Friday, February 06, 2009

Trying To Kill An Imperishable Beauty: The Grotesque Joy Of Jihadist Violence Against Israel

Louis Rene Beres - Feb 04, 2009
The Jewish Press

To be sure, it is time to call all things by their correct names. Just as Israel seeks to bring great beauty into the world, its sanguinary Islamist enemies thrive reciprocally upon violence and horror. Contrary to what is generally reported in the media, there is absolutely nothing basically political or purposeful about their fevered campaign of Jihadist war, cowardice and brutality. Their true objective is plain for all to see. It is for the sheer and ecstatic joy of bringing incommunicable pain and utter extermination to Jews. Significantly, for these murderers masquerading as "militants," the means and ends of Jewish bloodletting are entirely indistinguishable. Why is this so difficult to understand at BBC, CNN and other disingenuous purveyors of falsity and contrivance? In Iran, as in Gaza, undisguised threats to annihilate Israel are even a perverse balm for manipulated majorities. Were it not for that country's determined capacity to inflict existential harms, these genocidal threats would not be all that serious. But Tehran's ascent to full membership in the Nuclear Club is now less than two years away, and such membership will likely coincide with an Iranian leadership belief in the Shiite apocalypse. This suggests that Jerusalem may soon have to face not only Palestinian suicide-bombers, but also the suicide bomber in macrocosm.

The true goal of Israel's myriad Islamist enemies, not only the goal expressed so openly by Iran, is always extermination. Even in a world that has now grown comfortable with every conceivable form of slaughter, Israel remains the object of glaringly new kinds of crimes against humanity. In the bitterest of ironies, an ancient nation that was ingathered to prevent another Holocaust has now become the dominant focus of yet another "final solution." Even more ironic, the rest of the world is not merely indifferent to newly impending crimes against humanity directed at Jews, but - at least in large numbers - shamelessly sympathetic to the prospective exterminators.

So, what else is new? For us Jews, it must seem, yet again, that there is nothing new under the sun. Looked at more broadly, the goal of Israel's enemies, especially Iran and the nascent Palestinian state, is to be left standing while Israel is made to disappear. For these irremediable enemies of a Jewish state, there can be no coexistence of any kind. Never. This is because their own enjoyment of the world, and also their own survival, presumably require Israel's extinction.

Soon, the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, will soberly and seriously extol the virtues of the same old twisted cartography - that is, the so-called "Road Map" to peace in the Middle East. Yet, like the Oslo Agreements that preceded it, this stillborn plan is premised on Israel's acceptance of land for nothing. Asymmetrical international agreements always miss an important point: International law is not a suicide pact.

Under the longstanding customary rule of "anticipatory self-defense," Israel still has every right to strike first at developing Iranian nuclear infrastructures. Further, to undertake such a preemption could become more than a legal right. It could even become a distinct obligation, not only to the imperiled people of Israel, but also to the most elementary expectations of civilized international relations.

If anticipatory self-defense remains operationally possible (a problematic determination at this point), Jerusalem should not be inhibited by smug assurances of alternative protections from the "international community." Here, for Israel to decline an operationally plausible preemption, could be nothing less than an implicit acknowledgment that international law may expressly defile international justice.

It must surely be a fatal mistake for Israel to believe that Reason and Justice govern the world. It must be an unforgivable error for Israel to project its own Western, rational and humane sentiments upon its most relentless and barbarous foes. As I have pointed out so often here in The Jewish Press, it would be a life risk for Israel to seek to remain standing by clinging foolishly to glaringly false promises and manifestly false hopes.

It is always an error for Israel to fashion policies upon deeply unwarranted assumptions. Whether in Gaza, West Bank (Judea/Samaria) or Tehran, Israel's Jihadist enemies wish to kill Jews primarily because such murder is felt to be a deeply sacred obligation. For these enemies, killing Jews is an authentic expression of religious sacrifice, and one that will confer precious immunity from personal death.

Could there be any greater incentive to plan the next genocide of Jews? This idea of death as a zero-sum commodity - "I kill you; I therefore remain alive forever" - has been explained in some of the finest psychology literature. For example, it is captured perfectly in Ernest Becker's paraphrase of Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti: "Each organism raises its head over a field of corpses, smiles into the sun, and declares life good."

Shouldn't this idea be especially obvious to us, to the Jewish People? Isn't it time that Israel finally understand what Otto Rank had revealed so courageously in Will Therapy and Truth and Reality: "The death fear of the ego is lessened by the killing, the Sacrifice, of the other; through the death of the other one buys oneself free from the penalty of dying, of being killed."

Israel's enemies, in order to remain standing - and to prevent Israel from standing up - seek tosacrifice the Jewish State on a bloodstained altar of war and terrorism. The idea ofsacrifice, therefore, is absolutely central to understanding what is now happening in the Middle East. The planned genocidal destruction of Israel is integrally part of a system of religious worship that is oriented toward the conquest of personal death.

Present-day Israel should not glibly ignore 4,000 years of Jewish history and world politics. The true source of global influence is always power, and the greatest expression of raw power is always the conquest of death. For the president of Iran, and for the proposed criminal government of executioners now battling each other for control in some future Palestinian state, killing Jews - indeed, killing Israel itself - offers an incomparable fusion of private ecstasy and personal survival. These sworn enemies of Israel are much more than dimly aware that in killing Jews and in killing Israel, theywill have killed their own death. For the Islamist "martyr," whether as a terrorist individual or as a murderous individual writ large (i.e. the state of Iran), killing Jews and the constituted Jewish State is the optimal way of affirming life. For this hideous "lover of death," nothing can be more important than overcoming personal mortality.

Only when Israel learns to acknowledge and appreciate this particular enemy perception will that country finally understand its overriding obligation to stay alive. To fulfill this sacred obligation, Israel should combine a determined willingness to preemptively destroy Iran's now nearly complete engines of atomic annihilation (a willingness spawned in part by the persistent refusal of the United States to itself exercise this expression of anticipatory self-defense) with a clear and parallel determination to resist any further territorial withdrawals from Judea/Samaria. The People of Israel are entitled to live securely on this land without constant threats of intimidation and also of dispossession issued by their own leaders.

The intolerable security costs to Israel of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza "disengagement" are now visible for all to see. To the extent that Hamas in Gaza, continues to closely collaborate with al-Qaeda (a portentous collaboration that has been all but ignored during Israel's ongoing Gaza operation), these costs will soon also have to be borne by citizens of the United States. Although still largely unreported, Hamas has already begun to allow al-Qaeda elements to fashion certain WMD terror weapons for strategic use in New York, London, Washington, and against other selected "crusader" targets in the West.

Israel can bring great and unparalleled beauty into the world, but only if the so-called "community of nations" can first understand the following: Israel is the canary in the mine; it is the civilized world's first line of defense against the Jihadist flood of medieval barbarism and voluptuous carnage. To continue to believe that suicide bombers and suicide states somehow have a proper place in our world would only repre

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli security matters. His work is well known in Israel's political, military and intelligence communities, and to these same communities in the United States. Professor Beres was Chair of "Project Daniel," and is the author of ten major books on international relations and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

UNRWA School Not Hit By Israel: U.N

2/6/2009 1:40 AM ET
(RTTNews) - The United Nations Thursday backed down from a claim that one of its school in Gaza was hit by an Israel Defense Force (IDF) mortar attack last month, correcting its earlier media statements that a massacre occurred within the U.N. education facility, media reports said. The U.N.'s latest field report reads, "The humanitarian coordinator would like to clarify that the shelling, and all of the fatalities, took place outside rather than inside the school."

The revelation reinforces the Israeli assertions that the militant organization, Hamas had been attacking the Israeli forces from civilian locations, thus the high civilian casualties from Israeli retaliation.

The U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) January 7 said that "43 persons were killed following an attack on a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school transformed into a refugee site for displaced persons."
John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, had accused Israel of deliberately carrying out a "horrific" attack by targeting its school and claimed Israel knew it was targeting a U.N. facility.

Following the U.N. claim, the whole world condemned Israel over what was perceived as a blatant attack on a school.

However, the latest revelations were not expected to ease calls by human rights groups for an independent investigation into these and other incidents.

Palestinian medics have said that many of the over 1.300 persons reportedly killed in the three-week Israeli offensive were civilians, including many women and children.

by RTT Staff Writer

The year American greatness collapsed

Jeffrey T. Kuhner
The Washington Times

Historians will look at 2008 and say it was the year that America ceased to be a great superpower. A war-weary public threw in the towel against Islamic fascism, and embraced President-elect Barack Obama’s policy of appeasement. Groveling in fear of a recession, Americans also overthrew their free market ideals. This was the year of false hope by an Obama prophet, who will only accelerate our demise. The core of Mr. Obama’s appeal — behind the vacuous promises of “change” and hope” — is that his election will ”restore America’s standing in the world.” The muscular, unilateralist foreign policy of President Bush is over. Conservative nationalism is out; liberal multi-lateralism is in. Mr. Obama vows to wind down the Iraq war restore our alliances and engage in direct dialogue with rogue states, such as Iran, North Korea and Venezuela,

Tue American electorate has buried its collective head in the sand, hoping that Mr. Obama can somehow — through his slick rhetoric, artificial demeanor, and worldwide celebrity status – will convince our enemies to lay down their weapons. He will not succeed.

Our celebrity-in-chief does not frighten or inspire the murderous, anti-American thugs in Tehran, Pyongyang or Caracas. They see him for what he is: a weak, naive and oscillating leader, who does not understand the growing threat against the West. In fact, he is even part of the problem.
Not since the late 1960s has, the United States — and Western civilization — faced such a powerful array of enemies. Islamic extremism is on the march.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan has become a hot-bed of fundamentalism. The Taliban and al Qaeda have established a vital sanctuary within its borders. NATO troops are in a bloody quagmire in Afghanistan. Hezbollah has set up a theocratic statelet within Lebanon. North Korea continues to sell missile technology to Syria (which, in turn, supports Hamas and Hezbollah). Somalia is teetering on the brink of an Islamist revolution. Saudi Arabia continues to fund radical madrassas around the world. Sudan is recruiting jihadists in its genocidal campaign against Darfur.

The biggest threat, however, comes from revolutionary Iran: 2008 was when Tehran reached the point of no return in its quest for the bomb. Iran’s mullahs are now within reach of possessing the capability for a nuclear weapons program.

In the face of this gathering storm, Mr. Obama pledges diplomatic carrots and negotiations. He fails to recognize we are at war not only with terrorist sponsoring states, but a totalitarian fascist ideology that seeks to impose a global Muslim caliphate. Radical Islam’s greatest ally is Communist China. Beijing’s capitalists don’t much care for Islamic practices (in fact, they have a restive Muslim population of their own), but their attitude is more Machiavellian: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

China’s leaders are bent upon becoming the world’s next superpower. They are engaged in a massive military buildup. They threaten neighbors, such as Taiwan, India and Japan. They have formed an anti-American, anti-democratic alliance with Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Sudan.

If 2008 can be compared to any previous year, it is 1938 – the year of Munich, appeasement and self-delusion in the face of xenophobic militarism. Then the Axis powers consisted of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. Today it is authoritarian China, a revanchist Russia and revolutionary Iran. Their goal: to bring America to its knees.

For the first time in decades, the United States faces a massive economic crisis. Moreover, 2008 saw the triumph of socialism in America. The taxpayer bailouts of the financial and auto sectors, the nationalization of the big banks, the explosion in deficit spending — all of it has not only failed to revive the economy, but marked a huge expansion in governmental activism.

Mr. Obama promises to complete America's transformation into a Scandinavian-style social democracy with universal health care, federally subsidized day care, a massive public works program and soak-the-rich tax increases. The results will be the same as in Europe: anemic economic growth, high unemployment, a bloated and ossified public bureaucracy and a dependent and less productive citizenry.

The European Union shows that a sclerotic, highly taxed, over-regulated economy eventually leads to a defanged military — and the inevitable loss of world power status. America has chosen to follow the ruinous road of Europe.

An honest and serious media would have exposed all of these issues — and the dangerous pitfalls of an Obama presidency. Instead, the 2008 campaign represented the culmination of a low, dishonest decade. A sycophantic press corps suppressed damaging information about Mr. Obama and effectively carried him into the White House. They have thus carried America’s Neville Chamberlain on their shoulders, in a massive delusion that the problem was George W. Bush when, in fact, the problem we face are the evil forces aligned against us.

In 1938, German dictator Adolph Hitler gained the precious months he needed to wage his war of aggression. History is repeating itself— except this time, Fascism does not have a Nazi face, but a Persian Islamic one. Americans think they have bought themselves peace and prosperity with Mr. Obama. Yet, neither peace nor prosperity has previously been secured by cowering to the enemies of freedom.

The year 2008 was the year of surrender.

Jeffrey T Kuhner is a columnist for the Washington Times

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why does Israel want to lose the media war?

