Archive for June, 2007

Will a Hamas regime join the ‘family of nations’?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Some have suggested that it’s possible to look on the bright side and see the Hamas takeover of Gaza as opening the door to some kind of rapprochement between Israel and Fatah on the West Bank, now that Hamas appears to have been removed from the equation there.

Unfortunately, recent developments seem to point in the opposite direction. Here’s one observer’s possible scenario, following the recent summit at Sharm El-Sheik:

In the first days following the Gaza coup of the Hamas, it appeared as if no responsible power in the Middle East would acquiesce in the new situation. Hamas had broken the pledges of the unity government engineered by Saudi Arabia, massacred its Fateh rivals in the cruelest ways possible, and announced the formation of an Islamic regime…

President Hosni Mubarak, who hosted the Sharm summit, had originally called the Hamas takeover a coup. But Mubarak changed course. He threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, when he announced in his summation speech at the conference, that Fateh and Hamas must work together to restore Palestinian unity.

This was reiterated by an Egyptian spokesperson after Mubarak met with Saudi officials following the summit. So it appears that

…the Saudis and the Egyptians perceive that the Hamas and their Iranian and Syrian benefactors are in control, and that Abbas and his US supporters are no longer powers to be reckoned with in the Middle East. Nothing succeeds like success. Nothing fails like failure. Saudi Arabia made this assessment originally when it brokered the unity agreement, which forced Fateh to accept Hamas hegemony on their own terms…

The acceptance of the fait accompli in Gaza and the prospects of another “unity government” create a very dangerous situation for Israel. A likely scenario is that the Fateh government will get arms, support and recognition, as well as possible peace concessions from Israel. The flow of foreign aid to the Palestinian government (of Abbas) has resumed. At a certain point, Abbas will be forced to accept the hegemony of the Hamas in a new “unity” government, in a deal mediated by Saudi Arabia and possibly Egypt. Remarkably nobody in the US government seems to be concerned that client states Egypt and Saudi Arabia are busy sabotaging the last hopes for the US sponsored Middle East peace effort.

Once the unity government deal is consummated, the Hamas government will then have been foisted on Israel and on the quartet, who will find that they have given arms to the Hamas in effect, and made concessions to the Hamas, and that they are obligated to give foreign aid to the Hamas government. The roadblocks removed from the West Bank will enable the free flow of arms and terrorists and the solidification of Hamas rule. Abbas, weakened from within and abandoned and betrayed by his erstwhile backers will have no choice but to acquiesce in a renewed and very virulent intifada, and Israel will be faced with extremely unpleasant choices…

Ami Isseroff, ZioNation (the whole article is recommended)

Even murder and terrorism don’t disqualify a regime from international recognition and aid.

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Palestinian thinking is perverse — again

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

AP reports:

Iran’s potential acquisition of nuclear arms is favored by majorities in only Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Palestinian territories, a poll released Wednesday showed.

Iran has threatened to destroy Israel numerous times. If it were to use its soon-to-be-acquired nuclear weapons to try to do so there would be numerous Palestinian casualties, in the attack and the ensuing war.

When (I wish I could say ‘if’) Iran gets nuclear weapons, there will be great pressure on other states in the region — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, even Syria and Jordan — to acquire them as well. Such an arms race will divert resources from civilian use, and it’s hard to imagine that this won’t be a great hardship in places like Egypt, where the economy is not all that great to begin with. And if it should happen that these weapons are used…

Can you imagine three or four new nuclear states in the Middle East? What if somebody like Fatah al-Islam got hold of a weapon or nuclear material?

Nuclear proliferation in the region is bad for Jews, but it’s as bad or worse for Arabs.

I suppose that Pakistanis feel far enough away that the general principle of Islamic power overrides the fear that the weapons will be used. Maybe they feel protected by their own nuclear armament, or maybe they think that the only real threat to them comes from India. Whatever.

But the Palestinians are right in the cross-hairs. What are they thinking?

Do we even need to ask? Haven’t we seen time and again that Palestinian thinking is dominated by hate, anger, and bitterness to the point that they consistently choose self-defeating tactics and strategies?

It’s still more important to them to hurt Jews than to help Arabs.

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A phone call from Eichmann

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

As I wrote in the previous post, terrorism lives in a symbiotic relationship with the media. Terrorism works by creating fear (or some other more complicated emotion) in the target population — either the enemy of the terrorist or some other group that the terrorists want to influence — and then the target population acts in response to the emotions generated.

One example is the way the Madrid train bombing in March 2004 may have swung the immediately following general election against the Partido Popular of José María Aznar, which lost power as a result (either of the bombing itself , the PP’s handling of the affair, or both).

