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Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

Hamas Sees Abbas’s Statehood Bid as Step to Islamist Rule

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Why did some Hamas leaders come out in public in support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s request to the UN General Assembly to upgrade the status of the Palestinians to “Non-Member Observer State”?

Because the Hamas leaders know that sooner or later the Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem will fall into their hands.

Hamas has not abandoned its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamic state, “from the river to the sea.”

This is what several Hamas leaders reiterated over the past week when asked why they had backed Abbas’s effort to establish a Palestinian state on “only” 22% of Mandatory Palestine.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives even participated in Fatah celebrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip marking the “victory” at the UN General Assembly last Thursday.

These representatives did not take part in the celebrations because they accept the two-state solution and are willing to live in peace alongside Israel.

Nor did they take to the streets to express their joy over the upgrading of the status of the Palestinians at the UN.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad celebrated because they think that the UN has paved the way for the establishment of an Islamist state within the pre-1967 lines. Like many Palestinians, the two Islamist groups are confident that the countdown has begun for the creation of an Iranian-backed entity in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Islamists’s message to the Palestinians is: “Let Mahmoud Abbas take now whatever he can because we know that in the future these lands will be under our control.”

Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials and spokesmen have even gone on record stating that their support for Abbas’s statehood bid does not mean that they have relinquished their dream of destroying Israel and “liberating the rest of Palestine.”

The Islamists are hoping to achieve their goal with the support of three parties: Iran, Qatar and Egypt.

Iran will continue to supply Hamas and Islamic Jihad with various types of rockets, while the Qataris will prove the funds. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi, will provide the political cover and support.

Following Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip, some Hamas leaders, including Khaled Mashaal, revealed that many of the rockets that were fired at Israel came from Iran.

Recently, Qatar pledged to support Hamas with more than $400 million, in order to boost the Islamist movement and assist it in tightening its grip on the Gaza Strip.

Morsi, for his part, has been actively seeking to legitimize Hamas and turn it into a major player in the Palestinian, regional and international arenas.

Ironically, if anyone is about to facilitate the process of establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state it is Abbas himself.

Abbas has already declared his intention to seek unity between his Fatah faction and Hamas in the aftermath of the UN vote.

Abbas has even indicated his readiness to travel to the Gaza Strip — for the first time since he was expelled from there in 2007 — to advance the “reconciliation” process with Hamas.

When and if Abbas manages to solve his dispute with Hamas, the Palestinians will be called to participate in new presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a move that will undoubtedly result in another victory for the Islamist movement.

The UN vote last week has paved the way for the creation of a radical Islamist state that will be used by the Iranians and Muslim Brotherhood to advance their goal of wiping Israel off the map. That is why Hamas and Islamic Jihad have good reason to be celebrating in the streets.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

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.

Who Won the Latest Israel-Hamas War? (You’ll Be Surprised)

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Naturally the question of who won any given war preoccupies people’s minds. And I’m amused by those who think that Hamas won the recent conflict. Winning has to mean something real, not just bragging to reassure oneself.

Let’s begin by examining the causes and goals of each side. Hamas’s goal was to be able to attack Israel as much as it wanted without significant retaliation. This time, as in late 2008, the war began because Hamas escalated the level of its attacks on Israel to unacceptable levels (more on that phrase in a moment). The same might be said of Hizballah in 2006.

Israel’s goal was to force Hamas to the lowest possible level of attacks and to make such attacks as ineffective as possible. Incidentally, that was also Israel’s strategy in dealing with the PLO. Attempts to “solve” the problem once and for all, varying from the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to the Oslo peace process of the 1990s didn’t work too well.

Nevertheless, Israel was able to achieve its more limited aim against Hamas in the later 2008-early 2009 campaign to gain four years of relative quiet. With Hizballah, this goal has now held for six years. That’s not bad given the reality of contemporary international politics and the Middle Eastern situation, both of which keep Israel from gaining a “total victory.”

Ideally, of course, there is no good reason that the world ensure the survival of a terrorist, totalitarian, illegal, and genocide-oriented regime in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, that is the reality. If the idea of Israel going in on the ground into the Gaza Strip provoked so much international horror, imagine the reaction to Israel overthrowing Hamas altogether.

