Posts Tagged ‘Hamas’

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IPT: The Enemy of My Enemy

August 14, 2009

The Enemy of My Enemy

IPT News
August 7, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1369/the-enemy-of-my-enemy

There is an ancient Arab proverb that says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Its meaning is essentially self-explanatory. In the modern world, the phrase can describe the relationship among seemingly disparate people or groups who share a common adversary.

It is no surprise that Islamist organizations in the United States espouse support for foreign Islamic terrorist organizations and denounce virtually every US counter-terrorism effort. Such organizations viciously attack Israel and often Jews when issues related to Israeli defense measures against terror attacks come into play. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other Palestinian terror organizations can unleash lethal attacks against Israelis and Jews and nearly any Israeli response will be condemned as a “war crime” against the Palestinian people.

A disturbing trend is emerging in America. Those radical Islamists are finding new allies among a number of extreme leftist groups.

One example of this is the coalition found in “Viva Palestina USA.” Viva Palestina USA is an offshoot of British MP George Galloway’s anti-Zionist, pro-Hamas Viva Palestina convoy initiative that has conducted supposed humanitarian aid trips into Gaza, including last month’s trip with about 200 Americans as well as more than $1 million in aid for Palestinians in Gaza. Viva Palestina USA claims to be a humanitarian initiative desiring to help needy Palestinians. A previous report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows convoy organizers exhibiting clear anti-American, anti-Israel, revolutionary and pro-Hamas sentiments.

Viva Palestina USA is not (yet) an IRS-approved tax exempt non-profit organization. Its website solicits donations through an organization called the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizations/Pastors for Peace (IFCO). The IFCO is a tax exempt non-profit organization based in New York City. The executive director of IFCO is Lucius Walker, Jr. Walker is a Baptist minister who was a founding director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace. IFCO and Walker are also involved with an organization called “Cuba Solidarity,” also known as the “National Network on Cuba (NNOC).” IFCO is listed as an affiliate organization on the Cuba Solidarity website. Cuba Solidarity and the NNOC are pro-communist Cuba and oppose US Government policies against Cuba. Walker has been involved in several “aid caravans” to Cuba in violation of the US trade embargo.

During a pre-convoy rally in New York July 3 for Viva Palestina USA, Walker made the following statements:

“…But we could not avoid being a part of this historic effort to give the people of the United States an opportunity to visibly demonstrate their opposition to our government’s policies, our government’s callousness and our government’s complicity with Israel’s efforts to destroy the hopes and the aspirations of the Palestinian people. And so we have been honored to be able to receive funds on behalf of this effort that we are here as a part of. So this is the second send-off that those of us connected with Pastors of Peace have been a part of for this week…” and “Fidel [Castro] was right, is right. A better world is possible. But that better world is not possible if we do not take bold and courageous and determined action.”

Also attending this Viva Palestina rally was New York City Councilman Charles Barron. Barron is a former Black Panther. At the rally, Barron recognized and welcomed members of the New Black Panther Party:

“I also want to say as we continue to struggle for liberation for people all over, and we are particularly concerned about Africa we want to thank the New Black Panther Party. Please y’all stand up…”

Anti-Israel, leftist Christian and pro-communist political groups are not the only ones aligning themselves with radical Islamists. There appears to be a growing movement among radical Latino and African-American groups to support jihadists.

The Aztlan movement, or “Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan,” or “Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan” touts the supremacy of Latino culture and hopes to eventually return the southwest states of the US to Mexico, claiming those states were illegally procured from Mexico. This is, essentially, a Latino separatist and secessionist movement.

The “Aztlan Communications Network,” also known as “La Voz de Aztlan” (The Voice of Aztlan) claims it is a “totally independent news service.” This website, however, in its “Quest for Aztlan” section carries an emblem that is nearly identical to the emblem found on the official MEChA site. The “Historical Documents” section identifies “El Plan de Santa Barbara,” as does the MEChA site under its “Documentos” section. Also identified in this La Voz de Aztlan section are detailed references to MEChA.

La Voz de Aztlan features stories denouncing Israeli and US government counter-terrorism efforts. The site is blatantly pro-Islamist and there is a direct link to supporting Viva Palestina USA called “Lifeline from La Raza to Gaza.” This from the site:

“We were all moved to tears of grief and anger when Israel launched its murderous bombardment against the people of Gaza in December and January.”

“While the bombs were still showering down on what has been called the largest open-air prison in history…”

“The US has a chance right now to step into a more progressive role in the world. But Viva Palestina USA needs your help to make this venture successful and to get this aid through the siege that has been strangling the people of Gaza for three years.”

“1) Circulate this message among all friends, community and religious groups and other organizations in your network. Publish it on your website if possible. MEChA Chapters are encouraged to participate.”

“2) …Donations are being handled by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization and should be made payable to Viva Palestina – IFCO. Please write on your donation “Aztlan Delegation.” For information on how to make a donation click Donate.

“3) Come as an Aztlan delegate to Gaza…”

“4) Hold a fundraiser in your city or community. We have films and other materials to assist you. E-mail Aztlan.Gaza.Delegation@aztlan.net for further information.”

“5) Contact your local and state media to tell them why you support the Viva Palestina USA convoy.”

“Together, we WILL break the siege, we WILL deliver much-needed aid to the people of Gaza, and we WILL help free Palestine! VIVA, VIVA PALESTINA!”

There is a link on this site to an article headlined:

Israel has now massacred over 300 Palestinian children in Gaza .

This article contains two pages of photos of injured and dead Palestinian children who were allegedly the victims of Israeli attacks. The lead paragraph of the article:

“According to United Nations reports, the Zionist state of Israel has now slaughtered over 900 Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip since December 27, 2008 when the indiscriminate bombing of Palestinian homes, schools and mosques began. Most shocking is that more than 300 of these are babies, toddlers and young children (1500 injured). This war crime has got to be one of the most horrific in the history of humanity.”

A curious YouTube video posting also reflects the emerging paradigm of an extremist American affinity for the Islamist cause. The segment is a 4+ minute rap video slide show called “My Enemy’s Enemy” by something called M-Team. Prime repetitive wording in the rap is “My enemy’s enemy is my man, my man.” The slide show intersperses scenes from the Middle East with 1960s-era shots of armed Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army operatives as well as what appears to be some photo reference to the Nation of Islam and the capture of Latino illegal aliens by the US Border Patrol.

“My Enemy’s Enemy” was used to open the July 26 broadcast of “The Crescent Report,” a weekly program hosted by Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation officials Mahdi Bray and Ibrahim Ramey. MAS was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, which federal prosecutors describe as “a generally covert organization whose credo is ‘Allah is our goal: the Qur’an is our constitution: the Prophiet is our leader: Struggle is our way: and death in the path of Allah is our highest aspiration.'”

Bray introduced the song saying “I want the listeners to hear this, because I think it’s really appropriate.” Its lyrics include:

“We’re sharks in the water, we work for the man. My enemy’s enemy is my man, my man. You smuggle contraband or you cross the land, my enemy’s enemy is my man, my man. I’m a brother to the (unintelligible word) with stones in their hands, Palestinians fighting for their stolen land…Got brothers from the Vietnam. Not the red, white and blue, but the Viet Cong.”

Afterward, co-host Ibrahim Ramey even dedicated the song to a listener.

Islamists are garnering support from disparate sources. Radical non-Muslim ethnic groups and hard-core leftists seem to be jumping on the jihadist bandwagon. It’s an alliance that demands closer inquiry.

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Obama funds $20M tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas

June 16, 2009

Obama funds $20M tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA

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Since this fool has been anointed king, and as I’ve followed him with my blog before the election, I now believe we truly have the Manchurian Candidate in office as PONTUS.  I could list all the things he has blown, while driving our country off the cliff economically. I won’t even mention the blunders he made on his world tour apologizing for what bad people we are in the U.S. I just ask you the reader, can you name anything he has done right and in the interest of America?  This guy scares the hell out of me.

This is the  news that didn’t make the headlines…  Federal Register Link belowObama

By executive order,  President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in migration assistance to the Palestinian refugees and conflict  victims in Gaza . The “presidential determination” which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States was signed on January 27 and appeared in the  Federal Register on February 4.


Few on Capitol Hill took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing  and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their  overwhelming support of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in  the parliamentary election of January 2006.

A review of Barack Obama’s most recent actions since he was inaugurated: &nbs p;
His first call to any head of state as  president was to Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah party in the Palestinian territory.
His first one-on-one interview  with any news organization was with Al Arabia television.

He  ordered Guantanamo Bay closed and all military trials of detainees halted.

He ordered all overseas CIA interrogation centers  closed.

He withdrew all charges against the masterminds behind  the USS Cole and 9/11.

Now we learn that he is allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refuges to move to and live in the US at American taxpayer expense.

To verify for yourself:


www.thefederalregister.co m/d.p/2009-02-04-E9-2488
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Cartoon: Obama Supports Terrorism

May 22, 2009

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That Surreal Gaza Reconstruction Conference

March 6, 2009

How do you account for this gift of nearly one billion dollars of your hard earned tax money to the terrorists in Gaza? Why are Pres. Obama and Sec’ty. Hillary Clinton playing up to these terrorists which will lead to the rebuilding of their arsenal of rockets? Don’t you, as a loyal member of the party in power, have any voice in the direction your leader is taking you and this country? Will you stand idly by and watch your dollars being contributed to the killers of men, women and children who reside both in Gaza and Israel? Why the silence among you? Why not get out your marching clothes, picket signs and banners that accompanied you on your demostrations against the war in Iraq and begin taking over our streets and colleges to proclaim a quick end to our newly born  support for Muslim terror?

