Saturday, January 24, 2009

Assad: Hamas defeated Israel in Gaza

n meeting with Hamas leaders in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulates Palestinian people for 'resistance victory' in Gaza Strip; Khaled Mashaal says Syria a 'partner in victory'
Roee Nahmias

Syrian President Bashar Assad met Saturday with Hamas leaders, headed by the group's Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal, and congratulated the Palestinian people for the "resistance victory in Gaza."

According to a report by Syrian news agency Sana, Mashaal told Assad that "Syria is a partner in the victory achieved by the Palestinian people." The Syrian leader stressed that Israel failed in securing its objectives during Operation Cast Lead, which he characterized as "the violent activity in Gaza," even though the IDF used the most lethal weapons.

According to Assad, the achievements in Gaza attest to the Palestinian people's commitment to their inalienable rights.

"This also served as proof of the Palestinians' deep faith in their victory over occupation and aggression," he said.

Members of the Hamas delegation expressed their appreciation to the Syrian leader and to the Syrian people for the support offered to the Palestinian struggle during the fighting in the Gaza Strip. They added that they intend to tour several countries in order to express their gratitude to their supporters, noting that Syria was the first country on the tour.

A statement issued by Hamas said the tour aims to express the group's appreciation to states that "stood by the Palestinian people during the criminal Zionist aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Is it Bold or Stupid?

So you think your people have been unfairly locked out by the government and the change in administration could be a chance for a fresh start. Does it make sense to tap the former spokesman of a genocidal regime tied to the world's worst terrorists to help make your case?That's the basic question in Patrick Poole's report on Abubaker Ahmed al-Shingieti, president of American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE). To make matters worse, Poole writes, AMCE includes officials from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), including al-Shingieti. CAIR has been linked through court evidence to a Hamas front operating in the United States during the 1990s. The IIIT remains under federal investigation into possible terror financing.

They all share links to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose American-based members once described their role in this country as "a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers.." Poole notes that Al-Shingieti served as spokesman to Sudan's president at a time the country was slaughtering Christians and serving as a sanctuary for some of the world's worst terrorists:

"Investigating his background we find that despite his recent image makeover as an expert in interfaith relations and reconciliation — a dramatic change from his service as a henchman to a genocidal government — that Abubaker al-Shingieti has not changed his Muslim Brotherhood allegiances in his various transitions, just merely changed employers. Many of his AMCE colleagues have made similar transitions to respectability without distancing themselves from their terrorist ties.

What's a little genocide between friends? Thus we can expect that the agenda al-Shingieti carries in his contacts with the Obama administration will continue to be in service to the Muslim Brotherhood's ‘grand jihad' he has served for the past two decades."

Some very pointed questions must be answered before the AMCE wins so much as a returned telephone call.

By IPT News | Fri, 23 Jan 2009 at 2:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Mounting Assaults on Free Speech

A Dutch appellate court's ruling that anti-immigration lawmaker Geert Wilders can be prosecuted for hate speech is generating a lot of reaction. Wilders, producer of the 15-minute film Fitna, is accused of insulting Muslims in the film and in other statements.

Dallas Morning News editorial writer Rod Dreher calls the prosecution both mind boggling and outrageous:

"I would say that it's outrageous to think that now people in the Netherlands risk criminal prosecution for criticizing religion and religious believers, but I think we all know no atheist is going to be hauled into the dock for criticizing Christians (nor should he be, I underscore). This is all about sacrificing free speech and a vital civil liberty to buy social peace. You don't have to agree with Wilders to grasp the meaning of this, though the Dutch court's action goes a long way toward vindicating Wilders' claim that the Dutch are losing their freedoms and their democracy because of the Muslim presence among them."

The Wall Street Journal distinguishes between speech that threatens and that which merely offends:

"There are of course limits to free speech, such as calls for violence. But one doesn't need to agree with Mr. Wilders to acknowledge that he hasn't crossed that line. Some Muslims say they are outraged by his statements. But if freedom of speech means anything, it means the freedom of controversial speech. Consensus views need no protection."

And Wilders is not alone. In Vienna, a far-right legislator named Susanne Winter was convicted Thursday for hate speech, including her reference to the Prophet Mohamed as a pedophile.

More on Wilders' case been be found here.

By IPT News | Fri, 23 Jan 2009 at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Gaza and Repercussions in the War on Terror

Fear of confrontation with Britain's ever expanding militant Islamist movement is indirectly "undermining the Western defense against the jihad," the invaluable Melanie Phillips writes in this column in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal.

She summarizes a series of violent demonstrations preotesting Israel's war against Hamas and the capitulation by Britain's political leadership against Hamas-instigated violence in the name of a rapid cease fire.

"More serious still, Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell cited as fact the Hamas claim that 300 children had been killed in Gaza, even though Israel has given a much lower figure, and said the Israeli action was ‘disproportionate' and the bombing was ‘indefensible and unacceptable.'

Similarly, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, commenting after this weekend's cease-fire that ‘too many innocent people' had been killed, made no mention of Israel's strenuous attempts to minimize civilian casualties, nor Hamas's responsibility for holding Gaza's civilians hostage.

In fact, the British government has effectively taken the view that Israel should not be allowed to defend itself by military means against the Hamas rockets that ministers have taken care to condemn."

Police did little to quell the demonstrations, which featured frequent attempts to storm the Israeli embassy and attacks on Jewish-owned businesses. Pro-Israel demonstrators were told to stow their Israeli flag, though, because they were "inflammatory." These are ripples in the broader issue of tamping down global jihad, Phillips writes, because jihadists throughout the globe share the same ideological motivation.

As a result, "ministers are intent on appeasing Muslim extremism and intimidation both at home and abroad."

By IPT News | Fri, 23 Jan 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Confusing, Conflicting Gaza Death Tolls

There's no doubt Israel's offensive against Hamas claimed a lot of lives in Gaza. But exactly how many died is unclear and the portion of civilian casualties is even more unsettled.

Israeli military officials are denying an Italian journalist's claim that no more than 600 people died in the three weeks of fighting. Lorenzo Cremonesi, a correspondent for Italy's Corriere Della Sera, reported that the death toll was inflated after visiting Gaza hospitals and interviewing local Palestinians.

The Israeli military and Palestinian medics each put the death toll at around 1,300 people, so that number seems to be fairly credible. However, Israeli Defense Forces say two-thirds of the dead were Hamas operatives and fighters or members of other terrorist organizations, often dressed in civilian clothing. They are compiling a list of the dead and claim it already contains the names of 750 Hamas members (if so, then a clear majority of the dead) while the Palestinians insist a majority of the dead were civilians.

Hamas claimed fewer than 50 of its people were killed. Those jumping blindly on high-end casualty counts should remember, similar claims have been exposed as wildly off base in the past.

By IPT News | Thu, 22 Jan 2009 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
ACLU Sues MAS-Run Minneapolis Charter School

A Minneapolis charter school has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues taxpayer money is being used to promote religion, in violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause in the First Amendment.

The Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) "advances, endorses, and prefers the Muslim religion over other religions or nonsectarian approaches in connection with school activities and fosters entanglement between government and religion," the lawsuit says. It seeks injunctions forcing the school to correct the violations and to "refund to the state of Minnesota the pro rata portion of student aid TIZA has received for its students."

The school has around 430 students in kindergarten through 8th grade, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. It received $3.8 million in state funding this academic year. Most of the students live in poverty, the lawsuit notes, yet they do score well on standardized tests.

Still, school officials have tried to keep its administrative practices a secret. Administrative handbooks stress "requirement that information about the operations of TIZA be withheld from the public" and threatens to fire violators. That, the suit says, is inconsistent with running a public school.

TIZA is run by officials at the Muslim American Society's (MAS) Minnesota chapter which control the curriculum and land on which the school is based. This creates conflicts of interest for school administrators, the lawsuit says. In addition,

MAS' stated goal "shall be to attain the pleasure of Allah (God)" and identifies its mission as "to present the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims."

Muslim prayer sessions are held during school hours and religious material is posted on classroom bulletin boards, the lawsuit says. Girls adhere to a stricter dress code than boys and women faculty are required to be "covered from neck to wrist and ankle."

The lawsuit describes the school's namesake, ibn Ziyad, as "a Muslim military leader who conquered portions of what is now Spain and Portugal during the eighth century.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Cliff Kincaid

Soros, who backed Obama during the presidential campaign, is a well-known advocate of a "New World Order" in which the U.S. refuses to act unilaterally in its own interests. In violation of Barack Obama's promise to run an open and transparent transition to the next administration, an associate of convicted document thief Sandy Berger has been secretly meeting with far-left groups under the auspices of the Obama-Biden Transition Project to develop a range of pro-U.N. policies. These include placing "more [U.N.] blue helmets on U.S. troops" and forcing the U.S. to join the U.N.'s International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is an international entity that could prosecute American citizens and soldiers for "war crimes" and other offenses, in violation of U.S. Constitutional protections.

The ICC treaty was signed by President Clinton, who expressed concern about some of its provisions, but under President Bush it was "unsigned" by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton in what he called his "happiest moment" at the State Department.

In response to the possibility of the ICC prosecuting American soldiers, the Congress in 2002 passed the American Service members Protection Act, in order to protect U.S. soldiers from the jurisdiction of the court.

