Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jimmy Carter : a fool on a fool's errand

By Michael Young

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Say what you will about Jimmy Carter, he has a way of transforming moments of plodding gravitas into uproarious comedy. Remember that moment during the 1980 Democratic convention when Carter stood up, and in a phrase paying tribute to Hubert Humphrey, instead praised "Hubert Horatio Hornblower," confusing the late vice president with the character from the C.S. Forester novels?

As Carter prepares to meet with a senior Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, in Damascus, the former American president again risks attempting to say one thing, only to blunder into another. Carter's declared goal is to affirm that no one can avoid talking to Hamas. As he put it last week, "I'm not a negotiator. I'm someone who might provide some communication. I'm going to try to make [Meshaal] agree to a peaceful resolution, both with Israel and with Hamas' Palestinian rivals."

The debate over whether the United States, Israel and others should talk to Hamas has become tiresome, largely because those supporting dialogue invariably limit their reasoning to a narrow syllogism: Hamas is a central actor in the Palestinian conflict; to resolve the conflict you need to talk to central actors; therefore talk to Hamas. To many engagers the problem is mainly one of communication. If only everyone could just sit around a table and talk, things would work out. Khaled Meshaal hasn't yet been shown the prospective gains from a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; he hasn't been talked to. But because he's a pragmatic man, a sincere dialogue would allow him to deploy some of that pragmatism to the benefit of reaching a peaceful regional equilibrium.

You can almost hear Khaled Meshaal gasping at the naivete of such sweeping positivism, as he prepares to score points off his solemn American visitor. Meshaal knows what talks with Hamas would really imply, and he knows the snag is hardly one of miscommunication.

For one thing, negotiating with Hamas would effectively undermine the authority and credibility of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organization - together, the paramount representatives of the Palestinian people. If the engagers' riposte is that Abbas is already discredited, that only confirms their intention to replace Abbas with Hamas as Israel's chief interlocutor. Still, senior members of the Fatah movement would disagree with the grim assessment of Abbas. They believe Hamas is increasingly squeezed in Gaza, its credibility on the wane as it has brought only hardship to the strip's inhabitants. That is why, they point out, the movement is so desperate to break out of the Israeli blockade. As for the West Bank, Hamas has lost ground there as well, they insist, despite claims that the movement could seize control of the area were it not for the presence of the Israeli Army.

Regardless of whether this is true, it makes no sense today to damage Abbas by opening a channel to Hamas, which has never endorsed the agreements reached with Israel during the Oslo years. In fact, to bring Hamas into negotiations would only grant legitimacy to the movement's rejection of those agreements, and of the entire Oslo process. This, in turn, would only further constrict Abbas' slim margin of maneuver.

A second consequence of talking to Hamas, Meshaal knows, is that it would insert Iran and Syria squarely into the Palestinian track. There are differences between Meshaal in Damascus and Mahmoud Zahhar and the Hamas leadership in Gaza, but it's hard to imagine that an open channel to the movement would not enhance Meshaal's standing, and that of his backers. Meshaal is more accessible and can call on substantial Iranian funding, even if the Muslim Brotherhood's financial networks benefit all factions. Whoever ends up speaking on Hamas' behalf, Tehran and Damascus could only gain from a dialogue with the movement. Yasser Arafat's singular achievement for three decades was to safeguard the "independence of the Palestinian decision," particularly from Syria. Talking to Meshaal could well mean reversing that accomplishment.

There is also a valid case to be made that Hamas is not interested in a peace treaty with Israel, because its ultimate ambition is to liberate the whole of Palestine. Certainly, that's what the movement demonstrates day in and day out. Meshaal has declared that Hamas would accept a deal on the basis of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, but has added a key caveat that this must also include a right of return for the Palestinian refugees of 1948 to their places of origin. For Israel this is a non-starter on demographic grounds, and Meshaal knows it. However, it does allow supporters of dialogue with Hamas to conveniently slot the movement into the Oslo consensus, even if the reality is different.

Whatever Hamas' true intentions, the contention that states should not talk to the movement on principle is difficult to sustain, if only because politics abhors a vacuum and the impulse to do something different can become overwhelming. That's why the onus should be placed on defenders of engagement to substantiate their proposals. Talking should not be an end in itself. First the engagers should clarify what Hamas will agree to talk about. The movement says it is willing to negotiate a long-term truce with Israel, a notion once championed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as well. If both parties agree, fine. But the outcome won't be peace. Israel will use the interregnum to consolidate its hold on strategic parts of the West Bank, while Hamas will use it to marginalize its Palestinians foes, rearm, and prepare for a showdown with Israel.

On the other hand, if Hamas is willing to discuss peace, then the movement has to first demonstrate this before anyone seriously considers overhauling the Palestinian-Israeli track. That shouldn't be difficult, even if nothing shows that Hamas is contemplating peace with Israel, while everything about the movement's behavior and rhetoric says the contrary.

That's why Jimmy Carter is on a fool's errand, complicating an already complicated situation. It's often said that Carter has been a better ex-president than president. That's no compliment, so ghastly was his tenancy of the White House - the Camp David accords notwithstanding. Peace may be a long way away between Palestinians and Israelis, but Carter won't speed things up any by turning into Meshaal's patsy.

Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iraqi Author 'Aref 'Alwan: The Jews Have an Historic Right to Palestine Part I

1st part of 2

In an article posted December 7, 2007, on the leftist website, [1] 'Aref 'Alwan, an Iraqi author and playwright who resides in London and is the author of 12 novels, [2] states that the Jews have an historic right to Palestine because their presence there preceded the Arab conquest and has continued to this day.

