News and Opinion Based on Facts

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hamas: Be My Brother Or I'll kill You!

By Barry Rubin

There was an election on Hamas’s mind when it cancelled the ceasefire with Israel, leading to the Gaza war. But it wasn’t the February Israeli election but rather the January Palestinian non-election.

Four years ago, Mahmoud Abbas was elected leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for a two-year term. Two years ago, Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian parliamentary election. Hamas then made a coalition agreement with its rival Fatah, which previously controlled the PA. Shortly thereafter, Hamas staged a bloody coup and threw Fatah out of the Gaza Strip. But Fatah, and Abbas, still controls the internationally recognized PA and the West Bank.

While Hamas and Israel went to war, Israel and the PA remained at peace. The war had nothing to do with Israel-Palestinian relations as such but as a response to Hamas’s extremism, rejecting not only any comprehensive peace agreement with Israel but even a real truce. How, then, does this triangular relationship figure in Palestinian politics?

Analysts have generally ignored the proximity of Hamas’s decision for war to its impending January 2009 showdown with Abbas, Fatah, and the PA. It was widely predicted that Abbas was going to announce that, given the impossibility of holding new elections, he would simply extend his term for another year.

The event was expected to mark a major widening of the rift between the two groups. Hamas, it was thought, would declare Abbas a usurper, name its own candidate for “president,” and the establishment of two rival Palestinian governments would be complete.

Even before that date, the PA had apparently enjoyed some real success—with Israeli help—in reducing Hamas’s organization on the West Bank, ensuring any takeover bid there would be impossible, and making progress toward restoring order and even improving the economy.

Hamas no doubt saw choosing war as a way of upstaging Abbas, showing that it was the real fighter for Palestinian rights (principally the right to wipe Israel off the map), and even attracting support from some Fatah men who concluded that Hamas was macho and their own organization was too meek. In effect, it was a reiteration of traditional Palestinian politics in which those who take the most extreme action, evidence the greatest intransigence, and kill the most Israelis prove their credentials for leadership.

In practice, though, Hamas played into Abbas’s hands. Now he has the perfect rationale to insist that elections cannot be held—which is, of course quite true--and he must remain as leader for the indefinite future.

Despite this, the relationship between Hamas and Fatah remain quite complex. It seems bizarre that Hamas set off a civil war, murdered Fatah men in cold blood, and kicked the group out of Gaza yet still most of Fatah is ready to forgive it. There is a strong likelihood that if given the choice, Fatah leaders—though not necessarily Abbas himself—would prefer conciliation with Hamas, which would make any peace with Israel impossible—to making a diplomatic deal with Israel and getting a Palestinian state.

From Israel’s standpoint, of course, how can it negotiate any comprehensive solution with the PA when it cannot deliver half of the territory, people, and armed men who are supposed to be bound by such an agreement? Moreover, the possibility that either Hamas will overthrow Fatah at some future point or even that the two will join together in a new war against Israel rather puts a damper on Israeli willingness to make concessions.

The paradox of a simultaneous blood feud and brotherly love relationship between the two Palestinian organizations is explained by the supposed sanctity of being fellow Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians, coupled with a deep and abiding loathing of Israel.

Yet this also coexists with such deep Fatah anger at Hamas that interviewed Fatah cadre told reporters that they were glad Israel was trouncing Hamas in Gaza Strip. The solution of this paradox was for the official PA line to be: it’s all Hamas’s fault but there should be an immediate ceasefire and Israel is behaving in a beastly way.

This approach is strengthened by the fact that most Arab states and a surprising amount of the media (albeit in many cases the two are identical) are taking a similar line. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the smaller Gulf states and more—pretty much all the leaders except for Syria—hate Hamas. They see it as an agent of Iran, meaning a friend of their Islamist opponents.

If Fatah were more adept politically, it could benefit from this situation. A clever and active policy would combine an energetic campaign to unite the Arab states behind the PA, while persuading the UN and West that they should ensure its restoration to power in the Gaza Strip as the “legitimate government.” The Fatah underground in the Gaza Strip would be reinforced and figure out some way (even with a little secret coordination with Israel) to oust Hamas and seize power at least in sections of the territory.

Yet both the PA and Fatah lack the will power and political skill to take advantage of such a promising situation. They are sitting back and hoping that someone—though not Israel—will give them back the Gaza Strip on a silver platter. The problem also includes their lack of charismatic leadership and failure to deal seriously with the problems that led them to being kicked out by the election: corruption, incompetence, and the failure to articulate a moderate vision of achievable peace with Israel.

No outside power, including Israel, and no amount of money can make up for the shortcomings of the PA and Fatah. Thus, it is much easier for Hamas to lose the war than for the nationalist forces to win.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA)Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
His books include The Israel-Arab Reader,

Revolution Until Victory, The Tragedy of the Middle East, and Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Update: Just hours after publishing this article, Dr. Sneh's car was torched outside his home in Herzliya.

