Saturday, May 3, 2008


Hamas disrupts fuel supplies to Gaza

By Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas militiamen in the Gaza Strip on Sunday attacked fuel trucks headed toward the Nahal Oz border crossing, forcing them to turn back, sources in the Palestinian Petroleum Authority said.

The fuel was supposed to go to the UN Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA] and hospitals in the Gaza Strip, the sources said.

"Dozens of Hamas militiamen hurled stones and opened fire at the trucks," the sources added. "The trucks were on their way to receive fuel supplied by Israel. The drivers were forced to turn back. Some of them had their windshields smashed."

The Palestinian Petroleum Authority reached an agreement with Israel over the weekend to receive 250,000 liters of fuel after UNRWA complained that it did not have enough fuel to distribute food aid to more than 500,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry also accused Hamas of blocking fuel supplies to hospitals and clinics in the Gaza Strip. The ministry said Hamas gunmen opened fire at a number of trucks that were trying to transfer fuel to the hospitals and clinics.

Eyewitnesses in Gaza City said that at least on four occasions over the past few weeks, Hamas militiamen confiscated trucks loaded with fuel shortly as they were on their way from Nahal Oz to the city.

They added that the fuel supplies were taken to Hamas-controlled security installations throughout the city.

"Hamas is taking the fuel for it the vehicles of is leaders and security forces," the eyewitnesses said. "Because of Hamas's actions, some hospitals have been forced to stop the work of ambulances and generators."

PA officials in Ramallah said Hamas's measures were aimed at creating a crisis in the Gaza Strip with the hope that the international community would intervene and force Israel to reopen the border crossings.

"As far as we know, there is enough fuel reaching the Gaza Strip," the officials said. "But Hamas's measures are aimed at creating a crisis. Hamas is either stealing or blocking most of the fuel supplies."

They pointed out that last week Hamas dispatched hundreds of its supporters to Nahal Oz to block the fuel supplies from Israel. Hamas claimed that the protest was organized by farmers and fishermen demanding an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The officials also noted that the shortage in fuel supplies has created a high-priced black market for individuals and institutions.

UNRWA workers admitted over the weekend that Hamas had prevented some fuel trucks from entering the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has also been exerting pressure on the Gaza Petrol Station Owners Association to close down their businesses so as to aggravate the crisis. Some of the station owners and workers said they were afraid to return to work after receiving death threats from Hamas militiamen and ordinary residents desperate to purchase gas and diesel for their vehicles.


Khaled Abu Toameh

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


Friday, May 2, 2008

Failing the test of history

Palestinians have attained 'failed state' status even before it was established


By Martin Sherman



Merit is no qualification for freedom…. Freedom is enjoyed when you are so well armed, or so turbulent, or inhabit a country so thorny that the expense of your neighbour's occupying you is greater than the profit.


T. E. Lawrence to the Editor of The Times July 22, 1920


This quote from a letter written by "Lawrence of Arabia" almost a century ago, setting out a case for the political independence for the Arabs in the Middle East, has current relevance in assessing the flurry of statements over the last few years - particularly from senior US politicians - that "the Palestinians deserve a state of their own."


Indeed, such views have been explicitly expounded by US Administrations for over half a decade from Colin Powell through Condoleezza Rice to George Bush who has incorporated the idea into his "vision" for the Middle East.


Several pro-Israeli pundits have tried to dispute the widely accepted contention that "the Palestinians do indeed deserve a state" Some like Naomi Ragen have warned of the unsavory nature that such a state would take – devoid of any semblance of law and order and due process, tolerance of religious diversity, political dissidence, freedom of expression, or regard for the status of women. Others, like Natan Sharansky, have attempted to condition the establishment Palestinian statehood on the development of Palestinian democratization.


However, it would appear– regrettably – that neither of these objections, in spite of their factual accuracy and moral validity, can serve as a binding political criterion for national independence. For if tolerant pluralistic polities, in which the rule of law and civil equality flourished, were the touchstone for recognition of national sovereignty, such recognition would have to be denied numerous states across the globe – from Myanmar through Belarus to Zimbabwe.


Similarly, if democratically elected regimes were the litmus test, many of the states in the international system, and the Middle East, would not qualify – including several that Israel recognizes as having a major role to play in the region such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan where the sovereigns are not elected at all, and Egypt where the elections are hardly free and fair.


