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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What Hamas Is Seeking

You have to admire the consistency of the American mainstream media. They have yet to find a terrorist to whom they are not willing to give a platform. The latest is the Washington Post, which in this morning's editions gives a soapbox to Mousa Abu Marzook. Does the name ring a bell, Americans? For those of you who have forgotten, the Post reminds you (at the end of course) who he is:

The writer is deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). He has a U.S. doctorate in engineering and was indicted in the United States in 2004 as a co-conspirator on racketeering and money-laundering charges in connection with activities on behalf of Hamas dating to the early 1990s, before the organization was placed on the list of terrorist groups. He was deported to Jordan in 1997.
That's great. At least he was deported, unlike Sami al-Aryan, who was tried and acquitted on most counts. Of course, let's not forget that Marzook could have been deported to Israel rather than to Jordan, in which case he'd be a bit less likely to be writing op-eds in the Washington Post, or more likely he'd be writing them from a jail cell.

Anyway, here's what Marzook has to say this morning:

Our society has always celebrated pluralism in keeping with the unique history and traditions of the Holy Land. In recognizing Judeo-Christian traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the greatest incentive and stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic faiths. In addition, fair governance demands that the Palestinian nation be represented in a pluralistic environment. A new breed of Islamic leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.

In that vein, Hamas has pledged transparency in government. Honest leadership will result from the accountability of its public servants. Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant role in public life. The movement has forged genuine and lasting relationships with Christian candidates.

As we embark on a new phase in the struggle to liberate Palestine, we recognize the recent elections as a vote against the failures of the current process. A new "road map" is needed to lead us away from the path of checkpoints and walls and onto the path of freedom and justice. The past decade's "peace process" has led to a dramatic rise in the expansion of illegal settlements and land confiscation. The realities of occupation include humiliating checkpoints, home demolitions, open-ended administrative detentions, extrajudicial killings and thousands of dead civilians.

The Islamic Resistance Movement was elected to protect the Palestinians from the abuses of occupation, based on its history of sacrifice for the cause of liberty. It would be a mistake to view the collective will of the Palestinian people in electing Hamas in fair and free elections under occupation as a threat. For meaningful dialogue to occur there should be no prejudgments or preconditions. And we do desire dialogue. The terms of the dialogue should be premised on justice, mutual respect and integrity of the parties.

Hope you're all not laughing too hard to realize that there will be people on the left who will take this as a sign of Hamas' 'reforms.' Of course there's no mention of suicide bombers....

Update 7:05 PM:

At Little Green Footballs, Charles points us to a related story: the Chicago Tribune is trying to interfere in the trial of one of Marzook’s cronies: Chicago Judge Urged to Open Hamas Hearing.

The Chicago Tribune has urged a federal judge to reject the government’s request for a closed hearing for a man accused of laundering money for the Palestinian militant group Hamas.


Federal prosecutors want to use as evidence against Salah a confession that Israeli agents obtained from him in 1993 after he was arrested there. The agents’ testimony could help clear up the question of whether Salah confessed only after being tortured, as he claims. Besides closing the court, prosecutors want the Israeli agents to be allowed to testify under aliases and wearing “light disguises.”

Salah’s attorneys argue that their client has a constitutional right to confront his accusers. The Tribune brief, filed by attorney Natalie J. Spears, took issue with a government claim that there was no alternative to closing the courtroom. “Justice does not mean doing what is most convenient,” it said.

Hamas Election Celebration

Hat Tip: Yisrael in Shilo

Hundreds of right-wingers attack IDF post near Ofra

With Hamas 'elected' to run the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli political level is concerned with more important things - like expelling Jews from the Amona 'outpost' and razing the nine structures that are sitting there (for the record, my wife has a sister in Ofra, but I have not discussed this with my sister-in-law):

Hundreds of right-wingers attack IDF post near Ofra

Around 300 right-wing activists clashed with soldiers on Tuesday morning at an IDF post in Ofra, near Amona, which is scheduled to be evacuated on Wednesday. The group broke through the fence and climbed on the heavy machinery and equipment located on the scene.

Some of the equipment was sabotaged in the attack.

The unit that was attacked is not scheduled to take part in the Amona evacuation on Wednesday, rather, it is in charge of protecting the Ofra residents and ensuring security in the area. The machinery, however, is slated for removing the stone structures from the West Bank oupost.

Police were alerted to the scene.

The settlers left the area after talks with the Ofra local leadership, and soldiers were checking the extent of the damage.

Just a few hours later, youths were moving boulders onto the access roads leading to the Amona outpost.

The dozens of activists, mostly young, were also putting barbed wire on the roofs of the permanent structures slated for demolition on Wednesday.

The IDF condemned the attack, saying it views any attack on soldiers or IDF property very seriously.


Special Forces, including a SWAT team, will be on standby along the evacuation's outer perimeter to deal with extreme scenarios such as settlers opening fire on the evacuating forces.

Forces will be divided into three circles: 1,600 unarmed policemen in the inner circle charged with physical evacuation; 1,000 border policemen in the second circle to deal with public disturbances; and four infantry regiments of close to 3,000 soldiers to secure the area surrounding the outpost.

An officer said the evacuation would be carried out in a similar format to this past summer's evacuation from the Gaza Strip, with the only difference being that "in Gaza the evacuation was carried out 'firmly and sensitively,' and in Amona we will only operate firmly."


The settlers claim they bought the land on which the houses were built in an under-the-table deal from Palestinians. The state contends that the homes were illegally constructed because the land belongs to Palestinians. [Have any 'Palestinians' petitioned the courts claiming that the land belongs to them? Do the 'settlers' have documents proving a transfer of ownership? Notice how no one deals with these basic issues. CiJ] Short of one wooden home and a playroom for children, the homes mark the first permanent construction on the site, which sits on a hilltop opposite Ofra.


Yehuda Baruchi, one of the first families to move to the outpost 10 years ago, spent the afternoon organizing activists. He said despite the media's attempt to portray them as violent, the intention was passive but determined resistance. [Ten years ago???? And NOW it's being declared 'illegal'? To me that indicates that the government's/'Palestinians'' claim is less than honest. CiJ]

"The homes shouldn't be destroyed quietly and easily," Baruchi said. He was bothered also by the characterization of their activity as illegal.

See that hilltop opposite Amona, he said, holding a cellphone in one hand and a paper and pen in the other, "Avraham stood there when God promised this land to him." Now, Baruchi said, Olmert wants to give it up so he can gain some extra mandates for Kadima.

Olmert told settler leaders he had no intention of postponing the evacuation, adding that it was his intention to carry out the High Court of Justice decision, which on Sunday rejected a petition by the settlers to halt the demolitions.

The once and future city

I found this article from the JPost's weekend magazine fascinating.

Last year, I heard a shiur (lecture) from R. Asher Weiss in which he said that when it comes to matters of faith, we cannot just believe our eyes. He brought a story from the Talmud in Bava Bathra 75, in which a student does not believe that in the future, God will make huge previous stones for the Temple until he sees them being made on a trip overseas. When he returns and tells his Rebbe, "Drosh (learn the hidden meaning behind the verses) Rebbe drosh, as you said, I have seen," his Rabbi says he is a fool for only believing what he sees and turns him into a pile of bones.

Today, we actually have visual evidence that the events described in the bible are true, as this article indicates. For those of you who want 'evidence' that the bible is true and that the events that it described are real, here it is. And for those who want to be even bigger fools than the student who is described in the Talmud, this article shows that they will continue to deny even what their eyes see. Make sure to read it all.

The once and future city

The first major archeological digs in Jerusalem since the 1980s have uncovered some of the most significant - and the most highly controversial - finds ever discovered in the area known by most, and revered by many, as Ir David - "The City of David."