He told the Jerusalem Post: “It's very clear to me that this is the work of criminals," Sneh said. "I don't know if the criminal read the [party] platform, but it's possible that other things we've done led to this violent message. Remember that last month alone, four mayors were victims of violent attacks by criminals." Sheh, a former deputy defense minister, said that he did not fear for his life, despite the arson attack. "I'm a man who comes from years of service in the war on terror, and there were personal threats of my life when I was serving in that capacity, but it doesn't deter me," he said defiantly. “

By Ephraim Sneh

After the fighting in Gaza ceased, the internal terrorism in our country again raised its head. This week, just one day apart, two attacks were made against elected officials. A grenade was hurled at the house of Kiryat Ekron Council Chairman Arik Hadad. A day later an explosive device was thrown at the house of Beit Jan Council Chairman, Dayan Kablan. Three weeks ago a grenade was thrown at the house of Kiryat-Yam’s mayor, Shmuel Sisso. Two weeks ago the police discovered a conspiracy to murder Bat-Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani. A veritable crime offensive. The common denominator between these four cases is the struggle of the mayors and local councils against criminals seeking to gain control of business assets through violence. The ominous fact is that the criminals are no longer hesitating to use military means to attack persons elected by the public. Deterrence has been lost.

What must be done when deterrence has been lost? Renew it. Had the Hamas ever likewise tried to attack Israeli elected officials, we presumably would have launched a major military offensive against it. Yet when it is the crime families the attitude is different. The crime families and the other assorted offenders will not be deterred if there is no adequate response to them. In their present circumstances the police and the law authorities are finding it hard to fight crime in the intensity and scope that are needed.

The plan I have prepared for the war on crime, and which I plan to implement as Minister of Internal Security, is the approach we need right now. A war against the crime families and the hundreds and perhaps thousands of criminal incidents which take place in Israel daily. Crimes against the elderly, against children, against business owners and so forth.

This plan has the following components:

Stiffening penalties for serious crimes.

Emergency legislation to give more effective tools to fight organized crime.

Establishing a system to protect law officials, government and tax workers.

Economic measures against the crime families.

A special operation to fight the protection rackets.

Bolstering the police with resources and manpower. Rehabilitation and strengthening of the status of the policeman and the prestige of service.

This is a practical plan. It is not built simply on budgetary increases and added legislation. Fundamentally, it will provide both leadership and judicial and economic backing to those who are fighting crime, which has become such a plague in our country.

Our government’s feeble attitude toward crime is part of the process the state has been undergoing over the last twelve years. The process led by Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister and Finance Minister has been one of an abandonment by government of its responsibilities toward the citizen. That’s how it’s been with health-care and geriatric services, with education, with pension security, and with all the realms of social service. But personal safety is a just as much a fundamental civic right as the right to health and to an education for one’s children.

I believe that eliminating crime is possible and I mean to prove it.

Dr. Sneh is a medical doctor, veteran of many years in the Israel Defense Force in both medical and combat roles, including serving as head of the civil administration for the West Bank. He served in the Knesset for 16 years as a Labor party member of parliament and has held the positions as minister of health, of transportation, and deputy defense minister.

In May 2008 he resigned from the Knesset and the Labour party, later forming the Strong Israel party. The party supports a strong but flexible foreign policy and highlights the Iranian threat. It puts a strong emphasis on domestic issues, insisting that government must remembers its main duty is to serve citizen’s needs and to ensure honesty in its own ranks. A strong Israel requires not merely an effective military but also honest government, a strong educational and health system, and improving the environment and infrastructure.

If you are interested in joining the party or supporting its efforts, please contact me, as head of the English-speaking section. Note that we have two Anglophones, including myself, on our Knesset list. Also visit our site at

Translated by Saadya Sternberg

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Radical Chic Islam

A New Video by Michael Blackburn, Sr

Report: Hamas Lied About Gaza Casualties

This report is from Arutz Sheva News.
Its not really surprising, but its good that the facts are beginning to come out.

01/22/09, 4:54 PM
Report: Hamas Lied About Gaza Casualties

by Maayana Miskin

( Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi, who works with the Corriere della serra newspaper, reported Thursday that Hamas had vastly overstated the number of civilian deaths in Gaza. While Hamas claims that 1,330 residents of Gaza were killed in the operation and approximately 5,000 wounded, the real number of casualties was far lower, Cremonesi says.

Cremonesi's report was based on his own findings after touring hospitals in Gaza and talking to families of those killed or wounded. “It is sufficient to visit several [Gaza] hospitals to understand that the numbers don't add up,” he explained.
Cremonesi estimated that between 500 to 600 people were killed in the fighting. Most were young men between the ages of 17 and 23 who were members of Hamas, he said.

