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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Hamas’

Detached From Reality: US Renews Travel Warning Against Israel

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

The U.S. State Department has again warned its citizens against traveling to Israel, equating the dangers facing people in the Jewish State with those facing visitors to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The warning comes on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack on America by the global Al Qaeda Islamist terrorist organization — and just ahead of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the start of the Jewish high holy days.

The new travel warning replaced that posted on July 21 during the height of Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge, when Hamas was firing rockets and missiles at Israel daily from Gaza. To read it, one would believe the war is still in progress. But to walk the streets of Israel, one knows without a doubt it’s over. Schools are overflowing and so are the stores, which are filled with the latest fall fashions in Be’er Sheva, Ra’anana and even in Ramallah.

This is total silliness. Or perhaps a veiled attempt to sabotage the Israeli economy, which although damaged by the war is still in much better shape than that of Gaza.

Or even maybe it’s an attempt to take a swing at the Ramallah-based Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas — with whom Hamas is currently locked in a power struggle over control of the Palestinian Authority unity government, which the two factions agreed to this spring.

Sour grapes? Also maybe. Hamas is backed by Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, and demanded unsuccessfully the latter two nations be allowed to participate in cease-fire negotiations in Cairo. Although at the end they were not allowed, Secretary of State John Kerry consulted with both at a meeting in Paris at the height of the war. All three are close allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the United States recently signed an $11 billion military contract with Qatar. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have backed Ramallah, which has recently resumed its stance in supporting Israel on a crackdown on terrorism.

But to read the U.S. travel warning, one could believe there’s an active war zone at play.

“During the recent conflict between Israel and terrorist organizations in Gaza, long-range rockets launched from Gaza reached many locations in Israel and the West Bank including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities in the north and south. A ceasefire was announced on August 26 and, as of the date of this Travel Warning, is holding. The Government of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has successfully intercepted many rockets. However, in some cases missile impacts caused damage and injuries,” the travel warning reads – as if a cease-fire with Hamas was never reached.

“U.S. citizen visitors to and U.S. citizen residents of Israel and the West Bank should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened site. Consult municipality websites, such as those for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for lists of public bomb shelters and other emergency preparedness information. Visitors should seek information on shelters from hotel staff or building managers. We advise all US citizens to follow the instructions of the Home Front Command on proper procedures in the event of rocket attacks or other crisis events.”

Commercial flights to and from Ben Gurion International Airport are operating as usual, the warning notes, “although delays and cancellations can occur. Travelers should check with their airline prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. Other border crossings are generally operating as normal; however, travelers should check the status of crossings before embarking on trips. See information on the status of the airport and other crossings.”

PA Unity Deal Threatened Over Gaza Civil Service Salaries

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

The Palestinian Authority unity government is falling apart over the issue of who should pay the back salaries of Hamas civil service workers.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization stopped paying its workers months ago, instead diverting funds to weapons development, tunnel building and other war mongering activities. Nor are they paying them now.

As late as three weeks ago Hamas terrorists were still summarily executing numerous Gaza civilians they believed may have been collaborating with Israel, usually after quickie kangaroo court trials — if any at all.

When the unity government deal was signed last spring, Hamas assumed the new administration would take over all the debts. But Ramallah-based Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman and rival Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to pay the bills until Hamas is willing to allow the unity government to actually govern the workers – and Gaza.

Moreover, in order to take on the current expenses of a unity government, — which he heads — Abbas says the administration must function as one entity. In addition, the 50-day counter terror Operation Protective Edge launched by Israel in Gaza this summer has exacerbated problems faced by the new government.

Cleaning staff in Gaza began a strike three days ago after going without salaries for the past five months, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported. On Wednesday, Nabil Abu Aqlein spoke on behalf of Al Shifa hospital employees, saying cleaning staff in all Gaza hospitals would remain on strike until they are paid. Some 170 workers are currently on partial strike.

