January 2009 Archives

Panelist View  |  January 7, 2009 5:39 PM

Israel's Gaza Gamble

By Mahmoud Sabit

Note: The author has responded to commenters in the thread below.

This has been a particularly brutal two weeks in the tragic saga of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. It's not very clear as to what precisely all this death and destruction is supposed to accomplish from an Israeli perspective. The utter defeat of Hamas? There's no consensus that this can accomplished by military means; Hamas is an ideological organization with strong support in Gaza, and their structure is woven into the very fabric of the refugee camps. To cow the civilian population of Gaza into withdrawing their support of Hamas? This is not very likely, especially after the sheer quantity of explosives showered on Gaza like confetti, and their resultant toll on the civilian population. Civilians tend to harden their determination when subjected to a constant diet of explosives, as the Germans learned during the London Blitz in WWII. As an election 'gimmick' to show how 'tough' Israel's leaders can be? Perhaps Israel's leaders have lost all sense of moral and ethical proportion if they believe that bombing an oppressed civilian population and its choice of leadership into a state of total submission following two years of virtual siege is a measure of toughness or lack of 'squeamishness.' To present President-elect Barack Obama with a fait accompli when he is sworn in later this month? A crisis that will force the new administration's hand upon taking office? It would not be the first time an Israeli government has attempted to impose its narrow agenda on an incoming U.S. administration.

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Panelist View  |  January 23, 2009 10:28 AM

Bring Back America's Principles

By Mahmoud Sabit

President Barack Obama will face many challenges in the area of foreign policy, but in general terms his biggest mistake would be "business as usual" -- continuing the policy of dominance versus balance, the policy of partisan favoritism on issues that should be judged instead on their respective merits, as in the case of the Middle East, to name just one. A continuation of a policy of unilateralism versus multilateralism, including but not limited to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Ignoring and supporting injustice because of the inconvenience of doing otherwise, as in the case of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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