segunda-feira, 29 de junho de 2009
“O dom do Ministério Apostólico”
Homilia na Vigília da Solenidade
dos Apóstolos São Pedro e São Paulo
Ordenação de Presbíteros e Diáconos
Igreja de São Paulo, Lisboa, 28 de Junho de 2009
1. Nesta celebração da Vigília da Solenidade dos Apóstolos São Pedro e São Paulo, convergem vários elementos, convidando-nos à meditação sobre o ministério apostólico na Igreja: a Solenidade dos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo; o encerramento do Ano Paulino; as ordenações que, além de investirem vários cristãos no ministério dos diáconos, agregam três jovens ao presbitério da Igreja de Lisboa para nela exercerem o ministério do sacerdócio apostólico; o início do Ano Sacerdotal.
O ministério apostólico é a mais forte expressão do amor de Jesus Cristo pela humanidade que redimiu. Até que tudo seja consumado na Jerusalém Celeste, Jesus continua, através do ministério apostólico, a anunciar e a realizar o Reino de Deus, a nova ordem de uma humanidade renovada. Os apóstolos são enviados com o poder de Jesus; a sua palavra tem a força da Palavra de Deus; oferecem continuamente o sacrifício redentor, com Cristo e em nome de Cristo; realizam, em nome de Jesus, maravilhas que ultrapassam os poderes humanos, para que a fecundidade de Cristo transforme os corações. Eles repetem continuamente, para os homens de todos os tempos, aquelas palavras de Pedro: “não tenho prata, nem ouro, mas o que tenho vou dar-to: em nome de Jesus Cristo de Nazaré, anda”.
O ministério apostólico é a força renovadora da Páscoa de Jesus transformada em dinamismo renovador da história dos homens, é a principal concretização do amor continuado de Jesus Cristo pela humanidade. A Igreja que recebemos dos Apóstolos, a Igreja que Jesus deseja e ama, é incompreensível sem o ministério apostólico.
2. Na celebração de hoje ressalta, em primeiro plano, o ministério de Pedro, a quem o Senhor confia o serviço da unidade, de todos a quem foi confiado este ministério. Por isso, Jesus espera dele um amor sem limites, convida-o a segui-l’O até ao dom total da sua vida. Neste momento, o nosso coração une-se àquele que hoje exerce na Igreja este ministério petrino, Sua Santidade Bento XVI. O seu magistério, as linhas de rumo que traça para a Igreja nestes tempos exigentes de início de novo milénio, são a luz que nos guia em obediência crente. A todos os que são escolhidos para exercerem hoje este ministério apostólico é exigida esta obediência crente. Um sacerdote ordenado, no exercício do ministério apostólico de que participa, nunca pode contrapor a sua visão pessoal à palavra de Pedro, a quem Jesus entregou a responsabilidade da palavra decisiva e orientadora em cada momento da história. E esta obediência crente só será perfeita se for expressão de amor, da nossa comunhão de amor com o sucessor de Pedro, exprimindo nessa comunhão o amor com que amamos a Igreja. No dia em que ordeno novos sacerdotes gostaria de garantir ao Santo Padre esta obediência crente e amorosa de todo o presbitério de Lisboa. Só assim participais na exigência pessoal de fidelidade do vosso Bispo.
3. Mas esta celebração realça, igualmente, o ministério apostólico de Paulo. Encerramos o Ano Paulino, mas não podemos terminar a nossa caminhada com Paulo. Se caminhámos com ele, percebemos que isso significa caminhar com a Igreja, sobretudo na identificação com Cristo e na escuta da Palavra, que ele, antes de a proclamar com ardor, escutou do próprio Cristo. Caminhar com Paulo é caminhar com a Igreja, em ordem a um encontro cada vez mais profundo com Cristo, ao ritmo da Palavra. Ele reconhece, na sua vida, a origem transcendente da Palavra que anuncia e que o julga a ele. A urgência da evangelização brota da intensidade de amor do próprio Cristo. Paulo percebeu, como ninguém, que não bastava a primeira evangelização, que originava uma nova comunidade. Nascidas da Palavra, as comunidades cristãs só progrediam na fé e na caridade, continuando a escutar a palavra do apóstolo. As suas cartas pouco nos dizem como realizou o primeiro anúncio; dizem-nos, isso sim, como continuou a alimentar as comunidades com a sua palavra apostólica. Oxalá, durante este ano, tenhamos aprendido isso com o Apóstolo Paulo: as nossas comunidades precisam de ser continuamente alimentadas pela Palavra de Deus, cuja mensagem devemos continuar a perceber, tal como ele fazia, na intimidade com Jesus Cristo.
Também aprendemos com ele a exigência da comunhão com Pedro. Chamado pelo Senhor, com um ministério específico, a evangelização dos gentios, Cristo faz-lhe perceber que, desde o início, isso tem de ser feito em comunhão com Pedro, por mais exigente que essa comunhão se revele. “Ao fim de três anos subi a Jerusalém para ir conhecer Pedro e fiquei junto dele quinze dias”. Só em comunhão se anuncia eficazmente a salvação.
4. O ministério apostólico está, hoje, vivo na Igreja, através do ministério dos Bispos, sucessores dos Apóstolos e dos presbíteros, que comungam do sacerdócio apostólico dos Bispos, através do sacramento da ordem. O Bispo exerce o seu sacerdócio apostólico, para bem de toda a Igreja, em comunhão com os seus presbíteros. O presbitério diocesano é uma experiência de comunhão, com Cristo e com a Igreja: comunhão na Palavra, sempre escutada de novo no coração de Deus; comunhão na Eucaristia, por nós oferecida em nome de Cristo Sacerdote; comunhão na caridade, que nos fará perceber que o sacerdócio apostólico é a principal expressão do amor de Cristo pela Igreja, sacramento da Igreja comunhão de amor.
