zaterdag 23 augustus 2008

Sari Nusseibeh en de één-staten-oplossing

Meer debat over de zogenaamde "een-staten-oplossing". Zie ook Yossi Alpher en Ami Isseroff over dit onderwerp.

Let the Debate Begin

Shmuel Rosner - 08.15.2008 - 8:02 AM

Sari Nusseibeh–president of Al-Quds University, and a moderate, soft-spoken Palestinian thinker–is apparently rethinking the "two state solution." Or so he says in an interview with Akiva Eldar:

I still favor a two-state solution and will continue to do so, but to the extent that you discover it's not practical anymore or that it's not going to happen, you start to think about what the alternatives are. I think that the feeling is there are two courses taking place that are opposed to one another. On one hand, there is what people are saying and thinking, on both sides. There is the sense that we are running out of time, that if we want a two-state solution, we need to implement it quickly.

But on the other hand, if we are looking at what is happening on the ground, in Israel and the occupied territories, you see things happening in the opposite direction, as if they are not connected to reality. Thought is running in one direction, reality in the other.

Nusseibe's new formula for co-existence is the one with which Palestinians have been threatening Israel for quite a while now: the one-state solution. As David Hazony noted here two days ago, "top Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei threatened that if Israel does not accede to all the Palestinian demands regarding borders and refugees, then 'we might demand Israeli citizenship.'"

I think Hazony was dead wrong when he said that "Such a change of heart on the part of the Palestinians would devastate their international standing," but he was right in predicting that "There is probably nothing that could more successfully unite the Israeli public against the Palestinians than the demand for a binational state." Israelis will oppose it for many good reasons, among them the lesson of reality: for states to be stable, political coherence is needed. If you want to know what happens to states in which there's no clear majority–and in which populations with no shared vision are trying to live together, a large chunk of them committed to terrorism–look at Lebanon.

But the question for now about the Palestinians' recent statements is this: are they just ventilating frustrations, trying to put pressure on Israel by pointing to the one-state-solution–or is it really the beginning a serious discussion?

Nusseibeh tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, serious analysis:

It is time maybe to rethink, to bring Fatah around to a new idea, the old-new idea, of one state. 

But on the other, tactical threat: 

That's an ultimatum. Unless a major breakthrough happens by the end of this year, in my opinion we should start trying to strive for equality. 

Nusseibeh lays out the way this will be done:

"We can fight for equal rights, rights of existence, return and equality, and we could take it slowly over the years and there could be a peaceful movement - like in South Africa," he notes. "I think one should maybe begin on the Palestinian side, to begin a debate, to reengage in the idea of one state."

One can easily dismiss him as semi-delusional. Saying first that events on the ground are "not connected to reality" but then suggesting with a straight face that the Palestinians will have a "peaceful movement" raises the question of how well Nusseibeh himself is connected to reality.

However, Nusseibeh should not be dismissed, because what he says represents a growing tendency among Palestinians to try and overcome their failures by imposing this new and exciting formula of Israeli-citizenship-for-all. In the meantime, Israel, at least rhetorically, is sticking with the "old" idea–but it's time to recognize that's an idea that will not be viable if the other side sincerely decides to obstruct it. It's time for Israel to rethink whether the old formula is still viable. It should be done to be used as an "ultimatum" (for the Palestinian Authority to get its act together)–but also as a serious "debate." After all, If Palestinians are on the way to changing their goal, and presenting the world with a new vision for their future, Israel shouldn't be lagging behind and leaving them the stage without preparing its own new goals.



De illusie van de eenstatenoplossing (Yossi Alpher)

Volgens een recente opiniepeiling was 14% van de Israëli's - Joden en Arabieren - voor een een-staten-oplossing, tegenover driekwart voor een twee-staten-oplossing.

A one-state solution in Palestine is patently unrealistic
On both sides of the green line and, indeed, wherever people think about solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a lot of old-new thinking is taking place. Old, because there is really nothing new under the sun when it comes to solutions for Israelis and Palestinians. But new, because after 15 years of concentrated and largely fruitless efforts to solve the conflict with a negotiated two-state solution, we now encounter more and more discussion of alternatives.
Essentially, the dismal current status and future prospects of the Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace process are encouraging discussion among some Palestinians of reverting to the one-state solution championed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization in its early years and by Hamas. Meanwhile, among Israelis discouraged with the peace process, the Gaza-West Bank split is spurring consideration of solutions based on the existence of two Palestinian entities separated by Israel (in effect, a three-state solution), or of variations in which Israel and Jordan divide the West Bank and Israel and Egypt possibly deal jointly with the Gaza Strip.
Most of these ideas are patently unrealistic. Discussion of them often reflects despair, not pragmatic strategic thinking.
Beginning with three-state solutions, it is difficult to assess how deep and long-lasting the Gaza-West Bank, Hamas-Fatah split really is. Virtually all Palestinians insist that it has to end and that the two territories must eventually be rejoined, whether within a two-state solution or as part of a single binational state. But a historical review of the course of Palestinian dispersal since 1948, including the 1948-1967 period during which Gaza was ruled by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan, can only conclude that yet another phase of division and fragmentation is a possibility. Here a lot depends on Hamas and militant Islam in general and the evolution of their approach toward the existence of Israel. With its current extremist ideology toward Israel, Hamas can perhaps be tolerated in Gaza but certainly not in the West Bank. This points to the possibility of Gaza emerging as a separate Palestinian entity within some sort of three-state or three-entity setup.
Israeli variations on a three-state solution, championed primarily by settler ideologues and others on the right wing, are patently unrealistic insofar as they call upon Egypt and Jordan to relieve or lighten Israel's Palestinian "burden" by annexing, administering or enlarging (into Sinai) Palestinian territories. Neither Cairo nor Amman has evinced the slightest readiness to comply. Nor does Washington appear inclined - based on the wishful thinking of some Israeli right wingers - to somehow compel them to do so.

But Israeli right-wing wishful thinking pales compared to that of Palestinians who appear to believe that if they advocate a one-state solution it could somehow become a reality. Put simply, the vast majority of Israeli Jews would not agree to live in a binational Israeli state. Hypothetically, if for some cataclysmic reason they could no longer live in a Jewish, democratic state in their historic homeland, they would prefer renewed dispersion and Diaspora to life in a binational Arab-Jewish (essentially Muslim-Jewish) state that by definition would not be Zionist and would almost certainly quickly relegate Jews to the status of a persecuted minority. Nor do Israelis intend to let that "cataclysmic reason" come to pass.
Precisely because Palestinians who proffer a one-state solution do not have a Jewish negotiating partner, the threat to somehow revert to this position (most recently voiced by PLO's chief peace negotiator Ahmed Qorei) unless Israel is more forthcoming in two-state solution negotiations is totally counter-productive. Not only does it not soften the Israeli negotiating position - it generates indifference or even hostility.
In traditional "stick and carrot" terms, the Palestinians making this threat are beating themselves with their own stick.
Perhaps most important for Israel and its supporters, failure of a two-state solution does not mean that the alternative is a one-state solution. Precisely because there is no such alternative, other options more readily suggest themselves, ranging from temporary conflict management to three states or entities. Nor does failure today mean that tomorrow we cannot try again to arrive at a two-state solution, which remains the best option for all.
True, there are a few Israeli Jews on the fringes of society who either advocate or would comply in a one-state solution. They include anti-Zionist leftists and ultra-orthodox as well as settlers who believe they can survive in a Jewish, non-democratic state in which Arabs are perpetual second-class citizens. I would not recommend to Palestinians that they rely on any of these fringe Jews as potential partners.
Yossi Alpher is a former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and was a senior adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak. This commentary first appeared at, an online newsletter publishing contending views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Met Al-Qaida geaffiliëerde Jaish al-Islam krijgt bescherming van Hamas in Gazastrook

Hoewel de meesten blij zijn met de relatieve rust van het staakt-het-vuren tussen Israël en Hamas, stemt het onderstaande niet optimistisch. Vroeger of later zal er zeker een nieuwe confrontatie komen, en ondanks de "siege" (strenge invoerbeperkingen en controles) zal Hamas dan beter bewapend en getraind zijn dan voorheen....