Many hospitals had several empty beds, he reported. Hamas has stated that Gaza hospitals are filled to capacity due to the large number of victims, with many of the wounded being turned away due to the shortage of doctors and supplies.

The Italian report also confirmed Israeli allegations that Hamas had used civilians as human shields and used ambulances and United Nations buildings in the fighting. Those who tried to drive the terrorists away in order to protect their families were beaten.

Civilians told Cremonesi that they shouted at Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists to leave the area to avoid drawing Israeli fire on civilians. The terrorists responded by calling them “traitors,” “collaborators” and “cowards,” and insisted that any civilians killed would be martyrs destined for paradise.

Civilians also reported that Hamas terrorists disguised themselves as paramedics and drove ambulances during the fighting. In addition, terrorists launched rockets from UN buildings. Many of these actions are defined as war crimes.

"The knew they were weaker, but they wanted them [the Israelis] to fire on our houses, so they could accuse them of war crimes,” a resident of the Gazan village Tel Awa explained.

Cremonesi said it was difficult to gather evidence against Hamas because residents were fearful. Civilians feared that if it was known they spoke against the group, they would be harshly punished, he explained.

Eisenberg: Many Didn't Know Their Homes were Booby-Trapped
Gaza Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg reported on Thursday that Hamas had booby-trapped the homes of many civilians without their knowledge.

Many Gaza civilians were surprised to find explosives hidden under their houses, Eisenberg said, and noted that Hamas had placed roadside bombs throughout the area as well.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Liberals, Come Home

I wish to speak again, tonight, to Liberals. Not all Jews are theologians, not all Jews use the G-d argument to support the right of Jews to have their homeland.
I admire Taoism and I think it comes closest to explaining the meaning of life and reality in its interpretation of metaphysics (the study of the underlying nature of reality), but I don't sing hymns, talk in tongues, carry scrolls, wear purple robes, or chant nam myoho renge kyo. Its time to get beyond labels.
Liberals are marked by a desire to promote personal freedom and equality. Liberals support progress.
Liberals believe in science.
Liberals should be supporters of Israel since Israel is founded on Liberal principles and is the only free country on the Arabian Peninsula. T
he main difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives believe government is to control people's behaviour and liberals believe government is to help improve people's lives. Its time for people to come together based on their commonality rather than fight based on misperceptions. Religion is one of the main factors behind terrorism.
If the Arabs didn't have their religion they would have no reason to hate. There are no angelic choirs singing hallelujah, or 72 virgins waiting for the kids who blow themselves up killing Jews. The sooner ALL of us move beyond folk tales and embrace reality, the better off we ALL will be. These tales of miracles and magic and super beings are not helpful, they delay progress and create unnecessary divisions.
It would be a shame to condemn all Muslims, as Daniel Pipes and Carolyn Glick have said, on the expose' of radical Isam in the documentary, "Obsession". Christians slaughtered lots of innocent people in their day as well.
OTOH, radical Islam has declared war on decency and civilization, and they need to be opposed with any means necessary.
According to some figures, 20% of Muslims support radical Islam, thats around 300 million potential criminals. Groups such as Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, even Fatah, should be ruthlessly decimated.
On the other hand, I wouldn't want to see Irshad Manji harmed, or members of Muslims for Israel, would you?
A person can be a liberal and say, with complete conviction, I'm proud of Israel. I'm proud of the courage shown by the Jewish people. I'm proud of the courage of the men and women of the IDF, and Gilad Shalit, and the other Israelis and supporters of Israel that I comunicate with. I'm proud of her people and her goverment and her role as light unto the nations.
I'm proud of the Jewish martyrs who gave their lives in service to the Children of Israel, Baruch Goldstein, Rabbi Kahane, Irv Rubin and Earl Leslie Krugel (OBM)
I'm proud that I know Simone Simmons, a child of Israel, and one of Israel's prominent supporters. Ani ohev Yisrael.
I don't care how the Arabs feel about Israel.
They can't even run their own Arab nation.
Let them build homes, and hospitals and women's shelters, intead of missiles and tunnels. Let them begin to grant rights to women, let hem stop indocdrinating their children wih racial hatred.
Let them stop teaching children to have, as a goal in life, reaching young adulthood only to die blowing themselves up while murdering innocent people.
As the leader of Hamas said recently, "The jews treasure life. We treasure death." Moderate Muslims need to join muslims that are speaking out against the criminals that are destroying and hijacking their religion.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ceasefire in Gaza

Shalom, everyone.
I was "Twittering" today and I came accross the following article at
Its fascinating and in a short bit of time presents an excellent factual overview of the situation vis a vis Israel and Gaza.

