zaterdag 16 februari 2008

Gaza operatie in voorbereiding

Wat ik mij bij dit soort berichten altijd afvraag is waarom zoiets openlijk in de krant wordt besproken?
The decision in principle to embark on the operation was taken even before the Winograd report's publication. The secrecy and compartmentalization were meant to maintain the elements of surprise as much as possible. Even though Hamas in Gaza already knows that the operation is approaching and is preparing for it, it can still be surprised in some areas.
Van die 'elementen van verrassing' is na dit artikel niks meer over, want men gaat uitgebreid in op de tactische en strategische doelen van de operatie. Toegegeven, sommige van die dingen had ik zelfs kunnen bedenken, maar toch. Mijn gevoel zegt dat als het uitgebreid in de krant komt er geen bijzondere operatie op komst is, of het moet iets heel anders zijn dan hier wordt beschreven. Hoevaak is vorig jaar niet gespeculeerd over een Israëlische aanval op Iran? Meermaals hadden journalisten uit welingelichte bronnen vernomen dat een dergelijke aanval niet lang meer op zich zou laten wachten.
Van de andere kant, de druk op de regering om meer te doen dan ineffectieve 'pinpoint actions' en de woede van de wereld over zich afroepen met ineffectieve reducties van een paar procent in de stroom- of dieseltoevoer, neemt steeds verder toe.
Het grootste probleem met een grote operatie is wellicht de exit-strategie. Gaza binnengaan is niet zo moeilijk, maar er weer uit gaan zonder dat dat door (de overgebleven) Hamas strijders als een overwinning wordt gezien, die kracht wordt bijgezet met een nieuwe ronde raketten op Israël, is een stuk moeilijker. Wie wil na Israël de orde in Gaza handhaven?

Gaza op already in works
Decision on major Gaza incursion already taken; preparations underway
Ron Ben-Yishai YNET
Published: 02.15.08, 13:30 / Israel Opinion,7340,L-3507186,00.html

Sderot residents can put away the protest tent in Jerusalem: The political leadership has already decided to embark on a wide-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip. However, preparations have not yet been completed, which is why the operation is delayed.

A limited group of ministers who are party to the decision, just like the IDF and Shin Bet, require more time in order to create the conditions that would ensure that the operation's objectives are achieved within a reasonable period of time.

Good preparation, they believe, will minimize casualties among our forces, shorten the duration of the rocket counterattack to be delivered by Hamas at the start of the operation, and prevent undesirable developments on other fronts.

The decision in principle to embark on the operation was taken even before the Winograd report's publication. The secrecy and compartmentalization were meant to maintain the elements of surprise as much as possible. Even though Hamas in Gaza already knows that the operation is approaching and is preparing for it, it can still be surprised in some areas.

If it works, it would be possible to show success and minimize casualties in the first and critical phase. Surprises in terms of methods, means, and operational zones could also shorten the duration of the IDF's stay in the Strip.

What has already been leaked to the media and published is damaging, and enables Hamas to focus its preparations. Therefore, Olmert and Barak are right when they refuse to share with the cabinet the details of the plans and secret military and diplomatic preparations undertaken these days. The IDF too adopted strict compartmentalization, and this is a good thing.

However, the Israeli public, which will have to bear the burden of casualties and the economic price of an ongoing campaign, must know and realize, in general terms, what it faces.

Clear objectives this time around

A clear and accurate definition of campaign targets is of the utmost importance. A significant part of the Second Lebanon War's failures stemmed from a negligent and unrealistic definition of the objectives of the military move, which started as an aerial operation and ended as war.

This time around, the targets have already been defined, and they are clear.

Some of them are tactical:

1. The facilitation of operational and intelligence-gathering freedom of action for the IDF and Shin Bet all across the Strip, as quickly as possible. This is a crucial basic condition for achieving the other objections.

2. A drastic reduction of rocket and mortar fire as quickly as possible.

3. Destruction of most military infrastructure, arms arsenal, and means of production. We are not only talking about Hamas infrastructure, but rather, also that of the other organizations and crime families.

4. Blocking the Philadelphi Route in a manner which would curb, by at least 60%, smuggling into and out of the Strip.

5. Avoiding, as much as is possible, harming Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the fighting, and the prevention of a humanitarian crisis.

The strategic objectives are as follows:

1. Removing Hamas from power and establishing a stable Palestinian regime in the Gaza Strip, with international monitoring and assistance.

2. Demilitarizing the Strip for an extended period of time in terms of rockets and the infrastructure to produce such weapons.

3. Effective Israeli security and monitoring for years to come of crossings into the Strip, including Philadelphi (either independently or through an agreement with the Palestinians, the Egyptians, and international monitoring parties.)

In order to achieve this ambitious list of objectives, or at least most of it, Israel must secure the "operational environment." Simply put, Israel must create, in advance, international understanding and backing for the Gaza campaign and elicit the willingness (of NATO or other international parties) to by party to the agreement to follow in its wake, which would enable the IDF to exit Gaza. This matter is an important component in the preparations ahead of the campaign.

Another important condition for success is to prevent escalation on other fronts during the fighting.

Hizbullah and its patron, Iran, may attempt to open a second front in the north, in order to mitigate the pressure on Hamas. Both of them, as well as Syria, must be made to understand in advance, in an unequivocal manner, that any intervention on their part may cost them dearly. The IDF must also prepare for a terror wave in the West Bank; meanwhile, the police must prepare for possible riots among Israel's Arabs.

In addition, we must prepare for the possibility of Hamas attempting to organize mass marches of civilians towards Israel's borders and within the Strip.

Heavy barrages in first 2 weeks

In order to address all of the above, large forces (including reservists and police) must be prepared in advance, in a manner that would enable them to quickly join the fighting or prevent massive riots. Plenty of diverse equipment should also be prepared in order to handle riots.

Once the military operation starts, this equipment must already be waiting at regional warehouses near possible trouble spots, or even in the possession of the forces. The home front must be prepared as well. Western Negev residents will surely have to sustain heavy Qassam and mortar barrages in the first week or two (in a good case scenario.) But they are not the only ones who must be ready - residents on the Lebanese border and even south of it must be ready for rocket barrages.

The implication of this is that it would be necessary to place a significant part of Israel's security forces on high alert, at least in early stages of the campaign. This is on top of the unusually large scope of forces to take part in the fighting itself. The Israeli and international experience in asymmetrical combat against guerilla and terror forces proves that chances of success grow in direct relation to the size of the force that takes part in the campaign.

The larger the force that takes part in the operation, the greater the shock on the other side and the smaller the number of casualties among our forces - this was proven in the first and second Intifada and also in Iraq. The problem with a large force comes during the static stay in the field. This is where losses start to mount, and therefore this matter should also be considered in advance.

As noted, in order to secure the objectives, the IDF and Shin Bet must quickly reach a situation of freedom of action, similarly to the situation created in the West Bank in the wake of operation Defensive Shield. Indeed, operational and intelligence freedom does not require soldiers to constantly stay across the Strip, yet the troops need time. Months or even a year will pass before it's possible to see genuine results.

