vrijdag 27 februari 2009

Coalitie met Livni en Netanyahu? - Zeg nooit nooit

Livni houdt vooralsnog haar poot stijf en weigert deel te nemen aan een regering die door Likoed wordt geleid. Volgens Haaretz' hoofdredactionele commentaar heeft ze van Netanjahoe gevraagd dat hij de tweestatenoplossing accepteert en het principe van een Palestijnse staat, waar hij volgens Haaretz nog steeds tegen is. Het is de vraag of hij zover zal gaan, maar hij presenteert zich wel als gematigd en ziet het belang van een goede verhouding met vooral de VS in. Mogelijk is een roterend premierschap de enige manier om Livni over de streep te trekken.

Last update - 03:43 24/02/2009       
Never say never
By Yoel Marcus
Whatever happened to Tzipi Livni, the fan favorite, the one commentators once wrote was driven only by self-respect? Maariv reported this week that sources close to President Shimon Peres are fiercely critical of the Kadima leader. "She's acting like a political amateur," they say, "and we're struggling to understand what exactly she wants."
If we're wondering who exactly are these "sources close to Peres" (his secretary or the presidential cleaner?), perhaps we should consider that the comments came from the president himself, given the coldness with which his proposal to form a unity government was met?
Ten years after his defeat as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is posing as the leader who seeks to build the perfect unity government, promising Kadima real partnership and prominent portfolios. But in his political circle, everyone first and foremost looks out for himself. Shaul Mofaz can get the Defense Ministry and Dalia Itzik can return to her much-loved role as Knesset speaker. All of this, however, will evaporate if Livni hauls Kadima into the opposition.
The pressure on Livni, from both the public and the party, to partner up with Netanyahu does not really move her. Between cabinet meetings and her first meeting with Netanyahu, she said in closed conversations, "a wide coalition essentially means I would be joining a rightist government."
"We went to elections over the issue of a peace process based on the principle of two states for two peoples. A government is formed in order to advance things ... I don't see government as a form of 'Survivor,'" she said. Livni prefers, even after having met Netanyahu, to sit in the opposition rather than join a right-wing government. "Ministries in and of themselves don't interest us. It would be a government without direction," she concluded.
When asked, "Do clearly-drawn guidelines for the coalition agreement not justify full cooperation with Likud?" she replied simply, "Words are reversible."
The election results for the 18th Knesset are among the strangest Israel has seen. Kadima won one more seat than Likud, and seemingly should have been the party chosen to form a government. But in our distorted electoral system, the "bloc" that can bring in allies gets chosen nearly automatically.
The "loser," having won 27 seats, and with a supporting cast of Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union, can now form a right-wing government with a 65-seat majority.
The settler camp and the extreme right will certainly rejoice, but the last thing Netanyahu wants is to be an extreme-right prime minister. He fears that such a government's odds of surviving are slim, and his own memories of falling from the premiership remain fresh.
The state faces major challenges. It has its sights set on relations with the new U.S. administration and moderate Islamic states, and most importantly, a peace process based on the concept of two states for two peoples. What will Netanyahu say in his first meetings with Barack Obama when asked if he supports this principle?
One diplomat, however, says Livni holds a high card: Netanyahu needs her in order not to be perceived as leader of a narrow right-wing government.
Netanyahu understands that sooner or later such an administration is likely to transform the principle of two states for two peoples into one state for two peoples, as in South Africa. Regardless of how much we bomb Gaza, enough Arabs will remain to form the majority we fear.
Netanyahu is hardly elated at the prospect of forming a right-wing government with Lieberman as a senior partner - he of the poisoned pearls of wisdom - and prefers a wider government with Kadima. Kadima faces twin dangers: If it moves to the opposition, it is likely to crumble. If it joins a Netanyahu-led government, Livni risks being seen as having misled her electorate.
This dead-end can be breached if the two build a rotation government (two years Netanyahu, two years Livni) on the basis of agreed guidelines that allow Kadima one hand on the whip and the other on the bridle. This arrangement would also make it easier for Netanyahu to break free of his dependence on the diktats of the rightist parties.
In the meantime, Livni isn't budging an inch from her stated position, and it's hard to believe the two party leaders will have a partnership by tomorrow morning. As John Kerry said when asked if he would run for president again, "Never say never."

donderdag 26 februari 2009

Israel verliest de strijd voor de 'hearts and minds'

Antizionisten en antisemieten beweren dat de Israellobby zo machtig en succesvol is en de Israelische propaganda door de media wereldwijd als zoete koek wordt geslikt. De werkelijkheid is dat de Israelische 'hasbara' bijzonder beroerd is en Israel er niet in slaagt hasbara zaken goed voor het voetlicht te brengen, waardoor het juist de antizionistische propaganda goed lukt het debat over Israel-Palestina naar haar hand te zetten, en Hamas volgens steeds meer mensen een legitieme gekozen bevrijdingsorganisatie is, in plaats van een racistische teroristische groepering die in een bloedige coup de macht in de Gazastrook heeft gegrepen.