In the article, titled "Do the Jews Have Any Less Right to Palestine than the Arabs?" 'Alwan called on the Arab world to acknowledge the Jews' right to Palestine, because justice demanded it and also because doing so would end the violence and the killing of Arabs, as well as intra-Arab strife. He added that such a move would also open up new avenues for the Arab world that would be more consistent with the values and needs of modern society.

'Alwan writes that the Arab League is to blame for the refusal to recognize the 1947 U.N. partition plan, for starting a war to prevent its implementation, and for the results of that war, which the Arabs call the Nakba (disaster). He points an accusing finger at the Arab regimes, the Arab League, and the educated circles in the Arab world, saying that they had all used the term "nakba" to direct popular consciousness toward a cultural tradition that neither accepts the other side nor recognizes its rights - thereby promoting bigotry, violence and extremism. He also claims that there have been attempts to rewrite Palestinian history, in order to deny any connection between it and the Jewish people.

'Alwan contends that the "Nakba mentality" among Arabs has boomeranged, giving rise to tyrannical rulers, extremist clerics, and religious zealots of every description. In his view, the Arab world will never shed the stigma of terrorism in the West unless it abandons this concept and all that it entails.

To boost his claim that the Jews have an historic right to Palestine, 'Alwan provides an overview of Jewish history in the land of Israel. He questions the validity of the Islamic traditions underpinning the Arab claim to Palestine, Jerusalem, and the TempleMount, and presents evidence that religions that preceded Islam had conducted rituals on the TempleMount.

As an example of the traditional Arab mentality that does not accept the other or recognize his rights, 'Alwan discusses the Arabs' abuse of the Kurds in Iraq and of the Christians in Egypt and Lebanon.

The following are excerpts from the article:

The Nakba: A Great Lie

"When the Salafi mob in Gaza tied the hands and feet of a senior Palestinian official and hurled him, alive, from the 14th floor, I asked myself: What political or religious precepts must have been inculcated into the minds of these young people to make them treat a human life with such shocking cruelty?

"Earlier, I had watched on TV as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers were thrown from the second floor [of a building] in a Palestinian city. Whether or not it was the same Salafi mob behind that incident, [one asks oneself]: What language, [or rather,] what historic linguistic distortion could have erased from the human heart [all] moral sensibilities when dealing with a living and helpless human being?

"Arabs who are averse to such inhuman behavior must help me expose and eliminate the enormous lie that has for 60 years justified, extolled, and supported brutality. [Such behavior] is no longer limited to the expression of unconscious [impulses] by individuals, but constitutes a broad cultural phenomenon, which began in Lebanon, [spread to] Iraq and Palestine, and then [spread] - slowly but surely - to other Arab states as well.

"This enormous lie is what the Arabs called the Nakba - that is, the establishment of two states in Palestine: the state of Israel, which the Jews agreed to accept, and the state of Palestine, which the Arabs rejected.

"In our times, when science, with its accurate instruments, can predict climatic changes that will lead to drought or the movement of tectonic plates that causes earthquakes, it is inconceivable that a modern man can, without making a laughingstock of himself, attribute the destruction of cities ancient or modern to the wrath of Allah. Nevertheless, today, 80% of Arabs claim this to be the case. They are neither embarrassed nor afraid of being laughed at.

"This high percentage includes not only the illiterates who densely populate rural areas, villages, and small and large cities, but also students, teachers, lecturers, graduates of institutions of higher education, scientists, technology experts, physicians, graduates of religious universities such as Al-Azhar, historians, and politicians who have held or are currently holding public office.

"It is those numerous educated elites who have forced the Arab mentality into a narrow, restrictive, and deficient cultural mold, spewing violence, terrorism, and zealotry, and prohibiting innovative thought... All this was done to instill a false sense of oppression in the hearts of the Arabs, and to destroy them with the infectious disease of despair and confusion.

"[This attitude] is rooted in the 1947 Arab League resolution stating that Palestine is a 'stolen' land and that none but a Muslim Arab is entitled to benefit from it as an autonomous [political entity], even if another's historic roots there predate those of the Muslims or the Arabs."

The Nakba Boomerang

"[The upshot] of this confusion in [Arab] mentality is that the lie has boomeranged on the Arabs. [Thus] appeared [on the scene] Saddam Hussein, Hafez Al-Assad, Bashar Al-Assad, Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, Hassan Nasrallah, Nabih Berri, Khaled Mash'al, Isma'il Haniya, and Mahmoud Al-Zahar, whose young [thugs] threw the senior Palestinian official from the 14th floor. Finally, from the foot of the eastern mountains bordering the Middle East came Ahmadinejad, who is committed to preparing the way for the anarchy and destruction that accompanies the advent of the long-awaited Mahdi, who will resolve the Palestinian problem.

"Today, owing to the ideological distortions that have afflicted the Arab popular consciousness since the so-called Nakba, and [also owing] to the lies that have accumulated around this notion, [the label of] 'terrorism' has become attached to Arabs, wherever they are.

"Despite the great political and cultural efforts by large and important Arab states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and some Gulf states to restore Arab ties with the rest of the world, and to curb the culture of terrorism in Arab societies, they have all failed. This is because these attempts to rectify [the situation], from both within and without [the Arab countries], both stemmed from and were a logical extension of the concept of the Nakba.

"This proves that the Arabs have no hope of extricating themselves from the cultural and political challenge of terrorism unless they come up with [new] and different [fundamental] premises, and with an outlook completely free of the fetters of the religious ritual that they have devised in modern times and called the Nakba.

