web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gatestone Institute’

The Gaza Ceasefire Terms are a Security and Media Disaster

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

In a move that will seriously threaten Israel’s national security in the long run, Israel’s current government agreed, as part of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas after Operation Pillar of Defense, to eliminate the “no man’s land” zone along Israel’s southern border fence with Gaza. Israel will soon again have to deal with the same types of weekly riots on its southern border with which it already deals on the Jordan River’s West Bank.

Israel’s security fence along the Gaza border previously had declared a buffer zone about 300 to 1,500 yards wide beyond the fence on the Gaza side — anyone approaching the fence within that zone was considered hostile.

The elimination of this cordon sanitaire, which protects the security fence, and therefore the country, will not only leave Israel more vulnerable to attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, but also invite “publicity stunts” by adversarial non-governmental organizations under the direction of Hamas leaders, such as, for example, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM organizes riots and demonstrations, staging them for television cameras to make Israel look as if it is attacking Arabs, when in reality, Israel is responding to Arab attacks — a detail the media usually leave out.

In a game that has gone on for years, the media almost invariably report Israel’s response to rock-throwers as examples of Israelis brutalizing the innocent Arab population. Every week, videos are edited to make it seem as if IDF soldiers are needlessly attacking Arabs, especially children, just peacefully demonstrating. The videos are then distributed over YouTube and the internet. Recently a video was edited that showed a Danish ISM demonstrator being struck by a decorated IDF Lt. Colonel named Eisner – whose finger had been broken earlier by the ISM activist. The ISM “victim” had entered Israel under a false identity. The game requires Israel to expend unnecessary resources to deploy soldiers to disperse the rioters, and it also provides constant propaganda material for the PLO and Hamas with which to de-legitimize Israel both at home and abroad.

Israel has always insisted on a buffer zone on the Hamas-controlled side of the fence to enable IDF soldiers and Border Police to have advance warning of any attempted infiltration into Israel by the Arabs of Gaza. The area was always considered a “no man’s land” where anyone venturing into this buffer zone could be fired upon. The ISM has tried a few times to organize Arabs to approach the southern security fence from the Gaza buffer zone, but they were immediately fired on. One ISM activist claimed to have been shot in the hip; after that incident, the ISM found it more difficult to persuade internationals to sign up — until the new ceasefire agreement, that is.

Presumably, the removal of this buffer zone was included in the ceasefire agreement to show “good faith” during ceasefire negotiations with Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has not yet stated why this was done.

Now the ISM will be able to descend on this “no man’s land ” by encouraging Arab marchers to storm right up to the fence to demand an end to the “siege” or “occupation,” neither of which in reality exists. It members then begin to riot and throw stones at Israeli soldiers and border guards, or attempt to damage the fence. The British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, refers to the ISM as the “The ‘peace’ group that believes in violence.”

The ISM’s co-founder, Huwaida Arraf, has openly admitted in writing that her organization often works with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Arraf, an American-born Arab whose father emigrated from Israel to the US, therefore holds dual US-Israeli citizenship. She also leads “training and recruitment sessions” at “Palsolidarity” conferences that the ISM organizes at colleges across the U.S. to recruit “volunteers” to go to the Middle East to try to obstruct the IDF’s actions to counter terrorism.

Since 2002, ISM activists in the West Bank have sent provocateurs every Friday into the mosques in the West Bank to incite Arabs to riot against Israeli Border Police, and, more recently, to attack the West Bank security fence, which was set up to keep suicide bombers and other terrorists from entering the heart of the Jewish state.

The ISM writes press releases (usually cleared by Arraf personally) claiming these are peaceful demonstrations; but as soon as these “internationals,” who work under the direction of plainclothes Palestinian “handlers,” reach the West Bank security fence, they begin inciting Arabs, particularly children, to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers.

Lest anyone think that rock throwing is not lethal — the ISM in its press releases refers to rock throwing as “nonviolent” — slingshots are used which make rocks just as deadly as bullets.

