the Taliban and of Saddam Hussein way before Bush even started thinking about it. I guess that should make me a suspect too.
    People could write a very thick book on these "coincidences". Why nobody does it? Why so many books are written on low-level Jewish bureaucrats such as Wolfowitz, but none on much more powerful men such as Carlucci? Shouldn't we suspect that one (Carlucci) is really powerful, and the other one (Wolfowitz) is not powerful enough?
    (The only man who openly attacked Scaife was Newsweek reporter Steve Kangas. He was found dead in 1999 and the circumstances of his murder have never been clarified.
    Another man who was about to reveal something about Carlucci's connections was Belgian budget minister Andre Cools. He was murdered in 1991 a few days after interviewing Iraqi banker Abdullah Zilka and Israel's arms dealer Shaul Eisenberg. The interview was never published, but Cools had told friends that it would implicate Carlucci and others in some kind of major arms scandal. The Belgian judge investigating the murder issued arrest warrants for mafia bosses tied to Toto Riina, the head of the Italian mafia.
    Despite his very interesting career, no documentary, tv show or book has ever been made about Frank Carlucci).
    Bottom line: if one were obsessed with the Italians, it would be easier to prove that there is a vast Italian conspiracy to control the USA, and therefore the world.
    Luckily, the Popes never declared the Italians evil, and Hitler never wrote about a Jewish conspiracy, and the Arabs don't fight against Italy. So nobody picks on us. Even if the evidence says that we Italians are much more likely to influence the USA government than Bob Dylan and Woody Allen.
    Do the facts support the theory of an Italian conspiracy to take over the USA? No, they only support the theory that there are millions of Italian- Americans, and therefore you can always find some of them in powerful positions. And, if you really want, you can always find suspicious coincidences. If you want, you can do the same for the Polish or for the Chinese or for the Cubans. Or for the Jews. All these conspiracy theories only prove one fact: that the USA is a country of immigrants.
    Now that the Bush administration includes two African-Americans, it would even be easy to prove that there is an "African-American" conspiracy in the USA. Luckily for African-Americans, the Popes never launched an anti-African campaign.
    Antisemitic groups point to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), a lobby that represents Israel's interests in Washington. There are hundreds of lobbies in Washington, and there is no evidence that AIPAC is any more powerful than the lobbies representing France or Poland or Brazil. If Israel has such powerful allies in Washington, one wonders why has it always had spies in the Pentagon, for 30 years, from Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life in prison in 1985, to Comverse, an Israeli company suspected in 2001 of eavesdropping on the wiretapping equipment that it provided to the USA, to Douglas Feith in 2004, a key adviser to Rumsfeld. As recently as in 2001, media of both political sides (e.g., the New York Times and FOX News) have reported over the years the detention and arrests of dozens of Israelis suspected of "surveillance activities" in the USA. One wonders why Israel needs to spy on the USA if the Jewish lobby controls the USA, as some mentally retarded anti-semitic fanatics claim.
    (Note: the AIPAC spends about 2 million dollars in lobbying. Overall, there are 51 pro-Israel PACs that spend about $7-8 million. Among past beneficiaries of AIPAC's contributions is Thomas Daschle, the Democratic leader, who received $229,480 in 1987. Not exactly an ally of Bush. There are much more powerful lobbies in the USA: the National Rifle Association, the Christian Coalition, the American Medical Association. the Association of Trial Lawyers, AFL-CIO, the National Federation of Independent Business, etc. Individual Jews are much more influential than AIPAC, and they are mostly all on the left, as one can see by checking the list of senators and congressmen).
    People should use their brain, not some paleo-nazist theories of Jewish world domination. Jews can't even dominate the Gaza strip. The Arabs dominate most of the world.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2004) Hamas are still the real terrorists. Sharon killed Sheik Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, and the Palestinian leaders are vowing revenge. But the funny thing is that they are not vowing revenge against the killer. Zakaria al-Zubeidi, a leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which has already proudly taken responsibility for the killings of hundreds of women and children, has declared that "Sharon has started a new war against the Palestinian people and we are ready to fight him". But he doesn't mean that. We all know what he means. He means that he will kill ordinary Israeli citizens, and particularly the poor ones (the ones who travel by bus) and particularly children and women, not the soldiers and not the politicians.
    The Palestinian leaders routinely claim that they are fighting against Sharon, but they don't. They only kill ordinary people who have nothing to do with Sharon's actions. If you believe the polls (that show Israeli voters very divided), many of the victims of Palestinian terrorism are even opposed to Sharon's government. It would be funny, if it weren't so tragic. These are not only terrorists: these are really dumb ones.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2004) Sharon's motives for killing Sheik Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas (and pretty much of all Palestinian terrorism):
    • As Sharon contemplated withdrawing from the Gaza strip and evacuating Israeli settlements in that part of the world, he faced a conundrum: the Arabs always take credit for any good will coming from the rest of the world. If the USA helps free the Muslims of Kosovo, the Arabs claim it was not American good will, but it was Allah's hand or Arab pressures on the USA. If Israel withdraws from Lebanon, it was not a generous gesture from Israel but it was a victory for the Hezbollah guerrilla. Etc. Arabs tend to declare victory whenever someone tries to reach out to them. By killing one of their most popular leaders, Sharon basically told them "I am not surrendering, even if I am doing something that you asked for".
    • Sharon may want to scare the Palestinian leaders: none of them is off-limit. The leaders of Palestinian terrorists are cowards who do not want to die (they brainwash and send others to die for them). The Palestinian leaders might just get the message.
    • Sharon and Palestinian terrorists help each other stay in power. By killing their spiritual leader, Sharon forces Hamas to unleash a new wave of terrorist attacks, which will only justify further Israeli retaliations. The escalation may have two beneficial effects for Sharon: 1. it may justify the annexation of entire Palestinian sectors; and 2. it may also draw the USA into the Palestinian conflict (so far, both Arafat and Yassin had been very careful not to attack the USA, but Palestinians are now vowing to retaliate against the USA as well as Israel).
    • Since september 11, the Arabs have been repeatedly humiliated: the USA kicked them out of Afghanistan, overthrew the Iraqi regime, forced Libya to disarm, etc. Many in Israel liked this progressive "demoralization" of the Arab world. When a terrorist attack toppled the Spanish regime and installed an Arab-friendly prime minister, many Arabs (secretely or publicly) felt that finally they scored a victory. The killing of Yassin restores the balance in favor of the anti-Arab front.
    • There are some in Israel who think that the Arabs will always (secretly or publicly) want to destroy Israel. It is just a fact of life: the Arabs won in the seventh century and conquered the whole of the Middle East, and now Israel sits in the middle of "their" empire. The only thing that could convince the Arabs to give up is a generalized war between the Arab world and the western world in which the Arabs are defeated and their empire is terminated. Some in Israel may be trying to provoke such a generalized conflict. If violence escalates and crosses the border of Israel, both the USA and western Europe will have to decide on which side they want to fight: democratic Israel or the totalitarian regimes of the Arab world? Sharon and others may be calculting that, in the event of a generalized war in the Middle East, the western powers will choose the lesser evil: support Israel and create a "new order" for the Arab world. Sharon and others may be thinking that now is a good time: the USA has already created the premises for such a war by invading Iraq, and the USA has more than 100,000 soldiers in the area. Sharon and others might feel that this is a unique opportunity to provoke an Arab-American war that would result in the definitive defeat of the Arab world, after which Israel would no longer be an anomaly within the Arab empire but a pillar of the American Middle-Eastern empire.
    All of these might be miscalculations. Sharon is a great general, but a terrible politician. Namely:
    • The Arabs declare victory even when they lose. Most Arabs are convinced that the USA lost both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Most Arabs are convinced that Hamas is winning even if its leaders are being eliminated one by one.
    • The USA has no desire to open another front in the Middle East, otherwise it would have already attacked Syria. Unrest in Palestine is likely to favor Kerry against Bush, and, if Kerry wins the elections, Sharon will not have a friend in the White House. In the short term, the killing of Yassin is likely to cause a decline of Wall Street at a sensitive time when all polls show that voters are not happy with Bush's economy: Bush must not be too happy that Sharon is helping increase that perception.
    • The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq physically changed the balance of power in those parts of the world, whereas an assassination does not change anything for Arabs who think that Israel has always been and always will be a product of the devil.
    • The decapitation of the Palestinian movement has left in charge the youths who were brainwashed. The brains are either dead or in jail. Now Israel will be fighting against robots programmed never to surrender.
    In the longer term, the real beneficiary of Yassin's execution could be the Palestinians, who desperately need to get rid of the old dinosaurs (such as Arafat and Yassin) who have lost all the wars and have turned Palestine into a miserable land of poverty and violence. Forty years ago, there were much poorer areas in the world. Some of them (South Korea, Thailand, Portugal, Poland) are now among the richest nations of the world. Palestine (like most of the Arab world) is paying a terrible price for having such incompetent leaders as Yassin. Hopefully, Yassin (and maybe Arafat) will be replaced by leaders who can bring Palestinians into the modern age, not into the stone age.
    In the meantime, nobody talks about the real solution to the problem of Hamas: democratic elections. Neither Sharon nor Hamas seem to desire a Palestinian election. So much for Hamas' pretense that they represent the Palestinian people, and so much for Sharon's claim that he is defending western democracy. Hamas and Sharon are only defending each other's survival.
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  • (December 2003) Disarm Israel and France too for a peaceful Mediterranean. Libya's Qaddafi, widely considered one of the world's most ruthless tyrants, has accepted to scrap his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Now there are only two nuclear, chemical and biological powers in the Mediterranean: France and Israel. Arabs rightly demand that Israel follows suit and does what the ruthless tyrant did: if a tyrant is willing to be reasonable, why shouldn't democratic Israel be willing to do the same? What does Israel need all those weapons of mass destruction for, if Iraq has become an American colony on its way to democracy and Libya has basically surrendered to the USA? Who is Israel going to nuke? It is an excellent question. If Israel keeps its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, it will have basically stated that its purpose was not defensive, but offensive.
    In France, the situation is even more pathetic: which neighbor is threatening France? Italy? Spain? Belgium? Luxembourg? Montecarlo? Where are France's enemies that justify France's nuclear-deterrence weapons?
    If Israel and France demilitarized, the whole Mediterranean Sea would become a model for the rest of the world: a nuclear-free, chemical-free, biological-free area where all countries pledge to solve their conflicts with negotiations, not threats of mass destruction.
    Israel has never ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Sharon's rule in Israel is becoming more and more devastating for the reputation of a country that was born as a model of humanitarian ideals: while the entire world, from Iraq to Libya, is becoming more civilized, Sharon's Israel is becoming a rogue country.