"Although Palestinian senior officials, leaders, educated circles, and public figures, whose patriotism is beyond doubt, have come to terms with the existence of the State of Israel, the aforementioned 80% of Arabs... do not accept this view, and consider it religious apostasy. Leaders of the [Arab] states in the region, and party leaders, inflame sentiment, entrancing them with the drumbeat of extremism.

"With the strident chorus of its secretaries, the Arab League ensures that every car crash in Gaza or the West Bank is interpreted as an Israeli conspiracy against the Arab future. This is because the Arab League... was established as a pan-Arab entity whose main function was to write reports and studies rife with distortions of fact so as to quell the conscience of any Arab who dared think independently and expunge [the concept of] the Nakba from his consciousness. [It has done] this instead of devising creative strategies for cultural and economic development, so as to improve the deteriorating standard of living in the Arab societies."

The Nakba is Rooted in a Culture that Does Not Recognize the Right of the Other

"Why did the partition resolution, which gave a state in Palestine to the Jews and one to the Arabs next to it, become the Nakba - [the star] that rises and sets daily over the Arab lands without emitting even the tiniest ray of light to illuminate the path for their peoples?

"Did the Jews have any less right to Palestine than the Arabs? What historic criteria can be used to determine the precedence of one [nation's] right over that of the other?

"Refusing to recognize the right of the other so as to usurp his rights was a governing principle of the Islamic conquests from the time of 'Omar bin Al-Khattab; during that historical period it was the norm. [But] at the turn of the [20th] century, this principle was abandoned and prohibited, because it sparked wars and [violent] conflict. The international community passed laws restricting the principle of non-acceptance of the other, in the founding principles of the League of Nations in 1919. Subsequently, with the U.N.'s establishment, these laws were developed [further], with appendices and commentary, to adapt them to the current historical era and to express the commonly accepted values of national sovereignty and peoples' right to self-determination.

"But because of their sentimental yearning for the past and zealous adherence to [old] criteria, the Arabs purged their hearts of any inclination to adjust to the spirit of the age. They thus became captives of the principle of non-acceptance of the other and of denying the other [the right] to live, [among] other rights.

"As a result, damage was done to the rights and interests of non-Arab nations and ethnic groups in the Arab lands - among them the Kurds, the Copts, and the Jews. [Thus,] the Arabs still treat the numerous minorities that came under their dominion 1,400 years ago in accordance with the laws from the era of Arab conquest.

"Despite the consequences of denying the other the right to exist, not to mention other rights - that is, [despite] the oppression, conflicts, wars, and instability [resulting from this]... the Arabs have steadfastly clung to their clearly chauvinist position. All problems in the region arising from minorities' increasing awareness of their rights have been dealt with by the Arabs in accordance with [the principle of non-acceptance]... [even] after the emergence of international institutions giving these rights legal validity, in keeping with the mentality and rationale of our time."

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iraqi Author 'Aref 'Alwan: The Jews Have an Historic Right to Palestine Part II

2nd part of 2

Refusing to Accept the Other: The Kurds in Iraq; the Christians in Egypt and Lebanon

The Kurds

"The denial of the Kurds' national rights by the Iraqi government, and the Arab League's support for it, has brought on wars lasting 50 years - that is, three-quarters of the life span of the state that arose in Iraq...

"After fabricating arguments to justify the [1921] combining of the Basra region with the Baghdad region in order to establish a new state in Iraq, British colonialist interests demanded that a large area historically populated by Kurds be added to the new state. [This was done] to satisfy the aspirations of King Faisal bin Al-Hussein [bin Ali Al-Hashemi], who had been proposed as head of state in return for protecting British interests in the region.

"In his persistent refusal to grant the Kurds their rights, from 1988 through 1989 Saddam Hussein murdered approximately 180,000 Kurds, in an organized [genocidal] campaign he called 'Al-Anfal.' He then used mustard gas against one [Kurdish] city (Halabja), killing its residents (5,000 people). The Arab conscience silently acquiesced to this human slaughterhouse, while Arab League secretary-general (Shadhli Al-Qalibi) called the international press coverage of these events 'a colonialist conspiracy against the Arabs and the Iraqi regime.'

"Syrian Kurds are considered second-class citizens, and are banned from using their language or [practicing] their culture in public."

The Christians in Egypt and Lebanon

"The ethnic oppression of the Kurds [in Iraq] was echoed by sectarian extremism against the Copts [in Egypt]. In both cases, the Arabs used the principle of denying the existence of the other so as to strip him of his rights.

"The Copts, who [initially] assimilated Arabs into their society, but who have over time themselves assimilated into Arab society, discover time and again that this assimilated state is but a surface shell, which quickly cracks whenever they demand equality... As a result, Egypt, as a state, is gripped by constant social tensions that keep rising to the surface and threatening to undermine its stability...

"Sectarian extremism in Egypt took the form of an organized party with the 1928 emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the aim of splitting Egyptian society into two mutually hostile and conflicting parts. This was in line with the Arab religious and political principle of denying legitimacy to all non-Muslims or non-Arabs, [a principle practiced] since the Muslim armies reached Egypt in 639 [CE]...

"In Lebanon, the presence of armed Palestinian militias - which was in accordance with the decision of the Arab states - encouraged the formation of Lebanese militias, both Sunni and Shi'ite. Chanting slogans proclaiming Palestinian liberation, they frightened Christians by appearing armed in streets swarming with Lebanese [citizens] and tourists.