There's an astounding article by Philippe Karsenty (pictured), the man who exposed the Mohamed al-Dura 'killing' as being (at best) falsely blamed on Israel, in which he rips the covers off his own battle with the Israeli government to expose the al-Dura affair. No, that's not a mistake. I know that Karsenty's court battle was with France 2, but he is still battling the Israeli establishment to try to make it fight media bias (Hat Tip: Ashan). In 2002, when it was still possible to do something immediate, Nissim Zvili was the Israeli ambassador to Paris. He listened courteously but explained to me that he was a friend of Charles Enderlin, the French journalist who narrated the al Dura hoax. [That's actually not surprising. Zvili was chairman of the Labor party and was an old-style Labor politician who believed that the State = the Party. CiJ]

In 2006, Zvili was replaced by Daniel Shek, who refused to shake my hand, and later commented on a Jewish radio that I was defending “conspiracy theories.” When I asked his colleague in charge of communication at the embassy in Paris, Daniel Halevy Goitschel, why he never returned my phone calls, he responded: “the phone doesn’t work at the embassy”. We are not even dealing with a lack of support here. On the contrary, I was being sabotaged.

When I won the case in May 2008, Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said: “Karsenty is a private individual and no one in the Israeli government asked him to take on his battle against France 2. Karsenty had no right to demand that Israel come to his aid. All calls on the Israeli government to come and ‘save’ him are out of place. He was summoned to court because of a complaint of the French television channel. I don’t see where there is room for the Israeli government to get involved.”

Last December, I went over the evidence with Aviv Shir-On, who now claims to have helped me, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). After two hours he repeated the old MFA refrain, “I’m not convinced”. Let’s say, for the sake of generosity, that Shir-On is just one more timid defender of Israel, so afraid of what “others” might say, that even the judgment of an independent (and hardly well-disposed) French court in favor of his own country, does not give him the courage to speak. So even though I won the case, and the new evidence from France 2 sharpens our argument, I could not count on Israeli officials to help move into a counter-attack. Enderlin, humiliated by the court decision, was allowed to bluff his way back to prominence, and recently, in the Gaza war, lead the journalists’ attack on the Israeli government. [Please follow that link and then come back here. CiJ]

You would at least think that maybe the Israeli foreign ministry would now appreciate what Karsenty did for us. Sadly - indeed stunningly - they don't.

On January 2009, I met Tsipi Livni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and asked her about the al Dura story and the lack of reaction of the Israeli officials. Why didn't the State of Israel demand that France 2 admit their blood libel following the court decision? I was stunned by her answer: “Well, it happens that we kill kids sometimes. So, it’s not good for Israel to raise the subject again”.

Keep in mind that's the woman who would become Prime Minister next week. What astounding stupidity!

Oh, and for those of you who think we 'won' the media war during Operation Cast Lead, we did better than the last time, but we definitely did not win the media war.

Let’s return to the Gaza war. Israelis did much better in the media than they did in earlier crises. They were less quick to apologize; much faster to challenge… but only the Palestinians. Heaven forbid, they should challenge a news media that consistently attacked Israeli representatives even as they allowed Palestinian spokesmen to claim anything they wanted, and then repeated those claims to their audiences.

Karsenty is correct. If you go to the Fox link above (here it is again), you will see that it's not Israel's foreign ministry that is challenging the France 2 footage in question.

Like many Israeli bloggers, last week I signed up for a joint program of the foreign ministry and the absorption ministry that would try to use bloggers as front-line warriors in the country's public relations battle. Approximately 1,000 bloggers signed up. So far, all that has happened is that they have asked us to download a notification mechanism from, which lets us know every time something 'important' happens. But during the war, we weren't getting our information from the foreign ministry. The best and timeliest information I got during the war came from the IDF spokesperson's office, which contacted me directly (not through the media) and asked me to get the word out.

Why does the foreign ministry behave like it does? I'm not sure the foreign ministry is interested in winning the media war. For most of the last ten years, the foreign ministry has been under the Left's control, and has often worked at cross-purposes with the government in power and with the interests of the Jewish state. Then again, considering that our current prime minister and foreign minister consider Israel's most important goal to be the creation of a 'Palestinian' state reichlet, maybe the foreign ministry is carrying out the government's orders after all.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Who to Vote for?

Steven Shamrak

Quite often, during election time in Israel , I have been asked: "Who would you vote for?" As a true believer in democracy and the Jewish tradition of respect for the rights of individual to "Free Will", I am reluctant to advise people who to vote for, but I have no problem about pointing out who Israeli voters must not vote for.Based on the experience of many decades and the performance by the Labor party and recent political creations like Kadima, I would strongly recommend voters in Israel to remove from the Knesset as many as possible members of:

Labor party. Since 1948, the Labor party has been the dominant political force in Israel . For decades it has used its political power to corrupt and infest governmental infrastructures, including defence and the Israeli judicial system, by its own cronies! (That is the reason why vitamin "P"- Protectsia - has become the most important 'product' in Israel ). And now, the Labor party is actively promoting the bogus idea of a Two-state solution. It is willing to sacrifice more Jewish land and betray Jewish inspiration for the National homeland just for the need to stay in power and appeasement of our enemies, both old and new!

Kadima party. This is a new political innovation, just like the Shinui party of not long ago if you still remember it. Kadima was formed by corrupt and unscrupulous 'political survivors' who had opportunistically run away from the Labor and Lukud parties. These self-serving personalities, like Olmert, wanted to stay in power at any cost and needed to keep themselves protected from the law. That is why members of Kadima are in political unison with the Labor party.

Unfortunately, there is nothing can be done to change the ideologically skewed minds of the Meretz party supporters. I have never been able to understand why seemingly intelligent Jews with political affiliations to the Communist or Leftist ideologies are so motivated to facilitate the destruction of their own country and people. Don't they understand that Islam is repulsed by their principles and hates their guts even more then Zionism! How is it compatible with their ideology?

I just hope that this time common sense and true political integrity will prevail, and parties like Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi, Ichud Leumi and Shas will set aside their differences and focus on the achievement of the Jewish National goal, Eretz-Israel!

Vote for the Future of Israel. Many Israelis are disillusioned with the alternatives and may not vote as voting is not compulsory. It is of the utmost importance to inform the Israeli voting public that the following parties that have made a commitment to Mattot Arim ( Israel) that they will not support the creation of a Palestinian State on Jewish soil: Yisrael Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi, Ichud Leumi, Shas. (This message brought to you by the United Torah Bloc)

'Moderate' Fatah Fired Rocket at Israel . Al-Aqsa Brigades, Fatah movement's armed wing, said that its terrorists fired one rocket at the town of Ashkelon in southern Israel last Thursday. Another rocket landed near the southern Israeli town of Sderot. (It is time for "Reality Check"!)

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

The pro-Zionist parties of Israel must remember how the Second Temple was lost to the Romans! Stop fighting each other and focus on winning over those voters who are sadly still supporting the Kadima or Labor parties and their policy of appeasement of our enemies.

Police to Influence the Election. A police investigation into Israel 's "Our Home" leader Avigdor Lieberman right before the elections is inappropriate. The police detained seven people connected to Lieberman. (It is a well known secret in Israel that the police and justice department are well 'stocked' by supporters of the Labor party.)

The missile fired from Gaza out to the Mediterranean last week was not a Qassam as reported but a C-802, the Iranian shore-to-ship Nur C-802 missile

What is the Rush For? Israel hastened its pullout of troops from the Gaza Strip, aiming to have the last units out before Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. (Why must security and the lives of Jews in Israel be 'synchronised' with the inauguration of the president in the US?)

While World 'Sleeps'. While the world's nations dilly-dally around dealing effectively with the Iranian effort to acquire nuclear weapons with which to wipe out Israel, the Islamist regime continues to race ahead in its efforts to get "the bomb."

Same Inaction Produce Same Result! Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said the Gaza war with Israel amounted to a "great victory". "We have stopped the aggression and the enemy has failed to achieve any of its goals." (When will the inept politicians learn?)

The Move is Long Overdue. The Chief Rabbinate has broken ties with the Vatican in protest of the Pope's decision to reinstate Bishop Richard Williamson, who is a known Holocaust denier. Williamson recently claimed that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews were murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust, not six million. (It is Time to Regain Self-Respect and abandon the policies of appeasement)

Leadership with NO Self-Respect! Israeli President Shimon Peres (former leader of Labor party) apologised by telephone to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the latter stormed out of a Davos debate. (Erdogan was rude to Israel and stormed out in order to raise his own popularity in Muslim world. Why has self-disrespectful Peres apologised? When will stupidity end? Israel needs leadership, which respects its own people and country!)

Quote of the Week: "I cannot entertain the notion that any Israeli would tell the Hamas that they basically won. If someone does this, I will face off against him with full force." - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former leader of Kadima - So what was the 'Charade' war in Gaza for? To boost the popularity of Kadima party! How can the people in the Kadima and Labor parties look their neighbours and the parents of the killed solders in the eye? The new 'Calm' did not even last a week. Enough of the same ineffectual policies! A new direction must be embraced!

Sour Moral Victory for a Patriot. The Supreme Court has rejected a request by the military prosecutor to revoke leadership ranks from an officer, Reserve Captain Moshe Botavia, who refused to obey orders during the uprooting of Jewish communities as part of the Disengagement of 2005, but he was demoted to Second Lieutenant. (The Kadima/Labor government persecutes Jewish patriots but lets the terrorists of Hamas and Hizbullah off the hook.)

Why Have a Fake Truce? Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the radical Islamic rulers of Gaza will never accept a long term truce with Israel as long as the crossing points remain closed. (so they will be able to bring in even more weapons and break the truce any time it is convenient for Hamas, as has already happened!)

Iran Elite Forces in Gaza. Israel 's military killed several Iranian military advisers from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps during the 22-day war with Hamas.

UN fears of 'War crimes'. A UN human rights expert says Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip during its recent offensive there raised "the spectre of systematic war crimes" and needed to be investigated. ('Useless nothing' did not worry about "systematic war crimes" committed by Hamas during 8 years of indiscriminate bombarding of civilians in Israel . However, it was quick off the mark to start an anti-Israel smear campaign! This deeply anti-Semitic organization never cares about Jewish children who were killed by 'Palestinian' terrorists!)

The Peace that Was Never Offered. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose country has been engaged in indirect peace talks with Israel, said an Arab initiative for peace with Israel was "dead".

When Political Correctness is Cast Out. More than 90 per cent of Jewish Israelis backed the invasion in Gaza, although that view is reversed among Arab Israelis. Attitudes among Jewish Israelis were so hardened that 80 per cent would oppose Israel opening its crossings to Gaza even if Hamas stopped firing on southern towns. "There's no doubt that Israelis feel that justice is on their side," said Professor Ephraim Yaar. (The support among Jewish Israelis would be higher and stronger if the Israeli government would start the implementation of the Sinai Option! The attitude of the Arab Israelis has just exposed their anti-Israel standing again!)

Qadaffi Exposed 'Refugees'!

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi states that Arabs who fled the newly established state of Israel in 1948 were not forced to leave by Jews, as many Arab politicians and intellectuals state in the world media. Many of the Arabs who left did so of their own volition, fearing violence that never materialized. Israel has stated many times that the Arabs left because they were prompted to by the Arab governments such as Egypt and Syria, which urged them to get out of the way in order to enable the Arab armies to get rid of the Jews. "It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never un-welcomed." Qadaffi wrote. (Sometimes Arab leaders are honest by accident!)

Divide et impera

The Jordan Times

The division between the Islamic movement, Hamas, and Fateh, the mainstream Palestinian grouping, is getting deeper and more worrying by the day.

The division between the two was aggravated by Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal’s decision to break away from the Fateh-controlled Palestine Liberation Organisation and establish a new national grouping. This led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare that he will not continue a reconciliation dialogue with any Palestinian faction that rejects the PLO as the only lawful, internationally recognised representative of the Palestinian people.. Mishaal has not made his connection with Iran a secret; he visited Tehran for talks with Iranian officials and appears to be pinning more hope and trust on the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than on any other Arab country or leader.

This split in the Palestinian ranks overshadows all other divisions and disagreements in the region, including those related to the terms for a durable truce between Israel and Hamas.

Unfortunately, as long as the Palestinians are at odds over how to achieve independence and statehood, no amount of effort, from within or outside the area, can be expected to bear fruit, including any advocated by US President Barack Obama.

Internecine divisions have plagued the Palestinians from the day the British mandate over Palestine expired, in 1948. They continue due to the interference of non-Palestinian actors. As long as some of the self-declared Palestinian representatives continue to serve the agenda of foreign parties, the discord will continue to frustrate the attainment of the Palestinian national goals.

Arab countries can do much to reverse such trend. There are some Arab governments that have openly sided with one Palestinian movement or the other. Arab summits and other conferences under the umbrella of the Arab League have failed to achieve a durable Palestinian unity. This is due, in part, to the lack of candour of Arab efforts.

If Arab leaders say in public what they think and reveal in private, the attainment of Palestinian unity can be closer at hand. Patronising one faction or another is at the expense of the Palestinian national rights.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Nidra Poller

What did we do wrong this time? It looked like Cast Lead would be appreciated at its just value, but no… international opinion couldn’t stomach a 3-week military operation against the jihadis of Hamastan. The repercussions in Europe and even in the United States were more radical than the “Al Aqsa Intifada” episode. To the point of punishing our six million victims of the Shoah by cancelling commemoration ceremonies. ( Daniel Schwammenthal of the WSJ thinks its time to stop the flow of crocodile tears.) The level of Jew hatred in the “free world” has risen drastically. IDF personnel are threatened with arrest and prosecution in European countries for “war crimes.” And we hear once again that Israel has lost the PR war. What if it is not a question of PR, hasbara, propaganda, or other familiar techniques of persuasion? Global jihad—the ongoing never-ending Islamic war of conquest—is armed today with a weapon that I have named “lethal narratives.” Let us see how the narrative functioned to transform a justified riposte against an unabashed enemy into a criminal assault on innocent civilians.

