Saturday, January 03, 2009

Has Israel learned its lesson?

Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
January 1, 2009

This column is available exclusively through the New York Times Syndicate. For permission to reprint this copyrighted material, please contact or call 800-535-4425.

ISRAEL'S 2006 WAR against Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist army based in Lebanon, was a disaster -- an ill-planned operation that did more damage to Israel's military reputation than to Hezbollah's resolve and influence. Now, as it fights Hamas in Gaza, Israel seems determined not to repeat the mistakes it made 2½ years ago. This time, Israeli prewar preparations were much more meticulous. Months were devoted to gathering detailed information on scores of Hamas targets, including training camps and offices, rocket launchers, underground bunkers, weapons-making sites, tunnels from Egypt, and the homes of terrorist commanders. Israel's military and political operations appear better coordinated than in 2006, and Israeli diplomats are making use of online weapons -- launching a dedicated YouTube channel, for example, and conducting a live citizens’ press conference via Twitter -- to get its message out.

But it remains an open question whether Israel's leaders have learned the most critical lesson of all: that genocidal jihadists and other mortal foes cannot be wheedled, negotiated, bribed, or ignored into quietude. In a war with enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas and the PLO -- enemies explicitly committed to Israel's destruction -- goodwill gestures beget no goodwill, and peace processes do not lead to peace.

The proximate cause of the fighting in Gaza was the sharp increase in rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians after Hamas refused to extend its tenuous cease-fire with Israel past Dec. 19. But the deeper cause was the transformation of Gaza into an Iranian proxy and terrorist hub following Israel’s reckless “disengagement” in 2005. Israelis convinced themselves that ethnically cleansing Gaza of its Jews and handing over the territory to the Palestinians would reduce violence and make Israel safer. It did just the opposite.

In 2000, Israelis had similarly believed that a unilateral retreat from southern Lebanon would deprive Hezbollah of any pretext for continuing its war against the Jewish state. But far from extinguishing Hezbollah's jihadist dreams, it inflamed them.

The hard truth is that no matter how much Israelis crave peace, they cannot achieve it through concessions and compromises and "road maps" -- not when their enemies view such overtures and agreements as signs of weakness, and as proof that terrorism works. For 60 years, Israel has had to contend with the hostility of its neighbors and the heavy costs of war; its yearning for peace is understandable. But there will be no peace without victory, and no victory without fighting for it.

For a long time now, Israel's leaders have resisted this fact - -- “We are tired of fighting,” Ehud Olmert infamously declared in 2005. For 15 years, beginning with the sham of the Oslo peace process in 1993, Jerusalem has tried to appease its way to tranquility. It allowed Yasser Arafat and his PLO killers to take control of the West Bank and Gaza. It embraced the goal of Palestinian statehood. It responded to terrorism with ever-deeper concessions. It abandoned Lebanon and Gaza. It reiterated, over and over, the false mantra that "you make peace with your enemies." And from the ongoing captivity of Gilad Shalit to the rockets slamming into Israeli cities to the dysfunction and radicalization of Palestinian society, the results have been disastrous.

There are heartening indications this week of a more realistic and unsentimental approach. Defense Minister Ehud Barak described the offensive against Hamas as a "war to the bitter end" and told an American interviewer, "For us to be asked to have a cease-fire with Hamas is like asking you to have a cease-fire with al-Qaeda." Both leading contenders in the upcoming Israeli election, Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and head of Kadima, promise to make it a priority "to topple the Hamas regime" if elected prime minister. Israel's UN ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, has said that the operation in Gaza will last "as long as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely."

Whether this strong rhetoric will be backed up by strong action in the long run remains to be seen. Yesterday, the Israeli cabinet properly rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour truce. Perhaps, at long last, the lesson has been learned: With an enemy like Hamas, which boasts that it "loves death" and "drinks blood," truces and deals are illusory. If Israel seeks lasting peace, it must first win a lasting victory.

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.)

Hamas and the Palestinians

Khaled Abu Toameh

It is true that Hamas came to power in January 2006 largely thanks to the corruption and incompetence of the Palestinian Authority. But it is also true that many of the Palestinians who voted for Hamas were well aware of the movement's radical ideology and its desire to replace Israel with an Islamic state.. Back then, Hamas ran in the parliamentary election under the banner of Change and Reform. Its leaders promised the Palestinians good government and an end to financial corruption. But Hamas also promised the Palestinians that it would "pursue the resistance against the Israeli enemy." It also pledged never to recognize Israel's right to exist in this part of the world.

To its credit, Hamas did not hide its agenda. Its leaders were very clear in the messages they sent to the Palestinian public and the international community. Hamas's message was the same in Arabic and English.

When Hamas talked about pursuing the "resistance" against Israel, it was referring to the firing of rockets and the launching of suicide bombings.

Hamas's clear message to the Palestinians was: Vote for us and we will not only bring you good government, but we will also continue to work toward the destruction of the state of Israel.

The majority of the Palestinians who voted for Hamas in the parliamentary election knew exactly what they were choosing. Apart from being a vote of protest against Mahmoud Abbas's corruption-riddled Palestinian Authority, it was also a vote of confidence in Hamas's dangerous and radical ideology.

Over the past three years, the Palestinians, particularly those living in the Gaza Strip, have undoubtedly paid a heavy price for voting in a terrorist organization. Yet despite the economic sanctions and the humanitarian crisis, there are still no signs that the Palestinians are even close to challenging the Hamas regime.

On the contrary – Hamas appears to be more popular than ever among the 1.4 million residents of the Gaza Strip. Just two weeks ago more than 250,000 Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate Hamas's 21st anniversary.

At the rally, the Hamas supporters chanted, "Death to Israel!" and "Death to America!" and vowed that they would never recognize Israel. The demonstrators also called on Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, to continue firing rockets at Israel.

It is hard to believe that the Hamas supporters did not expect Israel to respond to the launching of rockets at its cities and towns.

Many of those who voted for Hamas in 2006 did so because they wanted the movement to pursue the path of death and bloodshed. And the masses who turned up for the Hamas anniversary rally knew that it was only a matter of time before Israel ran out of patience and responded to the rocket attacks.

In recent weeks, Hamas and its supporters did almost everything to drag Israel into a new round of violence. By refusing to extend the unofficial cease-fire with Israel that expired two weeks ago, Hamas paved the way for the massive IDF operation designed to halt the rocket attacks on Israel.

The Palestinians who are now shouting and crying because of the Israeli offensive should direct their anger first and foremost toward the "elected" government of Hamas.

Tragically, the Palestinians who voted for Hamas and those who continue to rally behind the movement are responsible for the ongoing violence. They had a chance to revolt against Hamas, but chose to either remain silent or continue siding with the movement.

The argument that the Palestinians are "afraid" to challenge Hamas sounds ridiculous given the fact that many of them were not scared to confront Israeli tanks and soldiers with stones or blow themselves up on buses and in front of shopping malls. A Palestinian teenager who stands in front of an Israeli tank and hurls stones at soldiers should be equally courageous to stand up to Hamas and demand that they either change or go away.

But that is not happening mainly because Hamas continues to enjoy widespread sympathy among the Palestinians. Sadly, the high death toll in the Gaza Strip is likely to earn Hamas even more support, especially on the streets of the Gaza Strip.

This is because many Palestinians also do not see a viable alternative to Hamas. As far as the majority of the Palestinians are concerned, according to public opinion polls, Abbas's authority is not a credible and reliable alternative because of its failure to reform itself and combat rampant corruption.

One can only hope that the Israeli military campaign would serve as a wake-up call to the Hamas supporters. The Hamas government will disappear only when the Palestinian masses take to the streets and demand regime change. The change must come from the bottom – from the same people who were bold enough to bring down Abbas's Fatah faction in 2006 because of its corruption. Israeli missiles and bombs alone are not enough to remove Hamas from power.

Israel must fight and win

W. Thomas Smith, Jr
Friday, January 02, 2009

Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman – the man responsible for laying much of my family’s homeland to waste in the final year of the American Civil War – once said, “War is all hell.” He was right: There is no way to bring war to the enemy that does not mirror what we might imagine hell to be. Nevertheless, there are indeed justifications for this hell-on-earth we call “war.” Though some will deny it, the very security and prosperity we Americans enjoy today is an absolute extension of our own battlefield victories and success in war since 1775. And so the idea of approaching war half-heartedly or without the same willing commitment to destroying the enemy as is his toward us, is both foolish and destructive.

Which is why I tip my hat to Israel in its hard-hitting military offensive against the Iranian-supported terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, and pray for both Israel’s ultimate, decisive victory and a speedy end to the conflict for the sake of the innocents.

But make no mistake, Israel has a right – in fact an obligation to its people – to fight madmen who deliberately target civilian populations (with no military value whatsoever) with rockets, mortars, and suicide bombers.

Former CIA operations officer Clare M. Lopez, vice president of the Intelligence Summit and a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, agrees.

In a conversation over the holidays, Lopez says, “This action signals Israel's recovery [since the 2006 war with Hizballah in Lebanon], renewed determination to demonstrate its refusal to give up, and dedication to its own survival.”

Thank God: because Israel must never surrender to forces which would have no qualms about driving every non-Muslim man, woman, and child into the sea. Nor should we. And that means delivering “hell” in its myriad manifestations to the enemy on all asymmetric fronts: including military, political, and media (through the aggressive prosecution of the broader war of ideas).

The enemy is certainly fighting us on all fronts, and he is cleverly forcing Israel and the West onto ground, which – for the good guys – is impossible to attack from or defend.

As Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future of Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, points out, “It is clear that the Gaza war – triggered at the request of Tehran in the framework of an ongoing regional strategy pursued by the Khomeinist regime at least since 2005 – is aimed at collapsing both the democratic and peace processes from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, to the Palestinian territories."

Every move is calculated and carefully orchestrated.

