Posted tagged ‘Palestinian elections’

Palestinians: The Threats Trump Needs to Hear

May 16, 2017

Palestinians: The Threats Trump Needs to Hear, Gatestone Institute, Bassam Tawil, May 16, 2016

(With all due respect to the author, in the unlikely event that President Trump is not already aware of most of the matters about which he “needs to hear,” Ambassador Friedman, PM Netanyahu et al, are and will enlighten him. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is hardly a “partner for peace” and Hamas — which is very likely to displace the PA, is even less so. Surely, President Trump knows that; he is many things, but retarded is not among them. — DM)

The warning by Hamas and Islamic Jihad is directed not only against Trump and his new administration, but also against Abbas and any Arab leader who dares to “collude” with the U.S.

A new policy document recently published by Hamas says that the Islamic terror movement accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, but without recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Translation: Hamas seeks a Palestinian state that would be used as a launching pad to destroy Israel.

The electoral showing demonstrates with excruciating clarity that Hamas could easily take over any Palestinian state that the U.S. and the Europeans help create in the West Bank.

Abbas is a weak leader with precious little legitimacy among Palestinians. He would never survive any kind of real peace deal with Israel — a reality that, ironically, he has done his very best to create.

As U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to hold his second meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem next week, two Palestinian terror groups have announced that the new U.S. administration is planning to “liquidate the Palestinian cause.” The warning by Hamas and Islamic Jihad is directed not only against Trump and his new administration, but also against Abbas and any Arab leader who dares to “collude” with the U.S.

The two Palestinian terror groups, which control the Gaza Strip and its two million residents, also renewed their pledge to pursue the armed fight against Israel; they said they would not give up one inch of Palestine, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river.

Trump and his administration would do well to heed the warning issued by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, especially in the wake of Abbas’s recent statements concerning a two-state solution and peace with Israel. Abbas controls only parts of the West Bank, and how he intends to establish a Palestinian state when he cannot even set foot in the Gaza Strip is anyone’s guess. Recently, Hamas announced that if and when the 82-year-old Abbas shows up in the Gaza Strip, he will be hanged in a public square on charges of “high treason.”

The warning by the Palestinian terror groups was made during a joint rally in the Gaza Strip on May 14. Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad vowed to “preserve the Palestinian rifle and Palestinian rights in the face of any schemes and attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar stated that Palestinian “principles are part of our [Islamic] religion, and we cannot make any concessions on them. We will not give up one inch of our land and holy sites. We will continue to work until the liberation of each inch of Palestine.”

Zahar also warned Abbas against signing any agreement with Israel that includes relinquishing Palestinian rights. “Anyone who gives up our rights and holy sites will betray Allah and his Prophet Mohammed,” Zahar cautioned.

Notably, Zahar’s statement to “liberate every inch of Palestine” comes amid false claims in the Western media to the effect that Hamas has abandoned its dream of eliminating Israel.

The claims are based on a new policy document recently published by Hamas; it says that the Islamic terror movement accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, but without recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Translation: Hamas seeks a Palestinian state that would be used as a launching pad to destroy Israel.

Zahar and other Hamas leaders have taken advantage of every available platform to clarify that their acceptance of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines does not mean abandoning their plan to eliminate Israel.

They have also explained, at length, that the new policy document does not replace Hamas’s original charter, which explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel.

Hamas’s honesty with respect to its true intentions stands in utter contrast to the deceit with which the policy document is being treated by others.

For instance, some Western media outlets and Palestinian affairs “experts” and “analysts” deceptively describe the document as a sign of moderation and pragmatism on the part of Hamas.

While Hamas leaders proudly proclaim that there is no real change in their ideology and charter, some Westerners seem to have a sort of hearing disability when it comes to the truth of the terror movement.

Another Hamas leader, Ahmed Bahr, said at the rally that his movement remains strongly opposed to security coordination between Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and Israel in the West Bank.

Bahr described the security coordination and the crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank as a new Palestinian “Nakba” (Catastrophe) — the term used by Palestinians and Arabs to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Referring to Trump’s upcoming visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and reports that the U.S. administration was seeking to revive stalled peace talks between the PA and Israel, the top Hamas official said that Palestinians remain committed to the “resistance to liberate Palestine despite the conspiracies that are being concocted against them.”

For Hamas and its allies, Trump’s peace efforts are nothing less than a plot designed to force Palestinians to make unacceptable concessions to Israel. They will accept nothing but the elimination of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic state governed by Islamic sharia law.

Islamic Jihad leaders, for their part, said that Trump’s upcoming visit to the Middle East was aimed at “forming a new alliance to preserve” Israel’s interests. They believe that the purported alliance will consist of Israel, Abbas’s PA and some Arab countries.

In the view of Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed al-Hindi, the Trump-engineered alliance would “create a new Nakba” for the Palestinians. “Palestine is the land of all Palestinians and part of our history,” he declared. He too warned Abbas against any agreement that includes concessions to Israel.

