Entry for September 22, 2003
It is my opinion that Arafat is a front man for Palestinian groups such as Hamas. It is widely known that the government pays suicide bombers to go out and kill innocent Israelis. These are groups that do not care about the value of human life. They have no ethics and go against all that the world considers just and good. They are terrorists in every sense of the word. However, the UN rallies behind Arafat. They may condemn suicide bombings, but do they really think that suicide bombers care what they think? Do they really feel that by them condemning attacks, that attacks will stop? Action needs to be taken. If this were the UK or the US instead of Israel, I truly feel that they would have already killed Arafat or at least gone to war against him as they have against Hussein or Bin Laden. What is so different about the situation in Israel? Why do they think that Israel exiling Arafat would be a terrorist act? It is no different than the United States wanting to get rid of Hussein. Didn't President Bush give Hussein and his sons a time limit to leave Iraq? Is that not expulsion? Did the U.S., therefore, commit a terrorist act? I am sure that the answer would be no. So again, I ask, what is the difference?
On Friday, September 19, 2003, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution telling Israel to drop the threats made against Arafat. The resolution was passed with 133 in favour, 4 against,and 15 abstentions. The United States opposed the resolution as they did when the draft was presented on Tuesday, September 16. The Israeli government believes that with Arafat, peace will not be possible. However, the Palestinians continue to say that without Arafat, the entire peace plan will fall apart. As well, President Bush said, after meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, that Arafat is a failed leader.
Source: BBC Online
Date: Friday, September 19, 2003
There was no indication of who the author of the article was.
Entry for September 29, 2003
It is my opinion that Chirac is too closed up in his own little world in order to realize what is going on around him. France (and all other countries who did not participate in the war) should have joined the U.S. against Iraq. However, with the majority of the population in France being Muslim and significant French investments in "the old Iraq", I understand his concerns. But to attack the U.S. and the way the war was fought is outrageous and simply a way to win votes for upcoming elections. Seeking permission from the Security Council of the United Nations on the war was, in my mind, only a formality. Yes, countries must work together in order to protect this world. However, if a country feels that it is threatened then it should have the right to solve the problem independently with or without consent.
Jacques Chirac spoke at a United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2003. He indirectly commented on the way the U.S. lead the war against Iraq by saying that nobody could act alone and pretend that it is on behalf of everyone. Chirac said that the war had rocked the U.N. and undermined multilateralism. A multilateral system, he said, was suited to help solve global issues. Chirac also said that Iraq should soon become its own nation once again. He also echoed Kofi Annan by claiming that the United Nations needed reform.
Source: BBC Online
Date: September 23, 2003
Author: Barnaby Mason, BBC diplomatic correspondent in New York
Entry for October 6, 2003
I understand how this wall could be so controversial and in many ways I am against it being built. However, that was until the suicide bombing on Saturday, October 4, 2003. It has been proven that the suicide bomber came through an area where the wall had not yet been built. Had there been a wall, she wouldn't have been able to get into Israel. I feel that in many ways the Palestinians should be happy that there is this wall because it is a step towards having their own country, the wall is very much like a border. I'm sure that the Israeli army will put together a system that will allow Palestinians to cross, they will just have to be monitored. It is for everyone's safety, however, it is sad that it had to get to this.
Palestinians are angry because a wall is being built on their land in order to separate Israel from the territories. Many families are being split and people are fearful that they will not be able to cross the wall in order to work or to visit their family and friends. The Israelis view it as protection. It is expected that the building of the wall be completed in December 2003.
Source: BBC Online
Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Author: James Reynolds, BBC Correspondent in Jerusalem
Entry for October 20, 2003
It is not the job of high ranking officials to state their religious and personal opinions. Especially when they need to work so closely with the Muslim world like Lieutenant-General William G. Boykin does. As the article states "the remarks appear to run counter to the Bush administration's insistence that the campaign against terrorism is not against Islam." If he believes that it is his personal right as a citizen of the United States to have freedom of speech, then Boykin should have not made the remarks while wearing a uniform. That uniform shows that he is a representative of the army. This could be very detrimental to the already strained relations between the Muslim world and the United States. He should have known better.
A United States general by the name of Lieutenant-General William G. Boykin has apologised for stating that the war against terrorism was really a war by the Christians against Satan. He states that he is not against other religions and that his words were taken out of context. He stated that when he said "My G-d was bigger than his. I knew that my G-d was a real G-d, and his was an idol", he was actually refering to the Muslim fighter in Somalia's "worship of money and power; idolatry." His comments have embarrassed the White House and the Pentagon because the heads of the two institutions insist that the war is not againt Islam.
Source: BBC News Online
Date: Saturday,October 18, 2003
Author: There was no indication about who wrote the article.