For decades, archeologists had assumed that there was little new to uncover at the site, already one of the most visited archeological sites in Israel. Yet in the past year, two archeological teams, each with a different vision and each supported by private institutions, have made discoveries that have surpassed even their own expectations.

Different experts attach different significance and meaning to these discoveries. As Yair Zakovitch, professor of biblical studies at the Hebrew University, observes, "Everyone uses the Bible for their own agenda. Jerusalem is a sensitive place, and everyone uses the digs to prove what it is they want to prove.

"Which is why objectivity is so critical," he says, "although it is perhaps impossible under the circumstances."

Yet even the critics of these excavations, who downplay their significance, agree that the recent discoveries have the potential to change the prevailing views, not only of Jerusalem's ancient past, but of its future as well.


Reich's and Shukran's digging has unearthed valuable finds. Most recently, they have uncovered over 60 bullae (broken clay seals) and six stamps used to seal letters, attesting to the fact that literacy and a system of administration were in place in Jerusalem as early as the ninth century BCE.

They have also discovered thousands of fish bones that, together with the bullae were found in an area that Reich and Shukran believe to be the Shiloah Pool, used as a ritual bath for the Temple Mount, and a tiled road which ends at the pool and has its origins near the Temple Mount. Ostensibly, this is the road that worshipers used to go back and forth between the Shiloah Pool and the Temple Mount.

The second team, headed by Dr. Eilat Mazar, entered the picture in 1997. Mazar, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based conservative think tank, is a graduate of the Hebrew University, and granddaughter of the famous archeologist Binyamin Mazar.


Mazar further hypothesizes that since in II Samuel 5:17 it is written that David descends from his residence to the citadel, David must have come from the north. The north, she explains, is the only direction that he could have "come down from," since the rest of the city is surrounded by valleys. Furthermore, she reasons, it would have made sense for the citadel to have been built on a high point, and, because the north of the city was always vulnerable to attack, it would have required such a citadel for its defense.

Mazar began her excavation in 1999 in a project jointly funded by the Shalem Center and the Ir David Foundation. She uncovered a large building that, she believes, was built approximately in 1000 BCE - about the time that David is thought to have conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

She further claims that pottery shards that she found date from the 10th to the sixth century BCE, which attests to the constant use of the site over periods of many centuries.

One of Mazar's most significant finds was a seal with the name Jehucal son of Shelemiah, a figure mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3. Mazar dates the seal to the First Temple Period, based on the dating of similar seals discovered by Shiloh in the 1980s excavations.


Professor Israel Finkelstein, chairman of the Archeology Department of Tel Aviv, University is one of Mazar's fiercest opponents.

A 2005 recipient of the prestigious Dan David Prize, awarded for outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social achievements, Finkelstein contends that all of the recent discoveries from Ir David are merely "Messianic eruptions in biblical archeology."

Finkelstein is best-known for his claim that certain impressive structures found throughout the country that were originally dated to the 10th century BCE, the time of David and Solomon, were actually built at least a century later, a theory known as "lower dating."

He argues, "You cannot study biblical archeology with only a simple reading of the text. The Bible cannot be understood without a knowledge of the millennia of biblical criticism that has gone along with it, not the least of which necessarily includes the dating of different sections of the Bible according to who wrote them and when."

He concedes that "The Bible is an important source, but we can't take it seriously." Clearly referring to Mazar's hypothesizing, he says, "That David took two steps down and four steps up and saw Bathsheba bathing on a rooftop does not prove that you have found King David's palace. Reading the Bible in that way is insulting to its various composers. Spinoza wouldn't have interpreted that verse in that way. Biblical archeology is the only discipline I know in which time stopped four centuries ago and no progress has been made since then."

Accordingly, he believes, based on biblical scholarship, that the biblical tales of David and Solomon are, at best, an exaggeration. In his influential book, The Bible Unearthed (The Free Press, 2001), Finkelstein argues that Jerusalem in the time of David and Solomon was no more than a small village of 500 inhabitants.

"The glorious epic of united monarchy was - like the stories of the patriarchs and the sagas of the Exodus and conquest - a brilliant composition that wove together ancient heroic tales and legends into a coherent and persuasive prophecy for the people of Israel in the seventh century BCE," he writes.


Although the Shalem Center would not arrange an interview with Eilat Mazar, David Hazony, editor of Azure, the center's magazine, did eventually agree to an interview.

"Zionism as a whole rests on a major assumption about where Jews came from, that we once had a thriving kingdom ... [and] that the Jewish people have a right to reclaim their ancestral land and establish a sovereign state there."

Referring to Finkelstein, Hazony contends that "the work that many new historians and biblical archeologists are doing in rewriting our Zionist history undermines our traditional Zionist self-understanding and by extension our claim to this country and the city of Jerusalem."

He continues, "The Shalem Center supports Eilat Mazar's excavations because we are always interested in supporting good scholarship when it comes to attacks on our classical narrative. When the truth is on your side, all you need is good scholarship.

"Jerusalem is no longer [considered] a hilltop village. The debate is over. We have made a step towards reclaiming the city."

Like I said, read it all.

Permanent members agree to refer Iran to Security Council

The JPost reported this morning that Russia and China have agreed to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the Security Council... with debate to begin in March... by which time - as I point below - Iran is likely to have passed the point of no return on the path to developing nuclear weapons. And in the meantime, the referral to the Security Council is likely to freeze any military action against Iran... except maybe by Israel....

Permanent members agree to refer Iran to Security Council

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council reached a surprising agreement Tuesday that Iran should be hauled before that powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.

China and Russia, longtime allies and trading partners of Iran, signed on to a statement that calls on the UN nuclear watchdog to transfer the Iran dossier to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions or take other harsh action.

Iran did not immediately react to the decision on Tuesday.

Foreign ministers from those nations, plus the United States, Britain and France, also said the Security Council should wait until March to take up the Iran case, after a formal report on Tehran's activities from the watchdog agency. [Recall that IDF Intelligence Chief Ze'evi Farkash said that by March the problem has to be solved or Iran will be irreversibly on the way to nuclear weapons. This is yet another cop-out. No wonder China and Russia agreed. CiJ]


On Monday, Rice said the world agreed that Iran should not have the means of developing a nuclear weapon, and she criticized Iran's response to Russian attempts to mediate in the standoff.

"We believe that there is a lot of life left in the diplomacy," Rice said. "After all, going to the Security Council is not the end of diplomacy. It's just diplomacy in a different, more robust context." [Say what? CiJ]

Monday, January 30, 2006


At the Boston Glob, token conservative columnist (but he's a great one) Jeff Jacoby hits the nail on the head regarding the 'Palestinian elections.'

WESTERN reactions to the outcome of the Palestinian election last week came in two varieties: highly negative and decidedly undecided.

In the first category was Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who moaned that the Hamas defeat of Fatah was a ''very, very, very bad result." In New York, the Anti-Defamation League pronounced the results ''a tremendous setback."

Others insisted that the significance of the election couldn't be known until Hamas decides whether or not to abandon its foremost objective: the liquidation of Israel. In the words of FBI Director Robert Mueller, ''Hamas has a choice to make." It was a line echoed everywhere, from the British Foreign Office to the New York Times editorial page.

Well, put me in a third camp: I think the sweeping Hamas victory is by far the best result that could have been hoped for.

I say that not because Hamas is anything other than a blood-drenched terrorist group, but because its lopsided win is an unambiguous reality check into the nature of Palestinian society. And if there is one thing that the West badly needs, it is more realism and less delusion about the Palestinians.

Read it all.