While Obama comes across in the media as a "moderate" or "centrist"in foreign policy, his Transition Project is developing an extreme pro-U.N. policy that is supposed to be implemented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan E. Rice.

The Berger associate, Eric. P. Schwartz, is the executive director of the U.S. Connect Fund and represents several liberal and leftist foundations, including and most notably the Open Society Institute of financial hedge-fund operator George Soros. Soros is considered by some the virtual owner of the Democratic Party, having contributed lavishly to the party, its causes and candidates, including Obama. He personally contributed $50,000, the maximum allowed, to the Obama inauguration.

While Obama did not publicly endorse the International Criminal Court during the campaign, because "many questions remain unanswered about the ultimate scope of its activities," Schwartz and his associates are clearly laying the groundwork for the Obama Administration' s acceptance of and membership in the ICC. Schwartz is perfectly suited for the task, having "initiated and managed the White House review that resulted in U.S. signature of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court" under Clinton, according to his own bio.

Other members of the secretive Obama group include Samantha Power, the Harvard academic and one of Obama's closest foreign policy advisers who left the Obama presidential campaign temporarily after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." A self-described "humanitarian hawk,"

Power believes in using the United Nations to confront "genocide" in the world, despite the corruption scandals involving U.N. peacekeepers in human rights violations and sexual child abuse.

Soros, who backed Obama during the presidential campaign, is a well-known advocate of a "New World Order" in which the U.S. refuses to act unilaterally in its own interests but works through international organizations such as the U.N. on foreign policy matters. Critics note that such an approach gives the U.N. and other nations a veto over what the U.S. can do militarily.

A convicted inside trader whose currency manipulations have been known to threaten national governments and currencies, he testified on November 13, 2008, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the risks posed by the hedge funds that he and other billionaires operate. In addition to the Democratic Party, his financial fingerprints are all over leftist, "progressive" and news media organizations.

The Connect U.S. Fund is funded by Soros's Open Society Institute and other liberal foundations and provides grants to pro-U.N. groups around the country. These groups, which provide the appearance of public support for more U.S. involvement in the U.N., were involved in a January 10 national conference call to promote a "Responsible U. S. Global Engagement" agenda for the Obama Administration. They are releasing a letter to Obama this week urging close cooperation with the U.N. on such issues as human rights, climate change, arms control and foreign aid.

This is bound to find a favorable response, since the co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, John Podesta, a former Clinton chief of staff, comes from another Soros-funded group, the Center for American Progress.

Although Obama and Podesta promised full disclosure of transition meetings and documents ¯and Podesta even issued a December 5, 2008, memorandum on the subject¯no information about Schwartz's December 6, 2008, meetings with the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court

(WICC) and the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping (PEP) appears on the "Seat at the Table" section of the Obama website. The "Seat at the Table" was designed to create the impression that the Transition Project was being open and honest about meeting with special interest and outside groups.

WICC and PEP are fronts of Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), the new name of the World Federalist Association, an organization openly dedicated to the establishment of a world government with a world army financed by global taxes.

The CGS itself disclosed the meetings with Schwartz, boasting that the WICC and PEP emphasized the need for Obama to accept the ICC and place "more blue helmets on U.S. troops," a reference to U.N. military operations where American troops wear berets or helmets and take orders from foreign commanders.

So-called "progressive" groups and media figures such as Nicholas D.Kristof of the New York Times have been waging vigorous campaigns to get U.S. forces deployed around the world in various conflicts that do not involve threats to U.S. national security.

Such a policy under Clinton in the former Yugoslavia, where NATO was deployed for the first time in an offensive military capacity without the approval of Congress, led to the famous case of Army Specialist Michael New refusing orders to serve a foreign U.N. commander in Macedonia. After saying he had signed up for the green team, not the blue team, he was court-martialed and discharged for "bad conduct." His lawyers in the Michael New Action Fund fought the discharge in the courts for over 10 years, arguing that presidential orders to report to the U.N. were illegal and unconstitutional. While the Supreme Court ultimately refused to review the case, many members of Congress and the public rallied to Michael New's defense.

Clinton had ordered U.S. troops to serve the U.N. under the still-secret Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 25, which has never been repealed by President Bush. Although Bush had promised never to assign U.S. troops to U.N. command, American soldiers have continued to be inducted into U.N. "peacekeeping" operations during his administration. He has also begun to cooperate with the ICC and on January 5 ordered the airlift of military supplies to Darfur in support of a U.N. military force.

Schwartz's job, quite clearly, is to dramatically expand this policy and get the Senate to ratify the ICC treaty and accept unconstitutional ICC jurisdiction over American troops. Such an approach would mark the end of U.S. military superiority and perhaps the end to U.S. status as a superpower.

Officially, Schwartz is identified merely as a "member" of the Obama-Biden "working group" on national security with jurisdiction over U.N. issues. In addition to Power, members of the "national security team" on "US/UN" issues are Michael Pan, Jennifer Simon, Elizabeth Cousens, Grant Harris, and Victoria Holt. No detail about these individuals or their backgrounds is officially provided, but some information is available through research conducted from public Internet sources. Many have links to the U.N., leftist think tanks, or Congressional Democrats.

Letters to Podesta and Schwartz seeking an explanation of the failure to disclose these meetings¯and what was discussed in them and what documents were exchanged or provided¯have gone unanswered.

Publicly, the media focus has been on personalities¯such as whether Senator Hillary Clinton, whose nomination as Secretary of State is the subject of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday, can get along with Susan E. Rice, Obama's nominee as Ambassador to the U.N., whose nomination will be the subject of a hearing on Thursday.

This "controversy, " however, is largely phony, since Clinton and Rice are both associates of Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott, a prominent advocate of "global governance" and increased U.S./U.N. collaboration. Talbott, one of the leading foreign policy thinkers in the Democratic Party, was an official in the Clinton State Department and is considered an old friend of Hillary Clinton, while Talbott and Rice, another former Clinton State Department official, served together at Brookings.

A controversial figure who recently told the German magazine Der Spiegel that Obama is a true "citizen of the world," Talbott was accused by a former Russian spymaster at the U.N.

of being a special contact of the Russian intelligence service when he served in the Clinton State Department. The charge, denied by Talbott, was included in the sensational book, Comrade J, which describes the U.N. as a base of activities for hostile foreign intelligence services.

Fascinated by such matters as Barack and Michelle Obama's wardrobe and inaugural festivities, the U.S. media seem uninterested in any of this. While Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times has written in general about the violations of Obama's promise to reveal the existence and nature of the Transition Project meetings, she has failed to provide any details about the controversial characters involved in them.

One of those characters, Schwartz, suggests the continuing influence of former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, who became known as Sandy Burglar after he was caught stealing classified documents from the National Archives. He pleaded guilty to charges in the case in 2005, paid a fine, performed community service, but never served any jail time. Sandy Berger now runs a lobbying firm, Stonebridge International, representing major corporations doing business in China and other areas of the world. Stonebridge has just announced former Citigroup Chairman and CEO Charles Prince as Vice Chairman of the firm and Chairman of the firm's Board of Advisors.

Berger teamed up with Schwartz once more in 2007 to write an op-ed advocating more U.S. "global engagement"¯a euphemism for more reliance on the U.N. and international organizations. Schwartz's official title under Berger at the National Security Council was senior director for multilateral and humanitarian affairs. After leaving the Clinton Administration he went to work for the United Nations.

Not surprisingly, one of Schwartz's associates at the U.S. Connect Fund is Heather Hamilton, a former top official of CGS, where she lobbied against John Bolton's nomination as Ambassador to the U.N. and for U.S. acceptance of the International Criminal Court and the U.N.'s controversial U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

While publicly exhibiting caution regarding the ICC, apparently because of the opposition to the court by U.S. military leaders, Obama has said that he supports Senate ratification of UNCLOS [Ed note: bad for the USA], the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty [Ed note: bad for Israel], the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

"As president," he told the American Society of International Law, "I will make it my priority to build bipartisan consensus behind ratification of such treaties."


Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of the AIM Report and can be reached at cliff.kincaid@

Antisemitism—the world's oldest hatred had been resurrected!

An excellent summary of the very troubling rise of antisemitism throughout Europe, United Kingdom, the Unites States, Canada, Australia, the Middle East and above all the despot regimes managed U.N that, now more than ever, is badly infected with antisemitism and this infection is only getting worse. Though the USA and the Canadian governments support Israel by far more than other Western nation, still antisemitism is on the rise in North America and most of those antisemitic attacks come from members of the muslim communities. This is a fact that cannot be denied and Jews must dare not gloss over it.

Though the USA and the Canadian governments are supportive of Israel and maybe somewhat sensitive to the needs and concerns of their Jewish communities, these governments will not be there to protect Jews when some short fused radical islamist Jew hater, fueled by his islamist imam/leader suddenly loses control and erupts in rage, thus attacks Jews, synagogues or Jewish property.

Islamist imams and fundamentalist muslim leadership are becoming more rancorous, vigorous, bolder, brazen and openly aggressive in stoking the fires of Jew/Israel hatred that burn in many muslims in USA and Canadian communities. It is now only a matter of time before muslim violence against Jews manifests with deadly and injurious consequences.