Surprised by the massive December 27 air strike, Hamas had nothing to show for its suffering but a courtyard strewn with the husky bodies of uniformed combatants (William Sieghart of them as worthy police rookies who had just completed training in conflict resolution The Times 31 December ‘08). For approximately three days the conflict was described realistically. Hamas and its allies, after attacking Israel for eight years from Gaza, broke a six-month truce with a massive onslaught of rockets. Israel, like any democratic country, was forced to act to protect its population. Israeli strikes were aimed at Hamas command and control sites. The continued launch of rockets aimed at civilian targets deep into southern Israel was in and of itself justification for the Cast Lead operation.

Then Palestinian spokespersons—Leila Shahid in France—rushed into the media and started firing their lethal narrative Kalashnikovs. Pom pom pom pom occupation, colonization, blockade, food shortages, checkpoints, breadlines, blackouts, overburdened hospitals, shortage of medicine, collective punishment and--the jackpot—population density. “Gaza, with a population of one and a half million, is the most densely populated place on earth.” The population figures are bloated, the density is an outright lie (Gaza is 300 times bigger than the Washington Mall where a reported 2 million worshippers gathered on January 20th for the Barack Hussein Obama inauguration), but facts cannot stand up to the Palestinian suffering story.

Meanwhile, back in the Strip, Hamas got its act together: Bloodied bodies of small children, wailing women arms outspread, husky men pretending to be simple citizens, crooked statistics and cockeyed testimonials from Haniyehs’s willing UNWRA executioners cleverly described as “UN sources.” The lethal narrative covered the truth with a blanket of Israeli guilt, a totalitarian story that leaves no room for facts or common sense, no space for civilized debate. Once the all-encompassing delusion is locked in, nothing can dislodge it. Feeding on its own fuel it rises to new heights day by day. It is so predictable, one could write the news reports a week in advance. And, because the narrative replaces reality, subsequent revelations are inoperative. Hamas gunmen did fire from schools, mosques, and hospitals. They stored weapons in private homes. The population is fed up. The good doctor’s daughters were killed by Hamas weapons not Israeli gunfire… French media didn’t bother to cover any of these boring details.

International opinion, bloated on Gazan hunger and thirst, was not interested to learn that food supplies brought in daily were commandeered by Hamas while plump matrons in hijab wailed hunger and thirst. The European Union was howling for a humanitarian ceasefire, a humanitarian corridor, humanitarian open borders (from the Israeli side…the Egyptian border did not interest them) as trucks laden with aid trundled into Gaza every day. But real trucks with real supplies could not enter into the delusionary world that had replaced reality.

On the diplomatic front, President Sarkozy immediately went into European negotiation mode. Though his 6-month term as rotating EU president was over at the year’s end, he upstaged his successor, Czech president Mirek Topolanek, and grabbed a major role in the Ceasefire Diplomacy Show. Sarkozy declared the Israeli riposte “disproportionate” and proceeded to use his boundless energy in a frenzy of slapdash meetings that could have only one outcome—protect Hamas from the full force of Israeli might and fuel the relentless Israeli guilt production machine. Barack Hussein Obama conserved a lofty silence during the 3-week military campaign, allowing hope-soaked Zionists to believe he truly meant what he said about Israel’s right to self-defense.

And now, President Obama, his European friends and moderate Muslim allies, basking in their newfound complicity, are undermining Israel’s dissuasive capacity with hollow promises of a helping hand and a remake of that all-time flop—the Peace Process-- the new guilt-free way to lead Jews into the valley of death without an ounce of antisemitism.

Aided and abetted by EU peace-hawking diplomacy, Hamas, the Iranian proxy, made progress toward its stated goals of destroying of the State of Israel, killing Jews and establishing sharia in every last corner of the earth. How did Hamas fight? By hiding combatants dead or alive, displaying civilian wounds, and pumping out the lethal narrative. Instead of having the decency to thank Israeli citizens for bearing the full burden of this episode in the ongoing jihad conquest, European media and officials closed ranks behind Sarkozy the Ceasefireman and---deliberately or inadvertently-- spawned the most shameful public display of support for jihad ever witnessed in democratic nations. The pro-Palestinian demonstrations of 2000-3 were a mix of leftists, peaceniks, ecologists, and assorted do-gooders with a large contingent of jihadis. The recent marches in France were almost pure products of the Muslim Brotherhood, with a sprinkling of far left leaders and a surprisingly small contingent of black African Muslims. French media deliberately underplayed the virulence and the violence of these demonstrations, leaving the majority of the population dismally ignorant of the growing danger.

The enraged mobs that stormed through the streets of European cities and towns and, with equal virulence, in American cities as well, recall the murderous mobs that invaded Jewish neighborhoods in Arab countries in the late 40s and 50s. Today’s Jew-haters marched as conquerors, draped in keffieh, displaying Hamas, Hizbullah, and Palestinian flags, brandishing portraits of Izzedine al Qassam, shouting Death to Israel, Death to the Jews, equating the Magen David with the swastika, carrying bloodied dolls in winding sheets, burning Israeli and American flags, confident that no one would stop them.

These strikingly uniform marches must be recognized as an international show of force and an authentic conquest of territory achieved, not by fighting man to man but by provoking—and losing-- a military confrontation in Gaza. The civilian casualties are a weapon, the ruins are a weapon, and the bombed tunnels that are used to smuggle rockets into Gaza are transformed into victims of Israeli aggression. We can not understand these jihad strategies within a traditional war and peace framework. If, however, we understand that the aim is to kill Jews, to justify the killing of Jews, and to make that justification apply throughout the once free world, we will stop wasting our energy in futile attempts to prove that we—the Jews, Israel—are not evildoers.

Once the lethal narrative was locked in place, Hamas disappeared from the public mind, the rockets aimed at Israeli civilians lost their sting, and Israel was in the hot seat, accused—guess what—of killing children. The al Dura effect! Whenever an Israeli or a local Zionist appeared on a TV or radio debate in France, he was asked to explain why the IDF was killing children. The accused Zionist would open with a heartfelt expression of distress at the death of any child, every child, even a child used to shield armed men, and then explain the measures taken by Tsahal to avoid killing civilians. He might accuse Hamas of using “human shields” or regret the inevitable “collateral damage”…but could he explain how Hamas uses dead children as weapons aimed at the destruction of Israel?

How cruel! To leave Israeli soldiers with no alternative but to kill civilians, and then condemn them as heartless murderers. Could we lift that crushing burden off our shoulders and heave it at the insolent inquisitor? “Why do you keep throwing those dead children in my face? Do you really think I take pleasure in killing children? Do you think I am so stupid that I would go out of my way to kill children instead of attacking the armed men who want to kill my children? Do I kill children to endear myself with international opinion? Let me ask you something. Why don’t you convince Hamas to stop trying to kill Israeli children in Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva and beyond? Why don’t you force Hamas to stop aiming at Jewish civilians? You can’t. Because you have no influence on Hamas. Your words fall on deaf ears, your clever negotiating schemes leave them cold, your threats, if you made any, would not faze them. The only way to “convince” Hamas is by military action. That is precisely what we are doing. You do not have the courage to admit it, so you ask me why we are killing children.”

An inquisitor enclosed in the lethal narrative of Israeli guilt cannot be convinced by facts; perhaps he can be shocked back into reality? They don’t like disproportion? Give them proportions! One thousand dead in Gaza is equivalent to one dead Jew in proportion to their respective populations. Palestinian suffering? A drop in the bucket. Palestinians are a tiny minority of the world’s Muslims, the vast majority live in their own splendid countries, or enjoy equal rights in our democratic nations.

Can our nonsense neutralize their nonsense? President Sarkozy promises to punish, with equal severity, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia [sic]! He will not allow anyone to import the Mideast conflict. How so? By confiscating satellite dishes? Forbidding domestic media to report on the conflict? Do Jews who import their loyalty to Israel attack Muslims, desecrate mosques, and burn hallal butcher shops? No. If Muslims attack Jews it is not because they import the conflict but because they import Hamas’ values and methods.

French Jews can’t defend themselves. While Jews were targeted in countless attacks—at least 150 to date—the media found time to focus on an incident in front of Lycée Jeansson-Sailly in the posh 16th arrondissement. Some Muslim pupils said they were attacked by extremists from the Jewish Defense League; the JDL denies all involvement. But the two 15 year-old Jewish boys accused of beating up the Muslims were immediately detained and charged. And the case was exploited to present a false picture of equally balanced inter-communitarian strife. Mainstream media present almost no details about attacks against Jews, give no details, identify no culprits, report no jail sentences.

Expression of sincere concern for Gaza’s civilians is like blood in shark-infested waters; it excites our enemies. Today, one week after the ceasefire, accusations against Israel have reached a paroxysm. Totally unrelated to reality, they are based on the jihad narrative that casts Palestinians as Jews to Israel’s Nazis. (Islamic tradition offers boundless sources of invective against Jews[1] in The Hamas jihadis who produce these lethal narratives and feed them to Westerners know their stories of Israeli exactions and atrocities are not true. (Charles Enderlin and Talal Abu Rahma, author and producer of the al Dura blood libel, had no shame in reporting this week on the senseless destruction of Mister Hammoudi’s orchards. Why Mr. Hammoudi? Why his harmless, unarmed, civilian olive trees? Why his plump ripe oranges? Oh, by the way, the Israelis claim—but who would believe them—that rockets were launched from this site.) And Israel not their only target. The vilification of Israel also subverts Western civilization by attacking its Judaic foundations, undermining its rationality, and drawing it into collaboration in a genocidal project that will, if left unchecked, destroy the West. While the EU plays peacemaker, its Brussels headquarters--with a 1/3rd Muslim population--goes wild with virulent anti-Zionist pro-Hamas demonstrations with all political parties except the xx (cite CDI). Freedom of expression is under attack throughout Europe, Geneva is preparing to welcome the Durban II hatefest, Geert Wilders will have to stand trial in the Netherlands for exposing truths about Islam. Will the United States resist this trend, now that Obama has launched his Yes We Can Mideast Peace Plan?

It is time for the rightful owners to take back the Warsaw ghetto image stolen by pro-Hamas demonstrators. Israel, not Gaza, is the Warsaw ghetto… no less courageous but, this time, sovereign and equipped to win. Many Diaspora Jews still refuse to believe that our fate is linked to Israel’s survival. But if conditions worsen in Europe and eventually in the United States, the balance will shift, greater support will be mobilized. Israeli citizens know how to fight to defend their country. Jews and non-Jews elsewhere in the free world will have to learn how.

As long as we don’t twist ourselves into guilt-ridden knots, we can be strengthened by the prevailing hysteria. It is time to admit, once and for all, that the problem in not the lack of reliable information. Anyone in his right mind can see that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the extermination of Jews. If the military operation against Hamas is not acceptable to “international opinion” it means that Jews are not allowed to fight back ever against anyone. We can only be victims. It is up to us to prove the contrary.

[1] Salah Abd al Fattah al Khalidi. Qu’ranic Truths regarding the Palestinian Issue, London, Muslim Palestine Publications, 1994 in Bostom, Andrew, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: 447

“We have displayed above a number of despicable Jewish traits, and we have demonstrated that they are inveterate and deeply rooted in the complex Jewish consciousness, and they have instigated themselves deep in the debased Jewish personality. We have also shown that this has been the situation throughout all of Jewish history in general and it is embedded in the Jews of today. The noble Qu’ran is the sole source on which we have relied, and from which we have recorded these Jewish traits and what we have written about them is sufficient.”

Ichud Leumi: Revolutionary Reform for Western Olim

Yehuda HaKohen
Uri Bank, Candidate Number 5 on the Ichud Leumi (National Union) list, unveils a new revolutionary approach to western Aliyah [immigration to Israel]. He hopes to broaden the focus to meet the needs of the western Olim [immigrants] he hopes to represent in the next Knesset. This past Saturday night, 1,700 English-speaking Israelis packed into Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue to hear candidates from nine different Knesset factions speak of their respective parties' platforms. Many of the speakers addressed the need for significant changes in the way the country deals with national and security issues. Ichud Leumi candidate Uri Bank, the only native English-speaker on the panel, was greeted with rounding applause in response to his call to ensure that the Land of Israel remains in Jewish hands.

Bank also called for a "radically new vision" for dealing with western Olim, described in a flyer distributed by party activists at the event.

Western Aliyah has been the focus of recent Knesset caucuses and initiatives and is largely seen as the next source of potential mass Aliyah, especially in light of the current economic climate and a dramatic decrease in immigration from the former Soviet Union. Last year, 2008, saw the numbers of new Olim from all countries drop to the lowest Aliyah figures since1988. Despite the Herculean efforts of organizations like Nefesh B'Nefesh and Ami, the number of Olim from western countries remained the same as the previous year.

Immigrants, Not Immigration
Bank, who made Aliyah with his family from the U.S. at the age of 12, explained to Israel National News the flaw of all the new initiatives that seem to appear around elections time and then fade away as the new Knesset session begins. "A new caucus and lobby for western Aliyah is doomed to fail, like many previous efforts, because it is pushing Aliyah at the expense of Olim," he said.