To adopt these positions would demand from the Palestinians criteria for national independence that are demanded from no other people. Moreover, are figures like Sharansky really proposing that Israel could accept Palestinian sovereignty if its government were democratic but revoke that acceptance as a result of regime change?


Palestinian failure undeniably staggering 

However, the Palestinians have undermined – indeed invalidated – their claim to statehood by even the more lenient and clearly measurable empirical criterion set out by Lawrence above. For the Palestinians' ongoing failure to achieve statehood reflects the converse – but necessary - corollary of the practical yardstick he stipulates.


If success in achieving statehood is the sole criterion by which to judge whether such statehood is indeed deserved, then surely it follows that the reverse is true: Failure to achieve statehood is the ultimate indicator in determining that it is not.


And the Palestinian failure has been undeniably staggering. In fact a strong case can be made for the claim that, in the history of modern national independence movements, none have enjoyed conditions more conducive to success, and yet achieved such miserable results, than that of the Palestinians. Indeed, the proponents of Palestinian statehood must be compelled to respond to a simple but trenchant question: Why hasn't it happed up to now? For it should not be forgotten what the Palestinians had in their favor:


  • Decades of unmitigated support and patronage of the USSR, one of the world's two post-WW II superpowers
  • Almost universal international endorsement of their claims
  • Highly supportive coverage in nearly all major international media
  • Massive financial backing making the Palestinians the highest per capita recipients of international aid on the face of the globe
  • Almost two decades of highly accommodative Israeli administrations which not only acknowledged but often even identified with their claims of statehood


Yet in spite of these highly benign circumstances the Palestinians have not managed to produce any semblance of a sustainable society. The Palestinian leadership has done nothing but bring about a repressive and regressive interim regime that provided little but the pillage of the Palestinian people and the squander of the vast amount of resources provided by donor nations.


Nearly a decade and a half after the Oslo Agreements, the Palestinians have shown the world that they simply cannot "cut it." All they have been able to establish was both tenuous and dysfunctional, from a corrupt kleptocracy to a tyrannical theocracy – both now sliding into abysmal anarchy and chronic chaos accompanied by fratricidal fury. Indeed the Palestinian state has perhaps the unique, if dubious, distinction of attaining "failed state" status before it was in fact established.


So today, decades after other movements for national liberation across Africa and Asia, with far less financial and political support, managed to throw off mighty empires, the Palestinians with all the might of the Muslim world, and its vast petro-riches, behind them, have been unable to wrest independence from a tiny mirco-state like Israel – not only when it opposed such independence, but even when it did not!


Clearly then, the time has come for the international community to recognize that rather than a coherent, cohesive national entity, the Palestinians comprise an amorphous amalgam of clans, gangs and bands whose overriding aspiration to not to establish a state for their own people but to dismantle a state of another people.


Clearly the time has come to remove the issue of Palestinian statehood from the international agenda – for the Palestinians themselves have shown that they are patently incapable of maintaining such statehood. Indeed, while "(moral) merit" may not, as Lawrence points out, be a "qualification" for self-determination, continual and chronic failure to attain it, even under the most benevolent conditions, must surely be clear grounds for disqualification.


Accordingly, the time has come challenge the validity of the conventional wisdom which holds unquestioningly that "the Palestinians deserve a state of their own." Not because of any objections raised by the opponents of such a state, but because the Palestinians themselves have manifestly failed the test of history.


Martin Sherman

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


Egypt Builds a Wall. And changes its tune on Israel's barrier.
By David Schenker

Much ado has been made of the Israeli security fence isolating the West Bank. When it is completed in 2010, the barrier - which runs roughly along the 1967 border between Israel and Palestinian territory - will span nearly 500 miles. Israelis say the purpose of the structure is to curtail terrorist attacks against the Jewish state. There's little reason to doubt them: Despite a March attack that killed eight students at a Jerusalem seminary, statistics suggest that the barrier and a corresponding one around Gaza are working.

West Bankers condemn the structure because it encroaches into pre-1967 Palestinian territory, limits mobility, and separates farmers from their fields. Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since June 2007, describes its territory as "a big prison." Until recently, Egypt too was a vociferous critic. In 2003, Egypt's foreign minister at the time, Ahmed Maher, described the structure as "defying international legitimacy and world public opinion."

Even as Israel moves expeditiously to seal off its West Bank threat, however, Palestinians face the prospect of another wall hemming them in. This latest wall is not being constructed by the Israelis, though, but by Egypt, which seeks more protection from its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza.