Operation Defensive Shield was followed by other operations and two years passed before the number of attacks was drastically reduced. In Gaza, should all go well, it would take much less time. Yet we must not expect instant results. To that end, the Israeli public and politicians must show all the restraint and patience they are able to draw on. The public must also internalize the realization that a Gaza campaign would exact a human toll and an economic price.

We can draw encouragement from the fact that the preparations undertaken these days by the IDF and Shin Bet, and also on the diplomatic front, are being undertaken thoroughly and secretly. Defense Minister Barak, who has been overseeing the preparations, is applying the experience he gained in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, where operations are sometimes prepared for six months and even longer.

It has already been proven that the more thorough the preparation process, the more successful and smooth the operation tends to be. Let's hope that this rule will also apply to the upcoming major Gaza campaign.

Bibliotheek christelijke jeugdorganisatie opgeblazen in Gaza Strook

De Gazastrook lijkt steeds onveiliger te worden voor christenen. In oktober 2007 is de eigenaar van een christelijke boekwinkel gedood en verschillende andere christenen zijn met de dood bedreigd.
De ca. 3000 tellende gemeenschap komt steeds meer onder druk te staan, en volgens sommigen wil ca. 70% van de christenen weg uit Gaza (zie hieronder).

Unknown assailants blow up Christian Youth organization library in Gaza
Date: 15 / 02 / 2008  Time:  11:08

Gaza - Ma'an - Unknown assailants targeted the Christian Youth Organization's library in central Gaza City in the early hours of Friday morning, detonating explosives that razed it to the ground.

One of the library guards told Ma'an that at around 1 am more than 10 armed men broke into the library, overpowering the guards before taking them to the Ash-Shaja'eyah neighborhood of Gaza City. They then returned and blew up the library.

The Christian Youth Organization provides many activities for young people in Gaza, as well as a kindergarten for Muslim children.


Christenen Gaza verder in het nauw

31-01-2008 12:03 | Kerkredactie

GAZA-STAD - Sinds de moord op de christen-Palestijn Rami Ayyad, directeur van de enige christelijke boekhandel in de Gazastrook, in oktober vorig jaar, leiden christenen er een gemarginaliseerd bestaan. Verschillende gezinnen in de Gazastrook zijn inmiddels geëvacueerd vanwege doodsbedreigingen, zo meldt Open Doors. „Zeventig procent van de christenen in Gaza wil graag vertrekken."

De weduwe Pauline Ayyad en haar twee kinderen verlieten Gaza na de moord op hun man en vader, om afstand te kunnen nemen. Begin deze maand keerden ze terug. Pauline Ayyad verwacht begin februari haar derde kind. Vanwege het toenemende geweld overweegt ze echter opnieuw een uitreisvergunning aan te vragen, zodat ze buiten de Gazastrook haar derde kind ter wereld kan brengen. Ziekenhuizen in de Gazastrook zitten -net als de meeste bewoners- regelmatig zonder stroom. Generatoren werken niet altijd in verband met brandstoftekorten.

Baptistenvoorganger Hanna Massad heeft een ander probleem. Ook hij verliet de Gazastrook tijdelijk om tot rust te komen, maar krijgt vooralsnog geen toestemming om terug te keren. „Van mijn gemeenteleden begrijp ik dat ze het niet aandurven om met z'n allen samen te komen op zondag. Dus zijn er alleen bijeenkomsten in kleine groepen. Ik verblijf nu op de Westelijke Jordaanoever, samen met zeven andere gezinnen uit Gaza. Zij staan voor een moeilijke keuze: hier blijven of toch proberen naar huis terug te gaan?"

Een christen uit Gaza verklaarde tegenover Open Doors: „Zeventig procent van de christenen in Gaza wil graag vertrekken. Eigenlijk is het een onmogelijke keuze. We houden van Gaza. Het is ons land. Onze huizen staan hier. Onze wortels liggen hier. Als we ergens anders naartoe gaan, kennen we niemand."

Vorig jaar werd de druk op de ongeveer 3000 christenen in Gaza opgevoerd. Ook werden aanslagen gepleegd op christenen en christelijke instellingen.


vrijdag 15 februari 2008

Helft van Europees antisemitisme komt van radicale islam

Terwijl slechts 4% van de bijna half miljard Europeanen moslim is - zo'n 20 miljoen mensen -, blijken zij acht keer zo vaak als christenen antisemitische sentimenten te koesteren, blijkt uit een recente studie. Dit wil natuurlijk niet zeggen dat niet-moslims vrijuit gaan, of dat alle moslims antisemitisch zijn, maar het bevestigd wel het beeld dat door de Arabische media, uitspraken van islamitische leiders en demonstrerende menigtes naar buiten komt. Onder het mom van solidariteit met de Palestijnen beweert men de meest walgelijke dingen over Joden. Het zou mooi zijn als dergelijke onderzoeksresultaten aanleiding vormen voor een grondig zelfonderzoek, in plaats van aantijgingen van islamofobie of 'zionistische propaganda'.

EU official: Half of European anti-Semitism related to radical Islam

Some 50 percent of anti-Semitic incidents on the European continent are connected to radical Islamic elements, according to a senior European Commission official.

A photo provided by police shows the words "Jew out" in German, smeared on a gravestone at a Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa, Poland, Monday.
Photo: AP

The figure comes from European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini, who is responsible in the EU for combating racism and anti-Semitism in Europe. Frattini mentioned it in a conversation with Minister for Diaspora Affairs Isaac Herzog last week, and said it was based on European Union reports.

Frattini was in Israel last week for the Second European Union-Israel Seminar for Combating Racism and Anti-Semitism at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

Herzog, who is responsible for coordinating government activities in combating anti-Semitism at the cabinet level, told The Jerusalem Post that it was "not new that Frattini relates a large percentage of anti-Semitic incidents to radical Islam, and it's important to say, not Islam as such."

According to Herzog, European governments are responding to this "aggressively," including educating Muslim imams throughout the continent on "European values, principles of democracy, the rights of women and the like."

Besides dealing with the radical Islamic source of a large part of anti-Semitic activity in Europe, European and international institutions are beginning to respond to anti-Semitic discourse through education, according to the minister.


In Peki'in door Jood gekocht huis in brand gestoken

Het blijft onrustig in het (overwegend) Druze dorp Peki'in, waar overigens ook al meer dan 2.000 jaar onafgebroken een Joodse gemeenschap leeft.
Het is welhaast onbegrijpelijk dat in de enige Joodse staat ter wereld mensen worden 'gestraft' voor het verkopen van huizen aan Joden. Misschien kunnen antiracisten die Israël altijd hard aanvallen op haar discriminatie van Arabieren hier ook eens aandacht aan besteden.
Jewish-owned home torched in Peki'in by Druze youth
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 13:36 11/02/2008

A Jewish-owned home was set on fire Monday in the upper Galilee village of Pekiin, in a move that police say served as a warning by Druze youth to locals who sell their homes to Jews.

