Interviewing Khaled Meshal on Palestine, Goldstone, International Law and Israel Peace Process

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On the 17th of October this year, I interviewed Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in his offices in Damascus, Syria on a wide range of topics. I did the interview as part of a launch effort for a new political blog, The Palestine Note, which is releasing the interview today.
The questions I asked Meshal to reflect on were:
meshal aj.jpg

1. How had Meshal’s father influenced his course given that his father recently passed away? I linked this discussion of Meshal and his father’s vision to Barack Obama’s own revelations about his father and his goals in Obama’s first powerful memoir, Dreams From My Father.
2. I asked Meshal to articulate his vision for a united Palestine, particularly after the occupation.
3. What would life under a Hamas-led government would look like. What are the views on diversity, heterodoxy, secularism? Some people fear that a Hamas-led government hasn’t shown the ability to handle diversity and accept people that are different. What is Meshal’s answer to those who think that minority rights will be abused? I discussed concerns about the shuttering of private schools in Gaza, forcing women to wear the hijab, and prohibitions on swimming unless wearing prescribed clothing.
4. What are Hamas’ views on the Goldstone Report and whether the criticism of Mahmoud Abbas on his stumbles on Goldstone reflected a willingness by Hamas to abide by international law covenants, particularly about targeting innocent civilians. (I found Meshal’s response quite interesting but should have pushed him on the subject of suicide bombers which I was unable to at the time.)
5. Is Khaled Meshal a Palestinian patriot or a Muslim patriot? I asked him to differentiate Hamas from other Islamic fundamentalist and Salafist groups, including al Qaeda.
6. Could Hamas be an active and constructive player in peace negotiations with Israel in a way that does not totally violate Hamas’ basic charter?
7. Finally, what advice did Meshal have for President Obama as he approaches the next steps of the Middle East peace challenge?

The “transcript” of the entire exchange — my full questions and Khaled Meshal’s responses appears after the break. . .


