Is the current Israeli policy of squeezing and hoping to topple Hamas the right policy? Or is a more nuanced approach called for?
I think it is legitimate to maintain pressure on the government, and to press the government in order to bring about—I don’t know about a regime change—but to bring about a policy change. There are people in Hamas who are no fools. Hamas has nuances within it. I think Hamas is making a mistake in letting [Damascus-based political bureau leader] Khaled Meshaal be a party to the decision-making process in Hamas. The decisions should be made by the current leadership inside the territories.
Do you think Hamas will be able to raise the money required to keep the Palestinian Authority afloat?
I think there’s no chance. They went to Iran, and the Iranians offered them a paltry $50 million. That’s less than what they need for one month. And the money has not yet come through, anyway. Hamas will have to learn the hard way.
Monthly Archives: May 2006
The group of Afghan hijackers granted permission by the High Court to stay in the UK say they are educated people who do not want to “sponge” off the state. In a statement, the nine asylum seekers said they were desperate to be allowed to work and contribute to UK society. They also apologised to passengers on the flight they hijacked to Stansted in 2000, for the fear they had caused.
Tony Blair has said the decision not to return the men to Afghanistan is “an abuse of common sense”. Six years ago the men hijacked an Ariana Boeing 727 that was on an internal flight in Afghanistan, saying they were escaping the Taleban.
They forced the plane to fly to Stansted airport, in Essex, which led to a four day stand-off and eventually asylum applications by 78 people on board. “We do realise that for the other people on that plane the hijack was terrifying and we regret causing such fear in the hearts of others,” the nine men said in the statement issued through a west London law centre. “But we did it because we were desperate and we did not believe we could all get away safely in any other way,” We want people to realise that we understand the shock and even outrage against us and what we did
Brothers Ali and Mohammed Safi were jailed along with Abdul Shohab, Taimur Shah, Nazamuddin Mohammidy, Abdul Ghayur, Mohammed Kazin, Mohammed Showaib and Reshad Ahmadi in 2001. Appeal judges quashed their convictions in May 2003 but insisted that their decision was “not a charter for future hijackers”.
Oh, no, I’m sure of that…
UNITED NATIONS – The United States bowed to pressure from its allies on Tuesday and agreed to support a new program to temporarily funnel additional humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinian people.
A statement by Mideast peacemakers, issued after a day of closed-door diplomatic meetings, did not suggest precisely how much or what kind of aid they would provide. But the agreement seemed to underscore a concern that months of withholding most aid from the Palestinians, part of an effort to pressure the new Hamas-led government toward a more accommodating stance with Israel, was harming the Palestinian people.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the European Union would take the lead in the new effort. The United Nations and Russia, the other partners in the Quartet peacemaking group along with the U.S., also endorsed the program.
“The thrust of this is the international community is still trying to respond to the needs of the Palestinian people,” Rice said.
Apparently the US has `softened’ its position on aid to the Palestinian Authority, and Israel, under severe pressure, has agreed to release to transfer NIS 50 million to the Palestinian Authority, according to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. That’s about $11 million US.
Anyway, they are not happy with the contribution and think they ought to have been given more. From Yahoo! News:
The Hamas-led government said it appreciated the Quartet’s efforts to ease the burden on the Palestinian people but said they could have gone further, and in a statement criticized the fact that its own authority was likely to be bypassed. “We were hoping that their decision could be more positive in dealing with the Palestinian government since it is an elected government that represents the Palestinian people.”
Hmm, you know, no one is OBLIGED to give anything to people who are sponsorizing terrorism or supporting it.
We ask all the people in surrounding Arab countries, the Muslim world and everyone who wants to support us to send weapons, money and men,” Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said in a speech at a pro-Palestinian event in Qatar. “You should not shy away from of this. This is resistance, not terrorism,” said Meshaal whose group — sworn to the destruction of Israel — leads the Palestinian government.
Somehow he didn’t seem to ask for food, or medical supplies, or fuel, or any of the other things that are causing the bogus “humanitarian crisis” that the West is so upset about.
But others had supplied them by now: From Vital Perspective:
A new report from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center shows that Hezbollah S-G Hassan Nasrallah admissted in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir to supplying Palestinians with “financial, political, and media [propaganda] support.”
