« Is There Nothing This Administration Does Competently? | Main | Vital Freedom Lost In Uzbekistan »

January 26, 2006

Comments

"one very basic point in all this is that it seems that the Palestinians had only two choices: Fatah or Hamas."

It's a really good point, save for the fact that, you know, it isn't at all true. So maybe it's not a good point. Maybe it's what we call a "bad point."

Here were the party choices, and then within the parties, you had different flavors, such as "young guard Fatah" and "old guard Fatah" and "militant Hamas" and "moderate Hamas":

Hamas list: 30 seats
Fatah list: 27 seats
PFLP list: 3 seats
Badeel list: 2 seats
Independent Palestine list:2
Third Way list: 2 seats

"...you're going to have to accept that people might just think you're being a bit disingenuous."

I'm glad to see that you've been appointed a spokesperson for more than yourself. I'd like to thank all of cleek's multiple personalities for their thoughts. (I'm sure many lurkers support you in e-mail, as well.)

"my. god. what an insufferable ass."

I deeply regret your suffering. But not so much.

Since clearly, in your universe, "I'm perfectly willing to believe you meant no such thing" means "I admit I was completely in error in believing you meant what you wrote, and clearly the fault for your bad writing lies with my reading," rather than "I'm entirely willing to charitably and politely move on, and believe your disclaimer that you didn't mean what you actually said," I shall try to remember in future to remember that charity and politeness are met by you with such a charitable and polite response as above, and to respond accordingly. Noted.

How grand it is to live in a universe where one can write the uncomplicated sentence: "I'm perfectly willing to believe you meant no such thing."

And have it surrounded by invisible auras -- or something -- that apparently -- somehow -- indicate that I don't, in fact, mean what I plainly and flatly said.

This is completely unrelated to the topic in question but I'd like to point out that a) I've said equivalent things in my time and, what is more, b) been right on many occasions. [Been wrong a whole lot, too.] Fact is, it's incredibly easy to make firm declarations of principle or desire that simply aren't held, even without a presumption of deceit or foul play, and people IME tend to do so fairly frequently.* One does have to be careful in calling people on their error, naturally, but it's neither as rare nor as hard as you seem to think.

What, if any, relevance this has to the present topic I leave to you, since I stopped reading this thread several dozen posts back; I just thought it was worth pointing out that the simple existence of such a declaration doesn't automatically validate it.

* Simple brainlessness or naivete are most often the culprits, and I speak here from experience.

I shall try to remember in future to remember that charity and politeness are met by you with such a charitable and polite response as above, and to respond accordingly.

if you don't want to insulted, i might help if you don't insult others. and, don't forget: no matter how flowery and clever you make an insult, it's still an insult.

charity begins at home.

Back on substance, in case anyone thought I was making sh--, stuff up about Palestinian's declining support for, and walking away from, "embracing" terrorism, some polling data.

"I'm glad to see that you've been appointed a spokesperson for more than yourself."

From what I read I would have to lend my support to his analysis and only add that he left out the part about you coming off as a real ass.

But of course you've probably heard that before and are numb to it.

Gary- I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I was lurking and tend to support cleek in this, sorry.

Actually, the election results sound like a good result. First, unless Hamas renounces terrorism and a dedication to the destruction of Israel, neither Europe, the US nor Israel (of course) will give the PA *any* money; even the Europeans won't actively fund a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel's completely destructoin. Yet, the PA runs nearly completely off of these externally provided funds.

So Hamas is really screwed. Either they are responsible for cutting off nearly all funds to the Palestinian controlled areas, which will cost them a great deal in popular support, or they have to moderate their policies.

Or Iran has to fund all of Palestinian government expenses. But it isn't clear that they *can* provide that level of funding, or want to, or will be allowed to by Israel.

"Is the Hamas election another example of how our war in Iraq has spread a wave of democratization across the Middle East?"

Democratization yes, dm. Freedom no, since the PA was not free to begin with, and it is the second most corrupt "nation" in the Middle East. Since Hamas desires an Islamic state, I'm doubtful they will grant more political rights and civil liberties to their citizenry.

Several other thoughts. With Hamas where it is now, Sharon looks prescient in deciding to build a security fence and get out of Gaza, both of which were efforts to lessen Israeli exposure to potential terrorists. I foresee more securitization by Israel now that a terrorist group is in power. The practical effect of this election is that Palestinians may also be wanting to lessen their exposure to Israelis. It may just happen as long as terrorist attacks do not increase.

As I see it, fears of U.S. intervention are unfounded. The election was monitored by international elections observers and were found to reflect the will of the people. The people spoke, and once again the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

If Hamas doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist AND if Hamas doesn't renounce terrorism AND if terrorist attacks by Hamas members do not abate, the U.S. cannot involve itself in its historical role as honest broker. Our longstanding policy is that we do not negotiate with terrorists, and there is no reason to change that policy now. We should stop aid to the PA and possibly freeze assets. Hamas did quite a bit of damage with a $70 million budget, and now they will be handling billions.

The election result is decidedly not good, but it didn't look like Palestinians had many good choices either. Hard to blame them given the lousy system they're stuck with.

You say "terrorism," they say "armed struggle," let's call the whole thing off.

It depends on which path Hamas and Palestine wind up following: the one they've followed thus far, or the one the IRA/Sinn Fein wound up on.

The path Palestine has take so far is: Political Group A renounces terrorism, even throws out its more vocal supporters-of-terrorism. Then, when the ousted members form their own splinter group, Group A publically expresses dismay but privately works with the splinter group. In other words, the change is cosmetic only.

The IRA/Sinn Fein model is more complicated, more interesting, and ultimately more hopeful. Sinn Fein may have been meant to act as a political fig leaf for the IRA, but a funny thing happened at some point: the members of Sinn Fein got serious about dealing with issues politically, rather than by blowing things up.

I think there were a number of reasons Sinn Fein became a political party for-real, rather than just a fig leaf.

One reason is the reification factor, aka "Seem as you wish to be," aka "Burying yourself in the role." Talk and act as though you're genuinely interested in a political solution long enough, and eventually you internalize that and actually are genuinely interested in a political solution.

Another reason is related to the reification factor: present your part as a genuine political party, and you'll attract people who want to be part of it, and some of them will be really good at it. Eventually, your political party is comprised of people who are seriously, genuinely interested in a political solution; who have the dedication and talent to make it happen.

A third, and vital, reason is: your political party succeeds in pushing its agenda, wins meaningful concessions from the other side, and thereby encourages the population your party represents to continue supporting a political solution - and, as a correllary, stop supporting terrorism. In other words, the other side has to be honest about wanting to find an alternative to terrorism, has to be honest about redressing real grievances, has to be willing to give your political party some victories.