January 14, 2009
Exclusive: Dr. Denis MacEoin

Today everyone’s talking about a ceasefire in Gaza. With the UN proposing one and Israel demurring, the public, unaware of anything much about Gaza, Hamas, or Israel, blithely puts Israel in the dock. Yet during the last “ceasefire,” when rockets continued to land in Israeli civilian centers, there was a noticeable silence on the part of the international community. It seems it’s okay to drag Israel back from an attack on a massively financed and armed terrorist entity (and if Hamas isn’t a terrorist entity, it’s hard to know what it is), but just not right on to demand the same sort of action on the part of the terrorists. Don’t forget, Israel isn’t the only one refusing a ceasefire at this point: Hamas is rejecting one too, and for dishonest reasons.
There are things going on here that half the world just doesn’t get. All those clamoring for a ceasefire think all other parties understand the word just like they do. They’d be wrong. The secular Arabic press, such as the international newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, uses the standard Arabic term for a cessation of fire: waqf al-nar or waqf itlaq al-nar. That is a literal translation, and it means exactly what ceasefire means in English and other languages. But Hamas don’t talk about a cessation of fire, because that would be to introduce a term from the Western political vocabulary into their discourse, and they can’t do that.

Why not? Because Hamas is a deeply-grounded Islamist movement that follows the principle that Muslims must never do anything that resembles what the non-believers do. That’s why many Muslims here will only wear Muslim clothes and refuse to join in Christmas, birthday or other celebrations with their Christian neighbors.

Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Resistance Movement, and, unlike Fatah, it prioritizes religious values and aims. A Hamas council has just introduced the implementation of severe punishments, such as amputations and crucifixions for breaches of Islamic law in matters like theft or adultery. Read their 1988 Covenant (al-Mithaq) and you will grasp the fact that their struggle against Israel has nothing to do with land in the sense that is understood in international law. Their gripe is that the whole of what they anachronistically term “Palestine” (the old Southern Syria) was conquered by Islam in the 7th century and not an inch of it must pass out of Muslim hands forever.

As their Covenant makes clear, they are fighting a Jihad, and the rules they observe are Jihad rules, based on centuries of legislation about the waging of war against unbelievers. The problem with Jihad rules is that they simply don’t recognize all the elements of international law that modern states base their treaties and international conventions on. Jihad law includes rules on how and when to deceive the foe, and envisages no outcome other than the death or submission of non-Muslims.

When Hamas announces a temporary cease-fire (a hudna or, recently, a tahdiyya or lull), it does so, not to have an opportunity to talk peace, but to regroup and re-arm. “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” The only solution to the Middle East problem is war: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

Numerous times in the past, Israel has shown itself willing to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, on conditions similar to those propounded by the Quartet, first and foremost recognition of Israel’s right to exist, followed by a guarantee that there will be no further resort to violence, including terrorist attacks on civilians (and that includes firing rockets at them). As time has passed, especially since the death of Yasser Arafat, a degree of pragmatism has entered the Palestinian mind, but not the thinking of Hamas. Not only will Hamas not make peace with Israel in order to create a viable Palestinian state, they are as ready to kill Palestinian Muslims in order to gain total control of Gaza and the West Bank.

A recent Hamas pronouncement boasted that the Palestinians (for which read Hamas) have made an industry of death and that everyone plays a part: “...the women exceed at this, and so too do the mujahideen [fighters in jihad] and the children. That’s why they have formed human shields of the women the children the elderly and the mujahideen in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.” (My italics)

This is the only fighting force in history to boast that they have made human shields of their own people. There are films of “brave” Hamas gunmen dragging screaming children along to serve as shields, and of civilians sent onto the roofs of rocket launching sites, where, ironically, they know the Israelis will not fire on them. It is a mockery of military ethics, yet it goes barely noticed in the Western media.

Israel is not along in fighting terrorism. Even now, this country fights al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq or the Taliban in Afghanistan. If we ever gave up the fight against Islamist terror in Britain, we would reap the whirlwind in bombings on land and in the air. Why then do so many of us scorn what Israel does? A combination of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran could one day bring Israel down and result in the deaths of millions of Jews. Is there any good reason why Israel should acquiesce in this? Is our grass roots anti-Semitism still so ferocious that we cannot bear the thought of a Jewish state in the Middle East, even if that state was brought into being by a majority vote of the UN?

This war is not a pretty war, but, truth be told, no wars are pretty. If Hamas cannot be fought to a standstill or until it is a spent force, lulls in the fighting will be of absolutely no use. Beaten to a ceasefire, Hamas will return. They will return and they will fight to a standstill again, then they will regroup and attack once more. More deaths, of Israelis and Palestinians both. Ever-postponed statehood for the Palestinians, unending vituperation of Israel, which is only a democracy trying to defend its civilians from crimes this country would not bear for a week.