Jerusalem Issue Brief
Institute for Contemporary Affairs
founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 8, No. 7    20 August 2008

Al-Qaeda Affiliate - Jaish al-Islam - Receives Formal Sanctuary in Hamas-Ruled Gaza

Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah Halevi

Except for Fatah, the other Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza enjoy full freedom of movement under Hamas rule. Offshoots of al-Qaeda in Gaza include Jaish al-Islam (the Army of Islam), the Army of the Umma, and Fatah al-Islam. Following a series of violent clashes, Hamas and Jaish al-Islam established a joint committee to regulate relations between the groups and to solve disputes between them. In essence, Hamas recognized Jaish al-Islam as a legitimate armed movement inside the area under Hamas jurisdiction.

In a previous agreement between the two groups, Hamas had given Jaish al-Islam $5 million and more than a million Kalashnikov bullets in compensation for its freeing of BBC journalist Alan Johnston. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas warned about the emerging trend, telling Al-Hayat on February 26, 2008: "I believe that al-Qaeda is present in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. It is the Hamas movement that brought al-Qaeda in and it abets the entry and exit [of militants]....I believe that they are allies."

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed in July 2007 that Hamas was in contact with al-Qaeda. However, he clarified that their connection was not the result of Western policy to isolate the Hamas regime.

Hamas has established a terror hothouse in Gaza designed to continue the jihad against apostates, pursue the struggle against Israel, secure the overthrow of the Abbas regime in the West Bank, and assist the efforts of the parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in overthrowing the moderate regimes in the Middle East headed by Jordan and Egypt.

Hamas Welcomes Islamist Terror Groups in Gaza

Hamas is continuing to consolidate its rule in Gaza. More than a year after its military coup and takeover of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, no significant signs of opposition to Hamas rule are discernible. On August 2, 2008, Hamas once again demonstrated its power when it attacked the compound of the Hilles clan in Sajaiya, toppling one of the last remaining Fatah strongholds in Gaza. Furthermore, since Israel's disengagement from Gaza in August 2005, Hamas has openly welcomed a host of Islamist terror groups, including organizations that openly identify themselves as al-Qaeda affiliates.

Israel is monitoring developments in Gaza with concern. On July 27, 2008, Prime Minister Olmert expressed his apprehension that in Gaza "a reality is taking shape that in five years we are going to ask ourselves how we allowed this to happen?"1 Intelligence evaluations regarding the situation in Gaza are gloomy. In surveys presented to the government in July 2008, the head of the Israel Security Agency, Yuval Diskin, pointed to the strengthening and accelerated arms buildup of Hamas under the cover of the cease-fire agreement with Israel. It was reported that Hamas is equipping itself with longer range missiles that could strike Kiryat Gat and perhaps even Ashdod, is continuing to smuggle war materiel across the Egyptian border, is mining extensive areas in the Gaza Strip, is building bunkers, and is raising the level of training and preparation of Hamas forces. Diskin added that since the lull, four tons of explosive materials, fifty antitank missiles, light weaponry, and materials for manufacturing rockets (iron pipes and gunpowder) had entered Gaza.2

Islamic Terror Organizations and al-Qaeda Affiliates in Gaza

Except for Fatah, which is considered an enemy of Hamas in the battle for governmental legitimacy in Gaza, the other Palestinian terror organizations enjoy full freedom of movement under Hamas rule. The most prominent of these groups are Islamic Jihad (directly tied to Iran), the Popular Resistance Committees (an extreme Islamic organization with leanings toward al-Qaeda), Al-Ahraar (a terror organization established and controlled by Hamas), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades (of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of George Habash), and the offshoots of al-Qaeda in Gaza: Jaish al-Islam (the Army of Islam; an al-Qaeda branch in Gaza), the Army of the Umma (identified with al-Qaeda), and Fatah al-Islam (an additional branch of al-Qaeda). Jaish al-Islam strongly identifies itself with al-Qaeda, posting statements and videos on jihadi websites along with photos of Osama bin Laden, and adopting his agenda.3

Some sixteen terror organizations in Gaza have accepted the authority of Hamas by their agreement to the cease-fire agreement with Israel that went into effect on June 19, 2008. Some of the groups that are identified with al-Qaeda, or that are considered its tributaries, maintain close ties with Hamas. The Popular Resistance Committees, an organization that was in contact with elements of al-Qaeda and whose leaders even adopted the dress code of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has become a strategic ally of Hamas. It accepts the authority of the Hamas leadership and on the operational level is a partner to many joint terror activities.4

The freedom of action enjoyed by the Popular Resistance Committees can be inferred from the open training camps for its activists, as well as the unmolested manufacture of  rockets at its local workshops. A CNN television crew documented a PRC military training exercise in August 2008 and presented a first-hand account of the group's new Nasser IV rocket, which it claimed had a range of 25 km. and could reach the port city of Ashdod.5

Hamas-Jaish al-Islam Relations

Relations between Hamas and Jaish al-Islam have fluctuated in recent years. The zenith of coordination and military cooperation between the two groups found expression in a joint action carried out in June 2006 during which an IDF position in Israeli territory near the Gaza border was attacked and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted and brought into the Strip. Jaish al-Islam also adopted al-Qaeda's modus operandi of abducting foreigners in Gaza including two Fox News journalists, Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig.6

Tension between the two groups grew as a result of the May 2007 kidnapping of BBC journalist Alan Johnston by Jaish al-Islam (which was later forced and bribed by Hamas to free him). At the time, Jaish al-Islam had demanded the release from a British prison of Abu Qatada, one of the spiritual heads of al-Qaeda in Europe. The mastermind of the kidnapping had fought with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.7 Local power struggles also erupted between the two groups and Jaish al-Islam voiced criticism of the penetration of Shiite Iranian influence in Gaza under the protection of Hamas.

In addition, Jaish al-Islam expressed its opposition to the cease-fire with Israel, and has demanded the immediate application of Islamic Sharia religious law in Gaza. Activists of Jaish al-Islam have been involved in a series of terror attacks directed against Christian targets in Gaza and some have been arrested by Hamas. This issue somewhat soured relations between the groups, which came at a time when the Hamas government had launched a diplomatic offensive in an effort to gain international legitimacy for its rule.8

Hamas has had fluctuations in its overall relationship with al-Qaeda, more generally. There have been European voices, like former Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema, who charged that the Western effort to isolate the Hamas regime has been responsible for driving it into the arms of al-Qaeda. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed the existence of Hamas-al-Qaeda contacts, but he rejected the notion that they were a product of Western pressures against the Hamas regime in Gaza.9

Hamas Reaches a Formal Agreement with Jaish al-Islam

The last round of violent confrontation between Hamas and Jaish al-Islam also took place on August 2, 2008. The battle zone was the al-Sabra neighborhood in Gaza. Hamas forces attacked the homes of Jaish al-Islam activists suspected of involvement in planting the explosive charge that lead to the death of five senior Hamas activists on the Gaza seacoast.10

Following a series of violent clashes, Hamas and Jaish al-Islam established a joint committee to regulate relations between the groups and to solve disputes and crises between them. Mumtaz Durmush, the leader of Jaish al-Islam who openly admitted ties with al-Qaeda, participated in meetings with Hamas representatives that led to the final agreement to establish the joint committee. Abu Hassan al-Maqdisi, a senior member of Jaish al-Islam, divulged to a German news agency that, as a result of the talks with Hamas, agreement had been reached on all outstanding issues between the two groups.11 In essence, Hamas recognized Jaish al-Islam as a legitimate armed movement inside the area under Hamas jurisdiction.