He explained that until the experience of Aliyah is radically altered to become a comfortable, exciting experience, the numbers of western Olim will not increase: "The system must take into account that making Aliyah can be a difficult choice for many Jews from western countries, involving leaving their homes and comfortable lifestyles, bureacracy, difficulties in having degrees recognized and attaining professional licenses, and more."

When you came, they unrolled a red carpet,” reads the Ichud Leumi flyer distributed at the January 31 political debate, “but then they replaced it with red tape.” Uri Bank says his goal is to be the scissors to cut through that tape and bring a new life to Olim, while strengthening the country in the process.

Uri Bank is no stranger to the issues faced by Jews who make Aliyah from western countries. As a 12-year-old Oleh, Uri had to adjust to an Israeli classroom. When his family returned to the United States five years later, he remained in Israel. Bank studied in a Yeshivat Hesder and served as a tank commander in the IDF. He became involved in political life, always working for Aliyah-related causes along with other nationalist initiatives, and currently heads the Moledet faction, one of four factions making up the Ichud Leumi.

He actively entered the Knesset election campaign only recently, after having served the IDF as a reserve soldier during Operation Cast Lead. Bank completed his term of reserve duty even though he was legally exempt as a Knesset candidate and knew it would diminish his ability to campaign. He is spending the remaining week before the elections promoting the idea that the time for change has come, and that his background as an Oleh from the United States will enable him to effect that change.

"It is not that the government doesn't care," Bank explains, "but they don't know how to appeal to Jews from affluent, western countries. The government treats them based upon a system which wasn't built for Olim who come to Israel by choice, but rather those who come here fleeing persecution or searching for a better life. These Olim come with significant educational experience and save the country a tremendous expense for their higher education. They attract visits from friends, relatives, and business associates who contribute to the wealth of the country with tourist dollars, foreign capital, expertise, innovation, concepts of fair play and representative government, enthusiasm, idealism, and more."

Bank insists that these Olim have to be treated by a system that understands them, or they may never come in the droves that the Zionist endeavor needs. Furthermore, those who leave after having endured frustrations with Israel’s bureaucracy can create repercussions that negatively effect future Aliyah. "That is why the next Aliyah reform must begin with Olim who are already in Israel, and then be directed at future Aliyah," Bank says.

“No one should have to go through the hardships my family went through when they originally made Aliyah," he said, "fighting a system which doesn't understand them, and which ultimately caused them to leave Israel when I was 17 years old.” (His family returned to Israel in later years.) Bank intends to bring to the Knesset his understanding of the issues western Olim face and a desire to represent his constituency in the manner with which they are familiar from western democracies, acting as the model for what he terms a new "culture of accountability".

"A culture of accountability is the next best thing to district electoral reform, but it needs to begin with someone who has experienced a system of checks and balances and knows its merits and how it works." Uri also intends to put together an English-speaking Knesset team with a clear focus on tax reform, licensing, and educational issues that many Olim and their children currently face. He says his office will have an open-door policy for all issues confronting Olim from western countries.

Instead of pursuing membership on what are viewed as the more prestigious committees, Bank says he intends to sit on the Aliyah and Absorption Committee and even assume its chairmanship if offered. "Everyone wants western Aliyah," he notes, "but we are going to show them how to treat western Olim, and the Aliyah will soon come."

The Ichud Leumi's new Aliyah plan targets tax reform, erasing former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's taxation plan of Western Olim which caused great hardships for new immigrants from the West. It also features a call for representational government, ecology-awareness, communal revision, expanding Aliyah Kehilatit (group Aliyah) and improving benefits, creation of an Oleh Forum, and more.

The Oleh Forum, as Bank sees it, will comprise elected representatives of Olim from various countries, with representatives from every country over various periods of Aliyah. The forum will meet to address immigrant needs and be the partners in effecting change in government policy and Israel’s attitude towards Olim.

Polls Show
Recent polls have shown the Ichud Leumi with five Knesset seats, which would guarantee Bank's election. However, he states, "we are aiming for at least ten seats, and the Aliyah vote will help to make it happen. The bigger the party is, the more we can represent our constituents which include western Olim and all those who want to make the State of Israel the dream Jewish state it is supposed to be."

Using the Holocaust to Attack the Jews

Walter Reich
Sunday, February 1, 2009; Page B02

Dozens of cities held ceremonies last week to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The good news is that the dead were remembered. The bad news is that even as the Holocaust is becoming a fixture in the world's memory, it is also being increasingly used as a weapon against the Jews and the Jewish state. For some, ironically, the acknowledgment of the Holocaust's reality has become a screen behind which anti-Semitism has gathered new force. The hard-core Jew-haters spent decades denying that the best-documented genocide in world history ever took place. That won them such derision that even many anti-Semites have begun to admit the reality of the Holocaust -- and now are hoping that simply by doing so, they can immunize themselves from the charge that they're anti-Semites in the first place. How can you be an anti-Semite, they figure, if you recognize the Holocaust?

But as some people who don't like Jews have found, it's worth acknowledging the Holocaust if you can then turn it into a cudgel against the Jews. And that they've done, in spades. According to this crowd, the Jews today have become Nazis. The Jewish state is now supposedly carrying out a Holocaust against the Palestinians. Jews, the haters say, have always been evil, and their evil is only growing.

Of course, not all criticisms of Israel are the product of such bigoted logic. People of good will around the world are naturally shocked by the tragic and appalling deaths of Palestinian civilians, including those killed in the recent war in the Gaza Strip. Like any country, Israel can be criticized. But the massive and unceasing eruptions of outrage against the Jewish state -- in a world in which other countries and groups have, often provoking barely any outrage, engaged in immensely more destructive and immoral behavior -- can only be explained in a few ways. One is that attacking Israel has become a means of attacking Israel's ally, the United States. Another is that over-the-top attacks on Israel, particularly those invoking Holocaust language, have become a means of once again attacking the Jews.

The Anti-Defamation League has documented the way this weapon was used during the recent war with Hamas. Here are a few of the placards spotted at rallies: In Times Square, the group reported such signs as, "Israel: The Fourth Reich," "Stop Israel's Holocaust," "Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors," "Stop the Nazi Genocide in Gaza" and "Nazi Genocide, Israeli Genocide." In Chicago: "Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza Now." In a Los Angeles demonstration, the Star of David in an Israeli flag was said to have been replaced by a swastika, accompanied by the words, "Upgrade to Holocaust Version 2.0." In San Diego: "Stop the Israeli Holocaust on Gaza." And the league reported that one rally in Washington included an effigy of the Israeli prime minister wearing a swastika armband and holding a dead baby.

The Gaza war provoked similar attacks from some world leaders and people of influence. "The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in televised comments, according to Reuters. The New York Times quoted a Catholic cardinal who argued that Gaza increasingly "resembled a big concentration camp." And according to the Jerusalem Post, a Norwegian diplomat based in Saudi Arabia sent out an e-mail from her Foreign Ministry account in which she wrote, "The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany." She reportedly also attached paired photos designed to suggest that Gaza was equivalent to the Holocaust: Next to the iconic photo of the Jewish child in the Warsaw Ghetto being menaced by a rifle-toting Nazi soldier, the diplomat is said to have placed an "image of an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon at a Palestinian boy."

Are all those who have accused Israel of being a Nazi state anti-Semites? Hardly. There's genuine anger in the Muslim world, as well as in Europe and elsewhere, about Israel's actions in Gaza. The suffering is terrible. So are the images of devastation Israel left behind. And there are also plenty of people who are angry at Israel because it stands for the reviled United States.

But the reality is that much of the vitriol directed at Israel has indeed been spouted by anti-Semites. Not only have they hurled the Nazi canard at Israel, they've expressed clear anti-Semitism -- some of it openly violent or even eliminationist. The pro-Israel but reliable Middle East Media and Research Institute has been documenting anti-Semitism on Palestinian television for years, including calls for the murder of Jews. It reports that, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, one Egyptian cleric admitted on an Islamist TV channel that the Holocaust had happened -- and added that he hoped that one day Muslims would do to the Jews what the Germans had done to them. To demonstrate what he had in mind, according to the institute, he showed footage of heaps of Jewish corpses being bulldozed into pits.

In designating an International Holocaust Remembrance Day back in 2005, the U.N. General Assembly acted with noble intentions, even if parts of the world body still aim to delegitimize Israel. Such commemorations help the world understand that the goal of the Holocaust was the annihilation of an entire people -- and help them appreciate the vast differences between that event and, for example, the war in Gaza. But even as the Holocaust has been increasingly acknowledged and explained, it also has been increasingly used as a cudgel to beat Jews and the Jewish state.

Walter Reich, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University, is a former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Internet and terrorism


Hamas has recently launched PaluTube, its new file sharing website. AqsaTube, the previous file sharing website, has changed its name and appearance and is now known as TubeZik. Those changes resulted from the refusal of French and Russian Internet service providers to continue hosting AqsaTube.


Hamas has recently launched a new website called PaluTube . Also launched was a website called TubeZik , being a new version of AqsaTube. The file sharing website AqsaTube was taken offline twice after a French company and a Russian company stopped providing it with technical services.


Hamas has recently launched a new website called PaluTube . Also launched was a website called TubeZik , being a new version of AqsaTube. The file sharing website AqsaTube was taken offline twice after a French company and a Russian company stopped providing it with technical services.
2. PaluTube and TubeZik are file sharing websites, such as YouTube, in which users can upload video clips. The clips featured on the websites include incitement against Israel , preaching terrorism, and glorification of Hamas and terrorism. Also found on the websites are posters and clips pertaining mostly to Operation Cast Lead, portrayed as a “holocaust”. As is the case with Hamas's other websites, the information published complies with the radical ideology and the terrorist policy of the Hamas movement. Those websites are yet another constituent in the extensive Internet infrastructure of Hamas, which kept developing its websites during Operation Cast Lead and still does so.

The PaluTube website

The PaluTube website
Example of a poster from the website depicting the IDF's activity in the
Gaza Strip as a “holocaust” aimed against innocent civilians (January 16)

3. Technical details about the PaluTube website follow:

IP address: According to our information, that IP address is used by another five websites, including (Gaza-based news website), (the Hamas online children's newspaper), (the website of Filastin al-Muslimah, a Hamas organ distributed from Britain ) and yet three other websites whose identity is unknown.

Private Registration Services:, 1based in Arizona , US.

Internet Access Provider: MASTAK, based in Moscow , Russia .

ISP: Hamas, Gaza .

Aqsa tube
Image from an incitement clip of Hamas which appears on the
homepage of the new version of Aqsa tube (January 26)

4. The T ubeZik website is actually the successor of Hamas's Aqsa Tube website, which was taken offline twice. At first glance it may seem like an innocent entertainment website which includes music and videos; however, it constantly shows an incitement video, also featuring archive footage about the leaders of Hamas and movies which encourage terrorism.

5. Technical details about the PaluTube website follow:

IP address:

Internet Access Provider: OVH, a company from Spain (the French office of OVH formerly provided Internet services to Aqsa tube; however, it stopped doing so after the affair was exposed by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and following appeals from the media).

6. Aqsa Tube, which was similar in name and design to the popular American website YouTube, was first launched in early October 2008. It was serviced by OVH, a French-based company. 3 Following a publication of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center , several journalists addressed the company and asked for its comment. After it was approached by a BBC News reporter, the company said that it took the website offline as of October 15, 2008. Hamas then issued an official announcement (from Gaza ) titled: “Aqsa Tube taken offline as a result of Zionist-American pressure”. At the end of the announcement, Hamas expressed its commitment to reopen the website. 4

7. About a week after the announcement was issued, Aqsa Tube went online again, this time with the assistance of a Russian ISP called RU network. In the new version, the website's logo was remodeled to be less similar to the original YouTube logo. When approached about the subject, the Russian authorities ordered the company to take the website offline, saying it included radical themes which do not comply with Russian laws. Access to the website was subsequently denied.

8. In mid-January 2009, a new website called TubeZik went online under the same address. The website can also be reached through Palestine-info, Hamas's major web portal. This means that there are currently at least two active Hamas file sharing websites on the Internet , even though their design is different from Aqsa Tube.

9. In some cases, the public exposure of the fact that ISPs across the globe provide technical services to the websites of a terrorist organization had the desired effect. When they were addressed, some companies stopped providing technical assistance to those websites following the exposure. It is an ongoing battle where persistence is necessary. It is not a lost cause, however, since occasional tactical achievement are possible, thus making it difficult for terrorist organizations to run their web-based campaign of incitement.

1 Owned by Go Daddy, it is a company which provides paid privacy and anonymity services for website owners by registering the website with the company instead of using the website owner's name (anonymity which Hamas is interested in). The company registers the website under its own name on Whois sites, thus becoming associated with the website. However, the anonymity is not perfect because the names of websites' owners are obligatorily disclosed in most countries, even though in most cases a telephone number is sufficient.

2 Abu Nasser Skander (Skndr) was also registered as the owner of Aqsa Tube in the OHV office in France before Aqsa Tube was taken offline.

3 See our Information Bulletin: “ The Internet and terrorism: Hamas recently launched a new website called AqsaTube, an addition to its extensive Internet presence. Hamas makes intensive use of its website network to wage the battle for the hearts and minds of its various target audiences in the Palestinian Authority and worldwide” (October 12, 2008).