The Palestinians have supported terrorism for lo these many years. They've consistently supported fig leaf parties, winking and nodding at collaboration with terrorist splinter groups. They've consistently thrown in with whoever utters the most rejectionist rhetoric, whoever caters to the fantasy of an Israel-less Middle East, and whoever can claim credit for blowing up the most Israelis.

What do they have to show for this, after 30-odd years? Very little; and nothing at all like what they could have had, if they'd told Arafat back in 2000 to piss up a rope and accept Barak's offer; if they'd refused Arafat's call for another intifadah. Whether Barak could deliver, whether the offered territories were contiguous - reasons, or excuses, given for Arafat's decision - were bluffs they should have called. They would have had an independent state, for pity's sake; a far better base from which to negotiate.

Sooner or later it has got to occur to enough Palestinians that terrorism in general, and the "fig-leaf party covering up for terrorism" model in particular hasn't delivered. Time to try something else - like, maybe, really and truly renouncing terrorism, no more winks and nods.

And Hamas might be a good place to start. It might be a good place to start because Hamas is not as corrupt as Fatah, does have a proven track record in providing the things a government is supposed to provide - and, now that it's in the tent, might be able to follow the Sinn Fein model of reifying itself into a real political party working towards a real political solution. Its leadership could shift to people who are serious about change, and it could attract more people who are serious about change.

That's a lot of coulds and maybes. But it's the best road out of where they are.

Actually, the election results sound like a good result. First, unless Hamas renounces terrorism and a dedication to the destruction of Israel, neither Europe, the US nor Israel (of course) will give the PA *any* money; even the Europeans won't actively fund a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel's completely destructoin. Yet, the PA runs nearly completely off of these externally provided funds.

This is actually an open question. There are plently of rumblings in all directions coming from different European countries in the immediate aftermath of the election. Some are making threats to call off aid, but it is yet to be seen if they will follow through. Cutting off the funding means Palestinians starving. Will the EU put up with that just because Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel? History seems to say no. I would be unsurprised if in a few weeks most of the European countries decide to treat the 'political arm' of Hamas like they do the 'political arm' of Hezbollah.

"Freedom no, since the PA was not free to begin with, and it is the second most corrupt 'nation' in the Middle East. Since Hamas desires an Islamic state, I'm doubtful they will grant more political rights and civil liberties to their citizenry."

It's certainly true that the Palestinian territories have had a variety of gangs of thugs wandering about, many of whom had one degree or another of affiliation with Fatah or the PA, but I'm pretty unclear by what standard you're saying that "the PA was not free."

It's never been anything remotely resembling a totalitarian organization, and I wouldn't accuse Hamas, for all its various faults, of that, either. Various degrees of intimidation have been imposed by both organizations upon Palestinian "citizens" at times, but never really in any sort of systematic way.

What exactly do you mean by this? And what sort of "more political rights" do you, specifically, have in mind?

Patrick Belton, incidentally, has been wandering around the Palestinian territories for a couple of weeks; don't know if you've noticed. You might find his interview with the Christian mayor of Ramallah of interest, and what she thinks of Hamas, and also his interview with Kadura Fares, one of Marwan Barghouthi's aides.

I kinda also wonder where you get most of your info/perspective on Israel/Palestine from, and how long and heavily you've been paying attention, if you don't mind my asking.

"The practical effect of this election is that Palestinians may also be wanting to lessen their exposure to Israelis."

I forgot to mention that the statement boggled me. Gee, ya think?

Whatever gave you that idea?

Or, more seriously, what on earth makes you think the election has any significant effect on this, and what on earth were you thinking to suggest that this hasn't been the case since, oh, about 1920 and the Hebron riots?

"...AND if terrorist attacks by Hamas members do not abate"

Possibly you've not noticed that there hasn't been a single Hamas suicide attack since early in 2005, when they agreed to a truce, and they have strictly kept to it despite continued Israeli arrests and some killings of Hamas members. They're quite disciplined, generally speaking, particularly compared to Fatah.

So, what are you talking about, Charles?

CaseyL: "...They've consistently thrown in with whoever utters the most rejectionist rhetoric,"

This simply is nonsense. Abbas has had more Palestinian support than not, and he most certainly is the opposite of the above description. And the overwhelming majority have supported the Oslo Accords, have supported negotiations with Israel, have supported (reluctantly) a two-state solution, and supported the goal of getting to peace. I already supplied a polling data link above. I can throw whole bunches more if necessary, but it shouldn't be.

This is not 1977 or 1980, any more.

Sebastian,

Cutting off the funding means Palestinians starving. Will the EU put up with that...

If the Arabs stated will put up with that, then why shouldn't EU? This is what I don't get. With all these pretenses at Muslim solidarity, why should western aid even matter?

stated=states

Um, I don't want to get into the entire I/P debate since I agree with most of what people are saying in this thread about the situation right now. On the most crucial point, clearly Israel can't negotiate peace with a group that doesn't recognize them. The best one could get would be a continuation of the truce. Hopefully the majority of the Palestinians who voted for Hamas understand this--there's some reason to think that they probably do. If we're lucky, Fatah will reform itself and ultimately Hamas will be replaced by a group that is both relatively free of corruption and willing to reach peace. Distribution of ponies can follow immediately thereafter.

Jimmy Carter suggested the other day that in order to keep the Palestinians from starving, aid could be funneled to them through other channels besides the PA. I don't know how that would work. Given how corrupt Fatah was it sounds like an idea people should have implemented before.

But it is a little irksome to see the usual cliches concerning Palestinians who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, or the one about rejecting that oh-so-generous offer of Barak's at Camp David (Charles Enderlin spoke to all the parties at the time and wrote a book "Shattered Dreams" which doesn't quite fit in with the self-serving narratives put out by Clinton and Barak supporters in the US). As for Palestinian rejectionism, one normally doesn't expect people to enthusiastically endorse the results of their own ethnic cleansing, accompanied as it was by two dozen known massacres, of which Deir Yassin (120 deaths) was not the largest. (See http://www.deiryassin.org/bennymorris.html ) They ought to be pragmatic about what they can get and use the right of return as a massive bargaining chip, and they should stop murdering civilians, while similarly expecting Israel to stop committing war crimes. But I don't expect them to be the kind of self-hating idiots they'd have to be to accept the framing of the issue that seems to be preferred in the US.

NPR had a series of interviews with Palestinians about their votes and how they chose. Tnose interviewed, which included, I believe, two Christians, voted for Hamas because they werre opposed to the corruption of Fatah. The two Christians were not worried that Hammas would impose conservative Islamic mores on them. They were worried that the rest of the world would cut off aids and that the subsequent suffering would give rise to extremism. They thought that, if aid continued, Hamas would moderate. Obviously the interviews were just individual opinions, not polls, but it was interesting to me that Christians who, according to Western conventional wisdom, ought to be appalled by an Islamist party, actually voted for the party.

