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Obama in Saudi Arabia on fence-mending visit

US President Barack Obama (L) speaks with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia at Erga Palace in Riyadh, on April 20, 2016
President Barack Obama held talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday as he began a two-day visit hoping to ease tensions with the historic US ally. Riyadh and its Sunni Arab Gulf neighbours have bristled at what they see as Washington's tilt towards their regional rival Shiite Iran after Tehran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers. Obama, making probably his last visit to Riyadh as president, attends a summit of Gulf leaders on Thursday hoping to focus on intensifying the fight against the Islamic State group and resolving the wars in Syria and Yemen.

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Vision of Hope
file under: vision of hopepeace in the Middle EastPalestineIsraelDemonstrations 6 Apr 2011 3:59 PM
Yes or No to Peace? Posted by Nissim Dahan
Peace between Israel and Palestine is becoming even more important now than ever before. There are, however, forces at work which are pushing the peace process forward, and others which are holding it back.


Both Netanyahu and Abbas are coming under considerable pressure to show some measure of progress on the peace front. Abbas has expressed his intent to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders, in September 2011. Presumably, if such recognition were to be given, then a Palestinian state would come into being without resolving such contentious issues as the status of Jerusalem, and the "right of return" of the refugees. If Israel refuses to recognize Palestine, or refuses to cooperate in implementing the U.N. mandate, then Israel could find itself further isolated in the international community, with the resulting calls for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). And yet, without Israel's cooperation, it is hard to see how a Palestinian state could emerge and become viable.


Abbas, and the Palestinian Authority for that matter, are also under a great deal of pressure to move forward on peace. Fattah, the political faction in the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls Gaza, find themselves vying for power on an existential level. Much of the economic and institutional gains that have been achieved by Fayyad in the West Bank could be undermined by a Hamas takeover of the West Bank. Such a takeover is seen by much of the West Bank leadership as a dead end for their aspirations to build a free and prosperous Palestine. The dismal conditions in Gaza do not bode well for a Palestine run by Hamas. It is reasonable, therefore, to assume that Abbas sees a peace deal with Israel as something which would give Fattah some measure of credibility in the eyes of his people, and as a way of consolidating political opposition to Hamas. On the other hand, Hamas could easily portray the search for peace as a sign of weakness on the part of Fattah. Alternatively, reconciliation between Fattah and Hamas, which remains unlikely, could lead to a sharing of power, and a more united approach in finalizing a deal with Israel.


The current unrest on the Arab street increases the pressure on Netanyahu and Abbas to negotiate a peace agreement. No one really knows who in the Middle East will end up assuming the reigns of powers. However, it is more likely than not, at least in some of the Arab countries, that the new leaders will be more responsive to the aspirations of the people. For example, for 30 years Israel could count on Mubarak of Egypt to keep the peace, even a cold peace at that. Now, however, with Mubarak out of the picture, the new leadership will probably take the will of the people more seriously. And if the people demand justice for Palestinians, then Egypt, and other Arab states, will reflect that attitude in their dealings with Israel, and with the West. A peace deal would therefore make relations much easier between Israel and her newly-constituted neighbors, and also between the Middle East and the West.


And of course, much of the West's obsession with the Middle East is about the oil. The free flow of oil is indispensable to Western economies. Therefore, to the extent that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine fulfills the aspirations of the man on the street, and takes away the convenient tool that extremists use to inflame passions, and improves relations between Arab States and the West, then to that extent, the free flow of oil will be assured, and the West can take comfort in being able to run its economic engines.


As if these considerations weren't enough, there is one more reason to push the peace process forward at this particular time. It could well be argued that under the right circumstances, Israel could end up playing a major role in revitalizing the Middle East with good paying jobs. The people on the street want two things in particular: decent jobs and the freedom to live their lives as they wish. To a great extent, these two noble aspirations are what Israel is all about. As an example, of the three judges who recently convicted President Katzav of rape, two are women, and the chief judge is an Israeli Arab. Where else in the Middle East would such a thing be possible?


Many choose to see Israel as the problem in the Middle East. But in reality, Israel is the solution for the Middle East. Israel has precisely what the Middle East needs. A peace deal between Israel and Palestine will help to neutralize at least some of the hate, and will open the door to allow Israel to partner with her neighbors to revitalize the region consistent with the will of the people.


Therefore, we call upon Netanyahu and Abbas to rise to the occasion and to leave no stone unturned in their quest for peace. No doubt there is a long history of failure in this regard. And no doubt there will be bitter pills to swallow on both sides of this conflict. However, the circumstances on the ground, even as we speak, all point to the possibility of a new beginning, a chance for peaceful co-existence, and the prospects for a new Middle East, where peace, prosperity and freedom reign supreme, and a Vision of Hope is finally allowed to take hold.



Comments (31)Add Comment
written by GABE1, April 06, 2011
It would be simply idiotic to reply or even to think of a person that does not want peace. The question must be asked as to what is peace and how will that peace be long lasting and viable.

Calling on Netanyahu assumes that there is somehow a correlation between them. Abbas has abandoned peace negotiations and refuses to return without certain preconditions. He names squares after terrorists and uses the UN and the world to delegitamize at every turn. He wants a state without any commitments to peace . Speaking of a possibility of a new beginning is either naive or disingenuous.

But you are not interested in Peace but rather in a Vision of Hope (whatever that entails in reality)

There is a debate raging on MeWAR and that other favourite of yours (NO I never posted there and have not been banned) that is extremely anti Israel and antisemitic. You do not seem to have the desire to counter this and as such , I think that you are a FRAUD.

SO LET ME SAY that I will call it a day and let you blow your own horn and allow you to think that you are making a difference and that somehow you, just like Gallstone is helping Jews and Israel

written by GABE1, April 07, 2011



Gabe; Did you forget to take your meds again?
written by Nissim Dahan, April 08, 2011
I was in Washington DC yesterday, so I waited till today to comment.