Queridos Ordinandos! É uma circunstância exigente e carregada de sentido, o serdes ordenados na Solenidade dos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo, no encerramento do Ano Paulino, modelo vivo de apóstolo e no início do Ano Sacerdotal. O ministério sacerdotal que recebeis, mais do que o resultado da vossa generosidade e entrega, é manifestação do amor de Cristo pela Igreja. Vivei-o assim. É urgente que as pessoas e as comunidades se sintam amadas por Jesus Cristo através do vosso ministério. A partir deste momento, o ministério sacerdotal e a maneira de o exercer marcará o ritmo do vosso caminho pessoal de fidelidade e de santidade.
Este Ano Sacerdotal oferecerá a toda a Igreja o desafio de se confrontar com a profundidade do seu mistério: a Igreja é o fruto precioso do amor com que Deus amou o mundo,
Para nós os sacerdotes, este ano é um convite a identificarmos a nossa vida com este mistério de que somos portadores, na fragilidade da nossa natureza. Todo o nosso ministério é santo; a nossa maneira de viver em tudo, ao serviço da Igreja, deve fazer resplandecer a santidade do nosso ministério. Como o Santo Cura d’Ars, devemos orar constantemente, para que as nossas fragilidades não toldem a santidade do ministério de que somos ministros, isto é, servidores.
† JOSÉ, Cardeal-Patriarca
domingo, 28 de junho de 2009
sexta-feira, 26 de junho de 2009
Theodor (Binyamin Ze'ev) Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, was born in Budapest in 1860. He was educated in the spirit of the German-Jewish Enlightenment of the period, learning to appreciate secular culture. In 1878 the family moved to Vienna, and in 1884 Herzl was awarded a doctorate of law from the University of Vienna. He became a writer, a playwright and a journalist. Herzl became the Paris correspondent of the influential liberal Vienna newspaper Neue Freie Presse.
Herzl first encountered the antisemitism that would shape his life and the fate of the Jews in the twentieth century while studying at the University of Vienna (1882). Later, during his stay in Paris as a journalist, he was brought face-to-face with the problem. At the time, he regarded the Jewish problem as a social issue and wrote a drama, The Ghetto (1894), in which assimilation and conversion are rejected as solutions. He hoped that The Ghetto would lead to debate and ultimately to a solution, based on mutual tolerance and respect between Christians and Jews.
To Realize the Dream
Herzl concluded that antisemitism was a stable and immutable factor in human society, which assimilation did not solve. He mulled over the idea of Jewish sovereignty, and, despite ridicule from Jewish leaders, published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in 1896.
Herzl argued that the essence of the Jewish problem was not individual, but national. He declared that the Jews could gain acceptance in the world only if they ceased being a national anomaly. The Jews are one people, he said, and their plight could be transformed into a positive force by the establishment of a Jewish state with the consent of the great powers. He saw the Jewish question as an international political question to be dealt with in the arena of international politics.
Herzl proposed a practical program for collecting funds from Jews around the world by an organization which would work towards the practical realization of this goal (this organization, when it was eventually formed, was called the Zionist Organization.) He saw the future state as a model social state, basing his ideas on the European model of the time of a modern enlightened society. It would be neutral and peace-seeking, and secular in nature.
Herzl's ideas were met with enthusiasm by the Jewish masses in Eastern Europe, although Jewish leaders were less ardent. Still, Herzl convened and chaired the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland, on August 29-31, 1897 - the first interterritorial gathering of Jews on a national and secular basis. Here the delegates adopted the Basle Program, the program of the Zionist movement, and declared "Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law." At the Congress the Zionist Organization was established as the political arm of the Jewish people, and Herzl was elected its first president. In the same year, Herzl founded the Zionist weekly Die Welt and began activities to obtain a charter for Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael).
After the First Zionist Congress, the movement convened annually at an international Zionist Congress. In 1936 the center of the Zionist movement was transferred to Jerusalem.
In 1902, Herzl wrote the Zionist novel, Altneuland (Old New Land), in which he depicted the future Jewish state as a social utopia. He envisioned a new society that was to rise in the Land of Israel on a cooperative basis utilizing science and technology in the development of the Land. He included detailed ideas about how he saw the future state’s political structure, immigration, fund-raising, diplomatic relations, social laws and relations between religion and the state. In Altneuland, the Jewish state was foreseen as a pluralist, advanced society, a “light unto the nations.” This book had a great impact on the Jews of the time and became a symbol of the Zionist vision in the Land of Israel.
Herzl saw the need for encouragement by the great powers of the national aims of the Jewish people. Thus, he traveled to the Land of Israel and Istanbul in 1898 to meet with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. When these efforts proved fruitless, he turned to Great Britain, and met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary, and others. The only concrete offer he received from the British was the proposal of a Jewish autonomous region in east Africa, in Uganda.
The 1903 Kishinev pogrom and the difficult state of Russian Jewry, witnessed firsthand by Herzl during a visit to Russia, had a profound effect on him. He proposed the British Uganda Program to the Sixth Zionist Congress (1903) as a temporary refuge for Russian Jewry in immediate danger. While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm at the Congress and nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement. The Uganda Program was finally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905.
Herzl died in 1904 of pneumonia and a weak heart overworked by his incessant efforts on behalf of Zionism. But by then the movement had found its place on the world political map. In 1949, Herzl’s remains were brought to Israel and reinterred on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Herzl coined the phrase "If you will, it is no fairytale," which became the motto of the Zionist movement. Although at the time no one could have imagined it, the Zionist movement, just fifty years after the First Zionist Congress, brought about the establishment of the independent State of Israel.
Zionism is the national movement that espouses repatriation of Jews to their homeland - the Land of Israel - and the resumption of sovereign Jewish life there.
Yearning for Zion and Jewish immigration continued throughout the long period of exile, following the Roman conquest and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. This yearning took on a new form in the nineteenth century, when modern nationalism, liberalism and emancipation caused the Jews to contend with new questions, which the Zionist movement tried to answer. The Hibbat Zion movement began to coalesce in the second half of the nineteenth century, advocated revival of Jewish life in the Land of Israel, and began establishing agricultural settlements there. But later, Herzl energized and consolidated Zionism into a political movement, convening the First Zionist Congress in 1897. Herzl was the first to bring the Jewish problem to world attention, and make the Jewish people a player in the world political arena. The Zionist movement which developed from his initiative also created organizational, political and economic tools to implement its vision and ideology.
