Filed under: Palestine
EU decided to cease payment ($8.5 million/month) for fuel for Gaza's electricity supply, until Hamas confirms that funds will not be diverted to its administration in Gaza. There has been no electricity generated by the Gaza power station since Sunday. Of course we can trust Hamas because thus far it has been completely honest with the EU. The European Union realized that while Hamas did collect the money for the electricity instead of paying it, Hamas used the money for other purposes. After all why providing the community with electricity and not weapons?! Where is the outrage of the Gazans? They rejected Fatah because of its institutionalized corruption, then why not reject Hamas because of its ineptitude to deliver?
Hurrying to get to the maximum level of EU stupidity, the United States "will begin training Palestinian guards to protect officials visiting the Palestinian territories. As part of an $80 million American effort to improve security services in the Palestinian Authority, the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security will train members of Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Presidential Guard, the primary aim of which is to improve VIP protection. " (The Media Line)
Filed under: Palestine
The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. I think Olmert must be crazy! Why should Israel do any friendly gesture towards Fatah? The same Fatah who attacked Israel on countless times. Moreover Abbas controls nothing and rules over no one. If he was seen as weak now he is considered a traitor by many Palestinians, because he received support from Israel and the United States. Abbas called for an international force of 20,000 soldiers to be sent to the Gaza Strip. Imagine that: more infidels taking the side of evil Israel! Sheikh Yassin must be turning in his grave. Lets hope Meshal will join him soon. But till that moment, Abbas has no word whatsoever in front of the Palestinians and by giving him millions of $ and weapons both Israel and the US proved their stupidity and lack of vision.
In time Abbas will have no other choice than to reunite with Hamas. If Israel wants to try to negotiate peace with the Palestinians then Hamas is the right party to talk to. After all, it is the party that is liked and elected by the people. Now if they do not want peace -- namely a two state solution, negotiated borders and no right to return for the Palestinians inside Israel -- fine, then Israel should do whatever it can to protect itself and its citizens. Hard to accept but after 59 years we are still submitting to terrorists will!!
Hamas made a very nice PR stunt when it convinced the Dugmush family to release Alan Johnston. They did not do it for free. Apparently 5 mil $ and weapons were given to the Army of Islam. On top of it, Hannyeh and Mumtaz Dugmush, a former activist in the Popular Resistance Committee, and the all mighty leader of the Army of Islam agreed not to wash their clothes in public, meaning not to say a word about the crimes Hamas and Dugmush militia did together. We should not forget that it was Dugmush and Hamas who kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Before of the new agreement Dugmush said that his militia and Hamas tried to assassinate Dahlan five times. I wonder what else would have Dugmush said if it were nor for the generous payment.
This mentally disturbed, wealthy individual is part of a mafia type of family in Gaza. He now signs the official communiques of his terrorist gang with "Sheikh Mumtaz Bin-Muhammad Bin-Dughmush"
Some say that he formed the Swords of Justice, yet another terrorist gang responsible for burning internet cafes, harassing women who they thought are dress "unIslamic", shootings and other such kind of "educational" activities. Dugmush is affiliated with al Qaeda.
Filed under: Middle East ~ Palestine
The news continues to filter in as the triumph of Hamas in the Gaza strip becomes apparent, culminating with the Palestinian government being dissolved by President Mahmoud Abbas this past hour. Fatah is running with its tail between its legs (quite literally -- 40 Executive Force soldiers loyal to Abbas had to blow up a section of the Israeli-constructed Gaza-Egyptian wall to escape Hamas), much to the dismay of the Western governments who trumpeted Abbas as the heralded moderate in post-Arafat Palestine. It seems his time is dwindling as a serious power broker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or in Palestinian internal affairs (the tally for Abbas brokered cease-fires to be ignored the next day is in the teens).