It’s not a time for a ceasefire. When it comes, let the Palestinian Authority make it and keep to it, and let the PA police its own territories and rein in the madmen who cannot accept anything but their own right to rule everybody else, and their self-proclaimed right to kill Jews wherever they may be found. For Hamas has now announced that they will do exactly that: kill Jews, not just Israeli Jews, but Jews in any country where they may be found. And these are the people the UN and others would have Israel make a ceasefire with today. Contributing Editor Dr. Denis MacEoin has lectured in Arabic and Islamic Studies and is the incoming editor of Middle East Quarterly.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Peace Process is in Jeopardy? I Wonder Why!

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These articles by Professor Rubin are objective and fact filled.
We thank the Professor for his diligence .

Michael Blackburn, Sr.
Zamir Etzioni

Barry Rubin.

January 12, 2009

Whatever became of reality, at least in analyzing the Middle East? Consider the following:
"With every image of the dead in Gaza inflaming people across the Arab world, Egyptian and Jordanian officials are worried that they see a fundamental tenet of the Middle East peace process slipping away: the so-called two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel."[1]
So begins an article in the New York Times that explains the peace process is failing and the two-state solution slipping away. It is one more example of an obsessive narrative whose key premise is this: the Palestinians can never be responsible for anything.
Of course, the Arab world's public reaction to the Gaza war is not pushing it in a more moderate direction. Yet on a governmental level--and compared to past such crises including the 1982 Lebanon war, 2000-2005 Palestinian intifada, and 2006 Israel-Hizballah war--most governments have come as close to being pro-Israel as you are ever going to see them. Privately, they make clear they want Hamas beaten. Publicly, they are far more reserved in their speech and passive in their reactions.[2]
That's the big story. As for the Arab street, that much-exaggerated phenomenon, since when have governments followed its dictate?
Yet there's even more to this kind of argument quoted above: the implication that only Israel is responsible for the peace process's poor prospects and a Palestinian rejection of a two-state solution, and only now is it happening.
What about these historical events:
Camp David, 2000: Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat rejects negotiations on the basis of a two-state solution; orders violent uprising instead.
Clinton Plan, 2000: Arafat and the PLO reject President Bill Clinton's plan which gives them more than anything offered before.
Palestinian Intifada, 2000-2005: Massive violent uprising characterized mainly by the use of anti-civilian terrorism, an embodiment of rejection for any compromise peace.
Failure to prepare Palestinian people for peace: During the 1993-2000 peace process and down to this day, the PLO, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not speak, write, or teach their people to desire a two-state solution. Continued incitement to terror meets up with continued rejection of Israel's existence. This is true in schools, mosques, PA statements, Fatah position papers, television, newspapers, and every other aspect of life. Since Fatah and the PA never enthusiastically support a two-state solution and sold it to its own people, how is this not the destruction of any such hope?
The Rise of Hamas: The man most responsible for Hamas's rise is Arafat himself, both because he tried to use the group for his own benefit and he did not combat it by presenting a strong alternative viewpoint, working to benefit his people, Â or countering it through effective organizational activity. Once Hamas outflanked Fatah in radicalism, the race was on to prove who was the least moderate as a way of mobilizing support.
Hamas's seizure of the Gaza Strip: With two Palestinian governments how could Israel negotiate with the PA? And with one of those governments totally against peace, how could any negotiations succeed? Since Hamas always has opposed a two-state solution, how is its empowerment not the destruction of any such hope?
Hamas's war on Israel: By constantly launching cross-border attacks, mortars, and rockets at Israel, Hamas ensured that the conflict would heat up and progress toward peace be impossible.
Weak Fatah-PA leadership and pro-Hamas strategy: It is clear that Fatah and PA leaders would rather make up with Hamas than make peace with Israel. Why isn't the PA demanding that Hamas be unseated and the international community return the Gaza Strip to its rightful government (since Hamas seized power by a violent coup, not an election)? PA leader Mahmoud Abbas may be relatively moderate but he lacks the personal strength and organizational support--in other words the will and the means--to make the compromises needed to attain a two-state solution. (Even he continues to hold less moderate views such as insistence that all Palestinians whose families ever lived on what is now Israeli territory can come and live in Israel or agreement that a two-state solution would end the conflict completely.)
Fatah's shift away from a two-state solution: There is an ample literature from Fatah and the PA, as well as material by analysts, that Fatah and the PA have been turning away from a two-state solution for several years, if not the whole at least a large and powerful portion of each group.
Doubt whether a two-state solution was there in the first place. Looking back on the last 15 years it is hard to find any Palestinian groups and very few individuals who were clearly and irrevocably committed to a two-state solution.
Yet none of these points, in many circles, can be seen as having any effect on the peace process--which has effectively been dead since 2000--or the two-state solution. Only if Israel defends itself against the attack of a group which rejects peace and the two-state solution, divides the Palestinian leadership, etc., can many members of the Western intelligentsia, "experts," academics, and journalists declare the peace process and two-state solution to be jeopardized.
This is ludicrous and one more reason why such people cannot understand the Middle East nor predict its direction. Of course, some of this is due to bias against Israel, certain aspects of contemporary leftist ideology, and even antisemitism.
But to understand this phenomenon in terms of specific conceptions of the issue, two specific points must be made:
The refusal to understand the nature of Palestinian radicalism (and of Islamist and some other Third World nationalisms as well). These are not pragmatic movements seeking better conditions, they are revolutionary ones seeking total victory. Hamas doesn't want a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It wants an Islamist state in Israel's place. Fatah and the PA don't seek a two-state solution, or at least not one that forever forecloses their chance of achieving a Palestinian nationalist state in Israel's place.[3]
The refusal to treat Third World people as human beings. What is the contemporary embodiment of imperialist and racist attitudes? The answer is those who insist on treating people like the Palestinians, or Muslims, or Arabs as helpless victims who are always merely reacting to what others to do them. It used to be said that the West were the "betters" of such inferior people. Now the paradigm is reversed and the West (and in this case Israel) is seen as their "worsers."
The basic idea, however, still remains: they have no will of their own, no goals of their own, no world view of their own. This is nonsense and dangerous nonsense at that.
The peace process and two-state solutions have been disappearing neither because of anything Israel has done nor to the most recent events. The Palestinians killed them and they did so several years ago.
[2] See on this point, Barry Rubin, "The Gaza War: A Small Part of The Nationalist Islamist Conflict".
[3] See on this point, Barry Rubin, "If You Love The Palestinians, You Should Hate Hamas".
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If You Love The Palestinians, You Should Hate Hamas