STEVEN CLEMONS INTERVIEW WITH KHALED MESHAL
17 OCTOBER 2009 – DAMASCUS, SYRIA

www.PalestineNote.com
transcript
Steve Clemons directs the foreign policy program at the New America Foundation and conducted this interview for “The Palestine Note.” He also publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note.
Clemons: Hi, I’m Steve Clemons. I direct the foreign policy programs at the New America Foundation in Washington, and I’m helping a special project for a new blog, called the Palestine Note. And we’re here with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal who has been kind enough to invite me in to have a discussion today about his vision and views for Palestine.
Clemons: Thank you so much for meeting with me. It’s great to be with you.
Meshal: Welcome
Clemons: Let me start with kind of an emotional question. Unfortunately I know and I want to express my condolences that your father passed away recently, and I’m sorry for that.
Barack Obama once wrote a book when he was young, called “Dreams from My Father.” Of course, his father was from Kenya and had dreams of a better world and a more just world, a world that you know where racism was less of it. It’s a very compelling book, and it just made me think that maybe you might have some visions if your very interesting father in the life he live may have shaped how you look at Palestine. Do you have any thoughts, or have you thought about this connection to Obama and his dad and what your father was like?
Meshal: In the Name of Allah. Welcome to you and the respectful viewers.
There is no doubt that every human being is related to his father’s experience emotionally and socially. The relationship between the father and his son is spontaneous, in addition to the total experience as the human being learns from his father from the first day, and from his small family. The human being is an extension of his father’s experience, ambition and dreams. My father, may God have mercy on him, was a struggler. He fought against the British mandate and the Zionist settlers who came to Palestine.
My father was carrying the ambitions of his people. He was looking forward for the freedom and ridding of the occupation. I acquired this spirit from my father before I read about it in all of the books. I consider myself an extension to my father’s experience. And I’m one of the Palestinians whose generation that is an extension to the previous generations, which carried our national concerns and goal.
Now, our generation and the next one are carrying the experience and go on with it and inherit it. This is part of the ingenuity of the Palestinian people. It’s a people whose experience is extended: the fathers, the children, the grandchildren and so on until our national goal is achieved. So there is no doubt that president Obama had his experience with his father’s dreams. I also have my experience, not only with my father’s dreams but also with my father’s struggle and his experience. I carry this experience and take it to my sons and then to my grandsons until we get rid of the occupation and achieve our national goal, by God’s will.
Clemons: Your country today and your government is divided. There is Gaza. There is the West Bank. There is Fatah. There is Hamas. There are independents, I understand. Can you share with our audience what your vision is if you were to help govern a united Palestine. What is the vision for a united Palestine, particularly after the occupation? Is there a positive, constructive vision for Palestine that someone like you in leadership can see and talk about that exists beyond the darker side of the Israeli occupation?
Meshal: Certainly. We are a movement that carries the concerns of its people.
We work hard to end the Palestinian division first so we become one Palestinian side, one authority, one Palestinian leadership, we have one political vision which we work together to achieve. We are going through sad reality. We look forward for a better reality.
Between the current and future reality there is a gap that we seek to fill through struggle and determination. Our goal is to get rid of the occupation: our people live away from occupation, killings, and arrests and the region lives without bloodshed and to have a real peace in the region, a just peace that is fair to our people that provides it with real independence and the complete right of determining the fate so that we live like how the world’s peoples live, with no occupation on our land and with real sovereignty and in an independent state with real sovereignty, like all world countries.
That’s what we seek. We seek this goal through struggle and cooperation with the international community and the regional surrounding. We want the bloodshed to stop. We want to not have wars in the region, but after our people get their rights. This is the normal situation. Our people look forward to achieve this goal through any peaceful means, but unfortunately our people were affected or let down by many of its surroundings. That’s why they sought the struggle through resistance, which is a means not a need. If they found a peaceful ways to get their rights, they will deal with it seriously. In brief, our people seek the freedom and the right of determining the fate.
Clemons: So you are going to Cairo, your people are going to Cairo?
Meshal: No, I will send a delegation.
Clemons: Some people fear that a Hamas-led government hasn’t shown the ability to handle diversity, to handle settlements, to handle people that are different. What is your answer to those who think that the code that comes not just the fact that you are less corrupt than Fatah or there is more competence or you have vision in a sense, but there are other parts that certain people fear. Can you govern in what we call a heterodox way where minorities have rights? And the reason that I raise this is that there has been some concern in Gaza that could there be private schools? You know, the women in the hijab, the incidents on the beach without swimming and on. But do you have any response for those who fear on the cultural life style side? What would living under Hamas regime look like?
Meshal: First, Hamas does not seek to run the government individually. Hamas seeks to liberate its land and to restore its people’s rights with the help of the other Palestinian political powers. After achieving this goal, we will be partners in ruling the homeland and the forthcoming Palestinian state, by the will of God. So Hamas is not with the individuality, that’s first.
Secondly, our vision is to give our people the freedom to choose, like they choose their leaderships through polling boxes, they can choose the freedom of their ruling regime, and their intellectual and social programs. In the essence, we give our people the freedom and our people are aware and know what to choose.
We respect our people’s choices and you know freedom is the basis in people’s lives. What we are suffering from is the absence of freedom. Consequently our demand is to provide the people with the freedom. And through the history of Palestine and the fact that it’s the land of religions and prophets, and this Palestine had all prophets and that’s why in it lived the Muslims, the Christians and some Jews and there was a big deal of tolerance and coexistence.
The problem is when Zionism came to invade the land and impose its power by force, but there was no problem to have the Muslim, the Christian and the Jew live together for fourteenth centuries peacefully in Palestine and the other Arab countries. So this diversity is the main component of the social, intellectual and political life in Palestine. We respect that and we will preserve that. Some of what was said about Gaza that there is the subject of Hijab and so on, these are individual practices that we do not order and we do not allow anyone to impose what to eat and wear.
These are people’s liberties and we respect the people’s choices, and the people have the right to have his own religion or ideology or belongingness. The important thing is that there is democracy we depend on, a general law that protects everyone, there is law and freedom, there is diversity and peaceful leadership of the power. These are the values we believe in. but unfortunately, when Hamas won in 2006 it has not been given the chance to practice its experience in normal conditions. It was subjected to embargo and pressure. Some of the wrong behaviors happen because of the difficult conditions: the embargo, the pressure and starvation like what is happening the Gaza Strip.
We need our people to be granted full freedom by choosing its governing system, its democracy, its parliament representatives and leaders. I’m sure the Palestinian people that includes Hamas, Fatah and all the powers will behave the good way.
Clemons: You have been, Khaeld Meshal, very critical of your partner in government now, Mahmoud Abbas and his position on the Goldstone report and America’s position on the Goldstone report and here you have a critique by a very well-known jurist, human rights jurist who found war crimes issues in Israel and Hamas related to the Gaza incursion and Gaza crisis in the beginning of last year.
And one of the questions that I have is that your criticism is so profound and many people have heard it and felt it that Mahmoud Abbas is waffling has made you look like more a champion of Palestinian broader interest, but it raised a really interesting legal question about whether Hamas sees itself as a binding bi-systems of transnational international law, and thinking, one of the concerns of the Goldstone report was the targeting, the purposeful targeting by Israel of civilian infrastructure. How do you think this relates to Hamas and how it’s evolving and thinking about international law, you know innocent civilians and what, obviously I’m talking about rockets and how they fit? Is your own thinking evolving because of the Goldstone report?