The house was purchased four months ago by entrepreneur Naftali Friedman who planned to turn it into a hostel. The house is located adjacent to the village spring in the center of town and is currently empty due to renovations.

The home owner arrived Monday morning to find that tires were set on fire inside the home causing serious damage. No one was hurt in the incident.

Since violent riots broke out in November between police and Druze youth over the burning of a cellular antenna in the village there have been a number of incidents in which Jewish property was damaged.

The clashes left dozens injured, including three people who sustained injuries after police shot them using live rounds.

In December, the home of a Jewish woman who had been living in the town for a year was also lit on fire. The woman complained earlier that locals in the village had been harassing her and had tried to sabotage her property.


Hezbollah is belangrijkste militaire commandant kwijt door aanslag Damascus

Terwijl het acht uur journaal de Hezbollah terminologie overnam en hem een 'martelaar' noemde (en hem verder als 'oppositieleider' aanduidde), bleek het hier om de nummer twee van Hezbollah te gaan, en het brein achter vele aanslagen.
"He was wanted in many countries for many years so many people were trying to kill him"
Aldus een lid van de Israëlische veiligheidsdienst.
Je zou haast zeggen: jammer dat het zo lang heeft geduurd, wie het ook gedaan moge hebben.
Military Intelligence: Hizbullah lost its number one figure

Reservist Military Intelligence officers tell Ynet of Imad Mugniyah's prowess as terrorist mastermind. Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom: One of most dangerous terrorists ever

Hanan Greenberg

Published:  02.13.08, 16:12

"Hizbullah lost its most important operative in the organization in recent years," a reservist Military Intelligence officer told Ynet on Wednesday in reference to the killing of senior Hizbullah military commander Imad Mugniyah in an explosion in Damascus.


"He was an expert in carrying out terrorist attacks and at the same time, he was an expert in maintaining a low profile and knowing, for 20 years, how to evade the many that tried to get him," the reservist officer added.


Hamas adopts Hizbullah tactics / Hanan Greenberg
(Video) Palestinians implement Lebanon war lessons: IDF troops operating in northern Gaza Strip Thursday uncover remote-controlled rocket launching positions concealed underground; new tactic enables terrorists to evade IDF counterattacks
Full Story

Senior IDF officers that served in Military Intelligence had a hard time hiding their satisfaction about the news that came in from Damascus – Mugniyah is not longer walking this earth. All were quick to point out that they were not familiar with the incident itself and that they were not inferring that Israel was responsible.


"He was wanted in many countries for many years so many people were trying to kill him," one of the officers said. "After every significant incident with Hizbullah, his name came up as the person that planned it or the creative head (behind the incident).


"There is no doubt that he was a significant force behind actions against Israel and his name was mentioned many times – also during the Second Lebanon War – primarily connected to the kidnapping of the two reservist soldiers," the officer added.

Scene of blast in Damascus

Scene of blast in Damascus (Photo: AFP)


Military Intelligence and other national security organizations do not hide the fact that various attempts were made to track Mugniyah's path. However, it appears that the arch-terrorist was well aware of his "popularity" in Israel and succeeded in using the strict compartmentalization of information among his associates to maintain a low profile.


'As important as Nasrallah'

Yoram Schweitzer, a senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), believes that Mugniyah's significance within Hizbullah was close to that of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's.


"Although Nasrallah is the leadership figure, political and very capable, and even though Mugniyah was an operational figure, he led tens of special missions and we shouldn't underestimate his position," Schweitzer said in a conversation with Ynet.


According to Schweitzer, Mugniyah appointed successors to take his pace in the future and thus his disappearance from the world won't leave his spot open for long. However, Schweitzer was quick to point out that the terrorist mastermind was a central Hizbullah figure responsible for a long list of terrorist attacks and his elimination was a major accomplishment.


MK Danny Yatom (Labor), who served as Mossad chief in the 90s, said that "Mugniyah was one of the most dangerous terrorist ever. He operated in complete secrecy and concealed his every action. He made sure that there was a high degree of compartmentalization around him.


"This was also the reason that it was hard to locate him…Mugniyah operated with full cooperation with Iranian intelligence. He was a very clever man," Yatom said.


Amnon Meranda contributed to this report


Hezbollah leider verklaart Israël de oorlog na aanslag in Damascus

"The July war is not over, it is ongoing and no ceasefire was ever declared," Nasrallah said "The blood of Imad Mughnieh will contribute to the disappearance of the Jewish state."
Terwijl de oorlogstaal die vaak uit de monden van Hamas en Hezbollah leiders te horen is, letterlijk geen nieuws is en daarom genegeerd wordt door de media, komt het wel groot in de krant wanneer Israëlische leiders het woord 'oorlog' of ' vijandelijk gebied' in de mond nemen.
Overigens heeft Israël iedere betrokkenheid in de moord op Mughnieh ontkend.


Hezbollah leader declares 'open war' on Israel
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared "open war" on Israel in a fiery speech at the funeral Thursday in the Lebanese capital of a top commander killed in a car bombing he blamed on Israel.
"If the Zionists want war, then they shall have it," Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast at the funeral of Imad Mughnieh. "If you want an open war, then let it be an open war."

He added that the 2006 war between his militant group and Israel was not over and that his followers stood ready for combat.
"The July war is not over, it is ongoing and no ceasefire was ever declared," Nasrallah said "The blood of Imad Mughnieh will contribute to the disappearance of the Jewish state."

donderdag 14 februari 2008

Mashaal: Palestijnse staat van Libanon tot Egypte

Kan het duidelijker? Hamas is voor een Palestijnse staat van de rivier tot de zee en van Libanon tot Egypte. Men is bereid een tijdelijke staat binnen de pre-1967 grenzen te accepteren in ruil voor een staakt-het-vuren, om later de rest te kunnen 'bevrijden'.
Dit zal uiteraard de kranten en het journaal niet halen, want dit past niet bij het imago wat men daar van Hamas presenteert.

Mash'al: Palestinian State From Lebanese Border To Rafah
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mash'al has said that his movement is opposed to recognizing Israel and wants a Palestinian state from Rosh HaNikra on the Israeli coast near the Lebanese border to Rafah, and from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.
Mash'al clarified that Hamas would agree to a Palestinian state within the June 5, 1067 borders in exchange for a hudna (temporary ceasefire) only, which would give the coming generations of Palestinians an opportunity to liberate the rest of the Palestinian lands.
Source: Al-Kafah Al-Arabi, Lebanon, February 11, 2008
Posted at: 2008-02-12

woensdag 13 februari 2008

Gesubsidiëerde NGO's promoten "Israëlische Apartheid Week"

Zogenaamd gerenommeerde mensenrechtenorganisaties zoals Physicians for Human Rights en het Israëlische Comité tegen Huisvernielingen, die worden gesubsidiëerd door de EU en diverse nationale overheden, nemen deel aan de "Israeli Apartheid Week". Dit is een reeks van radikaal antizionistische activiteiten (aanvankelijk Canadees maar nu internationaal), gericht op het creëren van meer draagvlak voor boycots tegen Israël.
Met EU geld wordt zo een hetze tegen Israël gefinancierd, zoals in Nederland gebeurt met betrekking tot United Civilians for Peace (zie CIDI rapport in PDF). En dan heb je nog mensen die zeggen dat de EU zo eenzijdig pro-Israël is.....
NGOs promote "Israeli Apartheid Week"
NGO Monitor, 13 February 2008
War on Want, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Keshev, I'lam and ICAHD, (whose funders include the EU, Finnish and British governments, and NIF), are joining a number of extremist NGOs to promote "Israeli Apartheid week."

