vrijdag 16 maart 2007

Na Gaza wordt Israël ontruimd // Interview met kinderen zelfmoordterroriste

"Tel Aviv is gone. If death and murder chase them in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,
Netanya and everywhere among them, then they will say: '. I want to flee and
go back to Europe and America.' "


Deze boodschap wordt dagelijks meerdere keren op Hamas TV uitgezonden. De aanleiding is de terugtrekking van Israël uit de Gazastrook.
 
Yassin's message was that the Palestinians had found the key to destroying
Israel. Since terror was forcing Israel to leave its towns in the Gaza
Strip, the Palestinians would now only have to keep up the terror in
Israel's other cities and Israel would run from those as well.
 
De Israelische terugtrekking is dus een teken van zwakte en een uitnodiging tot meer geweld.
Toch hangt bijna iedereen hier het geloof aan dat Israëlische concessies tot vrede zullen leiden, en Westerse landen Israël zwaarder onder druk moeten zetten en desnoods met sancties tot ontmanteling van de nederzettingen op de Westoever te dwingen.  
Zolang de Kassam raketten, de wapensmokkel en de opruiing in Palestijnse media niet worden aangepakt, leiden Israëlische concessies niet tot minder, maar tot meer geweld, en zullen honderdduizenden Palestijnen slachtoffer blijven van de strenge en soms wrede Israëlische anti-terrorisme maatregelen.

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Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin - March 14, 2007
View this bulletin online here
http://pmw.org.il/bulletins_mar2007.htm#b140307


Hamas TV: Gaza evacuation by Israel leads to destruction of Israel

Hamas's new Al Aqsa Satellite TV broadcasts numerous political messages
during its daily programming. The message that has been repeating most
frequently this month is a statement made by Ahmad Yassin, founder and
former head of Hamas, who was killed by Israel. The statement was made in
2005, in response to Israel's plan to evacuate Israeli towns in Gaza Strip.

Yassin's message was that the Palestinians had found the key to destroying
Israel. Since terror was forcing Israel to leave its towns in the Gaza
Strip, the Palestinians would now only have to keep up the terror in
Israel's other cities and Israel would run from those as well.

"Tel Aviv is gone. If death and murder chase them in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,
Netanya and everywhere among them, then they will say: '. I want to flee and
go back to Europe and America.'"

Fatah and Hamas have been competing for years in taking credit for the
terror that they say forced the government of Ariel Sharon to decide to
leave Israeli towns in the Gaza Strip. The frequency that this has been
playing on Hamas TV - for example, seven times on March 12th alone -- 
indicates how important this political message is to Hamas.

Click here to see the Yassin political message on Hamas TV
www.pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_AhmadYassin2007.asx

The following is the transcript of Ahmad Yassin, founder and former head of
Hamas, reacting in 2005 to Israel's planned evacuation of Israeli towns in
Gaza Strip.

Broadcast numerous times daily in March 2007 - 7 times on March 12:

"Sharon, said yesterday that 'Nezarim [Israeli town in Gaza Strip] is [like]
Tel Aviv.' Today he says: 'The day is near when we will leave Gaza.' That's
it, it's lost, Tel Aviv is gone. They are defeated, they have no words left.
... When this process will end, they will become a state with no ability,
helpless. They established a state to protect the Jews from death and
murder. If death and murder chase them in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya and
everywhere among them, then they will say: 'What am I doing here? I founded
a state to protect me from death, and if death chases me, I want to flee and
go back to Europe and America.'"
[Al Aqsa TV, numerous times daily, March 2007]


Please feel free to forward this bulletin, crediting Palestinian Media Watch

To SUBSCRIBE to PMW reports,
send an e-mail to pmw@pmw.org.il with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.

----------------------------------------

Children of Palestinian Suicide Bomber Rim Al-Riyashi on Hamas TV:
Mama Killed Five Jews and She is in Paradise

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:
http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD150307 .

The following are excerpts of an interview with the children of Palestinian
suicide bomber Rim Al-Riyashi, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on March 8, 2007.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP VISIT: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1398.


"How Many Jews Did Mama Kill?"

Interviewer: "Let's talk with the two children of the jihad-fighting
martyrdom-seeker Rim Al-Riyashi, Dhoha and Muhammad. Dhoha, you love Mama,
right? Where did Mama go?"

Dhoha: "To Paradise."

Interviewer: "What did Mama do?"

Dhoha: "She committed martyrdom."

Interviewer: "She killed Jews, right?"

Interviewer: "How many did she kill, Muhammad?"

Muhammad: "Huh?"

Interviewer: "How many Jews did Mama kill?"

Muhammad: "This many... "

Interviewer: "How many is that?"

Muhammad: "Five."

Interviewer: "Do you love Mama? Do you miss Mama?