Pro-Israel and Jewish advocacy—individuals and organizations—must now come to grip with this grim reality and devise forceful strategies and tactics to douse water on the antisemitic flames, before more Jews are killed or injured for the sole reason of being Jews!



Every Day of Freedom Is Like an Act of Faith


I strongly recommend reading this article by highly regarded writer Claudia Rosett:—Freedom's Edge

The New Anti-Semitism

Claudia Rosett, 01.22.09

Obama's put a dent in racism. Will he defend Jews?

Freedom's Edge
The New Anti-Semitism

Claudia Rosett, 01.22.09, 12:00 AM ET

America has just thrown one of the world's biggest parties, rejoicing with good reason at the fall of the racial barrier to the White House. But bigotry ebbs and flows on many fronts, and a question for President Obama as he takes up his responsibilities as leader of the free world is whether he will now champion--or at least strive to protect--another minority whose members are today the targets of resurgent prejudice.

I am speaking of a minority that even in the relatively enlightened 21st century is increasingly subject both worldwide, and to a disturbing extent even inside the U.S., to double standards, slurs, threats, arson, bombings, stabbings and other attacks on their persons, shops, homes and places of worship.

It is not unusual in some parts of the world to hear them described, not least by official media outlets, as apes and pigs. In some prestigious quarters, notably the United Nations, it appears acceptable--in practice, if not as a matter of official policy--for member states to promote or even issue calls for their extermination.

As you have probably guessed, I am speaking of the Jews. To many Americans, that may sound overwrought. American Jews are by and large a prosperous bunch, sending their children to good schools, filling some of the top ranks in publishing, finance, medicine, academia and government. One of their own, Rahm Emanuel, is currently serving as Obama's chief of staff. What's to worry about?

Plenty. They belong to a minority that just 64 years ago was subject to industrial-scale slaughter in the heart of Europe. The 6 million Jews murdered in that Holocaust are remembered and their deaths commemorated today with cries of "never again."

Yet there are proliferating signs that in too many places, and too many ways, the world is tacitly coming to accept not only persecution of the Jews, but the possibility of a second genocide--not necessarily by way of active complicity, but under labels familiar from the last century: It was not our fault. There was nothing we could do.

Compared with the world's population today of 6.7 billion, the entire Jewish population worldwide is infinitesimal, estimated at roughly 14 million. Some 40% of those Jews live in the U.S. Some 40% live in the world's only Jewish state, Israel.

The rest are scattered from France to Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia, Argentina, Australia and beyond. Collectively, they account for no more than about 0.2% of humanity.

That's also miniscule compared with a worldwide Muslim population very roughly estimated at some 1.5 billion. And Israel, for all its U.S. support, walks a lonely and beleaguered path compared to the 57-member strong Saudi-headquartered Organization of the Islamic Conference--one of the core lobbying blocs in the UN General Assembly.

Many Muslims may well desire simply to live in peace. Unfortunately, some of the most vocal, politically active and militarily aggressive among them--ruling Iran and Gaza, and harbored in places such as Syria and Lebanon--are explicitly dedicated to destroying Israel.

Through Internet and television propaganda, through pronouncements from the UN stage, through everything from subsidies to anti-Semitic lobbying associations to money and arms for terrorist groups, they spend considerable resources fueling movements to boycott, denigrate and attack Jews.

There are many spokes in the anti-Semitic web now being re-woven around the globe, from Saudi Arabia to the Palestinian schools and media that feature maps without Israel, and role models such as a martyred version of Mickey Mouse.

But as Obama takes office, two hubs stand out. One is Iran, supporter of terrorists, source of genocidal proclamations against Israel and seeker of nuclear bombs.

Whatever the doubts about that bomb program raised by the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate of late 2007, Obama's pick for cabinet-rank ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, clearly sees a problem. In her written testimony for her confirmation hearing Jan. 15, she noted that "Iran continues its illicit nuclear program unabated."

The other hub is the United Nations, which, despite its own sanctions on Iran and its own 1945 charter which aims to avert such horrors as another holocaust, continues to dignify Tehran and some of its fellow anti-Semitic despotic states with a slew of important UN posts, while treating Israel as a pariah state.

Though a democracy, Israel has never been allowed to hold one of the 10 rotating seats on a Security Council that in recent years has welcomed such tyrannies as Syria and Libya.

Currently, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is fueling the problem--publicly condemning Israel's battle to stop the terrorist attacks by Hamas, touring Gaza and demanding a probe of Israeli actions, while offering no viable protection to Israelis.

Don't hold your breath for a UN inquiry into weapons and training supplied to Hamas by the same Iranian regime whose nuclear bomb program the UN's leaky sanctions have failed to stop.

In this, Ban is carrying on a deep-seated UN tradition of bias against Jews and Israel. That is broadly obvious from the UN's torrent of anti-Israel statements, resolutions and so forth, including plans to hold a repeat in Geneva this April of the UN's anti-Israel 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, ostensibly convened to discuss racism.

But if anyone wants more detail, an illuminating account of the UN's anti-Semitic inner circles can be found in the memoir of a former senior UN official, Pedro Sanjuan, The UN Gang, published in 2005.

Sanjuan, who served at the UN in the 1980s and early 1990s, but kept in touch with it well after that, devotes an entire chapter, rich in anecdote, to "The Anti-Semitic UN Culture." Sanjuan writes that though he himself is not a Jew, what bothered him most during his years at the UN was "this unrelenting bigotry" against them.

During Israel's recent battle with Hamas in Gaza, attacks both verbal and physical against Jews have risen worldwide. To cite just a small sample, there have been reports of a double shooting in Denmark, Molotov cocktails hurled at synagogues in France, a Jewish burial chapel fire-bombed in Sweden, graffiti scrawled across British buildings saying "Jihad 4 Israel" and "Kill Jews," schools and synagogues desecrated on the North Side of Chicago, and--in an echo of Germany's 1938 Kristallnacht--rocks shattering the 50-year-old stained glass windows of a Jewish temple in Knoxville, Tenn.

At risk of being written off as hysterics--which the rising stack of evidence suggests they are not--a handful of journalists have tackled the story. These include syndicated columnist Mark Steyn, who in an article last week on "The Oldest Hatred, Resurgent," reeled off a staggering list of epithets, threats and physical attacks targeting Jews, including a crowd in Amsterdam chanting "Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!," and Palestinian demonstrators in Florida sneering, "You need a big oven, that's what you need."

From Britain, writing in The Wall Street Journal Europe, social critic Melanie Phillips describes a demonstration at which Hamas supporters showed up dressed as "hook-nosed Jews pretending to drink the blood of Palestinian babies."

The message British authorities gave to pro-Israeli demonstrators who turned up at the same scene was to put away their Israeli flags because these were deemed "inflammatory."

But whatever surge of anti-Semitism might have accompanied Israel's battle to stop terrorist attacks by Hamas out of Gaza, the rising prejudice and malice dates back well before that.

Last year, a State Department report to Congress on "Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism" noted that "Over the last decade, U.S. embassies and consulates have reported an upsurge in anti-Semitism." That would be the decade in which Israel pulled out of Lebanon (2000), accepted the "roadmap" that sought to establish a democratic Palestinian state (2003) and withdrew from Gaza (2005).

Government-affiliated studies in recent years in both Europe and Britain have reported that, in the words of a 2006 UK all-party parliamentary inquiry: "It is clear that violence, desecration of property and intimidation directed toward Jews is on the rise."

A report leaked in 2003 from the former Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, an independent body of the European Union, observed an outbreak of anti-Semitic acts in Europe following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

These included conspiracy theories that Jews were behind those attacks, denial of the holocaust and "desecration of synagogues, cemeteries, swastika graffiti, threatening and insulting mail." There were "physical attacks" on Jews and Jewish temples, "often committed by young Muslim perpetrators."

The study also described some of the anti-Jewish acts to young people who reportedly had no "specific anti-Semitic prejudices," but joined the Jew-baiting "just for fun."

Nor are Jews in the U.S. entirely spared. In the hate-crime statistics released each year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, attacks on Jews routinely outnumber religiously based attacks against any other group.

For 2007, FBI figures show that among 1,477 religiously motivated hate crimes reported by U.S. law enforcement authorities, 9% were anti-Islamic, 9.5% were "anti-other religion," 4.4% were anti-Catholic and, by far outstripping any other category, "68.4% were anti-Jewish."

While much of the world may live today in the shadow of terrorist threats, actual attacks over many years have zeroed in repeatedly and specifically on Jews. That's why one now sees Jewish centers in places such as Manhattan surrounded by security barriers. From the bombings in Argentina of the Israeli embassy in 1992 (killing 32) and Jewish community center in 1993 (killing 87), to attacks on synagogues and other Jewish watering holes in places such as Tunisia, Turkey, France and, just two months ago, the terrorist slaughter in Mumbai, which specifically included a Jewish chabad, actual attacks have zeroed in again and again on the Jews.

This scene is also part of a world in which President Obama has become a symbol of what freedom, hope and virtue can do to deliver better days to a long embattled minority. What will he do about the Jews?

Claudia Rosett, a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes a weekly column on foreign affairs for Forbes.

London - More Anti-Semitic Attacks in Golders Green

London - The Jewish community in Golders Green has been the target of further anti-Semitic attacks, in the form of more offensive graffiti.

