zaterdag 25 september 2010

Hoe men in Gaza over Hamas denkt

Hieronder fragmenten van een artikel over Gaza uit een Arabische krant (The National, Verenigde Arabische Emiraten). Het geeft wel een beeld van hoe de bevolking in de Gazastrook tegen hun democratisch gekozen Hamas regering aankijkt: even corrupt als Fatah, te gewelddadig en repressief, of niet islamitisch genoeg en te passief jegens Israel...
Under the gun: how the people of Gaza feel about Hamas
Mitchell Prothero
Last Updated: September 17. 2010 4:22PM UAE / September 17. 2010 12:22PM GMT

        "We are under occupation," said Abu Mohammed, a secular businessman with close family ties to the old Fatah security services. "After the takeover, people thought it might get better if the religious guys were in charge of the money, that security would improve and corruption would end. But they're just as corrupt: If you're not in Hamas, you get nothing. If anyone does anything, they are arrested, tortured or killed. Just like with the Israelis. Except the Jews always give you a lawyer."

        Anger with Hamas is not limited to secular supporters of the Fatah government in Ramallah. Militants devoted to violent resistance say they feel betrayed by what they call an epidemic of corruption - springing from Hamas's control of the illegal tunnel economy - and by Hamas's refusal to sanction military operations against Israel from Gaza.

        Islamic Jihad, once the closest ally of the Hamas military wing, now refuses to call their former brothers-in-arms resistance fighters. According to Abu Musab, a top Islamic Jihad commander in the Rafah refugee camp, Hamas has failed at governance and resistance alike. "There's no government in Gaza," he said flatly. "We're under Israeli and Hamas occupation."

        "They are as big harami as Dahlan," he said, using the Arabic slang for "thieves". "They used to be mujaheddin, but today they are fat millionaires with nice cars," he added, pointing to his flat stomach. "Look, you can either be a millionaire or you can lead a resistance. But you if you take the medical aid sent by Europe to help the poor people of Gaza and sell it in your own pharmacies to make money for yourself and the government, you can't have both."

        At this point he pulled a packet of antibiotics from his pocket; it is stamped: "A gift of the people of Norway. Not for resale."

        "I just bought this from a Hamas-run pharmacy here in Rafah for my son," he said. "I had to go to a Hamas pharmacy to make sure the pills weren't fake or made from poor materials in Egypt. If you want real medicine, you have to buy the aid Europe sends us."

        Abu Saba, the Gazan political analyst, said that two major events had negatively reshaped public opinion of Hamas - and in both cases, he says, the damage to Hamas was self-inflicted.

        "Things first started getting out of control in November, 2007 after Hamas took total control of Gaza earlier that summer," he said. "There was a legal rally by Fatah supporters on the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death to honor their leader and to complain that Hamas was violating human rights promised under the constitution of the Palestinian people."

        He pauses for a moment and looks around the café nervously before going on. "It was the biggest protest in the history of Gaza, bigger than the largest protests during the Intifada," he continues. "It got out of control when the Hamas police told everyone to go home."

        This sparked a crackdown on political dissent throughout Palestine that continues to this day, with Hamas harassing and jailing Fatah supporters in Gaza and Fatah doing the same to Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The second major blow to Hamas's standing among Palestinians, according to Abu Saba, was the Israeli invasion of Gaza that began at the end of 2008: "When the war broke out people banded together to survive," he says, "but after the war most people thought Hamas had provoked it [with a resumption of rocket attacks] but they acted together to portray all of the population as victims of the invasion, which we were. But over the past 18 months, Hamas has fallen further and further in ­support."

        According to one human rights activist, who asked not to be named for fear of being killed by one side or the other, the root of the problem is that both governments - Fatah and Hamas - were born of what he called "original sin".

        "The Palestinian constitution protects the right of the people to peacefully assemble at anytime for political protest," he said. "It's a very progressive and wonderful law. But because Hamas can only control traffic and not how people meet privately, they decided to ban all public protests through decree of the police chief. And now they use the same tools that the Dahlan regime and the Israelis used to suppress the Intifada. Torture is a chronic problem here and on the West Bank, we have both sides using illegal and arbitrary detention and it's led to a systematic deterioration of human rights over the past four years."

        "The original sin was the refusal of the international community to recognize the Hamas victory in 2006 and the power sharing arrangement with Fatah that Saudi Arabia brokered in early 2007," the activist said. "When Hamas saw that no one would recognize their legitimate victory - and it was a fair election victory then - they decided not to bother trying to be just rulers."

        I ask him if that means the human rights situation was better under Israeli occupation that it is today for residents of both the West Bank and Gaza.

        "Why do you think I ask you not use my name? Yes, 100 percent yes,"
he said. "At least the occupation had a positive effect of drawing the Palestinian people together instead of dividing them. I now fear that we're seeing a systematic effort by Hamas and its religious backers to enter every component of society."

        Abu Saba described the Hamas response to the scorn of the international community as "furious". "They were offended because they'd been told to run in the elections, they ran in them and the elections were just ignored," he said. "Everything since that day has backfired on everyone. They squeeze Hamas and it gets stronger. And every time Ramallah arrests Hamas activists on the West Bank, it just becomes an excuse to crack down here. I think they'd still do it - Hamas has a black record on human rights - but the Israelis, Americans and Palestinian Authority never tire of giving them excuses."

        To discover how Hamas and its legions of supporters see this situation, I paid a visit to two men I interviewed on previous trips to Gaza. Three years ago, they were high-level commanders in the Izzedine al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, but since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, both have become top police officials. I join them at a meeting honouring the Interior Ministry's police force in central Gaza City.

        The event was led by Abu Obeida al Jarrah, once the overall commander of the Qassam Brigades and the military architect of the 2007 ­takeover that forced Fatah out of the Gaza Strip. A stocky, bald man with a short beard, Abu Obeida once lived in the shadows of the Gaza Strip, hunted by Israeli drones while he ­directed a campaign of rocket ­attacks, kidnappings and ­bombings, rarely sleeping in one place and never using a mobile phone.

        When I interviewed him in the summer of 2007, he had never met a western journalist; he was, at that point, the most feared militant in Gaza. Today several bodyguards surrounded him as he inspected half a dozen Hamas members dressed like sailors from a 1940s musical, with ridiculous white ­bellbottom pants, green kerchiefs and white sailor caps. These men are in the navy, though it's not clear why Hamas even has such a force: the Israelis won't even let Gazan fishermen go more than a kilometre off the coast. But the kids have spit-shined shoes and ramrod straight backs as they proudly submit to their commander's inspection.

        He shook my hand and I complimented him on the condition of his naval forces, to which he responded with a cold, but wry smirk. Militant commanders who crave public attention tend not to last very long in the Gaza Strip, and while it's unclear if he's still considered a legitimate military target, I could tell he would prefer to be out of sight rather than schmoozing with "The Support Women of the Hamas Interior Ministry Police Force" After a few minutes watching al Jarrah shake hands and pose for pictures - which he would never have allowed a few years ago - I was greeted by Moataz Deeb al Khalidi, whom I met back in his days as a Qassam commander, and he pulled me aside for a chat.

        Khalidi, formerly a pharmacist by day and militant by night, is also an official member of the police force, in charge of community policing - which, considering the current vitriol directed at Hamas, hardly seems an easy job. As we sat in his office, he trid to explain how ­Hamas plans to deal with its sinking popularity.

        "We are a government elected by the people, but we have to respect the people who elected us," he said, as he signed a large stack of ­paperwork brought to him by an aide. "We have got to solve the problems between these two parties and act if our soldiers or police mistreat the people they are sworn to protect."

        When I asked about what many people see as an inherent conflict between the party's twin goals - setting an example of proper Islamist governance while simultaneously mounting a military challenge to Israel - he surprised me by quickly agreeing.

        "You are right," he laughed, and slapped the table. "There are far too many responsibilities of a government to also combine these responsibilities with resistance. That is why I have been asked to focus on a new programme of community policing that will combine the two."

        "When you can secure the population," Khalidi continued, "it gives a good picture of what the Resistance is. There's more than one kind of resistance, and just like a carpet needs strings of many colours in it, we need many types of colours to make a carpet out of Gaza." At this moment I realised that he was ­essentially describing a version of the American-style counter-insurgency theory, as deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan: secure the population to bolster their support for the central government, which will diminish their sense of being under occupation.