4 See our Information Bulletin: “ The Internet and terrorism: following the ITIC report on Hamas's AqsaTube, it was removed by its French ISP from the net. As a result, the site issued an announcement claiming it had been victimized by “Zionist-American pressure,” and stating it was currently making the necessary arrangements to return” (October 20, 2008).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Still Nervous

onathan Rosenblum
January 28, 2009

President Obama is now safely sworn in. Even the few curmudgeons left who have not been completely won over by the new president felt a surge of pride in their country as they watched a black man take the oath of office. That could not have happened in any of the European countries that view themselves as America's moral betters. The new president had an impressive two months between the election and the swearing-in, during which period he succeeded in winning over half those who voted for his opponent. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthamer's assessment of Obama, after his cool in the face of the financial meltdown, has been more than borne out. Krauthamer updated Harry Hopkins description of FDR as "a second-rate mind with a first-rate temperament," calling Obama "a first-rate mind, with a first-rate temperament."

If anybody has been disappointed with America's new president in the months since the election, it has been his left-wing supporters. His cabinet appointments were mainstream in the extreme. He delivered his major economic policy speech at George Mason University, the last bastion of free market economics, supped with conservative columnists at the house of George Will, and reached out generously to his defeated opponent John McCain. He even told a television interviewer that there was a great deal of wisdom in former vice-president Dick Cheney's advice he should first understand the bases for the Bush administration's national security policies before seeking to dismantle them.

President Obama's Inaugural Address was filled with bones for the conservatives: He described the wealth producing power of free markets, warned terrorists around the world that "we will defeat you," acknowledged the determinative role of individuals, not just government, in the improvement of society, and mentioned G-d frequently.

Clearly, then, the hysterical pre-election portrait of Obama as the acolyte of ex-Weatherman terrorist William Ayers has proven comically overblown. And yet I remain concerned about the new president's likely approach to Israel.

Those concerns are not based on anything that President Obama has done or said. His quoted comments on Hamas missile attacks on Israeli towns were eminently sensible: If someone were shooting at my daughters, he said, I would do everything in my power to stop them. That commonsense, human response was notably absent from much commentary on the war.

No, my concerns about the Obama presidency derive primarily from his membership in the class of graduates of elite Ivy League universities. Much has been made by The New York Times about all the degrees from elite institutions Obama's staff possess. And that scares me.

Those fears are pretty much summed up in the statement of the new presidential envoy to the Middle East, former Senator George Mitchell. "There is no conflict without an end." That remark captures a common mistake of brainy folks: the assumption that they have the answers to all the world's problems. In 1996, Professor Robert Lucas, an Nobel laureate from the University of Chicago, boasted that economists now possess the tools to end the threat of worldwide depression forever, a claim that appears less well-founded by the day.

The belief that to every problem there is a solution is not just naive but dangerous when applied to Middle East peacemaking. It is predicated on the assumption that peacemaking is no different than negotiating a union contract. Both sides are jostling over the size of their piece of the pie.

But there are things that many people care about much more a larger slice of some material pie, and one of them is religion. That is something that smart technocrats commonly miss. Because religion plays no part in their own lives they fail to grasp its importance to others.

The repeated Western request that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist is an example of that failure. Hamas would have to stop being Hamas, and renounce its religious belief that Israel exists on Moslem holy land, in order to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Peace between the Palestinians and Israelis does not depend the renunciation of this or that demand. It depends on the transformation of an entire culture of hate that has only intensified in the years since the handshake on the White House lawn. To attempt to suggest or impose "solutions," without first changing the human material reflects a detachment from reality. Even the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, in which Senator Mitchell played a major role, were only possible because of the emergence of a Protestant leader, David Trimble, eager to put aside old hatreds, and a radical change in the attitudes in the leadership of the IRA on the Catholic side.

Only those who believe in souls can appreciate the difficulty of changing cultures. But souls are not the province of those who think they can devise a solution to every problem. If man were nothing but a rationally calculating homo economicus, could most disputes be settled around a negotiating table with skillful slicing of the pie. But he is not.

The scary noises coming from Washington D.C. derive from a misplaced confidence that a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is close at hand. Practically President Obama's first act in office was to appoint Senator Mitchell as his Middle East envoy. It is unlikely that the new president would have given such high priority to the Middle East unless he thought that he could show some achievements.

That confidence is heard in the oft-repeated phrase "the general contours of the final solution have long been known to all the parties," as if a solution can exist apart from the societies upon which it will be imposed. In fact, the basis for an enduring peace is farther away than it was during the last phase of activist American peacemaking, under President Clinton. Gaza and the West Bank are today functionally independent, which vastly complicates everything. More importantly, Israelis have learned both in southern Lebanon and Gaza that every territorial withdrawal only makes them more vulnerable.

As an older friend always tells me, "The longer I live the more I find that brains are greatly overrated." Recognition of that fact may be the beginning of wisdom in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it is wisdom that is only likely to come slowly, if at all, to the smart fellows of the new administration.

London: Bomb Gaza Civilians

Hillel Fendel London: Bomb Gaza Civilians

Left-wing television and media personality Yaron London surprised many of his colleagues during the recent war against Hamas by calling for a no-holds-barred military response against the civilian population of Gaza. first outlined his views in an article in Yediot Acharonot, and then elaborated upon them for clearly-shocked interviewer Razi Barkai on Army Radio.

“It appears that we have exhausted the options of moderating Hamas fanaticism with measured responses,” London wrote, “and the time has come to shock the Gaza population with actions that until now have nauseated us - [such a killing the political leadership, causing hunger and thirst in Gaza, blocking off energy sources, causing widespread destruction, and being less discriminating in the killing of civilians. There is no other choice.”

Asked by Barkai, a veteran left-wing broadcaster in his own right, why there is no choice, London responded, “The strategy of modular and gradual pressure has not brought the desired results. We cannot absorb any more Kassams, we cannot fortify the entire south, we cannot take over Gaza because the price will be too heavy, and gradual pressure has only made Hamas and the Gaza population even tougher and more fanatic. I therefore concluded that there are only two remaining options: being extra nice to them, or being extra tough –"

Barkai interrupts and says, “There is a third option: negotiations with Hamas.”

London: “Which will bring what?”

Barkai: “I have no idea, but it is a possibility, at least in theory.”

London: “Negotiations will lead only to a ceasefire, whose duration will be determined solely in accordance with Hamas interests; we will not come out of that period with a greater advantage in terms of arms and weapons…”

Asked how he can guarantee that a tougher Israeli offensive will yield the desired results, London said: “Experience in past wars shows me that if we are tough enough, then at a certain stage, their standing-power will break… I am referring to both the population and their leadership; they are the same, because the population voted for Hamas. I can’t separate between one who voted for Hamas and a Hamas leader.”

Barkai: We will have to deal with very difficult pictures of hungry children –

London: Yes.

Barkai: and destroyed houses -

London: Yes.

Barkai: and dead unarmed civilians, etc. How will we be able to deal with this?

London: Everyone in Gaza is armed… There is a consensus in Israel that the time has come to take action. We cannot fortify Ashdod, and Netivot, and Sderot, and bear this disgrace.

Barkai: There might be thousands of dead?

London: I hope not – I hope that one real blow will put an end to this before we get to that.

Barkai: Give me an example of such a blow.

London: I don’t want to give an example, but you can go back to history and see.

Barkai: [short pau The only thing I can think of, and that you apparently don’t want to say, is the bombing of cities such as in World War II.

London: Right. You don’t need to bomb a whole city; a quarter of a borough should be enough…

Barkai finally asked, “Tell me, have you undergone an – I don’t want to say ‘ideological crisis’ because that sounds too high-brow, but perhaps a little crisis—

London: My brothers in Sderot are what brought me to this.

Barkai uses his trademark phrase: “Ki ma?” [Because what

London: Because I can’t take the idea of little frightened girls running around in the streets of Sderot. That’s the whole thing. You can tolerate it for a certain amount of time, like the kibbutzim of the Jordan Valley did, or if it’s only a small amount of terror organizations, or whatever. But when an entire population of 1.5 million [Gaza Arab voted for this Hamas government, then this population has to bear the responsibility. That’s the whole story.

Fears of Arab Fifth Column

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Fears of Arab Fifth Column

The number of Arab party Members of Knesset will decline from nine to four following the February 10 elections, according to a new poll carried out by Geocartographia for Globes. The survey reflects a growing trend among Israeli Arabs to boycott the Israeli democratic process and ally with radical anti-Israel groups, most notably the Islamic Movement headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Known Arab terrorist organizations also are getting openly involved in Israel. Police on Friday shut down the Maidan Theatre in Haifa, where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group was planning a rally for Saturday.

The event was promoted as a pre-election rally, but police said information indicated that the purpose was to back the terrorist group that was headed by the late George Habash. In response, Issam Mashul, a former MK of the predominantly Arab Hadash party that includes Jewish MK Doc Khenin, called the police move "political terror."

Virtually all pre-election polls show that Hadash will win four seats in the next Knesset, one more than it now holds.

However, the Ra'am-Ta'al and Balad parties, along with a new party that wants to shift focus to issues other than the Arab-Jewish struggle, will not hold any seats at all in the next legislature, according to the Globes poll. Other surveys the past three days project 8-10 seats for Arab MKs.

The High Court recently overturned a Knesset Elections Committee decision that Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al cannot run because of their positions that question the validity of a Jewish nation. The Geocartographia poll indicates that the committee decision touched off a negative reaction in the Arab community, according to the polling group's manager Prof. Avi Degani.

The projected lack of Israel Arabs' participation in the upcoming election is a new low. "If a third of the Arab electorate fails to go the polls, that will be a danger signal," Globes noted.

Forty percent of Arab respondents have not decided how they will vote or whether they will join a growing number who have said they will boycott the ballot box.

If they vote for non-Arab parties, Kadima and Meretz may benefit. The latest polls project between 28 and 31 seats for the Likud, 20-23 for Kadima and 13-17 for Labor. All of the surveys agree that Shas will maintain its current level of 11 seats or will lose only one, while Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) is projected with 16 MKs and Meretz 5-7 seats.

The surveys also show that the Jewish Home faction, which is largely a renewal of the National Religious Party, will win 3-4 seats. The Ichud Leumi (National Union) is projected to earn 3-5 seats. United Torah Judaism (UTJ) would be represented with 5-7 MKs if elections were held now..

The Fatah Option

Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs | 1/30/2009

Israel's three-week military operation in Gaza in December-January has raised the issue of the possible return of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party to Gaza to replace the Hamas regime. The Israelis, Americans, the major European powers, and especially the Egyptians favor Abbas' forces regaining control not only over Gaza's border crossings, but also over the entire Strip. However, international demands for Fatah's return to Gaza face seemingly intractable obstacles. A previous U.S.-funded and armed Fatah security regime in Gaza had entirely failed. Years of massive corruption and gangsterism by Fatah security forces resulted in an Iranian-financed, armed and trained Islamic emirate ruled by Hamas. Abbas had had the full backing of the international community to turn Gaza into the Hong Kong of the Middle East. Instead, Fatah collapsed under a Hamas assault in summer 2007.

Currently, the U.S.-sponsored Fatah forces in the West Bank are still ill-prepared for the task of taking control in Gaza. Two modest paramilitary forces have been trained to police crime and enforce public order, but not to uproot terror groups. In fact, the PA has increasingly offered safe haven to terror groups. Brig.-Gen. Radhi Assida, the PA National Security Forces (NSF) commander in Jenin, revealed to the Palestinian website Maan on January 24, 2009, that PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's NSF had agreed to provide protection to four senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists wanted by Israel. Assida also confirmed that PIJ operatives continue to receive monthly salaries from the PA Interior Ministry, just like their colleagues in the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.1 Furthermore, thousands of Fatah security operatives in Gaza and the West Bank have realigned their loyalties away from Abbas and Fayyad. Other armed militias are currently less active or dormant but remain armed and intact. Some local militia commanders continue mafia-like criminal enterprises while simultaneously working as local commanders in PA security forces, thereby continuing to undermine public trust.

In post-war Gaza, Fatah forces would face a wall of opposition from Hamas and many other Jihadi groups. Hamas' military leadership remains intact, as do most of its terror capabilities. Hamas continues to enjoy popular support from a majority of Palestinians, particularly those living in Gaza, despite public anger over the war. Fatah will be hard-pressed to re-take the Gaza Strip because the party has lost credibility among Palestinians, largely because of its failure to reform itself and get rid of icons of corruption among the top brass.2

International Calls for Fatah's Return to Gaza

Israel's military campaign to destroy the Hamas army and terror infrastructure in Gaza triggered broad international efforts to implement a cease-fire that would include the return of Palestinian Authority forces to Gaza. The international community appears determined to help stop weapons smuggling into Gaza and reopen the Gaza border crossings to Egypt and Israel and restore a Gaza-West Bank link.3

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is backing the return of Abbas' forces to the crossings in line with the U.S.-brokered 2005 border crossing agreements.4 He hosted the major European powers at Sharm al-Sheik on January 18, 2009, immediately following the Gaza cease-fire, to discuss new security measures to stop Hamas weapons smuggling beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border and to secure the flow of humanitarian aid via the crossings.