Iran sets up secret team to infiltrate UN nuclear watchdog, say officials

The London Daily Telegraph has an interesting spy story today:

Iran has formed a top secret team of nuclear specialists to infiltrate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the UN-sponsored body that monitors its nuclear programme, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

Its target is the IAEA's safeguards division and its aim is to obtain information on the work of IAEA inspectors so that Iran can conceal the more sensitive areas of its nuclear research, according to information recently received by western intelligence.


The operation to target the IAEA is being run by Hosein Afarideh, the former head of the Iranian parliament's energy committee.

Mr Afarideh, reported to have close links with Iran's ministry of intelligence, is in regular contact with a team of Iranian nuclear engineers seconded to work at the IAEA's Vienna headquarters.

According to western intelligence reports, Mr Afarideh heads a three-man team at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran in Teheran, to prevent more embarrassing disclosures about its nuclear facilities.


An IAEA spokesman refused to comment on the intelligence reports. However, an official who confirmed that a number of Iranian nuclear engineers were working at the IAEA's headquarters said the agency had set up stringent safeguards to ensure that no country had access to the inspection teams investigating its nuclear facilities.

"We have a firewall system that prevents any member state finding out how the inspection teams working on that country operate," said the official.

Despite this close supervision, Iranian scientists working at the IAEA in Vienna travel frequently to Teheran, where they meet Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran officials including Mr Afarideh. Mr Afarideh is also in close contact with Mohsein Fakhrizadeh, head of the organisation's physical research centre.

IAEA inspectors have made repeated requests to interview Mr Fakhrizadeh about key aspects of Iran's nuclear programme. But the Iranian government has refused to grant them access to him.

Why doesn't the IAEA just co-operate openly with the Iranians? /sarc

President Assad Receives Hamas Politburo Chief

Too bad no one bombed this meeting....

Damascus, (SANA)-

President Bashar al-Assad received at al-Rawda Palace on Sunday Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal and an accompanying delegation.

Talks during the meeting dealt with the results of the Palestinian Parliamentary elections which the whole world has admitted its full impartiality and democracy.

President al-Assad congratulated Mashaal on Hamas winning the elections.

He stressed that the elections results will enhance the Palestinian’s unity.

Respecting the Palestinian people's will which they have expressed through the polling boxes and calling on different Arab, regional and international parties to respect this will and to deal with the elections outcomes for being represent the Palestinian legitimacy were emphasized during the meeting.

Democracy in the Middle East

At NRO, Barbara Lerner says that the mistake in bringing 'democracy' to the Middle East is in the "one size fits all" approach. Some countries here are ripe for democracy, while in others - Egypt, Jordan and 'Palestine' - attempts at democracy will only bring out the worst of the Islamists:

The success of Hamas in the January 25 Palestinian election gives new urgency to the longstanding need to rethink the whole question of democracy in the Middle East. President Bush and his most influential foreign-policy adviser, Condoleezza Rice, argue that to be safe, we must democratize the whole of the Middle East, and that to do that, we must press for free elections in all the countries of the region. His critics on the Right, self-styled foreign-policy "realists," see the idea of democracy anywhere in the Middle East as a fool's dream. The only real choice in this part of the world, they say, is between tyranny and chaos, and tyranny is the lesser evil.

But both sides — call them the "neocons" and the "realists" — are wrong, and for the same reason: Both rely on one-size-fits-all theories that fail to do justice to the complex realities of the region. Both ignore critical differences within and between states that make democracy a longstanding reality in two of them, a possibility in at least three more, and a fool's dream in most others for at least the next few decades. The initial mistake, common to both sides, is to view the Middle East the way the Sunni Arabs, who currently rule much of the region, do-that is, as "Arab lands." In fact, two of the three most populous states in the region — Turkey and Iran — are non-Arab, and many of the other states have large non-Arab or non-Sunni populations (or both) of indigenous natives — victims of Sunni Arab imperialism in centuries past, who are still treated as dhimmis by the ruling Sunni Arabs.

If you define democracy as a balance of forces in which no group's rights may be trampled with impunity, the importance of these population differences begins to emerge, at least in an abstract way. To see what they mean in concrete, practical terms, come down from the lofty heights of theory and join me in taking a close look at the actual inhabitants of six Middle Eastern lands. In three — Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian state that President Bush and Secretary Rice are trying to create — democracy in this decade is not possible, and the pretense that it is can only harm us and give democracy a bad name. In three other states — Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran — democracy in the sense defined above has a chance, if we recognize past mistakes, and act to correct them.

Read it all.

Terrorists at the Gates

Who is to blame for Hamas coming to power? Michael Krauss and Peter Pham find plenty of blame to go around:

... How did it come about that a group listed as a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union finds itself the victor in a poll that the so-called Quartet (the U.S., E.U., Russia, and the United Nations) hailed as "free, fair, and secure"? While a lot of the responsibility is borne by the hopelessly incompetent and corrupt Fatah leadership which, despite being the recipient of billions of dollars of foreign aid since the Oslo Agreement, has yet to alleviate the misery in so much as one of the town under its control, some of the blame must placed on the international community, some on Washington.

Last year, in Lebanon, to Israel's north, political and sectarian bickering over cabinet posts delayed for months the unveiling of the country's first elected government since Syria's military was forced to withdraw in early 2005 — much to the chagrin of hundreds of thousands who poured into the streets of Beirut in Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution.". After lengthy and Byzantine negotiations, Prime Minister-designate Fouad Siniora finally announced the appointment of twenty-four ministers. For the first time, the cabinet contained representatives of the Shia group Hezbollah, a "specially designated terrorist group" according to Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Israel, and other Western democracies, as well as our own State department.

Hezbollah has been the de facto (totalitarian) government in southern Lebanon for years. Allied with, but operating largely outside the control of, Lebanon's longtime occupier, Syria, Hezbollah built villages, operated schools, and told people how to vote in southern Lebanon before and after the Syrian withdrawal. In the elections, exploiting its claim of having driven Israeli forces out of southern Lebanon in 2000, as well as its not inconsiderable powers of intimidation, Hezbollah swept up the votes of southern Shiites, winning fourteen parliamentary seats. In alliance with Amal, another Shia party, Hezbollah finished with indirect control of thirty-five seats, making it the second largest group in the Lebanese parliament. From this position of strength, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah demanded at least two cabinet posts, including that of foreign minister. This wish was granted. Hezbollah parliamentarian Mohammed Fneish received the energy ministry, while Hezbollah-backed "independent" Shiite Fawzi Salukh was given the foreign ministry, and another Shiite from the Hezbollah-Amal group, Tarad Hamadeh, was appointed labor minister. Fneish is a veteran of Hezbollah's terrorist campaign who won notoriety in 1997 for holding hostage the remains of Israeli commandos killed in action, parceling their body parts out to Amal and the Lebanese military for "safekeeping" until Israel to agreed to release a number of imprisoned terrorists. Nor has Fneish's subsequent entrance into the political realm moderated his views: in a March 2004 interview, for example, he continued to describe the existence of Israel as "immoral and illegitimate."

The prospect of terrorists sitting in any government ought to send shivers down the backs of free peoples. Not surprisingly, however, some hailed Hezbollah's participation in the Lebanese government as "progress." For example, an editorial in The Economist, headlined "Mainstreaming Terrorists," argued that "turning these organizations into solid citizens would strike a heavy blow against al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism in general." Likely, similar bromides will soon be published apropos Hamas in the PA.

Read it all.

