Posted tagged ‘Israel’

Fatah Official: We Should Launch Popular Resistance Against Israel Because What Unites Us Is The Struggle Against It, Not Dialogue With It

March 22, 2017

Fatah Official: We Should Launch Popular Resistance Against Israel Because What Unites Us Is The Struggle Against It, Not Dialogue With It, MEMRI, March 22, 2017

In a March 21, 2017 article in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Fatah Central Committee member ‘Abbas Zaki wrote that nothing has changed since the 1967 defeat. Therefore, he said, Fatah must mobilize its tens of thousands of members and launch a popular resistance campaign against Israel, which all the other Palestinian factions will then join. He claimed that Fatah already did this in the past, after 1967, when its resistance operations “restored the Arab nation’s hope and realized the Palestinian legitimacy,” because “the sword is ever aimed [at the enemy] and the rifle comes before the olive branch.” He called on the Palestinian officials to continue pursuing Israel in international courts and to put the good of the homeland before their personal interests, as the “generation of pioneers” did.

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

‘Abbas Zaki (image: Al-Quds, Jerusalem)

“How similar our current time is to yesteryear. In the June 1967 [war] we suffered defeat, and the [West] Bank, Sinai, and the Golan fell into Israeli hands. The leader of the [Arab] ummah, [Gamal] ‘Abd Al-Nasser, [felt] compelled to resign from his position and become a private citizen, [but] the public came out and stopped him from doing this. He had a high measure of national honor and people like him do not accept defeat, in accordance with his eternal slogan: What was taken by force cannot be restored by anything other than force, and therefore he decided on a war of attrition [against Israel].

“At the time, a message was sent to Fatah in Damascus that read: Oh, boys of Fatah, mobilize and fight, even by starting fires. If you don’t do this, Arab banners will never be raised [in these lands]. The leader of our path and the commander of our revolution, Yasser Arafat, took the hint and left for the occupied lands immediately – crossing the Syria-Jordan border and reaching the [Jordan] valley. The [deputy] commander of [Fatah’s] Al-‘Asifa unit, Abu Sabri Saidam, also followed suit. From there they crossed the Jordan River to the place their hearts yearned for – to Palestine, which is suffering the wound of the occupation and the disappointments of defeat…

“Fatah restored the nation’s hope and realized the Palestinian legitimacy by [creating] the PLO framework and with other achievements that cannot be downplayed. Despite the ups and downs, the sword remains aimed [at the enemy] and the rifle comes before the olive branch, while [Fatah] is showing the entire world that the Palestinian people are heroes who will never surrender or bend; that the smallest geographic region [can] occupy the world’s decision-makers; and that the Palestinian issue is the strongest card in the equation of Middle East conflicts…

“[We] require the awakening and practical action of tens of thousands of Fatah activists, [who must] join the civil popular resistance against the settlers and occupation forces, and their number will double once they are joined by national and Islamic parties and organizations, and by the entire public of our mighty people. For what unites the Palestinians is the struggle rather than the dialogue [with Israel], [a dialogue] which has already lost its effectiveness on all tracks. If the sweeping [masses] block the bypass roads [leading to the Israeli settlements in the West bank], Israel and the settlers will not remain [in the West Bank] because their presence there is motivated by their freedom [of movement] and an absence of resistance to their presence there as imperialists who occupy our Palestinian land.

“The government and the [PLO] Executive Committee need to pursue Israel in international courts for its ongoing crimes, presenting everything related to these issues: the settlements; the prisoners; the destruction of the foundations of Palestinian life; the crimes of arson, murder and demolition of homes, and the denial of our people’s freedom. [All this in order] to place Israel on the list [of countries that practice] apartheid, as the report of the [UN’s] Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia [ESCWA] stated – and we cherish the role played by [the commission’s former head,] Rima Khalaf, in this – and in order to place Jerusalem… at the top of the priority list of Palestinian missions on the economic level, and support the steadfast position and all needs of life in a manner befitting [Jerusalem’s] status as the eternal capital of Palestine and its spiritual status in the world.