"This eventually led to a confrontation with Christian militias, which had also armed themselves out of fear of the pan-Arab slogans and fear for the [preservation of] the rights of the Christian sects.

"Lebanon was engulfed by an ugly 15-year civil war, that ended only after Syria, which had played an ignominious role as instigator [of the hostilities], attained full protectorate status over Lebanese affairs and the Lebanese people - [and this] took on the nature of colonialist hegemony...

"After the Lebanese were liberated from this [Syrian] control, in 2005 the clouds of civil war - albeit of a different kind - reappeared on the Lebanese horizon. The Arab League is making no effort to prevent the eruption [of this civil war] for two main reasons. First, the Syrian regime still supports ethnic tension, in order to regain control of Lebanon; and second, the current majority government, which opposes the renewed Syrian influence, is predominantly Christian...

"We had hoped that the Arab national conscience would recover from the illness afflicting it since the time of the Nakba, and that it would adopt [views] which, if not ahead of their time, would at least be appropriate to our time. But a group of journalists, writers, and several Arab historians guided by the principle of non-acceptance of the other has twisted the facts and concocted a false and gloomy history of the region - thereby trampling these dreams to the ground."

Jews Have a Rich and Ancient History in Palestine

"The Arabs see the Palestinian problem as exceedingly complicated, while it actually appears so only to them - [that is], from the point of view of the Arabs' emotional attitudes and their national and religious philosophy. The Arabs have amassed false claims regarding their exclusive right to the Palestinian land, [and] these are based on phony arguments and on several axioms taken from written and oral sources - most of which they [themselves] created after the Islamic, and which they forbade anyone, Arab or foreigner, from questioning.

"When the Arabs agreed to U.N. arbitration... to resolve the Palestinian problem, it transpired that their axioms clearly contradicted reliable historical documents [that] this new international organization [had in its possession]. As a result, they wasted decades stubbornly defending the validity of their documents, which do not correspond to the officially accepted version of the region's history - which is based on concrete and solid evidence [such as] archaeological findings in the land of Palestine, the holy books of the three monotheistic religions, accounts by Roman, Greek, and Jewish historians... and modern historical research..."

Jewish and Christian Ritual Sites in Jerusalem Predate Muslim Sites

"[A look at] the story of Al-Aqsa is now in order - a site considered holy by Muslim Arabs, who call it 'Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif' [The Noble Sanctuary] and [believe that] it was set aside for them by Allah since the time of Adam.

"[This site] contains several places of worship, including the Dome of the Rock, built by the [Umayyad Caliph] 'Abd Al-Malik bin Marwan in the seventh century CE - that is, 72 years after the Muslim conquests. This religious public gathering place was erected over a prominent [foundation] stone at the peak of 'Mount Moriah.' [Mount Moriah] contains three ancient Jewish public worship sites, as well as [some] Christian sites... The octagonal structure of the Dome of the Rock Mosque was constructed on the site of an ancient Byzantine church, adjoining Solomon's Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

"Since the majority of Muslims claim that the Temple Mount is an Islamic site to which no one else is entitled, they do not acknowledge the presence of Jewish and Christian places of worship predating the Dome of the Rock within its walls...

"The Arabs take great pride in their tolerance of and benign treatment of the Jews and Christians who lived under the Muslim rule since the Muslim conquests. This account is part of the distortions underpinning the edifice of the Arabs' religious and national culture. [Arab] writers and historians keep eulogizing this epoch... while the truth is the opposite of what they claim. [Indeed,] the Pact of 'Omar [compelled] the Jews and the Christians to choose between either abandoning their religion and embracing Islam, or paying the [poll] tax in return for being permitted to reside... and receive protection of life and property in their homeland. [The Pact of 'Omar] allowed them to practice their religion, build new houses of worship, and repair the old ones [only] with the permission of a Muslim ruler, and subject to numerous conditions.

"In subsequent historical periods, the Muslims imposed [additional restrictions] on the members of [these] two religions: They forbade them to raise their voices during prayer; [they forced them] to conduct their prayers and religious ceremonies in closed areas so as not [to disturb] passersby; they forbade them to carry weapons, ride saddled horses, or build houses taller than those of the Muslims. [Christians and Jews] were required to show respect for the Muslims, e.g. by giving up their seat to a Muslim if he wanted it. They were banned from holding government posts or from working in 'sensitive' public places.

"The Koranic verses cursing the Jews and casting doubt on [the veracity of] their Holy Book [the Torah] promulgated a desire among Arabs to set themselves above the Jews who lived in their midst, humiliating and persecuting them even without pretext. In time, this treatment made large numbers of Jews abandon their cities and their land and emigrate... while those who stayed [in Palestine] until the 19th century remained marginalized, living among the Arabs like criminals in a foreign land...

"The Arabs claim that the 'Wailing Wall' has been their property since the Prophet Muhammad tied his horse Al-Buraq to one of its supports when Allah transported him by night from the Holy Mosque in Mecca to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem... Although this night-journey story seems dubious, Arab historiography after the advent of Islam contains such oddities as giving a horse the prerogative of making a wall weighing more than 2,000 tons into Muslim property. This is only one of thousands of examples of tales concocted by zealots, with which they swept away the Arab imagination.

"...When the U.N. resolution on the partition of Palestine was issued on November 29, 1947... the Arabs refused to recognize it. They thereby rejected the state set out by the resolution as the right of the Palestinians and the Arabs, with the aim of establishing legal and historical equity. The Arabs called this resolution the Nakba, while their new states, formed several years before the State of Israel, launched the first war against Israel, in which regular military operations were combined with local attacks by gangs comprising Palestinians and Arabs from Arab regions near and far. [That war] ended in [the Arabs'] defeat. Persisting in their error, the Arabs established refugee camps for the Palestinians who had fled during and after the war...

"Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas... was the first Palestinian leader to acknowledge that the Christian church in Gaza plundered by Hamas gangs had stood there 'before [we] came to Gaza.' By this he meant 'we the Palestinians' - particularly the current Gaza residents, [the descendants of] Bedouins from the Sinai and the Arabian Peninsula and of others, of unknown origin. [These people were] attracted by the wealth of the new Islamic state that extended from Persia to Southern Ethiopia, and came after the Muslim conquests and set themselves up over the local population - Christians, Jews, Phoenicians, Byzantines, and the remnants of the Sumerians...

Arabs Must Recognize the Jews' Right to Palestine

"In order to prevent more bloodshed among the innocent [population]... and in order to keep the deteriorating situation in Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza, and the West Bank from making [these regions into] a quagmire that will spread to engulf all Arab states and societies, the Arabs must reassess the question of the Nakba and come up with a new, courageous vision for the region and for the future of its residents.

"[This vision] must involve public recognition of the Jews' legitimate right to their state - which is based on historical fact - instead of [recognition] of the writings filled with anger and demagogy produced and formed into an ideology by the confused [Arab] consciousness - a consciousness built upon lies, myths, and distortions stemming from the principle of non-acceptance of the other.

"The most important factor in strengthening such a new vision is [the adoption of] a principle [requiring] official condemnation of all individuals, groups, companies, religious and political parties, and totalitarian regimes that built their glory and hollow leaderships upon the notion of the Nakba, and which are always ready to absorb other false claims and fabrications.

"This must be done, so that a modern Arab face is turned to the world - [a face reflecting] ethical values that will not allow any Arab, under any pretext, to oppress his son or his brother who differs from him in religion, ethnicity, or ideology."

[1] (formerly ), December 7, 2007.

[2] 'Aref 'Alwan is the first Arab author to publish his novels on the Internet. His doing so was the subject of his January 20, 2005 interview in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is Israel winning the war against Hamas?

80% of Gaza Residents Considering Emigrating

by Gil Ronen

Eighty percent of the residents of Gaza find it difficult to cope with the situation there and are considering emigration, a survey by the Gaza-based Institute of Development Studies has found. Gazans are finding it progressively more difficult to deal with the economic situation there, according to the institute, and 44 percent said explicitly that they want to leave Gaza.

Blame Israel
The institute presented the survey as part of a request to the international community to protect Gazans from Israel's wrath and to pressure Israel to enable economic development in Gaza.

The research also shows that since Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007, economic conditions in Gaza have worsened considerably. According to the report this is primarily due to the closure of border crossings into and out of Gaza, including the crossing into Egypt at Rafiah.

The Karni crossing was closed for 107 days and the total number of trucks which crossed into Gaza in 2007 was 8,397. The exports totaled 1,695 trucks.

Hamas Responsible
Saudi newspaper Ukaz, meanwhile, interviewed Dr. Mahmoud al-Hebash, a "minister" in Salam Fayyad's rival Fatah government in Judea and Samaria, who said the Hamas government was responsible for the Gaza crisis.

Hamas is making efforts to grab control of the aid sent to Gaza from "the legitimate government" in Ramallah, al-Hebash explained. He claimed Hamas is giving Israel excuses to continue "the policy of blockade," as he termed it. Al-Hebash called upon the Hamas government to recognize its responsibility for the crisis in Gaza following its military takeover. He accused it of trying to export the crisis to neighboring countries, meaning mostly Egypt. Hamas is making efforts to grab control of the aid sent to Gaza from Ramallah, al-Hebash explained.

Economy 'Significantly Worse'
The findings of a Near East Consulting poll released Tuesday showed that some 94 percent of Gaza residents believe their economic situation under Hamas rule is significantly worse than it was before the terrorist organization took over the region. Hamas ousted the rival Fatah faction in what amounted to a civil war. Now Hamas controls Gaza; Fatah controls the PA areas of Judea and Samaria. In elections before the military coup a majority of the Arabs who live in those areas voted for Hamas.

The survey, which polled 900 Gaza residents, found that 64 percents of respondents live under the poverty line. More than two out of every five, (41 percent) said they would leave Gaza immediately if they could. Half of those polled feel less security since Hamas took over the region in June 2007 and 18 percent feel no change in the level of security. Some 32 percent said they feel more security since Hamas took control of Gaza.

Gil Ronen

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Subject: Netherlands Parliament Speech on Islamification......

Australians should take note of this Dutch pariamentarian and the wisdom of what he's saying.........

*** Geert Wilder's speech to Holland's Parliament ***
**11 MARCH 2008 **

"Madam Speaker, first, allow me to express my sincere thanks to you personally for having planned a debate on Islam, on the very day of my birthday. I could not have wished for a nicer present!
Madam Speaker, approximately 1400 years ago war was declared on us by an ideology of hate and violence which arose at the time and was proclaimed by a barbarian who called himself the Prophet Mohammed.

I am referring to Islam.

Madam Speaker, let me start with the foundation of the Islamic faith, the Koran. The Koran's core theme is about the duty of all Muslims to fight non-Muslims; an Islamic Mein Kampf, in which fight means war, jihad. The Koran is above all, a book of war, a call to butcher non-Muslims (2:191, 3:141, 4:91, 5:3), to roast them (4:56, 69:30-69:32), and to cause bloodbaths amongst them (47:4). Jews are compared to monkeys and pigs (2:65, 5:60, 7:166), while people who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God must according to the Koran be fought (9:30).