Cairo has every reason to be concerned. In January 2008, Hamas demolished the Gaza-Egypt border fence, allowing an estimated 700,000 Palestinians - nearly half of Gaza's population - to stream into the Sinai desert. Initially, Cairo viewed the Gaza breach as an opportunity to solidify its pro-Palestinian bona fides. Then reality set in. Egypt, it seems, was concerned that Palestinians entering the Sinai might exacerbate Egypt's own terrorism problem. In April 2006, 23 tourists were killed in a car-bomb attack in the Sinai resort town of Dahab; two days later, U.N. Multi-national Force Observers, enforcing the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, were targeted by suicide attacks.

For Cairo, the threat extends beyond Sinai. Islamists in Egypt - led by the Muslim Brotherhood - have been making significant political gains in recent years, winning an unprecedented 88 of 444 elected parliamentary seats in 2005. The prospect of Hamas's hooking up with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrifies the government of Egypt. As one Egyptian political analyst describes it, "Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood on steroids."

Less than two weeks after the Gaza breach, Cairo took draconian measures to return the Palestinians to Gaza. It arrested dozens - including a group of armed Palestinians reportedly planning to attack Israeli tourists in the Sinai - and quickly resealed the border with miles of barbed wire. Hamas cried foul and pledged that it would not allow the border to remain sealed. In February, two Egyptian border guards were injured by Palestinian gunfire and several more were treated for broken bones after being hit by rocks thrown across the border.

With tensions along the border increasing, Egypt has softened its position on Israel's West Bank barrier. In March, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, "Whoever wishes to build a security fence on his land is free to do that." Subsequently, it was announced that Egypt, with $23 million in U.S. assistance, would build its own fence along the border with Gaza. Teams from the Army Corps of Engineers are expected in Egypt shortly to advise the project.

At least in part, Cairo's change in attitude was driven by Washington. For more than a decade, weapons have moved freely into Gaza via ubiquitous smuggling tunnels linking Sinai to Palestinian areas and bypassing Israeli scrutiny. Since Hamas's Gaza takeover, though, the issue has increasingly garnered attention, as longer-range katyusha rockets - presumably transported via these tunnels - have started falling on Israeli cities with greater frequency. During the 2008 budget discussions, Congress was so concerned about perceived Egyptian inaction on the tunnels that a clause was inserted to condition nearly $100 million in U.S. aid on Cairo's countering these smuggling routes.

For Cairo, the U.S. pressure was a blessing in disguise. The Egyptian government gives a lot of lip service to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, while privately it is apprehensive about the militant nature of Hamas-ruled Gaza. These sentiments have only been heightened by recent political and social inroads made by Egypt's own Islamists.

At the end of the day, the Gaza border is above all else a matter of Egyptian national security. So despite the obvious comparisons that will be drawn between the Israeli and Egyptian barriers, Cairo had few alternatives other than to move ahead with a wall of its own. As Israel learned some time ago, good fences make good neighbors, especially when your neighbors are your enemies.

David Schenker
- Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.




Understanding Shariah law is integral to understanding the dangers of Shariah-compliant finance. Shariah law is Islamic law dating back to the 9th century and is today the law of the land in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and the law under which the Taliban operates. Recent polls reveal that only 10-15% of Muslims worldwide want to live under this all-encompassing system of Islamic jurisprudence that covers all aspects of a Muslim's life including religious, social, political, and military obligations. However, with a current population of 1.5 billion Muslims, this translates to a huge pool of Jihadist recruits and supporters - a base of approximately 150 - 225 million Muslims.


Shariah law authorities, some of whom are now being paid handsomely by Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse and others have the power to dictate Shariah compliance as deemed by "scholarly consensus" on matters of finance, family, penal law, apostasy, and war. Examples of authoritarian Shariah law include: requirement of women to obtain permission from husbands for daily freedoms; beating of disobedient woman and girls; execution of homosexuals; engagement of polygamy and forced child marriages; the testimony of four male witnesses to prove rape; honor killings of those, principally women, who have dishonored the family; death to apostate Muslims who chose to leave Islam; inferior status of non-Muslims, and capital punishment for those "slander Islam."



Somes examples of realities in Muslim countries:


Sweden: Asylum seeker attacked for not being a good Muslim

A man in an asylum center was attacked by his 23 year old neighbor for having alcohol in his fridge.  The two men shared a kitchen in one of the immigration service's houses in Halmstad.  One day when the victim came home from work, his neighbor broke into his room and attacked him with a knife.  "You are not a proper Muslim.  I will kill you," he threatened. The reason was that the man - also a Muslim - had some beer in the fridge.  The man fled from the apartment, and when he came back he found his room vandalized and destroyed with detergent. To the court the 23 year old declared that he wanted to clean away the evil from the room.



