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Maritime Media Spectacle Part Two

This week in Athens, Greece, blockade runners conducted a training session on how to thwart Israeli efforts to enforce their Gaza blockade. At the same time the Israel Navy conducted a simulation of all possible scenarios for the flotillas to run the naval blockage.

The Hope for Gaza

The IDF has permitted Gaza to receive the entry of construction material for two housing projects and 18 new schools. Starting last June, Israel cautiously permitted the entry of construction materials for 150 different projects in the Gaza Strip; this includes water and infrastructure projects as well as 42 United National Relief and Works Agency schools.

Chana Ya’ar of Israel National News indicated that:

“Until recently, materials such as cement, gravel and metals were on the “no go” list for import into Gaza due to the potential use by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the manufacture of weapons and the construction of smuggler tunnels and military bunkers.”

Meanwhile, according to Jerusalem Post:

“In related news, Israel Radio said that Israel was continuing its attempts to determine where the kidnapped Schalit was being held in the Gaza strip, sending out text messages offering $10 million for any information on the whereabouts of the hidden soldier.”

The article continues:

“An Egyptian source denied any progress in the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in regards to kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit who enters his sixth year in captivity this week, London-based al Hayat reported Wednesday. The source also told al Hayat that he had received a letter from Hamas with a message for Israel saying the Gazan group was willing to restart negotiations and even reduce the number of prisoners Hamas demands be freed in exchange for Schalit.”

The Beat Goes On

And the beat goes on. According to Human Rights Watch, Palestinian journalists are regularly “abused with impunity” (Reuters) by both the security services of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and his Islamist rivals Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian man sells newspapers in front of his shop in Gaza StripThe 35-page report cited reporters’ charges of arbitrary arrests, beatings and equipment seizures by government enforcers.

Ahh, yes, the Palestinians, the human rights victims of Israel’s abuse, poised for new statehood. New reforms by the International Monetary Fund allow the Palestinian Authority to reduce its dependence on foreign aid for its regular budget, from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2010, and now, less than $1b for 2011.

Fatah in the West Bank, the governing part of the Palestinian Authority denies the accusations of abusing journalists.

Meanwhile, Fox News correspondent, Jeniffer Griffin and her husband, Greg Myre have a new book called, “This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” In the book, Griffin talks about when her colleague, Steve Centanni of Fox News and Olaf Wiig a cameraman from New Zealand, were kidnapped on August 14, 2006 by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City by the Holy Jihad Brigades.

In another story, al-Arabiya claims 1 of 2 people killed in a strike in Sudan was senior Hamas military commander; the Sudanese FM says the fatal hit was “absolutely an Israeli attack” and meant to keep Sudan on the U.S. list of terrorism sponsors, rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, provoking the attack. Also, Sudanese and Iranian weapons were seized en route to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Rumble in the Strip

The Obama administration commended the progress of Palestinian security services.
In a statement last Sunday, the U.S. State Department said:

“The program has witnessed increased coordination of activities amongst international donors, and is achieving notable progress on security, justice, corrections, and other new fronts…”

The statement marked a visit to the Middle East, last week by William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state, responsible for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the American department running the training program for Palestinian Authority police.

Obama has been urging Israel to cede more authority to the Palestinian security services, in that it would boost Palestinian confidence, pushing the peace process into progress.

Meanwhile, Israel is pressing the United States as well as certain governments in Europe to pressure Mahmoud Abbas not to establish a unity government with Hamas, who is centered in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas is calling for new Palestinian elections within six months, though he says they cannot be held unless residents in the Gaza Strip participate. Hamas declines to hold elections in Gaza unless there is a reconciliation deal.

Meanwhile, on earth, Israel thwarted an attempt by Gazans to launch an anti-tank missile at an IDF force in northern Gaza. Also on Tuesday, a Kassam was fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Last week Israel suffered the worst rain of mortars fired from the strip in two years – upwards of fifty mortar shells landed.

The IDF responded with an attack causing three or four unfortunate casualties and successfully hitting all targets. Two terror tunnels, two weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, and two additional sites.

All this, though, before a bomb in a bag exploded next to a bus in Jerusalem, causing 39 injured Israelis and one 60 year old woman, killed.

The Jerusalem Marathon, set to take place Friday at the site of the terror incident will happen as scheduled.