The Zionist movement enunciated its goals - a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel - in the Basle Program. Apart from the movements that rejected the idea of national revival, Zionism included diverse groups, from Religious Zionism to Socialist Zionism. All of them worked towards the aim of the Jewish National Home, an enterprise that culminated in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
A Modern Rendition of an Ancient Motif
The origin of the word "Zionism" is the biblical word "Zion," often used as a synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). Zionism is an ideology which expresses the yearning of Jews the world over for their historical homeland - Zion, the Land of Israel.
The hope of returning to their homeland was first held by Jews exiled to Babylon some 2,500 years ago - a hope which subsequently became a reality. ("By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion." Psalms 137:1). Thus political Zionism, which coalesced in the 19th century, invented neither the concept nor the practice of return. Rather, it appropriated an ancient idea and an ongoing active movement, and adapted them to meet the needs and spirit of the times.
The core of the Zionist idea appears in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948), which states, inter alia, that:
The idea of Zionism is based on the long connection between the Jewish people and its land, a link which began almost 4,000 years ago when Abraham settled in Canaan, later known as the Land of Israel.
Central to Zionist thought is the concept of the Land of Israel as the historical birthplace of the Jewish people and the belief that Jewish life elsewhere is a life of exile. Moses Hess, in his book Rome and Jerusalem (1844), expresses this idea:
Over centuries in the Diaspora, the Jews maintained a strong and unique relationship with their historical homeland, and manifested their yearning for Zion through rituals and literature.
Antisemitism as a Factor in Shaping Zionism
While Zionism expresses the historical link binding the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, modern Zionism might not have arisen as an active national movement in the 19th century without contemporary antisemitism preceded by centuries of persecution.
Over the centuries, Jews were expelled from almost every European country - Germany and France, Portugal and Spain, England and Wales - a cumulative experience which had a profound impact, especially in the 19th century when Jews had abandoned hope of fundamental change in their lives. Out of this milieu came Jewish leaders who turned to Zionism as a result of the virulent antisemitism in the societies surrounding them. Thus Moses Hess, shaken by the blood libel of Damascus (1844), became the father of Zionist socialism; Leon Pinsker, shocked by the pogroms (1881-1882) which followed the assassination of Czar Alexander II, assumed leadership in the Hibbat Zion movement; and Theodor Herzl, who as a journalist in Paris experienced the venomous antisemitic campaign of the Dreyfus case (1896), organized Zionism into a political movement.
The Zionist movement aimed to solve the "Jewish problem," the problem of a perennial minority, a people subjected to repeated pogroms and persecution, a homeless community whose alienness was underscored by discrimination wherever Jews settled.
Zionism aspired to deal with this situation by effecting a return to the historical homeland of the Jews - the Land of Israel.
In fact, most of the waves of Aliya (mass immigration to the Land of Israel) in the modern age were in direct response to acts of murder and discrimination against Jews. The First Aliya followed pogroms in Russia in the 1880s. The Second Aliya was spurred by the Kishinev pogrom and a string of massacres in the Ukraine and Belorussia at the turn of the century. The Third Aliya occurred after the slaughter of Jews in the Russian civil war. The Fourth Aliya originated in Poland in the 1920s after the Grawski legislation infringed on Jewish economic activity. The Fifth Aliya was composed of German and Austrian Jews fleeing Nazism.
After the State of Israel was established in 1948, mass immigrations were still linked to and oppression. Holocaust survivors from Europe, refugees from Arab countries escaping the persecution which followed the establishment of Israel, the remnants of Polish Jewry who fled the country when antisemitism reignited at the time of Gomulka and Muzcar, and the Jews of Russia and other former Soviet republics who feared a new spasm of antisemitism with the breakup of the Soviet Union. The history of the waves of Aliya provides strong proof for the Zionist argument that a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, with a Jewish majority, is the only solution to the “Jewish problem.”
Rise of Political Zionism
Political Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, emerged in the 19th century within the context of the liberal nationalism then sweeping through Europe.
Zionism synthesized the two goals of liberal nationalism - liberation and unity - by aiming to free the Jews from hostile and oppressive alien rule and to reestablish Jewish unity by gathering Jewish exiles from the four corners of the world to the Jewish homeland.
The rise of Zionism as a political movement was also a response to the failure of the Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment) to solve the "Jewish problem." According to Zionist doctrine, the reason for this failure was that personal emancipation and equality were impossible without national emancipation and equality, since national problems require national solutions. The Zionist national solution was the establishment of a Jewish national state with a Jewish majority in the historical homeland, thus realizing the Jewish people's right to self-determination. Zionism did not consider the "normalization" of the Jewish condition contrary to universal aims and values. It advocated the right of every people on earth to its own home, and argued that only a sovereign people could become an equal member of the family of nations.
Zionism: A Pluralistic Movement
Although Zionism was basically a political movement aspiring to a return to the Jewish homeland with freedom, independence, statehood and security for the Jewish people, it also promoted a reassertion of Jewish culture. An important element in this reawakening was the revival of Hebrew, long restricted to liturgy and literature, as a living national language, for use in government and the military, education and science, the market and the street.
Like any other nationalism, Zionism interrelated with other ideologies, resulting in the formation of Zionist currents and subcurrents.
The combination of nationalism and liberalism gave birth to liberal Zionism; the integration of socialism gave rise to socialist Zionism; the blending of Zionism with deep religious faith resulted in religious Zionism; and the influence of European nationalism inspired a rightist-nationalist faction. In this respect, Zionism has been no different from other nationalisms which also espouse various liberal, traditional, socialist (leftist) and conservative (rightist) leanings.
