A voter registration office was opened in the Gaza Strip by the political rivals Hamas and Fatah last week, bringing the region one step forward toward presidential and parliamentary elections. These are set to happen later this spring, and we could see once more the two rivals pit against each other in a democratic process. But as this step is taken, and Palestine moves toward yet another election, will this really change much of anything in the region? Will peace prevail? It’s hard to see that as a likely outcome with everything that goes on behind the scenes.
We all recall how the last elections went. In 2006, Hamas won the elections, and it took a year until they managed to get control over Gaza, which they had to wrestle by force. Meanwhile, nearly the whole world considers them as a terrorist group, because of a multitude of attacks on civilians, which they say were provoked by Israel military forces.
Meanwhile, Israel isn’t sitting by, and is arresting any member of Hamas it can find, accusing them of being terrorists, some of which were actually planning to be delegates in the coming election. Tensions aren’t any lower than they’ve been in decades, and while a few people actively work toward peace, there’s a lot of anger in the air. Regardless who wins this election, once again it won’t be done without violence, that much is certain. History is very plain, and tends to repeat itself, especially when it comes to this region of the world.
On the one hand, if Hamas wins, then the situation will be the same as in 2006, with few countries recognizing them as a legitimate organization, and few people willing to let them take power without violence. On the other hand, if Fatah wins, it will be hailed by the world as a victory for peace, which will anger Hamas and they are unlikely to sit still, prompting once again more violence. The situation has been going on for decades, and there seems to be no solution in sight.
Imposing peace has never worked without a strong military presence behind, and everyone is careful not to appear biased or to provoke the anger of the world powers. As a result, the same things keep happening, with Israel trying to bring some order to what they consider their lands, prompting retaliation strikes on civilian populations, which in turn brings more violence. It’s a circle that won’t be broken by yet another round of elections.
Overall, it’s still nice to see a peace process go forward, and this action of a new voting booth should be applauded. But in reality, it’s unlikely to change much at all.
With the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in February, Israel’s relations with Egypt have been turned on their head. It is a game of waiting. Will a treaty between Egypt and Israel hold? Will Muslim Brotherhood take more than 50 percent of Parliament seats? If yes, does it mean direct threat? Imminent danger for the Jewish State? Is everything going to be alright after all?
Ahead of legislative elections, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has reportedly joined forces with 17 Egyptian political parties â€“ both liberal, secular and religious alike â€“ to concretize a mutual platform. Involved in the joint platform are such political parties as Brotherood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the more liberal Wafd party, the leftist Tagammu and the brand new Salafi (Muslim Fundamentalist) Noor party.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces â€“ which took the governmental reins after Hosni Mubarak was ousted â€“ has set the parliamentary elections for a date in September.
Despite these signs of modernity and democracy from the Brotherhood, Chairman Mohammed Badie held an interview on Egyptian television, indicating as Caroline Glick paraphrased:
“That the Brotherhood will end any thought of democracy in Egypt by taking control over the media. Badie said that the Brotherhood is about to launch a public news channel,” committed to the “ethics of the society and the rules of the Islamic faith.”
Mr. Badie recently said in an interview:
“Mubarak tries to black mail Obama by using Muslim Brotherhood name to remain in charge of on going chaos. All 1.57 billion Muslims are part of Muslim Brotherhood excluding Mubarak, he is member of Israel Brotherhood, he can go Israel and live there.”
Jerusalem Post in February reported Badie saying:
“Asked on CNN if his organization would support the maintenance of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Mohamed Morsy, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, dodged a direct answer but said Israel had failed to honor the treaty. He said it would be up to the Egyptian parliament to decide on the fate of the treaty, and that the parliament would reflect the will of the people.”
Glenn Beck will be holding a major rally in Israel in August.
