Saturday, February 09, 2008

Peace-loving, moderate Abbas regime says Dimona murderers were "holy martyrs"

More on the Bush/Rice Fantasy-Based Policymaking: "PA Sees Dimona Terrorists as Holy Martyrs," by Hillel Fendel for Israel National News (thanks to Rachel):

( Newspapers of the Palestinian Authority, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, say the Dimona murderers were "holy martyrs."A 73-year-old new immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Lyubov Razdolskaya, was murdered in the Dimona suicide attack this Monday, and her husband was critically wounded and is still fighting for his life. The two of them were theoretical physicists who made a significant contribution to particle physics in Ben Gurion University. Over 40 other people were also wounded in the attack.

The descriptions by the PA's official newspapers starkly contrast with official statements by PA leaders that condemned the Dimona attack. Hours after the Monday afternoon attack, Abbas condemned it and added that he also condemns IDF counter-terrorism actions.

However, Palestinian Media Watch reports on a number of quotes in official PA organs showing that in actuality, the terrorists are glorified in PA culture and government. The official news report in Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda read, "The executors of the operation died as martyrs... An Israeli was killed and 11 were wounded in the operation in the Dimona commercial center."

The headline in another PA newspaper Al-Ayam read, "Dimona: An Israeli Woman was Killed in a Bomb Operation in the Commercial Center; the Two Perpetrators Died as Martyrs." Similarly, the PA newspaper Al-Quds ran the story as, "Two Martyrs and a Killed Israeli Woman in a Bomb Operation in Dimona."

PMW notes that the term "martyr" places the terrorists on the highest level in Islam - a far cry from the formal criticism expressed by Abbas. A "martyr" is also looked upon as a hero and a model to imitate, especially among the youth. [...]

PMW concludes, "It is true that terrorists have always been called martyrs, but the significance of the latest reports is that in the midst of the renewal of a peace process, the terrorists continue to receive the supreme badge of honor by the Palestinian Authority itself."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Moshe Ya’alon’s Herzliya Conference Address

Prevailing wisdom has it that the "solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute" is the "two state" one – meaning two countries within the borders of the Land of Israel (between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River) living side by side in peace: the State of Israel and alongside it an Arab-Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, more or less in the pre-1967 borders. This notion is the dominant one in international politics as well as in political circles and public discourse in Israel. It is the notion that formed the basis of the political process that began with the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993 – a process that failed.

The failure of the Oslo Accords and an examination of the history of the relationship between Zionism and the State of Israel on the one hand and between the National Arab Movement (the PLO) and the Palestinian Authority on the other, demands a reassessment of this paradigm and the formulation of a new one.

Why did the Oslo paradigm fail?
A large number of books and articles have been written on the failure of the Oslo Accords. Most of them deal with the chain of political and security events from the signing of the Accords to the present day, and most of them fall into the trap of the "chicken and egg" syndrome, by denoting some event or other as a reason for the failure. Viewed this way, it is easy to fall into the trap of mutual accusations in which the Israeli "self-flagellation syndrome" is predominant.

The State of Israel is responsible for mistakes in implementing the Accords as well as for the actions of its citizens, the most notorious of these being the massacre in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rabin's assassination. Be that as it may – these acts and others as well as failures in statecraft that hampered the political process – are not the fundamental reason for its failure.
The correct approach to an examination of the failure must be the more fundamental one of examining the political objectives and the basic conduct of both sides.

Such an approach elicits the following five diagnoses:
1 In the Oslo Accords, the Israeli government recognized the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and the PLO as the representatives of the Palestinian National Movement, and enabled the setting up of the Palestinian Authority on the way to establishing a Palestinian state. For their part, the Palestinians did not recognize Zionism as the Jewish National Movement nor did they recognize the right of the Jews to a Jewish national home – an independent Jewish state. The de facto recognition of Israel (which many of them believe should be resisted) is not symmetrically equivalent to Israel's recognition of them. Israel's insistence upon Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state was rejected by the Palestinians. Rabin was forced to drop this demand in the Oslo Accords and content himself with Arafat's commitment to change the Palestinian Covenant so that recognition would be implied. Despite this commitment, the Palestinian Covenant was not changed.
2 This lack of recognition reflects a Palestinian resolve to ignore the State of Israel as an independent Jewish state, or in other words, the Palestinian objective is not a country outside the '67 borders (Gaza, Judea and Samaria), but a Palestinian state on the ruins of the State of Israel ("from the river to the sea"). In support of this argument, suffice it to note that the Palestinian irridenta did not begin in the aftermath of the Six Day War but with the dawn of Zionism.
If this assessment is accepted, it is then easy to understand why Arafat declared war in September 2000, when the Palestinians were closest to achieving a state in the '67 borders. As I understand it, Arafat did so in order to avoid the "two state solution" and de facto recognition of the State of Israel as an independent Jewish state.
Moreover, the war of terror instigated by Arafat in September 2000 follows a similar pattern to the response of the Palestinian leadership to previous proposals to partition the country: 1937 – The Peel Commission and "the great Arab revolt" ("the events"); 1947 – The UN's partition proposal and the subsequent War of Independence.
3 The leadership of the PLO, in recent years- the most supported national movement in the world, politically and economically- demonstrated that it has no interest in establishing a Palestinian state within the '67 borders.
Some would argue that the PLO leadership wanted but was unable to achieve the establishment of a state in the context of '67 borders. I maintain that the problem was not one of ability but of will. Arafat deliberately created a gangster-style entity with no accountability, so as to be able to preserve the irridenta in all situations by employing or giving free rein to "lieutenants", like the Tanzim (later to become the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades), Hamas, PIJ, and others. Abu Mazen is charting a similar course when he uses his weakness to deny accountability. This is a weakness of choice. He may not be strong, but he chooses weakness as a tactic.
4 The "disengagement" from Gaza in 2005 was an opportunity for the Palestinians to prove to themselves, to Israel and to the rest of the world that the ending of the Israeli "occupation" in Gaza had at last enabled them to effect a change across the board: security (the cessation of terror), internal law and order, economic growth, and political stability.
The forcible takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas, their internal governance, and the continuation of daily rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns are evidence that the problem was not the "occupation" as defined in the west (the territories conquered by the State of Israel in the Six Day War of 1967), but that the ""occupation", as viewed by many Palestinians, and relating to the entire Land of Israel ("from the river to the sea").
5 When Jihadic Islam hijacked the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, discussion of territorial concessions became irrelevant, because:
a. According to the Islamists, they have no authority to negotiate on the Land of Israel (because it is holy – "Waqf").
b. We have seen that attempts by the State of Israel to counter or pull the rug out from under their claims of "occupation" with a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon (2000) and from the Gaza Strip (2005) only served to entrench Jihadic Islam (Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Iranian regime) and to encourage them to pursue their ultimate objectives.

Historical Summary to this Point:
1 From the dawn of Zionism, no Palestinian leadership has been prepared to recognize the right of the Jewish people to an independent Jewish state.
2 From the dawn of Zionism no Palestinian leadership has been prepared to settle for a Palestinian state in the '67 borders in an agreement signaling "the end of the conflict".
Under these circumstances, there is no likelihood of stabilizing the situation with regard to peace and security on the basis of the "two state solution".

An Examination of Future Prospects in Light of Past Experience
In view of Palestinian conduct over the years, particularly since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the question arises whether it is possible to trust any Palestinian leadership to establish an accountable political entity in the foreseeable future that will engender stability and not a continuation of hostilities and the undermining of other regimes.
1 The Palestinian leadership has brought destruction to every country that has provided them with a base (Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel).
2 The Palestinian leadership has not shown itself capable of honoring agreements and commitments (in Jordan, in Lebanon and with Israel).
3 The Palestinian leadership has not shown that it has any interest in economic growth.
a. The aid heaped on the Palestinian Authority (far greater per capita than the Marshall Plan) was not used to develop an economic infrastructure.
b. The Palestinians sabotaged the industrial areas and crossings that were an economic "lifeline".
c. The Authority's policy (corruption and lack of security) – has driven away investors.

1. I see no possibility of establishing a viable entity in Judea and Samaria and/or in the Gaza Strip with an independent economy. The gap between the State of Israel as a "first-world country" and the Palestinian entity of the "third-world" is an additional recipe for instability.
2. I see no possibility of establishing a viable entity in Judea and Samaria and/or in the Gaza Strip that will stabilize the security situation. The probability that a hostile entity will be created (as is happening in Gaza) is extremely high.
3. Under these circumstances, I see no possibility of political and economic stability between a secure Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and an independent Palestinian entity.
The Oslo process aggravated and perpetuated the asymmetry in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in favor of the Palestinians.
1. The Palestinian demand for the right to the entire land of Israel against the Israeli demand for security in only a part of that area
2. The consensus that the Arabs have the right to live in any part of the Land of Israel and that Jews have no similar right.
3. The view that the Palestinian national problem is solely a result of the creation of the State of Israel, and resolving it can only be at the expense of that State without any contribution or quid pro quo from any other country in the region.
4. The reality that the commitments of the government of Israel and the positions it takes in negotiations with the Palestinians are "carved in stone" whereas Palestinian commitments are "carved in ice".

