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Tag: Palestinian Authority (page 2 of 3)

Heart of a Lion!

Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, suffered a heart attack while visiting the United States for his son’s college graduation. An independent, Fatah recently joined forced with Hamas, who on April 28th had insisted on Fayyad’s departure.

Palestinian Prime MinisterThe Palestinians are demanding an end to Israeli occupation. The creation of a state recognized by the UN and the EU. The Palestinians are inspired by the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring is inspired by the need and desire of a middle class in Arab countries. Fayyad wants this for his own people, who live under occupation, whose economy is in shambles, yet he sends his son to university in the United States instead of one of the many Palestinian places of higher education.

The choices for a Palestinian with such opportunities to study in their own country are as follows:

In the Gaza Strip there is Al-Aqsa University, University College of Applied Sciences, Al-Azhar University, Al-Quds Open University, Islamic University of Gaza, Universal Studies Academy, Palestine Technical College, University of Palestine, Gaza University.

In the West Bank there is, Arab American University, Al-Quds Open University, Al-Quds University, An-Najah National University, Bethlehem Bible College, Bethlehem University, Birzeit University, Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Hebron University, Ibrahimieh College, Khodori Institute and Tulkarm Palestine Polytechnic University.

Meanwhile, Fayyad is recovering and is expected to leave the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, later this week.

His spokesman says:

“Fayyad felt strong chest pain on Sunday and went to the hospital to be tested. He says Fayyad suffered a heart attack while in the hospital. Zakout says tests showed a blockage in a coronary artery. Doctors performed a catheterization to open the artery.”

Fayyad, a heavy smoker, has been prime minister since 2007. The political independent could lose his job as a result of a recent reconciliation agreement between political rivals Hamas and Fatah.

Fayyad studied at the American University in Beirut, Saint Edward’s University, and the University of Texas in Austin, where his son goes.

Abbas Does New York

I appreciate the spirit of freedom and independence but many modernist Islamist politicians are unrealistic when it comes to the situation with Israel; and the New York Times is an outlet for such figures to preach their hatred and prejudice. Ironically, the Palestinian territories are famous for their media censorship and abuse of journalists.

On April 20th, Abdullah Gul, President of Turkey, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he cited the “Arab Spring” as a tangible socio-political trend toward democracy and modernity in which Israel is both the cause of all Middle East turmoil as well as the feet-dragger in the great Middle East Revolution:

“The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region and is being used as a pretext for extremism in other corners of the world. Israel, more than any other country, will need to adapt to the new political climate in the region. But it need not fear; the emergence of a democratic neighborhood around Israel is the ultimate assurance of the country’s security.”

Mr. Gul’s country is one where blood libel accusations are aimed at Israel and prime-time television airs television shows in which IDF soldiers are fictionally portrayed murdering children.

While many Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, unified under the Palestinian Liberation Organization, curse the United States and stomp on the red, white and blue flag of the leaders of the free world, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, has taken a more diplomatic approach. He too has written an op-ed in The New York Times – a publication that is among the most syndicated print media outlets in the world.

“This month… as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.”

Wrote Abu Mazen:

“Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater.”

The fact remains, and Abbas later in his article admits that the Palestinians could have had a state in 1947 but refused one. Why? So they could create war without a state in the name of freedom from oppression. This is more affective. This is the stunt. Had they now a “state,” recognized by the UN, though, on the borders they now have, it would be a pariah state. One that makes war with Israel – and is still, despite the strange Fatah/Hamas merger government, at war amongst themselves.

Abbas wrote:

“We have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and have embassies and missions in more than 100 countries. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have indicated that our institutions are developed to the level where we are now prepared for statehood. Only the occupation of our land hinders us from reaching our full national potential; it does not impede United Nations recognition.”

However, in a pluralized Israel, where Arab Muslims thrive and hold seats in Knesset, it seems strange that an “occupation,” which he cannot define, but surely refers to the settlements, is some kind of hindrance to a state that would be an ethno-cracy.

