Monday, June 6, 2011


The United States is warning that a cyber attack -- presumably if it is devastating enough -- could result in real-world military retaliation. Easier said than done. In the wake of a significant new hacking attempt against Lockheed Martin Corp, experts say it could be extremely difficult to know fast enough with any certainty where an attack came from. Sophisticated hackers can mask their tracks and make it look like a cyber strike came from somewhere else. There are also hard questions about the legality of such reprisals and the fact that other responses, like financial sanctions or cyber countermeasures, may be more appropriate than military action, analysts say. "There are a lot of challenges to retaliating to a cyber attack," said Kristin Lord, author of a new report on U.S. cyber strategy at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank. "It is extremely difficult to establish attribution, to link a specific attack to a specific actor, like a foreign government." The White House stated plainly in a report last month that Washington would respond to hostile acts in cyberspace "as we would to any other threat to our country" -- a position articulated in the past by U.S. officials. The Pentagon, which is finalizing its own report, due out in June, on the Obama administration's emerging strategy to deal with the cyber threat, acknowledged that possibility on Tuesday. "A response to a cyber incident or attack on the U.S. would not necessarily be a cyber response ... all appropriate options would be on the table," Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said. The sophistication of hackers and frequency of the attacks came back into focus after a May 21 attack on Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's top arms supplier. Lockheed said the "tenacious" cyber attack on its network was part of a pattern of attacks on it from around the world. The U.S. Defense Department estimates that over 100 foreign intelligence organizations have attempted to break into U.S. networks. Every year, hackers steal enough data from U.S. government agencies, businesses and universities to fill the U.S. Library of Congress many times over, officials say. BEHIND THE CURVE Several current and former national security officials said U. S. intelligence agencies did not appear particularly concerned about the Lockheed attack. One official said that similar cyber attacks directed at defense contractors and government agencies occurred all the time. Some critics say the Obama administration is not moving fast enough to keep up with the cyber threat or to develop a strategy that fully addresses concerns about privacy and oversight in the cyber domain. "The United States, in general, is well behind the curve," said Sami Saydjari, president of the privately held Cyber Defense Agency, pointing to " significant strategic advances" out of countries like China and Russia. China has generally emerged as a prime suspect when it comes to keyboard- launched espionage against U.S. interests, but proving Beijing is behind any future plot would be difficult because of hackers' ability to misdirect, analysts say. China has denied any connection to cyber attacks. The Pentagon's upcoming report is not expected to address different doomsday scenarios, or offer what Washington's response would be if, say, hackers wiped out Wall Street financial data, plunged the U.S. Northeast into darkness or hacked U.S. warships' computers. "We're not going to necessarily lay out -- 'if this happens, we will do this.' Because again the point is if we are attacked, we reserve the right to do any number of things in response," Lapan said.