And looks like the oil shortage is over: BBC NEWS | Middle East | Palestinian petrol crisis ‘over’
On Wednesday, Dor [only company supplying petrol and cooking gas to Gaza and the West Bank] cut off supplies to the Palestinian areas because of mounting Palestinian Authority debts amounting to about $26m. It is not yet clear how an agreement was struck, but Mr Salameh had said earlier on Thursday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would be contacting Dor to arrange for payment of the debt from the Palestinian Investment Fund.
But they have not learnt from the past: Israpundit » Blog Archive » Washington’s Pro-Hamas Foreign Policy
[…] as has been proven repeatedly by their actions and by numerous polls–and now by the recent election–the overwhelming majority of Palestinians aspire not for a civilized state but to eradicate Israel and replace it with a brutal dictatorship. Because they embrace this vicious goal, hordes of Palestinians idolized arch terrorist Yasser Arafat for waging a terrorist war to wipe out Israel and establish a nationalist dictatorship. During Arafat’s brutal reign, they abetted his terrorism and celebrated his atrocities. They served as cheerleaders or recruits for terrorist groups.
Yet Washington, deluding itself that Palestinians seek legitimate goals, rationalized Palestinian barbarities as the lashing out of oppressed victims. And so, as they mounted more attacks, Washington urged ever more concessions to the Palestinians. It has urged Israel to respect, not punish, them. The United States forbade Israel from laying a finger on Arafat, and extended this tender solicitude to Hamas leaders, like Salah Shededah. When Israeli forces found this organizer of suicide bombings and assassinated him, President Bush condemned Israel for its “heavy-handed” measures. Washington actually whitewashed the blood-stained Arafat and his crony Abbas as peace-loving statesmen and invited them to the White House.
Even as Palestinian terrorism raged, in defiance of Palestinian obligations under successive “peace deals,” America continued to dole out rewards. It sent hundreds of millions in aid to the terrorist-sponsoring Palestinian Authority. When Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza strip, rendering itself more vulnerable to predations, America wholeheartedly approved–and insisted on further land concessions. Palestinians, who swiftly began rocket attacks from Gaza, were jubilant; they correctly saw themselves as the victors whose terrorist war had won our approval and forced Israel to retreat. American policy teaches Palestinians that their goal of destroying Israel–and the terrorism they employ to achieve it–is legitimate and practical. The ascendance of Hamas therefore was predictable. It is by far the more consistent proponent of that murderous goal.
Britain’s largest lecturers’ union is expected to reignite an international controversy about academic freedom with a new call for a boycott of Israeli lecturers and academic institutions which do not publicly oppose “Israeli apartheid policies”.
The motion will be put to representatives of the 67,000-strong National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (Natfhe) at its national conference at the end of the month.
The motion “invites members to consider their own responsibility for ensuring equity and non-discrimination in contacts with Israeli educational institutions or individuals, and to consider the appropriateness of a boycott of those that do not publicly dissociate themselves from such policies“.
Hamas leaders in Gaza and the West Bank have hinted they might abandon the group’s call for the destruction of Israel, but Khaled Mashaal, the Syria-based leader of Hamas, has rejected any suggestion of moderation. Also, the document included key Palestinian demands Israel has always rejected — return of millions of refugees to their original homes in Israel and complete Israeli evacuation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
According to a study of the Israel Democracy Institute, 62% of Israeli Jews would like to see the government actively encourage Arabs to leave Israel. Professor Arian Asher of the IDI said that this statistic indicates
a “general lack of tolerance of Israeli Jews toward Israeli Arabs.” He concludes that “Israeli democracy has not developed a strong sense of egalitarianism and community” (Jerusalem Post, May 10).
The IDI findings were deplored even by Avigdor Lieberman’s reputedly right-wing Israel Beiteinu party—a party that advocated revoking the citizenship of Israelis who do not pledge allegiance to the state. MK Yisrael Hassan said his party does not endorse encouraging the immigration of Israeli Arabs. Ignoring the hostility of these Arabs, as well as Jewish attachment to the land of Israel, Hassan offers Lieberman’s panacea of “separating the two population groups by defining a border between them.”
The present writer wonders how those who want the government to encourage Arabs to leave Israel would characterize Messrs. Asher and Hassan? I assume that some of these Jews may be as well educated as Professor Asher, a political scientist. Perhaps some would accuse him of being disingenuous? Perhaps others would attribute his tolerant attitude toward Israel’s anything but loyal Arab citizens to moral indifference?