The UN Security Council approved Resolution 1860 that explicitly called for restoring the 2005 Gaza crossing agreement between the PA and Israel and affirming Gaza as an integral part of PA-controlled territory.5 Abbas traveled to the UN in New York to support the resolution.6 PA officials in the West Bank also indicated a readiness to send forces to Gaza, but noted, "It depends on whether Israel manages to get rid of the Hamas regime."7 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the UN Security Council that stabilizing Gaza will "require a principled resolution of the political challenges in Gaza that reestablishes ultimately the Palestinian Authority's legitimate control and facilitates the normal operation of all crossings."8 President Barak Obama has called for the reopening of the Gaza border crossings, while making his first overseas phone call to a foreign leader to PA Chairman Abbas to express support.9

Which "Fatah Forces" are Jerusalem, Washington, and Cairo Counting On?

The convergence of opposition to Hamas in Washington, Cairo, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Ramallah could serve as a pretext for regime change in Gaza. However, international hopes for such a change may be premature since the PA's security forces do not constitute a single, professional, experienced and disciplined military organization under a centralized chain of command. Rather, Fatah security forces are divided into several paramilitary groups in the West Bank and Gaza, some more reformed and effective than others.

Since Oslo, Fatah's multiple security forces constitute several militias that were originally established and commanded by Yasser Arafat, who employed Palestinian "graduates" of Israeli prisons and others who lacked any formal police or security training.10 Today, however, some of the PA forces are far more professional, having been equipped and trained by U.S. security officials in Jordan.11 PA National Security Forces report to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, while Mahmoud Abbas controls the Presidential Guard, a smaller force that protects the Abbas regime and functions as a police force. However, these forces are still in their infancy. They have less than one year's experience, number fewer than 1,500 men, and lack a chief of staff and an overall "top-down" central command structure. Fayyad's NSF has not yet demonstrated the ability or will to uproot both active and dormant terror groups and militias.12

In Gaza, Fatah retains a residual, yet completely decentralized, force infrastructure of competing security militias that are not loyal to Abbas but to local leaders, militia commanders, and crime families.13

One of the problems in creating a robust PA military force large enough to reassert control in Gaza is that Palestinian commanders do not automatically enjoy the loyalty of their soldiers. Palestinian allegiances are invariably influenced by Arab cultural affiliations to clan, family, town, neighborhood, and political group. Many Palestinian NSF officers have family members and close relatives that are employed by competing security organizations or armed militias, which makes all-out armed confrontation highly unlikely. That explains in part the Fatah collapse in June 2007, as its forces were unable to confront their brothers, cousins, and uncles in Hamas.

Fatah Forces in Gaza

In Gaza, tens of thousands of former Fatah security personnel and activists maintain loyalties to various former PA security forces and commanders, such as the deposed former strongman Mohammed Dahlan. Some former Fatah security personnel have found employment with the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as Hamas and local crime families such as the Dughmush and al-Samhadana clans, and local al-Qaeda-inspired Salafist groups such as Jaish al-Islam, Fatah al-Islam, and Jaish al-Umma. The Fatah umbrella in Gaza also includes a number of smaller militias such as the Abu Rish Brigades, which had broken away from Fatah's Preventive Security forces.

Some of the fourteen competing security organizations Arafat had established after the signing of the Oslo agreements were disbanded in 2005 under the direction of the U.S. Special Security Coordinator General Keith Dayton, who moved to enforce Quartet Roadmap reforms. However, the unofficial militias have never been uprooted or disbanded. Instead, militia members froze their activities by agreement with the PA in exchange for compensation from the PA and clemency from Israel. Some local militia group commanders were even integrated into the "reformed" security forces under U.S. supervision, as ranking officers, while they continued to extort and threaten local businessmen.14

In 2009, thousands of "unemployed" Fatah militiamen, such as members of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, still hold weapons that they conceal in their homes. In their current dormant status, they also continue to receive monthly salaries from the Palestinian Authority on the instructions of Abbas and Fayyad,15 who are eager to avoid conflict with these groups and to protect themselves from the death threats made by the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas against them.16

Hamas Threatens, Fatah Pays

The enmity between Fatah and Hamas is far greater than Palestinian hatred of Israel.17 Nasser Juma'a, a Palestinian Legislative Council member from Nablus, described Hamas as "insects" in the final week of Israel's offensive in Gaza.18 Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel countered that PA Chairman Abbas "played a major role" in the Israeli killing of Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam "through his men in the Gaza Strip, who have been pointing out the homes of Hamas members."19 However, what is remarkable and ignored in Western diplomatic circles is that Fayyad has continued to pay the monthly salaries of between 6,000 and 12,000 Hamas Executive Force operatives in Gaza, in line with the 2007 Mecca national unity agreement that brought Hamas under the umbrella of the Palestinian Authority for budgetary purposes.20

It is widely believed in Western diplomatic circles that the PA in Ramallah was only paying the salaries of civil service employees in Gaza to encourage them to stay at home to avoid working with Hamas, especially after Hamas' expulsion of Fatah in June 2007. This is incorrect. The PA, and indirectly the U.S., and international donor countries have continued to pay monthly salaries to Hamas security operatives (Read: terrorists) and their commanders from the PA's $120 million monthly budget allocation to the Gaza Strip.21 The height of irony in this regard may have been seen during the Gaza war when Hamas fighters received their salaries from the PA at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital which was immune from IDF fire.22

Understanding the Hidden Complexities of the Fatah Security Forces

The prospective return of any Fatah security forces to Gaza must take into account the complexities of the many competing centers of Fatah power, as well their implications within the context of Palestinian political culture. For the past 16 years, U.S., European, and Israeli policy-makers have lavished billions of dollars on "strong" leaders like Arafat, or actively sought to strengthen "weak" leaders like Abbas, without assessing the effect of these policies on the internal Palestinian political discussion.23 For example, the PA received $3 billion in 2008, according to French estimates,24 while the December 2007 Paris donor's conference committed to transfer over $7 billion in aid to the PA over the years 2008-2010.25 Yet the Palestinian public still sees U.S.-led international assistance as a virtual "payoff" to a corrupt government and security forces in exchange for PA cooperation.

After years of unsuccessful Western-backed PA security regimes, since the signing of the Oslo agreement in 1993, and through the Annapolis agreement in 2008, the Palestinian street is largely convinced that U.S. backing of the PA has sanctified brutality, state-approved "gangsterism," and corruption in the name of stopping radicals and advancing the peace process. Palestinian public cynicism translated into Hamas' landslide parliamentary victory in 2006 and its subsequent takeover of Gaza in 2007. This analysis, then, may serve as a basis for careful reconsideration of past misassumptions about Fatah's security capabilities and help clarify current security realities in Gaza.

Back to Square One? The Return of Mohammed Dahlan

Former PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan, who had headed the U.S.-backed Fatah Preventive Security force in Gaza until Hamas routed his forces in June 2007, has re-emerged as a leading candidate to command Fatah's security forces, particularly to secure the Gaza crossing points into Egypt and Israel. Despite Hamas' bloody thrashing of Dahlan's forces, his prospective return to Gaza reportedly aroused the interest of former Secretary of State Rice.26 Palestinian and Egyptian leaders have also been interested in Dahlan's reassertion of control.27 While Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly told PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad that, "For me, Dahlan does not exist,"28 current circumstances would point to his involvement in any new PA security force in Gaza.

Dahlan appears to have emerged from retirement to his Cairo villa where he had kept a low profile since the Hamas takeover. However, he has of late given many interviews on Egyptian and Saudi media outlets, blasting Hamas' deep connection to Iran while making thinly veiled suggestions as to his potential role in rebuilding Gaza.29 It is no coincidence that the Egyptians and Saudis are providing Dahlan a platform to condemn Hamas. Cairo and Riyadh quietly backed the Israeli operation in Gaza and had backed Dahlan's forces with some $20 million before the 2007 coup.30

Although Dahlan lost many men and even his home to Hamas, he continues to enjoy the backing of several thousand armed Fatah activists who have remained in Gaza under Hamas rule. A major motivating factor behind Dahlan's possible return is the billions of dollars in international aid that have been promised to finance reconstruction efforts. Dahlan had built his personal fortune by being Fatah's key man in Gaza between 1996 and 2007.31 Perhaps most significantly, Dahlan may be the only Palestinian leader unfazed by threats of revenge by other Palestinian groups.32

Reports of U.S. interest in Dahlan's re-involvement in Gaza follow nearly twelve years of close coordination with the United States. He had been a long-time favorite of the Clinton and Bush administrations and was praised as a reformer during the Oslo years for publicly criticizing Arafat's dictatorship and calling for Palestinian security reforms.33 Starting in 1996, President Clinton approved intensive CIA and FBI backing of Dahlan's Preventive Security forces and other PA security organs.34

Dahlan's relationships with Washington were top-tier.35 He referred to Bill Clinton as "a friend." Dahlan was also embraced by lawmakers and senior security officials alike.36 A senior member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence told the authors in 2005 that Dahlan was "charming." Dahlan too understood the importance of his U.S. partners. In early 2008 Dahlan said of CIA Director George Tenet, "He is simply a great and fair man."37 President George W. Bush also met with Dahlan on several occasions. After talks at the White House in July 2003, Bush publicly praised Dahlan as "a good, solid leader" and reportedly called him "our guy" to advisors behind closed doors.38

Reviving a Failed Security Paradigm?

A key question is whether Dahlan's possible return essentially revives a failed strategy. Until Dahlan's forces collapsed before Hamas, the U.S. had placed its full weight behind him, investing at least $56 million in the PA security infrastructure at the Karni crossing39 where General Dayton had invested much of his time before the Hamas coup.40 The U.S. had also backed a high-risk, covert State Department plan code-named "Plan B,"41 that was drafted jointly by U.S., Jordanian, and PA officials, that called for Dahlan's Fatah forces to overthrow Hamas in Gaza and reassert control.42 While the White House vigorously denied any such designs, the plan was widely known among senior Fatah officials.43

Dayton, though listed as a key figure in the Dahlan project, would later deny any material involvement with the plan.44 However, he testified before Congress on May 23, 2007, just weeks before the Fatah collapse in Gaza, saying, "the $3 million assistance package to the (Palestinian) Office of National Security ensures that the U.S. Security Coordinator has a strong and capable partner as we proceed with Palestinian security sector transformation and our focus on a smaller but more capable Palestinian security force, operating under the rule of law and with respect for human rights."45 Yet Dayton's security program was roundly criticized by senior Israeli defense officials as "a complete failure."46

It is widely recognized in Palestinian circles that at the time of the Hamas coup, Dahlan's Fatah force simply refused to fight. Fewer than 10,000 armed Hamas men managed to defeat 70,000 U.S.-backed Fatah loyalists. It is also no secret among Palestinians that Dahlan was shuttling between Cairo and Germany for "medical treatment" for bad knees during the fighting, despite having been paid handsomely for his security efforts.47 Hamas did not have to work hard to repel a Fatah takeover attempt. Hamas operatives recruited Fatah family members to convince their relatives in uniform to surrender without fighting.

The Gaza debacle was a setback for Dahlan. The extent of his personal fortune - amassed during the time when he cooperated closely with Washington on the peace process - may not be well known by the incoming U.S. administration. Palestinian documents captured in the IDF's 2002 Defensive Shield operation revealed Dahlan's involvement in major racketeering, including revenues from cigarettes, cement, and the collection of illegal crossing fees.48 He was also known as a partner in the smuggling networks involving the Rafah border tunnels, together with the al-Samhadana crime family.

Ironically, even prior to 2007, U.S. security officials had not been deterred by Dahlan's actions and reputation on the Palestinian street. He had been a key architect of the 2005 border crossing agreements that he designed with U.S. Secretary of State Rice, but which fell apart after Hamas violence drove European monitors to abandon their posts. Glenn Kessler noted in his 2007 biography of Rice that in the 2005 Gaza crossing agreements, "Rice focused especially on Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian Authority's civil affairs minister, but in effect Fatah's boss in Gaza, because Abbas would never agree to a deal unless Dahlan gave his approval."49 Dahlan had controlled the security and economic aspects of the Karni and Rafah crossing points, where at least 750 truckloads of goods and 1,000 Palestinians passed daily including many Hamas leaders that were on Israel's "wanted" list.50 Costly import licenses and crossing permits were all in the hands of Dahlan's people and are widely believed to have generated millions of dollars in profits.

A former senior World Bank official had estimated Dahlan's personal wealth at well over $120 million as of mid-2005, just before Israel's disengagement from Gaza.51 Dahlan's personal fortune is a notable achievement, since most of his life has been spent in and around Gaza refugee camps, Israeli prisons, and Fatah security installations.

Palestinian Impatience with Dahlan

Gazans and West Bankers have been less forgiving than the U.S. of Dahlan's record. The former Gaza strongman's reputation for brutality, extortion, and corruption precedes him. Torture of Hamas and other opponents in Gaza by Dahlan loyalists have even been documented on "YouTube."52 Fatah websites implicated him, together with the Gaza-based Dughmush clan, in the 2005 murder of General Musa Arafat, Fatah's former head of Military Intelligence and National Security forces in Gaza.53 The Palestinian street had branded Dahlan "the CIA" for years, ever since the U.S. agency had provided him a black bullet-proof SUV.