When Arabs, armed with with rocks and wire cutters, arrive at the security fence in the West Bank, the IDF uses tear gas, “skunk” spray and stun grenades, or in worst case scenarios non-lethal rubber bullets, to try to disperse the rioters. ISM activists, however, try to help arrested Arab rioters to escape from the police by pulling the arrested men away.

Nearly every week, the West Bank villages of B’ilin and Nabi Saleh are the scenes of such violence, assisted by the ISM. The group has helped to organize similar riots in East Jerusalem in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, to prevent Jews from moving into their own houses, recently regained after twenty years in court, after Arab squatters had illegally settled in them. The ISM also dispatched a young American, Jeff Pickert, traveling on a false passport under the name of Max Suchan, to arrange similar riots in the village of Saffa. Pickert was deported by Israel after having been revealed to Israel’s internal security service. Pickert, 22 years-old, now tours U.S. colleges for the ISM, railing against the existence of Israel in propaganda events passed off as “educational dialogue.”

The ISM, behind protests against a phony Israeli “siege” on Gaza, has sent caravans of European and American anarchists posing for the media as “peace activists”: the Viva Palestina Tour, for example, and groups such asCode Pink, both of which bring goods and money to aid Hamas. Such aid, classified by U.S. State Department as “material support,” to Hamas, is therefore illegal.

The Gaza Flotillas, of which the ISM has helped organize seven – were another manoeuver. The aim was to reopen sea lanes blocked by Israel to prevent Hamas and Iran using them to smuggle missiles into Gaza. George Galloway, the British MP from Bradford West and the Viva Palestina leader, openly boasted that these flotillas were not really meant to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, but rather to bring aid to Hamas directly.

EVEN WHEN the buffer zone was intact, Hamas infiltrators managed to dig a tunnel 750 yards underground under the southern fence to surprise or kidnap any Israeli soldiers they could find. That operation was organized by Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, whose assassination by the IDF, after weeks of constant shelling from Gaza into southern Israel, sparked Operation Pillar of Defense.

Now that Hamas will have direct access to the fence along the entire Southern border, the length of a tunnel under the fence can be significantly reduced. Gazans can approach the fence without obstruction any time they wish, and try to to cut through or dismantle it. The government in Jerusalem is more concerned with weapons-smuggling tunnels and missiles coming in from Iran, and rightly so. What it fails to see, however, is that by ending the buffer zone at the southern border fence with Gaza, Israel is leaving the barn door open just a bit wider, whittling away at Israel’s southern border more and more.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

‘Because they Could’

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Before a radio interview this week, the host sent me a list of questions that might come up on the show. The answer to an extraordinary number of them was, “Because they could.” Because bad actors were reasonably sure no one (read: United States) would protest and even more sure no one would stop them.

For example: Why did Jordanian Palestinians join the protest calling for the overthrow King Abdullah II of Jordan? Why did Iran attack a U.S. drone in the international waters of the Persian Gulf? Why did Mahmoud Abbas go ahead with the U.N. General Assembly vote on observer status over pointed U.S. objections? Why did the Emir of Qatar visit Gaza and give Hamas $400 million? Why did Ansar al Shariah attack the U.S. Consulate/CIA Annex on 9-11? Why did Mohammad Morsi take on dictatorial powers in Egypt? Why is Iran using Sudan as its staging base for the export of arms to Gaza?

That is not to say there are no other answers, and indeed, there are many, but the abdication of American leadership in the Middle East/Persian Gulf region encourages those whose aims are inimical to the West to believe they can advance themselves with impunity.

This stands in odd contrast to the questions about Israel: Why did Israel bomb Gaza? Why didn’t Israel take its ground forces into Gaza?

The answer to the first set of questions is, “Because it had to.” The answer to the second is, “Because it didn’t have to.”

Because Israel Had To

Operation Pillar of Defense was not only retaliation for Hamas rocket fire — although that would have been reason enough for a civilized country to go to war. The attack was a response to the discovery that Hamas had acquired perhaps 100 Iranian Fajr-5 rockets. These are the same type of rockets that someone destroyed in a Sudanese weapons factory in October, and their presence in Gaza was unacceptable to Israel.