"There is an ominous, strategic goal behind Iran's ordering Hamas to engage Israel and flare up the Gaza battlefield," Phares tells me. “It is to force Israel into a precarious situation internationally wherein Israel would not be able to launch a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear sites. For – as the strategists in Tehran project – when Israel is fighting in the Gaza slums, there would be such international pressure that it would seem unthinkable for the Israelis to also strike at Iran."

So do we have the stomach for this kind of war? Israel must: With Jihadist armies like Hamas in Gaza (Israel’s “critical southwestern front” according to Phares) and Hizballah in Lebanon (the “northern front”) surrounding them, and state-sponsors of terrorism like Iran (easily within ballistic missile range) threatening to wipe the Jewish state off the earth, Israel has no choice.

According to Lopez, “Israel draws the especial enmity of the Muslim world for its temerity to even exist as a Jewish state [despite the fact that Jews dwelled in those lands centuries before Mohammed was even born, and that birth was in Mecca, not Palestine nor anywhere else in what would become greater Israel], but also because it is an outpost of Western-style liberal tolerant pluralist democracy. There is no other state like it in the entire Middle East that embodies the values of Athens and Rome, as well as Jerusalem. This, too, is an affront to the objectives of the Islamic Jihad, which scorns individual liberty, tolerance for diversity, religious freedom, gender equality, and above all, equality between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

But then we have the gutless, ill-informed white-flaggers on Capitol Hill who were willing to surrender to the Jihadists in Iraq even when we had them on the ropes a few years back (That crowd on the Hill continues to damn our operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan with faint praise.). And what the Lebanese government, the U.S., and the greater international community have allowed Hizballah to become since the 2006 war – and to a greater degree since that terrorist group’s murderous rampage across Lebanon in May 2008 – is nothing less than a travesty.

Forget the diplomacy of gentlemen: It doesn’t work with Jihadists – celebrating bombers who deliberately target kids on playgrounds and families in restaurants – who only pretend to negotiate and come to terms in order to buy time for Jihad.

“But we continue to dither, and the new American leaders are fooling themselves when they say that vigorous diplomacy can induce the mullahs to retreat,” writes international terrorism expert Michael Ledeen at PajamasMedia. “It won’t happen, any more than the Israelis got the terrorists to retreat from all-out war against the Jews when the Oslo Agreement was signed, or when Rabin shook hands with Arafat. It only delayed the days of reckoning, at the cost of many lives, mostly of innocents, on both sides.”

So, yes, “war is hell,” potentially more hellish today than at any time in history, which is why we must never lose when fighting an enemy who will never quit. Israel and the West has no choice but to fight the terrorists, aggressively, unapologetically, with an absolute commitment to win on every front. And that fight must be on our time-schedule … never the enemy’s.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Learn to speak English

Esti Appelbaum-Polani explains why Israel losing battle for international public opinion

Esti Appelbaum-Polani
Israel Opinion

The Israeli army’s assault in Gaza proves yet again that alongside the “real battle” taking place on the ground, another major battle rages on – the one for international public opinion, where Israel’s policy is presented vis-à-vis our rivals’ policy. In fact, everyone already knows that the real battle takes place on TV screens, in newspapers and on the Internet. Israel’s public relations campaign is on the defensive. While Hamas’ regime in Gaza “enjoys” global and professional assistance in presenting its policy, we stand alone on the global media front.

Hamas’ professional assistance is manifested through Arab experts who reside in Western countries and are used as commentators on foreign media outlets when needed (interestingly, Israel academic experts who live abroad are often opposed to the Israeli government’s policy.) The campaign is also reinforced by Arab politicians who were educated in the West or lived there for a long time and speak fluent English. In addition, there are the foreign correspondents who view the battle as one pitting David (Hamas) against Goliath (Israel,) because on television it always appears as though one side is strong and the other is weak.

Meanwhile, Palestinian spokespeople who reside in the West and speak fluent English resort to “sweet talk” on global television stations.

And what does the Israeli arsenal include? What kind of forces do we have in the war for global public opinion? In order to convey messages in a convincing manner, several pre-conditions are required: Fluency, decent vocabulary, highly developed expression ability, and the ability to appear on television.

Our official spokespeople among members of the cabinet or the various government ministers are usually quite coherent, yet they are not fluent in English. As such, they come across as unpleasant, Levantine, and uncultured. The many spokespeople who are army officers are perhaps suitable for Israel’s public opinion, but not for global public opinion. Most of them have a rather mediocre ability to express themselves and are not fully familiar with the nuances of media appearances.

Meanwhile, our professional Foreign Ministry diplomats work hard, yet at times they too leave something to be desired in terms of expression ability and English fluency. We already mentioned Israeli academic experts abroad. So what are we left with?

We’re left with a limited number of PR professionals who are able to express themselves fluently and dignifiedly in English. We are also left with a negative balance of responses and appearances on global media outlets, because we do not have enough troops to send on a media war. We also have an inferiority complex with our image stemming from our history, yet in addition to that we possess numerous justifications that we have not yet used in this battle: Mothers and children who have lived in the shadow of rockets for years now, who could have been trained to appear in the English-speaking media. We have fluent businesswomen (females always elicit more empathy than men on TV) who can be enlisted for the cause. We also have female directors in the municipal government that can be trained to offer media responses.

The time has come to upgrade our abilities. We need to invest as much in the PR battle as we do in the battle on the ground, by sending all relevant parties to undergo orderly and intensive training that includes all the required components. Yet most urgently: Learn English!

Esti Appelbaum-Polani is a lecturer at the Communication School of the College of Management’s academic stream

Comment: The second front, PR, continues to be won by our enemies. In part, this is due to the poor speakers Israel uses to make its case and it is not the only reason. Many of us, who live most of the year in Israel, who have an understanding of the situation and who know how to speak to my fellow Americans are not asked to help. Knowing English isnot enough, you must know how to "speak into another's listening"-there are those ofus who are ready to help-it is necessary first to believe the war of opinion is crucial-let us begin here!

Holding Hamas Accountable

Matthew Levitt
January 2, 2009

Operation Cast Lead, initiated in response to resumed Hamas rocket attacks on communities in southern Israel, represents Israel's most furious attack on Hamas since the terrorist group assumed control of Gaza. For the past six months, an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire maintained an uneasy status quo, during which time Hamas smuggled some 80 tons of explosives, roadside bombs and longer-range rockets into Gaza. While Israel's military operation may succeed in weakening the heavily armed Islamist group, the Gaza crisis also highlights a vexing challenge awaiting the new Obama administration: the question of how to deal with Hamas.. Some will recommend that Obama approve direct talks with Hamas. Since Hamas controls Gaza, the theory goes, it must be brought into the political process, engaged not isolated, or else there is no hope for peace. But Hamas is dead set against a two-state solution, whether it joins a unity government or remains in the opposition. Indeed, Hamas deploys suicide bombers specifically aimed at derailing progress toward peace. Engaging Hamas will not help the peace process, but it will legitimize the group most violently opposed to such progress.

Meanwhile, as renewed rocket attacks make clear, Hamas remains committed to the use of violence targeting civilians. Engaging in direct diplomacy with Hamas while it targets civilian population centers would empower a movement designated as a terrorist group by both the United States and the European Union. It would also pull the carpet out from under Palestinian moderates who are truly interested in pursuing peace and are vying with Hamas for popular support.

What, then, should Obama do?

The Obama administration should take the opportunity to lead an international coalition bent on empowering Palestinian moderates and weakening extremists. American and European officials alike have shunned Hamas over the group's continued use of terrorism and political violence -- means it has used despite its electoral victory in January 2006. America and Europe are united in their shared position that politics and terrorism cannot go hand in hand. The internationally recognized conditions for engaging Hamas are clear, and should be reaffirmed: renunciation of terrorism and political violence, respect for past agreements negotiated by the Palestinian Authority and recognition of Israel.

The current round of fighting is not likely to dislodge Hamas from Gaza, but there are a few concrete things that could help facilitate progress when that day comes. Chief among these is encouraging political reform within the moderate Palestinian camp that is still dominated by Fatah.

The United States should continue to work with Israel and the international community to improve conditions on the ground in the West Bank, where Hamas is under pressure from Israeli and P.A. forces alike. Israeli raids of Hamas safe houses and Palestinian closures of Hamas charities have put Hamas on the defensive in the West Bank. Meanwhile, the Unites States recently announced a $14 million increase in development assistance to the Jenin Governorate. Combined with American-facilitated progress on the law-and-order and security fronts in Jenin, Nablus and Hebron, such development aid can tangibly improve the day-to-day lives of West Bank residents.

The United States should also press Egypt to effectively police its border with Gaza -- above and below ground. Cairo has sidelined Hamas diplomatically, announced its opposition to the emergence of "Islamic warlords" in Gaza and laid the blame for the failure of intra-Palestinian negotiations squarely at the feet of Hamas. It needs to follow up on this rhetoric with a serious border patrol initiative focused on the eight-mile-long border with Gaza. Even under siege, Hamas continues to have access to smuggled funds and supplies while Gaza's residents do not. Denying Hamas access to the resources it needs to threaten Israel and to radicalize Palestinian society -- and to rebuild the military infrastructure Israel has just destroyed -- is of paramount importance.

Radical Islamist groups from Lebanon to Iraq will be watching the international community's response to Hamas. So long as Hamas remains committed to violence, anything less than isolation will convince such groups that they need not moderate their tactics to gain international recognition. The message to violent Islamists throughout the region must be clear: Terrorism and politics cannot go hand in hand.

Matthew Levitt directs the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale University Press, 2006) and Negotiating Under Fire: Preserving Peace Talks in the Face of Terror Attacks (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).

"Day Seven"

Arlene Kushner

The time has not yet come for the ground incursion, if indeed it will come as is predicted. I will not report on all of the various comments made -- many contradictory -- on what this incursion would be like. Only those truly on the inside know.. On Wednesday, a draft resolution presented to the UN Security Council by the Arab League was rejected, primarily because of the US. It was totally one-sided, not mentioning Hamas at all. Work is being done on a "balanced" resolution. Because of this, and other efforts afoot, it is felt pressure will build on us to reach a "diplomatic resolution" of the conflict. Now is the time for Olmert and company to stand strong.