He said recently:
â€œThings in Israel are going to get badâ€¦itâ€™s only a matter of timeâ€¦They are going to attack the center of our faith, our common faith, and that is Jerusalem. And it wonâ€™t be with bullets or bombs. It will be with a two-state solution that cuts off Jerusalem, the old city, to the rest of the worldâ€¦It is time to return inside the walls that surround Jerusalem and stand with people of all faiths all around the world.â€
The event will be called â€œRestoring Courage,â€ a spinoff of last summer’s â€œRestoring Honorâ€ rally held on 8/28 in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, last Sunday, Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX devoted an entire service to honoring the Jewish State. Pro-Palestinian protesters got the scoop and showed up at the service, planting themselves in the audience, and standing to shout anti-Israel messages.
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.
Mashaalâ€™s deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk, told reporters:
“We wonâ€™t recognize the Zionist entity. Our rights are still usurped and itâ€™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 campsâ€¦Most of the Arab countries donâ€™t recognize Israel, and yet they continue to deal with the international communityâ€¦”
Meanwhile, 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 uncommonâ€¦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 doubtâ€¦.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 affairsâ€¦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 regimesâ€¦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 borderâ€¦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 skylinesâ€¦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 â€œstate terrorism that America carries out against Muslims.â€
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.
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.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, two months ago, forced out of office by rioters, says he is willing to cooperate with any investigation to prove he did not own property abroad or posses foreign bank accounts. He recalls for me the misunderstood King Lear.
Mubarak said in a recent speech:
â€œI was hurt very much, and I am still hurting â€” my family and I â€” from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my (political) stances and my military historyâ€¦”
Former President Mubarak, who with his family has been under house arrest at a presidential palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since his ouster insists he only possessed a single account in an Egyptian bank and held property only in Egypt. He said he would agree in writing to allow the prosecutor-general to contact other countries to investigate whether he or his wife, Suzanne, owned any accounts or property abroad.
â€œI agree to authorize the prosecutor-general in writing to allow him to contact, through the Foreign Ministry, all countries in the world to prove to them that I and my wife agree to show any accounts or properties I have possessed starting from my military and political career until now to prove to the people that their former president only owns domestically according to previous financial disclosure.â€
Meanwhile, in Egypt:
“Egyptâ€™s security forces shot and killed at least two protesters and wounded dozens before dawn Saturday in an attempt to disperse peaceful demonstrators spending the night in the capitalâ€™s iconic Tahrir Square, officials and witnesses said. The crackdown was the most brutal since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11 and since the military started running the country.”
“And in a page that could have been taken from Mr. Mubarakâ€™s manual, the military also asserted that the protesters had been infiltrated by ‘thugs’ and ‘outlaws.'”
She reported, however:
“The Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptâ€™s best organized political force, which had endorsed the protest on Friday, issued a statement on Saturday under the heading, ‘The Army and the People Are One Hand,’ a popular chant among protesters when they were calling on the military to take their side during the revolution.”
Good for Lebanon. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Beirut on Sunday to protest their country’s sectarian political system.
Copping a sentiment ubiquitous now throughout the Middle East, protesters chanted, “the people want to bring down the regime!”
According to Reuters:
“Lebanon is governed by a delicate power-sharing system to maintain the balance between the country’s many sects. It is unlike many other Arab countries where protests have been against rulers who have governed for decades.”
Actually, you’d have to say Lebanon’s government is still a work in progress. Backed by Iranian proxy, the Shia group, Hezbollah, Najib Migati has taken his place at the helm of the Cedar Republic â€“ so we know who really wears the pants in that family.
The country suffered a 15-year civil war ending in 1990 and killing 150,000 people. Then in 2008, after Israel crushed the Lebanese infrastructure as a reaction to Hezbollah terror on the Jewish State, sectarian violence broke out anew.
The organizers of the recent protest handed out a leaflet explaining their demand “secular, civil, democratic, socially just and equal state” and calling for an increase in the minimum wage, as well for price slashes on basic goods.
As protests continue throughout the Middle East, such uprisings have unseated the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia â€“ with Libya teetering on Civil War if Muammar el-Qhadaffi does not step down.
A few months ago, a WikiLeaks cable divulged that Lebanon defense minister gave advice to Israel back in 2008 on how it will be possible to defeat Hezbollah.