“In order to belong to the generation of pioneers at this difficult phase, we must be loyal to the oath of devoting our time, money, and spirit to the homeland… and make sure that those who are concerned with the Palestinian cause will win out over those who seek privileges at the expense of the homeland… [All this] in order to fulfill our national dream of return and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and our people’s right to self-determination. Each of us should ask himself what proof he can give that we are following in the footsteps of the great ones in order to rally our public – which is water and life, and the recipient of future rights. Long live the memory, the glory of the martyrs, and the freedom for prisoners.”

_________________________________

[1] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 21, 2017.

WATCH: 2,000 reservists train for war in Gaza with surprise drill

March 22, 2017

Four reserve brigades given 24 hours notice for largest exercise of its kind this year; army says it’s unrelated to tensions on the border

March 21, 2017, 9:04 pm

Source: WATCH: 2,000 reservists train for war in Gaza with surprise drill | The Times of Israel

ome 2,000 reserve soldiers were called up this week to simulate war in the Gaza Strip, as part of the military’s largest planned exercise of 2017, the army said.

The surprise drill began on Sunday. It was conducted by the Sinai Division, the Southern Command’s reserve division. The exercise included four reserve brigades — two infantry and two armored brigades.

 The soldiers simulated war in Gaza, including a ground invasion into the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

IDF Chief Gadi Eisenkot visited the exercise in order to “assess the preparedness of the division for emergency,” the army said.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, right, visits a surprise exercise led by Brig. Gen. Sa'ar Tzur, left, on March 21, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, right, visits a surprise exercise led by Brig. Gen. Sa’ar Tzur, left, on March 21, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)

“We have put preparedness at the top of the IDF’s list of priorities. This is evident from the increased training program,” Eisenkot told the reservists.

In war, the army chief said, “cunning is what makes the difference — and that’s what we need to get, with the understanding that if there is a need for another [military] campaign, we will know how to surprise in every way, to prevent enemy achievements.”

In that way, Eiesnkot said, the army will be able to make the next operation “as short as possible.”

Israel has fought three major rounds of conflict with Hamas since the Islamist terror group seized control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah in 2007. The most recent such conflict, Operation Protective Edge, saw 50 days of fighting, including a ground offensive. In all, 74 Israelis were killed, 68 of them soldiers. Thousands of rockets and mortar shells were fired by Hamas and other Islamic terror groups at Israeli towns and cities, where damage was limited by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Hamas also utilized tunnels dug under the border to carry out attacks. The UN and Palestinians said 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, died in Gaza, where Israel’s counterstrikes caused widespread devastation. Israel said that up to half of those killed on the Palestinian side were combatants, and blamed the civilian death toll on Hamas for deliberating placing rocket launchers, tunnels and other military installations among civilians.

Israel says Hamas, which avowedly seeks Israel’s destruction, has since rebuilt larger rocket arsenals capable of hitting the entire country, and is again digging attack tunnels.

Israel is now drawing up contingency plans to evacuate up to a quarter-million civilians from border communities to protect them from attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah or other terror groups, it was reported Tuesday.

The reservists were given 24 hours notice ahead of this week’s exercise. Eight percent of those called up did not attend, the army said.

Brig. Gen. Sa’ar Tzur, the head of the Sinai Division, oversaw the exercise, which also included artillery, combat intelligence and combat engineering elements.

A tank takes part in an IDF drill on March 21, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)

A tank takes part in an IDF drill on March 21, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)

The surprise drill was in addition to a smaller exercise conducted by the IDF’s Home Front Command in southern Israel this week.

As part of the the Home Front Command exercise, the incoming missile alert system in southern Israel was tested on Tuesday morning.

The IDF spokesperson said the exercises were planned in advance and not tied to recent tensions with Gaza and jihadists in Sinai.

On Saturday, two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. One exploded near the city of Ashkelon, north of Gaza, causing no casualties or damage. The second apparently fell inside Palestinian territory.

The Israel Defense Forces responded with tank fire and air strikes at several Hamas targets in the Strip. There were no reports of casualties.