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That Surreal Gaza Reconstruction Conference

by Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com
March 3, 2009

Was I the only one rubbing my eyes in disbelief yesterday, as the Egyptian government hosted an “International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza”?

Husni Mubarak of Egypt addresses the Gaza donors’ conference.

It took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, attended by delegations from 71 states, plus 16 regional, international, and financial organizations. Its stated goal was to raise US$2.8 billion, of which $1.3 was for rebuilding what had been destroyed in the course of Israel’s recent war on Hamas (the rest would be sent to the Palestinian Authority to help improve its standing). The actual amount raised at the conference was $4.5 billion which, when added to previously committed funds, means the grant total for Gaza and the PA comes to $5.2 billion, to be disbursed over a two-year period. A delighted Egyptian foreign minister called the amount “beyond our expectations.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it “a very productive conference”

Among the larger donations included a Gulf Cooperation Council contribution of $1.65 billion over five years and a U.S. government pledge of $900 million from the American taxpayer (of which $300 million will go for Gaza rebuilding).

Husni Mubarak of Egypt, Nicholas Sarkozy of France, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, Amr Moussa of the Arab League, and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority gave speeches.

Why my disbelief at this spectacle: I wonder if those eminentoes and worthies really believe that warfare in Gaza is a thing of the past, and that the time for reconstruction is nigh?

They must not read dispatches from southern Israel, which report the daily warfare that continues there. Take a representative news item from Yedi’ot Aharonot, dated February 28, “Experts: Grads in Ashkelon were advanced.”

the two Grad rockets that landed in Ashkelon Saturday morning[, Feb. 28,] were new and improved models, capable of greater destruction than those usually fired from Gaza. One of the rockets hit a school in the southern city, and succeeded in penetrating the fortification used to protect it from projectiles. … The Grad rockets that hit Ashkelon were two of only five or six locally manufactured 170 mm rockets ever fired at Israel, experts say. The rarely used rockets have a range of 14 km (8.6 miles) and are capable of massive damage, evident from the destruction witnesses described on the scene of Saturday’s attack.

In an official protest to the United Nations, the Israel’s Ambassador Gabriela Shalev noted that “there have been nearly 100 rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip” since the ceasefire on January 18, or over two per day. These have been increasing in number, with 12 rockets were fired at Sderot on March 1 alone.

Responding to these attacks, the Israeli cabinet resolved on March 1 that “should the firing from the Gaza Strip continue, it would be met by a painful, sharp, strong and uncompromising response by the security forces.” Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu echoed this bellicosity, reportedly telling a European leader that he would not sacrifice Israel’s security “for a smile.”

(Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal, in unexpected agreement, noted that rebuilding Gaza would be “difficult and fool-hardy, so long as peace and security do not prevail” there.)

What the hell are the donor countries doing, getting in the middle of an on-going war with their high-profile supposed reconstruction effort? My best guess: this permits them subtly to signal Jerusalem that it better not attack Gaza again, because doing so will confront it with a lot of very angry donor governments – including, of course, the Obama administration.

Adding to the surreal quality is a blithe disregard for Israel’s security needs. Consider the attitude of Douglas Alexander, international development secretary for Britain’s Labour government, who pledged £30 million of his taxpayers’ funds to rebuild houses, schools, and hospitals in Gaza. “There is a desperate need for tough restrictions on the supply of goods to be relaxed,” he said, demanding next that “Israel must do the right thing and allow much-needed goods to get through to those men, women and children who continue to suffer.”

That’s very humanitarian of Mr. Alexander, but he willfully ignored Israeli expectations that Hamas will confiscate steel, concrete, and other imported construction materials to build more tunnels, bunkers, and rockets. After all, Hamas appropriated prior deliveries intended for civilians, and so blatantly that even the usually docile United Nations Relief and Works Agency protested.

Husni Mubarak might warn Hamas not to treat the donors’ pledges as a “conquest of war,” but it will assuredly do precisely that. U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (Republican of Illinois) got it right: “To route $900 million to this area, and let’s say Hamas was only able to steal 10 percent of that, we would still become Hamas’ second-largest funder after Iran.”

So, under the cheery banner of building, in Clinton’s words, “a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors,” donor states are not only defying Israel to protect itself from rocket fire but they are funneling matériel to Hamas.

Is this ignorance or mendacity? I suspect the latter; no one is that dumb.

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Why Israel Did Not Lose in Gaza

February 13, 2009

AN EXCELLENT REPORT ON THE RECENT WAR IN GAZA.

THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: WHY DID WE PULL OUT WHEN WE DID?

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Conventional versus Non-Conventional Warfare and Why Israel Did Not Lose in Gaza

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On February 10, 2009 @ 10:49 am In Uncategorized | 14 Comments

My good friend, Herb Berger, of lucky, sunny, southern California, just sent me a Report issued by SFC Ariel (Orion) Siegelman upon his return from combat operations in Gaza. Siegelman founded the Draco Group as a service in advanced security and training. He served in the Israel Defense Force, Special Forces, as a counter terror operative, counter terror sniper and counter terror instructor. He remains active in the Reserves where he serves on active duty when necessary, as well as an instructor for rapid response teams, counter terror, urban sniper situations, and special warfare tactics.

I do not know whether Siegelman has published his Report anywhere but even if he has, it really deserves a continuously wide reading.

For years now, Israeli and American military tacticians have had to learn how to define “triumph” when a conventional army is facing a non-conventional army in which seasoned soldiers may disguise themselves as civilians, conduct “hit and run” operations and then disappear, and when conventional soldiers want to live but non-conventional soldiers are perfectly willing to die as long as they can also kill you.

One of the many things I learned when I lived in Afghanistan so long ago was that for some people, fighting, killing, looting, kidnapping-for-ransom (or pleasure), and dying was a veritable way of life, that fighting and dying gave their lives significance and was the only way they could fulfill their obligations as the male members of a tribe and clan. My American and western concept of steady, inevitable progress, my womanly concept of mediating differences in a non-violent way had absolutely no place in this wild and gorgeous place. Even I was charmed by the rifle-bearing and friendly (to me) Khyber Pass male relatives who visited me in Kabul. They had come to meet their “first American woman.”

Indeed, the other night I watched the film “Mongol” which imagines the early life of Genghis Khan. It is a bloody, but beautiful and brilliant film. Watch it. It will help you understand the psychology of the permanent barbarian-fighter, who is born and bred to battle as a way of life.

In terms of neo-barbarian modern warfare, (airplane hijackings, suicide bombings, torture and mutilation of captives, permanent low-level warfare, vicious propaganda), Israel has been tested early on and has had to learn how to best defend itself. World-wide, Israeli embassies and consulates have, unfortunately, been forced to lead the way in terms of modern security measures. Israel’s El Al airlines are one of the safest airlines to fly. Now, we are all Israelis in terms of airport security and other public building security measures.

Which leads us to Ariel (Orion) Siegelman’s really smart analysis of how to understand the recent and ongoing war in Gaza. Here is his full Report.
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“I returned home from war in Gaza last week and people keep asking me the same question:

“Why did the Israelis pull out before they finished the job?”

The premise of this question is that the Israelis should have continued the war in the Gaza Strip until it was conquered and Hamas was toppled. This is an erroneous premise that is dangerous in the new kind of war and is based on an outdated western understanding of warfare which has no basis in the new war theater. The problem with the above premise is that it is based in the understanding that there are front lines and there are real lines on the battlefield. This faulty rule states that if you can push through enemy territory and fight until you get to the enemy’s opposite borders, you have conquered the land and the war is over. This premise would state that, in the case of Israel, when you capture the Hamas headquarters and arrest or kill the leaders, Hamas has been toppled. This is the same lack of understanding that led to many problems that US forces face today in Iraq. People still cannot understand why the war is raging on, even after we captured the enemy’s leader, Sadam Hussein (see Draco Report, March 2008). Sorry folks, the age of conquest is dead.

The conventional war, where soldiers meet on the battlefield to fight, is a thing of the past. Today technology is so great that any target that is identifiable, can be destroyed by a conventional army with pinpoint accuracy within a matter of seconds. Even if 2 great powers were to meet on a battlefield, there would be such tremendous devastation on both sides within the first few minutes that it would make this conventional battle pointless. This is all the more true for a force that cannot hope to match his enemy’s technological capabilities (e.g. Hamas, Al Qaeda, Tamil Tigers, etc). In this case he must equal the playing field by rendering the technology useless. The neutralization of technology is accomplished through unconventional tactics. And we have seen many cases of inferior numbers with inferior weaponry beating back a seemingly stronger enemy when the enemy was stuck in his conventional and rigid mindset, unwilling to meet the unconventional force with flexibility and creativity.

In the case of Israel vs. Hamas, Israel has a conventional army and Hamas is an unconventional force. When throwing around these terms it is very important to understand that conventional and unconventional forces define victory in VERY different ways. If the conventional army does not win, it loses. If the unconventional army does not lose, it wins. Therefore, the unconventional force is always in an advantage. We are not playing a numbers game here. We are talking about the reality on the new battlefield. Perception, my friends; that is all that matters.

A conventional army operates by
1. Identifying the enemy.
2. Pinning the enemy down.
3. Killing or capturing the enemy.

Any unconventional force recognizes these three rules and organizes its operability to combat them. The three rules of unconventional warfare are:
1. Make it impossible for the opposing force to identify you.
2. Never stand and fight.
3. Don’t worry about numbers. Just wear them down.