A proposal for an alternative strategy
To clear a path for new thinking, we must first disabuse ourselves of the failed paradigm and its flawed premises. One of the most important of them, which I have not yet referred to, is the obsession with the need to find a "solution" (and "now"!). (This paper will not be about "nowism" but about a "solution".)
In my opinion, we should not be seeking a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in terms of a "solution" in the foreseeable future, but in terms of "conflict management". It is therefore best to propose a strategy for managing the conflict and to prepare the ground for stabilizing the situation in the near future. By abandoning the search for a "solution" and disabusing ourselves of the failed paradigm we can clear the way for and stimulate new thinking and different directions.
The Oslo paradigm presumed, among other things, that a political solution and economic development would lead to peace, and peace would bring security. One might describe this as a top-down approach to the problem. It is still the dominant paradigm today, as evidenced by the Annapolis and Paris conferences. Beyond the mootness of discussing the final arrangement with a party that does not recognize the right to exist of an independent Jewish state, the mootness arises of negotiating with a party that has not proved any willingness and/or ability to govern and impose its authority in a responsible way.
Any new strategy must therefore be implemented from the bottom-up so that the Palestinians establish that they have the will and the capacity to govern in a responsible fashion according to the principle of "one authority, one law, one gun". In the strategy I propose, I make the assumption that it is not in Israel's interest to govern the Palestinians and manage their lives, and therefore it is right to buttress the political separation between us and them – a separation that has existed since the implementation of the Oslo Accords.
As things stand at present, there is Palestinian autonomy in Judea and Samaria, dependent on and interacting closely with the Israeli economy and infrastructure. Israel has de facto responsibility for its security (since operation "Defensive Shield") and it is important that it should continue to have that responsibility in the foreseeable future.
There is almost complete Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip, heavily dependent on Israeli infrastructure (water and electricity), and dependent on Israel for the movement of merchandise in and out. The State of Israel must work towards a total, albeit gradual (to prevent a humanitarian crisis), disengagement from Gaza. As long as the situation there continues unchanged and the threat remains – the Gaza strip will be considered a "hostile entity".

The reforms necessary
The Palestinian Authority needs to carry out five reforms to develop and demonstrate its capacity to govern and to promote any chance there could be of an arrangement and a stable and secure political, social, and economic ethos.
a Educational
b Law and order
c Security
d Economic
e Political
In view of the situation in the Gaza Strip at the present time, this process can only be implemented in Judea and Samaria.
1. Educational
This reform is predicated on acknowledging that there is no possibility of arriving at any kind of stable arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as long as the Palestinian education system teaches non-recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, denies any linkage between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, and refers to Zionism as a colonizing movement, to every town in Israel as an illegal colonized settlement, and to every Israeli as an illegitimate colonialist.
There is also no possibility of reaching a stable agreement so long as the Palestinian education system teaches Jihad (holy war) against Israel and martyrdom (committing suicide while killing Israelis) as a means of waging this war.
Reform must include a change in the curriculum and an end to incitement in public-political discourse disseminated by the media and the mosques.
2. Law and order
The objective here must be "one authority, one law, one gun".
This means a police presence and an effective law enforcement system that does not tolerate warlords, armed gangs and organizations of any kind.
This reform demands a rehabilitation of the Palestinian law enforcement system and all its components: police, prosecution office, and legal system.
Law and order must be imposed in Palestinian towns and villages (Areas A and B) and there must be less dependence on Israel (like coordinating the movements of armed police or the IDF's security activities in Areas A to prevent armed clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian policemen).
3. Security
As part of this reform, it is imperative that the Authority honor its previous commitments:
a Unification of the security apparatus
b Resolute and all-embracing action to thwart terrorism :
1) Intelligence
2) Operational – Preventative
3) The courts
The proliferation of security apparatuses (13 in all) during the period of implementation of the Oslo Accords (1994-2000) allowed the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to manipulate and sanction active terror organizations and even to create a Fatah terror organization (Tanzim) – "The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade".
The failure of law enforcement and the courts to deal with terrorism since implementation of the Oslo Accords began and until now has reinforced the message that terror is legitimate. A policy that avoided charging murderers of Israelis with murder, but for the most part with "disturbing the public order" or "damaging the Palestinian interest", together with the "revolving door policy", was a clear message that it was legitimate to use terror against Israel.
It is therefore essential to set up a security system to deal with terror from the intelligence stage through prosecution and punishment.
4. Economic
The objective of economic reform must be to kick start the Palestinian economy and to keep it strong by empowering small and medium businessmen in order to boost the status of the Palestinian middle class.
The billions of dollars of economic support given to the Palestinian Authority proved to be a lesson in futility. I believe that the main reasons were:
a Systems that led to the misappropriation of funds either to enrich the leadership and those close to them (including a huge apparatus to dispense sinecures) or to finance terror;
b A leadership that prefers terror to economic development;
c Terror organizations that prefer poverty and distress that drives the masses to enlist in a war against Israel to economic well being. (This explains why these organizations have sabotaged sources of income like industrial areas and the crossings into Israel).
This is why economic reform has to be directed at eradicating corruption and sponsoring the economic initiatives of businessmen who will form the backbone of the Palestinian middle class which is the basis of civil society.
Foreign economic aid must be invested in:
a Infrastructure that promotes economic development;
b Loans and grants for the development of commercial initiatives of businessmen from the middle class.
The process must be supervised by external experts and inculcate a commercial culture of transparency, honesty and competitiveness.
5. Political
This reform must lead to the regime moving from dictatorship to democracy.
It must be instructed and augmented by the educational reform which will lead to the inculcation of democratic values and must include the media to reinforce these values.
The reform must be about supporting and empowering Palestinians prepared to promote the sanctity of human life and not the sanctity of death; freedom and not oppression; human rights and not repression; democracy and not dictatorship.
Reform must include the establishment of institutions to provide a firm basis for a democratic regime, support for the setting up of NGOs that strengthen the elements of civil society, and the instilling and exercise of democratic values, like freedom of expression, a free press, and human rights.
We have learned that, in general, Western leaders prefer strong dictators to a political and educational process that leads to the adoption and implementation of democratic procedures. The American blunder of giving Hamas the opportunity to participate in elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council without first laying down its arms and without accepting basic preconditions as a condition of participation stands alongside the still-repeated one of viewing true democratic activists as "opponents of the regime", causing Western countries to be reluctant to support them. By now it should be clear to all that elections are the last phase of democratic development – not the first.

Israel's role in implementing the reforms
The State of Israel can do much to help the Palestinians to carry out these reforms. There are many in Israel with vast experience of inculcating the values of democracy, a free-market economy, law and order, security, etc. The complex and sensitive system of relationships between the parties may well lead the Palestinians to prefer the assistance of others and not of Israel. The State of Israel must make this possible.
A task that in any event will fall upon the Israeli side is that of facilitating free movement so as to enable the reforms to be carried out. Since the security situation will dictate the constraints in this area, Israel must enable special arrangements to be made for the transfer of people and goods (subject to rigorous scrutiny) and ease freedom of movement for each improvement by the Palestinians in the area of security.

A humanitarian solution to the Palestinian refugees
The problem of Palestinian refugees has been accorded attention and status unprecedented anywhere in the world. Many, mainly Arabs, have an interest in preserving it and nurturing it as a weapon against Israel's legitimacy and against its very existence as a Jewish state, by insisting on the "right of return".
The Israeli interest, as well as the private interest of almost all Palestinians, is to provide a humanitarian answer for each individual refugee as soon as possible. The Israeli interest is not to forget the hundreds thousands of Jewish refugees of Arab countries.
Without going into detail, it is essential to deal with this problem as part of any new strategy.

The success of this process depends, first and foremost on a Palestinian leadership that demonstrates the interest, will and determination to set up an accountable political entity.
In order to encourage the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to carry out such reforms, the international community must use "carrots and sticks" and Israel must help in this process as much as it can.
The reforms must be put into effect simultaneously!
Economic reform and its success are dependent on law and order. Without law and order, it is impossible to lead a normal economic and commercial life.
The existence of armed militias will lead to businessmen being extorted, and in effect to the financing of terror.
None of these reforms are possible if the Palestinian youth continues to receive an education that incites it to terror and suicide and not to compromise and acceptance of Israel.
Therefore, Western attempts to create a solution based only on political horizons and economic development are highly unlikely to succeed. By ignoring the fundamental Palestinian view that the State of Israel has no right to exist as an independent Jewish State they are, in effect, reverting to the recipe of the failed Oslo process. Western thinking that "economic growth will lead to peace and that peace will bring security" has proved to be wrong and dangerous.
Such a process has no chance so long as the Palestinians see any possibility of defeating Israel. To put it another way, the chances that such a process could occur depends on what Ben Gurion and Jabotinsky understood and Dr. Moshe Beilinson expressed so well in an article published in "Davar" on June 23, 1936 at the beginning of the "events" in response to a question that has been raised again and again until today: "How long?" (Meaning "how long will we have to fight?" or "Shall the sword devour for ever?" [2 Samuel 2:26]). In answer to this question Moshe Beilinson wrote, "Until the most zealous and courageous in the enemy's camp - in all the enemies' camps, wherever they are - knows that nothing can break the strength of Israel in its land; that with it they must live, that its existence is a fact, and that there is no other path but acceptance. This is what we are fighting for."
This challenge becomes all the greater in the wake of the Annapolis and Paris conferences, because they reflect the West's mistake in diagnosing the problem and implementing a strategy that endangers the State of Israel, and which will certainly not lead to stability and peace. The American historian, Dr. Daniel Pipes expressed it well in an article he recently published, in which he argues succinctly that Palestinian violence and extremism is not a product of despair (of their condition) as standard thinking in the west has it, but actually of hope – the hope that the State of Israel will disappear.
As long as the Palestinians believe that Israel can be defeated the chances of carrying out these reforms are remote, but it is it is nevertheless vital to demand that they implement them and to help make it possible for them to do so without endangering Israel's interests. Even entertaining a final arrangement that entails additional Israeli concessions feeds the hope that Israel can be defeated and can not serve the idea of peace, but only the extreme Islamic Jihadists and the war.
If the hope that Israel can be defeated and will disappear can be extinguished, new ideas will emerge that will include regional cooperation to resolve the matter, principally with Jordan and Egypt.
Israel must therefore make all discussion of the final arrangement with the Palestinians conditional on:
a Palestinian recognition of the right of the Jewish people to self determination (i.e. the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish state).
b The Palestinian leadership demonstrating its will and ability to govern and to carry out the above reforms.
The State of Israel must initiate the necessary reforms discussed above. The government of Israel must prepare the ground for such change, must coordinate it with its friends in the region and enlist their support for it. The government of Israel should begin to do this as soon as possible, since the present strategy has no chance of success
Long-term Israeli strategy is also important domestically. Attempts to create instant solutions by design, to create hope (in the words of Prime Minister Olmert at the 2008 Herzliya Conference), is causing us to direct internal energies towards failed attempts, instead of investing internal energies in more productive directions.

