vrijdag 23 maart 2007

U.S.: With Iranian help, Hamas forces growing faster than Fatah

The U.S. wants Abbas' own forces to be strong enough to maintain law and order, and to prevent militant groups like Hamas from firing rockets and launching other attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip.
But in fierce fighting before Abbas agreed to join the unity government, Hamas' Executive Force and armed wing were beating their Fatah rivals, Dayton said, according to two sources familiar with his comments.
Militante groepen vuren al maanden raketten af vanaf de Gazastrook op Israel, ondanks een in november overeengekomen staakt-het-vuren. Het is duidelijk dat Abbas eerbiediging van met Israel gesloten akkoorden niet kan garanderen zonder de steun van Hamas, en dat maakt het nut van onderhandelingen tussen Israel en Abbas twijfelachtig. De nieuwe regeringsverklaring spreekt van een 'recht op verzet' totdat de bezetting wordt beeindigd, alle gevangenen vrij gelaten en alle vluchtelingen naar Israel terug kunnen keren. 
Hamas gebruikt met name Iraanse gelden om zijn Executive Force verder op te bouwen en te bewapenen. Blijkbaar vindt men dit belangrijker dan het uitbetalen van salarissen aan de ambtenaren, iets wat de EU overigens grotendeels heeft overgenomen.
De VS wil Abbas verder bewapenen om hier een tegenwicht tegen te bieden. Misschien zou het beter zijn als men meer zou ondernemen tegen Hamas, bijvoorbeeld door de wapen- en geldsmokkel via Egypte tegen te gaan (hint: Egypte krijgt $ 2 miljard per jaar van de VS).   
By Reuters

With Iranian help, Hamas forces are expanding fast and getting more sophisticated weapons and training than do those under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' control, according to the U.S. security coordinator.
U.S. Lieutenant-General Keith Dayton said Hamas' growing military strength, if left unchecked, would erode Abbas' already limited ability to enforce any ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and increase the chances of Israeli military intervention.
Dayton delivered his assessment in a series of closed-door briefings late last week to congressional leaders and staff, sources familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.
Concerned about Abbas' coalition government with Hamas, a group that Washington considers a terrorist organization, the U.S. Congress has blocked $86 million in U.S. funding to bolster Abbas' presidential guard and national security forces.
Sources familiar with the Bush administration's deliberations said a revised spending plan would be submitted, likely limiting aid to Abbas' presidential guard and security improvements at Gaza's main commercial crossing with Israel.
It is unclear if and when the money will be approved.
Palestinians hope a unity government formed on Saturday between Abbas' secular Fatah faction and Hamas Islamists will bring an end to fighting between the groups. But tensions remain high, especially in the Gaza Strip.
In his first act after swearing in the new government, Abbas appointed Hamas' long-time foe, Mohammad Dahlan, as national security adviser, angering the Islamist movement.
Over objections from Fatah, Hamas is pushing ahead with plans to double the size of its Executive Force to 12,000 members. The force is built mostly from members of Hamas' armed wing, which on Monday carried out its first attacks against Israelis since a shaky Gaza truce took effect in November.
The U.S. wants Abbas' own forces to be strong enough to maintain law and order, and to prevent militant groups like Hamas from firing rockets and launching other attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip.
But in fierce fighting before Abbas agreed to join the unity government, Hamas' Executive Force and armed wing were beating their Fatah rivals, Dayton said, according to two sources familiar with his comments.
Dayton, who became U.S. security coordinator between Israel and the Palestinians in December 2005, said Hamas has continued to build up its forces using Iranian funds and equipment.
He added that Abbas' troops will not be strong enough to confront them without outside assistance.
Israeli officials have likewise said that Hamas fighters are receiving training in Iran and smuggling into Gaza rockets that could penetrate deep into Israeli territory.
Despite the U.S. funding embargo, Palestinian officials and Western diplomats say Abbas has continued to expand his own forces.
The presidential guard recently set up a camp near the Karni commercial crossing in Gaza, and it is finishing construction of a larger training base in the West Bank city of Jericho.


donderdag 22 maart 2007

Palestijnse schoolboeken: vernietiging van Israel religieuze plicht

Van de (lichte) verbetering de afgelopen jaren in de Palestijnse schoolboeken wat betreft opruiing tegen Israël en het verheerlijken van geweld, is volgens recent onderzoek naar nieuwe schoolboeken niks meer te merken. Bovendien wordt voor het eerst het conflict met Israël in religieuze termen vervat, waarin de bevrijding van geheel historisch Palestina en totale zelfopoffering om dat doel te bereiken, een religieuze plicht is. Dit is opmerkelijk, want ze worden geschreven door door Fatah benoemde ambtenaren in opdracht van het Ministerie van Educatie. Gecombineerd met radikale boodschappen op TV met dezelfde strekking is dit een gevaarlijke ontwikkeling. Behalve België sponsort ook Nederland de Palestijnse schoolboeken, dus het lijkt me tijd voor een paar kritische vragen van onze regering aan de Palestijnse autoriteit.   


Melchior: Alert Abbas to PA textbooks
"You can't have agreements while this kind of hatred is inculcated in the children," Knesset Education Committee Chairman Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) said on Tuesday after seeing new 12th-grade textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority late last year.

"I intend to demand from Prime Minister [Ehud Olmert] that he present the findings [of a new report on the textbooks] to Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] at their next meeting," Melchior said.

Melchior's statements at the Knesset followed a Palestinian Media Watch presentation showing Palestinian 12th grade textbooks teaching children in the PA that pursuing Israel's destruction was a religious duty.

PMW director Itamar Marcus told the Education Committee that the new schoolbooks were - for the first time - uniquely focused on portraying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a religious war.

"According to these books," Marcus told the MKs, "the war over this land is a war for Muslim land, and will end only with the resurrection of the dead." The books teach that "recognition of Israel is forbidden by religion," he said.

Committee members promised to pressure international donors, particularly Belgium, whose contributions receive specific mention in the textbooks, to suspend their aid as long as such incitement continues in PA textbooks.

According to the report, the schoolbooks, the products of the official education arm of the PA, written by Fatah-appointed officials at the Center for Developing the Palestinian Curricula and published by the PA Ministry of Higher Education, are also used by schools in east Jerusalem that are under the jurisdiction of - and receive funding from - Israel's Education Ministry.

Shlomo Alon, deputy head of the Pedagogic Secretariat in the Education Ministry, told the lawmakers the ministry would investigate whether the books were distributed in east Jerusalem schools and would cut funding for schools found using them.