The unconventional force does not need to, and should never meet 100 soldiers on the battlefield with an equal opposing force (the whole concept of unconventional warfare is unequal force). He looks at 100 opposing enemy as 100 targets. He only needs to field 2 fighters who pop up out of a hole in the ground or from behind a wall, spray 50 rounds of ammunition and then run away. Each 10 second attack should kill or wound a few of the conventional force Add booby traps to this kind of mixture and the unconventional fighter can greatly increase his impact on those soldiers. In this manner, 2 men can bring hundreds of enemy soldiers to a cowering stand-still. The conventional soldiers never know where the attack will come from. By the time they identify the source of fire, the enemy has vanished. Most importantly, the conventional force becomes afraid and demoralized and over time, the home front withdraws their support for what seems endless and pointless, and pressures the government to pull the forces out, making the continuation of operations eventually impossible. When the conventional force finally pulls out, the unconventional force will ALWAYS declare victory, showing gory pictures and telling the stories of their heroic plight against a superior force that they drove out under fire

Now let us talk about Gaza.

I have never seen a more perfectly carried out operation of a conventional army against an unconventional force. It is important to recognize that the Israeli intelligence arm proved, once again, to be stellar in providing fresh and mind-boggling, detailed assessments of the enemy, his capabilities, and his positions. All rules of engagement and mission plans were developed directly from this information.

So why did we pull out when we did?

Imagine going into a casino and having inside information. You KNOW that you are going to make money, so you lay down all of your chips and you win big. The trick is to get out before the casino starts to figure you out and win it back. Gaza is a very dangerous place. It is full of booby traps, tunnels, bunkers, and a very violent enemy. Every moment that our guys are inside of a place like that, there is a tremendous potential for carnage. And due to the fact that the enemy is unconventional in nature, all Hamas needs is ONE devastating strike on an Israeli position, for one IED (improvised explosive device) to take out a team, or for one tank to be blown up, and they have acquired victory. We knew from the start of an operation like this that we were eventually going to pull out and they only needed ONE story that they could tell after we were gone. It was undoubtedly the grace of G-d that stole the smallest bit of victory from Hamas. I personally have met this enemy many times over the last few years and the fact they came out of this situation appearing incapable to the world, like a rag-tag bunch of fools, borders on miraculous. They are a VERY serious, well supplied, highly trained army and we expected high numbers of casualties. The decision to pull out when we did was partially due to this fact – get out while you are ahead.

Before entering the Gaza Strip, the army was very clear about our objectives. We were told that we do not want to destroy all of their capabilities and we are not trying to topple Hamas. This is hard for many good people to swallow but it is the best thing under the circumstances. Our goal was simply to drastically reduce their capabilities to hit us and to remind our enemies, and ourselves (after Lebanon) that we are not wimps. The fact that upwards of 100 rockets per day were falling in Israel proper before this operation and now, a handful of rockets hit every week, shows that we, in fact, accomplished our goals. I am well aware that it is still intolerable to allow someone to shoot missiles at you and it seems ridiculous to say that we achieved our goals because they “ONLY shoot a few rockets at us.” However, in this situation, it is VERY important to do a cost-benefit analysis. In this sort of conflict within 2 weeks you can destroy between 80% and 90% of the enemy’s capabilities. However, in order to get rid of the last 10%, it might take 2 years or more of much harder, more surgical effort. Remember what we said above, EVERY MOMENT that you are inside, you are in GREAT danger of losing men. The costs are simply not worth that last 10%.

The idea of toppling Hamas is not on the menu for 2 simple reasons:

1. Hamas is an idea. You cannot kill an idea with military action. It is foolish to think that you can topple a movement through conquest. As long as 2 individuals can hide and claim that they hold true to the Hamas ideals, you have not accomplished your goal of “toppling Hamas”.

2. I’ll let you in on a little secret (any politician will deny this), but we don’t want to topple Hamas – and you shouldn’t either. You see, Fatah (the opposition to Hamas) is considered to be moderate because they don’t murder quite as many people and because Mahmud Abbas (”prime minister” of the Palestinian Authority and head of Fatah) wears a suit. If Hamas did not exist, only the “moderates” would be left and then the world, as well as the Israeli Left would apply great pressure to create a Palestinian State. And even if you think that a Palestinian State is a good idea then I think that you should move to Gaza for a while. Fatah is a terrorist organization! But the world won’t care about that if Hamas is out of the picture. Therefore, Hamas has its place, albeit weaker, but it has its place.

Ask yourself, what more would we have gained by staying in for an extra week or an extra month? It is true, we could have killed more of them and we could have destroyed more of their tunnels, buildings, and cashes. But at what cost to us? We left after inflicting great destruction to their capabilities and now, as they are pulling themselves out of the rubble, they are desperately trying to claim some sort of victory and even their own people roll their eyes at that attempt. They have no stories of heroism or victory that they can grasp onto in this new kind of war where perception is what builds you or tears you down. Therefore, they lost

So what about the future?

Without a doubt, Hamas is already re-arming and planning for the next chapter of this conflict. The enemy is highly motivated, cunning, adaptable, and vicious. So we must be the same. Even though some analysts would have us believe that radical Islam is on the decline, I assure you, we have not yet seen it peak. The United States talks of leaving Iraq in another year or two and you must ask yourself how long it will take for Iran to fill that void.”

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With Neighbors like this….

February 9, 2009

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ISRAEL – GAZA – HAMAS

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NY Post: Obama Pandering to Muslim World

February 9, 2009

THE NEW YORK POST

AMIR TAHERI

January 29, 2009

IN his “first message to the Muslim world” Tuesday, President Obama on Al-Arabiya TV invited the Islamic Republic in Iran to “unclench its fist” and accept his offer of “un conditional talks.”

A few hours later, after Obama had appeared on the Saudi-owned satellite-TV channel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd of militants that no talks are possible unless the United States met a set of conditions.

He demanded a formal apology for unspecified US “crimes” against Iran and the Islamic world. The crucial condition, however, was that America should withdraw its troops from other countries, “taking them back to their own territory.”

The contrast couldn’t have been greater. Obama tried to be as conciliatory as possible – asking only for an “unclenching” of the Iranian fist – a change of style. Ahmadinejad asked for concrete US moves, notably a global military retreat that would leave the Middle East at Tehran’s mercy.

In the understatement of the year, Obama said: “Iran has acted in ways not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region.” He also claimed that Iran’s support for terrorists, though “not helpful,” is a thing of the past – yet Tehran was running guns to Hezbollah and Hamas even as he spoke.

ON Al-Arabiya, Obama did something more interest ing: He cast himself in the role of a bridge [?] between America and the Muslim world, a kind of honest broker between two camps in conflict.

[?] To hammer in the point, he recalled the Muslim part of his own family background and his childhood in Muslim Indonesia – a topic he’d carefully avoided during the campaign. He also asserted that America is a land of “Muslims, Christians, Jews” and others – making sure to mention Muslims first.

At times, Obama sounded like a marriage counselor. He said his job is to communicate to Americans that “the Muslim world is full of extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.” On the other hand, he said, he’d also tell the Muslims that “Americans are not your enemy.”

Obama looked to the past rather than the future to give such platitudes a tinge of political vision. He said he wanted a return “to the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

The problem is that few people in the Muslim world will welcome his back-to-the-future approach. Thirty years ago, Obama was a teenager in Indonesia. Vice President Joseph Biden, however, was already a senator and a champion of President Jimmy Carter‘s strategic retreat.

What was happening during what Obama seems to regard as the “golden age” of Carter’s leadership? US diplomats were held hostage in Tehran and daily humiliated with mock executions. Soviet troops were annexing Afghanistan to the Evil Empire. Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Iran, starting an eight-year war that claimed a million lives. Mecca was under siege by the ideological antecedents of Osama bin Laden. Syrian troops were preparing to march into Lebanon.

OTHER features of this “golden age“: the seizure of power by mullahs in Tehran, the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the coming to power of communists in the Horn of Africa, the military coup in Turkey, the first Islamist terror attacks in Algeria, unprecedented waves of repression in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the imposition of military rule in Pakistan.

During the same period, and its immediate aftermath, dozens of Americans from many walks of life were seized as hostages and sometimes brutally murdered in several Muslim countries. The US ambassador in Sudan was murdered; the CIA station chief in Beirut abducted, taken to Tehran and killed under torture.

A similarly dark picture could be drawn of the situation 20 years ago, when America was arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan while Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Kuwait.

And the first President George Bush was then trying to court the Iranian mullahs in much the same way as Obama is trying today. But the mullahs were training and arming Hezbollah units in Lebanon and opening channels to Palestinian radicals who would soon re-emerge as Hamas. Saddam was gassing thousands of Kurds to death, while Turkey was dragged into a full-scale war on Kurdish communist secessionists. Meanwhile, the Libyan terror network was killing American GIs in Europe and blowing up US jetliners over Western skies.

No – that was no golden age, either.

THE truth is that the Middle East is not much better off than at any time since its emergence as a geopolitical unit after World War I. Thanks to the transformation of America from a power guaranteeing the deadly status quo into one that supports reform and change, the region has started to experience new currents of democratization.

Afghanistan and Iraq have been liberated, their peoples given a chance to build new systems of their own choice. The Syrians have been kicked out of Lebanon. Libya has been disarmed. Egypt has been forced to allow multiparty presidential elections. More than a dozen Arab states have adopted constitutions and introduced some form of electoral politics. Kuwaiti women have won the right to vote and get elected.

Iran’s democratic forces are encouraged to launch their campaign against the mullahs. The Islamists have been roundly defeated in Algeria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

For the first time, the question of democracy is top of the political agenda in virtually every Muslim state.

Obama should remember that he is the president of the United States – not an impartial broker. It was unfortunate that he described himself as a bridge. For a bridge has no personality of its own and cares little about who might cross it and in which direction.

IF this was meant as the first direct contact between Obama and the Muslim world, the Al-Arabiya interview must be rated as a missed opportunity.