Ignoring such threats issued by Palestinian terror groups is done only at one’s extreme peril. These are not marginal factions with a limited following among Palestinians. Rather, the ideology of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is widespread among the Palestinians and lives in the hearts and minds of many of them. These terror groups are popular not only in the Gaza Strip, but also among large sectors of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Just last week we received yet another reminder of Hamas’s increased popularity in the West Bank when its supporters won — for the third straight year — the student council elections at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah. Hamas’s victory in the university election has once again left Abbas and his loyalists bewildered.

The electoral showing is anything but confusing: it demonstrates with excruciating clarity that Hamas could easily take over any Palestinian state that the U.S. and the Europeans help create in the West Bank.

No one is more aware of this than Abbas — in a situation that accounts for why he has spent the past decade blocking parliamentary and presidential elections. Above all, Abbas wishes to avoid his mistake of 2006, when Hamas won the parliamentary election.

For a start, Trump might ask Abbas precisely how he plans to cope with the threats by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups to destroy Israel and thwart any “treacherous” peace agreement with Israel. Under the current circumstances, when Palestinians are radicalized against Israel on a daily basis and Hamas’s popularity is skyrocketing, the talk about a two-state solution and peace sounds downright delusional.

Abbas is a weak leader with precious little legitimacy among Palestinians. He would never survive any kind of real peace deal with Israel — a reality that, ironically, he has done his very best to create.

Trump and his advisors might put aside the sweet talk of Abbas and his spokesmen, and listen instead for the unsettling truths voiced by other Palestinians such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Alternatively, the West can continue to fantasize about a new Middle East in which Arabs and Muslims accept Israel’s right to exist — while in reality many of them are totally consumed by their attempts to raze it to the ground.

At his scheduled meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem next week, U.S. President Donald Trump might put aside the sweet talk of Abbas, and listen instead for the unsettling truths voiced by other Palestinians such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Pictured: Trump and Abbas give a joint statement on May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Image source: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

 

Towards the pending Abbas visit to Washington D.C.

April 19, 2017

Towards the pending Abbas visit to Washington D.C., Israel National News, David Bedein, April 17, 2017

(Please see also, UNRWA Won’t Be Changing School Textbooks and Curriculum. — DM)

With President Donald Trump set to greet Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, at the White House on May 3rd, the time has come to examine how the US allowed the PLO to  trample upon ten US government PLO policy guidelines, and to examine what the current US administration can do to see to it that the PLO does not trample on Trump.

The US recognized the PLO during  the final month of the Reagan administration December 1988, on the condition that the PLO would recognize UN resolution 242, which required the PLO to  recognize the right of every nation to secure boundaries  – especially Israel . The PLO immediately ignored this requirements for US recognition.

It is not too late for the US to ask the PLO, under the aegis of the Palestinian Authority, to recognize UN resolution 242, which it has yet to do.

The US acted as  a witness and guarantor of the PLO/Israel Oslo Accords, signed on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993. Known as the DOP, “The Declaration of Principles”, it spelled out mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO, and the formal denunciation of violence and terror. The DOP was premised on its ratification by the Israeli Knesset and by the central committee of the PLO. The Israeli Knesset ratified the DOP on Sept, 26, 1993, by a vote of 61 to 50, with nine abstentions. The PLO central committee was set to meet in Tunis to ratify the DOP on October 6, 1993. However, the one Israeli correspondent dispatched to Tunis to witness the PLO ratification, Pinhas Inbari, on the staff of the left wing newspaper Al HaMishmar, reported from Tunis that the PLO chairman announced that he could not get a quorum of the PLO to attend, so the PLO Central Committee did not convene to ratify the DOP.

It is not too late for the US, as witness and guarantor of the Oslo Accord, to insist the PLO, through the aegis of the PA, ratify the DOP.  Otherwise, the agreement between Israel and the PLO does not hold water.

US law allowed the PLO, all of whose components were designated by the US law as FTOs, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, to open an embassy in D.C. and allowed the PLO to dispatch representatives to the USA, but only if PLO would cancel the PLO Covenant, the document which defined the purpose of the PLO:  To replace and destroy the State of Israel. The PNC, the PLO National Council, met in special session on April 24, 1996, with the stated purpose that this session would renounce and cancel the PLO Covenant. The PLO, at that session, filmed by the Institute for Peace Education Ltd, only announced the formation of a committee to consider changes in the PLO Covenant.

A video and protocol of the session was sent to the US embassy in Tel Aviv, and to the US Congress. Prof. Yehoshua Porat, expert on the PLO and a candidate of  the left wing Meretz party for the Knesset, reviewed the video and protocols of the PNC session, and affirmed that the PLO had not cancelled the PLO Covenant.  The US embassy in Tel Aviv, however, ignored what had actually transpired at the PNC, and instead reported to the White House and to the US Congress that the PLO had fulfilled the requirements of US law with the cancellation of the PLO Covenant, allowing the US to roll out a red carpet to welcome PLO chairman Yassir Arafat as a dignitary in Washington one week later. The PLO was allowed to open an official embassy , which has functioned ever since, conditional on the US President signing a waiver every six months which extends the non- terror status of the PLO.

It is not too late for the US to insist the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority call the PNC into a special session to cancel the PLO covenant, as required by US law, before Abbas enters the White House on May 3rd, 2017.  Otherwise, the entry of Abbas to the US represents a challenge to US law.