The casual observer will be quick to judge on lines of the media created zero-sum game between Islamist Hamas and Moderate Fatah (capitalized due to caricatures). While the adjectives may be comfortingly simple, the reality has always been faith-based militants with a panache for service and charity against white mustaches primarily interested in diverting funds to Swiss bank accounts and sending their children to Paris. While Hamas isn't nearly as popular as reported, Hamas has created a following extremely devoted to their principles, while Fatah generated support primarily by bullying and defacto generational transposition.
While Fatah was birthed out of the loins of the pan-Arab, Nassir-led movement, it was reared by the slimy hands of Yassir Arafat, who personally siphoned off over one billion dollars of international aid and lined the pockets of those around him. Arafat's malignant spirit still casts a dark shadow over a group that has continued to mimic his policies of graft and kleptocracy. While the money laundering continued, Fatah sunk in a cesspool of its own political bankruptcy, leading to the dismal showing in the 2006 parliamentary elections that may be regarded in the future as the institutional revolution of Hamas.
In the short run, the collapse of the Palestinian government and the split between a Fatah dominated West Bank and a Hamas dominated Gaza will be disastrous. But in the long term, this may speed up the precipitous decline of Fatah, a shell of a party that long ago abandoned its platform of secular socialism in favor of an unhealthy dose of bureaucracy and corruption. The only hope can be that a true moderate party, more responsive to the Palestinian people, will arise during the slow bleed of Fatah's death.
Filed under: Palestine
This is what the Palestinians (Fatah, Hamas, Al Aqsa, Islamic Jihad, etc) promote: a Jihaddist/nihilistic type of culture.
It is beyond my imagination that caring and loving parents would ever encourage their children to kill others or themselves! And yet this is going on for decades in West Bank, Gaza strip and the Palestinian refugee camps. Watch the clip (number #1468) and see for yourself how innocent children are being transformed into potential criminals.
One of Meir's most famous quotes, "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us." Sadly, that is still true today...
Filed under: Palestine
Israel has always been open and willing to conclude peace agreements with Arab and Muslim countries, as long as its existence and security is not put in danger. In the Arab world, many believe that the road to Washington runs via Jerusalem. Even if this is not the case (anymore), this belief served everyone's interest; Jordan and Egypt gained better relations to the US as well as considerable financial aid, and Israel attained (cold) peace with two Arab nations and more recently (1996) a trade partnership with Qatar. Since the coalition is pretty much trapped in Iraq's quagmire, the situation in the region changed dramatically. Iran and the Shiias are on the wave and they have found themselves powerful satellites, namely Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas. For the time being it does not matter that Hamas is Sunni and Iran Shiia, as long as they are fighting a common enemy.
There was Madrid, Oslo and Camp David, Beirut summit, the famous Road Map and now the Saudi plan, which is actually the resuscitated plan of King Abdullah, presented earlier at the Beirut summit.
The Media Line reported that, "Members of the Arab League, meeting in Riyadh, have unanimously approved the 2002 Saudi peace initiative. One abstention came from Ismail Haniyye, the Hamas leader who serves as prime minister in the Palestinian government. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas voted in favor. In his remarks to the assemblage, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal threatened that, 'If Israel refuses (to accept the plan) that means it doesn't want peace. Then (the conflict) goes back into the hands of the lords of war.' But European Union foreign affairs envoy Javier Solana urged the league not to see the plan as a take it or leave it proposition, but rather to "get the negotiations started. In any negotiations there are changes in positions, because negotiations are like that." After the plan was initially unveiled in 2002, the issue of a Palestinian "right of return" was added. Recently, Israeli leaders have called on the Arab world to drop that provision, seen as a deal-breaker by the Israelis, so that progress can be made in negotiations based upon the plan. The Arab leaders (as expected) rejected the idea."
Some of the obstacles are as follows:
-decades old hatred (both sides) and the urge to gain through revenge the lost dignity of the Islamic Ummah (that is one sided), status of Jerusalem and that of refugees - which are two of the points Hamas always said that are not negotiable, normalization of relations with Syria (by returning the Golan heights, the Arab brevetted invention called 'peace for land' -- going back to 1967 borders while there is in place the Hudna, a period of calm till Arab Muslims and Iran grow strong enough to eradicate Israel.