Palestinian Unity Government

A unity government is being formed between Hamas and Fatah representatives. It is to be headed by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, and will include members from both factions, as well as independents.

Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, along with a number of Hamas leaders, have acquiesced the new plans. Under the conditions for the unity government, Hamas may continue ruling in the Gaza Strip, so long as it abstains from the use of violence.

Previously, Hamas approached the offer with suspicion. One of the group’s leaders, Salah al-Bardawil said “Fayyad does not represent the Palestinian leadership” and that due to his lack of legitimacy, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority is “not authorized to speak about public affairs.

However, in recent days, the ice has begun to melt. Mahmoud a-Zahar, a Hamas leader in Gaza says he is open to the deal; and according to Israel Radio, Fayad says he is willing to go to Gaza to discuss further, the unity deal with Hamas. Also, Nabil Shaath, a top official in the Fatah Party, told The Associated Press that he would go to Gaza soon to negotiate with Hamas leaders to work out the terms for a unity deal.

Meanwhile, two Grad-model Katyusha rockets hit the southern Israeli town Beersheba for the first time since Operation Cast Lead. The rockets fell in a residential Beersheba neighborhood; one rocket landing in the yard of a home, causing large damage. No physical injuries were reported but five people were treated for shock.

Last Wednesday afternoon, an explosive device detonated while IDF soldiers passed near the Gaza security fence during a routine operation and a mortar shell was fired at the force. No one was injured and no damage was reported.

Along with the border skirmish, five mortar shells fired from Gaza landed in the Sedot Negev Regional Council area on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a strange flipflop for American President Obama, was instructing the U.S. representative to the United Nations to veto the Security Council resolution, last Friday, that would have condemned Israel’s West Bank settlements as illegal.

Walk Like an Egyptian

On Saturday, Palestinian women hit the streets of Gaza City to celebrate the ousting of Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, calling the event a “victory of Egyptian youth.”

Egyptian women read Egyptian Today newspaperOf course, when the news of the toppling of Mubarak broke, Hamas leaders were quick to urge Egypt’s new leaders to lift the blockade of Gaza.

Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, urged Cairo to “immediately” open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

One idea:

If indeed Egypt’s coastal blockade of Gaza is now over, why not merge the Gaza Strip and Egypt into one Arab nation.

Meanwhile, the top US military commander will visit Israel and Jordan on Sunday and Monday to reaffirm American support following the Egyptian revolution.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, will begin his trip in Amman, Jordan where he will meet with King Abdullah II and his Jordanian counterpart, Lieutenant General Meshaal Al-Zabn.

Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby said:

“He will discuss security issues of mutual concern and reassure both these key partners of the US military’s commitment to that partnership”.

Once in Israel, Mullen will hold talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres as well as the country’s military leaders.

With Satan In The Driver’s Seat, Peace Is Nowhere To Be Found

Jerusalem, nay, the Middle East is a place where everyone thinks they have authority over the ‘other-guy’, yet the situation is proverbially out-of-control.

Led by Hezbollah member, Raed Salah, the Northern Branch-Israeli Islamic Movement has demanded all Mezuzot be taken off the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Salah said:

“This is a disgusting attempt to Judaize the Arab and Islamic heritage of the old city…and all Islamic institutions are called upon to act quickly to remove the Mezuzot.”

(Judaize the Jewish State? I don’t know you guys!)

Spokesman for the Al-Aqsa “institution” Mahmoud Abu Atta, says:

“The only religion who owns Jerusalem is Islam…The old city of Jerusalem to the Arabs forever.”

Jerusalem Little Kotel Meanwhile, in a different part of the Old City, the Jerusalem Development Authority opened its Muslim Quarter site – ‘Little Kotel‘ – to Jewish prayer. Scaffolding was removed from under an arch supporting Palestinian homes.

According to the Ateret Cohanim Website, students at Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim pray every Friday in the courtyard, where no disturbances a have been recorded in recent years.

This move does not come in response to Palestinian groups last month claiming the Western Wall is not a Jewish holy site, and instead, is sacred to Muslims.

And then, in an unrelated story, Gaza’s health sector seems to be on the verge of collapse due to a lack of medicine.

Medical care, said Medhat Abbas, general director of the Ash-Shifa medical complex in Gaza City, must be separated from political disputes.