        It's an answer that wouldn't be out of place coming from an American official in Afghanistan, and when I asked Khalidi about the complaints from Gazans who regard Hamas as an occupying force, he didn't disagree or take offence.

        "We must have a lot of ­education within Hamas and the police on how to deal with people," he ­explained. "We had no experience in these areas before we came to power, so we are taking each step by step, but we are not at the top yet. The government has to respect ­everybody."

        "This is why we're pursuing this 'under the table' ceasefire with Israel," he continues. "We don't have anti-aircraft missiles to fight this enemy that is so strong, we only have prayers to Allah. But we can also show people that there are rules and they should not be broken or it hurts all of us. The people of Gaza need a break from this tension and we need the time to show them what our government can be."

        Later I described my conversation with Khalidi - and my quick chat with Abu Obeida - to Abu Nizar, a former Fatah security official. He laughed at the idea that these two famed Hamas fighters had turned their efforts to community policing: "Was Abu Obeida using community support when he was throwing Fatah officials off high-rise buildings in 2007? Are they working step by step to learn not to shoot people who disagree with them in the kneecaps? There's a video of Obeida himself executing five Fatah officials in the Jabaliya refugee camp after they surrendered - everyone in Gaza has seen it. So why should I ever think he's not going to one day come here and kill me?"

        Fatah, according to Abu Nizar, no longer poses any threat to Hamas rule in Gaza: it would be insane, he says, for Ramallah to order its cadres to stir up trouble here, given the level of control Hamas currently exerts over the population.

        "We'd be massacred in five minutes if we plotted against Hamas," he said. The real threat to Hamas, Abu Nizar continued, comes from its former militant allies. "The jihadis are much more powerful than they have ever been," he told me, echoing a warning that has been sounded by other experts on Gaza. "Salafists look at Hamas and think they aren't Islamic enough, because they ran in elections approved by Israel, they have failed to implement Sharia law, and they stop militants from attacking Israeli targets."

        "They can't challenge Hamas yet. But you can't hold them off forever. The most religious members want Sharia law and an end to this under-the-table ceasefire. They will never accept Hamas rule, but Hamas tries to appease them by banning women from smoking shisha and other moral laws. But we know appeasing al Qa'eda types never works, they'll just ask for more and more until one day they have the support to throw Hamas out. Just like what happened to Fatah - but it will be even worse for all of us."

        ...Jaysh [al Islam] was at the forefront of the fighting here, and when I asked Jihad whether Hamas fighters had also participated, he scoffed. "When they saw 200 or so policemen were killed the first day in their bases, they all went to the tunnels," he explained. "Hamas knew Israel was coming to hurt them, so they sent all their men home or to safety. We had 18 martyrs in this neighborhood during the war and we're a small group. Qassam Brigades has more than 10,000 men all over Gaza, and they only had eight martyrs after the first day."

        "They hid while we died for the glory of God," he added. "Who are the real Mujihadeen?"

        One [member of Jaysh al Aslam] took me by the hand and led me quietly to the edge of the tree line. Not more than 100 metres away, Israeli bulldozers, guarded by massive Merkava tanks, were clearing brush from along the fence. I could see Israeli soldiers walking along, talking to each other, sharing cigarettes and guarding the area. "Past this tree and they'll see us and start shelling," my young masked guide explained, before returning me to Jihad and the rest of the men.

        "Hamas is our enemy," Jihad said amid nods from his colleagues. "They have killed our brothers on behalf of the Israelis and they protect Israel from our guns." He points to one young man who is clutching an M-16 rifle. "This boy," Jihad says, "was arrested by Hamas for trying to attack Israelis outside of Rafah camp."

        "They held me for 22 days," the boy says. "They beat me every day and when they released me, my father and I had to sign a paper that said if I attack Israel again, I will owe Hamas $22,000 or they will kill me."


Ami Isseroff over bevriezing nederzettingenbouw Westoever en Jeruzalem

Ik denk dat ik het hier wel met Ami eens ben. De bouwstop moet verlengd worden, maar het wordt ook hoog tijd dat Abbas eens met wat 'concessies' over de brug komt, zoals een einde aan de ophitsing door de PA of het volmondig erkennen van Joodse rechten op bv. Jeruzalem of een eigen (Joodse) staat.
Zie voor de nederzettingen op de Westoever ook: Americans for Peace Now map - 'Settlements at your fingertips'

Settlement Construction Freeze: Down to what wire?

The prospective end of the settlement freeze on September 26, as well as the prospect of  its renewal, have provoked a wave of hysteria from politicians,  journalists and activists. The phrase most frequently used is "down to the wire" (meaning explained here). An anonymous questioner at the U.S. State Department press briefing initiated this exchange:

QUESTION:..You're wanting to let it run down to the wire, potentially to the 25th or the actual 26th before you come up with or offer a suggestion to get beyond that?

Robert Danin, former State Department talking head and currently a talking head at the Council on Foreign Relations opined:

This issue is likely to be a white knuckler that will go down to the wire.

The J Street Lobby told its email readership that we are "Down to the wire on settlements" and asked them to bombard Israel ambassador Michael Oren with letters asking for an extension of the settlement construction freeze, because that, supposedly will bring peace.

Mahmoud Abbas threatened to end the peace talks if the settlement freeze is not extended.

The Quartet urged Israel to extend the freeze:

The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators is set to request on Tuesday that Israel extend the settlement moratorium currently in place in the West Bank, explaining that the freeze has had a positive impact on peace talks, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Let's be exact.This is not about a "moratorium" on "settlements."  No new Israeli settlements of any kind will be built in the West Bank if the deadline expires.

This is not "down to the wire" either. There is no race, and therefore no wire. There will probably not be a peace agreement even if Israel agrees to extend the so-called "settlement freeze."

This is not only about the West Bank either. The freeze extends to Jewish areas and neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, which Hillary Clinton and company choose to see as "settlements"

From the first, it was evident that the so-called settlement freeze was always about Jerusalem. Remember the great noise that the Americans and the Palestinians made when Israel announced new construction in Jerusalem? U.S  envoy Mitchell guaranteed a construction freeze in east Jerusalem.

Donniel Hartman wrote:

"This is the context within which we must assess the issue of the settlement building freeze. Any settlement expansion outside the areas of Jerusalem, the Etzion bloc, Maaleh Adumim, and Ariel, undermine the authenticity of our commitment to bring the occupation to an end and are thus simply immoral."

Hartman and his readers do not understand: For Abbas and for the Americans, building in Jerusalem is like building anywhere else in the so called "West Bank,"  whether it is Hebron or Yitzhar or Gush Etzion.  Hartman's "moral" proposition, so reasonable-sounding to other Zionists, would cause conniption fits in the White House. Abbas would never accept it. Everyone talks about the "settlement freeze," but nobody seems to know what it is. Nobody knows, or people like Hartman make believe that they don't know, that Jerusalem is included, not to mention the Etzion bloc, Maaleh Adumim, and Ariel. Abbas means to have every square centimeter, and he has the backing of the American government.

My grandfather taught in the Hebrew University at Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem before Hillary Clinton and Mahmoud Abbas were born. My mother studied there. This year, my daughter will study there. But Hillary Clinton and the quartet insist that the Hebrew University campus on Mt. Scopus, as well as Jewish neighborhoods such as French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and Ramat Shlomo are "illegal settlements."

If the freeze is extended, there will be no building in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem. But Jerusalem is not mentioned in any of the news reports or opinion columns I have seen. It is all about the "West Bank."

An imaginative Peace Now report tells of thousands of homes that could "potentially" be constructed in the "West Bank." It even has maps. Jerusalem is not included.

The American government is supposedly seeking a three month extension to the settlement freeze, obviously to include Jerusalem. The Israeli government has reportedly come up with a bizarre suggestion: The U.S. will free Jonathan Pollard in exchange for an extension of the so-called "settlement freeze."

In effect, the Israeli government announced that it can be blackmailed into giving up Jewish claims to Jerusalem. Soon someone will suggest that Israel should give up Tel Aviv in return for the release of Gilad Shalit. As Groucho Marx said, "These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

The so-called "settlement freeze" issue is a red herring. It was invented by the Palestinians to throw a monkey wrench in the peace talks and to assert their specious claim to east Jerusalem. Their argument was that Israeli settlement construction was creating "facts on the ground" that would prevent Palestinians from forming a state.

The dispute was never about settlements in the West Bank.Israeli construction will not affect any future peace settlement. If territory is given to Palestinians, it will not matter what settlements were built on it. This was the case in 1949 when Israel abandoned settlements in Gaza after the Israel War of Independence; it was the case when Israel abandoned Yamit and Neviot (Nuweiba) and Di-Zahav (Dahab) and Sharm el Sheikh to the Egyptians,  and it was the case when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Who can forget?? "Facts on the ground" in the form of settlements never stood in the way of agreements. The man who gave up the Gaza settlements in 2005, and the man who convinced Menachem Begin to give up Yamit, was Mister "facts on the ground" himself, Ariel Sharon.

The Americans bought the Palestinian ploy. Mahmoud Abbas dug a great big trap for the Israelis, and the Israeli government is obligingly falling into the trap.

As long as there is any building on the other side of the green line, Abbas is not obligated to talk.He has set it up that way. This is convenient for Abbas, Talking to Israelis is bad for your health if you are an Arab leader, and especially if you are a Palestinian leader. It leads to criticism like this; "Abbas could leave disastrous legacy." For those who did not understand: Only dead people can leave a legacy.

Dead or alive, if Abbas keeps talking, he will have to discuss the real issues, such as: Recognition of the Jewish people, and of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, giving up the "right" of return for Arab Palestinian refugees of 1948, and admitting that Jews just might have some national connection with Jerusalem. The Israeli government should keep the focus on these issues.  Abbas will never raise those issues. The year allocated by the quartet to negotiations will pass, and then another year, and then another. Abbas will never budge an inch. Each time Israel will be asked to extend the "settlement freeze" in the so-called "West Bank."

Israel should offer to extend the freeze on construction of new housing in the West Bank, but should specify very carefully, so that even Donniel Hartman and his followers, even Peace Now supporters, even Hillary Clinton, can understand: Jerusalem neighborhoods are not "settlements." Jerusalem is not in the "West Bank".  To make doubly sure that Israel is not blamed for the failure of the peace talks, the ban on construction in east Jerusalem should be extended as well, but only in return for real concessions, not freeing of this or that hostage. The Americans, at least, should admit that Israel has legitimate national claims in east Jerusalem, and should recognize some part of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Ami Isseroff

vrijdag 24 september 2010

Radicale moslims zetten Egyptenaren op tegen koptische christenen

Kopten gebruiken kerken als opslagplaatsen voor wapens in voorbereiding van een oorlog tegen de moslims van Egypte. De wapens zouden afkomstig zijn uit Israel. Men zou een staat binnen de staat Egypte vormen.
Het lijken absurde verdachtmakingen, die bovendien nergens op zijn gebaseerd.
El-Awah droeg geen bewijzen aan, maar verklaarde dat ,,Israël het hart van de koptische kwestie is''.
Israel krijgt wel vaker van allerlei problemen de schuld, van ziekten tot onderdrukking en natuurrampen. Door de Kopten met Israel te associeren verklaart men ze in feite vogelvrij, en er wordt dan ook gevreesd voor grootschalig geweld tegen de Kopten zodra president Mubarak overlijdt. Op kleinere schaal vindt dergelijk geweld al regelmatig plaats.
De valse beschuldiging sluit volgens waarnemers echter aan bij een eerdere oproep van radicale moslimgroepen om koptische winkels, diensten en scholen te boycotten.
Hopelijk wacht de Kopten niet hetzelfde lot als de Egyptische Joden, die in de jaren '50 en '60 allen zijn verdreven, met achterlating van hun bezittingen.

'Kopten slaan wapens op in kerken'

Geplaatst: 22 september 2010 22:30, laatste wijziging: 23 september 2010 07:42

van onze redactie buitenland

CAIRO - De Koptische Kerk in Egypte is in een radioprogramma van al-Jazeera beschuldigd van het aanleggen van wapendepots in kerken en kloosters. Door de beweringen lopen de spanningen tussen moslims en kopten op.

Naguib Gobrail, raadsman van de Koptische Kerk en voorzitter van de Egyptische Unie van Mensenrechtenorganisaties, noemde maandag de uitzending ,,een aaneenrijging van leugens die de sociale rust en nationale veiligheid bedreigen''. Dat heeft het Assyrische nieuwsagentschap Aina gisteren gemeld.

Vorige week zond al-Jazeera het twee uren durende praatprogramma 'Zonder grenzen' uit met dr. Selim al-Awah, voormalig secretaris-generaal van de Wereldraad van Moslimgeleerden. Hij beschuldigde de kopten ervan een oorlog tegen moslims voor te bereiden door wapens in kerken en kloosters op te slaan en ,,een staat binnen de staat Egypte'' te vormen. In Egypte leven vijftien miljoen christenen (kopten) te midden van zestig miljoen moslims. El-Awah droeg geen bewijzen aan, maar verklaarde dat ,,Israël het hart van de koptische kwestie is''. De wapens zouden afkomstig zijn uit Israël, een verdenking die nooit eerder is geuit. Verder zou de Koptische Kerk moslims omkopen zich tot het christendom te bekeren en bekeerlingen martelen door ze in kloosters op te sluiten. Ook zou de kerk een deal hebben willen sluiten met Gamal Mubarak, de zoon en beoogd opvolger van de huidige president Hosni Mubarak. El-Awah zei dat ,,het land zal branden'' als de kopten niet zouden inbinden.

Volgens Magdy Khalil, directeur van het Middle East Freedom Forum, nodigen de verdachtmakingen uit tot massaal geweld tegen de kopten als president Mubarak overlijdt en het land in chaos verkeert. Khalil verweet El-Awah ,,aan te zetten tot moord en etnische zuivering, wat kan uitlopen op een drama als de Armeense genocide in 1915''.


De Egyptische media kritiseerden de uitlatingen, omdat El-Awah geen enkel bewijs gaf voor zijn verdachtmakingen. De valse beschuldiging sluit volgens waarnemers echter aan bij een eerdere oproep van radicale moslimgroepen om koptische winkels, diensten en scholen te boycotten.

Morgen zullen moslims demonstreren in Alexandrië, de tweede stad van Egypte, om hun eis tot aftreden van de koptische paus Shenouda III kracht bij te zetten. Volgens hen zou de paus bezig zijn met een opdeling van Egypte in een islamitisch land en een koptisch-seculiere staat in de provincie Assiut. De koptische zender Agape weersprak de ,,vijandige aantijgingen'', die bedoeld zijn om een burgeroorlog uit te lokken. Bizarre beschuldiging zorgt voor spanning tussen kopten en radicale moslims

Geen verrassing van Achmadinejad: "VS achter 9/11" om “Zionisten te redden”

Echt nieuws is het natuurlijk niet, verbluffend echter wel. In New York, een paar kilometer van Ground Zero, vertelt Achmadinejad de VN afgevaardigden dat mogelijk de VS zelf achter 9/11 zat om de zionisten te redden. Natuurlijk kreeg Israel ook weer de schuld van de grote wereldproblemen.

Ahmadinejad Suggests 9/11 Was U.S. Plot to "Save Zionism"

  • Ahmadinejad suggests 9/11 attacks were intended to "save Zionist regime"
  • Iranian leader, who backs Hamas, Hezbollah, proposes conference on terrorism
  • Obama says Iran cannot demonstrate its nuclear program is peaceful

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, well-known for denying the Holocaust, used his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to suggest that elements within the U.S. government were behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The U.S. delegation walked out of the hall as Ahmadinejad – standing just a few miles from the site of Ground Zero – mocked the memories of the roughly 3,000 people who died on 9/11.

There is no dispute that al Qaeda carried out the attack. Its leaders boasted of doing so and numerous investigations have reconstructed in minute detail how the operations were planned and executed.

Still, the Iranian leader put forward his own three theories of the attack. First, that a powerful terrorist group was behind it; second, that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.

"The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view," Ahmadinejad said.

The third explanation was that the attacks were "carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation."

The Iranian leader launched his usual diatribe against Israel, which he blamed for many of the ills in the world, but broke little new ground in this part of his speech.

He said he would convene a conference on terrorism next year. The U.S. State Department has for years identified Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran arms and finances Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon which have stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets and missiles to fire at Israeli civilians. Iran also provides weapons and training to other groups worldwide.

Ahmadinejad also proclaimed he was in favor of a nuclear weapons-free world. The United Nations has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran for hiding what most governments believe is an active, ongoing program to build nuclear weapons.

In his speech earlier to the General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama said: "Iran is the only party to the NPT (non-proliferation treaty) that has not demonstrated the peaceful intentions of its nuclear program."


Moeten er consequenties zijn voor Turkse flirt met Iran?

De  Jerusalem Post maakt zich ernstige zorgen over Turkijes toenemende sympathie voor Iran en verwijdering van het Westen. Het voorstel dat het Westen Turkije hiervoor straft met economische sancties lijkt me echter niet verstandig, want dat zal deze trend alleen maar versterken. De vraag is wat we wel kunnen doen om deze trend te keren, en hoe de EU met een land kan samenwerken dat zulke nauwe banden is aan het ontwikkelen met een ons vijandig gezind land:
Turkey has become a veritable safe haven for Iranian banks, including those with suspected links to Teheran's nuclear programs, as Ankara leads the way in undermining a UN-sponsored boycott campaign aimed at halting Iran's nuclear enrichment project.

Turkish-Iranian trade has increased by 86 percent this year. In a bid to keep Gul's ruling AKP party in power, Teheran has pledged $25 million to its campaign ahead of Turkey's July 2011 elections.

Besides Israeli tourism, Turkey has little to lose from pursuing its present foreign policy. Only Turkish banks with business in the US that also deal directly with Iranian companies blacklisted by Washington risk facing US penalties. But Turkey has much to gain, such as exclusive Iranian business deals and the admiration of Muslim masses happy to see waning Western influence in the Middle East.
Misschien moet de EU Turkse banken op een vergelijkbare manier straffen, of op andere manieren Turkije ontmoedigen in het aanhalen van de banden met Iran. We moeten ons ook afvragen in hoeverre samenwerking op veiligheids- en defensiegebied dan nog mogelijk is, een vraag die overigens ook geldt voor Israel.

Editorial: Consequences for Turkey

09/21/2010 22:00

Since it came to power in, Turkey's AKP leadership has shifted away from the West into the orbit of mullah- run Iran. It should be forced to pay the consequences.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has been going out of his way to make it clear where his country's loyalties lie.

In New York for the UN General Assembly, Gul, in a calculated push to reassert Turkish antagonism toward the Jewish state, invoked the name of the Mavi Marmara and noted that "in old times" Israel's ill-fated raid would have been casus belli – a justification for war.

Gul hinted that Israel had to perform a public act of contrition. "It is up to Israel. They have to do what is necessary since they are the ones that created the incident," he said.

Gul's audacious comments followed a nasty diplomatic tussle between Gul and President Shimon Peres. The two had planned to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly. But Peres was forced to cancel after he refused Gul's precondition of offering an official Israeli apology for what happened on the Mavi Marmara on May 31.

Even in international forums, notoriously slanted against Israel, not everyone has concluded that Israel was to blame for the bloody confrontation, which ended with the deaths of nine Turks. Both the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and a separate UN panel formed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, are looking into the incident in which dozens of "peace" activists violently attacked IDF commandos when they boarded the ship to enforce a naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Gul, as has been his country's consistent wont, ignored these inconvenient facts. Peres, in a remarkably conciliatory tone, explained to reporters at the UN, "I got some conditions which made this meeting in my judgment not a positive one. We do not intend to worsen the situation, but neither can we agree to preconditions that are totally unacceptable."

In yet another jab to Israel, Gul declared his country's support for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons – which was essentially a call, already made by several Arab nations, to force Israel, reportedly the only country in the region with nuclear capability, to disarm.

And parallel to his assault on Israel, Gul reached out to the Islamic Republic, publicly announcing he would be holding a special meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

TIES BETWEEN Ankara and Teheran seem to have grown closer in direct relation to Turkey's deteriorating relations with Israel. In a recent visit to Istanbul, Iranian Vice President Moammad Reza Rahimi was moved to declare, "Turkey is the best friend of Iran in the world."

There is good reason for Rahimi to be appreciative.

Turkey has become a veritable safe haven for Iranian banks, including those with suspected links to Teheran's nuclear programs, as Ankara leads the way in undermining a UN-sponsored boycott campaign aimed at halting Iran's nuclear enrichment project.

Turkish-Iranian trade has increased by 86 percent this year. In a bid to keep Gul's ruling AKP party in power, Teheran has pledged $25 million to its campaign ahead of Turkey's July 2011 elections.

Besides Israeli tourism, Turkey has little to lose from pursuing its present foreign policy. Only Turkish banks with business in the US that also deal directly with Iranian companies blacklisted by Washington risk facing US penalties. But Turkey has much to gain, such as exclusive Iranian business deals and the admiration of Muslim masses happy to see waning Western influence in the Middle East.

That imbalance needs to change. Since it came to power in 2002, Turkey's AKP leadership has gradually shifted away from the West into the orbit of mullah- run Iran. It should be forced to pay the consequences.

The US, the EU, Israel and others should cut back military cooperation and consider economic sanctions.

Just as Iran has openly pledged support for the AKP, so too should the US and the EU actively back the secular opposition in Turkey ahead of the upcoming elections. Gul has made it abundantly clear where his country's loyalties lie. It is now the turn of the US and the EU to do the same.

Westerse vredesaktivistes moeten zwijgen over aanranding en verkrachting in Palestijnse gebieden

Ik las eerst het verhaal op Israel National news (onder Haaretz artikel), een bron die graag over problemen en misstanden bij links bericht en die ook weleens wil opblazen, maar ook Haaretz berichtte erover. Uit beide verhalen komt naar voren dat het om een breder verschijnsel gaat, en niet een eenmalige zaak.
Zo uniek is dit echter waarschijnlijk niet: de relatie tussen westerse, linkse en vrijgevochten vredesactivisten en de locals waarvoor men het opneemt is wel vaker lastig. Een vriend vertelde me dat hij in de jaren '80 een paar weken op een socialistische cooperatie in Portugal had gewerkt met een groep linkse idealisten. Ook daar werden de vrouwen geregeld lastig gevallen door een man uit het dorp, en liep dat een keer bijna uit de hand.

MESS Report / Are the Palestinians silencing the attempted rape of U.S. peace activist?

What the PA may be doing to keep the darker side of its much lauded popular protest against the West Bank separation fence out of public view.

By Avi Issacharoff / Published 11:23 14.07.10

The story of the Palestinian popular protest against Israel in several West Bank villages has recently garnered worldwide praise. However, as with any other massive movement, the popular protest too has its darker sides. The Palestinian Authority, as well as the leaders of the Palestinian popular protests in villages such as Bil'in, Na'alim, Umm Salmuna, have been trying to keep the following story away from both public knowledge and the media's eye: One of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists – a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.

Omar Aladdin, who had been arrested three months ago over suspicions he had attempted to rape the U.S. citizen, was subsequently released after agreeing to apologize to the young woman. However, Haaretz had learned that representatives of both the popular protest movement and the PA have since applied pressure on the American peace activist as to prevent her from making the story public.

The incident allegedly took place last April, as Aladdin, who had served a term in the Israeli jail in the past, arrived one evening at the guest house in which many of the foreign peace activists were staying. The European and American female activists reportedly agreed to let Aladdin stay with them after he had told them he feared the Israel Defense Forces were on his tail, adding that he had been severely beaten at an IDF checkpoint only a week before.

During his stay Aladdin allegedly attempted to rape a Muslim-American woman, nicknamed "Fegin" by fellow activists. The woman escaped, later accusing the popular protest man of the attempt. One villager who had encountered the American following the incident said she had been in a state of shock.

Aladdin then refused to apologize for the incident, when news of it reached the village's popular committee, the popular protests' governing body, allegedly saying that the incident had been marginal and normal. The American activist then asked the committee to notify authorities of the attempted rape, a request which resulted in the man being arrested by security forces in Bethlehem. After agreeing to apologize for the incident, Aladdin was released from custody by the PA police.

The U.S. citizen was then convinced to retract her complaint, as to avoid tainting the image of the popular protest, which had attracted praise from around the world in recent months.

However, the Umm Salmuna case is not the only one. Separation fence activists know of other incidents in which Palestinians molested and sexually assaulted foreign peace activists, a subject which was apparently raised in the discussions of the various popular committees.

Foreign female peace activists regularly participate in protests in the villages of Bil'in, Na'alin, and others, where the activists stay in separate houses. Some villagers do not agree with these housing arrangements, claiming that the villages' youth, who frequently visit the activists, are corrupted by the young women.

One villager said the female activists bring a different "culture with them, western, too open. The young people, especially from the villages, aren't used to stay near other girls, they do not know their culture, certainly when it's a young woman staying with other women in a strange house. They misinterpret it."

Mahmoud Zwahara, the popular committee's coordinator for the Umm Salmuna and Ma'sara region, said in response that "the struggle against the separation fence is a joint fight, which does not target Israeli identity or Jews. We hope that our activity will show the Israeli soldiers that they must cease their actions against us as well as human rights violations."


Arabs Harass Female 'Peace' Activists; Left Silences Victims

Two activists have exposed a disturbing phenomenon that they say is an open secret within the "peace camp": female "peace" activists are routinely harassed and raped by the Arabs of Judea and Samaria with whom they have come to identify. They say the phenomenon has gotten worse lately and that many foreign women end up as wives of local Arabs against their will, but cannot escape their new homes.

Roni Aloni Sedovnik, a feminist activist, penned an article in News1 – an independent website run by respected investigative reporter Yoav Yitzchak – under the heading "The Left's Betrayal of Female Peace Activists Who were Sexually Assaulted."

"A nauseous atrocity has been going on for a long time behind the scenes at the leftists' demonstration at Bil'in, Naalin and Sheikh Jarrah [Shimon HaTzaddik]," she writes. "A dark secret that threatens to smash the basic ideological values upon which the demand to end the occupation of the Territories rests."

It turns out, she explains, that when female peace activists from Israel and abroad come out to Judea and Samaria and demonstrate against the Israeli "occupation," they are assaulted sexually by the Arab men whom they have come to help. These are not isolated incidents, Aloni-Sedovnik stresses. Rather, this is an "ongoing and widespread" phenomenon that includes verbal and physical abuse. She accuses the 'peace' camp of purposely covering up the trend so as not to offend "the Palestinians and their heritage, which sees women as sexual objects."

Media cover-up
Aloni-Sedovnik cites two specific cases which she has knowledge of – one is a case of rape and another is "severe sexual harassment." The attackers in both cases, she stresses, were familiar with the victims and knew that they were "peace activists."

The rape occurred several months ago in the village of Umm Salmona, near Bethlehem. The victim, an American activist, wanted to press charges but leftist activists put pressure on her not to do so, so as not to damage the struggle against the 'occupation.'

The second case involved an Israeli activist who took part in the demonstrations at Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, where the High Court ruled that Jewish families may move into homes that they have owned for generations. This woman filed a complaint with the police but retracted it after "severe and unfair pressure" from the demonstrations' organizers, according to Aloni-Sedovnik. Furthermore, the organizers appealed to demonstrators to dress modestly when they come to the Arab neighborhoods and suggested that they wear head scarves.

Aloni-Sedovnik accuses the Israeli media of complicity in the cover-up.

"How is it that we do not hear the voice of the radical feminists who repeat, day and night, that occupation is occupation, and it does not matter if it is a nation that is doing the subjugation, or a man who is subjugating a woman?

"It appears that there is a gap between the radical-leftist feminist theory about the active resistance to the occupation of the Territories, and the stuttering self-annulment in the face of the violent conquest of women."

The Umm Salmona case was reported in Haaretz as an attempted rape but does not seem to have made it beyond the blog pages.

Foreign women raped and subjugated
Earlier this year, a blogger and literature buff named Yehudah Bello, who writes in various venues about history and the theory of evolution, wrote a blog post with the striking title: "The Female Leftist Activists are Raped Day after Day, Night after Night." Bello is no ultra-nationalist, and he supports the creation of a PA state – a fact which makes his claims all the more believable.

Most female leftist European activists, writes Bello, are brainwashed in their youth into hating Israel, and then sent directly into Judea and Samaria, without spending a single night in Tel Aviv, lest they see civilian Israeli society for themselves and find that they like it. They are whisked off to Shechem, Jenin and other PA towns and housed in Arab educational or cultural facilities, or private homes. Local Arab girls are sent to befriend them and they have no choice but to trust them.

It is is easy, explains Bello, "to carry out a sexual crime against a foreign girl, in her first days away from her family, in a place where no police have ever visited. And this is what happens, and has happened."

"I was told of such rape cases by women who are not Jewish: a female European leftist activist, a female Red Cross volunteer and a young Arab woman from Yafo," he says. He says that he met these women when he carried out IDF reserve duty, and met them afterward as well. "They told me what goes on there, in the Palestinian villages, far from any prying eye."

"These are not just cases of rape carried out to satisfy lust," he writes. "Usually, they are carried out systematically in order to make the girl pregnant and then take her as a wife – after she converts to Islam, of course. We know about this system from the stories of women who underwent a similar process within Israel and escaped to Europe. But it is hard to escape from the Palestinian territories. Sometimes these women – some of whom are no longer young – are never allowed to leave their homes unaccompanied, in order to forestall their escape."

If someone were to compare the list of foreign female activists who enter Judea and Samaria to the list of those who leave, Bello claims, the magnitude of the phenomenon would be proven. "Everyone knows about it, but no one dares talk about it. The Palestinians have been turned into martyrs. In the Middle Eastern television channels, IDF soldiers are represented as the brutal rapists, who rape Palestinian women."

New Israel Fund involvement
The reports by Aloni-Sedovnik and Bello are of particular interest because feminist groups have been spearheading leftist activism in Israel for many years. According to Gila Svirsky, the former director of the New Israel Fund in Israel and founder of NIF-sponsored Women's Coalition for Peace, "women's peace organizations, known collectively as the Israeli women's peace movement, became the most vibrant and persistent part of the peace camp in Israel." These groups espouse an ideology which equates militarism (by Israelis) with male domination of women. Far from being a fringe element, leftist-feminists of this ilk are a dominant force in the Israeli academic world, the press, the Knesset and the judicial system.

Israeli's en Palestijnen willen vrede, maar zijn onderhandelingen moe

A Palestinian takes aim at Israeli police with a slingshot after the funeral procession for Samir Serhan, shot dead by a Jewish settlement security guard, on Sept. 22, 2010. (Warrick Page/Getty Images)
Een paar weken geleden kwam de Times met een idioot en suggestief artikel over dat Israeli's liever in de zon liggen en geld uitgeven dan dat ze zich bezig houden met het conflict met de Palestijnen. In de Globalpost wijst Matt Beynon Rees erop dat je precies zo'n verhaal kunt maken over de Palestijnen in Ramallah, waar de ene club na de andere de grond uit schiet, en zelfs in Gaza zijn er tegenwoordig luxe winkelcentra, clubs en hotels waar mensen het ervan nemen. Hij wijst er verder op dat het alleszins begrijpelijk is dat mensen aan beide kanten niet met leven willen wachten totdat er vrede is.
Of course, it's always dangerous for a journalist to suggest that someone "doesn't care." In the Middle East, that person is most likely to be engaged in something else when he chats with the reporter, but just as easily could be sprung back into caring deeply as soon as violence erupts.
Mensen zetten zich vaak op hun eigen manier in voor vrede en verzoening, of reageren op ad hoc situaties. Zo kunnen vele duizenden mensen de straat op gaan voor een concrete zaak, een oproep ondersteunen of geld geven of zelfs met gevaar voor eigen leven iemand helpen. Israeli's reageren zeer alert op mogelijk gevaar en wachten niet af zoals je hier weleens ziet.
Palestinians and Israelis want peace. The Time article picked up rather on the fact that both peoples are sick of the energy it takes to follow these frequently pointless talks. To some, that looks like a lack of desire for peace. I'd call it a reflection of the fact that everyone knows what sort of peace deal could be achieved, if only the politicians would put away their fears of being condemned by their own extremists.
Dat klinkt iets te simpel. Een meerderheid van de Israeli's wil een einde aan de bezetting, maar wel een zekere controle houden over de toekomstige Palestijnse staat, en de grote nederzettingenblokken houden. Over de vraag of Jeruzalem een gedeelde hoofdstad kan worden is men op zijn best verdeeld. Een meerderheid van de Palestijnen is tegen een tweestatenoplossing in de zin van twee staten voor twee volken, is tegen een gedeeld Jeruzalem en vindt dat miljoenen nakomelingen van de vluchtelingen moeten kunnen terugkeren naar Israel. Zie bijvoorbeeld deze recente enquete.
Why Israel cares about peace
Analysis: Many Israelis and Palestinians live as if peace has already arrived.

Editor's note: In an address to the United Nations General Assembly today, U.S. President Barack Obama urged support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations currently underway.

JERUSALEM — Ariel Sharon, who went into a coma almost five years ago, is soon to be moved from his hospital bed to his ranch on the edge of the Negev Desert. If he came out of his coma (his doctors say he never will), the former Israeli prime minister could be forgiven for thinking peace had been made in the years that he lay in Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv.

A recent Time magazine cover bore a daisy chain Star of David and the headline: "Why Israel doesn't care about peace." The story inside detailed how Israelis were too busy drinking at bars, eating at restaurants and sunning themselves on the beach to care about the peace talks which are just under way.

The author could've just as easily zipped along to the Palestinian town of Ramallah, which abuts Jerusalem to the north, and pulled together a similar story. The city's nightlife has exploded in the last year or so with new clubs and bars opening each month. It isn't just United Nations workers who frequent the fusion restaurant called Orjuwan or the painfully loud dance floor at SnowBar, just down the road from the refugee camps and across the street from Yasser Arafat's tomb. These are young, wealthy Palestinians who are living as though Ibiza came to the West Bank.

What Sharon would soon figure out — because he was nothing if not shrewd — is that some Israelis and Palestinians are tired of waiting for peace to be negotiated and have decided to live as if there already were peace.

I've been in Jerusalem since 1996. All the recent headlines about "freezing settlement building" or "security control over holy sites" are repetitious to the point of utter inanity. A revived Sharon would probably think he'd actually gone back in time to Benjamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister in the late-1990s, when negotiations crawled along at a desperately dull pace. What I've observed lately is that Israelis and Palestinians are as tired of living through peace negotiations as I am of writing about them.

Of course, it's always dangerous for a journalist to suggest that someone "doesn't care." In the Middle East, that person is most likely to be engaged in something else when he chats with the reporter, but just as easily could be sprung back into caring deeply as soon as violence erupts. The Palestinians rioting in East Jerusalem Wednesday, for example, after violence on the Temple Mount, appeared to care about something.

Either that or they just wanted to throw some stones and work up a sweat, which is another cause for rioting that journalists often overlook — teenage male testosterone.

Palestinians and Israelis want peace. The Time article picked up rather on the fact that both peoples are sick of the energy it takes to follow these frequently pointless talks. To some, that looks like a lack of desire for peace. I'd call it a reflection of the fact that everyone knows what sort of peace deal could be achieved, if only the politicians would put away their fears of being condemned by their own extremists.

The focus of most journalists is, in fact, those very extremists. They cause the most damage and make the loudest noise. They're not the majority. That's what makes them powerful, too.

When most of the people around them are keen to live as if there were peace — as if those extremists didn't exist — then the power to change events lies with the extremists. They know there's not peace; they don't have to pretend. That's why a relatively small number of settlement activists are able to drag the Israeli government toward a renewed expansion of its colonies in the West Bank, which may cripple the new negotiations almost before they've begun.

In the same way, it's Hamas in the Gaza Strip, not the U.S.-backed Fatah in Ramallah clubland, which dictates how far Palestinian leaders are able to go in their talks with Israel.

Coming out of his coma, Sharon would recognize that situation. In the Middle East, some things don't change.


donderdag 23 september 2010

Commissie Orwell veroordeelt aanval Israël op Gazakonvooi

Groot nieuws! Volgens de VN mensenrechtenraad schond Israel het internationale recht bij haar actie tegen een boot vol met Turkse extremisten op weg naar de Gazastrook. Volgens de VN mensenrechtenraad, met daarin landen als Iran, Libië, Cuba en Saudi-Arabië, doet Israel niets anders dan het internationaal recht schenden, het feit dat dit land bestaat is al een schending van dat recht, en zijn zelfmoordaanslagen een gerechtvaardigde vorm van verzet daartegen.
Het is verbluffend hoe serieus de media de uitkomsten van dit 'onderzoek' nemen, en hoe eufemistisch er over de neutraliteit en samenstelling van de raad wordt gesproken:
De Mensenrechtenraad is ook in westerse landen ietwat omstreden. In de raad zouden nogal veel landen zitten met een slechte reputatie op het gebied van mensenrechten, zoals Iran en Libië.
Hoezo 'zouden'? Is het nog maar de vraag of die landen ook echt in de raad zitten, of valt het te betwijfelen of hun reputatie op het gebied van de mensenrechten te wensen over laat?
Het lijkt mij dat de mensenrechtenraad haar geloofwaardigheid al lang heeft verloren. Wanneer zij iets veroordeelt moet dit wellicht zelfs als een compliment worden beschouwd.
Zie over de VN ook: Israel en de Verenigde Naties
VN: Israël schond internationaal recht bij aanval op Gazakonvooi
Van onze verslaggever, AP, ANP op 22 september '10

AMSTERDAM - Israël heeft met zijn aanval op een hulpvloot die op weg was naar de Gazastrook het internationale recht geschonden. Dat stelt een commissie van de Mensenrechtenraad van de VN die onderzoek heeft gedaan naar de Israëlische actie in mei.

Volgens de commissie was het militaire optreden tegen de actievoerders die de zeeblokkade van Gaza wilden doorbreken, 'disproportioneel'. De zeeblokkade was onwettig vanwege de humanitaire crisis in het Palestijnse gebied.

De aanval ging gepaard met een 'onaanvaardbaar niveau van wreedheid', aldus de onderzoekers. Ze spreken van 'totaal onnodig en ongelooflijk geweld'. Aan boord van een Turks schip schoten Israëlische soldaten negen activisten dood. Volgens Israël handelden de soldaten uit zelfverdediging.

Het rapport stelt dat 'er duidelijk bewijs is voor vervolging wegens misdrijven tegen internationaal humanitair recht.'


Israël heeft het onderzoek door de VN-Mensenrechtenraad steeds bij voorbaat verworpen. Het land vindt de onderzoekers bevooroordeeld. De Israëlische regering werkt wel mee met een ander onderzoek, dat is opgezet door secretaris-generaal Ban Ki-moon van de Verenigde Naties.

De Mensenrechtenraad is ook in westerse landen ietwat omstreden. In de raad zouden nogal veel landen zitten met een slechte reputatie op het gebied van mensenrechten, zoals Iran en Libië.

Twee standaarden voor Israel en de Palestijnen

Een genuanceerde opvatting over Israel-Palestina, dat komt niet zo vaak voor op internet. Ikzelf vindt de weigering om de Israelische burgemeesters te ontvangen onterecht en vooruitlopend op de vredesonderhandelingen. Zie ook: Weigering Israëlische burgemeesters Westoever door VNG 'bizar'
De vraag is interessant in hoeverre het terecht is om van Westerse landen moreler gedrag te verwachten dan van niet-westerse landen. Ik denk dat dit momenteel te zeer een vrijbrief is geworden voor niet-Westerse landen en groeperingen die daar actief zijn, vooral wanneer zij in conflict zijn met een Westers land. De hogere morele standaard maakt dat een Westers leger altijd met één hand op de rug vecht tegenover niet-Westerse landen of groeperingen, waardoor deze moeilijker zijn te verslaan. Bovendien maken deze handig gebruik van deze verschillende maatstaven, door zich tussen burgers te verschuilen en vanuit burgergebied te opereren.
Hertzberger schrijft:
Toch verdwijnt die westerse meetlat onmiddellijk nu Israël weer wordt aangevallen. Sinds de vredesbesprekingen zijn hervat landden er tientallen Qassam raketten en mortiergranaten op Israël. En die mogen dan wel zelden hun doel raken, de dreiging is groot. Toch blijft de ophef uit.
Dat is al jaren aan de gang. De zelfmoordaanslagen riepen wel veel verontwaardiging op, maar de Qassamraketten hebben dat nooit gedaan, terwijl zij het leven in verschillende steden totaal hebben ontwricht, tientallen doden en een veelvoud aan gewonden hebben veroorzaakt.
woensdag 22 september 2010
Geplaatst door Rosanne Hertzberger

Israel ( 22 september)

De burgemeesters van Westbank-nederzettingen zijn niet welkom bij de tour door de Nederlandse gemeenten. En terecht. De nederzettingen zijn illegaal en vormen een direct opstakel op de weg naar eentwee staten oplossing. En in Nederland kletsen we niet alleen over onze internationale waarden, we handelen er ook naar.

Eigenlijk handelen we met twee standaarden. Er zijn landen als Canada, Australië, en de EU: welvarend, democratisch, hoogopgeleid, ze lijken min of meer op ons. Hun lot trekken we ons meer aan. Maar we stellen ook hogere eisen. Elke misstap op het gebied van mensenrechten en minderhedenbeleid valt op.

En dan zijn er landen als Turkije, Rusland, Indonesië. Een aanslag in Ankara trekken we ons minder aan, het staat verder van ons bed. Maar we verwachten ook minder 'goed westers gedrag' en zien vooral de lichtpuntjes tussen de overdaad aan mensenrechtenschendingen.

Israël behoort vaak tot categorie 1, de Palestijnen tot categorie 2. Zowel Israël als de Palestijnen begingen oorlogsmisdaden tijdens de Gaza-oorlog volgens de VN, maar we rekenen dat Israël meer aan. Hamas executeert systematisch politieke tegenstanders, maar wij wijzen erop dat Palestijnse gevangenen in Israël geen familiebezoek mogen ontvangen. Van een democratische rechtstaat verwachten we gewoon meer.

Toch verdwijnt die westerse meetlat onmiddellijk nu Israël weer wordt aangevallen. Sinds de vredesbesprekingen zijn hervat landden er tientallen Qassam raketten en mortiergranaten op Israël. En die mogen dan wel zelden hun doel raken, de dreiging is groot. Toch blijft de ophef uit.

Dat Nederland de nederzettingen in woord en daad afkeurt is duidelijk en terecht. De vraag is nu hoe Israël volgens de westerse waarden moet reageren op de beschietingen? Moeten ze achteroverleunen? Incasseren? Extra ontwikkelingsgeld sturen? De grenzen verder openen? Of is het dan toch toegestaan om terug te schieten? Maar dan misschien niet zo precies? Het is tijd voor een antwoord, en dit keer bij voorkeur voordat Israël weer orde op zaken moet gaan stellen en de westerse wereld wederom in verbijstering achter zich moet laten.

Fayyad loopt weg uit bespreking met Ayalon vanwege 'twee staten voor twee volken'

De Palestijnen krijgen niet alleen de woorden 'Joodse staat' niet over hun lippen, maar ook 'twee staten voor twee volken' is hun blijkbaar teveel van het goede. Daarmee laadt men opnieuw de verdenking op zich de Palestijnse staat die er moet komen naast Israel te zien als een tijdelijke zaak, totdat er in Israel een Arabische meerderheid is of totdat Israel verslagen zal zijn. Als men wel voor een werkelijke tweestatenoplossing is, waarom dan er zo moeilijk over doen? De idee dat een Joodse staat 'racistisch' zou zijn en een Palestijns-Arabische niet, is natuurlijk onzin. In beide gevallen hangt dat af van de wetgeving, handhaving, en mentaliteit van de inwoners. Het feit dat de Palestijnen eisen dat er geen Joden in hun staat zullen wonen is wat dat betreft veelzeggend.
Overigens geldt Fayyad als de meest Westers georiënteerde en gematigde politicus. Dit incident is dan ook weinig hoopgevend wat betreft de voortgang van de vredesbesprekingen. Ook met de zeer gematigde president Peres zijn de betrekkingen overigens koel:
Despite Clinton's deliberate strategy of avoiding all talk of the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the panel discussion, it did not go unnoticed that Peres and Fayyad, though sitting next to one another, did not shake hands or speak to one another at the panel's conclusion.

Fayyad storms out of New York meeting with Ayalon

Ayalon: "If the Palestinians not willing to talk about 2 states for 2 peoples, let alone a Jewish state for Israel, then there's nothing to talk about."

NEW YORK -- Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad angrily left a UN Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee meeting and canceled a scheduled subsequent press conference with Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon in New York on Tuesday, after Ayalon refused to approve a summary of the meeting which said "two states" but did not include the words "two states for two peoples."

"What I say is that if the Palestinians are not willing to talk about two states for two peoples, let alone a Jewish state for Israel, then there's nothing to talk about," Ayalon told the Post in a telephone interview. "And also, I said if the Palestinians mean, at the end of the process, to have one Palestinian state and one bi-national state, this will not happen."

When asked if he was surprised by Fayyad's abrupt exit, Ayalon responded, "Yes, very."

"I was very surprised that there was apparently no acceptance of the idea of two states for two peoples," Ayalon told the Post. "I also said that I don't need the Palestinians to say Israel is a Jewish state in Hebrew. I need them to say it in Arabic to their own people."

"If the Palestinians think that they can create one Palestinian state and one dual-nationality state, this will not happen," Ayalon added.

"What will happen next is we'll see what are the results of the negotiations that are taking place now," Ayalon told the Post. "But Israel will not accept an all or nothing approach, or any ultimatums or any preconditions."

The Post spoke to Ayalon following a Clinton Global Initiative program in which Israeli President Shimon Peres and Fayyad participated on a panel, headed by former US President Bill Clinton, discussing the regional economy's potential in the event peace were to be achieved.

Despite Clinton's deliberate strategy of avoiding all talk of the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the panel discussion, it did not go unnoticed that Peres and Fayyad, though sitting next to one another, did not shake hands or speak to one another at the panel's conclusion.

"With all due respect to the Palestinian economy,  it all depends on the security situation, and Israel will not gamble on the life of its citizens," Ayalon told the Post.

 "We are very much for improvement of the Palestinian economy, and I recited all the things we have been doing," Ayalon told the Post, referencing his discussions at the UN meeting, "but I also urged them to fight and eliminate terrorism."

Netanyahu en Abbas moeten flexibel zijn als Begin en Sadat

Ronny Naftaniel is voorzichtig optimistisch over de huidige vredesbesprekingen tussen Netanjahoe en Abbas, en maakt een vergelijking met die tussen Begin en Sadat eind jaren '70, die tot een duurzame vrede tussen Israel en Egypte leidden.
Met het stug dooronderhandelen ben ik het eens, maar zijn vergelijking geeft ook ongewild een probleem bloot. Sadat maakte geen breekpunt van de nederzettingenbouw, en zie wat gebeurde: nadat de vrede getekend was, ging de regering Begin in de eerste versnelling door met het bouwen van nederzettingen, ondanks de beloofde autonomie voor de Palestijnen. Ook tijdens Oslo was het alleen onder Rabin dat een bouwstop werd ingesteld; Peres en Netanjahoe, en voor zover ik meen te weten ook Barak, lieten de bouw en uitbreiding van nederzettingen weer doorgaan. Dat schept terecht argwaan bij de tegenpartij: als Israel serieus is over het bereiken van een vredesakkoord, waarom dan nog doorbouwen op plekken die het straks moet afstaan?
Dat neemt niet weg dat de Palestijnen ook weinig doen om hun verlangen naar een vredesakkoord geloofwaardig te maken: de opruiing tegen Israel gaat gewoon door, en hoewel men een eigen staat binnen de wapenstilstandsgrenzen van 1967 zegt te willen accepteren, weigert men het principe van 'twee staten voor twee volken' te omarmen.
wo 22-09-2010

De datum 26 september, het eind van de bouwstop in Joodse nederzettingen, hangt dreigend boven de vredesbesprekingen. Maar ook Begin en Sadat waren 32 jaar geleden verdeeld over de nederzettingen: met hetzelfde geduld en flexibiliteit kunnen ook Netanyahu en Abbas eruit komen, betoogt Ronny Naftaniel. Netanyahu lijkt al voorzichtig naar een compromis te manoeuvreren: hij is 'niet tegen' een tijdelijke verlenging.

Netanyahu en Abbas moeten geduld en flexibiliteit tonen

Op 26 september staat het onlangs hervatte vredesproces tussen Israel en de Palestijnse Autoriteit voor zijn eerste grote krachtproef. De door Israel ingestelde tijdelijke bouwstop in de Joodse nederzettingen loopt dan af en premier Netanyahu heeft laten weten niet voor verlenging te voelen. In dit geval dreigt president Abbas de prille vredesbesprekingen te staken. Om dit dilemma, zonder heilloze drukmiddelen, te doorbreken zouden Abbas en Netanyahu even de klok 32 jaar moeten terugzetten. Toen sloten president Sadat van Egypte en premier Begin de Camp David Accoorden. De onderhandelingen die tot deze baanbrekende overeenkomst leidden, kunnen hen een cruciale les leren over hoe ze met de weerbarstige nederzettingenproblematiek dienen om te gaan.

Net als premier Netanyahu was premier Begin een aanhanger van de bouw van Joodse nederzettingen. Velen zagen in 1977 dan ook de verkiezingswinst van Likudleider Begin als een ernstige tegenslag voor vredesonderhandelingen met de Arabische wereld. Door toch naar Jeruzalem te komen en met aartsvijand Israel over vrede te onderhandelen liep de toenmalige Egyptische president Sadat, net als president Abbas nu, een groot risico als verrader te worden weggezet. En evenals Abbas vandaag eiste de Egyptische president de ontmanteling van alle Joodse nederzettingen in de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Hij waarschuwde dat voortgaande huizenbouw het vredesproces zou torpederen. Toch wisten Begin en Sadat over hun eigen schaduw heen te stappen en de nodige flexibiliteit op te brengen wat hen een Nobelprijs en later een duurzame en stabiele vrede opleverde.  

De Camp David Akkoorden bestonden uit twee onderdelen: de terugtrekking van Israel uit de Sinai woestijn en een regeling voor de toekomst van de Westelijke Jordaanoever en Gazastrook. President Sadat had erop gestaan deze beide gebieden bij de Akkoorden te betrekken om niet de indruk te wekken de Palestijnse zaak te verkwanselen. Hij slaagde daar overigens maar gedeeltelijk in omdat de Palestijnen niet wilden mee onderhandelen. Sadat bracht premier Begin ertoe de 'legitieme rechten van het Palestijnse volk' te erkennen en zelfbestuur in Gaza en de Westelijke Jordaanoever toe te staan. Die belofte was nog ver weg van een rechtvaardige vredesregeling met het Palestijnse volk, die gebaseerd moet zijn op twee onafhankelijke en erkende staten, maar voor een "havik"als Begin was het al heel wat.

Veel minder bekend, maar niet minder indrukwekkend, was dat Begin, eens de grote voorvechter van vrije Joodse vestiging in geheel Eretz Israel, de kolonisten tijdens de onderhandelingen met Egypte beperkingen oplegde. Ha'aretz journalist Akiva Eldar en historicus Idith Zertal beschrijven in hun boek "Lords of the Land" hoe de Israelische regeringsleider de csaar van de kolonisten, Hanan Porath, eerst 12 nederzettingen in de Westoever beloofde en dit aantal later terugbracht tot 6, waarbij de kolonisten ook nog eens zonder familie in legerbases zouden worden ondergebracht. Bovendien dreigde Begin met geweld als de kolonisten zijn voorwaarden niet zouden accepteren.

De Palestijnse kwestie was cruciaal voor Sadat. De Joodse nederzettingen in de Westelijke Jordaanoever en Gazastrook brachten diepe schade toe aan zijn pogingen het Arabische verzet tegen vrede met Israel te breken. De uitstoting van Egypte uit de Arabische Liga toonde hoe eenzaam zijn positie was. En toch hield Sadat niet vast aan het volledig bevriezen van de nederzettingen. Waarschijnlijk begreep hij de moeilijke situatie waarin ook Menachem Begin zich bevond tegenover zijn rechtse coalitie. Daarom bleef de Egyptische president onderhandelen ondanks het feit dat er nog in de nederzettingen gebouwd werd.

Premier Netanyahu zou er goed aan doen het voorbeeld van Menachem Begin te volgen door het bouwen in de nederzettingen na 26 september tot een minimum te beperken. Dat zal hem, net als Begin 32 jaar geleden, de mogelijkheid bieden de wensen van zijn electoraat te respecteren en tegelijkertijd te verhinderen dat extreme kolonisten het vredesproces opblazen met wilde, aanstootgevende bouwactiviteiten.

Anderzijds zouden de Palestijnse onderhandelaars zich niet moeten laten ontmoedigen door het op 26 september aflopen van de bouwstop. Hun beslissing afgelopen week om naar Sharm el Sheikh en Jeruzalem te komen, was hoopgevend, evenals de uitspraak van president Abbas afgelopen donderdag, dat "we allemaal weten dat er geen alternatief is voor vredesonderhandelingen. We hebben dus geen alternatief dan doorgaan met onderhandelen". Sadat zette in 1978 de onderhandelingen stug voort en kreeg uiteindelijk de hele Sinai woestijn en een duurzame vrede ervoor terug. Dat zal nu niet anders te zijn.

Ronny Naftaniel
Directeur CIDI, Centrum Informatie en Documentatie over Israel


woensdag 22 september 2010

Abbas wil niet verder onderhandelen zonder verlenging bouwstop nederzettingen

Geen enkel compromis accepteren of zelf voorstellen, en wel continu eisen stellen: dat is hoe Abbas zich tot nu toe opstelt in de onderhandelingen, en met succes. De VS en de EU willen ook dat Israel de bouwstop verlengt, en hebben daarbij geen tegenconcessie van Abbas gevraagd. Ondertussen geldt de bouwstop ook voor Jeruzalem, dat is stilzwijgend zo met de VS overeengekomen, en is dus de vraag of de verlenging ook voor Jeruzalem moet gelden. Abbas zal niet met minder genoegen nemen, en voor Israel is dat zonder enig tegengebaar echt onaanvaardbaar.
Regarding Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas said Israel was free to call itself the "Israeli Zionist Jewish Empire" and that was not his business. However, if Israel wanted Palestinian negotiators to recognize its state, it should also recognize a Palestinian state, he said.
Het gaat er natuurlijk om dat de Palestijnen erkennen dat de Joden een volk zijn met nationale rechten in Israel, niet wie zich hoe mag noemen. En Israel heeft de Palestijnse nationale aspiraties allang erkend. Netanjahoe herhaalde dit onlangs nog eens:
It means that the Palestinians recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in our historic homeland.  I recognized the Palestinians' right to self-determination and sovereignty.  They must finally recognize the Jewish people's right to self determination and sovereignty.
And just as the Jewish state has granted Jews around the world the right to immigrate to Israel, a Palestinian state could decide to grant Palestinians around the world the right to immigrate to their state.  But Palestinian refugees do not have a right to come to the Jewish state.

Abbas: No talks without freeze
Published yesterday 20:28 20 September 2010

NEW YORK (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he will only negotiate with Israel if restrictions on illegal settlement building are extended.

A 10-month partial settlement freeze is due to expire later this month, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet ministers Sunday he would not extend it, despite pressure from the US administration, the EU and UN.

Abbas said negotiations would only continue under a settlement freeze, explaining that if the moratorium was extended for one month, he would remain in peace talks for one month.

Direct negotiations were resumed in Washington on 2 September after a 20-month hiatus. The last round of talks broke down when Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead offensive on Gaza in December 2008.

Regarding Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas said Israel was free to call itself the "Israeli Zionist Jewish Empire" and that was not his business. However, if Israel wanted Palestinian negotiators to recognize its state, it should also recognize a Palestinian state, he said.

Palestinian negotiators have recognized Israel's right to exist, but not as a Jewish state, which officials said would prejudice Israel's non-Jewish citizens, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Asked if he feared for his personal future if peace talks collapsed, Abbas said he was "not afraid of anything"

The president said he was angered by the assassination by Israeli soldiers of a Hamas leader at his home in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Friday, adding that he demanded that Israel stopped its attacks on Palestinian cities.