As an integral part of the US Aid package to the Palestinian Authority, the US funds PA schools which instituted a war education curriculum, despite US objections. That PA curriculum does not prepare Palestinian Arab children to live in state alongside Israel. That curriculum indoctrinates all Palestinian Arab children to conduct a Jihad to liberate Palestine, all of what they considere Palestine, with no attempt to train the next generation for peace with Israel.

It is not too late for the US to demand an overhaul of PA education to prepare the next generation for peace.

US law forbids any agency that receives funds from the US from placing members of a designate FTO  – a foreign terrorist organization — on the payroll of  a US government funded entity. Yet the US funded UNRWA schools, which openly employ members and even leaders of HAMAS, putting them on the payroll. UNRWA, which now receives $400 million of its 1.2 billion dollar budget from the US, has ignored US directives to remove Hamas from the UNRWA  payroll.  And when UNRWA has removed some Hamas leaders from the UNRWA payroll, they simple return as senior employees  of UNRWA.

It is not too late for the US, as the leading donor of UNRWA, to insist that UNRWA fire members and leaders of Hamas who receive salaries from UNWRA – especially Hamas teachers, who dominate the Gaza UNRWA teachers union. Elections are imminent.

It is not too late for the US to reverse its decision to force Hamas into the PA electoral process.

The US helped to create the  PSF, the Palestinian Security Force of the Palestinian Authority. However, the US embassy and US State department have ignored all inquiries challenging the PSF inclusion of Palestinian terror organizations which have never demonstrated any peaceful intentions, to say the least.

It is not too late for the US to ask the PSF to remove  Palestinian terror groups from its ranks.

The US enacted the  Koby Mandell act which requires the US to pursue and prosecute thoe who maim or kill US citizens abroad. Until the inauguration of President Trump, the US would not enforce the act concerning American citizens attacked  in Israel by terrorists. The new Trump administration has begun to file indictments of terrorists who murdered US citizens in Israel.

It is not too late, Trump has demonstrated, for the US government to enforce the Koby Mandell act.

The US established an office in the US State Department to monitor anti Semitism in 2008. However, that office has  refused to examine PA anti-Semitism. While there are rumors that Trump will not renew funding for the US office that tracks anti-Semitism, it is not too late for the US to examine the tentacles of official Palestinian Authority ant-Semitism which can be tracked world- wide.

The US created a special commission to form a Palestinian Authority constitution. However, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi , the late Vatican official who examined the draft of the proposed PA constitution, and reported to the US, wrote  that the current PA constitution, which would form the basis of PA law in a Palestinian Arab state, does not allow for any  juridical status of  any religion other than Islam. Futhermore,  the Papal Nuncio  warned that the proposed US-funded PA constitution was  based on the strict Sharia law used in Saudi Arabia, and not on a more tolerant Sharia law that Archbishop Sambi had witnessed in  his earlier postings in Indonesia and Bangladesh.

It is not too late for the US government to reconsider the nature of jurisprudence that would exist in any kind of future Palestinian Arab entity.

10 Reasons Hamas Should Not Be in Any Government

January 19, 2017

10 Reasons Hamas Should Not Be in Any Government, Clarion Project, Elliot Friedland, January 19, 2017

(Similar claims could be made legitimately about Fatah and Islamic Jihad. — DM)

hamasrallyHamas leaders at a rally. (Photo: © Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Fatah and Hamas, which control the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively, concluded an agreement to form a national unity government. The Palestinian Authority, which is the official body that rules the Palestinian-controlled areas, as per the Oslo Accords, will now begin the process of forming a new national council. The P.A. president is Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas and Fatah also announced they will hold elections that will include members of the Palestinian diaspora. Elections were last held in 2007.

“We have reached agreement under which, within 48 hours, we will call on [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas to launch consultations on the creation of a government,” Fatah spokesman Azzam al-Ahmad told media.

Here are ten reasons why Hamas is not fit to be part of any government.
Hamas Is A Designated Terrorist Organization

Hamas is a terrorist group and is designated as such by Israel (obviously) but also the United States, the EU, Canada and Japan so this one should come as no surprise.

Hamas Deliberately Targets Civilians

Most recently Hamas praised the string of violent attacks that hit Israel over the past year and half.

In the last Gaza war, Hamas fired thousands of rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian areas. “Deliberate targeting of civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups defies humanity and is morally and legally reprehensible” Israeli left-wing human rights organization B’Tselem said about the last Gaza war.

They Use Civilians As Human Shields

According to the Geneva Conventions, “The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.”

Hamas does precisely this. In the last Gaza war, in 2014, Hamas ordered civilians to remain in their homes if they were about to be bombed. All the more gallingly, Hamas deliberately manipulates the inevitable civilian casualties that result, using the blood of Palestinians to purchase international sympathy.

Hamas Steals Palestinian Aid For Military Purposes

Hamas receives a lot of aid from around the world for the Gaza strip, which is frequently the subject of international aid campaigns. Yet Hamas steals much of this aid for its own purposes. “From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza strip [from Israel], only five or six are transferred to civilians,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold. “A hundred sacks is what is necessary to rebuild a home, the rest are confiscated by Hamas and used for military purposes.”