Shas to Party Activists: Get Ready For Elections

Shas chairman Eli Yishai told party activists in Tiberias to prepare for elections, which he predicts will take place before the end of the year. “I don't know how long this government will continue to exist,” Yishai said, according to Shas-affiliated newspaper Yom L’yom. “I assume there will be elections soon – maybe even before the municipal elections,” he added. Municipal elections are scheduled for November.

The Shas chairman reiterated, “Shas won’t sit in the government for even a day once Jerusalem is discussed.”

The meeting was called to launch the party’s local election campaigns. “We are running with one goal in mind,” said MK Yaakov Margi. “That goal is to win.”

The latest Maagar Mohot poll shows Shas losing one of its 12 Knesset mandates if elections were held today.

On Monday, Shas MKs will tour Jerusalem neighborhoods Monday in which construction has been frozen by the Olmert government.

Terror Suspect Al-Masri Will Head to U.S.

RAPHAEL G. SATTER - Associated Press
February 8, 2008

LONDON — Britain's Home Office yesterday approved the extradition of an Islamic preacher who is accused of trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, a spokesman said.

Abu Hamza al-Masri once led London's Finsbury Park Mosque, which was attended by both September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. One top British counterterrorism official described the mosque as a "honeypot for extremists." The Egyptian-born Mr. Masri was arrested on an American extradition warrant in 2004, but the process was put on hold while he stood trial in Britain and appealed his convictions.

"The Home Secretary today has signed an order approving the extradition," a Home Office spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

Mr. Masri has 14 days to appeal. If he does not, he will be sent to America within 28 days, the spokesman said. Mr. Masri's lawyers were not immediately available for comment, and the Home Office said it did not know whether they would appeal.

Mr. Masri — who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s — already has been sentenced to seven years' imprisonment in Britain for fomenting racial hatred and urging his followers to kill non-Muslims.

If convicted in America, Mr. Masri would carry out the rest of his sentence in Britain before serving any prison term in America. American officials allege Mr. Masri conspired to establish a jihad training camp in Oregon and sent two supporters to view facilities there.

They also allege Mr. Masri participated in a deadly hostage-taking incident in Yemen in 1998, when 16 tourists were seized. Three British tourists and one Australian visitor were killed in a shootout between Yemeni security forces and the Islamic extremist captors. Mr. Masri, 49, is also accused of facilitating terrorist training in Afghanistan.

Paper of CAIR Glossing over Hamas ties

Steven Emerson
National Review Online
February 8, 2008

This article appears in the National Review Once again, New York Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar has proven himself to be the chief public relations mouthpiece for radical Islamic front groups in the United States.

In an article published Thursday titled, "Speakers at Academy Said to Make False Claims," MacFarquhar writes:

The Air Force Academy was criticized by Muslim and religious freedom organizations for playing host on Wednesday to three speakers who critics say are evangelical Christians falsely claiming to be former Muslim terrorists. The three men were invited as part of a weeklong conference on terrorism organized by cadets at the academy's Colorado Springs campus under the auspices of the political science department.

And who are the "Muslim and religious freedom" groups MacFarquhar cites? One outfit called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and none other than the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In fact, MacFarquhar twice in his article refers to "Muslim" and "Arab" organizations – in the plural – as objecting to the conference, but the only Muslim or Arab group he cites is CAIR, once again giving CAIR its desired, and undeserved, platform as the sole spokesman for the Arab and Muslim communities.

Indeed, this whole "controversy" started with a CAIR press release on Tuesday, February 5, dutifully reprinted word for word by the some newspapers, and virtually parroted by the New York Times and MacFarquhar. He writes:

Muslim organizations objected to the fact that no other perspective about Islam was offered, saying that the three speakers — Mr. Anani, Kamal Saleem and Walid Shoebat — habitually paint Muslims as inherently violent. All were born in the Middle East but Mr. Saleem and Mr. Shoebat are now American citizens, while Mr. Anani has Canadian citizenship.

"Their entire world view is based on the idea that Islam is evil," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on Islamic American Relations. "We want to provide a balancing perspective to their hate speech."

But it wasn't Muslim organizations. It was CAIR. And in a fairly ironic moment, MacFarquhar quotes a radical Islamic convert, Ibrahim Hooper, to pass judgment on the credibility of a group of Christian converts, letting Hooper slander the message of the speakers as "hate speech."

On that subject, Hooper and CAIR have absolutely no credibility whatsoever, but they do have experience. CAIR co-sponsored a conference at Brooklyn College in which radical Islamic cleric Wagdy Ghoneim told the audience, in Arabic, "The Jews distort words from their meanings." He also led the crowd in a song which began with the lyrics, "No to the Jews, Descendants of the Apes." An event, by the way, which CAIR has never repudiated, although its coterie of spokesman have spent years denying they had anything to do with the conference, despite the physical evidence to the contrary linked earlier in this paragraph.

Yet you certainly won't read about that incident in the New York Times (even though it happened in its backyard). The mere fact that the Times would cover this Air Force Academy conference story is telling, but hardly surprising. Apparently, the Times will happily try to do an expose on anyone CAIR asks them to, yet they categorically refuse to give CAIR the same treatment.

In fact, in March 20007, MacFarquhar tried his hardest to resuscitate CAIR's faltering image after the organization had suffered several public setbacks, including having an award from California Senator Barbara Boxer's office, originally given to CAIR spokesman Basim Elkarra, rescinded in a very public manner over CAIR's extensive ties to terrorists and long history of extremism. Instead of using the opportunity to report on CAIR's sordid history, chiefly its origins and continued linkages to the terrorist organization Hamas, MacFarquhar engaged in apologia, assuring his readers that CAIR is a totally benign, transparent organization. MacFarquhar quoted former FBI official Mike Rolince, himself a sought after speaker on the Islamist lecture circuit, who said, "Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares," and then proceeded to do no independent reporting. Had he done so, he would have found, amongst other highly troubling and revealing facts:
• CAIR founders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad attended a three-day conference of Hamas members and sympathizers in 1993 aimed at finding ways to "derail" the Oslo Peace Accords, which the group feared would isolate the Islamist Hamas movement.

• CAIR founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad stated in 1994, "I am in support of the Hamas movement."

• CAIR included the arrest of terrorists such as top Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook and the treatment of infamous Egyptian "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdul Rahman, at the hands of the U.S. justice system in its 1996 report on "hate crimes" titled, "The Price of Ignorance." In fact, CAIR officials spearheaded the "Marzook Legal Defense Fund." Marzook is currently the chief deputy of the political bureau of Hamas in Damascus.

• CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-fundraising trial in Dallas against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and has been linked by federal prosecutors to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other terrorist organizations several times.

In a federal court filing in December 2007 in the Eastern District of Virginia, federal prosecutors described CAIR as "having conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists." The government also stated that "proof that the conspirators used deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists was introduced" in HLF trial last year and the Chicago trial of two Hamas operatives in 2006.
• Four CAIR officials have either been convicted of terrorism related offenses or deported for ties to terrorism, and CAIR officials have a long history of acting as the spokesman for terrorists linked to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In fact, in response to Rolince's unfounded assertion about CAIR, former FBI agent Mike Rolf stated, "It is clear that CAIR has had a number of people in positions of power within the organization that have been directly connected to terrorism and have either been prosecuted or thrown out of the country. There are no blank stares from people working in counterterrorism in the U.S., and it is troubling that CAIR seems unable to directly and specifically condemn terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah."

Later, MacFarquhar writes:

Arab-American civil rights organizations question why, at a time when the United States government has vigorously moved to jail or at least deport anyone with a known terrorist connection, the three men, if they are telling the truth, are allowed to circulate freely. (emphasis added)

But he cites none of the organizations and quotes none of their leaders, anointing Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR the sole spokesperson of the Muslim and Arab community. Meanwhile, MacFarquhar systematically ignores CAIR's long history of trying to stifle free speech, including filing lawsuits against to attempt to stifle its "critics."