In a previous agreement between the two groups, Hamas had given Jaish al-Islam $5 million and more than a million Kalashnikov bullets in compensation for its freeing of BBC journalist Alan Johnston. Jaish al-Islam also received formal recognition from Hamas as a legitimate jihadi organization, and it was agreed that joint actions carried out in the past would not be revealed.12

In the meantime, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) warned about the emerging trend, telling Al-Hayat on February 26, 2008: "I believe that al-Qaeda is present in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. It is the Hamas movement that brought al-Qaeda in and it abets the entry and exit [of militants]....I believe that they are allies."

Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, provided clear expression to the fact that this has been Hamas policy in a discussion with the correspondent of Al-Hayat following his meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus on July 19, 2007. Abu Marzouk noted that "when Hamas assumed power, the Palestinian Authority in its entirety became a fighting authority in the sense that the fighters are no longer subject to arrest and liquidation. Hamas has transformed the resistance (the armed struggle) into something legitimate."13 In other words, Abu Marzouk confirmed that Gaza had become a hotbed of global Islamic terror. Jaish al-Islam, the main al-Qaeda affiliate in Gaza, like other Islamic terror organizations, therefore enjoys freedom of action under Hamas rule.

Hamas Rule Recalls the Taliban

Hamas rule in Gaza is reminiscent in no small degree of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, until its defeat by American forces at the end of 2001. In his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, former CIA director George Tenet said that between 1996 and 2001, Afghanistan had served as a safe haven for terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, which built the network that planned the attacks, provided extreme Islamic indoctrination, and recruited activists. The Taliban regime, according to Tenet, actively assisted al-Qaeda by assigning it guards for security, permitting it to build and maintain terrorist training camps, and refusing to cooperate with efforts by the international community to extradite bin Laden. In return, bin Laden invested vast amounts of money in Taliban projects and provided hundreds of well-trained fighters to help the Taliban expand and consolidate its control of the country. Tenet noted that terror is generally either state-supported or independent. In bin Laden's case with the Taliban, we had something completely new: a terrorist group funding a state.

Summary and Implications

Hamas rule is being consolidated in the Gaza Strip, which is also becoming a hothouse for Islamic terror organizations, including terror affiliates and tributaries of al-Qaeda. The strategic alliance between Hamas and Tehran has opened the gates of Gaza to Iran as well, which is establishing a terror front under its influence paralleling Israel's northern front in Lebanon manned by Hizbullah.

At this stage Hamas is focusing on Israel as the target of its terror activities. Nevertheless, Hamas maintains networks in various Western countries and, since it is an integral part of the Muslim Brotherhood, it can in the future become involved in terror attacks against Western targets. Let us recall that the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Mohamed Ali Jaafri, warned in an interview with the newspaper Jame Jam on June 28, 2008, that if his country were attacked by the United States, Hizbullah and Hamas would join the battle alongside Iran and would activate sleeper cells against American and Israeli interests in the Middle East and throughout the world.

It is likely that al-Qaeda affiliates would not stand on the sidelines of this struggle due to historical animosities between their Salafist ideologies and Shiite Iran. On August 18, 2008, Hizbullah signed a memorandum of understanding in Beirut with a Lebanese Salafist organization known as the Belief and Justice Movement. The agreement demonstrated how an Arab surrogate organization for Shiite Iran can work with Sunni extremists, under specific strategic circumstances.14

By reconciling itself to the existing reality in Gaza, and most definitely if it were to accord recognition to Hamas rule there, the West would be providing legitimacy for the terror hothouse that Hamas has established. This hothouse was designed to continue the jihad against apostates, pursue the struggle against Israel, secure the overthrow of the Abbas regime in the West Bank, and assist the efforts of the parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in overthrowing the moderate regimes in the Middle East headed by Jordan and Egypt.

*     *     *


3. Michael Slackman and Souad Mekhennet, "A New Group that Seems to Share Al-Qaeda's Agenda," New York Times, July 8, 2006.
6. "The Army of Islam," Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, May 20, 2007.
7. Marie Colvin, "Al-Qaeda Veteran Led Johnston Kidnap Gang,"  Sunday Times (London), July 8, 2007.
9. "Hamas Has Contacts with al-Qaeda: French Minister," Reuters-French, July
18, 2007,
11. Al Quds (Palestinian Authority), August 5, 2008.
12. This according to parties close to the Army of Islam, as cited in Al Quds Al Arabi, July 5, 2007.
13. Al-Hayat (London), July 19, 2007.
14. Rami G. Khouri, "Absent the State, Watch New Pacts Arise," Daily Star (Lebanon), August 20, 2008,

*     *     *

Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder with Brian Falkenstein of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


This Jerusalem Issue Brief is available online at:

Dore Gold, Publisher; Yaacov Amidror, ICA Chairman; Dan Diker, ICA Director; Mark Ami-El, Managing Editor. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Registered Amuta), 13 Tel-Hai St., Jerusalem, Israel; Tel. 972-2-561-9281, Fax. 972-2-561-9112, Email: In U.S.A.: Center for Jewish Community Studies, 5800 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD 21215; Tel. 410-664-5222; Fax 410-664-1228. Website: © Copyright. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA) is dedicated to providing a forum for Israeli policy discussion and debate.

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Palestijns geweld tegen Israëli's, 9 t/m 18 augustus 2008

Wat het Nederlandse nieuws doorgaans niet haalt zijn de dagelijkse incidenten van Palestijns geweld tegen Israëli's.
Onderstaand overzichtje is overgenomen van Israel Facts
periode 9-8-2008 t/m 18-8-2008
(bron HNN/YeshaNews meldkamers)
NB in Gaza bestaat een staakt het vuren met de Palestijnen daar, in dit rapport alleen al  4 Qassamraketten die neerkwamen op het gebied rond Gaza en een mortiergranaat.
9 augustus:  20.42  Kassamraket valt op Noord Sederot
                   20.48  5 Molotovcocktails naar soldaten gegooid  Maaleh HaHamissha
                   20.45  Stenen op Israelische auto's bij Ariel
                   20.43  Palestijnen gooien 3 molotovcocktails op Israelische auto nabij Carnei Shomron
                   20.48  Palestijnen gooien gasgranaat naar agenten in Niilin
10 augustus: 6.46   Palestijnen goien molotov cocktail op auto bij Hebron
                    6.49   Arabieren gooien stenen op Agenten in Oude stad Jeruzalem
                   13.11  Stenen op autobus Egged op weg naar Hebron vanuit Jeruzalem
                   23.01  Agent gewond door stenengooiende arabier bij Klaagmuur.
11 augustus: 14.45  Palestijn gearresteerd op weg naar steekaanslag (mes in beslaggenomen)  Hebron
                    16.30  Kassam  landt bij kindercreche in Sederot
13 augustus  12.35  Hawaarah bij Shechem (= Nabloes) Palestijn aangehouden met twee pijpbommen
                    14.45  Officier grenspolitie gewond door stenen bij Ni'ilin
14 augustus  10.12  Palestijn gooit molotov cocktail en wordt gewond door kogel van soldaten Tsahal (= Israëlische leger)
                    15.12  Speciale eenheid Tsahal houdt palestijn aan die springladingen voor terroristische aanslagen vervoerde
                    18.06  Mortier granaat valt in een moshav vlak bij Gaza
15 augustus  14.50  Vuurgevecht tussen Tsahal en drie Palestijnen bij Ma'aleh HaHamisha
                    15.47  Politieagent gewond door stenengooiers in Ni'ilin
                    15.49  Israelische fotograaf gewond in buik bij Ni'ilin
                    15.51  Kassam valt op Moshav in buurt van Ashqelon
16 augustus:  20.58 Arabisch Israelische vrouw gewond in haar auto door stenen van Palestijnen Hebron
                     20.59 Palestijn gearresteerd bij Bethlehem voor stenen gooien.
17 augustus:  13.38 Kassam afgeschoten, valt bij kibboets in Gaza area.
                     22.33 Autobus Egged bekogeld op weg Jeruzalem -Hebron
18 augustus   19.27 Jood licht gewond door stenengooiende Palestijnen (corridor Hebron)
                     19.28 Palestijnen gooien stenen op auto's in Shechem (= Nabloes)

vrijdag 22 augustus 2008

Opiniepeiling in Israël door Geneefs Initiatief: steun voor onderhandelingen en internationale bemoeienis