"Where is Mama, Muhammad?"

Muhammad: "In Paradise."

Interviewer: "Dhoha, what would you like to recite for us?"

Dhoha: "In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate: 'When comes the
help of Allah, and victory, and you see people entering the religion of Allah
in troops, then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness,
for He is ever ready to show mercy.'"

Interviewer: "What else would you like to recite? You have read the surah,
'When comes the help of Allah, and victory.' What would you like to recite for
us now?"

Dhoha: "'Mama Rim.'"

Interviewer: "Recite the poem 'Mama Rim' for us. Recite anything. What would
you like to recite?"


"I Want to Talk About Kindergarten"

Interviewer: "Muhammad, do you know how to recite?"

Muhammad: "Yes."

Interviewer: "Go on then, recite something for us. What would you like to
recite?"

Dhoha: "I just remembered."

Muhammad: "I am in kindergarten."

Interviewer: "Are you doing well in kindergarten?"

Muhammad: "Yes."

Dhoha: "I am in kindergarten, I want to tell."

Interviewer: "Go on then, tell us. You're in kindergarten too? Are you in
kindergarten, Dhoha? In kindergarten or at school?"

Dhoha: "In kindergarten."

Interviewer: "That's great.

"One should talk about the innocence of children..."

Muhammad: "I'm in kindergarten too."

Interviewer: "You're in kindergarten too."

Dhoha: "I want to talk about kindergarten, I want to talk."


"Rim, You Are a Firebomb, Your Children and Submachine Gun Are Your Motto"

Interviewer: "What would you like to recite for us? Have you heard the poem
'Mama Rim'? Go on then, recite it for us."

Dhoha: "Rim, you are a fire bomb."

Interviewer: "Go on, recite it."

Dhoha: "'Your children and submachine gun are your motto.'"

Interviewer: "Muhammad, go ahead and recite..."

Muhammad: "I'm in kindergarten."

Dhoha: "That's it, I'm done."

Interviewer: "OK, do you want to go to Mama?"

Dhoha: "Yes."



 

Arabisch vredesplan niet onderhandelbaar

Doorgaans brengen in onderhandelingen beide partijen hun posities naar voren, discussiëren hierover en doen concessies. Prins Saud heeft hier blijkbaar een ander idee over: de Arabische staten stellen een vredesplan op en Israël accepteert dit. Ben je tenminste lekker snel klaar:  

Concluding the conference, Prince Saud Al-Faisal rejected proposals by
Israel that some changes should be drawn on the Arab peace initiative during
the Arab summit in Riyadh, saying that Israel initially accepted the plan,
but started to speak about conditioned agreement while the Arabs don't have
conditions. We don't have a plan to negotiate a conditioned matter, he
concluded.
 

Israël heeft nooit gezegd dat het dit plan accepteert. Het heeft zich positief uitgesproken over onderdelen ervan, en het als een basis voor onderhandelingen geaccepteerd. Het Arabische vredesinitiatief, opgesteld door Saudi-Arabië en door de Arabische Liga aangenomen in 2002, eist een terugkeer van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen naar Israël en volledige terugtrekking van Israël uit de Westelijke Jordaanoever, de Golan en Oost-Jeruzalem (inclusief de oude stad). Dit is voor Israël onaanvaardbaar aangezien het eerste het einde van Israël als Joodse staat betekent, en het tweede de Klaagmuur en andere voor Joden heilige plaatsen onder Palestijnse soevereiniteit plaatst. Ten onrechte wordt veelal beweerd dat het Arabische vredesplan ruimte biedt voor een compromis wat betreft de vluchtelingen (bijvoorbeeld compensatie), en dat op enkele plaatsen van de Groene Lijn kan worden afgeweken. Niet alleen biedt het vredesplan zelf die ruimte niet, ook in 'onderhandelingen' is het blijkbaar niet mogelijk van de door de Arabische Liga vastgetelde lijn af te wijken.


------------------------------------------------------------

Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Javier Solana hold press conference
www.spa.gov.sa/English/details.php?id=432442

Riyadh, Mar. 13, SPA (Saudi Press Agency) -- Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister
of Foreign Affairs, and Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common
Foreign and Security Policy, held here today a joint press conference.

Commencing the conference, Prince Saud welcomed Javier Solana and the
accompanying delegation, and said "we held together today a consultation
session where we discussed the developments in the Middle East. Javier
Solana briefed us on the outcome of the recent EU summit meeting and his
tour of the region during which he discussed the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict in addition to developments in Iraq and Lebanon as well as the
nuclear issue."

Prince Saud also said "I would like to laud the positive attitude of the
European Union to express their support for the issues of the region, their
efforts to contain the region's crisis and their readiness to support the
countries of the region to find peaceful solutions to these problems and
achieve security and stability".