Zionism and Arab Nationalism
Most of the founders of Zionism knew that Palestine (the Land of Israel) had an Arab population (though some spoke naively of "a land without a people for a people without a land"). Still, only few regarded the Arab presence as a real obstacle to the fulfillmentofZionism.At that time in the late 19th century, Arab nationalism did not yet exist in any form, and the Arab population of Palestine was sparse and apolitical. Many Zionist leaders believed that since the local community was relatively small, friction between it and the returning Jews could be avoided; they were also convinced that the subsequent development of the country would benefit both peoples, thus earning Arab endorsement and cooperation. However, these hopes were not fulfilled.
Contrary to the declared positions and expectations of the Zionist ideologists who had aspired to achieve their aims by peaceful means and cooperation, the renewed Jewish presence in the Land met with militant Arab opposition. For some time many Zionists found it hard to understand and accept the depth and intensity of the dispute, which became in fact a clash between two peoples both regarding the country as their own - the Jews by virtue of their historical and spiritual connection, and the Arabs because of their centuries-long presence in the country.
During the years 1936-1947, the struggle over the Land of Israel grew more intense. Arab opposition became more extreme with the increased growth and development of the Jewish community. At the same time, the Zionist movement felt it necessary to increase immigration and develop the country's economic infrastructure, in order to save as many Jews as possible from the Nazi inferno in Europe.
The unavoidable clash between the Jews and the Arabs brought the UN to recommend, on November 29, 1947, the establishment of two states in the area west of the Jordan River - one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted the resolution; the Arabs rejected it.
On May 14, 1948, in accordance with the UN resolution of November 1947, the State of Israel was established.
The State of Israel: From Dream to Realization
Zionism into the 21st century
The establishment of the State of Israel marked the realization of the Zionist goal of attaining an internationally recognized, legally secured home for the Jewish people in its historic homeland, where Jews would be free from persecution and able to develop their own lives and identity.
Since 1948, Zionism has seen its task as continuing to encourage the "ingathering of the exiles," which at times has called for extraordinary efforts to rescue endangered (physically and spiritually) Jewish communities. It also strives to preserve the unity and continuity of the Jewish people as well as to focus on the centrality of Israel in Jewish life everywhere.
Down through the centuries, the desire for the restoration of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel has been a thread binding the Jewish people together. Jews around the world accept Zionism as a fundamental tenet of Judaism, support the State of Israel as the basic realization of Zionism and are enriched culturally, socially and spiritually by the fact of Israel - a member of the family of nations and a vibrant, creative accomplishment of the Jewish spirit.
quinta-feira, 25 de junho de 2009
FM Liberman attends EU-Israel Association meeting in Luxemburg The EU is interested in further upgrading relations with Israel. (Communicated by the
EU-Israel Association Council
Joint Press Conference with Israel Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Kohout, and EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Luxembourg, June 15, 2009
Opening statement by President J. Kohout of the EU-Israel Association Council: This is the first part of the 9th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, which is a high level forum dealing with the whole network of our bilateral relations. We did not suspend what has been done in the past year and discussed how to develop our relations further. It was done in a very constructive atmosphere.
Israel is an active partner in the framework of the European neighborhood policy. We were thus able to make good progress in implementing a large number of priorities in the bilateral action plan, to the benefit of both sides. We touched upon topics where our cooperation advanced greatly - the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation, social dialog, trade-related issues and regulatory reforms, the business climate, agriculture, migration, police and judicial cooperation, transport, energy, environment, climate change, research and development, education and culture.
Our discussion has not, and could not, have covered all the subjects of common concern. Our positions have been stated in a declaration adopted by a consensus of the member states, and have been presented to our partners. Our political dialog will continue over dinner. We reiterate our will to further develop our relations in this manner.
The decision of the European Council, in December of last year, is still valid concerning the upgrade of the relations between Europe and Israel. We also stress the fact that the advancement of our mutual relations will take place within the context of our common interests, which include the two-state solution in the Israel Palestinian conflict, and the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.
In this respect, the EU welcomes the initial step following the Israeli policy review announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu, of a commitment to a peace that will include the creation of a Palestinian State. Thank you.
Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman: I am taking part in the 9th [EU-Israel Association] meeting together with Mr. Jan Kohout, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister [of the Czech Republic], as the Presidency of the EU, and Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
We have just completed the first part of the annual meeting dedicated to the status of Israel-EU relations. We had very constructive discussions, which also marked 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the EU. We are pleased to note the progress made throughout these years and acknowledge the mutual benefit of engaging and enhancing the concrete economic, commercial, scientific, technological, educational and cultural ties between the parties.
We devoted time to analyzing the best joint activities throughout the years since our last Association Council meeting and considered future steps to deepen our relations. The EU is Israel’s major trade partner. More than 30 per cent of Israel’s total export is directed towards EU markets and 40 per cent of Israel’s imports originate in EU member states.
The political dialogue with the EU and its member states has developed considerably in recent years. We welcome the EU’s contribution to the efforts aimed at attaining security, stability and prosperity that will lead to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner: Thank you very much. I said when I started this commission of our extended relations and neighborhood policy, indeed, the first action plan that we finalized was the action plan with Israel and I can say in the meantime, in these five years, I think our relations have developed very, very dynamically and I think that this action plan in a way has played a catalyst role in this respect, by opening doors for Israel, to several European initiatives. And indeed, in this meeting, I have been able, and I think that we have also agreed with our Israeli colleagues, to speak about the different items on which we have been working, be it the agreement on further liberalization of trade, concerning agriculture, concerning fisheries, concerning the liberalization of trade and services, concerning the air transport agreement, and so on and so forth. So, there is a huge scope of our relations and I will not go into all the details, unless there are questions. And I think that we can really develop this scope even further, and this is, indeed, the sense and the objective of this meeting tonight. Thank you very much.
Q: Foreign Minister Liberman, the EU, in its statement, said that the Prime Minister’s speech last night was an initial step. Did you discuss any further steps in your meeting and, on an unrelated point, what expectations do you have from the EU in dealing with Iran?
