[tweetmeme] Michael Collins Dunn recently lamented that is is incredibly difficult to come up with a good April 1 joke about the Middle East. Things are either too depressing or too unbelievable. My solution: turn April 1 into good news day! Here are some uplifting stories from the region;
Netanyahu is prepared to talk peace with Syria. This is not new. In fact, the article is from about a month ago. Israel says it is ready for talks without preconditions, but Syria wants Israel to give Golan Heights back – something Bibi is pretty loath to do. Though it is probably more posturing than a sign of immediate peace, it is still good news.
In addition to the non-violent protests around the West Bank, peace groups in Gaza are mounting weekly non-violent protests in Gaza. The groups are bravely approaching the imposed ‘buffer zone’ in order to peacefully challenge the stranglehold on the strip. Depressing reminder? Yes, Positive development? Certainly! Read more about the protest movement here.
Ansar al-Sunna of Hamas declared that the rockets launched from Gaza are hurting Palestinian interests and called for the cessation of violence. Of course, we just saw Hamas take responsibility for attacks on Israeli soldiers, but Sunna’s call is perhaps proof that Hamas really is changing.
Despite the history of sectarian violence in Lebanon, the country is aiming to be a bastion of interfaith cooperation in the Middle East. On March 25 Christians and Muslims attended a mass for the Virgin Mary and the government recently declared the date a national holiday because of its significance for all 18 sects in the country.
Germany has created a new machine that will revolutionize the Kebob/Schwarma industry – how could this be bad?
Despite the recent American votes against the right for Palestinian self-determination in the UN Human Rights Council, the BBC is reporting that the US might consider abstaining from a similar vote were it put to the security council. Laura Rozen has more, including the alleged denial and continuing arguments surrounding the possibility. Of course, an abstention is much different than voting in favor of such a resolution, but I suppose you need to start somewhere! As the link says, Israeli officials are starting to think that maybe the US will apply real pressure on Israel this time.
Photo from Aha Jokes