Madam Speaker, the West has no problems with Jews or Christians, but it does have problems with Islam. It is still possible, even today, for Muslims to view the Koran, which they regard as valid for all time, as a licence to kill. And that is exactly what happens. The
Koran is worded in such a way that its instructions are addressed to Muslims for eternity, which includes today's Muslims. This in contrast to texts in the Bible, which is formulated as a number of historical narratives, placing events in a distant past. Let us remind ourselves that it was Muslims, not Jews or Christians, who committed the catastrophic terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid and London; and that it was no coincidence that Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered by a Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri.

Madam Speaker, I acknowledge that there are people who call themselves Muslims and who respect our laws. My party, the Freedom Party, has nothing against such people, of course. However, the Koran does have something against them. For it is stated in the Koran in Sura 2, verse 85, that those believers who do not believe in everything the Koran states will be humiliated and receive the severest punishment; which means that they will roast in Hell. In other words, people who call themselves Muslims but who do not believe, for example, in Sura 9, verse 30, which states that Jews and Christians must be fought, or, for example, in Sura 5, verse 38, which states that the hand of a thief must be cut off, such people will be humiliated and roast in Hell. Note that it is not me who is making this up. All this can be found in the Koran. The Koran also states that Muslims who believe in only part of the Koran are in fact apostates, and we know what has to happen to apostates. They have to be killed.

Madam Speaker, the Koran is a book that incites to violence. I remind the House that the distribution of such texts is unlawful according to Article 132 of our Penal Code. In addition, the Koran incites to hatred and calls for murder and mayhem. The distribution of such texts is made punishable by Article 137(e). The Koran is therefore a highly dangerous book; a book which is completely against our legal order and our democratic institutions. In this light, it is an absolute necessity that the Koran be banned for the defence and reinforcement of our civilisation and our constitutional state. I shall propose a second-reading motion to that effect.

Madam Speaker, there is no such thing as "moderate Islam".... As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said the other day, and I quote, "There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it".... Islam is in pursuit of dominance. It wishes to exact its imperialist agenda by force on a worldwide scale (8:39). This is clear from European history. Fortunately, the first Islamic invasion of Europe was stopped at Poitiers in 732; the second in Vienna in 1683.

Madam Speaker, let us ensure that the third Islamic invasion, which is currently in full spate, will be stopped too in spite of its insidious nature and notwithstanding the fact that, in contrast to the 8th and 17th centuries, it has no need for an Islamic army because the scared
"dhimmis" in the West, also those in Dutch politics, have left their doors wide open to Islam and Muslims.

Apart from conquest, Madam Speaker, Islam is also bent on installing a totally different form of law and order, namely Sharia law. This makes Islam, apart from a religion for hundreds of millions of Muslims also, and in particular, a political ideology (with political/constitutional/Islamic basic values, etc). Islam is an ideology without any respect for others; not for Christians, not for Jews, not for non-believers and not for apostates. Islam aims to dominate, subject, kill and wage war.

Madam Speaker, the Islamic incursion must be stopped. Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe. If we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today, there are about 1 million Muslims in this country. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European and Dutch civilisation as we know it. Where is our Prime Minister in all this? In reply to my questions in the House he said, without batting an eyelid, that there is no question of our country being Islamified. Now, this reply constituted a historical error as soon as it was uttered. Very many Dutch citizens, Madam Speaker, experience the presence of Islam around them. And I can report that they have had enough of burkas, headscarves, the ritual slaughter of animals, so-called honour revenge, blaring minarets, female circumcision, hymen restoration operations, abuse of homosexuals, Turkish and Arabic on the buses and trains as well as on town hall leaflets, halal meat at grocery shops and epartment stores, Sharia exams, the Finance Minister's Sharia mortgages, and the enormous over representation of Muslims in the area of crime, including Moroccan street terrorists.

In spite of all this, Madam Speaker, there is hope. Fortunately. The majority of Dutch citizens have become fully aware of the danger, and regard Islam as a threat to our culture. My party, the Freedom Party, takes those citizens seriously and comes to their defence.

Many Dutch citizens are fed up to the back teeth and yearn for action. However, their representatives in The Hague are doing precisely nothing. They are held back by fear, political correctness or simply electoral motives. This is particularly clear in the case of PvdA, the Dutch Labour Party, which is afraid of losing Muslim voters. The Prime Minister said in Indonesia the other day that Islam does not pose any danger. Minister Donner believes that Sharia law should be capable of being introduced in the Netherlands if the majority want it. Minister Vogelaar babbles about the future Netherlands as a country with a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, and that she aims to help Islam take root in Dutch society. In saying this, the Minister shows that she has obviously gone stark raving mad. She is betraying Dutch culture and insulting Dutch citizens.

Madam Speaker, my party, the Freedom Party, demands that Minister Vogelaar retract her statement. If the Minister fails to do so, the Freedom Party parliamentary group will withdraw its support for her. No Islamic tradition must ever be established in the Netherlands: not now and also not in a few centuries' time.

Madam Speaker, let me briefly touch on the government's response to the WRR [Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy] report. On page 12 of its response, the government states that Islam is not contrary to democracy or human rights. All I can say to that is that things can't get much more idiotic than this.

Madam Speaker, it is a few minutes to twelve. If we go on like this, Islam will herald the end of our Western civilisation as well as Dutch culture.