According to Melchior, the report's findings indicate a trend from "a conflict over land, which can be resolved by partition, to an existential religious conflict that cannot be resolved."

MK Zeev Elkin (Kadima) called on the government to put in place "sanctions against the PA for such violations [of the Oslo Accords]," which he called "more dangerous than security violations in the long run."

Four-year-old girl vows to be suicide bomber in Hamas TV dramatization

Jong geleerd, oud gedaan. Al Aqsa TV, de officiele TV zender van Hamas bereidt Palestijnse kinderen al vroeg op hun heilige missie voor. Hoezo is Hamas pragmatisch geworden en zelfs een mogelijke vredespartner??  

Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin - March 21, 200

Four-year-old girl vows to be suicide terrorist in Hamas TV dramatization
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Hamas TV broadcast today a video dramatization of the four-year-old daughter
of female suicide bomber Reem Riyashi singing to her dead mother and vowing
to follow in her footsteps. The video clip ends as the little girl picks up
sticks of explosives from her mother's drawer.

The Al Aqsa TV children's program shows a child actress playing the
daughter, watching Riyashi preparing the bomb and asking her mother, "Mommy,
what are you carrying in your arms instead of me? A toy or a present for
me?" She later sees a TV news story about her mother's suicide mission and
death, and realizes her mother had been carrying a bomb.

"Only now, I know what was more precious than us . . . " she sings of the

Although she misses her mother, she vows to follow in her footsteps. The
video ends as she opens her mother's drawer and picks up the sticks of
explosives her mother had left there.


Reem Riyashi killed four Israelis and wounded seven at the Erez crossing
between Gaza and Israel in 2004. She gained the sympathy of the Israeli
soldiers at the checkpoint by telling them that she had a metal plate in her
leg that would trigger the metal detector. After she was taken to a room to
be searched privately, she detonated the bomb hidden under her clothes.

Click here to see the video clip

The following is the text of the song that Duha, Reem's daughter, sings to
her mother:
[Daughter sees mother preparing explosives sticks]
"Mommy, what are you carrying
in your arms instead of me?
[Mother turns to hide bomb]
A toy or a present for me?...
Mommy Reem!
Why did you put on your veil?
Are you going out, Mommy?...
Come back quickly, Mommy
I can't sleep without you,
unless you tell me and Ubaydah [her brother] a bedtime story.
[Daughter sees mother's picture and news story about bombing on PA TV]
My mother, my mother,
Me and Ubaydah are awake and waiting for you
to come to put us to sleep.
Me and Ubaydah, oh Mommy,
still need you to wipe our tears...
Instead of me you carried a bomb in your hands.
Only now, I know what was more precious than us...
May your steps be blessed,
and may you be flawless for Jerusalem.
Me and Ubaydah wish we were there with you.
[Images of her mother's grave and the graves of other terrorists,
including Aayat Al-Akhras, 17-year-old female suicide terrorist]
Send greetings to our Messenger [Muhammad] and tell him:
'Duha loves you.'
My love will not be [merely] words.
I am following Mommy in her steps.
[Finds explosives that mother left in her drawer,
picks up stick of explosives]
Oh Mommy, oh Mommy."

Click here to see the video clip

Peace Now's report on Palestinian land seized for settlements

De grootste Israëlische vredesorganisatie Peace Now ligt momenteel onder vuur vanwege grove fouten in een rapport over de hoeveelheid Palestijns land die is geconfisceerd voor de bouw van Joodse nederzettingen. Het roept herinneringen op aan de fout van Greenpeace bij het meten van de hoeveelheid olie in het boorplatform de Brent Spar in 1995, waartegen het toen fel campagne voerde. Het leverde een flinke deuk in het doorgaans betrouwbare imago van Greenpeace op.

In het commentaar hieronder is ook de informatie over illegale huizenbouw door de Palestijnen interessant - niet om de Joodse nederzettingen goed te praten, maar wel om te laten zien dat zeker in Jeruzalem beide partijen een politiek spel spelen en de sloop van illegale huizen soms gerechtvaardigd is.

Onder het CAMERA commentaar staat een eerder bericht over de kwestie uit Haaretz.


Peace Now's margin of error

Wildly inaccurate report raises questions about organization's credibility

Tamar Sternthal
Ynet News - Published: 03.21.07, 14:04 / Israel Opinion


"The media whirlwind surrounding this report has just begun," Americans for Peace Now boasted Nov. 21, 2006 with the release of a document charging that Palestinians privately own 40 percent of the lands upon which settlements are built.

The stunning case of Ma'aleh Adumim, 86.4 percent of which was reportedly private Palestinian land, was singled out in many international media outlets, the New York Times among them.

When the report again made headlines just last week, Peace Now was not so ecstatic. "Military database released to Peace Now shows little land seized from Palestinians to build largest West Bank settlement," was the headline in the International Herald Tribune March 14, prompting the organization to swing into damage-control mode. In the much publicized case of Ma'aleh Adumim, Peace Now was off by a factor of 15,900 percent; 0.5 percent - not 86.4 percent -- was built on private Palestinian land.

Peace Now "settlement expert" Dror Etkes is likewise careless with the facts in his Feb. 23 Op-Ed in Ynet, in which he egregiously downplayed and justified the widespread phenomenon of illegal Arab building.

For instance, he erroneously states that illegal Palestinian construction "is undertaken by private individuals in all cases." In fact, there is substantial evidence that for more than a decade, the Palestinian Authority and Arab governments have abetted the massive phenomenon of illegal Arab building.

On June 5, 2000, Ha'aretz quoted Feisal al-Husseini, the late Palestinian figure most associated with Jerusalem, speaking almost openly about the PA backing: "The most important Palestinian activity at this time is building, even without permits."

In his book Illegal Construction in Jerusalem: A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon, Justus Reid Weiner documents numerous examples proving Palestinian Authority involvement in illegal construction.

They include letters from PA officials, like Ziad Abu Ziad, to Yasser Arafat, requesting infrastructure funding in neighborhoods such as Ras Hamis, which contains massive illegal building and which abuts the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev; an article in the PA's El Hiya El Jdida newspaper in which Jamil Othman Nasser, the PA governor of the Jerusalem District, calls for the establishment of a "development council" to aid Palestinians who skirt Israeli building laws; and requests from Nasser to Arafat that the PA pay the fines assessed against those who build illegally.