Hamas uses the cement to construct multi-million dollar tunnels via which it hopes to carry out cross-border raids into Israel to murder Israeli civilians and attack Israeli soldiers.

In August 2016, Israel leveled charges against Mohammed el Halabi the head of World Vision in Gaza for allegedly funneling tens of millions of dollars earmarked for humanitarian purposes to Hamas for its terrorist activities.

Hamas Steals Money From Palestinians to Enrich Their Leaders

Hamas controls the lucrative smuggling tunnels that bring goods into Gaza from Egypt. They tax incoming products for revenue. “Most of the money that went into the pockets of people in the Gaza Strip was obtained through tunnel deals and the creation of a flourishing smuggling market, which it is believed has created several hundred millionaires in the Gaza Strip, although most of the people there don’t live like that,” Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, a lecturer at the Western Galilee Academic College who served in a variety of senior military positions told Globes. “The man pulling the strings from Egypt with the tunnels is none other than the number two man in the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat el-Shater. His connection with Hamas was ostensibly for Islamic religious purposes, but they actually built a prosperous business, which earned phenomenal profits.”

Hamas also receives donations, both from wealthy Muslims in America and internationally, but also from state sponsors such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar.

This money has been appropriated by the Hamas leadership who enriched themselves at the expense of Palestinians. The inner circle of Hamas are millionaires.

Hamas Executes Dissenters and Stifles Critique

Hamas routinely carries out extrajudicial killings, abductions and torture of dissidents within the territory it controls. This includes supporters of rival Palestinian factions such as Fatah (with whom Hamas will now be forming a unity government) as well as those accused of collaborating with Israel.

Hamas is not believed to conduct fair trials.

In 2014 during the last Gaza war, Hamas carried out a campaign of targeted killings and abductions detailed in the Amnesty International Report entitled “‘Strangling Necks’ Abductions, Torture And Summary Killings Of Palestinians By Hamas Forces During The 2014 Gaza/Israel Conflict.”

“In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses including against people in its custody,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International, then Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”

Nor did this stop after the war. “Palestinian governments in both Gaza and the West Bank are arresting and even physically abusing activists and journalists who express criticism on important public issues,” Human Rights Watch said as recently as August 2016.

Hamas Wants a Theocratic State and Murders LGBT People

Hamas is an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is pledged to establish an Islamic State as a final goal. It terms itself “The Islamic Resistance Movement” and article one of its founding charter reads “The Movement’s programme is Islam.”

Although Hamas is continually on a war-footing and has therefore been less focused on establishing a sharia-based system of governance than other Islamist groups, it still takes the time to implement sharia governance where it can.

In this vein Hamas has imprisoned women for sex outside marriage.

Hamas Persecutes the LGBT Community

In January 2016, Hamas executed one of its senior commanders after allegations of gay sex emerged. John Calvin (not his real name) is from one of Hamas’ most important families and fought for and gained asylum in the United States because if he returned to Nablus he would be murdered.

These are rarely mentioned by those in the “Queers for Palestine” movement.

Israel Withdrew From Gaza And Hamas Turned it Into A Terrorist State

In 2005 Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. In 2007 Hamas took over and turned the enclave into their own personal fiefdom.

Governmental errors in the Israeli withdrawal notwithstanding , Hamas demonstrated its lack of commitment to its own people and to the path of peace by choosing rejectionism and violence instead.

Hamas Perpetrates Child Abuse

Hamas trains young children in its military training camps to indoctrinate them with the group’s Islamist and jihadist ideology and train them for hatred and warfare.

This is backed up by Hamas media outlets which produce children’s programs that inculcate the next generation with the Hamas ideology.

Palestinian Factions Reaffirm Agreement on Need to Form National Unity Government

January 18, 2017

Palestinian Factions Reaffirm Agreement on Need to Form National Unity Government, Jerusalem PostAdam Rasgon, January 18, 2017

(According to an unsourced article at the Latin American Herald Tribune,

MOSCOW – Palestinian factions, including the nationalist movement Fatah and the Islamist Hamas, agreed on Tuesday to give Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 48 hours to form a government of national unity.

Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the delegation of Fatah, said at a press conference that factions agreed in Moscow to grant Abbas a period of 48 hours to start consultations to form the national unity government that precedes the formation of the Palestinian National Council.

The Fatah representative, who participated in the reconciliation talks in Moscow between the different Palestinian parties, stressed that in the last ten years of confrontation between Fatah and Hamas there have never been better conditions than now.

This may suggest that the possibility of a unity government is more substantial than suggested by the Jerusalem Post article. — DM)

palunitygovtMustafa Barghouti.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

The Palestinian factions have reached numerous reconciliation agreements previously that ultimately have gone unimplemented. In May 2014, the factions agreed to form a national unity government and hold elections by December 2015. While a government of technocrats and independents was formed with limited autonomy over resources in the Gaza Strip, elections never took place.

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

Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions on Tuesday in Moscow reaffirmed an agreement they reached in Beirut a week ago, which said that they should form a new Palestinian National Council and a unity government, a top PLO official said.

“The agreement in Moscow is a confirmation of what we agreed on in Beirut,” Mustafa Barghouti, a PLO Executive Committee member, told The Jerusalem Post, upon the conclusion of a series of reconciliation talks in Moscow.