In CAIR's most high profile litigation, initiated against Andrew Whitehead and his website,, CAIR eventually withdrew its suit during the discovery process. Whitehead's attorney, Reed Rubinstein, described CAIR's motivations for dropping the lawsuit, "It would have opened up Cair's finances and their relationships and their principles, their ideological motivations in a way they did not want to be made public." And indeed, CAIR has a lot to hide. Just do not expect Mr. MacFarquhar to report on what CAIR wants to keep secret from the American public.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Former Coalition Chairman Resigns Over Olmert Obstinance

Ezra HaLevi

Former Coalition Chairman Avigdor Yitzchaki (Kadima) resigned Thursday in protest of PM Olmert’s refusal to step down. “Olmert is truly dangerous for Israel,” he said of his party leader.

MK Yitzchaki handed his resignation to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. It will take effect in 24 hours. “This is a difficult decision,” MK Yitzchaki said, “but I promised that if the Prime MinisThe Kadima MK already announced his decision a week ago. Anti-Olmert MKs had been trying to convince him to stay on, saying he would be replaced by a pro-Olmert MK, making it that much more difficult to garner a majority against the Prime Minister in votes to bring down the government.

He refused, saying Monday that he cannot continue to sit beside people who have no concern for the future existence of the State of Israel. "I have to say, it is too difficult for me to sit beside people who really do not care about the leadership, the ethics, the very existence of this country," said Yitzchaki of his Kadima Party colleagues. "I look forward to returning to this building, but under worthy leadership."

He told Yediot Acharonot that Prime Minister Olmert is “the worst prime minister in the history of the state” and that Olmert is “truly dangerous for Israel.”

Yitzchaki was a founder of Kadima together with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a close friend of his, and served as party chairman in 2006. Yitzchaki supported the destruction of 25 Jewish towns in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza. He has been trying to unseat Olmert since the publication of the Winograd committee’s interim report last year. Due to his rebellion, he was relieved of his position as party whip.

Though he originally sought to replace Olmert with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, he now says Livni carries an unethical stain on her personality in that she has remained by Olmert’s side. He insists that most Kadima MKs want Olmert ousted, but that they have been bought with positions of power.

Ethiopian Jewish immigrant Shlomo Mula will take Yitzchaki’s place as next on the Kadima Party’s Knesset list.

PA Sees Dimona Terrorists as Holy Martyrs

Hillel Fendel
Newspapers of the Palestinian Authority, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, say the Dimona murderers were "holy martyrs."

A 73-year-old new immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Lyubov Razdolskaya, was murdered in the Dimona suicide attack this Monday, and her husband was critically wounded and is still fighting for his life. The two of them were theoretical physicists who made a significant contribution to particle physics in Ben Gurion University. Over 40 other people were also wounded in the attack.The descriptions by the PA's official newspapers starkly contrast with official statements by PA leaders that condemned the Dimona attack. Hours after the Monday afternoon attack, Abbas condemned it and added that he also condemns IDF counter-terrorism actions.

However, Palestinian Media Watch reports on a number of quotes in official PA organs showing that in actuality, the terrorists are glorified in PA culture and government. The official news report in Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda read, "The executors of the operation died as martyrs... An Israeli was killed and 11 were wounded in the operation in the Dimona commercial center."

The headline in another PA newspaper Al-Ayam read, "Dimona: An Israeli Woman was Killed in a Bomb Operation in the Commercial Center; the Two Perpetrators Died as Martyrs." Similarly, the PA newspaper Al-Quds ran the story as, "Two Martyrs and a Killed Israeli Woman in a Bomb Operation in Dimona."

PMW notes that the term "martyr" places the terrorists on the highest level in Islam - a far cry from the formal criticism expressed by Abbas. A "martyr" is also looked upon as a hero and a model to imitate, especially among the youth.

Just recently, after the murder of off-duty soldiers David Rubin and Achikam Amichai as they were hiking near Telem in the Hevron region - one terrorist was killed and another was wounded - Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda reported in a headline, "A Youngster Became a Martyr, Another Was Seriously Wounded, and two Israeli Soldiers were Killed Near Hevron" (Dec. 29, 2007).

The paper also referred to the terrorists who were killed while trying to carry out a massacre in Kfar Etzion two weeks ago as martyrs.

PMW concludes, "It is true that terrorists have always been called martyrs, but the significance of the latest reports is that in the midst of the renewal of a peace process, the terrorists continue to receive the supreme badge of honor by the Palestinian Authority itself."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Take Me To your Leader

Barry Rubin

Here is the beginning of my post. The job description is as follows: Wanted: A strong charismatic nationalist figure to guide the Arabic-speaking world toward modernization along with stability, an acceptable peace with Israel, good relations with the West, and solidarity against threats from both non-Arab Iran and radical Islamists.

Of course, there is a mirror-image role that could also be filled: A strong charismatic nationalist figure to mobilize the Arabic-speaking world for battle with Israel, confrontation with the West, and solidarity against threats from both non-Arab Iran and radical Islamists.

There are no serious applicants for the first position and only a single almost laughable one for the second.

In Libya, the very strange Muammar Qadhafi, the Michael Jackson of the Middle East, remains in power. He is still in his laying-low stage. When the United States was overthrowing Iraq's Saddam Hussein in 2003, he decided to make nice to Washington by dropping his nuclear weapons' drive and reducing his support for terrorism.

But Qadhafi can never stay on his good behavior very long and there are signs--notably reports of his involvement stirring up terrorist insurgency in Iraq--that he may be entering a new period of manic, but relatively incompetent, destructiveness. Still, outside Libya only those who are on his payroll are willing to humor his boundless ambition. So far, his son, the most likely successor, seems to be cut from pretty similar cloth.

Next-door is President Husni Mubarak who in theory would seem to be about the Arabic-speaking world's sole hope of a leader able to transcend national borders. But Egypt long ago soured on the high cost and low rewards of that particular burden. Mubarak is now elderly and ailing. Who will replace him, possibly his son, is not yet clear. Obviously, though, Mubarak is not able to fulfill a wider regional role and Cairo will not possess such a ruler for some years to come.

Lebanon has no president at all, and it is very hard to imagine how it is ever going to get one. The Lebanese government, rejecting any reimposed Syrian control, finally made a big concession and accepted army commander Michael Suleiman, who had been a candidate supported by Damascus. Once this happened, however, Damascus changed its mind and made it clear that the most important thing is that its protיgיs--most importantly Hizballah--have veto power over the government. There is a deadlock with no end in sight.

And what about the Palestinians? Surely, Yasir Arafat said, in the style of an equally short-sighted but much more impressive French king, that he was content if all was destroyed after his death. While some leaders built a foundation for their people and country, Arafat dug a deep hole

The Palestinians are now in it. Mahmoud Abbas, head of PA-Fatah, is a weak figure not only because he lacks a base but also since he has no notable political skills. On the opposite side stands a badly divided Gaza-Hamas, a regime not in the service of a leader but of a terrible ideal soaked in blood.

In Jordan, King Abdallah II seems to be a very nice young man but one more fluent in English than in Arabic. He may be adequately steering his own little country's ship but he is in no position to become admiral of the fleet. Like the others on this list, he has zero influence outside his own state.

Saudi Arabia, which can certainly afford a lot of high-priced public relations' advisors, might put forth King Abdallah as the man to be heeded. They do seem to be focusing on giving him a reputation as a reformer even though he doesn't seem to do much. But seeking regional leadership isn't the Saudi style. The government quietly counters Syria in Lebanon and rich Saudis fight Shia Islamism by financing terrorist insurgents in Iraq.

Ultimately, though, the Saudi style is to seek to get along with all sides, keeping the tight alliance with America (but doing little to help Washington) and trying to appease Tehran. The Arab world will not find leadership here, certainly not for an anti-radical, anti-Iran coalition.

And that brings us to Syria. President Bashar al-Assad has been in power for almost eight years now, which is a pretty fair chunk of experience. Yet he remains a rather brash, insecure guy, trying to play tough by screaming about struggle and resistance. Despite the useful idiots who purvey him as a moderate or peacemaker, Bashar has put his real cards on the alliance with Iran and fighting, or at least having other people do the fighting and dying, including Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Iraqi insurgents.

Bashar, then, is looking after his own local interests, only plays off other Arab leaders in order to preen himself as a fearless revolutionary. He's closer to being the world's first nerd dictator. If you've seen Woody Allen in "Bananas" you get the picture, except that Bashar, of course, does really kill people. In the end, however, he is just Iran's junior partner.

And that's the point. The Arabs really have nobody impressive running things anywhere right now. This very serious leadership vacuum shows that the "Arab world" is more obviously not a real entity than ever before. There is, however, someone putting himself up as leader, and he's no Arab. His name is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and if he isn't really quite in control of Iran, behind him stands Spiritual Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The "Arab era" in Middle East history may well be done. Whether the next period will be one defined by more individualistic nationalist regimes, Islamist takeovers, or Iranian part-hegemony is perhaps the central question for the region's future.

Speaking Candidly: Let's correct the leadership deficit

Isi Leibler
February 6, 2008

There is an old Yiddish saying that a fish stinks from the head. This certainly applies to our nation, whose leaders are unfit to lead.