Saudi women appeal for legal freedoms

In Riyadh, the college day begins for female students behind a locked door that will remain that way until male guardians come to collect them. In Jeddah, a 40-year-old divorced woman cannot board a plane without the written permission of her 23-year-old son. Elsewhere, a female doctor cannot leave the house at all as her male driver fails to turn up for work. These scenes make up the daily reality for half of the Saudi Kingdom, the only country where women legally belong to men. The House of Saud, in alliance with an extremist religious establishment which enforces the most restrictive

interpretation of sharia, Islamic law, has created a legal system that treats women as minors unable to exercise authority over even trivial daily matters.



Prison For Students Who "Desecrated Islam"

An Iranian court has handed down prison sentences ranging from 22 to 30 months to students from Amir Kabir University students, who have been detained for about a year, for desecrating the sanctity of Islam. The students said that the real reason for their sentence is their participation in the students' demonstration during a visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the university, and their burning of his picture. The families of the students stated that their confessions were extracted from them under pressure and torture. Source: Rooz, Iran, April 16, 2008; Amir Kabir University students' paper, Iran.


…and so on…




Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Militant Islam in Europe

Want to know what is really killing us (the West), not our wars but our political correctness. We are running out of time : If we will not take care of this problem now, for Europe and America tomorrow might be too late.

If you have any doubts, just open :

Monday, April 28, 2008

The ‘peace process’ is in need of a paradigm shift. Part I

By Ted Belman (written May '06)

1st part of 2

On a sunny day in June '02, President G W Bush, on the lawn of the Whitehouse, delivered his "Palestine vision" speech.

"I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence."

Of course this wasn't the first foray by the US administration into the Israel/Arab conflict in search of a solution. For the purpose of this analysis, I want to start with the Madrid Conference. Itzhak Shamir the Prime Minister of Israel was dragged, kicking a screaming, to this conference by the Bush Sr administration.

"In the aftermath of the Gulf War, the Bush administration embarked on an extensive effort to achieve a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Washington had doubtless promised its Arab coalition partners that it would address the issue once the war with Iraq was over.". [..] [1]

So, in effect, the US was proceeding to pressure Israel on behalf of the Arabs. Why was this necessary given the fact that the US had just rescued Kuwait and S. Arabia from Sadaam's clutches? It suggests that the US was just continuing a policy of ingratiating itself with the Arab potentates, at Israel's expense, in order to secure oil licenses and control. This policy was in existence even before the Israel declared its independence.

"Israel's refusal to heed U.S. requests to freeze the settlements [at that time] embroiled the two countries in a bitter dispute that finally drove President Bush to take a step that no U.S. president before him had taken: He linked U.S. financial aid to Israel to Israel's willingness to curb the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The policy that Bush adopted was not new- — every U.S. administration since 1967 had expressed its opposition to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories — but Bush was the first to enforce that policy."[1]

Rather than take such a US policy for granted one must question why the US was against the settlement of the territories in the first place. After all, the right of Jews to settle in all of the land mandated to Britain was the declared policy of Great Britain as articulated in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. These lands included all the land west of the Jordan River and Jordan itself.

This right was then legalized by the creation of the Palestinian Mandate by the League of Nations in 1922. In fact, by virtue of this mandate, Great Britain had the duty to preserve this right of the Jews and to enable such settlement to take place. Throughout the Mandate, the British breached this mandate by restricting settlement by Jews.

In 1947, the successor to the League of Nations, the United Nations, recommended the division of these lands, contrary to the Mandate, and sanctioned the creation of two states (Partition Plan). Pursuant to this plan both the Arabs and the Jews had the right to declare a state on its side of the partition line. Only Israel availed itself of this right and it legally came into existence in May of 1948. The Arabs on the other hand rejected it and attacked Israel. The resulting war ended in an Armistice Agreement which delineated an armistice line otherwise known as the "Green Line". Israel ended up in possession of more land then the Partition Line allowed them.

In '67 Israel was once again forced to go to war to defend itself. As a result, it acquired possession of all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. UNSC Resolution 242 was thereafter passed to chart a path to peace.

Eugene V. Rostow states:

"Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved."