FM Liberman: I think that yesterday’s speech by our Prime Minister was a very positive and a very peaceful speech and we think that we can move to the negotiations with the Palestinians without any preconditions. We also expect the EU to encourage this dialogue between us and the Palestinians, to encourage and to support the open talks without any preconditions, and I think that it is really in our interest, in the interest of the Palestinians and, of course, in the interest of the EU that we reach a comprehensive solution in our region.
I think that Iran is really the biggest threat, not only for the Middle East. But with regard to the Middle East; it is the biggest factor of instability. I think that the Iranian nuclear program could lead us into a really crazy nuclear arms race in our entire region and I don’t even want to think about what could happen in that case. I think that the international community must stop the Iranian nuclear program with tough sanctions. We think today that with the problem in North Korea and the difference between the two countries – that the Iranians are more dangerous than North Korea. It must be immediate and I think that it is in the interest of all our neighbors, of the international community and of course, of Israel.
Q: A question for Mr. Liberman. Nonetheless, several EU ministers did express reservations about the two specific conditions that President Netanyahu listed for his endorsement of a future Palestinian State. What is your reaction? And what did you tell the EU side today on those specific points?
And on Iran, if I can ask on the EU side, there have just been some witnessed reports that gunmen have opened fire on an opposition rally in Teheran and one person has been killed; this despite your earlier calls for refraining from more violence. What is your reaction to that please?
FM Liberman: We have our position and we have the right to our position. Every side has its position and Mr. Netanyahu was very clear about the Israeli position on talks with the Palestinians. But we are ready for talks without any preconditions. And I think that this is the most important point; direct talks without any preconditions. We are also open to hearing the Palestinian position and we are ready for talks with every Arab country in our region. I think that this is the right timing and we support President Obama on regional peace, on the regional solution and the regional solution must include bilateral relations and bilateral talks among all the parties in the region.
Regarding the Iranian situation, in Tehran today specifically, we have never interfered in the internal affairs of any country and the elections and the demonstrations today in Teheran are their internal problem. Maybe it is a problem for the international community. We worry about their activity in the region. Their problems within their country are their problems.
FM Kohout: I have no information regarding that, I was so involved the whole afternoon, so I am sorry and I cannot say at this stage.
Q: Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke yesterday and he raised one of the preconditions - that the Palestinians have to recognize Israel as a state for the Jewish people. My question is what will be the status of the Palestinians of 1948 who are today citizens of Israel? Are you going to, as you said in your electoral campaign, to ask them for a Certificate of Loyalty or something like that? And, my question to the presidency, if Israel is advocating its right to have a religious state as a Jewish state, why can the Palestinians not ask for a Muslim state and the Christians not ask for a Palestinian Christian state?
FM Liberman: I think that I clarified your question before. We have our position, we have our vision, we do not have any preconditions. We are open to sitting with the Palestinians immediately. We are ready to sit with the Syrians immediately. And we are ready to do the same with the other countries; but without any preconditions. Every side has its vision and we are ready to talk about all the questions, all the points, but without any preconditions, and every side can explain its position. And, in any case, we must achieve a solution only as a result of talks and only as a result of negotiations.
FM Kohout: As far as the EU is concerned, I will quote from the Council conclusions: The Council reiterates its commitment to the two-state solution, with an independent, democratic, contiguous, viable Palestinian State, comprising the West Bank and Gaza, and living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel. That is the position of the EU.
Q: Is it not the problem, though, you talk about preconditions, but has Mr. Netanyahu not set out Israel’s preconditions, in his speech?
FM Liberman: Prime Minister Netanyahu explained his position and the position of the State of Israel and I think that it is a very clear position. We said the same things before the elections, during the elections, and after the elections. Regardless of our position, we are open to any negotiations, we are open to dialog and, as I mentioned, we are ready and we think that the solution must be the result of peaceful negotiations, and I think that we have a right to our position, at least as much as the other sides.
Address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University
(simultaneous English translation)
Honored guests, citizens of Israel.
Peace has always been our people's most ardent desire. Our prophets gave the world the vision of peace, we greet one another with wishes of peace, and our prayers conclude with the word peace.
We are gathered this evening in an institution named for two pioneers of peace, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and we share in their vision.
Two and half months ago, I took the oath of office as the Prime Minister of Israel. I pledged to establish a national unity government - and I did. I believed and I still believe that unity was essential for us now more than ever as we face three immense challenges - the Iranian threat, the economic crisis, and the advancement of peace.
The Iranian threat looms large before us, as was further demonstrated yesterday. The greatest danger confronting Israel, the Middle East, the entire world and human race, is the nexus between radical Islam and nuclear weapons. I discussed this issue with President Obama during my recent visit to Washington, and I will raise it again in my meetings next week with European leaders. For years, I have been working tirelessly to forge an international alliance to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Confronting a global economic crisis, the government acted swiftly to stabilize Israel's economy. We passed a two year budget in the government - and the Knesset will soon approve it.
And the third challenge, so exceedingly important, is the advancement of peace. I also spoke about this with President Obama, and I fully support the idea of a regional peace that he is leading.
I share the President's desire to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region. To this end, I met with President Mubarak in Egypt, and King Abdullah in Jordan, to elicit the support of these leaders in expanding the circle of peace in our region. I turn to all Arab leaders tonight and I say: "Let us meet. Let us speak of peace and let us make peace." I am ready to meet with you at any time. I am willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut, to any place - including Jerusalem.
I call on the Arab countries to cooperate with the Palestinians and with us to advance an economic peace. An economic peace is not a substitute for a political peace, but an important element to achieving it. Together, we can undertake projects to overcome the scarcities of our region, like water desalination or to maximize its advantages, like developing solar energy, or laying gas and petroleum lines, and transportation links between Asia, Africa and Europe.
The economic success of the Gulf States has impressed us all and it has impressed me. I call on the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world to come and invest here and to assist the Palestinians - and us - in spurring the economy. Together, we can develop industrial areas that will generate thousands of jobs and create tourist sites that will attract millions of visitors eager to walk in the footsteps of history - in Nazareth and in Bethlehem, around the walls of Jericho and the walls of Jerusalem, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and the baptismal site of the Jordan. There is an enormous potential for archeological tourism, if we can only learn to cooperate and to develop it.
