Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The international-forces idea is a sharp departure from the widely admired principle that Israel does not rely on foreigners for its defense and only wants to be able to handle it alone. This doctrine yielded massive U.S. military assistance and political backing for Israel.
Once Israel changes its approach and starts asking for foreign troops to defend all its borders, the perception of Israel may well also change - from asset to burden.
Rethinking America's "Grand Strategy" for the New Palestinian Authority
[P]ursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian "political horizon" may in fact run counter to the interests and preferences of both sides. Instead, investing in an Arab-Palestinian political horizon - including early negotiation on the outline of an eventual Jordanian-Palestinian confederation - may be more realistic, valuable, and effective.
So far, the [US] administration has responded with its previously failed policy...
[I]t is unclear why Washington would want to busy itself with an empty exercise that distracts from the important business of fixing the problems that produced the current situation.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Nora Boustany
In a troubling report on the execution of minors in Iran, Amnesty International said Tuesday that at least 71 child offenders are on death row and more than 24 have been executed since 1990, more than in any other country.
The report, "Iran: The Last Executioner of Children," said 11 of the child offenders executed were younger than 18 at the time of their deaths.
Increasingly, one hears that the disaster is the consequence of Israeli [or American] policies. It is necessary to insist, therefore, that the primary responsibility for Palestinian actions falls on Palestinians.
For many decades, the world has clamored for Palestinian self-determination. Well, Palestinian self-determination is here for all the world to see.
The Palestinians have lived for decades on a sense of historical entitlement. The world owed them a state...
-Morris D. Davis
The facts show the current alternative is worth keeping.
[T]he demands that we throw in the towel in Iraq, their attempts to constrain the president’s freedom to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the proposal of the Baker-Hamilton commission that we appeal to Iran to help extricate us from Iraq—all of these may be read by the [Islamic] radicals as signs of our imminent collapse. In the name of peace, they are hastening the advent of the next war.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The final fall of Gaza to Hamas puts the whole question of Palestine and the Palestinians into a new perspective.
Palestine was never anything of special importance to the Arabs or to the larger orbit of Muslims.
When the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine was passed, envisioning a "Jewish" state and an "Arab" (not, mind you, Palestinian) state, even the idea of a separate Arab realm was met at best with a yawn. Though almost no Arab wanted Jewish sovereignty in any of Palestine, virtually no Arab seemed to crave Arab sovereignty, either.
He said the officers received money from Hamas in exchange for transferring information...
Monday, June 25, 2007
Israel to Release 250 Fatah Prisoners - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
Prime Minister Olmert, in a surprise gesture intended to strengthen PA Chairman Abbas, announced the unilateral release of 250 Fatah prisoners. Olmert said he would release frozen PA tax revenue...
Olmert also said he acceded to Abbas' request to continue to supply Gaza with electricity, water, medical services, food and drugs.
The Anti-Hamas Alliance Gathers - Khaled Abu Toameh
Abdel Bari Atwan, the Palestinian editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, said Monday's summit was part of an unprecedented effort to create an Israeli-Arab alliance against Hamas. He said the new alliance was the first step toward confronting the bigger threat: Iran and its major Arab ally, Syria.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Had Israel acquiesced to the U.S. plan several months ago when it was first brought up by Secretary of State Rice to allow truck convoys to connect Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas would have been well-positioned today to complete its conquest of the West Bank as well.
In Israel, Palestinians Tell of Hamas Butchery - Fadi Eyadat and Mijal Grinberg
"Hamas has money and weapons for the next 20 years. All the youngsters want to join it," [a Palestinian patient in an Israeli hospital] said.
Zecharia Alrai, 39, an officer in Fatah's Force 17, had been abducted by four Hamas gunmen who shot three bullets into his leg. "How ironic that Israel is rescuing us from our Muslim 'brothers,'" he said.
What Failed in Gaza Won't Work in the West Bank - Editorial
If "supporting Fatah" is now the Administration's policy, we are in for rougher times ahead.
Fatah's troops were routed last week despite being better armed and far more numerous than Hamas. Why the same recipe that failed in Gaza should now work in the West Bank is anyone's guess.
(Wall Street Journal, 21Jun07)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The bloody anti-Fatah putsch staged by Hamas constitutes a strategic black eye for the U.S. and another sign of the Tehran-Damascus Axis project[ing] power...
Washington and the Europeans are discussing a resumption of aid to the PA, but to what end? [H]ow do we know that money going to Abbas won't "trickle down" to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades...
It's time for some serious congressional oversight hearings about the continued usefulness of U.S. assistance to Abbas.
Fatah Isn't the Answer - Michael Oren
[Funding Fatah] ignores every lesson of the abortive peace process to date as well as Fatah's monumental corruption, jihadism and militancy.
Though Fatah originally aspired to replace Israel with a secular state, it refashioned itself in the 1990s as an Islamic movement, embracing the lexicon of jihad.
Abbas has never disavowed the al-Aqsa Brigades, a Fatah affiliate responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks against Israeli civilians.
PA soldiers will perform no more credibly than they did in Gaza. Abbas will continue to denounce terror while ignoring the terrorist units within his own organization, while PA imams will persist in preaching their jihadist sermons.