Graffiti reading "Kill the filthy Jews" was daubed on walls and pavements near Golders Green tube station and vandals wrote "Jihad 4 Israel" on top of Holocaust Memorial Day adverts. Golders Green residents have unanimously condemned the ongoing hate crimes, which have risen up in the wake of the Gaza conflict.

"The graffiti is revolting," said one woman from Hampstead Way. "The conflict in Gaza is awful but people here have nothing to do with it. I want to call the police - this has to be reported. But what can you do when you are dealing with fanatics?"

Gabriella Lauffer, 22, from Golders Green, said: "The graffiti just comes down to anti-Semitism. Gaza is an excuse for anti-Semites to attack Jews."

Joseph Haziza, 27, manager of Menachem Kosher butchers which is next to Sinclair Grove on Golders Green road, said: "In this area of Golders Green the graffiti hasn't been as bad. Further up the Golders Green Road they have been affected, with Muslims coming into Jewish shops and saying: 'I'm going to kill you'.

"I don't wear my cuple [skull cap] when I'm out and about. I don't want to be started on."

Barnet police tried to reassure the community. A spokesman said: "We have a policy that once incidents such as these are reported we clean it up within 24 hours. There are an increased number of graffiti incidents and we have a team in place to respond as quickly as possible."

And a spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which works to safeguard Jewish communities in the UK, said: "CST has been notified of well over 150 anti-Semitic incidents throughout Britain, by far the worst wave of anti-Semitism in recent decades.

"Barnet is of course home to one of Britain's largest, most visible and most vibrant Jewish communities and therefore many of the anti-Semitic attacks reported to CST have occurred in the neighbourhood.

"The reaction from council and police has been largely excellent, and together we are all determined to ensure that the Jewish community in Barnet is able to conduct its lawful way of life."

Anyone with information should call Barnet Police on 0300 123 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. London - More Anti-Semitic Attacks in Golders Green

You can view this article online at

he Palestinian Pandora's Box

Yoram Ettinger, Ynet, January 23, 2009

The mild reaction by Arab countries to the Hamas-driven Palestinian predicament in Gaza refutes the assumption that the Palestinian issue is a top Arab priority and that it constitutes the core cause of Arab hostility toward the West, USA and Israel. In fact, the Arab reaction has reflected overall Arab attitude toward the Palestinian issue since 1948, through the 1982 Israel-PLO war in Lebanon and the First and Second Intifadah, irrespective of the identity of the Palestinian leadership: Haj Amin al-Husseini, Shukeiri, Hammuda, Arafat, Abu Mazen or Haniyeh. Arab countries have always showered Palestinians with rhetoric, but they have refrained from significant support. During the 2009 Gaza War, Arab countries rejected the call for an emergency session of Arab leaders on behalf of Gaza. They have limited their meek support to a gathering of Arab foreign ministers, calling for a UN emergency session. Saudi Arabia dismissed the suggestion to employ oil as a weapon. Riad prohibits pro-Palestinian rallies and its religious establishment issued a weak proclamation on behalf of the Palestinian struggle. The Gulf Cooperation Council focused on economic and monetary issues during its December 30, 2008 meeting, according lips service to Gaza.

A similar reaction occurred during the 1982 Israel-PLO war in Lebanon, which erupted on June 4. The Arab oil producing countries convened in August to discuss the price of oil, dismissing the proposal to use the oil weapon on behalf of the PLO. The summit of Arab leaders was deliberately delayed until September, following the expulsion of the PLO from Beirut.

Arab leaders have systematically demonstrated how secondary the Palestinian issue has been in their order of national priorities. For instance, Arab financial support of the PLO was less than 10% of Arab financial support to the anti-Soviet Muslims in Afghanistan. In 1988, the Arab League convened on behalf of the First Intifadah, committing itself to $128MN immediate support, followed by $43MN monthly assistance. Less than $100MN was actually transferred to the PLO, compared with over $1BN annual support to Afghanistan during 1978-1988. In 2002, Saudi Arabia pledged $600MN for the Second Intifadah, but only $100MN has been transferred so far. Other Arab countries made a $55MN monthly commitment, but – as expected – they have once again failed to deliver.

Recent precedents have led Arabs to consider the Palestinians a potential treacherous, subversive, explosive Pandora's box, which could undermine their survival. On the other hand, Palestinians blame Arab leaders for the "1948 Debacle." In 1948/9, the Arab League made it clear that the war against the Jewish State was not launched because – or for – the Palestinians. It declared the provisional Palestinian government null and void, while Egypt and Jordan expelled the Palestinian leadership from Gaza, Judea and Samaria. During the late 1950s, and in 1966, Arafat, Abu Mazen and their Fatah colleagues were evicted from Egypt and Syria for subversion. In 1970, they were decimated in Jordan, following an attempt to topple the Hashemite regime ("Black September"). In 1975/76, they were clobbered by Syria (in Lebanon), as a result of their assault on the central government in Beirut ("Black June"). In 1983, they lost their base in Tripoli, Lebanon, after they failed to challenge the dominant local militia. In 1987, Egypt killed scores of Palestinians, who demonstrated on behalf of the First Intifadah in the Rafah refugee camp in Sinai/Gaza. In 1991, Kuwait expelled 300,000 Palestinians for collaboration with Saddam's plunder of the sheikhdom. Since 2003, thousands of Palestinians have fled Iraq, due to their identification with the Butcher of Baghdad. The Red Carpet, which welcomes Palestinian leaders at the UN and in Western capitals, is transformed into a shabby rug upon landing in Arab capitals.

What do Arab leaders know - about the Palestinians - which has escaped Western and Israeli policy-makers?

Arab leaders have not dedicated themselves to advance the Palestinian cause. They have not regarded the Palestinian issue as a premier link in the formulation of their policies. Domestic, regional and global factors have impacted inter-Arab, Arab-Western and Arab-Israel relations much more than the Palestinian issue. Palestinians do not possess veto power over Arab policy-making.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accord, Israel has subordinated its national security policy to the resolution of the Palestinian issue, switching its focus from the Israeli-Arab path to the Israeli-Palestinian path. Dozens of initiatives, conferences, summits, agreements and cease fires have yielded a series of short-lived illusions of peace and security, which were promptly crashed by an unprecedented Palestinian wave of hate-education, violation of commitments and terrorism. In fact, the roadmap toward the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict does not go through Ramallah or Gaza, but rather through Cairo, Amman and other Arab capitals, as evidenced by Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have withstood Palestinian opposition and an on-going Israeli war against Palestinian terrorism.

A policy which is based on an erroneous assumption – that the Palestinian issue is supposedly the crown jewel of Arab policy – constitutes an erroneous policy. It exacerbates regional instability, fuels terrorism, promotes war and diminishes the prospects for peace.

Israel should base its policy, toward the Palestinians, on the track record of the last 100 years, and especially the last 15 years, which have featured the failure of Land-for-Peace on the Palestinian track.

Lessons of recent history, Israel's minimal security requirements and the need to minimize motivation for Arab terrorism, highlight the necessity to solidify Israel's control of Judea and Samaria.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shalit at any Price after Truce?

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Shalit at any Price after Truce?

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni are competing for headlines on kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, indicating a deal may be near for his return. The Prime Minister said that a "terrible price" may have to be paid for his release after he, Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for a truce in Gaza without his return. During Operation Cast Lead, Prime Minister Olmert took pains to say that no public comments should be made on the issue of bringing Shalit back home because too much public discussion often plays into the hands of Hamas negotiators.

However, he broke his own silence Wednesday, stating that while he cannot promise anything, he will make every effort to bring Shalit back home before he leaves office. Cabinet ministers have indicated that Israel will have to meet a large part of Hamas's demands for Israel to free more than 1,000 terrorists and prisoners and open all Gaza crossings as the price for Shalit.

Foreign Minister Livni, visiting Brussels, told reporters that the "crisis" in Gaza continues until Shalit is freed.

Several Cabinet ministers, including at least three Kadima ministers, maintained before the ceasefire that it should not be concluded without securing the freedom of Shalit. However, only two ministers, one from Shas and one from Kadima, voted against the decision to declare a unilateral truce and remove army troops from Gaza.

The truce and withdrawal have left Hamas playing from strength, posing as a victor in the war against its terrorist infrastructure and playing the sympathy card in an appeal to the international community for support.

Its leaders tried to create the impression during the war that it is not concerned with Shalit and does not care if he is dead or alive. He was abducted in June 2006 and is thought to be alive and well, although Hamas has not honored the Geneva Convention that requires allowing the Red Cross to make contact with prisoners of war.

Hamas official Mussa abu Marzuk repeated a ploy it used two weeks ago, speculating that perhaps Shalit was wounded in an Israeli Air Force bombing raid. "First, the Israelis must investigate Shalit's fate. Perhaps they hit him during their bombardment, just as they hit other [soldier who had been captured by our fighters," he said.

His claim echoed other Hamas boasts that it captured several Israeli soldiers during the Cast Lead campaign, but the reports have been proven untrue.

Egypt, which acts as mediator between Hamas and Israel, said Wednesday it has no idea of Shalit's fate. "Whether Shalit is alive or not alive, this is a question that needs investigation now," said its Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. "I have no information, and I believe the Israeli side has no information, either."