24.02. 2009
Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center http://zionism-israel.com

Though it is painful to admit it, it should be obvious obvious to all by now that Israel is losing the battle for hearts and minds of international public opinion, not just in Europe, Asia and Africa, but in the United States as well. This is evident both in the recent reaction to Operation Cast Lead and in long term trends. This loss is not like losing a Eurovision song contest or not getting the Oscar for Waltz with Bashir. It has, and will have, grave strategic consequences for Israel's well being, international posture and security.

The odious effluvium of the recent unjust human rights campaign against Israel following the Gaza operation (see here and here) is added to the already broad stream of "anti-Israel" criticism. That will almost inevitably be joined by the stinking effluent of the upcoming Durban II Conference on Racism.

It is besides the point, inaccurate and ineffective to protest that this campaign is the result of "anti-Semitism." Surely, the campaign against Israel feeds on anti-Semitism and is fed by it. The deranged insistence that Israel must pay for the blood of Christ, the demented discourse about the supposed role of the Mossad in 9-11 and in the Mumbai massacre, and the mounting torrent of drivel painting the Federal Reserve System as a plot by International Jew Bankers are not "legitimate criticisms of Israel" and must in themselves be exposed as vicious racism. But they are not the main issue or the main danger, but only a side show.

The fact is that Israel has allowed its enemies to seize the initiative and dictate the agenda, to move the debate from central issues to diversions and irrelevancies, to establish fiction as fact, and to make the general public forget what is really at stake. Benjamin Netanyahu, a democratically elected politician, is painted as an ogre equivalent to Adolf Hitler, who must be boycotted. Conversely, Khaled Meshaal, a terrorist gangster and head of the genocidal Hamas, is painted as a fighter for freedom against oppression whose legitimate struggle should be recognized and whose organization must be considered a "partner for peace."

The horror of the Mumbai terror attacks should have been exploited to the full to explain to the world the undying enmity of Islamist radicalism for Judaism as a symbol of Western democratic values. Instead, most of the commentary asked "Why the Jews?" out of ignorance of the program and ideology of al-Qaeda and radical Islamism (aka "Jihadism"); Jewish groups focused on trying to get human sympathy for the martyred rabbi and his family and for the Chabad group. Islamist groupies were allowed to generate bogus hysteria that the Zionist conspiracy was trying to foment a war between India and Pakistan. In reality, al-Qaeda is at war with the Pakistani government and the rest of the world.

Israel is losing the support of the world over the Iranian issue. Iran's quest to kick the United States out of the Middle East has been skilfully made into a problem of Israel, Israeli nuclear weapons and Israeli interference with Palestinian "rights." Nobody hears the crowds screaming "Death to America" and the thugs burning the pictures of President Barack Obama (that's right, Obama, not Bush). U.S. policy can now be held hostage to the plots of these demented hoodlums, and officials will presumably move to appease them. Iran succeeded in portraying itself as the hapless victim of an arbitrary boycott campaign by evil Zionist neocons. It is forgotten completely that the clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program was in place before the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is fatuously supposed that the election of Khatami or a different reformist figurehead to the Presidency of Iran will solve all the problems and eliminate the threat posed by Iran.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the sacrifice of disengagement is largely forgotten by the world. The central issue, that Hamas is a genocidal organization that repeatedly and openly declares its intention to destroy Israel is ignored. Instead, the entire debate has been moved to the bogus issues of "proportionality," Israeli "war crimes" and "human rights." We allowed the enemy to choose the battlegrounds and the weapons. We should not be surprised therefore, when they gain victory after victory. Not even Herr Joseph Goebbels would have been able to divert the entire public debate in Europe about Nazism to the question of whether allied reprisals for V II raids were "disproportionate" or the fact that the Germans suffered more casualties than the British, or to get Americans to boycott Britain because of the war crime committed in the firebombing of Dresden. But that is precisely what has happened in the Israel versus Hamas propaganda war.