Yes, I condemn and find abhorrent what happened to the Fogel family and to the victims of the attack from Gaza.

Now what? Do you believe it's enough to simply vent our rage?

I am sure you're familiar with the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, or doing what we can to make the world right.

It doesn't say to vent our rage. It doesn't say to call people "frauds." It says to fix the world, plain and simple.

Next week I will be meeting the the Ambassador of Morocco. Several week ago I met, twice, with delegations at the Israeli Embassy.

Tikkun Olam, Gabe. I will do what I can, against all odds, and in the face of injustice, to fix it.

As you threatened on April 6, you could decide to quit this site, and to disengage from this discussion. That is your choice, enen though I enjoy our discussions. But don't fool yourself that by doing that you are somehow defending Israel.

A true defender of Israel will move beyond placing blame, and will figure out how to bring peace. Because in the final analysis, it is peace, and only peace, that will truly secure Israel, even as she remains strong, and more than capable of defending herself.

And I don't want to hear that it can't be done. That is a convenient formula for those who lack the vision and the drive to make it happen. It can be done. And now is the time to get it done. There are conditions on the ground, even as we speak, in the West Bank, in Gaza, and throughout the region as a whole, which make it more likely that a deal could be cut.

You seem to expect that a peace deal can be negotiated wearing white gloves. It can't. Peace is a dirty game. There are equities on both sides, and justice is a commodity that is in short supply.

Let me ask you this, Gabe, what is harder, to wage war, or to make peace? I say that peace is harder. When we fight a war, we believe in what we're fighting for, and it makes us good to fight for what we believe in. But when we negotiate peace, we often have to give up at least some of what we believe in, in order to achieve something we can believe in even more, like peace. And giving up some of what we believe in is difficult. It's like giving up a part of ourselves. But that is the sacrifice we make on behalf of future generations.

In the next several weeks, you will see that Netanyahu puts a peace deal on the table. Is he naive? Is he a fraud? Or does he also recognize that peace is in Israel's best interests, and that now is the time to try once more, even against all odds?
written by GABE1, April 08, 2011
If you look in the mirror you will see a fraud and a self delusional person staring back.



You really think that you are that important, ya FRAUD?
When you point at others, three fingers point back at you.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 08, 2011
I never said I was important. I'm not. But I will do what I can to make things better.

I will do that, while you continue to sit back foaming at the mouth.

The word "fraud" comes easily to your lips.

Where is the fraud? That I believe in a Vision of Hope for the Middle East? That I suggest ways to tackle our most intractable problems: growing our economies, protecting the environment, and weakening the hold of extremist thinking? That I believe that conditions are ripe for beginning to realize some measure of peace, prosperity and freedom in the Middle East?

If you ask me, the fraud is in deluding ourselves that our sense of indignation is enough to sustain this world. That it is enough to point out the injustice, without doing anything about it. That to believe we're in the right is all that matters.

What I say is simple. If there is injustice, then find the courage and the wisdom to get off your butt, and do something about it. Is that asking too much?
written by GABE1, April 08, 2011
The FRAUD is that you have no courage to fight the injustices being perpetrated against Jews and Israel on sites that supposedly are PEACE sites but in fact are nothing but fronts for antisemitism and WAR.

You prefer to perpetrate a FRAUD by keeping silent while paddling snake oil that you, I and most of the world knows cannot bring either peace or change all the evil in the world that is at present being driven by Islamofascism and that is embraced by 99.9% of the Muslims TODAY.

But you are right, you are unimportant as am I, but I hope my rage and yelling will wake up disinterested people of your ilk to fight that evil instead of trying to appease.

That is how in my limited way, I fight injustice and my considerable circle of acquaintances and friends have seen it my way and I have been able to get people to attend demos against Islamic evil.

I have yet to see any following that you may have on any of the Web sites including MEWAR and that other antisemitic site you steered me towards.

SO YES YOU ARE A FRAUD that has been unmasked. A benign FRAUD but a Fraud nevertheless as well as a closet LEFTIST. That my friend does not require courage just a will to deceive.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 08, 2011
You have convinced yourself of falsehoods, and are content to go about your merry way.

First of all, and even people like Daniel Pipes, a staunch conservative, will agree, it is wrong to lump together the whole Muslim world by saying that 99.9% of Muslims embrace Islamofascism.

This is as wrong to say, as saying that all Jews are this or that. We have our share of extremists among us, and we have the vast majority that keep an open mind. It is similar in the Muslim world, except that the extremism there is even more virulent, dangerous and deadly. But it is still the case, and I talk with such people on a daily basis, that the vast majority of Muslims are good people who yearn for a better life.

Now, you associate courage with defending against anti-Semitism on supposedly "peace" sites. I have had my share of such discussions at various times, and if you trace my blog history on you will probably find proof in that regard.

However, to be quite honest, I find that most such discussions, while necessary, are usually a waste of time. Each side blames the other, and there we go, over and over again. Playing the blame game is not going to cut it when so much is at stake.

You are right to say that I'm not important. In fact, the character I identify most with is the Village Idiot. But I take comfort in knowing that even a Village Idiot can stumble upon something important. And to my mind, for what it's worth, Selling a Vision of Hope is an important idea. It's important not because of me. Again, I am the Village Idiot. But it's important because it takes all the pieces into account, packages them in just the right way, and allows us to see it to the man on the street.

I don't knock what you do. If you and your friends see things a certain way, and if you choose to point out injustice among yourselves, that's fine. But that doesn't mean that yours is the only way to move forward.

Yes, I may be naive, and totally unrealistic. But I have seen, with my own eyes, and it is possible to move people, and to make things happen that no one thought could happen.