Meshal: First, we criticized Mahmoud Abbas because he fell for the American pressures and others to withdraw the Goldstone report. This is opposite to the benefits of the Palestinian people. There was a chance to condemn Israel for its crimes in Gaza. That’s the reason behind Hamas’s anger and the Palestinian people’s anger and you realized that. Then he had to re present the report to the human rights committee in Geneva. This is an important correction of the mistake.
When the report was issued yesterday, we welcomed the human rights committee in Geneva reading it. When Hamas deals seriously with the Goldstone report, with some reservations on it, this is evidence that Hamas respects the international law and is ready to cooperate with this law. If the report or any other side has any reservations on Hamas’ actions, we are ready to explain them and we will form an honest and neutral investigative committee in Gaza to give Goldstone and its committee and the international community the facts.
Hamas does not aim to kill civilians. Hamas does not want to target the civilians. Hamas defends itself, but because it has simple abilities and its rockets are inaccurate in targeting, so it reaches the civilians, but we do not intend to do that. That cannot be compared. We are the victims. Hamas, the resistance powers and the Palestinian people in Gaza and West Bank, we are the victims. When the victim defends itself, even if some unintentional mistakes happen, this cannot be compared with crime Israel is committing.
It is the occupying and attacking state which possesses a huge military arsenal and has the most modern weapons which it can target away from civilians. But Israel is intends, just like what happened during the Gaza war, killing the civilians, the women and children. Third of the victims in Gaza war or half of them were civilians. It destroys the schools, mosques and universities.
This is a very dangerous issue. Consequently there is no comparison between Hamas and Israel. Hamas and the Palestinian people are the victims and Israel is the hangman, the occupier and the attacker. As a result, Goldstone’s report is important because for the first time the Palestinian people felt there is an international side that was fair to the Palestinians and accused who should be accused, which is Israel.
Clemons: Mr. Meshal, one question people have is Khaled Meshal is a Palestinian patriot or a Muslim patriot and when of the things that happened recently is we saw in Gaza Hamas take action against other Salafist groups that were creating difficulty and I think it will be very interesting for the people to know how you see Hamas characterized by in the media and how it’s differentiated from other Islamic radical and Salafist groups out there. And obviously from an American perspective too many Americans look at all those groups, Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbullah, Hamas and they say it’s all al-Qaeda, which I find, I know it’s wrong but I would like to hear how you characterize this.
Meshal: First, We, Hamas is a movement of national liberation. Its program is based on resisting the occupier and achieving the national goals of the Palestinian people. Yes, we carry Islamic culture. We adopt the Islamic thought, because we are part of this nation, this region, the region that is Arab and Muslim. This is a normal thing, just like when there is a movement in Europe it is Christian. This is not strange. We are a liberation movement but we are an Islamic movement too because we are part of this region naturally.
In our Islamic thought, we adopt the moderate Islam, the in-between Islam, that is far from extremism. We are against extremism in the Islamic thought. We support the moderation, and this is the real Islam as we see it. We carry out the resistance but we do not practice violence. We do not open general violence. We carry out legitimate resistance against the occupier. We do not carry out these abroad, but we carry it out in Palestine against the Israeli occupier. This part of the reality of Hamas and its moderation. We are also not against any other Islamic group that opposes our thought, be it Salafist or any other movement.
This is part of diversity and freedom. However, some of the groups that became against the law and carried out violence internally against the innocent and the civilians inside Palestine because they oppose this group, here it was necessary to put an end to this group, but we do not fight everyone who opposes us. No. this is freedom available to everybody. So, this is the philosophy of Hamas. Hamas is a national liberation movement that carries the Islamic thought; the moderate thought that deals with tolerance and openness with all of the Palestinian and regional components. And we are also open to the world and we work with tolerance and openness and we believe in dialogue between civilizations and not through the clash of civilizations. We are part of this greater village in the world and we cooperate with everybody, but we want everybody to respect the other and not to attack its rights.
With the end of the occupation and the wars, the people will get the chance to live in peace and cooperate for the sake of humanity prosperity and achieving the goodness for it.
Our Islam which we adopt is moderate and we believe that Islam is moderate
Clemons: Khaled, in the …
Meshal: This is the last question?
Clemons: Yes, this is the last question, a very big question. One is, can Hamas, without denying its character, without denying its basic DNA, can it be part of a unity government, a combined government in Palestine that if the United States and Europe and the Arab League and other states that can be involved in more responsible ways that can be more effective than they are right now, from my own point of view, can Hamas be an active and constructive player in peace negotiations or even equilibrium negotiations with Israel, in a way, or does that undo your basic charter.
And let me add the second part of the question: the question is if you were to give smart council to president Obama and his team on how to reach this region in a more effective way, a way that generates more results that are fair a long some of the lines that you shared with us today. What would be some of the things that you would share with the president?
Meshal: The first part: Hamas, we had announced, that is ready to cooperate with the law and with any international or regional effort or Arab, certainly to reach real peace in the region. We and all the Palestinians and Arabs accepted the borders of June 4, 1967. The problem is not with the Palestinians, Hamas, Fatah or the Arab.
The problem is with Israel. The problem is not whether we accept or not, but the question is does the Obama administration and the international community has the will, the desire and the ability to pressure Israel to force her to accept that? We have a big question mark. The Obama administration tried to force Netanyahu to freeze the settlements in order to start the negotiations, but he refused. So if neither the Obama administration nor the international community were able to freeze the settlements for a period of one year, how will they force him to withdraw from the 1967 borders? Whether with the Palestinians or with Syria, how are they going to force him to recognize the Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and the right to return and the land? As a matter of fact, the problem is with Israel and the problem is there should be an international will, led by the Obama administration to force Israel not to rebel against the international law.
What I advice the Obama administration to do is that president Obama and his administration to better know the region, the psychology of this region, the history, and the roots of the problem that was initiated in Palestine because knowing the history is important to create the present and the future. That’s what’s important. Secondly, they should realize that the entry to change the current scene in the region- to take the region from wars and struggle to peace- is not by pressuring the Arabs and Palestinians again.
The successive American administrations have pressured the Arabs and Palestinians a lot and the result they could not achieve peace because the problem is not here. Thus, the strategy must change, which is pressuring the right entry, which is Israel. Israel is the obstacle. Pressuring Israel is what will change the scene.
Here’s the starting point, and if the Arabs and the Palestinians found seriousness from the American administration in pressuring Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders, and recognize the Palestinian and Arab rights and stops its occupation and aggression, I’m telling you that the Arabs and Palestinians will cooperate with the American administration and there will be peace in the region. Without that, the struggle will remain and all the American and international attempts will fail because in brief they’re not moving in the right direction. This is my advice if the American administration wanted to see different results than those resulted by the Bush administration and the ones before it.
To achieve new results, you should have, we need, another approach, different approach.
Clemons: We are out of time. I want to thank you so much for giving the opportunity to the Palestine Note and the readers of the blog an opportunity to spend some time with you. Thank you so much.
Meshal: Welcome. I am happy to see you. Thank you very much. And see you later, Inshallah.
[end]
– Steve Clemons