Gaza’s Health Ministry has blamed its counterpart in Ramallah for a shortage of medicine in the Strip. Health Minister of Hamas, Bassem Naim, said Gaza was lacking 40% of basic medicines which he accused the PA of withholding.

Meanwhile, Israeli spokesman, Ofer Gendalman, warned Hamas to stop firing projectiles into southern Israel.

Dozens of projectiles have been launched from Gaza at Israel since the start of 2011. The launches have been the work of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the National Resistance Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Islamic Jihad.

Palestinian Areopagitica II

Journalists

The international press freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders, has claimed that Palestinian journalists are victims of:

Palestinian journalists

“Collateral damage in the years-long conflict,between the Fatah and Gaza factions. In both Hamas’ Gaza Strip and Fatah’s West Bank, journalists are participators in a depressing and desperate game of ping-pong.”

The Reporters Without Borders piece paid special attention to Palestinian journalists held in unlawful detention, urging politicians for their release.

In august, Ahmed Fayadh of the aljazeera.net news website, part of the Palestinian media opposition to Hamas was beaten by Gaza police.

In late October, 26-year-old atheist and blogger Walid al-Husseini was jailed in Qalqilya in the West Bank for “blasphemy against the Prophet and the Koran.” al-Husseini also, prior to his arrest had created a Facebook page called, “Allah.” On it he wrote poetic stanzas imitating Quaranic verses.

Here is a piece from the young man’s blog, “Nour Al Akl” or The Enlightened Mind:

“My dear visitors, I am seeking the truth. In my writings, I am not trying to twist facts to the favor of my arguments. I am just posing questions that many of us do not dare to ask and I urge you to be honest with yourselves while attempting to find the answers. We are not two parties at war against one another. We will not be dragged into a futile attempt to prove who is the fittest by discrediting each other. If someone can refute my arguments and prove the fallacy of my logic, I will listen and respond rationally. I will not mock his opinions or manipulate words to prove my points. I am not an enemy of Islam or Muslims; after all, we are all seeking the same thing – the truth. To be more precise, I know I am not the Muslim’s best friend. I am not against Islam in particular, I am just a human being who is tired of watching the world collapse around us because of religions and religious strifes. It is ironic how Islamic scholars contribute such wars and destruction to the lack of faith. My dear believer, I urge you to use the brains you were given to seek your own truth instead of lazily relying on the misleading pacifying translations and interpretations of others. I have faith in you! I know you will not settle for fake half truths that were clearly manipulated to serve the best interest of those who promote them. I hope you are a truth seeker not just someone who is looking for a validation for what he believes to be the truth.”

Politicians

Hamas-FatahOn Monday, Fatah accused Hamas of preventing their leaders in Gaza from traveling to the West Bank to attend a party meeting.

Mediators have been talking with Hamas about permitting the members of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council to travel to Ramallah “and there has been no positive result, ” said Faissal Abu Shahla, a Gaza-based council member.

For the third time this year, Hamas rejected travel requests to the nine members who are currently in Gaza, Abu Shahla told Xinhua.

Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, elected in 2009, will meet Tuesday to discuss the peace talk stalemate with Israel and other issues. President Abbas will chair the meeting.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

While the PA attempts to convince the world that they are ready for skyscrapers, country clubs and an Imax theatre, Egypt will host a set of negotiations between Fatah and Hamas leaders to determine a solution to the ugly, ever-widening schism between them.

Previously, the meeting was to be held in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on October 20th. However, the scheduled timing was delayed due to Hamas’ rejection of a Fatah request to hold the negotiations in a different Arab country.

Meanwhile in Gaza, citizens suffer from a lack of electricity, casting much of the strip into a daily eight-hour blackout.

“The lack of electricity is largely due to a protracted disagreement between Gaza’s Hamas government and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank over who will pay the territory’s electricity bill, estimated at more than 80 million shekels ($21 million) each month.”

Reported Liam Stack of the Christian Science Monitor,

“Both Hamas and Fatah accuse each other of corruption and of mishandling tax revenue and international aid, all to the detriment of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents.”