Abbas wrote:

“The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.”

However, Nakba day, was not peaceful. Several Israeli policemen were wounded by Palestinian stone throwers.

Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to release tax transfers to the Palestinians despite the Hamas-Fatah unity pact; after finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said they would be withheld.

Let’s Wait and See

Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of the J Street Lobby told the Jerusalem Post Israel should be patient with the newfangled Palestinian Authority, jointly ruled by a new Fatah-Hamas unity government.

“Jumping out to say either this is a terrible thing or good thing is in our opinion not the wisest move, and the real question is, what this new alignment really going to stand for and what is it going to do, and that we don’t know…”

In other words, perhaps Hamas, who commenced last week, as Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in Commentary Magazine, by mourning the death of Osama bin Laden, will now reform their violent jihadist reputation. Let’s wait and see.

This does not paint Ben-Ami as a total idiot. Thomas L. Friedman accused Israel of being ingrates to their American big brother when calling off the east Jerusalem and West Bank building moratorium, instead of giving the PA, just two more months. Let’s wait and see what happens.

While Abbas was meeting with Netanyahu, Mubarak, Clinton, Obama and others last summer, Hamas commissioned 13 Palestinian militant groups to sabotage the peace talks.

On August 31, 2010, 4 Israeli settlers, including one pregnant woman, were shot dead by Hamas militants while driving on Route 60 near the settlement Kiryat Arba.

Back up. After Hamas won elections in 2006 after the Gaza Strip was ceded out by Israel, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas’ co-founder did not rule out the possibility of acquiescing a “temporary two-state solution,” however, that same sentence was followed by the declaration of his dream of, “hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it.” In the same year, Ishmael Haniyeh, Hamas’ chairman said Hamas was willing to declare a truce which could last up to 20 years, however, “Hamas will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.”

Article 7 of the Hamas charter gives the following citation attributed to Mohammed:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

Article 22 declares the French revolution, the Russian revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists:

“You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.”

Article 32 of the charter says:

“Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion…”

Ben-Ami forgot to consider that Hamas is still considered by the American government, aside from being some kind of cohort of Jimmy Carter, a terrorist organization. They are blacklisted as a terrorist organization by, the UK, Jordan, Japan, Australia, Canada and the European Union.

There has been no mention by J Street of the almost constant rain of rockets in 2011. Throughout 2010, over 235 Grad missiles, Qassam rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian targets.

To trust anything Ishmayil Haniyeh or anyone affiliated with Hamas says would be like trusting Syrian President, Bashir al-Assad, when he says missions to stop uprisings and emergency laws have been called off.

Let’s wait and see.

The War on Terror Chapter Two

Of Hamas

Last Tuesday, Fatah and Hamas signed a preliminary unity deal with Hamas and 11 other factions in Egypt. This happened one day after Hamas mourned the eradication of Osama Bin Laden. A formal ceremony is held this Wednesday.

Khaled Mashaal, the number one leader of Hamas who has been living in Syria since his exile from Jordan last year, arrived in Egypt on Sunday as Fatah and Hamas for meeting concerning the new unity government.

Islamic Jihad as well as other terrorist organizations were present for the signing; President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, sent a representative for the preliminaries. He is scheduled to arrive for the formal signing ceremony Wednesday.

Mashaal’s deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk, told reporters:

“We won’t recognize the Zionist entity. Our rights are still usurped and it’s illogical for us to recognize the Zionist entity because that would be at the expense of our stolen lands and our people in the refugee camps…Most of the Arab countries don’t recognize Israel, and yet they continue to deal with the international community…”

Osama bin LadenMeanwhile, Hamas are not the only local yokels denouncing America’s execution of Osama bin laden. Israeli MK, Ibrahim Sarsoor, of the Arab party, Ra’am Ta’al, called the assassination a murder.