Blatant falsehood

Hence, Etkes' claim that illegal Palestinian building is meant mostly to shelter families in need and serves no political purpose is also nonsense. Why, then, do apartment buildings stand empty in Arab suburbs of Jerusalem like A'Zaiam or E'Ram?

Similarly, on what basis does Etkes assert that "Most of the Palestinian illegal construction is undertaken on their own private land?" Has Peace Now undertaken a comprehensive study of all illegal construction, including the vast Muslim theft of Christian lands in greater Bethlehem, as well as the theft of private land by Arab developers in Jerusalem neighborhoods, Beit Hanina, the Old City, Shuafat and Hod El Tabel, among them? And, would such a study have a better margin of error than 15,900 percent?

In another blatant falsehood, Etkes states that the Palestinian population in "east Jerusalem does not have the right to vote. As a result, it does not have the practical possibility of taking part in shaping the planning and construction policy in the areas where it has been living for generations." East Jerusalem Arabs unconditionally have the right to vote in municipal elections, a fact that even Peace Now has elsewhere recognized ("Settlements in Focus," Vol. 2, Issue 4.)

Dror Etkes and Peace Now may very well persevere in their promises to deliver up "the facts." News consumers need only think two thoughts - "Ma'aleh Adumim" and "15,900 percent error" - and not be fooled.

The writer serves as director of the Israel office of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)


Last update - 11:16 14/03/2007
Peace Now: 32% of land held for settlements is private Palestinian property
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent, and Agencies


A report issued Wednesday by Peace Now claims that 32 percent of land held for settlement and outpost use is private Palestinian property, as is 24 percent of the land on which the settlements are actually built.

The organization says the report is based on "official figures" from the Israel Defense Forces' Civil Administration.

Peace Now says that it had previously received data about West Bank land from the Civil Administration that did not reveal the ratio of privately owned Palestinian land to privately owned Jewish land.


The group says that the specific figures were withheld to cover up the fact that approximately one-third of land held by settlements was established on private Palestinian land.

The Civil Administration said in response that the Peace Now report contained several inconsistencies which "misrepresent reality."

"We were disappointed to see that despite the clarifications made by the Civil Administration ... the most recent report is still inaccurate in many places, thus misrepresenting the reality concerning the status of the settlements," the Administration said.

Ma'aleh Adumim built mostly on state land

The Peace Now report did indicate, however, that contrary to numbers released by the movement in November, little private land was seized from Palestinians to build Ma'aleh Adumim, the largest settlement in the West Bank.

The new numbers are vastly smaller than numbers Peace Now issued in an earlier report based on leaked information.

The group claimed in November that 86 percent of Ma'aleh Adumim, which has more than 30,000 residents, was built on private Palestinian land.

After successfully petitioning the court to see the database, the group reported Wednesday that data show only 0.5 percent of the settlement is built on private land.

"The first report they released had major mistakes," said Captain Zidki Maman, a spokesman for the Civil Administration.

Dror Etkes, Peace Now's settlement expert, said if the original information it published was inaccurate, then the military was to blame for refusing to release the database until the court ordered it to do so after the November report.

Asked whether the military might have altered its database after the original report was released, Etkes replied, "It's not impossible, but I can't prove that."

The new numbers on Ma'aleh Adumim were the major factor behind a revised Peace Now representation of how much private Palestinian land was seized for West Bank settlers. In November, Peace Now put that figure at 38.8 percent; on Wednesday, it the new numbers reduce that figure to 32.4 percent, the group said.

Israel has long maintained that settlements were built on "state lands," or areas not registered in anyone's name, and that no private property was being seized for settlement building.

Peace Now said last month that Israel was building more than 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and that while the number of settlements did not grow in 2006, their population had increased over the year by 5 percent.

Last year, the Peace Now settlement monitoring team published a survey which indicated that nearly three-quarters of the 102 outposts in the West Bank - 74 percent - are at least partly built on private Palestinian land.

Related articles

  • Peace Now: Most outposts partly built on private Palestinian land
  • Peace Now report: 21 settlements annex land from nature reserves

  • Analysis of the Palestinian national unity government

    Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S)
    March 20, 2007


    Analysis of the Palestinian national unity government: its
    composition, platform and the implications of its establishment

    1. In the late morning hours of March 17, 2007, the Palestinian Legislative
    Council held a vote of confidence for the new national unity government and
    ratified its establishment, with 83 representatives voting in favor and three
    against (two from the PFLP, which is not part of the government, and one
    independent). In the evening the government ministers were sworn in by Abu
    Mazen, the chairman on the Palestinian Authority, in at a festive ceremony
    held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah by conference call.

    2. In his speech before the Palestinian Legislative Council Abu Mazen appealed
    to Israel to return to the negotiating table to achieve a "just peace." He
    said that the Palestinians extended their hand to peace and coexistence, and
    promised to act to bring about the release of Gilad Shalit, the abducted
    Israeli soldier. Ismail Haniya , prime minister of the national unity
    government, read out the new government's platform, which clearly reflects
    Hamas's ideology: no recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist,
    stubborn adherence to "resistance" (i.e., violence and terrorism) as a
    "legitimate right" of the Palestinians, and a demand for the implementation of
    the "right to return" (i.e., the destruction of the State of Israel) .