Gary's response was more to the immediate point than mine was. If I restart a full-fledged debate about Who Is More Responsible for the overall conflict I have only myself to blame. Not that I'm retracting anything I said, but maybe the last paragraph belongs in some other thread.

lily,

Obviously the interviews were just individual opinions, not polls, but it was interesting to me that Christians who, according to Western conventional wisdom, ought to be appalled by an Islamist party, actually voted for the party.

Ofcourse, you'll find the huge decline of Christian population in the west bank since Arafat took over from Israel in 1993, even more interesting.

Our longstanding policy is that we do not negotiate with terrorists, and there is no reason to change that policy now.

When have we ever kept that policy?

Hi Stan,long time no see. Did you follow Gary's link to the mayor of Ramullah? Please do.

lily,

Yes. I read it earlier this morning. Hence I offered you to contrast and compare opinions of two vs. those of tens thousands. People vote with their feet.

As for the election overall. I'ld imagine it would be tough to call an election "democratic" if it takes place in a land of no free speech, don't ya think?

"Ofcourse, you'll find the huge decline of Christian population in the west bank since Arafat took over from Israel in 1993, even more interesting."

I would. I assume you can provide a cite with details?

Lily: "Did you follow Gary's link to the mayor of Ramullah? Please do."

Of course, one should also keep in mind that it's entirely possible that Janet Mikhail is being naive and is wrong in her appraisal. After all, no one is a seer.

But I'm not inclined to think Charles has a better grasp of the situation on the ground that she does, or frankly, than I do.

Hamas, of course, is made up of individuals, who have a range of views. A certain portion of the core, and not a small portion are religious fundamentalists, or at least firmly Islamic, and are apt to never fundamentally acknowledge Israel's right to exist, or recognize Israel as legitimate; that's a part of their Charter (which I did a rather longer-than-Katherine quoting from and mockery of, along with a bunch of other relevant stuff here) that is actually, from their point of view, quite understandable, and perfectly explainable as at least not-crazy, like all the Rotary/Lions club nonsense, and all the anti-Semitic, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, let's find all the Koranic anti-Semitic quotes we can, insanity stuff, in the Charter that one would like to hope they'll someday see their way towards shedding, though doubtless as a quite late step, not an early one.

But the this-is-an-Islamic-land part is as understandable as the Jewish religious-this-is-our-land point of view, and really not demonstrably any less reasonable from anyone who doesn't particularly buy into either religious point of view.

This is unfortunate, but an essential part of the heart of the whole conflict, of course.

Now, plenty of other Hamas supporters and members are less hardcover, and it's more within the realm of possibility for those people to eventually be able to compromise, just as the mass of Israelis have been able to compromise on the notion that us Jews aren't going to get to have the entire historic Land Of Israel to ourselves, regardless of what the Torah says, or that we'd spread some really nice delis throughout the land.

But many of the current leaders of Hamas are presently, and have been for some time before the election, quite outspoken about how while they are unable to ever concede a de jure right-of-Israel-to-legitimately-exist, saying clearly that they're practical people nonetheless, and that they know it's not in their power to wipe out Israel, and that they're quite willing, under the "right circumstances" (and that's where it gets tricky and nitty-gritty, of course, and they don't have any sort of clear position as yet) to have a long-term hudna (true), and they've lately been throwing "for one hundred years" about as a term, and saying "we'll leave it to the children."

And, really, there's a fair amount of practical room for maneuver and development, there, to explore, much though it is absolutely more than uncomfortable, but down right problematic to reach agreement or even deal with people who deny your legitimacy or right to exist as a political entity.

Nonetheless, it's there, to be ignored or explored.

I don't, as I've said, expect very much to happen between Israel and a Hamas-led government for a few years, other than at a low and local level of practical arrangements, perhaps, on such issues as firefighting, dealing with communicable disease, and those sorts of things that affect both people without regard to what their ethnicity or religion are.

But I think it's crucial to take note of the realities of the situation, rather than fall back on rhetoric that's out of date, or inflexible, or that comes, frankly, from Americans who don't particularly know very well what they're talking about.

Not that it much matters what any of us say here on a blog thread, of course, either. But accurate knowledge is always, in my view, a virtue, and spreading ignorant half-truths a sin. Better, I daresay, to consider the humility of a bit of quiet than talking about what one knows little about without acknowledging that, and I stress again that I'm not in Israel, nor the world's greatest expert on the situation, either.

"I'ld imagine it would be tough to call an election 'democratic' if it takes place in a land of no free speech, don't ya think?"

Indeed. What land would that be, Stan?

It's certainly not the Palestinian territories, where speech has been, generally speaking, quite free. Where do you get your information from?

"...and really not demonstrably any less reasonable from anyone who doesn't particularly buy into either religious point of view."

Should have been "and really not demonstrably any less reasonable from the perspective of anyone who doesn't particularly buy into either religious point of view."


"...a long-term hudna (true)...."

Should have been "a long-term hudna (truce)." I wasn't vouching for their sincerity.

Apologies to all for my lack of sufficient proofing.

I noticed this in the Newsweek coverage, by the way:

Silvan Shalom, Israel's Foreign minister at the time, told NEWSWEEK that he warned acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert the day after Ariel Sharon's stroke not to let the elections take place. He says Olmert barely replied. According to Shalom, U.S. diplomats were pressing the interim leader to allow the elections to proceed. "I think he didn't want a confrontation with the American administration in his first decision [in office]," says Shalom. "And so he gave up."
Thank God! Or Olmert, anyway. What a horrible, horrible, horrible mistake that would have been!

The Israelis would have once made themselves the complete villains of the piece were they to have shut down elections like that, just because of a problematic outcome. What an ass Shalom can be.

Gary,

The Palestinian authorities limit freedom of speech and the security services have regularly shut down media outlets, banned publication or broadcast of material, and harassed or detained journalists, including foreign reporters covering the second intifada. Self-censorship by Palestinian journalists is widespread.

link.

There's been a ton of stories about PA seizing video which they seem as bad PR. International press has been censuring itself as well (as it has in Saddam's iraq).
Need I remind you of the lynching of hte two israeli reservists? Somehow, a tape of that lynching, filmed by an italian tv crew, made it out. Italians apologized:

Facing what he later said were "heightened pressures" on Italian journalists following the Ramallah incident, Riccardo Cristiano, a correspondent for Italy's RAI state broadcast network, who was not present at the lynching, wrote a letter that wound up on the front page of the October 16 edition of the Palestinian paper Al-Hayat Al-Jadedah. "Dear friends of Palestine," the Italian press quoted the letter as saying. "A private network and not official Italian television filmed that footage.... We would have respected the Palestinian Authority's rules for press working in Palestine."