"I would like to commend the positive position of EU Summit towards Makkah
agreement between Fatah and Hamas Movements and we look forward to translate
this position to support and assist the expected Palestinian National Unity
Government," Prince Saud added.

Prince Saud hoped that the upcoming ministerial meeting of the international
quartet committee would result in practical steps towards reviving the peace
process in the region that would respond to the positive developments on the
Palestinian arena, pointing out that if there is a tendency to impose
conditions in the peace process, it is assumed that these conditions will be
balanced between the two conflicting parties taking into account the Israeli
arbitrary actions and attitudes towards the peace process.

On the Palestinian unity government, Solana said Europe would never upset
the Palestinian people. We have provided money for them in 2005 and 2006 and
will continue to pour much in 2007, he added. No government has been formed
yet, but we would like to see the right person in the right place, he said,
adding that we would like to see a government dedicated to the interest of
the Palestinian people.

Concluding the conference, Prince Saud Al-Faisal rejected proposals by
Israel that some changes should be drawn on the Arab peace initiative during
the Arab summit in Riyadh, saying that Israel initially accepted the plan,
but started to speak about conditioned agreement while the Arabs don't have
conditions. We don't have a plan to negotiate a conditioned matter, he
concluded.

--SPA



Kwartet bijeenkomst met Arabische staten

Op de eerstvolgende bijeenkomst van het Kwartet - de VS, de EU, de VN en Rusland - zullen ook vier Arabische staten aanwezig zijn: Saudi Arabie, Egypte, Jordanie en de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten.

Addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday, Solana said the aim of involving the four Arab countries in the peace talks was to "look at the problems with the same views in order to find solutions."

Het lijkt alsof Solana hier zegt dat men deze landen heeft uitgenodigd met het doel het Midden Oosten conflict vanuit een Arabisch perspectief te bekijken. Dit is vreemd, aangezien het Kwartet onpartijdig heet te zijn. Het is sowieso hoogst merkwaardig dat Israël blijkbaar niet welkom is om haar positie toe te lichten.

"We have never let the Palestinian people down," he [Solana] said. "In 2005, we spent money and in 2006 we spent more," he said, referring to the EU's financial support for the Palestinian government. He said the EU was keen on seeing the "right people in the right places" in the new Palestinian government, saying that was also very important for the Palestinian people.

Dit is eveneens vreemd: sinds Hamas aan de macht is (gekozen in januari 2006) heeft de EU ondanks de boycot van de Hamas regering niet minder, maar meer geld aan de Palestijnen gegeven. Misschien wordt het tijd dat de Palestijnen ophouden met klagen dat zij worden 'gestraft voor hun democratische keuze voor Hamas', en dat de EU teveel aan de kant van Israël zou staan.

--------------------------------------------------------

Kingdom to Join ME Talks
Raid Qusti, Arab News
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=93599&d=14&m=3&y=2007

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana address a joint press conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Abdullah Ateeq)

RIYADH, 14 March 2007 - The next meeting of the international Quartet focusing on the Middle East peace process will include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, according to Javier Solana, European Union foreign policy chief.

Addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday, Solana said the aim of involving the four Arab countries in the peace talks was to "look at the problems with the same views in order to find solutions."

Prince Saud said that his talks with the EU official were "in-depth and extensive," saying that they focused mainly on the situation in the Middle East. He said Solana had briefed him on the outcome of the recent EU summit, his tour in the region, the Israeli-Palestinian problem, the situation in Iraq and Lebanon and also nuclear issues.

He lauded the role played by the EU in expressing its support for easing tensions in the region and its readiness to support countries in the region in their attempts to find peaceful solutions to all problems.

"I will not forget to commend the positive stance of the EU summit regarding the Makkah agreement between Fatah and Hamas," said Prince Saud. He continued: "We look forward to turning this stance into support and assistance to the coming Palestinian national unity government in order to enable it to shoulder its responsibilities for lifting the humanitarian sufferings of the Palestinian people and promoting peace in the region."

Prince Saud also said that the EU had been supportive in dealing with regional nuclear issues peacefully. He said he expected this role would continue to remain "away from the language of escalation and tension."

He went on to say that he hoped the EU would continue its role "to ensure the rights of countries to obtain nuclear energy for peaceful purposes according to the criteria of the International Atomic Energy Agency. For our part, we stress the importance of applying these criteria to all states in the region, including Israel."

The two leaders also discussed the international conference on Iraq held in Baghdad last Saturday. Solana said that peace in the Middle East was essential to promote world peace.

"We have an interest in the Middle East," he said. "It goes beyond strategic interests. For us the Middle East is also part of our neighborhood, and therefore the interests of peace and development in the region are in the interest of the European Union."