    The composition of the government

    3. There are 25 ministers in the new government (24 with ministries and one
    without portfolio). Twelve of them belong to or are affiliated with Hamas, six
    with Fatah, three are independent and four belong to leftist factions.
    Although most of the ministers are from or affiliated with Hamas, Fatah and
    the leftist factions have a strong bloc. With the exception of Ismail Haniya,
    the Hamas representatives are technocrats, some of them previously political
    unknowns, while Fatah ministers are old political hands, half of whom belong
    to the Palestinian Legislative Council. For an analysis of the composition of
    the new government, see Appendix I .
    4. Prominent among the new government ministers are three independents who
    hold key portfolios, and who have replaced Hamas ministers. Two of them (the
    foreign and finance ministers) were chosen, in our assessment, because, as
    opposed to their predecessors, they are acceptable to the international
    community. For full biographies, see Appendix I .
    A. Foreign minister Dr. Ziyad Abu Amro is a native of Gaza , married to an
    American woman and has American citizenship. He holds a PhD in political
    science and international relations from Georgetown University and is an
    independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He is close to Abu
    Mazen and has served as Mazen's liaison with Hamas.
    B. Finance minister Salam Fayyad is a native of Tulkarm. He is a financial
    expert and holds a PhD in economics from the University of Texas . He is
    acceptable to the United States and the international community and has a
    reputation for being reliable. In previous governments he managed to stabilize
    the PA's budget to a certain extent and to advance important reforms.
    C. Interior minister Dr. Hani Talab al-Qawasmi , whose family comes from
    Hebron but who was born in Gaza . He served as director of administrative
    affairs in the previous interior ministry. He is a devout Muslim and has no
    experience in internal security.
    The government's platform
    5. A number of changes were made in the draft of the government's platform
    which was made public at the end of last week. The changes are semantic and
    intended to make the government's basic position seem less extreme. However,
    despite the rhetorical acrobatics, in the final analysis the platform does not
    meet the demands of the Israel and the Quartet , and they reflect the fact
    that Abu Mazen and Fatah have almost completely accepted Hamas's basic
    ideology and demands (For a full analysis of the platform, see Appendix II ).
    6. Conspicuous are the following:
    A. The continuation of violence and terrorism is legitimate : According to its
    platform, the new Palestinian government will adhere to the "legitimate right"
    of Palestinians to continue employing "all forms of resistance." That is, in
    its platform there is legitimization for the continuation of all forms of
    terrorism against Israel (including suicide bombing attack within Israel)
    until all the Palestinians' far-reaching demands have been met. That is in
    full accord with Hamas's basic preference for terrorism, although it does not
    reject a temporary lull in the fighting. Thus is can be expected that the
    Palestinian terrorist organizations, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,
    which is not represented in the Palestinian Legislative Council, will continue
    attacking Israel (including suicide bombing attacks) under the aegis of the
    national unity government . 1
    B. The platform of the national unity government does not include recognition
    of the right of the State of Israel to exist, and no mention is made of the
    concept of two states for two peoples . 2 It does, however, go into minute
    detail as to the Palestinians' far-reaching demands on Israel and the
    international community: the release of prisoners, the dismantling of the
    security fence, the cessation of the earthworks in Jerusalem , the cessation
    of Israeli security force counterterrorist measures and Israel 's withdrawal
    from the "Palestinian lands" it conquered. The reworked version of the
    government's platform, as opposed to the original version, mentions the
    establishment of a Palestinian state on "the lands conquered in 1967" with
    Jerusalem as its capital, but it does not state that the establishment of such
    a state is the final Palestinian demand. A Palestinian or Muslim Arab reader
    will understand that the arrangement is only temporary, and not a permanent
    arrangement to end the conflict based on the concept of two states for two
    C. The platform includes adherence to the "right to return" and calls for the
    implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (December 1948) regarding
    the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their lands and property
    and to receive reparations. The wording reflects Hamas's position and
    interpretation of Resolution 194 as the physical return of the refugees to
    their lands, that is, the destruction of the State of Israel as a homeland for
    the Jewish people .
    D. According to the platform, agreements previously signed by the PLO are to
    be "honored" but no commitment is made to implement them : The new government
    "honors" the "legitimate decision" and agreements signed by the PLO (in the
    spirit of the Mecca Accord). The term used is " honors " but strict avoidance
    of a " commitment " to implement them is maintained. In effect, the refusal to
    recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist (at the foundation of the
    previous agreements) and the justification for continuing terrorism (through
    which previous agreements were sabotaged) make the "honoring of agreements" a
    phrase devoid of meaning.
    E. Limiting Abu Mazen's ability to ratify agreements he and the PLO reached
    with Israel : according to the platform of the new government, Abu Mazen and
    the PLO have the authority to conduct negotiations for the PA. At the same
    time, Hamas and its supporters can sabotage any agreement reached. The
    platform states that any agreement must either be ratified and signed by the
    "new Palestinian Legislative Council" (which has yet to formed 3) or put to a
    referendum of Palestinians living within the PA and abroad. (Hamas can make it
    extremely difficult to hold a referendum in the PA, and it can be assumed that
    the Palestinian refugees living in the Arab states will oppose any agreement
    that does not include the "right to return.")
    F. The ratified platform has a section dealing with Jerusalem (apparently
    because of the developments following the emergency earthworks carried out at
    the Mugrabim ramp): The new government will confront Israeli policy in
    Jerusalem , including the issue of the holy places. It will allot funds,
    encourage the Palestinians living in Jerusalem to take "a firm stance," and
    enlist the Arab-Muslim world to support the residents of Jerusalem politically
    and through the media.
    The response of the government of Israel
    7. On March 18 the government of Israel met to discuss the Palestinian
    national unity government and its platform. An examination of the platform
    showed that "it does not accept the principles of the international
     community," therefore " Israel will not be able to work with the government
    or any of its ministers." However, " Israel will continue to work with Mahmoud
    Abbas in order to advance issues of security and issues pertaining to
    improving the quality of life of the Palestinian population." The government
    also noted that " Israel expects the international community to maintain the
    policy it has taken over the past year of isolating the Palestinian government
    until it recognizes the three principles of the Quartet."
    Summary and assessment
    8. The Palestinian national unity government reflects, first and foremost,
    Hamas and Fatah's desire (and in fact the desire of the entire Palestinian
    population) to put an end to the violence and anarchy which increased during
    the past year and to establish a stable, functioning Palestinian government.
    To that end Hamas agreed to give up three key government ministries to
    independents, and to let Fatah have a series of ministries as well, although
    they are less important. In return Hamas received the stamp of approval from
    Abu Mazen and Fatah that it had sought since its victory in the January 2006
    election. In addition, there is a possibility that the Palestinian government
    will break out of its isolation (without Hamas's giving up its control of the
    government and its extremist ideology).
    9. In addition to achieving the main goals of internal quiet and an end to the
    violence and anarchy which plagued the PA for the past year, the Palestinians
    seek to market the new national unity government to the international
    community. They hope to have the economic and political embargo lifted, even
    though the government is influenced by Hamas and its ideology and even though
    it has not met the demands of the Quartet, central to which are recognition of
    the right of the State of Israel to exist and the abandoning of terrorism.
    10. Their efforts to market the new government have taken various forms :
    Using convoluted rhetoric in setting out its basic principles, Hamas has tried
    to camouflage the new government's extremist nature and give the Western
    countries something to hold on to; they have appointed ministers who are not
    affiliated with Hamas and who are acceptable to the United States and Europe
    to important government posts; 4 they have warned that if the government did
    not receive international support the situation was liable to deteriorate and
    that the PA and the Palestinian economy would collapse; they have enlisted Abu
    Mazen (who continues to call for peace, coexistence and a renewal of
    negotiations) to seek international legitimization for the new government and
    its platform. Initial international reactions (especially from European
    countries such as Norway , France and Britain ) are likely to reinforce
    Palestinian expectations that it will be possible to sell the new national
    unity government, with its extremist principles, to the international
    11. However, the basic differences of opinion between Fatah and Hamas have not
    been resolved, and anarchy still exits within the PA. As negotiations for the
    establishment of the national unity government were being held, there were
    violent confrontations between Fatah and Hamas (although not widespread) until
    the last minute (March 17), and signs of anarchy. 5 Thus it can be seen that
    the basic tensions between Fatah and Hamas and the difficulties of instituting
    law and order in Palestinian society still exist . The power struggles between
    Fatah and Hamas have not been clearly won and it can be expected that the
    rival sides will continue to seek as great an advantage as possible over one
    another within the government despite the Mecca Accord and the establishment
    of the national unity government. A list of controversial issues still
    remains, such as the future of the Executive Force, control of the security
    forces and integrating Hamas into the PLO. They will continue as focal points
    of friction between the two sides and may lead to political tensions and even
    a renewal of the violence, which will make it difficult for the national unity
    government to function.
    Note: Appendix I is a profile of the new Palestinian government; view it here
    (it is about 4/5th of the web page!)
    Appendix II is an analysis and translation of the national unity government
    platform; view it here.
    1 The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is not represented in the Palestinian
    Legislative Council and which did not participate in the elections, is not
    committed to supporting the new government and its platform. The PIJ and the
    other terrorist organizations can be expected to continue carrying out
    terrorist attacks, including rocket and suicide bombing attacks. PIJ spokesman
    Daoud Shehab said that his organization had many reservations regarding the
    new government's platform, but that the PIJ's position would be examined
    primarily according to the governmental support and reinforcement it gave the
    "resistance." It is understood that his organization clearly has no intention
    of stopping its terrorist attacks (Al-Aqsa TV, March 17). Since the
    establishment of the government there have already been a number of attacks
    initiated from the Gaza Strip, including rocket attacks and a Hamas sniper
    attack at the Dekalim terminal near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, in which an Israeli
    civilian was critically wounded.