Two days before, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck in an empty field in the Sdot Negev Regional Council near Netivot.

In response, Israeli jets struck two Hamas installations in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians: Abbas’s Empty Promises

March 20, 2017

Palestinians: Abbas’s Empty Promises, Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh, March 20, 2017

Abbas’s modus operandi is to flee from his problems at home by presenting himself to the international community as a leader who seeks peace. With every lick of the flames that threaten to engulf his palace of deception, the 82-year-old Abbas runs to seek sympathy among world leaders and international public opinion. Abbas’s promises of peace are as empty as the political sway he parades to his Western donors.

*****************************

Notably, these calls in favor of an armed struggle against Israel were coming from the streets of Ramallah and not the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Abbas can make all the promises in the world to the new US envoy. Fulfillment of any of them, however, is a different story altogether.

Abbas knows anyhow that he would never be able to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for any peace agreement he signs with Israel. No Palestinian leader is authorized to offer any concessions to Israel in return for peace.

On the eve of US envoy Jason Greenblatt’s visit to Ramallah last week, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the city, calling on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. The protesters also condemned the ongoing security cooperation between the PA and Israel.

“Listen, listen to us, Abbas; collect your dogs and leave us alone,” the Palestinian protesters chanted during what has been described as the largest anti-Abbas demonstration in Ramallah in recent years. They also called for the abrogation of the Oslo Accords with Israel, and denounced Abbas as a “coward” and an agent of the Americans.

It is not clear if Greenblatt had been aware of the large anti-Abbas demonstration, which came in protest against PA security forces’ violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Ramallah a few days earlier.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) meets with US envoy Jason Greenblatt (left), in Ramallah, on March 14, 2017. (Image source: NTDTV video screenshot)

At that protest, PA security officers used excessive force to disperse Palestinians who were demonstrating against the PA’s decision to prosecute four Palestinians for illegal possession of weapons. PA security forces arrested — and later released — the four suspects, although they had reportedly planned to carry out an attack against Israelis. One of the suspects, Basel Al-Araj, was killed in an armed clash with Israeli soldiers. (Al-Araj was wanted by Israel for planning an attack on Israelis. When Israeli soldiers surrounded the house where he was hiding, he opened fire from at them before he was killed.)

The killing of Al-Araj and the PA’s decision to prosecute his friends triggered the first protest that was brutally suppressed by the PA security forces. The second demonstration in Ramallah, a few days later, came in response to the excessive use of force by the PA security forces against the protesters.

The protests in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, are yet another sign of growing discontent among Palestinians with Abbas and his autocratic regime. The Palestinians are particularly enraged over the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel, which is primarily aimed at combating terrorism and preventing Hamas from seizing control over the West Bank.

Yet this was far from a simple a protest against Abbas and his security forces. It was also a rallying cry for pursuing with further vigor the armed struggle against Israel.

“No to peace and no to all the nonsense, we want bullets and rockets,” some of the protesters chanted. Notably, these calls in favor of an armed struggle against Israel were coming from the streets of Ramallah and not the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The protests also reflect Palestinians’ rejection of the so-called peace process with Israel. In addition to the calls on Abbas to step down, the protesters demanded as well that the PA leadership cancel all agreements with Israel, first and foremost the Oslo Accords.

In other words, Palestinians are trying extremely hard to get their message across: Israel is our enemy, not our peace partner.

In a desperate bid to contain the growing resentment on the Palestinian street, Abbas ordered an inquiry into the police violence against the Ramallah protesters. In that episode, journalists and lawyers, too, were among those who were brutally beaten by Abbas’s security officers.

Still, many Palestinians voiced skepticism about Abbas’s intentions, and pointed out that previous commissions of inquiry into police violence have rarely led to punitive measures against those responsible. “The formation of a commission of inquiry into the police violence is another attempt by Abbas to contain the anger of the Palestinian street and avoid an intifada against his regime,” remarked a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah. “Abbas’s Zionist Palestinian Authority poses a threat to the Palestinian cause.”