By way of comparison: The other rockets and mortars in Hamas’s arsenal made life difficult for more than a million Israelis across the southern part of the country — the U.S. equivalent is 44,000,000 people. Every one of them would have 15 seconds to find shelter and shelter their children and elderly parents. Geographically, the radius of the otherHamas rockets superimposed on New York would cover Hurricane Sandy-land and more.

The Iranian Fajr-5 added Tel Aviv (Israel’s commercial center) and Jerusalem (its capital) to rocket range — over 1,200,000 residents in the cities, plus suburbs with over half a million more. The equivalent of an additional 75,000,000 Americans, give or take.

Of course, there are those who do not have a problem with Israelis facing attack at the whim of an enemy determined to kill as many civilians as possible. Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton acknowledged that, well, okay, rocket fire from Gaza is “reprehensible,” but “let’s be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.” You wonder what he would think if it were 130 million Americans having to rush for shelter on 15 seconds’ notice.

Because Israel Didn’t Have To

Hamas tried desperately to lure Israeli troops into Gaza. Having trained for a ground invasion, laid mines and planted booby-traps, Hamas wanted nothing more than IDF trophies, dead or alive. Increased rocket fire (more than 1,500 rockets between November 14th and 21st – an average of eight per hour or one every eight minutes) was intended to create not only an increase in Israeli civilian casualties, but irresistible pressure from the citizenry on the government to “do something.”

Although the Israeli public strongly favored a ground incursion and the government mobilized the reserves, it did not happen. Why?

The Israeli Air Force removed the Fajr-5 threat and decapitated Hamas leadership without a ground offensive. More than 1,600 targets in Gaza were hit, including rocket launching sites, storage facilities and terrorist infrastructure. Thirty senior Hamas operatives trained in Iran were killed, unable to transmit their knowledge. Iron Dome’s 85% success rate intercepting rockets aimed at population centers allowed the Israeli government to make decisions without the pressure of civilian casualties. And finally, knowledge that there were 75,000 soldiers mobilized and ready reassured the Israeli public that the government was prepared to do more if necessary.

Is Abbas About to Join Hamas?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

As of last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will think twice before he condemns any rocket or terror attack on Israel.

Alarmed by Hamas’s growing popularity among Palestinians, especially in wake of its purported “victory,” Abbas appears to have completely changed his attitude toward the Islamist movement and its terror attacks against Israel.

Abbas’s new attitude toward Hamas has prompted some Palestinians to wonder, quite sarcastically, whether he was planning to grow a beard and join the Islamist movement.

They pointed out that this was the same Abbas who, on more than one occasion, had accused Hamas of plotting to assassinate him and topple his regime in the West Bank. They also noted that this was the same Abbas whom Hamas had expelled from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

Abbas was one of the first Arab leaders to congratulate Hamas on its “victory” over Israel during the recent eight-day confrontation.

Hamas announced that Abbas phoned its prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, one day after the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire went into effect to “congratulate him on Hamas’s victory and offer condolences for the martyrs.”

Abbas’s phone call to the Hamas leader did not come as a surprise.

Since the beginning of the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Abbas has been begging Hamas to forget about its differences with his Fatah faction and agree to “national unity.”

Until recently, Abbas used to mock Hamas’s rockets, calling them “ineffective.” It is not that Abbas was opposed to the idea of launching rockets at Israel; rather, his position was based on the argument that these rockets were not inflicting enough casualties and damage on the Israeli side.

Over the past few years, Abbas had publicly denounced Hamas for providing Israel with an “excuse” to attack the Gaza Strip by launching the “ineffective” rockets at Israeli cities and towns.

But during the last confrontation, Abbas did not utter a word against Hamas and other radical groups in the Gaza Strip.

Instead, he chose to issue strong condemnations against Israel, holding it fully responsible for initiating the violence.

In public statements, Abbas and his top aides in the West Bank accused Israel of perpetrating “war crimes” by targeting “innocent civilians.” They also heaped praise on Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their “steadfastness in the face of Israeli aggression.”