Onderhandelingen voor een definitief vredesakkoord kunnen rekenen op steun van 60% van de Israëli's, terwijl 1/3 deel tegen is. Ruim 40% vindt dat er zelfs met Hamas onderhandeld moet worden. Tegelijkertijd verwacht meer dan 60% niet dat er een vredesakkoord overeengekomen kan worden met de Palestijnen. Hieraan zal niet alleen de Hamasregering in Gaza debet zijn, maar ook de onbuigzame opstelling van Abbas en zijn onvermogen om de orde te handhaven op de Westoever en dus om zijn afspraken na te komen.
Een meerderheid ziet wel de noodzaak van vooruitgang in het vredesproces in, alleen al omdat het alternatief meer Palestijns geweld zou zijn.
Een binationale staat, het lievelingetje van steeds meer Westerse antizionisten, heeft maar de voorkeur van 14% van de Israëli's, dat is minder dan het percentage Israëlische Arabieren, die ook ondervraagd zijn. Zo'n 75% wil een tweestatenoplossing, en bijna de helft kan zich vinden in het (officieuze) Geneefse Akkoord van 2003.
Het is verbazend dat bijna 60% voorstander is van meer Europese bemoeienis met het conflict, tegen slechts 40% anderhalf jaar terug. Misschien dat men meer vertrouwen heeft in nieuwe Europese leiders als Sarkozy en Merkel dan in hun voorgangers. De Europese Unie oefent doorgaans toch meer kritiek uit op Israël dan op de Palestijnen. Maar met een deel van die kritiek zijn veel Israëli's het wellicht eens, zoals op het steeds maar niet ontruimen van de buitenposten en misdragingen van fanatieke kolonisten in o.a. Hebron, die velen ergeren en het land een slechte naam bezorgen.

Israeli Poll shows dramatic increase in public support for International involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
Poll, held in late July, shows a dramatic rise in the Israeli public's support for international involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with 73% supporting increased U.S. involvement and 58% supporting increased European involvement. The poll also shows 75% of Israelis believe the current situation with no political progress is bad for Israel, half support the principles of the Geneva Accord, and one third still believe Olmert has the legitimacy to advance the political process.
August 2008
MarketWatch Israeli Public Opinion Poll:
The Sample: The survey was held among a representative sample of 600 respondents across Israel, ages 18 and up (including new immigrant and Arab sectors, proportionally to their percentage in the population).
MarketWatch Research conducted the survey by phone, using a computerized polling system.
The survey was held on July 25th-25th, 2008.
The margin of error for a sample of 600 is 4.0%+/-

Are you for or against Israel conducting final status negotiations with the Palestinians? / conducting negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas?
For              60%
Against        35%
Undecided     5%

Are you for or against Israel conducting negotiations with Hamas?
For              43%
Against        55%
Undecided    3%

In your opinion, is Mahmoud Abbas a partner who should not be missed, or would it be better to wait for the next leader?
Should not be missed       47%
Wait for the next leader    35%
Undecided                       17%

In your opinion, does Ehud Olmert have the legitimacy to advance negotiations now, or would it be better to wait for the next leader?
Has the legitimacy            34%
Wait for the next leader     59%
Undecided                         7%

Do you or do you not believe a permanent status agreement can be reached with the Palestinians to end the conflict?
Believe              34%
Don't believe      62%
Undecided          4%

Would you support or oppose  an agreement with the following articles (the Geneva Accord):
An almost complete withdrawal to the' 67 borders, excluding some settlement blocks, in return for which uninhabited areas will be handed over
Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem will be under Israeli sovereignty and Arab neighborhoods under Palestinian Sovereignty
The Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem will be under Israeli sovereignty, the Temple Mount and Arab quarters in the Old City under Palestinian sovereignty
A demilitarized Palestinian state and the establishment of comprehensive security arrangements to protect Israel
The return of refugees to the Palestinian state and the limited admission of refugees into Israel based on Israel's exclusive judgment
A mutual announcement by Israel and the Palestinians on the end of conflict and end of all claims
Support         49%
Oppose         37%
Undecided     13%

Should the current situation continue with no political progress opposite the Palestinians, would it be good or bad for Israel in your opinion?
Good for Israel      19%
Bad for Israel        74%
Undecided             7%

Should Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas form a Palestinian unity government, would this increase, decrease, or have no effect on the chances of arriving at an agreement with the Palestinian?
Increase             27%
Decrease           30%
Have no effect    35%
Undecided           8%

If the current situation were to continue with no significant political progress, what do you think would happen?
Terrorism and acts of violence would increase    56%
There would be no change in the levels of terrorism and violence   31%
Terrorism and acts of violence would decrease    7%
Undecided                                                        7%

If the current situation were to continue with no significant political progress, what do you think would happen in the balance of power between Hamas and Fatah?
Hamas would take over the West Bank             37%
There would be no change - Hamas would rule in Gaza and Fatah in the W. Bank  33%
Fatah and Abbas would regain control of Gaza  10%
Undecided                                                      20%

There are those who claim that in a situation with no significant progress, Israel could turn into a binational state, meaning that the Palestinians would relinquish their demand for a state and instead demand to live in Israel as citizens. In such a situation, two nations would live within the borders of Israel. In your opinion, could a situation like this come about or not?
Could come about           26%
Could not come about      71%
Undecided                        3%

Which situation do you view as preferable?
The establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, meaning two states for two peoples    74%
The establishment of a binational state, meaning one state for two peoples    14%
Neither        9%
Undecided   3%

Do you support or oppose increasing U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian process?
                 August 05    July 08
Support        47%          73%
Oppose        45%          23%
Undecided     8%           4%

Support for increased U.S. involvement according to intended vote:
Support      85%
Oppose      15%
Undecided   0%
Support      96%
Oppose       3%
Undecided   1%
Support       91%
Oppose        9%
Undecided    0%
Support       75%
Oppose       18%
Undecided    6%
National Religious Party
Support       61%
Oppose       27%
Undecided   12%
Support       47%
Oppose       54%
Undecided    0%

Do you support or oppose increasing European involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian process?
                 January 07    July 08
Support        40%           58%
Oppose        53%           37%
Undecided     7%             5%

Support for increased European involvement according to intended vote:
Support       73%
Oppose       11%
Undecided   16%
Support       97%
Oppose       10%
Undecided   3%
Support       87%
Oppose       12%
Undecided    1%
Support       53%
Oppose       43%
Undecided    4%
National Religious Party
Support       25%
Oppose       70%
Undecided    5%
Support      54%
Oppose      40%
Undecided   6%

Hamas dreigt Shalit te laten verdwijnen zoals Ron Arad

Hamas is natuurlijk pissig dat er gevangenen vrij komen waar het niet de hand in heeft gehad, en dat Israël zich nog niet bij haar eisen wat betreft de te ruilen gevangenen voor Shalit heeft neergelegd. Het valt te hopen dat Israël zijn poot stijf houdt en zelf met eigen eisen komt, ook al kan het dan nog wel even duren voordat Shalit vrijkomt....

Last update - 11:49 20/08/2008
Hamas threatens to turn Shalit into 'second Ron Arad'
Hamas has warned that abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit will face a fate as uncertain as that of missing airman Ron Arad if Israel continues to tarry on negotiations for a prisoner exchange, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Gaza-based militant group made the comment on Wednesday, during an exercise simulating the capture of Israeli soldiers, the radio said.

