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I’ve been writing a lot and asking often about why the Arab countries do so little to assist the residents in Gaza and the West Bank. Not just now.  Not just 60 years ago.  But over centuries.  So far, not one answer.  Usually I read things like, “there have always been occupiers.”  Well, okay.  Only in the last couple of days has the pressure on Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia been amped slightly in its rhetoric, but Mubarek is holding firm – he absolutely does not want to see Hamas strengthened.

Well, if he’s looking for affirmation, he should definitely read this op-ed in the Abu Dhabi paper, The National.  Read the entire thing, but here are excerpts:

On its control and brutality:

Many thought that Gaza and the West Bank were inseparable entities until Hamas’s bloody takeover of the Strip in the summer of 2007 damaged that notion. Their 18-month rule is marred by lawlessness, extra-judicial public killings and gang warfare that is more reminiscent of Somalia than a civilised state.

Time magazine reported on the violence that followed the takeover then: “Gangs have tossed enemies alive off 15-storey buildings, shot one another’s children and burst into hospitals to finish off wounded foes lying helplessly in bed.” 

Last week, Taghreed El-Khodary of the New York Times reported that Hamas militants in civilian clothing again resorted to killing wounded former inmates of Gaza’s central jail who were accused of collaboration with the enemy. These unproved “collaborators” were executed in public even though Palestinian Human Rights groups repeatedly claim that “most of these people are completely innocent”. Hamas seems to be either unable or unwilling to stop such extrajudicial executions.

Additionally, on the first anniversary of Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip, the Christian Science Monitor found a lack of medicines in hospitals as well as of clean drinking water in the territory, and raw sewage streaming into the sea. And this isn’t because Hamas’s dignity prevents it from meeting the enemy.

On its relations w/Israel:

Hamas’s vast propaganda machine around the Arab world mysteriously fails to report on the meetings between its members and Israeli government representatives. For example, after a 90-minute meeting with an official from the Israeli state electricity company in order to sort out the town’s electricity needs, the Hamas-affiliated mayor of Qalqilya told the BBC about the meeting: “It was civil, without any problem between him and I.”

Where do you think Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in the Strip, gets his electricity from?


By any standards Hamas has failed miserably. It has failed in peace, failed in governance, and moreover failed in war. In addition to Hamas’s ambiguous political agenda, their goal seems to be resistance for the sake of resistance, a quagmire where the journey really is the destination. It is time for Khaled Mashaal to step down and allow more competent leaders to emerge before he causes even more damage to his cause. The question is if Hamas leaves, what is the alternative?

In fact, probably the only good thing that can be said about Hamas is that they are not Fatah.

A ringing endorsement, indeed.

The author of the piece:

Sultan Al Qassemi is a Sharjah-based businessman and graduate of the American University of Paris. He is the founder of Barjeel Securities in Dubai.

And he keeps a blog.

And in the comments, he and another commenter mention a desire for the Gulf Cooperation Council to intervene.  Why is this the first time I’ve even heard mention of the GCC in relation to this conflict? 

Here’s an article from today about how the Arab states are not of one voice, and it mentions the GCC.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:29 pm January 6th, 2009 in Blogging, Gaza, Israel | 1 Comment 

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I wrote about it a week or so ago.  Here’s Fareed in Newsweek:

Huntington is most famous for “The Clash of Civilizations,” but his
scholarly reputation properly rests on his earlier work. His analysis of
political order had immediate, real-world applications. While studying the
topic, he was asked by the Johnson administration to assess the progress of
the Vietnam War. After a tour of that country, he argued, in 1967 and 1968,
that America’s strategy in South Vietnam was fatally flawed. The United
States was trying to buy the support of the population through aid and
development. But money wasn’t the key, in Huntington’s view. The South
Vietnamese who resisted the Viet Cong’s efforts did so because they were
secure within effective communities structured around religious or ethnic
ties. The United States, though, wanted to create a modern Vietnamese
nation, and it refused to reinforce these “backward” sources of authority.
Sadly, this 40-year-old analysis describes our dilemma in Afghanistan

Huntington noticed a troubling trend. Sometimes, American-style
progress — more political participation or faster economic growth –
actually created more problems than it solved. If a country had more people
who were economically, politically and socially active yet lacked effective
political institutions, such as political parties, civic organizations or
credible courts, the result was greater instability.
Think of Pakistan,
whose population has skyrocketed from 68 million in 1975 to more than 165
million today, while its government has proved ill-equipped to tackle the
basic tasks of education, security and social welfare.