Israeli Apartheid week (IAW) was first held in Canada in 2004.  In 2008 it encompasses events in Canada, Mexico, South Africa, the UK, the USA and the Palestinian Territories.  Its stated aim, in line with the NGO declaration from the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, is "to create a widespread awareness of Israeli apartheid and to bolster support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign." The organizers assert the "imperative of" "isolat[ing] the Israeli apartheid regime."

serious critiques of such "apartheid" rhetoric, many NGOs continue to use it as a political tool to delegitimize the existence of Israel.  War on Want (WoW), which is funded by the UK and Irish governments, featured in Warwick University's program.  On February 7, 2008, WoW's Senior Global Justice Campaigner, Ruth Tanner spoke on "Resistance day': 'Resisting the occupation: should we bother?"  Berkely University, exhibited an ICAHD photographic display and Linda Ramsden, Chair of ICAHD UK is a listed speaker of the UK event.  Rochama Marton, founder and President of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), which receives money from the EU and Finnish Embassy among others, addressed a panel at the UK university, SOAS on February 11, 2008.  On February 14, SOAS will also host a panel on "Media and Normalising Israeli Apartheid," which lists Yizhar Be'er, Executive Director of Keshev and former executive director of B'Tselem, and Haneen Zoubi, General Director of NIF and British council-funded I'lam, as speakers.

IAW's material selects and
distorts facts to support its destructive political agenda, including baseless claims of "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians, the "720 km long concrete wall", and that "[t]orture is used against virtually every Palestinian arrested."  The participation of NGOs, funded by governments and the NIF, which claim to promote universal human rights, in an event which distorts these values to demonize Israel, is highly troubling.

Arabische staten beperken satelietzenders

Een stap achteruit wat betreft de toch al beperkte vrijheid van meningsuiting in Arabische landen. De oprichter van de Engelstalige Al Jazeera zei onlangs in een interview dat er één land is in het Midden-Oosten waar men nooit problemen heeft ondervonden: Israël...

Arab countries seek broadcast curbs

Several Arab countries have adopted a draft document which imposes "regulations" and restrictions on Arab satellite television broadcasters and bars offending their governments.

In Cairo on Tuesday information ministers of the 22-member Arab League all voted in favour of the document, with only Qatar and Lebanon opposing.

The meeting was called at the request of Egypt, which hosts the Arab League and serves as a base for several Arab satellite channels.

Anas al-Fiqi, the Egyptian information minister, said his country would be the "first to implement the Cairo document".

"Some satellite channels have strayed from the correct path," he said.

One of the points in the document requires that stations "not to offend the leaders or national and religious symbols" of Arab countries.

Al Jazeera factor

Cairo and Riyadh frequently complain of criticism of their governments in talk shows aired by Al Jazeera and other satellite channels.

The Cairo document authorises signatory countries to "withdraw, freeze or not renew the work permits of media which break the regulations".

It stipulates that satellite channels "should not damage social harmony, national unity, public order or traditional values".

It says that programming should also "conform with the religious and ethical values of Arab society and take account of its family structure".

Religious matters

Channels should "refrain from broadcasting anything which calls into question God, the monotheistic religions, the prophets, sects or symbols of the various religious communities".

The document also says that broadcasters should avoid "erotic or obscene material" or programmes that "encourage smoking or the consumption of alcohol", the latter prohibited by Islam.

They should also "protect Arab identity from the harmful effects of globalisation".

Qatar said it was "still studying the document" and that it did not "currently want to adopt" it for legal rather than political reasons.

Peace Now beschuldigd van overtreden wet

De Israëlische vredesorganisatie Peace Now stapt regelmatig naar de rechter om illegale buitenposten en (uitbreiding van) nederzettingen aan te vechten, maar af en toe wordt ze zelf onderwerp van juridisch onderzoek. In 2004 boog een commissie van de Knesset zich over de vraag of Peace Now aan spionage doet. Immers met geld van de Europese Unie en diverse Europese regeringen brengt Peace Now via onder meer luchtfoto's de nederzettingen en soms ook militaire locaties in kaart. Gegevens die ook voor Palestijnse terroristen interessant zijn, en mogelijk zijn gebruikt bij aanslagen.
Onderstaand kort bericht wekt de indruk dat Peace Now subsidie krijgt van de Israëlische regering, maar waarschijnlijk wordt ook hier gedoeld op buitenlandse subsidies en donaties.
Het is duidelijk dat Peace Now niet geliefd is bij veel overheidsinstanties en rechtse partijen en groepen. Ze zijn ook al eens beschuldigd van het verspreiden van foutieve informatie, met name betreffende de hoeveelheid Palestijns privé land waarop nederzettingen zouden zijn gebouwd. Dat deed mij denken aan de blunder die Greenpeace destijds maakte bij het meten van olieresten in het olieplatform de Brent Spar, dat op zee gedumpt zou worden.
Gov't report finds Peace Now broke law Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 11, 2008

Peace Now, an extra-parliamentary organization which promotes a two-state solution, has been accused by a department of the Justice Ministry of violating the law, Channel 2 reported on Monday.

According to the report, an investigation conducted by the government found that Peace Now broke the law by using money earmarked for an educational non-profit organization to fund political activities.

In the past few days, the department published its findings in a report which details the illicit activities, and has recommended that the government take action and possibly dismantle the organization. However, due to staff changes in the department, the process was expected to be delayed, the Channel 2 report said.

In the meantime, the implication of the findings were that Peace Now does not have the proper administration certificates. As a result, the organization will immediately begin to have problems with fund raising in the United States due to the fact that donations will no longer be considered tax-deductible, the Channel 2 report concluded.

Is Gaza nog bezet gebied?

Veelvuldig wordt beweerd dat de Gazastrook ook na de Israëlische terugtrekking in 2005 nog steeds feitelijk bezet is door Israël, omdat het de meeste grensovergangen en het luchtruim controleert. Dit is een wel heel vreemde definitie van het begrip 'bezetting', en betekent dat iedere blokkade van vijandelijk gebied automatisch een bezetting inhoudt. Bovendien wordt voor het gemak vergeten dat Israël de grens tussen Gaza en Egypte niet controleert. Als Israël de Gazastrook nog zou bezetten, zou het niet alleen het recht maar ook de plicht hebben om er de orde te handhaven en te zorgen voor veiligheid.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is Gaza occupied?

