Archive for the ‘Arab’ Category

Like Hezbollah Before It, Hamas Hands Out Money for Loyalty After Israeli Destruction

January 24, 2009

“We are in control and we are the winner,” Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri declared this week in Gaza, after attending the funeral of four Hamas gunmen.
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More than 4,000 houses were destroyed and about 20,000 damaged in Gaza by the fighting with Israel, according to independent estimates.

Yet Hamas claims “victory” and passes out money to assure its story is believed.

After Israel pounded Hezbollah and southern Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah passed out money and assistance in the effort to rebuild structures and loyalty.

Now Hamas is following that model: an Iranian written and funded script.

But Hamas is having a tougher time than Hezbollah.

Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement on everything in Gaza.

Hamas is accusing rival Palestinian faction Fatah of spying for Israel and not strongly enough supporting Hamas in the fight against the “Zionists.”

Fatah says Hamas relied too much on Iran for strategy and arms, irresponsibly goaded Isreal into a war with their rocket attacks on Israel, and botched the defense of the Gazan people.

But now money from Iran to Hamas may rebuild Gaza and loyalty to Hamas.

Peace and Freedom

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By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Bearded Hamas activists on Friday delivered an envelope with five crisp $100 bills to a veiled woman whose house was damaged during Israel’s invasion of Gaza, the first of promised relief payments by the militant group.

In another part of the territory, a bulldozer cleared rubble and filled in a bomb crater where a week before a top Hamas leader had been killed in an Israeli air strike.

Since a truce took hold this week, ending Israel‘s three-week onslaught, Gaza’s Hamas rulers have declared victory and gone out of their way to show they are in control.

They have pledged $52 million of the group’s funds to help repair lives, the money divvied up by category. The veiled woman received emergency relief money for her two-story home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

Hamas, which is believed to be funded by donations from the Muslim world and Iran, said the emergency relief would include $1,300 for a death in the family, $650 for an injury, $5,200 for a destroyed house and $2,600 for a damaged house.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090124/ap_on_re_m
i_ea/ml_hamas_back_in_control;_ylt=AkQlrzyasxzO
qJTKVv0MCvtvaA8F

Related:
 Palestinians Can’t Agree Following Hamas Defeat at Israeli Hands

Most Palestinians are furious at Israel over damage like that in Rafah, in Gaza’s south, but there are signs that Gazans feel such pain that they will rein in Hamas.  Photo: Eyad Baba/Associated Press
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Iran’s President Accuses Israel of “Massacre,” Condemns US, UN, Britain

January 16, 2009

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel Thursday of committing “massacre and aggression ” in the Gaza Strip, and blasted the United Nations Security Council as beholden to U.S. and British influence.

Sitting under a large poster bearing a verse from the Quran, Ahmadinejad told reporters the people of Gaza were the victors in the ongoing conflict.

In an unprecedented act, he asked the people of Israel to come into the streets to protest against their country’s military operation in the Palestinian territory, as has been seen in other nations across the world.

Leily Lankarani
CBS News

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

He also asked Israeli soldiers to disobey their commanders and to not kill women and children in Gaza. “We know that there is discontentment and you have differences with your commanders.”

He advised the leaders of Arab countries to set aside their differences and work towards a just peace in Gaza.

Ahmadinejad said he had not heard about a $1.5 million reward offered by an Iranian student group for the head of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

For several days groups of Iranian students staged demonstrations in support of the Palestinians and condemned Egypt for not opening the Rafah crossing to allow aid through to Gaza. One group set the reward for Mubarak’s head. These students were also critical of their own government for not permitting them fly to Gaza to fight alongside Hamas, and for Tehran’s tolerance toward Egypt.

Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran is against any kind of brutality and genocide. Several times he accused the U.S. and British governments and their allies of supporting the killing of Palestinians in Gaza. He also said these governments were seeking to create discord in the region, but they have not succeeded.

On relations with the new U.S. administration, he said the “sticks and carrots” policy of President Bush was out of date. Ahmadinejad said Iran would wait to see whether President-elect Barack Obama brought real change in policy, based on “justice and friendship.”

“The root for all wars and crisis is U.S. interference in different parts of the world. The U.S. should stay within its own territories,” Ahmadinejad added.

At the end of his 10th news conference, the Iranian President was asked three times by the same reporter if the Islamic Republic was sending arms to Hamas.

“We do not think Hamas needs weapons, and Iran does not need to do so (arm Hamas). What is really defeating the Zionist Regime is the resistance of the people in Gaza,” Ahmadinejad said.

Israel and the West accuse Iran of supporting Hamas with both money weapons.

Iran president says Israeli leaders face ‘doomed end’

January 16, 2009
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran won’t send weapons to the Gaza Strip, because Hamas doesn’t need them.
By Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi
The Los Angeles Times
January 16, 2009
Reporting from Tehran and Beirut — Iran’s hard-line president on Thursday warned Israeli leaders of a “doomed end” but pointedly ruled out sending weapons to its ally Hamas or getting involved militarily in the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said his government welcomed “dialogue and having relations” with the U.S. after the inauguration next week of President-elect Barack Obama, who has said he is open to diplomatic contacts with Iran.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles as he waits for ... 
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles as he waits for an official meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Tehran January 3, 2009.(Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters)
But “if they want to have the previous stance wrapped up in a new package, [talking] will not work,” he said. “If the stance is oppressor against the oppressed, it will not be fruitful.”