The Crimes Of Rakto Mladic

Ratko Mladić is an easy man to hate. In his prime, he not only talked and behaved like a thug, but he also looked like one – the kind of bull-necked, pale- eyed, snarling psychopath who would gladly pull out your fingernails just for fun. Apart from many other cruelties, the Butcher of Bosnia was responsible, in the summer of 1995 , for the killing of around 8 ,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the woods around Srebrenica. So it will give most of us a feeling of warm satisfaction that he has finally been arrested in the Serbian village of Lazarevo. Serbia has gained respect by arresting Mladić, which should speed up its membership in the European Union. The former victims of Mladić’s Bosnian Serb forces will feel that some justice is being done at last. Yet the forthcoming trial of Ratko Mladić raises certain uncomfortable questions. Why, in the first place, can’t he be put on trial in Belgrade, instead of The Hague? And is it really wise to charge him with genocide, as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes? Both questions reveal how much we still live in the shadow of the Nuremberg Tribunal, where the Nazi leaders were tried by an international judicial panel. It was believed, perhaps correctly, that the Germans would be incapable of trying their own former leaders. And the Nazi crimes had been so horrendous in scale and intent that new laws – “ crimes against humanity” – had to be created to try those who had been formally responsible for them. States, too, should be held accountable for their deeds – hence, in 1948 , the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Holocaust was not the main issue at stake in the Nuremberg Trials. Nevertheless, the allies thought that the Nazi project of exterminating an entire people called for an entirely new legal approach, to ensure that such an atrocity would never happen again. The problem with genocide, as a legal concept, is that it is vague. It refers to “ acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” The emphasis is on “intent,” not on the numbers of people whose lives are destroyed. Mao Zedong murdered up to 40 million Chinese, but did he intend to destroy them as a group? Surely not. We know that Hitler did intend to destroy every last Jewish man, woman, and child. Even though mass killings are not rare in history, Hitler’s extermination plan was, if not unique, certainly highly unusual. However, the laudable effort to prevent such a thing from recurring has had unfortunate consequences. For, in our zeal to learn lessons from history, we often learn the wrong ones, or distort history towards dubious ends. In a way, the killings at Srebrenica also were affected by the memories of World War II. The United Nations’ Dutch battalion promised to protect the Muslims there, even though it was in no position to do so. It was a promise that partly reflected the feeling of guilt that still haunts the Dutch for looking the other way as the Germans rounded up and deported two-thirds of their country’ s Jewish population to death camps. This time, it would be different. This time, they would act. Alas, outnumbered and outgunned by Mladić’ s forces, the Dutch surrendered Srebrenica to its fate. Because of the trauma of Hitler’s intention to murder all of the Jews, genocide has become the one compelling reason for military action, including armed invasion of other countries. But what constitutes genocide? Bernard Kouchner, the founder of Doctors Without Borders, wanted the world to intervene in Nigeria in 1970 , because he saw the killing of Ibos by Nigerian troops as a genocidal echo of Auschwitz. Others saw a brutal civil war, and cautioned that intervention would make things worse. For some, we are forever living in 1938 , or rather, 1942 , when the Nazis approved what Hitler called “the final solution of the Jewish question.” President George W. Bush and his cheerleaders, invoking the Munich Agreement at every opportunity, regarded the terrorist attacks of September 11 , 2001 , as a call to arms. Saddam Hussein was Hitler, so we had to send in the troops. We should stop Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir’s genocide in Darfur. We must stop Col. Muammar el- Qaddafi from committing mass murder in Benghazi. And so on. Sometimes intervention might save lives. But wars often beget more wars, or longer ones. Military action can cause more violence, and more civilian deaths. This is especially true of intervention in civil wars, where the sides cannot easily be divided into victims and aggressors, good and evil. Of course, the world becomes much simpler if we choose to see it in black and white. And the Mladić trial will, no doubt, encourage this perception. He will be tried for genocide, because the UN’s tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice decided that the Bosnian Serbs were genocidal. Since his subordinate, Radislav Krstić, was already sentenced for his complicity in the genocide at Srebrenica, Mladić will presumably be convicted. We need not feel sorry for Mladić. There is no doubt that he is guilty of serious war crimes. And a trial, however unsatisfactory, is in most cases still to be preferred to an assassination. But trying him for genocide, even though it will be hard to prove that he ever intended to exterminate Bosnian Muslims as a group, just because they were Muslims, will further muddy the term’s already vague definition. Mladić was engaged in ethnic cleansing, which, though reprehensible, is not the same as genocide. Loose definitions will encourage more military interventions, thus more wars. By invoking Hitler’s ghost too often, we trivialize the enormity of what he actually did.

Why Is The 1967 Border So Important?