Meanwhile, senior Hamas official, Ismail Haniyeh has compromised Sharia Law which he holds his people to under pains of imprisonment and worse. He has crept into the Hamas whiskey supply and taken to the mega-phone, assuring that there is no de facto war against Israel brewing:

“I don’t think that there is a war knocking at our doors because the Israeli enemy was taught a great lesson…”

He is referring to Operation Cast Lead of 2009, in which the IDF killed at least 1,400 Palestinians as a response to a constant rain of rocket attacks on Israel and the still-missing soldier, abducted in 2006, Gilad Shalit.

In a recent interview with Ynet, IDF commander Eyal Eisenberg warned that the next war on Gaza would be “more painful, complex, and powerful.”

Palestinian islamic Jihad Joins Forces With al Qaeda

WikiLeaks recently revealed that “Iran developed camera-equipped suicide vests for al Qaeda’s attacks on US troops under the instruction of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Center in Tehran.”

Now Islamic Jihad’s “Jerusalem Brigades” in the Gaza Strip have been equipped with the same SVIED (Suicide Vest Improvised Explosive Devices) and have transferred some to al Qaeda cells in the territory.

The suicide vest is fitted with miniature cameras enabling the bomber to monitor and relay images of an on-coming attack before it reaches target. This enables the bomber to stay in touch with his command every step of the way and to obtain images of the environment he is entering.

Reportedly, Iranian proxy, Islamic Jihad which has now entered a de facto fraternity with Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaeda are a “thorn in the sides of the Hamas rulers.”

“Jihad commanders are training the al Qaeda squads in the use of the novel suicide weapon of exactly the same type as Iran gave al Qaeda in Iraq and are joining them for missions against Israeli targets across the Gaza border.”
Hamas has warned the Jerusalem Brigades to cease cooperation with al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip or else their training facilities and weapons caches will be destroyed.
The Islamic Jihad sent back a two-arm reply:
* Any members carrying out attacks on Israel by firing rockets, planting bombs or using explosive vests without explicit instructions from their commanders will be expelled from the Islamic Jihad and ostracized.
*Jihad leaders are ready for dialogue with Hamas, provided that its fighters are attached to the Hamas special force known to the IDF as the “Hamas Covert Unit,” which was recently established to keep random missile fire against Israel in check.

Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami al-Filastini, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was founded in 1979 by Fathi Shaqaqi and other radical Palestinian students in Egypt who split from the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip whom they saw as too moderate. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran influenced Shaqaqi, who believed the liberation of Palestine would unite the Arab and Muslim world into a single great Islamic state. Today they still stand steadfast in their objective to create a state by annihilating Israel.

The Viva Palestina and “The Siege”

On October 21, 243 truckloads of food, fuel + construction materials legally entered the Gaza Strip via Karni & Kerem Shalom Crossings under the auspices of the IDF.

In yet another attempt to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, after five weeks on the road through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria, the Viva Palestina 5 aid convoy finally entered Gaza also on October 21. The convoy was made up of almost 150 vehicles, 370 people from 30 different countries and $5 million of aid. The activists are expected to spend three days in Gaza to hand over the aid, conduct a number of visits and hold meetings with government officials.

The Gazans were thrilled to greet the envoy.

Meanwhile, according to an op-ed piece by right-wing political critic, Orna Shimoni in Ynet, Stanley Fischer, honored as the world’s best bank governor and governor of the Bank of Israel, is the “main party who exerts pressure in favor of fund transfers to Hamas. He is the one who saved the terror group from collapsing, continues to rehabilitate it, and also prevents the collapse of Gaza Strip banks.”

Orna Shimoni went on to say that since the Bank of Israel took over in Gaza in 2007, 80% of the billions of dollars have been transferred to Hamas to finance arms smuggling.

Hamas succeeds in raising funds from certain propaganda activities in Western Europe and North America. In 2003, US intelligence estimated that the militant group had an annual budget of $50m – a number that has surely increased over the years.

The organization also operates in European countries and the United States, mainly among the Palestinian population, by conducting fundraising – through charity associations and foundations, building hospitals and schools in the Gaza Strip, and funding terrorism in Israel – Dawa activity.

According to WorldTribune.com: Hamas approved a $540m budget for 2010, the lion’s share of which came from Iranian aid.

The State of Jewish Settlement, Gush Katif, today:

The Viva Palestina:

The Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip circa 2010:

Walking on Water

The Israeli Government and the IDF coordinated the delivery of a variety of Humanitarian Aid and Development Assistance to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, whose dire situation is actually questionable and whose peaceful disposition is a fallacy.