The memo quoted Elias Murr telling US officials that areas under Hezbollah control would not be defended by Lebanese forces:
“If Israel has to bomb all of these places in the Shia areas as a matter of operational concern, that is Hezbollah’s problemâ€¦”
The minister also warned that an Israeli drone on Lebanon should avoid hitting Christian areas:
“Murr told us that Israel would do well to avoid two things when it comes for Hezbollahâ€¦One, it must not touch the Blue Line or the UNSCR 1701 areas as this will keep Hezbollah out of these areas…Two, Israel cannot bomb bridges and infrastructure in the Christian areasâ€¦”
Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, gave a 100 second video monologue on Thursday on the JPost website, emphasizing that “Israel wants to be joined in this region by democraciesâ€¦” Certainly, when the United States went after Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, the great dream was for democracy throughout the Middle East. However, Israel and the United States that facilitated the surrender of Gaza certainly failed to amplify the great cry for democracy in Egypt, until her citizens decided the time for revolution is now. Where were Obama and the other democracy superheroes when putting Mubarak at the helm of negotiations between Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Netanyahu? And Israel is supposed to listen? To halt construction in its own capitol?
This is not to call Horovitz a left-slinger, or one who is not an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood; he is an expert. I was just taken aback by his relaxedness. Visible on the cover of the Herald Tribune, one day, in the midst of chaos in Tahrir Square, when the outcome was still unknown: was a sketching of Hosni Mubarak with a Star of David on his forehead, in the tradition of the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.” What could justify such vitriolic art? Because of a peace treaty with Israel? Is peace so bad? What exactly does Egyptian democracy have in mind? Hopefully it won’t threaten the lives of millions of Jewish children!
When CBS correspondent, Lara Logan, was assaulted by a mob of Egyptians for 20 to 30 minutes, the attackers cried, “Jew! Jew!” Lara Logan is not Jewish. Nor does a political upheaval in the name of democracy justify the thrashing of a foreign journalist.
What is missing is a pattern. The Muslim Middle East, today, is without form, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Beautiful, perhaps. But one cannot pretend they see form or pattern where clearly there is none.
What is more dangerous, the lack of democratically-run governments; or the anti-Jewish leviathan of extreme Islamism? For Obama or Israel to side with “democracy,” means nothing, unless the intention is to create a dangerous bog of extreme Islamism that threatens Jews, which is what a “democracy” run by the Muslim Brotherhood, would be; or, to put it fairly, risking Israel.
The government in Israel is running smoothly. Why not sit back and enjoy this show that is devoid of form and pattern. Like visitors at a modern art museum.
“â€¦In its formative decades the government of Israel was almost indistinguishable from the party of Labor.”
Wrote Time Magazine’s Karl Vick of Ehud Barak’s departure from Labor.
“David Ben-Gurion, the new nation’s equivalent of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson rolled roughly into one, headed both the party and the government it largely populated.”
Proving his inability to separate Israel from his own United States of America, he compared the formation of the Jewish State to the American colony’s secession or better, coup d’etat from Great Britain, because Barak compared his departure from Labor and formation of an independent faction to Ben-Gurion’s historied Labor departure. This journalist is like a child who misbehaves because of some adult activity, unrelated to his own: a window breaks in the house, mom yells, so the kids pees on the carpet and screams. When the child grows up, he learns to deal with the wild energy like an adult. No call to ring America’s Freedom Bell here Mr. Vick.
With Labor’s pull from Netanyahu’s inter-Knesset support league, the coalition’s majority in the 120-member Knessent falls to 66 from 74.
Isaac Herzog, Binyamin, Avishay Braverman, Ben-Eliezer and the rest of the Labor bongos can finally stretch their legs in the back seat with Barak out of the driver’s seat, Herzog said:
â€œThe Labor Party, which founded the State of Israel, got rid of the hump on its backâ€¦Ehud Barakâ€™s masked ball is over.â€
Nay, the Palestinian’s masked ball is over!
Einat Wilf, one of four Labor members who will join Barak in the brand spanking new Independence faction said:
“I donâ€™t belong to the camp that believes Israel is solely responsible for the failure of these [last summer in Egypt and America] negotiationsâ€¦The Palestinians bear responsibility for not entering the talks. Some people have sent them a message to wait around for a new government.”