Yesterday, the ever-reliable UN "Human Rights" Commission did what it literally always does - it condemned Israel and no one else. As Israellycool points out, the resolution used the terminology "occupied Gaza Strip" no less than four times.

Is Gaza legally occupied?

It is hard to find a good definition of "occupied territory" in international law. The best one is perhaps from the Hague Convention of 1907, which the Geneva Conventions seems to rely on:

Art. 42. Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.
From the specifics of both the Hague and Geneva Conventions, it is clear that "occupation" means control over the day to day lives of the citizens of the territory. For example:
Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.
Other provisions talk about maintaining public order and the like.

From these many provisions in the Hague and Geneva, as well as in normal use of the word in English, it is clear that "occupation" means physical presence as well as the effective takeover of functioning governmental institutions and tasks, like collecting taxes.

From Israel's perspective, its (legally ambiguous) declaration of Gaza as a "hostile territory" is far more accurate, as is clear from this article by two legal experts at The American Thinker last year:
If Gaza is territory under the control of the enemy -- as it manifestly is under Hamas -- then the Israeli government is both within its rights and arguably obliged by its responsibilities to its citizens to treat the strip as "hostile territory." Siege and blockade of a hostile territory is a legitimate tactic of war, used in declared and undeclared (e.g., Cuban) conflicts and explicitly recognized by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The Conventions' sole limitation is that there be "free passage of all consignments of food-stuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases" (Fourth Convention, art. 23) -- and even this exception was conditioned on there being "no reasons for fearing... [t]hat a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy" (for example, if resources destined for humanitarian aid will be commandeered by the enemy). Israel has carefully respected this requirement.

In fact, if anyone is occupying Gaza, it would appear to be Hamas.

Hamas never legally seceded Gaza from the PA and both Hamas and the PA keep declaring that both Gaza and the West Bank are a single legal entity. In fact, Hamas and the PA keep negotiating over where the PA might be able to take over some functions in Gaza, as well as their ultimate rapprochement, thus fulfilling another essential portion of the definition of occupation - that it be temporary.

In addition, Hamas clearly acted against the wishes of the PA and against PA laws in its takeover. Beyond that, Hamas is fully acting like an occupier, taking over the governmental institutions in Gaza like the police and the courts and collecting taxes.

Obviously Hamas has never accepted any international legal conventions. And Hamas is not a country, which complicates the definition further. Even so, as the effective occupier, it clearly violates many of Geneva's laws, including forcibly taking hospital supplies from the civilian population for its own purposes (Geneva IV, Art. 56)

Hamas' status under international law needs to be clarified, and its obligations spelled out. The current situation where a terrorist occupying force (or quasi- government) has no legal obligations is absurd, and it directly leads to travesties like this UNHRC resolution.

dinsdag 12 februari 2008

"Tomorrow's Pioneers" op Hamas TV heeft nu konijn Assud die "de Joden zal opeten!"

 Het is natuurlijk zeer ouderwets te menen dat er nog Arabieren zijn die de Joden de zee in willen drijven, en alleen Zionistenvriendjes menen dat Palestijnse kinderen worden geindoctrineerd om de Joden te haten...

Hamas rabbit to children:
"I'll finish off the Jews and eat them!"

 by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Using charming children's characters to teach hate and violence

 Farfur (Mickey Mouse) was beaten to death by an israeli policeman
 Nahul the Bee died when the Israeli "siege" of Gaza prevented him from reaching a hospital
 Now there's a new character for Tomorrow's Pioneers, Assud the Rabbit

A girl asks the Hamas rabbit: "Why is your name 'Assud' ["lion"], since you are a rabbit?"
Assud, the rabbit:  "A rabbit is a [term] for a bad person and coward. And I, Assud, will finish off the Jews and eat them. "
The girl hostess agrees: "Allah Willing!"

This was part of a children's broadcast on Hamas Television this week. The program is called Tomorrow's Pioneers, which previously featured a fuzzy Mickey Mouse character named Farfur and a cute bee named Nahul. We've learned from previous episodes of the program that both Farfur and Nahul  were "martyred" by Israelis. In the latest episode, we learn that Assud, the new rabbit character, has come from Lebanon "in order to return to the homeland and liberate it."  Later in the show Assud and the child hostess discuss the eventual conquering  of Tel-Aviv through terror.

Assud: "Do you know what the original name of our city ...  Tel Aviv!"
Hostess: "It's our city: Tel-Rabia... but the Zionists today call it Tel Aviv, but it will stay ours... and we will return with Allah's will".
Assud: "How will we go to our city if the Jews took it?"
Hostess: "We will continue the resistance (terror)."
The program ends with singing:
"We will never recognize Israel"
And the hostess emphasizes:
"until we liberate our homeland from the Zionist filth".
[Palestinian Television, Al-Aksa channel (Hamas), Feb 8 2008].

Noord-Israëlische stad klaagt over bewering dat het op Arabisch dorp werd gebouwd op Google Earth

Een Google Earth gebruiker, de Palestijn Thameen Darby, voegde informatie toe bij de kaart van de Israëlische stad Kiryat Yam, dat het gebouwd was op de ruines van een vroeger Arabisch dorp dat in de 1948 oorlog zou zijn verwoest door Israël. Hij heeft 10 van dergelijke toevoegingen gedaan op Google Earth kaarten van Israël, naar eigen zeggen om meer bewustzijn te kweken voor de verwoeste Arabische dorpen.
Antizionisten laten geen media onbenut voor hun strijd tegen Israël.
Uit Wikipedia:
The city was founded in 1945 during the Mandate era by a group of Holocaust survivors and Jewish guards in the British police force, over desolate lands which were not inhabited previously.
Aangezien iedereen dingen in Google Earth kan toevoegen en veranderen, kunnen we deze onzin ook weer verwijderen, maar het is natuurlijk absurd dat ieder medium over Israël wordt misbruikt. Er zijn inderdaad veel Arabische dorpen vernietigd, vooral omdat van daaruit Joodse plaatsen en konvooien werden aangevallen. Als de Arabieren het delingsplan van de VN uit 1947 hadden geaccepteerd, was er geen enkel dorp vernietigd, maar zij verkozen oorlog.
Zie voor een verhaal over een slag in het noorden tijdens de 1948 oorlog, waarbij ook enkele Arabische dorpen zijn ingenomen door de Joden (dat was voor de stichting van Israël):'emek_battle.htm
Northern Israeli town files complaint over Google claim it was built on Arab village

JERUSALEM: An Israeli town is suing Internet giant Google for slander, a local official said Monday, because a feature of its worldwide map service shows the town was built on the ruins of an Arab village.

The dispute brings together two controversies, one old and one new. Officials from the town, Kiryat Yam, deny they displaced Arabs during the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948, and Google is defending the practice of allowing any surfer to change information in its files.