I would like to round off my first-reading contribution with a personal appeal to the Prime Minister on behalf of a great many Dutch citizens: stop the Islamification of the Netherlands!

Mr Balkenende, a historic task rests on your shoulders. Be courageous. Do what many Dutch citizens are screaming out for. Do what the country needs. Stop all immigration from Muslim countries, ban all building of new mosques, close all Islamic schools, ban burkas and the Koran. Expel all criminal Muslims from the country, including those Moroccan
street terrorists that drive people mad. Accept your responsibility! Stop Islamification!

Enough is enough, Mr Balkenende.
Enough is enough."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Juden Raus"! Jews - Get Out!

[The following is a commentary by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East analyst and commentator. It's important that every citizen of the United States reads it as it puts forth the US government's position as far as Jews living in the land that God — the creator of the heavens and earth, gave the nation of Israel. Contrary to what many US citizens want to believe, the United States is not a friend of Israel. (This was reported in the ENS weekly newsletter, W/E: March 22, 2008.)]

Reminiscent of the Nazi orders for Jews to "Get Out!", US Ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, tells the Jews to get out of Jerusalem. Richard Jones, speaking for both himself as well as President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, ordered Israel's Jews to move out of their ancient, eternal capital of Jerusalem in deference to Muslim Arab Palestinians [sic] who want to move in.

Ambassador Jones, you have shamed your nation, acting the bigot as the voice of the Bush and Rice regime who are looking for a memorable legacy.

If Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had any courage, he would demand that the US State Department recall Jones as unethical and unsuitable for his post. To say to a Jewish nation that has been hounded to death by bigots and anti-Semites that they must get out of their Holy City of Jerusalem shames all Americans.

King David declared Jerusalem to be the Holy Capital of the Jewish people and his kingdom in 1003 BCE. The City remained the capital of the Davidic dynasty for 400 years, until the kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians. Following their return from the Babylonian exile in 538 BCE, Jerusalem again served as the capital of the Jewish people in its land for the next five and a half centuries. During the six centuries of Roman and Byzantine rule, Caesarea, not Jerusalem, was the capital for the Christians. During Muslim rule over the city, whether Arab or non-Arab, Jerusalem was never made the political capital of a Muslim entity or even a province within the Muslim empire. They made Ramle their political center.

That the City of King David was the Capital of the Jews for thousands of years before Arabs, Muslims or America became a nation is an irrefutable fact of history, despite deniers. You, Mr. Jones, have clearly demonstrated that you are a bigot of the first order and must be dismissed — unless, of course, you are to be defended by President Bush and Secretary Rice. Appeasing Muslim Arab Palestinians [sic], be they Fatah or Hamas, reflects political doctrine that is cruelly biased.

Over centuries, Jews have been driven out of various Christian European nations and Muslim Arab countries - simply because they were Jews. It's not the first time that our Land and assets have been coveted and confiscated by Gentile governments. Only this time the doctrine comes from an American presidential dynasty with German ancestors living in free America who carries with them that old virus of anti-Semitism, barely hidden behind a US State Department policy dedicated to appeasing Muslim and Arab oil nations.

Driving Jews off their Land and confiscating their assets is not new.

The Church and aristocracy of Spain drove the Jews out of their Land while seizing their assets and cancelling loans the Church and King borrowed from the Jews.

The Germans confiscated everything they could, from buildings, banks, factories, cancelling all debts, cancelling insurance owed to the Jews and finally, extracting the gold from the teeth of their corpses. The Swiss mountain dwarfs acted as Germany's "fence" to dispose of their loot and thus kept the war going for several years, killing more Jews and American soldiers.

The rest of Europe, France, for example, first turned their Jews over to the Gestapo and then fell on the assets of the Jews like vultures. Apartments, houses, art collections - some found later in the offices of François Mitterrand, among others. Apartments of Jews were doled out to business partners or relatives of the French politicians.

When the Arab and/or Muslims of Egypt, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. drove 850,000 Jews out of their countries, the Muslim Arabs looted everything. Bank accounts, land, stores with goods still on the shelves, factories, debts cancelled. The Jews were driven out with only the clothes on their backs and the nations of the world remained silent.

We cannot forget American diplomats like the Dulles Brothers, John Foster and Allen, who assisted in grabbing the gold train carrying the loot the Germans stole from the Jews. Art collections of the Masters, silver table service, gold, jewelry and more. That mostly disappeared although some of the valuables were taken by high ranking American officers to be shipped back to their homes as "booty".

Ah. Yes! I remember it well.

So now, the Bush family with a history that goes back to Prescott Bush, a great supporter of Adolph Hitler who established the Bush family fortune, now wishes to dispose of Jerusalem. The Bush regime wants what the Jews own and built to be confiscated and used as payment to hordes of Muslim terrorists.

Even the Church of Rome, guided by a German Pope, formerly part of the Hitler Youth wants its part of the Jerusalem loot — including political and religious control over Jerusalem.

And so it goes... the Jews build and the nations steal what the Jews build.

Everyone who reads this should vigorously protest to their own Congressmen, the White House, the State Department, the media, the Israeli Knesset members and world Jewry. Provide this article to all their local papers and TV news outlets.

Please read the following in the context of our comments above:

US Ambassador: Jews Will Just Have to Leave Jerusalem

Source: Israel Today

US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones suggested during a tour of overcrowded Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem on Monday that many Jews will just have to move out of the capital rather than expand into parts of the city claimed by the Palestinians [sic].

Jones told said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that Washington is growing increasingly displeased with Jewish housing projects on the eastern side of Jerusalem, which are certain to hinder efforts to conclude a peace deal along the lines of US President George W. Bush's vision for the region.