Not once did Abbas and his aides denounce Hamas and Islamic Jihad for firing rockets at Israel. The rockets, from their perspective, were no longer “ineffective” because this time they were extracting a heavy price from Israel.

As soon as the cease-fire went into effect, Abbas’s top Fatah officials joined Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip who took to the streets to celebrate “victory” over Israel.

Zakariya al-Agha, a senior Fatah leader, praised Hamas and Islamic Jihad for launching rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv “until Israel asked for a cease-fire.”

Abbas Zaki, another Fatah official, boasted that Abbas and the Fatah leadership in the West Bank had helped provide “political justification” for the rocket attacks against Israel.

Until the last round of violence, Abbas considered Hamas to be his number one enemy. That view was why his security forces had been waging a relentless crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

Obviously, Abbas has now changed his policy and Hamas is no longer a threat to him and his regime. Now he will have to stop arresting — and torturing — Hamas members in the West Bank in the hope that the Islamist movement will forgive him for “collaborating” with Israel.

It now remains to be seen whether Hamas will forgive Abbas for his “sins,” and join forces with him.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Hamas in the Sunni-Shiite War

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

A full scale Middle Eastern, Islamic type of war between the Sunnis and Shiites is raging. Officials in Washington are doing their best to label it anything but a war; when asked if it is a war, they seem to react in fear, and ignore the issue by saying, “We must do our best to ensure that such a war does not happen.”

By refusing to label what is going on a war, however, we may well be preventing ourselves from devising policies which would address the problem, and make it evolve in the best interests of the U.S.

Historically, Islamic warfare has not necessarily been one in which large armies have fought each other, at least at the beginning of conflicts. What usually happens is that there are what we in the West call “terrorist raids,” in which opposing sides send small raiding parties into each other’s territory. These raids are ongoing and cause both sides to live in a constant state of tension with one another.

The dispute then festers until one side is strong enough to vanquish the other; from that day on, each side lives in an uneasy relationship with the other. The vanquished look for an opportunity to avenge their loss. Sadly, Middle Easterners culturally are unable bring themselves to “let bygones be bygones” – a concept totally alien to Middle Eastern culture. Disputes therefore fester, then erupt when one side perceives the other as weak.

When Khomeini arrived in Iran in February 1979, one of the first statements he made to the media on the tarmac was that “he had come to rectify a wrong which took place 1400 years ago.” Westerners thought this somewhat quaint and obviously irrelevant. All that interested them was what he had to say about the Shah, America, and Israel. To Westerners, especially Americans, who dismiss things that happened a few days ago, Khomeini mumbling about some event that took place centuries ago seemed irrelevant. Middle Easterners, however, who never forget perceived wrongs, knew exactly what he was talking about. When the Muslim prophet Muhammad died in 632 C.E., a fight broke out among the Muslims as to who would inherit the leadership of Islam. Those who supported their prophet’s family eventually became known as the Shi’ites. Those who supported what might be labeled the “establishment” in Mecca became known as the Sunnis.

The Shi’ites were defeated and their leaders were, one by one, murdered by the Sunnis, who proceeded to take over the larger part of Muslim world. Sunnis and Shi’ites – especially in areas where they live together – still refight that battle, which took place almost 1400 years ago. Moreover, thanks to the easy way information travels, Sunnis and Shi’ites know more about each other than in the past, so this battle now also takes place even where Sunnis and Shi’ites never knew each other. What ended up being most important to Khomeini was not the Shah, therefore, but devising a strategy to rectify what he considered the great wrong that took place so long ago: bringing down the Sunni rulers and their version of Islam, and replacing them with the “true,” Shi’ite, version of Islam.

No wonder Saudi rulers, who are members of an extreme Sunni version of Islam called Wahhabism, and their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council Sunni-ruled Gulf States, understood immediately that Khomeini was a mortal threat.

Sadly, our political establishment, who, as Westerners, simply do not live as deeply in history, had an immensely difficult time — and still do — assimilating Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian, and other allied leaders’ concerns.