You owe it to yourself to remain open to that possibility. The day we give up on a sense of hope for the future, is the day we call it quits on the destiny of man.

And no, I don't have a major following on sites like MEWAR, as you call it. However, the hits on my website have increased 1100% over the past several weeks, with over 136 countries looking at my stuff, including all Arab countries. I don't know if they're buying any of it. But at least they're looking.

Up to now in my life I've been able to accomplish what I set out to do. For some reason, and you call it as you see fit, I have become convinced that I'm supposed to play a part in this regard.

I see progress here and there, including, believe it or not, getting the attention of people such as yourself. I have no guarantee of success. On the contrary, as I've told you before, I would be the most surprised if I were to succeed. But I have concluded, that given the opportunites I see for effectuating positive change, and given the dire alternaive staring us in the face, it makes no sense not to at least try, even against all odds.

That, my friend, is not fraud, or the "will to deceive." That is going for something that is deemed impossible, but going for it anyway, because who knows, maybe, just maybe, it may just be possible to pull it off.
written by GABE1, April 08, 2011
Stop cheating Nissim… nobody can buy your propaganda but the greedy butchers of Palestinian businessmen !!!

Sami, the bedouin.

Sami, the beduin.

November 14, 2009


Your mind is like a coherent pyramid consists of endless constituent pieces, once one defuses a piece, it regenerates a substitute piece to refill the gap !!!


Start acting like a Jew and forget your silly interpretation of Tikkun Olam and start defending your people so that eventually they can have PEACE-TRUE PEACE.
written by GABE1, April 08, 2011
The IAF and IDF must not stop delivering a death knowckout to the SEWER RATS that run Gaza.

So far I am very impressed with Iron Dome and the IAF/IDF. That is the way to bring Tikkun Olam to Israel and the world.

I must be doing something right!
written by Nissim Dahan, April 09, 2011
Gabe, if I have both you and Sami on my back, I must be doing something right. The two of you are mortal enemies,but you share something in common, you both can't stand what I have to say. Actually, however, Sami finally confessed that he rather enjoyed our conversations, and who knows, maybe you will too one day.

You say that you like the Iron Dome. Why? Probably because it is a weapon system that knows how to find its target, even a moving target at that.

Sami is right when he says that I am like "..a coherent pyramid which consists of endless constituent pieces, once one defuses a piece, it regenerates a substitute piece to refill the gap!!!"

My target, my goal, remains a Vision of Hope, a vision of peace, prosperity and freedom. But it is a moving target. You never know what will come next. And so, like your favorite weapon system, I adapt my approach as needed. If one thing doesn't work, I try another, never quite sure of myself, or my ability to get the job done.

At least you know now that when necessary, I do take on the extremists on both sides of this equation. But the goal remains the same: to find a way to effectuate positive change, by which everyone wins.

It's easy to be skeptical and cynical. It's not quite as easy to make something happen in this regard. But to be honest, I don't really see an alternative. Your weapon system is fine and dandy, but Israel is not strong enough to ignore the entire international community. Something will have to give, and if we find a way to keep her strong and to give her peace, then we will sleep better knowing that we've accomplished our mission.
written by GABE1, April 10, 2011
I find Jackie Mason very entertaining and conversations between Abbott and Costello and find our conversations yes entertaining , as in comic relief. Samir and Qumsiya are both Holocaust denying antisemites and the point was that he was the only one replying to you and you did not have the courage to debunk him. That is why I consider you a FRAUD.

There is NO NEED for a peace treaty with the so called Palestinians as it will not change the dynamics in the MIDDLE EAST.

You keep flogging a dead horse when both Israelis and Arabs tell you that he is dead.

Israel has a defensive line in the Sinai-a 12 hour trip wire. It has that buffer zone in the Golan against the Syrians. It need the Jordan River and preferebaly the Litani River to build buffer zones on all three sides.That is the best peace treety that I would trust. If the Arabs in Judea and Samaria raise their ugly heads I would sewnd them to where they have citizenship, namely Jordan. Jordan happens to be part of Palestine so they can call themselves Palestinians there.

The entire international community did nothing in world war 2 to save Jews. So why should Israel care what this whole farkakte world thinks. The international community did not prevent Darfur or Rwanda and will not help Israel when it is constricted to the point of not being able to defend itself. Do you recall what Abba Eban called those pre 1967 demarcation lines. Certainly not borders.

So my friend get off the pot and if you are serious do something that will actually bring PEACE to Israel and not just a dream.

But I am sure you will come back with some disjointed reply that this is what you are doing.

BTW. I have not yet heard your wife's take on all your nonsense.
Thank God I'm Not Married to You, Gabe!
written by Nissim Dahan, April 10, 2011
My wife is very supportive of these ideas. You won't find her blogging, she has better things to do with her time. But she attends many of the meetings and is always there to sharpen the argument and push the envelope even further.

Her support is important, because she actually lived some of what we're talking about, as I understand your wife did as well.

When my wife was nine years old, she and her family were exiled from Egypt, the land of her birth. One night, the police came knocking on the door, and wisked her dad off. They accused him of spying for Israel. Within several days, they packed up what they could, in 31 leather bound suitcases, and moved to Paris, France where they had family.

My wife's father, a man I admire and respect, and with whom I enjoyed a close friendship, was a successful businessman in Egypt. He came to own a sport goods factory and 4 retail stores. He even remembered a young Yasser Arafat coming in to buy soccer balls for the sport teams he was running in Egypt.

My wife's family lost everything, under threat of imprisonment. They left the keys to their apartment on the dining room table, and the keys to the business to the employees. My father in law worked hard as a salesman in Paris, but never regained his former position as a wealthy man.