Entry for November 3, 2003
Palestinian gays flee to Israel
This is quite sad. Nobody should have to flee their home or be exploited just because they are homosexual. This is a very significant piece of news because it shows that there is a huge lack of human rights for homosexuals in this world. I say “world” because this isn’t just a problem in the Palestinian Territories and Israel, but everywhere. They are people just like everyone else and there is no reason why they should be treated differently. Many countries pride themselves on being democratic nations, however there is always a group of people who aren’t allowed the freedom that everybody else in those same countries take for granted. This must stop and equality must reign.
Many homosexual Palestinians are crossing the wall into Israel in order to escape persecution even though many of them are detained so that they can not carry out terrorist attacks. In the Palestinian Territories, homosexual men are tortured and exploited. However, in Israel, while some may be exploited or end up under house arrest, homosexuals live in relative freedom. The Muslims believe that homosexuality goes against the lessons in the Coran.
Source: BBC Online
Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2003
No author was mentioned.
Entry for November 10, 2003
Gays need psychiatric help, says bishop
By Nigel Bunyan
A bishop incurred the wrath of homosexuals within the Church of England yesterday by suggesting that they seek psychiatric help in the hope of changing their sexuality.
The Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, said: "Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option but I would not set myself up as a medical specialist on the subject. That's in the area of psychiatric health."
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement accused him of putting forward an "offensive" argument from a bygone age.
The Rev Richard Kirker, the general secretary, said: "If the Bishop of Chester was telling black people to get their skins bleached and their hair straightened to avoid racial discrimination, he would be locked up.
"Psychiatrists and doctors have long since abandoned any belief that homosexuality was an illness that could be cured. Only Christian fundamentalists devote their energies in this direction."
The bishop, 53 and a married father-of-four, recently signed a letter opposing the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John, a non-practising homosexual, as Bishop of Reading. Dr John later decided not to take up his appointment.
While I understand that the appointments of gay bishops are a very big issue for the Church of England as for the Catholic Church, I think that they are losing sight of the fact that everybody is human and that no matter what one's sexual orientation is, they should still be allowed to exercise their fundamental rights and should have equal opportunities. Faith is supposed to be something to comfort people and that allows people to find some common ground so that they can identify with many people. Most religions are about acceptance and while I do not know much about the teachings of the Church of England, I could say quite honestly that I believe that it is the same for them. It is no wonder that the Bishop of Chester has come under fire for what he has said. However while one could wonder if his words were taken out of context, he should accept people and get on with his job of guiding people.
The Bishop of Chester (of the Church of England) has been criticised after implying that gay people should get psychiatric help in order to "reorientate themselves". The Bishop has a history of opposing homosexuals. He once wrote a letter saying that it was wrong that a homosexual bishop was appointed, this caused the man (Dr. John) to decide not to become appointed. Many homosexuals are saying that had he been talking about any other minority he would have been put into jail.
Source: The UK Telegraph Online was the source.
Date: Saturday, November 8, 2003
Author: Nigel Bunyan was the author.
Entry for November 17, 2003
Israelis Raid Palestinian Camp, Killing 1
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
JERUSALEM, Nov. 16 — Israeli forces raided a Palestinian refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip early today, killing one Palestinian and arresting a man the army held responsible for digging smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian border.
The Israeli Army said soldiers surrounded the home of the accused smuggler, Bassam Abu Libdeh, then opened fire as he and two other men fled. The soldiers killed one of those two men and wounded Mr. Abu Libdeh in the hand, the army said. The man who was killed was unarmed, the army said.
Palestinian authorities, who gave the same account of the incident, in the Rafah refugee camp, said an 8-year-old boy was also wounded, shot in the stomach.
Mr. Abu Libdeh was arrested and treated at an Israeli hospital, the army said. Israel accuses him of digging several tunnels from Gaza into Egypt, under the Israeli forces on the border, and then renting the tunnels to smugglers of weapons and contraband.
Also today, organizers of an unofficial peace plan known as the Geneva Accord began mailing almost two million copies of the 47-page document to Israeli homes.
The plan, drawn up by former negotiators from both sides to generate political support for substantive talks, was also published today in some Palestinian newspapers. Mail service is erratic in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
I find it interesting how a opinion can change so much by the level of information one receives. In this case it is my opinion that has changed and not about what happened (I really don't know which side to believe), but about the way it happened, and the way Israel should be approaching this. I do not feel that there was a need to surround the house and open fire. The man didn't have any sort of gun to protect himself. Yes, he was running away, but if they had surrounded the house, where could he have run to? I recently watched a documentary called "A Wedding in Ramallah". In it, the Israeli Army was referred to as "the Jews". It frightened me very much because I have realized that these people have no better views on us than we did on Germans. We didn't and still don't always refer to them as Nazi's but as the Germans, even though not all of Germany supported Hitler. As a result, Germans are now always going to be attached in our minds to the Nazi's. Likewise, Jewish people will always be attached in the minds of Palestinians to the Israeli army. Israel must find a way to distance the Army from Jewish people because Jews aren't the only ones in the Army and some Jews are against the tactics used. Until this is done, we will be the persecuters which will not stand well in the future and will promote anti-semitism. Unless this is done, suicide bombings and such attacks against Jews and Israel will continue in retaliation to such horrible tactics as those used against this man.