    2 Fathi Hamad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said the
    following in a program broadcast by Al-'Alam, the Iranian Arabic language
    channel: " We want Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan]
    river, and if we do not succeed in liberating it now, or in the near future,
    with the help of Allah, it will be done. " (Al-'Alam TV, March 18).
    3 The "new Palestinian Legislative Council" does not yet exist, and it can
    only be formed after agreement has been reached regarding Hamas participation
    in the PLO and a change in the PLO's character. The issue of the establishment
    of a new PLO in which Hamas will participate has been in the works since the
    Cairo Agreement of March 2005, and it can be assumed that it will not happen
    in the near future (despite the fact that the platform of the new government
    calls for the implementation of the Cairo Agreement to be accelerated so that
    in the end, Hamas will be able to take over the PLO ).
    4 A Palestinian "government source" told BBC radio in the Gaza Strip that the
    new government had decided to send its foreign and finance ministers to the
    United States to try to convince Washington to cooperate with t he national
    unity government (BBC radio, March 18).
    5 On the eve of the new government's swearing in (March 15-16), there were
    manifestations of anarchy and clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza
    Strip: the convoy of the director of UNWRA in the Gaza Strip was shot at, the
    son of the director of the lands authority was abducted, unknown assailants
    killed a military intelligence officer and three Hamas operatives were
    abducted by Fatah. On the day the government was sworn in, March 17, there
    were new abductions and violent clashes between quarreling clans.

    Top EU envoy meets Palestinian FM, to meet PA Finance Minister on Wednesday

    Haaretz - Last update - 17:42 21/03/2007

    Top EU envoy meets Palestinian FM, to meet PA Finance Minister on Wednesday
    By The Associated Press

    The top EU envoy to the Middle East Marc Otte met Tuesday with was to meet later Wednesday Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr, according to Otte's aide Francoise Attal, despite an Israeli push for a continued boycott of the new unity government due to the fact that it has not met international demands.
    Otte is to meet later Wednesday with Palestinian Authority Finance Minister Salam Fayad, according to officials in Fayad's office.
    Sweden and Belgium's foreign ministers will also meet with Palestinian officials in the coming days.
    "We will evaluate and have working contacts with the new government, and that's why I'm going down there," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told reporters in Stockholm.
    Bildt said he would meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and two cabinet ministers in the Hamas-Fatah government during the trip to the Middle East starting Saturday.
    He said no meetings were scheduled with representatives of Hamas, which is listed as a terror organization by the EU, the United States and Israel.
    Bildt was also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and members of the Knesset, Bildt's spokesman Christian Carlsson said.
    Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and United Nations envoy to the Balkans, welcomed the formation of the Palestinian unity government Saturday, saying it opened the way for a genuine peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.
    Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gught is already on a trip to the Middle East and is expected to meet with Palestinian officials Friday.
    Israel is pushing for a continued boycott of the Palestinian government, because the Hamas-Fatah coalition stopped short of meeting international conditions for lifting the boycott, including recognizing Israel and renouncing violence.
    The U.S. and EU have indicated that they will maintain contacts with certain Palestinian ministers considered to be moderates, but will continue conditioning the resumption of direct aid to the PA on the government accepting the international demands.
    Political sources in Jerusalem said on Tuesday that according to a government decision of April 2006, whoever meets Hamas ministers will not be invited to meet Israeli officials during that same visit.
    Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen met Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas on Monday, becoming the first high-ranking Western official to visit leaders of the violent Islamic movement.
    Following the meeting, Israeli officials canceled their meetings with Johansen that were scheduled for the next day.
    Norway, a major donor, also was the first country to lift sanctions against the PA.
    Other European countries - including France and Belgium - are planning talks with the Palestinian officials. Russia and France say sanctions on the PA should be lifted.
    The United States made its first contact with the new Palestinian government on Tuesday, as Jacob Walles, the U.S. consul in Jerusalem met with Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayad, a political independent.

    Vroegere Joodse nederzettingen veranderd in Hamas bases

    De waarschuwingen van rechtse tegenstanders van de terugtrekking uit de Gazastrook zijn uitgekomen: Hamas gebruikt de vroegere Joodse nederzettingen in de Gazastrook voor training en opslag van wapens. Wat daarbij opvalt is dat men geen enkele moeite doet dit te verbergen. 
    Abu Abdullah told WND Hamas turned Eli Sinai and Dagit into advanced training zones, which he said include areas for "physical shape exercises; use of weapons training; practice lands for ambushes of Israeli forces; courses for the reading of maps and [production and use of] explosives and many other trainings; military techniques, fighting in open fields and in built and populated areas; and rockets shooting."
    Vanwege het in november overeengekomen staakt-het-vuren kon men de afgelopen maanden ongehinderd zijn gang gaan.