“If cleaning staff quit working there will be a disaster, and disease will spread throughout all hospitals,” Abu Aqlein pointed out, urging Abbas to intervene to resolve the crisis.

But Abbas won’t even enter the region, let alone intervene in a local financial crunch, until the issue of ‘who’s governing what’ is resolved.

“We will not retain partnerships with Hamas unless it accepts one arm, one legitimacy and one decision in the Palestinian territories,” Abbas told reporters. As a matter of fact, not even Abbas can safely enter Gaza at this point without bodyguards. Even then, his security is still at risk.

Abbas insists the unity government retain independent control over security and weapons. Hamas has not agreed. Gaza-based Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zukhri, called the demand “unjustified and unreasonable.”

The Hamas spokesperson told journalists that a meeting to discuss these issues has been set between Hamas and Fatah in the next few days, but “Fatah refuses to sit with Hamas in Gaza; it prefers the meeting be held in Egypt.”

Israeli, US Leaders Organize Top Brass to Fight Islamic State

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Israel’s top brass met Wednesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the growing threat in the region from the Islamic State terror organization.

Representatives from every security establishment were present, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the National Security Council, Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, Foreign Ministry representatives, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Netanyahu discussed with those present the issues surrounding the threat posed to Israel by the Islamic State. The prime minister warned world leaders about the terror organization during Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer in Gaza.

Netanyahu repeatedly has drawn a parallel between Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and the Islamic State, which has spread its influence from Iraq and Syria to the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Lebanon and recently as far as Europe. Israel has officially outlawed the group.

U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, planned to address the American people in a prime-time televised address to the nation Wednesday evening.

Obama was to outline his strategy for dealing with the global threat posed by the Islamic State, which is rapidly becoming a specific threat to the United States as well. There have been reports that up to 100 sleeper cells from the group may already exist in the U.S.

Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Baghdad just two days after Iraq’s newly-sworn Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi installed his top government ministers.

Two car bombs exploded simultaneously in the southeastern neighborhood of New Baghdad, killing 13 people, during the meeting of the two leaders.

“A new and inclusive Iraqi government has to be the engine of our global strategy against ISIL (a former acronym for Islamic State – Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant),” Kerry said.

The next question is, where are the Europeans and how are they planning to fend off this threat in their midst? (Yes, the Islamic State has indeed already arrived on Europe’s shores. It was an Islamic State terrorist who was behind the terrorist attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum this past May 24.)

It’s the Democracy, Stupid

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Many pro-Israel people (myself included) have complained over the past several months that mainstream media’s coverage of Hamas neglected to refer to the group as “terrorists”, as the group is so labeled by: the United States; Canada; European Union; Japan; Israel; and Egypt. I believe that we have missed a more basic flaw in describing Hamas, namely that it is the majority democratically-elected party of the Palestinians.

In January, 2006, the Palestinian Authority held its last democratic elections. The Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza voted overwhelming for Hamas. The group secured 76 of 132 seats in the government, or 58% of the Palestinian Authority. By way of comparison:

In the United States (2012), the Democratic Party won 54% of the seats in the Senate; In the United Kingdom (2010), the winning Conservative Party won 36% of the seats in the parliament; and In Australia (2013), a coalition of four parties including the Liberal and Liberal National Party secured 53% of the seats

Hamas is the popular, mainstream political party that the Palestinians chose by an enormous margin (58% in a multi-party parliamentary system is a landslide; second place Fatah won 33% of the seats). When the Palestinians placed their votes, they all understood that Hamas was rabidly anti-Semitic, sought the murder of Jews and complete destruction of Israel, as it described clearly in its 1988 Charter and in repeated statements by its leadership. Further, Palestinians voted for this party knowing not just of Hamas’s positions, but of the world’s policy of isolating Hamas.

The media has not only ignored this, but has deliberately concealed this fact. Look at the adjectives used for Hamas: it is described as “Islamist” not “Palestinian”; it is described as a “faction”, not a “political party”; the group is described as having “seized” Gaza and does not convey that the people freely voted for the terrorist group.