No less troubling for Israel is the fact that years of CIA and Israeli Security Agency coordination did not prevent Dahlan's alleged complicity in ordering a deadly terror attack against an Israeli school bus in Gaza on November 18, 2000, that killed two adults and severely wounded three children from the Cohen family who were former Gush Katif residents.54

Mahmoud Abbas' PA Presidential Guard

While the United States, Egypt, and Western countries have mentioned the possible return to Gaza of PA forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, his direct authority and influence has been limited to the Ramallah-based Presidential Guard - a modest 1,500-man armed force. The Presidential Guard is tasked with protecting the PA Chairman and the Fatah regime but not foiling terror attacks, or uprooting militias in the West Bank. Even with dedicated security forces that continue to undergo U.S.-sponsored training at bases near Jericho in line with the Roadmap security reform program, Abbas rarely ventures out of Ramallah.

The dangers to Abbas posed by various terror groups, militias, warlords, and gangs have prevented him from visiting most Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank, let alone refugee camps, earning him the reputation on the Palestinian street of being "the Mayor of Ramallah." The Presidential Guard's record in Gaza is mixed. They were among the first to surrender to Hamas in June 2007, and subsequently were not officially disbanded but became dormant, as opposed to their West Bank counterparts that were retrained and resupplied by U.S. military advisors under General Dayton.55

Salam Fayyad's Palestinian National Security Forces

The Palestinian National Security Forces that are funded by and report to the office of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are the most likely security command that could be deployed to Gaza in the framework of a cease-fire agreement. The NSF was restructured following the 2007 defeat by Hamas. Secretary of State Rice worked closely with General Dayton and Fayyad to retrofit a verifiably reformed Palestinian force in line with the Annapolis peace process framework of a shelf agreement between Israel and the PA that would come to fruition if and when the PA would be capable of fulfilling its security requirements under the first stage of the Quartet Roadmap. The U.S. provided $86 million in July 2007 to train 1,100 recruits, while another $75 million was earmarked for a national security installation under construction near Jericho.56

The NSF's motivation to succeed stems from the Fatah leadership's fear of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank. The NSF's initial successes in several West Bank cities, including Jenin, Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem, have restored a certain sense of public security to local residents, as well as attracting thousands of Israeli Arabs to shop in Jenin and Nablus which has helped jumpstart the West Bank economy.

Since its first deployment in May 2008, the NSF - which Hamas has branded "the Dayton forces" - has forcefully confronted Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The NSF has also closed down some Hamas charities in public displays of force, while redirecting Hamas charity money to PA coffers. PA security forces have also arrested Hamas activists and have reduced threatening activity in Hamas-controlled mosques. The readiness of the NSF to confront Hamas publicly is unprecedented; Arafat had avoided confronting Hamas, while Fayyad is doing so.

Despite intensive U.S. and Palestinian efforts to maximize performance, there still remains a large question mark over whether these forces possess the ability and will to take more aggressive action against terror groups and armed gangs in the West Bank, and whether they stand a chance of successfully redeploying to Gaza. General Dayton admitted in a December 2008 interview that the NSF "is not the Israel Defense Forces. They are orienting their efforts totally on the lawless elements within Palestinian that Palestinian families can walk down the streets at night and not be intimidated or threatened by either criminals or men with guns."57

Some Israel Defense Forces senior commanders agree with Dayton. In fact, IDF Central Command has been highly critical of the U.S.-backed PA forces, insisting that PA forces in the West Bank cities are not combating terrorists, while warning that "terrorist organizations in Nablus, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, were cooperating in their attempts to perpetrate terror attacks against Israel, and building an underground tunnel system in Nablus."58 According to a senior IDF official, "There is no doubt that the moment the IDF leaves this territory, the Palestinians will have a rocket capability in the West Bank."59

Fatah's Rejection of Fayyad: A Roadblock to Gaza

The PA's NSF is funded by and reports to the office of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. His office and the PA Interior Ministry vet candidates and pay salaries, while Mahmoud Abbas is not directly involved with the NSF. This is significant because U.S. and European efforts to implement a Gaza cease-fire have included discussion of the return of PA security forces to Gaza that are "loyal to Abbas." Yet the U.S.-backed post-Gaza security reform concept was to create a non-Fatah professional army. However, other than an initial round of recruited commanders who were not from Fatah, subsequent officer recruits were mostly affiliated with Fatah. This reflects Fayyad's own problematic political status in the PA areas. He is not a Fatah member and receives no political backing from the Fatah power structure.

Moreover, Fayyad's lack of grassroots support handicaps his ability to maintain control and loyalty of commanders and forces in the field, which would only be exacerbated should Fatah seek a return to Gaza. This is significant because Fayyad's close cooperation with the United States, the West, and Israel must also translate to implementation on the ground. While Fayyad is probably the most impressive professional Palestinian statesman the U.S. and the West have ever worked with, Palestinian elites and the public essentially view Fayyad as a de facto American agent. While Abbas has also cooperated closely with Israel, the U.S., and the West, and has also received death threats on Hamas and Fatah terror group websites, his status as Fatah royalty protects him from opponents and maintains his political base.

Senior Fatah advisors and former ministers close to Abbas have been critical of the U.S. decision to place the PA's major security force in the hands of Fayyad. The Fatah central committee even voted in Ramallah in November 2008 to compel Abbas to remove Fayyad from being in charge of the NSF and to replace with him with a Fatah member. In late January 2009, Fayyad offered to resign his post following accusations by Fatah that Fayyad was an obstacle to reconciliation with Hamas.60

Dormant Terror Groups: The Hidden Threat to the West Bank and Gaza

Hamas is not the only major threat to Fayyad's forces in the West Bank. There are multiple armed terror groups and militias that have temporarily kept a low profile. However, they are capable of undermining the entire PA security regime. Despite reports in early 2008 by Fayyad's office that militias such as the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank had been dismantled, it turned out that Fayyad had essentially agreed to a mutually advantageous modus vivendi with these groups. Gunmen have agreed to hide their weapons, and Fayyad has agreed to "hide" operatives on Israel's target list in PA jails under a "revolving door" policy allowing freedom of entry and exit, which had created serious concern among senior IDF commanders.61 Fayyad also reached agreement with Israel on a general clemency program for some militia members in exchange for their commitment to cease all terror activity against Israel.62 However, senior IDF commanders have also expressed related concerns that since the NSF deployment, "weapons provided by the U.S. to the PA are finding their way to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in Jenin as well as in Nablus."63 Abbas also had expended great efforts to incorporate the Islamic terrorist organizations into the Palestinian government.64

Another major concern of the IDF senior command has been that local terror militias, such as the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, have also been integrated into local NSF units. Such militia leaders include Abu Jaber, an infamous local gang leader in Nablus who is also a NSF commander, who regularly extorts Nablus business owners for protection money.65

Gaza: From "Hamastan" to "Fatahland"

While the West sees the PA's Abbas and Fayyad as the only legitimate Palestinian address, the issue is far more complex within the Palestinian political discussion. Abbas is seen by the Palestinian street as "done," incapable of delivering peace or anything of value to the Palestinians.66 Despite Palestinian anger at Hamas for causing the recent IDF incursion, many Palestinians, including elites and even traditional Fatah allies, still see Hamas as democratically legitimate since it won the 2006 parliamentary elections. Hamas appears to be more popular than ever among the Palestinians residents of Gaza. In mid-December 2008, some 250,000 Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate Hamas' 21st anniversary.67

Abbas is likely to face substantial roadblocks to reestablishing Fatah control or coming to a modus vivendi with Hamas. Fatah-Hamas tensions are at a high point. Hamas and much of the Gazan public are convinced that Abbas supplied Israel with intelligence and other operational information to use to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure. As Palestinian analyst Mohammed Yaghi noted, "Hamas even accused Nimir Hamad, Abbas' political adviser, of calling Israeli defense official Amos Gilad and advising him to target Hamas operators and installations only."68 In fact, since the outset of Israel's military operation in Gaza, Fatah members there have been rounded up and brutally tortured by Hamas operatives, who have turned school buildings and hospitals into make-shift interrogation centers.69 Hamas also renewed house arrest orders against Fatah officials and activists in Gaza shortly after the military operation started. Since the cease-fire, Hamas has stolen international relief shipments, even hijacking international aid trucks to prevent Fatah from taking any credit in the eyes of the Palestinians.

Hamas no longer recognizes the presidential authority of Mahmoud Abbas after his four-year term ended on January 9, 2009, although Abbas has decided to remain in office, based on his reading of Palestinian law.70 More importantly, the Hamas leadership is still intact. The IDF estimates that 400 to 700 Hamas operatives were killed in the Gaza operation.71 That leaves most of Hamas' 15,000-man army and 10,000-man police force in place, including Izaddine al-Kassam, the Hamas Executive Force, and internal security forces. A significant quantity of Hamas weapons and ammunition remains hidden. Furthermore, during and after the IDF operation, Hamas continued to smuggle weapons and contraband via underground tunnels from Sinai to Gaza.

Hamas is not concerned about a tactical reconciliation with Fatah. Several scenarios can serve Hamas interests. Hamas may agree to a Fatah-Hamas national "reconciliation" government for tactical reasons, as it did in 2007, to gain international recognition, benefit from the billions of dollars of international aid, and rebuild their offensive capabilities against Israel using the Fatah-led PA as a fig leaf. At the same time, Hamas will again subvert Fatah control on the ground.

Alternatively, Hamas may return to its more natural role as the agent of muqawama (Islamic armed resistance) while reengaging Fatah forces in another round of civil war, which has killed hundreds of Palestinians since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005. The armed strife intensified after the Palestinian national unity government was brokered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in February 2007 and lasted until the Hamas takeover in June of that year.

Hamas is not the only opposition force that Abbas will face. Fatah's armed wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, announced on January 19, 2009, that its men in Gaza fought against Israel alongside Hamas, together with Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Battalions. The Al Aksa Brigades said they fired 102 rockets and 35 mortars, and detonated explosive devices that wounded a number of IDF soldiers.72

The U.S. and European Role in Securing and Rebuilding Gaza

Frenetic Western diplomatic efforts have been focused on rebuilding Gaza under the control of the PA's West Bank leadership as a prelude to a final settlement. Washington and European powers have already committed several billion dollars to Gaza's reconstruction. They are anxious for a final settlement, and European leaders led by French President Nicholas Sarkozy are reportedly even willing to recognize Hamas in the context of a Fatah-Hamas unity government.73 Special UN envoy Tony Blair has also expressed his support for the idea.74 However, the current realities in Gaza may frustrate Western diplomatic plans.

It is far from clear that under current conditions any constellation of Fatah forces could successfully restore stability in Gaza, hope for Gazans, and long-term security for Israel. Despite the important yet limited security and economic reforms PA Prime Minister Fayyad has undertaken in the West Bank, the Palestinian public, both in Gaza and the West Bank, are far from confident that Fatah is anything but an incorrigibly corrupt and brutal regime that continues to be rewarded with billions of dollars from the U.S., Europe, and Israel. Since the cease-fire, some senior Fatah leaders have allegedly moved quickly to set up "straw" construction and contracting firms in the hope that the estimated $2.5 billion earmarked for rebuilding Gaza will be funneled through the PA and its privileged elites in Ramallah.75 Indeed, the Fatah-led P.A. will need to do much confidence-building to earn the trust of the Palestinian public.

The United States and the West must avoid the temptation of once again blindly relying on Fatah as the sole security and reconstruction subcontractor for Gaza. The Obama administration must implement tough and verifiable directives to facilitate internal Palestinian housecleaning: no militias, good governance, complete accountability, full transparency, effectiveness, and zero tolerance for corruption, gangsterism, and terror within PA ranks in Gaza and the West Bank. These steps are critical for the future of the Palestinian project and take immediate precedence over current negotiations with Israel.76

At the same time, U.S.-backed security efforts in the West Bank will need to be upgraded to ensure the complete cessation of all direct and indirect militia involvement on the ground or as part of the current NSF security regime. Only a decision to uproot the active and dormant militias and armed groups will ensure stability and enable the socioeconomic, "bottom-up" infrastructure-building that special envoy Tony Blair has worked diligently to develop in advance of renewed diplomacy.77

Any new Fatah-related security regime and government in Gaza that receives U.S. and Western financial support must also be required to submit to unprecedented oversight of rebuilding efforts, in order to implement missing financial controls and adopt "best-practice" standards. Corrupt and brutal warlords, gangs, and militias must no longer be allowed to undermine the Palestinian national project while they remain protected, privileged and empowered by the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority.



2. Fatah officials in the West Bank are also demoralized. Nasser Juma'a, a Palestinian Legislative Council member from Nablus, told a British reporter that the "Hamas are insects" and noted that the Palestinians would likely not see a Palestinian state in his lifetime. Qadura Fares, a senior Fatah official, said that the PA would not succeed either in the West Bank or Gaza without "tackling the privileges of the Fatah elite, who, he said, "have become like princes" with regard to personal wealth, referring to rampant Fatah corruption. David Rose, "In the Smart West Bank Health Club, Between Jogging and Swimming Laps, People Were Screaming ‘Death to Israel'," Mail on Sunday, January 17, 2009.