I turn to you, our Palestinian neighbors, led by the Palestinian Authority, and I say: Let's begin negotiations immediately without preconditions.
Israel is obligated by its international commitments and expects all parties to keep their commitments. We want to live with you in peace, as good neighbors. We want our children and your children to never again experience war: that parents, brothers and sisters will never again know the agony of losing loved ones in battle; that our children will be able to dream of a better future and realize that dream; and that together we will invest our energies in plowshares and pruning hooks, not swords and spears.
I know the face of war. I have experienced battle. I lost close friends, I lost a brother. I have seen the pain of bereaved families. I do not want war. No one in Israel wants war.
If we join hands and work together for peace, there is no limit to the development and prosperity we can achieve for our two peoples - in the economy, agriculture, trade, tourism and education - most importantly, in providing our youth a better world in which to live, a life full of tranquility, creativity, opportunity and hope.
If the advantages of peace are so evident, we must ask ourselves why peace remains so remote, even as our hand remains outstretched to peace? Why has this conflict continued for more than sixty years?
In order to bring an end to the conflict, we must give an honest and forthright answer to the question: What is the root of the conflict?
In his speech to the first Zionist Conference in Basel, the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, said about the Jewish national home "This idea is so big that we must speak of it only in the simplest terms." Today, I will speak about the immense challenge of peace in the simplest words possible.
Even as we look toward the horizon, we must be firmly connected to reality, to the truth. And the simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland.
In 1947, when the United Nations proposed the partition plan of a Jewish state and an Arab state, the entire Arab world rejected the resolution. The Jewish community, by contrast, welcomed it by dancing and rejoicing. The Arabs rejected any Jewish state, in any borders.
Those who think that the continued enmity toward Israel is a product of our presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, is confusing cause and consequence. The attacks against us began in the 1920s, escalated into a comprehensive attack in 1948 with the declaration of Israel's independence, continued with the fedayeen attacks in the 1950s, and climaxed in 1967, on the eve of the Six-Day War, in an attempt to tighten a noose around the neck of the State of Israel. All this occurred during the fifty years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria.
Fortunately, Egypt and Jordan left this circle of enmity. The signing of peace treaties have brought about an end to their claims against Israel, an end to the conflict. But to our regret, this is not the case with the Palestinians. The closer we get to an agreement with them, the further they retreat and raise demands that are inconsistent with a true desire to end the conflict.
Many good people have told us that withdrawal from territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians. Well, we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror, by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles.
We tried to withdraw with an agreement and without an agreement. We tried a partial withdrawal and a full withdrawal. In 2000 and again last year, Israel proposed an almost total withdrawal in exchange for an end to the conflict, and twice our offers were rejected. We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza strip, we uprooted tens of settlements and evicted of Israelis from their homes, and in response, we received a hail of missiles on our cities, towns and children.
The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has up till now not stood the test of reality. In addition to this, Hamas in the south, like Hizbullah in the north, repeatedly proclaims their commitment to "liberate" the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Beersheba, Acre and Haifa.
Territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred, and to our regret, Palestinian moderates are not yet ready to say the simple words: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way.
Achieving peace will require courage and candor from both sides, and not only from the Israeli side. The Palestinian leadership must arise and say: "Enough of this conflict. We recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in this land, and we are prepared to live beside you in true peace."
I am yearning for that moment, for when Palestinian leaders say those words to our people and to their people, then a path will be opened to resolving all the problems between our peoples, no matter how complex they may be. Therefore, a fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. To vest this declaration with practical meaning, there must also be a clear understanding that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel's borders. For it is clear that any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel's continued existence as the state of the Jewish people.
The Palestinian refugee problem must be solved, and it can be solved, as we ourselves proved in a similar situation. Tiny Israel successfully absorbed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who left their homes and belongings in Arab countries. Therefore, justice and logic demand that the Palestinian refugee problem be solved outside Israel's borders. On this point, there is a broad national consensus. I believe that with goodwill and international investment, this humanitarian problem can be permanently resolved.
So far I have spoken about the need for Palestinians to recognize our rights. In am moment, I will speak openly about our need to recognize their rights. But let me first say that the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has lasted for more than 3500 years. Judea and Samaria, the places where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David and Solomon, and Isaiah and Jeremiah lived, are not alien to us. This is the land of our forefathers.
The right of the Jewish people to a state in the land of Israel does not derive from the catastrophes that have plagued our people. True, for 2000 years the Jewish people suffered expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, and massacres which culminated in a Holocaust - a suffering which has no parallel in human history. There are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the state of Israel would never have been established. But I say that if the state of Israel would have been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occured.
This tragic history of powerlessness explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense. But our right to build our sovereign state here, in the land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged.
As Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed in Israel's Declaration of Independence: "The Jewish people arose in the land of Israel and it was here that its spiritual, religious and political character was shaped. Here they attained their sovereignty, and here they bequeathed to the world their national and cultural treasures, and the most eternal of books."
But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them.
In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other. These two realities - our connection to the land of Israel, and the Palestinian population living within it - have created deep divisions in Israeli society. But the truth is that we have much more that unites us than divides us.
I have come tonight to give expression to that unity, and to the principles of peace and security on which there is broad agreement within Israeli society. These are the principles that guide our policy. This policy must take into account the international situation that has recently developed. We must recognize this reality and at the same time stand firmly on those principles essential for Israel.
I have already stressed the first principle - recognition. Palestinians must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
The second principle is: demilitarization. The territory under Palestinian control must be demilitarized with ironclad security provisions for Israel. Without these two conditions, there is a real danger that an armed Palestinian state would emerge that would become another terrorist base against the Jewish state, such as the one in Gaza. We don't want Kassam rockets on Petach Tikva, Grad rockets on Tel Aviv, or missiles on Ben-Gurion airport. We want peace.