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  • (October 2003) Sharon must go Sharon represents everything that is wrong with the "Israeli dream". The most famous dream of them all, the "American dream", was about immigrants creating a free country populated by people from all over the world, a country that would prosper and live in peace. The Israeli dream was distorted from the beginning, because it harked back to the era of nationalisms (the great evil that eventually caused two world wars and the holocaust itself): Jews wanted their own state, just like French and Germans have their own state. In 1948, Zionism made little sense, because World War II had been a devastating war about nationalism and nationalism had been defeated (de fact, the USA occupation of Western Europe and the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe ended the nationalistic ideals, and, in fact, today the European countries are federating in a European Union that dilutes the nationality of its members). In 2003, the kind of Israel envisioned by Sharon makes even less sense. Sharon is willing to sacrifice everything to the ideal of a Jewish state, where only Jewish immmigrants are welcome. Contrary to what Bush wants you believe, Israel's dream is very much at odds with America's dream.
    The more Sharon uphelds that ideal, the more dangerous he is for the future of humankind, simply because the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction and eventually will collide with Israel.
    For reasons that are still largely unexplained, Bush is very much obeying Sharon's commands. When Bush comically singled out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the "axis of evil" (right after the USA were attacked by terrorists coming from Saudi Arabia, funded by Saudi Arabia and led by a Saudi citizen), Bush was simply obeying a request from Israel: Iraq and Iran are the biggest supporters of Palestinian terrorism, and North Korea was willing to provide dangerous weapons to Israel's enemies. When Bush antagonized Arafat, he obeyed Sharon, who has always been obsessed with killing his arch-enemy Arafat (despite the fact that Arafat had lost both his reputation and his power when Sharon came to power). For reasons that are still largely unexplained, Bush is willing to endanger the USA rather than denounce Sharon. It is clear that Israel's politics has created huge resentment against the USA in the Arab world and even in Europe. Clearly, this is the last thing the USA needs while it is occupying Iraq and asking for worldwide collaboration in fighting terrorism. Sharon's Israel has become the USA's main liability. Not only the USA did not get a United Nations resolution supporting its invasion of Iraq, but it had to veto a resolution condemning Israel. The USA is on the defensive when it was hoping to be on the offensive.
    Most Arabs and even Europeans wonder why the USA is so paranoid about outlawing weapons of mass destruction and Israel is allowed to build as many as it likes, with no international controls and no USA pressure to disarm.
    The mystery thickens if you consider that Sharon is the only leader in the world that has consistently mocked the USA. No matter what Bush commands, Sharon will do the opposite, in flagrant violation of both American words and American interests.
    Sharon has turned Hamas into an efficient army. Sharon has restored reputation to Arafat. Sharon has turned the Israeli settlers into a gang of desperados and conquistadores. Sharon has turned the Israeli government into a shady organization that consistently violates human rights. Sharon is building a fence that does not protect Israel (as claimed) but does steal Palestinian farmland.
    Sharon must go because he represents something that the world of 2003 considers evil. Sharon must also go because he is an embarrassment to the USA. Sharon must go, first and foremost, because he has hurt Israel like no enemy ever managed to.
    It is not Arafat who must be exiled.
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  • (June 2003) Why the Intifada will never end We treat Hamas like terrorists, and Israel as a state. Hamas considers itself a state, a state that is fighting a war against a much better armed enemy (Israel) and therefore has to resort to blowing up buses. From Hamas' point of view, an attack by an Apache helicopter (which almost always kills children and women, besides the intended target) is no less "terroristic" than blowing up a bus, or, better, they are both military actions. The wing of Hamas that carries out terrorist attacks is not called "the terrorist wing" of Hamas, it is called "the military wing" of Hamas.
    This ambiguity is part of history. Washington was a terrorist from the point of view of the king of Britain. Every revolutionary was a terrorist from the point of view of the dictator or colonial power that he fought against. The partisans who fought Mussolini were terrorists (from Mussolini's point of view).
    The way to remove the ambiguity is to hold free elections in Palestine. Let the Palestinians vote and choose their leader. If they choose Hamas, the ambiguity will be removed: Hamas will officially be representing a state, and waging a war against another state, Israel (and Israel will be justified in fighting a war against Hamas). If Hamas loses the elections, then Hamas becomes a Palestinian (not only Israeli) problem: they either surrender their weapons to the winner of the election, or they become criminals.
    As it stands, Israel is killing innocent civilians, and that is very wrong.
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  • (April 2003) Sharon's real face is the face of a murderer. Sharon caused the killing of innocent civilians on the very day that the USA announced with much fanfare the "roadmap" to peace and delivered it into the hands of a courageous man, Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian prime minister, who is risking his own life when calling for an end to the intifada. Sharon has simply decided to derail this peace initiative like he did to the previous ones. In order to survive, Sharon needs Palestinian terrorism, not peace: the more terrorism, the more need for Sharon. Sharon is provoking Palestinians the same way he provoked them from the very beginning, when he was not yet prime minister. But he may be under-estimating the intelligence of the Israeli public: if the Israeli public understands what is going on (Sharon helping the terrorists), Sharon will soon find himself without a job and in front of an Israeli court.
    George W Bush has invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein because Saddam did not obey his orders. We only wish that Bush were consistent and did the same to the main obstacle to peace in the region: Ariel Sharon.
    George W Bush is either an accomplice to Sharon's madness or a naive victim of Sharon's duplicity. Sharon has proven to the world that he does not want peace. It is that simple. Just like Arafat had to be removed in order to give the Palestinians a chance for peace, now Sharon must be removed in order to give the Israelis a chance for peace.
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  • (April 2003) The difference between Saddam and Sharon: one is bombed to death for not doing what Bush told him to do, the other one is not, although he also disobeys. In fact, Sharon's violation of the stated and publicized USA will is far more outrageous and arrogant than Saddam's. While the world is distracted by the events in Iraq, Sharon has unleashed the most ferocious campaign against the Palestinians. On April 3 alone, Israeli troops killed seven Palestinians in the West Bank. Thousands were arrested and hundreds were deported from one refugee camp to another camp, without money or a place to stay. Sharon has shown absolutely no respect for the human rights of Palestinian families. In a sense, this is an admission that he has failed miserably: the Israeli economy is destroyed, the Israeli public has never felt so insecure, the world's public opinion has never been so hostile to Israel, and even the USA president, Israel's main ally, has been criticizing the undeclared war against Palestinian civilians.
    Let us not forget that Sharon is a much more dangerous man than Saddam: Israel has large amounts of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Sharon could potentially kill hundreds of millions of people.
    Saddam may have supported international terrorists, but Sharon is also supporting terrorists. There is an undeclared alliance between Sharon and the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas and Al Aqsa: one needs the other. As Sharon kills more Palestinian civilians, Hamas gets stronger. As Hamas retaliates killing more Israeli civilians, Sharon gets stronger. Sharon is the one to benefit from Palestinian terrorist. No surprise that he is doing everything he can to increase Palestinian terrorism.
    Saddam has killed very few civilians this year. Sharon has killed many more.
    Sharon is also directly responsible for the killing of American soldiers in Iraq, because Arabs are now understanding the USA's invasion of Iraq in terms of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, and reacting accordingly: thousands of Arabs are volunteering to become suicide bombers in Iraq because they are inspired by repulsion against what Sharon does in Palestine. If Sharon stopped killing Palestinian civilians, the Arab masses would not suspect that the USA wants to kill Iraqi civilians.
    Saddam must go, for all the pain he has caused to the Iraqi people. Sharon must also go, for all the pain that he has caused and is still causing to the Palestinian and Israeli people.
    See also A humble proposal for peace.
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  • (October 2002) Israel's missed opportunities for peace . As the adage goes, "Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". But Israel missed opportunities too.
    When Israel invaded the West Bank in 1967, it was a truly embarrassing scene: the Jordanian soldiers fled without basically opposing any resistance, and the Palestinians who lived there were mostly indifferent. Before that day, the Palestinians were mainly a Jordanian problem. In hindsight, King Hussein of Jordan foresaw that the Palestinians would become the real problem, and in 1970 ordered the mass expulsion of Palestinians from Jordan (the so called "black september"). King Hussein had seen something that the Israeli overlooked: Yassir Arafat had become the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and dramatically altered its agenda by launching a campaign of international terrorism. Israel's occupation of Jordanian land had not only caused Jordan to become an enemy, but also caused the Palestinians to become a nation, and a nation with a dreadful army, albeit an invisible one. From that point on, the Palestinians became an Israeli problem. They had been a Jordanian problem, and largely a peaceful one.
    Then in 1978 Israel began sending Jewish colonists to the West Bank. The Jewish settlers altered both the emotional landscape (by making the Palestinians much angrier: now it was obvious that Israel intended to obliterate them), the political landscape (the Jewish settlers became a power in every future Israeli election) and the military landscape (the Israeli army, which had been invincible when its goal was only to protect Israel from invasions, became vulnerable when it had to spread thousands of soldiers in the West Bank to protect remote settlements completely surrounded by the enemy). Israel was basically thinking with an Arab mind (I won, therefore I rule, as the Arabs did after winning the wars against the West in 630-730), but without going the all way (the Arabs invaded everything they could invade until a French king defeated them at the battle of Tours in 732).
    The Israelis, again, were overlooking the Palestinian problem. For the Israeli leaders, the enemy were the Arab regimes, not the Arab masses. The Israeli leadership was caught by surprise in 1987 when the Arab masses launched the first intifada. That intifada had not been engineered by any Arab regime (not even by Arafat). The Arab regimes, in fact, were ready to find a compromise and recognize Israel: in 1987 they were more interested in doing business with the West, than in fighting Israel forever. Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin finally understood that the problem was the Arab masses, i.e. the Palestinians, not the Arab regimes. He signed the Oslo agreements, but was murdered by one of the Jews who saw him as a traitor. Following Israeli leaders have failed to see what he saw.
    In 1990 another golden opportunity for peace was offered to Israel by Saddam Hussein, when he invaded a fellow Arab country. The USA managed to create an anti-Saddam coalition that included most of the Arab countries. Basically, the USA had created the first major division in the Arab world since Nasser invented pan-Arab nationalism. In the previous years Israel had missed the opportunity to align itself with the moderate Arab nations. Before the Gulf War, Israel had maintained an arrogant, anti-Arab attitude. When Iraq shot missiles against Israel, the other Arab countries said very clearly that they would not fight on Israel's side: they would rather support Saddam. Because of its own attitude towards the Palestinian problem, Israel could not take advantage of the first division ever created in the Arab world. After the war, divisions remained in the Arab world between moderates, neutrals and hard-liners. Israel's occupation of Jordanian and Syrian land managed to unify those Arab factions, and to this very day the Palestinian issue has become the unifying ideology of the entire Muslim (not only Arab) world. Iranians who hated Arabs for centuries, Indonesians who had nothing in common with Arabs, and Pakistanis who had mainly fought India, all became united in their opposition to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.