So, to make it short, my wife and I realize the vital importance of Israel to the Jews. Yes, no one was there to save the Jews from the Holocaust. And yes, Israel is the first line of defense from such a thing happening again. So therefore, nothing should be done which would put Israel's security in jeopardy.

I will say this to be clear: If Israel's leaders, or its people, come to the conclusion, that any of these ideas would put them in harm's way, they I would hope, and expect, that they should reject these ideas completely.

The reason my wife and I advocate on behalf of our shared vision, is that we see no alternative in our efforts to secure Israel, and the Jewish people for that matter.

As to your suggestion that a peace treaty will not change the "dynamics of the Middle East," I respectfully beg to differ. It is true that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is small potatoes when you look at the scope of the Middle East as a whole. But the Middle East takes its symbolism very seriously.

Just as the conflict has been manipulated to inflame passions, and to keep corrupt leaders in place, so too will a peace treaty take away a tool from the extremists, and open the floodgates to regional cooperation, by which Israel could use her vast array of skills to help revitalize the entire region with jobs, insitution building and moderate candidates. Believe it or not, Israel has that capacity, to put a new model in place, because in many respects, she has already built that model within her own borders.

In terms of your strategic borders argument, most defense analysts, including Ehud Barak, have concluded that defensible border are possible within the context of a peace deal along the Barak/Clinton parameters.

And you are right to say that we should never leave the fate of the Jewish people in the hands of the international community, because they have proved unworthy of this task. Therefore, I repeat that nothing should be done which would put Israel in harm's way.

written by GABE1, April 10, 2011
Barak is the only commander that has lost a number of battles, Sultan Yacoub and tze'elim. hence the moniker of Barak Barah. Nothing distinguished about this man other than he can dress as a woman and can take apart watches , The question is can he put them together again? Lebanon and his nightly retreat can be traced to the current problems with both Hizbulla and Hamas.

BTW. I did meet him and Askenazi at around 1995 in Carmiel.

What is Netanyahu not currently trying to do that is different from your solution in regards to the Palestinians. Yet it is not working and it would seem that force of arms carries the day. It is interesting that you are operating in a vacuum without any concern for the not the distant history.

Israel has had business dealings with Saudia and the Gulf States since the early 70's and in fact I had on occasion had to confirm some transactions with the Saudis, although it was supposedly all hush, hush.

The chain of thought in these days was that if our economies are intertwined than they will be more amenable to reconcile themselves with our existence and it worked until Rabin decided to bring Arafat(mhrih) to our doorstep.
Some Comments
written by Nissim Dahan, April 11, 2011
I don't know that much about Barak. The part where he dressed up like a woman, I got a glimpse of that in the movie Munich, which was a pretty good movie. Of course he must have carried some serious weapons under his skirt. I do know that he is the most decorated military officer in the histor of the country. So I give some credence to his assessment that we can defend ourselves on the basis of the Clinton/Barak parameters.

In terms of Netanyahu, it is true that some of his thinking parallels my own, with regard to "eocnomic peace" and the like. And as you suggest, he has taken a great many steps to facilitate economic acitivity in the West Bank, including removing a great many checkpoints, and the like.

I guess where we differ is that I would like the economics to be part and parcel of a much larger agenda. I don't think that eocnomics by itself will do the job, and I'm sure you would agree. Similarly, I don't think military self-defense will be enough.

My approach is multi-faceted because I perceive that we are facing a multi-facted attack.

I want to bring everything into the picture: a new ideological framework based on common sense, an investment strategy that creates jobs, a campaign to sell the man on the street on a vision of hope, a vision of peace, prosperity and freedom, private and public diplomacy, and finally, the willingness to fight, and fight hard, in self-defense, agains the forces of extremism.

I have yet to see such a vision enunciated by any political leader in our time, although people like Tony Blair talk about bits and pieces of it.

I also believe that we can use the situation on the Arab street to our advantage. I imagine myself a Saudi Prince, and I see Rome burning all around me, and I think to myself, "Hey, what should I be doing to keep this from happening to me?"

If we approach such a leader, and convince him that Billionaires for Peace is a way to effectuate positive change, but in a gradual and moderate manner, as opposed to revolution on your doorstep, they he may buy in. And if he buys in, he has the money and the influence to do something about it. And if he says yes, perhaps other will as well. And it that happens, perhaps the Palestians will have to think twice, and perhaps three times, about saying no. Because if they say no, who will be left for them to count on?

I realize, as you say, that we've done business with the Saudis in the past, and everything was hush, hush. But Gabe, this is not the past. This is right here and right now. The Saudis, in my opinion, may end up opening themselves up to some of these ideas, in a way that we could never have imagined before, because Rome is burning, and there is no way out but one door. And guess what, we may well be holding the key.

written by GABE1, April 11, 2011
You have never replied with an answer to these questions.

1. How much money will it take and who gets it?
2. What is the target date before the Arab "street" becomes radicalized beyond redemption?
3. What is your fall back position if it does not work (take hold)?
4. How will you determine, along the way, if it is working? Where is the oversight (MANAGEMENT)?
5. What do you tell these "investors" is their role- Are they pumping money into a sink hole with no return or how do you show them that there is a return?

Please, straight forward realistic answers and not time worn cliches. Persuade me that I should invest into a scheme that I consider BOGUS and a FRAUD.

BTW. Netanyahu is a good Finance Minister but a lousy PM. It has been reported that by 2030 Israel will have a Nationalistic Right Wing super majority. Time is not on the Arabs side and every time there is a murder or a Rocket attack ,it brings that majority closer and at a faster pace. If I was a Saudi prince, I would look in two directions and probably look towards Israel to help me out in making the lives of my subjects easier and at the same time continuing to worry about my back stabbing Arab brothers as they are more likely to kill me than Israel.