Solana lauded the Kingdom's stabilizing role in the region, describing it as "fundamental." Referring to Saudi efforts to bring peace, he said, "Every day we see initiatives; every day we see suggestions." He commended the Kingdom for its recent success in bringing the Palestinian groups together in Makkah, for King Abdullah's talks with the Iranian president and for the Saudi king's meeting with President Putin. He said that both he and Prince Saud agreed that the Lebanese issue "was close to their hearts."

He mentioned that he had been to Lebanon where he met Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Saad Hariri, and members of the Lebanese Parliament. He said he would brief Prince Saud on his meeting with Syrian officials today.

Prince Saud said that threats of force in Lebanon would not produce results, calling upon all Lebanese parties to use reason and put the interests of their nation before anything else.

He denied an AFP report that the Kingdom was hosting a meeting of Lebanese groups next week. He said, however, that the groups were welcome to come to the Kingdom "if the meeting would result in restoring peace, prosperity and development to Lebanon."

Regarding the Kingdom's stance on the Iranian nuclear issue, Prince Saud stressed the importance of normalization with Iran without the country being pressured. He said it was important "that negotiations continue without the feeling of having a gun pointed at their heads. Negotiations in normal circumstances are difficult and negotiations in a confrontational situation are almost impossible."

Commenting on the EU free trade agreement with the GCC countries, Solana said discussions unfortunately were moving too slowly. He said he hoped an agreement would be reached before the end of this year. Concerning the Palestinians, Solana said the EU welcomed the formation of the Palestinian national unity government.

"We have never let the Palestinian people down," he said. "In 2005, we spent money and in 2006 we spent more," he said, referring to the EU's financial support for the Palestinian government. He said the EU was keen on seeing the "right people in the right places" in the new Palestinian government, saying that was also very important for the Palestinian people.

On the matter of Sudan, Solana said that President Bashir should accept the UN resolution to have multinational forces to restore peace in war-torn areas, adding that the EU would make financial contributions.

On the Arab peace plan which has not been accepted by Israel, Prince Saud said Resolution 242, the Madrid Conference and lastly this one had all been rejected by the Jewish state. "There were conditions by Israel in every one of those accords," he said. "You have to accept a proposal and then talk about it. To have pre-conditions before negotiations or discussions seems a ludicrous way of doing business."

Is Gazaoorlog onvermijdelijk?

Sinds november is er een fragiel staakt-het-vuren tussen Israël en de Gazastrook. Toch zijn er sindsdien honderden Kassam raketten op Israëlische steden afgevuurd, sommigen met een reikwijdte van 16 km, en de Palestijnen zijn al in staat raketten met een reikwijdte van 20 km te maken. In Israël wordt hardop nagedacht over een hernieuwd grond offensief in de Gazastrook, zowel om aan de raketten een einde te maken alsook om te voorkomen dat Hamas een tweede Hezbollah wordt. Hamas is druk bezig zich in een efficiënt guerilla leger naar het voorbeeld van Hezbollah om te vormen, en verschillende 'strijders' hebben al een training in Iran gevolgd.

------------------------------------------------------------------ 

Is Gaza war inevitable?
Government seems to have come to terms with inevitability of Gaza operation
Alex Fishman - Ynet - Published: 03.14.07, 10:29 / Israel Opinion
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3376311,00.html

Israel has been sitting on the fence for the last four months, biting its
nails, counting Qassam rockets and looking impatiently as Gaza arms itself
to the teeth and prepares for a confrontation. If we don't get off the
grandstands and take some kind of action - on the security or diplomatic
front - we shall invariably find ourselves on the court with thousands of
troops, tanks and armored vehicles.

All the scenarios point to a war in the Gaza Strip, the most densely
populated area in the world. The army is preparing for every eventuality,
and it's beginning to look inevitable - a developing process that has
reached the point of no return.

This is what Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin spoke about Tuesday. He didn't come
to present armament figures, but to caution: A decision must be made to do
something, whether diplomatic or a move that would thwart future
developments. Otherwise we shall be dragged into a wide scale,
uncontrollable conflict.

During a meeting with military reporters a month ago, Diskin noted that the
timing of a large military campaign should be carefully weighed, because we
must take "the day after" into account. No one is really interested in
seeing the Palestinian Authority collapse, thus forcing Israel to
reestablish the Civil Administration.

A senior defense establishment official says that each time the army asks
the prime minister to change something in the rules of engagement pertaining
to the Qassam launchers or to carry out a limited operation in the Strip
along the fence the answer is: "No, we shall maintain the ceasefire to the
end. So that when we have to strike we'll have clean hands in the eyes of
the international community and we'll gain support."

The defense establishment feels that even the political echelons have
already come to terms with the inevitability of a military operation.