Whether we'll ever see a resolution in the UN is in doubt, however: As Hesham Yossef, chief of staff for the League's secretary-general, explained, it is not certain that the League would accept any reference to Hamas rockets in a resolution.


In spite of this, I continue to see encouraging signs of a split in the Arab world, with countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey leveling criticism at Hamas at one level or another. Muhammad Bassiouny, head of the Egyptian parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, for example, has asked, during a TV interview, "Where are the Hamas leaders now, when the residents of Gaza are getting killed? All of Hamas's leaders are in the bunkers."

In a response to Ismail Haniyeh, who said that "the Arab people have proven the Palestinian issue is in their hearts," Bassiouny said, "No one [ i.e., among the Arabs] cares at all if the Palestinians are destroyed. What kind of talk is this?"

Tough talk from Bassiouny. He was telling a truth that is rarely spoken.


Tension is high between Egypt and both Hezbollah and Syria, with regard to Gaza. First came criticism by Nasrallah concerning Egypt's reluctance to open the Rafah crossing to Gazans, which infuriated Mubarak. And now there are reports that Syria wanted a Security Council resolution that would force Egypt to open that crossing. Mubarak says he will not give Hamas this legitimacy.

Additionally, Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, has said that any resolution for a cease-fire must require Hamas to stop firing rockets. Otherwise (note the wording, which is standard) Israel will be given an excuse to attack.

Egypt intelligence has information that a Hamas terror cell had infiltrated Egypt, and it is being sought. Other Palestinians that Egyptian security has picked up are being returned to Gaza


Within Fatah itself there is a split with regard to what's happening in Gaza. From Ramallah, Khaled Abu Toameh reports, in the Post, that Ziad Abu Ein, a deputy minister in the PA, called on Hamas to return the weapons it had confiscated from Fatah members in Gaza (during the Hamas take-over) so they could help fight in the IDF ground incursion. There are according to Abu Ein 70,000 Fatah loyalists still in Gaza who would help.

Some members of Fatah are accusing the PA leaders of "collusion" with Israel so that a return to Gaza will be possible. They point to the fact that the PA is not permitting demonstrations supporting Hamas.

An aide to Mahmoud Abbas, PA president, bitterly attacked Hamas, calling it a puppet of Iran. He vociferously denied that Abbas intends to return to Gaza "on an Israeli tank."


Among the actions we took last night was the bombing of a mosque in Jabaliyah in the north of Gaza. The IDF says this was a storage site for a large number of Katyusha rockets, which is why several secondary explosions followed the attack.


There was a barrage of seven Grad Katyusha rockets launched at Ashkelon this morning -- where one woman was injured; another landed in Ofakim. There are Kassams, as well, with eight hitting in Sderot alone, as well as in other localities; reportedly portions of Sderot are without electric power.


As would be expected, in various places internationally there is heightened Arab-Jewish tension, and some instance of violence against Jews.

What follows here was called to my attention by Celia Sacharow. On the "Boker Tov, Boulder" blog, there are two videos of a nasty pro-Hamas demonstration in Fort Lauderdale FL. Especially see the bottom video, which shows an Arab supporter (or an Arab?) screaming at Jews: "Go back to the oven. You belong in the oven!" Chilling. Not Paris, not London. Fort Lauderdale, for heaven's sake. Should make everyone sit up and take notice.


Several readers called this to my attention, and so, with the help of Jeff Daube, I tracked it down. President-elect Obama said this back in July, when he was here in Israel and visited Sderot, and he was campaigning.

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything in my power to stop that, and would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

You think now, when the implications are real, and he's in the States, and not Israel, and he's been elected, you think he would say this now?

I pray so.


A typo caught by Judith Nusbaum: The founder of Hamas was Sheikh Yassin, not Dassin.

see my website

Confronting Hamas' Genocidal Jew Hatred

Andrew Bostom

As my colleague Robert Spencer observed, Israeli President Shimon Peres appeared flummoxed by Hamas’ intransigence in comments made to Haaretz, reported December 30, 2008. “This shooting has no point, no logic, and no chance,” Peres told Haaretz after Hamas’ open renunciation of the ceasefire agreement (not to mention its prior extensive violations throughout the course of the so-called “tahdiah”), and brazen resumption of missile and mortar attacks into southern Israel – which has triggered a dramatic, aggressive Israeli military response. Worse still, the elder statesman remains dangerously ignorant of Hamas’ intimately related motivations – the genocidal destruction of Israel’s Jews, as a prelude to regional, then global jihad conquest. “Nobody in this world understands what are Hamas’goals and why it continues to fire missiles,” Peres asserted.. Mr. Peres is tragically emblematic of Israeli leaders and policymaking elites who for generations have ignored how the living institution of Jihad war – conjoined in Israel’s unique case to Islamic Jew-hatred – were always, past and present, the primary motivations for those masses in the Arab and non-Arab Muslim world seeking the Jewish State’s destruction. Indeed, what was billed as the first discussion of global Jihadism by the Israeli security cabinet even in the current world (not to mention local Israeli) environment was only just held at the end of this past July, 2008. The open Jihad against Israel waged continuously for two decades by Hamas, since the Jihad terror organization’s founding in 1988, combined with the astonishing ignorance and/or denial of this phenomenon by Peres (and the lost legions who share his mindset), represents the apotheosis of this alarming trend.

Contra Shimon Peres et al, and underscoring their corrosive folly, historian David Littman has waged an heroic personal campaign – in public, at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, since January, 1989 – to elucidate key aspects of Hamas’ genocidal ideology, demonstrating unapologetically how this annihilationist hatred is sanctioned by Islam’s foundational texts. Littman reminded us why it is so critical to focus on Hamas’ odious foundational covenant as a binding documentary record of the organization’s specific beliefs and goals:

Hitler understood this when he wrote in the preface to Mein Kampf: “the basic elements of a doctrine must be set down in permanent form in order that it may be represented in the same way and in unity.” [Hitler, Preface to Mein Kampf (Reynal and Hitchcock translation)]. After his release from an Israeli prison and return to Gaza in October 1997, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual head of Hamas, declared that Israel must “disappear from the map.” He added: “We have an aim and an enemy, and we shall continue our jihad against the enemy. A nation without a jihad is a nation without a purpose.”

The following discussion is indebted to David Littman’s prescient analyses (summarized here, and here), supplementing and updating his original insights.

Hamas cleric Wael Al-Zarad during a television program which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 28, 2008 explained that the Muslims’ blood vengeance against the Jews, “will only subside with their [the Jews] annihilation, Allah willing, because they tried to kill our Prophet several times.” These allegations are part of a central anti-Semitic motif in the Koran which decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews (Koran 2:61/ reiterated at 3:112) for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah.

And Koran 3:112 is featured before the pre-amble to Hamas’ foundational Covenant—it is literally part of the very first statement of the document. [Here is the Arberry translation of 3:112: “Abasement shall be pitched on them, wherever they are come upon, except they be in a bond of God, and a bond of the people; they will be laden with the burden of God's anger, and poverty shall be pitched on them; that, because they disbelieved in God's signs, and slew the Prophets without right; that, for that they acted rebelliously and were transgressors”]

In classical and modern Koranic exegeses by seminal, authoritative Islamic theologians (for details, see here) this central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been “…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78). Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), “He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘…curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary.’ ”

Salah al-Khalidi (fl. late 20th century) makes plain how these motifs of Koranic Jew-hatred are interpreted by Hamas in a manner that is entirely consistent with classical exegeses. Extracts (translated from the original Arabic by Dr. Michael Schub in my The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism) are provided below from Khalidi’s major work Haqa’iq Koraniyya al Qadiyya al-Filastinniya [“Koranic Facts Regarding the Palestinian Issue”] which was first published in 1991 by the Hamas Publishing House Manshūrāt Filastin al-Muslima, and translated into Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Russian, and English (formerly available online at due to its international popularity.

Humiliation is attached to the Jews for their entire lifetime: they were humiliated in Egypt, and when they arrived in [sic] Palestine, and when they were exiled from Palestine, and when they dispersed into the valleys of the earth. What concerns us here—in our discussion of the Jewish character—is to indicate that this humiliation is to be considered as an inveterate Jewish character trait, and a destructive Jewish perversion. Humiliation is one of their historical attributes, a fixed fact of their existence, and a qaa`ida, basis of their life… (Koran 2:61) The Jews are humiliated because they disbelieved in God, killed His prophets, disobeyed His emissaries, transgressed His prohibitions—all of this is humiliation. They are humiliated—and this is why they search out lustful indulgences, and have become their slaves. All of this is humiliation.

It is impossible that the Jews could not be cursed. How could they not be accursed when they are attributed with such degenerate inveterate character traits, twenty of which we have demonstrated above. (Note: Khalidi earlier states, ‘We have extracted from Koran twenty Jewish traits. The Jews are: liars, perverters (of the Text), envious, tricky, fickle, mercurial, sardonic, treacherous, in error, causing others to be in error, merchants, fools, humiliated, dastards, misers, avid for (this) life, disloyal to their firm contracts, rush into sinful aggression, concealers of true evidence, corrupters in the earth, and obstructors in God’s path.’ For specific Koranic citations confirming his litany see here). They are worthy of eternal curse because of the villainous traits they display and the corrupt evils they have perpetrated.

The Jews are in a condition of mal`ana, i.e. everyone pours out curses on them; God has cursed them, the angels have cursed them, their prophets have cursed them, the good people among them have cursed them, and everyone has cursed them. They are deserving of this eternal and continual damnation until the day of resurrection when they will encounter God’s wrath, fury, and punishment. They were accordingly exiled from God’s mercy, and kept afar from His goodness.

