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MIDDLE EAST
Shakespeare or Chekhov in the Middle East - Article by Victor Isaak Eliezer Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 June 2021 12:22
 Published in the Greek daily “TO VIMA” June 6, 2021

“If the Arabs put their weapons down, then there will be no war- if the Israelis put their weapons down, then there will be no Israel”. This saying is attributed to Golda Meir, Israel’s first female Prime Minister, when the Jewish state was surrounded by the Arab states that pursued its destruction, with a series of wars against it, since the first day of its independence, on May 14th 1948.

Unfortunately, the same phrase continues to be relevant in 2021. It could be seen as a communication ploy by the Israelis in order to gain the sympathy of the public. But let us see if this applies in the field of the long-running confrontation, which today focuses on the conflict between Israel and Hamas on its southern border and with Hezbollah and Syria in the north.

If Hamas was to abandon the attrition war against Israel, does anyone doubt that the blockade of the Gaza Strip would have been lifted the very next day? Israel does not have any territorial claims over this strip of land, on the contrary Israel pulled out in 2005, hoping that the Palestinian Authority would have been able to take control of the region and isolate the Islamic movements of Hamas and Jihad. The disarmament of Gaza would be a breath of fresh air for its afflicted population, a new page of growth and prosperity, a new road that would eventually lead to its union with the West Bank of the Jordan River, and in the establishment of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel with secure borders. Free distribution and movement of people and goods, investments and improvement of the living standards, the end of the bloodshed – this is what the disarmament of Gaza would mean.

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CYPRUS, GREECE, ISRAEL ALLIANCE SERVES US INTERESTS Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 08:42
by endy Zemenides  & David Harris, 28.3.2019

Long ago, the Mediterranean was known as the Middle Sea, because for centuries it provided the principal means of communication between empires and civilizations. Today’s Mediterranean is reclaiming much of that historic legacy.

The limitless potential of the region was on full display during the sixth trilateral summit between Cyprus, Greece and Israel that took place in Jerusalem last week. The gathering was especially noteworthy because the United States, represented by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also participated for the first time.

American strategic interests face challenges around the Eastern Mediterranean basin. The Shia-Sunni divide that has helped put the Middle East in even deeper turmoil is playing out on its shores, with the involvement of both state and non-state actors.

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Next to the "Fence" by Victor Is. Eliezer*, a conversation with Danny Tirza, Commander of the unit that built the "Fence" which separates Israel from the Palestinian Authority territories Print E-mail
Monday, 17 December 2018 11:51
From the neighborhood of Gilo, built on a hill, one of the first districts the Israelis have built in Eastern Jerusalem after the six day war in 1967, one can easily spot the imposing church of Saint Nicholas, just some meters away from the refugee camps of Beit Jalla and El Aydah, which seem to have been built like real cities. Just there, together with 25 journalists from Europe, North and South America we met Danny Tirza, a retired Israeli Army colonel, who was the Commander of the unit that built the "Fence" which separates Israel from the Palestinian Authority territories.

The way to the "Fence"

Colonel Tirza has served in the army for thirty years and was part of the negotiations with the Palestinians for the transformation of the refugee camps into dwellings. Consequently, in the aftermath of Oslo Accords, he participated in the technical negotiations during the Camp David summit, in summer 2000, convened by Bill Clinton for the signature of the final agreement between Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

It was there when I met Yasser Arafat at first. He came to embrace me, as he usually did: “No kissing, but working together”, I told him and we started to chart maps. Ever since the Palestinians called me by a nickname, "Abu Harita" which means "the father of the maps", colonel Tirza assured. He described how these negotiations were blown to pieces: "We had concluded with the mapping. Barak conceded to Arafat 94% of the lands on the West bank, on the Jordan river, the whole of Gaza strip and gave him sovereignty on the Holly Mosques of Jerusalem. That was to say the totality of the lands Israel occupied during the 1967 war and were previously ruled by Jordan and Egypt. Clinton asked Arafat to sign. Arafat left for consultations and came back three hours later declaring that he could not sign without the approval of the other Arab states. Clinton blasted him and the big chance for peace was lost. In September 2000, everything changed as the intifada started". 

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