Wooing Hamas

When we think of people who coddle Palestinian terrorism, many of us think of the European Union or the US State Department (we don't think of the Arab countries, because we have come to expect them to ally themselves with the 'Palestinians'). But as Steven Plaut reminds us, the biggest coddler of all may be the Israeli left:
The Israeli Left also argues that Hamas took power because Israel waged its War on Terror. Had Israel just turned the other cheek after each bus or café bombing, the PLO could have stayed in office and struck peace deals with Israel based on new unilateral Israeli appeasements and concessions.
Finally, many in the Israeli far-Left believe Hamas is in power because it is a more "genuine" and "authentic" representative of Palestinian opinion. Israeli leftists increasingly cheer for Hamas, because they openly endorse Hamas's agenda itself, which just happens to be based on annihilating Israel.
Hamas took power and evicted the PLO for one reason – and it has nothing to do with potholes: the Palestinian population has been thoroughly Nazified, and Hamas embodies the Palestinian goals of genocide and terror better than the PLO. That is the reason Hamas won. The PLO had been "compromised" in the eyes of most Palestinians by engaging in make-believe cooperation with Israel, by giving lip service to "peace" with the Israelis. The average Palestinian wants none of that.
The Israeli daily Haaretz, represented best by its anti-Israel leftist fanatic Gideon Levy, celebrates the victory of Hamas as a great moral victory, not because it will force Israelis to acknowledge the folly of the last 14 years of appeasement, but because Haaretz columnists simply endorse the goals of Hamas.


Anti-Zionist writer Uri Avnery and other ultra-leftists are already calling for "negotiations" with Hamas. It would not be surprising if some far-leftist Israeli professors and writers are already seeking audiences with Hamas leaders for "negotiations," reminiscent of the illegal talks the Left conducted with the PLO in the late 1980s, also in Oslo. (If so, it will be interesting to see if Hamas beheads any of them.)

One of the immediate issues that have come up on the Israeli domestic agenda is whether to turn 200 million shekels in funds over to the new Hamas government. Under Oslo, Israel is required to give the Palestinian Authority some receipts from Value Added Taxes and similar sources of revenue. Haaretz and the Left are demanding that Olmert hand the arrears over to Hamas immediately. Olmert is also seriously considering letting Hamas terror leaders inside Syria and Jordan move to the West Bank or Gaza. The Likud Party under Benjamin Netanyahu is using this as an election issue against acting Prime Minister Olmert and his Kadima Party – although Likud, before the Kadima split, turned billions of dollars over to Palestinian terrorists.

Read it all.

Palestinians storm EU office in Gaza

This ought to get the Euroweenies to pay their 'financial assistance' to the Palestinian Authority Hamastan.

Palestinians storm EU office in Gaza

Masked gunmen on Monday briefly took over a European Union office to protest a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons deemed insulting to Islam's Prophet Mohammad, the latest in a wave of violent denunciations of the caricatures across the Islamic world.

The gunmen demanded an apology from Denmark and Norway, and said citizens of the two countries would be prevented from entering the Gaza Strip. [That's okay. They can just mail the checks or do it by wire transfer. There's no need for any Dane or Norwegian to ever visit Gaza. CiJ]

"We are calling on the citizens of the two countries to take this threat seriously because our cells are ready to implement this all over Gaza," said one of the militants.

The 12 drawings - published last September by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and republished in a Norwegian paper this month - included an image of the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry.

The cartoons have sparked protests, flag burnings and boycotts of Danish products throughout the Muslim world. On Sunday, Palestinian protesters burned Danish flags in two West Bank towns.

In the Monday incident, gunmen burst into the EU office, then withdrew several minutes later. A group of about 15 masked men, armed with hand grenades, automatic weapons and anti-tank launchers, remained outside, keeping the offices closed. No shots were fired, and there were no reports of injuries.

The gunmen left the building after about half an hour.

The Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent group linked to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, claimed responsibility. Al Aksa has been involved in much of the recent chaos plaguing Gaza in recent months. [And I thought they were just 'militants' or 'activists.' I guess now that Fatah is no longer in power, they are now a 'violent group' CiJ]

Mofaz's Political Considerations Governed Protective Measures

Somehow I didn't see this one until now - but then I haven't seen it on any other blogs either. Hat Tip: Benny in Psagot. If this is true, it's appalling....

Mofaz's Political Considerations Governed Protective Measures

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz gave orders against actions such as buttressing Jewish towns adjacent to Gaza - so as not to lead to a perception that the disengagement might worsen Israeli security.

Evidence for the above charge is found in the State Comptroller's official report, issued this past Sunday. The report details the government's failure to adequately defend Jewish communities near the Gaza border. It is the first in a series critiquing the government's handling of the disengagement from Gaza.

Senior army officers said, not for attribution, that if it is true that the Defense Minister knew that security would decrease, and yet still acted to delay the reinforcing of the towns for political reasons, then this is a most grave issue. "In any normal country," one officer said, "the minister would have to resign in such a case."

The "smoking gun" sentence in the Comptroller's report was not reported in the media until Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman publicized it this morning. Huberman reports that on page 13 of the report, the Comptroller writes as follows:

"In June 2004, some three weeks after the government decision on the Disengagement Plan, the Defense Minister held a consultation on 'Presenting IDF Plans for the Disengagement.' in this forum, a plan was also presented for reinforcing security of the communities adjacent to Gaza. Among those present were the Chief of Staff [and other senior officers]. The Defense Minister approved at that meeting a program entitled 'First Response for Seven Gaza-Adjacent Communities' at a cost of 130 million shekels."

The report then goes on to say, however, that Mofaz then issued a critical warning: "In that meeting, he warned against actions and remarks (regarding reinforcement and in general) liable to broadcast and give over the sense that security would be lessened as a result of the Disengagement." (emphasis added)

The Comptroller concludes in his report that the plan was, in fact, never carried out.

Read it all.

'Boycott Israel' forum held in London

I have to wonder how comfortable those of you who live in England feel right now. I would be deeply concerned by this kind of stuff taking place on a public college campus.

'Boycott Israel' forum held in London

A forum entitled "Why we must boycott apartheid Israel" was held at the University of London's student union to tie in with the trial at Uxbridge Magistrate's Court of seven activists accused of blockading the UK offices of Agrexco, an Israeli agricultural export company, in 2004.

Dr. Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian writer and academic living in London, told the audience of about 60 people that a boycott and sanctions against Israel must focus on attacking support for Israel.

"Israel must be a pariah until they learn to be civilized," she said at the forum, which was hosted last week by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, a pro-Palestinian non-governmental organization.

Introduced as an expert witness at the trial, [Self-hating Jew. CiJ] Dr. Uri Davis, academic and author of the book Israel: An Apartheid State, called for a boycott.

"We must boycott and disinvest in Israel until the rogue government submits to the values of human rights, international law and [Non-binding General Assembly. CiJ] UN Resolutions 181 and 194," he said.

Questions have been asked by community leaders as to why such a controversial subject was allowed to go ahead on a university campus.

In January 2005 British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks unveiled a plaque at the University of London Union celebrating the "values of mutual respect and recognition exemplified by ULU." [That's not surprising. Rabbi Sacks' sympathies with the 'Palestinians' are well known. CiJ]

Samuel Thomas, vice-president of the student union, said... "We will only refuse room hire if there is strong, conclusive evidence that a group is likely to incite hatred or to disrupt public order...." [If someone can show me what this group is inciting other than hatred, I'd love to hear it. CiJ]

$100m promised to PA by Saudi Arabia could buy time

I don't understand something. If everyone agrees that no money should be given to the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Authority, why is this article seemingly so pleased that the Saudis have decided to give them money to 'buy time'? Why is time being bought? And what do people hope will happen during the time that this money buys?

Saudi Arabia could bail the Palestinian Authority out of an impending fiscal crisis following the landslide victory of Hamas if it transfers the $100 million to the Palestinian Authority that it pledged to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas when he visited there in late December.