Obama’s remarks about the Israel-Palestine issue were so trite as to merit no analysis. He said he was sending former Sen. George Mitchell to listen to all sides – as if the world has not been hearing their stories for more than six decades.

The president appeared apologetic, offering no hope for democratization and economic development. He made no mention of the economic meltdown that is creating unprecedented mass unemployment in many countries of the region.

Nor did he offer any support to democratic forces facing crucial elections in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Algeria this year.

He had nothing to say about the thousands of Iranian workers who have been thrown into prison solely because they created independent trade unions. Nor did he mention Iranian women’s courageous “a million signatures campaign” or the series of student revolts that have been crushed by the mullahs with exceptional violence.

Nor was there any nod toward reformers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt or the heroic Lebanese democratic leaders who are fighting to preserve their nation’s independence from Iran and Syria.

Obama didn’t call for the release of the tens of thousands of political prisoners held in more than two dozen Muslim countries or a moratorium on executions that each year cost the lives of hundreds of dissidents.

CASTING himself in the role of a “bridge” and dreaming of a return to an illusionary past, Obama appeared unsure of his own identity and confused about the role that America should play in global politics. And that is bad news for those who believe that the United States should use its moral, economic and political clout in support of democratic forces throughout the world.

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Defund Egypt

February 2, 2009

Defund Egypt If It Won’t Close Tunnels

BY JONATHAN SCHANZER |  1/27/2009 | I.B.D.

A half-dozen U.S. military officers and engineers recently toured Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported.

They reportedly are working to install high-tech sensing equipment to locate the smuggling tunnels that snake beneath the sands between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. Maan notes that the group is already training Egyptian security personnel to use the equipment.

The need for this equipment is dire. Dozens of Gaza Strip smugglers went back to work last week, openly repairing the tunnels that supply the Hamas economy, as Israel withdrew its troops.

With their help and determination, Hamas will quickly replenish the rockets and launchers destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Cast Lead.

Egypt says it will accept equipment or aid from any nation to help combat smuggling. But, with or without help, Egypt must begin to actively identify and destroy these tunnels. If it won’t, Washington should consider revoking Egypt’s $1.7 billion in foreign aid.

Israel has complained with increasing intensity that Egypt turns a blind eye to the tunnels. Cairo originally dismissed those allegations as “old and silly.”

However, as Israeli protests grew louder, the U.S. House and Senate agreed to a 2008 foreign aid bill that would withhold about $100 million of Egypt’s foreign aid unless Washington could certify that Egypt was doing its part to stop the smuggling.

Egypt, however, still failed to deliver. In late January 2008, the Hosni Mubarak regime stood by as Hamas destroyed parts of the wall separating Gaza from the Sinai.

Tens of thousands of Gazans streamed into Egypt, stocking up on food, supplies and weapons. According to Israeli security services chief Yuval Diskin, large quantities of long-range rockets, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and materiel for rocket production were brought into Gaza.

Predictably, the Israeli government was furious. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel stated in a BBC interview that it was “the responsibility of Egypt to ensure that the border operates properly, according to the signed agreements.”

Weapons Highway

However, it took Egypt 12 days to close the border. Once sealed, underground smuggling returned to previous levels.

One year later, despite regular diplomatic overtures from Jerusalem and Washington, the smuggling continues. The continued operation of these tunnels has wide-reaching consequences.

The tunnels are the lifeblood of the Gaza economy, enabling Hamas to circumvent international sanctions. Tunnels furnish the Hamas economy in the Gaza Strip with everything from cigarettes and car parts to erectile dysfunction pills and fresh cheese. Hamas also smuggles in Iranian cash to pay the salaries of its loyalists.

Additionally, Hamas collects revenue from the tunnels, which yield approximately $140 million per year. In some cases, Hamas charges the operators thousands of dollars to maintain them.

In short, without the tunnels, the Hamas economy would likely collapse. The power structure would quickly follow.

Notably, Egypt’s refusal to shut down the tunnels directly contributes to the bloody internecine conflict between Hamas and Fatah — the two dominant Palestinian factions. The more weaponry and goods Hamas smuggles into Gaza, the stronger it will get and the more prepared it will be to confront Fatah in another round of violence. This will only ensure future instability in the West Bank and Gaza.

Finally, and most obviously, the Sinai tunnels provide Hamas with the projectiles and ordnance that provoked Israel into the most recent conflict. This led to a re-inflammation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, not to mention needless bloodshed on both sides. The resumption of tunnel activity now ensures that a future round of conflict is just around the corner.

Until now, Israeli efforts to get Egypt to take stronger action against the tunneling had potentially dangerous consequences. Specifically, Israel feared jeopardizing its cold peace with Egypt, which had ensured a tense regional calm since 1978.

However, it is now clear that Egypt has failed to live up to its obligations. The need for additional U.S. personnel to bolster Cairo’s flaccid anti-smuggling efforts is proof of this.

As calls for change and accountability reverberate throughout Washington at a time when budgets are under increased scrutiny, the U.S. Congress should take a hard look at Egypt’s $1.7 billion in foreign aid.

More than $1.3 billion of that is military aid. Those funds must be used to better patrol the Gaza border. If they are not, U.S. foreign aid should be reconsidered.

Don’t you think that your tax dollars should stop paying Egypt $1700 Million Dollars to just laugh at America and Israel?

Schanzer, a former terrorism analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, is deputy director of the Jewish Policy Center and author of “Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine.”

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How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas

January 26, 2009

Moshav Tekuma, Israel

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

Abid Katib/Getty Images

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas.

Last Saturday, after 22 days of war, Israel announced a halt to the offensive. The assault was aimed at stopping Hamas rockets from falling on Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hailed a “determined and successful military operation.” More than 1,200 Palestinians had died. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.

Hamas responded the next day by lobbing five rockets towards the Israeli town of Sderot, a few miles down the road from Moshav Tekuma, the farming village where Mr. Cohen lives. Hamas then announced its own cease-fire.

Since then, Hamas leaders have emerged from hiding and reasserted their control over Gaza. Egyptian-mediated talks aimed at a more durable truce are expected to start this weekend. President Barack Obama said this week that lasting calm “requires more than a long cease-fire” and depends on Israel and a future Palestinian state “living side by side in peace and security.”

A look at Israel’s decades-long dealings with Palestinian radicals — including some little-known attempts to cooperate with the Islamists — reveals a catalog of unintended and often perilous consequences. Time and again, Israel’s efforts to find a pliant Palestinian partner that is both credible with Palestinians and willing to eschew violence, have backfired. Would-be partners have turned into foes or lost the support of their people.

Israel’s experience echoes that of the U.S., which, during the Cold War, looked to Islamists as a useful ally against communism. Anti-Soviet forces backed by America after Moscow’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan later mutated into al Qaeda.

[Hamas supporters in Gaza City after the cease-fire.] APA /Landov

Hamas supporters in Gaza City after the cease-fire.

At stake is the future of what used to be the British Mandate of Palestine, the biblical lands now comprising Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Since 1948, when the state of Israel was established, Israelis and Palestinians have each asserted claims over the same territory.

The Palestinian cause was for decades led by the PLO, which Israel regarded as a terrorist outfit and sought to crush until the 1990s, when the PLO dropped its vow to destroy the Jewish state. The PLO’s Palestinian rival, Hamas, led by Islamist militants, refused to recognize Israel and vowed to continue “resistance.” Hamas now controls Gaza, a crowded, impoverished sliver of land on the Mediterranean from which Israel pulled out troops and settlers in 2005.

When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.

“When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.”

Israeli officials who served in Gaza disagree on how much their own actions may have contributed to the rise of Hamas. They blame the group’s recent ascent on outsiders, primarily Iran. This view is shared by the Israeli government. “Hamas in Gaza was built by Iran as a foundation for power, and is backed through funding, through training and through the provision of advanced weapons,” Mr. Olmert said last Saturday. Hamas has denied receiving military assistance from Iran.

Arieh Spitzen, the former head of the Israeli military’s Department of Palestinian Affairs, says that even if Israel had tried to stop the Islamists sooner, he doubts it could have done much to curb political Islam, a movement that was spreading across the Muslim world. He says attempts to stop it are akin to trying to change the internal rhythms of nature: “It is like saying: ‘I will kill all the mosquitoes.’ But then you get even worse insects that will kill you…You break the balance. You kill Hamas you might get al Qaeda.”

When it became clear in the early 1990s that Gaza’s Islamists had mutated from a religious group into a fighting force aimed at Israel — particularly after they turned to suicide bombings in 1994 — Israel cracked down with ferocious force. But each military assault only increased Hamas’s appeal to ordinary Palestinians. The group ultimately trounced secular rivals, notably Fatah, in a 2006 election supported by Israel’s main ally, the U.S.

Now, one big fear in Israel and elsewhere is that while Hamas has been hammered hard, the war might have boosted the group’s popular appeal. Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, came out of hiding last Sunday to declare that “God has granted us a great victory.”

Most damaged from the war, say many Palestinians, is Fatah, now Israel’s principal negotiating partner. “Everyone is praising the resistance and thinks that Fatah is not part of it,” says Baker Abu-Baker, a longtime Fatah supporter and author of a book on Hamas.

A Lack of Devotion

Hamas traces its roots back to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group set up in Egypt in 1928. The Brotherhood believed that the woes of the Arab world spring from a lack of Islamic devotion. Its slogan: “Islam is the solution. The Quran is our constitution.” Its philosophy today underpins modern, and often militantly intolerant, political Islam from Algeria to Indonesia.

After the 1948 establishment of Israel, the Brotherhood recruited a few followers in Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza and elsewhere, but secular activists came to dominate the Palestinian nationalist movement.