It is somewhat bizarre to hear our prime minister employing his renowned talent for spin and shamelessly portraying the Winograd Commission report as having "cleared my name" and "lifted the moral stigma from me." Whereas the report did exonerate Ehud Olmert from being motivated by personal considerations in launching the controversial ground operation at the end of the war which resulted in the deaths of 33 soldiers, surely that was never really the central issue. It may in fact have been a red herring. The devastating report, compiled by a committee personally hand-picked by the prime minister, reiterated its initial condemnation of Olmert's flawed judgment throughout the course of the war, which resulted in a "major and grave missed opportunity" to inflict a major defeat on Hizbullah and restore Israel's shattered deterrence.

Winograd went out of its way to stress that "our refraining from pinpointing individual responsibility should not be interpreted as concluding that such responsibility does not exist." The report, which employed the term "failures" 190 times and "flaws" 213 times, stated unequivocally that the "same serious failings and flaws" in "decision-making procedures" and in "strategic thinking and planning" identified in the preliminary findings prevailed throughout the entire 34 days of the war.

Never has an independent Israeli tribunal been so explicit in blaming our political leaders for failure in a war. For Olmert, who had arrogantly vowed that he would retain office irrespective of the findings of the report, to cynically claim that such findings exonerated and even vindicated him makes a mockery of public accountability and severely compromises the nation's democratic ethos. It will only intensify the widespread rage shared by Israelis across the entire political spectrum.

More frightening is that during the 18 months since the conflict, Olmert has failed to internalize the lessons of the war. Today, he continues implementing policies which have never formally been adopted, or even been adequately debated, in the Knesset. We are once more revisiting the discredited path of appeasement, making concessions to a duplicitous, make-believe partner who is incapable of reciprocating, and, in so doing, emboldening terrorists.

Olmert's concessions to Mahmoud Abbas include yielding our hitherto absolute insistence on retaining defensible borders; relinquishing previously non-negotiable security requirements which have already cost Israeli lives; floating offers to divide Jerusalem and handing over jurisdiction of the Temple Mount to the Palestinians; releasing hundreds of terrorists and undertaking to free more; and providing weapons to the Palestinians which, in the future, will almost certainly be employed against us.

What has Mahmoud Abbas provided in return? Precisely nothing! But our impotent peace partner did reiterate that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state; and describe as non-negotiable the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees, which would result in the demise of the Jewish state. The security forces on his payroll continue to kill Jews, and incitement in the areas under his jurisdiction, far from abating, is in fact at an all-time high, with kindergartens continuing to mold children to aspire to martyrdom by killing Jews.

And when Israel weighs a possible invasion of Gaza to stop Hamas launching missiles against Sderot, Abbas says he would side with Hamas.

Finally, Israeli citizens in Sderot and neighboring areas have been transformed into refugees in their own land. As the quality of the missiles and their range improves, greater areas of Israel will come within reach of missile attack. Having for years acclimatized the international community to missiles being launched against Israeli civilians, we are now expected to continue servicing Palestinians in these areas with electricity and fuel on "humanitarian grounds" - something no normal nation in the world would conceivably tolerate.

Worse, while Hamas attempts to replicate a Hizbullah infrastructure in Gaza, the Olmert government, which experienced the bitter consequences of having failed to take preemptive action in Lebanon, again remains passive, waiting for empowered Hamas terrorists to attack us at a time of their choosing.

Monday's attack on Dimona may well be the first sign of a Hamas emboldened by its latest achievements in Rafah.

Alternatively, the Israeli government may be waiting for the inevitable disaster when, God forbid, a missile ultimately falls on a kindergarten, hospital or key infrastructure, forcing it to respond.

If Olmert remains in office, it will virtually ensure that our relationship with our neighbors and the world will continue sinking into a bottomless pit. During these stormy times when we truly face existential threats, we cannot afford to be like a ship without a rudder. Should our sons be obliged to fight in a future war, we should more than ever hearken to the Winograd Report, which clearly says we require a prime minister whom the people can trust. We also need a leader who the nation is confident will be capable of negotiating peace without constantly being diverted by matters relating to his political survival.

Leadership must relate to our neglected social and economic framework, which also urgently requires attention. There is a need to reform the educational system, whose standards have eroded to an appalling level. The absence of a core curriculum to unify the secular, national-religious, haredi and Arab educational streams is encouraging tribalization where there should be unity.

The erosion of dialogue and mutual accommodation between religious and secular encourages growing polarization and extremism. An overhaul of the health, welfare, water and conservation systems is long overdue. There is a real need for long-term planning and reform. We cannot expect any of these crucial issues to be dealt with adequately by this government.

Under Olmert, Israel will remain a nation under siege, led by a failed leader who has not absorbed the bitter lessons of past mistakes. The burden of responsibility for change rests with those Knesset members who have hitherto failed to act in the national interest because of their selfish personal agenda.

The ultimate cynicism is exemplified by Ehud Barak, who shamelessly breached his pledge to resign after the release of the report; and by the Shas Party, which betrays their hawkish supporters for short-term lucre; and by those sanctimonious Kadima members who are waiting to see which way the wind will blow.

The other factor operating in Olmert's favor is the obsessive hatred of, and trepidation in the face of his most likely successor, Binyamin Netanyahu, as reflected in the Hebrew media.

We are blessed with an incredibly steadfast and creative people. Now, before it is too late, we Israeli citizens must exert people power, pressuring those failed and dysfunctional Knesset members who are more concerned about retaining their positions than promoting the interests of the nation to bring this government down.

It was another failed leader, minister of defense Ehud Barak, who not so long ago said: "We need a new leader we can trust, and who will place the interests of the nation ahead of his political survival and personal agenda."

Yet, paradoxically, the politician now most responsible for keeping Olmert in office is none other than Ehud Barak himself.

The writer is a veteran international Jewish leader.

This article can also be read at

Clash Between IDF and Religious Values

Hillel Fendel

Three yeshiva student soldiers have been sentenced to 21 days in army prison for refusing to take part in a weeks-long course with female instructors and participants. Despite the army guidelines that state specifically that soldiers must not be forced to serve in frameworks that negate their religious lifestyle, the soldiers were told they must participate in the course - and were, in fact, tried and imprisoned for not doing so. They began their sentence on Tuesday afternoon.
'At this rate, more and more religious soldiers will feel that they have no choice but to find ways not to serve in the army.'

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, the dean of the Hesder Yeshiva (combining army service and Torah study) in the Samarian community of Har Brachah, explained the background to Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine:

"In the past, males and females were, for the most part, separated in the army. About ten years ago, however, the Supreme Court ruled that girls must be integrated into various units - and since then this has been done in almost all of the army's units, leading to a clearly secular environment throughout the army. Guidelines were made for religious soldiers, called the "Suitable Integration" guidelines, which were supposed to be for our benefit, but in actuality create a sort of religious ghetto for the soldiers. Now, however, we see that even this ghetto is not being preserved."

The soldiers in question were sent to a three-week course involving balloon-based observation. Though the course is taught solely by females, and involves the active participation of female soldiers, the yeshiva student soldiers were not asked in advance whether they agreed to participate. Even when they ultimately found out the nature of the course and registered their complaints, they were told that they must either take part or face jail time. They chose, by default, the latter.

'Now We Don't Know What to Tell Them'
"These were boys who deliberated very much before enlisting in the army," Rabbi Melamed said, "because they didn't know if they would be able to observe a religious way of life in the army. We, as rabbis and heads of hesder yeshivas, assured them that they would be able to serve in the army without compromising their beliefs - and now we don't know what to tell them."

"I am sorry to say that the general atmosphere in the army these days is a lack of respect for Jewish tradition and for the demands of Jewish Law," Rabbi Melamed said. "The feeling is that the Supreme Court determines everything. I must say that it appears that almost everything bad that occurs in this country is rooted in the Supreme Court. Even the integration of girls in the army - the army commanders were originally against it, and even now, the lower-level commanders don't like the idea."

Before the three soldiers were tried and sent to prison, another yeshiva soldier received the backing of his commander when he said he could not participate, for religious reasons, and was exempted from the course.

Too Many Complaints?
Arutz-7's Uzi Baruch said, "Some officers have said that the hesder boys complain and wail every time they see a girl in the base."

"It's far from that," Rabbi Melamed said. "It's that they don't want to live in a totally secular environment, in which boys and girls are completely integrated, and with the environment that that brings on... We originally agreed, grudgingly, to have one-time classes given by female instructors - but it turned out that these one-time classes became week-long affairs, and the students said they felt very uncomfortable. How many times can there be a one-time class?"

The IDF has not, as of yet, issued a response to the incident.

Concern for the Future
Rabbi Melamed expressed pride in his students, "who made their decision on their own, without consulting me. I think they did the right thing, and they built themselves in the process, and they deserve much credit... They were told by others in the army that by doing this, they 'lost' the support of the base commander, who until now was said to like religious soldiers, but now says he won't accept any more religious soldiers on his base. The yeshiva soldiers said in response that if they contributed to causing religious soldiers not to be stationed at this totally secular base, their entire enlistment was worthwhile."

"I believe that at this rate, more and more religious soldiers will feel that they have no choice but to find ways not to serve in the army," Rabbi Melamed said. "There will be some who will feel they must serve no matter what, but there will be many who will not - and this is very grave from a national perspective. The army must know that at present, half the Jewish first-graders in the country are in religious schools, and more than half of these are in hareidi-religious schools. If the army does not find the way to make it easier for religious soldiers to serve, the result will simply be that there will be fewer soldiers in the army. This must be prevented."