In addition to bailing out the PA, the money would also give Israel and the world more time to ponder how to deal with the PA following Wednesday's Hamas victory. [What is there to 'ponder'? The answer should be very simple: "We don't deal with terrorists." CiJ]

According to western diplomatic sources, Saudi Arabia pledged the money to Abbas because the European Union refused to transfer payment of some $60 million in November after the PA embarked on campaign economics: raising salaries and putting more people on its payroll. The Saudi money would be enough for the PA to pay January's salaries - about $60 million - and give it some additional breathing room.

Israel is scheduled to transfer to the PA some $60 million in taxes and customs revenues it collects for the PA on Friday. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at Sunday's cabinet meeting that Israel still had not decided whether - in light of the Hamas victory - it would indeed transfer the funds. [What's to decide? Since Olmert bowed to the wishes of the US State Department and allowed Hamas to run in the election, he has said that if Hamas won, we won't deal with them. Not 'dealing with them' ought to include not giving them money - otherwise it has no meaning. IF Hamas ever changes (which is about as likely as the sun rising in the west tomorrow morning), you can always change the policy. But for now, the answer to every question should simply be "no." CiJ]

In the evening, at a press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Olmert said that Israel "has no intention of transferring funds" that will aid terrorists. [What the $#@% does that mean? CiJ] Underscoring that Israel was "very sensitive" to Abbas's position, [Abbas' position? Abbas is finished! The only question is whether Israel will manage to arrange for him to be exiled in Fwance or whether the Palestinian lynch mobs will get to him first as he deserves. CiJ] he said Israel had to be very careful that money it transferred would not later be used against Israel. [Money is fungible Ehud. Deal with it. CiJ]

Merkel said that Europe should not fund the PA as long as Hamas does not recognize Israel and disarm.

Government officials have said that Israel had the option of delaying the decision for a few days to see what developed in the PA, who would be a part of the new government, and whether international pressure would force Hamas to renounce terrorism and repeal its charter. One of Israel's concern is that if the international community cuts off all funds to the PA, Iran will step in, increasing its influence and sway over the PA. [Let the Iranians spend their money on the PA. How is it going to get here? The Iranian banks have no branches in Judea and Samaria. Every country in the world can refuse to let Hamas have bank accounts and then they cannot transfer funds except in brown paper bags. You can't transfer enough that way. CiJ]

If the Saudis make good on their $100 million pledge, the funds from Israel would be less critical for the PA, and Israel would buy some more time to watch the developments in the PA before deciding what to do with the funds. [Olmert is a dhimmi for thinking this way. Netanyahu should be attacking him twice an hour about this. CiJ] The money, government officials have pointed out, is not Israel's but rather tax and customs money it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. [So what? CiJ] Israel held up the transfer of this money to the Palestinians in November 2000, soon after the outbreak of violence, for some 18 months, before restarting the transfers following intense international pressure. [So now we're going to create the 'international pressure' on our own where it doesn't exist???? CiJ]

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Norway to Continue Contact with Hamas-Run PA

At Little Green Footballs, Charles Johnson reports that Norway - which earlier this month attempted to impose a boycott on Israeli products and which gave Yasser Arafat a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 - plans to continue to have contact with the Palestinian Authority under Hamas. By doing so, Norway is defying the European Union's own list of terror organizations, which includes Hamas. Norway no longer considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

When Hamas surprised almost everybody, including itself, by winning the Palestinian elections, the EU clearly stated that a dialogue with the new Palestinian government required the organisation to renounce violence and accept Israel’s existence. The United States was, naturally, clear on the same issue. Even Russia agreed with this.

Norway’s Jonas Gahr Store, on the other hand, on the same day argued that the election effectively legitimises Hamas and that Norway will continue cooperating with a Hamas-run Palestinian Authority without any preconditions. Norway’s Parliamentary president, former Labour leader Thorbjorn Jagland, also argued that we have to “accept the result of the election” and not “isolate” Hamas by not engaging it in dialogue.

For those of you who have never been over to LGF, now's the time.

Purifying Allah's Soil

Over at FrontPage Magazine.com, there's a very interesting panel discussion about Islam called Purifying Allah's soil. The discussion is rather lengthy, but worth reading. Among the points brought out are the following:

1. Iranian Leader Ahmenijad will not be satisfied with 'just' annihilating the State of Israel R"L. This is just the first step in exterminating all of the Jews. Sounds like Nazi Germany, doesn't it?

2. The Europeans are trying to shed their persecutory consciences by removing the label of victim from the Jews and transferring it to the willing 'Palestinians.'

3. Part of the motivation for Islam to persecute Jews is psychosexual, i.e. the role of women in Islam.

Read it all.

Netanyahu calls fence route 'dangerous'

This was also completely predictable.

Netanyahu calls fence route 'dangerous'

A group of Likud MKs led by Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu visited on Sunday morning two sites that overlook the planned route of the security fence. Last week, the fence's route was changed to exclude the Arab village of Beit Iksa, which lies between Mevasseret Zion and the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot. [This is unbelieveable. For those who don't know Jerusalem, you have to see where Beit Iksa is to believe the stupidity of putting it outside the fence. It would allow the 'Palestinians' to use small arms fire on the main Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway. CiJ]

"Since [Acting Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert entered office, he has made three wrong decisions," said Netanyahu.

"The first was to allow the Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem for their Parliamentary elections. The second was to give tax revenues to the PA, and the third mistake was to move the security fence 700 meters closer to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway."

Netanyahu called on Olmert to reverse his decision, saying that it was a disastrous plan, which showed a lack of knowledge and experience about Israel's security.

"Ehud Olmert and his associates have not learnt from the mistakes of the disengagement which gave something in exchange for nothing," Netanyahu added. He warned that the new proposed route of the fence endangered the many drivers who use Highway 1 on their daily journeys between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Bush, Congress threaten to cut PA aid

You may recall that I said this would happen.

Bush, Congress threaten to cut PA aid

The US administration and Congress are threatening to stop financial aid to the Palestinian Authority until the ruling Hamas party recognizes Israel and stops terror activity. The US is expected to present this view at the Quartet meeting on Monday and to ask the EU, the UN and Russia to impose restrictions on aid to the Palestinians in light of the results of the parliamentary elections.

US president George Bush said Friday that if the Hamas does not dismantle its terror arm and does not stop calling for the destruction of Israel, then the US "won't deal with them." In an interview on CBS evening news, Bush added that the aid package to the Palestinian Authority will not go through before Hamas changes its behavior.

"That's their decision to make, but we won't be providing help to a government that wants to destroy our ally and friend", said Bush, referring to Hamas' threats against Israel.


An American decision to cut aid to the PA, even if it is not followed by similar actions on behalf of the Europeans, would prevent the PA from being able to pay salaries to the police and public sector workers in the PA, which account for a significant part of the Palestinian work force.


Now, the US congress is looking into ways to ensure that the administration does not give financial aid to a Palestinian government led by the Hamas. This Friday a non-binding resolution began circulating in the Senate, calling the administration not to pass funds to the Palestinian Authority as long as the ruling Hamas party sticks to its platform that calls for the destruction of Israel. The resolution, introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) does not prevent the administration from providing financial aid to the PA, but it does send a strong message that if the administration tries to go forward with aid for the Hamas-led PA, it will face a tough battle in congress.

The House of Representatives also began to deal with the Hamas issue and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who heads the subcommittee on Middle East, is expected to introduce a bill this week that would limit the ability of the US to provide assistance to Palestinian local authorities which are governed by the Hamas.