The borders of Israel and a Palestine state should be based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognised borders are established for both states," President Barak Obama said in a policy statement on May 19 at the State Department. The heart of the matter is that Israel declared independence on the Palestinian land on May 14 , 1948 , but did not formulate a constitution just to avoid limiting itself to a fixed boundary. In 1947 , the British intended to end their mandate on Palestine and hand over the Territory to the United Nations. Palestine then had a population of about 2 million -- two-thirds Arabs and one-third Jew. A UN Special Commission, the same year, recommended the creation of two separate states -- a Jewish state on 52 % of the land with a population of 4 , 97 ,000 Arabs and 4 , 98 ,000 Jews, and an Arab state on the remaining land with 7 , 25 ,000 Arabs and 10 ,000 Jews. Jerusalem and the area surrounding it would become an International Zone. The plan was so crafted that it met the wildest dream of the Jews. The Zionists accepted it with jubilation. The United States went to the most extraordinary lengths to manipulate things on behalf of its Zionist protégés. Britain and the United States were primarily motivated to partition Palestine for a separate homeland for Jews to stem the Jewish influx to UK and US after the Holocaust in Europe. Secondly, they also realised that a Jewish state in Palestine would protect the Suez Canal and thus safeguard Western interests in the Middle East and beyond. Britain relinquished the Mandate on May 14 , 1948 , and hours later the Zionists proclaimed the State of Israel. The Arabs rejected the partition plan and went to war. Better organised Jewish forces with the backing of the Western powers defeated the Arabs and occupied further Palestinian land, including West Jerusalem of the divided city, at a cease-fire in January 1949. Jordan annexed the West Bank, including the holy sites forming East Jerusalem. The Zionist state's next strategy was to make Israel as free of Arabs as possible. Underground terrorist organisations Irgun and Hagana carried out systematic and calculated massacres. Arabs were forced to leave the areas the Jews wanted to take over. An Irgun leader Menachem Begin subsequently became prime minister of Israel! Exodus of Palestinians continued unabated. An estimated 3 million Palestinians are out of the country. Law of Return established rights of Jews to settle in Israel from any country but forbids Arabs who were driven out of their homes. Under the charismatic leader Gamal Abdul Nasser Arabs fought two more wars in 1963 and 1967 to restore Arab position in Palestine, but lost more territory. Israel defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian Liberation Army and elements of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti armies in a matter of six days. Israel heeded the UN call to cease hostilities after its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Sinai desert and strategic parts of the Golan Heights. Geographically, Israel occupied areas more than four times its original size. Under the "Land for Peace" formula hammered out at Camp David in 1979 Israel relinquished occupation of Sinai desert and Gaza to Egypt, which in turn ceded Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. Israel is not willing to end its occupation of West Bank and East Jerusalem, a stand which is inconsistent with the principles embodied in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 adopted after the six-day war, and accept a viable Palestine state. In occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem Israel is building settlements at accelerated pace to change the demographic composition. Netanyahu calls it "the reality on the ground." After Israel erected walls on Palestinian territories in several zones the territory under the Palestinian Authority has become roughly the size of a municipality. In such an unrealistic situation the peace process stumbles at every step, giving way to frustration and consequent belligerency -- Palestinian bricks met with Israeli bullets. The Palestinians live in occupied territories in the most dehumanising conditions. For decades, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been in a "no war, no peace" limbo. In his May 19 visionary statement US President Barak Obama rightly emphasised that such a status quo was neither sustainable nor could endless delay makes the problem go away. The president hit the right chord by enunciating US policy of "two states for two peoples," with the borders of Israel and a Palestine state being based on pre-1967 borders with agreed swaps to make Palestine a viable state. This is meant to end the Israeli occupation on the basic principle on which Iraq was driven out of Kuwait during Gulf War in 1990-91. The president also reminded the Jewish state that it would face growing isolation without "a credible peace process" in the background of Arab awakening. The United States provides approximately $2 billion per year in security assistance to Israel. A non- declared nuclear weapon state having weapons of mass destruction besides possessing state-of-the-art military machines, Israelis suffer from perennial insecurity because their leaders' lack vision. Lee wrote in his Story of Singapore: "Singapore did not want to become an Israel in South East Asia to be alone and odd man out, a Chinese entity in the midst of a Malay archipelago of about a hundred million people." Singapore did not show the China card to her antagonistic neighbours, but instead worked tenaciously to win the acceptance of other South East Asian states. She was successful in providing much needed security to her people as well as building a modern viable state with impressive human rights record. This is the most instructive lesson for Israel to learn from Story of Singapore. At what cost to the US will Israel survive on the American card?

Is Pakistan's Honeymoon Over With U.S.?