Kiryat Yam is a town of 40,000 on the Mediterranean coast just north of the port of Haifa. An entry on Google Earth, a feature that allows users to zero in on locations around the world, alleges that the town was built on the ruins of Ghawarina, an Arab village.

Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled or were expelled during the 1948-49 war that began with Israel's declaration of independence. Dozens of Arab villages were destroyed.

Kiryat Yam was pulled into the dispute — still one of the hottest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — when a Google Earth user, Thameen Darby, inserted a note on the map saying it was built on the location of Ghawarina. Darby has inserted at least 10 such notes over Google's map of Israel.

Kiryat Yam filed a slander complaint with Israel's police, said town official Naty Keyzilberman. "This obviously cannot be true, because Kiryat Yam was founded in 1945," he said, explaining the police complaint.

Darby, 30, a Palestinian doctor raised in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, said his mother was a refugee from to the village Balad al-Sheikh near Kiryat Yam. His said his contributions to Google Earth are part of the "Nakhba -- Palestinian Catastrophe" information hub aimed to help displaced Palestinians understand their heritage or find the villages of their parents or grandparents.

"As far as I can know, the Arab Ghawarina locality was in the place depicted," Darby told The Associated Press. He noted that he may have not marked the exact location and if proven wrong "by reliable sources, I will be quick to reallocate it."

Darby's Internet Web site pinpoints Ghawarina on the site of Kiryat Yam, but another places it south of Haifa at the site of a present-day Arab town, Jisr el-Zarka. Six decades later, it is difficult to accurately locate many of the destroyed villages, leading to the conflciting claims.

Above Kiryat Yam, Darby wrote, "this is one of the Palestinian localities evacuated and destroyed after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war."

"That's simply complete nonsense," Professor Yossi Ben-Artzi of Haifa University told Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. "Kiryat Yam was built on sand dunes, and there wasn't any Palestinian village in the area. The lands were bough in 1939 by the Gav Yam construction company."

Asked to respond to the police complaint, a Google spokesman said Google Earth depends on user-generated content that reflects what people contribute, not what Google believes is accurate. The spokesman would not give his name, in keeping with company policy.

The spokesman insisted that the altered map is not illegal, and Google's policy is not to remove such postings.

Palestijnse hervormingen voorwaarde voor vrede

Het komt niet zo vaak voor dat een Israëlische Zionist en een Palestijn het eens zijn.

Bush's Mideast U-Turn

February 11, 2008; Page A19

On June 24, 2002, President Bush presented his vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace. That we both would have greeted Mr. Bush's speech with the same enthusiasm may come as a surprise.

One of us is a former Soviet dissident who spent nine years in the Gulag and, after joining his people in Jerusalem, spent a decade in Israeli political life, serving as a cabinet minister during most of that time. The other is a Palestinian who has devoted his life to exposing human rights abuses perpetrated against his people, regardless of whether the government committing those abuses was Israeli or Palestinian. One is a Jew convinced of his people's just claim to the Land of Israel. The other is an Arab convinced of his people's just claim to the same land.

[Bush's Mideast U-Turn]

 Yet while we have real disagreements that would make an historic compromise very difficult and painful, we are fully in agreement that the only path to peace lies in building a free Palestinian society -- a path Mr. Bush boldly laid out in his historic speech.

Unfortunately, encouraged by short-sighted Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Bush administration, now entering its final year in office, has resuscitated the failed policies of the past that have brought nothing but tragedy, terror and war and that have only pushed peace further away.

The real breakthrough of Mr. Bush's vision five-and-a-half years ago was not his call for a two-state solution or even the call for Palestinians to "choose leaders not compromised by terror." Rather, the breakthrough was in making peace conditional on a fundamental transformation of Palestinian society: "I call upon [Palestinians] to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. . . . A Palestinian state will never be created by terror -- it will be built through reform. And reform must be more than cosmetic change, or veiled attempt to preserve the status quo. True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions, based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism."

Many critics argued at the time that linking the peace process to a transformation of Palestinian society was a radical departure in peacemaking. It was. And it was long overdue.

What had guided policymakers for the previous decade was the idea that a "moderate" Palestinian leader who would fight terror and make peace with Israel needed to be "strengthened" at all costs. Yasser Arafat was their moderate. He was given territory, weapons, money and a warm diplomatic embrace.

Completely ignored was what was happening within Palestinian society. As Arafat was hollowing out civil society, handing control of the economy to corrupt cronies, squirreling away billions of dollars into his private accounts, trampling on the rights of his own people, and using PA-controlled media and schools to indoctrinate a generation into a culture of hatred, the international community's bear hug only tightened. Indeed, Arafat's emerging dictatorship was seen as an asset in the peace process. Here was the "strong" leader, it was argued, who could make a deal. Nothing should be done to weaken him.

Mr. Bush's speech was supposed to change all this. It was supposed to shift the focus to where it should have always been: on helping Palestinians build a decent society that would protect the rights of their own people and promote peace with its neighbors. It was supposed to begin the hard work of helping Palestinians reconstruct their civil society, build a free economy, establish real courts, reform their security services, and revamp their educational system.

President Bush deserves much credit for placing a spotlight on the issues of democracy and human rights and for his firm belief that the advance of freedom is critical for international peace and stability. He made this idea a focus of his second inaugural address and reiterated it last June in Prague at a conference of dissidents from around the world. Last month, President Bush did not flinch from speaking about freedom and human rights in the heart of Arabia.

But the past few years have shown that when it comes to dealing with Israelis and Palestinians, the vital link between freedom and peace is almost entirely ignored. True, the administration is not doing anything against the wishes of the current Israeli and Palestinian leadership. But just as the Oslo peace process of the 1990s was a disaster that Israeli and Palestinian leaders wholeheartedly embraced, the current peacemaking round will prove equally disastrous because it ignores what is most important.

Rather than begin the long and difficult process to transform Palestinian society and ultimately pave the road to peace, the administration has consistently supported quick and foolish solutions: from crafting a "road map" that only paid lip service to reform; to backing a unilateral disengagement that by its nature ignored Palestinian society; to pressing for snap elections that preceded rather than followed reform and thereby brought Hamas to power.

When Arafat passed from the scene, we hoped that the Bush vision would finally be given a chance. But all that has happened is that President Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) and Prime Minister Salam Fayad have become the new "moderates" who need to be strengthened at all costs. Rather than establish a clear link between support for the PA and reform, and openly embrace the genuine Palestinian reformers who are the democratic world's true allies, Abu Mazen is promised billions despite having done nothing. With the media entirely under his control, incitement continues and no one raises serious objections. He is, we are told, too "weak" to take action.