The future is dim for both Israel and the Arabs if they cannot reconcile themselves with Israel and pumping money (jobs or anything else) is not the answer. Goodwill has to start with the Arabs recognizing Jews as part of that area (without trying to buy them off) and showing them that Israel and Jews have a lot to offer in technology, agriculture, medicine the arts and so on. The Arabs have to buy into that by themselves because they want to and because it is a necessity for them.

Until then Israel must defend itself with the utmost force until they cry uncle and the world ,the UN and Gallsone be damned!!!!!!
written by Nissim Dahan, April 12, 2011
OK. No time for BS.

1. Money: I am not a money cruncher. You would be more qualified on this them I. My guess would be that it would take something in the neighborhood of one trillion dollars to pull this thing off. And it would probably take 50 years or so. However, I think we would reap good dividends from day one, because when this even begins to kick in, it will quiet the region down, people will fell somewhat more hopeful, and we will be able to transition to change on a more gentle path, and condition people who are used to hate one another, for the posibility of peace.

Most of the money will be Arab money from the Persian Gulf States. They will agree to invest their money as part of a business consortium. The investments will be targeted to create jobs throughout the region, to protect the environment, to solve endemic problems such as water shortages and energy and the like, and to weaken the hold of extremist thinking.

2. Radicalization: We need to get this vision our there, as quickly as possible, hopefully within the next several months, and certainly before some of these elections take place. The jobs themselves will take years to create. But the vision could buy us time to effectuate change in a moderate and controlled way. Even if some radical regimes come into power, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, there is a good chance that they will buy into this job creation, as a way to pacify the man on the street, and as a way of consolidating political power. Of course we would prefer moderate regimes to gain power wherever possible. A Vision of Hope could be adopted by moderate candidates who could win with such a platform. However, if the more radical elements win, we still want them to embrace job creation as their modus operendi, because will give us a greater measure of influence in what they do.

3. Fall Back Position: If it doesn't work, we fight to protect ourselves, in any way that is available to us. What choice do we have. I am not against defending ourselves. I just think we should try this along with military action, just in case it does work, in which case maybe we will be able to rely less on the military, and more on our business community.

4. The management will be the billionaires themselves, at the top, a support team of experts just below them, and a huge cast of volunteers below them.

There will be a series of markers along the way that will indicate any sign of success. For example, if a moderate candidate wins using our vision, that would be a good sign. If we break ground on a green industrial zone, that would be good as well. If we put together a deal for a green water purification plant, that is also great. And of course, if we enter into serious negotiations with the Palestinians, that too will be an important marker of progress. Just the fact that these business leaders are willing to get together, and work together, to put these deals together would be a good first step.

5. Investors: I don't want people to lose money. The best way to keep this thing going is for people to make money, while creating jobs. However, the return on investment here, may, at times, be different from what we're used to. Part of the return here will be a return of stability, a return to common sense, a return to environmental protection, a return of job creation. a return of a peace dividend.

In other words, wherever possible, the deals should be made as profitable as possible. However, there will be times when some of these investments will take on the air of charitable investments in the future. And some of the foundations will make investments in building the requisite insitutions which can support freedom and democracy.

But if you think about it, Gabe, even an investment in good governanace is a worthwhile investment, even if the acutal return is low, because in the final analysis, if we don't invest in this way, what hope is there that you will ever find the stability to make some serious money in the future? Therefore, some charity now can go a long way to profitability later.

Additional Points
written by Nissim Dahan, April 12, 2011
And as to your other points, it is true that Israel is turning right. But we should not forget the oil, and the pressure that it will bring. Some analysts are predicting that oil prices could well derail the U.S. economic recovery. If that happens, extreme pressure will be brought to bear on the West on Israel. Israel should be prepared to meet that threat. And Billionaires for Peace could be used as a "release valve" to release some of that pressure, by giving us a sensible way of moving forward.

When you describe the motivations of the Saudi prince, you are singing my tune. That's exactly what I'm saying, and why I think that we can bring some serious Arab money to the table at this point in time. And I think we can leverage these motivations into a peace deal for Israel, by which she would be recognized not only by the Palestinians, but by the whole Arab world.

It is true as you say that Arabs will have to come to terms with the existence of Israel. I am trying to come up with the least bitter way of helping them to do that, by using their self-interest as the key motivator, and by using business as a "neutral pathway to peace and stability."

And yes, until this happens, Israel must be willin, able, and ready to defend herself against all her enemies. I have no quarrel with that. History has shown us the alternative.

written by GABE1, April 12, 2011
The root of all that is evil in the Muslim world. According to estimates there is only 25-50 years of reserves of conventional oil.
Then you have to go to shale and Israel has I believe the second or third largest deposits of that stuff and environmental save extraction methods. Where will that leave the Arab world. Well, I can say behind the 8th ball and irrelevant. But most important is that Israel is at the forefront of creating green energy to replace fossil fuels. As you can see Dore Gold suggests that we let the world know that so that its position post Arab OIL is known and is leveraged now.

So you see that the "world" would be well advised to take this into account and invest in Israel rather than in the Arab world as the Arab world is headed into oblivion and is self destructing.

As you can see I believe that we do nothing at this stage and hopefully, maybe, the Arab world will understand that their salvation runs through the Jews and Israel and not the other way around. No need to appease the Arab street or buy them off. Their contribution to world stability and well being are lacking and they must be dragged into the 21st century by the toes.

I have no qualms with the part of the communist system that all people should be equal and that everyone of us help the fellow humans to the best of their abilities. For that I DEMAND that these people act as humans and not some wild animals forcing their morality and their unjustified demands on others. This calls for isolating them and not assisting them in any way.

You want to bribe them to become civil through jobs and other means: I do not subscribe to that and believe that they must be taught that violence begets violence and not good will. I believe that our first priority must be the unfortunate peoples that are starving and/or cannot feed their families through no fault of their own. Africa, Asia and South America spring to mind.