Many Koranic verses were revealed emphasizing…the judgement upon them of cursed damnation, and exile from His mercy, e.g. Koran 5:13: “For breaking their covenant, We curse them, and have made their hearts hard.” And Koran 5:60…And Koran 5:64…And Koran 5:78…

The recent annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews, as expressed by Hamas cleric al-Zarad, are also rooted in Islamic eschatology [end of times theology], and incorporated permanently into the foundational 1988 Hamas Covenant. As characterized in the hadith (the words, deeds, and even unspoken gestures of Muhammad as ostensibly recorded by his earliest pious Muslim companions), Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl – the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ – or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered – everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) included in the 1988 Hamas Covenant (in article 7). This hadith is cited in the Covenant as a sacralized, obligatory call for a Muslim genocide of the Jews:

…the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)

Littman cites an April 12, 2002, Friday sermon delivered by the Palestinian Authority’s Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi at the Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza City, broadcast live on Palestinian Authority television demonstrating how the destruction of Israel’s Jews heralds further Islamic conquests.

Madhi quoted from this hadith — including the curious reference to the “Jewish” Gharqad tree — and then stated: “We believe in this hadith. We are convinced also that this hadith heralds the spread of Islam and its rule over all the lands… ‘from the ocean to the ocean…’”

Article 28, which is free of any eschatological references, clearly “widens the circle of hate” towards Jews, as Littman has observed, targeting all contemporary Jews: “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people: ‘May the cowards never sleep.’”

Articles 22 and 32 invoke modern conspiratorial themes reminiscent of European (secular) antisemitic motifs, especially the latter (32), which makes explicit mention of the Czarist Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But even these articles are peppered with Koranic citations, including references in both 22 and 32 to Koran 5:64, a sort of ancient antecedent of The Protocols. (Arberry translation, Koran 5:64: “The Jews have said, ‘God’s hand is fettered.’ Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will. And what has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will surely increase many of them in insolence and unbelief; and We have cast between them enmity and hatred, till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, God will extinguish it.They hasten about the earth, to do corruption there; and God loves not the workers of corruption.”)

Jihad is the other pillar of Hamas’ foundational Jew-annihilationist ideology featured in the 1988 Covenant. Once again, this is already suggested in the opening statement before the preamble which includes the following quote by Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.” Hamas, it should be noted, claims to be a wing of the International Muslim Brotherhood. Article 2 of the Hamas Charter, for example, states: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organisation which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times.”

But the body of the Hamas Covenant includes unequivocal statements of Hamas’ irredentist commitment to the annihilation of Israel via jihad. Jihad martyrdom is lauded in article 8 “the Hamas slogan,” (in fact borrowed from the 1928 Charter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood), which states, “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” Article 13 makes plain that Hamas’ jihadism is completely incompatible with any meaningful Middle East peace settlement:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that…There is no solution to the Palestinian question except by Jihad. All initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are a waste of time and vain endeavors.

And article 15 (subtitled, “Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is a Personal Duty”) elucidates classical jihadist theory, as well as its practical modern application to the destruction of Israel by jihad:

The day the enemies conquer some part of the Muslim land, jihad becomes a personal duty of every Muslim. In the face of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, it is necessary to raise the banner of jihad. This requires the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses, locally [in Palestine], in the Arab world and in the Islamic world. It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad in the nation, engage the enemies and join the ranks of the jihad fighters. The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements…

It is necessary to establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for [Palestine] contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is inseparably connected, for as long as heaven and earth shall endure, to the holy mosque of Mecca through the Prophet’s nocturnal journey [from the mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa mosque] and through his ascension to heaven thence. “Being stationed on the frontier for the sake of Allah for one day is better than this [entire] world and everything in it; and the place taken up in paradise by the [horseman's] whip of any one of you [jihad fighters] is better than this [entire] world and everything in it. Every evening [operation] and morning [operation] performed by Muslims for the sake of Allah is better than this [entire] world and everything in it.” (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja). “By the name of Him who holds Muhammad’s soul in His hand, I wish to launch an attack for the sake of Allah and be killed and attack again and be killed and attack again and be killed.” (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)

Unfortunately, Hamas’ views on the jihad against Israel, and Islamic Jew hatred, are entirely concordant with those of the most authoritative religious educational institution within Sunni Islam – Al Azhar University, in Cairo, Egypt. Consider a fatwa written January 5, 1956 by then Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, and signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar, and the major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. [English translation from State Department Telegram 1763/ Embassy (Cairo) Telegram 1256 D441214] This ruling elaborated the following key initial point: that all of historical Palestine having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), “fay territory” (booty/spoils), to be governed by Islamic Law. The January, 1956 Al Azhar fatwa’s language and arguments are indistinguishable from those employed by Hamas (in its Covenant), revealing the same conjoined motivations of jihad, and conspiratorial Islamic Jew hatred:

Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the territory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory.

[as] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants… Jihad… to restore the country to its people.. is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it. And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is imperative for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim.

Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made on Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Five decades later, Hamas circa 2008/2009 also reflects the triumphalism of contemporary Jihadist movements that openly avow their desire to re-establish a Caliphate, and submit the world to Islamic rule – all in accord with classical jihad doctrine, and popular Muslim sentiment. While voluminous additional evidence could be adduced in support of this premise, three particularly salient illustrations are provided below.

Hamas cleric Muhsen Abu ‘Ita was interviewed July 13, 2008 on Al-Aqsa TV. After reminding listeners that the Koran’s opening prayer itself (the Fatiha, at 1:7), which pious Muslims repeat five times daily, declares that the Jews are “those who incur Allah’s wrath,” (re-affirming the standard exegesis, for example, Suyuti’s classical commentary), he declared:

The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine. This will be followed by a greater blessing, Allah be praised, with the establishment of a Caliphate that will rule the land and will be pleasing to men and God.

Three months earlier Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, had made these more elaborate remarks during a speech which aired on Palestinian Al-Aqsa TV April 11, 2008:

Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e., Jews, Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166, and other foundational Muslim texts] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs [Rome] will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe. I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad…

Even the more staid “analysis” of Sheik Yazeeb Khader, identified in a Washington Times report of May 12, 2008 as a Ramallah-based Hamas political analyst, revealed Hamas’ integration with regional pan-Islamic aspirations hardly consistent with mere independent, local nationalisms. Referring to events he believed were set in motion when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah forces, Khader opined,

What happened in Gaza in 2007 is an achievement; now it is happening in 2008 in Lebanon. It’s going to happen in 2009 in Jordan and it’s going to happen in 2010 in Egypt. We are seeing a redrawing of the map of the Middle East where the forces of resistance and steadfastness are the ones moving the things on the ground.

Khader’s remarks underscored the jihadist alliance straddling the so-called Shi’ite-Sunni rift (which is immaterial when juxtaposed to their shared antipathy towards Israel, and the much larger non-Muslim world). Furthermore, as the Washington Times report noted,

The notion of new countries falling under Islamist influence reflects a goal of Hamas’ parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood, of replacing secular Arab regimes with Islamist governments.

All these words, and the concrete actions they engender – via both political means, and Jihad terrorism – debunk widely accepted tropes that Hamas is merely a nationalist movement, albeit religious, desiring a “Palestinian homeland” in the territories of Gaza (which it already possesses), Judea, and Samaria. Hamas’ blatantly annihilationist rhetoric towards Jews and Israel within the 1949 armistice borders, indicates that the jihadist organization wishes to replace Israel. Moreover the monotonous rhetoric of Jew hatred espoused by Hamas – which is Islamic, and specifically Koranic, in origin – is seamlessly interwoven with Hamas’ unabashed desire to wage global jihad.

Already more than six years ago, David Littman made this plaintive warning:

It will be hard enough to strive for the creation of stable, democratic states in the Middle East even without widespread conspiracy theories and the Hamas genocidal charter — a charter denounced neither by Muslim spiritual and political leaders nor by the United Nations…if Hamas refuses to scrap its genocidal charter and renounce the ideology of jihad-war — there can be no possibility of serious progress toward a Middle East peace, with two states coexisting side by side.
Littman’s two decades of appeals and admonitions having gone entirely unheeded, the global community must now grapple with the bloodthirsty, Jew-annihilationist aspirations of an unreformed Hamas, which, on its official website (posted December 31, 2008 at the site hosted by Emirnet, United Arab Emirates) urged Muslims to attack Jews across the world, making the ugly claim that,

…a Jewish adolescent boy in an Australian synagogue, a Jewish minister in the Georgian government, a Jewish businessman at the New York Stock Exchange, and an illiterate Jew from the Ethiopian desert… they all belong to the same gang and the same nation, apart from the rest of humanity.

Israel’s ongoing Operation Cast Lead is an eminently just and reasonable response to the unconscionable menace posed by a Hamas the rest of the world, ignores, appeases, or abets. Contributing Editor Andrew G. Bostom, M.D., M.S. (Providence, RI), is the author of the highly acclaimed The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. More on his work can be found at, including a preview of his eagerly anticipated forthcoming book, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History.

Advice for Obama-Don't try to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict

Alan H. Stein, Ph.D.

Conventional wisdom is that American mediation is necessary for Arabs and Israelis to make peace.

History demonstrates the opposite. The few important breakthroughs have been made either without or despite our involvement.
In 1956, President Eisenhower's pressure forced Great Britain, France and Israel to end their Suez campaign. That action accelerated the decline of Great Britain, led France to distrust us, sowed the seeds of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, helped make the Soviet Union an important player in the Middle East and led to Egypt, the beneficiary of our intervention, joining the Soviet orbit.

In his memoir, Eisenhower's own vice president at the time, Richard Nixon, wrote "In retrospect I believe that our actions were a serious mistake." Eisenhower himself apparently recognized his intervention was a mistake. In a biography of Max Fischer, the wealthy industrialist and advisor to presidents from the 1950's until his death in 2005, Peter Golden quotes Eisenhower telling Fischer: "looking back at Suez, I regret what I did. I never should have pressured Israel to evacuate the Sinai."