    Israel has become more and more isolated in the world. Since the Arabs control the oil, most countries (particularly the developing countries and the European countries, which are de facto bankrupt) have to please the Arabs. Israel had a unique chance to break the Arab camp in two, but failed miserably and, in fact, managed to unify the entire Islamic world with the Arabs. All of this for a small piece of land and 250,000 Jewish settlers.
    Sharon has wasted the most opportunities, mainly because he personally does not want peace. His tactic has been to blame Arafat for not stopping the terrorists, while destroying any power that Arafat could use to stop the terrorists. Sharon seems more interested in destroying Arafat than in halting terrorism. In fact, Sharon seems to work in cahoots with Palestinian terrorists: whenever a peace proposal is advanced (whether by the Arabs or by the USA), either Sharon or the Palestinian terrorists cause a massive escalation of violence. Both Sharon and the Palestinian terrorists seem to be determined to avoid peace. They nominally fight each other, but in practice they share the same goal.
    Sharon's hate for Arafat is grounded in the belief that Arafat hates the Jews and wants their destruction. Arafat has often been caught saying in Arabic that much (in march 2002 he was caught calling for "a thousand suicide bombers"). Sharon may be right in trying to marginalize Arafat and foster a new Palestinian leadership. But he can't do this while antagonizing the Palestinian masses. That was another missed opportunity for Israel: the Palestinian masses widely despised Arafat's regime, as corrupt and dictatorial as any other Arab regime, and would have tacitly supported a coup against Arafat. But not if that comes with the military occupation of the West Bank and hundreds of civilian casualties. The focus of the Palestinians is now on the suicide bombings, not on removing Arafat. Sharon could have had Arafat's head if he had avoided the violence and just focused on his enemy.
    The whole Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a farce of stupidity, one side trying to outsmart the other one while causing devastation to its own people. Unfortunately, now the two sides have created so many stumbling blocks to any peace negotiations that it will be almost impossible to negotiate anything.
    For example, it seems fairly obvious that the Jewish settlers are an unmanageable military problem. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers have been killed in trying to defend that small Jewish population. However, it is also impossible to remove them: they are allowed to vote, and they will vote against anyone who dares plan their removal. You can't become prime minister of Israel unless you pledge to protect the settlements. In other words, you have to pledge to do the very thing that you should not do if you want peace with the Palestinians.
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (October 2002) What are Sharon and Bush planning? Sharon has repeatedly ignored "orders" from Washington. He has not paid any price for disobeying. In fact, he has been received with great honors at the White House. If Saddam disobeys just once, he will be annihilated. Sharon can disobey as many times as he likes.
    Bush's "axis of evil" (Iraq, Iran, North Korea) was obviously not an axis of countries that threaten the USA (none of the three countries has anything to do with Al Qaeda, whereas countries that supported Al Qaeda and the Taliban were not listed in the "axis"): it was an axis of countries that threaten Israel. Sharon told Bush who to target. For example, over the last 20 years Iran has not sponsored a single terrorist attack against the USA, but Iran is the main supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas, the two deadliest enemies of Israel.
    Al Qaeda terrorists have helped Sharon survive the way Palestinian terrorists helped him get elected. Without the September 11 attacks, one can doubt that Sharon would be allowed so much "freedom" (homicidal freedom) in dealing with Palestinians. Every week Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian civilians. To anyone in the world (not only Arabs) it is difficult to see the difference between the innocent civilians killed at the World Trade Center or in Bali and the innocent civilians killed in the streets of Gaza.
    This would not be tolerated by the USA, if the September 11 attacks had not changed the focus of America's foreign policy. The USA are determined to eliminate the threat to their country, and have found out that they have very few friends in the world. Europe is mostly pretending to help, but it helps only when the terrorists can be arrested locally. Russia, China and India have their own agendas, and simply take advantage of the situation. Ultimately, the USA had to conquer Afghanistan by itself, and will have to conquer Iraq by itself. Even Britain's contribution was quite limited, and will presumably be even more limited in Iraq. There is one and only one faithful ally of the USA in the Middle East: Israel. Israel shares the same goals (getting rid of Islamic extremists). In 1991 the USA ordered Israel to refrain from responding when Saddam shot 31 Scud missiles against its territories. Now it would probably allow Israel to fire back. In fact, the Israeli army may be willing to do what the USA army is not willing to do: invade Iraq.
    So it is not surprising that Bush is letting Sharon slaughter innocent Palestinian civilians, even if this means alienating the whole Arab world and may turn Israel into a terrorist state. Bush cannot afford to lose one of the few friends he has.
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  • (August 2002) Another victim of Palestinian fascism: On august 24, Members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade took Ikhklas Khouli, a 35-year-old Palestinian woman, from her home and shot her in the head. On august 30, they shot her 17-year-old sister, Rajah Ibrahim.
    The Palestinian woman was suspected of having helped Israel locate a Palestinian terrorist. There was no trial and no investigation: Khouli's teenage son was tortured with electrical shocks in order to make him "confess".
    Palestinian dissidents are routinely executed (by Palestinians, not Israelis) in the streets of the West Bank.
    Dissidents like the Khouli sisters are the real martyrs of the Intifada.
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  • (May 2002) The real enemy for the Palestinians is Yasser Arafat. First of all, his policies have been failures, over and over again. They have caused enormous sacrifice and pain to the population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip without delivering anything of material or political value. This is in the face of international recognition that the Palestinians deserve their own state (Tibetans, Kurds, and countless other peoples can only wish they could afford such luxury as international support for their self-determination). If Arafat could not deliver anything when the whole world was on his side, one wonders when will he.
    Secondly, in 1997 the very Palestinians parliament accused Arafat's government of being corrupt. Since the Oslo agreements of 1994, Arafat's government has received billions of dollars from the USA, Europe and Arab countries. Those billions of dollars have disappeared. Very little has been spent on infrastructure (bridges, hospitals, schools, libraries, roads). They have not been invested in the economy (the Palestinian economy entirely depends on its neighbors, particularly on Israel). They have not even been used to create an adequate security force. They simply disappeared in the pockets of the Palestinian Authority and their friends/relatives.
    Thirdly, it took Arafat two years and three thousand deaths to figure out that suicide bombers hurt the cause of the Palestinians. Well, millions of Palestinians had figured that out already. The problem is that any Palestinian who dares speak up against Arafat is summarily executed (See The other side of the Palestinian struggle ).
    Dissent is widespread among Palestinians. Elections are overdue. Let the Palestinians speak for themselves. Both Arafat and Hamas oppose elections, because both know that they would lose such elections. Hamas would have to blow up many more Palestinians than Israelis to continue operating in a democratic Palestine.
    (Note of May 2002: Arafat finally signed the "constitution" that the Palestianian parliament demanded five years ago. Legislation had been sitting on his desk all this time. Arafat kept postponing action).
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  • (April 2002) False myths about the Palestinians:
    • Israel was created taking land from the Palestinians. The truth: the United Nations created the state of Israel by assembling the areas where Jews outnumbered Arabs (incidentally, there never was a Palestinian state, there was a British colony, so, at best, Israel "stole" the land from the British, who "stole" it from Turkey)
    • The Jews "invaded" Palestine in the 19th century. The truth: Palestine was part of a province of the Ottoman Empire (a very Muslim empire). The Jews bought land legally according to the laws of the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinians sold them the land that they bought. All of this happened during the era of the Ottoman Empire (a very Muslim empire). When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Britain and France split the regions, and Britain obtained Palestine. Britain inherited what the Ottomans had done.
    • Palestinians have been expelled from their lands after the creation of Israel. The truth: Israel expelled them after it was attacked by the Arabs. Incidentally, the Arabs expelled millions of Jews from their lands too.
    • Jewish immigration has created a Zionist state. The truth: Since the Jews started migrating back to Palestine in the 19th century, there has been both Jewish and Muslim immigration. The Jews settled in a very poor land and created a viable economy. Muslims from the nearby regions (now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt) moved near the Jewish settlements to find jobs or just to trade with them. Not many of today's Palestinians are of Palestinian origin.
    • Palestinians live in miserable conditions because of Israel's unfair treatment of them. The truth: Arafat has received hundreds of millions of dollars of help from the West, but widespread corruption in his administration caused the money to disappear (in any event, it is not clear why Israel should care for the Palestinians' well-doing: is France responsible for Italy getting rich?)
    • Israel has killed a disproportionate number of Palestinians. The truth: Israel has killed fewer Palestinians than Syria, and certainly a lot less Palestinians than other minorities who have been massacred by Arab countries (Kurds in Iraq, Dinkas in Sudan, etc), and even less Arabs than Arabs killed by Arab countries (executions of dissidents and massacres of entire tribes are routine in many Arab countries).
    • Palestinians only want their own state. The truth: The Arabs refused the state of Palestine that was offered to them in 1947, and, in any event, leaders of several Palestinian organizations have repeatedly declared that their goal is the destruction of Israel.
    • Arafat is the elected leader of the Palestinians. The truth: Arafat was appointed in charge of Palestine by the USA and Israel, and the elections were purely pro-forma (Arafat was, de facto, the only candidate).
    • Palestinians are united against Israel. The truth: Palestinians are routinely killed (after farcical trials) when they "collaborate" with Israel, so it is at least difficult to estimate how many Palestinians truly approve of the Palestinian struggle (the very fact that Israel can kill so many Palestinian leaders proves that many Palestinians help Israel kill those leaders).
    • There is something special about the plight of the Palestinians. The truth: the Palestinians are far better off than most minorities in Asia and Africa, certainly a lot better off than the Kurds in Iraq, the Sahrawis in Morocco, the Berbers in Algeria and the Dinkas in Sudan, who are all persecuted by Arab countries, and far better off than most peoples in Africa.
    • The reason the world cares about the Palestinians is because their cause is touching. The truth: the reason the world cares is that Palestinians, unlike other liberation movements, blow up buses and restaurants (terrorism does pay off) and, of course, because of the oil (Arab countries blackmail the West with the oil, something that Africans or Burmese or Tibetans cannot do).