Comments

35 comments on “Interviewing Khaled Meshal on Palestine, Goldstone, International Law and Israel Peace Process

  1. David says:

    nadine,
    Does Israel target civilians? And how do Israeli officials answer this question? You are aware that for rather a long time now, civilians have been the principal casualties in all wars, are you not?

    Reply

  2. David says:

    Glad to see Link TV’s Linkletter picked up this interview.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yet Western reporters routinely treat Arab lies as if they were more credible than Western spin”
    Gads, what a liar this woman is. Where is Wig-wag and questions to compliment her on her blatant deceptions?

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    It`s amusing to read Nadine reflecting upon how shameful it is to be caught in a lie.

    Reply

  5. nadine says:

    Paul, you must have heard a different set of interviews of Israeli officials than I have from CNN. Not once have I heard an interview where the Israeli officials was allowed to give a ten minute answer without a single followup question. No, Israelis always get skeptical and usually harsh followup questions, which they deal with as all Western politicians must – either they tell the truth or they spin.
    Arab politicians have a different rulebook. Arab politicians tell the truth or more often, they tell enormous whoppers (e.g. “Hamas does not target civilians.” This is a normal feature of Arab politics; it’s not just for Western consumption.
    Yet Western reporters routinely treat Arab lies as if they were more credible than Western spin. I suppose that is because they know the Western politicians are afraid to depart too far from the truth, since it’s shameful to be caught in a lie in Western politics, so the reporter might land a ‘gotcha’ moment. But the Arab politician will just respond with an even bigger lie, since lying is not shameful for him; on the contrary, it’s his duty. (“Bagdad Bob”, Saddam’s last information minister, was an extreme version of a normal type. He won admiration in the Arab world for sticking to the story to the bitter end.)
    But this has the perverse effect of punishing partial truths and rewarding lies, the bigger the better.
    Steve Clemons just conducted a long interview where Meshal was allowed to answer at length, make any ludicrous claim he pleased, such as Hamas not targeting civilians, and yet he never got ONE SINGLE FOLLOWUP QUESTION.
    You show me a similar interview of any Israeli official. Go ahead, I dare you.

    Reply

  6. Hester says:

    Mr. Norheim, I agree with you about CNN. I guess now we just have to wait for a news organization to have the guts to ask ALL of the questions that need to be asked of both sides!

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Some people have criticized Steve for not asking certain questions, or follow-up
    questions when the answers were not satisfying.
    Thumber77 said: 1)When Meshal said that Hamas never intentionally targets civilians,
    you should have asked him about all the bus bombings in the middle of Israeli cities.”
    I noticed that too. I assume that Hamas had to accept Steve`s questions in advance.
    However, imagine what would happen if, say, CNN had interviewed Meshal: they would
    ONLY have talked about the bus bombings of the past, the blowing up of restaurants and
    cafes, the terrorist methods… and never got to any other issue that is worth
    raising.
    We all know that Hamas often have targeted civilians. We also know that Meshal would
    have denied it if Steve had pushed him harder – and claimed that only Israel do
    terrorism. It`s a very predictable ritual – just like interviewing Israeli officials
    on state terrorism is a predictable ritual. Besides, CNN or other mainstream media
    would NEVER have mentioned the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure during
    the Gaza attack. Conclusion of a typical CNN interview: Hamas is the only one to
    blame; they are the terrorists.
    Steve Clemons should be applauded for making the right decision: He started where CNN
    would have stopped, and asked some of the interesting questions they would have
    refrained from asking.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “He has mastered the art of victimology…”
    Oh??? Gee, from any rational person’s observance of modern history, it seems Israel is the true master of “victimology”. I’m a little curious, when does the Holocaust stop giving you people the right to ride roughshot over all decency and respect for human rights?
    Reading down, its apparent that you are religious wackjob. When will mankind stop paying the price exacted by the destructive zealotry and fanaticism of maniacs such as yourself? Over history, how many have died because of the insane hatreds contained in your satanical perversion of God’s message?
    Careful, wackjob, your horns are showing.
    For those of you with an ounce of sanity and common sense, reread the insane rant of Sandridge, and consider the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons. And we’re afraid of Iran having them??? From cluster bombs to white phosphorous, who has shown us their willingness to inflict mass casualties on civilian populations?

    Reply

  9. Brian sandridge says:

    One more point, the name:Khaled Meshal; in Hebrew a legitimate
    king or ruler is “Malchut”. One who rules only by right of force is
    meschel.