At the time, Gaza was ruled by Egypt. The country’s then-president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was a secular nationalist who brutally repressed the Brotherhood. In 1967, Nasser suffered a crushing defeat when Israel triumphed in the six-day war. Israel took control of Gaza and also the West Bank.

“We were all stunned,” says Palestinian writer and Hamas supporter Azzam Tamimi. He was at school at the time in Kuwait and says he became close to a classmate named Khaled Mashaal, now Hamas’s Damascus-based political chief. “The Arab defeat provided the Brotherhood with a big opportunity,” says Mr. Tamimi.

In Gaza, Israel hunted down members of Fatah and other secular PLO factions, but it dropped harsh restrictions imposed on Islamic activists by the territory’s previous Egyptian rulers. Fatah, set up in 1964, was the backbone of the PLO, which was responsible for hijackings, bombings and other violence against Israel. Arab states in 1974 declared the PLO the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people world-wide.

Heidi Levine/Sipa Press for The Wall Street Journal

A poster of the late Sheikh Yassin hangs near a building destroyed by the Israeli assault on Gaza.

The Muslim Brotherhood, led in Gaza by Sheikh Yassin, was free to spread its message openly. In addition to launching various charity projects, Sheikh Yassin collected money to reprint the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian member of the Brotherhood who, before his execution by President Nasser, advocated global jihad. He is now seen as one of the founding ideologues of militant political Islam.

Mr. Cohen, who worked at the time for the Israeli government’s religious affairs department in Gaza, says he began to hear disturbing reports in the mid-1970s about Sheikh Yassin from traditional Islamic clerics. He says they warned that the sheikh had no formal Islamic training and was ultimately more interested in politics than faith. “They said, ‘Keep away from Yassin. He is a big danger,'” recalls Mr. Cohen.

Instead, Israel’s military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the recent war.

Brig. General Yosef Kastel, Gaza’s Israeli governor at the time, is too ill to comment, says his wife. But Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who took over as governor in Gaza in late 1979, says he had no illusions about Sheikh Yassin’s long-term intentions or the perils of political Islam. As Israel’s former military attache in Iran, he’d watched Islamic fervor topple the Shah. However, in Gaza, says Mr. Segev, “our main enemy was Fatah,” and the cleric “was still 100% peaceful” towards Israel. Former officials say Israel was also at the time wary of being viewed as an enemy of Islam.

Mr. Segev says he had regular contact with Sheikh Yassin, in part to keep an eye on him. He visited his mosque and met the cleric around a dozen times. It was illegal at the time for Israelis to meet anyone from the PLO. Mr. Segev later arranged for the cleric to be taken to Israel for hospital treatment. “We had no problems with him,” he says.

In fact, the cleric and Israel had a shared enemy: secular Palestinian activists. After a failed attempt in Gaza to oust secularists from leadership of the Palestinian Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross, Mujama staged a violent demonstration, storming the Red Crescent building. Islamists also attacked shops selling liquor and cinemas. The Israeli military mostly stood on the sidelines.

Mr. Segev says the army didn’t want to get involved in Palestinian quarrels but did send soldiers to prevent Islamists from burning down the house of the Red Crescent’s secular chief, a socialist who supported the PLO.

‘An Alternative to the PLO’

Clashes between Islamists and secular nationalists spread to the West Bank and escalated during the early 1980s, convulsing college campuses, particularly Birzeit University, a center of political activism.

As the fighting between rival student factions at Birzeit grew more violent, Brig. Gen. Shalom Harari, then a military intelligence officer in Gaza, says he received a call from Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint on the road out of Gaza. They had stopped a bus carrying Islamic activists who wanted to join the battle against Fatah at Birzeit. “I said: ‘If they want to burn each other let them go,'” recalls Mr. Harari.

A leader of Birzeit’s Islamist faction at the time was Mahmoud Musleh, now a pro-Hamas member of a Palestinian legislature elected in 2006. He recalls how usually aggressive Israeli security forces stood back and let conflagration develop. He denies any collusion between his own camp and the Israelis, but says “they hoped we would become an alternative to the PLO.”

A year later, in 1984, the Israeli military received a tip-off from Fatah supporters that Sheikh Yassin’s Gaza Islamists were collecting arms, according to Israeli officials in Gaza at the time. Israeli troops raided a mosque and found a cache of weapons. Sheikh Yassin was jailed. He told Israeli interrogators the weapons were for use against rival Palestinians, not Israel, according to Mr. Hacham, the military affairs expert who says he spoke frequently with jailed Islamists. The cleric was released after a year and continued to expand Mujama’s reach across Gaza.

Around the time of Sheikh Yassin’s arrest, Mr. Cohen, the religious affairs official, sent a report to senior Israeli military and civilian officials in Gaza. Describing the cleric as a “diabolical” figure, he warned that Israel’s policy towards the Islamists was allowing Mujama to develop into a dangerous force.

“I believe that by continuing to turn away our eyes, our lenient approach to Mujama will in the future harm us. I therefore suggest focusing our efforts on finding ways to break up this monster before this reality jumps in our face,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

Mr. Harari, the military intelligence officer, says this and other warnings were ignored. But, he says, the reason for this was neglect, not a desire to fortify the Islamists: “Israel never financed Hamas. Israel never armed Hamas.”

Roni Shaked, a former officer of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, and author of a book on Hamas, says Sheikh Yassin and his followers had a long-term perspective whose dangers were not understood at the time. “They worked slowly, slowly, step by step according to the Muslim Brotherhood plan.”

Declaring Jihad

In 1987, several Palestinians were killed in a traffic accident involving an Israeli driver, triggering a wave of protests that became known as the first Intifada, Mr. Yassin and six other Mujama Islamists launched Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement. Hamas’s charter, released a year later, is studded with anti-Semitism and declares “jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief.”

Israeli officials, still focused on Fatah and initially unaware of the Hamas charter, continued to maintain contacts with the Gaza Islamists. Mr. Hacham, the military Arab affairs expert, remembers taking one of Hamas’s founders, Mahmoud Zahar, to meet Israel’s then defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, as part of regular consultations between Israeli officials and Palestinians not linked to the PLO. Mr. Zahar, the only Hamas founder known to be alive today, is now the group’s senior political leader in Gaza.

In 1989, Hamas carried out its first attack on Israel, abducting and killing two soldiers. Israel arrested Sheikh Yassin and sentenced him to life. It later rounded up more than 400 suspected Hamas activists, including Mr. Zahar, and deported them to southern Lebanon. There, they hooked up with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed A-Team of anti-Israeli militancy.

Many of the deportees later returned to Gaza. Hamas built up its arsenal and escalated its attacks, while all along maintaining the social network that underpinned its support in Gaza.

Meanwhile, its enemy, the PLO, dropped its commitment to Israel’s destruction and started negotiating a two-state settlement. Hamas accused it of treachery. This accusation found increasing resonance as Israel kept developing settlements on occupied Palestinian land, particularly the West Bank. Though the West Bank had passed to the nominal control of a new Palestinian Authority, it was still dotted with Israeli military checkpoints and a growing number of Israeli settlers.

Unable to uproot a now entrenched Islamist network that had suddenly replaced the PLO as its main foe, Israel tried to decapitate it. It started targeting Hamas leaders. This, too, made no dent in Hamas’s support, and sometimes even helped the group. In 1997, for example, Israel’s Mossad spy agency tried to poison Hamas’s exiled political leader Mr. Mashaal, who was then living in Jordan.

The agents got caught and, to get them out of a Jordanian jail, Israel agreed to release Sheikh Yassin. The cleric set off on a tour of the Islamic world to raise support and money. He returned to Gaza to a hero’s welcome.

Efraim Halevy, a veteran Mossad officer who negotiated the deal that released Sheikh Yassin, says the cleric’s freedom was hard to swallow, but Israel had no choice. After the fiasco in Jordan, Mr. Halevy was named director of Mossad, a position he held until 2002. Two years later, Sheikh Yassin was killed by an Israeli air strike.

Mr. Halevy has in recent years urged Israel to negotiate with Hamas. He says that “Hamas can be crushed,” but he believes that “the price of crushing Hamas is a price that Israel would prefer not to pay.” When Israel’s authoritarian secular neighbor, Syria, launched a campaign to wipe out Muslim Brotherhood militants in the early 1980s it killed more than 20,000 people, many of them civilians.

In its recent war in Gaza, Israel didn’t set the destruction of Hamas as its goal. It limited its stated objectives to halting the Islamists’ rocket fire and battering their overall military capacity. At the start of the Israeli operation in December, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told parliament that the goal was “to deal Hamas a severe blow, a blow that will cause it to stop its hostile actions from Gaza at Israeli citizens and soldiers.”

Walking back to his house from the rubble of his neighbor’s home, Mr. Cohen, the former religious affairs official in Gaza, curses Hamas and also what he sees as missteps that allowed Islamists to put down deep roots in Gaza.

He recalls a 1970s meeting with a traditional Islamic cleric who wanted Israel to stop cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood followers of Sheikh Yassin: “He told me: ‘You are going to have big regrets in 20 or 30 years.’ He was right.”

[History of Conflict Between Israel and Hamas]

Write to Andrew Higgins at andrew.higgins@wsj.com

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War Without End

January 20, 2009

War Without End

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | 8 January 2009

Mideast: Proponents of a French-Egyptian plan for a cease-fire in Gaza say it might stop the fighting. But for any chance at peace, Hamas must be defeated decisively.


Read More: Middle East & North Africa | Global War On Terror


The idea behind French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s plan was to call an immediate cease-fire to permit humanitarian aid into Gaza — which Israel did — then to hold urgent talks to stop the violence. Israel, with reservations, agreed; Hamas, however, rejected the idea.