Cut off the PA

Finally, some common sense from Israel's MSM:

Cut off the PA

In its first official statement since Hamas's electoral victory, the cabinet noted that the PA had agreed to disarming all Palestinian militias, but said it would do so after the elections. Thursday's statement continued: "We demand that the PA and its Chairman honor this commitment in the shortest time frame and both disarm Hamas and the other terrorist organizations and dismantle their other abilities to perpetrate acts of terrorism." The government stated further that "The State of Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian administration if its members include an armed terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel; in any case, Israel will continue to fight terrorism with a heavy hand, everywhere."

What the cabinet did not say was that a plan to release about NIS 200 million in customs receipts to the PA was expected to be implemented on schedule in February. These tax receipts, though collected by Israel, belong to the PA. At the same time, Israel did suspend such remittances during the height of the Palestinian terror attacks and held the funds in escrow.

Likud MK Silvan Shalom sharply criticized the government for releasing these funds to the PA, saying that it set the wrong precedent at a time when Israel, in the words of the cabinet statement, is demanding that "the entire international community compel the PA to implement the commitment to eliminate Hamas as a terrorist organization that calls for Israel's destruction."

Shalom's concern is more than fair: how can Israel expect the international community to cut off aid to the PA when Israel itself, when it comes to remitting tax receipts, seems to be conducting business as usual? This dilemma illuminates a dirty little secret: it is not just Europe, but also Israel and the US, which have been reluctant to pull the financial plug on the PA, even when the PA was presiding over a full-blown terror war. In retrospect, it is surprising how long Israel continued to dutifully deliver the PA's tax receipts after the attacks intensified in 2000, and how quickly the flow was restored - partly in response to US pressure - despite Israel's unchanged conclusion that the PA was not combating terrorism.


In this context Israel has, by deciding not to immediately suspend its infusion of remittances to the PA, sent the international community the wrong signal, a signal that could be interpreted as giving Hamas the benefit of the doubt.

It strains credulity to imagine that a Hamas-led PA will disarm militias and combat Palestinian terrorism more than a Fatah-led PA did. Even if that possibility exists, the question is, where does the burden of proof lie, and what pressures could conceivably bring such an unlikely scenario about? Here it is clear that the international community, including Israel and the US, must be willing to pull the financial plug on the PA. Moreover, the time to do so is now, or at the latest when a Hamas-led regime is formed that refuses to explicitly commit itself either to combating terrorism or to accepting Israel's right to exist. Such an entity should have no "trial period" in which the West continues to financially sustain a regime that is deeply complicit in terrorism.

I couldn't agree more.

Hamas must renounce terror, recognize Israel; Gets tax money regardless!

I wonder how long this will last past the elections (if Kadima Achora wins). Maybe we should start a betting pool....

Olmert: Hamas must renounce terror, recognize Israel; Gets tax money regardless!

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel would not have any contacts with Hamas until and unless the organization renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist, as well as all agreements hitherto signed with Israel. [Could someone please explain to me what 'Israel's right to exist' means. Israel exists - that's a fact. Does this mean that Hamas members have to get off drugs and face reality? Otherwise, the sentence makes no sense! Or am I the only one who sees that? CiJ]

Olmert reported at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on his and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's weekend efforts to convince world leaders to take a firm stance against Hamas's terror activity. Olmert said that the international community stood behind Israel.

"We clarified that without a clear abandonment of the path of terror, a recognition of Israel's right to exist in security and peace ... Israel won't have any contact with the Palestinians," Olmert said. "These principles are accepted by the international community. On this issue, I don't intend to make any compromises."

National Infrastructure Minister Ze'ev Boim (Kadima) said that a distinction must be made between transferring money to the PA as long as Hamas has not taken its place in the government and transferring funds after Hamas takes over, in which case, Boim said, there would be "new rules." [This is called being chicken poop. The JPost editorial this morning rightfully takes them to task for this. Olmert and Kadima Achora can't decide what side they are on because no one has told them how to think yet. This is a sure sign that Mashiach is coming folks. The Gemara says that b'Ikvasa d'Mashicha - in the times before the Mashiach (Messiah) comes - Pnei Ha'Dor k'Pnei Ha'Kelev - the face of the generation will be like that of a dog. Our Rabbis explain that this means that when a person walks his dog on a leash, the dog runs ahead but looks back all the time to see whether the person is following. So too in the generation before the Messiah comes, the 'leaders' of the generation will be looking back all the time to see whether the people are following. A perfect description for Kadima Achora - a party with no platform, no positions, no lists of MK's that just keeps reading the popularity polls. CiJ]

Under the 1995 Israel-PA interim agreements, agreements Hamas does not recognize, Israel is to transfer to the PA each month tax and customs revenues it collects on the PA's behalf. A payment of some $60 million is scheduled to take place on Friday.

One government official said that Israel was in no rush to publicize any decision on how it will deal with Hamas, beyond the carefully crafted statement that followed Thursday night's meeting of the security cabinet. That statement made clear that Israel would have no dealings with a government in which Hamas was a participant.

Government officials said that Israel wanted to see what happened over the course of the next few days before making operative decisions.

"What happens if we say we won't transfer the money, and the next day Hamas disarms and repeals its charter," one official in the Prime Minister's Office asked. [What happens if you pay them the money and they use it to pay terrorists? Guess which scenario is more likely? CiJ]

The official said that although the payment was due Friday, Israel could always "hold it up" for a few days, as has been done in the past. [And what precisely would that accomplish? CiJ]

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Munich terrorist 'regrets nothing'

Too bad the Mossad didn't kill him....

Munich terrorist 'regrets nothing'

A former Palestinian terrorist said he "regrets nothing" and will not apologize for being one of the masterminds of the 1972 attack at the Munich Olympics in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, according to a TV interview transcript released Saturday.

Mohammed Oudeh, better known by the code name Abu Daoud, said it was up to Palestinians to "fight as long as it takes Israel to recognize our rights."

"I regret nothing" about the Munich attacks, the former Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist told Germany's Spiegel TV, according to a transcript of the interview released before its broadcast. "You can only dream that I would apologize."

Spiegel TV said they spoke with the 68-year-old, who lives in Damascus, Syria, last week in Cairo.

Daoud was a member of a shadowy Palestinian terrorist group called Black September that took Israeli weightlifters hostage at the 1972 Olympic Games. Eleven Israelis, three of the Palestinian attackers and a German police officer were killed during a near two-day standoff.

Daoud told Spiegel TV he brought the weapons involved in the attack by train from Frankfurt to Munich in various suitcases, then stored them in lockers before distributing them to his team when they arrived. He had previously scouted the Olympic village, and said he had no problem reaching inner areas.

"Nobody checked us," he said.

Daoud reiterated what he said in his 1999 autobiography that the intent was never to kill the Israeli athletes.

He was also quoted as saying the members of the Black September group killed by Israeli agents through the 1970s were the wrong people.

"The people who were shot all had nothing to do with Munich," he said.

German police issued an arrest warrant for Daoud in 1999 after he revealed in his book the role he had played in the attack.

U.S. Policy Seen as Big Loser in Palestinian Vote

This is from today's Washington Post.

U.S. Policy Seen as Big Loser in Palestinian Vote

Standing in a sunny Rose Garden on June 24, 2002, surrounded by his top foreign policy advisers, President Bush issued a clarion call for resolving the deadly Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror."

This week, Palestinians gave their answer, handing a landslide victory in national legislative elections to Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for dozens of suicide bombings and desires the elimination of Israel. Bush's statement calling for new leaders was aimed at the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but in the same speech he also said it was necessary to thwart Hamas -- formally the Islamic Resistance Movement -- and other militant groups.