In a statement to the press he said:

“The mixing of Arab and Muslim blood into election campaigns in the U.S. and Israel is no longer uncommon…Anyone who follows the cycle of blood and elections in American-Israeli culture in the last ten years will see it clearly and without a doubt….I cannot rule out that the murder of Bin Laden was the start of Obama’s election campaign for a second term, especially in view of the fact that the Republican majority in Congress is waiting to pounce on him over his political steps on both foreign and internal affairs…The murder of Sheikh Bin Laden must cause us to pause and consider not only the event itself, but also what stands behind the action, so that we raise the hard questions whose time has come.”

The New York Times reported Hamas’ mourning of Bin Laden; but an Israeli Arab MK? well…

“The Arab nation has taken its first steps toward its second independence through the revolutions against the oppressive regimes…The West in general and the US in particular should learn the lessons as soon as possible. Even if it murders jihad leaders and spills the blood of pure innocents in Arab and Muslim countries, topples regimes and replaces them with ones more loyal to it, the US will not succeed in changing the feelings of hatred of our nation toward it, especially on the Palestinian question.”

Sound like extreme Muslimism? Vitriol, almost? Repeated attempts to block Sarsoor’s, Ra’am Ta’al, party from running in the Knesset have been blocked by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Osama bin Laden’s regime, al Qaeda has networks around Israels’ borders in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. Al Qaeda cells based in the Gaza Strip carried out many armed attacks launched on the Gaza-Israeli border and Jewish civilian locations. For instance, the murder of Italian pro-Palestinian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, on April 14 was an “operation” commanded by an al Qaeda operative from Jordan named, Abdul Rahman al-Briziti.

Counter-terror sources at DebkaFile revealed that Al Qaeda’s units:

“Are ensconced in the southern, central and northeastern sectors of the Gaza Strip: The southern cluster is based in the northern and southern districts of Khan Younis, a town of 220,000 inhabitants 4 kilometers east of the Mediterranean coast and 1.5 kilometers from the Israeli border…A second group more or less controls the town of Deir al Balakh, a town of 150,000 in the central region. A third is embedded in the Zaitun and Nuseyrat districts of Gaza City.”

Debkafile’s counter-terror sources reported that:

“These Al Qaeda operatives have built themselves at least six fortified villas in those three locations. Like the Abbottabad villa-fortress where Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday night by a team of US Seals, the Gaza villas have top security and dominate the surrounding skylines…The success of the American, Israeli and Egyptian agencies in foiling a major terrorist attack in Sinai was played down by Washington and Jerusalem, conduct that deserves an explanation in the new anti-al Qaeda climate.”

Hamas’ de facto head honcho, Ismayil Haniyeh, was the only Muslim leader in the world to “bluntly condemn” the United States for killing Osama bin Laden.

Ismail al-Ashqar, a Hamas lawmaker, described the long-awaited capture and execution as “state terrorism that America carries out against Muslims.”

DebkaFile reported that:

“In private conversations, Hamas leaders confess that they really do regard the United States as the worst and most blood-stained oppressor of Middle East Arabs, aside from Israel. Despite their ideological differences, they genuinely regard Al Qaeda and its fighters as heroic mujahedin and prized allies.”

On Wednesday, May 4, Khaled Meshaal will fly into Cairo from the Hamas headquarters in Damascus to meet Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and concertize a unity pact.

Of Egypt

Meanwhile, Egyptian Finance Minister, Samir Radwan, has been quoted saying the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty, which in post Mubarak Egypt does not “obligate his country to sell natural gas to the Jewish State.”

In an interview with a local newspaper during a visit to Kuwait last Sunday, Radwan stressed that gasoline prices must be updated and adjusted to the price levels of the global market, regardless of whether the exports go to Jordan, Israel, Syria or Spain.

Of Osama Bin Laden

A Kuwaiti man called Abu Ahmad is reportedly the inadvertent source that led the United States to the al Qaeda mastermind’s hideout Last July.