I did not even mention the Israeli security concerns because they become completely irrelevant when its partners won't settle for anything less than its destruction.
At the Riyadh summit, the Saudis made efforts to stabilize the relationship between Hamas and Fatah, not for the sake of the Palestinians, as some idealists would hope, but rather to minimize the Iranian role in the Palestinian affairs and the region. Saudi Arabia is a family owned business whose sole priority is retention of power for a family only three generations away from herding camels in the desert. They cannot allow Shiias (it is common knowledge by now that the Wahhabi abuses the Shiia minority) to take over their land and consequently over the wealth.
It is always good to remember that Hamas is actually acting as the Muslim Brotherhood branch in the territories. The fact that it carries a different name does not alter its ideology and core principles. Far from being a democratic leader, although that is what he claims to be, President Mubarak at least recognized the Muslim Brotherhood cancerous ideology that spread from Egypt to Gaza long before 1948 and much more virulently afterwards. Briefly put the MB is as perilous as the Nazi ideology was because they want to establish the perfect, global Islamic Caliphate. Obviously they not only promote violence and terror against the others (non Muslims) but their clerics release fatwas saying that the Jihhadists (translating, criminals) are emissaries of God, which is actually conform with the teachings on Quran, Hadith and Sunnah. From this perspective the writings of Sayyed Qutb, Michel Aflaq and al Banna are intellectually challenging and revealing from an ideological point of view. As Shahada says, which is the initial declaring of faith, "There is no sovereign legislator other than Allah and Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is His slave and final Messenger." The Caliphate being established after God's rule rises above all principles, theories etc we can come up as simple human beings. MB (as Hizb ut Tahrir) summarizes the Islamic foreign policy as following: 1) dawah (primary invitation to the true belief and the only God) followed by intellectual debate/discussions with the elites of the Jews and Christians, namely the People of the Book. The others are considered apostates from the get go and they do not deserve to be engaged at an intellectual level since they cannot appreciate the greatness of God in the first place. 2) There will be a period of toleration when the non Muslims - male only - will be required to pay the jizya, the protection tax and 3) preparation for an offensive Jihad. As in the past, the Catholic church/Crusaders helped people understand, by any necessary means, how unsafe and foolish of them is to reject the gospel preached I can say today that what goes around comes around, even if centuries later.
At the surface the conflict may involve the desire of acquiring more wealth, of becoming regional and global players, etc but the essence of this struggle is the search and recognition of our moral identities as human beings. I would have thought that in a Godless world (or close to be so), religion is the last thing we can be greatly influenced by, but in the light of the past years this assessment proves to be, if not a fallacy, then at least a loophole vision of the current events.
I do not doubt for a minute that the Palestinians have freely chosen Hamas, knowing well that Hamas represents the forces of Islamic terrorism. They also overwhelmingly backed Fatah and Arafat when he aligned himself with the Soviets back in the cold war. This is exactly why the Palestinian people have lived in misery and will continue to do so. Given a choice, they always chose the forces of hatred and fanaticism. Therefore, it is pointless to proceed with any peace plans, much less the idiotic plans set up by the Saudis of all extremists! The phony negotiations with the unrepresentative and endlessly dishonest Abbas are delaying what is the only practical path to eventual peace -- the complete destruction of Hamas just as Nazism had to be completely annihilated to allow peace to come to Europe. The leftists are still deluding themselves that peace and stability can be achieved with terrorist entities.
But how do you deal with an extremist, terrorist movement when those who are part of it have a creed so strong, so irrational and yet so very convincing to themselves that they see death in the struggle against oppression as a victory not a defeat. In fact they yearn not for victory of this world but the next. Prophet Muhammad says that the best action in Islam is fighting oppression, better than any prayer, fasting, charity or kindness is to deliver mankind from the oppression of man made and man imposed rules to the rule of the Just, and who is more Just that the one who Created Man? How exactly can one fight this ideology with reason and diplomacy? No more need to be said.
