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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Radicalization of Palestine

David Bedein has an important article in today's Front Page Magazine.com:

The Radicalization of Palestine

In an "open letter to the Hamas leadership," Jenin attorney Ghassan Barham congratulated Hamas on its victory and then proceeded to propose an agenda for any new PA government. The agenda included reform, end of poverty and the implementation of government decisions.

Yet Barham makes it clear that he shares Hamas's strategy. He said the Palestinians want Hamas to confront Israel, Europe and the United States and not to blink in the face of threats to cut off foreign aid.

Barham also saw no benefit to dealing with Israel: "Negotiations with Israel achieved nothing except for corruption," Hijazi said. Hamas has released its agenda that stresses control of the PA, including security agencies, as well as war against Israel.

Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Zahar, said any government led by his movement would place security at the top of the agenda. In an interview with Egyptian Nile television on February 7, Zahar also stressed honest government, justice and transparency in finances and investment.

But the top of the Hamas agenda was Israel. Zahar pledged that Hamas would not recognize Israel or end its war against the Jewish state.

"Hamas will not abandon or budge a single inch from the Palestinian people and will keep its weapons as long as the Israeli occupation remains in Palestinian lands," Zahar said.

Zahar dismissed fears that the PA would lose foreign funding from the West. He said Arab and Islamic countries would significantly increase aid.

"Around 60 percent of the PA funds comes from those countries, thus, we are aspiring to maintain such aid and increase them if possible," Zahar said. "Hamas enjoys political flexibility without giving up Palestinian legal rights."


Masha'al said on February 8th: "Any truce would be long-term but limited, because there's a Palestinian reality the international community must deal with. There are those kicked out of their land in 1948, the international community must find a solution for those people."

"When Israel changes, come and ask me to change," Masha'al added.

The Palestinian Authority has also halted condemnation of Palestinian attacks on Israel.

Instead, the PA has directed its attention against Israeli retaliation.

The PA media no longer criticizes the daily Palestinian missile attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israel. The attacks have been conducted largely by the ruling Fatah movement and Islamic Jihad.

PA-owned newspapers and electronic media now refer to every Palestinian who attacks Israel as a "martyr," a term that often makes his family eligible for aid. This term applies to all those Palestinians who wage attacks, regardless of their target – even if it is the Gaza Strip border terminal at Karni, the main crossing point for cargo to and from the area.

Fatah, for its part, also announced that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip has acquired an extended-range rocket; it is said to have a range of 13-16 kilometers and a more powerful warhead that contains TNT. Until now, Fatah has used the Kassam-2 missile developed by Hamas. Fatah said it has also acquired Soviet-origin Grad missiles.

On February 9, the Palestinian Human Rights Center reported that a Palestinian rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a home in Beit Lahiya. The center said the rocket traveled 300 meters and struck the home belonging to Sabr Mohammed Abdul Dayem. The rocket exploded in the living room.

Read the whole thing.


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