Don’t worry. Israel will get blamed.

Watching the world’s reaction as a small nation surrounded by enemies defends itself from attack is a sickening thing. Along with celebrity Israel-haters such as singer Annie Lennox and former model and rock-star wife Bianca Jagger, the far left in the U.S., a large swath of European intelligentsia and the United Nations have cast Israel as villain and Hamas as victim.

But they’ve got it backwards. Israel has taken extraordinary care to avoid civilian casualties, going so far as to warn those in buildings it is preparing to strike. Hamas has no such compunction. It uses civilians as human shields, hoping to raise the death toll so the so-called “international community” will blame Israel even more.

In talks, Israel has shown repeatedly through concessions as well as words that it wants a deal and will accept a Palestinian state.

But each time Israel has made concessions, it’s been met with the implacable fury of its foe. The world Islamist movement, as embodied by Hamas, seeks Israel’s annihilation and nothing else.

It happened after talks at Camp David in July 2000 with President Clinton, when Israel offered PLO chief Yasser Arafat literally 98% of the land he requested, and the possibility of getting most of the remaining 2% down the road. The response? Arafat stormed out, and the violent Second Intifada began.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, an act of good will and a major strategic concession to its enemies. But there was no reciprocity. Islamist terrorists attacked Israel, and in 2006 the Palestinians themselves voted Hamas into power — knowing full well that Hamas’ explicit goal is the destruction of the Jewish state.

More recently, Hamas spent a six-month cease-fire with Israel rearming and restocking its weapons. When that cease-fire ended on Dec. 19, 2008, Hamas began lobbing deadly Iranian-built Qassam and Russian-designed Grad rockets at Israeli civilian populations.

Fortunately for Israel, a network of bomb shelters built over 60 years of unyielding conflict has kept casualties to a minimum.

Sadly, the same can’t be said in Gaza. Hamas has used children’s schools, hospitals and mosques as staging grounds for attacks and to store munitions. When civilian human shields are inevitably harmed — and injuries to children and innocents are always regrettable — Hamas doesn’t get blamed. Israel does.

Those who think Israel should stop fighting miss the point: Hamas’ 1988 charter explicitly calls for the murder of Jews in the name of Islam and the destruction of Israel. It must be repudiated.

The Gaza war could end tomorrow, and the promise of a Palestinian state redeemed, if Hamas and its terrorist allies in the Mideast, including Iran, ended their war of extermination against Israel.

Sadly, this won’t happen. No country can negotiate away its very existence. If Israel doesn’t destroy Hamas, it will never have peace.

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Hamas Uses Schools and Ceasefire to Shoot Rockets at Israel

January 20, 2009

Hamas Uses Schools and Ceasefire to Shoot Rockets at Israel

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IDF Confiscating Weapons, 15 Jan. 2009

January 15, 2009

Weapons Confiscated from the House of Terror Operative in Gaza, 15 Jan 2009, 18:20 IST

gazaweapons21

gazaweapons3

gazaweapons

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Night Strike on Hamas 14 January 2009

January 15, 2009

Israeli Night Strike on Hamas

14 January 2009


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Ft. Lauderdale, Hamas

January 14, 2009

Friends, Patriots, Believers,

This is Ft. Lauderdale – This is a mile away from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Don


Friends,
Below is an impassioned letter from a very dear friend of mine who is in the forefront of local support for Israel and for continuing the rights and freedoms we all hold dear in this country. She stands physically in the streets alongide of Jews and other Christians facing down the Islamist, home grown would be terrorists who expect us to tremble at their presence as is the habit in Europe at their demonic expressions of hate. Listen to her message. The forces of evil are growing in Florida and around the rest of this country. Confront them, speak out against them to our  weak-kneed, liberal all loving religious and political leaders who want nothing more than to dialogue with these Sharia followers as if they can change 1,300 years of inbred hatred.
Look at the pictures from Gaza. It’s a preview of what can happen here.
Alan
————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Dear First Baptist Families:

Last evening I witnessed an event that greatly pained and grieved my spirit.

For the past three weeks, on the corner of Broward Blvd. and Third Ave., I have taken part, along side of Jews and other Christians, in a demonstration showing support for Israel in the Israeli/Gaza war that is raging, carrying signs of scripture of God’s words from the Old Testament.   Twelve hours ago up near our building on the west lawn of First Baptist Church, to my horror, I saw tens and tens of terrorist-supporting, Hamas-sympathizing Muslims kneel in prayer — on Holy Ground where I raised my son who is now in Iraq fighting to save America/Israel/democracy — and at the end of their prayer they screamed “Allah Akbar,” and rose in a warring fervor that you would need to see for yourselves to believe.

I will refrain from further commentary, but instead will leave you to imagine this alarming encroachment that is before us in this struggle for our very right to live free here in our America, and will say only that I yearn for inactive saints to come forth and be heard.  “All that is needed for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke.

It is in Christ that I pray,

Danita

“I tremble for the future of my country when I reflect that God is Just”
Thomas Jefferson

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Israeli Navy Strikes Hamas-linked Terror Targets in Gaza 29 Dec. 2008

January 14, 2009

Israeli Navy Strikes Hamas-linked Terror Targets in Gaza 29 Dec. 2008

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Precision Airstikes on Hamas Terror Targets 7 Jan. 09

January 14, 2009
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Israel’s Gaza Surge

January 13, 2009

Very simple – take out the source – trace the trajectory of every missile and return one to destroy the source – every one.  Remember? high-school math? Kepler? Newton? Calculus, Integral calculus?

This is critcially important!!! – Can America trust Obama?

Hamas must be destroyed – Israel must disarm them completely!

Don

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Israel’s Gaza Surge –

wsj 4 jan 09

Obama’s Iran diplomacy needs a Hamas defeat.

Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza raises the strategic stakes for the Jewish state, for its moderate Arab neighbors, and also for Barack Obama’s looming Presidency. Having committed to disarming Hamas, Israel can’t now afford to lose its second war in two years.

Though the analogy isn’t perfect, in some sense this Hamas exercise can be understood as Israel’s version of the U.S.-Iraqi “surge” in Iraq. The year 2006 was the worst in more than a generation for Western interests in the Middle East, with al Qaeda and Iran’s proxies advancing in Iraq, Hezbollah fighting Israel to a draw in Lebanon, and Hamas rising in Palestine. The 2007-2008 surge reclaimed the advantage in Iraq, and now Israel is attempting to do the same against Hamas.

The strategic question is larger than merely stopping Hamas missiles from landing in Israeli cities, though that is justification enough for Israel’s bombing and the ground operation. A nation like Israel, with enemies on all sides, must maintain an aura of invincibility if it is to have any chance at peaceful co-existence. It was that aura after two wars that induced Egypt to agree to peace with Israel in the 1970s. By contrast, the 2006 Lebanon campaign convinced radical Arabs and Persians that Israel had grown soft and could be beaten. Israel can’t let Hamas maintain a similar mythology at the end of this operation, or the costs will be far higher down the road.

Israeli leaders are talking as if they realize this strategic reality, though it’s hard to know for sure because their war aims remain publicly ill-defined. Haim Ramon, the Israeli vice premier, says the goal is nothing short of the elimination of Hamas rule in Gaza, though that hasn’t been repeated by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or other senior war leaders. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said the operation “won’t be easy or short,” though understandably without much elaboration given the need to keep Hamas in the dark.

We don’t agree with those who claim that Israel faces only two bad options: either a limited campaign that scores a tactical victory while allowing Hamas to survive as a military force; or a return to the full-scale occupation that Israel abandoned in 2005. Israel could re-occupy some parts of Gaza, this time without Israeli settlements to defend. More realistically, given Israel’s domestic reluctance for such a presence, it could fight long enough to eliminate Hamas as a military threat, then announce a policy that every rocket fired at Israel in the future would be met by a “proportionate” airstrike or other reprisal. This would allow Israel to claim military victory in the short term, while creating a deterrent going forward.

The costs of either operation will be high. But the costs of inaction since Israel abandoned Gaza in 2005 have also been high, especially in allowing Hamas to build an army of some 15,000 men. Hamas now has missiles that can hit targets 20 miles inside Israel, leaving the entire south of the country vulnerable, and on present course longer-range missiles will eventually hit Tel Aviv. Whether or not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to reassert control of Gaza, Hamas has to be destroyed as a military force.

For the broader Middle East, the issue is the expansion of Iranian influence and terror. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Sadrist “special groups” in Iraq, Hamas has become part of Tehran’s bid for regional hegemony. The Bush Administration’s regional setbacks in 2006 went far to encourage that Iranian ambition, though the surge has contained it in Iraq. Hezbollah remains stronger than ever in Lebanon, however, and Hamas has been pressing to humble Israel with an eye to deposing Mr. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority on the West Bank as it has in Gaza.

This is where Mr. Obama comes in. The Bush Administration has rightly given Israel the diplomatic cover it needs to pursue its war aims, amid the usual Arab, European and U.N. denunciations. Similar denunciations were of course never aimed at Hamas missiles fired at Israeli civilians. As Israel’s operation continues, the clamor will build for the U.S. to force Israel to stop short of defeating Hamas. Such an intervention by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice allowed Hezbollah to claim victory in 2006, and Mr. Obama should not repeat the same mistake.

Much as Mr. Obama takes office in a stronger position thanks to the Iraq surge, his foreign policy would also benefit from Israeli success in Gaza. The President-elect says he intends to pursue a grand bargain with Iran, [NAIVE] and the mullahs are going to be more interested in diplomacy if their military proxies have been defeated. A Hamas humiliation would also show Tehran that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regional militarism has more costs than benefits.