Therefore the occupation is legal. It was sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

The British UN Ambassador at the time, Lord Caradon, who introduced the resolution to the Council, has stated that:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them.

The United States' UN Ambassador at the time, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, has stated that:

"The notable omissions - which were not accidental - in regard to withdrawal are the words "the" or "all" and the "June 5, 1967 lines" … the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. [This would encompass] less than a complete withdrawal less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territory, inasmuch as Israel's prior frontiers had proved to be notably Insecure".

Arab countries unanimously rejected this resolution at the Khartoum Conference where they agreed to "no recognition, no negotiation and no peace" with Israel.

What is important to note is that neither the Partition Plan, nor the Armistice Agreement, nor Resolution 242 removed the right of the Jews to settle in all of the lands and that right still exists today.

Accordingly, the settlements are legal no matter how much the UN, the Arabs or the US declares them "illegal". President Reagan backed off this labeling and simply called them an "obstacle to peace". For that matter some people, even in the State Department, also consider the existence of Israel to be an "obstacle to peace" and call for its destruction, secretly or otherwise.

American pressure on Israel to begin an internationally supervised peace process was relentless in the early nineties notwithstanding that the relations between Israelis and Arabs in the territories were excellent. The "Palestinians" in the territories had the highest standard of living, the best schooling and best health care compared to Arabs in any Arab country.

In 1993 the Oslo Accords were signed to great fanfare on the Whitehouse lawn. As a prelude and condition precedent to these accords, Arafat, as Chairman of the PLO, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, signed this letter,

Mr. Prime Minister, Rabin

The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era…I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments: The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The PLO commits itself…to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations…the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators…the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.


Arafat failed to honor any of these undertakings. I would point out that nowhere in these Accords, were the settlements or the occupation, declared illegal or did Israel agree to cease settlement activity.

But that didn't stop the US from insisting on more and more concessions and acts of good will by Israel to further the process along. Israel complied but to no avail.

In 2000, at Camp David, Prime Minister Barak, made what most considered a very generous offer to Arafat only to have Arafat walk out ending the talks. Thereafter, the US attempted to breathe life into the process by sending Sen. Mitchell, George Tenent, General Zinni and Anthony Ward to make reports and assist in the matter. In all cases additional demands were made on Israel to go beyond the terms of Oslo rather then on Arafat to honor the existing terms or else. There was never an "or else".

Rather then pursue peace, Arafat pursued war resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. During the war, the US continually pressured Israel not to react or to restrain itself. The US didn't allow Israel to destroy the PA or the failed Oslo Accords and remained wedded to a failed process.

Instead, the State Department began diplomatic negotiations to offer a better deal, once again, to Arafat notwithstanding that he had no attention of abandoning terror and incitement. We began to hear that the Palestinians must be offered "hope". This was a euphemism for a Palestinian State.

In February 2002, Thomas Friedman introduced the Saudi Peace Plan to the world with these words,

"After I laid out this idea, the crown prince [Abdullah] looked at me with mock astonishment and said, "Have you broken into my desk?" "No," I said, wondering what he was talking about. "The reason I ask is that this is exactly the idea I had in mind — full withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accord with U.N. resolutions, including in Jerusalem, for full normalization of relations," he said. 'I have drafted a speech along those lines. My thinking was to deliver it before the Arab summit and try to mobilize the entire Arab world behind it. The speech is written, and it is in my desk. But I changed my mind about delivering it when Sharon took the violence, and the oppression, to an unprecedented level.'"

How quaint? This plan when approved by the Arab League who included the "right of return". This "right" has no foundation in international law or practice and is being advanced by Arabs as a means to destroy Israel.

So when President Bush stepped on the lawn of the White House to declare his vision of a Palestinian state it mattered little that Arafat had unleashed a series of devastating suicide bomb attacks in the previous six months and that the offer of a state in fact rewarded such atrocities. The message clearly delivered to the Palestinians throughout the "peace process" was that no matter what you do, no matter that you fail to honor your commitments; you will be rewarded with a state. Perhaps the message included, the more violence you employ, the more you will get. What kind of a policy is that?

At the same time, the US was planning the invasion of Iraq. Part of this planning involved the attempt to build as large a "coalition of the willing" as possible. As it turned out, this coalition included Britain and Saudi Arabia. They demanded US pressure Israel to cede to Arab demands for the creation of a Palestinian state. That is not to say that they wanted a Palestinian state side by side with Israel. The ultimate goal is a Palestinian state instead of Israel.