Hamas prepares for IDF assault
A twin engine rocket with a 16 kilometer (10 mile) range has already landed
in Ashkelon close to Kibbutz Bror Hail, and the clock is still ticking. The
Palestinian military industry will soon have a production line for rockets
with even longer ranges. Grad missiles with a 20 kilometer range have
already been smuggled into the Strip and are being duplicated by the locals.

According to the Shin Bet chief's forecast, some 200,000 Israelis will find
themselves under the threat of missile fire from Gaza as early as this year.
The Home Front Command has already drawn up a plan at a cost of a billion
and a half shekels (roughly USD 400 million) for reinforcing the communities
located up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Strip; however, it doesn't
seem like anyone is planning to really budget the plan.

In parallel to upgrading the rockets against the Israeli home front, Hamas
is working on efficiently hindering an Israeli ground assault. Four
divisions have already been established. The Hamas army, which is based on
the Hizbullah model and already numbers 8,000, is well equipped and trained.
Its troops are sent to Iran for studies and training, where they learn the
Hizbullah lessons from the last war.

The assumption is that Hamas' strength currently equals that of Hizbullah in
2001. And just like in Lebanon, bunkers and underground tunnels under
built-up areas are also being constructed in order to withstand the IDF's
aerial bombing.

This effective military might, which is improving daily, is being
accumulated under the IDF's nose. A significant improvement was made
recently in its capability to deal with the IDF's armored vehicles by
enhancement of its explosive devices and purchase of innovative anti-tank
weapons.

Then there are another 5,500 troops, the Hamas security forces, who
demonstrated an impressive capability against Fatah in recent months. The
war taking shape in the Gaza Strip is not inevitable. The question is where
to find the leadership that would make the right decisions.

donderdag 15 maart 2007

Springtime

Springtime in Israel
 
Lente in Israel 2007: Mt. Tabor
 
Deze prachtige foto van de lente in Israël vond ik op Israel: Like this, as if .

woensdag 14 maart 2007

Hamas says still seeks Israel's destruction

Twee verschillende artikelen wijzen erop dat Hamas, ondanks de overeenkomst met Abbas over een eenheidsregering, zijn standpunt over Israel niet heeft gematigd en niet uit is op vrede.
 
"We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine," Hamas said in a statement, in a clear reference to Israel as well as to the occupied West Bank. "
 
Duidelijker is nauwelijks mogelijk.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  

Hamas says still seeks Israel's destruction
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Reuters
Monday, March 12, 2007; 6:23 AM
 

GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas rejected on Monday criticism by al Qaeda's second-in-command and said it was still committed to Israel's destruction despite a power-sharing deal with the Fatah faction.
 
"We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine," Hamas said in a statement, in a clear reference to Israel as well as to the occupied West Bank. 
 
In an audio recording posted on the Internet on Sunday, al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahri accused Hamas of serving U.S. interests by agreeing to respect past Palestinian peace accords with Israel in a recent Saudi-brokered unity government deal with moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah.
 
The coalition agreement fell short of meeting demands by the Quartet of peace mediators -- the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia -- to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing interim peace deals.
 
Zawahri said the Mecca accord, which calmed weeks of Hamas-Fatah warfare in which more than 90 Palestinians were killed, was part of an attempt by Washington to offset Muslim anger at what he described as its bias toward Israel.
 
"It is an American scheme to hit the Islamic jihadist resistance against the Crusader-Zionist campaign. America wanted a sham solution to the Palestinian issue to remove the biggest reason for Muslim hatred (of the United States)," he said.
 
SCOLDING
 
Zawahri accused Hamas of abandoning a tradition of suicide bombings for political gains. "They have ditched the movement of martyrdom operations ... for a government that plays with words in palace halls," he said.
 
Hamas killed nearly 300 Israelis in 58 suicide bombings after a Palestinian uprising began in 2000. It last carried out a suicide bombing in Israel in 2004.
 
In its statement Hamas said it continued to be a "movement of resistance, seekers of martyrdom" and that its "principles will never be changed."
 
"Zawahri's recent statements were wrong ... Resistance is our strategy. How and when? This depends on the reality at the time and our corresponding view of things," Hamas said.
 
"So be assured doctor Ayman, and all those who love Palestine like yourself, that Hamas is still the group you knew when it was founded and it will never abandon its path."
 
Hamas said its decision to run in the January 2006 Palestinian election that brought it to power and last month's unity deal with Fatah "came only to preserve the higher interests of the Palestinian people."
 
Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The group's 1988 founding chapter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.__._,_.___
.
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Hamas Legislator demands kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers

http://pmw.org.il/bulletins_mar2007.htm#b120307

"Fathi Hamad, Hamas member of Palestinian Legislative Council, demanded the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers in order to force Israel to free the [Palestinian] prisoners. Hamad said this at a gathering of the "Wa'ed" organization for prisoners and released [prisoners] in Khan Yunis ... Hamad stressed it was the responsibility of the government, the Legislative Council, the [armed] factions and military arms to dedicate all the efforts at their disposal to free the prisoners. He argued that the kidnapping of the soldier Gilad Shalit hit Israel very hard." [Al Ayyam, March 10, 2007]


__,_._,___

UNESCO rapport over opgravingen bij Jeruzalem

UNESCO rapport over opgravingen in Jeruzalem
 
Het UNESCO rapport wijst uit dat Israel de Tempelberg (en dus de Al Aqsa Moskee) niet in gevaar brengt, en Israel wordt geprezen voor de professionale en transparante uitvoering:
 
In the report, which was obtained by Ynet news, UNESCO experts laud Israel for the transparency with which the works were being carried out, and note that the excavations conducted near the Temple Mount compound do not jeopardize its stability.
 
According to the report, the works near the Mugrabi Gate have been properly documented and supervised, in compliance with international professional standards.
 
Toch concludeert het rapport dat Israel de werkzaamheden moet staken in afwachting van een internationaal onderzoek. Ik heb ooit geleerd dat conclusies uit de bevindingen van een onderzoek moeten volgen, en er niet haaks op moeten staan....  
 
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UNESCO report clears Israel of damage to historic site
Malaysia Sun
Tuesday 13th March, 2007 
Israeli works near the Temple Mount did not cause damage to the historic site, a UNESCO report set to be published Wednesday states.
 
However, the UN organization recommends that the excavations at the place be suspended in order to allow for international monitors to arrive in Jerusalem and supervise the project.
 
In the report, which was obtained by Ynet news, UNESCO experts laud Israel for the transparency with which the works were being carried out, and note that the excavations conducted near the Temple Mount compound do not jeopardize its stability.
 
According to the report, the works near the Mugrabi Gate have been properly documented and supervised, in compliance with international professional standards.
 
Nevertheless, the organization criticizes Israel for failing to involve other institutes in the project, probably referring to the UN's World Heritage Committee and Muslim bodies, such as the Waqf.
 
The report calls for the establishment of a committee to examine the works in Jerusalem. Israel may protest this recommendation, seeing that the mandate given to the committee was only to inspect works on the ground, and not issue recommendations.
 
Sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed their satisfaction over the report findings, but not over its conclusions.
 
"The findings confirm Israel's claims that the works were carried out professionally and that nothing harmed the Temple Mount. However, the conclusions calling for an immediate halt of the works are inappropriate," a source said, adding that he was not certain the organization was authorized to issue such recommendations.
 
In an attempt to deal with the international protests, Israel built a website enabling people to watch the works "in real time." Simultaneously, diplomatic efforts were launched in order to explain Israel's stance.
 
The protests began with demonstrations by Islamic elements in Israel, headed by the Islamic Movement's northern branch. The protest spread and demonstrations were held across the world.
 
The UNESCO delegation arrived in the area about two weeks ago. The special team was formed following the riots sparked by the construction works near the Mount. The team was headed by Francesco Bandarin, director of the World Heritage Center, along with three other experts.
 
The team members toured the excavation site and met with Jerusalem's city engineer, members of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem Municipality officials and Waqf officials.

__._,_.___
.

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Japan wil grotere rol in Midden-Oosten

Japan wil een grotere rol in het Midden Oosten spelen, en dus ook in het Midden-Oosten conflict. Dit is natuurlijk prachtig, hoe meer mensen er daar vrede willen hoe beter, toch? Het volgende maakte me echter wel een beetje wantrouwig:
 
Japan has long felt it has a special role to play in the Middle
East because it lacks much of the political baggage of the United
States, allowing for warmer ties with Arab nations and enabling
it to act as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

With Japan dependent on the region for nearly all of its crude
oil, Tokyo has decided to boost its political involvement in the
area as competition for resources heats up due to the surging
economic growth of China and India.

Een mediator in een conflict is doorgaans iemand die neutraal is en niet van een van beide partijen afhankelijk is. Hoe kan Japan met droge ogen de VS beschuldigen van partijdigheid, terwijl men zelf openlijk toegeeft dat de behoefte aan olie en dus goede banden met de Arabische staten de belangrijkste motivatie zijn? Men geeft overigens nog een andere, hiermee verbonden motivatie:
 
While Japan has worked as a regional mediator in the past,
analysts said the renewed push is aimed partly at improving its
image, which was tarnished in the eyes of some Arab nations by
Tokyo's dispatch of troops to Iraq on a reconstruction mission in
support of the United States.