The Israelis have done Mr. Obama a favor by striking back at Hamas before he takes office so President Bush can endure the usual global denunciations for U.S. support for Israel. But Mr. Obama will soon need to return the favor by showing Israel — and Iran — that the new President understands the U.S. stake in the success of Israel’s Gaza surge.

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Hamas??? Get the hint….

January 12, 2009

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Pro-Israel Rally Pictures

January 12, 2009

Pro-Israel Rally Pictures from Detroit – 8 January 2008 – Federal Court Building.100_1254100_1246100_1248100_1252

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IMPORTANT: Mideast Peace Possible Only If Hamas Loses

January 9, 2009

IMPORTANT – TO – READ.

ISRAEL MUST NOT STOP UNTIL HAMAS IS DESTROYED

Mideast Peace Possible Only If Hamas Loses

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Posted Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Israel’s leaders have purposely obscured their war aims in Gaza. But there are only two possible endgames: (A) a Lebanon-like cessation of hostilities to be supervised by international observers, or (B) the disintegration of Hamas rule in Gaza.

Under tremendous international pressure — including from an increasingly wobbly U.S. State Department — the government of Ehud Olmert has begun hinting that it is receptive to a French-Egyptian cease-fire plan, essentially acquiescing to Endgame A.

That would be a terrible mistake.

It would fail on its own terms. It would have the same elements as the phony peace in Lebanon: an international force that abjures any meaningful use of force, an arms embargo under which arms will most assuredly flood in, and a cessation of hostilities until the terrorist side is rearmed and ready to initiate the next round of hostilities.

The U.N.-mandated disarmament of Hezbollah in Lebanon is a well-known farce. Not only have foreign forces not stopped Hezbollah’s massive rearmament. Their very presence makes it impossible for Israel to take any preventive military action, lest it accidentally hit a blue-helmeted Belgian crossing guard.

The “international community” is now pushing very hard for a replay in Gaza of that charade. Does anyone imagine that international monitors will risk their lives to prevent weapons smuggling? To arrest terrorists? To engage in shootouts with rocket-launching teams attacking Israeli civilians across the Gaza border?

Of course not. Weapons will continue to be smuggled. Deeper and more secure fortifications will be built for the next round. Mosques, schools and hospitals will again be used for weapons storage and terrorist safe havens. Do you think French “peacekeepers” are going to raid them?

Which is why the only acceptable outcome of this war, both for Israel and for the civilized world, is Endgame B: the disintegration of Hamas rule. It is already under way.

This is not about killing every last Hamas gunman. Not possible, not necessary. Regimes rule not by physically overpowering every person in their domain, but by getting the majority to accept their authority. That is what sustains Hamas, and that is what is now under massive assault.

Hamas’ leadership is not only seriously degraded but openly humiliated. The great warriors urging others to martyrdom are cowering underground almost entirely incommunicado. Demonstrably unable to protect their own people, they beg for outside help, receiving in return nothing but words from their Arab and Iranian brothers.

And who in fact is providing the corridors for humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians? Israel.

In the first four minutes of this war, the Israel Air Force destroyed 50 targets, taking down practically every instrument and symbol of Hamas rule. Gaza’s Potemkin leaders were marginalized and rendered helpless, leaving their people to fend for themselves.

At such moments, regimes are extremely vulnerable to forfeiting what the Chinese call the mandate of heaven, the sense of legitimacy that undergirds all forms of governance.

The fall of Hamas rule in Gaza is within reach, but only if Israel does not cave in to pressure to stop now. Overthrowing Hamas would not require a permanent Israeli reoccupation.

A transitional international force would be brought in to immediately make way for the return of the Palestinian Authority, the legitimate government whose forces will be far less squeamish than the Europeans in establishing order in Gaza.

The disintegration of Hamas rule in Gaza would be a devastating blow to Palestinian rejectionists, who since the Hamas takeover of Gaza have been the ascendant “strong horse” in Palestinian politics.

It would be a devastating blow to Iran as patron of radical Islamist movements throughout the region, particularly after the defeat and marginalization of Iran’s Sadrist client in Iraq. It would encourage the moderate Arab states to continue their U.S.-allied confrontation of Iran and its proxies. And it would demonstrate Israel’s irreplaceable strategic value to the U.S. in curbing and containing Iran’s regional ambitions.

Olmert had such an opportunity in Lebanon. He blew it. He now has a rare second chance. The one-step-from-madness gangster theocracy in Gaza — just four days before the fighting, the Hamas parliament passed a Shariah criminal code, legalizing, among other niceties, crucifixion — is teetering on the brink.

It can be brought down, but only if Israel is prepared — and allowed — to complete the real mission of this war. For the Bush State Department, in its last significant act, to prevent that with the premature imposition of a cease-fire would be not just self-defeating but shameful.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

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CAIR’s Silence on Hamas

January 9, 2009

CAIR’s Silence on Hamas

IPT News
January 7, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/article/969

Shortly after Israel started bombing Hamas targets in Gaza, four leaders of national Muslim-American organizations gathered at the National Press Club to condemn the violence.

Their language was nuanced, with calls for an “even-handed” U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When they were specific, their criticism went in one direction. Nihad Awad, a co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its executive director, was the most pointed:

“And we demand that our government, the U.S. government, take immediate steps to end the immoral and illegal Israeli bombardment of Gaza and its population which has already resulted in more than 300 deaths, including many women and children.”

“Israel has to comply with international law. Israel has to respect the sanctity of human lives, and Israel has to respect its allies.”

One word was never mentioned: Hamas.

For years, CAIR officials have refused to condemn Hamas by name or call on it to cease terror attacks in the name of peace. Now they won’t even say the terror group’s name.

It’s not just Awad. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper was interviewed on CNN just after the news conference and was asked whether “making Hamas irrelevant in the region” would help improve life for the Palestinian people. His response made no reference to the terrorist group:

“Well what you want to do is give the Palestinians an idea that their future can be better. That their children can actually eat. Can you imagine right now, in the twenty first century, that we have a situation where there is a blockade keeping children from eating in any part of the world and America is supporting that blockade. It’s outrageous, it’s illegal, it’s immoral and it’s against international law. At a minimum we have to end the siege of the Gaza ghetto.”

CAIR-Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush issued a statement on Dec. 30 echoing his national leaders:

“We demand that our government take immediate steps to end the immoral and illegal Israeli bombardment of Gaza. We also demand the Bush administration join with the international community in seeking the end to the savage collective punishment of the people of Gaza.”

Where international conflict fits in with CAIR’s stated mission isn’t entirely clear. The mission statement says CAIR seeksto enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”

When it delves into international politics, it consistently sides with radical Islamists. In 1994, Awad publicly expressed his support for Hamas. Earlier that year, he called out editors at The Message, an American-Muslim publication, for simply using the term “Israel.”

“I hope,” he wrote, “that the use of ‘Israel’ in your news briefs was the result of an oversight and not intentional…Furthermore I hope you will return to the terminology ‘Occupied Palestine’ to refer to that Holy Land.”

Israel assassinated two Hamas leaders in the spring of 2004 in the wake of ongoing terrorist attacks. CAIR issued statements condemning the acts and, like now, concealing the terrorist movement’s role in precipitating them. Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin was mourned as a “wheelchair-bound Palestinian religious leader.” Yassin’s successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, was described by CAIR merely as “a political leader.”

Past behavior is relevant in assessing CAIR’s current stand. If the objective truly is to help the people of Gaza, demanding that Hamas cease its daily firing of missiles into Israeli cities is required. But that is not what is happening.

At this point, it bears repeating that internal Muslim Brotherhood records show Awad and his organization were part of a Brotherhood effort to help Hamas in the U.S. That’s why CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and why FBI case agent Lara Burns testified CAIR is a front group.

Exhibits in evidence in the show the foundation served as the Hamas fundraising arm in the United States and CAIR officials often participated in fundraisers for it. In November 2008, jurors convicted the foundation and five former officials on all 108 counts against them. In a statement, CAIR dismissed the verdict as “based more on fear-mongering than on the facts.”

But CAIR’s statements about the Gaza conflict are straight out of the playbook designed during a secret meeting of Hamas members and supporters held in Philadelphia in the fall of 1993. The stated purpose of the meeting was to find ways to “derail” the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords, which led to the creation of a Palestinian Authority and was considered an important step toward a peaceful, two-state solution to the conflict.

The two-dozen men assembled had two principal reasons for opposing the Accords. The new PA was dominated by their competitors — the secular Fatah movement — and they were concerned any success would marginalize the Islamist Hamas. And, as the Hamas Charter states, a negotiated, peaceful settlement that leaves Israel a viable state is unacceptable.

Records and FBI surveillance tapes show Awad presented a report in Philadelphia on “political, media, popular action and public relations in North America.” During a 2003 deposition, Awad claimed he couldn’t remember whether he attended the meeting. In his presentation, Awad refers to “Samah,” the simple code name meeting participants agreed to use instead of saying “Hamas” – its inverse – out loud. He also describes how the group can get its message out through the media:

“If you hear of a false rumor, you want to discredit it, huh? If people need money we would provide media coverage. We encourage people to donate to you. If there is a political issue, a Samah’s input for instance, about this or that, we inform people to contact their representatives, I mean…the [unintelligible] and others, print circulations and send them to them.”

Now, fast forward to today. CAIR chapters throughout the country are urging followers to lobby members of Congress with a unilateral focus. And they are soliciting people to sign petitions, which, in classic CAIR code, note:

“all parties in the Middle East conflict have committed violence against civilians. We unequivocally condemn all of these actions.”

In reality, though, they do not. No CAIR official has called on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israeli cities and no CAIR official has criticized Hamas for placing Palestinian civilians in harm’s way.