As Abbas was meeting with the US envoy, a public opinion poll published in Ramallah showed that a majority of 64% of Palestinians would like to see their president resign. Another 61% of Palestinians expressed dissatisfaction with Abbas’s performance. The poll also found that if presidential elections were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive the same percentage of votes as Abbas.

None of this — not the protests of rage and not the Palestinians’ expressions of disgust — appears to bother Abbas.

This is a president who seems utterly unconnected to reality — namely that a large number of Palestinians are disillusioned with him and see him as a puppet in the hands of Israel and the US. For now, he does not seem to care what his people think about him. But in the long run, he would never be able to deliver on any peace process with Israel without the backing of his people. Like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, he does not want to go down in history as a “traitor” who sold out to Israel and the Jews.

Abbas, whose four-year-term term in office expired back in January 2009, is reported to have told the US envoy that a “historic” peace deal with Israel is possible. According to a statement released by the US Consulate in Jerusalem, Abbas also “committed to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement (against Israel).”

So here is a Palestinian leader mouthing off about a “historic” deal with Israel, while only a few hundred meters away his people have made their message of rejection — of him and of peace — clear as a bell.

In a further irony, here is a Palestinian leader talking about preventing incitement while he and his media outlets and senior officials still spearhead a campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel.

Just this week, Abbas decided to decorate for “bravery” senior UN official Rima Khalaf for publishing a controversial report that accuses Israel of “apartheid.” Khalaf has become a hero in the eyes of many Palestinians because of her report and subsequent resignation.

Abbas’s foreign minister, Riad Malki, has meanwhile voiced outrage over the UN secretary-general’s decision to drop the “apartheid” report (the reason Khalaf resigned). Malki said that the PA leadership has instructed all its embassies and representatives around the world to distribute the report as evidence of Israeli “crimes” against the Palestinians.

Abbas’s pledge to prevent inflammatory rhetoric against Israel seems to have missed his editors and journalists.

Take, for example, the Palestinian Authority-controlled media’s response to last week’s Jerusalem marathon. In the PA media, the sports event is depicted as part of Israel’s scheme to “Judaize” Jerusalem and change the “Arab and Islamic character” of the city.

In addition, Abbas’s media continues to portray visits by Jews to the Temple Mount as “provocative invasions” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jewish visitors are described as “settler gangs” who carry out “suspicious tours” of Islamic religious sites. It is precisely this kind of terminology that is driving many Palestinians to carry out stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis.

Abbas can make all the promises in the world to the new US envoy. Fulfillment of any of them, however, is a different story altogether.

Abbas has had multiple opportunities to reach a “historic” deal with Israel, yet he has never delivered. Quite the contrary: he has repeatedly rejected offers for holding direct talks with Israel, insisting instead on pursuing his campaign to internationalize the conflict with the hope of imposing a solution on Israel.

Abbas knows anyhow that he would never be able to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for any peace agreement he signs with Israel. No Palestinian leader is authorized to offer any concessions to Israel in return for peace.

The “cordial” and “positive” meeting with the new US envoy will change nothing — certainly not Abbas’s stripes.

Abbas’s modus operandi is to flee from his problems at home by presenting himself to the international community as a leader who seeks peace. With every lick of the flames that threaten to engulf his palace of deception, the 82-year-old Abbas runs to seek sympathy among world leaders and international public opinion. Abbas’s promises of peace are as empty as the political sway he parades to his Western donors.

Lieberman: If Syria targets our aircraft again, we’ll destroy its air defens…

March 19, 2017

Defense minister warns Assad regime after it unsuccessfully tried to shoot down IAF fighter jets on Friday night by firing an S-200 missile at it; ‘We have no interest in interfering in the Syrian civil war or clashing with the Russians, but we won’t hesitate to defend Israel’s security,’ Lieberman says.