In order to achieve peace, we must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hizbullah and Iran. On this point as well, there is wide consensus within Israel. It is impossible to expect us to agree in advance to the principle of a Palestinian state without assurances that this state will be demilitarized. On a matter so critical to the existence of Israel, we must first have our security needs addressed.
Therefore, today we ask our friends in the international community, led by the United States, for what is critical to the security of Israel: Clear commitments that in a future peace agreement, the territory controlled by the Palestinians will be demilitarized: namely, without an army, without control of its airspace, and with effective security measures to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory - real monitoring, and not what occurs in Gaza today. And obviously, the Palestinians will not be able to forge military pacts. Without this, sooner or later, these territories will become another Hamastan. And that we cannot accept.
I told President Obama when I was in Washington that if we could agree on the substance, then the terminology would not pose a problem. And here is the substance that I now state clearly:
If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitirization and Israel's security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.
Regarding the remaining important issues that will be discussed as part of the final settlement, my positions are known: Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths. The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement. In the meantime, we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements.
But there is a need to enable the residents to live normal lives, to allow mothers and fathers to raise their children like families elsewhere. The settlers are neither the enemies of the people nor the enemies of peace. Rather, they are an integral part of our people, a principled, pioneering and Zionist public.
Unity among us is essential and will help us achieve reconciliation with our neighbors. That reconciliation must already begin by altering existing realities. I believe that a strong Palestinian economy will strengthen peace.
If the Palestinians turn toward peace - in fighting terror, in strengthening governance and the rule of law, in educating their children for peace and in stopping incitement against Israel - we will do our part in making every effort to facilitate freedom of movement and access, and to enable them to develop their economy. All of this will help us advance a peace treaty between us.
Above all else, the Palestinians must decide between the path of peace and the path of Hamas. The Palestinian Authority will have to establish the rule of law in Gaza and overcome Hamas. Israel will not sit at the negotiating table with terrorists who seek their destruction. Hamas will not even allow the Red Cross to visit our kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who has spent three years in captivity, cut off from his parents, his family and his people. We are committed to bringing him home, healthy and safe.
With a Palestinian leadership committed to peace, with the active participation of the Arab world, and the support of the United States and the international community, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a breakthrough to peace.
Our people have already proven that we can do the impossible. Over the past 61 years, while constantly defending our existence, we have performed wonders.
Our microchips are powering the world's computers. Our medicines are treating diseases once considered incurable. Our drip irrigation is bringing arid lands back to life across the globe. And Israeli scientists are expanding the boundaries of human knowledge. If only our neighbors would respond to our call - peace too will be in our reach.
I call on the leaders of the Arab world and on the Palestinian leadership, let us continue together on the path of Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein. Let us realize the vision of the prophet Isaiah, who in Jerusalem 2700 years ago said: "nations shall not lift up sword against nation, and they shall learn war no more."
With God's help, we will know no more war. We will know peace.
conselho pastoral diocesano
Reuniu-se hoje, 20 de Junho de 2009, no Seminário Maior de Cristo-Rei dos Olivais, o Conselho Pastoral Diocesano do Patriarcado de Lisboa, presidido pelo Cardeal Patriarca e, na qualidade de associadas à presidência, os seus bispos auxiliares.
Os cerca de 40 conselheiros presentes, em reunião ordinária, foram convocados para avaliação da vida pastoral da diocese no ano que agora finda e pronunciar-se sobre o programa elaborado para o próximo ano pastoral.
A Palavra de saudação ao Conselho e de abertura dos trabalhos foi pronunciada por D. José Policarpo, que evocou os acontecimentos mais significativos, vividos durante o Ano Pastoral cessante, e traçou as linhas principais do ponto programático central do próximo Ano Pastoral: O “Ano Sacerdotal”
Quanto ao passado, o Cardeal Patriarca referiu a atenção prestada à Palavra de Deus, na sequência do Sínodo dos Bispos de Outubro de 2008, e na expectativa da respectiva Exortação Apostólica de Bento XVI, cuja publicação, segundo D. José Policarpo, está para breve. Referiu-se, depois, ao Ano Paulino que chega agora ao seu termo, apontando o dinamismo registado na sua vivência e ao imperioso dever de o continuar como fonte e luz da acção pastoral futura. Um terceiro apontamento, quanto à celebração dos 50 anos da inauguração do Monumento a Cristo-Rei para vincar o sentido da presença e ligação de Cristo à cidade de Lisboa.
Quanto ao futuro, o próximo ano 2009-2010, o Cardeal Patriarca enalteceu o significado do “Ano Sacerdotal” que a Igreja iniciara no dia anterior e que oferecerá às comunidades eclesiais o ensejo de aprofundar o sacerdócio católico na sua dupla vertente: o sacerdócio comum e o sacerdócio ordenado.
Respeitando a Agenda proposta à consideração do Conselho, o Director do Secretariado de Acção Pastoral (SAP) deu uma informação abreviada do modo como o Patriarcado de Lisboa viveu o Ano Paulino, fazendo-o à base das respostas, entretanto recebidas, a um inquérito sobre o assunto, enviado a toda a diocese. Concretamente, destacou o dinamismo com que o Ano Paulino foi acolhido; a sua aceitação como tema de reflexão, para o que muito contribuiu o “guia” Caminhar com S. Paulo em boa hora editado, e que alcançou um larga divulgação; o carácter mobilizador do tema, manifesto na multiplicidade de iniciativas de carácter religioso, social e cultural, segundo o carisma e a missão das instâncias promotoras; as peregrinações aos Santuários Jubilares (Sé Patriarcal e igrejas dedicadas a S. Paulo, em Lisboa e Malveira), assim como aos “Lugares de S. Paulo”.
Após esta informação, o SAP apresentou, em suas linhas gerais, o Programa Trienal de Pastoral 2009-2012, enunciado em três tempos e temas:
ü Fomentar o encontro com Cristo;
ü Fomentar a construção da Igreja;
ü Fomentar o compromisso na Missão.