The month of August saw a 41% increase in the net volume of truckloads entering Gaza, together with the ongoing discharge of the new policies approved on June 20th.

These are including the establishment of a Joint Project Coordination Team between COGAT and the PA, which has already overseen various development efforts.

In addition there has also been a near doubling of the capacity for imports via the Kerem Shalom Crossing since the month of May.

Gaza aid shipTuesday afternoon, the Irene yacht carrying nine activists from the United States, Israel and Britain – which intended to single-handedly break the Gaza naval blockade was docked at Ashdod Port after being intercepted by the Israeli Navy. Thank God there was no violence.

Despite opposing pressure and the grilling of senior officials throughout the summer the Jewish Country insists that the objective behind the blockade is simply to prevent arms smuggling into the Hamas-run territory.

Since the end of Operation “Cast Lead” in January 2009, 500 projectiles – rockets and mortar shells – have been fired from Gaza at civilian targets in southern Israel.

The Islamic Jihad newspaper, Palestine Today explained that unlike other vessels and flotillas, Hamas has been

“Ambivalent at best towards the entire idea of this particular pseudo-aid ship…”

Therefore you can bet that Israel coordinated aid to the Gaza strip is a lot more effectual than silly Turkish yachts full of anglo-speakers, if what you have in mind or heart is actually the civilians.

A Thought On Zionism

On a side note, I would like to bring to recollection today a few recent instances of Israel demonizing.

Remember when Helen Thomas said this to Rabbi David Nessenoff?

Q: Any comments on Israel?

HT: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Polish.

Q: So where should they go, what should they do?

HT: Go home.

Q: Where is the home?

HT: Poland. Germany.

Q: So you’re saying Jews go back to Poland, Germany?

HT: And America and everywhere else.

And within the same week wrote this on her website:

“I deeply regret the comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

Oh and when Jimmy Carter wrote that book, “Israel: Peace Not Apartheid” and then months later told the Anti Defamation League this:

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,”

Continuing:

“As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so…”

Well, right wing Hollywood hunk, Mel Gibson too apologized for his drunken anti-Semitic rant five years ago.

If indeed Zionism is virtuous – the world will not receive apologies from the Jewish Country when nine incognito Turkish Jihadist posing a pantomime peace activism are killed on board the Mavi Marmara.

Nor can Richard Goldstone squeeze out guilt or remorse from the IDF concerning “Operation Cast Lead”.

The answer?

One party is propelled by survival and the other by anti-Semitism.

Virtue does not regret its actions. Virtue does not apologize. And a Jewish State which fights for its survival is virtuous.

Jihad and the Jews: A Guide to the Peace Talks

For those without a press pass or the time and patience to filter through every tidbit of information available to the public concerning the Middle East tango – you’ll at least want to follow the upcoming peace talks between Palestinian, Israeli and American politicians and think-tanks with a bit of a recent background scoop.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently released this statement:

“I think this is a most fundamental question and I believe, without wishing to really prejudge what will happen in the next few days, the next few weeks, we are approaching that moment of reckoning…Some questions really need to be answered…There is not really a whole lot of time to waste…”

The Palestinian Plea:

A state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with East Jerusalem as the capital.

Some background:

A poll was recently taken by the French press about the Palestinian population’s general consensus on the matter.

Here is what they came up with:

91% of Arabs in the Palestinian homeland – that is from the Jordan to the Mediterranean – believe that an official Palestinian state is “essential” or “desirable.”

94% of Palestinians in Jerusalem, (both east and west) believe that the city should belong to a Palestinian state.

86% of Palestinians are in support of the use of violence to the creation of a state. (“the use of violence is essential for 36.7% of respondents; desirable for 18.7%, 16.8% acceptable, tolerable for 14.0%”). On the other hand, according to deduction, 13.7% of Palestinians are opposed to violence.

Here is what Israel has done recently to concede with Palestinian demands and the demands of those behind the Palestinian cause:

In the West Bank…

Since the beginning of 2010, sixty roadblocks have been removed, leaving sixteen checkpoints remaining open.
Road number 443 has opened for Palestinian traffic.

There has been a 50% increase since 2009 of permits issued to enter Israel.