In addition, on 9/11, Osama bin Laden vented his rage, blaming the West for what it did to Islam 80 years ago. Western experts of the Middle East racked their brains trying to figure out what that meant, but to Sunni Muslims, the answer was obvious: the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished by Ataturk and his colleagues. Many Muslims believe this degradation was imposed on Turkey after its defeat in World War I. For Sunnis, the Ottoman Caliph, the rightful ruler of the entire Muslim world, had been humiliated by people who could not have been Muslims. For Shi’ites, the abolishment of this “usurper” institution was a relief; the Sunni ruler, they believed, wanted nothing more than to destroy Shi’ism, the only “true” Islam.

Israel Paying the Price for the West’s Self-Hatred

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Last Thursday evening, some 1,500 demonstrators convened in front of the Italian Parliament in Rome, waving Israeli and Italian flags. The demonstration “For the Truth, for Israel” had been organized in barely two days by Fiamma Nirenstein, a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Italy’s equivalent of the House of Representatives. The demonstrators listened to messages by over 50 people, including Matteo Renzi, the Mayor of Florence and a prominent leader of the Democratic Party, Angelino Alfano, Italy’s former Justice Minister and the president of Berlusconi’s party PDL, Gianfranco Fini, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and the leader of the FLI party, and Renato Schifani, the Speaker of the Senate.

Although Nirenstein is Jewish, many of the demonstrators were not. In a statement released after the event, Nirenstein wrote that the demonstration showed how important “the existence of Israel and its safeguard is to the Italian people and its representatives.” She said it also showed that “people are more and more capable of identifying the lies disguised as criticism to the Israeli government.” Nirenstein, chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, expressed her satisfaction that the Italians and their political leaders understand that Israel is “a bastion of human rights and democracy in the Middle East.”

Unfortunately, Italy is exceptional in the European context. It is doubtful whether in other countries a similar pro-Israeli demonstration, openly supported by the Speakers of both houses of parliament, would be possible. The contrary, a demonstration in support of the Palestinians, is probably much more likely to attract broad political support. The Italians’ awareness of Israel’s plight is proof of the importance that a single person can have; it is to a large extent the result of the writings of one woman, the journalist Oriana Fallaci (1929-2006).

After the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, Fallaci, an iconic Italian journalist, wrote two books, The Rage and The Pride and The Force of Reason. The books became huge bestsellers in Italy. They were highly critical of Islam and forcefully asserted the moral and cultural superiority of Western civilization. Fallaci’s writings influenced the views of many Italians, including the intellectual and political elite, about Islam. Thanks to Fallaci, many Italians have come to see Israel for what it is: an outpost of Western civilization in a sea of Islamic barbarism.

Elsewhere in Europe, as the British website The Commentator pointed out last week, “Israel – its people and culture – is seen by a powerful, opinion-forming liberal/left orthodoxy, not as a people with a right to exist within secure boundaries but as a proxy of western interests.” Vincent Cooper of The Commentator concludes that there is no way Israel can win the propaganda war. To the left-wing European intellectual, Israel equals the West equals imperialism. Western interests are portrayed as voracious destroyers of the weak and vulnerable.

Israel is paying the price for Western self-hatred. The West, in fact, does not equal imperialism and destruction. On the contrary, the West equals civilization and human rights. While Israel is fighting its war with Hamas, it is also trying to respect human rights and spare the civilian population of Gaza as much as possible. At the same time that Israel was under heavy and indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza, the Israeli army was organizing the safe passage of 124 trucks with supplies and medicines to Gaza. The Palestinian city is almost entirely dependent on Israel for its water and electricity supply. This supply was not cut. Neither did the Israeli Central Bank cut the supply of shekels to Gaza. Since the shekel is the currency in Gaza, without these shekels, Hamas cannot pay the wages of civil servants in Gaza. As the Israeli commentator Guy Bechor says about Israel: “We represent the first instance in history of one side feeding and financing its enemy, even during a time of war between the two.”