3. French President Nicholas Sarkozy said: "We have pledged to help Israel and Egypt with all the technical, military, naval and diplomatic ways to help end the smuggling of weapons into Gaza," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also offered to send British naval vessels to battle smuggling,

4. Mona Salem, "Egypt Rejects Calls to Open Border with War-Battered Gaza," AFP, December 30, 2008, mideastconflictgazaegyptborder_081230191014.

5. For the full text of UNSC Resolution 1860, see

6. Barak Ravid, "Egypt's Truce Plan: Cease-fire Followed by Border Security Talks," Ha'aretz, January 7, 2009.

7. Khaled Abu Toameh, "PA Ready to Take Gaza if Hamas Ousted," Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2008.

8. President Bush also called for international monitors in a radio speech on January 2, 2009,

9. Natasha Mozgovaya, "Obama.: We will Aggressively Seek Middle East Peace," Ha'aretz, January 23, 2009. See also Roni Sofer, "Obama Calls Abbas, Olmert on First Day," Ynet, January 21, 2009,,7340,L-3659961,00.html.

10. Khaled Abu Toameh and Dan Diker, "What Happened to Reform of the Palestinian Authority?," Jerusalem Issue Brief, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, March 3, 2004, DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=254&PID=0&IID=701.

11. David Horowitz, "This Time It Will Be Different," Interview with U.S. Security Coordinator General Keith Dayton, Jerusalem Post, December 11, 2008, pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull.

12. Senior officials close to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas confirmed the lack of a Palestinian chief of staff and a disciplined, centralized command structure in several meetings with author Dan Diker in 2008, most recently in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2008. Also, the authors draw a distinction between the Palestinian National Security Forces' success in confronting Hamas activists in Ramallah and closing down Hamas charities, and the PA security forces' lack of will to uproot Hamas and other terror groups. This has been common to PA control in Gaza and the West Bank and had characterized PA security force failures in the 1990s. Other less active, yet competing, Fatah militias include PA Preventative Security under the command of Ziad Hab al-Rih, a Fatah operative and former colleague of former West Bank Fatah strongman Jibril Rajoub. There are also other smaller Fatah-affiliated armed groups.

13. Pinchas Inbari and Dan Diker, "The Murder of Musa Arafat and the Battle for the Spoils of Gaza," Jerusalem Issue Brief, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 10, 2005,

14. Patrick Devenny, "Training Our Enemies," Front Page Magazine, October 18, 2005. In a more recent example, local Nablus warlord Abu Jabber was integrated in Fayyad's National Security Forces in 2008 as a mid-level commander, but this did not stop his local militia from continuing to extort local business owners for protection money. One local real estate developer related to the authors that Abu Jabber had demanded an apartment for free in exchange for his militias' forced protection services. This same phenomenon - national security by day and mafia member by night - has characterized the PA Fatah forces in the West Bank from Arafat's entry into the territories in 1994 until today under the Dayton reform plan outlined at Annapolis. American security programs under the Clinton administration had ended up training numerous PA terror operatives such as Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorist Khaled Abu Nijmeh, who had used his CIA training to supervise multiple suicide bombings in Bethlehem in 2001 and 2002. A July 2005 report compiled by the security consulting firm Strategic Assessments Initiative (SAI) on behalf of the U.S. government found that, "even with millions of American dollars and years of CIA training, the PA police were wholly ineffective, wracked with divided loyalties and inferior equipment." SAI charged that "many of the PA officers were active or complicit in terrorist attacks or organized crime rings." See Devenny, "Training Our Enemies."


16. For example, Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades websites have called for the murder of Fayyad since 2003, while Hamas' Izaddine al-Kassam Brigades website called Abbas "a murderer" for his actions against Hamas operatives and "justified exercising the use of divine justice against him, relying on religious decrees that permit the killing of a Muslim who collaborates in a crime against another Muslim." See Lt.-Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi, "The Hamas Regime in the Gaza Strip: An Iranian Satellite that Threatens Regional Stability," in Iran's Race for Regional Supremacy, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2008, p.76.

17. Reports from Gaza indicate that hundreds of Fatah members were killed and tortured by Hamas during and after Israel's military campaign in Gaza. See Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas Rounding Up, Torturing Fatah Members in the Gaza Strip," January 19, 2009. Fatah and Hamas websites reveal the bitter hatred and enmity between the groups that will not be solved if the groups agree for tactical reasons to enter into a national unity government. This is frequently misunderstood in the West, which believes that a Fatah-Hamas "reconciliation" - like the one brokered in Mecca in 2007 and which resulted in more deaths between Fatah and Hamas than in previous years - would be a pretext for advancing the peace process. A senior advisor to French President Nicholas Sarkozy told Ha'aretz that a Fatah-Hamas national unity government would trigger EU acceptance of Hamas as a governmental partner to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

18. Dan Diker, "A Deterrent Restored," Powerlineblog, January 9, 2009,

19. Khaled Abu Toameh Hamas: Abbas' Spies Led Israel to Siam," Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2009, ShowFull&cid=1232100169312.

20. A high-ranking official at a senior Palestinian ministry confirmed PA monthly salary payments to Hamas' Executive Force in Gaza and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank, in a meeting with the authors in Jerusalem, December 7, 2008.

21. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Palestinian Straw Firms Said Aiming to ‘Steal' Gaza Funds," Jerusalem Post, January 26, 2009.

22. Amir Mizroch, "Hamas Salaries Paid at Shifa Hospital," Jerusalem Post, January 12, 2009.

23. See the strategic assessment by former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon on the error of Israeli and Western backing of "strong" and "weak" Palestinian leaders in "Israel and the Palestinians; a New Strategy," op. cit.

24. "French Envoy, Palestinians Given $3B in Foreign Aid in 2008," AP/Ha'aretz, December 23, 2008.

25. Elaine Sciolino, "$7.4 Billion Pledged for Palestinians," New York Times, December 18, 2007, as cited in Yaalon, "Israel and the Palestinians."

26. According to a conversation with a senior Israeli security official, January 13, 2009.

27. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas Shuns Bid to Give Rafah to PA," Jerusalem Post, January 8, 2009. Dahlan's candidacy to reassert Fatah control in Gaza was confirmed by senior PA officials in a meeting with author Dan Diker on December 8, 2009. Two Arab diplomats familiar with negotiations over an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire also confirmed his candidacy in separate conversations with Diker on January 6 and January 11, 2009. Hamas leaders have also pointed to Dahlan's possible return. A Hamas official in Gaza City claimed that former Fatah security commanders who fled Gaza during the Hamas takeover in June 2007, including Mohammed Dahlan and his deputy Rashid Abu Shabak, "were holding meetings in Cairo and Ramallah to discuss returning home." See Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas: PA Conspiring with Israel," Jerusalem Post, December 31, 2008.

28.According to a senior source in the Bureau of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, January 12, 2009.

29. Mohammed Dahlan interview, Egyptian State Television, January 21, 2009.

30. David Rose, "The Gaza Bombshell," Vanity Fair, April 2008.

31. Pinchas Inbari and Dan Diker, "The Murder of Musa Arafat," op. cit. Dahlan was believed to be a local partner in the UK Portland Trust plan to develop hundreds of low-cost housing units in post-disengagement Gaza.

32. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Analysis: A Viable Successor to Hamas Is Hard to Find," Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2009. Ramadan Shallah, secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, warned that any Palestinian "who dares to return to the Gaza Strip aboard an Israeli tank would be condemned as a traitor." Senior Arab diplomats told author Dan Diker on January 9, 2009, that Dahlan is not concerned with Palestinian threats against him.

33. Yaalon, "Israel and the Palestinians: A New Strategy."

34. Patrick Devenny, "Training Our Enemies."

35. David Rose, "The Gaza Bombshell."

36. A senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told author Dan Diker that Dahlan was "very charming" at a meeting on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., June 2005.

37. David Rose, "The Gaza Bombshell."

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid. A former State Department employee familiar with the concept and planning of what was called "Plan B" to replace Hamas with Dahlan's forces confirmed the plan to the author in an off-the-record interview, Washington, D.C., July 1, 2008. See also David Horowitz, "This Time, It Will Be Different," op. cit.

40. Horowitz, "This Time, It Will Be Different."

41. See a copy of the note reportedly left in a meeting in Ramallah between PA and U.S. officials, See a copy of the pre-"Plan B" U.S. security plan from 2006 left behind at a meeting between U.S. and Palestinian officials in Ramallah,

42. David Rose, "The Gaza Bombshell." See also David Horowitz, "This Time, It Will Be Different."

43. Former PA Interior Minister and senior Abbas advisor Hanni al-Hassan shared his sharp criticism of the plan with the author in a meeting several days after the coup on June 17, 2007.

44. Aluf Benn, "Top U.S. General Lays Foundation for Palestinian State," Ha'aretz, August 14, 2008,

45. "Remarks by U.S. Security Coordinator, LTG Keith Dayton, Update on the Israeli-Palestinian Situation and Palestinian Assistance Programs," House Foreign Affairs, Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, May 23, 2007,

46. Yaakov Katz, "Israeli Official: Dayton Failed," Jerusalem Post, June 17, 2007.

47. According to Hanni al-Hassan, former senior advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, in a meeting with the author, June 17, 2007. Hani al-Hassan, former senior political advisor and member of Fatah's central committee, said in an Al-Jazeera TV interview on June 27, 2007, that what was happening in Gaza was not a Hamas defeat of Fatah but defeat of plans of American Major General Keith Dayton, Mohammed Dahlan and his Fatah followers. See,7340,L-3418486,00.html. See the Al-Jazeera interview at David Wurmser, former Middle East Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, would later note, "It looks to me that what happened wasn't so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen." See David Rose, "Gaza Bombshell."

48. Pinchas Inbari and Dan Diker, "The Murder of Musa Arafat."

49. Glenn Kessler, The Confidante, Condoleezza Rice and the Bush Legacy (New York: St. Martins Press, 2007), p. 133.

50. Erica Silverman, "Two Steps Back," Al-Ahram Weekly, December 8-14, 2005.

51. Dan Diker meeting with former senior World Bank official, Jerusalem, July 2005.

52. David Rose, "Gaza Bombshell."

53. Pinchas Inbari and Dan Diker, "The Murder of Musa Arafat."

54. According to Haggai Huberman writing in Hatzofe, the former Sharon government had been provided a secret CIA tape recording of Dahlan ordering the attack.

55. For many months in 2008 Abbas and Fayyad did not speak, coordinate positions, or cooperate. More recent reports indicate that their working relationship has slightly improved. They are essentially leaders of two separate Palestinian Authorities. Fayyad is the U.S. contact, while Abbas is the leader of the Fatah establishment and has been a source of disappointment to the Bush administration. See Glenn Kessler, The Confidante, p. 130. This point was also reiterated at a series of meetings in 2008 with a senior advisor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas based in Ramallah.

56. Aluf Benn, "Top U.S. General Lays Foundation for Palestinian State."

57. David Horowitz, "This Time It Will Be Different."

58. Yaakov Katz, "IDF: Jenin Forces Not Fighting Terror," Jerusalem Post, June 15, 2008, JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

59. Ibid.

60.. Mohammed Abu Khadair, "Dr. Fayyad Places His Government at the Disposal of the President to Pave the Way for National Reconciliation," Al Quds, January 23, 2009.

61. Yaakov Katz, "IDF: Jenin Forces Not Fighting Terror."

62. Isabel Kirshner, "Volatile City Tests Palestinian Police and Peace Hopes," International Herald Tribune, November 13, 2007,

63. Yaakov Katz, "IDF: Jenin Forces Not Fighting Terror."

64. Moshe Yaalon, "Israel and the Palestinians: A New Strategy."

65. A Nablus businessman told author Dan Diker of the direct threats made against him by local Nablus Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades commander Abu Jabber, in a meeting in Rome, December 9, 2009.

66. Steve Erlanger, "On Palestinian Question, Tough Choices for Obama," New York Times, January 22, 2009.

67. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas and the Palestinians," Hudson New York, January 2, 2009.

68. Mohammed Yaghi, "The Impact of the Gaza Conflict on Palestinian Politics," Policy Watch, No. 1446, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, December 31, 2008,

69. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas Rounding Up, Torturing Fatah Members in the Gaza Strip," Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2009.

70. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas: Abbas No Longer Heads PA," Jerusalem Post, January 9, 2009.

71. Tova Lazeroff and Yaakov Katz, "Israel Disputes Gaza Death Toll," Jerusalem Post, January 22, 2009.

72. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Al Aksa: We Also Fought IDF in Gaza," Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2009.

73. Akiva Eldar, "Report: EU to Lift Sanctions on Hamas if Palestinian Unity Government Formed," Ha'aretz, January 19, 2009.


75. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Palestinian Straw Firms Said Aiming to ‘Steal' Gaza Funds."

76. Robert Satloff, "In the Wake of the Hamas Coup: Rethinking America's ‘Grand Strategy' for the New Palestinian Authority," Policy Watch, No. 1252, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, June 26, 2007.

77. The notion of "bottom-up" peace-making based on broad Palestinian reform was coined by former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, and alluded to as a point of reference by Special Quartet Envoy Tony Blair. See Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also referred to "bottom-up" peace-making in concert with his program of "economic peace" for the West Bank.
Dan Diker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he is also a senior foreign policy analyst. He is also an Adjunct Fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington. Khaled Abu Toameh is Palestinian affairs correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Post and a number of foreign TV stations and newspapers. They are currently co-authoring a book on the Middle East peace process.