Freedom of speech... Yea, right. This is the place where you can get a knock on your door, be accused of being an Israeli collaborator and shot on the spot.

I might also have pointed out this from the Newsweek piece:

Opinion polls say most Palestinians—even among those who voted for Hamas—want a decent peace deal, not endless conflict. Asked about the possibility of future talks with Israel, party cofounder Zahar does not rule it out. "The previous experience is bad," he says. "We did not benefit at all. However, if another attempt is made and it is successful, this situation will lessen the embarrassment for all sides." In a poll published by Yediot Ahronot newspaper, an astounding 48 percent of Israelis actually favored talks with Hamas.
"The Palestinian authorities limit freedom of speech and the security services have regularly shut down media outlets...."

Thanks for providing a cite, Stan. I said "where speech has been, generally speaking, quite free," not "land of perfect free speech."

You said "land of no free speech." Not "land where there are abuses of free speech."

I'll stand by "generally speaking, quite free." I'd also point out that the BBC quote is entirely vague, and makes no mention of any specific incident whatever in the past six months. But I do agree that that there are abuses against free speech in the Palestinian territories either by Palestinian authorities, or slightly finer grained, by factions amongst the incredibly splintered and incoherent groups that additively make up Fatah and the PA, as well as other factions competing against them. They all are constantly jostling with each other, and in-between the 11 or so different security agencies Arafat invented, which have yet to be actually consolidated in any practical way, so far as I'm aware, and who have a tendency to pull guns on each other with great frequency, and not infrequently a few Palestinians wind up dead. It's quite ugly, without doubt.

But most of the time, most people generally get to tell their neighbors what they think, and there's a fair amount of relatively free Palestinian journalism, and of course they have complete access to Israeli, Jordanian, and sometimes Egyptian radio and tv, and plenty of foreign newspapers.

"International press has been censuring itself as well...."

I'm fairly sure this isn't so. This is because "censuring" is not the same as "censoring."

"This is the place where you can get a knock on your door, be accused of being an Israeli collaborator and shot on the spot."

At times, true. It's a violent and essentially lawless place. But since you are specifically denigrating the election, how about finding some testimony from credible sources that generally people weren't free to vote as they wish?

Are you calling Patrick Belton some sort of crazy or blind, left-wing idiot? And saying that all the hundreds of western journalists aren't bothering to report how unfree the elections were because they're frightened? And all the Western observers, and Condi Rice and the United States government and President Bush? Are they all in on the leftist conspiracy to suppress the Truth, too?

If so, I suppose we should just give up now, and let the super-powerful Palestinins rule the U.S., and the whole world, too, since their mighty power to intimidate is so frigging awesome.

I'll stand by "generally speaking, quite free."

Quite free? Did you even bother to read the link?

how about finding some testimony from credible sources that generally people weren't free to vote as they wish?

Where did I claim that they haven't been free to do so??? Are you feeling OK?!

If so, I suppose we should just give up now, and let the super-powerful Palestinins rule the U.S., and the whole world, too, since their mighty power to intimidate is so frigging awesome.

Are you off your meds?!


"Quite free? Did you even bother to read the link?"

Yes. If you can't see the distinction between a place such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or North Korea, or Stalinist Russia, or any number of examples, and a places with abuses of free speech, like the Palestinian territories, or 1980s El Salvador, say, than there's not much that's useful to discuss.

"Are you feeling OK?!"

Had some insomnia last night, but also got in a bit of napping today, and otherwise just fine, thanks. Glad to see you can stick to substance.

"Are you off your meds?!"

Yes, well, clearly you have nothing substantive left to say, so bye now.

You might try responding to the substantive point: why is it that President Bush and Condi Rice and the U.S. government, and every other Western government and observer hasn't protested the crippling and utter lack of freedom of speech that leads you to claim -- out of your vastly better knowledge of the Palestinian territories than all those people, and all the journalists there -- that "As for the election overall. I'ld imagine it would be tough to call an election "democratic" if it takes place in a land of no free speech, don't ya think?"

Do you understand what "no" means? It doesn't mean "flawed."

Especially since Arafat's death, there has been a big upsurge of willingness on the part of Palestinians to say what they think about their own communities' politics.

Uri Avnery has an assessment that respects and celebrates the depth of participation in these elections. Read even if you have a reflexive reaction against him, for the intriguing passage on Palestinian politicians who've spent years of involuntary exposure to Israeli TV.

"Read even if you have a reflexive reaction against him...."

Yeah, not a name to invoke to convince any on the right familiar with him. (Which at least isn't many non-Jewish Americans.)

From Nell's link:
"Israel must negotiate with whatever Palestinian leadership is elected by the Palestinian people."

No, unilateral disengagement is an option.

"A group that is ready to negotiate with Israel, thereby already recognizes the State of Israel."

Is this not just sophistry?

rilkefan, I didn't advocate Avnery's conclusions by posting the link, so I'm not going to defend them. This is what I hoped ObWi readers might see, so I excerpt it here for those who will not overcome their disinclination:

Where does this Palestinian longing for democratic life stem from?

In this matter, too, there exists a wide gap between the generations--a gap that is one of the most obvious phenomena in Palestinian society.

The older generation, and especially the leaders who returned home with Yasser Arafat after the Oslo agreement, have never lived in a democratic society. Arafat himself spent his life wandering between Arab dictatorships: Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Tunisia. Lebanon, too, where every person is politically imprisoned in one or other of the authoritarian, sectarian fractions, is certainly far from being a real democracy. (Arafat always listened attentively when I held forth on the possibility of changing official Israeli policy by changing public opinion, but I did not get the impression that he had much faith in that really believed me.) The model that the older people were thinking about was a very limited, Jordan-style "democracy".

The middle generation has quite different ideas. Tens of thousands of them have been in Israeli prisons for long stretches, There they have learned Hebrew, listened to Israeli radio and watched Israeli TV. They have seen how Israeli democracy functions. That is the model they would like to adopt. (My friend, Sirhan Salameh, now the mayor of a-Ram, who has spent a total of 12 years in prison, told me: "What we enjoyed most were the scenes in the Knesset, where everybody shouts at the Prime Minister. We compared this to the situation in the Arab parliaments. We decided that we want a parliament like that.")

It must be said clearly: These elections are a huge achievement for the Palestinian society, a badge of honor for a people suffering under occupation, whose independent state is still a dream.

Gary,

Glad to see you can stick to substance.