History has shown that you destroy evil and not appease it.
Gabe, you have two hands with which to play your cards.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 13, 2011
"...the Arab world is headed into oblivion and is self-destructing..."

We in the West can't afford that, and particularly Israel cannot afford to take that risk.

If the Arab world implodes, and if Western oil is on the line, then we're talking World War III, with perhaps nuclear weapons mixed in, and an uncertain future for Israel and beyond.

Sitting, and waiting it out for something like that to happen, is not a wise coarse of action. Especially when we have an alternative that might work.

I say we invest with one hand, and fight with the other. It is true what you say that there are those in the Arab world who would do anything to consolidate political power. They don't care about human life, and they would risk anything to further their own ambitions.

People like that will have to be confronted militarily.

The problem is that the West lacks the credibility, and perhaps the willingness, to take that fight on. Even the U.S., is planning how to retreat from the region.

What we need to do is not fight with one hand, and invest with the other. The willingness to invest will give us the credibility and the courage to fight, and fight hard. To win this thing, we have to find a way to empower ourselves at least to the extent that the extremists have empowered themselves.

If you think about it, Gabe, there is meathod to what the extremists are doing.

They sell people on an ideology of violent Jihad. (Yes your situation is lousy, but it's because of Israel and the West.)

They invest in charitable handouts. (food, health clinics, education, housing, etc.)

They sell a vision of hope for paradise, and martyrdom, and virgins, and what have you.

And they fight with terror.

If they do this, and we stand by, waiting for the oil to run out, then we lose. We should figure out a way to beat them at their own game, and thereby marginalize them in the eyes of their own people, which is the best way to defeat them.

If they sell an ideology of violent Jihad, we sell an Ideology of Common Sense.

If they invest in peanuts in charity, we invest some serious money in jobs. (And I'm talking Arab money here.)

If they sell a vision of hope for martyrdom, we sell a Vision of Hope for Peace, Prosperity and Freedom.

And if they fight with terror, we fight, in self-defense, militarily.

At every turn, we cut them off at the pass, and beat them at their own game.

The ideological extremists will not be able to capture the public's imagination once people begin to imagine a better life for themselves.

And as to Israel's green technology, great, let's put it on the road using Arab investments. Let's help Saudi become the "Mecca" of green. That way they make money coming and going. They make money on the oil, and they make money on green, but create good paying jobs in the process, and develop stronger ties with Israel, which helps them to move in a new direction, but in a moderate and gradual way, instead of dealing with a revolution on their doorstep.

As for Africa and Asia, everyone is welcome to join the Peace Train. I believe that the same thing we're proposing for the Middle East, could become a new model for the world as a whole.

What the hell, we might as well go for the whole shooting match.

written by GABE1, April 13, 2011
Did you send your plan to the Ruling council of the UAE or to the Saudi Monarchy yet. I presume that they replied to you in the affirmative and have pledged money for your endeavour. BTW, I hope it is not the same money that they pledged to the Palis that the cheque got lost in the mail.

On a serious note. Whether in the past or now, why would the Arab oil potentates need you to tell them what needs to be done? If they are so worried than why have they not yet announced a restructuring of the various Arab economies to effect this.

I do see the Saudis and Bahraini's putting down the revolt in Bahrain rather violently and I see the Saudis pumping $36 billion dollars into the Saudi economy to buy peace.

The Saudis are royally pissed with Obama over Mubarak and will not even discuss anything with the USA.

You are misreading the Arab street in Egypt, Libya, Jordan or anywhere else and are coming to some wrong conclusions as to how to solve it. You cannot buy peace or democracy whether through jobs or other appeasing goodies. If that was possible than you would open a pandora's box around the globe.

I think that you are smart enough and I think I have shown you rather sufficiently why your pet peeve wont work.

Human nature is rather cannibalistic and we are hunters as well as have an innate character of clan self preservation. Human nature has not changed much in the last 4000 years and I doubt that it ever will. I hope that it would, but I doubt it.
Good Points
written by Nissim Dahan, April 14, 2011
You make some interesting and perceptive comments.

"...why would the Arab oil potentates need you to tell them what needs to be done?...why have they not yet announced a restructuring of the various Arab economies...?"

First of all, I'm not going to tell them what to do. You don't do that in the Arab world. I am simply going to suggest a way for them to take control of this thing.

My best selling point is to suggest, ever so humbly, that Rome is burning, and that the best way to put the fire out is to put some serious money on the table, in terms of job creating investments, and to give everyone on the street a place at the table, a stake in his or her future.

This will buy the regimes some time, as they inspire in their people a sense of hope for the future, and will allow them to effectuate positive change, with respect to jobs and personal freedoms, but in a gradual and moderate manner, instead of having to deal with a revolution on their doorstep.

As to your question, "...why hasn't it been done already?" the answer is simple, because it didn't have to be done until now. In the past, a different model was in place, based on the strong man in power, a suppression of human rights, corruption at the very top, and payoff to keep the military on your side.

That model is out, just as Mubarak is out. Therefore, a new model is called for. The extremists are ready, willing and able to put their model in place. It is up to the Arab regimes to put another model in place, one that can compete effectively with the extremist agenda.

To my knowledge, this opportunity has not been around until now.

The Saudis are trying to pay people off and buy time. It won't work. You need to put people to work, so that they have less time on their hands to do mischief. And yes, you could try to quell the uprisings with violence. But with the whole world watching, there is a limit to what you could do. It used to be that you could kill thousands and get away with it. It is much more difficult to do that today, because the eyes of the world are watching, and bearing witness to what you're doing, and emboldening the people on the streets to carry on.