Contrast that with criticisms of Hamas from the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians in Gaza and even Iranian students. In a statement issued Dec. 30, the group Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat said:

“Those who have armed and encouraged groups like Hamas – which only yesterday did not hide its sympathy for the criminal Saddam Hussein, and which declared three days of mourning after his death – have innocent blood on their hands: [the blood of those killed] in the [recent] hostilities [in Gaza]. Now it is they who must be accountable to humanity, and it is they who must explain this tragic situation.”

The group criticized the Israeli invasion, too, but added “it is equally [important] to condemn the terror organizations that use kindergartens and hospitals as a shield against the [Israeli] attacks. [Hamas’s use of human shields] prepares the ground for intensified bombardment [by Israel] and for the killing of children and civilians, and [therefore] it is an inhuman act.”

The next day, the Iranian government shut down a newspaper which published parts of the Daftar-e Takhim-e Vahdat statement. Neither the statement nor the newspaper’s closing has received much attention in the United States.

All of it casts doubt on just how committed CAIR really is to sparing Palestinian civilians from the violence. If there were no Hamas rockets being fired, there would be no Israeli invasion of Gaza. Can anyone say otherwise with a straight face?

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Pro-Israel/Pro-Hamas – Detroit

January 9, 2009

Both sides in Mideast fight hold rallies, exchange shouts downtown



By NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Separated by police, the two groups of protesters — one pro-Arab, the other pro-Israel — shouted at each other Thursday afternoon outside a federal building in downtown Detroit.

It was a scene that reflected deep divisions among some parts of metro Detroit’s Arab-American and Jewish communities, a split that has spilled over into growing public displays — and in some cases inflammatory rhetoric.

But despite their differences, both have a common anxiety about the violence that has affected many personally.

“I haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep for a week now,” said Keith Sirlin, 56, of Bloomfield Township, whose Michigan-raised daughter serves in the Israeli army. “She’s in the middle of a war right now. … I keep getting to up to watch reports on TV.”

Sirlin said his daughter Carley, 22, helps protect a school in a southern Israeli town, Sderot, that has come under frequent rocket fire from Hamas. Part of her mission is to try to allay schoolchildren’s fears.

“She’s just an innocent person trying to do her duty and help out her country,” Sirlin said.

A family in peril

Mahmoud Habeel, 41, of Ypsilanti Township has similar worries about his family in Gaza. He said he found out Wednesday night that homes of family members were heavily damaged after an Israeli strike against a nearby mosque. Habeel said that two of his cousins, Mohamad Habeel, 21, and Talal Habeel, 23, were killed when Israel struck a police station in Gaza City, where they were training to be police officers.

“They were not involved in any fighting at all,” said Habeel. “They were just regular people trying to get a job.”

He said a third relative, Raed Habeel, 17, was killed this week after coming under fire near the town of Beit Lahya. And then came the news of a strike that he said heavily damaged a complex of residences near the town of Sheikh Radwan, where his four brothers and two sisters live.

Habeel said that he spoke with family members in Gaza on Wednesday night

“Everyone is scared, running for their lives,” Habeel said. “There’s no safe place. … It’s barbaric, the way I see it.”

But some members of the Jewish community say the source of the problem is terrorism from Hamas. On Thursday, an Israeli diplomat visiting metro Detroit defended his country’s actions.

“Israel is doing everything it can to avoid injury and death to noncombatants but we have to ask, why are there Hamas military installations inside houses, inside schools, even inside mosques?” said Gershon Kedar, deputy consul general of Israel.

‘We have no choice’

David Rott, 30, of West Bloomfield agrees. A former member of the Israel Defense Forces, Rott organized Thursday’s pro-Israel rally, which drew up to 50 people. Rott used to live in Tel Aviv and said he has witnessed the aftermath of suicide bomb attacks. He said that helps him understand Israel’s determination to defend itself against terrorism.

“If the Canadians started shooting rockets across the border into downtown Detroit, I wonder what our response would be,” Rott said. “Israel is justified in protecting its citizens. We have no choice. We cannot leave 700,000 citizens of the State of Israel open to indiscriminate rocket attack. … It’s very difficult if not impossible to deal with groups dedicated to your destruction.”

Later Thursday, a crowd of about 2,000 people packed into Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield to voice their support for Israel.

“Israel cannot back down until her survival is assured beyond any shadow of a doubt.” Rabbi Joseph Krakoff was to say in his in prepared remarks. “The people of Israel do not desire violence or war. They want peace.”

To local Palestinians, though, the rising death toll in Gaza is disturbing.

“I’m very sad for those who are killed,” said Sufian Nabhan, 38, of Dearborn. “And I’m very mad about what’s going on.”

In local Palestinian communities, some are raising money to help Gaza victims. And special prayers have been held inside a number of mosques. The war happened during the 10 days of Ashura, an emotional mourning period for Shi’ite Muslims who recall the death of a man, Imam Hussain, they say was killed in battle by an unjust ruler.

“For me as a Palestinian, when I watch the TV, it’s like my kids being killed,” Nabhan said.

One issue that has caused tension locally has been the rhetoric of some protesters during the recent rallies.

At one Dearborn rally, a woman held up a sign that equated the Jewish Star of David to the Nazi swastika; others repeatedly compared the Gaza strikes to the Holocaust; and more than once, protesters protestors chanted in Arabic a slogan referring to a battle that resulted in the oppression of Jews in Arabia centuries ago.

“There is not a Holocaust going on in Gaza, Israelis and Jews are not Nazis, and calling for a religious war against Jews is incitement to hate and violence,” said Don Cohen, who has monitored extremism for years and is director of the Great Lakes Region chapter of B’nai B’rith International. “If they don’t know this, something is wrong.”

Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at 248-351-2998 or warikoo@freepress.com. Staff writer Bill Laitner contributed to this report.

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Why Does The New York Times Love Hamas?

January 6, 2009

Why Does The New York Times Love Hamas?

By Steve Emerson
The Daily Beast
TheDailyBeast.com

January 6, 2008
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-01-06/why-does-the-times-love-hamas

The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Therefore we are totally dependent on American donations for keeping our operations going. We are the only non profit counter-terrorist group in the country that is conducting primary and exhaustive investigations into the operations, modus operandi and funding of radical Islamist groups here and their ties abroad. We also work to identify genuine Islamic moderates who we provide venues to speak out. Would you consider increasing your gift if you are already a donor, becoming a new one if you have not given, or contributing any type of equity for which you will get a tax deduction and avoid capital gains? Again, we are totally dependent on you. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.

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Missiles From Gaza

January 6, 2009

A video from a friend in Israel – “15 Seconds”

http://sderot.aish.com/SderotPetitions/MissilesFromGaza.php

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not a crazy right-winger

January 6, 2009

Israel’s Policy Is Perfectly ‘Proportionate’

Hamas are the real war criminals in this conflict.

By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ

Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified under international law, and Israel should be commended for its self-defense against terrorism. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter reserves to every nation the right to engage in self-defense against armed attacks. The only limitation international law places on a democracy is that its actions must satisfy the principle of proportionality.

Since Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, Hamas has fired thousands of rockets designed to kill civilians into southern Israel. The residents of Sderot — which have borne the brunt of the attacks — have approximately 15 seconds from launch time to run into a shelter. Although deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime, terrorists firing at Sderot are so proud of their actions that they sign their weapons.

When Barack Obama visited Sderot this summer and saw the remnants of these rockets, he reacted by saying that if his two daughters were exposed to rocket attacks in their home, he would do everything in his power to stop such attacks. He understands how the terrorists exploit the morality of democracies.

In a recent incident related to me by the former head of the Israeli air force, Israeli intelligence learned that a family’s house in Gaza was being used to manufacture rockets. The Israeli military gave the residents 30 minutes to leave. Instead, the owner called Hamas, which sent mothers carrying babies to the house.

Hamas knew that Israel would never fire at a home with civilians in it. They also knew that if Israeli authorities did not learn there were civilians in the house and fired on it, Hamas would win a public relations victory by displaying the dead. Israel held its fire. The Hamas rockets that were protected by the human shields were then used against Israeli civilians.

These despicable tactics targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians — can only work against moral democracies that care deeply about minimizing civilian casualties. They never work against amoral nations such as Russia, whose military has few inhibitions against killing civilians among whom enemy combatants are hiding.

The claim that Israel has violated the principle of proportionality — by killing more Hamas terrorists than the number of Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets — is absurd. First, there is no legal equivalence between the deliberate killing of innocent civilians and the deliberate killings of Hamas combatants. Under the laws of war, any number of combatants can be killed to prevent the killing of even one innocent civilian.

Second, proportionality is not measured by the number of civilians actually killed, but rather by the risk posed. This is illustrated by what happened on Tuesday, when a Hamas rocket hit a kindergarten in Beer Sheva, though no students were there at the time. Under international law, Israel is not required to allow Hamas to play Russian roulette with its children’s lives.

While Israel installs warning systems and builds shelters, Hamas refuses to do so, precisely because it wants to maximize the number of Palestinian civilians inadvertently killed by Israel’s military actions. Hamas knows from experience that even a small number of innocent Palestinian civilians killed inadvertently will result in bitter condemnation of Israel by many in the international community.

Israel understands this as well. It goes to enormous lengths to reduce the number of civilian casualties — even to the point of foregoing legitimate targets that are too close to civilians.

Until the world recognizes that Hamas is committing three war crimes — targeting Israeli civilians, using Palestinian civilians as human shields, and seeking the destruction of a member state of the United Nations — and that Israel is acting in self-defense and out of military necessity, the conflict will continue.

Mr. Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard. His latest book is “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies” (Wiley, 2008).