Barry Rubin
January 11, 2009

Let's say that you love the Palestinians, are sympathetic to Arabs, and are indifferent to Israel.
Presumably, you would favor an immediate ceasefire to stop Palestinian suffering. But what else? What next? What is the solution from your point of view, from the Palestinian point of view?
The answer is: you should support the downfall of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Let me explain why:
First, only the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank, is capable of making peace with Israel because Hamas does not want to do so and demands total victory and Israel's extinction. But without a negotiated peace, the conflict will go on forever and the vestiges of occupation will not end. There will not be a Palestinian state.
Even if you believe the world should pressure Israel into major concessions, Israel will not give way even under the greatest pressure if Hamas is involved because that would be suicidal. And with Palestinian leadership divided into two regimes, no negotiation can succeed any way.
If Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, progress toward peace is impossible. No peace, no dismantling of settlements (on the West Bank, they've already been dismantled in the Gaza Strip. Remember? When Israel withdrew completely and turned the Gaza-Egypt border over to the Palestinians?]. No peace, no Palestinian state. No peace, no serious economic construction and stability. No peace, no resettling of Palestinian refugees in a country of their own.
Second, Hamas is a disaster for Palestinians as a ruler. It is creating a repressive Islamist state where freedom will be extinguished, women treated as third-class citizens, and children will be brought up to be suicide bombers. While Hamas has had social welfare programs to recruit supporters and support the families of those it has ensured would be martyrs, it has no interest in educational, health, infrastructure, and job creation or anything but waging war.
In addition, Hamas will never get much, if any, economic support from the international community whereas with a PA government, as has been shown previously, billions of dollars of aid money has been given. The resources Hamas gets are mainly plowed into waging war. For Hamas, Palestinians are instruments for waging jihad, privileged to become martyrs to the cause. If the Palestinians were to get their own state or enjoy higher living standards, Hamas fears they will become content with the status quo and abandon the struggle. For Hamas, that is a fate for Palestinians worse than death--their deaths.
Of course, the PA is, to put it mildly, far from perfect. It is plagued by corruption and inefficiency though over the last year it has shown marked improvement. Why did Hamas win the election? Partly due to the PA's shortcomings; largely due to the internal divisions of Fatah which rules the PA. After all, if so many Fatah candidates hadn't run against each other, the race would have been very close.
At the same time, it is important to remember that the current Hamas government is not an elected government. Hamas signed a coalition agreement with Fatah then staged a coup to seize power completely, killing and expelling its rival. The current regime is thus not the product of the people's choice but of a takeover. To cite two examples, the Communists in 1917 Russia and the National Socialist Party in 1932 Germany, both won elections. But they then seized power, outlawed the opposition, and held on for a long time. The Hamas pattern is similar.
Third, in material terms, Hamas has led and will continue to lead to massive bloodshed and suffering. Blame it on Israel if you wish, but remember something rather important: the Israel-West Bank border is completely quiet. There are no sanctions, no blockade. Indeed, Israel supports other countries giving aid and even weapons to the PA, albeit with limits in the latter case. Israel isn't fighting "the Palestinians" it is fighting Hamas. Why? Because Hamas is fighting Israel.
Even if you have the most negative possible view of Israel: go on, throw out all your nastiest adjectives and biggest anti-Israel claims. The fact is that Israel exists and will continue to do so. It will also continue to defend its citizens--you can call it aggression if you want.
But these are facts. With the PA and peaceful strategies, individual Palestinians can enjoy relatively good lives and hope for the future. With Hamas, since it is going to spend decades in the martyrdom business and seeking Israel's extinction through violence, the fact is there is going to be a lot of violence. Even if Israel doesn't react to the first hundred of thousand missiles, mortar shells, and cross-border terrorist attacks, eventually it will do so. And we will see something like the current situation over and over again.
Finally, Hamas is a disaster for Arabs in other countries and for the Arabic-speaking world in general. The survival and strengthening of Hamas will help spread radical Islamism and terrorism to other countries at even higher levels. Many Arabs and Muslims will die, be wounded, and suffer. There will be more attacks and political turmoil in Egypt and Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, North Africa and the Gulf. These events will have nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the kind of revolutionary movement Hamas represents. And this includes a long-term, internal Palestinian civil war as well.
So if you want to march for a ceasefire, campaign for a Palestinian state, and criticize Israel, just remember this: don't struggle to support those who will do more harm to the people you purport to care for--even if you blame Israel for it, the cause will be Hamas's policies--than anything else.
If you want to help in real terms, let's work together for a peaceful diplomatic resolution, a two-state solution, in which Palestinians have their own country, receive massive international aid, children can live in security, and there is real peace. For that goal, you will find the overwhelming majority of Israelis will agree with you. But remember, too, Hamas doesn't.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Saturday, January 10, 2009