    In November, Israel agreed to a truce with Gaza militants in which the Jewish state vowed to suspend anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip in exchange for quiet. Since then, more than 160 rockets have been fired from Gaza, but the IDF has been restrained from operating in the territory. Yesterday, Hamas carried out a shooting attack against an Israeli civilian near Gaza.

    Last week Yuval Diskin, head of Israel's General Security Services, told the Knesset Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip aided by Iran used the four-month-old cease-fire to improve the range of their rockets, smuggle in mass quantities of weapons, construct underground bunkers and build guerrilla-like armies.
    Het vreemde is, dat buiten Israel en een enkele Amerikaan niemand zich hier zorgen over lijkt te maken. Iedereen die indertijd de terugtrekking van Israel steunde, en opriep tot verdere terugtrekkingen uit de Westelijke Jordaanoever, zou door dergelijke berichten (dit is slechts een van de vele), gealarmeerd moeten worden. In plaats daarvan neemt de druk op Israel toe om onvoorwaardelijk met de nieuwe Palestijnse regering, gedomineerd door Hamas, te onderhandelen. Waarom niet in ruil van Hamas eisen dat het met deze praktijken stopt? En waarom doen de 80 Europese monitors bij de Rafah grensovergang met Egypte niet meer om wapensmokkel tegen te gaan? Waarom vragen de donorlanden van de Palestijnen zich niet af waarom er wel geld is voor deze trainingsoefeningen, een uitgebreid tunnelnetwerk en geavanceerde wapens, maar niet om de salarissen van ambtenaren uit te betalen?  

    Ex-Jewish cities now for Hamas terror training
    Conversion of Israeli towns 'sign from Allah' Palestinian resistance works

    By Aaron Klein
    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

    Gaza terrorists (Photo: Defense-update.com)
    TEL AVIV – Two Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip evacuated by Israel have been turned into advanced Hamas militant training centers, a senior member of Hamas' so-called military wing told WND today.

    Last night, Israelis living near Gaza and Palestinians inside the territory heard loud explosions coming from the northern Gaza Strip area. Israeli security officials at first feared the blasts were terrorist attacks, while some Palestinians immediately reported the explosions as an Israeli raid. Israel has refrained from carrying out military operations in Gaza since a cease-fire was forged last November.

    It turned out the blasts were part of Hamas explosives training exercises conducted in the former Jewish communities of Eli Sinai and Dagit in Gaza, according to Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared "resistance" department.

    Israel Defense Forces officials confirmed the explosions were attributed to Palestinian terror groups inside Gaza.

    (Story continues below)

    Abu Abdullah told WND Hamas turned Eli Sinai and Dagit into advanced training zones, which he said include areas for "physical shape exercises; use of weapons training; practice lands for ambushes of Israeli forces; courses for the reading of maps and [production and use of] explosives and many other trainings; military techniques, fighting in open fields and in built and populated areas; and rockets shooting."

    The two former Jewish communities were located in Gaza, north of Gush Katif, a slate of former Jewish neighborhoods of the Gaza Strip. The areas were entirely evacuated by Israel in August 2005.

    Abu Abdullah called the utilization by Hamas of the former Jewish towns for anti-Israel activity a "big sign from Allah that the settlements that were the strongest symbol and proof of the Zionist injustice are now turned into tools at the service of the Palestinian resistance against the enemy plans and are proof that the resistance works."

    The Hamas terror leader said his group stepped up the pace of its training the past few weeks because of a "coming" confrontation with Israel.

    "We think that the confrontation with Israel is not a question of if but a question of when. We have no doubt that the Israelis are not ready for a full withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and that they will try to escape from this withdrawal by trying to invading Gaza and cities in the West Bank," Abu Abdullah said.

    "The Israeli officers say everyday that a big operation in Gaza is being prepared and is waiting for the decision of the enemy government," he said.

    Hamas sources said that until recently, Palestinian training in Gaza was conducted quietly. They said last night's testing of explosives should be taken by Israel as a "warning" Palestinian groups are "ready" for a confrontation.

    In November, Israel agreed to a truce with Gaza militants in which the Jewish state vowed to suspend anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip in exchange for quiet. Since then, more than 160 rockets have been fired from Gaza, but the IDF has been restrained from operating in the territory. Yesterday, Hamas carried out a shooting attack against an Israeli civilian near Gaza.

    Last week Yuval Diskin, head of Israel's General Security Services, told the Knesset Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip aided by Iran used the four-month-old cease-fire to improve the range of their rockets, smuggle in mass quantities of weapons, construct underground bunkers and build guerrilla-like armies.

    He said Palestinian advances during the cease-fire period will now make it more difficult for the Israel Defense Forces to confront Gaza's terror infrastructure.

    In December, three weeks after the Nov. 23 truce was forged, WND quoted top Gazan terror leaders explaining they would use the truce to smuggle in weapons, increase the range of their rockets, construct underground bunkers, fortify military positions and build guerrilla armies.

    Diskin said Hamas was sending hundreds of Gaza-based militants to Iran for prolonged periods of advanced training. He announced smuggling of weaponry into Gaza from the neighboring Egyptian Sinai desert recently increased six-fold and that Palestinian terror groups were taking advantage of the cease-fire to enhance rockets and create a complex system of underground bunkers.

    Last week, Yoav Galant, chief of the IDF's Gaza-area division, told reporters the Gaza truce enabled Hamas to grow from a ragtag terror group into a well-organized militia resembling an army – complete with battalions, companies, platoons, special forces for surveillance, snipers and explosive experts.

    Galant compared Hamas to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia which last summer engaged in 33-days of confrontations with the IDF, bombarding northern Israeli population centers with thousands of rockets.

    The use of Eli Sinia and Dagit as Hamas training zones are the latest in a string of reports Gaza's former Jewish communities are being utilized for terror.

    WND reported a Hamas-affiliated university with a history of involvement in terrorist activity opened a branch earlier this month in Nitzarim, a former Gush Katif community, building on the foundations of evacuated Jewish structures.