The election outcome signals a dramatic failure in the administration's strategy for Middle East peace, according to analysts and some U.S. officials. Since the United States cannot deal with an organization labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, Hamas's victory is likely to curtail U.S. aid, limit official U.S. contacts with the Palestinian government and stall efforts to create an independent Palestinian state.

More broadly, Hamas's victory is seen as a setback in the administration's campaign for greater democracy in the Middle East. Elections in Iran, Iraq, Egypt and now the Palestinian territories have resulted in the defeat of secular and moderate parties and the rise of Islamic parties hostile to U.S. interests.


But Abbas faced a steep road. The administration was already perceived in the region as biased toward Israel, in part because Bush backed the Gaza withdrawal plan with pledges that Israel could keep large settlements and refuse the return of Palestinians in a final peace deal. Israel's departure from Gaza was designed to be a unilateral step, depriving Abbas of a negotiated peace victory he could claim; instead, Hamas asserted it had driven the Israelis out with its uncompromising approach.

Abbas cut a deal with Hamas, winning its agreement for a cease-fire in exchange for allowing it to participate in elections. But Abbas did not put conditions on its participation, such as giving up its weapons or even pledging not to attack Israelis -- a problem that did not capture the administration's attention until it was too late.

Abbas privately convinced U.S. officials that a Fatah victory would be a blow to Islamic extremism in the region, making the election showdown more enticing to an administration promoting democracy in the Middle East. He also pledged to quickly pass a law requiring the dismantling of militias as soon as the new legislature was elected. The original argument that he should take action against the militias sooner rather than later faded.

When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned in September that he would try to block Hamas's participation unless it disbanded its militia and accepted Israel's right to exist, the administration forced the Israelis to back off. "Elections are fundamental to the continued evolution and development of the Palestinian process," Rice said.

Insanity at al-Guardian

For those of you who live in England and want to see anti-Semitism in print, look no further than al-Guardian, London's daily newspaper (I think it might even be the most popular daily newspaper that doesn't have racy pictures). This op-ed appeared in yesterday's editions:

The Palestinians' democratic choice must be respected

Above all, Europe should not get hung up on the wrong issues, like armed resistance and the "war on terror". Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus. Hamas's refusal to give formal recognition of Israel's right to exist should also not be seen by Europe as an urgent problem. History and international politics do not march in tidy simultaneous steps. For decades Israel refused even to recognise the existence of the Palestinian people, just as Turkey did not recognise the Kurds. Until 15 years ago Palestinians had to be smuggled to international summits as part of Jordan's delegation. It is less than that since the Israeli government accepted the goal of a Palestinian state.

Hamas may eventually disarm itself and recognise Israel. That will be the end of the process of establishing a just modus vivendi for Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East. It cannot be the first step. Today's priority is to accept that Palestinians have spoken freely. They deserve respect and support.

Read it all. If you dare.

Saddam ordered WMD strike on Israel

I didn't live here during Gulf War I in 1991, but for those of you who did, you should know that it was not for naught that you learned to use those gas masks. You see, the JPost reveals this evening that Saddam Hussein actually gave the order to strike Israel with chemical weapons.

The former deputy of the Iraqi air force, General Georges Sada, revealed on Saturday that that former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, ordered him during the first Gulf War to bomb Israeli population centers with chemical weapons.

The ousted dictator, said Sada in recently published book, Saddam's secret's, ordered 96 Russian fighter jets to be armed with chemical weapons and sent to bomb Israel.

According to Sada, who recently served as a national security advisor to the temporary prime minister and was in the midst of a book tour in the US, said he succeeded in convincing Hussein to reconsider his order.

Sada said he convinced Saddam to abort the mission by telling him that the Iraqi pilots could not complete the mission with the equipment at their disposal, and that the Israelis had radar that could detect them before they reached their target.

In his book, which was written four years ago, Sada also claims that Iraq's chemical weapons were taken to Syria aboard civilian Iraqi "Boeing" airplanes just prior to the US invasion.

The 65-year-old Sada said that 56 flights of this type took place, but went largely unnoticed because they were flying under the guise of humanitarian aid.

Prior to the second Iraq war Israel warned that Iraq was moving chemical weapons from its territory into Syria.

Someone ought to tell that to the Dhimmicrats in the US Congress.

'Hitler' Elected to 'Palestinian Parliament'

Over at Little Green Footballs, my friend Charles reports that 'Hitler' has been elected to the 'Palestinian Parliament.'

Of the 66 national seats, the terror factions took 60 (30 for HAMAS, 27 for FATAH, 3 for PFLP). The other six winners include former Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, former PA spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi, and former Presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti.

Of the 60 local seats not reserved for Christians, HAMAS won 46. FATAH won ten, plus the six reserved seats. The remaining four seats went to “independents.”

HAMAS will have a stronger grip on the legislature than the Republicans do in either the U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives. FATAH, with less than one third of the seats, is a weak minority party. Of the 132 legislators elected, no more than 10 are unaffiliated with a terror group.

What a 'people.' Let's give them a state reichlet! /sarc

Gunmen shoot up parliament, enter Abbas's compound

Shavua tov everyone!

The week started with a bang in Ramallah - literally. Put this one under "Palestinian Civil War Watch."

Hundreds of Fatah activists, angry at their party's election defeat, entered the compound of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday to pray at the grave of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The group, which included several gunmen, were allowed into the compound by guards and peacefully proceed toward Arafat's tomb in an empty lot inside. Abbas' security force formed a cordon around the activists to prevent them from approaching the nearby building that holds the Palestinian leader's office.

Outside the compound, known as the muqaata, some of the militants shot in the air and chanted: "We came to you Abu Amar to forgive us for what happened." Abu Amar was Arafat's nickname.

Jibril Rajoub, Abbas' national security adviser who was among the protesters, warned Hamas not to tamper with the security forces.

"The security forces will stay. Hamas has no power meddling with the security forces," he said.

Earlier Saturday, thousands of angry Fatah activists, led by masked gunmen firing wildly in the air, marched in the West Bank on Saturday, demanding the resignation of party leaders.

Dozens of them made their way into the Palestinian parliament building in Ramallah Saturday afternoon and began shooting in different directions.

Some of the gunmen said they would no longer observe an informal cease-fire with Israel.

In the city of Nablus, about 2,000 Fatah members marched through the streets, led by dozens of gunmen from the Fatah-allied Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, who climbed aboard the back of a truck and fired in the air.

"Al Aksa, from Rafah to Jenin, has stopped the cease-fire," one of the gunmen aboard the truck, Nasser Haras, told the crowd. "We are now no longer part of the cease-fire."

Following bloody clashes Friday night and Saturday morning between his group and Fatah, Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Hania, told his followers Saturday morning that, "weapons should be turned only against Israel.

"Our battle is not against our own people," he added.

The statement came after Hamas gunmen ambushed a Palestinian police patrol early Saturday, wounding two officers, Gaza police said.

The shooting in the southern town of Khan Younis came just hours after an exchange of fire between Hamas gunmen and police in the same area. A Hamas gunman and two policemen were wounded in the firefight. One of the officers was shot in the head and chest, and later died of his wounds, Army Radio reported.

Didn't Abbas once tell us that he couldn't disarm Hamas?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas Rules

This is from the editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.

Hamas Rules

The sweeping victory of the Islamist Hamas party in Wednesday's Palestinian legislative elections can hardly be considered good news. But neither is it surprising, and it may even have the long-run benefit of educating Palestinians about the terrible cost of their political choices.