All the Palestinian factions including Hamas and Islamic Jihad participated in a meeting last week in Beirut to begin discussions on the possibility of convening the Palestinian National Council, the PLO’s parliament.

The Beirut meeting concluded with a statement, expressing “the necessity of holding a meeting of the Palestinian National Council which includes all Palestinian factions” and “the necessity of implementing reconciliation agreements and understandings beginning with the formation of a national unity government,” without setting specific timeframes for such measures to come to fruition.

Barghouti, who is also the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said there was only one difference in the conclusions of the meeting in Moscow compared to that of Beirut.

“There was one addition to the Beirut meeting, which is that there will be a recourse to the president to act as fast as possible to initiate discussions regarding the formation of a national unity government,” Barghouti stated, adding that, “The idea of the government would be to start bridging the division between Gaza and the West Bank and prepare for national elections in six months.”

A national unity government would include ministers from the different Palestinian factions with representation in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PA’s parliament, including Hamas and Fatah.

The Palestinian factions have reached numerous reconciliation agreements previously that ultimately have gone unimplemented. In May 2014, the factions agreed to form a national unity government and hold elections by December 2015. While a government of technocrats and independents was formed with limited autonomy over resources in the Gaza Strip, elections never took place.

Iran, Hamas and the Dance of Death

November 23, 2016

Iran, Hamas and the Dance of Death, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, November 23, 2016

It now appears that the Obama Administration’s failed policies in the Middle East have increased the Iranians’ appetite, such that they are convinced that they can expand their influence to the Palestinians as well.

Iran has one goal only: to eliminate the “Zionist entity” and undermine moderate and progressive Arabs and Muslims.

“Relations between Iran and Hamas are currently undergoing revitalization, and are moving in the right direction,” announced Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official. He went on to explain that “moving in the right direction” means that Iran would “continue to support the resistance” against Israel.

Hamas and Iran have no meaningful ideological or strategic differences. Both share a common desire to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic empire. Iran expects results: Hamas is to use the financial and military support to resume attacks on Israel and “liberate all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

As far as Iran is concerned, there is nothing better than having two proxy terror organizations on Israel’s borders — Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south.

The biggest losers, once again, will be President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Israel’s presence in the West Bank has thus far thwarted Iran’s repeated attempts to establish bases of power there.

The Iranians and Hamas are exploiting the final days of the Obama Administration to restore their relations and pave the way for Tehran to step up its meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians in particular and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general.

Emboldened by the nuclear deal framework with the world powers, Iran has already taken the liberty of interfering in the internal affairs of other Arabs, particularly the Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Yemenites and some Gulf countries.

It now appears that the Obama Administration’s failed policies in the Middle East have increased the Iranians’ appetite, such that they are convinced that they can expand their influence to the Palestinians as well.

Thanks to the civil war in Syria, relations between Hamas and Iran have been strained over the past few years. Hamas’s refusal to support the regime of Bashar Assad — Iran’s chief ally in the region — has led the Iranians to suspend financial and military aid to the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip. However, recent signs indicate that Iran and Hamas are en route to a kind of Danse Macabre — a move that will undoubtedly allow Tehran to become a major player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

1162-2Iran used to funnel money to Hamas because the terrorist group shares Iran’s desire to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic empire. Relations between Iran and Hamas foundered a few years back, when Hamas leaders refused to support the Iranian-backed Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad. Pictured above: Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (left) confers with Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei, in 2010. (Image source: Office of the Supreme Leader)

This, of course, bodes badly for any future peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Iran has one goal only: to eliminate the “Zionist entity” and undermine moderate and progressive Arabs and Muslims.

The new US administration would do well to take very seriously Iran’s comeback to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of its implications not only concerning prospects for peace, but also because it means that this will lead to an upsurge in violence and terror attacks against Israel.

Proof of Iran’s renewed effort to infiltrate the Palestinian arena was provided this week by statements made by a senior Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of the Islamist movement’s “external affairs.” Asked about Hamas’s relations with Iran, Hamdan was quoted as saying that he had good reason to be optimistic.

“Relations between Iran and Hamas are currently undergoing revitalization, and are moving in the right direction,” Hamdan announced. He went on to explain that “moving in the right direction” means that Iran would “continue to support the resistance” against Israel:

“Relations between Iran and Hamas extend over a period of 25 years. Undoubtedly, any flaw in this relationship has a negative impact. But this relationship is capable of renewing itself. This is a relationship that is based on supporting the resistance and the Palestinian cause.”

In reality, Hamas and Iran have no meaningful ideological or strategic differences. Both share a common desire to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic empire. The two entities are also committed to an “armed struggle” against Israel, and are vehemently opposed to any compromise with it.

The crisis between the two sides over the civil war in Syria is no more than a minor, tactical dispute. When it comes to the real agenda, such as destroying Israel and launching terror attacks, Iran and Hamas continue to be in total alignment.