Yea, nice! This is coming from a person who said: how about finding some testimony from credible sources that generally people weren't free to vote as they wish?

Nice strawman. Where did I say there were not?

why is it that President Bush and Condi Rice and the U.S. government, and every other Western government and observer hasn't protested the crippling and utter lack of freedom of speech that leads you to claim

Uh. A lot of things don't get protested in this world. I think they call it "diplomacy" or something.

Do you understand what "no" means? It doesn't mean "flawed."

Uhm.. Yea, I suppose that a place where you can be dragged out of your house and shot in the middle of the night (with the authorities doing nothing about it) is not a place to exchange ideas freely.. Yea, I guess you can say that the concept of freedom of speech over there is "flawed" even!

"Are you off your meds?!"

Yes, well, clearly you have nothing substantive left to say, so bye now.

That was clearly in response to your absurd comment:

If so, I suppose we should just give up now, and let the super-powerful Palestinins rule the U.S., and the whole world, too, since their mighty power to intimidate is so frigging awesome.

Nell, I was just arguing with the article, not you - and what you quote sounds right to me (though saying Arafat wandered to Jordan and Lebanon is something-or-other). Think I've heard similar things in reference to Barghouti, who I've lost track of.

Glad to see you can stick to substance.

Yea, nice! This is coming from a person who said: how about finding some testimony from credible sources that generally people weren't free to vote as they wish?

Got it. A polite request for a source on a substantive issue is just like casting aspersions on someone and asking them "Are you off your meds?!"

Bye.

"Think I've heard similar things in reference to Barghouti, who I've lost track of."

Assuming you mean Marwan, not Mustapha, or any of the other Barghoutis, he's in Israeli prison, and has been for years, on a sentence of decades to come (five life sentences, as I recall), although I wouldn't be sure that's actually going to hold.

His trial and appeals were, ah, quite the story in Israel and Palestinian lands, and he continues to be one of the most significant Palestinian figures, constantly in the Israeli news on a weekly basis, and revered by Palestinians. He initially ran against Abbas from prison, but withdrew very late in the day in favor of "unity." He formed a "young guard" party and ran in the current election.

Here is an interview he gave last week. Yesterday he again called for Palestinian unity. His having won election is unlikely to make much or any difference in his treatment by the Israelis for now.

I take it you don't follow Israeli or Palestinian news.

"I take it you don't follow Israeli or Palestinian news."

That was rather an unnecessary observation. Sorry.

StanLS: "Are you off your meds?!"

This violates posting rules, imho. Consider this a warning.

I have to get a new job, and a new car, and a complete set of baby stuff, and oh yeah there's that book I should try to get published - so I'm not following all sorts of news, sadly. I'm kind of hoping for a smooth uninteresting transition to a better world not requiring my attention, and the will-power to cut back on blogging.

RF: Good luck with the will-power thing.

Must . . . resist . . . I/P . . . must . . . resist . . . I/P . . .

Oh hell. I don't know why the extent of freedom of press or expression is relevant in the circumstances. Are folks saying that Fatah was able to suppress to some extent people voting for Hamas? Or even that people favor Hamas because they haven't had a chance to hear about some great more-liberal-than-Fatah movement, that would exist if only Fatah would have let it.

GMAFB.

I can't prove a counterfactual, of course, but I've got a strong sense that in the P context -- just as in lots of similar contexts -- more freedom just equals more Islamism. In the short run, anyway.

Charley,

That's the thing. I guess you can only feel free to speak your mind if you have an army behind you (either Hamas or Fatah).

A reminder of my comment above, Charley.

reporters">http://www.rsf.org/">reporters without borders:

The Palestinian media are more independent than in other Arab countries but this is on a day-to-day basis. The most critical journalists are arrested or physically attacked by the security services and others are threatened and practice self-censorship. The privately-owned media are harassed by political parties and the Palestinian Authority, sometimes through the Gaza Palestinian journalists’ union. Newspaper editors, some of whom are party politicians, fear reprisals and prefer not to cover topics seen as anti-patriotic or relating to Arafat himself. The opposition media, mostly supporting the Hamas militants, is censored or has been shut down. Internet use is unrestricted however and people can freely watch foreign TV stations through satellite dishes.

What exactly do you mean by this? And what sort of "more political rights" do you, specifically, have in mind?

Try Freedom House, Gary. I wrote "not free", not totalitarian for a reason. The cite for second most corrupt here.

I forgot to mention that the statement boggled me. Gee, ya think?

What an insufferably assy comment, Gary.

My mistake about not knowing that the last Hamas attack occurred a year ago.

Closing italics.

Um, do the posting rules not also apply to mainpage posters, or is there a special exemption if the target of one's ire is named 'Farber'?

'Assy', indeed; something certainly stinks...

Charles, sorry to pick on you but from Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2005:

3. Why is the CPI based only on perceptions?

It is difficult to assess the levels of corruption in different countries based on hard empirical data, e.g. by comparing the number of prosecutions or court cases. Such cross-country data does not reflect actual levels of corruption; rather it highlights the quality of prosecutors, courts and/or the media in exposing corruption. The only method of compiling comparative data is therefore to draw on the experience and perceptions of those who are most directly confronted with the realities of corruption in a country.

Your use of "second most corrupt" made me wonder "how do you measure something like that?" I don't mean to say that the PA isn't corrupt, but Transparency International is much more careful about how it defines its terms. I think your shorthand is not justified by their data.

This measure of perception is perhaps a partial explanation of a desire to "throw the rascals out," but I think that's about as far as it goes.

"Try Freedom House, Gary. I wrote "not free", not totalitarian for a reason."

And yet I'm conversing with you , Charles, not with Freedom House. Strangely, I thought you might be thinking for yourself, and I wondered what your thinking was. My query to you was: "What exactly do you mean by this ["not free]? And what sort of 'more political rights' do you, specifically, have in mind?"

Having read the Freedom House page, aside from the fact that it was almost entirely about 2004, I largely learned that there had been violence in the Territories. Who knew? And various other stuff that I'm aware of in far greater detail than given in that little, almost entirely quite dated, summary.

But what do you, Charles Bird, have in mind when you say they were "not free" in the past year and "since the PA was not free to begin with [... and] I'm doubtful they will grant more political rights and civil liberties to their citizenry."

I can guess, and maybe you're too busy to say, in which case I'll just have to guess what you had in mind. It would be nice to have answers relevant to the last six months and the future, if you do feel like replying.

I forgot to mention that the statement boggled me. Gee, ya think?

What an insufferably assy comment, Gary.

Yes, clearly terribly offensive and over-the-line.

Apparently my being boggled is far more powerful an effect than I had possibly imagined.