The army guidelines read as follows: "If a religiously observant soldier requests to be placed in a sectarian framework, this must be done... Even in difficult situations, there must be separation of the sexes at least in the framework of a [2-3 person] team [for example, inside a tank]... A framework that includes religiously observant soldiers must be instructed by instructors of the same gender."

On The Present Danger Facing Israel And All Jews

Rachel Neuwirth

The entire body of the Jewish people today -- in Israel, in Europe, in America, in Australia and New Zealand, and throughout the world -- is in grave danger. Our very existence as a people and as a faith is in jeopardy. The threat to our survival has two components to it: the external siege being waged against Israel and the Jewish people throughout the world by the international jihadist movement, its sympathizers and appeasers; and the internal siege that we Jews, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, including the United States, are waging against ourselves.
We will look first at the external siege -- war that is being waged against us. It has its military, diplomatic, and ideological-propaganda aspects.

Military threat

On the "military" front (if that is the right word for the front of violence and terror) we have been under constant assault since the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

During the past fourteen and a half years the Palestinian Arab terrorists have murdered over 1,800 Israelis, two thirds of them civilians. This is more than the total number of Israelis murdered by the Palestinian Arabs in the forty-four years preceding the "peace accords." Many of the killers have been members of the Palestinian Arab "police force" established with Israel's consent in Gaza, Judea and Samaria under the Oslo accords. Indeed, Palestinian "police" have murdered three Israelis just over the past month.

For the past seven years, Israeli towns and villages near the border with Gaza have been subjected to rocket attacks; during the past two years, the city of Sderot, with a population of some 23,000, has been bombarded with rockets nearly every day. Its residents have about twenty seconds whenever a warning siren sounds to duck into a shelter. The missiles have killed some people; many more have been wounded; and thousands, including Sderot's children, have suffered shock and trauma.

Egypt, supposedly at peace with Israel, has enabled the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza to move vast amounts of armaments, money and soldiers into this territory, and to transform themselves from a guerilla force into an army able to fight Israel on nearly equal terms. The Israelis have even captured on videotape Egyptian "border guards" helping to smuggle in terrorists.

Then there are the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, who killed about 140 Israeli soldiers and 43 civilians in 2006, many of them with long range rockets that struck deep inside the Galilee, including Israel’s third largest city, Haifa. Hezbollah recently struck again with rockets at kibbutz Shlomi. Since the 2006 Lebanon war, Hezbollah has completely rearmed, and now has missiles that can strike at the heart of Tel Aviv.

Standing behind Hezbollah are Syria and Iran. Both of these hateful regimes make no bones about their desire to destroy Israel. Both are armed with chemical and biological weapons, missiles that can reach every inch of Israeli territory, the most advanced fighter jets, and numerous other ultramodern weapons. Both regimes are working at break-neck speed to develop nuclear weapons. This has been thoroughly documented, despite the attempts of the recent "National Intelligence Estimate" to deny this reality.

Threat of violence

The campaign of violence against Jews has been extended to the Diaspora. There has been a massive increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe. In London, Paris, and Brussels, Jews are routinely assaulted on the street and on public transportation facilities. Many synagogues have been vandalized, and some burned to the ground. Desecrations of Jewish cemeteries are so common that they have ceased to be news. In "peaceful" Switzerland, a rabbi was gunned down recently in the street simply because he was wearing traditional Jewish garb.

Nor should we American Jews think that we have been immune to the spreading hatred. According to FBI statistics, of some 1,500 hate crimes connected with the religion of the victims last year, over 1,000 were directed at Jews -- more than five times the number of crimes directed at the next most vulnerable group, Muslims, and more than ten times the number of hate crimes directed against Christians. On March 1, 1994, a Lebanese Muslim murdered a Jewish boy and seriously injured several others on the Brooklyn Bridge, simply because they were Jews. On July 4, 2002, at the El Al terminal of Los Angeles Airport, two Jews were killed and four wounded by an Egyptian gunman, simply because they were Jews seeking to board a plane for Israel. On July 28, 2007 an Arab Muslim man walked into a Jewish center in Seattle, murdered a Jewish woman and injured five other women simply because they were Jews.

Even more troubling, perhaps, is the strange insensitivity often displayed by our own government toward many of these hate crimes. For example, the FBI described the murder of the Jewish boy on the Brooklyn Bridge as a case of "road rage," even when the political and religious motives of the assassin were attested to by many witnesses. And when the Egyptian, Muslim fundamentalist gunman mowed down Jews at the Los Angeles El Al terminal, the FBI investigating officer asserted, "there is no evidence that this was terrorism."

Diplomatic threat

On the diplomatic front, Israel has been under relentless pressure from the international community, including, sad to say, our own beloved United States, to make unilateral concessions to the Palestinian terrorists that place Israel in deadly peril. The so-called "Quartet" of great powers, consisting of the United States, the European Community, the United Nations, and Russia, has bludgeoned Israel into accepting the so-called "Road Map" plan, which requires Israel to withdraw more or less to its June 4, 1967 borders. The late Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, once aptly called these lines "the Auschwitz frontiers."

Pressure to implement the "road map" has continued relentlessly through the Annapolis conference last month and during President Bush's recent visit to Israel. The United States has also put relentless pressure on Israel to withdraw security checkpoints that are vital to preventing the movement of terrorists and their weapons into Israel, to end all construction of Jewish housing outside the 1967 borders, including those neighborhoods of Jerusalem outside of this "green line," to acquiesce in the partition of Jerusalem, and to evacuate Jewish residents from the so-called "unauthorized settlements" or "illegal outposts" -- many of them on land legally owned by Jews, in some cases owned by Jews for decades.

The Palestinian Arab leadership, for its part, has demanded that Israel accept within its borders all four million Arabs who claim that they are descended from refugees who left Israel sixty years ago, during her War of Independence. They also want Israel to evict the roughly 450,000 Jews who live in areas outside the 1967 lines, which would require Israel to resettle these unfortunate people, too, within its now-truncated territory. Obviously, Israel could not survive the importation of millions of Arabs who have been taught to hate her from birth. But it also would be very difficult to absorb half a million Jews forced from their homes. They would have good reason to hate their own country.

Yet the United States has given Israel little encouragement to resist these demands of the Palestinian Arabs.

Propaganda threat

But by far the most insidious and dangerous front in the war against Israel is the propaganda war. In the Arab countries and Iran, this takes the form of the crudest lies and stereotypes derived from Nazi propaganda and the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But it is also being waged in a more subtle way by the media throughout Europe, the United States, and even within Israel itself; and by the academic and educational establishments of all of these countries as well. The Western media and academic "experts" portray Israel as a Western colonial implant into the Middle East that has uprooted and dispossessed the "indigenous" Arab population and stolen their land. Israelis are portrayed as religious fanatics intent on seizing other people's land in order to fulfill Biblical promises.

Nor should we overlook that the hate propaganda and libels directed against Israel are directed against the Jews of the Diaspora as well, especially American Jews. Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer and former President Jimmy Carter claim that American Jews exert excessive power over American foreign policy; that they use this power on behalf of a foreign country, Israel, to the disadvantage and injury of the United States; and that we silence anyone who criticizes Israel with threats, unfair criticism or dismissal from their jobs.

All of these allegations, both those against Israel itself and those against its Jewish supporters in the United States and elsewhere, are lies. But through constant repetition, they have been bought into by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, including Europe, the United States, and saddest of all, within Israel itself. This is the ultimate fulfillment of Hitler's observation in Mein Kampf that the bigger the lie is, if it is repeated often enough, the more likely it is to be believed.

Internal threat

But it is we Jews' siege of ourselves from within our own communities that presents the gravest danger to our survival as a people and as a faith community: our self-doubts; our demoralization; our loss of confidence in the righteousness of our own cause; our lack of unity; the loss of our religious beliefs, and of what is an essential part of our religion, our mission as a people.

Because so many of us have lost faith in the righteousness of our own struggle for survival, and have accepted the lies of our enemies, the government and people of Israel have been increasingly yielding to the demands of our enemies and false friends without even putting up a struggle. In order to survive, we must win a victory over the sickness of our enemies; but before we can do that, we must heal ourselves.

For some Jews, their psychological sickness has progressed to the point of outright identification with the enemies of our people, and active participation in their ideological, propaganda and political assault on us. These Jews have actively taken sides with the enemy, at least on the level of ideology, communications and propaganda -- perhaps in the belief that "if you can't beat them, join them." These Jews constitute an internal Jewish fifth column that threatens us more severely than all our external enemies combined. The anti-Israel and anti-Jewish Jews among us are like a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Israel and the Jewish people.

Thousands of Jewish journalists, academics, filmmakers, artists and "intellectuals" in the United States, Canada, Europe, and within Israel itself have actively participated in the campaign of vilification and lies against Israel. There is even a "minyan" of Jewish reporters working for the notorious al-Qaeda mouthpiece al-Jazeera. These Jewish haters of Zion have a greater impact and credibility than any other group of anti-Israel propagandists. Who, after all, would believe that Jews would lie about their own people and institutions? And their impact is greatest on their fellow Jews, of course; they have sapped the will of Israelis to resist the demands of their enemies, and the will of the American and other Diaspora Jews to stand behind Israel, by persuading them that Israel's cause is not just.

But our internal propagandist fifth column, disastrous though its impact has been on our morale, is only one of the negative influences contributing to the collapse of the Jewish will to resist the relentless pressure of our enemies.