The other Labor babies to join Barak are Matan Vilnai, Shalom Simhon and Orit Noked.
The Independance faction will be “Zionist, Center and Democratic…”
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.
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 â€“ such a declaration â€“ 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.
It is not important how I vote. I feel that all political parties in Israel have positive and negative aspects of their platforms, from which one can draw from to shape their own political agendas and ideologies. My own political outlooks, which I shall stray from arrogantly disclosing, are a healthy amalgamation of what ideas are available.
Be they Arab astronauts, Zionist settlers, Peaceniks, Tamini, Ethiopian or Tibetan Messianic Jews from China, the members of a democracy such as the State of Israel, should keep an open mind to all of the views and opinions flowing freely through the Knesset and the media. This is how one becomes educated in an ever-shrinking pluralist community.
So without stating my own personal political convictions, I propose to my open-minded, intelligent and gracious readers the following question: Is it just me, or has Shas, in the last year, gone absolutely mad? Really. It is embarrassing.
The party’s platform is as follows:
Israel is the Jewish people’s state and Jewish identity must be preserved when it comes to decision-making, while curbing moves that see “a country of all its citizens” emerging.
Shas does not call for a state based on religious law, rather, “a state with a Jewish soul” where Jewish character is preserved within state laws.
Every diplomatic question on the agenda has Halachic answers. These are to be determined by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Shas pledges to set objectives for minimizing unemployment and rewarding employers; assisting women and sectors that need support; and forming a socioeconomic convention in order to create a common denominator for all market forces.
Shas will work to integrate Jewish tradition into the education system.
When Carlo Strenger of Haaretz and Tel Aviv University, earlier this year, mentioned in one of his columns, Israel’s systematic oppression of Sephardic Jewry b’Eretz, he was kidding. He was testing the nation’s public’s intelligence and, and, and sanity! Right Dr. Strenger? Because if he wasn’t he was fueling a dangerous fire: the very same fundamentalist bullshit which is poisoning the Shomrei Torah Sephardim (Sephardi Torah Guardians), also known as Shas political party.
Earlier this year, the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, said:
â€œGoyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world â€“ only to serve the People of Israelâ€¦”
Which may or may not be true â€“ but it is not the kind of hate-speech one spits in such a widely public forum, especially while the country is struggling to make itself understood among the “Goyim.”
According to the Shas spiritual leader:
â€œIn Israel, death has no dominion over them… With gentiles, it will be like any person â€“ they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that oneâ€™s donkey would die, theyâ€™d lose their money. This is his servant… Thatâ€™s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.”
As if he were reading right from the lying pages of Mein Kampf and affirming it all, right there. The Torah never included such hate speech.
This is after insulting the religious Ashkenazi population by publicly forbidding Sephardic Jews from hearing the Megillah read by an Ashkenazi during Purim.
Rabbi Ovadia, isn’t it time we forget what sets us apart culturally, instead of what binds us?
Furthermore, Yosef embarrassed the state last Rosh HaShannah when he issued the following statement, blemishing the Holiness of the day:
â€œOur enemies and haters may come to an end, Abu Mazen and all these villains â€“ may the Holy One, Blessed Be He, afflict them with the plagueâ€¦ these evil enemies of Israelâ€¦ “
No, no, no! We may not trust Abu Mazen, not always, but don’t say THAT! That’s stating the obvious! Anyway, doesn’t the Blessed Rabbi intend these wishes for the Hamas regime, rather than the more moderate Palestinians? Furthermore, I happen to know some Palestinians, whom I don’t want to perish!
This hate-speech is just the tip of the iceberg. Supporting party leader, Eli Yishai’s movement to expel the children of foreign workers, is just another example of what makes the “Shas” party a mixed bag of nuts.
Won’t somebody change this Jew’s diapers before the stench begins to ruin the country’s spiritual reputation!
The international press freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders, has claimed that Palestinian journalists are victims of:
“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 â€“ 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.”
