Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

Danin analyzes critical developments and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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Voices From the Region: Israel, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey

by Robert M. Danin
December 22, 2012

Russian foreign minister Lavrov speaks during a meeting of President Putin's trustees in Moscow on December 9, 2012 (Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters).


“For decades the Assad regime was talking about the Palestinians’ rights….But Bashar al-Assad has killed more of us today than Israel did in its latest war on Gaza.” – Abu Ammar, Palestinian resident of Yarmouk camp after it was attacked by Syrian fighter jets on December 16

“I read this as a strong vote against the dismal, confused performance of the Morsi administration.” – Emad Shahin, AUC political scientist on first round of referendum vote

“We are not in the business of regime change. Some of the regional players were suggesting to us ‘Why don’t you tell President Assad to leave? We will arrange for some safe haven for him’…My answer is very simple: if indeed those who suggested this to us have this in mind, they should take it directly to President Assad. Why should they use us as a postman?” – Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in a television interview

“Turkey is now the world’s biggest prison for journalists, a sad paradox for a country that portrays itself as a regional democratic model.” – France-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement

“The opposition cannot decisively settle the battle and what the security forces and army units are doing will not achieve a decisive settlement.” – Syrian vice president Farouq al-Shara

“The reason Israel owes us money each month is because we import goods from Israel…So it becomes a legitimate question for me to ask how to minimize the amount of our money that will be subject to Israel’s capricious behavior.” – Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad

“If this constitution passed, there will be no stability.” – Mohammed El Baradei, one of the leaders of the Egyptian opposition National Salvation Front before the second day of voting on the draft constitution

“The wise and the elite in Europe, the United States, and Turkey should dismantle Patriots and take them away from the region before a fire breaks out.” – General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces

Post a Comment 3 Comments

  • Posted by James Lyons


  • Posted by bean cube

    Russia should focus on Israelis nuclear arsenal so Iranians can spread low cost, more generic and genuine wireless internet communication infrastructures into all NATO member countries.

  • Posted by Prof. Taheri

    The Jewish roots in Palestine go much farther back than most Muslims would be willing to admit.

    Before 1948, Palestine was ruled by a series of empires. Before that Palestine was Judaea—a Jewish country. Jews have lived in Palestine continuously for more than 3,300 years. “Palestine” was the name given to the Jewish homeland in the second century by the Romans, in an attempt to break the Jewish adherence to the land. This was a century after the Jewish temple was destroyed and more than a million Jews were massacred.

    The Jews stopped fighting the Romans only after they had no more fighting men standing. As Evangelist William Eugene Blackstone put it in 1891, “The Jews never gave up their title to Palestine… They never abandoned the land. They made no treaty, they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans.”

    The Jews persisted through the centuries under the various empires, after the Arab invasion of 635AD (which they fought alongside the Byzantines), and after the Crusade massacres of the 11th Century, which decimated much of their population.

    Few Muslims realize that Jewish customs, religion, prayers, poetry, holidays, and virtually every walk of life, documented for thousands of years—all revolve around Judaea/Palestine/Israel. For thousands of years Jews have been praying for Jerusalem in every prayer, after every meal, in every holiday, at every wedding, in every celebration. The whole Jewish religion is about Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. Western expressions such as “The Promised Land,” and “The Holy Land,” didn’t pop out of void. They have been part of Western knowledge and tradition dating back to the beginning of Christianity and earlier.

    After the Crusades, the Jews—including many who have returned over the centuries—lived peacefully with Arabs, often in the very same villages, as in Pki’in, in the Galilee, until the Zionist immigration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Article 6 of the PLO Charter specifically calls for the acceptance of all Jews present in Palestine prior to the Zionist immigration. These Jews were simply another ethnic group in a region composed of Sunnis, Shiites, Jews, Druz, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Circassians, Samarians, and more. Some of these groups, like the Druz, Circassians, Samarians, and an increasing number of Christians, are actually loyal to the Jewish State.

    Incidentally, genetic studies consistently show that Zionist immigrants (a.k.a., Ashkenazi Jews) are closely related to groups that predate the Arab conquest, like the Samarians, who have lived in Palestine for thousands of year.

    Arab and Muslim denial may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” in which actual history and predicted events are thinly veiled as fiction.

    War and bloodshed will continue until the Arabs and Muslims stop lying to themselves, and acknowledge that the Jewish roots in Palestine go back thousands of years, long before the Arab invasion of Palestine.

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