The first real breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli conflict came with Anwar Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem in 1977. Not only did this seminal event come without American assistance, it reportedly distressed then president Jimmy Carter, who saw it as jeopardizing his grandiose dreams of orchestrating a comprehensive settlement.

While Carter is often given credit for facilitating the resulting peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, his involvement in the negotiations probably delayed that agreement, as his presence generally encouraged Anwar Sadat to press for more and more Israeli concessions and resist any Egyptian concessions.

The Oslo breakthrough also came about without United States involvement. It resulted from Palestinian Arabs and Israelis meeting together secretly. Our subsequent American involvement was a key factor in the failure of the "Oslo Process."

I greeted news of the Oslo Process with cautious optimism. I was never under the misimpression that Yasser Arafat and the rest of the PLO were sincere in any desire for peace, but I hoped the combination of the enormous benefits and the change in behavior mandated by any agreements would lead to real changes in Palestinian attitudes.

Unfortunately, in America's eagerness to accelerate movement, we sidetracked those changes and benefits and helped doom an inherently difficult process.

One of the first actions required of the Palestinian Arabs, to be taken before the Oslo Process really began, was to be the changing of the Palestinian National Charter, deleting the provisions calling for the elimination of Israel.

President Clinton prevailed upon the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to participate in the famous ceremony on the White House lawn without waiting for that change in the PLO charter. That was a seminal mistake, setting the tone for Yasser Arafat to weasel out almost all the commitments he made.

To this date, despite a widely publicized charade in 1998, the PLO charter has never been amended. After its establishment, the Palestinian Authority ignored the conditions under which its "police force" was supposed to operate, continued to facilitate rather than work against terrorism and, most importantly, incited its people rather than preparing them for peace.

As Dennis Ross, one of America's key mediators, has recognized, the underestimation of the importance of the Palestinian Authority's continued incitement against Israel was a fundamental error. Under pressure from the United States, Israel overlooked violations by the Palestinian Authority. This ultimately doomed a process which otherwise might have led to peace.

In the final analysis, only the Arabs and Israelis can end their conflict. Peace will be achieved only when the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, make it a priority. Despite our best intentions, American involvement generally results in Israel unilaterally making concessions which feed Arab intransigence, ultimately intensifying the conflict.

This leads to the best advice anyone can give President-elect Obama on ending the Arab-Israeli conflict: Don't even try.

Alan H. Stein, Ph.D. is associate professor of mathematics at the University of Connecticut and president of PRIMER-Connecticut (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting, The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of any organization. He may be contacted at


The quotes regarding Suez are referenced at .


Alan H. Stein

Thursday, January 01, 2009

"The Guessing Game"

Arlene Kushner

On this, the first day of 2009, I want to begin by thanking all of those who have written offering wishes and prayers of support for Israel. This is no small thing and is much appreciated.
I would also like to address some of the questions that have been raised. Readers wonder why we have to supply all of this humanitarian aid to an enemy, and whether it does not end up in Hamas's hands.

In response to the first part of the question: We very specifically have declared war against Hamas and not against the people of Gaza. Yes, I know there is a way in which this is an artificial distinction, as the people of Gaza voted for Hamas and in many instances sympathize with Hamas.

But this is the distinction that has been promoted, and a solid case can be made for the morality of being certain the people, at least some of whom are innocent, do not suffer unduly. It's above and beyond, but we do above and beyond -- what would be expected of no other nation. There is no cost to us for the material going in -- it is paid for/supplied internationally or by relief groups, primarily UN-affiliated. We facilitate the transfer to Gaza.

There is however, also a pragmatic reason for doing this. This literally buys us the sufferance of the world. They love to attack us by criticizing the harm we do to civilians -- that's the way the Arabs structure the fighting situation and their PR. The more we demonstrate that we're very good to the civilians, the less the basis for criticizing us and the more the world will look the other way while we deliver our blow to Hamas.


Tuesday, Turkey, praising Israeli cooperation, sent in five ambulances and 130 tons of flour.

Yesterday, 93 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical supplies donated by Jordan went into Gaza. The same amount went in again today.

Officials of the UN World Food Program contacted the IDF yesterday to say their stockpiles were full and would last for another two weeks; they were not going to be transferring any more food into Gaza for a while. (Remember this when you read about Gazans starving.)


But then we have UNRWA: Also yesterday, this agency, which attends to ostensible Palestinian refugees, severely criticized Israel. United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Maxwell Gaylar declared that, "We desperately need Karni to open, today, to get wheat grain in. UNRWA has no wheat grain for the 750,000 people who need it. The wheat grain warehouses are empty. We need to get that wheat grain in now. This is a must."

"A must." The problem, however, is that Karni could not be opened because there were warnings that terrorists were planning to bomb there. (As I've noted before, UNRWA doesn't seem to care if IDF manning the crossing gets bombed.) Karni has conveyor belts that UNRWA prefers to use. The offer had been made to UNRWA by IDF officials to have them load the wheat grain on to trucks so it could go through Karni. Israel was not refusing to send it in.

I tell this story now because it's a familiar refrain. I've heard the same story in the past. I've been told my IDF spokespersons that UNRWA would rather lament the lack of food than go to the trouble of transferring it in a manner that is less convenient for them; then of course Israel is to blame.

As to this being an emergency: If the World Food Program has stockpiles for two weeks and Turkey sent in 130 tons of flour, what does it mean for the people that UNRWA's grain warehouse is empty?

UNRWA is the organization that loves to dramatize and then fault Israel. I know from my long-term research on this group how much they've been linked with Hamas, and I don't consider this a coincidence.


As to whether some of the material is being confiscated by Hamas, undoubtedly this is the case. And there is nothing to be done for it.

What we needn't concern ourselves about is that Hamas's securing of humanitarian aid is going to make a significant difference in our winning the war. We're not trying to starve them out, but rather bomb them to kingdom come.


As to what the result at the end of this war will be... We may speak about what would be good. I have voiced my opinion that it might be best if Hamas were on its knees but not taken all the way out. And, yes, I have received messages from some of you who speak fervently about making sure Hamas is finished. But it is in the hands of Olmert, Barak, Livni and Ashkenazi.

And this is where "The Guessing Game" comes in. We're at a crossroad and it's difficult to read what will follow:

The IDF is prepared to go in, and waiting for the go-ahead, which has not yet taken place. Weather slowed things down, and I understand that there have been other legitimate considerations as well. I've heard suggestions in several quarters that when and if we do go in, it will be something that will push Hamas off balance, and not just a matter of sending in tanks and troops to go house to house (an unpalatable prospect).

The Security Cabinet yesterday rejected France's suggestion of a 48 hour ceasefire (which message Livni officially delivered in Paris today) and it has been said by Olmert that we're going ahead until the job is done.


And yet...and yet. There have also been inklings now of intention by Livni and Olmert to go the "international route." The mere thought of this could give one pains in my stomach. Been there, done that. Remember 2006 and resolution 1701? That's what stopped the War in Lebanon and put in place that marvelously effective international force called UNIFIL, which stood by and watched while Hezbollah re-armed.

Today, Olmert said:

"We have no interest in conducting a protracted campaign. We are not longing for a wide-scale war, but we want quiet and we want the lives of southerners to change so that our children can grow up in security, without fear and nightmares."

What is more, there was a report in Haaretz that Olmert "is interested in the establishment of an
international supervision and enforcement mechanism for any cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, [and] has made that a precondition of any deal."

Precisely which international forces would effectively enforce a cease-fire with Hamas? What the presence of foreign troops would do is simply deprive us of our full sovereignty. Enforce the cease-fire? First reduce Hamas sufficiently so that they're begging for it, and then let them know that if there are rockets, we're coming after them again.


But, on the other hand, Olmert indicated that "we're not there yet," in terms of a cease-fire, and that conditions must mature.

Today he also said, "This time, as opposed to in the past, there is no feeling of caving in. There is a sense of dealing with problems and responding quickly...We don't want to use our full might, but we will if we need to."

One savvy analyst I spoke with believes Olmert is in it for the long haul.

Bush, after discussing the situation with Olmert, is talking about a "sustainable cease-fire." Olmert's message is that he won't stop until he's sure Hamas won't start again. He seems, in essence, to be saying to the international community: "These are my conditions. You want us to call a ceasefire. Can you guarantee Hamas won't start again?" Seen thus, his talk about international supervision is a sort of "put your money where your mouth is" statement that might help the international community better understand the parameters of our situation.


And so we'll wait, and watch the outcome.

What seems fairly certain to me from Olmert's statements is that he's not intending to take out Hamas completely -- the comments of Gabriella Shalev and others notwithstanding.


We achieved a major strike today when we hit the home of Sheikh Nizr Rayyan, and killed him and several others (including two of his four wives) in the process.

As the religious leader of Hamas, he was considered the successor to Sheikh Ahmed Dassin, the founder of Hamas, whom we assassinated in 2004. But it seems he was also a commander of the military wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam. Said to be one of the most fanatical of the commanders -- a strong advocate of suicide bombings -- he was often seen in uniform and was associated with a number of terrorist attacks. This is the sort of man who deserved to be killed war or no war.

My distinct impression is that this hits Hamas much harder psychologically then does destruction of their buildings, even headquarters and control centers. He is the fourth Hamas leader to have been targeted since the war began, but is the most senior.

Rayyan's home was also hiding a tunnel opening (tunnel openings are often concealed inside of homes) and a cache of arms, and was a communications center.


Homes of three other terrorist leaders were hit today, but their occupants were absent. Nizr Rayyan was an exception because he had sworn not to leave his home, and his family, even in spite of warnings, also refused to leave.

There was the home of Mohammad Baroud, a top Popular Resistance Committees operative, who was the head of all rocket cells in northern Gaza. The IDF reported anti-tank missiles, rockets and bombs in this house.

