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Welcome to Team Shalom Fry'd Daze. Fry'd Daze is a long running series dedicated to dialogue in the Middle East. Currently we are in season 3.08. These diaries are not intended to be a flame forum, but rather something where community members can meet and exchange ideas about I/P and/or issues that concern the Middle East.

Generally, these diaries take the form of four to five news articles and short commentary selected by the diarist. These stories however, are just a platform to get discussion going. The diaries from now on will publish under the banner of the  Team Shalom

What is Team Shalom:

"Team Shalom is Team Peace. We are a group of Kossacks supporting a fair, pragmatic, and realistic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the two-state solution. We support Israel's continued existence as a Jewish and democratic state, with it existing alongside Palestine, a Palestinian and democratic state, as friends and neighbors. We believe this is the only way forward and the only way to achieve an enduring peace. This is the view endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the world's nations, including the Quartet, which consists of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations."

So please participate. The only thing we ask is that you keep comments respectful, reality based and please no use of Anti-Semetic or Anti-Arab memes. Enjoy!

This might be abbreviated as I have to undergo Achilles Tendon surgery (snowboarding accident 12 days ago) in a few hours.. so forgive me the lack of total analysis this week.

First off we have:

Palestinians rally in Hebron; 5 officers hurt

Baruch Goldstein was a Terrorist who shot 29 people dead and wounded 125 others in an merciless attack on Muslims praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs. There is little anyone can say that would be positive regarding this psychotic murdering terrorist (Just my opinion):

More than 1,000 Palestinians protested in Hebron on Friday to mark the 17th anniversary of the massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs and demanded that Shuhada Street in the West Bank city be opened to Palestinian traffic.

During the march, protesters tried to enter the city's Jewish quarter but were confronted by IDF and Border Guard forces. Five Border Guard officers were lightly injured. Three protestors were arrested by Israeli forces.

Four Border Guard officers were injured when stones were thrown at them by protestors, and a female officer suffered light injuries to her hand after being attacked by a protestor wielding a sharp object

.

Additionally there were rallies throughout the country marking protests against the Seperation Barrier.

Next is this column in Haaretz from Carlo Strenger - discussing the dilemna facing Israel and the Occupation and how: Either Democracy – or Hebron

Israel’s right-wing, time and again, claims a monopoly for the Zionist idea: In a recent article, Moshe Arens claims that those who are against schools taking students to Hebron have lost their roots in the land of Israel because the foundation of Zionism, has always been the return of the Jewish people to the land of its forefathers. Therefore, he argues, establishing a Palestinian state that would include some of Judaism’s most sacred places undermines the entire Zionist idea. To put it in a nutshell: For Arens, Zionism without Hebron is dead.

We should be grateful to Arens’ measured and lucid presentation of his point of view, because this allows for a badly needed clarification. Moshe Arens simply distorts history in saying that the idea of Jewish sovereignty over the historical land of Israel is the only form Zionism has taken. While he may not like their views, it would be difficult to kick Herzl, Ahad Ha’am and Yehuda Magnes out of the history of Zionism.

Herzl’s Zionism was political, pragmatic and liberal. He wanted Jews to have a homeland, and in some phases of his Zionist activity, he was perfectly willing to consider the option of a Jewish homeland other than historical Judea. Ahad Ha’am, one of the luminaries of Zionist thought, thought that the Jewish people needed a spiritual revival. He saw the Yishuv as the seed for a cultural center of the Jewish people, and saw no need for a Jewish state, and so did Yehuda Magnes.

Strenger more, and more seems to hit the mark with his commentary.

In the next article we find an Op-Ed from Tzipi Livni (leader of Kadima and Opposition Leader in Israel) regarding For the Mideast, a code for rising democracies

....The free world has long recognized that democracy is about values before it is about voting. In the 1930s, Europe showed that a democratic process divorced of values can have devastating results. Since then, democratic nations have enshrined the idea that democracy is more than elections and that those seeking to be elected must commit to key democratic principles. In Israel, for example, parties are ineligible to participate in elections if their platform embraces racist or anti-democratic doctrines (as was the case with the disqualified Kach movement in 1988).

In the Middle East, we have already paid the price of neglecting these principles. In the case of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the international community limited its conception of democracy to the technical process of voting. The result was to give a measure of democratic legitimacy and power to armed radical movements that are plainly not committed to democratic principles, that maintain independent militias and that pose a danger to their societies and neighbors.

In other news, according to John Kerry: Syria's Assad working to renew peace talks with Israel

U.S. Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and a close associate of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been working together with Syrian President Bashar Assad over the last few months on a plan to restart negotiations between Syria and Israel.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been briefed on Kerry's talks with Assad, opposes the plan, since he does not believe Assad is serious about making peace with Israel.

Kerry has met with Assad in Damascus five times over the last two years. The issue of restarting Israeli-Syrian talks was raised at all of these meetings, and a few months ago, the two began exploring practical ideas for doing so.

According the article both parties have been close in the past. I hope they can make it work for the future.

Finally (and please feel free to add stories in the comments)... German Chancellor Merkel chides Netanyahu for failing to make 'a single step to advance peace'

A crisis erupted between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During a telephone call this week, Merkel told Netanyahu that he had disappointed her and had done nothing to advance peace, sources told Haaretz.

The prime minister tried to persuade Merkel that he was about to launch a diplomatic initiative, explaining he is making a speech in two weeks in which he will outline a new peace plan.

A senior German source said Netanyahu had called Merkel on Monday, following the American veto in the UN Security Council last Friday and Germany's vote in favor of the Palestinian proposal to condemn construction in West Bank settlements

Enjoy the articles... I should be back in a couple of hours. Peace, Shalom and Salam to you all!

Originally posted to volleyboy1 on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 10:46 AM PST.

Also republished by Team Shalom.

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