Owing to an insistent campaign that has not been answered by any government or other advocacy, it is now falsely established in the public mind that the Annapolis talks failed because of Israeli "inflexibility" about Jerusalem. The truth is the opposite. Mahmoud Abbas announced and admitted on November 11 2008, that Israel had offered a compromise on Jerusalem but the Palestinian Authority rejected it, because the Palestinians insist on obliterating Israeli rights in East Jerusalem. It is not compromise that the Palestinian Authority demands from Israel, but rather unconditional surrender. The facts are not aired by the Israeli government because of internal political problems. It would have been politically disastrous to admit that Israel offered a compromise on East Jerusalem as that would raise a clamor on the Israeli right. It would have been equally disastrous to admit that the Palestinian Authority has been totally intransigent in current negotiations, because that would rob the Kadima party of the centerpiece of its political platform - peace with the Palestinians. Evidently, the powers that be estimated that the Israeli people are too stupid to understand that Israel must always strive for peace both in fact and appearance, no matter how hopeless the cause may seem. That policy has been a foundation stone of Israeli diplomacy since 1948 and is integral to mainstream Zionist ideology.

There are many other examples that bring home the fact that Israeli and Zionist legitimacy are suffering a continuing debacle. It is pointless to deny it and maladaptive to helplessly bemoan it as "anti-Semitism" or as "unfair" tactics of the other side. All is fair in love and war. Nobody should expect genocidal terrorists and racists and their advocates and running dogs to act fairly. We are not children. The Israeli government foreign ministry has failed. The Zionist and Jewish NGOs have failed. The pro-Israel volunteer advocacy network has failed. We are not doing our job effectively. We are reaching the wrong people with the wrong message or not getting the message out at all. Many of us don't seem to know what the message ought to be.

The situation is not beyond hope, but we will never even begin to solve the problem if we do not recognize that it exists and that it is quite urgent. It is far more important than petty internecine rivalry which absorbs the energy of Israel advocates. It will not be solved by appealing to the anti-Semitism issue. The anti-Semites already know they are anti-Semites and are quite proud of it. The others truly are horrified by the accusation and really do not understand why saying that "Zionists control the world" is anti-Semitic. It will not be solved by appeals to Jewish opinion. The enemy is not other Jews. The rising tide of opinion against Israel is not, in the main, related to anything that Israel did or did not do, since the aim of the campaign is to destroy Israel. The "critics" will criticize Israel no matter what Israel does. Every action, whether it is disengagement, or peace offers, attacks on terrorists or building of settlements, whether is totally right or totally wrong, will be turned into grist for the propaganda mill of enemies, if we let them do it.

The nature of urgent corrective measures that should be taken will be the subject of future articles here. The problem should also be subject to detailed public scrutiny and debate. It is not a minor problem, but rather a central strategic issue for Israel, a threat can only be countered by a massive effort of attention, ingenuity and resources.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000662.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.


Hamas eist recht wapens in te voeren in Gazastrook

Hamas wil dat Israel de grensovergangen volledig opent en is dit keer zo eerlijk erbij te vermelden waarom:
"It's our right to bring in everything - money and arms. We will not give anyone any commitment on this subject," Zahar told Reuters in an interview in the Egyptian town of Ismailia.

Hamas intend to smuggle arms into Gaza

Gaza-based Hamas strongman Mahmoud Zahar declared Tuesday that his Islamist militant group reserves the right to bring arms into Gaza.
"It's our right to bring in everything - money and arms. We will not give anyone any commitment on this subject," Zahar told Reuters in an interview in the Egyptian town of Ismailia.
One the goals of Israel's recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza was to stem the flow of weaponry into the coastal strip.

Zahar, who served as Palestinian foreign minister in the government Hamas formed in Gaza after winning elections in 2006, also said Hamas had asked Egypt to let it import 1,000 containers into Gaza for use as temporary housing for Palestinians displaced during the Israel Defense Forces campaign, which ended in mid-January.
A group of Hamas engineers arrived in Cairo on Monday to study the purchase of the 1,000 containers.
Hamas has also asked Egypt to press Israel to let wood, glass, aluminium, steel and electrical supplies into Gaza to rebuild what was destroyed in the offensive, Zahar said.
Israel has restricted supplies of building materials to Gaza, saying some of them might help Hamas rearm and earn the movement credit with Palestinians living in Gaza.
Zahar added that Palestinian officials, backed by the United States, were obstructing the dialogue due to open between Palestinian groups in Cairo on Wednesday.
"There are people who want this dialogue not to take place because they will lose their positions and their privileges," he told Reuters in an interview in the Egyptian town of Ismailia, where he was visiting his wife's Egyptian relatives.
Zahar repeated Hamas complaints that Fatah has detained dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank in the past week. "These matters [the arrests] do not serve dialogue," he said, adding that "there are U.S. [intelligence] agencies working in the West Bank."
The arrests have added to the tension between the two largest Palestinian groups during preparations for the dialogue.
Zahar, who was visiting his wife's Egyptian relatives in Ismailia, also rejected Fatah complaints about arrests by Hamas in Gaza.
"We have published pictures of what they call political detainees in Gaza. These are people who have confessed that they provided the enemy [Israel] with information about where fighters were stationed and the tunnels [to Egypt] and the type of weaponry," he said.