Ted Belman

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

The ‘peace process’ is in need of a paradigm shift Part 2

By Ted Belman (written May '06)

2nd part of 2

On March 20th, 2003, the US invaded Iraq. Ten days later, before the dust settled, the Roadmap was released. One cannot deny the linkage.

I forcefully recommended that Israel Reject the Roadmap and later traced the genesis of the Roadmap in Perfecting the Unifying Theory . The Roadmap set out the steps to be taken leading to the creation of a Palestinian state that was viable and contiguous. It made reference to the Saudi Peace Plan that required a return to the "green line" and recognition of the "right of return". This reference served to undermine the principles set out in Resolution 242 that stipulated secure borders and partial withdrawal but did not reference the "right of return". When Israel demanded that reference to the Saudi Plan be dropped, Secretary Powell adamantly refused.

Notwithstanding that the Roadmap was backed by the Quartet (UN, EU, US, and Russia) and by the Arab League, and was accepted by the PA, the PA failed to take even a baby step along its path. In breach of their commitments, the Palestinians continued to use incitement and terror to advance their cause. Notwithstanding, the US continued to demand goodwill gestures from Israel.

Two years later, with the US mired in Iraq and the PA as intransigent as ever, Ariel Sharon decided to act unilaterally. He introduced his Disengagement Plan for Gaza and attempted to get President Bush to commit the US to supporting Israel's claim to keep the large settlement blocks in Judea and Samaria. The best he could get was a letter from President Bush saying,

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population's centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,…"

The same letter stressed the need for a negotiated settlement and a two state solution.

The events that followed the disengagement, confirmed the worst fears of disengagement's opponents, namely, that Gaza would descend into chaos and become a base for terrorists of all stripes including al Qaeda. Arms and terrorists flowed in unabated. This didn't stop Secretary Rice from forcing Israel to enter the Rafah Agreement. I commented at that time that The Rafah Agreement is against the law, common sense and prudence.

David Hornik in his article Folly in Gaza:The Sequel, reported,

"Since the disengagement, 35 Gazan export trucks have gone through it daily. Under the agreement, this will increase to 150 by the end of this year, and at least 400 by the end of 2006. But the agreement also stipulates that bus convoys, by December 15, and truck convoys, by a month later, will pass through Karni to the West Bank.

"The result is easy to see," former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, noting that "Kassam rockets and mortars will be transported through Judea and Samaria to be launched at Israel. . . . The biggest danger is that the Palestinians would be able to transfer the Strella [anti-aircraft] missiles, which are already in Gaza, to the area overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport and threaten planes landing and taking off."

Aside from the obvious danger this represented, it also represented an enormous erosion of Israel's sovereignty, particularly because it was imposed on Israel. There is a message here that is very frightening. If Israel couldn't resist this, what can she resist?

Two months later, Israel wanted to prevent Hamas, a terrorist organization from running for election to the Palestinian Council. Once again, Rice overruled Israel and demanded otherwise.

Notwithstanding the conditions for statehood stipulated by President Bush in his vision speech above and the PA's failure to meet its obligations undertaken in Oslo and the Roadmap, the US goes forward with the "peace process" regardless. No matter.

Today, Hamas is in power and fires rockets by the hundreds down on Israel and gives support to suicide bombers. Kadimah is in power in Israel and they are proposing significant "unilateral" withdrawal called "convergence".

Such a withdrawal has been made necessary by US policy of pressuring Israel and will need US support. The cost of such withdrawal and the uprooting of 80,000 Israelis in the process has been estimated at $25 billion USD. Israel cannot afford it. This is the equivalent of a US expenditure of $1,250 Billion USD.

The problem is also that these 80,000 Israelis are to be resettled in the settlement blocks which the Arabs will never accept. For that matter neither will the US. So the Roadmap has reached a dead end. Besides, the US should be against further withdrawal in light of the rise of the Islamist front and the ongoing war in Iraq and the looming war against Iran..

All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put this process back together again. That's because it didn't have a chance to begin with. The US must make a paradigm shift.

A review of US policy is long overdue.

The Arabs always rejected the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine prior to its creation and subsequent to it. They have been at war with the Jews continuously for over eighty five years. Egypt and Jordan are notable exceptions but they both still represent a potential threat to Israel should their governments fall to the Islamic Brotherhood.