Security [in the West Bank should] be jointly administered by Israel and Jordan. The Jordanian involvement is crucial to convincing Palestinians that the status quo of occupation has ended. Such an arrangement will benefit Jordan as well, by facilitating its efforts to fight radicalism and stem the flight of Palestinians over its borders.
(Wall Street Journal, 20Jun07)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
[T]he masked men of Fatah have the run of the West Bank while the masked men of Hamas have their dominion in Gaza. Some see this as an improvement, envisioning a secularist Fatah-run state living peacefully alongside Israel...
It’s always tempting to look for salvation, but in this case it’s sheer fantasy.
The Palestinian ruin was a long time in coming. No other national movement has had the indulgence granted the Palestinians...
We must not overdo the distinction between the “secularism” of Fatah and the Islamism of Hamas. [T]his is really a distinction without a difference.
Arab poets used to write reverential verse in praise of the boys of the stones and the suicide bombers. Now the poetry has subsided, replaced by [silence]...
Palestinian society has now gone where no “peace processors” or romantic poets dare tread.
Graphic credit: Anthony Russo
"West Bank First": It Won't Work - Robert Malley and Aaron David Miller
Having embraced one illusion - that it could help isolate and defeat Hamas - the Bush administration is dangerously close to embracing another: Gaza is dead, long live the West Bank.
Time to Postpone the "Political Horizon" - Dennis Ross
Pushing for an objective that is demonstrably not achievable now is not going to enhance our already shaky position in the Middle East.
(Wall Street Journal, 19Jun07)
Rice Announces Return of Direct Aid to Palestinian Government
The U.S. is lifting financial and diplomatic restrictions on the PA and will donate $40 million to UN programs serving the Palestinian territories, Secretary of State Rice said Monday. "The [Fatah] Palestinian government, rejects the path of violence," Rice said.
Monday, June 18, 2007
The cult of violence that has typified the Palestinian movement for much of its history has been tolerated and often celebrated by the international community. If Palestinians now think they can advance their domestic interests by violence, nobody should be surprised: The way of the gun has been paying dividends for 40 years...
A society that has spent the last decade celebrating suicide bombing has inevitably become a victim of its own nihilistic impulses. It is the bitter fruit of Yasser Arafat...
(Wall Street Journal)
A [Hamas] spokesman appeared on Palestinian television and announced the “end of secularism and heresy in the Gaza Strip.”
Shortly after, a group of militants stormed the Latin Church and the adjacent Rosary Sisters School in Gaza City, reportedly using rocket-propelled grenades to blow through the doors.
After gaining entrance, the rampaging jihadists burned every Bible and destroyed every cross they could get their hands on before setting both buildings alight...
In a scene reminiscent of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, Hamas militants uprooted a cement statue from a public square in Gaza City because they said it violated Islamic laws...
Some fear that elements within Hamas may go so far as imposing a dress code on women in Gaza.
Hamas activists broke into a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza, stole its contents, and set on fire an adjacent monastery. They also attacked a school for nuns.
(News First Class-Hebrew)
"Christians Must Accept Islamic Rule" - Aaron Klein
Christians can only continue living safely in Gaza if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza said.
(World Net Daily/Ynet News)
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Hamas' most spectacular attack was the detonation of a one-ton tunnel bomb under a Fatah security headquarters in Khan Yunis. The ambush, which was apparently weeks in the planning, killed at least six and appeared to give Hamas control of the strategic southern town.
Hamas taking control of Gaza has terrified its secular residents, who fear that Islamist rule will be imposed.
UPDATES: June 15, 2007
Arabs Fear Spread of Gaza Conflict - Lee Keath
"Gaza is steadily turning into a failed mini-state," wrote Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "And in failed states, extremism breeds and spreads."
Arab states fear a Hamas-run Gaza could become a power center for the group's allies Iran and Syria.
Fundamentalists Threaten Israel from All Sides - Con Coughlin
Hamas is trying to replicate Hizbullah's success in Gaza, not a pleasing prospect for Israel, which now faces the threat of having two Iranian-backed, Islamic fundamentalist organizations dedicated to its destruction camped on its northern and southern borders.
Hamas Takeover in Gaza Makes Defining Targets Easier for IDF - Yaakov Katz
Some Israeli defense officials said there was reason to be thankful for Hamas' takeover of Gaza. Prior to this, Israel had to distinguish between Fatah and Hamas gunmen in Gaza and make sure that Abbas loyalists were not targeted. Now, all gunmen are Hamas and therefore fair game. "
"Hamas is a clear and defined enemy, and that means that when we decide to respond it will be easier than before, since all their buildings are now targets, as is anyone walking around with a weapon."
From Gang Wars to Delegitimization - Editorial
Most of the Palestinian people and all their many Arab supporters find this, an act of juvenile political immaturity at best, and depraved criminality at worst. Whether these gunmen think they are acting in the name of God or a nationalist revolution is beyond any reasonable credibility, because their actions in recent months have deeply scarred the powerful authenticity and legitimacy of the Palestinian cause.