Sympathie voor Hamas verkleint kans op vrede volgens Peres

Het is eigenlijk ongelofelijk dat een racistische extremistische fundamentalistische antisemitische en teroristische organisatie als Hamas op zoveel begrip en soms zelfs sympathie kan rekenen binnen vooral progressieve kringen in Europa. Hamas weet steeds meer de discussie te bepalen: in plaats van het te hebben over hoe Hamas, dat tegen vrede, tegen onderhandelingen en tegen ieder compromis is, te verzwakken of irrelevant te maken, heeft iedereen het over de zogenaamde disporportionele reactie van Israel. Terwijl Hamas, via een illegale coup aan de macht gekomen, door steeds meer politici als legitieme vertegenwoordiger van de Palestijnen wordt beschouwd, raakt het leiderschap van Fatah steeds meer verzwakt. Vrede en Hamas gaan NIET samen.
Last update - 14:17 24/02/2009
Peres: EU sympathy for Hamas diminishes chances of peace
President Shimon Peres on Tuesday told Hans-Gert Pottering, the president of the European parliament, that European sympathy for Hamas is diminishing the chances of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Peres said Europe and the international community are harming the peace effort by expressing understanding for the situation in Gaza, which, he said, was essentially expressing understanding for Hamas' terror.

Pottering, who is also president of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, was in Israel as part of a fact-finding mission to the Middle East and to contribute to the re-launch of the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Peres also said the Palestinian Islamist group uses its own people as human shields in order to advance its interests. Israel is fighting and will continue to fight relentlessly against terror, but at the same time does not and will not refrain from allowing the flow of food and medicine into Gaza, he added.

The senior European Union official, for his part, told Peres that there is great concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, adding that the United Nations had reported a shortage of food and medicine in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Prior to the meeting, Pottering said that, "We believe in a peaceful and lasting solution for the Middle East made under the auspices of the United Nations and based on a two-state solution. We have to help the people of Gaza by opening the borders, while preventing Hamas from arming again."

"We are in favor of peace and resolutely against war and terrorism. This is our message and it will be transmitted to all partners in the region," he concluded.

Israel beschuldigt UNRWA van dekking bieden voor Hamas

UNRWA is, met zijn uitsluitend Palestijnse werknemers, zeker geen onpartijdige organisatie, en de uitspraken van UNRWA leden laten dat duidelijk zien. Terwijl Israel door UNRWA leden routineus fel wordt bekritiseerd, is men bijzonder mild tegenover Hamas. UNRWA zegt zelf op te komen voor de rechten van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen. Deze houden volgens haar niet alleen humanitaire hulp in, maar ook het zogenaamde recht op terugkeer naar Israel. Door de aparte behandeling van Palestijnse vluchtelingen vergeleken met vluchtelingen uit de rest van de wereld, bestendigt UNRWA het probleem in plaats van het op te lossen. Men wil immers principieel niet over een permanente oplossing nadenken omdat dat de druk op Israel de vluchtelingen terug te laten keren zou wegnemen. Een volkomen irreële eis, die bovendien tegen de tweestatenoplossing indruist.

The Jerusalem Post
Feb 25, 2009 3:31 | Updated Feb 25, 2009 9:00
UNRWA providing political cover for Hamas, Israeli official says

The UN Relief and Works Agency is systematically providing political cover to Hamas, a senior government official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, lashing out at the agency for passing a Hamas letter to US Sen. John Kerry when he visited Gaza last week.

UNRWA head Karen AbuZayd gave the letter to Kerry, along with other material, during his brief visit Thursday to the Gaza Strip. The letter, written by a Hamas Foreign Ministry adviser and later disavowed by the Islamist group, was addressed to US President Barack Obama.

Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, handed the unopened letter to the US Consulate in Jerusalem. Kerry told Fox News that he never read the letter because it was sandwiched among other promotional papers the UN had given him.

"Unfortunately, there is a pattern here," the senior Israeli official said.

"That no one finds it strange that UNRWA, whose mandate is humanitarian, is the vehicle through which Hamas passes messages on to the US, just shows where UNRWA is at."