    Last month, WND broke the story the ruins of two large synagogues in Gush Katif's former capital city, Neve Dekalim, were transformed into a military base used by Palestinian groups to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state


    woensdag 21 maart 2007

    Duitsers die Joden Nazi's noemen

    Germans calling Jews Nazis?!?!

    Hoe bestaat het dat 30% van de Duitsers denken dat Israël met de Palestijnen doet wat de Nazi's met de Joden deden, zoals Haaretz onlangs berichtte? Het is moeilijk voorstelbaar dat ze niet van de concentratiekampen en de gaskamers afweten, dus weten ze blijkbaar niets af van de situatie in het Midden-Oosten?

    De notie dat Joden van slachtoffers in daders veranderd zijn, en dat ze niet beter zijn dan hun vroegere beulen, is aantrekkelijk omdat het de Duitsers ontlast van hun schuldgevoel zonder direct te stellen dat de Holocaust een mythe is of dat de Nazi's achteraf gezien niet zo uitzonderlijk slechts waren, en die notie wint steeds meer terrein in de mainstream. Lees meer op: http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000365.html 

    Ook aanbevolen leesvoer, met veel concrete voorbeelden en cartoons:

    Holocaust Inversion:
    The Portraying of Israel and Jews as Nazis

    Abby & Ratna

    Palestijnse eenheidsregering overwinning voor Hamas

    Hamas heeft de machtstrijd met Fatah min of meer gewonnen, en domineert de nieuwe eenheidsregering. Hamas heeft nauwelijks toegegeven aan de eisen van zowel Abbas als het Kwartet, namelijk erkenning van Israël, afzweren van geweld en het eerbiedigen van de eerder door de PLO met Israël gesloten akkoorden. Toch lijkt het doel om de economische en diplomatieke boycot op te heffen, te gaan slagen, aangezien verschillende Europese landen al aan hebben gegeven met de nieuwe regering zaken te willen doen. Ondertussen voltrekt zich in stilte een belangrijke en zorgelijke verandering in de Palestijnse gebieden:

    "Hamas reaches the hearts of the people, and one of the best ways to do this has always been through the mosques. In 2000, there were 100 of them in Ramallah; today there are 190. Without laws to limit it, Hamas has managed to lead a cultural change in Palestinian society. Most women in the territories wear head coverings, including some who do so to avoid public criticism. Fewer restaurants sell alcohol and halls for weddings and other festivities are being asked not to host belly-dancers."




    The unity gov't may be the last nail in Fatah's coffin

    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent - Mon., March 19, 2007

    The celebrations in Ramallah and Gaza on Saturday of the Palestinian Authority unity government could all too quickly turn into a burial ceremony for Fatah.

    The movement over the past year presented itself as a clear political alternative to Hamas. Now it has become Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's closest ally. Senior Fatah officials opposed to the move worry the organization will thus be identified with failures in the economy, internal security and in creating a political horizon.

    The limited protests from senior Fatah figures against Hamas policy will peter out and with them the chances to constitute a real political and cultural competition to the Islamists.

    Both Haniyeh and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were all smiles on Saturday, but Haniyeh and his Hamas associates particularly had reason to be pleased. Following tough negotiations, Hamas has a majority in the cabinet after Fatah agreed to consider Foreign Minister Ziyad Abu Amar as one of the independent ministers representing it.

    The idea of holding elections was rejected, and a crack has appeared in the diplomatic siege of Hamas, while the organization has not changed its ideology: no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it (Abbas will do the dirty work) and "the resistance" in other words, violence will go on.

    However, the option of Palestinian unity and damage to Fatah was the lesser of two evils. The other possibility for Abbas was civil war. The problem is that until the next elections for president (in less than two years) the Palestinian public will forget that Abbas overcame lesser political considerations and remember primarily that Fatah is not functioning. The movement's reforms of bringing in younger leaders was not enough. Most of the 72,0000 registered members of Fatah know today there is no alternative to Hamas, say young Tanzim leaders in the West Bank.

    The sixth party convention has become a stale joke; there seems little chance it will ever be held. The party is in economic crisis, and attempts by senior Fatah officials to impact voters through a social safety net pale in comparison to Hamas' social services network. Corruption in PA institutions and the chaos on the streets are identified with Fatah and its security forces. Above all, the feeling is widespread that no one is in charge in Fatah.

    Meanwhile, Hamas is continuing its quiet revolution. Recently 11 Hamas members were appointed to senior posts in the PA Education Ministry, and the number of hours of religious studies has been increased by about 20 percent.

    Hamas reaches the hearts of the people, and one of the best ways to do this has always been through the mosques. In 2000, there were 100 of them in Ramallah; today there are 190. Without laws to limit it, Hamas has managed to lead a cultural change in Palestinian society. Most women in the territories wear head coverings, including some who do so to avoid public criticism. Fewer restaurants sell alcohol and halls for weddings and other festivities are being asked not to host belly-dancers.

    Hamas leaders are sounding sure of themselves these days, while working unceasingly to gain new members, and Fatah carries on with its internal struggles.

    dinsdag 20 maart 2007

    Enquete toont wantrouwen tussen Israeli's en Arabieren in Israel

    Onderstaande enquete toont veel wantrouwen en zelfs vijandigheid tussen de Israelisch-Arabische bevolking en de Joodse Israeli's. Meer dan een kwart van de Israelische Arabieren ontkent de Holocaust. Meer dan 77% van de Israelische Arabieren noemt Zionisme, de nationale beweging van de Joden, racistisch, en 62% is bang dat Israel hun gemeenschappen tegen hun zin bij een toekomstige staat zal voegen, of hun massaal zal verdrijven. Terwijl bijna 90% Israels militaire operaties in Libanon als oorlogsmisdaden bestempelt, veroordeelt minder dan de helft de raketaanvallen van Hezbollah op Noord-Israel. Dit is des te opmerkelijker, omdat bij deze aanvallen vele Arabieren werden getroffen. Van hun kant vreest 68% van de Joodse Israeli's onrust en rellen onder hun Arabische medeburgers, en 63% geeft aan geen Arabische steden te bezoeken.  

    '28% of Israel's Arabs deny Holocaust'

    More than a quarter of Israel's Arab citizens believe the
    Holocaust never happened, and nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews
    avoid entering Arab towns, a poll by an Israeli university showed
    Sunday, demonstrating the poor state of relations between the two

    The poll, conducted by Sami Smoocha, a prominent sociologist at
    the University of Haifa, showed a wide gap of mistrust, anger and
    fear between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens.