Egypt has been mediating negotiations for the release of Shalit, who has been held captive in the Gaza Strip since he was snatched by militants in a 2006 cross-border raid.
Israel has received some signs of life from the missing soldier, but the negotiations have for the most part been kept mum.
Israel this week agreed to release 199 Palestinian prisoners to the West Bank as a gesture of goodwill to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The prisoners slated for release include two with "blood on their hands," convicted of carrying out terror attacks in Israel.
Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin told the cabinet on Monday that the release of these prisoners "creates pressure on Hamas and is likely to accelerate the negotiations over Gilad Shalit."
However, he added, "the gesture will not make Hamas more flexible about its demands, because the organization sees that Israel is releasing prisoners with blood on their hands, which merely causes Hamas to harden its position."
According to a government source, Shin Bet representatives spoke in favor of the gesture to Abbas, on the grounds that it would pressure Hamas to conclude a deal for Shalit's return.

Vrouwen in Gaza trainen voor zelfmoordaanslagen

In het kader van het islamistische vrouwvriendelijke beleid worden ook vrouwen in Gaza getraind voor zelfmoordaanslagen. Er wordt wel beweerd dat hiervoor specifiek kansloze, 'onteerde' of gehandicapte vrouwen worden geworven.
Opmerkelijk is ook de suggestie dat deze zelfmoordterroristes tegen het Israëlische leger zouden worden ingezet, daar dit 'middel' doorgaans tegen burgerdoelen wordt gebruikt.


Gaza women training as suicide bombers in case truce ends
By Haaretz Staff and Channel 10
Last update - 09:31 20/08/2008 [with video]

The cease-fire agreement struck between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip has brought a semblance of calm to the region, but neither side has stopped preparing for the possible renewal of violence.

In Gaza, Islamic Jihad members recently offered TV cameras a rare glimpse into training undergone by women who are prepared to carry out suicide attacks should the Israel Defense Forces reinvade the coastal territory.

The women take as an example Fatma Al-Najar, a 57-year-old grandmother who blew herself up in Gaza in 2006, wounding three soldiers.

donderdag 21 augustus 2008

Qurei: pas akkoord als over alle punten een akkoord is - inclusief Jeruzalem

Het is duidelijk dat er geen overeenkomst kan komen als je geen enkele flexibiliteit toont zoals Qurei. Israël bood bijna 100% land aan (incl. landruil) maar van Palestijnse zijde komt slechts een luid 'njet'. Men had kunnen zeggen: 'aardig begin, maar...', 'klinkt niet slecht, maar...', 'interessant voorstel, we zullen het nader bestuderen' of iets dergelijks, maar men zegt slechts nee, houdt vervolgens vast aan geheel Oost-Jeruzalem en een 'rechtvaardige oplossing van het vluchtelingenprobleem', ofwel ' recht op terugkeer'.

Quria: no agreement with Israel in 2008
Date: 20 / 08 / 2008  Time:  21:45
www.maannews. net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=31428

Ramallah - Ma'an - Senior Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Quria does not believe that a final status agreement with Israel will be reached by the end of 2008, the original goal set out at the launch of negotiations last year.

"I do not think this year we will reach to an agreement with the Israelis for several reasons, the first of which is the negotiating process is difficult. Second these days the Israeli side is concerned with its internal problems," Quria said at a Fatah meeting in Ramallah on Wendesday.

He added: "We [do] not accept less than a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We [want] a just solution of the issue of the refugees based on the international resolutions and the right of return."

Quria, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team was speaking at the Fatah headquarters in Ramallah at a meeting with the heads of Fatah youth and student groups from around the West Bank.

He added that during their latest meeting he and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni "discussed the negotiable issues. Public action committees were formed for all of these issues without exception."

No agreement would be reached with Israel that does not address all issues in "one package."

Quria added that East Jerusalem must be the Palestinian geographical, spiritual capital and the main hub of the national economy. Without Jerusalem there will be no agreement, he said.

Regarding relations with the Hamas movement which governs Gaza, Quria said, "we can not face the challenges while coup and division are still going on."

He however used harsh language in dealing with Hamas: "We do not deny that there is reason for disagreement but the Hamas movement had committed grotesque crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and against Fatah members. It never happened that a Palestinian would kill another in the same way Hamas did in killing the Palestinians and stripped them of their resistance arms and force them and their families out of the Gaza Strip. The one who used to do so is the Israeli [occupation]."

Nonetheless, he said dialogue is the way out of the current political crisis: "we want a national dialogue based on dealing with the problems from their roots. We do not want fragile dialogue that will increase the random of the Palestinian situation. We want a real dialogue that would eliminate division from the Palestinian body."

He said that Egypt is working hard to bring the rival factions together in negotiations.

"We as Palestinians have to make honest efforts to bring success to the Egyptian efforts aiming at bridging the rift among Palestinians."

Concerning the upcoming release of 199 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Quria affirmed that the Palestinians had demanded the release of all prisoners who were arrested before the Oslo accords.

"We demand the release of the Palestinian leaderships without discrimination among them, Ahmad Sa'adat, Marwan Barghuthi and Husam Khader and others. Our demands also included all the female and sick prisoners held in the Israeli jails," he said.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Petition for Journalist Salah Choudhury in Bangladesh


SPME is recirculating this petition from last year as Mr. Choudhury's trial has begun with the prosecution asking for the death penalty under Bangladeshi Fundamentalist Islamic law.

Advocates for freedom of speech and freedom of the press and of interfaith dialogue and human rights must join academics and others of good will by signing and circulating this petition immediately. Many thanks.

Promoting Academic Integrity and Honest Debate

A Petition to Government of Bangladesh to Free and Drop All Charges of Sedition Against Muslim Journalist Salah Choudhury Which Could Result in His Execution

Written by: By 106, 5
August 14, 2008 To: Government of Bangladesh
Mr. Choudhury's trial has begun. Current information can be found at
We, the undersigned scholars and other individuals of good will, petition the Government of Bangladesh to drop all charges against Muslim journalist Salah Choudhury. We understand that he faces charges under the Bangladesh Penal Code of "sedition, treason, blasphemy and espionage," which are punishable by death.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is editor of the Bangladeshi tabloid The Weekly Blitz.
A practicing Muslim , Choudhury wrote about the rise of Islamist extremists in Bangladesh and has written articles against anti-Israeli and Judeophobic attitudes in Muslim-majority countries. He also urged Bangladesh-Israel relations and real interaith understanding based on religious equality.

PEN USA gave him their Freedom to Write Award in 2005 in recognition of his commitment towards courageous journalism and confronting extreme adversities

The American Jewish Committee presented its Moral Courage Award to him in May 2006, but the Bangladesh government prevented him from visiting the United States to receive the honor.

Choudhury is facing these charges for taking strong public and professional stands against the radical Islamists who are quietly taking over the world's third largest Muslim-majority country, against the oppression of religious minorities and others there, and for positive relations between Muslims and Jews. His one formal violation of Bangladesh regulations was his attempt to visit Israel in 2003 to attend a conference of the Hebrew Writers' Association. The applicable act allows Bangladeshis to travel to all countries in the world except Israel. The penalty for such violation is a 500 Taka (less than $8). On November 29, he was taken into police custody and, as he tells it, blindfolded, beaten and interrogated for 10 days in an attempt to extract a confession that he was spying for Israel. He spent the next 17 months in solitary confinement, and was denied medical treatment for his glaucoma . Only after an international campaign and the personal intervention of U.S. Congressman Mark Kirk did the Bangladesh govenment release Choudhury on bail. At the same time, the Bangladesh government promised to drop all charges against him after admitting that there was no substance to them.