On 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.
On Tuesday, The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was chagrined by the cancellation of the scheduled soccer match between the Palestinian National Soccer team and the Central African soccer team in Palestine, by the Central African Republic government. FIFA had slated the match for the 17th of November 2010.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an official statement, the decision is a sign of deference to Israel. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said such incidents impede the path to peace in the region, which is supported by the International Community. The Ministry claimed that it illustrates the link between politics and sports. The Ministry forgot about the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
The so-called link between politics and sports, which the Palestinians claim should not exist, has slighted Israel so often in the past. Israeli tennis talent, Shahar Pe’er was refused a visa by the United Arab Emirates, preventing her from competing in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour in Dubai, in February of 2009.
Ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iranian athletes have refused to compete against Israeli athletes in international sporting events. Iran lost a possible medal and points in the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in Moscow, earlier this year when the Greco-Roman wrestler Taleb Nematpour refused to compete against his Israeli rival for the championship match. He said:
â€œI avoided the match as a sign of sympathy with the people of Palestine.â€
Esmail Kowsari, a legislator and staunch opponent of any direct competition between Iranians and Israelis, claims that:
â€œSuch justifications â€“ made to international athletic federations and committees to avoid penalties â€“ are unnecessary and athletes should be proud of withdrawingâ€¦I say our athletes shouldnâ€™t even use illness as an excuse for their honourable deedâ€¦We have repeatedly announced that we donâ€™t recognize Israel.â€
When the Iranian Arash Miresmaeili refused to fight Israeli Ehud Vaks in the Judo championship of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Ayatollah Khamenei told the young athlete, â€œThis was worth a hundred medals.â€
Hamas: Ahmadinejad, Visit Gaza Like You Visited Lebanon!
This week, Hamas invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Gaza.
In an interview Tuesday with the Fars news agency in Gaza, Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Yousef said a visit by the Iranian president would:
“Boost the morale of the Palestinian people and the resistance.”
“We invite Ahmadinejad to visit the Gaza Strip and we are confident that this trip will be of paramount importance.”
Yousef said to the Iranian Press TV network.
Obama Inhaled Too Many Volcanic Ash Fumes in Indonesia:
U.S. President Barack Obama criticized Israel on Tuesday during a news conference in Indonesia, following an announcement on Monday that Israel has proceeded with plans to build 1,345 homes in east Jerusalem.
“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.”
Many democratic governments have a Labor Party. It usually follows a left-wing ideology, supporting such causes as trade unions. Most of these governments are aligned in the Socialist International. Formed in 1951, this is a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor political parties.
Comrades, you can start blowing your harmonica now!
The Labor party of both Israel and the United Kingdom belong to the organization â€“ and each of these respective labor parties are currently in opposition to the ruling party of the given country.
Four Labor-party MKs recently praised Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog‘s intention to challenge Defense Minister Ehud Barak for leadership of the party. Herzog is the son of former Israeli President, Chaim Herzog.
MKs Amir Pertz, Eitan Cabel, Daniel Ben-Simon and Raleb Majadele said however, in order for Herzog to be taken seriously by Barak, Herzog’s announcement must be accompanied by “meaningful leadership actions” such as resigning from his role in opposition leader, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s party.
Labor was the only Jewish faction to have MKs vote nay on the new bill requiring new Israeli citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a â€œJewish and democraticâ€ state.
And the Labor-party of another country too has made its way into today’s post and that country is Britain.
OneJerusalem.com was poised to send a Mazal Tov to Ed Miliband, who was elected over his brother David on September 25, the first ever Jewish leader of the 110-year-old British Labor party. Now we are revoking the prestige of his receiving a OneJerusalem.com Mazal Tov and instead: “tisk tiskâ€¦”
The young Jewish leader, formally Secretary of State for the new British Department of Energy and Climate Change, harbors an opinion of Israel which sadly deviates from the pro-Zionist leanings of former prime ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, also Labor party blokes.