The DailyBeast reported:

“CIA operatives tracked the man while he was driving a white Suzuki in Pakistan.Eventually, the courier led them right to the sprawling mansion where bin Laden had been hiding. The most recent cache of WikiLeaks files related to Guantanamo Bay turns up Ahmad’s name several times. The Kuwaiti is linked closely to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a key planner of the 9/11 attacks. It’s not clear whether he was at the compound during the raid.”

In 2003, the American government released pictures of Saddam Hussein’s dead sons Uday and Qusay Hussein, however, only after their bodies had been worked on by a mortician. The United States is debating whether to release the photos of a dead Osama bin Laden in order to squash rampant conspiracy theories. The haste with which the corpse was thrown into the sea seems strange to many inquisitive citizens.

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.

Tohu Bohu in the Middle East

Who’s up for a game of Middle East Twister?

Monday night, residents of Gaza shot a volley of powerful mortar shells and Grad rockets at the western Negev. One rocket hit Ofakim and one landed in Netivot, almost hitting a Jewish wedding celebration, where a “Color Red” rocket alert system sounded. Four were treated for shock and one vehicle was damaged.

The Eshkol Regional Council reported a mortar attack originating from Gaza – the shell, thank God, landed in an open area.

protestor holds up Mubarak's face with Star of David painted on his foreheadThis attack on Israel is impressive given the fact that Hamas police were busy trying to prevent their own from demonstrating in solidarity with the Egyptian pandemonium.

Gazan activist, Asma al-Ghoul, said she and a small group of protesters gathered in central Gaza City Tuesday when police stopped their peace demonstration. Police detained and beat some demonstrators. Al-Ghoul was accused by female police of being a “bad Muslim” because she did not cover her hair.

The New York-based Human Rights watch called on Hamas to “stop arbitrarily interfering with peaceful demonstrations about Egypt or anything else.”

Gaza MilitantsThe PA in the West Bank also put the lid on a protest to buttress the chaotic civilian-operation to oust Mubarak. The police out-numbered the Palestinian civilians, 3-to-1. Protesters were shoved and were threatened with clubs. Police, in classic Fatah fashion, prevented journalists from filming or photographing the action.

Mahmoud Abbas canceled local elections in 2009 when it appeared Fatah would lose to independents.

The Palestinian Authority has not actually held elections since 2006; PM Salam Fayyad, however, said he will set the date for a vote next week.

Jordan’s King Abdullah after weeks of opposition protests inspired by regime ouster in Tunisia and turmoil in Egypt, names his former ex-military advisor Marouf Bakhit as new prime minister with orders to carry out ‘true political reforms.

Biden Tell it like it IS:

Perception and Statehood

The blues are catchy, I know. Usually, make me wanna take out my harmonica and blow along with the poetry of oppression. Usually, but not today. Not here. Not in the Middle East, where hope is still alive.

Palestinian stateExcuse me for being a party-pooper, but isn’t it time Palestinians quit singing sorrow-songs and instead celebrate statehood? Forgive a cliché, but the Palestinians are faced with a glass of water filled to the half-way point. Is this glass full or empty? If they say it is empty, they may never have a nation like the other ones they see on the map; and alas, they will have their own greed and pessimism to blame. If they say it is full, they can march in a parade and proudly wave their flags high.

The anti-Israel vibration is a hypnotizing drone of murmurs, cries, actions and vindictive sneers. Though, it would not behoove the Palestinian’s self-interest to become entranced by it. That would be self-defeating. Why instead don’t the Palestinians count their blessings; measure their power? They might be pleasantly surprised by what they find.

Today the Palestinian Authority has political factions with domestic and foreign recognition. They have a president and a prime-minister. They have a treasury, banks, schools, colleges, hospitals and mosques. The Palestinian Authority is divided into sixteen separate geographical parts, each under its own sovereign governance. And I shan’t forget to mention the Palestinian soccer team!