By Barry Rubin Last December, Hamas unilaterally ended its ceasefire with Israel and escalated the kind of cross-border attacks continually attempted even during the ceasefire. With massive public support, Israel struck back against a neighboring regime which daily attacked its citizens and called for its extermination.
For decades, Israel’s history shows a general pattern: its neighbors attack, Israel responds, Israel wins the war, and the world rushes to ensure that its victory is limited or nullified. If, as sometimes happens, the diplomatic process really improves the situation and provides progress for peace that, of course, is beneficial.
Yet Israel’s experience has shown that international promises made in return for its material concessions are often broken. Most recently, in 2006 the international community pledged to keep Hizballah out of south Lebanon and curb its arms’ supply, failed totally, yet took no action in response to this defeat. Israel is understandably skeptical.
In addition, Israelis know that Hamas is totally dedicated to their personal and collective destruction. The group will not moderate, cannot be bought off, and will not respect any agreement it makes. As a result, the usual kinds of diplomatic tools—concessions, confidence-building, agreements, moderation resulting from having governmental responsibilities, will not work. Any solution short of Hamas’s fall from power will bring more fighting in future.
What should happen is that the international community cooperates in the removal of the Hamas regime. It is an illegal government, brought to power by an unprovoked war against the Palestinian Authority (PA) which was the internationally recognized regime in the Gaza Strip. Hamas may have won the elections but it then seized total power, suspended representative government, and destroyed the opposition.
Moreover, Hamas is a radical terrorist group which openly uses antisemitic rhetoric and actively seeks to wipe Israel off the map. It oppresses the Palestinian population and leads them into endless war. It teaches young Palestinians that their career goal should not be as a teacher, engineer, or doctor but as a suicide bomber.
From a strategic standpoint, Hamas is a member of the Iran-Syria alliance which seeks to overthrow every Arab regime in the Middle East and replace it with an anti-Western, war-oriented, radical Islamist dictatorship. Hamas’s survival is a big threat to both Western interests and to those of Arab nationalist regimes. Keeping Hamas in power is equivalent to an energetic Western diplomatic effort to have kept the Taliban regime in power in Afghanistan, despite its role in the September 11 attacks.
If, however, the world is not going to support Hamas’s fall from office, Israel cannot bring about this result by itself. At the same time, the world will be making a big mistake if it pushes for a ceasefire at any price, thus encouraging future violence and terrorism, not only regarding Gaza but also in the region generally.
What then are Israel’s options?
Two possible outcomes are rejected: Israel will not take control of the Gaza Strip again, and Israel will not accept a return to the previous situation in which Hamas repeatedly attacked Israel under cover of a ceasefire.
There are at least six major things Israel can obtain realistically:
--The practical weakening of Hamas. Granted it will continue to be aggressive in future, its losses will reduce Hamas’s ability to hurt Israeli citizens.
-- Deterrence, while retaining its longer-term goals, Hamas will be more reluctant to attack Israel lest it produce another such Israeli response.
--Border control, a change from the situation in which Hamas can import weapons fairly freely to a stricter order in which humanitarian aid but not arms can come in.
--The return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, seized in a Hamas attack on Israeli soil and held hostage, lacking any contact with international humanitarian groups.
--A reduction of Hamas’s standing among Palestinians. Despite macho and religious rhetoric about Hamas’s strength, Gaza Palestinians are more eager for a return of the PA; West Bank citizens, living under more moderate PA rule, realize that extremism is disastrous.
--Regional perception of Hamas’s defeat, lowering support for the Iran-Syria alliance and encouraging more moderate Arab forces to resist radical Islamism and Tehran’s power.
Despite this being the best realistic program, Israel also knows significant factors that might mean it won’t work entirely:
--Hamas will break any agreement and not change.
--The international community is weak and contains tendencies toward appeasing extremists to avoid trouble.
--Egypt even when well-intended is not so efficient at controlling the border
Thus, even this best-case scenario has problems. First, Hamas will return to building up its forces for future confrontations, teaching a whole generation that it should prepare to sacrifice itself to achieve a “final solution” of the Israel problem. In short, any outcome that leaves Hamas in place is at best a lull until the next round.
Second, it is quite possible that within days or weeks of any agreement, Hamas—partly to prove to itself and others how it remains unbowed—will return to firing rockets and mortar rounds into Israel as well as trying to carry out terrorist attacks across the border. In that case, Israel will have to respond much more seriously than it has in the past to such behavior. A world which guarantees the ceasefire better be prepared to remember Israel’s legitimate interests in enforcing it.
Finally, as long as Hamas survives as rulers of the Gaza Strip, it will be impossible to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The PA will be too intimidated to make compromises and cannot even deliver its own people. There can be no Palestinian state with half the territory being controlled by an organization which will never accept an agreement and will do everything possible to wreck it.
“Saving” Hamas and making the main or sole priority pushing for a ceasefire at any price is a very short-sighted policy for the international community which will be paid for in future. If the Gaza war is going to be ended, it should be in the framework of solving the problems that let Hamas create the war in the first place.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Truth About Syria, and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East.