Another sign of the apparent rapprochement between Iran and Hamas came in the form of reports that the Islamist movement has appointed a new leader in the Gaza Strip with close ties to Tehran. According to the reports, Emad El Alami, who previously served as Hamas’s first emissary to Tehran, has been entrusted with temporarily replacing Ismail Haniyeh as the ruler of the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh has in recent months relocated from the Gaza Strip to Qatar. At this stage, it remains unclear when and if Haniyeh will return to the Gaza Strip. Some Palestinians have surmised that Haniyeh may replace the Doha-based Khaled Mashaal as head of the Hamas “Political Bureau.” If this happens, then El Alami, who is regarded by many Palestinians as Iran’s agent, will become the permanent de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip.

El Alami’s rise to power will undoubtedly further facilitate Iran’s ambition to become a significant player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the gates of the Gaza Strip. This means that Hamas can expect more cash and weapons to enter Gaza in the coming weeks and months. Such an influx would significantly increase the likelihood of another war between Hamas and Israel. Iran’s millions will not be used by Hamas for building schools and hospitals, or providing desperately needed jobs for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nor will the Iranian-supplied weapons be stored in Hamas warehouses and tunnels, or used in military parades.

Iran expects results: Hamas is to use the financial and military support to resume attacks on Israel and “liberate all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

When Hamas leaders talk about Iranian support for the Palestinian “resistance,” they mean suicide bombings, rocket attacks and other forms of terrorism. They are saying with unmistakable clarity that they seek a resumption of Iranian support for the “resistance” — not for the tens of thousands of unemployed and impoverished Palestinians living under the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. The well-being of the Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on Hamas’s mind.

The Iranians, for their part, appear to be extremely eager to resume their role as enablers and funders of any group that vows to eliminate Israel. As far as Iran is concerned, there is nothing better than having two proxy terror organizations on Israel’s borders — Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south.

Iran is already backing other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Sabireen. But these are tiny groups compared to Hamas, which has tens of thousands of gunmen and a strong military group, Ezaddin Al Kassam. And there is nothing to prevent Iran from extending its control to the Gaza Strip through Hamas, especially in the wake of the Obama Administration’s policy of appeasing not only the Iranians, but also the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the coming months, Hamas is scheduled to hold secret elections to elect a replacement for Khaled Mashaal. Mashaal’s departure from the scene is also set to facilitate Iran’s effort to infiltrate the Gaza Strip. The three candidates who are seen as potential successors to Mashaal — Ismail Haniyeh, Musa Abu Marzouk and Yehya Al Sinwar — have all pledged to improve their movement’s ties with Iran.

The biggest losers, once again, will be President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.

PA officials continue to express deep concern over Iran’s meddling in Palestinian affairs, especially its financial and military support for terror groups in the Gaza Strip and even some parts of the West Bank. Yet Israel’s presence in the West Bank has thus far thwarted Iran’s repeated attempts to establish bases of power there. Abbas has no choice but to work with Israel if he wishes to prevent Iran and its supporters from overthrowing his regime, and perhaps dragging him to the center of Ramallah and hanging him as a traitor.

Abbas and his senior aides are nonetheless plenty worried about Iran’s increased efforts to infiltrate the Palestinian arena. At a lecture in Bahrain last week, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat sounded an alarm bell when he said:

“Iran has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. Iran must respect the particularity of our country. We hope that Iran will focus on placing Palestine back on the map and not intervene through this or that group.”

But this warning is likely to fall on deaf ears in the waning Obama Administration, which obviously no longer shares the widespread concern among Arabs and Palestinians that Iran remains a major threat to stability and security in the region, including Israel. Perhaps the new US administration will see Iran and its machinations a bit more clearly. The alternative is allowing Iran and its proxy terror groups further to drench the region in blood.

“No Room for the Zionist Entity in the Region”

August 18, 2016

“No Room for the Zionist Entity in the Region”, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, August 18, 2016

♦ “The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Wakf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad.” — Hamas Charter.

♦ Hamas’s decision to participate in the upcoming local and municipal elections will further strengthen the movement and pave the way for it to extend its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

♦ “The Zionist entity will not be part of this region. We will continue to resist it until the liberation of our land and the return of our people.” — Musa Abu Marzouk, senior Hamas official.

♦ How precisely Hamas intends to “serve” the Palestinians by running in the elections is somewhat murky. Abu Marzouk did not talk about building new schools and parks for the Palestinians. When he talks about “serving” the people, he means only one thing: recruiting Palestinians to Hamas and jihad against Israel and the Jews.

The dreamers in English still have it: “Hamas and Israel, Israel and Hamas. Maybe one day…who knows.” And then the Arabic-language truth rolls in: “Death to Israel, always!”

Some Arab and Western political analysts have mistakenly interpreted Hamas’s agreement to participate in the Palestinian local and municipal elections, scheduled for October 8, as a sign of the movement’s “pragmatism” and march toward recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

They falsely assume that Hamas’s readiness to take part in the democratic process shows that the leaders of the extremist movement are also prepared to abandon their dream of destroying Israel and abandoning the “armed struggle” against it.

These arguments about Hamas’s purported “pragmatism” and “moderation” were also made back in 2006, when Hamas contested the Palestinian parliamentary election. Then too, many political analysts claimed that Hamas’s decision to run in the election was an encouraging sign that the movement has endorsed a new, moderate approach toward Israel and the peace process.