Writing about the "eagerness" of the Arab Muslims to live peacefully side by side with Israel, Charles Krauthammer said, "The world will soon be awash with 40th anniversary retrospectives on the war -- and on the peace of the ages that awaits if Israel would only return to June 4, 1967. But Israelis are cautious. They remember the terror of that unbearable May when, with Israel possessing no occupied territories whatsoever, the entire Arab world was furiously preparing Israel's imminent extinction. And the world did nothing." Hamas simply does not negotiate, it dictates. Do we let the terrorists take over while we stick our heads in sand?! I hope not.
Filed under: Egypt ~ International Institutions ~ Middle East ~ Palestine
The famous Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once quipped that "the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity [for peace]." With Israel's refusal to-date to accept the recently re-tabled Saudi Peace initiative offering Israel peace with the entire Arab World, it seems that it may be Israel this time that is guilty of Abba's charge. For years there has been no substantive progress concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Israeli position has been that there is no "viable" partner from the Palestinian side to negotiate with. It seems as though the tide has changed in dramatic fashion over the course of the past few months.
Much of this is due to the assertion of the Saudis as the regional diplomatic powerhouse. In February, Saudi King Abdullah helped facilitate the Mecca agreement between Fatah and Hamas that put an end to the internecine factional violence between the two parties. The Arab League summit, hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reinvigorated the previously inert Saudi Initiative.
This is a window of opportunity that Israel must seize; all 22 Arab countries are willing to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the Arab territories it occupied since 1967.
So what is the problem? Israel is not willing to negotiate with the new Palestinian Unity Government that includes Hamas because it has yet to meet the Quartet’s (composed of the E.U, U.N., U.S., and Russia) conditions (recognize Israel, renounce violence, respect all previous agreements). Furthermore, despite some positive pronouncements, Israel refuses to accept the Saudi Initiative because of clauses regarding the Palestinian refuges and borders.
This refusal is unwarranted because while the Initiative does call for a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with its capital in Arab East Jerusalem, it does so on the basis of the internationally recognized 1967 borders. In terms of the Palestinian refugees, it calls for a "just" and "agreed upon" solution to the refugee problem. Equally critical, the Arab League Initiative has stated that as long as Israel accepts the Initiative "In Principle", then everything is open for negotiations
Israel's refusal to negotiate is contradictory to American economic interests and Israeli security interests. By achieving regional peace, Israel can finally be fully integrated into the Middle East. The Palestinians will have their state and the Israelis the security they have been unable to achieve since Israel's establishment. One need only look at the Recent G.C.C. (the Gulf Cooperative Council) involvement in major economic outreach programs with Asian countries, such as India and China, to realize the economic potential of peace. Billions of dollars are flowing back and forth between the oil rich Gulf States and Asia.
Instead of exploiting the new opportunity for peace presented by the Saudi Initiative, for peace in the region and a new epoch of economic prosperity for all parties involved, Israel is sitting on its diplomatic hands waiting for the ever important "pre-conditions" to be met. The onus is often put on increasing weakness of the Olmert administration and its lack of political capital. Yet, a majority of Israel citizens desire a two-state solution. There is no other act that an Israeli Prime Minister could perform to galvanize more internal support.
For the U.S., a serious and meaningful role as an honest mediator in the peace process could repair its dwindled and demonized image in the Middle East and Muslim world, with all the attendant benefits of Arab cooperation on Iraq. King Abdullah is not calling for the Israelis to simply sign the Saudi Initiative. Negotiations are expected over the Palestinian refugees, East Jerusalem and final borders before a final agreement is reached.
Israel's continuous claim that it wants peace stands tested by whether it accepts the Saudi Initiative in principle as the framework for a regional peace agreement. The U.S. stands at a fork in the Mid-East and the path it chooses will have serious ramifications on its national security and future economic opportunities in the region. Using our influence with our number one ally in the Middle East to reconsider the Saudi Initiative is our best hope today for securing both our interests and peace.
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