A tremendous, and humanly understandable, war-weariness has gripped Israelis. Prime Minister Olmert gave voice to this terrible war fatigue when he said,

"We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies."

We must remember that a man or woman struggling to walk to safety through numbing cold may become very tired indeed, to the point of wishing to lie down in the snow and fall asleep. But then he or she will not wake up.

Loss of faith in God and in the truths of our religion is yet another reason for our spreading defeatism and our failure to resist the assault on us as Jews. It is our religion that teaches us that we are a distinct people with a land of our own. It is our religion that teaches us that we have a unique destiny, and that we must survive as a people if we are to fulfill our mission to be "a light unto the nations." Once we forget our faith, the temptation to assimilate into our environment completely and forget about what happens to our fellow Jews becomes very great.

And for us, the Jews of the golden American Diaspora, our very comfort, prosperity and seeming security have concealed the common danger from us -- much as they concealed from the Jews of Germany and elsewhere in Europe the grave danger that they faced from Nazism, until it was too late to do anything. They think, "What has all this got to do with me? I am leading a perfectly contented and prosperous life here in America with my family. I am very comfortable. Why should I care about what is happening to other Jewish people 6,000 miles away?"

The answer to this understandable human reaction is the answer that Mordecai sent to Esther when she expressed her fear of approaching King Ahasuerus to appeal for the life of her fellow Jews: "Do not imagine that you, of all the Jews, will escape with your life by being in the king's palace. On the contrary . . .you and your father's house will perish." (Esther 4:12). If Israel should fall, do not imagine that we American Jews shall escape persecution by enemies who see our vulnerability.

Our lethargy and indifference are grave mistakes that will come back to haunt us. While World War II was going on, few Jews in America even knew about, or much less reacted to, the genocide being committed against our brethren in Europe, even though the essential facts about their fate were known to American Jewish leaders as early as 1942. It was only after the war ended and photographs of the bodies of the victims appeared in the newspapers that the enormity of what had happened began to sink in with American Jews. Serious discussion and study of the Holocaust did not even begin among us until the 1960s.

This time, we will not have the luxury of a slow response to the dangers facing not only the Jews of Israel, but also ourselves.

Nor should Christians and other non-Jews in America and throughout the Western world be indifferent to what is happening. The international jihad waged by the radical Islamists targets not only Jews, but all Christians (referred to by the jihadis as "Crusaders") and all of Western civilization as well. The Jews are the first on the list of groups targeted for extinction by the radical jihadis, but they are by no means the last on this list. In our vulnerability to the poisonous ideological winds sweeping in from the Middle East and South Asia, we Jews are the proverbial "canary in the coal mine" -- the first to suffer the lethal effects of the poison, but not the last.

John Landau contributed to this article.

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Rachel Neuwirth, an internationally recognized, political commentator and analyst. She specializes in Middle Eastern Affairs with particular emphasis on Militant Islam and Israeli foreign policy. She has been published in prominent news papers of Europe, Asia and the US. She is frequently quoted by reputable Media.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Israeli Lesson

The news about yesterday's suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Dimona is that it's news. In 2002, at the height of the second intifada, 451 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks, including 14 suicide bombings. By contrast, yesterday's attack, which killed one and injured 11, was the first of its kind in more than a year. This didn't happen by accident, or because Palestinian radicals have somehow become less hostile to Israel. Responsibility for yesterday's attack was claimed by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, which is affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas's ostensibly moderate Fatah party. Islamist Hamas remains even more ardently dedicated to Israel's destruction, a point it emphasizes with its rocket barrages at southern Israeli cities close to the Gaza Strip.

Instead, the difference has come because of Israel's increasingly successful antiterrorist efforts. Key to that success has been the construction of its ostensibly "illegal" security fence, its equally "illegal" targeted assassinations of key terrorist leaders, its "disproportional" attacks on terrorist enclaves in Jenin and elsewhere, and other actions that saved innocent lives but which much of the international community deplored.

One of the most common arguments against Israel's actions is that it would feed a "cycle of violence." It's fair to say that what happened is closer to the opposite. As Israel put pressure on terrorist leaders, they were forced to spend their time running for their lives rather than planning the next attack. As Israel set up physical obstacles to terrorism, the need for large-scale military incursions declined, allowing a semblance of normal life to return for Israelis as well as Palestinians. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Israel proved that terrorists can be defeated -- a lesson that applies equally in Iraq.

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Published February 2008
Vol. 7, No. 30 5 February 2008

Strategic Implications for Israel of the Gaza-Egypt Border Opening

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Dan Diker

Some had hoped that pressuring Hamas in Gaza via sanctions, while helping to create a stable and prosperous Palestinian society in the West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas, would trigger support for Abbas' leadership in Gaza. However, Hamas, via Gaza's new-found access to Egyptian materials, goods, and services, can now ease Gaza's depressed condition and diminish the differences between Gaza and the more prosperous West Bank.
For the first time in the history of the modern Middle East, Hamas - the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ideological cousin of al-Qaeda - has gained full control over contiguous territory and population, and has now effectively become a state government without real opponents.
In sharp contrast to Fatah's yet unfulfilled promises, the Palestinian public sees Hamas' dramatic opening of the Gaza-Egypt border as the latest in a series of successful actions. Others include Hamas' surprise January 2006 electoral victory over Fatah, its kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the sustained rocketing of southern Israel, and Hamas' expulsion of Fatah forces from Gaza and the establishment of its control over the government there in June 2007.
Terrorist operatives and groups such as al-Qaeda, that have already used Egyptian Sinai as a rear base, can now reach Gaza without interference. Gaza has transformed from its prior status as part of the Palestinian Authority to its new role as a mini-state that is now an integral part of the Arab world. Hamas will now be able to obtain weapons, ammunition, explosives, and training more freely via Egyptian Sinai. Since the border opening, weapons have flowed unimpeded into Gaza, enabling the transfer of higher-grade weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles.
Al-Qaeda operatives already infiltrated the Gaza Strip from Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen back in 2006. After the breach of the Egyptian-Gaza border, many Palestinians trained in Syria and Iran easily returned to Gaza. With the open flow of Palestinians into Sinai, there are also increased prospects for attacks against Israeli targets by terrorists infiltrating across Israel's long border with Sinai. If Egypt is forced to take responsibility for Gaza, Israel will have to more carefully weigh its military responses to Hamas terror actions originating from the Strip.

The Recognized Government of the State of Gaza

Hamas' breaching of the 12-kilometer security fence separating Gaza from Egyptian Sinai on January 23, 2008, with the acquiescence of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has triggered major shifts in the triangular relationship between Israel, Gaza, and Egypt.

Hamas' opening of Gaza's southern border to Egypt was a well-planned strategic move that has effectively knighted Hamas as the recognized government of a new state of Gaza. Previously, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and some Israelis had hoped that pressuring Hamas in Gaza via sanctions, while helping to create a stable and prosperous Palestinian society in the West Bank under Fatah leader and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, would trigger support for Abbas' leadership in Gaza.

However, recent events in Gaza have buried this possibility for the foreseeable future. Hamas, via Gaza's new-found access to Egyptian materials, goods, and services, can now ease Gaza's depressed economic condition, and thereby diminish the differences between Gaza and the more prosperous West Bank. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flooded the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula after January 23, spending approximately $130 million in local Egyptian markets.1

The opening of the state of Gaza to Egypt reinforces Hamas control that no external pressure will be able to reverse at this juncture. The prospects of Mahmoud Abbas regaining control in Gaza are remote at best. Despite reports of an agreement with Egypt to include Abbas' Palestinian Presidential Guard at Gaza's Rafah border crossing, Hamas will not give up its achievement and allow forces loyal to Abbas to control the border, despite Egypt's preference for such an arrangement.2

The radical Hamas government, which is financed, trained, and armed by Iran, has proven itself as an effective military and political force. Hamas has upgraded its strategic posture by opening its southern border and forcing its Egyptian neighbor to allow free and largely unimpeded access for nearly two weeks for hundreds of thousands of Gazans who crossed Egypt's sovereign borders and returned to Gaza at will. Hamas' success in forcing Egypt to negotiate over the crisis has established Hamas' upgraded status.3 Hamas has agreed to cooperate with Egypt to close the breached border. However, the gesture is temporary and must also be considered in the context of Hamas' stated intention to disengage completely from Israel, abandon the Israeli shekel and adopt an Arab currency, and seek fuel, utilities, trade, and a new open border regime with Egypt.4

A Territory Under Islamist Control

This crisis may also be seen in a much broader and far-reaching political and ideological context. For the first time in the history of the modern Middle East (other than the limited case of Hassan Turabi's Sudan5), Hamas - the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ideological precursor to al-Qaeda6 - has gained full control over contiguous territory and population, and has now effectively become a state government without real opponents or internal challenges for power.

Gaza's new open border with Egypt represents the fulfillment of a long-held dream by the Muslim Brotherhood across the region, and suggests far-reaching ramifications for neighboring Arab countries including Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. In fact, on January 27, 2008, a senior Muslim Brotherhood delegation from the Egyptian parliament paid an official visit to Hamas' government compound in Gaza.7 A senior Hamas delegation headed by its political leader, Khaled Mashal, has also been invited to Saudi Arabia to discuss "developments" since the border was opened.8

The Sunset of Fatah

In the Palestinian-Israeli context, Hamas' success enhances its political power among Palestinians and further weakens Mahmoud Abbas' image as the leader of the Palestinian people. While Abbas is eager to return Fatah control to Gaza, recent events have ratcheted up Hamas' control.