 
Japan heeft dus iets goed te maken in de ogen van de Arabieren (en blijkbaar ook van Japan zelf), en daarom gaat men zich met het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict bemoeien. Uiteraard zullen de Arabische staten niet blij zijn met het veroordelen van terrorisme of de steun hiervoor vanuit verschillende Arabische staten, Arabisch antisemitisme, het eisen van een dubbelzinnige erkenning van Israel, en meer in het algemeen met een kritische houding naar de Arabische wereld. Japan zal, wil het vriendjes met de Arabieren worden, dus vooral Israel moeten bekritiseren en onder druk moeten zetten om concessies te doen. 
 
Dergelijke 'mediators' doen doorgaans helaas meer kwaad dan goed. Een van de complicerende factoren van het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict is dat zoveel landen en andere 'derden' met elk een eigen agenda en belangen zich ermee bemoeien. Vooral de olie lijkt het van de moraal te winnen in het Midden-Oosten.      
_________________________________________
 
 

Japan hosts Mideast peace meeting to raise profile
Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:17AM EDT
By Elaine Lies
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUST771620070314

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Wednesday kicked off four-way talks
aimed at working toward peace in the Middle East, part of efforts
to raise its political profile in the volatile region and ensure
a stable energy supply.

The two-day conference on easing tension between Israel and
Palestine centers on economic cooperation, with participants
hoping prosperity may help bring peace where other means have failed.

Japan has long felt it has a special role to play in the Middle
East because it lacks much of the political baggage of the United
States, allowing for warmer ties with Arab nations and enabling
it to act as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

With Japan dependent on the region for nearly all of its crude
oil, Tokyo has decided to boost its political involvement in the
area as competition for resources heats up due to the surging
economic growth of China and India.

"Dialogue between Israel and Palestine is now more important than
ever," said Tatsuo Arima, Japan's special envoy to the Middle
East and moderator of the talks, which include officials from
Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Japan.

"We are hosting these talks in the hope it will help them deepen
mutual trust and foster dialogue," Arima added.

High on the agenda is hammering out details of projects to be
carried out under a proposal made by former Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi during a trip to the region last year.

These include the development of an agro-industrial park along
the Jordan River for which Japan has said it will give $100
million. Tokyo is the second-largest aid donor to the Palestinian
territories on a country basis after the United States.

"I believe we've committed a mistake by dwelling so much on the
military side and the political side, and almost nothing on the
economic side," said Shimon Peres, Israel's deputy premier.

"I think the locomotive of change in our time is economic and not
political or strategic," he told Reuters.

A separate cabinet-level meeting of all four parties will be
hosted on Wednesday night by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso
to formally launch the Koizumi proposal.

Aso said last month that Japan has to maintain a tangible
presence in the Middle East as rising energy demand in China and
India will make the oil market more of a seller's market.

Media reports say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may visit the region
in late April or early May. Officials have said nothing is
decided, but Aso said mutual visits need to increase.

While Japan has worked as a regional mediator in the past,
analysts said the renewed push is aimed partly at improving its
image, which was tarnished in the eyes of some Arab nations by
Tokyo's dispatch of troops to Iraq on a reconstruction mission in
support of the United States.

"Political instability in the area is much higher than before, so
Japan has to make extra efforts now, as with the economic
projects," said Fumio Nishimura, a private diplomatic commentator.

"If the region isn't stable, Japan can't get its oil."

(Additional reporting by Dan Sloan)
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Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook
which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant
interests.

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dinsdag 13 maart 2007

Equality of obligations (by Moshe Arens)

 

Haaretz, March 13, 2007
Equality of obligations
By Moshe Arens
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/836473.html

The recent proposals for radical changes to Israel's government
structure presented by some of Israel's Arab intellectuals in an
effort to accommodate the Arab minority, have sparked a renewed
debate about the place of Israel's Arab citizens in Israeli
society and its political scene. The fact that the authors of
these proposals insist on referring to Israel's Arab citizens as
"Arab Palestinians" serves as a reminder that they see themselves
as Palestinians who, by force of circumstance - in their
parlance, as a result of the "disaster" of 1948 - are now
citizens of Israel in "their own land," who have the right to
claim a far greater role in making the decisions that shape
Israel's future and governance than they currently have in the
existing Israeli system of parliamentary democracy.

As some of Israel's Jewish citizens see it, the tensions that
characterize the relations between the State of Israel and some
of its Arab citizens will not and cannot be resolved until the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, or possibly until
hostility in the Arab world or even the Islamic world toward
Israel has ceased to be a significant factor in the Middle East.
If this were the case, then such tension is likely to continue
for a very long time. A future where possibly a quarter of
Israel's citizens feel alienated from the state, hostile to it,
and supportive of its enemies is a bleak and even dangerous one.
Creating an alternate future in which many or most of Israel's
Arab citizens identify with the state and feel a sense of loyalty
to it is probably the most important challenge facing Israel.
This subject, neglected by successive governments, is crying out
for attention.