Israelis raided a Palestinian Camp on Sunday, November 16, 2003. The man they were targeting was alleged to have dug tunnels between the settlement and Egypt as a way to get weapons and other harmful and illegal items. The Israelis killed the man's friend as they tried to escape and the man, Bassam Abu Libdeh, was treated in hospital for a wound. According to Palestinian sources, however, a boy was also wounded in the raid.
Source: The New York Times Online is the source.
Date: November 16, 2003
No author was mentioned.
Entry for November 24, 2003
People power forces Georgia leader out
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has resigned amid massive protests over disputed election results.
He announced the move after opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili gave him an ultimatum to go at talks mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
The news was greeted by jubilant scenes in the capital Tbilisi, where fireworks lit up the night sky.
Opposition supporters broke into cheers outside the parliament building, which they took over on Saturday.
Mr Saakashvili had threatened to lead a march on the presidential residence, where the final talks were held, unless Mr Shevardnadze stood down.
The BBC's Chloe Arnold, in Tbilisi, says the key to the president's downfall was that the army withdrew its support from the veteran president.
On Saturday, following the opposition takeover of parliament, Mr Shevardnadze declared a state of emergency and threatened to use the military to restore order.
Announcing his resignation on national television, Mr Shevardnadze said: "I have to say that in the first half of the day I had different aspirations... "Now, I see that all that is happening cannot pass without bloodshed. If I am forced tomorrow to use the right vested in me in such circumstances, it will lead to serious bloodshed. "I have never betrayed my people and I am stating now, too, that it is probably better for the president to resign, so all this can end peacefully and there is no bloodshed and no casualties." Asked about who was succeeding him, he replied: "It is no longer my business."
Mr Saakashvili said that another opposition leader, Nino Burdzhanadze, would serve as acting president until new elections were held within 45 days.
He said he would be working alongside her, with help from Mr Shevardnadze, to maintain stability and peace in Georgia.
Mr Saakashvili also urged protesters to take down their barricades in Tbilisi and reiterated pledges to guarantee the safety of Mr Shevardnadze and his family.
"The president has accomplished a courageous act," he said. "By his resignation, he avoided spilling blood in the country... History will judge him kindly."
The European Union has expressed hopes for a peaceful handover of power. "We wanted this crisis to be solved peacefully and it seems that the situation has gone in that direction," Cristina Gallach, a spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs envoy Javier Solana, told French news agency AFP. "We want a non-violent handover, to be done in a negotiated manner." She added that "the situation remains extremely volatile".
Saturday saw the first session of the country's new parliament break up in pandemonium when thousands of opposition supporters led by Mr Saakashvili stormed the building, forcing Mr Shevardnadze and his supporters to flee.
Mr Shevardnadze had been addressing the first session of the newly-elected parliament after his party and its allies claimed victory in the 2 November polls, which were declared fraudulent by international observers.
This is being called Georgia's "velvet and flower" revolution and the atmosphere in Georgia has been described as jubilant and carnival-like. There are not many examples of peaceful revolutions without bloodshed but this is one. I find it wonderful that the people were heard and this truly makes one relish the right of freedom of speech and the fact thatone lives in a democratic country. Pessimists say that it is hard to bring around change. However, the people of Georgia have done so. It is very hard to know what lies ahead for Georgia. One hopes that everything will change for the better but this is a very vulnerable time for the country. I have a feeling that there will be lots of instability before the politics of the country improve.
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has resigned after there were many protests and supporters of the opposition stormed the Parliament. He was given an ultimatum to leave by opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili after talks that were mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Following the takeover of Parliament by the opposition, Shevardnadze proclaimed a state of emergency and threatened to use force. However, the army withdrew its support for Shevardnadze and on Sunday, November 23, 2003, he resigned.Elections are being planned in 45 days.
Source: The source is BBC News Online.
Date: Sunday, November 23, 2003
No author was mentioned in this article.
Entry for December 8, 2003
Powell meets architects of Geneva initiative
Palestinian prime minister to join cease-fire talks in Egypt
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The architects of an unofficial peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians met Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and said their plan complements the U.S.-backed "road map" to peace.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Israeli Yossi Beilin and Palestinian Yasser Abed Rabbo -- both former officials of their governments -- said the meeting wasn't a negotiating or debating session.