Media Doubt Obama on Iran

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Media Doubt Obama on Iran

Israeli newspapers, known for making mincemeat out of politicians, have welcomed President Barack Obama with questions on how he can stop the Iranian nuclear threat without a military attack. "Up to now, your speeches have been fantastic. Now let's see your actions," wrote editorial writer Eitan Haber in Yediot Acharonot. "When the festive noise fades in Washington, and in Jerusalem, the joy over the victory in Gaza, the big United States and little Israel must – with or without Europe – look for any and all means to strike at Iran's capabilities – military, economic and diplomatic."

Other Israel news media also addressed Obama. Ma'ariv wrote that the new president "has become the leader of the free world, but does he have a solution to the greatest threat to the free world – Islamic fundamentalism? Radical Islam looks for neither understanding nor compromise; its supporters see no distinction between Obama and Bush," whom the newspaper chided for not waging a stronger war against terrorism.

Israel's new free daily Yisrael HaYom (Israel Today), owned by American Jewish casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, questioned President Obama's inaugural speech. "His call to the Arab peoples to be measured by their positive actions could be interpreted in two ways – on the one hand, a preliminary effort towards rapprochement with Islam, and on the other, setting a tangible condition for any cooperation with them," wrote Dan Margalit.

The dovish Haaretz, in an opinion article by its columnist Bradley Burston, ignored the issue of Iran and took the opportunity to lash out at Jewish development in Judea and Samaria, writing that "settler outposts are the Kassam of the Jews."

He advised President Obama to ignore the "mantra" of evangelicals and the national religious camp "who will tell you that illegal outposts, and settlements in general, promote peace and anchor security."

Burston also argued that Israel's attempt to break down Hamas has made it stronger, and he advised President Obama "to grant Hamas the freedom to fail" by finding an "arrangement both Israelis and Gazans seek - open border crossings and a true end to rocket attacks."

The Jerusalem Post opined, "We have every reason to expect that Obama will support the Jewish state in its quest for defensible borders and genuine acceptance by its neighbors." .

Gaza's True 'Disproportion'

Carlos Alberto Montaner
Washington Post

What's the most likely outcome of Israel's invasion of Gaza? A wider war? A Hamas defeat? Just more of the same?

Israelis are being accused of suffering too few casualties in their confrontation with the Hamas terrorists. Those who reason thus usually speak the words "disproportion" or "asymmetry" in an indignant tone. While at this writing close to a thousand Arab Palestinians have died or been wounded as a result of the bombings, the Israeli losses amount to just over a dozen. Tel Aviv's critics -- from whom an anti-Semitic stench often rises -- do not say whether Israel should increase its quota of cadavers or if it must reduce the Arabs' quota to achieve the reasonable proportion of blood that will soothe the peculiar itch for parity that afflicts them. Nor do they specify the morally permissible number of casualties to end the rain of rockets that for years has been constantly falling on the heads of Israeli civilians.

This demand for "proportionality" can only be called surprising. Until this conflict began, history books everywhere always expressed great satisfaction and a certain chauvinistic pride when a nation's army inflicted on the enemy a large number of casualties, vis-à-vis a trifling price paid by "our boys." Israel is the only country expected to behave differently and, in fact, it does; I know of no other nation that announces where and when it will drop its bombs, thus enabling civilians to evacuate the territory. Of course, in this it behaves asymmetrically, because the Hamas terrorists, forever eager to cause the greatest damage possible, never announce when or where they will launch their rockets against Israel's civilian population.

In turn, Israel has not the slightest interest in causing casualties. All it wants is to stop Hamas' attacks the only way it can: by eliminating the terrorists and destroying their arsenals. There's no other way to deal with them. Hamas is not a political organization with which agreements can be reached, but a fanatical gang intent on wiping Israel off the map. To achieve this objective, its members are even willing to turn their own children into human bombs, just to kill the hated Jews.

Here's another very important asymmetry. The Jews build underground shelters in all houses near the border; they close the schools and hide the children at the least sign of danger; they treat the death of a single soldier as a national tragedy; they do everything possible to rescue their prisoners, and protect the civilian population from the consequences of war. In contrast, the authorities in Gaza, drunk with violence, fire their machine guns irresponsibly into the air to express joy or grief (causing numerous injuries), do not hesitate to install their headquarters or hide their guns in schools, mosques or hospitals, use human shields to protect themselves, turn to suicidal terrorists and reward the families of such "martyrs" with money.

One week before Hamas broke the truce and stepped up its rocket attacks against the Jewish state (the spark that set off this conflict), I was in Israel, where I had been invited to deliver a lecture at the University of Tel Aviv. As part of the contacts organized by my hosts, I visited the Wolfson Medical Center to learn about the program "Save a Child's Heart." I was very moved. It is a foundation devoted to providing heart surgery for very poor children, most of them from the Arab world. As it happened, I witnessed the hurried arrival of a tiny 5-day-old girl, who had to be operated on at once to keep her from dying. She was brought in by her mother, a woman in a black head covering that allowed me to see only her tear-filled eyes, and her husband, a small, bearded man who watched with amazement the indescribable kindness with which a group of doctors and nurses treated the baby. The family came from Gaza.

Since the war erupted, I have asked myself constantly what became of them all.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born writer, journalist, and former professor. He is one of the most influential and widely-read columnists in the Spanish-language media, syndicated in dozens of publications in Latin America, Spain and the United States. He is also vice president of the Liberal International, a London-based federation devoted to the defense of democratic values and the promotion of the market economy. He has written more than twenty books, including Journey to the Heart of Cuba; How and Why Communism Disappeared; Liberty, the Key to Prosperity; and the novels A Dog's World and 1898: The Plot. He is now based in Madrid, Spain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Will a Cease Fire Work?

Alan M. Dershowitz

Israel’s decision to impose a unilateral case fire—quickly followed by a Hamas cease fire coupled with threats—will save lives in the short run, but it may end up costing even more lives if it is not accompanied by an unequivocal rejection of the Hamas tactic that provoked this war. Unless Hamas is permanently disarmed and rendered incapable of smuggling more rockets into Gaza, this terrorist group will always have the upper hand. Whenever it chooses, it can once again provoke Israel into retaliating by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israeli civilian areas and playing Russian roulette with the lives of its children. It can also cause Israel to kill Palestinian children by simply continuing to use civilians as human shields.

Many Israelis today share a view expressed by Golda Meir many years ago when she said to Palestinian terrorists “we can perhaps someday forgive you for killing our children, but we can never forgive you for making us kill your children.” That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the morality of Israel and the immorality of Hamas. Israel mourns the death of every child, Palestinian as well as Israeli, whereas Hamas celebrates the death of every child, whether an Israeli killed by one of their rockets or Palestinian made a martyr by Hamas using him or her as a human shield. Hamas echoes the views of the leader of Hezbollah when he said, “We will win because we love death and you love life.”

The use of civilians as weapons of war—both offensive and defensive weapons—has been developed to a low science by Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet the international community rarely condemns this despicable, double war crime tactic. It is quick, however, to condemn Israel when it becomes a victim of this win-win tactic for terrorists and lose-lose tactic for democracies. Some have gone so far as to accuse Israel of war crimes. These same bigots were silent when Russia killed tens of thousands of Chechnyan civilians. They don’t care about “war crimes.” They only use that concept as a weapon against the Jewish state. As long as the international community and the media continue to act as facilitators for Hamas and Hezbollah, these terrorist groups will continue to use their immoral and illegal tactics. And why not? They win and the democracy loses.

This could all change. All that is required is for the international community—the U.N., so-called human rights groups, international lawyers and the media—to put the blame for this tactic squarely where it belongs: on those who use civilians as weapons, by targeting them and by hiding behind them. But dream on! This is about as likely to happen as Hamas recognizing Israel’s right to exist and sitting down with the Palestinian Authority to create a Palestinian state pursuant to the two-state solution. Palestinians will finally get a state when their leaders and the majority of Palestinians want their own state more than they want to see the destruction of the Jewish state. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen in the near future.

The best we can hope for is an interim two-state solution between the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, and Israel. The West Bank could then be turned into a “West Berlin” as contrasted with Gaza’s “East Berlin.” A Marshall Plan for a peaceful West Bank might then demonstrate to the citizens of Gaza the peace dividend they could reap from giving up their futile dreams of destroying Israel, voting the Hamas terrorists out of office, and joining with the Palestinian Authority in achieving lasting peace with the Jewish state.

This is a propitious time to explore this option. We have a new administration, with a President who understands Israeli’s security needs, and has committed himself to protecting Israel from external threats, while at the same time committing himself to seeking a peaceful resolution from the beginning of his term. President-elect Obama, perhaps because of his heritage, is likely to be trusted more than his predecessor by the Arab and Muslim world. It is also a propitious time because Israel has dealt a devastating blow to the Hamas leadership and terrorists, even if it has not completely destroyed them or their capacity to launch rockets. Israel can only make peace from a position of strength, and the Palestinians will only make peace from a position of weakness.

This may also be a propitious time for Israel to reach out to Syria. The Bush Administration discouraged Israel from doing so, whereas the Obama Administration will surely encourage it to try to make peace with that dictatorship. Returning the Golan Heights, even in a demilitarized status, would be extremely risky for Israel. But eliminating Syria from its alliance of evil with Iran holds significant benefits for the Jewish state. Israel too is holding an election and may have a change of administration. Serious peace negotiations will probably have to await the outcome of that election, but preliminary steps can be taken even now.