    Reply

  10. Brian sandridge says:

    Great performance by Mr. Hamas. (Check it out, in Hebrew,
    “Hamas” means violence and iniquity!) I noticed that when he
    used certain buzzwords he learned from our media, he looked
    from Mr. Goodey2shoes directly to the camera. We are open to
    “dialogue”, and “open to diversity”! He has mastered the art of
    victimology as well! Maybe Mr. Terrorist is a community
    organizer? “As a matter of fact, the problem is with Israel and
    the problem is there should be an international will, led by the
    Obama administration to force Israel not to rebel against the
    international law.” A chilling urgency is heard in his words here.
    In the Siddur (the book of prayers in Judaism) there is a section
    called the Pesukei D’Zimrah (songs of praise), and is recited as
    part of the morning prayers every morning! It is culled mostly
    from verses of Psalms and other scriptural texts. I love “Adenoi
    hai-fir u-tzat go-im.” translated “The LORD (YHVH) annuls the
    counsel of nations”. It then cites psalm 135:4 “For Jacob was
    selected for His own, by God (Ya); Israel His treasure.” In this
    same Siddur is the section called the Shemoneh Esrei (18
    benedictions). It dates back to the second temple period, a long
    long time! Even if composed after the Roman destruction of the
    Second Temple, in 70 AD, it would still be almost 2000 yrs. old.
    One of these blessings, said at least twice a day for two
    millennia by Jews scattered through out the world is “Y’Ka
    B’Shofar Gadol: Sound the great shofar for our freedom; raise a
    banner to gather our exiles from the four corners of the earth.
    Blessed art thou LORD (YHVH) Who gathers in the dispersed of
    His people, Israel.”
    Barak Obama (Lightening from above) will dare to attempt to
    force Israel to first retreat to the pre-1967 borders, which were
    at that time unacceptable by the Philistines, and trust that they
    will then be happy and at peace! But as Khaled clearly stated
    above, only the Right Of Return will satisfy Hamas! This would
    result in the forced invasion of the millions of Philistinian
    refugees who were kept as pawns by the Arab states instead of
    allowing them to be accepted as immigrants. At the time of the
    creation of the state of Israel, Jews were forced to flee the
    Muslim nations in which they had lived. Israel of course opened
    her doors to her brothers and sisters. This, the Arabs would not
    do for their own; imagine what they would do to the Jewish
    minority in the last days of the state of Israel, before the new
    Philistinian majority voted democratically to abolish the “Zionist
    Entity” entirely and establish The Democratic Republic of
    Philistia!
    No, not ever again. Even if it means a nuclear Masada! But it
    won’t come to that, because this time the LORD will re-introduce
    Himself to the World. The Christians will rejoice that His name is
    Yeshua, until he looks at their history and says “be gone, I know
    ye not!” And the Jews will be stunned that the Jesus hammer
    with which we have been beaten with for 2000 years, calls
    Himself Yeshua, and proceeds to wipe away every Israelite tear,
    while annihilating Our foes!
    That is the day I pray I am made worthy to live to see. It is
    coming quickly now, and just as dawn follows the darkest part of
    night, the day will come! No we do not know the hour or the
    day, but we are commanded to know the season! Just as we
    know spring is arriving when the Fig Tree blossoms. (The Fig
    Tree is a symbol for Israel!) Read Mark Twain’s account of his
    travels to Ottoman Palestine (BTW there has never in all of
    history been an independent nation called Palestine). He
    describes a dry dead dusty backwater town in Jerusalem, and
    the entire province. He said it was as if the very land was
    missing its rightful inhabitants. And in 1948 the Fig
    Treebloomed, though buds were seen even in the decades prior
    to the Holocaust. The Holocaust stamped PAID IN FULL to every
    charge of infidelity levied by God against His people Israel which
    was what precipitated the diaspora. It wasn’t the Romans, or the
    Assyrians, or the Babylonians that had conquered Israel in their
    times. Only as instruments in God’s hands, they hubristically
    believed it was their power which had prevailed over Israel.
    Wrong! And as the nations begin their slowly reeling spin
    around the cup which is Jerusalem and escalates into a death
    spiral the Day Of The Lord will be upon us. To the illiterate
    boors it will come as a thief in the night. But to us who see
    with eyes and hear with ears opened by Yeshua, we will be
    prepared!

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Israel just operated one of the most surgical attacks on a terrorist force entrenched in a civilian population ever seen”
    You’re a liar, and you know it. There just isn’t any other way to put it.

    Reply

  12. Hester says:

    This was a very softball interview. Clemons must have been told in advance that no tough questions would be permitted or the interview was off.
    Meshalsays Hamas does not target civilians and you let it go at that? Good grief.

    Reply

  13. kotzabasis says:

    Norheim
    It’s obvious that you are totally incapable of making a distinction between an “example” and an “illustration.” “Heroic Churchill studying the positions …of Her Hitler was an ILLUSTRATION, not an allusion to a similar scenario. As to your vaudevillian streak, I’ve nothing to add. And the rest of your comment is intellectually and politically unhinged. And you always revert to your bad habits of ‘scare crowing’ your opponent by dubbing him as a hawk to draw the attention of your emotional audience since you are totally inept to drive your argument home intellectually in cool surroundings.
    My ‘celestial illusion’ was not applying to Siin Fein but solely to Hamas, yet you are deliberately shifting it to the former to reinforce your ricketty argument. Once again in loss of your amour propre.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    Hamas is a tiny and weak organization
    Paul, Hamas is not so weak that they have to share the rule of Gaza with Fatah, and they don’t. They are not so weak they have to hold another election, and they won’t. They are not so weak that Iran doesn’t think it worthwhile to patronize them. Iran is sending them millions of dollars and is now attempting to arm them with Fajr-5 missiles. That’s a big step up from Qassams.
    Hamas effectively holds the civilian population of Gaza hostage. They can start shooting from behind them any time they please. They can boobytrap whole families inside their homes, as they did last January. Goldstone proves they will have the world’s support when they do.
    As a general rule, weaker powers do not keep attacking stronger powers for fear of getting clobbered. But I/P is the exception, because so many powers collude to protect the weaker powers and make them feel safe to attack and keep attacking.
    “Their foe happens to have approximately 200 nuclear bombs or more – in addition to White Phosphor, US support, and plenty of other means to
    civilize the fanatics.”
    A truly asinine remark. Israel just operated one of the most surgical attacks on a terrorist force entrenched in a civilian population ever seen. True civilian casualties compare very favorably to any other engagement you would care to name, certainly compared to anything that happened recently in Pakistan or Sri Lanka. And the world community is trying to turn the IDF into war criminals based on a kangaroo court review (I can’t say “investigation”, can I? when Goldstone himself is saying it wasn’t a real investigation. Of course that is only his PR campaign). So what have Israel’s damn nukes got to do with the question? Not a damn thing.