The broadcast Monday of the Gilad Schalit audiotape and the Alan Johnston videotape on Web sites linked to Islamic terror groups, and the impact the broadcasts have on the national agenda as their images beam around the world, attest to the fact that modern terrorists have adopted the mass media as their weapon of choice, say top Israeli media experts.

“The better the show is, the higher the ratings are. The higher the ratings, the more people receive the terrorists’ message,” said Eviathar Ben-Zedeff, a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, on Monday…

“The terrorists wish to influence three sectors: the enemy public, in this case Israelis; the wider international audience; and lastly, their own domestic audience. They want to cause fear among the enemy public, to make the international community understand that they constitute a crucial side in reaching an agreement and to receive money and support from their domestic constituents. These manipulations of the media are targeted to reach political success at the lowest cost. And it works.” — Jerusalem Post

Tuesday, Ahmed Yousef, author of the New York Times op-ed I wrote about in the previous post, actually called Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, during an on-camera interview with an Israeli TV station!

Can you imagine receiving a call from Eichmann to discuss your son’s health at Auschwitz? The combination of cruelty and real-time exploitation of terror to activate emotional forces among a population — in this case, the Israeli public, who Yousef hopes will pressure its government to release more prisoners, and more dangerous ones, in return for Shalit — is unprecedented.

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Freedom of the press — and responsibility

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

By Vic Rosenthal

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one — A. J. Liebling, journalist.

The New York Times owns several. And so do the Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, and other newspapers, which they used to print an op-ed by Ahmed Yousef, an advisor to Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh last week.

Big media organizations have an arrogance that comes with power. Presses (and tv/radio transmitters too) are expensive, and they dole out access according to their priorities.

My local newspaper will publish a maximum of one letter a month from me, not to exceed 200 words (assuming that they find it interesting and not objectionable). Hey, it’s their press.

But those who own large numbers of big presses also have responsibilities beyond their bottom lines.

When the spokesman for an organization with an explicitly antisemitic charter, a charter that explicitly calls for another genocide against the Jewish people, writes an op-ed calling for the destruction of a legitimate state, should his voice be amplified by the ‘responsible’ media?

Yes, he calls for the destruction of a legitimate state. Yousef writes:

Yet it remains that Hamas has a world in common with Fatah and other parties, and they all share the same goals — the end of occupation; the release of political prisoners; the right of return for all Palestinians; and freedom to be a nation equal among nations, secure in its own borders and at peace. For more than 60 years, Palestinians have resisted walls and checkpoints intended to divide them. Now they must resist the poisonous inducements to fight one another and resume a unified front against the occupation. — (no link, I own this press) [my emphasis]

If the Hamas covenant were not clear enough, it’s obvious from this that to Hamas the ‘occupation’ is not just the occupation of the territories captured in 1967, nor even the ‘occupation’ marked by the establishment of the state of Israel — it is the presence of Jews in what they consider their land, Muslim-only land.

Terrorism lives in a symbiotic relationship with the media. Groups like Hamas feed on media coverage. Giving them a voice is aiding and abetting them.

Thank you, New York Times, Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, and so forth. Sleep well.

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Who is Hamas?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

They are not random crazies. Not at all.

Thanks to Tom Gross of NRO and Tom Carew for pointing me to this:

Hamas was not using a random hit list. Every Hamas patrol carried with it a laptop containing a list of Fatah operatives in Gaza, and an identity number and a star appeared next to each name. A red star meant the operative was to be executed and a blue one meant he was to be shot in the legs – a special, cruel tactic developed by Hamas, in which the shot is fired from the back of the knee so that the kneecap is shattered when the bullet exits the other side. A black star signaled arrest, and no star meant that the Fatah member was to be beaten and released. Hamas patrols took the list with them to hospitals, where they searched for wounded Fatah officials, some of whom they beat up and some of whom they abducted.

Aside from assassinating Fatah officials, Hamas also killed innocent Palestinians, with the intention of deterring the large clans from confronting the organization. Thus it was that 10 days ago, after an hours-long gun battle that ended with Hamas overpowering the Bakr clan from the Shati refugee camp – known as a large, well-armed and dangerous family that supports Fatah – the Hamas military wing removed all the family members from their compound and lined them up against a wall. Militants selected a 14-year-old girl, two women aged 19 and 75, and two elderly men, and shot them to death in cold blood to send a message to all the armed clans of Gaza. — Ha’aretz

Carew remarks that Hamas did not actually ‘develop’ the kneecapping technique; that honor belongs to the Provisional IRA, who incidentally also pioneered the car bomb which has been employed so often by Hezbollah.

Read the Ha’aretz quote again and tell me about how we need to ‘engage’ with Hamas (as my local newspaper did last week).

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