I shall try to keep future mentions of the awesome effect of my boggling (not to be confused with "my blogging") to myself, since I certainly wouldn't want to offend such a delicate and sensitive flower of a soul.

But nice of you to again demarcate the boundaries of acceptable language around here. I shall refrain, nonetheless, from indulging in such unclever and unentertaining rhetoric.

I'll just keep in mind that should I choose otherwise, you have no grounds whatever for complaint. However, if "the statement boggled me" makes your head explode like that, I wouldn't want to bear responsibility for the collateral damage were I to say something actually, you know, offensive or insulting. Bystanders might be badly injured by your hurtling skull fragments, after all, and I really wouldn't want that.

If you do decide to return to substance, Charles, my other query is actually something I'd like to know ever more: "I kinda also wonder where you get most of your info/perspective on Israel/Palestine from, and how long and heavily you've been paying attention, if you don't mind my asking."

Why do you have a problem with Freedom House, Gary? From where I sit, it looks like you didn't read it, judging from your sniffy dismissal. Sure, the Palestinians have free speech and a free press, as long as they don't say or write anything that comes across as pro-Israel or too anti-PA. Reporters Without Borders says the press is more independent than other Arab countries (which isn't saying much when the PA has the 132nd most free press out of 167 countries worldwide) but reporters are routinely subject to censorship and governmental pressure. We've heard well enough about the lack of due process given to "collaborators". FH concluded that the PA does not have an independent judiciary. Are they wrong in concluding so? Because it sure looks like there's not much rule of law or civil order in effect there. The PA respects freedom of religious expression, but that respect is not codified into law and it's unclear whether that respect extends to descendants of Christ's killers. Is FH wrong there? Or in any other areas? Or are you just interested in insulting people you disagree with?

If you do decide to return to substance, Charles...

And how exactly was your insufferable ass of a comment substantive? And how was my comment "over the line"? After all, the comment was criticized, not the person. What's more, if you're going to chide someone for not offering substance (which you've done several times in this thread), then you should practice what you preach rather than holding other people to one standard but not doing the same for yourself.

As for where I get my sources on Israel-Palestine, lots of places. Mostly mainstream news sources.

Ral,
I wasn't as careful as I could've been re "most corrupt" and "least transparent". Arafat does have a history of verifiable corruption, and it looks like Hamas is clearly less so.

And how exactly was your insufferable ass of a comment substantive? And how was my comment "over the line"? After all, the comment was criticized, not the person.

Uh huh.

Charles digs a deeper hole, this time tacking on a lame semantical justification for good measure.

Again, I ask the collective: Do the posting rules not also fully apply to main-page posters?

Charles: I'm with matttbastard: it's harder to try to get other people to act civilly when we don't do it ourselves.

"Why do you have a problem with Freedom House, Gary?"

The same reason I have a problem with the sun, the moon, the stars and all the flowers and puppies.

I don't. Why you think I do escapes me.

Clearly "And yet I'm conversing with you , Charles, not with Freedom House. Strangely, I thought you might be thinking for yourself, and I wondered what your thinking was" was unclear in ways I'm not seeing. I'm, however, at a loss as to how to substantively reword it to try to make the same point.

For explanation of my thinking, see here and here. The answers are in there. Somewhere.

"From where I sit, it looks like you didn't read it, judging from your sniffy dismissal."

There's something going wrong with communication between us, and I have no idea what it is. The only things wrong with the Freedom House page are these: 1) it's largely about 2004, and in a place where things change rapidly, that's of limited relevancy to the run up to this election, and the present situation now existing; 2) it tells me nothing whatever about what Charles Bird thinks is most important or least important unless Charles Bird is trying to tell me that he has no original thoughts of his own; I think better of you than that, but if your message is that I shouldn't, I'll get that eventually. I'm slow at times, but I do tend to catch on sooner or later.

Now, however, in this comment, you've mentioned some specifics as to what you think, so I thank you for that. Freedom of the press, lack of due process, lack of an independent judiciary. Okay, then, that gives me some short answers to my query. I agree that those are lacking or insufficient, and that that is Bad.

Whether that makes them binarily "not free" is something of a subjective judgment, and I therefore won't argue it. But now I know a bit as to what you had in mind. Thanks. That's all I asked for.

"Or are you just interested in insulting people you disagree with?"

I'm unclear how I insulted you beyond saying that I was boggled by one of your comments. If you can make it clear to me, well, when I realize I've insulted someone in an unfair way, I tend to apologize.

*cough* glasshouses, *cough*

"And how was my comment 'over the line'?"

You may wish to reconsider your use of quotation marks, there. Maybe not, in which case I'll try to keep your usage preferences in mind.

"...then you should practice what you preach rather than holding other people to one standard but not doing the same for yourself."

Feel free to make clear to me where I've been hypocritical. I would not like to engage in being hypocritical.

"As for where I get my sources on Israel-Palestine, lots of places."

Well, that was informative.

"Mostly mainstream news sources."

Slightly more so. I'll assume that means occasional American newspaper and magazine stories, and maybe tv and radio news, from time to time, absent further specifics from you. How much would you say you read about Israel/Palestine per week, and and for how many years, offhand and purely loosely, would you say you've given that level of attention, if you care to say? Any books?

"Arafat does have a history of verifiable corruption...."

Indeed. Of course, he's been dead for more than a year, so he's engaged in an entirely different form of corruption these days, one not at all so bothersome to anyone. I hope.

I am mildly fascinated by your parameters for acceptable discourse, though. Apparently if I said "your comments are f*cking retarded and moronic," that would be fine.

I don't, in fact, think that. My critique, insofar as what I actually think of you and your discourse, is, in fact, endlessly gentler and I, in fact, hold you in considerably greater respect than a comment like that would suggest. (Is that clear? I don't think that; it does not describe what I think; it is not something I am saying; I offer it solely as an example of what you, by example, find rhetorically acceptable on this blog, and that is all.)

But it's interesting that you clearly believe that that sort of thing should be an acceptable standard around here. I don't think much of that, as a good policy for encouraging courtesy and minimally respectful interaction, myself, but it's your blog, not mine.

Oh, hell, Wendy Wasserstein died? Crap.

"I'll assume that means occasional American newspaper and magazine stories, and maybe tv and radio news, from time to time"

Here someone in a different context might say something like, "If I intended it to be read that way I would have written it that way."

Charles: I'm with matttbastard: it's harder to try to get other people to act civilly when we don't do it ourselves.

If you really want a more civil environment then someone must do something about Gary. Constantly ignoring somone so obnoxious only invites more.

Paging Jackmormon or liberal japonicus....

Windle: incivility is against the posting rules. This is a warning.

"Constantly ignoring somone so obnoxious only invites more."