FROM all available indications, it appears that the honeymoon period between Pakistan and America is over in the wake of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, alleged mastermind of the attack on America on September 11 , 2001 , on the soil of Pakistan, without the knowledge of the Pakistan authorities. A number of American lawmakers have raised questions about investing billion of dollars of American taxpayers’ money in Pakistan, if Pakistan does not act sincerely to disrupt the operation network of al- Qaeda and the Taliban. From 2002 to 2007 , $20 billion were pumped out to Pakistan as military and economic aid. A huge amount of money went to Pakistan as a result of the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf jumping on the bandwagon of US president George W Bush’s war on terror campaign. I urge the readers of this article to note that there was no activity of al-Qaeda in Pakistan before the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 by America. The question of funding Pakistan has arisen following the finding of Laden in the army garrison city of Abbottabad in Pakistan, where he had reportedly been hiding for five years. Incidentally, General Ashfaq Kayani, army chief of Pakistan, was informed of the raid by Admiral Mark Mullen, not president Asif Zardari. That undermined the prestige of the democratic government in Pakistan. Laden had been associated with American, British and Israeli intelligence forces for the recruitment of volunteers from Muslim countries, particularly the Arab countries, to fight the invading forces of Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980 ’s. These volunteers, known as Mujahideen, played a crucial role in defeating Soviet Union. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Osama bin laden formed al-Qaeda, with the Mujahideen and the Afghan war veterans, in 1990. Without accomplishing the mission in Afghanistan, the Bush administration moved the American forces to Iraq, after invading the country in 2003 , on the pretext of al-Qaeda association of the Saddam Hussein regime and possession of weapons of mass destruction. Both allegations turned out to be downright false. Neither the American intelligence community nor the experts from UN International Atomic Energy Agency found any evidence of weapons of mass destruction or any connection between al-Qaeda and the regime of Saddam Hussein. However, the assassination of Osama bin Laden by American Special Forces within the Pakistan territory without the knowledge of the Pakistan authorities and without resistance from the Pakistan military has put the defence forces of Pakistan and its intelligence network in a humiliating position and ordinary people are accusing them of incompetence in saving the integrity of Pakistan. On the other hand, they are being blamed of complicity with Osama bin Laden by the political leaders of America. Retired General James Jones, former advisor on national security to President Barack Obama, has suggested linking aid to Pakistan’s rejection of terrorism and definitive steps against it. Emphasis has been laid by Senate Armed Service Committee on disrupting the network of Haqqani, Afghan home- grown terrorist network, and Quetta Shura. Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Omar, should be arrested, they say. It is understood that a bill is underway in the House of Representatives to reduce foreign aid amounting to $1.1 billion for Pakistan. During the hearing in Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 17 , with chairman of the committee Senator John Kerry in chair, both Republican and Democrat senators voiced frustration because they considered billion dollars American aid at stake if Pakistan did not step up its efforts against terrorists. While briefing members of the committee on his visit to Pakistan, Senator Kerry underscored the importance of seizing this moment to firmly reject an anti-American narrative that exploits differences, instead of finding common ground and advancing mutual goals. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, similarly assured Pakistan that America was committed to the people and government of Pakistan as they defend their democracy against extremists. These two messages are indicative of the fact that America does not intend to divorce Pakistan so soon, because it needs Pakistan for its supply routes into Afghanistan and to help in talks with the Taliban. Pakistan’s democracy is in a shaky position. It needs help, both domestically and internationally. The government has to prove that Pakistan can look after itself properly and for the long term. On the international level, Pakistan is seen as being torn to bits and disdainfully ripped to slices by drone missiles, rockets and bombs from American planes that cross over its borders without seeking permission. Pakistan should project the fact that the country has become victims of suicide bombs by al-Qaeda or Taliban extremists since it joined America’s War on Terror campaign. Against this humiliation, the Pakistan authorities are now looking for a friend. The Pakistan prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani had undertaken a journey to China from May 17 to May 20 and was assured of cooperation in areas of training, information sharing and logistical support to fight terrorism. China is a long-time friend of Pakistan, but it does not extend any help beyond its national interests. Viewed from the point of financial strength of Pakistan, it would be disastrous to divorce America at this stage. Therefore, Pakistan may consider walking the tight rope between America and China, but the image of the country needs to be improved drastically. If necessary, the madrassah education should be reformed in line with modern scientific education. Pakistan needs to remove the curse of being a terrorism- infested, corrupt nation. It is not only the involvement of Soviet Union in Afghanistan that inspired America to get involved. Pakistan had played significant role in developing relations between America and China in 1971. Similarly, American relationship with Pakistan needs reshaping. America should help stabilise the security of Pakistan in view of its growing nuclear arsenal and should not allow Pakistan to get derailed from the path of democracy. Pakistan should never be considered as irrelevant in any geopolitical context.