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  • (April 2002) A humble proposal for peace between Israel and Palestine:
    1. First and foremost, remove the two leaders: Sharon and Arafat have proven to be either incompetent or homicidal or both. Neither wants or is capable of peace (and they both deserve to be investigated by an international war tribunal). Sharon should resign and let Peres run Israel. Arafat should be exiled to a very distant non-Muslim country where he cannot direct terrorism anymore and be replaced by Saeb Erakat, or, even better, by Hanan Ashrawi (what a slap in the face of Islamic fundamentalists to appoint a woman in charge of the Holy Land, and a Christian Arab too!).
    2. Second, negotiations have to occur between Israel, the USA and all Arab countries. It is pointless to negotiate with the Palestinians only (and, worse, with Arafat only), when their "struggle" is funded, coerced and directed by foreign countries. The League of Arab Countries has to be the partner in any peace negotiation with Israel. It is pointless to negotiate with Israel alone when the USA is the only country that can guarantee Israel's compliance with a peace treaty.
    3. Destroy Jerusalem. It is a pointless issue of friction. Israeli extremists call it "Israel's capital for all eternity". Islamic extremists call it the holy city. Let the ruins of Jerusalem prove to both groups that Jerusalem was merely a city. Let the ruins of Jerusalem stand as a testament to human stupidity.
    4. Israel withdraws from the territories occupied during the last war
    5. The United Nations agree to intervene in Israel's defense should any country attack it. Naturally, Israel does not trust that the United Nations would defend Israel when it could not even defend the Tutsis in Rwanda. So the United Nations should also allow for any country (read: USA) to intervene militarily if Israel is attacked.
    6. Israel destroys all of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, just like we are asking any other Middle-eastern country to do so
    7. Israel pays for rebuilding the Palestinian towns it has damaged, the roads that link those towns, and any other Palestinian instructure
    8. Egypt and Jordan donate border land to the Palestinian state so that the Gaza strip and the West Bank are linked in a contiguous territory
    9. The USA, Europe, Arab countries and Israel itself fund one-billion dollars of public works in Palestine. Given the record of corruption within Arafat's Palestinian Authority, the money will be managed by an international commission of business administrators, none of which shall be Arab or Jew (suggestion: Singapore)
    10. Democratic elections must be held in Palestine, under the supervision of the United Nations and without a single soldier on Palestinian territory. The elected officials will not be allowed direct access to the money for five years.
    11. Jews who live in the settlements can remain there if they wish. However, Israeli troops will not be allowed to defend them. Jewish settlers will become Palestinian citizens.
    12. No Palestinian refugee is allowed to return to Israel. However, Israel must compensate financially those who were evicted. Arab countries must offer them the option to relocate in public housing anywhere in the Arab world. A large number of Palestinians seem to desire relocating to the USA: the USA should offer them that alternative.
    13. Arab countries are allowed to keep the territories they conquered over the centuries, from Morocco to Iraq, the same way Israel is allowed to keep some of the territories it conquered since 1948
    14. Arab countries must grant independence to all their ethnic minorities, from the Sahrawis in Morocco to the Berbers in Algeria, from the Kurds in Iraq to the Dinkas in Sudan, just like Israel must grant independence to the Palestinians (It would be nice if Arab countries allowed for democracy and free elections, but, I guess, that's asking too much of the Arab regimes)
    15. Arab countries pledge that, for every Palestinian bomb in Israel, they will blow up a holy Islamic site (according to a list compiled by Israel). This is the only thing that will put pressure on Arabs to curtail support for Palestinian terrorists and to police their Islamic fundamentalists
    16. In each and every Arab country the main religious leader must address the faithfuls in Arabic and tell them that the Jews have the unconditional right to have their own state. The jihad against Israel must end. (This is going to be harder to achieve than the very destruction of Jerusalem, because the truth is that each and every Islamic religious leader wants the destruction of Israel and of any non-Islamic country).
    17. Israel must declare illegal any anti-Arab group and anti Zionist group, the same way that anti-Jewish groups are now illegal in Germany
    The first point is the most urgent. The last two points are the most important.
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  • (April 2002) Europeans support the Palestinian cause. Despite two world-wars, Europeans still believe that it is appropriate for the human race to be busy killing each other over "lands", "borders", "religions" and "ethnic groups", and employing the most childish manners ("I was here first", "No, I was here first").
    Palestinians and Israelis (or, better, Muslims and Jews, because the conflict is not limited to that region) can argue forever on who is right and who is wrong, on who is entitled to what. However, a few facts are indisputable:
    • The Arabs do not intend to withdraw from the lands they occupied over the centuries, war after war. Hundreds of millions of peoples around the world are refugees from those wars and have a right to return to Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, and even Palestine.
    • Arabs live under some of the worst dictatorships in the world. Israel treats its citizens far better than any Arab country treats its citizens. So the Palestinians are better off under Israel than under, say, Jordan or Syria or Egypt.
    • The Israeli public and the press are free to express opinions different from the opinion of Israel's government. In fact, they do so. Thousands of Israelis are against the aggressive policy of Sharon. The Arab public and the Arab press are "not" free at all to express any opinion other than the official one. In fact, Palestinians who disagree are routinely killed, which is, really, an Arab habit: dissidents are jailed, tortured and killed in pretty much every Arab country. The only Arabs who can express their opinion and vote are the ones who live in Israel, USA and Europe.
    • It is, of course, easy to quote Israeli and Jewish opponents of Sharon's policies: Israel is a democracy, as are the USA and Europe, and dissidents are entitled to speak up any time. They are even entitled to vote, and to win an election. It is, of course, impossible to quote Arab dissidents: they are in jail or in a graveyard. The Palestinian Authority has the death sentence for siding with Israel, whereas Israel has no punishment for siding with Palestinians.
    • The main reason that Palestinians still live in poverty is that the Palestinian Authority created a very corrupt regime, that is very unpopular with the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority stole hundreds of millions of dollars that the USA, Europe and the Arab countries donated to reconstruct Palestine after the Oslo agreement. At one point, Arafat was so despised by the Palestinian that even the prime minister of Israel was more popular in Palestine, and it was Israel (and the USA) to keep Arafat in power against the will of the Palestinian people.
    • Independent polls show that 72% of Israelis recognize the right of Palestinians to have their own state. Polls shows that very few Arabs recognize the right of Jews to have their own state. Independent polls show that 68% of Palestinians support the killing of Israeli civilians by suicide bombers.
    • Palestinian terrorists kill as many Israeli civilians as they can. The Israeli army does not kill as many Palestinian civilians as it could.
    • The vast majority of Arabs who are killed for political, ethnic and religious reasons are killed by Arab dictators. In percentage, very few are killed by Israel.
    • Arab regimes abuse routinely human rights. Women are treated like inferior beings in all Arab countries (no exceptions). On the other hand, Israel even had a woman for prime minister. In 1998 Palestinian women's rights activists called for civil rights and equality for Palestinian women: the Palestinian daily "Al Ayyam" denounced them as "devils, satans and demons," and accused them of desecrating Islam.
    • There are many other minorities deprieved of their lands, in particular in the Arab world: the Sahrawis in Morocco, the Kurds in Iraq, the Berbers in Algeria, the Dinkas in Sudan. These have all suffered much worse violence than the Palestinians.
    • The reason nobody cares about the Kurds of Iraq, the Sahrawis of Morocco, the Berbers of Algeria, the Dinkas of Sudan, is that they do not blow up buses and restaurants.
    • More Palestinians have been killed in one week by Assad of Syria (to name one) than in the entire 50 years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    • Arab oil producers earn billions of dollars a month. They use that money to build themselves huge palaces. They never thought of building decent housing for the Palestinians.
    • Neither Jordan, nor Syria, nor Egypt wants the Palestinians. Palestinians were massacred and expelled in each of these countries.
    • The Chechens in Russia and the Turkestani in China are also Muslims fighting against the occupation of a non-Muslim army. The reason nobody discusses their struggle is that China and Russia do not respect their rights the same way Israel does. China and Russia have killed thousands of Muslim civilians. And will do so if any Muslim attacks their cities. Neither Russia nor China allows journalists to visit the areas they invaded, whereas news organizations are routinely admitted by Israel in the West Bank. We have footage of Israeli soldiers shooting demonstrators, we have footage of Israeli missiles hitting Hamas activists, we have footage of Arafat in his compound. We have no footage at all of Russian or Chinese soldiers shooting, of their bombing campaigns, of the leaders of the opposition.
    • All the miseries that the Palestinians complain about (all of them true) are largely due to actions carried out by the Arabs, beginning with the refusal of a Palestinian state in 1947 and all the way to the election of Sharon, who was mostly caused by Arafat's humiliation of Barak.
    • Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia fund and praise (quite openly) Palestinian terrorists. Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia send money to the families of the Palestinian suicide bombers, but not to the thousands of Palestinian families that do not engage in terrorism.
    • Arafat obviously knew of the explosives purchased by Palestinian terrorists with his money. Arafat obviously knew of the existence of the 15 bomb factories found by Israeli troops. These numerous suicide bombers have obviously not been created over the last few days: the terror campaign had been planned for years. Arafat and the other Palestinian leaders knew very well that suicide terrorists were being trained, that explosives were being purchased and that bombs were being manufactured. They knew who, where and what.
    • Arafat has obviously not curbed the suicide bombers. Either he is not able to control them, or he is directing them. Either way, it is unfair to pretend that Israel negotiates with Arafat. At best, it would make sense to negotiate with Yassin (leader of Hamas) or other Palestinian leaders who, at least, admit that they control the terrorists.
    • Freedom fighters around the world are learning from the Palestinian struggle that terrorism against civilians is the only way to get the attention and respect from the West.
    Europeans pretend they don't know these facts, or that these facts do not matter.
    A similar attitude caused tragedies in Europe twice: in the 1930s, when most Europeans refused to deal with Hitler, and during the Cold War, when countless Europeans refused to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union. Both times it was customary for Europeans (politicians, press and public) to believe the propaganda of the totalitarian regimes (where dissidents were killed and the press was not free) and customary to dispute the facts published by the democratic regimes (where dissidents were free to criticize and the press was independent). The people who defended the Soviet Union and denied the existence of the gulags are still active in politics, although they forgot what they were claiming during the Cold War. Today, the very same people defend the Arab dictators.
    Europeans seem totally indifferent to the plight of the hundreds of Palestinian dissidents who are being killed by Palestinian tribunals, just like they were totally indifferent to the deportation and killing of thousands of Soviet dissidents.
    Europeans are convinced that Israel "must" return the occupied territories to the Arabs. God only knows why the Europeans have suddenly decided that winning countries must withdraw from the territories occupied during a war. Will now Germany be entitled to the territories that Hitler lost during World War II? Will the entire Europe return to Rome the lands that the Roman Empire lost to the barbarians? And will the Arabs withdraw from the lands they occupied during the Arab wars, from Morocco to Iraq?