His comments squared with an Iranian pattern of provocative talk meant to put pressure on Arab governments to more aggressively oppose the Israeli offensive, but without committing Tehran to a more direct role in the conflict.

“I believe Gaza has no military solution from the outside,” Ahmadinejad said at a wide-ranging news conference Thursday evening. “We do think Hamas does not need weapons because 1.5 million women, children, elderly and young men are defending it.”

Israel and the U.S. accuse the Islamic Republic of using the militant group Hamas as a proxy to gain leverage in Tehran’s quest to master nuclear technology and increase its regional influence.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-
ahmadinejad16-2009jan16,0,3089546.story

For Barack Obama, Middle East Pressure Cooker Intensifies With Each Unchecked Israeli Move

January 4, 2009

With global respect for the United States at an all time low and hopes in Barack Obama at an all time high, how much more pressure and drama can a new President of the United States tolerate?

Well, Israel, the Middle East and George W. Bush are adding fuel to the proverbial fire.

An Israeli tank enters the Gaza Strip from Israel on a combat mission, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas gained momentum. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Photo: AP

Bush’s totally unbowed support for Israel and his deaf ear to pressure from the Arab world has resulted in gridlock in the United Nations Security Council.  It now looks as if the U.N. may not even consider another cease-fire proposal between Israel and Hamas until Tuesday.

The U.S. has blocked two previous cease-fire resolutions.

Many nations would like to see Isreal ordered to agree to a cease fire; but U.S. non-compliance has allowed Isreal to forge ahead in its air, and now ground, assault upon Gaza.

For right or wrong, the U.S. position on Israel is under siege: putting even more pressure on Barack Obama to come up with a solution more people can agree to in the Middle East after he is inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

Maybe Mr. Obama can still replace Rick Warren with a Muslim for the invocation….

Related:
 Gaza, Israel Highlight Stark Obama, Bush Differences

 Arab Nations Enraged At U.S. On Gaza, Palestinian Deaths
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Gaza: International Community Allowing Isreal To Bleed Hamas?
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Gaza and Obama’s “Deafening Silence:” Arabs and Muslims Wonder

In this Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 file photo, Pastor Rick Warren ... 
Rick Warren: Needs an all inclusive prayer…. and a very big rug….

Arab Nations Enraged At U.S. On Gaza, Palestinian Deaths

January 4, 2009

“It’s clearly the Americans, it doesn’t require genius,” he said, adding that the US had blocked a resolution because “the Israelis still need some time to finish their operations.”

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Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East on Sunday, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Israel’s incursion into the impoverished territory on Saturday night came in “brazen defiance” of international calls to end the fighting.

“The Security Council‘s silence and its failure to take a decision to stop Israel’s aggression since it began was interpreted by Israel as a green light,” he said in a statement as Israeli forces rumbled into Gaza.

By Samer al-Atrush, AFP

Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans during a demonstration ... 

Above: Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.(AFP/Abbas Momani)

A Jordanian government spokesman said the invasion “will have dangerous repercussions and negative effects on the region’s security and stability” and called for an immediate ceasefire, state-news agency Petra reported.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/mideastconflictgazadiplomacy

Israel’s Gaza Attack Continues to Further Split Arab Rulers, People

January 4, 2009

“War on Gaza” was the description the satellite channel al-Jazeera gave for the Israeli ground invasion that began Saturday, a culmination of eight days of bombing that have killed hundreds of Palestinians in the crowded seaside strip. But across the Arab world, the struggle was as noteworthy for what was becoming a war at home.

From Egypt to Saudi Arabia, longtime leaders of the Arab world, the attacks illustrated a yawning divide between the policies of rulers and the sentiments of those they rule. Although the Palestinian cause is cherished on the street, the region’s leaders are viewed as paying only lip service to it.

The gulf between the two is not uncommon in a region that remains, with few exceptions, authoritarian.

But exacerbating the tension is an issue that, although half a century old, remains at the heart of Arab politics: Palestine and its symbolism here.

The intersection of the issue’s resonance with official Egyptian and Saudi criticism of Hamas has created a conflict in policy and sentiment as pronounced as perhaps at any time in modern Arab history.

From the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2009/01/03/AR2009010302017.html
?hpid=topnews

Dennis Ross: Iran Mastering Intimidation, Coercion, Subversion

January 2, 2009

Everywhere you look in the Middle East today, Iran is threatening U.S. interests and the political order. The Iranians see themselves as a rising power, and are warning their neighbors of the costs of friendship with Washington. As one Arab ambassador told me recently, the Iranians have begun reminding Arab leaders that America didn’t help Fuad Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon, or Mikheil Saaskashvili, the president of Georgia, when both got into trouble—in fact, Washington left them high and dry. Iran, by contrast, is close by and not going anywhere. And it will make life difficult for those that cross it.