The Consequences of the Civil War in Gaza - Shmuel Rosner
After Ariel Sharon pulled Israel out of Gaza two years ago, Israel didn't get the security it wished for; the daily shelling of Israeli towns continued and even intensified.
However, he did succeed in transforming Gaza from an Israeli headache into a Palestinian problem.
Hamastan - Barry Rubin
Unwilling to make peace and uninterested in governing well, Fatah dug its own grave. Why should anyone be surprised that Hamas replaced it?
Let's get this straight: There is no near-term solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. There is no Palestinian side with which a compromise agreement can be negotiated. Western and especially U.S. policy must get beyond an obsession with solving this conflict. It is going to go on for decades.
Hamas will not be persuaded to moderate - why should it when it expects victory at home and appeasement from Europe? Hamas is the enemy, just as much as al-Qaeda, because it is part of the radical Islamist effort to seize control of the region, overthrow anything even vaguely moderate, and expel any Western influence.
It is time to support Israel proudly and fully. Israel has done everything possible for peace, taking great risks to do so.
(Wall Street Journal, 15Jun07)
Hamas Seizes Weapons Provided Under U.S. Plan - Khaled Abu Toameh
Fatah officials confirmed that Hamas had seized large amounts of weapons and military equipment belonging to Abbas' security forces in Gaza. Some of the weapons were supplied to the PA in recent weeks by Egypt and Jordan as part of a U.S. security plan to boost Fatah-controlled forces.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Hamas was on the verge of completing its conquest of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, with positions in Gaza City remaining as the only significant bastions of Fatah resistance.
Fatah sources said Tuesday they believed Hamas was seeking a decisive victory in Gaza.
Hamas Is Staging a Coup in Gaza - Danny Rubinstein
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas says Hamas is attempting to stage a coup. Hamas' military drive seems to have been meticulously planned in advance...
Hamas' Gaza and Fatah's West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh
The entire Gaza Strip is likely to fall into the hands of Hamas.
Civil War / Hamastan, Fatahstan - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
Anyone in Israel still contemplating the question of a Palestinian partner might also need to do some rethinking.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Whether it's in the best of taste to like Jews better when they're in concentration camps than when they're in their own country I leave to less interested parties to decide.
But if anti-Semitism is repugnant to humanity, then it is no less repugnant to humanity to single out one country for your hatred, to hate it beyond reason and against evidence, to pluck it from the complex contextuality of history as though it authored its own misfortunes and misdeeds as the devil authored evil, to deny it any understanding and - most odious of all - to seek to silence its voices.
For make no mistake, this is what an intellectual boycott means. We silence you. We will not let you speak.
Few could have predicted the scale of the backlash to the University and College Union's resolution to boycott Israel. Tony Blair phoned the Israeli prime minister to reassure him that the motion did not reflect wider public opinion. In Israel, MPs began drafting a bill to label British imports - allowing consumers to stage their own counter boycott. In the U.S., 2,000 American scholars - including at least nine Nobel laureates - have vowed to stay away from any event from which Israelis are excluded.
British Journalists Union Abandons Israel Boycott - Stephen Brook
The UK's National Union of Journalists will take "no further action" on implementing the controversial resolution to boycott Israeli goods and services.
Florida became the first state in the nation Friday to have a law that its pension fund dollars cannot be invested in companies doing business with Iran's energy sector and [genocidal] Sudan.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Lieberman said much of the action could probably be done by air, although he would leave the strategy to the generals in charge.
"[T]hey can't believe that they have immunity for training and equipping people to come in and kill Americans," he said. "We cannot let them get away with it. If we do, they'll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home."
Friday, June 08, 2007
(New York Sun)
It is pointless even to think about structuring new accords with Arab societies that are relentlessly marching toward various stages of radicalism, Islamic or otherwise. It would not help, and it would not hold. As for Israel, going forward with more unilateral evacuations, as in Lebanon and Gaza, has only liberated land for terrorist operations.
(New York Sun)
Today, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have replaced the Arab states as claimants to the territories that Israel captured and that have been disputed since 1967. Who would suggest placing the holy sites of Jerusalem under Hamas, whose ideological cousins are attacking churches and mosques across the Middle East?
(New York Sun)
The term "al-Qaeda franchises" [describes] the business of the modern jihad industry. Like a franchise, these al-Qaeda cells are locally owned and operated. They are fully responsible for picking targets, training, smuggling and all of the day-to-day business of jihad.
The franchise home office only provides the overall flavor, guidance and a few secret ingredients.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The Palestinians are in the early stages of their "civil war," and it's impossible to know where it will finish - though one could make a decent guess that in these early rounds, Hamas will win and the illusion of a Palestinian partner for peace will end.
The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel - David Horovitz
Why are Palestinians still living in refugee camps in Gaza when there is no Israeli presence there?
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Since 9/11, it has been far more difficult to get a visa to enter the United States if you are a citizen of a country considered a terrorism concern. But it is not difficult for a Pakistani, for example, to enter Mexico or another Central American country from which he can get to our border relatively easily, cross it and blend in.
By upholding Fatah, Bush blocked all possibility that an alternative, liberal and democratic Palestinian leadership could emerge. The same pattern has held in Egypt.