A different version of this article was published in The Age (Melbourne, Australia)

The Case For Israel

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Livni: No Agreements With Terrorists

Two weeks after the Israeli Armed Forces have begun fighting back against the criminal thugs known as Hamas, in spite of the condemnation of well meaning but terribly misinformed and anti-Semitic forces, the Israeli foriegn Minister, and candidate for Israel Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni spoke to a meeting of other nations foriegn ministers and spoke plainly, and truthfully.

This article was fist published on
Israel National News.
Michael Blackburn, Sr.

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
( Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told foreign ambassadors in Israel on Thursday that Israel's campaign in Gaza is part of the international effort against terrorism. She told the ambassadors not to equate Israel with the jihadist Hamas terrorist organization.
Speaking with the ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry's humanitarian aid command center, Livni said that Operation Cast Lead is a "struggle... against terror and it cannot end in agreements with it. In order for there to be quiet here one must defeat it, not come to any arrangement with it."
Addressing the specific possibility of negotiations with Hamas, the Foreign Minister said, "Don't expect that we will find a way to create an agreement with Hamas. It won't happen. The only agreements we can make are among us against terrorism. This war we are waging is part of the war waged by the international community throughout the world and I expect of you not to equate us with Hamas."
The immediate benefit of the Gaza campaign, Livni explained is that it made it "clear" to Hamas that "the equation has changed. Until now they attacked us and now they understand that when they attack us, we respond and will not accept a situation in which our citizens are under attack."
Unlike Hamas, Foreign Minister Livni noted that "Israel makes a distinction between Hamas and the civilian population and believes in the need to allow humanitarian aid to reach the [Gaza] Strip. When we open the humanitarian corridors, Hamas shoots." The jihadist regime in Gaza "takes advantage of the desire to assist the Palestinian population and commits its terrorism from among that population. Israel attempts, in its operations, to avoid harming civilians, but in a war like this, unfortunately, there are those who pay the price for Hamas hiding behind the population."

Monday, January 5, 2009

How Is Hamas Different From the Nazis?

The Nazis controlled a modern, civilized nation.
The Germans were well educated.
Less than 70% of adult Arabs are literate.
Like Hamas, the the Nazis were bent on extermination of the Jewish People, the Nazis, however were willing to fight pitched battles against armed soldiers, the Hamas criminals prefer murdering women, children and unarmed civilians.
When Nazis were overwhelmed, they still protected women and children, Hamas uses women and babies as human shields.
Don't misunderstand what we are saying, the Nazis were evil, they turned murder into assembly line killing.
But Hamas is actually lower, more despicable and far more cowardly.
Like the Nazis, they need to be removed from society as the blight they are.

Michael Blackburn