And for Israel to overthrow Hamas it would either have to govern the Gaza Strip itself, restarting the whole post-1967 process and facing daily gun battles there or to turn over the territory to someone else. Since the Palestinian Authority isn’t interested in such an arrangement and is incapable of even making a serious effort to overthrow Hamas nobody else is going to do so or take power there.

So Hamas’s survival as ruler of the Gaza Strip was not some victory in a war that lasted a little over a week but is guaranteed in effect by the international and regional order. Can Hamas continue to violate the ceasefire? Of course, because Israel’s only way of enforcing it is military retaliation and now, as has been true for the last five years, Israel has to consider how to do each one without being blamed for a breakdown in the ceasefire. That won’t stop Israel from hitting back with the goal of minimizing Hamas’s attacks.

After these two significant factors–which both existed beforehand–it’s all downhill for Hamas. Given the destruction of its weaponry, Hamas is less able to attack than it had been and while every Hamas leader denies it, the vision of their colleagues getting killed does have a deterrent effect on their boldness.

The amount of regional support Hamas received during the recent war was remarkably low. The anti-Islamist Arab states wanted Hamas to lose. Iran cheered and sent missiles which is quite significant but only gets you so far. The Arab street didn’t do much; Syria’s regime is busy with the civil war; Iraq is for all practical purposes out of the conflict. Whatever lip service it gives, the Shia Islamist Hizballah didn’t lift a trigger finger to help Sunni Islamist Hamas.

It was these factors that led Fareed Zaharia, the influential American commentator—no friend of Israel—who has Obama’s ear to write a Washington Post piece entitled, “Israel dominates the new Middle East.”

As for Egypt, while the Muslim Brotherhood regime is 100 percent pro-Hamas, it isn’t going to be dictated to by its much smaller brother. The Egyptian government has bigger fish to fry. It is busy consolidating its dictatorship and reeling in almost $10 billion in foreign aid.

Hamas didn’t consult Cairo over the escalation that led to this war. Equally bad, Hamas has become entangled with small jihadist groups that attack both Egypt and Israel. Naturally, the Cairo government doesn’t care if Israel is the only target but reacts strongly to being hit itself. So before the escalation the Egyptian government was angry at Hamas.

Text of Ceasefire Agreement

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

CAIRO: Israel and Hamas agreed Wednesday to an American-Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accord to end a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip following days of marathon talks.

Here is the text of the ceasefire agreement which took effect at 1900 GMT:

“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas, and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”

“Implementation mechanism:

“Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.

“Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

“Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding.

“In case of any observations, Egypt, as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Semantics Or Something Deeper?

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in Libya, UN Ambassador Susan Rice may have deliberately misled the public when she went on multiple television shows and called the facility that had been targeted a “consulate.”

The difference between branding the Benghazi facility a “mission” or a “consulate” may be crucial in determining what was really going on in the building.

As this column was first to report, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi actually served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials.

Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.

A good deal of media attention and political criticism has been focused on Rice’s other statements immediately after the Benghazi attacks, primarily her blaming of an obscure YouTube film vilifying Muhammad for what she claimed were popular protests that took place outside the U.S. mission.

In defending itself, however, against new claims that the White House may have scrubbed the CIA’s initial intelligence assessment on the Benghazi attacks of references to al Qaeda, Obama administration officials may have unintentionally implicated themselves in another, until now unnoticed scandal.

Over the weekend, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes contended that the White House made only small, factual edits to the CIA’s intelligence assessment, referring to one edit in particular.

“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment,” Rhodes said aboard Air Force One en route to Asia. “The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility.”

Rhodes said the White House and State Department changed a reference in the CIA report from “consulate” to “diplomatic facility.”

Further, Politico reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was adamant that the White House only changed the reference to the Benghazi facility.

“There was only one thing that was changed … and that was, the word ‘consulate’ was changed to ‘mission,’ ” Feinstein said. “That’s the only change that anyone in the White House made, and I have checked this out.”

If the White House intentionally changed the reference to the Benghazi facility from “consulate” to “mission,” why did Rice repeatedly refer to the facility as a “consulate” when she engaged in a media blitz in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attacks?