Europe, however, does not give Israel credit for its humanitarian attitude. On the contrary, the Jewish State is criticized for the fact that in every war innocent civilians get killed. The moral question – “Who began the war and who denies its adversary’s right to exist?” – is never asked.

Meanwhile, Western governments are propping up the Hamas regime in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah with their citizens’ tax money. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) calculated that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinian Authority has received 25 times more financial aid per capita (taking into account current inflation) than the citizens of Europe got under the Marshall Plan following World War II. According to JIJ director Calev Myers, American financial aid to the Palestinians has increased 600 percent under the Obama administration. Despite these millions, the Palestinians still suffer from poverty, unemployment and destitution. “Poverty in the Palestinian areas could have been eradicated years ago,” says Myers.

Hamas Is Fooling Everyone, Everywhere (Video)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Is Hamas really on its way to moderation and pragmatism, as some Western political analysts and diplomats have come to believe?

And what do some Hamas leaders mean when they say that they are ready to accept a Palestinian state “only” in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem?

These questions were raised after CNN recently aired an interview with Hamas “political leader” Khaled Mashaal.

Mashaal told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right of return [of millions of Palestinians to Israel].”

The Hamas leader’s remark has since been misinterpreted by some Westerners as a sign that the radical Islamist movement, which was established 25 years ago with the declared goal of destroying Israel, has now abandoned its ideology and is on its way to endorsing a softer approach.

But while Mashaal was speaking on CNN, several Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip were talking — in Arabic — about their intention to pursue the fight against Israel until the “liberation of all our lands, from the sea to the river.”

Mashaal’s remark is nothing but an attempt to mislead the international community into believing that Hamas has endorsed the two-state solution and is willing to live in peace alongside Israel.

In reality, Hamas has not changed or relinquished its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamist state that is funded and armed by Iran.

What Mashaal is actually saying is that because Hamas is aware of the fact that it cannot achieve its goal of destroying Israel now, it will take whatever land the Israelis give it and then continue the fight to “liberate” all Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

No one better than Mashaal himself expressed this view in the same CNN interview, where he stated: “Palestine, from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, it is my land. And the land of my fathers and grandfathers, inhabited by the Palestinians from a long time ago…but because of the circumstances of the region, because of the keenness to stop the bloodshed, the Palestinians today, and Hamas, have agreed on a program that accepts the 1967 borders.”

What Mashaal and other “moderate” Hamas leaders are saying is this: “Give us a Palestinian state now in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem so that we could use it as a launching pad for eliminating Israel.”

In an interview with Al-Jazeera this week, Mashaal admitted for the first time that Iran has been providing Hamas with weapons and money. He also revealed that Arab and Islamic countries, as well as individuals and organizations, have also been supporting Hamas militarily and financially.

Today it has become clear to most Palestinians that a future Palestinian state would be run by Hamas or Islamic Jihad. These two groups’ popularity has increased among Palestinians, especially in wake of their self-declared “victory” over Israel during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.

Hamas’s effort to depict itself as a “moderate” movement reached its peak this week when Mashaal phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to voice support for the request to upgrade the status of a Palestinian entity to non-member observer in the UN.

Mashaal’s phone call was again misinterpreted as a sign that Hamas was willing to accept a state only within the pre-1967 lines.

But as Hamas officials later explained, the fact that Mashaal had welcomed Abbas’s statehood bid did not mean that the movement was prepared to give up “one inch of Palestine.”

Hamas is engaged in a subtle campaign to win the sympathy of the international community by appearing as if it is ready to abandon its dream of destroying Israel. Mashaal’s remarks should be seen in the context of a new Hamas tactic aimed at turning the radical Islamist movement into a legitimate and recognized player in the international and regional arenas.

Those who have been misled into believing Hamas’s lies should be referred to the movement’s charter, where it is clearly stated that “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it…the liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere. When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad [holy war] becomes a duty binding on all Muslims.”