    Reply

  15. Thumber77 says:

    1)When Meshal said that Hamas never intentionally targets civilians, you should have asked him about all the bus bombings in the middle of Israeli cities.
    2) When he talked about being open to diversity, you should have asked him about gay rights in a Hamas state.
    3) Hamas is showing us who they are by how they rule now – rooting out and shooting down Fatah supporters left in Gaza. Hamas will not be building Holland South in the Middle East. Meshal is a smart person telling you/us what we want to hear, but if words were sufficient, the Soviet Union would have been a worker’s paradise.

    Reply

  16. Paul Norheim says:

    “Not as some sort of equivalence between Hitler and Meshal…” Fine, Kotz. But you
    can`t resist continuing to allude to the same scenario – now adding the example of
    the heroic Churchill studying the positions and actions of Herr Hitler.
    I actually find it more amusing to discuss Hitler`s mustache and Churchill`s
    parrot. I sincerely believe that Churchill`s parrot and Adolf`s mustache are both
    still alive, talking and screaming nonstop, happily liberated from their owners.
    Hamas is a tiny and weak organization, opposing an overwhelmingly strong and well
    equipped occupier from a tiny space on the planet – regardless of their support
    from Hisbollah and Iran. Their foe happens to have approximately 200 nuclear bombs
    or more – in addition to White Phosphor, US support, and plenty of other means to
    civilize the fanatics.
    You`re not confusing Hamas with Melville`s White Whale here, are you? Sorry, but
    Hamas is a small herring in the global context, and appeasement is an inappropriate
    word.
    “To Clemons, and it seems to you from the example you give about the Sin Fein UK
    negotiations, talking to Hamas is not merely giving them the opportunity to
    ventilate their position but also to indulge in the ‘celestial’ illusion that by
    doing so one can make them change its position.”
    Celestial illusions? But Shin Fein did change their position during the process! So
    did the Turkish leadership – from an Islamist position to a more moderate and
    pragmatic approach when they won the election and was forced to govern responsibly.
    Sometimes military means are inappropriate and foolish, whether you hawks like it
    or not.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Paul,
    Mr. Meshal is an Islamist. That means he is ideologically and religiously committed to ending the occupation of Palestine – all of it – 48 and 67 – and he has stated this hundreds of times. It is not permitted to an Islamist to accept that land which was once Muslim should become non-Muslim. That is why Osama bin Laden is still complaining about Spain (al Andalus).
    This is why none of the hints Meshal is now dropping with the words “peace” and “deal” in them actually refer to what we would call a “peace deal”. Hamas will never propose or accept any deal that recognizes the legitimacy of the Jewish State or signs a permanent treaty with it. What they offer is a truce. The model they have in mind is the Prophet’s Treaty of Hudibaiyah.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    Why bother to have an interview? Why not mail in the questions and let Meshaal answer whatever he liked? It would have produced the same result.
    Not one followup question, not one clarification, not one push back as Meshaael makes one false and ludicrous claim after another. Let’s hit the highlights, shall we?
    “Hamas does not seek to run the government individually. Hamas seeks to liberate its land and to restore its people’s rights with the help of the other Palestinian political powers.”
    So why has Hamas refused to take part in the January 24 elections that Abu Mazen has called for? Hamas can say anything about liberty and the peoples rights because to an Islamist, libery and rights=Islam, not democracy. Of course Meshaal knows his words will be misinterpreted by Western ears. He’s counting on it.
    “We carry out the resistance but we do not practice violence.”
    and
    “Hamas does not aim to kill civilians. Hamas does not want to target the civilians. Hamas defends itself, but because it has simple abilities and its rockets are inaccurate in targeting, so it reaches the civilians, but we do not intend to do that.”
    Oh really? The suicide bombers who blew up restaurants and buses, were they also unguided? Hamas has said on hundreds of occasions that there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian, anyway.
    No comment, I notice, Steve. You let this one pass too. I guess if Meshaal wants to define resistance as non-violent even if it involves suicide bombers you’re just fine with that.
    “It is the occupying and attacking state which possesses a huge military arsenal and has the most modern weapons which it can target away from civilians.”
    Unless all the targets are hidden behind a human shield of civilians, which happens to be exactly where Hamas puts them. As the New York Times reported in January, Hamas has benefited from Syrian and Iranian training and is careful to shoot only from dense civilian areas.
    “Here’s the starting point, and if the Arabs and the Palestinians found seriousness from the American administration in pressuring Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders, and recognize the Palestinian and Arab rights and stops its occupation and aggression, I’m telling you that the Arabs and Palestinians will cooperate with the American administration and there will be peace in the region”
    He’s neglecting to mention that the deal Hamas is offering is not a peace treaty but a hudna, a temporary truce. The Islamist model for such a hudna is the Prophet’s Treaty of Hudibaiya, as Arafat explained after he signed Oslo. (The Prophet broke it before the time was up and slaughtered his enemies.) For that matter, the Arab League proposal is vague about what the Arab League will give Israel if Israel withdraws to the 1967 lines, but very insistent that Israel should withdraw first and then see what it gets. Again, he tosses out the words “peace” and “deal” and knows you will lap them up since you are begging him to lie to you.
    I guess “realism” now means begging Iran and its bought-and-paid-for proxies to lie to you, and lapping it up if they oblige. They don’t even have to try hard, just drop a few hints in the right direction and you’ll buy it. They certainly don’t have to ante up any actions to back up their talk. Notice Meshal didn’t promise one single Hamas action for peace. No, the formula is the Arabs provide the demands, and Israel alone provides the concessions. The concessions create more demands, which produce more concessions. Rinse, lather, repeat. Until no more Israel.