In July, a mob stormed the premises of Choudhury's tabloid and beat him, fracturing his ankle.When Choudhury lodged a complaint with the police, the government responded by issuing a warrant for his arrest. That summer, a bomb was also set off Weekly Blitz offices and although government officials admitted knowing the perpetrators led by Mufti Noor Hussain Noorani, self-proclaimed bigot and head of the radical Khatmey Nabuat Movement, no arrests were ever made.

In September, a judge affiliated with a radical faction ordered the case continued, in spite of the government's reluctance to prosecute, proclaiming that "by praising Christians and Jews," Choudhury had "hurt the sentiments of Muslims." The United States, European Union, and other democratic nations have sent observer to his trial. Government witnesses have refused to show in court, the court has violated Bangaldeshi legal procedure, and the prosecution has yet to provide a scintilla of credible evidence to support the capital charge. The new government in Dhaka has promised several American officials and others that they will have the case dropped. Yet, on February 28, 2007, the radical judge brazenly ordered the trial to proceed.

Resolutions in support of Choudhury and demands that the charges be dropped have been passed in the European and Australian Parliaments. A similar resolution passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously and is scheduled to come before the full House this month where it is expected to pass without opposition.

Noted international Human Rights attorney, Irwin Cotler, whose clients have included Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov, has identified eight violations on Bangladesh's own law in Choudhury's prosecution. The only way to restore the integrity of Bangladesh is to end this persecution now. In the name of justice, freedom of speech, freedom of passage and of human rights, we join with governments, human rights advocates and other scholars worldwide and ask that this injustice be immediately halted and that all charges against Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury be dropped.

We urge each of you who sign this petition and even those of you who don't to circulate it amongst your colleagues and friends to help us reach 10,000 names by April 1, 2007. Thank you from Scholars for Peace in the Middle East


Relevant articles:

Must He Die? Meet A Muslim Dissident Who Loves Jews, Christians And Free Speech
Efforts towards a genuine interfaith dialogue


• Visit Scholars For Peace in the Middle East website

• To Sign this petition go to

• To see current signatures go to

woensdag 20 augustus 2008

Syrië wil zetel in IAEA voor veto

Het Syrische Gush Shalom? Helaas krijgen ze niet de waardering van linkse intellectuelen en mensenrechtenactivisten die Uri Avnery en de zijnen ten deel valt. Er is bovendien een groot verschil met Gush Shalom en andere radikale Israëlische vredesorganisaties: zij bestrijden een democratie en hun wordt door Israël niks in de weg gelegd, ondanks de schade die zij Israël met hun extreem eenzijdige kritiek berokkenen. De Reform Party of Syria wordt geleid door Syrische dissidenten in de VS, want de Syrische dictatuur laat zulke kritische geluiden niet toe. Deze mensen handelen met gevaar voor eigen leven, of dat van vrienden en familie, want de arm van de Syrische geheime dienst is lang, en Syrië kent weinig scrupules. Maar voor dat alles is maar weinig belangstelling in tegenstelling tot de Israëlische 'dissidenten'.


Syria Seeks IAEA Veto Seat


Washington DC - August 17, 2008/RPS Staff/ -- A story published by Ehpraim Asculai in the Jerusalem Post on August 16 makes reference to Syria looking to get a seat on the Board of Governors of the IAEA. The very same organization headed by Mohammad ElBaradai who was shocked to learn that the Assad regime has built a nuclear reactor under the nose of his organization. But instead of thanking the diligence of the Israeli Air Force for its attempts at stopping a rogue regime of terror to arm itself with a nuclear weapon, which would have harmed the Syrian people, he rather poured venom against Israel for not informing IAEA of the fact in the first place.

The significance this latest Syrian move is that the regime will be able, in the future, to veto any action the IAEA might take against Syria should Assad pursue again arming his regime with nuclear weapons. This only proves that Assad does have such intentions and Syrian attempts at a seat on the Board of Governors is an attempt to buy insurance against such eventuality.

Rogue and regimes of terror have implanted themselves within organizations deciding the fate of the free world. Their purpose is to use the very same systems of checks and balances the west has devised in order to contain disasters and protect humanity at large to spread disasters, terror, and threaten humanity at large.


Copyrights 2003-2008 - Reform Party of Syria (RPS) except where otherwise noted - all rights reserved.


Israël sluit tijdelijk grensovergangen Gazastrook na nieuwe raket aanval

De hoeveelste raket is dit sinds het staakt-het-vuren? Ik ben de tel kwijt geraakt. Er is bij deze raketten weliswaar nog weinig schade aangericht, maar de mensen in de gemeenschappen rond de Gazastrook hebben recht op rust. Israël betaalt genoeg voor het staakt-het-vuren, want Hamas maakt er dankbaar gebruik van door zijn kracht en zijn greep op de Gazastrook te versterken en houdt zich bovendien niet aan zijn belofte dat serieus over vrijlating van Shalit onderhandeld zou worden.
Israel closes Gaza crossing over rocket fire
Intermittent rocket fire persists despite ceasefire between Israel, Gaza terror groups. No injuries or damage reported in Tuesday attack as Qassam lands in kibbutz
Shmulik Hadad Ynet
Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the commercial crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip closed as of Wednesday morning following the launching of a Qassam rocket towards southern Israel earlier on Tuesday.

The crossings are to remain closed over the next two days. On Thursday Barak will conduct a revaluation of the situation

Palestinian gunmen launched a Qassam rocket from northern Gaza towards Israel on Tuesday evening. The rocket landed in an open area in a kibbutz belonging to the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.

No injuries were reported and no damage was caused. In recent weeks construction has begun in parts of the kibbutz to fortify buildings against rocket attacks.

Dialoog tussen 5 Palestijnse partijen voor herstellen eenheid

Wat betekent dit voor het vredesproces met Israël? De samenstelling van het nieuwe comité belooft niet veel goeds. Zal Abbas eisen dat de eventuele nieuwe eenheidsregering het vredesproces goedkeurt, eerdere overeenkomsten tussen Israël en de PLO honoreert en geweld tegen Israël veroordeelt? Wat Abbas doet voor vrede houdt al niet echt over, dus als hij wat dat betreft nog eens Hamas en de andere radikale facties tegemoet moet komen dan blijft er helemaal niets meer over.

5 party "honour charter" committee meets in Gaza, puts dialogue in motion
Date: 16 / 08 / 2008  Time:  16:05
www.maannews .net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=31335

Gaza - Ma'an -The committee proposed by the Crisis Unit on Thursday met in Gaza on Saturday where they discussed the issue of national dialogue and begin writing an "Honour Charter," to govern factional cooperation.

The committee is composed of members of Palestine's leftist parties, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) the Palestine People's Party (PPP), along with Islamic Jihad, and Hamas.

During the meeting, held at PFLP headquarters, it was agreed that the committee would meet with Fatah representatives on Monday in order to present their findings, and to form a higher committee to discuss the file.

Two of the major points of agreement in the meeting were; speeding up the comprehensive national dialogue, and that the national conciliation document and Cairo declaration were solid documents that would be good starting points for discussion.

During this meeting a number of general principles were agreed on

1- Forming a national unity government
2- Rebuilding security forces on national and professional bases.
3- Activating the Palestinian Legislative Council in accordance with the basic law and its internal system and respecting the results of the elections.
4- Rebuilding PLO organizations by holding elections in accordance with what was stated in the national conciliation document and Cairo declaration.

In their statement, the five factions that took part in the meeting said that there should be steps in place leading towards a meaningful national dialogue. The first of these, they said, is halting factional media smear campaigns, and ensuring the immediate release of all political prisoners in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Third would be to begin working on forming a national committee in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to deal with the file of the political prisoners and forming a committee of the five factions to put the comments of each concern forward to the issue of the dialogue.

According to senior PFLP leader Kayid Al-Ghoul, the multi-factional make-up of the committee was part of an agreement reached within the Crisis Unit (established to monitor the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza) during their Thursday meeting. They also agreed to seek the approval from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the make-up of the committee.