I'm not talking about buying peace or democracy. I'm talking about putting people to work, and giving them the freedom to live their lives with dignity. Democracy may take more time, and people have to be conditioned for that, and institutions have to be created to sustain a viable democracy. But economic empowerment and personal freedoms could be done relatively quickly, and that is the only sensible way to move forward as far as I can see.

My "pet peeve," as you call it, may or may not work. I don't really know, to be quite honest. However, I do know that we're heading to a bad place. And given the alternative, it makes sense to at least try to move things in a more positive direction. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain if a miracle happens and this crazy idea actually works.

I like to thing of human nature as a characterization of what was, not necessary what will be. I think that human development has reached a point where we have to start re-thinking what it is we want for ourselves.

If we want to destroy our environment, we certainly have the capacity to do that. If we want to end civilization as we know it in a protracted war, we can certainly do that as well. But if we want to move in a different, more hopeful direction, we certainly have the capacity to imagine that, and if we can imagine it, or "will it" as Herzl used to say, then we can make that happen as well.

As for the last several thousand years, you're right to say that since we've become "civilized" some 10,000 years ago, we've behaved worse than animals to one another. But surprisingly, before that, for the previous two million years, it seemed that we behaved quite nicely with one another, very much representative of the Golden Rule; treat others as you would have them treat you.

I saw a film about this on the Discovery Channel, The Rise of Man, which demonstrated this phenomenon. In one scene a comfortable clan lived in a cave, with plenty of food. A new and hungry plan approached, seeking food and shelter. Would they fight? No, the comfortable clan took them in and increased the gene pool for procreation.

We can learn something from our ancestors.
written by GABE1, April 14, 2011
There is only selective stopping of acts of genocide. The Libyans have been told to stop killing their civilians, but in reality nothing stopped only decreased. The is no such pretense in Syria, Yemen,Iran.

So I am somewhat surprised at your optimism.

As I said, you are misreading the Arab mind. They do not want our type of democracy your even our interference. Afghanistan should have taught us that. Iraq should have taught us that. So why are you not seeing what is very obvious.

We must wean the Muslims of that Jihad and domination appetite and we must tell them to treat their women and children with respect and not as a demographic threat.

A revolt does not democracy make and does not buy freedom from hunger or unemployment. That is a fallacy. The USA has its share of poverty and unemployment as does Mexico and yet we do not see the savagery that we see in Arab states. Why do you think that is. Israel left greenhouses in Gaza only to see them destroyed. Why do you think that is?

Nissim, something must be done on the scale of the social revolution of the late 1800's and early 1900's with Unions and automation social welfare. This must be a global affair with ALL joining in and not just a payoff for bad behaviour to the Arabs.
Let's Think
written by Nissim Dahan, April 15, 2011
" are misreading the Arab mind. They do not want our type of democracy..."

Perhaps you're right, Gabe. But what I'm trying to say here is that it's not really about what they want, but what they need.

A lot of what you say is correct, as judged by the events of the past.

What I am saying, however, and this is an important point to stress, is that this is not the past. There is a convergence of circumstances on the ground such that at this point in time, the past may not be prologue.

The Arabs may not prefer democracy. OK. They are entitled to have something else. But their own people are demanding jobs and personal freedom. The regimes could try, as you suggest, to quash these aspirations. Some may succeed, and others won't. But the tide of public resentment is rising, and will be exceedingly difficult to step that tide. The will of the people is a powerful force. Once the leaders are seen to be out of step with the will of the people, they will have a very difficult time holding on to power.

Billionaires for Peace is not about Jeffersonian democracy. It is about a common sense way of thinking, about job creation, and about inspring people with a sense of hope for the future.

Einstein came up with E=mc2. Thankfully, the formula for world peace is a lot simpler: Ideology plus Investment equals Hope, and with hope, all things are possible, even the impossible dream of peace.

The greenhouses in Gaza was a setback. But it wasn't the right time. Now is the right time. And if you can't do it in Gaza, do it somewhere else, and the model will still resonate.

Hamas destroyed the greenhouses, but they can't destroy the idea behind the greenhouses. The idea is still good, and will one day insire millions.

And yes, Gabe, this must be a worldwide effort. My hope is that once we put the model in place, once there is a notable project here and there, once the fund is set up, the whole world will join in, because finally there will be a model in place which points to the possibility of a better day.
written by GABE1, April 15, 2011
Lets shove it down their throats because we KNOW they want it and NEED IT.
Nissim, does that not sound silly to you.

Why not start with lets say Thailand where there is a Muslim insurrection and where the This are poor and they would welcome democracy and why not use them as a model.

My qualms with you is not the concept but rather I believe that it is ass backwards and will do nothing in the ME but would do a lot of good elsewhere, Instead of trying to appease and buy off the Arabs we can actually do humanist deed (Tikkun Olam) in places more needy and more deserving.
written by GABE1, April 15, 2011
Another Pali supporter is killed and this time in Gaza. I guess these antisemites never learn.Peace must be close at hand.

THE PEACE OF THE GRAVE!!!!! smilies/smiley.gif smilies/smiley.gif smilies/smiley.gif
It may be more complicated than it seems at first blush.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 16, 2011
Gabe, I intend to write a post about the man who was recently killed in Gaza. I think there may be more than one way to look at it. Let me ask you this, my friend. What if Hamas is beginning to face threats from those who are even more extreme? And what if they come to conclusion that they need some help in dealing with these people? And what if they need to create a few jobs here and there to keep the man on the street from rising up in protest? You see where I'm going with this?

And yes, the Middle East needs a lot of what Israel already has. But if they come to that conclusion, we will not have to "shove it down their throats." They will buy into it, if, and only if, they come to believe that it is precisely in their best interest to do so.