Yoav Zitun|Published:  19.03.17 , 11:44

Source: Ynetnews News – Lieberman: If Syria targets our aircraft again, we’ll destroy its air defens…

 

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Sunday to destroy Syria’s air defense apparatus if it targets Israeli fighter jets again after the Assad regime tried to shoot down Israeli Air Force (IAF) planes over the weekend.

“We have no interest in interfering in the Syrian civil war, not for nor against (President Bashar) Assad, and we have no interest in clashing with the Russians,” Lieberman clarified during a visit to the IDF induction center.

“Our main problem is with the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon. That is why every time we identify an attempt to smuggle game-changing weapons, we will act to thwart it. There will be no compromise on this issue,” the defense minister stressed.

Lieberman at the IDF induction center (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Lieberman at the IDF induction center (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

He added that “if the IDF does choose to act, there is a real reason for it.”

Israeli Arrow anti-aircraft missiles were used to intercept a Syrian S-200 missile fired at IAF jets that returned to Israeli territory after attacking targets in Syria on Friday night.

“Next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it,” Lieberman said. “We won’t hesitate. Israel’s security is above everything else; there will be no compromise.”

Lieberman at the IDF induction center (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Lieberman at the IDF induction center (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Similarly, he said, the IDF will respond to any rocket fire coming from the Gaza Strip “with force.”

“We’ll cut down Hamas’s capabilities, we’re not willing to tolerate any provocation,” Lieberman said. “We won’t take money from the Israeli taxpayer to invest in electricity and water for the strip, while they are investing their money in tunnels.”

New recruits at the IDF induction center (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

New recruits at the IDF induction center (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

The defense minister also addressed his ongoing feud with Education Minister Naftali Bennett over disparaging remarks made by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein about women in the IDF. Lieberman called on the rabbi to resign and threatened to halt Defense Ministry recognition of the rabbi’s pre-army preparatory yeshiva, which angered Bennett.

“The IDF presents a variety of options—from Caracal (a co-ed battalion) to the Haredi Nahal (for ultra-Orthodox soldiers). Everyone has a place,” Lieberman determined. “This sweeping attack against women is unreasonable. We’ve tried to avoid friction with Levinstein. We’ve forgiven him twice before (for similar comments) and dragged our feet on this. A third time is too much.”

Lieberman added that Rabbi Levinstein will face a disciplinary hearing, in accordance with a legal opinion in the Defense Ministry.

(Translated and edited by Yaara Shalom)

Before Arrival of Trump Envoy, PA Glorified Terrorist Who Murdered 38 Israelis 

March 17, 2017

When Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s Special Representative for International Negotiati

BY:
March 16, 2017 2:49 pm

Source: Before Arrival of Trump Envoy, PA Glorified Terrorist Who Murdered 38 Israelis 

Mahmoud Abbas / Getty Images

When Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, Abbas “assured Mr. Greenblatt that he is fully committed to creating an atmosphere that is conducive to making peace.”

Just days earlier, Abbas, his Fatah Party, and the Palestinian Authority were celebrating a notorious terrorist on the anniversary of her attack in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were shot and burned to death in a bus hijacking.

The Palestinian Authority’s annual celebration of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, the deadliest Palestinian terror attack in history, fell on March 11 and 12. Greenblatt arrived on March 13.

According to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute, both Abbas’s Fatah Party and the Palestinian Authority glorified the terror attack in official media and in government celebrations.

On March 12, the Palestinian Authority opened a “youth training camp” named after the terrorist who carried out the attack, Dalal Mughrabi. The ceremony was attended by top Fatah Party officials.

The Palestinian Authority National Security Forces posted a picture of Mughrabi to Facebook with the caption, “The martyr Dalal Al-Mughrabi, the bride of Jaffa, on the 39th anniversary of her martyr’s death.”

Additionally, the governor of Ramallah and the Fatah Party in Bethlehem hosted ceremonies honoring Mughrabi and the attack, hailing her as a role model for Palestinians.

In a statement after his meeting with Greenblatt, the Palestinian Authority said “President Abbas committed to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement.”

The Real Hamas: Sorry, Folks!

