Thursday, October 28, 2004

My Wish for Tomorrow Morning

Yasser Arafat's health condition is reportedly very bad. Some reports have even said Arafat is unconscious, though the Palestinians deny this. This horrible man, who I once mistakenly believed had changed his stripes, has been one of the worst leaders the world has ever seen. The damage he has inflicted upon Israel, the world and his own people, is huge.

Arafat is an obstacle to any progress, as long as he is alive. If Israel would kill him, he would remain an obstacle even after death, perhaps even a greater one than he is now. But if he dies naturally, though it may bring a degree of instability in the short term, it will be a very positive turning point in the long run.

So, now I am about to go to sleep. Hopefully, when I wake up tomorrow morning I'll find out that during the night Arafat died, preferably in excruciating pain as a huge gallstone on its way out of the urinal tract brought on a massive heart attack. Just because I want him to die naturally doesn't mean I want him to die in peace...

Friday, October 15, 2004

Disengagement a Very Bad Plan

Last Monday Ariel Sharon lost a symbolic vote in the Knesset when his political statement, a sort of State of the Union Address delivered at the beginning of each session of Parliament (twice a year), was rejected. The main focus of his statement was the disengagement plan.

I'm glad he lost. This was an operatively unimportant vote, but very symbolic. The Labor Party voted against him. The Haaretz editorial from October 13 criticized them for this, saying that if they want to ever be considered for leadership again, they should support Sharon's plan. I totally disagree. To be taken seriously they can't be Sharon's yesmen. They have to be a serious opposition party. Labor says it supports disengagement but did not support Sharon's statement, which also included his social and economic plans, which it opposes. I don't think the party should support the disengagement plan at all. After thinking it over for months, I have come to the conclusion that it is a disastrous plan. Pulling out without an agreement just makes things worse, and it will convince the Palestinians that violence works, just like the withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 may have encouraged the Intifada that started a few months later.

The far-right settlers oppose the disengagement plan because they want Israel to keep control over Gaza and the West Bank. I oppose the disengagement plan for the exact opposite reason - because I want to leave the territories, but in a safe and secure manner. If we leave unilaterally, Hamas will take over. Nobody will be able to stop their terrorist activities and we'll end up having to send our military there. On the other hand, if we have a treaty with someone on the other side, there will be someone with responsibility to fight terror. They may not want to do that, but at least the world, and most of all the USA, will pressure them into doing so. This won't be peace, but it will be a cease fire.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

My Take on the Veep Debate

I watched the vice presidential debate last night, despite the fact that it was 3 in the morning here (good thing we moved back our clocks already while the US is still in daylight savings time, so at least it saved me an hour). All the commentary that I've read and heard kept saying that it was a tie, and that each side will think its own candidate won. I disagree. It was very close, but I think Cheney was better than Edwards.

In the presidential debate, Kerry was on the offensive more than he had to defend himself. Here, I felt Edwards was being attacked more than Cheney, and that the vice president's line of attack on Edwards' inexperience was more effective and more prominent than the senator's line on Cheney's extremism. Both men were right, because each of them targeted their opponent's Achilles Heal: Edwards is indeed inexperienced and probably wouldn't make a good chief executive (which is why, even though I'm voting for Kerry and Edwards, I hope the second JFK will complete his term without dying or resigning); Cheney is indeed extremely right wing.

I almost felt sorry for Cheney when they talked about gay marriage. It was an awkward moment when Edwards praised the Cheney family about how they treat their lesbian daughter. Also, Cheney probably agreed with every word Edwards said about the gay marriage issue, but couldn't say so, so as to not contradict the president. That's why he just thanked Edwards for his personal remarks and forfeited about a minute and a half of the time he had to respond - I don't believe we'll see anyone give up so much time in a debate any time soon.

Regarding Cheney's comment about the terrorist attacks in Israel being reduced because of Saddam not being in power: I think that's a load of crap. Sure, Israel, like the US and the rest of the world, is a lot better off without Saddam. He did indeed send millions to the families of suicide bombers, and it's good that it stopped. But still millions are pouring in to the bank accounts of terrorist groups and terrorist families - from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Syria. The US has started getting tougher on Syria, but it is too soft on the others. The reduction in attacks is the result of the fence and Israeli forces stopping attacks before they occur, not because of the current situation in Iraq.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Two Israelis Win the Nobel!

I'm very happy. Today three people got the Nobel prize in chemistry - all of my own (dual) nationality. Two Israelis and one American. Since many Americans have won Nobel prizes and only five Israelis had won before today, I am more excited about the two Israeli scientists who won.

Monday, October 04, 2004

And the Nobel goes to...

A few days ago, the 2004 Ig Nobel prizes were announced. These are the awards given to researchers who have made discoveries nobody really needs. Today, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was announced, and it seemed to me to be a direct continuation of the Ig Nobels. It was given to two American researchers who have extensively investigated the sense of smell and have discovered how we identify different smells. Don't misunderstand me. I think this is important research, but it doesn't seem Nobel-worthy to me. This prize is usually given to people who are researching diseases or ways to ease the pain of the ill. With all due respect to the sense of smell - knowing how it works isn't going to save anybody's life.

The next Nobel prizes will be announced in the next few days. Maybe Amos Oz will finally win in literature (though I doubt it). I hope neither the head of the IAEA, Muhammad al-Baradai, nor the Pope (who yesterday beatified Karl I, the Austro-Hungarian emperor who authorized the use of gas in World War I) will win the peace prize. Neither do I want any Israelis or Palestinians to win. I don't think either side has anybody worthy of the prize right now.