Archive for the ‘Fatah’ Category

Israel Wants Peace and To Be Free of Gaza; But Ready For Hamas Attacks

February 2, 2009

“Peace cannot be postponed for another four years,” President Shimon Peres of Israel said on Monday.

Next week Israelis will vote and elect a new government.  President Peres wants to make sure the next government seeks peace with both Hamas and the Palestinians.

Israel wants peace so that it doesn’t find itself responsible for the rehabilitation, administration, development and social welfare of Gaza.   

“It’s possible that Hamas will try its luck again. And Fatah won’t give up on its path,” he said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rival movement. “We will need to choose between war on Hamas as a first option and pay its price, or progress in negotiations with the Palestinians – to expedite them, and complete them during the beginning of the next government’s term.”

But Peres added that, “It’s possible that we will need to combine the two, despite the contradiction.”

From The Jerusalem Post:

From Haaretz:

Obama Launching First Diplomatic Mission To Middle East

January 25, 2009

The day Barack Obama became President of the United States, Israeli tanks were rumbling out of Gaza and Palestinians were piled up awaiting burial. Unitid Nations storehouse were in ruins.  Accusations were flying that Israel had used white phosphorus — a substanced banned for use in populated areas by civilized people.   It would be difficult to make the other top priorities of the world scene more important than the festering and violent disputes of the Middle East. Despite Russia-Georgia, North Korea, disagreements with China, Pakistan, troubles in Afghanistan and other disputes, Barack Obama is squarely and rightly facing the Middle East….


President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East will come to Israel Wednesday for talks on keeping alive a fragile Gaza cease-fire and reviving Mideast negotiations, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Saturday.

It is the new administration’s first direct move into Mideast peace efforts.

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

George J. Mitchell will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior Israeli officials, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because Washington has not officially announced the trip.

George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's newly named ... 
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama’s newly named Special Envoy to the Middle East.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced Mitchell in his new role Thursday. His appointment is seen as signaling a renewed push under the Obama administration for a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mitchell will also visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at their headquarters in the West Bank, the official said.

The official said Mitchell will discuss restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after Israel’s three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, and ways to impose an effective arms blockade against the Hamas militants who rule Gaza and have been firing rockets into Israel for years.

The arms embargo and the opening of the blockaded territory’s borders are key to sustaining separate cease-fires by Israel and Hamas.

Tzipi Livni (Left) with Hillary Clinton

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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.
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


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.

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 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

Palestinians Can’t Agree Following Hamas Defeat at Israeli Hands

January 23, 2009

Hamas has claimed victory over Israel in the fighting that ended this week but the paucity of flag waving fighters and supporters raises serious issues about any Hamas glory.

Even the rival Fatah party in Gaza can’t find it appropriate to gloat over the proclaimed “victory” over Israel.

Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement on everything.

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.

CNN reported that  some in Fatah are accusing Hamas of carrying out “punishment shootings” against suspects.

“In this war, we arrested many spies and collaborators, and we will stay continuing to catch these spies and put them in jail and in court,” Ehad al-Ghossain, Hamas’ Interior Ministry spokesman, told CNN.

Peace and Freedom

Obama urges Israel, Hamas to keep peace in Gaza
 Hamas Inflated Civilian Casualty Numbers in Gaza To Gain Sympathy, Support from Media, Iran, Arab World
Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

 Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas
Israel Failed: Tunnels in Gaza Again Filled With Supplies, Diggers

Gaza: Time To End The Fight, “Passed the Point of Diminishing Returns”

January 16, 2009

We agree that Israel had to defend itself against Hamas’s rocket attacks. But we fear the assault on Gaza has passed the point of diminishing returns. It is time for a cease-fire with Hamas and a return to the peace negotiations that are the only real hope for guaranteeing Israel’s long-term security.

New York Times Editorial

We are encouraged that a cease-fire finally seems to be gaining traction. Although not much detail is known, reports have focused on an Egyptian proposal for a phased-in truce, followed by a pullout of Israeli forces and the reopening of border crossings to ease the economic blockade of Gaza.

The sudden diplomatic activity came as Israel unleashed its heaviest shelling of Gaza neighborhoods, including a hit on a United Nations compound where hundreds of Palestinians had taken shelter.

Israeli officials acknowledge that the 20-day offensive has not permanently crippled Hamas’s military wing or ended its ability to launch rocket attacks. It is unlikely that Israel can achieve those aims militarily any time soon. The cost in human life and anti-Israeli fury would be enormous. Already more than 1,000 Palestinians have died in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where an always miserable life has become unbearable. Thirteen Israelis have died.