A second home belonged to Hasim Drili, a northern Gaza Hamas operative, who operated a manufacturing plant for rockets, mortar shells and missiles within his house.

Yet another home belonged to Tafik Abu Raf, a Hamas terror operative. The IDF reported a weapons laboratory in this house.

Altogether, 20 targets were hit today.


Hamas, which had been cited as saying it would accept the French suggestion of a cease-fire "under certain conditions," now denies having said this.


Here in Israel the rockets keep coming and there is a growing area in central Israel that is considered potentially at risk of attack. Precautions are now being put in place for Tel Aviv skyscrapers, as well as for Rishon LeTzion, Rehovot, and Ramat Beit Shemesh.

What is happening is not that we're terrorized and eager to call it quits. Rather, our national back is stiffened: our people want tough action against Hamas and no ceasefire soon.

It is at times like this that you see the best of Israelis, too. Homes are being opened for families in range of rockets to come for a respite. Some municipalities are making offers on a larger scale. Hotels are reducing prices for beleaguered families.


Polls indicate that any temporary gain Kadima had with the start of the war has already been lost. But, as before, there are discrepancies in various polls. A poll that ran in Globes gives Likud 38 and Kadima 22; a poll that ran in Haaretz gives Likud 32 and Kadima 27.


The Iranian news agency -- reporting by Internet, and carried by IMRA -- says that, "Director General of domestic media at the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry said 'Kargozaran' newspaper was shut down over a media offense on Wednesday."

Why? Because the paper "[published] an article justifying anti-human crimes of the Zionist regime and calling Palestinian resistance as terrorism and claiming that Palestinian combatants take position in kindergardens and hospitals and so cause the deaths of children and civilians."

How about that? An Iranian newspaper telling the truth. Here's an instance, I think, where making a distinction between the people and the leadership is very valid.


see my website

Grads Strike South, Penthouse

Hana Levi Julian Grads Strike South, Penthouse

Gaza terrorists escalated missile attacks on southern Israel Thursday beginning at 12 noon with a Grad 122-mm Katyusha strike in Ashdod. In rapid succession, they followed with attacks on the coastal city of Ashkelon and a second strike on Be'er Sheva, "the capital of the south." One missile struck as far as 48 kilometers from Gaza, the furthest range thus far, exploding in the Be'er Sheva region.A long-range missile struck a penthouse on the eighth floor of an apartment building in Ashdod on Thursday just after noontime. Firefighters rushed to the scene to battle the blaze ignited in two apartments by the Grad 122-mm Katyusha rocket. The building was severely damaged, said officials.

Magen David Adom medics treated a number of people for severe emotional trauma, but no one suffered any physical injuries. There were people in the apartments at the time of the rocket impact, and the neighbors say that it is a miracle that no one was injured.

A second Grad missile also landed elsewhere in the city. Four short-range Kassam rockets also exploded elsewhere in the western Negev, one in the Sdot Negev region and three in the Eshkol region.

Two Grad missiles also struck the coastal city of Ashkelon at about 1:00 p.m, and one slammed into the city of Be'er Sheva, which had been hit by a Grad in the first attack of the day, at 7:00 a.m.

Magen David Adom medics deployed to all the affected locations.

Radio announcers have continued to reiterate to their listeners throughout the day, "If you don't have any reason to be outdoors, stay inside."

"Radio Darom broadcasts the siren," explained the announcer, "but we have control over the siren. That comes from Home Front Command," he said, "which is from the army. We are only the platform. If you do not hear it that is not something we have any control over."

The announcer added that even if they do not hear a siren, if listeners believe they have heard an explosion, they should run for cover.

The point was made because in the city of Be'er Sheva, there were a number of cases in which the siren failed to activate, thus endangering the population. Home Front Command added a special additional "Tzeva Adom" Color Red incoming rocket alert siren on a "silent radio station" that sounds only when necessary in the affected areas.

The two frequencies that carry the silent alarm in the Be'er Sheva area are: 97 FM and 102.3 FM.

'What's Open? What's Closed?'

Residents in Be'er Sheva, unused to being cooped up for long periods of time, are sending emails back and forth to each other on their internet list serve, asking "What's open? What's closed?"

One frustrated local journalist, Yocheved Russo, noted, "None of the Home Front Command English-language sites that anyone has cited are working. The AACI link doesn't offer any language option beyond Hebrew, and others just have a notice – in Hebrew – that appears to say it's not operational at this time.

"I'm wondering what's open, and how advisable it is to try and get out for supplies," she said.

At least one supermarket has offered to provide free delivery to local residents in Be'er Sheva for purchases over NIS 100. .

Why Israel is bombing Gaza

Ephraim Sneh
Thursday, January 1, 2009

When demands are made of Israel to halt its military activities in Gaza, a brief historical reminder is in order.

In September 2005, Israel vacated Gaza, dismantled all the settlements in the Gaza Strip and did not leave a shred of a presence there.

In January 2006, rule over Gaza passed to the Hamas government under Ismail Haniyeh. Instead of bringing investors to Gaza, the Hamas government brought the guerrilla-warfare trainers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Instead of launching economic projects, this government launched rockets every day at Israeli towns and villages across the border. They smuggled in vast amounts of explosives, weapons and rockets; they prepared themselves for battle.. In June 2007, in a brutal and bloody military coup, Hamas took control of Gaza and soon killed or chased out the leaders of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement. Gaza became nothing less than a military base for Iran.

Up until the Hamas takeover, 750 trucks would cross the border each day with imports and exports. As Israel's deputy defense minister at the time, I was in charge of this activity and promoted this trade with Gaza, since the border crossings were being controlled by Abbas's Presidential Guard, not by terrorists. The Hamas takeover is what in effect locked the gates of Gaza and forced its residents to suffer.

The rain of rockets on the citizens of Israel intensified. The cease-fire that lasted from June until Dec. 19 was used by Hamas to increase its military strength -- mainly to smuggle in Grad-type rockets from Iran, which have a range of 20 miles. In recent days, these missiles have struck cities such as Ashdod, Israel's main port, and Beersheva, the capital of Israel's south. No sovereign state would have resigned itself to having its cities -- cities such as Houston or Atlanta -- bombarded. No sovereign state would allow itself to be hit by even a single missile. That is the reason for the military campaign that Israel launched this week in a series of aerial strikes.

But the campaign's objective is not to end the rocket fire. The true objective should be the end of Hamas rule in Gaza. Israel cannot resign itself to having a missile and terror base five miles from one of its principal cities, Ashkelon.

Gaza's Palestinians, too, in telephone and e-mail conversations, are expressing their urgent wish to end the nightmare that Hamas has imposed on them. An end to the Hamas regime in Gaza is essential for them, as well. It is not possible to govern Gaza in the absence of close cooperation with Israel on issues of trade, energy, environment, water and health. Those who reject the legitimacy of Israel can't provide a normal life for Gaza's 1.5 million residents, who on average are living on $2 a day.

Israel could bring about a collapse of the Hamas regime in Gaza by means of a lengthy, large-scale ground campaign. With a clear exit strategy lacking, this is not an appealing option for us. At the moment, unfortunately, this is the only option available.

Yet there is another way. Those demanding a cease-fire must produce a comprehensive solution, a "package" containing the following elements:

· Full dismantling of the military power of Hamas in Gaza, including destruction of all stockpiles of rockets and missiles.

· Transfer of control over border-crossings between Gaza and Egypt and between Gaza and Israel to the Palestinian Authority government of Salam Fayyad.

· Until the elections to the Palestinian parliament and the presidency in January 2010, Gaza is to be run by a civilian administration appointed by the government in Ramallah.

· Augmented Egyptian supervision of the border between Gaza and Egypt.

· The return of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Such an agreement will require international and regional support. Countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia can play an important role. Syria, if it uses its influence over the Hamas leadership that is comfortably hosted by Damascus, can win points toward any future discussions with the United States and Israel.

In the absence of such a package, the fighting in Gaza will not end. Israel has no reason to end it.

Ephraim Sneh, a former member of the Israeli cabinet and deputy defense minister from 1999 to 2001 and from 2006 to 2007, is chairman of the Strong Israel party.

Hamas doesn't want peace,reconciliation,or end to carnage

* By CLIFF MAY, Scripps Howard News Service

A thought experiment: Imagine that Hamas announces it will immediately cease and desist from firing missiles into Israel, that there will be no more such attacks in the future, and that it will release Gilad Shalit, the Israel soldier kidnapped two and a half years ago and held incommunicado ever since -- with not even the Red Cross allowed to see him. What would happen then?Moderate Israelis would pressure their government to make a reciprocal gesture: to stop the air attacks on Hamas' command and control centers, release Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails and get serious peace talks under way.

But anyone who knows anything about Hamas also knows that such a scenario is implausible. Hamas was created to fight and win holy wars -- not to seek peace and sing "Kumbaya" with infidels. Hamas wants a Palestinian state in place of Israel -- not next door to Israel. And for Hamas, preventing Palestinian carnage is not a priority. That's not a slander; it's a fact. As Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hamad eloquently phrased it: "We desire death as you desire life."

In 2005, Israelis undertook a real-life experiment: They said: "The Palestinians have a grievance: our occupation of Gaza and the West Bank -- even though we administer those territories as the consequence of a war launched to annihilate us. But if our presence provokes violence, let's see what results from our absence." That summer, Israel pulled every soldier and settler out of Gaza. Every house of worship and cemetery was removed. But greenhouses were left behind.

Palestinians might have responded by using those greenhouses to grow flowers for export. They might have built factories, schools, hospitals and hotels along their Mediterranean beaches. Had that been their choice, moderate Israelis surely would have made further concessions -- for example, uprooting Israelis from the West Bank as well, and offering to negotiate a division of Jerusalem.

Instead, of course, Palestinians smashed the greenhouses and put Hamas in charge. Since then, Hamas has done nothing to spark economic development. Nevertheless, it has bemoaned the increasing destitution of unoccupied Gaza -- now blaming it on Israel's "siege" -- and demanding aid, not least from Israel, which has given it, even as the rockets have fallen.