    Reply

  19. kotzabasis says:

    Norheim
    Certainly you are correct in saying that one has to “study” the positions and actions of one’s opponent, as Churchill did with Hitler, but you don’t do this perennially as you have to come to a swift conclusion about your opponent so you can recalibrate your strategic position. To Clemons, and it seems to you from the example you give about the Sin Fein UK negotiations, talking to Hamas is not merely giving them the opportunity to ventilate their position but also to indulge in the ‘celestial’ illusion that by doing so one can make them change its position.
    And with characteristic careless thinking on your part you misunderstood the Der Fuhrer point. I used it merely as an illustration and not as some sort of equivalence between Hitler and Meshal.

    Reply

  20. JamesL says:

    And thank you Steve for posting this interview.

    Reply

  21. JamesL says:

    The word “appeasement” has another valid application–that of the US Congress toward Israel. Some appeasement may be bad and some good, but it is still appeasement. But it is most certainly bad when continued appeasement is rewarded by actions consistently detrimental to the appeaser. Israel is now a destabilizing force in the mideast, and the US cannot continue to support that behavior.

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    Kotz,
    I think people should study and compare the following elements when evaluating
    Hamas: Their charter, their claimed positions now, their past and current
    actions (and lack of actions) and their strategy and tactics. (The same goes for
    Israel: claims versus verifiable actions.) I don`t buy everything the Hamas
    leader said, but it gives some clues and some valuable information, when you
    compare it to the above mentioned factors.
    We are all capable of making judgements taking all these factors into
    consideration – interviews included.
    The “appeasement” word is used so often by belligerent people (alluding to
    Hitler, Holocaust and WW II) that it`s inflated. And it`s certainly not
    appropriate to throw this accusation at a journalist.
    Most western medias banned interviews with the Irish Shin Fein leader Gerry
    Adams for several years. Terrorism? Sure. But the negotiations, the peace
    process and the transformation from terrorism to politics transformed the
    IRA/Shin Fein movement to something else. Another example could be the current
    political leaders in Turkey – former Islamists. These are plain facts, not
    dreams, naivism, or wishful thinking. At a certain stage in these processes, I`m
    sure you and other hawks would have used the appeasement word. Because they are
    fanatic, they are terrorists…
    I`m not saying that this is going to happen with Hamas, but it could happen. In
    my view, this depends more on a transformation of the Israeli tactics and
    strategies than on Hamas. I know you disagree with this. In any case, accusing
    Steve of appeasement is absurd.
    Mr. Meshal is not Der Führer. And Mr. Clemons is, as far as I know, not yet Sec.
    of State in America. His role here is as a blogging journalist.

    Reply

  23. kotzabasis says:

    Norheim
    I’ve no problem in receiving honest messages but I do have a problem in receiving deceitful ones. To expect to get honest answers from the inveterate fanatic leader of Hamas is doltish naivety. I am not blaming Steve in his role as an interviewer but in giving to an un-reconstructive terrorist the communicative opportunity to troll out the deceitful stratagems of Hamas. Hitler also was giving reassuring interviews to many European and American interviewers but to what purpose?
    Clemons is to be censured-I’m not using the term blame as that has the colors of religion-not for his “intelligent and polite” (both attributes are deeply embedded in his nature) Meshal ‘journalistic coup’ but for paying the shameful price of appeasement toward fanatical Islam to get it.

    Reply

  24. Outraged American says:

    Nazis vs Zionists in pictures! You’ll have a hard time guessing
    which is which. HInt, the pics of Nazi brutality are in black & white.
    Israeli brutality is in LIVING color.
    http://tinyurl.com/yfdbp7s

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    Great interview, Steve.
    Your way of formulating the questions was intelligent and polite, but to the point.
    And Kotz should realize the obvious: interviewing someone does not necessarily imply
    that the interviewer agrees with the positions of one he interviews. Blaming the
    messenger is primitive.

    Reply

  26. Mr.Murder says:

    All are potential eastern versions of some present finance pillars, in terms of their relation to western money. They would actually a western version of UAE in terms of the middle east as a region.
    Money produces the momentum for change.

    Reply

  27. Mr.Murder says:

    The creation of two states, Gaza and palestine, would be an opportunity.
    Those countries could develop quickly. Meaning the same in mideastern finance terms that Luxembourg or the Caribbean banks mean to western capital, or an eastern version of UAE in terms of finance hedging.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here we find Steve posing questions to Meshal. And we find Kotz ignoring Meshal’s answers and attacking Steve. Whats wrong with that picture?
    Apparently, the rabid wackjob Australian has a problem with Steve even talking to Meshal, or posing questions at Meshal.
    What motivates such behaviour?? It can only be fear. What does Kotz fear Steve will uncover or reveal by questioning Meshal?