Furthermore, the official said, UNRWA was lobbying around the world for governments to drop the international community's three preconditions to talking with Hamas - that it recognize Israel, disavow terrorism and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements.

It is not clear how this, or calls by UNRWA for an "independent international investigation" into alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza, fell within the organization's mandate, the official added.

UNRWA spokesman Sammy Mshasha denied the allegations, saying the Israeli official should first check his facts.

It was UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself, during his visit to Gaza, who called an investigation into IDF actions in Gaza, Mshasha said.

As to the overall charge that UNRWA was speaking to international governments on behalf of Hamas, Mshasha said, "We are not in the business of supporting one side over the other. We are in the business of supporting Palestinian refugees and helping them."

He denied UNRWA was lobbying on any party's behalf, saying the organization "is a specialized agency of the UN, mandated to aid and assist the Palestinian refugees in its five areas of operation."

Regarding the Hamas letter given to Kerry, Mshasha said it was dropped at the gate of UNRWA's office and had the seal of the Palestinian Authority.

"We just delivered it to the intended party. We did not open it. We are not in the business of opening other people's mail. We did not know the content," he said.

UNRWA has also come under criticism from Israeli officials who say it is parroting the Hamas line.

The senior Israeli official said that during Operation Cast Lead, UNRWA adopted Hamas's position of calling for a cease-fire without any preconditions, such as an end to the weapons smuggling and the missile fire on Israel.

"They just echoed Hamas's positions," the official said.

Likewise, the official said that the organization was very critical of Israel's actions during the war. At one point, UNRWA spokesmen indicated that at least 40 refuge-seeking civilians were killed on January 6 in a UNRWA school facility in Jabalya.

Christopher Gunness, the UNRWA spokesman, said on January 7 in an interview on the Democracy Now radio program, "Well, first of all, for the attack at Jabalya, we said yesterday 30 confirmed fatalities and 55 injured, including 15 critically. Very sadly, overnight, 10 people passed away.

"The fatality figure has now risen from 30 to 40," he said then. "The people in the compound, over 1,300 people - by the way, some of those, many of them had been told by the Israeli army to leave their houses and move to a safe place. Of course, Gaza is unique in being a war with a fence around it.

"But they nonetheless came - frightened, terrified, vulnerable - to our center. They were coming to what they thought was a neutral United Nations shelter, and then the rest is history - 40 people killed."

According to the Israeli official, this was an example of how UNRWA routinely and uncritically adopted Hamas' narrative and claims of casualties.

According to the IDF, only three civilians and eight to 10 Hamas gunmen were killed near the school. The IDF said that an IDF unit that came under fire from a Hamas cell near the school returned fire. No shell hit the school.

The UN issued a revised report earlier this month admitting that as the result of a "clerical error," it was mistaken when it reported that the compound itself was shelled.

Gunness has told the Post in the past that UNRWA never stated that the shell hit the school, but rather always spoke in more general terms of the casualties in the area.

Mshasha said the charges leveled by the Israeli official "undermines our work and makes it that much more difficult."

This type of criticism "creates the impression among the public at large that UNRWA will take sides. UNRWA does not take sides. It delivers humanitarian aid. It will be a beautiful day in Gaza when we turn our attention away from immediate humanitarian aid to human development," Mshasha said.

UNRWA provides 900,000 Palestinian refugees with basic food supplies.

"We do not support terrorism. We do not condone it," Mshasha said, adding that UNRWA has spoken out against the Palestinian rocket attacks on civilians living in southern Israel.

"It is in the same breath that we condemn the Israeli army actions that violate international law," he said.

IDF voorkomt aanval vanuit Gazastrook

Israël verijdelt geregeld aanslagen, zowel vanuit de Gazastrook als de Westoever.

IDF foils 'large-scale terror attack'
IDF soldiers foiled a large-scale attack at the Kissufim border crossing against troops or a southern Israeli community, security officials said on Monday.

The attempted attack came early Monday morning, when a Golani force spotted two Palestinians laying explosive devices near the border crossing.

The soldiers crossed into Gaza and exchanged fire with the armed men, who fled. The Golani force then summoned an IAF aircraft, which attacked a car on the scene, apparently the escape vehicle used by the gunmen.

Palestinians reported two people lightly wounded following the attack, and said a building was also struck.

The Islamic Jihad maintained through its website that the attack was an effort to abduct IDF soldiers. The group said its gunmen stormed a Gaza house in which IDF special forces were positioned, before the IAF fired missiles at the site.

Meanwhile, Gaza terrorists fired two Kassam rockets at southern Israeli civilian areas on Monday. One hit an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, while the other landed in a field near Sderot. No one was wounded and no damage was reported.