Nas intervenções que se seguiram, foi relembrado que o Simpósio “Reinventar a Solidariedade”, realizado em Maio último, foi um momento de reflexão e um tempo de propostas que iluminaram o projecto “Igreja Solidária” que o Patriarcado lançou, motivado pela crise socio-económica desta hora. Uma outra intervenção evocou algumas iniciativas relativas à Doutrina Social da Igreja a nível local e vicarial, cujo aprofundamento fazia também parte do Programa Pastoral 2008-2009.
Terminado o ponto de informação, o Conselho passou ao tema central da reunião: “”Leitura da actual crise e o que fazer perante ela”. A introdução foi confiada à Associação Cristã de Empresários e Gestores (ACEGE) e feita a três vozes, as de três representantes da Associação:
ü A situação das empresas resultante da Crise: dificuldades e constrangimentos;
ü Os desafios que a vida empresarial põe à Igreja: desencontros e convergências;
ü O papel da ACEGE.
As considerações feitas mereceram uma primeira palavra de reflexão por parte do Cardeal Patriarca que acrescentou, na óptica da Igreja, mais alguns dados à análise feita, relembrou princípios que fazem parte do património doutrinário da Igreja em matéria social e consequentemente na busca de uma sociedade que se estruture em bases solidárias e, hoje, na indispensável escala da globalização que está em marcha. A tudo isto, disse, deverá trazer mais luz e força a muita próxima Encíclica de Bento XVI sobre a Caridade.
No prosseguimento desta temática, o Conselho escolheu como método distribuir-se por grupos para melhor partilha de opiniões, pontos de vista, experiências e propostas concretas de resposta dos cristãos ao modelo social corrente. Como ponto anexo, a reflexão incidiu também sobre o tema “Ano Sacerdotal” cuja programação diocesana se ultima.
Os aspectos mais sublinhados e significativos chegaram ao plenário do Conselho com particular acento nos factores de crise e seus responsáveis; a fragilidade do modelo em curso e sua incontornável alteração; na centralidade da pessoa e do bem comum na busca de um novo modelo para a economia; no reconhecimento da mudança de escala que aponta para uma globalização assente na aproximação dos povos e partilha dos bens universais; na necessidade de uma evangelização que a Igreja realizará junto de todos os sectores da sociedade, atenta às suas múltiplas especificidades, o que implica formação e espiritualidade em conexão com a própria vida; finalmente no apoio às comunidades e grupos que a Igreja é chamada a dar a quantos se dispõem a intervir e agir na sociedade.
Depois de o Conselho Pastoral recolher algumas sugestões e propostas de trabalho relativas ao “Ano Sacerdotal”, o Senhor D. Tomaz da Silva Nunes, que presidiu à última parte da reunião, destacou aquilo que no decurso da mesma apontou para um maior empenho dos cristãos e das comunidades na acção evangelizadora que a diocese do Patriarcado é chamada a desenvolver na fidelidade ao Evangelho e na atenção à vida dos homens.
Lisboa, 20 de Junho de 2009
Drawback in Islamist radicalization: Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan. And the Palestinians? (Artigo Professor Ely Karmon)
Drawback in Islamist radicalization: Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan. And the Palestinians?
June 22, 2009
Until several weeks ago this author had a very pessimistic evaluation of strategic developments in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Hezbollah was on its way to take control of Lebanon through legislative elections; in Iran president Ahmadinejad was on the point to win a second term in power; in Pakistan, the local Taliban was moving towards the capital Islamabad after a disgraceful deal with the Zardari government.
But things changed abruptly: the Hezbollah lost the elections in Lebanon; Iran is witnessing a pre-revolutionary situation and the Pakistani army is fighting the Pakistani Taliban.
Paradoxically, these sweeping changes are, partly at least, the result of semi-democratic elections in the three countries.
In Lebanon the Christian voters, who under an archaic sectarian electoral system are the balance between the Shia and Sunni voters, finally understood the danger of Hezbollah taking control of the country and leading it to a Iranian style theocratic regime: they refused to vote for Gen. Michel Aoun's pro-Hezbollah candidates.
In Iran, where the Council of Guardians decides who can run for the presidential and legislative elections, the reformist leaders with the support of much of the Iranian people, firmly contest the results of the election, the supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the "elected" president Ahmedinajad. The next weeks will tell if the Iranian people and the reformist elite will be able to change from within the sclerotic religious regime.
In Pakistan, the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 led to the ouster of the authoritarian Gen. Pervez Musharraf and the formation of an elected but weak government. The Pakistani originated November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India and the advance of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) troops towards the capital Islamabad in spring 2009 finally brought about a decisive move by the Pakistani Army against the Islamist strongholds in FATA and SWAT, and possibly Waziristan.
But make no mistake: Hezbollah is still the biggest organized political movement in Lebanon, with a militia armed to the teeth by Iran and Syria and a potential threat to the pro-Western March 14 forces and to Israel's northern border; for Mir Hossein Musavi and his reformist camp the nuclear project is also a national priority; among his staunches supporters is Ali Akbar Mohtashami Pur, who supervised Hezbollah's creation during the bloodiest attacks against US and Western targets in Lebanon and the Gulf during the 1980s, secretary-general of 'The international conference in support of Al-Quds and Palestine" and a Holocaust denier on his own.
Nevertheless, these last events are the first major drawback in what seemed until lately a winning march of the Islamist radical states and movements in the region.
It is surprising this has not happened yet in Gaza, where the Palestinian population voted in 2006 for Hamas hoping for a better life and security, but received instead bloody fratricide fighting against the Fatah militants, Israeli closure, collapse of the economy and finally the devastating Cast Lead operation by the Israeli Army.
The Palestinians should have already learned since 1993 that the support of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to Hamas terrorism and violence amas is not the solution for their hardships and a successful peace process.
A change in the mood and behavior of the Palestinians, on the example of the Lebanese and Iranian peoples, could convince the disillusioned Israeli people to support more courageous moves by their government toward peace.