    Europeans are outraged that many more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis, as if it was an outrage that more German civilians died in World War II than, say, French or Polish civlians: the Germans started the war, it is a bit their fault if they died in that war.
    Last but not least, the Europeans are in denial of what many Arab political and religious leaders truly want. The political ideology contained in the Quran is not very different from Hitler's "Mein Kampft" (See A HREF=arabs.html#wor1001> Islam kills) and any Muslim who truly believes in the letter of the Quran is a potential terrorist. The ideology of the Quran is the destruction of all other ideologies.
    Israel's excessive use of force may not be justified, and Sharon is certainly not a saint. But it is unfair and misleading to paint the Palestinians as merely victims (they are also victims of their own misguided actions) and Islam as a footnote to the conflict (it is the very reason of the conflict).
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  • (April 2002) The other side of the Palestinian struggle On april first, CCN reported: "In Tulkarem, Palestinian militants shot and killed at least seven Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, Palestinian security sources said." This is the other war that is going on, and that is probably claiming more victims than the war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorists. It is the war between Palestinians who oppose terrorism and Palestinians who carry out terrorism. Every time Israel kills a Palestinian terrorist, it means that a Palestinian has helped Israel track down that terrorist. Palestinian "collaborators" are routinely executed by Palestinian gunmen without even a trial (there would be nothing to try them for: helping Israel track down criminals is not only legal but even heroic). These are the real martyrs of Palestine: the Palestinians who fight against Palestinian terrorists.
    More Palestinian civilians have been killed by Palestinians than by Israel.
    Despite Palestinian efforts to hide this internal genocide, reports of such mass executions of Palestinians by Palestinians have leaked outside time and again: The vast majority of these executions are carried out in secret. In fact, the Palestinian Authority initially denied that any such executions were being carried out and admitted them only after the BBC filmed one such trial. Trials are usually conducted without any notice to the foreign press, that only hears of them through the grapevine.
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  • (March 2002) There is no limit to Palestinian stupidity. The world was getting a little bored of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but thankfully Palestinian suicide bombers are reviving interest in this most stupid of conflicts.
    The "Passover massacres" carried out by the "Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades" have upped the ante in the conflict. Al Aqsa is a militant group associated with Arafat's Fatah faction (at least, it evolved from the Fatah militia, the military wing of the PLO), that is rapidly supplanting Hamas as the bloodiest militia in the region. It is not clear who is behind this new organization, that began committing terrorist attacks in january 2002 (a few months after the US attacked the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces began leaving Afghanistan). We know some veterans belong to the organization (such as Nasser Badawi) but the real leaders are unknown.
    The cynicism of these criminals is proven by the fact that they used an 18-year-old girl to carry out the attack against a hotel. They brainwashed her and convinced her to blow herself up. Most teenagers are easy to influence. It is not difficult to convince a teenager to commit suicide. Obviously, Al Aqsa did not hesitate to take advantage of the psychological vulnerability of a teenager.
    As usual, it is not the son or the daughter of a leader who becomes a suicide bomber. It is always someone from the mass of frustrated youths. Palestinian leaders do not blow themselves up, and they do not offer their sons or daughters as martyrs. On the contrary, they seem very intent in surviving and protecting their families. The trick is simple: find a retarded or deranged mind and brainwash him/her into giving his/her life for the cause.
    What is truly unbelievable is the stupidity of the ordinary Palestinians, many of whom respect and praise these "martyrs", i.e. these unfortunate retarded Palestinians who have been exploited by cynical leaders. They are not martyrs, they are victims of the manipulation of their political leaders. If Allah exists and Mohammad was really his prophet, these suicide bombers don't even go to heaven: Mohammad explicitly said that suicide is not allowed, no matter what. How ironic.
    Rest assured that Palestinian terrorists will soon start using children: what best bomb than a child wrapped in explosive? Palestinians accuse Israel of all sorts of atrocities, but they know that, in reality, Israeli soldiers commit no atrocities at all: Palestinian civilians are killed by accident, not on purpose. Israeli soldiers would not shoot at a child. Children are the perfect bombs.
    Westerners have to come to accept the idea that there is no limit to Islamic fanaticism. Anything that can be used for the Islamic cause will be used.
    The few Palestinians who dare speak against the suicide bombings are quickly disposed of: "trials" of "Israeli collaborators" carried out by the Palestinian Authority and justice done in the streets by overzealous militias have probably killed more Palestinians than Israel has. The real "martyrs" are the Palestinians who were killed for helping Israel fight the terrorist organizations that immolate Palestinian teenagers to kill Israeli civilians.
    Do Arabs elsewhere condemn this senseless use of innocent teenagers? On the contrary, they praise it. Palestinian idiots who blow themselves up are routinely hailed as "martyrs" by Arabs worldwide. The recent meeting of the League of the Arab states ended with a joint statement hailing the Palestinian "martyrs" (they forgot to add "that killed hundreds of innocent civilians" and "that were gullable enough to believe their leaders"). The truth is that, despite peace ouverture by the Saudi family, the Arabs remain committed to the "jihad" against the infidels (any infidel, Israeli, European, American, Indian, Chinese, Russian) and approve of any means to kill them, anytime anywhere.
    Arabs are "using" the Palestinians just like terrorists are "using" Palestinian teenagers. Arab solidarity has never been visible. Palestinians still live in squalid camps while Arab leaders squander billions of dollars in pharaonic projects and luxury hotels and private jets. Only two Arab countries (Jordan and Syria) have allowed Palestinians to resettle on its territory, and the two who did (Jordan and Syria) have routinely massacred them every time they dared cause any trouble (20,000 rebels were killed in a week in Hama by the Syrian army).
    Palestinians don't even understand that the only country to respect their rights has been Israel. When you lose a war, you lost a war. Germans cannot reclaim the land they lost after World War II. Japan cannot reclaim Indochina and Korea. Italy cannot reclaim the Roman Empire. Christians cannot reclaim what they lost to the Arabs in past centuries (including Palestine itself). Therefore, quite obviously, the Palestinians cannot reclaim what the Arabs lost in the wars against Israel. However, Israel has always been willing to give them back their land, if only they stop the killing. Palestinians don't realize that Israel is way above the standards of behavior of their Arab brothers. Which Arab country has ever returned land it conquered in a war?
    All of this is happening because the Palestinians want their own homeland.
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    The United Nations called the establishment of a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. The Jews said "yes" and got Israel. The Palestinians said no, and got 50 years of refugee camps, massacres (mainly by Syria and Jordan, but also Israel), and intifadas. Now, 55 years later, the Palestinians want what they refused in 1947, and blow themselves up one after the other to obtain what they could have had for free in 1947.
    The current crisis is being caused by Sharon's extremist (and probably racist) views on how to treat Palestinians. But who got Sharon elected? ? Who sabotaged Barak? Who played into the hands of Sharon by starting an intifada when Barak was risking his career with the boldest peace plan of all times? It was the Palestinians. The Palestinians elected Sharon, who is now killing them like flies.
    Everything the Palestinians say is true: Israel is occupying their land; Sharon does not want peace; Israeli troops are terrorizing Palestinian towns; Palestinians live in constant misery, tragedy and humiliation; young Palestinians are hopeless; etc. What Palestinians fail to add is why this happened: because Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
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  • (December 2001) Sharon is a genius. Sharon outsmarted the Americans too (after having outsmarted Arafat). He got scared that the Americans were getting serious about granting Palestine statehood and about mediating a long-lasting peace. Sharon architected a new stage of violence that now justifies his all-out attack against Arafat and against whatever was left of the peace process. Sharon knows very well that every Israeli bullet creates more Palestinian suicide bombers, but that is precisely what he needs for his political survival.
    Sharon is gladly sacrificing dozens of Israeli and Palestinian citizens in the name of his political obsession: destroying the peace process and eliminating Arafat, his old nemesis.
    After all, this is the very way he got elected: he provoked the Palestinians into starting the Intifada and then capitalized on the sense of insecurity that the Intifada generated in Israel. Arafat played in Sharon's hands, over and over again. Now the Americans do too.
    Sharon played every card he had extremely well. When the USA started bombing the Taliban because they harbored Osama Bin Laden, Sharon started bombing the Palestinians because they harbor Hamas. When the world's attention was on Afghanistan, he took advantage and dramatically increased the level of violence in Palestine. Now that he has managed to discredit Arafat, there is virtually no Palestinian leader that the USA and Europe listen to.
    Maybe the USA should elect Sharon president. He may be a blood-thirsty butcher, but, right now, he is the most clever leader in the world.
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  • (Novembre 2001) The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in perspective.
    How we got here:
    • The previous Israeli prime minister, Barak, was negotiating with Palestinian leader Arafat under the auspices of the Clinton administration.
    • Concessions were made on both sides but eventually talks broke down, mainly because the two sides could not reach an agreement on the status of Jerusalem (Israel wants to keep it under Israeli control, while the Palestinians want it under international control).
    • Immediately after the abrupt end of negotiations, the Palestinians began a new "intifada", throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.
    • Israeli politician Ariel Sharon provoked the Palestinians when he visited a holy site (Palestinians consider Sharon a war criminal).
    • The intifada escalated and scores of Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops while throwing stones at them.
    • Sharon ran for prime minister and won the elections against Barak, largely because of the fears created by the new intifada.
    • As expected, Sharon escalated the conflict by retaliating even harder against Palestinians, whose violence also escalated against Israeli civilians. In particular, Sharon began a campaign of assassinations of Palestinian extremists.
    • Sharon accuses Arafat of protecting Palestinian terrorists.
    • The Palestinians claim that Israel's behavior qualifies as terrorism.
    • US media and US officials are certainly more interested in killed Israeli civilians than in killed Palestinian civilians, even though the latter vastly outnumber the former.

    Where we stand now:
    • Israel accuses Arafat of not doing enough to curb terrorism and possibly even protecting the terrorists
    • Arafat, who is only nominally in control of patches of Palestinian territory that are effectively under Israeli military control, does not seem capable of doing what Israel demands even if he wanted to
    • The Palestinian terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad are increasing their campaign against Israeli civilians
    • Every time Arafat and Israel get close to a deal, a Palestinian extremist blows up a bomb against Israel, thereby killing the deal and embarrassing Arafat in front of his own people
    • Every time Arafat seems ready to move against the Palestinian extremists, Israel attacks his organization, thereby thwarting Arafat and embarrassing him in front of his own people
    • The intifada is virtually over, as fewer and fewer Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli soldiers (1. it has become too dangerous and 2. Arafat himself ordered an end to it)
    • There is now and all-out war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorists, and Arafat is asked to choose which side he is on

    What the Israelis think:
    • The Palestinians are entitled to their own state.