They were pleased U.S. officials showed interest in the so-called Geneva accord as a "package" despite problems with portions of it.
Rabbo said "this is the only possible solution" and that it meets "the basic needs and aspirations" of both sides.
"This document is intended to help the road map to be implemented and to strengthen the credibility of the road map in front of the Palestinian public and the Israeli public and in the region as a whole," he said.
The road map, backed by the Mideast Quartet -- the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union -- calls for steps on both sides toward ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establishing an independent Palestine by 2005.
The Geneva plan calls for, among other things, Israeli withdrawal from all but about 2 percent of the West Bank, a divided Jerusalem serving as capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state, and an end to attacks by Palestinian groups on Israeli civilians.
Beilin said the Geneva accord is "a draft that can be used by decision makers" in pursuing a final-status agreement between both sides.
"The Geneva initiative contributed to the return to the internal debate in both societies -- let us not hide it," said Beilin, who said "nothing happened" for three years despite unity governments and consensus on both sides.
"Now we have an internal debate, a very interesting one, intensive one and quite painful," Beilin said.
The Israeli government strongly objected to the Powell meeting, and neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority have endorsed the plan.
But both Powell and President Bush greeted the initiative positively. Powell said it is incumbent upon him to listen to new ideas, and Bush said he saw no harm in the plan and that he welcomes new ideas so long as they don't conflict with the principles set down in the road map.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has targeted Israeli civilians in terror attacks, will consider a cessation of attacks on civilians inside Israel, but not on troops and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian officials said Friday in Cairo.
The group's delegates -- meeting in Egypt with other Palestinians to help forge a unified position on the conflict with the Jewish state -- say the limited cessation would come only in exchange for Israel stopping attacks against Palestinian civilians, the officials told CNN.
They said Hamas might consider extending the proposed cease-fire to the West Bank and Gaza, but only if Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei can win political concessions from Israel.
Qorei is to arrive Saturday at the talks, which are expected to last into Sunday.
Egypt has asked the Palestinian delegates to agree on a mutual cease-fire with Israel that would end the impasse and attract international support for their cause, a senior Palestinian official told CNN.
Along with Hamas, sources in the other delegations to the Cairo conference, including Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, have told CNN that among the proposals being discussed were cease-fire plans.
Islamic Jihad is a militant group dedicated to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel. The group has carried out military operations against Israeli soldiers and civilians. Fatah is the mainstream faction and Palestinian nationalist movement of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It is dedicated to the formation of an independent Palestinian state.
Palestinian delegates said there is a preliminary agreement among some of the political parties to stop killing civilians inside Israel.
In return, these delegates said, they would ask the Mideast Quartet to pressure Israel to end what they call Israel's attacks on Palestinian civilians.
CNN Cairo bureau chief Ben Wedeman and producer Sausan Ghosheh contributed to this report.
The Geneva Accord suggests some ideas that would be very hard to realize. However, the hope it brings is amazing. Perhaps the biggest issue in the accord is the split of Jerusalem and the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank. Jerusalem is the most important aspect and one that may stall the talks as most Israelis might not agree on giving away part of the holy city. If this is the case, I feel that the city of Jerusalem should become property of the United Nations. It could become a little country inside Israel, as the Vatican is a country inside Italy. I feel that this would be a good solution because Jerusalem is holy to practically all denominations and by it belonging to the United Nations, all people would have an equal right to be there. The West Bank has held up talks for awhile and I feel that it may take a very long time for the issue to be solved. But one must hope that it will be solved and that there will be peace. Perhaps the best benefit of the Peace Accord is that the majority of Israelis (53%) are in favour of it, which puts pressure on Sharon to do something. It is obvious that peace is wanted and if Sharon does not like the Peace Accord he must bring forth something else to replace it.
Yasser Abed Rabbo and Yossi Beilin have drawn up a peace plan known as the "Geneva Peace Accord". What is particularly interesting is that these two people are Israelis and yet they suggest giving up land to the Palestinians. Abed Rabbo and Beilin have had a meeting with Colin Powell to try and drum up support for the accord claiming that it backs the United States' road-map for peace in the region. As well, Egypt and the Palestinian militant leaders have held a conference with one of the main goals being to have a cease-fire. The terrorist groups (Hamas, etc.) have claimed that they will stop killing civilians in Israel but will not stop attacks on Israeli settlements in the Gaza and the West Bank.
Source: CNN Online was the source of this article.
Date: Friday, December 5, 2003
Authors: It can be assumed that the article was written by many different people. However, the article did specify contributors to the article and they were CNN Cairo bureau chief Ben Wedeman and producer Sausan Ghosheh.