We also fear that the war is further weakening the palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Fatah faction — Hamas’s sworn enemy. We know Mr. Abbas’s limitations, but he believes in a two-state solution. If there is going to be a negotiated peace, he is the best hope.

As part of a cease-fire deal, Israel is right to demand a permanent halt to Hamas’s rocket fire. Israel is also right not to rely on Hamas’s promises. Hamas used the last cease-fire to restock its arsenal with weapons ferried in through tunnels dug under the Egypt-Gaza border.

The best protection would be to place monitors on the Egypt-Gaza border to stop the smuggling that is Hamas’s lifeline. The Israelis also must be ready to ease their blockade of Gaza to allow more food and normal economic activity.

The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, is expected in Washington on Friday where she will sign a hastily arranged deal to accept United States equipment and technical assistance to help monitor the Israeli-Gaza border.

American and Israeli officials say that Israel would never accept a cease-fire without that help and both are eager to heap praise on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for making it happen. But Washington could have provided that assistance years ago — just as it should have been pressing harder on every aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President-elect Barack Obama says he will work for a peace deal from Day 1. We hope Israel picks a new leader in elections next month who is truly committed to a two-state solution. With the support of the new American president, he or she must make an early downpayment on peace by ending settlement construction, cooperating seriously with Mr. Abbas and improving the lives of all Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza.

Palestinian Authority is Big Loser in Gaza War

January 15, 2009

“The Palestinian Authority is one of the main losers in this war,” said Ghassan Khatib, an independent Palestinian analyst in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “How can it make gains in a war in which it is one of the casualties?”

Israel is proposing, with the tacit agreement of Egypt and the United States, to place the Palestinian Authority at the heart of an ambitious program to rebuild Gaza, administering reconstruction aid and securing Gaza’s borders. But that plan is already drawing skepticism. Mr. Khatib, for example, called the idea of any Palestinian Authority role in postwar Gaza “silly” and “naïve.”

By Isabel Kershner
The New York Times

But with each day, the authority, its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and its leading party, Fatah, seem increasingly beleaguered and marginalized, even in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank, which they control. Protesters accuse Mr. Abbas of not doing enough to stop the carnage in Gaza — indeed, his own police officers have used clubs and tear gas against those same protesters.

Read the entire article:

Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas

January 14, 2009

Like Hezbollah, Hamas believes that God is opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine.

By Jeffrey Goldberg
The New York Times
IN the summer of 2006, at a moment when Hezbollah rockets were falling virtually without pause on northern Israel, Nizar Rayyan, husband of four, father of 12, scholar of Islam and unblushing executioner, confessed to me one of his frustrations.

We were meeting in a concrete mosque in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Mr. Rayyan, who was a member of the Hamas ruling elite, and an important recruiter of suicide bombers until Israel killed him two weeks ago (along with several of his wives and children), arrived late to our meeting from parts unknown.

He was watchful for assassins even then, and when I asked him to describe his typical day, he suggested that I might be a spy for Fatah. Not the Mossad, mind you, not the C.I.A., but Fatah.

What a phantasmagorically strange conflict the Arab-Israeli war had become! Here was a Saudi-educated, anti-Shiite (but nevertheless Iranian-backed) Hamas theologian accusing a one-time Israeli Army prison official-turned-reporter of spying for Yasir Arafat’s Fatah, an organization that had once been the foremost innovator of anti-Israeli terrorism but was now, in Mr. Rayyan’s view, indefensibly, unforgivably moderate.

In the Palestinian civil war, Fatah, which today controls much of the West Bank and is engaged in intermittent negotiations with Israel, had become Mr. Rayyan’s direst enemy, a party of apostates and quislings. “First we must deal with the Muslims who speak of a peace process and then we will deal with you,” he declared.

But we spoke that day mainly about the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, that specifically concerned Jews and their diverse and apparently limitless character failings.

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Gaza Day 15: New UN Efforts, Neither Side Relents, Escalation Likely

January 10, 2009

Israel halted the fighting in Gaza for three hours Saturday afternoon to allow residents to get much needed humnitarian supplies, an Israeli spokesman said.

The UN said the three hour lull starting at 1 PM was not enough to fully aid the beseiged Palestinians.

The United Nations is drawing up a plan to reinstate the Palestinian Authority is Gaza and to provide an international peace monitoring force between Hamas and Israel, the Times newspaper of Britain is reporting.

The news comes after both Hamas and Israel rejected a cease fire resolution Friday. 

Sunday, Day 16: Gaza City Under Siege

Meanwhile, Friday night and into Saturday, Israel continued the fighting with more than 50 airstrikes into Gaza and Hamas remained active in attacking Israeli forces.

Sources say Israel is now on the verge of an all-out assault upon Gaza City.

Israel has issued a threat to launch a “new phase” in its two-week-old offensive that has already killed more than 800 Palestinians.  It came in defiance of international calls for a cease-fire.

“The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) will escalate the operation in the Gaza Strip,” leaflets dropped in Gaza today said in Arabic. “The IDF is not working against the people of Gaza but against Hamas and the terrorists only. Stay safe by following our orders.”

Smoke rises Saturday over Gaza City from artillery strikes.

Above: Smoke rises Saturday over Gaza City from artillery strikes.

This is day 15 of the fighting.

The U.N. plan, the Times says, would allow a return of the Palestinian Authority, led by the secular Fatah faction, to the territory 18 months after it was expelled by the Islamist Hamas. Diplomats are considering taking a triangle at the southern end of Gaza, including the Rafah crossing to Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing to Israel, to be policed by Turkish and French military monitors to stop arms smuggling into Gaza.

Israel rejected the first UN cease fire effort because it was not satisified with the anti-smuggling provisions.

The Israeli Air Force has bombed more than 70 smuggling tunnels along the border, nicknamed the Philadelphi corridor, since the operation began.

Israel appears to be getting ready for an all-out assault on Gaza City:
Gaza City Attack: Israel Says “No Restraint,” Day 15 and Beyond

Jerusalem Post:

The Times:

The Associated Press said:
Israel launched the offensive on Dec. 27 to halt years of Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel. A week later, ground troops moved in, with artillery and tank fire that has contributed to a surge in civilian casualties.

Palestinian medical officials say more than 800 Palestinians have been killed, roughly half of them civilians. Thirteen Israelis have been killed — four of them by militant rockets, the rest in battle in Gaza.

In a possible sign of progress for the military, no rockets were fired into Israel overnight, a sharp drop from the dozens of projectiles that were launched in the early days of the offensive.

Read the rest:

A look at the Islamic militant Hamas group

January 9, 2009

NAME: Arabic for “zeal.” Is acronym of Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah, or Islamic Resistance Movement. Use first was in 1987 leaflet presaging launch of first Palestinian uprising against Israel, 1987-93.

GOAL: To establish Islamic theocracy in Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Does not recognize state of Israel and committed to its destruction.

OPERATIONS: Built grass-roots base through preaching and network of health, education and welfare services in Gaza Strip and West Bank. Preaches armed resistance against Israel and has staged dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks, killing hundreds. Listed as terror group by U.S., European Union and Israel.

FUNDING: Community services financed by Arab agencies and Islamic charities; Israel claims funding for military wing (Izzedine al-Qassam) comes from Iran, Syria and Palestinians living abroad.

HISTORY: Began as offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in 1970s. Initially supported by Israel as counterbalance to Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. Early activity concentrated on social and community issues; militant faction took over in 1980s. Entered politics with run for Palestinian parliament in 2006, defeating long-dominant Fatah.

GAZA TAKEOVER: Seized control of Gaza in 2007 during five days of battles with Fatah forces loyal to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

DECISION-MAKING: Khaled Mashaal, former physics teacher who lives in Syria, considered….

Read the rest from The Associated Press:

Gaza: Hamas Was Dying, Now Israel Has Revived It….

December 30, 2008

In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.

By Daoud Kuttab
The Washington Post

For two years, the Islamic Resistance Movement (known by its Arabic acronym, Hamas) has been losing support internally and externally. This wasn’t the case in the days after the party came to power democratically in early 2006; despite being unjustly ostracized by the international community for its anti-Israeli stance, Hamas enjoyed the backing of Palestinians and other Arabs. Having won a decisive parliamentary majority on an anti-corruption platform promising change and reform, Hamas worked hard to govern better than had Fatah, its rival and predecessor.

Things began to sour when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza, but even then, Hamas enjoyed considerable domestic support — and much goodwill externally. Then the movement turned down every legitimate offer from its nationalist PLO rivals and Egyptian mediators to pursue reconciliation, and support for it began to slip.

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