March 16, 2017

What Hamas says, day and night, in Arabic, tells the real story. In fact, Hamas officials are very clear and straightforward when they address their people in Arabic. Yet some Western and Israeli analysts do not want to be bothered by the facts. Some

by Bassam Tawil

March 15, 2017 at 5:00 am

Source: The Real Hamas: Sorry, Folks!

  • What Hamas says, day and night, in Arabic, tells the real story. In fact, Hamas officials are very clear and straightforward when they address their people in Arabic. Yet some Western and Israeli analysts do not want to be bothered by the facts.
  • Some reports have suggested that Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are the ones pushing for the changes in the movement’s charter. However, even if Mashaal and Haniyeh succeed in their mission, there is no guarantee that Hamas’s military wing would comply.
  • Hamas has also denied its intention to cut off its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. “The reports are aimed at tarnishing the image of Hamas in the eyes of the world,” explained a top Hamas official. He also denied that Hamas was planning to abandon the armed struggle against Israel in favor of a peaceful popular “resistance.”

What does Hamas mean when it says that it “accepts” an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem without recognizing Israel’s right to exist?

Is this a sign of moderation and pragmatism on the part of the extremist Islamic terror movement? Or is it just another ploy intended to deceive everyone, especially gullible Westerners, into believing that Hamas has abandoned its strategy of destroying Israel in favor of a two-state solution?

Recent reports have suggested that Hamas is moving towards “declaring a Palestinian state over the 1967 borders.”

According to the reports, Hamas is also contemplating changing its charter so that it would no longer include anti-Semitic references. The charter, which was drafted in August 1988, contains anti-Semitic passages and characterizations of Israeli society as Nazi-like in its cruelty. The same reports also claimed that Hamas’s revised charter will also state that the terror movement is not part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Some analysts in Israel and the West have interpreted these reports as a sign that Hamas is finally endorsing a policy of pragmatism toward Israel and Jews. They are particularly excited about Hamas’s purported intention to declare (in its revised charter) that its conflict is “only with Zionism and the occupation, and not with Jews around the world.”

Judging from the analyses published by some commentators and Palestinian affairs “experts” in the past few days, one might conclude that Hamas is on its way to making a dramatic change in its vicious ideology. Unfortunately, however, the facts suggest otherwise.

Changes or no changes, the movement has no intention whatsoever of abandoning its jihad to destroy Israel and kill Jews.

The purported shift in Hamas’s policy is illusory. What Hamas says, day and night, in Arabic, tells the real story. In fact, Hamas officials are very clear and straightforward when they address their people in Arabic. Yet some Western and Israeli analysts do not want to be bothered by the facts.

When Hamas talks about “accepting” a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 lines without recognizing Israel’s right to exist, it is actually saying, “Give us a state so that we can use it as a launching pad to destroy Israel.”

Indeed, senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan leaves no room for ambiguity when he explains this point. Hamas, he says, does not oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 “borders,” but this does not mean that “we will recognize the Zionist occupation and that the entire Palestinian land belongs to Palestinian and Islamic generations.” He also repeated Hamas’s opposition to any form of negotiations with Israel.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar was also quick to refute claims that his movement was headed toward accepting the two-state solution. Calling for stepping up the “intifada” against Israel, Zahar said that Hamas’s goal was to “liberate all of Palestine.”

Hamas has also denied its intention to cut off its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. “The reports are aimed at tarnishing the image of Hamas in the eyes of the world,” explained a top Hamas official. He also denied that Hamas was planning to abandon the armed struggle against Israel in favor of a peaceful popular “resistance.”

Some reports have suggested that Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are the ones pushing for the changes in the movement’s charter. However, even if Mashaal and Haniyeh succeed in their mission, there is no guarantee that Hamas’s military wing would comply.

Hamas’s recent internal and secret election saw the rise of Yahya Sinwar as the top leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip. His election is seen as an indication of the growing influence of Hamas’s military wing. Sinwar, a convicted murderer, was released from Israeli prison a few years ago. The rise of Sinwar to power is also a sign that Hamas is headed toward more extremism and terrorism and preparing for the next war with Israel.