All of the above are qualities of a state, which, for all intents and purposes, yield ‘stateness’ or ‘statehood.’ In fact, the Latin word for ‘idea’ is ‘forma’, the same as the word for ‘form’ in Latin and almost the same as the word for ‘form’ in English. Therefore, if the idea of a state has been resembled, well, you’ve got yourself a formal state. Indeed, the Palestinians possess all things resembling a ‘state.’ They have, in this sense, and perhaps in any true sense, achieved, ‘statehood.’

Last week, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, announced their recognition of the Palestinian state. I can understand frustration by the Israeli government, and most of the time, when they are feeling frustrated, I am too. Though, not this time. This time I smiled to myself and silently said, “It seems as though the Palestinians have finally, albeit unilaterally, achieved statehood.”

In August of 2011, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salaam Fayyad, plans to declare his country’s independence. When he does this, he will have achieved just that: independence, in the truest sense of the word. An independence which cannot be defeated by other country’s pretending such a declaration never happened, or by any military occupation. Even without such an official declaration and the inevitable consequence of angry cries by Israel and perhaps the United States because their peace-talks failed, the Palestinians already possess, ‘statehood.’

The big question is as follows: will this – such a declaration – be good enough for the Palestinians? Are they willing to, at this point, take their half-filled glass of water and declare that it is half-full? Or will they continue singing sorrow-songs and beating down their own self-esteem; fanning the flames of violent Jihadist insurrection in future generations, which will get their cause, nowhere, but thrown back down the stairs of statehood.

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.”

Cry Baby Cry

Now would be a great time for Israel to declare peace with the Palestinians. And a good enough time as any for Palestinians to declare statehood.

So I’ll do my part: “Peace with the Palestinians.” This does not change anything. As if extending a settlement freeze by two-months would ensure peace in the region. What would Fatah do with two-months? How about ten months? Time enough to plant more olive trees? Print more flags? Jews started construction on 600 new homes in the West Bank since the moratorium was jettisoned last month (with the help of Palestinian workers, ignoring the PA’s boycott). That is Jewish integrity.

Nevertheless, PA PM Salam Fayyad is headstrong. He sees Jewish integrity and it sparks a flame on his tongue; his game of semantics is putting words in the world’s mouth. He said:

“The deadline is next summer, when the Israeli occupation of the West Bank must end…In 2011, we will celebrate 66 years of the United Nations and the United Nations will celebrate the birth of our nation.”

He said that Palestinians

“need to build national institutions in the West Bank and prepare for an independent Palestinian state…The people of Gaza must be involved in our national project…There are gaps between us, it’s true, but the real gap is the wall that closes off the Strip. Next week, I will try to enter Gaza.”

He may enter Gaza; it will not protect Palestinians under Fatah from Hamas. It would not stop the flow of Iranian military-grade armaments from Nigeria to Hamas in Gaza. Or any similar activity.
Fayyad said that he will give Israel “one more year of grace…but these colonies can no longer be there. They are illegal everywhere; here and Jerusalem…If it is true that Israel is interested in peace, it must block the settlers.”

If it is true that the Palestinians want peace they will make more of an effort to condemn Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. They will see Jewish integrity and it will inspire them. Thomas Friedman recently said on an interview with Channel 2 in Israel something like: Netanyahu expects the PA to learn the words to “HaTikvah” in perfect Yiddish. Well, Mr. Friedman, what would be wrong with that?

Someone said recently that Israel views UN advice, such as extending the moratorium as mere recommendations. Are they, in actuality, anything but mere recommendations? And ones which show a lack of understanding and empathy for Zionism at that!

The best thing Israel can do for the Palestinians, at this point, is to set an example by its ingenuity and integrity. When the Palestinians learn these positive traits, they will see progress towards real statehood. Until then, Fayyad is a crybaby.

See you in 2011…

Two Cases of King Lear

According to the Palestinian Authority, the main obstruction to building a real Arab state, I mean one with large outdoor festivals, power-house industries, world-class universities and hotdog stands are the Jewish Settlements.