This is the time for all sides to realize that an imperfect peace, as long as it increases Israel’s security, is preferable to a recurrence of Hezbollah and Hamas-initiated warfare.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard and the author of The Case Against Israel’s Enemies (Wiley 2008). He will be speaking at the Jewish Federation of Broward County's Community Campaign Celebration, Tues. January 27th, at the Signature Grand in Davie. .

Israel Scored a Tactical Victory

But it missed a chance to finish off Hamas.


On the Gaza border

Atop a little hill near the beleaguered Israeli town of Sderot, a gaggle of TV crews train their cameras on the Gaza Strip, sentinels to a unilateral Israeli cease-fire that's barely 12 hours old. Earlier the same day, Sunday, Hamas fired 20 rockets into Israel, raising questions about its intentions but causing little serious damage. Later, a pair of Israeli F-15s streak over Gaza City, releasing bursts of chaff but dropping no bombs.And then comes word that Hamas has declared its own conditional, week-long cease-fire. The TV people clear out. All wars eventually end. The question most Israelis are asking is whether this one has merely gone on vacation.

So why are the top echelons of Israel's political and military establishment delighted by the war's result? Long answer: They think that Israel has re-established a reputation for invincibility tarnished in the 2006 war with Hezbollah; that they bloodied and humiliated Hamas while taking few casualties; that they called overdue international attention to the tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle its arsenal; and, with the unilateral cease-fire, that they put the onus to end the violence squarely back on Hamas's shoulders.

Short answer: They think the war may be a regional game changer.

In a wide-ranging interview, a senior military official offers perhaps the most authoritative explanation of his government's war aims and his interpretation of its effects. "We have no desire to go back into Gaza," he says. "We decided we're not going to spend five years [in Gaza] like the five years Americans spent in Iraq."
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On the contrary: Far from seeking regime change in Gaza, the official seems at ease that the Palestinians will remain bifurcated between Hamastan and Fatahland for many years more, the way Germany was divided during the Cold War. The idea is that a Hamas state in Gaza -- somehow deterred from mischief -- could become a kind of useful negative example to the Palestinians of the West Bank, somewhat in the way East Germany served West Germany as a monument to everything that was wrong with communism.

This leads the official to his second remarkable comment, after I ask whether Israel deliberately chose not to kill Ismail Haniyeh, the elected Palestinian prime minister and Hamas's political leader in Gaza. "Israel tried to target people from the security apparatus and military wing," he answers. "At this moment, we prefer that the less-radical wing will take over."

The current divisions within Hamas are not the only ones the official sees as a consequence of the war. Palestinians, he says, no longer look to Hamas as the party of clean and competent government. Instead, they see a group whose leaders needlessly provoked a ruinous war they didn't have the courage to fight themselves. No wonder the third intifada in the West Bank, on which Hamas had counted, never materialized.

Elsewhere, Hamas's former patrons in the Arab world have split with the group ever since it became a client of Tehran. A dozen Arab states, along with the Palestinian Authority, boycotted an emergency summit of the Arab League, which had been intended as a show of support for Hamas supremo Khaled Mashal.

Then there is Egypt. For years, it took an ambivalent view of Hamas: partly worried by the threat it poses to its own secular regime, partly delighted by the trouble it causes Israel. Now the Mubarak government at last understands that Hamas is also a strategic threat to Egypt. "An Iranian base can play against Egypt the same way it played against Israel," says the official. Almost as an aside, he adds that the timing of Israel's operation in Gaza was dictated in part by the assessment that Hamas was just months away from obtaining longer-range missiles that could reach Cairo as easily as Tel Aviv.
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Now the Israeli government is prepared to believe that the Egyptians will finally clamp down on the smuggling. Israel might even allow Egypt to deploy its army in greater force in the Sinai, despite the provisions against it in the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

Finally there is Iran. "They have drawn a lesson," says the official. "Once again, they saw that Israel has a good air force and good intelligence, and that the combination of the two can be deadly. Unlike in 2006, they saw a well-trained ground force. They found that asymmetrical warfare does not always play for them; that we can use asymmetrical approaches to overpower an asymmetrical threat."

All this, of course, could be overturned the moment Iran goes nuclear and attempts to thwart Israel's freedom of action. Nor is it foreordained that Israel will enjoy the relatively favorable international circumstances that facilitated the past three weeks of war, or that Hamas will perform poorly the next time. "Usually, the one who loses does his homework better," observes the official.

Bottom line: Israel has scored an impressive tactical victory. But it has missed the strategic opportunity to rid itself of the menace on its doorstep. In the Middle East, opportunities don't always knock twice.

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Norwegian envoy: Israel, Nazis are same

Etgar Lefkovits , THE JERUSALEM POST

A Norwegian diplomat based in Saudi Arabia has sent out e-mails from her Foreign Ministry e-mail account equating Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza with the systematic mass murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.

The e-mail, sent out by Trine Lilleng, a first secretary at the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh, includes a juxtaposition of black-and-white pictures from the Holocaust with color images of Operation Cast Lead. "The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany," the e-mail states.

A copy of the e-mail was obtained by The Jerusalem Post.

The 40-plus pictures included as attachments in the e-mail include the famous image of a Jewish boy with his hands raised as a German soldier points his gun at him, next to an image of an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon at a Palestinian boy.

Another depicts a German soldier firing his weapon, next to an IDF soldier shooting his, while others juxtapose the barbed wire surrounding ghettos and concentration camps to the fence around Gaza, and the West Bank security barrier.

The e-mail asks recipients to forward the message to others.

Reached on her cellphone in Riyadh, Lilleng told the Post she had sent the message to "a few friends" in a "private e-mail," and had not sent any copy to the Post.

She would not say whether it was proper for her to use her ministry e-mail account for such a controversial message.

"I am not interested in saying anything about that," she said.

The Oslo-based Center Against Anti-Semitism in Norway, which has filed an official complaint with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, said it was appalled by the distribution of "clearly anti-Semitic propaganda" by a ministry official.

"The Center Against Anti-Semitism regrets that Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is thus contributing to the intensification of anti-Semitic tendencies, which lately have been quite visible in the Norwegian media, and which have been reproved by both us and by international experts," the center's director, Erez Uriely, wrote to Støre.

The center noted that the Norwegian government, along with other European governments, has sought to play a role as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of an Egyptian-proposed agreement.

"We fail to see that the distribution of anti-Semitic pictures is compatible with such a role," the letter states.

The center has asked the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to recall the disseminated pictures immediately and to apologize publicly for the incident.

The letter was hand-delivered to the ministry in Oslo on Tuesday.

"This demonization of both Israel and the Jews must stop," said group spokeswoman Dr. Rachel Suissa.

The Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv did not immediately respond when asked for comment on Tuesday.
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Comment: This is particularly disheartening to me. I lived in Norway on a Fulbright some years ago. The Norwegians I met did not hold this prejudice-it saddens me to hear of such people today. Further, as home country to the Nobel Peace Prize, I thought that the citizens practiced the lessons of such a prize-I see now that I was incorrect. Such attitudes persist, I am not naive; I am discouraged to have them come from a proud people.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

J'lem: Gaza rebuilding may legitimize Hamas


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to the Gaza Strip Tuesday, amid mounting concern in Jerusalem that the massive efforts expected to reconstruct the region will lead to a de facto recognition of Hamas rule there.

While Ban, who will balance out his trip to Gaza with a visit to Sderot, is not expected to meet any Hamas leaders or representatives, Israel is bracing for a wave of criticism following his visit there and the media attention it will bring it its wake. . Ban's visit, according to Israeli officials, was coordinated with the Prime Minister's Office. One official said that over the next few weeks, many visiting leaders were expected to ask to visit Gaza. Ban will be the highest level diplomat or leader to visit the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the region in 2007.

Ban is scheduled to inspect the damage in Gaza caused by Operation Cast Lead and visit UN facilities hit in the fighting.

Speaking in Kuwait, Ban said he was determined "to do all possible to ensure that immediate steps are taken to bring relief to the people of Gaza, and to embark without delay on the process of recovery, rebuilding and reconstruction."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke by phone with Ban on Monday, in preparation for his visit, and stressed that "Hamas was responsible for the situation in Gaza and is responsible for the destruction there."

Livni, according to her office, said that the efforts to improve the situation in Gaza must not be used "to strengthen or legitimize a terror organization that has proven through its actions that it endangers the future of the population it purports to lead."

Representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, are working on developing ideas that would channel the billions of dollars expected to be funneled into Gaza in a way that will neither build up Hamas nor give the organization legitimacy.

Another Israeli concern is that the massive amounts of steel and concrete that will be needed to rebuild Gaza will be rerouted to reconstructing Hamas's badly damaged rocket-producing capabilities.

Among the ideas being discussed in Israel regarding Gaza reconstruction is to demand that responsibility for reconstruction be given to the World Bank, UNRWA, or perhaps the Palestinian Authority.

"There is a real concern that all this aid could lead to a de facto recognition of Hamas, because they are still in control. We are trying to figure out ways to reconstruct Gaza without Hamas," one official said, noting that this may be impossible to do.