China And Tibet : Go Back To Law School

Never mind, Lobsang. We still like you AS CHINA gears up to celebrate the 60 th anniversary of its annexation of Tibet, it has issued a stinging rebuff to the newly elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay. The winner of an election among Tibetans outside China, Mr Sangay will have a higher profile than his predecessors, because the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader and international figurehead, has said he will withdraw from his political role. So Mr Sangay, a 43- year-old fellow at Harvard Law School, has been visiting his electorate, most of whom are in India, and discussing his plans. He offered to negotiate with China “ anytime, anywhere”. China responded through an interview in an official magazine, China’s Tibet , with Zhu Weiqun, a frequent Communist Party spokesman on Tibet. Mr Zhu’s contempt at “that government-in-exile of his” almost splutters off the page: “It’s all just a separatist political clique that betrays the motherland, with no legitimacy at all and absolutely no status to engage in dialogue with the representatives of the central government.” So the Dalai Lama’s decision to democratise his government-in-exile seems to have made reconciliation with China even less likely. At least, under the old dispensation, a series of fruitless talks between China and Tibetan exiles had lurched ahead every few months since 2002 , usually breaking down in acrimony. Even that now seems too much to hope for. Yet Robert Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University in New York, points out that there is nothing new in China’s rejection of Mr Sangay’s overture. It has never had any truck with the government-in-exile. The Tibetan side in the talks has always been filled by the Dalai Lama’s representatives. That practice can still continue. Indeed, the Tibetan exile parliament, discussing a new constitution, last month approved a draft asking the Dalai Lama and his successors, despite his retirement, to “ speak on behalf of the Tibetan people, to explain and discuss their concerns and needs as well as to appoint representatives and envoys to serve the interests of the Tibetan people in any part of the world.” By distancing himself from the exile government, the Dalai Lama has in effect met a Chinese demand. China could, if it chose, regard it as a concession. It could also look that way on the Dalai Lama’s resignation statement in March, in which he said that two pro- independence “political promulgations” he had made in the past would become “ineffective”. The Dalai Lama has long given up the demand for independence in favour of enhanced autonomy under Chinese sovereignty. China has always presented this as a tactical ruse. China seems to hope that with the passing of this Dalai Lama, Tibetans, deprived of a leader with superstar status and following, will give up the struggle. He seems in good health, but is now 75. So it may have been alarmed by the Dalai Lama’s remark at a press conference in New Jersey, America, this month, that Tibetans are close to “finalising” the process for finding his successor, that is, his reincarnation as the 15 th Dalai Lama. He said that all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism are involved in this. This unity among the various schools would be unprecedented—and important, since it seems quite likely that the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama will be contested, with one candidate backed by China and one, probably in exile, revered by most Tibetans. The Dalai Lama appears to retain the loyalty of most Tibetans inside China, too. The focus of Tibetan resistance since March has been around the Kirti monastery in an area of Sichuan province that Tibetans regard as Amdo, part of historic Tibet. Protests that started with the self-immolation of a young monk have seen hundreds of monks detained, two elderly laypeople killed trying to protect them, a continuing heavy security presence in the area, and the burning of books not approved by the authorities. So, as it celebrates, on May 23 rd, the 60 th anniversary of the “17-point agreement” in which a young Dalai Lama agreed to accept Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, China knows there is no immediate threat to its rule, but that many Tibetans still resent it. Still, it is, for China, a peculiar document to commemorate. The Tibet it envisages—under Chinese sovereignty but autonomous—seems closer to the Dalai Lama’s demands than to present arrangements. China promised not to alter “the existing political system in Tibet”, a promise swept aside in 1959 as it crushed a Tibetan rebellion and the Dalai Lama and 80 ,000 followers fled into exile. In 1951 the political system was a feudal theocracy. Now that exiles enjoy the forms of parliamentary democracy, they find China no more trustworthy. China, in turn, finds the exiles’ political system no more appealing.