    • But this is a generous Israeli offer, as never in the past the winner of a war in the Middle East has relinquished territory it won during that war
    • Israel is entitled to defend its citizens by using the army against Palestinians that aim at striking against Israelis.
    • Arafat does not want to or is not capable of delivering peace. Ultimately, the cause of the violence is Arafat's unwillingness to stop terrorism.

    What the Palistinians think:
    • Israel is still occupying "their" land.
    • Freeing that land from the Jewish occupation is a holy war
    • Despite Arafat's official acknowledgement of the right of Israel to exist, many Palestinians privately want Israel to be destroyed.
    • Israel's bombing of Palestinians, that has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, is terrorism just like Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
    • Suicide bombings are a legitimate form of fight against Israel's occupation of Palestine.
    • Ultimately, the cause of the violence is Israel's occupation of the territories.

    What the Palestinian polls say (dec 2001):
    • Support for Hamas 31% (up from 23%)
    • Support for Arafat is 20% (down from 33%)
    • Hamas is particularly popular among women and young people
    • The vast majority of Palestinians are undecided
    • The majority of Palestinians recognize the state of Israel
    • The majority of Palestinians do not support Arafat's cease-fire
    • Support for suicide bombers 68% (june 2002)

    What the Israeli polls say (dec 2001):
    • 71% of Israelis want "massive military" action against Palestinians

    What has been the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks?
    • No Palestinian was among the terrorists, so the attacks were totally unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    • No Palestinian force is fighting alongside the Taliban, so the war in Afghanistan is totally unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    • However, Israel claims that its war against Palestinian extremists is as justified as America's all-out war against Al Qaeda.
    • However, Palestinians claim that America is closing an eye on Israel's atrocities while condemning the Taliban atrocities.
    • The public opinion in all Arab countries tends to agree with the Palestinians, that the US war against terrorism displays a double standard.
    • The US feels pressured to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so it doesn't distract the world (and particularly the Arab world) from its war against (the other kind of) terrorism, and therefore the US is applying pressure to both Israel and Arafat to stop the violence and resume negotiations.
    • So far Palestinian terrorism has only targeted Israeli civilians, but it is only a matter of time before it turns against the US, which is widely viewed by Palestinians as biased towards Israel, and therefore an obstacle to the liberation of Palestine

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  • (Novembre 2001) The Palestinian civil war or the end of Arafat. After another string of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, the Palestinians are more divided than ever. Unfortunately, elections are illegal so we don't really know what the majority thinks.
    Arafat is probably aware that right now he looks terribly similar to the Taliban: the Taliban were morally responsible of hosting the Al Qaeda terrorists, Arafat's Palestinian Authority is morally responsible of hosting the terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad (something that Israel has been saying for years, but only now the West is beginning to understand this simple message). With a crucial difference: the "foreign" terrorists were hated by the Afghan population, while the Hamas terrorists now have many supporters in Palestine.
    Hamas, in particular, started as a charity organization, raising money in the Persian Gulf and the USA to build schools and hospitals for poor Palestinians. Over the years, it has developed a social network for poor people while Arafat's organization has mainly taken bribes from wealthy people. Since 1987 Hamas has also engaged in violence against Israel and now openly advocates an all-out war to drive Israel out of the Middle East, using whatever means available, unlike Arafat who recognizes the right of Israel to exist and rejects terrorism. Hamas favors the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state (a` la Taliban) whereas Arafat is in favor of separation of powers. The vast majority of Palestinians side with Arafat on these issues but tend to view Hamas as more honest.
    The problem is that Arafat has wasted precious time. He could have quietly eliminated Hamas and the Islamic Jihad years ago after the Oslo agreement when the Palestinian masses were impressed by his political skills and believed he could deliver a Palestinian state. Letting the terrorists operate out of Palestine has been the single biggest mistake of his entire life. Their actions have destroyed the peace process, have turned Israel against Arafat, and, ultimately, have undermined Arafat's own leadership. Only now that he is very close to losing his job (and perhaps his life) does Arafat clearly understand than the terrorists have harmed him as much as they have harmed Israeli civilians. Arafat means nothing to the Palestinians anymore. He is not an effective leader, since he can't even decide whether the Palestinians are at war or not. He has not brought any foreign investment, since Palestinians since live in awkward poverty. He has not achieved statehood.
    Arafat is beginning to realize that Sharon (the Israeli prime minister) and the Palestinian extremists have used each other to oust Arafat: Sharon provokes the Palestinians (for example, by expanding the settlements that he is supposed to abolish, and, of course, by carrying out daylight assassinations), Palestinian terrorists retaliate with suicide bombings inside Israel, Sharon has an excuse to continue his provocation. The cycle continues and Arafat is virtually excluded from it. Sharon is an old enemy (when they were bought fighters in opposing armies) who has probably dreamed all his life of eliminating him. Sharon has now outsmarted him. first Sharon used Arafat's stupidity to get elected, then he embarrassed Arafat in front of the Palestinians by undoing the whole peace process, and now Sharon is using the very Palestinian terrorists that Arafat protected against Arafat himself; and, last but not least, Sharon is exposing Arafat worldwide as an aging icon not fit to run a state.
    Only now is Arafat beginning to understand that being the leader of a state means being responsible for what that state does. Imagine if France was harboring terrorists that strike Germany: the entire French police would go after them, arrest them and deliver them to Germany. That is what civilized countries do: guarantee order. The proper way to vent disagreement is to vote, not to blow up bombs in buses and restaurants. Only now is Arafat beginning to understand that simple concept. In a sense, this second intifada (that he probably started in order to extort more concessions from Barak) has been Arafat's personal education.
    Unfortunately, it has not educated the Palestinian people. Many Palestinians only want revenge for all their relatives and friends who have been killed, and Hamas and the Islamic Jihad satisfy that desire better than Arafat's Palestinian Authority.
    The Palestinian people are more confused than ever about what they really want and what that means: if they want a state that coexist with Israel, they have to guarantee that their territory is not used for acts against Israel (or any other state); if they want to destroy Israel, then maybe they should just declare an all-out war.
    It is telling that Palestinians do not seem to make distinctions between Palestinian civilians and Palestinian terrorists: regardless of who is killed by Israel, the Palestinian crowds are equally outraged. We are far more outraged by the accidental killing of a passer-by than by the calculated killing of a terrorist. A French citizen would certainly be outraged if German police killed an innocent French civilian, but probably not angry at all if German police killed a French terrorist trying to strike at Germany. Palestinians have lost the meaning of this difference: Israel is assassinating terrorists and Palestinians are outraged. Israel has obviously been trying to limit civilian casualties (otherwise every day the streets of Palestine would be littered with thousands of dead bodies, not just one or two). Hamas, on the other hand, is targeting precisely Israeli civilians. The Palestinians completely ignore this fundamental difference and refer to both as "terror".
    Palestinians take for granted that they are entitled to get their country back. Their mantra is that Israel should return the occupied territories and freeze new Jewish settlements in those occupied territories. First of all, Palestinians never had a country: they were occupied either by other Arab countries or by Britain. Secondly, Israel won those territories during a war (a war in which it was attacked first by Jordan, Egypt and Syria): no Arab army has ever returned land they conquered during a war (otherwise there would be no Arabs outside Saudi Arabia), so why should Israel return land that it conquered in a war? Palestinians take for granted something that no Arab country has ever done or would ever do. They are certainly not entitled to any land under any international treaty. Palestinians have also forgotten that in 1948 they were given the option of a Palestinian state, with the unconditional approval of Israel, and they (the Arabs) turned it down: why in heaven do the Palestinians only protest against Israel and never protest against the Arab leaders who gave away the Palestinian state in 1948?
    With his distinguished career of liar, Arafat has taught them to be ambigous. Today, you cannot get a Palestinian to tell you clearly what he wants for his people. In the end, only the terrorists and the streets talk. We see hundreds of Palestinians rioting in the streets and we see images of Israeli civilians blown in pieces. We don't really know what millions of Palestinians think in their homes, and probably they are very confused about all these issues: are the Hamas terrorists their true representatives, who avenge Israel's arrogance? is Arafat a good leader who is trying his best? is the US a friend or an enemy? are Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden saints or criminals?
    The best outcome for Palestine remains democracy: let the Palestinians vote and elect democratically their leader. Let that leader take responsibility for his actions and their consequences. Let the Palestinians vote their approval or disapproval. If the moderates can win an outright majority, they will have the mandate to jail the extremists. If the extremists win the majority, then they will declare war to Israel instead of pretending to be negotiating peace.
    As it stands now, the situation is dangerously close to a Palestinian civil war. Faced with Sharon's stubborn (but at least clear and consistent) attitude, and with the Taliban's precedent, Arafat has now no choice but to crack down on Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Thanks to years of intifada, those organizations have gained thousands of sympathizers and they have tolerated Arafat only because Arafat tolerated them. If Arafat does not crack down on them, then Israel will remove him from power. Arafat can save himself only if he becomes (de facto) an Israeli agent, but then he will become a target of the very terrorists he raised. If Arafat cracks down on them, they now have the power to overthrow him or at least kill him.
    It does not take a genius to realize that every time Arafat and Israel get closer to a deal, a Palestinian extremist blows up a bomb against Israel, thereby killing the deal and embarrassing Arafat in front of his own people. Every time Arafat seems ready to move against the Palestinian extremists, Israel attacks his organization, thereby thwarting Arafat and embarrassing him in front of his own people. The Israeli government and the Palestinian terrorists have something in common: they all target Arafat.
    Sharon may personally prefer that Arafat does not give in, because Sharon's dream is not Israeli security or peace but the elimination of the Palestinian fighters, and in particular of his old nemesis Arafat. This is a duel, and it appears that one of the duelists has outsmarted the other one.
    Either way, Arafat may soon pay with his life for the single biggest mistake he ever made.
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  • (August 2001) The real martyrs in Palestine. The world is concerned about Palestinians killed by Israeli police and army, or by Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists, but the number of Palestinians killed by Palestinians greatly exceeds the official victims of the Intifada. Groups like Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade routinely execute Palestinians accused of "collaborating" with Israel. Providing Israel with information about terrorists is not only a crime, it is a capital crime; not only it is punished with death, but it rarely involves a trial. Suspects are often executed in the streets. Even when there is a trial, the defendants are rarely allowed to use a lawyer and rarely any witness is called to prove their crime. Some trials lasted five minutes while people were chanting "kill them". In at least one case the defense lawyer appointed by the tribunal asked the court to execute his client.
    The "collaborators" are often guilty only of helping Israeli police prevent massacres of civilians. For this they are executed by the Palestinians.