The committee, now awaiting approval, will be in charge of studying the case of each of the political prisoners that have been detained in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The committee will also compose an "honour charter" that will first prohibit politically-motivated detentions, and lay out ground rules for the settlement of future disputes.

The left wing parties and Islamic Jihad suggest that an interim Palestinian government should be entrusted to run the country and prepare for presidential and legislative elections.
***Updated 21:01 Bethlehem Time

Vrijlaten gevangenen helpt Abbas niet

De vrijlating van Palestijnse gevangenen helpt niet om Abbas te versterken, en het is twijfelachtig of de vrijlating van gevangenen in het verleden heeft geholpen om de 'gematigden' te versterken. Hiervoor zijn verschillende redenen, zoals dat de vrijgelaten gevangenen terugvielen in hun oude 'beroep', namelijk aanslagen plegen of ander geweld tegen Israël, of de criminaliteit in gingen, en het feit dat de Palestijnen het altijd als te weinig en te laat beschouwden, en vrijlating van alle gevangenen eisten.
Deze twee redenen lijken elkaar tegen te spreken: als Israël alle gevangenen zou vrijlaten zou de PA alleen nog maar moeilijker de orde kunnen handhaven, en dit zou de vrede juist niet ten goede komen. De PA stelt dus weer eens eisen die niet alleen niet reëel, maar ook tegenstrijdig met de eigen verklaarde doelen zijn. Andere voorbeelden: onvoorwaardelijke Israëlische terugtrekking uit de Westoever, waarna Hamas bijna zeker ook daar de macht zal grijpen, en de eis dat alle vluchtelingen en hun nakomelingen moeten kunnen terugkeren naar Israël, wat tegen een tweestatenoplossing indruist en een goed recept voor een bloedige burgeroorlog in Israël tussen de Joden en Arabieren is.

Analysis: Prisoner release does nothing for Abbas

Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
It's hard these days to find one Palestinian who regards Israel's decision to release some 200 Palestinian prisoners as a "goodwill gesture." It's also hard to see how the release of the prisoners would "boost" the popularity of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas among his people.

The argument that the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails strengthens the "moderates" has never proven to be correct.

The best way to strengthen the "moderates" at this stage is by putting pressure on them to reform the PA and end financial corruption and the state of lawlessness and chaos in the West Bank.

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords 15 years ago, Israel - citing the need to strengthen "moderate" Palestinians - has released thousands of security prisoners.

Ironically, in some cases the released prisoners turned out to be a big headache for the "moderate" Palestinian leadership.

Shortly after the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel freed hundreds of Fatah security prisoners with the hope that they would help Yasser Arafat and his security forces in imposing law and order and fighting Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

But many of the released prisoners soon became involved in various criminal activities ranging from armed robberies, extortion, theft and arms trafficking.

Others later joined Hamas and other radical groups and became actively involved in armed attacks on Israel during the second intifada.

They also became a financial burden on the shoulders of the PA, which had to put the local "heroes" on its payroll and pay them salaries, although many of them were not doing any work.

The fact that Israel did not release all the Palestinians and shut down its prisons immediately after the Oslo Accords resulted in many Palestinians losing faith in the peace process and questioning Israel's true intentions.

Many Palestinians were hoping that Israel would "close the file" of the prisoners after the beginning of the peace process. As far as they were concerned, real peace meant that there should be no more Palestinians in Israeli jails.

But when the Israelis failed to do so, the Palestinians directed their anger not only against Israel, but against the PA as well.

Until today, there has been no proof that the release of security prisoners boosted Arafat's standing among his people in the first 10 years of the peace process.

Each time Israel used to release a few hundred prisoners, the Palestinians' reaction would be: "Too little, too late." Too little because the Palestinians have always wanted to see at least several thousand prisoners freed, especially those serving lengthy sentences. Too late because most of those released in the past were anyway on the verge of being released after completing their sentences.

Over the past three years, the release of security prisoners to "boost" Abbas and Fatah did not prevent Hamas in the end from winning the parliamentary election. Nor did it help Abbas and Fatah when Hamas managed to drive them out of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Today, Israel is hoping that the release of the 200 security prisoners, almost all of whom belong to Fatah, would again strengthen Abbas and Fatah at the expense of Hamas.

However, it's highly unlikely that Abbas would benefit from the release of the prisoners because many Palestinians don't give him credit for the move. Rather, these Palestinians see the decision as an attempt on the part of Israel to improve its image on the international arena and extract political concessions from Abbas and his colleagues in Ramallah.

A top PA official said, "What's the point in releasing 200 prisoners when Israel is continuing to build in the settlements? Although it's a positive step, I don't see how it's going to bring us closer to peace."

Moreover, the decision is seen by Hamas and its supporters as an Israeli attempt to drive a wedge between Fatah and Hamas and deepen divisions among the Palestinians.

Similarly, Israel should not expect to make any significant gains as a result of its decision.

Even the "moderates" in Ramallah who welcomed the decision were quick to emphasize that it was insufficient and that Israel must now free all the security prisoners.

Or, as a prominent academic in Ramallah put it, "Israel is today releasing 200 prisoners to make room in its prisons for the hundreds of Palestinians who were arrested by the Israeli army in the past few weeks."

dinsdag 19 augustus 2008

Instructie video boycot Israël

Hieronder een handige handleiding voor hoe de Zionistische schurkenstaat te boycotten:

Er schijnt een foutje in te zitten, namelijk de bewering dat Israël de hart stent heeft ontwikkeld zou niet terecht zijn - die hoeft dus niet geboycot te worden!


Jerusalem Post over de grenzen van Israël en de Palestijnse strijd

De twee intifada's hebben de Palestijnen wel een hoop ellende gebracht en een ernstige verslechtering van hun levensomstandigheden, maar tegelijkertijd de internationale steun voor hun zaak doen groeien.

Editor's Notes: Palestinian inflexibility bulldozes Israeli vagueness

Aug. 14, 2008


The officer is not an unsympathetic man. He gazes bleakly out from his vantage point on the outskirts of the settlement of Hashmonaim, watching the handful of mechanical diggers and bulldozers and trucks making their imperceptible progress as they further the construction of the West Bank security barrier in the valley below him, and he sighs.

"It is their land, and of course they're going to struggle for it," he says. "But they will lose."

He waves a hand vaguely into the middle distance. "They lost at Bi'lin," a few short kilometers away - the previous focal point of struggle against the construction of the barrier. "And they'll lose here. The fence will be built."

When he says "it is their land," the officer is not taking a political position. He is not pontificating about Israeli and Palestinian sovereign rights. He's talking about the specific olive tree-covered hillsides outside the village of Ni'lin now being gashed by the winding ribbon of freshly moved earth that the barrier will follow.

In deference to that ownership, olive trees that happen to stand in the path of the bulldozers and mechanical diggers as they make their way along the route are dug up and replanted to the side, hopefully to thrive afresh, with their owners scheduled to be afforded access to their groves via gates in the barrier. "Sometimes there are some problems" with these crossing points along the fence, the officer acknowledges, "but generally they work."

Thoroughly unmollified by such Israeli concern for their ongoing welfare, the villagers of Ni'lin and assorted Israeli and international protest groups now regularly confront the tractors and the security forces here with stones and slingshots and physical violence, to protest both the particular course of this section of the fence and the entire, overall fact of the fence's construction. The results have lately been fatal. An 11-year-old boy was shot in the head during protests in late July; an 18-year-old was killed at his funeral the next day. Making the most waves, because the shooting was captured on camera and plainly did not occur in the heat of confrontation, a third protester was shot with a rubber bullet in the toe on July 7, after he had been arrested, handcuffed and blindfolded.