My emphasis, but Zakaria’s words about Huntington’s ideas.  Really wise ideas.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:12 pm January 6th, 2009 in Foreign Affairs, Military, Politics | Comments Off 

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From WCPN (90.3FM)

Gaza, as seen from Northeast Ohio

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Topics: Politics, Other

2009 has begun with a steady increase in violence in the Middle East. Israel responded to recent Hamas rocket attacks on civilian targets with an air campaign, ground troops, and, most recently, a strike near a school in Jabaliya that claimed the lives of more than 40 people. While many world leaders are stepping up pressure for a renewal of the cease fire, we’ll hear the local response–your response–to the violence in Gaza. Join the conversation Wednesday morning at 9.


Chris Hedges author and journalist [NYT reporter]
Nour Chammas Executive Director, AACESS-Ohio [The Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services]
Rabbi Steve Weiss B’nai Jeshurun

Additional Information

See a timeline of Israel-Hamas relations

Looking forward to it.  You can listen live or later here.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:52 pm January 6th, 2009 in Cleveland+, Foreign Affairs, Gaza, Israel, Jewish, leadership, middle east, Ohio, Politics, WCPN/SOI | 1 Comment 

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For winning? Anything? Something? Yah, okay.  Here’s the pitch:

Right Man at the Right Time

What the future holds for the Republican Party will be largely decided by the selection of the next Republican National Committee chairman. As you may have noticed, the list of potential suitors includes a familiar face to the FRC family, our own Ken Blackwell. After weighing the decision of whether or not to throw his hat in the ring, Ken ultimately decided that the opportunity to advance a pro-family agenda in the GOP was compelling. Although I have historically declined to endorse candidates in party elections, this is a tremendous opportunity for a proven public servant to re-interject traditional values into a party that has lost its way. For that reason, I support and encourage others to support Ken Blackwell for chairman of the RNC. His record of service to our nation and his commitment to core conservative issues make him the clear choice in this race.

At a debate yesterday hosted by Americans for Tax Reform, Ken called for a renewal of the Republican Party. He understands that any successful movement must embody a strong grassroots effort that empowers state and local communities. The RNC will make a very critical decision when it meets at the end of January to select the party’s new chairman. If they choose a moderate, it could mean a continued drift from core conservative principles. On the other hand, the selection of Ken Blackwell would assure conservatives that they finally have a true advocate in a party that has increasingly attempted to marginalize them.

The Blackwell Plan

Sooookay…you go with that.  But for your sake, do be sure to check that he permanently got rid of those shares in casino industry corporations and pharmas that make the birth control/morning after pill and companies that make election equipment whom he wanted Ohio boards of election to buy from, will ya?

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:38 pm January 6th, 2009 in Ohio, Politics, Republicans | 1 Comment 

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The party that shoulders the lesser risk should be the one accommodating the other(s).  What risk does MMPI face and how does it compare to the risk Cuyahoga County and its taxpayers take with the Medical Mart dream?

When I read this article about how MMPI will take its time, all I could think of was, well, wait a second – your taking time is my county taking my taxes before it is time – for anything.

Is this really the way we get things done? That things get done?  It doesn’t sound very negotiation-like to me at all, especially the selection site committee versus MMPI doing its own selection committee work.

What does any of this foreshadow if and when the deal goes through?  I’m not in favor of the deal falling apart, but I am concerned about the distribution and leveraging (or lack of leveraging) bargaining power between the parties – and I suspect that that’s what bugs Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson too – as well it should.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:10 am January 6th, 2009 in Business, Cleveland+, Economy, Government, leadership, med mart, Ohio, Politics, Taxes | Comments Off 

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Just a weird way to start the morning:

First, I saw that I was linked to from Shut Up, Sit Down, a great radical feminist site (a worthwhile blog and post – thank you again for the link) writing in that post about Gaza and Israel

Then, I was linked to from this Buffy the Vampire Slayer forum which is also having a discussion about Gaza and Israel.

Then, I was handed the New York Times print edition and was slapped first by the fact that John Boehner’s skin tone is the same as  Barack Obama – maybe, maybe a little more orange.  This is going to be a very interesting day.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:15 am January 6th, 2009 in Barack Obama, Gaza, Government, Israel, leadership, Politics | 4 Comments