In a September 16 interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Rice twice labeled the facility a “consulate.” In a subsequent interview on CBS’s “This Morning,” she again referred to the facility as a “consulate.”

Islamic Jihad Warns Fears Mossad
Facebook Infiltration

The Gazan-based Islamic Jihad terror group is apparently concerned Israeli intelligence agents disguised as good looking girls on Facebook are attempting to infiltrate Palestinian computers.

During intense fighting in Gaza that reportedly has most jihadist leaders in hiding, members of the Islamic Jihad’s so-called military wing, the Al Quds Brigades, found time today to post a lengthy article on their official website warning Palestinian Facebook users of potential Israeli intelligence hackers.

Islamic Jihad has taken responsibility for firing hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip aimed at nearby Jewish population centers. It also claimed credit for firing at least one Fajr-5 long range missile toward Tel Aviv.

“How do you know if Mossad became your friend on Facebook,” is the title of the piece, posted at Saraya.ps, Islamic Jihad’s main website. In Arabic, Saraya al-Quds means the Al Quds Brigades.

“Do you feel proud because your Facebook account boasts 5,000 friends? Well, here are ten steps to expose whether intelligence agents transplanted themselves inside your friends list,” reads the article.

The piece warns of friend invites from Facebook users who are unknown, “especially from a beautiful girl.”

Iran And Hizbullah Attempt
To Resupply Hamas

Iran and Hizbullah are furiously trying to resupply Hamas in the Gaza Strip with long range missiles to fire into Israel, according to Israeli defense sources.

Informed Middle Eastern security officials further told this column that advisers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Units are in the Gaza Strip helping to oversee the firing of long range rockets by jihadist groups there.

The information comes as Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, denied Israeli claims that his country was supplying rockets to Gazan groups, according to a report posted on Iran’s Al Alam’s television website.

Palestinian Source: Hamas, Israel Have Truce

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Israel and the Hamas agreed on Wednesday to a Gaza ceasefire deal, an un-named Palestinian official with knowledge of Egyptian mediation between the two sides told Reuters.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the news, which came on the eighth day of intensive Israeli fire on the Gaza Strip and terrorist rocket attacks out of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s Chief of Staff ‘Welcomes’ Ground Invasion, While Gaza EMTs Suffer Shortages

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The new commander of the military wing of Hamas, Mohammed Def, on Tuesday delivered a rare speech on Hamas TV. Def, who survived several assassination attempts by Israel in recent years, hinted that if Israel will enter the Gaza Strip with ground troops, the military wing of Hamas will start kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

“The ground war, which Israel hints at all the time, will be our greatest hope to release the prisoners,” Daf threatened. It was the first time the voice of Mohammed Def wass heard in the media.

Def said the Palestinian factions are confident in their ability to win. “The enemy will pay a heavy price for his attack on Gaza. the military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Kassam Brigades, have proven their ability at causing pain only to the enemy,” said Def. “This operation came as a result of the preparations we made after Operation Cast Lead, and is the beginning of the road toward the liberation of Palestine.”

Def called on the Arab and Islamic nation to make every effort to “cleanse Palestine of the occupation.”

Def, who officially served for many years as commander of the military wing, served in recent years as the right hand of the departed Jabari, following the serious injuries he had sustained when Israel last attempted to deactivate him. After the death of Jabari, experts are convinced that DEf will return to hands-on command of the military wing of Hamas.

Meanwhile, civil defense officials in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday appealed to the Arab world for urgent supplies, as their resources are over-stretched during the current bombardment, Ma’an reports.

Youssef al-Zahar, head of the rescue service, said Israel’s bombardment of high-rise buildings in Gaza was increasing injuries and deaths.

The civil defense service urgently needs rescue equipment and ambulances, he said, appealing to Gulf states and other Arab countries to provide immediate support.

Al-Zahar lauded the “professional and courageous” work of the service, amid Israeli air strikes which, according to him, have killed 122 and injured around 900 Palestinians.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamass-chief-of-staff-welcomes-ground-invasion-while-gaza-emts-suffer-shortages/2012/11/20/

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