Reality, however, has proven these assumptions utterly false. Hamas’s victory in the 2006 parliamentary election did not bring about any changes in its extremist ideology. Hamas did not change its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel. Nor did Hamas abandon its murderous terrorist attacks against Israelis.

To recall, here is what the Hamas charter openly states about this issue:

“The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Wakf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad. The liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from rising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the Islamic Umma [nation], clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.”

The 2006 Hamas victory, in fact, further emboldened Hamas and increased its determination to stick to its ideology and terrorism, in addition to the indoctrination and incitement against Israel. The following year, in 2007, Hamas even waged a coup against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and seized full control over the Gaza Strip.

Likewise, Hamas’s decision to participate in the upcoming local and municipal elections will further strengthen the movement and pave the way for it to extend its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

So, an electoral win or loss for Hamas is totally irrelevant. Hamas is not going to change its ideology or soften its position toward Israel and the “peace process.” And, of course, Hamas is not going to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Its leaders continue to assure their people of that — in public and on a daily basis.

As in the parliamentary election, Hamas may even emerge stronger and more resolved, especially if it wins the upcoming local and municipal elections, as it seems destined to do.

Hamas sees its participation in elections as a golden opportunity for “the reinforcement of its positions and for the encouragement of its Jihad,” as it clearly and unequivocally states in its charter.

In other words, Hamas sees elections as a chance to pursue its fight to eliminate Israel. So Hamas is not running in the upcoming elections in order to provide the Palestinians with improved municipal services, but, as it states in its charter, “in order to make possible the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war” and “until liberation is completed, the invaders are vanquished and Allah’s victory sets in.”

656 (1)Masked Hamas members (dressed in black) prepare to execute local Palestinians who they claim spied for Israel, Aug. 22, 2014, in Gaza. (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)

Yet, incredibly, some Western political analysts and Palestinian affairs “experts” dismiss the Hamas charter as irrelevant. This dismissal is now based on statements attributed sporadically to some Hamas leaders and spokesmen in various media outlets. These comments are, for them, “encouraging” and “positive” signs from Hamas. They even take the foolhardy step of advising world leaders to listen to these voices and take them into account when dealing with Hamas.

Let us examine, for a moment, one of those statements.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was recently reported to have voiced his movement’s readiness to recognize Israel’s right to exit [exist? — DM] if it withdrew to the pre-1967 lines, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (Israel already pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005).

Mashaal is reported to have told representatives of Asian media organizations during a briefing in Doha, Qatar, that he was prepared to accept Israel’s right to exist and the “two-state solution.”

Within hours, the Hamas leadership denied that Mashaal had made such remarks concerning Israel’s right to exist. Hamas called the reports “lies” and “fabrications” and reiterated its refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. “These suspicious and fabricated statements are aimed at distorting the image and positions of Hamas and its leadership,” read a statement issued by the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip.

Slander and defamation: that is how Hamas views the talk about its leaders’ purported readiness to recognize Israel. This, to them, is the worst thing that could happen to Hamas — to accept the presence of Israel in the Middle East. The Hamas denial is aimed at protecting its reputation and image in the eyes of its supporters, lest they believe, God forbid, that the Islamist movement has abandoned its desire to eliminate Israel.

To set the record straight, another senior Hamas official, Musa Abu Marzouk, declared this week: “The Zionist entity will not be part of this region. We will continue to resist it until the liberation of our land and the return of our people.” With tongue in cheek, Abu Marzouk, who is being groomed as a potential successor to Mashaal, stated that Hamas’s goal behind its decision to participate in the October 8 local and municipal elections was to “serve our people.” Addressing his rivals in President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, the top Hamas official added: “Our differences will not reach the level of enmity. Our only enemy is Israel. Our political rivalry should not exceed its limit.”

How precisely Hamas intends to “serve” the Palestinians by running in the elections is somewhat murky. Abu Marzouk did not talk about building new schools and parks for the Palestinians. When he talks about “serving” the people, he means only one thing: recruiting Palestinians to Hamas and jihad against Israel and the Jews.

In recent weeks, Hamas supporters have been launching various campaigns highlighting the Islamist movement’s “achievements” in the Gaza Strip in a bid to win the hearts and minds of voters. One campaign, entitled, “A More Beautiful Gaza,” features scenes of clean streets and public parks in some parts of the Gaza Strip. Yet the rosy picture that Hamas is painting is silent as to the extraordinarily high rate of unemployment and poverty in the Gaza Strip, or the fact that thousands of Palestinian families have lost their homes in wars with Israel that were the direct result of bombarding Israel with rockets and missiles. Nor does the campaign talk about Hamas’s repressive measures against women and journalists.

This campaign of disinformation is aimed at persuading Palestinian voters that the two million residents of the Gaza Strip are living in a utopia under Hamas, and that this experience now needs to be copied in the West Bank.

There is no doubt that many Palestinians will fall into this trap and cast their ballots for Hamas. They will do so because they will be convinced that Hamas will solve all their economic and social problems and bring them peace and stability at home. But many Palestinians will also vote for Hamas for other reasons. The first of these is that they identify with Hamas’s ideology, as expressed in its charter, and believe that jihad is the only way to “liberate Palestine.” Second, Hamas has managed to convince a large number of Palestinians that a vote for another party or candidate other than Hamas would be a vote against Islam and Allah.

