Archive for September, 2000

Sep 29 2000

Indyk should not come back

Published by under Articles,US-Middle East

Diplomacy is a tricky business. Governments and foreign service departments try very hard to keep their diplomats moving from one post to the other so that they don’t get too attached to one country. The idea being that if a diplomat gets too attached to a single country his or her political vision might get blurred, and that diplomat will start to represent the country he/she is working in rather than his/her own.

It was for this reason of objectivity that for many years the US and other Western countries refused to appoint Jewish diplomats to Israel. For years this rule also applied to major media organs like the New York Times. This rule that was based only on the religious faith of diplomats (and journalists) was wrong. But although people should be judged solely on their performance, governments can’t and shouldn’t ignore the `impression’ factor. Impressions and images often precede individuals and many times never leave them.

The case of two-time US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, is a case in point.  Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Sep 22 2000

Time for peace

Published by under Articles,Palestinian politics

The date was Dec. 13, 1993, exactly three months after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the PLO on the White House lawn. We were dispatched to Gaza to gauge Palestinian reactions to the passing of this date without any change on the ground. Palestinians had high expectations that on this day, Israel would begin withdrawing from Gaza and Jericho as the agreement had stipulated. But nothing was happening on the Israeli side that day. The then prime minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin had made it clear “there are no sacred dates.” With the lapse of this first important date, the carefully worded interim peace agreement with a whole set of interdependent dates had fallen to the wayside.  Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Sep 15 2000

Full rights until deal is delivered

Published by under Articles,Palestinian politics

For a long time two people, let us call them Ahmad and Shlomo have had a financial dispute. Shlomo owes Ahmad $100,000 and he has been refusing to pay it back despite Ahmad’s possession of a binding contract to the effect of his rights to this amount. The dispute has caused trouble for both men. Their children are always fighting and the atmosphere between them has become unbearable. Finally a mutual friend, let us call him Jimmy, has suggested a compromise. He went to Ahmad and convinced him that since he will never be able to get all his money back, the best he can do is get $30,000. Although he felt cheated Ahmad reluctantly agreed. But Jimmy was unable to deliver the agreed upon compromised amount. Days turned into weeks and month. An angry Ahmad started bad mouthing Shlomo saying that he has swindled him and has not paid him back his money.  Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Sep 07 2000

Freedom of expression? Sometimes

Published by under Articles,Media Activism

How does one evaluate the level of the freedom of expression in any country? Is it by the existence of an independent media? Is it by the absence of censorship? What about self-censorship? Is the presence of private radio and television a sign of freedom of expression? What about laws? Is the presence of a press law good or bad for freedom of expression?

These are some of the discussions taking place in Palestine and on the air waves as a result of the recent hard hitting report by Amnesty International entitled, “Palestinian Authority: Shutting up Opposition.” The report is a scathing criticism of the policies of the Palestinian security forces in arresting individuals for expressing opinions unpopular with the PA, as well as punishing media organizations and journalists for their coverage of such statements.  Continue Reading »

No responses yet