By Dennis Ross
For Newsweek

If Iran is already acting in intimidating ways, imagine what would happen if the country goes nuclear and gains an atomic shield behind which to engage in coercion and subversion.

Read the rest:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/177377

Gaza New Year Ground Offensive Probable; Israeli Troops Moving Foward

December 31, 2008

Israel sent more troops to the Gaza border Wednesday, rapidly moving forward with preparations for a possible ground offensive as the next stage of its military assault on the coastal territory’s Hamas rulers. Israel rebuffed calls by world leaders for a truce, and Hamas was cold to a cease-fire. Instead, both intensified their fire. Israel bombed a mosque that it said was used to store rockets as well as vital smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border, and the Islamic militants hammered southern Israeli cities with about 60 rockets.

Israeli troops trudged between dozens of tanks in muddy, rain-sodden fields outside of Gaza, assembling equipment, cleaning weapons and scrubbing the insides of tank barrels. Their commanders moved forward with preparations for a ground operation, said an Israeli defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

By Ibrahim Barzak And Jason Keyser, Associated Press Writers

Israel Tanks 
AP Photo

The U.N. Security Council scheduled emergency consultations Wednesday night to discuss an Arab request for a legally binding and enforceable resolution to ensure an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Egyptian Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said he was on instructions from Arab League foreign ministers who met in Cairo.

Diplomatic efforts by U.S., European and Middle Eastern leaders appeared to be having little effect. A French proposal for a 48-hour cease-fire to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza failed to gain traction. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the time was not ripe to consider it. A separate proposal by Turkey and Egypt, two of Israel’s few allies in the Muslim world, also seemed to be attracting little serious study in Israel or Gaza, where Hamas has also dismissed talk of a truce.

With a shrinking number of targets to hit from the air and top Hamas leaders deep in hiding, a ground operation seemed all the more likely. In five days of raids, Israeli warplanes have carried out about 500 sorties against Hamas targets, and helicopters have flown hundreds more combat missions, a senior Israeli military officer said on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/a
p_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Gaza: Dead Jews Aren’t News; But Killing Terrorists Outrages Global Activists

December 29, 2008

DEAD Jews aren’t news, but killing terrorists outrages global activists. On Saturday, Israel struck back powerfully against its tormentors. Now Israel’s the villain. Again.

How long will it be until the UN General Assembly passes a resolution creating an international Holocaust Appreciation Day?

By Ralph Peters
New York Post

An Israeli woman is evacuated from the scene after a rocket ... 
An Israeli woman is evacuated from the scene after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in the southern Israeli town of Sderot December 29, 2008.(Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

Israel’s airstrikes against confirmed Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip were overdue, discriminating and skillful. So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower.

Instead of bombing empty buildings in the dead of night in the hope of convincing bloodthirsty monsters to become peace-loving floral arrangers – the US Air Force version of “Shock and Awe” – the Israeli Defense Force aimed to kill terrorists.

Israel’s attack aircraft appear to have accomplished that part of the mission. As I write, some 300 terrorist dead have been reported in Gaza, while the propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has strug- gled to prove that 20 civilians died.

Given the fact that Hamas adheres to the terrorist practice of locating command sites, arsenals and training facilities in heavily populated areas, the results suggest that the IDF – supported by first-rate intelligence work – may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.

The bad news is that it still won’t be enough. While Israel has delivered a painful blow against Hamas, it’s still not a paralyzing hit. The only way to neuter such a terror threat – even temporarily – is to go in on the ground and scour every room, basement and underground tunnel in a region.

That would mean high Israeli casualties and, of course, condemnation of Israel’s self-defense efforts by every self-righteous, corrupt and bigoted organization and government on earth, from Turtle Bay to Tehran.

What have been Israel’s “crimes?” Not “stealing Palestinian land,” but making that land productive, while exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.

Israel’s crime isn’t striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel’s crime hasn’t been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.

Israel’s crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel’s crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.

But Israel’s greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history’s grimmest disaster.

Read the rest:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/12292008/posto
pinion/opedcolumnists/damned_if_they_do_146263.htm

Israel says Gaza assault ‘war to the bitter end’

December 29, 2008

Israel obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of what the defense minister described Monday as a “war to the bitter end,” striking next to the Hamas premier’s home, and devastating a security compound and a university building.

The three-day death toll rose to at least 315 by Monday morning, with some 1,400 wounded. The U.N. said at least 51 of the dead were civilians, and medics said eight children under the age of 17 were killed in two separate strikes overnight. Israel launched its campaign, the deadliest against Palestinians in decades, on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns.

By IBRAHIM BARZAK and MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writers

Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

Since then, the number of Israeli troops on the Gaza border has doubled and the Cabinet approved the call-up of 6,500 reserve soldiers.

The strikes have driven Hamas leaders into hiding and appear to have gravely damaged the organization’s ability to launch rockets, but barrages continued. Sirens warning of incoming rockets sent Israelis scrambling for cover throughout the day.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/
ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians