zaterdag 7 februari 2009

Politieke meningsverschillen vertragen Israel's reactie op raketten uit Gaza

 
Deze analyse is een paar dagen oud, maar nog steeds actueel. Er wordt nog steeds onderhandeld over een staakt het vuren overeenkomst van een jaar of zelfs langer, en er vallen weer dagelijks raketten op Israel.
 
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ANALYSIS / Political infighting delaying Israel response to Gaza rockets
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff - Haaretz
Last update - 00:54 01/01/2009
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061119.html

 
Exactly a week before the elections it is already impossible to know which way is up: Political considerations and strategic indecision are being used to add to the the chaos of Israeli decision making. What is much more clear  is that Israel, in stark contrast to its hopes at the end of Operation Cast Lead, has maneuvered itself into a real mess. For more than a week now, Palestinian factions (at this stage it does not appear to involve Hamas), are blatantly ignoring the cease-fire and are firing rockets at the Negev. In one case, an Israel Defense Forces scout was killed by the blast of an explosive device near the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Israel's response, at least to date, has been limited and measured. On Sunday night, the air force attacked tunnels used for smuggling and an empty police station. Yesterday it struck a team of militants firing mortars, killing one. This is not the threat of a disproportionate response that Israel issued after the IDF pulled out of the Strip, and which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated Sunday. Even though there are operational considerations that are delaying more extensive action (and which was authorized last week), it seems the character of the action now is directly affected by disagreement among the Olmert-Livni-Barak troika.

In the background, political recriminations abound. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni "babbles" and "has never held a weapon;" Defense Minister Ehud Barak "is paralyzed by fear and does nothing."

But the dilemma is real and urgent even without any election considerations. Continued Israeli restraint may destroy the gains of the war - which leads senior officers in Southern Command, as well as among those who took active part in the fighting, to support a harsh response. On the other hand, a more heavy-handed retaliation, such as an assassination of a senior Hamas figure, may lead to renewed fighting, to the point that the residents of Ashdod and Ashkelon will have to vote on 10 February during the breaks between rocket attack sirens.

In theory, Israel is hoping Egypt will find a solution in two or three days. Cairo has asked for the time to cobble together a deal with Hamas by Thursday. If this also leads to a longer cease-fire agreement, of 12-18 months, then harsh military steps will become unnecessary.

This is what Barak seems to be hoping for, as he describes the latest Palestinian attacks as "spasmodic" actions of "ephemeral factions."

However, Olmert and Livni rejected this argument from the first week of the operation. Livni especially feels that the ideal way to end this round of fighting is with sufficiently powerful Israeli deterrent actions to prevent Palestinian attacks, even without any agreements, verbal or written.

As late as Monday night, there was still uncertainty as to whether Hamas intended to respond positively to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. At the conclusion of the fighting two weeks ago, it appeared that the Egyptian proposal was Hamas' surrender to Israel, mostly since the group had agreed to immediately halt fire, even without the IDF completing its withdrawal from the Strip. In the meantime, Israeli troops left Palestinian territory but the rocket attacks have been stepped up. The reason for which Israel embarked on a military operation in the Strip, changing the rules of the game, appear to be simply unrealistic.

But Hamas is also not getting what it wants from the Egyptian initiative. The formula that was put forth in recent days - only for a partial reopening of the crossings, restrictions on the importation of many products and the closing of the Rafah crossing until a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is achieved - is essentially a return to the tahadiyeh (lull) achieved in June 2008. From the point of view of Hamas, the most important part of the deal revolves around the types of items they will be allowed to import into the Strip. Israel is opposed to them being allowed to have cement and iron, arguing that it will be used for military purposes (fortifications and rockets). But a Gaza-based analyst made it clear yesterday that, "without cement and iron there will be no tahadiyeh."

As expected, the Egyptian initiative is causing a great deal of disagreements within Hamas. The group's leadership, and especially Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, is tired of the long stay in bunkers. Haniyeh and his aides are willing to compromise and agree to a partial opening of the crossings, if they are guaranteed that these will be fully open in the future.

On the other hand, the senior Hamas figures from Damascus who visited Tehran Sunday are demanding the complete lifting of the siege on the Strip. Meanwhile the rocket and mortar attacks continue against Israel, although these are being carried out by minor factions. Even though Major General Amos Yadlin may be right in his assessment that Hamas is not involved, the group is also making little effort to stop it, perhaps in the hope that the continued, albeit moderate pressure on Israel will result in the acceptance of Hamas' terms for a cease-fire.


Israelische steun voor slachtoffers Gaza

 
Ten onrechte beweerde Sander van Hoorn in het journaal en in Pauw en Witteman vorige week dat Israeli's totaal geen compassie hebben met de Palestijnen in de Gazastrook en hulpacties vanuit Israel ondenkbaar zijn. Dit is overigens niet de enige hulpactie vanuit Israel, van Israeli's heb ik over verschillende initatieven gehoord, vanuit een kibboets is actie ondernomen, en heel veel mensen hebben hun medeleven met de Palestijnse arts Abu El Aish getoond, die in het Gaza offensief drie dochters verloor.

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Israeli donors offer aid and hope to Gaza
 
Who are the victims in Israel's recent war on terror with Gaza? Obviously it's not the people in high positions calling the shots, but the civilians, and the mothers and children -- from both sides -- who have lost loved ones during this conflict, which still has no clear resolution in sight.
 
(Communicated by Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21C)
 
 
Two young Israeli women, a student and a peace activist, got fed up with politics. On behalf of the people of Israel, they decided to take it upon themselves to organize aid for those in Gaza a couple of weeks ago. And the nation's response has been beyond anything they could have imagined.
 
Since putting out a call for blankets, clothing and food for Gaza via email, Lee Ziv, 28, and her partner Hadas Balas, 25, have already delivered seven large trucks of supplies to the people in Gaza, with more to come. Confirmation has also been received that the relief is getting to those in need, and is not being held hostage by Hamas militants, as some Israelis feared.
 
Long-term plans to provide ongoing aid are also in the works: "Thousands of people came to donate things from their homes," says Ziv. "And they gave money, asking what we could buy with it," she tells ISRAEL21c.
 
Parents of soldiers in Gaza donate to the appeal
 
"I can say that there were a lot of mothers and fathers who had soldiers inside Gaza at the time who were donating stuff. A woman who had a missile land on her house in Sderot, donated food. There were young people and old, and they were mostly Israelis," she says.
 
Ziv, a peace activist working with the Sulha Peace Project, and the United Religions Initiative, and Balas, a student, were able to appeal to the public because they represented the people, and not an agency with political goals. "We are working beyond the rules, with the common goal of ensuring the right to live to those who are alive," said their email plea.
 
"It's between people to people, without politics inside it," says Ziv. As an example, one woman who gave aid to ship to Gaza, had a son who was sent by the Israeli army to fight there: "She felt terrible that something could happen to her boy. She felt the need to help another mother in Gaza, maybe one whose son has died," says Ziv who has seen "a lot of compassion" from the Israeli side.
 
"It's not that we don't understand our need to protect ourselves," she says. "But we know something is terrible there [in Gaza] and a lot of people have died."
 
Balas and her friend, a student at the Sapir College in Sderot, called Ziv, a couple of weeks ago and told her that they had to do something about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
 
Since announcing their plans to collect aid via an email that went viral, the women have appeared on TV, radio shows, and in newspapers. Even the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera has expressed an interest in covering their story.
 
Messages of hope in peace, in Arabic, along with the aid
 
After reaching other human rights organizations, the messages and the act of donating to Gaza spread across Israel like wildfire. "I thought we might get two truckloads," Balas says. "I wasn't expecting 10."
 
The truckloads of aid have gone into Gaza, with handwritten messages of peace from the donors translated from Hebrew and English into Arabic.
 
The messages were translated by Elad Vazana, a peace activist who has worked with the Sulhita Youth Project, to connect youth from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, who organized his contacts, and had the messages, translated to Arabic in a swift operation.
 
He was at the Gaza-Israel border with Balas and Ziv last week seeing that the first shipment went through safely, along with the special notes he?d helped create.
"They were messages of hope and faith," says Ziv. "They received them already and now they want to send us back messages."
 
Among those organizations that helped in the collection were the Zionist youth movement's organization, Hashomer Hatzair, and the Greek Catholic Church's Beit Hachesed in Haifa. Kibbutz Kfar Aza, which has been attacked by Qassam missiles from Gaza, offered its storage facilities before the shipments went out to Gaza.
"It's about people," says Ziv. "We all want to share this country. The Jewish people will stay here. The Muslims and Christians will stay here. For me it's like planting seeds for peace."
 
 
(Donations to their efforts can be coordinated with Lee Ziv: leeluziv@gmail.com)
 
Article courtesy Israel 21C

UNRWA bevriest leveringen aan Gazastrook na diefstal hulpgoederen

 
Het heeft eindelijk ook het journaal gehaald, maar men vond het niet nodig om een reportage te maken over al die hongerige Palestijnen die nu zonder meel, bonen en melk zitten en natuurlijk moest de Israelische blokkade van de Gazastrook er ook weer worden bijgehaald.
 
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UNRWA
Press Release
East Jerusalem
06 Feb 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNRWA SUSPENDS IMPORTS INTO GAZA FOLLOWING AID THEFT

UNRWA NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

 
Jerusalem (UNRWA): The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has suspended all imports of aid into the Gaza Strip following the confiscation of hundreds of tons of food aid.

During the night of 05 Feb 10 truckloads of flour and rice were taken from the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing into Gaza. They had been imported from Egypt for collection by UNRWA today. The food was taken away by trucks contracted by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Two hundred metric tones of rice and one hundred metric tons of flour were taken.

UNRWA's suspension of imports will remain in effect until the aid is returned and the Agency is given credible assurances from the Hamas government in Gaza that there will be no repeat of these thefts.

This is the second incident in 3 days, on Tuesday 03 Feb, three thousand five hundred blankets and over four hundred food parcels were taken at gun point from a distribution store in Beach Camp, Gaza. UNRWA has demanded the return of this aid as well

Ends

For more information please contact:
Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295
Office: +972 (0)2-589-0724

Isabel de la Cruz
Public Information Officer
(m) 054 240 2630

vrijdag 6 februari 2009

Geen gewonden bij nieuwe Qassam inslag

 
Van die 'disproportionele reactie' van Israel waarmee Olmert pas had gedreigd is niks terecht gekomen, maar die is wel groot in alle journaals en kranten gemeld. Ondertussen zijn er deze week al tientallen Qassams en mortiergranaten afgevuurd en ook een teroristische aanslag vanuit Gaza verijdeld. Dit is ook een verklaring waarom zo fel wordt gereageerd als Palestijnen de grens te dicht naderen.
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Kassam hits Eshkol region; none hurt
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
 
A day after a Hamas delegation left Egypt without an agreement on a long-term Gaza truce, terrorists in the Strip fired a Kassam rocket that hit the Eshkol region.

No one was wounded and no damage was reported in the Friday morning attack, which came days after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized to the cabinet that Israel would respond "disproportionately" to the continued rocket fire.

On Thursday night, meanwhile, IDF troops foiled an apparent terror attack when they gunned down an armed Gazan who approached the border fence near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

The soldiers, from the Golani Brigade, opened fire at the Palestinian after he brandished a hand-grenade, which exploded when the man was shot.

There were no casualties among the troops.

The soldiers searched the area on the Gaza side of the fence before returning to Israel.

The army said it appeared that the Palestinian intended to infiltrate the kibbutz and carry out a terror attack.

IDF officials stressed that while it was an isolated incident it "demonstrates the need for a high level of alert in the Gaza area."

The Gaza Division ordered forces in the Gaza periphery to be prepared for every eventuality when Palestinians approach the border fence, on the assumption that terror groups would continue to try and attack IDF soldiers.

Israel unilaterally halted its counter-terror operation in Gaza on Jan. 18, and Hamas followed with an announcement that it would hold its fire.

Nevertheless, Gaza terrorists have continued to fire rockets into Israel, and last week, an IDF soldier was killed in a border bombing attack.

 
AP contributed to this report
 

Ari Shavit waarschuwt voor serieuze tekortkomingen van Tzipi Livni

 
Ari Shavit van Haaretz, die vorige week nog een kritisch, maar redelijk welwillend interview met Tzipi Livni publiceerde, velt in onderstaand opiniestuk een vernietigend oordeel over haar leiderschapskwaliteiten. Livni's critici worden niet bij naam genoemd, maar Shavit geldt als een degelijke en betrouwbare journalist met een lange staat van dienst. Hij is zeker geen havik en de mensen waarmee hij sprak naar zijn zeggen ook niet.
 
Dat neemt niet weg dat de andere twee kandidaten, Barak en Netanyahu, ook flinke tekortkomingen hebben die zich openbaarden tijdens hun premierschap in de late jaren '90.
 
Wouter
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A cautionary note
By Ari Shavit Haaretz
Last update - 01:55 04/02/2009
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061380.html

 
Over the past week I took statements from about a dozen people who know Tzipi Livni quite well. None of them is close to either Benjamin Netanyahu or Ehud Barak. Most support Kadima or parties on the left. Nevertheless, all are concerned. The portrait they paint of Livni is a disturbing one.

Kadima's chairwoman is a principled, patriotic, exemplary human being. She is intelligent and a quick study. But there is one fault that no one disputes: Livni is short-tempered. Her more serious critics believe she has an attention deficit. She is incapable of delving into the details of a document or of sustaining an extended discussion. She does not stay with a topic until it has been completely clarified. Her thinking is not clear and she cannot distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Unlike Netanyahu and Barak, who can get to the bottom of an issue and discuss it in all its complexity, Livni tends to oversimplify, to go for the schematic. One of the most respected figures in the country says she is opinionated and superficial.

Nor is there any disputing a second flaw of Livni's: She finds it very hard to make decisions. Even with noncritical decisions she deliberates, wavers, delays and changes her opinion over and over. Some people believe the combination of inexperience and lack of confidence paralyzes Livni. They think the foreign minister is incapable of deciding whether to launch a strike against Iran. Livni does not have the spine, levelheadedness and internal calm necessary to take the most critical decisions.

Her third flaw is her total lack of emotional intelligence. Livni neither understands people nor likes them. That is why she has no inner circle of confidants. With the exception of her husband, Naftali Spitzer, she has no trusted partners. Many people who made personal sacrifices on her behalf feel betrayed. Unlike Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak, Livni lacks personal warmth or charm. Few top Kadima figures like or believe her. In the party's inner circles she is thought of as lacking leadership. The most common comment is that she simply doesn't have it. Her ability to lead after the election is in doubt.

Livni has several other faults. She does not take the long view, is inconsistent, and her deep fear of failure prevents her from being daring and original. She disguises her internal panic with exaggerated displays of self-confidence that sometimes border on rudeness. Her appointments are mediocre and her teamwork is poor. Many people at the Foreign Ministry view her as some sort of country bumpkin.

All these issues, however, are dwarfed by the question of all questions that Livni evokes: Who is she and what is her inner core? A few of the people I spoke to this week had a disturbing response to this question: Tzipi Livni is hollow. They argued that Livni lacks the cultural baggage, historic vision, emotional tools and personal abilities of a leader. She has never shown civil courage, has no achievements to her name and has never gone against the tide. She recites a series of correct statements about dividing the country but does not know how to translate them into policy. That is why her negotiations with Ahmed Qureia failed and why her faith in Annapolis was proved false.

But Livni's Palestinian failure is tiny compared to her Iranian error. Livni did not understand the Iranian challenge in advance, did not take it on board and effectively did nothing in the international arena to deal with it. Iran's nuclear program is what turned Livni's term as foreign minister into a colossal failure.

One of the people I spoke to was especially agitated despite being a mature, restrained and conservative person. He told me he felt like a member of some cult with a terrible secret: Tzipi Livni is not fit to be prime minister. There is a black flag waving above her journey to the Prime Minister's Office.

The witness said it was inconceivable to him that the media are not revealing this secret; intolerable that the public does not know. That is why he spoke, that is why I recorded his words. That is why this piece was published. So the public will know - and decide.

donderdag 5 februari 2009

Hamas steelt voedsel en medicijnen voor Gaza van internationale donors

 
Volgens berichten in Palestijnse media was de diefstal van UNRWA hulpgoederen door Hamas een paar dagen geleden zeker niet de eerste keer. De eerlijkheid gebiedt wel te vermelden dat dit dezelfde media zijn die Palestinian Media Watch geregeld bekritiseert voor hun felle anti-Israel retoriek, hun verheerlijking van geweld en soms ronduit antisemitische toonzetting. Hamas en Fatah beschuldigen elkaar over en weer van allerlei ongehoorde zaken, maar dat betekent niet dat we deze claims niet serieus moeten nemen.
 
Het is opvallend dat de media hier vaak op Palestijnse bronnen vertrouwen, meer dan op Israelische, maar aan dit soort beschuldigingen meestal geen aandacht besteden. Dat ze dit keer wel de Nederlandse kranten halen zal vooral aan de verhoogde aandacht vanwege de recente oorlog liggen en de bevestiging van deze diefstallen door de VN.
 
RP
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Bulletin
Feb. 5, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch


Hamas stealing medicine and food sent by international donors
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook


Hamas has been stealing medicine and food sent by international donors, distributing these supplies among its members and selling the rest for profit. This accusation, appearing in numerous eyewitness reports in Palestinian Authority newspapers since the end of the Gaza War, has now been corroborated by UNRWA.
 
Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida have been reporting that armed Hamas men have comandeered trucks delivering food to UNRWA and have shot at the truck drivers.

Hamas has also refused to allow charities to distribute any of the supplies. An article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida describes how Hamas militias took control of two charity organizations in Jabaliya and in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, and made them sign an agreement not to distribute any aid or "carry out social or humanitarian actions."


The following are multiple reports of Hamas's continuing theft of donor aid.
 
"UNWRA reported yesterday that Hamas police confiscated supplies of humanitarian aid from one of the distribution points under its control in Gaza. Two days ago, they report, more than 3,500 blankets and 406 food parcels were confiscated by Hamas police officials."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2009]

"Yesterday the Hamas militias took control of two charity organizations in Jabaliya and in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Sources said that the Hamas militias took control over the Association for the Disabled in Jabaliya, and  the "Our Home" association in Beit Lahiya. They forced the people in charge of the two [charity] organizations to sign that they obligate themselves not to distribute any aid or carry out social or humanitarian actions."
 [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 28, 2009]

"[Hamas] took control by armed force of the aid trucks and of the goods that were sent to the private sector. The supplies were distributed between the [Hamas] party members and afterwards the remainder was put up for sale at exorbitant prices... People's stories range from stories of murder of innocent people in cold blood to the unloading of bags of flour to the houses of Hamas activists while their neighbors were left starving. When they asked [for some of the flour] they were offered to buy at prices which they could not afford to pay."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 22, 2009]

"Hamas kidnaps Fatah members while they distribute aid ...  Armed Hamas members kidnapped Fatah movement members yesterday while they were distributing aid to citizens... they also attacked a senior policeman wildly... and refused to transfer him to hospital for treatment after the attack."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 28, 2009]


Headline: "Minister for Social Affairs: The Ministry concentrates on rescue and rehabilitation activities while Hamas confiscates the aid and sells it


"[Minister for Social Affairs] Al-Habbash clarified that the [Palestinian] Authority ... used to send [aid] through the UN institutions and the World Food Programs or directly. He emphasized that Hamas has taken control over this aid and has prevented its reaching the citizens... 'When the [Israeli] aggression ended, the Hamas members came out and began to carry out robberies of the aid convoys and take the aid. On the 19th and 20th of this month they took over 63 trucks loaded with food, which were expected to arrive at the [UNRWA] relief agencies...


"They [Hamas] take control over everything that falls into their hands, they present it at the market and sell it ...


"He added that Hamas disseminated among the grocers and the food distributors, [orders] preventing them from selling [large] quantities of food, unless it is with permission of Hamas, even if is a person wants to buy quantities [of food] in order to distribute it as charity among people. He directed attention to the fact that the aid that reaches Hamas, it distributes among its [own] people and the rest it sells."   
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 29, 2009]


Headline: "Al-Habbash: Aid entering Gaza is no longer safe after [Hamas] has taken 63 trucks of food and medicine"


"[Palestinian] Minister for Social Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, said: 'During the last three days, armed [activists] who belong to the Hamas movement have taken control of 63 trucks delivering aid consisting of food and medicine, which were on their way to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), after shooting at the drivers...
'Unfortunately the way the aid enters into the Gaza Strip has not been safe during the last three days ... Hamas has executed 19 civilians, and has shot another 63 civilians in the legs ...'


"Regarding Hamas's taking the aid he said: 'The movement sells part of the aid on the open market and to private pharmacies, and the rest it distributes among its members, that is the message of hundreds of complaints from Gaza citizens received every day at the Ministry for Social Affairs' ... and he said that he has evidence from drivers who were shot before the contents of their trucks were requisitioned by force..."
[Al-Ayyam, Jan. 22, 2009]

=========================

Contact Palestinian Media Watch:

p:+972 2 625 4140e: pmw@pmw.org.il
f: +972 2 624 2803w: www.pmw.org.il
PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel

 

Israelische Arabieren dreigen verkiezingen Knesset te boycotten

 
Het feit dat een boycot zo serieus wordt besproken in Israelisch-Arabische kringen is een zeer slecht teken. De kloof tussen Joden en Arabieren in Israel lijkt steeds groter te worden, en dat is iets dat de politiek zich aan moet trekken. Met een overwinning van Likoed en de vermoedelijke deelname van Lieberman aan de coalitie zal de kloof tussen beide groepen waarschijnlijk verder toenemen. De leiders van de Arabische partijen moeten echter ook de hand in eigen boezem steken: zij hebben de staat Israel en haar Joodse karakter altijd fel afgekeurd en zelfs openlijk met Israels vijanden gesympathiseerd en soms zelfs contacten onderhouden. Het is niet meer dan logisch dat dit iemand als Lieberman in de kaart speelt, en het draagvlak voor maatregelen om de kansen en positie van de Arabische gemeenschap in Israel te verbeteren, doet afnemen.
 
Deze boycot schaadt de Arabische gemeenschap op twee manieren: met minder zetels in de Knesset kunnen de Arabische partijen minder invloed uitoefenen op het beleid van de Israelische regering, en het zal de kloof met de Joodse meerderheid verder vergroten en anti-Arabische sentimenten versterken.
 
RP
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Last update - 08:40 05/02/2009       
Elections 2009 / Israeli Arab election boycott gathers speed
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061723.html
 

The debate in the Israeli Arab community on the question of boycotting the elections is growing in intensity. As of this week, all public debates between the two Arab and one Arab-Jewish party now include another participant arguing for a boycott.
 
The parties are choosing to address the question as the possibility of boycott looms increasingly large, especially in the wake of the Gaza war. Some forecast that a high enough number of boycotters may result in one of the three parties not passing the 2 percent election threshold and losing its Knesset seats altogether.
 
One such debate took place in Sakhnin Wednesday. The secretaries of Hadash, Balad and the United Arab List-Ta'al were joined on stage by Muhammad Kana'aneh, secretary of the Abna el-Balad ("Sons of the Land") movement that supports a boycott.
 
Kana'aneh told the audience that voting in the elections constitutes a complete recognition of the Zionist entity built on the ruins of Palestine. He went on to say that the Israeli establishment is utilizing the presence of Arab MKs to propagate its democracy, while in effect they have little influence.
 
"The Arab representation in parliament does not influence decision-making, but it allows the Zionists to boast Arab MKs, including a deputy-chairman of the Knesset and members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee," Kana'aneh said.
 
The party officials opted for reminding the audience the history of the parties, and warning that their disappearance from parliament would leave it to the extreme right.
 
Balad secretary general Awad Abed El-Fatah said that the decision of Balad in 1996 to run in the elections was not viewed through the prism of recognition or non-recognition of the state of Israel, but rather in light of the importance of parliamentary politics in fighting discriminatory policies.
 
His counterpart from Hadash, Aiman Udeh, said: "We can't forget that while Israel always has a majority in the Knesset who vote for war, peace initiatives need the support of the Arab MKs."
 
Speaking for the Islamic Movement, its chairman Dr. Mansour Abbas said that reinforcing Arab presence in parliament could be an important instrument in the struggle to remove the inequality that has plagued Arabs in Israel since 1948.

 

Erdogan's hypocrisie en de verhoudingen tussen Israel en Turkije

 
Een genuanceerd artikel over Turkije en haar relatie met Israel. De vraag die ik als niet-diplomaat niet goed kan beantwoorden is, of Israel niet ondanks alles ook het recht en de mogelijkheid heeft om af en toe een grens te trekken en bijvoorbeeld te dreigen bepaald materiaal niet meer aan Turkije te leveren, ook vanwege Turkijes grootschalige mensenrechtenschendingen tegen de Koerdische bevolking mede met behulp van Israelische wapens.
 
RP
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Last update - 08:45 05/02/2009      
ANALYSIS / Erdogan's hypocrisy shouldn't hurt Israel-Turkey ties
By Zvi Bar'el
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061754.html

 
"Dear Miss Manners. No matter how hard I try, everyone is against me. They accuse me of having a secret agenda, of supporting terror organizations in the Middle East and of trying to force women to wear a head covering. All that has a strong effect on my nerves, and sometimes I simply want to explode. But when I explode, the accusations against me only increase. My staff claims that my behavior is childish and unworthy of a statesman. How can I express my emotions without being accused repeatedly of hysterical behavior?"

This passage, from a clever piece by Turkish columnist Nazlan Ertan, which was published in the Hurriyet Daily News, is of course directed at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who caused an uproar at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ertan, as Miss Manners, suggests to Erdogan that instead of shouting at elderly statesmen, he would do better to learn from them. "Miss Manners believes that anyone can learn manners, or at least pretend to have learned," wrote Ertan.

And in fact, there is a character trait that every diplomat who arrives in Turkey is briefed about if he has to meet Erdogan: the prime minister's short fuse. Erdogan, who began his career selling lemonade in the town of Rize on Turkey's Black Sea coast, was shocked, like other European leaders, by the pictures of destruction in Gaza and by the numbers of dead and wounded. But as someone who believes that "anger is an art of rhetoric," as he once said, he chose an unconventional way of expressing his.
 
This is not the first time that Erdogan has shouted at Israeli leaders. About a year and a half ago he screamed at Shimon Peres when he hosted him in Ankara, and before that he called former prime minister Ariel Sharon a "terrorist," and described the deal signed between Turkey and Israel for renovating Turkish tanks as a "disgrace."

We can only console ourselves with the fact that his close aides are also exposed to a great deal of flak from him.

Erdogan has apparently forgotten a dark chapter in Turkish history, and no, we are not referring to the massacre of Armenians in 1915. In the 1990s, Turkey destroyed about 3,500 Kurdish villages in the southeast of the country as part of the long struggle against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is classified as a terror organization.

Hundreds of thousands of Kurds were left homeless and were forced to migrate to the large cities. Anyone visiting Istanbul or Ankara can still today see the results of that huge migration. Thousands of apartments that were built virtually overnight in order to house the uprooted population decorate the approaches to those cities, and in the area of Diyarbakir, in the southeast of the country, there is still fear of the Turkish security forces.

In a phone conversation, a senior member of the Kurdish administration in the Kurdistan region also compared the recent Turkish firing of artillery on villages inside Iraqi Kurdistan to "the way you fired into Gaza."

Incidentally, according to Turkish sources, the intelligence regarding the location of the PKK training camps inside Kurdistan was gathered with the help of Israeli drones that Turkey purchased - and continues to purchase - from Israel.

As with the Armenian massacre, Israel bit its tongue when the Kurdish villages were destroyed. The relationship formed at the time with Turkey was more important. Only in off-the-record conversations are Israeli officials willing to express anger and to remind Turkey that it will soon need Israel's help again when in about two months' when the Armenian issue comes up for discussion in the United States Congress.

The enigma of Turkish logic

But this accounting with Turkey is too simple. Israel needs Turkey just as much as Turkey needs Israel. It's not only a matter of Israel Air Force exercises, weapons deals, flourishing tourism, Turkish mediation between Israel and Syria and intelligence cooperation. A unique strategic alliance has developed between the two countries, an alliance that is no longer so dependent on the nature of the governments or the prime ministers serving at any given time in either country.

Turkey is being led at present by a religious party that makes sure to present itself as a social-democratic group and is conducting a nerve-racking dialogue with the army, which considers the party a "fundamentalist danger," in the words of former chief of staff Hilmi Ozkok.

And nevertheless that same "danger," which has excellent commercial ties with Iran and good relations with Hamas and Hezbollah, is the government that prevented the passage to Syria of Iranian transport planes carrying weapons and whose ministers are frequent travelers to and from Israel.

And that same "danger" that did not permit American forces to reach Iraq through its territory in the Second Gulf War, is an ally of the United States and a member of NATO.

Ostensibly, Turkish policy is a tangle of contradictions, but when the country's constitution grants the army the power to preserve the character of the country as a secular country, while over 40 percent of its approximately 70 million citizens vote for a religious party; and when 1 million people demonstrate against Erdogan and the headscarf law, but at the same time millions demonstrate against Israel after seeing Palestinian Muslims being killed in Gaza - it is hard to complain about the political and diplomatic zigzagging.

Israel is an important factor among Turkey's many considerations, but it is only one factor. A proper dialogue between the government and its citizens, between the government and the army, and between the government and its most important ally, the U.S., and all in light of Turkey's aspiration to become a member of the European Union - mark the trail of Turkish logic.
 

Knack: Satire, bruin gebakken over Joden in België


België is vaak nog een graadje erger dan Nederland. Zo was op Man Bijt Hond een grappig bedoeld (?) filmpje te zien waarop de Joodse gemeenschap werd neergezet als lichtgeraakt en gebruik werd gemaakt van smakeloze stereotypen. De Joodse gemeenschap has het namelijk gewaagd om kritiek te hebben op de vergelijking door een minister van de moord op kinderen in een creche in Dendermonde vorige week en kinderen in Gaza die door Israëls offensief waren omgekomen. Ik moet eerlijk zeggen: er valt in België ook gewoon erg veel te klagen als Jood in deze dagen, met ronduit vijandige berichtgeving over Israël en vele antisemitische incidenten. Je zou verwachten dat enige gevoeligheid ten aanzien van de Joodse gemeenschap vanzelfsprekend is, maar die tijd lijkt definitief voorbij.
Onderstaand een zeer adequate to the point reactie op een en ander. Op één punt heeft de schrijver echter ongelijk:

Er is niet één geval bekend van een Joodse aanslag in Duitsland als wraakneming voor de Holocaust.

Dan heeft Rik van Cauwelaert In Europa van ruim een maand geleden niet gezien. Toen stond de Joodse groep De Wrekers centraal, die verschillende wraakacties tegen nazi officieren planden en een enkele ook uitvoerde, al was dit met matig succes. Het is echter inderdaad opvallend dat er niet veel meer en grotere wraakacties zijn geweest, en dat er niet méér haat tegen Duitsers en andere Europeanen is onder Joden. Daar zouden we wel eens bij stil mogen staan, en dat met wat meer respect beantwoorden.
 
RP
---------------

http://www.knack.be/blog/blog.jsp?sectionID=95&siteID=71&blogartID=3051&artID=4291&mwebtag=BLOG/Rik%20Van%20Cauwelaert&cid=rss#71;95;4291

Satire, bruin gebakken

'Joden beginnen meestal al te schreeuwen nog voor ze daartoe een ernstige reden hebben.' Dat schreef de Belgische voorzitter Henri graaf de Baillet-Latour van het Internationaal Olympisch Comité in een brief aan Avery Brundage, de voorzitter van het Amerikaans Olympisch Comité, toen die in de loop van 1936 werd geconfronteerd met een mogelijke boycot van de Olympische Spelen in Berlijn. Joden moesten volgens Baillet-Latour niet zoveel complimenten maken.

Dat was ook de teneur, vreemd genoeg, van de webreacties op de mediarel na een uitzending van Man bijt hond waarin de draak werd gestoken met de heersende onvrede van de Joodse gemeenschap. Joodse medeburgers hadden aanstoot genomen aan de weblog van Vlaams minister van Cultuur Bert Anciaux, waarin die de vermoorde kinderen in Dendermonde had vergeleken met de kinderen die in Gaza slachtoffer werden van Israëlische luchtbombardementen.

In Man bijt hond werd de zogenaamde Joodse lichtgeraaktheid op de korrel genomen met een vlekkerig filmpje met beelden van traditionele Joden, begeleid met een commentaar dat voor de onvoorbereide kijker een verdachte bijklank heeft.

Eerder al was in hetzelfde programma in volle mediastampij rond de Plat Préféré van Adolf Hitler, een soortgelijke clip getoond, ook al inspelend op die Joodse overgevoeligheid, met daarin een verwijzing naar 'koken in het Achterhuis', met een foto van Anne Frank.

Het gesproken dagblad is het onderdeel van Man bijt hond waarin de beide filmische grappen bij wijze van bruin gebakken satire op de kijkers werden losgelaten.

Als het satire is dan mag het, natuurlijk. Dat is ook de stelling van de VRT-verantwoordelijken die zich het recht voorbehouden op satire waarvan alle bevolkingsgroepen het voorwerp kunnen zijn. Bovendien valt zoiets toch onder het recht van de vrije mening, volgens de zelfbenoemde gevechtspiloten van de grote ideeënstrijd. Al bleef het niet alleen bij satire.

Ook in een nieuwsprogramma van de openbare omroep werd aan een prominente vertegenwoordiger van de Joodse gemeenschap gevraagd of de Joden toch niet al te lange tenen hadden. Een vraag die de afgelopen dagen niet van de lucht was op tal van programma's en websites.

'Het is typisch een Joods fenomeen', meende een van de webloggers te weten. 'Als er maar iets van kritiek wordt geleverd of zelfs enkel maar ironisch wordt gelachen met de Joden, dan word je onmiddellijk aangevallen. Het moet maar eens gedaan zijn met de Joodse arrogantie.'

Sommigen onder ons hebben kennelijk de Joden nog altijd Auschwitz niet vergeven. Het aanslepende conflict in het Midden-Oosten en vooral de recente moordende bombardementen van de Israëli's op Gaza bieden een uitstekende gelegenheid om de Joodse gemeenschap ten onzent met - uiteraard van enig antisemitisme gespeend - commentaar eens stevig de les te lezen.

De botheid van de commentaren over het Israëlische optreden in Gaza en de plotse aandrang om Joden tot voorwerp van satire te maken, hebben iets verdachts. Want de meesten van die commentatoren en programmamakers bleven in het verleden opvallend stom wanneer in Algerije tienduizenden slachtoffers vielen van plaatselijke moslimterreur, wanneer het Syrische regime van Hafez-al-Assad de stad Hama verwoestte en nagenoeg 20.000 slachtoffers onder de grond bulldozerde en Palestijnse kinderen met bommen op de buik gebonden door het terreurregime van Hamas op Israëlische burgers werden losgelaten.

De Joodse gemeenschap, die na afloop van de Tweede Wereldoorlog zes miljoen doden telde, omgekomen in kampen, in de meest gruwelijke omstandigheden, die gemeenschap draagt nog altijd de sporen van die tragedie. Die gemeenschap heeft de gevolgen van die tragedie met grote waardigheid gedragen. Er is niet één geval bekend van een Joodse aanslag in Duitsland als wraakneming voor de Holocaust.

Dat die gemeenschap en die gebeurtenissen het voorwerp uitmaken van satire en van medialompheid als die van de VRT is, zoals Ian Buruma dat onlangs verwoordde, een belediging voor de vrije meningsuiting.

Rik Van Cauwelaert

Joods Sinaï Centrum in Amstelveen beschoten

 
Onder het mom van woede over het Israelische offensief in Gaza is het antisemitisme ook in Nederland schrikbarend gestegen. De vaak eenzijdige en suggestieve berichtgeving in de media heeft daar mogelijk aan bijgedragen.
 
RP
----------------

Joods Sinaï Centrum in Amstelveen beschoten

woensdag 4 februari 2009 10:07

http://www.elsevier.nl/web/10222308/Nieuws/Nederland/Joods-centrum-Amstelveen-beschoten.htm

Onbekenden hebben het joodse Sinaï Centrum in Amstelveen beschoten. 'Dit gaat wel een stap verder dan een brandbom,' zegt directeur Ronny Naftaniël van het Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israël (CIDI).Naftaniël spreekt van een 'volgende fase' van de jodenhaat in Nederland.

Sinds het offensief van Israël tegen terroristen van Hamas in Gaza is het aantal anitsemitische incidenten (schelden, bedreigen) en geweld toegenomen.

Ernst
'De afgelopen maand waren er al evenveel antisemitische incidenten als in heel 2007 en wat me het meest zorgen baart is dat ze veel ernstiger van aard zijn,' zegt Naftaniël vanuit Israël tegen elsevier.nl. 

'Als antisemieten over een pistool beschikken gaat dat een stap verder dan het maken van een brandbom. Dat is ook erg, maar dat kan iedereen.'

Het Sinaï Centrum – een joodse instelling voor geestelijke gezondheidszorg – weigert te speculeren over het motief van de beschieting. Gisterochtend werden twee kogelgaten in een raam vlakbij de hoofdingang aangetroffen.

'We wachten eerst het politieonderzoek af,' meldt een woordvoerder aan elsevier.nl. 'Wat we wel kunnen zeggen is dat ons gebouw in de nacht van 2 op 3 februari is beschadigd.'

Forse toename
Eerder meldde elsevier.nl op basis van voorlopige cijfers van het CIDI dan de jodenhaat in Nederland 'fors' was toegenomen sinds de oorlog in Gaza.

Het aantal antisemitische incidenten steeg met een vergelijkbare snelheid als tijdens de oorlog in 2006 tussen Israël en Hezbollah, toen de jodenhaat met 64 procent steeg.

Naftaniël beaamt dat maar wenst nog geen cijfers naar buiten te brengen, omdat de aangiften die de politie binnenkreeg nog moeten worden verwerkt. 'We willen zo volledig mogelijk zijn.'

CIDI: Dit gaat een stap verder dan een brandbom CIDI: Dit gaat een stap verder dan een brandbom

Jodenhaat in Nederland

 

Opiniepeiling Israel: Likoed 26-31 en Kadima 22-23 zetels in Knesset


Een hoop polls, van voor, tijdens en na Israels offensief in Gaza, ook eentje waarin alleen de zekere stemmen zijn geteld en de andere naar politieke affiniteit ingedeeld. Wil je weten wat jij zou (moeten) stemmen in Israel? Kijk dan op: http://israel.kieskompas.nl/ 

RP
-----------
 
Poll: Likud 28 Kadima 22 [When limited to certain voting and analyze undecided: Likud 26 Kadima 23]
Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date 4 February 2009

Before operation: "Right" 66 seats "Left" 45 seats Arabs 9 seats
On second day of operation "Right" 57 seats "Left" 53 seats Arabs 10 seats
On fourth day of operation "Right" 61 seats "Left" 49 seats Arabs 10 seats
6 January   "Right" 63 seats "Left" 48 seats Arabs 9 seats
13 January  "Right" 62 seats "Left" 48 seats Arabs 10 seats
18 January after ceasefire: "Right" 65 seats "Left" 46 seats Arabs 9 seats
21 January after ceasefire: "Right" 66 seats "Left" 45 seats Arabs 9 seats
27 January after ceasefire: "Right" 70 seats "Left" 40 seats Arabs 10 seats
30 Jan-2 Feb: "Right" 70 seats "Left" 40 seats Arabs 10 seats
1-3 Feb: "Right" 68 seats "Left" 42 seats Arabs 10 seats

Poll #0  Limited to 100% certain voting + allocation of the undecided in accordance with their leanings.  Telephone poll of a representative sample of 1,894 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz 1-3 February for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham"

Poll #1 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 1,894 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz 1-3 February for Israel Television  Channel 2 "Mishal Cham"

Poll #2 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 671 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz 30 January through 2 February. 28% did not say what party they would vote for.

Poll #3 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 529 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham" program 27 January 2009. 20% of respondents did not say what party they would vote for.

Poll #4 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 522 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham" program 20 January 2009.

Poll #5 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 512 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2  News program on 18 January 2009, the first day of the ceasefire and broadcast on the evening news program.

Poll #6 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 506 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham" program 13 January 2009.

Poll #7 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 514 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham" program 6 January 2009.

Poll #8 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 505 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham" program 30 December 2008 - 4th day of operation in Gaza.

Poll #9 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 502 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 10 during the day of Sunday 28 December 2008 - the second day of the operation in Gaza.

Poll #10 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 511 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)  carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Television Channel 2 "Mishal Cham" program 23 December 2008 [19% undecided/other replies .]

Current Knesset seats in [brackets].

#0 #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9#10
23 22 23 22 22 23 26 25 25 28 25 [29] Kadima headed by Livni
13 12 12 13 14 15 16 17 15 16 11 [19] Labor
26 28 31 34 30 31 28 32 31 30 31 [12] Likud
10 11 11 10 11 12 10 10 10 10 12 [12] Shas
19 18 17 16 16 13 14 10 10 10 13 [11] Yisrael Beteinu
03 03 03 03 02 03 03 04 04 02 05 [03] "Jewish Home" (previously NRP)
06 06 06 05 05 05 05 05 05 05 05 [06] Yahadut Hatorah
06 05 04 05 07 06 06 06 05 07 06 [05] Meretz
01 01 01 00 00 01 00 00 02 01 01 [00] Green Party
01 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 02 01 02 [07] Retirees Party
09 10 10 10 09 09 10 09 10 10 09 [10] Arab parties
01 01 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 [00] Meimad
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 [00] Strong Israel (Efraim Sneh)
02 02 02 02 02 01 02 02 01 00 00 [06] National Union (reconstituted)
00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 [00] Green Leaf (legalize marijuana)
*  1 seat is not enough to get into the Knesset as need 2% of valid votes.

Without regards to how you are voting, who do you think will be elected to be prime minister (AL: there are not direct elections in Israel)
Livni 12% Netanyahu 61% Barak 6% Other replies 21%

Of those saying they will vote for Yisrael Beteinu:
51% are new immigrants from the former Soviet Union
64% Secular 28% Traditional 7% Religious
62% Right wing 20% Central 18% No political orientation
71% Think Netanyahu will form the next government

============
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS:
imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

Opiniepeiling Palestijnen: Fatah krijgt meer steun dan Hamas, meerderheid voor vredesonderhandelingen

 
In enquetes worden de antwoorden vaak in hoge mate door de vraag en de manier van vragen bepaald.
In tegenstelling tot wat Sander van Hoorn ons wil doen geloven, is de steun voor Fatah nog steeds een stuk groter dan voor Hamas.
40% is ondanks alles nog steeds voor het afschieten van raketten op Israel, maar bijna driekwart is ook voor onderhandelingen met Israel, en 88% is voor een staakt het vuren met Israel.
 
RP
-------------- 

PCPO Poll No.167   Date: 04.Feb.2009

The most recent poll prepared by Dr. Nabil Kukali revealed that:

(72.0 %) evaluated their economic situation as 'bad'.
(34.1 %)  believe that Hamas has won the Gaza war.
(54.4 %)  hold Israel responsible for the war that recently flamed in Gaza.
(43.5 %)  believe that Hamas' power has increased after the Gaza war.
(40.6 %)  are in favor of Fateh, (31.4 %) of Hamas.
(61.2 %)  oppose the deployment of multinational (UN) forces in Gaza Strip.
(46.0 %)  propose for the present the formation of a national unity government.
(57.8 %)  were in favor of the participation of Khaled Misha'l and some factions' heads in the Doha's Summit Conference.
(51.3 %)  of the Palestinians are of the opinion that Hamas is navigating the country towards the wrong direction, (46 %) believe Fateh is doing that.

Beit Sahour - The Information Bureau:

In the most recent poll prepared by Dr. Nabil Kukali, being conducted during the period January 25th to January 31st 2009 and published by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), a random sample of (673) Palestinian adults (over 18 years old) representing the various demographic specimens in the Palestinian society in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, were face to face interviewed.

The most important finding of this poll is that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians, (88.2 %), are for the present in favor of a Palestinian-Israeli truce, specifically (86.1 %) in Gaza Strip and (89.6 %) in the West Bank. Dr. Kukali further commented the outcome of the poll saying that the rate of support for Fateh (40.6 %) among the Palestinians lies now higher than that for Hamas (31.4 %). The rate of Fateh's popularity in Gaza Strip, established at (42.5 %), lies much higher than that of Hamas on its own terrain, reaching namely the rate of (27.8 %). The same trend has been found in the West Bank, where Fateh scored (39.2 %) of the Palestinians' support, whilst Hamas has to content itself with only (23.7 %).

In addition, Dr. Kukali said that the majority of the Palestinian people, ( 54.1 %), believe that none of the parties involved won the war recently blazed in Gaza. This rate consists of (34.7 %) from Gaza Strip and (66.3 %) from the West Bank. Dr. Kukali pointed out that (56 %) of the residents of Gaza Strip believe that Hamas is navigating the country towards the wrong direction, whilst (48.3 %) of the Palestinians in the West Bank believe that. Regarding the inauguration of the new US-president Barak Obama, (41.7 %) of the Palestinian public have a positive opinion of him as they hope that Mr. Obama will undertake practical and serious measures to achieve peace in the Middle East region.

Dr. Nabil Kukali said the results of the poll where as follows:

01)  How would you assess nowadays your attitude or support to Hamas?
25.9% 1.  My support increased
12.8% 2.  My support decreased
14.1% 3.  My support remained unchanged
47.2% 4.  My attitude remained unchanged. I'm not a Hamas supporter

02)  How would you assess nowadays your attitude or support to Fateh?
19.4% 1.  My support increased
16.3% 2.  My support decreased
28.5% 3.  My support remained unchanged
35.8% 4.  My attitude remained unchanged. I'm not a Fatah supporter

03)  Do you think, in general, that Hamas is navigating our country in the right or in the wrong direction ?
41.7% 1.  In the right direction
51.3% 2.  In the wrong direction
7.0% 3.  I Don't know (DON'T READ)

04)  Do you think, in general, that Fateh is navigating our country in the right or in the wrong direction?
46.0% 1.  In the right direction
46.0% 2.  In the wrong direction
8.0% 3.  I Don't know (DON'T READ)

05)  Who should, in your opinion, be held responsible for the recent war in Gaza?
07.6% 1.  Fateh
14.5% 2.  Hamas
54.4% 3.  Israel
04.8% 4.  Egypt
04.8% 5.  Iran
00.7% 6.  Syria
13.0% 7.  US
00.2% 8.  EU

06)  Who, in your opinion, won the war that recently blazed in Gaza Strip?
10.5% 1.  Israel
34.1% 2.  Hamas
01.3% 3.  Fateh
54.1% 4.  Nobody

07)   Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is handling his job as PA president?
28.7% 1.  Satisfied
48.8% 2.  Dissatisfied
22.5% 3.  Refuse to answer

08)   What is your attitude to the firing of rockets at present on Israel from Gaza?
18.5% 1.  Strongly favour
20.8% 2.  Favour
33.5% 3.  Undecided
14.3% 4.  Oppose
12.9% 5.  Strongly oppose

09)   To which extent do you think the militant resistance has fulfilled its task during the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip?
40.1% 1. To a great extent
33.3% 2. To a middle extent
23.9% 3. To a small extent
02.7% 4. I don't know

10)  Do you think, after the war in Gaza ... (READ THE LIST) has gained or lost power? How would you assess at present this power?
(Gained:Lost)
37.7%:35.3% 1.  Israel
43.5%:26.8% 2.  Hamas
25.5%:22.3% 3.  Fateh
22.9%:26.3% 4.  The Palestinian Authority
21.3%:38.1% 5.  Mahmoud Abbas
41.6%:30.3% 6.  Khaled Mish'al

11)  Some people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were in favor of the participation of Khaled Mish'al and some factions' heads in the Doha's Summit Conference. Others opposed that.  Which of the following opinions is closer to yours?
57.8% 1.  I was in favor of the participation of Khaled Mish'al and some factions' heads.
24.6% 2.  I opposed their participation
17.6% 3.  I don't know

12)  What do you think, after the Gaza war, would be the best solution to the Palestinian people ?
21.1% 1.  To return to the negotiation table with Israel
46.0% 2.  To form a government of national unity
37.0% 3.  To conduct new presidential and PLC elections
01.2% 4.  To affiliate Gaza Strip to Egypt
03.7% 5.  To call UN forces to take over the responsibility in Gaza Strip

13)  I'm going to read to you a list of groups, organizations, institutions or individuals.  Please tell me for each group, organization, institution or individual I read whether you have a very favorable opinion, a somewhat favorable opinion, a somewhat unfavorable opinion or a very unfavorable opinion.
(Favorable:Unfavorable)
50.2%:49.8% 1. PA President "Abu Mazen"
50.0%:50.0% 2. Head of Hamas, "Khaled Mish'al
63.7%:36.3% 3. Prime Minister, "Salam Fayyad"
55.9%:44.1% 4. Head of the deposed government, "Ismael Haniyyeh"
62.8%:37.2% 5. PLO Secretary, "Yassir Abed-Rabbu"
41.7%:58.3% 6 .The new US-President, "Barak Obama"
87.3%:12.7% 7. Al-Jazeera TV-station
82.4%:17.6% 8. Al-Arabiyya TV-sation
82.0%:18.0% 9. Doha Summit Conference
77.6%:22.4% 10. Kuwait Summit Conference

14)  Are you in favor of deploying multinational (UN) forces in Gaza Strip, or not?   (READ 1-4).
06.4% 1.  Strongly favor
31.1% 2.  Somewhat favor
28.6% 3.  Somewhat oppose
32.6% 4.  Strongly oppose
01.3% 5.  I don't know

15)  Please mention the name of the Palestinian organization, party, movement or  faction you are in favor of / or consider yourself on of its supporters. OPEN QUESTION.
40.6% 1. Fatah
31.3% 2. Hamas
05.4% 3. The popular front for the liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
02.7% 4. The Islamic jihad
01.8% 5. The Palestinian National Initiative
01.3% 6. The democratic front of the liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
00.9% 7. People's party
00.7% 8. FIDA
05.8% 9. Independents
05.0% 10. Refused
08.8% 11. None of the above

16)  If, with the consent of all political powers and parties, new presidential    elections would be conducted. For whom would you vote to be the President of the Palestinian Authority ? OPEN QUESTION.
15.8% 1. Ismael Haniyyeh
14.4% 2. Marwan Al-Barghouthi
12.6% 3. Mahmoud Abbas
09.2% 4. Yassir Abed-Rabbu
08.9% 5. Khaled Misha'l
04.4% 7. Mohammed Dahlan
04.1% 8. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi
03.6% 9. Salam Fayyad
03.5% 10. Aziz El-Duwaik
03.3% 11. Mahmoud El-Zahhar
02.2% 12. Ahmad Sa'adat
02.1% 13. Ramadan Shallah
00.8% 14. Qais Abed-Alkareem
00.6% 15. Munib Al-Masre
00.6% 16. Saeb Ereikat
00.2% 17. Bassam Al-Salhi
05.5% 18. Independent
01.6% 19. Hamas Candidate
00.8% 20. Fatah Candidate
03.5% 21. None of the above
02.3% 22. I don't know

17)  What is your attitude towards a Palestinian-Israeli cease-fire at present?   (READ 1-4)
49.3% 1.  Strongly favor
38.9% 2.  Somewhat favor
05.8% 3.  Somewhat oppose
04.0% 4.  Strongly oppose
01.9% 5.  I don't know

18)  Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis?
20.0% 1.  Strongly favor
53.6% 2.  Somewhat favor
11.5% 3.  Somewhat oppose
12.7% 4.  Strongly oppose
02.2% 5.  I don't know

19)  Who, do you think, is the best party to bear the responsibility for the reconstruction of Gaza Strip?  (READ 1-2).
36.2% 1. Salam Fayyad's government
37.4% 2. The deposed government of Ismael Haniyyeh
26.4% 3. Otherwise, please specify:

20)  In view of the political and economic situations prevailing nowadays in the Palestinian Territories, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future? (READ 1-2).
61.2% 1.  Pessimistic
33.9% 2.  Optimistic
04.9% 3.  Don't know

21)  How would you assess the general economic situation in the Palestinian Territories? Is it  (READ 1-3)
02.8% 1.  Good
24.7% 2.  Mediocre
72.0% 3.  Bad
00.5% 4.  I don't know

22)  Up to which extent are you worried at present about the subsistence of your family? (READ 1-4).
40.7% 1.  Too much worried
40.7% 2.  Worried
12.1% 3.  Not so much worried
04.6% 4.  No worried at all
01.9% 5.  Don't know

23)  What is your main concern at present?
28.6% 1.  The job / money
40.5% 2.  The security
11.5% 3.  The health
19.4% 4.  The future

24)  Given an assessment scale from (1) to (10), where (1) stands for "very much dissatisfied" and (10) for "very much satisfied", how would you assess your satisfaction or dissatisfaction, in general, with the life you're living?

Answer from (1) to (10): The outcome was in average: 3.61

25)  Now think of the future, and particularly when your children become in your age. Do you think there would be peace between Israelis and Palestinians?
(READ 1-5).
02.4% 1.  Yes, definitely
14.4% 2.  Yes, likely
16.5% 3. Peace is possible
23.3% 4.  Unlikely
40.8% 5.  Definitely, No
02.6% 6. Don't know

Methodology of the Survey Study:

Mr. Elias Kukali, a staff member of the Research and Studies' Section at the PCPO, said that all interviews of this survey were conducted inside the respondents' homes, i.e. face-to-face during different working hours, at least 5 hours a day, including the evening time, in order to ensure proper representation of those sub-groups of the population, which would otherwise be difficult to reach and selecting one individual in each household using Last Birthday Method. The choices were taken from a total of (150 election sites, from which (110 sites are located in West Bank and (40) sites in Gaza Strip according to the distribution of the Central Election Commission.
These election sites were randomly chosen by using the method of the simple random sample. These in turn were the beginning of the random sample choice made from those regions in accordance with PCPO's long experienced methodology.

Mr. E. Kukali has further established that the margin of error was (±3.78) at a significance and confidence levels of (5%) and (95%) respectively. He added that the rate of the female respondents in this survey was (49.8%) against (50.2%) male respondents. The distribution of the random sample between the Palestinian two major regions was (61.5%) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and (38.5%) in Gaza Strip, and allocated as follows: (49.6%) for the towns, (31.6%) for the villages and (18.4%) for the camps.

 
Contact Persons: Dr. Nabil Kukali & Elias Kukali
Tel: 00970 2 277 4846, Fax: 00970 2 277 4892
Mobile: 00970 599 726 878
P.O. Box 15, Beit Sahour - Palestine
Email:
kukali@p-ol.com
Website: www.pcpo.ps

UNRWA veroordeelt confiscatie hulpgoederen Gaza door Hamas

 
Tijdens Israels offensief in Gaza deden veel berichten de ronde over confiscaties door Hamas, waarna zij de hulp zelf doorverkocht. Het is je moeilijk voor te stellen hoe UNRWA om Hamas heen kan en er persoonlijk op toe kan zien dat alle hulp bij de mensen terecht komt (honderdduizenden), waarvoor het is bedoeld. Waarschijnlijk staat dit incident dan ook niet op zichzelf.
 
RP
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UNRWA
Press Release

East Jerusalem
04 Feb 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNRWA CONDEMNS CONFISCATION OF GAZA AID AND DEMANDS ITS IMMEDIATE RETURN

At 1430 on 3 February over 3,500 blankets and 406 food parcels were confiscated from a distribution store at Beach Camp in Gaza by police personnel. This took place after UNRWA staff had earlier refused to hand over the aid supplies to the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Affairs. The police subsequently broke into the warehouse and seized the aid by force. The aid was due to be distributed to five hundred families in the area.

UNRWA condemns in the strongest terms the confiscation of its aid supplies and has demanded that it is returned immediately. UNRWA has a strict system of monitoring aid delivery and ensuring that its assistance reaches only the intended beneficiaries. Our officials were on the ground overseeing the delivery of our aid and taking all possible steps to avoid its diversion.

For more information please contact:
Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267
Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295
Office: +972 (0)2-589-0724


-Ends-

VN loog over Israelische aanval op UNRWA school

 
Het bericht dat Israel een VN school zou hebben beschoten blijkt onjuist, geeft nu zelfs de VN toe. De slachtoffers vielen doordat granaten in de straat waren afgevuurd, niet op de school. In de school bevonden zich geen doden. De vermeende Israelische beschieting riep wereldwijd woede en verontwaardiging op, ook omdat mensen in de school juist beschutting zochten. Het versterkte het beeld van een meedogenloos en wreed Israel tegenover volkomen weerloze Palestijnen. Het feit dat de VN nu toegeeft dat het allemaal onwaar was komt nogal hypocriet over, vooral door de leugen van de indertijd zo verontwaardigde John Ging dat hij nooit heeft beweerd dat Israel de school zelf had beschoten. Dit alles zou de media te denken moeten geven over de betrouwbaarheid en vermeende onpartijdigheid van UNRWA, en het al te gemakkelijk berichten over Israelische wreedheden als feiten naar buiten brengen. Wat meer afstand en reserve wat betreft de vele claims in dit conflict zou passend zijn.
 
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The UN has now admitted that the school was not fired upon.

Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, said Monday that the
IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself.

Gaylord said that the UN "would like to clarify that the shelling and all of
the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school."

UNRWA, an agency whose sole purpose is to work with Palestinian refugees,
said in response Tuesday that it had maintained from the day of attack that
the wounded were outside of the school compound.

But the latter claim seems to be a new lie, as explained below.

(A.I.)

 
Jason Koutsoukis reports in The Sydney Morning Herald on January 8 on an Israeli war crime that once again wasn't.

SEVENTEEN hours after the attack on one of his schools killed 40 Palestinians seeking shelter from Israel's war on Hamas, the UN's director of operations in Gaza, John Ging, was certain of at least one thing.

"We have established beyond any doubt that the school was not being used by any militants," Ging told the Herald last night. "They were innocent people."

Speaking from the UN's Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, Ging struggled to contain his anger at the attack that has also left more than 50 people with serious injuries, 10 of whom remain critical.

When the attack came on the Prep C Girls school in the Jabaliya camp at 3.45pm on Tuesday, Gaza time, there were about 350 Palestinians inside using the school as a shelter, Ging said.

"The reason they were in the school is because the Israelis had told them to go there. They were doing exactly as they had been told," he said.

To ensure there was no confusion about the school's location, the UN had given specific GPS co-ordinates to Israeli commanders.

"As you can imagine, this was a very distressing attack. It has killed 40 people, and some of those who were injured may yet die," Ging said. "Now we need to know how this happened. A full, transparent and independent inquiry has to be held to determine exactly how this occurred."

In fact, as Patrick Martin reports in Canada's The Globe and Mail on January 29, 2009, Ging of UNRWA knew all along there was no attack on the school but didn't set the record straight:

MOST people remember the headlines: "Massacre of Innocents as UN School is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens at UN School."

They heralded the tragic news of Jan 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. There was just one problem:

The teacher (who witnessed the shelling and), who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: "Inside (the compound) there were 12 injured, but there were no dead."

John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school".

"Look at my statements," he said. "I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation."

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs got the location right, for a short while. Its daily bulletin cited "early reports" that "three artillery shells landed outside the UNRWA Jabalia Prep C Girls School... "However, its more comprehensive weekly report, published three days later, stated that "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools ..." including the one at issue.

"I know no one was killed in the school," Ging said.

 

IDF onderzoek naar dood dochters van Dr. Abu El-Eish

 
Het klinkt plausibel, al is het natuurlijk geen onafhankelijk onderzoek. Vooral het feit dat Abu El Aish vantevoren was gewaarschuwd en opgeroepen om zijn huis te verlaten, omdat er al dagen zwaar werd gevochten in de buurt, vind ik overtuigend. Hij heeft dus, om alleszins begrijpelijke redenen, zelf ook een zeker risico genomen door toch te blijven. Wat wel onopgehelderd blijft, is van waaruit precies het leger werd beschoten.
 
During the counter-fire opened by the IDF forces, suspicious figures were identified in the upper level of Dr. Abu El-Eish's house and were thought to be spotters who directed the Hamas sniper and mortar fire.  Upon assessing the situation in the field while under heavy fire, the commander of the force gave the order to open fire on the suspicious figures.  It is from this fire, that the three daughters of Dr. Az A-Din Abu El-Eish were killed.
 
Deze 'verdachte figuren' waren dus in Abu El Aish' huis of in het huis erboven? Of werden zijn dochters abusievelijk voor deze 'spotters' aangezien?
Het is hoe dan ook een zeer tragisch incident.
 
RP
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IDF Spokesperson February 4th, 2009

Results from IDF Inquiry Regarding Incident at the Residence of Dr. Abu El-Eish

 
Investigations were held on many levels in the IDF, with regards to the incident at the residence of Dr. Az A-Din Abu El-Eish, that occurred on Friday, January 16, 2009, in which three of the doctor's daughters were killed.  The conclusions found that two shells were fired from an IDF tank resulting in the deaths of Dr. El-Eish's three daughters.

The investigation found that a force from the Golani Infantry Brigade operated in the area of Sajaiya for several days, during which they were engaged in face to face combat within short range of Hamas terrorist cells. The forces also located tunnels used for ambushing and attacking IDF forces, and identified homes which were booby-trapped.

On that Friday, the force came under sniper and mortar fire in an area laden with explosives and IEDs (improvised explosive devices).  The force identified and located the source of fire from a house adjacent to that of the doctor's, and in response, opened fire.

During the counter-fire opened by the IDF forces, suspicious figures were identified in the upper level of Dr. Abu El-Eish's house and were thought to be spotters who directed the Hamas sniper and mortar fire.  Upon assessing the situation in the field while under heavy fire, the commander of the force gave the order to open fire on the suspicious figures.  It is from this fire, that the three daughters of Dr. Az A-Din Abu El-Eish were killed.

Following the opening of fire, screams were heard from the direction of the house, and immediately the IDF force ceased all fire. Only later was it understood that this was in fact the house of Dr. Abu El-Eish. When contact was made with the doctor, the IDF force operated in order to allow for ambulances to evacuate the injured via the Erez Crossing for immediate emergency medical treatment in Israel.

The IDF Spokesperson Unit stresses that in the days leading up to the incident, Dr. Abu El-Eish was contacted personally several times by officers in the Coordination and Liaison Administration in order to urge the doctor to evacuate his home, as many others already have, because of Hamas operations and the intense fighting that was already taking place in that area for several days.

The IDF Spokesperson Unit also emphasizes that in addition to the personal contact made directly with Dr. El-Eish, the IDF issued warnings to the residents of Sajaiya by dropping thousands of leaflets as well as issuing warnings via Palestinian media outlets.

The investigation of the incident was conducted by the commanders of the forces in the area, as well as the division commander, and was approved by GOC Southern Command and the Head of the IDF Operations Branch (both ranking Major Generals). The IDF is saddened by the harm caused to the Abu El-Eish family, but at the same time states that considering the constraints of the battle scene, the amount of threats that endangered the force, and the intensity of fighting in the area, the forces' action and the decision to fire towards the building were reasonable.

The investigation's results were presented yesterday to the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and received his approval.


--------------------------------------------
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website:
www.imra.org.il

dinsdag 3 februari 2009

Verkiezingsstrijd Israel: 'Avigdor Lieberman was lid van Kach beweging'


Ook dit is actueel in Nederland. Ben je een racist als je de Arabieren in je land liever ziet gaan dan dat er meer bijkomen? Wilders beweert altijd dat het hem slechts om de islam als ideologische doctrine gaat, zoals je ook anti-fascist en anti-commmunist kan zijn, maar met zijn vele uitspraken tegen mensen van Arabische komaf is dat niet geheel geloofwaardig. Lieberman op zijn beurt zegt dat het hem om de Arabieren als politieke groep gaat, die van Israel een ander land willen maken waar Joden weer dhimmi's zullen zijn. Daar zit wat in, maar dan moet hij wel erkennen dat er ook Arabieren zijn die wel loyaal zijn, en dat, net als Joden elders als minderheid met respect willen worden behandeld, dat ook voor Arabieren in Israel geldt. Deze nuances lijkt hij niet te maken. Daarmee staat hij echter nog niet op een lijn met de Kach beweging, al spreekt zijn lidmaatschap destijds natuurlijk niet voor hem.
 
RP
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Elections 2009 / Haaretz exclusive: Avigdor Lieberman said to be ex-member of banned radical Kach movement
By Lily Galili, Haaretz Correspondent
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061172.html
 
 
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman was once a member of the outlawed far-right party Kach, the movement's former secretary general revealed on Tuesday.
 
Yossi Dayan said he issued Lieberman, a prime ministerial candidate whose current electoral campaign against Israeli Arabs has provoked outrage, with a party membership card when he was still a new immigrant to Israel.
 
"I don't recall to what extent he was active in the movement, but if he denies [this], I am ready to testify in any forum that Lieberman was indeed a member for a short amount of time," said Dayan.
 
Kach was banned from running for the Knesset in 1988 for inciting to racism.
 
Ultra-nationalist activist Avigdor Eskin, meanwhile, remembers meeting Lieberman at Kahane's office on Ussishkin Street in Jerusalem. "I remember this very well, because I arrived there one day after I immigrated to Israel in 1979," he said.
 
Eskin came to public attention for having boasted of holding a pulsa dinura ceremony prior to 1995 assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The ceremony, believed to be of kabbalistic origin, is aimed at conferring a death curse on the subject.
 
"Kahane saw him as a good guy. I also thought back then that he was not a Kach man ideologically, unless the only measure of this is the question of whether you like Arabs. According to what I remember, he handed out the movements' publications among its small student group in the Hebrew University," Eskin said.
 
He added that he met Lieberman in Kahane's office a number of times, but to the best of his knowledge the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman was only involved in Kach for a number of months.
 
Yisrael Beiteinu relayed in response to the Haaretz report that, "We are not dealing with this orchestrated provocation. The success of Yisrael Beiteinu has created among its opponents a great quantity of lies and fabrications, which the political and media establishment knew beforehand."
 
The revelation came one day after Israel's most recognizable television anchor, Haim Yavin, branded Lieberman as "Kahane's successor," a reference to the murdered extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, who headed Kach movement.
 
Former Kach members, for their part, actually reject the Kahane comparison. "He is a poor imitation of Kahane," one said. Dayan, who was close to Kahane for over a decade, is disgusted by it.
 
"Not everyone who speaks against Arabs is a Kahane," he said. "[Lieberman] can take a few elements, but to be Kahane is a whole doctrine. Nevertheless, I'm happy that he's saying what he's saying, because without a radical solution to the problem of Arabs in Israel it can't be good here."
 
 

Grad raketten uit Gaza treffen weer Ashkelon

 
Het is verkiezingstijd. Dat betekent dat niet alleen Israelische leiders stevige statements afgeven, maar ook dat Hamas en andere Palesitjnse groeperingen zo hun bijdrage leveren aan het klimaat en de uitkomst proberen te beinvloeden. Iedere raket zal de steun voor Netanyahu en partijen rechts van hem doen toenemen, en het idee onder Israeli's versterken dat de huidige regering onder internationale druk te snel met de operatie is gestopt. De regering komt zo wederom over als slap en incompetent.
Wat mensen makkelijk vergeten, is dat eigenlijk niemand een echt goed antwoord heeft op de raketbeschietingen. Diplomatie, militaire actie, terugtrekking, bezetting, de raketbeschietingen hebben het allemaal overleefd. Hamas nog harder aanpakken, of - zoals het vredeskamp zegt - juist nog meer concessies doen, klinkt als meer van hetzelfde van iets dat tot nu toe niet succesvol was, waarbij de risico's en nadelen van de beoorgde remedie volkomen worden genegeerd. Einstein definieerde waanzin als steeds hetzelfde doen en een andere uitkomst verwachten.*
 
RP
 
* Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-----------

Grad rocket hits Ashkelon for first time since Gaza op
jpost.com staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
 
A Grad rocket hit Ashkelon Tuesday morning, the first instance of such a rocket being fired into Israel since the end of Operation Cast Lead approximately two weeks ago.

There were no reported casualties in the incident, but some damage to the surrounding area was reported.

On Monday night Gaza terrorists fired a Kassam rocket that hit a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev region. No one was wounded and no damage was reported in that attack either.

Earlier Monday, minutes after a mortar shell struck an open area in the Eshkol region, IAF warplanes responded, launching a missile at a vehicle in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to witnesses in the area, one person was killed and three others were wounded in the attack. The IDF said that the men were part of the cell which fired the mortar shell into Israel.

Late Sunday night, IAF planes struck Hamas targets throughout Gaza after at least 15 Kassam rockets and mortar shells had hit the western Negev since the beginning of the day.

There has been growing frustration in the political echelon at the increasing Palestinian truce violations. On Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that while Operation Cast Lead was effective in damaging Hamas's capability to threaten Israel, the day may come when a similar operation would be necessary.

"The quiet in the South is a result of the serious blow dealt to Hamas in Gaza, and even if it takes a little more time and a few more shots are fired, this is the nature of events of this kind," Barak told Army Radio, but he added that "if we have to, we will hit Hamas again."

The defense minister also said that Israel was interested in Egyptian cooperation in the battle to halt arms smuggling into Gaza through tunnels.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised a "harsh" and "disproportionate" response to the renewal of rocket fire into Israel when he addressed the cabinet on Sunday, shortly after a rocket landed near a kindergarten in the Eshkol region.

"The cabinet's position from the outset was that if firing continues against residents of the South, there will be a sharp Israeli response that would be disproportionate vis-á-vis the firing," he said.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders, meanwhile, were said to be close to reaching a Gaza cease-fire deal in talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo.

 
Yaakov Katz, Tovah Lazaroff, and Brenda Gazzar contributed to this report.