A few weeks ago, in a meeting with a high ranking official responsible for European foreign policy, one of us (Mr. Sharansky) spoke about the need to support the work of the other (Mr. Eid) in promoting democracy and human rights in the Palestinian territories. After the European leader expressed his deep commitment to peace, democracy and human rights, he asked the all important question: "What is his [Mr. Eid's] relationship to Abu Mazen?" After hearing that it was strained because of constant criticism of Abu Mazen's failure to reform, the official's enthusiasm quickly evaporated. "That will be a problem. We cannot do anything that will undermine Abu Mazen." This new-old attitude reminds one of the absurdity of those who refused to support democratic dissidents behind the Iron Curtain because they were undermining their leaders.

President Bush should spend his final year in office helping Palestinians begin the transformation of their society so that the vision he once spoke of so eloquently will have a chance to come to fruition some day. We have wasted too much time strengthening leaders and reaching for the moon. Let's start strengthening Palestinian society and begin a real peace process once and for all.


Mr. Eid is executive director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. Mr. Sharansky is chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.


Israëlische politici woedend over geheime besprekingen over Jeruzalem

Een paar maanden geleden beweerde Oscar Garschagen in zijn afscheidsartikel voor de NRC dat Israël Jeruzalem nooit zal delen, dat het de onbetwiste winnaar is, die met feiten op de grond een Palestijnse staat in feite al onmogelijk heeft gemaakt en dit proces de komende jaren verder zal voltooien.
De realiteit is een andere, en Shas en andere rechtse partijen maken zich dan ook grote zorgen over de voortgang die volgens een Palestijnse onderhandelaar is bereikt in de besprekingen over Jeruzalem. Geloof niet in sprookjes over Joodse almacht, ook niet als ze worden verteld door een correspondent van een kwaliteitskrant.

Politicians infuriated over secret talks on J'lem's fate
Gil Hoffman, Talia Dekel and Khaled Abu Toameh, THE JERUSALEM POST

Reactions over secret talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as reported by the Jerusalem Post began to surface among politicians on Sunday.
Saturday's report cited a top Ramallah official as saying that the Palestinian negotiating team headed by former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei had been holding undisclosed negotiations with Livni and other government officials in the past few weeks.

"The cat is out of the bag," MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) told the Post. "The fact that [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's government is not telling the truth over the negotiations with the Palestinians has been revealed.

"Shas will no longer be able to say they didn't know. Even if the prime minister isn't telling them the truth, they can thank the Jerusalem Post for revealing it to them. I hope Shas keeps its promise and leaves the government that is dividing Jerusalem," Orlev said.

Jerusalem Municipality opposition leader Nir Barkat called on Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to reveal any agreements reached during negotiations with the Palestinians following a report on Sunday in the Jerusalem Post which revealed that secret Israeli-PA talks have resulted in progress over the issue of Jerusalem.

"I demand that the foreign minister, who heads the negotiations with the Palestinians, publicly disclose all secretive and other agreements that the state of Israel has reached with the Palestinians," Barkat told the Post.

In response to the report, which quoted a senior PA official in Ramallah, Barkat insisted that Jerusalem was not the subject of secret talks.

Barkat, who leads a public campaign against the proposed division of the capital, said "any such agreement achieved on behalf of an Israeli official would constitute an absolute deviation to Kadima's basic principles, a violation to the basic law of Jerusalem, betrays the trust of the voter and undermines the sovereign basis of the Israel's Knesset.

"The Palestinians must understand that neither the government of Israel, nor any other body on its behalf, have the right to promise to give up areas where Israeli law, governance and legislation has been implemented," he said.

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz criticized the negotiations, saying that if "the story is true, then the Jerusalem's fate is being decided like a thief in the night. It cannot be that while Olmert is denying that there are any talks about Jerusalem at all, Tzipi Livni is negotiating in back rooms with Abu Ala (Qurei) about the state of our capital."

Meanwhile, Shas reiterated that it "would not stay in a government that divides" the Jewish capital.

A spokesperson for the group told the Post that Shas would have no part in a coalition that gave away parts of Jerusalem.

A spokesperson from Livni's office said that he was "not allowed to respond to anything going on in the [negotiating] room."

The Palestinian official told the Post that "Israel is prepared to withdraw from almost all the Arab neighborhoods and villages in Jerusalem. Israel is prepared to redivide Jerusalem and this is a positive development.

"The negotiations are moving too slowly," he said. "There are still too many difficulties, although one can say that some progress has been achieved."

Omstreden amnestie voor 32 leden van Fatah's al-Aqsa Brigades

Het is wellicht te vroeg om te bepalen of deze strategie vruchten afwerpt of inderdaad onnodige risico's met zich meebrengt, maar het is een teken dat Israël de Palestijnse Autoriteit een serieuze kans geeft. De link die sommige rechtse Knessetleden leggen met de slachtoffers van raketaanvallen in Sderot is vergezocht en goedkoop: de raketten komen uit de Gazastrook en hebben met deze deal niks te maken.

Lawmakers slam Israel's decision to remove 32 Fatah men from wanted list.
'Government encouraging terror, inviting more attacks,' Yuli Edelstein says.
Hadash MK: Amnesty small, insufficient step in the right direction
Amnon Meranda YNET

Israel's decision to grant amnesty to 32 wanted members of Fatah's military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, drew heavy criticism from several Knesset members on Sunday.

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein said the decision to pardon the "Fatah terrorists" indicated that the Israeli government "prefers to bolster Fatah rather than defend the residents of Sderot."

Earlier on Sunday, Palestinian security officials reported that Israel has removed 32 al-Aqsa members from its list of wanted men, including senior organization members, and has extended the probation period of 220 additional wanted men by three months.

About six months ago, Ynet revealed that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached an agreement, according to which wanted al-Aqsa members would begin a three-month probation period, and those not involved in terrorist activities during this period would be granted amnesty.

"On the one hand, cabinet ministers make fiery statements on the need to combat terror relentlessly, but on the other hand they compromise and boost those who carry it out," Edelstein added. "Thus, (the government) is encouraging terror and is inviting more attacks (on Israel)."

'This is insane'

Israeli security officials said the recent development was reversible and that Israel would enforce the usual restrictions on any of the pardoned Fatah members who return to their terrorist ways.

"What does 'reversible' mean? That after they go back to killing - and history shows that they will - we will imprison them again? This is insane," National Union-NRP member Zvi Hendel said.

MK David Rotem of Yisrael Beiteinu said the decision to pardon the Fatah gunmen showed that the Israeli government was "continuing in its misguided policy of concessions and instead of eradicating terror it is making gestures that result in Qassam attacks on the south.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Dov Khenin of Hadash said the government's decision "was a small and insufficient step in the right direction," adding that "the way to achieve peace is not through targeted killings, but through negotiations with the Palestinians and their leaders."

Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan said removing the al-Aqsa members from Israel's list of wanted men was "the right thing at the right time.

"Me must work to strengthen the moderate (Palestinian) forces and fight the fundamentalists," he said.