We should understand by now that when Hamas officials vow to fight Israel's "occupation," they are referring to any and all territory on which Israelis now exercise self-determination. Osama Hamdan, Hamas' representative in Lebanon, said: "Our goal is to liberate all of Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea." Similarly, Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar has said: "We do not recognize the Israeli enemy, nor his right to be our neighbor, nor to stay, nor his ownership of any inch of land."

This is not merely a negotiating posture, on which there can be compromise once diplomats arrange meetings. It is, rather, a religious conviction. Article 11 of the Hamas Charters states unambiguously that "the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (endowment) consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."

In Hamas' view, a Muslim may do his duty and wage war for Israel's destruction. Or a Muslim may shirk his duty. There is no third option.

One final thought experiment: Imagine that Hamas someday achieves its goal and wipes Israel off the map. Would that be the end of the global conflict now being waged by militant Islamists? Or would the Khomeinists of Iran -- Hamas' chief benefactor -- al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and similar groups be energized and encouraged? Having vanquished the "Little Satan," what is the chance they could be sweet-talked out of continuing to battle the "Great Satan" in pursuit of the power and glory they believe is their due?

By contrast, if Israel can deliver a crippling blow to Hamas, the mission of the militant jihadists will appear to have lost Divine sanction. As my colleague, the historian Michael Ledeen, has noted: "Nothing is more devastating to a messianic movement than defeat."

(Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.)

(Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. E-mail him at cliff(at)

Israel's action in Gaza: disproportionate? No

The always insightful and informative Andrew McCarthy explains why at The Corner:

I have an article coming soon which calls (among other things) for a complete reappraisal of what "international law" means in the context of the ongoing conflict. I argue that there is no international law of warfare because Israel, like the U.S., has wisely declined to join the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. It has therefore not consented to Protocol I's effort to convert warfare from a military campaign into a hyper-legal regulatory exercise that favors terrorist factions over national armed forces. . Most of the world has signed on to Protocol I — including, regrettably, our NATO allies (the Brits ratified it in 1998, the same year Blair's government incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law). It is on the basis of this consensus — among countries that have either abdicated their national-defense responsibilities or stand to gain by Protocol I's tilting of the field toward terrorists and so-called "national liberation" movements — that Israel and the U.S. are now routinely accused of war crimes. But a set of obligations only constitutes "international law" if a country has agreed to be bound by it. Israel and the U.S. have not agreed to be bound by Protocol I. Consequently, there is no law violation in failures by Israel or us to meet its impossible terms (impossible, that is, if the objective of a military campaign is to be victory).

No number of loopy "disproportionate" reports by CNN, MSNBC and their stable of human-rights experts can change this. We should understand, moreover, that these are not simply reports; they are very purposeful efforts to advance a leftist antiwar agenda. If adopted, they would prevent the U.S. and Israel from pursuing vital national interests — especially national defense. We ought to be attacking the premise of these war-crimes smears rather than trying to finesse the matter for the purportedly greater good of harmony within the "international community." A community is a place where everyone is bound by the same law. We don't have one..

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gulf leaders gather amid differences over Gaza summit

Arab Times

MUSCAT, Dec 29, (Agencies): Gulf leaders meeting in Oman on Monday began an annual summit that is set to be clouded by differences over Israel’s three-day-old onslaught against the Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Qatar has offered to host an emergency Arab summit on the crisis in Doha on Friday, although Arab diplomatic sources in Cairo were quoted on Monday as saying some states do not favour this. After a preparatory meeting of Gulf foreign ministers late on Sunday, regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia made plain its strong reservations about the summit plan. “The ministerial council has not decided about the proposed extraordinary Arab summit, and has referred the matter to the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Wednesday,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said after a marathon five-hour session. “There is no point in attending an Arab summit of statements, without having the right conditions for success and influence,” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted him as saying. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit was quoted in press reports on Monday as saying such a summit “could be dangerous and subject to criticism, especially if it does not result in practical measures.” The crisis in Gaza, where the Israeli offensive has now killed more than 340 people and wounded 1,550 since Saturday, had threatened to derail preparations for the Gulf summit. The Arab foreign ministers’ meeting now set for Wednesday was originally planned for Sunday, the same day as the preparatory meeting for the summit, but was rescheduled. Differences over Gaza threatened to overshadow the summit’s original agenda, which was dominated by the six Gulf states’ plans for economic integration and combating the global economic crisis.

At the summit opening Oman’s Sultan Qaboos underscored the need to address the global financial crisis, calling for measures to stabilise oil prices. “There is a need to establish a mechanism for stability in oil prices, in a way that it would not burden the consumer... and not harm the producing countries, while it allows their development plans to continue,” he said. The six countries together sit on 25 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and 45 percent of its oil reserves, and can afford to dip into their bulging treasure chests after crude prices hit record levels this year. “The Gulf is not comfortable at all at this level,” he said in an interview. “I think the level we need is towards $60 so that we don’t have any deficits. We (Oman) are obviously, at $45 (a barrel budgeted), are projecting a deficit in the region of $800 mln next year.”

Oil prices have tumbled from a record peak above $147 a barrel in July to around $38.40 a barrel on Monday on concerns about waning global demand amid the financial crisis. Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdulla said the summit would focus on strengthening economic coordination among the six countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain — that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose politic bloc. “They will try to avoid any further damages from the international financial crisis, in that regard there is very strong coordination,” he told Reuters.

Bin Sultan noted that there was a fresh impetus for countries to work together. “Of course some countries have surpluses,” he said. “The problem is when countries have surpluses, coordination doesn’t get priority. The financial crisis will push us for more coordination.” But Gulf rulers were certain to focus at least initially on the bloodshed in Gaza before turning their attentions on how to tackle an oil price slump and a global financial crisis that has brought an end to a six-year regional economic boom. “(Gaza) is the most prominent event on the summit,” Abdel-Rahman al-Attiyah, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), told reporters after an opening session of leaders in the Omani capital, Muscat.

“Gaza was discussed yesterday, has been discussed in the meetings today and will be discussed tomorrow at all levels. It will be reflected in the summit statement and therefore this issue is one of the hottest in the summit.”

The prime minister of Qatar, the only Gulf state with an Israeli envoy, called the attacks “savage and unjustified”. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in a telephone conversation that “Arabs feel that Israel had no intention of achieving peace,” the official Qatar news agency reported. But Gaza violence is unlikely to derail the bloc’s economic agenda as they seek to better coordinate fiscal policies to weather a global crisis that has sent major economies, including the United States and Japan, into recession. “It (the agenda) is going to be concentrated on domestic matters, on the economy,” Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah told Reuters.

“They will try to avoid any further damage from the international financial crisis. In that regard, they need very strong coordination.” The Arab foreign ministers are working out an emergency plan for dealing with the ongoing Israeli offensive on Gaza Strip, Arab League Assistant Secretary General for Palestine Affairs Mohammad Subeih said here on Monday. “The suggested plan is an integrated one envisaging political aspects on how to stop the Israeli raids and reconstruction aspects for rehabilitating the health, housing, and infrastructure services in Gaza Strip,” he told KUNA. “The league is coordinating with its member states in developing the comprehensive plan and sending urgent assistance and relief materials to the Palestinian people,” Subeih pointed out..

Israel Partisans Set New Record For Decades-Old Trick Of Brazenly Rewriting History, Blaming Israel

Arab hostility toward Israel seems to oscillate between pathological aggression and victimized resentment, underscored the entire time by utterly shameless denial. So Hamas can violate the ceasefire for months by shooting at Israeli civilians and at Israeli soldiers. They can brag openly about those violations. They can declare over and over in the plainest terms that they have no interest in renewing a ceasefire. They can hold barbaric rallies and go so far as to mock Israel for keeping whatever ceasefire there is while they themselves are violating it. But after three days of Israeli self-defense UN officials are standing on stage telling international media outlets that Hamas was observing a super-secret ceasefire and Israel is responsible for its breakdown. It's jaw-droppingly brazen. It's hard to blame the Palestinians for trying though. This has been a successful anti-Israel trick for more than half a century. Months and years of genocidal incitement, boasts about glorious Arab victory, derision of Israeli cowardice - and then, when Israel responds, a frantic run into the international community's skirts to moan piteously about Israeli aggression. It's not just that the West let this become a habit. Through international conferences where anti-Semitism is excused as "anti-Zionism," routine bait-and-switch anti-Israel diplomacy, and pervasive anti-Israel double standards - the international community has spent decades creating and nursing this pathological petulance. It's been this way since before Arab and Muslim countries realized they could excuse their genocidal rantings by reference to "The Occupation" (although in subsequent years they became so enamored with that bit of rhetoric that they invoke it even when it makes no sense - it's a reflexive verbal tic, a placeholder for "now I get to say something anti-Semitic about Zionist cabals").

How deeply entrenched is this tactic? It goes back at least as far as the Six Day War and probably to the 1950s. It's always the exact same pattern - vicious aggression, spectacular failure, historical revisionism (Lebanon II is the exception - since Hezbollah could claim victory they get to boast about how they deliberately maneuvered Israel into the war).

The next few paragraphs are an overview of the broad sweep of anti-Israel diplomacy, mostly to show how tediously predictable this stunt is. If you don't have the patience for that you can just drop down to the link dump at the bottom. It's a small demonstration of the sheer mendacity it must be taking to rewrite the few weeks before Operation Cast Lead. But if you skip the middle you'll miss out on all the insanely frustrating historical parallels.