This dilemma, however, is also appreciated abroad, and a key EU official, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said Monday in Jerusalem that while the expected humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip would flow quickly, reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure would only begin when the EU had an acceptable Palestinian partner.

While Ferrero-Waldner did not explicitly single out Hamas, she strongly hinted that it would be difficult to rebuild Gaza as long as Hamas remained opposed to peace efforts.

"For reconstruction you also need on the other side an interlocutor, so how will this be done? Is there a reconciliation process in the meantime? What will be done? All that is open," she said.

She also said that Hamas's confrontation with Israel was hindering prospects of a better life for the people of Gaza.

"We don't want to go on to reconstruct Gaza every I-don't-know-how-many years," she said. "This is not what we want. What we would like to see is a clear sustainable peace."

"We have been at the side of the Palestinian population always and we will be at their side, but at the same time it's also for the Palestinian population on both sides to say, 'We want this peace,'" she said.

"We know that many people have been killed and we felt terribly sorry. We don't want to see civilians killed, but at the same time the population has to decide if it wants to go to peace."

Ferrero-Waldner suggested a rapprochement that returns Fatah to Gaza could be key to arranging international help. "We are already in the first preparations for a conference on immediate humanitarian needs and then later on there would be, at the right moment, a conference on reconstruction, but that is more complicated," she said.

While Ferrero-Waldner was talking about a conference to reconstruct Gaza, the French continued pushing the idea of an international Middle East peace conference.

France on Monday urged the rapid convening of an international conference toward eventually creating a Palestinian state, a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested the international conference idea during his trip with five other European leaders to Jerusalem.

"It is urgent that a dynamic of negotiations is launched... to create a Palestinian state," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said. "An international conference should be organized quickly with this in mind."

A senior Israeli diplomatic official, however, dismissed Sarkozy's idea as a non-starter. "France and Egypt have been pushing the idea of an international conference for years, but it is not going anywhere," the official said. "Why would Israel be interested in an international conference? So it could invite more pressure on itself?"

Furthermore, anticipating the possibility that Likud head Binyamin Netanyahu may win next month's elections, the official asked whether Sarkozy really though Netanyahu would agree to a new international conference.

"How would that conference strengthen bilateral Israeli-Palestinian ties," the official asked. "What would we need it for?" He said this idea was not being seriously considered in Jerusalem.

According to the official, the Annapolis process remained the only diplomatic game in town, and that movement on this track would have to wait until US involvement following Tuesday's swearing in of President-elect Barack Obama. Even then, he said, it was unlikely - considering the military operation in Gaza - that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would be interested in the near future sitting down with Israel's leaders.

"It will be difficult for Abbas to go back to business as usual with Israel," he said. "There will need to be some context for renewing ties, which could be channeling aid into Gaza through the PA."

In a related development, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini arrived in the Israel Monday night and met with Livni. He is expected to meet with PA leaders in Ramallah and oversee the delivery of Italian humanitarian aid into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday.

AP contributed to this report.
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Hamas TV 'Kills' Another Host

Maayana Miskin Hamas TV 'Kills' Another Host

Assud the rabbit, the latest co-host of Hamas's children's television show Pioneers of Tomorrow, has become the latest character to leave the show. The show's producers reported that Assud was murdered by Israel, and the last episode showed him dying in a Gaza hospital after being hit in an Israeli strike during the Cast Lead operation.. Two previous co-hosts, Farfour the mouse and Nahoul the bee, were written out of the show in similar fashion. An early episode of the show included Farfour's “death” at the hands of Israeli agents who wanted a deed to his grandfather's land. Nahoul “died” in an episode in early 2008, supposedly because Israel refused to allow medicine in to Gaza.

Assud's appearances on the show included threats to “eat the Jews” and “liberate our homeland from the Zionist filth.” He also threatened to “eat the Danes,” following the publication of cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a Danish paper.

In his final appearance on the show, Assud asks hostess Saraa to “continue my path... the path of education, loyalty and resistance.”

"Teach our children that we have a land,” Assud tells Saraa, “A land that we will return to—Yafo, Akko, Haifa, Tel-Rabiye [Tel.” Saraa comforts Assud, saying “Don't be sad Assud—victory is close, Allah willing.”

Following Assud's “death,” she turns to the camera to preach to the audience. “Don't you see how the enemy, don't you see how the Zionists, wage war on our children?” Saraa asks.

Children Sing 'Fire the Kassams'

In a segment preceding Assud's "death," two young boys sing a song glorifying rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. “Fire... Fire... Launch the Kassam rocket at the oppressors,” the two sing, while wearing military-style vests.

"Our honor calls to us... The time has come to respond,” the song continues. The song was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Saudis to Cover Half PA War Cost

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz Saudis to Cover Half PA War Cost

The economic cost of the three-week Gaza war to the Palestinian Authority totals more than 1.9 billion US dollars, according to PA estimates. Saudi Arabia has pledged to pick up more than half of the tab, with other states offering financial assistance to Hamas as well. Dr. Loai Shabana, Director of the PA's Central Bureau of Statistics, claimed Monday that the massive economic damage included the destruction of 14 percent of Gaza's infrastructure, including residential buildings and public facilities. According to a 2007 PA census, there were 147,437 buildings in Gaza.

Speaking in Jerusalem, Shabana said that more than 5,000 PA residents were injured during Israel's Operation Cast Lead and will require some form of rehabilitation or financial assistance. Thousands of other households lost their breadwinners or their homes. She estimated that 31.5 million dollars will be needed in direct aid to Gazan families and individuals.

Saudi Arabia to Pick Up the Tab

Saudi Arabia pledged to provide the PA in Gaza, under the jihadist Hamas regime, with one billion dollars. The funds, Saudi King Abdullah said, are to go towards the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza.

According to the Saudi monarch, "One drop of Palestinian blood" is more valuable than all the money in the world. He announced his kingdom's intention to make the billion-dollar donation at an Arab League economic summit held in Kuwait City on Monday. The meeting was called in light of harsh economic indicators regarding the Arab world in light of the global economic downturn. Aside from the Gaza issue, delegates focused on development in the Middle East.

In other forums, Syria and Iran also offered significant financial aid to help the Hamas regime recuperate from the heavy blows struck by Israel in the Jewish State's recent counter-terrorist offensive.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Palestinian Arab children dying to kill

January 19, 2009 | Eli E. Hertz

What kind of society consciously and purposely sacrifices its own youth for political gain and tactical advantage? Suicide bombers are an escalation of a small-arms war introduced and championed by Palestinian Arab leaders, even prior to Arafat's arrival from Tunis to Gaza in July 1994.

Today the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs nurture a blind hatred of Israel. They created a cultural milieu of vengeance, violence and death - preparing their children to be sacrifices in a death cult. Proud parents dress up their toddlers not in clown costumes, but with suicide belts,[1] and countless others celebrate their children's deaths with traditional sweet holiday cakes and candies. Palestinian Arabs are killing their children because they make effective delivery systems for killing Israelis. They also sacrifice them because wounded or dead children paint Israelis as heartless and cruel in the eyes of the world and the Israelis themselves.

This so-called success encouraged Palestinians to enlarge the role of their children by using them as human shields, direct combatants and suicide bombers - glorifying, rather than mourning their deaths.

The death of Arab children on the front lines - extolled as shahids or martyrs - has become a cynical weapon in the arsenal of Arab leaders. They have learned that when their children are killed, they gain world sympathy, especially in Europe and North America - where the death of any child is viewed as a tragedy and portrayed as such in the media, regardless of circumstance.

While Palestinian leaders exhort the public into volunteering their children for suicide missions, they make sure their own children are not among the volunteers.

International law prohibits using children to fight. Article 38 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted in 1989) condemns the recruitment and involvement of children in hostilities and armed conflicts. In 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted a treaty that raised the age limit for compulsory recruitment and participation in combat to age 18. Article 36 of the same UN document calls on states to protect children against any kind of exploitation.[2]

Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General Olara Otunnu condemned terrorist groups' use of children as human shields, gunmen and suicide bombers. At a UN Security Council debate on January 14, 2003 devoted to measures to protect children in armed conflict, he said:

"We have witnessed child victims at both ends of these acts: [Palestinian] children have been used as suicide bombers and [Israeli] children have been killed by suicide bombings. Nothing can justify this. I call on the Palestinian authorities to do everything within their powers to stop all participation by children in this conflict."[3]

A Washington Post editorial headlined "Death Wish,"[4] following a conference in which 57 Islamic nations rejected the idea that Palestinian 'resistance' to Israel had anything to do with terrorism, said:

"In effect, the Islamic conference sanctioned not only terrorism but also suicide as a legitimate political instrument. ... It is hard to imagine any other grouping in the world's nations that could reach such a self-destructive and morally repugnant conclusion."

The Post castigated Muslim states and suggested their behavior was liable to be the seeds to their own destruction. It concluded:

"The Palestinian national cause will never recover - nor should it - until its leadership is willing to break definitely with the bombers."

A criminal Palestinian Arab leadership, along with cowardly and intimidated Palestinian parents on the West Bank and Gaza, exploit their children to engage in armed conflict - in opposition to values held by the rest of the civilized world and in flagrant violation of international law and common decency.