The ruling Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas governed corruptly, ineffectually and, until the death in 2004 of founder Yasser Arafat, dictatorially. So it is understandable that Palestinians wanted an alternative. That they went for the only other major choice on offer is not necessarily an indication that they share Hamas's goal of destroying Israel and all its citizens. [The next thing they will tell us is that the Germans voted for Hitler in 1933 only because of his economic plan and had no idea he was a racist. CiJ] The vote might even turn out to be clarifying--in the sense of showing the world that no Israeli-Palestinian peace is possible until the Palestinians have leaders who really want to live in peace with Israel.

Of course, there's no sugarcoating what this vote for the party of suicide bombers and social welfare says about the state of Palestinian politics. Partly this is the fault of the losing Fatah faction itself. Ever since its return to the Palestinian territories in the mid-1990s following the Oslo "peace" accords, Fatah has fed Palestinians on a diet of extremist, anti-Semitic propaganda. Its military wing assassinated "moderate" Palestinians, while allowing Hamas to flourish as a terror weapon--both to kill Israelis, and to scare Fatah's American and European patrons about the possible alternatives to its rule.

It should never be forgotten that in 2002--under Arafat's iron fist--Palestinian terrorists were allowed to murder 452 Israelis. That figure later dropped not because of any change of heart on Fatah's part but because Israel and the United States finally gave up on Arafat as a credible peace partner and turned to a strategy of unilateral separation (the infamous "wall") and military strikes.

Partly, too, Israel and the West must own up to their culpability for Wednesday's outcome. Foreign policy critics of the so-called realist school will no doubt be tempted to trumpet the vote as a setback for President Bush's strategy of democratizing the Middle East. But it's more accurate to say that Hamas's win only highlights the damage done by decades of realist support for "strongmen" and "stability."

The calculation at the heart of Oslo was that Arafat and Fatah would impose a dictatorial order on Palestinians that outsiders never could. The late Yitzhak Rabin put it most clearly when he said the point of recognizing Arafat in 1993 was not to give the Palestinians their freedom. It was because Arafat could deal with Hamas and other troublemakers without interference from "the Supreme Court and [the human rights organization] B'Tselem."

Rabin was right that Arafat would have scant regard for the rights of Palestinians. But he was wrong that Arafat would crack down on Hamas. Like every other strongman, Arafat didn't crack down on extremists but used them to his advantage where he could. Palestinians could see that the U.S. was coddling a man who oppressed them, breeding cynicism about U.S. motives and making it hard for democratic movements to flourish. [Of course, the President who coddled Arafat from 1993-2000 wasn't George Bush - it was Bill Clinton. CiJ] The Bush Administration is working hard to change those perceptions and build a Palestinian civil society, but this will take years.

So far the White House--which pushed the Palestinian Authority to hold these elections--has struck the right notes in response to the Hamas victory. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised the vote for being peaceful and "by all accounts fair." At the same time she stated that "you cannot have one foot in politics and another in terror." President Bush rightly said Hamas should expect no relations with the United States until it stops calling for Israel's destruction.

The White House will have to resist the temptation, no doubt encouraged by Europe, to pressure Israel to deal with Hamas as it once was pressed to deal with Arafat. But given Hamas's history and declared goals, the onus is on its leaders to show that they have an agenda beyond terror. If Hamas begins to use Gaza as a base to import weapons and attack Israel, [Begins? What have they been doing since August? CiJ] the Jewish state will have every right to strike back in self-defense. And the U.S. should support it in doing so.

Parties rush to interpret Hamas victory

There are elections in Israel two months from tomorrow, and the major parties are rushing to position themselves in light of Hamas' win this week:

Immediately after the Hamas victory in the Palestinian election was announced on Thursday, Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum scrambled to address the new situation in light of the upcoming Israeli election.

Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu called together reporters in the Knesset to say "I told you so." Parties on the Right sent a joint letter to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking him to delay the evacuation of the Amona outpost and Kadima officials expressed optimism that "ruling parties get strengthened in times of uncertainty."

For most of the day on Thursday, Kadima MKs declined to comment on the rise of Hamas, while opposition MKs went from camera to camera to criticize the party. Sources in Kadima said that their strategy was to allow Netanyahu to give numerous interviews and then accuse him of trying to use the Hamas victory and the prospect of terrorist attacks for political gain. [Someone needs to remind Kadima Achora that Netanyahu won the 1996 election by repeatedly showing a campaign ad on television that showed Peres walking with his arm around Arafat during a time when Hamas was blowing up buses in Jerusalem and a busy street corner in Tel Aviv. CiJ]

"Before our very eyes, Hamastan has been established," Netanyahu said. "It is the step-child of Iran and the Taliban. This has to be a day of soul-searching because the writing was on the wall. The policy of giving land for free gave a prize to terror and a winning card to Hamas. This is a new and dangerous situation. Sharon said he wouldn't let Palestinians in Jerusalem vote. Olmert let them." [Sharon would have let them too. That should be clear by now. CiJ]

Echoing Netanyahu were dozens of right-wing MKs, who said that there was a direct relationship between the disengagement and the Hamas victory. [I didn't know there were 'dozens' of right-wing MK's. CiJ]

"The Palestinian public recognized that Hamas's suicide bombers and Kassam rockets convinced the Kadima-led disengagement government to uproot Jews from Gush Katif," said MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party ).

National Union Chairman Zvi Hendel issued a statement saying that Hamas won because it showed the Palestinians that terror was the only way to "defeat and expel Israel." Hendel and Orlev said that they hoped that their parties would enjoy renewed interest among the Israeli public in light of Hamas's victory.

Likud MKs hinted that the Hamas victory might drive the Likud campaign further rightwards. "A Hamas victory will make Israelis finally realize that the unilateral withdrawal strengthened the extremists at the expense of the moderates," said MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), who added that it would strengthen the nationalist camp as a whole.

Labor chairman Amir Peretz, meanwhile, proved eager to show a strong security front by calling a morning meeting with its security team of MKs Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Danny Yatom, Ephraim Sneh and Isaac Herzog and candidates Ami Ayalon and Arieh Amit. Peretz said that without a peace partner, Labor would support a unilateral withdrawal from most of the West Bank.

"We have no intention of allowing negotiations to take place, or allowing a third party to force us to recognize an organization that openly seeks to destroy Israel," Peretz said. [So instead you give the country away for free? Very strange 'strategy'.... CiJ]

The Hamas victory might prove to be a major shifting point in the campaign, said Labor Party officials. To date, Peretz had led the party in a socio-economic campaign, but the new focus on Israeli-Palestinian relations might push Peretz to change his emphasis, said party officials.

"We will have to work very hard to show they can be strong while talking about defense and diplomacy," said one high-ranking Labor MK. "Our platform is similar to Kadima, we just need to show that we can be strong on these issues for the Israeli public."


Colombia cracks false passport ring

This is a bizzare story....

Colombia cracks false passport ring

Colombia has dismantled a false passport ring with links to al-Qaida and Hamas members, the acting attorney general said after authorities led dozens of simultaneous raids across five cities in collaboration with US officials.

In Washington, however, Justice and Homeland Security officials were surprised by the announcement Thursday of the investigation, which they said involved people posing as members of Colombia's largest rebel army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC - not al-Qaida or Hamas.

Colombian officials said the gang allegedly supplied an unknown number of citizens from Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and other countries with false passports and Colombian nationality without them ever setting foot in the country.

An undisclosed number of those arrested are wanted for working with the al-Qaida terror network and the Hamas, said acting Attorney General Jorge Armando Otalora.

The counterfeit Colombian, Spanish, Portugese and German passports were used to enter the United States and Europe, he said.

But Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Miami charges 10 foreign nationals with smuggling "people that they thought were members of FARC into the United States."


US officials have long feared al-Qaida could take advantage of corrupt government officials and weak institutions to launch an attack from south of the border. [You mean like Mexico? CiJ]