    In its most dramatic finding, the poll showed that 28 percent of
    Israeli Arabs did not believe the Holocaust happened, and that
    among high school and college graduates the figure was even
    higher - 33 percent.

    According to Smoocha's analysis, radicals in the Arab world
    believe the Holocaust to be a political event, and many feel that
    by denying it they are expressing opposition to Israel.

    Among Israeli Jews, 63 percent said they avoid entering Arab
    towns and cities, and 68 percent fear the possibility of civil
    unrest among Israeli Arabs.

    Pollsters interviewed 721 Arabs and 702 Jews. The margin of error
    was 3.7 percentage points.

    Asked about the war with Hizbullah guerrillas in Lebanon last
    summer, nearly half of the Israeli Arabs polled - 48 percent -
    said they believed that Hizbullah's rocket attacks on northern
    Israel during that war were justified, even though numerous Arabs
    were killed and wounded in those attacks.

    While 89 percent said they viewed the IDF's bombing of Lebanon as
    a war crime, only 44 percent said they saw Hizbullah's attacks on
    Israel as such. Hizbullah pelted northern Israel with nearly
    4,000 rockets.

    Half of Israeli Arab respondents said Hizbullah's capture of IDF
    reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in a cross-border raid
    was justified. That incident sparked the 34-day conflict.

    In a press release accompanying the poll's publication, Smoocha
    expressed surprise at the results.

    "One would have expected more pro-Israeli results among Israeli
    Arabs due to the uniqueness of the most recent war: a war with no
    involvement of the Palestinians, a war in which the lives and
    belongings of Israelis were endangered, a war against an Islamic
    fundamentalist group that most of them don't support," Smoocha said.

    Israeli-Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) said he doubted some of the

    Tibi said he "cannot explain" the numbers indicating support for
    Hizbullah, but noted that "usually there is no empathy for the
    aggressor," which Tibi said was Israel.

    Tibi also said he doubted that the statistics on Holocaust denial
    "reflect the situation in the Arab elite." Tibi called the
    Holocaust "the worst crime ever against humanity" and said
    Holocaust denial is "immoral."

    But some of the sentiments, he said, might stem from
    "reservations about the way the Holocaust is used as a political
    tool" by Israel, said Tibi.

    The poll also found that Israeli Arabs had fears about their
    future in Israel: 62 percent worry that Israel could transfer
    their communities to the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian
    state, an idea supported by one of the parties in Israel's
    current governing coalition. Sixty percent said they are
    concerned about a possible mass expulsion.

    Among the Arab respondents, 76 percent described Zionism as racist.

    But more than two thirds said they would be content to live in
    the Jewish state, if it existed alongside a Palestinian state in
    the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    zondag 18 maart 2007

    Joden in Jemen op de vlucht

    Ook in haar begintijd was het Zionisme geen exclusief Europese beweging: om aan hun erbarmelijke situatie en discriminatie in Jemen te ontkomen, vertrokken al in de late 19de eeuw duizenden Jemenitische Joden naar Jeruzalem.

    Joods-Jemenitische gezinnen gevlucht naar hotel
    HLN.BE - 06/03/07 17u39

    Zo'n 45 Joodse Jemenieten wonen sinds een week in een hotel in de Jemenitische hoofdstad Sana en krijgen bescherming van de overheid omdat een rebellengroep hen zou bedreigen. Dat heeft de Jemenitische ambassade in Washington bekendgemaakt.
    De groep, bestaande uit zeven Joodse gezinnen, werd in januari ook al eens ondergebracht in een hotel in Sana, zo'n 112 kilometer van hun woonplaats in de provincie Saada waar gevechten tussen het leger en sjiitische rebellen de afgelopen maanden aan zeker vijfhonderd mensen het leven hebben gekost.

    Later keerden de gezinnen terug naar hun woonplaats, nadat de regering daar een politiebureau had laten bouwen. Vorige week echter werden de Joodse leiders in Saada benaderd door de rebellen, die hun de schuld gaven van het geweld. Daarop keerden de gezinnen terug naar een hotel in Sana, aldus de ambassade.
    Tot de stichting van Israël in 1948 woonden in Jemen zo'n zeventigduizend Joden. De meesten van hen verruilden Jemen voor Israël. Nu wonen er naar schatting nog zo'n vierhonderd Joden.

    Hevige strijd
    De strijd in Saada tussen de sjiitische rebellen en de regering woedt al sinds juni 2004. De guerrilla-aanvallen, uitgevoerd door kleine groepjes van niet meer dan tien strijders, blijken succesvol. De regering slaat hard terug met behulp van artillerie, helikopters en tanks. De opstandelingen, die zich de 'Jonge Getrouwe Gelovigen' noemen, vinden dat de regering corrupt is en te veel neigt naar het Westen. (novum)

    Uit een eerder bericht op Joods.NL blijkt meer over de bedoeling van de rebellen:

    Joden in Jemen op de vlucht

    woensdag, 31 januari 2007
    Een groep van 45 Joden uit het dorp Salem in Jemen is na bedreigingen door radicale moslims naar de stad Saada gevlucht en heeft daar haar intrek genomen in een hotel. Eeuwenlang hebben Joden als minderheidsgroep in Salem volgens hun eigen tradities geleefd; eerder deze maand werden zij er plotseling in een brief van beschuldigd zonde en bederf te verspreiden.

    De bedoeling van de briefschrijver(s) was duidelijk: het land uit of sterven. Bijna twee weken geleden verschenen gemaskerde islamitische schutters om het dreigement kracht bij te zetten, zo meldde de Britse omroep BBC. De Joden, onder leiding van Dawoud Yousef Mousa, vluchtten daarop naar de provinciehoofdstad Saada. Hoewel de autoriteiten hebben beloofd te zullen zorgen voor een veilige terugkeer van de groep naar Salem, verblijven de Joden nog steeds in het Paris Tower Hotel in Saada. Hun verblijf daar wordt betaald door de sjeik van een lokale stam.

    Volgens de gouverneur van Saada zijn de bedreigingen afkomstig van de 'Jonge Gelovigen', een verboden sjiitische rebellengroep die de Jemenitische regering ten val wil brengen en in Jemen een islamitische theocratie naar eigen snit wil invoeren.

    Het aantal Joden in Jemen ligt momenteel op enkele honderden. Eens woonden er zeker 60.000 Joden, maar de meesten van hen werden na anti-Joodse rellen in 1948 naar Israël geëvacueerd.

    Bron: Nederlands Dagblad