Aw, I don't feel ignored. I'm a national treasure.

"Here someone in a different context might say something like, 'If I intended it to be read that way I would have written it that way.'"

And if they did, I'd like to hope they'd not deliberately edit out part of the full sentence:

I'll assume that means occasional American newspaper and magazine stories, and maybe tv and radio news, from time to time, absent further specifics from you.
And maybe even note that the context is having more than once asked Charles what the specifics were.

Nice. If you can explain to me what was wrong with this formulation, in this context, I'll be all ears, I promise.

Then you might explain why you felt that it was an honest presentation of my words to edit out the last clause.

Set me an example of how to do it right.

Paging Jackmormon or liberal japonicus....

I did my take on Hate Central, if that is of any help.

"Nice. If you can explain to me what was wrong with this formulation, in this context, I'll be all ears, I promise."

Tried in similar contexts, failed. Given that you've not understood this point several times, I'm going to assume you're just evil, absent further understanding from you.

I did my take on Hate Central, if that is of any help

Ah yes, forgot that you were now on the HOCB roster - my apologies, and belated congrats at the position.

And thank you for answering the call of duty.

;-)

"Given that you've not understood this point several times, I'm going to assume you're just evil, absent further understanding from you."

A bit hard for me to tell what level of seriousness is embedded here, although I'm going to tentatively assume at least some, while being completely prepared to toss that tentative assumption if better information is offered.

All I can do is invite you to explain. If you're insufficiently motivated to make the effort, so be it, but my words that I was interested and committed to make an effort to understand were and remain entirely sincere.

I genuinely have no understanding of why you think it's reasonable to interpret someone's sentence by clipping off the key modifying clause, and to then present that as if it were an honest presentation of what that person wrote. I'm open-minded as to learning how or what I might be missing about that.

That's specifically in the context of the only answer being offered being "As for where I get my sources on Israel-Palestine, lots of places. Mostly mainstream news sources."

If you'd like to offer a better substitute interpretation, I'd find that genuinely interesting, and perhaps educational, and that, too, is a completely sincere request. Since you clearly seem to believe that there was something wrongheaded about my response, and you're not a dumb person, I'd like to find out where and how we're talking past each other. This desire doesn't obligate you to fulfill it, of course.

I don't even have a guess at what might be offensive or unjust or unreasonable about asking someone for a short sentence or two of specifics about something, more than once, and then when, at the time, not given an answer, writing "I'll assume that means occasional American newspaper and magazine stories, and maybe tv and radio news, from time to time, absent further specifics from you."

I'm entirely interested, and utterly sincere, in saying that if I'm missing something, I'd like to learn what it is.

More than that, well, I'm also sincerely interested if there's something I'm doing wrong, or missing, in not knowing, just now, what that might me. Maybe I'm just engaging in some variety of Asperberger's Syndrome, or there are any number of other possibilities. All I can do is ask.

If that's evil, well, all I can say is that it's not by intent or desire. Which doesn't at all exclude the possibility that it is, in fact, evil, of course. But what more might you have me do? That, too, is sincerely asked.

"...what that might me."

Should be: "...what that might be."

And "Asperberger's Syndrome" should be "Asperger's Syndrome"; I should have remembered that somehow I always get that wrong.

"Given that you've not understood this point several times, I'm going to assume you're just evil, absent further understanding from you."

For the record, and repeating that the following incurs no obligation on Rilkefan, I'm going to add that this rather bothers me, and mildly distresses me, though not to a huge degree.

Charles: I'm with matttbastard: it's harder to try to get other people to act civilly when we don't do it ourselves.

And here is where the ObWi Double Standard kicks into high gear, Hil. In this strange and hypocritical world, Gary gets to sprinkle in an insult or two (in what was otherwise fair commentary), which I assume was to him within the bounds of civil discourse. When the other guy expresses a strong response as to what he thinks about said insult, apparently that is not within the bounds and Charles gets admonished, and over the course of this Gary inserts a further insult or two downstream as to the originality of my thinking. This is not a whine, just a recognition of what is. So, sorry, but I reject your suggestion unless it is coupled with the other party. I prefer civility, too, but may I suggest that your way is not the only way to get there. You're not in my shoes, and perhaps you don't see the numerous times when civil disagreement takes a turn for the worse. I let much of it pass, but in this case, I didn't, to defend myself for one reason. Oftentimes a strong response and ensuing spirited exchange can result in more understanding and long-term civility. I hope that happens here, but if it turns out to be otherwise, then my apologies.

If you can make it clear to me, well, when I realize I've insulted someone in an unfair way, I tend to apologize.

So I guess you must've thought it was an insult in a fair way, Gary. I call that progress, of a sort. In either case, to me it was an insult; it added no substance and no contribution to the spirit of civil exchange. When these things happen, I reserve the right to respond as weakly or as forcefully as I see fit, all within the posting rules of course. If you think that your being boggled constituted the offense, then I find myself boggled. Boggle all you want for all I care.

As for some of your Freedom House comments, I agree that little of 2005 was covered, but governments don't tend to change that quickly (especially when the ruling party retains power), and I haven't read or heard of any changes to Palestinian law which restored a free press or free speech or a workable judiciary, etc. to its citizens. I read quite a bit information on the Internet every day, so I'd be surprised if major Palestinian reforms slipped past me. If they did happen, what did I miss? Of course, the last two elections can be considered progress, despite the recent result. FTR, I don't have a "go to" site for all things Israel or Palestine. I read current events from left, right and middle sources, and drill down when curiosity strikes.

As for FH being "binary", perhaps quadrinary is more accurate. What can I say, the CPA in me gravitates toward objective measures, such as this one from The Economist Intelligence Unit. Like with RSF, the PA is freer than many other Arab nations, but that ain't saying much.

As to your second insult, the issue has nothing to do with what Charles thinks or what FH or EIU writes or originality or unoriginality. In my line of work, I'm an expert in several functions, and then I rely on experts whom I trust to get me the rest of the way. It's how my world works because we can't be experts in everything. If you have a problem with the sources I use, then spell it out instead of taking the path you did.

"So I guess you must've thought it was an insult in a fair way, Gary."

It might be helpful if you would quote the "insult," so I have a clue what you're referring to, Charles. Just a thought. It's difficult to respond to "it" when I have no idea what "it" is.

"As for FH being 'binary', perhaps quadrinary is more accurate."

Apparently I was unclear, since I said nothing of the kind; I'm baffled at your repeated insistence that I had some sort of problem with the FH post, other than my actual statement that it was largely dated.

It was you who was being binary, by saying that the PA was "not free," rather than something less binary or more, oh, gosh, I'm a Democrat more than not, so I'll say it, "nuanced."

