This article just appeared in Today’s Zaman and in Zaman which is Turkey’s preeminent journal. As you can see this has been part of my ongoing efforts to introduce and encourage far more intermediaries in the Middle Eastern conflict who can be effective, trustworthy and more even handed that Western intervention. This is meant also to encourage the United States, Hilary Clinton, and others to follow the lead of where the most moderate voices of the Islamic world are going. This is also a development of my work in Syria which has encouraged cultural revival that is peace-oriented, practical and visionary at once.
Turkey’s return to glory
For reasons of history, culture and geography, there is a surprising opportunity for Turkey to assume a position of central global leadership in the 21st century and thereby further all of its legitimate national interests.
This is shocking considering the
Gershon Baskin’s provocative title is absolutely right, it does not appear to matter anymore which coalition will rule Israel next. The fact is that Olmert had a bigger mandate than Livni or Netanyahu to pursue the peace process, freeze the settlements, and uphold all the commitments Israel made in Annapolis. And he failed at all of them, and instead unleashed a horrifying set of wars in Lebanon and Gaza that have left Palestinians utterly shell shocked. So why not add fuel to the fire with a Lieberman-inclusive government that traumatizes the rest of the Palestinian people who have resided in Israel since 1948, who never left the land, and who have been isolated by everyone ever since, despite their absolutely peaceful resistance to injustice? Despite the fact that by a vast majority of 75% the Arabs of Israel would support a democratic constitution for Israel that also kept it a …
Hello readers, welcome to my first videoblog. Please excuse the moon-like effect. I appear to be on the other side of the galaxy because I used a webcam. My lips catch up with the sound usually in few minutes. Pretend this is a podcast and give me your feedback!…
A report by Dr. Katrien Hertog:
Imams and Rabbis from the USA, Europe and the Middle East, joined by Christians and other religious experts, came together for the third time to move forward on the road to peace in the Middle East. The Congress, under the patronage of UNESCO in Paris, reflected some of the common opportunities and challenges related to religions’ engagement for peacebuilding but also clearly highlighted the distinct added value of a spiritual approach to peacebuilding.
To start with, there were some clearly differing views on the role of religious leaders in peacebuilding, a question which relates to the interrelationship between religion, mysticism and politics. Some clerics were clearly afraid of too much politics. As one rabbi expressed it: “We didn’t come to talk about politics, but about peace.” Others were emphasizing that religious leaders should be concerned with changing the reality on the ground. It was …
Israeli aircraft dropped over 100 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday as part of operation “Cast Lead” launched in response to the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, but Gaza’s inhabitants worry that the worst is yet to come.
The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.
Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.
“My son is gone, my son is gone,”
Reporting from Jerusalem this month:
An astonishing statement from Benjamin Netanyahu. Not only does he have a plan to topple Hamas in Gaza through assassinations (as if that was not already tried and aborted by warriors more talented and experienced than he), but he also plans to proceed with diplomacy in his region by making clear to President Assad that the Golan will stay in Jewish hands:
“It should be clear to the Syrians and to the world, the Golan Heights will stay in our hands,” Netanyahu said.
This is a fascinating position. Either Mr. Netanyahu is delusional in terms of his understanding of Syria and the political realities of the moment, or he holds the Israeli right-wing voting public in contempt. My hunch is the latter, and I felt the same way about McCain’s contempt for his right wing in the United States. Everyone knew that ‘time was up’ …
A new report from the Saban Center emphasizes the critical opportunities and dangers right now in the Middle East. It recommends that President Obama acts now to open a channel without preconditions to Iran, as well as to Syria, engaging the Palestinian/Israeli peace track at the same time. It is vital that one track not be done without the other in order for there to be no spoilers. The prospects for peace should these tracks proceed is high, the prospects for war should they fail or languish is high in my opinion. Now is the time to send the signals. This is a broader reach than Miller’s position referred to below and emanates out of a broad realist consensus. I am persuaded that we have at this moment in history an interesting confluence at work of realist positions concerning the national interest and the work of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.…
Sami Moubayed, one of the most important Syrian commentators, is proposing a last chance for the White House to come to the table of Syrian/Israeli peacemaking. Sami writes:
Everybody is worried about progress on the indirect Syrian-Israeli talks, currently underway in Turkey. According to Syria commentator, Joshua Landis, they have either reached a breakthrough, or a dead end.
Contrary to what some media sources are saying, however, the talks are going well. Already 85 per cent of critical issues had been solved since the 1990s. The talks are going too well in fact and there is worry on both sides that an agreement can be reached within what remains of 2008.
The radical contrast between Washington’s attitude, and that of Iran, is striking. The Americans still refuse to endorse these talks, writing them off as a hoax by the Syrians to end the US-imposed isolation that started in 2003.