In the beginning half of 2010, there has been a 15% increase for Palestinian patients receiving medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. 82,058 of these permits were issued and 14,675 of which were issued for children.

There has been an 11% increase of the number of trade permits issued for entry to Israel. In the beginning half of 2010, 22,910 trade permits were issued, in comparison to 20,503 trade permits which were issued in the first half of 2009; and 500 additional permits were issued to merchants to enter Israel.

There’s been a 78% increase in vehicle imports to the West Bank in the first half of 2010 in contrast to the first half of 2009.

There was a 2.7% increase in the al-Quds stock market index for the first half of 2010, and this while unemployment decreased by 3% in the first quarter of the year.
3,000 housing units were built for a brand new Ramallah district city.

6 Palestinian Security Forces battalions and 150 civil defense personnel were coordinated for special training in Jordan.

There have also been regular joint meetings between heads of the Palestinian Security Forces and the IDF Central Command. In addition to this, there have been joint Israeli and Palestinian police and firefighters’ meetings.

According to the official IDF spokesman Twitter feed:

“In 1967, 80% of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria not connected to water network. Today, 90% connected to water grid.”

According to the official IDF blog, in Hamas controlled Gaza:

“During the week of 22nd – 26th August 2010, a total of 1,074 truckloads (24,288 tons) of humanitarian aid and development assistance for the local civilian population and 1,697,598 liters of diesel fuel entered the Gaza Strip.”

And

“Between June and August, the capacity of the Kerem Shalom Crossing was expanded by 210%, facilitating the daily entry of up to 250 truckloads of goods for humanitarian and development projects throughout the Gaza Strip.”

For a chart of Arab Public Opinion of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, click this

Israel Lays Down Some New Tracks

According to United Press International, an Israeli railway line in Samaria will lead on to the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Transport Minister Yisrael Katz made the plans known at a meeting early in the week with supporters of Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

The track begins in Rosh Ha’ayin, near Petach Tikvah in Israel via Ariel to Nablus in the West Bank – and then between Ramallah and Latroun in the West Bank and Israel, respectively.

There passengers could catch a connection to the main line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Another railway track will also be built between Jenin and Beersheba in Israel’s Negev desert.

Katz declared his wishes to construct train tracks between the Gaza Strip and Yad Mordechai in southern Israel, as well, where passengers may link up to the West Bank railway line or other lines in the Jewish Country.

Israel Railway, according to Haaretz, has invested more than $700,000 in the framework stages of the initial section of the line between Rosh Ha’ayin and Nablus.

The train will link the historic Valley Train to Haifa and the Jerusalem line.

The Valley Train, inaugurated in 1905, once ran from Haifa to Damascus in Syria where it linked up with the Hejaz Railway to Medina in the Arabian Peninsula.

AREOPAGITICA

palestiniansThe separation of the Gaza Strip’s Hamas government and the West Bank’s Fatah led Palestinian Authority has caused more than a few fundamental symptoms of a serious schism. One such symptom is the Freedom of Press.

42-year-old Hamato Samir was the editor of the newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadida, based in Gaza. He had reportedly encountered problems working with a colleague believed to have links with Fatah – and was consequentially let go. Hamato is the father of seven children and also supports his parents. Al-Hayat al-Jadida which is sponsored by the PA is now banned in Hamas’ Gaza Strip.

Head of the Press Information Ministry in Gaza, Marouf Salama says that it is only ethical to allow a free-flow of Fatah press filter into Hamas-run civilization, such as Palestinian TV, as long as the PA allows the free flow of Hamas-sponsored press into Fatah territory, such as al-Aqsa TV or the West Bank newspaper, al-Risala. Ghassan al-Khatib, director of the PA Press Office in Ramallah says that Hamas has yet to fulfill their end of the bargain.

A man named Sahar al-Aqra is another example of Palestinian journalists being harassed by the Hamas regime. Two weeks ago, he was denied the right to enter into Egypt via the infamous Rafah crossing. Wanting to go to Egypt to study at a post-graduate level, his passport and identity card were seized at the checkpoint and torn. He was accused of being affiliated with Keith Dayton, the United States military general, sent to the West Bank to train military units and security forces loyal to Abbas.

Stay tuned for more schismatic and fascist showdowns in the unoccupied territory.

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