After all, it has been reported that most Israeli Arabs identify themselves as “Palestinians,” that is, with Israel’s enemies. In fact, no less than 62% supported Saddam Hussein despite his threat to incinerate half of Israel. Would it be sane or sensible for Jews to fondly regard these Arabs as part of their “community”? It has also been reported that most of the suicide bombing attacks in Israel have been assisted by Israel¡Çs Arab citizens; that many of these Arabs have themselves committed terrorist acts, hence, have murdered Jewish men, women, and children. Have Arab Knesset members ever condemned such politically motivated crimes—crimes against the state which pays their salaries? To the contrary: they have encouraged these crimes! [READ MORE]
After months of tensions, senior members of the rival Hamas and Fatah factions have forged a joint platform, including acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
However, it was unclear whether Hamas, particularly the group’s hardline leaders abroad, will back the program, which would signal a major softening of positions. Until now, Hamas has balked at the West’s demands that it renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept existing peace agreements. …
Also in Tundra Tabloids, Israpundit, Liberali Per Israele (who informs that the Hamas’ man who wrote the terms for the negotiation was Barghouti),
But wht are they uniting? Spanish Blog Ajopringue tells us (translated):
The political leader of the terrorist group Hamas, Jaled Mashaal, has asked Al-Fatah they should abandon their differences, unite, and “adopt the way of the Jihad” to continue the fight against Israelis. Mashaal is trying to abort the agreement (of 18 points) signed by the chiefs of the Palestinian organizations who are in Israeli prisons, in which the existence of Israel is indirectly recognised. This agreement opposes directly to the principles stablished by Hamas[…]
Not surprisingly -for a normal logic taking into account reality and not what we would like things to be, the Western diplomats worried by threat of Israeli unilateralism
At a press conference on Tuesday, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan reiterated a Quartet decision in relation to the Gaza withdrawal, saying that “such a withdrawal ought to be coordinated with the Palestinians.” A number of diplomats told Haaretz that Israel’s attempt to “avoid negotiations” would not be received well, and that this message was also being delivered to Washington in anticipation of Olmert’s scheduled visit there next week. At the Quartet press conference on Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emphasized the U.S. position that the permanent borders of Israel and Palestine can be established only by agreement between the parties. She also stressed Olmert’s pledge to attempt negotiations with the Palestinians prior to any unilateral action, as did the Quartet as a whole in its formal statement.
Il Signore degli Agnelli reports about a very curious call:
The Israeli intellectuals call for the Israeli Army to protect the Palestinian schoolboys from the ambushes of the Jewish settlers (link from Il Corriere della Sera in Italian) .
Once again, Noam Chomsky betrays his country, his people and common decency:
Radical American thinker and MIT professor Noam Chomsky met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut today and branded the U.S. a terrorist state. “I think that Nasrallah has a reasoned argument and a persuasive argument that they (the weapons) should be in the hands of Hizbollah as a deterrent to potential aggression and there is plenty of background and reasons for that. So, I think his position, if I am reporting it correctly, and it seems to be a reasonable position, is that until there is a general political settlement in the region and the threat of aggression and violence is reduced or eliminated, there has to be a deterrent. The Lebanese army cannot be a deterrent.”
Well, then, Chomsky, what happens with Jordan? Is it also an imperialist country who wants to dominate over all Palestine? Or are just the Hamas members terrorists? From A Blog For All
AMMAN, Jordan – State television broadcast on Thursday confessions by three members of the militant Palestinian group Hamas detained in what Jordan said was a plot to target its officials. Hamas denied the charges and accused Jordan of trying to undermine the Palestinian government, which it now leads. The three suspects said in their confessions that they were Hamas agents who monitored Jordanian intelligence officers and foreign tourists, apparently for a possible attack. Two said they acquired arms and ammunition for Hamas.
Also on Gindy Blog. But the Palestinian Prime Minisiter has denied any plot to attack Jordan.
Lastly, from BBC NEWS | Middle East:
An Israeli court has charged four Palestinians with the killing of an Israeli minister five years ago. The suspects were snatched by the Israeli army from a jail in the West Bank town of Jericho in March. They are alleged to have shot Rehavam Zeevi, a hardliner who advocated deporting Palestinians from the occupied territories. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the assassination was revenge for the killing of its leader. The PFLP’s new leader, Ahmed Saadat – who was captured in Jericho at the same time as the four – is also blamed by Israeli officials for the killing, but they have failed to find enough evidence to link him to the case. However Mr Saadat is due to face unspecified and unrelated security charges in an Israeli military court.