    Reply

  29. kotzabasis says:

    Clemons continues on and on with his unabated frivolity and naivety. The only realism left in him is one that moves in a ‘straight jacket.’ The imperative strategic lessons of the great Chinese strategist Sun Zi hardly leave a footprint on his soft head. “Knowing neither oneself nor the opponent, one will be in constant danger of losing every battle.” Sun Zi.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    There is something enigmatic here, that I can’t quite put my finger on. Gen. Jones appearance at the J Street event is drawing attention, and being touted as a victory for J Street, and a subtle message to Netanyahu from Obama. Yet it is being completely ignored that Jones appeared at the AIPAC National Summit in San Diego. The other key note speaker??? Mitt Romney. So why is Jones’ appearance at J Street such a big deal, yet his appearance at AIPAC merits no mention?
    And BTW, I can find NO transcript for his comments before AIPAC. Here is what the AIPAC website says about his and Romney’s addresses…
    “Both speakers warned of Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapons capability and stressed the importance of close ties between the United States and Israel”
    http://www.aipac.org/1680.asp#30241

    Reply

  31. samuelburke says:

    phil weiss is doing some great reporting from the jstreet
    conference.
    “The best news moment of the conference was at tonight’s
    plenary when California congressman Bob Filner said that the
    Israel lobby is getting congressmen to vote in favor of a war over
    an issue that the actual people in a congressman’s district
    couldn’t care less about. It’s all about money, he said (echoing
    my description of the lobby as bribery and corruption); and
    about politicians’ terror over what happened to former
    Congresspeople Earl Hilliard and Cynthia McKinney, publicly
    fried by the lobby for speaking out for Palestinian human rights.
    Filner let loose in the context of Colorado congressman Jared
    Polis saying that we shouldn’t go in for conspiracy theories
    about Jewish influence, and the lobby is no different from a lot
    of other lobbies. That’s when Filner said, No it’s different, and
    said the lobby was engaged on a flashpoint issue for the stability
    of the world, and pushing congressmen to vote for war. I believe
    the plenary session is recorded on the J Street website.
    McConnell tells me Filner used the word “nuclear” in there. I have
    a video of the moment. I’ll post it in days to come. So: an attack
    on the Israel lobby, from the dais at a plenary. Pretty darn good.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/

    Reply

  32. samuelburke says:

    steve i must of necessity say to you that i commend you for
    taking on the issue of our times…this issue goes right to the
    heart of our foreign policy problems in america and also
    commences to address the issue of introducing the israeli
    palestinian dilemma to an american public that is totally in the
    dark as to what israel has done and continnues to do in that
    land, and how they with their zionist fifth column within the u.s
    have manipulated the information available to all of us in order
    to present to america an israel that is always a victim and never
    the victimizer.
    god save our congressional representatives from zionist
    influence.
    the cuban lobby is peanuts compared to this battle, and the
    implications the israel/palestine conundrum has on your great
    nation is far far greater and more costly to your own people.
    i am pleased to see you grabbing the third rail of american
    foreign policy.
    america needs a hero.
    the pantsy corporate press is bought and paid for.
    the american intelligence community seems to be quite fed up
    with israel and their spying on america.
    i loved that operation they ran with the maryland traitor…posing
    as an israeli agent ought to send a signal to others who may be
    considering selling out the u.s …now they need to wonder
    whether the guy/lady who claims to be representing israel is
    really who they say they are or could they be fbi.
    three cheers for the fbi.

    Reply

  33. Outraged American says:

    Iran’s inaugurated an oil bourse. Expect an attack on Iran
    in…especially since the 1st currency mentioned is euros.
    27 October 2009
    TEHRAN – The Iranian Oil Bourse was inaugurated on Monday in
    the Persian Gulf island of Kish as a venue to export oil and
    petrochemical products.
    National Petrochemical Company’s Managing Director Adel
    Nejad-Salim said in the opening ceremony that all
    petrochemical products will be gradually offered on the market,
    IRNA news agency reported.
    The oil bourse is intended as an exchange market for petroleum,
    gas, and petrochemicals in various currencies, primarily the euro
    and Iranian rial, and a basket of other major currencies.
    On February 4, 2008 the Iranian Cabinet approved the creation
    of the oil bourse in two stages – first for crude and second for
    oil byproducts transactions.
    Iran, having the world’s second largest gas reserves and third
    largest oil reserves, is trying to play a more active role in oil and
    petrochemical transactions in international markets.
    http://tinyurl.com/ygfttll
    Mossad already tried to kill Meshal, right after Hamas offered
    Israel a 30 year truce in 1997 IIRC. Netanyahu was forced by B
    Clinton to give up the antidote to the poison Mossad had
    injected into Meshal’s ear.
    Palestinian women, both Muslim and Christian, had pretty much
    complete autonomy before UsRael pushed the Gaza Strip into
    the arms of Hamas, which unlike the PA, actually worked to
    better communities as opposed to stashing foreign aid in
    foreign bank accounts like Arafat did.
    Yet again, we were the problem. Divide and conquer and the
    women get screwed as we have been both literally and
    figuratively since the beginning of time.

    Reply

  34. Color me skeptical says:

    If there is the least sign of recognition of diversity or of women’s rights in here, it’s invisible to me.

    Reply

  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here, Meshal describes the scale of Reid, Hoyer’s, Cantor’s, and Huckabee’s successful efforts at sabotaging Obama’s efforts for a fair and balanced peace process….
    “The problem is with Israel. The problem is not whether we accept or not, but the question is does the Obama administration and the international community has the will, the desire and the ability to pressure Israel to force her to accept that? We have a big question mark. The Obama administration tried to force Netanyahu to freeze the settlements in order to start the negotiations, but he refused. So if neither the Obama administration nor the international community were able to freeze the settlements for a period of one year, how will they force him to withdraw from the 1967 borders? Whether with the Palestinians or with Syria, how are they going to force him to recognize the Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and the right to return and the land?”
    I commend you for this interview. It sounds silly, I know, but I’m immensely proud of you.
    However, you do of course realize, that Israel is simply going to kill this man?

    Reply

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