Sensitive to partisan political waters, the officer won't say whether he thinks his defense establishment bosses have plotted an astute course for the barrier in this stretch, answering my questions with one-word answers wherever possible. No, it does not run along the Green Line, he says flatly. Yes, the Green Line is back there, behind us, he confirms, glancing over his shoulder toward the main road, Highway 443. And yes, too, if the planners wanted settlements such as Hashmonaim to benefit from the fence's protective embrace, this was pretty much the route it had to follow.

But finally unloading just a little, he looks across at me, wipes the sweat and the dust from his eyes and pronounces: "The Palestinians could have waged their struggle differently."

The officer, an IDF veteran it turns out, spent many years of his career in Gaza, and what he means, as he then elaborates with a loquaciousness quite at odds with his previous taciturnity, is that the entire resort to violence, from the start of the first intifada in 1987, has been "a nightmare" for the Palestinians.

"I remember Gaza way, way back," he says, "when 90,000 or 100,000 of them would come in every day to work in Israel, all the way up to Haifa. There were no real [security] checks. Nobody bothered them, and they didn't disturb us."

Does he mean that if the strategies of the first and second intifadas had been eschewed, and the Palestinians had stuck to nonviolent protest and diplomacy, they would have had a state by now? Or that they could have flourished economically had they remained under full Israeli control, and would have spared themselves, and us, all that bloodshed and all these intensified security impositions?

He doesn't answer directly, instead reminding me that Ni'lin used to be known as a "village of peace" - not because its 4,500-strong populace was renowned for any particular affection for Israel, but because of its very proximity to Israeli residential areas. Israelis living nearby used to go shopping in droves here in more tranquil times, and Ni'lin felt the financial benefits.

Indeed, he goes on, until very recently, as the barrier was gradually filled in elsewhere along its route north of Jerusalem, the fact that Ni'lin was so close to one of the few remaining gaps meant that some villagers rented out rooms to Palestinians from more remote West Bank areas, who would sleep the night and then sneak through the open land into Israel to work. The upsurge in protest means that these last few unfenced kilometers are more closely patrolled now, the officer tells me, and so this source of income is drying out too.

HE'S RIGHT, of course, that had the Palestinians chosen nonviolent struggle, both sides would have been spared many nightmares these past two decades. He's certainly right that, were it not for the strategic waves of suicide bombers dispatched through the hillsides of the West Bank into Israel to kill and maim men, women and children, prime minister Ariel Sharon, in his penultimate incarnation, would never have built an ultra-sophisticated, border-style obstacle separating much of the West Bank from Israel. That pre-disengagement Ariel Sharon had been urging Israelis to "grab the hillsides" of Judea and Samaria so that those territories could never be relinquished, and he vehemently opposed constructing anything that might look like a border until a traumatized, bloodied Israeli public forced his hand.

But given that shift by Sharon - the grudging consent to build the barrier - followed by his decision to relinquish Gaza even without an agreement, I question the logic of this officer who accompanied me to the Nil'in stretch of the barrier last week. Has the Palestinians' murderous intifada strategy really failed them?

Yes, in recent years, it has failed the hundreds of thousands of Gazans and West Bankers no longer able to find employment in Israel. It has failed the farmers of Nil'in and Bil'in and countless landowners and others along the barrier's route whose access to their lands and their jobs and their schools is no longer free and unremarkable - though I don't recall any of them staging regular protests, with enthusiastic international support, against the suicide bombers who prompted the change.

But Israel has gone from Gaza. And the extraordinarily costly West Bank security barrier - constructed at as profound an investment as any national boundary anywhere - represents an immense, undeniable declaration of Israeli intent to retreat from the overwhelming proportion of the West Bank as well, with the settlements on the "wrong" side of the fence necessarily rendered second class and vulnerable.

In its original conception, the barrier, which has proved so effective a defense against the bombers, was planned to place about a seventh of the West Bank on the "safe side," the Israeli side, and was lambasted as such by the Palestinians and, indeed, by many Israelis. Serially petitioned by Palestinian landowners, the Supreme Court relentlessly forced it westwards, so that the final route will take in only about half the intended West Bank territory. The Palestinians continue to oppose the very fact of its construction, with considerable overseas backing. The mainstream international community, meanwhile, recognizes the security imperative behind the barrier, but wishes it were constructed along the Green Line.

And so, as the demonstrators of Nil'in and their supporters spend the next year or so waging their weekly or even daily struggle against the building of these final few kilometers, a more accurate assessment, I think, is that the Palestinian employment of intifada violence has rid them of Israel's presence in Gaza, and produced, in the shape of the barrier, physical evidence of Israeli readiness to relinquish almost all of the West Bank. And this has been achieved in the absence of genuine Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and amid a rise of Islamic extremism resolutely committed to using all means to achieve Israel's destruction.

Far from alienating Western support for the Palestinians, furthermore, the last two decades of conflict have produced an increasingly overt consensus even among Israel's friends that the final route of the barrier - which would then be acknowledged as the border - must run pretty much along the pre-'67 lines.

Today, we don't merely have familiarly hostile individuals and forums and nations demanding our retreat to the parameters of 41 years ago, but the likes of France's markedly pro-Israeli president and Britain's son-of-an-Israel-loving-clergyman telling us the same. And we have a US presidential contender, Barack Obama, making only his second brief visit here, who is certain enough that he understands the historical flux as to boil down Israel's claims in Judea and Samaria to a "buffer zone," and declare, as a friend, that if Israel wants to maintain all or part of it, it needs to take into account the "antagonism" this will cause on the other side.

HOWEVER MUCH we might wish to agonize and indulge in internal recriminations as to the cause, the fact is that Jewish biblical and historical claims on Judea and Samaria, though they might be recognized in theory, are of little practical consequence even to Israel's friends these days. And even the security argument - Israel's right to sufficient territorial depth to enable it to protect itself against proven aggressors - resonates increasingly narrowly.

The Palestinians and those who spoke for them rejected the UN's division of British mandatory Palestine, and they tried relentlessly to wipe out the State of Israel even in the 1948-1967 period when neither Gaza, nor the West Bank, nor east Jerusalem were in Israeli hands - facts which savagely undermine the argument that the conflict would be resolved if only Israel relinquished that same land. Israel has a profound historical connection to these territories, was acutely vulnerable to attack when it did not hold them, and captured them in a war forced upon it - strong arguments, all, against a subsequent return to the '67 lines.

And yet, in trying to keep it all, Israel is gradually losing all support for keeping any of this territory. There is still widespread international backing for Israel's right to exist, a widespread understanding that we deserve to survive. But there is far too little understanding of what dimensions are required for that survival, of what constitute defensible borders - in no small part because Israel has been unable to articulate them consensually and effectively, and then fight for them.

So, sure, the Palestinians might have waged their struggle differently, and the villagers of Ni'lin and elsewhere would have been spared the diggers fencing them in.

But is it not really we Israelis who should have waged our struggle differently, for what we deem are vital parts of this land... if we could only agree on where the barrier, the border, existentially needs to run? Is Palestinian inflexibility not bulldozing Israeli vagueness?

In the months before Ehud Barak set off for the Camp David talks with Yasser Arafat in 2000, there were members of his Labor Party - very senior and very dovish members - who were confident that Israel would be able to reach a permanent accord with the Palestinians under which it would maintain not merely a few slivers of West Bank territory to encompass major settlement blocs, but those big blocs, a presence in the Jordan Valley and a fair amount of additional land besides.

This week, it has been reported that Israel has essentially offered the Palestinians 100 percent of the West Bank in the Olmert-Abbas negotiations over recent months - a 93% withdrawal, 1.5% of Israeli territory in the "safe passage" corridor from Gaza to the West Bank, and 5.5% of Israeli sovereign territory in the Negev to match a 5.5% expansion of sovereignty to encompass major West Bank settlements including Ma'aleh Adumim and the Etzion Bloc.

A 100% deal. And the Palestinians have turned it down.