A Tale From The Frontline Of Pelestanian Protest : Robert Fisk

I went to see Munib Masri in his Beirut hospital bed yesterday morning. He is part of the Arab revolution, although he doesn't see it that way. He looked in pain – he was in pain – with a drip in his right arm, a fever, and the fearful wounds caused by an Israeli 5. 56 mm bullet that hit his arm. Yes, an Israeli bullet – because Munib was one of thousands of young and unarmed Palestinians and Lebanese who stood in their thousands in front of the Israeli army's live fire two weeks ago on the very border of the land they call " Palestine". "I was angry, mad – I'd just seen a small child hit by the Israelis," Munib said to me. "I walked nearer the border fence. The Israelis were shooting so many people. When I got hit, I was paralysed. My legs gave way. Then I realised what had happened. My friends carried me away." I asked Munib if he thought he was part of the Arab Spring. No, he said, he was just protesting at the loss of his land. "I liked what happened to Egypt and Tunisia. I am glad I went to the Lebanese border, but I also regret it." Which is not surprising. More than 100 unarmed protesters were wounded in the Palestinian- Lebanese demonstration to mark the 1948 expulsion and exodus of 750 ,000 Palestinians from their homes in Mandate Palestine – six were killed – and among the youngest of those hit by bullets were two little girls. One was six, the other eight. More targets of Israel's "war on terror", I suppose, although the bullet that hit Munib, a 22- year old geology student at the American University of Beirut, did awful damage. It penetrated his side, cut through his kidney, hit his spleen and then broke up in his spine. I held the bullet in my hand yesterday, three sparkling pieces of brown metal that had shattered inside Munib's body. He is, of course, lucky to be alive. And I guess lucky to be an American citizen, much good did it do him. The US embassy sent a female diplomat to see his parents at the hospital, Munib's mother Mouna told me. "I am devastated, sad, angry – and I don't wish this to happen to any Israeli mother. The American diplomats came here to the hospital and I explained the situation of Munib. I said: 'I would like you to give a message to your government – to put pressure on them to change their policies here. If this had happened to an Israeli mother, the world would have gone upside down.' But she said to me: 'I'm not here to discuss politics. We're here for social support, to evacuate you if you want, to help with payments.' I said that I don't need any of these things – I need you to explain the situation." Any US diplomat is free to pass on a citizen's views to the American government but this woman's response was all too familiar. Munib, though an American, had been hit by the wrong sort of bullet. Not a Syrian bullet or an Egyptian bullet but an Israeli bullet, a bad kind to discuss, certainly the wrong kind to persuade an American diplomat to do anything about it. After all, when Benjamin Netanyahu gets 55 ovations in Congress – more than the average Baath party congress in Damascus – why should Munib's government care about him? In reality, he has been to " Palestine" many times – Munib's family comes from Beit Jala and Bethlehem and he knows the West Bank well, though he told me he was concerned he might be arrested when he next returns. Being a Palestinian isn't easy, though, whichever side of the border you're on. Mouna Masri was enraged when her sister asked her husband to renew her residency in east Jerusalem. "The Israelis insisted that she must fly from London herself even though they knew she was having chemotherapy. "I was in Palestine only two days before Munib was hurt, visiting my father-in- law in Nablus. I saw all the family and I was happy but I missed Munib very much and so I returned to Beirut. He was very excited about the march to the border. There were three or four buses taking students and faculty from the university here and he got up at 6. 55 on the Sunday morning. At about 4 pm, Munib's aunt Mai called and asked if there was any news and I began to feel uneasy. Then I had a call from my husband saying Munib had been wounded in the leg." It was far worse. Munib lost so much blood that doctors at the Bent Jbeil hospital thought he would die. The United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon – disastrously absent from the Maroun al-Ras section of the border during the five-hour demonstration – flew him by helicopter to Beirut. Many of those who travelled to the border with him had come from the refugee camps and – unlike Munib – had never visited the land from which their parents came. Indeed, in some cases, they had never even seen it. Munib's aunt Mai described how many of those who had gone on the march and by bus to the frontier felt a breeze coming across the border from what is now Israel. "They breathed it in, like it was a kind of freedom," she said. There you have it. Munib may not believe he is part of the Arab Spring but he is part of the Arab awakening. Even though he has a home in the West Bank, he decided to walk with the dispossessed whose homes lie inside what is now Israel. "There was a lack of fear," his Uncle Munzer said. " These people wanted dignity. And with dignity comes success." Which is what the people of Tunisia cried. And of Egypt. And of Yemen, and of Bahrain, and of Syria. I suspect that Obama, despite his cringing to Netanyahu, understands this. It was what, in his rather craven way, he was trying to warn the Israelis about. The Arab awakening embraces the Palestinians too.