The PLO and the PA agreed to recognize Israel and renounce violence and endorse a peace process. Yet rather then prepare the Palestinians for peaceful coexistence, they indoctrinated them through their schools, mosques and media to hate and kill Jew and to deny the legitimacy of Israel. Under these circumstances how can anyone believe in the peace process? Yet the US ignores what they say and what they do in the blind pursuit of an unworkable and unwanted solution. Why?

Furthermore the terrorist forces in the territories (Fatah and Hamas) and in Lebanon (Hezbollah) are controlled by Syria and Iran and readily accept their orders. These countries don't want a settlement of the conflict and instead want the war against Israel to continue. They want Israel and the US out of the Middle East.

Had the US not tried to curry favor with the oil potentates by forcing Israel to yield through peace processes, Israel would have continued the peaceful coexistence with the Arabs in the territories that existed at the time of the Gulf War. Instead, every time the US forced Israel into a "peace process", the Arabs were fortified in their belief that they could destroy Israel. After all the US wanted oil so badly, it would help them to ultimately bring this about. In effect, the US is fighting the Arab battles for them. Why should the Arabs compromise. Talk about being over an oil barrel.

While the American people love Israel and consider it an ally, the State Department and the administration curry favor with the Arabs using Israel as the sacrificial lamb. Furthermore in pursuit of the same goal they allow the Saudis to operate with impunity in the US to spread Islamist and Arab propaganda. They have been allowed to finance our universities, invest in our media, infiltrate our prisons and infiltrate our mosques.

There are two forces at work here. Firstly, the US is so heavily indebted to the Saudis for financing its debt and so dependent on it for its oil supply that it is no longer independent and calling the shots. Secondly, many Americans are benefiting financially from the Saudi relationship and work to continue it. They include the oil companies, ex-Presidents, the diplomats and the money managers. What's to be done?

Obviously energy self sufficiency is the most important imperative. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are taking this imperative seriously. This must change as a matter of urgency.

In the past the US favored a political two state solution. Such a policy has brought war, not peace. In August of '04, the then Shabak Security Chief, Avi Dichter, reported in Haaretz,

"Over the last four years" , Dichter said, "Israel has suffered 11,356 casualties, compared to 4,319 terror-related casualties between November 1947, when the United Nations voted to establish Israel, and 2000."

Translated into American terms, this is the equivalent of a mind-boggling 500,000 casualties. The US should abandon such a policy and opt for a military solution to the terror. Daniel Pipes argues for "utter defeat".

The military solution would be to allow Israel to seriously defeat the terrorist forces in the territories and to destroy the PA. Any terrorists not killed must be expelled. After all, the US is conducting a "war on terror" are they not? Let the Israelis do the same.

After that, assist the Israelis in pursuing a humanitarian solution.

The humanitarian solution would address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians rather then their political needs. This is exactly what Israel was doing prior to interference by the US.

Israel would then be responsible for enforcing the rule of law, providing for a free media and reforming the educational system. In the process she would be enabling the building blocks of democracy to be developed. It would take a generation at least to detoxify the Palestinians.

Secondly, UNRWA, must be reformed as Daniel Pipes points out in his Aug '03 article The Refugee Curse - UNRWA. Its mandate is to perpetuate the problem and not to solve it. This must change.

The Jerusalem Summit 2004 sets out three major requirements as part of such a solution,

"(a) The dissolution of UNRWA – which will end the discriminatory treatment towards the Palestinians with regard to their status as refugees;

(b) The termination of ethnic discrimination against Palestinians living in the Arab world - which will end the discriminatory treatment towards the Palestinians with regard to their status as residents;

(c) Generous relocation grants to Palestinians living in Israeli administered territories on an individual basis and not via any official Palestinian organization"

In March '06, a new demographic study entitled "Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza: The Million Person Gap," was presented to Congress by Bennet Zimmerman. Israel National News reports,

"According to Zimmerman, the current official population for the West Bank and Gaza, which is listed as 3,279,141, is a highly inflated figure that does not reflect the demographic reality, which he estimates at 1.4 million in the West Bank and 1 million in Gaza, totaling 2.4 million. The U.S. and Europeans have for years accepted entirely exaggerated data. Now Congress has some very tough questions to ask, including how its own State Department and the CIA could have been duped and what do to regarding future aid,"

If Israel were to annex all of the West Bank, and provide "generous relocation grants" to most Palestinians and citizenship to some over time, the problem would work itself out. Let us assume that 1.4 million Arabs represent 250,000 families. Thus the estimated $25 billion USD for Kadima's convergence plan would be redirected if needed to give $100,000 to each Palestinian family as emigration assistance. Obviously a far smaller sum would be sufficient. Furthermore, these emigrants would be a boon to any poor Arab country that agreed to accept them due to the money they would bring. [It should be noted that the the deal presently being mooted for Annapolis would cost someone about $75 Billion to uproot about 200,000 Israelis.]