    The Palestinian Authority refuses to disclose the numbers and international groups do not have any support in investigating reports of human rights abuse; but it is the Palestinians themselves who, indirectly, confess that the numbers are indeed very high. The mayor of Nablus, Mahmoud Alul, recently declared that "there are hundreds of them" and "it is like a virus".
    Some of these "collaborators" are simply Palestinians who desperately need money. But even those who do it for money obviously are not very impressed with the goals of the intifada. Others (we can only guess how many) are freedom fighters, fed up with Arafat's dictatorship. They are not allowed to vote, they are not allowed to protest, they are not allowed to help Israel track down terrorists, they are not allowed to speak: they are simply jailed and killed. BBC News estimated about a killing every other day.
    Unfortunately, very few Palestinians speak up. Sari Nusseibeh, a well-respected academic who has always refused to take part in Arafat's government, asks Palestinians to recognize the right of Israel to its own state, to stop terrorism aimed at destroying Israel and even to ally with Israel (Note in october 2001, after the terrorist attack against the USA, Arafat has appointed Sari Nuseibeh as political leader of East Jerusalem).
    It is commonly agreed that many more Palestinians have died in the Intifada than Israelis. It depends how one counts. If you only count Palestinians killed by Israelis and Israelis killed by Palestinian, then, yes, Israel has killed more Palestinians than Palestinians have killed Israelis. But if you also include the Palestinians executed by Palestinians, then it is not clear at all who has killed more innocents.
    Why nobody is talking about these martyrs?
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  • (August 2001) The Palestinians commit suicide It is not only the "martyrs" of the intifada who are committing suicide, it is the entire people of Palestine. And when they were so close to getting their own state.
    Arafat contributed to electing Sharon prime minister of Israel. The Israeli public has simply voted based on their perception of Arafat: when they trusted Arafat and thought that peace was possible, they voted for Barak; when they distrusted Arafat and thought that peace was not possible, they voted for Sharon. Barak truly wanted peace and was willing to give away too much. The Israeli public sensed that the deal Barak offered to Arafat was dangerous. The fact that Arafat wanted even more made Israelis extremely uncomfortable. When the Palestinian started the new intifada, the Israeli public felt betrayed and in danger. Then the Israelis voted for Sharon: not for peace, but for security. Barak's job was to make peace, Sharon's job is to secure Israel.
    The Palestinians should be at least consistent. Before the elections, they always maintained that one leader of Israel is as bad as the other. They refused to side with Barak claiming that Sharon would be no better or worse than Barak. When Sharon got elected, they still refused to take responsibility for it and repeated that nobody could be worse than Barak. Fine. Then keep Sharon. A few hundred dead Palestinians (including many of Arafat's associates) are there to prove if Barak was better than Sharon (and the Palestinians made a terrible mistake) or not (and the Palestinians are right in feeling persecuted rather than being the cause of that persecution).
    Notably absent in this major crisis are the Arab countries. Despite the claim by Palestinians to be persecuted because of being Arabs, the other Arab countries don't seem to be interested in defending them (only in words, not with facts). Egypt is still at peace with Israel (and working on a number of business projects). Jordan maintains regular ties. Even Syria (which is still formally at war with Israel) and Lybia (Israel's number one enemy) have hardly done anything to boycott Israel. It is a clear sign that no Arab country is willing to risk their own well-being and peace for the Palestinians. Arab leaders are notoriously selfish (and certainly not democratic) but they would intervene if they felt the Palestinians were truly wronged by Israel. The truth is that Arab leaders around the world feel that Arafat has brought this crisis on himself. It is Arafat's fault that Palestinians and Israelis are at war again. Why should Egypt or Syria pay a price for Arafat's stupidity?
    In the 1970s, Palestinians (led by Arafat) triggered civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon, a lesson that leaders of the Arab world have not forgotten. Jordan and Syria quelled those civil uprisings using much more violence than the one used by Israel against the intifada.
    The whole world can now also witness the dramatic difference between Israel and Palestine, and between Israelis and Palestinians. And this make everybody reconsider their support for the Palestinian cause. First of all, Palestinians are celebrating in the streets the killing of innocent Israelis (and tourists). We have not seen Israeli masses celebrating the killing (only a few fanatic settlers). Second, in Israel nobody has been jailed or persecuted for defending the Palestinian cause (Israel has hundreds of thousand of pacifists, has Arabs represented in parliament, has scores of dissidents to talk daily on national televisions), while Palestinians have been executing (killing) anybody suspected of collaborating with Israel (a very summary trial and then a public execution in front of thousands of cheering Palestinians).
    Bottom line. The Palestinian leadership has displayed an unbelievable amount of stupidity in de facto electing the Israeli leader who is killing them like flies. The Palestinian people are proving to be immature for becoming a country. One wonders if Israeli extremists are wrong in advocating a re-invasion of Palestine.
    What would you do if your country was threatened by terrorists of another country and this country not only harbored those terrorists but even cheered every time your citizens are blown up, and routinely executed anybody opposing the regime?
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  • (May 2001) Why peace is so difficult between Arabs and Israel: because Arab countries are still dictatorships, whereas Israel is a democracy. It is sad than in 2001 not a single Arab country has still become a democracy. The last decade saw democracy advancing in pretty much every corner of the world, except in Arab countries. New powerful democracies have been born in Eastern Europe (Poland, Czeck, Hungary), South America (almost every country), Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philipines) and even Africa (South Africa, Nigeria). Even China and Iran have taken steps towards more democracy. The only exception to the spread of democracy around the world is the Arab zone: from Iraq to Morocco people are still ruled by dictators. Arabs often attack Israel has "the" evil, but forget that the only massacres against their own people have come from their own dictators: Israel has killed far fewer Palestinians than Jordania and Syria did; the gulf war killed far fewer Iraqis than Saddam did; and, in general, Arab dictators have routinely ordered massacres of their own people. It is ironic that so many Arabs perceive the West or Israel as the enemy when they are being oppressed and massacred by their own leaders.
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  • (February 2001) Arafat elects Sharon prime minister of Israel. Arafat succeeded, yet again, in ruining the chances for the Palestinian people to get their country back. And Ariel Sharon proved, yet again, that Arafat is an old fool who can be cheated very easily.
    What Sharon did is very simple. Sharon saw that Barak was about to make peace with the Palestinians and sacrifice Jerusalem for it. Sharon (whose reputation was tainted by his support for the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon) decided to provoke the Palestinians by visiting a holy place. The Palestinians, inspired by Arafat's belligerent stance, started a second "intifada": just what Sharon wanted. This hurt the peace process: just what Sharon wanted. This alienated Israelis from Barak: just what Sharon wanted. Arafat became very confrontational: just what Sharon wanted. This turned the majority of Israelis against the peace process: just what Sharon wanted. This gave Sharon victory in the elections. Sharon had planned this from the beginning and was counting on one factor: Arafat's stupidity. That is the only assumption Sharon made. It turned out to be 100% on target.
    Israelis voted Sharon for the simple reason that the Palestinians proved to be immature as a partner for peace. The Palestinians are not a nation yet. They are a bunch of stone-throwing kids. How do you expect Israelis to give them a state? The majority of Israelis now wants only a safe environment: keep the Palestinians in their concentration camps, where they are free to throw all the stones they want, and protect Israeli civilians from terrorists.
    Yesterday, Arafat was negotiating with Clinton and Barak, both determined to let Palestinians live in an independent state and even willing to compromise on Jerusalem. Now, Arafat faces Bush and Sharon, both willing to crash the Palestinian uprising no matter what and both determined not stand firm on Jerusalem. What a smart move this "intifada" was.
    Palestinians need a leadership who behaves like mature statesmen. If anybody throws a stone, no matter what the reason is, he gets arrested and goes to jail. This is what happens in all countries of the world, and especially in Arab countries. The Israeli leader has the mandate to negotiate the status of Jerusalem and the borders in general. Arafat has no mandate because he does not represent the majority of Palestinians.
    There are Palestinians who agree with Israelis. We don't know how many because there is a difference between Israel and Palestine: Israel elects its leaders, Palestinians are not allowed to elect their leader.
    Arafat's organization is notoriously corrupt. The foreign press devotes headlines to young Palestinians throwing stones at Israelis but maybe should also mention that the intifada's protagonists are as angry against Arafat's corruption as against Israeli occupation.
    (March 2001: Arafat closed the main Palestian TV station, Jazeera, because it showed footage of an Arab protesting against Arafat. Israeli television is full of footage of Israelis protesting against Israeli leaders).
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  • (October 2000) Palestinians never miss an opportunity... to miss an opportunity. Israel may be blamed for excessive use of force (although it's easy to blame Israel when you live in very safe Europe or America), but Palestinians are the culprit this time around, and it is not the first time that Palestinians manage to disrupt a peace process (as a middle-eastern joke has it, "Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity"). When Arafat got authority over the occupied territories, he got the opportunity to prove that he could install a civilized government that would rule over a civilized society. The recent riots prove the opposite. The Palestinian government, like any government in the world, should first of all guarantee civil order. What do police do when people riot in Europe or the US? They arrest them. Whether their reasons are good or bad. Riots are just not tolerated in civilized societies. Democratic people have another way of expressing their opinions: they vote. Palestinians have not learned that yet, and certainly Arafat has not learned it. Can you imagine if every time the Italian government makes a bad decision the Italians staged a "popular uprising"? What would other arab countries do if there were riots against their police? Palestinians know very well that any Arab police would not hesitate to shoot to kill. Leaders of the riots would be arrested, tortured and executed by the hundreds. Compared with the average Arab country, Israel is still a far less violent regime.
    The Palestinians also have to stop lying. It is not only the leadership that lies (of course they orchestrated the riots, and of course they didn't do anything to stop the "popular uprising", contrary to what they claimed) it is the average Palestinian in the street that has learned this attitude of lying about everything, no matter what. Palestinian television has shown only the Israeli tanks and soldiers. Why Palestinian tv has not shown the Palestinian soldiers shooting at Israeli, and why it has not shown a single image of the lynching of two Israeli soldiers? Israeli television has shown everything that the rest of the world has seen, but Palestinian television has shown only a tiny portion of what happened. Religious leaders in Israel are certainly dangerous (often as dangerous as terrorists), but they are opposed by a number of moderate Israeli who do not believe all they say. It seems that Palestinians only hear their religious leaders (as dangerous as the Israeli ones) and not a single word of what moderate Palestinians have to say. It is obvious that thousands if not millions of Palestinians are opposed to rioting, but in Palestine they cannot voice their opposition to the rioters. One of the most telling Palestinian lies during this riots was about the child that was accidentally killed by Israeli soldiers. The Palestinian version has it that the child was going about his business with his father when the Israeli started shooting at them. We later discovered that there is no playground, there is no school and there are no houses where the child was. That child had no place there. Who took him there and why? The truth is not easy to guess: his father took him there to show him how to fight the Israeli. That father knew very well that his child could get killed, but obviously did not care. The images show a child who is scared and begs his father to go back. The father's version (when interviewed at the hospital) was that the child begged him to stay and fight on against the Israeli soldiers. This father had no respect for the life of his child, and has no respect for his memory. This father simply killed his son. Has this father been punished, or at least despised, by the Palestinians for what he has done? On the contrary, he has become a hero.