In Miliband’s keynote address to the Labor’s annual Manchester conference earlier this month, the MP told his party that they should feel pressure to â€œstrain every sinewâ€ in ending Israel’s naval (and aerial) blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Jewish country’s â€œattack on the Gaza flotilla was so wrong.â€
Louise Ellman, a Labor MP from Liverpool and chairwoman of the Jewish Labor Movement, told the Jewish Chronicle (the main Jewish newspaper in England):
â€œIt was very disappointing that his conference speech criticized Israel without mentioning Hamas rocket attacks on civilians”
“Itâ€™s important for Ed to show he is evenhanded on the Middle East, and the first things he must do are support the universal jurisdiction legislation, show he is opposed to boycotts and support a negotiated peace agreement.â€
The Labor party is favored by most British Jews, so Miliband’s stance has brought to that atmosphere a tinge of concern.
One party insider said:
â€œThese are serious issues requiring serious answers,â€
â€œEdâ€™s not about to make up policies on the fly just to answer a reporterâ€™s questions. Moreover, there are a significant number of pro-Israel members of his shadow cabinet.â€
The 40-year-old politician isn’t THAT bad though, he did issue the following statement to Labor Friends of Palestine:
â€œThe major instrument for influence at our disposal in relation to the Middle East is trade policy. I am against blanket boycotts of goods from Israel. But Israel, and all countries in the region, must live up to the commitments they have made to respect human rights as part of trade agreements. The EU must be tough enough to ensure that these commitments mean something.â€
Ed and David Miliband’s late father, Ralph Miliband was a war refugee from Nazi Poland, who came to England in 1940, a Marxist and professor at the London School of Economics. He has gone down as one of Britain’s most beloved left-wing intellectuals.
The Milibandâ€™s mother, Marion Kozak, now 75, escaped genocide and deportations in Poland and fled to Belgium, where she was hidden by a Christian family.
Upon immigrating to London, she became an advocate of groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
Milibandâ€™s older brother, the 44-year-old David, former foreign secretary, has established a track record for pro-Israel engagement.
â€œMiliband comes from left of the Labor Party, which is instinctively hostile to Israel, and if he becomes prime minister, like all others, he will defer to the interests of the Foreign Office and the European Union, both of which have that as their default position as well,â€
Shepherd told the JTA.
â€œI donâ€™t see a lot of maneuverability there.â€
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.
Tuesday afternoon, the Irene yacht carrying nine activists from the United States, Israel and Britain â€“ 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 â€“ rockets and mortar shells â€“ 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 shipâ€¦”
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,”
“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 soâ€¦”
Well, right wing Hollywood hunk, Mel Gibson too apologized for his drunken anti-Semitic rant five years ago.
If indeed Zionism is virtuous â€“ 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”.
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.
Rafal Betlejewski, a Polish performance artist burned down a barn in the central region of the country in a commemoration of the July, 1941 Jedwabne incident.
In this deadly pogrom, in the presence of Nazi German Ordnungspolizei, approximately 340 Jewish people were locked inside a barn and burned alive by gentile Polish nationals.
“Poland is a completely different country than it was 80 years ago when there was a big and significant Jewish minority, which participated in Poland’s cultural, social and scientific developmentâ€¦These people are gone after the Holocaust and later waves of emigration, and I miss them more and more. This performance is addressed to Poles first and foremost, to those ignorant who know nothing about Jews’ input in Poland’s history.”
A typical shtetl, consisting of 757 Jewish people, that is 61.9% of the town’s total population, Jedwabne was established sometime during the 18th century.
More than 1,000 people were present to witness the barn burning ceremony.
Betlejewski read out the names of people who sent in their thoughts and left their notes inside a barn rebuilt outside of the town of Zawada. He poured petrol inside the structure and lit it.
As the wooden bar went ablaze, the Polish artist rushed out of it.
So today I think of the pressure on the Jewish Country to give up its settlements in the Golan Heights and in east Jerusalem.
I think of Helen Thomas’s recent comments; and I think of the post-Nazi Kielce pogrom on July 4th, 1946 when a false tale of child kidnapping and blood libel allegations resulted in the murder of 39 Jewish Poles.
Let us never allow it to happen again and let us never forget.