There is an alternative by Robert S. Barnes, details such a proposal. There are many other alternatives including Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan?

The US would be well advised to end the "peace process" and support the humanitarian solution.

[1] From A History of the Modern Middle East. 2nd edition

Ted Belman

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

Fatah almost as Islamist as Hamas

By Morton A. Klein

A detailed article by Ido Zelkowitz in the latest edition of the Middle East Quarterly, produced by Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum, shows that Fatah, the party co-founded by Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas, is increasingly Islamist in it orientation and character and becoming less and less distinguishable from Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that controls Gaza and which his dedicated in its charter to the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (article 7). Zelkowitz, a PhD candidate in Middle Eastern history at Haifa University, presents impressive evidence to show why this is the case:

A Palestinian public opinion survey (conducted between November 1997 and march 1999) shows that 87.6% of Fatah supporters believe that Islam should play a major role in the future life of Palestinian society, while 80% believe that the PA should be run according to Islamic sharia law.

It was Fatah which placed a religious character on its terrorist offensive against Israel in September 2000 by calling it the Al-Aqsa intifadah, referring to the Muslim holy site upon Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

Fatah named its chief terror arm during September 2000 violence started the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, founded by Marwan Barghouti, now jailed by Israel for multiple counts of murder, which engages in suicide bombings, like avowedly Islamist terrorist groups, even though Fatah never actually mentions Al-Aqsa or Jerusalem in its Constitution.

Fatah's icons today are infused with religious imagery, like the Islamic flag and Quranic verses reproduced on Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades banners.

Even during the Arafat era, increasingly Islamist imagery was used by Fatah, including by Arafat himself, who vowed to die a martyr rather than be captured by Israeli forces in 2002, and who cited Quranic teachings even in 1981 to justify his terror campaign against Israel.

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, like other Palestinian terror groups, received external support from outside Islamist forces, like Hizballah.

The Fatah Hawks, another armed wing of Fatah, used to describe itself in nationalistic terms opposed to Islamists but today boast that "upon God's great name … they will protect the beautiful Islamic land of Palestine." Additionally, its communiqu?s abound in Islamic discourse, its shield reproduces a map of Israel in the Islamic green color and its flag boasts its profession of faith and the Islamic religious cry of "God is Great."

Another Fatah armed faction, the Shahid Ahmad Abu'r-Rish Brigades, also accords Islam a central role in its identification, calling itself Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam) on their internet site. It also says that it strives, not only to "liberate Palestine," but to exalt Allah: "we believe that Allah is god, and Islam is our faith, for the Prophet is a model and teacher for us. For our way is the way of jihad for the sake of Allah."

Yet another Fatah armed group, the Clear Victory Brigades, derives its name from the Quran.

The Fatah Holy Warriors Brigades, active in Gaza, is an off-shoot of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, has been described by one of its senior activists, Abu al-sheikh, as bearing a name that symbolizes "those who stand for the Islamic ideal within Fatah."

A further Fatah armed group, the Pioneers of the Army of the People – the Brigade of the Return – possesses a banner bearing the Quranic verse, "Kill those who fight you everywhere," while its members devote themselves to the "liberation" of the land "completely under the aegis of God and in the fulfillment of His commandments."

Zelkowitz concludes that "Today, the gap between Fatah and Hamas in terms of the role of Islam has narrowed … both agree that Palestinian society should be Islamist … it is not a coincidence that Fatah organized mass prayers in public areas in the Gaza Strip to protest against Hamas policies …. Fatah has deepened its own Islamic terminology and now preaches on the importance of prayer and faith in God during training and indoctrination of its new members. Fatah has also started a propaganda campaign accusing Hamas of being a servant of Iranian interests and Shi'i supporters, thereby using Islam to criticize its rival."


It is very eye-opening to see the transformation of Fatah into an increasingly Islamist terror group, not merely a secular one. The findings in this article are important because it has often been held out that Fatah is secular and pragmatic, not Islamist and fanatic, and thus worthy of discussions, rewards and concessions. The evidence provided by Zelkovitz shows that this distinction no longer has any justification, if it ever did."

Morton A. Klein

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