UN Palestinian Stooge: "It's Obvious" That Israeli Attack Violated 48-Hour Truce That No One Knew About Until Now

Posted: 29 Dec 2008 09:25 PM PST

They're just making this up as they go along:

Palestinians in Gaza believed Israel had called a 48-hour lull in retaliatory attacks with Hamas when Israeli warplanes launched a massive bombardment of militant installations in the Gaza Strip, a UN official said Monday. Karen Abu Zayd, commissioner of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which helps Palestinian refugees, raised the possible violation of an informal truce in a video press conference with UN reporters from her base in Gaza... Abu Zayd said Palestinians in Gaza were surprised when Israeli warplanes sent more than 100 tons of bombs crashing down on key security installations in Hamas-ruled Gaza starting Saturday morning because it was in the middle of the lull...

What we understood here (was) that there was a 48-hour lull to be called, and this was called by the Israelis, Abu Zayd said. They said they would wait 48 hours. That was on Friday morning, I believe, until Sunday morning, and that they were going to evaluate. There was only one rocket that went out on Friday, so it was obvious that Hamas was trying, again, to observe that truce to get this back under control, she said.
"It was obvious": the awkward phrase of unblinking morons who can't formulate even dumb justifications for their shameless lies. First year argumentation students roll their eyes at that phrase but this idiot is getting broadcast by international media outlets. (1) There were 25 shells fired at Israel on Friday morning which is 24 more than 1. (2) If Hamas backed off even a little bit over the course of that day it was because one of their rockets fell short and killed two Palestinian schoolgirls. (3) Hamas never, ever wavered from their total rejection of a renewed ceasefire. (4) Hamas had spent all of the last week mocking Israeli restraint - you have to be dribblingly gullible to believe that they were just this close to being respectful of two days of contemplative Israeli introspection.

Worse than being insultingly stupid - this is pathetic. Hamas got caught flat-footed because they believed their own propaganda. The genuinely thought that Israel would appease them no matter how blatant their war crimes. So now to save face they're going with "the sneaky Jews lied to us." How quaint. References and previously behind the jump...

Global Outrage As Egypt Sprays Palestinian Civilians With Gunfire
Posted: 29 Dec 2008 03:41 PM PST

Just kidding, obviously. That's just what normal countries get to do when angry mobs try to breach their border and shoot at their forces:

Gaza residents on Sunday breached the border fence with Egypt in several places and hundreds have crossed the frontier prompting Egyptian border guards to open fire, said officials and witnesses on both sides of the border... At least 300 Egyptian border guards rushed to the area to reseal the border, the official added on condition on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press... Egyptian border guards opened fire to drive back the Palestinians. Residents also commandeered a bulldozer to open new breaches. Egyptian state television reported that Hamas security forces shot an Egyptian border guard and killed him. An Egyptian security source said Hamas forces had also shot an Egyptian policeman in the leg.

Yet another reason why Egypt is highly unlikely to pull Hamas's chestnuts out of the fire they've been stocking for months. Keep in mind that this is a country where media outlets conduct interviews about whether mass rape of Israeli women is a justified war tactic; where politicians have tried to prohibit Israeli religious pilgrimages; where a popular anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that Israel is handing out distorted Korans with all the "Muslims should annihilate Jews" passages deleted - and the Egyptian government is still comfortable saying that this war is Hamas's fault. References:

* Gaza residents breach Egypt border; Israel bombs 40 smuggling tunnels [Ha'aretz]
* So... When Does Hezbollah Get Involved? (Plus: Why Egypt Will Stay Out) (UPDATE: Or Not) [MR]
* Hey Gals, Check This Out - If You're In Egypt You Can Pretty Much Forget About Fighting Back When You're Assaulted
* Egyptian MPs: Stop Israeli pilgrimages [JPost]
* Egyptian Group Warns Israel Passing out "Distorted" Korans in Africa, Leaves out Verses on Jihad and the Joooos.... Previously:
* Hey Gals, Check This Out - If You're In Egypt You Can Pretty Much Forget About Fighting Back When You're Assaulted
* Another Day, Another Sign That The Muslim Brotherhood Is Gearing Up To Roll Egypt
* Sound Of Church Bells Drives Egyptian Mob Into Frenzy. Final Tally: 13 Injuries (Plus: Entirely Predictable Media Coverage)

Moronic Former Israeli Defense Minister: You Know What Would Be Really Cool? Foreign Peacekeepers In Gaza.

Posted: 29 Dec 2008 10:47 AM PST

Didn't this guy get fired after he tried to ruin the last war that Israel fought?

Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday that Israel should not rule out having an international force maintain the peace in the Gaza Strip, once Operation Cast Lead is concluded. "That option should be explored and if enough international elements set up a force which could be deployed in strategic points, it shouldn't be ruled out." The operation's end, he said, is still far: "If we compare this operation to the Second Lebanon War, (back) then we didn't have direct negotiations with the Hizbullah either. Hamas is like Hizbullah, but unlike Lebanon, there is no nation to deal with... what we need to do is find an element to fill that gap.

Hopefully someone will pat him gently on the head, congratulate him on his apt analogy, and point out that it means that putting foreign troops in Gaza would be a total disaster. Sure he might say that his plan is endorsed both by Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad - who doesn't think that Jews have any rights to Jerusalem and keeps stressing Fatah's unity with terrorists - and by anti-Israel EU diplomats. But that's kind of my point too.

References: * Peretz: Arab world should be part of new Gaza order [YNet]
* Take Away Hezbollah's Collaborators, Human Shields, And Useful Idiots. Disband UNIFIL Now. [MR]
* Moderate Western-Trained Palestinian PM: Not So Much With This Jews And Jerusalem Thing [MR]
* Fatah Moderates Respond To Billions In Aid By Stressing Unity With Terrorists [MR]
* EU envoy: Gaza int'l force may be set up quickly [JPost] Previously:
* UNIFIL Soldiers Catch Hezbollah Moving Weapons, Get Shooed Away
* He Misspoke: Biden's Obnoxiously Smug Assertion About Hezbollah Was Actually An Aggressively Stupid Policy About Syria (Plus: They Just Don't Know Stuff)
* Obama NSA Pick James Jones: Hey, How About Some International Troops In The West Bank?

Hamas's Militarized Mosques Not Immune From Israeli Jets
Posted: 29 Dec 2008 09:20 AM PST

In addition to that University weapons facility, Israeli jets damaged at least two separate mosques yesterday. It's not just that Hamas uses mosques as weapons depots - they've always done that. But Gaza mosques are now full-blown barracks, used to house and brainwash Hamas's most fanatical soldiers:

If Israel ground forces were to roll into Gaza, they would face 15,000 fighters who have absorbed the lessons of the Lebanon War... "For two years Hamas, with Iranian assistance, has been working hard on developing its military power, using Hezbollah as a model."... The heart of the force is the 1,000 elite Iz al-Din troops who "undergo rigorous military training as well as participating in ideological classes held in mosques." They undergo urban warfare training, including exercises simulating an assault on a settlement complete with covering machine-gun fire and antitank fire prior to the assault. Some of the instructors were trained in Iran and Lebanon.

The weird thing about this is that the link between political Islam, jihadism, and military conflict is an Islamophobic myth. So I have no idea what they're even doing in there. In any case I'm guessing we'll hear more outrage about the Israeli attacks than we heard about, say, that Fatah raid on a Hamas mosque last September. Or that other Fatah raid on a Hamas mosque two Novembers ago. Etc.

References: * IAF air strikes target Hamas centers at Islamic University [JPost]
* Hamas Uses Mosque For Explosives Storage, Snipers' Nest, Wounding IDF Soldiers [MR]
* Hamas Fighters 'Using Hezbollah as a Model' [Danger Room]
* Palestinian Arab police raid mosque. No one protests! [Elder]
* Islamic World Explodes Into Riots As Fatah Targets Hamas Mosques, Imams [MR]
Previously: * Boston Globe Notices UN Is Not Entirely Fair To Israel (Plus: Lebanese Muslims Pissed That Even Israel Is More Humane Than Syria) [Video]
* Palestinians Commit Several War Crimes in Just a Few Hours. Instead of Reporting That, Reuters Publishes Gripping Tale of Glorious Palestinian Martyrdom (and We're Not Even Exaggerating About That...)
* Guns? Hidden In A Palestinian Mosque? No Way

Several Good Reasons Why Hezbollah Either Will Or Won't Attack
Posted: 29 Dec 2008 07:51 AM PST

A few reasons why Hezbollah will probably attack Israel: (1) They say they're going to. (2) IDF intelligence is taking the risk seriously enough that they're already doing overflights to try to deter Hezbollah. (3) They were already ready to start a war last week. (4) There's only so long that Hezbollah can have Al Jazeera painting them as the heroes of the Palestinian cause without doing something about it. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, albeit one with an well-trained army: a lot of what they accomplish is through image management and propaganda. A few more days of painting themselves into a corner and Nasrallah won't have any alternative. (5) Iran has a significant stake in making sure that Hamas doesn't get dismantled. They control Hezbollah and might try to double down.

And now a few reasons why Hezbollah will probably stay on the sidelines: (1) They say they're going to. (2) Israel had already publicly changed its doctrine concerning target selection in Lebanon, officially putting all Lebanese infrastructure on the table. Nobody really paid attention because it was the post-Lebanon II IDF and everybody thought it was bluster. But given the intelligence coup that Operation Cast Lead appears to be built on: Hezbollah has to wonder just how much Israel knows about their military infrastructure and to what degree the IAF would be able to untangle it from Hezbollah's human shields. (3) The Lebanese army - such as it is - isn't sure whether Israel's serious about all of Lebanon being in play. But they're not taking any chances: they're preventing protests from getting out of control and are monitoring the border for Hezbollah activity. (4) Hezbollah and Syria have every incentive to wait for an Obama administration before heating up the border. In the meantime Nasrallah can whip up public support by scapegoating counties like Egypt for selling out Hamas. (5) Iran has to calculate that Hezbollah involvement puts Iran's diplomatic position at risk, if only because they'll be forced to again stake their reputation on Hezbollah's success. They have their own a huge incentive to wait a couple of months. So yeah - I dunno. It's the Middle East and we're talking about pathologically anti-Semitic genocidal lunatics. Tough to make predictions.

References and previously after the jump...