De Israëlische les: terreur kan bestreden worden

Het feit dat de zelfmoordaanslag in Dimona vorige week de eerste in meer dan een jaar tijd was, komt niet doordat de Palestijnen gematigder zijn geworden en het geweld hebben afgezworen, zoals ook blijkt uit het grote aantal verijdelde aanslagen en de vele dreigementen door terroristische groeperingen.
The Israeli Lesson
The news about yesterday's suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Dimona is that it's news. In 2002, at the height of the second intifada, 451 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks, including 14 suicide bombings. By contrast, yesterday's attack, which killed one and injured 11, was the first of its kind in more than a year.
This didn't happen by accident, or because Palestinian radicals have somehow become less hostile to Israel. Responsibility for yesterday's attack was claimed by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, which is affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas's ostensibly moderate Fatah party. Islamist Hamas remains even more ardently dedicated to Israel's destruction, a point it emphasizes with its rocket barrages at southern Israeli cities close to the Gaza Strip.
Instead, the difference has come because of Israel's increasingly successful antiterrorist efforts. Key to that success has been the construction of its ostensibly "illegal" security fence, its equally "illegal" targeted assassinations of key terrorist leaders, its "disproportional" attacks on terrorist enclaves in Jenin and elsewhere, and other actions that saved innocent lives but which much of the international community deplored.
One of the most common arguments against Israel's actions is that it would feed a "cycle of violence." It's fair to say that what happened is closer to the opposite. As Israel put pressure on terrorist leaders, they were forced to spend their time running for their lives rather than planning the next attack. As Israel set up physical obstacles to terrorism, the need for large-scale military incursions declined, allowing a semblance of normal life to return for Israelis as well as Palestinians. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Israel proved that terrorists can be defeated -- a lesson that applies equally in Iraq.

Hamas plant nieuwe uitbraak - naar Israël

De succesvolle 'uitbraak' naar Egypte twee weken geleden smaakt naar meer, en Hamas plant een soortgelijke actie bij de Erez grensovergang met Israël. Het kan Hamas niet schelen als daar vele doden bij vallen, zolang de Palestijnen maar als de heroische underdog in de media komen.  

Hamas planning mass breakout - to Israel


Ahmed Yousef, chief political advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to "Der Spiegel" (2 Feb 2008): "If the Israelis want our blood, I'm willing to sacrifice my children."

Ahmed Yousef, chief political advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, regards knocking down the Rafah wall as the greatest success Hamas has scored since winning the parliamentary elections two years ago. Speaking from his Gaza City office, Yousef said he has received phone calls from around the world congratulating him on the action - including from self-appointed emissaries of European governments. "Hamas is once again a player to be reckoned with," exulted Yousef.

Ahmed Yousef would like to pull off another Rafah-style exploit, but this time against the Palestinians' archenemy, Israel. He is planning a mass march to the Erez border crossing in northern Gaza. "We're going to send half a million people there, mainly women and children. Then we'll see how the Israelis react," he says. A devilish scheme, since the Israelis would not react as passively to the storming of their border as the Egyptians did. But Yousef is not impressed by such objections. "If the Israelis want our blood, I'm willing to sacrifice my children."

Yousef has already asked international observers to participate in the "march on Erez." Some have already agreed to come, and Yousef is happy about this. "This," he says, "is the beginning of the third Intifada."



maandag 11 februari 2008

Hezbollah herbewapent onder de ogen van UNIFIL

Zoals Ami Isseroff hieronder treffend illustreert, is het feit dat de grens tussen Israël en Libanon sinds de Tweede Libanon Oorlog rustig is, geen teken dat er geen probleem is en men zich geen zorgen hoeft te maken. Wat daarnaast ook bijzonder verontrustend is, is dat de bewapening van Hezbollah indruist tegen VN resolutie 1701 die na deze oorlog is aangenomen. Er wordt steeds vaker gesproken over een internationale troepenmacht in de Gazastrook; hoe kan Israël daar enig vertrouwen in hebben als UNIFIL Hezbollah zijn gang laat gaan?

Hezbollah rearms under the eyes of UNIFIL

A ticking bomb?
"It's true that Hezbollah is raising its flag along the border," an IDF official said. "But in a year and a half not one of our soldiers on the border has sustained even a scratch. During the entire period only two rockets have been launched by an extremist group unaffiliated to Hezbollah," the official added.
A man works in the Empire State building, on the 50th floor. He looks out and sees a man falling.
"How's it going?"
"So far, so good."
Ami Isseroff
IDF: Hezbollah deploys rockets, missiles in south Lebanon
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Hezbollah has managed to deploy large numbers of Katyusha rockets and  antitank missiles in southern Lebanon, senior Israel Defense Forces officials have told Haaretz. These weapons in Shi'ite villages have been undetected by UN observers, the officials say.
They say the weapons have been smuggled south of the Litani River despite the increased presence of the United Nations Forces Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) since the end of the Second Lebanon War.

The sources add that Hezbollah's reluctance to use the weapons since the war ended a year and a half ago reflects the strong blow the IDF dealt the militant group and that Israel's deterrence has not been diminished.
At the end of the war the Lebanese army was deployed in the south of the
country in accordance with UN resolution 1701. There is also an increased UN presence. The IDF has said that Hezbollah has systematically smuggled arms to the area in trucks marked as delivering civilian supplies. Most of the weapons are estimated to have arrived from Iran via Syria.
Hezbollah has also had to deal with a ban on rebuilding its string of outposts along the border with Israel that were destroyed during the war. To gather information on the IDF, the organization has sent groups of agents disguised as media teams to film activity on the Israeli border.
Since the war ended, UNIFIL has completed probing Hezbollah strongholds near the border where the group had built an array of bunkers and camouflaged Katyusha rocket launchers. Hezbollah has now placed most of its launchers north of the Litani and has hidden a large number of them in Shi'ite villages south of the river. The group has managed to replenish its stocks of rockets and missiles depleted during the fighting. New missiles sent by Iran are capable of striking targets south of the Tel Aviv area, army officials say.
Amassing antitank missiles in villages south of the Litani shows that the organization thinks the IDF will not hesitate to launch a ground operation in the event of renewed hostilities. Massive use of such missiles would slow down any IDF advance into Lebanon. But the placement of such weapons in villages is also a weak point in Hezbollah's strategy and would lead to massive destruction of civilian areas in any fighting.
Many of the villages in the south have not yet been rebuilt. IDF top brass claim that a fear of destruction and the organization's difficulty in recruiting and training new fighters have dissuaded Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah from instigating limited attacks on Israel, as the group often did in the Har Dov area.
Though Hezbollah says only 250 of its members were killed in the fighting, Israeli intelligence estimates that some 600 died and another 1,000 were wounded.
"It's true that Hezbollah is raising its flag along the border," an IDF official said. "But in a year and a half not one of our soldiers on the border has sustained even a scratch. During the entire period only two rockets have been launched by an extremist group unaffiliated to Hezbollah," the official added.
"Of course, that may change tomorrow. Hezbollah, for its own reasons, has not changed its jihadist ideology that calls for our destruction, but refraining from launching attacks testifies to the blow it suffered during the war and, for now, it has refrained from launching a new round."