"What can I say, the CPA in me gravitates toward objective measures,"

Fair enough, but I can't agree with using a term about something as multiplex as political "freedom" in a way that makes no distinction between North Korea and the PA. You're free to use terms as you prefer and see fit, of course. And I'm free to suggest that this is less useful than making finer grained distinctions. Celebrate our freedom!

"...and then I rely on experts whom I trust to get me the rest of the way...."

Certainly; that's entirely reasonable. So, who are your three favorite experts on the Palestinian Authority?

Do please, if you're inclined, quote my "second insult," so I'll know what you're talking about there, too.

Back on substance, the Egyptians have made their first move. I have no complaints so far.

It doesn't seem as if anyone else has anything more to say on substance, but maybe eventually. Anyway, Patrick Belton is still wandering around the West Bank, and among other things he had to say, I found the following observations of interest. Oh, and if you'd like some examples of thuggishness, Charles, or anyone, this:

And what of the word on the Arab street? Munib Masri of Nablus, the richest man in a city known for its business acumen, is it's said being courted by Hamas as a technocratic prime minister. Hassan Khurayshi, who had been in the PLC as Fateh, and in these polls ran on the Hamas list from Tulkarem, is being tipped as head of parliament.

Zuhair Khalaf, a Christian and erstwhile Fateh member who in running as an independent in Ramallah attracted 8,000 votes, had his house shot up by Fateh sympathisers.

None of this is in the news.

I was surprised when many Ramallah Christians today told me that they, like those of Taibeh, voted Hamas because it was historically Fateh loyalists who attacked their businesses, agitated against the sale of alcohol, and engaged in communal reprisals against the Christian community, as when a Christian butcher stabbed a man in Qalqilya. In the latter instance, it was Hamas members who stopped the Fateh crowd from attacking the Catholic church in Ramallah. And this debt of loyalty was remembered on election day.

Fateh is not down for the count - 2 seats moved to the Fateh column in today's final vote tally, and these were significant votes, as they denied Hamas a two-thirds majority. Lacking it, the other parties will in concert be able to block constitutional changes and deny Hamas the ability to override legislative vetoes by the president.

Just stuff for mulling.

On the flip side, here a bit of a normal verbal slip from a representative of Israel's extreme rightwing:

Among the wounded were right-wing MKs Effi Eitam and Aryeh Eldad and the latter, furious and in pain with a broken hand, let his true feelings slip: "They're treating people like Arabs here," he spat.
That is also an example of what, in turn, Palestinians are sometimes faced with. Similarly:
The violence reached new heights at the verbal as well as the physical level.

"May all your children die!" screamed one settler at a religious Israel Defense Forces officer participating in the operation.

This is Jew-on-Jew violence, of course. We got our own form of thugs; sometimes they murder Palestinians, too. They don't suicide bomb, and they only massacre occasionally, but, you know, that happens on occasion, too.

There's a lot of history for both sides to deal with it, and it's not all saintly Jews and evil Palestinians, not hardly.

And Effi Eitam is quite despicable, although not, so far as I know, personally a murderer.

Okay, I'm fighting hard to resist my urge to keep adding more news from Israel or Palestine to this thread, because on average of about four days a week, more if I have time, less if I don't, I do tend to read a fair amount each such day, but I seem to be talking to myself here, so that's not good; but at least this one more.

The bad news is the torture of Palestinians. The good news is that they could sue, and they won.

Oh, and "torture" doesn't here just mean loud music, or cold air, or shaking, or shoving, or being made to wear panties, etc., though there was that sort of thing, too.

The Defense Ministry a few days ago gave NIS 2.4 million to 28 Palestinians who were tortured by the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service. The payment was made after an out-of-court settlement was reached with the plaintiffs, who agreed that suits brought to the Tel Aviv Magistrate and District courts would be turned down.

One of the plaintiffs, Benan Oudeh, 31, of Qalqilya, arrested a few years ago for throwing stones, told Haaretz yesterday that his testicles were beaten so badly in the interrogation room that they had to be amputated.

Oudeh's attorney said his client received only NIS 120,000, and was determined to be credited with a urological disability of 20 percent and a psychiatric disability of 10 percent.

[...]

Long negotiations in the case, first brought to court in 1996, ended in a settlement whereby the state would make the payment without admitting to the torture.

[...]

According to their lawyers, some of the plaintiffs were subject to more extreme torture, including the witholding of food and drink, being forbidden to go to the toilet, threats of imprisonment of family members and confinement in a very small cold cell.

Another plaintiff, Hassin Zid from Qalqilya, who was arrested at age 17 on suspicion of throwing a Molotov cocktail said he was handcuffed, sprayed with tear gas, tied from the ceiling and beaten with clubs and a water pipe.

The military court determined that he was unfit to stand trial and he was released and hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. Zid was awarded a 30-percent psychiatric disability, according to attorney Bshara Jabaly, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Another plaintiff, Ahmad Mar'i, from Nablus, said interrogators humiliated him by showing him pornographic pictures and suggesting they were of his wife and daughters, and on another occasion, when he was unable to stand, an interrogator forced him on his feet, forced his mouth open and spit into it.

The plaintiffs were divided into two categories: torture victims who were determined not to have incurred permanent disabilities, who were awarded between NIS 15,000 to NIS 38,000 each, and those with permanent disabilities, who received between NIS 50,000 to NIS 435,000 according to the extent of the disability.

[...]

Assan added that most of the plaintiffs had not been defined as "ticking bombs" and were released following their interrogation.

Just another bit of today's news. Nothing special.

Hi,

I was recommended here by someone from a different blog, and found much of what I read extremely interesting.

What I wonder is this. How many of you are writing from here - meaning Israel anywhere west of the Jordan?

Naturally, I have a different take on things than folks writing from elsewhere.

Briefly, from the little feedback from Arabs that I get, this election was a choice between two mafias, neither of whom are particular popular. But their thievery made Fatah more odious than Hamas.

The approach I see from Hamas is to treat us like a Crusader state; they offer a truce, but never recognition or peace. Wonder if the Shabakniks who helped Hamas in the '80's realized what they were creating?

"What I wonder is this. How many of you are writing from here - meaning Israel anywhere west of the Jordan?"

No one but you. Feel free to stick around. However, now that the exceptional event of the PA elections have passed, it doesn't seem as if there's anyone left around (other than me) still following (as I've done for decades) daily, or at least a few times a week (most of the time; I have off-weeks, as well), news from Israel or the Palestinian territories; I'm afraid discussion of those issues is only an occasional topic around here.

Everyone else seems to have moved on to the cartoon/reactions issue. (Prove me wrong, gals and guys! Charles?)

The comments to this entry are closed.