The Hamas military wing has a rather spotty history of following the directives of the movement’s political leaders. For example, recurring attempts by Mashaal and Haniyeh to end the dispute with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) have been repeatedly thwarted by the Hamas military wing and other leaders of the movement, first and foremost Zahar.

Let’s remember, for a moment, the annual rallies held by Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip. At these rallies, masked Hamas terrorists remind the world that their true goal is to “liberate all of Palestine.”

Armed Hamas militiamen on parade with a vehicle-mounted rocket launcher in Gaza, in August 2016. (Image source: PressTV video screenshot)

At one such rally, Zahar announced that Hamas already has an army whose mission is to “liberate all of Palestine.” He continued: “By God’s will, this army will reach Jerusalem.”

Hamas continues to remain committed to all forms of terrorism against Israelis. There are no signs whatsoever that the movement is on its way to endorsing a peaceful and popular resistance against Israel. Quite the opposite is true: Hamas never misses an opportunity to clarify that it continues to encourage terrorism against Israel. The latest assertion from Hamas came this week when one of its spokesmen, Abdel Latif Al-Kanou, issued a statement praising a stabbing attack against two Israeli policemen in Jerusalem. Hailing the attack as a “heroic operation,” the spokesman stressed that the “intifada” against Israel would continue.

This is not the first time that Hamas has talked about “accepting” a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

In the past, some Hamas officials were quoted as saying that they do not rule out the possibility that their movement would one day accept such an idea. But these statements always came in the context of Hamas’s effort to rid itself of its growing isolation in the Gaza Strip.

The latest reports concerning floated changes in Hamas’s charter, too, ought to be seen in the context of the movement’s ongoing effort to end its isolation. But it is nothing but a smokescreen to mislead the international community into believing that it is on its way to toning down its murderous intentions.

So, what is prompting this disingenuous “change of heart”?

Reports that the Trump Administration is considering the possibility of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. In all likelihood, Hamas is simply seeking to appear as if it is moving toward moderation. In other words, Hamas is prepared to lie — at least in English — about its independence from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Disturbingly, some Westerners are already marketing Hamas’s deception tactics as a “major shift” in the movement’s ideology and plans. Facts, however, are that Hamas remains a terrorist organization that has not and will not abandon its plans to eliminate Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Here is a dose of deadly reality: Hamas seeks to extend its control to the West Bank as part of its plan to destroy Israel. It wants Israel to give the Palestinians more land so that it would be used as a launching pad to drive the Jews into the sea. This is Hamas, like it or not.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

US ‘Outraged’ by UN Report That Accuses Israel of Establishing ‘Apartheid Regime’ That ‘Dominates the Palestinian People’

March 16, 2017

The United States expressed outrage on Wednesday over a report published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) that accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” that “dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

By – on March 16, 2017

Source: US ‘Outraged’ by UN Report That Accuses Israel of Establishing ‘Apartheid Regime’ That ‘Dominates the Palestinian People’ – Geller Report

This is just more of the same from the UN. It has demonized Israel relentlessly for years. At least now we have an administration that isn’t joining in, but instead is resolutely on the side of Israel.

“US ‘Outraged’ by UN Report That Accuses Israel of Establishing ‘Apartheid Regime’ That ‘Dominates the Palestinian People,’” Algemeiner, March 15, 2017:

The United States expressed outrage on Wednesday over a report published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) that accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” that “dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

“That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” American UN Envoy Nikki Haley said in a statement. “That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising.”

“The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether,” Haley went on to say. “The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the UN system and around the world.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stated, “The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie.”

Emmanuel Nahshon — spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry — compared the ESCWA report to Nazi propaganda.

“Friendly advice — don’t read it without anti-nausea pills,” he tweeted.

Reuters quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying that the publication of the report was not coordinated with the UN Secretariat.

“The report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general (Antonio Guterres),” Dujarric clarified.

The ESCWA is headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon and is comprised of 18 member states from the Middle East and North Africa….