Sunday, May 15, 2011

I obviously have more important things to do with with my time, BUT

So, Nakba Day, that happened. Round-up of news, yadda yadda yadda.

Andrew Sullivan says this:
The logic of the Arab Spring - self-determination and democracy as a fundamental right - cannot but involve Israel's occupation and continued settlement of the West Bank at some point. Israel is, after all, no longer the only democracy in the Middle East. It is just the only democracy forcibly occupying a foreign land and refusing to give the occupants full civil or political rights.
It gets frustrating and tiring to read things like this and to hear Andrew and others preaching over and over that if Israel just gave over the West Bank in its entirety, then everything would be fine. Does he honestly believe that if the two-state solution were already implemented, things like this would end?

Jeffrey Goldberg is pretty annoyed that Ethan Bronner (see the third "yadda" above) is "accepting the Hamas/Assad/Iran line" and ignoring the bottom line. Andrew Exum rocks it:
This will shock all some none of you, but Arab regimes have often cynically used the Palestinian cause to shift the focus away from their own failures and abuses. The clashes today are the best of news for Bashar al-Asad, and only the Lord knows how many brave Syrians will now be gunned down or thrown into prison in Homs, Douma, Hama, Baniyas, etc. while everyone's eyes are on the Lebanese, Syrian and Gazan borders with Israel. Just yesterday, we were all talking about terrified Syrians fleeing into northern Lebanon. Now Syria and its allies have either engineered or have been presented with the mother of all distractions from their own wretched and criminal behavior.
I think he's missing where Bronner does actually get to that (again, third "yadda"), but it's about halfway down in the article, and it's pretty short:
The chief Israeli military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said on Israel Radio that he saw Iran’s fingerprints in the coordinated confrontations, although he offered no evidence. Syria has a close alliance with Iran, as does Hezbollah, which controls southern Lebanon, and Hamas, which rules in Gaza.

Yoni Ben-Menachem, Israel Radio’s chief Arab affairs analyst, said it seemed likely that President Assad of Syria was seeking to divert attention from his crackdown on the popular uprisings there by allowing confrontations in the Golan Heights for the first time in decades.

“This way Syria makes its contribution to the Nakba Day cause, and Assad wins points by deflecting the media’s attention from what is happening inside Syria,” he added.
But much more importantly, I think, Sullivan and Goldberg both miss one crucial tidbit from the Ynet article covering the Syrian break (second "yadda"), that some Syrian infiltrators were actually attempted to get out of Syria and stay in Israel!:
"I'm tired of living in Syria, we'd rather die than see more bloodshed," one of the Syrian infiltrators into Majdal Shams told Ynet earlier. He called on Israel to grant him asylum, adding: "We've crossed the border in order to stay with our families, away from all the killing in Syria. We ask the powers at be in Israel to help us stay and not send us back."

Other infiltrators told Ynet that "we come in peace," adding that they had decided to cross the border in the aims of living in the Golan Heights – "even if it means risking our lives." Still, others declared "we are here to liberate the Syrian Palestinian land. These people are Palestinian freeman, Allah willing, the Palestinian groups will not give up."

Some of those expressing a wish to remain on the Israeli side of the border, said the uprising against Syrian President Assad is proving more and more dangerous and that many Palestinians now fear for their lives.
Add this news to the recent polling that, if given a choice between a newly-created Palestinian state and Israel, many Arab Israeli residents of East Jerusalem would choose to live in Israel (35% choose Israel, 30% choose a Palestinian state, and 35% are unsure), and a pretty important picture emerges.

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