Egypt: Bloggers on the Fence

Date posted: January 7, 2009


Sitting on the fence requires objectivity, tolerance, and integrity. Mona Eltahawy chose to sit on the fence and Amr Gharbeia asks people to choose a solution. In her post: "On Fence Toughtest Stance in Mideast", Mona Eltahawy stated that:

it’s too easy to take sides in the Middle East conflict. Few other parts of the world inspire such passion or leave such little room for doubt. For many, choosing sides is just an afterthought to their birthright: If you’re an Arab, go join the Free Palestine demonstrations; and if you’re Jewish, go join the Save Israel marches. Don’t forget, you can always throw God into the mix. Lay claim to your holy sites and you’ll have religiously sanctioned wrath to fuel your rage.

Then she asks:

what’s the point of choosing sides when both sides are losing? The real challenge when it comes to the Middle East is to sit on the fence and to understand that as with most chapters of this interminable conflict, civilians pay the most expensive price.

The best unbiased advice she could give is:

From that perch up there on the fence, keep your eyes firmly on Israeli and Palestinian civilians and ask about the responsibility of leaders to their people. The civilians of Gaza are victims of both Hamas and Israel. The former have been more concerned with firing ineffectual rockets at southern Israel where they targeted the very group of people they are now accusing Israel of hurting the most in Gaza — civilians. Israel has launched a punishing bombardment and invasion of Gaza that will be used as the latest proof that it is the neighbourhood bully. Its actions are bound to turn Hamas into the very heroes they don’t deserve to be and possibly unleash a new wave of unconscionable suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. And all for what?

And she warns:

For those of us from the region, the easiest thing might be to follow our birthright to bias but the hardest thing is to scream “Enough” at a time when both sides seem bent on mutual destruction and when to criticize your side ensures accusations of being a sellout.

Finally she insists on:

staying on that fence and being a sellout for peace. Stay on that fence with me and scream and yell for a ceasefire. Enough violence.

Amr Gharbeia created a poll on his blog asking voters to choose one of nine options to end the conflict and the results showed that the majority of people just want peace and democracy:

يخرج السكان اليهود من الأرض و تعود بالكامل للمسلمين، و من يبقى يصير من أهل الذمة 26% (50 صوتا) يخرج السكان اليهود من الأرض و تعود بالكامل للعرب، و من يبقى منهم يصير مواطنا من الدرجة الثانية 8% (16 صوتا) يعود اللاجئون العرب و يعيشون مع اليهود في دولة ديمقراطية على كامل تراب فلسطين تعطي العرب تمييزا إيجابيا لفترة ما 34% (66 صوتا) تقوم دولة فلسطينية في حدود تقسيم الأمم المتحدة 1937 5% (10 أصوات) تطبق القرارات الدولية و تقوم دولة فلسطينية في حدود ما قبل يونيو 1967 مع عودة اللاجئين 12% (23 صوتا) تقوم دولة فلسطينية طبقا لما تصل إليه المفاوضات التي سقفها الأعلى حدود ما قبل يونيو 1967. عودة اللاجئين خاضعة للتفاوض 8% (15 صوتا) تقام دولة في الضفة الغربية و أخرى في غزة 2% (3 أصوات) تسيطر الأردن على الضفة الغربية و مصر على غزة و يستوعب اللاجئون في البلاد الأخرى 2% (4 أصوات) يهجر العرب خارج أرض إسرائيل 5% (9 أصوات)
 
The Jewish settlers leave, Palestine becomes a Muslim country, and the Jews who stay behind are treated as Dhimmi (50 votes/26%) The Jewish settlers leave, Palestine becomes a Muslim country, and the Jews who stay behind are treated as second degree citizens (16 votes/8%) The Arab refugees and the Israelis live together in Palestine in a democratic country – a positive privilege for the Arabs (66 votes/34%) Establish the Palestinian state according to UN resolution in 1937 (10 votes/5%) Establish the Palestinian state according to the international community's decision before 1967 in addition to the return of the refugees (23 votes/12%) Establish the Palestinian state according to the international community's decision before 1967 – the return of the refugees is subject to further negotiations (15 votes/8%) Establish two countries; one in the West Bank and one in Gaza (3 votes/2%) Jordan oversees the West Bank, Egypt is in charge of Gaza, and the refugees find another home (4 votes/2%) The Arabs are forced to leave Israel (9 votes/5%)
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