There is no excuse - nor any widespread precedent among the wretched of the earth - for sacrificing the youth of any society for political gain and tactical advantage. If this is to stop, the culpability must be put squarely on the shoulders of Palestinian society and others who legitimize, support and 'understand' such child sacrifice.

[1] "Baby Bomber Photo 'Just Fun,'" BBC, June 29, 2002, at:
[2] Justus Weiner, "The Recruitment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 1, 2002.
[3] See "UN urges Palestinian leaders to stop child suicide bombings," Agence France-Presse, January 14, 2002.
[4] "Death Wish," Washington Post, April 4, 2002, at:

Thank you Italy

Dear friends,

We didn’t expect what you see now in the picture. This is the square of the Italian Parliament in Rome, Piazza Montecitorio: you can see the Palace on top of the square, and in front a lot of Israeli flags.That was yesterday night from 6:30 to 9:30 P.M. What you cannot see here, is the extraordinary number and variety of members of the Parliament, about 100 from all political sides, that took the stage during our marathon: for about three hours we have been speaking about the role of Israel, its right to self defense, its moral height, its fight in name of all of us, of our civilization and values, against the wild hate of the Islamic jihad represented by Hamas. It seems to me that for the first time in the too-long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, apart from a minority of crazy leftists and fascists that took the street on anti-Semitic slogans, we have obtained a huge consensus about one critical point: this is not an episode of a local conflict, there is nothing in it that reminds the land for peace theme that has characterized the Palestinian issue. This is an episode of the attack against the Western world, and Iran has a lot to do with it.

The change of attitude is great: the dictatorial religious nature of Hamas and the democratic, civilized nature of Israel are seen face to face for what they are at least by the European elite at large, dead and wounded notwithstanding, and there rises an identification with Israel against a regime that uses human shields and promises slaughters of Jews in its charter.

What happens today, at least in Italy, is the defeat and fall of the leftist ideologies: ideology has been the fig leaf that has allowed to justify all the most violent crimes and most disgusting verbal attacks. If Arafat launched the terrorist Intifada, if he promoted the martyrdom of children in public speeches, the ideologists were ready to justify him with the issues of occupation, the Palestinian misery and loss of any hope. Not the same with Hamas. History, in Italy, has brought to a profound crisis the ideology of revolution and the justification of any cruel attack against a pretended unjust imperialist order. That time is in good part over, nobody will see Hamas as the resolution of the problem and not as the problem itself. I also think that the word “peace” has lost that healing meaning that it had until yesterday. The new non-ideological point of view sees that there is no peace when one of the contenders doesn’t want it, and that even if the world in the short run asks for a truce, in the long run requests a defeat of Hamas.

Well, yesterday night many people, Ministers and Members of Parliament, composed a very new, interesting puzzle of opinions. I think that when you are not overwhelmed by exotic thirdworldism, the images of children educated as hate machines, the speeches of jihad leaders, from Ahmadinejad to Nasrallah, to Haniyyeh, that deny the Holocaust and promise death to Jewish and Christians too, have on us a result of great disgust. Westerners, thanks God, can still be disgusted by an uncivilized level of political speech.

But most of all, in the Parliament square, many of the Parliament Members said: “I love Israel”. You can’t imagine how many.

Fiamma Nirenstein

Ted Belman

Averting Iranian Influence in Post-War Gaza:

Shimon Shapira

* Immediately upon the end of the fighting in Gaza, the international community will enlist on behalf of an extensive rehabilitation project to enable the Palestinian population to return to their homes and get on with their civil and economic lives.
* It is of prime importance to prevent Iran from acquiring influence in post-war Gaza through any assistance programs. * Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Iran and Hizbullah grasped the political and economic significance of the rehabilitation project in the Shiite areas of southern Lebanon damaged during the war. Hizbullah directed the rehabilitation work, while totally ignoring the central Lebanese government, and in this manner regained and even reinforced its influence within the Shiite community.
* Iran is already positioning itself for influence in post-war Gaza. On January 14, 2009, the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, arrived in Lebanon heading a 40-man delegation in order to direct Iranian support for Hamas.
* The main objective for Israel and the international community should be to deny Iran the attainment of this objective and to transform the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, into the principal factor, along with Egypt, entrusted with the rehabilitation work in Gaza.

Immediately upon the end of the fighting in Gaza, the international community will enlist on behalf of an extensive rehabilitation project with the objective of enabling the Palestinian population to return to their homes and get on with their civil and economic lives. The pictures of the destruction of buildings in Gaza as a result of the war are increasing the salience of the reconstruction issue across the Middle East, especially in Iran.1

Middle Eastern states are likely to have a critical role to play in this effort. Presently, the states of the region are deeply polarized, as witnessed in the Doha Summit on January 18: Qatar, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Hamas attended, while Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia stayed away. Unfortunately, the new Iraq was also present. The U.S., EU, and Israel have a collective interest in cutting off post-war Gaza from the Iranian-Syrian axis. It is of prime importance to identify who will provide the assistance funds for Gaza rehabilitation, and who on the ground will implement the wide-ranging renewal projects. A reliable international mechanism is urgently needed to prevent Iran from acquiring influence in post-war Gaza through any assistance programs.

There are important precedents to keep in mind concerning the link between rehabilitation and regional political influence. Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Iran and Hizbullah grasped the political and economic significance of the rehabilitation project in the Shiite areas of southern Lebanon damaged during the war. Iran, in tandem with Hizbullah, quickly resorted to the Waad (promise) company and employed it to channel most of the Iranian assistance funds into the rehabilitation activities that Hizbullah performed in West Beirut and southern Lebanon.2 In this framework, immediately upon the cessation of fighting, Iran's emissaries appeared with suitcases stuffed with dollars and distributed $12,000 in cash to every Shiite family whose house was destroyed and applied for assistance.

Within a few short months, Iran had paved hundreds of kilometers of roads and rehabilitated houses and public institutions that were damaged during the fighting. Hizbullah directed the rehabilitation work among the Shiite population, while totally ignoring the central Lebanese government, and in this manner it regained and even reinforced its influence within the Shiite community. Hizbullah was savvy enough to transform the severe blows that it had sustained into a "divine victory" and into the principal leverage for buttressing its dominant status in Lebanese politics. It did so while rehabilitating its military strength and tripling the quantity of rockets and missiles at its disposal, while extending their target range.

The U.S. Treasury understood the implications of what Iran was doing in Lebanon through the Hizbullah-run Waad company. Undersecretary of the Treasury Stuart Levey bluntly noted: "The Waad Project is another example of Hizbullah's use of deceptive tactics to support its military and terrorist apparatus."3 The U.S. Treasury noted that Waad not only re-built Lebanese homes, it also built up Hizbullah's command center in South Beirut, underground weapons storage facilities, and military infrastructure. In early 2007, the U.S. blacklisted Jihad al-Bina, Hizbullah's construction company, for similar reasons.4 Clearly, funds moved through organizations controlled by terrorist groups can also be disguised and used for re-armament, as well.

Iran is already positioning itself for influence in post-war Gaza. On January 14, 2009, the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, arrived in Lebanon heading a 40-man delegation. Mohtashami, who was the architect behind the establishment of Hizbullah in the early 1980s, arrived in Beirut in order to direct Iranian support for Hamas.5

At a conference organized by Hizbullah under the auspices of the "International Forum for Resistance and Opposition to Imperialism and Solidarity Among People," Mohtashami sat in the first row next to the deputy secretary-general of Hizbullah, Naim Qassem, the deputy of Hassan Nasrallah. Mohtashami explained in his address to the conference, which he delivered in Arabic rather than Farsi, that the muqawama (resistance) in Gaza is defending the honor of the entire nation and that what is happening in Gaza will influence all the opponents of the U.S. and Israel.

Based on the major lessons from the Second Lebanon War, it would be prudent to anticipate that Iran will seek to provide immediate assistance in order to rehabilitate Hamas in Gaza. Just as in Lebanon, Iran will strive to channel the rehabilitation funds for Gaza to its Sunni protégé - Hamas - in order to preserve Hamas' ability to reassert its rule over Gaza. Sealing the Philadelphi Route effectively will not only block the supply of Iranian rockets, but also the flow of Iranian cash into Gaza.

Juxtaposing the Doha Conference, attended by Ahmadinejad, and the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on January 18 with the heads of government from the main EU states, it is clear that the main competition for influence in post-war Gaza is between Iran, allied with its regional partners, and Egypt, backed by the West. Therefore, the main objective for Israel and the international community should be to deny Iran the attainment of this objective and, conversely, to transform the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, into the principal factor, along with Egypt, entrusted with the rehabilitation work in Gaza. The World Bank can provide oversight of how the funds are being used.6 This is the only way to guarantee the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and convert Hamas' severe military debacle into political currency in Gaza.

* * *


1. Semadar Peri, "The Hand That is Shaking the Strip," Yediot Ahronot (Shabbat Section), January 16, 2009.

2. Daily Star (Lebanon), January 9, 2009; Al-Manar, August 14, 2008.

3. Naharnet Lebanon), January 9, 2009.

4. Matthew Levitt, "Shutting Hizballah's ‘Construction Jihad'," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, PolicyWatch #1202, February 20, 2007,

5. Al-Safir (Lebanon), January 15, 2009.

6. See

* * *

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.