There is nothing wrong with positioning this model of hope anywhere else in the world. I chose to start in the Middle East, because that place is truly a loony bin, and if we can make it there, as the song goes, we can make it anywhere. The Middle East resonates with symbolism, and is watched carefully around the world. Succeed in the Middle East, and the whole world will follow.

And once again, I am not trying to "buy off the Arabs." As I said before, most of the investment money will come from the Arab states themselves, because they conclude that it is in their interest to do so, as a way of effectuating positive change, but in a moderate and gradual manner, as opposed to outright revolution.

We should help around the world wherever we can, but it doesn't hurt to start in a place like the Middle East, a place where Rome is burning.
written by GABE1, April 16, 2011
I admire your tenacity, no matter how misplaced. You my friend are operating on Western Standards and in a 21st century mindset. That is not the century the Arabs are living in and it is not their mindset.

Al Qaeda is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood as is Hamas. Same side of a single coin. Hamas is just prodded to be more "violent", but the word is misplaced as Hamas is being prodded to become more in line with Islamofascism.

So when you write that piece make sure that you write in terms of Islam and not in terms of violence as if in a vacuum.

The Major mistake that you made in your reply is that you made the Middle East as a bell weather, which it is not. If you think hard you will see is that what you are proposing is in fact "buying" them off , a sort of a bribe that if they behave we will supply them with good paying jobs.

Poverty is poverty and the squeeky wheel does not get preference. All humans are equal and deserve our largess ,if we can afford it.

So lets make a deal. Let the Arab States lobby their Arab wealthy relatives and I and you try to help the rest of humanity including the poor in the USA and Canada and including the Indians that had their land and livelihood confiscated and stuck on reservations. They certainly deserve our sympathies alot more than the Arabs. AND WE LIVE HERE.
written by GABE1, April 17, 2011
I admire the detached way that you address the situation in the Middle East and especially when it comes to Israel. Yes there are the well worn sound bites and platitudes but upon close scrutiny, I see no passion for the deaths and injury in Israel. I do see a venue that you have created with the so called Arab street revolts (which are other than such) to weave a new rainbow without looking at the old bleak dark soul of the Arabs.

I guess in your mind these so called revolts are a new beginning which neither I nor a large group of international observers cannot see.

Two Arabs were caught in the brutal murders of the Fogels and it shows without a doubt in my mind that these sub human animals could care less about your good paying jobs if it meant that they would have to live with Jews in the Middle East. You do not have , it would seem , the passion against these vicious sub human animal types to show in print that you are not simply an appeaser hell bent on trying to buy the Arabs off with someone else's money.

Be honest with yourself once in a while.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 17, 2011
I am not big on emotions, Gabe.

I feel things strongly, now and then, but most of the time I just sit back and think, and calculate, and plot how to get the job done.

It is satisfying to vent our rage. I do that once in a while. But not often.

As for the two who murdered the Fogels, my approach is to figure out how to undo the mess that is their minds.

I would like to believe that under different circumstances, they would not have become the monsters they've become.

Perhaps with the right education, and the right framework for rational thought, and a belief system that is based on what makes sense, and a more loving family, and a culture that was more compassionate, and a good paying job waiting for them, and with less pre-occupation with death, and more a celebration of life...perhaps with all of that, and more, perhaps they would have turned out different?

And if that is the case, Gabe, don't we owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to bring that about?

And if we conclude that we have no choice but to fight and kill these folks, and perhaps some of them do need killing, don't we have to embolden our soldiers and our citizenry, with a Vision of Hope, so that they understand what they're fighting for, so that they will then be more likely to win that fight?

You see me as an appeaser. I see myself as someone who sees reality for what it is, and tries to make it different. You see me as a leftist. I see myself as a person who is willing to fight, and fight hard, but who also believe that a Vision of Hope is needed to lend credibility to the fight that lies ahead.

Selling a Vision of Hope can be seen as a way of emboldening us, and those who would partner with us, including large swaths of the Arab world, to win the fight that must be fought.

You talk about poverty in other places, and as I've already said, the model we position in the Middle East could apply equally around the globe. However, the Middle East may need particular attention because it is most vital to Israel, and I do love Israel, regardless of how many emotions I dare express.

The Middle East is also vital to the world at large, because if the oil supply of the West becomes threatened, then you're talking World War III, and if that happens, it won't much matter who said what, and how many tears we're shed along the way.
written by GABE1, April 17, 2011
The left in Israel has been the cause of the current troubles.

In 1967 they had a golden opportunity to clear both Hevron and Jerusalem of these terror facilitators and before you take me to task on that consider the number of killed and maimed between 1948 and 1967 before there was a State of Israel.Yes the population was complicit with the PLO and the Arab governments in this terror therefore it was incumbent on the Israeli government to create a solution. Instead Moshe Dayan went and appeased the Arabs by giving them stewardship over the Temple Mount even after he saw what the Arabs did to Jewish historical sites.

Bringing Arafat(mhrih) exasperated the situation further by bringing these terrorists into all the Israeli homes and buses started exploding and that paragon of peace, Rabin, instead of venting his rage came up with slogans such as "we will fight terror as if there is peace and negotiate as if there is no terror" WoW such a brilliant man and than comes Barak and just gets the hell out of Lebanon in the middle of the night and promises quiet.

You fight terror and attempts to annihilate you without a Barak or Piss Now or all the other leftists fifth columns combined telling you to stop and yelling "genocide" and "occupation"(a bullshit word in the first place.

Israel has never been allowed to defeat it enemies whether through inside or outside intervention and I for one would like to see it tried so that we know for sure which method will actually work.

Based on historical precedent the defeat of an enemy works all the time. Paying off your enemy only whets their appetite and no a third world war will not start in the Middle East. As for Europe that is a good possibility when these ancient enemies economies go south and they have to contend with a Muslim Fifth column.
written by yushumei, June 17, 2011
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