History seems to be repeating itself and the lessons from the Hamas victory in the 2006 parliamentary election have not been learned. Hamas is fooling not only many Palestinians by promising them a better life and prosperity under its rule; it is also fooling some Westerners, who talk about “signs of moderation and pragmatism” coming from the Islamist movement.

Since its establishment in 1987, Hamas has been single-minded about its charter-documented desire to wage jihad against Israel. Its leaders continue to state this in Arabic on a daily basis. It is not rocket science: the movement has not changed and will not do so in the future, regardless of whether it wins or loses any election.

Hamas has made itself perfectly clear. What is not so clear is why some Westerners continue to talk about its “policy shifts.” Also difficult to understand is why some in the West are not asking President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority what they intend to do if and when Hamas wins the local and municipal elections. Finally, why Abbas is pushing ahead with preparations for the elections, when he knows that his Fatah faction could easily lose to Hamas, is a true mystery.

The day after Abbas

May 27, 2016

The day after Abbas, Israel Hayom, David M. Weinberg, May 27, 2016

The day Mahmoud Abbas departs his post as president of the Palestinian Authority, or is deposed from his dictatorial perch, could be a watershed moment. It could and should force a reassessment of conventional thinking about the feasible contours of accommodating Palestinian independence.

That moment may be coming soon. Abbas is old, sick and tired. He has little to show for his persistent efforts to isolate Israel diplomatically and force Israel into hasty withdrawals. His regime is viewed as utterly corrupt by 95.5% of Palestinians (according to a recent Palestinian poll). The tens of billions of dollars in international aid he has swallowed have failed to build any real institutional basis for a good or democratic Palestinian government.

Abbas’ thuggish underlings are jockeying aggressively around him for pole position in the battle to succeed him as West Bank despot. Hamas, too, smells blood.

On the diplomatic front, Abbas’ departure will leave nothing behind but scorched earth. He has fled from real negotiation and compromise with Israel, espoused maximalist positions, stoked hatred toward Israelis and Jews, venerated terrorists and pushed the criminalization of Israel internationally. He basically convinced most Israelis that there is no reasonable peace deal to be had with the Palestinians.

And yet, the Obama administration and much of the global community nonsensically still considers Abbas and his gang to be viable partners for a two-state peace arrangement. What will it take for them to move beyond this rotten reliance on Fatah leadership and the creaky two-state construct?

Nevertheless, most Israelis, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, still seek to move toward some clarity of borders, stability, and improved quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

They seek to do so without embarking on insane Israeli withdrawals that would likely lead to the establishment of a second “Hamastan” in the West Bank, or worse, an Islamic State-type regime.

So it’s time for Israel to re-articulate its thinking about the possibilities of an Israeli-Palestinian modus vivendi. Netanyahu should capitalize on his newly broadened government, and the coming transitions in Palestinian and American politics, to reset the diplomatic table. He can outline the acceptable contours of a conflict amelioration process in which Israel can pragmatically participate.

Doing so is especially urgent since the Obama administration is, in extremis, not-so-subtly readying to move the global goal posts farther away from Israel. This, of course, will only make the likelihood of Palestinian compromise with Israel even more remote.

Here are some guidelines and red lines that the Israeli government may want to adopt:

• Regional solutions: Unconventional alternatives to the struggling two-state paradigm must be on the table, including: a Palestinian-Jordanian federation; shared sovereignty with Israel in the West Bank; a three- or four-way land swap involving Egypt and Jordan; and, possibly, a combination of all these approaches.

The major Western powers must be willing to drive serious exploration of such alternatives. Arab states too can take responsibility for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and consider investment of tangible resources in “regional” solutions.

• Baseline: Israel’s position at the outset of talks should be that 100% of the West Bank belongs to Israel, by historical right, and that this right is richly buttressed by political experience, legitimate settlement and security necessity. Only then can Israel hope to obtain a sensible compromise.

Talks should not begin from a 68-year-old armistice line forced upon Israel by Arab aggression; nor “from the point that talks last left off” eight years ago under a previous, defeatist Israeli government; nor from the defensive security fence line forced upon Israel by Palestinian terrorism; nor from any borders high-handedly dictated in advance by U.S. President Barack Obama or the international community.

• Security: The radical Islamic winter buffeting this region, and its inroads into the Palestinian national movement, means that the security envelope encompassing Israeli and Palestinian areas must be militarily controlled by the IDF, fully and indefinitely. This includes the Jordan Valley and the mountain ridges on both sides of Judea and Samaria.

• The Temple Mount: One way in which to wring Palestinian recognition of the Jewish people’s ancient ties to this holy land is to insist on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. This can be modestly facilitated either through a time-sharing arrangement (similar to that in place at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron), or through a small synagogue tucked away on the fringes of the vast Temple Mount plaza (which won’t overshadow the two large Muslim structures on the Mount).

Palestinian denial of Jewish religious, historical and national rights in Israel is the essence of the conflict. It is time to tackle this head-on, cautiously but candidly, at the core — in Jerusalem.

In conclusion, Netanyahu should leverage this turning point to reframe the parameters of how Israel can live astride the very problematic Palestinian national movement.