Are we destined to live with a large minority in our midst that
feels dissatisfied with its lot and identifies with Israel's
enemies rather than with Israel itself, whose citizenship they
share with the country's Jewish citizens? This question led me to
accept the position of the minister for Arab affairs 20 years
ago, in the first national unity government, led by Yitzhak
Shamir. It was, at the time, a position without a ministry and
without a budget, of little influence, that hardly any senior
politician wanted. The position has since ceased to exist - an
indication of the lack of importance ascribed to it on Israel's
political agenda.

I had encountered the problems that some of Israel's minorities
had to deal with during my first tenure as defense minister in
1983-84. I discovered then that Druze youngsters - obligated to
serve in the IDF like their Jewish counterparts - did not enjoy
equal opportunity in the army, as many positions and branches of
the service were not open to them. The military bureaucracy was
slow to follow my orders to correct this situation, and it was
only during my second tenure as defense minister (1990-92) that
full equality was institutionalized in the IDF. Today all
branches of the IDF are open to Druze soldiers, a Druze major
general sits on the IDF General Staff, and a significant number
of IDF senior officers are Druze.

The year I spent as minister in charge of Arab affairs encouraged
me to believe that it was possible to bring many of Israel's Arab
citizens to a greater identification with Israel and to an
acceptance that with equality of rights should come equality of
obligations toward the state and eventually equality of
opportunity. That living in a democracy, in a country in which
the rule of law prevails, in an economy that was making great
progress to the benefit of all, could be a source of pride and
satisfaction to Arabs as well as Jews, that might well overcome
the tribal sense of association with Israel's enemies. Whatever
sympathy I got from Israeli Arabs for this idea came from a
recognition that I was serious about incorporating them into
Israeli society as equals. Whether my views were shared by the
Israeli government remains unclear; it is a question that haunts
Israel's relationship with its Arab citizens to this day.

Many of those who believed that the tensions between Israel and
its Arab citizens were inextricably linked to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, expecting that the Oslo Accords and
Israel's recognition of Yasser Arafat and the PLO as its partners
in a peace process would assuage these tensions, were to be
disappointed. The tensions have only increased over the years.
There is little reason to expect that even if and when an
agreement to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria
and Gaza is signed, such an agreement would spell the end of the
difficulties that characterize the relations between Israel and
its Arab citizens. On the contrary, it may very well exacerbate them.

Israel must, therefore, find means of normalizing this
relationship regardless of whether any progress is made on the
Palestinian front or on Israel's relations with the Arab and
Islamic world. The fact that this issue had been neglected may
have left the impression that Israel's Arab citizens are
patiently waiting for Israel's government to awake from its
slumber. But this is not the case. A constant and fierce struggle
for the hearts and minds of the Arab citizens has been ongoing
for years now. Arrayed on one side is the Islamic Movement and
the radical secular Arab wing, both attempting to cast their net
over all of Israel's Arab citizens - Muslim, Christian, Druze and
Bedouin - claiming to speak for them all, and preaching hostility
to Israel. On the other side, meanwhile, successive Israeli
governments have been soundly asleep.

Particularly significant are the inroads the Islamic Movement has
made among the Bedouin of the Negev, who in the past had not been
particularly religious and had not seen themselves as
Palestinians. Day by day more and more Bedouin are being moved
from essentially friendly positions to hostility toward Israel,
while Bedouin youngsters are being discouraged from volunteering
for army service.

During my second tenure as defense minister I encouraged the
formation of an infantry battalion made up largely of Bedouin
youngsters who had volunteered for a three-year service in the
IDF. This battalion has given exemplary service and even
attracted some Muslim and Christian volunteers from Arab villages
in the North. Unfortunately, defense ministers who succeeded me
have not shown the same enthusiasm for this project, which I had
hoped would lead in time to obligatory military service for all
Arab youth.

The importance of IDF service in ushering youngsters toward
greater integration in Israeli society cannot be overestimated.
The degree of Israelization of the Druze community, the drastic
decline in its birthrate over the years, and the loyalty to
Israel demonstrated again and again by this community, is the
direct result of its youngsters' service in the IDF. In fact, it
is difficult to foresee the integration of Israel's Arab citizens
into society without them sharing equally in the obligations of
citizenship. Without it, divisions will remain, and possibly
widen, between those Israelis who are prepared to defend Israel
and those who are not.

In any case, unless the government takes the initiative and
contests the attempts by elements hostile to Israel to draw Arab
citizens of Israel to their cause, Israel will be facing
tremendous difficulties in the years to come. The problem goes
way beyond budgetary allocations and a symbolic Arab minister in
the government. But it is by no means a lost cause.

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