The fact that Algeria and Tunisia have been lead by despots who robbed their citizens and deprived the people of their respective countries the benefits of modern capitalistic lives is a common thing in the Arab world. It is important to note that the ex French North African holdings of Algeria and Tunisia are more "Western" in their outlook than Yemen. These ex French colonies have been educated in the western values of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité exuberated by the French. The prosperity that the bourgeoisie city dwellers have experienced is not a common thing as in Yemen. The great majority of the populated coastal city areas of Algeria and Tunisia are very westernized with educational opportunities mixed with capitalistic values. Islam to the majority of them is their religion but they prefer to be like secular Europeans. From the majority of the reports from Algeria and particularly Tunisia the issues of the revolt were based on social and economical change.
The massive demonstrations in Egypt against the Hosni Mubarak regime that he refers to are the cries for release from the dreaded mukhabarat (secret police) and his 30 year regime of repression of social and economic development of the middle classes.
Egypt which had a long history of English occupation, is very western in its make up just as with the ex North African French colonies. Egypt suffers from a tremendously vast gulf of difference between the social classes. It too has an upper middle to high class population of extremely wealthy secular Moslem individuals. Many of whom are from what could be termed "old money" and they openly identify themselves more with Europeans than with their Arab brothers.
Nearly 60 million impoverished and uneducated Islamic lower class Egyptians attempt to eke out meager livings from farming the country side near the banks of the Nile River. Over a million of Egypt's extremely poor live off the refuse of the garbage dumps of Cairo.
In Egypt you have the members of the low to middle classes who are hard working petty bureaucrats, university graduates and professionals who do not receive wages anywhere near those of their counterparts in American or Europe. Some are making less than $100 a month. The young Egyptian middle class still live well below the wealthy Egyptian elite and this has created the wave of animosity and resentment that we have seen in Tahrir Square (Liberation Square).
Several statements, made by the thousands of participants in the demonstrations flooding Tahrir Square, that sound loudly are those of the members of the medical profession, educators and lawyers who are paid ridiculously low salaries. University students who can foresee no positive future after their years spent studying for a diploma are at the forefront of the movement. These are young Egyptians who are fed up with the futility of looking for a job that will allow them to improve their status in life and provide for their family.
We Israelis also wholeheartedly hope that 2011 will be the year in the Middle East and North Africa where the brutal and corrupt autocracies and fanatical Moslem Islamofascists regimes are swept away and replaced by responsive and democratic systems.
As to the relationship between the Egyptians to the "Palestinians", I ask, just when have the Egyptians people stood by the Palestinian people? It is a historic fact that the Egyptians never had any affection for the "Palestinians". Did Egypt attack the newly founded State of Israel in 1948 for the "Palestinians"? If so the why did the Egyptians imprison the "Palestinian" refugees in the Gaza strip from 1948 until 1967? Why did they govern the Gaza Strip population under an iron hand? Why has the Egyptian government consistently prevented "Palestinians" from the Gaza Strip from moving to Egypt and receive Egyptian citizenship?
As to the cessation of construction in Judea and Shomron and Jerusalem at the request of President Obama, I ask, "Where were the "Palestinian" negotiators during the preceding 10 month long moratorium on construction to promote peace negotiations? Why have the "Palestinians" consistently missed an opportunity for peace? The real slap in the face to the American people has definitely not been Israeli intransigence but that of the "Palestinians". We Israelis have given enough such as the painful withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip. We have received more than 8000 80mm Qassem and 122mm Grad missiles in return as signs of gratitude from the Hamas.
Mr North states that the United States has sustained Israel with massive economic and military assistance since its founding. This is a blatant lie since it is a historical fact that the major supplier of military arms to Israel until 1967 was France. This is revealed, for example, in Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearings held on June 9, 1967:
"It is a fact, is it not, that neither Soviet Russia nor the United States has given any material amounts of arms to Israel, and, if that is true, are they not relatively independent in their thinking at this point?The US had gained the needed leverage on Israel by 1975 by its resupply of badly needed military supplies and equipment through the air-lift. The Yom Kippur war made it clear to Israel that the scale of military engagements in the Middle East had altered radically since 1967, and that it could therefore no longer be independent militarily. The dramatic lesson that was learned by Israel in the intensive fighting of the Yom Kippur War was that the quantities of arms and materiel consumed in just a few days of fighting demanded an industrial capacity that could not be provided by the Israeli military industries. The technological innovations that were needed at that time were beyond the capabilities of Israel.
US Secretary of State Dean Rusk (from 1961-1969):
No, we have provided tanks and Hawk missiles and certain other kinds of equipment to Israel, but their principal arms supplier has been France... The Israeli air force is almost all French supplied."
Kissinger may have persuaded Nixon to resupply the Israelis in 1973, however Kissinger then used this leverage purchased by resupply to push for Israeli withdrawals in Sinai. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was apparently the only one who had read the Middle East policy map correctly. He understood that if he could move Egypt into the American orbit and offer a "diplomatic horizon" for peace, he would be able to get back the Sinai Peninsula.
For the standard anti-Zionists of all kinds, it is very convenient to point to the large amounts of foreign aid given to Israel as Mr. North alludes to. Of course, that aid is given to ensure that Israel will remain compliant with US wishes, and prevent a repetition of the Six Day War scenario, as mentioned above in the Senate hearings, which was a nightmare for the US State Department. Israel's appearance as an independent regional player in 1967 showed that it was in a position to dictate the course of it's own affairs. This was in direct contradiction to what an imperialist power could allow.
It is a historically documented fact that Israel paid cold hard cash for all military equipment it received up until the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Israel does purchase fighter aircraft made in America by American workers at the cost of billions of US tax dollars. What Mr North and other "Haters of Israel" fail to mention is that the billions in US aid given to Israel allows Israel to use the “credit loans” or monetary aid funds to purchase military supplies and equipment made in American factories by American Working men and women thereby creating a need/market to keep Americans at work!
What is also not mentioned is that Israel's purchases of new equipment, light arms ammunition, shoes and clothing in the US has been done at the expense of the closure of Israel businesses and industries. This has caused the lost of jobs for thousands of Israelis many of whom were from financially depressed "Development Towns".
Another item Mr North and the "Haters of Israel" consistently fail to mention is that the "Palestinians" receive billions in “humanitarian aid" which goes into private Swiss accounts of corrupt "Palestinian" Authority officials or it goes to buy Russia, Chinese and North Korean weaponry. Neither do they mention that the Arab countries around Israel have consistently ignored the plight of their "Palestinian" Arab brothers and have kept those displaced in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence in squalid UN (read hundreds of millions in US funding over the past 62 years) refugee camps.
Has any one EVER pointed out or asked WHY the Arab countries; Lebanon, Syria and Jordan that these "refugees" live in, forcibly keep them in the camps and NEVER allowed them to become viable citizens of Arab countries? Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, in an interview with the Beirut Telegraph published on Sept. 6, 1949, stated:
"The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the act of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agree upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem.”
Wafa Sultan an Arab-American psychiatrist stated in an interview that was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21st, 2006
"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete."
Al-Jazeera TV moderator:
"I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?"
Here in the Middle East the only way to create a stable, peaceful environment is that All of Israel's Arab neighbors pledge to honor Israel's right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people and to live in peace. It will be a tragedy for the "Palestinians" if they continue to demand "all or nothing" as they have until now. They need to accept what lands Israel is willing to cede to them now for peace and they must reject the continual acts of senseless unprovoked "Palestinian" violence.