The PA is serious this time: jettison the moratorium – no state.

Which really means no end to terror on Israeli and world citizens, or just an end to the peace discussions?

The Palestinian Authority, as part of its boycott after Netanyahu cried, “game on!” on West Bank construction, is telling Palestinians to quit their jobs in the settlements by the end of the year.

But Mr. Abbas, where else will your people find work?

Some 25,000 Palestinians are employed in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

When the freeze ended on Monday, less than a dozen builders and surveyors went to work in Geva Binyamin, a settlement of 1,300 families eight miles north of Jerusalem. Tragic.

In the village of Hussan near Bethlehem, one Palestinian builder named Ali spoke of the employment benefits he finds in the end of the ban on Jewish building in Samaria,

“What difference does it make?” he said, “We have lived with Israelis and we will have to live together in the future. I’m pleased that I will be able to make a living…”

Meanwhile, the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan has written a letter to the head of the UNRWA and to Arab donor nations cautioning about the shortfall in the UNRWA budget, and the danger posed to Lebanon and Syria.

While the fact remains that the majority of so-called “Palestinian refugees” in Jordan are in fact Jordanian citizens, the Hashemite kingdom insists on:

“Keeping the Palestinian Arabs crammed into these miserable camps under UNRWA control rather than integrate these citizens into Jordanian society.”

The meaning behind the danger of reducing the UNRWA budget is that, as the letter expressed “these UNRWA camps are meant to keep the issue of Palestinian refugees alive.”

On the other hand, in 1950 Israel provided Israeli citizenship to the members of UNRWA refugee camps in the new state and within a couple of years the camps perished, as the refugees became self-supporting members of Israeli society!

Gaza 2010

There are those in the world that are obsessed with pointing out the oppression and the struggle, and are quick to add fuel to the fire. There is little chance they would want to show these pictures.

In general people tend to always look for the dark side and the “ongoing struggle” that must go on. Maybe it sells better. But when no one was looking this happened…

Gaza 2010..
Take a good look. This is worth preserving and growing. This is what it can be like all over the PA.

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.

PRACTICAL PALESTINE POLICY: Pushing Pragmatism Under the Magic Carpet

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research has conducted a new poll which revealed that the vast majority of Arabs who are living under the American-backed Palestinian Authority are opposed to attempts by the PA to prevent them from working construction jobs in local Jewish communities.

This was brought to Western attention last winter in the first laps of the settlement freeze by publications such as The Christian Science Monitor and OneJerusalem.com – that is the sheer lack of pragmatism behind the freeze.

The Palestinian Authority prohibition on working in Jewish communities, such as the boycott of local Jewish products, was essentially designed to augment the effect of the 10-month settlement freeze forced down the Middle Eastern throat by one US President, Barack Obama last September. The catch is that a high percentage of Arabs living under the Fatah-led PA earn their livelihoods, sometimes solely from local Jewish construction projects.
Therefore, as writes independent Israeli reporter Avi Yellin in the IsraelNationalNews.com

“They have been some of the most unrecognized victims of the politically-motivated building freeze…”

In addition to the cruel scarcity of construction work – that is the main source of income for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, which has resulted from the US-imposed building freeze, the PA boycott on Jewish products is being ardently enforced by PA security forces. Troops trained by United States Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, have been working to furrow out Arab merchants suspected of violating the boycott.

According to the poll, conducted between June 10 and 13, the vast majority of Arabs in Judea, Samaria and the Hamas-controlled Gaza region are opposed to being kept from working construction jobs in Jewish towns. Contrary to the staunch song sung by the press portraying Palestinian nationalists set on driving Israel from Judea and Samaria, the majority of Palestinian Arabs just want to provide food for their families.
According to the poll, the majority, that is 60% to 38% of all Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza oppose the prohibition. Deducting ancient Gaza, where Jewish citizens may no longer roam, support for the ban drops to 34% percent.

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