New York Times: “Hamas, the Islamist faction that dominates the Gaza Strip.” CNN: “Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs Gaza,” The Guardian: “Islamist organisation,” Newsweek: “Hamas Islamist-dominated Gaza Strip” Reuters: “Hamas, Gaza’s dominant Islamist group,”

Through the media’s – and world bodies’ – obfuscation of the Palestinian people’s complicity in the current situation, it dangerously absolves the Palestinians of responsibility. Palestinians have been artistically separated from their democratically-elected leaders who are carrying out the exact campaign promises that the Palestinian voters enthusiastically endorsed.

A reader of the photoshop-ed news is therefore led to conclude that Hamas is similar to ISIS in Iraq or Boko Haram in Nigeria or other declared terrorist groups. However, those groups are indeed “factions” and “Islamist organizations” that are apart from their respective governments. They were not elected by the people. In the West Bank and Gaza Hamas is the government and represents the Palestinians’ desires, irrespective of world leaders and the media pretending that acting-President Mahmoud Abbas (whose term expired way back in 2009) is an elected leader.

To further underscore the point, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in August 2014 found that 61% of Palestinians would vote for Hamas. The breakdown was 53% for the terrorist party in Gaza and 66% in the West Bank.

The Palestinian people chose a path of war and continue to support an armed conflict today. They actively elected a group dedicated to jihad and the rejection of any and all negotiations with Israel in 2006, and back that same political terrorist party today.

By ignoring the role of the democratic process and the stated desires of the Palestinian people, the past eight years have been mischaracterized as a having three Israeli-Gaza wars, instead of an eight year Palestinian-Israeli war, in which Israel has responded with three defensive operations.

How Do You Win a War?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Winning Wars

Another Qawasmeh Hamas Member Arrested in Murder of 3 Israeli Teens

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Another Hamas suspect has been arrested in connection with the June 12 abduction and murder of three Israeli teens in Gush Etzion. Hebron resident Fares Qawasmeh, a 31-year-old doctor, is accused of being involved in planning the murder.

Qawasmeh was taken into custody by Palestinian Authority security forces, according to a report broadcast Tuesday on Israel’s Channel 10 television news.

The report was later confirmed in a post on the Twitter social networking site by Qatar-based senior Hamas official Hussam Badran. “The only crime Qawasmeh committed was to speak for Hamas at the victory celebrations for Gaza after the fighting against Israel,” Badran tweeted.

A number of local Arab residents aided the Qawasmeh family in carrying out the plot by hiding and sheltering the fugitives. Among them was Wael Qarameh, indicted by Israeli authorities in late August on charges of harboring a fugitive – Hebron resident Hussam Qawasmeh, who was indicted last week on multiple charges for masterminding the abduction and murder.

Qawasmeh, a Hebron resident was arrested on July 11 in a joint Shin Bet – IDF sting operation in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. He had fled his home with the aid of friends and relatives in hopes of trying to make his way to Jordan on the strength of a false ID. Shuafat is the same Arab neighborhood where massive violence tore apart three Jerusalem Light Rail stations following the murder of a young Arab teen, the day after the bodies of the three Israeli teens were found.

Hussam Qawasmeh confessed under interrogation to having masterminded the plot to kidnap and murder the teens, and to having obtained financing for the operation from Hamas in Gaza. He admitted to having obtained false identity papers and fleeing as soon as the bodies of the three murder victims were unearthed from their hurriedly dug, shallow stony graves in the field he purchased in Halhul, along Highway 60 north of Hebron.

Marwan Qawasmeh – his kinsman – and Amar Abu Aisha, both also residents of Hebron, are suspected of being the ones to having joyfully carried out those plans. The actual gunshots that murdered the boys and the celebrations of their attackers after the murders in the getaway car were heard on a recording made on a police hotline via a call from one of the boys as he desperately sought rescue. The two murderers, meanwhile, remain at large.