    Israel should consider handing Palestinian territory over to Iraq. Let Palestinians become Iraqi citizens and experience what Arab leaders can do to their people.
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  • (July 2000) A solution for peace in Palestine: Destroy Jerusalem. By all accounts, the sticking point that keeps Israelis and Palestinians from reaching an agreement is the status of Jerusalem. For a thousand years, three religions have been fighting and killing millions of innocents in the name of Jerusalem. It doesn't take a genius to solve the problem: destroy Jerusalem. If possible, destroy it with a nuclear weapon to make sure that only the fanatics return to it. Anybody who believes in the crap written in the Bible and the Quran is welcome to stay and be destroyed with the city and go to heaven. Everybody else will have a chance to live in peace. Jerusalem is the strongest evidence yet that God does not exist (if he existed, he would have destroyed the city a long time ago). If he does exist, he will certainly send to hell all those who are willing to kill in the name of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, more than Hitler and anything else, is the symbol of everything that is evil in the human race. There is no excuse for letting this city exist.
  • (May 2000) Israel pulls out of Lebanon: when will Syria? No doubt the creation of Israel was one of the most stupid ideas ever concocted by the international community. The world decided to wipe off a few million Palestinians and give their land to the descendents of people who lived there two thousand years ago. By the same token a descendent of ancient inhabitants of France would be granted the right to kick out all of today's French people from what used to be his ancestors' homeland. Thousands of people died in popular uprising and full-fledged wars over that tiny strip of land. And an entire population was displaced. Some of those Palestinians were stranded in Lebanon and have lived in refugee camps for decades. Syria took advantage of their frustration and unleashed them against Israel. The Hezbollah guerrilla movement was born. Israel invaded southern Lebanon and established a zone of Israeli control. Forgotten for decades was the legitimate government of Lebanon, the only one to have no control over its southern territory. Now Israel has withdrawn. Syria is still there though, and nobody seems to defend Lebanon from that invasion. Also, nobody is talking for the Palestinian refugees anymore: Arafat is too busy negotiating a peace for his Palestine, Israel has erected a wall of barbed wire, Syria is happy to have a captive market for its terrorist plans. The Lebanese government is united in not wanting the Palestinians. The Lebanese massacred hundreds of them in 1982, the only time they had a chance. Today all polls show that neither Christians nor Shiite Muslims (the majority of the population) want to mix with the Palestinians, who are Sunni Muslims. This is a recipe for ethnic cleansing.
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  • (September 1998) The world would be a more peaceful place without Israel. There are no doubts that the world would be a more peaceful place without Israel. Arabs would be friends of Europeans and no crazy dictator could use Israel as an excuse for his demented policies.
    Far from being grateful that the West defied logic by granting it a right to exist, Netanyahu's Israel is behaving against Western interests. The West has therefore no more interest in the existence of Israel. Let us not forget that Israel is one of the main nuclear powers and some day those nuclear bombs may be used against the West. Israel should be forced to disarm and make peace. Israel is the number one creditor of the United States and should be made to pay back all the money that USA taxpayers contributed to the noble cause of building the Jewish homeland. That cause is not noble anymore.
    Israel is protecting confessed criminals and racists who insist in keeping their homes within Palestinian enclaves, only to exacerbate moods.
    Netanyahu keeps talking against terrorism, but he forgets that he himself is the product of terrorism: the terrorism that killed his rival Rabin. The single most serious terrorist action against the nation of Israel was carried out by an Israeli. And its direct product was the election of Netanyahu.
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  • My four cents on why Jews have been persecuted by Christians:
    1. Jews were friends of Muslims. As the Muslims conquered the world, they forced everybody to convert or die, except the Jews. There are no Nestorians, Donatists, Aryans, etc left, and very few Christians left, in Muslim countries, but Jews were allowed to remain where they were, and even prosper. In fact both the Ottomans and the Almohads write of some Jews being the richest citizens of their empires. Muslim capitals (Cordoba, Granada, Istanbul, Baghdad, Damascus, Isfahan, Alexandria) had large colonies of Jews. When the European powers regained the lands of Spain and of the Ottomans, they took revenge on the Jews.
    2. Jews have always been indifferent to European borders. For a Jew it doesn't make any difference whether the country is called France or Germany. A gentile is a gentile is a gentile. Jews were the first "citizens of the world". This greatly annoyed the Europeans when they were fighting all the time: Jews would never fight for the country where they lived. Jews were indifferent. (They paid a high price for this "indifference": it is not true that a gentile is a gentile is a gentile. Some gentiles burn Jews in ovens)
    3. Jews value knowledge. They study. They graduate. They start their own business. They become scientists, poets, musicians, painters. For thousands of years they have been the "smartest" people in the countries where they lived, and they still are (check the last names of scientists who won the Nobel Prize, check who invented Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, nuclear reactors, ...). This knowledge gave them advantages in the societies where they lived. Gentiles were very jealous (and still are) of Jewish achievements.
    4. Rome had changed the gospels. Instead of writing that the Romans killed Jesus, the Roman gospels write that Jews killed Jesus. If you read the gospels, the only discrimination you can possibly come up with is: against Jews. Jesus keeps saying "offer the other cheek", "everybody goes to heaven", "I save the whole of mankind", and, of course, he himself was a Jew. But in the gospels he is killed by Jews. So the Jews were called in several Christian countries "Jesus killers".
    It is historically not true that Jews have been persecuted by Arabs. In general, Arabs respected and protected Jews. After all, the Arabs had adopted the Jewish religion (the Jewish god and the Old Testament), the Arabs spoke a semitic language like the Jews, the Arabs were mostly descendants of the Jews who colonized Arabia. For 1,300 years Arabs knew that Jews were their genetic, religious and linguistic brothers. Europeans knew that too.
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  • How Israel was born and became a power
    1. In 1919 the Ottoman empire disintegrated and the winners decided which of its provinces would become independent. In 1922 the League of Nations ordered the establishment of a small Jewish state in Palestine, an old Ottoman province that was now administered by Britain. The Jewish state was supposed to comprise all the Jewish towns such as Tel Aviv. Britain refused to do it. The Jews started a liberation war against Britain, that killed hundreds of British soldiers.
    2. In 1948 Britain finally executed the mandate of 1922. The borders of 1948 were almost exactly the borders decided in 1922 (much much smaller than today). Israel recognized the right of the rest of Palestine (the Arabs) to create their own state. The Arab countries attacked Israel on the day of its independence. Israel, armed with weapons it had purchased from the communist countries of Eastern Europe, surprisingly won the war (see later) and enlarged its territory, causing the exodus of 620,000 Arabs from Palestine (180,000 remained and their grandchildren are still Arab citizens of Israel). (Today the Arabs want a Palestinian state that will be a lot smaller than the original one, the one that Israel had accepted in 1948).
    3. It is not true that the Arabs attacked Israel because they wanted a Palestinian state. Ironically, I think that Israel was the only country that wanted a Palestinian state (an ideal buffer against enemies). The Palestinians did not exist as a political force until 1964. In my opinion, in 1948 Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon wanted to split Palestine among themselves. That is also the reason why they lost that first war: the Israelis were poorly armed and numerically inferior, but the Arabs did not trust each other. The Arab kings did not coordinate their attacks, and Israel managed to fight (and win) five individual wars against each of the attackers. It was brains against muscles, and brains won. Israel itself was surprised. For four months (june to october) nothing happened. Then Israel decided to counter-attack and in the last two months devastated the Egyptian army. As Bernard Lewis wrote, "it was a victory a desperation against over-confidence".
    4. The second war (1956) was a French war. France wanted to force Egypt to open the Suez Canal. France managed to get Britain and Israel to join the war.
    5. The third war was the first one in which the Arab dictators appealed to the Arab masses, which had largely been indifferent to Israel (previous Arab dictators were mostly kings, now most Arab dictators were the winners of more or less popular revolutions). It is a monument to human stupidity what Nasser did: he isolated Israel, forced the United Nations troops to leave the buffer zone, ammassed troops against the border, created an air force that was twice that of Israel... and forgot to protect the borders of Egypt. He never contemplated that Israel might attack first. That's precisely what Israel did. Israel went around the stronger Egyptian army (over Jordan) and the stronger Egyptian air force (over the sea). In eight hours the mighty Egyptian air force was destroyed. In two days the small Israeli army had defeated the large Egyptians and was marching towards Egypt. On the sixth day of the war, Egypt "surrendered" and the Israeli prime minister had to stop the generals who had already crossed the Suez Canal.
    6. Until this point, the USA had largely ignored the Middle East because 1. the USA was the main oil producer of the world (unlike France and Britain that were already depending on imports); 2. the USA was busy with Vietnam (which France had gracefully started and dumped on the Americans); 3. the USA's closest ally in the Middle East was the shah of Iran, who was paranoid about Israel (the USA started Iran's nuclear program, whereas the Israeli one was started by France).
    7. In the 1970s the USA turned to the Middle East because: 1. it began running out of its own oil; 2. the Arabs had decided to ally with the Soviet Union. The USA realized that Israel was a valuable and faithful ally, and helped it become the superpower that it is now.
    8. In my opinion, the Arab dictators made all the mistakes they could possibly make. (When asked how a general wins a war, Moshe Dayan replied "first of all, you pick the Arabs as your enemy...").
    9. In 1967 the Palestinians were largely indifferent to the Israeli invasion. They didn't fire a single shot. Israel invaded the entire West Bank in a few hours. Arafat's great invention was to turn the Palestinians into a nation. In part, his decision was prompted by the ineptitude of the Arab leaders, who were obviously going to lose all wars against Israel.
    10. An often neglected "detail" is how the population has changed. In 1967 there were 2.7 million Jews and 1.3 million Palestinians in the "occupied territories". In 1999, the Jewish population had increased to 5 million (doubled), mainly because of immigration, but the Palestinian population had increased to 4.1 million (tripled), of which one million lived in Israel. (Israel is the only multi-ethnic country in the Middle East).
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