In sharp contrast to Fatah's failed and corrupt government, the Palestinian public sees Hamas' dramatic opening of the Gaza-Egypt border as the latest in a series of successful actions. Others include Hamas' surprise January 2006 electoral victory over Fatah, its kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the sustained rocketing of southern Israel, and Hamas' expulsion of Fatah forces from Gaza and the establishment of its control over the government there in June 2007. Hamas' border breach has also been a signal to Egypt of the Gaza government's strength.9

The events in Gaza may signal an historic change: the end of Fatah as the ruling political power in Palestinian society. Fatah's continued control in Palestinian areas of the West Bank today is the direct result of the Israel Defense Forces' control of the territory. Only the continuing IDF operations in the West Bank have prevented Hamas from staging a takeover similar to its military coup against Fatah in Gaza in 2007.

An Enemy State with an Open Door

Another strategic shift is reflected in Gaza's new status as an enemy state entity with open borders. Gaza has transformed from its prior status as part of the Palestinian Authority to its new role as a mini-state that is now an integral part of the Arab world. Hamas will now be able to more freely obtain weapons, ammunition, explosives, and training via Egyptian Sinai. Since the border opening, advanced weapons have flowed unimpeded into Gaza across the Egyptian border, enabling the transfer of higher-grade weapons than can be smuggled via underground tunnels.

The Israel Security Agency has confirmed that Hamas smuggled large amounts of long-range rockets, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza since the border was breached.10 This new weaponry will enable the continued upgrade of Hamas' highly disciplined army that is largely financed and trained by Iran and is modeled after the Iranian-backed Hizbullah in Lebanon.

Terrorist operatives and groups such as al-Qaeda, that have already used Egyptian Sinai as a rear base, are now able to reach Gaza more easily. Several al-Qaeda-affiliated operatives, some of whom infiltrated from Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen, have been active in Gaza since 2006. Over time, al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations have also emerged in Gaza, including Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) that was responsible for the kidnapping of BBC journalist Alan Johnston. Other groups were also formed like Jaish al-Umma (Army of the Nation), Al-Qaeda in Palestine, and Mujahidin Beit al-Makdes (Holy Warriors of Jerusalem), which attacked the American International School in Gaza in January 2008.11

Global jihadi leaders, such as Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Ansari of the Lebanese-based Fatah al-Islam, called for jihadi fighters around the world to exploit the breached Rafah crossing and enter Gaza.12 With the open flow of Palestinians into Sinai, there are also increased prospects for attacks against Israeli targets by terrorists infiltrating across Israel's long border with Sinai.

It must be understood that Hamas is no longer merely a well-trained guerilla terror force. Rather, Hamas must be confronted as a state army that uses guerilla tactics and terrorism while, simultaneously, it prepares for all-out war against Israel. With each passing day that Israel does not mobilize for a major ground operation in Gaza, it will be more difficult for the IDF to enter Gaza and destroy Hamas, whose growing Katyusha rocket arsenal has already reached Ashkelon and can strike major Israeli urban centers 20 kilometers north of Gaza, like Kiryat Gat and Ashdod.

At the same time, Hamas and other terror groups continue to fire shorter-range Kassam rockets at Sderot and other Israeli localities. Since January 1, 2008, alone, more than 420 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza.13

Completing Israel's Disengagement from Gaza

Following the opening of the Gaza-Sinai border, Israel can now complete the disengagement it undertook in September 2005 and seal its border with Gaza, prohibiting the entry or exit of persons and commercial goods, or, as has occurred recently, explosives disguised as commercial materials.14

Israel and Egypt had negotiated the administration of Gaza in the framework of the 1978 Camp David Accords. However, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat refused to take responsibility for the Strip. Instead, Sadat insisted only on establishing an Egyptian liaison office in Gaza. However, Prime Minister Menachem Begin rejected the Egyptian demand.15

Today, however, a newly-sealed Israel-Gaza border would force Egypt into the role of state custodian for the Gaza Strip. The opening of the Egypt-Gaza border has demonstrated that Egypt can play a key role as a supplier of goods and services to Gazans. Egypt can also supply utilities such as gas, electricity, and water, and raw materials such as cement.

Egypt sees itself as the Arab world's leading power, and will not stand idly by and allow Palestinians in Gaza to suffer shortages if Israel closes its border with Gaza. Egypt's humanitarian role has been the basis of Mubarak's justification for allowing the border to remain open and it is unlikely that Egypt will suddenly reverse this policy in the future.

While certain benefits may accrue to Israel as a result of a shift in Egypt-Gaza relations, there are also possible dangers for Israel-Egypt relations, which are a vital strategic asset for both Jerusalem and Cairo. If Egypt is forced to take responsibility for Gaza, Israel will have to more carefully weigh its military responses to Hamas terror actions originating from the Strip. Israel's strategic flexibility could be reduced due to any direct Egyptian role in Gaza. Israel may benefit if it is no longer the responsible party for the welfare of Gaza's citizens. But at the same time, Israel loses its ability to monitor what enters and exits over Gaza's border with Egypt.

The Iranian Role

The Iranian role is another troubling aspect of the new situation in Gaza. Iran's direct and robust backing of its Hamas proxy, via Khaled Mashal and the Damascus-based Hamas leadership, has essentially created a reinforced Gaza base to export Iranian terror and expand Iranian political control in the region. It is no small irony that now, Egyptian-assisted Gaza has become a second Iranian gateway to the Arab world, in addition to Syria, from which to subvert and assert control over Arab countries and territories, as part of Iran's grand strategy to achieve regional hegemony under a nuclear umbrella.

* * *


1. Ehud Yaari, "Egypt Working to Contain Gaza," Policy Watch #1337, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, February 1, 2008.

2. "Egypt Agrees to Abbas Control over Gaza Border, Palestinian Officials Say," Ynet News, January 27, 2008.

3. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Cairo Invites Hamas Representatives for Talks on Rafah Border Situation, Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2008.

4. "Egypt to Close Rafah Sunday; Hamas Says It Will Cooperate," Jerusalem Post, February 2, 2008. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya was quoted as saying, "We have said from the days of our election campaign that we want to move toward economic disengagement from the Israeli occupation. Egypt has a greater ability to meet the needs of Gaza." Haniya's senior advisor, Ahmad Youssef, added that "Hamas has already generated plans and proposals to unite economically with Egypt instead of Israel." According to Hamas, Egypt can serve as "Gaza's gateway" to the Arab and Muslim world and as its in-depth strategic partner. Roee Nahmias, "Hamas Considering Economic Disengagement from Israel," YNET News, February 2, 2008,,7340,L-3501759,00.html

5. Lt.-Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, "The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad?" Jerusalem Viewpoints #558, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, November 1, 2007. "The links between the Muslim Brotherhood and global terrorism were also made evident by the reception Hassan al-Turabi, a high-ranking Muslim Brother and at that time one of the heads of Sudan, provided for al-Qaeda in the early 1990s. In 1991, accepting al-Turabi's personal invitation, Osama bin Laden moved from Saudi Arabia to Sudan and established a terrorist network there. In addition, al-Turabi founded the Popular Arab and Islamic Conference, some of whose members were the PLO, Hamas, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda, and the Egyptian Jihad. The Conference met in April 1991, December 1993, and March 1995. In August 1993, in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center, the United States included Sudan in its designated list of terrorism-sponsoring states." The_Muslim_Brotherhood:_A_Moderate_Islamic_Alternative_to_al-Qaeda_or_a_Partner_in_Global_Jihad?

6. Dore Gold, "Ties between al-Qaeda and Hamas in Mideast Are Long and Frequent," San Francisco Chronicle, March 5, 2006, file=/chronicle/archive/2006/03/05/INGERHG75F1.DTL

7. Israeli Channel Two television news, January 27, 2008.

8. Avi Issacharoff and Barak Ravid, "Officials: Israel Won't Let Gaza Border Breach Threaten Security," Ha'aretz, January 28, 2008.

9. Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, January 29, 2008,

10. See also "Diskin: Gaza Breach Allowed Influx of Advanced Armament," Jerusalem Post, February 3, 2008.

11. Lt.-Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, "The Growing Hamas/Al-Qaeda Connection, Jerusalem Issue Brief, v. 7, no. 1, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, May 17, 2007. See also "Leaflets of Al-Qaeda-Affiliate Found in Looted American School in Gaza," Ha'aretz, January 15, 2008.


13. "Gaza: Why and What to Do About It," Jewish Institute for National Security Studies, Report #740, January 24, 2008.

14. An IDF force checking a truck carrying humanitarian aid (flour, sugar, etc.) about to go through the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip found two tons of dual-purpose fertilizer, also used in the manufacture of explosives for rockets and bombs. It was not the first time that the terrorist organizations had tried to smuggle explosives into the Gaza Strip by disguising them as humanitarian aid. See "News of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation," January 9-15, 2008, Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,

15. According to Dr. Meir Rosenne, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, who was part of the Israeli negotiating team at the 1978 Camp David Accords, in a phone interview, February 4, 2008.

* * *

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Chairman of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, is former commander of the IDF's National Defense College and the IDF Staff and Command College. He is also former head of the IDF's Research and Assessment Division, with special responsibility for preparing the National Intelligence Assessment. Dan Diker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs and foreign policy analyst of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.