Security sources revealed after last week’s indictment that Hussam Qawasmeh received a total of approximately NIS 200,000 ($61,500) from his brother in Gaza, Hamas terrorist Mahmoud Ali to pay for the operation. The costs included two vehicles – the abduction car and the getaway car – as well as four firearms and other expenses. Mahmoud was one of more than 1,000 Arab inmates freed in an October 2011 prisoner swap deal with Israel in exchange for the return of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas and allied terrorists in 2006.

Fatah, Hamas Preparing Groundwork to Dissolve Palestinian Authority Unity Govt

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Ramallah-based PLO Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas hinted during a three-day visit to Cairo this weekend he is close to ending the latest Palestinian Authority “unity government” with Hamas.

Hamas, meanwhile, warned that Abbas should keep his debates out of the media spotlight. “Abbas’s remarks against Hamas and the resistance are unjustified and the sources of information and figures he relied on were incorrect and have nothing to do with the truth,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zukhri told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

Abbas told media that more than 850 Hamas members and their family members were killed in this summer’s Operation Protective Edge – figures similar to those quoted by Israel.

On Saturday, Abbas told Egyptian reporters in Cairo that he is strongly inclined to end his unity deal with Gaza’s leadership unless the terrorist entity can make its peace with the idea of having a single government in leadership.

“If Hamas will not accept a Palestinian state with one government, one law and one weapon, then there will not be any partnership between us,” Abbas told reporters at a briefing. “This is our condition, and we will not back away from it.

“There are 27 under secretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus government (unity government) cannot do anything on the ground,” Abbas said. It was his most blunt statement of powerlessness yet, making it clear that Hamas has yet to relinguish any authority over the region. That, despite the fact that the so-called “unity government” actually includes Hamas, although its ministers are technically “unaffiliated” technocrats.

“We will only talk to Hamas if they meet our requirements,” Abbas continued. “The partnership with Hamas depends on arms being under the control of the Palestinian state…” The latter is a direct reference to the fact that Hamas has repeatedly insisted on controlling the armed forces of the PA – some 3,000 fighters, to this point led by Hamas military wing Izz a-Din al-Qassam chief Mohammed Deif, who may have been killed by Israel during the recent Operation Protective Edge.

“[Hamas political bureau chief Khaled] Meshaal told me, ‘I’m the resistance leader and there will be no cease-fire without my agreement.’ One side cannot unilaterally declare war. That isn’t unity or reconciliation.”

Abbas also expressed exasperation with Hamas, asking how they could have been surprised by Israel’s rage, and military response to the abduction and murder of three teenage yeshival students, and rocket fire at civilians.

He also said he was fed up with Israel and the U.S. “Honestly, my patience with Israel, the United States and Hamas has expired,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran told reporters there had been a “escalation in the number of summons and arrests (of Hamas members) in the West Bank,” allegedly for “no reason.” Hamas, meanwhile, has told its members not to cooperate with Fatah investigations in Judea and Samaria.

This is not the first time this has happened.

Within the year after the Palestinian Authority legislative elections of January 25, 2006, Abbas accused Hamas of running its own “shadow government.”

The Gaza-based terrorist organization at that time went to war with Fatah, seizing total control over the region by June 2007.

Countless broken “reconciliation” and “unity” deals later, Abbas has yet to woo Hamas back to the fold. Instead, Gaza has become a haven for every terrorist entity in the Middle East, with Iran as the region’s benevolent benefactor, along with Qatar and Turkey.

The closest Abbas came to any “unity deal” was this past spring, when he broke ties with Israel and reneged on every international agreement he had ever made. Fatah-linked terrorist groups were ecstatic, as were Gaza fighters – but not so blinded that they gave Fatah carte blanche entry to the region. Abbas has yet to be able to walk into Gaza safely, unguarded.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fatah-hamas-preparing-groundwork-to-dissolve-palestinian-authority-unity-govt/2014/09/07/

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