The American envoy said he is well aware of the lack of Jewish housing in Jerusalem, but in a remark betraying a lack of understanding regarding Jewish historical and spiritual connection to the city Jones concluded that "sometimes people do have to move to a different location. They cannot always stay close to their families."

He insisted that more important than the Jews' restoration to their biblical capital and heartland is Israel's implementation of commitments made as part of the US-driven Road Map peace process, even if unreciprocated by the Palestinians [sic].

Jones ended the interview by all but justifying the Palestinian Authority's ongoing failure to meet its primary obligations to curb anti-Israel violence and incitement by stating that "it is not easy for either side to move ahead when they see the provocative behavior of the other side."

British Muslims in airliner terror plot 'talked of taking families on suicide missions'


Members of a British Muslim terrorist cell discussed taking their wives and children on suicide missions to blow up transatlantic jets, a jury heard yesterday. The ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was bugged by police talking about whether to bring his baby son but said his wife "would not agree to it". Umar Islam, however, said his wife might join the plot if it were a "significant operation".

Assad Sarwar, and Abdulla Ahmed Ali 'wanted to cause Chernobyl-style disaster'

Six of the eight-strong gang each made "chilling" suicide videos expressing the desire to wreak "death and destruction" against the West and "Kuffar", or non-believers. They were intended to serve as taunts from beyond the grave if their horrifying plot had succeeded, it was claimed.

The men wore western suits and blank expressions in the dock of Woolwich Crown Court, South-East London, as they watched their videos in which they were dressed in Islamic garb. Their "fanatical" shrieks echoed around the courtroom as they listed Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as alleged justification for mass murder. In his recording, 29-year-old Islam accused fellow Britons of being "too busy watching EastEnders" to care about the problems in the Middle East while Ali, 27, warned that their "body parts" would be "decorating the streets".

Mr Wright said the men's video messages left "very little room for any degree of ambiguity" as to their intentions. While some, including Islam, seemed to be reading from prepared notes, others were "speaking from the heart".

The defendants are all accused of plotting to blow up at least seven planes flying from Heathrow to cities in the U.S. and Canada by detonating bombs made from softdrink bottles. If they had been successful, almost 2,000 passengers and crew would have been killed with countless more casualties if the airliners had come down over land.

The plotters allegedly bought a top-floor flat in a terrace house in Walthamstow, East London for £138,000 cash in the weeks before their arrest in August 2006. They used the empty property as a bomb factory. A film was shown to the jury of a device constructed by scientists in a 500ml Oasis bottle to resemble the bomb which the conspirators were allegedly trying to make. The force of the blast cracked the protective strengthened glass covering the camera and sent plastic sheets lining the test chamber tumbling to the ground.

The jury heard that police recorded a conversation between Islam and Ali at the bomb factory, where the two discussed taking their children on their suicide mission. Referring to a train bombing where a man wanted to take his child, Ali said: "That's why he wanted to take his kid on the train with him. Shake them up. "Should I take my lot on? I know my wife would not agree to it."

Mr Wright told the jury: "Such a sacrifice is beyond contemplation for those who are the targets but not those who participate in activities such as these." In a bugged conversation in July 2006, Ali said the attack was a "couple of weeks" away. He was married with a nine-month-old son at the time of his arrest in August 2006, the court heard.

Police found a piece of paper at his home on which he wrote a quotation.

It read: "If I was to be given the news that I will be meeting the most beautiful wife and the news of having a baby boy just born, it is more dear to my heart that I will be waiting in a tent in the cold dark chilly weather waiting for dawn so that I may attack the enemy." Islam told Ali that his wife found his own "martyrdom" script in his house after it fell out his pocket. "I was hoping she didn't read it and then she goes, 'I read that thing'. She goes, 'Is that what I think it is?' "And I goes, 'Don't ask no questions', and then she just left it."

One tape containing some of the suicide messages was found along with a camcorder in the boot of Sarwar's car when he was arrested with Ali on the night of August 9, 2006 in a car park in Walthamstow. The other tape was found hidden in his garage at his home 30 miles away in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

The court heard that Sarwar spent the months before his arrest "stockpiling" the necessary ingredients to make the bombs.

In the days before their arrests, the bombers applied for new passports – falsely claiming theirs had been lost – so they could discard their old ones containing stamps for travel to Pakistan and so "appear Western and look less conspicuous" to airport security staff. The prosecution said the bombers planned to take a pornographic magazine and condoms in their hand luggage. Mr Wright said: "We say that that amounts to, in military terms, what one may describe as fieldcraft. "Within one's hand luggage, items that would lead the security guard either to be distracted or to conclude that the owner of it was unlikely to be a radicalised Islamist who was engaged in a violent and deadly agenda. "Similarly, the presence of condoms in the hand luggage, we say, is designed to suggest that the traveller has in mind a journey, and the subsequent pursuit of mutual pleasure, rather than to be the harbinger of death." He said the bombers planned to take a drink similar to the bomb so if staff became suspicious, they could drink the real one and diffuse concerns. But the drink should be a different flavour, so the bombers did not become confused and drink the bomb liquid.

The accused are Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Waheed Zaman, 23, and Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, all from Walthamstow, East London; Ibrahim Savant, 27, from Stoke Newington, North London, Mohammed Gulzar, 26, from Barking, East London, Assad Sarwar, 27, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Tanvir Hussain, 27, from Leyton, East London and Umar Islam, 29, from Plaistow, East London.

All deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft.

The trial continues.


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