King Abdullah in Trouble with Jordan’s Palestinians

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Last week, protests broke out in Jordan after a government decision to raise fuel prices. While protests have been taking place in Jordan for almost two years now, for the first time there is major involvement from Jordan’s Palestinians, with open calls for toppling the regime. With the future of Jordan’s King Abdullah in jeopardy, so is regional stability as well as Jordan’s peace with Israel. Pro-Western forces have critical options to consider.

The protesters, last week, started openly to call for the king to step down. The Independent noted that previously the protests had been “peaceful and rarely targeted King Abdullah II himself,” and reported that this time crowds “chanted slogans against the king and threw stones at riot police as they protested in several cities.”

Al Jazeera, as well, reported that protests have been taking place “across the width and the length of the country,” with “most chanting for toppling the regime.” Several of the king’s photographs – regularly displayed in public places in Jordan – were set on fire.

What came as a surprise in the recent protests, according to Al Jazeera, is that Palestinian refugee camps have been also participating to the fullest. These protests apparently broke out in the Al-Hussein refugee camp, close to Jordan’s capital, Amman. Protesters were seen calling for toppling the regime.

In another protest, Al-Hussein refugee camp protesters chanted: “Our god, may you take away our oppressor. Our country Jordan has existed before the Arab Revolution,” referring to the revolt against the Turks by which Jordan’s king’s great grandfather established the Hashemite kingdom.. Al-Hussein refugee camp protesters eventually marched into lively Douar Firas area near central Amman, where they were attacked by the fearsome Jordanian gendarmerie.

The gendarmerie officers were even harsher in the Al-Baqaa refugee camp, Jordan’s largest, where protests broke out for the first time, and slogans targeted the king with demands that he step down. Protesters reportedly burned tires, blocking the highway which borders the camp and connects Amman to Northern Jordan.

The Jordanian news website Ammon published a video showing an al-Baqaa refugee camp leader calling for “calm” within camps in Jordan, while admitting that the refugee camp’s leaders, usually favored by the regime over the Palestinian public, were not able to form a public committee to reach out to protesting youths. The Palestinian-dominated Jabal Al-Nuzha camp has also been the site of regular protests, with demonstrators also calling for toppling the king.

Other Palestinian-dominated areas are witnessing first-time protests as well, including Al-Ashrafiah, the Hiteen refugee camp and the broader East Amman.

It is not the Palestinians alone who are protesting against the king. “East Bankers” in Northern Jordan had generally kept away from the protest movements until last week, when the residents of Irbid, the biggest city in Northern Jordan, started calling for toppling the regime.

Other major protests have been taking place in several parts of the country. Tensions ran high in the southern city of Kerak, an East Banker-dominated city. A known opposition leader in Kerak, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he was expecting serious escalation from the regime, and alleged that Jordanian police were cracking down on protesters and arresting their leaders. His claim was consistent with footage that appeared on YouTube, exhibiting parts of the unrest. He also claimed that southern Jordanians “have made up their minds, they will not tolerate the king any longer …it is too late for him to make any reforms.”

The Muslim Brotherhood too organized a protest, in the city of Rusifay, east of Amman. Their demonstration, critical of Abdullah’s Prime Minister, Al-Nosuor, but with no criticism of the king or calls for toppling his regime, simply demanded that fuel prices be reduced.

On November 18, the popular Jordanian news website, Al-Sawt, published an article entitled: “Will the Muslim Brotherhood get the price for its realism and positivity during the fuel-prices protest?” In the article, editor in chief, Tarek Dilawani (also a seasoned journalist for the Jordanian daily, Ad-Dustor), claims that the Jordanian regime had “an arrangement with the Muslim Brotherhood not to surf the tide of the protests, and to keep their demands fixed on peaceful reform of the regime.”

Nonetheless, the supposed arrangement between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hashemite regime has not worked. It has not stopped protests by either Palestinians or East Bankers. As The Independent recently wrote: “The protesters…were led by activists that included the secular Hirak Shebabi youth movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and various nationalist and left-wing groups.” It is therefore possible that the Muslim Brotherhood is only a part of the opposition, and not “the opposition.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/king-abdullah-in-trouble-with-jordans-palestinians/2012/11/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: